The Amazing Spider Tank

The Amazing Spider Tank
Spider-Tank, Spider-Tank. Does whatever a Spider-Tank does. Can he swing from a web? No he can't, he's a tank. Look out! He is a Spider-Tank!

Friday, December 15, 2017

10 Problems I have with Star Wars: The Last Jedi *Spoilers*

Okay, so this article will be talking about major spoilers for the Last Jedi, so stop reading unless you want it spoiled!

Overall I would say I enjoyed the movie. It did not blow me away. It definitely does not hold a candle to the Empire Strikes back. In fact, I think I liked Rogue One a lot more. It still had some good moments though. I really liked Kylo Ren and Rey's relationship and interactions.  I enjoyed the overall plot of the movie even if I didn't like how it was always executed. I liked some of the little characters and potential stories that could spawn from behind the scenes of this movie. I also really liked the very end of the movie and what it could mean, and I will get to that later. But in this article I will touch upon some of the stuff that I did not care for and why.


1. Hyperspace combat - This was a cool part of the movie, where Admiral Holdo, who we thought was being a bit of a coward, or at least not a decisive leader, got her badass ending by using her ship to go into hyperspace through the First Order fleet, destroying most of it. I think? They still managed to land a force on the ground and did not seem to be bothered that much by the set back, so I dunno. But it looked like she destroyed several destroyers and cut the major ship in half. I don't really like the precedent this sets. Seeing how devastating one ship could be would just cause me to use droids to pilot any number of objects, and fling them into hyperspace at the enemy. They can't shoot down everything, and even if a little X-Wing goes into hyperspace through a ship it would be more devastating than any bomb. It just seems too obvious a tactic. We haven't seen it used before and I was glad for it, because I knew this type of hole would exist. From now on, all space admirals will look a little incompetent to me if they do not use this tactic. But if they use this tactic, space combat will look dumb.

2. Finn's "sacrifice" - So the Resistance is piloting a bunch of broken down speeders, to try and knock out a giant laser battering ram. Then, they start getting blown up and Poe tells them to break off, because it is apparently a suicide mission. What were they planning on doing when they got close? Finn got close, and the only reason he didn't run into the ram and blow it up was because Rose stopped, or saved, him. It looked as if it would have been a suicide mission for anyone of them. Did the speeders not have any weapons?*** And how did Finn get so close anyway? The First Order seemed pretty determined to shoot the speeders down, and succeeded...except for this one speeder that could have easily destroyed the ram, OR Rose's speeder that managed to get around and hit Finn's. It ended up being a dumb sequence. Based on playing the Battlefront 2 multiplayer map of that battle, I was thinking the speeders were going to use the red kick-up salt dust to screen the base and the fighters, to let them be more effective in the trenches. I was hoping to see some Star Wars trench warfare. Honestly, and I can't believe I'm saying this, play the Battlefront 2 game for a better battle than what we saw. Sad.

*edit* - After watching the movie a second time, I saw that they specifically showed Finn's speeder's weapons being melted off, preventing him from using them. However, I noticed something else. I am sure this is just a film error, but Rose is looking to her right when she is yelling at Finn to break off, and then when she rams her ship into Finn's, she is approaching from the right. So, unless it is a simple film mistake, Rose managed to loop around and catch up to Finn and ram him, while not being shot by the First Order, and also not bothering to just destroy the cannon with her functional weapons.

3. Was the codebreaker DJ the guy that Maz recommended to Finn and Rose or not? Based on her description, it seemed like the guy in the casino was who she meant since he was the only one with the rose lapel. So did Finn and Rose just happen to be put in jail with another expert codebreaker? That is a little too coincidental. I feel like we missed a scene, where DJ gets his jacket and fancy lapel back from the casino guy, from whom I assume DJ lost a bet. I just feel like something's missing. Also, if DJ was the codebreaker Maz was talking about, we didn't really see him be really suave and an expert gunfighter.

My hope is that DJ will be the Lando of the series. Just like how Lando betrayed everyone and was a scoundrel in Empire, he came back and did some good stuff in Return of the Jedi. I hope they do the same thing with DJ, because he could be a cool character, and his actions are very similar to Lando's. Side note - was Maz fighting against Magna Guards in the background? I feel like that union dispute was more entertaining than the whole of Finn and Rose's storyline.

4. Plasma was once again lame - Plasma was hyped up before The Force Awakens for being a badass female bad guy, something we have not seen. Unfortunately, she was incompetent, a push over, and a genuinely horrible soldier for the First Order in TFA, and in The Last Jedi...she just fought against a disgraced trooper/floor mopper that left the Order because he didn't want to fight, and lost. Pretty pathetic existence. It seems like Plasma is relegated to the Boba Fett curse. Looks cool, but actually doesn't do much and gets killed in a lame way.

Also, Hux is just getting annoying. He had more of a comedic role in this movie, and that at least matched his actions more than in TFA. He is very incompetent, and his mistakes are constantly causing The First Order thousands of lives.

