In case you missed our last episode, the opening went like this:
- AI: cast Zombie Infantry, pass turn
- Me: cast Lightning Wyrm, battle, take Zombie to 2 health, cast Magma Hound, kill Zombie, pass turn
- AI: cast Grimgaunt Devourer and Deepbranch Prowler, pass turn
- Me: cast Flameshaper Acolyte vs the Grimgaunt and Alloying General vs Deepbranch, battle, Magma Hound does 5 damage to AI, pass turn
- It is now the AI’s turn, on the play
Before we pick up our game, I thought I would share a few responses to the choices I made in my opening two hands. This is the best way to learn together. You can look at my play, read their suggestions and then decide which you think would be best play for you. Here are some thoughts by Magic writer for Star City Games Drew Levin:
Remember, I thought the Technosmith might be the right choice but I was really worried about his two big baddies. Drew makes great points, because playing the Technosmith is giving us three plays, technically. I just get REALLY scared of those Grims.
The awesome folks at ForgeWatch sent me a tweet letting me know what their strategy would have been. This is super helpful. Also, if you haven’t checked out the Solforge Wiki on their site, it has cards not featured in the Demo but that will be in the 2013 core set.
@revisedangel Saw your article. I would play this. T1:FS to block. MH, ping ZI. T2: VG in front of GD. TS in front of DP, level VG or AG.— Forge Watch (@ForgeWatch) January 2, 2013
@revisedangel It's *almost* safe to say that Turns 1-4 don't matter. It's for leveling the right cards going into the shuffle.— Forge Watch (@ForgeWatch) January 2, 2013
During our opening hand, I mentioned a bona fide case could be made for playing Forgeplate Sentry over Lightning Wyrm in almost all circumstances. I still went with the Lightning Wyrm to try and get it leveled up in my deck and help with the Zombie infestation. After reading ForgeWatch suggestions and reviewing the play, I think he is right. Casting Forgeplate Sentry with Magma Hound to follow up and deal with the Zombie is the more optimal play. We are really going to need as many leveled up Forgeplate Sentry as we can get in the late game to help deal with the possibility of Echo Wisp (as Drew also pointed out). Leveling it first over the Lighting Wyrm seems optimal.
His second Tweet confirms my thoughts about leveling in our opening. Which means that I misplayed the Technosmith, yet again. The friction between the choice of leveling up for late game and playing in the present board state is what makes SolForge stand out to me. Lets join the game and see how the AI decided to deal with our choices.
Round Three: Just Die Already
AI casts Enrage on Grimgaunt Devourer. Then, just to be a jerk, casts it again on Grimgaunt Devourer.
The situation is looking grim (and gaunt) folks. His Grimgaunt just got buffed +6/+6 and is now 11/9. Ugly son of a…oh wait, let’s focus. The AI battles and handily kills my 6/6 Acolyte. My Acolyte also damaged him, bringing him down to an 11/3, but he also gets +1/+1 because he killed a creature, which triggered his special ability. So he is going to end his turn as now 12/4. The Deepbranch Prowler also battled my General, bringing him down to a 2/1 and taking himself down to a 7/5. The AI takes 5 more damage from my Magma Hound because he has still not chosen to block him, bringing his life total to 90. And the turn ends.
We are dealt three new cards we haven’t seen yet. Let’s check out our hand before we decide what to cast:
DRAGONS! We get to play with DRAGONS! Again, the level one version of this card is not that impressive compared to some of our other early choices. It doesn’t matter. You do not draw the dragon egg often, so when you do get him it is important to play him (if even a little possible) so we can start leveling him up. His level three version is not only 20/20 but deals five damage to each opposing creature just for having to wake up and join the party. It also has Move 2, a mechanic we haven’t covered yet. Once you cast a creature in a slot, it is stuck, you are committed and you have bitten the bullet. Unless it has Move. Move, as you might have figured out already, lets it move slots. In this case, the level three dragon has Move 2 which allows it to move up to two lanes away once a turn. Playing the Move ability correctly distinguishes the rookies from the professionals.
