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Subject: Introducing Lifeline and Akash'Thriya rss

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Will Pell
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LifeLine is due to appear in one of these game sessions, but his first appearance is going to be overshadowed a bit, because I’m going to start having a LOT less time for these games soon, and I have something coming up which I want to put a lot more effort into, without having to worry about the last few of these OblivAeon games. So, since I accidentally doubled up on Environments earlier, I’m now going to premiere two of the last three OblivAeon heroes at once, using a much higher number of heroes in this game than I have in the past. Akash’Thriya is an absolutely bizarre hero who changes everything about how the game functions, with her bizarrely high HP and her habit of screwing with the Environment, and it would have made sense to premiere her separately….but real life is getting in the way, so here we go into “crunch time”.

Progeny [90] vs Parse [26], Lifeline [31], Freedom Five Bunker [29], Akash’Thriya [50], and Haka [34] in Magmaria.

Setup: Progeny begins the game by putting a Scion of the Storm into play; the heroes are immediately down 1 HP each, not that Haka and Akash’Thriya really notice [25, 30, 28, 49 and 33]. Parse draws Extrasensory Awareness, Targeting Arrow, Quick Calculation and Buffer Overflow. Lifeline gets Matter Manipulator, Terminarch’s Casing, Calculated Action, and Ley-Line Shift. Bunker has Upgrade Mode, Decommissioned Hardware, Ammo Drop, and Maintenance Unit. Akash’Thriya starts with As The Earth Turns, Vitalized Thorns, Creeping Mold and Cultivation. Finally, Haka draws Rampage, Taiaha, Ta Moko, and another Taiaha.

Villain 1: Form of the Harbinger is played. Time of Tribulations and Beginning of the End are discarded, and Scion of Frost enters play, dealing 1 cold to each hero [24, 29, 27, 48, and 32], before they each take 1 energy [23, 28, 26, 47, and 31]. Progeny then hits every hero for 2 more energy with his innate [21, 26, 24, 45, and 29], and then plays his bonus card from Scion of the Storm, which is Scion of Flame. The heroes take another 2 fire [19, 24, 22, 43, and 27], and they elect to destroy Scion of Frost, keeping Scion of the Storm out in the hopes of getting another Scion so that the Flame one can be gotten rid of. The heroes are down 7 HP each and they’re only now getting a turn! Fuuuuun….

Parse 1: Buffer Overflow enters play. Pinpoint Shot deals 2 to Progeny [88]. Draws another Extrasensory Awareness.

Lifeline 1: Plays Calculated Action, dealing himself 1 damage [23], and then plays Terminarch’s Casing and Ley-Line Shift. The self-damage from the Shift bounces off thanks to the Casing, and all the decks discard: Progeny loses Obvious Futility, Parse loses Snap Decision, Lifeline is glad to be rid of Haunting Memories, Bunker disposes of Recharge Mode, Akash’Thriya dispenses of a duplicate Cultivation, and Haka loses a Vitality Surge, while Magmaria tosses a Magma Crystal. Of these seven possibles, Snap Decision is clearly the best one to put into play, even though Parse doesn’t have nearly the cards she’ll need to make full use of it. So as not to overly focus on Parse as his only buddy in this match, Lifeline shares his Extract Power power with Haka this turn, giving him Haka of Battle while himself drawing Unnatural Upheaval. He then goes to his draw step, draws another Haunting Memories unfortunately, and ends his turn by zapping Progeny for 1 with Terminarch’s Casing [87].

Bunker 1: Ammo Drop is played; Tactical Uplink reveals Exploit Vulnerability, Cryptic Alignment, Grenade Launcher, Strangling Roots, and Haka of Restoration. The Haka is the only one of these which is reasonably decent, not for its direct effect but for the extra cards it will give that hero; he draws Haka of Shielding and Savage Mana, discards his extra Taiaha, and heals 1 [28]. Bunker draws the Grenade Launcher and ends his turn.

Akash’Thriya 1: So far she’s not doing much good on her “seed the Environment deck” shtick, but the knowledge that Magmaria is a mostly friendly environment makes me reasonably confident about playing As The Earth Turns. She then activates Dormant Essence, putting Vitalized Thorns into the environment trash, and draws the previously seen Strangling Roots, followed by Healing Pollen. While she’s working at cross-purposes with the heroes’ desire to get rid of Scion of Flame, she can still help them quite a bit by getting Magmarians played instead of Progeny’s various awful cards, and if a Crystal Behemoth comes out instead, well at least it will give the heroes a secondary target to attack.

Haka 1: Armors up with Ta Moko, then Crushes Progeny for 2 [85]. Draws another Haka of Restoration.

Enviro 1: Crystalloid Behemoth enters play. It’s an 11-HP target, but immediately deals 4 damage to everything starting with itself [7]; it then hits Progeny [81] before moving onto the heroes, hitting the armored Lifeline [21] and Haka [25] for 3, while all the others take the full 4 [Parse 15, Bunker 18, Akasha 39].

