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Game Report: England lvl3 vs Fang/Shadows (with questions)

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Foote
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Game Report: England lvl3 vs Fang/Shadows (with questions)

After talking about Shadow specifically against England, I decided to fire up a game to see exactly how it would play out!

Adversary: England lvl3 (I choose this level so that it wouldn't be impossible difficulty wise, but to also include the extra build phase which I have not played with before)

Board: A and C (west to east)

Spirits: Shadows and Fang

 

Game 1: Learning Experience

This game when pretty poorly, with a loss by blight comming in just after the second invader card of stage 2. I didn't lock down parts of the island early enough, and with Engalnds double build phases and not needing explorers to build, I never had control. Early blights in heavily fortified parts of the coast really hurt Fangs ability to clear those areas out (since blighted areas can't be targets for ranging hunt) and by the second card of stage 2 I had the choice of losing to a ravage and blight cascade or losing to Engalnds additional loss condition. It didn't help that the Blighted Land card was a 3-per-player one for this particular game. I would have taken Downward Spiral with its 5-per-player blight and lived to at least see another or two.

I don't think I played Shadows or Fang very well in that game. Very early sub-optimal decisions snowballed hard against me, with Fang not able to generate the beast tokens needed and Shadow just overall having a low impact. In addition, the last card of stage 1 and the first card of stage 2 were both wetlands. This was a terrible bout of luck because Board A has Englands starting City+Town in a wetland. It built up really quickly in that area and I was not prepared to deal with that along with the other areas that were out of control.

I was pretty unsatisfied with how I played that game and was 100% confident that if I played the spirits better early on, with a little luck on the power draw, I could do a lot better.

Game 2: The Comeback Strategy

The initial explore draw was Jungle, which was perfect for me, as both Shadows and Fang start in Jungle areas. After the first game, I knew that I needed a better gameplan to beat England. Before taking the first turn, I decided that:

1) the initial forest builds need to be destroyed/prevented first.

2) the town in the inland mountains of board C had to go immediatly after.

3) Work toward clearing the buildings in the coastal sands of board C (where the starting City/Town combo is).

The reason I layed out this specific gameplan was that I knew I had to insulate as much of the board from explorerless builds as early as possible. Not only will I cut off sources of exploration into the inlands, but Board C, since it was on the east side, has a coastal sands that connect right to a Jungle that runs clear through to the south side of the island, providing the most access points for Englands special build condition. If I could figure out a way to do that in turns 1-3, I would have a very good chance of controling the entire middle and southside of the island.

 

Fang: When playing Fang, it is SO important to get good minor power draws that allow you to activate Ranging Hunt. Luckily I was able to pick up 2 minor powers early that proved to be pivitol. Swarming Wasps was my first draw, and it's perfect for Fang. Not only does it have Claw and Fire elements, but it provides cheap beast token generation, combined with Ranging Hunt allowed for reliable and cheap small area clears for my aformentioned steps 1 and 2. Call to Tend was another minor power I picked up which gave both Claw and Grass element, but also gave me MUCH needed blight removal so I could use Ranging. Mid game I picked up the Major power Insatiable Hunger of the Swarm, which is the perfect pairing for Wasps. Swarm is made for Fang, providing reach, beast generation, claw/grass elements, and big damage. This card allowed me to win this game as early as I did. Wrap in Wings of Sunlight was used once, but it was very clutch when I drew it. For innate cards I never used Terrifying Chase, but Prey on the Builders had massive value against Engalnd's 2-3 build phases per turn. 

QUESTION: I'v gotten used to playing Ranging Hunt a certain way, but during this game was the first time I really questioned if how I was using it was actually correct or if I was breaking the rules.

Say I have an area with a single presence and 1 beast token. I use Ranging Hunt on an adjacent land with a town. First I gather the beast token to the target land, moving my presence along with it. Is it a legal move to right now use Fangs Special Rule to devolve my presence into a 2nd beast token and then resolve the 2nd line effect of Ranging Hunt for the damage, effectivly going from 1 damage to 2 and destroying the town? Or is it the case that I actually can't interupt the power use with the Special Rule? 

For what its worth, it feels very satisfying to play it that way, and outside of that, the Special devolve rule isn't all that usefull outside of using it to trash presence that would be destroyed anyway. I think it should be played how I'm doing it. It "feels" correct. But I am honestly unsure if it's actually correct.

 

Shadow: Shadow was pretty challenged for the game as his innate cards are just not all that usefull against Engalnd outside of Crops Wither and Fade. I pulled a lot of minor power cards and no majors. Given the cards I was shown, I decided to move shadow into more of a direct support for Fang who became the heavy lifter that came with the extra beast generation it got. Two minor powers really solidified this for me. Gift of Constancy was first, and a turn or two later I drew Spur on With Words of Fire. Words of Fire was particularly useful, as it allowed Fang to gain more energy, draw a major power sooner, and let him play more of his cheap cards (like the 0 energy Wasps) which were then reclaimed through Constancy. Entrancing Apparitions was also really useful for me here as it was some minor defense I could play cheaply that didn't come with land target restrictions you see with a lot of other minor defense based cards. Because of my focus on supporting Fang, my minor powers never went to activating my innate, which really holds very little value against Engalnd anyway.

