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Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

MicroProse's Shandalar Campaign Game, now with new cards & a new look!

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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 15 Dec 2015, 18:01

Oh, wow, I didn't even notice there were more parameters than vColor! Thanks for that!

I haven't, because I thought I leave it for when we got enough functioning cores for decks so that we can comfortably decide which parts are "detachable". A lot of the "challenges" force the deckbuilder to "solve" them in ways which inflate the number of things that "have to" be in a deck, which kinda constricts what you can safely take out etc. Hell, it's a problem even making decks work remotely properly as if you put everything you only have to have in a deck because of the AI it often means you don't have enough space to put in things you'd put in the main deck. Plus, folks have noted that the way the AI sideboards is unclear, so a deck can end up with more cards in the deck than 60. So I thought I'd leave that for it's own pass.

Right now, the only experimentation with sideboards I've done is give the Archangel a different pro:color 3W angel depending depending on what's it playing against.

Which reminds me that I have to look into the Archangel, too, and I thought I didn't, ty.

As for when's the next update coming, I think I cheezed Korath off enough to take a break from Shandalar and do work on Manalink (he's been very busy with that, from what I can see). It's possible that he's doing it parallel, who knows, when it happens it'll happen. Last update made a ton of things possible (as you can see from all the equipment everywhere, that's just the most obvious thing), so even if we're "stuck" with this one, it's not like there's nothing to see or test out. The next one will include a lot of bugfixes that will alone make a lot of things possible as I've scraped plenty of concepts due to those, the only reason I'm kinda hoping it hits soon is that there's no reason to even report bugs anymore (one's I'm running into) as they might be already fixed.

However, Korath is working on Manalink, and that VERY important, IMO, because that will mean more cards that can be ported to Shandalar when he gets around to it. It's generally a very frustrating obstacle, and more cards that can be ported - more workarounds and potential solutions to the numerous obstacles. They're all scripting functions for the deckbuilder (so to speak), so I'm rather glad he's actually doing that, it's the closest you can get to "improving the engine" without, you know, actually improving the engine.

You guys might want to whishlist some of the stuff I've been mentioning as useful now that he's doing Manalink, though, I don't want to personally bother him, but as you know I don't "whishlist" cards for myself, but for the AI (It's just annoying to be asked to do something by me, I suppose). A lot of stuff that isn't there isn't there because it's not in manalnik, and quite a bunch of stuff isn't in manalnik because noone felt like it or saw the point (there's plenty of stuff that can't be done, but there's a lot more that can). So catch the opportunity if it exists - unobvious handy staples and low-power cards in manalink can easily translate into entire decks suddenly working in Shandalar or entire colors working better (or taking less than a week to get through).

---

EDIT: Change of plans, I think I may have got the Forest Dragon to work ^^

Not uploading anything yet, but this is what I'm testing out now:

New Old Forest Dragon | Open
.8962 4 Llanowar Reborn
.91 18 Forest

.285 4 Wild Growth
.10942 4 Growth Spasm

.11001 4 Nest Invader
.10973 4 Kozilek's Predator

Right, so that's the ramp. Attempts to make an Eldrazi deck with, like, Eldrazi have failed miserably,
but they did give me an idea that Eldrazi can be used if you just want to give a green deck a bunch of vanilla critters and a bunch of semi Dark Rituals, as it will happily use the little bastards to ramp out whatever it's playing next. And if just thats the plan, then this deck, with it's preposterous original concept, is THE deck!

Also,

.7258 4 Jugan, the Rising Star

is great and all, but if he dies with nothing but enemy dudes on board, the other guy gets the counters, if there's Eldrazi tokens around, THEY get the counters. Not that the AI does much with non-evasive buggers in general, but if there's more than one Jugan played something gets to be pretty huge ^^

.1243 4 Harmonize

This isn't "obviously" in here - I've been getting really good results with Slate of Ancestry (well, doooh) but I could give Slate of Ancestry to just about anyone, and red doesn't have any card draw so I kinda want to use it for goblins. So, sigh, 4 X Harmonize it is. Allthough, now that I think abot it, I need to try out Collective Unconscious or something.

.7515 4 Matsu-Tribe Sniper - He's a boss. Always was. Kamigawa is in fact loaded with great cards, but he plays an important role here in keeping pesky fliers from swamping you - and also opening up ways to attack (also tends to get huge with Jugan Counters ^^)

.40 4 Cockatrice - Well, it's a flier you can't attack into, also my fathers favorite card ever (also the origin of his internet nickname). It says something about my work ethic that I still took it out of everything mecilessly despite it being that.

It's also a way just about any OG green deck cheats the fact it can't play green properly, which is why it's everywhere. Not kidding, the OG approach to green was pretty much "Oh, crap, it's that color our AI can't play, stick a Giant Growth in it so it'll attack here and there and stick a Cockotrice in it". (I keep misspelling Cockatrice because that's how my dad used to misspell it, disgraphia seems to be hereditary, lol. He was also very partial to Kor Chant and sticking Armadillo Cloak on shadow guys, the old troll - you don't see me rushing to put that in any deck, either. What he was known in tourney circles was mono-black control, so much so that in our city that deck was called "Mono Old Man". I want to help get the white Djinn in and when I gift Shandalar to him, rename it after him at least in my version for a retirement present.)

Now this:

.244 4 Thicket Basilisk
.6924 2 Nemesis Mask

If you look at the list so far you'll notice that the deck gets a lot of little spawns on the board but doesn't actually use them for anything except ramping the expensive stuff. Which means it doesn't attack much because most of it doesn't fly. When Jugan dies then it does attack occasionally.

What I seem to have solved is the "4 X 5 drop and 4 X 6 drop, still doesn't do much of anything" problem. It can kill you with Jugan and Cockotrice. But how to make the rest of the deck work?

No clue, and I've tried a bunch of stuff. I think it needs the Basilisk in because:

BUG REPORT: It tends to gang-block with Eldrazi spawn for no apparent reason. With a basilisk around the player is less likely to attack, and it might be aware that it doesn't have to gang-block.*

* Also another "hur-dur stick a Cockatrice in" solution to the AI being hopeless in combat - make the player reluctant to have any, dooooh.

But the problem is it'll still be reluctant to attack, and when there's not a basilisk on board it'll just always gang block whatever you send at it (this is murdering any attempt at making a RW deck - everything the player has has built in lure or at least provoke).

And it tends to equip the Nemesis Mask on fliers #-o

BUT!

Now that it can actually play something that has a proper creature curve, refreshes the hand, has a way of reliably casting it's expensive junk and 8 fliers - how to make it win?

Right now I'm trying Nemesis Mask and the basilisk in hope that works (slim chance, but there you have it).

I can't use Power Matrix (as repeatable pump / first strike enabler) + matsu tribe sniper, because that's the way Summoner cheats her way to wins. Overrun is complete overkill. Single-target pumps are terrible (which is why I'll be doing a dance when flashback gets in if that flashback pump +2/+2 from oddisey thing gets in). I can't use Gaea's Anthemn because that's sorta of the backup plan for Enchantress. I tried Thelonite Druid , he's a murderous card (Fallen Empires is probably the strongest old set from after Arabian Nights to... Alliances, pretty much, if it wasn't for the overprinting mishap it would also be remembered as such). Anywho Thelonite Druid is hit and miss and also buggy (he gets activated at weird times). Obelisk of Alara is WEIRD (I've even had fun wth it and Khalni Gem, but the way it's activation timings are strange and if you only have one type of mana seemingly nonexistant). I've tried Hedron Matrix, this is the deck for it (a lot of expensive but inoffensive dudes), but since that doesn't work with the spawns no dice (and can be anything, really, it's an overkill card).

Right, when I have a win condition I'll upload it, I LIKE this thing and hope it ends up working.


Cool developments on other fronts too, I got a semi-functional but highly dodgy Centaur Warchief which manages to avoid the clusterf**k of every issue with Shandalar affecting RW at the same time, except for that one crucial one - the way the AI blocks means everything has lure, and if you want the AI to attack you need to give it time to set up. Since it has no card draw, this can take a few turns and by that point the AI has gang-blocked all it's creatures away, can't draw any more, and can't even have too many creatures in the deck because it has to waste deck space on cards which basically say "a creature can attack".

