Warhammer Underworlds Shadespire - First Look

Ian O'Brien

This week we had our first chance to play the new Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire game in preparation for our in-store demos starting today (Saturday 14th) and it was so good that we just had to bring you a review!

Games Workshop has touted Underworlds to be an enjoyable, fast play game with Organised Play bred into the game from the outset. We were somewhat skeptical of this having seen so many other manufacturers try to emulate Fantasy Flight Games' wonderful OP program but let me tell you - GW have smashed this one out of the park, and Underworlds is going to be incredibly popular!

Garrek's Reavers, Khorne Warband

 

The Game (in a nutshell)

On the surface of things, the game is quite simple. Two small warbands of warriors are set up on a hex-based board. Some squares are impassable squares, some squares are objective squares, and both warbands fight. The objective of the game is to earn glory points, which you gain by both completing objectives and taking out opposing fighters. Activations alternate, and in between each action both players have a chance to play cards from their hand.

Combat is resolved simply by rolling attack or defence dice and needing to get certain symbols for a "success". Certain symbols on the dice only count when you have support of friendly models (ie, a friendly model is also next to the guy you're attacking, or you have a friendly model next to the attacker when you're defending) so positioning models to support eachother (or keeping models in choke points!) is important. If you score more attack successes than defence successes, you deal some damage, and if a model takes enough damage, it is out of action - it's as simple as that. If you hit a model but don't kill it, you can push it back a space, adding a tactical nuance to combat too.

Cards from your hand vary from simple added damage or dice to extra attacks and positional effects. Some cards are "upgrades" which provide a continuous bonus but cost a point of glory to play - meaning that you're spending your victory points to improve your characters, making for some very interesting risk vs reward decision making.

Objectives are scored from a separate, smaller, hand of cards. They vary from holding objective markers on the table (by standing on them) to cards that are very flavourful (Khorne players can get a glory point for any 3 fighters being taken down - even their own!) Most cards award 1 glory but some award more, up to a whopping 5 - score one of those and you're probably going to win!

The game is played best of three games. Even our intro game only took 25 minutes, and we think a game will easily be played in 15 or even less once we know the rules. Playing three games in an hour will be simple, which is fantastic for organised play!

 

Steelheart's Champions, Stormcast Warband

Why We Loved It So Much

The first thing that you do when you set the game up is place one of your boards. These are about 12" x 6" and have pre-defined squares on which models can deploy. The opponent then places a board joined up to this board, but here's the kicker - he can attach the board wherever he likes. So the boards can be attached to form one long corridor, a wider battlefield, or even in a sort of offset "Z" shape - there's strategy in the game right from the setup, because you might want to create a nice chokepoint for your three Stormcast models to hold, maximise your far-away deployment squares for guys with ranged attacks, and so on. We thought this was a great mechanic and really adds to the game.

The game itself is so fast and fluid it's incredible. As we mentioned above we think it'll probably only take 15 minutes to play. The style of "mechanics not getting in the way of a good game" is a very modern piece of game design which makes the game a joy to play without taking anything away from the tactics and choices involved.

There are two decks to customise - your power deck and your objectives deck. Even the basic set has a lot of variation in what you can do here, but the idea that you could customise your objectives for, say, your Khorne warband to revolve around your own guys dying for the Blood God just as much as you could customise a deck for the same warband to have your guys trying to hold objectives feels like it will add an incredible amount of variety to each game. The powers decks also have a lot to them but are very on-theme, with the Stormcast being great at defending and the Chaos being very good at attacking (though not only at these things!)

 

Very flavourful Khorne cards!

 

Who Should Buy It?

We're incredibly excited to see a game from Games Workshop built from the ground up with organised play in mind - deep strategy, many choices, and fast play. What's great about this game though is that it stands on its own merits; as a two-player board game it would be a fantastic buy for any board gamer, and it includes multiplayer rules that don't feel like an afterthought (the objective cards modify their scoring to account for different numbers of players, for example)if you want to play with more than two players.

In summary, we think this game is fantastic and that Games Workshop have a hit on their hands. Competitive to casual, wargamer or board gamer, this game has something to offer to everyone and we highly recommend it!