In order to step up my early game control, on turn 1 I choose the +3 energy growth option while I uncovered the 2 card plays from the presence track first. Even though I had to reclaim a turn earlier with Shadow than I did in game 1, the benefit of the stronger early game payed off and I felt more compfortable and even was able to afford Shadow's special rule when needed early.

For the whole game I didn't feel like I was pulling off great moves or really helping much, I was just steming the tide as I supported Fang. Fang was all over the Island, controling Engalnds expansion from the middle outward. Crops Wither was a key card however and the single most used ability against England to control the builds. I really want to try and play more games with Shadow against other adversaries. It's fear generation is good and it offers good Dahan control, but when you are forced to just play as a support bot for the "real" spirit it felt really underwhelming in both the first game loss and the second game win. I think I will keep playng with Shadows for the time being, and after beating England lvl3 so handily with a suboptimal spirit, I think I'll move to Sweeden where Shadow's explorer destruction should shine.

 

As I said before, game 2 was a win. I was able to win just before stage 3 hit under Fear 2 win condition of no buildings. The gameplan I set for myself I was able to pull off. I think the 2nd game I had a much better handle on how to get control over Englands builds and was way more compfortable with the specific Board layout. Getting that coastal sands clear was tough, but it was absolutly crucial that I did it when I did as it prevented the entire southern side of the map from ever being a problem.

dpt
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Foote wrote:
Say I have an area with a single presence and 1 beast token. I use Ranging Hunt on an adjacent land with a town. First I gather the beast token to the target land, moving my presence along with it. Is it a legal move to right now use Fangs Special Rule to devolve my presence into a 2nd beast token and then resolve the 2nd line effect of Ranging Hunt for the damage, effectivly going from 1 damage to 2 and destroying the town? Or is it the case that I actually can't interupt the power use with the Special Rule?

The Special Rule about devolving beasts is only valid during the Spirit Phase, not during any other part of the turn. So no, you cannot do that.

I generally use that part of the Special Rule only on rare occasions, when I am gearing up for a final assault in late game or such.

EDIT: Added as a FAQ

Arcanist Lupus
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So what you are saying is that Shadows prefers to stay out of the spotlight?  laugh

 

Yeah, I've never used the special rule either (although I've only used Fangs twice now (once solo, and once paired with Thunderspeaker for the ultimate wandering presence experience).  I found that I far more frequently had beasts and wanted presence than the other way around.


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phantaskippy
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I don't think you are playing shadow wrong, and fang fills the build stop role shadow brings.  

To me shadows fills a similar role on a team as river, it messes up builds, but where river expands into pushing towns around and becoming a hammer from wetlands, shadow trades that for reach and fear generation.  Shadow is highly power gain reliant if you want to get past fear and messing with explorers.

Against Sweden with lightning in the game shadow was incredibly valuable, driving fear gain and maximizing Lightning's damage and destruction.  Worked great with Earth too, herding invaders into earth's lands where the Dahan dealt with them.  Shadow is best when you have places you want to herd the terrified explorers to, fangs doesn't like herds, it likes to hunt the ones that get away, and england doesn't much care about explorers.

Foote
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dpt wrote:

The Special Rule about devolving beasts is only valid during the Spirit Phase, not during any other part of the turn. 

Isn't the fast/slow power phases part and parcel of the "spirit phase"?

If I'm playing it wrong, Fang is a whole let less usefull than I had thought. sad I guess I have to play more Fang as every game I'v had with him has been 100% illgotten gains

 

jffdougan
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Foote wrote:

 

dpt wrote:
The Special Rule about devolving beasts is only valid during the Spirit Phase, not during any other part of the turn. 

 

Isn't the fast/slow power phases part and parcel of the "spirit phase"?If I'm playing it wrong, Fang is a whole let less usefull than I had thought. sad I guess I have to play more Fang as every game I'v had with him has been 100% illgotten gains 

The "spirit phase" is everything before fast powers trigger. It's the grow/get energy/select and pay for powers part.

Foote
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I'm not gonna say I'm surprised, but I'm pretty dissapointed. That special rule is pretty awful huh? That and Ranging Hunt is far less good than I thought it was. Pretty much totally changes how I view Fang. I'll have to play more games with it and try playing him correctly.

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Fangs is my favorite spirit, I've used the special rule to help me destroy troublesome cities/towns. Sometimes I place the presence in the troubled land directly and then immdiately turn it into a beast, sometimes I've already brought the presence in by moving beasts around, it takes a little more planning but I'd say I use the rule at least once in 2 out of 3 games.

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Foote wrote:

That special rule is pretty awful huh?

It's actually pretty good. Fangs doesn't need that much presence on the board to be effective so swapping an extra presence for a useful token is frequently a great trade. The more beast tokens that are in lands with invaders, the better the beast events tend to be.

Foote
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Bunston wrote:
Foote wrote:
That special rule is pretty awful huh?

 

It's actually pretty good. Fangs doesn't need that much presence on the board to be effective so swapping an extra presence for a useful token is frequently a great trade. The more beast tokens that are in lands with invaders, the better the beast events tend to be.

