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Author Topic: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)  (Read 27232 times)

Satenus

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #45 on: August 25, 2014, 11:48:49 AM »
First of all Congratulations for your Victory in GenCon Alexander, and second, Thank You Very Very Much for your article about the book and the tournament, and also for the feedback to the community in this post.
The deconstruction of the book  and your explanations about your choices and their possible implications have make me (and others) change the way I think about the game, of course in a good way. I'm new to the game (4 months old) but I've read a lot about the strategy and resources used in the game, and your article about the book (Straywood Aviary) while specific, has really far reaching implications, specially in the meta-gaming part, and I personally consider it a must read for new players who want to get to the next level, not necessarily competition level, but at least to the build yourself a solid book level.
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #46 on: August 25, 2014, 04:09:25 PM »
@Biblofilter:
Well i only own five Thunder Falcons so that makes bats an obvious choice  :)
Heh, I know what you mean!   :o  Prior to the tournament I only had 3, and had to borrow 3 from Andrew! 

I was thinking about making the bat pet instead? Summoning it early would be nice, but thats probably to slow?
I think it depends on what kind of opponent you're facing.  If they are aggressive the bat will be slower than a falcon, and probably not one of the first fliers to summon.  However, if they are slower or more defensive the bat can actually be better.  The rots will slowly add up, and over time the bat will deal more damage than a falcon.  (If the bat is doing well enough, it will cause them to spend mana + actions on a Purge, which is also fine.)

@RingKichard:
Against a hyper-agressive Attack Spell book, since Togorah isn't really an option, I wonder if the best strategy isn't damaging disruption. You've already got Dancing Scimitar, Reverse Attack, and Wall of Thorns/Force Push. A Rolling Fog might help with blocking LOS, and once the opponent is forced into melee, things like Defend and Circle of Lightning can help, too, as long as you've got a solid creature to put them on (Dire Wolf? Bridge Troll? Dragonclaw Wolverine?).
Could you explain a little about what you mean by damaging disruption?  (Or link me to a discussion of the tactic elsewhere?)  Defenses, Dazes, and LoS blockers all make sense to me, but I got a little lost when we started talking about putting Defend and Circle of Lightning on creatures or forcing the opponent into melee?

Rolling Fog was the last spell Andrew and I cut from the book before the tournament.  We liked the idea of not being able to be targeted, but we kept trying to imagine a situation where it would work better than a card we already had and we couldn't come up with any.

I do think the biggest weakness of this book is its vulnerability to being hated out, but playing it this year at Gencon was an inspired metagame choice.

I agree that every book can be hated out.  I'm curious which way you think is best to hate it out:  a) kill the Beastmaster faster than the Lair-Falcon engine can take over the game; b) invest in a mana engine for mana parity, and then trade removal spells with birds; c) play a reasonable game and set up a big Suppression Orb/Mordiok's Obelisk turn; d) summon bigger creatures to fight the little ones; e) something else?
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 04:18:45 PM by Alexander West »
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2014, 05:41:35 PM »
I think a priestress with a temple of asyra, some knights for guard action, valshalla and some clerics would bring you in a world of pain.
A Warlord with a fast Crimson with akiros favor could have the same effect: A dead falcon every round.
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sIKE

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #48 on: August 25, 2014, 05:43:33 PM »
My theory:

Focus kill the birds. Most of my builds carry a Mage Staff mainly for the Lord of Fire but would be useful on the birds. A Bear Strength and I am rolling six dice. Add a Zone Attack like Hail of Stones after 4 birds are out and it would be tough not to take a couple down and then from there just work to kill one off a round until only one or two remain and then ignore or kill with counter strike from a guard. I would hope that time would permit me to deploy 1-2 mids over time to even out the action advantage and give me the aforementioned guards.

The pet bird would get hate from a Hurl Bolder or Fireball.

A Wizard would get a Hawkeye and use his Zap in conjunction with either a Zone Attack like above or a Wizard's Tower with a Hurl Rock Spellbound.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2014, 09:26:38 AM by sIKE »
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #49 on: August 25, 2014, 06:55:02 PM »
Could you explain a little about what you mean by damaging disruption?  (Or link me to a discussion of the tactic elsewhere?)  Defenses, Dazes, and LoS blockers all make sense to me, but I got a little lost when we started talking about putting Defend and Circle of Lightning on creatures or forcing the opponent into melee?

