1* Tournament Results

The results are in for the One Star Rarity Community tournament!  
 
Our Iczers:
luckysvn777
artist
ddrgn
ayman
cheongzewei
peralisc2
black13
genj1   
nofish
thejarrod
alteilguru
mghost
eviltomato
cheezy
hat
haunt
nyrian
torvaun
visfarix
varya
shinmaster
conanaras
 
 
Winner: Artist
 
Second:  Peralisc2 and Nyrian
 
Runners up:  luckysvn777, mghost, eviltomato
 
 
 
Winners card file:
File name: Beginner’s Luck

SS: Girl Mercenary, Girl Mercenary, Girl Mercenary, Invisible Druid, Skeleton Warrior

File:

Exploding Spores X1
Combat Monk X3
Feline Kin Fighter X3
Magma Golem X3
Highland Born Hunter X3
Samurai Girl X3
Mercenary X3
Salamander X2
Fire Arrow X1
Magic Weapon X1
Ball of Flame X1
Petrification X1

 
 
Special thanks to harvest4god for running a great tournament!  Keep an eye on the main page for the next one!
 

Mod Falkow Starter – Tanks, Damage Dealers, and Supporters

Tanks, Damage Dealers, and Supporters Before

There are questions that people would ask when constructing card file. One question to keep in mind is “How many tanks, damage-dealers, and supporters should I add?” It is important to balance them since too many of any one of them can prevent you from performing the best of your ability.

Let’s take a look at the picture of the Falkow file. This file focuses on making your opponent’s units hard to attack and damage your units, while you build up your army on the field for Azure Dragon – East / Vordore to think up a tactic and drastically buff your units. As you can see, this file opens with Witch at turn 1, a popular unit that returns a low level unit back to the Card File, giving you an early field advantage. Rapier Fencer of Regus and Song Sorceress are then used since they are powerful yet inexpensive, while Sea Hunter protects them. Sorcerer Guard and Mermaid Sorceress support by toughening your frontline units and engaging large enemy unit. Rapidly Flying Apprentice also supports, but works best with Vordore’s Auto Skill by moving enemy frontline units to the back and then make those units unable to attack. Sylph is an instant backup mostly for Rapier Fencer and Vordore, and Undine is used to backup Witch or slowdown fast unit like Combat Monk and Chaos Ogre / Dalos. Return is useful in most battles by removing a LV3 threat instantly. As for the Soul Cards, they mainly make enemy units difficult to attack your units by decreasing RNG and engaging units, while they add up to a descent number of 8LP (including 1 base LP).

Despite how interesting these cards are included in this file, there is a problem. First, count how many copies of tanks, damage-dealers, and supporters there are. There are three copies of tanks (Sea Hunter); three copies of damage-dealers (Rapier Fencer); and a whopping number of seventeen copies of supporters (excluding Witch since she is only used as an opening). Because there are extremely few tanks and damage-dealers, there won’t be many options for you to be able to fight back enemy units, despite all the supporters for backup.

Tanks, Damage Dealers, and Supporters After

This problem can be solved by removing some supporters and adding more tanks and damage-dealers. What supporters to remove depend on how less useful they are. In this file, I recommend removing all copies of Sorcerer Guard. Although giving extra DF is useful, she does not play an important role in strategy. Another unit I recommend to remove is Mermaid Sorceress. Her engaging skill is only one-time use and requires a total of 3SP (2SP to set her and an extra SP to use her Open Skill). On top of that, her low HP and AT do not meet the standard of a typical tank or damage-dealer. After removing six copies of supporters, there are many tanks and damage-dealers to add in this file. I personally like Sea Claw and Wizard Archer of Regus. Sea Claw has enough HP and DF for a good tank. As a bonus, it also features Pinpoint Skill, enabling it to attack target unit in range. Wizard Archer, although low in HP, is inexpensive and can deal high damage of 40. Hiding behind tanks with her 2 RNG, she can be powerful with her Pinpoint and Magic Bow Skill, attacking any unit of choice, even when outside of her range.

As a result, there are almost the same number of tanks and damage-dealers as supporters. You can now see how more effective this file is than the previous one!

Many cards in this file are available in Starter file or have rarity of 1*, so making this file do not require very rare cards. Of course, you may want to add few changes if you’re interested in making it. For tanks, Deep Squid is a good replacement for Sea Claw. They both cost the same and have the same amount of HP, but Deep Squid loses DF and gains more AT and powerful skills that can damage multiple units. Sea Wyvern is also a good choice since it has the same HP and AT as Deep Squid, but with extra AGI and an Open Skill that lets you reuse units like Sylph. For damage-dealers, Magic Scythe Soldier can replace Wizard Archer for more HP. Sorcerer Monk of Regus is also a good replacement as she can do tremendous damage with high AGI.

Take note that this article does not only benefit Falkow, but all spheres. A file that has good balance of tanks, damage-dealers, and supporters can always gives you an edge in battle over a file that doesn’t.

–DarthRaider

CotF – Ancient Zombie Lord Results

(For the week of 10/22/09-10/29/09)

Another fortnight has come and gone. Today is the day after the most monumental United States presidential election in recent memory, and it seems a fitting time to announce the winner of the second Alteil challenge. Most of the contestants understood the utility of the Ancient Zombie Lord right away, and there was much discussion as to whether or not we ought to have revealed it on the day of the challenge. To those who have not guessed yet, the Ancient Zombie Lord is a walking SP bank, there to preserve your SP from any who might dare steal it. And you’re able to get a withdrawal of one SP right away, with another four SP coming to you in the next action phase if you decide not to revive the AZL. Just another one of them high-falutin’ expert-level tactics that builds off of the basic one of graduated summons, i.e. going in order of lower to higher level units as you get the SP back from non-revived units. In any case, the winner of this Challenge of the Fortnight is…

 

