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Subject: Draft Table #1 rss

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Galen Kaup
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I have an idea that I'd like to turn into a regular series if I get enough interest. I pick a draft pool of factions each week or so, we play around with it, actually play the draft in different places and see if we can find the main line or lines (meaning how a table of four all-knowing Smash Up gurus would play it).

The pool this week:
Apes, Halflings, Innsmouth, Spies, Pirates, Plants, Vampires, Zombies

Rules:
Player 1 picks 1st and 8th, Player 2 picks 2nd and 7th, Player 3 picks 3rd and 6th, Player 4 picks 4th and 5th.
Two-game match of 4-player games, with the order of players reversed between the first and second game. All bases used in the first game go to the base discard pile at the start of the second game, so the same base can't show up twice (this reduces variance).
Per current rules, the base deck for this draft includes the Core Set, SFDF, Awesome Level 9000, Monster Smash, Obligatory Cthulhu Set and Munchkin Smash.

Your job: Take your best shot at finding the best-played sequence of picks, from 1st through 8th, and post them in spoiler tags. Feel free to play the draft out in real life, and report how the match plays out! I'll play some of the guesses out myself as well.

My guesses:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
P1: Halflings(1st)+Innsmouth(8th), P2: Zombies(2nd)+Plants(7th), P3: Apes(3rd)+Pirates(6th), P4: Vampires(4th)+Spies(5th).
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David Lee
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I LOVE THIS KIND OF THREAD!

I'm gonna conduct this draft in a 2v2 setting, because I don't play 4P free-for-all.

Apes, Halflings, Innsmouth, Spies, Pirates, Plants, Vampires, Zombies

Round 1
P1 picks Zombies. Zombies are the most versatile faction here and can pair with anything. This pick is predicting the Innsmouth pick, which Zombies can pair decently with.

P2 picks Apes. Ordinarily Halflings would be the pick of choice, but Vampires and Pirates are both highly effective at killing 2-power minions. Apes are much more resistant against those counterfactions, and in the absence of traditional counters like Ninjas, Aliens, or Fairies, Apes are the most solid pick.

P3 picks Halflings. Too strong not to be taken. Although the Zombie-Spy ally combo is terrific, it's in Team 1's best interest to take Halflings off the board.

P4 picks Pirates. Although Vampires are also an effective destroying faction, Pirates have much better AoE (i.e. can destroy multiple minions at a time). With Halflings, Zombies, and Innsmouth to come on the board, this should be a prime time for Pirates to come online and wreck face. Broadside, Full Sail, and Powderkeg are all massive threats to swarm carries like Halflings, Zombies, and Pirates.

Round 2
P4 picks Spies. This is a huge counterpick for Team 2, preventing the synergy that Spies have as an ally to Zombies (in helping them build their discard pile), removing the threat of Special actions, and preventing Secret Agent shenanigans from being actively used against the Apes. Key counter cards in the form of Mindraker (against Halfling specials) and Operatives are at Team 2's disposal. The facilitated card flow is just icing on the cake. The only weakness is that this locks P4 into a support/disruption role, with not much base breaking potential against Team 1's double-carry composition.

P3 picks Vampires. This is a counterpick to prevent further destruction of Team 1's low power composition. There's also great potential for synergy with Halflings: You can sack your own Quarterlings/Bardlings for power counters, then bring them back with Crack of Dusk for a gain of 2 power counters. Spoiled Brats ensures you can have a steady supply of fresh blood too. The extra minion plays are just what Vampires need to get jumpstarted, and makes setting up these combos easier. Halflings also excel in split push/spread offense strategies, which means they can benefit heavily with Buffet.

P2 picks Plants. There's not a tremendous amount of synergy here, unfortunately, but Apes and Plants are fairly powerful individually. Missing Uplink and Water Lilies will help with faster card drawing, and of course Venus Man Trap/Sprout/Budding can help you access necessary minions (especially Babooms). Sleep Spores are also some of the most potent counters to swarm carries around; these will really help hamper the Zombies, Halflings, and Innsmouth, and make the Pirates that much more deadly.

