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Messages - Hanma

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16
Mages / Re: The Wizard discussion
« on: August 13, 2015, 01:14:13 PM »
And here's a list of things mages can do better than Wizard, and the mages that do so.
1. Auto attacking. Forcemaster and Warlock. Keep in mind I am of the opinion of auto attacking is not currently a viable competitive strategy

What is "auto attacking"?  [mwcard=MW1E34]Reverse Attack[/mwcard]? [mwcard=FWQ01]Dancing Scimitar[/mwcard]? Or generally melee attacking as your Mage's main action every turn (e.g. with Galvitar + Dancing Scimitar and whatever enchantment/equipment melee buffs you can afford)?

Melee attack main actions. This is even arguable given that I could auto attack, zap, and attack spell through Wizard's Tower every turn though.

17
Mages / Re: The Wizard discussion
« on: August 13, 2015, 11:36:37 AM »
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

I look at the druid and the necromancer and it seems they're a lot more unique. It would be quite tough for the wizard to try and "be them". So then looking at them, I'll be looking at what we can do to give our mages more unique feel.

Now this is not a response directly about balance, but I feel this issue better addresses what has come up from the game proposed here.

I'm really glad that you think this way! It's exactly why I'm pushing so hard for better unique cards such as the good version of conquer. I do have to add though, here's a list of the things I can do better as a Wizard than other mages.
1. Curse Wizard, better than curse Warlock/Necromancer
2. Attack spell fire Wizard, better than Adramelech Warlock
3. Aggro, better than Forcemaster and Joktari Beastmaster most notably, but better than all other mages too.
(Attack spell Wizard, with or without Jinx)
4. 1-big strategy, better than all other mages, biggest names being Warlock and Priest. (See Wizzly Grizard)
5. Turtling for time wins, better than all mages aside from Priestess. (My gencon book last year had me at 40+ life every game.)
6. Mid-game in general, better than all other mages. (Weighted Training Clothes)

And here's a list of things mages can do better than Wizard, and the mages that do so.
1. Auto attacking. Forcemaster and Warlock. Keep in mind I am of the opinion of auto attacking is not currently a viable competitive strategy
2. Massing Creatures. Priestess, Necromancer, and Beastmaster. This also generally doesn't happen because it relies on your opponent not interacting with you.
3. Turtling for time wins. Priestess, also relies on non-interaction.

Here's a list of things I feel are equal.
1. Destroying conjurations, Warlord and Wizard are fairly equal thanks to Akiro's Hammer.

I will add that one game on a stream definitely isn't conclusive evidence, but though my personal testing I draw the same conclusion that Sailor Vulcan does. Curse Warlock isn't even close, curse Necromancer is closer in power though.

18
Mages / Re: The Wizard discussion
« on: August 11, 2015, 10:34:12 AM »
How many spells that currently exist do you think would become or stay useless because of such a spell tome?
The only victim I think of becoming useless would be Steal Enchantment or Steal Equipment. Both of those cards are attempted examples of what I'm talking about but are just to expensive to really use on Forcemaster en masse. If there was a reprint it should be exactly like dissolve/dispel, + 1 mana maybe, but give you the option of paying double to steal things. I don't think it would really knock cards down from playable to unplayable though, simply due to lack of playable cards that are like what I described. Ex, conquer is unfortunately unplayable.

This might significantly increase power creep.
This is true, it totally could. I honestly wouldn't be entirely against that as long as the power creep favors the balance of the game for specialized mages though. Although, if the new cards synergized with the old ones, that would help a lot. So something that was unplayable is given new avenues of use due to new cards.

Would it make spellbook building more challenging for the wizard, or make spellbook building easier for everyone else, both or neither?
I don't know that it would make it more challenging for Wizard, just give him harder match ups. The best example I can think of is Magic. Blue in magic is essentially arcane in Mage Wars, counterspell can generally answer every card in Magic. I think it's fine that Wizard in general is very well rounded and has a way to deal with most things. The problem is that the other mages specialized strategies just aren't strong enough to give a reason to not play Wizard. Like, if Warlord was fixed I think he would dump on anyone that made conjurations SOOOO hard. I think if anything, it would make spell book building for everyone else way more fun! Because every book you built, if the mage changed it would be like playing a totally different book. As it is right now, you're going to see dissolve/dispel/seeking dispel/mana crystal(or wardstone) in pretty much every competitive book.

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Mages / Re: The Wizard discussion
« on: August 11, 2015, 10:00:13 AM »
This was my response to a similar discussion we are having in the playtester forum.

