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Author Topic: A simple Beastmaster  (Read 7073 times)

TricksterHat

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A simple Beastmaster
« on: April 27, 2013, 10:59:03 AM »
Hello All

I have received great input here, and now I will try to post a simple Beastmaster build.

Note: I have not played the expansion, so there might be things there I havn't considered.

The idea is to build a mana-efficent army that don't rely on any single thing and can respond to most threats in a mana-efficient way. Creatures and enchantments being the most mana-efficient as I see it.

Attack
Geyser

Conjuration
Mana Flower x2
Tanglevine x2
Tooth & Nail
Hand of Bim-Shalla x2

Creature
Bitterwood Fox  x3
Cervere, The Forest Shadow
Emerald Tegu
Fellella, Pixie Familiar
Mountain Gorilla
Redclaw, Alpha Male
Sosruko, Ferret Companion
Steelclaw Grizzly
Tarok, the Skyhunter
Thunderift Falcon
Timber Wolf x2

Enchantment
Bear Strength  x2
Bull Endurance
Cheetah Speed
Eagle Wings
Mongoose Agility
Regrowth
Rhino Hide
Harmonize
Nullify
Reverse Magic
Reverse Attack
Divine Protection
Marked for Death
Poisoned Blood
Maim Wings

Equipment
Bearskin
Regrowth Belt
Ring of Beasts
Staff of Beasts
Elemental Cloak
Mage Wand
Gauntlets of Strength
Leather Boots

Incantation
Rouse the Beast
Dispel  x2
Seeking Dispel ) x2
Shift Enchantment  
Force Push  
Knockdown
Sleep
Minor Heal  x2
Purify
Battle Fury  
Perfect Strike
Dissolve  x2

Standard opening:
Turn 1: Two Bitterwod foxes, make one your pet (7 mana) or 1 fox + 1 falcon if you want to save your fox for combo with Redclaw.
Turn 2: Move one, Mana flower+Harmonize (8 mana).
Turn 3: 19 mana. From here it depends on your opponent and what you perceive as his or hers greatest weakness. You could gear up, cast Fellela, or a big creature.

The idea is to put pressure on your opponent from the beginning while also securing a fair manabase. Now you have an idea of what your opponent is about and can respond accordingly. Keep applying pressure while building your strength with creatures and enchantments, but don't be too impatient. Remember that every creature and enchantment is expendable and make sure your opponent don't get time to build a deadly combo. If your opponent is aggressive, build your defenses and turn them into offense when the time is right.

I havn't tried against an aggro-Warlock and it would probably require a more defensive opening, but I think the defenses would hold if you play well.

Drawback: You can't summon deadly force very quickly

I actually think the Beastmaster is a bit boring, but damn his creature are efficient.

What do you think?

TricksterHat

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 11:24:42 AM »
I should mention that it is an attempt to do something else than the obvious Lair-tactic, while retaining a simply build. It is of course great, but it gets old fast I think. And I have always liked to play a bit more reactive. But perhaps this is too simplistic?

sdougla2

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 02:30:55 PM »
My Beastmaster doesn't use the Lair either. It's a good card, but it really locks you into spamming creatures. It looks like you're BM is a midrange build, which is something the BM is good at. Here are a few thoughts on various card choices:

Why do you use Staff of Beasts over Mage Staff? Staff of Beasts might be good with Lair, since you don't need to use your quickcast to cast spells as badly, but spending a quickcast for +2 melee once or healing 2 dice doesn't seem very strong to me when you aren't using a powerful action advantage card like Lair. Mage Staff is cheaper, and it gives reach and ethereal, which are things your BM can struggle with normally. Besides, I'd rather use Wand of Healing (promo card) for the heal effect, since it can also cure conditions.

If you're going to open with Harmonize on turn 2, isn't it pretty much strictly better to use Moonglow Amulet? Equipment cards are much less vulnerable than enchantments, and your opponent can't destroy multiple pieces of equipment with a single card.

I personally think you're under utilizing Quick Summoning. Being able to summon reinforcements with a quick action is incredible, and allows you to not lose attacks when summoning creatures. It also lets you swarm, if your opponent seems weak to that. It's less essential for Lair builds, but it lets the BM be so flexible.