Villain 2: Parse isn’t in single digits yet, though she’s getting close; Progeny tries to play his normal card, but Akash intervenes [37] and pushes out a Crystal Collector [6]. Progeny hits every hero for 3 energy [Parse 12, Bunker 15, Akash 34], with the two armored characters reducing this to 2 [Lifeline 19, Haka 23]. He then tries to play a Scion of the Storm card, but instead Akasha drops to [32] and plays another Behemoth! It enters play at [7] effectively, hits Progeny again [77], and mauls the heroes for another 18 total damage [Parse 8, Lifeline 16, Bunker 11, Akasha 28, Haka 20]. Tell me again how Akash’Bhuta isn’t a villain anymore….

Parse 2: Using powers isn’t a great idea right now, so Parse discards Extrasensory Awareness to activate Snap Decision, playing Quick Calculation. This reveals the previously arranged Exploit Vulnerability, which goes to the bottom, and puts Recompile and Impossible Shot into her hand. Not being guaranteed to live long enough to play any of the Recompiled cards, she then makes Impossible Shot her normal card play, knocking 3 off the newer Behemoth [4] and drawing Critical Multiplier. Skipping her power phase, she draws Reveal the Flaws, with Progeny right there in the picture (ironic given that he only occasionally has any damage reduction).

Lifeline 2: Cooking up a plan more than devious enough to fit a pair of Chaotic Neutral characters who are currently “heroes” in a very loose sense, Lifeline plans out a use of Akash’Thriya and Parse’s cards that Parse at least probably never intended. He plays Unnatural Upheaval (a really unnatural one in this case), and since there aren’t any villain Ongoings, he destroys three hero ones – Bunker’s Ammo Drop isn’t doing much, so even though he’d kind of like to keep it, he’s willing to go along with the plan after seeing it map out, so that one can go first, allowing Parse to keep Snap Decision. But the second card he blows up is Parse’s Buffer Overflow! Normally this would be a very stupid idea, but with Akasha doing her thing (interestingly, both her card and his are showing Gloomweaver, albeit in different forms), instead of the villain getting a card, Akash hurts herself [30] and plays an Ember Shaman [4]. For the third destroyed Ongoing, Lifeline picks As The Earth Turns itself, which will blow up in two turns anyway; Parse draws Between The Lines off her Buffer Overflow, and finally Lifeline deals 4 damage to the wounded Behemoth, destroying it and stuffing it into the hand of Haka, who narrowly beats out Lifeline himself as the best choice to hold the resulting Magma Crystal and feed it to one of the Magmarians, gaining either 3 cards or a Power (the main reason being that, if neither gets around to happening, the Maori hero can always use the Crystal as just one more card to discard for one of his Haka war-dances). Now able to take only 1 net damage to use his power, Lifeline happily does so [18], getting his Cryptic Alignment and giving Parse a Quick Calculation as more fuel for her Recompile. He finally draws Unleash Energy, and then heals 1 [19] (I had loosely intended to have him zap the Behemoth, which would have saved Haka a card later in the turn, but I won’t go that far with the revisionist history, having missed this option at the time).

Bunker 2: It’s still not completely safe to use powers, and while his Grenade Launcher could make it safER, this isn’t sufficient to actually kill the surviving Behemoth, so he doesn’t bother working on the problem. Instead he goes into Upgrade Mode, wishing that had happened earlier so that it could have been blown up instead of his Ammo Drop, and he additionally plays the Grenade Launcher but leaves it on standby for now, drawing Omni-Cannon.

Akash’Thriya 2: All her other cards are Primordial Seeds which have minimal effect when played from hand; they do have possibilities for distracting Progeny, but she hopes to do better, so she plays and activates Cultivation, taking 2 from her pet Behemoth [28] for using the power. She shuffles her single Vitalized Thorns into the Environment deck, then plays the top card, which turns out to be a Stone Shaper [8]. She draws Primeval Germination, then plays another Environment card, which turns out to be Fiery Crystallization. This is bad news for Lifeline and Bunker, but also potentially very good news for Bunker and maybe Haka; it’ll be messy regardless, but I did mention that the two villain-heroes are being exceptionally roguish today.

Haka 2: Not particularly enthused by any of his card play options, and marginally reluctant to take 1 damage using a power, Haka debates taking the Draw-2 turn, but instead of gaining one new card, he feels it would be better to get some effect out of one of his Hakas. He therefore plays the Haka of Battle, premature though it may be; he draws Savage Mana and Rampage, discards both the new and existing copies of these cards along with a Shielding Haka, and Crushes the Behemoth in a single blow, putting it into Lifeline’s hand, and presumably taking 1 damage [19] from the Behemoth as it dies. (I could see an argument that the damage happens after the power fully resolved, and thus can be prevented by killing the source, but I choose not to interpret it that way today, if only to keep from seeming to cheat in a match that we seem unlikely to win honestly.) He ends his turn by drawing an extra Ta Moko.

