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Subject: Event Strength rss

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James Sitz
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Sauam recently remarked that he thought the Sand Goblins had really good events, and was surprised by this because some of the playtesters had warned that they had poor events.

I said it because 5 of their 9 events are usually built as magic when I play them: 3x Duck and Cover and 2x Shiny. They're still a strong faction; it's just not because of their events, even if Taunt and Mirage are occasionally awesome.

When I think of strong suites of events, I think of:

Sneeks (Cave Goblins)
I typically play all 9 of their events in a game. Rush helps crowd walls. Rage + Horde = Dead Champion or Wall (often 2 in a turn)! Invincibility is very strong in just about every match up but the Phoenix Elf one.

Ret Talus (Fallen Kingdom)
Fallen Kingdom are essentially "champion-heavy play for dummies." You can play all 3 champions and keep them alive with Dark Sacrifice and Forced Summon, or build the Forced Summons as magic to have a curve more similar to other decks. I typically play most of their events. Legions of the Dead and Magic Drain are great too. Pre-reinforcements, they were hurt by not having much to do with all of that magic advantage that they were gaining.

Oldin (Guild Dwarves)
Every one of their events can have a huge board impact, except for A Hero is Born, but even that might be useful for early-Gror and was good for old Thorkur.

Prince Elien (Phoenix Elves)
The ability to point to any Unit (even most Champions) and say "that dies this turn," is pretty great, thanks to Burns and Spirit of the Phoenix. MD is the nuts, and plays well with their usual early-defense strategy.

Selundar (Shadow Elves)
Shadows is a swing of 2 for 1, which is good, and also messes with people's accounting. The rest can kill people out of nowhere, which is handy, but a bit more situational than some of Elien's events.

When I think of modest sets of events, I think of:

Grognack (Tundra Orcs)
Even though Freeze is very powerful, Reinforcements is usually worse than MD for my style of play, and often requires the right hand and board state to get the most use out of it. I usually build Ice Walls as magic to fuel my champions.

Sera Eldwyn (Vanguards)
Holy Judgment is deadly, but often hard to bring to bear. Summoning Surge is often the weakest catch-up, and is made even weaker by the fact that the VG really don't spend much magic early (to get the cards in their discard). What usually makes them win isn't their events, but Sera's Greater Healing and suitable Champions. Intercession only comes into play about 1/15 games for me, but when it does, it's pretty excellent because people don't expect it.

Tundle (Deep Dwarves)
Wake the Father Gem almost makes up for the rest of these events, but again, Summoning Surge isn't always that strong (and it's even at odds with Meditate early), and Illusionary warrior often seems to come at the wrong time. Magic Stasis can be huge if timed right against a champion spammer, especially if you can do it 2 turns in a row. I hardly ever use Magic Torrent.

Abua Shi (Jungle Elves)
The "Joe K." style of Jungle Elf play is characterized by building most commons and events as magic, and then going to town with Miti, Shikwa, and MR. I don't argue with its effectiveness, so I tend to mimic it. Chant of Life and Chant of Haste are occasionally incredible, and I've seen some fun plays with Chant of Deception too, but I'd say I usually play no more than 4 of their events per game.

Taculllu
AHiB is bad. MD is excellent. Mind Control and Mimic are great if you can get them to trigger, but often end up as deterrent more than getting used, which is actually very cool how they play head-games.

Vlox (Cloaks)
These are kind of a hybrid of Abua Shi's and Tacullu's events. Situationally powerful, but you often have to spend magic or set it up a certain way to make use of it. When I play the Cloaks, I'll typically play low on unit count early to try to activate MD, hold onto Raid until I can steal with it, and use Assassinate on high life commons that are protecting either A) a lane to their summoner B) a lane to Steal or C) a champion's butt when I'm summoning Dagger. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and build Cloak of Shadows or Assassinate when you need to cycle your cards more. Oh, and Spy, which is AWESOME. Were it not for the cost of CoS and Assassinate, these guys would be up there with the Cave Goblins.

When I think of lackluster event packages, I think of:

Sunderved (Mountain Vargath)
Most of them are situational. I think it's very cool that you can build most of them as Magic and then use Superior Planning to get your favorite one out later, but that doesn't stop this faction from being driven by Sunderved and his squad of face smashers more than event card tricks.

Krusk (Sand Goblins)
Silts > Krusk. Biter and Kreep are sick. Their ranged commons are great values. But I usually play 3-4 of their events per game. (Mirage 50% of the time, I use 1x Shiny 50% of the time, and probably 2 Taunts per game).

