Monday, 19 March 2018

My Regionals Experience

A large group of us went to the Regionals at Kirton Games, 15 in total. It was quite a sight seeing us with team polo shirts on amongst a crowd of 102 players. Credit to James Fox and all the Kirton staff for running a smooth event, with plenty of food available and even a Fish and Chips run for everyone.

My List

  • Colonel Vessery, Ruthlessness, TIE/D, Tractor Beam
  • Countess Ryad, Push the Limit, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine MK 2
  • Baron of the Empire, Push the Limit, TIE/v1, Autothrusters
Comes in at 100 points. With Pilot Skills of 4,5 and 6; an initiative bid isn't needed. It took me weeks to find a decent wingman for the Defenders, but the Thursday before the event I settled on the Baron of the Empire in the TIE Adv. Prototype. Mobile, and grants a target lock for Vessery, he ended up being a fantastic addition. Playing the key role of blocker often, I was never disappointed with his performance. I just wish he had 3 attack dice.

My Result

I came 70th. Not great, though the result of going 3-3, as I wanted to at least Top 64 to get a Zuckuss. It is better than my warm-up result though, as although I went 50/50 in both events, none of my games were zero point losses this time around.

Round 1

Palp Aces. I approached this wrong and was unable to K-Turn over the shuttle. My opponent burnt Ryad down in the first couple of turns. I made sure I was able to get half points for the shuttle once it was clear I probably couldn't pull the game back.
Loss - consider the initial approach vector carefully next time. Possibly bank the turn before.

Round 2

Decimator and Rexlar Brath. I burnt the Decimator pretty quick and was able to carefully keep Rexlar from Ioning Ryad.
Win - I made a couple of early mistakes with Ryad but managed to recover.

Round 3

Vader, Vynder, Omega Leader. A long game with lots of positional manoeuvring. Two bumps for Vader helped. The key point was the opponent isolating Omega, allowing me to send my squad after him and then being free of the other two for a couple of turns.
Win - long game though. The important kills were in the final round after time had been called.

Round 4

Miranda and Dash. A long game as well. Managed to trap and burn down Miranda, but struggled to catch Dash.
Win - came down to the final shot of the game giving me half points for Dash, and winning by 9 points.

Round 5

Miranda and Dash. A slightly different build, and the winner of the 2016 Dark Star store championships. He kept Miranda out of as many arcs as possible, so Vessery never got a shot off. Unfortunately, in doing so he flew her too close to the edge, allowing me to bump her off the map. That was my only kill.
Loss - I was completely outflown. My green dice were mostly above average though.

Round 6

Hera and Ezra. For some reason, I struggle against Ghost lists. I think it's because they have a variety of builds with different ways of tackling each.
Loss - A key turn of bad dice (with a target lock) meant I killed Ezra later than I wanted. Killing Ezra may not have turned the game into a win, but may have given me time to get half points on Hera.

My biggest failing was finalizing the list at such a late point, which minimized my practice with it. I'm going to keep the list built for a while and continue to practice with it. Not sure when my next event will be, depends if there is any travelling to Store Championships. I'm Judging at the System Open this week, Euros in June and Marshalling the Plymouth Store Championships.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

X-Wing Regionals Warm-up

This post was intended to publish a couple of weeks ago, but writing it proved more time intensive than I expected.

March 10th a group of us from Dark Star are going to the Regional X-Wing Event at Kirton Games in Crediton. Being stand-up guys, they organized a warmup event February 10th, and a few of us went to that. Nine of us, in fact. We figured it would be great practice against a wider field, and we were right.

There set up is pretty good, and they stream whichever game is at table 1, right the way through to the finals. They do this for most of their events, which makes their Twitch channel worth checking out. Round 1 saw me put on table 1, giving me the first feature match. I figure this is an opportunity to go through the game afterwards and look at what I did, what mistakes I made and where I went right with an observation of my decisions as they happened. I rarely do full reports on here as I never take enough notes nor write the post with the game full enough in my memory.

The List I Took

  •  Colonel Vessery, Ruthlessness, TIE/D, Tractor Beam, Twin Ion Engine MK2
  • Countess Ryad, Push The Limit, TIE/x7, Twin Ion Engine MK2
  • Nu Squadron Pilot, OS-1 Arsenal Loadout, Long Range Scanners, Harpoon Missiles
Vessery double-taps to reduce the defender's agility, pushing damage to other ships with Ruthlessness and messing with their positioning where possible. Ryad is a solid ace, providing target locks for Vessery and being a killer in the late game. The Nu pilot is a flanker/distraction, with Harpoons to help it hit hard.

Greg Jones' List

  • Dengar
  • Dalan Oberos
  • Jakku Gunrunner
Told you I was terrible at taking notes/memory. Which is a shame as his list deserves to be seen. Some nice tricks and heavy hitters. He was also a gentleman to play against.

The Video

The video is here; 
I'll be timestamping and making comments from this point on.

