Shadowfist Draft Decks

July 1, 2016

What?  No title like Fistful Factions of Fury?  Drafty Dragons and Sinful Syndicate?

Nope.

So, I mentioned last time we did a Shadowfist draft last Saturday as part of a game day barbeque.  There were like 11 people who could have played a Shadowfist tournament, far more than KublaCon.  We had 8 for the draft, two people who were largely unfamiliar with Shadowfist.

We only got one game in at each of the four-player tables as it got too late by the time our untimed game finished.

Earl won our game.  Here is his deck:

Name:  Earl’s Deck
Faction:  Architects & Hand
Size:  39

Architects Cards (15)
Characters (10)
1x Destroyer Drone
2x DNA Mage
1x PubOrd Officer
1x Security Officers
1x Simon Draskovic
3x Test Subjects
1x Thing with a 1000

Events (5)
3x Cellular Reinvigoration
1x Dangerous Experiment
1x Expendable Unit

Hand Cards (13)
Characters (11)
1x Accupressure Master
1x Exiled Monk
1x Fist of Freedom
1x Fist of Shadow
1x Instrument of the Hand
1x Kung Fu Student
1x Railroad Workers
1x Righteous Fist
1x Stoic Wanderer
1x Willow Warriors
1x Zhu Maichen

Sites (2)
1x Mountain Monastery
1x Violet Senshi Chamber

Generic Cards (11)
Events (1)
1x Orbital Laser Strike

Feng Shui Sites (8)
2x Blessed Orchard
1x Hydroponic Garden
1x Mirrored Lake
1x Monkey House
1x Stone Garden
1x Tangram Alley
1x Turtle Beach

Sites (2)
1x Drug Lab
1x Trade Center

I passed a Trade Center.  I think I took something cool over it.  Three Cellular Reinvigorations is nuts and how Earl won off of Destroyer Drone being immune to Miguel’s Nerve Gas.

Only 39 cards I can find (was it 40?) … in that I played more.  Shows how bad I am at Shadowfist draft.

We could choose two pods to get foundation characters and we got a FSS pod to supplement drafted cards.  This need to give people extra cards heavily suggests the value of cubery.  The Borg has won, we must all be assimilated into drafting materials not in original wrappers.

Interesting cards in Earl’s sideboard:  2x Realpolitik; Really Big Gun (I thought it was good enough to play …); Buddhist Monk (guess Chi really wasn’t needed); Master Hao (I avoided high resource characters that, apparently, wasn’t necessary to do); Lui Man Wai (Senshi Chambers not so rare in this draft).

Miguel was the early game threat that kept requiring containment.  I don’t know his precise deck as he didn’t keep it together, for instance, I know he had General Gog but I don’t see it in the card stack.

Name:  Miguel’s Deck
Faction:  Architects & Dragon
Size:  55

Architects Cards (16)
Characters (12)
1x Alpha Beast
2x Arcanotechnician
1x DNA Mage
1x General Gog
1x Jason X
1x Nightmare Horror
1x Prototype X
1x PubOrd Officer
2x Test Subjects
1x The Dogs of War

Events (3)
1x Desperate Measures
1x Imprisoned
1x Nerve Gas

Sites (1)
1x Abominable Lab

Dragon Cards (19)
Characters (12)
1x Cavalry Regiment
1x Dragon Fighter (Miguel mentioned it.  I didn’t see it or his other.)
2x Everyday Hero
1x Friends of the Dragon
1x Gadgeteer
1x Gambler
1x Gonzo Journalist
1x Hacker
1x Maverick Cop
1x Redeemed Gunman
1x Sidekick

Events (3)
1x Booby Trap
1x Final Brawl
1x Just a Scratch

Sites (1)
1x House on the Hill

States (3)
1x Bag Full of Guns
1x Fastest Gun in the West
1x Muscle Car

Monarchs Cards (1)
Characters (1)
1x King of the Thunder Pagoda

Generic Cards (19)
Feng Shui Sites (15)
1x Ancestral Sanctuary
1x Blessed Orchard
1x Family Home
1x Family Restaurant
1x Grove of Willows
1x Hallowed Earth
1x Inner Sanctum
1x Maze of Stairs
1x Monkey House
1x Moon Base
2x Proving Ground
2x Sacred Ground
1x Stone Garden

States (4)
1x Attack Helicopter
2x Fusion Tank
1x Robot Arm

Why was Miguel the early threat?  He got General Gog out quick after a burn for power I could have stopped if I understood how Grove of Willows worked.  Proving Ground was helping pump out more dudes.  Monkey House was used a couple of times.

