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Author Topic: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament  (Read 4550 times)

Alexander West

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Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« on: August 08, 2014, 01:03:16 AM »
Hey Folks,

My family and I are headed to GenCon next weekend, and a few of us are going to play in the Mage Wars tournament.  I haven't touched the game since Forged in Fire (just picked it up today) and am wondering how the metagame has changed.  Are new archetypes dominant?  Are there new must haves?  Have some spells become less important?  Is everything actually just as I left it?

Looking for advice, and any links to Spellbooks folks think are top notch.

Thanks!
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2014, 01:47:40 AM »
Well obviously the Warlord is now more viable thanks to FiF, really can't stress how much this helps the class.

The Warlocks are both pretty solid. The Arraxian Crown is overall a little more dominant than he was before with new hateful and terrifying curses in his arsenal. I'd say Arcane Corruption makes solo enchantment heavy builds a little more risky of course.

Defend helps with the heavy armor build option. So keep that in mind if you want to go that route.

Lion Savagery is really cool for Fast and/or Elusive creatures like Cervere and it'd probably be pretty cool to put it on a Raptor Vine or Necropian Vampiress.
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2014, 01:48:26 AM »
Oh and good look at GenCon, really wish I could make the trip.
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2014, 01:56:36 AM »
I'd say Arcane Corruption makes solo enchantment heavy builds a little more risky of course.

This and [mwcard=MWSTX2FFJ01]Harshforge Monolith[/mwcard]


Defend helps with the heavy armor build option. So keep that in mind if you want to go that route.

It's good to have at least one [mwcard=MWSTX2FFI06]Defend[/mwcard] in every book that runs living creatures, IMO. It's novice, so only costs 1, and it's awesome.

Lion Savagery is really cool for Fast and/or Elusive creatures like Cervere and it'd probably be pretty cool to put it on a Raptor Vine or Necropian Vampiress.

+1 about Cervere. It's really just a fantastic enchantment in general though.

Both Warlords are viable options now. Are they Tournament worthy? Perhaps. I couldn't say. Druids probably took a slight hit with all the new fire spells out there. Obviously Warlocks got even better too with all their new stuff. I still think I prefer the Arraxian Crown one though.

Necromancers are still awesome. [mwcard=MWSTX2FFJ06]Rolling Fog[/mwcard] is awesome with Zombie swarms. [mwcard=MWSTX2FFJ04]Armory[/mwcard] works well with Skeletons.

Oh and [mwcard=MWSTX2FFE02]Akiro's Favor[/mwcard] is good for any solo Mage or any Mage with big hitting creatures.

Good luck! Which Mage were you thinking of using? Of course if you don't want that to be public knowledge, feel free to ignore that question or PM me. I won't be attending :(
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2014, 02:36:52 AM »
Force Masters picked up a neat little something for their Thought Spores to do with Disarm, kinda underrated in my view. Though again they're normally solo builds so they may have taken a slight hit.

I'd say Druids are still ok. The new Fire attack spell can't target their magic trees so they'll be fine.

Wizards aren't really effected all that much by this set though I have actually found Lion Savagery on Blue Gremlins to be irritating. The Harshforge Monolith could help em mana screw people though.

Yeah Necromancers continue to rock. It's neat that they got a dragon, I haven't figured out how to really make him work yet but I'm sure somebody has.

The Priest takes a massive hit against the new Warlock obviously. The Johtari Beast Master actually does pretty good with Lion Savagery.

Like Winter I'll offer to help you out with book ideas if you wanna PM me. I'm not going to Gen Con either.
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Intangible0

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2014, 03:10:58 AM »
Yo, Alexander West!
2 out of the 3 members of Arcane Duels will be there. Can't wait to see you in the arena.
Everything mentioned so far is a good idea. I guess it really depends on the type of play you like.

Fast and aggressive: Either Warlock (less so with the new one), Forcemaster is viable again.

