Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Strategies and Card File Construction

Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby DocWatson » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:30 am

Well, I'm by no means an expert at this game, however there've been a few really good strategies I've seen dominating the current meta. For those of you that're new, I hope this helps!

Let's get this thing off with the monster that was seriously dominating the Summer Fun tournament, that's right, the Eskatia based Lawtia deck. There's a reason this thing is both reviled and adored by players across the game (usually a sign of a truly heavy hitter), it's efficient, has a very good way to lockdown the opponent, and is irritating to counter. The primary card that the deck is based around is the Ruler of Crest, Eskatia. She's got the ability to start off every turn at Night, enabling those lycanthropes and Moonlight Warriors the ability to just dominate, add to the fact that she has a ranged penetrate ability and she's one sturdy card! You'll note, however, that she's almost always a back row card in matches and this is due to two reasons: 1. Girl's got no defense, and 2. At only 30 hp she proves that nobility really can't take a punch.

The current startup for this deck seems to be raising sphere level to 2, then summoning a Shade into a Moonlight Warrior the next turn (trust me, the plan is so cookiecutter that the backlash potential in the mirror match is amazingly high). The problem with this deck is that once it gets a foothold it's INCREDIBLY difficult to get back in the game. Typically what one will see in the first SSC will be (ironically) the Refess card Dragonrider, Wasseir. Seeing as the Lawtia player will almost always opt to let his shade die and bounce one of your offending starters, severely wrecking your opening.

The only real Grimoire play I've seen with this deck is that once it has the upper hand you can bet that you'll see a Soul Bind lock to finish off your remaining board position. There's nothing more irritating than seeing your giant titan of a fighter get blocked out of attacking for a few turns while the Lawtia player whittles down your supporting characters. A similar effect can be gleaned from Chaoslady, Annarose's ability turn after turn.

One of the ways I've seen that really sticks it to this deck are to hit 'em fast and hard in the early game. If you keep the Lawtia player constantly trying to revive their dead units and struggling to keep up, they won't be able to set up their offensive wall and shut you out. Lots of pinpoint offense is very good too, as removing Eskatia limits the lycanthropes to being effective in 1 out of 3 turns and cancels that defense boost that Moonlight Warriors receive. For this reason Gowen seems to have a bit of the upper hand against Lawtia if you play well. Keep your Soul Skill Cards filled with pinpoint offense and really try to kill Eskatia before her effect takes place.

Good news is this deck usually relies on quite a few rare cards so once the tournament is over we probably won't see as much of it in the common areas for battling, however there's a chance that those that've had a taste of what darkness holds won't be able to keep their hands off of those boosters in an attempt to remake that monster they had in Summer Fun.

I'm not done yet, as my next post is going to be the fantastically fire-based Gowen, so strap on your six guns and ready your swords!
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby Savin877 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:33 pm

I like where this thread is going. Keep up the good work. No insults, no complaints, just strategies, and what we can do to counter them.
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby neonsun » Wed Aug 06, 2008 2:24 pm

cool thread !!!!
and as i have said before, .....DON'T WORRY YOUR NIGHTMARE IS ALMOST OVER !!!

PS : no offense meant by this but this "free tournament " was the best promotional advertisement i ve seen. Many players are going to drop good loads of green to relive that [INSERT CARD NAME HERE] experience.
i wanna see the faces of people tomorrow lol
Last edited by neonsun on Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby DocWatson » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:19 pm

Thanks for the positive input guys, glad to hear I'm helping out.

Okay, so now we're heading into the second of the big decks that I've seen floating about the tournament and arguably one of the more dynamic ones out there: the Gowen Beats deck. This deck has been seen as a fairly decent counter to the rising Lawtia deck archetype, and in an interesting turn of events has a surprisingly flexible and reactive structure considering it's pretty much a straight up aggro beatdown deck. Sadly I haven't had a chance to play this fast hitting juggernaut, but I've been socked in the face enough to know how it generally runs.

The main strategy behind this deck is getting in the opponent's face and keeping them on the defensive, making them waste their resources attempting to stay on the board while your build up your forces for the final LP swing. There're quite a few cards that make themselves known in this build but arguably one of the best combos I've seen is the Brave Soldier and Panther Soul combo. Drop a Bellydancer, Kurina turn 1, then drop a Brave Soldier turn 2, followed up by a turn 3 Panther Soul is a disturbingly effective way to start out the game. By turn 3 you have a critter with 4 AGI, that hits for 60! If that weren't drool worthy enough he'll have 50 hp by then as well, easily enough to take a licking and keep on ticking. Now, another great thing about this strategy is that it allows for a decent amount of extra SP, which means from here you have the flexibility to do some pinpoint removal with cards like Salamander and Fire Arrow, or continue to beef up your units with cards like Dryad. Quite a few of the more effective strategies I've seen out there have splashed in Falkow's prime support units for just this reason, giving your characters the defense and speed to keep hitting over and over again.