Fastest Gun in the West on Gog got stopped by Confucian Stability (from Into the Light) if I recall correctly.  Fusion Tank on Gog stuck, I believe.  Gog only got taken out by Earl a turn before Earl won.  Mobility is, after all, deserving of murder.

Interesting cards:  Righteous One (see below); Tunneler Drone; 2x Thunder on Thunder.  While edges may not be common, they may be really powerful.

Charles was new to Shadowfist.  He seemed to have a frustrating experience.  Shadowfist is a game of constant failure and ridiculously hard choices.  I’ve learned to not care about either of those.

Name:  Charles’s Deck
Faction:  Hand
Size:  60

Hand Cards (37)
Characters (27)
1x Accupressure Master(?)
1x Black Belt Rebels
1x Blue Mandarin
2x Buddhist Monk
1x Exiled Monk
5x Golden Candle Society(!!)
1x Green Monk
2x Instrument of the Hand
1x Iron Hands Ma
1x Jia Baoyu
2x Kung Fu Student
2x Righteous Fist
1x Shaolin Agent
1x Shaolin Monk
1x Shaolin Saboteur
1x Shaolin Warrior
1x Stoic Wanderer
1x Swordsman
1x The Silent Cowboy

Edges (2)
2x Hill of the Turtle

Events (5)
1x Confucian Stability
1x Into the Light
1x Iron and Silk
1x Mysterious Return
1x The Willow Bends…

Sites (3)
1x Green Senshi Chamber
1x Shaolin Sanctuary
1x Yellow Senshi Chamber

Generic Cards (23)
Events (3)
3x Healing Earth(!!)

Feng Shui Sites (18)
1x Ancestral Sanctuary
1x Arctic Fortress
1x Blessed Orchard
1x City Square
1x Coral Reef
1x Dragon Mountain
1x Family Home
2x Grove of Willows
1x Hallowed Earth
1x Jagged Cliffs
1x Maze of Stairs
1x Mirrored Lake
1x Monkey House
1x Sacred Ground
2x Stone Garden
1x Weeping Willows

States (2)
1x Armored in Life
1x Hands Without Shadow

The lack of hitters really hurt.  He drew ridiculous numbers of cards off of Jia Baoyu but ran out of offense for when we had contained Miguel.  Assuming he did actually have them in his deck, I’m glad he never played Hill of the Turtle.

I found an Accupressure Master in this deck, but I only saw Earl play one and didn’t find one in his card pool.

Interesting cards:  Corruption; The Alabaster King; Midnight; Under the Knife.  Had enough foundations already to play these but could have podded for more.

Let’s get to my deck since I didn’t play against the other two decks I have.

Name:  Ian’s Deck
Faction:  Dragon & Syndicate
Size:  45

Dragon Cards (17)
Characters (10)
1x Chinese Doctor
1x Everyday Hero
2x Friends of the Dragon
1x Gadgeteer
1x Gonzo Journalist
1x Hacker
1x Lenny Wu
1x Reedemed Gunman
1x Righteous One

Events (7)
2x Back for Seconds
2x Final Brawl
1x Golden Comeback
1x Last Outpost
1x Stunt Driving

Syndicate Cards (10)
Characters (7)
1x Nihilist
2x Street Sweepers
1x Tattooed Man
3x Triad Punks

Events (2)
1x Data Mining
1x Inconvenient Debt

Sites (1)
1x Cybermod Parlor

Architects Cards (1)
Characters (1)
1x DNA Mage

Jammers Cards (2)
Characters (2)
2x $10,000 Man

Generic Cards (15)
Characters (1)
1x The Dis-Timed

Events (1)
1x Orbital Laser Strike

Feng Shui Sites (9)
1x Blessed Orchard
1x Devil’s Mountain
1x Grove of Willows
2x Hallowed Earth
1x Inner Sanctum
1x Marsh
1x Mountain Retreat
1x Sacred Ground

Sites (2)
2x Secret Laboratory

States (2)
1x MegaTank
1x Really Big Gun

What was my overall first pick?  Righteous One.  It was the only thing in the pack that seemed good and playable.  I was fairly happy with my draft even though I didn’t know what my second faction besides Dragon was going to be until I built my deck.

Really, this is more dependent on tech than anything else.  I was thinking with Righteous One that I’d get Dragon hitters at some point.  Instead, saw $10,000 Man and started drafting tech stuff … and Purists and Architects and …

I was using BREAD as a guideline.  Though, P for Power should be in the Shadowfist version.  Any remotely plausible way to gain power I looked for just as any remotely plausible way to gain Pool in a V:TES draft is something I look for.

