Challenge of the Fortnight 4 Results

Strategies and Card File Construction

Challenge of the Fortnight 4 Results

Postby Logress » Wed Dec 17, 2008 1:25 pm

Judgment is finished, and the verdict is in. Whose File reigns supreme? Before we state who the winner is though, we'd like to give a shout out to all the participants in the challenge. This was the toughest of all challenges yet, and you should feel proud to have attempted it. Many Files did as suggested when the Challenge of the Fortnight was first announced, splashing an insignificant amount of SP into Refess for great gains. Many even took a cue from the initial generality that one of the new EX cards might work well with Armed Citizens, and their eyes zeroed in on Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel. His Soul Skill was particularly useful, and the speedy Armed Citizens could take advantage of the +50 AT, in addition to surviving the round because of the +50 DF. Alas, some of those Iczers may have seen the forest but missed a very cool tree. More on that later. The winner of this fortnight's challenge is:

Iczer: Aylwong
Deck Name: ShiningShard

Soul Cards
1) Owl Sage
2) Lion Baron / Zagar
3) Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
4) Lightning Girl / Rubia
5) Inquisition Raid Leader

Unit Cards
1 Blessed Acolyte
2 Time Reader / Lavende
2 Cassowary King
3 Priest of the Holy Word
3 Folrart Spiked Shield Knight
3 Armed Citizens
2 Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
3 Sylph Sorceress
3 Sylph
3 Azure Dragon - East / Vordore

Grimoire Cards (Optional)
1 Cure

Most people would probably pass this off as a relatively weak File. After all, it is split between Alteil's two defensive spheres with a breakdown of three in Refess and four in Falkow. Each Unit individually strikes for no more than 25 AT on average, just 5 shy of what's needed to handle most Units. However, where the File does shine is in the obvious pairing of Vordore and Armed Citizens. The Armed Citizens will guarantee a first strike against virtually any front-row Unit, and with an agility boost courtesy of the many Sylphs in the File, accomplishing the combination is conceivable. But that's a story for the endgame. What about the opening? Obviously, the Blessed Acolyte will be a throwaway unit that leads to the solid lineup of a Folrart Spiked Shield Knight backed by a Priest of the Holy Word, in addition to activating the first soul card for a small SP boost. A Cassowary King is in the mix to help keep the fragile support units safe. All the while, the Armed Citizens and Sylphs will play a vital role in granting field control, as the extra agility and AT, small amount or otherwise, are what will mean the difference between victory and defeat. With 10 LP as well, any Iczer need not fear of having one or two sacrificial Units on the field.

There are two ways in which this File excels. The first is most obviously its AT manipulation. Between Soul skills that grant attack bonuses, Armed Citizen's Open Skill, and Priest of the Holy Word's Start Skill and Action Skill, this File should be able to tailor its AT to whatever suits the situation at hand. Moreover, it displays one of the primary rules of Refess, and indeed all of Alteil: AT efficiency. What does this mean? Basically to use only enough AT as is necessary to get the job done. Having 120 AT doesn't really mean a whole lot if your opponent's units have only 30 HP. Rather than expending resources to get that massive AT, it's smarter to conserve and use only as much as necessary. Granted, with how simple it is to gain AT, it's very easy to get to ridiculous heights. But in doing so, the focus goes to only one area of the total game, and a match in Alteil is much more complicated than that.

The second way this file excels is in the fact that it has many options open to it. Getting low on Units? Toss out Time Reader / Lavende and use her Action Skill to get some back. Out of Sylphs for Vordore's Action Skill? Toss out a Sylph Sorceress. Need big damage? You have the option of using the Spiked Shield Knight's Action Skill when Cudgel's Soul Skill kicks in. Not to mention using the Priest of the Holy Word to "renew" the FSSK's DF in the first place. In essence, the bonuses happening can go to any unit and also help significantly. This is another basic tenet of Alteil, one which was discussed a few months ago during our Ignition challenge. Buffing Grimoires are great since they happen immediately and can surprise your opponent, but once the buffed Unit dies, that investment is gone. However, using bonuses from Soul, Start, and Action Skills, while somewhat dependent on the survival of the support Unit, represents a sounder investment as the bonuses can still exist elsewhere even after the target Unit is closed.

As to the earlier reference about seeing the forest before the trees? Yes, Cudgel has a great Soul Skill for Armed Citizens, but what about using Cudgel as a field Unit as our winner did? Some of our veteran Iczers can easily imagine a scenario where their FSSK will be dispatched by a speedier Falkow equivalent, leaving only the young Cudgel on the field. If that were the case, a surprise tactic might be to use an Armed Citizens on Cudgel. Your opponent may not think twice about a piddly 5 to 10 AT being added to Cudgel, but his tiny amount of AT can be multiplied to enough where it can destroy that blue dragon in the second row with a single shot that cannot miss. Just a wild musing, and hopefully those whose Files are like the one described above won't read this article!

Finally, ShiningShard has some weaknesses, particularly against Return Files and Rush Files, but Aylwong was still able to make his five wins in the arena and therefore qualifies for his bonus gran in addition to the two cards that have already been selected and placed in this winning Iczer's Library. It also may succumb to bigger creatures if they are played early on, however, against mid-level Files, ShiningShard should be able to hold its own. In any case, the Challenge of the Fortnight is about discovering new combinations and strategies, so all participants would do well to keep that in mind. Innovativeness will always trump ruthless effectiveness when it comes to selecting a winner, especially since new ideas can usually be tweaked to become more useful in practice. Till next time.

"Scissors are overpowered. Rock is fine." -Paper
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