Fire Emblem Cipher: First Thoughts

Hey everyone! I’m here with a cursory glance at the Fire Emblem Cipher game if you wanted to pick up another card game or are an avid card collector looking for sick art!

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TL;DR:

This game plays like a hybrid of Cardfight Vanguard with a Pokemon win condition and Naruto TCG-like mana cost plus a few unique mechanics. The art on the cards is stunning and an absolute must for those who are fans of the video game series! I would highly recommend it but be warned that you either need to know Japanese or remember translations and the community is fairly small here in America. For all the information you need about this game, check this website out: https://serenesforest.net/wiki/index.php/Fire_Emblem_TCG

A Foreword:

It should be noted that I am a huge Fire Emblem fan so I am fairly biased. It all started in middle school with Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. For those that don’t know, this is where Ike, who is in the Super Smash Bros. series of games, came from. All in all, the video game series is filled with great gameplay, story, and lovable characters so when this card game was announced, I was hyped as all get out.

The Video Game Series Origins:

Fire Emblem is first and foremost a tactical RPG game franchise in the form of turn-based combat developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. There are 15 different titles but only 7 ever graced our American shores + a Shin Megami Tensei crossover in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Currently, there are 7 booster sets and 8 starter decks which  span 8 of the titles and Tokyo Mirage Sessions.

The Card Game:

  • Card Size – Standard sized (MTG, Pokemon)
  • Factions – Each video game realm has its own color besides Tokyo Mirage Sessions which is in Blue and Red and Fire Emblem Fates which separates Hoshido and Nohr into White and Black.
  • Deck Size – 49 Cards + 1 Main Character. Most meta decks incorporate 2-3 colors.
  • The Board
    • Units are placed in vanguard and rearguard areas. Main character starts in vanguard zone (like Cardfight Vanguard).
    • Retreat Pile = Discard Pile. This is shuffled back as your deck when you deck out.
    • Bond Area is is effectively like chakra in the Naruto TCG or mana in Magic.

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  • Mulligan – Yes. You may mulligan your 6-card hand once with no detriment
  • Mana – Similar to Magic. Must use at least one “bond” card of the same color to pay cost
  • Win Condition – Like Pokemon. Game starts with 6 “orb” cards taken from your deck and placed face-down. When your main character is defeated in battle, you draw one of your orb cards and when you run out and your main character is defeated, it’s game over
  • Combat – Like Cardfight Vanguard with a support check but with more varied “trigger” effects and the checked card is not added to your hand

More About the Product:

Each wave of starter decks includes:

  • 50 cards, many of which appear in their corresponding booster sets, plus some starter deck exclusive foils
  • A nice paper playmat
  • An in-game item download code for owners of the Japanese Fire Emblem Fates.

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Each booster box is 16 packs of 10 cards. The rarities in this game are as follows: Normal, High Normal, Rare, Rare (+), Super Rare, and Super Rare (+).

  • Normal and High Normal look exactly the same
  • R – Foil
  • SR – Textured Foil, approximately 4 in every box
  • (+) – A very accentuated border around the card art and some are signed

Each box includes 5 sleeves and a promo card which is an alternate art of a card in the next set. Each set includes 2 colors besides Booster Set 3 (shown below) which has 3 colors.

Here is the product and a sample of one of my packs:

It looks like I got lucky since I pulled this gorgeous signed Azura card which is approximately 1:4 per case.

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Where to Buy:

  • Amiami.com (cheapest for sealed product)
  • TCGRepublic.com (cheapest singles I’ve found so far)
  • Cipher Facebook Group or Serenes Forest Forum (probably actually the cheapest)
  • Ebay
  • Amazon.com and Amazon.jp

Everything you need to know about the game:  https://serenesforest.net/wiki/index.php/Fire_Emblem_TCG

Final Words:

  • The card arts in themselves made me want to play the game as they are created by various well-known video game artists. They have combined art cards like legion cards in Cardfight Vanguard!
  • As a card game, there are a few mechanics that I have never seen which are neither here nor there. But it is really cool that you can make a deck focused around your favorite character
  • The cost of cards is technically low if you get it in Asia but goes up due to lack of US localization so you have to import everything
    • Booster Box – (Imported) $42-$70
    • Starter Deck – (Imported) $14-$18
  • You have to learn Japanese, remembering effects, or constantly pull up translations

I want to be able to play this game in English one day, but until then I guess I will have to cope with these gorgeous cards being only in Japanese.

I hope this was comprehensive but not too long! I will get around to describing the meta at some point, I’m sure.

Thanks for reading :)!

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Konami releases the most powerful card of 2017?! Also rumors of huge rule changes/reprints to come?

I actually thought Konami would just reveal Zoodiac Malmorat (Ratpier) and troll the community once again. In contrast though they created this monstrosity of a card.

