I’m sure the most fascinating thing I could write about is how Arrowverse shows generally improved after the season openers, especially Flash. No? How about about how I’m catching up on season 10 of Doctor Who and I was quite interested in things up until the terrible parts 2 and 3 of the monk trilogy? Nyet?
What about the Shadowfist Kickstarter that is moving slow? I guess at some point, games just die. I certainly feel like there aren’t enough people actually playing to generate enough backers to make it happen.
Okay, let’s talk about something that will stir your soul, well, at least if part of your soul is floppy.
Last Sunday, I played in a L5R LCG tournament. Single core, which almost everyone is done with, so it’s kind of irrelevant how the decks were built.
I played Lion, not because I’m so into … [redacted]. But, because the first thing anyone should ever learn in card game play is aggro, beatdown, 3 to the dome – one. Two, Kitsu Spiritcaller could have supplied brokenness in a single core environment to a degree higher than the benefit in a 3x core. Yup, I was trying to build a good deck.
In preparation for the tournament, I had to deal with family stuff, so I didn’t prepare.
Play against Kenneth with Phoenix/Scorpion. Single core tech? Adept of Shadows is a body (not that kind of body, well, who knows?). I had body problems in the end. This proved rather important as, when we were getting short on time, I conceded to the overwhelming power of his two Wandering Ronin with fate on them.
I felt I learned some things. In this game. My first ever tournament game. My second ever game.
I felt I learned that I’m not an expert at this game and not only made some serious decision mistakes but forgot card abilities at times, including the Imperial Favor pump. Here’s the thing as the real world intrudes upon the better world of gaming – I said to our latest hire in my department “I don’t care if people are stupid. I care if they don’t get less stupid.” or something similar. Point being, I believe learning is important. I still make terrible Shadowfist decisions, as evidenced by Thursday night’s play, but I think I make decent decisions within our meta a reasonable amount of time.
I learned that Wandering Ronin is like the best card ever … when the only two characters your opponent can play from their dynasty flop is two Miya Mystics. Actually, given the format, admittedly an irrelevant format at this point, Wandering Ronin is actually a house. It can deal with conflict type flipping, which, of course, I ran into playing against Phoenix under the stronghold.
I had 13 fate when I conceded. It was an amusing game and a key part of my, yes, committing to L5R, so now I’m some fanatic who must pledge his reincarnatable spirit to a single clan as well as a weirdo dice chucker. I was at 5 honor, with three broken provinces and two cards left in my dynasty deck, though, we could have theoretically survived the round … Kenneth was at 2 honor. Yup, typical Lion vs. Phoenix – see if you can somehow not honor suicide yourself. Btw, I never drew one of the Assassinations in this game. I’ll get to honor more, soon.
Last two cards of my deck were Toturi and Matsu Berserker (useless due to playing against Phoenix). My Spiritcaller got face down broken pretty early on.
Kenneth’s average card bid? I figure about 1.2. I lost honor multiple times bidding 2. Welp, that’s Shadow- … er … L5R.
Erinn was also playing Lion but went with … hmmm … I should have written this earlier in the week, I actually can’t remember.
My intention when putting together the deck was to play the fate game. Figure Lion lose on the conflict card side so just manage fate better and have more permanents with better abilities. I somehow didn’t really play that game in my first tournament game ever. I did in this game. At the point where I could Stand Your Ground to keep Honored General in play with multiple other dudes or the round I started with like 5 dudes in play to his zero, I figured I had the game.
We were running low on time because this game plays slow, especially with people who – get this – play tournaments without dozens of games under their belt. I set up to break third and attack stronghold in last round, Assassinationing his attempt to win a conflict on the round because, oddly, neither one of us was that low on honor. His average bid? Maybe about 1.2.
I did cheat to a degree in that I had two Favorite Grounds and a Spyglass on a dude and drew three cards, but I ended the game with like 9 cards in hand to his 3, where his two Ornate Fans didn’t help defend in my military conflict against his stronghold.
What did I learn? Putting fate on Wandering Ronin is like totally broken … I should try this play in triple core and see how it fares. Sarcasm aside, I hated flopping Miya Mystics most of all. Otomo and Seppun consistently screw me not just because I often don’t have the Favor but … new paragraph for emphasis time …
So much of what I read was how dashes were often better than zeroes as it meant people couldn’t hook you or duel you or whatever. Well, dueling is not a thing in single core in that I don’t know if a single duel took place during the tournament. What is a thing is conflict type swapping. What is a thing is chumping to preserve honor. I would love for the Imperials to have zeroes so that when I can’t attack with them, they can actually do something besides stand for Favor.
