Arakis' Quest - the Illustrator Team Quest: RESULTS
Written by lupos   
Monday, 17 May 2010 21:18
This Quest was one of the more challenging ones to date, largely because it was divided into teams and that means there were two distinct risks.  If an entrant chose a "popular" team, they'd have stiffer competition with everyone else who went the same route.  But if they chose a more challenging team, it might not perform as well in testing.  The key seemed to either go all in on a popular team, or find a balance point.

There was a decidedly high Gowen presence amongst our finalists, with Lawtia a close second and Refess nearly nowhere to be found.  Maybe this is because Gowen and Lawtia have a lot of cards that work well in a standalone fashion whereas Refess and Falkow rely much more heavily on combo teamwork.  I'd like to think that if/when this particular Quest runs again in the future, the illustrator teams will be larger and have more options.  As things stand, several of the illustrators have a good array of powerful cards even at this point in time, but it was still Team Miscellaneous that ended up taking home the gold:

Iczer: Dean
File Name: BlackRush (Team Miscellaneous)

Soul Cards
1) Bounter Hunter / Elena
2) Girl Combat Priest
3) Invisible Druid
4) Invisible Druid
5) Death Dragon / Zangadylan

Play Cards
3 Chaoslady / Annarose
3 Devil of the Mask / Folfenac
3 Vicious Phantom / Belltia
3 Skeleton Warrior
3 Flame of Hatred / Dullin
3 Priestess of Madness
2 Crest Orderly
3 New Magic Doll / Astaforce
2 Soul Bind

1) Indignatio (Team Hirooka Masaki)
2) ShinMaster (Team Jun-ichi Fujikawa)
3) keytosky (Team US GM)
4) Esperia (Team Takanashi Karita)
5) Cytrik (Team Atsushi Kawasaki)

As the name suggests, it's a rush file.  It opens with Annarose, then Folfenac, and then Skeleton Warrior.  As Folfenac is the only one of these three that requires SP to revive, this puts you off to a fast start that's hard to disrupt.  Skeleton Warrior is too quick to benefit from Annarose's all-Lawtia buff, but Folfenac gets it.  This allows Folf a better chance to use Mask of Lament as early as possible, and he can choose to buff his own AT or that of Skeleton Warrior.  SW is a good call, especially if you play Priestess of Madness next and keep his undead butt on the field as long as possible.  A 5AGI unit with 40 or 60 AT after buffs is nothing to sneeze at.  Crest Orderly is of course there for SP generation, because it won't be long before extra SP becomes necessary.

The mid-game revolves around Dullin and Belltia.  This is where things diverge the most, because Belltia and Priestess of Madness often run counter to each other in terms of strategy.  But if she gets removed from the field, all the undead (soon to be) in the cemetery can fuel Belltia's skills and make him just as effective as a buffed Skeleton Warrior was.  If you can keep Priestess on the field, she can keep Dullin coming back for more and perhaps Belltia can be saved for the end-game.

The end-game typically revolves around Astaforce because at this point, there's usually a lot of spare SP lying around.  She can slowly become a heavy hitter and keep her HP up if there's enough SP for her action skill.  Otherwise, she makes an excellent tank while the rest of your units do the dirty work.

The soul skills are a solid mix.  Even though Elena's skill has  
fallen out of favor, it's still quite effective in the first slot.   
Anything, like undead, that she can't handle well can be trimmed down by Girl Combat Priest.  The 2 Soul Binds in the file are for comboing with the Inivisible Druid souls, but your opponent iczering at them works nearly just as well.  Zangadylan is just there as an anchor and possible game saver, but hopefully you never have to let your LP get low enough to use him.

Like most rush files, this has the same inherent weaknesses to cards such as Cyclone and Ball of Flame.  The hope is that its pace and heavily undead nature can make up for that shortcoming.

Thanks to all who entered, and congratulations to our winner and finalists.  This Quest saw a very odd submission period, because 2/3 of the entries came in over the final weekend (when I was out of town).  Kudos to those who entered then, because you did a good job of making sure there were no mistakes in your entries.  Next Quest should be a lot simpler than this, but possibly more difficult in some ways.  Though who can say for sure at this point?  Only time will well.