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Topics - reddawn

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Custom Cards / Mechanic: Madness/Terror
« on: August 02, 2013, 06:21:57 AM »
I'll be including these mechanics for some of my upcoming Mind school critters:

Madness: At the beginning of the affected creature's action phase, its controller rolls the effect die and consults the compass rose.  Creature must take one move action to the indicated zone, if able.

Terror: Affected creature must take one move action, moving away from the source of the Terror.


Strategy and Tactics / A Word of Encouragement
« on: August 01, 2013, 05:36:05 PM »
"Life doesn't matter, unless you're already dead."

-Old M:TG saying

This quote means knowing when you can afford to take a hit and when you can't.  That is the central idea here in learning Mage Wars, folks; for the math illiterate like myself, this idea often is often learned and mastered the old-fashioned way; making bad bets that seemed like good bets in-game, and dying.  A lot.

Unless you have a background in competitive gaming, this idea might initially seem far-fetched (after all, doesn't every point of damage matter?), but that's only because it's really more of a feeling than a thought process for players that know it.  Despite Padawan's and others strong and genuinely valuable efforts at elucidating what this experience means on paper in other topics, I think the learning process is more instinctual or emotive than that, and requires a lot of in-game experience to really know what it means and more importantly, how it feels and how to act upon those feelings.

This might sound discouraging and intangible to new players, but don't be stressed; it's just a natural part of learning the game.  Games are inherently an exercise of the mind and body (really :P) and each game you play might require different muscle and brain memories and functions.  Mage Wars is no different.  What's more important here is that you realize three things:

1. It is a skill to know how to apply ethereal concepts like "Damage Threshold," "Mobility," "The Art of Mage Wars," and so on; thus, it takes time and experience to learn.

2. Losing is a big part of that learning process, so try your best every game, but also look at the big picture.  You can't expect to be proficient at knowing the innate dos and don'ts of a game unless you play it and experience it, so don't sweat it if you consistently lose before you start to consistently win.

3. On the same note, actually having fun and remaining positive overall while you play is vitally important to remaining open and ingraining skills and experiences that you can draw upon in later games.  You can only improve when you have a genuine interest and desire to improve.

That doesn't mean you should stifle getting pissed at really unlucky die results (I regularly roll one complete wiff every game, never fails), but that does mean you should look beyond such exceptions and study the rules as you have fun kicking ass or inevitably, getting your ass kicked.

Hopefully this makes sense to someone out there.  A lot of the ideas on this forum are actually rather ubiquitous and fundamental gaming concepts, but they're nevertheless very complicated and difficult to express if you aren't familiar with the lingo or context in which they're used.  I can see where someone would get overwhelmed or disheartened reading some of the pinned topics (mine try to be more down-to-earth, emphasis on "try" ;) ) and wondering what the hell they mean. 

Just be reassured that the value of these posts is most often there; it just takes time and experience to fully understand them.


Custom Cards / Creature Card Ideas: Nature School
« on: July 30, 2013, 01:04:38 AM »
Time for some jungle japes...

Liati-Mumba (16 mana) (animal, reptile)

2 armor

14 health

Quick Attack (Deadly Strike): 2 attack dice Effect Die: 1-7 = Tainted, 8+ = Tainted & Crippled

Slow, Legendary

If Liati-Mumba begins her action phase in the same zone as a Plant conjuration, she gains the Invisible trait until the end of the round.

When Asyran missionaries first landed on Kumanjaro, they scoffed at the native's tales of Liati-Mumba, or "Little Death."  Soon after, however, some of the younger, haughtier missionaries went missing, and always after a great rumbling in the surrounding jungle. It was then, when they finally confronted the ancient snake, that Asyrans learned of Johktari irony.

