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!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Hollow Knight Initial Review

This, like most of my articles, tends to be on the lengthy side, so feel free to scroll down to the bottom for a more concise pro/con list.

Hollow Knight is a new game I only found out about less than a month ago. It was a Kickstarter effort from the unknown indie Australian studio, Team Cherry. If I had heard about it earlier, I would have backed it instantly. Hollow Knight is a 2D action adventure game in a sprawling, connected, underworld. It has a Metroid-esque feel to it, although I would compare it very favorably to Salt and Sanctuary. You play as the title character in a cavernous world inhabited by bugs. You have to fight your way through the impressively large world, exploring new areas, and discovering what happened to the locals in a way that reminded me of Dark Souls. There are tons of enemies to fight and learn about (over 130!), as well as 30 Bosses to defeat. There are maps you have to find and plot out, abilities to learn and equip, and jumping puzzles through an amazing landscape.

What really caught my attention with this game is the amazing art. It is beautiful, evocative, eerie, and wonderfully atmospheric. When I am not being attacked by the various denizens I like to just stand back and look at it all. There are gentle waterfalls, lush greeneries sparkling with lights, crystal caves, and intricate and abandoned cities. The music is also amazing. It reminds me of a Miyazaki film, and in fact, I could easily see it being made into an anime film that I would immediately buy. There is just this tinge of sadness and intrigue guiding you along as you try and find what happened to the world. You can't help but feel sorry for the various husks you run across, or the old man weeping for his grub-children, or even killing an enemy when you know they only got infected by whatever evil is plaguing the land.

The gameplay has a lot of platforming, with an equal amount of combat. You start out with 5 health, and anytime you get hit by an enemy or projectile, you lose 1 health. You start out with a special ability that has you "gain souls" by hitting enemies, and then if your soul gauge is filled enough, then you can spend them to heal 1 health. It is a nice balance that keeps you from getting too frustrated when you mess up. If you die from an enemy you lose all of your money (Geo in the game), and your soul meter thingy is cracked. You respawn at your last save point and have to find your way back to where you died and fight a shadow of yourself in order to get back all of your money and repair your soul meter. If you happen to die before defeating your shadow, you lose everything. Luckily, Geo is found in all enemies and there are plenty of them as they continuously respawn if you leave the room.

The platforming takes a little getting used to, as you jump higher depending on how long you hold the button. Once you get used to it it's very well done, it just feels different from most platformers. The combat is very similar to Plague Knight and other classic action games. You need to figure out your enemy's attack pattern, which will most likely include some kind of jumping, and then attack when you have a window. The enemies are varied enough to give you a lot of different difficulties, and the bosses can be hard, but it never felt unfair. I always knew what I did wrong, so there was a fair learning curve.

In terms of difficulty I have been finding this way easier than Salt and Sanctuary or Dark Souls, however I have only played 10 hours so far, and am far away from the end of the game I feel. The developers say that for 100% completion will take around 30 hours, which I easily see happening to me, which is a ridiculous deal considering the $10-$15 price tag. There are loads of achievements including speed runs which I would be trash at, but I look forward to hearing what the community can do. This game is not a cakewalk though. The platforming combined with the action gameplay can be very hard. Fair, but hard. You can quickly get overwhelmed by enemies and you will assuredly die many times. I don't mind that but this game is probably not for little kids.

Also, speaking of the community, so far it feels a lot like the best parts of Salt and Sanctuary and Dark Souls. It is still early, but I look forward to reading a lot about the lore that people have discovered, and the tales told by players that have searched every nook and cranny. There is no PVP section yet or anything, but I could see it implemented later. The developers have left it open that there could be DLCs if the game sells well enough, and it really should because I am loving the game.

The map is staggeringly huge. In classic video game fashion, the map you have is very bare bones. Even the map received with the deluxe edition is severely lacking in information. The world is much more vast than the map looks, as each section is filled with passages and rooms and stages. It is a huge world that you can easily get lost in in a good way. Similar to the first Dark Souls, you will constantly be surprised when you unlock a door and find yourself in familiar ground, finally discovering a secret passage that links two areas previously unreachable.

