Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Welcome back to From the Gauntlet: Tribal Wheel 3.0 edition! Two weeks ago, I talked about the Overworld and its ideology. Today it’s the Underworld’s turn. That’s right, the bad boys. The tribe that isn’t afraid to play dirty. Like the last Tribal Wheel, I am going to talk about the mentality of the tribe, and how the mechanics of Underworld cards show the complexity of the tribe itself.
But, before all that fun stuff, for those of you who don’t know, I completely stole this idea from Mark Rosewater. He is the head of R&D for Magic: the Gathering, and who wrote over 20 articles to flesh out each color of Magic. They all help put together the “Color Pie” which explains what each color is, and what they can and cannot do. It is the basis for my “Tribal Wheel” series. While I don’t have the insider’s know-how of TC Digital’s R&D, I have had quite a few discussions with the designers there, and I’d like to consider myself somewhat of an authority when it comes to many aspects of Chaotic. Although I do steal the name, I can’t live up to what it represents. Mark Rosewater is the top guy over at R&D. He has spent more than a decade working on Magic and probably knows the game better than anyone else on the planet. I can’t match that with Chaotic. I’ve just been a player happy to run my mouth for the past three years. This is nothing but my own observations about the tribes.
Unlike last time where I just blurted out all of the Underworld’s mechanics, I am going to make comments about Underworlders to start to identify them, and under each of these comments I’ll bring up mechanics that support these characteristics. See? Middle school English comes in handy when you want to write an article about a card game.
Here are some general characteristics of the Underworld tribe:
Underworlders are, on average, strong
It’s obvious, but important to note. No tribe has as many high energy Creatures as the Underworld has. Go ahead and look, the Underworld has the most Creatures with 60 or higher energy. The Overworld comes in a close second, but Underworld has a clear lead. Underworld is a master of Fire, the power element. From the very beginning of Chaotic, the Underworld was the best at maxing out fire damage. If you want to have the highest damage per attack output in your deck, go with fire, and if you want to use fire, no one is better than the Underworld.
Underworlders are violent and destructive
You might even say that they are 'reckless'. Underworlders go on tantrums from time to time. They are full of emotion. This theme is very pronounced throughout their cards. They have Mugic that breeds emotion. Song of Fury is a perfect example of their use of raw emotion. They understand the power of rage, and use it well.
Recklessness is a mechanic that says a lot about the Underworld. Don’t confuse it with Warbeasts’s recklessness. They are two totally different things that represent two separate themes. Recklessness is an extent of the emotion theme. They’ll do anything for a higher damage output, even if I it means fighting with an uncontrolled rage. Underworlders love big things that can smash.
They like to destroy things. Underwolders have more than 10 cards (not counting Underworld themed battlgear) that get rid of battlegear from the board, or benefit from having them in the discard pile. If there is something they want to smash, they will. End of story.
I mentioned earlier how the Overworld has a protective theme. They have effects that grant their Creatures bonuses if Creatures are on their side of the board. Underworlders have the exact opposite. Surprising, right? Kaal thrives in an aggressive deck. Underworlders have no problem bringing the fight to you.
Underworlders are selfish
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Survival of the fittest means that sometimes Creatures don’t make the cut. If you can benefit from their weakness, why not capitalize on it? Underworlders have a habit of…well sacrificing their own Creatures. In other games, this isn’t as a big of a thing as it is in Chaotic. Your Creatures are your life. When they are all gone, you’ve lost. So, when an Underworld sacrifices one of their own, you better hope it’ll be enough to get a lead or else you’ll be even more behind.
Underworlders like to mess with you
I have been painting the Underworld up until this point to be full of big selfish brutes. While it is true that there are quite a few of them (and that they are pretty darn good at what they do!) there is another side to them. They can be pranksters at times, if you think about some of their abilities. They have a myriad of abilities that have no purpose but to mess with their opponent. Have elements? Well not any more. Want to gain those elements back? Too bad. Need some healing? Maybe next time.