I should have focused more on bombs.  I passed a lot of hitters because I thought it would be hard to get enough resources to play them.  It wouldn’t have been.  My style, when I’m trying to build good decks, is to go for efficiency over magnitude of effect.  I think there’s pretty good efficiency here, maybe some unnecessary foundations, maybe some fun cards.  More hitters are warranted.

What did I Golden Comeback?  Righteous One, of course, to stop a bid for victory.  I never Back for Seconds.  I got out a Tattooed Man *and* he took two sites!!  That never happens with my Tattooed Man decks in constructed play.

I could have used Final Brawl early on to prevent Miguel from burning for power, but I wanted to get some help, just ended up killing my own Righteous One, anyway.

Interesting cards:  15 Purist Cards, including two hitters, enough foundations not to need a foundation pod, and I could have drafted a third hitter; Price of Progress … requires Chi and I wanted to not get complicated by Chi where I would be tempted to play Hands Without Shadow; I wasn’t so committed to Righteous One to play Sports Car or Motorcycle, but the former would have stopped annoying damage redirection; not a single card in my favorite faction to play – Lotus, yet Architects cards, Jammer cards, 3x Natural Order, etc.

Cy won the other game in much less time.

Name:  Cy’s Deck
Faction:  Architects
Size:  41

Architects Cards (26)
Characters (13)
2x Alpha Beast
1x Beta Beast
1x Bonechill
1x Gamma Beast
1x Melting Flesh Squad
1x PubOrd Sniper
1x Tank Commander
5x Test Subjects(!!)

Edges (3)
1x Reinvigoration Process
1x Reinvigoration Seed
1x Rise of the NeoBuro

Events (4)
1x Imprisoned
1x Nerve Gas
1x Overzealous Assassins
1x PubOrd Raid

States (6)
1x Frenzy Engine
2x Helix Chewer
1x Helix Rethread
1x Helix Scrambler
1x Nanovirus

Lotus Cards (2)
Characters (2)
2x Shadowy Horror

Generic Cards (13)
Edges (1)
1x The Rackets

Events (1)
1x IFF Missiles

Feng Shui Sites (9)
1x Big Red Barn
1x Blessed Orchard
1x Cave Network
1x Grove of Willows
1x Hallowed Earth
1x Inner Sanctum
1x Jagged Cliffs
1x Monkey House
1x Ominous Swamp

Sites (1)
1x Secret Headquarters

States (1)
1x Replacement Parts

Swarm for the win?

Interesting cards:  Underworld Coronation; Blasting Crew …; Andi Di.  I could totally see splashing some Jammers to try to make my little dudes bigger.

I also have Jeff’s card pool.

Name:  Jeff’s Deck
Faction:  Lotus & Monarchs
Size:  53

Lotus Cards (20)
Characters (13)
1x Abysmal Horror
1x Cannibal Army
1x Claw of Fury
1x Eunuch Underling
1x Flesh Eater
1x Gnarled Horror
2x Sinister Priest
1x Snake Man
1x Thorns of the Lotus
1x Thugs
1x Wailing Apparition
1x Xin Ji Yang

Events (1)
1x Inauspicious Reburial

Sites (2)
2x Infernal Temple

States (4)
1x Abysmal Behemoth
1x Deathtrap
1x Hell Charger
1x Two-Headed Horror

Monarchs Cards (16)
Characters (12)
1x Darkness Priestess
1x Dog Soldiers
1x Fire Acolytes
1x Fire Engineers
1x Fire Warriors
1x Flambards
1x Ice Carvers
1x Ice Healer
1x Ice Sorceress
1x Skin and Darkness Hunter
1x Thunder Champion
1x Thunder Knights

Edges (1)
1x Spirit Pole

Events (1)
1x Chain Lightning

Sites (2)
1x Sacred Wigwam
1x Thunder Pagoda

Generic Cards (17)
Characters (1)
1x The Dis-Timed

Events (6)
1x Curse of Discord
2x Killing Rain
1x Lateral Reincarnation
1x Memory Reprocessing
1x Shattering Fire

Feng Shui Sites (8)
1x Ancestral Sanctuary
1x Auspicious Termites
1x Hallowed Earth
1x Hot Springs
1x Monkey House
1x Proving Ground
1x Sacred Ground
1x Stone Garden

States (2)
1x Grenade Launcher
1x Speed Boat

Not bad.  Could just be generally tighter.  Jeff had never built a deck before.

Interesting cards:  not sure why Scroll of Incantation, Inexorable Corruption, Infernal Plague, and Stolen Thunder(!) weren’t played; I would have considered some of the ramp characters in Lotus or Monarchs; Harbinger(!).  Only Flambards to play the last.