 Here is where the footage starts. We are just setting up and he is looking through my list. I've only flown against a Kimogila once before this game, so I'm not sure what to expect.
Here is where Obstacle placement starts. He's brought Debris, so I try and position them down one flank. Asteroids make the Tractor Beam better against small based ships, as if I can move them onto one, it can deny their shot that turn. It's also more likely to do damage. Mostly though, I want the Obstacles to be densely packed enough to allow shenanigans, but loose enough to be an enticing space to dogfight in.
I start deploying my squad. I put the Star Wing at the top as a flanker and the Defenders together at the bottom. He puts the Gunrunner in the centre (using Hyperwave Comm Scanner to set up after me) and the other two ships to joust my Star Wing.
My thought here is to bank the Star Wing in towards the centre of the map, and put the Target Lock on Denger to attempt to push him away. The Quadjumper movement wasn't a concern, as I was moving after it. This meant it's ability to Tractor as an action wouldn't come into play for a couple of rounds yet. Meanwhile I move the Defenders up the flank, intending to turn them in next round.
I hadn't anticipated such an aggressive move from Dengar, especially the Barrell Roll to get into range. I should have moved more cautiously with the Star Wing, and he may have chased it, allowing the Defenders to get behind him.
"I guess". I considered not shooting Denger, because of the retaliation shot he would get. However, if I didn't fire the Harpoons now, I might not get another shot for a few rounds, and I had to get the Star Wing out of trouble to do so. Of course, it doesn't hit. That's been a trend both in my testing and during this event. The Star Wing has done far more damage with its main guns than with the ordnance, even with reloading.
Obviously, my hope here was the Slam clearing Dengar, so I can start to turn around and come back for a fresh pass, once the Defenders have gotten stuck in. What I got was a block. Ryad has a shot on the Quadjumper and so does Vessery. I use these shots to put a hole in the Quadjumper and start pinging off Dengar's Shields. That's why I don't move the Gunrunner.
With the Star Wing stressed from a crit, I figure my best move is to do a 1 straight, which will clear the stress and hopefully leave Dengar bumped again. The Defenders will move into firing positions and hopefully I'll have some good shots this round.
Confession time - I had completely forgotten that the Quadjumper could reverse, so this caught me off-guard. It turned my planned bump into a harmless flyby by tractoring the Star Wing before it could move. Then, the Asteroid kills the Nu Squadron Pilot. This does allow me to now 180 Ryad  though. I Barrel Roll to get a better vector through the Debris next round and have a shot if Dengar comes too fast into the middle.
I wasn't expecting the Sloop from Dengar, but it makes sense given where the Kimogila went. I also wasn't expecting the Kimogila to fire Harpoons at Ryad rather than the Bullseye Arc shot against Vessery.
I hit the Kimogila with the Tractor beam and consider my options. Ruthlessness puts another damage on Dengar, and will so again if I leave the Kimogila where it is. Likewise, I can put it onto the Asteroid. This will give it an extra defense die for the follow-up shot but if that hits, it's another damage on Dengar. That would be 4 Shields stripped without firing a shot. It would also make the Kimogila's next move be through the obstacle, risking more damage and denying it an action.
Instead, I pull it forward, hoping to give Ryad a shot, but failing. This does allow the follow-up shot to pop the Gunrunner with Ruthlessness though.
Well, Ryad goes across the Debris, denying her actions this turn and she's pointing the wrong way. Vessery K-turns over her and I was hoping for the minimal damage this round. The Kimogila K-turns as well though, giving Vessery a shot, and Dengar lands on the Asteroid. Triple Evade saves Ryad from the Kimogila's shot, and Vessery lives it limping with a Major Hull Breach. Ruthlessness deals 2 damage to Ryad, leaving her on 2 Hull
Now the typical K-turn round from both Defenders, tokening up as Dengar should move in between them. Dalan hard turns away from the fight and Dengar, having predicted the obvious move from Ryad, moves in to finish her off.
Dengar shoots Vessery at range 1, which is followed by my second consecutive triple Evade roll. It was a fine idea, as a retaliation shot probably finishes off Ryad, but my dice disagree. Vessery then hits Dengar with both shots, using Ruthlessness to finish off Dalan who is still in range. The primary weapon's Ruthlessness puts Ryad to 1 Hull though.
Ryad finishes Dengar off, and the retaliation looks fatal. Obviously, I roll triple Evade for the third time in a row, giving me a comfortable win.


I need to up my knowledge/retention of what other ships are capable of. Being caught out by the Jakku Gunrunner was inexcusable. I need to catch up on purchases so I can sit down and look at the Kimogila, but the Quadjumper is a ship I have flown a few times and reversing is its unique feature.

I should also have flown the Star Wing more cautiously when Greg deployed to joust it. I didn't expect such aggressive flying and this compounded with the lack of memory of the Quadjumper to cost me a ship. Luckily, the Defenders are solid, especially against ships with low agility, and pulled it back.

Event Result

I went 2-2 and came 15th out of 24. My next two rounds were against two of the Dark Star lads, both of whom made the top 4 cut and my final round was against an interesting list comprised of T-70 X-Wings. A middle of the road result. Meanwhile, Dark Star put 2 players in the top 4, one of whom won the whole event.

Going Forward to Regionals

I'm enjoying the Defenders, but struggling to find a decent third ship. The Star Wing is interesting to fly, but I end up doing more damage with its main gun than I do with the Harpoons, which is frustrating when I'm paying 6 points to have multiple shots in a game. I need to figure out what to fill the remaining 24 points with, and time is running out. I will find something and hopefully perform better than I did at the Warmup.

Thanks go out to James Fox at Kirton Games for running the event and Pete Yarwood for driving us down there. I also found being on stream for a game valuable for analysing how I fly ships and seeing what alternate decisions I could have made.
I can't wait to play in the Regionals. They are currently expecting 105 players, 14 of whom are Dark Star players. Hoping for good results for all the team, placing as many of us as possible in the Top 16 cut. I guess we will see on the day.

Let's Go, Dark Star Marauders!

Monday, 26 February 2018


A contentious point for many players of competitive games, today I'm going to talk about net-decking.

What is Net-Decking?

The most amusing definition I found was on Urban Dictionary
The process of stealing a tournament winning TCG/OCG/CCG decklist from a discussion forum and replicating it. Implies a lack of creativity and desire to do nothing other than win in the player.

Clans are notorious for this, particularly like the lamers who make up the Yu-Gi-Oh clan "g3n3s1s".
Go to any tournament for this type of game and you'll see a lot of it. The winning decks will always have a great deal of cards in common.
by Hino-Kagu-Tsuchi December 20, 2004
 Also referred to as Net-listing for games that don't use cards, it is building your deck/team/army by copying someone else's list from sources found on the internet. This can be from articles or videos talking about the game, or from scouring tournament results. Often, it involves using the complete list but sometimes it's using the majority of the list while adding your own spin either to personalize it, because you think of a better idea or to hide that it's been copied from the internet.

It's a simple process. You watch/read coverage of an event, see something you like the look of and then copy it to try yourself. It was successful and by playing it maybe you can find some success too. you play it against your friend or take it to a local event and are met with disdain. What went wrong?

The Downsides of Net-Decking

Firstly, many people don't like it. There has long been a stigma to Net-decking. It's seen as a crutch, a thing that people do when they care more about winning than they do about fun. It has gained a reputation that it passes on to anyone who does it, in any game.

I've long heard it dates back to the early days of Magic the Gathering. When websites like The Dojo started talking about deck construction and reporting on the decks that did well, the internet was still in its early days. To have access to those lists was seen as giving you an advantage that was considered unfair. Everyone else was trying out different combinations of cards to find out what worked, and you were taking a shortcut.

Deck builders were putting in hard work to find winning decks, and then you were simply copying their product in an effort to copy their results. You wanted their victory without having to put the same amount of time in to earn it. This is the underlying assumption behind the tournament stigma. This creates bad feeling.

