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Broken Combo from TKatG

- - - - - Broken Jank CoC

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#1
Danigral

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So, in the comments section of the 2nd review portion of The Key and the Gate, I said that I heard about a broken combo that would allow you to win turn 1 as the starting player during your story phase. I can admit that I didn't see it until it was pointed out to me, and then it was really obvious. And it's not even a 6 card European combo. ;)

Here are the cards:
Interstellar Migration (TkatG)
Keeper of the Great Library (TKatG)
Alternative Historian (SoK)

Note that Alternative Historian has an action that can be triggered in any phase, and Keeper's ability does not stipulate that the yithian card entering the discard must come from play. This allows you to discard as many cards as you want with the Keeper in play and go through your whole deck, until you get all 3 of your Interstellar Migrations in the discard and a bunch of yithians (you only need 14 in the discard) to mill your opponent.

It seems apparent that this was overlooked by design and playtesting. When you have cards with no effective cost, and with no effective limit, it's only a matter of time until someone finds a way to abuse it. This was my worry when I heard that this expansion would have effects trigger-able in the discard (which is effectively untouchable by your opponent). When there is no ability to interact that leads to dangerous situations in terms of abuse of card effects.

So, what are your thoughts?
Restrict them to prevent the combo together? Errata one or both? If so, what should the errata be?

#2
Booored

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the entire key set is broken. The mill deck is simply unbeatable.

#3
Zephyr

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How reliable is it? Interstellars end up on the bottom of the deck after use, and you need a ton of ythians to pull it off. Keeper or Historian can die, Interstellar can get cancelled. I'm not sure how reliable it is even when you get all combo pieces turn 1.
Snow graves shuts it down (but its not hard to splash Deep one assault just for snow graves)

(Or am i still missing how it works. Mill ichtians with Keepwr+Historian -> Migrate your own deck to get even more ichtians and draw more with Historian -> migrate opponent when you hit 2'nd migration?)

Errata keeper to from play only? Errata keeper to once per turn?
Definitely upper limit on interstellar. Like 5 cards top. And probably also once per turn. (This sounds like key interaction, and late game Interstelar should have some limit IMO; It would still be nice mill, but less absurd)
Add cost of 1 to interstellar from discard pile.

I think it can be fixed, but the whole discard playing idea is really prone to such effects.
New interactions like this can be found, like maybe using syndicate for drawing from bottom of the deck etc.
Maybe exiling cards instead of putting them on the bottom of the deck would be needed.
Well see what FFG does. Maybe bans will be necessary, but i think that only known and most degenerating combos will be hotfixed with erratas.

#4
Danigral

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Well all you need it one Alternative Historian in the hand, one other MU card, one Keeper of the Great Library, and one other Yithian card in hand to start it off. That doesn't seem too difficult. If you go first, your opponent doesn't have an opportunity to play ANY cards to shut it down. There are not any 1-cost cancels, and he can't play snow graves until his turn.

So here's how it works: you just keep discarding yithians with Historian and drawing cards with Keeper. Discard, draw, discard, draw, etc. until you have all your Migrations in the discard and at least 12 other yithian cards, then you trigger all the Migrations for the win. If you get stuck and can't discard any more, you trigger Migration on yourself, and then you need 20 other yithian cards to trigger 2 Migrations for the win. (This is assuming your opponent has a 50 card deck).

Erratas are not preferable, simply because they are confusing. But I agree, there are some easy fixes. Like making it so Historian can only work in story phase, or Keeper draws only when a yithian enters the discard from play (it makes it a lot worse, but still no less playable in a yithian deck, which is where he belongs). Make migration "Pay 2 and put on the bottom..."

#5
badash56

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Hmmm, I don't like major errata but sometimes it's needed. You could always simply restrict both cards. You can probably make a decent argument that Historian needs it anyway.

#6
Danigral

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Yeah, the historian is too good for a 1-drop. Probably should have cost 3. lol

I think it's obvious that something should be done about it. It breaks the game and goes back to the glory days of 2011 (and 2009?) when the W came down to a coin flip to determine who went first and got their combo off. I mean, combo is fine, this game is geared around cool combos, but there should be some design guidelines to stay in if they're going to try to push the envelope. Nothing should be free; nothing should be untargetable. When I have to play Yog because I need ways to manipulate my opponent's discard pile just to stay in the game, that's a problem for balance. I shouldn't have to fight fire with fire; I should be able to use water, dirt, or a frickin' fire extinguisher (so to speak.)

