Monday, February 17, 2014

KMC Anaheim Report 2/15/14

So, it's been a while.  I just haven't had anything worth posting about until the recent KMC, since I've either been hanging out with friends or doing homework.  I literally had no time to do anything except homework for the last two weeks, so that sucked, but I doubt you guys care about that.

Anyways, a bunch of my friends and I went to the KMC in Anaheim.  Aki played LWF Dragon Mid-Range, Fwazalaza played LWDN Haven Control, Riku played LWN Tempo, Ray played WDF Dragons, and Nam (who had never been directly referenced by any name on this blog before) played Mono-Fire Rush.  Nam was going to use a Corrupted deck, but he didn't have any practice with it, so he decided to just use the Mono-Fire deck I gave to him last year as his first Kaijudo deck.  I was running LWD Kalima Control, which I made late last year because it was the best deck I could make at the time, and I haven't been motivated to make a new deck since then.

There were only 19 players, which was surprising.  Last time, there were over 30 players, but I guess this is one of the first KMC's of the season and a new set is looming on the horizon.  Regardless, there were five rounds.

Round 1: vs Jeff G. (LWDN Kurragar)

-Duel 1: He Mesmerized my Maddening Whispers, which let him play Reverberate uninterrupted.  I couldn't do much, so I dragged out the game as long as I could to see as much of his deck as possible.  As far as I could tell, it was similar to established Kurragar decks, although it included Finbarr's Dreadnought and far more spells than I would expect.
-Duel 2: I was able to open up with Mesmerize this time so that I would have control of the game.  I was able to win with Kalima's mass removal.
-Duel 3: He opened up with four multi-civ Blockers (apparently he was well-prepared for aggressive decks, which served him well later), which was really detrimental to him.  I dropped Spinning Terror in anticipation of a Reverberate, but he didn't draw into it until later, at which point it was useless (due to Spinning Terror, of course).  I broke a couple shields with Spinning Terror when he played Finbarr's Dreadnought, and was able to win with Kalima and such.


Round 2: vs Sho S. (LWF Dragon Mid-Range)

So I was paired up against Aki, and I put his name there because you'll see it on the official Kaijudo website soon enough anyway.  I'm pretty sure the names of several players from this KMC are also on other web sites, albeit without their consent.  Not that it matters.  Either way, I helped Aki prepare his deck a couple weeks ago.  We decided to make it Mid-Range so that it could beat Tempo easily while also still being able to rush against Control.

-Duel 1: He wasn't able to rush me fast enough, so I played Andromeda, and it was basically over.
-Duel 2: He was able to keep up the pressure with Fast Attackers like Flamespitter and get around my Grudge Weaver with Falkora, so he was able to win before I could stabilize.
-Duel 3: He couldn't really rush at all if I can remember correctly.  I won this game without too much difficulty.


Round 3: vs Andrew R. (LWN Tempo)

So I was paired up against Riku.  I actually didn't know what he was running; apparently he net-decked a generic Tempo deck.  He didn't have high hopes.

I won the first two games because I opened up two Blockers each game, so he couldn't rush me effectively.  However, since this was my third match win, I was almost guaranteed to Top 8, so I gave him a game win to help his score.


Round 4: vs Stephen L. (5-Civ Haven Control)

