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Subject: Session Report: Aqua vs Hoax/Aqua vs Vulca rss

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Jenny Nguyen
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This has got to be one of the most awesome battles I've had (admittedly we've all had awesome Blue Moon battles at some stage). I didn't think much of the Aqua deck when I flicked through their cards (just acquired them) but assuredly, they have some nasty combos and some nasty cards.

I played as Hoax for several rounds and thrawted my opponents attempts to win having drawn a few lucky Hoax tried-and-true combos with cards that return to hand and cards that allow multiple boost/supports to be played along with the ever favoured Tome of Wisdom. Luckily for myself, my opponent didn't get the chance to pull out the anti-Hoax leadership card that forces hands of 6+ cards to be downsized to 5 cards again.

Curious as to whether the Aqua were really as weak as I initially thought they were, we traded hands and I became Aqua. Again, I drew some awesome hands. The last round saw a cutthroat battle with boosters and supports from both sides being placed furiously with each player trusting implicitly in his own hand's ability to win - however I finally drew the second flood card and possessed a free support card in my hand as well as the character that allows one extra booster/support to be played so the next turn saw me place both flood cards and a support card to ensure that I could play that character down thereby forcing my opponent to flee and ensuring my victory.

During those battles though, both players were irritated by Aqua's difficult to play mutant card. This card can only be played when your opponent has a hand of 2 or more cards than yourself. This is always a heart wrenching decision when an Aqua player possesses both this mutant and the leadership card forcing discards for hands of more than 5 cards.

Just for fun, we decided to pit Aqua and Vulca against each other. Neither of us really like the Vulca as they are an uninspiring, ordinary deck to play but amongst us, the Vulca have a reputation for rarely losing (especially against Hoax) so the next battle began. 3 games later and Aqua had lost everytime (almost instantly too). I had drawn bad hands that offered poor support (0-2, 2-0 type of supports). The 'catch' with the Aqua deck is that at any one time, you're almost assured to have more support cards than character cards so at crucial moments in time I was left stranded with weak characters and poor supports that couldn't be played. In any case, we continued with Vulca and Aqua and had an incredible battle where both players were down to their last 4 and 3 cards respectively after having invested in a great number of cards during that same battle. However, my last 3 cards were two supports and the ever despised mutant! zombie

Aqua definately exceeded my expectations with the flood cards (opponent must automatically retreat), the anti-hoax leadership card and the reshuffle discards back into the stack card. The deck also possesses two characters Yin and Yang that allow one support/booster to be played as though it were 'free' as well as many naturally free booster/support cards. Definately a fantastic, fun deck.
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Joe Stude
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Aqua is definitely a nasty deck. I almost see them like a mutated Vulca deck, with the ability to put some huge attacks out there while having various free boosters and supports to keep things "flowing"... not to mention the floods. Urgh. Also, when you're playing against Aqua, due to Water of Immortality, you HAVE to expect to run out of cards first. That's a huge end-game effect I don't think any of the decks can touch.

I wouldn't expect Vulca to be able to clean up against Aqua repeatedly like that. I'll have to try that next time.

Incidentally, if you're looking for a challenge, try playing Terrah vs. Aqua. Two of Terrah's strongest cards (the ones that require you to play a booster or support the same turn or retreat) are much weaker against the Aqua deck because of the large number of support/booster cards in that deck, Impenetrable Fog has nearly no effect, and in general I just don't think Terrah matches up that well. Give it a shot!

(and thanks for the Session Report)

 
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Christopher Dearlove
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smittenkitten wrote:
During those battles though, both players were irritated by Aqua's difficult to play mutant card.


If your opponent doesn't have extra card drawing, discard or stop drawing effects - although actually all other standard decks have at least one of these - there are just two ways to play that mutant. One is to play one of your two (I'm doing standard decks here) leadership cards, then Yang or Yin, and then Sas-van-Son, the other is to play Yang and Yin and then Sas-van-Son. Given that one of your leadership cards, Administer Water of Immortality, is one you often sit on for a while, it's not completely impractical, but it can block two of you cards for a while, not just one (the mutant).

Of course if you do get to play it, it's got value 7, and your power is likely to be more (you are playing Yang or Yin) so it's got good chances of bringing home a dragon (or two).
 
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Joe Stude
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There's another way to play that mutant that I just got kaboshed by. I was playing with erml from the IRC channel (and the Blue Moon league), with me as Hoax and him as Aqua. It was a tight, tight game but with one card left in his hand and none in his draw deck, with me up 1-0, I felt pretty confident... (note on my very first turn of the game I threw down Sarogakanas the Ancient, forcing him to discard two cards, one of which was the Water of Immortality. Yowch).