I have heard people complain about the map. The map above is not the map you get at the beginning of the game. Heck, you aren't even given a map at all! You have to find the map first. Then in each large section you have to find Cornifer the Cartographer and buy his portion of the map to expand yours. Then, when you are in your town/sanctuary you can buy various things for the map like locations of venders and even a compass (that you have to equip) that marks your location on the map. There is a lot of exploration in this game and there isn't really an easy way around it. To buy all the various map pins and stuff from the vendor costs over 1,000 Geo, and considering the beginning enemies only drop around 5 each, it can take a while to buy everything. I don't think it's a huge issue, as a grinder like me amasses stuff like that while I am gleefully exploring, but I have to acknowledge that that gameplay isn't for everyone. This is similar to complaints about Dark Souls. The game doesn't hold your hand, you have to figure out where to go and how to unlock things. It's a challenge.

I love the various characters I've discovered so far as well. From Cornifer the Cartographer, to the self proclaimed and grumpy, "knight of the people", Zote, Hollow Knight is just teeming with memorable creatures and stories.

There are also a lot of items and abilities in the game. You start out with only 3 slots, and some abilities take up 2, but over time you will gain more slots and abilities and you can really shape your character. For example, I love gaining extra souls from enemies and auto summoning the Geo that explodes from the enemies so I don't have to pick each piece up. You also have various abilities that unlock as you play including a mid-air dash and a hadouken-like soul fireball that incinerates enemies. With the promise of additional characters to play as, and with the limited amount of items you can hold, I see this game as having a lot of replayability and experimentation.

Heck, and this is all with only 10 hours of gameplay. I might only be a 3rd of the way through! There are so many other abilities I have yet to unlock, and characters to meet! Apparently I will eventually learn how to invade the enemy bugs' dreams, and will learn more about the lore there. I can't wait!

There have been a few technical glitches, all framerate stutters. They haven't been crippling but it definitely has been noticeable. Every once in a while it boots me to the desktop and I have to frantically click back into the game before an enemy hits me. It has only happened a couple of times though. The worst section for this is the drowning city. I have heard the developers are aware and are figuring out how to fix it. It definitely isn't game breaking though.

Anyway, if any of this even sounds remotely intriguing, at least go watch some videos or trailers or something, because if nothing else you will be gifted with a treat to the eyes and ears. Check out this game, as it may be my surprise hit of the year. I hope you enjoyed this "little review", I plan on talking more about the game as I delve into it even more. Happy gaming!

Here is a quick pro/con list for people:

Beautiful Art style
Tranquil soundtrack
Over 30 hours of gameplay for $10-15 for a dedicated gamer
Tough, but fair, gameplay

Framerate issues
Lack of map and direction can leave a player confused at times
Tough gameplay if that's an issue for people

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Epic Limited Tournament Battle Report

So this past Saturday saw the first Epic tournament at my local gaming store. Due to a lot of timing conflicts and short notice, we were missing every one of my regular gaming group which consists of like 10 guys, so that left a rather large dent in the crowd. Still, it wasn't a qualifier or anything, and 3 other people managed to show up, so it was still a good time. We had decided to do the Limited format, which was used last year for qualifiers. Each player gets a list of 60 single cards, split into 13-17 cards in each faction. Each player must then draft a 30 card deck using that list, with no other deck building requirements, which means if you had 30 0-cost cards in your list, you could take all 30 (don't do that). You can mulligan your list once and receive another list with 4 fewer cards, but nobody went that route. This is a really fun format for newer players to play as it helps showcase a lot of cards throughout the tournament, and gives all players a chance to discover new combos.

This was my list along with my picks:

Evil (14)
Wither - X
Raxxa's Displeasure
Plague Zombies
Hands from Below
Thrasher Demon
No Escape
Spawning Demon
Dark Assassin
Final Task - X
Drain Essence - X
Raxxa's Enforcer
Inner Demon - X
Drinker of Blood
Apocalypse - X

Good (13)
Rescue Griffin
Inner Peace
High King
Chamberlain Kark
Urgent Messengers - X
Blind Faith - X
White Dragon
Angel of the Gate
Rally the People

Sage (16)
Hasty Retreat - X
Reusable Knowledge
Warrior Golem
War Machine - X
Blue Dragon - X
Memory Spirit
Ogre Mercenary
Fumble - X
Sea Titan - X
Velden, Frost Titan - X
Erratic Research - X
Temporal Enforcer
Stand Alone
Frost Giant - X
Muse - X
Shadow Imp - X

Wild (17)
Sea Hydra - X
Wolf Companion
Feeding Frenzy
Smash and Burn - X
Rain of Fire - X
Savage Uprising - X
Surprise Attack - X
Bellowing Minotaur
Fires of Rebellion - X
Flame Spike - X
Brachiosaurus - X
Flash Fire - X
Cave Troll - X
Burrowing Wurm
Lurking Giant - X
Great Horned Lizard - X
Hurricane - X