If you havent picked up a copy yet, click this link to preorder Shadespire from Justplay - we offer free 24 hours postage for all orders over £40 and we ship the day before release so you can be playing your copy as soon as possible!

If you're in or around Liverpool, Justplay will be running demos of Warhammer Underworlds: Shadespire from Saturday October 14th. Pop in and give it a try - it doesn't take long and we're sure you'll be happy you did!

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Aggro: Let's get to the point.

Shaun Wright

Anyone who has played the Final Fantasy card game can tell you one fact; it's over encumbered with four casting cost forwards. So what am I here to do?

Show you how to beat them of course.

From the title of the article i’m sure most of you can figure out what my solution is but for those of you who haven’t quite got there yet let me explain, Who do you think is the strongest forwards around? Cloud? Warrior of light? Golbez!? Maybe even Rikku(but you're pushing it) yes all these are powerful forwards each with their own archetypes built around them, but the one thing they have in common and what i see as the crux to their downfall.

They cost more than 3.

May I present your saviour:

"The Untouchables"

 

Now this may look inconceivable at first, 5 backups, almost no legendaries and only enough removal to take care of 1 maybe 2 forwards, but the most confusing part of all of this, is that it works.

So how does it work? Well the goal is to beat your opponent before they even get started, some of the turn 1 plays this deck can produce are astounding, it is not uncommon to have 3 forwards in play and to have damaged your opponent before they have drawn a card. This is usually fueled by what is possibly the best card in the deck; Gadot. Just having the possibility of Gadot pulling in a turn 1 Tifa already gives this deck an advantage in most matchups and that's to say nothing of a possible follow up play.

 

But of course we have to give up something in return for being able to ambush our opponents this way and this is unfortunately power. Most of our units will be out sized almost instantly with no hope in a heads up fight. We don’t even get the choice to play this way so we have to race. Unfortunately for our opponent it’s usually too late by the time they figure that out, often i have dealt the other player at least 3 damage before they start to adjust their game plan. If it wasn't clear, starting a race 10 paces behind the other runners is not the recommended strategy.

This deck is trying to run around our enemies, not through them. This is accomplished using the evasive cards such as Edge or Tsukinowa who can only be blocked by lower costing forwards or by giving them no option to block through Zemus and Black Chocobo, combining this with ways to activate your Zemus again such as Vaan or Oracle gives you some pretty big guns to end a game outta nowhere.


Some of you maybe thinking “But Zemus costs the same as Cloud, i thought this deck was supposed to be playing cheaper.” and to that i say. Well observed, although the Zemus is a great way to win it is pricey, often forcing us to use up many resources and doesn't impact the turn it comes down, however a deck like this needs “reach.” Some way to finish the game once we have them down to 2 damage remaining, something to make sure victory never escapes. My answer to this is.

 

Shemhazai, the Whisperer. Shemhazai is an excellent tool as the deck runs only 1 forward costing over 2CP, meaning many times this cards reads as 1CP “Your forwards cannot be blocked this turn.” Now if any of you tell me you would not play that card then you're in the wrong game. Now don't mistake me this is not a perfect plan and can be foiled by your opponent playing viking turn 1 but that is why we run Zell, being able to make their last hope unable to block that turn is a joy i’m not sure i can describe.

I could continue to explain the many nuances that make this list special, but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself at the very least that i can say about this deck is it’s a lot of fun and although i’m not a huge fan of using the price as an excuse, it is fairly cheap. Heck on last look it was possible to foil this entire thing out for just shy of £80. So i would give it a try, you never know you might like brutalizing your friends.


Stay Aggressive out there!

Jacob

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Final Fantasy Opus 3: A New Beginning

Shaun Wright

Greetings crystal masters! 

Today we're seeing the release of the new Opus 3 generation of cards for our beloved Final Fantasy TCG and witnessing the birth of whole new generation of decks. During the Opus 2 period we saw a wave of support and enhancement cards that refined our existing Opus 1 decks and allowed for some new experimentation and tech choices to emerge, but overall it was the Lightning decks of the set that saw ultimate dominance across the world. 

This new set we bring to you today seeks to establish entirely new play archetypes with powerful new cards and strong tribe-based synergies. Whether discussing the powerful synergies of the Class Zero Cadets or the ExDeath Manikins, this set has some interesting new and powerful ways to destroy your opponents and clear the field of any opposition. Today we're going to take a closer look at a few of the more interesting cards in the set and talk about the impact they'll likely have in the months going forward.

