Monday, April 10, 2017

Epic Strategy #6: The Burning Man



Epic Strategy #6:  The Burning Man

Player A: 14 extra Life, board control, and 7 cards(Notice the burn master in the blue, that smile/stare usually only means one thing in a card game....)



Player A: 2 turns later

              Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Epic Strategy!  Today we have a "hot" topic(Sorry obligatory pun or Wasabi will punish me) for you gentlemen to contemplate.  Today, we are going to learn all about burn.  I will come clean with you guys, I absolutely love using burn on my opponents to win.  Being able to seal the deal and win with some clutch burn spells takes a lot of patience and skill, but the payoff is incredible.  Fortunately, burn is quite balanced in Epic as you can quickly end up in a losing position if you cant pull off the kill.  You need to realize that the most important life will always be the last hit point.  The article today will be focusing again on the core set.  I am going to keep with the trend and keep writing core set articles until we get the expansions on digital.  To do burn right in a dark draft, you need to focus on the following

     1) Valuation of each Burn card
       2)  Burn Card Synergy/Counters
             3)  When to Burn and when to wait


Burn Card Valuation


"Goooooooooooooooooooodddddddd"
-Emperor Palpatine Star Wars Episode 6


              An amateur mistake is to value burn cards solely based on their damage output.  We must take into account the cost/damage/value potential of the card before making a correct valuation.  While Flame Strike is great at eight damage, it obviously does not have a draw 2 or recall effect on it.  Listed below is every burn card in the core set with a quick sentence on why I value it as high as I do(As always, there are exceptions based on each unique draft!).

1)  Lightning Strike-  This is the best burn card in the set.  It is flexible at wiping tokens/Dealing direct damage or perfectly splitting up damage to kill two weaker champions.  Recall makes this a great finisher.
2)  Flame Strike-  8 damage is a sweet spot in the game.  This kills some nasty things like Ice Drakes/Gold Dragons while doing almost a third of your opponents life in damage.  
3)  Flash Fire-  I love having a token wipe in my deck as a safety net vs any build up on the board.  I am usually not worried at all about the 2 damage to myself.  It also has a draw 2 as backup.  The zero cost on this card makes it incredibly good.
4)  Fire ball-  Another great zero cost card that can also be a 1 sided flash fire.  It still has the flexibility to kill small things such as the plucker or muse with no harm done to you.
5)  Rain of Fire-  This card makes it a bit lower on the scale, as there needs to be several targets out for this to do work.  However, most of the time I get great value out of this card.  It kills two medium sized targets and deals 5 damage to their face.
6)  Pyromancer-  A great body(pun intended!) with 5/7 that has a consistent burn engine built in.  She makes a great threat on the board if your opponent is super low as they need to deal with her, or give you the option to keep burning them down.
7)  Fire Shaman-  This card is incredible, but the problem is that it requires a good chunk of green to get it going.  A plus 3 burn with any 1 gold green puts a lot of pressure on the opponent.  She combo's super well with other burn as she turns most burn spells into a flame strike damage wise.  She is also a nice little chump blocker.
8)  Hunting Raptors-  A great loyalty guy if you are committed to green.  He really needs that blitz to be super effective.  When you have the loyalty he is right up in the top 3.  8 damage and a 5/5 on the board. This guy really gets the tick tock noise stuck in your opponent's head.
9)  Strafing Dragon-  Another great card, but you lose the flexibility with the loyalty.  
10)  Forked Lightning-  I often find myself not getting incredible use out of this card.  5 is an awkward damage point in the game.  It doesn't kill much, and lacks the flexibility of Rain of Fire's draw 2 effect.


Burn Synergy/Counters

       In order to melt someones face properly, you need to have a decently heavy burn synergy going.  This lies in the inherent basic problem of your opponent starting with an abundance of life.  Any burn strategy is going to revolve around the whittling away of HP, until the burn kill range is met.  An ideal deck will have a high burn kill range.  This will require you to have the highest burn spell possible in combination with a zero cost burn card.  So if you have a flame strike+fireball in your deck the burn kill range is 11 and so on with the other card combinations.  This brings us to the first synergy of burn spells which is.........

Burn Synergy #1: MO BURN!


