Aug 112008
 August 11, 2008  Posted by at 3:23 pm Tutorial 1 Response »

Summary: Long time no see everyone.  I have started a new and real job now, which unfortunately has been keeping me busy to the point that I do not have time to play EOJ.  But now that the first official Worldwide EOJ tournament is coming, I got strong urge to update my blog a bit.

In this entry, I have translated EOJ Connection #21 about concept of metagame in EOJ.

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May 212008
 May 21, 2008  Posted by at 7:38 pm Tutorial No Responses »

Summary: In this EOJ Tutorial series, I have decided to summarize types of decks that I have discussed so far. By understanding classification of EOJ decks, this tutorial should allow people to construct your own unique decks and apply classification rule.

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Feb 282008
 February 28, 2008  Posted by at 9:24 pm Sample Decks, Tutorial 4 Responses »

Summary: In this blog entry, I will talk about Ninja Deck. The original article is from EOJ Connection (a.k.a EOJ Tsuushin).

Ninja deck, as it is appropriately named, includes 4 elemental Ninjas in the deck. When you can successfully cast all four Ninjas on a board at the same time, each of four will gain the invisibility. Once a creature becomes invisible, no physical or magic attack can damage the creature.

So as far as Set.1 goes, once a creature gains invisibility, there is not much you can do about it. In fact, only way to destroy the creature would be to use field effect.

Ninja deck is somewhat unique type of deck in the Set.1. It is unique in sense that this type of deck introduces the basic concept of combo deck, which will be the major emphasis on the highly anticipated Set.2. Combo deck is a type of decks that creatures interact on each other i.e) give different abilities or boost stats to make them much stronger than when they are as an individual creature.

 Italics are my own comment rather than translation from EOJ Connection, so take them for grain of a salt.

How to use this deck?
Combo deck in general requires good way to increase your card draw. This is simply because combo deck ‘s power depends on whether you have appropriate cards in your hand to cast or not when you need them. This is why it is particularly important for you to include spells or creatures with ability to draw extra cards in combo decks.  In addition, your first hand is important as well. So as a general rule of thumb for Ninja deck, if you don’t have two different types of Ninja in your hand during your first draw, you should Mulligan.

Order of casting Ninjas
Ability of invisibility is not bidirectional between two creatures i.e. A to B then B to A, but rather it’s unidirectional that makes up a circle. A to B. B to C. C to D. Then D to A.

For this reason, ideally you should cast a new Ninja that gives invisibility to the Ninja that was casted in the previous turn.

For example, if you cast a Firefly Ninja first, it is mostly likely that your opponent attacks the Firefly Ninja during his next turn in attempts to break your combo. However, if he cannot destroy your Firefly Ninja in his turn, this attack becomes near worthless because in next turn you can cast a Spider Ninja, which gives Firefly Ninja a invisibility. So now the opponent’s has to switch the target and attempt to kill your Spider Ninja before he can attack Firefly Ninja. On the contrary, if you cast Spider Ninja first and cast the Firefly Ninja next, you are essentially giving your opponent two turns to attack your Spider Ninja, which greatly increases the chance of your Spider Ninja getting destroyed.

Individual Abilities:
Good Ninja deck user knows how and when to use each Ninja’s unique abilities.

Wolf & Spider Ninja – Change the place with opponent’s creature when it damages but does not destroy the target creature. This ability makes these Ninja’s powerful firearm when used appropriately.

Firefly Ninja – Gains perfect dodge when it is on the fire field. Because of this ability, Firefly Ninja is generally the best Ninja to cast first. So ideal order would be Firefly > Spider > Wolf > Swallow.

Swallow Ninja – Turn opponent’s creature to face them back from Swallow Ninja. This ability is useful to protect your other Ninjas by turning the opponent’s to different direction.

How to construct this type of deck?
1. Card draw spells/creatures – To increase the chance that you have correct Ninja in your hand when you need them. Tritonian Iceguard and Mesmer’s Errand are included for this purpose in the sample deck.

2. All four elemental Ninjas – Needless to say, these are the key cards for Ninja deck. If you do not include all four elemental Ninjas, it’s not a Ninja deck. Sample deck here has 3 of each in the deck, but my personal Ninja deck has only 2 of each, which still works well. So it is your choice; however, 1 of each is certainly not enough.

3. Mana Acceleration – Each Ninja costs 3 mana to cast. So this type of deck would be mana tight. Feast & Altar for sure, but personally this is one reason why I only include 2 of each Ninja in my deck.

4. Attacking power – Ninjas are not mana efficient attackers. So you need other ways to destroy opponent’s creatures to prevent them from occupying 5 fields before you finish your combo. In the sample deck, this is why Flame Guard and phantom like Vulitra are included. Flame Guard can attack two creatures with 3 attack power under appropriate situation, and similarly Vulitra can attack two creatures with 2 attacking power yet it only costs 2 mana to summon.  Sciondar Inferno spell is there also for this reason.