Mugglug (Swamp Orcs)
Mugglug's special ability drives this faction, together with some careful use of their units and the occasional event. I usually play vine growth and a couple of the others when it suits me, but I often build them as magic to keep things moving, rather than keep a mitt full of their events. I dislike how Ensnare doesn't help you create more Vine Walls, although it's quite useful in certain matchups (for PE Warriors, Gem Mages, Controllers, etc.)

What are all of your thoughts on event strength?
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Joseph Arthur Ellis
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Any strategy article from James Sitz deserves many thumbs!

I have yet to play many of these factions. I am just recently coming to understand the importance of events in general. The first times I played, I tended to focus on units and events were an afterthought. Now I understand that events can be central to the personality of a deck, and a good strategy has plans for events.

I would think of this question in terms of, "Which factions would suck the most without events?" When asked that way I don't see how you'd put anyone but CG+Sneeks at the top of the list. Not only would they be weak; they wouldn't even FEEL like the Cave Goblins. They way Horde and Rage (plus the occasional Rush or Invincibility) combine makes the collection even more powerful.

I agree with your placement of Ret in the top tier (or second tier, if you'd say Sneeks belongs on a tier by himself). Their events are so counter-intuitive because they actually hurt you (Forced Summon and Dark Sacrifice). But once again, it's the combos that make the difference. Dark Sacrifice + Legions of the Dead is a nice combo. In fact, Dark Sacrifice in general is more powerful than it first appears because of Ret's Raise ability and due to the magic-pinata factor of the Reapers. The ability to kill your own units on command is nice. (I have always wished Greater Raise had allowed me to summon any common in my discard pile, though.)

If I were to argue with you it'd be over the Jungle Elves. I've only played against them, not with them, but I was amazed how the tiniest mistake can equal death. If you're not accounting for Chant of Haste and Chant of Deception at all times (and I do mean ALL TIMES, thanks to Chant of Salvation) you can be dead before you know it due to Lioneers/Chant of Growth/Makeinda. Chant of Negation can kill your opponent's next turn almost as effectively as Goblin Invincibility.

Mostly what I love about these Summoners' events is not just their effectiveness but also their thematic qualities. It's just more fun to play with them because of the events. Oldin's events are obviously powerful, but are rather generic.
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Fede Miguez
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I gauge Events in terms of Magic gain. For example, Divine Strength heals 1 wound from all commons. Healing a common cost an attack from a Priest. I value the cost of an attack between free to 1 magic (basically, free, half a magic, 1 magic). If I can heal 2 wounds from commons and make 3 meaningful attacks that turn I'd consider the Event worth a bit over 1 magic for the cost opportunity. Then you have to factor the cost of moving the units so as the Priest can heal. This event rarely reaches goes over the value of 1 Magic so it's usually just built.
Cost of opportunity of building the event or saving it in hand also has to needs to be accounted for.
So individually I'd rank top Events (in no particular order)
Magic Drain
Greater Burn
Freeze (Bragg)
Goblin Invincibility
Summoning Surge
Chant of Life

Other events that get as great are
Raid
Dark Sacrifice
Forced Summon
Legion of the Dead
GHorde
Reinforcements
Chant of Deception

but they all depend on a specific situation in your hand or the board, so their average cost is usually a bit higher.
I think that is not the same the list of what factions depends the most on their events than what factions benefit the most from their events. PE and GD don't depend on their events, but they hugely benefit from them. CL might not benefit from their events (like Raid), but they depend on the threat of that happening. So an average list for this would be:

CG
FK
PE
GD
CL
JE
VG
TO
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Bryan Stout
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Thanks for this article, James!

Could you go back and edit it for more clarity, though? In particular:

- Add the name of the faction after the Summoner's name. I know that there will eventually be second summoners for each faction, but for now it's easier for me to think in terms of factions.

- Replace all abbreviations with the names of the cards etc. I do not have enough experience to remember the names of the Events by their initials. I'm sure many of your readers may not even know them by their full names!

This shouldn't take too long (copy it into an editor with search-and-replace ability), and will make it much more useful to newcomers to SWs Summoner Wars .

Thanks a lot!
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Darrell Goodridge
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I second Bryan's notion. I'm still awaiting my copies to arrive in the mail, but I'm eagerly learning as much as I can. So having things spelled out would be a great help!
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Michael Jordal
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Taunt and Mirage are so good though! I will play a duck and cover sometime, but will almost always build shiny stuff. I think I have played that card twice in all of my games with the SG.
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Pascal Lefebvre
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I'd probably switch the places of Ret-Talus and Grognack. Though you might not play every Ice Wall, the fact that there are so many Walls in their deck makes it reliable to get early walls on the front-line to summon stuff. It also works really well with Reinforcements for offensive postures. And Frezze is just sick. If they didn't have that extra 3rd Freeze, I'd agree with your list, and I think they wouldn't feel as strong as they are now.

