Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Third - I'm still not convinced about the consistency of a deck in L5R. In my last tournament I got 2:2 but that was mainly because I couldn't concentrate and I felt like fainting any minute. In this state I hardly manage to do anything and playing a game that requires thinking is an overkill.
Lately I build a Crane Dishonor. You might remember that I build few crane honor decks and in the end it ended up being straight dishonor. I decided to merge the last two versions of my crane decks and create one deck out of it. Now it is supposed to be a dishonor but it gains honor pretty fast. In the meantime I have some fun with Dragon Monk Enlightenment that can pull out a military victory (earlier it was military that could win by honor victory and having three rings in play - even void).
Now Before the Dawn is out and I don't even have an idea what cards I would want. I opened few boosters and I have to say the contents of the booster don't really do anything with me (ok, not sure how to describe that). Well, opening New Phyrexia booster and having Karn there that's something I understand. But BtD booster? Oh man...anyway I should start doing my homework and see what cards seem to be good or might get good in the future. I'll note few cards that caught my eye.
My comments about certain cards from BtD follow. What follows is my opinion and you can disagree with it, it is also centered more on decks and cards I like so even if I find certain cards good but I'm not likely to play them they are not listed here.
That's probably it for my 'homework'. I did not post images nor the game text, if you don't know the cards please go look them up.
A Gentle Word
I like this card. It has a great ability I would say and has a nice focus. This card will most probably be a good defense against Dishonor decks (it is limited though to decks running Magistrates) but it is a card that I would play in honor deck that dishonors personalities (legendary feud) and kills via duels for example (4FV). It's not peaceful discourse to help you defend but still two honor gain out of nowhere seems good to me.
Thoughts of Wind
In my last booster I opened this card. I first checked if it is a Kiho card ... as last time when I saw a card that from my point of view was Kiho it wasn't a kiho card. Anyway it has Elemental keyword, Kiho keyword and gives cavalry and +4 if you have a ring. I have to say that my monks no matter what it was could put in play 1-3 rings pretty easily. I see this more as a card that is going to be played in offense and rather early. Later it loses its power. And again 4FV.
Of One Instant
Nice picture^^. Anyway I stared at this card for a while and couldn't believe what was written on it. I already have a playset and I have to say that I would love to play it somewhere. Giving your duelist a tactician keyword means +4F most of the time and if the card is played from hand it can give you even bigger bonus. If played in honor this can also be used against dishonor. If honor victory won't work switching to military should. Right now Dragon and Crane kind of miss that (oh yeah my crane dishonor already managed to win by military with Shikatsus and Nenkais doing their jobs but well...it doesn't really work well...).
Dismissing the Cur
When I opened this card I felt that this card has to be good. I have no idea if it will but I like it. Just having some personality at a province, bowing someone else elsewhere and DESTROYING a personality (if the PH is lower, but well let's expect the personality be dishonored and if not Crane don't really have problems with PHs ..yeah Battle Maidens are a problem and Lions in the next arc will be as well)??? And 2H gain as well. The only thing that I don't like is FV 2 but well will that matter?
Fury of the Mob
Removal, destroys a unit...all you need is numbers (and nonhuman)
When I held this card in my hand I was like YAY! But then I realized that it has Focus Value of 2 and the goddamn keyword Political. But even with that it is a great card! Both Honor and Dishonor decks will welcome it (at least my crane crazy decks)
Nice Magistrate dishonor action...no REACTION (I know it counts as an action) + opponent's honor loss.
String of Victories
Straightening of my rings in my Dragon Enlightenment is something I missed in many games and the possibility to get back my ring of fire as well. I surely like this card. It also gives you additional action appropriate to the phase which might come handy. At least that's what my monks want.
Good focus (what would you expect when it needs a duelist), send home ability and 2H gain or loss? Sounds good to me.
I think this card does not need a comment. Event negation, another ability that comes handy and 4FV. All that the card needs.
