How do I defeat Primclone?
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Monday, 04 January 2010 14:43

EX: The Magician / PrimrosePrimclone refers to a combination of:EX: The Magician / Primrose and Cyclone. A Primclone file will typically open with skipping the first turn and Proxy of Flame / Pullermia on turn two. On turn 3 the Primcloner will play an SP generating grimoire like Meaning of Failure or Rapid Growth. On around turn 5, the Primcloner can play Primrose. Her open skill, Ignorance of the Masses, makes all friendly units drop to level 1 and all enemy units get their level lowered by 2. Note the condition that Gowen must be level 6 or higher for this open skill to take place. By turn 5, the opposing field will generally have three or more cards on the field and if they are all level 4 or less, they will all now be dropped to level 2 or less. Primrose is followed on the next turn with Cyclone, which returns all units level 2 or less. Often the Primcloner is the only one with a unit (Primrose) remaining on the field following this combination. The first soul skill you might expect from a Primcloner would be either Dryad Soldier for the +3 to Gowen or 2nd Dragonrider / Resource which counters a double Shade opening followed by Iczer Attacks. The second through fourth soul skills for Primclone frequently include one or more Solar Prince / Verlaat’s to return cards and grimoires which may have been sent to the cemetery. The additional 1 SP is useful, but the fact that Verlaat provides two life points is crucial.

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Using Blaze Knuckle and Assassin Team
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Monday, 10 August 2009 14:56

Blaaaaaaze Knuckle!Blaze Knuckle and Assassin Team sure look good, but with two of the most complicated (and long winded... I apologize for anyone whose browser fonts are too big to display all of the text) skills in the game, how do they work, and how do you use them? First let's look at Fist of Fire. Simply put, if you take out a unit in one hit, then you get to hit a second time. The first unit must be within range, and the second unit must be outside of range. You might be worried that if there are two enemies on the field, one in the front row and one in the back, that when Blaze kills the first one, the second one will no longer have anyone blocking for it, and thus be within range (and no longer a valid target). Have no fear, because the damage will resolve and the units will close at the same time. That means that the first unit will still be standing (although at 0 or less HP) when you take your second attack. You'll note that the unique wording of this skill means that you'll always hit two different units, since a target cannot be both in and out of range at the same time. It's a little complicated to use, but it's one of the cheapest ways to hit multiple units at a time. Also, with 60 base damage, it's pretty likely to work. Blaze is also a Martial Artist, one of the very few available with more than 40 HP. He might do well in a File with other Martial Artists, but be careful about using him with Diosaur's Start skill. This skill gives a Martial Artist +10 DMG and +1 RNG. More damage is always better for Blaze's Action Skill, but increasing his range can actually make it more difficult to land the second attack. I suppose it would be fun to put him in the second row, that would solve the problem and also give him the survivability to make up for his 1 AGI, but Diosaur likes to live in the second row as well, so you'll need a dramatic tanking solution for the both of them.

Assassin TeamAssassin Team's skill is also only worth using if you can kill the enemy in one hit, but with 40 DMG you might have a little more trouble. They do pair well with Annarose, though. 50 DMG and 4 AGI is a great combination. Still, the trouble might be worth it to use one of the most elaborate lockdown / SP draining skills in the game. Not only does it drain two SP, but it does so next turn, at the very beginning. This one's a little tricky, because most people think of the turn beginning either when you pick your card (the SET Phase) or at the Start Phase, but actually it begins when the little turn counter pops up and you get your 2 SP. What Assassin Team effectively does is prevent the enemy from getting his 2 SP next turn. If you can get an early SP advantage and pull this off consistently, you lock your enemy out of playing any more cards unless he lets a unit die (or runs out of copies, which will happen because you have to turn over one enemy card per turn to pull this off). The best part of this is Grimoires, because he'll be unable to play them without losing field presence.Assassin Team is an Assassin type card, no surprise there. There isn't any support for an Assassin file right now, but at 60 HP, Assassin Team has the most HP of any other of its fellows by a pretty good margin. Only Moonlight Assassin comes close at 40, and everyone else clocks in at 30 or less, so these guys may be your main tank in the future.

Building a Functional Card File
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Monday, 10 August 2009 14:52

Now, let’s cover some basic, general concepts for building a Card File.

The first thing you should think about editing is your Soul Cards.

The great thing about Soul Cards is that, unlike play cards, where you typically need 2 or 3 copies of a non-grimoire card to make it viable, you only need 1 copy to use it as a soul card. This makes Soul Cards the part of your card files that will be the easiest to tweak. The Soul Card line-up of our starter files generally follow a pattern of raise sphere/give 2SP, damage/damage + buff, big damage, and a 3LP anchor card. That's a fairly solid setup, but you might decide you want to use some of your current soul cards as play cards, or vice versa. Don't forget, you also have a small assortment of cards from Spheres other than your main one in your starter, so using some of those as Soul Cards can help free up some room for you to focus on getting more versatility from your main sphere.

The general rule for Soul Cards is, 1LP = powerful Soul Skill; 2LP = moderately powerful or useful Soul Skill; 3LP = Soul Skill that can actually hurt you, depending on your style of play. You might say,

"Why not just use five 1LP cards and bulldoze your opponent with them?".

