Why say anything about a game no one plays and that I make next to zero effort to get anyone to play?
Because I feel like it.
Good stuff. I mention good stuff in commentary about CCGs all of the time. Good stuff is simply any cards that have no particular connection to your deck’s theme or synergies that you play anyway because you are better off playing them than not.
Ultimate Combat! is a CCG where I build much tighter decks, something I’ll get into in a moment. Speed/Strength (1, at least, maybe 2, as well) are good stuff cards, but I got to thinking about how poor my deckbuilding skills have gotten for the game with that decklist I posted.
For one thing, there’s no reason not to play both of the 2/2 for 1 techniques at the brown belt level the way that deck does its foundation configuration. But, it’s a black belt card that I started thinking about.
Combination X. Combinations are hideously powerful in the game, being a way to throw off combat math but also just being a way to attack more often. But, for a lot of decks, it’s quite moot as to how many slots to use on Combinations. Then, if you do take up slots on them, which ones?
Unless you have a full boat of black belt cards or you are going techniqueless or doing some Earthquake/Favorite Technique prison deck (I thought it was fun because it’s so not how UC! normally plays), Combination X is a goodest stuff.
Sometimes you just don’t have any power left but want to combokill. CX does that. Sometimes, you need to upgrade your killing math. Sometimes you have power sitting around not killing. CX fixes all of those problems, assuming you have two technique to beat with (and your opponent doesn’t overdefend to make your combo attack suck).
I’ve put it into decks as the only combination. I should probably put it into more decks, like the UberStrength deck I posted. There’s probably more tech I’m forgetting about for building optimized decks …
Speaking of which, one might wonder why I’m talking about optimizing decks. I’ve played bad cards in two-player CCGs, but, to my recollection, that was intentional. I wasn’t just throwing in bad cards because I could get away with it and thought it was funny, like I do with multiplayer CCGs. I was building around bad cards because I thought it was funny.
While multiplayer dynamics allow for getting away from optimization, I do think there’s a bit more to it than just that I haven’t tried to compete at a two-player CCG since Wheel of Time died. Maybe, it was reading about Magic results or maybe that was only one of a number of factors. But, the idea of trying to build a better deck than my opponent has gotten away from me.
Ironically, that drive to build better decks is what fuels the CCG archetype. Just somewhere along the lines, I stopped thinking in terms of objectively better and started thinking only in terms of metagame plays. Could be why there’s such a disconnect when you read other people’s V:TES blogs. Could be why I care so much less about commenting upon other people’s decks.
Yet, if I were back to playing UC! (to win), WoT (to win), or Hyborian Gates, how much would I shift back into a mental mode of “Suppress is just absurdly undercosted … or all of the other psychic screwjobs are overcosted.”?
Since I’m in a postcompetitive mode, I can imagine picking up UC! again and just building more thematic decks. That spinning deck was pretty amusing the first time around; should it come around, again? Maybe some sort of throat/choke deck. Maybe an all “right” deck – Right Hook, Right Jab (am I just making up card names? ha ha, have to learn something about UC! to know the answer).
Keeping with my Fu theme, I got to thinking about whether I should or would build Shadowfist decks with more of a competitive advantage in mind. Shadowfist is a perfect example of my just playing with cards I largely want to play with (in many cases try out for the first time before deciding I’m not interested). But, what of power generation calculations, effect to cost ratios, cripple plays, tutoring abuse, and other winthoughting?
Would it be fun? It might be just because it would be interesting to see how gang ups fail optimization efforts. In our regular group, the one player who seems to put the most effort into building decks more effective at what they do has mixed success, often being targeted for rein in but sometimes being too far advanced to be stopped.
The theory is that everyone tries to achieve deck strength maximization so that the mighty doth battle. Obviously, the more opponents, the less relevant this becomes. This is where three-player Shadowfist and four-player V:TES are more challenging in my mind, as deck puissance becomes more relevant.
I think I should build some UC! decks just to get back to thinking about how to build the most streamlined kill given whatever theme I have. That could carry over into producing multiplayer CCG decks very differently from what I’ve been going for. Might be entertaining.