Matahara Leopard (11 mana) (animal, cat)

1 armor

10 health

8+ defense

Quick Attack (Claws): 3 attack dice, Piercing +1, Effect Die: 7+ Bleed

Climbing, Elusive

Elder Komodo (15 mana) (animal, reptile)

3 armor

12 health

Quick Attack (Septic Bite): 4 attack dice, Effect Die: 4-8 = Rot, 9+ = 2 Rot

Tough -2

Mountain Eagle (12 mana) (animal, bird)

1 armor

11 health

Quick Attack (Talons): 4 attack dice, Piercing +1

Flying, Fast, Frost -2

Gloom-Hollow Owl (9 mana) (animal, bird)

0 armor

8 health

Quick Attack (Talons): 3 attack dice, Piercing +1

Flying, Elusive, Vigilant

Straywood Sentinel (15 mana) (plant, treant)

3 armor

14 health

Quick Attack (Trunk Bash): 4 attack dice, Effect Die: 7+ = Daze

Full Attack (Hurl Stone)(range = 0-1): 4 attack dice, Effect Die: 9+ = Daze

Slow, Flame +2, Unmovable

"As Straywood's beastmasters strained to halt the Bloodwave's onslaught, primordial guardians awoke from their slumber, and by stone and stump, Straywood itself made war upon them."

-The Etheria Chronicles

Mnumella the Mad (15 mana) (plant, dryad)

3 armor

12 health

Quick Attack (Vine Lash): 3 attack dice, Piercing +1, Reach Effect Die: Bleed = 7+

Legendary, Slow, Flame +2, Nature Mage Only

Plants in the same zone as Mnumella gain a damage barrier: 2 attack dice, Piercing +1, Effect Die: 7+ = Bleed

Non-flying creatures that enter the same zone as Mnumella suffer an Unavoidable 2 attack dice, Piercing +1 attack.

Mnumella is a curiosity among Darfenne mandragora, for unlike her kin, she is silent.  Instead, she encases all in thorn, that the echoing cries of impalled trespassers might tell a more terrible tale.

Gumo, Great Avalanche (20 mana) (animal, ape) 

2 armor

18 health

Quick Attack (Titan's Fists): 5 attack dice

Full Attack (Crushing Leap) (range 1-1): 5 attack dice, Effect Die: 7+ = Slam

Legedary, Rage 3

You may only declare Gumo's Crushing Leap attack when he has 2 or more Rage tokens and only if he is not Restrained.  If you do, move him into the targetted zone as part of the cost of declaring the attack.  It counts as a melee attack.

"That hairball of a cat plays at king in the grasslands, but here, among sharp Matahara peaks, I am lord."

--Gumo, on Makunda

Custom Cards / Creature Card Ideas: Holy School
« on: July 18, 2013, 01:08:30 AM »
Holy School gets the creature treatment this time around...

Sulgorim, Ferafell Chosen (20 Mana) (level 5)

3 armor

14 health

Quick Attack (Stone Claymore): 4 attack dice

Damage Barrier (Divine Radiance): 2 attack dice, Effect Die: Daze 7+, Burn & Daze 10+

Rage 2, Legendary, Holy Mage Only

"The Chosen guards the High King, on his white-gold throne,
Eyes of coal, soul of steel, sword of sacred stone,
His hooded gaze pierces the Dark, that shadow of the Light,       
That may restore the black Crown of old, and all its terrible might,
Against this the Chosen stands, this man whom fervor claimed,
Assassins, orcs or demon hordes, for him, it's all the same,
So heed me, unholy rabble!
Listen long and well...
No sin escapes the justice of,
The Sun of Ferafell

--Last sermon of martyr Simon Lyren, Court Bard-Priest

Asyran Shepherd (12 Mana) (level 3)

1 armor

9 health

Quick Attack (Staff): 2 attack dice, Effect Die: Daze 9+

Full Action (1 mana)(Heal)(0-1 Range): 3 attack Dice

Aegis 1

Instead of rolling dice for the Shepherd's heal, you may remove 1 condition, paying its removal cost.

Stoic Griffin (16 mana)

1 armor

12 health

8+ Defense

Quick Attack (Claw & Talons): 4 Dice, Piercing +1 Effect Die: Bleed 8+ 


Griffins value the rule of law above all else, be it in the Johktari jungles or Asyran courts.

Enforcer of Malakai (13 mana)

3 armor

9 health

Quick Attack (Searing Mace)(flame attack): 3 attack dice, counterstrike Effect Die: 8+ Burn

Vigilant, Light Immunity

The Eyes of Malakai never rest.

Razamel, the Burning Dawn (21 mana)

1 armor

13 health

Quick Attack (Khopesh): 4 attack dice

Full Attack (Heat Wave)(range = 1-1)(Flame): 3 attack dice, Sweeping Effect Die: Burn on 8+, Burn & Daze on 11+

Flying, Aegis 1, Legendary

Dawnlight scourges the impure and he is its keeper.

