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Subject: The Most MEGA-EST SESSION REPORT OF ALL rss

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Ken B.
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We've finally done it. We made it our quest to obtain and play all of the Blue Moon base decks against each other, track our wins and losses, and break down the winners and losers amongst the decks.

It was hard work, spanning several weeks of play. We created a grid showing each matchup, who was to play them, their wins/losses, and their "dragon differential". Some notes:


1. My brother and I tried to space out the matchups where each deck was played equally by both of us. Because we acquired a few of the decks after we had been playing through the matchups, we ended up off on a few, but no more than 5-3 split on who played which deck.

2. We are very competitive with each other. Each matchup was played to win, and to the best of our abilities.

3. We only played one match per deck; we did not play to the number of crystals. We did track dragons, however, and these were used for tie-breakers in the event of duplicate records.



What follows below is how the decks finished, their win/loss ratio, their dragon differential (dragons won in total of winning matches versus dragons lost in total of losing matches), some thoughts on each deck, and what seemed to be the MVP cards in each deck. Hopefully this information can be of use to other players, and we can see just how balanced these decks really are.


So, without further adieu:


1. Terrah

(W/L: 6-2, Dragons: 11-5)

The Terrah got off to a rather inauspicious beginning with us, so their final finish is a little surprising. We had played them a few times before we began this "tournament", and they usually came up short, hanging in there but always losing.

They didn't get off to a great beginning here, either, dropping two of their first three games to the Hoax and the Buka (losing 0-3 to the Hoax and 0-2 to the Buka).

But from there, they turned on the burners and never looked back.

What made them so strong? It probably has to do with the fact that bad draws don't hurt them as badly as they do other decks. Most of the characters have considerable raw power on their own. Also, the Terrah benefit from the two characters who force you to play a certain card (booster or support) or retreat--this is practically a free dragon against decks like the Khind, Flit, and others. Although they are weaker in fire they have a great Mutant and Silento Sol to help when things get out of hand, and of course the ultimate equalizer in Provoke Earthquake.

I guess I'd say that they are just solid all around, dealing well with bad draws and having plenty of tricks that keep them in every fight. This is a deck you could hand a beginner and they would very likely do well with. That being said, neither my brother and I truly enjoyed playing them--at times they seemed very one dimensional, and some of these cards are just pure "cheese", to use an old CCG term.

MVPs: Megalit Mountainshaker, Ras-mus-Pan, Provoke Earthquake, Quivering Quicksand, Silento Sol, both "You must play a..." characters



2. Hoax

(W/L: 5-3, Dragons: 15-6)


My, how things change...I remember spending my earliest days in Blue Moon griping about the seeming lack of power the Hoax possessed. As it turns out, we were playing the endgame wrong, and this change to the correct way of playing seemed to give them a STRONG spark. No longer was the endgame something for them to fear, but something they relished--get out to a fast dragon lead, burn through the deck, end the game ahead.

They were the early pick to win the whole shebang, leaping out to a 4-0 start, easily romping over the Vulca, Terrah, Mimix, and Buka. They faltered at that point, falling to the Flit (0-1), the Khind (0-1), and the Aqua (0-4).

In that Aqua matchup, I think if they had to do it over, the Hoax would've fared better. The Aqua had a "perfect" draw and the Hoax's was very weak, and they were steamrolled rather quickly.

The Hoax are powerhouses because they have so many cards that shut down the opponent or keep them in fights for the long haul. Brain Drain is generally a card that your opponent will flee from as it limits them to one card for the entire turn--very tough to keep a fight going like that. Tome of Wisdom is pure, permanent support beef in both elements. Muster Reinforcements is a key card, giving them a fistful of cards and more tricks up their sleeve. Hank Highflyer Hawk is the counter card to so many decks--judicious use of him in "bad" matchups will help the Hoax carry the day.

The Hoax are tricky to play, but have a lot of innate power. I would rate them as one of my top 3 favorite decks.

MVPs: Brain Drain, Tome of Wisdom, Muster Reinforcements, Hank Highflyer Hawk



3. Aqua

(W/L: 5-3, Dragons: 14-9)


The Aqua wasted no time in plowing through the competition, dealing easily with the Khind initially in a very close 0-0 split that was won on the tie-breaker and then proceeded to demolish the Buka (3-0), Mimix (4-0), and even the previously untouchable Hoax (4-0). Embarassingly enough, they dropped a 0-4 match to the Vulca...but if that match was played again, the Aqua would likely fare much better as they were victim to a very poor opening draw that didn't get much better until too late.