A bizarre fusion tuner monster that requires 2 tuner monsters, Sea Monster of Theseus. So you’re probably wondering what makes a vanilla fusion monster the most broken card of 2017. Well first and foremost, this thing will likely be summoned by Instant Fusion rather by actually fusing tuners. What does this card do? Well like Konami claims in their blog, it creates a lot of options:

  • Summon any Lv 5 monster, instant fusion into this. Make Ultimaya Tzolkin, set a card and get Crystal Wing Synchro Dragon
  • Summon any Lv 3, instant fusion into this. Make Skill-Frame Lord Omega
  • Summon any lv 4, instant fusion into this Make Vermillion Dragon Mech (which isn’t a good card, but it is an option)
  • If you actually bother to summon this thing correctly, you can revive it with Mezuki and probably do horrific plays in a zombie synchro deck that even I can’t imagine.

Now there is one important thing we can gleam from this card’s reveal. Instant Fusion is safe. They would never recommend make this card Level Five if they didn’t want us to just cheat it out with Instant Fusion (they even recommend in it in their blog post). That being said this likely means Elder Entity Norden will finally die as this card comes to take the place as your new instant target. Of course this doesn’t do what Norden does, but it does open up many new plays.

Is it broken? Maybe. Is it good? It’s definitely a good card. Is it going to warp the format? Probably not, but it will enable alot of cheesy plays.

Speaking of cheesy, there are rumored changes to the rules of Yugioh on the horizon…

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Ok so first and foremost, I don’t believe that any of these are true (except for maybe the reprints). I do remember that when Duelist Alliance came out they changed the rules of the game. Players were no longer allowed to draw on the first turn and both players were allowed to control a field spell. One of these rules made going first not broken (until recently…) and the other rule made field spells much more powerful.

As for these new changes let’s analyze them for a moment:

  • Each player starts with 120000 lifepoints instead of 8000. Well with this rule change not only do burn decks die, but OTKs also become a lot less consistent. Now while many players like OTKs, it’s just to easy to OTK  your opponent in the era of modern Yugioh. I think this rule change would be an improvement to Yugioh, HOWEVER this change would upset so many fans that I can’t see it actually occur. Also cards like Ancient Leaf would have to be banned in a second.
  • The player who goes first cannot pendulum summon. I agree with this rule change. Pendulum summoning is fun, but it’s also incredibly unfair. This change would hurt the mechanic and make going first with a pendulum deck less powerful. I think this rule change is fairly reasonable. The only issue I see is that Pendulum decks that prefer to go first are literally just Metalfoes (which can always fusion summon instead) and Odd Eyes Magicians (which haven’t been relevant since 2015). Even if this rule change occurred I’m not sure if it does that much.
  • New banished zone located behind the leftmost Spell/Trap zone. This is completely reasonable. Ever since Pot of Desires came out the banished card zone has become incredibly important. The only problem with this rule change is that mats will have to be edited yet again (just like with the Pendulum zones).
  • 4th deck outside of Main, Extra and Side deck as well as a 4th deck zone located behind the rightmost Spell/Trap zone. No way, this is nonsense, this will not happen. Yugioh does not need another deck zone. What are we even going to put in this 4th deck? What does this even mean?! Ironically enough this is one change I could most see happening as the gimmick of the 6th Yugioh series.

Anyway, that’s the Yugioh news for early 2017. Oh yeah some of the Zoodiac rarities are out. The sad truth is that even if Zoodiac Ratpier is a super rare, the deck will still be expensive…

Alright, I’m out of here.

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Thanks for reading as usual. I hope they don’t break Yugioh.

Didn’t you gun Force of Will Last Week? Why on Earth did you enter a Fow AGP? The story of losing to yourself: How to improve as a card gamer

Gosh that’s a long title. However, it accurately represents what happened today (and is hyperbolic which is a plus). My buddy (the one who got me into and brought me back into Force of Will) was like “there’s a Force of WIll AGP in NJ, let’s go to it” and I was like “sure lol sounds like fun. If only I had known that a long day of losing money, misplaying and as a result blaming myself was to follow.

 

Our Deck and the Messy Store of How We Made It

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So what initially roped me back into this game was the remaking of my favorite Ruler Valentina as a bizarre fusion of her and Pricia (another character I liked except for the fact that she killed Valentina). My buddy and I decided we would both buy her and try to build the best UB (blue/black) control deck possible. He affectionately named Pricentina Control.

 

Main Deck and Quick Card Analysis:

  • Invading Demon of Water, Valentina/Valentina, Released Terror: Makes all Dark/Water spells shrink a creatures Def/Atk respectively by the spell’s CMC, makes certain spells like Space Time absurd)
  • Space Time Anomaly x4 (Best card in the deck by far, triggers favorably with Valentina, won me games I had no business winning)
  • Leviathan, First of the Sea x1 (Win Condition, worked for my buddy not for me, more on this later. Also this posr may be crazy long. I apologize for not mentioning sooner)
  • Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic x3 (Amazingly useful and versatile, allowed many resonators to be killed, but lost to effects already activated very hard)
  • Black Moonbeam x1 (Not that useful, but necessary)
  • Horn of Sacred Beasts x1 (Useful once, otherwise dead)
  • Heavenly Instrument Hydromonica x1 (I only resolved the stack effect once, otherwise I sided it out almost every game)
  • Deathscythe, the Life Reaper x1 (Amazing with Soulhunt, I was never unhappy to draw into it/have it)
  • Valentina’s Reach x2 (Worked out will for my buddy, I only resolved it once and it barely mattered)
  • Marybell, the Steel Doll x1 (Drew it, swung with it once, honestly not even sure about it)
  • Aretemis, the God’s Bow x4 (Useful, but only fringe most creatures were too big, but it combo-ed will with Space Time)
  • The Nameless Mist x3 (Amazing card, did its job efficiently though I fought more creature decks so it missed a lot)
  • Captain Hook, the Pirate x2 (Very powerful when I managed to cast it, won me a few games, but I almost always had to bounce creatures except in round 2)
  • Lapis Dark Storm x2 (Very powerful and dumb, but I only resolved it 3 times, one of which it did nothing)
  • Separation of Body and Soul x4 (A great card in this deck only due to Valentina’s minus effect, a definite 4 of)
  • Hera, Goddess of Jealousy x3 (I literally destroyed my own Regalia all day because only one of my opponent’s played any)
  • Soulhunt x4 (Easily the second best spell in the deck, with no resonators it was very easy to get 2 for 1s with this card, it was especially nasty with Deathscythe as it could be added back to hand)
  • The Scorn of Dark Alice x3 (Insanely useful against the many creature decks I faced, better than Mist for me at least)

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Stone Base:

  • Ruler’s Memoria x1 (Getting it of the way first. this was the worst card in the deck, it entered the field tapped on my first turn 3 times, one time costing me the game, it’s one of the only cards getting cut)
  • Remains of Attoractia x4 (A very good card that I missed read and used incorrectly until round 5 as a result)
  • Water Magic Stone x1 (I wish it were darkness, but this is where my buddy and I disagree, more on that later)

Magic Stone of Dark Depths x4 (No complaints)

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Side Deck

  • Girl in Twilight Garb/Dark Alice x1 (Sided into her once, won the game, but due to glaring misplays I never used her again all day)
  • Black Moonbeam x2 (Useful and necessary evil)
  • Deathscythe, the Life Reaper x2 (Needed to sure up J-Ruler match-up, honestly I wish I had more just for the soulhunts)
  • Schrodinger, the Fallen Black Cat x1 (For Dark Alice, I drew into it and it was pretty dead in hand)
  • Riza, First of the Dead x4 (Legitimately useful in one game and trash in the other. I can’t complain though card was solid overall)
  • Melder, Last of the Dead x3 (Trash, awful trash, 2nd worst card in the deck and getting cut to 1 if it stays in at all, we had so much removal it never mattered, minus 800 and we have to be dying, terrible)
  • Prison in the Lunar Lake x2 (Best card in the side, always a blowout when resolved and searchable off Riza)

 

So first of all, just so you know how back we are. We forgot to buy all the cards for the deck. It took the great kindness of my roommate ( a Fow master and case opener) and literally the only two guys at the store who had trades to allow us to even play our decks. I tip my hat to both of them. Now for the most painful part of this…

Our match-ups…

 

Round 1: Vs Fiethsing Combo

Game 1 he opened the nuts going second dropping Gwiber into Captain Hook and I lost instantly. Game 2 I make my first misplay. I swap to Dark Alice and assume that the Valentina rock enters tapped if I don’t have Valentina. In reality it just costs you 300 life. So I go until turn 5 to make a play because I keep letting the stone enter tapped. My opponent bricks on stones until turn 6 and as a result I defeat him. Game 3 I go first, Ruler’s Memoria entered tapped preventing my turn 1 Scorn of Dark Alice. He combos-off turn 2 and kills me.

Loss 1-2

Round 2: Vs Sol Burn

Game 1 he burns me to 15, but I out-grind and defeat him, making the misplay of thinking that his World Flame card made me banish 2 magic stones…

So I literally put 2 of my stones in the graveyard…

Game 2 I make the misplay of not using Prison in the Lunar Lake on his Uther, Goddess allowing him to burn me out in the late game. Game 3 we end up in time and draw.

Draw 1-1-1

Round 3: Vs Lilias Petal

I knew going into this tournament how Lilias worked since he is innately unfair as he cheats in huge Chimera FROM HIS SIDE DECK. So knowing this I killed every resonator he played to prevent his ability. After he finally summoned his Chimera I killed it with Soul Seperate and then defeated him. Game 2 I side in Prisoner in the Lunar Lake and Riza to switch it out. Prison negates and kills 2 of his Chimeras leading to my victory.

Win 2-0

Round 4: Vs Lumia Mid-range (Against the event judge)

Don’t ask me why the judge for the event was in the tournament. Anyway game 1 he hits me with double Captain Hook (after I make the misplay of ripping a mana dork from his hand instead of it), but somehow I survive. I kill all of his resonators until he has to use his Melfee just to flip Lumia. After killing her I lose to the most absurd and stupid ruling in my card game career. Apparently there is an end of end phase phase…

So he cast a reanimate spell that said exile this creature during the end phase. However, he cast in the end of end phase phase…

So it didn’t get exiled…

It was a 900/900 flyer that killed me…

Game 2 I hold him down with Prisoner in the Lunar Lake until we go into time. I J-Activated Valentina and used Bows to kill his blocking mana dorks. I then top-deck 2 Space Times to kill all of his blockers and him on turn 3 of time.

