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Author Topic: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview  (Read 6449 times)

Laddinfance

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Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« on: October 06, 2014, 11:07:21 AM »
Gentlemen, We've got a special Mage Wars Mondays. This week we've got an interview with the Gen Con Champion, Alexander West. We ramble on about card games, competitive play, and a host of other topics. Check it out >>HERE<<

Boocheck

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2014, 03:59:35 AM »
I have got distracted by work latly. Will definetly listen to this today :)
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reddawn

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2014, 05:24:06 PM »
To have a competitive player interview is really great.  Alex clearly knows his stuff, and while I don't think a lot of MTG concepts constructively apply to Mage Wars, the Philosophy of Fire is one of them, largely due to its simplicity.  Not surprised the guy's go-to competitive deck in Magic was Zoo, though if I'm not mistaken, Storm combo has lost a lot of its consistency (and thus, viability) with Modern format bannings. 

Just a correction early in the podcast; the JBM does not actually get +1 die for attack spells, only non-spell ranged attacks.  People usually play her with Hawkeye though, so she often has that bonus anyway.
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Laddinfance

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 08:09:45 AM »
Just a correction early in the podcast; the JBM does not actually get +1 die for attack spells, only non-spell ranged attacks.  People usually play her with Hawkeye though, so she often has that bonus anyway.

When we were recording the show, we actually typed that in the chat box. However, everyone was so on a roll that we didn't want to go back and lose all the momentum. However you're correct that her "Ranged +1" is only for non-spell attacks. However, being Fast with attack spells can be great as well. It's very hard to run from you.

ozmo

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 09:12:14 AM »
Just wanted to chime in and say I really enjoyed this episode. Thanks!

Laddinfance

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 09:20:28 AM »
Just wanted to chime in and say I really enjoyed this episode. Thanks!

Thank you! It was a complete joy to have Alexander on. We had a great time taping it, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Arlemus

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 08:42:08 PM »
Best episode so far, IMO.  You guys should make Alex a regular on the show.
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reddawn

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2014, 09:20:42 PM »
When we were recording the show, we actually typed that in the chat box. However, everyone was so on a roll that we didn't want to go back and lose all the momentum. However you're correct that her "Ranged +1" is only for non-spell attacks. However, being Fast with attack spells can be great as well. It's very hard to run from you.

Gasp, you can't say positive things about the JBM; she's just an inferior beastmaster, didn't you know? I mean, her  Wound Prey ability doesn't even work on nonliving.  I actually have to put in the nature-exclusive Kralathor and/or Light attacks in my deck.

What gives, AW  :-\.
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Boocheck

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2014, 01:45:15 AM »
I would really like to hear more about pillars :) This episode was indeed one of the best so far :)
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reddawn

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2014, 04:56:41 AM »
I would really like to hear more about pillars :) This episode was indeed one of the best so far :)

One of the "pillars" is definitely spawnpoint play.  With Acid Ball, even the small creatures add up to a big advantage, as gencon made clear. 

That's why I'm currently somewhat interested in how the FM gets around not having a spawnpoint.  So far, the mind-exclusive Thoughtspores, Mind Control, and a Battleforge or two seems to be enough, though you really have to protect them.
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BoomFrog

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2014, 09:12:43 AM »
I think pillars are more specific then that.  Nobody can beat the Straywood Beastmaster in swarm play because no one else can cast two creatures a turn while also moving forward.  Swarm works, and the beastmaster has the best aggressive swarm. 

Someone else probably has the best defensive swarm, I'd estimate druid, summon vine snappers and a thornlasher and the teleport the enemy mage in.  Defensive swarm is essentially "pit" strategy and I think pit is another pillar.

reddawn

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2014, 05:12:30 PM »
I think pillars are more specific then that.  Nobody can beat the Straywood Beastmaster in swarm play because no one else can cast two creatures a turn while also moving forward.  Swarm works, and the beastmaster has the best aggressive swarm. 

Someone else probably has the best defensive swarm, I'd estimate druid, summon vine snappers and a thornlasher and the teleport the enemy mage in.  Defensive swarm is essentially "pit" strategy and I think pit is another pillar.

I don't think SBM is unbeatable at swarm play, or even the best really.  I'm not sure why it's relevant that the SBM can move forward while casting creatures...if anything, I wouldn't want him near the fighting since most of the mana is being spent on creatures and not defensive cards.  I usually keep a mage that is swarming at least 3 zones away from the opponent, and only after I play something like Nullify/Cloak of Shadows/armor/etc will I move it closer.  Specifics vary depending on how specifically the swarm works for that mage.

Swarm play is a lot more than just a mage's abilities; it's also their card pool and match-ups.  I think in that respect, the mage that can swarm the best is actually the Bloodwave Warlord with Necro as a close second.  They have a ton of great support cards for the strategy, like the only 2 rings that reduce spawnpoint cast costs and access to the key school-exclusive armors Harshforge Plate and CoS, though I think the Warlord's access to Conquer sets him apart.  The hardest counters to swarm other than zone attacks are conjurations (Obelisk and Orb), and being able to outright destroy them without committing attacks (or only a couple for guards) is huge.  Conquer is also just a solid play on enemy crystals or whatever.

The orc Warlord's veterans also give him an innate advantage vs other swarms to the point of making most level 1 creatures unplayable against him.  You pretty much have to play level 3 or higher creatures, which are efficient to control with curses/attack spells.  A couple Agony solve the worst offenders unless your opponent is psychic.

I'm not saying that the Straywood BM is poor at swarming; obviously that's not the case.  Based on my experience, though, a couple other mages execute a more robust swarm.  Thus, I think A. West's success at GC has a lot to do with the fact that he read the meta very well, because if you look at his deck, it's pretty straightforward.  He planned for most problems, though I think he would have been in trouble if Flame attacks/incants had more of a presence in the tourney.

In terms of "pit" strategies, I don't really consider them high quality.  It's the same vein as wall of thorns/push cheese in my opinion; exceptional if your opponent doesn't have a tuned deck, but poor if he does.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 05:15:34 PM by reddawn »
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V10lentray

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2014, 11:18:11 AM »
I think people are looking at the SBM as the best swarm because it won the 30 player GenCon tournament. That field was heavily swayed Forcemaster, Necro and Wizard which made up HALF of the tournament. Also, Andrew will admit he got lucky against CoShade when his chain lightning failed to hit a second bird. Had the chain lightning connected and kept connecting he would have lost.

While he had a good strategy and he proved it, sometimes the dice are just in your favor.
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krj

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2014, 01:13:30 PM »
is there any page with stats from the tourney? so we can see amount of each mage was there? some results ?

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Re: Mage Wars Mondays - Episode 12 Alexander West Interview
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2014, 01:48:40 PM »
Tournament reports start near the bottom of page 3

http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13975.0

Wizards 8
   Water 3
   Air 2
   Earth 2
   Fire 1
Warlock 5
   Araxian 5
Necromancer 5
Forcemaster 5
Druid 3
Warlord 2
   Anvil 2
Beastnaster 2
   Straywood 2
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