Tue, 14 December 2010
There you guys are! I've been looking everywhere for you! Where have you been for the last 4 months? I've had this decklist and discussion ready to go all this time. Geez, so much for loyalty in readership.
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 3:16am EST
Wed, 4 August 2010
You goldbricks have it easy these days! Back in my day we didn't have such amazing leadership! If you wanted to be inspired to do better in battle, you had to wait for the angels to belt out a Glorious Anthem or go on a Crusade! That's not even military! Back then, the army was more of a militia, real men working to keep back the goblin horde or fend off those prissy little elvish buggers. We used whatever we could find on our way to each hard-fought victory.
And then came the Onslaught. By the gods those were great days. The first of the Daru Warchiefs stepped up then, infusing all of us soldiers with a sort of holy strength. There were Mobilizations going on all over the place, keeping us ever vigilant and increasing our numbers. The Aven Brigadier took command, but he was partial to his fellow Aven. The really great thing was the formation of the Catapult Squads under the Catapult Masters. They were able to take out enemies at extreme long range, removing threats before they were close enough to hurt us.
Other places had other attempts at military organization as well. Over on Mirrodin, the Auriok Steelshapers could outfit their armies with better equipment, but without the better equipment he was basically useless. In the time of the Coldsnap, after the great Ice Age, the Field Marshals taught combat tactics, allowing their soldiers to take out their enemies before taking a single hit. During the chaos of the Time Spiral, Benalish Commanders stuck in time somehow managed to call in more recruits. They didn't so much make their troops better as much as they used those troops to make themselves better, but they were still effective leaders.
Then came what's now known as the M10 Age. Rhox Pikemasters came up from the southern regions to share their skill with the long-handled blade. Veteran Armorsmiths and Swordsmiths offered us tempered steel to strengthen our armor plates and sharpen our dulled blades. But then came the saving grace for soldiers everywhere. The Watch. More specifically, the Captain of the Watch. The one I met was a woman, but don't let that fool you. Everywhere she went, she was accompanied by her three-man retinue of guards. Without her, they were pretty useless except to help out the Catapult Squads, but when they were by her side, they were vicious. In fact, all of us felt more powerful by her side. We never feared a counterattack, because not only did she see everything on the battlefield, but she somehow made us see it all too, keeping us ever vigilant.
But you maggots didn't come here for a history lesson, did you? No, you wanted to fight! Some of you might think you're tough, and some of you might actually be tough. Some of you just joined so you could stab goblins without getting in trouble! But you're not all going to make it! To give you a taste of the trials to come, you're going to sit in as the higher-ups take our best unit, Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos, and make some improvements! Let's take a look at the unit as it stands now before anyone gets cut:
Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos
As you can see if you've got any sort of strategic mind at all, this is a well-oiled combat machine. The Commandos have Captains of the Watch, Daru Warchiefs, and even a Field Marshal to make them all more effective fighters. There's even a highly experienced Frontline Strategist, who can turn even the most terrible battle into an amazing rout.
They are fully capable of calling in reinforcements of any sort for any reason. Knight-captains have a small retinue of soldiers, Stormfront Riders drop off a soldier every time they blink out existence, and Benalish Commanders can reach through time to recruit. If Kithkin are needed, the Patrol Signalers can bring in more, or we can rely on the Cenn's Enlistment procedures. Darien, King of Kjeldor has his own army that he is more than willing to send in for assistance. And if all else fails, there's the old standby of calling for a Mobilization of the troops.
But the real stars of this unit are the Catapult Squads and their Masters. The sheer number of reinforcements leads to a veritable barrage of catapult fire for any potential attackers. The Patrol Signalers can also help out here, lending a hand to the Catapult Squad and then signaling for more troops. There's even a Gustcloak Savior attached to the unit, specifically for helping the troops draw an enemy into range, vanish (leaving the enemy in the open and confused), and man the catapults to knock it down. The troops are capable of staging a Unified Strike to take down attacking enemies, using the unique Prismatic Strands to protect themselves, project a Roar of the Kha to give them more strength and abilities, and even utilize a Spirit Loop to keep themselves in the battle.
But an army that doesn't change is an army that doesn't win! We can't just stagnate! Our enemies are constantly trying to adapt to our tactics, so we should change those tactics to further thwart them! Let's see what the brass has in store! That's our Field Marshal talking now, and the Frontline Strategist is across from him.
"We need to take the Nomads' Assembly into consideration! Those Kor are highly skilled and vicious in battle. They have agreed to match the number of troops on the battlefield, and there are always two waves of the assembly! And while we're discussing the Kor, don't forget the recently signed Conqueror's Pledge, which guarantees us at least a small number of Kor soldiers!"
"Personally, I think we have too many of those Knight-Captains of Eos. The third one that came in a while back just isn't pulling his weight with the other two already there. I think he should be transferred to a new unit where his skills can actually be put to use."
