Friday, August 23, 2013

Hearthstone - Heroes of Warcraft

Hearthstone is an upcoming CCG game from Blizzard based on the (World of )Warcraft lore. In general the game plays like World of Warcraft TCG. Two heroes are pitted against each other, each having a certain amount of life. With spells and creatures you are trying to beat the opposing hero by zero-ing his or her life total. Each player has a 30 card deck from which he draws spells. Each turn you gain one mana crystal that you can spend each turn. Thus on turn two you have 2 mana crystals, on turn 3 you have 3 mana crystals that you can use etc. The cards have a mana cost. To pay for it you need to have enough mana crystals available. That's about it^_^.

At the beginning you choose a hero out of the nine available (each hero represents a class). Each hero also has an ability that you can use each turn (it has a cost as well). There are cards that are class specific and that adds to the variety of the game. After winning or playing a game your hero gets some experience points. After reaching a certain amount of them the hero levels up and that usually means new cards^_^. Bringing them to an altar opens the booster pack and you can upgrade your deck (or you can simply buy the cards). There are five cards in a booster pack. You can get cards of a common, rare, legendary or epic rarity. There will be the possibility to trade A LOT of crap cards for better cards or foil versions. That sounds good actually...Also you can craft other cards.

So far it sounds as any other card game there is. That's true but I have to say that the graphics and all the small things that you can do there (like clicking on something that makes sound or triggers some kind of animation) is really cool. The sounds, graphics and animations are simply awesome. Thanks to this you can also see what your opponent does... that he's going through his cards in hand, thinks about what to target etc. The art and digital animation + voice acting is a really awesome experience. I did not believe that at first but when I played the game I enjoyed that as well. (and I'm the kind of person who reads text spoilers for new sets in games like Magic: The Gathering and does not really care about images and stuff.)

Sometimes the card names and images are same as card names/images from World of Warcraft. That makes it a bit confusing but as long as one reads what the card does he's fine. The game also has a history which is awesome. You can check that to see what your opponent played and what that card does. You can also chat with your opponent during the game.

Matching is done via obviously. The game should be free to play. You can either buy new cards or unlock them by leveling up your hero.

The game is really fun with each turn the game gets more intense and everything actually seems to be pretty balanced. So we will see how the game evolves. If you are from United States (or some other countries that are not located in Asia or Europe - countries are listed on the page) you can try to get a beta key via Hearthstone Facebook page. You might get lucky unlike us in Europe. We will have to wait for the release I guess. But playing the game at Gamescom was really fun. Now I know that I'll certainly play the game. The game will be released for PC, Mac and iPad. (yes, you read correctly when you don't see Android there....)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Standard Mono Green?

Some time ago someone managed to top 8 SCGO or something with Mono Green build. I wanted to try it and see if this deck actually has some chances. So I took the very same list to local FNM and tried my luck. Before it I played quite some games against Aristocrats and Jund and there were cards that I really missed main deck and even in the sideboard. Decklist follows:

Mono Green
By Richard Nguyen

18 Forest
4 Mutavault

4 Arbor Elf
4 Wolfir Silverheart
4 Predator Ooze
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Elvish Archdruid
3 Strangleroot Geist
2 Craterhoof Behemoth

4 Revenge of the Hunted
3 Ranger's Guile

4 Rancor
2 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
2 Scavenging Ooze
4 Thragtusk
3 Wolfir Avenger
2 Primeval Bounty
2 Naturalize
2 Garruk Relentless

This deck had a lot of explosive draws and turn four kills but still there were many things I just couldn't deal with. Mainly it was Olivia Voldaren and occasional Skirsdag High Priest or Blood Artist. Those where the moments in which I would love to run 4 Garruk Relentless and/or Prey Upon. I was also drawing Mutavaults all the time but that's what happens to me lately quite often. My last two Legacy tournaments ended up seriously bad because I always had one or two wastelands in my opener and no fetchlands. The mutavaults on the other hand are really awesome, but if they show up as your third or second land it's usually pretty bad. I managed to win many games via Garruk + Behemoth so it really seemed quite viable. But for that in order to make it truly work I would need 4 more mana dorks. It would be awesome if that mana producing creature would be an elf. But too bad we don't have another elf in type 2. So the only remaining possibility is Avacyn's Pilgrim. If I would go for more combo version I would need to add the remaining Caller of Beasts, play those 4 pilgrims and probably just ditch Strangleroot Geists (they would be in sideboard, their role is mostly against aggro decks. Undying creatures are usually good blocker...they give me time so I can get Garruk + Behemoth on the table).