Mariyan, the Will of Asyra (15 mana)

3 armor

12 health

Quick Attack (War Hammer): 4 dice

At the beginning of the Action Phase, if Mariyan is not Incapacitated, you may choose one of your opponent's planned spells.  He or she reveals that spell until the end of the round.

Legendary, Tough -2

Mariyan loathes deception of all kinds, demanding truth from all who stand before her and Asyra's grace.

Strategy and Tactics / Kumanjaro Tactical Review
« on: July 11, 2013, 08:48:03 PM »
Just my take on the cards in the Kumanjaro expansion that I have experience with thus far:

Dire Wolf: very, very good.  Adds a keener edge to Redclaw openings, and makes for a very powerful Pet.  Regularly rolling for 6-7 dice + 50% Bleed is no joke, and it has as much hp and even more armor than Adramelech with Redclaw around :o.  Won't help you against powerful non-living guards like Golems, but you can't have everything in life I guess.

Giant Wolf Spider: I used in a controlling Warlock build so far and it's been good.  Being able to restrain creatures every turn is solid, but it works best in combination with other restraining effects, because some turns you need the extra chance for Tainted, or need the Spider to guard with its considerable bulk.

Guardian Angel:  As you might expect, it's a rather good guard.  Very hard to kill, between the defense and Aegis 1.  I find that its Flying trait is a little misleading, though, because it is pretty much always going to be on guard.  Restraining it is easier than you think.  Definitely pulls its weight in its role, but it's not nearly as intimidating to swing into as a Knight. 

Makunda: I've only tried him once, in an effort to do a cat tribal opening, but at least at the moment, I don't think cat tribal is viable on the offense like dog tribal is.  Piercing +1 isn't a good enough reason to summon cats, and the cats that we currently have access to are situational.  I could see Makunda being a good opening as part of a non-tribal pair or group of large animals, but don't try to force cat tribal.  It just ain't there yet.

Healing Charm:  Useful spell.  It's not a substitute for more efficient healing spells like Minor Heal, but it's a nice surprise.  I'll take 1 less die for the opportunity to bluff (even though I usually suck at bluffing)  :'(

Drain Soul:  Probably about as close to a "kill" spell as Mage Wars is going to get.  Really makes control Warlock much better, honestly, especially because I'm not a big fan of Drain Life.  It allows you to make a Blood Reaper without hesitation, and the life gain can't be simply removed like Bull Endurance can.  You're probably not going to be able to cast it more than once or twice a game, even with extra channeling, but when you do, you'll really appreciate the 12 point life swing.

Priest of Malakai:  Definitely a good mage.  For those of you used to playing against the Priestess and her relatively lower dice count, you're going to develop a grudging respect for Holy Avenger.  Holy Avenger plays similarly to how Invisible Stalker plays, interestingly, since your opponent will usually wait until near the end of the round to swing with it so that the buff can be in effect.  Knight of Westlock makes arguably the best one, and easily rolls 7-9 dice with little mana investment, which is very intimidating.

The times I have underestimated Holy Avenger, I've severely regretted it.  Really, do your best to avoid it attacking your important creatures; anticipate and manipulate creature activations as best you can, because there are very few creatures that can withstand consecutive Avenger swings.

Well that's it for now.  I'll post more when I play with the other stuff. 

Custom Cards / Creature Card Ideas: War School
« on: July 09, 2013, 12:53:42 AM »
As promised, more creature ideas! This time, for the War School:

Imperial Legionnaire (13 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier, knight) (level 3)

3 armor

10 health

9+ defense (1x)

Quick Attack (Gladius): 4 dice, Piercing +2 if the target is Restrained

Full Attack (Javelin Toss)(1-1 range): 3 dice, Piercing +2, Effect Die: 8+ Stuck

Lightning +2, Vigilant

"Sons and Daughters of Ivarium!  As I speak, the Blood Wave and undead hordes march on Westlock...she cannot hold out for long.  Remember the liberation of your fathers and be her shield!  We must show courage this day, that our people may be saved.  Hesitate, and you damn us all."