What pushes Wizard over the edge is that his class specific cards are just better than every other class in combination with the training. For example, if Warlord had good conquer(No some control, no stupid soldier required) and the awful rule of outposts not being able to be put to next to each other was gone, I think he would be a high tier mage. Also most mages don't have much access to meta spells. Basically, other specialized cards don't answer meta spells well enough to let you forgo them, this then forces you to answer them with other meta spells. Which training then gets in the way of. Akiro's Hammer(minus the flaw of no indirect on the 8 dice) is a PERFECT example of this. Every mage needs something like this. Thematic, unique, and bumps them up to or at least near wizard tier. Honestly, I would say release a whole spell tome of cards specifically designed to balance the game and give each mage that already exists an even better and more distinct playstyle

20

Why do you think that the Pentagram is the best creature spawnpoint besides Gate to Voltari? I like the consistency that the Lair offers considerably better, particularly given how much better it in terms of action economy to play turn 1. There are good dark living creatures, just not good ones to support a spawnpoint play. I feel like Infernian Scourger was printed to try to fill that role, but hes just not nearly good enough at it.
Mostly because it's so survivable, what I've found is that squishy spawnpoints are so easily focused that you're just better off without them to begin with(Battle Forge being the exception because it's so cheap). It is the best in itself, this is if dark living creatures were on par with Nature or Holy creatures. However since they just aren't, I totally agree that Lair is the best. Basically my argument was, just looking at the card itself and taking nothing else into consideration in regards to what type of creatures it can actually pump out.

Surviveability? Cause not that many currently take the ethereal cards as incorporeal is currently not so common. and arcane zap and its dead, without harmonize you are not getting many creatures out fast and can only utilize it 1time in the first 3 rounds and if the wizard or some ethereal available mage just comes offensive it's dead and that for 14mana. It is just damn expensive.
it is a really slow start untill your 2mana bonus comes out and you get the bonus for attacking different enemy creatures, so no extra channel if force field is up, all other solo mages.

Agreed, if the metagame shifted to wind Wizard actually being competitive then pentagram would be horrible. Wizard is also of course it's worst match up and that doesn't help, but at least there's something to be said about forcing them into coming 0-1. From my play, my opinion on spawnpoints is that it's not so much about the amount of mana that they generate(Of course, more is always better) it's about how long they stay on the board to pump out creatures. That is why I like pentagram more than Lair. Granted, having a 9 channeling mage behind a Pentagram is also pretty bad, but that's a whole different topic.

21
Congratulations on your win.

Here is my analysis of your spellbook. I have thought about it a fair amount, but never actually playing against it. Let me know what you agree and disagree with.

I don't think Gate to Voltari really gives you as much late game strength in this book as you claim simply because you don't run a strong enough set of creatures for a truly dominating late game. If someone kills both of your Wizard's Towers, a big part of your tactical advantage goes away, and a stronger set of creatures could overwhelm you. I'm sure overcoming your economic and action advantage in the short term is difficult, particularly given how mana efficient the stats on Gate to Voltari and Wizard's Tower are, but I still think you're overstating your late game strength. I would describe your spellbook as trying to reach the midgame very quickly, and then extend that midgame as long as possible while building an insurmountable tempo/action advantage, and preventing your opponent from building the investments they need to reach a strong late game position.
Thanks! I would have to agree with your assessment that a long midgame might be a better definition, but I only feel that way if you are talking about it within a lower tier metagame. We also might honestly be talking semantics at that point and here's why. The late game deck that you are talking about makes me envision most likely a Priestess, Beastmaster, or Necromancer. The three mages with probably the most powerful creatures en masse. With this envisioning I'm picturing massive waves of creatures all fighting each other and the mages. Three Zombie Brutes, a bunch of Knights of Westlock and some angels, Steelclaw Grizzly and a bunch of wolves, that sort of thing. I would agree that this type of strategy is probably the best late game build, because you just have more dice, guards, life, etc. The thing is, as I said something similar with Sailor Vulcan, if your metagame has evolved to a far enough point you'll eventually find that these things never happen. Not only does time limit in rounds restrict this sort of strategy, but having mass creatures and that sort of thing only happens in games of non-interaction. If I let an opponent sit around and durdle all game, allowing them to mass creatures, you're right, I would probably lose and I would deserve to in that scenario. The thing is, that never happens. Because this situation never happens, the late midgame that you describe then turns into the definition of late game.


I also think you are overstating the advantage of Jinx, though I will freely admit that I underestimated it. The thing that makes it such a key card in your spellbook is the combination of the action economy you build with your familiars and spawnpoint, your efforts to gain a channeling advantage, and your reliance on attack spells as your primary source of damage. If you don't have an action and a channeling advantage, the advantage Jinx offers you is much smaller. You're paying 3 mana to reduce the number of quick actions available to you and your opponent by 1, which is mostly worthwhile when you have an action and channeling advantage, or a large enough board advantage that being behind on mana is acceptable to press your advantage. It gives you an overwhelming advantage against mages that dont increase their action economy at all, but against someone with a similar action/mana economy, its significantly less valuable.