Sample Ninja Deck (from EOJ Connection)

No. Name #
1 Flame Magus
5 Firefly Ninja
8 Partmole Flame Guard
20 Tritonian Iceguard
24 Wolf Ninja
32 Mercenary Savior Latoo 1
42 Spider Ninja
51 Black Hood Dwarf Vulitra
62 Swallow Ninja
91 Parmetic Holy Feast
92 Goghlie Altar
100 Sumoner Mesmer’s Errand 3
103 Sciondar Inferno

Improve/Change this deck?

The rule 1 & 2 in the deck construction section were generally from EOJ Connection, but rule 3 & 4 are from my own experience. Based on my own experience, I would modify the deck in the following ways.

1. Draw Cards – Completing four Ninja combo feels SOOOO GOOOD; however, when you are focusing just on this, I believe it ruins your chance to win too many occasions. So I’d even use Ninja’s as a decoy on some occasions. For this reason, I do not think we need that many draw card abilities. I would include couple Cloud Runners instead of Errands and Iceguard.

2. Ninja Cards – This is the major difference between my Ninja deck and the EOJ Connection’s sample deck. I only have two elemental Ninjas each in my deck. This is why as I stated in above, I can include mana expensive Cloud Runner in my deck. Also this will loosen the mana tightness a bit.

3. Mana Acceleration – I would include Dungeon’s Ten Tyrant, Novogus Catapult, and Skeleton Soldiers in my deck in the space where I opened up by takingout 4 Ninjas, and 6 – 2 = 4 draw cards from my deck. In the place of Vulitra, I would include Biolith Phantom Wormak, this is because of his mana generation ability.

4. Attacking Power – Flame guard is a great card when it is used in the appropriate setting, but it is situational. Also, it alone does not seem to be enough firepower. So take out 1 or two of Flame Guard, and will include Flame Lizards, and perhaps one Flame Ascetic. Rest of deck should be 1 mana costing creatures to support mana conservation .  Cards like Lycanthrope or Foot Soldier would be appropriate for the purpose of conserving mana, but at certain occasions they can attack by more than 1.  If you find Attacking power is still lacking in the deck, Latoo can be replaced by Didi.

Source: EOJ Connection Ninja Deck (in Japanese)

Feb 262008
 February 26, 2008  Posted by at 6:49 pm Tutorial No Responses »

Summary: This tutorial will give you the basic guidelines that many of competitive EOJ players generally follows either consciously or subconsciously.  This article is translated from EOJ Connection at Japanese official EOJ site.  The article target include beginners to semi-experts.

Italics will be my own comment.  I.e) Not from the source.

Rule #1: Decision of when to Mulligan

The general rule of thumb is that your first hand should allow you to play well for first a few turns.  Generally, you want to mulligan if you have too many spells or expensive creatures in your hand.

If you are using special type of deck, Ninja Deck for instance, you want to have as many different Ninja in your hand as possible so once you cast your first Ninja, you can start the combo.  Perhaps, you can make the rule like mulligan unless you have two different types of Ninja in you hand.

Rule #2: Be cautious with the field element combination

Particularly important are the field number 2 (up middle) and field number 8 (bottom middle) since these field have opposite element on its back.  With fissure or Behemoth, most low mana creatures on these get trashed immediately.  Ideally, try to place creatures like Biolith on these field.  Or better yet is force your opponent to use these fields.

I also use these field for Great Minos of Sciondar and Juno Tree Haunt.  This is because no matter what the reverse field is, these creature will be destroyed when they are not on their own element.  So not much to lose.   In fact, I use Sciondar as a bait when I use mostly water based creatures so if my Minos get destroyed by fissure, in return I get more water fields, which will help me to use Cloud Runner, Moving Isle of Kadena, and in general gives me more place to put my water based creatures with field bonus.

Rule #3: Be mana efficient ~Summoning creatures~

As we all know, this game is mana limited unlike Magic.  So it is absolutely crucial to be mana efficient in this game to become a good player.

It is important to not only place your first creature on the correct element to gain the field bonus, but also when you place the first creature think where the next creature can be.  Remeber your first creature can be summoned anywhere, but after the first creature, all other creatures must be adjacent to the other creatures on the board.

Also do not waste your mana by using big guns for small health creatures.  For instance, it is a waste to summon a 4 mana costing creature with 4 attacking power to destroy a opponent’s creature with just 1 or 2 health.

Rule #4: Be mana efficent ~Reactivation~

The general rule of thumb is avoid reactivation as much as you can.  Especially turning your creature is generally too expensive.  You should rather reactivate Flame magus twice to destroy 2 health creature than turn a creature by 2 mana and attack by 1 = total 3 mana to destroy the creature in one turn.