As for Ret-Talus, since I'm a pretty dedicated FK player, I think their events put them in the second tier. Dark Sacrifice is cool, but so difficult to use. You need huge investments to play all those commons, and the ones you played earlier need to live in order to work with the next Dark Sacrifice. You get a lot of magic back, but then again there is anti-synergy with the Skeletal Archers, and you can't use Legions of the Dead to feed Dark Sacrifice (though the inverse order works very well). And you probably won't play more than 1 good Dark Sacrifice to heal 2-3 wounds per game. They might be better if you heal only 1-2 wounds at a time, but you lose more magic by not building the extra Dark Sacrifices. Their other events are pretty neat, but I also wouldn't play more than one Forced Summon unless Ret's life depends on it.

I'm in total agreement with the rest of the list though.
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Joseph Arthur Ellis
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That's a good point regarding Dark Sacrifice and Forced Summon. Forced Summon you will usually use one and build one. It's good in that you are more sure to get a FS early, but the other one is a sure magic build. I'd say the same thing for at least one DS.

I do think you can set up Dark Sacrifice with a Legions of the Dead... it just takes a little more advanced planning. :)
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Cory Bullock
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Phoenixio wrote:
...


I half agree. I don't really play Forced Summon and I only play 1 or 2 Dark Sacrifices a game. So I agree that the FK might be a little high on this list. However, I can't for the life of me remember the last time I actually played an Ice Wall. So I think the TOs are where they should be. Bragg might move them up, since Freeze becomes more potent then. But in the standard environment, I think they're where they should be.
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Brian Gee
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I agree with Joseph, I rank Abua Shi highly along with the other strong factions. You may not use all of the events, but the reach they provide are a serious threat the whole game, and a key part of Jungle elves strategy. I also love how there are more events in pairs, it adds some flexibility and variety in how you can surprise your opponent. Otherwise I agree with most of the list. I haven't played Shadow Elves enough yet to rank their events though.
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tim meyer
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Haven't had a chance to play with the Master Set factions yet, but this is how I would rank the first eight factions based on events.

Cave Goblins
Fallen Kingdom
Jungle Elves
Phoenix Elves
Cloaks
Guild Dwarves
Vanguard
Tundra Orcs

I went with more of an MVP approach to my rankings... not so much overall power of the Event Cards, but rather their importance to the success of the summoner/faction.

Sneeks
Of course Cave Goblins come out on top as their events are at the same time most pivotal to success AND arguably most powerful.

Ret
Fallen Kingdom is right behind as I find myself rarely winning with them unless I make efficient use of their set of events throughout the game (btw, there's nothing quite as satisfying as playing Dark Sacrifice to set up two unexpected Magic Drain drops… a magical moment to say the least)

Abudabubaboohoo Shi
Jungle Elves might not rely on their events as much as some later down on the list, but they sure as heck open up the can for shenanigans - which are difficult to defend against or at least annoying to constantly keep on the look-out for. Thus, for shenanigans alone, they occupy the third spot on my list.

The Prince (#28 - go Brewers!)
The phoenix elves come next because without their Burns and Spirit of the Phoenixes, I think that they would become too squishy. They need to be able to take care of units that get too close to the Prince both quickly and decisively. That being said, I find myself magicing SotP quite a bit simply due to the fact that I already have enough automatic damage at my disposal to take care of the situation at hand.

Vlox
These guys were tough to rank. I feel the cards are not too powerful at base level, but have the potential to be really powerful in certain situations (especially if spy can drop a champion out of the ring). But overall, I think the cloaks rely primarily on their special abilities rather than on their event cards (exception being the thief which needs the two Raids).

Ol’ din
Don’t get me wrong, the Dwarves has a great set of event cards – perhaps the second best in terms of sheer strength. That being said, I do not feel their events are pivotal to their success. The dwarves currently win about 55% of the time. I’m willing to bet their win % would still be above 40% even without event cards (maybe I’m wrong). They have cheep but useful commons, and a strong set of champions – that’s what makes them win. Also, while their events are strong, they are fairly basic in their application. Essentially, the opponent knows what’s coming and can thus be better prepared for it (as much as anyone can be prepared for Gror + Heroic Feat x2 )

Sera (aka the cute one)
I don’t dislike the Vanguard’s event cards, but they are rather situational and I find myself more often than not magicing them. Regardless, the event cards are hardly their strength.