When I am playing Limited, I almost always scan the list to check for a few preferential things. I look to see if the majority of cards are in Wild and Sage, as I believe those are the 2 best factions for Limited. A high number in those means I will most likely be able to build my deck using mainly those cards. I also look for a few key cards that I think are always good in Limited like Sea Titan, Steel Golem, Drain Essence, Surprise Attack, and Muse. I check to see what kind of 0 cost options I have, as well as what drawing options I have like Ancient Chant. I also look for sweepers as those are very important, as well as discard pile banishing. This list actually misses a couple of these marks in really good drawing options, amazing 0 costs, and discard pile banishing, but it has just enough in them as well as some amazing champion selections that I decided to keep it.

I only have 9 0-cost cards which is a little under what I'd normally go for (15), but I liked the 1-cost stuff I had so much I hoped it would be enough. My plan after looking at my list is to full out pressure my opponent with large champions that are not easily taken care of. I should be able to weather all of my opponent's removal effects and then just power through any defense they have.

We played each player 1 time (best of 3 games) to figure out rankings for when we cut to the playoffs using the Dark Draft format. My deck worked exactly as planned. I always tried to mulligan for a couple of large threats and card draw. I just kept pressuring, trying to Ambush in threats so that I could force my opponent to spend their gold first on my turn, so I could punish them with another threat.

One of my favorite plays was in my second game where both of us had gone very aggressive. My opponent had attacked with a giant Burrowing Wurm and I was forced to block with my Lurking Giant since my Sea Hydra was exhausted and I only had 10 life left.. Then on my turn I attacked with my Sea Hydra and my opponent Surprise Attacked in a T-Rex and blocked and killed me. I then used Final Task to grab his Burrowing Wurm and attacked in for the win.


Muse was also a huge reason I did so well too. My first game my Muse stayed alive for 3 rounds, giving me a huge hand advantage that greatly attributed to my win. I also was able to use my Sea Titan to bounce my Muse back to my hand so I could use it again on another turn.

Velden was also quite amazing as he routinely removed several demon tokens from the board and then proceeded to do a ton of damage, or force my opponent's hand to spend a lot of resources trying to get rid of him.

In my fourth game the Sea Hydra actually did a lot of work. I was in the lead but only had 3 cards in hand, with no other card draw. I did have Sea Hydra though. So I spent my turns playing Sea Hydra, drawing a card, and then when Sea Hydra eventually died I just recalled it and did it all over again. When my opponent finally Amnesia-ed my discard pile I had caught back up and drained his hand size and was able to end the game after a few rounds.

Blind Faith was yet another all-star. I used Blind Faith to remove Draka's flying, to be able to target and destroy a Steel Golem, to remove Breakthrough on a Burrowing Wurm, and to render a Thought Plucker useless and easily killed my a human token, lol.

I managed to win all of my matches and was the first seed going into the playoffs. In my first Dark Draft I tried to go with Wild and Sage mainly, and it paid off. My opponent had grabbed a few Good stuff in his first couple of packs so he stayed there as much as possible, leaving me some very choice options. My opponent was not the most knowledgeable opponent when it came to Epic, and the strength of Wild/Sage really showed through in our matches. I had a Thought Plucker and a Knight of Shadows and I used both of those to drain my opponent's hand both games. I kept controlling the board while I slowly burned my opponent out.

For the final matchup I had played the opponent who came the closest to beating me in the regular rounds. In the first pack I was passed a Medusa and a Soul Hunter, and they were the best cards in that pack. I then opened a pack with Raxxa, and was passed an Apocalypse and Final Task, which were also the best cards in the pack. Needless to say I kept drafting Evil when I got the chance. I sprinkled in some choice Sage and Wild cards when I got them, but I was very much in Evil. My opponent grabbed a decent amount of Sage and Wild, with some Good fliers. It was a very close matchup.

My token generation definitely was my biggest asset. My favorite play was Final Tasking my Trihorror to deal 9 Breakthrough damage, and then generate 3 demon tokens on my turn when it broke at the end.

I lost the 2nd game, although it was a very close one. I just wasn't able to withstand the 2 turns of Gold Dragon life swing and was eventually worn down. I believe a Tricerotops finished me off. My poor human token...