I really prefer to get a big creature out early before playing small creatures. How much does it really help to have 2 foxes out that early? They can't attack the enemy mage head on, or they'll get killed for very little return, and it makes you more vulnerable early to Suppression Orb, Mordok's Obelisk, and Idol of Pestilence.

You have so many big creatures. When are you actually going to play them all? You can get 1-2 out fairly early, but then you'll need to save up mana by doing cheap stuff for a while or waste actions doing nothing in order to have the mana to summon more big creatures.

I haven't been that impressed with Maim Wings or Bull Endurance. Mage Staff and Thunderdrift Falcons are generally better ways of dealing with flying creatures. Reverse Magic seems a bit expensive to include, and I'd rather run another Nullify and something else.

You should run at least one Vampirism. It's my favorite method of healing, and can make a Steelclaw Grizzly or your Mage incredibly resilient.

Minor Heal doesn't seem great for the BM.

Why don't you run another Tooth and Nail? The bonuses stack, and piercing +2 makes Timber Wolves and level 1 animals much more threatening, not to mention a 7-11 dice attack (depending on how buffed it is) from a Steelclaw Grizzly with piercing +3 is incredibly threatening.

Teleport is much stronger position control than Force Push. The main advantage of Force Push for a BM is pushing someone through a Wall of Thorns, which you aren't running anyway.

I like using curses in my BM build. While I include Marked for Death and Poison Blood, I also run Ghoul Rot and Agony. Agony helps with guards and double/triplestirke creatures. It's less important if your'e using mostly big creatures, but it's just such an efficient answer to a number of threats that you should consider it.

If you have the expansion, Falcon Precision deserves a place.

I don't think the BM is boring. Quick Summoning allows him to be much more free form with his turns than the other mages, and I really like Fellella. Having such good fast/flying creature options really opens up his mobility options as well.

I wouldn't say that animals are super efficient on their own either. There are efficient animals, but a number of them have weak enough attacks that they really need support. The thing about animals is that you can buff them incredibly efficiently. Tooth and Nail, Rajan's Fury, Call of the Wild, and Redclaw are all efficient ways to buff many creatures at once, most of them for the long term. Pet is perhaps the most action efficient buff in the game, and incredibly mana efficient. Add in Fellella and nature buffs and the BM is incredible at supporting his creatures.
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Fentum

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 05:00:30 PM »
Hi Sdougla2,

I'm new to the game, but a keen student of tactics and I have to say I'm enjoying your various posts on the forums.

BM summoning ability seems wildly strong as I work through the apprentice books, but looking at some other cards, I get the feeling that a low level swarm will be very poor once the 'heavy stuff' comes out in customised books. The obelisk and the orb I believe, plus additional aoe. Are low level swarms viable with unrestricted books?

Also...

A new and inexperienced bloke like me would think that the free summon beats the lair every time. Is that broadly true?

sdougla2

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2013, 01:29:16 AM »
I've had success with and without the Lair. I play without now because it fits my play style better. The Lair is a major investment, and it commits you pretty heavily to playing creatures, but it also frees you up to focus your mage's actions on other things. Quick Summoning mostly lets the Beastmaster be more free form with his actions, whereas Lair gives you a direct action advantage.

Low level swarms can be good, but you need a more durable threat for them to support. Fast swarms, like playing 6 Bitterwood Foxes in the first 3 turns are incredibly vulnerable to any number of counters: guards, zone attacks, Chain Lightning, Mordok's Obelisk, Suppression Orb, Suppression Cloak, damage barriers, sweeping, Whirling Strike... Some of these can be mitigated to some extent by careful positioning, but I think those swarms are too vulnerable to be the basis for your play by themselves.

Swarming once you already have a durable threat or 2 is much more viable. The other thing is that the BM's Quick Summoning allows you to swarm while also attacking with your mage. Maybe a Bitterwood Fox can't stand up to a Knight of Westlock or Necropian Vampiress, and another mage can't justify spending an action playing a level 1 creature in many high pressure situations. The BM can use his quickcast for the creature, and still have his regular activation to attack, which means that beatdown does not preclude swarming, even without a spawnpoint. This means that I can potentially play a creature every turn while still attacking. If you take the time to kill my creatures one by one, they're effectively serving as a block, and with Ring of Beasts, the mana is the same for a Bitterwood Fox anyway (although Block can be cheaper with a discount ring). The advantage they have over block in that regard is that attacks may sometimes whiff, in which case I could get a 3 dice attack in and force another attack to deal with my creature.