             Yes, it is pretty amazing to think that burn combos with itself.  If your deck has 1 burn spell, it is super unlikely to deal the winning blow.  However, if you have a lightning storm and flame strike in hand...  You can deal 14 damage in just 2 turns!  A lot of times this is a knock out as the opponent is immediately killed the second they try and swing in to try and finish you off after getting burned the previous turn.  The issue further compounds itself as the core set is very limited on burn and life gain.  So you can calculate and make some pretty solid assumptions about the burn that will take place in every single draft.  If I got most of the burn, I can play much more risky and aggressive as I know he can not burn me for 8 if I have flame strike.


Burn Synergy #2:  Blitz and Fliers



                   As I stated earlier, once you have drafted a lot of burn you are going to need guys like guilt demon to whittle the opponents health into the kill range.  Any card with blitz or flying will be even stronger than usual if you have drafted a good chunk of burn.  Small damage adds up fast in Epic.  It only takes a few little guys and tokens to get your opponent down to that mid life range. Cards that have blitz AND flying are of exceptional value already, but they go even further with burn spells in your deck.  

Burn Counters


           I am typically against counter picking in Epic.  That necromancer lord is just one sad panda in my non-red deck, while they still got incredible cards that are breaking everything in sight.  When it comes to burn though, you will see me edge more toward counter picks.  The images above show the big 3 in the core set that deal with burn.  This is where it is useful for you to keep scrolling through what has been passed and what has been burned.  I am very worried about passing these cards if I have committed to a lot of burn cards and will value these to the next degree if that is the case.  This is especially the case with Drain Essence, which is a great card for any deck.

When To Burn


          In the opening story to this piece, we learned an important lesson.  Your opponent is still alive if they have 1 hp.  Burn is usually best served up when it is the final blow, not the first blow.  A turn 1 flame strike is just awkward.  Sure you smack them in the face and are technically "winning," but then when he draws 2 and sets up an incredible board you will have a hard time making anything out of your initial play.  I will mull burn spells if I draw them in the opening hand other than the draw 2 ones or a Lightning Storm.  It is also important to be very lenient with your zero cost burn spells when it comes to champion removal.  If my opponent throws down a muse while I have a fireball in hand, 9/10 that muse is going to eat that fireball even if my opponent is at a relatively close burn kill range.  For the most part, burn should be stockpiled into your hand as if it is firewood.  Sometimes you have to give the wood back that you have kindled.  If a gold dragon is coming at my face and I only have the Flame strike up to kill it, then I will not spare the dragon.  It can be very easy to get too greedy and try to rely too much on the burn kill.  As a player you should always be fighting over the board and card advantage in addition to burning your opponent out.  It is usually a bad idea in the draft to focus on one threshold of winning.  Be patient and relaxed as you whittle your opponent down.  For the time to burn will come sure enough.


I have been out the past few days for a wedding and have a busy week catching up on work this week.  You shall fear not, as the stream will be returning in due time!  There is also a rumor of some two headed dragon that has been roaming the digital app and burned down a village by the name of Kinger!  I am investigating the situation and will have more details in the future about this!

-EnvySmoke

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Epic Strategy #5: The Ugly





Epic Strategy #5:  The Ugly


Evil Bob 1 gold
Loyalty 2
1/1
Deal 30 damage to yourself then deal 30 damage to your opponent

             Hello and welcome to Epic Strategy #5!  We are in full swing for alpha and I am loving every second of it.  You see back in the glory days, I had exactly one Epic opponent which was my good friend Daniel(Wasabi online).  Epic is an incredible game, but playing the same guy 2,000 times can get rather dull.  We both did not live anywhere near the qualifiers so we were sad to not be able to try and qualify.  We were drafting 4 times a week and devouring the game, but the lack of different and new opponents left us unsatisfied.  Now with the Epic digital, Wasabi and I have been loving the chance to play all of the new players.  In coming across plenty of players, I have seen some cards get used a lot more than they should.  As great as the design of Epic is(trying to make every card amazing), there are still a few cards that fall short in the core set of glory.  Today we will go over these cards and I will explain why I feel they are weak sauce.  Keep in mind, most of these cards do have a perfect scenario where they are as good as any card, but the problem is....

How often will that perfect scenario happen?

Ugly #1
                    

          Sorry to rain on your parade, but having an 18/18 has to have major drawbacks.  As amazing as this card looks stat wise and with a breakthrough, it still falls short of matching the speed of the game.  Removal is everywhere in Epic, so naturally any card that does not pay for itself with card draw or some extra value is just dead in the water.  If you open with this card, then your opponent will have 3 different opportunities to deal with this card(End of turn/His Turn/Your turn when you swing in)  In a game full of removal, the early bird gets the wurm.  The one use of our beloved big guy is with Final Task.  If this guy gets stocked in a graveyard, then it can be a deadly play giving this guy blitz with his built in breakthrough/high damage.  Unfortunately, he almost always gets bounced or banished or hated out of the graveyard.


