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Author Topic: Domination Strategy Speculation  (Read 5355 times)

sdougla2

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Domination Strategy Speculation
« on: June 20, 2015, 04:58:16 PM »
I haven't played Domination (or with any of the new cards) yet, but I can't help trying to analyze the new format and predicting strategic trends. Let me know what you think.

Here is my thinking so far:

In Domination, cards that specifically address mana economy will not be as strong. Games won't be able to go as long, so the long term mana advantage will be less significant. Plus setting yourself up to secure orbs will accomplish much the same thing while also directly contributing to a point victory and strengthening your defensive position with a stronger board position and the option for healing if you need it. I can see a spawnpoint + Meditation Amulet strategy working, but I have trouble justifying using Mana Crystals in Domination.

It's harder to predict the effect on the viability of action economy cards like Battle Forge, Fellella, and Lair than Mana Crystal. I expect creature spawnpoints to be relatively strong. Playing one will slow down securing your first orb by about a turn, but you should be able to make up for that with a stronger position later, particularly if you can secure multiple orbs and use them to generate the mana you need to keep a steady stream of creatures coming.

Whether aggression or control will be favored will depend largely on how easy it is to get at the other mage and how easy it is to get enough points to win through orbs. In general, having neutral creatures out, gumming up the board and hindering movement will tend to slow down aggression, and focus creature rushes on flying and elusive threats. Having other obstacles start out on the board will tend to hurt aggression further. In addition, a system that encourages early creatures for economic plays puts control in a stronger position to resist a creature rush. The ability of the orbs to grant healing means that it will be harder for an aggressive player to secure a kill against an opponent that controls multiple orbs, and the control player in this circumstance doesn't need to fully stabilize to win, they just need to hold onto those orbs and delay long enough.

That said, I expect most games of Domination to start with both players trying to secure an orb advantage. I anticipate that most games will end with one player conceding the point race and going for the enemy mage when it becomes clear that they will lose the points race.

Domination will encourage builds with multiple creatures in order to remove orb guardians and secure orbs. I expect this to strengthen ranged creatures and bows, since they can weaken orb guardians (whether the original neutral ones, or the ones your opponent uses to secure their orbs) without suffering from the counter attack, and the action will tend to be more spread out. Things certainly could spread out in a standard Arena match, but there are more incentives to spread out in Domination.

Position control will have additional uses, but it's hard to tell how much more important it will be. Regardless, mobility will be more important, and slow creatures like Darkfenne Hydra, Iron Golem, and Devouring Jelly will be weaker.

In terms of specific mages, I expect the Johktari Beastmaster and Bloodwave Warlords will be significantly stronger in Domination because they will always be able to take advantage of their Wounded Prey and Veteran abilities respectively, whereas in a standard Arena match, there were matchups where those abilities were marginal or even completely useless. In particular, I want to try a Bridge Troll opening with the Bloodwave Warlord. Veteran Bridge Trolls sound amazing.

I expect the Forcemaster to struggle a bit due to the lack of a strong creature base, though I'll have to try playing a few creatures with her and see how well she can secure orbs. Force Pull should be extremely helpful in Domination, but the high cost of solid creatures could easily prove crippling.

I expect Warlocks to play more creatures than in standard Arena. Pentagram should be getting a significant boost in Domination due to the earlier combat with neutral monsters and the addition of Sslak to the creature base. One of the reasons I haven't been enamored of Pentagram builds is the lack of a solid level 2 creature with strong defensive stats for it's cost. I haven't been impressed with Infernian Scourger in that role, but I can see Sslak being a reasonable choice, particularly with how well they work as orb guardians. Costing 2 less mana for the same stats minus counterstrike and and flame -2 leaves you in a better position to do something with your mage while pumping creatures out of the Pentagram. I don't expect to see Usslak coming out of the Pentagram because Dark Pact Slayer is much more spellbook efficient, and for only 2 more mana offers better synergy for either Warlock.
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Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 07:10:03 PM »
You don't actually need that many creatures to get domination victory.

On the path of war map, there are 4 orbs. If you control 4 orbs, you gain 4 v'tar every round. The victory condition for path of war is 11 v'tar. More aggressive domination builds will want to use Galaxxus.