-Duel 1: I was able to use Mesmerize to see his hand, but he drew Reverberate on turn 6, so that was a thing... I was able to kill all three of his Havens with three Kalimas to even up the game (which I was surprised at, seeing as how he played Reverberate, but I never even saw mine), but then he killed all of my Kalimas with spells and broke all of my shields with three creatures on board and nothing in hand.  I was at 13 mana, so I played Grip of Despair to kill one creature, then played Mark of Kalima.  Out of the nine cards left in my deck, two were non-Darkness, and I hit one of the non-Darkness cards and lost because of it.  Oh well, it happens.
-Duel 2: I opened up with a meh hand, but it included Spinning Terror.  He ramped with Sprout, so I knew that I couldn't just play Reverberate after he played his Reverberate, since he would be able to use Skull Shatter before I could do anything about it.  I played Spinning Terror on turn 6, knowing that he would have to kill it with General Skycrusher.  On turn 7, I used Crystal Memory to get Mesmerize to discard his Reverberate.  I was still in a bad position, but it wasn't nearly as bad as if he had five more cards in hand.  Well, he drew another Reverberate on turn 9.  I had Squillace Scourge to even out our hands (our boards were even at that, too), but then he topped King Tritonus and drew five cards.  I was somehow able to stabilize with Kalima and such, though he had broken all of my shields.  He had three creatures out, and all I had was one Blocker.  With 12 mana, my best option was to play Dracothane to revive Spinning Terror and a Blocker, then play a Dream Pirate to hold him off.  With Dracothane and Spinning Terror, I would have a chance to win in two turns, but he topped Screeching Scaradorable to win.  He could have also drawn a spell to use Tritonus' effect to stun a Blocker, but I had to take that chance.  Oh well.  I wouldn't have minded much, since I would still Top 8, but Stephen was declaring his victory before the game was even finished (which I also heard him doing to one of his other opponents later) and talking smack about my Dracothane play.  It was disappointing to lose under such circumstances, to put it lightly.


At this point, Aki, Riku, Nam, and I were all 3-1.  Nam's loss was to Jeff G. in Round 4, and he was obviously undefeated up to that point.  Fwazalaza and Ray were both 2-2.  Ray's tie-breakers weren't good, but Fwazalaza had a slim chance of making Top 8.

For Round 5, I was paired against Nam.  Aki and Riku were also paired against each other.  I did the math, and we all decided to draw instead of play.  That ensured that the four of us would make Top 8.  From what I heard, Stephen L. gave the match win to Jeff G., which ended up making Jeff G. 1st place after Swiss.  Of course, Stephen was 2nd after Swiss.

From there, we just waited for everyone else to play out their matches.  It turned out that I got 3rd, Nam got 4th, Aki got 5th, and Riku got 6th after Swiss.  I didn't know the 7th or 8th place players, but it ended up not mattering.  They played against the 1st and 2nd place players in the Top 8 and lost, so I never saw them play.  I do know that the 7th place player was using a Tempo deck of some sort, though.

But before the Top 8, the tournament organizer handed out all of the prizes.  I didn't see how many packs the 1st and 2nd place players got, but Nam and I each got 10 packs of Invasion Earth.  Aki and Riku got 8 packs each.  Fwazalaza went 3-2, but only got 10th place; I don't remember how many packs he got.  Ray went 1-4, sadly, but he still got 5 packs, which went to Aki and I because we paid his entry fee (don't worry, we let him keep the free mat).  So, Aki and I got a total of 23 packs, which was basically a box.

They also gave out prizes for players of each civilization.  The top player in each civilization got a beanie.  I was the top player for Light, Stephen L. for Water, Jeff G. for Fire, and Riku was the top Nature player.  I didn't see the top Darkness player.  The top three players from each civilization got one of those double deck boxes that have been given out at each KMC and artwork of the Mystic/Spell of Absolute for their respective civilization.  Fwazalaza, Nam, and Aki were all within the top three players of their civilizations (Light, Water, and Fire, respectively), so they got those prizes, too.  Everyone seemed disappointed with the Light artwork, since the Mystic looks "sad".  It's still nice, though.

Everyone in the Top 8 also got $24 in store credit.  Riku gave me his store credit in exchange for cash since he needed gas money, and I used my store credit to help Aki get four Revenger Trial Deck (that's a Vanguard thing for all of you Kaijudo players).  I would've gotten some Link Joker Trial Decks (also a Vanguard thing), but they were out.  I just got a bunch of sleeves instead.

From there, we were given a relatively small amount of time to drive down to a fast food restaurant and buy food to bring back and eat.  Because the four members of our group that made Top 8 drew with each other in Round 5, we were forced to play each other immediately in the Top 8.  I knew it would happen; it's almost like we got the matches that we would've had to play in Round 5 anyway.