Secondly, if it has done well at a tournament, it may be of a power level that doesn't feel welcome at a casual game. Some people are trying out "fun" ideas or less powerful things that they like the flavour of and don't want to face the latest tournament tech.

Tournament winning lists are usually keyed at winning the event by minimising variance, being efficient and limiting the opponent's ability to interact with its game plan. For an opponent just looking to play some cards/push some models around, that doesn't give them what they are looking for. This is an extension of the stigma above but applies to non-tournament games.

While almost everyone plays these style of games to win, a lot of players put their own qualifiers on how they want to win. When these ways are luck-based or inefficient, their matchup with the tournament list becomes a slog that often feels unwinnable, regardless of their actual ability to win the game. This creates bad feeling.

Finally, just because a list won an event, doesn't mean it is going to play itself. There may be tricks and synergies that are important to its performance, but not immediately obvious. Many of these games require in-game decisions that are often complex, and familiarity with your list is a boon.

If you are after tournament success, you will still need to practice with the list. It is clearly doing something to be successful, and you want to work out what that is before you take it to an actual tournament yourself. Likewise, if you want to make changes to the list and put your own spin on it, you need to understand how it works so that your changes don't destroy it from the inside out.

Without this knowledge, the list won't perform as well as expected. It won't produce the results that you want. This creates frustration.

So is Net-Decking bad?

Is it the worst thing a player can do? There are many people that will tell you it is. It has such a stigma across many games that people will deny doing it, even though their list matches the recent big money winning list 100%. People will berate net-deckers, complain if they enter an event with them and grouse about their existence.

They are entitled to their opinions, but I would say they are wrong.

For the first downside; why is research frowned upon?

I liken Net-Decking to building a desk or cooking a meal. Sure, you could look at every card available to the event, try them out in every possible combination and settle on the deck you want to play that way.  You could also grab some wood and start building a desk with a variety of tools until you find the best techniques to build the desk you want. You could throw various ingredients in a pot and taste-test different mixtures until you find the one that tastes best.

Conversely, you can buy a cookery book and follow a recipe from that. You can research design techniques to make a sturdy desk. You can see what people are playing in events and do well with and follow their tips. We live in a world where rather than doing everything from scratch ourselves we can turn to others for advice, teaching or doing the task for us. Why should list design be any different? Plenty of people like to talk about what they have had success with, and how they got there. People also like absorbing this content and using it as a stepping stone to generate their own success.

There are likewise many people who enjoy making their own lists and forging their own path to victory, with little to no input from others. There are people who enjoy finding success with under-utilized cards/units/models. These are all valid approaches to gaming, and no approach is better than the others. If you are doing it the way you enjoy, then more power to you. The stigma needs to go away, there are so many facets to learn when competing at a game that short-cutting list building doesn't replace all the other things you need to learn to find the success. For most people, these games are hobbies and time is short.

For the second point, the casual game, here is where things get murky. What defines a game as casual rather than competitive. Within these gaming systems, the point is to beat your opponent. Should you not try as hard as possible to do so?

That depends on what your opponent and yourself are expecting from the game. As I said;
"Tournament winning lists are usually keyed at winning the event by minimising variance, being efficient and limiting the opponent's ability to interact with its game plan"
These lists are fine for running in a tournament. You and your opponents are attempting to beat each other, often with prizes on the line, and probably should be running efficient lists and minimising variance. This will often give you the best chance of winning and is the appropriate place for such lists.

These lists are fine for practising for a tournament. Again, you should expect to face such lists and they are what you want the most practice against. 

A game to spend an afternoon playing with a friend on the other hand? You need to talk to your friend and discuss what you both want from the game. Maybe they want tournament practice. Maybe they have a list they want to experiment with that either explores a mechanic or a theme of the game.
This probably isn't the best time to use a list that limits their ability to interact or circumvents portions of the game rules. Again, maybe they want to test against that sort of list, but it's always best to talk.

You want to enjoy the game, win or lose, and so do they. If you both have differing expectations for the play experience, then one or more of you are going to come away dissatisfied. Smashing someone in a way that doesn't let them actually play the game won't feel good to them, and if it's a game you are after it won't feel good to you. Your mileage may vary if you are after smashing your opponents like that all the time, but don't be surprised if finding non-tournament opponents becomes difficult.

Sometimes it's good to take your foot off the gas, play a list that's less honed for tournaments and have a game. You may find a new facet to the game that you enjoy. You may even find something underplayed that has become good in the new meta without the majority realizing. And just because you are playing a less powerful list doesn't mean you have to play to lose.

Finally, Net-Decking won't compensate for lack of fundamentals. As an extreme example; you could take the most powerful list in any game and hand it to someone who doesn't know the rules of the game. Having the tools won't help without the experience of how they work. You need to analyse the list, work out what the synergies are, learn the plays, etc.

Look at the source of the list. Did you pull it from event coverage? Maybe there is an interview with the player who ran it. Did you get it from a website? Maybe it came with a guide to how the list played, and how it was built. Don't just grab the tool, grab the instructions as well.

This is especially important if you are planning on making changes to the list. There are various, valid reasons to make changes. Maybe the meta has changed since the event it won, and you believe it needs to adapt. Maybe you percieve a weakness in the list that you can remove. Maybe you have a favourite card/unit/model that you want to include and you need to find room for it.

Play the original list first. Do the full research. Only by knowing how the list works can you decide what to change. You don't want to remove an innocuous looking piece only to find it's integral to one of the combos and the other pieces don't work without it.

As a related side note; if you want to do well at a comepetitive game, you need to know the fundamentals and be good at them. If you aren't getting the success you want, go back and look at them. Maybe it's card sequencing, maybe it's positioning, maybe it's relying on too many low probability events. If you can work out what the problem is, your game will improve.

End the Stigma

Net-Decking shouldn't be ridiculed. It's part of the hobby, especially in the competitive games. If you are after a casual game, discuss this with your opponent to avoid dissatisfaction. We all play these games to play these games and enjoy ourselves, we shouldn't be making each other feel bad about the way we choose to play.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Tournament Structure - How I Run My Events

A lot of players I come across don't have a full understanding of the tournament structure when they come to events. Some of this is due to inexperience, but it's often due to not really looking into what's going on.