Enviro 2: I didn’t notice back when Akash was playing Fiery Crystallization, but the card under it was her Vitalized Thorns; before these can enter play, however, Fiery Crystallization happens. The Stone Shaper deals 3 fire damage to Progeny [74], 3 to Parse [5], 2 to Lifeline [17], 3 to Bunker [8], 3 to Akasha [25], and 2 to Haka [17]. The Grenade Launcher and the Terminarch’s Casing are both melted, and only then does Vitalized Thorns enter play [3]. I bend the sportsmanship of matters a little bit by looking at Progeny’s flipside (I’ve seen it before, so all I’m doing is compensating for not having a perfect memory), and confirm that the Thorns won’t distract Progeny’s flipside from pounding Parse into Paste, so it’s time for the heroes to seriously call on their fickle Magmarian allies for protection. Disdaining either Powers or card draw, Haka and Lifeline discard their Behemoths, and Haka also throws a Taiaha, while Bunker ditches Maintenance Unit and Omni-Cannon. With all this Stone to Shape, Parse ends up with 3 points of armor and Bunker with 2; hopefully this will keep them both alive for one round at least.

Villain 3: FLIP! Now dealing heavy damage to the lowest-HP character each turn, instead of modest damage to all characters, Progeny should be a good bit more manageable, even if Parse and Bunker are likely to have a finite number of turns to look forward to. Progeny plays another Scion of the Storm, dealing 2 lightning damage across the board, but first hitting Akasha [23], whose Thorns retaliate for 1 [Progeny 73]. The Thorns themselves are then hit [1], and Lifeline is the only other actual hero to take the full 2 damage [15]; Haka takes 1 [16], and Bunker and Parse ignore it entirely because of their stone armor. Scion of Flame is then destroyed; three cards a turn will make Progeny pretty mean, but even with the amount of armor we have right now, Parse won’t survive long if the damage bonus goes away. As it stands, she is targeted for 4 and actually takes 1 [4], after which the two Storms play an Elemental Outburst, which would bounce entirely off of Haka, but is instead targeted at Akasha, and proves to be a very bad idea for Progeny, as he gets as much pain as he gives thanks to what’s left of her Thorns [Progeny 70, Akasha 20], followed by Beginning of the End. It’s a good thing the heroes have taken full advantage of the Magmarians, because they’re now all gone, along with all the hero ongoings! That particularly sucks for Parse; Haka can resume his tanking status on his turn instead of doing anything else, and Akash’Thriya doesn’t need her Cultivation badly enough to even play its duplicate, but Bunker will miss his Mode a little, and Parse is devastated, now having to devote an entire turn to just drawing cards and shooting a piddly arrow. Still, the heroes are alive, and Akasha even still has her Thorns.

Parse 3: Disdaining all longer-term options, Parse goes for straight-up dakka, putting a Targeting Arrow into Progeny’s stupid mouthless face [69], and following it up with a Pinpoint Shot boosted to 3 [66]. Draws Updated Intel.

Lifeline 3: It seems worth taking 2 psychic damage [13] now to bring Terminarch’s Casing back to his hand, in the hopes that he’ll be able to play it the following turn; he also gets Unnatural Upheaval in case Progeny plays ongoings, and Calculated Action just because it’s pretty much his best overall card. He doesn’t really need cards any more, but Extract Power says that he gets one (specifically an Enclave’s Tech), and even though Bunker has only a single card in hand, he’s satisfied with it, so the rest of the Extraction goes to Haka, who gets an Elbow Smash into his very tiny hand. Lifeline ends by drawing a Ley-Line Shift.

Bunker 3: As his only card play, he uses DecommWare to bring back the Maintenance Unit, but instead of immediately using it, he tries a Tactical Uplink (with five heroes, this power is a lot more tempting than most of Bunker’s actual cards; no other hero depends more on his promo versions to make up for a mediocre deck whose default character is garbage). The reveals are another Targeting Arrow, Discharge Lifeforce, Heavy Plating, Creeping Mold, and Vitality Surge; Targeting Arrow is obviously the chosen play, and it deals 2 to Progeny [64] while upping his incoming damage to +2, assuming the heroes can manage to produce any. He happily draws his Heavy Plating and is done.

Akash’3ya Thri: Her only non-Seed card in hand is also one of her better cards across the board, Primeval Germination; she uses Dormant Essence to put Healing Pollen into the environment trash, drawing Creeping Mold and Akash’Flora, and the Pollen is then shuffled right into the deck.

Haka 3: He was going to armor up, but +2 damage per hit is too much to resist; he does an Elbow Smash for 5 [59], then a Crush for 4 more [55], and draws his Vitality Surge.

Enviro 3: Inner-Core Tunneler [12] enters play, and Primeval Germination triggers. Having received a stern talking-to from her teammates after the Magma Crystallization Incident, she no longer defaults to playing environment cards, even if they might be friendly Magmarians; instead she discards a card, which turns out to be the Seismic Defender, possibly the friendliest Magmarian of all.

