Monday, December 30, 2013
I had wanted to build a hyper aggro deck for a while, so this setup seemed to be the perfect opportunity to make it work. As this is the first competitive deck I've really tried to put together, I thought I'd describe the design process in some detail. I'm not much of a deckbuilder, but it might be a nice jumping off point for further discussions, and it might be fun to see the evolution of a novice deck designer.
The basic premise is simple: Overwhelm your opponent early in the game, forcing damage through with quick, efficient creatures, sprinkling burn spells as necessary. In line with that strategy, the deck needs to focus on mana-efficient damage. We want each mana that we spend to deal damage almost immediately, and we need to avoid drawing lands as much as possible - we want to be able to dump our hand in the first few turns and draw only spells beyond that. If we even reach the midgame, a win may already be beyond reach.
To blast through the first couple turns, we need all of our spells to be cheap - two converted mana cost or less - otherwise we run the risk of being unable to do much of anything early on. Combine that with the need for fast bursts of damage, and we have a narrow gameplan.
Since we want to burst out of the gate, we definitely need several one-costing creatures. Rakdos Cackler seems like a good choice, as it gives us two power for one mana; Firedrinker Satyr fits the bill, too. We're planning to drop a bunch of creatures in the first few turns, so Foundry Street Denizen may even deal more damage than a Cackler on turns two and three, depending on the plays we have available. Legion Loyalist is great because it can smash through on turn one, plus its Batallion effect makes for more efficient attackers later on (with the added bonus of nullifying creature tokens from Pack Rat, Master of Waves, and Elspeth, if the game goes that far).
We want to follow that up with powerful two-drops. Ash Zealot is a fantastic choice for two hasty damage. Burning-Tree Emissary can make the Denizens huge for only two mana, as you can chain them on turn two (and then have even more power on turn three). Another two-power-for-two creature, Goblin Shortcutter, can force some extra damage through an opponent's blocker, so it seems like a nice addition. A two-drop that can bring more than two power to the field is pretty important, and Gore-House Chainwalker seems like a nice fit.
With a little army of efficient one- and two-costing creatures, we need some more ways to boost their damage. Titan's Strength is a great choice, as it not only pumps but the extra Scry can help avoid unwanted land draws. As a red, offensive-only Giant Growth, Rubblebelt Maaka's Bloodrush ability is an excellent combat trick. Madcap Skills is a bit of a risk, as most Auras are, but it not only gives three extra power, but it can take a blocker out of the fight, too, so it has a pretty big payoff. And, of course, Lightning Strike is just a solid burn spell, and it can eliminate most early-game blockers in the format.
Putting all those spells together makes for a pretty solid main deck, and none of those cards are too expensive, so it's a lot cheaper to throw together than a deck with Sphinx's Revelations or Nightveil Specters.
3 Ash Zealot
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Firedrinker Satyr
4 Foundry Street Denizen
3 Goblin Shortcutter
2 Gore-House Chainwalker
4 Legion Loyalist
4 Rakdos Cackler
2 Rubblebelt Maaka
4 Lightning Strike
4 Titan's Strength
4 Madcap Skills
Sideboarding is another benefit of my first real excursion into standard. I had never really thought much about designing a sideboard for any constructed decks I've put together (mostly because I primarily play casual, and it's impossible to have sideboard options for every random matchup I could have), so this gave me a nice chance to think about how to prepare for specific matchups.
This deck's single biggest worry, I think, is lifegain; if our opponent is able to gain life, even if just enough to stay alive for one more turn, we may be dead in the water. Skullcrack is therefore an important part of the sideboard, as it can inhibit Revelation's ability to buy more time (while also giving a way to sneak past Master of Waves' protection in some circumstances).