As far as SSCs go, this deck sees the gamut from creature removal, to stat buffs, to straight up damage. As long as you can keep the opponent backpedalling you're good, which is rather nice. In complete opposition to Lawtia this deck thrives on not having a clockwork plan in store for who you're up against. Facing a weenie rush deck? Toss out some Salamanders. Facing a deck with a slower buildup? Bring out the Brave Soldiers and Magic Sword Dual-Wielders to smack 'em down before they get a chance to bring out their big bads. A particularly fun strategy against the endless night strategy of Lawtia is to pack the Red Mantle, DeFau in your card file. More SP for you is always good, and draining it from them prevents a direct attack from Eskatia or a regen effect off a Lycanthrope.

Sadly one of the deck's most powerful pros is also one of it's greatest downfalls in the sense that due to it not having a set plan in motion it's easier than most decks to misplay. You have to be careful about having your units get bounced in the beginning, as a wasted Panther Soul is quite a pity. The best you can hope for is that you've packed more answers than they have in your file and just keep slamming into them with every opportunity. If you're sitting down with Gowen then you're not smashing face, and if you're not smashing face well...that's just not Gowen now is it?

Next up, a look at Falkow and Refess!
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby Phades » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:44 pm

Awaits the refress comedy wrap-up. ;)
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby Savin877 » Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:13 pm

Phades wrote:Awaits the refress comedy wrap-up. ;)


Dont forget the oh so loveable, here lemme make my Sea Hunter a 60ATK 30DEF 4AGI monster that you cant kill in only a matter of a few turns thanks to this little witch.
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby neonsun » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:55 pm

blocking gowen brave panther rush :
in TOURNAMENT:
LAWTIA deck : (not very precise but works) shade ,
gowen, shade dies
shade again brave, comes to play , panther activates .
shade is scratched --> 1 ss come to play : use of devil incarnate

ASSASSIn 1 ss but this is very difficult to pull off correctly
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby slashzero » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:38 pm

Hmm, what do you all think the Falkow strategy will be? Deep squid or Falkow range/board control? Anyone want to start a pool?

I'd have to say the strongest deck I've come across in the tournament is the Gowen deck described here. Sure, Ruler of Crest is a pain in the **** to counter (so much that you must build your strategy around beating it to really beat it), but Gowen power decks are so much more flexible in the hands of a good strategist that has seen a deck like yours before, it's always a gamble playing against it.
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby DocWatson » Wed Aug 06, 2008 11:27 pm

Alrighty, next on the block we've got both the Falkow and Refess Sphere decks. Why do I combine them? Mainly because more often than seeing them as the mono color files that we've seen with Lawtia and Gowen these two spheres make more appearances as splashed colors. That's not saying that they cannot be played mono, (all of you Refess nay sayers pipe down!) however the most frequent decks I've seen containing these colors have splashed them. So enough explanation, let's get down to the nitty gritty and see what these things can do!

First off, let's look at Falkow. With only 6 out of 20 of their units having less than 3 AGI this puts them right on par with Lawtia's speed, and that's disregarding the oh so fun little Sylph and her vindictive sister Undine. Quite possibly one of the most fun tricks I've seen with this decks is the Witch + Sylph combo. Bring out the Witch turn one, then it's pretty much a banishing game from there. If you feel the need you can crank up her AGI with Sylph, but the general gist is to disrupt their gameplan early, all the while setting up your own board and at the cheap cost of but 1 SP a turn this is an incredibly viable strategy. Another great opening play is to bring your Falkow level to 2 first turn and open up with Witch Queen, Toolbox...I mean Catherina. Not only does she have an opening ability that increases your Falkow level by 1, but she's an amazing stat booster for whatever the situation calls for! Falkow is a little unbalanced as far as the early game's concerned, they have quite a few stat boosters but not much meat to 'em. If you can survive past the fast strikes they dish out, they have a tendency to sorta roll over. However, they really shine in the late game with cards like Sea Hunter and the powerhouse that is Deep Squid who on their own are a force to be reckoned with, however if you've maintained your support crew from the start they become absolute monsters. Two phenominal cards I want to point out before I finish looking at Falkow are the Eagle Soldier and the Magic Scythe Soldier. Both are aggressively costed at 3, both have decent starting attack values, and both have the ability to allow you to choose who they do damage to. How many times have you furrowed your brow in anger as your Shade tossed his attack away at a heavily defended Moonlight Warrior when the already wounded Magic Doll was just a square away? Well furrow no more! Quite possibly even more powerful than the ability to do pinpoint damage with grimoire cards and soul skills is the ability to do pinpoint damage with units due to the simple fact that units'll stick around and the other two are one time effects.