That works sometimes, but then you'll only have 6LP total. You'd better be able to rush them pretty quickly if you want to survive long enough to win. There's also the chance that your opponent might not put many cards on the field, and in that case your Soul Skills might not do much to hurt them at all. But at the same time, giving yourself 16LP with five 3LP Soul Cards means you can last forever, but you're not really helping yourself with your Soul Skills. Therefore, at least when you're starting out, it's a good idea to balance things between the three values. A total LP of 8 or 9 is a good target value for a well-balanced deck. Soul Skills that raise sphere levels often play well in slot 1, as they save you 3SP that you can spend elsewhere. Other options are buffing soul skills that benefit most or all of the units you have on the field by the time they go off. Slots 2-4 is where the most mixing up tends to happen. This can be any combination of buffs, attacks, or combos of the two. Slot 5 is most often where you'll want to put a 3LP anchor card if you feel like you need an extra LP or two. It's not always necessary, though. Other popular options for slot 5 are resurrection soul skills, ones that sap all of your opponent's SP (so he can no longer Iczer Attack you that turn), or ones that engage all units on the field (which also temporarily stops Iczer Attacks). Stick with the 8-9LP range at first, but do plenty of experimenting with what cards you use and their order. Soul Cards, when set up properly, can make a huge difference in how a match flows. They often save the day when you're a in a tight spot.

Now, on to play cards. As you can see, aside from a few higher level characters, most of your starter is made up of unit cards levels 1-3. These are generally the easiest cards to play consistently, without a lot of planning. In many ways, 2 is the magic number. You automatically recover 2SP each turn, so provided you don't spend it on anything else, you'll always have enough to put out another level 2 card. Managing your SP usage and thinking ahead are two of the most valuable skills you'll develop in Alteil, and starting to think about when you’re going to have SP to bring out or use which unit at what time. At the very least, you should have some idea how you want to start. If you skip the first turn, you can put out two level 3s in a row, but generally it’s better to use level two cards, or a level one to save enough SP to bring out a level 3 the turn after. When you’re building a deck, a good way to start is to pick either three level 2’s, or a level 2, 1 and a 3 that work together well. These will be your first three moves, assuming your rival doesn’t do anything to change your plan. After the first three turns things can get a bit more unpredictable, so you’ll need to get some experience.

To start, bear in mind general strategies for what cards you want out and active at the same time. For example, you could set up 1 or 2 tanks in the front that can take plenty of abuse, and then put support cards and ranged attackers behind them, where it's relatively safe. I know it’s nice to have six units on the field, all buffing, supporting and tanking for each other, but this can be difficult to set up. If you have two units out that compliment each other well, they’ll survive against the enemy’s units long enough for you to add a third, then a fourth. If they don’t, you’ll spend all your SP Reviving and never get anywhere. Pay attention to card level as you choose the rest of your cards, and try to think ahead about how much SP you'll have, and when, so you know how quickly you can get your units out. Take a look at the skills of your cards and build around them. As a general rule, cards with skills that permanently burn SP are better in the late game, so you can save your SP to set up in the early game. It's also a popular idea to pay attention to card types when you put together a deck. For example, Folrart Knight Captain gives a start skill buff to all cards of type Solar Kingdom. That's definitely a good unit to have out if you have other Solar Kingdom cards in your deck.

Finally, choose some Grimoires. Ah, grimoires. It can be very tricky choosing how many, and what kind of grims to put in your card file. Generally, when you're getting started out, you're going to need units more than you will grims. In most Card Files, I advise only using up to about 5 or so. It of course depends entirely on what kind of Card File it is, as some effective Files don't use (or need) any grims at all, and some are chock full of them. One of the great things about grims is that you don’t need three copies for them to be useful, they are one-shot effects. One type of grimoire to look out for are the ones that give you 4 or 5 SP for spending 3. This is a good way to build up your stock of SP, and open up options for you. Apart from that, you will probably want defensive grims for a defense-oriented deck, and attack grims for aggressive decks. Watch out for high level grims, like level 5s, as it can be tough to get your sphere up and have enough SP to play them at the right time. You generally don't need to pack more than 1 or 2 copies of those expensive ones. Lawtia probably has the most well-rounded assortment of grimoires, while Falkow has the best field manipulation in their grim pool. Refess and Gowen (especially Gowen) both benefit from grims as well, but they tend to be more straightforward: Gowen's do lots of damage, and Refess' protect and buff.

In an actual game, you'll have to make lots of decisions that deviate from your original strategic plan. But the plan is a great place to start, and will help you assemble your Card File. Then you’ll have to play it in the Training Arena a few times, and see how it flows. From there, you can tweak your cards. For example, if you find you never have enough SP to bring out all your level 3 units, trade some in for more level 2 units. If you find yourself with a few extra SP in the mid game, switch a level 3 with a level 4. If you get a late-game SP bloom when your mid game units start going to the cemetery, add a heavy hitter or a unit that uses that SP to power its special attacks.

As you get more experienced with Alteil, you'll find it becomes easier to take in the big picture and know everything that's happening with your side of the field. You'll also get a better handle on what's happening on your opponent's as well, and once you can start to sometimes predict what they're going to do next, your strategy will only get stronger. But to get there, you'll need to experiment with the cards you use until you find combinations that suit your own style of play.

