Elysian Midrange (Tempolysian)

It seems that Elysian Midrange is reasonable strong on ladder right now as I’m around #10.  While I don’t believe that my deck list is original, one key idea is that Xenan Obelisk is good with almost anything.  You don’t have to go the Shimmerpack or Marisen’s Disciple route with it.  You can simply play it with good units.

I took a more tempo-oriented route, playing all the False Princes and Praxis Displacers.  Some decks will lose if you play 2-3 Praxis Displacers one after another on their key blocking unit.

While I’m not sure if Slow is good, the card certainly raises the skill cap on this deck and makes you run down the timer a lot.  Cards like Backlash and Slow make this deck one of the more nuanced and skill-intensive decks in the metagame at the moment.

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Interesting to play against

Eternal has a lot of mechanics.  Some of them are more interesting to play against than others.  I’d like to see Eternal head in a direction where interesting game mechanics get pushed in terms of power level.  Less fun/interesting mechanics should be nerfed and controlled so that they do not see mainstream play- they can add variety to the game without taking a big slice of the metagame.

(Obviously, I do not expect Direwolf Digital to do this, e.g. they introduced Throne Warden.)

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Big-ish burn (tryhard deck tech)

With lots of token decks running around, the current meta rewards you for flying over everything and getting damage in with flying units.  While I don’t think that my burn list is optimized (despite hitting #1 on ladder), here are some key points for the current meta:

  1. Units are far more efficient than burn spells at dealing damage.  Historically, the problem with units is that most decks run a lot of answers for them.  However, some decks have weaknesses towards flying units.
  2. Flyers are good against tokens, Feln, and most Elysian decks.  Those decks have few answers for flying units and will get wrecked by the repeatable damage.
  3. More burn games are being won by repeatable unit damage rather than burn.  Champion of Chaos and the flying units have some form of evasion to help that get damage in.  Rapid Shot, Annihilate (for Sandstorm Titan), and burn spells help to deal with things that get in their way.
  4. Quarry is much better than Kaleb’s Favor.  Quarry helps you dig for whatever card it is that you need.  That card will generally help you get in for repeatable damage- whether it’s a sigil to actually play your units, an evasive unit, or a card that deals with opponents’ answers to your gameplan.

impendingdoom

I’ll also discuss some piloting tips for slightly increasing your odds of beating burn.

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Trying to break the new redraw rule

A guest post by finkel (Eternal finkel, not Jon Finkel).

The latest patch brought some sweet new cards for people to brew, but what I really wanted to explore was the new redraw rule. A lot of people looked on how it changes the amount of power you can play in existing decks, but from another perspective it can create new archetypes.  Running the maximum number of sigils can improve the consistency of very linear combo decks.

The new rule is great in the sense that should reduce the number of non-games.  However, it is hard to imagine that it can’t be abused somehow. The main issue is that it disassociates the power that you have on your redraw opening hand with the amount of power that you put in your deck. So, regardless of whether you are running 50 or 25 sigils, you will have a 33% likelihood of getting 2, 3 or 4 power cards.

redraw-keep

The trick to breaking the new redraw rule is to play 50 power in your deck. In this configuration you will have 25 non-power cards which will fill the 3-5 non-power slots in your redraw. Since the population of cards is greatly reduced in this setting, you can greatly increase the likelihood of having the card you want in your opening redraw hand.

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Conduit Combo (jank deck tech)

“4-faction (copper) killers” is a super janky deck with some insane plays.  As this deck runs a lot of recursion, replaying Copper Conduit repeatedly will generate a very large Conduit.  Here’s a random screenshot showing a game with a 32/32 Overwhelm Killer unit.

32-32-copperbae.png

Other crazy plays include attacking with a conduit, returning it hand with Safe Return, playing conduit again, and using Killer on the weakest enemy unit…. with the Overwhelm damage hitting the opponent’s face.  Sometimes this can result in one-turn kills, with anywhere from 10-30+ damage in a single turn.

These styles of decks revolve around a few main sets of combos:

  1. Copper Conduit combos.  Whenever you reply Conduit via Dark Return or Safe Return, it gets even bigger.  If it has Killer via Predator’s Instinct, you will be able to use the Killer again.  Because Conduit has Overwhelm, there will be a lot of Overwhelm damage to the opponent’s face.  Pyroknight can be used as a bad Copper Conduit.
  2. Madness combos.  Madness lets you steal an enemy unit.  This combos with:
    • Predator’s Instinct – make an opponent’s units kill each other
    • Safe Return – this lets you steal enemy units into your hand and strips the influence requirements
    • Devour – sacrifice the Madnessed unit so that the opponent doesn’t get it back and you draw 2 cards.
    • There is also a 3-card combo with Madness, Predator’s Instinct, and Safe Return- you get to use Killer Twice.
  3. Optional: Killer / Predator’s Instinct combos.  Killer combos with Quickdraw units like Jekk.  It also combos with recurring units like Dawnwalker, reminiscent of Xenan Killers.