Some folks would use a time machine to go kill Hitler, I'd use it to go strangle the guy who originally came up with the "scaling lives in mtg" system. Then if it's Sid Meier, ressurect him so that he can make Alpha Centuri, but then strangle him again because just once isn't enough, then ressurect him again. An AI set to play as if letting anything through ever = death, and which values a few points of damage so much that you can't trust it with a Lightning Bolt can't play MtG. Korath once asked me if it would be easier to balance everything out if everything had 20 lives - yes, and thanks for enabling it, but we got a problem that our AI never plays like it has 20 lives, even when it does have them! It always plays like it has 4.

If I can find a way for the dude to evade that thing I'll have it done. It's pretty much the same deck as the Sorceress, except way more powerful.
---

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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby stassy » 16 Dec 2015, 16:30

Unfortunately so far with only the vColor settings I wasn't be able to control the sideboard, unless there is a very specific way to do it, the AI randomly does not choose the sideboarded card even if the player deck is mono colored (NB1 endless duel mode).

Also there is to note that the AI doesn't care at all about mill deck archetype unless using direct counter deck (Jace's Erasure like cards are not countered or disenchanted), I was able to plow through most of the creatures with it while I had hard time with other archetype.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby Aswan jaguar » 16 Dec 2015, 16:59

stassy wrote:Unfortunately so far with only the vColor settings I wasn't be able to control the sideboard, unless there is a very specific way to do it, the AI randomly does not choose the sideboarded card even if the player deck is mono colored
Can you list which get chosen to be sideboarded and which don't?
---
Just playtesting.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby Thesaguy » 16 Dec 2015, 18:02

Lujo,

Could you possibly post your tweaks? (EXE, Ini, Decks, etc.)
Since an update might be some time off, I'd like to start a new campaign, using your changes.

I know they are not done, but it's better than what I have.
Thanks.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 17 Dec 2015, 05:43

@stassy: Do you mean you've been trying these deck out and having a hard time? It's quite likely because a lot of them are quite raw. This time I've mostly been trying to get the decks to mechanically be able to win, which means plenty of them could be too tought to handle. Feedback makes a big difference on this front.

---

@Thesaguy: I'm glad to hear it, but can I have just one more day to make sure I've hacked the exe properly, that the ini doesn't have mistakes in it (it had on my last run, I didn't get around to fixing that) and possibly even wrap up? Because current status is:

Sea Dragon, Goblin Lord, Thought Invoker, High Priest, Winged Stallion and Centaur Warchif, the rest I can polish and update on the fly, but I can't send you those in the state they're in and their previous state got most of them to be flagged as RED in my list.

Everything else can at least use testing, although do be warned - I tried to make the decks win, which often means that I had to give the AI stuff I wouldn't have otherwise given it. So it might be more frustrating than it was he first time around (because there were way more disfunctional decks the first time around).

The more feedback, the faster we nail the really problematic ones. I'll upload the full package sometimes tommorrow, with at least thrown togather versions of the missing decks. (Some of them are nearly there, too).

I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, I'm very glad you're offering to help, but I don't want to mess you up even more than saddling you with so many undertested decks to begin with.

ALSO: The ETA for the next patch is just unknown to me, it not necessarily far off or anything. Korath is working full steam on Manalink and the ETA for that, I think, don't qoute me on it, is between Christmass and New Year, so what might happen (again, how could I know?) is that Shandalar gets a Nomad's Bazaar 2 bug-fix patch with everything else already done released at the same time. But again, that's just speculation.

I'd even not write up the decks I've done today, but I'm spent and this relaxes me. :(

---

Todays progress (and regression XD):

--- NEW

Seer | Open
.126 20 Island
.1216 4 Seat of the Synod

.7143 4 Trinket Mage
.6700 4 Leonin Scimitar
.11431 2 Copper Carapace - Attempt at an Unstable Mutation replacement. Too low tier for that, maybe even for this.

So, as you can see, I kept the whole Trinket Mage land tutoring & Equipment tutoring package. I like that, I'd like to make it available to players early on, and it lets me use low powered blue dorks.

.1734 2 Kraken's Eye - new charm

.12066 4 Sensory Deprivation - kept this for now. It's quite a bit stronger than it looks, though.

.420 4 Flying Men - Zephyr Falcon replacement, so no Vigilance + Enormous dude right away.

.14157 4 Quickling - Hovermyr replacement, and oddly enough the AI seems to be using it perfectly well in this deck, but if you put it in a Faerie deck you get silent comedy slapstick. I do put time to try out even cards I've written off occasionally, and it sometimes pays off. He's technically there to bounce Trinket Mage, but he's a remarkably useful card when the AI can use him - among other reasons because the AI spams the non-creature bounce madly and seems to keep him around.

Now, the rest of the stuff took several hours, believe it or not.

.7387 3 Soratami Savant - Early on I thought I had something with this guy, and I couldn't really give the deck anything tougher due to all the equipment. But the AI doesn't leave mana open for it often enough because it tends to move the equipment around. It's still in, simply because it's on flavor, might occasionally work and a 2/2 flier for 4 is what I was looking for. Still, when I next sit down with he deck this whole section is getting a good looking into (hopefully after the next update, but I'll do it before if it needs nerfing).

.6428 2 Riptide Director - In fact, I'm sorta thinking that I could maybe replace the Flying men (or the soratami or something) with a cheap wizard (currently either Fugitive Wizard or Merchant of Secrets for Quickling Sinergy), and bring out this guy. That's too many things that don't fly, which is why not yet but when I can sit down with it again.

.11085 3 Air Servant - Eh, I decide to take out Cephalid Constable because he's a busted Flood on wheels... And then I end up with this guy, who's a flood on, well, drugs I guess. If this guy ends up molesting you as testers - REPORT IT!

.2802 4 Undo - And, well, the art is on flavor, but that shouldn't merit putting this thing in. But the deck needs something to get you off balance or at least slow you down while it sets up. I can find another equipment instead of the Copper Carapace if it's too good and I suppose I could (maybe) find something to give the deck an endgame besides the flood guys, but I think it's always going to need a cheap move like this. Or not. Keep an eye out, but I'm not sure what to give it instead - this replaced actual Control Magic variants I felt forced into in the last build.


I tried a lot of stuff, some more interesting but buggy. There's an artificer chick who can bounce one of the decks artifacts to put one from hand into play. If she wasn't wildly bugged to, well, no describing it you have to see it, but if she was actually used properly I'd make a really cool Meteorite deck using this base shell. The idea would be to bounce soething to get Meteorite into play, and then bounce the Meteorite up and down for damage, would be quite cool. Shame she's unusable. Master Artificer I think she's called, even looks like the seer.


--- Minor

Merfolk Shaman | Open
I just gave him back another Machette and 2 Steal Artifact. Gotta plant those around low-level blue guys so the blue player might get them to deal with all the equipment. He had Carry Away, but this hits other artifacts, too (although now that I look at it I'm not really using many ATM).

He also probably needs more work than that, but for now this. I might check him out soon after the whole bundle is out.


--- Sorta Minor

Warlock | Open
I replaced some similar-looking stuff with these:

.12163 3 Death's Caress - Instead of Liturgy of blood.

.13467 4 Insatiable Harpy - Instead of 3 Bloodhunter Bat (witch got that one), and 1 Daggerdrome Imp (they were messing with Exalted)

.12596 2 Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis - for 2 Daggerdrome Imp. Not sure if the deck can reliably play it, or how it works out, tbh.

Also 1 more swamp for 26 lands. But no Night's Whisper or mana stones or card draw of any kind, no flying defenses to speak off, a theme based on an experimental implementation, too expensive removal and all that.

How the mighty have fallen.

Still has a zany scheme with unblockable buggers going on, so shouldn't lose every match, but he'll probably need more seeing to.


