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Bracket #13: Testing Packmaster

Before I get started on last week’s Live SolForge Tournaments, I would like to congratulate Pion on his Forum Community Tournament 5 victory.  Pion defeated SeomanReborn in a battle of similar Tempys-Rush decks that both took advantage of Rageborn Hellion’s strength and used Alloyin as a secondary faction.  They were the only two such decks in that tournament; it was a clever and ultimately successful deck design.  In fact, this type of deck is still a reasonably viable deck on the client (although admittedly it is not as good as the dominant Uterran Packmaster Growth deck we are seeing so often—see below for more details on that).  If you haven’t tried to take advantage of the synergy between Rageborn Hellion, Alloyin General, and Ionic Warcharger, I would recommend that you do so.

Now, last week there were two different live tournaments.  The two tournaments had virtually identical structures, with one key difference.  In one, PC Community Tournament 3 (PC3, sponsored by Forgewatch), players were allowed to use any card that they wanted.  In the other, the SolForge Packless Tournament (I’ll call it Packless from now on, organized by Kit), all cards were allowed except for Uterran Packmaster.  This allows for a bit of a test: both tournaments were being played under the same metagame, with the same cards and rule-sets.  How much would the banning of a single card affect the deck composition of the participants and finalists? Read More »

Bracket #12: Live Tourney 2 and Forum Tournament 6 Swiss

PC2: The Rise of Grimgaunt-Growth Hybrids

On Saturday, Forgewatch hosted the second live PC Client SolForge Tournament (PC2 from now on).  There were 16 participants for this event.  Each round was best two games out of three (or first to two wins in case of ties), although the tournament as a whole was a single-elimination format.  No cards were banned, and I served as Tournament Organizer, with some organizational assistance from Racecar0.  I would also like to thank grim2103, who did an insightful live commentary on the streams during the tournament.

kbs666 won the event, playing what was clearly the dominant deck of the day: a Uterra-Nekrium, Grimgaunt-Growth Hybrid deck.  (You can see the full decklists here.) Similar decks were also played by the third and fourth place finishers, SeomanReborn and Kovayaro, respectively.  zrandles finished in second place, using a Tempys and Nekrium removal- and direct-damage heavy Dragon Stall deck; zrandles got particularly good usage out of Firestorm and Flameshaper Savant (and, of course, Scorchmane Dragon). Read More »

Bracket #11: It’s ALIVE! The Tournament Scene is ALIVE!

On Saturday, Forgewatch hosted the first live, public SolForge Tournament ever.  The gods themselves surely took notice!

The Set-Up

Here’s how it worked: games were hosted by one of the players, who would enter the other player’s deck into their own client and then play against an “Offline Friend” while their opponent called out their own moves over Skype.  This system works quite well; if you haven’t played a game like this yet, you can find people willing to accept challenges over on the Steam SolForge Community Group.  Each match was best two games out of three, and a player was not eliminated from the tournament as a whole until they had lost two matches.  Grimgaunt Devourer and Rageborn Hellion were both banned.

Given that Hellion and Grimgaunt were banned, and that the client is using the old versions of Uterran Packmaster (which was relatively weak) and Sonic Pulse (which was relatively strong), I fully expected Stall decks to dominate this tournament.  And apparently I wasn’t alone in that assessment—nine of the thirteen people (70%) who entered this tournament played some kind of Stall deck.  (Full decklists are available here.)  All nine of those decks played Alloyin and included Scrapforge Titan and Synapsis Oracle, eight of them used Technosmith, and seven of them used Sonic Pulse.  As for their second factions, six of them chose Nekrium.  Epidemic was an oft-used card in this tournament, as were Cull the Weak, Grave Pact, Vengeful Spirit, and Scourgeflame Sorcerer.  Meanwhile Nekrium’s best bomb, Corpse Crawler, only appeared in two of those decks.  Clearly Nekrium was preferred because of its creature removal, not because of its creatures. Read More »

Bracket #10: The Unloved Series: Bonescythe Reaver

I don’t really care if I ever win a SolForge tournament.  Oh, sure, winning is better than losing, all else being equal.  But I’d much rather lose with a fun and interesting strategy, than win with the universally recognized dominant deck.  So given that—and given that this is my column and I can do what I want to—I thought I might spend a little time, on occasion, discussing some of the cards that the metagame has forgotten.  After all, there are plenty of cards that, while they might not be the strongest cards in the game, surely deserve more attention than they are currently receiving in the constructed-deck tournament scene.

First up: Bonescythe Reaver. Read More »

Bracket #9: The Tournament 6 Decklists: Bring Out Your Dead

Community Tournament 6, Swiss Round 1 is complete, which means that it’s time for my usual Tournament Field Breakdown article!  (You may now commence the singing and dancing, the trumpets and libations!)  As usual, I’ve posted the full decklists in a publicly available spreadsheet.  (I would also like to thank all of those who sent me there decklists; it helps make this column much easier to write and ensures that the data is as accurate as possible.)

