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Author Topic: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)  (Read 18032 times)

Diji

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Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« on: July 22, 2013, 04:19:45 AM »
Fellow Mages,

Welcome to Tome Constitution #1.

(Tome Constitution is an article series for novice and veteran players of Mage Wars. Articles will feature a custom spellbook, discuss its overall strategy, potential counters and alternate paths to victory. Enjoy!)

As this is my first article I would like to quickly introduce myself. My name is Jerome (or Dijirati if you prefer) and I'm an avid Mage Wars player! ;D I was fortunate enough to be invited to aid Arcane Wonders at this years Origins Game Fair in an ambassador, demo instructor and tournament judge capacity. I demo Mage Wars twice a month at my local game shop in the Southern Indiana area, and I also play test expansions of the game. It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance….

These articles are an eyefull, but bare with me and I know we can help each other build the best possible spellbooks.

For your consideration…

Twilight Struggle

Mage: Warlock

Equipment (20)

(2) 1X *Morning Star/ Lash of Hellfire
(5) 1X Sunfire Amulet
(1) 1X Leather Boots (optional)
(2) 1X Regrowth Belt
(2) 1X Gauntlets of Strength
(2) 1X Demonhide Armor (optional)
(1) 1X Ring of Curses
(2) 1X Elemental Cloak (optional)
(3) 1X *Elfic's Life Ring/ Sectarus, Dark Rune Sword

Conjurations (13)

(4) 2X Tanglevine
(4) 2X Mana Crystal
(2) 1X Wall of Fire (optional)
(1) 1X Sacrificial Altar
(2) 1X Idol of Pestilence (optional)

Creatures (12)

(12) 3X Necropian Vampiress

Enchantments (26)

(4) 2X Nullify
(4) 2X Block
(2) 1X Cheetah Speed
(1) 1X Poisoned Blood
(2) 1X Falcon Percision
(2) 1X Mind Shield
(1) 1X Agony
(2) 1X Death Link
(2) 1X Vampirism
(1) 1X Marked for Death
(1) 1X Magebane (optional)
(4) 2X Bear Strength (1X optional)

Incantations (39)

(4) 2X Seeking Dispel
(4) 2X Dispel
(2) 1X Charge (optional)
(2) 1X Dissolve
(4) 2X Battle Fury
(4) 2X *Clear Mind/ 1X Mind Shield, 1X Ghoul Rot (Enchantments)
(2) 1X Knockdown
(3) 1X Purify
(2) 1X Force Push
(4) 1X Teleport
(4+4) 2X Drain Soul

Attack Spells (10)

(4+4) 2X Hurl Boulder
(2) 2X Flameblast


* These spells are promo cards that are not readily available to all players at the time of this articles posting. I have listed alternate spells to consider in the case that you do not have access to them at this time.

(optional) - These are what I like to call "flex spells", or spells that (in my opinion) are not absolutely essential to the success of this book. Feel free to replace these spells with some of your favorites.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 12:49:33 PM by Dijirati »
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 04:22:07 AM »
Twilight Struggle (TS)

The name is obviously a nod to the vampire series Twilight (which I loathe) and the struggle that is besting the resilient Warlock. This spellbook is an absolute blast to play!


TS: Strategy

Ideally, Twilght Struggle functions as two things: A Necropian Vampiress Swarm and a Life Generator. For reference, let's quickly spotlight the belle of the ball:

Necropian Vampiress (NV)

Level 4 Dark Creature; Subtype: Vampire

Cost: 16 (Full-Action)
Armor: 2; Life: 15

Attack: Fangs - Quick-Action Melee - 5 - Vampiric

Text: Frost -2; When this creature is activated, you may pay 1 mana to give her the flying trait until the end of her action phase.

She. Is. A. Beast! For the uninitiated, the vampiric trait allows for the Vampiress to heal upon attacking a living creature for half of the damage dealt rounded up.


Swarm


First, we'll discuss the swarm - how we achieve it and how to use it effectively. Lets begin...

The Warlock channels only 9 and for our purpose this is a problem, a constraint. For this reason it is a good idea to ensure that a Mana Crystal is played during Turn1. My Turn1 open is as follows:

Turn1: (19)
Hold QC
QC: Mana Flower (-5) [Starting Zone]
FA: Move1 to the left; Sunfire Amulet (-6)

End of Turn1: (4+4)
Start of Turn2: (18)

Alright, now we're working!  8) The action we take from this point is simple - Turn2 cast NV and an enchantment of your choosing (optional). You will either resolve Turn2 with no mana or with two mana remaining. Turn3 will see you channel 10 up to 10 or 12. At this point we can cast whatever we like so long as we have 6 mana at the end of Turn3. My Turn3 is as follows:

Turn3: (10)
QC: Nullify (on Warlock or NV)
FA: Move1 toward opposing Mage (optional)

End of Turn3: (8 or 6 mana)
Start of Turn4: (18 or 16 mana)

Easy. Done!

