TaKtiX: Warlord CCG guest column

Guest and occasional columnists for the Warlord CCG

Saturday, June 24, 2006

ELITE Top Decks

Here the Top Decks from ELITE:

The winning Deck from Roberto "Kaipan/Sommo" Gaiba:

1 simon abraxas
1 tyren ruskin
1 argus gawk
2 brine fiend
1 kayle rowan

2 kayle rowan
2 predatory slime
2 brack fiend
3 otho yscar
2 bryanne
2 ivaas
1 piffany
1 devourer
1 antaelus
1 nightscale
1 ssithiss
3 nestor price

2 seize life
3 premonition
3 meet at the inn
2 scourge of dythanus
2 distrust
1 decay

3 limited wish
3 volda's mantle
2 aspare
2 deima's shield
1 nodwick
1 tears of the storm
2 figurine of protection

Second Place from Sebastian "Slyfox" Bugla(1st after swiss and Top Merc):

1 tavis
1 tyren ruskin
1 amoudasi's wrath
2 brine fiends
1 kayle rowan

2 kayle rowan
2 amoudas's wrath
3 spirit wing
3 dragonkin
2 spot
3 kabyrr the insane
2 halo of fire
1 avatar of magic
2 argus gawk
1 devourer

3 fiery bolts
3 final power
3 txin's attention
2 elemental madness
3 purity of light
2 premonition
2 ball lightining
2 exhaustion

2 kerebrus standard
2 divine will
1 kallistone
2 recruiter's orders

Top Freek by Luca "Lord Winter" Corradini (5th overall):

1 captain dukat
2 glenn the blaze
3 llyr militia

1 glenn the blaze
3 peython latham
3 brother dominy
2 xanthis
3 spencer latham
3 percy dorn
2 spirit wing
2 kabyrr the insane

3 tzin's attention
3 blast
3 final power
3 fiery bolts
3 exhaustion

3 collapsing bow
3 farglass
2 roc fletchling
1 darkwood arrows
1 hawthorne arrows

Top Nothrog by Andrea Falco (3rd place overall):

1 artek
2 uthanak's tower
3 urg
3 gerrog

1 uthanak's tower

3 contest thy title
3 no prisoners
3 bear soul
3 outmatched
3 circle kick
3 paying the price
3 great cleave
3 cry havoc

3 monkey paws
3 whetstone
1 double bladed sword
2 death's bargain
2 uther's shroud
2 amulet of waking
3 greaves

Top Dwarf deck by Arne Reuter(11th place overall)

1 durin kortouched
2 demented
3 defiance

3 vex duntan
1 door to the world
1 wreck
3 supply
1 pride
1 avinoam
1 envy
1 drea nexus
1 slate gargoyle
1 malachite gargoyle
1 mirin faithbearer
1 devourer
2 blacksand gargoyle
1 nightscale
1 ssithiss
1 antaelus
1 carcass wyrm

3 meet at the inn
3 seize life
2 infinities' end
2 fulfill destiny
2 prolong the fight

1 spirit bonds
3 alholland bramble
2 volda's mantle
3 royal chariot
1 deima's shield
3 figurine of protection
1 kor's banner
2 Wyvern's scale

Top Deverenian deck by Andreas Leide (24th place overall)

1 inquisitor chyre
2 justinian
3 oubliette hound

1 justinian
3 ghed nuri
3 cardinal bromin
3 corinne drac
2 halo of secrets
3 xaros the mist
2 brother dominy
3 father ansance

3 another time
3 circle kick
3 slow fall
2 flawless motion
3 shattering blow
2 veiled passing

3 camel
3 riding horse
3 monkey paws
2 inner spirit bracers

Top Elf deck, by Stefano "Nano" Rinaldi (9th place overall)

1 cathel rowan
2 eirlas
3 javvyn

2 dex glyn
2 kayle rowan
2 kapix
2 freia
3 ciane
2 amoudasi's wrath
3 tresven
3 conscripts

3 sneak
3 higher awareness
3 strain the shot
2 infinities' end
2 meet at the inn

3 collapsing bow
1 amulet of waking
1 camel
3 farglass
1 roc fletchling
1 fortune's helm
1 hawthorne's arrows
1 shade lion

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Decklists for free!!!

