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Author Topic: Forcemaster first build  (Read 10062 times)

Lord0fWinter

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Forcemaster first build
« on: October 04, 2013, 01:00:39 PM »
Hello all, my name is Lord0fWinter. I am pretty new here, I just got this game but I wanted to say that I really love it and want to thank everybody who worked on it for making a fabulous game.

I also just got the Forcemaster vs Warlord expansion. I created my own deck for the forcemaster and wanted to get advice from the forum members on what to keep/change, and what types of strategy to use with her. She is the mage I am having the hardest time learning how to play as. I have not actually been able to test this, but without further ado, here is the build I made for her:

Equipment
2 Dancing Scimitars (4)
3 Defense Rings (6)
Elemental Cloak (2)
Force Ring (1)
Galvitar (3)
Leather Gloves (1)
2 Psi Orb (4)
Storm Drake Hide (2)
Points=23

Conjurations
Wall of Pikes (2)
Bim Shalla (2)
Battle Forge (4)
Mordoks Obelisk (4)
Suppression Orb (2)
Points=14

Creatures
Stalker (5)
3 Thoughtspore (6)
Points=11

Enchantments
Bear Strength (2)
3 Block (3)
2 Charm (4)
Cheetah Speed (2)
Circle of Fire (4)
2 Force Crush (6)
2 Forcefield (8
Force Sword (1)
Mind Control (6)
2 Nullify (4)
Points=42

Incantations
2 Force Bash (4)
2 Force Wave (2)
2 Dispell (4)
2 Dissolve (4)
2 Teleport (8
Points=22

Attacks
3 Force Hammer (6)
4 Invisible Fist (4)
Points=10

Total=120

Like I said, I have not play tested this yet, but I'm thinking that the basic strategy this:

Round 1 (20 mana)
Quickcast: cheetah speed on self and reveal (15 mana)
Full: Move twice and cast Battleforge (7 mana)

Round 2 (17 mana)
Deployment: Cast force ring on self (15 mana)
Quickcast: Hand of Bim Shalla (10 mana)
Full: Move twice and quickcast Dancing Scimitar (6 mana)

Everything after that depends on what the opposing mage does. Of course, the two rounds listed above could change as well. It might be better to bring out a Thoughtspore or cast Suppression Orb or something.

But anyway, this is my first build, kinda just threw this together over the past few hours. Please let me know what you think, what possible weaknesses could be, and what I could do to improve it!

Thanks!
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Cnoedel

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2013, 03:51:05 PM »
I do not know much about the game and close to nothing about the Forcemaster, but i add at least one seeking dispel. It's just hilariously cheap to play, as well as Decoy

Maybe theoretically Decoy does not look well, but it has one very considerable reasons to be in your deck - Mindplay your opponent, maybe fish out a seeking dispel (so it can't destroy anything serious), maybe keep him away from certain areas (Not quite for your spellbook, but as a novice spell, see it as a "suggested trap" in a warlord/warlock book)
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2013, 06:15:39 PM »
That's true. Seeking dispel is very cheap considering what it does. Decoy could be an interesting option to add as well, but I'm not completely sure what to take out.
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zot

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 10:00:05 AM »
The FM is my second favorite mage behind a wizard. You idea of a melee fighter with some push/bashing opponents into/through walls, and some creature control is a good way to go. I would offer a few suggestions. I would think you can save some spell points by removing some duplicate defense rings. Perhaps you think those stack for effect? You can only wear 2 rings, and cannot have 2 items with the same name on any object at the same time. Or you want to have backups in case one gets destroyed in some way.

One thing about the FM, is that you will likely have a surplus of mama during many games because you are spending your action using a melee swing instead of casting something. In your case you do have several mana intensive spells. Even still, you can can likely remove one psi orb too. Those 2 removals will net you 4 points(six if you remove another defense ring). Since you have the thought spores in there, you may consider taking those free points and putting in some mana crystal or mana flowers. That will boost your channel to help cover spells cast by the creatures. Note that opponents love to kill things that generate mana on their own, like spawnpoints and creatures, so be wary of putting a harmonize spell on them and put it on yourself instead if you put that into the book.