Villain 4: Finally unleashed after two turns of being restrained in one fashion or another, Progeny starts by playing The Inevitable; the first card produced is Obvious Futility, which goes into play, and he then deals 1 energy damage across the board, starting with Akash’Bhuta [19], whose Thorns trigger but don’t manage to get through. It then destroys the Thorns themselves, which manage to get through for 2 damage this time [Progeny 53], and he then goes on to damage every other hero [Parse 4, Lifeline 12, Bunker 7, Haka 15]. At least they don’t have any armor for him to ignore. Parse has just been reduced to the point where an H=5 Progeny can kill her, so he does; her 7-card hand will never have the chance to turn into a 9-card hand with Recompile, but fortunately that and Between the Lines were the only particularly tempting cards in it. Progeny goes on with his two Storm Scion bonus plays; the first one is Scion of Frost, which destroys the second Storm Scion and thus prevents another bonus play, but first it deals 1 cold damage to each surviving hero [Lifeline 11, Bunker 6, Akasha 18, Haka 14].

Parse 4: I’ve observed before that Parse has one of the most useless incapacitated forms of any hero; reshuffling a hero trash is seldom very useful, and peeking at a villain card without the option to remove it is situational at best, so virtually always she grants nothing more than a card draw, which she of course currently gives to Haka (he gets Punish the Weak, for which he currently has no use).

Lifeline 4: There’s no other real way to destroy Obvious Futility in this party, and it needs destroying, so Lifeline plays Calculated Action [10], then Terminarch’s Casing, and then Unnatural Upheaval, which removes the armor and deals 2 damage to Progeny [51], although he immediately heals it with Scion of Frost [53]. He draws Discharge Lifeforce, gives Haka an Elbow Smash, draws Repair Ley-Line, and zaps Progeny for 1 that won’t grow back [52].

Bunker 4: Plays Heavy Plating and activates Maintenance Unit [8], then draws a worthless Upgrade Mode, informing Lifeline and what’s left of Parse (presumably she’s playing Oracle at the moment) that he’d like to start receiving the card draws instead of Haka once in a while.

Akash’Thriya 4: It being her only useful play, she puts Akash’Flora down [3], although she doesn’t feel good about its odds of surviving. With it being known that Progeny is out of irreducible until his deck runs out, Strangling Roots seem useful, so she Dormant Essences them away, drawing Earth’s Attunement and Healing Pollen, then shuffling the Roots in. Finally, Akash’Flora grows to [5] and heals Bunker [7] and Lifeline [12]. Shuffling blindly whenever I do this, I finally manage to accidentally shuffle one of her cards onto the top of the deck; this does mean that Primeval Generation won’t dig any deeper into the deck on the upcoming environment turn, but getting to the Seeds is rather the point of using it, so I’ll just say “Mission Accomplished” and be done.

Haka 4: Seems to be the round for everyone to armor up, so Haka plays Ta Moko; his power would accomplish nothing against a Scion of Frost, so he draws Elbow Smash and is done.

Enviro 4: The Strangling Roots have shuffled their way straight to the top, and now enter play [3]; Progeny’s damage is reduced, and just in case a Fiery Crystallization should happen, some roots wrap around the Tunneler as well, although he doesn’t seem to notice, having not been doing anything aggressive in the first place.

Villain 5: Hour of Reckoning enters play; only two heroes have Ongoings, but they’re going to lose these, and that will suck. The Hour will also remove a Scion, but that only prevents the next Scion to enter play after that from destroying one. Progeny hits Bunker for 3 net [4], and Scion of the Storm plays Scion of Flame; Akash’Thriya [16] and Akash’Flora [3] are burned severely, while the others partly resist [Lifeline 11, Bunker 3, Haka 13]. Scion of the Storm is then destroyed, since it’s no longer in the heroes’ interests to speed through Progeny’s deck, allowing him to reshuffle the Futilities and Flame Scions; punching through Scion of Frost will suck, but it beats the alternative here. Wait, I forgot all about the Roots! Having gone through the whole round without them in effect, I’ll leave the text I’ve already written, but add in {Brackets} the correct outcome of that turn. {Bunker took only 1 net damage [6], and the damage of Scion of Flame was completely negated, leaving Lifeline still at [12], Akash’Thriya at [18], Akash’Flora at [5], and Haka at 14]. The Roots also prevent Scion of Flame from damaging the Roots themselves, whose existence I completely missed that turn, or else they too would have been hit and reduced to 1 HP.}

Parse 5: Phones up Bunker to explain to him that his Upgrade Mode should have a redundancy; he tries in vain to be polite. (If I wanted to go full story-mode, I would have her make some joke about Akash’Flora being her “replacement” in this battle.)

