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Research and Destroy

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#21
plasticXO

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I really enjoyed reading Graham's article on his deck. The ultra fine tuning certainly gives the best chances of a deck to work, but the knowledge of the metagame and the skill & experience of the player still make at least half of the job when playing (this is just a way of saying it, not statistics :P )

I certainly try to "equilibrate" my deck and try to cope with the classical situations when deckbuiling, but I don't think I could do the math thing to that level (because of the skills and/or the tools required).
Playtesting is certainly one of the best way to tune a deck after putting out the original concept. And when playtesting with the best players around sure gives you new insights for finetuning.

As a deck can't do everything, the player needs to know how to anticipate some situations. Probabilities may help, but I am sure the "bad luck" factor can ruin any witted move on a later turn.

I don't know how long it takes to come out with a deck like Graham's, but it sure is the fruit of a very hard work.

As of the ways of beating this deck, the cards Konx lists above immediately come to mind.

#22
konx

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Was Stalking Hound ever considered in an iteration of this deck, even just one copy? It would seem that since this deck doesn't try to do anything to shut down cards like
MotM, it would be fairly easy to trigger.


I am not the creator of the deck, but I give you my answer to let the discussion flow :)
I start with a question for you: why would you want to try to stop MotM? meaning: why does it worry you?

About Stalking Hounds: the first thing that comes to mind is that it is off faction. Resourcing is painful in this deck (Doa is loyal, and if you want to use it on something cost 2 is already a pain, the miska guy that draw is again loyal and you really want it into play). You already have 5 neutral cards...I wouldn't feel comfortable to play another one. But yeah, I agree that it seems a "natural" inclusion.

What about one copy of Laban Shrewsbury? It helps with potential long games if they happen to get out an invulnerable AO that can't be wounded with Khopesh, and still works with the draw tech.


I think that there are already many ways to deal with AO, namely the temple and machination. Even considering the fact that all the acceleration is gone, so a "fast" AO is not so easy to get. The line of play against an AO deck would be something like: I speed out fast, use a kopesh to clean the table and the temple/machination to get rid of it, if needed.

Because, the real trouble with this deck seems to be this, as far as I can tell: it is very difficult to put it in the "defensive" spot, while it is very easy the viceversa. I mean, even an AO on T2 is "hopeless" against a board full of characters, if the surrounding board (on the AO side) is not well developed.

Konx

#23
dboeren

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I haven't built the deck yet or tried it. Our game night here is Tuesday so I may be able to build it tonight and try it out depending on how things go. To put things in simple terms the deck has a lot of free guys, extra card draw and support fetching, and while some of the free guys need certain triggers to happen - the deck tends to provide those triggers in the normal course of functioning. Perhaps that is a little easier for new players to follow than the original description.

The question was asked how to counter/beat it. Alienist/Flux would help, but honestly I mostly fall back on the same answer I use for this question against any deck. "Have your own good deck and pilot it better than the other guy is doing". If you can provide problems in the normal course of how your deck functions that's fine, but the moment you start spending too many actions or picking too many cards reacting to what might happen you're starting to play your opponent's game and not your own.

I've played against some Miskatonic flood decks with lots of free characters, these were usually mono-faction decks and often included cards like Infirmary to ensure that the free guys would be back again anytime you killed them. Yes, it can be pretty annoying :) Here you don't have Infirmary (which is less useful in a mixed faction deck anyway) but you've got a lot of spot-removal capabilities from the Cthulhu side of the deck. It's going to be a slog with that many guys and you won't generally be getting unopposed stories so a fast win won't happen unless you've got a way to keep them away en masse like Y'ha-nthlei Statue, Oubliettes, or Negotium. I haven't checked every characters skill to see who is/isn't susceptible so that's just a general statement. Over time you should be able to outlast them and hopefully outskill them, in addition to applying whatever your deck's normal strengths are.

#24
konx

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If you can provide problems in the normal course of how your deck functions that's fine, but the moment you start spending too many actions or picking too many cards reacting to what might happen you're starting to play your opponent's game and not your own.


This is a very nice way to put the question!

Ok, let's reformulate then: what kind of problems do you think you can propose to this deck? In a vacuum, what strategy is going to be problematic?

I am curious, seriously, because I have been thinking quite a bit, about it, but I really don't have a clear answer, even at the theoretical level.

Konx

#25
badash56

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Negotium?
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#26
orso

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Spontaneously I would try COC=SoM]Torch the Joint[/COC].
I think it could be an efficient way to counter the deck because it is not mono faction and if you kick out one faction from the resources you could stop a big part of the deck...
and in addition you limit the opportunities because this faction needs to be resourced again, anyway... ;)
I think it would disrupt the strategy for a while.
So this might be the oportunity for you to win with your own deck and strategy?!

#27
Danigral

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Negotium?

The inevitable problem is that teching against this deck specifically will then open you up to getting trashed by a good tempo deck that doesn't rely on jumpers. Including Flux, Alienist, and Snow Graves, and having Negotium as your restricted already dictates a majority of your deck.