The next biggest problem is blockers. Seismic Stomp seems useful, too, particularly when dealing with weenie decks, as it gets blockers out of the way of our relentless assault. Some additional burn spells give us a little less longevity, but they can clear out some of the peskier early-game creatures. Shock and Electrickery are thus useful additions, too. To round out the anti-blocker suite, Act of Treason can both open the path for our side of the board to wreak havoc and increase our damage output by stealing a powerful creature - a nice option against a deck with some really problematic creatures.
2 Act of Treason
2 Seismic Stomp
Trial by Fire
Last Friday, I took this deck to an FNM, where a total of 28 people registered. While it wasn't the biggest event, I know that some of the participants are pretty competitive, so I figure it was probably a decent example of your average FNM environment (which, of course, is almost purely speculation).
My overall record for the five rounds was 3-2. Here's how it performed:
In round 1, I played a blue-green flash deck, which fell to our deck 2-1. Even with Prophet of Kruphix, the only real threat in my opponent's deck was Polukranos, World Eater because a 5/5 blocker by turn four plus its Sylvan Caryatid backup stop our aggressive creatures without much trouble. Act of Treason can turn the hydra against its master, nullifying that threat, and nothing else posed much of a problem, so I think our deck was pretty well suited against this one.
Round 2 brought a red devotion deck that slaughtered ours 0-2. Boros Reckoner really ruins our day, especially when a couple hit the field on turn three thanks to Burning-Tree Emissaries and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Again I think Act of Treason is our best option, but I ended up mana flooded in game two, bringing the match to a close. He also splashed white to play Chained to the Rocks, which effectively slowed our early game to allow the Reckoner blowout. It's probably worth thinking about the mono-red matchup in some more detail and adjusting the sideboard accordingly.
I thoroughly trounced a black green deck 2-0 in round 3. Both games were incredibly quick, and I only saw a total of three nonland cards in his list. Abrupt Decay kills all our creatures, but losing a dude doesn't slow our gameplan too much, and his defensive creatures were too slow to stop once we get going. His deck may have been terrible, but whether it was or not, it didn't give enough resistance to influence deck design.
In round 4, I faced the mono-blue devotion deck and ultimately won 2-1. Lightning Strike clears Nightveil Specter and Skullcrack can handle Master of Waves, so I think we're in a good position against mono-blue post-board. We lost game two because we couldn't answer Master without losing our entire board presence, allowing our opponent to whittle us down. I probably misplayed somewhere along the line, but I still think that matchup is pretty solid.
It all came tumbling down in round 5, though, with a quick 0-2 loss. Fleecemane Lion turn two, Unflinching Courage on the Lion turn three, and Boros Charm to give him double strike on turn four is pretty much the worst possible scenario for our deck - gaining 10 life puts our opponent pretty solidly out of our range. The biggest problem here, I think, is that I just wasn't prepared to deal with this kind of deck.
The overall future of this deck is good, though. A 3-2 record isn't bad (particularly for my first ever standard event), and I think the main deck is pretty solid. The sideboard needs some work, as Electrickery doesn't seem to be too useful (it's probably best for the mirror-match or for wiping Master tokens, so a couple copies are likely worth having), and I never even considered using Seismic Stomp except against the Reckoners, where I think Act would've been a better choice.
Basically, while the sideboard definitely needs to be tweaked, I think this performance serves as a proof-of-concept for this particular deck. It's nice to see a deck that costs less than $20 compete with some of the dominant archetypes in the current metagame, and I'm excited to see how this particular deck evolves in the future.
For now, I have some deck tweaking to do.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
On the table right now is a black devotion template. Using only cards from Theros, I'm hoping this list can serve as the template for a block-constructed deck once the full block has been released.
As usual, I'm building this deck only from cards I actually own. I'd like, for example, to run several copies of Hero's Downfall in place of Lash of the Whip for much cheaper, much more effective removal, but I only have one of the former. I'd also like to run a couple copies of Insatiable Harpy to help deal with evasion and Whip of Erebos to recur my enters-the-battlefield devotion effects. I'd also love to have a couple copies of Rescue from the Underworld for further ETB shenanigans; alas, I have none.