We agreed on that this card won't probably see much play in DGC but Crabs and Unicorn could play it. A similar card is something that I missed in my Unicorn Commanders (I wasn't really a fan of Conscript Troops in the deck for some reason).
Spirit of the Warrior
There are other spirit cards and good ones as well but seeing this one evoked a completely different reaction. DGC commanders always had problems destroying attachments like Rising Sun Blade and such and this is a card that can help solve the problem.
ZOMG. It's not an open action but presence-less battle action that can bow a WHOLE unit, so no more things like Strike Quickly + Tatsuhiko. I would rather play Disgraceful conduct.
I think this is another card that AV could play. I have no idea where this card would fit, but the ability is good. Even though personalities can move anyway. Still more control decks can most probably handle the movement Anyway it costs some gold and it can be actually quite a lot, so AV is the stronghold for this card.
No Time For Games
This card does not require comment, but well new Reinforce the Gates + dishonor meta.
Control the Board
When I saw -6F and bow, I couldn't believe it. We will see about destroying terrains being useful but the second ability for sure is useful.
Ember's Final Fire
Whoa a force bonus for 0 gold (if the shugenja is fire)? Destroying an attachment for just bowing this card? That sure has to be good!
One Action, Two Strikes
Who would not want two battle actions? And when played in defense with the new "reinforce the gates"... This card for sure can make a difference.
Another card that deals with attachments, destroys 0g cards and still does something to naked personalities. Looks great to me.
Hehe, dark virtue that actually DOES something good? I noticed a lot of attachment hate and I understand why there is a card named Near Miss. Oh man how this card will play on my nerves...
We've already been discussing this card. But still we couldn't decide which of the two 'effects' is better.^^ Great card!
Hm a Unique 'go berserk' weapon. 5/1 that makes the wielder attack each turn and it can negate a movement. This card actually surprised me, I did not expect such a card in L5R.
This card seems so odd (well the honor gain is odd that is, it has also high focus value the F to g ratio is good) that it surely has to see play in the future.
This beauty is similar to Coffin Queen except that she takes a Personality from play once per game. Looks like we have another AV unique to play. A control personality is a good personality^^.
I like him, I think that if used wisely this card can be great. He also has Naval and good force so why not play him?
Oh man this guy is just ... overkill. A naval commander, 5F/3C for EIGHT gold??!? o_O And with an ability that DGC just needed to fight Kensai and other heavy attachment decks. How I could miss Mantis previews....(and I call myself Mantis).
Is this a joke? Cavalry, force and NAVAL???
Hmm a Bat clan personality. When I first saw the card I thought that it could be good in Enlightenment (that does not have monks/shugenjas by default) but who would be playing such enlightenment. Anyway her ability is good and I could imagine her as well in military decks. I like this card but can't place her well anyway. Right now she does not seem to have a place anywhere.
WHUT??? 4/3, +1F while attacking and reduces force to ZERO!?! Is this a joke? The bad thing is that she/he is a hero (samurai and lion clan as well of course.). If it would be paragon....
I haven't opened this one yet, but I remember posting her on the forums (or my L5R site). Anyway...
When Lion clan had a personality with 5 Chi last time? 4/5 for 9G but with great ability. She can be even bigger and is Tactician as well. If a Lion Clan personality is destroyed it comes back ... just like that it comes back to play. o_O. This lady will need protection as she does not trigger her ability. But well cards like duty get reprinted right? (um there's also Iron will - as I remember well that can be used as well - Kobi is a Paragon)
The Great Death
In Czech I would just call it "Obluda" (Monster). No ability but it comes with 3 followers (1F, Undead, Shadowlands, Cavalry!, nonhuman...what more you want?). The card itself has great force and is undead and nonhuman. It seems that the best removal for the beginning of the EE requires nonhuman personalities/followers and here they are! (ok, I know each clan has its won nonhuman personalities)
I don't really care about new Yajinden, but this personality caught my eye. Well yeah, he does not fit anywhere but he is a commander and creates 1F followers. That's not bad. 4/3 for 7g is not either.