Multi-creature aggressive: Necro is top notch here IMO. I'd actually go Johktari beastmaster over the original since it's better to summon medium sized creatures out of the lair with the obelisk being a thing. Either Warlord is solid. Druids plant creatures have the biggest bang for their buck if you can rope your opponent into them.

Big creature aggressive: The new Warlock rocks with Adramalech. Earth or air Wizard. Priest is usable again with defend and other new enchantments/incantations, just don't use his holy fire ability if facing the new warlock.

Big creature defensive: Priest definitely. Earth Wizard with golems. Johktari beastmaster if you forcepush/teleport away to shoot.

Many creature defensive: Anvil Throne Warlord, that's kinda the best and really it.

Single man Defensive... Don't do that.

That's just a few pointers. You can personally message me here if you want some pointers, I have quite a few games under my belt.

Also check us out at Arcane Duels. We have a FB page and a Youtube Channel. We have a battle report and a video that might bring up some ideas. We'll have another video up too so check in around monday.

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Laddinfance

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2014, 09:09:16 AM »
In my years of playing competitive events, one of the biggest lessons I learned was, "No matter how good the deck, if I wasn't comfortable with it, I couldn't win." With the ability to call up the exact card you need in Mage Wars, I would say this is doubly true. Find a Mage (or spellbook) that fits your playstyle and that you're comfortable with. Then, tweak that to try and cover the issues you're afraid of. I can't stress enough how important it is to know your own spellbook and be comfortable with it. If you have that, then I'd say most Mages have something to offer you.

Though, I would probably bring Anvil Throne or Arraxian Crown this year if I could, but that has little to do with meta and more to do with which books I'm enjoying right now.

Alexander West

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2014, 11:17:12 AM »
Thanks everyone for all the offers of help.

The books I've played and enjoyed in the past:

1) Streywood Beastmaster Falcon Swarm Aggro - This book would use a Lair and power out 3-6 Thunderift Falcons to peck the opponent to death pretty quickly.  Damage can be augmented en masse by Rajan's Fury, while cards like Acid Ball, Dissolve, and Force Push keep the opponent's defenses in check.  My main concern with this book is that anti-swarm counterplay can be backbreaking.  It used to be I never saw many Mordok's Obelisk/Suppression Orb type cards, or Ring of Fire type cards, but they were scary threats.  To me it looks like Forged in Fire created much more support for Demon and Soldier swarm strategies.  Are other swarms on the rise?  Have people found them to be better than Streywood?  Are anti-swarm cards on the rise in response?

In particular swarming with the Aldremelech Warlock using Wildfire Imps looks somewhat interesting.  Bloodfire Helmet offers a very inexpensive mass pump for Demons, and the Flame -2 and teleport abilities offer great ways to beat Suppression Orb and Ring of Fire.  The Warlock is also in some ways better at beating down than Streywood, since Fire spells offer the best rate on Damage to mana and I often was splashing for Poisoned Blood or Deathlock to stop healing from happening.  On the down side the Imps lack flying, which exposes them to being attacked by all the other creatures in the universe.  Anyone have experience with this strategy?

2) Push You Wizard - Boring old Jet Stream / Wall of Thorns combo.  Max out on water spells to drop armor, air & force spells to push folks, and walls of thorns to shove people through.  Huginn for extra actions and seeing over walls, Mage Tower for extra actions, and a few Gorgon Archers and Whirling Spirits to spice it up.  Deathlock and a couple curses to stop recovery, etc.  The more wily the opponent the harder it is to anticipate what defense they are going to give themselves.  The new Rust curse looks extremely helpful, as you no longer need to guess "equipment" or "enchantment" before they armor up, and now they also need to guess "curse" or "corrode".  On the minus side, it seems like a Warlord with Harshforge Plate is a nightmare to keep stripping all the defenses off of.