Draw 1-1-1

Round 5: Vs Zero 28 Regalia

Game 1 I triple Space Time his Zero killing her. After which his crippled deck did next to nothing. Game 2 I do it again through his Zero’s Farmilar (by turning it into a bear and then using Black Moonbeam on Zero). HOWEVER, I make the misplay of first forgetting his 1 creature on board had flying (I could’ve killed it and maintained board control with Soulhunt) and also that Valentina’s ruler side could sack to creatures to destroy one…

I literally threw away a game I had won…

Game 3 I killed Zero again, but we go into time and the rules changed to highest life total wins due to it being the final round. I lose to his double burn spells despite easily having game if the match continued as I could’ve survived the burn with total board control.

Loss 1-2

My buddy’s match-ups (This is a first for me and I’m going by his brief descriptions)

Round 1: Vs Jank Lumia Aggro

Opponent’s deck was sub-optimal, easy win with Valentina attacks.

Win 2-0

Round 2: Vs Charlotte Hand Control

Due to Ruler’s Memoria not being a water stone he missed the OTK with Leviathan game 1. Then failed to win in time game 2.

Loss 0-1

Round 3: Vs Lilias Petal

Forgot how many Charlotte Transformation Magics he had in grave and failed to kill Lilias’ chimera as a result, died to the chimera and failed to win in time game 2 again.

Round 4: Vs Dark Alice Control

Got hit by double Lapis’ Dark Storm and lost Hook and Leviathan. Suddenly with no win-conditions he had no way to close out the game. Then once again lost in time game 2.

Round 5: Bye

We finished 16th and 18th place respectively.

Reactions, Reflections and Final Thoughts (The most important part I swear)

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This was a very eye-opening, agitating and useful experience. One that I need to take to heart and use to move forward as a card gamer. First of all I paid $40 to go to NJ to play in this. Once there I paid $25 to enter. Also because I didn’t get all the cards for my deck I had to pay another $10 to get the last couple cards. It is not worth it to pay this much money to scrub out.

This is the most upsetting part though. I did not lose as a result of my deck being bad. In Yugioh and Magic I limit myself because admittedly I’m a very cheap person when it comes to buying expensive staple cards. During the last Yugioh regional I came close to building a perfect ABC deck, but did not go all the way and buy Dimensional Barrier and Pot of Desires ($55 and $70 respectively). Back when I used to play Standard I forced Mono-Red, not merely, because I enjoyed it, but because it was very cheap to build. This is the first time…

Well probably not the first time, but easily the most obvious time that I lost not because I skimped out on building my deck, but because I made misplays that were terrible in hindsight.

  1. Not knowing how my stones worked
  2. Forgetting Prisoner in the Lunar Lake
  3. Forgetting the enemy creature had flying
  4. Forgetting Valentina’s Ruler ability
  5. Not understanding how the phases and the chase worked

All of these painfully obvious things (except the last one because holy crud is that stupid) I allowed to happen and as a result I lost $75 along with almost every game today. My buddy also admitted that in addition to his poor match-ups and luck, he also lost due to misusing resources and also running out of cards.

On the plus side though our deck was solid. There was more times when I could have won had I not misplayed than times where I could not have won at all for any reason. Our deck did what it came to do. We killed creatures, disrupted the opponent’s hand and ultimately killed with powerful finishers.

Our Differences of Opinion on the Deck and My Future Plans with it

  • So my buddy and I came to a few very different conclusions on what to do with the deck. This could be useful to players interested in trying it out.
  • I say cut Ruler’s Memoria for a Darkness Stone, he says add a water stone. My buddy got way more use out of Leviathan today than I did. He dropped it and won all, but one game where it resolved. I played it once all day when I already had board control. I want to add another Scorn of Dark Alice instead of Leviathan personally.
  • I say cut Leviathan or side it for control, he says bump it up to 2 in the main. Again the card worked for me and did nothing for me. I think it’s too slow for the format, he thinks it’s our best win-con)
  • He says cut Captain Hook, I’m not sure. On the one hand we’re playing Captain Hook fairly on turn 5. That’s just to fair and slow for this format. Between enemy Hook’s attacking our stones and the general speed of the combo decks I admit Hook may be too slow for us.
  • I say add Alice’s Little Scout to soak up early game damage, he wants to add no resonators outside of finishers (and Riza in the side). Every game despite our discard and removal he took massive damage in the early game. I watched almost all of my opponents play the cat with the ability draw one when it enters the field. I think Alice Scout not only will block in the early game, but will also allow us to not lose card advantage.

We do agree though that Melder, Last of the Dead is useless. The deck has enough removal. Riza is more useful setting Prison in the Lunar Lake face-down than him. Furthermore, his -800/-800 ability at the cost of us being about to die (from Riza’s paying 1000) isn’t worth it when we’ve already lost so much life in the early game.

Parting Words (Gosh this was long)

I don’t regret today. I learned that I was too confident in my ability to play a card game with literally no practice after quitting it for months. That being said most of my problems came from simply not reading cards (especially my own). I want to believe that as a result of today I will do two things differently in the future.

