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Author Topic: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook  (Read 23407 times)

Erebus

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2015, 12:40:59 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 12:59:25 PM by Erebus »
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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2015, 12:52:44 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 12:54:36 PM by Hanma »

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2015, 01:05:18 PM »
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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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2015, 01:36:57 PM »
Quote
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!

Maybe some more fire, ideally, too.

For those interested in a discussion on wizards, see this http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15868.0

I'm sure some has been discussed before, but I didn't want to lose my train of thought, nor post here and completely derail this thread.
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Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2015, 10:01:17 PM »
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.

1. There are better cards and worse cards, but that's not necessarily the same thing as viable cards and not-viable cards.

2. I'm not sure you were really considering what I just said. All a mana crystal actually does is subtract 5 mana to give you +1 mana every round. That +1 does not benefit you in any way until it has occurred 5 times, otherwise you could have just saved the mana each round instead of spending 5. Interacting with the opponent has nothing to do with it. If you cast a mana crystal round 1 you're still losing 5 mana round 1 to gain 5 mana by round 6.

3. I stand corrected on the number of wizards played this year.

4. That's why I included the word "super" there were aggressive strategies, but none of them used battle forge and all of them summoned a non-familiar creature. None of the strategies you faced were designed to work as fast as yours with the training rings on, despite the fact that you could have chosen not to cast anything round 1 and the only advantage you would have lost from that was a psychological one. I should have specified late-early game or early mid game, or something like that rather than just saying mid game. I think we need more of a standard for how we describe strategic playstyles in this game...

5. The thing with the faster aggressive mages that have 9 channeling is that the entire reason they have less actions is because they want to kill the enemy Mage quickly before they come out ahead. 9 channeling means they get less mana per round, true, but they don't need as much mana because they're not making as many investments because they're trying to win sooner. They have spells that can decrease the value of the enemy's actions. Many of them are not permanent counters, just delaying tactics, but that's because they don't need to have as many things that last forever. Brace yourself is a prime example.

Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding you're line of reasoning...
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 07:00:49 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2015, 07:00:41 AM »
Congrats Nick, you deserved it! And thanks for the great reports!

I find it amazing that you used your 2nd best opening most of the time and surprised everyone in the finals  ;D. Those are the moments you will always remember and tell your grandchildren I guess. Hopefully some day we will meet in a tourney - I will try my best to not let you fool me ;).

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2015, 08:42:02 AM »
4. That's why I included the word "super" there were aggressive strategies, but none of them used battle forge and all of them summoned a non-familiar creature. None of the strategies you faced were designed to work as fast as yours with the training rings on, despite the fact that you could have chosen not to cast anything round 1 and the only advantage you would have lost from that was a psychological one. I should have specified late-early game or early mid game, or something like that rather than just saying mid game. I think we need more of a standard for how we describe strategic playstyles in this game...

5. The thing with the faster aggressive mages that have 9 channeling is that the entire reason they have less actions is because they want to kill the enemy Mage quickly before they come out ahead. 9 channeling means they get less mana per round, true, but they don't need as much mana because they're not making as many investments because they're trying to win sooner. They have spells that can decrease the value of the enemy's actions. Many of them are not permanent counters, just delaying tactics, but that's because they don't need to have as many things that last forever. Brace yourself is a prime example.

Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding you're line of reasoning...

The point is that against the super fast aggersive books, WT with surging wave and if needed an arcane zap kill it quite fast, it probably depolyed one time so the wizard is two actions down (zap, WT) vs BF-deploy, but than the other mage is without a spawnpoint and hast a card the Wizard still has back in the book, the wave(so2BF not really) and aggro without spawnpoint than runs in the problem of jinx. For the fire warlocks, how do you deal with the dragonscale on the wizard and a jinx on you. The flame-2 just screws you up, and the wizard can play the same again a round later and in the mean time the WT just harms you, and in the round without armor you he puts on the shield.

I also had the feeling of there was not really a fast aggro mage.

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2015, 04:44:31 PM »
  I beg to differ. My wizard was very aggressive. I only slowed a touch to try to keep the temp on my side expecting jinx. I used the zap many times to ditch the jinx and still had 2 spells to choose from for my main action.  As it was, I was one damage shy (on a significantly low roll (2 pts under average at least) of a hurl boulder - with hawkeye) kill shot and ending the game many turns earlier.

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2015, 06:24:51 PM »
Round 3: 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.