The very first way Chaotic explored this was through the Intimidate mechanic. Flavorwise, it shows how scary these Creatures are. To the point where other Creatures fighting them can’t fight as well as they normally can. This also demonstrates how they like to mess with their opponent. What better way to mess you up than to lower your stats and mess up your attacks?
Phelphor is a great example of this. Sure, he turned out to be a weird M’arrillian squid thingy, but he came out as an Underworlder first. Anyway, Phelphor has the ability to move your opponent’s Creatures. This is a great example of an Underworlder playing a joke. Think of it like the Cinnamon Switch prank. Your opponent thinks he has his Creatures the way he wants them, and then unexpectedly, Creatures switch places and he gets something that he didn’t bargain for.
Now you might be thinking, why didn’t he bring up dealing damage? Why wouldn’t it be one of the first things he said? If the Overworld has the market cornered on healing, why wouldn’t you bring up how the Underworlders like to deal damage to other Creatures? Now, you’re right, I didn’t say anything about dealing damage up until this point for two reasons. One, it fits into several of these categories. It shows off their raw power the Underworld possesses, how violent they are, and even to a degree how they want to mess with you and your army. And second, it is by far the most important traits about the Underworld. When talk about a powerful burn deck, you are probably thinking of Zamool burn right off the bat, not an Enre-Hep burn deck (that would even have to use an Underworld card to set it off properly).
Underworlders want to hit things, blast them, and burn what remains. They are in it for the kill. If an Underworlder doesn’t destroy a Creature in combat, it failed. That’s all there is to it. Underworlders live for the fight.
Above all things, this column was originally designed to write about decks. Talking about the Tribal Wheel is something that is completely unrelated to this, but something that I enjoy writing about. However, I also enjoy writing about decks:
1 2 3
1. Agitos, Eloquent Motivator/Bimowercycle
2. Zamool/Dread Tread
3. Lord Van Bloot/ Drilldozer, Customized Rig
4. Chaor/Mipedian Baladeer’s Flute
5. Agitos, Eloquent Motivator/Bimowercycle
6. Kopond, High Muge of the Hearth/Mipedian Balladeer’s Flute
2x Consuming Cacophony
2x Cannon of Casualty
1x Roar of the Mob
1x Searing Symphony
2x Castle Bohdran
2x Bodal’s Arsenal
2x Castle Momark
2x Illusionary Lake
2x Pouril Forest
2x Shadow Strike
1x Invader’s Tactics
1x Primal Smash
2x Ash Torrent
2x Daunting Bravery
2x Dry Liquid
2x Gear Grind
2x Charge of the Brave
2x Prowl Strike
That’s right! Another Zamool burn deck! It’s true that it is yet another burn deck based around Zamool, but there is a lot more going on than just engage with Zamool and then blow up the entire board with Mugic cards. First off, notice the most important part of this deck: the *Dread Tread. This, combined with several elements will keep you in control throughout the game.
The Early Game
If your opponent goes first, you can choose who does what. There is a reason why we have more than one Agitos in the deck (well, there are two, but we’ll get to that soon). If you want to get Zamool right off the bat, go ahead. If you want to protect him, go for it. It may even be a good idea to make your opponent attack Agitos to keep your fighters safe. Both are viable strategies, depending on what you are playing against.
This deck really shines if you get to go first. Sac on (or two, if you really need it) Bimowercycles and have Zamool jump to your opponent’s Mugic casters. Unlike Zamool, most Mugic casters can’t fight in combat, and they are even more hindered if they can’t play anything. So, you don’t have to waste your burn on them. If it really gets down to it, by all means, but don’t waste your Mugic by just playing them as soon as you enter combat. Let your attacks deal some damage and save your limited Mugic. However, feel free to burn out some of your opponents other Creatures that aren’t a part of combat. Guess what? Your first turn isn’t done. I hope you saved one squishy Mugic caster on the field for Zamool to finish off. By using Dread Tread, you save quite a lot of damage by having Zamool kill two Creatures himself instead of wasting Mugic to burn them from a distance. I said the Underworld doesn’t mind having to bring the battle to their opponent, right?