I will never travel to major event without having full knowledge of my deck/side deck, as it’s not cost-effective to spend so much and lose.

I will never enter a tournament with a deck I don’t think can theoretically top. If I enter a Yugioh or Magic event ever again, I’m going to enter with a good deck. Hopefully, not the most expensive deck, but definitely not a deck I built on the cheap for fun that I think can cheese a few wins. I’ve always used the fact that because I didn’t have Dimensional Barrier, Pot of Desires or a full-power Abzan deck as an excuse to justify my losses. “I didn’t have the optimal deck so that’s why I lost” This was the first time it was incredibly apparent that I lost not to my deck, but too myself. As a result this was very frustrating and I’ll be burned out on Force of Will possibly forever.

I don’t see myself following the game after college. I only plan to keep cards of sentimental value, though I’m not sure if I’m going to try and sell the cards from this deck. I honestly believe that the only card game I’ll be able to play after college is Magic the Gathering, which is simply the most represented game in my experience.

Well I’ve droned on for too long, but I actually think this is one of the better posts I’ve made. I learned alot about my strengths and weaknesses as a player. I think we learn more from our mistakes than our successes and today taught me that more than any other tournament.

Thanks for reading as usual.

What Happens When Your Yugioh Deck Refuses to Fail You (Infernoids Pre-Lawnmowing Next Door)

I got into the first Yugioh tournament of 2017 among my college group. I was exceedingly uncertain of myself. I was playing Infernoid without Omega or a real side deck. I was even more dismayed by the current D/D/D format that has just dropped in Yugioh where turn boards of Crystal Wing + D/D/D Cursed King Siegfried and #38 Hope Harbinger Titanic Galaxy become a real possibility. I respect that many D/D/D players have waited over a year anxiously to play this deck at full power though I just see it as a small intermediary period before Zoodiac takes over the format (though full D/D/D has a chance against Zoodiac I will admit).

Round 1: Vs Full Power D/D/D

Speaking of which, I was complaining like crazy over the lack of chance I had in this match-up. My opponent’s D/D/D deck was filled with all of the new cards alongside the unfortunate format staples of Desires and D-Barriers.

Game 1 he makes the board of Crystal Wing, but not anything else I can remember. I force out  Crystal Wing’s negate with Antra before using Decatron to become Seitsemas, run over D/D Savant Kepler and banish his Crystal Wing. From there Decatron banished his D/D Lamia during his turn and somehow avoid dying to his remaining attackers manly a Hope Harbringer. During my next turn I topdeck Void Imagination, but first use Decatron to become Harmadik. Decatron blew up his Hope Harbringer Titanic Galaxy, summoned Seitsemas from the graveyard and then used his remaining monster (I want to say Odd-Eyes Absolute Dragon) to fusion summon Infernoid Tierra. These three cards take out the rest of my opponent’s board. On the next turn he uses Pot of Desires, but surrenders after dropping to 3 cards in deck with no outs to the double banish from grave effect.

Game 2 he throws up the aforementioned stun board with Crytal Wing, and Hope Harbringer, but makes a misplay and cannot bring out Siegfried. I first use Book of Eclipse to force Hope Harbringer’s effect, then drop Harmadik to force Crytal Wing’s effect. After this I activate Void Imagination, but flips D-Barrier naming fusion. Having no resources left alongside being dead on board I surrender.

Game 3 I go first and mill as much as possible with Raiden, however all I manage to mill was exactly enough cards to use Fairytale Snow. He proceeds to start comboeing off to make an OTK board while I sat there trying to choose the right thing to flip face-down. When he finally made Odd-Eyes Absolute along with a Lamia I flip down the Lamia with Snow banishing all my other cards in the process. He kills Snow leaving me with nothing, while he has Hope Bringer, 2 D/D Savants and Absolute. I topdeck Reasoning mill a bunch of cards and then hit Decatron. Decatron becomes Seitsemas and I bring out another Seitsemas. Decatron attacks Kepler, but is met with Dark Contract of the witch (however it was on attack declaration so I tribute it to banish a card his graveyard. After that Seitsemas attacks a Savant and banishes his facedown Lamia. I then summon another Seitsemas from my graveyard. On his next turn for some reason I use Decatron to banish the slime he placed in the grave off Foolish Burial, which actually stunts his turn to the point that his passes.. After which I top deck another Decatron and use it to become Antra to bounce Odd-Eye’s Absolute Dragon. I then sacrfifce Setisemas to Monster Gate and mill cards until I hit another Decatron! Said Decatron becomes something I becomes Harmadik to destroy one of his blockers, before I summon Infernoid Devyaty and destoryed the rest of his board. On his next turn he uses Desires and draws into Lamia and Swirl Slime, but has no way to use them. And that’s how I beat Full Power D/D/D in round 1 of my locals…

Win 2-1

I had no belief that I could win this match. I was resigned to defeat from the beginning of game 1 and was even more prepared for it after banishing all my cards to Fairytale Snow. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that your deck can at times surprise you. One could easily make the argument (which I have legitimate counter to) that all I did was topdeck/mill well. I cannot deny this playing a deck like Infernoid, which is very mill dependent. The takeaway is if you believe in the heart of the cards…

If you trust in your deck sometimes it will do everything in its power to win for you.