Ugly #2 Vampire Lord

        
Just imagine the sound effect of that grave opening.... EEEEEEEEEEE.  


            You will quickly notice that they almost ran out of room for text on this card.  That is usually a good sign for a card.  However, the vampire lord falls short of glory in that he has lots of good traits, but no specialty.  Removal is a big problem for any of the "Watch me Grow!" cards.  Bounce and banish hard counter this card into the grave.  Since he starts at such a low damage point, it is hard for him to ambush in and block something to then live the next turn.  Best case scenario, you ambush this guy in then break the whole board on your turn and then swing in with him.  Even then, one erase and your opponent takes zero damage and the board is clear again.

Ugly #3  Chomp


           I have played about 50 dark drafts now on the digital platform.  I still have yet to pick Chomp even once.  There is not even close to enough dinosaur champions in the core set for this to be even remotely close to viable.  When I get removal I want a bonus effect as well.  Cards like Inner Demon advance my board and remove any champion in the game on my turn.  On top of that, those cards offer me the chance to draw 2!  This card lacks value and any synergy.

Ugly #4  Dark Leader


       This card is just a no.  Dark leader suffers the same fate as the vampire lord.  He has so many keywords and options, but in the end he does not have any super good qualities.  Buffing other human champions +1 is meh, and his 4/4 stat line is very meager.  He also spawns humans way to slow to really get a benefit out of that ability.  I have used him very rarely in the expansion packs when I have been able to draft a heavy human token deck.  Otherwise, this guy is trash.


Ugly #5  


A vital card in building a bad deck.

         Vital mission wants to be so good, but at the same time it has too many negative effects to outweigh the good.  Gaining life is great, but giving up the board is bad.  To get the max benefit you need to sacrifice one of your big guys to get all of the life.  The only time this card can shine is when you have the Peoples Champion in your deck.  That is a great combo as you get 8 life/two human tokens/two cards.  However, you not only have to have the Peoples Champion out, you also have to have this card ready to go as well.  It is a bit too far fetched of a combo to get out.  Many times you will hate having this card in your hand.




Conclusion

I figured you had not seen enough of evil Bob yet, so I put him up one last time.  Be careful in the draft out there folks.  Many cards will tempt you with the illusion of being good.  "I'm 18/18!"  they scream!  Walk past these guys, as you will soon find that even a tiny little 2/3 gargoyle is immensely more useful than a wurm who is going to enjoy the warmth of the bottom of your deck for far too long.

P.S

My stream is live!  I stream different hours each day based on my work schedule.  I am archiving all of my clips though.  I am trying to talk as much as possible about every choice I make on my stream so that you can learn how to draft a solid deck.  Here is the link.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Epic Strategy #4: Gladiators of Board Control








Epic Strategy #4:  
Gladiators of the Board

Who would win?

Sea Titan

VS

Cheesy American Reality Show Guy



           I remember watching American Gladiators as a kid and being impressed, yet at the same time I felt embarrassed to be watching it.  You have these impressive athletes that are doing incredible battles, but the spandex and cheesy uniforms just gets me every time.  If you have not figured it out yet, the Sea Titan won.




Board Control is #1 

           Now that I have created a whole new fan base for American Gladiators, we can move on.  In Epic, the board is your arena.  Your first priority in every game is to take over the board while pushing their gladiator's off the board.  Of course, this is easier said than done as there is only one board and your opponent is going to have the same plan .  This all begins in the draft.  There are several heroes in the game that control the board exceptionally well.   Please keep in mind, I try to keep these to about a 10-15 minute read so I will not be able to cover every card in depth.  However, after you read this you should be able to recognize what you are looking for in a card and what you need to pick based on the theme of the strategy.  

The Champions of Board Control



           Since we are in the core set on digital, I am going to focus in a bit more on these guys in this post.  I call this the holy trinity of board control.  These 3 champions are exceptionally good picks in the game as they are a double edged sword.  Each of these cards establish your board presence, while weakening theirs.  That double threat is the true power.  Sure, you can play a great card like Triceratops, but you wont get that + and - effect at once.  The icing on the cake is that these cards are great in any color as they are tribute effects not loyalty effects(Ex. Medusa).  These cards shine their best, when the opponent has the board control with 1 creature.  You start your turn and in seconds,the tables have turned.  Since there are only a few of these in the draft, landing one can be devastating if your opponent can not immediately re-balance the board at the end of your turn/their turn.  These cards are at their maximum effect with the not so surprising card.  



