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Topics - lettucemode

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Spellbook Design and Construction / My lil' imp buddy and me
« on: July 22, 2014, 12:29:58 PM »
A buddy book with the Arraxian Crown Warlock and Sersiryx.

My lil' imp buddy and meWarlock
Attack2 x  Fireball2 x  Flameblast2 x  Force Hammer1 x  Ring of FireConjuration1 x  Battle Forge1 x  Deathlock1 x  Mana Prism1 x  Poison Gas CloudCreature1 x  Sersiryx, Imp FamiliarEnchantment2 x  Agony1 x  Arcane Corruption2 x  Block2 x  Brace Yourself1 x  Bull Endurance2 x  Chains of Agony1 x  Circle of Fire1 x  Death Link2 x  Enchantment Transfusion2 x  Enfeeble2 x  Ghoul Rot1 x  Healing Charm2 x  Magebane2 x  Maim Wings1 x  Mongoose Agility2 x  Nullify2 x  Poisoned Blood1 x  Rhino Hide1 x  Reverse Magic1 x  Rise AgainEquipment1 x  Cloak of Shadows1 x  Demonhide Armor1 x  Dragonscale Hauberk1 x  Elemental Cloak1 x  Enchanter's Ring1 x  Helm of Fear1 x  Lash of Hellfire1 x  Leather Boots1 x  Leather Gloves1 x  Moloch's Torment1 x  Ring of Curses1 x  Sectarus, Dark Rune SwordIncantation3 x  Dispel3 x  Dissolve1 x  Seeking Dispel
Total cost: 120 pts

Now that FiF is out on OCTGN, you'll probably see me playing some variant of this book. I just threw it together over lunch, so there's definitely some room for improvement. Already I am thinking of pulling out the Deathlock, Rhino Hide, and maybe the gas cloud, too.

Turn 1, 19 mana: sprint to NC, Battle Forge
Turn 2, 20 mana: deploy Enchanter's Ring, summon Sersiryx, cast Brace Yourself on Sersiryx
Turn 3, 15 mana: start adapting. It'd be good to deploy Ring of Curses at this point if possible

With 14 mana to work with and two discount rings on in Round 3, this build has a lot of flexibility. You can go offensive or defense with your equipment and enchantments. Some interesting synergies I see:
  • Sersiryx can cast Curses on your mage, which can then be transferred to the enemy Mage with a single Enchantment Transfusion. Stack 'em twice as fast!
  • With an additional curse action each turn, Moloch's Torment gets a lot more value, especially if the opponent has several creatures out.
  • Sersiryx is resistant to the most popular Unavoidable attack: Flameblast.
  • Worried about Harshforge Monolith with all those enchantments out? Drop a Mana Prism and lighten the load, then take it out with Force Hammers.

Obviously keeping Sersiryx alive for as long as possible is important, so there's a fair investment in keeping him alive and happy, but I think the additional Curse every round makes up for it.

Spells / Fortified Position vs. Sacred Ground
« on: May 08, 2014, 09:21:25 AM »
Fortified Position
Sacred Ground

I have seen a couple of recommendations for Druid or Necromancer books to include Fortified Position to aid their armor-less creatures (Plants and Skeletons), but I never see any recommendations for Sacred Ground.

Aegis 1 is flat out better than +2 armor. Armor can be crit through, but you can't crit on a die you never roll. The only other difference between these spells is school. War is triple for the Druid, so she should always choose Sacred Ground. Holy is triple for the Necromancer, however the guaranteed reduced damage might be worth that 2 extra spellbook points over Fortified Position. Depends on the book though.

Every other mage should choose Sacred Ground, hands down, with the exception of the Warlord because the Ring of Command lets him reveal Fortified Position for one less mana and it's in-school for him. Doesn't change the fact that Sacred Ground has a better effect, though.

Has Sacred Ground been generally forgotten, or is there something else I'm missing?

Website Support and Feedback / Delays when accessing site
« on: March 28, 2014, 08:56:24 AM »
Starting a couple of days ago, I have noticed occasional slow responses from the web server. I will type "forum.arcanewonders.com" into my address bar or click on a link, and then wait for a good 20-30 seconds before the next page loads. I have noticed this behavior on my work computer, home computer, and phone. This issue is intermittent for me - it doesn't happen on every request.