The Aqua are the speed demons of Blue Moon, playing tons of cards every turn, achieving high power in a shockingly fast amount of time, refreshing their hand and then coming back for more. Of all the decks, this feels the most like a CCG deck because you are dumping a lot of combos every turn thanks to the amazing amount of Free cards or cards that give you Free plays every turn.

You'd think that would be a problem with deck burnout, but of course their ace in the hole is Administer Water of Immortality, which allows them to re-shuffle their decks and come back at you again.

This is one of the few decks where you can START a fight with 8-10 power...amazing. They aren't all raw power, though...they have some nice "tech" cards such as Irresistable Sirens that will pretty much make any opponent run from a fight, and Aquatic Armor has been a solid key card, often being played twice in the same matchup thanks to Administer Water of Immortality.

Of course, the Aqua are subject to bad draws more than most decks because their characters are lopsided--very strong in one element but having 0 in the other. That's why it's important for the Aqua to dump cards quickly so they don't get stuck. On more than one occasion playing them, I dumped a Free card that didn't affect the fight just to make sure I had a better chance of drawing into more characters.

Easily one of my top 3 favorite decks, vying for the favorite spot.


MVPs: Irresistable Sirens, Yin, Yang, Aquatic Armor, Administer Water of Immortality


4. Flit

(W/L: 5-3, Dragons: 11-8)

The Flit is a deck that I took a liking to very quickly. Their big mechanic is the Retrieve, allowing them to stay in fights and still having to commit only a very few cards to each one. It becomes a real trick in balancing keeping your characters available to you with the need to draw more and more cards.

Their other "big" mechanic is the Paired boosters, each starting with "Launch". This helps with card cycling as well as giving you some startling bursts of power that can be hard for an opponent to handle.

The Flit deck is filled with cards that run counter to lots of other decks, mostly "trick" decks. It's interesting to note that the Flit fared well against the Hoax (1-0), the Vulca (4-0), the Aqua (4-0), and the Khind (2-0)--each of those decks use a lot of "trick" cards to keep them in the fight. They didn't fare as well in matchups against the Terrah (0-0 push, lost on tie-breaker of all things), Mimix (0-4) and Buka (0-4), decks that usually just played a lot of power at a time that could be tough for the Flit to match based on how many Boosters they were hanging on to.

Also they didn't tend to win big all that often, usually due to the fact that they didn't hit six cards in the combat area all that often, meaning victories in fights only netted one dragon.

Though they are tough to play and can stumble into bad draws and/or hand clumping, they are probably one of my favorite decks to play, if not THE favorite. The Aqua were gaining considerably on them at the end, though.

MVPs: Wing Commander Razorfeather (retrievable beef), CheepChirrup (counters so many different decks), HighChirp (ditto), Distract Holy Dragon


5. Buka

(W/L: 5-3, Dragons: 10-7)


The last of the four "5-3" decks, the Buka were very flexible and generally fared well in each of their matchups. So long as they could keep fights going with their stronger characters, they would buy time to load up massive ships, usually leading to turns where they would drop double-digits worth of power on you.

The Buka only lost to the Hoax (0-3, during the height of their run), the Mimix (0-2), and the Aqua (0-3). The Mimix was an odd matchup that might play differently if we did it agian, and the other two losses were to fellow top-tier decks.

I think the Buka can stay in games so long because they have so many characters, so their draws are rarely what you would deem "bad". In the Hoax matchup I didn't draw into any ships early and I should have been digging for them faster, and would do so in a future matchup.

The Buka are all about massive ship landings with characters coming off the boat doing bad things to your combat and support areas, such as with Lookout Dolora Paal and Coxswain Mora Marn which pretty much sweeps the entire area. The Sea Devil is a key ship because it gives you a loaded boat ready for action right away and helps with card cycling. Entreat Favor will help you find it or put a key "bombadier" on a ship for future action. Taking a page from the Flit, Captain Ariosa Paal is nice retrievable beef that can buy you time to get those ships loaded.

Oddly, the Buka rarely seemed to win or lose big. It probably has to do with the ebb and flow of having to occasionally cede fights rather than waste a ship before it's ready, or trying to win a fight and save the ship for a future battle. If you drop the boat bomb but have it countered or negated somehow, it REALLY hurts.


MVPs: Entreat Favor, Captain Ariosa Paal, Lookout Dolora Paal, Coxswain Mora Marn, Sea Devil


6. Khind

(W/L: 4-4, Dragons: 6-7)

Here's an annoying little deck for sure, and one we had pegged early as being one that would dominate. Their very first matchup saw them take the Aqua to the limit, losing on a 0-0 tie. They then proceeded to deal a 1-0 loss to the Hoax, who at the time were the powerhouse of the tournament.

