Competitive Balance Team Review (Protocol Failure v & ROTJ v / CEC v)

Competitive Balance Team Review (Protocol Failure v & ROTJ v / CEC v) by Nate Louderback – Dorshe1 There is very little that stirs up more controversy in Star Wars CCG than the decisions of the Competitive Balance Team (CBT). The CBT is a special panel that has the responsibility to review the current meta and identify issues that threaten the competitive health of the game and to implement changes to correct any issues.  Examples of items that are within the scope of the CBT’s mission are overpowered decks, decks which can skew the meta significantly, and decks/strategies that are considered NPE. This is a lot of responsibility for one group of players, but their role is essential in a game like Star Wars CCG. In this article we will look at the recent changes to Corellian Engineering Corporation v and Protocol Failure v / Return of the Jedi v. Corellian Engineering Corporation v (CECv) On March 8, 2014 the CBT issued a ruling that changed the wording of Correllian Engineering Corporation v. CECv is a very important card to the current Watch Your Step v (WYSv) deck. Text: Deploy on table if [Virtual Block 4] Watch Your Step on table. X = number of spaceport sites controlled by Corellians. While you control Corellia, your total battle destiny is +X, and once per turn, if you are about to lose Force (except from your card), may reduce loss by X. (Immune to Alter.) As a deck strategy WYSv attempts to force choke you (requires you to put a card in used pile to deploy non-Corellian to Corellia) and mitigates the opponent’s damage. At the same time it is able to spread on Corellia and avoid battling. CECv is a versatile way to lower the opponent’s damage potential because it is only limited by the number of spaceport sites played and can be played anytime so it can cover damage to force drains, battle damage, and direct damage. It appears that the CBT was notified of a negative interaction regarding CBT on January 28, 2014 through a post to the CBT forum by Kevin Shannon (Kevbozz). Shannon stated that there appeared to be an issue with CECv because during the finals of the MPC he had to move EPP Dengar (a Corellian) to the planet system because as the card was worded his opponent was reducing damage because Dengar controlled a spaceport site. In their report, the CBT identified the problem as “The wording of (V) Corellian Engineering Corporation made it have unfavorable and unintended interactions with dark side Corellians and dark side spaceport sites. According to the CBT report they looked at the interaction between the effect and dark side Corellians, dark side spaceport sites, and the damage reduction potential of the card. After a full review of the situation they issued updated text as the following: *Corellian Engineering Corporation (V) (4) Deploy on table if [Virtual Block 4] Watch Your Step on table. While you control Corellia, your total battle destiny is +X, and once per turn, if you are about to lose Force (except from your card), may reduce loss by X, where X = number of Corellia spaceport sites you control with Corellians. [A] The new text changed the original wording of the card to only allow damage reduction for light side Corellians. The new text also changed is so that the damage reduction only worked for Corellian spaceport sites. Finally, the changes did not change the damage reduction by imposing a limit on how much damage could be reduced or change it to include a minimum (Imperial Atrocity/Propaganda v). There was a vocal reaction to this change on the PC forums that disagreed with changing the ability to only work on Corellian spaceport sites was an overreach and that it was not necessary. The main argument appeared to be that it changed an evenly balanced matchup between WYSv and Ralitiir Operations (ROPS) and skewed it towards ROPS. ROPS decks use at least one spaceport site and it gave the WYSv player the ability to deploy to an opponent’s site and still maintain the damage negation ability. For a deck that tends to rely on scrubs and damage reduction this was an important feature of the match-up. Going forward a WYSv player can still to the opponent’s sites, but doing so will decrease the amount of damage reduction available to them. I’m not a bit WYSv player and in fact, I dislike playing against it. I tend to value decks that battle and cause damage and the WYSv deck is designed to avoid battles with their scrubs and to reduce damage. I agreed with the CBT limit damage reduction to only light side characters. There is no conceivable reason why a dark side player should be punished for controlling an opponent’s site. I am a little torn regarding the CBTs decision stating that they only work on Corellia spaceport sites. I actually think it should have been worded as ‘your’ spaceport sites. Spaceport sites can be deployed to multiple systems and I think the light side player should be able to get the damage mitigation for controlling their own sites. With that being said, I do believe that they should not get benefits from controlling an opponent’s sites. Protocol Failure v and Return of the Jedi v On April 16, 2014 the CBT team issued a ruling regarding Protocol Failure v and its light side mirror card Return of the Jedi v. Protocol Failure Text: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Vader is deploy -1 here. At end of your turn, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, target a unique (*) [Episode I] droid. Opponent chooses: deploy on droid (its game text is canceled), or place this Effect in Lost Pile (you may take any one card into hand from Reserve Deck; reshuffle). (Immune to Control.) Return Of The Jedi Text: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Skywalkers are power +1 here. At end of your turn, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, deploy on Sidious or [Virtual Block 3] Emperor. Opponent’s Interrupts with ‘Emperor’ in game text are canceled and Sidious may not place Jedi out of play. (Immune to Control.) Both of these cards offer the opportunity to cancel a force drain and after a turn it is placed into the lost pile. The primary issue with these cards is that they are able to be recurred efficiently. Protocol Failure v can be recurred into hand by Lightsaber Deficiency v a destiny 5 used interrupt with multiple other functions including pulling Ghhhk and preventing Mace from swinging twice in a battle. Return of the Jedi v can be recurred into hand by It’s Not My Fault v a destiny 5 used interrupt with multiple functions including pulling effects and providing a counter to Galen’s lightsaber. Additionally, both of these cards are an immediate effect, which can be pulled by a defensive shield. The CBT stated that, this created a continual loop of damage reduction. The CBT stated that they looked into solutions including changing the text of Protocol Failure v and Return of the Jedi v or changing the text of the cards that recurred them. The CBT chose to change the cards to the following text: *Protocol Failure: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Vader is deploy -1 here. If you control this site, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, target a unique (*) [Episode I] droid. Opponent chooses: deploy on droid (its game text is canceled), or place this Effect in Lost Pile (you may take any one card into hand from Reserve Deck; reshuffle). (Immune to Control.) *Return Of The Jedi: Deploy on a site to cancel a Force drain there. Skywalkers are power +1 here. If you control this site, place this Effect in Lost Pile. OR At any time, deploy on Sidious or [Virtual Block 3] Emperor. Opponent’s Interrupts with ‘Emperor’ in game text are canceled and Sidious may not place Jedi out of play. (Immune to Control.) The primary change is instead of moving to the lost pile at the end of the turn, it will only go to the lost pile if they control the site. The CBT stated that the purpose was to stop excessive damage reduction. The change means that it is possible to cycle the cards; however, they will have to take over the site. This promotes interaction and preserves the original interactions for Lucky Shot v, Operational as Planned v, Lightsaber Deficiency v, and It’s Not My Fault v. Additionally, the cards received a Unique dot on them. That is a proactive shot to keep people from running multiples to since only one can now be on the table at once. The overwhelming reaction to this on the CBT forums was positive. Unlike the CECv change there did not appear to be any significant opposition to the change. Unlike CECv the decks that I play were affected by this change. The deck I have the most experience with is a HDv deck that runs the Protocol Failure v loop. I can attest to the damage negating ability of the combination. I’ve had a handful of games that I’ve won because I was able to get the loop working correctly. With that being said, I think that the change was fair. They could have completely removed the loop (put the card OOP instead of lost pile), but instead they kept the potential loop while increasing the benefits for interaction.

