I like to think about things, and if I don't collect the thoughts somewhere then they'll all fall out of my head. Consider this my "spare-brain-thoughts farm".

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Game over.

In which we mourn the dead.

So, straying away from the whole cards thing for a while (Fret not, I have a Horde Mage to share), I wanted to talk about some other things going on in the world of geekery. Specifically some things that are affecting the UK gaming market.

I speak of GAME and Gamestation, the UK high street retailer. Now, I've been covering the story for the websites I write for, and since the start I've been saying that it doesn't look good for them. With the Royal Bank of Scotland intefering for their own purposes, and companies that could make a difference not putting bids in; the situation has gotten worse and worse by the day.

Now, GAME have gone into administration and taken Gamestation with them. Just under 300 stores have already closed, including my local GAME. More than 2000 staff have been made redundant. The CEO has stepped down and handed the company over to the administrators.

Admittedly, as a PC gamer, it's kindof difficult to feel sorry for GAME. They were almost abusive to developers to get discounts and threatened developers in order to make sure that their PC games were exclusive for a short time. Since I buy most of my games via Steam, it's annoying to find out that things I'm looking forward to (Space Marine, Saints Row 3 etc) are being held back for months at a time because GAME wanted exclusivity so they could attempt to cash in on a market that didn't like them in the first place (PC gamers and GAME do not go hand in hand).

Whilst they clearly haven't been virtuous paragons fighting in the name of gaming, I realise now that they're not being terrible people either. The past 2 years have been very difficult for them, and now we stand to lose our only major gaming retail chains.

The UK gaming scene isn't in trouble, but this could mean that there are dire consequences coming. If supermarkets step in to fill the gap in the market, then prices are going to bounce around as they compete with one another. If independant stockists can't stem the bleeding, then what will happen to the UK gaming scene?

We do have online retailers, but that is an almost specialist thing. What of parents who take their children out to buy new games for their birthdays? What of non-gamers who fall into the hobby? They are left with the supermarkets, with tech stores, with trade-in centres.

Those of us who market ourselves as real gamers will continue to buy online, but because of the declining physical trade, prices online will eventually suffer.

To say the least, I'll be upset if GAME do eventually go under and cease to exist. Thousands of people are out of jobs because their parent company made stupid decisions. The UK will lose a lot more than just it's retailer.

Monday, 12 March 2012

There. Are. Four. Lights.

In which we taste the rainbow.

I've been playing Grand Crusader a lot more recently since I got my playset of the delicious ability card. If you remember my previous blogs, then you may recall that I'd built my Grand Crusader deck with a twist: Dragons, Dragons and Dragons.

Using Drax Felfuse for his attack boosting ability and a range of cost 1 & 2 dragonkin to boost him and run with Grand Crusader, this deck can put together a formidable field. I've included Trade Prince Gallywix since he works with Grand Crusader as well as providing resource readying ability for him and Drax. Exxi is still in this build, but I remain unsure about her usefulness. Whilst managing to swing twice with a buffed up Drax Felfuse is very, very deadly; she remains a dead draw most of the time since she doesn't gain the +2/+2 from Grand Crusader.

Rohashu, Zealot of the Sun

4x Drax Felfuse
2x Azure Magus
4x Emerald Captain
4x Ruby Stalker
4x Bronze Drake
4x Bronze Warden
4x Ruby Flameblade
3x Obsidian Drudge
4x Trade Prince Gallywix
2x Exxi the Windshaper
3x Cairne, Earthmother's Chosen

4x Grand Crusader
4x Censure

4x Etched Dragonbone Girdle
4x Bottled Light

4x Twilight Citadel

2x Challenge to the Black Flight

I'm missing Cairnes and Twilight Citadels still, but if this is the deck that I end up taking to the Realm Championships next month then it's either going to need improvement or some money being spent on it. 

I'm playing around with the idea of dropping the Challenge to the Black Flights and Exxi the Windshapers in favour of Hammer of the Zealot, Vindicator's Shock or Lordann the Bloodreaver.

I've recently got my MWS working again, so now I can playtest more often. Joy.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Luna ex Machina

In which we appreciate aberrations for their inner beauty.

Since the update to core making it a 2-block system, I've strayed from playing Druid. I was always a fan of Gwon Stronbark, Arturius Hathrow and Kauno Stonehoof in the previous meta and I had a great number of decks surrounding them. Whilst I had a particular penchant for token decks, it was my Goblin Druid rush deck that I mained. When the Drums and Icecrown blocks rotated out suddenly, I found myself lacking a lot of the cards I used: Starshot, Krixel Pinchwhistle, Natural Order, Nature's Reach, Report to Goldshire and several others.

Since I've been rocking Grand Crusader for too long, I've been building other decks to mix things up at my local card pit. Whilst looking through my Alliance allies, I noticed Braeo Darkpaw and Aleksei Brandai. A quick scan of my available Alliance Hero cards bought up Wildseer Varell, an attachment searching Worgen Hero. Having already played a Worgen Druid in the previous meta, so I knew some of the staple allies I'd need. The only thing the deck would require is a stable base of attachment cards and it should be complete.