I would agree with you if any other mage was capable of generating the same action/mana economy as a Wizard with these tools, but it literally can't happen because there is no form of Wizard's Tower for other mages. Would Jinx be busted if Wizard's Tower wasn't a thing? Probably not, but it is. You are also totally ignoring the absurd effect that Jinx has defensively in it's ability to hold off offensive mages until your investments come online. Which honestly isn't long at all considering my opening play mentioned where you have Wizard's Tower and Gargoyle Sentry out on turn three.

Because your primary damage source is attack spells, Jinx gives you a significant advantage in reducing your opponent's ability to defend against your attacks. Acid Ball in conjunction with Dispel/Dissolve for things giving defenses makes it very hard to defend against attack spell spam if your opponent has a significant action advantage, which Jinx helps you to exacerbate. For someone that relies primarily on creatures for damage, Jinx will tend to be weaker in general (unless they have their opponent locked down in a position of massive tactical inferiority), since their opponent can play a wide variety of creatures to guard and attack those creatures. They could also try to avoid those creatures until their opponent runs out of Jinxes. It still has applications, but it's easier for a wider range of opponents to deal with it.

True, it's a fact that Jinx is going to be not game breaking insta-win immediately against creature reliant mages, like it is against someone that gets in your face and throws attack spells. The thing is though, in the games where you're playing against a creature or two, your plan is going to be to kill off those creatures through crazy mana efficient attack spells like hurl rock, all the while you are doing that, your Gargoyle Sentry is guarding your Wizard's Tower and Wizard if need be and Blue Gremlins start coming out of Gate. You are essentially interacting with their investments(creatures) while yours just continue to sit there doing whatever they please. After their first creature or two are down(Usually you only need to kill 1), Jinx then proceeds to lock them out of the rest of the game as you finish them with attack spells and Gate creatures. This was done even without Gate in my first match and would have been done against Priestess had I decided to use the better opening.

Against the kind of attack spell spam you focus on, the best answer is intercept creatures that cannot be efficiently destroyed with attack spells. The Priestess is also much less vulnerable to Acid Ball weakening her defenses. Overall I think the Priestess has one of the better matchups against this strategy for those reasons combined with her potential for a really strong late game.
I totally agree Priestess is the 2nd worst match-up with this book, first being Wizard of course, especially when timed rounds are taken into consideration. However because Temple of Asyra is so fragile and Priestess lacks any other action gaining mechanic aside from Battle Forge, I don't think I could lose barring god rolls. This is also shown as an example of when I played, I elected to use a worse opening that I was almost 100% sure would lose the Priestess matchup, yet I still managed to go to time. If during that match I would have had a Gargoyle Sentry and 4 Blue Gremlins out, I don't think it would have been even close.

Why do you think that the Pentagram is the best creature spawnpoint besides Gate to Voltari? I like the consistency that the Lair offers considerably better, particularly given how much better it in terms of action economy to play turn 1. There are good dark living creatures, just not good ones to support a spawnpoint play. I feel like Infernian Scourger was printed to try to fill that role, but hes just not nearly good enough at it.
Mostly because it's so survivable, what I've found is that squishy spawnpoints are so easily focused that you're just better off without them to begin with(Battle Forge being the exception because it's so cheap). It is the best in itself, this is if dark living creatures were on par with Nature or Holy creatures. However since they just aren't, I totally agree that Lair is the best. Basically my argument was, just looking at the card itself and taking nothing else into consideration in regards to what type of creatures it can actually pump out.

I agree that for competitive play, Sardonyx is the worst card in the game.
Quoted for truth. :) Talos is a pretty close 2nd, lol.

I really like your thoughts by the way, some things I've read on the forums as a whole make me question if I'm playing a different game than most people. Haha. :) Keep them coming if you have anymore!

22
Wow, now that's an epic report! Congratulations & thanks for posting!

Being a very casual player, all I can say is that Jinx is also one of my favorite spells. In my last game I jinxed the hell out of my (granted, inexperienced) opponent, resulting in my fastest game (and win) ever.

Thank you! It took forever to write, haha. You're off to a good start! I always encourage the casual player to try being competitive at least once. You tend to find yourself exploring depths of the game that you never would have been able to experience without doing so. Having a type of fun that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

Congrats, Nick!

Seriously, It was fun playing against you and I learned quite a bit from our match. So for that, I thank you. If you're ever on OCTGN and up for a game, let me know!

I'm glad I could be of help, and it was a fun game! Next time I'll have the pleasure of dealing with Cloak of Shadows I'm sure, haha. If I get on and play, I'll make sure to let you know!

Nick,
Congrats on the win.  I really liked your comments about action economy, and feel that is something my book lacked.  Sadly your Jinx spells caught up with me in round 6 against Tim, when I planned on a jinx, but instead was the Rust / force push / Wall of thorns combos

Gregg

Thanks! It was a rough fought battle, that's for sure. Yeah, I LOVE Priestess but I also feel that it has an issue in that department. Temple of Asyra is also just way to fragile unfortunately. The Guardian Angel strategy was awesome though and I'm going to be trying a variation of the same idea. Try two copies of Battle Forge and see how that goes, it's a good answer to yours getting blown up early. Sorry for throwing your last match off so bad! If it means anything, I really didn't want to play against either of you in the finals. I knew they would both be really rough matches.