Nate Louderback rediscovered Star Wars CCG  about a year ago after a not playing in a tournament since 1999. It is his pleasure to attempt to conquer the game and achieve Mediocrity! Outside of Star Wars CCG he works a day job in the financial industry to pay the bills (to play more Star Wars CCG). He is married with two children and with his daughter at his side aims to take the My Little Pony CCG world by storm.

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My Little Pony CCG – An Introduction

My Little Pony CCG – An Introduction by Nate Louderback – Dorshe1

All right, I stumbled across this little gem of CCG about a month ago while I was buying card sleeves for my Star Wars CCG deck. I went into my local card shop that specializes in all card games, and I saw some teenagers playing a game with ponies. I was a little intrigued since I have been trying to get my daughter (now 8) interested in playing card games. She was super excited when I gave her some Star Wars cards, but even I know it is too complicated for her. This game on the other hand, seemed pretty straight forward and it had My Little Pony. So, I sidled up to the counter and $50 poorer I walked out of the shop with a My Little Pony 2-Player Starter deck and a Rarity & Rainbow Dash Theme deck.

With a new expansion available now, I figured it would be appropriate to write an introductory article about My Little Pony CCG including an explanation of the different card types, and a brief summary of game play.

What is My Little Pony CCG
Continue reading

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Star Wars Episode VII A New Dawn

Well that was quick.

