Playing with 2 decks

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We played with deck customization for the first time tonight.  

We had 2 copies of each deck.  Cormyr had an extra Cleric and War Wizard available; the Drow had an extra Wizard and Priestess.  (It actually didn't occur to me to use proxies for other creatures until after we were done, which makes me feel very stupid.)

We both agreed that the game had a very different feel.  I was surprised by how big of a difference there was.  You never get a card you don't "like".  It may not always be the right one for a given situation, but it's easy to pick 30 cards that you feel are the best offense, defense, movement, and utility available.  There aren't any duds.

It's easier to pull off crazy stuff or change the tide of battle.  For example, I had a Death Knight in my starting area.  I had the commander that let you use a standard action to move again.  I moved once, tapped to move again, played "Into the Fray" as minor, moving 15 squares with a creature that has '5' movement.  The I played "Heroic Surge" to untap, and hit the opposing creature with Killing Blow for 100 points of damage.  That combo is possible with a normal deck, of course, but much more likely with a customized one.

I was surprised by how 'wrong' my first deck was.  It only took one game to realize I had over-valued some cards and under-valued others.  I switched 12 cards for the next game, which was a lot more than I would have predicted.  The 2nd game my deck worked much better, there really wasn't any comparison.  

It also felt like the games went faster.  I think that's because there are fewer 'wasted' turns where not much happens because you don't have good cards and you wind up hitting someone for 10 or 20 points of damage, but I could be wrong. 

I think 3 or 4 War Wizards is going to be pretty common, along with 3 or 4 Arcane Rituals.  When not acting as a card engine, 30 points of range 10 damage is sick.  You throw out all the other INT cards, so you have lots of STR cards to use on all your other pieces; that is, you've got pieces on the board that function well without the need for cards, whereas most melee pieces really improve dramtically with cards.  Getting your card generator up and running is super helpful, so maximizing your chances of hitting that early seems really important.  I just don't really see a downside to taking a bunch of War Wizards.               
You're quite right: once you get customisation into it, the game changes dramatically. A lot tighter, a lot more tension, and there are some devastating combinations. The War Wizard is one of my favourite pieces in the game, but he's also terribly squishy - he's got no effective melee attack so Shadow Mastiffs and Umber Hulks can tear him apart if they pin him against a wall.

(Mainly my War Wizards hunt down the Drow Wizards who aren't smart enough to keep out of range!)

Cheers,
Merric 
We both agreed that the game had a very different feel.



Sounds like you've come a farrrr way from your original "not gonna buy it" post. ;)

Glad to hear you are liking the game, really hoping we see it grow. Its definitely intended as a "tournament" game, and I look forward to playing them as soon as my FLGS starts running them.

it's easy to pick 30 cards that you feel are the best offense, defense, movement, and utility available.  There aren't any duds.



There are certainly a lot of options. Cards I'm not crazy about now, I'll probably wind up liking a lot more as our options expand. For instance, Riposte isn't a big deal to me right now... but if I get a DEX creature that gains an effect whenever it deals damage, I'll certainly be more apt to try it.

It's easier to pull off crazy stuff or change the tide of battle.  For example, I had a Death Knight in my starting area.  I had the commander that let you use a standard action to move again.  I moved once, tapped to move again, played "Into the Fray" as minor, moving 15 squares with a creature that has '5' movement.  The I played "Heroic Surge" to untap, and hit the opposing creature with Killing Blow for 100 points of damage.



That's pretty hefty, and I'm sure it surprised the heck out of your opponent. Even if they managed to avoid the killing strike, they're still stuck base-to-base with the most dangerous melee striker in the game.

It only took one game to realize I had over-valued some cards and under-valued others.



For the sake of discussion, how about offering some thoughts on what worked and what didn't?

I think that's because there are fewer 'wasted' turns where not much happens because you don't have good cards and you wind up hitting someone for 10 or 20 points of damage, but I could be wrong.



10 to 20 points of damage isn't insignificant either, mostly because its unlikely to have an order card played against it.

I think 3 or 4 War Wizards is going to be pretty common, along with 3 or 4 Arcane Rituals.  When not acting as a card engine, 30 points of range 10 damage is sick.  I just don't really see a downside to taking a bunch of War Wizards.