5. The First Order chasing the Resistance fleet story had some major issues. In theory I liked this part of the story. It was very reminiscent of the newer series of Battlestar Galactica, where the beginning episodes the humans are trying to escape the Cylon fleet, but they keep getting followed, and they are just trying to buy time until they figure out how to get out of the situation. They did not have fuel issues, and were not just trying to run faster, they had to think of something else. In TLJ, the resistance fleet was able to run faster, and was only in trouble because they were running out of fuel. I believe it was said they were running on fumes, yet were able to completely fuel all of those transports. I guess the big ships are quite the gas guzzlers. Meanwhile, I am thinking why did the First Order not hyperspeed a little further ahead to catch up to them?

And before anyone says anything, let me remind you that Finn and Rose, and Rey and Chewbacca, were BOTH able to basically do that. They left and came back exactly where they wanted to, close to the ship they wanted to be close to. So it is possible. The First Order just didn't do that. Hubris perhaps? More likely just bad writing to leave such a hole.

6. Luke's ending and physics - So this was a pretty cool moment, and an emotional one. Luke comes back to save everyone, stall the enemy, and essentially dies because of it. But the more I think about it, the more it makes me angry and confused. For one, I don't completely understand the rules of what he did: So he force astral-projected himself to Crait. Could he affect anything, or was he a glorified hologram? It seemed like he could affect some stuff, like holding Leia's hand and giving her Han's dice, but then again Rey and Kylo held hands, but not really, so I dunno. It seems as though he wasn't really there because the lasers did nothing, and Kylo's lightsaber just passed through him. My conclusion is that he was a glorified hologram, and the stress of doing that killed him. That is a lame way of dying. If you die because of thinking too hard for a trick that could be completed by a slightly more advanced hologram, you died a lame death.

I liked the parallel and the reference to Luke's earlier line about taking his lightsaber and taking on the entire First Order. I just wished he actually did do it. I know there was a theme of not fighting whom you hate, but saving those you love (which I actually liked a lot by the way), but it felt like a chump way to go. This was Luke Skywalker, who we had an entire trilogy watching him grow and become more powerful. I wanted to see him do some amazing things on screen. I wanted to see him actually be there and survive all of those walker blasts, and then start to lay waste to the walkers. I wanted to see him use the force to bring them down one by one, and generally be a badass, before maybe finally becoming exhausted, and then toy with Kylo to stall him. This just did not feel like the send off Luke needed.

Also, while we are talking about force powers we don't know about, does Yoda have the ability as a force ghost to call down lightning? Sure seems so. And Leia apparently can use the force to protect herself in a vacuum and float around. I thought Disney said that Leia was not going to appear in Episode 9? Shouldn't that mean she dies in 8? They had ample opportunities to kill her off in this movie, but they specifically did not. They better not kill such as major character behind the scenes or in between the movies. I don't know what they will do. I guess we will have to wait and see.

7. So who is Snoke? This is a major thing that I felt we needed. The director said we would learn everything we needed to learn for the movie, which was technically correct, but his character seems to be too important to just be brushed off. I hope we find out more about him, I guess it'll have to be behind the scenes. He is a ridiculously powerful force user that is very old, and at least knew of all of the previous events that have happened in Star Wars. That is very intriguing. Did he come from a different galaxy, which explains him not really being a Sith or a Jedi? Or did he used to be a Sith or a Jedi? These seem pretty important considering his role in the universe. I was really let down by that.

8. Where are Kylo's knights that were referenced in TFA? They had a pretty major role in the first movie, and I just assumed they had other things to do during the actual events of the movie. But we found out nothing about them in this movie. Were they just other Jedi students? I would think not, as Kylo became their leader. But who are they, and where are they now? And while we are at it, where are the other students that Kylo took with him when he betrayed Luke? It seems unlikely that they turned and became knights without Luke knowing, as we were meant to think that him going to Kylo's tent was a spur-of-the-moment thing. There are just a lot of things missing from that that I feel like they were either dropped, or forgotten about.

9. The First Order's apparent disregard for their own lives. I know it is a bad guy trope that they never care about their minions, but this movie was a little ridiculous. The First Order lost WAY more troops than the Resistance, and yet we were made to feel as though they were completely winning the whole way. It may have been a way to show how strong they are, in that they can take those losses without losing a beat, but come on. At least put a single line in their mentioning the fact that the Starkiller Base was destroyed. It was a pretty major point in TFA, you think it would have been mentioned. Even something like this would have sufficed:

Officer: But sir, the Resistance was able to destroy Starkiller Base, we should not underestimate them.
Snoke: It is inconsequential. Starkiller Base fulfilled its purpose. It destroyed the Republic. That base was but a tiny fraction of our strength. The Resistance threw a pebble at the crushing waves of our might. They cannot win.

Or something better than that, I'm no movie writer. I can't believe I have to reference Battlefront 2 yet again, but in their most recent campaign DLC, the main character saw a map that referenced the First Order fleet, and how many ships they had, and showed that losing even a lot would have done nothing to them. I feel as though we needed to see that in the movie.

And while we are talking about the video game, that at least attempting to talk about the map that led to Luke. This movie didn't even mention it. That was the major plot point of TFA. So what is it and why was it made? It seems like Luke really didn't want to be found, so I doubt he would have made it. The video game mentions that it is a map to the forgotten island, and I guess Kylo Ren knew that somehow?