Top 8: vs Andrew R. (LWN Tempo)

Unfortunately, I couldn't draw Blockers in either game.  I had to actually search a Dream Pirate with a Shield Blast Crystal Memory (I had no Water mana to play Aqua Strider) to hope to protect myself in the second game.  But it wasn't enough for me to live long enough to play my hand of high-cost cards.  Oh well, it's something I have to accept when I choose to play Control.

Aki and Nam were paired against each other, and Nam won.  I think it was 2-1, but I don't know for sure.  So, Aki and I kind of just sat there through the first half of the Top 4 matches being disappointed.  I stopped being disappointed in time to catch game 3 between Nam and Jeff G.  Jeff misplayed several times, which caused him to lose.  I also saw the very end of the match between Riku and Stephen.  Riku misplayed towards the middle of the game, which caused him to have literally no chance to win.  However, even if he had played correctly, there would have been nothing he could have done given the cards he drew afterwards.  We were all disappointed for him.

After Nam had finished his Top 4 match, he told us that Jeff was begging him for the win.  At least he wasn't trying to bribe Nam, but Jeff could have won easily if he had just played even a little bit better.  Even though I was rooting for Nam, it was painful to see Jeff misplay, since he seems like a good player.  But, he has the means to go to other KMC's, whereas most of the members of our group could only go to this KMC.  I think Riku and Fwazalaza might be going to one more KMC, but the rest of us aren't able to.

Anyways, we all watched the finals between Nam and Stephen.  And you can too, since Eman of TCGWise123 recorded it.  I was watching Nam's hand during the match to see if I could catch any misplays.  He tried to evolve a Dune Gecko with a Drakon Evolution, which I pointed out to him (he sometimes gets Dune Geckos and Drakons confused, and the pressure of being in the finals couldn't have helped).  Other than that, he played well, not that there are many decisions to make while playing Mono-Fire Rush.

The ultimate determinant of whether or not Mono-Fire wins is if the opponent is adequately prepared for it.  Apparently, Stephen was playing a pile of high-cost cards, so he struggled.  From what I could see, he also made a few misplays, two of which had a chance of affecting the outcome of the game.  However, neither misplay affected the match because Nam either did not have the correct card to punish the misplay, or had cards that would be used in the same way regardless of if Stephen misplayed or not.  Ultimately, Nam was able to win the match 2-0.

As you could hear in the video, there was a lot of applause.  At the other KMC's I went to, I don't remember hearing applause for the conclusion of the finals.  But, we were happy that Nam was able to win, since he played well all day.  I usually see him misplay all over the place with the Mono-Fire Rush deck, but he barely misplayed at all.  Even so, as I said before, it's the opponent who ultimately determines whether Mono-Fire Rush can win, so if people prepare for it, I don't think Mono-Fire Rush can be successful.  Not to mention that Mono-Fire Rush might not even be a thing at the Championships, which Nam will be attending.

All in all, a pretty good day for all of us.  And that's not even including Ray's and my victory at the Vanguard tournament at the other card shop immediately after the KMC.  We ended up being in the Top 4, but in the same bracket, unfortunately.  The other two players in the Top 4 were teammates, so they challenged us to a tag fight.  It'd be more fun than just two separate matches, so we accepted.  Ray just happened to be playing my Dauntless Flare Whip Kagero deck for the tournament, and since it has a Seal Dragon engine, we could use each other's Seal Dragons for Especial Counter Blasts (I was running a Seal Dragon deck, since I have eight Rinocrosses).  That ended up helping us a lot, though we won the third game because I got double Critical Triggers when our opponents were at six damage.  We didn't pull anything good from the packs we won, but we were able to have fun playing Vanguard against our "enemies", which usually doesn't happen.

But that's besides the point.  I'm assuming that the deck lists for the Top 8 players for the KMC will be on the official website on Wednesday of next week.  I would offer to provide the community with the deck lists that Aki, Nam, and I used, but I have too much homework to do.  I should've been doing homework instead of typing up this blog post, but procrastination is a thing.  If I am somehow able to get the deck lists up, it would likely only be in text form with minimal explanations and done on Friday.  That's the only day where I would conceivably have enough free time.