The End Game
The mid game is nonexistent. Not much happens, and since this deck will probably kill 2-5 Creatures in its first turn means we just skip over it. You have three fighters to beat what’s left of their army. It shouldn’t be too hard; you have a solid attack deck that you can manipulate since you should have a huge Creature advantage over your opponent at this point.
Here is the reasoning for using the cards in this deck over others:
1. Agitos, Eloquent Motivator. I usually use Ulmar in my burn decks for his high damage output and his endgame utility, but for this build I felt that controlling the board early on was more important. Having two gives my Creatures Intimidate Power and Courage 40, which makes winning challenges almost a certainty.
2. Castle Momark. This card is amazing for this deck. After the first turn, you should have a Mugic caster that isn’t doing much, or is out of Mugic counters. If a fighter or, heaven forbid, Zamool, you can easily bring him back. Not to mention you will be wiping your opponent’s board clean of weaker Mugic casters to sacrifice so they don’t benefit nearly as much.
3. Illusionary Lake. This is a card that I try to squeeze into a lot of decks that aren’t focused on water. You always should get initiative except for Invisibility abilities, and if your opponent is using water, you have a chance to really cripple them while this is face up on the field.
4. Bodal’s Arsenal. You always want to sac some of you battlegear early on in the game, so you will always have a battlegear and an unequipped Creature.
And that’s a wrap! We are 40% done with the Tribal Wheel 3.0. Stay tuned for more decks and blog posts. And, like always, stay Chaotic!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I've been hiding this for a couple months now, but around the time of my first deck building contest, I built a new deck that kind of trumps all of my other attempts as FTK decks. You have the ability to play and infinite number of mugic cards. That's right, you will never run out. How can this be? When did this happen? ...how?! To answre all of those questions in order: it just is, a few months ago (weren't you paying attention?) and you'll have to figure that one out on your own! I am giving NO HINTS OTHER THAN WHAT IS IN THIS POST. I made all of the other contests far too easy.
Here are some facts about the deck and some rules for y'all:
-It currently cannot be played online, a sad but true fact
-It could heal an infinite amount of life, deal an infinite amount of damage, or do almost anything you want to as many times as you would like to do it.
-It is a 6v6 master rules deck. Those are your limits, 6 REAL creatures, 6 mugic, 10 locations, and 20 attacks.
-You cannot choose which location you have unless you can guarantee that you can control it at least 95% of your games.
-You can assume that your opponent won't try to stop you, but he won't do anything for you either. This deck should work no matter what your opponent plays. You can't rely on a Heptagonal Hail for any extra counters, for example.
I welcome ANY (that means you, Nick) challenger to post their deck on this topic right here to win fabulous prizes!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Hey guys, I'm sorry but I couldn't write anything this week. As of right now I am trudging through mountains of homework due in only two hours (and there really wasn't all that much procrastination involved, I swear!). This is something that I wrote a few weeks ago that was suppose to be the return piece for FTG, but directions have changed since then and I wanted to start of with the Tribal Wheel, which I will be continuing next week.
Until next time, stay Chaotic everyone!
Hello, and welcome to the return of From the Gauntlet where we tour the creative side of this game by creating new and hopefully fun decks! And on this little journey, I am your trusty navigator, Occasus. For those of you who remember me, I do hope those memories are fond ones, but if this is your first time reading one of these, I hope you enjoy it!
Today I’ve made you guys an Inquisitor deck. I came up with this deck all the way back in December when the World Championships was right around the corner. Inquisitor deck concepts aren’t run of the mill. Sometimes, playing something that your opponents aren’t used to playing against is more valuable than playing a slightly strong, but more commonplace, deck. That is exactly what I wanted to achieve with this deck.
If you’re still reading and haven’t just skipped to my deck by now, thank you, but I think we all want to just skip to the chase!