Things just sort of fell apart for them after that, though that probably has to do a great deal with learning how to play against them. The Khind are most subject of all to bad draws, though they have a lot of cards that help them search through the deck or pull cards from discard to put together or help keep their "Gangs" together.

When in combination, their powers get nasty, forcing you to burn cards from your deck, discarding cards from hand, losing cards from your support area, and more. Certain combinations can lock you at "0" strength by negating odd and/or even values of your characters, supports, and boosters. Very nasty.

Defeating them just becomes an art in the timely retreat, before the gangs get too large, giving them only one dragon for their trouble. If the Khind play really agressively to earn the two dragons quickly but get countered, they will find themselves having to cover up their gang, always a bad thing for them to do.

Because of this, they neither lost big nor won big. If they did win, it was a scrape through by the skin of the teeth; likewise, they could hang in there until the end even when losing, hence their very slim dragon differential. Their only big loss was against the Terrah (0-4 in a squashing), against the Flit (0-2), the Buka (0-1), and the Aqua (0-0) the losses were all very tight up-until-the-end affairs. Ditto in their wins; their only big win was against the Vulca (3-0). Against the Hoax, Mimix, and Pillar, all three were 1-0 wins.

I really didn't like this deck at first but it has grown on me a bit. They do seem to stumble into really nasty bad draws, their small power totals can really hamstring you at the worst times, and if your opponent just plays around your nastiest gangs you don't have a lot of extra to throw at them. With no Support cards, their strength levels are very temporal, forcing you to hold off Gang cards and making it easier for your opponent to come back at your. This is probably the farthest from a Beginner's deck as it gets. It's great when things are going your way but VERY frustrating when you are forced to retreat when you can't maintain your power level or get hosed on Gang draws.

MVPs: Den-bal-Ton (Give me that dragon back!), Top and Cool gangs, FunFun



7. Mimix

(W/L: 3-5, Dragons: 7-14)


Now we get down into the chaffe. I really don't enjoy playing the Mimix all that much. They are essentially a weaksauce version of the Khind in some regards. They use the Pair ability which is considerably weaker than the Gang ability, requiring you to draw into a card's only other pair in the deck before you can use it. On top of that, some of the pairs don't make sense to play together (the 6/1 and 1/6, for example).

This limitation makes the Mimix really prone to bad draws, though their Shamans help with that. The thing I don't like about the Shamans is that you have to essentially lead with them most of the time, making it easy for your opponent to come right back at you. Their Shamans are often hit or miss, most of them having randomized results.

I will say that they do tend to hang in there against most of the decks, unless their opponent's deck is capable of big starts or the Mimix have a bad draw. Their big losses were against the Hoax, Terrah, and Aqua (each a 4-0 blowout), but those are of course the top three decks, so no shame in that. In the other five contests, the battles were all fairly close: a 1-0 victory against the hapless Vulca, losing 0-1 to the Khind and Pillar, and losing 0-2 to the Buka. They were able to smash the Flit 4-0, but that game saw the Mimix with a very fortuitous draw and the Flit had some trouble drawing into paired boosters to help match--another instance of a game that would likely go differently if played again.

The Mimix are probably one of my least favorite decks to play--they are capable of large, sudden bursts of strength but always seem to just fizzle out, and at the worst possible moments.

MVPs: Amazon Leaping Far and Amazon Leaping High, the Shamans, Call Spirit of the Battlefield, Call Spirit of the Underworld


8. Pillar

(W/L: 2-6, Dragons: 2-11)

Welcome to the bottom rung, the dregs, if you will.

The Pillar were the last of the decks we acquired, in their defense, giving us the least amount of time to learn them. On the flipside, this should have translated into unexpected wins for them against the other decks who weren't used to playing against them; not so.

What can I say about the Pillar? Low strength, their discards that don't generally hurt as bad as you'd think and even if they would, you just concede a dragon and move on...even their strong "disclose" ability is usually negated after a few turns, especially against a deck that can play multiple cards quickly. There was only one instance where disclose was powerful, and that was during the end of the game, forcing the entire endgame to be played under disclosed conditions. In that instance it was quite powerful--at all other times, it was mostly a nuisance, and nothing more.

They have some great potions and can come up with some higher strength totals, but they can never seem to maintain it. Most decks are capable of ramping up in strength much faster than the Pillar, and can maintain it. Whenever you lead strong against them it gives the Pillar fewer chances to sting you with their caterpillars.

As I said in the intro, my brother and I are very competitive. Even when they faltered early, we both played them as ferociously as possible, to little avail. Their only two wins came against the Vulca (1-0) and the Mimix (1-0), hardly the top tier competition. The Hoax (4-0) and the Aqua (3-0) wrecked them. They did take the Flit to a 0-0 push, but the Flit won the tie-breaker. The Buka and Khind squeaked out 1-0 victories over the Pillar, perhaps indicative that things would go differently in a future matchup.