Did we learn anything?

Experience helps.  With these sets, I probably could have gone mono-Monarchs.  I needed to consider bombs more.  I could have drafted cards with more resource conditions.  While winners are likely better players, getting the balance in decks right seems to be the biggest issue with how many packs we drafted (8) and having the pods to make decks playable.  Not enough hitters in Charles’s deck, probably not enough in mine, either, or I should have cut 5 cards.

I’m much more interested in building a V:TES cube than a Shadowfist cube at this time.  I think I understand limited V:TES better.  But, as I have these notable experiences, I will write about them and maybe related events will occur.

Of course, if I were going to do a Shadowfist cube, I would use Modern and could see 1x every card as a starting point …  Then, removing some of the Lotus cards to balance things.


Card Invaders In Cube D

June 26, 2016

This weekend got ridiculous.  I was on a business trip until Friday morning.  Flew back.  Went out Friday night and talked possible CCG, played A Game of Thrones CCG, played Star Realms, even talked about Card Invaders and how it brings up solitaire issues.

Wait, Card Invaders??

I was going to do this as a separate post, but I have too many other posts to get to.  Can skip past to get to V:TES stuff and the like.

Card Invaders (R, TM, P, Q, W, Ltd.)

I did a brief search on the name Card Invaders as I thought for sure that someone would have used it, well, I’m using it.  The original, no cards unshuffled game that I invented is:

Take a 52 card deck.  Deal out three stacks of 5 cards.  Deal yourself a hand of 5 cards.  Draw a card.  Begin.  Begin by flipping over the top card of any stack that does not have a face up card.  When you get through the three stacks each round, draw a card.  An existing face up card either has to be removed or it depopulates the Earth.  Aces and twos are tiny little scout ships while queens and kings are mighty battleships or carriers.  You remove a face up card by playing a card from hand that is the same value or one value higher/lower.  If you do not remove a face up card, it goes into a discard pile and you discard from the top of your draw pile that many cards (11 for jack, etc.) *and* you also turn up the next card in the stack (I put them sideways) so that you have to deal with it sooner rather than having a free round of turning a face down card face up.  When you have to “take damage” from your draw pile and can’t, you lose.  You don’t have to draw a card every round when the draw pile is exhausted (because that’s an even more bleak game).

This is the base game.  It is really hard to win.  I don’t like hard to win solitaire games.  The one I think is best is one that you are supposed to win about twice out of three plays.  So, of course, I made an easier version.

In the variant, any ace or deuce in your hand you can discard to draw the top card of the draw deck.  You basically sacrifice small “anti-ship guns” because you don’t really care if scouts decimate some of the world’s population to get massive cannons to blow up the tens, jacks, queens, and kings of the enemy.  This is my most commonly played variant.  It’s unlikely to win.

While the game has decisions, which I think is essential to any meaningful solitaire game, it’s still rather random.  An unblownup king will pretty much wipe the Earth’s population, for instance.  So, why do I play it?

I invented this years ago when I was trying to figure out how to play solitaire games that took up very little space but still had decisions.  It’s also fast.  The lesson with games is that your game can be less good if it plays faster.  If Magic took, on average, 15 more minutes to play, it would likely be nowhere near as popular in comparison to other CCGs.

I started coming up with other variants, like that you could play multiple cards from your hand to add up to the exact value of a larger card.  This makes aces and other low cards more interesting and provides a decision point if you use the discard rule for aces and deuces as well.  It doesn’t seem to help much.

The “I really like winning solitaire” variant is that you get to once per game ignore a ship raining death upon your people.  I call this the superscience version of Card Invaders.  You cobble together an experimental superweapon or supershield to just stop a ship’s attack run.  This vastly increases the chances of winning.  I’m often one card away from winning in the normal version of the game.

V:TES & Friends

Saturday, had 7AM online HoR-Nightmare War mod.  Saturday afternoon, had BBQ game day.  Could have gone to a second BBQ game day that night.  Sunday, V:TES, mostly cube draft.

Let’s start with the last.

We used the same cube we had before.  We had more notes to make on adjusting it.  It uses one copy of each Jyhad vampire and a variety of library cards, probably too many with not enough things like skill cards.

But, I’ll come back to building a cube, which I’m now much more interested in both because V:TES really needs such things as Sabbat cubes to see certain cards actually played, while Saturday involved a Shadowfist draft where a cube would have made more sense (though doing my first Shadowfist draft is a thing to get into in another post).

We had six players.  That didn’t make drafting a problem – two packs of 9 vampires, five packs of 11 library cards; 30 card libraries with one recursion, five minimum crypts.  It did mean playing two six-player games.  Six player games were okay.  I had a path to 6 VPs in the first game, settling for 5 when … okay, this requires some explanation.