1 2 3
1. Tartarek, Psi Overloader/Destrucozooka
2. Fal’Makin, AZAI Inquisitor/Citadel Loadstone
3. Tartarek, Psi Overloader/Destrucozooka
4. Magmon, Retaliator/Bimowercycle
5. Lord Van Bloot, Servant of Aa’une/Bonzeflight
6. Milla’Iin, Foothold Commander/Weightless Energy Vessel
2x Nurishing Nocturne
1x Psionic Serenade
1x Surprising Riffs
1x Void Dirge
1x Prelude to Dominance
1x Primal Smash
2x Invaders’ Tactics
2x Marksmen’s Preparation
2x Geyser Gush
2x Flood Force
2x Purifying Mud
2x Piercing Brilliance
1x Retaliatory Strike
2x Symmetry Slam
2x Mount Pillar Reservoir, Foothold
2x Lake Ken-I-Po
2x Najarin’s Castle
2x Castle Bohdran
2x Runic Grove
One to all of the fun little features of this deck. We have the Fal’Makin and Milla’Iin combo so we can keep bringing back mugic each turn, but it gets a little more complex than that. Before we can start bringing back our mugic, we need to use all of the mugic counters on our creatures.
The Early Game
In the first few turns, you actually don’t want to get Fal’Makin Engaged. He is better saved for the late game. Get into combat with your Tartareks. You can use Magmon’s Bi-Mowercycle to jump over the front line, or if that only leads to more fights with big fighters, you still shouldn’t have too much to worry about. Use the nourishing nocturnes to sacrifice Magmon, Lord Van Bloot if you aren’t worried about Milla’Iin being attacked, or a Tartarek that already flipped up his Destructazooka. Then you can use Psionic Serenade to really deal some damage to any creature you have trouble with.
The Mid Game
The mid game is where this deck is at its weakest. You may have used up your powerful mugic, but still have mugic counters left on your creatures if you used Fal’Makin’s ability. There is more than enough mugic to cast to get read of your mugic counter reserves in the first couple of turns. Once all of your mugic counters are gone, you get back one mugic a turn so make it count. Psionic Serenade is a great pick, but you are limited to how many minions you have left in your discard pile, so you should to bring back a Nurishing Nocturne every now and again.
The End Game
You have the potential to cast upwards of 4 psionic serenades in one game. Make sure you get the most of them! If you win each of those battles (getting 65-70 damage to them right off the bat probably will do that for you) that still leaves two more creatures you need to deal with. Maybe they will be mugic casters, or maybe you didn’t have the time to return the psionic serenades, you don’t know how the end game will work out. It would be wise to avoid engaging any creatures on your turn. This will lessen the combats in between the mugic boon on your turns.
Just like every deck, this one can run into some problems. Decks with Cromaxx will severely mess with you. Your psionic serenades are useless against him, so you will need to out muscle him. Again, this is not something that this deck is all that great at. Luckily, you still have Tartareks that are good enough fighters, and Nourishing Nocturne which are a great way to get the edge over your opponent.
I’m pretty fond of this deck. It’s a deck your opponent isn’t used to fighting and that is good enough to play right there.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Out of anythingI have ever written, by FAR the favorite has been the Color Wheel. Since I completely ripped off the idea from Mark Rosewater and Magic the Gathering, I don’t deserve too much credit. So I will be posting five short articles for each tribe with an added deck loyal to the values of the tribe.
What is the Overworld known for?
High Wisdom: Although this isn’t set in stone in every situation, but Overworld’s main stat is wisdom and its main element is water.
High Mugic Counters: No tribe can match the Overworld in terms of raw mugic ability. They have the more creatures with 2 and 3 mugic counters than any other tribe.
Healing: No one can compete with the amount of healing mugic and abilities that the Overworld has. From Song of Resurgence to Donmar, Tablet Translator, healing is what makes the Overworld the Overworld.
Elements: Each tribe has two or three elements that it focuses on mostly, and the Overworld is no exception, but you cannot overlook its focus on elementalists and element gain. too
Support X: Support X is an ability that is chiefly tied to Overworlders. Although there aren’t that many creatures with support nowadays, it has still been unique to the Overworld.
Counter Mugic: Every tribe has some way to deal with mugic and abilities, but Overworld has more counter mugic than anyone else.