So even when this broken combo is fixed, there's still the problem of the other uber-powerful cards like Frozen Time and Scholar of Yith that can blank absolutely any card for relatively nothing. Frozen Time okay, at least your opponent can target it, but Scholar stays in your discard and your opponent can't do anything except pull it out temporarily with Yog cards!

#7
Carioz

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Didn't want to comment this but... has anyone run the math of this, no matter tried it in real life?
I do not want to completely spoil it for everyone, but in real life tests this fires off very unreliably (and by very I mean less than 50% of the time by turn 3) and, what is worse, the combo very rarely gets an instakill discard even when it fires (again, it might be my rotten luck, but the most discarded cards I had in 10 test was in the low twenties).

I am half tempted to give it a 20 game run against competent decks, and I am guessing it'd get way below 10 wins.

This said, given the screams from NPE which are already rising up, there is no interest in investigating the deck any longer, as it will probably get defused in the next faq.

#8
Carioz

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Nope, goldfishing is in line with math expectations

#9
Zephyr

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I think this simple idea will not work as good, but adding tutors and drawing from under you deck, etc
Playing normal deck with much draw/discard and doing mass mitigation in end game.
Not relying 100% on this 3 cards.
Will be much more powerfull.

#10
konx

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Well all you need it one Alternative Historian in the hand, one other MU card, one Keeper of the Great Library, and one other Yithian card in hand to start it off. That doesn't seem too difficult. If you go first, your opponent doesn't have an opportunity to play ANY cards to shut it down. There are not any 1-cost cancels, and he can't play snow graves until his turn.


Not true.

Turn 1 answer when you are on the draw (= start second):
- Sacrificial Offering
- Deep One Assault
- Pushed into beyond

all cards that are quite heavily played. (probably missing some fringe card too).

If you start, instead, there are so many different choices that I don't even spend time listing them :P

Plus, the combo rely on having 2 characters in the opening hand (to go off T1, of course) + having a Yithian and keep drawing them.

Ok, it is a combo. Ok, it MIGHT kill on T1. For sure, I am never going to try this in a tournament, unless I can find a more solid approach. Right now it is just too easy to break.

But it's fun to know that is out there, maybe in the future a combo will be viable :P

Konx

#11
Danigral

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Didn't want to comment this but... has anyone run the math of this, no matter tried it in real life?
I do not want to completely spoil it for everyone, but in real life tests this fires off very unreliably (and by very I mean less than 50% of the time by turn 3) and, what is worse, the combo very rarely gets an instakill discard even when it fires (again, it might be my rotten luck, but the most discarded cards I had in 10 test was in the low twenties).

I am half tempted to give it a 20 game run against competent decks, and I am guessing it'd get way below 10 wins.

This said, given the screams from NPE which are already rising up, there is no interest in investigating the deck any longer, as it will probably get defused in the next faq.

Thanks for commenting anyway, Carioz. I certainly don't have the capability to do the math, but my thinking is that you essentially need 3 specific cards, and 1 other general one. I'm not sure what the odds are of getting that turn 1. Yes it's small, but not impossible. In my opinion this sort of thing should not even be possible. My point in bringing this up is not to invoke the ban-hammer, but primarily so people know it's out there.

So even if you get this off less-than-optimally, isn't it possible to discard over half their deck? With the control that MU and Yog have now, it doesn't seem very far away to a win. I'd be interested to know others' attempts to make this work, and how well it worked.

Not true.

Turn 1 answer when you are on the draw (= start second):
- Sacrificial Offering
- Deep One Assault
- Pushed into beyond

all cards that are quite heavily played. (probably missing some fringe card too).

If you start, instead, there are so many different choices that I don't even spend time listing them :P

Plus, the combo rely on having 2 characters in the opening hand (to go off T1, of course) + having a Yithian and keep drawing them.

Ok, it is a combo. Ok, it MIGHT kill on T1. For sure, I am never going to try this in a tournament, unless I can find a more solid approach. Right now it is just too easy to break.

But it's fun to know that is out there, maybe in the future a combo will be viable :P

Konx

Thanks for reigning in my hyperbole, konx. So there are 3 cards that could shut it down first turn out of two factions, both of which have been among those considered most competitively viable. It's disruptable, but how long until you run out of any answers for the split second it takes for this thing to go off?

I think this simple idea will not work as good, but adding tutors and drawing from under you deck, etc
Playing normal deck with much draw/discard and doing mass mitigation in end game.
Not relying 100% on this 3 cards.
Will be much more powerfull.

