Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Gatecrash Pre-release Results and Rundown

Walking into the store for my first pre-release was certainly quite the exciting experience, and the day did not disappoint.

Cracking open all the boosters and searching for some solid Simic cards, I must say I did come up a touch short. I probably could've made a pretty solid Boros deck out of what I pulled, but this wasn't for competition and I came to play Simic, so that's what I did.

My main issue was that my deck was too slow for Evolve to really trigger effectively, and Extort and Battalion just dominated me. I ended up going 1-3, with my one win being against a Gruul deck.

Aside from the one game against the Orzhov player, who has to be one of the most boring guys I've ever had to sit across from, the rest was good fun, losses and all.

All that out of the way, let's get into some of the nicer cards I got on the day!

That flavour text is a little dirty...

 A fair few people don't seem to like this card, but it really is a ticking bomb on the right creature, in the right deck (which just happens to be mine). Throw it on an Experiment One for the easy access to regen or, better yet, on a Master Biomancer so that all your creatures enter exponentially larger each turn. It has some nice spots, I think. Enough to run two in the least.

Corpsejack + Increasing Savagery = insane ramp

 My only issue with this card is its speed. It doesn't give you early mana like Farseek or help you out as much as Arbor Elf in the early game, but from what I managed with it it's extremely capable of turning your mid-game into the late-game in terms of your mana. It puts you ahead very, very fast. The best thing is that casting Increasing Savagery on this means that you can tap it for even more mana than you actually spent on it, getting instant ramp turn 4 that lasts well throughout the game. Not to mention a very beefy body.

"Hover Barrier? Thanks, I wouldn't mind the extra defender."

Only rated something like 2.9 on Gatherer, and I can kind of see why some don't like it, but in my experience this is an amazing card against certain decks. It's definitely not maindeck worthy because it can't handle everything and can be a straight-up waste against creatureless decks, but it certainly has a place in the sideboard in my opinion.

Nothing more enjoyable than drawing half your deck!

Unfortunately I didn't crack Zegana in my own packs, but my friend was kind enough to trade it to me for some cards, so she now sits in my proper deck. Last game I used her I had a Corpsejack on the field as well as a 14/14. She dropped with 28 counters on her and I proceeded to draw half my deck. I won the game, in case you were wondering.

A BGU aggro deck is currently in the works, still being tweeked, but I'll post it up as well as some results when I feel it's closer to finished.

Thoughts? Comments?

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Warhammer: The Definition of Overpowered

Every time an arguement begins on the Internet about whether or not a unit or army is overpowered, there's always those few people who say that there's no such thing as OP, that victory in Warhammer comes 100% down to skill and the luck of the dice, and as such nothing is OP because there's always a chance you'll just roll a bunch of 1's.

Unfortunately, those few people are wrong. There's no logic to that argument and denying that some units and armies are far more powerful than others is plain dumb.

In an attempt to put an end to these retarded arguments, I'm going to do my best at describing what makes something overpowered, or more powerful than something else.

Remember 5th edition when Necrons were balanced? Oh well...

Simply put, something that's overpowered is something that is too effective, efficient, can perfom too many roles too well or has too few weaknesses for its point cost.

But let's look at the specific arguments often put forth against the notion that anything could ever be OP.

"It all comes down to the skill of the player"
To be fair, this has some credibility to it, as more often than not the more skilled/experienced player will win, but that's not what I want to get at.

My issue with this point is that some units do not require skill of any kind to use, because they're good at everything. But it's not just that they're good at everything, it's that they're too good at everything. For example, standard Space Marines are pretty good at doing whatever you need them to do, but they're not the best at anything and, to be quite jeff, they're pretty bad in combat.

Instead, think of standard Grey Knights, especially back in 5th edition. They're like Space Marines, but for a small points increase they become monsters in combat (and can annihilate monsters in combat at that) and they even benefit from superior firepower. They're too good at everything, and in comparison to Space Marines they require less skill to win with, and nothing should require less skill than Space Marines.

"It's all about the luck of the dice on the day - Warhammer is all about luck"
I hate this. It's the stupidest argument of all time. This is what people say when they go into "goddidit" mode. When they want to hold onto their belief that their army isn't at all overpowered and that they're really a good player, they deny everything and just tell you that "thedicedidit".