In my first article I wanted first to talk about the importance of the starting army, the way you choose them and how your deck influences them. But, as my future job is to collect the decklists of top players at the tournaments, I want to speak a bit about the proper use of decklists.

Yesterday i tried to get some decklists from older tournaments, but the players refused to spoil them, as they feared the players would simply copy their decks for future tournaments.

That's why i want to talk about what the decklists i will post here are for and what they should be used for. The bold parts are what you should do in general, and under them is each time a more specific example.

  1. First thing you do, when you're looking at a decklist, is trying to see how this deck works.
    This means that you need to divide the deck into a category. Is it blitz? Is it build? High level rush? Low level rush? Is it a mixture(most decks are, actually)? And if it is a mixture, what does the deck builder wants to do exactly?

Example: Klick Me!

This deck is a Warlord blitz deck, which supports also high level rush. It can't be high level rush only, because the Oubliette Hounds are way to easy to kill and there is nothing to protect them, there are also only around 9 fighters in the deck, though the chance of drawing no fighter in the first round isn't terrible low either. Basicly he will start as his first action to equip a steed and charge to the front and other fighter characters will follow.

  1. Now take a deeper look at it, what does make this deck special? Are there some secret combos? Cards that you may not have thought about before? What should the cards actually do in this deck?

Example: Klick Me!

Even though Raziel may have not that much of tech, there is. Mainly Bis with Recruiter's Order for card draw, or Bis Tresven for another 2 shoots, then there is Treyik for Raziel's Order and Foul Blight, which helps you to finish off those big guys. Imprisoned and Distrust are newly added anti Tavis tech, though both work against most other opponent's as well. If you ask, why Distrust and Imprisoned against Tavis? Distrust is really easy to explain: Tavis changes alignment like nobody else, there will be mostly allways characters in his army which are opposite alignment. Imprisoned is meta against one of Tavis win strategies: Spirit Wing.
Raziel really doesn't like those multi strikers, especially if they are ready in the front rank. Most time you can't kill them because they will sit next to a Figurine of Protection and have a Tyren in the same rank- while Tavis is evil- but Imprisoned gives you the opportunitie to have them attack at least one turn later, which may bring you in a better board position.

  1. What are the strengths and the weaknesses of the deck?

Example: Klick Me!

This is my Atu deck, i reached the cut at KoHit with it(O.k., there are some minor changes in it, namely Poultice Sack and Nodwick), and you can easily see the stengths and weaknesses it has. Strengths: It produces many strikes a turn and produces many wounds. Thus it is good against Elfs, Devs and Dwarfs, though multi wounder like Krun and Artek can give this deck a very hard time, as they make it nearly impossible to survive with Atu.

  1. Now you should have a good overview about the deck, if you like the deck and want to play that kind of deck too, start testing now!
    Take this deck and play, test it against good match ups and bad match ups to really gain experience with the deck. While testing you may want ( no, you must) change the cards in the deck to fit your playstyle and maybe you found even better cards for the deck( For example the starting is changing a good number of times in my testing, though you have to read my next article to see why ;-) ). It is just needed that you don't just take the deck and take it to the next tournament, really think about what you're playing!

If you follow those advices, nobody can really blame you for "net-decking". You got inspired by looking at a tournament winning deck and created a new one, it may be still close to the „original“ (though an original doesn't exist, expect my Atu of course ;-) ), but you invested work into it and changed cards, that's what counts.
That's at least how it should be if you decide to play a deck posted here.

