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Subject: Is apprentice game broken? rss

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Justin K
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My friend and I played the apprentice game today Beastmaster vs. Warlock.

The Warlock just sat in his starting square, summoned creatures (primarily skeletal sentries), and put them on guard. We can't see anything the beastmaster could possibly have done to break through this defense.

The guarding creatures would effectively get 2 attacks immediately after the attacking creatures could get one. Not only that, but the Warlock's Flaming Hellion could attack the Beastmaster's units from one hex away if the BM tried to set up an assault a turn (or more) in advance, whereas the BM had no options for a ranged attack whatsoever.

Are we just dumb? (i.e. there is something the BM could have done?)

Is the matchup broken? (possibly understandable since it's just the learning game)

What prevents this sort of turtling in the full game?

Essentially it was a bit of a concerning experience and I'm hoping it is not representative of the game overall.
 
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Bippy the Goat
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A few thoughts:

1. No, the matchup is not broken. Here's why:

2. The Warlock's guarding creatures don't get 2 attacks, they get one. Remember, you put "guard" on by using a quick action. That prevents them from either using a full attack or a quick unless counterstriking from guarding. (The guarding creature only counterstrikes once since the marker is removed after the first attack against it.)

3. The Beastmaster has "fast" creatures and enchantments to speed up creatures. That negates the range 1 advantage conferred by the Hellion.

4. If you want range, give your Beastmaster a bow or drop in some creatures from another school of magic.

5. The Beastmaster can generate swarms of baddies. If the Warlock is being too passive, build up your army, buff them up, and send them in. Burp. Smack. Munch.
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Ivan Kidd
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The apprentice game actually favors aggressive tactics more than turtling. I am very curious what you were doing while he was getting out all of these creatures and putting them on guard. My guess is turtling a little as well. New players tend to be a bit timid their first few games.

Things to keep in mind with guard: It takes an action. Therefore the creature can not be put on guard the same round it is summoned. Attacking the creature will break the guard (yes it gets to counterstrike you, but it is no longer on guard then for your other creatures). Also, again since it takes an action to go on guard, if it decides to use it's action to attack your creature, it can not go on guard that turn.

Looking at the Beasmaster Apprentice book, your only option seems to be to go in swinging. You could have put Block and Cobra Reflex on a couple of critters to negate their counterattacks, and Feral Bobcats have built in defenses to negate their counterattacks. Then Cervere is elusive so she could just ignore the guards.

My real suggestion though is to not let him build up like that. Either summon the Steelclaw Grizzly or Cervere on turn one and go charging in with it immediately. Cervere + a Bear Strength should definitely make him rethink his guard strategy.

When you get to full spellbooks there are a LOT of options for dealing with guards. Mongoose Agility is my favorite, it gives you Elusive and thus allows you to just ignore guards (and hinderance!). Another option is to use knockdown or other incapacitate effects to break the guard. You could also use a Push or a Teleport to separate the mage from his guards before jumping on him. Finally you could use Sweeping attacks to get past the guard (or to break multiple guards).
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trevor

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Absolutley not, please realize apprentice mode is a learning game ONLY. It is strictly for learning the rules. People really need to stop forming opinions based on apprentice mode.

There are many options to deal with guard. There are many attack spells that aviod guard. Ranged attacks avoid guard. Zone attacks, sending weak creatures in first to take away guard are also effective. The game has many strategies, turtling is one but this game has many, many cards and many many strategies. After you have the rules down, feel free to make a book and explore the many options available
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Matt
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There will be players with far more experience than me who can answer. But some rough thoughts. This was an apprentice game.. so apprentice books with no mage abilities, 10 channeling and a 2 by 3 board?

Well, the Steelclaw Grizzly is a tried and true friend of the BM, especially with a Bear Strength and a Rhino Hide - that's a 5 armour 15hp brute dishing out 7-9 dice with piercing +1. The BM can have that engaging on turn 3 and it will chew up a couple of Skeletal Sentries in no time with change to spare. Possibly with an Emerald Tegu following in (not calculated the exact mana costs).

The counter to turtling play has usually been super aggressive play. Get into their face with a big, buffed creature and make them react instead of setting up defences.

To speak generally (and therefore somewhat inaccurately): Turtling in the full game was initially very powerful, was superceded for a while by very aggressive play but has since made a resurgence with some very, very scary wizard spellbooks. If the game has a problem at the moment its that the wizard has all the toys and no weaknesses. Play a turtling wizard and you'd have a viable fear!