...too confident. On the table he had an 0/3 support card. He threw his last card - Sas Van Son for a total of 10 earth. I had tons of stuff still left in my hand (including Henry Highflyer Hawk and Ciklarethas), along with Ballista of Confusion, Duplicator of Strength, and Brain Drain (which was the very LAST card in my draw deck, so even though it was useless I just threw it out there to clear it out of my hand) on the table, but I still couldn't match. If I threw HHH out, he'd ignore the mutant but I still had 3 earth to make up, only 2 of which I could hit with the Ballista. If I threw Ciklarethas out, his 3 would double to 6, +2 to 8, still not enough. I had to retreat on the last card of the game, giving him the one dragon victory. ARGH!

In other words, endgame, when hands are running short, seems a PHENOMENAL time for Sas-Van-Son to come out.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Jowjow wrote:
In other words, endgame, when hands are running short, seems a PHENOMENAL time for Sas-Van-Son to come out.


Except usually it's the Aqua's opponent who runs out of cards first, provided the Aqua get to play Administer Water of Immortality. There are exceptions of course, and yes, it's a point I should have made. But looking ahead to the end of the game is not much comfort if you draw Sas-van-Son early.
 
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Jenny Nguyen
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Awesome advice! Thanks. Somehow I missed the text about Yin/Yang being able to play character cards freely too! Doh! Incredibly after I read your comment, I went to play a game and I drew both of those cards and the mutant. Haha. Cheers to Lady Luck!

I played Terrah vs Aqua today. There are some vicious battles to be had between the two with both decks possessing relatively equal chances of defying the other. Those "cannot have more than 4 cards" and "cannot play cards of values 4+" are absolutely evil (especially when played in unison)! Not to mention that ever irritating hammer card that destroys support/booster cards.

Unfortunately after my first lucky hand, I was drawing absolute trash and ended up losing via the opponent's Terrah leadership card that allows discards for a dragon shake. But my opponent was pretty irritated himself with Terrah cards being useless as they are against protected cards
 
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Joe Stude
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Pulled off some more Terrah vs. Aqua with consolidated decks last night myself, and it really does seem to be a better matchup (i.e. not favoring Aqua more) than I originally thought.

Last night I got in a 5-crystal match with Octavian (he Aqua, me Terrah, you Jane). Some more thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Terrah getting the fourth storm back (via consolidation) is huge. At the end of the second game, due to getting a bunch of them late, I had *3* storms running and it almost won it for me (the storms put me up 2-0, but on the last turn I had to retreat due to being out of character cards. The retreat and Irresistible Sirens pulled the two dragons back and I lost due to being out of cards).

2. Big-moon cards I thought were semi-wasted against Aqua include Baku But, Kabu Kat, Cloying Mud, and Impenetrable Fog. I still think Cloying Mud is a throwaway due to Aqua only having one character high than 4, but the other three are decent. Since the Aqua deck is so heavy in boosters and supports, Baku and Kabu aren't likely to catch it lacking in either, but they CAN force them to blow a card they didn't want to use. Impenetrable Fog is a great Free card preventative.

3. Corono Cos (1/1, You may not play cards that do not have special power text) is golden, preventing Aqua from using their strengths and often resulting in an immediate retreat (this happened twice in my match with Octavian last night). His counterpart, Ferro Fos (2/2, You may not play cards that have special power text), not so much.
 
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Matthew M
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Regarding Joe's observations:

1- This was, of course, by design on my part. There's no way I let those storms attract any dragons if I had thought I wouldn't end up winning them back. Sirens combined with the Terrah nearly being decked made it a worthy risk to take. I think there was only one or two other times that the Terrah got two storms out at one time and both immediately lead me to retreat (which, in itself, isn't bad).

2- The Aqua actually have three characters with a printed value greater than 4. There's a 5/5, a 0/5, and a 5/0.

3- This series really made me appreciate the versatility of the Terrah cards that impose play restrictions. They've got almost every condition covered such that at least one should be useful against any given opposing people. Knowing which those are so you can toss the others is key.

-MMM
 
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Joe Stude
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1. Once I took the first dragon via storms, I had 3 cards left in hand (a 3/6, an 0/4, and Impenetrable Fog I think). What if, instead of continuing, I'd retreated on the spot? That would have made it 0-0 (getting rid of Sirens) with my lead to start the next fight. Obviously I have no idea what you had in your hand, but starting with the 0/4 in earth, then throwing the 3/6 with Fog would have given you 6 earth to achieve with no free characters allowed. If you could have done it, 1-0 to you. I'm betting that approach would have surprised you regardless. Heh.