If you don't kill my creatures as they get played, I will build up, which will eventually leave me more vulnerable to those swarm counters, but I'm getting attacks in with those creatures as I'm building up the swarm. Even if you deal with the swarm, you still need to contend with my more durable threats anyway.

I like to open with a Steelclaw Grizzly on turn 1 or 2, and then consider transitioning into swarm, beatdown or (more commonly) some hybrid between the 2 depending on what seems to make sense. What I'll typically do is buff myself and summon low level creatures as I fight, particularly if I manage to get Fellella out to keep up the buffs as I summon.

If you suspect some of the stronger swarm counters, just stop playing small creatures after a certain point. Don't have more than 5 creatures in play at a time if you strongly suspect a Mordok's Obelisk or Suppression Orb. As your opponent plays more creatures, you can feel more comfortable playing with more creatures out, but it's just a question of avoiding over committing.

It's similar to a big creature and stacking enchants on it. Lord of Fire is incredibly threatening, but if you stack Bear Strength, Falcon Precision, Vampirism, and Cheetah Speed on him, it just becomes too efficient to use Banish, Turn to Stone, or Force Hold, and you've over committed to your big creature. Avoid giving your opponent the opportunity to play efficient counters, particularly if it's your only threat.
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Fentum

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 06:31:23 AM »
All good thoughts. I am with you on not over committing to a single creature. I tend to buff the bobcats and wolves rather than the grizzly such that there are multiple credible threats rather than one single enormous threat.

sdougla2

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2013, 02:08:39 PM »
I like using a Vampirism on my Steelclaw Grizzly, since that makes for an incredibly resilient creature. Otherwise I tend to prefer playing more threats or buffing multiple creatures with Tooth and Nail. I'll stack a ton of bonuses on my mage, since mages are immune to the strongest control spells, but I don't like to devote too much mana or too many actions to buffing a single creature. It just invites efficient counters. I generally like to buff a big creature with one enchantment. You can get a big boost in effectiveness with one enchantment without investing too much in a creature that can be neutralized for multiple turns with a single spell, and you have enough mana/actions left over to present alternative threats.
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Fentum

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2013, 02:41:49 PM »
Quote from: "sdougla2" post=11956
I like using a Vampirism on my Steelclaw Grizzly, since that makes for an incredibly resilient creature. Otherwise I tend to prefer playing more threats or buffing multiple creatures with Tooth and Nail. I'll stack a ton of bonuses on my mage, since mages are immune to the strongest control spells, but I don't like to devote too much mana or too many actions to buffing a single creature. It just invites efficient counters. I generally like to buff a big creature with one enchantment. You can get a big boost in effectiveness with one enchantment without investing too much in a creature that can be neutralized for multiple turns with a single spell, and you have enough mana/actions left over to present alternative threats.


The force is strong in this one.

TricksterHat

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2013, 05:15:57 PM »
Thanks Sdougla, that is great stuff!

Good thinking on the Mage staff!

I agree with you with the moonglow amulet, I think I chose Mana flower to save a point.

I also agree with you on the Main wings card. It is meant as an insurance for when you have to deal with a pesky angel or Lord of fire and you have spend your Sleep spell.

I am probably not gonna use all the big creatures, but I thought they have different kind of utility for different situation which is good when you have a more reactive style. But perhaps I overdid it and I can see the point of utilizing the quick summon ability more.

I think you are right in the rest of the changes if the strategy is to kill your opponent in mid-game, but I am thinking more of outlasting him, but still with the necessary aggression to take out dangerous conjuration-combos and jump on him if he is too passive.

I open with to foxes not because they are a big threat, but because my opponent will probably have to spend more resources in early game(actions, mana and/or cards) to deal with them, which give me more time to set up my main attack and tailor it to the opponents strategy. If he or she plays manadenial or Idol of Pestilence, the foxes and the BM can destroy those before they pay off. It will delay me, but it will also delay my opponent and perhaps ruin his strategy. I tried playing an air wizard against this deck and while I had the BM dance to my tune through early and midgame in the end my Wizard had spend half his spellbook and the BM still had a lot of creatures to cast. It might be because I haven't learned to play that build probably, but it got me thinking that the force of this BM build is not so much finishing your opponent, but simply being more effective with your spellbook. If you can keep your opponent from killing you and if you are more efficient with your spells, eventually you will simply outlast your opponent. Every time your opponent use a spell, his future options are reduced. This is why there is more focus on buffing and safeguarding than on curses and aggression. Of course, this will mean long drawn-out games that are less fun.