"And if you'll notice, that so-called Intrepid Hero has been less than spectacular. He shouldn't even be a soldier, but more of a lone warrior type of thing, since he very rarely works with the rest of the unit anyway. I move to have both him and the extra Knight-Captain stationed at the training facility to share their talents with new recruits. Now, what about tactical changes?"
"I think the use of the Unified Strike is outdated and predictable. Our enemies have come to expect it and can use it against us. Perhaps if we want to remove enemy threats we should move towards using the latest magical technology of Oblivion Rings. They're able to handle more diverse threats and can take out those powerful Planeswalkers we've encountered from time to time."
"I see your point, but surely having more troops at our disposal makes the Unified Strike more effective. I don't think we should abandon it so easily. Perhaps if we instruct the troops to use the O-Rings for a while and see how they fare compared to the tried-and-true Strike, we can get a better idea of which is more effective and adapt our strategies accordingly."
"No, the Unified Strike is still a very narrow tactic that only works in certain situations, while there is always a use for a well-timed Oblivion Ring. Just because we can pull off a Unified Strike more easily does not change the fact that it just isn't versatile. Let's switch over to the O-Rings, and if by some miracle a Strike would be a better tactic, we'll revise later. Now, I have this piece of equipment recently recovered from some ruins in Zendikar. As far as we can tell, it's a Basilisk Collar, which increases both the life expectancy and deadliness of the wearer. I think we should integrate this with the use of the Spirit Loop to study the effects. How about splitting the use of both right down the middle?"
"Agreed. It performs the same function and adds something extra without losing any real value, so let's do it. I also think that, since his passing, using the Roar of the Kha is having the opposite effect on the troops. And since it's not as effective as we'd like, I suggest we just stop using it. If such a time comes that we feel like we need it again, we can always reintegrate it. Is that good enough for now?"
"I think it is. Let's hit the mess tent. Let's remind the new recruits here about the full changes made to the unit before we eat."
+1 Nomad's Assembly
+1 Conqueror's Pledge
-1 Intrepid Hero
-1 Knight-Captain of Eos
-2 Unified Strike
+2 Oblivion Ring
-1 Spirit Loop
+1 Basilisk Collar
-2 Roar of the Kha
Sgt. Chewie's Howling Commandos
There you have it, maggots! I hope you took something from this little discussion! If you didn't, then you're not gonna last long here in the Dominarian Armed Forces! You should have figured out some strategy! They found an artifact that does everything one of the standard issue enchantments can do and then some, so they're going to integrate it into battle. If there's a gain in abilities without a loss somewhere else, and cost isn't an issue, then that's a fine strategic move. Also, even though there will be more soldiers available to perform a Unified Strike, a narrow maneuver is still a narrow maneuver no matter how easy it might be to pull off. If an Oblivion Ring is more useful on a broad scale, then that's what should be used. And finally, men and even tactics that aren't pulling their weight or aren't as useful as hoped for should be dismissed! If having the third Knight-Captain of Eos in the unit is a waste of resources then let's shuffle him off to a place where he can serve the most good.
And that's just what we'll do with any of you maggots that prove to be a waste of space! Lesson over, now drop and give me twenty!
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:44am EST
Thu, 8 July 2010
Chewie here again, this time with a deck I actually did something to. I've mentioned my multiplayer discard deck several times, whether it be in articles or on the show. It's one of my oldest deck ideas, and the basic tenets haven't changed since I first came up with the idea. But before I go into any sort of detail, here's the list (complete with made-up impressive sounding deck name that's never been used before):
But I'm not JUST out to win with massive discard all at once. Lore Broker gives me the chance to inflict some serious chip damage, as does Words of Waste. The Abyssal Nocturnus gets seriously big really quickly, and he gets evasion to punch through. Nihilith is another big guy who comes out pretty quickly and can evade his way into someone's face. The Screeching Buzzard is primarily a deterrent to keep people from swinging at me, which actually works better than you might think.
And finally, some assorted other. Creeping Tar Pits are great for sneaking in the last few points of damage when my Megrim gets destroyed. Solemn Simulacrum helps smooth out some draws and can profitably chump block if necessary. Debtor's Knell and Oversold Cemetery let me reuse the few creatures I have. Evacuation functions as both a panic button to save my ass and a way to fill up everyone's hand for a coup de grace. Bribery is just cool, and since my creature count is kind of low I thought I'd throw it in. You know, for fun and profit.
Still sitting at +4 cards. The first two choices were pretty simple, actually. I took out the singleton Bribery because I've started building EDH decks, and a single Bribery sounds just right for EDH. Prosperity is the next to go, because it just doesn't really do enough. I'm pretty sure it's a holdover from a time when I was still short one of the mass draw spells. That and to maximize its card drawing potential, I need to use up enough mana to not be able to cast one of the mass discard spells and actually capitalize on my opponents' full hands. The Well of Knowledge is something similar, as it just doesn't do enough on its own to warrant taking up a space in the deck. And since it's totally dependent on my opponents' willingness to pay to draw cards, it is entirely possible that it'll just sit there and do nothing. So out it comes.