--- Finalized, for now:

Forest Dragon | Open
.8962 4 Llanowar Reborn
.91 19 Forest
.285 4 Wild Growth
.11001 4 Nest Invader
.10973 4 Kozilek's Predator
.40 4 Cockatrice
.7258 4 Jugan, the Rising Star
.10942 4 Growth Spasm
.1243 4 Harmonize
.7515 3 Matsu-Tribe Sniper

Put in the Eldrazi, and went with:

.13489 3 Nessian Asp - should have he same basic effect as thicket basilisk (lure isn't in), except it has both more damage and is a manasing for all the little tokens that otherwise wouldn't do much. Also, monstrous is built-in pump for the sake of "incentivize the AI to attack", so it might be more offensive with this than it usually is with creatures. Err, it's also stonking huge, it's like Giant Spider meets Force of Nature meets AI might play it like it's supposed to.

.11530 3 Spine of Ish Sah - I went with this intead of Desert Twister. It's kinda on flavor somewhat, it's a bit more expensive, but the cool thing is that it's something that can be cast using nothing but the little twerps.

The deck might be a bit too backloaded now, and lacks a clear win condition. But it's so open ended in theory that as soon as more of those are available (so that I don't have to reuse the same ones between decks in the same color), one of those will find it's way in.

Hope it works. I mean, it's bound to work at least better than it used to. I just mean well enough or tier 4.


--- NEW

Saltem Tor | Open
.266 4 Volcanic Island
.252 4 Tropical Island
.241 4 Taiga
.14273 4 Frontier Bivouac
.91 3 Forest
.164 3 Mountain
.126 3 Island

I gave the Djinns alpha duals again. It made decks which the AI couldn't play at all work in an instant.

This one is pretty much just a big wheel of cheeze, and if it doesn't end up needing to be toned down I'd be amazed. If we're stuck with alpha duals, I might also give him an actual theme, too, at one point. Apart from the current one.

.14367 4 Savage Knuckleblade
.5232 3 Flametongue Kavu
.154 3 Mahamoti Djinn

Those three clowns are in, it's the "blue djinn".

.11001 4 Nest Invader
.10973 4 Kozilek's Predator
.10942 3 Growth Spasm

This I lifted from the Forest Dragon. I suppose I should thank Korath for fixing the misflagging of the little buggers sacrificing. As long as you don't have an actual concrete plan going on with them they're quite fine (a few more kinks with blocking occasionally).

.4046 2 Rancor - To make non-ferocious stuff ferocious. There's probably a more intelligent way to go about this.

.14622 3 Shamanic Revelation - If this hits with a bunch of little dorks on board, and also any number of big dorks, you're probably in big trouble. Might be worth putting Awakening Zone in instead of Growth Spasm, but then again Growth Spasm is mana fixing, too.

.14224 3 Barrage of Boulders - the other ferocious thing, it's a "play card - win game", cheapshot because I've had it with this deck (and trying to get decks full of ground troops to work) for now.

So much so that I just slapped these two in:

.1552 3 Electrolyze
.12962 3 Ground Assault

And now the deck is likely way too brutal for it's tier (in theory).

I could take it in other directions, but since Eldrazi spawners now work somewhat reliably I have to decide whether to spam them or only really keep them handy for emergencies.


--- Nerfs

Alt-A-Kesh | Open
.14339 3 Opulent Palace
.12 4 Bayou
.258 4 Underground Sea
.252 4 Tropical Island
.91 3 Forest
.126 3 Island
.239 3 Swamp

Same thing, reverted the manabase back.

.5752 4 Werebear
.5873 3 Seton's Scout
.416 3 Erhnam Djinn
.5518 3 Childhood Horror
.14636 4 Sultai Skullkeeper

That's the same as it was. Too many cheap bug buggers, but most of them are ground troops, and thus a bit useless.

.13353 3 Trained Condor - This guy is new. I hope he works, as that would make him very valuable in several places.

.5593 3 Krosan Avenger - He's a nerf of something or the other. The Key here is that he has trample, and later regeneration, but the trample can, if he lives, be completely silly with:

.14562 3 Grave Strength - Which can either do nothing (but get treshold) or kill you stone dead depending on when it's cast and on what. That's not up to the AI it's the card, it works like that.

.14223 2 Awaken the Bear - And I need to find room for more of these.

.13139 2 Deadbridge Chant - This is a semi-failsafe, win conditiony kind of thing.

.13145 4 Drown in Filth - this is either a kill, self mill, or both.

.14612 2 Return to the Earth - and this does what it does, ofc.


Not happy with the deck currently, but it's like that with nerfs, it just needs more testing to see what's going on and whether the nerf worked.


--- Nothing

Queltosh got nothing. No real data, not even from my offline guys. Elusive ole djinn. He'll need looking into, but obviously not now.

---

And I thought I was done with Thought Invoker, but while I was testing the Seer it turned out Azami, Lady of Scrolls can (and will) cause a deck to go completely haywire with drawing cards and tapping down wizards, so I'll look into it tommorrow (It'll likely all be done by tommorrow, if not I'll slap some temporary solutions and do them properly "post-patch").
Attachments
6packwdjinn.rar
(1.89 KiB) Downloaded 114 times
---

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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby Thesaguy » 17 Dec 2015, 16:53

lujo wrote:@Thesaguy: I'm glad to hear it, but can I have just one more day to make sure I've hacked the exe properly, that the ini doesn't have mistakes in it (it had on my last run, I didn't get around to fixing that) and possibly even wrap up? Because current status is:

Sea Dragon, Goblin Lord, Thought Invoker, High Priest, Winged Stallion and Centaur Warchif, the rest I can polish and update on the fly, but I can't send you those in the state they're in and their previous state got most of them to be flagged as RED in my list.

Everything else can at least use testing, although do be warned - I tried to make the decks win, which often means that I had to give the AI stuff I wouldn't have otherwise given it. So it might be more frustrating than it was he first time around (because there were way more disfunctional decks the first time around).

The more feedback, the faster we nail the really problematic ones. I'll upload the full package sometimes tommorrow, with at least thrown togather versions of the missing decks. (Some of them are nearly there, too).

I'm sorry to have kept you waiting, I'm very glad you're offering to help, but I don't want to mess you up even more than saddling you with so many undertested decks to begin with.

ALSO: The ETA for the next patch is just unknown to me, it not necessarily far off or anything. Korath is working full steam on Manalink and the ETA for that, I think, don't qoute me on it, is between Christmass and New Year, so what might happen (again, how could I know?) is that Shandalar gets a Nomad's Bazaar 2 bug-fix patch with everything else already done released at the same time. But again, that's just speculation.

I'd even not write up the decks I've done today, but I'm spent and this relaxes me. :(

Extension Granted! :lol:

But in all seriousness, I am looking forward playing a campaign using your decks.
Thanks for all your effort tweaking the decks.
Can't wait until multi-deck selection is possible.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby stassy » 18 Dec 2015, 05:51

lujo> My feedback is for your latest 10deck archive (and creatures deck from your latest old posts not in 10deck).

Unless player rely on cheap nuke or broken deck, mid to top tier creatures will usually (try to) zoo overwhelm him by T5 (but the mill one which play right).

They have early thread creatures removal, but few of them actually use them against indirect damage cards (Disenchant vs Millstone, Counterspell/Spiketail Hatchling vs Glimpse the Unthinkable...)

So, about the sideboard, here my result:
By testing Shanaldar syntax deck creatures in mirror match like Original Warlock:

| Open
Warlock (B, 4th)

.239 23 Swamp
.55 4 Dark Ritual
.68 4 Drain Life
.113 4 Howl from Beyond
.117 4 Hypnotic Specter
.413 4 El-Hajjaj
.742 4 Pit Scorpion
.532 4 Tawnos' Wand
.93 2 Frozen Shade
.371 4 Murk Dwellers

.vNone
.242 1 Terror
.81 2 Fear
.vBlack
.246 3 Throne of Bone
.vBlue
.242 1 Terror
.81 2 Fear
.vGreen
.58 1 Deathgrip
.81 2 Fear
.vRed
.42 1 Conservator
.81 2 Fear
.vWhite
.100 1 Gloom
.81 2 Fear


There should be 3 Throne of Bone in AI deck, however there are not.

When faced against player deck like this one:
| Open
;testr
;
;User
;User E-Mail
;18/12/2015
;1
;4th Edition
;

.164 20 Mountain
.4315 20 Mountain Bandit


AI will use the .VNone instead of .VRed and will always carry and 1 Terror and 2 Fear regardless of the mono deck it's against.

