(For the period of 01/08/09 – 01/21/09)
The fortnight has long since passed, and the results are in. Once again, a shout out to all participants of CotF: MotSS. Many of the challengers soaked in the challenge information like a sponge, realizing that one way of taking advantage of a spent Monk of the Single Strike was to utilize Darkness Mirror / Aegis to move the monk’s 0 AT and 4 AGI to an opponent’s Unit, effectively neutering most Units. One would also have the option of moving over something big and speedy over to the monk as well. Unfortunately, for the most part, many of those challengers did not note that Aegis and the MotSS both have 4 AGI, making it a coin toss as to who would go first. And to use this combo, it’s generally best for Aegis to go first every single time so that an Ultimate Striked–out MotSS doesn’t have to just sit on the field and be a meat shield. I’m a fan of playing the odds every now and then, but having some way of manipulating the odds in your favor wouldn’t have been a bad idea.
There were other ambitious Iczers who decided to include Red Phoenix – South / Snaf in their File, either to flip a spent monk’s darkness-mirrored 0 AT on an enemy Unit to give them a nonexistent Max HP, or to flip an Enchanter-ed monk’s Max HP and AT values to get an instant bump to 50 AT. Alas, agility was also problematic in those files as the MotSS, Enchanters, and Snaf all have 4 AGI, making it a crapshoot in terms of pulling off this crazy combo. Yet other Iczers attempted to use the MotSS as fuel for Fire Sorceress / Addition, which was also an excellent idea in concept if not execution. Some Files were also chosen over others due to basic problems with the opening game, namely the SP didn’t add up. While innovation does trump effectiveness in the Challenge of the Fortnight, this is an event that focuses on basic and advanced strategy. Make sure your numbers add up please, both in terms of the opening-game SP and in terms of the number of cards in your File (a lot of submissions only listed 29 cards).
In the end, only one Iczer clawed a path to victory after faithfully participating in every challenge since the first. Our grand champion for this fortnight is:
File Name: None
- Mage Paladin / Distrier
- Judge of Heretics / Bardia
- Novice Assassin
- Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
- Witch Queen / Catherina
- 3 Dagon
- 3 Darkness Mirror / Aegis
- 3 Magic Doll -Support-
- 1 Proxy of Soul / Animus
- 2 Dryad
- 3 Monk of the Single Strike
- 3 Gladiator 3 Der Freischütz
- 3 God Lance / Estoma
According to our new two-week champion, this File uses minimal Grimoire Cards to avoid the somewhat widespread use of Lycanthrope [Dagon] and his Body of the Deep Action Skill. The opening game consists of skipping the first turn followed by Animus, Gladiator, Aegis, and Dagon. Aegis is to be used to give Animus’s 0 AT and 3 AGI to an opponent Unit, hopefully making your Gladiator last a few turns longer. Once Animus is closed, the Distrier Soul Skill triggers, hitting an enemy unit for 40 damage and giving you +1 SP. Cleanup is made up of Magic Doll -Support- and the Monk of the Single Strike, using the MotSS’s Ultimate Strike when necessary. Your trump card in this File is God Lance / Estoma, who will have 100 AT when placed beside the Magic Doll -Support- and unleashing the “true spear.” Sure, you can attack with that monstrous AT and even use his column attack if need be. But you can also copy his AT and AGI over to the MotSS, and suddenly you have two uber-monks on the field (even if one is technically a martial artist and the other is a warrior)! Even if you don’t have the time for any serious spear unleashing, 50 damage is a good number for taking down a lot of the game’s tanks. The strategy obviously worked for darklogos, as he qualifies for the bonus prize with his five victories.
CRITIQUE I’m sure some Iczers might find a few holes in this File, but no File is perfectly protected from every single possibility. It appears to be a solid File, and if you’re going to give the MotSS a renewable source of AT, you may as well go whole hog. There are only three small issues to my mind. First, the Monk of the Single Strike does not appear to be the star here, and one could argue that this is an Estoma File or Aegis File, not a MotSS File. Secondly, it goes against one of the tenets discussed in earlier strategy articles, AT efficiency. There’s a lot of extra AT in there, and the MotSS is first and foremost a Unit that operates on that principle. After all, there’s no need to use Ultimate Strike unless you absolutely need the additional AT to take down a Unit. But having 100 AT will also mean that you’ll be saving an SP a turn too, so that’s a plus to having such an excess of AT in this particular case, especially since it’s basically free. But lastly and most importantly, this File does not adjust for the AGI issue.
It’s always going to be a coin toss as to whether Aegis will go first, and he may need to in some cases. If Aegis goes second, you do have the option of copying the monk’s 0 AT to an enemy Unit, but that means a lost opportunity to attack with it as well. Also, if he gives Estoma’s AT and AGI to the Monk of the Single Strike, then at that 3 AGI, the MotSS might not be able to knock out an opposing Unit before getting done in himself. There’s always a window of opportunity for your opponent in the agility tossup, even if the monk retains his 4 AGI. In addition, there’s the problematic Novice Assassin’s Soul Skill, Adequate Compensation, which gives a friendly Lawtia Unit +10 AT and all friendly Gowen Units +20 AT and +1 AGI. The goal of this File’s midgame is to have at the very least, MotSS, Aegis, and Estoma on the field at the same time. Giving Aegis +10 AT makes sense since he can then attack in addition to automatically mirroring the stats of two Units. Giving the Monk of the Single Strike and God Lance / Estoma +20 AT and +1 AGI, however, means they’ll probably mop the floor with your opponent’s Units, but it’ll also mean that the MotSS will always go before Aegis, so you won’t be able to give him Estoma’s attack after that.