Lifeline 5: Plays Ley-Line Shift, luckily discarding Form of the Harbinger, then Cosmic Immolation, DecommWare, Instantaneous Maturation, and Haka of Restoration. The Maturation is tempting, but it should be followed by another card play, and Akasha doesn’t have a plethora of playable cards, so with Cosmic Immolation not being indicated right now, Lifeline selects Haka to start dancing and healing up. Then I suddenly remember I wasn’t allowed to play a card, so I have to shuffle all the revealed cards back into their decks. Actually I’ll just shuffle in Progeny’s and Lifeline’s cards (I hadn’t gotten to the Environment when I noticed this), and the other cards (plus one for Lifeline, after all the card drawing he’ll do in a moment) can be revealed by Bunker’s upcoming Tactical Uplink instead. Doing Extract Power on himself and Haka (since Bunker no longer has a reason to care, but Haka will still value his extra cards in future), which produces an Unleash Energy and a Mere, Lifeline draws Haunting Memories, then heals with the Terminarch’s Casing [12]. {13}

Bunker 5: Tactical Uplink is activated (it counts as a “put into play” effect, so it ignores the Hour of Reckoning), revealing the three previously specified cards plus an Enclave’s Tech for Lifeline, with that one being slighly preferable to all the other options to put out (especially since, unlike with the Ley-Line Shift, this effect leaves the unplayed cards on top of the decks, and all of these are worth drawing for later use, even if none are spectacular for right now). In retrospect I had planned to use the Maintenance Unit, and Bunker will probably die because I didn’t, but so it goes; he’s in pretty miserable shape anyway. Having committed to the Uplink, Bunker casues Lifeline to play Enclave’s Tech, which produces a Vitality Battery and then shuffles Lifeline’s trash into his deck (making Parse feel even more useless in whatever Progeny-proof haven she’s retreated to). He draws his DecommWare, which he has little use for, and ends his turn.

Akash’Thriya 5: I was going to play Earth’s Attunement, but since Ongoings would get insta-killed, I’ll just...remember that I’m not allowed to play cards at all, and activate Dormant Essence. But first, at the start of Akasha’s turn, Flora will hit itself for 2 [1] so that Bunker can activate his Maint Unit [5]; there’s some hope he may survive as a result, though it would have been better if this was the second time he’d healed for the round. Now using Dormant Essence, the Seed she plays finally comes from trash rather than hand, being the Vitalized Thorns; she draws TWO copies of Instantaneous Maturation instead of just the one she expected, and then Germinates her Seed and has Akash’Flora heal itself [3], Bunker [6], and Lifeline [13]. {In actuality, Flora was left at [3] after one self-damage, and thus could have afforded another one if I wanted to burn her down, but that wasn’t really my preference, so we’ll leave the tree just activating Bunker’s power, which heals him to [8]. The tree then heals to [5], Bunker to the optimal [9], and Lifeline to [14], still matching Haka’s total so that he can possibly tank a high-HP hit with his armor.}

Haka 5: Crush does nothing against Scion of Frost, so he actually does take the Draw-2 turn, getting the Haka we saw before, and also a Vitality Surge.

Enviro 5: With Vitality Battery giving Lifeline a reason to want some secondary targets around, Akasha plans on playing a second Environment card after the normal one, but the point is moot because one of her Seeds is coming up. The Magmaria card is Magmarian Throng, and before it can activate, Primeval Germination plays Healing Pollen, which heals Akash’Flora [9] since Bunker needs to stay low, in order to prevent Progeny from unflipping. The Throng discards Crystalloid Behemoth, Smoldering Crystal, the other Magmarian Throng, Fiery Crystallization, and Smoldering Crystal; apparently there weren’t any Magmarians left in the deck, and thus the Throng is destroyed. Now Akash’Thriya can effectively play a Seed at full effect every round, and the Environment will stop doing much of anything; this sadly means no using the Tunneler to tank for endangered heroes, but it’s a pretty optimal game state nonetheless. Or it would be if Hour of Reckoning weren’t about to take the Primeval Germination away; without that, she cannot so effortlessly dominate the environment, and a normal reshuffle will take the opportunity away before she can draw another copy of the card. With all this in mind, I consider redirecting Parse and Lifeline’s card draws toward her, to try and get her a replacement during this brief window, long though the odds are.

Villain 6: Hour of Reckoning takes itself, Scion of Flame, Primeval Germination and Ta Moko away. Progeny then plays his single card, except it’s Form of the Harbinger, exactly the card I was so happy to think I’d prevented earlier; it discards its duplicate and the other Hour of Reckoning, which I’m glad to be rid of, but it plays Scion of Blight without removing anything, and all unarmored hero targets take 1 Toxic followed by 1 Energy [Akash’Thriya 16, Akash’Flora 7, Haka 12, both Seeds 1]. It is now a really bad idea to even try and damage Progeny, since he heals for 2 and a hero must discard 1; the last Scion in the deck is another Blight, at which point damage will cost 2 cards, but it’ll be more worth it without the healing. At end of turn, Progeny blasts Bunker for 3 net [6], and that’s it for him right now – he’s definitely more manageable now that he’s started to slow down.

