Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Mystery of Dr. Hooves

Dr. Hooves, as a (blue) Friend in MLP CCG is somewhat of a conundrum. 

There are a total of 4 different versions of Dr. Hooves, all of which are either Rare, Ultra Rare, or promo only.

This poses a serious problem when trying to build a deck using Dr. Hooves'.

Dr. Hooves, Experienced Equine and Dr. Hooves, Unblinking can clearly work together, when Unblinking enters the discard pile it can bring out Experienced Equine out in play at Home, (pay 2 to unfrighten him) and move to a problem.

Although both other Dr. Hooves have abilities of their own (they don't particularly work in any real synergy with the first two), they can - once in the discard pile - power up  Experienced Equine.

(You could choose to discard other Dr. Hooves Friends with Too Splashy).

In order for a deck like this to function, realistically, you'd need 2-3 copies of each card, and that's difficult considering they're all either Rare, Ultra Rare, or promotional.
This is the mystery of Dr. Hooves. I'm not really sure why he's so difficult to find...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Maud Pie is a "10"

Up until now (the release of the Crystal Games expansion) Maud Pie, Rocken' - as a Mane Character - was a juggernaut, reaching a power of 7.

(Base 3 plus 1 per card type in discard pile and there are only 4 card types that can go into the discard pile).

Now, with the release of The Crystal Games 3 copies of Finger Snap can be added into the Maud Pie Deck.

These cheap (1 Action Token, 0-requirement) cards can be saved at play upon a 7-powered Maud Pie, bringing her up to 10-power!

Look out!

Cutie Mark Crusaders, Ponyville Flag Carriers

Cutie Mark Crusaders, Ponyville Flag Carriers.
This new Mane Character doesn't really seem overly powerful... on initial inspection, it seems somewhat weak and slow to flip.

However, I think it's potential is in its deck of Foals.

Although there are many foals characters, it is in Twist, Such a Treat, that we see this potential come to life!
This Friend will nearly always be at +1 (power of 2).

Played in conjunction with (preferably up to 3) Pie Family Rock FarmTwist, Such a Treat, will power up to +4 each turn (on the drawing of 4 cards every turn), making her 5-power. (Have up to 3 in play and it could prove disastrous to your opponent!)

Now, couple these cards synergistic potential with Diamond Tiara (troublemaker) blocking your opponent from scoring on either or both problems and you're free to score every turn.

Diamond Tiara also powers up based on the number of Foals at her problem. Only counting Twist, Such a Treat and Cutie Mark Crusaders, Ponyville Flag Carriers, that in itself is +4. (Making Diamond Tiara at 8-powered Troublemaker!) 

Throw into the mix a deck built upon Foal Friends and this could prove devastating.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Multi-Support: Advent of a Unique Strategy

The more thought that's put into building a deck around Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic, the more overwhelming it becomes!

Your imagination is the limit. There's very little places you can't go with this new Mane Character.
I think the best plan is to come up with a few synergies (3-4) and slap them together.

What makes deck building difficult around Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic is her potential changes depending on how many player-game you're playing.

The best synergy I've come up with (although it's not limited to Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic) is the Sunny Smiles/Nightmare Moon combo. However, getting your hands on 3 Nightmare Moons can prove difficult if not impossible.

While experimenting with decks around Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magicmy son and I realized a unique attribute she has: Multi-support. Having Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic at a problem with Big Mac, Biggest Brother (with Supportive 2) and Twilight Velvet, Proud Mom (Supportive 2) both can trigger.(And in a multi-player game you could have more!).

No other MC has this potential.

If you could make Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic 3 colours (in a 3-player game) - say Purple, Orange, and Blue - she could be teamed up with Big Mac, Biggest Brother (with Supportive 2 - Orange), Twilight Velvet, Proud Mom (Supportive 2 - Purple), and Rainbow Blaze, Dashing Mentor (Supportive 2- Blue), attaining an additional +6 bonus in power (or a total of power of 17 !)

This is my no means the limit. There are 16 Friends with Supportive keyword, and of any and all colours.
Just imagine what potential Twilight Sparkle, Friendship is Magic has in a 4-5 player game...!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

More Sneak Peaks!

Ms. Harshwhinny, Officious Official
With this new Friend is introduced the new keyword Teamwork
in this case, any/all other earth ponies would all attain the same ability (namely once you confront this card's problem, you may exhaust this card and pay 1 AT to move an opposing character at this card's problem home.).