10. Admiral Holdo saying "godspeed". What is up with that? We already established that she believes in the force, and I don't think we have ever heard a god mentioned in Star Wars before. I am all for having multiple religions in the Star Wars universe, but this one came out of left field and felt like bad writing. The phrase "godspeed", would not be in a universe where there are no gods. Ugh.

There was another minor quibble in that I felt that Rey's parentage was a let down. It was a big character moment for Rey, and something that has driven her entire character, and they relegated it to a line that she really doesn't matter, except to Kylo. I'm not sure what I would have preferred, but that felt anti-climactic.

And lastly, would it kill you to tell Poe your plan, Holdo? Apparently so. 


I did not want to end on all this negativity, and wanted to touch upon the very ending of the film. The Resistance is in tatters, and apparently all condensed into the Falcon, but Leia says they have everything they need to be the spark the brings down the First Order. We are then transported back to Canto Bight where the little stable boy is listening to the legends of Luke Skywalker. He then walks off to do some chores, uses the force to grab a broom, and then stops to look at the stars as the Luke Skylwalker theme swells. It's a really great moment. It got me thinking about the next movie.

The Last Jedi is the only Saga film to not have a multi-year gap in between movies. Will we see a gap in this one? Is that little boy going to become a major character, or is he just an example that hope is not dead and that its potential is everywhere, and that the Jedi may rise again? It looks like we may need to have a bit of a gap so that the Resistance can start to try and rebuild, but we will see.

But anyway, I hope you enjoyed this, or at least I hope it will spurn answers to the questions I had. Hopefully I missed something and this movie is actually better than I thought. Please correct me, and have a nice day!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Epic: The Card Game - The Art of Splashing

The art of splashing in Epic: The Card Game. Getting the term from Magic: The Gathering, who in turn probably got it from somewhere else, can be described as the practice of adding a small amount of cards from another color into your deck in order to improve certain match-ups, counter certain cards, and fill gaps/weaknesses in one’s deck. In Magic, splashing comes at the cost of straining your mana base. In Epic, it comes as a cost of straining Loyalty triggers in an alignment (color in Magic), and making sure numbers add up when it comes to counting 0-cost cards.

This seemingly simple concept has huge ramifications in Epic Deckbuilding, and is something one must constantly be made aware of, when trying to make a competent deck. The amount of splashing can be varied, but the core concept of filling in a gap/weakness in your deck remains true. Each alignment in Epic has its strengths and weaknesses, and while it can be good to have your deck consist of primarily one alignment for loyalty and synergistic purposes, you can frequently run into trouble against more colorful and varied decks.

For example, the go-to deck for most new players is the “burn” deck. This deck acts similarly to an aggressive red deck in Magic, in that you are working towards killing your opponent quickly, using direct damage. A weakness the burn deck has is if your opponent has a large amount of healing, which in Epic generally is greater in number than most burn cards. Another weakness that a burn deck can have is lack of cards in hand, as playing quick events and champions can quickly diminish your hand, leaving you vulnerable to a more controlling deck, or one that works on forcing you to discard cards from your hand. A way that proponents of a burn deck can mitigate these issues is to splash certain cards from other alignments. In this example, perhaps adding in Ancient Chant, Lesson Learned, and Muse in order to help with card draw. Or maybe add a card like Kalani Woodreader (from the new Pantheon set), which can be aggressive, as well as prevent an opponent from healing. Splashing can turn a good deck into a great deck, with only a few modifications.

So, now that we have that down, how does one splash in Epic? According to the constructed deck building rules, you must have 60 cards, with 2 1-cost cards for every 0-cost card in an alignment. This means if you want that tasty Amnesia 0-cost card, you are going to have to have at least 2 Sage 1-cost cards along with it. When considering to splash in cards, you should also be thinking about Loyalty. Although Raging T-Rex can draw you cards and give you a huge champion on the board, splashing it in any deck is probably not smart, due to it requiring Loyalty 2. On the other side of splashing, you should consider how many cards your splashing will remove from your primary alignment. Sure, you may have a bunch of your favorite Sage cards in your deck, but is it causing you to not be able to hit your Loyalty triggers as a result? Or maybe it is making a card like Scarros not as good, simply because you are missing out on using it to its full potential? Things to keep in mind.

As I have said, there are multiple reasons why you may want to splash, and it depends on your deck. However, I have found that most splashing has to do with filling the following gaps:

Card draw
Direct Damage
Discard Pile Banish
Specific cards that give you special abilities your deck needs (ie Surprise Attack)

I will now give some examples of how one could splash, attempting to solve each of these issues:


Card Draw – This is the most important aspect of a deck, and luckily, most alignments have ways of drawing cards. However, sometimes you need some of the best card draw or ways to make sure you can draw cards at the right time. For this, I recommend Ancient Chant. There is no card that can net you more cards in the game, because if you combine this with Lesson Learned, you can draw 4 cards thanks to the unique way Epic resolves its triggers. The best card drawing 0-cost cards I can recommend to go with Ancient Chant is Muse, Frantic Digging, or Amnesia for some discard pile banish and Recycle and fill 2 gaps in your deck. It really comes down to your playstyle. If you have cards you can afford to discard and use from your discard pile (like Soul Hunter or Ancient Chant), or you need to make sure you are guaranteed to draw some cards, use Frantic Digging. If you want another body on the board that if not dealt with, can continue to give you cards, take Muse. There are many options, but all of them give you card draw. My go-to card draw splash packet is 3x Ancient Chant, 3x Lesson Learned, and 3x Frantic Digging. This combo allows me, for just 9 cards, to have a ton of card draw options, filtering with Frantic Digging, and the option to replay my favorite events (including Ancient Chant), with Lesson Learned. You will see this combination in many decks, as it has become a staple in Epic.