Unfortunately for you, my terrible gaming friend, it wasn't entirely the fault of the dice that made your unit beat face. See, while everyone has to roll dice and hope they don't roll any 1's, some units have a better chance than others at doing what they want to do, and in some cases this chance is just too good for the cost of the unit.

You want an example? Just look to the Hell Pit Abomination. That thing is 100% random, so unlike just about everything else in Warhammer, it is literally decided by how your dice roll. However, with 3D6" movement and his stats, as well as his special attack types and Impact Hits, the Hell Pit is insane. It's literally a "no skill involved, just throw dice at it and win" unit.

You want another example? Alright, let's get a little more abstract, 40k style this time. Unit X and unit Y. Both cost 10 points a model. Neither of them have any guns, because they're both purely designed for combat. The difference is unit X is WS5 while Y is WS4. There are no other differences. Are you willing to sit there and tell me that unit X is not overpowered? I mean, there's always the chance that X rolls all 1's and 2's while Y just 6's everything. Yep, definitely a possibility. But the fact is that X is far more likely to Hit than Y, and that's what actually matters.

It's about the chances of the units to do something, and some units have odds that are just far too good for something of that cost, whether it's because of a huge number of shots/attacks or because of a stat that's just a little too high, some units are too powerful because their chances are just far too good.

"It's about both - skill and luck"
Let's look to Skaven for an example, more specifically, Skavenslaves. Alright, so they're WS2, BS2, S3, T3 and have no armour. How on earth could they be OP? Well, we've got to factor in a couple of other things first. First of all, a general is mandatory in just about every army, and considering how important magic is and how incredible the Dreaded 13th is, just about every Skaven player will be running a Grey Seer. Second of all, BSB's are generally considered a must-have, especially in an army as cowardly as Skaven. So, Slaves not taken into account, these two things would be taken almost all the time anyway.

Now what that's got to do with Slaves is this: Take 50 Slaves in a unit, 5 wide and 10 deep, and keep them in range of your BSB and General and they're a leadership 10 with rerolls tar pit at 2 points per model unit, as well as being Steadfast in just about every situation for a very long time. Then, add onto that the fact that I can sit back and fire my Warp Lightning Cannons into that combat for as long as I want while my opponent can't do anything outside the combat to help his guys win, and then add onto that the fact that other units don't panic when Slaves explode, and you've got a very, very good unit for only 2 points per guy.

Too good.

This unit requires no skill to use. You simply get it to tar pit whoever you want and keep your general and BSB in range of them. It's so simple that I can do it. It also has a very, very small chance of running away, so it's a 2 point-per-model tar pit with no weaknesses in its role. In fact, it's better than a whole lot of other units designed for the task that cost way more points than it does. That's OP.

So I don't know if I demonstrated my point very well or not, because I had a good amount of trouble trying to set this out nicely for you all, but hopefully you catch my drift.

The main thing is, some things are more powerful than others. Some things are too powerful. It's just a fact. Deal with it.

Thoughts? Comments?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Holy Blastmasters Lucius! New CSM FAQ

For those of you that haven't seen it, here's the recently updated Chaos Space Marines FAQ.

Now what's the main thing I got from this?

Page 99 – Noise Marines, Options.
Change the third bullet point to “One Noise Marine may
replace his boltgun with a blastmaster at 30 pts/model. If the
squad numbers ten or more models, an additional Noise
Marine may replace his boltgun with a blastmaster at 30

I most certainly do

Oh dear lord yes! So now for every Noise Marine squad I can fire two S8 AP3 Ignores Cover blasts? I'm so very pleased.

Looks like I'll have to rewrite my CSM list though.

And there's also this:

Page 99 – Noise Marines, Wargear.
Add “Close combat weapon (Champion Only)”

Which is pretty cool, but I don't care too much about that one.

They also fixed the Zombies unit size, which is nice.

The rest is pretty obvious really. Nothing you shouldn't be able to figure out without a little common sense.

Thoughts? Comments?

MTG: 15/13 With Trample Turn 4? I think so!

After some thinking, I realised that I can get a Deadbridge Goliath to 15/13 with Trample by turn 4, and I thought that was just a little insane.

In fact, I think it's more than a little insane, because if one had no removal in hand at the time I'd probably just be scooping. In any case, it's all good fun and would make for a good, maniacal laugh when pulled off.