1. Requires a Magic Circle, which doesn't tend to be well protected and can take you out of good firing LOS.
2. Shadow Mastiff, Umber Hulk, Earth Guardian, Stealth, Scuttle, Behind Enemy Lines.... there are plenty of ways to get close to a War Wizard, very fast. Once he's base-to-base with an enemy piece, he's in big trouble. He's lvl4 with 60HP. He's a lot to lose, and difficult to protect. If you're tossing out all the other INT cards as you suggest, you're losing Blast of Force and Shield.... two essential defensive cards for a Wizard.

There's no unbeatable matchup in the current environment, and hopefully we never see a combo that is unbeatable.


I like the War Wizard a lot, but despite his damage being pretty good, it's not so amazing I think he's an auto-include.  I'm not sure there are any of those at the moment, though my pick for "best individual figure" is still the Dwarf Cleric; if you have him on the board, you get to play a very different kind of game.  The amount of force preservation that single little dude represents is pretty obscene.

In any case, I think you're undervaluing the 4 levels represented by the WW.  In addition to what other people said about being squishy for his cost, he's also just a lot of your early force if he's out there on the table, and he can't do traditional early-force stuff like looting treasures if you want him to draw cards.  Your opponent can also force him out of the circle, especially if they're playing Str cards like Shove Aside.  And once he's in melee, he's awful unless you're running the other Int cards.

Basically, a lot of the value IMO of creatures in this game is being vehicles for cards, and the WW has some great ones, but they're mostly Int cards.  If you're not running those, you're pretty much limited to Heroic Surge, which might be enough but you're unlikely to play with, say, WW + Drow and Spiders, or whatever.  I certainly wouldn't run him (or even the Dwarf Cleric) in everything. 
Since Riposte says " make a melee attack that deals 10 damage" i would think the drow blademasters special ability would work with that.
My only concern with any of this is I see a lot of people tweaking mostly with the Corymyr deck.  The only creatures that seem to get any attention in the drow deck are the Hulk and the Drow Wizard.  I know drow get better movement but they hit very lightly compared to the other side of the fence.  Plus our priestess is good only because of a few cards. 

I'd like to build a capable army of mostly drow but I don't know if that will stack up well enough.  Drow assassin shares a 4 slot with War Wizard and I guess I'm trying to compare the two as the WW is pretty nuts but he IS a lot to put in one figure ... but so is the assassin.

First, w/r/t the War Wizard: I might be over-reacting to what my oppnent was able to do with Lolth's Blessing + turning treasures into extra cards.  He got out Lolth's Blessing on turn 2, hid the priestess (no big deal becuase he starts with 2 more leadership than me), and turned treasures that he quickly grabbed into cards.  It isn't much of an exaggeration to say that for the meat of the game, he had a 3:1 card advantage.  Until I see it demonstrated otherwise, I'm going to stand firm in my contention that having that is a crushing advantage.

With custom decks, that combination isn't even that unlikely to occur early.  My take on that was that I need a way to keep up in the card race.  It's possible I'm wrong, but I'll need to see it proven on the board.    

 


For the sake of discussion, how about offering some thoughts on what worked and what didn't?




Sure, though now that I write them down I'm not sure if they're of any value, since most of them seem like obvious mistakes.

I may not remember every single card that changed, but the bulk of it was:

1st Deck:

      2 War Wizards and no INT cards at all
     Sieze the Opportunity
     Disrupting Attack
     Power Attack

I've already explained my original reasoning on the War Wizard & no INT cards.

Power Attack I knew was weak, but I wanted a level 1 card for offense.  In practice, my only level 1 creatures were archers, so this was obviously a silly mistake.

Disrupting Attack seemed to me like a good combo card-- make the opponent cower against a 30 point attack from one of my many level 2 or 3 creatues, in order to insure being able to play an interrupt vs. a bigger attack.  In practice it's pretty horrible, it's just not that great, you're better off just using a bigger attack card in the first place, and if he interrupts he's tapped anyway.  I think I was just trying to be cute and go for combinations rather than relying on single cards.

Sieze the opportunity seemed like a reasonable card to me because he would be playing low damage attacks when not using cards, and it's a 30 point swing.  I'm still not convinced that it's horrible against warbands like the Drow who have low base attacks, but it certainly didn't impress me in the first game, so it seemed reasonable to search for something better.


2nd Deck:


     Arcane Ritual
     Forceful Strike
     Recoil
     Saving Throw

Arcane Ritual I've already explained

Forceful Strike could be seen as the substituion for Power Attack.  It can't be used by my level 2 creatures, which is a definite downside; but the extra damage is very useful, and I underestimated how nice being able to slide a creature into melee range of another creature (or occassionally missile range of a War Wizard) could be.