 

First up on the cardset chopping block is the wonderfully powerful Goddess; Minerva (3-146H)

 

This card screams powerhouse and has the useful ability to find it's way into almost any deck. As a neutral 7 drop Minerva is an incredibly weighty card and acts as one of the most powerful individual cards released within the game so far. The 10,000 power statline is no joke, particularly for the slower control decks that will find the most use for this card. 

As the turns roll by Minerva's constant ability to pump characters by 3000 power, deny opponent character abilities or even gaining card advantage as the turns roll by means playing Minerva onto the field is an incredible resource draw for your opponent. For decks looking to apply pressure to their opponent's hand or seeking to demand spot removal, this card is incredible. 

Considering Minerva's ability to still be relevant to the field in spite of dull and freeze effects means that Minerva is an incredibly flexible and resilient question that must be answered. 

 When talking about the high pressure, bruiser cards of the set it'd be remiss to miss out one of the most persistent pests of this new set: Delita (3-088L) 

Delita as seen above is a strong 9000 statline for a reasonable 5 cost that is a royal pain to handle for your opponent. Finding a home in any Earth heavy deck, this version of Delita maintains the Knight tribe and forces your opponent to either commit considerable resources or suffer damage to remove. In the slower, defensive deck archetypes Earth is usually known for this card represents a fantastic stat based blocker that synergises well with buffs/auras and doesn't go down without a fight. 

 

For the defensive control playstyles Earth favours any card that makes your opponent's decisions difficult is worth consideration and Delita is no different. Whilst offering new Knight deck possibilities, this deck is also phenomenal when combined with cards such as Minwu (1-171H), Enna Kros (1-095R) and Gippal (1-101R). With adequate support this card quickly becomes a powerful beatstick blocker that will force some tough decisions from your opponent. 

One deck archetype that has gained particular prominence with this cardset is the mono ice discard style of play. Powerful cards such as White Tiger l'Cie Nimbus (3-046H) offer a deeper card pool of relevant forwards for Ice to build boards onto and new discard options such as Genesis (3-033L) and Edward (3-029R) mean that mono Ice decks no longer need to field subpar cards to compete. 

One particular star of the set sure to see rampant abuse across the scene is the monster that is Kuja (3-030L)

Weighing in at an affordable 3 crystal cost and a respectable statline of 7000 (8000 with the almost guaranteed Duke Laarg (1-057R) backup) this card is an absolute monster of utility in the mono ice format. As a deck that establishes board superiority and chokes it's opponent of resources, mono ice is a deck that finds itself able to snowball advantages reliably and nothing does that moreso than this card. 

As an incredibly cheap and reliable dull/freeze combo that can be repeated near infinitely during the game, Kuja represents all the most frustrating elements of playing against mono ice decks. Combined with an early Snow (1-043H) this card will quickly spiral out of control on damage to your opponent's health total and allow you to consistently keep pesky cards at bay (I'm looking at you Xande.)

The final card I'd like to take a look at is the intriguing Zodiark, Keeper of the Precepts (3-147L)

 

Originally designed as a weighty control summon, this card is literally bonkers in an agro deck that looks to chip away with unblockables whilst swarming the board. The ability to flat out remove all blockers from the field whilst taking damage at your own timing is an incredible board manipulation tool and will definitely catch many people off guard. Whilst this may be a slight drawbacks in tournaments that use life differentials as a metric, this card will sneak it's way into many of the aggressive decks we currently see, particularly fire/water/wind unblockable focussed playstyles. 

That's all from me, I'm currently brewing my own ExDeath Manikin deck for this new Opus and looking into Golbez shenanigans as we speak. If you fancy putting your deck to the test or winning some promo cards along the way we run weekly Wednesday Night FFTCG tournaments with guaranteed promos for all entrants and even have a Win-A-Box tournament on this Saturday (22/07/2017) here at JustPlay and we still have tickets left you can get them here. Make sure to get yourself on down for some games as we'd love to see you

All the best and good chocobo hunting!

Team Justplay.