-General Lucius Pellii, addressing the Ivarium Senate

Ivarium Conscript (7 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier) (level 2)

1 armor

7 health

Quick Attack (Short Spear): 3 dice, Piercing +1

Charge +1

"With that spear, you serve your Empress.  Fight well, and you may yet earn your freedom.  Die well, and you will glorify the Empire.  Now, march!"

-Task Sergeant Brutus Mordus, Basic Training

Veteran Crossbowman (13 mana) (0-0) (zone) (soldier) (level 3)

2 armor

9 health

Full Attack (Crossbow)(1-1 range): 4 dice, Piercing +3 Effect Die: 8+ Push

Quick attack (Crossbow Bayonet): 3 dice, Piercing +1

Ivarium crossbow bolts are forged of black, mana-hardened steel.  Under the keen eye of a veteran, even heavy armor is of little use against these munitions, as they strike with such force that defenders are thrown back.

Orc Berserker (12 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier) (level 3)

2 armor

11 health

Quick Attack: 4 dice

Charge +1, Rage 2

It is not clear whether the berserkers are brave or insane; among the Orcs, there is little distinction between the two.

Roghrar & Whitescar, Frost-Forged Companions (17 Mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier) (level 5)

3 armor

15 health

Quick Attack (Boar Tusks): 5 dice, Piercing +1

Full Attack (Icy Sledge)(Frost damage): 4 dice, Sweeping, Effect Die: Frost Effect stuff?

Legendary, Frost Immunity

It is said that after many campaigns, Roghrar the Bloodied sought still greater challenges.  He climbed to the summit of the Anvil Throne and fought there Whitescar, a huge, old frostboar as immovable and wrathful as the mountain it ruled.  For days, the two exchanged deadly blows that rang like thunder from the peaks...and then all went silent.  Roghrar returned atop Whitescar soon after, his green skin bleached gray.  Whitescar had honed the orc's anger upon the Anvil Throne, and upon finding in him an equal, imbued him with all the fury of the frigid North.

Orc Taskmaster (11 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier) (level 2)

1 armor

10 health

Quick Attack (Spiked Lash): 3 dice, Bleed 9+

You may use Orc Slaver's Spiked Lash attack as a full action.  If you do, and the target is an enemy creature, it gets -2 attack dice for nonspell ranged and melee attacks until the end of the round.  If the target is a friendly corporeal creature, cancel the attack, put 2 damage on that creature and it gains Melee +2 until the end of the round.

Orcs relish taskmaster duty; it's not every day you get to hit another Orc without the fear of getting hit back.

Vespana Pellii, Herald of Wrath (16 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (soldier, knight) (level 4)

3 armor

12 health

8+ defense

Quick attack (Spear Thrust): 4 dice, Piercing +2

Fast, Charge +2, Mounted, Legendary

As a full action, and as long as Vespana is not restrained, you may have her initiate a charge. If you do, Knight creatures in her zone gain the Fast and Charge +1 until the end of the round.

The daughter of Lucius Pellii, born mute, did not rouse her knights with tales of past Ivarium glory before battle.  When the time for war came, she simply raised her spear toward the enemy and let loose the bellowing cry of her war horn, fueling her armies with a fury no words could pronounce.

Custom Cards / Trait Idea: Vigilant
« on: July 03, 2013, 04:17:17 AM »
So here's an easy idea for a trait; creatures that enter the arena active.  Vigilant seems like a fitting name for such a trait.  I'll be including it in some of my War school creature ideas I'll be posting.

I'm sure the AW team has thought about such a trait.  It would certainly be useful to have some creatures that come into the arena active, with no need for Rouse the Beast.

Custom Cards / Creature Card Ideas: Dark School
« on: July 02, 2013, 02:27:48 AM »
Hey people, just some ideas I had for Dark school creatures.  I'll be releasing similar ideas for each school so Arcane Wonders, keep a look out :P.

(Disclaimer: I don't know how to balance cards, but you get the idea.)

Bone-Blade Suitor (9 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (undead, skeleton) (level 2)

1 armor

9 health

8+ defense (1x)

Quick Attack (Serrated Strike): 4 dice, Bleed on 8+

Elusive, Frost Immunity

They dance a crimson waltz, perfecting their gruesome craft in tribute to the Bride.