Perhaps someone with more experience can answer this: In many strategy-games, defense is more effective/efficient than attack. And in many games, a boring long-term strategy that focus on resource efficiency will beat more aggressive playstyles most of the times if you play well. Could something similar be true in MW? (and I am not talking about how to have most fun out the game  :) )

Anyways, this is speculation and I don't know if it holds true.

Fentum

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2013, 03:19:44 AM »
Quote from: "TricksterHat" post=11964
Perhaps someone with more experience can answer this: In many strategy-games, defense is more effective/efficient than attack. And in many games, a boring long-term strategy that focus on resource efficiency will beat more aggressive playstyles most of the times if you play well. Could something similar be true in MW? (and I am not talking about how to have most fun out the game  :) )



I'm a beginner at Mage Wars but have a bit of experience in other tactical and strategic games of various shapes and sizes. The small arena and the ability to Teleport, Force Push, Cheetah Speed, etc seem to make a defensive style difficult. The enemy can be on you almost straight away so a turtling defence style is challenging unless both mages are at it.

TricksterHat

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 11:56:57 AM »
Maybe you are right, Im not sure.

The Beastmaster can have Grizzly and a Gorilla or a Grizzly and two Wolfs guarding him by turn 3 (or turn 4 if I use the above standard opening). It is a pretty powerful defense. Of course it is vulnerable to AoE, but unless really heavie AoE is used it will still hold up and can be repaired. Without doing an indept analysis my intuition say it will take more resources breaking through than establishing it. And these can be turned to offensive measures if the opponent plays death- or manadrain conjurations.

I think what Im getting at is the difference between permanents and instantanious effects. Over time, permanents will be more effective, therefore it will be more effective to throw down permanents than instantanious effects as long as you don't get killed. And creatures are more flexible permanents than conjurations that are only do one specific thing. But this subject deserves its own thread.

sdougla2

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2013, 12:33:43 PM »
That is a strong defense, but if you plan to guard with all of those creatures, you're letting me choose how to engage them. I might Force Push one of them out of the zone and focus it down rather than trying to run headlong into your huge pile of guards.

I agree that creatures are often good investments, but they can be used offensively or defensively. Saying creatures are important doesn't really tell you much about whether offense or defense is more efficient. The other thing is that guards don't really let you focus fire in order to actually kill things. Attacks are more efficient if they kill something, and the attacker gets to make the decisions that will decide if you actually get to kill something if you always guard with all of your creatures.
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TricksterHat

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2013, 09:09:09 AM »
True, but I would not be passive while you chose how to deal with my defenses. The "guarding" creatures could focus-fire your attackers just as well. Flying might be a problem, but that is why I include Maim Wings, knockdown and such. You have spend mana or actions getting to me quickly while I have been building, that gives me a small advantages. And I only need to be guarding with one creature since you probably only have one or two creatures besides your mage.

You are right that its not a question about offense and defense. I was just discovering the flexibility of BM creatures. A conjuration might be defensive but usually cannot be turned into an offense. A Gorgon might also be a powerful defense, but will be lacking if you suddenly need to go on the offensive (unless you have prepared for this). Similarly, most aggro-openings cannot be turned into effective defense if the tide turns. If you make a big investment in the first turns, into offense, defense, spawnpoint, or something else, that investment will make you vulnerable if it doesn't pay off later and the opponent can (and should) play to keep this from happening. But BM investment in creatures is flexible enough that it doesn't leave him vulnerable to any particular move. In 3 turns he can have a powerful force that can be used as offense or defense depending on the situation.

This is perhaps trivial, but I still find it interesting from a generalist vs specialist perspective. I dislike having builds that are very vulnerable against one type of strategy.

Hale_32bit

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 09:09:09 AM »
Why I do not see Darkfenne Bat? I think it is the best 1 level animal, and the best pet.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 09:10:58 AM by Hale_32bit »

Shad0w

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Re: A simple Beastmaster
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 09:28:51 AM »
You may just have a new BM to use sooner than you thought.  ;)

http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12217.msg12265#new
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 04:25:06 PM by Shad0w »
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