The power level of this deck is not high.  I tried to make a competitive version and could not get into Masters… possibly because there was too much aggro running around.  This is a deck you play for fun and the splashy plays that it creates.

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Feln control – Top 15 version

While many people have written off Feln control with the Withering Witch nerf, Graduation has piloted Feln control to around #15 on ladder during the March season.  (He ended the season at #5 because he played Armory, which is more busted as a deck.)

vara2cfate-touched

Graduation used Calimdir’s list, took some influence from Elunex, and made some minor tweaks of his own.  What makes this list different is that it uses the value engine of Vara, Fate-Touched as a finisher.  Games often end by stabilizing against aggressive strategies and winning with damage in the air (Champion of Cunning + Black Sky Harbinger), with Vara bringing back the wincons as well as Withering Witch for additional board clears.  Some key differences with other Feln control lists:

  1. 2 copies of Vara, Fate-Touched (the Scion, not the Favor).
  2. 3 copies of Withering Witch.
  3. 4 copies of Black-Sky Harbinger.  Gotta stomp on those aggro decks.
  4. 4 copies of Steward of the Past.
  5. 1 copy of Thunderstrike Dragon.
  6. Zero copies of Feln Stranger or Scouting Party.

If you enjoy control strategies, you should give Feln Control a whirl.

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Wombo Combrano

Congratulations to Batteriez for piloting his “Combrei Plate” brew to #1 on ladder.  (ManuS and Batteriez, both top players, have worked together on developing this deck.)   Combrei Plate basically plays the good aggressive units in the Combrano (FTJ) factions combined with Deepforged Plate as a finisher (alongside Jekk, the Bounty Hunter).

Having messed around with that deck, there is an interesting combo between Deepforged Plate and Righteous Fury.  Played on a 5-power unit, the combo can deal 20 Overwhelm Lifesteal damage in one hit.  It’s quite amusing.

There is also synergy between Jekk and Deepforged Plate.  Jekk with Quickdraw and Plate is very difficult to block.  He is also multi-faction (for resiliency against Annihilate) and helps you beat down opponents while silencing units.jekk2cthebountyhunter

I’m really excited about this deck as it should be very healthy for the meta as a Tier 1 deck:

  1. It’s interesting to pilot.
  2. It’s interesting to play against, unlike Big Burn and Armory.
  3. It can be tuned to have good matchups against Big Burn and Armory.

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Ladder theory: what’s the best time of day to play?

As discussed in my previous post, there is something odd with ladder that is resulting in certain players like IlyaK (and jaypeg when he played) to dominate the top spots.  There are three viewpoints:

  1. I’m just crazy and there is nothing funky going on.
  2. You gain an advantage for playing a huge number of games, but somehow NeonBlonde and other players who have played an insane number of games haven’t benefited from that.
  3. You gain some advantage from playing at certain times of the day.

This post will go into the “time of day” theory.

(By the way… congratulations to IlyaK for crushing ladder.)

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How to make it to the top of constructed ladder

You might be surprised to know that you don’t need that much skill to make it to the top of constructed ladder.

  1. By far, the most important thing to do is to identify and play a Tier 1 deck.  (Sorry Icaria Blue fans.)
  2. Skill matters, but only up to a point.  You have to be good but you don’t have to be amazing at this game.  Some have reached the top of ladder with only a few weeks of experience- jaypeg did it when open Beta began.
  3. Get a win streak and stop playing once you’ve secured a high position.  Sunyveil held the #1 spot on ladder for a long time because he went on vacation.
  4. Figure out how to game the system.
cliffsideporter
Caption: tried to find picture about climbing a ladder.  No ladder to be found.

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Adding depth AND improving the new player experience

Many people confuse complexity with depth.  For example, take a look at sweeper cards like Lightning Storm and Harsh Rule.

Both cards have very little text on them.  New players don’t have to read a novel to understand these cards.  At the same time, they offer a lot of gameplay depth.  If you are the control player, sometimes it makes sense to wait another turn before casting it (especially when playing the old Jito Queen decks).  When playing against Lightning Storm, you have to be careful not to overextend or underextend (as I discussed in my patient Bandit Queen article).

From a game design perspective, good card designs lead to interesting gameplay and have low apparent complexity to new players.

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