Here's the current list. It's a little heavy on the upper end of the mana curve, but hopefully I can fill some of the gaps mentioned above and the next couple sets will provide a bit more for surviving the early game.
2 Abhorrent Overlord
3 Baleful Eidolon
4 Disciple of Phenax
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 Insatiable Harpy
2 Keepsake Gorgon
4 Mogis's Marauder
1 Hero's Downfall
3 Lash of the Whip
4 Pharika's Cure
4 Read the Bones
3 Sip of Hemlock
1 Whip of Erebos
At this point, the basic strategy is pretty straightforward: Build up my devotion by dropping permanents until I can hit Gray Merchant or Mogis's Marauder to deal tons of damage. The Overlord is an alternate win condition, plus a sac outlet so I can recur the ETB effects if I can't win with some burst damage a bit earlier in the game. Read the Bones helps control my draws and look for what I need, with Pharika's Cure offsetting the life cost.
To form a more effective baseline for future modifications, the changes I'm hoping to make within Theros are:
- Add more Hero's Downfall, removing Lash of the Whip
- Add another Whip of Erebos, probably removing a copy of Read the Bones
- Add another early-game creature or two, removing either Pharika's Cure or Nighthowler
Monday, October 7, 2013
I was able to attend my local Friday Night Magic last week after missing both the Theros prerelease and release events, so it was my first opportunity to play with Magic's new Greek-themed set. And I have to say - Theros made one hell of a first impression.
Sure, a lot of my excitement comes from the fact that I ended up winning the FNM draft (my first such win), but the set brings pretty sweet mechanics and feels incredibly well-balanced. Although the Theros metagame certainly hasn't stablized, no single deck archetype appeared dominant. Aggressive decks were a bit stronger than slower controlling decks, but I think that's just because the set is new and people don't quite know what they're doing. In the coming weeks, I expect several dramatically different styles to emerge victorious as players get more comfortable with the set's powerful keywords.
In addition to being a surprisingly flavorful set (see Underworld Cerberus and Rescue from the Underworld) with some fabulous art, Theros is incredibly fun to play. Each color has powerful common or uncommon removal capabilities (directly, like black's Sip of Hemlock, by fighting, like the green Time to Feed, or through combat tricks, like the uncharacteristically blue Triton Tactics), and there are a few big nasty creatures in each color, too. As a result, it seems possible to build strong control decks and strong aggro decks in virtually any color combination; I think the metagame for Theros will be pretty exciting.
The real high points, however, are the awesome set mechanics. Each is strong, and they all affect gameplay in significantly different ways, giving the Theros a very robust feel.
Scry is a returning mechanic that allows the player to look at the top N cards of his or her library. After considering the options, the player is then able to put any number of those cards back on top of his or her library and the rest on the bottom. Scry is a powerful tool for controlling the flow of the game, as it allows you to filter lands when you're looking for answers or a game-winning blow, or you can use it to guarantee land draws if you need to hit your next land drop. It serves as pseudo card advantage, and it's a great weapon in any sort of deck.
My favorite of Theros' mechanics is probably Bestow, which gives a number of creatures an interesting alternate ability. Similar to Gatecrash's Bloodrush, Bestow lets you cast a creature as an Aura enchanting another creature. It then grants that creature's abilities to the enchanted one, buffing the existing creature. The biggest threat, however, is the fact that a creature cast using its Bestow cost will revert to a normal creature if its target disappears - destroying the enchanted creature leaves the Bestowed creature on the battlefield.
Following with the Greek theme of heroes, monsters, and gods, Monstrosity lets your big baddies get even bigger. Paying the Monstrosity cost on a creature (which can be done at instant speed) will add some number of +1/+1 counters to that creature, providing some fearsome combat tricks or just a way to dump unused mana in the late game. When many of these creatures become Monstrous, they also trigger further effects, like destroying a creature or preventing creatures from blocking for a turn. Monstrosity turns some of your beefiest creatures into long-term investment plans, paying dividends well into the game.