In the 3rd game I opened with Raxxa, and then on my opponents' turn I Erased his only champion on the board and put out a Spawning Demon. On my turn I began to attack with demon tokens and for several turns my opponent was forced to spend his gold before I did. Still though, it was a close game. He had Drain Essence and a Lesson Learned so he healed a lot of damage in the game. I managed to keep draining his health though and Medusa was able to help draw out my opponent's gold to enable me to attack with a Juggernaut for the win.


It was a very fun and friendly tournament. We all laughed and joked around, and nobody was taking it too seriously. People were excited to try out the new cards and try out some new combos. We all agreed that a Pyrosaur is very annoying if one (me) is relying on demon tokens to survive. Steel Golem is the bane of everyone's existence, and Frantic Digging can help you draw an insane amount of cards in a game to come back from a Psionic Assault.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little writeup. I hope to have many more friendly tournaments like this that will hopefully have a lot more players participating. Anyway have a good day and happy gaming!

PS: Go back the Epic Digital Kickstarter App. It's going to be awesome. It's a great deal. You can even get a free entry to a world qualifying match. This is the last week so give it a try!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Epic: Dark Draft Decisions (15)

Here is the 15th Epic Dark Draft Decisions. For the new readers, here is what I'm doing:

I use a random card generator to generate a hand of 5 cards from a complete singleton set of Epic, which includes the Core, the Tyrants, and new Uprising sets. I will then analyze the hand and decide what I would tend to pick if I were to draw that hand in the Dark Draft format of play. I will decide which card to pick if I got that pack, as well as which 2 cards I'd pick if I got the remaining 4. For the sake of consistency, I will assume this is the first pack I open.

For your information and as a reminder, here are the Dark Draft rules from the official website:

Dark Draft (2 players)
  • Shuffle a stack of at least 120 cards. Deal 5 to each player.
  • Each player takes 1 card out of their hand of five cards and drafts it, then passes the other 4 to the other (at the same time).
  • Each player takes 2 cards out of their new hand of four cards and drafts them, then discards the remaining two cards into a shared face-down discard pile.
Both players now have drafted three cards. Repeat nine times to get to a 30-card deck, shuffle and play.
This is a fun, fast, and skill-testing draft format for two players. Many of our competitive events use this format in the playoff rounds. This format is used in our World Championship. Source:
So what's up, doc?



A battle between 0 cost Recyclers! First of all, feel sorry for yourself that you have to give 2 of these to your opponent, but be thankful you at least get to choose first.

Blind Faith - I love this card in Limited. I also love this card in Constructed. I think it's stronger in Limited though because there are certain cards like Steel Golem and other giant monsters that can be difficult to deal with. This gives you an opening to wipe them out normally. This gets rid of the biggest evasions out there like Untargetable, Unbreakable, Airborne, etc.

Second Wind - Health gain in Limited can be, shall we say, limited. A Drain Essence is almost always a sure first pick. Second Wind is just a simple amount of health gain that can replace itself. It can save your life or give you that second wind you need to pull off a win (see what I did there?)

Word of Summoning - This card has been underestimated I'd estimate. I really like it. A 4/4 body for free is a wonderful chump block, but it's a decent amount of damage if it attacks on your turn as well. Plus, it's Evil, so it can help you out with those loyalty triggers that Evil usually needs.

Spike Trap - This is one of those cards that rarely makes its way into Constructed decks, but is almost always drafted in Limited. It's probably because Sage has so many awesome 0-cost cards that this one gets the shaft, but it is a good one, especially in Limited. For 0 gold, you have the ability to destroy a vast amount of attacking champions. It even hits untargetable and unblockable and airborne champions as well! Also, if for some reason your opponent decides to attacking with a group of weenies (because they are afraid of a Ceasfire), or they want to force you to block with a bigger champion), you can wipe them all out with this card. Fun stuff. Plus, it's Sage, which is an always desirable faction for loyalty triggers.

Wolf's Bite - I think this is a card that really grew in popularity leading up to Worlds last year. It's a very solid card. With Thought Plucker and Muse and other low health champions being auto picks for Limited, this is bound to find a target. It's useful as an offensive as well as defensive tool. Getting a weenie blocker/attacker, and replacing itself with Recycle is just delicious sugar-frosting (none of that whipped crap thank you very much), not to mention helping out Wild loyalty triggers which is a personal favorite of mine.