Mugic Recycle: Two incarnations of Najarin and Mugic Reprise, make the Overworld is great at letting you reuse your mugic.
Reduce Damage: Although Mipedians are the king at reducing attacks, and reflecting them as well as mugic, Overworld does have a trend of reducing damage to their creatures. Symphany of Shielding, Lomma and Illiar all reduce damage.
Stat Reset: Less of a huge theme and more of a quirk, a couple creatures have the ability to reset either their own stats or elements to their scanned values.
Even though the Overworld may not have a monopoly on all of these abilities, they all make up a common theme. Each one of these abilities is insignificant while by itself, but when put together, they begin to create the Overworld’s identity as a tribe.
Overworlders Are Survivors
Above all things, Overworlders are survivors. Their most prominent ability is healing. If a creature is hurt, they will be healed. One huge strategy that is often used is to simply outlast your opponent. If your are against someone who is playing Overworld, chances are that the battle won’t end as soon as you would like, because their creatures are going to last much longer than what their scanned energies would tell you. With the ability to bring back their mugic in combination with their high mugic counters, Overworlders are in it for the long haul.
Overworlders Believe in Unity
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for most of you. Overworld has a large portion of creatures whose sole purpose is to help other creatures. I doubt Donmar, Tablet Translator will be using his ability to heal himself as much as he heals all of his allied creatures around him. The Support ability encourages teamwork between your creatures. Keep them together, and as a group you will be stronger that the sum or your parts. If we go all the way back to the Dawn of Perim Block, I’d like to bring up both Raznus and Kinnianne, the Ambassadors to the Danian and Mipedian tribes. The Overworld knows a thing or two about Diplomacy. Overworlders are firm believers in the united we stand, divided we fall mentality.
Overworlders Are a Defensive Tribe
After looking through all of this tribes mugic, I noticed that there isn’t a single purely offensive mugic out of any of them. In fact, only two could deal damage to an opposing creature, and one gave you the option to heal your creature instead! The other, much more famous mugic card is Rhyme of the Reckless. This card is by far one of the strongest mugic for dealing damage to your opponent at a low cost, but it isn’t an offensive card. You need to be attacked first. You aren’t allowed to take action to deal damage to your opponent first with this card. You will also see a couple of cards that only effect your opponent’s creatures if they are on your side of the battleboard. Cards like Hornsabre and Korg emphasize the Overworld’s desire to be defensive.
1 2 3
1. Najarin, High Muge of the Lake/Mipedian Balladeer’s Flute
2. Maxxor, Protector of Perim/Orchis Undin
3. Tangath Toborn, In Training/Citadel Fragments
4. Lomma, Desert Wanderer/ Sun Chariot of Kehn-Sep
5. Karraba/Mipedian Balladeer’s Flute
6. Karraba/Weightless Energy Vessle
2x Refrain of Denial
2x Rhyme of the Reckless
2x Symphony of Shielding
2x Castle Momark
2x Kaizeph, City of the Elements
2x The Darkened Dunes
2x The Rao'Pa Sahkk Chimegrid
2x Quick Exit
2x Shadow Strike
2x Elemental Oxidation
2x Force Balls
2x Purifying Mud
1x Primal Smash
1x Thermal Ring
2x Directed Bravery
2x Retaliatory Strike
I tried to keep this deck within the themes of the Overworld that we went over in this article. You have a lot of healing in this deck that you can use to keep Maxxor alive, and even if he falls you can bring him back with Castle Momark.
You should attack with Maxxor early on in the game. It’s as simple as that. He’s your best fighter, and keeping him alive and the combat long will give you a leg up. You can use Symphony of Shielding and Refrain of Denial to help Maxxor and your mugic casters last longer. You may have Najarin on the front lines, so you’ll need to make use of Lomma’s defender. Keeping her alive to protect Karraba and Najarin is a must.
Outside of that, there isn’t much more to this deck. Make sure you keep combats as drawn out as you can while Maxxor is engaged and remember to use the Mipedian Balladeer’s Flutes with Karraba and Najarin!