P1 ends up with Innsmouth. It's not a total loss. Zombies have plenty of 2-power minions that benefit from In Plain Sight and The Deep Ones. Mall Crawl/Not Enough Bullets can also be used to set up a lot of Innsmouth combos, making Mysteries of the Deep at least possible to achieve. Zombie Lord should create a very robust spread offense game once you have an army of zombified Locals (which you should be able to get faster with Pirates in the game).

In Summary
P1: Zombie/Innsmouth
P2: Apes/Plants
P3: Halfling/Vampire
P4: Pirate/Spy

Winner prediction
It all comes down to whether the spread out Team 1 offense can prevail, or whether the Pirates and Spies will freely feast on all the hapless little 2-power minions out there. It should be a close game, but I think Team 2 gets the win in a close game. Apes should be able to contest for first each time, and the Pirate Spies should be able to steal a higher ranking on bases fairly regularly.
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Galen Kaup
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Whoops, I forgot about 2v2. I might do a 3 player draft next time so I don't split the potential audience in half.
 
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Galen Kaup
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Well, I was horribly wrong. Zombies was the correct 1st pick for 4P FFA after all, since in the process of trying to create something clever I forgot that Zombies don't really care about having their minions killed.whistle Innsmouth Zombies are actually just fine here. As far as I can tell, for FFA, it's 1 Zombies, 2 Halflings, 3 Apes, 4/5 Vampire Spies, 6 Pirates, 7 Plants, 8 Innsmouth. My justification for Halflings over Apes at 2 is that Halfling Plants do better than Ape Plants here, and the Apes will definitely prefer Pirates to Plants on this board.

Parsat wrote:
I LOVE THIS KIND OF THREAD!

I'm gonna conduct this draft in a 2v2 setting, because I don't play 4P free-for-all.

P4 picks Pirates. Although Vampires are also an effective destroying faction, Pirates have much better AoE (i.e. can destroy multiple minions at a time). With Halflings, Zombies, and Innsmouth to come on the board, this should be a prime time for Pirates to come online and wreck face. Broadside, Full Sail, and Powderkeg are all massive threats to swarm carries like Halflings, Zombies, and Pirates.

Round 2
P4 picks Spies. This is a huge counterpick for Team 2, preventing the synergy that Spies have as an ally to Zombies (in helping them build their discard pile), removing the threat of Special actions, and preventing Secret Agent shenanigans from being actively used against the Apes. Key counter cards in the form of Mindraker (against Halfling specials) and Operatives are at Team 2's disposal. The facilitated card flow is just icing on the cake. The only weakness is that this locks P4 into a support/disruption role, with not much base breaking potential against Team 1's double-carry composition.


I think most of what you said is correct. However, I want to quibble with this part a bit...

Assuming that P1 and P3 are on the same time, Apes/Pirates would provide a serious threat of a buffed First Mate that nobody can get rid of on this board. Also, Pirates are normally a pretty bad faction. Why not go for Vampire Spies here in order to force P3 to choose between the awkward Pirate Halfling combination or allowing P2 to get Ape Pirates?
 
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Kasper B. Hansen
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Why are Plants picked so low? My impressions is that they are generally a solid faction. Sprout, Water Lilly, Sleeping Spore, the Plants with 5 power.

I least better than both vampires and spies.

Edit: Ahh... I can see, that you may not get as much mile-age out of cards like Sprout and Water Lily, when you are 4 players. I mostly play 2 player and 3 player.
 
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David Lee
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Nelagend wrote:

Assuming that P1 and P3 are on the same time, Apes/Pirates would provide a serious threat of a buffed First Mate that nobody can get rid of on this board. Also, Pirates are normally a pretty bad faction. Why not go for Vampire Spies here in order to force P3 to choose between the awkward Pirate Halfling combination or allowing P2 to get Ape Pirates?