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Star Wars Destiny European Championships Top 8 Decklists

Ritchie McAlley

Here you have it the Top 8 decks from the 2017 Star Wars Destiny European Championships held in Birmingham.

Its a great mix of decks with some new and interesting decks performing well really healthy unlike some would like to have us believe.

Thanks to TO/Head Judge Az Johnstone for running the event he done a excellent job great to have someone so experienced running the show and for sharing this with us all.

The Champ!

Winner - Dave Hancock

eUnkar Plutt - FN2199 - First Order Storm Trooper

Mos Eisley Spaceport

2 rocket launcher
2 IQA-11 blaster rifle
2 vibroknucklers
2 flamethrower
2 Z3 riot control baton
2 holdout blaster
2 vibroknife
2 gaffi stick

2 imperial inspection
2 salvage stand
2 the best defence
2 electroshock
2 one quarter portion
2 friends in low places
2 he doesn't like you

Runner-Up - Sam Miles

eDarth Vader (sith lord) - Tusken Raider

Secluded Beach

2 force throw
2 makashi training
2 mind probe
2 sith holocron
2 vibroknife

2 fast hands
2 force illusion
2 backup muscle
2 bait and switch
2 deflect
2 force strike
2 one quarter portion
2 trust your instincts
1 armed to the teeth
1 doubt
1 he doesn't like you
1 overconfidence

Top 4 - Jonathan Kipps-Bolton

eBaze Malbius - eTemmin “Snap” Wexley

Rebel War Room

2 DH17 Blaster
2 A180 Blaster
2 Holdout Blaster
1 Rocket Launcher
1 C-3P0
2 Overkill

2 defensive position
2 dug in
2 bombing run
2 wingman
2 field medic
2 suppression
2 Its a trap
2 hit and run
2 rebel assault
1 surgical strike
1 planetary uprising

Top 4 - Dimitris Papadogeorgopoulus

ePalpatine - Otoh Gunga

2 sith holocron
2 force speed
2 holdout blaster
2 force push
1 force throw
1 force lightning

2 force illusion
2 doubt
2 enrage
2 deflect
2 feel your anger
2 isolation
2 overconfidence
2 no mercy
2 abandon all hope
2 rise again

The final featuring Sam Miles (left) and Dave Hancock (right) with Az Johnstone keeping a close eye on all the action!

Top 8 - Aat Neihot

eCaptain Phasma - Guavian Enforcer - First Order Stormtrooper

Maz’s Castle

2 z3 riot control baton
2 f-11d rifle
2 dt-29 heavy blaster pistol
2 imperial discipline
2 jetpack
2 holdout blaster
1 commanding presence

2 the best defence
2 he doesnt like you
2 bait and switch
2 electroshock
2 salvage stand
2 backup muscle
2 friends in low places
2 flank
1 hunker down

Top 8 - Chris Hudson (top of the swiss)

ePoe Dameron - eMaz Kanata

Emperors Throne Room

2 cunning
2 dl-44 heavy blaster pistol
2 millenium falcon
2 u-wing
2 thermal detonator
1 rocket launcher

2 fast hands
2 planetary uprising
2 “fair” trade
2 defensive position
2 electroshock
2 field medic
2 hit and run
2 loth-cat and mouse
1 dug in
1 flank
1 new orders

Top 8 - Marek Sorf

ePoe Dameron - eMaz Kanata

Emperors Throne Room

2 cunning
2 dl-44 heavy blaster pistol
2 millenium falcon
2 u-wing
2 thermal detonator
2 rocket launcher
2 mazs goggles

2 fast hands
2 planetary uprising
2 defensive position
1 electroshock
2 field medic
2 hit and run
1 loth-cat and mouse
2 hyperspace jump
2 friends in low places

Top 8 - Daniel Simpson

ePoe Dameron - eMaz Kanata

Emperors Throne Room

2 C-3P0
2 dl-44 heavy blaster pistol
1 millenium falcon
2 u-wing
2 thermal detonator
1 black one
2 bowcaster
1 launch bay

2 fast hands
2 planetary uprising
2 scavenge
2 defensive position
2 electroshock
2 hit and run
1 friends in low places
1 dug in
1 new orders

I will be writing up my experience of the event and talking about what deck I played and why I picked it later on in the week so stay tuned by following us on Facebook

Thanks for reading

Team JustPlay

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Warhammer 40k 8th Edition at Justplay

Shaun Wright

Greetings faithful servants of the emperor and heretics alike!