WINNER

Iczer: Teasel
File Name: None

Soul Cards

  1. Magic Doll -Support-
  2. Magic Doll -Support-
  3. High Priest / Abel
  4. High Priest / Abel
  5. Flame Emperor Allind

Unit Cards

  • 2 Ancient Zombie Lord
  • 1 Ruler of Crest / Eskatia
  • 1 Lycantrophe [Fenrir]
  • 3 Chaos Ogre / Dalos
  • 3 Dark Emperor / Zu-jyuva
  • 1 Zombie Lord / Zugateroza
  • 3 Shade
  • 3 Black Dragonrider / Millia

Grimoire Cards

  • 3 Life Conversion
  • 3 Soul Pact
  • 2 Sacrifice

GAME PLAN

Once again, Teasel wins big in the challenge. Someone, take him down in the third one if you can! In this particular case, most of the entries that we received basically abused the SP gain of the AZL in order to power the ever-present Dalos. Some used it for Zugateroza. This File goes even further and focuses the middle and end games on fairly big units that are SP-hungry with their Action Skills. And what we were looking for was something that could showcase the card in question, not just use it as a vehicle towards the path of ultimate domination with already-powerful cards. How is this File any different? One only has to look at the Soul Skills.

At first glance, it’s your standard big monster File that uses the first two soul cards to ramp up the sphere level to where it ought to be. But that’s where things start to diverge. Using a standard low-level opening composed of a Fenrir and Eskatia followed by Soul Pacts, it’s now time to bring down the dreaded Ancient Zombie Lord on your opponent. Will it die, easily? Sure. But it won’t be going alone. Because the Shades you’re throwing down to contain your opponents SP will probably die first. Whenever a Shade dies, it’ll happen before AZL gets his turn, because he’s really slow. Then, on AZL’s turn you just use his Sacrifice power to kill him and don’t revive either of them. Next turn the Shade is removed from the field first, because it dies first. This triggers Abel’s Soul Skill and revives the AZL, and also gives you +2 SP. Bam! You’ve suddenly got a net gain of three SP, one courtesy of your AZL, and the other two courtesy of your Abel Soul Skill. On top of it, since AZL is tanking, killing and reviving him has got him back up to full HP. Then rinse and repeat another time if you so choose. You don’t even have to do shades if you don’t want to, because you can just wait until you run out of copies of another unit and do the same thing. You don’t even have to worry about the Ancient Zombie Lord dying too early, because you can always revive it for free! If this strategy is working out, you can even add a third Abel into the Soul Cards, or try other variants, like 1 or 3 AZL’s. You might even want to combo him with one of the other Soul Cards that does a Revival and then one other action if the Revival occurs.

In general we’re excited about the basic combo. AZL’s close skill plus his ability to die on command plus Abel’s Soul Skill yields very high SP. Then just add in the various Lawtia units that convert SP into rampant destruction, or rampant regeneration, and you have an extremely powerful Card File.

The last soul card is actually a bit deceiving as well. With Allind having three life points, you would assume that the Soul Skill is quite negative. And indeed, having all your closed units removed from the game could be quite damaging. But luckily you have all the SP you need to revive the units you still have copies of. And if you should get unlucky and get field wiped, the Allind will stop you from losing that last precious LP by removing your closed units from the field. Of course, there’s always a risk of being overrun and having the Allind go off when the enemy takes a swipe at your LP, but Zugateroza plus lots of SP makes that unlikely. A nice little last-ditch effort that may win you the endgame. There’s also a trick to the Zu-jyuva, but that’s a story for another time.

There’s one other strategy that deserves a mention, and that is a combo with Ancient Zombie Lord and semi-endless night. AZL tanks in row two with your 1 RNG Lycanthropes at his side and your 3 RNG Lycanthropes behind him as you bring out your succubae and such, but when you absolutely need to trigger your Magic Doll –Melee-‘s soul skill, just have him kill himself. If you can’t do night one turn, just have him move forward into the first row to tank full time. Now, let’s start looking ahead… ahead to the next challenge!

CotF – Rapidshot Magic Archer & Ignititon Results

(For the period of 09/16/09-09/23/09)

We’ve finally gone through all the entries and are now ready to announce the winners of our challenge. There was a little bit of misunderstanding in the beginning regarding whether the challenge required the use of the two challenge cards together or apart, but after that was cleared up, we received quite a number of fantastic Files. Granted, most were Ignition Files, but everyone was able to see the utility of the challenge cards in the end, so all was good. Now, without further ado…

 

Rapidshot Magic Archer

WINNER

Iczer: Teasel
File Name: None

Soul Cards

  1. Sage Owl
  2. Judge of Heretics / Bardia
  3. Sylph Soldier
  4. Lapierre
  5. Lapierre


Unit Cards

  • 3 Rapidshot Magic Archer
  • 3 Folrart Shield Knight
  • 3 Wind Sorceress / Femiel
  • 2 Enchanter
  • 3 Folrart Paladin
  • 3 Ruby Carbuncle
  • 3 Deep Squid
  • 2 Wizard Soldier Apprentice
  • 1 Will’o the Wisp

Grimoire Cards

  • 2 Recovery Powder

GAME PLAN

This File essentially plays like a Falkow swarming File in the end. Where it diverges is having ways to offset the Rapidshot Magic Archer’s weaknesses, but at the same time strengthen the other units on the field. The only true support units in the File are the Enchanter and the Will’o the Wisp. So because all other units are capable of both buffing and attacking, the File won’t crumble if any one unit is taken down. In our testing, this particular File was able to stand toe to toe with many other Files out there.