I still find the site very usable, just an FYI :)

Rules Discussion / Thorg Taunt + Teleport
« on: March 10, 2014, 12:55:15 PM »
Thorg is in one zone, his controlling mage and an enemy Grizzly are in an adjacent zone. Thorg taunts the Grizzly. The Grizzly's controller teleports the Grizzly one zone such that he is two zones away from Thorg. The Grizzly is activated and wants to move into its original zone to attack the Mage. Can it do this?

The rulebook says "If the Taunted creature is in a zone adjacent to Thorg, then it must either move into Thorg’s zone, or make a ranged attack which targets Thorg, if able." This seems to suggest that the Grizzly would have to attempt the double-move into Thorg's zone after moving into the Mage's zone, since there is no restriction on when the Taunt is checked. However he would be hindered by the Mage after making the first move and so could not complete the double-move, leaving him free to attack. If the Grizzly was Elusive however, he must double-move to Thorg's zone.

The FAQ says "When that creature is activated, its controller must determine if it can make a ranged attack against Thorg, or move into Thorg’s zone. If it is able to do either of these, it must take one of those actions." This also suggests that the Grizzly must double move into Thorg's zone but is less restrictive. The Taunt is checked at the time of the Grizzly's activation and Thorg is reachable with a double-move if there is a non-hindering path, and the Grizzly is forced to take that path.

What say you?

Spells / Mana cost of life, armor, attacks, and traits
« on: December 12, 2013, 02:09:41 PM »
I was inspired by the "Most Efficient Creature" thread to try and come up with a simple calculation for how much creature stats cost in terms of mana. How much are you paying for Fast or that 8+ 1x Defense? Do any traits cost more on certain categories of creatures but less on others? Why is Steelclaw Grizzly so good, anyway? Let's find out!

Before I start, I'd like to say that I've been analyzing a lot of the creatures with this method and it seems to work out pretty consistently for all of them. The goal is to provide a quick gauge of a creature's worth from just a quick glance at the card. However playtesting is always more valuable than figuring stuff out on paper. So if you notice any discrepancies between what my formula gives and how the creature actually plays, please leave a comment and let us all know! There is also still a lot of gray area at this point, so I hope this post provokes some discussion. Without further ado...

The Method
This method uses the creatures Goblin Grunt, Orc Butcher, and Timber Wolf as a "base reference" against which everything else can be compared. These creatures were chosen because they have no traits and a single quick action melee attack which also has no traits.

Let's start with the Grunt. He costs 4 mana and has 4 life, 0 armor, and 3 attack dice. Based on this, I made the following initial assumptions:
  • Each point of health and armor is worth one mana.
  • A quick action melee attack of 3 dice is worth zero mana.
Now let's apply this to the Butcher. He has 10 life, 1 armor, and a quick action melee attack of 4 dice. If we figure that every die above 3 is worth 1 mana, his expected mana cost is 12. But his actual cost is 8! Hmm, let's try the Timber Wolf. It has 10 life, 2 armor, and a quick action melee attack of 4. So he should cost 13 mana, but the card says 9!

Notice anything similar about the expected vs. actual cost for those two creatures? The actual cost is 4 below the expected cost. So I made another assumption:
  • If a creature's level is 2 or above, their cost is reduced by Level * 2. (this implies that higher level creatures are more mana efficient than lower level ones)
Therefore, the equation for Lettucemode's Simple Cost Calculation (LSC for short) is:

Mana cost = Life + Armor + AttackWorth + TraitWorth - 2 * Level if not level 1

Life, Armor, and the level adjustment should make sense to you by now, so let's go into the other two.

Judging the Worth of Attacks with LSC
As stated above, a quick action melee attack of 3 dice with no traits is worth 0 mana - you can just slap it on any creature without adjusting its mana cost. Every extra or fewer die is worth 1 more or less mana, respectively.

As an example, let's take a look at Darkfenne Bat. Mana Cost = 4 life + 0 armor + (-1 + Value of 9+ Rot) + (Value of Flying) - (0 for level 1). If we assume that Flying and a 9+ Rot are both worth 1 mana, then the formula works out! Pretty neat.

