Solforge Set Review-Alloyin

Sorry the delay, real life and writer’s block got in the way

Solforge is now in open beta, which means a few things. First, anyone can play it assuming they have the proper system, and that the full set is now out. I wanted to do a set review since thinking through the cards is always useful, however there was a slight problem in that SBE wanted to preserve the awesome feeling of finding new cards in the packs you opened and didn’t want to release a full card list. Instead making the logical assumption that the community would do so.  Now that Forgewatch has a proper card list I”m diving into reviewing all 180 cards. I’ll be using this page as a reference. Now let’s get into this. I’ll be giving my impressions but not any sort of hard ranking mainly because I’m still get a grasp on the finer points of the game, haven’t necessarily even seen these cards in play yet, and don’t feel they add much in the current environment of the game.

One set at a time and first up is Alloyin.

Alloyin

Aegis Conscript

He’s okay, giving armor to one of your more powerful cards is good except for when you’re against Nekrium. More of a draft fodder card that you don’t really want in Constructed but will play in the right deck

Alloyin General

This guy hasn’t changed. He still has high health and power bonus he gives is often relevant.

Alloyin Highlander

He’s a build around me card but not a particularly good one. The lack of mobility gives too many options for your opponent to play around him.

Arcflight Squadron

On one hand, this guy is as thin as tissue paper and will die pretty quickly. On the other hand, he gives you a reason to go mono robots and will hopefully replace himself by living just one turn.  It’s definitely worth trying him out at the very least.

Battle Technician 

He pumps all your guys and will probably live for two turns if you play him on level. I’ts important to be mindful if you have him in your deck of keeping lane three open. Very good, especially when you make it harder for him to die.

Brightsteel Gargoyle

This guy is a nightmare to play against. His stats are average but between mobility, defender and armor he is so very hard to kill in combat. One of the best cards in the set.

Brightsteel Sentinel

You’ll play this in mono robots and be pretty happy with the blow outs it causes

Bulwark Bash

This card is interesting and flavorful. Problem is that I never feel like I have enough armor to justify running it.

Cypien Augmentation

So its lvl 2 and 3 versions are free, and its in Alloyin so I have access to cards that let me skip having to deal with its lvl 1 version. Along with some card draw I’ll happily play this to buff the guys I want in the center already.

Electro Net

It’s common pseudo removal. Run if if you have nothing better.

Energy Prison

Defender basically reads as you now have four lanes to work with. If that means I don’t have to worry about your grimgaunt devourer or other such bomb, I”m more than willing to make that trade.

Energy Surge

What I said about Augmentation is also true here. It also effectively reduces your deck size and makes it more consistent. The best surge in my opinion.

Flowsteel Prototype

So at level 1 it’s going to stay around in combat for a bit and then after that it smooths out your draws and gets huge? Sounds good to me. I particularly like  this guy in growth decks so I can keep him around

Forcefield

Not bad combat trick

Force Guardian Alpha

This is bad, don’t play it

Force Guardian Beta

This on the other hand, is a fairly aggressive card on its own. I prefer forgeplate sentry and Ionic Warcharger over it but that’s because I’m willing to trade that extra bit of aggression for more durability. I’d still be happy with Force Guardian Beta.

Force Guardian Gamma

Live the dream, make that Exodia/Voltron combo happen. What you don’t live in magical hristmasland? Keep moving then.

Forgeplate Sentry

He’s still good with the full set out.

Ghox, Metamind Paragon

Card draw is good, his body is good. There’s no reason to not play him if you don’t have him.

Heavy Artillery

I dislike cards that require me to make an investment that will probably die. ON the other hand, it is a powerful effect in a vacuum.

Hinterland Watchmen

Lvl 1 is annoying if you get to go of. Lvl 2 and 3 are beatings if you can get them to go off. Not as good as he could be since he’s ot interacting properly with Battle Tactician. Good in Alloyin/Uterra.

Ionic Warcharger 

Good body and mobility and relevant creature type. One of the good foundation cards for Alloyin.

Jet Pack

This will get better once trading is available and the meta starts to balance out to counteract Energy Prison and maybe to do dumb things with Force Guardian Alpha and Reactor, but mainly the first thing.

Lightshield Patrol

This is a pretty bad investment in a growth deck, pass.

Matrix Warden

He comes down, pumps a guy and leaves a body behind. Not bad, better in robots.

Metamind Adept

Draw cards and a good body, good deal.

Metasculpt

Blank your bomb along with any extra effects you gave it? Sounds like premium quasi removal.

Munitions Drone

Bad body and can’t pump himself. Pass.

Nexus Core

You an try to do stupid things with Jet Pack and this card, or you can play real cards to begin with.

Nexus Pilot

I can play this in the center lane so it’s not terrible, I can play Battle Tactician in the center and something relevant happens. I think I know which I prefer.

Oreian Battledroid

That much armor is tough to get through save Nekrium effects. Increase its health and a lot of things aren’t getting through.

Oreian Battlewalker

The biggest problme is that each creature lives for about two turns in a normal game, which makes this not very impressive. If you can pump it so it lives longer then you’re getting somewhere.