That's actually a pretty excellent assessment. I think P4 should absolutely get spies, and after that there may be multiple good choices. Halfling/Plant vs. Ape/Pirate would be one heck of a showdown. My only quibble is that Vampire Spy seems really, really weak in this. You would have to be wholly reliant on the Ape/Pirate to take the game, and I have serious reservations facing another team with Halflings, Zombies, and Plants.

Although now that you mention it, I think P3 picking up Plants is a better idea than my original, which then forces Apes to choose between Vampires and Innsmouth. In either case the Zombies would have a pretty good combination.

Da Senzai wrote:
Why are Plants picked so low? My impressions is that they are generally a solid faction. Sprout, Water Lilly, Sleeping Spore, the Plants with 5 power.

I least better than both vampires and spies.


As you noted, in a 4-player game it's really hard to retain the Sprouts and Water Lilies. Bases rarely last over a round. The other issue is that Plants tend to run out of steam in the late game. It's really easy to blow through your minions too quickly and wind up with an action filled hand. This is not an issue if you can grab 15 pts fast, but if the other team has the least bit of disruption this could be problematic.

I would put Spies over Plants, in general, but Vampires under Plants. The Special actions, enhanced card flow, and disruptive capabilities of Spies are just too good to pass up.
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Galen Kaup
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Da Senzai wrote:
Why are Plants picked so low? My impressions is that they are generally a solid faction. Sprout, Water Lilly, Sleeping Spore, the Plants with 5 power.

I least better than both vampires and spies.

Edit: Ahh... I can see, that you may not get as much mile-age out of cards like Sprout and Water Lily, when you are 4 players. I mostly play 2 player and 3 player.


Water Lily actually gives you more mileage than usual on this board because, while the Sprout might be a Kennedy, the only card that kills Water Lily is Big Gulp, which has much better uses on this board (Shire Marshal and discouraging the option of First Mate -> Juiced Up in the same turn.) The real problem is that the Plants only synergize with Zombies and Halflings. The Plants are the 4th-best faction on this board if you look at them in a vacuum, though.

The Vampire Spies got two 3rd and two 2nd-place finishes in the four games I played out. They have synergy by targeting different-power enemy minions (3- and 4- for the Spies), and because the Vampires' crap tends to be crappier than normal, making the Spies' sifting better. With that said, Pirate Spies has all the same synergy.

If P3 goes Halfling Plants, then... P2 goes for Vampire Apes, which is really not great. Yeah, that makes Team 2 really unhappy. Zombie Vampires aren't any great synergistic combination, but Innsmouth Apes sound pretty bad.
 
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Wim D
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1st pick: Zombies
In this pool, the best faction is the Zombies. They are good enough to pick them without considering what your second faction would be. As Innsmouth is the faction that will probably become 8th pick, that will probably what you pair them with. Not so bad at all. The extra 2 power zombies (there are 7 of them) have some synergies with some of the innsmouth cards, while the locals can be played by the zombie lord.

2nd pick: Plants
When I would go second at this table, I would look at what I'd likely get back. Innsmouth and Vampires are the two most likely candidates to come around for the 7th pick. When there is a big chance I'll be taking vampires as second faction, I'd like plants to be my first faction. Vampires like to be paired with a faction that can draw cards, play extra minions and reduce power of opponent's minions (sleep spores is twice in the plants deck).
Even if vampires will not be available, with Innsmouth the plants are good too. The plants have the extra minion plays that Innsmouth desperately needs.

3rd pick: Halflings
This was the toughest choice of them all. Halflings is the better faction amongst the remaining 6, but this means you leave Pirates with Apes for player 4. First mates with some nice ape actions can become a problem. Also, with halflings for you and zombies for your partner, you'll have a lot of targets for Pirates and Vampires.
You'll have to play your halflings well: play no cards until bases are 6 points from scoring, and then play 6+ points on bases in one go. For example: Quarterling + Bardling + any other minion.