Ravenous Hellhound (9) (0-0 range) (zone) (demon, canine) (level 2)

1 armor

9 health

Quick Attack (Bite): 4 dice, Piercing +1

Full Attack (Fang Flurry): 3 dice, doublestrike

Discarded in the Darkfenne as failed Sortilege experiments, the hellhounds serve their demonic masters with frenzied loyalty.

Festerling (6 mana) (0-0) (zone) (monstrosity, construct) (level 1)

0 armor

6 health

Quick Attack (Fists): 2 dice

Full Attack (Noxious Burst):  3 dice, zone attack, Effect die: Rot 9+

Fester Golem (13 mana) (0-0 range) (zone) (monstrosity, construct) (level 3)

0 armor

16 health

Quick Attack (Fetid Fists): 5 dice

Damage Barrier, Poison (Putrid Flesh): 2 dice, unavoidable Effect die: Rot 7+

Slow, Regenerate 2, Psychic Immunity, Poison Immunity

Lorana, the Cursed Bride (16 mana) (0-0) (zone) (undead, high elf) (level 4)

2 armor

15 health

Quick Attack (Pestilent Swipe): 4 dice, Effect die: 8+ Rot

Nonliving, Frost Immunity, Legendary

As a Full Action, you may choose a non-mage living creature up to one zone away from Lady Lorana.  Immediately take one Quick Action with that creature (its action marker remains unchanged).

Lady Lorana sold her soul to Moloch, that her beauty may seduce even after death.  Now, in service to the Crown, she turns would-be suitors into slaves.

Mournmaw, Shadow Fort Cerberus (21 mana) (0-0) (zone) (demon, canine) (level 5)

3 armor

13 health

Quick Attack (Crunch): 4 dice, Effect Die: Bleed on 5-9, 2 Bleed on 10+

Full Attack (Howling Frenzy): 3 dice, triplestrike

Bloodthirsty +2, Flame Immunity, Legendary, Dark Mage Only

Adramelech's personal hound acts as both gatekeeper and custodian of the Shadow Fort, consuming any soul unfortunate enough to wander upon its grounds.

Flemgore, Rotting Emissary (12 mana) (0-0) (zone) (undead, noble) (level 3)

1 armor

11 health

1 Channeling

Quick Attack (Skeletal Talons): 3 dice

Nonliving, Necromancer Only

Once per round, when a level 1 or level 2 Undead or Construct creature you control and own is destroyed, you may pay mana equal to the creature's Level +1.  If you do, immediately summon that creature to the caster's zone and flip its action marker to the active side.  Remove that creature from the game at the end of the round or if it is destroyed.

"Obey or resist--it matters not.  As sure as the grave, all will serve the Bog Queen in time."

Custom Cards / New "Ritual" Mechanic
« on: June 25, 2013, 08:42:54 PM »
I thought it would be an interesting idea to somehow apply the "Extendable" mechanic of walls to the other spell types, particularly Incantations and Attack spells.  MW could do this through a mechanic called "Ritual."

The Ritual mechanic would function similarly to the Extendable mechanic.  When your mage casts a spell with the "Ritual X" trait, you may immediately search your spellbook for another copy of the same spell, pay the "X" cost specified to "commit" that spell to the ritual and receive a bonus effect, cast and resolve the spell, and discard both cards.  Of course, the player could also choose not to pay the Ritual X cost, in which case no additional effect would occur.

Through this mechanic, MW could make the act of casting Attacks and Incantations more engaging and offer more strategic options to players. 

For example, I made up some cards that illustrate the idea:

Spiritfire (mana cost = 5) (range = 0-2) (target = object) (type = flame, ritual) (level 1 fire & air school Attack spell)

Attack Dice: 3, Effect Die: 7+ = Burn

If Spiritfire's Ritual cost is paid, it gains the Indirect and Ethereal traits.

Ritual 2

Bestial Fury (mana cost = 5) (range = 0-1) (target = corporeal creature) (type = command, ritual) (level 1 war school & level 2 nature school Incantation spell)

Target gains the Fast, Charge +1, and Melee +1 traits.

If Bestial Fury's Ritual cost is paid, the Target gains an additional Charge +1, Melee +1 and gains the Uncontainable trait until the end of the round.

