Divide and Conquer

Discussion in 'Deck Building' started by PaladinGP, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. PaladinGP

    PaladinGP #1 in Spring PvP Season

    Hi everyone!

    I think it's time to publish this deck, which I've been fortunate enough to take to the top of the leaderboard with an ELO of 1850.
    I was worried about doing this for a while, as I thought it might lead to a number of modified whirlwind spam decks that aren't really effective, and make the environment less fun to play in. However, publishing it should stimulate interesting responses to it, and I don't want to be able to keep playing this forever. Also, like SLG's thread on Dwarven Control Wizards, I think it's nice to have a record on the forums!

    The deck is called "Divide and Conquer", as the aim of the build is to isolate one opponent and kill them quickly with two warriors. You can then recover while the opponent is out of position. I created the deck in response to the upsurge of control wizard decks after card draw was nerfed. My thinking was "How can I beat this new build that is likely to dominate the metagame?"

    Level 18 Dwarf Wizard
    3 x Whirlwind
    1 x Big Zap
    1 x Shuffle
    2 x Flame Jet
    2 x Hover
    2 x Vulnerable
    1 x Cold Snap
    2 x Toughness
    1 x Team Run
    4 x Frost Jolt

    Level 1 Dwarf Warrior
    1 x Parry
    2 x Impaler
    2 x Immovable
    1 x Hardy Mail
    1 x Toughness
    2 x Weak Chop

    Level 1 Dwarf Warrior
    2 x Blind Rage
    1 x Immovable
    1 x Slicer
    1 x Hardy Mail
    1 x Impaler
    1 x Team Run
    2 x Weak Chop

    The deck is heavy with Nimble Strike, combined with the *tactical* use of Whirlwind Enemies. Whirlwind Enemies is not there to be used as a randomiser, rather as a response and formation breaker.

    I'm not going to write too much here on how best to use the deck, as that might hinder creative responses to it. While it's not quite as difficult to play well as control wizards, the percentage it has over good decks is consistent but slight, so knowing when to launch is critical.

    My key realisation is about consistency. While people have been promoting extreme consistency with builds based around cycling control wizards, the weakness of that has not really been highlighted: maximum consistency at the cost of the highest "power peaks" of good draws can be worked around if your opponent is playing with and against a deck that can afford to wait for good draws. To put it another way, there is a level of randomness that can be a beneficial trade-off if it enables the better draws to be of a higher level in when you have good ability to keep the opponent away or bluff them out when things aren't so favourable. Think of facing an opponent with Infused Greatclub and always wondering whether they've drawn their Obliterating Bludgeon or not.
    While 2 or 3 Dwarven Control Wizards are the toughest opponents for this deck, they quickly acquire cards they don't want to throw away. If you can wait a turn or so longer, this deck can draw to a better hand while they seem to gain less benefit from the extra draw and discard.

    My quiet innovation on the conversation around step attacks has been playing multiples of Lochaber Axe instead of Vibrant Pain (which I don't have, anyway), and I think my deck is the better for it. VP leads to slightly different builds and emphases for your warriors (as you can save tokens for armour, or run Infused Greatclub for some huge attacks), but dual Lochaber leads to consistent, mid-level damage when paired with Bejeweled Shortsword. The consistency lost with the bad draws of the Lochaber Axe can be played around, and is regained in consistency in the big attacks, the unusual strength of Bejeweled Shortsword; this is the other way round to how many other builds play it (variance on good weapons with big attacks, like obliterating bludgeons, and fairly consistent weaker attacks).

    A tactical lesson that's important for this deck, but that I see used insufficiently in general: Pass, often. A card played in response to someone else's move can counter that at the same time as having the effect it would have had if you'd played it first. For example, play your Team Run after their Sprint, Team! If things aren't good for you, but the board positioning is not unfavourable, just pass if you're willing to accept a discard and re-deal. Another strength of step attacks is not needing to keep both movement and attack cards.