So the game has some problems - Spawnpoints are badly overcosted, Wizards pay too little for may of the useful spells, Voltaric Shield is seriously nifty.

But the game is still in flux and the developers are, afaict, working to create a game where defence, aggression, board control, creature swarm, mana control, etc are all viable styles. And Druid vs Necromancer will be changing things up as I type...
 
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Justin K
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Zub3ri wrote:
The apprentice game actually favors aggressive tactics more than turtling. I am very curious what you were doing while he was getting out all of these creatures and putting them on guard. My guess is turtling a little as well. New players tend to be a bit timid their first few games.

Things to keep in mind with guard: It takes an action. Therefore the creature can not be put on guard the same round it is summoned. Attacking the creature will break the guard (yes it gets to counterstrike you, but it is no longer on guard then for your other creatures). Also, again since it takes an action to go on guard, if it decides to use it's action to attack your creature, it can not go on guard that turn.


Maybe I was summoning the wrong creatures, but as the aggressor my creatures had to move 3 spaces to get to him, costing a turn. Therefore he was always up a guy, and because he was on guard he also had "first strike" in a sense, since as soon as I attacked he could use that creatures action to attack back. As long as he activates his guards last, I also can't outstall him.

Quote:

Looking at the Beasmaster Apprentice book, your only option seems to be to go in swinging. You could have put Block and Cobra Reflex on a couple of critters to negate their counterattacks, and Feral Bobcats have built in defenses to negate their counterattacks. Then Cervere is elusive so she could just ignore the guards.


I tried using bear strength, which may have been wrong. I didn't try block or cobra reflexes as they seemed intuitively not worth the cost (although I could of course be completely wrong here too).

I didn't pick up on Cervere's effectiveness until too late, unfortunately; I almost certainly should have summoned her before assualting but I only got her after my main barrage, which was crushingly ineffective.

Quote:

My real suggestion though is to not let him build up like that. Either summon the Steelclaw Grizzly or Cervere on turn one and go charging in with it immediately. Cervere + a Bear Strength should definitely make him rethink his guard strategy.


I don't understand this. He started building up turns 1 and 2 by summoning the sentries. That's how long it takes for my dudes to get in range, and he would be 2v1 with the defender getting "first strike" (2 attacks before I get 1). I can't summon the Grizzly or Cervere on turn 1 with only 10 mana.

Quote:
When you get to full spellbooks there are a LOT of options for dealing with guards. Mongoose Agility is my favorite, it gives you Elusive and thus allows you to just ignore guards (and hinderance!). Another option is to use knockdown or other incapacitate effects to break the guard. You could also use a Push or a Teleport to separate the mage from his guards before jumping on him. Finally you could use Sweeping attacks to get past the guard (or to break multiple guards).


That's good to hear.
 
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Chris Linneman
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kops wrote:
I can't summon the Grizzly or Cervere on turn 1 with only 10 mana.


I don't know this game too well, but I do know you should have 20 mana on turn 1 since you start with 10 and immediately channel 10 more. Maybe give the rules a thorough read in case there's anything else you might be doing wrong.

Also, I would only play the apprentice game once to learn the rules. Playing on the full board is a much ... fuller experience. Just having the space opens up your options considerably.
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Ivan Kidd
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kops wrote:
I don't understand this. He started building up turns 1 and 2 by summoning the sentries. That's how long it takes for my dudes to get in range, and he would be 2v1 with the defender getting "first strike" (2 attacks before I get 1). I can't summon the Grizzly or Cervere on turn 1 with only 10 mana.


You start the game with 10 mana. Then you go through ALL of the phases, including the Channeling Phase. This puts you at 20 mana for your first round with Apprentice stats.

You are correct that it takes you 2 turns to get your creatures from your corner to his corner. I would recommend not staying in your corner though. Summon Cervere on turn one, then on turn two move both Cervere and your Mage closer to the enemy. From there you can support Cervere with Enchantments and Incantations, any creatures you summon shall be only 1 turn away from the opponent, and if you're feeling frisky you can go in swinging with your mage. Since you didn't summon a creature on turn 2, you may very well have enough mana for Steelclaw Grizzly on Turn 3, which would be a great option.