I am incredibly happy to tell you that Warhammer 40,000's 8th edition is finally about to be gifted to us all and here at Justplay we can't wait to crack out our power armour, fight over some teef and watch the galaxy burn with some chaos tainted marshmallows.

For us in the gaming world a new set of rules is a time to rejoice and this edition is no different. New and fresh rules, revitalised army lists and a reason to field the units that have gathered a little too much dust means we're all ready to embrace the holy bolter and take on the waves of chaos tearing across the galaxies.


Whilst not simply a new set of rules, this edition brings us the hulking new Primaris Space Marines in all their glory. Rocking a new edition Bolt Rifle and a cracking two wounds, these big boys are going to dominate the field with deafening waves of firepower.


Not to be left out of the limelight, the gods of chaos have brought forth new (smelly and slightly diseased) life into the ranks of the Death Guard Chaos Space Marines in the form of a beautiful new wave of miniatures and a range of new tactical toys to play with such as the horde of zombie-like Poxwalkers.


Alongside these beautiful new models all found in the new Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium starter box, this new edition brings new ways to play Warhammer 40k with your friends and enemies in the form of Point and Power based gameplay. Whilst Point based gameplay mirrors the old form of army selection with an intense focus on individual specialisation and competitive balancing, Power based gameplay introduces a way to play thematically sound armies in a quick pick format.

With this new system players choose the unit to field, increase the unit size by group and that's it! all weapons, custom equipment and other such choices are figured into the power cost leading to extremely swift army building that encourages full sized units and steers away from the min-maxing approach of previous editions.

 

Overall the starting strength of the death guard force in this box is considerable. In the starter set alone you receive 3 special characters to support your units, a Bloat-Drone to lay down suppressing fire, two units of hardy troops and a force that comes in at 39 total power. This is an incredible start with all of the staples of a strong Nurgle army going forth into this new edition. 

A small consideration should be given to the new Plaguespitter special weapon available to your Death Guard, this new assault weapon gives the unit a new level of ranged flexibility in it's firepower and is a great option for removing anti armour in quick fashion.. 

With this new edition offering a new rule-set and army lists, we here at Justplay are holding a special 40k pre-release day for you to bring down your army, take a look at the new rulebooks, build a list and get cracking. We'll have new rulebooks to hand, help you build your first 8th edition army and let you get a chance to test out your new shiny toys.

Whether you want to give the new edition a try, pre-order your new Dark Imperium Box set or simply fancy taking a look at the new rules, pop down to our store and check out our 8th edition pre-launch on June 3rd and read about all the great offers we have on for the new game here.

Come join us this Saturday! Bring on down your models and we'll help you build a playable force on the day and get you gaming. We have all the new rules available and will be more than happy to help you get your current models onto the field and smiting heretics with this great new edition. Be one of the very first people to conquer your foes in the 8th edition and maybe you can emerge the victor in the grim darkness of the future. . 


Thanks for checking out all of the great things we have going on for the launch! Follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with all of our Warhammer 40,000 events such as our weekly 40k night every Wednesday. and our first tournament The Vortex Frontier on July 22nd!


Happy Purging!


-Team JustPlay

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Destiny: Awakenings' Three Biggest Winners and Losers post-SoR!

Ian O'Brien1 comment

Hi Everybody!

With a new set, and a new emerging meta, all of the focus is on Spirit of Rebellion and the exciting new things that it brings to the game. So today we thought we'd take a look at which popular cards from Awakenings gain or lose the most in the new world.

 

The Losers

 

3. Jetpack

In Awakenings, Jetpack was one of those cards you hated to see; those big 2s and 3s on an upgrade that only cost two resources were the downfall of many characters during the Awakenings meta. But Jetpack was not without its problems; it lacked unmodified damage faces (and it was often played with characters that themselves had modified or costing faces, so it opened you up to a lot of control), and its dual offensive/defensive nature was often problematic when you just wanted to close out a game. Cue Sprit of Rebellion with its plethora of great 2-cost upgrades such as Ascension Gun or the easy-to-dip-into-for-villains red upgrades like the DT-29 and Boba's personal flying machine has some often-more-consistent competition. It will no doubt still see plenty of play, but its days of auto-inclusion are at an end.