To combat the set's monsters, the Heroic mechanic allows smaller creatures to engage in David and Goliath style combat. Heroic triggers any time you cast a spell that targets one of these fearless creatures you control, and the ability provides some additional benefit, like +1/+1 counters or drawing a card. These effects occur after any type of spell you cast, including a Bestowed creature, allowing you to draw ridiculous value from auras and battle tricks.
Finally, the gods of Theros are empowered by your Devotion to their color. As a measure of your fidelity to a color, your Devotion is simply the number of times a mana symbol of that color appears in permanents you control. Devotion has a number of powerful uses, from turning your otherwise passive but omnipresent gods (like Nylea) into imposing creatures to gaining life (like Nylea's Disciple) or draining your opponent's life (as the Gray Merchant does).
Those five elements give Theros incredible depth and make it a fantastic set to play.
The Draft Deck
To give an idea of how Theros plays out, here's the deck that I ended up using at FNM:
1 Akroan Crusader
1 Blood-Toll Harpy
1 Cavern Lampad
1 Ember Swallower
1 Flamespeaker Adept
1 Fleshmad Steed
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1 Minotaur Skullcleaver
2 Returned Centaur
1 Tymaret, the Murder King
1 Hero's Downfall
2 Pharika's Cure
2 Spark Jolt
1 Titan's Strength
2 Portent of Betrayal
1 Rage of Purphoros
1 Read the Bones
1 Ordeal of Purphoros
It was a moderately aggressive deck, with many cheap creatures doing most of the work, but the bigger things like Ember Swallower give something to look forward to in the late game. I used a little bit of everything in this deck, mostly allowing the various Scry spells to help me find the particular pieces I needed at any point in a game. Read the Bones is unbelievably powerful, particularly while Flamespeaker Adept is on the board to take full advantage of the Scry. Cavern Lampad did a lot of work, both while an aura and while a dude, and the Gray Merchant got me out of a couple tight spots.
All-in-all, I was able to dabble with all of the set's mechanics a bit and, with the exception of Monstrosity, I put them to good use. I found that Scry is just an awesomely powerful mechanic, especially when attached to some basic removal spells. I expect to see much more coherent decks as people get used to the set, though. I'm looking forward to building decks that feature each of the other mechanics a bit more prominently in the coming weeks; it should be a great time.
It seems like this set is all about getting tons of value out of your cards, and it's incredibly fun to play. I highly recommend that everybody with the slightest interest in Magic give it a shot.
Monday, September 9, 2013
The final straw came from seeing my favorite Magic Online streamer, callmechalk, build a pretty cheap (and surprisingly effective) Dragonshift deck, so I've given in and ordered my first set of singles online (it's not a huge investment, though, as some friends had given me a monetary gift with the provision that I only spend it to order cards).
Anyway, here's the deck, with primary credit going to chalk for smashing face with a very similar deck online.
4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Battle Hymn
4 Think Twice
4 Faithless Looting
4 Krenko's Command
4 Molten Birth
4 Sulfur Falls
The basic strategy is pretty straightforward: Generate a bunch of tokens using the Pyromancers, Krenko's Command, and Molten Birth; use the Electromancer to make those spells cheaper, then Overload Dragonshift to end the game in a hurry.
Cards like Think Twice and Faithless Looting not only help find pieces of the combo that you need, they do double duty with the Pyromancers, making tokens when flashed back. Battle Hymn raises the funds necessary to blast Dragonshift, and Shock cheaply generates tokens through Pyromancers while serving as early-game protection from pesky creatures.
While this deck is generally aggressive, looking just to get 5 or 6 tokens in play to overwhelm your opponent in one attack, Teleportal serves as a slower late-game win condition, if you can get to the point of having ten creatures in play (and you're desperate).