Remember to keep your eye on the prize. You want to kill his mage, not his creatures. Every round, just ignore his guards and eat his face with Cervere. If he attacks Cervere, then he's not guarding and you can send other things in to knock him around. Make keeping Cervere alive a high priority (might use your block early before you have other critters in there to back Cerv up). If he decides to use his guard strategy, then use Cervere to feast freely upon his flesh and put your own creatures on guard so that he CAN'T take out Cervere.

Don't be surprised if he decides to change tactics all together though and go after your mage instead of turtling. If he's smart, that's what he'll do. Put some armor on your mage quickly. I recommend Rhino Hide on the mage. After that, things will be tricky and you'll have to judge tactics for yourself.

Finally: Guard is not first strike. The counterstrike does not happen first or even simultaneously. It is very well possible that you can kill a guarding creature in your attack and then they don't get to hit back. An enchanted Steelclaw dealing 9 dice of damage has a very good chance of this actually.
 
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Ivan Kidd
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qbert80 wrote:
Also, I would only play the apprentice game once to learn the rules.

Everyone is different. I would recommend playing apprentice until you are comfortable with the rules and the cards. For most people that I've taught this is 2 or 3 games. Some have picked it up after just 1 game, while one person played through 5 games before he got the hang of it. This is all with me teaching them the game too. If you and your friend are learning together without a teacher there, then definitely don't move up to the full game until you are comfortable. I made the mistake of diving directly into the full game, and my first 3 games were all over 5 hours long.
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Mr G
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Summon a Grizzly turn one and CHARGE!

That is a pretty good start in apprentice mode.

Then ELUSIVE Cervere vs guards.

And Mongoose Agility on Grizzly.

There are many many options in the full game to try whatever you fancy.

 
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Don't forget that guard markers go away as soon as the creature activates. Meaning that if he's attacking your creatures, he's not guarding. I would recommend standing 2 zones away from his guarding fortress, summon a bunch of foxes, then send them in all at once to break the guards. Then move in a big creature, like the Grizzly or Gorilla, to attack on the next turn. Even if he guards again, there's a good chance his creatures will go down.
 
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Ivan Kidd
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In apprentice mode he does not have the Gorilla, only has 2 foxes, and can not quick summon (so the opponent will have more guards than he'll have creatures to use to break them). In the full game, attempting to overwhelm their defenses with shear numbers could be a viable option though.
 
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Mr G
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In the full game, teleport, force push, etc the mage out of the 'fortress'.

I have yet to see a fortress strategy work. It usually ends as a deathtrap for the fortress owner. That or they are forcibly removed by spells.
 
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Purple Paladin

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Believe it or not, the frustration you felt is because you didn't build your own deck. You were stuck with the apprentice deck. Channel that frustration and use it to build your own book. Take your time (I spent several days myself), look through the cards, and you'll start to have light bulb after light bulb go off about what you can do to counter most strategies.

For just one example, in our first game, we both turtled, and the game lasted over 3 1/2 hours. wow The next game, I discovered "Holy Intervention"; summoned the biggest creature I could afford, and teleported him into my friends lap the next turn. Good times. . .

 
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Mr G
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Purple Paladin wrote:
Believe it or not, the frustration you felt is because you didn't build your own deck. You were stuck with the apprentice deck. Channel that frustration and use it to build your own book. Take your time (I spent several days myself), look through the cards, and you'll start to have light bulb after light bulb go off about what you can do to counter most strategies.

For just one example, in our first game, we both turtled, and the game lasted over 3 1/2 hours. wow The next game, I discovered "Holy Intervention"; summoned the biggest creature I could afford, and teleported him into my friends lap the next turn. Good times. . .



My two favourite feelings with Mage Wars were / are...

1. First few games where I thought I had considered all the tactical options then , 'WHUMP!' I get wasted by a new play.

2. Every game now vs. experienced guys with cut and thrust every turn.
 
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Purple Paladin

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It seems to sink in to new players, round about the third game: "Hey, wait a second, I don't have to attack and kill every single creature my opponent has, I just have to kill him".

Then the game truly begins (and the game length cuts to about half after that too usually).
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Mr G
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Purple Paladin wrote:
It seems to sink in to new players, round about the third game: "Hey, wait a second, I don't have to attack and kill every single creature my opponent has, I just have to kill him".

Then the game truly begins (and the game length cuts to about half after that too usually).


Agreed. A more correct title might be 'Mage Assassination'. ninja
 
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Ivan Kidd
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Around 2 to 3 Apprentice games is how long it usually takes the game to really click with my pupils as well. That is when we move up to the full game.
 
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