Still, the Pillar seem to be all potential but have little teeth to back them up. They are frustrating to use as your opponent will toss out 7-8 power out there and you'll be forced to retreat...and watch as they just dodge your nastiest caterpillars by conceding a dragon to you. You'll be stuck looking at the otherwise awesome Bounce Back card because your opponent will easily leapfrog your strength, keeping your from playing it. This is probably my least favorite deck of all of them.

MVPs: Gloria Gracia, Crysalus Erendus + Caterpillar (usually free dragon), Wild Unicorn, Pen-dor-Nith, Both "disclose" cards


9. Vulca

(W/L: 1-7, Dragons: 4-13)


And...the biggest surprise of the tournament. Anyone who read any of my earliest session reports will recall I talked up the strength of the Vulca. Characters with high Fire strengths, several nasty tricks, a nice balance of Support and Boosters...the Vulca seemed to have it all. Even in our earliest games they were quite dominant, going 2-8 against the Hoax...but again, that was with our busted endgame rules, so it's hard to figure out how many of those wins were 'tainted' by our incorrect play.

Anyway...look at that record. Yikes! The Vulca were only able to eek out one win, a smash victory against the Aqua 4-0. But even that win is a bit tainted, because the Aqua had a very poor draw and the game was over very, very quickly. If they'd had to play again, the results may have indeed been quite different.

Everyone seemed to have a field day against the Vulca. The Flit (0-4) and Khind (0-3) found big victories against them; the Hoax and Buka each rolled to 2 dragon victories; even the Mimix and Pillar who otherwise struggled for wins were able to beat them one dragon apiece. The oddest result of all was the fact that they played the Terrah to a 0-0 push but lost on the tiebreaker--freaky, eh? That was of course probably the most boring game of the entire tournament..."I lead 5 fire." "Retreat. I lead 6 Earth." "Retreat."

Wheee!

At this point I would love to offer insights on what went wrong with the Vulca, but I honestly don't have the answers. A lot of times their endgame would fall apart and crumble on them and games would slip away. I was especially determined to win with them each time I played them, but was unable to do so.

They seem to have a lot of things up their sleeve, it just didn't work out for them in this tournament, with even their one win likely being a fluke.


MVPs: Cast Cataclysm, Zig-Nur-Dom, Pandemonium, Lightning Bolts, Charm Holy Dragon






----------------------------------------------------------



So there you have it! Nine decks entered, and to be honest I am surprised at how for the most part the decks are quite close to being balanced. We had a 6-2 followed by four five and threes, and this can be explained away by the poor performance of the bottom 3 decks (3-5, 2-6, 1-7).

We will probably take a bit of a Blue Moon break (36 straight matchups will take their toll) then move on to using Emissaries to spice things up a bit.


Thanks for reading!



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At this point I would love to offer insights on what went wrong with the Vulca, but I honestly don't have the answers. A lot of times their endgame would fall apart and crumble on them and games would slip away. I was especially determined to win with them each time I played them, but was unable to do so.

I agree that the Vulca are tricky to do well with. I can rarely pull out a win with them, especially against the Hoax. And because of this I love to play them.

I'm starting to think the focus should be on forcing your opponent to play lots of cards when they win in Earth (hopefully playing their big Earth dudes in the process) even if you won't win the battle and then come at them with huge Fire right off the bat when ever the fight's in fire so you don't waste cards winning battles. That way you are able to fight lots of Battles in fire.

Make 'em scared to fight in Fire and make 'em pay to fight in Earth.
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Steve
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Nice post.
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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I'm going to read all of this, but right now I'll jump in at the end.

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Nine decks entered, and to be honest I am surprised at how for the most part the decks are quite close to being balanced. We had a 6-2 followed by four five and threes, and this can be explained away by the poor performance of the bottom 3 decks (3-5, 2-6, 1-7).

It's always worth when doing this sort of thing to consider what you'd expect if all 36 results were chance. Now this isn't trivial, because the 9 results are, as you note, not independent. But just considering one deck, what's the odds of it having as extreme a result of 1-7 (so we also include 7-1, 8-0 and 0-8). And the answer to that (which doesn't depend on independence) is 9/128, or about 7%. And that's just one of 9 results. If the results were independent, that would mean that the odds of at least one deck having that extreme a result were 48% even if all the decks were pefectly balanced. That's not the right figure, but it's not hopelessly wrong. So more results would be needed to demonstrate imbalance. And then of course it may be in the players ...

