Tuesday, March 17, 2015

First Dragon Ball Z games, and tournament report

I have a lot of nostalgia about the whole Dragon Ball Z franchise, so its no surprise I've been buying some cards for the newly released DBZ CCG from Panini America.  Unfortunately, I've been struggling to find opponents, but thanks to a Heroes and Villains release tournament at Squabbles Trading Cards in Glen Burnie, I was not only able to play the game.... but I was able to learn it!

Anyway, let's talk about the deck I took.

Trunks, Inquisitive
Trunks, Resolved
Trunks, Energy Charged
Trunks, Young Super Saiyan
Saiyan Empowered Mastery
1x Confrontation
1x Saiyan Power Up
1x Time is a Warrior's Tool
1x Trunks' Sword Stance
3x Saiyan Enraged
2x Visiting The Past
Energy Combat:
3x Saiyan Diving Burst
3x Saiyan Energy Toss
3x Saiyan Focus
3x Saiyan Multi-Blast
3x Saiyan Pinpoint Blast
3x Saiyan Supreme Block
Physical Combat:
1x Saiyan Acute Rapid Slam
3x Saiyan Clothesline
3x Saiyan Direct Strike
3x Saiyan Driving Punch
1x Saiyan Elbow Drop
3x Saiyan Face Stomp
3x Saiyan Flying Tackle
3x Saiyan Gut Kick
3x Saiyan Left Kick
1x Saiyan Light Jab
3x Saiyan Surprise
3x Saiyan Wrist Block
3x Trunks' Sword Slash

I'm fairly certain this isn't anything unique.  Basically, Trunks has great Power Stages, and can trigger many of the Saiyan bonuses.  Given the high Power Stage, he's really effective at Physical Combat.  This gives him an advantage against decks focusing on energy attacks, because they won't have the stages to sustain combat, as well as against physical-based decks, because they'll be running at a lower Power Stage.  At least, that was my thinking.

I won't bother explaining the deck.  First, it's not terribly difficult (that's why I played it!).  Second, in some places, its a hodge-podge of cards, because I only had a single copy of some rares I wanted, or didn't really know how to value certain cards.

Anyway, let me at least make mention of the decks I played against (I don't remember my opponents' names, unfortunately).

Practice game 1, against Orange Goku.  He started the game by throwing out a lot of drills, and I quickly went into combat.  After doing so, I had managed to sit Goku on 0 power levels, and then every turn I kept doing so, causing him to concede.  I basically entered combat every chance I could, and after getting Trunks' MP level up, I had pretty good control of the game.  I learned quite a bit as well, as the wording on the cards is not easy to understand when starting out.

Tournament game 1, I played the same player, who took Saiyan Nappa.  I believe I went first this game, and recklessly entered combat, despite having only a single attack in my hand (I wanted to use Trunks' Sword Stance).  What a disaster.  Nappa is really good at throwing down some damage, and I quickly was outgunned.  Not to be deterred, I continued to foolishly enter combat, only to keep getting beat.  I end up losing handily.

Tournament game 2, I play against a Black Nail deck.  It feels like the game is going pretty well for me, but then there's just too many great Physical Blocks that destroy my momentum (including Nail's Heritage).  Once that pressure was removed, I couldn't get that momentum back, and I end up losing, although at least it was pretty close.  I've not given much thought to either of the Namekian MPs as of yet, so it was pretty crazy seeing one of them in action.  Eesh.

Practice game 2 was against one of the guys playing in the Finals (I don't know what his final result was), I think.  He was playing a Namekian Gohan deck, that tried to get to Level 4, and win MPVV immediately after that.  We trade blows, but my Trunks, Resolved lets me set up a great turn of beating, ending with a Saiyan Clothesline, which really takes a chunk out of my opponent's deck.  At the end, he only has three Dragon Balls left in the deck, giving me the win, although it was very close.

Tournament game 3, I play against Black Krillin.  I'm feeling pretty good about this, because I have been able to keep my opponent's Power Levels low, which hurts energy decks.  This guy, man, he must have been packing like 60 blocks.  Every single I attack I throw at him gets blocked, and in response, he gradually wears me down, until I'm finally destroyed.  I say gradually, but it was not an overly long game.  I did get pretty smoked, haha.

So, there you have it.  0-3 in the tournament, good enough for dead last.  With that said, I learned a lot about the game, I learned a lot about the cards, and I actually feel a lot more comfortable trying some new decks, and hopefully building some better ones.  We'll see.  At the moment, I have two decks built- a Red Tenshinhan deck, and a Blue Krillin deck.  Both are unplayed, and both will probably have to wait another week to be played, but I'm definitely excited to try them out.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Various Faith and Fear Previews [Doomtown: Reloaded]

I'm a big fan of Doomtown: Reloaded, partially because I was a big fan of the original CCG, and partially because it's such a great game.  I figured I'd take a look at the few spoilers released so far from the upcoming Pinebox (similar to a Deluxe) Expansion, Faith and Fear.