Happy hunting...


Cnoedel

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 10:04:28 AM »
Yes 3 Rings is a bit over the top although i do not get the increased channeling advice - if you have too much mana either way, why wasting efford in gaining more mana?
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ringkichard

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 10:29:17 AM »
If you find that the Thoughtspores die too easily, you may want to swap them for Battle Forge. If you find that you can keep them alive, tell me how! :-)
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 10:34:14 AM »
Thank you all for the replies. Zot- I agree with you about 3 rings probably being too much. I knew their effects didn't stack but I figured that they would be the target of any dissolves the opponent threw my way, so I wanted a backup. You are right however, 3 is too many.

Cnoedel- I think what zot is saying is that in order to be able to cast whatever spell I have bound to the Throughtspores every single turn, it would probably be smart to up my channeling a little bit. Especially if it is something like force hammer.

I think what I am going to do is take out one ring and one psi orb, as suggested, and throw in some channeling stuff. Thank you all for your help, any more is still appreciated!
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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 11:23:41 AM »
You might also look at the following to support your strategy.

Eagle Claw Boots (Equip) - defends against enemy pushes
Battle Fury (Incant) - enables Galvitar quick attack to strike twice with Piercing +2
Armor Ward (Enchant) - makes it harder for opponent to destroy your equipment
Enchanter's Wardstone (Conjure) - makes it harder for opponent to dispel your investments in Enchantments
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2013, 02:53:01 PM »
Oh, I should have mentioned this in my OP; I only have the core set and the F vs W expansion. I don't have CoK or any of the spell tomes, so I don't have access to those cards.
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2013, 06:06:59 PM »
Hi LordOfWinter. Welcome to the forum. After that first post, it gets easier. You'll find this forum is a very friendly place to discuss the game.

Your pool is 1 Core + FvW so I won't refer to CoK cards. I'll assume your regular opponent has the same pool. This means you won't face Eagleclaw Boots, Wizard's Tower, Guardian Angel or Enchantment Transfusion - which is a big deal. However, you must be able to cope with your nemesis, Iron Golems.

Firstly, I''m no expert at Forcemaster (I dislike d12 rolls). I always end up unsatisfied, seeing inefficiencies in the final build. If I build aggro tempo with lots of buffs, I end up with a less efficient version of Beastmaster. If I go control, I end up with a less efficient version of Wizard Mana Drain. I suspect the Forcemaster was designed to excel as a hybrid "aggro-control" (certainly not that aggro monster with multiple Battle Fury via Thoughtspores and multiple Hands of Bin-Shalla). This aggro-control archetype is very challenging to play as, depending on the opponent's strategy, you need to know which tempo to play, either faster aggressive or slower more control. You need to read the game very well to play the reactive toolbox game.

I believe there are broadly 3 variants of Forcemaster builds. I detailed them in this thread here.
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13070.msg23475#msg23475

Before we build a Forcemaster spell book, we must identify: what are the unique strengths of the Forcemaster?

1. Thoughtspores confer incredible versatility, like flying wands, granting a burst of extra spell actions (though not always consecutive like with Wizard's Tower). Realistically, you will have at most mana to cast 2 spells in 2 Spores + Battle Forge + Quickcast (using your action to move and attack). You don't need too many Spores as they don't synergise with Obelisk or Orb. But Spores like all familiars are very fragile and lack the innate defence of their Legendary cousins. If you bind valuable single copy spells like Teleport or Sleep, you should protect it with Bull Endurance, Regrowth (effects like Pestilence Idol) and Block (bursts like 2x Hurl Boulder). Unavoidable attacks will bypass Block but are all range 1 (Surging Wave cannot target flyers) so Spores are best bound with versatile range 2 spells (Invisible Fist only range 1). Ranged units must be killed as a priority! Finally, flyers are a threat and Jet Stream is the most cost-efficient spell against flyers, hopefully pushing them away from attacks on retreating Spores. I bind Jet Stream against a Beastmaster anticipating 2 fast Falcons (Tarok is rare). Major flying threats (Lord of Fire, Angel of Light) will need to be solved via your Mind Control (between actions) + Obelisk (Final QC) trick.