I hope the players ( starting at El:ITE) want to give me their decklist, so new players can learn from their experience ;-) .

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Couple o' Doubles Decks

Doubles is probably my favorite format right now. It's fast, and it's fun, and it's brutal. And playing the game as part of a smoothly functioning, well-synced team is much more satifsying to me than going solo. I spent most of my prep-time for Kubla Con working on doubles decks with Jason Partee (The Maker), with whom I have fought many a doubles battle.

We went with Tavis Jape and Trevaine Cartwright this time around, with Jason playing Tavis and me playing Trevaine. Our decks were well tuned, and pretty much balls to the wall cheese. What follows is the decklists, match history, and notes on some of the card choices.

First, here's my Trevaine Deck:

Trevaine Cartwright
2 Glenn the Blaze
3 Jiyacin Fret

Characters (19):
1 Glenn the Blaze
3 Amoudasi's Wrath
3 Kun Iacob
3 Brother Dominy
3 Jal Forsyth
3 Tseleuse Worm
3 Aida

Actions (14)
3 Tzin's Attention
3 Misear Diplomacy
2 Sneak
3 Exhaustion
2 Too Fast to See

Items (12)
2 Amulet of Waking
3 Black Steel Dagger
1 Shadow of Jealousy
1 Gloves of Mischief
2 Armor of Blending
3 Cloud Racer

There are 12 cards in the deck that deal with Astral/Ethereal characters (Tzin's Attention, Kun Iacob, Misear Diplomacy, and Amoudasi's Wrath). This is because I'm a Rogue player, Rogues hate Astral/Ethereal characters, and it gives me great satisfaction to kill them dead, dead dead.

The Glenn the Blazes were a last minute swap for Dreiga, to up the number of strikes in my start and allow me to run Tzin's Attention; the Attentions were originally two Infinity's Ends and a Shadow of Jealousy. This proved to be a critical swap. Dreiga is too slow and too fragile for doubles, and the extra strikes from the Glenn the Blazes helped immensely (he kills Brine Fiends quite effectively). Tzin's Attention is simply one of the best cards in the game right now; the effect it has on Astral/Ethereal characters is only the beginning of the niceness of the card -- wounding and spending stuff is much better than sitting around with an Infinity's End in your hand, waiting for your opponent to do something stupid.

There are 8 movement cards in the main deck to back up the Frets (counting Amulet of Waking as movement), plus 3 Black Steel Daggers to boost Trevaine's attack, and 8 defensive cards to protect Trevaine just in case the going gets rough. A fair chunk of playtesting time was spent getting that balance right -- you want to have a little bit of everything in a Rogue deck, but with so many good options, it can be difficult to decide just how much of any specific thing to have.

If I were to go single player with the deck, I'd probably run one Dreiga in the start, to make up for the lack of Kallistone on my partner's side of the table. I'd also consider Zaina's Treachery, as Trevaine will get swung at a lot more in a one on one match.

Here's what The Maker sent me when I asked him for his Tavis decklist:

Decklist hmmmm
Lets see, there was:
Janky Cheese
Cheesy Jank

After he had settled down a bit, I got this out of him:

1 Tavis
2 Amoudasi's Wrath
3 Amoudasi's Fire

Characters (19)
1 Amoudasi's Wrath
3 Spirit Wing
3 Brine Fiend
2 Stirges
2 Spot
3 Ss'saurth
1 Antaleus
2 Kabyrr the Insane
2 Venomhiss

Actions (21)
3 Scourge Of Dythanus
1 Saving Grace
2 Tzin's Attention
3 Final Power
2 Veiled Passing
3 Blast
2 Curse of Heartless Lies
3 Exhaustion
3 Elemental Madness

Items (4)
2 Kallistone
2 Recruiters Orders

The changes this deck went through during playtesting mainly involved stripping healing and other reactive cards out and throwing in more spells that generated strikes. We wound up with four healing spells, 7 "screw you" cards (2 Kallistone, 3 Elemental Madness and 2 Veiled Passing), and pretty much all of the rest of the deck was strikes, again under the theory that it's generally much better to kill stuff than to wait around and react to stuff once it tries to kill you.