Teleportal is probably weakest link, followed perhaps by the Electromancers or Shocks, as those don't contribute as directly to the game plan, but I think it works pretty well as is. Plus I don't have anything that seems to fit better, so I'll run with this for now.
As for the dual lands - I included some copies of Sulfur Falls primarily because they're pretty cheap right now; the more recently printed Steam Vents is nearly three times more costly. I think Steam Vents are really only preferable if your starting hand has only nonbasic lands, as in that case, the Falls are guaranteed to play slowly. Otherwise, I think Vents would be unnecessary, so I can justify the cost.
For an added bonus, this deck is currently Standard-legal, at least for a couple more weeks. Get in there and dominate Friday Night Magic while you can!
To close it out, I want to plug callmechalk again, both for his fun stream and for the deck inspiration (and most, if not all, of the list, I honestly can't remember exactly what his Dragonshift deck runs). Check him out if you're into Magic Online streams.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Instead of building a deck that emphasizes beefy creatures, I decided that I wanted to use Bruna, Light of Alabaster as my commander. The game plan is thus very different - buff Bruna enough to get one-hit kills on my opponents. Running an aura-heavy deck should make Bruna a significant threat the moment she hits the field, and removal isn't a problem, as she's able to grab auras from my graveyard.
This strategy is significantly more technical than the other decks I've built, so it's going to require a lot of tweaking to get right. (It doesn't help that I don't have too many excellent blue or white auras...)
When choosing cards for this deck, I tried to keep three basic things in mind:
First, and most obviously, I need to run a bunch of things that pump Bruna. Along with auras, I've included some other enchantments (like True Conviction) and a few creatures that synergize with enchantments (like Mesa Enchantress). Since I'm expecting Bruna to draw a lot of hate, I've also included a couple ways to give her haste or hexproof (Swiftfoot Boots does both) to help mitigate the damage.
Second, Bruna's converted mana cost of 6 makes her a rather late addition to the battlefield, so I need to make sure I survive long enough to get her into play. To keep with the enchantment theme, I've tried to include passive deterrents to attack (Sphere of Safety fits well, but other effects like Dissipation Field and the much less enchanted Norn's Annex seem good, too) in lieu of powerful blockers. I figure this is the biggest hole in my current gameplan, but we'll have to see how it works out.
Third, I need to cycle through my deck to grab as many auras as possible, and I need to make sure I hit land drops (because I expect to be spending a lot of mana to revive Bruna repeatedly). Tossing auras into my graveyard isn't a problem, as Bruna can fetch them from there, so I've included a number of ways to cycle cards out of my hand to run through my deck (I think Merfolk Looter is the most efficient), plus some general deck stacking (like Petals of Insight).
I think the whole thing comes together reasonably well, leading to a deck that is pretty cohesive. I have a couple ways to deal with some of my biggest threats (exiling my graveyard totally castrates me, so I'm running things like Stony Silence to block some common graveyard hate).
Here's the current build:
Bruna, Light of Alabaster
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Isperia, Supreme Judge
Murder of Crows
Heed the Mists
Petals of Insight
Mask of Avacyn
Cloak of Mists
Honden of Seeing Winds
Sigil of Sleep
Sphere of Safety
Tricks of the Trade
Way of the Thief
Venser, the Sojourner
Assuming I can survive the first several turns, this deck seems like it'll be a solid threat, and I think it'll be a lot of fun to play. There's still some fat that could be trimmed, as I've included some cards that don't fit with the above considerations or deal with direct threats (or at least, they don't deal with threats very well), but I don't think I own any cards that would fit into the theme more comfortably. I also need to get some more powerful auras (I'd definitely like to replace things like Divine Favor). Maybe some other changes will become clear as I test the deck a bit.
Saturday, August 31, 2013
No More Monday Magic (at least not weekly)
For the next few weeks, I'm not going to be posting a regular Magic blog, mainly because I don't have much to talk about. Seeing that a core set is currently in season, I don't have any crazy new deck ideas and my usual play group isn't doing a whole lot. I do have a new EDH deck that's probably worth discussing, so I'll post that deck list on Monday, but after that, I probably won't talk much about Magic until the next set is released.
