Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Moving blogs!

Good afternoon!

I've actually begun discussing card games at a new blog: The Card Flopper.

I've hit a point where I actually play several non-LCGs, and since the title of this blog was very LCG-related, I actually feel like it made sense to move somewhere a bit more permanent for me.  I will still end up covering a lot of LCGs, but I want to make sure I cover other card games as well.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Phoenixville, PA Kotei Tournament Report [L5R]

So, I attended the Kotei last Saturday, playing my Spider Swarm deck.  I didn't do particular well... but then again, neither did any Spider player :).  There ended up being 51 players, and I believe 7 of them were Spider.  I did have some hopes for some Spider clan success here.

Anyway, let's talk about my deck first.  Like I said, I went with a Spider swarm deck, trying to get gold turn 1, gold plus a guy turn 2, and then 3-4 guys turn 3, ideally attacking on Turn 4, and using great battle actions to win the battle, and hopefully take a province.

My deck:

The Hidden Bastion of the Spider

3 Famous Bazaar
3 Kumite Grounds
3 Lonely Dojo
3 Shinomen Marsh
3 Slave Pits
1 Temple of the Heavenly Crab

2 Daigotsu Hachiko
3 Daigotsu Konishi
3 Daigotsu Onosaka
3 Daigotsu Teruo
2 Goju Saido
3 Hiyamako
3 Kokujin Dairu
2 Minikui no Oni
3 Ninube Shiho

3 Colonial Conscripts
1 Ring of Earth
1 Ring of the Void

2 Blind Honor
3 Contentious Terrain
2 Discretionary Valor
3 Ideological Differences
2 Incapacitated
2 Inspired Leadership
3 Overwhelming Offense
2 Palm Strike
3 Relentless
3 Strength in Subtlety
2 Sudden Movement
2 Versatile Army
3 We Are Not Yet Beaten
1 Wedge
3 Your True Nature

I feel like there's not too much here that's a surprise.  I tried running a lot of Kharmic cards, in order to clear out Holdings from my provinces after I had the gold I needed, and to replace situational cards in my hand (like We Are Not Yet Beaten). The Temple of the Heavenly Crab was a holdover, it didn't really provide me any benefit, but I figured there might be a slim chance I'd want the gold on my opponent's turn.

I ran a few things that were just in preparation for things I thought I might see at the tournament.  Mantis is doing really well, so I added 3 We Are Not Yet Beaten in order to give me some ability to weather the Ranged attacks.  Wedge was in there in case I had a situation that an Oni could take a province on his own.  Discretionary Valor was included in case I over-committed to an attack that my opponent was going to let through, so I could pull the Oni back.  Everything else seems pretty standard for this sort of deck, although I do wish I had run some different options.  For instance, Okura is Released over the Palm Strikes might have won me my last game.  And Discretionary Valor ended up being so useless that I wish I hadn't included it at all (maybe switch in another Blind Honor).

I also would drop one of my Daigotsu Teruo, probably for another Hachiko.  In MULTIPLE games, my first personalities were two of Teruo, and that's definitely not what I want in duplicate early game.

Anyway, onto the games.

Game 1: Jon Ackey (Spider) from Oklahoma
Jon is apparently a Phoenix player, normally, but had forgotten his cards, and was using the Spider starter.  Sitting down, I was feeling pretty good- my deck has to be better than a STARTER deck, right??

Well, yes, but only barely.  I took a province early-ish, and he took one of mine.  Then, in a battle two turns later... he beats my army.  Now, he didn't have much on the table, fortunately, and I didn't lose much, but the tide was definitely turning.

Fortunately for me, he was running the starter deck, with its 20-ish holdings, and eventually he got stuck flipping too many holdings in a row to recover, and I ended up taking the game.

Clearly, Jon was a VASTLY better player than I was, but was just hindered by what he had available.  Regardless, I exit round 1 with a win, and I'm at 1-0.

Game 2: Devin Bell (Phoenix) from New Hampshire
Devin was playing a Phoenix Honor rocket, with Yung Sensei to help smooth the gold curves and get the cards he needed quicker.  Basically, we was shooting to cross 40 Honor before I could take all of his provinces, and using as much send home as he could pack in the deck to stall me enough to do so.

He gets an okay start, and I get way too much gold, and my only early personalities are two Daigotsu Teruo, so don't end up taking a province until turn... 5?  Unfortunately by then, he's almost crossed, and I'm forced to attempt to take his final three provinces in a single turn on turn 7 or so.  I take one without any opposition, and Devin makes me spend my hand to take the second one.  With nothing available to me, I don't have the tools to take the third one, and Devin crosses at the beginning of his turn.  I'm at 1-1.