Ritual 3

Profane Prayer (mana cost = X) (range = 0-1) (target = living creature) (healing, curse, ritual) (level 1 holy school & level 1 dark school Incantation spell)

Remove as many conditions from the target as you wish, paying the removal cost for each one.  Then, if Profane Prayer's Ritual cost is paid, redistribute those same conditions onto any creature they may legally affect in the same zone as the target.

Ritual X (X = removal cost of conditions)

I'm not sure 100% about the balance of these prospective cards, but you get the idea.  The Ritual mechanic is basically a way of giving players some neat options that allow them to adapt to and capitalize on changes in the arena.

Thanks all, constructive feedback welcome.

Player Feedback and Suggestions / Warlord Intro-guide Revamp
« on: June 18, 2013, 07:00:22 PM »
I think AW should release a newer intro-guide for the Warlord, similar to what the company did with the Warlock.  It's been my experience that a lot of players who try out the Warlord try very hard to swarm with creatures, but to little effect.  The mini-rule/guide that comes with the expansion appears to heavily encourage this style of play, while it should be emphasizing the Warlord's access to powerful defensive creatures like Thorg, and his ability to command them.

While I understand the Warlord vs Forcemaster expansion is geared more towards experienced players, I think the advice the product gives about the Warlord naturally sets up any kind of player for failure, and gives them the impression that the Warlord is a comparatively poor mage when the Warlord actually has a lot to offer if you play him to his strengths.

Thus, in the interest of forming a good first impression about a very cool mage, the Warlord, I would suggest releasing an online modification of the Warlord's starting spellbook and intro-guide to emphasize his powerful defensive and offensive options.  For example, I think explaining specifically about his powerful bodyguard Thorg, deadly swordsman Sir Corazin, sturdy Iron Golems, meaty Orc Butchers, swing-y Dwarves, and his ability to improve them with various powerful commands like Whirling Strike, Battle Fury, Charge, and so on, along with his access to the powerful Earth school would give players a better impression that the Warlord is a commander of an elite squad of veteran creatures first, and a general of an army second.


Strategy and Tactics / Arena Axioms 1: Opening Strategies REVISED
« on: June 12, 2013, 05:28:51 AM »
8/22/2014 Update: I have returned to playing MW regularly after a break, and a lot has changed since the writing of this article.  Most of it is different and now includes some insight on how the MW environment has changed, so please take another read.  Thanks!

Arena Axioms is a series with the goal to give players, especially new ones, advice that they can use in the arena to improve their play and thus get a bit more enjoyment out of the game. 

In this segment, I will be covering opening plays, how to approach different basic strategies, and some of the core concerns behind those approaches.  The main are numbered as follows:

1. Conjure at least 2-3 Mana conjurations and/or Rings to help you stay on equal mana footing with the opposing mage. 

Arcane Wonders recognizes the importance of early increases in channeling, as is apparent in their updated starting spellbooks.  All of the mages have at least 2 Mana Crystals/Flowers in addition to their "X-class only" mana-reduction rings and spawnpoints, and indeed in my experience, playing 2 channeling-increasing mana cards on the first turn of the game is optimal.  Virtually all matches last for at least 5 turns, usually many more, so they are guaranteed to provide an increase in mana regardless of what other more specific cards you'll need.

2.  Spend your starting mana and choose your play style

Casting creatures is the main way early on to spend your extra starting mana.  The need for more actions isn't implicit in the rules, but having a solid amount of actions ensures that you're going to have things to do and more options throughout the game other than having to rely solely on your mage's actions.

Your approach towards summoning creatures will generally depend on whether or not you're going to be using your class spawnpoint or using a Battleforge: 

A. If you are using your class spawnpoint (Pentagram, Gate to Voltari, Lair, Libro Mortuous/Graveyard, etc), you should have a good mana "curve" of creatures.  That is, you want your creatures cost to match what you need throughout the game.  This means having some level 1 and 2 creatures for the early game, some level 3 or 4 creatures for the mid-game, and possibly a level 5 or higher creature for the late game. 

Additionally, Meditation Amulet is particularly good when using a class spawnpoint.  As you spend most of your mana on creatures, you'll find yourself running out of very mana quickly; MA gives your Mage the ability to help fuel your army of creatures when he or she would otherwise be out of mana.  You can also prepare another card to Quick Cast after you restore some mana Meditating; it's a neat way to make sure your mage always has something to do.