I think that just about does it for building Card Files. Best of luck to you, and may you have fun during your time playing Alteil.

Logress' New Player Guide
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Monday, 10 August 2009 14:13

Being a newbie is tough. Let’s face it, no matter how good the starter decks are, if you don’t know where to begin it can get frustrating really fast. To make things as simple as possible, I’ve decided to create a basic turn by turn guide for the first few turns of each Starter Set, and some variants. Hopefully this will get you rolling and the momentum will turn you into a great Iczer. Note, these strategies do not involve messing with the current cards, or switching out your Soul Cards.


Falkow Starter

-Overview-
In the early game you’ll want to use Rapier Fencer of Regus as your main card, backed up by Song Sorceress to make up for his low AGI. The Fencer gives himself a big Attack bonus based on his AGI, so when Song Sorceress raises his AGI to 7, it’ll bring him to 70 AT and let you take out almost any other low to mid level unit in one shot. By continuously attacking first and putting down one of the enemy’s front row units, you don’t give the enemy time to attack, and also force him to waste SP reviving. In the mid game you’ll want to tank with Sea Hunter and take out specific enemy units with either Magic Scythe Soldier or Swallow Scout, and in the mid-late game you want to have Vordore out. You’ll make him go first with Sylph’s Open Skill, have him use his special ability to buff the rest of your crew. They’ll attack and overwhelm the enemy forces. Repeat this as many times as you can. Gowen units dish out a lot of damage and don’t have a lot of HP, so it’s almost always a good idea to bring out Sea Hunter first instead.

 

-Sample start-

First turn, set Haste Soldier in the front row, because reviving him won’t cost SP you’ll save SP for later.

Second turn, set Song Sorceress in the far back, so she can buff your Rapier Fencer later with Song of Magic.

Third turn, set Rapier Fencer of Regus in the front row.

 

-Alternative start-

Skip first turn, second turn set Sea Hunter.

Third Turn set Rapier Fencer.

Fourth Turn set Song Sorceress, or Sylph the Fencer if you need his offensive power immediately.


Lawtia Starter

-Overview-
You’ll want to get out your two big tanks as soon as possible, Moonlight Warrior and Crest Regenerator Knight. To get the SP, you can start with low level sacrifice units, like Leonardo, Shade and Cemetery Rats. The Rats’ open skill should let you hit the enemy hard even with low level units. In the mid game use Magic Shade Soldier for her first strike capability, and because her Close Skill drains SP and makes it more difficult for the enemy to bring out more level 3 units. In the late game time your Assassin Soul Skill to go off when you have something weak, like a Shade, to sacrifice, and use it to get rid of your opponent’s key card, like Vordore. Use your Grimoires like Soul Bind and Life Conversion to limit your enemy’s abilities. In the end game, bring out Dalos and use the SP you get back from your mid-game units going to the cemetery to perform several field-wipes in a row with his Triple Attack ability. Also note, on a turn where it’s dawn during the Set Phase, place a Lycanthrope and he’ll get his first chance to attack at night.

-Sample start-

First turn, set Lycanthrope[Leonardo] in the middle row on either side (not in the center), he’ll get his first attack when it’s night, and he’ll obliterate any other level 2 card from any Starter Set, giving you an early advantage.

Second turn, set Shade on the other side of Leonardo (not in the center), this will disrupt the enemy’s ability to save up SP. Let anyone who gets Closed go to the Cemetery, because you’ll need the SP.

Third turn, set Moonlight Warrior in the front row.

Fourth turn, either save up for Crest Regenerator Knight, or place Magic Doll in the center of the middle row, so she gives an AT bonus to Leonardo and the Shade.

-Alternative start-

Skip first turn.

Second turn, Set Moonlight Warrior in the front row.

Third turn, Set Crest Regenerator Knight in the front row.


Gowen Starter

-Overveiw-
This Card File takes advantage of all the powerful lower level cards in the Gowen arsenal, and their ability to Rank Up. You’ll want to Rank Up cards as soon as you can, having cards out without Rank Up is essentially wasting their potential. To do this, keep your Gowen level at 2. Use Salamander early and put him in the front row. When he dies, let him go to the Cemetery and this will trigger your first Soul Card, which will give you +3 Gowen level, enough to Rank Up all your cards. Then, bring out Samurai Girl. She will hit the enemy hard, and if you have her in the second row with Highland-born Hunter in front of her, she’ll last and last. Only use her Slash ability when you’re sure burning 2 SP won’t hurt you. When the Hunter goes to the Cemetery, replace him with Devouring Lizard. In the end game, use Grimoires and Firestorm Wyvern’s Open Skill to hit the enemy hard, and overrun him with your remaining units. Don’t be afraid to use Soul Skills to wipe the enemy field and go for Iczer attacks. Play fast, and don’t be afraid to sacrifice units, except the Lizard. Keep him around as long as you can.

-Sample Start-

First turn, set Bellydancer Kurina in the first row. Her ability to Revive for 0 SP will help save you SP in the early game.

Second turn, set Combat Monk in the front row.

