Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Playtest 4 with a Sweet Combo

Hi there, just wanted to describe a very cool moment from printrun #4. My brother Gord was in town, so along with brother Ali and the infamous MN we drafted the set.

It felt much more like a real set this time around. I'd put alot of work into moving cards around within the rarities to more closely match official cards, and also tuned the number of enchantments, sorceries, instants, etc in accordance with their color. The draft made it apparent that there were still some issues (a few annoying rares, a few unplayable commons) but overall it drafted/played very well.

Anyway, the best part of it for me was a wicked combo Gord put together during our game. I'm not sure if he drafted it intentionally, but it rocked. I learned about it thus:
Turn 3: Gord played Shepherd of Decay. No problem - I had the higher life total, and some token generation in hand to boot.
Turn 5: Gord played Skyshield Squadron. Hrm, frustrating because I was still holding a mitt full of token generation, but I figured I would win the race if he didn't drop a ton of tokens.
Turn 6: Gord played Suspended Howlers :(
Turn 7: Suspended Howlers triggered; Gord gained his 6 life and Shepherd's 2nd ability came online.

Gord started Shepherding for 4 damage a turn along with ground assault and the game ended miserably for me :)

But it was awesome because I'd never thought about this combo before. I was mainly thinking of the Shepherd in mono-black Husk generating decks...But at the same time, if you read the developer notes for the set, you'll see an awful lot of comments saying "Token Related"...Meaning that there are an awful lot of cards that should fit together without being explicitly planned as such. It was really exciting to see the set-building philosophy pay off!


brother gordon said...

Hi John, and also to your legions of faithful blog readers;
My gosh, it didn't seem like such a leap to me to draft that combo. As soon as I saw the Shepherd I thought of Pestilence and it's insane controlling power. While not quite as good as Pestilence, it seemed like I could make the Shepherd work to my advantage more often than not.
If I could get control of the ground game early by drafting efficient creatures, I should be winning the life race by the time there are enough tokens out to make the Shepherd a threat.
Anyway, it was fun playing that set- I hope we can do some more when I get back, and really get a sense for how the set plays/drafts as a whole.

Johnny GoTime said...

Yeah it's funny how obvious it is in retrospect. But when working on 300 or so cards at the same time, there's only a limited amount of processing I can do for any given card...For some reason, I only ever thought about the Shepherd and some of the fairly mundane Husk generators, never the Howler-making cards (and Suspended Howlers is the mightiest of them all...)

Come to think of it, how about casting Mirrorspell on a Shepherd! Suppose X = 2; you get 2 shepherd tokens, but they each have their "comes into play" ability which brings 2 more husks...And now your first shepherd can tap to use his 2nd ability (since there are 3 resonaters in play) for 6 dmg to each player...And on the next turn, each of your 3 shepherds do that, for 18 dmg to each player...Hrm, I wonder if that's too broken or if it's ok?