       Ambushing one of these cards into the board can cause a complete turn around in the game.  When your Kong destroys the board, and then gets to swing 13 damage at their face it is not a pretty day for your opponent.  This usually forces a gold to be spent, which will then lower their defenses further for a huge hit like Gold Dragon/Lord of the Arena/etc.  So remember this, your main goal on most turns of Epic is to make sure that you have at least 1 champion into play while they have none and so on.  If they have 1 champion you want two champions into play.  Unless there is an obvious exception, you should be doing everything in your power to try and make sure you have a solid board control in Epic.

"Okay, I have the board what next?"

          Once you have the board under your command, it is time to take the next steps.  Generally, consistent board control will eventually lead you down 1 of 2 paths to victory.  Here is a flow map of how it breaks down usually.



                 It can be very tempting to get a small lead and then overstep your bounds and try and win to quick.  Some players will get board control and then try to burn their opponent down to fast, which gives him too much time to recover the board and then start punishing you.  If you do not have board control you can not try and force one of the win conditions unless you have already done significant damage.  So maintain board control and then focus on squeezing your opponent out.  I cant stress enough how important card draw is.  Sure you can control the board, but if he has 6 cards and you have 2 cards you are going to run out of cards to maintain your board control really fast.  You really need to be at the very least only 1 card behind or equal to really put this theory into effect.

The Events of Board Control


               Sometimes your creature will end up sticking on the field, but he will be met with a challenger.  You may also need to re-establish your own board control.  These 3 cards here are the holy trinity of doing so.  Just like the champions above, they are great in any deck.  Bitten/Inner Demon are very good in the core set.  When played on your turn, they instantly do the +1/-1 effect to the board as we described earlier.  Banishment is a great card at retaining board control or settling the 1 on 1 scenario.  Banishment is also very good to because it keeps your card draw alive while maintaining the board which is a nice bonus.  These are very good picks in a draft.


Over-Extending Your Board


John looked at his board and grinned as he just smashed his opponents Angelic Protector with his Kong.  His Sea Titan was ready to swing next.  He then asked the important question way too late.  "You would not happen to have a board wipe would you?"  John is still depressed about what happened that dark day.

        As with many things in life too much of a good thing can become a problem.  Board wipes are everywhere in Epic.  With all 3 sets combined in a draft, it is increasingly rare for each player to only end up with only 1-2 board wipes.  Most of my uprising drafts end up with me getting a solid 3-4 board wipes to hit the "Oh Shit" button.  In Epic, we have to play around the board wipe as it can happen at any time.  There are many variables to consider here, but a general idea is relative to my champion presence on the board compared to his.  With that said, once I have about 2 extra champions out on the field compared to my opponent(not counting tokens), I begin to focus back on card draw and removal instead of throwing more champions down to only die in the fire.  If you over extend your board, you will find it very difficult to regain the board back while keeping a high card count in your hand.


Pass the Buck


              A good idea to follow is that once you have board control, you should be trying to pass your turn to your opponent as much as possible.  If I have a lone Kong out, and I swing in to kill and kill his last remaining demon token then I will attempt to end the turn.  If he kills the Kong with removal then I can quickly reestablish board control with a new creature.  If he accepts the ending, he will then spend his turn killing your Kong giving you time to ambush a new champion in or draw 2 cards and restart the process again until you can make it down the flow map we discussed earlier.  

Conclusion

              In conclusion, keep the idea of board control always in the back of your head.  Board control is your first mission in Epic.  Good board control will open all of the doors to find the right chink in your opponents armor to deal the finishing blow.  I am looking forward to getting online and playing some games with all of you tomorrow!   

















Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Epic Strategy #3: From Zero to Golden Hero




From Zero to Golden Hero


The keeper of secrets was notorious for his golden medal collection.  He dreamed of the day that White Wizard Games would make him worth a gold.
-Random Epic Fan Lore

        Hello all, it is time for Epic Strategy #3!  Today we are going to focus on the all to classic story of a zero becoming a hero.  I have already mentioned my love for zeros in my past two posts, but I wanted to take you on an even closer in depth look at how powerful these zeros can really be.  In this post you are going to read about some of my favorite zeros in the current game.  I wish I had the time and energy to describe each and every zero that I adore, but today we will just lay the foundation.  A part two may be in order based on how well this post is received.  Once again, I need to advise you to take everything I say with a grain of salt.  In complex strategies games there are usually exceptions to every theory and general strategy.  I would say that about 90% of the time I will take these zeros if I see them in a draft.  I call these zeros the "golden hero's" as there has been many times where I would of gladly spent my gold for the powerful effect they have on the board.
     With the right card combinations you will feel like you are spending two gold a turn!  For each card I show, I will give you some example scenarios of the card in action so you can get a sense of how to use it.  Lastly, I want you to know that these are not ranked in any order of power.

Zero Hero #1

Muse


          When I first started drafting I knew that zeros would be important, but I did not value a lot of them correctly.  Fortunately, Muse was a dead give away on a top zero in the game.   Card draw is so important in Epic and this card is geared to help you get cards for free.  Not only does she perform amazingly well in that regard, the airborne is the perfect touch of power to her.   Since my opponent is very likely to remove her asap, I usually attack with her when I am able to.  Airborne zeros are much harder to deal with in the game than ground based ones.  9 times out of 10 the text on this card really ends up being.  

Muse 2/2

Draw 1 card
Deal 2 damage
Force your opponent to use removal that they would of liked to save for something else.

You just cant beat the value of this card.  If it sticks on the board for two turns it has done massive work for its cost.

A quick reminder for new players...  Only play this card at the end of your opponents turn AFTER they have spent their gold.  Do not get sucker punched by playing this only to get it removed instantly by a board wipe or removal giving your opponent more value.  Of course, every card has counters so don't expect an auto win when playing this.  Wizards was wise to introduce plenty of new 2 damage zeros to help combat Muse.

Scenario #1

           The opponent plays Draka's Enforcer to an empty board to establish some presence and card draw.  He attempts to end the turn.  At the end of turn, I draw two and then place muse down.  He has no removal, so he attempts to end the turn again.  At the start of my turn, I draw a brave squire(more card draw magically makes you draw the right cards! How crazy is that?).  I swing in with muse, and he blocks with Draka's Enforcer.  I then brave squire the muse taking out the Drakas enforcer and leave the board with a muse and human token, and I have not even spent my gold yet!  I attempt to end the turn to get even further ahead.  If my opponent banishes the muse, then I can play a blitz creature or draw more cards.  If he lets the turn end, then I still have a muse in play that he needs to deal with.


Zero Hero #2

Amnesia


Adam:  What is it Jon
Jon; My... My discard pile?  Its gone.
Adam:  Your right, I...... discarded it(Evil Punny Laugh)

              I thought Amnesia was very weak at first, until I realized the insane power of this card.  This card was especially powerful in the core set only(Watch out during Alpha as this card will spike in power until they release the other sets.).  Simply put, this card just does work.  Graveyard hate is the real deal in Epic.  You can lose a lot of games if your drafted deck does not have some answers to the graveyard in Epic.  This card allows you to deal with any graveyard threats as soon as they are played.  At the same time, you end up answering the threat and drawing a card with a recycle?  Sick!  This card can also finish out close games as it allows you to win the decking race if the game gets to that point(This is less viable at the release of Uprising as there are now many cards that banish entire discard piles).  On top of that, the card has a built in draw two cards for a safety net.  This is an A+ pick for any draft.

Scenario #1 of usefulness

            After several bloody turns, the board is clear.  Player A's graveyard is stocked to the brim with White heroes.  Since you have just spent your gold wiping the board, he smiles as he plays his Angel of Mercy.  He then passes priority back to you, only to turn white as you amnesia his graveyard clearing all of the white goodies that were about to wreck you whilst drawing fresh goodies yourself.  This is a massive swing that has won me several games.

Scenario #2 of usefulness  

           In a close game, you have taken light board control with 2 tokens, but have taken significant damage and are sitting at 12 life.  Player A has 2 cards in hand, and you have 6.  If you can just stay alive, you will be able to destroy him in just a few turns.  Instead of drawing two cards, he decides to go for the kill and plays Lightning storm hitting you for 6.  His plan is to recall the card and finish you for the last 6.  The second he passes priority, Amnesia hits the table and ends his parade.  When my friend did this play to me, there was about 20 seconds of awkward silence.