We know that we are getting a new Outfit card for each faction, so thankfully we do have a spoiler for the new 4th Ring one- Oddities of Nature (spoiled on run4games.com):

I always find myself struggling early game with Ghost Rock in Fourth Ring, and starting the game with one fewer Ghost Rock definitely sucks.  However, the Noon ability on this card makes getting that income back pretty easy... but again, the original Outfit card was ALSO easy to get Ghost Rock from as well as card cycling.

So really, the benefit is going to come down to how legitimate Abominations are post-Faith and Fear. Booting an opposing dude while producing Ghost Rock is a pretty damn good ability as is, since you'll have Abominations floating around Town Square anyway to get the extra influence, and being able to Boot opponents there will limit their actions, shut down some game plans, and will generally be annoying.  If you have enough manpower (Abomanpower?) there, they aren't likely to try to waltz through Town Square anyway, which will leave them vulnerable upon trying to get to your side of the board to contest deeds.

Abominations have pretty good bullet ratings so far- The Ghostly Gun and Tyxarglenax are Stud 2, and even the weakest of the Abominations is a Draw 1 (for 2 cost and no upkeep), so having them around in Town Square will actually be pretty scary.

Summoning can get some more into play for even cheaper... yeah- I can definitely see this working.  Now we just need to see what support for this is in the Pine Box!

From here.  It's already dangerous enough to cheat in a shootout.  Do we need more awful experiences when we cheat??  The 8 of Spades is pretty helpful- many of the cards with that suit/value aren't ones I use a lot, and although this effect isn't as back-breaking as say, Coachwhip, but it is a nice replacement for like a Bottom Dealin'.  You'll have the ability to choose either cards that are necessary for their hands' success, or hopefully cards that seem to be vital for their deck, which would generate you Ghost Rock.  I could see this seeing some play.

This card seems to have limited utility.  First off, it's competing with Coachwhip and Ambush, both fairly popular cards, in the suit/value slot.  Second, there are two uses for this card- first, to try to Boot your opponent's dude to stop abilities, and second, to try to send certain ones home.  In the first case, you're looking at Booting, say, Wendy (stud 2) or maybe a Remy, but who else is used that this really effects?  Getting Wendy booted isn't going to be terribly easy, although modifiers will help.  I don't know.  I feel like I'm unlikely to start a shootout if I have Wendy and am facing a 3-stud somewhere, and if you started it, I've already used Wendy.

In the second case- normally I'd want to send home their best shooter... but I'd need to have a higher bullet rating than them, and at that point, why not just shoot it out?  Alternatively, I could send home a ton of weaker shooters, but then I'd be leaving my posse booted and unable to capitalize on my victory.

To me, it will be useful in only very specific cases, and that will probably mean it won't be included in my decks.

Finally, we have Maria Kingsford:

Great art!  And I should mention that there are great stories for Maria and Swinford Finds Trouble on the Alderac web site.

I think we'll be seeing a very strong Sloane Huckster theme coming once this box is out (I mean, stating the obvious, I know).  We've had a few pieces so far (Jonah, Morales), and combined with them, they have a very solid core of Dudes that want to get bounties, get into fights, and throw around a lot of Hexes.  She's also a great value, at only three Ghost Rock, so could easily be in a starting gang, working to get the board set up for Sloane to dominate and win mid-game.  I can't wait to see what else comes out for them, but a Sloane Huckster deck will definitely be on my list of decks to try out!

FFG Regional Locations and Dates announced!

Really, you could just read the article here.

I went to a Store Championship for Warhammer 40K: Conquest earlier this year, and although I only did okay (6th out of 13), I had a really good time.  I'd love to play in some Regionals this year!

Looking at the list, these seem to be the most likely targets for me:

  • May 2nd:
    • Call of Cthulhu in Monroeville, PA
  • May 16th:
    • Call of Cthulhu in Morgantown, WV
  • May 24th:
    •  Game of Thrones in Rockville, MD
  • June 13th:
    • Imperial Assault in Glen Burnie, MD
  • June 20th:
    • Netrunner in Philadelphia, PA (not likely, as this is the day before my birthday).
  • June 27th:
    • Warhammer 40K: Conquest in Rockville, MD
  • July 18th:
    • Game of Thrones in Morgantown, WV
    • Star Wars in Glen Burnie, MD
Of course, the chances I'll make all of these are basically zero.  I'd like to try to make a few though, and once I can figure out which, I'll be sure to mention it and start planning for it on here.