Hey, we're down to +1 card! This one was both really tough, and stupidly easy. I could have gone with the Debtor's Knell or the Myojin, since they cost a million. I could have taken out the singleton Words of Waste or Nihilith. I don't even have the Geth's Grimiore to go with the Words anymore (but that's because I tried to stop being that guy), so it's not like it's living up to its full potential, but it's still good enough by itself to leave in for now. I almost tried taking out the Howling Mines, but then I remembered that they tend to take the heat off of me in the early game. Instead, I decided to take out the Memory Jar. Why you ask? Because even though I am a bit of a jerk, I'm a complete ass. The Memory Jar is just wrong. Sure it basically does the same thing as Windfall or Ill-Gotten Gains, but it's going to knock out 7 cards almost every time for almost every player. There's a reason it's as infamous as it is, you know? I left in the Magus of the Jar because at least then they have a have a turn to either kill him off or prepare for the worst. Sometimes being civil is more important than winning, you know?
Here's the full list of changes, in case you want it in an easily digestable format:
+3 Creeping Tar Pit
Hope you enjoyed taking this look at my process. As always, any and all feedback, positive or negative, is welcome. Since I'll probably be doing a lot of these, please let me know what you liked and didn't like. You can comment right here or roll over to our forums at http://cardshark.freeforums.org. Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic!
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 10:37am EST
Thu, 1 July 2010
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 12:44pm EST
Wed, 16 June 2010
Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Mana Pool’s little corner of the blogosphere. Chewie here, and we’re back on the 60 Card Challenge. The first step was to count up the cards in all my decks. This is nowhere as much fun as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound like any fun at all. During the course of this, I found a small handful of decks that already had the requisite 60 cards already. So I thought I’d go ahead and share some of those with you guys to get them out of the way. Since I’m going to be showing everyone the rest of my decks, I figured I’d show you all of them. I’m also going to attempt to come up with some nifty names for them that aren’t so utilitarian. No reason, just as a mental exercise and to jazz them up a bit.
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 9:48pm EST
Mon, 14 June 2010
Hello there everyone! Welcome to the first of the Mana Pool blog posts! That's right, you've listened to the podcast, now read the blog! Now how much would you pay? Whoa, the blogosphere makes me sound like a pitch man. Let's move on quickly.
Anyway, here's the deal. I thought I would chronicle my attempts at knocking all my many casual Magic decks down to 60 cards. Some background first! Since I basically play big round-table multiplayer free-for-all type games, I didn't so much care about sticking to the recommended 60 card minimum. If I had an idea for a deck, I wanted to run with it, number of cards be damned. I'd throw in 20 land and there was a deck ready to play!
Paradigm shift 1! As I matured a bit in my Magic-playing, I decided to impose a 64 card limit on myself so things didn't get too stupid. I also went back and upped every deck's land count to 22. Mana screw happened a LOT less after that, of course. In fact, in the context of our playgroup, 22 lands has become my golden standard, and it's still where I start with a deck today. I find I can draw out of any mana screw before it becomes a problem in a 4-6 person game.
Paradigm shift 2! At some point after that, I decided to knock my personal limit to 62 cards with 22 land. This made the decks I built after this revelation more consistent and less likely to fail miserably (Well, due to statistics. They still failed miserably due to construction sometimes.) Mathematics can be very persuasive. Not enough to make me move all the way down to 60, but I was getting there. Sometimes I'd get done with a deck and find that it was actually sitting at 60 cards. Sometimes I'd be happy with that, and sometimes I'd go dig out 2 more cards to add in. Like I said, big round-table multiplayer free-for-alls are more forgiving with my group of dorks.
Then the paradigm shifted yet again. I'm not sure when, but I noticed that my more recent decks were (mostly) 60 card affairs. Unlike the last two shifts, this one was not a conscious decision. It just sort of happened without me noticing. So one fateful day a few weeks ago, I signed up for Netflix. This gave me access to a truly stupid amount of crap to watch instantly on my Xbox 360. But I am not the kind of person who can just sit still and watch movies and whatnot. No no, I need something to DO while I'm watching movies and whatnot. I looked down at my Box o' Decks and knew what I must do. I would turn each and every one of these bloated 61-64 card decks into a lean, focused 60 card deck. Oh yes. I could sit there in my living room floor screwing around with Magic decks for literally HOURS, which meant my Netflix subscription could kick off in grand style.
And I decided to share that with all of you. I kept notes about what came out of each deck, and a quick flip through a deck will tell me plenty about other things that could have come out. Not only will this be a streamlining exercise, but hopefully it will give you (the readers) some insights into multiplayer deck building. Or at least it will give you a glimpse into the way my brain works. Of course, you'll also get a good long look at almost every one of my decks over the course of this odyssey, so perhaps you'll find some inspiration there. At the very least, it should be entertaining. I mean, you know how I am on the show (And if you don't then you should check it out. I mean you're here already. Really now.) and I have lots of articles on Cardshark.com, so hopefully it'll be fun. Stay tuned for the first deck soon!
Category:60 Card Challenge -- posted at: 7:44pm EST