I know Nathan (a meta-mate) was running The New Order to handle this matchup, but I had hoped I'd be able to get going quick enough to put pressure on him.  Not to be today, sadly.

Game 3: J. Gerachi (Spider) from New Jersey
Unfortunately, I can't read my scribbles, so I don't remember his first name.  He was running a Spider deck, using Taitaken Sensei, weapons, Tairao, and Goju Kumoru to create mini battles to attrition down my army, giving him free reign to attack.

This actually ended up being a tough battle.  Fortunately, Relentless and We Are Not Yet Beaten carried a lot of my load.  He started a battle, attempted the Melee attack, which I negated, would use the Fear to leave me with one fewer attacker, which Relentless would counter, making my Personality and extra +1F.  This would leave him with one fewer defender, and exploiting that two turns in a row left him low on provinces.  He finally flipped into two holdings, and the momentum was irreversibly in my favor, giving me the win, putting me at 2-1.

I actually really liked his deck though, something to this effect is something I may give a try in a few weeks, when I have some of the cards I'd need for it.

Game 4: Austin Richardson (Unicorn) from Tulsa
Our game group just got a Unicorn player, so I didn't have the experience I needed for this matchup.  I believe he was running the Conspiracy sensei, which had me confused and a bit excited.  Heck, I thought, I'll always have people coming out, there's no way he'll win doing that.  Thankfully for him, however, he wasn't much concerned about the number of people I put out.

He'd put out cavalry guys, put a weapon on each, and start taking provinces.  I defended as long as possible, but when I got him into a decisive battle, he edged me out, and that ended up giving him the win.  I badly need more practice against Unicorn!  So, I'm now at 2-2. 

Game 5: Tanya Segee (Dragon) from New Hampshire
I believe Tanya ended up winning Top Dragon on the day, which is awesome.  She was playing what I believe was a Kensai deck.  I saw this because unfortunately, it seemed to have misfired.  She didn't get a very good gold start, and after aggressively pitching to fix that, she ended up getting more gold than she needed, and not enough bodies to get the job done.  The first attack I made, she defended with someone just to kill Ninube Shiho, but I still managed to take the province (a fair trade).  I think the next province she let me take undefended.  From there, she just couldn't get enough going in time, and gave me the game, putting me at 3-2.

Game 6: Jeff Sarkisian(?) (Scorpion) from Boston
My poor handwriting strikes again, as I can't read the last name I wrote down.

Anyway, this ended up being the quickest game of the day.  Jeff was playing Scorpion dishonor (trying to drop me to -20 honor), which is made really easy by all the cards in my deck that make me lose honor myself.  I knew from the first turn that this was going to be tough, but I hoped to get a quick start, and with enough momentum to take all his provinces on whichever turn he put me under -20.

I started off getting gold... but my first personalities were again two Daigotsu Teruo.  This cost me a whole turn of momentum, and panicked, I recruited Minikui no Oni, causing me to lose 7 Honor (I had to use a Slave Pits, to make it even worse).  Doing some of my opponent's job for him just make it even easier, and he bottomed me out next turn.  I didn't even take a province! Down to 3-3 for me.

From here, I couldn't make the cut, which was disappointing, and to lose it to a deck that's really an auto-loss for me anyway was a bitter pill to take, but figuring I could still win top Spider (I was the highest ranked Spider at this point, based on table placement), I looked forward to my last game.

Game 7: Larry Wojcik (Unicorn) from New Jersey
Well, again- the Unicorn practice would've been nice.  I actually did as good a job as possible defending, but he got such a good start, and had plenty of momentum, that I couldn't stop him.  The final battle was close, but I had too many dead cards in my hand to win it, and ended up getting crushed.

So, I finished the day 3-4.  I didn't play a single Mantis player all day, which is no surprise, as they were all at the very top of the standings (the top four in the tournament were all Mantis, a great sign for the current level of parity in L5R at the moment).  Nathan, who I play with, managed to take Top Spider (I believe he was stuck playing one of those top Mantis players in the first round), and I believe I ended up placing 31st (to Nathan's 27th).  Overall, not a great showing by me, but I was pretty darn close to being Top Spider, which is still good.

Anyway, after a brief break, I'll try out some new Spider decks, and try out random decks for the other clans, and get ready for next year's Kotei season.