Parse 6: Since Bunker does have one playable card, Parse accepts Akasha’s explanation of why she deserves to draw a card; sadly, however, she gets Accelerate Nature’s Order, which has some usefulness but is definitely not optimal with all the Scions that will act when Progeny takes 1 damage (only once per turn, but still, the possibility exists that ANO would produce exactly one target, actually healing Progeny by 1 and making the heroes discard a card to no benefit.)

Lifeline 6: With no real preferable options, he tries a Ley-Line Shift; he discards Elemental Outburst, Haunting Memories, Adhesive Foam Grenade (glad to have given that one a miss in this match), Creeping Mold, and the only card he might actually want to put out thanks to the Environment deck being empty, which is a Haka of Shielding. This causes Haka to draw two copies of Dominion; he discards Punish the Weak and heals 1 [13]. Lifeline then uses Extract Power to draw the Orphic Repository, gives Akash’Thriya an extra Earth’s Attunement, and goes to his draw step with a Harrow, finally healing with the Casing [15].

Bunker 6: Passing on the option of playing his entire hand (Upgrade Mode is pretty unappealing here; he’s just as glad not to risk hitting it with Tactical Uplink, in case this prevents him from getting a power on Akash’Flora’s turn), Bunker just does DecommWare, getting his Grenade Launcher back, and then Uplinks. His own card is another Grenade Launcher, which he unhappily draws after the turn; Lifeline reveals an Unnatural Upheaval which he has no current use for, and Akasha gets a Verdant Explosion which doesn’t look optimal right now, but Enduring Intercession is absolutely not desirable right now, with Haka not even having armor, so Akasha’s card is the only one worth considering. (Once again, I realize too late that I should have used the Maintenance Unit; Tactical Uplink is just more fun, but it isn’t always actually better.) However, the Explosion would only be able to pop two Seeds, which are at 1 HP and thus likely to pop soon anyway, and one of them currently won’t do anything useful, while the other would draw Akasha a card and heal all targets by 1. The Tree would also heal by 1 per popped Seed, and Thriya could damage something for that number {edit: no she couldn’t, she just damages herself}, but with the number being 2 and Scion of Frost in play, nothing would be gained. So for the first time, the Tactical Uplink doesn’t put anything into play, and just leaves all the cards to be drawn. Dejectedly, Bunker draws the Grenades and ends his turn.

Akash’Thriya 6: The Primordial Tree can afford to burn a few HP, so Bunker heals to [8] while the Tree goes to [5]; Lifeline debates getting in as well, but with the top cards of decks being known to be nothing special, it isn’t worth it. However, Akasha does have things to do this turn; Instantaneous Maturation costs her 2 HP [14], but gets her a Healing Pollen from her deck into play [3], which heals the Tree by 4 [9], and she then plays another Maturation [12], which plays a Strangling Roots [3]. (I believe an “until start of your turn” effect ends prior to the “at the start of your turn” effects happening in card-entering-play order, so Strangling Roots probably can’t stop the Primordial Tree from hurting itself when every hero uses a power.) So once again, Progeny is restrained from harming those who don’t dare try and harm it; with one card play left, Akasha plays Earth’s Attunement, but ignores it for now while Dormant Essencing a Healing Pollen into the about-to-reshuffle Environment deck. She draws Thrashing Brambles and Scatter Seeds, then the Tree heals to [11], it heals her to [13], and Bunker goes to [9] again, right where he wants to be.

Haka 6: Desperately wishing that the “Cauldron” hero Echelon was around to let him turn his Power Phase into a second Play Phase with one of her cards, Haka lays down Dominion, hoping it won’t get blown up before he can add the second one and start generating card advantage. With nobody else wanting it to stick around, and Lifeline at least having plans for its death, Haka uses Crush on the Inner-Core Tunneler [10]; he then draws the Intercession.

Enviro 6: The inevitable reshuffle occurs, and a Crystalloid Behemoth is played. It basically enters play at [7] as usual, and it then pops all of the Primordial Seeds, starting with the two Healing Pollens; Akasha draws As The Earth Turns and Noxious Pod, and all heroes heal 2 before taking 3 or 4, all of which I will address in a moment. Except, actually, re-reading Strangling Roots, nevermind that; the heroes heal 2 [Lifeline 17, Bunker 11, Thriya 15, Flora 13, Haka 15], then Bunker intentionally takes 3 [8] from the Behemoth to avoid unflipping Progeny. Progeny himself is then hit, healing back 2 of the 4 damage [50] and forcing a discard (Thriya ditches her extra Earth’s Attunement). The Behemoth then tries to take out one of the Roots (it doesn’t matter which, since the Pods have already healed the damaged one back to full), which responds by destroying it; Haka puts the card into his hand, and the environment is finished, with one set of Roots remaining active. (In retrospect I could have also left one or both Pollens unpopped, avoiding the need for Bunker to self-endanger, but this is good enough.) The top card of the environment deck is now a Seed, though of course we’re not sure which one.

