We got back to playing some Shadowfist due to a combination of not having played in a while and some enthusiasm for a particular variant format.
Only two players had built Array of Stunts decks, a format that sounded kind of sketchy but which was certainly a “big power” format that would make Morse Code Poets and a bunch of other cards more meaningful.
Because Ray didn’t make it and Earl showed up, we started off with the five-player Cardiff team variant, as that didn’t require anything weird from a deckbuilding standpoint.
Joren (borrowed tanks) -> Don (Dragon/Jammer guns) -> Justin (7 Masters/Hand) -> Ian (Daughters of Nu Gua) -> Earl (Monkey Hand/Jammer)
This was supposed to be reasonably quick. It wasn’t. It was close to two hours before a team finally won. We had to figure out how some things worked, like who qualified as “second”. We made up a rule, as, otherwise, Earl and someone would have won earlier.
I didn’t do much more than get a Hidden Dragon to 8-F and put out a Daughter. I still had a chance to win, though one of my bids for victory was defeated by the fact that our team couldn’t win as my partner wasn’t in second place.
Earl put out lots of monkey power. Joren did Panzer X stuff with mostly Tank Commanders but also others. Don did Ex-Commando stuff that put him into the lead but got beaten back brutally. Justin finally put Red Bat in play. Justin and Joren ended up winning.
We liked this format. Our five player games are, unsurprisingly, kind of skewed as it’s just too hard to care too much about what others are doing much of the time. This team format makes it incredibly important to follow what other players are doing and is far more interactive. Burning for victory is heavily incentivized as it makes it harder for you to not be in second. I played a number of events to affect what other people did, including Iron and Silking Joren’s character that he wanted smoked to stop an attack that would have taken him out of second place for when my turn came around. Lots of attacking right!
Don had to leave. Earl wasn’t that enthused by the idea of borrowing a deck for Array of Stunts, so we did a three-player.
Justin bid 1 power and went first.
Justin (Hand) -> Joren (Monarchs) -> Ian (Reascended Comeback)
Joren had some foundation issues due to the limitation on Dockyards. Justin came out mighty and was the only threat to win until time ran out. I got to play lots of Reascended, far more than usual, but my deck wasn’t oriented to the format. I was expecting someone building to the format to play board sweepers, as huge characters with annoying abilities were going to be easy to play. No one did. Justin just kept putting out monks and stuff. Joren played the Monarchs royalty. We kept having to beat Justin down to stop him from winning – he burned nine sites for victory over the course of the game. I think we were getting to the point of removing his offensive ability, but, then, I would have to work on taking out a bunch of Joren’s royalty, with his Obsidian Eye in play as a defense against Horus recursion.
A mixed bag. Yes, the format makes certain cards, like Buddhist Monks, really interesting (well, useful). Yes, you will see crazy stuff happen that isn’t that common. Joren Pocket Demoned for 14 power a couple of times. I don’t mind that it’s a degenerative environment. I mind that there are just a crazy level of abilities in play. Shadowfist, to me, already has too many relevant abilities in play at any given time. I’m much better about tracking these things, now that I’ve played a lot more, but it was discouraging when less experienced because you just don’t follow what’s going on to where your decisions are stupid when you don’t know the cards well enough.
Definitely do the Cardiff-5 again. We talked about doing a variant sort of like Array of Stunts but not quite so expansive.