Once the Rapidshot Magic Archer is out, the boosts from Femiel, the Enchanter, the Wizard Solider Apprentice, and hopefully the Soul Skill will ensure that the archer goes first, hits hard, and be able to take a hit or two. 30 and 60 damage really are the magic numbers for efficiently putting down Units, and she can do both. Using her action skill is completely optional depending on field conditions. You may use her to take down a front-line unit, or if there are more units in the back with low hp, rain your magic arrows on your foe’s ranged and support units. Either way, the option is there, and this File is definitely about options. Without the archer, the units on the field are good, but she adds just the right elements to make things tough for your opponents.

What it comes right down to is the fact that the Rapidshot Magic Archer is a threat on the field. A pretty major threat because she can hit any enemy unit if not dealt with right away. And with her obvious place in your back row, your rival Iczer is forced to expend limited resources in order to contain her, drawing fire away from your pretty effective first and second rows. And even if they do manage to get to her, you have the option of moving the Enchanter’s attack or range bonus to something else, like the Wizard Solider Apprentice right next to her. She’s the classic example of having an open-ended field position, as well as the higher-level tactic of misdirection, both important things for evolving Iczers.

 

Ignition

WINNER

Iczer: Gota
File Name: None

Soul Cards
1) Dryad Soldier
2) Azure Beastmaster
3) Sun and Birth / Weissvogel
4) Fire and Gaia / Rougeerst
5) The Solar Eclipse / Alphonce

Unit Cards
2 Dryad
2 Wise Swordsman / Steel
3 Blitz Soldier
3 Bellydancer / Kurina
1 EX: The Red Mantle / DeFau
3 Roaming Predator / Asuet
1 Exploding Spores
1 Salamander
3 Highland-born Hunter
3 Combat Monk

Grimoire Cards
2x Ignition
1x Rapid Growth

We received many Ignition Files, but this one stood out the most. It may not be the most effective file out there during testing, but the concept of placing an Ignition on Wise Swordsman / Steel was just too irresistible to ignore. While most other Files focused on placing the Ignition on big units and attacking with them to achieve field dominance, this one was more elegant and gives Gowen what it needs most, versatility. Also, giving a huge AT score to something that’s already big and mean doesn’t serve much help if that unit can already take down most units in one shot without Ignition.

The setup was surprisingly easy to achieve, though maintaining your field position proved to be more difficult. Steel’s ability is a Start Skill that adds his AT to a warrior of his choice, a great open-ended tactic that can make your Blitz Soldier, Roaming Predator / Asuet, or Highland-born Hunter a force to be reckoned with. The main weakness of the File was in terms of agility, and it was hard to get up to speed against the faster Files out there. Still, the concept is there, and more combinations exist to offset that agility disadvantage. One only needs to look towards Falkow for some excellent solutions, both in terms of agility manipulation as well as some warriors who are fleet of foot.

In the end, Ignition is an often-overlooked card with some fantastic potential. The point of this particular challenge was an exercise in the timing of phases. The way skills trigger is in the order of Open Skill, Soul Skill, Start Skill. So by using this to your advantage, it’s possible to Ignition your Steel, have him fully healed by your Weissvogel or Rougeerst Soul Skills, and then ready to give his bonus to a warrior of your choice. It’s a pretty unpredictable move to make, and you still have leeway of one turn to get your Steel out of death-by-Salamander range, whether it’s by having a way to heal them, standing by, or even a healing/HP gain spell the following turn. Open skills resolve at the same time, so even if your opponent uses a damage Grimoire or Open Skill, the healing effect happens at the same time, saving your unit. Something to keep in mind.

Honorable Mention
Ignition

Iczer: KitsuneKit
File Name: Snakes on a Flame MKII

Soul Cards
1) Lycanthrope [Serpah]
2) Solar Prince / Verlaat
3) Solar Prince / Verlaat
4) Fire and Gaia / Rougeerest
5) Fire and Gaia / Rougeerest

Unit Cards
1 EX: The Red Mantle / DeFau
3 Coatl
2 Priestess of the Holy Weapon
3 Salamander
2 Salamander Soldier
3 Exploding Spores

Grimoire Cards

3 Blessing
3 Burning Sun
2 Recovery Powder
1 Ignition
2 Cure

Not only does this File have an interesting name, it also was the only one to follow the not-so-subtle implication that Refess would benefit most from Ignition. After all, with high HP and low AT, you can’t deny that Ignition is filling a need. An Ignitioned Coatl is a monster on the field that will take down most units in one shot, and will probably get multiple attacks for round thanks to its Counter ability. It’s actually a fairly obvious choice due to its high HP. The hope was some Iczers would uncover the overwhelming power of an Ignitioned Phoenix, a regenerating monster of a unit that can kill all but one dragon in a single blow. The fact that it has regeneration can means you don’t necessarily need to time it with a healing soul skill right off the bat. Not to mention the sheer joy of setting your fiery Phoenix ablaze.

CotF – Swan Cavalier Results

(For the week of 11/07/09-11/14/09)

Another fortnight has come and gone. Who would have guessed that two weeks could fly by so quickly, almost as swift as the Swan Cavalier, our featured card, appears to be. Many Iczers saw the true value of this versatile hidden gem, but not everyone was able to harness her power as effectively as it could have been used. Some mistook her Combat Support Lv2 as an Auto Skill. Alas, it is even better than that since it is a Start Skill. Once you’re beyond the Open Skill and Soul Skill phases, no amount of agility will prevent her from buffing her neighbors. Also, the rules of her Open Skill, Spell: “Lightning Strike” were sometimes misinterpreted. Unfortunately, she hits all units on the field, including your own, so please keep this in mind when wielding the might of her lightning.