Here was my opening at origins in my game against Laddinfance which I most likely won but ended up disputed:

R1: summon huginn and enchant myself with hawkeye.

R2; huginn force pushes me one zone forward into lava/corrode pool. On my mage's action, I quick cast wiz tower which in turn fireballs the sslak in the next zone that has the secret tunnel. If the sllak dies right away I attack the orb. If it's not dead yet I guard.

If it's burned then I will have a good chance of killing it during upkeep.

R3: if the sllak is dead during upkeep, use your mage's action to attack the orb then qc Galaxxus, ASAP. You have some mana leftover for huginn and/or wiz tower to cast a spell this round.

2 v'tar points

Continue getting orbs (don't try to control more than 4 at a time.) focus on getting control of 4 orbs including Galaxxus as soon as possible. By the time your opponent steals an orb from you, you can either steal it back or take a new orb. You can win this way before they out-action you. If you have dancing scimitar that will be REALLY GREAT, but otherwise a few copies of battle fury on huginn should still work decently enough if you play skillfully.

If you control 2 orbs by the end of round 3, 3 orbs by the end of round 4, and 4 orbs by the end of round 5, then you'll have 9 v'tar starting round 6. You just need to keep control of two of your orbs for the remainder of the 6th round to win next upkeep.
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sdougla2

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 07:56:44 PM »
I hadn't considered that type of strategy, though it seems vulnerable to getting your orbs sniped immediately since you have few creatures to claim orbs back with and guard orbs with.

I also think you are being overly generous with the probability of killing a Sslak with a Fireball, particularly for a Fireball from a Wizard's Tower. If you cast it from your mage with Hawkeye and Fireshaper Ring, the chance goes up considerably, but I estimate that the probability that a single unsupported Fireball kills a Sslak by the next upkeep is only about 25%.
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ringkichard

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 08:28:32 PM »
I assure you, lots of playtesters played exactly like that.
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Sailor Vulcan

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Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 08:36:53 PM »
It wasn't just my wizard tower casting the fireballs my mage did too supported by Hawkeye and fireshaper ring. It was just the first sslak that always gets fireballed by the tower. If it doesn't die I can still use my first action for arcane zap to destroy the sslak and have huginn melee the orb then immediately cast Galaxxus.

In retrospect I should have moved huginn into the corrode pool zone before having it force push me there too in round 2, that way I would be prepared for such an eventuality. It ended up not mattering that game though, since the sslak did die in upkeep.

Also surging wave is very helpful because it stops guards and puts daze conditions on things. If they fail the daze roll they can't hit the orb.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 08:44:41 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Coshade

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2015, 09:04:02 PM »
You have a very interesting analysis! The new tiles and what map you use can also be a huge difference in how you build works. For instance, there are maps that have tiles that allow you to sacrifice creatures to gain V'tar, and tiles that allow you to spend V'tar to cast a Sslak during deployment from outside your spellbook. Builds that have 1 orb, a Gallaxus and the sacrifice tile can win pretty quickly. A lot of times mages rush forward to gain a V'tar orb and leave themselves wide open to attacks. I've noticed the more multiplayer the games are, the more the mages lack in defense.
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sdougla2

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 02:57:53 PM »
It sounds like I wasn't thinking enough about Galaxxus. Without Galaxxus I don't think those types of orb rushes would be nearly as good. With it, I'll have to see how I feel about orb rushes once I get my hands on a copy of Domination.

It makes sense to me that people would pay less attention to defense for two reasons. One, as they secure orbs, they get healing as an additional buffer against aggression. Two, the game is much less focused on directly attacking the enemy mage, and committing too many resources to defense when your opponent is busy grabbing all of the orbs will just ensure that you lose.
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vlad3theimpaler