If I had a bit more time I'd knock up a simple program to create random match results for comparison. But I'm a bit short of time right this minute.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this isn't all useful and interesting. Just that conclusions are always difficult to draw (though an 8-0 or a 0-8 might have been worrying). As I'm sure you've done (as I said, not read it yet) it's also about the how well they won or lost.

(Well, not always. The Khind vs. Buka results at one stage of refinement of the Buka were really easy to interpret. But fortunately we sorted that - and I'm amused to see the Buka dead centre of the field.)
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As the second player in the Blue Moon session, I offer up Appendix A to those interested in the other half’s opinion.

First, I need to provide a little background information about myself. As mentioned earlier, CCGs have always been a staple within my gaming diet. Just about everything my brother has played; I’ve been there right with him trying out some of the best and worst in the field. Because of that, CCG playing styles are readily familiar and fairly easy to assimilate. We tend to avoid negative play experiences (NPE) and you’ll find that opinion reflected later on in this appendix. Yet, sometimes our definitions of NPE vary, and so what I may find positive, he may find to be negative.

Second, I researched most decks, excluding the Buka, Hoax, Vulca, and Mimix, before I purchased them. I bought the decks in the following order: Mimix, Terrah, Khind, and Pillar. My brother purchased the Buka, Flit, and Aqua. The reviews posted on BGG became a very useful tool in helping decide my next purchase. I purchased the Khind and Pillar last because messing with your opponent’s area is frowned upon in our group. The motto seems to be, “Do whatever you want, just leave my stuff alone.” I avoided the Khind because of their powerful game text, and avoided the Pillar because of their discard ability.

You’ve already been provided a breakdown of dragon differential and W/L record. What I aim to do is list my favorite decks in order of least enjoyable to most enjoyable. My list is as follows:

9.) Terrah – I thought I’d enjoy the Terrah, but something within the play style of the deck left me feeling cold. Every report informed me this was the best beginner’s deck out there, so after purchasing the Mimix, I bought these guys. The good news is all the reports were right. Anyone can pick up this deck and have a fair chance at piloting the deck to victory. I went 2-1 with this deck and found that even my big mistakes never harmed me in the long run. The bad news is I felt a little cheesy or cheesed off when playing as or against this deck. The Terrah are the biggest NPE within Blue Moon. When you beat them, it was somewhat rewarding, and when you won, you wanted to apologize to your opponent. The one time I remember being the most angry was the Khind vs. the Terrah. He started with the “Play a booster or retreat”, and I never was able to climb out of that hole. I could have matched his weak character, but to be booted out of the fight...

8.) Vulca – Maybe it’s the 1-7 record, but I just don’t like playing with this deck. This deck ranks a little higher due to the fact that it lacks the Terrah’s “Play or retreat” cards. Yet, every deck was able to stomp all over these once proud champions. A great comparison is like the Hoax giving out the Vulca’s playbook to the other decks. What appears to be the case is that my brother and I both know how to play against the Vulca and know the ways to counteract their strategies. To make it all the worse, the Vulca got a fluke victory over the Aqua (which I’ll get to later). My record with the Vulca was 0-4 and I tried my best to win every game. Oddly enough, it was the precious end game that pooched me over every time.

7.) Pillar – You ever seen those commercials for Enzyte? The Pillar feel like Bob’s neighbors. All the other decks are smiling and having great pool parties, and there are the Pillar with their limp hoses or other clever euphemisms. I want to like this deck, but I could never get them rolling. Often I would make incorrect uses of my Caterpillar cards and just help facilitate the dreaded end game. I see a lot of potential within this deck, and it’s frustrating when you can’t reach that full potential. With a few more plays, I only played the deck five times and thus hard to form a great judgment on the deck, the deck may become a monster. Oh and the NPE I mentioned, turns out discard isn’t too terrible within this deck. Unlike other CCGs, you draw to even up at the end of every turn. Sometimes discarding a few cards can actually help you get rid of some of the chafe within your deck (NoProblem, Hank Highflyer Hawk against the Flit, etc). I expected the Pillar to wreak havoc with discard and annoy other players and hence why I bought the deck last.

6.) Khind – I thought these little brats would be the new powerhouse. I had read reports about the deck being a little too strong, but perhaps it was my execution that led to my 2-3 record. The game that sticks out the most with them was against the Terrah. With only three or four supports within the precon, when he started with the play a booster or retreat, I had to retreat. I started strong with a member of one of the more powerful gangs, and then he responded with the play a support or retreat. Not having the proper support card in hand, I was already down two dragons. I looked at the Terrah and said, “That’s your NPE right there.” My prevailing thought would be that the deck was just full of cheese, and when first played against the Hoax, the thought was being proven. But no character in the deck has a power above 3. They don’t have any power boosting cards, and you’re often playing a game within the game when trying to build your best suit. Even when I lost with the Khind, I just enjoyed playing with the deck. They like the Pillar provide a challenge to play with and I look forward to trying to figure out these guys.