If the deck lists aren't up by then, then I'd just wait until the following Wednesday for them to be on the official website, though there would be no explanations as to the card choices.  And believe me, Aki's deck list would require an explanation, since it was a really outlandish build that we came up with out of nowhere.  And despite what anyone says, there are no Blaze Belchers in his deck; I just thought I'd suspend that rumor, since I've been seeing it for some reason.  But yeah, I guess I'll see whether or not I have the time to put up the deck lists this week, but you shouldn't get your hopes up.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kaijudo Cube

Before I get into the main topic of this post, I should say that I did get to go to the Kaijudo tournament yesterday (really two days ago, since it's after midnight).  I played the Mono-Light Rush deck I made for the fourth Snogal, since he wasn't able to make it.  I didn't really like playing it, but I didn't really have a choice.  It was the best deck I had at the time, so I used it.  I ended up losing to Fwazalaza's LWDN Haven Control deck and a Dragon deck, so I didn't win anything.  I did get a third Shaman of the Vigil from the raffle, though.  Ray also pulled a Wildstrider Ramnoth for me, since I paid for his entry fee.  So, overall, not bad.

Part of why I didn't have another deck to play was because I spent most of my time on Friday, as well as some on Thursday (instead of studying for finals), making a Kaijudo Cube.  Surprisingly, not very many people know what a Cube is, so I had to explain it at least four times over the weekend, and I will likely have to explain it next weekend to the fourth Snogal, if he can make it.  Basically, it is a constructed pool of cards that can be used for limited formats like drafts, or in the case of Kaijudo, the Booster Brawl format.

The Cube I made is 240 different cards.  There are 50 multi-civilization cards, five from each of the ten multi-civilization combinations.  Of each of those five cards, four are creatures and one is a Shield Blast spell.  The rest of the Cube is mono-civilization cards, split evenly between the five civilizations at 38 cards each.  For each civilization, there are 27 creatures and 11 spells; two of the creatures are evolutions, and seven of the spells are Shield Blasts.  That leaves 25 non-evolution creatures and four non-Shield Blast spells for each civilization.  Also, for the civilizations that have Blockers (Light, Water, and Darkness), nine of the 25 non-evolution creatures are Blockers.  Only 15 of the cards in the Cube are holo: three from each civilization.  I wanted to use multi-civilization holos, but most of them were too good.

What do I mean by "too good"?  I mean that they would be overpowered compared to the rest of the cards in the Cube.  Saracon may not be used in competitive play very much, but it's a Double Breaker with Blocker and 7500 power that draws three cards when it dies.  The point of my Cube was to make a format with no overpowered cards.  I made sure that no creature had a base power above 8000, and any creature that reached that level of power or above (like with Powerful Attacker) was essentially vanilla.  I even went so far as to not use any evolution creatures with Double Breaker that were level 4 or less; they could end a game too quickly by themselves.  Even level 5 evolution creatures with Double Breaker seem rather powerful in this format.

However, the evo-bait isn't super abundant.  In fact, for four of the five civilizations, their two evolution creatures are of different races, so they cannot be used together.  For Light, I didn't really have a choice; their only evolutions are Enforcers or Skyforce Champions, and Skyforce Champion evolutions require way too much dedication to use in a Cube.  Not to mention the fact that most of them are incredibly powerful (since they require all that dedication...), so they wouldn't be appropriate for my Cube anyway.

As for spells, it's rather difficult for them to be overpowered, but some of them are too good.  I went into this knowing that I couldn't include Stormspark Blast, Root Trap, or Terror Pit.  Stormspark Blast can swing a game way too much, and there are several, more balanced alternatives.  Root Trap and Terror Pit are conditionless, and would be way too good compared to all of the other removal cards.  I mean, in my Cube, Kaboom! and Crystallize are actually good cards.

It may sound like I just put a bunch of garbage in my Cube, but I didn't.  I carefully considered every card to make sure nothing was strictly inferior to anything else.  There are very few vanillas in the Cube; most of them are just there as evo-bait, but they still aren't garbage.  And although I put some cards in the Cube just for fun (Steam Star Grapplog, Argus, and Astinos), there's no card in there that wouldn't have at least some use in the limited format.  Even Predict stops being horrible when you get to stack the shared deck in Booster Brawl to make your opponent draw garbage (well, the less useful cards in that situation, since there's no garbage in my Cube).