I get why that is good, trust me. It's the timing of when you can do it that now feels really off to me after playing it wrong since I started. Ranging Hunt is a fast power, but now it takes a turn prior to setup if you want to try and take down a town with it, so its functionally a super slow power haha. I really liked the moving while devolving thing I was doing. As I said, it "felt" right. 

But now that I know I've been playing it wrong, maybe doing it the correct way will lead me down a different path and choices since I can't just hunt down a town on turn 1 anymore. But for a spirit wich specifically lacks late game power, my early game just got worse too. It'll take some getting used to.

I probably would not have won my second game vs Engalnd from this thread if I played Fang correctly. Or, at the very least, it would have taken far longer to do so.

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Foote wrote:

 

Bunston wrote:
Foote wrote:
That special rule is pretty awful huh? 

 

It's actually pretty good. Fangs doesn't need that much presence on the board to be effective so swapping an extra presence for a useful token is frequently a great trade. The more beast tokens that are in lands with invaders, the better the beast events tend to be.

I get why that is good, trust me. It's the timing of when you can do it that now feels really off to me after playing it wrong since I started. Ranging Hunt is a fast power, but now it takes a turn prior to setup if you want to try and take down a town with it, so its functionally a super slow power haha.

I'm lost as to how this makes it superslow based on what you've described so far.  You could place a Presence and immediately turn it into a beast or convert the presence you intended to move originally before triggering anything under Ranging Hunt.  Since fast powers resolve right after the spirit phase it seems like it doesn't change the strategy of what you were doing too much.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
Foote
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Sure it does. I would need a beast or presence in the land with the town I wanted to destroy at the start of my turn, meaning I need to place it there the turn prior. You can't place presence in areas that are not jungles or don't have beast tokens already keep in mind.

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Ok, I think I have my mind finally wrapped about what you are trying to do.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
phantaskippy
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Fang you definitely need to get ahead of the invaders to have great success.  I find I can really strike when I get to the 50-50 explores, and I use the push to cover both sides.you cando the same after explores, where you set up to destroy a ravaging town.  Explorers die easy, towns take a good bit of set up.

 

Foote
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So I had another go around with Shadow and Fang, seeing as how I still wanted to get better footing with Shadow and I needed to relearn Fang.

I played against Sweeden lvl3

The game ended in a loss. I was going to win in the slow power phase through a Fear3 win condition, but a stupid event card forced out the very last blight from the blight card onto the island. It felt pretty crappy if I'm being honest given how close the victory was, but Sweeden is unforgiving due to its extra blight generation and it was my first realy game vs this adversary.

 

Shadow: Again, another game in which I felt pretty "meh" about the spirit. I couldn't/wasn't doing anything flashy like Fang was pulling off, but somehow I still was able to keep my side of the island somewhat under control. I say "somewhat" because I mostly hearded invaders into 1-2 lands to keep solid control over the rest. Eventually this caused huge problems for me later, as the double Blight generation came back to bite me in the end (as well as severely hamstringed Fangs ability to reach and damage those areas). 

I ended up going a balanced growth route with Shadow, with 3 energy and 3 card plays and focused on minor powers until the late game push where I was fishing for any helpful major. I don't think this is optimal, and my minor power draws were challenged at times, but it generally worked for what I was trying to do. I'll have to try something different next time.

 

Fang: Figuring out that I was playing Ranged innate wrong for many games, I had to re-evaluate how I placed and moved beast tokens. Honestly, the difference in how I played Fang with using his innate and special correctly was extremely minimal. Even with Eric saying that Fang leans heavily toward the card play track I still found myself heavily invested into the energy track early. That extra leaf in the energy track just allows for so much more flexability that I have a very hard time wraping my head around a playstyle where I dont have that without perfect elements on my power card draws. I will really have to make an effort to force myself into the card play track focus next time.

Other than that, Fang was its usual self, and I still found both of his innates and the special rule very useful even when playing it correctly. I was certainly more methodical this way however, and it was certainly slower for me moving across my side of the island clearing out the lands. But with solid beast generation I was able to take out the starting cities and cropped up towns without much trouble. But because of the slower pace I found myself moving, it took longer to head to the other side of the island to help shadow clear out the huge strongholds it created for itself, which were now heavily blighted and threatening with more. I did draw a major power with Fang (I forget the name of it) that let me destroy tokens in a target land to generate both fear and damage (1 fear and 3 damage for each beast/strife/disease/growth token I choose to destroy) and it was amazing. The threshhold for the additional effect was easy to reach as well which let me replace up to 2 destroyed tokens afterward.

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Foote wrote:
I did draw a major power with Fang (I forget the name of it) that let me destroy tokens in a target land to generate both fear and damage (1 fear and 3 damage for each beast/strife/disease/growth token I choose to destroy) and it was amazing. The threshhold for the additional effect was easy to reach as well which let me replace up to 2 destroyed tokens afterward.

 

"Pent Up Calamity" I think. Defintely one of my top major powers, though I've been forced to use it more defensively with the strife generation than I would have liked.