Saturday , 20 January 2018
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Tag Archives: The Bracket

The Bracket: Some Drafting Errors

Okay, so the world of competitive SolForge is starting to get rumbling again, so this column will start to get moving again as well.  The First Forge Watch Invitational was a huge success, so after some lengthy discussions amongst ourselves, some consultations with SBE, and some lengthy nap times, we’ve decided to do it again!   Details about the invitational can be found here; here details about the tournament series, which will earn you invites to the invitational.  The first qualifying tournament is February 15; sign-ups will start next week, but it’s never too early to start thinking about your decks!

Also, last week saw the first major Unheroic Tournament since the patch.  Congratulations to SilverTail on an impressive victory.  From a metagame perspective, Tarsus Deathweaver decks were clearly dominant.  Only time will tell if another deck will arise to defeat it, or if Tarsus is simply master of the unheroic format in the current card pool.

Okay, enough with the Spring Cleaning, let’s talk about draft.  I’ve been playing a lot of draft, and I’ve noticed my opponents making the same three mistakes over and over again.  So, in case any of you happen to be reading this column,  I thought I might try to offer some constructive criticism.  I’ll call those three mistakes:

  • Too Much of a Good Thing
  • Stallin’ for Nothin’
  • Limpin’ Outta the Gate

Read More »

Analysis of the Forgewatch Invitational Top 8

On Saturday, January 18, we crown the champion of the first ever Forgewatch Invitational.

We have eight players remaining.  Bludex and Darksoul are both playing variants of Grimgaunt Removal decks, although they are splashing different factions so their decks play very differently.  Holyllama, Table1, and TinyGrimes are all playing similar A/U Robots/Thundersaur/Patriarch decks, although again with important variations, while PEsh021 has seemingly adapted a similar list for usage without the Robot synergies.  Xtof is playing a variant of a U/N Patriarch/Deathweaver/Swarm deck that has become very popular lately.  And Whytefyre?  Just keep reading.

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The Best (and Worst) of SolForge

I like lists, and I realized that I haven’t yet done any in this column yet.  So clearly it was time to put that to rights.  Below, in addition to the standard run-down of recent SolForge tournaments, you’ll find a series of Top 3 lists: Cards to Nerf, Cards to Buff, Cards to Watch, Cards to Draft, and Cards to Play Once The Metagame Evolves.  I fully expect people to disagree with me on these things; after all, what’s the fun of a Top 3 list if you don’t say some provocative things? Read More »

Bracket #20: Reassessing Thicket

First things first: the metagame is pretty stagnant.  I’ll get to the tournament results from the past two weekends below (sorry, I got busy last week and didn’t get them published).  But by now you pretty much know the routine: Lots of Shapers; Grimgaunt Predator; Everflame Phoenix; Zimus, the Undying; and Unheroic Robots.  The one exception is that Decurion has had great success lately (winning last week’s Forgewatch Standard Constructed event, and finishing 8th in the Reddit event) with a mono-Alloyin deck built around Steelforged Avatar, Card Drawing, and Creature Buffs.  Good job, Decurion, in finding a creative way to defeat the standard Shaper-Spell deck we’ve come to know and dislike.

So instead of focusing on what the largely depressing state of the current metagame, I’m going to use today’s rant to discuss a card that I feel is highly under-appreciated, especially in any Limited Rarity format (e.g. Unheroic, Draft, etc.): Cadaverous Thicket.

Thicket appeared in zero decks in the last Unheroic tournament (on 9/13), and appeared in only two of the 256 decks in last Tuesday’s Reddit event.  Raidrinn, one of my fellow Forgewatch columnists, gave the card a zero–that is “Unplayable”–in his recent Uterra Core Set Review.  Clearly the community does not look highly upon Thicket.

But frankly, I think the community is wrong on this one.  (Sorry, Raidrinn.)  In particular, Thicket has two qualities that I value in any card: Read More »

Bracket #19: In Which I Attempt to Shake-Up the Metagame

I’m tired of writing up column after column describing the latest Shaper-dominated decks in SolForge Tournaments.  Until this past weekend, it seemed that the metagame was slowly evolving away from them… unfortunately, from that perspective, we just took a large step backwards.  (More on that later.)

So with that in mind, let’s talk about how to beat Shaper decks.  Hopefully, that might inspire some of you to play something else in the next few tournaments.

Read More »

Bracket #18: Success Isn’t Necessarily Legendary

A common mistake for new players is to assume that success in SolForge tournaments is a solely a function of  who has the most powerful and hard to acquire cards.  I certainly understand how it can feel that way, especially after you’ve been run over in consecutive games by Grimgaunt Devourer, Zimus the Undying, and Lyria, Muse of Varna.