4th and 5th pick: Apes and Pirates
These factions both have the same problem: they have little card draw or extra minion play. So if the good cards don't come, they will be in trouble. On the other hand, if you get some of the nice combos, like first mates with an ape boost, you're set for the match.

6th pick: Spies
The same player has again a very though decision. Spies is the better faction of the remaining 3, but leaving vampires to player 2 gives both destruction-of-power-2 decks to the same team, while the power-2 heavy factions will be on this team.
However, spies compliment halflings very well. Halflings have a key card they need to really shine: Lunch Run. Spies can help to fish for that card.

7th pick: Vampires
Both remaining factions could go well with plants, but you don't want to leave the heavy drinker to the player with Tenacious Z. And Vampires are better than Innsmouth.

8th pick: Innsmouth
As expected, this is the last remaining faction.


Conclusion:
Player 1: Zombies Innsmouth
Player 2: Plants Vampires
Player 3: Halflings Spies
Player 4: Apes Pirates

I think the outcome of this game will depend on how quickly the 4th player can get a Juiced Up Cyber-revolutionary first mate.
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Galen Kaup
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Um. Plant Vampires not sucking is something I missed. I tend to default to thinking of Plants as the ultimate "average" faction that does a little bit of everything and not noticing its quirks...

OK, so this works at 2nd pick because the Halflings incite the 3rd player to not take Apes, which prevents the 4th player from snapping up the Vampires. Therefore, Vampires will likely last longer because you picked the Plants, meaning you'll get a better Plants combo than you would a Halflings combo. In my matches I played out, the Halflings only did well when they got Plants back. OK. Works for me.

Only one question: Did you consider Player 3's second-pick choices after Player 4 picks Vampire Spies instead? In my games Vampire Spies played at almost equal strength to Ape Pirates (obviously lower variance, though). Player 2 seems to be just fine here, and Player 1 is fine whether they get Innsmouth or Pirates at the end.
 
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David Lee
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IF this was free-for-all maybe there's a chance, but if this was teams I think that team 2 completely outclasses team 1. I think the plant/vampire anticipation is pretty good, but honestly Apes are really good against everything in this draft. They're resistant to almost all the disruption that could happen that could happen against these factions.
 
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Andre Oliveira
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My guess for a FFA table.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
P1 Halflings - Innsmouth
P2 Zombies - Vampires
P3 Apes - Spies
P4 Pirates - Plants


Reasoning
P1 picks Halflings due a deep synergy with Innsmouth (and no one else will pick it) while being strong themselves. This forces others player to stop zombies from getting a good faction (plants, apes and spies) and the pirate-apes combo (godly on this table).
P2 picks with zombies, expecting either vampires or pirates (the weakest possible partners, after Innsmouth) since any other faction would be too good.
P3 picks apes, to avoid giving away the combo to P4. It's also a good pick to protect from vampires and pirates.
P4 is forced to pick pirates. He picks plants too as it is a good combo for P3 (it's a good partner for pirates with extra minions plays - and the possible first mate dump with Blossom)
P3 is forced to pick spies, so zombie won't have it (spies are very good for accelerating zombie's game and let's not talk about an undead secret agent)
P2 ends up with vampires
P1 is left with Innsmouth


Winner prediction
Spoiler (click to reveal)
35% Halflings - Innsmouth
25% Zombies - Vampires
15% Apes - Spies
25% Pirates - Plants

This match up is somewhat balanced, but P1 has the best power drop in the table so I'd give him the edge. I might be underestimating P3's chance, but he really doesn't have many good plays unless he gets a secret agent with a jetpack and some lucky discards come around.


 
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David Lee
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Umm...where exactly do you get those percentages from? Like from an actual 100 game analysis?
 
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Andre Oliveira
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Just a guess. I'm just trying to point how much advantage I'd think each player have.
Instead of using terms like probably, might or would.
Otherwise it'd be win rates over XX games.

---
Tables with 4 tend to be too chaotic tough.
 
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