A lot of tournament systems use what is known as the Swiss-pairings system.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A Swiss-system tournament is a non-eliminating tournament format which features a set number of rounds of competition, but considerably fewer than in a round-robin tournament. In a Swiss tournament, each competitor (team or individual) does not play every other. Competitors meet one-to-one in each round and are paired using a set of rules designed to ensure that each competitor plays opponents with a similar running score, but not the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. All competitors play in each round unless there is an odd number of players.
A lot of games use this system for their events;
  • Badminton
  • Bridge
  • Chess
  • Curling
  • Debates
  • Esports
  • Go
  • Scrabble
  • Trading Card Games
  • War games
These are just some of the more well-known examples. So, how does it work?

The Swiss System

Once you get more than 4 players, it is usually unfeasible to have everyone face everybody else in the event. Time is always a factor in tournaments, both for Organiser logistics and Player endurance. So this system was created for a Chess tournament held in Zurich in 1895, which is where its name comes from. It even has a provision for having a Single Elimination mini-event afterwards to cement a winner.

It also ensures that during the rounds, no player faces the same opponent more than once. Even if they end up matching your record later in the event. The exception is if a top cut is done after the final round. You can totally face someone during the single elimination that you've already faced during the regular rounds. 

How Many Rounds?

The number of rounds that an event should have depends on the event attendance. It uses the Binary Logarithm to determine this. Without getting heavy on the math, it actually gives a perfect number of rounds so that if you reach the maximum number of players for the round limit, only one player will be undefeated at the end of the event.

As you can see from the table above, up to 8 players gives you 3 rounds. 9-16 gives you 4 rounds, and so on. Essentially, an extra round allows for double the maximum players of the previous amount. If you play fewer rounds than recommended, then more than one player is likely to end up with an undefeated record. If you play more rounds than recommended, then you can not only end up with no players undefeated, but the pairings start going weird.

Round One

For the first round, everyone comes into the event fresh (events with a seeding system are an exception). Nobody has a win/loss record at this stage. So the way you pair the first round is by randomising the players into pairs, and that's their opponent.  Then the first round is played.

Some events will look at the list of players and try and avoid pairing people from the same playgroup against each other if possible. This is to allow them to face new opponents, as nothing sucks more than travelling a few hours to an event, only to play the same guy you play at home in the first round. Most events won't do this though.

Round Two Onwards

From the second round, you are paired based on your win/loss record. That is, you should be playing against someone who has won as many rounds this event as you have. That is, round two, it pairs all the people that won round one against each other, and all the people that lost round one against each other. And this repeats as the rounds progress.

In round four, the players with three wins are paired, the players with two wins, the players with one win and the players with none. So your opponent should be having a similar day to you. Theoretically, they should also be close to you in skill level. This stops someone who is currently undefeated having an "easy" match against someone who has yet to win a game due to inexperience/poor deck choice/ unlucky day.


Within your win/loss bracket, you will usually be paired based on Tiebreakers. These are a system that differentiates players with the same record. You will be matched with someone whose tiebreakers are closest to yours, where possible. The only time you won't is where that would cause you to face someone for a second time.

They can also cause you to be paired up/down. If there isn't the maximum number of players, then there won't be an even number of people within each bracket so the person with the strongest tiebreaker in one bracket will be paired up into the next bracket against the person there with the weakest tiebreaker, again without repeating a pairing.

Different games systems will have different tiebreakers, dependent on the system. Magic the Gathering uses the average of your opponents win/loss records. Warhammer 40K uses the points scored in the game. Some smaller events will simply determine randomly who is at the top of each bracket.


If your round ends in a draw, this alters things slightly. As a draw is better than a loss but worse than a win, it alters your win/loss record. Most games cope with this by assigning a points value to each result, typically 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. For example, end of round three somebody with three wins will have 9 points, somebody with one win will have 3 points and somebody with two wins and a draw will have 7 points.

These are called match points and determine what bracket you are in for pairing purposes. Everyone with the same number of match points is in the same bracket.

Draws usually happen because matches are timed. Either the players didn't finish with a victor determined or they didn't even have time to reach a conclusion. I want to talk about this more in a future post, as it heavily factors into the issue of Slow Play.

The Winner

At the end of the recommended number of rounds, one player should be undefeated. If you are stopping here, they are the winner. They will have the most match points as well, to make it easier to spot at a glance. If due to factors such as time constraints, you've run fewer rounds then the winner is the player with the highest match points and the strongest tiebreaker.

The exception to this is if the event has a single elimination cut.

Top X

If the event is having a cut, then it will usually be announced at the start of the event. Sometimes this is determined by attendance, other times it's fixed by the standard of the event. At the end of the final round, the players that progress to the top cut is decided by their standings. Players are ranked by match points and then by tiebreakers to let you know who came first, second, etc.

Those players will then go on to play a number of knockout rounds until there is one player left undefeated. Top 4 is two rounds, top 8 is three rounds and top 16 is four rounds. If you lose a round at this stage, you are out of the event.

The final standings are also used to determine prizes.

My Events

Typically, my regular monthly events are small events. I run 3-4 rounds dependent on either attendance or game system. Warhammer 40K requires a long time for each round, so I limit the events to 3 rounds even though the attendance normally calls for 4. I pair my events using the Swiss system and use whichever tiebreaker is appropriate for the game. Some games even have their own software available, which makes a lot of the work easier.

For larger events, such as Store Championships, I also do a top cut. This depends on attendance but is normally factored into the event timing. This can often lead to someone being knocked out by a player that they beat in the regular rounds, often referred to as the "Swiss Curse". These tournaments are rarer though.

By having everything use a similar system, it makes it easier for players to understand what is going on during the tournament. Also, if there is a top cut, they can see their progress and how many more wins they need to ensure they make it.

That was a bit drier than normal, but its a dry topic. Hopefully, I've made sense and tournament structure is now easier to understand. Post any questions in the comments

Monday, 29 January 2018

Star Wars the Card Game - not dead yet

This recent article on the Fantasy Flight Games site said that Promise of Power is the final release for the Star Wars card game.

