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Subject: Emissaries! rss

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Joe Stude
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After owning all the cards for almost a year, I finally did some Emissaries play online with Octavian last night. I'm glad I went slowly and savored the base decks for a while, because all the extra stuff in E&I almost provides a "new game" experience. I'm really looking forward to trying out some of the other emissary/people relationships and actually being able to play some of the cards that've been sitting on my game shelf for 10 months.

The game itself proved very interesting, Flit (me) vs. Aqua (Octavian). For our emissaries we chose Ri-Cha and Nekra-Khati respectively. Due to poor results in the past with Flit vs. Aqua, I thought I was doomed.

One thing I actually enjoyed was that the game was LONG due to Flit's typical slow pace and Aqua utilizing the Water of Immortality... possibly nearly twice as long as a typical game of Blue Moon. It had a more epic feel than I'm accustomed to.

A funny moment: When you've been playing the standard game as often as I have, changes in convention can be a little jarring. When Octavian played his SECOND mutant, my brain had a "wha-wha-wha-WHA?" kinda moment, until I realized the mutant was an emissary card. Eesh.

The battle pretty much hinged on a fight we had mid-game where we both had enough cards to win two dragons with a fight win (he had six in play, I had four with Hyla Astel). Near the end of this particular battle I'd decided he had too much power for me to deal with ongoing and with the aid of 'Distract Holy Dragon' I was going to draw the fight out for a couple more turns, then retreat. Leery about wasting the card but deciding to forge ahead anyway, I threw down Proud Phoenix Phil by his lonesome for a grand total of zero power. Planning to throw 'Distract' and retreat the very next turn, imagine my surprise when Octavian used the 'replace' ability on 'How Dare You!' to discard it and draw another card. I did a double-take, as 'How Dare You!' would have prevented me from playing 'Distract'. I wish I had a photo of the look on my face, though, when after replacing 'How Dare You!" Oct retreated in the face of PPP's daunting 0 power, giving me two dragons. Apparently he'd completely run out of characters for the moment - what timing! I'm not sure I've ever seen a 0 power attack win a fight before.

As I said above, that really changed the complexion of the game. After winning a single dragon the next fight I went up 3-0, but Octavian fought back to even things up with one last (but very short, due to our lack of cards remaining) fight to decide it all. Fortunately for me Octavian ran out of cards first and I threw down my Mutant to win the fight... my second 0 power fight win in the game. Another first: watching Aqua run out of cards first despite having used the Water of Immortality. Craziness.

Anyone else played with the emissaries lately?
 
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Since I have only one set of cards (so far), Inquisitor play (which is probably my favorite) can be challenging. So, Emissary play is pretty much the default around these parts. I really enjoy the added twists that the game gets from those funky Emissaries.

Seth Ben-Ezra
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Joe Stude
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D'you have a favorite emissary/people pairing?
 
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Seth Ben-Ezra
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Not as such. Actually, in order to shake things up around here, the recent trend with my opponent (my wife) and I is that we each pick the deck that the other person is going to play. Then we assign a random Emissary. So I haven't really sat down to give a whole lot of thought to specific pairings.

That being said, the Tutu seem to go well with both Mimix and Khind. The last game that we played with Mimix/Tutu vs. Vulca/Buka. Getting those extra Free characters in with the Mimix is brutal. I tend to play Mimix in such a way to suddenly leap up to six cards, and the Tutu help a great deal with that. On top of that, the Mimix get the Guardian pair (6/4 and 4/6) and the Chosen of Nature, which recycles both draw decks. So, that seems to be a good pairing.

Seth Ben-Ezra
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Karl
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GreatWolf wrote:

That being said, the Tutu seem to go well with both Mimix and Khind.


Most would disagree actually. Tutu and Khind are a challenging combination (except the Tutu Support). You cannot continue a gang as soon as a free card is in your battle area. So a Tutu is only useful if you want to end the gang anyhow.
 
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Joe Stude
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I guess it should have expected this to happen to some degree based on the number of non-character cards added to each deck with emissary play, but I've played 3 games with emissaries now with a fourth in progress and except for the first, I've had major card problems in all. In fact, I ran out of characters two or three times in each of the second and third games, and in the savegame we plan to resume because Lackey crashed I've run out of characters again in game four (this with trying to plan for and prevent such a thing from happening this time). It may be inexperience but I'm not sure I like the idea of having to ditch large numbers of cards unused or misused in order to keep my hand balanced and capable of maintaining a fight for more than 1 or 2 cards.
 
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Joe Stude
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I thought this would be an interesting way to put what I said in the last post in context. These are just numbers so they're obviously a very superficial look at the situation.

In a game last night, for example, I used the standard Pillar deck with Ri-Cha, the emissary. This results in 40 playable cards, 15 of which are Pillar characters and 2 of which are Tutus for a total of 17 characters (and 23 non-characters). If you space that out uniformly, that means that for every character you play you need to play roughly 1.5 (1.35, almost exactly) non-character cards on average to pace out the deck properly. This also assumes that Tutu are at least semi-ideal characters, which in the case of Riprip in particular I find this to be rarely the case. If you take out the Tutus this jumps to 1.67, which is pretty hellacious. That assumes relatively smooth play. Play a deck that forces you to go through characters quickly or ditches a bunch of your characters at once (Terrah with Earthquake, emissary Farquhar with Shame on You!, etc) and you could end up hurting really easily.