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2015, 10:33:03 PM »
Here was my opening at origins in my game against Laddinfance which I most likely won but ended up disputed:
Okay, I'll bite.  How did you "most likely win" a game but have it disputed?
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Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2015, 06:40:30 AM »
There were no judges watching, and there was a round where we disagreed about whether I had gained my v'tar points yet that upkeep. I was pretty sure I was right because I distinctly remembered how much I had at a certain point before that, but Laddinfance was convinced that it was less. Plus I was winning almost the entire game until I had ten v'tar before he turned two of my orbs off and started dealing more damage to my mage. I don't even think it was mathematically possibly to end up with exactly ten v'tar with the number of orbs I controlled and the number of rounds I controlled them for, but since I didn't remember perfectly and wasn't absolutely certain, I didn't press the issue and we continued playing. I ended up getting a ten dollar discount for the expansion instead. That's okay though, since I got plenty of other free stuff. I shouldn't have spent so much money on food at origins though, I almost wasn't able to afford it lol.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 06:44:54 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Coshade

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2015, 05:30:17 PM »
It sounds like I wasn't thinking enough about Galaxxus. Without Galaxxus I don't think those types of orb rushes would be nearly as good. With it, I'll have to see how I feel about orb rushes once I get my hands on a copy of Domination.

It makes sense to me that people would pay less attention to defense for two reasons. One, as they secure orbs, they get healing as an additional buffer against aggression. Two, the game is much less focused on directly attacking the enemy mage, and committing too many resources to defense when your opponent is busy grabbing all of the orbs will just ensure that you lose.

Currently I've been noticing the 1vs1 games are based around whoever gets the first orb, must suddenly play defensive. The second player tends to lose if they miss a round where their opponent has a V'tar and they do not. I'm wondering if there is going to be a more build up time in Domination so that V'tar is important to get turn 5 instead of turn 3 (again my personal game experience). The last game I played I Wizard Towered turn 1 and crushed the Sslak with a Hurl Boulder then turn 2 popped it and gained the V'tar. It was really rushy and I think the appropriate response for my opponent would have been to just try and kill me (again not sure).
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sdougla2

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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2015, 09:29:16 PM »
Against an orb rush, you can try to kill the enemy mage, steal their orbs, or orb rush yourself. For a Wizard's Tower based orb rush in particular, the Wizard should fall behind in actions that can actually capture orbs fairly rapidly, so if you can use your action advantage to steal their orbs away, you should be in a reasonable position. As for how easy or hard that is, I'd have to try it.

I've been considering what kinds of openings I think would be strong. One that stands out for the Johktari Beastmaster is:

Turn 1 (19): Double Move -> Lair -> Enchanter's Ring (2)
Turn 2 (11) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> Ivarium Longbow -> BM Attack Sslak (0)
Turn 3 (9) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> BM Attack Sslak -> Fox Activate Orb -> Galaxxus (0)

Or, if the Sslak doesn't get killed by the second bow attack, you do this:

Turn 3 (9) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> BM Attack Sslak -> Battle Fury -> Wounded Prey -> Fox Attack Sslak -> Fox Activate Orb (3)

What do you think of that opening?
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Re: Domination Strategy Speculation
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2015, 01:11:32 PM »
Against an orb rush, you can try to kill the enemy mage, steal their orbs, or orb rush yourself. For a Wizard's Tower based orb rush in particular, the Wizard should fall behind in actions that can actually capture orbs fairly rapidly, so if you can use your action advantage to steal their orbs away, you should be in a reasonable position. As for how easy or hard that is, I'd have to try it.

I've been considering what kinds of openings I think would be strong. One that stands out for the Johktari Beastmaster is:

Turn 1 (19): Double Move -> Lair -> Enchanter's Ring (2)
Turn 2 (11) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> Ivarium Longbow -> BM Attack Sslak (0)
Turn 3 (9) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> BM Attack Sslak -> Fox Activate Orb -> Galaxxus (0)

Or, if the Sslak doesn't get killed by the second bow attack, you do this:

Turn 3 (9) [2]: D Bitterwood Fox -> BM Attack Sslak -> Battle Fury -> Wounded Prey -> Fox Attack Sslak -> Fox Activate Orb (3)

What do you think of that opening?

I think this opening seems pretty solid! If you want to go after the Wizard, you'll have 2 or 3 rounds to teleport or force push (depending on the map) to get to the wizard's side and get the orbs back. To win you don't actually need a lot of V'tar so it's a tricky race. There is a spell that stops all orbs from producing V'tar, but it does not stop Galaxxus from gaining V'tar.
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