********** Is Flying really worth only 1 mana? Further analysis down in the Traits section. **************

Now that we have an idea how much Rot costs, let's take a look at Emerald Tegu! 8 health, 3 armor, a quick melee attack of 3 with 8+ Rot, and level 2 with an actual cost of 9. We can solve for the cost of 8+ Rot here. Mana Cost of 9 = 8 health + 3 armor + (0 + X) + 0 Traits - (2 * 2). Solving this tells us that 8+ Rot is worth 2 mana. But wait, wasn't Darkfenne Bat's 9+ Rot worth 1 mana above? Why is 8+ Rot valued at 2 mana, but 9+ Rot is only 1? Here's our first interesting discovery: is 8+ Rot really worth 2 mana when 9+ Rot is only 1? That depends on you. If you don't think that an additional 8.3% chance to inflict Rot is worth 1 mana, then it follows that Emerald Tegu is 1 mana overpriced. Cool stuff.

Let's do Dark Pact Slayer. I'll leave the math as an exercise to the reader and just tell you that if we assume that each Piercing +1 is worth 1 mana, and that Flame -2 is also worth 1 mana, then the formula places DPS's mana cost at 14. However, his actual cost is 13! So if you agree with my assumptions from 2 sentences ago, DPS is underpriced by 1 mana! I think we can agree that he certainly feels that way, he's a strong creature for sure.

Ranged Attacks
Some creatures have a ranged attack. What should those be worth? To find out, let's take a look at the Goblin Slinger. If he didn't have the ranged attack, LSC tells us that he should cost 1 mana, woah! That means that his ranged attack of 1-2 zones for 3 dice is worth 6 mana! We can use this as a basis to judge other ranged attacks.

Take the Royal Archer. Without her ranged attack, she's worth a mere 3 mana. So her ranged attack must be valued at 9 to get her up to her actual cost of 12 mana. However, compared to the Goblin Slinger's ranged attack, it should only be valued at 8 (one extra die, piercing +1). So is Royal Archer overpriced, or are extra dice on ranged attacks worth more than on melee attacks? Up to you :)

Trait Analysis under LSC
For the purposes of keeping this post less than a billion pages long, I am going to judge the worth of just the Flying trait in this section. You all should be able to follow my methodology to guesstimate at the other traits.

What are some creatures that have flying? Darkfenne Bat we've already been over, and that analysis suggested that Flying was valued at 1 mana. Let's go through some other creatures and see what it's worth on them. I am going to make a lot of unwritten assumptions here as the other traits and attacks on the creature could affect the worth of Flying. How much they do is up for debate!
  • Thunderift Falcon - 1 mana (note that this implies that Fast is free!)
  • Samandriel - 4 or 5 mana, depending on how much her attack is worth (it's a lot)
  • Gray Angel - 2 or 3 mana, depending on how much Redeeming Sacrifice is worth
  • Adramelech - 3-4 mana, depending on attack worth.
So it looks like the cost of Flying increases as all other stats increase, generally. Also, Samandriel may be a tad overpriced.

Interesting Findings
  • Level 1 Animal creatures are about 3 mana underpriced (Fast is free on them, which costs about 3 on other creatures). Level 1 creatures in general are a couple mana underpriced.
  • The combination of Nonliving and Psychic Immunity is priced at -1 mana under LCS. Examples: Skeletal Minion, Skeletal Knight
  • An 8+, 1x Defense costs 5 mana. Examples: Knight of Westlock, Skeletal Knight
  • Steelclaw Grizzly is underpriced by 2 mana, that is the most I've seen for that level of creature so far. If you value the full attack at 1 or 2 mana less due to the difficulty in using it, than the underprice-ing is even greater.
  • Thorg's Taunt is worth 8 mana.
  • The Familiar trait is worth about 4 mana.
  • The combination of traits on Zombies is valued at around +4 under LCS.
  • Asyran Cleric's heal ability is priced at -1 under LCS. As in he should cost 6 mana even without that ability.
Take this formula and see what you can figure out!

Rules Discussion / Thorg vs. Thoughtspore
« on: December 02, 2013, 09:42:56 AM »
A Thoughtspore has Force Hammer bound to it. Thorg taunts it from 1 zone away. Can the Thoughtspore cast and attack with Force Hammer or does it need to move into Thorg's zone and melee attack him?