2. That's an oops on my part. Often when I open the peoples spreadsheet it opens in positions where items are scrolled off the screen, and having never played Aqua myself yet I couldn't remember those. Thanks for the info.

3. That's why I keep the spreadsheet open all the time when I'm playing on CardTable. One quick look down the Khind list, for example, reveals they have NO boosters in the standard decks and only one if you include E&I. That means I know going in that Baku But is an instant winner... just have to try to time him for maximum impact.
 
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Matthew M
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Jowjow wrote:
1. Once I took the first dragon via storms, I had 3 cards left in hand (a 3/6, an 0/4, and Impenetrable Fog I think). What if, instead of continuing, I'd retreated on the spot? That would have made it 0-0 (getting rid of Sirens) with my lead to start the next fight. Obviously I have no idea what you had in your hand, but starting with the 0/4 in earth, then throwing the 3/6 with Fog would have given you 6 earth to achieve with no free characters allowed. If you could have done it, 1-0 to you. I'm betting that approach would have surprised you regardless. Heh.


I had Earthwater (total power in earth increases to 7) and Aquatic Armor (shield/shield) still in my hand - I was pretty sure I'd be able to manage

-MMM
 
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Joe Stude
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Ugh. The fog would have ignored the armor, but Earthwater still would have done it. Oh well.

Incidentally, it looks like the timestamps are off here at the moment, showing times 4 hours ahead of now. Heh.
 
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Joe Gola
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Another way to get Sas-van-Son on the table is to send him to the bottom of your deck with Oosa-Aqua-Epsilon. Then, if you've been burning through your deck more quickly than your opponent, you can play him at endgame. Sending Administer Water of Immortality to the bottom of the draw deck is another handy use for this card.

O-A-E is also useful if you have a split hand, i.e. half of your cards all fire, the other half all earth. Send one or the other to the bottom of the deck...then you'll know which suit you're going to draw into in the endgame.
 
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Joe Stude
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Good call on sending WoI to the bottom of your deck. Hadn't considered that (although I still haven't actually played the Aqua deck, just against it 5-10 times already). There's a lot more depth to what you can do with O-A-E than I considered.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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If you want yet an alternative plan for AWoI, this is how it went the last time I played the Aqua. I had an early AWoI, and I also knew even without it my opponent's deck was faster. So I played valuable Aqua cards (decent characters, supports etc.) like there was no tomorrow, then after about a dozen cards had gone hit with the AWoI and all the good cards are back.

Unfortunately I then proceeded to draw all the rubbish I'd tried to avoid, but the theory (which is of course to grab a couple of dragons while you play all the good cards while your opponent is more measured - or hasn't got his act together for those decks that need to, then back to level terms) was good.
 
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Dearlove wrote:
If you want yet an alternative plan for AWoI, this is how it went the last time I played the Aqua. I had an early AWoI, and I also knew even without it my opponent's deck was faster. So I played valuable Aqua cards (decent characters, supports etc.) like there was no tomorrow, then after about a dozen cards had gone hit with the AWoI and all the good cards are back.


That's how I normally play Aqua. I don't worry at all about conserving my best cards, counting on AWoI to bring them back. It works great as long as AWoI isn't lost to a forced discard.
 
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jeffk wrote:
It works great as long as AWoI isn't lost to a forced discard.


I also knew this wasn't going to happen.
 
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jeffk wrote:


That's how I normally play Aqua. I don't worry at all about conserving my best cards, counting on AWoI to bring them back. It works great as long as AWoI isn't lost to a forced discard.


Or cancelled by an Interference card, as happened when Pillar met Aqua with Emissaries the other night. It was the second battle and the start of a heroic comeback for the Pillar after losing four crystals in the first battle. *sigh*

-MMM
 
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Octavian wrote:
Or cancelled by an Interference card, as happened when Pillar met Aqua with Emissaries the other night.


That has to be How dare you! and hence the Emissary (Vizier) of the Phar. As a matter of interest which emissary did the Aqua have, and any opinion on the emissaries?
 
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Matthew M
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Aqua used the Emissary of the Buka.

I quite like the Emissaries - it's like deck construction without needing to plan for it in advance. They are an excellent way to work the extra cards into the game without the complexity of worrying about moons and number of cards.