Thanks for the informative post! I'm glad these winner posts have become somewhat of a tradition.

I'm curious as to if you've played Domination with this book yet. I wonder how the different win condition might alter your strategy. That said, Jinx and Wizard Tower seem pretty disruptive for any mode. I wonder if Fumble will fill a similar niche as Jinx in that mode. The booming action economy would obviously still translate well too.

I haven't actually, I feel like killing their mage by just Jinxing them out of the game while you pound on them with Wizard's Tower could be amazing though. I'd honestly probably convert to Earth and not even bother with Mana Crystals. Just use Huginn with Hurl Rock/Boulder/Meteor.

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Congrats on your win! Great write up!

Few things I noticed.

First of all, why would you use four mana crystals in a super aggressive attack spell strategy? You could just save the mana. This whole concept of "mana flow" that you're talking about seems rather iffy and murky, and looks more like a psychological trick to make you think you have more mana advantage in the early game than you actually do. You actually DO have less mana to spend in the early game if you cast crystals than if you don't. That is a mathematical fact. I'm guessing it only feels like more because people don't save their mana as much when they have less in the first place. Probably since they don't want to waste actions. The mana crystals are not useful if the game ends before they pay themselves back. If you win before the crystals pay themselves back, then that means you could have just not cast anything the first two rounds and you would have 20 more mana by round 5 then you would have with the crystals, and 10 more mana by round 6 than you would have with the crystals. Which means any games that you won before round 7 using your super aggressive attack opening would have won even more easily if you had not cast anything at all for the first two rounds, unless you take into account the psychological factor of tricking your opponents into thinking you're going long game.

Thanks! I agree in the opening turns that this is true of course, but the problem becomes when your opponent decides to interact with you, which is every game. In a perfect world you walk up to them and destroy them after opening up cheetah speed to get in their face potentially on round 1. The reality is that because investments exist, if your opponent uses them and you are unable to get through their life total for whatever reason(i.e. Jinx, armor, guards, heals) there's almost zero chance of you winning at that point barring taking SO long in the planning phases that you go to time after you light them up. The problem becomes that defenses and more specifically heal drastically skews the probability of them taking the game.

How many of your opponents played a super-aggressive early game strategy? From the looks of the write up the answer is 0. Every single one of your opponents seems to have either played for the mid game or the late game. Did any of your opponents even try using a battle forge? A wizard spellbook entirely devoted to super aggro attack spells using wizard's tower, huginn and no mana crystals would have been able to get an action advantage against you earlier.

I feel like you didn't read the report? Or maybe have a different definition of aggro? 1 big strategies in general are very aggressive. A bear on turn 2, was my opening opponent. Forcemaster getting in your face with Invisible Stalker is in the same boat. All attack spell Warlock with curse and spells from T2 onwards. Finally, my last round opponent had me turning on Voltaric Shield on T2. As I also said, my Priestess opponent did use a Battle Forge. Finally, the spellbook you describe was pretty much Attack Wizard that I built, but it was unable to do all the things needed due to lack of mana flow. Even without opening Mana Crystal.

Jinx only helps you if you already have an action advantage, since it costs you 1 quick action and causes the opponent to lose 1 quick action. Jinxing an opponent who already has an action advantage over you actually can hurt you more than them (although it might depend on exactly what spell was countered.)

Of course...? You're playing Wizard, you ALWAYS have action advantage.

9 channeling mages not viable? This again? And the reasoning you give seems to be...because they don't have enough actions.

...

I think I should point out that a lot of the reason that the forcemaster has 10 channeling instead of 9 is probably because of the upkeep costs that a lot of mind spells have.

It's two points actually, yes they don't have enough actions. Their familiars are squishy and their spawnpoints are average at best. The best being Pentagram, but you run into the problem of pretty mediocre dark living creatures. The best is typically Battle Forge, but that doesn't really put you ahead unless you combine it with something else that grants passive advantage(a creature spawnpoint) or use it to become very aggressive though perhaps auto attacking. The most important however is that no one else has anything like Wizard's Tower.

Also, there are ways to deal with enemy action advantage.

For instance, the Warlock uses enfeeble and agony to great effect. Sure you can dispel them, but that costs you a quick action, and meanwhile he can smash your face in. Sure if the game goes long enough you'll have enough action advantage that he won't be able to do that, but in the meantime he is rolling more dice against you per round than you are, and it could take at least a couple rounds if not several rounds for you to gain the upper hand.
I would totally ignore these effects, MAYBE using Dispel on enfeeble if it became annoying enough. I would most likely use Huginn for that. Neither would impact my gameplay much, as I don't need to move often due to Wizard's Tower and Jinx being 0-2.