"Promise of Power is the final Force Pack of the Alliances cycle, marking the climactic conclusion of the cycle. With ten new objective sets (two copies each of five distinct sets), this Force Pack continues to reward players for melding affiliations together in a single deck. Promise of Power also introduces plenty of characters from Star Wars Rebels, bringing a new version of Ezra Bridger, Cikatro Vizago, and more Inquisitors into the game.
In addition to being the final Force Pack of the Alliances cycle, Promise of Power marks the completion of Star Wars: The Card Game. Over the past five years, Star Wars: The Card Game has seen five deluxe expansions and six cycles of Force Packs, ranging from the Battle of Hoth, through the pilots of the Rogue Squadron cycle, the forest battles of the Endor cycle, and the most recent changes of the Opposition and Alliances cycle. With the conclusion of the Alliances cycle, the game will be complete, and the Star Wars World Championships in May will be the final Organized Play World Championship for the game"
There isn't much I want to say on the end of the game, as I feel this video from the Fully Operational YouTube channel says it better (hosted by the 2017 UK Nationals runner-up)

However, as long as we have a player base in Plymouth, I intend on continuing to run events. Now it's a "complete" game, there won't be surprise swings in the card pool. It exists as a game that hadn't reached a consensus best deck. I feel this is due to a combination of having to build/play both a Light Side and a Dark Side deck, and also to the unique Pod building system which stops you just making your deck 100% the best cards. I hope we get much more play, especially as players finish off their sets.

So, with that being said, our most recent event was this past Saturday. I'm going to talk about the decks I played.

The Dark Side - Death Star Assembly

Let's start with the weaker deck.
  • Imperial Navy affiliation
  • 2 x Technological Terror
  • 2 x Death and Despayre
  • 2 x Deploy the Fleet
  • 2 x Victory or Death
  • 1 x Repair and Refurbish
  • 1 x Moon Blockade
I consider it weaker simply as there some sub-optimal choices in the deck. This is due to me currently having several decks built, and the pods I'd potentially want being in other decks. It's built to a simple theme. Construct the Death Star and smash the Rebellion from the galaxy.

Objectives - Four of my sets produce 2 resources, and a further two can be damaged to reduce the cost of Capital Ships. Repair and Refurbish helps mitigate that damage and slow down the enemy assault. Victory or Death keeps opposing units from controlling the Force, as this deck wants to be the aggressor. Finally, Moon Blockade brings us the Executor.

Units - Thirty of the cards are Units, of which eleven are Resource generators. We want the heavy hitters coming down as soon as possible, although we risk flooding on resources occasionally. There is a fair spread of Edge enabled icons amongst them, mostly Tactics, for when they are forced to join the fight. The Death Star Engineer is crucial, as it's action helps me stop the opponent from locking down my ships with their Tactics.
Five of the units are Officers. They are mostly chuds, although sometimes I have the spare Resources for the Imperial Officer to speed up the Dial, and Chiraneau's ability to shut down the text on opposing Objectives can come up clutch.
Twelve Star Destroyers. No Tactics here, just plenty of Blast and Gun to smash through the opponent's defences and Objectives. Thuderflare does contribute some healing to my side while moving that damage over to the opponent, and the Devastator helps increase the Dial. The Executor can finish off a damaged Objective, which is usually a surprise to the opponent.
Finally, two copies of the Death Star itself. If that manages to hit the table, it's usually game over during that turn or the next.

Enhancements - Eleven Enhancements, eight of which generate Resources. Six Control Rooms can lead to problems if they start clogging up the hand, but they can always be used to bluff in Edge battles.

Events - Three Events. One Jamming Protocol, which can stop a key Event, and two Admiral's Orders. Reducing the cost of a Capital Ship by 2 often lets me deploy two in a turn, and start the offence.

Fate  - Six Fate cards. None of them are particularly spectacular but included because they are in the Pods. Heat of Battle is always a nice surprise though, and Echoes is always solid.

The deck itself attempts to play in a similar fashion to a Ramp strategy in Magic. Make cards that generate Resources, to make large attackers, to smash the opponent's Objectives. You want to commit something to the Force in the first turn, to make the opponent work for it, but otherwise, you want to be on the attack as much as possible. Accelerating the turning of the Dial via Objective destruction, plus the reaction of the Devastator and Imperial Officer close the game out quickly.

It can start to falter if the opponent seizes the initiative as it lacks most, if not all, of the traditional control elements you see from Imperial Navy. You also lose if you draw all the Resources and none of the Star Destroyers, as that gives your opponent time to put you on the back foot. It's a blast to play though, and nothing quite feels like counting out 12 Resources to deploy the Death Star, and then reading it's text to your opponent.

On the day, across the three rounds, it flooded in the first round against Jedi, pulled off a close win against a Smugglers deck featuring Blockade Runner rush and finally managed to keep a Jedi deck on the back foot long enough to deploy the Death Star as a finisher.

The Light Side - Ewok Swarm

This deck has been both fun, and surprisingly strong.
  • Jedi Affiliation
  • 2 x Sacrifice at Endor
  • 2 x Native Blessings
  • 1 x Lost in the Forest
  • 2 x Warriors of the Forest
  • 1 x Tribe of the Trees
  • 1 x Courage of the Tribes
  • 1 x Tribal Support
I built it originally as a joke because one of the local players HATES Ewoks. Then it started winning games in record time, the joke became serious. The recent release of Native Blessings has solidified the deck in my opinion.

Objectives - All were chosen to maximise the amount of Ewoks in the deck. However, Tribe of the Trees shuts down popular cards like Force Choke. The number of times I had to remind opponents that they couldn't target the Ewoks was quite funny. The real star is Warriors of the Forest though, as the additional Edge enabled Blast icons helps the swarm tear through Objectives.

Units - Twenty-six units. One C-3PO and the rest are Ewoks. Ambushers are cheap. Hunters draw cards. Allys help win Edge battles. Scouts are the key though, stopping the opponents best defender from joining the Engagement. Especially good in the early turns. Very key to taking out an Objective on the first turn. Hordes provide muscle, and the named Ewoks give various utility.

Enhancements - Seven Enhancements. Most are simply Edge fodder, as if Warriors of the Forest is out, you want to have those Icons active. Forest Awareness can give a key Ewok Elite though, and Bright Tree Village makes spare Ewoks better in the Edge stack.

Events - Ten Events. All have their uses, although again you shouldn't be afraid to just pitch them to win Edge battles. Feast of Honor is the STAR card though. It lets you flood the board with Ewoks in one turn. If the opponent makes one Main character to defend in their first turn, and you have Warriors of the Forest out, you can use this to deploy 4 Ewoks in your first turn. If one of them is a Scout, then your opponent can't defend and you destroy the Objective of your choice turn one. It's very easy to follow this up with a Horde on the second turn too.

Missions - Two Missions. Its two copies of Repel the Invaders, which is situational. I rarely want to play this as a mission, as there are rarely good targets for its Reaction, assuming you can get through, although it doesn't generate any Resources. So, like many of the non-Ewok cards, it's home is the Edge Stack.