This one is rough. I think it comes down to Blind Faith, Spike Trap, and Wolf's Bite. I like Second Wind and Word of Summoning, but I think these others are better. In terms of loyalty triggers Spike Trap and Wolf's Bite are better than Blind Faith, but only because I don't care for Good as much in Limited. Blind Faith is an amazing card though. I think that I might prefer Wolf's Bite over Spike Trap, only because I know I will always need it to hit certain champions, or chump blockers, and it gives me a free blocker/attacker, while Spike Trap does not. So now it is Blind Faith vs Wolf's Bite. I think I have to go with Wolf's Bite. This really is a tough one because Blind Faith has saved me in many games, but it isn't always a guarantee that my opponent finds and picks those juicy targets. I feel more confident that I will completely need and use Wolf's Bite in a game than Blind Faith. I really couldn't blame someone from going for it though, I doubt they would be disappointed.

If I got this pack I would be very happy. What I would pick would greatly depend on what I chose from my pack. If I picked something Evil, I'd definitely grab Word of Summoning for one of my picks. If I grabbed something Sage, I'd definitely grab Spike Trap as one of my picks. In a void I'd probably choose Spike Trap and Blind Faith.

Do you guys agree? Let me know. And happy gaming!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Epic Deck Tech Theory (Demonic Rising Human Tokens)

Here is my 2nd attempt at a creative deck based off of card, strategy, or concept. Today's attempt is to make use of Demonic Rising.

I have never ranked Demonic Rising very highly. There are so many other better board sweepers out there, and it seemed that this card as a combo or "cheese" card would be difficult to pull off. Nevertheless, I was determined to try and figure something out to make this work.

I have always enjoyed a human token deck in theory. It is just so much thematic fun and there are few combos that can end a game more quickly. It has never been very highly regarded, however, since it falls prey to a number of hard counters that are useful in a variety of decks (Wither, board sweepers, Ceasefire, Flash Fire, etc). But, for the sake of theory and Epic itself, I thought that Demonic Rising could possibly tie in with a human token deck in order to add yet another combo and see if it could work.

First, I'm going to start with 3 Demonic Risings. I can't really justify writing an article trying to fit this card in there without including 3 copies. This will hopefully be used as a game finisher. In theory I shall attack with several human tokens, hopefully even boosted through various effects, and then I'll play this to get a second attack in with as many demon tokens and hopefully that will pull off the win.

I am actually going to stay clear of almost all the other Evil cards in favor of human tokens since I want more bodies on the board than my opponent when I play DR, and nobody puts out bodies like human tokens.

First go in a few human token staples: Secret Legion, Revolt, Courageous Soul, Paros, Rabble Rouser, Standard Bearer, Gladius, and Insurgency provide me with bodies, boosting of said bodies, or even Blitz. The triple Bs (trademark pending).



These cards alone can win you a game. On a good draw with you going second you can Ambush in a Courageous Soul and Standard Bearer, and then on your turn play Paros and Secret Legion and/or Insurgency for the win right there! Heck, you don't even need all of that if your opponent mulliganed too hard or doesn't have the blockers out.

This is also a good opportunity to try out some other cards from Uprising that could fit in the human token deck with Gladius, the Defender. He's a giant guy that passively boosts all my stuff for 3 attack, which is pretty significant. His Unbanishable could actually come in handy because of the board wipes I shall soon include as well. Meanwhile, he just sits back and spawns more tokens until he is removed.


Another Uprising card I wanted to try in a token deck is Justice Prevails. This has the chance to really bring one back into the game from the brink of death, if not cause an outright win. I really like it can also replace itself. Putting this into an aggressive Kark deck would be fun but I just have to try it in a token deck first.

Noble Martyr is in there not to be played, but to be hopefully discarded and then banished while using his ability. Getting 5 human tokens off a loyalty trigger is just too good to pass up. This is one of the cards closest to the chopping block for me but I want to test it out, especially against control decks that use Thought Plucker and the like.

Rabble Rouser is in a similar position. He's not an amazing card otherwise but if you can bring him in while you have a bunch of tokens out he can exponentially increase your opponent's problems.

Noble Unicorn because we need lots of card draw. Urgent Messengers for the same as well as a little token generation.

I love Bodyguard in a Kark deck, it is so annoying. In this deck it can do everything! Give me another body for attacking or blocking, as well as keep coming back every turn. It should be great.

Faithful Pegasus and Blind Faith are put in mainly for the Recycle triggers, as I need to make sure I keep my hand size up. However, FP can help one of my guys fly overhead which could be enough in a pinch, and BF is such an awesome card for defense that always seems to save my butt.