In the end, the one who was able to capture our attentions was an old pro from the Folrart Arena. A brief glance at the file would have most of us wondering if it were underpowered. However, upon closer inspection, the hidden strength would be revealed in this fortnight’s champion:

Iczer: Mavel
File Name: None

Soul Cards

  1. Dragonrider / Wasseir
  2. Roaming Predator / Asuet
  3. Salamander Soldier
  4. Solar Prince / Verlaat
  5. Saber Saint / Lapierre

Unit Cards

  • 3 Aqua Sorcere / Mystere
  • 3 Undine
  • 3 Swan Cavalier
  • 2 Witch Queen / Catherina
  • 2 Black Cat / Fellana
  • 3 Sea Hunter
  • 3 Deep Squid
  • 3 Wizard Archer of Regus
  • 3 Shade

Grimoire Cards

  • None

 

GAME PLAN

Many of you are probably thinking to yourselves right now, “This deck is nothing special.” Well the units in it may not be the most powerful in the game, nor are the soul cards, while rare, as effective as others. However, all the cards together seem to have a remarkable synergy. Ask any of Mavel’s 30-plus opponents how the File is and you will probably be showered by details of its horrors. Still have doubts? Listen on.

Obviously, with Fellana in the File, one cannot expect to have Grimoire Cards stay around for long, so they are not to be found in this File. The opening is very basically Catherina in the rear, Sea Hunter in the front, and Fellana and Swan Cavalier in the middle. This allows a solid front row tank with some decent hitters behind him. Fellana’s Grimoire Bane will protect your second row against any Grimoire Cards while also raining fairly decent damage on your opponent, thanks to Swan Cavalier’s power up. Mystere will be able to return anything that might be a threat, with the help of Undine. And should creature come up that you can’t possibly handle, a second Swan Cavalier’s Lightning Strike will clear your field, allowing you to setup your Salamander Soldier Soul Skill and send your opponent’s monster to the Cemetary in the middle game. This file is distinctly versatile in what it can do, allowing it to take on a lot of different situations.

One of its other key advantages is the fact that it gets around Fellana’s anti-Grimoire effect by having Swan Cavalier as a Grimoire replacement. After all, Grimoire Cards are basically Unit Cards with no statistics that go out of play as soon as their Open Skills trigger. Something to keep in mind when crafting a File around Fellana. Since field clearing effects are especially useful against Assassin Soul Skill Swarm decks that are not uncommon right now, the Cavalier can be a lifesaver. Area of effect Soul Cards can also used so you can unleash field clearing damage with Swan Cavalier, then don’t revive one of your smaller units who was killed by it, and use it to set off a second wave of damage with your soul card on the next turn. Swan Cavailer also is a big help to Wizard Archer of Regus, bringing her up to the magic number of 50 damage that will let her one shot the tank of her choice.

As you can see, the Swan Cavalier has great synergy with the rest of the deck. Does this really constitute a super combo? Not sure, but with 34 consecutive wins I’m inclined to run away in fear, tossing his prize over my shoulder in an effort to slow him down…

 

Mavel, I salute you for breaking Teasel’s two-fortnight winning streak. We also have an honorable mention that I’d like to share:

 

Iczer name: Azul
Deck Name: Wings 3rd

Soul Cards

  1. Lycanthrope [Seraph]
  2. Lycanthrope [Seraph]
  3. Kesaran Pesaran
  4. Judge of Heretics / Bardia
  5. Solar Prince / Verlaat

Unit Cards

  • 2 Owl Sage
  • 2 Undine
  • 1 Fountain Knight / Elneith
  • 3 Griffon
  • 3 Priestess of the Holy Weapon
  • 3 Swan Cavalier
  • 3 Coatl

Grimoire Cards

  • 2 Recovery Powder
  • 3 Meaning of Failure
  • 1 Dispel
  • 1 Return
  • 1 Judgement Hammer

GAME PLAN

This File is an interesting one not only because it is a dual-color File, but because it uses the fact that Swan Cavalier damages your side of the field to its advantage. If you have any of Refess Units on the field with Counterskills, then you can count on them being activated for sure. On top of that, if it’s a Coatl, then it’s just piling even more damage on to your poor rival Iczer. There’s only one wild card in the train of thought however, and once again, it comes down to the advanced rules. When Counterskills activate, they always do so in a phase of damage resolution. So as soon as the Swan Cavalier’s lightning hits all the units, they don’t close immediately. Instead, the Counterskill’s effect happens, and the Coatl will smack a unit, reduce its agility and increase its defense. All before the units close. So you can conceivably smack a unit that’s already dead, thereby wasting some of the usefulness. Another something to think about.

CotF – Armed Citizens Results

Judgment is finished, and the verdict is in. Whose File reigns supreme?

Before we state who the winner is though, we’d like to give a shout out to all the participants in the challenge. This was the toughest of all challenges yet, and you should feel proud to have attempted it. Many Files did as suggested when the Challenge of the Fortnight was first announced, splashing an insignificant amount of SP into Refess for great gains. Many even took a cue from the initial generality that one of the new EX cards might work well with Armed Citizens, and their eyes zeroed in on Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel. His Soul Skill was particularly useful, and the speedy Armed Citizens could take advantage of the +50 AT, in addition to surviving the round because of the +50 DF. Alas, some of those Iczers may have seen the forest but missed a very cool tree. More on that later. The winner of this fortnight’s challenge is:

Iczer: Aylwong
Deck Name: ShiningShard

Soul Cards

  1. Owl Sage
  2. Lion Baron / Zagar
  3. Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
  4. Lightning Girl / Rubia
  5. Inquisition Raid Leader

Unit Cards

  • 1 Blessed Acolyte
  • 2 Time Reader / Lavende
  • 2 Cassowary King
  • 3 Priest of the Holy Word
  • 3 Folrart Spiked Shield Knight
  • 3 Armed Citizens
  • 2 Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
  • 3 Sylph Sorceress
  • 3 Sylph
  • 3 Azure Dragon – East / Vordore

Grimoire Cards (Optional)

  • 1 Cure

GAME PLAN

Most people would probably pass this off as a relatively weak File. After all, it is split between Alteil’s two defensive spheres with a breakdown of three in Refess and four in Falkow. Each Unit individually strikes for no more than 25 AT on average, just 5 shy of what’s needed to handle most Units. However, where the File does shine is in the obvious pairing of Vordore and Armed Citizens. The Armed Citizens will guarantee a first strike against virtually any front-row Unit, and with an agility boost courtesy of the many Sylphs in the File, accomplishing the combination is conceivable. But that’s a story for the endgame. What about the opening? Obviously, the Blessed Acolyte will be a throwaway unit that leads to the solid lineup of a Folrart Spiked Shield Knight backed by a Priest of the Holy Word, in addition to activating the first soul card for a small SP boost. A Cassowary King is in the mix to help keep the fragile support units safe. All the while, the Armed Citizens and Sylphs will play a vital role in granting field control, as the extra agility and AT, small amount or otherwise, are what will mean the difference between victory and defeat. With 10 LP as well, any Iczer need not fear of having one or two sacrificial Units on the field.

