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Council of Elrond • View topic - August 2006 Newsletter Contributions (prep and discussion)

August 2006 Newsletter Contributions (prep and discussion)

Moderator: Newsletter

August 2006 Newsletter Contributions (prep and discussion)

Postby zarathustra » Sat Aug 05, 2006 3:24 pm

Gollum’s Grotto, August 2006
By Mark Alfano

Low-tech counters to high-tech decks

Wes all hates squatting deckses. Perhaps the worst offenders are on the one hand, and the squatter deck on the other. Radagast’s deck seems invulnerable because the company plays a Hiding card each turn, canceling all creatures played on them. They don’t have much corruption either, so there’s not much one can do against them. Heedless Revelry is an option, of course, but either way of playing it still allows the squatters to rack up at least a couple points per turn. The Red Hills doesn’t cancel attacks, but the characters are so strong (one reaches 11 prowess!) that creatures are nearly meaningless. In this case, too, Heedless Revelry helps a little, but the big trolls can usually score two or more MPs per turn even with the play of Heedless.

Two problems; one solution.

All of Radagast’s resources (War Wolf, War Warg, The Warg King, Wild Hounds, Barrow Blade) are playable at a Ruins and Lairs (R) site. Since Radagast doesn’t have to worry about most environment problems like Snowstorm, Long Winter, Foul Fumes, he usually will not have any Twilights in his deck. This is where the low-tech counter comes in: Choking Shadow. The alternate effect of this card – available when Doors of Night is in play – transforms a (R) site into a Shadowhold (S). Although changing the site type of Weathertop has no direct effect on the company stationed there, it does prevent the play of all typical MP-resources at the site. Since Radagast will most likely have no Twilights, you are free to shut him down over and over. The moral of the story: if you’re playing a Doors of Night hazard strategy, put 2 Choking Shadows in your sideboard (or the bonus sideboard against fallen wizards) and bring them over when you run into a boring Radagast squatter deck.

A similar solution presents itself in the case of the Red Hills deck. This deck is likewise unaffected by most environment hazards, so there is a very low probability of your opponent having Twilights. Unfortunately, not all of the Red Hills MP-resources are playable at a (S), but many are (Tempest of Fire, A Few Recruits, and Great Bats require a shadowhold, though Maker’s Map and Blasting Fire can be played at a darkhold as well). Moral: if you’re playing a Doors of Night hazard strategy, put 2 Awaken the Earth’s fire in your sideboard and bring them over when you face a boring Red Hills squatter deck. In addition, The Witch-King of Angmar can do the same thing to shadowholds, and he is worth playing for other reasons (to allow sideboarding, to prevent the play of the Ancient Black Axe, to protect a run to Mount Doom, etc.), so it’s often worth your while to put him straight into a hazard deck versus minions. Note that Ben "Bandrobras Took" Sorensen has already constructed a .

Tune in next time for converse tips: high-tech counters to low-tech, all-too-common hazards.
Last edited by zarathustra on Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby zarathustra » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:06 pm

The Fellowship, August 2006
By Mark Alfano

Five Birds with One Stone: the Case for a New CoE Constitution

Greetings, MECCG-ers, and welcome to the maiden voyage of the new Council of Elrond Newsletter. We, the members of 2006-7, are working hard to revitalize both the CoE itself and the international MECCG community. Part of that goal involves connecting all players and collectors with common information and ideas, and that is the role of this newsletter. Be sure to look for more CoE projects at and across the web!

In this newsletter you will find {LIST OF CONTENTS -- fill this in Joe!}. This article, entitled "The Fellowship," will be devoted to a direct address from the Council of Elrond to you, our constituents. If there are any topics you think the CoE should address or explain, please feel free to write an "email to the editor" at {address... mine?}.

The topic of this article is a number of justifiable complaints about the status of ME:CCG in recent months.

(1) Some national councils are totally defunct (e.g. Russia, France); others are isolated from the rest of the community (e.g. Poland); still others are disconnected from the contemporary understanding of the rules (e.g. Spain).
(2) The meta-game is becoming static: there are no new cards, and so very few new strategies. Ten top-tier decks dominate the tournament scene.
(3) Badly worded card texts and rules from the ICE-era are enshrined behind the current CoE constitution, which effectively disallows all corrections and errata because it binds all change to the silent-tower list, which is populated mostly by lurkers.
(4) Voter turnout for CoE elections is remarkably low; the silent-tower list is no longer the main place for communication about MECCG, and so lurkers are given a chance to vote while active players and collectors pass by in ignorance of the fact that a vote is even taking place
(5) Exotic prize support is running dry; tournament organizers in a given country are flush with local goodies, but most have never seen the interesting stuff available elsewhere.

These are the main reasons why, as Chairman of the CoE, I have been pushing the Council to consider disbanding itself in order to create a new Council, with a new Charter. Let me explain….

The constitution of the new Council would have provisions to help struggling national councils. In fact, we may ask that each active national council send a voting member to the CoE, giving national interests a greater stake in CoE. This would bind the national councils both to CoE and to each other, increasing the sense of international community.