5) Aqua – Losing 0-4 to the Vulca hurt. The mantra, “The Aqua either win big or lose big” kept jogging through my mind. Four of their wins came by three or more dragons, and two of their losses came by four dragons. They had two really close match ups but for the most part the win big or lose big kept jogging through my mind. But man is this deck fun to play with. It can be a little frustrating not having the proper card for the fight to continue, but their one leadership card ensures that you’ll almost never lose by running out of cards first. This card, pardon the pun, allows the Aqua to control some of the flow within the game. Watching a Kraken try to fit into a suit of armor is probably the funniest thing that happened within the game. It reminded me of the traitor in “300”. You know with the funny fitting helmet.

4) Mimix – I happened to bring this deck home with me. The wife was a little curious as to why I had purchased such a product. When we first wanted to branch out from our first three decks (Hoax, Vulca, and Buka), I happened to pick one at random without studying them. I thought they would mimic your opponent’s cards. What I actually found was a nice little pure strength deck that allowed for clever card play. When first testing out the deck, I could easily ramp up the cards to six on two or more occasions. Hand management proved to be the name of this game. Even though I only went .500 with the deck, I had a blast playing it each time. My brother and I vastly disagree on this deck, but that’s ok.

3) Flit – Originally, these fellas just didn’t work for me. I had two straight losses when playing as these guys, and would also lose when playing against them. Talk about getting annoyed. Yet, the last two times I’ve played with this deck the experience has just gotten better and better. When I won my last two games with these guys, a strong sense of accomplishment washed over me and I felt rewarded for piloting what for me was an awkward deck. The hardest part was of course trying to decide which characters you wanted to retrieve. Like the Aqua, the Flit can dictate the pace of the ending by usually having more cards in their deck. If your opponent is behind in dragons, this can be a most dangerous spot.

2) Buka – Landing a ship with a devastating combo or a monstrous fire or earth number feels good. Planning and careful play seem to be the modus operandi of the Buka. Strength through unity is an appropriate motto. By themselves, these pirates are fairly weak. They might be able to bluff their way into looking stronger then they really are, but sometimes these bad boys are just full of hot air. The Buka offer one of the stronger themes within Blue Moon. You can imagine one lowly pirate getting beaten in fire only for a ship of his friends to arrive next turn to put some hurtin. The B.P. boys are also there to provide a little more beef. “Hey, do I see two support cards and do you have six cards already out...” I love these guys. Bluffing can be risky, especially considering some of your four strength beefy characters double as bluffs, but bluffing is one of the most intriguing aspects of the game. I think these guys would make Capt. Jack Sparrow proud and with that, “Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.”

1)Hoax – By now you’ve discovered that I like decks that often present a challenge when playing. When we were reading the rules wrong, the Hoax were the laughing stock of Blue Moon. Apparently, they went to see Charles Atlas and came back as the early favorite. These guys are just a barrel of fun and because it took me so long to win with them, it was hands down my most enjoyable experience pulling off a win with this deck. The combos, the flavor the deck presents, and the subtle nuances you learn about as you continue to experiment with this deck. While my opinion may change during our next mega event, this is Reiner’s finest Blue Moon deck. It leads the Hoax leader to spout, “There’s nothing finer than our deck designed by Reiner.”

I hope you enjoyed the appendix portion of this gaming session. We’ve recently order both E&I decks and are looking forward to mixing it up with those cards. Who knows, we may get around to actually building our own decks, but right now we’re enjoying the constructed ones just fine.
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Joe Stude
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This is awesome and something I've been wanting to do for a while now (but haven't due to lack of playtime... or any time at all, actually)... I haven't read it all either yet but just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to compile and post it all.

edited after reading the whole thing:

Some interesting results here, some of which I would have predicted and some which I just didn't expect. Terrah at the top doesn't surprise me in the least, nor does Pillar near the bottom, but I was definitely taken aback by seeing the Khind way down there. The one thing this sort of thing can never take into account is playstyle and deck aptitude. I've gotten better with Pillar, for example, but I honestly still haven't decided what the "right" way (assuming there IS a single right way) is to play the caterpillars. With decks like the Vulca and Pillar, I've never been able to win consistently enough to feel like I had command of them.

I was also surprised to see Buka so far down there. In my still fairly limited experience with them, I've won every game with them (9 or 10) pretty convincingly and have yet to beat them in 1 or 2 tries against. My record with the Buka may be boosted by the fact that I already had a lot of experience with the game when I started playing with the deck.