    Parts of the deck that are open to tweaking: Plenty
    This is the best build based on what I have: I don't farm, and only have about half the epics and 10% of the legendaries. Bewlin's Baffling Bauble is an obvious direct improvement, if you have it. Tempest Robes and one fewer token elsewhere are an option.
    On the warriors, where the non-weapon tokens go is fairly marginal. I think cycling is the overpowered ability, which explains my helmet and armour choices. Wex's Mail and Dependable Mail were my initial armour choices, but I prefer the cycling. The race and class abilities showcase that I only have one Apprentice Ferocity, and I think the tokenless choices here are not great if you're not fortunate enough to have excellent epics and legendaries such as Raging Rock. Desperate Block is a draw I consider fairly weak, but someday a warrior will go block hunting with a weak attack, and then launch their Obliterating Bludgeon, and that'll be a moment to treasure. :)

    I hope this leads to some interesting responses, and I look forward to seeing you all online!

    Stexe and Farbs like this.
  2. Lusus121

    Lusus121 Goblin Champion

    Thanks for sharing.

    Given your win/loss ratio it's a deck worth trying out.
  3. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    My current build is dedicated to consistent high-base-damage draws (it draws an average of ~12 dmg per warrior per round), but gets ripped apart by buffed step attacks like this because (1) the warriors always run away before you hit and (2) they can chase down the weakest character *anywhere* on the map. NS also makes WoW useless for control, so the only defense is ridiculous amounts of ice (which I'm currently trying to avoid).

    I would enjoy matching up again at some point, when I'll remember to just whack you instead of trying to play a positioning game.
  4. Interesting stuff. Looking at the stats, there's no question whether or not this build works. Thanks for posting it.

    First thing I noticed is that your wizard is almost a copy of a regular trait cycling control wizard but with two main differences. You use Rod's of Winds instead of Runestone/Blood Locket, and you use Team Run boots. The latter definitely makes more sense in a setup like this. Trait cycling really needs to be fixed because almost every single wizard I see there is a version of the same build, with the exception of Firestorm spammers.

    4 Lochaber Axe's is nuts. I don't think there are many players who have that many. I think that most are looking for their first. It would be interesting to know how this performs without all those Nimble Strikes.

    Is there a reason you are not using Savvy Attacker on both warriors?

    Sadly while I do this that the build is interesting, the fact that it's based on Rod Of Winds makes it a bit cheap in my book. Others might like the crazy randomness that WW/WWE brings, but I honestly don't think it adds anything good to the game, and not the direction BM should go imo. Can you imagine a metagame where everyone is playing a version of this build and both players keep spamming those WW/WWE until one gets unlucky and gets a bad position. The good news is that if these kinds of builds become even more successful then they are now (about half the teams currently face use WW/WWE), maybe enough people will start complaining about the luck based randomness of MP, and maybe BM will do something about WW/WWE, like make it less random and more strategic. There's some good discussion about that in here, and more recently here.

    Anyways, good luck on your crazy winning streak :)
  5. PaladinGP

    PaladinGP #1 in Spring PvP Season

    Because I'm don't have a second good tokenless dwarf racial. I slightly prefer having one weak draw in the warrior skill and a good racial, than a number of weak racial draws and one extra excellent card. I think that's because I generally find I have the movement I need anyway.

    Thanks! :)
  6. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    Thanks for publishing the build, Paladin! Very interesting and illuminating stuff.
    In that spirit, it's interesting to compare and contrast "Divide and Conquer" with Stormyknight's "The obliterating whirlwind" which looks like a precursor in the evolutionary ladder of Card Hunter decks.
    Stexe likes this.
  7. tuknir

    tuknir #3 in Spring PvP Season

    what you think of adding some smoke to your wiz? so u ww-wwe the enemy wiz to near you,then smoke it,and presto, your safe from ranged atacks,while you get near then, and also good addition because of lava/acid terrain etc
  8. tuknir

    tuknir #3 in Spring PvP Season

    and how it goes vs cardotron? i tryed a prety identical build (only have 3 lochabers) and got my ass whooped by him 2 times..