-MMM

 
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Jenny Nguyen
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I tried a few games with the emissaries the other night. Yeuch! That's two decks of cards I really didn't need to invest in. They're all eye candy certainly but I find the Influence cards really slow down the game (which can already be slow depending on what races are at battle [Mimix *cough*]) and somehow I kept ending up with a handful of those Interference cards at all the wrong times...although it is a consolation that they have Replace symbols and that Aqua decks get recycled.

I may be wrong but I also feel that the balance between the 3 additional race-specific cards is not there between all races. Is it just me or do Mimix get the best no fuss cards of all the races? I mean pair with 6 & 4(?) is pretty nasty. I was playing with Hoax and the emissaries and I must say the new Hoax additions were pretty craptacular. Just my two cents. Although if anyone has any idea of how to better utilize those 3 new Hoax cards better do share - I'd love to hear it.
 
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I agree with the Hoax. Seems like the are the worst people set at the moment. Disagree with the Mimix. Yes, they got strong cards. But no, they are far from overpowered IMHO. They lost big time in the BM EM 2005 for example. So they really needed that boost IMHO.
 
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smittenkitten wrote:
I may be wrong but I also feel that the balance between the 3 additional race-specific cards is not there between all races. Is it just me or do Mimix get the best no fuss cards of all the races? I mean pair with 6 & 4(?) is pretty nasty. I was playing with Hoax and the emissaries and I must say the new Hoax additions were pretty craptacular. Just my two cents. Although if anyone has any idea of how to better utilize those 3 new Hoax cards better do share - I'd love to hear it.


Keep in mind that big numbers is pretty much all the Mimix do with the exception of having multiple ways of managing their own hand. They have no means of disrupting their opponent's play (other than a single support card that reduces your opponent's dragons by 1 if you retreat), so they need those high numbers to stay competitive. And if you want potent cards, I think the Khind certainly did pretty well with the E&I decks between Khind Kin and Sling of Dismay.

As for the Hoax's extra cards being weak, I think Sway Holy Dragon is very nice card indeed. 2 cards in exchange for a dragon? Not bad at all. And I also like their Chosen, which can be used very effectively in combination with Sarogonakas the Ancient, forcing your opponent to discard a total of five cards on your turn, or perhaps speeding up the endgame if you're ahead in dragons, or removing useless cards from your hand in the middle of a fight. Rout Retainers, I admit, is only useful if your opponent has FREE cards in play - unless you use it as one of your discards for Sway Holy Dragon, of course.

In keeping with their style, the Hoax's extra cards require a bit of finesse to use well, while the Mimix's are typically straightforward in their strength.
 
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To tie two conversational threads together, I played the Aqua against the Mimix on Sunday night, and I was able to do exactly what I described upthread, namely send Water of Immortality to the bottom of deck with O-A-E (I had both very early). I also lucked into drawing Sas-van-son right towards the end, and so was able to use it when my hand dipped under six cards just before I turned my discard pile into a draw pile. Meanwhile, I was left thinking afterwards that the Mimix are relatively easy to play against because they don't have any killer cards that can scupper a big play. You never need to think "I need to tread carefully until X comes out." Got four crystals in the first hand, three in the second. As a caveat, though, I think my easy win had something to do with the fact that my opponent wasn't valuing the Free cards highly enough and didn't shore up for opportunities to fire up to six cards out of nowhere (which seems to be one of the the Mimix's strengths).
 
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I think Hoax is more dependent on getting a good mix of cards than some other decks are, especially when they're playing big punchers like Vulca or Mimix. I just played Hoax vs. Mimix earlier and after winning the first fight, twice consecutive I had to retreat after the Mimix player dropped a single card (or pair) because I suddenly found myself swimming in fire-strong characters with no support. The only thing you can do in that sort of situation is try to minimize the damage and get stuff out of your hand. During those two retreats I burned a low-value character and Enthrall Opposition (useless against Mimix) and managed to pull Muster Reinforcements, which got me back into it. If I'd kept drawing characters, I probably would have lost hardcore, as needless to say Hoax can't keep up without their boosters or support.
 
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Jowjow wrote:
I just played Hoax vs. Mimix earlier and after winning the first fight, twice consecutive I had to retreat after the Mimix player dropped a single card (or pair) because I suddenly found myself swimming in fire-strong characters with no support.


Are you playing the preconstructed decks? I find the Hoax really need Catusan and Potion of Prodigious Passion to help with their meager Earth values. (I know the Potion can be used for Fire too, but I find that it's more likely I need it for Earth.)
 
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