Compare this to the standard deck, where with 30 cards you need to play at a 1-for-1 pace to spread things out.

Keep in mind, the other deck I had this issue with was Aqua, who is tied with Pillar for the second lowest number of characters in the game at 15 (only Flit has lower with 14, but the retrieve ability negates this). Does this mean that Pillar and Aqua would be much better suited paired with someone like GashGash (who has four Tutus)? This would also seem to indicate that higher character decks like Mimix and Khind should be more successful in emissary play, although Khind's high character count is deceptive since they depend on playing groups of them. I'll definitely be experimenting with this.

One of these nights I'll take the time to log a session report since I don't think that's been done for emissary play 'round these parts yet.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Jowjow wrote:
In a game last night, for example, I used the standard Pillar deck with Ri-Cha, the emissary. This results in 40 playable cards, 15 of which are Pillar characters and 2 of which are Tutus for a total of 17 characters (and 23 non-characters).


I make it 14 Pillar characters, 1 Mimix character, 1 mutant and 2 Tutu, for 18 characters. The other 22 are 10 boosters (4 FREE), 3 supports, 4 leadership cards (including a Chosen One), 3 Hyla, 1 interference and 1 crystal card.

Quote:
If you space that out uniformly, that means that for every character you play you need to play roughly 1.5 (1.35, almost exactly) non-character cards on average to pace out the deck properly.


Not quite. Apart from the minor correction above, lets look at those cards. Bounce Back can be played instead of a character card, so it really belongs on the other side of the balance. The FREE booster cards are always playable, and the Hyla, interference and crystal cards can be burned if not wanted (the Hyla replacing the previous Hyla - your if necessary). Actually at least one Hyla (your first that isn't Reappearance) and your interference card are too valuable for that.

Also on the balance correction, Tempt Holy Dragon is good for discarding cards that are blocking your hand. If you think you are character light, don't discard characters. (I'm not necessarily saying that's the case.) Ditto on your Chosen One.

Overall, you can easily get the ratio manageable. But be ruthless - play fast. That's your strength, not a weakness.
 
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Matthew M
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Dearlove wrote:


Overall, you can easily get the ratio manageable. But be ruthless - play fast. That's your strength, not a weakness.


Very true for the Pillar. You may not be able to get enough characters to draw a fight out past the first 2 or 3 rounds, but the Pillar generally don't want that to happen anyways.

I've talked about this with Joseph, but it bears mentioning here I think. Emissaries (and constructing decks also) changes the hand management issues you have. As the quick-and-dirty analysis above suggests, you need to play more cards per turn to play well.

Even then, it isn't unusual to experience a character-crisis at least once during the battle. You need to anticipate when your hand is starting to get clogged and have a plan for relieving it - even if that means declining to start a fight down the road. Declining also has the beneficial side-effect of allowing you to play a booster or support in response to your opponent's opener, when normally you'd be restricted to just the character.

-MMM
 
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Joe Stude
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Whoops, forgot to count the mutant. Also, when I said pillar characters I actually meant standard people deck sort of characters.

Don't really agree on Bounceback being on the other side of the balance. The strength of bounceback really depends on what you've got to play alongside it. If you get stuck with low power cards or worse, no characters at all, Bounceback does nothing but clog your hand up. With the real thing (characters), at least you have something to start a fight with without having to decline. The others are arguable, of course, but I do have to reiterate that while numbers certainly don't tell all the story (or maybe even much of it), the results are what matter.

Regarding Tempt, what to do if you're stuck with cards that normally wouldn't be considered blocking your hand, but due to the circumstances actually are? Game 1 last night I ended up using Tempt, discarding two caterpillars in the process. Of course, as Pillar one would hate to do this. However, I was having card problems again and throwing a character out with two caterpillars attached is just inviting a retreat and a single dragon anyway. Why not use the caterpillars for the Tempt, along with a potion booster for the other moon, and save the character, which is in scarce supply anyway?

I'm not sure I see that this combination can be played quickly enough to be ruthless, either, but I've only played two games with it and maybe I *am* getting bad draws. Aside of the free cards and a character that allows a double booster play, though, you're basically stuck using a single leadership phase/booster/support card per turn, and oftentimes that's just not enough to keep it all flowing through your hand. Decline? Maybe, but then you waste large chunks of your deck AND cede element choice to your opponent, something I don't think anyone wants or can afford to do frequently.
 
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Matthew M
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Jowjow wrote:
Decline? Maybe, but then you waste large chunks of your deck AND cede element choice to your opponent, something I don't think anyone wants or can afford to do frequently.


Usually giving element choice to your opponent is not a great disadvantage. Against Vulca or Terrah it is more so, but even then there are ways around it. And you in fact gain the advantage of being able to be first to play a booster of support in the battle (normally). Considering the importance of playing in multiple phases on a turn this isn't something to overlook. Declining should be more seriously considered as a viable opption when playing with Emissaries or constructed decks because of this.

-MMM
 
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Jack Wraith
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I agree. I've frequently declined precisely because I've been focusing on one element but have built up cards in my hand that can ably handle the other. Rather than get into an extended fight that my opponent has now been building up for, I cede the initiative to them and often get them to assume that they have the advantage because I was unable or unwilling to start a fight. Then, you close the trap. Granted, it's far easier to take this tactical approach if you're already one-up on Dragons.
 
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