I had 1 VP.  Andy calls a Con Ag to do 3 to me, as his predator.  I play Poison Pill.  He has 2 pool.  I can’t get the vote to fail.  Why would I want the vote to fail when it gives me 2 VPs and net 3 more pool?  I had Political Backlash!!

I cleaned up after that.  As we give the cards back to Brandon, I don’t remember precise contents, but here are some contents:

1x Legendary Vampire (first overall pick)
1x Sudden Reversal (same pack! came back to me!?!)
1x Society of Leopold
1x Sermon of Caine
1x The Barrens (first pick from pack)
1x Haven Uncovered
1x Dominate Kine
1x Deflection (first pick in pack over Wake with Evening’s Freshness)
1x Pulling Strings
1x Telepathic Counter
1x Forced Vigilance
1x Claws of the Dead
1x Faceless Night
1x Forgotten Labyrinth (with draft text)
1x Veil the Legions
1x Into Thin Air
1x Changeling (for Animalism bleed)
1x Camera Phone (first pick from pack)
1x Raven Spy
1x Dodge
1x Backstep
1x Fake Out
1x Neonate Breach
1x Instinctive Reaction
1x Sense the Savage Way
1x Political Backlash
1x Poison Pill
1x Arson

Two more cards.  I know I didn’t have my two Lucky Blows or Harass in, originally.  I did change things up for the second game to be far more combat oriented as I thought that would be interesting.

My first game crypt was:

1x Sebastian Marley
1x Sylvester Simms
1x Roland Bishop
1x Dancin’ Dana
1x Anastasia Grey
1x Normal

I did not play Gilbert Duane in either game, my first overall crypt pick.  I did not play Masika + Aching Beauty, though I thought about it.  Animalism was just too important, so Sebastian and Sylvester were possum.  Dana didn’t come out game one, every one else did, with Roland coming from a decrypt.

In the second game, I went combat, so I went with Wynn, Badger, Sebastian, Sylvester, and Roland.  I started on Wynn but gave up on him as I got a much worse start.

In the first game, Marley was Legendary for two turns of bleeds of three before Lucian said “um, stop that”.  So, Marley went Raven Spy with Anastasia Camera Phoned.  Limited may not be about bounce, but bounce made both my games much easier.  Only wake was Sense the Savage Way, which was a later pick after I saw nobody taking Animalism, which isn’t shocking as Animalism’s awesome often gets obfuscated by all of the stealth bleed that one can do with later sets and draft text.

I had a good number of Potence cards to change into for game two:  Decapitate (no POT, though), Pushing the Limit, Thrown Sewer Lid, Sacrament of Carnage.  These were either hate drafts or stuff I was stuck with.  My plan to go Thaumaturgy didn’t go anywhere.  I didn’t even bother with Rutor’s Hand due to Astrid just not being as awesome as Sylvester.

I felt like I struggled hard with building a deck this time around and what crypt to actually play – weenieish, Sebastian + Sylvester + weenies, olderish.  That’s not a bad thing.  I felt like the first time we did this decks were too good and the play environment was not sufficiently limited to feel like usual drafting.  This time, it felt far more like other drafts and I was more into my deck, even without double King’s Rising, Leverage (had to pass it this time), or a WwEF (had to pass it because Deflection).

Comments I can recall about this cube:  too many Protean cards, especially aggropoke; two few skill cards; too many unplayable cards (Legion, Cull the Herd, etc.); too much combat in general; discipline balance out of whack (this draft, two of us never saw an Auspex intercept card, I saw like one Dominate bleed card besides Dominate Kine and two Presence bleed cards); not enough presses (Thaumaturgy blows without lots of presses to continue).

So, it’s up to me to build a Sabbat cube or maybe more than one.  I think Third Edition makes the most sense to start out with as I don’t play most of my Third cards even though I’ve probably opened up more boxes of the set than anyone but a hand full of players.  Third has multiple wakes.  Pool gain cards.  Variety.  Possibly too many disciplines, but oh well – I’d like to see Obtenebration and Vicissitude get some action.

Speaking of specific disciplines, here was my thought for a Cammie Cube:  1x Protean/Thaumaturgy to 2x others in ratio (yes, 2x even for Auspex, Dominate, Presence); 2x skill cards for common disciplines, 3x skill cards for Protean/Thaumaturgy.  I’ll use that as a principle for my Sabbie Cube.

Some day, I’ll get around to the contents of my first cube.  In the meantime, plenty of other stuff to talk about … like how to do a Shadowfist cube.