Third turn, bring out Salamander and put him in the front to die and trigger your first Soul Skill.

-Alternate Start-

First and Second turns, same as above.

Third turn, skip or play Salamander, but put him in the back.

Fourth turn, raise Gowen to 3 and put out Samurai Girl. Once your first Soul Skill raises your Gowen level to 6, you can lower it back down to 5 by bringing out Gaia Anaconda.


Refess Starter

-Overveiw-
The Refess starter has one big advantage, Folrart Knight Captain. He buffs nearly all of your units just be sitting on the field, and he’s a decent fighter, and he can bypass armor. Folrart also strong ranged attackers, and a very solid front line, but it’s a bit week on speed. Establish a front line early, with Blessed Acolyte and Folrart Knight Captain. Then buff them even more with Priest of the Holy Word, but if you find it difficult to turn over enemy units, don’t hesitate to bring out your Folrart Spear Knights. The secret is holding out as long as you can, so use Will o Wisp, Raise Shield and Blessing to preserve your units. Avoid using expensive action skills to early, save your SP and hit hard later when the enemy is starting to run out of steam. To finish off the enemy, use Zagar’s Slash if they have a crowded front line, or Folrart Dual Wielder if the enemy has a lot of ranged units, as her Sword Dance ability can hit the enemy no matter where they are. This set up can live or die by Folrart Knight Captain’s buff, so if you’re on your last copy of him you might want to just move him to the back and have him rest rather than lose him.

-Sample Start-

First turn, set Blessed Acolyte in the front row, but not the center.

Second turn, set Will o’ the Wisp and uses his Open Skill on the Acolyte. Remember that this also increases his recovery rate when using Standby. Set the Wisp in the front row to use as a sacrificial pawn. If the enemy has no range, you might want to use Kesaran Pasaran instead. Have him attack until you have a chance to Skip a turn, then use that SP to generate more.

Third turn, set Folrart Knight Captain in the front row.

-Alternate Start-

If you skip the first turn, you can put out two level 3’s in a row. Since Refess has some of the best level 3’s in the game, this can be a big advantage. You can also opt to get out the Dual Wielder early, if her speed will make the difference and you’d like the option to use Sword Dance. However, burning SP on special attacks in the early game almost always causes problems for Refess later on, and then you’ll only have Zagar for end game damage.

First turn skip.

Second turn, set Folrart Knight Captain in the front row.

Third turn, set Folrart Paladin or Folrart Dual Wielder.

Fourth turn, set Priest of the Holy Word if you need buffing, or Blessed Acolyte if you need more fighters on the field.


Okay, so I hope that will give everyone some ideas in what to do with the starter sets. Remember, this is mostly for new players, and was not really meant to teach anything new to our master Iczers. However, if one or two of our masters are reading this, you might want to consider giving this link to any new players you run across.

The Four Resources of Alteil
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Friday, 07 August 2009 16:18

A while back I mentioned I'd love some strategy articles from our top players. Well, I got a few but didn't have the time to polish them and I think I ended up losing most of them. In any case, recently a very skilled Iczer by the name of Arfort sent in this article, and it looks like it could be an interesting read for new and old players alike, so I decided to put it up. He breaks Alteil down into four basic resources, and he's not talking about the four colors.

--Logress

Welcome to my first article! For those who don't know, the GMs started a trainer program recently so that new players could learn the game from veterans. Unfortunately, I lack the time to actively contribute to this program. Instead I decided to write this article so that more players could still learn something from me.

In Alteil there are basically four resources. Spell Points, Life Points, cards and each turn's card play or "Set Phase." Each player uses their resources to the best of their ability to cripple the opponent's resources.

Gaining a resource advantage can mean two things. First, it can mean that you're spending less SP removing something from the opponent's board than what your opponent paid to put it into play. The easiest examples are Merciless Death targeting a level 7 or more unit or Witch targeting a level 2 unit. Secondly, if you're removing from the board something that took your opponent two or more turns to put into play with only one card. For example, if your opponent plays Panther Soul on one of his unit and then you play Return targeting the same unit. You've effectively removed two cards from the board using only one card. This is what makes powerful grimoire cards that boost your own unit very risky. These two definitions aren't exclusive to each other, if you play Cyclone while you have no level 2 or less in play and your opponent has 3 level 2 units in play you've taken 6 SP out of him at the cost of 4 SP and at the same time you nullified three of his turn using only one of yours.

Because of revival, there's also what I call temporary tempo advantage. When you use a grimoire card, such as Fire Arrow to kill a unit you're only taking it out for 1 round if it can still be revived. If not, then you're taking 1 Life Point out of the opponent but he does get back his SP. So during the turn when you use such a grimoire card your opponent's board will have one less body defending him and usually you're preventing damage going on your own unit at the same time too. But two turns after you set your grimoire card, the SP of the unit you killed is back in his hand and will allow him to play another big unit while the Spell Points you spent on your grimoire card are gone forever. New players more often try to burn down the opponent's unit during the early to mid game. This does give the illusion that you're gaining the advantage over your opponent but in truth you're only gaining temporary tempo at the cost of real tempo. For this reason most players keep their fire arrows for the late game. If playing something only gives you an advantage for two turns but you play it when there's only two turns before the game is over you've actually gained an advantage for rest of the game.