The new constitution would make it possible to introduce “Virtual Cards” along the lines of , to be held in late August. These cards would be classed in a new category, currently unrecognized by CoE: “endorsed”. At the present moment, CoE only acknowledges two statuses for cards and rules: “official” and “unofficial”. The new constitution would establish a middle category of “endorsed” cards and rules; these would include the crème de la crème of the bewildering array of dream cards, UEPs, scenarios, special decks (e.g. challenge decks, including the four new ones), and sealed formats. With their new semi-official status, “endorsed” cards and rules would pioneer the way for cool events with interesting new meta-games and strategies. Though Worlds would always use the official rules for the main tournament, there would now be a host of important and fun events to play in for those players who itch whenever they think of the cutthroat level of competition at Worlds.

Certain cards are, simply put, badly worded. Examples include Sneakin’, Flies and Spiders, and Paths of the Dead. ICE never fixed these, though they certainly had time to see the problem with the latter card. Many players protest when their opponent makes a cheesy use of these cards, flying in the face of common sense and thematics. Well, why not make the kind of rules changes that the original CoE charter envisioned possible, by writing a new constitution that allows for gradual, democratic change? Errata could be issued, for example, if two-thirds of active national councils approve, as well as two-thirds of members of CoE. Such a high standard would keep change minimal, while allowing for fixes to obvious problems.

The new constitution would not be tied to one particular method of vote-delivery, as the current one is. Members of national councils could vote on their national email lists or forums, where their own language is spoken and they feel comfortable. Since more will be at stake for national interests under the new constitution, voters will be further goaded to vote.

Finally, with the new sense of community and encouragement of contact across national borders, CoE could facilitate the exchange of prize support between organizers in different countries. This would give players worldwide yet another reason to smile.

Thank you for reading my considerations on the status of the CoE and its struggle for a voice in the MECCG-world. I hope you will give some thought to the ideas presented above, and – if you find them convincing – vote in favor of a new CoE constitution in 2007, when we hope to arrive at a satisfactory draft.

Sincerely,

Mark Alfano {CoE?}
Last edited by zarathustra on Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby zarathustra » Sat Aug 05, 2006 4:29 pm

Denethor’s Palantir, August 2006
By Mark Alfano

New Strategies for the Virtual Cards at NA Championships

In preparation for North American Championships in Princeton, Joe Bisz and I created a set of 39 “Virtual Cards”, which markedly expand the number of strong strategies. If you are interested, check out site for the card texts and for discussion. Some of the new decks are obvious, e.g., virtual Morannon lets you use the One Ring to kick Sauron’s ass, and Horns, Horns, Horns allows you to reenact the muster of Rohan. Others, however, stand out less, though they could be just as powerful. Here is a list of just a few of the decks I would be excited to see on Friday during the Virtual Card Tournament of NA Championships:

Hero Decks:
(1) Underdeeps deck with Ancient Stair and Wondrous Maps;
(2) Alert the Folk, Armory, Rebuild the Town, Bard;
(3) Legolas, Gimli, Annalena, Oin, 3x Crept Along Carefully;
(4) Fair Travels in Dark, Fair Travels in Shadow, Tower Raided;
(5) Ent-Draughts, Elrond or Galadriel or Thrain, Fireworks, Armory/Jewel of Beleriand;
(6) Alliance of Free Peoples, Army of the Dead, Token of Goodwill;
(7) Wandering Wizard with virtual Vanishment.

Minion Decks:
(A) Lieutenant of Morgul, Taladhan, Snaga; Smart and Secret, Diversion, Well Preserved, Freeze the Flesh;
(B) Black Numenoreans, Black Horse, Umbarean Corsairs, Usriev of Treachery;
(C) Open to the Summons, Baduila, Euog, Baugur – a covert Balrog company with two leaders!

Fallen Wizard Decks:
(I) Fallen Saruman, First of the Order, Never Refuse, Shameful Deeds, Lotsa Spells;
(II) Fallen Gandalf, Narya, Heart Grown Cold, Plotting Ruin, Smoke on the Wind, Burning Rick Cot and Tree;

Hazard Strategies:
(a) Crebain, Dwar of Waw, the Riddle Game;
(b) Withered Lands, Fever of Unrest, Half an Eye Open.
Last edited by zarathustra on Tue Aug 08, 2006 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jambo » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:51 am

Already mentioned to you in PM, but I'll reiterate here that these are excellent articles. You also might want to include a Nazgul hazard strategy in the suggested hazards strats for the virtual tournament. :)
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Postby zarathustra » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:31 am

Genre: When You Know More, or Lore of the Ages, or When I Know Anything, Knowledge of the Enemy?.... ((This will usually be devoted to a single deck from the taxonomy at meccg.net))

Title: Announcing... the "Complete" Resource & Hazard Strategies Taxonomy
By Mark Alfano

Are you sick of playing 3 Risky Blow, 3 Marvels Told, Orcrist, Glamdring, and Wormsbane? Would you like to play a high-interaction deck that scares your opponent out of his pants? Does your opponent snore when you play Cave-Drakes and Sellswords? Well, your worries are over! Now you can easily discover the myriad alternative strategies -- resource and hazard, hero and minion -- available in the MECCG universe. All you need to do is follow for resources and for hazards, and new horizon will unfold before your very eyes.