As for why I chose the ratios I did, I wanted a little over 70% of the cards in the Cube to be creatures.  There was originally going to be one more non-evolution creature and one more non-Shield Blast spell for each civilization, but there were no good choices for spells for Water or Nature (I didn't want to have to use Mark of Tritonus and Mark of Almighty Colossus), so I just left it.  Having 240 cards made it divisible by four, anyway.  And I couldn't include more than seven Shield Blast spells for each civilization because the Fire civilization only has seven Shield Blasts... Weird, huh?

There are also a total of 36 Blockers in the Cube, including multi-civilization Blockers (one of them is Rodi Gale, so it barely counts anyways).  That's a little less than one-sixth of the Cube, which seems like a lot, but I wanted players to have access to Blockers instead of trying to limit them.  Besides, a few of them can attack shields, so it's not like they would just sit there on the field and do nothing.  I also made sure to include all of the Blocker-destroying cards that the Fire civilization has to offer, except Bolgash Dragon.

My friends and I were able to play using the Cube quite a bit over the past weekend.  We didn't get the chance to draft it at all, since that would've taken too long.  So, we split up the Cube evenly and made decks out of whatever random cards we got.  Even getting a random selection of only 48 cards from the Cube, it was difficult to make a 35-card deck.  I saw that Fwazalaza simply took out the less useful cards he got (stuff like the random Drakons, since he didn't get the Blastforge Captain) and used the remaining 45 cards.

Aside from taking out evolutions and/or evo-bait that don't match, it was difficult to figure out what to leave out from our random pools when making a deck.  Every single card has a use, so it's much more complicated than cutting the bad cards you pull from your five packs in a sealed tournament.  The most prevalent strategy I saw, and also the one I used when possible, was to just drop the civilization that had the least cards or the relatively weaker cards and use the others to make a four-civilization deck.  In addition, I saw that Ray splashed in Shield Blasts from the civilization(s) that he didn't use when relevant.  For instance, he kept Oathsworn Call even though he didn't use Nature.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much with the Booster Brawl format.  Fwazalaza and I played a match using 80 random cards from the Cube, which was pretty interesting.  We both knew the rules already, but it was the first experience with the Booster Brawl format for both of us, so we were left to figure out the strategy behind it as we played.  It was certainly a fun and interesting way to play Kaijudo, but I'll have to play more Booster Brawl before I can say anything definitive about the strategies one would have to employ for it.

My main worry was that the civilizations might be a little unbalanced, since although I did work to balance out the card counts, I couldn't really balance out the levels of the cards for each civilization.  I feel as though it would've been unnecessary, since the civilizations have different styles, so they shouldn't be exactly balanced by level.  Maybe I'll see some trends in the future when playing with the Cube so that I can improve upon it, but it's probably about as good as it's going to get for now.

Nothing in particular seems really overpowered, which is good.  Riku noted that one of the more powerful cards was Sasha, Channeler of Light, obviously due to it's ability.  I was a little worried about putting it in the Cube at first, but I figured that it wouldn't be too bad.  I mean, it has such a high cost that it would be extremely difficult to use a tap effect immediately before summoning it.  That would mean that the opponent would have to attack with their creatures for them to be vulnerable to Sasha's effect.  That, and the fact that Sasha isn't even a Double Breaker, makes me think that it's an alright card for the Cube.

I found, unsurprisingly, that Morphing Pod seems to be the best removal spell in the Cube.  It may be completely random and a minus, but it can get any creature off of the field.  It could also be used on your own creature if the situation arises.  In one of the Booster Brawl games I played against Fwazalaza, I took Morphing Pod from the Veil so that he couldn't use it on my Wave Lancer, and I was later able to use it on his Flare Inhibitor (that got him Argus, if you care).  It may not be efficient or reliable, but the fact that it is conditionless makes Morphing Pod incredibly good in a limited format.