Friday, April 17, 2015

At Phoenixville Kotei this weekend [L5R]

So I'll be going to the Phoenixville Kotei tomorrow, a large L5R tournament where I hope to lead my dear Spider clan to victory.  More likely, I'll just go and have a good time without too much success.

Last year, I attended my first ever Kotei in Atlantic City, running a Big Dude Spider deck, and vastly outperformed my expectation, going 4-2 during Swiss before being bounced in the play-in round.

This time, I'm running Spider Swarm, which I have a lot less experience playing (my tempo for the deck is a bit off), but is different than the other Spider deck being taken by a member in my playgroup (more Big Dude focused).  I suspect I'll do alright though, 3-3 or 2-4.  We'll see.

Anyway, I'll have a post next week about my results and the deck I took.  Hopefully it'll be filled with lots of wins, but even if not, I'll still post about it :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

First Dragon Ball Z games, and tournament report

I have a lot of nostalgia about the whole Dragon Ball Z franchise, so its no surprise I've been buying some cards for the newly released DBZ CCG from Panini America.  Unfortunately, I've been struggling to find opponents, but thanks to a Heroes and Villains release tournament at Squabbles Trading Cards in Glen Burnie, I was not only able to play the game.... but I was able to learn it!

Anyway, let's talk about the deck I took.

Trunks, Inquisitive
Trunks, Resolved
Trunks, Energy Charged
Trunks, Young Super Saiyan
Saiyan Empowered Mastery
1x Confrontation
1x Saiyan Power Up
1x Time is a Warrior's Tool
1x Trunks' Sword Stance
3x Saiyan Enraged
2x Visiting The Past
Energy Combat:
3x Saiyan Diving Burst
3x Saiyan Energy Toss
3x Saiyan Focus
3x Saiyan Multi-Blast
3x Saiyan Pinpoint Blast
3x Saiyan Supreme Block
Physical Combat:
1x Saiyan Acute Rapid Slam
3x Saiyan Clothesline
3x Saiyan Direct Strike
3x Saiyan Driving Punch
1x Saiyan Elbow Drop
3x Saiyan Face Stomp
3x Saiyan Flying Tackle
3x Saiyan Gut Kick
3x Saiyan Left Kick
1x Saiyan Light Jab
3x Saiyan Surprise
3x Saiyan Wrist Block
3x Trunks' Sword Slash

I'm fairly certain this isn't anything unique.  Basically, Trunks has great Power Stages, and can trigger many of the Saiyan bonuses.  Given the high Power Stage, he's really effective at Physical Combat.  This gives him an advantage against decks focusing on energy attacks, because they won't have the stages to sustain combat, as well as against physical-based decks, because they'll be running at a lower Power Stage.  At least, that was my thinking.

I won't bother explaining the deck.  First, it's not terribly difficult (that's why I played it!).  Second, in some places, its a hodge-podge of cards, because I only had a single copy of some rares I wanted, or didn't really know how to value certain cards.

Anyway, let me at least make mention of the decks I played against (I don't remember my opponents' names, unfortunately).

Practice game 1, against Orange Goku.  He started the game by throwing out a lot of drills, and I quickly went into combat.  After doing so, I had managed to sit Goku on 0 power levels, and then every turn I kept doing so, causing him to concede.  I basically entered combat every chance I could, and after getting Trunks' MP level up, I had pretty good control of the game.  I learned quite a bit as well, as the wording on the cards is not easy to understand when starting out.

Tournament game 1, I played the same player, who took Saiyan Nappa.  I believe I went first this game, and recklessly entered combat, despite having only a single attack in my hand (I wanted to use Trunks' Sword Stance).  What a disaster.  Nappa is really good at throwing down some damage, and I quickly was outgunned.  Not to be deterred, I continued to foolishly enter combat, only to keep getting beat.  I end up losing handily.

Tournament game 2, I play against a Black Nail deck.  It feels like the game is going pretty well for me, but then there's just too many great Physical Blocks that destroy my momentum (including Nail's Heritage).  Once that pressure was removed, I couldn't get that momentum back, and I end up losing, although at least it was pretty close.  I've not given much thought to either of the Namekian MPs as of yet, so it was pretty crazy seeing one of them in action.  Eesh.

Practice game 2 was against one of the guys playing in the Finals (I don't know what his final result was), I think.  He was playing a Namekian Gohan deck, that tried to get to Level 4, and win MPVV immediately after that.  We trade blows, but my Trunks, Resolved lets me set up a great turn of beating, ending with a Saiyan Clothesline, which really takes a chunk out of my opponent's deck.  At the end, he only has three Dragon Balls left in the deck, giving me the win, although it was very close.