Scenario #3,054 of usefulness(Just pick this card mkay?)

         With two stacked graveyards after turn 10, both players are looking to finish each other.  Player A has just used Palace guard to banish your Kong off the board.  With a quick glance, you notice you have 10 champions in your graveyard to his 9 champions.  He attempts to end the turn so you first play Amnesia banishing his graveyard.  Then you play Zombie Apocalypse finishing the palace guard off and creating 10 zombies vs his 1 zombie.  With that swing, you are able to finish him off the next turn.


Zero Hero #3

 Raxxa's Curse


"Sometimes you get to stare at a lovely muse, and sometimes you get smashed by the demon lord himself."
Ancient Epic Card Game Proverb

         This card does work, absolute work.  Putting a demon token into play is great, but wait, I get to break a zero champion as well?  This card is great for stopping tempo plays as we discussed in Epic Strategy 1.  I am very satisfied if a card balances the tempo, but this card goes the extra mile, by giving the tempo back to you on a silver platter.  As always, having that extra draw 2 ability seals the deal on the power of this card.  The more choices the better.

Scenario

          Player A has it all set up for turn 1.  He is going to play little devil to try and draw Player B into a trap.  He has Lord of the Arena with Lash in hand ready as a follow up to Player B's response to little devil if there is any.  He plays little Devil and swings in ready to take charge of the game.  Player B simply says "Nope!" and plays Raxxa's curse destroying the devil and getting his own start on the battlefield at the same time.  With both gold's up Player A does not risk playing his Lord of the Arena/Lash combo and draws two instead.

Zero Hero #4

Wolf's Bite


           This card is another great Zero Hero that just wins games.  Do you have plucker problems?  Not anymore!  Are you tired of necromancer lord forcing you to spend your gold to remove him?  Not anymore!  Do you need to remove a muse while getting a chump blocker for a Steel Golem? You need WOLFS BITE.  Order now, and you get to do all of the following while drawing an additional card.  This card is unbelievably good.

Scenario

          At the end of your turn, your opponent happily plays Thought Plucker forcing you to discard.  He is confident with his Steel Golem conquering the board.  His plan is to force you to remove the Plucker with your gold, and then he is going to hit you hard with Steel Golem.  It looks as if you are doomed, but then you say "Wolf's bite!"  Now the plucker is dead, and the Steel Golem is going to chase a wolf around the next turn instead of beating your face into a pulp.

Zero Hero #5

Flash Fire

 


"If I had a dollar for every token this card has destroyed then I could maybe buy half of that standard mtg deck that will be useless in 1.5 years..."
#Shotsfired

         Flash fire is ridiculous.  I cant tell you how many times this has saved my ass.  This card has so many uses, I could go on for hours with the scenarios.  Free board wipes of tokens/Dark Knights/Pesky cards such as Necro lord/Plucker/Muse is incredibly good.  When I do not need the wipe, I can casually draw two.  If I have memory Spirit and this card vs a token deck I am going to win a lot of games.

Scenario #1

         Player A noticed during the draft that he was passing lots of white token cards to his opponent.  Subsequently, he was missing lots of white cards on the pack passes.  HMMMMMMMM.., I wonder if hes playing white?  He hard picks flash fire over a sea titan as he knows it will be more useful in the battle.  Sure enough game 1 of the draft looks like this.  

Turn 1 Player A Draws two.

At the end of the turn Player B plays Secret Legion + Courageous soul and is ready to crash the board.

Player B happily plays Flash fire and enjoys the soothing awkward silence that follows as Player A cant figure out how everything went haywire in 5 seconds.

Scenario #2

            Player A removes a Crystal Golem with Hands From Below(Another hero zero!) generating two zombies.  Player B decides to lick his wounds and draw two cards.   At the end of the turn Player A plays Reap or Sow and puts four zombie tokens on the field getting his total to 6.  Then at the start of his turn he plays Plague Zombies to get his total to 9 zombies that are ticking bombs.  After Player B uses some banish/bounce cards to survive the Zombie threat with 10 hp left, he is shocked when Player A announces that he is going to play flash fire.  The flash fire destroys all of the zombies triggering their effects and finishing him off with direct damage.

Conclusion

           There are another solid 10 or so zeros that I consider heroes.  I encourage you to take the cards discussed in this post and really put them to use.  These cards really shine and help turn the tide of the game.  Remember a zero can always become a hero.  