I’m now somewhat katana shy on dashers. In fact, I’m more excited by 1/1’s for 1 due to dorkiness. I can murder provinces if I can just get someone to attack. I can chump block. Is this relevant for triple core? For real constructed next month or the month after when something besides a tiny card pool exists?
Maybe. Actually, bunch of deck ideas already for me, including the all neutral, all the time deck, the Unicorn political honor runner, Dragon swarm, etc.
We didn’t have a round four. We did have a raffle. With three tickets in the raffle, I managed to fail to get any of 20 or so raffled prizes in a 15 player tournament. I think one other player, with possibly a worse record, therefore fewer tickets, shared this honor.
That contributed to a general feeling I had. I played all of two games. I lost a game I felt like I could have won if I had made any of a number of decisions better. I blew out my opponent in my only real win. I got no meaningful participation prize. It was just a generally disappointing and frustrating experience.
And, yet, I still decided to go get more cards.
I find that neither V:TES nor Shadowfist metagames matter to me. Not that V:TES doesn’t have metagames for various tournaments, they just aren’t predictable enough for me to take advantage of them.
Trying to be competitive, trying to build good decks, having card analysis and metagame analysis theoretically give me an edge, playing more games with more people – these are good things.
Okay, so what’s wrong with L5R?
Already went into how easy it is to get honored out of the game. My concern is that honor will continue to suck, possibly becoming even worse. Think about it. In order for a deck to win with 25 honor, not currently realistic, it has to be able to deal with taking at least some honor hits. In order for a deck to honor murder you, you have to not be rising towards 25 honor. Sure, FFG can print swingy honor effects so that honor murder and honor happytimes can fight with each other and somehow have a meaningful game, though I doubt it will happen – I think one or the other has no chance. But, that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is what happens when one of these extremes fights the middle. If I can gain like 5 honor a round to make 25 plausible, the deck in the middle which is playing enough honor gain to fight the lose 3 honor a round decks can’t really do anything. Well, that’s overstating. They may not be able to do anything. It is possible to create card pools where players can metagame.
But, how does the middle deck deal with both extremes in a meta? An honor murder deck isn’t viable unless it can murder an honor runner. Natural meta reaction is to give up on honor murder if everyone becomes enamored with running, which is its own problem. But, let’s say that honor murder remains viable. Then middlers have to deal with even more race to the bottom.
It might have been interesting if the range for honor was like 0 to 15 and clans started at like 8. The range from 0 to 25 is vast and calls for especially swingy effects. I guess this is a serious, ultracompetitive CCG, so players adapt and run enough cards to not have the extremes win before you can break dance, plus the extremeys run enough break dancing to have game.
Other than the honor thing, and the offensive tournament rules (apparently standard for FFG because … I have no idea why companies hate so much on players playing things that are supposed to be fun), I don’t really have a problem with the game, based on my vast and near infinite play experience. Maybe I’ll hate more later.
Because other topics aren’t likely to generate enough inspiration for their own posts because somebody is the antipithy master, a quick comment about RPG modules.
I keep looking at my D&D, AD&D modules from like the 80s, and I am mostly pained. I realized I despise the layout. Contrast with HoR mods. HoR mods have a story with admittedly limited rails. These old mods have dungeons with treasure and monsters just incomprehensibly allocated to provide challenges largely of three types: traps, beef fights, special ability fights. I guess I can comment more on things like UK1 some day, but I just wanted to throw out that I actually kind of like I2, Tomb of the Lizard King. Oh, I have no idea whether it works mechanically, but it feels like there’s something more than rolling on random dungeon tables for monsters and treasures. Ironically, for the serious dungeon crawling group, it has a major fail in that it isn’t remotely clear how you move to the end of the adventure. I suppose a real DM will notice and put stairs on level 2 going down.
May have been something else, but I think that’s good for now. Got to finish up my Dragon deck, figure out what splash to do for the third of my test decks. Of course, if those three are my test decks, what’s “my” deck going to be? Crab? Crane is too … Craney. Phoenix may be too Phoenixy. You know, Unicorn does actually have a few cards I like. Courtier/monk, honor runner it is.