To gain card advantage, you have to destroy two or more cards with one single cards. If you spend two or more cards removing one enemy card you're giving your opponent card advantage. For example let's say you have one Haste Soldier in play and your opponent has two Girl Spectres in play all at full health. If you use Magic Weapon on your haste soldier he'll be able to kill one of the unit on his turn but then the remaining enemy unit will kill your own. This is a two for one gain for your opponent.

Other than the obvious ways to gain card advantages, such as grimoire that can close two or more of your opponent's unit, you can also try to design your file to make some of your opponent's cards obsolete. If none of your units are level 3 or below, Return becomes obsolete. It's the same as if you had removed the card from the opponent's file, technically at no cost... other than not having level 1-2-3 in your file. It's less of a stretch to play only or at least mostly cards that ignore the defense statistic when they attack to make your opponent's LeBeau useless. But then it's in your opponent's best interest to not play LeBeau anymore to make your unit's ability to ignore defense obsolete.

When you're building your file you can sacrifice Life Points to gain or lose card advantage. Soul skills are very powerful effects but they come at a cost. If a card gives you only 1 Life Point the effect has to be very powerful. The power of these SS varies wildly but you want to put something in there that at least has the potential of giving you a good board advantage for a turn at least. If you're going for a slow file with high level cards +2 SP is also good but +3 to your Sphere Level is usually even better. In any case, if you put soul cards with 1 LP put them first. This way you'll gain their powerful effect early in the game and in this game if you get the advantage early it's easier to keep the advantage for the whole game. Soul cards with 2 LP have weaker effects but you should try to put cards that can still have very positive effect on the game. Damage wise in this category, it doesn't get better than cards that deal 50 damage to a single card of your choice. There are a lot of cards that weaken one of your opponent's unit while also dealing some damage to it. These don't have the same raw power as a card that can outright kill a unit. Finally there are soul cards with 3 LP but these actually hurt you somewhat when they're triggered. It's best to put them last since they don't contribute anything to the field other than keeping you alive in the late game. Obviously try to put in 3 LP cards that have very small draw backs. For example in a file that doesn't have any defense on any of it's unit, put a 3 LP card that reduce your unit's defense to 0 when it is triggered.

Whenever you put a card in your File you have to ask yourself not only what you gain from the card but also what you lose from it. Is there anything else that would be more useful more often? During games whenever you play a card it needs to not only help you win, it has to help you win more than what your opponent is playing. This is obvious but I hope my writing helped you understand how to decide if a card or a decision is strong or weak.

--Arfort

The Value of Card Statistics
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:59

In my ongoing series of general strategy articles, this time I'm taking a look at the card statistics themselves. Note that this is primarily meant to allow new players to evaluate the actual value of certain statistics or buffs. Some cards will be able to take advantage of the pluses and minus of a certain statistic better than others, while having large or small groups of units on the field will effect what pluses and minuses are more meaningful as well. You'll have to take that into account when making the final decision about what cards are useful to you and what cards are not.

AT
Low AT
0-10
Negative: inablity to put enemy units down.
Positive: if this unit isn't going to be attacking,
having anything other than low AT is a waste. Also
AT is fairly inexpensive to increase so it's not a
huge disadvantage.

Avg AT
15-25
Negative: inablity to put enemy units down is almost
as bad as low AT, since there is a huge difference in
wounding and closing an enemy.
Positive: AT is fairly inexpensive to increase.

High AT
30-40
Negative: none
Positive: Ability to consistantly put enemies in the cemetery.

Very High AT
50+
Negative: Not very effecient. Whenever you hit anything other than a tanker, you're effectively wasting most of your potential.
Positive: Ability to consistantly put enemies in the cemetery, even if they are tanks.

DF
No DF
Negative: Lowers survivability.
Positive: If you have good HP, it's not a huge problem on average.

Avg DF
5-15
Negative: It's not as easy to get as other "average" values, and it's rather easy to debuff.
Positive: Greatly increases survivability on average, most non-Refess opponents will hesitate to debuff you in case you have bigger DF later.

High DF
20+
Negative: It's no harder to debuff than 5 DF, and will attract a debuff almost immediatly.
Positive: Can make you nearly invulnerable.

HP
Low HP
10
Negative: The enemy can pretty much close this unit at will, with no effort. Salmander, Salamander Soldier, Lillith, Magic Bolt, you name it. In addition, DF almost never helps.
Positive: Makes it easy to sacrafice for a Soul Skill or as a human shield to decrease the effecency of your enemies' high AT units.

Below Average HP
15-25
Negative: Most ranged units can close this unit with little effort.
Positive: Immunity to Salmanders and their level of incidental damage highly increases survivability on average compared to Low HP units.

Average HP
30
Negative: Most Soul Skills and Grimoires can close this unit with little effort, as can almost all front line fighters.
Positive: Good survivability against low and incidental damage, greatly helped by DF on average.

Above average HP
35-45
Negative: Heavy hitters can close these units with high efficiency, still not high enough to protect against Grimoires or single target soul skills.
Positive: Avoiding 30 damage soul skills greatly increases survivability of ranged units or early game front line units.