I think I heard somewhere that about half of the participants this year played wizards. This is starting to look like a ridiculous self fulfilling prophecy. "Oh look! Wizard won a tournament! Wizard is overpowered! Half of the players bring a wizard because he is so powerful! Oh look! Wizard won a tournament! Wizard is overpowered! Even MORE players bring wizards next year. And the more times he wins, the more convinced people become that wizard is overpowered and the more people who decide to play the wizard, so the more chances wizard has to win. Even if he is slightly overpowered, people really need to stop making it look worse than it actually is. If a Mage is overpowered in Mage wars that doesn't mean they can't be beaten, it means that they over-centralize the metagame due to their own power (and NOT merely because of the perception that they're overpowered.)

It was only 5/17 for starters, and they had the highest records. Wizard played against non-wizard for most matches and Wizard won more often than lost. This has held true for three years. As such, you can conclude Wizard has the best overall matchups. It's not a self fulfilling prophecy, it's empirical data.

Assume you don't take tournament evidence into account, just look at the cards. I think it's obvious. He has 10 channeling, great defense on stat card, an answer to incorporeal built in, at cost spell book points to all meta spells and at cost access to another school of his choice(making him the most versatile), has the best spawnpoint, 2nd best familiar, and most important a card that NO OTHER mage has...Wizard's Tower.

You're probably a more talented Mage wars player than I am, but I think you could benefit from some more exposure to the global metagame to improve your theoretical understanding, particularly when it comes to aggro mages. You've recently started playing on OCTGN, right? I think I played a game against you at some point, but I'm not sure. I might be confusing you with Halewjin. Not sure I spelled that right...

Anyways, I want to say again, congratulations for winning the tournament!

Thanks again! I will be the first person to say that I make my fair share of play mistakes that's for sure. I haven't really played on OCTGN recently, I mostly just used to play with Charmyna. I will totally agree that there is always room to improve and you can learn a lot from people that play differently than yourself. I do feel however that the game is still at a point balance wise where it's possible to find a best book. Once again, not unbeatable, but will win 80-90% of the time.

I do also think however that people need to recognize that there are just bad and unplayable cards. Look at Magic, some cards are factually just better than others and the competitive community acknowledges that fact. The problem stems from however that it's a lot easier to tell in Magic. I see a lot of time people saying things like "Well, this card is good because I used it this one time and it worked really well for me." or "This card can be good in X, Y, Z situation while god comes down and grants that it be so." There are going to be bad cards, and that's okay. It's fun to use those cards when derping around, but if you're playing competitively people need to acknowledge that Sardonyx is just the worst card in the game.

24
Thanks very much for this, and congrats on the win! That spellbook is a thing of spare beauty and deadly grace.

Did you ever test against Meditation Amulet/Graveyard Necro? Which opening would you recommend?
Thanks! We did test against Meditation Amulet Straywood Beastmaster because his creatures, minus Zombie Brute, tend to pack more of a punch than Necromancer. I did play against Stephen(Gencon 2013 winner) last year and he was playing a book similar to this.

That being said, I think either opening would win. Using the attack opening and assuming they don't play Jinx, there is no way that they are going to come online before your Wizard's Tower and Wizard outright kill them. Assuming that they do, it's going to be a closer than a total blowout. However by using Huginn before you walk up to them and use him to get Jinx off you while they have no way of doing so, you're also going to win. The other option is to use Gate to Voltari and generate 16 channeling+Gate+Huginn+Wizard's Tower for effectively 20-21 channeling. Being that Gate+16 channeling+Wizard's Tower or Huginn comes online during T4 there is really nothing that they could do to get ahead enough to make up for your channeling and action advantage once you start getting in their face from there. Also, because Jinx exists, once you get in their face they won't want to Med Amulet because suddenly all their actions are gone every turn while you have 4.

To conclude, both would work. But I always feel that Gate to Voltari is the safer option.

Similar to Ringkichard, I'm curious on what you would do against a skeleton necro who turtled with wall of bone and cloak of shadows.  It looks like the most trouble you had was against a mage who could block attack spells, and walls of bone do just that.  A huginn might be able to fly over, but a skeleton archer could shoot it down.  Congrats on your excellent performance in the tournament.

Thanks! The real issue wasn't so much that they could block attack spells(I assume you mean the Priestess) it was that she did it with crazy survivable creatures but more importantly gained max life while doing so, allowing her to win via time. Walls are another thing that I LOVE in theory but outside of the rare few just aren't playable because they are to mana inefficient and have to little effect on the board state. Even if they did Wall of Bones, it takes them 14 mana to wall themselves off while I pay 8 mana with a Hawkeye to kill it on average rolls. That doesn't even count Wizard's Tower. I'll take that trade all day long. While I don't think using the attack opening would be optimal against this kind of build, outside of them having Battle Forge on top of GY(Which I would just kill) I don't think they could survive long enough for their game plan to come online. Necro also doesn't have any good in-school interceptors. Lets not forget that Skeletons are pretty bad, Zombies are hands down the way to go.