3) Plant "Pit" Druid - This used to be my favorite book.  I would throw down a couple of Thornlashers wherever opponent is standing, and then slowly summon Vine Snappers until they found they didn't really want to be there.  (Often too late).  I would Dissolve their TP wands, and match them TP for TP to keep putting them back in pit.  Vinewhip Staff to give them stuck, etc.  Fortified Area for a big boost to the plants in combat.  If the opponent didn't have a good plan to get out of the plant pit, it was pretty much always the end for them.  I like this book because it is very good at attrition/economy, but also has a proactive game plan.  The down side is books with a lot of fire, and opponent's with hardcore mobility spells.  (Like, 4x Teleport and 2+x Force Push.)  Has the amount of fire spells going around your tables increased?  Have strategies moved away from a lot of teleports?  (Hah, fat chance, right?)

The Book I've Been Wondering A Lot About:

4) The New Warlord - There are a lot of powerful equipment in the game, and I think the meta has been to 4x Dissolve to stop it from getting out of control.  With Harshforge Plate, Armor Ward, and the equipment runes, it seems the dwarven warlord can actually build the equipment combos they want and have a reasonable chance of either keeping it, or bankrupting the opponent on mana if they want to destroy it.  I'm not sure what you do with an equipment Voltron, but it seems like either banking a ton of mana and then wanding out some direct damabe (Power -1!) or building a steady stream of tough support creatures could both grind an opponent down?
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2014, 11:56:43 AM »
1) Swarms probably are on the rise. Both Warlocks can now do them with the [mwcard=MW1J17]Pentagram[/mwcard]. Both Warlords can do them pretty well now too, especially with [mwcard=MXSTX2FFJ02]Altar of Carnage[/mwcard] powering [mwcard=FWJ03]Barracks[/mwcard]. Beastmaster swarms probably got a small boost because of [mwcard=MWSTX2FFE06]Lion Savagery[/mwcard], but for my money, the best swarm is with the Necromancer and [mwcard=DNI06]Zombie Frenzy[/mwcard].

I've tried the Adramelech Warlock swarm twice, both against a Priestess. I lost one and won one, but the win was lucky and because my opponent didn't know what Intercept did. Wildfire Imps are great when attacking something with a Burn on them. The problem arises when the opponent pulls out a creature to guard with. Then you're attacking something without a Burn, and they get to Counterstrike, which usually kills the Imp if the guard is strong enough. Both times I tried this, my offense stalled out.

2) Wizards are always a good option. Like you said, a Warlord with the [mwcard=MWSTX2FFQ05]Harshforge Plate[/mwcard] would be annoying but other than that I think you'd be alright.

3) Teleport is still king but I think most people have learned how to avoid "Pit" strategies. Since FiF just came out, some people will probably try using the new Warlock to see how tournament-viable she is. Playing on OCTGN lately, I've seen alot of turn 2 LoF rush with her. This would probably be devastating to a Druid build. On top of that, her basic attack is Flame, so that would be really hurtful too.

4) This is the one I'm curious about too. I played a solo-ish Anvil Throne Warlord once, using [mwcard=MW1J04]Battle Forge[/mwcard] and just stacking the heck out of equipment spells. It worked decently well. Just pack multiple [mwcard=MW1E28]Mongoose Agility[/mwcard] cards so you can bypass guards.
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Lord0fWinter

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 03:25:08 PM »
Looks like you did alright, I saw that you won the whole thing ;)
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 05:00:51 PM »
Looks like you did alright, I saw that you won the whole thing ;)

Hey really? Congrats!
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 08:04:33 PM »
I'll respond best I can to a few of these now.

1. Yes the new Warlock can really swarm amazingly well. In my area we're seeing her a good bit, seems like everyone waited for Forged in Fire then started making Warlocks. I've got one of the fiery lady myself though I still play the Arraxian Warlock as well. The number one mistake I've seen with her is this: Don't rely on any one creature too much. What I mean is don't cast a bunch of Wildfire Imps and not expect a counter. Believe me they exist and Renewing Rain is top of that list. Also a Priestess can remove those Burn tokens with a flick of her wrist. Mix in a few Firebrand Imps for the weenie swarm because your opponent will adapt. Also the imps are cool but bring out some muscle eventually. But you are 100% right about the Modeks Obelisk and Suppression Orb mattering not at all against Wildfire Imps. Ignite, then destroy.

