Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Warhammer - New Tournament Format?

I'm in the final stages of preparing for this years Orktoberfest and it just dawned on me that I really ought to change the format.  Not so much in the actual rules of the game, but in how people select their army lists.

Currently (and in previous years) I opted for a fairly large points value for the area (2500 points for Warhammer Fantasy and 2000 points for Warhammer 40k prior to the double FOC rule).  That might have limited the number of people who wanted to participate as a lot of them thought it was a bad thing to have so many points.n

One of the chief arguments was that making army lists was a no-brainer as you could take anything you wanted.  I never saw this as a bad thing because it meant that you had an answer to whatever anyone brought and it was up to you to deploy that answer in the proper way.  Most people in the area prefer smaller points values (around 1500) so they have to think carefully what they put in their list.  Most arguments against this points value (and I agree with these people) is that the smaller points values tend to favor certain armies/lists and if you aren't prepared for it, those lists just steam roller you.

A good example of this was the dual-lash chaos list from a few years back.  At 1500 points it was nigh-impossible to beat if someone wasn't prepared for it.  Similarly triple raider lists at that points values were hard to deal with unless you specifically tailored your list to fight it.  Now if you aren't prepared for that kind of game, those lists would just steam roller everyone at a tournament.

So to solve this problem, for next year's event I might opt for a smaller points value with 2 flexible detachments.  For example in Warhammer 40k I would play 1500 point games with a 1000 point core detachment and a 500 point flexible detachment.  The core detachment would contain the required 1 HQ and 2 Troops and then the player would have 2 flexible detachments of 500 points.  The idea being that you would have the option to switch your flexible detachment based on your opponent.  So maybe one flexible detachment would contain lots of melta/plasma to combat monstrous creature spam while the other contained massed templates to fight hordes.

I'd have to figure out away of how the players choose which detachment to use against each other without giving either player a huge advantage.  Like using an anti-monstrous creature detachment against a Tyranid player only to have them switch all their monstrous creatures out for hordes.  Might have to tie it in to the deployment roll (i.e. player who deploys first chooses his detachment first) or the player's placement in the tournament (i.e. player who has a higher ranking in the competition chooses his detachment first).  Alternatively it could just be blind pick and both players reveal their choice prior to deployment.  Could create a Sicilian argument which could be fun.

Doing it this way is similar to how Warmahordes tournament players have two lists or how Magic: The Gathering tournament decks have sideboards.  This would allow people to fight against cheese lists with their own list and will make list building more involved as opposed to just cramming as many monstrous creatures into 1500 points as possible (or in my case Terminators).  I haven't read of any other Warhammer tournament that does this but I've been out of the loop as far as checking on the big events goes.

One of the sponsors to Orktoberfest is wanting to put on some smaller in-store events so I might try to convince him to let me run this style of tournament for one or more of those events as a test run for next year.

Monday, October 7, 2013

MTG - Bx Reanimator in my cube

Second deck I wanted to focus on was my attempt to incorporate a reanimator deck.

So the basic idea for a reanimator deck is to dump giant creatures into the graveyard and cheat them out with spells.  To facilitate this you need cards like:

These cards help you dig through your deck for the pieces or chuck the giant creatures into the graveyard or both.

The follow up to chucking big things into your graveyard are some reanimator spells like:
These will bring things back from the dead and generally faster than hard casting them.

So what makes a good reanimator target?  Well basically anything that is big and bomby.  Some of the better ones in my cube are:
These creatures are all from different colours so reanimator decks tend to be  at least 2 colours and most likely 3 and maybe even 4.  Some of the better combinations are Black/Blue cause blue gives you lots of card draw and some large creatures as well as the most options of throwing stuff into your graveyard.  Black/White gives you lots of reanimation options and lots of good early stuff to keep you alive.  It does lack in ways to dump stuff into the graveyard though.  Black/Green gives you ways to abuse your graveyard even more.  Cards like Jarad's Orders, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, Varolz, the Scar-Striped and the scavenge creatures provide more things to do with the stuff in your graveyard in addition to reanimation.  Not to mention green provides a lot of mana fixing so you can easily go 3 or 4 colour reanimator.

The biggest drawback to a deck like this is that the early game tends to be slow and there is a great danger to just flat out dying before you can get the deck going.  This makes removal spells and resilient creatures a high priority.

This deck is not an obvious choice to make but it's quite fun cheating out giant creatures and smashing face.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Warhammer 40k - My Deathwing assault again!

Excuse the pun but I finally broke out my Deathwing for a game last night against an old hobby friend.  I need to get as much practice as I can for Orktoberfest 2013.  Not because I'm playing but because I need to be up on the rules more than the players.  Being the organizer I am also the rules lawyer and dispute mediator among the competitors.