High HP
50-60
Negative: Doesn't protect against real heavy hitters, still able to be closed by single target soul skills and Grimoires. High AT is much cheaper than High HP.
Positive: Very high survivability against average attackers. Benificial to Living Dead and Undying "regenerators".

Very High HP
70+
Negative: Lower Survivability than Average HP with Average DF. High AT is much cheaper than High HP.
Positive: Extremely benificial to Living Dead and Undying "regenerators". High survivability against almost all units, except when outnumbered.

AGI
Low AGI
1-2
Negative: Heavily decreases chance of acting.
Positive: Alows use of "standby" after damage is taken, gaunrentees healing if hit. Generally units with this AGI are significantly more powerful than average otherwise.

Average AGI
3
Negative: None.
Positive: None.

High AGI
4
Negative: Generally, units with 4 AGI are significantly weaker than average. When up against AGI 5 units, their advantage is elimiated completely.
Positive: Heavily increases chance of acting, and increases chance of defeating enemy units before they act, if possible.

Very high AGI
5
Negative: Generally, units with 5 AGI are significantly weaker than average. When up against AGI manipulation, this advantage is eliminated completely.
Positive: Heavily increases chance of acting, and increases chance of defeating enemy units before they act, if possible. AGI 5 can also completely eliminate the advantage of an enemy's AGI 4 unit.

Choosing a Deck
Written by Logress   
Friday, 07 August 2009 15:33

WHICH STARTER SET SHOULD I CHOOSE?

To start, let's go into some basics about each Sphere of Influence. Most players will want to make their decision based on the overall game play philosophies of Refess, Lawtia, Gowen, and Falkow.

REFESS - CARD FILE SCREENSHOT

Refess is the most balanced of all the colors. It contains powerful healing abilities, armored soldiers with plenty of offensive and defensive abilities, and by a slim margin, the best SP generation of your four choices. Refess Card Files don't like to see their units go to the Cemetery, and thanks to all the healing, buffing and Revival at Refess's disposal, they usually don't have to. This color's strategy revolves around consistency, solid front lines, units that buff each other, and versatile support cards. Refess tends to be below average in the AGI department, so expect to be slow against fast Card Files.
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LAWTIA - CARD FILE SCREENSHOT

Lawtia is probably the most extreme of the colors, but it can also be the most powerful. If a Lawtia Iczer wins with only 1 LP remaining, his first thought is “all that matters is that I won.” In fact, you could say that if he had too much LP to spare, then he wasn't dueling in the spirit of Lawtia. Lawtia units have excellent offensive capabilities. While a few of them have strong defense, they often do almost as much damage to themselves, and their Iczer, as they do to the enemy (but with Lawtia, that “almost” counts for a lot). Lawtia units get bonuses at night, which means a little timing can really go a long way. The other thing Lawtia is good at is burning the enemy's SP. Killing off a point of SP here or there can really cripple an opponent's strategy, and no one is better at it than Lawtia. Combine SP burn with the night bonuses, and you can see that with a Lawtia Card File, timing is absolutely vital. Lawtia cards tend to have either average or very high speed and plenty of medium range but no exceptional archers.
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GOWEN - CARD FILE SCREENSHOT

This Sphere is known for fighting, and that means they have big hit points, do big damage, or both. Their Grimoire cards generally do straight damage, and their support cards are the best at giving bonuses to AT. Their biggest advantage however, is not strength but speed. With stronger level 2 cards than anyone else, you'll have a solid fighting force on the field quick. Also, Gowen units have a wide range of AGI values, from slow tanks to lightning fast swordsmen. When building a Gowen Card File, you'll usually find you have more inexpensive AGI 4 choices than any other color, and those will make a big difference. Gowen cards also have Rankup, which means that when your Sphere Level in Gowen reaches a certain point, your cards essentially get a level up and become a little stronger. If you don't have enough SP to pull out a card, you can drop a point or two into your Sphere level and get some quick payoff. To balance out all this power, Gowen has one big disadvantage: defense. If you play Gowen, you can count on having basically no armor and very little healing. Overall, Gowen's strategy is simple: take control of the field early, and then hold onto it by hitting your enemy as hard as you can with a balance of power and speed.
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FALKOW - CARD FILE SCREENSHOT

Some Iczers will consider Falkow to be the weakest of the four colors. It's definitely the thinking man's sphere, and has the potential to dominate any game… provided the Iczer plans everything out in advance and never makes a misstep. Falkow rewards card combos the way Lawtia rewards timing. Falkow is one of the best colors for defense. You might see less cards with a DF value than Refess has, but in practice Falkow has it in all the right places. Falkow cards don't do much damage by themselves, but they are good at landing their attacks where they count, with a few different ways to target opponents and some very strong ranged fighters. Technically, Falkow cards have the highest AGI on average, but because a lot of their best fighters are AGI 1 or 2, Falkow can feel slow. Also, because Falkow's strength is in the combos, setting up takes a bit of effort. Where Falkow really shines are special abilities. Falkow card skills are among the strongest, and they are the masters of key strategies like AGI manipulation and returning cards. If your idea of fun is to plan out all your moves and contingency plans in advance, you might be able to tap into Falkow's hidden strength.
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MULTICOLOR