If using the above deck as AI, like this:
| Open
;testr
;
;User
;User E-Mail
;18/12/2015
;1
;4th Edition
;

.164 20 Mountain
.4315 20 Mountain Bandit

.vNone
.242 1 Terror
.81 2 Fear
.vBlack
.246 3 Throne of Bone
.vBlue
.242 1 Terror
.81 2 Fear
.vGreen
.58 1 Deathgrip
.81 2 Fear
.vRed
.42 1 Conservator
.81 2 Fear
.vWhite
.100 1 Gloom
.81 2 Fear

in mirror it will do the same, always loading the .VNone cards (so Shandalar syntax aka creature name in line 1 does not seems to matter)

If I remove the .VNone cards/line, the AI will not use the others sideboard available at all
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 18 Dec 2015, 06:12

@Stassy: Thanks a lot for that! I'll reply to you properly, I just have to get some sleep first.

Here's the full folder, with High Priest and Thought Invoker still a mess (will get them done tommorrow I hope), and Goblin Lord is a bit of a joke. I'll write it up tomorrow.

There's a newely hacked exe and a somewhat sorted out ini in the bundle, and my instructions.

The exe has been just hacked to remove invis from Troll Shaman and Conjurer, remove mind control from Priestess and Mind Stealer and move all the friendly-color 2color enemies in the lower tier and the enemy color ones in the higher tier. I hope. Do let me know if this doesn't work.

Read the instructions, especially if this is your first time (they're rambling I'll make proper ones when I wake up, I'm a zombie).

Decks are raw and probably murderous right now, and some are rushed.

Here's the decklists though, can't resist. One thing - whishlist Gallantry. I'm not kidding. Whishlist any instant that only works on blocking creatures (and also only blocked creatures). One of those made a lot of things possible.

--- New

Winged Stallion | Open
.1847 4 Adarkar Wastes
.1713 4 Hallowed Fountain
.126 7 Island
.188 8 Plains

.161 3 Mesa Pegasus
.13400 4 Cavalry Pegasus

The Pegasi are utility. The way the AI attacks an blocks generally works if it has banding. Which is a nice illustration of how brutally strong banding really is.

.13439 4 Favored Hoplite - The main guy.
.12837 3 Stealer of Secrets - The other main guy.

Both are humans, so that the Cavalry Pegasus can help them.

.1364 3 Serra Sphinx - The overkill / failsafe, if the deck is too brutal or dependent on it, should go out in favor of something else that's blue.

.10039 3 Ranger of Eos - This is, believe it or not, white card draw. Since the deck has to be loaded with non-creature things, it can have bad hands with things that interact with creatures but no creatures. This guy solves that to a degree, but might be overkill. Err, that's too bad because there's nothing else I can really do. He could and probably should go into any deck with white that wants to not run out of steam.

.14282 1 Herald of Anafenza - Something besides the Favorite Hoplite for the ranger to fetch.

.13694 4 Ephara's Enlightenment - This is what the deck is supposed to cast over and over on the non-flying guys. It makes them bigger, and it also gives flying, so that the AI might even attack with them.

.12070 2 Silver-Inlaid Dagger - This is some more pump. It doesn't help that much unless the AI is allready winning, to be honest, because it "only" provides (hilariously huge and completely overkill) bonuses to power, which means you'll often see the AI equip it on something and just sit there because that something can be blocked and die.

.9986 2 Hindering Light - This is (un) surprisingly useful.
.8187 4 Condemn - This is a Swords to Plowshares, because the deck suffered hard from the blocking problem. Most of it's creatures were small and the AI would just throw them away on gang-blocks.

.9627 4 Plumeveil - And before I added this the deck couldn't work at all, because of the blocking problems. The AI needed something insanely huge to block with / discourage attacking. Because none of it's other dudes would attack into anything bigger, and would all suicide when it blocks, leaving it with no creatures and a hand (and library) full of stuff that needs creatures on board to work.


So, how does it work? It sticks some guys down, and makes them big with Ephara's Enlightenment, then makes them fly FTW, that's the general idea. Or if the air stalls it just swarms you eventually. It wouldn't be too brutal if the AI was any good, so that it didn't have to have things that flat out kill you if you attack to keep it from throwing the game.

Ranger of Eos was very important, because it looked like something that could help the Cantaur Warchief to finally work. It's overkill, sure, but with all the problems I had to go there.

That's a big problem with this "patch". I gave the AI what it wants too often, and what it wants boils down to overwhelming advantage in everything it ever does or it does nothing. If something attacks it it wants to be able to block with whatever, kill what's attacking and have all it's dudes live. If it has to attack it has to always not lose what it's attacking with, or completely ignore any creatures the player has (invalidating most of the players cards). It makes so many deep-level mistakes all the time that if you want to "help" it you have to make it still be able to win despite them, and that probably means most decks will need nerfing.

The question is - can they even be nerfed? You take the insane stuff away from the AI, it just sits there hopelessly and only beats you if you have a rather bad hand.


--- New Centaur Warchief, I think it even works!

Centaur Warchief | Open
.1708 4 Sacred Foundry
.188 8 Plains
.164 7 Mountain
.5334 4 Battlefield Forge

.10039 2 Ranger of Eos - To draw it cards. In these colors, this is what you have to do.

.10928 4 Flame Slash - To kill your dudes.

.12951 4 Furious Resistance - THIS. This made it work. If you give the AI a weenie deck without a way to make all the weenies permanently fat (think Crusader), it won't attack with them as soon as you have a single blocker that can kill one of them. Since thery're weenies this is very easy to achieve, and it's not like it won't do the same with fat stuff, it's just easier for it to try to get enough to alpha strike you around your blockers.

But it'll sit there and as soon as you attack throw all it's cards away on gang-blocks. And if it does that, then all it's cards that interact with creatures, which you need to have if you want them to ever attack, become dead cards. Unless it has this thing in hand, in which case it'll only lose one guy if you have a pump, possibly mess you up, and likely be able to counterattack.

This is a moronic solution to a moronic problem, but there you have it, it seems to work. Regular pump doesn't work, as it throws it away offensively, but this sort of thing, that you'll never see in constructed decks otherwise, manages to be exactly what's needed.

.6698 4 Leonin Den-Guard
.10789 4 Kitesail Apprentice
.1235 4 Skyknight Legionnaire
.6627 4 Bonesplitter

Those are the guys. And their pump.

.7130 2 Steelshaper's Gift - This is etra Bonesplitter . The deck needs it's equipment, and there's no room for it what with everything else the AI needs not to sabotage itself to death, and this takes a card out of the library when played, which is nice.

.9087 2 Brion Stoutarm - This guy stuck around in the deck because before I figured Furious Resistance out he wasn't a problem. This is another good clue about how utterly terrible the AI is, because as soon as I managed to trick it into not automatically sabotaging the game, this guy became waaaaaay too strong as it could now actually be used. Not sure if I should keep him around, he can throw some big crap at you.

.9734 3 Archon of Justice - This guy might stick around, I like him.

.10938 3 Goblin Tunneler - WUT? Yes, you'd think the deck works now that the AI won't always feed you all it's attackers, but this is the AI we're talking about, and that still means his dudes have to be unblockable in order to attack. The funny thing is that it CAN actually achieve this occasionally - move the equipment of one guy, make him unblockable, then re-equip him, and then you're attacked by a rather huge unblockable guy.

It looks quite impressive when it happens, you'd just rush off to stick it into the "AI good moves" thread. Except it's a huge dick move which is only available to the AI because that's pretty much all it could do. Very unfun to play against because it means that the AI can only play against you if all your creatures are effectively not there.

.5816 1 Grim Lavamancer - And, well, since it's card draw is Ranger of Eos, it does need something to fetch with him. For some reason I gave him this guy, just to see what happens.

It's highly probably way too brutal to play against, but it's a quite high-level opponent, so it might be ok. Meh, who am I kidding, if it works like it's supposed to (seemed to during testing often enough), it's probably going to be a nightmare to play against.


--- New Hydra! Now with 100% more Vampires!

Hydra | Open
Ha-hah!

They said it could be anything, so I made it a silly "Red Deck Wins" sort of thing.