Grog(a secret mixture which contains one or more of the following: kerosene, propylene glycol, artificial sweeteners, sulphuric acid, rum, acetone, red dye # 2, scumm, axle grease, battery acid, and/or pepperoni)nack
While Freeze and Ice Walls certainly come in handy, these guys rely on brute force and some really pissed off fighters to win them games.
“Grognack need no stinky event card. Grognack SMASH. “


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James Sitz
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joepinion wrote:
If I were to argue with you it'd be over the Jungle Elves. I've only played against them, not with them, but I was amazed how the tiniest mistake can equal death. If you're not accounting for Chant of Haste and Chant of Deception at all times (and I do mean ALL TIMES, thanks to Chant of Salvation) you can be dead before you know it due to Lioneers/Chant of Growth/Makeinda. Chant of Negation can kill your opponent's next turn almost as effectively as Goblin Invincibility.


Over time you'll learn to seal up your lanes and adjust your wall posturing to minimize the threat of "oops, I died."

When players do that, the JE have to have a more long-term focus. "JK" is referring to Joe Knapper here. I've called him the "Michael Jordan of Heroscape" before, and he took to Summoner Wars well too. In 5 for Fighting at GenCon, he picked the JE for his 5th round and won that tourney... against... I want to say Guild Dwarves.

Their event utility certainly varies. Chant of Negation is excellent against the Vanguards and Guild Dwarves. Not so much v. the Tundra Orcs (or Stonecloaks).

It can be extremely hard to summon all three champions against the Tundra Orcs or most Magic Drain factions if you don't build some of your events, most of your commons, and even kill some of your own.

PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
I gauge Events in terms of Magic gain.


This is roughly how I approach it too, but I also add an additional equation of 1 damage/wound prevented = 3 damage to a wall = 1 magic. When viewed through that lens, the Cave Goblin events reside in Value Town, Itharia.

When you use the magic gain valuation model, it quickly becomes apparent that AHiB usually isn't that good and the JE events aren't super powerful if your opponent accounts for them. There's probably another article in my head about converting magic advantage to positional advantage, but I was trying to keep this one simple.

Barliman wrote:
Thanks for this article, James!

Could you go back and edit it for more clarity, though?


Not tonight, but probably soon. I often forget that other people don't have every card memorized. Sometimes I get so caught up in brevity that I can forget my likely audience.
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Fede Miguez
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Jexik wrote:
PePe QuiCoSE wrote:
I gauge Events in terms of Magic gain.


This is roughly how I approach it too, but I also add an additional equation of 1 damage/wound prevented = 3 damage to a wall = 1 magic. When viewed through that lens, the Cave Goblin events reside in Value Town, Itharia.

When you use the magic gain valuation model, it quickly becomes apparent that AHiB usually isn't that good and the JE events aren't super powerful if your opponent accounts for them. There's probably another article in my head about converting magic advantage to positional advantage, but I was trying to keep this one simple.
But the problem of those events is the cost of keeping them in hand, the ones that depend on board position like the CG ones so that's a hidden cost they have: average turns you have to keep them in your hand before utilizing be worth it. If they are not 'combo'd' at most they get 2 or 3 extra dice (which some might be Reckless). OTOH JE events get the bang for buck (even at a 1 life-1magic cost) without the need to use them together.
Also I account 1 wound = 1 magic for champions, not for commons. Maybe with greater focus on commons that would be revised...
 
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Joseph Arthur Ellis
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Jexik wrote:
Their event utility certainly varies. Chant of Negation is excellent against the Vanguards and Guild Dwarves. Not so much v. the Tundra Orcs (or Stonecloaks).


Haha, ok, for anyone else, like me, wondering who the heck the Stone Cloaks are:
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James Smith
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I played a game last night with the Deep Dwarves and it was the first time playing them and it was the first time that I thought that events were really working for me. Two Wake the Father Gem turns in a row made a complete mess of my Bender opponent, Gem mages shooting about and returning to the walls was very powerful as was using illusionary warrior as I could dump a Gem Mage into my magic pile in the build magic phase and then I either had one extra magic to use for summoning a champion or alternatively if there was a weak spot in the opponents defences out came the illusionary Gem Mage. I didn't even have a chance to use Magic Stasis as Tacculu was killed in two Gem Mage attacks.
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James Sitz
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For those wondering about the abbreviations used, a link here to a list I made before:

http://www.plaidhatgames.com/sum_forums/showpost.php?p=7462&...
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