2. Avoiding Attacks is a Forcemaster strength using Forcefield, Deflect, other Defences and Blocks (which protect Spores). This means armour is less valuable for her. But as she is "almost Solo", she leverages equipment via Forge and so there is no harm in having some free action equipment armour. It also means damage barriers are anti-synergetic (Circle of Lightning is better than Circle of Fire in most instances, especially against nemesis Golems, due to its control effects as barriers deal little damage). Given a choice, Dragonscale is the preferred armour due to Warlock match-ups (Lash, fire Demons, fire attacks more common as more damaging).

3. Neutralising Threats is a Forcemaster strength using Psychic spells such as Sleep, Charm and Mind Control. Mind Control + Obelisk trick has been widely discussed recently. Sleep is great against popular Few Big strategy. Charm is best revealed (between actions) on aggressive non-flyers like a Wolf Pet or Slayer Bloodreaper but also requires Mongoose Agility as they can always guard and still hinder. You can't commit to too much Psychic spells though as then you'll have problems against Nonliving, most of whom are Psychic Immune.

4. Positioning is a Forcemaster strength using Force effects like Force Pull, Force Push (cast on self facing swarm or Big threat), Force Wave (best used by other mages, moving range 1-2 units), Force Hold (reveal anytime for total 3 cost with ring to deny a move and attack, upkeep 3 to force a Dispel) and Force Crush (endgame win condition after opponent runs out of Dispels on your many enchantments). Linked to this is Cheetah Speed (you already noted is great for Forcemaster) and Mongoose Agility, both these 2 mobility buffs synergise well together, allowing you to kite around the arena (as you have only 2 full action spells), and the latter also synergises well with Charm. In essence, the Forcemaster is the monk-like guerrilla fighter, a skirmisher using hit-and-run tactics with her superior manoeuvrability.

5. Galvitar as a cantrip (unlike Lash or Staff of Asrya) is a Forcemaster strength. An inherent ethereal attack (precious Dissolves are never wasted on it) that is either +2 penetrating or can sweep or doublestrike needs to be built around. Thus Vampirism, Falcon Precision, Bear Strength, Hand of Bim-Shalla and multipliers like Battle Fury and Retaliate lets you leverage this excellent mage exclusive weapon. Make no mistake, Galvitar is your cutting edge because your hardest match-up will be a Wizard (currently dominant) and Invisible Stalker dies to Zap (also flawed in Obelisk builds as you need to have more actions to act last every turn, yet Forcemaster plays very few creatures).

Anyway, I've tried to adjust your build to something a bit more effcient based on your card pool. Some cards you chose are simply not good (Defense Ring, go Temple of the Dawnbreaker instead if you must), some over-costed (Force Bash), some double-edged (Wall of Pikes). I think I've explained all the other changes when detailing the Forcemaster's strengths.

Most of your build is there intact, I've just made a few changes here and there (and spread the build very thin to provoke ideas). Hopefully, this variant will get you thinking about how you would like to evolve your own build to fit to your own unique individual customised vision.

Versatile Forcemaster (1 Core + FvW only)

12 EQUIPMENT (25)
1 Dancing Scimitar (2)
1 Dragonscale Hauberk (2)
1 Elemental Cloak (2)
1 Enchanter's Ring (2)
1 Force Ring (1)
1 Galvitar, Force Blade (3)
1 Gauntlets of Strength (2)
1 Leather Boots (1)
1 Mage Wand (4)
1 Moonglow Amulet (2)
1 Psi-Orb (2)
1 Regrowth Belt (2)