Monday, May 9, 2011
I opened all the boosters and went quickly through them to see what I could play and I did not see cards like shatter, divine offering or anything else that destroys artifacts. At first I did not see any other removal but later I discovered Parasitic Implant and Grim Affliction. This had to do. Rares were well playable but nothing that was worth any money it seemed till I got to the very last card of the last booster in which I opened a foil Venser.
My deck had two indestructible creatures + Etched Champion that could get Protection from Colors. These creatures had to buy me enough time so I could get to Carnifex Demon or Steel Hellkite as those cards were the only real finishers I had. And if possible play the black 'destroy all creatures' card. Soul Eater and Suture Priest were helping me in staying alive and it worked more or less.
In my first round I played against Boros deck with equipments. The best card of the deck was batterskull and I had no way destroying it. The player always had a creature with several equipments on it and was attacking each turn for 11-12. I was blocking with Darksteel myr, later with Darkesteel Sentinel and then I even had Etched Champion for some other creates. He got Kemba who was creating little cats so I had to be blocking those, they actually dealt some serious damage. I was hoping my opponent wouldn't get a creature with infect or trample. He got the little Goblin that gets +2 for each equipment and has trample. Later he managed to play few creatures with infect. I (after having 13 lands in play out of 16) was rather angry and wanted something that would finally solve my problem and hopefully got Life's Finale. That card would take care of all creatures but one that would still kill me. I planned playing Parasitic Implant and block that a lot/a lot infect creature and hope to stay alive till the end of the round. My opponent ended with 167 life.
In the second round I played against a token deck. The deck had three Shrine of the Loyal Legions and it was capable of creating golems as well. My only hope was too play Life's Finale at the right time and manage to win somehow after that before my opponent creates more myrs. I also had the same mana flood problem as in the previous round. After I won the first game I checked the number of the lands and it was indeed 16...It should work. I managed to win the second game as well.
In the third round Lukas (with the best standing) was paired down and played against me. He did not want to lose against me and was rather upset about that. But well my deck was unable to deal with artifacts and Sword of War and Peace was too much for me to handle. Little 1/2 hover myr managed to kill me. In the second game I got a good draw and had to be as much aggro as possible to kill my opponent before he manages to get to his sword or other rare I couldn't handle. I won. In the third game I got rather interesting draw - I had cards that could deal with almost everything except the sword. I decided to keep the hand and see how it would fare. It fared fairly well till Precursor Golem showed up. In the meantime my opponent played Sword of Peace and War and again had the little annoying myr.
Fourth round I expected yet another annoying equipment - Batterskull (we knew the player had it). it was blue/red deck with flyers, equipments and burn. Among the equipments there was foil batterskull.
I won the first game as I easily got to 6 lands and had Steel Hellkite. In the second game I feared Spikeshot Elder in the combination of flyers I couldn't deal with. My best flyer that could do the damage race cost me 3 life and my opponent always bounced it back and made me lose yet another life. I also ran out of cards I could play because I ended up on 3 lands and couldn't draw any other. I needed something, I had Tezzeret's gambit on my hand but couldn't play it otherwise Spikeshot elder would kill me. I hoped that my opponent wouldn't draw his fourth mountain. In the end I managed to win.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
"You are a monarch, like your parents before you, a ruler of a small pleasant kingdom of rivers and evergreens. Unlike your parents, however, you have hopes and dreams! You want a bigger and more pleasant kingdom, with more rivers and a wider variety of trees. You want a Dominion! In all directions lie fiefs, freeholds, and fiefdoms. All are small bits of land, controlled by petty lords and verging on anarchy. You will bring civilization to these people, uniting them under your banner.
"But wait! It must be something in the air; several other monarchs have had the exact same idea. You must race to get as much of the unclaimed land as possible, fending them off along the way. To do this you will hire minions, construct buildings, spruce up your castle, and fill the coffers of your treasury. Your parents wouldn't be proud, but your grandparents would be delighted."