#28
konx

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Negotium is an answer in the sense that it might slow down a bit the deck, even though I want to point out that it has 12 characters which are not affected by it.
Maybe a combination of Negotium+Alienist+Flux is the way to go...? I mean, it is in general a viable strategy, not just to counter this deck. You would probably need some cost 3 chars yourself, to evade your own negotium (D. Fanatic, MotM, ...? just thinking out loud, here).

Torch the Joint, instead, is unreliable. I mean, I have been trying to break this card since day 1, but the big problem is: what if you don't see it in the initial 10-11 cards?

Konx

#29
badash56

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Negotium is an answer in the sense that it might slow down a bit the deck, even though I want to point out that it has 12 characters which are not affected by it.
Maybe a combination of Negotium+Alienist+Flux is the way to go...? I mean, it is in general a viable strategy, not just to counter this deck. You would probably need some cost 3 chars yourself, to evade your own negotium (D. Fanatic, MotM, ...? just thinking out loud, here).

Torch the Joint, instead, is unreliable. I mean, I have been trying to break this card since day 1, but the big problem is: what if you don't see it in the initial 10-11 cards?

Konx


Well the build here has 12 characters who are cost three, but 9 are unique. So I think it would certainly slow it down for a few turns. Not saying it's an auto win, but slowing the game down is step one I think.

#30
DarkSeph

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There was a deck all of those at worlds that I played. I think I only triggered one come in to play effect and still won by turn three.

#31
badash56

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The inevitable problem is that teching against this deck specifically will then open you up to getting trashed by a good tempo deck that doesn't rely on jumpers. Including Flux, Alienist, and Snow Graves, and having Negotium as your restricted already dictates a majority of your deck.


I wouldn't include all of those personally. Negotium with some character and support removal?

EDIT - primarily because flux and alienist don't help you with the temop of the game here. Even with those out you can kill guys and just hard cast your cheap dudes.

#32
Danigral

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On the other hand, Graham almost never post a deck. If the discussion goes around the way he expresses his analysis rather than the deck itself, I can understand that he becomes really upset or disappointed.


Reposting since I think it was missed with the new page... :(

So yeah, let's discuss the deck. Statistics aside, it's easy to see that this deck is streamlined and efficient, just in what is included. My mantra has long been "free is good," and Graham expressed this well when talking about translating card advantage into free actions.

I put this together last night to goldfish with it, and I must say that it is brutal how fast it can flood. I can see that the idea is not to just draw cards ad infinitum, but to really just use Khopesh/Artifact to create a sort of jump-start. It's not even necessary if you already have 5-6+ characters and are able to wound 1-2 of your opponent's characters every round. The Uroborus loop is just flogging a dead horse.

Funnily enough, I was considering Morgan for another deck I was working on with an infinite draw combo, but I never considered adding in ALL the "free enters play" characters (well, not quite all, Stalking Hound is a notable omission).

I'm not trying to "improve" the deck, just try to gain more insight about why certain cards were not included. So just a couple questions about a couple of cards:
  • Was Stalking Hound ever considered in an iteration of this deck, even just one copy? It would seem that since this deck doesn't try to do anything to shut down cards like MotM, it would be fairly easy to trigger.
  • What about one copy of Laban Shrewsbury? It helps with potential long games if they happen to get out an invulnerable AO that can't be wounded with Khopesh, and still works with the draw tech.


#33
orso

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Torch the Joint, instead, is unreliable. I mean, I have been trying to break this card since day 1, but the big problem is: what if you don't see it in the initial 10-11 cards?


Honestly I think against this deck you're screwed ;)
Yes, it a bit unreliable... But you could combine it with MU and cards like
A Voros Hal'l Jon (SoK)
Cylinders of Kadatheron (SoK)
Agency itself has Pious Carabiniere (TiV) to get it
Or combining Agency with Yog
The Large Man (TSS) might be very cool.

Visitor from the Spheres (KD), too. ;)

Doctor Lomboso (TiV) and some lunatics might also create interesting combos with torch the joint.

But for sure some of the answers listed above would come into play too late I'm convinced...
So it needs to be combined with otheres that can stall long enough.

#34
mzi

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I played Stalking Hound against Ray. He suffered a lot. :P

#35
konx

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The more I think about this, the more I am convinced of one thing: it's not the single card, it's the strategy. Both in this deck and in its solutions.

As dboeren pointed out before, you have to provide problems. Providing problems means a strategy in the deck. What kind of strategy is going to be problematic for this deck?

Let's work in theory, for now. The cards come later to see if it is feasible.

For example, board destruction: is it a viable strategy against this deck? which characteristics should it have? because just blowing up the board is not going to work, since it requires just a little steam to come back. Plus, if you blow up the board in your turn and that's it, it just needs to drop another couple of chars and restart the story attack (considering the amount of draw possible in the deck, not having characters to play is a non-existing problem).

Other ideas? not necessarily on board blow up, even something different!

Konx

#36
mzi

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Recurring and untargetable characters could be a problem.
- Stalking hound negates the benefits of the Naagiin/Khopesh combo and slows down the deck as long as it is not removed by the conspiration;
- The Claret Knight cannot either be removed without the conspiration.