So what does CSquared see when he looks at the Monk of the Single Strike? Well, my fellow Iczers, I see untapped potential in butt-kicking. My own tests confirmed that the MotSS was indeed effective since he allowed for precision and versatility in a sphere that is all about wild power and unitasking. Practice matches turned up some very interesting results. The Monk of the Single Strike was able to singlehandedly bring down some very big Units with very little effort. With a measy +10 AT buff, this skillful martial artist can KO common frontline tanks such as Guard Leader / Renally, Folrart Guardian, and Devouring Lizard. Receiving this attack bonus can come in many different ways, but the most effective way seems to be from Grimoire Cards such as Charge or Magic Weapon. Heck, I’ve even used Panther Soul on him when I needed to go first no matter what, and Ignition is definitely not off limits to me either.
At this point, I know that many Iczers are going to argue to that Samurai Girl is a better Unit because she has the same exact stats as the Monk of the Single Strike, has a Slash attack for 2 SP right out of the box, and ranks up for +10 AT and +1 RNG at a Gowen sphere level of 5. I should have brought this up when the event started, but those Iczers might want to check out a slice of the big picture. These two oriental-style Units basically serve the same function if you attack normally with them, but their Action Skills serve two radically different purposes. The Samurai Girl is all about spreading out a decent amount of pain to several units in one row. The monk is all about big damage when you need to deal with a large Unit on the field. One is not better than the other, though with both Units on the field, your field positioning is looking pretty darn good. But Aegis + the MotSS = Crazy Delicious.
Also, as predicted, having 40 HP really was no different than having 50 HP, and the monk lasted longer than most would think. To solve the Aegis AGI issue, I’d add Cemetery Rats into the equation. Aegis is after all, a level 2 Unit, and he would get +20 AT and +2 AGI, ensuring that he goes first, giving the boosted stats of another level 2 card to the MotSS, perhaps a Highland Born Hunter. Another plus is that since Aegis’s Image Reflection is an Auto Skill, he can attack for 30 as well. On top of which, the reflected stats will probably mean that the MotSS now has higher than 4 AGI, closing that small window of opportunity for your rival Iczer. It’s win-win. Heck, why not throw in an Armed Citizens for the ultimate in AT control for the MotSS? That’s a tri-colored File, but it’s really only 3 in Gowen, 2 in Lawtia, and 1 in Refess, which is hardly impossible to do. Stock up on Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel Soul Skills and you’ll be sitting pretty on a Gowen/Lawtia/Refess Rush File. How’s that for a crazy idea? Such a file will be naturally fragile, particularly against mass damage effects such as Ball of Flame and the Salamander Soul Skill, or against mass return effects such as Water Emperor / Legrye’s Auto Skill and the Cyclone Grimoire Card. And speaking of such effects…
ADVANCED STRATEGY: Card Level Matters
As discussed in the initial challenge post, card level is not something that is talked about much. We were in the city throwing out ideas during Arakis’s last visit about how to deal with a certain File back in the day, and my suggestion was a File made up of primarily level 3 Units. Level 2 cards are more efficient, making it easy to keep the pressure on, but one mass damage or mass return card will ruin your day and cost you the game very quickly. A level 3 card on the other hand is immune to Cyclone, Witch and Legrye’s Auto Skill, as well as having enough HP to survive mass damage effects, which generally do 20 – 30 damage, such as The Magician / Primrose’s Action Skill.
It’s not very often where Logress’s Card of the Week coincides in color and relevance with a Challege of the Fortnight, but there must be a solar eclipse above us today because this wandering mage makes absolute sense for level 3 rush. Not only does she raise our MotSS and his third level buddies to level 5 as an Open Skill, she also comes on the field to rain down additional fire on enemy Units. And level 5 is a wonderful place to be. After all, level 5 cards are impervious to all the level-based return effects, from Witch to Expert Sorcerer to even the formerly big, bad Water Emperor / Legrye. Why not use level 1 or level 2 Units with Primrose? Well, because they’ll still be vulnerable to the Expert Sorcerer and the dreaded Burning Sun. The Monk of the Single Strike and his now-level-5 companions-in-arms will be enjoying the heat without sizzling while laughing at that old fogey of a sorcerer.
Are there downsides? Sure. For one thing, level 5 cards are vulnerable to the Legendary Unicorn’s Soul Skill, which damages all level 5 and above Units for 100 damage. Fortunately, with the arenas filled with low-level rush or swarm Files, this is not much of a problem. The other downside is that Instant Revival will not work on these leveled-up cards. But again, this is not much of a problem considering you can just revive your cards the normal way. If you’re out of copies, simply move on to the next level 3 Unit you have instead. Most would argue that level 4 is a happier place to be, but as the game is right now, level 5 will actually keep your Units more protected from level-based card effects. Just another something to think about courtesy of the Challenge of the Fortnight.