Direct Damage – This one is important for slower control decks, that sometimes need a way of finishing off an opponent directly and surprisingly. For me, I have a deck that runs a lot of little 0-cost Blitzers that can quickly run down an opponent’s health, but I found that some direct damage could really help finish an opponent off. The smallest splash packet I love is 2x Fires of Rebellion, and 1x Flash Fire/Fireball. FoR allows you to have direct damage, as well as removal in one nice card, and Flash Fire/Fireball allows you to deal with little annoying champions if need be, as well as that last, tiny amount of health. John Tatian, I believe, used the new Steed of Zaltessa for some direct damage/anti-healing for his Championship winning deck. Now the steed was in his primary alignment, but its role was definitely for finishing off opponents.

 Sweepers – Most decks like to have a way to clear the board, especially off-turn, in order to come back from a negative board state. My two favorite cards for this are Zombie Apocalypse and Wave of Transformation. In terms of splashing, it really depends on what other gap your deck has. I have paired Zombie Apocalypse with Guilt Demon in order to have a little direct discard pile banish as well as aggression. I have also paired Wave of Transformation with Amnesia for discard pile banish and a little card draw. These are very flexible, but frequently very important in a deck. For our new Epic team’s practice for World’s (The Dead Minotaurs Society), our representative, Josiah Fiscus, splashed in 3x Wave of Transformation, 1x Lesson Learned, and 2x Amnesias, in order to give him off-turn removal, event recursion, discard pile banish, as well as some card draw, all in a simple, 6-card splash. And since he went undefeated in the Constructed portion of the tournament, perhaps that was a good choice. J

 Discard Pile Banish – This splash usually has to do with adding in 0-cost discard pile banish events, since those are the most popular. Amnesia and Heinous Feast have long been the best examples of this. Usually, people will add other 1-cost cards that fill in another gap, in order to make room for the discard pile banishing 0-costers. The example of Josiah’s deck above is a good one. However, you could get really dedicated to discard pile banish and put in Grave Demon or Erratic Research to go along with Heinous Feast and Amnesia, respectively. If you know that people are playing a lot of cards from their discard pile such as Soul Hunter, Smash and Burn, Dirge of Scara, Plentiful Dead, etc, then perhaps you need a discard pile banish splash in your deck.


Healing/Anti Healing – The anti-healing portion of this is rather new, since it has mainly come into play with the release of Pantheon in response to the popular Kark deck that dominated the previous Constructed year. The new card Kalani Woodreader has given this as a potential splashing option, for example. Healing, on the other hand, has been around for a while. Probably the most popular healing card in the game is Drain Essence. This card has continued to be popular due to it not requiring Loyalty of any kind, so splashing it is easy, and on top of a very decent amount of health, you get to have some champion removal as well! Also, if you want to continue the health trend, Evil has a lot of 0-cost cards that really compliment Drain Essence like Heinous Feast for some health and discard pile banish, Consume for a smaller dose of health gain and removal, and of course the new all-star of the World Championship, Scara’s Gift, which gives you health and direct damage. As you can see, Epic can give you a ton of options for splashing, and it just depends on your playstyle and preference.

Specific cards to splash – This is reserved for very specific cards that provide a specific ability that your deck might want. A common example of this is Surprise Attack. This is a card that allows you to play any champion off-turn, which is an incredibly powerful ability. Using John Tatian’s World Championship-winning deck as another example: He splashed in 2x Surprise Attack, along with 1x Flash Fire. Surprise Attack gave him the ability to play a lot of his champions on his opponent’s turn, something that many of them could not do before, and it allowed him to defend and threaten his opponent more than he otherwise could have. Flash Fire provided a lot of utility, including a tiny board wipe, direct damage, and card draw if needed. It is a great example of splashing in a deck.

Josiah Fiscus splashed in 2x Final Task and 1x Wither into his deck at World’s in order to allow him to make a lot of his champions, and his opponent’s, into Blitzing monstrosities, that allowed him to stay on offense, or on defense in a pinch. Wither gave him a tiny board sweeper as well.

The Pluck You team in this years’ World Championship splashed in a couple of packets into their deck. They splashed Good with their packet of 3x Silver Wing Guardian, 3x Silver Wing Lancer, and 3x Brave Squire. They also splashed a Sage packet of 3x Mist Guide Herald, 3x Erase, and 3x Force Lance. Since they said they wanted their aggressive deck to have combat tricks in it, I would assume they started with wanting 3x Brave Squire, since it is one of the best, and the new Silver Wing Lancer is a great, aggressive punisher. The Guardian also provided them with an attacker that can be played on your opponent’s turn, and then attack on yours for damage to your opponent, as well as health gain! Meanwhile, I am sure they saw Force Lance and loved it for that Unbreakable and Recycle trigger, and so when finding room for that they went for Erase, which gave them card draw as well as pseudo-removal (especially against the mirror combat trick deck), and the MGH which gave them more bodies on the board, along with whatever champion they needed at the time. 