When this came up, we ruled that it had to melee attack Thorg, since Thorg's Taunt text says that a Taunted creature can only attack or move and attack, not cast spells. What do you guys think?

Spellbook Design and Construction / Warlord - Creature Control
« on: November 26, 2013, 04:07:56 PM »
Now that the new forum-spellbook feature is in beta, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share the Warlord spellbook I've been putting together. I was getting tired of all the "whatever the Warlord can do, the Earth Wizard does better" comments, so I set out to make a spellbook that the Earth Wizard couldn't do. I took some hints from reddawn's comments in various Warlord threads, and ended up with a defensive deck that uses War's strong creatures to control the battlefield, outlast any pressure, and strike back quickly. Without further ado...

Warlord Creature ControlWarlord
Attack2 x  Hurl BoulderEnchantment1 x  Armor Ward1 x  Divine Might2 x  Fortified Position1 x  Mind Shield2 x  Retaliate1 x  Rhino Hide1 x  Standard Bearer1 x  VampirismConjuration1 x  Akiro's Hammer1 x  Barracks2 x  Garrison Post1 x  Mana Flower1 x  Mangler Caltrops1 x  Mohktari, Great Tree of Life2 x  QuicksandCreature1 x  Bridge Troll2 x  Dwarf Kriegsbiel1 x  Dwarf Panzergarde3 x  Orc Butcher1 x  Sir Corazin, Blademaster1 x  Thorg, Chief Bodyguard2 x  Iron Golem1 x  Tarok, the SkyhunterIncantation2 x  Battle Fury2 x  Charge2 x  Dispel2 x  Dissolve2 x  Evade2 x  Perfect Strike2 x  Piercing Strike2 x  Power Strike1 x  Shift EnchantmentEquipment2 x  Helm of Command1 x  Horn of Gothos1 x  Leather Boots1 x  Leather Gloves1 x  Ring of Command1 x  Dragonscale Hauberk1 x  Eagleclaw Boots
Total cost: 120 pts

This book's opener is: put the Mana Flower down in your start zone and run to near center. You want to start hemming them in ASAP. On turn 2, you have 24 mana and freedom to summon something based on what you think the enemy will do.
   -If you think they'll summon a big creature (or a few mediums), bring out Thorg.
   -If you think they'll swarm, summon Sir Corazin and the Kriegsbiels after.
   -If they're gonna turtle, out-turtle them with the Barracks and Outposts.
After that, you play it kind of like the Forcemaster Grizzly opening: for each round, alternate between summoning something big and casting small buff spells.

Now I'll go through some of the cards and explain my thought process behind them.

Armor Ward - it's easy to get around a Nullify to Dissolve something with cheap extra spell. This card on the other hand isn't "consumed" by a throwaway incantation or enchantment. Lots of players plan their mana costs out pretty precisely, so an extra 4 mana when they don't expect it can really screw with their plans for the turn, and might even end up preventing that Dissolve anyway.

Fortified Position, Standard Bearer, Mohktari - With all the full-action-attack or Slow creatures in this book, they have a tendency to stay in a particular zone for three or more rounds. These cards will help your troops take far less damage from Zone Attacks or whatever else if they get locked down or focus a single target.

Tarok - great anti-flyer control. He probably won't stop an Angel, but he'll give them a good bit of trouble.

Vampirism, Mangler Caltrops - For Thorg! Put the Vampirism on Thorg and he'll last a long time. Place the Caltrops in Thorg's zone for a little extra damage every time he Taunts something.

Bridge Troll - lasts forever and can be buffed by the Warlord's innate abilities. Just don't bring him out against a Warlock.

Orc Butchers - amazing attack and health for their cost.

Sir Corazin, Kriegsbiels - Two creatures with Sweeping in a zone will clear it out in an awful hurry. Two Kriegsbiels alone can handle a low level Beastmaster swarm.