I was thinking that the goal would be to get down dual use cards. So, for example, Wall of Thorns blocks LoS, which can save you a lot of damage. But it's also a threat when combined with Force Push. Same with Dancing Scimitar. It's a defense, but you can also pivot and use it as an attack. Reverse attack is the same way: it saves you damage, but it's a lot more threatening than a block. The idea here would be to play for tempo, using stalling tactics to buy time for the Lair to finish making enough birds, and then to turn around and use your former defenses as a swing offense to win the game.

While I was thinking about this idea, I could only really come up with 3 cards that fit this gameplan when the opponent stays at range and lobs attack spells. But there are other spells that work similarly against melee attackers, and usually an agro book is going to have a melee option for when the ranged assault doesn't work. That's when Defend, Retaliate, Circle of Lightning, etc, become useful. They're defenses, but they also cause damage.

The key to this harebrained scheme would be Rolling Fog. A total agro book is not going to want to give you three free turns, so they're going to have to get close instead of staying at range 2 and waiting to lob Boulders again. 

Quote
I agree that every book can be hated out.  I'm curious which way you think is best to hate it out:  a) kill the Beastmaster faster than the Lair-Falcon engine can take over the game; b) invest in a mana engine for mana parity, and then trade removal spells with birds; c) play a reasonable game and set up a big Suppression Orb/Mordiok's Obelisk turn; d) summon bigger creatures to fight the little ones; e) something else?

I think Suppression Orb + Obelisk can go in pretty much any book (except Warlord) if they want to win this matchup badly enough, and it doesn't require changing the rest of the spellbook (unless it's a swarm spellbook, obviously). The other options you suggest would require major surgery to add to most spellbooks, and I think of that more as general strategic metagaming than outright hate.

In practice, the hate I was thinking of was something like

1. (20) Gorgon Archer (4)
2. (14) Suppression orb (6) Hawkeye (3)
3. (13) Mordok's Obelisk (5) Arcane Zap (4)
4. (13) Chain Lightning (1) Arcane Zap (0)

Or the Hawkeye + Chain Lightning could instead be Wizard's Tower + Jet Stream + Voltaric Shield + Voltaric Shield, for example.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 07:04:44 PM by ringkichard »
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2014, 08:56:30 PM »
Quote from: sIKE
I am very used to Hawkeye on a Wizard using Arcane Zap. Making it a 4 dice 2 zone ranged attack. Combined with a small 0-1 ranged attack can deal out some good damage.

I've enjoyed reading this topic because Straywood is one of my favourite mages, and I've been trying to get swarms to work since I started playing.  Haven't posted yet because I haven't had much to say except a bunch of "Me too"s here and there.

But no one else seemed to catch this, so I thought I'd better point it out: Hawkeye only gives Ranged +1, or +1 dice rolled for ranged attacks.  It does not add a zone to the distance the ranged attack can reach.  Arcane Zap would still be range 0-1 with Hawkeye.

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2014, 11:11:19 PM »
Quote from: sIKE
I am very used to Hawkeye on a Wizard using Arcane Zap. Making it a 4 dice 2 zone ranged attack. Combined with a small 0-1 ranged attack can deal out some good damage.

I've enjoyed reading this topic because Straywood is one of my favourite mages, and I've been trying to get swarms to work since I started playing.  Haven't posted yet because I haven't had much to say except a bunch of "Me too"s here and there.

But no one else seemed to catch this, so I thought I'd better point it out: Hawkeye only gives Ranged +1, or +1 dice rolled for ranged attacks.  It does not add a zone to the distance the ranged attack can reach.  Arcane Zap would still be range 0-1 with Hawkeye.
Since the Falcons attack is melee based "to kill" my mage they would have to be 0 zones away (not be a smart alec) which would bring them within the 0-1 range of the spells I am talking about: Zap, Hurl Rock, and Hail of Stones.  Matter of fact I am utilizing the beginning of the game (say the first 4-6) rounds that the falcons will arrive in waves of two birds each (say I stay in my start corner and place the WT in the center zone on the arena wall) that by round three the first two birds could attack my WT. I could Zap and Hurl Boulder one bird and hopefully kill it (10 dice). The next round three birds attack my WT or Wizard and I Zap one, Hail of Stones the zone with the most Birds, and then take out the strongest with a Hurl Stone). One of the birds will get an extra attack dice from the Hawkeye. So we are talking a total of 4 (Zap) + (5 + 4 + 4 Hail)  +  6 (Hurl) dice rolled. On average should kill two birds with luck all three, if one of the first three birds were a pet he would get the focus of the Zap and the Hurl and the Hawkeye +1 buff on the Hail (15 dice). Mana permitting the Hurl would be Boulder on the Pet. I haven't moved and the other mage is now in face would be my guess.