Exception to this rule would be attacking creatures with dodge attempts.  If you attack a opponent’s creature with dodge attempts and it dodges your attack, you basically wasted entire mana that you just spent to reactivate the creature.  So it is perfectly reasonable to reactivate your magic attack creature to attack the dodge attempt creatures.

Rule #4: Don’t kill but Don’t let it live

This is a key concept that I have noticed many players that I have played against online did not seem to follow, particularly those people who do not have good stats.  You have to remember that each time you destroy the opponent’s creature, you are giving extra mana to your opponent, which means more option for the opponent.

So instead of keep destroying your opponent’s creature when unnecessary, you should take the opponent’s creature health down to the point where you can destroy it when needs to.

A good example is that when Green Lycanthrope did not morph, it has 0 attacking power.  So you really don’t need to destroy the creature.  Instead take his health down to 1, so when you need to you can destroy the creature at anytime.  Until then you can use it as your shield by placing creature next to him, you know that at least from one direction you are protected i.e. don’t get attacked.

Rule #5: Don’t Give up 

Even if you get checked and cannot break it, there is still a chance that your opponent might not have a creature that he can cast.  So don’t give up.  Instead do the best you can during your turn assuming your opponent cannot cast his creature next turn.

Source: EOJ Connection (Japanese)

Feb 262008
 February 26, 2008  Posted by at 5:57 am Sample Decks, Tutorial 2 Responses »

Biolith Phaseus GodSummary: In this blog entry, I will talk about “Biolith Deck” and how to play against it. The source of this article is from EOJ Connection & Gamespot Japan.

According to the writer of EOJ Connection, this is the best type of deck out there at the moment. The main theme of this deck revolves somewhat around the idea of resetting entire board by destroying all opponent’s creatures. The reason behind this is because all biolith creatures are mana expensive and have summoning locks. This is why Biolith deck does not show its power at early turns. It is expected to have your opponent out numbers you with his/her creatures during early stage of the match. Frequently, you will also get checked by your opponent’s before yours. But don’t worry, because that’s expected in Biolith Deck. The goal of Biolith deck is different from others that this deck’s goal is not you to occupy 5 fields, but to prevent your opponent’s from occupying 5 fields.

“How to use this deck”
1. As stated above, Biolith deck starts to show its power as the match progresses. So early stage is where you need to play slowly but correctly. During the early stage of the game when you still cannot cast your biolith creatures, you should focus on how to destroy opponent’s creatures efficiently (mana-wise). In the early stage of the match, you are trying to accumulate your mana. So try to use creatures like Flame Magus, Green Lycanthrope, and Skeleton Soldiers. Key for using these creatures is that you are not using there creatures to occupy the fields for winning, but rather give damages to opponent’s creature so you can destroy multiple of opponent’s creatures at once as the match progresses.

2.As the match progresses (middle of match), you should start focusing on the mana accelation/boost. For this, you can use Biolith Imperial Guard, Tino Son of Scion, Wormack, and Guardian Watchtower + Scion etc. Also during this stage of the match, you can start making more biolith fields.

3. Once you have sufficient mana and biolith field, Biolith deck starts to show its power. The ideal situation would be to use your accumulated mana to cast Phaseus Biolith God. Once it is out on the field, unless they destroy the Phaseus, you can always reactivate the Phaseus and keep resetting opponent’s creatures. So as long as Phaseus is on the board, you will not lose the game from your opponent’s getting 5 fields before you. This is called “Phaseus Lock.”

* If you cast Phaseus from white cubic, you can still activate it in the same turn using Scion’s Riotous Impunity.

4. Note that Biolith deck’s theme is different from other decks in that this deck is focusing on not letting your opponent’s occupy 5 fields; whereas, other decks are focusing on occupying 5 fields before your opponent. So when you play with deck, keep this main theme in mind.

“How to Construct this deck”
1. Will require many ultrarares. Particularly, important are Phaseus Biolith God and Blinding Sky. These two cards will allow you to reset the board by wiping all opponent’s creature at once.

2. Binding sky damage is proportional to the # of biolith fields. Also, imperial guard mana boosting is based on the availability of biolith field since you gain an additional mana each time you summon your allied creature on to biolith field. So you need to have a way to increase # of biolith fields. Beheamoth Groudbreaker and Seer Vizak’s Calmity can be used for this purpose.
3. In early stage, you need to be able to attack opponent’s creature mana efficiently, so if you were to use Vizak’s Calmity, Beheamoth, Imperial Guard or Chariots, you can kill multiple of your opponent’s creatures at once. Some creatures that are mana effient include obvious 1 mana creatures as well as Skeleton Soldiers, who you get 2 mana back when its destroyed.