   I had indeed played against is friend and fellow playtester James in round 1 of the qualifier day. It was a very challenging game. I had not played against jinx hardly ever. So working around it took some mental gyrations. It was a mental game that took a toll on me. I was able to stay focused this year and played well mostly. We went to time, and due to allowing for equal turns, I managed to win on the very last turn. He had me down on life near death twice if I recall. I managed to heal up enough (thank you Renewing Spring!) which gave me just enough to stretch for it at the end. I do not recall whether the rolls were over or under, so given that, I feel it was likely that it was average for the game. He may have better recall of it, as my recollection was jinxed and I got those brain cells back blank. And I think I only barely got him on damage, exactly equal to life remaining, just enough for the outright kill. Despite his healing up on 2 heals and a minor heal for an additional 25-27 points of life. Had to do almost double life total to end the match.

   I mention the above for why I played very differently against Nick on round 3. Given the mental drain on round 1, I was not looking forward to a repeat. I have multiple ways to play the book, and chose to play differently, not wanting to reveal too much and not wanting to play the same as I would for the finals. I felt that I was playing very well, and that I was likely to make it into day 2. Not realizing that it was going for 5 rounds on day 1, and that it was not a lock. That was bad on my part. But believing that I was going to make it into day 2 is why I did not want to play the same game as I played in round 1. Nick is a tremendous player, and I did not want to give him any forewarning on how I would play in a finals match. Regardless, I did not think that our match was a must win for me. Again stupid on my part. I know. I did believe that both of us were very likely to make it to day 2. I felt confident in my play and book, and Nick is a great player with a strong book too. So, just figured we would both be making it.

   So, wanting to see if the other facets of my build would fare better or worse for the finals is why I played the way I did in this match. Bringing out creatures, and trying have them help me beat down the guards etc. Well, turns out that it sucked large. But it gave me valuable insight on what not to do during a potential finals match. I think Nick got advance info from James on what to expect, and I presented something different, but it was clearly less effective.

   I was not looking forward to another match up, as I knew it would be close. My insights from the qualifiers is why I went heavy aggressive in the finals, which he was expecting. We both knew exactly what to expect from each other for our finals match. I do like that we could not change our books. That made the qualifiers very important, and relevant. We both made some great plays in the finals match. I stretched for the win, came up short. Prepared for another shot at the end, which he deftly avoided. Great competitor, great match. Great tournament. Congrats again Nick.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2015, 06:35:35 PM by zot »

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2015, 01:15:31 PM »
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.

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 donít increase their action economy at all, but against someone with a similar action/mana economy, itís significantly less valuable.

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.

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.

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 heís just not nearly good enough at it.

I agree that for competitive play, Sardonyx is the worst card in the game.
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Sailor Vulcan

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2015, 03:15:43 PM »
The thing about sardonyx is that the way he is designed, he absolutely NEEDS arcane support to work. All or most of his main weaknesses can be covered by arcane spells. Enfeeble, banish, turn to stone, and agony. Dispel the turn to stones, and if they run out you have at least 2 dispels left to deal with enfeebles or agonies. You also have nullifies and seeking dispels. Teleport is great for positioning him or positioning the enemy mage. Also teleport trap and walls. And he needs a way to reconstruct, otherwise he can be focused down way too quickly. The thing about Sardonyx is that he's really hard to escape from, as if he himself is the grim reaper. His weaknesses make him unplayable without arcane support, but with arcane support he might still be viable. The problem is the spellbook point cost.
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sdougla2

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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2015, 05:34:58 PM »
I disagree. I am convinced that Sardonyx is not tournament viable irrespective of arcane support. Yes, you can overcome many of the things that neutralize him using arcane cards, but that doesn't matter. Not in his case. The issue is that he costs too much for how much damage he does, and he's the worst creature defensively in the game, particularly when you consider that he kills his controller with a stronger version of Ghoul Rot.
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Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2015, 06:09:27 PM »
I disagree. I am convinced that Sardonyx is not tournament viable irrespective of arcane support. Yes, you can overcome many of the things that neutralize him using arcane cards, but that doesn't matter. Not in his case. The issue is that he costs too much for how much damage he does, and he's the worst creature defensively in the game, particularly when you consider that he kills his controller with a stronger version of Ghoul Rot.

Um. Wizard has essence drain, so he can just destroy sardonyx when he doesn't need it anymore. And he has other ways to deal damage. Sardonyx isn't a finisher, it's a way to attack them for five dice nearly every single room that's really hard to stop and can't be healed.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2015, 06:12:45 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2015, 07:27:08 PM »
There are a lot of reasons I don't think that strategy makes any sense from a competitive standpoint, but this is getting off topic. If you want to discuss Sardonyx's viability in detail, start another thread, and we can discuss it there.
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Re: Weighted Training Clothes - Gencon 2015 Championship Spellbook
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2015, 01:02:00 AM »
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 donít increase their action economy at all, but against someone with a similar action/mana economy, itís 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 heís 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!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 01:09:08 AM by Hanma »