Reviews Taking Over
With Magic taking a break and my relatively busy schedule, my main writing focus will be reviews for the games I'm playing. I've been dabbling with a bunch of random games recently, so I hope to be able to churn out some quality reviews in the next few weeks.
Saturday, July 6, 2013
I mentioned last week that I'd be participating in TrueAchievement's annual Bean Dive. Out of fear for Team Lazy Eye's position in the GTASC, I've hastily done just that (and in the process missed the opportunity for a bunch of Games on Demand titles that were on sale this week...). Here's what I started:
Dark Souls (PC) - yeah, I already have the Xbox version, but I got this one on the cheap during a Steam sale. It can't hurt to have two copies of a soul-crushingly hard game, can it?
Crash Course 2 - a free game released a couple months ago, the rampant server issues had prevented me from ever playing it. For some reason, it let me in last weekend, so I'm not complaining.
Renegade Ops - I picked this up during a recent Deal of the Week, as I've always enjoyed twin-stick shooters. After playing for about 15 minutes, I don't yet have a strong opinion on it.
SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World - this one is undoubtedly the disappointment of the bunch, as the Monster World games have definitely not aged well. A tedious grind is ahead of me with this game...
Spartacus Legends - another free game. I've never been too keen on fighting games, but the gimmicks in this one might be enough to keep me interested for a while. Who knows?
Disney Universe - an equally valid title would be "LEGO Disney," as it follows the same formula as the LEGO games. I'm a fan of that silly style of platforming, though, so I think I'm going to enjoy this one.
The Cursed Crusade - I grabbed this game because the synopsis sounded interesting and it was heavily discounted. I'm not too impressed, but at least it doesn't seem like it's going to be a huge investment.
Rayman 3 HD - another special deal acquisition, I bought this one because I adore Rayman Origins. Origins was the first Rayman game I'd ever played, so I wanted to give an earlier iteration a shot; seems like it'll be fairly fun.
A pretty pathetic Bean Dive compared to what some people are doing, and its effect on my completion percent was barely noticeable (it dropped 0.91%). It's fun to contribute to the site-wide statistics, though, so I'm glad to have been a part of it. Maybe next year I'll have a more exciting showing.
It finally happened. Nearing the end of this week's scoring period, Team Lazy Eye was at the bottom of the bracket. We valiantly fought to push our way out of the danger zone, but in the final minutes, the team in last place (Carved Out of More Pork) zoomed ahead, bumping us down far enough for elimination.
We made it to the top 48, though, so we (barely) accomplished my goal of being in the top 50. Maybe we'll have better luck next year.
Anyhow, beyond the Bean Dive, I spent most of my Xbox time on three games:
I continued playing Disney Universe and Crash Course 2, earning many of the achievements in each.
I also spent some more time with Nier, although I didn't do much aside from additional crafting material farming.
In the end, it wasn't enough to keep us going, but it was a fun competition while it lasted.
I played a fair amount of StarCraft this week, too, knocking a good number of vs. AI matches out. I still have a ways to go on that front, but progress is progress, eh?
In the middle of last week, I bought Rogue Legacy. It is one hell of a game, and I sunk a good chunk of my spare time into it this week. I don't want to say too much about it now, as I'm drafting a review for it, but if you're interested, I streamed my first playthrough. Check out the VODs on twitch.tv or YouTube.
And that does it for this week. Now that the GTASC isn't on my radar anymore, I don't really have many concrete gaming goals for the next week. I'll also be much busier in general for the next few weeks, so I may not have a lot going on until the end of the month. Either way, I hope to have something to talk about this time next week. Until then, tschüss.