By now you should be familiar with the Spheres of Influence. Basically, to play cards of a certain level, you need to spend SP to raise the appropriate Sphere Level. If you have two colors, you need to spend SP on two different Sphere Levels. This can put a multicolor deck at a big disadvantage. There are a few ways around this. The first one is the six Great Spirits. These are six cards spread out among the four colors that represent the six forces that make up the world: Light, Shadow, Fire, Water, Earth and Air. They all cost one SP and have a powerful Open Skill, in addition to being decent level one cards. Since they give you a lot of power for just one SP, it's not such a big drain to include them even if they're not your color. Salamanders are a great addition to a Refess Card File, and Sylph will make sure your slow Gowen tank hits first and hits hard. The second way to make dual colors work is use cards that specifically give bonuses to cards of another color. These bonuses are usually very high, and should more than make up for the extra SP cost to play multicolor. The third option is to use Soul Cards that raise your Sphere levels. There are even Soul Cards that raise multiple colors at once, and many of these cards are not too rare. The final option is to play unit cards that raise your Sphere Levels as a bonus. Generally, however, these are generally pretty rare. There is one more way to make multicolor work, and that is card combos. Simply put, if you can engineer a card combo with cards from different Spheres, and that card combo is powerful enough to be a game winner, then it doesn't matter how much the added SP costs slow you down. With the right combination of blockers and Soul Cards you can hold off the enemy long enough to let your strategy unfold. Hopefully, that's enough information to get you thinking. Good luck in the Arena.

 

 

 

 

--Logress

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 September 2009 16:34
Iczer Attack and Soul Cards
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Friday, 07 August 2009 14:18

Another Iczer has taken up my challenge to come up with a good strategy article, so here we go. This one by Cervelo is mostly about advance tactics, but he covers a lot of vital basics along the way, so I recommend everyone take a look.

To Iczer Attack or Not to Iczer Attack? That is the question.

While the decks have changed quite a bit over time there is one thing that still seems to baffle most Iczers. That of course is when to Iczer Attack and when not to. Universally the answer from most Iczers who do not Iczer Attck is their fear of the Soul Skills. Most Iczers out there have a good idea of who uses what. In fact most of the top players, play on the extra safe side. It is similar to that bad experience you have when you order lunch and it gives you a bad stomach ache. You will never order from that place again. The purpose of this article is to look a bit deeper into Soul Cards and the Iczer attack and see if we can make a more educated guess.

Lets first discuss the basics. Every player is given a choice of five Soul Cards. Each Soul Card has a number of life points associated with it. Adding all the life points from the five cards will make up your total LP. As you lose life points through either Iczer attacks or the loss of cards from the field the Soul Cards are activated in the sequence they were placed, only when amount life points lost is equal to the LP value of the card. This is actually one of the toughest concepts for new Iczers to learn.

In the beginning a new Iczer usually just places cards with the most damage potential and as time goes on they try and build a strategy that works with the cards on the field. This usually means that the Soul Skills must go off in a certain sequence or it will probably not work out as planned by the Iczer.

Lets look at the Soul Cards themselves. The designers of the game decided that the SS cards that do the most damage or have the most benefit have the lowest LP of 1. While the cards that have the highest LP of 3 actually hurt the Iczer as in the case of the Coatl which sets DF=0 for all your cards. So this means by simply looking at the rival Iczer’s total LP an Iczer should be able to determine the type of cards the Iczer has as Soul Skills. An Iczer should be able to determine by the total LP the type of deck an Iczer is trying to play. If an Iczer has a big deck where they are trying to get out Level 6 or higher cards, he will need to have a higher LP to survive long enough to build SP to get out those cards. With a low total LP more than likely the Iczer is trying to run a rush or return deck.

For example we have a rival Iczer with an LP of a 6 – 7 than at least four of the five cards are going to either do damage, give SP, raise sphere level or give large boosts to DF or AT for that turn. So while the LP cards of 1 and 3 are easy to see, the cards with LP 2 are much more difficult to figure out. Cudgel, Skeleton Warrior and Wizard Soldier of Regus all have LP of 2 and their benefits are quite good but they’ve been determined to be not as good as the 1 LP cards. I think of these as the hidden gems in the game as they offer the most of both worlds.

Besides learning the type of deck, as each of the rival Iczer’s Soul Skill cards are activated you get more information to help you predict the LP of each remaining card and also the potential consequence the remaining cards will have on the game. Besides the total LP, the first few cards played by the rival Iczer should give a good idea on the type of deck he will be playing and in turn the type of Soul Cards he is probably using. This should give an Iczer plenty of information about when to Iczer Attack. Even so, I have personally been in matches where the rival Iczer has had total field domination but because my Soul Cards were a little different this time, the enemy would not Iczer attack.

Is there really an advantage to this strategy?

Well if you do not Iczer Attack the biggest benefit would be the potential healing and recovery of HP for the remaining cards on the field. In addition you may feel that a Soul Card like a Skeleton Warrior or Dalos will Revive a rival Iczer’s fallen cards and allow him to attack again. Lastly, you feel that this disrupt his strategy which gives you the upper hand.