There are two ways in which this File excels. The first is most obviously its AT manipulation. Between Soul skills that grant attack bonuses, Armed Citizen’s Open Skill, and Priest of the Holy Word’s Start Skill and Action Skill, this File should be able to tailor its AT to whatever suits the situation at hand. Moreover, it displays one of the primary rules of Refess, and indeed all of Alteil: AT efficiency. What does this mean? Basically to use only enough AT as is necessary to get the job done. Having 120 AT doesn’t really mean a whole lot if your opponent’s units have only 30 HP. Rather than expending resources to get that massive AT, it’s smarter to conserve and use only as much as necessary. Granted, with how simple it is to gain AT, it’s very easy to get to ridiculous heights. But in doing so, the focus goes to only one area of the total game, and a match in Alteil is much more complicated than that.

The second way this file excels is in the fact that it has many options open to it. Getting low on Units? Toss out Time Reader / Lavende and use her Action Skill to get some back. Out of Sylphs for Vordore’s Action Skill? Toss out a Sylph Sorceress. Need big damage? You have the option of using the Spiked Shield Knight’s Action Skill when Cudgel’s Soul Skill kicks in. Not to mention using the Priest of the Holy Word to “renew” the FSSK’s DF in the first place. In essence, the bonuses happening can go to any unit and also help significantly. This is another basic tenet of Alteil, one which was discussed a few months ago during our Ignition challenge. Buffing Grimoires are great since they happen immediately and can surprise your opponent, but once the buffed Unit dies, that investment is gone. However, using bonuses from Soul, Start, and Action Skills, while somewhat dependent on the survival of the support Unit, represents a sounder investment as the bonuses can still exist elsewhere even after the target Unit is closed.

As to the earlier reference about seeing the forest before the trees? Yes, Cudgel has a great Soul Skill for Armed Citizens, but what about using Cudgel as a field Unit as our winner did? Some of our veteran Iczers can easily imagine a scenario where their FSSK will be dispatched by a speedier Falkow equivalent, leaving only the young Cudgel on the field. If that were the case, a surprise tactic might be to use an Armed Citizens on Cudgel. Your opponent may not think twice about a piddly 5 to 10 AT being added to Cudgel, but his tiny amount of AT can be multiplied to enough where it can destroy that blue dragon in the second row with a single shot that cannot miss. Just a wild musing, and hopefully those whose Files are like the one described above won’t read this article!

Finally, ShiningShard has some weaknesses, particularly against Return Files and Rush Files, but Aylwong was still able to make his five wins in the arena and therefore qualifies for his bonus gran in addition to the two cards that have already been selected and placed in this winning Iczer’s Library. It also may succumb to bigger creatures if they are played early on, however, against mid-level Files, ShiningShard should be able to hold its own. In any case, the Challenge of the Fortnight is about discovering new combinations and strategies, so all participants would do well to keep that in mind. Innovativeness will always trump ruthless effectiveness when it comes to selecting a winner, especially since new ideas can usually be tweaked to become more useful in practice. Till next time.

CotF – Holy Mother of Blood Results / Velvet Results

(For the period of 12/17/08 – 12/31/08)

It’s that time of the fortnight again when the jury’s walking back in and ready to deliver a final verdict. As always, we’d like to thank all participants in this CotF, and everyone had some interesting ideas. Hopefully, Holy Mother of Blood / Velvet may see more use in the near future, especially since the second EX expansion will be disappearing in, ironically, a fortnight. So be sure to pick up a copy soon if you’re able, and then you too can enjoy her wonderful synergy with cards such as Broken Iron Soldier, Magic Shade Soldier, and Crest Halberd Soldier (a personal favorite), much like our Fortnight Challengers did. In any case, there was one particular card that caught our attention very early on, and one Iczer did take advantage of it. The Iczer’s name was…

 

WINNER

Iczer: Kitsune9
File Name: Twilight of Blood

Souls Cards

  1. Lycanthrope [Seraph]
  2. Magic Doll -Support-
  3. Boy Inqusitor / Cudgel
  4. Boy Inqusitor / Cudgel
  5. Boy Inqusitor / Cudgel

Unit Cards

  • 1 Kesaran Pasaran
  • 1 Will o’ the Wisp
  • 1 Emerald Carbuncle
  • 1 Folrart Shield Knight
  • 3 Healing Priest
  • 3 Light Spearwoman
  • 3 Folrart Guardian
  • 3 Coatl
  • 1 Broken Iron Soldier / XXXX
  • 3 Holy Mother of Blood / Velvet

Grimoire Cards

  • 1 Raise Shield
  • 1 Holy Light
  • 2 Soul Pact
  • 1 Instant Revival

 

GAME PLAY

Why this particular File out of all the others? Well, most Files that were submitted happened to be multi-sphere Files, but they always seemed to pair up the two aggressive spheres, Lawtia and Gowen. While this does make for some nice kick-butt combinations, Gowen already has plenty of great ways to add an AT boost that are not quite so destructive, and the opposing Lawtia-Refess combination just tickled us the right way, especially since it was a daring 10 total sphere levels with 6 in Refess and 4 in Lawtia. Not to mention the fact that the Unit we were hoping people would use was a key player in the File. Which Unit was it? Read on, brave Iczers!