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Saturday, June 29, 2013
On another note, I started writing a review for DarkStar One, and I discovered something interesting: I actually have a hard time talking about games I don't like. I know a lot of people find it easy to rant about bad games and rave about good ones, but it seems like I'm a little lacking the ranting skill. I'll see if I can work on that one.
Following last week's progress, my first accomplishment this week was completing DarkStar One. As I mentioned last week, the achievements are incredibly tedious and generally very boring, so this wasn't a hugely entertaining process. Now it's done, though, so I'm thankful for that...
The only other game I really played this week was Wednesday's new XBLA release, Magic: The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2014. Being a Magic veteran, I had no problem blowing through the campaigns on the highest difficulty setting, spending only about 10 hours in-game to earn all the achievements. For players new to the game, I imagine that the learning curve could be pretty high, but I would still think that it wouldn't take more than 15 hours to complete. Plus it's pretty fun, so I highly recommend it for achievement hunters.
Kingdom of Loathing
I'm chugging through my latest Bad Moon run. It's going pretty slowly (as expected and by design), but it may start speeding up a bit in the next week, as I've spent a fair amount of time leveling. Either way, it'll probably be a couple more weeks before I move on to something else.
A leisurely BM run gives a great opportunity to grind some things out. I spent a bunch of extra turns in A Large Chamber to earn the Evil's Okay in My Book trophy (although I haven't purchased it yet), and I'm using this run to do a 100% Blood-Faced Volleyball run (which I screwed up the last time I tried it).
|A trophy quite a bit out of the way of a normal ascension run.|
I played a bunch of StarCraft matches this week, working primarily on two particular achievements:
I'm making good achievement progress in SC2, currently sitting at 5520 achievement points overall. Of course, there's still a lot to do (I have barely touched 1v1, for example), so I wonder if I'll be able to earn all the achievements, even after Legacy of the Void...
I also signed up for ggtracker to get some detailed analysis of my play over time. The site requires you to manually upload replays (I haven't seen any obvious options for automatic uploads), but it spits out a number of cool stats and it's prettier than sc2gears (plus more easily shared). I don't see any point in uploading vs. AI replays, so my profile is a little sparse right now, but it could be a pretty cool tool in the future. I'm excited about it.
And that does it. This coming week will be interesting for gaming, as there's a holiday and TrueAchievement's annual Bean Dive phenomenon. The Bean Dive is an incentive for players to pop an achievement in every game they own but haven't played. Named for the resulting dip in completion percentage, it's a great opportunity to find really exciting games that might otherwise stay on the shelf for a few more months. I like it, and it probably means that I'll be playing a wide variety of games before next Saturday. Until then, tschüss.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
I went up against a nasty Elf deck that managed just that, and I think biggest flaw is that the low end of my mana curve was designed to deter creature aggression or set up profitable trades; if my opponent's not attacking with his or her creatures, mine can't do anything. As such, I have replaced some of the low-costing creatures with more burn spells so I can stop a player from sitting back on tricky creatures in the early game.
Another problem was generally running out of gas. I had one game where I managed to get my combo off, but my opponent's board state was slightly better than mine, and he was slowly able to whittle me down. The above changes will help (more burn will help me clear the board or end the game), but I've also dropped some of the ramping spells I had before. The ramp never really seemed necessary, and it just gave me crappy spells to grab with the Storm, so they've gotta go.
One more problem is the fact that my enchantments become dead weight once my combo is on the board. I'd love to play a couple copies of something like Faithless Looting so I can cycle my enchantments out of my hand, but I also want to keep the total number of spell types low to keep from getting caught with only one card of a particular type left in my deck (which means Storm will prevent me from ever playing it). It may be worth inserting a few Sorcery burn spells and Faithless Looting, but for now, I want to stick with Instant-speed burn and see how that matches up.
I also had the fortune of getting a few extra Curses of Exhaustion from a friend, making the total shutdown combo a bit easier to pull off. All in all, I think the Possibility Storm deck is becoming a powerful option.