Overall, it was very satisfying to build and play with a Cube.  It can teach you a lot about the game, as well.  For instance, I learned that the Fire civilization only has seven Shield Blasts, whereas the Water civilization only has five non-Shield Blast spells.  Ray told me that playing with the Cube showed him a lot of cards that he hadn't seen before and gave him some ideas for his deck.  It is also nice to see some cards thrive when they would be otherwise ignored.  There are several examples I could give for this point, but I think this post is long enough as it is.

If you have a bunch of extra Kaijudo cards, I would recommend making a Cube for yourself and trying it out with friends.  There aren't many sets for Kaijudo yet, so your options may be limited, and it is rather difficult to make a balanced Cube, but it is well worth it.

By the way, I do have a spreadsheet listing each card in my Cube (I actually looked up every single card in the game and wrote up the list before going through my collection to find all of the cards), but it's kind of a mess.  Maybe I'll organize it later and upload it somehow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Random Stuff #58

So I've had a bunch of homework and such to do recently, so I haven't had any time to post anything.  I actually wrote a 4000-word research paper about game balance in Kaijudo, but I can't really post anything from it.  I don't want my professor to think that I plagiarized from some guy on the Internet called "LightGrunty".

I still have finals to deal with.  I have to wake up ridiculously early tomorrow and Friday so that I can make it to my finals on time.  It reminds me of when I woke up ridiculously early so that I could go to the YCS in Long Beach a while ago.  Now that I look back, it wasn't really worth it, but I was on spring break at the time, so whatever.

Actually, I was reflecting on my Yu-Gi-Oh tournament experiences last week, and something occurred to me.  When I was at a Regional, during one of the rounds, my opponent tried to activate Torrential Tribute during the Damage Step in response to my Super-Nimble Mega Hamster's Flip Effect, which Special Summoned Ryko, Lightsworn Hunter.  I explained to him that he couldn't activate Torrential Tribute during the Damage Step, he asked what would happen then, and I just told him that the card would just go back to being Set face-down.  A judge who was passing by commented on how nice it was for me to let him keep his Torrential Tribute Set.

Last time I checked, the rules state that if a card or effect is activated illegally, the gamestate is rewound to immediately before the illegal activation.  Even though I explained it politely, I wasn't really being nice, I was just explaining the rules.  So, when I thought about this last week, it made me think about how prevalent rule-sharking is in Yu-Gi-Oh.  It just made me more disappointed about Yu-Gi-Oh as a whole.  That's all.

Anyway, I've been trying to make a new Kaijudo deck.  The rest of this week is devoted to finals, so I don't think I'll have much time to come up with one by Sunday, but I'm still trying to come up with ideas.  If I can't think of anything, then I may do some silly Light/Nature Rush deck with Shaman of the Vigil, which I got two of from Ray's friend.  The only other deck I can think of is a Kalima deck, but I don't really want to use that.  So, I have no idea of what type of deck to build.

I did recently look over the coverage for the Winter Kaijudo Championship, and I saw that Reverberate was used quite a bit.  It was kind of neat, since I didn't think that people would catch on to the fact that it's a great card, but I guess that's already out.  It doesn't really influence what type of deck I would want to use, though.  I've kind of wanted to make a Control deck, since I'm tired of using aggressive decks, but I don't know if I can make an effective Control deck without all of the Monarchs.  If I can't figure something out, I may just use the Mono-Light Rush deck next weekend, we'll see.

And, I haven't made any new Pokemon because I've been too busy with schoolwork.  I kind of want to make a Galvantula and a Vivillon, but I don't have the time to breed them to be perfect.  I also got a bunch of near-perfect or Hidden Ability Pokemon from Aki and one of the guys who plays Kaijudo at locals, but I don't feel like using them.

I have thought about making an all-shiny team for fun, since I have two shiny Pokemon in X, one in Platinum, and one in White.  Unfortunately, the shiny Boldore I have in White has a Timid nature, which is like the worst nature a Gigalith can have.  All of the other shiny Pokemon have the correct natures, luckily.  I'd just need two more, unless I want to include the Red Gyarados from SoulSilver, which I don't.

I can't think of anything else to include in this post, and I have to go to bed soon so that I can wake up ridiculously early tomorrow morning, so I guess that's it.