Challenge of the Fortnight 01/07/09 - 01/21/09
It's a whole new ball game for the Challenge of the Fortnight since the Wrath of the Four Gods expansion is now available to all. We'll be kicking things off pretty hot this winter as the color wheel spins towards the sphere some may know and love (and others may fear and despise). As Bander the Fire Storm says, "Who said fire can't be cool?" Hmm... Winter is hot. Fire is cool. That must mean that Santa left a fiery trail behind his sleigh, and we're opening up a can of Gowen whoopass a fortnight after Christmas. Please welcome to the new year your best friend for the next two weeks...
Monk of the Single Strike
Wait. What? That lame card? Yup. You're reading that right. And shame on you for even thinking that. All you regular CotF readers ought to know better than that by now. Yes, Monk of the Single Strike, and yes, he's just that awesome. For one thing, I can't think of another card that represents Gowen as perfectly as the MotSS. After all, much like the sphere itself, he burns hot and fast, and naturally his long game is a bit lukewarm. Or is it?
First of all, let's delve into an area that isn't often talked about in these CotF announcements, unit level. Logress, Arakis, and myself were pow-wowing a few weeks ago about the dreaded Big Blue File that was ripping the pre-WotFG meta a new hole every day. For those who don't know, this File's namesake comes from the level 9 Water Emperor / Legrye (pronounced like the two separate words "leg" and "rye" in case anyone was wondering), which will return any card on the field level 2 and below. You can imagine that Gowen Rush Files have a hard time against that guy. So I suggested a crack A-Team of level 3 Gowen cards that were faster than Legrye and had the potential to take him down in one round. The Monk of the Single Strike was among them, and since he's an old guy, I guess he'd be the Hannibal of the group. Or maybe BA Baracus is who he's more like considering he did the lion's share of the damage. How? Read on.
Down to the nitty-gritty. His AT, HP, and Range are pretty much par for the course for a level 3 Gowen Unit at 30, 40, and 1 respectively. Where the monk really shines is his agility of 4, which is something that only 6 other level 3 Gowen Units currently share (and only 2 of them are really front line fighters). This Unit will definitely be one of the first to act on the field, and if you have 1 SP and there's a Unit with 60 HP in your opponent's front row, then consider that Unit trounced with a single strike of your martial artist's mighty leg.
Hm? What's that you say? His AT will be reduced to 0 after he does that? The Charge Action Skill is a much better way to double your attack? Well, to those who are saying or thinking that, let me point out the following things. First, Charge does have the exact same effect as Ultimate Strike, but it also costs 2 SP to use. Secondly, it also damages your unit for 50% of its Max HP. It's true that you can offset some or all of that damage with a little defense, but that's still SP that you're investing into a unit that might die. Lastly, Charge can also potentially kill off your character, leaving you with one less blocker on the field. That's the beauty of the MotSS. You go first, and if you can see that your monk will most likely die this turn, then go ahead and use his Action Skill. An AT of 0 means nothing when you're dead. If you foresee that your monk will survive, then attack as normal. If there's a unit that you have to stop no matter what, then go ahead and use Ultimate Strike and be content that he still acts as a blocker. You have the flexibility of choosing to do any of these things, and going first will help you predict the flow of battle.
As to the whole AT=0 thing. Yeah, that's a problem. Can it be solved? Sure. There are ways to give AT to the monk pretty easily, though it's tough to get an AT buff that will bring it back up to its original 30. Most ways can get you up to 20 easily enough, but that 30 AT barrier is tough to break. Magic Weapon, Kurina, a Rougeerst Soul Skill... Heck, even the previous challenge card, Holy Mother of Blood / Velvet is an option to revitalizing your monk's strength. And ironically, if you have other units on the field, then the Charge Grimoire is definitely also a possibility. But there are other ways to do it, and many of them are ripe for the picking. Having an AT of 0 can also be an advantage, hard though it may be to believe. I'll leave it to some of the more enterprising Iczers to figure that out.
Well, there you have it. The next two weeks will be all about a mustached, middle-aged martial artist with a golden right foot. Kind of makes you wonder why he's using his left in the card art though, doesn't it? It just goes to show exactly what I'm talking about. He's just that good. And it's now the time for all you Iczers to find out exactly how good he is for yourselves.