This is the first time in a very long time that we’ve used essentially the same card pool for consecutive tournaments.  This gives us the opportunity to see how the metagame has evolved, by comparing the decks from T6 with those from T5.  (Note that there were a small number changes to the the card pool, and those did have an effect on the metagame, although I’ll save that full discussion for the conclusion.)  So for the rest of the column, I will note in parenthesis besides each number what the corresponding data was from previous tournament*.  (In other words, if there are 23 Nekrium players in T6 and were 18 in T5, you might see an entry that looks like Nekrium: 23 (18).) Read More »

The Bracket #8: Identifying Archetypes

I’m back!  I took a bit of a hiatus–in part because there hadn’t been a lot happening lately in the competitive SolForge scene, and in part because I did some travelling.

So, for all of you who haven’t been reading the forums religiously, here’s an overview of the major tournaments and events:

For those of you who are expecting my Community Tournament 6 Deck Construction write-up, I can assure you that it will be coming soon.  I’m in the process of gathering the necessary data, although I probably won’t have it published until Swiss Round 2 begins.  Also, I’d like to thank all of those who have sent me your decks; it certainly makes the process a lot easier.  (And if you are reading this and haven’t sent me your deck, allow me this overly melodramatic request:  please, help a struggling author avoid the kind of tragic data-mining errors that plague our nation and rot our society from within!)

For now, I’d like to lay some groundwork for my T6 Deck article.  One of the most difficult problems when analyzing the metagame is that I need to get in the head of the players.  For instance, mono-Alloyin decks have two primary paths to victory: Read More »

Bracket #7: Tournament 5 Swiss Wrap-Up

The Swiss Rounds for SolForge Community Tournament 5 are finally over.  First off, let me congratulate the Top 8 Finalists, in particular, SeomanReborn who went undefeated using a Rageborn Hellion deck with Alloyin as his secondary faction.  (For an explanation of the different deck types, see Bracket#3: Breaking Down the Tournament 5 Field.)  As for the other finalists:

  • Cerebral Paladin (4-1): Robot deck; Nine Alloyin cards, plus Cull the Week
  • JDLaT211 (4-1): Hellion deck; Ten Tempys cards, plus Cull the Week
  • Noetherian (4-1): Grimgaunt deck; Even Tempys/Nekrium distribution
  • Thechynd (4-1): Grimgaunt deck; Tempys-heavy, with a few Nekrium cards
  • Tristan (4-1): Dragon deck; Alloyin-heavy, with a few Tempys cards
  • SkyAnemone (3-2): Grimgaunt deck; Nekrium-heavy with a few Uterra cards
  • Dragon (3-2): Grimgaunt deck: Nekrium-heavy with a few Tempys cards

More broadly, of the 15 people who finished with winning records in the Swiss Rounds, here is the deck-distribution:

  • Two Dragon Decks, both playing the Alloyin-Tempys variant
  • Four Grimgaunt decks; three playing Tempys, and one playing Uterra
  • Six Hellion decks; two playing Alloyin, one playing Uterra, and three playing the “pure” variant (i.e. Tempys only or Tempys plus Cull)
  • Three Robot decks, all playing the “pure” variant (i.e. Alloyin-only, or Alloyin plus Cull) Read More »

The Bracket #6: The Future of SolForge Organized Play

In the land of SolForge Forum games, there are basically five ongoing or recurring organized play events: The Community Tournaments (organized by Racecar0), King of the Hill (or KotH, organized by SkyAnemone), Limited Events (organized by Cerebral Paladin), Ranked Play (organized by grim2103), and the Alternate League (organized by EldrosKandar).  Ranked Play and KotH both seem stable for now.  Ranked Play matches will likely continue in this form as long as forum games are on-going; eventually, hopefully, Stoneblade Entertainment (SBE) will implement some kind of ranked system and take over ladder management.  As for KotH, again I expect this event to continue in basically its current form for as long as there are forum games; once we have a client with online multiplayer, Sky (or someone else) will likely start up a new KotH list, if there is sufficient interest.

The future of the other three events, however, is not quite as clear.  So, I asked the creators of each of these three events what they had in mind, both in the short-term and in the long-term. Read More »

The Bracket #5: Early Lessons From Tournament 5

Through three rounds of SolForge Community Tournament 5 there have been 43 games completed*–and I figured that was a big enough sample size to take a first look at the data to see what kinds of patterns were beginning to emerge. (You can find my original breakdown of the Tournament 5 field in Bracket #3)

So first, let’s start with those who are doing well.  Currently there are four undefeated players: Read More »

The Bracket #4: The Tournament 4 Finale (and some other items of interest)

In The Bracket this week, I thought I would run through some of the top SolForge tournaments and other organized events that have been going on in the forums over the last couple weeks. Read More »

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