4 CONJURATIONS (12)
1 Battle Forge (4)
1 Hand of Bim-Shalla (2)
1 Mordok's Obelisk (4)
1 Suppression Orb (2)

2 CREATURES (4)
2 Thoughtspore (4)

23 ENCHANTMENTS (49)
1 Bear Strength (2)
2 Block (2)
2 Bull Endurance (4)
2 Charm (4)
1 Cheetah Speed (2)
2 Decoy (2)
1 Falcon Precision (2)
1 Force Crush (3)
2 Force Hold (4)
1 Force Orb (1)
1 Force Sword (1)
1 Forcefield (4)
1 Mind Control (6)
1 Mongoose Agility (2)
2 Regrowth (4)
1 Retaliate (2)
1 Vampirism (4)

13 INCANTATIONS (26)
2 Battle Fury (4)
2 Dispel (4)
2 Dissolve (4)
2 Force Push (2)
1 Minor Heal (2)
1 Purify (2)
1 Seeking Dispel (2)
1 Sleep (2)
1 Teleport (4)

2 ATTACKS (4)
1 Force Hammer (2)
1 Jet Stream (2)


I want to stress that the above is a VERY ROUGH attempt. It just feels too versatile and unfocused, trying to do too much at once, dabbling with a toolbox of solutions when you should focus. This can sometimes work but the book needs a deep level of understanding, both how to execute its own game plan and how best to counter the opponent's game plan. But the above book serves a purpose in demonstrating some of the synergies you can focus on in your own build and some of the contingencies you need to plan for.

I just don't feel comfortable playing Forcemaster. I feel more comfortable with a more focused strategy. Maybe the simple brutality of the out-of-school route (see Grizzlies thread below this) is currently the best Forcemaster build? A hybrid versatile build like the above book is about "winning with style", requiring a lot more finesse. If this appeals, then this "almost Solo" build is the challenging archetype for you.

Good luck evolving your Forcemaster build. I'm no expert with her. It would be great to hear from an expert how best to play Forcemaster.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 06:56:36 AM by DeckBuilder »
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 04:57:13 AM »
Hi again LoW.

Having played the above on-the-spot concoction against my flatmate (didn't have a Forcemaster book saved, certainly not one designed for a meta of 1 Core + FvW), even the 2 Thoughtspores sadly just don't work. Maybe I should have tested the above book before posting!

The problem is Thoughtspores need to be protected with enchantments and this takes far too long, destroying your tempo. There is just too much danger to them, especially Warlord's ranged which I assume will be a common match-up in your meta if you recently got FvW. They are weak familiars with no defence and no choice flexibility but repeatable instead (like a Wand). With 2x Hurl Boulder easily dealing 7+4 damage (if no Block), the net benefit in fixed but repeatable spell actions is probably not worth it now that you can't stack Battle Fury.

So, modifying the build suggested above, I will next attempt a true Solo build:

-2 Thoughtspore (4)
-2 Bull Endurance (4)
-2 Regrowth (4)
-1 Jet Stream (2)
-1 Minor Heal (2) - Belt and Vampirism for passive action-free healing is fine, you play a fast tempo game here
-1 Seeking Dispel (2) - you use Decoys instead to trigger Nullify (see Beastmaster thread below for benefits)
-1 Charm (2) - not as good as Sleep even with Mongoose Agility, target goes after your conjurations instead

+1 Teleport (4) - the most valuable spell in the game, accept no substitute
+1 Force Hammer (2) - for when a burst of 2x Force Hammer wins you a close game, also as conjuration control
+1 Mage Wand (4) - insurance and Wand switching shenanigans with Forge (see Wizard Control thread below)
+1 Nullify (2) - because a repeat-play opponent knowing it's in the book adds deterrence to all hidden enchants
+2 Wall of Thorns (4) - because you are the master of Force Push, also serves as good LOS blocking vs. ranged
+1 Sleep (2) - because it is so strong against the popular Few Big strategy, need to isolate threat first of course
+1 Bear Strength (2) - back-up, this is your cutting edge with Galvitar (pump once) and Battle Fury (pump again)

A nice idea, depending on your meta, is Steal Equipment for tempo advantage (2 spells for 1 action), especially if you are facing Wizards as it is great to spend 9 (ring) to steal a Wand with Teleport (beware Nullify). Gets round Armour Ward too, though probably not relevant to your meta. Also maybe you need that second Force Field but I find that good positional play makes this a very late game play anyway.