This could prove significant with orange earth ponies with stubborn (ie Apple Cobbler, Headstrong) simply because being exhausted doesn't effect them.

Also, its ability to move both Friends and Mane Characters home,

Shining Armor, Crystal Prince

Maud Pie, Like a Rock

Brutal Synergy!

To begin with this devastating combo, you'll need to have both Sunny Smiles, Iconic Friend (up to 3 is possible!) as well as Minuette, Clocked Up (again up to 3), out in play, preferably at your opponent's problem, and preferably with Bonus Points of 3.

Then play (face-down) a troublemaker, Nightmare Moon.
The following round, Nightmare Moon is revealed (turned face-up) and then the devastation begins!

First, all players discard their hands and draw 3 cards.
(In a multiplayer game this effect is even more devastating), but Sunny Smiles, Iconic Friend powers up +1 per card an opponent discards.
It's difficult to guess at how many cards your opponent(s) will have in their hand because the set up (getting 1-3 Sunny Smiles and 1-3 Minutettes out into play won't be early on in the game, not to mention what may happen in a multiplayer game). But for the sake of keeping things simple let's assume your opponent discards 4 cards. (But let's not forget or write off the possibility of your opponent having their maximum of 8 cards in their hand = +8! It is entirely possible for Sunny Smiles to power up to 11-power!)

Sunny Smiles, Iconic Friend powers up to +4 (giving her a total power for the remainder of the turn of 7). If this isn't enough to defeat the Problem, you can trigger another troublemaker phase by retiring a Minuette, Clocked Up, forcing your opponent to discard another card, powering up Sunny Smiles another +1.

You are still in your Troublemaker Phase. Immediately confront Nightmare Moon, defeat her and gain +3 points.
Then play through the Main Phase (building up Friends if needed - don't forget Sunny Smiles is still at 8 power!).

Then confront your opponent's problem, score 1 point (if you're the first, score it's bonus points (if planned right another 3), and then possibly, a Problem Faceoff - don't forget, Sunny Smiles is still at 8-power - (hopefully) win Problem Faceoff, score another 3 points.

If timed right and played right, this combo could score - if 1 turn - from 4 to 10 points! (That's approximately 25% - 67% of the game).


Now, the downside of this strategy is you would need, probably 3 Nightmare Moons in your deck to make this functional.... and even 1 Nightmare Moon can be difficult to find (being Ultra-rare) or extremely expensive. :(

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aggro Deck Attempt #1: Juggernaut

Juggernaut Deck!

This is a first attempt to build a MLP CCG deck that is 100% Aggro. (I don't believe it is possible).
It is based upon Maud Pie as the mane character (as she herself is a Juggernaut).
Also attempted to be build into this deck are other potential Juggernauts, including Cherry Jubilee (to have resource after resource played upon her) as Bags Valet, Luggage Lackey, to have numerous Home based resources exhausted to repeatedly power him up.
Coco Pommel is here with her +4 power (7 total) pumped ability.
Full Steam (he's 4 power), and rounding is off is Hayseed Turnip Truck (with he flip an additional card in faceoffs) and, Night Watch with this same ability.

Mane Character:
Maud Pie

Full Steam, Smoke Stacked x1
Bags Valet, Luggage Lackey x3

Resources (to play at Home). All of these home-played resources are to help boost Bags Valet
The Ponyville Express x3
Private Party x2
Vittles Stand x3

Cherry Jubilee, Queen of the Hill x3

Resources (to play on a friend). All of these resources are to help boost Cherry Jubilee
Chic Beret x2
Marvelous Chapeau x2
Combat Hat x2
Hard Hat x2
Apple Cider x3

Cloudy Quartz, Concerned Mother x2
Night Watch, Vigilant Patrol x1
Hayseed Turnip Truck, "A" for Effort x2

Coco Pommel, Fashion Apprentice x2
Roseluck, Fainthearted Filly x3

Other Resources/Events:
Too Much Pie x2
Rock Solid Fashion x3

This deck cannot have any troublemakers in it (as mentioned in Aggro, Combo, Control in MLP CCG?)

Applebucking Day x1
A Stitch in Time x2
Who is Gabby Gums? x2
Timber! x2
Social Obligations x1
Threat Against Canterlot x1
Raze This Barn x1

Overall this deck has a fairly good Draw Curve

so should play well on faceoffs (averaging a draw of 4).