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General Discussion / 2015 Gencon Championship Report and Spellbook
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:27:06 AM »
On the off chance that people read this forum but don't check out the spell book design and construction forum, here is a link to my report for those that want to read it! http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15863.0

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Events / Re: GENCON 2015 Tournament
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:25:19 AM »
My report is up at http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15863.0 for anyone that wants to check it out!

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Reserved. Also, this post is designed as a rough draft and was only edited by myself for errors, so feel free to call me dumb and correct things.

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Events / Re: The 2015 Gen Con World Championship Report!!!!
« on: August 07, 2015, 01:14:34 AM »

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DAY 2!

I got up early, had good food, got there early. I was feeling great.

Semifinals: Weighted Training Clothes vs. TrentMagus' Forcemaster, part 2.

Yay! I dodged the Priestess! I really wasn't looking forward to playing two long and grueling matches.

Time to take off the weighted training clothes! Out comes Gate to Voltari! I opened Mana Crystal in C4 and Gate to Voltari in C3 while moving to B4 because I figured my opponent was going to play aggressive again. Make him choose between myself and Gate. I could tell as soon as I dropped the Gate on the field he wasn't sure what was going on, and it seemed to force him to change plans. He opened Mana Crystal in A1 with Enchanter's Wardstone in B1 while also moving to B1. T2 Gargoyle Sentry comes out of the gate along with a Mana Crystal in B4. He moves to C1 and Force Hammer's my Gate to Voltari. As soon as I see this I'm excited, if someone focuses Gate to Voltari I generally have the game barring god rolls. I move to B2 and Jinx him. T3, my initiative with a Jinx already on him. I pass quick, my Jinx pops something that I don't remember, I jinx him again and guard with Gargoyle Sentry. He moves and pops another Jinx. I move to B3 and cast Wizard's Tower in B3. The rest of the game goes quick, he ends up killing Gate to Voltari with another Force Hammer and a Galvitar swing but not before I also get Huginn, Raven Familiar out to deal with all that annoying Forcemaster stuff. This game his deflection marker was in my favor and I don't think he hit a single one, so that really helped. I guess it evened out in the end. I also got a timely daze that he failed while trying to sweeping my Gargoyle Sentry and Gate to Voltari. I then proceed to out action him and Jinx him out of the game. He later told me that using the Gate opening really threw him off because he didn't see it during swiss, mission accomplished.

Meanwhile Tim went super aggro against the Priestess and managed to finish his game faster than I did mine. Overall, round 1 was done in 25 minutes.

FINALS! Weighted Training Clothes vs. Tim McCurry's Wizard(Earth), part 2.

I'm really glad that last round went quick, because this match was INSANE. I knew that after playing Tim on round three that there was almost a 100% chance that he was going to go aggro on me. Make sure to watch the video from Arcane Duels, they recorded the entire match!

His opening was a move to A2 with an enchantment on himself(I figured it was a Nullify, Tim learned how crazy Jinx is) and Storm Drake Hide on himself. I moved to C3 with Mana Crystal in C4 with harmonize on myself, which I flipped during channeling. I knew at this point he was most likely going to open Wizard's Tower in B3 but there was also a chance that he might do it in B2. Because he played James, I knew that he was playing three Wizard's Towers so going the route of destroying investments and dealing with him just wasn't going to work. I opted to just run away from the tower and let it sit there all game. I turned on Voltaric Shield and I decided to sit in C3 and cast an enchantment on myself(Rhino hide). He moved to B2, placed Wizard's Tower in B3, as expected, and put an enchantment on me. I was lucky because Tim did it in the wrong order, using the enchantment first, which left him unable to activate Wizard's Tower. This was because there was a ruling during the tournament that Wizard's Tower had to be used IMMEDIATELY after a creatures action. Silverclawgrizzly will chime in about this ruling in a later post, I feel like it was a good ruling in a very gray area. I then cast Moonglow Amulet in final quick cast to make sure my investments stayed ahead of him.