 

2. Force Training

Force Training is a pretty innocuous card, but it was a pretty solid staple in blue decks both hero and villain, including the ubiquitous VaderRaider, my own Younglings deck and other variations, QuiGon decks, Kylo/Dooku decks, basically anything involving blue and melee. With SoR bringing us a similar but mostly-better version in Makashi Training, a similar-but-probably-better version in Lure of Power and a whole host of new blue upgrades (albeit in a different cost-slot) such as Force Speed, Handcrafted Light Bow, Lightsaber Pike, and more, poor Force Training has a huge amount of competition for its slots and it isn't quite as capable of justifying its deck slot as something like Force Throw or Mind Probe is. That is not to say it won't see play at all, but it certainly isn't going to be the solid space-filler it used to be and I think most decks will drop it in favour of Makashi Training or a better upgrade or weapon.

 

1. Mos Eisley Spaceport

I was an early champion of Mos Eisley as the best "default" battlefield to play if you didn't have any particular plans for your battlefield and didn't want your opponent to get too much out of it either. With the rise of Force Speed, playing this is more likely than ever to be giving opponents an engine to generate resources (even if you can do the same). Combine this with the fact that there are lots of really great battlefield choices in SoR (whereas there really weren't for a lot of decks in Awakenings) and the hive of scum and villainy is going to become much more of a considered gamble than a default pick, meaning that it'll probably see a lot less play.

 

The Winners

 

3. Poe Dameron

It will come as a surprise to approximately no-one that a card based around critical mass of good upgrades being in your deck got better as decks are able to approach critical mass of good upgrades. Poe was already a great card in Awakenings (although his deck, like many, didn't really have the time or the playerbase to really establish it as a top tier deck with lots of results) and now with new vehicles and guns to pitch he's going to be even better. Additionally, Heroes were somewhat handicapped in Awakenings with their only real good low-cost character being Rey and that's also no longer the case - Maz Kanata is now Poe (and everyone else's) best friend so he has a double-whammy of stuff that makes him better!

 

2. Padme Amidala

Mill was OK in Awakenings but it wasn't quite there; it was almost always a turn or two too slow and often died with the opponent having no deck but cards in hand. And Padme's inclusion in Awakenings also had a knock-on effect on Heroes; the slot in the set that she took up meant they had very few options in character lineups and unless they wanted to run a Hired Gun for access to Yellow, it was pretty much Han or nothing. Awakenings was a bad time to be a hero player if you weren't using Rey, pretty much.

Anyway, onto the now and Hero Mill is REAL. I stress real because if you havent played against it you're missing out on a brutal beating. Ascension Gun on Command Centre, Jyn Erso or Maz to pair Padme with, more ways to keep your guys alive and more yellow control (that's before we even consider dipping in to other colous) mean that Padme is going to be a fixture on the top tables a lot more often.

 

1. Second Chance

Between Ammo Belt, Cheat, Rebel and various other cards, Second Chance probably should have been named "nth chance". If you've played against it you probably hate it, and if you've recurred it you probably really enjoyed it. I welcome the fact that the existence of this line of play means we should move away a bit from the hyper-aggro meta of Awakenings; that meta was a shame because a game with such rich interactions should not be reduced to "who rolls the best damage dice" (in a largely best-of-1 tournament format to boot).

The issue with Second Chance though, is that a good chunk of ALL decks lose to it once you start looping it. There are very few ways to actually deal with it right now; Cargo Hold'ing it to another character can get round an Ammo Belt, Confiscating it can put it back in hand, but access to those things is situational and limited. As powerful as this card has gotten in SoR I do think that it's going to be complained about and argued over a lot online, and one of two things will happen; it'll either be errata'd to remove itself from the game when it resolves (now that we have a removed-from-game area thanks to the recent Hyperspace Jump ruling) or we'll see more cards in the next set to deal with upgrades (or healing).

 

Honourable Mention: Sith Holocron

Yep, it can now cheat in more, better cards like Force Lightning. No, I still don't know how this card passed playtesting. What.