I won’t deny that powerful cards can lead to success.  Surely they can.  But it is very easy to overstate their importance.  In particular, the strongest cards in the world won’t win you any games if you don’t understand their synergies and weaknesses.  Just as one example, there was one player in last weekend’s constructed tournament whose deck contained 18 Legendaries… and yet finished with a losing record.  Meanwhile, Regalian3’s sixth place deck contained only 3 Legendaries–and the core of the deck was largely made up of Rares and Commons.

It isn’t enough to have more Legendaries or Heroics than your opponent.  It is much more important to have a complete grasp of the ones you do have: when to use them, when not to use them, and which supporting cards to use in tandem with them.  Grimgaunt Devourer, for example, is capable of being an extremely powerful, almost game-breaking card.  That being said, I cannot simply throw Grimgaunt into any deck and expect it to dominate.  A good Grimgaunt deck will contain a variety of ways to either generate extra deaths per action (like Death Seeker, Fellwalker, or Echowisp), and/or will contain a variety of ways to kill creatures before combat (either by sacrificing my own or removing my opponents’).  Good players understand that Grimgaunt is most powerful when you can generate deaths in large bundles while Grimgaunt is on the field; otherwise he’s just a weak chump-blocker. Read More »

The Bracket #16: The First Constructed Event

Last weekend I organized the first Set 1 Constructed deck SolForge tournament.  Seventy-six people played at least one game; an unprecedented number.  And while we had a few server issues that brought the event to a premature close, we did get in enough Swiss rounds to be able to declare a winner, Zrandles, who earned his victory by going undefeated through six rounds.

So clearly the metagame is in its infancy, but we did learn a little bit about how people are approaching deck designs so far.  Among  the submitted decks, the most common theme was that people love their Grimgaunts.  More than half the field played a deck that featured Grimgaunt Devourer, Grimgaunt Predator, and/or Rite of the Grimgaunt. Additionally, Nekrium was by far the most played faction.

These basic trends were visible among our most successful decks as well.  Here’s a breakdown of the decks used by the top eight finishers (in order): (Please note that I’m moving away from the deck archetype system I used previously, as I try to understand the current metagame.) Read More »

Bracket #15: Looking Forward

First, I would like to congratulate The Rope for a resounding success in last weekend’s Sealed Deck SolForge TournamentThe Day 1 champion solidly defeated Badmoonz, the Day 2 champion, in the final match.  Both decks combined Uterra Packmaster and Echowisp with a selection of Tempys and Uterra supporting cards, but in the end The Rope’s Echowisps were just too much for Badmoonz to handle.

Overall, the tournament was a resounding success. Almost 60 people ended up participating.  While both day’s champions played decks that approached the standard Growth deck that was dominant before Set 1 was released, many other players had at least some success with a wide variety of different deck designs.  Stoneblade Entertainment’s Brian Kibler and Justin Gary both stopped by to play some matches, and we gave out $5 store credit door prizes (that SBE generously provided) to several lucky participants.  On behalf of Forgewatch, I would like to thank all of those who participated.

This Friday, Forgewatch, in cooperation with SBE, will be hosting the first Set 1 Constructed Deck Tournament, and we hope to see a large turnout there as well.  Once again, SBE has provided us with $5 store credit door prizes to hand out, and this time forum badges will also be given to the Top 4 participants.  Also, the Top 4 will be eligible to participate in a future Invitational Tournament, which will pit the top players from several different tournaments against each other.

Of course, this week we saw the full release of Set 1, so I thought it would be a good time to go over a few things that you can expect from both me and Forgewatch over the coming months. Read More »

Bracket #14: PC4 Review and Sealed Deck Details

First of all, let me congratulate SkyAnemone for winning last Friday’s SolForge PC Client Tournament 4 (PC4).  The tournament was notable for the lack of Uterran Packmasters in the field; in part because of two late drop-outs (due to unforeseeable technical difficulties), only two of the nine players in the tournament played Packmaster-based Growth decks.  Those decks, played by Guttermuck and Nine, finished third and fourth, respectively.  Sky won with an Alloyin/Tempys deck that used Rageborn Hellion to add power to her Robots.  Re72 finished second, using a Nekrium/Tempys Scorchmane Dragon-centered Stall deck.

It was very nice to see some non-Packmaster decks have some tournament success, proving that even well-built Growth decks can be beaten.

SolForge PC Client Tournament 4

SolForge PC Client Tournament 4

Second, as you may know, this upcoming weekend Forgewatch is hosting a Sealed Deck Event.  There will be a Saturday bracket and a Sunday bracket, with the winners of each playing in a championship game on Monday. (Noetherian and myself are acting as Tournament Organizers for this event.) Given that this is the first Sealed Deck event we’ve run on the PC Client, I thought I would use my column this week as an opportunity to explain some of the finer points of a Sealed Deck event—and our logic behind the decisions that we’ve made as Tournament Organizers. Read More »

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 »

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