I wanted to get away from the tower, but because he had initiative I was unable to double move away. After picking cards Tim flipped Rust on me, and I jumped for joy, I was hoping that it wasn't a Jinx or Nullify. Mostly Jinx. He passed his quick and I proceeded to Teleport to C1 while he cast an enchantment on himself and moved to C2, hitting me with Arcane Zap. For my action I held position equipped Dragonscale Hauberk. I had the choice between Gargoyle Sentry, Gate to Voltari, and Wizard's Tower. Looking back at it, I picked hands down the worst of the three options. Wizard's Tower. Gargoyle Sentry would have left him having to deal with guard tokens while being Jinx'd, but I was worried about Force Push combo being able to ignore Gargoyle Sentry's guards. Gate to Voltari would have meant that I could just keep him off me long enough and win the game. My logic was that he wouldn't be able to battle through Jinx and Wizard's Tower while I was out of range of his Wizard's Tower, and if I cast Wizard's Tower in B1 that would put it in range of his Wizard's Tower and he might focus that instead of my Wizard. I also thought that I could just damage race him even if I stayed out of range of his Wizard's Tower. I turned on Voltaric Shield yet again and cast Jinx on him during my quick cast to pop his Nullify, which I should have used a seeking dispel in order to have another Jinx in my book for later. I cast Wizard's Tower in B1 followed by Fireball for seven damage and a burn. He then Force Pushed me through Wall of Thorns between B1 and C1 followed by Hurl Boulder on his Wizard's Tower for a total of eight damage. The big one though, he rolled a god tier timed slam on the Hurl Boulder which almost ended the game. I had initiative but was unable to Flameblast the Wall of Thorns because of slam. Acid Ball comes off his tower to knock my armor to zero AND break Voltaric Shield. He pushes me through the wall and rolls above average dealing 15 and putting me to 23 followed by an enchantment on himself. I attempt to Jinx him to get my slam/daze off and hit a Nullify again. I then Flameblast the Wall of Thorns, killing it in one hit.

So, I'm sitting at 23 damage with my initiative. Time to heal! We trade back and forth for awhile, unfortunately my heals are a bit below average with the first one healing for five and the second for seven while his Hurl Boulders are average at about seven damage. Thankfully this leaves me at one life before the second heal and I am able to recover from there with a combination of Minor Heal, Regrowth Belt, and Gargoyle Sentry. I would like to thank Trentmagus for reminding me how stupid Regrowth effects are if they go unanswered. I would also like to point out that at one point Tim asked to see my discard pile, I look up at him and go I used all my Jinxs. He then elects not to look at it and says Oh good, now I get to play the game! Thanks to Regrowth Belt and my last Heal I am able to worm my way back up from 31 to eight damage while Tim is at 17.

At the home stretch! I have Gargoyle Sentry and Huginn on the field and am feeling pretty good about my chances at this point. Tim then throws down a Minor Heal on a Mage Wand. NOOOOO! Thankfully, Huginn is a champion and wades into the dangers of a Wizard and Wizard's Tower just to dissolve that. I have about a five life advantage on Tim and he's out of healing effects while I still have a minor heal. The final last clutch move of the game, I have a Nullify on myself in C1 while Tim is C3. Time in the round is called. At the very end of the turn as the last creature activation my Wizard double moves from C1 to A1 and it's my initiative for the last turn of the game! I pass my quick, as does he. Gargoyle Sentry double moves to  A1 and I use my quick cast to Guard him in my square. At this point Tim says that the double move won the game and he doesn't think there's anything that he can do, I'm inclined to agree. He shows me his cards left, it's a teleport and Hurl Boulder. Nullify and Gargoyle Sentry deal with those, I use my final Minor Heal to go back up to 1 damage and the game is done. PRAISE CTHULHU I FINALLY WON GENCON! There was much rejoicing. Overall this game was a crazy back and forth all game long and was one of the best but most stressful games of Mage Wars I've ever played. I feel if I would have played better that it wouldn't have been nearly as close but Tim played an excellent game with a very powerful aggro book. I also feel that if either persons rolls would have been bumped up a notch, mine to average and his to above average, that it would have swung the match in that persons favor.

Afterwards, I got a sweet print of a Wizard card that I hope never sees print because it's amazing, haha. But the art is awesome! I also got tons of Mage Wars swag in the form of Academy, Domination, and a gorgeous wooden Mage Wars dice tower. I'm still harassing them about a trophy because the ones from last year were beautiful and I want a first place one to go with the second place one so badly I can't describe it, so here's to hoping someone important reads this! :)
 
That concludes my tournament report, I'll talk a bit more about the direction of the game and my book in some later posts. I would like to thank James first and foremost, I wouldn't be here without him. The amazing Arcane Wonders staff for putting on the tournament, having stellar judges, and creating my favorite game ever made. Arcane Duels (https://www.facebook.com/arcaneduels?fref=ts and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJlTpUZS02GTO9rWXbR-jow) for all their cool interviews, recording the matches, and helping the game grow and thrive. Finally, the community for being the reason my favorite game is successful and still being made! I hope to see everyone in the future and encourage you to come have a war of mages at Gencon 2016 against me!

P.S. I'd love to hear feedback and questions to create a great discourse! So shoot them out there and I'll answer in as timely a manner as possible!