Many players have contributed to this project, and all deserve our appreciation -- even those who only said "I'd like to do something like this... can you help?" This article, which in the future will be devoted to the in-depth exploration of a particular deck from the taxonomy, lauds one such player this month by focusing on his deck. The man of the hour is Kris van Beurden, and his deck is entitled (take a look at the deck before reading futher).

Kris's deck is incredibly fast and powerful. Its aim is to exhaust in three (yes, only three!) turns and call the council immediately. Why? Well, a number of reasons. Against One Ring opponents, such play forces the dunker to attempt to play Cracks of Doom on his third or fourth turn (depending on who went first). Against fallen wizards, A Short Game is likely to exhaust before the badbeard can play all his stage cards, leaving the unlucky wizard with only 1 Marshalling Point per card in at least some categories. And against minions, the deck can keep up with the speed of even such monstrous decks as the .

To play Kris's deck, you only need three rares: Return of the King, The White Tree, and Tom Bombadil, though of course you will probably want a few more for your hazard portion. But perhaps simply looking at the deck list online doesn't give you a proper idea of its potential.... The opening company is Aragorn with Cram, Beretar with Cram, Oin, and Haldir. That may seem more or less standard, but what happens next is the trick: each character heads off in his own direction -- Aragorn to Isengard, Haldir to Cameth Brin, Oin to the Old Forest, and Beretar to Bree. Without playing any Short Rests, that gives you only 6 cards, but if you play 1 Short Rest, you receive 13 cards. With two Short Rests, you will draw 20, and with all three you bring to your hand a whopping 27 cards! What's more, if you manage to play Master of Esgaroth as well, then one of the characters can move again, drawing even more cards.... The mind boggles at the possibilities.

In any case, Beretar's only job is to play the Rangers of the North. Either Oin or Haldir should pick up Tom Bombadil. And Aragorn (joined eventually by Saruman, whose home site is Isengard) snatches a Sapling of the White Tree. At this point, you can use the boys in Eriador to kill creatures (a cave-drake is surprisingly easy prey with a single character and a Risky Blow). Only the latter company is relevant later: they next head to Minas Tirith, where the King Returns, the White Tree is planted, the Palantir is brought out and aligned, and Saruman meets by chance a 3-MP character.

It may not seem like much, but that's already 10 character points, 3 faction points, 3 ally points, 2 item points, and 10 miscellaneous points, which comes out to a grand total of 27 -- enough to call the council, with just a little leeway for losing a character or not playing an MP-resource. With a good draw, you can do this easily in just two turns! With an acceptable draw, the barrage of points is launched on turn 3. Of course, if you need more points later, you need only look to the sideboard for Nenselde or the Knights of Dol Amroth.

There are a number of other subtleties to the deck, which Kris would be happy to explain to you if you run into him on GCCG, but the overall plan is now clear. If you still think it seems weak, the only solution is to give it a try. Kris did, and he won !
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Postby zarathustra » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:07 am

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Postby Frodo » Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:07 am

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Postby Frodo » Wed Aug 09, 2006 3:14 am

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Postby Jambo » Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:37 am

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Postby zarathustra » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:20 pm

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Postby zarathustra » Fri Aug 11, 2006 12:08 am

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Postby thorondor » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:29 am

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Postby Frodo » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:40 pm

Okay note to all:

I was not bluffing when I said articles had to be in by THIS WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16th!! Please, email them directly to me as a Word document, or simple text if you don't have Word, and post them here too. joebisz(at) verizon.net

I'm leaving for almost a week the next day, then I'll have only a day and a half before NA Nationals. Which means we may as well send out the newsletter by email on Thursday august 17th. (Mark, I'll probably send you the PDF for distribution).

Distribution: I think we should send out a note to the silenttower listserve saying that the newsletter is available online at whatever address we agree to host it at, but we should not send the newsletter itself as an attachment to the list. We should also probably start a google or yahoo group exclusively for people who want to subscribe to the newsletter. This could eventually be the new silent tower list. We also need to at least post announcements of it at Meccg.net, although I think the attachment of it should probably go there as well.

Wolfgang, can you get me something quick?

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Postby thorondor » Tue Aug 15, 2006 11:36 pm

i am very sorry, i thought it´s till friday. don´t know, why i had this deadline in my head. i just arrived yt home yesterday after a four day trip. then had to be at work all the time, and now it´s 1.30 am - not the time to finish anything.
i am really sorry!! i could do something tomorrow! too late??
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Postby Frodo » Wed Aug 16, 2006 3:40 am

Hey wolfgang,

You have 24 hours from right now--since I meant American time. What do you think? Make sure it's not too long! I might edit it to fit a certain page spread.

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