I’m not sure if that sounds crazy, touching or creepy…

Let’s hope for the former.

Round 2 Vs Domain Monarchs

Game 1 my opponent bricks and I run through his easily with Monster Gate into Devyaty. Game 2 we get into grind game and forgot that even neutered Monarchs can grind like no other deck (bar maybe Burning Abyss). I managed to out his Vanity’s Fiend with Fairytale, but he ghost ogres it. I take a direct attack from Vanity’s before topdecking Decatron to out it. We go back and forth for a few more turns before I run out of resources and lose. Game 3 he bricks and I manage to establish a loaded graveyard. He drops Majesty’s Fiend, but it dies to Devyaty alongside a Decatron naming Pirmais. We go back and forth for a few turns (due to Devyyaty preventing me from summoning more Infernoids). Eventually I draw into Raiden and Solemn Warning. This allows me to finally push damage in through his set Squires and Prime, which had very few cards to banish. He finally normal summons a squire, I solemn it and he surrenders.

Win 2-1

Round 3: Vs Blue Eyes White Dragon

Game 1 I load my graveyard up turn 1 and he surrenders claiming his hand cannot play through that many cards. Game 2 he forces me to start again and wipes out my board with interrupted kaiju slumber and OTKs me. Game 3 I make him go first, but he uses Skill Drain combined with Maxx C. I fail to OTK him and on the next turn he OTKs me using the same combo.

Loss: 1-2

And that’s what happened.

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To make a long story very short. Something something the Heart of the Cards. That’s what Dan Green told me in the Yugioh Duel Links phone game anyway. Download it, it’s really nostalgic.

Thanks for reading!

Also the real highlight of the whole night.

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Blue Green Would Never lead to 0-2 Drop! Aether Revolt Pre-Release (Can mythic rares soothe the pain of losing?)

Aether Revolt Pre-Release happened. I played in 2 events, the two-headed giant and then the singles. Let’s get right into it, because I’m starved for time, strength and ENERGY!

.

..

*Heads to bad joke jail

 

2-Headed Giant

Decks:

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I played Blue/Green Midrange and my partner played Red/White Vehicles. My partner’s notables were 2 copies of Sram’s Expertise, though the Untethered Express was the mvp.

 

Rounds:

Round 1: Vs Green/White Energy and Mono-Red Artifacts

The green/white player dropped Greenbelt Rampager turn 3, while her partner played Pia’s Revolution (and honestly not much else). Meanwhile, we developed the board with Sram’s Expertise along with my Ridgescale Tusker to boost my team. We were able to alpha them from 20 to 4 using the Train. From there the game was all but taken.

Win 1-0

Round 2: Vs Mono Blue Bombs and Red/Black Control

We rushed our opponents with early game aggression. We killed their 0/4 Consulate Skygate just to get in for more damage. Our biggest swing was an alpha strike that took them from 26 to 11. The bombs never came in time for them and we rushed them for game.

Win 1-0

Round 3: Blue/Green Midrange and Red/Black Control

That same couple that I’ve played against at least seven times now were once my opponents. We agreed to split and thus did not play this game seriously, which is good because they beat us using the 3/5 Flying Vehicle with lifelink. My only goal was for my partner to drop the Exquisite Archangel to reset our life to 30, but we didn’t get there.

Loss 0-1

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We got these packs for our ranking. My partner opened the nice Masterpiece Obvilion Stone, and I walked home with Tezzeret, the Schemer and a foil Botanical Sanctum.

Singles Sealed

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I tried Blue/Green again with Aetherflux Ancient and Planar Bridge to get it again. This deck was painfully slow and awkward leading me to the path of X-2 drop.

 

Rounds:

Round 1: Vs Green/Black

I take game 1 thanks to the Aethertouch Stomper. Game 2 I lose to the 6/6 wurm for 6. Game 3 I open 1 land and mulligan. I then open 0 lands and mulligan to 5 on the play…

I admitted at that point that there was no hope of winning.

Loss: 1-2

Round 2: Vs Green/Black Again

I take round 1 again, learning very quick that my opponent was inexperienced (by his being astounded by the power of Deadlock Trap). Game 2 we grind for almost 20 minutes until he managed to run out my energy and kill my Aetherflux Ancient. Game 3 he manages to kill me 20 seconds before time. At that point I shook his hand and promptly called it a day.

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This was one of those Pre-Releases where I opened enough decent cards (overall) that I can’t complain about ultimately losing near the end. The games were fun, the people were nice and I had a good time in the end. You can only ask for so much.

Thanks for reading as usual.