    edited: the deck works prety good in mp vs other ppl. but i keep getting my ass kicked by cardothon..just got another loss vs him

    edited 2: think its a good idea to add some arrogant armors? im trying aversion where im not using bejewed but a strongarm and got 2 tokens free for a emperor armor (2 arrogant) and something else
  9. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    Very interesting, Paladin. The fact that you are up there in the ranking and you use so much WWe is good, because it shows people that this card is not only a randomiser (as WW), but, as you say, a formation breaker. If WWe was such a random card your build wouldn't have the consistency it obviously has. So, congrats for that.
    Question: do you use WW as frequently as WWe? Because that one is clearly more random. Or do you discard it?
  10. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. This build has such a good win percentage that it would be crazy to change anything unless it starts to lose or there is a universally better item (an item that is better in all possible situations). What you suggest there might sound great in theory but would most likely be a step back in practice. Remember that every time you add something, you also lose something. In this case you would lose WW/WWE which is what the build is largely based on.

    You can give WWE a cool sounding name like "formation breaker" to make it sound more strategic, but no matter what you call it, it's still a cheap trick where the effect is 100% luck based. I personally think that cards like WW/WWE make Card Hunter MP gameplay worse because we already have to deal with all kinds of luck elements. Adding cards like WW into the mix just makes it 10 times worse, and we take a huge leap away from strategic chess-type of a game, to a throw-the-dice-to-see-who-wins.

    You seem to think that the good winning percentage of this build is somehow proof that WWE is not random. That is flawed thinking. The reason this build is successful is the combination of positioning enemies in random squares AND Nimble Strike which is pretty much guaranteed to reach at least one enemy after the WW/WWE shuffle. WW/WWE is not some amazingly clever strategy here, it's just a trick to mess up the enemy positioning and use Nimble Strike to finish them off. It's a combination of a silly card and the most overpowered card in the game, and it clearly works.

    I'm hoping the devs are taking notes and will change WW/WWE so that randomness would be drastically reduced. Players have been posting ideas like making it a kind of "Mass Maze" for months, but so far there has been no word from the devs. I'm worried that now that we have this build here on the forums, everyone will start copying it, and the true WW/WWE craziness will soon begin. Not my idea of fun gameplay, and I'm sure many others will agree.

    I was also wondering how big of a difference current maps make. Maps in this rotation have less squares then usual, making it more likely that your softies get boxed in between warriors. If the map were larger, I would assume that this build would suffer at least a bit. Then again larger map means a possibility of getting thrown in the opposite side of the map and having to spend 4 rounds walking back, so I don't know. I guess we'll see when the maps change, assuming they are bigger this time around.
    Aiven and Flaxative like this.
  11. tuknir

    tuknir #3 in Spring PvP Season

    Not necessary, trying it with a staff that was 2x smoke bombs, so i dont need remove any rode of winds.. seems to work good.
  12. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader

    A good lesson that most players need to learn. Passing more helped raise my Elo a couple hundred points in the last month, and when I passed this advice along to CT5 and Rook they seemed to do better as well.

    Yet another general gameplay lesson. Thanks for sharing these with the community.

    I'm sorry but this is ridiculous.

    Q: What makes this build better than Roulette?
    A: PaladinGP is a better player than most... oh, but mostly he's packing 12 nimble strikes.

    Come on. :rolleyes:
  13. Jacques

    Jacques Hydra

    As I see it, these kind of cards help us for not having to see every freaking deck turned into a 3DC. Why? Well, it isn't good for wizards to use these cards and take a chance an enemy's warrior land close to one of your wizards, but it is good for a team like Paladin has, with only one wizard and 2 warriors. So, it's one of the few ways to win against a 3DC. What is wrong with that? Can't the 3DC have at least one counter? Imagine if, as you say, we remove FS, WW and WWe. That's it! All the decks would be the same. We will see 3DC against 3DC endlessly, with their tons of WoW and SPR (talking about op cards) because that would be the only chance to win.