Old Hollywood Announced [Android: Netrunner]

Article here

This is the fifth pack in the SanSan cycle, which we should see the first pack for soon.  Let's see what it has to offer:

We get a close-up of that Identity in a sec, but that Shaper card is interesting.  Fan Site is a resource that reads: "Whenever the Corp scores an agenda, add Fan Site to your score area as an agenda worth 0 agenda points." 

Obviously this card seems meant to power things like Frame Job and Data Dealer... neither are which are in Shaper, and are both two influence cards.  Fan Site is only one influence though, so that does create some interesting choices.  Perhaps a Valencia deck could use it to really keep the pressure on the Corp, even when they manage to score something?  Data Dealer is a great card... but generally only gets used in rare cases that you get a Shi.Kyu stuck to you, or if you're playing Iain Stirling, or something.  I guess we should expect some other cards in this cycle that allow us to spend/lose agendas, but as it stands, I'm not sure I could find space for it yet.

Now we're talking.  NBN has almost always been a very fast advance sort of faction, and I guess this would still fit that role.  You won't have to auto-lose to the runner getting a major Medium run on R&D (since NBN decks have slightly higher agenda densities with all one and two point agendas).  You could also install multiple 3/2s on the later turns with the knowledge that at least ONE of them will be scored (unless it somehow gets trashed).  If you're running Fast Advance, it's certainly possible you'll get to five quickly... then drawing an Agenda, Fast Track, installing two agendas could quickly win you the game, probably just as the runner is fully set up.  I quite like it.  I also like that I could run a much poorer agenda density in this sort of deck, because having several agendas in my hand isn't necessarily a disaster.  I'll definitely be giving it a try.

Apparently a 'Sensie' is a movie that will provide a more full sensory experience?  I don't know.  The Agenda itself seems alright.  3/1 isn't so bad, but I imagine this is one you'd try to trick your opponent into stealing, perhaps to attempt to get a 5/3 pushed through.  I feel like that may be tough to bluff though- NBN ICE isn't notoriously good at stopping things.  Perhaps as an early game trick though, I could throw a 5/3 behind a Tollbooth (or Wraparound, if I'm lucky), try to get this stolen, and end up doing pretty well.  Combined with the above, they could give me this bonus basically for no additional pain to me, if there are other agendas they steal beforehand.  Or, install two 3/1s, and they access this, and you score the other one for practically nothing.  Overall, not bad.

I like this one a bit more.  Money is good.  4/2 is fine.  And again, if you manage to get them to steal another agenda first, you're getting 5 credits practically for free!  I can't hate credits in NBN.  Something I'll definitely consider given a shot to in some builds, but probably not a strict fast advance build (NAPD Contracts is better for that role).

Finally, we have:

Meh.  If I'm hoping to trash a lot of R&D, I'm likely playing Noise.  If I manage to get all three copies of Spoilers in play, I'm trashing 3 cards for every agenda they score.  They probably need 3-4 agendas to win, so 2-3 chances to trash things.... feels like a 'meh' to me.  This seems pretty good against NBN Fast Advance, in particular, where they likely can't defend Archives effectively... but such a deck will have Jackson Howard since its in-faction.  I don't know.  I'm sure I'll see this played against me plenty (some of my opponents get very excited about trashing R&D cards- it's part of the reason something like half my games as Corp have been against Noise), but I don't know that I'll bother.

Great spoilers overall though- some new NBN tech to look forward to, and some hints of new deck archetypes coming up.  Pretty excited to see it come to be!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Great Devourer Announced! [Warhammer 40K: Conquest]

Article here.

As I've been telling people, it made the most sense for the first Deluxe Expansion for Conquest to be solely a Tyranid one- adding Necrons in would dilute the Tyranid card pool too much, and with Tyranids unable to take allies, they needed an earlier start than the Necrons.  As such, I'm pleased to see FFG announce that the first Deluxe will indeed be Tyranids (with a few other cards from the other factions).  So let's have a look at the cards:

Man, lots going on here.  First, the Tyranids are introduced, obviously, and come with a new type of unit- the Synapse unit.  In the 40K game, Synapse units are there as a means to extend the will/control of the Hive Mind, and better direct the individual units on the ground.  Now, having Synapse units die in the tabletop game wasn't a particularly good thing- something I hope has some parallel in the tabletop game.  Here, all we know is that the Synapse unit will work like a second warlord, with different effects, depending on the unit (five Synapse units included in this expansion).

We also know the Tyranids will do something with infesting planets, which will trigger additional effects, like with the Hunter Gargoyles.  These infestation tokens can be removed by winning a combat at such a planet, so the effect is reversible, at least.  We're not told specifically if Tyranids have a different win condition (they aren't interested in Tech, Strongpoints, and the like, the article specifically calls out).  I wonder if the Infestation idea will tie into their victory condition, if they even have a different one.