MU already has A Voros Hal Jon. It's probably much more likely to set up normally and selectively take out the worse of the yithian cards, and tutor it to fire off at the right moment.

#12
konx

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Thanks for reigning in my hyperbole, konx. So there are 3 cards that could shut it down first turn out of two factions, both of which have been among those considered most competitively viable. It's disruptable, but how long until you run out of any answers for the split second it takes for this thing to go off?


Well, it depends a lot on the deck you (ie: the non-combo player) are playing. But it seems obvious that WHILE you are holding some answer, you are ALSO attacking stories. And if the deck is combo focused, is not attacking stories. Now, a rush deck (= a deck that win stories in 2 committing phases) is not leaving too much time to setup the combo. A more controllish deck is just full of answers.

I mean, a combo deck is not only about being fast, but also about reliability. Suppose you start with your 3 combo cards in hand (which means your deck is playing, right now, 9 combo cards + 33 yitihans + 8 cards?). I disable the first combo piece. Now you have to draw the other one..what are you doing in the mean time? I am going for stories, playing other defenses (Kopesh? Shaft?) and putting pressure.

I tend to agree with Zephyr

It's probably much more likely to set up normally and selectively take out the worse of the yithian cards, and tutor it to fire off at the right moment.

The combo is there and it is easy to disrupt. What there is to figure out is:
- the minimum number of Yithian necessary to have enough density
- a way to tutor/recur the combo pieces which are needed
- protection against rush decks

If these points are not solved at the same time, the deck is just not meant for a tournament. Take the logan/necro combo deck: that one had ways to tutor the combo (shocking+twilight gate for logan), protection against rush (MoM, dogs, cheap char for shocking, kopesh that can be tutored) and, in general, was reliable and could recover easily if the combo was disrupted (and it didn't win any major tournament, anyway).

If you don't play tournament and play just for fun, just local-ban the combo in your play group. I think that at the moment there is no need for claiming ban/nerfing or anything else.

BTW, it's plenty of combo with the Hastur Hamu out there...why is no one complaining? :)

Konx

#13
dboeren

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I haven't gotten to test it yet, but the success rate seems low and you're probably going to have a poor board presence as well making it easier for your opponent to win stories. That puts you on a definite clock to get your combo engine to turn enough times or lose I think. Plus it's brittle to losing either of your key characters.

If a fix was to be made I think the simplest thing would be to limit Keeper of the Great Library's ability to X times per turn. Nothing needs to be banned or restricted. Note that the same combo works with any card that allowed infinite discarding, it's just that Alternative Historian is the cheapest such card and has a beneficial side effect of being able to cancel icon struggles to slow your opponent down a little.

#14
Danigral

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BTW, it's plenty of combo with the Hastur Hamu out there...why is no one complaining? :)

Do tell... :)

Consider though the relatively high-impact effect, which up until now has been rather unprecedented for such an easy trigger. Look at cards that have been high-costed (Blackmoor Estate (Core) and Carcosa (SoA)) or low impact (Cold Spring Glen (DD), Terrors in the Dark (SoA), The Book of Black Stones (SftSK)). There was one card that was high-impact but was slow to trigger and had the potential to backfire (The Ritual Conspiracy (CoC)).

Now with such cards like Interstellar Migration (TkatG) and Jeanne D'Ys (TKatG), we have the possibility of high-impact effects for relatively low cost. Perhaps this is more a problem of power creep. Jeanne doesn't seem to be as much of a problem to me as Interstellar Migration because she is more situational (what happens if you're playing against ST/Yog bounce with practically no characters on the board?) and she is susceptible to character control and her effect is story-based. Migration has much, much fewer counters, and the normal progression of the game actually contributes to exacerbating its effect. At first glance, I agreed with you about Migration (look at my comments in the card reviews) - in general use it appeared to be slow to set up and susceptible to rush, and the effects are counter-intuitive to one another. That doesn't change the fact that it is very hard to disrupt from the discard pile, and has the potential for such high-impact with practically no cost.

What are the answers to Migration specifically?
-Cancel: Hastur (Power Drain (Core)), MU (Eschatologist (SoK)/prophecies)
-Recycling opponent's discard: Shub (The Stone on the Peak (DD), Syndicate (Gregory Gry (JtUK)) which is meh.
-Not destroying opponent's yithian cards in play (this may slow it down, but with Yog's discard effects, not to mention ST, it's futile)
Are there some I haven't mentioned...there could be?
EDIT: Of course, cancels don't work since it can just be triggered again for free.