A big thing about token decks is that they can run out of steam fast. My solution, besides having some Recycle triggers and a random draw 2, is to have a bunch of board sweepers that also draw 2. While I am building up the combo to attempt the win, I will just keep clearing the board or drawing cards to give me time. I will try the combo, and then rinse and repeat. It's a similar tactic done by Kark decks to stall, so I figured why not? Divine Judgement, Inheritance of the Meek, and Quell are all 3 ofs.


Because I'm a slave to maximizing 0-cost cards, I actually have to add 1 more Evil card in order to fit 2 Evil 0 costs. I went for Apocalypse as a board sweeper draw 2 for the same reasons as above. For my 0 cost, I think it could be very flexible. I chose Heinous Feast in order to have just the tiniest bit of discard pile removal, as I think that is more important than direct removal from Raxxa's Curse, or healthgain from Unquenchable Thirst, or whatever.

So that, I believe, is everything. We have an updated human token deck, with Demonic Rising for an added combo card win condition. Just think of the human army as putting on the facade of truth and justice, only to reveal at the end that they were being manipulated by demons the while time. Don't forget to cackle maniacally if you ever happen to win.

Here is the deck list courtesy of Epic Foundry:

Deck: 60 cards
Packs: Set One (3), Tyrants (3), Uprising (3)

What do you think? Criticisms and feedback? What am I missing? Let me know in the comments. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this and happy gaming!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Epic: Dark Draft Decisions (14)

Here is the 14th Epic Dark Draft Decisions. For the new readers, here is what I'm doing:

I use a random card generator to generate a hand of 5 cards from a complete singleton set of Epic, which includes the Core, the Tyrants, and new Uprising sets. I will then analyze the hand and decide what I would tend to pick if I were to draw that hand in the Dark Draft format of play. I will decide which card to pick if I got that pack, as well as which 2 cards I'd pick if I got the remaining 4. For the sake of consistency, I will assume this is the first pack I open.

For your information and as a reminder, here are the Dark Draft rules from the official website:

Dark Draft (2 players)
  • Shuffle a stack of at least 120 cards. Deal 5 to each player.
  • Each player takes 1 card out of their hand of five cards and drafts it, then passes the other 4 to the other (at the same time).
  • Each player takes 2 cards out of their new hand of four cards and drafts them, then discards the remaining two cards into a shared face-down discard pile.
Both players now have drafted three cards. Repeat nine times to get to a 30-card deck, shuffle and play.
This is a fun, fast, and skill-testing draft format for two players. Many of our competitive events use this format in the playoff rounds. This format is used in our World Championship. Source:
Ok what do we have today?



Ooo, lots of draw 2 options. Always need those. These aren't typically the cream of the crop, but one has to make due in Dark Draft, so what should we pick?

Dark Offering - I have always had a soft spot with this card. I am biased because I have won several games with it, crucially removing 2 gold-cost champions from my opponent, sometimes while getting rid of my own Soul Hunter! I think it's a decent removal spell even though you have to lose your own guy. It also can help you with later Evil cards for which to provide loyalty triggers.

Deadly Raid - This is one of those combo cards that can just win you a game. Ever play against someone using a token deck? This card can very quickly bring you your doom. It is not easy to pull off, but something has to be said about having a trick up your sleeve. I prefer to call them trick cards or combo cards, but Nicholas Heal (Epic World Championship competitor) calls cards like this "cheese" cards and he talks about them in his Dark Draft section of this article. I highly recommend you give it a read. Basically one should have a "cheese" card in their draft to try and finish off an opponent or get you right back in the game if you are down. It also is Sage so that is highly desirable for their loyalty triggers.

Demonic Rising - I feel as though I am so close to unlocking the amazing-ness of this card. It performs a similar role I think to Army of the Apocalpyse. It clears the board and then gives you a chance to try and finish off your opponent with a second attack. It seems just so hard to pull off though that I haven't had success with it yet. I am hopeful though. I plan on trying to create a deck around it sometime. It technically is a board clear so that make it higher on the list. It's also Evil so yay for more loyalty triggers!

Force Field - A rich man's Fumble, only worse. I was not a huge fan of this card simply because I'd almost always rather have a Fumble. It is a decent way of surviving a turn if your opponent has a full board. -10 to everyone is pretty brutal. -5 and drawing a card is also probably gonna save you a turn against swarmy decks. It has decent flexibility and it is Sage, but there are much better cards out there.