As you can see, splashing is a very important thing in Epic deckbuilding, and the skill with which to recognize your decks’ faults vs what could fix it, is a skill that separates the best from the rest of us. I hope you enjoyed this article, it was a long one. What are your favorite splashing packets? Any comments? Please let me know, and as always, happy gaming!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Epic: The Card Game 2017 Post-World's Thoughts

Well another World Championship has come and gone, and we have another winner. Well, the same winner, John Tatian, who is ridiculous and may or may not have made a deal with Raxxa to give him special powers. All joking aside, congratulations John, you have once again proven that you are the best Epic player in the world! You have provided us with the best example of how non-random Epic can be, considering how hard it is to perform so consistently well with such talented opposition arrayed against you. Seriously, so many people criticize Epic for being too random and swingy, and of course, all of the random that can come from playing a card game. If that is so, how come one player has won the World Championship twice in a row, using completely different decks, and new cards released every year? Crazy.

2017 swag bag, courtesy of Josiah Fiscus. I am envious.
Also thanks to White Wizards for hosting another successful Championship, I hope there are many more to come! Congratulations to Colin Bevis, who got his shot at announcing Epic despite forfeiting his chance at participating in the Championship, himself. He seemed to do really well and he looked like he had fun. I love to see the company allow for the fans to become more involved. Thanks to all the participants for playing some very exciting games, and thanks to the judges like Ian Taylor, who seemed to run a very tight ship this year with no incidents that I am aware of.

Just a little more about John Tatian: I have watched him on Twitch for the past two Championships, and I have played against him occasionally in the digital app, and I am still not sure how he wins. He just does. He just plays his game, and you slowly lose. Everything you do, he has an answer. Every lead you get, he brushes it off, narrows it down, then beats you to death. It’s incredible. I think he was down in one of the quarterfinals like 40-something to 10, and he managed to come back and win?! Amazing.

Sam Black on the left and the 2-time winner John Tatian on the right
Credit where it is due, congratulations to Sam Black, for jumping onto the Epic scene with a free invite due to his Magic The Gathering prowess (I believe), and then succeeding well enough to get to the Championship and make it a 5 game match. Putting Tatian on the brink of losing was quite a feat, and it made for a very exciting match. So congratulations and thanks for giving us an extremely exciting finish!

A better analyst could probably look at John Tatian’s work and figure out exactly what he does correctly, although I do remember one instance during one of his matches this year: He had attacked with a large, Breakthrough champion, and his opponent blocked with a few weenie champions and Royal Escort. John had Drain Essence in hand, and could have played it and taken out the Royal Escort, which would have kept his champion alive, gained some health, killed his opponent’s champions, AND done some breakthrough damage to his opponent. Instead, he just passes and allows all of the participants to die except the Royal Escort! He then plays Winter Fairy and draws a card. On his opponent’s turn, he spends gold first and uses his Drain Essence on the attacking Royal Escort and gains his health. Was this a genius play? Well, for starters, it allowed him to get out the Winter Fairy, who could not have entered on his opponent’s turn. He would have played Drain Essence and although I don’t remember what he had in his hand, it’s possible that if he had played the Drain Essence on his turn, he would have had much more limited options to play on his opponent’s. I know I probably would have been short sighted to play that Drain Essence on my turn, and kill stuff and get some damage in. Maybe that’s why I was stuck watching the Championships at work, instead of participating, myself. Maybe John is just that good of a player, and can see his options that many plays ahead, and knows that sacrificing that damage and board state and spending gold first on his opponent’s turn, was actually the way to go. And it worked, because he went on to win that game! He is just a lot of fun to watch.

I wrote an article talking about all of the new cards in Pantheon. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4) I knew none of the qualified players would do that, as they would not want to divulge their secrets, so I enjoyed my little time in the spotlight. I was happy with a lot of my predictions and analysis, but after this World’s, I have some comments:

Now, remember that I was not actually at World’s, so my view is restricted to what I saw on Twitch. I did not see all of the Constructed decks. Perhaps the top 8 decks were anomalies, and were not indicative of the majority. Perhaps those actually weren’t the best decks, and the best deck was piloted by someone who didn’t do quite so well in Dark Draft, and so didn’t get a chance to showcase it in the top 8 because they didn’t make it. So these thoughts and opinions are based on what I saw, so take that as you will. Obviously, a report from the champions themselves is sought. But anyway, here we go:

The “Will” cards - These were a big theme of the new set, as each alignment got one. I was excited about the cards when I first read them. My mind went crazy trying to think of all the exploits that could be done with them. In helping Josiah Fiscus practice for World’s, however, I actually was not as impressed. I had attempted to use Gareth’s and Angeline’s Will in decks, because they were the two Wills I was most excited for. However, I was finding they just were not being used. Sure, they could combo off each other and be great, but most of the time they just drained my hand when I playd them, and they did not do that much. As I said, I have not seen all of the decks, but according to the top 8 decks, it was actually Lashnok and Scara’s Will that were used the most! Granted, Lashnok’s Will was used in one deck that happened to be piloted by many people, but still. Also, Scara’s Will was also only used in one deck that happened to be piloted by two people that I saw, including John Tatian. That surprised me. (photos courtesy of Nathan Overbay)


The giant, Unblockable cards – These were the other big theme of the new set (at least until the gods are revealed at a later time). These were all very exciting, very big guys. They were the pinnacle of Epic. Huge, swingy champions that could win you games by themselves. I was excited for them, but I was not sure how they would do in Constructed, simply because most of them were slow.