Villain 7: Time of Tribulations is played; Progeny’s innate deals 2 extra damage to Bunker,, counteracted by the Roots, for a total of 3 net [5], and he and Lifeline are going to have to lose one of their Equipments, after which Scion of Frost will go away whether or not Scion of Blight then comes out. Not ideal, but certainly not his worst.

Parse 7: Bunker is back to being the needy one, and he needs more than just cards, but that’s all Parse can give him, so he gets an External Combustion.

Lifeline 7: About to lose an Equipment, Lifeline figures he’d probably better put an extra Equipment out, since he has plans for both of the existing ones; Orphic Repository is in his hand, and is pretty disposable, although I don’t want to have to deal with the question of what happens to the cards under it (individual cards often spell out what happens in these cases, but the Repository was too wordy to include such clarification text, so I’ll just have to make a thumb-rule that the cards go back to the trash along with it). But the alternative is to use Enclave’s Tech to get the fourth piece of Equipment out of his deck, the Nordic Sulf-Axe, which is too useful to lose, so ultimately dropping the Repository is the most sensible thing to do. (It sucks that Hour of Reckoning not only threatens to destroy Ongoings, but also prevents them from being played to cushion existing ones; thankfully Time of Tribulations lacks this problem, but I’m annoyed that every single hero except Unity uses Ongoings while only half or a third of them use the Equipment mechanic at all, making these two similarly-worded Villain Ongoings function very differently in a weird stealthy way.) Having squandered his play phase in this way, he uses Extract Power yet again to draw his Unnatural Upheaval, give Bunker a Turret Mode, and end by drawing Unleash Energy, healing with the Casing [16], and briefly storing Ley-Line Shift under the Repository.

Bunker 7: It’s not quite “Clobbering Time” yet, since Scion of Frost is still in play, so none of Bunker’s card play options look appealing; he simply heals to [7] and draws Adhesive Foam Grenade, yet another card he doesn’t want to play. I’m beginning to remember why Bunker is my pick for the worst hero in Sentinels….

Akash’Thriya 7: Akash’Flora donates 2 of its HP [9] to Bunker [9] as usual, although he politely requests not to get any more healing from the Tree at the end of the turn. Thrashing Brambles goes into play, and while she’s still somewhat interested in getting more Seeds sown, she isn’t in a great position to get them reshuffled, so she uses the Brambles’ power (as a designer, I disagree with this card being as awesome as it is, compared to the uselessness of Earth’s Attunement and the situational nature of Cultivation; I’m sure the playtesters had their reasons, but I rather wish the two very powerful clauses of Brambles had been on separate cards). With one Seed in play, she blasts the Tunneler for 4 [6], takes 4 herself [9], and deals 2 net to Progeny [48], with Bunker handling the discard using his latest draw. She draws a Noxious Pod, and Akash’Flora heals itself [11], her [10], and Haka [14].

Haka 7: Another Dominion enters play, and the Tunneler gets Crushed [4]. Draws Mere.

Enviro 7: Just a little sooner than I would have preferred it to do, Vitalized Thorns enters play; of course, it doesn’t deal damage when it enters play, and in fact does nothing right now, so I guess I’m not so upset after all.

Villain 8: The Tribulations end, along with the Frost, destroying the Repository and the Grenade Launcher; a well-timed Elemental Outburst then bounces completely off of Lifeline (although Akasha would have liked to be the one hit, since she would actually give worse than she got now), and Progeny’s innate hits Bunker for the usual 3 [6].

Parse 8: Although Haka always wants more cards to discard, he doesn’t currently want any more to play; Bunker can reup his Launcher easily enough, and Lifeline also has options. So the only hero who requests a card this turn is Thriya, and she gets a Verdant Explosion.

Lifeline 8: Extremely tired of the unending stall, Lifeline strongly considers going nova now, while Progeny’s defenses are at a minimum, but with relatively little chance of anything worse than a second Blight Scion getting played, he decides he’s pretty safe, and does a little more build-up, playing Repair Ley-Line in part to get an extra Environment target out. Everyone heals [Lifeline 17, Bunker 7, Thriya 11, Flora 12, Haka 15], the heroes draw Matter Manipulator, Heavy Plating, Noxious Pod, and Rampage, and Smoldering Crystal enters play. Of the available options, the surprising choice for the hero power activated this way is Earth’s Attunement (Thrashing Brambles would have similar effects and would add damage to Progeny, but would also hurt Akasha, and I just decided I wanted her to start working her way back up toward becoming the highest HP again, for the sake of Elemental Outbursts and the like, even if it’s unlikely she’ll ever complete this effort). The Attunement plays an Ember Shaman, giving Lifeline another target to harvest for his blood magic, and the Attunement then kills the newcomer, activating Vitality Battery for the first time and healing Lifeline [18]. Maybe that wasn’t really worth the effort I put into it; oh well. At least Haka is happy, drawing a third Dominion and a Mere. Lifeline then activates Extract Power, drawing Cryptic Alignment, and giving Haka his Taiaha. He draws Discharge Lifeforce, heals again with Terminarch’s Casing [19], and wonders if he made the right choice by waiting one round to “burn brightly”.