Anyway, here's the current form of the deck:
1 Ashmouth Hound
2 Blistercoil Weird
2 Burning-Tree Emissary
1 Chancellor of the Forge
2 Goblin Arsonist
2 Melek, Izzet Paragon
1 Mercurial Chemister
1 Nivmagus Elemental
1 Somberwald Vigilante
1 Utvara Hellkite
2 Annihilating Fire
2 Lightning Bolt
2 Punish the Enemy
2 Thunderous Wrath
2 Boros Cluestone
2 Boros Signet
4 Curse of Exhaustion
3 Possibility Storm
2 Boros Guildgate
2 Sulfur Falls
I can't wait to see this newest version in action!
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Most of my gaming this week has been focused on DarkStar One: Broken Alliance. While the basic setup isn't too bad, the game itself is terribly, terribly tedious and repetitive. The achievement list adds further pain by requiring you to visit several hundred locations (about half of which will great you with a small group of hostile pirates), and you'll engage in the same little skirmish every time an enemy shows up. It's also setup so that you can't easily run from battles, so you have to go through with every one of the mind-numbing fights.
I've spent a total of about 20 hours on the game, and I'm still probably 5 hours or so away from finishing it up. It's not hard, just terrible.
In the last couple hours of this week's scoring period, I switched over to Home Run Stars in an effort to maximize my TA Score to time ratio. A little over half this game's Gamerscore isn't too bad, as you'll get a bunch of it just for completing the game (which can admittedly be pretty challenging near the end). Earning gold medals and completing all the game's FameStar challenges seem like they'll require some dedication, though, so the second half will be a bit more demanding. Still, I estimate that a full completion will take fewer than 6-8 hours, so it doesn't seem too bad overall.
Kingdom of Loathing
My original plan was to complete a quick Way of the Surprising Fist run to grab the Good Will Punching trophy, but I overestimated the total value of random crap I'd accumulated for that purpose. After dumping 300 dense meat stacks, nearly 100 massive gemstones, and a ton of other stuff, I still hadn't earned the trophy. I ended up spending a couple extra days farming GameInformPowerDailyPro magazines to get it done, but I've now officially earned all the trophies associated with Surprising Fist runs - I probably won't ever do another one.
|My six most recent additions.|
Aside from the above, I haven't done much gaming. I played a few StarCraft II matches, but no more than five, so they're not really worth describing in any detail.
Like last week, I may not have a whole lot of gaming time this next week, but I've already made a good dent in serving my team for the GTASC by continuing DarkStar One. Still, I hope I'll be able to make significant progress in some of my gaming goals by this time next week. Until then, tschüss.
Monday, June 17, 2013
The deckbuilding proceeded essentially as before: I included all the big nasty rares that likely would never see regular constructed play, and I tried to maximize the use of spells that affect "opponents" or "opponents' creatures" to get the best possible results. I tried to stick to the card drawing theme by including a bunch of spells to give me tons of options (Mind Unbound and Enter the Infinite being the biggest ones), some spells to restrict my foes (Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur), and a few things to help me abuse those powers (Beacon of Tomorrows for extra turns, Elixir of Immortality to keep from milling myself to death). Throw in the most annoying counterspell in Magic (Time Stop), and you have a pretty reasonable EDH deck.
Here's the setup:
Djinn of Wishes
Flayer of the Hatebound
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Keiga, the Tide Star
Myojin of the Seeing Winds
Scourge of Geier Reach
Sphinx of Uthuun
Tyrant of Discord
Beacon of Tomorrows
Cone of Flame
Enter the Infinite
Into the Maw of Hell
Elixir of Immortality
Curse of Echoes
I was able to play one game with this deck a couple weeks ago, and although I think it ended up a bit weaker than my Varolz deck, I like it a lot more. Instead of just being built out of a solid mechanic (Scavenge), this deck makes sillier plays throughout the game, making it more fun to use. That's based on only one test run, though, so I'll need to play with it a few more times before I really settle on an opinion of it.