.164 23 Mountain
.10700 1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

.12091 4 Stromkirk Noble
.12366 4 Falkenrath Exterminator
.12229 4 Markov Blademaster
.11943 4 Falkenrath Marauders

All those guys grow if they go through. If Falkenrath Exterminator grows, bad things happen. Markov Blademaster grows very fast. Falkenrath Marauders fly. They can all get out of hand easily.

.4021 4 Molten Hydra - This thing can hog all the mana, and can occasionally get quite misplayed (meaning it dumps all the mana into it instead of playing other things), but then other times it's played fine. It's a very, very, very strong card, btw.

.10928 4 Flame Slash - Obligatory overly-efficient removal for when it's 3AM and you really don't want to spend hours on finding which one doesn't mess the deck up.
.12951 3 Furious Resistance - Maybe too few, not sure why only 3. As with any deck with non-unblockable weenies (and that's the only way to make a red deck by design), if these things aren't in you just plop a blocker down, attack, and "Lure" all it's dudes off the board. With this - no you don't. When it has it in hand. So maybe I should stick one more in? The problem is that the deck shouldn't need a card for this, and if there's 4 of them it gets bad hands and the card itself would never be played in a deck like this in a million years. But it's the sole reason you can even make a deck like this in Shandalar currently, so it's there.

I had 3-4 different variants for the next bunch of cards, but the deck seemed to work a smidge (sarcasm) too well, so I kinda went with this:

.12609 2 Ring of Valkas - For when it's dudes are just sitting there because they can't attack. Mad sinergy with Falkenrather Exterminator . I've tried to use this card in every red deck I've made so far and this is the only deck where it ammounted to anything. Think of it as an experiment.

.5897 2 Violent Eruption - Um, why not? The deck kinda had only Flame Slash to really remove stuff off the board and do damage, and the AI being the AI it has to have a way to completely invalidade your creatures in order to even consider attacking, so it was either this or flat out making his guys ublockable.

.5433 2 Smash - I added this just to nerf it, while at the same time giving it something to kill moxes with. I wasn't happy with pure artifact removal in red decks during testing, they can't afford dead cards, especially for all the ways the AI screws up their main mechanics.

.11856 3 Tectonic Rift - Because either it's dudes are unblockable or it won't play. Went with this, but it might not be the right call.


So it works like what you can immagine. This sort of deck generally just runs weenies and burn, so it might fail in practice, but varous builds worked pleasantly well during testing. I'm kida hopeful.


The High Priest, Sea Dragon and Thought Invoker are works in progress ATM.

Also, I wasted so much time with trying to get goblins to work that I got fed up and went with this lolzy thing:

Goblin Warlord | Open
.1781 2 Goblin Chirurgeon - And people thought Welding Jar was annoying. Fallen Empires were a hell of dr... I mean set.
.10928 4 Flame Slash
.164 14 Mountain
.12951 3 Furious Resistance
.6850 4 Arcbound Ravager
.2332 4 Phyrexian War Beast
.6440 3 Skirk Outrider
.1218 4 Great Furnace
.11504 4 Piston Sledge
.10937 3 Goblin Arsonist
.6627 2 Bonesplitter
.8895 3 Bloodshot Trainee
.4147 3 Junk Diver
.5696 3 Shower of Coals
.6870 4 Darksteel Citadel

But there's no sane way to make goblins work, because of too many reasons, which after days of it ended up with me trying to make a goblin + beast deck with Skirk Outrider. Don't ask.

Then the red beasts were all kinda unwieldly and mutually incompatible, which means I had to use artifact beasts. Then Arcbound Ravager was a beast.

Then I remembered that the Goblin Chriurgeon is the broken ancestor of Welding Jar , the silent hero of Ravager Affinity. Serious noone ever mentions Welding Jar, but I never ever had issues with Affinity without that thing.

So I though, I can't make affinity, but I can sure make something silly with it, so I did. This is a sligtly eperimental build, there's a more solid one over here, but that one is a mite too solid, and this one probably needs some polishing (was too early in the late night).

You got to see it in action (if the Ravager doesn't just eat all the lands madly) to see how it works. If it fails, do tell me I think I know what to do.

Oh, and it's brutally vulnerable to artifact removal, just saying.


Anywho, I'm sticking Furious Resistance into everything with red for a while. You know how the way AI blocks gives all the players creatures a built in "lure" or "provoke" and completely destroys the game in the process? Not if you stick something like that in. Well, it's a very stupid and terrible "solution", but the problem is so huge that that stupid cards means red = playable all on it's own :lol:

Now to get Gallantry in and make white playable for the AI. I know there's Righteousness, but Gallantry replaces itself in the hand and doesn't give +7/+7 for W. I was struggling with these decks for ages - noticed that card, bam, decks a plenty! (Plumeveil plays "Cockatrice" for the Stallion, before I remembered it that deck couldn't possibly work as the AI would gang-block all it's stuff away all the time, but it's the same principle).

Enjoy!
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 18 Dec 2015, 17:25

Terribly sorry, I uploaded the manalink decks instead of the Shandlar ones by mistake, reuploaded. Shouldn't be doing anything so early in the morning #-o

---

stassy wrote:lujo> Unless player rely on cheap nuke or broken deck, mid to top tier creatures will usually (try to) zoo overwhelm him by T5 (but the mill one which play right).
Is it too overwhelming? :( Like, unplayable overwhelming? I do have to nerf a lot of stuff, because I just wanted them all to work this time around, and haven't tested them in the actual game yet.

What do you mean, "the mill one play right"?

stassy wrote:They have early thread creatures removal, but few of them actually use them against indirect damage cards (Disenchant vs Millstone, Counterspell/Spiketail Hatchling vs Glimpse the Unthinkable...)
I've also noticed the AI won't counter card draw or land destruction. Possibly some other things, too. But I can't really do anything about that, I think that's more the sort of thing to talk to Korath about.

Also, that's the thing with mill (and other such things), it's something that exists in another dimension, so if you code the AI to play perfectly against regular decks it can still be complitely "blind" to mill. It's like how you can have a player deck that destroys everything (or has a chance), but then you run into Shapeshifter and you just drop dead on the spot.

---

About the sideboard:

Are you using infinite duels? Or proper Shandalar?

Because the Infinite duels are using Arzakon, and he might have a different code for sideboarding (he has no ante, for example). In infinite duels it doesn't sideboard at all, the Archangel is the only Shandalar deck in my pack which has a sideboard and in infinite duels it always has the same angel.

---

I also wrote the deck up in the spoilers in the previous post. You can grab the full bundle and, er, enjoy it if it's not too brutal. Probably is.
---

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Leave feedback on particular decks here: Google doc
Ask for instructions, give feedback and complaints here: Thread
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby stassy » 18 Dec 2015, 21:07

I tested them on both Shandalar gauntlet and campaign, but as you said your current setting is gauntlet flavored, with 20 starting life and no game malus/bonus.

In campaign, until my main deck and counterpick decks are completed I usually load a nuke deck in order to dispatch quickly the low/mid tier creatures, so their combo rarely take off.

In mid to top tier, without any broken deck (hexproof, mill, mox & co)and getting maluses (added creatures, mirror match, random deck...) the encounter is considered lost if I let the AI by T5 because the intended combo is fired off (evolve, banding/flying, shifting sky+paladin, tribal...), so it's either full win or full lose.

The Ally mill deck is playing "right" for me, because it's an autopilot mill control ally and the AI do not zerg because of its low power attack creatures and rely on the mill effect to win. Too bad the AI cannot play well turbofog deck, though for some time in Manalink it was efficient with a RTR Jace Control deck.

My tests for sideboard were gauntlet only, but I don't think the color of the creature affect the sideboard, I though that the term was referred as ".VersusColor" so loading a specific card against a specific color...I will test it again in campaign but I think I tested it before in RT1 with no avail.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby Thesaguy » 19 Dec 2015, 00:40

Thanks Lujo,

I was thinking you should add a version number to your decks (as a comment in the deck), or at least to the download bundle. So once could better keep track of QC and reporting.
Looking forward to giving these a test.

Thanks again.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 19 Dec 2015, 05:00

Thanks Thesaguy,

that's a really good idea. I think I'll do more than that. How about I set up a google doc or something and put it in my sig where we can write down comments for each deck as they come to mind? When a deck turns out too brutal or something doesn't work someone can just put it in there?