While Star Wars fans were digesting the announcement that Disney was removing all past Star Wars continuity from existence, they dropped three big announcements on us:  The new actors in Episode VII, the ‘official’ continuity and the upcoming book release schedule.

The book schedule caught me most off guard.  After just nuking what we know of Star Wars continuity, the rebuilding begins with what is now considered ‘true’ continuity.

A New DawnStar Wars: A New Dawn is scheduled for release on September 2nd.  The novel is written by bestselling author John Jackson Miller.  The setting is just before the forthcoming animated series, Star Wars Rebels.  A New Dawn will tell the story of how Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla crossed paths. (I’m going to take a shot in the dark and guess that is the two characters on the front of the book.)

The rest of the scheduled novels are: Continue reading

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Star Wars GEMP – Sealed Deck Construction Tips

Star Wars GEMP – Sealed Deck Construction Tips by Nate Louderback – Dorshe1

There is nothing like the smell of opening a new pack of Star Wars cards. Sealed events are one of the more interesting ways to play Star Wars CCG because it opens up creativity for deck-building and using cards that would never be used during a competitive open-constructed event format.

Star Wars GEMP is a new resource for playing Star Wars CCG online. It is different than other currently available programs because it is web-based and rules enforced (never forget to force drain again!). The downside to the program is that it is still in its infancy and the meta is extremely limited (Premiere, A New Hope, almost all of Hoth and the OTSD Box at the time this article is written). Fortunately, the flexibility of the system allows for the creation of leagues that allow for a limited card pool and it has the ability to randomize cards to simulate a sealed deck game. Please note that this guide is not needed for those people who are blessed by the sealed Gods and receive awesomely broken cards/combos. Those players do not need help. However, for new or returning players that get the average distribution of playable/crappy cards, this article should give you some basic sealed deck construction strategies including force generation, character selection, starship selection, and how to pick supporting cards. Continue reading

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Star Wars Virtual Sets

New & Returning Players Article 7- Breaking down a new Virtual Set – by Chris Gogolen

What to do when a new Virtual Set is released?

Two to three times each year the Players Committee releases a new Virtual Card set.  The first release of the year is usually a larger set of 40-50 cards and then the follow up releases are 20-25 cards each.  The initial release often introduces new deck themes, and then the other sets contain support cards that round out those themes, help out existing decks that are struggling(AKA Helpers), or correct an imbalance in the current playing environment(AKA Bullets).  This article will focus on how to digest all of the new information being released.

Step 1 – Get yourself a copy of the PDF of the cards and print it out.  This can be found on the download section of the Players Committee Forums.  Print out one set and then cut them out.  It doesn’t have to be a perfect cutout of high glossy color text(and I don’t recommend you spend the $$ to do that until at least a few weeks after the set is released, as sometimes the cards get minor adjustments post-release due to unforeseen issues with Rulings or card interactions). Continue reading

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20% off Lord of the Rings Weekend Special

Since we have had such huge success with people trading and selling us so many Lord of the Rings cards over the last two months we have had the game available on our site, we are rewarding our customers by offering 20% off all LOTR singles Saturday and Sunday.

This includes all Sets from Fellowship of the Ring through Ages End.

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Lord of the Rings Promos

After having Lord of the Rings on CategoryOneGames for less than two weeks we have nothing but WOW!  We have had plenty of players filling in holes in their collections while also receiving many buy orders to help us restock the sets we were low on.

We have been able to add some of the missing Promotional cards, Expanded Middle Earth, The Rise of Saruman and Treachery and Deceit to our buylist.  Already we have had well over 1,200 cards offered to us and hope to have plenty of cards restocked.

We will be adding more Boxes and Sets to the site over the next few weeks and will

The best part about getting these cards back in stock is that we can provide the best card selection for You.  Once we have some of the singles back in from those missing sets, they will show as available on the main site.

Not to be left out Star Wars is still going strong on the site with restocks happening often.  Since launching Japanese cards on the site, we have had lots of interest from both buyers and sellers.  The best part has been helping people finish off sets it has taken them years to complete.  We carry the largest amount of Star Wars Japanese cards in one place on the internet.

We just got in four file cabinet boxes full of Star Wars cards mainly from Premiere and A New Hope.  These cards are in Pristine Mint condition, I haven’t seen anything like this since 1995.  We will be going through these and adding these cards to the site shortly.

With all these great additions to the site, we are still looking forward to adding more great games to the site and giving you the best service any online card store has ever provided.

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