I can't stress enough how you need to deplete opponent's Dispels with Force Hold (shame you can't afford Enfeeble). If you get him down to 0 Dispel (easy against Warlord), then you have the game with a Force Crush and kiting. You are going with a very low number of utility spells (Dispel, Dissolve, Teleport, Decoys as Seeking Dispel), relying on 2 Wands switching here. You can never beat a Wizard in Dispel or Teleport wars though so have to go all-out reckless tempo. That's why Steal Equipment may be the tempo solution against a Wizard.

Don't forget Charm, even with Mongoose Agility still around, does not stop the creature attacking your control conjurations so make sure you lure target away from them when you do it. And pushing your Charmed high level creature through a Wall of Thorns will not break the Charm ("it wasn't me, I wouldn't hurt you, it was that nasty wall") though probably a waste, best saved for the level 6 opponent mage once his armour has been Dissolved.

Force Pull is about "isolate and eliminate" so think of yourself as an Isolating Avenger in D&D 4E if you've ever played it (or a Monk in prior editions). However if you're to also attack, then you must obviously start adjacent to opponent mage, QC Force Pull then full action double strike with Galvitar. But this is the problem with Force Master. You need a buddy. Invisible Stalker dies to your toughest match-up (Wizard) while going out of school for a Grizzly (who is mobile and resilient with a nice full action attack) is so spell points expensive.

The more I analyse Forcemaster, the more I think that somaddict's 2 Grizzlies build (thread below) is probably the strongest one currently. Sure, it lacks finesse playing a solo guerrilla warrior, neutralising threats, dodging attacks and positioning the board for your hit-and-run skirmisher tactics. She looks so awesomely cool and there's nothing cooler than winning single-handed ("c'mon, I'll take you all on!"). For "winning with style", this attempt at a feasible Solo build is certainly up there. Sadly, I suspect it's just not consistent.

I think the issue really is that the Forcemaster vs. Warlord set was about Solo vs. The Horde, the roleplayer vs. the wargamer. The reality of the game is that, in the current card pool's meta, the best strategy is Few Big (see Etherian Lifetree strategy thread for explanation why). Forcemaster does possess some tools against this strategy (Sleep, Charm + Mongoose, Mind Control + Obelisk), although this does not work with dreaded Iron Golems. Just like with Warlord, every time I try and build a Forcemaster book, I always end up dissatisfied as I can always see glaring holes that need to be addressed (in this solo build, it's Purge Magic as you lack access to Wardstones).

For completeness, here is the Solo variant of Forcemaster for you to adjust to your own taste and preference if you're up for the challenge of playing a finesse game (somaddict's 2 Grizzlies build, adjusted slightly, is easier to play, brutal and simply better as it will win more).

Solo Forcemaster (1 Core + FvW only)

13 EQUIPMENT (29)
1 Dancing Scimitar (2)
1 Dragonscale Hauberk (2)
1 Elemental Cloak (2)
1 Enchanter's Ring (2)
1 Force Ring (1)
1 Galvitar, Force Blade (3)
1 Gauntlets of Strength (2)
1 Leather Boots (1)
2 Mage Wand [8]
1 Moonglow Amulet (2)
1 Psi-Orb (2)
1 Regrowth Belt (2)

6 CONJURATIONS (16)
1 Battle Forge (4)
1 Hand of Bim-Shalla (2)
1 Mordok's Obelisk (4)
1 Suppression Orb (2)
2 Wall of Thorns (4)

20 ENCHANTMENTS (43)
2 Bear Strength (4)
2 Block (2)
1 Charm (2)
1 Cheetah Speed (2)
2 Decoy (2)
1 Falcon Precision (2)
1 Force Crush (3)
2 Force Hold (4)
1 Force Orb (1)
1 Force Sword (1)
1 Forcefield (4)
1 Mind Control (6)
1 Mongoose Agility (2)
1 Nullify (2)
1 Retaliate (2)
1 Vampirism (4)