Yugioh Rogue Deck Analysis: Yosenju (Beating Vanity’s Since 2015)

(Submitted by a friend)

Relevant Rogue: Yosenju

Formats in Yugioh tend to change every couple months with new decks controlling the meta.  I started playing in Nekroz format and have continued to play through several formats dominated by shaddolls, monarchs, burning abyss, kozmo, pkba, pepe, blue eyes, paleos, and metalfoes.  Throughout most of it I have played the same archetype: Yosenjus.  I originally chose to play Yosenjus for three reasons 1) I wasn’t sure if I was going to commit to Yugioh and did not want to spend too much getting into the game 2) they were reminiscent of the spirit archetype I used to play as a kid and 3) they were secret rare.  What was surprising to me was that I was able to have success with the deck across all of these formats.  I will try to explain why I think that is below:

Nekroz Format (Nekroz, shaddolls, qli’s, tellars)

Nekroz of Unicore and Shaddoll Winda were cards that dominated the meta because of their ability to limit a player’s extra deck strength.  Though neither monster was that big, it was difficult to find a way to eliminate them without using an extra deck.  The Yosenjus, however, almost never special summon and were able to play through these locks in main phase 1 and follow up with xyz plays in main phase 2 if necessary.  Similarly, when Qli’s were maining triple vanity’s, Yosenjus were able to play through it without any problems.  The fact that Yosenjus could also play limited cards like Macro Cosmos and Dimensional Fissure without any drawbacks further improved the pendulum matchup (as well as several other matchups).  Finally, since tellars usually consolidated resources into an xyz monster, Yosenju Kama 1 could easily cause your opponent to lose lots of card advantage.  In this format I played pure Yosenjus with floody backrows, basically Yosenju Demise without the Demise.

Pepe Format (PePe, pendulum magicians)

This format lasted all of 2 weeks.  However, I believe it provides a good example of how versatile Yosenjus can be.  Yosenjus as an engine is roughly 9 cards (playset of each Kama, 12 if you include Tenki).  Because of this, it can be combined with several different archetypes.  The combination that I had found to be successful in this format was Baby Raccoon Yosenjus.  Pendulums dominated this format and the raccoon engine opened up Naturia Beast to cut off the entire mechanic.  The Yosenjus could easily remove scales to make Naturia Beast even more terrifying.  The raccoons could create a soft lock with Ronin Sandayu.  It was easy to control how many cards you had in your hand with the Yosenjus in order to easily negate cards with Fabled Unicore.  You could use Diamond Dire Wolf to remove problem cards by targeting your own Ronin Sandayus, making Diamond Dire an extremely powerful option.  Furthermore, Ronin Sandayu opened up more OTK’s with the Yosenju monsters.  The synergy between the rank 2’s and 4’s doesn’t end there however.  Cat shark could create OTK’s with Dark Rebellion XYZ Dragon if you didn’t already have a Daigusto Phoenix on board.  Though Pepe was the undisputed deck-to-beat, I believe Baby Raccoon Yosenjus was a good counter to the deck, going first or second.

Monarch Format (Monarch, BA, Kozmo)

Around Pepe format was when we first got Kaijus.  At the time we only had Kumongous and Dogoran and there was an obvious gimmick that could be abused with the Yosenjus (kaiju a monster, bounce it back).  At the time I considered it to be a fun tech to put in my pure Yosenju build.  However, when Breakers of Shadow released Interrupted Kaiju Slumber, I completely changed how my deck was supposed to run.  Instead of opting to go first and setting floodgate cards, I opted to go second and wipe boards for OTK’s.  The deck became nearly trapless.  The only floodgates I kept were Dimensional Fissure and Necrovalley.  Both of those cards could be activated before using Slumber to ensure that your BA, Monarch, and Kozmo opponents negged as hard as possible.  If you didn’t win that turn, there was good chance that those floodgates prevented your opponent from recycling resources to threaten you the next turn.  Kaijus were an absolute godsend for Yosenjus.  They didn’t count as tribute summoned monsters, so you could turn off Domain.  They didn’t trigger Beatrice’s effect.  They didn’t trigger Kozmo ship effects.  They also shut down Kozmo pilots’ ability to tag out as well as making set Kozmojos dead.  Kaijus also removed Kirin, Cyber Dragon Infinity and Vortex Dragon, cards that used to give us trouble.  Since almost nobody played traps this format, Yosenju Kaiju had free reign to just wipe boards and OTK all the time.  The deck was also extremely unpopular during this format and almost no one realized that I actually wanted to go second every game.  To be honest, I believe this was the easiest format for Yosenjus.  OTK’s were way too easy.  Everyone would overextend (since Exciton got banned) and consolidate all of their power into a kaiju-able boss monster.  The only hard matchup was Mermail and it honestly came down to the die roll.

At this time, Yosenju Demise was pretty popular.  I still think that deck sucks in comparison.

ABC Format (ABC, Metalfoe, Paleo)

I wish I could say more about this format.  Unfortunately, I had picked up Paleozoics during this format and left Yosenjus in the deck box.  The sheer number of trap cards in this format scared the hell out of me and I didn’t want to deal with never being able to summon any Yosenjus.  I thought Yosenjus wouldn’t be viable this format.  However, I was proven wrong when Yosenju Kaiju got first place at the Portrush Regional.  As I said, I thought backrow was the death of the deck.  The person piloting the first place deck must have also realized that since his deck profile listed 3x twin twisters, 3x MST, and 2x Nightbeam.  I only wish I had the balls to try that first.  That being said, I am not upset about playing Paleozoics…the deck is just too good.  It just feels so powerful playing a meta deck.