If the swarm is held back then it is Orb/Oblesk time, I put a cheap 2 range attack spell on the WT and start shooting at the Flock.
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #52 on: August 26, 2014, 09:51:33 AM »
By the way sIke, +X Ranged doesnt buff zone attack (written in codex).

sIKE

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #53 on: August 26, 2014, 10:21:52 AM »
By the way sIke, +X Ranged doesnt buff zone attack (written in codex).

Can you tell me what page you are looking at? I am look at the 5/12/14 version of the FAQ and have not found where this is in the codex.


**** Found it under the Ranged +X section. blerg. Why it is not in the "Increasing the Attack Dice DURING an Attack Action" section is beyond me....

Haven't play a swarm in a while and Zone Attacks have come out of my books as a result. So 22 dice instead of 23 dice. Nice catch.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2014, 10:28:38 AM by sIKE »
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #54 on: August 26, 2014, 09:14:06 PM »
I'm not sure what point you're arguing there, sIKE.  I wasn't trying to state that Hawkeye + Zap was a bad tactic against a bird swarm; it's a pretty good tactic.  I was just stating that Hawkeye doesn't make Arcane Zap a 2-Zone Ranged Attack.

That was...the entirety of my point. ; )

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #55 on: August 26, 2014, 09:28:19 PM »
@reddawn
Did anyone play zone attacks against your birds  or a few bigger flyers to eat'em? Anyone try to Fireball your tree?  I usually put in at least 1 zone attack or if I'm playing Necro, Poison Gas Cloud.  If you can time them correctly, their efficiency is pretty ridiculous.

Just the one Ring of Fire and the one Chain Lightning.  I think just one is not enough without a second or some other kind of damage to finish off the injured.

Only one flyer was played vs. the Beastmaster, a Gargoyle Sentry.  It didn't last long because there was already a critical mass of birds that took it out in 1-2 rounds.

No one tossed a Fireball at a tree, but that does seem odds on to be a great answer.  You're down a mana, but if a bunch of creatures drop dead it's absolutely worth it.

@sIKE:

I like the plan of focus killing the birds, though I think the trick is making sure the mana/attacks line up so that the anti-bird mage isn't wasting too many mana/actions.

I think Mage Staff is good for one bird, but will probably get Dissolved before you kill a 2nd.  (A big win for the book with the Mage Staff, since you traded mana but turned your ineffective attack into a dead bird.)  Hurl Rock (on Wizard's Tower) and Hail of Stones seem a little frustrating since they will often leave birds a hair away from dead.  I guess in the variance they should kill some, but the majority should survive.  Though, I guess if enough are stunned off a single Hail of Stones maybe something on the ground could mop one up?

I like Flameblast better for killing a bird than Hurl Rock since the Burn will often finish the bird off (and sooner than healing next turn could be applied).  I guess either is fine off a mage with Hawkeye since they go up to 5 damage.  On the edges of the arena Jet Stream is the best since you get 4 dice plus a good chance of 3 dice as the bird hits the wall, which I think makes it the best Wizard's Tower spell.

I wonder, though, how much mana this Wizard will spend killing 26 mana worth of birds (3 normal + 1 pet), and how much damage they will take from the birds in the meantime?
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Alexander West

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #56 on: August 26, 2014, 09:45:20 PM »
@ringkichard
I was thinking that the goal would be to get down dual use cards. So, for example, Wall of Thorns blocks LoS, which can save you a lot of damage. But it's also a threat when combined with Force Push. Same with Dancing Scimitar. It's a defense, but you can also pivot and use it as an attack. Reverse attack is the same way: it saves you damage, but it's a lot more threatening than a block. The idea here would be to play for tempo, using stalling tactics to buy time for the Lair to finish making enough birds, and then to turn around and use your former defenses as a swing offense to win the game.

Thanks for explaining the idea.  Yes, I love playing cards that are versatile in terms of whether they are an attack or a defense.  Don't forget that Thunderift Falcon is also versatile in this way!  It can attack, and then later can be made a "chump" guard if you need more life!

The key to this harebrained scheme would be Rolling Fog. A total agro book is not going to want to give you three free turns, so they're going to have to get close instead of staying at range 2 and waiting to lob Boulders again. 