As Kitsune9 describes the File, it basically starts out with the Folrart Shield Knight and a Kesaran Pasaran follow-up, generating whatever SP you can before your opening crumbles. The next key Unit out will be the Folrart Guardian in the front, backed up by a Healing Priest in the very rear or a Raise Shield. Soul Pacts follow to generate SP the old-fashioned way for a second-row Velvet, all the while making your Guardian a more imposing threat
on the field.

Once Velvet is out, the Folrart Guardian becomes a slowly fading glass cannon. The Healing Priest will keep her alive in the short run if she’s injured, at least until there’s enough SP for another unit on the field, which honestly should not take very long at all given the lineup requires 0 SP to maintain. The Healing Priest can also act as a secondary tank with its 60 HP. Cudgel Soul Skills will keep the enemy hurting, and the fact that every unit has wildly different Max HP levels will ensure a field presence despite Velvet’s bloody boost. Broken Iron Soldier / XXXX is there for cleanup, with an ultimate and whopping 60 AT that goes through defense and is range independent. Since there is only one copy of him in the File, Instant Revival and Holy Light are there for insurance. But there’s more to it than that.

Healing Priest, in our opinion, is Velvet’s perfect sister card. Healing Priest’s high HP lets him stay on the bord at her side and his (yes, it’s a guy) second Action Skill, Back from the Darkness, is to revive any Lawtia unit for 1 SP. Naturally this means that as long as the Healing Priest is around, both XXXX and Velvet are going to be too… for a long, long time. Reviving your Lawtia units with Healing Priest helps balance out their increased turnover due to Velvet’s MAX HP drain, and gives them another chance to attack. Not only do they return from the darkness for one more potshot, admittedly without Velvet’s initial AT boost, they also go back to their original Max HP. Good deal, especially for Velvet, since you’ll save yourself a copy of her in the process. As for XXXX, not much needs to be said considering you’ll have to revive it this way or via a Grimoire, but it’ll get to go again and smack another random row for 40 damage. Ouch. Sure, you’ll lose two Lawtia sphere levels in the process that you’ll have to pump back up, and you’ll probably lose the ability to revive him again with the Healing Priest since you might be out of SP, but 100 points of row damage will probably mean XXXX won’t die the next round anyway. Of course, you can also add additional copies of XXXX to the deck and see what this does to the combo’s staying power.

As many are probably murmuring already, this File does have its share of weaknesses. For one thing, Velvet’s Wisdom of the Holy Mother will not trigger Counter Skills since it is affecting Max HP, not HP per se. The Folrart Guardian and the Coatl won’t see any benefit other than the bonus AT from Velvet. That’s something to keep in mind. And I personally don’t like to see the reliance on the ever-present Folrart Guardian either, as she has
a bunch of weaknesses that may be addressed at a later date. But hey, if she’s good enough for all the Refess players out there, then she’s good enough for this File too. And with the Healing Priest in there, you’d figure there’d be more Lawtia Units in the File. There could also be a timing issue if Velvet kills off multiple friendly units in a single turn with her Start Skill too, so it could get a little tricky to play. But conceptually, there’s a lot of gold to be found here, and that’s the important thing.

Speaking of gold, let’s get into the value of this article. First of all was the previously mentioned potshot upon revival. This is something that doesn’t come up very often considering that most revival effects tends to happen before or after the main action phase. However, anytime a unit is revived in the middle of the main phase, it is considered a brand new version of itself, reverts to its default statistics, and is treated as not Engaged. Which is why the Units revived this way get to go again. Guardian Sphinx isn’t looking so bad anymore, is it? To all those lycanthrope players about to say something about the fairness of it all, look again at what 1st Stage: Undying does. “Fully restore HP” is pretty different from “revive Unit,” wouldn’t you say? It boggles the mind!

Secondly, and also lastly, one of the reasons that this File also works is due to the fact that there is no unit that doesn’t not attack in the middle to end game. Now, you might be saying to yourself, “That was a double negative, and I’m confused.” Allow me to elaborate. What I mean by this is that in very general terms, it’s usually better to have Units that can pull double duty, even if they’re support Units. Wait, but all the Healing Priest
is doing is keeping cards alive in this File. Au contraire, mon frère. The one thing I would do differently would be to move the Healing Priest to the second row and Velvet to the third. Voilà! Everyone can attack if necessary now! And the priest is hitting for 40!

Anyway, the point is that the most effective Files tend to forgo the use of Units that can only do one thing, and that’s especially true for support Units that have no attack and a support Action Skill. Dollars to donuts, most Files contain units that have Start or Autoskills, allowing them to do many things at once. Abel? Heals automatically and can attack afterwards. Eskatia? Makes it night with a Start Skill and attacks via her Action Skill.
Kurina? Buffs and attacks. Vordore? Locks down a unit in the enemy’s rear and then pumps up your side till no tomorrow. For this particular File, Velvet can buff and then attack, Healing Priest can attack or heal or revive, and XXXX can attack normally or slash or sit still and be a good tank. No unit is a one-trick pony, and Velvet is pulling a double shift with her buff and normal attack. Does this mean that cards such as the Folrart
Shield Knight, Invisible Druid, and Song Sorceress are useless? Not quite, but that’s a story for another time.

CotF – Monk of the Single Strike Results

(For the period of 01/08/09 – 01/21/09)

 

OVERVIEW

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:

 

WINNER

Iczer: darklogos

File Name: None

Soul Cards

  1. Mage Paladin / Distrier
  2. Judge of Heretics / Bardia
  3. Novice Assassin
  4. Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel
  5. Witch Queen / Catherina

Unit Cards

  • 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

Grimoire Cards

  • 1 Rapid Growth

RUNNERS-UP

  1. Porky
  2. xantese
  3. Ripptor
  4. hanul
  5. HinaMahou

GAME PLAN

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.