    If it isn't easy (who else has 4 Lochaber Axes?), why are you so worried people start copying this build? It's not like a 3DC that you can make a good build with just common and uncommon items. Here, as you said, you need those Lochaber Axes to make this build work.

    See it this way: there are people who like using a 3DC, there are people who don't. For all of us who don't like using one, then what is the chance to win against them? Nimble strike is good, but its op is directly related with how difficult it is to get (I don't have vp or even a lochaber axe, I'm sure most of players are in the same situation). So, the other ways to win against a 3DC are: using a FS deck, or using some build that includes WW and specially WWe. If you remove or nerf all of these cards, then you are basically pushing people to use the same kind of build, even if they don't like it. And I think that players should have different options to use and have a chance to win rather than thinking: "Well, I must run a 3DC if I want to win, otherwise there is no chance".
  14. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    Personally, I would much rather play 3DC than WWE, and I've started resigning against anyone who whirls. 3DC is hard to pull off correctly, which means I can tear apart an unskilled player. On all but the smallest maps, WWE takes 2/3 of my team out of action for a couple rounds, regardless of my opponents' skill level. It's even worse than ice and drawspam, and leaves only a vague illusion that I'm still participating in a match.

    (FS isn't viable against anything except 3DC, so I'm always happy when I run into it. I don't think it should be nerfed at all.)
  15. HD23

    HD23 Orc Soldier

    So as someone who plays a similar style and team, I have some questions for you.

    1. How does Obvious Maneuver play?
    2. With so many Nimble Strike, how important are team moves?
    3. How important is it to have a Whirlwind/Whirlwind Enemies at all times? Nine seems excessive to me.
    4. How important is Hover?
    5. Are there any shields that you would consider other than Slippery Shield? I'm really trying to downgrade to something less than Yellow, and I just can't do it.
    6. How does encumber effect you? I know there are a lot of Nimble Strikes, but sometimes you don't draw one or need more movement.
  16. PaladinGP

    PaladinGP #1 in Spring PvP Season

    I had smoke in the build in its first iteration back in the Gladius maps (Staff of Billows & Smoke Pin), and sometimes it was fantastic, but overall it wasn't as strong.

    I don't think this build would handle Cardotron very well, but I never have AI matches on, anyway.

    Yes, Strongarm instead of bejeweled might be a great variant if you have it, and free up slots for token armour. Might well be better than the one I posted. It's not a legendary I have.

    I often discard whirlwind. Its main use is one of the non-obvious aspects of the deck: getting away from volcanos against 3DC :)

    I don't think you've fully understood the strategy behind the whirlwinds here. You talk about the randomness, but crucially, it's not really random for me, only random for the opponent. Examples will clarify this:
    If I cast WWE when most of their team has chased me down, it is more reliable than parry at getting at least two of them out of reach for the rest of the turn. It is less than 1 time in 6 that they stay close, or haven't exhausted all their movement to get there.
    If I cast WWE to split up an enemy team, probably somewhere around the equivalent of a 3+ block success rate, it will put one of them too far out of reach to do anything, and another within range of both my warriors.
    If I cast WWE to clear a victory point, it has about 95% success rate.
    And if it fails, often I'll have a second one in hand.
    It's random where the oppo end up, but that doesn't usually matter to me. Are they next to my wizard or not, and are they in 4 squares of my warriors or not? This chance is more highly weighted in my favour than most block cards, and I don't hear people complaining about those.
    To call it a "relying on randomness", shows you have fundamentally misunderstood the usage of the card in the deck. The precise destination, and who ends where, isn't really important to the caster, only to the receiving team. It's about categories of destination (in radius 4 / out of their melee range etc.), and those are drastically affected by having Nimble Strikes. With this understanding, it is clearly wrong to call it "100% luck based" when it is a more reliable effect than most blocks. Thanks for giving me the spur to clarify this.