I just don’t know folks. There are many times that playing this will save one of your creatures from being destroyed and disrupt a combo kill your opponent was counting on, but I have always found cards in this vein awkward for me. I can plan around cards like Cull of the Weak or Lightning Spark. These cards are straight up in-your-face removal spells. A Texan can get behind a good, fair and square jaw jab. I have trouble figuring out when I should cast this as opposed to just playing another creature. I find the majority of the times I have cast this spell have been to save my General. I am quite sure there are many more uses for this spell.
Flameshaper Acolyte (see last episode)
Air Spirit is going to be your “ol’ reliable.” I play it regularly, and as we covered before, having the Move ability gives it a major advantage over creatures without it. It can dart out when they put a blocker in front of it and do six to the face of your opponent. Then, next turn it can dart right back in and be a defender for you. So many awesome plays with this whirly elemental.
Lightning Wyrm (see last episode)
In writing my plays down and recounting them here for you, it has come to my attention that I have a crush on creatures with Haste–Lightning Wyrm in particular. Looking back, I think the absolute best play is the Air Spirit vs the Grim, hitting battle and letting them kill each other and leveling up our Air Spirit. Then, after all the carnage has been sorted out, cast my dragon egg and get that baddie level 2 in my deck. This, however, is not the play I made. I was seduced by the sweet seducer, Lightning Wyrm and its flashy ways. While the play I made still gets the job done, it is probably not the optimal play.
I cast Lightning Wyrm vs the Grim, and let the battle carnage begin. My Magma Hound (still unblocked) does five damage to the AI bringing him down to 85 health. The Grim and Lightning Wyrm destroy each other (what NOW Grim) and his Deepbranch Prowler destroys my General (you were so valiant). I now have Magma Hound as my only creature on the board but one spell still to cast. I should have cast the dragon egg. I should have used birth control. I didn’t though. I cast the Flameshaper Acolyte vs the Deepbranch so we can get rid of him once and for all on the next turn.
Turn 4: Learn a New Trick
The AI cast its first card, Cavern Hydra across from my Magma Hound. I guess it finally decided it was tired of taking 5 to the face, though I am certainly not tired of dishing it out. It then cast another Deepbranch Prowler in the center lane. How. Freaking. Original. It battles and destroys my Magma Hound, leaving me with no creatures.
When you are playing the Uterra/Nekrium faction deck, this card is great. It sticks around for you and just does work. When you are playing against it, Hydra can be a real pain. I have found myself several times doing battle math, forgetting about its regeneration ability and messing up my grand schemes. I am sure you are a more alert person, but just in case, pay attention to its regeneration ability.
If you are wondering how our life total decreased to 93, remember the first Deepbranch who killed our 1 health General has Breakthrough. All the damage not done to our General went to us. Like Trample.
We have seen all these cards before: I am dealt Air spirit x2, Spark Bot, Volcanic Giant and Magma Hound.
I decided to cast Air Spirit vs the Deepbranch and Magma Hound vs the Cavern Hydra. When Magma Hound’s trigger went off, I sent two damage to the Deepbranch, bringing it to 7/5, so the Air Spirit will be able to kill it.
The better play: I knew before hand that I was sending the damage to Deepbranch. I should have cast Volcanic Giant in place of the Air Spirit. We have not cast and leveled him once all game. The tag line for this game needs to be “make good choices.” I then should have cast my dragon egg. I know. I know. I said to always cast your egg if you get him. I can’t explain why I didn’t or why I got my first tattoo. Make good choices.
All creatures in play have summoning sickness, so everything remains peaceful when I battle. As we begin Turn 5, I have been dealt another egg (we will see next episode if I am smart enough to cast it this time) and a new card we haven’t covered yet: Scout Drone. Tune in for Episode 3 next week to see where the choices take us.
Please feel free to leave any thoughts, tips or suggestions about any of our decisions today in the comments.
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