Looking Forward (Zoodiacs)

Add zoodiacs.

Closing Remarks

Through my own playtesting and tournament success, I would confidently say that Yosenjus have been a relevant rogue option since 2015.  The fact that the Yosenju engine is extremely small makes it incredibly flexible when mashing it with other engines.  The reliance on normal summons is a huge weakness, but it makes for that in its ability to swarm without the use of special summoning.  The fact that they return to hand means it becomes much harder for your opponent to remove your card advantage with board wipes, and makes it even more profitable for you to use board wipes like Torrential Tribute and Dark Hole.  Yosenjus play using game mechanics that are outside the set used by meta decks, while also providing enough wiggle room to include answers to the problems that meta decks can put up.

I realize I had forgotten to write about Blue Eyes.  The only matchup that was easier than Blue Eyes was Kozmo.  Your opponent would lose so much if you kaiju’d their spirit dragon.  Even if they used soul charge on turn 1, you could break the entire board with just 1 kaiju and 1 slumber.  Out of all the events I went to, I only lost to 1 Blue Eyes player ever and he was playing the cheesy Chaos Max turbo version.  To be fair, the Blue Eyes matchup was also a matchup I had had plenty of practice with.  Outside of events I would playtest with a friend who loved the deck.  He’s a good player, but I believe that he was only able to take a couple matches from Yosenjus because he became very familiar with what options Yosenjus have (while the typical Yugioh player at a regional, at the time, had no idea how the deck worked).  Therefore, I could abuse the fact that my opponent didn’t know how to stop me.  At an event, a match against blue eyes, kozmo, or BA was a free win.

yosenju

Thanks for reading.

Format Saved? Wizards of the Coast Bans the standard superstars (January 2017 Magic the Gathering Banlist Summary)

In a shocking turn of events Wizards of the Coast has released an update to the Magic the Gathering banlist. Let’s get right into it.

 

Banned in Standard:

  • Emrakul, the Promised End
  • Smuggler’s Copter
  • Reflector Mage

Banned in Modern

  • Gitaxian Probe
  • Golgari Grave Troll

 

The Standard bans

Emrakul, the Promised End at first was the top end threat for Delirium decks. However, with the release of Kaladesh it became a core piece of the Aetherworks Marvel deck.

aetherworks

Basically the card Aetherworks Marvel lets spend 6 energy to look at the top 6 cards of your deck and cast one without paying its mana cost. This allowed you to play Emrakul a 13/13 flier as early as turn 3. Furthermore, since Emrakul was cast you would get to take control of your opponent’s next turn. This was often a debilitating momentum swing that would win the Aetherworks player the game on the spot. Furthermore, with Emrakul’s innate ability to cost 1 less for each card type in your graveyard often made it cost only about 6-8 mana to just play normally. This allowed Emrakul to steal the potential slots for other 6-8 drops in the format. From the article and from a recent twitter backlash we can tell that many players did not like Emrakul’s effect on Standard.

design

Emrakul’s ban is something I agree with this completely. Aetherworks Marvel pushed the card over the line with the ability to cheat it out so easily. Furthermore, a 13/13 flier is just game-breaking in general.

Smuggler’s Copter

This card was as the article wrote “pushed too far”. Why bother playing with all the other vehicles when there was a 2 mana 3/3 flier that allows you filter through your deck? Copter was arguably the best card in standard acting as an evasive threat that could be slotted into pretty much any deck with creatures.

smuggler

This card was very powerful and pretty much was an entry point into the format. I am happy to see it go.

Reflector Mage

This card was very strong during the Collected Company format back when Dragons of Tarkir and Magic Origins were legal. Of late it was seeing play in White Blue Flash.

flash

This hit was described in the article as a way to check this deck in particular. I’m not going to lie, I don’t really see the point, but as a primary EDH/Commander player I can’t really fathom how much of a tempo swing Reflector Mage was.

 

The Modern Bans 

Gitaxian Probe

This card was a essentially a free draw spell. It was an automatic 4 of in every combo deck and the aggro deck Death Shadow. The article says that it facilitated turn 3 kills and prevented players from bluffing, both of which seem like fair points. I can understand banning probe. Saying “It does too much for too little cost” is an understatement (once again see the article).

Golgari Grave Troll

I’ve watched lot of Dredge and can I safely say that it’s either the most unfair deck I’ve ever seen or the absolute worst one. The best draw of dredge leaves an army of creatures as early as turn 2, which as the article mentions just made the match-up just a race for the anti-dredge sideboard cards. I’m certain many dredge players are sad that their deck is once again dead, but this is a positive event for Modern in my opinion.

 

Final Thoughts

I wish Konami would follow Wizard’s example and release a short post explaining their banlist choices. This whole blog post was just me restating what was in their article essentially. Anyway, these hits have saved standard from being more of the same for the year or so. I believe they were the correct decision to ensure the health of the format. As for Modern I doubt anything can truly fix that format, but these hits were a kind gesture.

c4rd4r7_wtd0arya3x

Thanks for reading as always.

Credit to MTGgoldfish for the deck profiles