Fate - Five Fate cards. Two copies of Secret Objective,  to keep the opponent on their toes. I can see a scenario where the ability is good, but mostly it has 3 Force pips. Three copies of Battle of Endor should be 4 Force pip cards, as all the Objectives have the Endor trait.

It's a swarm deck. Fill the board with Ewoks, send them all at one Objective, hopefully denying some defence, destroy it and repeat until 3 are destroyed. It plays fast, doesn't care about defending and doesn't care about the Force. It can, with the right cards, destroy 1 Objective a turn across its first three turns leading to a very fast win.

If your opponent gets a good amount of defenders out quickly, or you stumble, then the game can become unwinnable just as quickly. Force Storm is not your friend. Play smart and you can recover from the board wipe though. It's a struggle, but always play it out. You never know how you might overwhelm them, as Force Storm isn't cheap to use.

On the day, in the first round I managed the 3 turn kill, in the second round I faltered and the opponent managed to stabilise before I could get the third Objective. In the third round, the quick kill happened again. 4 Ewoks and a Feast of Honor is the best possible start.

It was a four-player event, and I came second due to tiebreakers. Everyone had fun, and we will keep playing. It's love of Star Wars that unites us as players, and since the game is good we will play long past the official end of its lifespan.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

My Current Asuryani Force

I've had the opportunity to play a few games with my current 2000 points Iyanden force. Here are my thoughts on how I've put it together, and how it's been doing so far.

Iyanden Brigade Detachment 1993 points, 110 power level, 12 command points

  • Autarch, Warlord - Enduring Resolve
  • Farseer, Guide, Doom, Faolchu's Wing
  • Spiritseer, Enhance/Drain
  • 4 Dire Avengers, Exarch, 2 Shuriken Catapults
  • 4 Dire Avengers, Exarch, Diresword
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, Aeldari Missile Launcher platform
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, Aeldari Missile Launcher platform
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, Shuriken Cannon platform
  • 10 Guardian Defenders, Shurkien Cannon platform
  • 5 Fire Dragons, Exarch, Firepike
  • 4 Howling Banshees, Exarch, Mirrorswords
  • 5 Striking Scorpions, Exarch, Scorpion's Claw
  • 5 Swooping Hawks, Exarch, Hawk's Talon
  • 4 Warp Spiders, Exarch, 2 Death Spinners
  • 3 Windriders, 3 Scatter Lasers
  • 4 Dark Reapers, Exarch
  • Fire Prism, Crystal Targeting Matrix, Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stones
  • Wraithlord, 2 Flamers, 2 Shuriken Cannons
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter, Protect/Jinx, Spirit Stones
I've listed the Warlord traits, Relics and Psychic Powers I've been using. The army was built to maximise Command Points and get decent use of Stratagems while testing a variety of missions. That's how I ended up making a Brigade. Unfortunately, I was unable to fit any Wraithguard/Wraithblades into the Elites slots. They are very expensive, and points ran out fast when filling the mandatory slots.

Unit Review

The Autarch, J'me Iyandar

Expectation - Traditionally, I would have a Farseer as the Warlord, but Path of Command is too tempting. If it gets back even one command point in a game, it's worth it.
Obviously, the re-roll 1s aura is good, making him the keystone of my firebase.
The Warlord trait; Enduring Resolve, was chosen because it's the Iyanden one. None of the choices seems to give a better tactical option to the Autarch.

Reality - Wow, he's been amazing. While some games he's only gotten me one Command Point back, I have had a couple of games where I have effectively had 18 Command Points. Given how good some of the Strategems are, that's been exactly what I've needed.
The Warlord Trait has done nothing, however, I am running multiple Psykers in the list, so I'm not usually short of opportunities to deny Psychic powers. I'll have to look into a better choice, although it will probably end up being the Feel No Pain option.
He is the lynchpin of the firebase, kept near the Reapers, Prism and 1-2 units of Guardians with Missile Launchers to screen them. This is the long-range fire contingent, and the best units to benefit from his re-rolls.

Conclusion - The best choice for Warlord, and an amazing model, even though I have yet to roll any dice for him. His effect on the other units and my Stratagems is all I need.

The Farseer, Se'an Iyandar

Expectation  - My personal favourite, the Farseer. The key psychic support, with Doom and Guide being my two favourite powers. I'm trying out the Faolchu's Wing Relic to allow him the ability to be where he needs to be. I intend for him to often be with the Jetbikes, to use Guide to help with the penalty they get to their shooting when they move.

Reality - Doom! Doom is still my favourite Psychic Power. Cast it on something and even the lowliest of weapons can make it dead.
Guide is great too and has helped with either the Jetbikes or more often the Dragons.
The Relic has helped keep him mobile, without paying the price to put him on a Jetbike himself.
Runes of the Farseer keeps the powers flowing while helping stymie the Psykers I've faced.
I've also had great use from the Runes of Witnessing. Head him over to the firebase, pop that stratagem of and watch things die.

Conclusion - The other model that I wouldn't build a list without. I'm never unhappy with the Farseer.

The Spiritseer

Expectation - I needed a third HQ and wasn't happy with the survivability of a lone Warlock. I also wanted access to the Runes of Battle. Giving Spirit Mark support to the Wraithlord doesn't hurt either. I chose Enhance/Drain to give my force some close assault defence, as I don't have a lot of close assault offence.

Reality - Sometimes I cast Drain, but mostly she kicks out Smite. She run's around hoping to never be a priority target, Smiting things and supporting the Wraithlord. It probably doesn't help that Drain feels too situational. I may look at a different power to replace it.

Conclusion - I'm not unhappy with this unit, given the points I had available. I think she would perform a lot better if I had some Wraithguard or Wraithblades in the army, but you can't have everything.

The Dire Avengers

Expectation - Small, so easy to ignore for the opponent, but mobile anti-infantry firepower. The differences in Exarch equipment are due to the models available. One unit one each flank, advancing and supporting whatever is nearby.

Reality - Often killed due to proximity and low squad size. However, it usually takes firepower away from things that are more important. Their price point makes this acceptable, although any Aeldari loss is a tragedy.

Conclusion - They do the job at the right price.

The Guardian Defenders with Shuriken Cannons

Expectation - Mobile, massed anti-infantry firepower. They can advance and still shoot at full effectiveness due to Battle Focus. A decent size for holding Objectives in the midfield too.

Reality - Like the Troops in many armies, they do the job. Their size attracts attention, and their numbers soak up a fair amount of firepower.