Let’s look at all these advantages closely. The healing of cards is a great idea but if a card goes off that will do damage you’re usually putting off the inevitable. In addition many of these cards will only do damage to disengaged units. That means deciding to not do an Iczer attack can actually backfire on the next round as all your cards are disengaged.

Now lets look at the revival cards. Most definitely in this case it would seem waiting would be appropriate but not in all cases. As long as the rival Iczer has a fallen card he can still revive it and get the benefit of the Soul Skill, even at the beginning of next turn. Also, if you still have units left to go after your Iczer attacking unit, you might be able to kill the Revived unit before he can threaten you.

In terms of disrupting the strategy of the rival Iczer, generally it is fairly obvious when a rival Iczer wants a Soul Skill to be activated. The Iczer will usually place a very low level card in the front row hoping that it will be hit with a random attack. In some cases this can backfire as too many cards are attacked and more than one Soul Skill will be activated. I have not yet seen a strategy where a rival Iczer is hoping that two Soul Skills will go off in one turn.

In the end the biggest factor that will determine whether an Iczer Attack should be taken or not is field domination. If you have field domination, the worst case scenario is that you are unlucky enough to encounter an Soul Skill that will do damage to all the cards of your sphere. However, in my experience the player with field domination will still come out of this in good shape.

One last note for all the Iczers trying to top the charts. Playing as many games as possible is a big part of placing high in the rankings, so the safer you play it in the end game and the longer you stretch out your inevitable victories, the less time you’ll have to rack up more victories in the day!

So next time you are playing and you are not sure of the Soul Cards that will go off. Think about the above and make a good educated guess.

 

--Cervelo

Combo Spotlight - Dec. 23
Written by Edgar Figaro   
Friday, 07 August 2009 14:00

With the arrival of the Wrath of the Four Gods expansion comes the tools needed for efficient mutli-sphere Files, as well as additional mechanics that turn card subtypes into a force to be feared. We hope to cover more of these fantastic and sometimes obvious, sometimes not, combinations in future installments of this new feature we're calling Combo Spotlight. Hopefully this will help remind our Iczers of the incredible synergy to be found in places other than what is currently popular in the arenas.

On to the topic at hand. This one is an obvious pairing, both story-wise and card-wise. We are referring to Shield Coat / Fierte and Gunner Girl / Yuni of course. Naturally they are the best of friends. and that camaraderie is clearly shown in Fierte's Start Skill, "The Bond with Yuni," in which she gives her gunslinging partner a much-needed boost in the defense department, a whopping +20 in fact. You can almost imagine the two friends side by side in the middle of a fracas with Fierte using Calkul, her protective cloak, to protect Yuni as guns are blazing everywhere.

There's more to this than the imagery however, as the added 20 DF to Yuni means that she can use her Charge Action Skill by spending nothing other than the SP cost. The 50% of Max HP damage that the Charge would ordinarily do to her is absorbed by the defense bonus. Fierte is basically keeping her good friend from doing anything wild and dangerous, which is what friends are supposed to do, right? And depending on what the field conditions are, it might be wise to place Yuni alongside Fierte in the front row, relying on defense and luck to keep them both alive till Yuni's Bullet Storm clears out three units within the first two rows.

Naturally, there is more to this combination than those two elements. After all, with an HP of 10 and 30 respectively, Fierte and Yuni aren't the hardiest of Characters, even behind all that defense. A Fariy dance is almost certainly in order to give them a better chance of surviving heavy attacks from the enemy. Bazgar's Soul Skill and other HP solutions are always good, but keep in mind there are two units here that need boosting. And a Panther Soul is definitely something that will help Yuni reach her greatest damage potential of 50 AT and 4 Agi for the low cost of 1 SP. Either way, a rankup is necessary to access her Bullet Storm Action Skill. A renewable source of defense would also be something on any Iczer's wish list, considering every time Fierte uses "Fight to Protect," she loses 10 DF. Though thankfully, even if she is run down to 0 DF, her friendship with Yuni will always persevere and grant Yuni Calkul's protection at the beginning of each round.

A Sorcerer Guard might be one way of keeping Calkul going, but with Yuni cleaning up every round for 2 SP, a wise Iczer would do well to conserve SP when needed to finish off what Yuni started. Renally might also be another way of keeping three femme fatales untouchable, though the setup is admittedly probably very difficult to accomplish. Pegasus is another interesting idea, since it would allow you to have a renewable source of defense for Fierte, and also perhaps allow you to put another unit behind the Pegasus to gain some AT. A Rapidshot Magic Archer or Battle Mage of Regus perhaps? This opens the door to many different threats, and taking down any one of them would be difficult and may not necessarily be advantageous. Girl power indeed!

Before all you Iczers proceed to making your Fierte-Yuni Files, keep in mind that there are two things that happen before Start Skills go off, namely Open Skills and Soul Skills. So the combination is a bit fragile when it first comes out, and your opponent will have a window of opportunity to either use a damage Open Skill or Soul Skill to take down Fierte, which would only spell trouble for Yuni. An immediate Fairy Dance should solve most of those issues however, though there are of course other possibilities, so keep an eye out for any other potential ideas.

 

--CSquared




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