By holding on to 6 mana we're able to channel 10 up to 16 for Turn4 and that's enough to double down on the NV and reveal our nullify if need be. We continue this process of channeling 10, spending no more than 4 mana (or 5 on your second mana flower) on odd turns (3 & 5) to then cast a NV the following turn through Turn6. On Turn7 we have 3 active NV in play, 10 Mana and 44 Life via Sunfire.

Now, the question is: What is one NV's doing while we wait to cast the next one? The answer is exactly what you think: Putting pressure on the opposing Mage.

Upon seeing a Vampiress the average opponent's first thought is to neutralize and/or relocate the creature - force push, sleep, banish, tanglevine, force hold, force crush, turn to stone, teleport - for now any of those spells are fantastic because we want them dealing with the NV! If they're dealing with a NV they're not dealing with the Warlock.

*A strong opponent will almost certainly neutralize your first NV. Don't be tempted to sway from the strategy - stay the course, it will pay off!*

From Turn7 forward your first objective is enabling each "neutralized" NV to move and swing. The second is pushing each NV able to move and swing directly into the face of the opposing Mage. The third objective is advancing the aforementioned life generator components of the book. Let's get into it...


Life Generator


In the swarm section I briefly mentioned that by Turn7 we would be at 44 Life by way of Sunfire Amulet. TS can push that life much further! One option to consider is playing Elfic's Life Ring (4 mana, Mage gains +4 Life) in-between the turns your are casting NV. Now 44 Life is 48. LIVING! While our opponent is dealing with the NV swarm we aim to make our Warlock near impossible to defeat, and we achieve this by constantly increasing our life total. In effect, this forces our opponent to attempt to slow the Warlock from getting stronger and in doing so he or she may be compromised to the swarm.

Sans Sunfire, how do we go about gaining life quickly?

We take a step back an let our NV's to do the dirty work - we buff them with inexpensive spells (Battle Fury, Bear Strength, Falcon Precision and Cheetah Speed), and knock off pesky blocks and reverse attacks with Flameblasts. Playing spells conservatively this way we should net around 3 to 6 mana per turn on top of our 10 or 11 channel. Then, using your best judgement, and upon having sufficient mana (I suggest 18+), it is time to move in with one of my favorite spells from the Kumanjaro spell tome, Drain Soul. Lets spotlight this one:

Drain Soul

Level 4 Dark Incantation; Subtype: Vampiric

Cost: 16 (Quick Action) 0-1

Text: Magecast - Dark Mage Only; Place 2 Tainted condition markers on target creature. Then, caster gains Life+6.

You cant beat +6 Life! Drain Soul's +6 Life, stacked with our +1 Life per turn Sunfire and our +4 Life Elfric's Ring puts us in a very comfortable position on top of the Warlord's superior and inherent 38 Life. For the uninitiated, a single Tainted condition marker is essentially a damage token of 3 which cannot be healed and therefore must be removed by paying the removal cost (3 mana per Tainted condition marker).

Now, in the event our Warlock has sustained significant damage due to godlike rolls, rather than Drain Soul we begin setting up the healing component of the life generator. We start with Death Link on a NV - that translates into 2 healing for you and 2 damage to your NV (that she will conveniently heal off of herself when she attacks). Also, equipping a regrowth belt will double the amount of healing you are receiving, taking you from 2 to 4 healing per upkeep while Sunfire is still working in the background.

Whether you opt to go the healing route or chose to Drain Soul, by Turn10 or 11 your Life Generation should be up and running like a champ. Alternatively, if your opponent has rolled poorly against you (or not at all), skip the healing cog of the life generation and instead reach for your attack spells to end the contest quickly.

Fun Fact: I have resolved longer sessions where I have ended with 60+ life and 0-10 damage.  8) YUUUUPP!!

TS Counter Spells

I already dislike this part, reveal a strategy only to knock it down. However, Im afraid this is a necessary evil and also one that allows solid tactical play in-game to be rewarded. As the goal of these articles is to spark debate on even more effective counters I will only briefly touch on the spells that I feel cause this book some problems.

In short, Wizard and Forcemaster spellbooks pose the greatest threat to TS. This is because early on TS is a book where you have very little flexibility with your mana - if and when your channeling is disrupted prior to Turn4 you are in a difficult spot as it concerns implementing the core strategies of the book. Also, if your NV cannot swing for some reason then it is an expensive waste of arena space - enchantments like Essence Drain and Pacify, Charm and Mind Control are ones you do not want to see.