All the Command Incantations - with the Warlord, I prefer to use the Command Incantation equivalent of other enchantment spells (for example, Evade vs. Mongoose Agility) for a couple of reasons. One, they're not dispel-able or counterable (unless your opponent wants to burn all his Nullifys on your creatures). Two, they're super cheap! Each of the Strikes only costs 1 spellbook point and 1 mana per use with Command Ring. Three, reacting to an opponent's plays is far cheaper, both in mana cost and spellbook points (switch your Helm to Piercing Strike if they bring out a high-armor creature, switch it to Perfect Strike against something with a Defense, etc). It ends up costing extra actions, but hey, with this defensive commander style of book and your strong creatures, you have room to do so.

Some changes I'm considering:
-Ditch Mohktari for more Blocks, Shift Enchantments, or Fortified Positions
-Ditch the Barracks and Outposts for another creature or two, maybe Akiro's Battle Cry.
-Maybe another Ring of Command. It is such a mana-saver in this book that smart opponents may Dissolve it, so a backup would be handy.
-Trade the Vampirism for Regrowth, which is cheaper in both mana and spellbook points. Vampirism heals more on average though. Maybe make room for a Circle of Lighting on Thorg, too.

Let me know what you think. I've had some great fun with this book.

Spells / Multi-school spells
« on: November 14, 2013, 04:12:53 PM »
I really like the idea of multi-school spells. Two different approaches to magic coming together and unleashing a new energy or beast upon the world, as terrifying and wondrous as them both (hey, I tried). This thread is intended to be a discussion of the currently released multicolored spells. Does their multicolored nature match up to their theme? Are they everything that they could be? Let's find out!

Battle Forge

We begin with a card that is strong in both theme and execution. Battle Forge pounds out equipment for your mage to wear even in the midst of battle. It is a perfect blend of the War and Fire schools, and reminds me of that scene in <any war movie> where the smiths are making swords and armor for battle. It's so straightforward and effective that I don't have much else to say about it. I give Battle Forge 5 hammers out of 5.

Renewing Spring

Another strong card, but the theme of this one is not as resonant. Why is there a level of Nature thrown in there? The card provides healing and condition removal - both of which have firm precedence in Holy magic. Is there anything about this card that says "Nature"? I see nothing. I suspect that this card was made multischool so that all mages would pay a minimum of three spellbook points for it. Besides that, I can't think of a reason it's not simply a Level 2 Holy spell. Renewing Spring gets 3 Dixie cups out of 5.

Adramelech, Lord of Fire

Ahh, Adramelech, everyone's favorite flying demon lord person. Adramelech is a great blend of the Dark and Fire schools. All other Demons are Dark school only, so it makes sense that the big guy is more Dark than Fire. 4 Dark and 2 Fire means he's a little less Warlock-exclusive than he could be - the Necromancer can give him a slot in the spellbook for 8 points. Too many levels in Fire, for example if he were 4 Fire and 2 Dark, would make him an attractive choice for Fire Wizards, so let's be thankful his school levels fell where they did. Adramelech gets 5 fiery scythes out of 5 from me.

Bridge Troll

(gosh, some of these images have really large sizes)

Okay, let's think about this. What kind of Nature spells does the Beastmaster specialize in? Correct, it's Animals. What kind of Nature spells does the Druid specialize in? Plants and Vines, right again! Does the Troll subtype currently have any synergies with anything else? Nope! Does the Soldier subtype? Yep, the Warlord is great with Soldiers!

...so why, why, WHY does the Warlord pay more for this guy than either of the Nature mages!? I mean seriously, would any Beastmaster book use this over an Animal creature, like the Steelclaw Grizzly for only 4 mana more? Would any Druid use it over a Plant or Vine creature?

I think Bridge Troll should have been 2 War, 1 Nature. The Regenerate 3 is not enough to justify 2 levels in Nature on a Soldier creature. Trolls regenerating is a fantasy trope found in lots of places and environments, it is not specific to Nature trolls. And costing the Warlord more spellbook points than Thorg, Chief Badass is just nonsensical. Bridge Troll is a strong player when he hits the board, but thanks to his weird multi-schooling, getting him there is so awkward that he often just gets neglected. Bridge Troll gets 2 dark, smelly bridge underpasses out of 5.