---

Stassy,

Hmmm, it's biased towards gauntlet because that's the only testing the new decks got, but I need them tested in shandalar so I can adjust them. I loaded up a game just for that and quickly found out that I've made enchantress and priestess way too strong.

I find the whole "inject deck into Shandalar" thing really strange. If you inject a deck which lets you easily beat the early guys, and then you have a deck which you want to play, why not inject the other deck right away, or why not just play gauntlet?

Ok, so do you mean that the opponents that get to play their deck out usually win by turn 5? There's no "combo" decks in the pool, combo kills you on turns 1-to-4 and is fully "autopilot", most of the decks are regular creature decks.

It's possible that I made the decks too strong, for example, rigt now I'm certain I made the priestess and the enchantress too strong. But they aren't trying to zerg anyone, it's just how any creature deck works. The origial Shandalar decks mostly did noting much and these just have a plan and a creature or two at every casting cost.

Please don't take it the wrong way. I'm sure the decks are too strong because the pool is loaded with too good cards and the AI is somewhat incapable of using cards which aren't at least a bit above the power curve. And I resorted to cheap solutions and was eperimenting with stuff. But it sounds like the problem is that the AI suddenly has decks it can actually play. I might be wrong, though. It might be that you're just playing someting that's very vulnerable to creature decks, too.

But it sounds strange that the ally mill deck would play "right". Most people would complain that that one is difficult to play against. If the AI could play turbo-fog, noone could play against that - you'd never be able to do anything with creatures against it. It sounds really strange that it would be something someone would preffer the AI playing - there's so little you could do against it if it was played right.

Heck, you don't need much at all to make turbo-fog, you only need Crucible of Worlds and Constant Mists. Turbo Fog, no combat damage ever. Who would prefer to play against that? Why?

Please don't be angry at me because I said this, I'm really puzzled, honestly :(

--- Some thoughts on the current Enchantress (A long nerfing diary)

Trouble with nerfing enchantress | Open
Ok, so I played agaist the Enchantress a bit in Shandalar. I had a very strong pool wich beat up Sorceress, Sorcerer, Goblin Lord, Druid and some other guys. Red-Green-Blue , and I landed 2 Flames of the Firebrand, 2 Faerie Invaders, Merfolk Looter, and figting te red guys got me 2 Lightning Bolts and 2 Shower of Coals. Also a Plated Spider , who's actually a brutal card all in all.

But the Enchantress beat me up every time, but I don't know if I can "fix" the problem withtout making her completely harmless again. Here's why:

She has 4 X Scryb Sprites and 3 X Uktabi Faerie . And she just puts an aura on one of them and kills you, because you can't block them and there's an aura on them and it kills you. But those are her only fliers, if I take them away, what I give her instead won't attack and probably won't be able to block fliers! So she'll just sit tere doing noting.

Then the other problem is that she has Wild Growth and Yavimaya Enchantress. So if you deal with the faeries, there's a rather large enchantress that you can't deal with and she keeps growing. I can't give her Llanowar Elves, because if the AI will play them on turn 1, put an aura on them turn 2 (spend the wole turn 2 to do it), and then you'll put a blocker out and they will sit there doing nothing, and so will the Yavimaya Enchantress.

But if you deal with all of that somewhat, she still as Harmonize, so she draws some more junk and you've spent what you have on trying to keep alive. I could take that away from her, but then if she draws only creatures - they're too small and she'll lose them on gang-blocking, and if she draws only enchantments they don't do anything without creatures, so she'll be completely harmless.

And, err, she's obviously too strong, because I gave her a 1/1 flier for G, a 1/1 for 1G, a 2/2 up to 4/4 for 2G, a mana source for G, 2 common auras and a green card draw spell. My Shandalar random deck looks scarier than that on paper.

I'm not sure how to nerf her, to be honest.

- Do I Make Scryb Sprites something that costs 2?
- I can't change Yavimaya Enchantress - all the other encantressess are stronger when used rigt, and most often don't get used right at all and are pointless.
- Is the Wild Growth the problem? It makes the Enchantress bigger, it might be, I could give her a more expensive ramp spell?
- Are the Aura's a problem? They're VERY good at what they do, but they were cosen because they help the AI attack (one has flash and one sacrifices itself for pump), most other auras I could give her are actually stronger!
- Do I take away her Harmonize? It's making her refill to easily, but she's so uneven by design that she's very likely to draw hands that don't do anything meaningful at all before turn 5-6 without it!

Hmmm. What to do, what to do...

I think the main issue is, besides low lives, that the enemies are playing 60 card decks, so it's easy to draw copies of efficient cards. If you want the AI to draw a faerie or two in the early turns (and do anything) you have to give it 7-8. But that means that if you kill a faerie or two it's easy for the AI to get more. If you want the AI to draw anything reliably, you risk the AI drawing any of it in overwhelming quanitity. And if you don't give the AI efficient cards - it doesn't do anyting...


And I've tried nerfing anything and what happens is:

Some attempts to nerf it | Open
- If you take away wild growth, the deck doesn't work at all. It just gets mana screwed all the time.
- If you take away Scryb Sprites and put in something that doesn't fly it doesn't work at all, because it just sits there.
- If you do the same and give it a more expensive faerie, it's either too slow, or the same ting happens, that faerie has a Feral Invocation on it at turn 3 and you're boned.
- If you try anything with Fertile Ground instead of Wild Growth, faeries get played instead if the AI can choose and this makes the deck never play the Fertile Ground, but instead end up with a lot of puny faeries and no mana.
- If you don't take out Wild Growth, wich you can't, it makes Yavimaya Enchantress effortlessly huge. If you want the deck to use Fertile Growth, you can't give it a 1 drop or a 2 drop (pretty much).
- If you give if Pixie Queen, the deck just doesn't use it (probably something to do with all the flying bugs in NB1).

So...

I could in theory give it Fertile Ground and nothing to do on turns 1 and 2 except for it. Then if it doesn't draw Fertile Growth or a tird land it's screwed.

What green could play on turns 1 or 2 instead of creatures, ramp or stuff that requires creatures on board I have no idea.

Then it would have 4 mana on turn 3 in the best scenario, which it doesn't need, as it's main (and currently only guys) cost 3 mana.

I could take it's Harmonize away, I suppose, and give it something like Lay of the Land, except that's a bit useless, but it could proof it against mana screw somewhat. It still has noting to do on turns 1-2 and later it can't play much more than 1 spell per turn until pretty much turns 5-6. And it can't attack with anything.

I could give it a spider of some sort for turn 4 (or 3 with Fertile Ground), but that would be a 2/4 wich would never really attack (or if it did it would be so aura'd up it'd never die).

So in theory:

1cc Lay of the Land

2cc Fertile Ground

3cc Yavimaya Enchantress
3cc Oakheart Dryads

4 cc ???

5 cc Centaur Glade

6 cc Roughshod Mentor

For when creatures are on the board:

Briar Shield
Feral Invocation

And it's slow as hell, has little to none air defense (well, the 4 cc thing could be something with reach), and no real way to attack (AI issues) unless the Enchantress gets huge and Tramply.

If what I give her for 4 cc gets played over the enchantress, it's at least not going to be effortlessly offensive (but it's going to be effortlessly defensive), so more room to breath. The problem is if with 5 mana the AI prioritizes Centaur Glade over actual creatures, which might happen. The glade tokens choke up the ground, but are only really tere for if the game goes long.

Someting like that? Let's see.


Ok, this kinda-sorta looks promising:

Nerfed Enchantress? | Open
.91 24 Forest - Too many?

.1194 4 Yavimaya Enchantress - Too strong?
.13941 4 Oakheart Dryads - Too handy?

.13441 3 Feral Invocation - Too "works?"
.2949 3 Briar Shield - Same?

.1490 2 Centaur Glade - Too slow? Does too little?

.9655 3 Roughshod Mentor - Too good w Encanterss? How to make the Enchantress attack otherwise?

But those are all the same as they were.

.1034 4 Fertile Ground - Wild growth direct nerf, made me take all the faeries out, but they were too damned fast and swarmy with the pump.