STRATEGY

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.

CotF – Battle Mage of Regus Results

(For the period of 01/29/09 – 02/11/09)

Not to be confused with the CFT (Card Flip Theater), the CotF (Challenge of the Fortnight) results are in. Being confused with the CFT is nothing to be ashamed of though, since Edgar Figaro’s event is just like this one, only ten times funnier, way prettier, less wordy, and really nothing like the Challenge of the Fortnight at all. But I digress.

Judgment is over! Only one Iczer can be pronounced champion. Whose File reigns supreme? The answer is:

 

WINNER

Iczer: Peaches

File Name: Peaches and Cream

Soul Cards

  1. Owl Sage
  2. Lycanthrope [Seraph]
  3. Will o’ the Wisp
  4. Inquisition Raid Leader
  5. Inquisition Raid Leader

Unit Cards

  • 2 Kesaran Pasaran
  • 2 Cassowary King
  • 3 Priestess of the Holy Weapon
  • 1 Will o’ the Wisp Soldier
  • 1 Witch
  • 1 Sylph
  • 1 Undine
  • 3 Sea Hunter
  • 3 Sorceror Guard
  • 2 Giant Ancient Tortoise
  • 3 Battle Mage of Regus

Grimoire Cards

  • 1 Cure
  • 1 Raise Shield
  • 1 Holy Shield

RUNNERS-UP

  1. Azul
  2. Teasel
  3. Galandros
  4. Shadow1798
  5. Porky

 

GAME PLAN

A suitably self-referential name is not the only thing this File has going for it. Paraphrasing Peach’s strategy, the opening begins with a Witch, followed by an Undine or the ever-loving Kesaran Pasaran, depending on turn-two field conditions. The first unit to die will trigger the Owl Sage SS, allowing for the big tank to be summoned, Giant Ancient Tortoise. Its beefy body will be used to buy the time necessary to bring out the hefty laundry list of support units, each one designed to help the GAT last even longer. In fact, according to Peaches, the Giant Ancient Tortoise is virtually unkillable with the support units behind it.

What really makes this a true Battle Mage of Regus File is that she is its main offensive Unit. The tortoise’s Shell Dash can be used to finish off anything that’s left standing. There’s also the option of summoning two BMoRs if you so desire, but doing so will probably require the Cassowary King to be in play first to keep pesky ranged units from annoying your battle mages’ mumbo jumbo. In general, the ducky ruler will enable you to safely summon many of your Units. The Sea Hunter can be used for additional tanky goodness as well as an additional 30 AT to lay down upon your opponent. The Kesaran Pasaran, if it is still around, will build the SP needed to maintain the savage offense.

The Grimoire cards are all there to help keep your turtle friend alive for as long as the game lasts. But particularly cool is the Holy Shield, which is to be used after the Will o’ the Wisp SS goes off, hopefully netting you some of the SP your opponent has been stashing away. The cool thing about all this defensive posturing is that even if you lose a few Units here and there, each one individually adds so much to the Giant Ancient Tortoise and from different avenues, that the monster of a Unit will probably last all the way through the endgame and beyond.

And in the meanwhile, with your opponent focusing on taking down the unkillable turtle from the deep, the BMoR will constantly be ticking away 20 to 60 points of damage, depending on how many units there are on the field. Think of the turtle like a huge rock in the middle of the ocean with the BMoR’s waves constantly flowing above it. The waves come crashing down the shore that is the opponent’s field, wearing it down ever so steadily. If the opponent has no way to get to where the irresistible force that is the Battle Mage of Regus, then they have no choice but to go after the immovable object that is the Giant Ancient Tortoise. A losing proposition either way.

CRITIQUE

Peaches is also well aware of the File’s weaknesses, which are that shield-breaking enemies can tear the turtle a new one, the reliance on 2 SP each and every turn, and that rush Files can peck away early and overpower the field before the setup can take place. Also, naturally a third copy of the GAT would have been helpful, but unfortunately Peaches is tri-GAT-impaired at the moment. More Will o’ the Wisp Soldiers would also help this File immensely. But the File is quite different from what’s usually found in the arenas, so kudos to Peaches, particularly for achieving five victories with the File.

From my perspective, the File also has a slight vulnerability to row-attack Soul Skills that do 30 points of damage, as many of the support cards would succumb to those things. The Raise Shield and WotWS does help offset that some though. Large Units might also pose a problem for Peaches and Cream since there’s not much in the File that can do a huge amount of damage quickly. But slow and steady does win the race for this underdog of a File.

STRATEGY

Is there more that could be done with the Battle Mage of Regus? Many of our participants chose to pair up the BMoR with old standbys like Folrart Guardian, Mage Knight of Regus, and Rapier Fencer of Regus. Unfortunately, I was forced to say no to such Files because of the lack of synergy with the uniquely low and widespread damage of the Battle Mage of Regus. Yet others loaded their Soul Cards with Boy Inquisitor / Cudgel and Magic Dancer / Chiruru. Unfortunately again, I had to refuse such Files the victory because of they didn’t mesh well with the BMoR’s ability. Why even bother having her in the File if you’re just going to overrun your opponent with Soul Skills?

Nay, in fact, the BMoR does the exact opposite of what rush and swarm Files do, as she is a check against them, particularly against that most key of all rodents, the Cemetery Rats. In fact, Chiruru would be better served as a Unit in BMoR Files since she would be playing clean-up to the BMoR’s first batter, as well as giving the battle mage and option to attack for 30 if she and her Iczer so chose. Many of our runners-up did just that, and the synergy was amazing. A well-timed Sylph on the BMoR would would also prove the death of many rush files reliant on Chiruru Soul Skills, ironically enough. Our enterprising runners-up also honed in on Right-hand Shield / Garfath as a Soul Card, and his ability to reduce two enemy Units’ max HP to a 20 HP Mana-Blast range, which also was very cool.

