Let’s jump ahead to the important bit.
Turn before mine, Lusignan the Fool riding a Fire Horse jumps in front of a Scrounger in a MegaTank. After surviving that, Lusignan and vehicle go to the Car Wash to heal up.
My turn comes. I have three cards in hand. Due to Lusignan’s Automaton, I have to draw 18 cards (Bull Market/Sucker Rounds deck to my left …). I have 16 left. I have six power, a Bloodlust in hand, there are no damaged characters in play. I play Boundless Heaven Sword on Lusignan the Fool, and he superleaps for the win … until the Neutron Bomb goes off and I lack one power to play Winter’s Laugh.
Yup, that’s Shadowfist. Many a CCG has hysterical things happen within context of the game. Mr. Morden gets Vorlon Rescued, for instance. This is where much of my enjoyment comes from. I don’t need a great theme, I don’t know that I’d even say Shadowfist has a great theme any more than Magic has a great theme. (Of CCGs I’ve played more, I’d tend to go with Babylon 5 and Wheel of time as better themes, though the latter is rather constrained in cardpool and deck construction since, you know, it had only a few expansions.) But, a game is something more when it’s not just numeric values contending with numeric values. Unblockable 20 Fighting removed by character control is just not the same thing.
Rewinding, we played three games. Four player, five player team, four player.
Don (Syndicate) -> Ian (Hand Toughness) -> Joren (??) -> Justin (Hand/7 Masters)
Don won the first game, amassing a mass of power and putting out Mars Executives hordes without anyone else putting out much.
Don (Shaolin Surprise) -> Ian (Only Auramancer Is Broken) -> Joren (Architects) -> Justin (Purists) -> Franco (Vampiric Demons)
Franco joined for the second and third games. Hadn’t played in a while. I managed to maintain a reasonably solid position with my Lotus/Auramancer Fractured Soul deck, so that it was relatively easy for Franco to win on his turn with Hungry Ghosts, another 2-Fighting dude, and states after Lotus beef had put him at 4 FSSs. Joren taking out Don’s Fox Pass relatively early on left Don weak, and Joren never put much into play. Justin could hang around three FSSs but only had modest impact.
Franco (MegaTank) -> Ian (Netherworld Magic) -> Joren (Bull Market/Sucker Rounds) -> Justin (Dragon Recursion)
I had two early Bloodlusts, with a bunch of losers in play. I managed to Chain Lightning to get 2+2 power off of them. In other words, including the ending mentioned above, basically, my deck did everything it was supposed to do – play goofy unaligned uniques, Lightning people, play Boundless Heaven Sword. I didn’t have five Auramancers in this build, but that just meant I drew more entertaining cards (and a stupid amount of FSSs, maybe too many in the deck).
What’s the takeaway? I do a lot better when not playing smaller games with tighter decks. Sure, play skill could be a significant factor, too, but, while I’m willing to concede that people playing in KublaCon’s tournaments are better players than our weekly group, tempo seems to have a lot to do with how the games play out. Our weekly games are much slower in terms of people building up, in general. Don’s decks are much faster, usually, but that just means he jumps out ahead and everyone beats him down, as the games are also either four or five players.
My observation is that my faster decks do seem more impactful in tournament play. Or, put the other way, my slower decks just get run over and I don’t actually play much.
Another topic is how much character kill I should run. I know, I kind of beat this dead Fire Horse when I pontificate about how I build decks, but I just find the usual suspects to be less enamorful. Math Bomb – fun. Actually, I often observe that I’d love to play a Final Brawl in a lot of games. While I’m not really fascinated by Brawling as a strategy, I am inclined to multifaction some Dragon action to strategically Brawl. There are just too many annoying dorks that can sit around for too long or that come back, like Black Helicopter Squads.
While I should really work on V:TES decks in the short term, I do need to get around to some trifaction Shadowfist decks or other dual faction. After all, have to put those Dockyards to work.