Recoil could be seen as the substituion for Disrupting Attack.  It can be used by my Archers, but honestly I don't think that will ever happen, so the fact that it's level 1 rather than level 2 isn't relevent.  But preventing 30 damage is just very useful, and in some circumstances I think it's worth giving your opponent another card.  I'm still not convinced this is the right choice, though.

Saving Throw seemed too situational to me.  I guess I was thinking of cards that would be useful against all possible warbands and all possible decks, but that was silly.  My opponent is going to take 4 Fairy Fires, so it's going to be really valuable when used; and it may be worth it to use it on Webs, too.  It was just an obvious mistake to leave it out of the first deck.


We built our decks in less than 30 minutes, so I don't feel too bad about making a number of obvious blunders in the 1st deck.  But it was informative to see what a difference having inferior cards in those slots made, and it did help me realize the true value of something like being able to slide an opponent 2 square is, so I don't think it was a wasted game.               


  



Disrupting Attack seemed to me like a good combo card-- make the opponent cower against a 30 point attack from one of my many level 2 or 3 creatues, in order to insure being able to play an interrupt vs. a bigger attack.  In practice it's pretty horrible, it's just not that great, you're better off just using a bigger attack card in the first place, and if he interrupts he's tapped anyway.  I think I was just trying to be cute and go for combinations rather than relying on single cards.



I'm with you on most of it, except this one. Forcing a 2+ morale hit isn't small, plus you get a signal about whether or not your other attacks are likely to get countered if they don't cower or counter the attack. I think in the future this card will become even more useful as other "discard order card" effects enter the environment, allowing you to build a band around eliminating options for your opponent. 

The best deck I saw for Recoil was posted on BGG - all L1 creatures. Your big win is in having your opponent blow an action  trying to eliminate your tiny piece, and failing. The order card is barely compensation for the lost action.
My only concern with any of this is I see a lot of people tweaking mostly with the Corymyr deck.  The only creatures that seem to get any attention in the drow deck are the Hulk and the Drow Wizard.  I know drow get better movement but they hit very lightly compared to the other side of the fence.  Plus our priestess is good only because of a few cards. 

I'd like to build a capable army of mostly drow but I don't know if that will stack up well enough.  Drow assassin shares a 4 slot with War Wizard and I guess I'm trying to compare the two as the WW is pretty nuts but he IS a lot to put in one figure ... but so is the assassin.





The most effective two box list I made was virtually all Drow, Malistros with Priestesses, Spiders, and Driders, plus a few random Drow.  I took apart all those lists because I had a one-box tournament today, but I expect it to continue to be good.  All the mobility stuff is great, and the card draw off the Priestess is brutal.
I guess this is sorta-kinda related to two decks, which is the title of this thread:

Is there any reason that Cormyr can't use two copies of the tile that has the magic circle?  Is that considered to be part of the game cusomization?  
I guess this is sorta-kinda related to two decks, which is the title of this thread:

Is there any reason that Cormyr can't use two copies of the tile that has the magic circle?  Is that considered to be part of the game cusomization?  



You are allowed to use any 4 tiles you want as long as there are 2 large tiles and 2 small tiles (one of which is a start tile).
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
I guess this is sorta-kinda related to two decks, which is the title of this thread:

Is there any reason that Cormyr can't use two copies of the tile that has the magic circle?  Is that considered to be part of the game cusomization?  



I don't see any reason you can't.  There's a Drow-set tile with really restricted lines of sight that also makes the Spiders + Priestess army a lot better if you play two of it because you can clog sight and movement lines with large creatures really effectively.
War Wizards are really squishy. And they piss their pants at the first sign of a Burrower, especially if it's combo'd with some movement cards like Into the Fray.
Is there any reason that Cormyr can't use two copies of the tile that has the magic circle?  Is that considered to be part of the game cusomization?  



I don't see any reason you can't.  There's a Drow-set tile with really restricted lines of sight that also makes the Spiders + Priestess army a lot better if you play two of it because you can clog sight and movement lines with large creatures really effectively.