.1530 4 Lay of the Land - This replaced Harmonize . That's an enormous step down in power and resilience. Mana flood's a thing now (altough this does reduce the no. of forests left in the deck after it's played), and proofs vs. mana screw somewhat (not foolproof). The deck can now get stuck with nothing to do after you've dealt with it's initial hand, wich means it's a useless pile of garbage painted to look like a mtg deck, much like most of the original decks were.

That's also why decks, just regular, common, average decks with creatures in them kill people in 5 turns unless you resist. Decks wich don't have card draw either kill you with their intital 12-13 cards or can't and lose. That's why it's "if you don't have removal you're in trouble". It's like that even in drafts. Removal is the first thing that gets drafted from boosters. If a creature deck doesn't have a plan that works out in the first 5-6 turns vs no resistance it's terrible. It's also hard to make.

.13957 4 Renowned Weaver - I decided to give te deck a 1 drop after all. Isn't evasive, and can probably mess up, but should sinergize with the enchantress and the dryads.

.8630 4 Penumbra Spider - Well, why not start with the cheeze? The deck is light on creatures and light on offense, and Harmonize is out, so why not give the deck some resilience?

Eh, I hate the 2/4 4cc Reach creatures, for good reason. This gets down on turn 3 - what can you do? You can't attack, and if the AI buffs it, you can't kill it... The deck is so nerfed and passive right now that I tink i needs it's cheat to stick when it plays it.

.9954 1 Drumhunter - I had a slot open so I stuck this guy in. 3cc was full, 5cc has only bombs and non-evasive stuff, I can't put in anything at 1 and 2 cc (although I did see some things that looked kinda interesting). He can only trigger off Roughshod Mentor, a large enchantress and something buffed with 2 enchantments, but he CAN provide mana.

Now to see if this actually did the trick and if I didn't accidentally end up not nerfing it enough, or even nerfing the wrong tings, or if I did everyting right but the whole Enchantress + Roughshod Mentor thing is just retarded.

At least I won't be getting murdered by Scryb Sprites game after game.

The deck doesn't have a clear way to win tough. And it has so many things that are useless if drawn late it's not even funny.

Eh, you can't make a passable creature deck that doesn't kill you in 5 turns in a 20 life format, and the idea that you can make one wich doesn't kill you in a below 20 format is... nonsense. If it can't do it, it can't survive, either, it would have to be so defensive that you can't possibly beat it. As soon as you have board wipe in your deck a deck with no Harmonize has no chance. And if you don't have board wipe, a deck with Harmonize will just draw more treats after you deal with it's initial ones. It has to run that. But if the board is clean and all the cards have been played and you're both topdecking, a Harmonize is an Ancestral Recall .

There's also a chance it's still too strong. :lol: If it sits behind a spider and cranks out tokens and makes the enchantress huge, you can't really do much about it. The AI won't attack if it could lose a creature, but those enchantreses grow like mad nd spiders are very hard to get rid of.


Nope. Didn't work. Now there's no faeries to kill me before it gets to do anyting else (which is good), but I'm still looking at 6/6 Enchantreses on turn 3 and 8/8 ones on turn 4 (which is obviously bad). The funny thing is that I got to play Beastmaster against her, which is basically the same thing except everything is unblockable, and it won because it's dudes were faster... with 0 1 and 2 drops played, killed me turn 5. Played about 4 cards. And I had a 7/5 unblockable guy attacking on turn 3, too (because Aura Gnarlid is like Yavimaya Enchantress only even more stupid).

Err, maybe this wole patch needs way more testing by me before it's playable?

---

Anywho, if anyone's using the upload - this is the nerfed enchantress. It's actually nerfed, this is less eplosive than the last one, ecept it's still too damned good:

A post testing analysis of that up there | Open
.91 24 Forest - Er, ok.
.1530 4 Lay of the Land - Also ok.
.1034 4 Fertile Ground - Um, it doesn't really kill you.

Those I'm not worried about. Too much. But it's 32 mana sources, more than half of this deck is just lands. I could very easily make it a 40 card deck, and it would still be the same deck (and a huge pain in the ass), but there wouldn't be hands where it draws 3 Feral Invocations and sticks them all on the enchantress.

.13957 4 Renowned Weaver - Stronger than I tought.
.1194 4 Yavimaya Enchantress - Too damned strong.
.13941 4 Oakheart Dryads - Way too damned good.

Those are a problem, but if I take them out there's no deck. The weaver can trigger the Dryad, and then the Spider and the Dryad pump the Enchantress. If there's a Fertile Ground out, she's 6/6 (+1/+1 every time an enchantment is played so even bigger.)

The stupid thing is that the deck probably folds to Tranquility. And just straigt up black/white/x removal puts the whole scheme out. But if you don't draw it r have it... can this be played against?

.13441 3 Feral Invocation
.2949 3 Briar Shield

Oh, these also pump the damned things very well.

.1490 2 Centaur Glade - Not sure if it's a problem.
.9655 3 Roughshod Mentor - It's a problem. Makes the Enchantress trample. But the point is to make the centaurs from the glade trample. Eh. First I got to figure the whole enchantress bussiness out before I can worry about this guy.

.8630 4 Penumbra Spider - Giant Spider instead? Anyone?

.9954 1 Drumhunter - He's kinda all alone so I haven't had him come up.

And if reduce the obscene and probably unnecessary number of lands - wth do I put in that doesn't make it stronger?


Also - fun fact about Wild Growth. If you play it on turn 2 it's a Mox Emerald. So the Wild Growth -> Fertile Ground was actually a huge nerf all on it's own. But maybe I should just get rid of that sort of thing all togather from this kind of deck? To keep the Enchantress from growing too fast too reliably?
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 19 Dec 2015, 19:42

Ok, and here's a quickly thrown together Priestess with rebele. I don't know what I was thinking with the last one, honestly. You can try to play vs. the last one, but it's not going to be fun.

This one has:

Rebel Priestess | Open
.10576 4 Kabira Crossroads - gains it some life.
.188 20 Plains

.3668 4 Angelic Wall - Blocks up the air, I hope.
.11078 4 Wall of Omens - Blocks up the ground, I hope.

.4682 4 Defiant Falcon - He flies.
.4560 3 Ramosian Captain - He has first strike
.4561 3 Ramosian Commander - He blocks
.4565 3 Ramosian Sky Marshal - He also flies

.2799 3 Tithe - So it can maaaaybe sometimes use a rebel.
.8831 3 Rebuff the Wicked - So it can save it's dudes
.8899 3 Bound in Silence - Removal
.3713 3 Brilliant Halo - Pump & Evasion
.1894 3 Cooperation - Banding, to see if it helps with throwing it's dudes away on defense

This should be easier to play against than the last one (very much so). And there's certainly ways to develop it without it ending up too difficult to play against. I hope.
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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 20 Dec 2015, 09:22

OK, I put 2 folders in the dropbox and I think I shared it, can anyone check if that works? One contains the recent full deck upload (Decks v.02) and one currently contains nothing I'll put the newly tweaked ones there to slowly make up v.03). I'm inexperienced with file sharing so I don't know if I did it right. Or if there's a better way.

I made a google doc with all the deck names where folks can leave comments on individual decks. TBH, I wouldn't mind there being a deckpack suboforum where each serious deckpack would get's it's own sub with threads for individual decks. That would probably take too much space (IDK, don't murder me for suggesting it!).

Links are in my sig, let me know if they work or not, and also if anyone has a better idea what needs to be acessible for download (ini, exe, instructions) and how to organize it it would certainly be wellcome.

As I said, If I had a subforum to work with, I'd have one sticky with the info on how to download (and info on the current version, tips, instructions etc), and treads for individual decks to discuss them and see them evolve. Would be useful to have a place like that with previous versions so folks can back up easily when one particular deck is too difficult to handle etc.

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I've nerfed the Witch

Witch Nerf | Open
With the addition of Demon's Horn , Piranha Marsh and Bloodhunter Bat in v.02 she became v. hard to deal with. She can get a ton of life, and she can ping a lot of it off.

Another card on the watchlist is Cadaver Imp. With 3 of those and 2 Urborg Uprising it's quite difficult to take her dudes off the board.