Giant Insect Rhino Fungus

 First turn, we play a Forest and then slap down an Arbor Elf.

Turn 2 throw down our second land, then tap both for a Farseek.

Turn 3 we play another land and then place our Giant Insect Rhino Fungus, then we tap Arbor Elf to untap a Forest, then retap afforementioned Forest and throw Rancor onto the Deadbridge.

Finally, at turn 4 we play another land, making for 5 in total, then play a Corpsejack Menace, use the 5th land for a Bond Beetle and putting the counters onto the Goliath, then we swing with the Goliath, pray they attempt to lower the damage coming from the currently 9/7 Trampler running at them and, if they do, we slap a Hunger of the Howlpack right onto our already-massive creature after untapping a Forest with our Arbor Elf for a total of 6 +1/+1 counters placed on him.

So there you go, a 15/13 creature with trample on turn 4.

Viable? Well, I don't really know, but against anything not black or blue, I'd say so. Definitely kitchen table friendly in the least.

Fun? Oh god yes!

As long as your opponent doesn't have any cheap removal you'll be set and it's pretty much game over right there. If they do, well, at least your Rancor comes straight back to your hand, your Corpsejack is down and you've got a bunch more mana than you should, plus a couple of chump blockers until you can more buffs and bodies down.

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, 14 January 2013

Heldrake: Baleflamer or Hades Autocannon?

Well, as promised, I think it's time to help out those of you stuck on what to take on your Heldrakes, and why!

I didn't know Baleflamers could hurt Flyers!

Take the Baleflamer.

Alright, let's get into it.

The Hades Autocannon is undeniably a decent gun with 4 shots at S8, and having it on a Heldrake means you can fire it at enemy Flyers. 12 being the usual maximum AV for Flyers, S8 is pretty darn decent. So why not take the Hades Autocannon? Well, honestly, it's just so damn mediocre on a Heldrake. At BS3, you'll hit 2 shots and against AV12 you'll get one glance/pen. Sure, combined with his Vector Strike you have a reasonable chance at taking down an enemy Flyer, but at 170 points you'd be wanting something better than a reasonable chance.

And the same applies to standard vehicles. You have an OK chance to take out a vehicle over a turn or two.

Then when it comes to firing at enemy infantry, you lack both the volume of fire to hurt hordes and the AP to hurt Marines.

So really taking the Hades Autocannon makes your Heldrake pretty mediocre at just about everything.

The Baleflamer on the other hand is just ridiculous. A S6 AP3 Template that you can place 12" away from the model firing it? Yes please!

Unlike the Hades Autocannon, the Baleflamer has both the capability to hit huge numbers of dudes as well as the AP to deal with Marines and any other 3+ save guys. On top of that, it's wounding them all on 2+. Then take into account that it also ignores cover saves and it's just an incredible weapon.

Need an objective cleared last turn? No problem, just go into Skimmer mode, get as close as you need and Baleflamer those dudes away for the win. Opponent running a horde of Power Armour? Baleflamer fixes that. Are they running a horde of anything at all? Same thing goes. It's also great at clearing heavy weapon teams. Really, it's great at removing any infantry T5 or less that doesn't have a 2+ save, and that's most things you'll be facing.

Then, if you really do need to remove that last Hull Point, you can always Vector Strike, just as a last resort thing.

If you're running 3 Heldrakes, I might consider giving one of them a Hades Autocannon then, but for 1-2 they should all have a Baleflamer.

If you want to remove enemy Flyers, get some Havocs or maybe even give a Forgefiend a spin. There are plenty of better options for it than the Heldrake.

The More "Interesting" Ways People Have Found My Blog

There have been a couple of rather... ah... "interesting" ways some people have managed to stumble upon my blog. A couple have me a little confused, but the latest is just on a whole new level.

As anyone with a blog of their own will know, you can check out your traffic sources, or what keywords people searched in google to gain access to your site. I guess some use this information to get further views somehow, but personally I just find it interesting. It's nice to see that I've answered a specific question someone has typed into google, but most of the time it's just with things like "daemon prince".

Rambling aside, here's the latest googling craze:
Click to enlarge. Not that all of you will need it ;)

What perplexes me most is how it happened 4 times. Like, what the fuck? Is my blog the first thing that pops up when you type these words into google? I'm too scared to find out for myself.

On the topic of my pageviews though, honourable mentions to miniwargaming and House of Paincakes to being my top traffic sources.