In practice, I was very excited about Brak, Fist of Lashnok. In our preparation, Josiah and I found that he could be devastating. He is nigh impossible to block, and when he comes in he is Unbreakable and he usually drew you a card as well! Very nice. I would say that Brak found his way into many decks at World’s and showed how good he is. I was surprised to not see anyone in the top 8 using he and Final Task together, as that combo is wonderful (Using Final Task to bring a Blitzing, card drawing, Unblockable to strength <14 champions, 14/11, that DOESN’T get broken by Final Task at the end of the turn thanks to being Unbreakable).

I had expected Silver Wing Lancer to make an appearance in Tom Sorenson’s deck, as I knew he loves his Good champions with combat effects, but I had not counted on him joining the Pluck You team, and all of them running the same deck!

Steel Titan performed as I expected: a monster in Limited, and not widely used in Constructed.


Other cards that were noteworthy;

Scara’s Gift – This card definitely earned the MVP of this year’s championship in my opinion. I had spoken highly of the card in my review, but even I did not expect it would be so important. Now maybe it is just John Tatian, but he made this card look amazing. I would love for someone to have counted the number of times he played this card during the Championship. It had to be a lot. It was his primary damage dealer/healer he played. He used it all the time, and I think was a huge contributor to his victory. He may come out to say that isn’t so, and make me look like an idiot, and that’s fine, lol. I was very impressed by it. It was such a huge control card. It is almost impossible to deal with other than completely eliminating an opponent’s discard pile, as a smart player will only use it right before they play an Evil 1-cost card, and then use the Scara’s Gift recall trigger to pseudo-Recycle and get it back to hand. That direct damage, on top of the health gain, just really helps that control-ey playstyle with a death from a thousand cuts. I can’t wait to get my hands on these and start playing!

New Dawn – Now maybe it was just that there were only like 4 different decks used in the top 8, but I was surprised at the lack of this card. I thought using this card in conjunction with a Sea Titan/ Reel Steel would have been popular, but perhaps not yet. Heck, I thought Reel Steel was going to be a popular deck, but it looks like that was not the case.

Silver Wing Guardian – I was also pretty excited about this card, and the performance of Pluck You’s aggressive deck really showcased the Goodness of this card (get it?) This was a great way of getting some healing in an aggressive deck, without losing the aggression. Normally, people think of Gold Dragon or Avenging Angel, including me, but Ambushing this in, possibly getting 10 health, and then attacking on an opponent’s turn, is something that those two cannot do. The Guardian was a great addition to the deck, and a great card in general from the set.

Force Lance – This was my big pick of the set, the card I warned people to be afraid of. I think it did pretty well. It was used in the Pluck You deck, so it can’t be that bad, right? It’s that Recycle on it that makes it really good. I still expect it to be a powerful card, and I can’t wait for it to be released.

Kalani, Woodreader – I am not surprised this card found its way into many decks. When it was first spoiled, it was anti-Kark, but after a while, it just became an important cog in any aggressive deck. The ability to Blitz a 0-cost 5/5 is important enough, but to add on top one of the most anti-control/stall abilities of life gain on top and you have something special. This will remain one of the most important cards released in the new set I am sure. I love it.

And lastly, I wanted to mention the popular Draw 2-and cards that I saw a lot of play in both Constructed and Limited: Fiery Demise and Dirge of Scara. Any draw 2-and card is powerful in Epic, and these cards showed that. I saw many games where these cards were drafted or used in Constructed, including Dirge of Scara in John Tatian’s winning deck.

So some thoughts regarding trends that may be coming out as we got forward:

Aggressive decks are just as popular as ever. With the number of “anti-Kark” cards in this set, along with the still-recent bans of Fumble, Ceasefire, and Blind Faith, aggressive decks and Breakthrough champions are still widely used, and will have to be accounted for.

The big Unblockable champions will have a huge impact as well, especially in Limited. They are very hard to deal with and without the proper removal, can very quickly spell doom. In Limited, these guys are even more deadly.
We got no off-turn mass removal cards in this set, making the existing ones that much more desirable in draft play. This is especially so in light of the Unblockable and giant, Breakthrough guys.

Along those same lines, bounce effects will become very useful again. I think we saw this with the number of Hasty Retreats and Erases that found their way into a number of decks.

That being said, with John Tatian winning the championship using a very controlling Evil/Sage deck, obviously that is very powerful as well. Looking at the decks that were played, I am loving the meta again. I can’t wait to replay the championship decks against each other. It seems like they are a lot of fun, and could go either way. It also must be said that despite how popular Wild has been the past several years, and how it can usually get you to World’s, it has been the controlling decks like Good/Sage Kark, and now Evil/Sage, that have actually won.

