Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beatdown Or Control?

(This blog deals with WOW CMG)

Hello Gamers!

Welcome to another exciting, action packed blog! OK. Maybe not super action packed but I had to get your attention somehow. In this blog we will discuss the intriguing statement I made at the end of the last blog. Namely that with strategy games the players break their forces, deck, etc, down into only actually two specific camps. Namely these are, 1. The Beatdown, and 2. The Control.
Interested? Then let's press on. First off I want to say this isn't my theory or anything. It is an established fact in gaming. All I am doing here is introducing you to the theory if you have never heard of it.
Think about how a game goes. Minis or otherwise. Someone is beating on one guy while the other plays crazy defense to try and gain the upper hand. As a matter of fact let's play out a scenario. Let's say you and your opponent have completed a draft. You both opened you're boosters and out of three figures you get to choose two. Here's the figures you took:

Phadalus the Enlightened


Now let's say you're into the game. Things are going well, and you are smashing some face. Phadalus has kept himself healed. He's hitting from range and melee as well. You jumped out to an early start and killed both of his toons right off the bat. What does that make you? Well clearly you are the beatdown player. You have established dominance. And he has had to play the defensive game making him the control player.

Now let's jump you farther on into the game. Your opponent has made a pretty decent come back. You need one more VP (victory point) to win. He needs 3. Phadalus was killed earlier so he's at the graveyard. And he won't have time to kill anyone or make it to a VP space. Your opponent's second toon is back at the graveyard as well. So It's all up to Dizdemona vs you're opponents down right nasty character..... Ji'lan . She has been unlucky though because she has only 2 health left and she's facing down a rogue. Not cool. Her defense isn't exactly the best versus melee. And this guy hits pretty darn hard! And if he crits, you are definitely done. What to do? In this case your opponent is now beatdown. If he can kill you're warlock on this turn he pulls off the win. And will brag about it for weeks because he has made such a good come back. Are you going to let him do that? Heck no!

Good thing you've got Fear on deck! Next thing he knows he's fled 3 spaces and you cruise to victory. In this case you had to become the control player. Dizdemona wasn't going to get it done with the beatdown at all. And to win he needed to beat you down for sure. Congratulations. Now that you won, it's time to brag.....maybe even for a couple weeks. Go ahead, you've earned it!

The important thing though is, did you see how the scenario played out? It illustrates beatdown vs control. The one doing the mediocre job at beatdown is going to have to become the control. Doesn't matter how you're deck or party is built. Even if they were a beatdown you might be playing control. And vice versa for building a control party. You might have to change mid game.
Now how does that work for us in practical terms as gamers? Well, really it gives you a starting point when you are constructing a party. Granted if you are playing a draft format that is a little tougher. But the same principles apply. Choose you're major goal between the two. You winning through beatdown? Or is control more you're specialty? Whatever you choose don't completely ignore the other aspect because you might get out controlled or out beaten! Basically I am saying, Don't put all you're eggs in one basket!
Let's say you took all toons that are range attackers. Well line of sight is going to be an issue for you before this game is up. What about if you take all melee? Then you are going to be running all over that field trying to get the VP s you need. Now that I have filled you're head with that though, I have to admit that you can still get around this rule. You can successfully run 2 guys of the same kind of attack and win. Just be aware of what you are doing and you should be fine.

Also logically you can apply this to all kinds of deck building or party building. When you understand the basic principles you see how it all connects. Coming in a future blog I will discuss this very thing. You will get to relive with me how my lack of focus in creating a tournament deck leads to my downfall. Good stuff. Make sure to be there.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh It's Magic...You Know

Hey everybody. This blog we are going to talk about Magic the Gathering. Figure I might as well start with the big Granddaddy of all TCGs. Let's face it, whether you love or hate the game is moot. It is responsible for a ton of other games. So it has left an everlasting mark on the gamers society. The game has evolved in it's 15 years of existence and there have been some missteps on the way. But it's still an amazing game. That being said I don't really like the game like I used to. And why I came to that conclusion has affected my viewpoint towards all TCGs. But let's start at the beginning....