Tournament game 3, I play against Black Krillin.  I'm feeling pretty good about this, because I have been able to keep my opponent's Power Levels low, which hurts energy decks.  This guy, man, he must have been packing like 60 blocks.  Every single I attack I throw at him gets blocked, and in response, he gradually wears me down, until I'm finally destroyed.  I say gradually, but it was not an overly long game.  I did get pretty smoked, haha.

So, there you have it.  0-3 in the tournament, good enough for dead last.  With that said, I learned a lot about the game, I learned a lot about the cards, and I actually feel a lot more comfortable trying some new decks, and hopefully building some better ones.  We'll see.  At the moment, I have two decks built- a Red Tenshinhan deck, and a Blue Krillin deck.  Both are unplayed, and both will probably have to wait another week to be played, but I'm definitely excited to try them out.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Various Faith and Fear Previews [Doomtown: Reloaded]

I'm a big fan of Doomtown: Reloaded, partially because I was a big fan of the original CCG, and partially because it's such a great game.  I figured I'd take a look at the few spoilers released so far from the upcoming Pinebox (similar to a Deluxe) Expansion, Faith and Fear.

We know that we are getting a new Outfit card for each faction, so thankfully we do have a spoiler for the new 4th Ring one- Oddities of Nature (spoiled on run4games.com):

I always find myself struggling early game with Ghost Rock in Fourth Ring, and starting the game with one fewer Ghost Rock definitely sucks.  However, the Noon ability on this card makes getting that income back pretty easy... but again, the original Outfit card was ALSO easy to get Ghost Rock from as well as card cycling.

So really, the benefit is going to come down to how legitimate Abominations are post-Faith and Fear. Booting an opposing dude while producing Ghost Rock is a pretty damn good ability as is, since you'll have Abominations floating around Town Square anyway to get the extra influence, and being able to Boot opponents there will limit their actions, shut down some game plans, and will generally be annoying.  If you have enough manpower (Abomanpower?) there, they aren't likely to try to waltz through Town Square anyway, which will leave them vulnerable upon trying to get to your side of the board to contest deeds.

Abominations have pretty good bullet ratings so far- The Ghostly Gun and Tyxarglenax are Stud 2, and even the weakest of the Abominations is a Draw 1 (for 2 cost and no upkeep), so having them around in Town Square will actually be pretty scary.

Summoning can get some more into play for even cheaper... yeah- I can definitely see this working.  Now we just need to see what support for this is in the Pine Box!

From here.  It's already dangerous enough to cheat in a shootout.  Do we need more awful experiences when we cheat??  The 8 of Spades is pretty helpful- many of the cards with that suit/value aren't ones I use a lot, and although this effect isn't as back-breaking as say, Coachwhip, but it is a nice replacement for like a Bottom Dealin'.  You'll have the ability to choose either cards that are necessary for their hands' success, or hopefully cards that seem to be vital for their deck, which would generate you Ghost Rock.  I could see this seeing some play.

This card seems to have limited utility.  First off, it's competing with Coachwhip and Ambush, both fairly popular cards, in the suit/value slot.  Second, there are two uses for this card- first, to try to Boot your opponent's dude to stop abilities, and second, to try to send certain ones home.  In the first case, you're looking at Booting, say, Wendy (stud 2) or maybe a Remy, but who else is used that this really effects?  Getting Wendy booted isn't going to be terribly easy, although modifiers will help.  I don't know.  I feel like I'm unlikely to start a shootout if I have Wendy and am facing a 3-stud somewhere, and if you started it, I've already used Wendy.

In the second case- normally I'd want to send home their best shooter... but I'd need to have a higher bullet rating than them, and at that point, why not just shoot it out?  Alternatively, I could send home a ton of weaker shooters, but then I'd be leaving my posse booted and unable to capitalize on my victory.

To me, it will be useful in only very specific cases, and that will probably mean it won't be included in my decks.

Finally, we have Maria Kingsford:

Great art!  And I should mention that there are great stories for Maria and Swinford Finds Trouble on the Alderac web site.

I think we'll be seeing a very strong Sloane Huckster theme coming once this box is out (I mean, stating the obvious, I know).  We've had a few pieces so far (Jonah, Morales), and combined with them, they have a very solid core of Dudes that want to get bounties, get into fights, and throw around a lot of Hexes.  She's also a great value, at only three Ghost Rock, so could easily be in a starting gang, working to get the board set up for Sloane to dominate and win mid-game.  I can't wait to see what else comes out for them, but a Sloane Huckster deck will definitely be on my list of decks to try out!