Even though I did not participate, I hope you enjoyed this read. One of these years maybe I will get to participate in World's, but if not, I will still enjoy watching and following them, and I hope you will too. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Epic: The Card Game Pantheon Maligus vs Furios Pack Analysis

So we finally have the full spoiler list for the new Epic: The Card Game Pantheon Expansion! I am very excited to pore over the new stuff. Just like last time we shall have to wait for the art to come in, but in the meantime we can speculate and analyze the new cards. I will have an article for each of the new packs. The fourth, and final pack of the released cards so far is the Maligos vs Furios Pack. This is one of the packs that should be available around December. Here we go:

Maligus vs Furios pack

Fiery Demise 
Wild Event
Deal 3 damage to a target.
Draw two cards.
Hey, another draw-2-and card! These are always great. I think I like Wild’s other one Smash and Burn better, but this definitely plays into the burn deck archetype more. It’s a solid card that can either give you removal and cards, or straight damage and cards. Unlike Smash and Burn, you don’t need more Wild cards to fully benefit with this, so it can be included in any deck and be a decent choice. Obviously, this is a great card to have in Limited. This is like the perfect anti-Thought Plucker card, if only it was free, lol. 

Greater Lightning Wurm 
Wild Wurm Champion
Loyalty 2 → Deal 6 damage to a target.
Yay more Wurms! I always love the visuals and theme of these guys, so I can’t wait to see the art. This is on the lower end of the stat spectrum for Wurms, which is pretty crazy to think about, but it’s still pretty devastating. Like its Burrowing cousin, it provides a huge, if not slow, Breakthrough Champion, and if you can hit the loyalty, THIS one at least can deal some damage. Using Final Task with this will be quite lovely. That is 6 damage to a target, not just a champion, so defending decks beware. If you can hit the loyalty, this is a decent draft in Limited, but like Burrowing Wurm, I would not go crazy trying to get it. I would rank it higher than the Burrowing, but probably lower than the Rampaging.

Kalani, Woodreader 
Wild Elf Champion
Opponents cannot gain health.
Now that is a much better Elf name than Burger, Or Bagel, or whatever that other guy’s name is. This was also spoiled a while ago, although at the time it was just called Elf Shaman. I like this one better, although the visual in my head of an elf trying to read a piece of bark is not very flattering, but I’m sure the art is amazing. This is a very simple, but awesome, card. 5/5 0-cost Blitzer is going to be tough to deal with without spending gold, and then while it is around your opponent, and your opponent only, cannot gain health. This card sounds like it was made in the days of Kark’s reign, but it will hold its own in the current meta. I think there is a viable strategy in just playing this guy and never attacking with it, forcing your opponent to take him out, or risk never healing. I shall enjoy putting this into my aggressive Wild decks and watch my opponents squirm as they force themselves to Drain Essence the elf, all the while letting some other giant Wild Champion in for the kill. Since this card requires no loyalty, this is a solid Limited draft choice as well.

Herald of Angeline 
Good Angel Champion
Airborne – Righteous
Tribute → Reveal the top three cards of your deck. You may choose a good card among them and put it into your hand. Banish the rest.
Ok how many angels is this? This is another Scrying-like Champion, this time for Good, I do not like that 5 defense, and although it has Airborne and Righteous, I feel as though it will do nothing other than help you draw a card you need. That is very important for sure, but I think Good has so many other great 1-cost cards, that I doubt I personally could make room for this in my decks. Maybe if it had Ambush or Blitz, now THAT would be Epic. It is a fairly weak Limited choice except for the Airborne, which automatically makes it not-so-bad. 

Angeline’s Will 
Good Event
Gain 10 health
If it’s your turn, banish target expended champion. If this is the first  card you’ve played this turn, gain  that may only be used to pay for good costs.
This is the last “Will” card, and the card I got to spoil for this set, a few hours before the entire set was spoiled anyway, lol. Anyway, you can check out my review of it, but in short I love the card. Yes, it doesn’t have a draw 2 option, but it just does so much else. Removal while allowing you to play another Good card, or +10 health? That is quite the swing any way you put it. I don’t usually try to build Good decks, but this card makes me want to try. Could Kark have a revival with this card? This is also a solid choice for Limited, maybe even more so, than some of the other “Wills”. My favorite is Gareth in theory, but we’ll see if that changes in practice.

Knight of the Dawn 
Good Human Knight Champion
Tribute → You may banish target evil token champion.
Another Kickstarter brought to life! This guy hits hard and removes tokens that are not really being used for now. It should be noted that it gets buffed by the countless Good human buffers in the game. I love that Good is getting some offensive power in this set, and I look forward to seeing what people can do with it. This is a solid choice in Limited as well. It requires no loyalty, could possibly take out an opponent, and hits like a truck. In fact, I think it hits harder than any other Blitzing 0-cost Champion. It’s a great way to start off a turn. Your opponent can only take so much damage from 0-costs before they spend their gold first.

Scara’s Gift 
Evil Event
Deal 2 damage to target player.
Gain 2 health.
 → You may banish two other cards in your discard pile. If you do, Recall.
I love this card. This may have been the first card that had my mind racing for combos and breakages. This is just a huge health swing for a 0-cost card. Yes, it does not remove anything from the board, but a 4 point health swing for free is a big deal. Plus, you can get it back for a Recycle-like ally trigger. This and the Steed of Zaltessa make me think they want Evil to start doing more direct damage decks. I’m inclined to give them a try. I think this is a fine choice in a Draft. Without Evil it is greatly diminished, but if you have a lot of Evil, this will cause a lot of havoc. 