#15
Zephyr

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Cancels work - you need to pay the cost of putting it at the bottom of you deck even if its cancelled.

I think it might need a limit of 10 cards for example. If it can be played in a competitive setting.

I would houserule it to 10 cards max and see how it goes - if it wins too much in your group that is.

#16
Danigral

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Cancels work - you need to pay the cost of putting it at the bottom of you deck even if its cancelled.

I think it might need a limit of 10 cards for example. If it can be played in a competitive setting.

I would houserule it to 10 cards max and see how it goes - if it wins too much in your group that is.

Ah yes, that's right!

I think I will play with it this week to see what it's like. I did some rough calculations and I think it's something like 10% chance to get the combo turn 1. I could be a little off though.

It would be great to hear others experiences of this to see if it truly is that easy to mill your opponent (even if it's not turn 1).

#17
badash56

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Wouldn't Snow Graves (AtMoM) shut the entire thing down? Doesn't stop a turn one win, but it really hurts Interstellar Migration (TkatG).

EDIT: there are things you can do to get rid of Snow Graves, but it might be one of those things where it just complicates it enough to give you time to win.

#18
Danigral

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Wouldn't Snow Graves (AtMoM) shut the entire thing down? Doesn't stop a turn one win, but it really hurts Interstellar Migration (TkatG).

Sure does. It's easily removed, but it could slow it down. That card has been the veritable panacea against recursion for forever. You'd think after 4 cycles and 4 deluxe expansions, there would be an alternative, but it's still one of the best options!

#19
Carioz

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Danigral wrote:
Thanks for commenting anyway, Carioz. I certainly don't have the capability to do the math, but my thinking is that you essentially need 3 specific cards, and 1 other general one. I'm not sure what the odds are of getting that turn 1. Yes it's small, but not impossible. In my opinion this sort of thing should not even be possible. My point in bringing this up is not to invoke the ban-hammer, but primarily so people know it's out there.

So even if you get this off less-than-optimally, isn't it possible to discard over half their deck? With the control that MU and Yog have now, it doesn't seem very far away to a win. I'd be interested to know others' attempts to make this work, and how well it worked.

Ok, here is the testing breakdown. Out of 10 attempts the deck fired by turn 3 (turn 4 here is meaningless as most simple deck can clock turn 3 wins, so turn 4 is a loss in my tests) 6 times (the deck got lucky, it should have fired less than 5 for math). This alone makes it unplayable competitively, but there is more! Out of the 5 times it went off it managed to deck the opponent only once. And the opponent was a goldfish. I wanted to go to 20 tests but it got boring fast.

To be honest I can agree on your assestment of "Turn 1 wins are bad", but I think you are blowing this deck efficiency and effectiveness way over it should be.
  • Danigral and badash56 like this

#20
Danigral

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Danigral wrote:
Thanks for commenting anyway, Carioz. I certainly don't have the capability to do the math, but my thinking is that you essentially need 3 specific cards, and 1 other general one. I'm not sure what the odds are of getting that turn 1. Yes it's small, but not impossible. In my opinion this sort of thing should not even be possible. My point in bringing this up is not to invoke the ban-hammer, but primarily so people know it's out there.

So even if you get this off less-than-optimally, isn't it possible to discard over half their deck? With the control that MU and Yog have now, it doesn't seem very far away to a win. I'd be interested to know others' attempts to make this work, and how well it worked.

Ok, here is the testing breakdown. Out of 10 attempts the deck fired by turn 3 (turn 4 here is meaningless as most simple deck can clock turn 3 wins, so turn 4 is a loss in my tests) 6 times (the deck got lucky, it should have fired less than 5 for math). This alone makes it unplayable competitively, but there is more! Out of the 5 times it went off it managed to deck the opponent only once. And the opponent was a goldfish. I wanted to go to 20 tests but it got boring fast.

To be honest I can agree on your assestment of "Turn 1 wins are bad", but I think you are blowing this deck efficiency and effectiveness way over it should be.


Ok, so goldfish (for those that aren't familiar goldfish is an opponent that does nothing - it's a deck in a vacuum) with a straight-up combo deck was less than 50%. I'd like to know as well about builds that use this combo to mill for the win condition, but can also control for a few turns to setup. I agree with Zephyr and others that this is more likely to be viable.

Jeez, I feel like a playtester. I wonder if they encountered this in playtesting and what the results were... :P





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