So, a cursory build looked like this:

Wildseer Varell

4 Kelsa Wildfire
3 Loriam Argos 
4 Aleksei Brandai 
2 Faithseer Jasmina 
4 Davius, Herald of Nature
4 Braeo Darkpaw
3 Rolan Phoenix
4 Genn Greymane
4 Aileen the Thunderblessed 

4 Mark of The Ancients
4 Favour of Nature
4 Mark of Elderlimb
2 Mark of Goldrinn
2 Wrath
3 Earth and Moon 

3 Gilneas 

4 Seeds of their Demise
2 If You're Not Against Us

Playtesting revealed a few things that needed to be removed and others that were severely lacking.
First changes were the removals:
-4 Aileen the Thunderblessed
-3 Earth and Moon

These 2 cards in particular were holdovers from the previous iterations of this deck when Nature Worgen were a lot stronger. Most games they would be dead draws and dead weight, so they're gone now.

-2 If You're Not Against Us...
Whenever it was played, it attributed very little to the game.

-2 Wrath
Because it was rarely playable.

-1 Mark of Goldrinn
Because I never needed it when I drew it. I decided that running 1 and searching for it when it would be more useful seemed like the stronger option.

-1 King Genn Greymane
4 was too many.

-1 Favour of Nature
It's just wasn't as useful as Mark of Elderlimb.

As for additions:
+4 Magni, The Mountain Beard
He fills the roles of being resourceable and being a protector I occasionally needed around turns 4/5 before I dropped Genn.

+2 Faithseer Jasmina
+3 Mark of the Untamed
Jasmina got boosted up because whilst she makes a rather pale Turn 2, she was excellent in later turns when paired with a few cost 1 attachments. Playing her on Turn 4 with any 2 cost 1 attachments made for a 5/5 who was hard to kill.

 +2 Lord Darius Crowley
I was frequently playing Genn on turn 6 rather than 5. Following this with a 1-off Crowley that I used during a playtesting match meant that I had an 18/18 Genn ready to swing. Running 2 seemed stronger than 1, so I'm trying that out.

+3 Energize
Frequent lacking of draw power made for a sad Pandaren Worgen. I'm going to try out the Energize in the hopes that it will work well with an already established Faithseer Jasmina, and I hope that it won't just be a dead draw.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Feel the deadly fin

In which we Rwlrwlrwl.

Battlegrounds have finally relaunched in my local area so I've been busying myself with coming last place in that (And first place. Do or do not. There is no "try") and building random decks.

There's a few regular players down at my local card pit now, and they're having fun building Murloc decks. Murlocs aren't actually something I'm too familiar with, but I wanted to jump on this cheap bandwagon.

I previously traded away my King Bagurgle and Gobblers on the premise that I'd never build a Murloc deck, leaving me with commons and uncommons to work with. Everyone else had been playing the deck out of Warrior using Rawbrgle for his +1/+1 flip. That seemed pretty strong when combined with cards like Chumly and RwlRwlRwlRwl. Now, I couldn't find a Rawbrgle, but I could find a Grglmrgl. His flip meant that I wouldn't need RwlRwlRwlRwl so, I decided to play out of Hunter.

A quick scan of my Hunter rares revealed that I had 2 Monstrous Marks. The quick inclusion of 4 Monstrous Upheavals and a few Unleash The Swarm meant that all I had to do was grab a handful of Murlocs and I was good to go. Since I knew there were a couple of Commander Ulthoks and Miniature Voodoo Masks floating around, I wasn't keen on filling the deck out with Murloc Coastrunners, so I diversified as much as I could. The final deck list ended up being:


4 Baby Murloc
20 Murloc Coastrunner
4 Slippyfist
4 Gutfin
4 Crabbyfin
4 Nibbler
4 Swarmtooth
4 Chumly
4 Splashtooth

4 Monstrous Upheaval
2 Monstrous Mark
2 Unleash The Swarm

Whilst this isn't as good as the ol' Poison Tipped/Coastrunner deck, it did the job I needed it to do. Monstrous Mark feels a lot stronger than Poison Tipped, especially since it means that 30+ Coastrunners aren't mandatory, and MVM will only destroy a small chunk of the deck. Past that, Monstrous Mark also covers my Hero which means an additional 2 damage a turn, on top of the Assault 2 on my allies.

In playtesting, it faired quite well against Harmonize Druid, Nature Hunter though it died quickly to an AoE Rogue deck that had tooled up to fight all the Murloc decks sprouting up. Swarmtooth not showing up hampered the draw signficantly time after time after time after time after time etc etc.

I'm considering removing 4 more Murloc Coastrunners and replacing them with Servant of Neptulon since there are so many Frost cards hiding in there. I'm toying with bringing both Monstrous Mark and Unleash the Swarm up to 4 and removing the Splashtooths. I won't be able to playtest this more until next week though now.