We didn't run Blind the Gods, as we hadn't really absorbed Eye of the Storm enough to appreciate the card pre Kubla-Con. I'm still a little bit skeptical that the card is as awesome as people think it is, and I wouldn't automatically throw it into this combo -- Trevaine likes having cards in hand -- but BtG is definitely something to think about if you're going to run this deck in singles,

The Tavis/Trevaine Combo works for three reasons:
1) They're both overpowered Warlords
2) Tavis' -3 to things has fine synergy with Trevaine's "I smack you in the face if you miss" ability.
3) We found in playtesting that it is generally the wrong move to go after Tavis first in a Tavis/X combo. His advantage is about early game hit percentages rather than raw action superiority or efficient build, which means that he generally doesn't have the mojo to cut through two Warlords if his partner gets knocked out. What he does have is a tough Merc starting army that will almost guarantee that he absorbs opposing strikes thrown against him and survives into the second turn. Trevaine's Jiyacin Frets encourage people to make that wrong choice and make a futile move for Tavis' head first, which means that they wind up fighting a hard game against a fully built and supported Trevaine from one side, whilst suffering a -3 penalty to their rolls and taking little potshots to the head from weenie mercenaries on the other.

Here's how our matches went:

1) vs. Durin Kortouched and Yscar the Elder

Durin was a build deck with a lot of nasty powerattacking dwarves. Yscar was running as a straightforward frontline Rogue.

Durin started 2x Demented in the second rank, which made things a bit tricky. With no Amulets of Waking in hand, I didn't want to risk Trevaine getting stunned, and we had to play around the Dementeds. Luckily, Yscar the Elder just doesn't have the juice to stand toe-to-toe with Trevaine. We softened Durin around the edges, took care of the Lycanthrope when he hit the front rank, and then it was two against one, and Durin couldn't hold out against us. (It didn't help that the Durin player had accidently left a critical weapon in his deck box, though we pretty much had the game by the time he got around to searching for it, and discovered that it wasn't there; I don't think that the outcome would have necessarily been different had he been able to equip it.)

2) vs. Cathel Rowan and Krun.

This was a team from Reno running Cathel ranged strikes + a rather cool Krun deck that equipped a bunch of the high level Hero's Gambit fighter stuff, with Contest Thy Title for extra juice. Unfortunately, the Reno players had made weak choices for their starting army, and we were able to disintegrate their start after locking Krun down with Tzin's Attention. Frontline fighters don't like being forced to make saves or spend.

3) vs. Lord Gahid and the Doom Kitty

This was a straightforward front line Gahid coupled with Kestrel for nasty tricks and bonuses. The Gahid player made a critical play error when he neglected to play Ghed Nuri in response to my first turn Tzin's Attention. I still feel pretty confident when I face front line fighters -- Devs are tough, but Rogues like Trevaine are made to kill front liners -- but the match would've been much closer had it not been for that mistake.

As it was, Gahid took out most, but not all, of my starting army with a Bear's Soul + Circle kick, and then died, and Kestrel couldn't hold out after he had lost his right hand man.

4) Bronwen and the Lady of Mercy

Tricky choice -- both are third rank Warlords, so you don't have the usual "right" choice of softening the support Warlord first, going after the front ranker when you have the opportunity, and then finishing off the support. We opted to go for the Lady, as FreeKs have a more fragile start than Elves, and that choice seems to have been the right one. Somas and Javvyns softened Tavis' ranks enough so that he was stunned in the front by the first turn, but the Lady was stunned by that time, too, and we still had some extra actions and strikes to take her out. Again, Tavis doesn't really care about being stunned up, so long as he made the right choice about being good or evil before he got stunned. Bronwen died the next turn.