Thursday, March 9, 2017

Epic Strategy #2 The 3 Core Drafting Principles



The 3 Core Drafting Principles

                 Hello and welcome to the second installment into the Epic strategy blog.  As of today, we are 6 days out from the digital alpha of Epic!  I can not wait.  My friend and I have stepped up our practice regimen and it has killed me on sleep this week, but man was it worth it.  We have had some great games this week.  I am always trying to learn new things when playing Epic as the strategy is very deep in a game like this.  More and more I am finding that many games of Epic are won in the draft instead of the actual game.  So today I want to share with you my approach to drafting in three core steps.  Let's get on to it!

1)  Zeros and Gold

"When you break life down, beneath every choice is a one or a zero"
-Mr. Robot Season 1 

               In the design of Epic the most core principle is in the balance of 1's and zeros.  In games like MTG, you have to not only draft the cards you want in your color, but you must also draft a solid mana curve.  Epic fixes this problem with its economic system.  It is very binary just like the quote.  Every card is a one or a zero.



MTG Mana Curve 😕😕😕😕


Epic Mana Curve 😃😃😃😃


                 This eliminates a lot of the strain and complexity out of a draft.  In doing this we can create a very general rule towards the economy of the game.  In my opinion, the correct drafting range of zeros is around 6-10.  Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule based on your deck and the overall draft, but that is a good general number range.  If I am nearing the end of a draft and I only have 4 zeros I am going to be very nervous and pick zeros at a much higher rate as my deck will be terribly clunky and almost unplayable without at least six zeros.  Another side note here is to keep your zeros organized as a group as you draft so you can quickly count the number you are at.  I keep the zeros at the forefront of my hand so I always have quick access to how many zeros I have acquired as that effects every decision in my drafting process.



2) Synergy/Theme Before Color



        It is safe to say that a lot of players that play Epic will have some experience in MTG as the games are very similar.  One big thing I struggled with and many new players with the digital app will struggle with is how the color factions work in Epic.  When you are coming from a MTG background your brain will feel wired to be in a certain color for the draft.  It took me many drafts to finally realize that hard committing to a color every draft was losing me tons of games.  Since there are no lands and every card has the same universal resource cost, we do not have this problem in Epic.  The one outlying factor of course is the few faction effects in the game such as loyalty/ally abilities.  Everything else comes down to synergy and the overall thematic strategy of your deck.  If you do draft some loyalty/ally ability cards then you do need to change your gears and make sure you are actively picking that color.  The general range I am looking for with Loyalty cards/Ally abilities is about 10-13 cards in that faction based upon how many loyalty and ally ability cards I have to use.

       Most synergy usually boils down to several viable archetypes you see in the draft meta.  From what I have seen most strategies have a kind of fusion strategy as you will see in the description.

       -Aggro/Tokens(These two are usually fused together.)
       -Control/Decking Yourself(You need Amnesia/Heinous Feast to fully make this fusion work)
       -Mid Range/Tempo(These decks have great combos like the one we talked about in the first post they have lots of tempo zeros with the big creatures in the game)

      Usually by the time you are at your 10-15th card you should have a good idea of what your deck is going to be.  Once I have set myself on a theme, I will change most of my valuations to serve the theme and not the color.  For example, if I am heavy set on tokens and aggro and a courageous soul comes my way I am going to value it way differently than it being in the second pack.  




            So remember, don't get too color happy in an Epic draft.  I have had plenty of incredible decks that have all 4 colors in them.  Loyalty is going to be the one game changer here.  Obviously a Necro Lord with only 2 other Evil Cards is going to be really sad in your deck.  Mandatory picture proof is mandatory.




3)  Drawing Cards and Death Stars are Fun.



"Good massages and card draw never come this fast."
--Markus, Watch Captain

Card draw and board wipes are without a doubt imperative to a well drafted deck in Epic.  Any card that has the text "draw 2 cards" or "Destroy/Banish All" is viable in the game for that effect alone. However, cards like Urgent Messengers/Cease Fire/T-Rex are on another level on the power scale. Since you can only play 1 gold a turn, it is super important you have the right card for the right situation in your hand.  The only way that is going to happen efficiently is through card draw.  Unlike the zeros in my deck, I do not have a set number range I am looking for with Draw 2/Wipe spells.  This core principle has a lot of variance to it.

 Here is a general guideline list I use when drafting to get the right amount of Draw 2 in my deck.