Even though all those thoughts were in my head during the 'testing' I did not really want to change the deck. In the first round I played against white/black humans. I already played some games against it before and it was pretty annoying but I still won most games. I won the first game quite easily as I did not encounter much of removal and my guys with trample just went through all the tokens. In game 2 and 3 though I was shown Doom Blades, Oblivion Rings and Tragic Slips and that was just too much for me.

I don't really remember the second round but I won somehow (I played against Gruul Aggro). In round three I played against yet one mono green. But I was the one who managed to get a mana dork in play turn 1. This was too big an advantage. I managed to kill my opponent with Craterhoof Behemoth few turns later. In the second game it was more or the same. I managed to kill the board with Revenge of the Hunted and then I could just swing with my guys for lethal a turn later.

In the last Round I encountered Reanimator deck. I have to say that I did not see this coming. I won the first game by just attacking with my creatures. My opponent was unlucky because he did not get a source of white mana. In game two he got it along with Avacyn's Pilgrim and I was pretty much done for. His first Salvage hit both Angel of Serenity and Unburial Rites and well I don't need to say that this deck can't deal with it. In game three I got two Scavenging Oozes in play but they had nothing to eat from the graveyard. Angel of Serenity came out of nowhere not really going through graveyard and removed my only chance from the game. This wasn't actually true because I could have still won if I would (*facepalm*) have realized that I could play my own Garruk while opponent's Garruk was on the table. With him I would just put Craterhoof Behemoth into play and win the game. But I was still convinced that the Garruks would kill each other (I forgot about the rules change).

So afterall it wasn't that bad with this build I seriously lost only one match out of the 4 rounds.

Today I played Game Day at Najada with once again this Mono Green. I played against Aristocrats in round one and won. In the second round I managed to win against Jund. Then there was BRW midrange. After this I lost my first game against UWR Flash. This deck is so annoying but it was close. Rather what killed me was the very first Warleader's Helix. Otherwise I would have dealt lethal damage and it would be it. Even the second Helix would be fine if it wouldn't be joined by Sphinx's Revelation. I personally thought that my chances against this deck are really bad but after playing these games I changed my mind. Garruks and Primeval Bounty can win the game and even just being fast can win it. Strangleroot Geist and Predator Ooze survive Supreme Verdict but well...there are still those Helixes, Azorius Charm and Sphinx's Revelation...

I managed to get to top 4 but I lost the first game against Aristocrats. I sided badly, I got a bad hand and even I tried to win (at least in the second game, in the first one I just didn't care) I lost due to Skirsdag High Priest on the other side of the table (supported by 2 Cartel Aristocrats, Sorin and about 3 tokens each turn).

It was nice to play with this deck. I don't regret buying those few cards that I did not have (Predator Ooze and Revenge of the Hunted).

Next time (if there will be any other next time) I'll play 4 Garruk Relentless, 2-3 Prey Upons, no Wolfir Avengers, 4 Strangleroot Geists in total and Ratchet Bombs if I can fit them in. Because that is actually my only chance against Mono Red decks. But I'm still not convinced that this deck could actually win something...Mono green does not really have the cards to deal with many threats and that's something I don't like. I'd rather play some Golgari Midrange, Jund Control or UWR. But it was fun and it was definitely worth it.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

4 bolts to the head...

Why there's always someone who plays four 'bolts' in the finals or semifinals at ‪#‎MTGCHAMP‬?