Speaking of Grimoire effects let's take a look at the most prevalent one I've seen: Return. At 3 SP cost it's a bit high (unless of course you've got Witch Queen, Catherina in play), however it's totally worth it. This game is all about who can keep control of the field longest, and the usefulness to simply bypass all stats on a critter and just banish it from play cannot be denied. Plus, as opposed to the reusable Witch, Return is cast before character abilities come into play so wave bye bye to that pesky little Eskatia. I've seen quite a few Falkow players start a turn that way, then decimate a board of unsuspecting lycanthropes due to the sun being up.

And now onto what will no doubt be the most controversial of my writings as this is the section of my breakdown where I don't bash Refess. I will say that they don't get off on the same foot as the other spheres, they lack speed in most units, and not a one of them comes into play with an attack value over 35 but I'll be dead and buried before I count out a Refess player. What these cards have in spades (ha! card pun) is support. Two of the major themes of Refess are the ability to heal your units and the ability to increase defense. Now while these two abilities are fantastic and incredibly useful, neither one of them has a way to really seal the deal. Despite the fact that acquiring a draw is not a loss, I still won't advocate the build of decks that stretch the game out to irritating lengths just to force a draw. Mainly because it eliminates the fun of the game for both players, is slightly based off of luck in that you have to wait for the other person to leave the game, and from what I've heard is quite possibly one of the most difficult decks to pilot. I'm not saying you shouldn't pilot this card file, if you consider it fun then by all means play it (this is a game after all), however you won't be receiving any help from me in its construction.

What I do want to examine in Refess are a few choice cards that I've seen really showcase the sphere as a whole, and that make for amazing splashes in the right kind of decks. First off, we'll start simple with the grimoire card called Cure. Simple, to the point, absolutely beautiful. At the low cost of just 2 SP you can completely heal the HP of a unit. Granted you've gotta know what you're doing to play this, but it can really save a star player in the endgame. Trust me, if you've got your last Brave Soldier out there and you're all out of Panther Souls healing up the little guy is just the shot in the arm that the opponent won't see coming and save your bacon. The Folrart Shield Knight is also a very nice defensive two drop turn 1, sure he can't attack, but damned if he ain't a nice wall. An interesting card that isn't exactly splashable, but is just a wonderful Refess unit would be the Dragonrider, Wasseir. While I won't advocate the stalling of a game to a draw, what is a fantastic counter to weenie decks is stopping them dead in their tracks in the early game with the FSK, then cranking up your SP via a few Kesaran Pasaran to an early Dragonrider. Continue ramping up that SP so you can use his ability and it's possible to give a nice one sided boardwipe (though not particularly easy).

So there we have it, the most frequent decks I've seen being played and a few tips on how to counteract the heavy hitters. After reviewing these last two spheres I can't help but notice how they work well with each other and I'd really love to see the growth of a nice Falkow/Refess card file floating about. By no means do I discredit the value of playing these two mono-sphere, however I really think the cards themselves shine when splashed with the two other more prominent spheres. I look forward to adding more to this thread as more decks become prevalent in the metagame, and look for my review of the angel cards on August 7th as I dig into my wallet (and my brainpan) to theorize how these packs'll influence the meta. Thanks for all your comments and I hope I've helped!
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Re: Current Meta breakdown for beginners

Postby Tenkai » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:35 am

Well I played the Lawtia deck in the tourny and the opening: Shade->Monlight Warrior->Wasseir SS->Eskatia->Lycanthrope is quite common and powerful but gowen can put up a good opening fight. Just use this opening sequenece with gowen: Monk or Kurina->Salamander->Brave Soldier->Panther Soul. Now dont attack with your lvl2 unit in the first round just standby. Use salamander to kill off the shade in the 2nd turn and your lvl2 unit to hit the iczer. This way the Wasseir SS will have no effect, because your lvl2 unit will be engaged.
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