Conclusion - A solid choice, as I needed 6 troops choices in the Brigade.

The Guardian Defenders with Aeldari Missile Launchers

Expectation - Static because of the heavy weapons, they are intended to be a screen for the firebase. Keeps it safer from opposing Reserves or assault units. The Missile Launcher lets them help deal with either Infantry or harder targets.

Reality - Not much to say here. The reality is they meet their expectations and do the job as intended. They also allow me to use the Starhawk Missile Stratagem, which helps finish off all sort of models with the Fly keyword, such as Bloat Drones and Winged Hive Tyrants.

Conclusion - The final of my troops, they have proven good at their job.

The Fire Dragons

Expectation - Put them in the Webway, deploy them next to something that needs to die and then watch it die. Simple.

Reality - It has proven to be as simple as that. I use the Webway Strike Stratagem to bring them on with a clear shot at whichever Vehicle or Monster in the opposing army needs to die. Sometimes this is done turn 1, other times I wait for the perfect shot.

Conclusion - They have yet to disappoint. Some games they have even managed to survive the subsequent turn and go on to kill other things.

The Howling Banshees

Expectation - They join the Fire Dragons in the Webway, and attempt to do the same job via assault.

Reality - They are not great at the job. While the -3 save modifier does a great job of denying saves, their strength of 3 really limits what they can kill. I'm starting to think they would be better off starting on the table, where their speed can be used.
I suspect that the threat of his unit reaching combat will be more important than it actually reaching combat.

Conclusion - If they don't go into reserve, I can either put one of the Guardian Defender units with Shuriken Cannon in to deal with screening units, or I save 2 Command Points. I may also look at a different unit to fill this slot.

The Striking Scorpions

Expectation - Setting up in Ambush, they appear and take out a small unit of troops or artillery. Mandiblasters and the Scorpion's Claw putting in the work against tougher targets.

Reality - I think I've had better luck choosing the correct target with these guys over the Banshees. The mortal wounds from the Mandiblasters and Scorpion's  Claw help a lot with this, while the regular attacks can finish things off.

Conclusion - I've been happy with this unit. It also contributes to having enough units in Reserve to keep my opponent guessing.

The Swooping Hawks

Expectation - Coming down from the skies to deal with chaff units. Between their Grenades and their Lasblasters, no chaff unit is safe.

Reality - This unit is amazing. Assault 4 means that even this small unit kicks out a lot of shots. They put in work. The Grenades are hit or miss, but again help clear out screening units.

Conclusion - I am tempted by a second unit of these. Even at strength 3, they have been great. |While that sounds at odds with the Banshees, the Hawks have a much greater weight of dice advantage.

The Warp Spiders

Expectation - On paper, I'm not sure what this unit is for. I intend to use it as a harasser unit. Strength 6, assault 2 guns are ok, though short ranged. They are highly mobile, and again I set them up in reserve.

Reality - They have been good at both harassing and leaping onto unclaimed Objectives. The extra move from their Jump Generators is huge. And they are rarely a priority for the opponent to tackle.

Conclusion - I've been pleasantly surprised by this unit. They get ignored so often, I rarely need to Flickerjump too.

The Windriders with Scatter Lasers

Expectation - Some long range, but more mobile firepower. In the turns they need to move, the Farseer can provide Guide to help out.

Reality - They feel like they are suffering from their 7th edition reputation. They get targeted by possibly more than their fair share of opposing shots. Still, they bring a lot of high strength firepower to the army.

Conclusion - I feel like I haven't gotten much use out of these guys, but that's mostly been due to opponents firing priority.

The Dark Reapers

Expectation - Death at long range. With 2 choices of firing mode, they are good no matter the target.

Reality - Okay, so they aren't good against mass infantry. That's what the rest of the army is for. They are normally good at deleting whatever I point them at. There isn't much more to say.

Conclusion - I can see why people are taking multiple large units of Reapers. That gets very expensive, very fast though.

The Fire Prism

Expectation - The premier anti-everything weapon in the game. Firing modes for infantry, vehicles and titans, mobility and the Fly keyword to stop it being locked in combat.

Reality - It's been great. The flexibility of it's firing modes combined with the ability to fire twice is really strong. Spirit Stones have surprisingly helped keep it alive, and the Iyanden Craftworld trait means it ignores the effects of damage.

Conclusion - The Linked Fire Stratagem tempts me to get 2 more Fire Prisms, but there wouldn't be room for that in this force as points are tight enough. A solid choice for one of the few Vehicle units I field.

The Wraithlord

Expectation - Taken with a selection of weapons that not only keep the points down but allow it to advance and still shoot. Flamers should help keep hordes from tying him up.

Reality - He's been ok. He is a little weak in combat against vehicles but otherwise has been solid. Shuriken Cannons have been hit and miss, but the ability to advance and fire them has been key a few times.

Conclusion - Can't complain really, it's an ok unit and an Iyanden army with no Wraith would be stupid.

The Hemlock Wraithfighter

Expectation - Heavy D-Scythes to put a whole in vehicles, flying speed and psychic power. It's been really good in other lists.

Reality - Where to start? Its speed means I can usually put it exactly where I want it, even if it can't stay there the next turn. Mindshock pods have proven to have a brutal effect on Morale, finishing of stragglers in units.
I use it for two things. The first is casting Jinx on a key target that the rest of the army is going to shoot, then using the D-Scythes on whatever target seems best.
The other is when an opponent makes a mistake. They leave enough room next to a character, I fly the Hemlock over, stopping over an inch away. As the character should now be the closest enemy unit, I cast Smite and follow up with the D-Scythes. Only a decent Invulnerable Save helps stop this assassination attempt.
Most opponents also ignore it, as they find the Hard to Hit rule off-putting, when there are other things to kill.

Conclusion - It's really good at the jobs I use it for. At 210 points it needs to do a lot to earn its points, but some of its effects, like the Morale and extra Deny the Witch, are quite subtle. It's actually a key unit, that opponents need to respect more.

I've been happy with the list so far. I've gone 3-1 with it, and though I am tempted to make slight adjustments the points are very tight. I'll be playing this for several more games at least.

One last thing, if you want to see this army in action, or see what tournaments I'm running, could you give my Facebook Page a like;

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sorrow's Path - The Worst Card in Magic the Gathering?

For a looooong time, this card has been considered the number one contender for the worst Magic Card ever printed.