However, it's main problem is its distribution of card types; having no Troublemakers and the vast majority of cards being Resources.

Pegasus Peacemakers Deck

This deck's main focus is on confronting and defeating Troublemakers.
It can also function well at faceoffs in general.
Ultimately it is built to be Turbo Trouble! vs. deck.

Mane Character
Rainbow Dash, Hanging Out

Flitter, Ribbon Wielder x3

Berry Dreams, Pom-Pom Pony x2
Lucky Star, Charming Cheerer x2

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Shoot! x2

Rubber Chicken x3
Funny Glasses x1


Scoottaloo, Fan Club Founder x3
Scootaloo (especially more than one) in play with Rainbow Dash can be formidable.
When we consider that whenever Rainbow Dash moves, Scootaloo (or potentially all 3 Scootaloos!) will all move with her for free, bringing (on the following turn) their combined total power to 12!

Dr. Hooves, Just in Time x3
Jetstream, All Heart x3
Pegasus Royal Guard, Elite Sentry x3
Spike, Baby Dragon x2
Nice Moves, Kid! x2
Biff! Pow! x3
Fears Must be Faced x3
The Hard Way x2
Ten. Seconds. Flat. x1-3 (yet to be released in Celestial Solstice Deluxe Set)

Spread Your Wings x3

Cheering Up a Friend x2
Storming the Villain's Lair x2
Looking for Trouble x2
Not Enough Pinkie Pies x2
Bottom of the Well x1
It's a Twister! x1

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sneak Peak at Crystal Games

Sneak peak a some new Crystal Games series cards.
The new Maud Pie, Like a Rock could prove to be devastating!

You could easily add 3 to a Maud Pie (MC) deck.
With the powered up MC Maud Pie, Rockin', you could easily meet these new cards' requirements (4 apples). It would only be a matter of action tokens.

With the Juggernaut Maud Pie, Rockin' and up to 3 Maud Pie, Like a Rock in play, it'd be quite the task to stop her!

Since the Rock 'n Rave release we've speculated that Maud Pie, Rockin' might very well be broken, or in need of some sort of errata... but clearly this isn't the case.

Maud Pie, Like a Rock? Look out!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Aggro, Combo, & Control in MLP CCG ??

Aggro, Combo, Control.
These are the basic three archetypes of decks, according to Magic the Gathering (as well as many or most CCG's).

With the new (2013) and increasingly popular My Little Pony CCG, there is a lot of talk about which MLP CCG deck's are which archetype and which Mane Characters lend themselves best to which deck style.

I'm not convinced MLP fits so neatly into these categories.

Let's stick to the simplest for the time being.

Aggressive decks, typically defined as non-interactive, creature focused (either big and powerful creatures or many (cheap) and little), direct damage, with goals to kill your opponent directly and quickly (bring their Life Points to 0).

If we're going to use MTG terms for MLP we'll need to tweak the definitions slightly to fit the theme/game.

  1. non-interactive - this can translate easily
  2. creature focused - this can translate into Friends
  3. direct damage - not so easily translated, there is no direct attacking or damage in MLP, as winning is achieved by attaining 15 points. But this could translate into ability to Confront (solve) Problems easily
  4. kill opponent (reduce Life to 0) - again, there is no objective of 'killing' or wiping out one's opponent, so this too doesn't easily translate.

At initial inspection the first 2 translate pretty well and directly with little modification, but the latter 2 do not. (In MLP, there is no direct damage inflicted and there is no 'kill your opponent' or 'reduce opponent's life to 0').

An Aggro MLP deck would focus on - not creatures - but Friends and since Confronting Problems is how you score points to win, preferably Friends with high Power.

However, it isn't so simple. You can also score points (often alot!) by winning faceoffs - both Problem faceoffs and Troublemaker Faceoffs.

This is done by your Friends' combined Powers and your draw deck - which brings the Draw Curve into this equation of an "Aggressive Deck") (Overall high powered cards, often including Events, Resources, and Troublemakers).

A higher than normal amount of Troublemakers in a deck would definitely swing the Draw Curve towards "aggressive" because of the higher chances of drawing a high powered cards (like rolling a d6 with 4 sides reading "5"), but these same Troublemakers are clearly interactive in play, taking on a less offensive and more defensive roll.