**Remember that Nullify and Mind Shield put to good use will effectively slow these counter-strategies down.**

Keep in mind that a conjuration like Deathlock will neutralize your Sunfire, Life Ring, Death Link and Regrowth Belt. Poisoned Blood is an Enchantment that achieves a similar outcome. These spells freeze your ability to gain life while also forcing you to spend resources and time to remove them from play.

There are numerous other strategies to counter TS. What counters do you think would be most effective?

Alternate Paths To Victory

To be honest - this spellbook doesn't need the NV or Life Gen to win.

For example, if you sense mana denial coming then opt out of the swarm - bring out the Morning Star (5 mana) which swings an unavoidable 4 (+1 w/ Warlock Battle Skill), then equip some Gauntlets of Strength (3 mana), a Bear Strength and go mix it up with the opponent.

Your attack spells are also very effective (Hurl Boulder and Flameblast), don't neglect them. Playing both in tandem (13 mana) ensures that you blow past almost any defensive enchantments while also potentially inflicting burn and slam conditions across 11 dice of damage. Ouch!

Beyond this, my math puts the optional spell count at 14 spellbook points and that should be plenty to adjust for what you are seeing out of your local players or to add a favorite spell of your own that I have not included. Ghoul Rot in particular is one I might have to get back in - TS 2.0, now w/ Ghoul Rot!  ;D And if Forcemaster is popular in your playgroup then grab two Wall of Thorns, an extra Force Push and Eagleclaw Boots - thats my Anti-Forcemaster/ Forcefield toolkit.

There are other creative ways to win with TS - Sacrifice 1 of your NV into your Bear Strengthened NV with the Altar then Battle Fury. Double Ouch! What ideas do you have?

Conclusion

I very much thank you for joining me on this journey through Twilight Struggle. I'm proud of the book and sincerely hope you give it a try, it is fun to play and in the right hands it can be very difficult to beat.

I'm always ready for a good constructive debate so all critiques and criticisms are encouraged and appreciated - together lets make the spell book even better! I look forward to your feedback.

Till the next installment…

Constitution 1 Signed,

Diji
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 12:49:57 PM by Dijirati »
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ringkichard

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 02:33:35 PM »
You should be careful, with a name like that, it's gonna become "Twilight Sparkle" tout-de-suite;D

Right now, I'm a big fan of Big Swarm style books, so I'm loving the idea of the Vampire Swarm. Up until recently my Beastmaster played 3 Steelclaw, and I'm working on a Warlord that plays 4 Iron golems(!) and Thorg. I think that a lot of players get so concerned about winning the current turn that they'd never consider stepping back a bit and re-casting some more creatures.

The big problems I tend to run into with this sort of book are Gorgon Archer and Iron Golem, or (hypothetically) Lord of Fire, or Pet Steelclaw. Any thoughts on what to do when the opponents have got lots of good creatures of their own?

I notice that you're running Sacrificial Alter, and it's not marked optional. With the recent nerf to Battle Fury, any thought to replacing it?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 02:35:52 PM by ringkichard »
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 02:38:53 PM »
Good read and an well thought out. Lets see what people have to say.



@Dijirati did Andy tell you about our new tech?  :-X
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 02:41:38 PM by Shad0w »
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Diji

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:31:52 PM »
 ;D Twilight sparkle.

First, thx 4 the feedback gentlemen.

Ring, you make a great point. Funny enough, as I was typing the article out I was thinking about the Gorgon Archer and how much of a problem could be caused by one, or worse two of them. My problem is that I, at times, get blinders to certain types of play when my play group all but exiles certain spells and the cards see very little to no usage. That said, my suggestion for this book in the face of one or multiple GA's would be to use the optional spell points to add a second or third Purify spell and continue the focus on the opposing Mage only purifying when necessary. Attack spells are unaffected by weak so Hurl Boulder and Flameblasts are still solid plays and if for any reason they're GA is shooting your NV, your in good shape as you intend to sacrifice one or two of those anyway in the late game.

To that point, I still think I will run with the Altar (in spite of the Battle Fury changes) for that sneaky big swing late in the game. It's cost is so low that it won't make much of a difference swapping it out with a different card.

I believe big creature swarm is a very potent style of play and one that has been overlooked to an extent. To answer your question, in the event I'm going up against a large creature build I would use some of my flex spell room to incorporate Helm of Fear. That will free up some turns where a creatures action will be completely wasted on attacking, I also might consider placing my NV swarm on guard in my zone while I throw attack spells until all your creatures are dead and you have no more to play.  ;D

Great thought on the Steelclaw swarm, I was considering something similar due to the fact that upon equipping the Ring of Beasts, Steelclaw's cost is the same as the NV. My thought was: Turn1 - Ring of Beasts, Mana Flower then Turn2 - Steelclaw for 16 then Turn3 - Steelclaw for 16. What do you think?
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 02:24:03 AM by Dijirati »
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 03:59:52 PM »
Fantastic to see such a well articulated book. I find vamps very scary to encounter.