The game starts with choosing 10 Kingdom cards that create a pool of cards from which players can buy cards. Each player starts with 10 cards consisting of treasure cards and victory points. In each turn a player can by default take an action (play a card) and buy a card. Each player starts with 5 cards in his hand.
There are five different card types:
Treasure cards that generate coin
Action cards that have a certain effect (can give you additional gold, let you draw a card etc)
Victory Points cards that give you Victory Points
Curse cards that count as negative Victory Points
Reaction cards, that are used in response to an attack for example
As the time goes by each player builds a deck by buying new cards. When 3 stacks of cards are emptied or the Province stack (Victory Point card) is emptied the game ends and each player counts the number of Victory Points they have. As you can see this card game has usually two phases. In the first one players buy cards they want to create their decks and then in the second part they try to buy as much Victory Points cards as they can.
I personally like the game but from playing the first game I noticed that there can be a big difference between new and experienced players. I personally am good in this kind of games and it was very easy for me to figure the cards out and build a deck so I could be buying a lot and get through the most cards. More casual players can be overwhelmed by more serious players and might not enjoy the game as much. This probably means that the game is not that balanced as it should be. Anyway there are many expansions to the game so that adds a lot to the variety (which is great even with the base set).
The game itself is not too interactive. There are cards that work as an attack (do something bad to other players. Attacks can be negated by some cards but they don't need to be in the pool at all for example). In general each player comes up with a strategy for their deck and goes with it. At the end of the game you see whose strategy was the best. Of course the fact that players shuffle their decks each time they don't have cards to draw adds a certain random factor.
The game is easy to learn and you can set it up relatively easily (actually it takes more time to put everything in the box).
Monday, May 2, 2011
The sun has retreated from the earth. It has been a little over a week since the last hint of light shone over the horizon, and the chaos has begun. People fear for their existence, while scientists struggle to explain the phenomenon.
Until they came.
The creatures of nightmare — vampires, werewolves, and ghouls — have begun to appear throughout the world, and they show no sign of hesitation in claiming the dark world as their own!
The game itself is face paced and the system is relatively easy to grasp. It takes some time to set the game up and draft the pool though.
Before the game even begins there is a draft to determine the pool of cards from which you can buy cards during the game. Each player actually has its own pool (personal archive) of two cards and then there is one common pool.
The whole game is about a chain mechanic. Each card has a main color and two linking colors. After a player plays a card they can link a different card that has a main color matching one of the linking colors of the first card. After the player starting the chain finishes their own chain each other player in clockwise order has the opportunity to add his own cards to the chain. When each player adds a card or passes the chain is resolved in reverse order (in other words: first in, last out).
In the game there are characters and cards with instant effects that are discarded after they resolve. The characters stay in play until the beginning of your turn when they attack and are discarded after the attack.
The instant cards and characters deal damage in form wounds. Wound is a card in Nightfall. When a player gets a wound they takes a Wound card and put it into their deck. The wound cards can be discarded from your hand to draw two cards each time when you draw your next hand. This means that the player having more wounds can go through the deck faster than the other players which gives them the possibility to create longer chains and have a bigger impact on the game.
The player with the least wounds wins the game.
Personally I find both the Chain mechanic and Wound cards' mechanic a nice change from other games. The game overall though feels a bit unfinished. It lacks something that I can't really describe well. During our games we also had some politics game when deciding who to attack which often resulted in conflicts.
Ascension is a game produced by Gary Games (and also designed by several Magic: The Gathering Pro Players) and is another game of a rather new game type - deck building games. The first deck building game that we could play was Dominion which was published 3 years ago. Since then a wide range of deckbuilding games was created. Ascension is one of them and became quickly popular.
The game takes place in Vigil, a world that has been protected for millennia by the Great Seal, keeping the realm free from divine influences. It was put in place after an ancient war with a corrupt god, Samael the Fallen, when it was decided that none of the gods should be able to interfere. But now, the Seal is failing, and nightmarish Monsters that had been forgotten are breaking through. Your job, as a hero of Vigil, is to take your small, ragtag band of Apprentices and Militia, and gather an army powerful enough to lead you to your destiny as the Godslayer, and in doing so, slay Samael once and for all.
Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer has a very simple rules and can be setup really fast. It is a game for 1-4 players. Each player gets a starting deck containing ten cards. There is a central row which contains a pool of cards from which you either buy cards or defeat monsters. After a card is bought or destroyed a new card fills the vacant slot. To buy a card you need a certain amount of Runes. To defeat a monster you need Power. Your starting deck contains 8 Apprentices (Runes) and 2 Militia (Power). You start the game with five cards which means that you have three different starting hands.On your turn you can buy anything as long as you have runes and what to buy and you can also be defeating monsters as as long as you have Power and monsters to defeat. At the end of each turn you discard the remaining cards you did not use and draw new 5 cards.
In the center row there are three types of cards - Heroes, Constructs and Monsters. Heroes are played and have a one time effect. At the end of turn the cards are put into a discard pile. Constructs unlike heroes stay in play after they are played (until they are discarded by an effect). Monsters can be defeated and they give you a reward in the form of Honor Points and sometimes have also an ability.
Each player also has access to three different cards at all times - Mystic, Heavy Infantry and Cultist. The first two are unaligned Hero type cards that give you 2 Runes (Mystic) or 2 Power (Infantry). Cultist is a monster that can be defeated if you have at least two power (you gain one Honor when you defeat him).
The game ends when a certain pool (depends on the number of players) of Honor points is depleted.
When the game ends each player counts the number of honor points they have (cards in your deck have them, see a number in a star on the bottom left corner of the card, and you also gain them by defeating monsters). The player who gets the most honor points wins the game.
There are four different factions in the game.
The Enlightened that can usually draw cards and kill a monster with a strength X. (They prize knowledge above all else and want to achieve the enlightenment)
The Mechana are engineers that create machines of immense power. Mechana cards allow you to draw cards or kill monsters based on the number of mechanas you control. They also reduce the costs of other constructs and have the best cost to honor points ratio (easily 1:1).
The Void are warriors that worship Death. Void cards give you Power and card draw (allowing you to banish/remove from the game cards from your hand or discard pile).
The Lifebound...um. Well Lifebound cards have a variety of effects that don't seem to do anything together. They usually give you runes and Honor and accelerate the game, thus are a good in combination with strategies using primarily Power to beat monsters.
VerdictAscension the game is a very fast paced game that can be brought anywhere and set up very fast. Explaining the game doesn't take long and it is a game very easy to teach. The game is though very complex and takes time to master. The game is best suited for 2 players from my point of view and has a team variant where players can buy each other a card by paying one more rune for the card (the players of one team do not sit next to each other) which is actually a better way to enjoy the game in 4 players. The game is slightly unbalanced with Power strategies being favored but otherwise allows to explore all kind of decks and strategies. It has a good balance between skill and variance which makes the game more enjoyable to players of all levels while this game can be competitively played 1-on-1.
If you are tempted to try a deckbuilding game I'd recommend this one, because it seems to be the best one out there.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
I played Last Step Castle and since the morning I felt that my final standing wouldn't be good. I felt like crap (I don't want to complain anymore on my blog, but this time I really felt horrible...) and couldn't concentrate. The games were good though and if my brain would be working more I could try my best and see what the deck can do with
something it can't really handle that well. Anyway I made few changes to the deck. I played Meisetsu instead of Nakai and War of Dark Fire so I would start more often with 9 honor in the second turn. After the tournament though I'm not really convinced about the card. The first day I managed to have games in which I haven't seen a magistrate for three turns even after Border Keeps and then I did not see the little guy that often. In most games it was still Bokusui that I played on T1. So well I'm not convinced about this card. But I have to say that the force is good (it actually works) but it lacks the keywords I need.