Palladium Pulsemage

You can do better.

Scout Drone

This guy was a lot better when he was the only free thing, now there’s just so much more you can do that he’s a lot of his glamour.

Scrapforge Titan

Here’s another guy that isn’t as good anymore. Steelforged Avatar is just so much better and there’s no need to deal with the cost of the first two levels.

Sonic Pulse

This is unchanged since it got nerfed. It still has a place but you’re not really that happy about it.

Spark Bot

It’s a good vanilla creature.

Sparkblade Assassin

This is not a good vanilla creature.

Stasis Warden

This guy is really good in a spell heavy deck. It can be very hard for your opponent to actually punch through damage.

Steelforged Avatar

The Avatars are not bad in general. The Steelforged is the best cause of all the card draw you should be using in conjunction with this guy.

Steelshaper Savant

Keep in mind that he can’t pump himself anymore. All of the savants are good cards, and while this might not be the best one, it is still very good.

Synpasis Oracle

This card is still nuts, and while it isn’t as good as it was back before the live play update, it has been buffed and it makes such a difference. There is no reason to not play this if you have it.

Tech Upgrade

No longer limited to just robots. My favorite Alloyin buff effect.

Technosmith

The Oracle’s less version and his lvl 2 got changed back. You still want to play this guy in the deck that wants him.

Vault Technician 

You can do better.

Warmonger Mod

On one hand, this is a powerful effect, on the other hand, I still like my buffs to keep my guys alive.

Overall: Alloyin is a powerful faction with some nice synergies with itself and other factions. Not only that but it’s part of the pie is rather strong with both card draw and “ramp”.

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The value of Good Gamng

Someone on Twitter shared this article and it got me thinking for a few different reasons. First, it’s a good article. Second, the comments were honestly a bit alien to me in that the line of thinking in the article is something that I take for granted. Third, while it was focused on the value of board games in relation to business, there are other points that are a bit more general and still valid. Again as this is one of my more theory based posts it’s important to point out the assumptions I’m making; fortunately I’ve already explained my assumptions in this post, go read it, it’ s not long. So let’s not waste any time and get cracking.

Games make you think: They have rules you have to learn, understand the interaction of these rules and how to operate within them for maximum efficiency. This is something that gamers do for fun, it keeps the mind sharp and open to new ideas.

Games are social events: Playing games is a good crash course in how to learn to interact with people. If your’e pleasant people will want to play with you again, if your’e not then don’t be surprised that you never hear from people.

It’s a good way to actually learn teamwork: Just about every group project I ever had to do in school was pointless and didn’t teach me much of anything in how to function as a team. Co-op board games that don’t degenerate into follow the leader have actually taught me how to work in a team setting.

These are some additional points that weren’t covered in the Forbes article that I could think of without retreading any ground. If you have any other points then leave them int the comments. Until next time.

 

Feeling and Luck

How we react to games on an emotional level is an important aspect, and not just be a gracious winner and loser. You can get my thoughts on that here. Instead what I”m talking about this week is how fair we perceive the game to be, to what extent are we, as players, at the mercy of variance and similar matters. A game can still have solid mechanics but if the way in which it conveys those mechanics is negative then it can’t really be called that good a game. This is also important as it explains the thought process in part to my review process.

To start with, there are a few assumptions underlying this that should be stated for the purpose of being thorough. First and most importantly I’m taking about games that are actually meant to be games, so Zombie Dice doesn’t count. Second, winning is good and having a positive play experience is important, otherwise you all could fiddle with decks of cards while hanging out.

A game should be about managing luck, not being at the mercy of luck. Variance is an important part of the hobby, otherwise we’d all be playing chess. An example of game about managing luck would be Ticket to Ride; most scenarios in the game boil down to how lucky were your draws, how lucky did your opponents draw and what are you going to do about it. An example of the latter would be Race to the Galaxy, while it is a game I like; it also has the tendency of locking a player out who doesn’t draw anything to create a cohesive plan. The worst case of the latter is where you have no basically no input, like Munchkin or Fluxx. When I’m complaining about luck, this is what I’m going to mean.  This is also the reason that I can never be a serious tournament player in MTG, the times when you just don’t play get to play Magic are rather common.

A game should not be fair in the abstract but feel unfair. What this basically means is that a game can  mathematically fair but if it isn’t grokkable then it will just create a miserable play experience.  I’m told that this is my problem with Small World, but considering how much I hate that game I’m honestly not that inclined to look into it. In general this is something that an asymmetrical game needs to avoid with players at equal skill levels but is probable with new players.

Victory should be quick. I touched upon this a long while ago here, but I feel it’s worth repeating. As much as I like winning, I don’t want my win once evident to take a long time, nor do I want to suffer through someone else taking a long time to win.*

These are the three main pillars of how games can elicit emotion in players and affect how we perceive them. There’s little that we can do about it as players except understand it and consciously think about these issues when evaluating games.

*This is actually a problem with MTGO, specifically with combos as you have to do each step manually instead of automating it once you demonstrate the combo.