Justice Prevails - This could be considered another one of those trick or "cheese" cards. I think this could be fun in a hyper aggressive Kark deck with human tokens, but it seems very hard to pull off in Limited. Getting it early means you can try to go for some token makers or 0-cost guys to get the full effect though. +3/3 and Righteous could easily be enough to get you back into a game. This is another card that'd be fun to try and build a deck around. Good is probably my least favorite faction in Dark Draft though, so the loyalty factor is less than other factions.

After my analysis this is harder than I originally thought it was. I think I can rule out Justice Prevails and Force Field because if I want a Sage card I'd rather have Deadly Raid, and I just don't think Justice Prevails is as good of a "cheese" card as Deadly Raid too. I also really value removal though, so that favors Dark Offering and Demonic Rising. I think it comes down to Dark Offering and Deadly Raid. In this case I think I'd prefer my opponent not to have Deadly Raid, so I think I will go for that. I will be looking for ways to have multiple champions on the board so I can maximize its effectiveness, but I never mind going for the little 0-costers and token generators either. I'd hate to give my opponent Dark Offering, but I think it would hurt me less.

If I got this pack I think I'd go for Dark Offering and Demonic Rising for those sweet Evil loyalty triggers. Force Field would be decent too but I would value the increased Evil loyalty and the possible combos with the other cards.

What do you think? My last pack was quite controversial (well, for me, anyway), and it generated a lot of good discussion on Facebook. I hope this one does too. Until next time: Happy Gaming!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Epic: Dark Draft Decisions (13)

Here is the 13th Epic Dark Draft Decisions. For the new readers, here is what I'm doing:

I use a random card generator to generate a hand of 5 cards from a complete singleton set of Epic, which includes the Core, the Tyrants, and new Uprising sets. I will then analyze the hand and decide what I would tend to pick if I were to draw that hand in the Dark Draft format of play. I will decide which card to pick if I got that pack, as well as which 2 cards I'd pick if I got the remaining 4. For the sake of consistency, I will assume this is the first pack I open.

For your information and as a reminder, here are the Dark Draft rules from the official website:

Dark Draft (2 players)
  • Shuffle a stack of at least 120 cards. Deal 5 to each player.
  • Each player takes 1 card out of their hand of five cards and drafts it, then passes the other 4 to the other (at the same time).
  • Each player takes 2 cards out of their new hand of four cards and drafts them, then discards the remaining two cards into a shared face-down discard pile.
Both players now have drafted three cards. Repeat nine times to get to a 30-card deck, shuffle and play.
This is a fun, fast, and skill-testing draft format for two players. Many of our competitive events use this format in the playoff rounds. This format is used in our World Championship. Source:
This is our 13th pack.



Huh, what a coincidence. Every single title champion from Uprising and one of the worst regarded cards in Epic. What are the chances? Let's just gloss over that and dive into this crazy pack.

Chamberlain Kark - Well, this is the one format where Kark is actually not great. He's a solid body that could possibly give you some extra health but there is a greater chance of you seeing this exact pack than getting his win condition I'd say.

The Risen - If you are desperate for chump blockers then maybe this can save you, but that's about it. Perhaps if you brought a Soul Hunter into play this turn you could give him +1/1 and Blitz, but this card is just outshown by so many other Epic cards. It doesn't even have a draw 2 option.

Scarros, Hound of Draka - This guy really scared me when he first came out. I have since calmed down a bit but he's definitely still a threat. Even with minimal loyalty reveal, he can wipe the opponent's board of most weenie blockers, AND deal a little damage to your opponent. If you manage to go hard into Wild, then this guy really ramps up in power. He doesn't have Ambush or Blitz, but your opponent will most likely have to spend gold to get rid of him, or at least be afraid or him coming in and wrecking your day.

Velden, Frost Titan - Besides having the best art of the leaders in Uprising (setting aside the controversial possibility that the art was stolen online), he's a very solid character. Sitting comfortably in one of the most sought after factions in Epic, you will most likely be trying to draft other Sage cards, making him that much better. He is a huge Blitzing body that can easily wipe away defenders, and really punish your opponent for spending gold first. I love using him to wipe my opponent's pesky tokens off the board for good, but in a pinch putting several gold costing champions in my opponent's hand can set them back a lot too.

Zannos, Corpse Lord - I was most excited about this guy when he was first revealed. I love themed decks and making a zombie deck got me very excited. He is also in Evil, which is probably my favorite faction. He's also a very solid champion. Putting out several bodies that cannot easily be removed is an amazing ability in Epic. Giving you a health swing can also be life saving, and then also having a huge body to cause your opponent harm is icing on the cake. He does require more loyalty to be at his best, even more so than the some of the other title Uprising leaders, but I am never sad going into Evil in a Dark Draft.