In fate I played Patrolling the Roads as this is NOT a political action and it can actually gain me some honor. This card actually proved to work quite ok. I also did not really want to play much of steel on steel and restoring order as many people play many don't die cards. But bowing does not really work against a lot of movement played here.
There were other cards in consideration but I end up with something that would require Reinforce the Gates in the deck => thus it would end up being a completely different deck than the one I play now.
Thank to TO for the tournament and thanks to all those who survived playing against me.
I got a good draw and my opponent was too slow. He hadn't Jutsushi nor Kazunori early and for a long time he was without a Shugenja so couldn't play Kami's Whisper nor Whispers of the Forgotten. Still he was capable to slow me down quite a lot. He managed to play Whispers of the Forgotten twice later to let me lose 3 Honor twice and managed to dishonor almost all of my personalities. In the end I still had a lot of ways how to gain honor and managed to win via Honor Victory.
Lion CC Big Weapons
Next I played against Raemon party with big attachments. My draw was good, my opponent was unlucky with his dynasty and the cards he needed he send to the bottom of his Fate deck when I challenged him to a duel. I managed to focus two Hamstrungs but I still knew that this won't be enough if I get hit by Only Actions Speak. When I tried playing Peaceful Discourse I was eventually hit by OAS and that left me at 39 Honor. Then I could just watch the Lion take my provinces down. The deck fares well against my deck even though it probably is not fun to play against it. The game was weird in more aspects but ended as I expected, I lost.
My opponent tried to buy personalities, make big units and destroy provinces early. That worked for me as I could easily kill them with duels.
Honestly I have no idea how to play against this and I have to say that I wasn't in any state for playing any game that requires thinking. I got a good draw and good dynasty. My opponent wasn't lucky with his personalities at all as he got the needed ones late in the game. I got Bokuko in play which gives Revenge tokens but I forgot about that. Everyone got dishonored and some died. I managed to get over 40 twice but it wasn't enough as I lost a lot of honor in my opponent's to Unfortunate Incidents + SHadowed Words. I could have probably won if I would know what to do. My magistrates still have force to be able to break down provinces. Good experience.
My opponent got one holding so the game had a really bad start for him and he needed gold to be able to do something against me. He played some high Chi Kensais but I still could manage that. In the end we decided to go into a battle because he wanted to challenge to a duel my personalities^^. It was funny. First challenged died. Then I killed Satsu with Ultimate Sacrifice and then the rest of my personalities died. My province strength was 18 though and his total force after Slow Death twice in a duel was also 18. It was a funny game, but well nothing interesting happened and I did not learn anything new.
Moto Chen, followed by Tamago, no more to say. Too many movement from my opponent's part and I couldn't control all that. I made two mistakes, but still even without doing them I would lose after I saw my opponent's hand. Another nice game.
My only chance against Chen was Patrolling the Roads but my opponent played Justly Earned Victory on it. I was able to bow two personalities each turn, but Chen with Heavenly Lance of the Unicorn just spoiled that. The first turn when I could use it I should HAVE done that. But still I would end up with a province down anyway..,..Still I will keep the card in the deck, it proved to be working quite well. Wish there would be more dishonor available to dragon magistrate/courtier. Actually if I would manage to dishonor Tamago I would have a chance to do something as he can be hit by political actions unlike Chen. But well redirection works well unfortunately for me. ^_~
Final standing....hm...well right in the middle. I should have played some silly aggro deck. At least the games would be quick. I got a Wyrmbone Katana though^_^. Nice card.
The deck that follows is the one I played in Budapest.
On day one I played the version that follows (my deck was more against military I did not expect all honor/dishonor field). On day two I made few changes (so it would be better against honor decks). I took out Hojatsu, 1x Nakai, 2x Bokuko and put in 2x Kitsuki Suiha, 1x Kitsuki Yodo and War of Dark Fire. I also put in twice Deeds and Words.
In fate I added Peaceful Discourse (took out 1x Claw and Shell) and exchanged Forewarning with Subversive Influence.