Golden Age

My own journey into the world of magic began simply enough. I was hanging out with my best friend Fred's younger brother. He was telling me about this new game he was playing a lot of at school. And he showed me one of the cards. I'll never forget it. It's called Sulfuric Vapors. Urza's Saga was the set. The card was rare. The picture was awesome. A guy with goggles on being eaten up by this acidic mist. I didn't know anything about it, but I was determined to find out.
Just a couple days later I headed down to my local comic store to see what they had. They had pre-con decks, but those had no rules. So we got to start off playing wrong. Also all 3 of us bought decks of the same color. Made the game a little less exciting right away. Because most of our cards worked on non black colors! Yep we all 3 bought Nemesis pre- con Mercenary decks.

It's pretty funny looking back on it. We had so many rules wrong. Instead of the rule drop one land at a time. We used to drop everything we had in our hand and draw back to 7 cards! (Instead of the 1 card a turn draw you are allowed. It made some crappy cards pretty good though. Hey look, it's turn 3 & I just paid for a 8 cost creature!
At that time the game is incredibly fun. We all had fun playing it. No pressure. We played all the time. And more and more of us got into it too. Soon there were about 10 of us playing it every week. I call this time the Golden age of Magic for our circle.....

Silver Age

Eventually though even innocence ends. We learned how to play the game right. And it ended up getting a little more competitive. The game lost none of it's fun value though. It was still exciting. We still built crazy insane decks, and used 50 cent rares. Hell, back then not counting the power 9 (the 9 most powerful and expensive cards in the game), there weren't many expensive rares. That started to change when Prophecy came out though. And my favorite card was released....Avatar of Woe. I will never forget the first time I saw that card either. So awesome. Sure it was a later game card. But so sick. It had fear and could blow up any creature it wanted. I was in love. How could the game get any better?

Bronze Age

I ended up playing straight from the Nemesis expansion all the way through the Planeshift. About 5 sets or so. Then I drifted away. The game was fun, but I had RPGs to play and video games. Tons of other stuff really. So I quit for quite a while. I missed all of the Judgment block. Drifted back in for a bit during Mirrodin but didn't stay too long. Other than Akroma, Angel of Wrath, who along with the Avatar, are my all time favorite creatures.
Mirrodin, Kamigawa, Ravnica...I got into and out of Magic so much. I can only imagine how big a collection I would have today if I had stayed in it. Ok, so where were we? Oh yes......

Modern Age

I guess it was Zendikar when I finally started getting back into it. But this time was a little different. I had a really good friend in my old state I lived ( I had moved since then), that would play with me online. Things were going pretty good. But he made a decision that changed my Magic life. He decided to go pro. I played him game after game online (thank you Skype!) but I lost time after time. So one day I decided to average out the prices of our decks we both used. My ran $50 - $100. His ran consistently over $350! I slowly processed this information. Could it be that Magic has a fatal flaw? That a fat wallet is more important than a fat brain when you play? No couldn't be. After all I have seen some people with some pretty pricey decks that didn't know how to play them. And they are beat pretty easy. But still is it a game of money?

Frankly, yes. No matter how much people argue about Magic, there will be 2 classes of players. The casual and the pro. The pro spends money like water and will always beat the casual player because he doesn't. And that's why I quit Magic. As much as I love the game, if you are in either camp and don't have anyone to play with in the same camp, you're done. You just can't compete. This sucks beyond anything. But these are the cold hard facts. MTG was amazing at one time. But has now gravitated into this giant beast. A money gobbling giant beast which I feel will consume itself. Because while more and more people seem to be trying MTG out, how long till they realize it is one of the most expensive games to play. Most expensive EVER! That's where the game is headed.

So let's have a moment of silence for the best TCG of all time. Now dying a slow death on it's own megalomaniac greed. So long MTG. Thanks for being so fun for so many years. I'll burn a pyre in your honor.....