Galador, Protector of Straywood

Now here is a creature whose multiple schools were well thought out! Galador is a level 4 creature who costs every mage at least 5 spellbook points due to his sheer awesomeness. A great forest protector, taking the form of a stag? That's worth 3 Nature levels right there. Throw in a level of Air for the lightning and you've got a creature that's fun to play, very effective, and most importantly, his multiple schools make sense. I give Galador 5 thunderbolts out of 5, and they're the big, loud, awesome kind of thunderbolts.

Screech Harpy

I think an opportunity was missed by making the Screech Harpy 2 Arcane. The 1 Wind makes sense, but the Arcane just seems like the designers really wanted Wizards to use this card. I think that the Arcane 2 should be Mind 2 instead. Don't agree? Look at the flavor text. Look at the Maddening Shriek attack. Consider that the Siren will probably specialize in the Psychic subtype of the Mind school. Harpy is a pretty good control creature that would probably be more popular if the Forcemaster could efficiently use it to help control the board. If the Siren ends up having good control options, Screech Harpy might have seen more play when she came out. As it stands, with the schools limiting this card to pretty much Wizard only and all Zombies being immune to its best attack, Screech Harpy is merely a novelty. 3 maddening shrieks out of 5.

Armor Ward

This spell just seems...confused. It's a Protection spell, so it's Holy. It protects your armor though, so it's War. Then I guess it also interferes with magical effects like Dissolve, so it's Metamagic? Even though Arcane (where the rest of the Metamagic stuff is) and War are supposed to be opposing schools, in a sense? Okay... The card itself is fine. I think it will make a lot more thematic sense when the Paladin comes out. Right now though, the combination of War and Holy isn't very intuitive. 3 frustrated Dissolve attempts out of 5.

Spiked Pit

A simple card, but nice. Themes of War and Earth (digging a trap for one's enemies) is well communicated. Level 1 of both schools is appropriate for the single attack and Stuck condition this card gives. Not much else to say really, except that it's maybe not the most exciting card. 4 bloody spikes out of 5 from me!

Turn to Stone

I haven't had the privilege of seeing this card in any of my games, but I like it. This card may seem inferior to Force Hold/Crush until you realize that it Incapacitates whereas those other spells merely Restrain. Primarily Arcane with a dash of Earth magic makes perfect thematic sense! 5 garden sculptures out of 5.

Renewing Rain
(no image yet)

Renewing Rain is a Level 1 Holy and Level 1 Water spell that removes all burn conditions from all objects in the arena and heals them a little bit. This is another perfect blend of schools. It's possible that the Nature school could have been thrown in there somewhere but I am glad it was left out. A healing, soothing rain is a great mental image and a perfect example of what multischool spells can be. I give it 5 happy, not-on-fire flowers out of 5!

Strategy and Tactics / Gate to Hell rush
« on: September 27, 2013, 11:49:23 AM »
Hey all,

I really, really like the idea behind Gate to Hell, so yesterday I spent some time trying to figure out a cool opening for it. I realize that Gate to Hell will probably not be winning tournaments anytime soon :) this opener is more a fun experimental idea. I'll probably run it against my friends, that sort of thing.

One of the issues getting a Gate to Hell out is that it takes a full action to cast AND a full action to open.  So to help mitigate that, we're going to use a Goblin Builder!

Round 1:
19 mana
Move to middle row, Crystal + Crystal -> 9 mana.

Round 2:
20 mana
Full cast Goblin Builder, quickcast Rouse the Beast, sprint Goblin Builder to far center -> 14 mana.

Round 3:
25 mana
Goblin uses full action to build Gate to Hell, Mage uses full action to open it -> 1 mana. (poor goblin)

From there the player would have 12 mana the following round and could start summoning a demon every turn. Say, Imp, then Hellion, then Slayer, etc.

You also have the option to save the Gate + Open combo for a later round if, say, the opposing mage doesn't have any creatures out yet. Just have the Builder prepare the Gate each round, and play with your mage normally until the time is right to strike.

Any thoughts? It kinda sucks that opening the Gate doesn't attack conjurations but that's the way it goes I guess. Also if your opponent so happens to have two Hydro spells ready to go the gate will probably die pretty quick. Still, 11 health and 3 armor can take a beating.

I'm holding out hope that some not-yet-spoiled cards in the expansion will help this strategy out. Probably shouldn't bet on that though :)

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