And speaking of google search keywords, I might just have to do something on the Baleflamer vs Hades Autocannon...

Anyway, theories? Thoughts? Comments?

Friday, 11 January 2013

G/B Golgari BIG Monsters Decklist For Standard

As promised in my last post, I'm posting up my first decklist after much deliberation and changes made. The entire idea behind the deck is pretty simple: create the biggest creature possible and punch my opponent's face in. There are a variety of ways I can achieve this though, so it's not like if one card doesn't pop up the whole deck is screwed. More on that after the actual deck, though...

4x Swamp
8x Forest
4x Overgrown Tomb
4x Woodland Cemetery
4x Rogue's Passage
(24 total)

2x Slitherhead
2x Bond Beetle
2x Strangleroot Geist
2x Predator Ooze
4x Corpsejack Menace
4x Deadbridge Goliath
2x Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
3x Soul of the Harvest
(21 total)

2x Vraska the Unseen
(2 total)

3x Rancor
3x Farseek
3x Essence Harvest
4x Increasing Savagery
(13 total)

60 total

So how does it win? Well, as I said, there are a good number of ways this deck can pull off a win.

Ideally, a Corpsejack Menace will be down, and an Increasing Savagery thrown onto something like the Deadbridge Goliath or Soul of the Harvest.

From there, we can cast Essence Harvest and depending on whether or not Increasing Savagery was cast with its Flashback we could very well insta-gib our opponent.

Or we could sacrifice the creature with Jarad's second ability.

Or we could make the creature unblockable with Rogue's Passage.

Or we could simply Trample straight over whatever creature's the opponent has with Rancor/Soul of the Harvest.

Without making anything big, we could also make one of Vraska's tokens unblockable and win the game simply because they can't stop our 1/1 assassin.

And there are plenty of other combinations that ultimately lead the deck to victory.

But as some may have noticed, the deck has no Golgari Decoys or Wild Beastmasters, which I previously considered fairly essential additions to my deck. So what happened? Glad you asked. See, the Golgari Decoy was a fantastic card at first when my deck was mostly the Intro Pack, but as I added more new cards the less useful it became thanks to the abundance of Trample and Unblockable and Jarad and Essence Harvest.

As for the Wild Beastmaster, while she's a solid card I don't feel like she fits into this deck specifically because it focuses more on making one or two massive creatures and I don't often have the number of creatures down to really benefit from her. I feel that a in a token spam deck she's almost mandatory, just not here.

I'm aware that the deck isn't exactly the most powerful deck in the world, but it's a hell of a lot of fun, and it's my first deck too. In the least, I'm proud of it and have fun making the biggest creatures I can. It's also good fun throwing down a Deadbridge Goliath turn 3 after a turn 2 Farseek, but I guess that's beside the point...

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Monday, 7 January 2013

First FNM: Stomped By a Kid

Last Friday I headed up to my local store to play in my first ever Friday night Magic. It was also the first time I've versed anyone that's not my two MTG playing friends, and the first time I've versed anyone with a decent deck that's not pretty much the Intro Pack + a couple of cards.

It's nice to get some games in against more experienced players and to see what kinds of decks people run in my area.

My deck isn't complete yet, so I wasn't running an ideal set of cards, but I still did reasonably well I think.

My only real issue was actually against a child of about 7 years old. His dad was playing someone else, and as soon as I sat down he said "My mum has the same card sleeves as you" and I was all like "Oh great, a family of MTG players. This'll be fun..."

But it turned out it wasn't. He was playing a Blue/White control deck that his dad had won some tournament with, and the kid obviously had far more experience at the game than I did. I learned a very important lesson that game: playing against control is not fun.

Other than that I played against RB Rakdos aggro and GW token spam. I only just lost to the aggro 1-2, but they were fun games and really could've gone either way. The GW token spam went my way the entire time and I won 2-0. In the first game I had a Corpsejack Menace that I had cast Increasing Savagery and Rancor on which managed to destroy every single token creature in a single attack and still do 3 damage to my opponent.

A fun night all in all and I've had the chance to check out which cards work and which don't in my deck, as well as what I have trouble with so I'll be able to fine-tune my deck a bit. Hopefully I'll be able to post a complete decklist pretty soon, I just need to finish fiddling around with it.

Thoughts? Comments?