For me I think this boils down to Velden vs Zannos. Scarros is very decent and I like Wild a lot, but I think Velden and Zannos are better and more devastating, especially in Limited. My play style swings towards the aggressive which would favor Velden over Zannos because of his Blitz. I do really love the possible health swing and established chump blockers though, since Limited sees more of the large champions without Breakthrough. Plus, I generally favor Evil over Sage, simply due to preference. So with that in mind I think I would be going for Zannos. I really wouldn't blame anyone for taking Scarros or Velden though, as they are both very good. I think it might come down to which faction you generally like to go after in a Dark Draft.

I would definitely be looking for some single card removal spells for the inevitable Scarros and Velden picks that my opponent would get though. Needless to say those two would easily be my choice if I were to receive that pack.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the lucky 13th Dark Draft Decisions. Let me know if you agree in the comments and happy gaming!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Epic Deck Tech Theory (Discard Pile Hate)

This is a new attempt for me. I'm gonna take a concept or a card, or a strategy, and build a deck around it. My first attempt will be a discard pile hate deck.

This concept is most famously talked about by Tom Sorenson on his blog. This concept is also primarily talked about in regards to Dark Draft and Limited formats since the deck size is only 30 cards and there is a great risk of a player winning by decking out (ie drawing from an empty draw pile). However, mass discard pile banishing is still important in Constructed. You can really slow decks down and control them by getting rid of their discard piles. With an empty discard pile they cannot use Recycle triggers, they cannot recall useful cards like Lightning Storm, they cannot Lesson Learned-combo Ancient Chant, and they cannot bring back pesky champions like Soul Hunters. Some players also believe it is one of the prime strategies against the strong Kark decks that helped win the Epic World Championship last year.

With this in mind I decided to just create a deck using all of the cards that help banish cards from the discard pile, and see what I can come up with.

Currently, these are the cards that can banish cards from your opponent's discard pile:




Corpse Taker - 0 cost
Corpsemonger - 0 cost
Grave Demon - 1 cost
Guilt Demon - 0 cost
Heinous Feast - 0 cost

Amnesia - 0 cost
Erratic Research - 1 cost
Keeper of Secrets - 0 cost

So if I add 3 of each card into the deck I am already almost at my limit for 0 cost cards. I have room for 2 others. With 12 0-cost cards in Evil (need at least 24 1-cost cards), and 6 in Sage (need at least 12 1-cost cards), I am most assuredly staying in Evil and Sage, which is a fine combination. So now I guess I should just start adding other cards to the deck and see what we can get.

For Evil I will take some of my favorites. I am thinking Evil can supply me with a lot of decent token generators and that will be my primary win condition. Mass token attacking and pinging down my opponent's health while I control the discard pile.

I think I'll add 3 of Medusa, Rift Summoner, Raxxa Demon Tyrant. These guys either give me lots of tokens that can try to win it for me, or provide some nice direct removal. I should probably add Drain Essence as that is an amazing card for removal and health gain. Final Task is also nice for grabbing myself (or my opponent's) best champions. I'll grab some Soul Hunters for an alternate win condition. Some Murderous Necromancer (I want to try this guy out and see if he's any good) for direct removal/token creation and Zombie Apocalypse for mass removal (and since I have so much discard pile removal my opponent shouldn't get very many zombies).

For Sage I will be concentrating on the more controlling side to compliment my mass discard pile control. Thought Pluckers and Knight of Shadows seem pretty obvious, as does Sea Titan so I can keep grabbing my 0 costers back (including the Corpse Taker so I can get my Sea Titan again if he gets killed). I think I'll grab some Mist Guide Heralds for consistency and some Helions for more control. I had room for 2 more 0 cost cards in the deck so I decided to go for Frantic Digging. My thinking is that I have so much discard pile hate that there will be times I will have too much. Frantic Digging also allows me to help with drawing cards. It's also quite nifty while using Soul Hunters :).

So this is the decklist (Thanks Epic Foundry!):

Deck: 60 cards
Packs: Set One (3), Tyrants (3), Uprising (3)

So ping down your opponent's health with tokens, use Thought Plucker and Knight of Shadows to control and slow down your opponent even more, and never let them use their discard pile. Could be fun. What do you think? Let me know! And happy gaming!