I tend to run Air Wizard control builds with flying Gorgon Archer, basilisk, teleports and force pushes. Golems for damage and occasionally a Guardian Angel to ...guard.

I came up against a couple of Warlock books using vampire and Adramalech . My general policy is to completely ignore opposing big creatures and just focus on the Mage. Typically, the vamp was battling it out with my angel, mostly battling each other to a standstill.  I gradually took away the armour and rhino hide of the Warlock, then pulled a couple of force pushes through walls of thorn for the wins.  Plus jet stream from a tower. I was happy to take a couple if hits from Adramalech as I knew I could out damage him.

How might you deal with that type of counter?


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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 04:22:29 PM »
Thanks for the kind words Fentum!

Hard to say how I'd deal with a book featuring the creature suite you mentioned. Archer, Golem, Basilisk and an Angel to boot - with a creature team like that in play all at the same time I would fall back on the life generation and use the flex spell room for additional walls of fire to break line of sight of the Archer and Basilisk until your Archer gets airborne ;D, then I'd need to get him back on the ground poison blooded and destroyed as soon as possible. (Then curseweave that enchantment back).The other creatures I would not concern myself with too much, and I would consider knockdown and/or force push on turns where the Angel is keeping me from getting to your Mage.

Not to say that all these things would work out well  ;), this is just my snap reaction if I knew I was walking into that nasty mixed bag of creatures. Great synergy in the creatures by the way, Basilisk cripples allowing the Golem to get there, meanwhile the Archer while flying can still fire her arrows on creatures in the same zone and is throwing around weak counters like hotcakes. I like that a lot!
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Fentum

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 04:42:08 PM »
That is exactly how this build works.

Basilisk plus mana crystal
Mana crystal plus wand with force push ( uses up an action NOW that saves an action when things heat up later)
Gorgon
Golem or angel.

I don't tend to run both golem AND angel. One or other to guard, then switch into dissolves and position control, push, etc to kill Mage.

That's the PLAN, but usually I get my backside kicked!

Still love the game. Would love a game on OCTGN if you play there?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 04:44:22 PM by Fentum »

Diji

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 06:20:41 PM »
I must confess, I have not yet ventured into the Mage Wars OCTGN circuit, but I'd love a new casual sparring partner. I will download the components later this evening and PM you my cell so we can set something up later this week. You'll have to slow walk me through the OCTGN mechanics ;D, but I look forward to it!

I’m sure that we will have some wild books to test between the two of us! No doubt that together we will work out some crazy synergies - and with some luck, before GenCon.   
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 07:17:54 PM »
I was gonna keep this under my hat, but I'm not gonna be at Gencon, and someone should get some use out of it even if I can't:

You know what card no one ever talks about on the forums, but might be an absolutely stellar piece of tech on the Vamp? Retaliate. It lets you double dip on your Vampiric trait and Bear Strength enchantments (now that Battle Fury can't, this is even more important) and punishes opponents who try to focus fire (which is how you have to kill a Vamp, if that's what you're trying to do). And it's not even a red/mandatory reveal.
I can take the fun out of anything. It's true; here, look at this spreadsheet.

Diji

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 08:20:20 PM »
Ring, I like that! The beauty of retaliate is in the fact that it is not a forced reveal enchantment. 

Guarding is cheaper to do, but as you mentioned you dont get to double dip with the attack. I would say a 4 mana cost for 5 dice with vampiric is well worth it.

Shame you can't make it to the show this year brother! Hopefully, we'll see you out next year.
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2013, 06:47:27 AM »
but I'd love a new casual sparring partner.

yes, I am VERY casual...

I PM'd you with some time slots if you fancy it. Very happy to walk through the system.

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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2013, 01:09:09 PM »
but I'd love a new casual sparring partner.

Very happy to walk through the system.

Awesome!
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2013, 05:52:11 PM »

*A strong opponent will almost certainly neutralize your first NV. Don't be tempted to sway from the strategy - stay the course, it will pay off!*


I think a stronger opponent would invest more heavily into strong creatures and not have to worry about neutralizing the NV when they could just deter it (or kill) with heavy dice count.  If that first NV moves in to attack turn 4 (which is the soonest it can without movement assistance, and assumes your opponent moved towards you a zone) and your opponent is investing properly into strong creatures, it's going to face some serious punishment.
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Re: Tome Constitution 1: Twilight Struggle (Warlock)
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2013, 01:56:23 AM »
Love your spellbook... kinda feels like mine :) but i perfer more creatures, and dont have life gen... wish goran wasnt legendary...would like to do this but with him....

I have doubts.... how do you deal with forrcemaster getting un tour face... shuttting down your NV...
Also .... love Drain Soul.

Gonna try this spellbook... Great Job
Warlock FTW, untill necro comes out ._.