Iain K
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Hi everyone,

We've been getting back in MECCG with the Challenge Decks and I am starting to do a bit of deck construction (which I really enjoy).

I experienced an interesting phenomenon in a session earlier this afternoon.

My opponent was playing the Radagast Challenge Deck (Deck D) featuring Beorn the Unstoppable. I was playing a silly little deck I'd put together that focused on sages gathering Lore with a dash of diplomacy. I felt that while the deck did some things right, like focusing on a relatively tight geographic area, staying in Wilderness with plenty of Resources to aid Wilderness travel, my Hazard creatures just couldn't put a dent in my opponent's deck, particularly against Beorn.

So I began to *avoid* playing certain hazard creatures, ones I fully expected my opponent to brush aside. I mean, why give him free MPs?

Now if you know Radagast's challenge deck you'll know it's all about diplomacy, so the copies of Muster Disperses in my deck were put to good use. But creatures like wolves and even Abductors ... forget it.

At any rate, here are my questions for you all to discuss.

(a) Have you ever found your mix of creatures has fallen flat and thus avoided playing specific creatures to avoid handing your opponent MPs?

(b) Must competitive decks contain only creatures with high prowess?

(c) Does a solid deck focus on a single type of creature and augment that type of creature with the appropriate hazard events. For example, Men creatures with Rank Upon Rank?

Radagast's Challenge Deck uses this last combination to good effect, however, my deck's focus on wilderness movement means that few of Radagast's Men qualify to attack my companies.

Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts and input.

Cheers!
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Brad Miller
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Yeah, I have big problems with my hazard portions. My son has a nice "Hoard" strat deck. If my hazards are wilderness based, I'm toast. Not sure how to make a hazard deck that can deal with all the potential metas.

I tend to look for the modifier cards that can turn any particular hazards into killers, things like corpse candle and the one that doubles the strikes of wolves and such. But, my decks are bad, so I don't know...
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Iain K
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aaxiom wrote:
Is this a question of not having enough cards, or is it one of "Did I pick the correct deck for this particular opponent's strategy?"


I meant my questions in the latter sense Phil, and I love the fact that this game isn't easily solved ... I suspect you do too

I have to believe that a solid deck has creatures that can key to all the possible terrain types. Perhaps many weak attacks are as good as a few powerful ones. It's all about tapping your opponents characters, delaying them right? A deck filled with Dragons (something I have to try by the way) might sound all well and good but may perform poorly in practice.

Perhaps my Deck is too weak in corruption hazards and they're the best way to approach a high prowess character like Beorn.

The game has such a plethora of possibilities that I doubt a single deck can cover all opposing decks, perhaps even more so than other CCGs I've experienced. Or maybe I just need to become more comfortable with the sideboard.

Practice, practice, practice.

It's a fun game to explore, that's for sure.
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José San Miguel
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citizen k wrote:

Now if you know Radagast's challenge deck you'll know it's all about diplomacy, so the copies of Muster Disperses in my deck were put to good use.


Foolish Words work very well. Muster Dispersed are better packed on the sideboard and brought into the play deck if your opponent shows weakness against it (i.e. nice factions and low free GI).

citizen k wrote:
(a) Have you ever found your mix of creatures has fallen flat and thus avoided playing specific creatures to avoid handing your opponent MPs?


Indeed, that can happen. Specially in sealed games, Arda games or regular games involving challenge decks. If your hazards miss your opponent's meta-game they can be pretty useless.

citizen k wrote:
(b) Must competitive decks contain only creatures with high prowess?


Not at all. I'm very fond of Wisp of Pale Sheen (prowess 6) against minion players. Of course, minion players can't score WoPS' MP.

The point of hazard creatures is not only kill all opponent's characters (sure it's great if they do), but to make him lose turns.

citizen k wrote:
(c) Does a solid deck focus on a single type of creature and augment that type of creature with the appropriate hazard events. For example, Men creatures with Rank Upon Rank?


Sometimes. Most times not. Many players prefer hazards playable by themselves so you don't have to keep a hazard combo in your hand, but it depends on the hazard strategy.

You try to guess the resource meta-game you're going to meet, then plan your hazard strategy accordingly. Often you put many versatile hazards in your play deck (e.g. against hero players, Cave Drake and Sellswords Between Charters, check this thread), and you put hazards against particular meta-games in your sideboard. During play, you move those hazards into the play deck as soon as you recognize his deck archetype (sometimes that's when you see your opponent's starting company). Cards like An Unexpected Outpost are very important for this purpose.
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Adrian Hague
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This is the key I think. Your main deck focuses on one particular hazard strategy, and then the sideboard contains cards that fill out the blindspots of that strategy. You'll need to brush up on the rules that govern taking hazards from the sideboard into the deck (opponent's hazard limit is halved, tapping your wizard, etc..). You can also use 'An Unexpected Outpost' to recycle the hazards that are working.

Alternatively, just go for the minimum compliment of creatures (12?) and go for a Corruption strategy Hazard portion, as this is not keyed by region or region-type (on the whole).
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Emily B
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Hazard decks don't *have* to contain only creatures with high prowess, but it certainly helps. As someone else mentioned, making the opponent lose turns is another valuable use of hazard creatures.

Undead decks with stacked enhancers (Plague of Wights in particular, although The Moon Is Dead is also good) plus increased playability (the right regions, etc.) are incredibly good when done right.

I've also seen an overwhelming Orcs strategy, where you take the cheap, weak Orcs (keyable to *everywhere*) and then enhance them out the wazoo -- Minions Stir, 2 or 3 Tribes Present, etc. Scimitars of Steel. That sort of thing.

I've been fine-tuning a Dragon hazard deck for *years.* It's hard to get it working well, but when it works, it works. (For example, don't include Itangast; he doesn't choose defending characters. Right out. Dragons need to be hitting vulnerable non-warriors to be effective.)

A lot of it is skill, and not just deckbuilding (we always lose to our super-talented friend, haha, because he plays a lot more frequently than we do) but you can give yourself a leg up by building a focused hazard deck and including the "what if"s in your sideboard.

Good luck!
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Iain K
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Thanks Emily,

As I have recently been getting back into this game, a core lesson has been driven home. Choose a focused hazard strategy and understand that there can be value in trading 1MP hazard creatures for *time*, for delaying your opponent, to gain an MP advantage over them.

Part of the what prompted my initial post was that we were playing with the Challenge decks. I'm sure these are fine decks, but they always take a few plays for me to "get comfortable with". I think I fare better with decks I have built myself. Perhaps because I build decks with strategies / story lines that interest me.

A key part of enjoying MECCG deck building is understanding which hazard creatures complement one another, and work well with other hazard strategies, like corruption or roadblocking.

Example, I like "Bairanax Ahunt" among the Dragons as he can strike Anduin Vales ... a region that many opponents seem to visit. But to build a Dragons hazard strategy, one needs to use Dragon's Desolation and Rumors of Wealth to really start having fun.

An appreciation of the value of Wargs and low strength Orcs takes more time to develop.

It's slowly coming back to me. Although to be honest, I think that this time around I have a much deeper appreciation for the game than I did in the past.

Cheers.
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