    On reflection, this is specific to my collection. At first I was going to stick to my guns, as there's not much in it, but it's because it means you can use your major tokens elsewhere on totally solid items, when other minor token options tend to have bad draws in them anyway. However, I recognise that if you've got something like The Strongarm then Vibrant Pain will be much better, as your minors can then go on useful helmets etc., as opposed to second tier weapons. I don't think my deck consistency would change much if I used VP instead of 2 Lochabers, but VP, The Strongarm, and Infused Greatclub is the build I would like to make if I had the items.

    1.Occasionally reveals a block, which is annoying, but I don't ever recall feeling it affects the game outcome.
    2.Not very. Good against volcano, good when encumbered on lava, but not vital. 2 feels the right number to me.
    3.9 seems the right number to me :)
    4.Not very important. Robes with Resistant Hide seem a very viable alternative. But it is a tokenless cycler.
    5.If mirror matches start occurring, a 3x Parry shield might be useful, but I wouldn't run one at the moment.
    6. Encumber is a problem against 3DC, and can lose you matches. Be very, very careful about LoS. 3DC is the hardest opponent for this deck. You may need to wait a few turns round a corner for a good whirlwind. Indeed, 3DC on the small map is the hardest matchup in the current rotation, as it's very hard to keep even one wizard out of sight and range.

    TL;DR: Go look at the paragraph on Whirlwind Enemies in the middle. I explain why it's not a "randomiser" for a caster with lots of step attacks, but a reliable way of doing a number of jobs. The combo effectively 'breaks' the card from the design team's intentions.
    Aiven, Jacques and turinturamba like this.
  17. Snorre Liljegren

    Snorre Liljegren Mushroom Warrior

    Tried your deck as promised pala, and really like it, though I'm not playing nearly as well as you are, so not working nearly as well as for you :).. Tried twirling it a bit with 4 rods of winds and ferocity and apprentice ferocity :) seems to work better for me :)
  18. PaladinGP

    PaladinGP #1 in Spring PvP Season

    Cool! Perhaps we can have a mirror match next time I see you online :)
  19. tuknir

    tuknir #3 in Spring PvP Season

    Yesterday i did some matches using a deck similar to yours. my thoughts:

    - I did some version using the staff of Billows. In the Ice House map against wizards is a real bomb.. also helped against decks that used volcano,but in the end i decided to go to the ice again, to not go further away of your wonderful deck

    -Tried use Captain Cedric's Helm instead of the Crusty helmet. 1 less trait can hurt.. the extra armor and cards in hand can help (special vs discarding) so im 50-50 on it.What you think Paladin?

    -Both my warriors had savvy attacker, it helped a lot

    - In one or two games encumber effects messed me up..so i did some games where a warrior would use a armor with 2 arrogant..but the games after it didn't come into play..needs more testing

    To finish.. i won almost all games vs other players, lost 1 or 2 for a mix of bad decisions of my part, distractions and a bit bad luck and bad plays ( need to learn how to use better the wwes)...all the times i faced CardohTron i got my ass whooped..

    At night i decided, just for fun, remove a Warrior and had a Dwarf Priest.. A heavy hitter himself. did, i think 6 games with that variation, and lost zero..so lets see..the priest have some suboptimal cards...but thats what i have
  20. jday

    jday Mushroom Warrior

    I have tried a variant of this, but with only 1 nifty halberd and instead relying on smoke bombs for cover, but adding more team movement. It seems to work reasonably well. Here is the build which for a few matches has been competitive around 1500 (3-1 with it today). The hope is with all the smoke bombs that parry becomes more valuable than hard to pin down.

    Level 13 Dwarf Warrior

    1 x Impaler
    3 x Parry
    3 x Blind Rage
    1 x Slicer
    3 x Weak Chop
    2 x Mail
    2 x Team Run

    Level 1 Dwarf Warrior

    3 x Fiery Stab
    1 x Impaler
    3 x Parry
    3 x Blind Rage
    1 x Slicer
    1 x Stab
    2 x Mail
    2 x Team Run

    Level 20 Human Wizard

    1 x Run, Team!
    4 x Flame Jet
    6 x Smoke Bomb
    4 x Vulnerable
    2 x Whirlwind
    1 x Team Run


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