Interesting ideas all around, and once again, a big thank you to all those who participated.

 

CotF – Defensive Manuevers Results

(For the period of 02/19/09 – 03/04/09)

Judgment has finally arrived for one of the most intense fortnight challenges we’ve ever held. Many of the participants were able to unleash the massive potential in this unpolished Grimoire and managed to turn quite a few heads with it. To those Iczers, I salute you and thank you once again for your inventive efforts. Many minds focused on the Folrart Spiked Shield Knight right away, a very wise choice as he can act as an untouchable tank while your faster ranged units deal with your enemies, hopefully leaving the FSSK a mighty Unit worthy enough at which to hurl his spiky shield. However, our CotF: Defensive Maneuvers winner went on a decidedly more pedestrian route only to arrive at a surprisingly unique solution.

 

WINNER

Iczer: InsertName

File Name: Defensive Maneuvers CotF

Soul Cards

  1. Dryad Soldier
  2. Lycanthrope [Seraph]
  3. Folrart Shrine Knight
  4. Folrart Shrine Knight
  5. Saber Saint Lapierre

Unit Cards

  • 3 Folrart Guardian
  • 3 Right Hand Shield / Garfath
  • 3 Holy Dragon
  • 3 Salamander Soldier
  • 3 Time Reader / Lavende
  • 2 Holy Emperor / Retear
  • 1 Kesaran Pasaran

Grimoire Cards

  • 2 Defensive Maneuvers
  • 3 Magic Bolt
  • 2 Recovery Powder

RUNNERS-UP

  1. Jasta85
  2. Geta
  3. Hanul
  4. angelatheist
  5. Galandros

GAME PLAN

Before we go into the game plan, let me just say as an aside that I was resolved to turn down any File with Folrart Guardian in it. After all, the Folrart Guardian would probably benefit the least from Defensive Maneuvers because any additional defense would probably put her outside of damageable range, making her Counterskill useless. The only way I would have accepted one was if it had a contingency for this, and lo and behold, InsertName was the first Iczer to submit a File and it had my caveat covered. Kudos.

On to the game plan. The opening is a standard Folrart Guardian opening that most Refess players have grown to love, with a Kesaran Pasaran to Recovery Powder to Folrart Guardian. I’d normally frown upon such an opening unless it was to mislead your opponent, and in this case, that is somewhat of the intention. The KP’s death will trigger the Dryad Soldier’s Soul Skill, and give Iczers access to Salamander Soldier. Garfath is next on the list, or a Folrart Knight Captain for those who wish to substitute him in the file, but Garfath will ensure that all units are healed back to full, something obviously advantageous for both the Folrart Guardian’s knight in shining armor, the Salamander Soldier.

With this setup, the pain can begin, and it’s not just for your opponent. Defensive Maneuvers will give Folrart Guardian an extra 40 DF from the Salamander Soldier’s now fully-healed HP. Unfortunately, the Salamander Soldier is also apparently a mischievous type of guy, so he’ll take a potshot at someone as well, and that someone will be Folrart Guardian. The whole point of this is that you’ll get to constantly attack with the Folrart Guardian and bypass her defense to boot. Usually usually activate her Counterskill for 30, but you have 3 chances at doing it for 70 or more with Defensive Maneuvers. Garfath, of course, will be buffing the defense of all your units along the way, hopefully keeping your Salamander Soldier alive and healthy for his mischief to work. For some, this may be a tried and true technique that works with the other Counterskill Units, but hopefully it’s news to others.

The end game consists of the Holy Dragon, naturally, with Lavende in the mix as a way to regain cards lost earlier or Grimoires sent to the graveyard by pesky Units with Grimoire Bane effects. Retear also helps to do what Refess does best, and that is to outlast your opponent by providing another way to keep oneself from running out of cards and losing LP from it. Because of this, a large amount of LP is not necessary to sustain the File, and it is a bit on the low side at 7 LP.

CRITIQUE

Naturally, shieldbreaking is a major weakness for this file. Luckily there are Magic Bolts in the mix to help take care of pesky shieldbreakers, but unfortunately the Magic Bolts only have enough power to take out Inquisition Raid Leaders effectively. The major reliance on Folrart Guardian is also a big no-no in my book, as Files that focus primarily on one card tend to fall apart easily if the opponent has options to take it down easily. Yes, the Folrart Guardian does see a ton of use in the arenas, but she can be easily taken down or neutered by a number of cards as well, including Berserker, Der Freischutz, Corruption, Undine Soldier, and Burning Sun to name a few. Please note as well that there is nothing preventing you, if you so choose, from bringing out multiple copies of the Salamander Soldiers or the Folrart Guardians. It may be against what’s commonly accepted, but it could prove to be quite beneficial, especially since the Folrart Guardian does receive nearly all of the HP back when standing by.

STRATEGY

I discussed the various uses of Defensive Maneuvers in the initial post, and there’s not much more to be said about it. Most files generally use a good deal of level 3 and below units, so a great deal of them would probably benefit from the addition of Defensive Maneuvers, even on its most basic level as Soul Skill protection for a key but vulnerable card. Also, the fact that you can tailor the defense is pretty key to gaining field advantage. One of other side benefits of being a Grimoire card is the fact that you’ll be able to tell what unit to best use it on due to how the phases work. How so? Well, the revival phase comes before the open phase, so if your opponent were about to activate a Soul Skill, you’d see that one of his Units would not be revived. If that’s the case, then a smart move could be to use DM to allow one of your support cards, probably Lavende in this featured file, to have additional defense and avoid a fatal blow from what could be a damage Soul Skill. If all units revive, then proceed to turn your good defense into a great offense.