The thing about this is I don't want them to get close.  I find there is sometimes a turning point in the game where all I want is to preserve my life total while the birds do the rest at far range.  Lightning Barrier and Rolling Fog aren't going to keep me alive, and probably the former won't do enough damage to change the math of who is going to win the race to dead.  In both cases, a Hurl Boulder, Heal, or Reverse Attack is probably going to affect the math more significantly.  However, I could see something like Wall of Earth be a good tool in this vein.  (Completely cutting off LoS in a way that Rolling Fog only wishes it could.)

I think Suppression Orb + Obelisk can go in pretty much any book (except Warlord) if they want to win this matchup badly enough, and it doesn't require changing the rest of the spellbook (unless it's a swarm spellbook, obviously). The other options you suggest would require major surgery to add to most spellbooks, and I think of that more as general strategic metagaming than outright hate.

In practice, the hate I was thinking of was something like

1. (20) Gorgon Archer (4)
2. (14) Suppression orb (6) Hawkeye (3)
3. (13) Mordok's Obelisk (5) Arcane Zap (4)
4. (13) Chain Lightning (1) Arcane Zap (0)

Or the Hawkeye + Chain Lightning could instead be Wizard's Tower + Jet Stream + Voltaric Shield + Voltaric Shield, for example.


Wow, that looks brutal.  I'll have to set up a game and see if I can figure out any way to beat that.  I hadn't really thought about how well Suppression Orb synergizes with archers!  This could even be a case where Hawkeye and Chain Lightning are overkill because Archer + Zap is almost certainly lethal?  I like that this concept gets the Suppression Orb up early, so that the mana costs it is inflicting directly halt development of the swarm's resources.
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sIKE

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2014, 09:43:25 AM »
I wonder, though, how much mana this Wizard will spend killing 26 mana worth of birds (3 normal + 1 pet), and how much damage they will take from the birds in the meantime?

All of the cards in my post add up to 33 mana. This includes the Enchantments, the Tower, and the Staff. Which are useful through out the game. Once you add in Falcons 5 & 6 that is 38. The Hurl Rock + Zap is 5 mana and only uses one of the Mage's actions and is a very efficient 2 damage dice per mana spent with the Hawkeye buff. The powerful thing about this line of play, is that on my Initiative I can run the Zap, Rock, and Stones all three chained together without giving your Falcons a chance to attack. I would use the Hail of Stones to first to kill any hidden Reverse Attacks and then try to pick off the weakest of the flock with the Rock then the Zap. I think I could kill all 4 birds (with average rolls) in two rounds.

Your mage is the great unknown here, as this would not be happening in a vacuum. So my other action would be left to help prepare a response in that area (mana depending as always).
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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2014, 10:05:08 AM »
Its easy to come up with counters to a known problem.

But you have no information when preparing cards round 1. I have never seen ANYONE start round 1 with casting a gorgon archer and leaving quickcast untouched.

When preparing round cards in round 2 you usually have some pointers to how your opponent is going to approach this match, but generally there is ALOT of room for both players to change gear still.

End of round 2 or atleast 3 it is usually when you are able to figure out what your opponent is up to.


This is why i enjoy playing the same mage with different spellbook when i play against the same opponents.
Sure, they will see a BM, but will he run Lair swarm or aggro few bigs? Or maybe sit back and meditate while his lair spawns an army of timberwolfs led by redclaw.

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Re: The Straywood Aviary (GenCon 2014 Championship Spellbook)
« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2014, 04:54:35 PM »
Yeah, knowledge is a huge weapon in Mage Wars. Hate is a lot easier to apply if you know what to expect and can plan. That's why Aviary is such a brilliant metagame play: powerful questions most people weren't trained or equipped to answer, even if the training and equipment were readily available. It'll be interesting to see if that happens again.

The sort of Wizard that might play Gorgon Archer but nothing else is likely playing a "planA/planB" opening that tries to give the opponent initiative on round 1. The Wizard sees Beastmaster on the other side of the table, and wins the initiative die roll and choses for the Beastmaster to have Initiative on the first round, so that the Beastmaster is forced to attack on his own initiative on round 3, or else wait till round 4.

Then the Wizard picks two creatures, probably Gorgon and Golem/Jelly. Since the Beastmaster has to take his creature activation first, the Wizard gets to see what's coming, and react accordingly. In this case, it'd be Gorgon if he plays Lair, Battle Forge, or Pet Falcon, and Jelly for Steelclaw, Pet Dire, Cervere or Double Move.
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