Bunker 8: The Grenade Launcher enters play, and since Haka wants the Tunneler to die this round, Bunker fires at it [2] and at Progeny [46], with Lifeline discarding a spare copy of Matter Manipulator. Bunker draws Turret Mode.

Akash’Thriya 8: That Tree is looking awfully tempting here; however, Dormant Essence and the Thrashing Brambles power seem suboptimal, so she almost decides against doing anything. However, Bunker still wants to heal [9], so Flora is definitely hurting itself a little [10], and as long as this is the case, I decide to get the party started a little early, given what card I’m planning to play. So for starters, Thriya damages Flora [8], activates Earth’s Attunement, and plays a Crystalloid Behemoth; this damages Progeny [42] and causes Bunker to discard an extra Turret Mode, then it hits the Roots, which destroy it, causing Haka to draw Ground Pound and Ta Moko (plus he takes the Behemoth into his hand). Left with the option of destroying an Environment card, but with Haka having designs on the Tunneler, Thriya ends up blowing the Crystal to bits, just so that Haka can draw again (getting Haka of Battle again finally, and also Haka of Shielding). With the sudden realization that the game is in its final phase, Lifeline also taps some syrup from the Tree [6], blowing his Vitality Battery for 6 damage to the villain [36]; Bunker now regrets healing instead of using his Grenades, but Haka still hasn’t used the Tree [4], so he does a Crush on the Tunneler [X] instead of waiting until he has a third Dominion down, drawing Enduring Intercession and Punish the Weak into his now absurdly gigantic hand. With that, Team Akash’Something has finally finished the START of the turn; now Thriya plays Accelerate Nature’s Order, playing Magmarian Throng, which hurts Thriya a little [10] and goes away, letting Haka draw (Haka of Battle and Ground Pound). A Crystalloid Behemoth is the next card played this way, which deals 3 to Progeny [33], then 4 more to Progeny [29] and 4 to itself [7], but with no more Roots around, it gets its full effect. The Behemoth hits Thriya [6], causing the Vitalized Thorns to hit it back for 2 [5], then it hits the Thorns themselves, which deal 4 damage to Progeny [25] as they’re destroyed. Bunker takes 3 [6], Lifeline takes 3 [16], Haka takes 4 [11], and the Behemoth is finally done; only then does ANO play its third card, a perfectly innocuous Crystal Collector [6], except that it attacks Progeny for 3 more [22]. Sadly, with Earth’s Attunement used for the turn, there’s no way to kill the Behemoth immediately, so if Akasha activated Thrashing Brambles, she would die, possibly before resolving the damage but certainly after it; as wobbly as Progeny looks, the game isn’t quite that much in the bag, so Akash’Thriya skips her Power phase and draws Rapid Growth, a bit too late for it to be useful. At the end of her turn, Flora heals itself [6] and its “mother” [7] as well as Bunker [7].

Haka 8: Plays Haka of Battle, and counts the cards he could discard: the total, including two Behemoths, is exactly equal to Progeny’s life total, so all thoughts of killing the existing Behemoth are forgotten, as 2 damage in the Power phase (even assuming it happens before the Power itself resolves, which I think is the opposite of true) is a small price to pay for ending this absurd struggle. Had Progeny gotten a turn, he actually wouldn’t even have played that final Scion of Blight, as he first had two The Inevitables which would discard the rest of his deck in search of an Ongoing they’d never find (I had forgotten that the other Time of Tribulations had been the very first discard). So, without getting a chance to reshuffle, he was never going to get any tougher, and it’s just as well that the heroes ended it right away.

As much as I was tempted by the idea of Haka getting to play a THIRD copy of Dominion before he and Thriya started exterminating the environment (or better yet, letting Lifeline do it, so he could also get Vitality Battery running, that outcome can wait for another game, as can the full potency of which Lifeline is capable (he was holding Matter Manipulator, a key card for his deck, forever; if I’d ever been certain I wouldn’t need any more cards, I could have given up his Extract Power draws to activate additional powers quite easily, but the risk of having to discard for Scion of Blight kept holding me back, and as a result Haka utterly upstaged him). Despite being effectively the “guest” hero in a game she wasn’t intended for, Akash’Thriya really stole the show, and only a couple of her cards didn’t make an appearance, so I am distinctly ambivalent about whether to use her again anytime soon (of course, combining her with Doctor Medico, either in the Sentinels deck or if I ever get my hands on the Void Guard solo decks, is an obvious way of utterly warping the self-destructive tendencies which took her from 50 HP to 6 in the course of this game). Parse and Bunker obviously didn’t contribute nearly as much this game, but their status as targets for Progeny’s wrath gave the other three heroes the breathing room they needed to be able to assemble their assault; that’s usually how these matters tend to work.

Progeny 22, Lifeline 16, Bunker 7, Akash 7, Flora 6, Haka 11, Behemoth 5.
 
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