So what I did was:

3 Slum Reaper -> 3 Predatory Nightstalker (For now. Se was curving out too well, the ting was a bit too big, and watever was sacrificed was too easy to bring back anyway)
1 Disfigure -> 1 Addle (To lower her removal count.)
3 Bloodhunter Bat -> 3 Millennial Gargoyle (it's really hard to find non-impactful on-flavor flying 4 drops, or even just 4 drops. The gargoyle doesn't do anything when it comes into play, is vulnerable to artifact hate and doesn't trigger Demon Horn, so I went with it.)

This now made it possible to beat her, but I'm not sure it's enough.


Btw, AI is very good with Disfigure. It's uses it as a combat trick instead of casting it before combat and then attacking as it does with some other stuff. As far as pump goes, this is great, becuase not only does it incentivese the AI to attack, but it also doesn't get wasted to deal damage if the creatures go through. It's a good card in general, too.

I got to remember to seed it around the pool more.

How do I upload this then? Trough the drop box or here? The current witch is a bit unbeatable witout it and I don't know if I've set up the dropbox right or clearly. Don't want to make it inacessible. I put it in te dropbox, just in case it works properly (in the "current" folder).

---

Dracur seems to be working out with the new lands, too. Haven't seen the other dragons yet. The sorcerer is much easier to play against if you're red (with a healthy ammount of burn) and the Sorceress kinda needs something more. (But I made both before I discovered Furious Resistance, so I might look into them again at one point). Goblin I need to smoot out a bit, he's not really getting anywere, and Hydra I've met once and I got vicious murdered because of a play mistake.

Strange, for the first time I don't feel sligtly stressed out in Shandalar (apart from when I run into a deck wich needs obvious tweaks, but then I go and do some). I use Arc Lightning and Flametongue Kavu and all that, but it kinda feels ok. Haven't met too many different enemies yet, so it might change.
---

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Re: Improved Shandalar General Playtesting & Feedback Thread

Postby lujo » 21 Dec 2015, 13:31

I'm thinking of ways to make the creature decks more insteresting. Give them something to do besides play creatures every turn, which doesn't end the game in 5 turns. A bit of a problem I'm having is that most of the cards in the pool are cards the player would put in a deck with the intention of killing the other guy. It's not just the pool, tough, there's, for example, a million (easy) ways to make a lot of mana by, say, turn 5 (or even earlier), but watever is done with that mana usually means the other guy just loses the game.

I'm also trying to reduce the number of decks wich knock you out with their turn 5 or 6 plays. I've been thinking a lot about what Stassy said from various angles. The "turbo fog" comment was particularly puzzling but I think I may have figured out what he was trying to say.

What I noticed with that in mind is that if enemies get to play their early game they wear the player out, and then when they play anything meaningful on turns 4-5-6 it easily seals the game for them.

It won't be easy to reduce this and turn it into something else but I'm interested in trying.

---

Meanwhile I've been making notes and tweaks as I play with the relaxing RUG deck.

The Undead Knight kind of lost it's theme with the previous round of nerfs and became a bit of a pushover, and the inital re-buff wasn't working and made him just boring, so I'm trying this for now:

Undead Knight w Discard teme | Open
.239 24 Swamp

.4271 4 Corrupt Court Official
.2422 3 Cadaverous Knight
.2702 4 Fallen Askari
.14590 3 Merciless Executioner
.971 3 Abyssal Specter
.12602 3 Public Execution

Those have been bumped in number and are pretty much in every version. The Flanking guys are quite strong, and will possibly be too strong when the AI gets a better grip on flanking eventually.

.11868 4 Wring Flesh - I liked what the AI did with Disfigure over at Witch, so I'm looking to see whether this gets used as a combat trick that makes it attack more. So it has this and Public Executuion sort of serving that purpose (Merciless Executioner might be overkill now).

And I decided to play into the whole cruelty theme with some discard but it also has a mechanical function:

.4739 3 Rackling - Something to do damage with and exploit a ground stall, or help break one.

.5612 4 Mind Burst - Anoter thing which doesn't look too intimidating but makes for a play with Rackling if the game stalls.

.3591 3 Brutal Nightstalker - He's not very intimidating, but helps out the Rackling and adds another body to the table.

.488 2 Cursed Rack - This is mostly flavor, I'll explain.


So the idea is that the AI can pressure you early on (if it's too much I can lose the Merciless Executioner or something), but you can stall it (especially since it doesn't do flanking math properly).

But you'll have a bit of a hard time because discard might force you to get rid of your late plays if played early on, and Rackling should force you to keep stuff in your hand instead of playing it. Meanwhile the AI can play it's stuff, and possibly owerwelm you (via Public Execution and Wring Flesh if they are used as combat enablers), or make you discard to get damaged by Rackling. Rackling was chosen over The Rack, because it's a creature and you can kill it.

Maybe there should be 4 Rackling, but then the AI could draw too many. IDK. If this is too strong I migth be able to achieve a similar effect with Extort, or even tone down the offense and back the Rackling up with it.

I'm curious about how it works out. From the pool perspective the problem is (with black generally) that there's no defensive fliers, so I can't really make a properly slow-rolling deck in a straigthforward way.


I've also did some necessary tweaks on the Goblin Lord:

Goblin Lord Tweaks | Open
For now I've just dumped the Junk Diver, Shower of Coals and Goblin Arsonist and added 4 Ornithopter , 4 Hordeling Outburst and 1 Goblin Chirurgeon . The deck needs someting on the board early on to stick the Piston Sledge onto, more gobbos to help regen the beasts (probably needs full 4 chirurgeons) and a flier to dump ravager counters on.

I ditched 2 Darksteel Citadel and added 3 Mountains. the deck was struggling with lands and the ravager was too happy to eat the ones it had.

It also wasn't working at all so do pick this tweak up. Not saying this one works, to be honest, but I hope it can be made to work. Trying to make goblins work is exhausting, this looks more fun.

I'm still keeping Bloodshot Trainee even though e was a last minute addition in place of Vulshok War Boar , to give the deck something to randomly mess you up with if the game stalls. He kinda works a bit "to the side" from the rest of the deck (where the idea is to abuse Goblin Chirurgeon altugh it's not really working out), but we'll see where to go.

First get this so it even does anything ever.


I got some more notes to apply, but for now, these are in the "current" folder in the dropbox. (Goblin also added to v.02 as it's just tweaks).

You can add decks to an existing campaign so feel free to pick them up and try them out (if I set the dropbox right, if not do let me know, please :) ).

---

Positive feelings about green | Open
I have to note that Enchantress and Forest Dragon aren't pushovers anymore. I'm not sure if they need any nerfs, it's just that the difference between how weak they used to be and how strong they are now is unsettling. To me at least.

It's cool that the Forest Dragon actually works in the "there's gameplay" sense - he doesn't win at turn 5 because he really gets going at around turn 4-5. Enchantress is a bit too epxplosive but I'm just too used to her being a free win and really need to start building my Shandalar decks differently in general.

Summoner, though, is starting to get on my nerves. I don't tink I've beaten her once since I've made her.

Another interesting thing to note is that taking away alpha duals from most of the enemies seems to have worked - I'm at 20 lives, I've got a moderate ammount of high-end stuff in my deck, but my mana-base is shaky and duals aren't raining. Need to adjust my deckbuilding, too, the duals made me seriously undervalue land searc/ramp/mana fixing before.

I thought I'd be more dissapointed with the patch than I am :) It's tough and it'll need nerfs and tweaks, for sure, but it'd be way less tough if the way Shandalar used to be didn't cause me to just develop bad habits and silly notions. Dueling and deckbuilding now takes a bit of tought ^^ I still haven't fought many enemies and I'm running a deck with a healthy ammount of removal, I do suspect that it'd be a lot more pointlessly stresfull for some other combinations. But then again, red works against things it works against, things which are good against it (big creatures you can't easily burn off the board) beat me up fine enough and I'd be at an advantage vs. other things with other colors I think.

Mass switch from Llanowar Elves to Wild Growth in green worked wonders, too - because I'm not used to routinely running enchantment hate I can't easily prevent the green guys from doing their thing. Wild Growth migth be a bit too strong, but now Green seems to be handling red quite well. Ape Lord has Silverback Ape if I burn his weenies out, for example, that sort of thing's a thing now. The Elvish Magi struggles vs. red, but he may turn out to be murderous for someone else.

I think the deck pack is actually getting places :)
---

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