Individual deck thoughts (to add to yours):

Terrah: Agree pretty consistently. I actually enjoy playing them from time to time, though, because it's actually fairly rewarding making the "Play a card or retreat" cards hit as hard as possible. Anyone can just lead a fight with one and win an easy dragon, but it's much more rewarding to hit 6 cards with one of these guys or win a fight you'd otherwise have lost (due to Brain Drain or some other nasty card(s) being in play).

Vulca: Nothing really to add. I pull em out from time to time solely bceause they seem to be more challenging to win with.

Pillar: Say no more! These guys are the punching bags of the game, but I think it's because they're difficult to pin down to any one particular playing style. Obviously the caterpillars are much more useful when you can team them up with disclose, but that doesn't happen very often in my experience. This is another deck I'll pull out when I feel like running uphill in 100 degree weather with a turtleneck on. (BTW, if I had a nickel for every time Mimix discarded 'NoProblem' in response to a caterpillar...)

Khind: Fun. They're one of the two decks I least like to see on the other side of the table (the other being Aqua). Funny enough, they're very similar to the Aqua in that if the deck comes together they can be well-nigh unbeatable... but if you don't get the cards, the game can end very, very quickly. The challenge (and most fun, imo) comes when the cards AREN'T coming together perfectly and you have to make things happen, as opposed to everything just falling into place.

5) Aqua – These guys drive me nuts. I've had more "WTF am I supposed to do?!" games against this deck than any other. I think the trick in beating them is finding holes due to the polar nature of their cards and relatively low number of characters, but it's entirely possible those holes just won't materialize. (You should see Eelena-Aqua-Prima-Alpha
fit into that armor.)

Mimix: Play them very infrequently. Don't really dislike them, just not enough tricks to pull to keep them interesting.

Flit: Favorite deck, hands down. Their leaderships are the hardest to use but are probably the most frustrating to an opponent if you can use them all successfully. Ultimately you have to have a solid knowledge of what you're playing against so you can retrieve properly or you're going to have a rough time of it.

Buka: I really enjoy this deck and don't get to play them nearly enough. I'm still really intrigued by the bluffing mechanic and the consequent mindgames. I'd really like to see some detailed session reports of these guys getting trounced, though, because I just haven't seen it happen yet.

1)Hoax – Very close second to Flit in "my favorite deck" voting. As you say, tons of depth, lots of interesting combos, and the ability to offset somewhat lower power with trickery. Awesome stuff.

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Jack Wraith
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I think we have a group of control players here. I don't really dislike playing any of the decks, but I have some clear favorites.

9. Mimix. The girls just don't do it for me. While I like slapping down a Spirit or a Virgin or a Guardian (we play with the cards from the E&I decks even if we don't use Emissaries) to just stop a fight in its tracks, there simply aren't enough tricks in the deck; the approach is too single-minded for me. Hypnotic Rattle, the Shamen, and Call Spirit of the Underworld are cool at times, but not often enough.

8. Vulca. Again, a little too straightforward for me a lot of the time. When we first began playing, my wife loved the Vulca and I gravitated right to the Hoax. I think the overdependence on Fire (68 to 46 total Earth) and the smallest number of Booster/Supports other than the Mimix and Khind makes the deck too predictable, although I have loved to lay down Fearsome Spirits and Wall of Fire at times.

7. Terrah. I really enjoy playing Terrah. I enjoy the other 6 decks more. I'm not so worried about the power or 'cheese' of the deck, since I've beaten it repeatedly (it's my wife's favorite.) I like the challenge of trying to get the Storm cards out before my opponent retreats. And, of course, Cloying Mud, Impenetrable Fog, and Quickering Quicksand are one of the best Support sections in the game, even without the reset button of Provoke Earthquake. But even with those cards, it still strikes me as more of an overpowering ('aggro') deck than a control deck.

6. Khind. I enjoy the kids, but they can occasionally be frustrating. They are heavily reliant on the draw. If you end up with the rainbow, you're in trouble unless you manage to topdeck Blow Whistle or Drown Resistance. Of course, when you do get the right draw or draw into a solid number of a gang over the course of a game, you're more powerful than several other decks can even dream of being. In other words, Khind is a combo deck. I hated combo when I played M:TG, but I like the Khind a lot more.

5. Buka. I think the Buka are here right now because I have the least experience with them of any deck. I'm getting better at timing ships and getting better at knowing when to bluff and when to just stay in element with a 2/0 Support that might earn me a dragon. However, there are still characters that I tend to rely upon to play well and the BP conditions so rarely seem to come up that I occasionally find myself surprised at the deck's seeming impotence.