-How many zeros do I have?(The more zeros, the more you need draw 2's to keep your engine going)

-How many Non-Event draw cards do I have in my deck?(Triceratops/Gudgeon/Recyclers)

-What is my archetype?(Aggro will need less draw two)

For Board wipes, I would say the right number is a few.  I am very concerned if I only have 1 board wipe in my deck.  Usually the 3-4 range is where I end up on board wipes and feel comfortable.

Conclusion:


      This is just the tip of ice berg when it comes to drafting Epic.  In the future I will be adding more about the smaller details of drafts.  I hope these ideas help you in your next draft as a general guideline towards drafting a well thought out deck.  




Sunday, February 12, 2017

Epic Strategy #1: Tempo Attack

Hello all! Welcome to my first post on my Epic Strategy Blog.  This blog will feature strategy's for the card game Epic.  I started playing Epic in December 2015(missed the kick starter :( ) and have loved it right from the get go.  I have played CCG's for years, and Epic is right up there with my two favorites(MTG and Star Wars CCG).

My friend and I have logged close to 200+ games since December 2015 and can't get enough.  After reading reddit/BGG forums I noticed a lack of certain strategy's being discussed that are critical to your success in Epic.  We have not delved into constructed play yet as we are draft junkies, but soon we will get there.

And now without further ado, in a galaxy not so far away.  Here come Epic Strategy #1

Epic Strategy #1: The Tempo Attack

tem·po-the rate or speed of motion or activity; pace.



Epic is a boxing match CCG.  While I don't suggest punching your opponent,(many times I have been close!)  I suggest punching the board with your cards.  Rarely in a boxing match, do you see the round start with a bang and a huge punch.  While these boxers and your cards both pack a nasty punch, they must be saved for the right moment.  Going big early is not an ideal strategy in either contest.  A player must be wise about his punches and deliver them at the right time.  A boxer delivers the right punch when the defenses are down knowing that he only needs to connect a few times before he can wear the belt.  This is exactly what we will be covering today, when to throw the right punch in Epic.

As you know, epic cards are self-explainable, they are EPIC.  The problem is that both players have the cards necessary to defend the unthinkable and to destroy the highest of health totals.  With this notion in mind, the best time to throw your punch is when the defense is down.  In epic, your opponent is at his weakest only when....

His gold is spent

Your goal in Epic is to be the second person to spend the gold during the turn, NOT the first.  One of the best strategy's in Epic is to bait your opponent into spending that precious gold to only look in horror as the upper cut makes a beautiful connection.  The best way to bait your opponent into these traps is by using your zero cards to create a nice tempo.  Here is a great example of this in effect.


(Muhammad Dark Knight Ali)

Two players start the game Player A starting hand looks like this 

1) Gold Dragon
2) Murderous Necro
3) Dark Knight
4) Zombie Apoc
5) Inner Demon

Player B's starting hand looks like this 

1) Frost Giant
2) Lying in Wait
3) Divine Judgement
4) Noble Unicorn
5) Flame Strike

Player A starts the game, he has lots of options, but one best one.  First, let me tell you the newbie mistake.  A lot of players here will start Gold Dragon and swing in as fast as they can, gogogogo is the mindset.  Just look at Player B's hand he has several choices to block your dragon from getting through.  The Gold Dragon is quickly destroyed by a flame strike and now both players are gold less.

Let's reverse this process and make your opponent quiver in their boots.  Player A starts with Dark Knight and swings.  Player B really wants to get ahead on cards and play divine judgement to get a double draw.  He doesn't want to play Noble and block just yet, especially since the DK is unbreakable on his opponents turn.  Player B takes the 5 dmg and gets ready to draw tons of cards to crush his opponent.  He expects Player A to play some other random creature or draw two.  But then.................

"I attempt to end my turn"  

These are crushing words to your opponent.  Player B quickly realizes that he is in trouble.  His plan was to draw two, so he plays Lying in Wait to draw 2 instead of Divine now in case he needs a sweep.  That's when things get out of control. BAM the 1-2 punch is successful!  Player A now pounces on the opponent at the right time.  Gold Dragon comes in and swings.

After turn 1 
Player A 36 life board control
Player B 19 life no board control.

Player B now has to sweep giving Player A time to draw two then set up the board again for another big hit.  Of course, Player A could of agreed to end the turn, but in that case Player A has already scored 5 dmg for basically free.  

There are many iterations of this combo that you should now be imagining in your head.  The zero tempo cards are a core part of the game.  Remember the core idea, be the last to spend your gold!