And that was doubles. There were enough teams for four rounds, but not really enough to justify cutting to an elimination round. As the only undefeated team, we took first -- the Lady and Bronwen took second. We didn't go for originality. We just went for raw power, and tested the hell out of out decks and tightened them up as much as possible, and it worked. Which was nice, because my 2-4 record in singles the previous day stung just a bit, all my writing about keeping one's ego out of the game aside ...

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Flip Side

So the corollary to my last post is this: you are also human.

And this means that you'll make mistakes, and second guess yourself, and play too cautiously.

What's the solution?

Relax, mainly.

This isn't necessarily easy, but the ability to chill out and just play your game can be invaluable when it comes down to tourney time. How?

Knowing that your opponent is probably having the same issues helps; the monster's never as scary when you know that it's also afraid of you.

Jeremiah already touched on a couple of other things that can help you chill: healthy food, hydration, and prepartion. Feed your body and your brain, and make sure that you are armed with a tuned, familiar deck and have some solid ideas about what to expect in the metagame. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, but you'll be much better prepared to improvise if you start from a solid foundation.

The really difficult part is setting aside your ego. Because the stakes are too high, if your ego is involved in the outcome of the game.

I'm tempted to say "set aside your ego because it is, after all, just a game," but ego sidelining is a good idea regardless of the "seriousness" of the pursuit in question. Don't build your idea of self worth upon your victories and triumphs; that's far too fragile a foundation for something so important. There is always going to be somebody better, faster, smarter, or just plain luckier than you. And you're going to have to deal. And relax. And play your game.

It'll be interesting, to see how well I follow my own advice, at KublaCon this weekend ...

~ PeteVG
A Rogue Elf

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Human Element

Much good stuff that has been written, on this site, on the Temple, and in other places, about the tactical, strategic and mathematical considerations that one must take into account when playing Warlord.

But there is another dimension to the game, and it's one that's a bit trickier to talk about in concrete terms: your opponent is a human being.

Okay, stating the obvious, right? But the fact that you are playing against a human changes the way that you should think about strategy and tactics in important ways.

Know, for example, that your opponent is afraid of you. Seriously. You're an unknown. You're sitting across the table from them in a competitive environment, which quite likely means that you have a deck that has a fair chance at beating them. This means that they will play cautiously. They'll second guess themselves. And you can help this process along by playing confidently and withholding information about the cards in your hand as long as possible. If you didn't draw movement in your opening hand in your Krun deck, don't sigh and say "oh no, now I'm screwed." Play as much of the turn as you can without revealing the fact that you can't move. Keep Krun ready. Attack aggresively with your other characters. When you're close to running out of juice, try to bluff your opponent into passing and ending the turn prematurely -- that movement you need may be waiting for you in the next hand.

Watch for your opponent to make mistakes. They're human, remember, and aren't going to play perfectly. Keep an eye out for baited traps, but try to capitalize on mistakes when you see them -- the game is partially about building a better deck, and partially about playing a better game. Allow room for opponent-side errors in your strategic and tactical decisions. This can be as simple as playing your minor threats first, hoping your opponent will waste an Exhaustion or Outmatched on them before your throw down your big guns, and as subtle as knowing when to remind your opponent about their options. When playing against a stressed out Devernian with Halo of Secrets in play, I take special care to pause and ask if they have any reacts whenever I play an action that targets one of their characters; I want to give them as many chances to use the Halo on the wrong action as possible.

Don't step over ethical lines, of course. I had a friend in elementary school chess club who used to hum off key during every match that he played, just to throw his opponents off. Don't be like him. You don't want to be annoying. And you need to remember that Warlord is just a game. Being courteous and sportsmanlike goes a long way towards forging out-of-game friendships, which can be much more rewarding than victory.

But there's nothing wrong with playing confidently, bluffing well, and always having a trick or two up your sleeve.