So rather than lazing around on a Sunday, Nicholai, Koko, Alex, Mark, and I went to Centris to play some FoW. The meeting was unofficial though, but we were supposed to play the day before and only Alex and I managed to make it. Still, a 5-player gauntlet is good in my book especially for a new game.
Or maybe four. Mark was drawn to the allure of the Five Rings, being a player of that game with a tournament going on. I on the other hand, did a facepalm when I found out that there was an Magic tournament that morning – had I known it, I shouldn’t have wasted my time getting a haircut and playing Maximum Tune 5 at Glorietta. 😦
That aside, everyone brought along at least one deck to test with. The problem with an unknown local meta (and a small player pool such as ours) was that there isn’t a clear gauntlet to test against. So the seemingly better option is to play something proactive and hope that we packed the right cards in our sideboard.
Still, there were things to be gained from a playtest session with multiple players. For one, we get to point out each other’s errors. Also, the variety of decks makes it more interesting and fun. Finally, we get to discuss everything like game rules, what happened to the match, and community events, which gives more life to the game.
I mean, we’ve chosen it to be part of our lifestyle, even if just for a few hours right? Gotta make it worthwhile. 🙂
So Alex brought his ever-changing, ever-persistent Kaguya control.
Nicholai got his Al-Hazred Necronomicon, and what he claimed as his “I don’t need a ruler” deck.
Koko brought his 8-moon Werewolf/rabbit deck.
Finally, I brought Grimm, and my basic Crimson Girl aggro.
Nicholai and I were the first to play, which is Alhazred against Crimson Girl – a classic control vs aggro matchup. I lost all the games we’ve played despite some pretty fast starts. Part of it was because being mono-Wind, I don’t have access to any form of reach. Nicholai would either chump-block (meaning you block with one of your Resonators for no other purpose than to have it die and prevent the damage) my huge Resonators with expendable card soldiers or kill them with removal and prolong the game enough for Necronomicon to take control. He then does an alpha strike with Card Soldiers and Pumpkin Witch once he has enough resources.
This taught me how important Pierce and Flying are in this format. It’s frustrating when my huge 2000/2000 Tin Man gets delayed by Card Soldiers 1/10th its size, and kept wishing I had either ability. Pierce is harder to come by, but Flying could easily be gotten by splashing Darkness for Pumpkin Witch, or Light for Rapunzel.
Or I could have just put in Glinda, the Fairy.
Nicholai’s other deck doesn’t need a Ruler. Or rather, he’s not sure which Ruler to use with it, but it’s a Humpty-Dumpty into Yamata-no-Orochi, then Poison Apple for the win, while using Cheshire Cat to set it all up. It’s risky to pull off against decks with removal, but against mono-Wind, I couldn’t really do anything to stop it. We only got to play a game though, but it was really cool to see the combo in action, despite being on the receiving end of it.
The Kaguya vs Alhazred was a long, grindy match since both decks are control. Alhazred seems to come up on top though because he has card soldiers to pressure Kaguya with, while at the same time having a late-game engine in Necronomicon. Alex’s Kaguya was slightly tweaked yet again this time, and had a lot of dead cards for their matchup in game one. They didn’t play sideboard though (which I think is an important part of playtesting). Maybe they grew tired of playing 30-minute matches.
Koko arrived later than evening with his newly-built deck with Wererabbits and Werewolves inside. It seemed good on paper – with 8 moons, you can have lots of Little Red Riding Hood activations, but in practice it gets awkward draws wherein he gets a Red Moon with Rabbits, and vice versa. We’ve played four games, with I winning three of them using Grimm, but the one loss I had showed the power of the Wererabbit side of his deck.
Wererabbits have two distinct advantage over the Werewolves. First is that they have Flying, which as I have mentioned before, is a very good thing to have in Grimm Cluster format. Archer of the Crescent Moon in particular, is very damaging even with just two other Wererabbits around. Their second advantage is that playing Wererabbits leads to a tempo-oriented gameplay. Water has some great cards to set back their opponents while developing their board with cards like Rabbit Kick and Swordsman of the Full Moon. This is particularly powerful against mid-range decks that can only put in one big threat per turn.
In the end, we figured that the deck might be better off with the wolves and rabbits are better separated. Werewolves can focus more on aggression, Blood Moon, and reach, while Wererabbits can make a deck that can add some sort of protection to their tempo-oriented game plan.
So overall, these were the logs for our Sunday session:
Mikko [Crimson Girl Aggro] vs Nicholai [Alhazred Necronomicon] 0-3
Mikko [Crimson Girl Aggro] vs Nicholai [Humpty-no-Orochi] 0-1
Nicholai [Alhazred Necronomicon] vs Alex [Kaguya Control] 3-0 (I think?)
Mikko [Grimm Toolbox] vs Koko [Lycantropes] 3-1
In terms of performance, the clear winner for the night seemed to be Alhazred. I wish we could have more playtesting time though, and it’s not a distant possibility, given that the Melbourne Open trials is just a couple of weeks away.