“How to play against this deck”

As stated above, most susceptible stage of the biolith deck is early stage when the player does not have enough mana to cast biolith creatures. Suspect biolith deck when you see a player who only uses low mana cost creatures and plays very slow at first. If this is the case, try not to place your creatures to the way that multiple creatures will be destroyed at once. I.e. avoid placing creature in Chariot’s attack pattern, Imperial Guard attack pattern, placing creatures on both field 2 & 8 so Behemoth or Vizak’s Calmity kills both at once etc.

Also Lapse at right timing (= early stage of the game) would be very effective since without mana, he/she cannot use Vizak’s Calmity nor cast most of biolith creatures.

Sample Biolith Deck (from EOJ Tsuushin/ Originally from Dengeki PlayStation):

No. Name #
1 Flame Magus 2
40 Skeleton Soldiers 3
56 Green Lycanthrope 2
73 Biolith Bomber 1
75 Imperial Biolith Guard 3
76 Biolith Battle Chariot 3
77 Morning Star Warrior 3
79 Behemoth Groundbreaker
85 Tino, Son of Scion
86 Wormak 1
87 Scion, Biolith Lord 1
88 Guardian Biolith Watchtower 1
89 Phaseus, Biolith God 1
90 White Cubic 1
91 Parmetic Holy Feast 1
92 Goghlie Altar 1
107 Blinding Sky 1
108 Scion Riotous Impunity 1
109 Seer Vizak’s Clamity 2
Feb 202008
 February 20, 2008  Posted by at 4:23 am Sample Decks, Tutorial No Responses »

Don Of VenoaSummary: In this first blog entry, I will talk about “Dodge Deck” and how to play against it. The source of this article is from EOJ Tsuushin.

Key for this kind of deck is to have your opponent consume his/her mana. If you can dodge opponent’s physical attack that means your opponent has simply wasted his mana. In order for you opponent to be able to damage your creature for 100%, they need to use magic attack; however, generally speaking magic attack creatures are not mana efficient. (1 damage for 1 mana, need to reactivate three times to kill, 3 health dodge creature). Using this kind of deck, you are trying to win the game slowly. This kind of deck is particularly strong against for people who is using mostly physical attack creatures. Aside from what’s mentioned above, I consider what is great about dodge creatures are that many people decided not to attack your creature from the fear of wasting there mana in case it won’t hit. So most of time, your creatures will survive longer than average creatures with the same summoning cost.

“How to use this deck”
1. Be sure to place your creatures on the corresponding element field to gain field bonus. Many creatures require such to have dodge attempt, but in addition it will give 2 bonus health point and generally speaking dodge creatures have very little health unless you gain these bonus.

2. Ideally, have your opponent keep attacking your dodge creatures. It’s not important whether your creature survives or not, but what’s important is how many times your creature has been attacked.

3. Ideal situation with deck is to check before your opponent checks, and forces your opponent to be under the situation where he/she has to rely on the 50:50 chance of whether being able to kill your creature or not.

“How to Construct this deck”
1. Obviously, include creatures with dodge attempt.

2. Lattoo and Don of Venoa will be your big guns since these creatures can give dodge attempt to other creatures.

Note: Dodge attempt is additive. This means if your creature has 2 dodge attempt, it has two times coin toss chance to dodge the opponent’s physical attack. Mathmatically speaking, 50×50 = 25% of chance your opponent can get you i.e. 75% time you can dodge opponent’s attack.

3. Most creatures with dodge attempt are relatively mana expensive and have rather poor attack power. So including creatures to cover this would be important.

“How to play against this deck”

As stated above, most of dodge creatures have relatively low health point; therefore, require field advantage. So key is to take this field advantage away. Fissure of Goglie and Bheamoth would be nice creatures to have against dodge deck.

If you have to do physical attack, you don’t want to wait until check and rely on the 50% chance of losing the game, so start attacking early. When you attempt physical attack, key is to attack with creature where you can kill dodge creature with one hit. This way you are relying on 50% risk, but if you are requiring to hit multiple times, you are increasing your risk of missing the attack.

Sample Dodge Deck (from EOJ Tsuushin):

No. Card name # of cards
1 Flame Magus 3
4 Partmole Flame Lizard 2
6 Great Minos of Sciondar 2
19 Monk Elder of Okunada 1
21 Tritonian Harpoonsman 2
22 Aluhja Priestess 3
25 Cloud Runner 2
30 Don of Venoa 1
32 Mercenary Savior Latoo 1
38 Verzar Foot Soldier 3
59 Elven Berserker Maiden 2
63 Juno Tree Haunt 2
78 Biolith Ninja 1
91 Parmetic Holy Feast 1
92 Goghlie Altar 1
93 Summoner Mesmer’s Lapse 1
94 Beguiling Fog 1
97 Healing Shower 2

Source: EOJ Connection (In Japanese)