Krieg, Dark One’s Chosen 
Evil Human Mage Champion
Tribute → Put two zombie tokens into play.
 → Put a zombie token into play. Your zombie tokens gain blitz, +1  and +1  this turn.
I hope this art portrays Krieg from Borderlands 2, but I doubt it. Fan art maybe? This is another token generator. I like zombie tribal decks, and I missed out on doing a Halloween themed deck, so maybe this guy can join in for next year. I feel like using this card along with Scara’s Will shall be fun. That’s a lot of zombies and breaking. I’m unsure if this card would make it into a competitive deck, but I still really like the card. I think it’s a nice card for Limited as well. I love the guys that put in tokens, as it is very difficult to get rid of all of them, and you usually can start giving your opponent a death by a thousand paper cuts. Plus, this guy can keep churning out new zombies, while making the existing ones much harder to kill. A 3/3 is so much better than a 2/2. 

Dark One’s Fury 
Evil Event
Draw two cards.
If it is your turn, break all non-evil champions.
This feels similar to Raxxa’s Displeasure, except this gets all non-Evil stuff, rather than just all non-Demon stuff. Slightly different ability, although if you are facing a non-evil deck, and that’s what you are playing (like a zombie deck), this card could be amazing. In Limited, unless you specifically have Evil on board, and your opponent doesn’t, this card is a draw 2.  

Erwin, Architect of War 
Sage Human Champion
Tribute → Recycle
This card has all alignments, even while it is in your hand, deck, or discard pile. (During deck construction, it is only sage.)
I love the adaptability of this card, and it was an ability I have been talking about having in Epic for a while. I am glad it made it. This is the only card in this set that has this, but I look forward to more. This is a weenie blocker of a card, but it Recycles, and it allows you to use it for any Loyalty for any alignment. That will be quite useful. It’s cards like these that will allow deckbuilders the ability to have 4 colors in their decks, and still use Loyalty triggers. I don’t think this card is broken or anything, but it is a welcome addition. This is a great card in Limited as well. In a mode where Loyalty triggers are so hard to come by, this card could be a life saver. 

Ethereal Dragon 
Sage Dragon Spirit Champion
Airborne – Ambush – Untargetable
I am very happy about another Dragon. In terms of visuals, they are my favorite tribal in Epic I think, and I can’t wait to see what this one looks like. The Dragon Soul from Gems of War anyone? Anyway, this thing is a beast. Such a simple card, but this is a huge pain for your opponent. 8 defense is tough to crack, Airborne along with it and there are very few that can beat it in a fight, and no targeted removal for you. I could easily see this being put in “Reel Steel” decks (Happy, Dixon?). It doesn’t hit as hard, but add in some Winds of Change and you could have a monster. This is also a very solid pick in Limited. Sure, it doesn’t have card draw, so you have to be wary of that, but this card could crush your opponent if they don’t have sweepers or combat tricks or very large fliers. This will be a popular pick in Limited. 

Scrap Golem 
Sage Construct Champion
Loyalty 2 → Blitz
 : Banish a card from your discard pile: Put a scrap token into play.
 : Recall
Scrap Golem Token 
Sage Construct Token Champion
 : Banish a card from your discard pile: Put a scrap token into play.
And lastly, another Kickstarter card brought to life. I love the idea of this card. I hope someone can build an awesome deck with this card. I also hope we get enough tokens for such a deck as proxies suck. This gets my vote for the next alternative art card, so we can all build up our stock. It’s also a decent card. It comes in and you can most likely get another scrap golem. If both of them survive to your turn, that’s two more. It could get ridiculous. 5/5 stats are pretty brutal, and it’s the best token we have so far in that regard. I’m also very glad they created a separate token for it, because now all of the alignments have tokens! The deck will probably fail in practice, but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. It’s a decent card in Limited simply because if left unchecked, you will have an army of minions at your disposal. You will be really hurt by discard pile banishing effects, but those are less likely (although there are more and more every release). Recall abilities are always welcome in Limited in case you don’t have gold to spend for some reason.


Well, that is all the packs of cards that have been released so far. My MVP for this pack is Kalani Woodreader. I plan on trying this elf in a number of decks. However, Angeline's Will is the card I am most excited to see how it can be abused. I think this is a very solid set, and a welcome addition to Epic. I can't wait to get my hands on it, and am very sad it won't be until well into next year. Some year maybe I will qualify and get to worlds.

Just FYI, the reason I said "cards released so far", is because in May/June of 2018, we should get the rest of the packs, which include the god/demigod cards from the kickstarter. I'm guessing there are some other cards as well, and these cards as a whole should give players the opportunity to play Epic in a different way. I am looking forward to what we shall get in those, and you can bet I will write an article or two discussing them. Just so you know they are called:
  • Pantheon: Shadya vs Valentia
  • Pantheon: Riksis vs Tarken
So thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed these articles and I hope it gets you thinking and excited about the new set. What cards are your sleeper choice? What cards are your MVP? What combos or decks are you most excited about trying out? Anyways, I need to rest my hands. Thanks again for reading, and happy gaming!