#37
Jhaelen

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Thanks, Graham for posting your deck and such an insightful article! Oh, and congratulations for winning Liege 2013 :)

It was one of five decks this year that were potential tournament decks, winning the tournament spot when the other 4 were hit by the late FAQ leaving only this one left.

Now that's something I can get behind. That was one of the lessons for me this year: Don't commit to a single deck too early.

Another thing the article is showing me is that there are players putting much more effort and time into deck-building than I do or even want to ;)
I like the deck quite a bit and I think there's much to learn from it. I'm definitely looking forward to next year's tournament in Liege.

#38
dboeren

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My mantra has long been "free is good," and Graham expressed this well when talking about translating card advantage into free actions.


Yes, free is good. My own deck that I used at Gencon also went for "free" stuff but was built around characters with useful enters-play effects so that effectively most of my characters came with a free event. The key idea here is that when enough of your characters enter play for free, then each card draw essentially brings its own domain action. If you don't have to use your domains to pay for the characters, they can be applied to drawing more characters or playing actions that enable the conditions by which those characters enter play.


I put this together last night to goldfish with it, and I must say that it is brutal how fast it can flood. I can see that the idea is not to just draw cards ad infinitum, but to really just use Khopesh/Artifact to create a sort of jump-start. It's not even necessary if you already have 5-6+ characters and are able to wound 1-2 of your opponent's characters every round. The Uroborus loop is just flogging a dead horse.


I would agree with this. I put the deck together last night and played some sample turns as well. Khopesh enables a lot of the conditions by which your characters enter play for free but the main thing is that as you said it's a jump-start. Quickly you've probably put all the characters from your hand into play and then you're bound by the rate at which you can draw more. You do get some additional draw, but they won't come in as fast as they did at the start.

In goldfishing your characters stay in play which is misleading. Uroborus seems superfluous in this situation but may be more important in a real game where some of your guys will be dying. As I haven't played a real game yet I don't know yet.

The deck certainly floods out a lot of guys, but most of them aren't particularly beefy. There's some Terror/Combat but not a large amount. If you can attack the card draw (Obsessive Insomniacs) you win out I think, you just need to be able to last long enough to do so.

The prevailing skill is mostly 2, too high for Y'ha-nthlei Statue. You could Negotium, or a deck based on lowering skill might go well.

All this is theory of course, what I would generally encourage if you're interested is to build the deck and play it against some of your other decks and by doing so you'll develop a sense of how you could tune those decks or change how you play them to deal with a burst of characters like this.

#39
arkhaminmate

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I can appreciate how good this deck is as i've extensively tested a version of it, so well done. I came to the same conclusion after following through on an idea i'd had (basically, but without the math and probably the efficiency it provides - but it only took about half an hour to build on the flipside), in trying to make the Khopesh of the Abyss (TSS) go from 'so-so' to 'ho-ho'.


or you could try building a deck with MU based around the rush but including an off faction of Cthulhu and a wierd idea i had just last night when mucking around with prophecies. that being using cards like:

Khopesh of the Abyss (TSS)
Feeding Frenzy (TC)

to trigger (with casualties on both sides):

A Voros Hal'l Jon (SoK)

which then allows you to search your deck and PUT STRAIGHT INTO PLAY cards like:

Dreamlands Fanatic (ItDoN)
Matthew Alexander (SoK)

or after this trick has been exhausted, just the next Khopesh and a suitably tough wielder like Campus Security Guard (SoK).
College Prospect (SoK) is a great initial wielder for the Khopesh / Voros combo, cause then you get a: Pay 0 (Prospect) Pay 1 (Voros) and Pay 2 (Khopesh) to wound 2 opponents, draw 2 cards, and put 2 Dreamlands Fanatics (or Matthew) into play from anywhere in your deck (not to mention any already in the hand). well. works in theory. haha.

dunno how practical it is and haven't playtested it (or even finished building), but the idea COULD be pretty neat........


It was a fairly logical progression extrapolating on the removal / draw / play for free theme, so the only real differences (and TIV had not been released at the time and constitutes some of the spots being available) were:

A Voros Hal'l Jon (SoK)
Atlantis (SoK) (good also for putting prophecy's back into deck)
Apocalyptic Visions (SoK)
Research Assistant (***) (draw 1 card and ready when tomes activated)


to pimp out the draw card and deck digging aspect of the deck so getting the khopesh and free plays from the bottom of the deck due to a bad shuffle was possible, as well as:

1 x Dr. Mya Badry (ER) (though i was having a certain phase with this card)

Would be interested to see if any of these were considered for the deck, or if mathematical analysis (which you could be a hell of a lot more arsed to do than i could be) ruled them out immediately.

Congratulations on the deck and the win.
  • Wilbur likes this

#40
Carioz

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Khopesh of the Abyss leaving play reshuffles A Voros before the prophecy can trigger, unless you plan to target first one of your Misk characters to trigger it then go for the kill next turn. Once you begin targeting your own guys with the Khop though, action economy gets kinda bogged down a lot.