Some Spawnpoints can only cast creatures with a certain amount of mana already on them (Temple of Asyra, Pentagram, etc); when playing mages with those spawnpoints, it's often a good idea to include a Harmonize to enchant them.  This allows you to more consistently rely on your spawnpoint rather than risking not being able to cast a creature on a turn you really need to.

The goal when casting creatures with a spawnpoint is to summon what you need; if your opponent doesn't have much armor (or any) or bigger armored creatures, you don't need large creatures with special abilities; lots of little creatures actually give you more dice than one or two big ones, and are usually not very profitable for your opponent to kill or control outside of zone-targetting cards, or cards that affect the entire arena. To make cards like zone-attacks less attractive for your opponent, avoid clumping most of your creatures into a single zone; stagger them in different zones instead, if possible.  Doing this also ensures that if an opponent attempts to block their movement with a Wall, only a couple of your creatures will lose actions getting around it, not your entire army.

On the other hand, if you see lots of armor and/or big creatures on the other side of the arena, you need to match them with strong, higher-level creatures of your own and/or armor, a defense, or other protection cards like Divine Protection, control cards like Agony to punish high dice or special attacks, and Regrowth on your mage to survive through multiple  fights.

Knowing when to transition from smaller creatures to bigger creatures is very important to your success when using a class spawnpoint play style.  Seeing an enemy mage with lots of enchantments and armor or large enemy creatures is a good indication that you need to summon larger, more powerful creatures with special abilities.  Including spells like Acid Ball, Rust, Call of the Wild, Marked for Death, Armory, and Tooth and Nail are also very good ways to support the smaller creatures you have already summoned, since these cards and others like them also help your larger creatures. 

Players should note that if you are spending most of your mana on creatures (which is going to be the case if you're using a class spawnpoint), your mage is going to be more vulnerable.  The other part of performing well when using a class spawnpoint is really knowing when to involve your mage in the fighting, and to heavily support your creatures over the course of the game with cards that increase their value in some way and cover their respective weaknesses (as previously mentioned).  Anticipate damage and control cards that your opponent will use to maim and punish your creatures, and if one of your bigger creatures is wounded, it's a safe bet to prepare a healing spell to make sure it survives.  Unless you're in a position to gain a big advantage over your opponent, losing a larger creature can easily mean losing the game.

Ultimately, your creatures are the heavy-lifters here, so your mage needs to as far away from the action as possible while still being able to support her creatures.  Walls that block LoS/movement and powerful equipment like Cloak of Shadows can allow your mage some leniency in her mobility, instead of being confined to a corner of the arena and/or missing summoning opportunities because you're afraid she'll be focused. 

B. If instead you're using a Battleforge (Fellella functions similarly for Nature mages), your needs and focus change somewhat.  Your general strategy isn't to support lots of creatures and gain tons of actions, it is to increase the quality of your fewer actions and reduce the quality of your opponent's actions, usually by playing buffing cards on your mage and higher level friendly creatures while playing control cards on the opposing mage and his or her creatures.

The Battleforge/mage-buffing play style is arguably simpler than the spawnpoint style, since there are less actions and thus less individual decisions you have to worry about.  Your main concern is to make sure that you're not overwhelmed by mages who use a lot of creatures while removing all of your buffing progress.  If your opponent is successful, all that really matters at that point is how many dice each player is rolling, and you're not going to win that fight having fewer creatures.

In particular, you need to plan for cards like Harshforge Monolith, Purge/Destroy Magic, and Arcane Corruption, all of which are very powerful at punishing heavy investment in enchantments.  On other side of the same coin, you also need to include cards that punish a player using lots of creatures, so you don't get easily overwhelmed.  Mordok's Obelisk, Suppression Orb, Idol of Pestilence, creatures with zone affects like Malacoda or sweeping like Dwarf Kriegsbiel, and various zone attacks can help you fight back against waves of creatures.  Be sure to support these cards with buffs of their their own; you aren't going to have many opportunities to summon creatures, so you need to make sure the few ones you do summon aren't destroyed.