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Round 3: Weighted Training Clothes vs. Sharkbait's Adramelech Warlock

My opponent was a great player and he plays an awesome Adramelech Warlock, who is a very straight forward mage and is in my opinion best played by dropping a curse on them followed by over 9000 Fireballs. This is exactly how Sharkbait played her and I see why he had so much success in the tournament. Unfortunately, Wizard pretty much does all the things that Adramelech Warlock does but better. I knew that with him going aggressive it would end up being a match of a slower version of James and I's Attack Wizard with no Jinx vs. my book. He opened with double Enchanter's Wardstone in A1 and B1 and moving to A2 with me opening double Mana Crystal in C4 and B4 while moving to C3. I did this so he could either attack mana crystals or myself, but I figured he would focus me. T2 he put a Magebane on me while I jinx'd and Wizard's Tower on B2, moving to B3. This would give him the choice of moving into my mana crystals to run from my tower in which case I would go destroy his Enchanter's Wardstones or he could focus myself or my Wizard's Tower. T3 I popped on Voltaric Shield, led with Jinx in the quick cast followed by Hurl Boulder on Wizard's Tower and Hurl Rock on my Wizard moving to A3. At this point he was playing against Jinx and Wizard's Tower. My three actions to his 1. The game was pretty much over from there with me ending up at around 10 damage.

Record: 11/12 points.

Round 4: Weighted Training Clothes vs. Tim McCurry's Wizard(Earth)

Because I sat next to him and he played James, who lost a close match due to a few misplays by 1 damage, I had a general idea what I was walking into. Last year he played a very similar book which I was also able to beat. He typically opens fast on B3 in turn two with a Wizard's Tower, lots of Hurl Boulders, Force Push through Wall of Thorns, and Jet Stream also on tower. Before the tournament James and I decided that if anything was able to beat us when using the attack opening it was Wizard and almost a guaranteed loss to a good Priestess.

Because Tim had played against the book already I decided to bite the bullet and take off the weighted training clothes, using the gate opening. After having such a close game against James, Tim opted for a different strategy, using a slower opening against me. As soon as this happened I pretty much knew I had won, even though Tim is a great player, you aren't going to beat Gate to Voltari if you let me sit around for the first four turns. Tim opened up with a T1 Iron Golem and Mana Crystal while I used Gate to Voltari and all my +channeling gear to reach 16 channeling. As Iron Golem was moving in I also used Essence Drain on it. So it was his eight channeling vs. my 17-19 channeling, as well as him not running Jinx. Nothing much exciting happened during this match because I just got so far ahead in channeling. I Jinx'd him out of the game with a Gargoyle Sentry for guards. I didn't take any damage this match.

Record: 15/16 points.

Round 5: Weighted Training Clothes vs. Gregg Dieckhaus'(Gdieckhaus) Priestess

Going into round 5 I knew that the Priestess in the tournament was playing with Guardian Angel, Bear Strength, Lion Savagery, and Enchantment Transfusion so I had a general idea on what to expect. The one thing I didn't expect was that he was running FOUR Guardian Angels. Unfortunately I only found out about this once it was too late, and if I had known my strategy would have been far different. I knew my opponent was a good player, his record was good, and in my opinion Priestess is one of the more viable tournament books. This is especially true when time limits are taken into account. However I also knew that him and I were the only undefeated players and I had already played against the person I felt would be the hardest match-up(Tim). Taking this into account, despite already concluding it's very likely I will lose to Priestess without opening the gate opening, I decided to try the attack strategy since I was in top four even with a loss. I also did this so that if I played him in the finals, he wouldn't be expecting me to open Gate to Voltari.

So the game starts out and I do the usual attack opening with four crystals. In hindsight I should have gotten Harmonize and Moonglow Amulet on myself too because his pressure wasn't very high. However he also opened with T1 Battle Forge in A1 and T2 Guardian Angel. So after getting my Mana Crystals down I wanted to get in his face, light up and kill a few angels and then kill his Priestess. We had some good exchanges and I had a slight advantage because my opponent mostly plays online which caused him to miss a few opportunities to put armor on himself though Battle Forge because he forgot. The problem was that I wasn't able to get through two Guardian Angels, let alone a Battle Forge and another Guardian Angel. At one point he had double Guardian Angel guarding in A2 along with his mage and I fired in attack spells to kill the one with two enchantments on it. It was at this time that I learned that double intercept supersedes allowing the attacker to pick their target with attack spells, good to know for later! After about eight damage on one angel and five on the other I figured that he was going to grab a heal and put his angel back up to full, that would have pretty much ended the game right there. Thankfully that never happened which I was quite surprised by. I think he was saving heals for his Priestess, which is also a good strategy. After killing two Guardian Angels and the third hit the field late into the game(10-15 minutes remaining), my opponent had taken minuscule amounts of damage, gained max life through the casting of Holy spells, STILL had Battle Forge, and was able to drop my corrodes if I focused him. I figured that it was probably game at this point, but that I might be able to erk out some damage by just unloading on him before time and winning by having the most life remaining. It didn't go this way however and Gregg was declared the winner. Good to know that our theory of use the gate opening proved true at least. We don't test against Priestess often and probably should.

Record: 15/20 points. Skating in at third seed.

(To those of you that read this already, I realized my memory derped with round order. So feel free to reread a bit)

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