That is correct. The criteria is 2 large tiles, "different" is not specified. However, note that the huge magic circle also has negligible cover... if you're trying to use Arcane Ritual, you're better off getting more walls between the enemy and the circle and just using the smaller circle.
First, w/r/t the War Wizard: I might be over-reacting to what my oppnent was able to do with Lolth's Blessing + turning treasures into extra cards.  He got out Lolth's Blessing on turn 2, hid the priestess (no big deal becuase he starts with 2 more leadership than me), and turned treasures that he quickly grabbed into cards.  It isn't much of an exaggeration to say that for the meat of the game, he had a 3:1 card advantage.  Until I see it demonstrated otherwise, I'm going to stand firm in my contention that having that is a crushing advantage.



Another supremely frustrating game last night.  Unfortunately this is getting to be a regular experience.

Opponent: start with 2 extra leaderhip points
Opponent: deploy Priestess with Lolth's blessing turn 2.
Opponent: deploy another Lolth's blessing on same Priestess turn 4.
Opponent: pick up all near treasures with fast spiders, take cards instead of leadership 
Opponent: hide priestess all game.

I finally got to the priestess with my burrowing earth elemental, but it was several turns past when the game was decided.  To win the game, he blew up my Death Knight before it ever got a chance to swing; when every attacking creature gets to play an offensive card, and the DK has to tap to play one defensive card, and you've only go 5 leadership, well, obviously it's game over.

I had a war wizard in a magic circle with Arcane Ritual for several turns.  I put a cleric with him to try to keep him alive, but that was pointless, and tied up 7 levels worth of creatures when I already started at a 2 level disadvantage.  I only fell 2 cards per turn behind (2 Lolth's blessing + 1 treasure per turn on average) while he was alive, after that I was falling 3 cards per turn behind.

A couple of times he took health instead of cards, near the end, to give himself a bit of unneccesary cushion.

This happens in about half of our games.

 
You're not allowed to pick cards from treasures if you use spiders to pick up treasure. The commander's ability only applies to Drow.
You're not allowed to pick cards from treasures if you use spiders to pick up treasure. The commander's ability only applies to Drow.


 
We played that wrong, but I'm 100% certain it would not have provided me with the margin for victory in any game.  Actually, I think it's a mistake for him to turn treasure into cards; he's already getting a 2:1 or 3:1 advantage every turn anyway, except for a few turns I can keep my War Wizard alive and in a magic circle.  I think the extra morale would actually help more. 

I've got as many war wizards as he does priestesses, and as many arcane rituals as he does Lolth's blessing.  However, the comparison is hugely in the Drow's favor:

1. The Cormyr advantage is that the war wizard can draw an extra card the turn arcane ritual is played.

2. The Priestess can use a large percentage of the cards in the Drow deck, including many movement and defense cards, allowing her to stay alive even if you're making it a priority to focus on her-- and while you're going out of your way to hunt her down, you're obviously not playing optimally against the situation on the rest of the board.

3. The war wizard represents a significant part of the Cormyr advantage-- a ranged attack of 30 is going to help a lot.  So even if he does help keep card parity, the cost the Cormyr player is paying by keeping him out of battle is much higher than the cost for the Drow.

4. He's a level 4 creature, the Drow is level 3, which means that (a) the priestess can get out earlier, and (b) the priestess is tying up fewer leadership points each turn.

5. In order to get the extra card, the war wizard must stay in a fixed location, allowing the Drow player to plan ahead and arrange it so that a couple of movement cards or a mastiff or whatever can eat him for breakfast; the priestess can move around, it's much harder to pin her down.

I dunno, when the Drow have 2 Lolth's blessings on turn 4, it seems to me I should just concede and start a new game.  When Cormyr has 2 arcane rituals on turn 4, it seems like I just need to focus some fire power in that area, which is easy to do with all the movement cards I have.

To be clear, I don't think the game is broken; I think we're both frustrated and both can't see how the game is not broken.

[Edit for clarity at end] 
I have not played any games where the warbands were customized... But it sounds like maybe the deck size is too small, thereby allowing them to be too focused?

If the creature deck was 24 instead of 12 and the order deck 60 instead of 30, do you guys think it would water the game down enough to make it more diverse?
There are certainly a lot of options. Cards I'm not crazy about now, I'll probably wind up liking a lot more as our options expand. For instance, Riposte isn't a big deal to me right now... but if I get a DEX creature that gains an effect whenever it deals damage, I'll certainly be more apt to try it.



You'll be happy to see the goblin set then.  There's some creatures that like dealing damage.

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