4. Pillar. Unlike others, I really enjoy the Pillar deck and have been able to win with it regularly. Part of it is probably my Magic roots: despite playing dozens of different kinds of decks and styles, the one constant throughout my tourney career was Black control. I loved discard. Others shouted the praises of various creatures and enchantments; I sang the Hymn to Tourach. I've found ways to make the Caterpillars work very well and find myself rarely at a loss for power that a Potion won't take care of. The Butterflies are just a bonus that lets me set up for the next few turns and pick apart what my opponent can or can't do.

My top 3 are pretty much tied:

Flit: Getting the rhythm of when to Retrieve and when to move on was the biggest hurdle to cross. Once I got it, I began to win constantly with the Flit. Although I have yet to play Commence Mega Launch for its true purpose, using it and the other Leaderships as good excuses to draw another card, I still like having that backdrop in case I have a hand full of Boosters. I also recall using Fel-nar-Gan most effectively of all the Mutants.

Hoax: Part of my attachment to the Flit is probably my beginning experience with Ciklarethas the Bitter. Hammering away again and again with a 3/3 backed up by something like Trebuchet of Fear will win most fights eventually. In the meantime, still having Bethenitanas, Demegodas, or Thirkomedas to throw out and change the face of the game (even before considering things like Brain Drain and Enthrall Opposition) makes the Hoax a sure favorite.

Aqua: In all honesty, probably my favorite. Aqua relies on a serious amount of feel for what's coming and what's past, like any good Magic deck. The notorious Administer Water is the game's surest backboard to a game spinning out of control. Combine it with Chosen of Water and Aqua becomes that much more durable. Much fun.
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Matthew M
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Great job! The next step, of course, is to play every matchup campaign style. I imagine that will result in a tighter grouping as multiple games mean a deck that gets a perfect draw still has to follow through when it doesn't. Also, my impression is that some decks do better at winning tight, low-yeild games while others may lose more often but win big when they do...and it would be interesting to see if that shows itself in the scores.

-MMM
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John Harley
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I think octavian is right.
The crystal scoring would better reveal balance between decks.
 
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AxonDomini
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Definitely go with the crystal matches next time, if you can. Even though I rarely get to do so myself, when trying to examine the balance of the decks it's the way to go.

And, since others are listing their deck preferences:

9)Terrah - Pretty much for the reasons others have stated. Too bland, definitely the least "thoughtful" deck (though all decks require thought and I'll enjoy a game of Blue Moon even with the Terrah).

8)Flit - I honestly can't put my finger on why, they just don't click with me. Their one perk is that they're more interesting than the Terrah in terms of strategy. Definitely not a weak deck, especially in the hands of my wife who just about always wins with them.

7)Vulca - More subtle than they first appear, but still nowhere near as fun as those above them. The Vulca are my "dividing line" between "decks that are just OK" and "decks that I really enjoy playing". Since that means I really enjoy 2/3 of the decks, it says a lot about how well designed this game really is.

6)Aqua - I enjoy the nice selection of FREE cards and the wildly imbalanced 0/X and X/0 cards. Water of Immortality is just great and lets you play your power cards with considerably more freedom than other decks. And the Sirens are, of course, just awesome (though there are plenty of counters to them out there).

5)Khind - I like pulling these guys out every now and then just because they're so darned nasty! Unlike Jeremy's group, we love decks that mess with each other's play area, and nobody does it better than the Khind! They're a huge "timing" deck - it's all about biding your time until you have the hand you want. Their mutant is key to this strategy, so if he's late in the deck you may be in a jam (though not an impossible situation by any means). The Khind is my wife's favorite deck, and it's just plain evil in her hands.

4)Hoax - Just good fun and lots of ways to control the game. The Hoax have some of the best leadership and support cards in the game, and their mutant is just generally useful.

3)Mimix - One of my early favorites that I still enjoy quite a bit, but newer decks have captured my attention lately. They can lay down huge numbers more easily than any other deck. Between their Shamans, Free characters and Pairs there's plenty of ways to achieve this.

2)The Pillar - I love the Pillar! I've gotten better with them over time, and have definitely learned to play my cards more carefully. They're still tough to play, but I can eek out a win now and then with them and when I do it's definitely satisfying.

1)The Buka - Dang the guys are fun! Perhaps its because they just play SO differently from other decks, but whatever the reason I love 'em. I started off rough with them, but am hitting my stride with and can now win a decent amount of time. The ships are a great mechanic and even the bluffing is fun.

Sadly, I haven't had as much time for Blue Moon since my wife started school, but I'm hoping to get a few plays in during her (very brief) summer break.
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Joe Stude
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Woop for summer breaks. I'll be watching for ya.
 
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