Probably the most straightforward of protecting your enchantments other than just having multiple copies is Enchanter's Wardstone.  It's pretty much specifically designed to help players who buff their mage with more than one or two enchantments, and punishes enchantment-destroying cards.  Armor Ward is the same kind of idea, just for equipment; however, there is not as of yet any card released that destroys multiple equipment, so Armor Ward is arguably less relevant in the current card pool/environment.

c. Three cards you'll really want to consider regardless of play style are Wand of Healing, Mana Prism, and if you're playing a War mage, Conquer 

Both styles often include various ways of inflicting conditions that are detrimental to the other, like Sleep, Corrode, Cripple, and more; you'll want to make sure you're prepared if one of those happens.  The small heal is also a great way to spend a little extra mana you might be floating.   Just be aware that the range on the Wand is pretty short, so it won't save you or one of your creatures if you make a big enough mistake.

There are plenty of cards that force players to pay mana, especially if they're focused on a particular strategy, and that's where Mana Prism comes in.  Like the Wand, it won't stop everything your opponent is doing to ruin your plans, but it will soften the late-game blow from lots of different control cards.  This is especially true given the recent release of the Anvil Throne Warlord, his mana-taxing abilities, and the powerful Harshforge Plate.

On the note of War mages, Conquer is a very strong card that can take the place of Mana Prism (Arcane cards cost triple spellbook points for the Warlord, so this is preferable), as many of the most disruptive mana-taxing cards are corporeal conjurations.  Conquer is conditional, but the condition is not hard to fulfill and no other card currently can outright destroy a corporeal conjuration with no dice rolled.

Thanks for reading! I know it is a lot to mull over, but the advice should help all levels of players.  The game has changed significantly since the early sets and very much for the better.  I welcome any constructive feedback, critical or complementary, and edit-in any information I missed that another player picks up on.

Rules Discussion / Competitive MW round/match rules
« on: June 02, 2013, 11:16:15 PM »
With the Origins tourney coming up (which I unfortunately can't attend, stupid college  >:( ), can we know what the rules are for standard tournament play are?  In other words, what officially constitutes the rules of a competitive match in MW?

This is something I've been very very eager to hear about since my gaming group plays MW as competitively as possible (when not trying out new or casual book builds).

Info please!  :)

Custom Cards / Holy Familiar
« on: April 25, 2013, 02:12:34 AM »
Anchorite Aelfric, The Peace of Asyra (12 mana)

Channeling: 1

Health: 10

Armor: 1

Quick Action Melee Attack (Staff of Light): 3 Dice, Effect die = Daze on 7+, Stun on 11+

Aelfric may cast only level 1-2 Holy Incantation and Enchantment spells

For the first time each round, when an enemy creature makes a melee or ranged attack against a friendly creature or conjuration in the same zone as Aelfric, its controller must pay 2 mana or that attack is cancelled.

Traits: Legendary, Light Immunity, Familiar

Zorael & Zaphael, Counselor Seraphim (15 mana)

Channeling 2

Health: 12

Armor: 1

Defense: 6+, 2x Round

Quick Action Attack (Swords): 3 Dice, Counterstrike

Full Action Attack (Dual Swords): 3 Dice, Doublestrike

Zorael & Zaphael may cast only level 1-2 Holy attack spells

When there is 6 or more damage on Zorael & Zaphael, they gain the Channeling -1 trait.

Traits: Legendary, Light Immunity, Aegis 1, Familiar

How would these do as Holy school familiars?  Hopefully flavorful enough, even if the balance is a bit off.

Alternative Play / Online Play
« on: April 22, 2013, 02:14:53 AM »
MW doesn't have online play yet, but I was thinking using Skype or some other resource could open up the game to players who might not have a regular gaming group.  Would anyone want to play MW over Skype or some equivalent?  Who knows, it could be pretty ok, and an added bonus is that zones wouldn't end up really crowded like they sometimes do in-game (probably my only gameplay complaint about MW honestly).

Of course, this requires both parties being mature and understanding, but these forums are generally good-natured so I think it could work out.  

Anyone interested?

Hey all.  I have regular group I play with, but I want to expand my MW experience further.  Anyone in the said area interested in starting a league?  I would be looking for players who can be pretty active, with an interest in playing both competitively and casually.  I have the OP kit for this month, so I could provide promos.

(I posted in the other thread, but it hasn't been used in months and it looked like the location moved, so I'm making my own.)

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