2. The new Warlord is amazing. Believe me he can be supremely versatile with strong range and melee fighters while he equips himself up with all the best gear. He's a hard bugger to bring down as he can play the armor game as well as use Spike Pits to nail you down to one place. You need to keep moving if you're going to fight him as his soldiers can pound for pound take on and beat any other schools foot soldiers with the possible exception of Holys Knights. I haven't tested it against a Necromancer Zombie Swarm but he's got enough access to Zone Attacks he can probably make things nasty for them too. I do agree with the argument that you need to decide upfront Alter of Carnage or Alter of Domination. You really don't have time to focus on both. Yes he can swarm but he's better off using Level 2-3 soldiers with a few elites thrown in.

Mind you these are just my observations based on what I'm seeing in my area. We have about a dozen regular players so I'd say we're a mid-sized group.
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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2014, 03:51:29 AM »
Swarms are much too vulnerable ... and i'm not talking about the obvious Orb of Supression thing. When investing 5-6 Mana for a creature, that can easily be onehitted by a guarding creature or be mass destroyed by a devastating Ring of Fire or not being effective, because the enemy deployed some heavy armor, your win chances mostly depend on luck. That's not the way i would go, when winning the game is my goal.

I heard that this kind of beastmaster build won the tournament and i'm pretty curious to see the spellbook (but i'm as curious too to see the opponents spellbooks, that lost to the beastmaster). In my opinion the beastmaster is stronger using some medium or big creatures.
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silverclawgrizzly

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2014, 05:17:56 AM »
You need to mix it up in my experience. Beast Master is my primary mage. Swarms can work but they need some medium or higher ups to back em up. Timber Wolves are excellent for this. A bear will take a lot of aggro off your weaker creatures. Now a days Cervere has to be dealt with or you're just asking for trouble. While the opponent deals with the big guns your handful of falcons or whatever you got can pretty much do as they please. Nobody wastes time Fireballing a bitterwood fox when a grizzly bear is charging in.
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Alexander West

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Re: Looking for Design Advice for GenCon Tournament
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 06:41:56 AM »
Thanks very much to everyone for their advice on this topic and their congratulations for the victory!  It was great to have a sounding board about the evolution of the format before heading to GenCon.  You guys helped convince me to play my favorite strategy, consider which countermeasures to load my book up with, and to avoid the pitfall of playing a pit strategy.

Arcane Wonders said they were going to put out a full report with the top 8 booklists, lots of pictures, and some metagame analysis of decks.  I also plan to write a tournament report which I will probably complete sometime this week.  Without going too deep into it at the moment, I'll give a brief sketch of my plan:

T1: Lair (aggressive move to NC and cast in FC, defensive cast in start corner)
T2: Deploy Falcon (pet), QC Falcon, punch if possible
T3: Deploy Falcon, QC Falcon, punch if possible

It's really important to get a critical mass of birds on the table fast so that the opponent is pressured to spend time armoring up or countermeasures like archers or flying creatures can be killed before taking (much) action.  From there I mostly tried to use cards like Dispel/Dissolve/Acid Ball as countermeasures to defensive measures my opponent might take.  Acid Ball vs. armor stacks or to soften armor on conjurations, Dissolve vs. cloaks, bows/whips, and sometimes chest pieces, Dispel vs. damage barriers, etc.  Etherian Lifetree and Healing Spring both played a big role in keeping falcons alive vs. some threats (the tree is amazing vs. Ring of Fire) while Rajan's Fury provided extra firepower when a critical mass of Falcons were achieved.

My opponents at the tournement:
Swiss:
Arraxian Crown Warlock (4-0)
Anvil Throne Warlord (0-4)
Water Wizard (4-0)
Arraxian Crown Warlock (3-1)
Top 8:
Forcemaster (4-0)
Air Wizard (4-0)
Fire Wizard (3-1) - Charmyna Blasting Banker book

More to come later, but for now I should probably go back to sleep!   ;)
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 07:37:48 AM by Alexander West »
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