A good example of a MLP CCG "Aggro" deck would be Fluttershy's.
With her Critter Friends - they're cheap, quick to play - and her Caretaker ability, Fluttershy is a brutal and overwhelming deck, clearly in the straight-forward realm of Aggro... but it isn't.

The Caretaker ability is what makes it powerful, and it relies on synergy, or combinations, to function.

The only real "Aggro-trait" this deck has is its swarm-like nature.... of its cheap, low-powered Critter Friends... but, once again, this "swarming" tactic isn't overly effective.

Where this will work in an Aggressive deck in MTG (ie a mono red Goblin Swarm deck), cheap, low cost, fast to play, 1/1 red goblins, will become extremely effective in the early game - however, this same game tactic in MLP (let's stick with the yellow Critter Friends example) won't.

Numerous yellow (butterfly) Critter Friends (0-requirements, 1 AT cost, 1-power) will only get you so far, with a self-rectifying solution.
Here's why;
Firstly, they can only help you confront your opponent's Problem (Your Problem still needs a secondary colour Friend(s)).

The fasted and best case scenario puts a 1-power yellow Friend and a 1-power other-colour Friend at your Problem on Turn 1.
Turn 2 puts 3 yellow 1-power Friend at your opponent's Problem and - to follow the swarming tactic - another 3 in Turn 3.

That's 6 yellow 1-power Friends at your opponent's Problem. Should you enter a Problem faceoff - win or lose - all 6 Friend are returning Home. With no extra Action Tokens to move Fluttershy (in order to flip (boost) her), your Home Limit is still 3. You've just discarded 3 of your "swarming-tactic" Friends.

The game mechanism self-rectifies this Aggro-Swarming tactic.

My point is simply this;
Yes, there are certain MLP decks which function or play more aggressively/offensively compared to others. Yes, some are more defensive compared to others, and yes, some rely on more synergy compared to others... but compared to the MTG main three deck archetypes, MLP CCG does not and cannot fit within its boundaries.

Simply put MLP CCG (any deck) incorporates all these features into itself, and not only requires, but necessitates its players to use offensive and defensive strategies.

I'd be interested in seeing a Rogue deck (non-netdeck) built with no (0) Troublemakers (because they're interactive), no (0) cards with synergies, and either a) all 1-powered, 0-requirement Friends, or b) all very high-powered Friends.

I've seen the results of the first (see Discord & Chaos!). I'd like to see the other.

~ ~ ~

Rainbow Dash, Turbo Troublemaker Deck.

This deck began as the basic, out-of-the-box Rainbow Dash deck. (Primary Colour: blue, Secondary Colour: white. MC: Rainbow Dash, Premier (1st Generation)), and became extremely modified.
It makes a good example because it does not lend itself well into the Aggro-Control-Combo categorization.

This deck carries 14 Troublemakers (nearly 24%), and when the number of troublemakers are this high some interesting effects occur.
Since most Troublemakers have high power (3-6) this drastically increases the Draw Curve. A drastic increase in a deck's Draw Curve moves the deck's archetype towards Aggro.

However, at the same time, the very act of playing a Troublemaker (let alone this high of a percentage) is clearly taking control of the "battlefield". This aspect moves the deck's archetype towards Control.

So, this sample deck, with its high number of Troublemakers,would seem to point towards Aggro-Control.
...but it doesn't end there. With Friends like Scootaloo, Creature Catcher, Big Shot, Wildlife Photographer, and Rising Star, In the Spotlight

and Resources like The High Ground, Foal Free Press, and A Fiery Temper

all working in sync with any and all Troublemakers, as well as Rumble, Fast Learner, Rainbowshine, Cloud Wrangler, Wild Fire, Speed Racer, and Holly Dash, Flighty Filly,

they have their own synergy.

This synergistic aspect moves this deck's archetype towards Combo (Synergy).

Although this specific deck clearly lies dead centre of the Aggro-Control-Combo chart, many if not all MLP CCG decks float and hover within this central region.

Unlike Magic, The Gathering, I believe it is impossible to build a MLP CCG deck that is exclusively any one of these main archetypes (ie a mono red Goblin Swarm deck).
MLP decks may only be referred to as one of these archetype decks in relation to one another, but ultimately are all centrally and evenly balanced.
The game simply doesn't fit these parameters.
The question becomes, what parameters does it fit? What's its measuring stick?

In short, ultimately, my point is that My Little Pony CCG plays drastically different than Magic the Gathering,; specifically that it requires more strategy.

...and because it's 20% cooler.