Anyways, I was playing 1000 points (mostly because all the big tables were being used at the place we played at and we got stuck with a smaller table) with the following list:
  • Belial - Sword of Secrets, Storm Bolter
  • 5 man Deathwing Squad - Assault Cannon, 1 Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield, 1 pair of Lightning Claws, 1 Chainfist
  • 5 man Deathwing Squad - Cyclone Missile launcher, 1 Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield, 1 Chainfist
  • 3 man Ravenwing Attack Squadron - 2 meltaguns, Attack Bike with multi-melta
  • Ravenwing Land Speeder - Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Bolter
  • Ravenwing Land Speeder - Typhoon Missile Launcher, Heavy Flamer
My opponent brought out his Tyranids and had the following list
  • Swarmlord - 4 biomancy powers (Endurance, Quickening, Hemorrhage and Life Leech)
  • 2 Tyrant Guard
  • 3 Hive Guard
  • 30 Hormagaunts
  • 30 Termagants in a mycetic spore with the dual shot S4 guns.
I had a big advantage on the table as I a was able to score the deployment zone that had a clear view of a large open field in the centre of the table and I had him deploy first.  The quickest way to get to my forces was through the open field and I was able to just blast his big guys away with the krak missiles and clean up the bugs with my bolters.  If he opted to go through the cover it would have taken longer I think and even with his termagant spore attack, the Deathwing terminator armor just shrugged it off.  Admittedly, I find Deathwing armies to be rather overpowered in small point matches.

Going to try and get some more games in before the event.  Despite not buying any Games Workshop related items, pushing around their army men is still fun.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

MTG - UR Izzet Blitz in my Main Cube

When I updated my cube I made a more conscious effort to include specific archetypes in the cube.  Before the update there weren't many archetypes that saw play.  I think I saw tokens (which I almost always played as those cards always got passed), mono-red burn (only because one player would always force this) and mill the most often.  Everyone else kind of just had a hodgepodge mix of whatever they could draft.  All good, but no real synergy.

With this latest update I've hopefully added more archetypes into my cube so everyone can have a decent deck to play with rather than a hodgepodge of spells.

The first archetype I wanted to focus on was the UR Izzet Blitz deck that is possible.  Alternatively this could be called the Spells Matter archetype (or the Kiln Fiend deck as Kiln Fiend kind of popularized this style of play a few years back as well as on the MTGO Pauper scene) as it depends on getting enough instant and sorcery spells to power the creatures that kind of depend on it.

The main idea behind this deck is to draft the following creatures (hopefully most, if not all of them):
and then enough instant and sorcery cards to support them.

I figured flashback and rebound cards would be useful as they are effectively two for one spells and they can activate the creatures abilities twice.  So you would want spells like:
After that, the rest of the deck should be filled with more bounce, counters and removal and maybe some cards that recycle spells like Archaeomancer or Mnemonic Wall.

The basic plan then is you want to clear the way for your creature(s) with spells (which incidentally makes your creatures bigger), then attack and burst your opponent down with your big creatures.
If that fails, you can hope to draw into a big finisher like an overloaded Dragonshift or Teleportal or just constantly ping them to death with a Guttersnipe or Fire Servant fueled burn spells.

This archetype isn't as obvious though for new players so it might not see play but I think it would be fun and I will probably try to force it next time my group plays just to see if it will work.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

MTG - Main Cube Update

The Theros pre-release and release weekends came and went and I managed to pick up a bunch of new cards.  Got lucky in my pre-release and got XenagosErebos, a FOIL Steam Augury and I managed to go 3-1 to get a few more packs.  My streak of breaking even continues (ever since Mirrodin Besieged I've broken even or been in the plus at every event release I attended).

With the new cards in hand I proceeded to update my main cube.  I ended up updating my noob cube as well but I'll write about that later.

One of the first things I decided to do was remove some of the more powerful token cards in my cube.  It was becoming quite evident that if you drafted tokens in my cube, you pretty much won.  The constant stream of two creatures for one spell that could be had was just insane.  At the time it would be something like Intangible Virtue into Attended Knight into Master Splicer into Sensor Splicer into Courser's Accord/Collective Blessing/Captain of the Watch.  Other times it would just be a constant stream of creatures from Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage or Trostani, Selesnya's Voice and yeah, if you didn't draft one of the sweepers you were kinda dead.  So I removed some of the cards that made the tokens crazy like Intangible Virtue and I added a few more sweepers like Divine Reckoning and Rolling Temblor.  I have a Crater Hellion and Winds of Rath in my consideration pile so I might try to fit them in if token swarming still seems too overpowered.

I also removed all the infect cards as I felt that mechanic was too narrow.  Basically there was nothing I could add to that archetype from new sets as the Infect mechanic has only appeared in one block and probably won't appear for a while.  In it's place I've tried to incorporate a different theme for BG, namely that of abusing +1/+1 counters with scavenge cards, Corpsejack Menace and evolve cards.  Removing Infect also allowed me to add some more aggro cards so Bx or Gx aggro should be better supported and I've also been able to add some more green and black fatties (like Nessian Asp and Bloodgift Demon) so those colours have more finishers.  Black, especially, I felt was underplayed in my cube and maybe by adding some better black cards it would see more play.  If I had gotten some of the double black Theros cards I might have tried to push a mono-black devotion deck so I might look for things like Grey Merchant or Abhorrent Overlord in the future.

Anyways, here is my new updated list which I hope to draft with soon.

There are a few archetypes/decklists that I am trying to push but it might not be totally obvious to some so I will write about those decks at another time (hopefully in the near future).