FFG Regional Locations and Dates announced!

Really, you could just read the article here.

I went to a Store Championship for Warhammer 40K: Conquest earlier this year, and although I only did okay (6th out of 13), I had a really good time.  I'd love to play in some Regionals this year!

Looking at the list, these seem to be the most likely targets for me:

  • May 2nd:
    • Call of Cthulhu in Monroeville, PA
  • May 16th:
    • Call of Cthulhu in Morgantown, WV
  • May 24th:
    •  Game of Thrones in Rockville, MD
  • June 13th:
    • Imperial Assault in Glen Burnie, MD
  • June 20th:
    • Netrunner in Philadelphia, PA (not likely, as this is the day before my birthday).
  • June 27th:
    • Warhammer 40K: Conquest in Rockville, MD
  • July 18th:
    • Game of Thrones in Morgantown, WV
    • Star Wars in Glen Burnie, MD
Of course, the chances I'll make all of these are basically zero.  I'd like to try to make a few though, and once I can figure out which, I'll be sure to mention it and start planning for it on here.

Old Hollywood Announced [Android: Netrunner]

Article here

This is the fifth pack in the SanSan cycle, which we should see the first pack for soon.  Let's see what it has to offer:

We get a close-up of that Identity in a sec, but that Shaper card is interesting.  Fan Site is a resource that reads: "Whenever the Corp scores an agenda, add Fan Site to your score area as an agenda worth 0 agenda points." 

Obviously this card seems meant to power things like Frame Job and Data Dealer... neither are which are in Shaper, and are both two influence cards.  Fan Site is only one influence though, so that does create some interesting choices.  Perhaps a Valencia deck could use it to really keep the pressure on the Corp, even when they manage to score something?  Data Dealer is a great card... but generally only gets used in rare cases that you get a Shi.Kyu stuck to you, or if you're playing Iain Stirling, or something.  I guess we should expect some other cards in this cycle that allow us to spend/lose agendas, but as it stands, I'm not sure I could find space for it yet.

Now we're talking.  NBN has almost always been a very fast advance sort of faction, and I guess this would still fit that role.  You won't have to auto-lose to the runner getting a major Medium run on R&D (since NBN decks have slightly higher agenda densities with all one and two point agendas).  You could also install multiple 3/2s on the later turns with the knowledge that at least ONE of them will be scored (unless it somehow gets trashed).  If you're running Fast Advance, it's certainly possible you'll get to five quickly... then drawing an Agenda, Fast Track, installing two agendas could quickly win you the game, probably just as the runner is fully set up.  I quite like it.  I also like that I could run a much poorer agenda density in this sort of deck, because having several agendas in my hand isn't necessarily a disaster.  I'll definitely be giving it a try.

Apparently a 'Sensie' is a movie that will provide a more full sensory experience?  I don't know.  The Agenda itself seems alright.  3/1 isn't so bad, but I imagine this is one you'd try to trick your opponent into stealing, perhaps to attempt to get a 5/3 pushed through.  I feel like that may be tough to bluff though- NBN ICE isn't notoriously good at stopping things.  Perhaps as an early game trick though, I could throw a 5/3 behind a Tollbooth (or Wraparound, if I'm lucky), try to get this stolen, and end up doing pretty well.  Combined with the above, they could give me this bonus basically for no additional pain to me, if there are other agendas they steal beforehand.  Or, install two 3/1s, and they access this, and you score the other one for practically nothing.  Overall, not bad.

I like this one a bit more.  Money is good.  4/2 is fine.  And again, if you manage to get them to steal another agenda first, you're getting 5 credits practically for free!  I can't hate credits in NBN.  Something I'll definitely consider given a shot to in some builds, but probably not a strict fast advance build (NAPD Contracts is better for that role).

Finally, we have:

Meh.  If I'm hoping to trash a lot of R&D, I'm likely playing Noise.  If I manage to get all three copies of Spoilers in play, I'm trashing 3 cards for every agenda they score.  They probably need 3-4 agendas to win, so 2-3 chances to trash things.... feels like a 'meh' to me.  This seems pretty good against NBN Fast Advance, in particular, where they likely can't defend Archives effectively... but such a deck will have Jackson Howard since its in-faction.  I don't know.  I'm sure I'll see this played against me plenty (some of my opponents get very excited about trashing R&D cards- it's part of the reason something like half my games as Corp have been against Noise), but I don't know that I'll bother.

Great spoilers overall though- some new NBN tech to look forward to, and some hints of new deck archetypes coming up.  Pretty excited to see it come to be!