It currently sits at 0.906/5 on Gatherer, where it's updated wording can be found;

"Choose two target blocking creatures an opponent controls. If each of those creatures could block all creatures that the other is blocking, remove both of them from combat. Each one then blocks all creatures the other was blocking.
Whenever Sorrow's Path becomes tapped, it deals 2 damage to you and each creature you control."

It also has these rulings;

2/1/2009 This has two abilities. The second ability triggers any time it becomes tapped, whether to pay for its ability or not.
10/1/2009 The first ability can target any two blocking creatures a single opponent controls. Whether those creatures could block all creatures the other is blocking isn’t determined until the ability resolves.
10/1/2009 A “blocking creature” is one that has been declared as a blocker this combat, or one that was put onto the battlefield blocking this combat. Unless that creature leaves combat, it continues to be a blocking creature through the end of combat step, even if the creature or creatures that it was blocking are no longer on the battlefield or have otherwise left combat by then.
10/1/2009 When Sorrow’s Path’s first ability is activated, its second ability triggers and goes on the stack on top of the first ability. The second ability resolves first, and may cause some of the attacking creatures to be dealt lethal damage.
10/1/2009 When determining whether a creature could block all creatures the other is blocking, take into account evasion abilities (like flying), protection abilities, and other blocking restrictions, as well as abilities that allow a creature to block multiple creatures or block as though a certain condition were true. Take into account whether those creatures are tapped, but not whether they have costs to block (since those apply only as blockers are declared).
10/1/2009 When the first ability resolves, if all the creatures that one of the targeted creatures was blocking have left combat, then the other targeted creature is considered to be able to block all creatures the first creature is blocking. If the ability has its full effect, the second creature will be removed from combat but not returned to combat; it doesn’t block anything.
10/1/2009 Abilities that trigger whenever one of the targeted creatures blocks will trigger when the first ability resolves, because those creatures will change from not blocking (since they’re removed from combat) to blocking. It doesn’t matter if those abilities triggered when those creatures blocked the first time. Abilities that trigger whenever one of the attacking creatures becomes blocked will not trigger again, because they never stopped being blocked creatures. Abilities that trigger whenever a creature blocks one of the attacking creatures will trigger again, though; those kinds of abilities trigger once for each creature that blocks.

TL, DR - It is a Land that doesn't produce any Mana. It has an ability that is highly situational and probably unwanted. Finally, if it becomes tapped for ANY reason, it deals 2 damage to you and all of your creatures.

Previous "Uses"

  • A trading challenge, as it's been considered terrible for so long that it almost never appears in Trade Folders 
  • Something to mock, it's long been the butt of jokes in publications such as Inquest
  • Giving it to your opponent via cards such as Donate and then tapping it every turn with effects like Icy Manipulator
  • Making somebody's blocks worse in a Multiplayer game, at the cost of 2 damage to you and your creatures 

"New and Improved"

I now present to you the case for elevating this card to the heights of playability;

Enrage, from Ixalan block.

Dinosaurs with this ability trigger when they take damage. Each one does something different, but as a whole start to build towards an insurmountable Dino-army. There are 16 of these Dinosaurs, so let's go through them.

Bellowing Aegisaur - puts a +1/+1 counter on all of your creatures. This not only makes the Dinosaurs better in combat but allows them to more easily survive Sorrow's Path activations.

Cacophodon - untaps a permanent. This can lead to multiple Sorrow's Path activations in a turn if you can tap it several times. Even allows you to use the land naturally in every opponent's turn, when the activation conditions are met.

Frilled Deathspitter - deals 2 damage to target opponent. Sorrow's Path damages you, might as well share the love to an opponent.

Imperial Ceratops - gains you 2 life. Take away the downside of Sorrow's Path entirely.

Needletooth Raptor - deals 5 damage to target opposing creature. Start removing opposing creatures. 5 damage is a pretty good amount.

Overgrown Armasaur - creates a 1/1 Saproling. Not so great, as they will die to subsequent Sorrow's  Path activations. Still, you could add a sacrifice engine to take advantage of these free creatures.

Polyraptor - creates a token that's a copy of Polyraptor. Every time you activate Sorrow's Path, you get a Polyraptor for each Polyraptor you already control. If your opponents can't deal with them, that will get out of hand pretty quick.

Ranging Raptors - searches your deck for a Basic Land and puts it into play tapped. Ramps you up to the mana for your bigger Dinosaurs and thins your deck.

Raptor Hatchling - creates a 3/3 Dinosaur with Trample. Make more Dinosaurs for your Dinosaur deck.

Ravenous Daggertooth - gains you 2 life. More lifegain, for redundancy in deck building, or actual positive life gain if you have this and Imperial Ceratops out.

Ripjaw Raptor - draws you a card. Card draw is always welcome.

Siegehorn Ceratops - gets two +1/+1 counters. Once it survives the initial activation, it just keeps getting bigger.

Silverclad Ferocidons - each opponent sacrifices a permanent. Start whittling their boards away, even through Indestructible.

Snapping Sailback - gets one +1/+1 counter. Doesn't grow as quickly as the Siegehorn Ceratops, but survives the initial Sorrow's Path activation without any outside help.

Sun-Crowned Hunters - deals 3 damage to target opponent. Combined with the Frilled Deathspitter and combat via large Dinosaurs, this can end the game at a reasonable pace.

Trapjaw Tyrant - exiles target opposing creature until the Tyrant leaves play. Between this, Silverclad Ferocidons and Needletooth Raptor; you have a better chance of getting your attackers through or limiting the ability to counterattack.

Special mention goes to Cherished Hatchling to allow you to flash Dinosaurs in when it dies to the Sorrow's Path and Temple Altisaur to reduce the damage dealt to your other Dinosaurs to 1.

Choose a suitable 3 colour Commander, either Zacama, Primal Calamity or Gishath, Sun's Avatar. Throw in the rest of the White/Red/Green Dinosaurs. Sprinkle with some Tribal support. Create a suitable mana base.

Finally put in Sorrow's Path, a couple of cards to Tutor it out of the deck and a couple of cards that help Tap it. You won't be disappointed. Just be wary of Wrath effects, as usual.

Bonus points if someone considers Sorrow's Path enough of a threat to target it with removal.

No Card is Truly Terrible

I feel I've put forth a convincing argument why Sorrow's Path is no longer a terrible card. It just goes to show you that as Magic the Gathering enters its 25th year, the card pool is getting so large that there is potentially a use for any card.

With that said, what do you belive now wears the crown of "Worst Magic Card"?