13 INCANTATIONS (28)
2 Battle Fury (4)
2 Dispel (4)
2 Dissolve (4)
2 Force Push (2)
1 Purify (2)
2 Sleep (4)
2 Teleport [8]

2 ATTACKS (4)
2 Force Hammer (4)


Players I respect seem to rate Forcemaster highly but I just don't know why. I always end up dissatisfied with the final build, thinking "I can do this strategy better with another mage". Maybe it's because I don't particularly value "winning with style", which is what she is good at. I think this aura she has is a throwback to before 2 of her key cards were nerfed (Battle Fury, Hand of Bim-Shalla). Perhaps someone else can provide their spell book list of what they think is a strong Forcemaster build? Because currently, I am thinking somaddict's 2 Grizzlies build (with a few adjustments) is probably the strongest Forcemaster build around.

I hope her undoubted finesse (equivalent of tapping in Magic, Lannister kneel in Game of Thrones, the Benders in Summoner Wars were a big inspiration) is given a boost in the new set (she needs Epic Psychic conjuration "Lethargy: all non-mage creatures gain Slow"). But in a set where the swarm is promoted, I can't see her getting much help. I hope I'm wrong and long-awaited Altar of Peace will materialise to strengthen her (as declare attack only happens once for Galvitar's full action, Scimitar exempt as not a creature). Maybe that's the plan.

If she had a Legendary Forcemaster Only medallion ("Amulet of Patience") that lets her always pass, she could then leverage consecutive actions when acting last off-initiative then acting first on-initiative (this would solve the Stalker's flaw). But because she plays so creature light, a consecutive action burst rarely happens. As ringkichard wisely wrote in his "what the warlord got right" thread, having more actions gives you so much more flexibility and this seems to be her fatal flaw.

Anyway, I hope this unstructured brain dump has been useful to you, LoW, in figuring out how you'd like to play the coolest mage in town.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 08:11:30 AM by DeckBuilder »
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 09:38:38 AM »
Wow, DeckBuilder, thank you for both of your replies and all the effort you have put into helping me out. I really appreciate it.

I think the appeal of the FM to me is the fact that she is so hard to learn and master. And the fact that like you said, she is probably the mage who wins in the most stylish way.

I will try both of your builds, starting with the first one, and see if I have similar results as you did. I'll let you know what happens!
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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 11:40:11 AM »
LoW,

One threat you may want to consider is the Destroy Magic (Incantation) especially from Wizards with the cheaper spellbook cost. With so many enchantments focused on so few creatures, an opponent could use this effectively to take back the tempo.

The cost for the opponent is high in both mana and spellbook points, but you may want to consider a Repulse spell as a counter. It allows you to disperse target rich zones that the opponent may be working to establish.
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Re: Forcemaster first build
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2013, 02:50:30 PM »
Quick update, messed with the deck a bit and came up with this. Have yet to try it out though.

Equipment
2 Dancing Scimitars (4)
2 Defense Rings (4)
Elemental Cloak (2)
Force Ring (1)
Galvitar (3)
Gauntlets of Strength (2)
2 Psi Orb (4)
Regrowth Belt (2)
Storm Drake Hide (2)
Points=24

Conjurations
Wall of Pikes (2)
Bim Shalla (2)
Battle Forge (4)
Mordoks Obelisk (4)
Points=12

Enchantments
Bear Strength (2)
3 Block (3)
2 Charm (4)
Cheetah Speed (2)
Circle of Lightning (4)
Decoy (1)
Force Crush (3)
2 Forcefield (8
Force Sword (1)
Mind Control (6)
Mongoose Agility (2)
2 Nullify (4)
Reverse Attack (2)
Points=34

Incantations
Battle Fury (2)
2 Force Bash (4)
2 Force Wave (2)
2 Dispell (4)
2 Dissolve (4)
Mass sleep (4)
2 Seeking dispel (4)
2 Teleport (8
Points=32

Attacks
3 Force Hammer (6)
2 Invisible Fist (2)
Points=8

Total=120

If I have made any mistakes counting points or have done something illegal in constructing this book, please let me know.
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