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.