The Termagant is a new token unit that can get bonuses from cards with the Hive Mind specialization, as seen on the Termagant Spikers.  Having Tokens that gain new abilities is really cool, and I think that's a great place for additional design space for the Tyranids.

We also see a hint of another Specialization on Roghrax Bloodhand: Bloodthirst, which seems to trigger when an opponent's unit has died in a combat at a planet.  Another cool way to do things- this doesn't really add new Keywords to the game, but instead gives a way to add related abilities to a variety of cards that could be interacted with later (say, a card that turns off all Bloodthirst specializations for a turn).

For the Tyranids, it's a bit too early to tell how good their cards will be without both their rules and many more examples of their cards.  The Warlord/Synapse pair previewed is certainly exciting enough, but it's still going to be several months until we see these on the table.  So far, they seem to be a bit light on Command Icons, but we definitely don't have the full picture yet.

Pathfinder Shi Or'es seems like he'll be a good help to Tau. Three Resources for a 3/3 with 1 command icon is a pretty good deal.  His ability will be nice in a Shadowsun deck, where you're able to recur Attachments, but may actually be of some use in an Aun'Shi deck too- even dropping an Ion Rifle off him lets me put out a total of 9 Armorbane damage in one combat, which is terrifying.  I could see him having a place, without a doubt.

Seraphim Superior Allegra is both a joy and a disappointment to me.  First, she's going to be incredible for that support heavy AM build that they seem to be trying to push.  Putting Catachan Outpost on her, having her attack, and having that Catachan Outpost available again is REALLY effective.  And there's no shortage of great Supports that could see play in a deck using her (at 4 cost, using this to power Staging Ground would help offset her cost, as well!).  She's going to see play, without a doubt, I think.

I'm a tad disappointed, however, because she's the first Sisters of Battle army unit out there... and they didn't give her any traits.  No Sisters of Battle (or Adepta Sororitas) trait, no Order of Our Martyred Lady trait (based on her uniform).  Nothing.  Just Ecclesiarchy.  Perhaps I was wishing too much, but as a former Sisters of Battle player, I would definitely have loved to see some love for them.  Her inclusion is a start, but I would have loved more.

Various FFG news updates [Lord of the Rings]

Eesh, I get sick, go to a convention, and get busy, and I immediately slack off on posting.  Well, I'll work to correct that.

So let's see what's come up new from FFG on the Lord of the Rings front since the last time I've posted.

Now May I Make a Right Choice. This covers Boons and Burdens from the upcoming Treason of Saruman Saga Expansion. 

Let's look at these Boons, first:

As mentioned in the article, these all key off traits from some of the Boons you receive from the Black Riders quests. Really, there's not a dud amongst these- Intimidation works really well with some Tactics builds I've toyed around with, for sure, resource generation from Leader of Men is always nice, and Forewarned gives an ability that will frequently come in handy, given the nasty Shadow effects we've been seeing.  Hands of a Healer feels a tad weak, partially because it requires you to exhaust the attached hero to use it, and partially because there's plenty of good healing options out of Lore as is.  Also, there are currently no heroes with the printed Healer trait, meaning you'll have to depend on the results of the previous Saga adventures to get a chance to use it (whereas the other required traits are actually printed on some heroes).  Still, having the ability to get healing in a non-Lore deck would be pretty interesting.  

The Burden listed in the article, Poisoned Counsels, is nasty.

And you should read the article to see how you get it, basically at the beginning of one of the quests, you'll be given a choice to immediately go into battle, or to spend a turn preparing (and getting a free Ally into play).  If you take the latter choice, this gets added to your deck, and drawing it would be just about disastrous.  Eesh, that's going to be a tough choice.

I'm excited to get this box in my hands (and Lost Realm as well), and I'm especially glad my group has started showing interest in playing more of this- we're actually planning to play The Hunt for Gollum in the next couple of weeks- an old quest that I've already beat a few times (mostly solo), but one that the newer players in my group are excited about.

This is the second pack from the Angmar Awakened Cycle, and there's, naturally, a lot of cool stuff in here!

There will also be a new Lore hero, new Ent-focused cards (for Tactics), but I have to say, this new mechanic of triggering off the victory display (as evidenced by Keen as Lances) is just too cool.  Leave no Trace seems like an okay card- it's not amazing in any sense, but it's going to be nice in multi-player games to trim some of the worst cards from the encounter deck, but knowing that me and everyone I'm at the table with is going to be able to use Keen as Lances for CHEAP after two Leave No Traces is nasty.  NASTY.  This is just another case where talking to your team pre-game will come in handy, especially if these quests are as great and involved as the most recent ones from FFG have been anyway.

Anyway, lots of new cards showing up, and still lots of reasons to be and stay excited about Lord of the Rings!  Now to just play more.