 

 

That's all for us from today! We hope you enjoyed our roundup, and yes we did notice that the three cards that we think gained the most are all hero cards; when you're mostly at the bottom of the pile the only way is up, right? What are your views on the biggest winners and losers from Awakenings? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook!

Don't forget to check out our Destiny Singles Store hich is fully stocked with SoR and will soon be refilled with Awakenings.

If you're in the UK, you can come and play Destiny with us at our monthly grand Tournaments, the next of which is on 13th May (that's tomorrow at the time of writing this!) and also at our weekly Thusday Night Destiny tournaments!

Cheers

Team JustPlay

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The Best Tournament Software? Age of Sigmar and More!

Ritchie McAlley3 comments

Most of my gaming life I have been involved in organising events and communities in our wonderful hobby. If there was something I wanted to do in gaming it was to create the best experiences possible for everyone. I just made it happen and I know lots of people out there are the same, volunteering all over the world, organising tournament and events with some even finding their way into professional events management. If  you fall into either of these categories or are simply interested in the turbulent world of running the events we all know and love, then this is the article for you.

Tournament software is a proverbial mine field, with a vast swathe of programs and websites largely developed by people in it for the love of the hobby. People who do it because they love what we all love and saw a needed tool to run their events. Without people like these we may never have progressed past excel and the old pen and paper approach (also known as the dark era of Tournament Organising.)

A few companies have their own products available for us all to use or have them in Beta (seemingly forever), with Wizards of the Coast having the most widely used individual platform by far. With the sheer volume of use it sees day to day for events, the Wizards of the Coast program gets a regular bashing and like most of the older programs, can seem very dated or basic, created with a rigid set of tools for their particular game. This is quickly apparent to anyone constantly hopping between programs as they desperately try to juggle multiple game events.

Since opening JustPlay I have been exposed to all of these experiences and lots of other games which have no support in this area at all, which has put me on a constant quest to find the fabled program that works for me doing all the things a modern professional piece of tournament software should do. That constant search for the perfect program has led me to writing this piece and talking about what I finally came to as the seemingly perfect program of choice.

Before I get to that though let's just establish exactly what it is we're looking for...

What do we want from our tournament software?

  • Pair Swiss correctly (A RANDOM player on the same tournament points as you)
  • Sign up online
  • Submit your list in advance to the software
  • Generates displays of pairings, standings, sign ups and round times for your audio visual equipment
  • Online standings
  • View your pairings on your mobile device
  • RSS feed for people to follow your event online 
  • All your scoring and tie breakers in one place
  • No additional maths from you
  • Quick entry of results
  • Great service and support
  • Modern and professional UI

And most importantly having it all for free! 

Tabletop Tournaments  is the best piece of Tournament Software I have used by far, it has all the things that you want above and more, plus its simple and easy to use.

Just some of the features that make this a great program

Supported Games

  • A Game of Throne LCG
  • Android: Netrunner
  • D&D: Attack Wing
  • Epic Armageddon
  • Flames of War
  • Guild Ball
  • Kings of War
  • Star Wars: Armada
  • Star Wars: Imperial Assault
  • Star Wars: X-Wing
  • Star Wars: Destiny
  • Star Wars: The Card Game
  • Warhammer 40k: Conquest
  • Warmahordes
  • Age of Sigmar

 

Age of Sigmar

This is what brought me to take the time to write about this program after listening to Podcasts talking about software, hearing reports from players returning from events and hearing what people had to say. All of this inspired me to get in touch with Dennis and ask to get involved in adding AOS to the scoring system so we could start to shift all of our events across.

Scoring

First I looked at the scoring for the popular events currently happening the SCGT and GW Grand Tournaments so when you add your tournament you can see you have three options for scoring.

Different Scoring Drop Down

SCGT follows

  • Major Win 30 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 20 Points Minor Loss 10 points
  • Draw 15 points

GWGT follows

  • Major Win 20 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 13 Points Minor Loss 7 points
  • Draw 10 points

Will also added the very common

  • Major Win 20 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 15 Points Minor Loss 5 points
  • Draw 10 points

The best bit about all this is not adding the points manually, in example the players report John Smith gets a Major Win, Tabletop Tournament does the rest in auto filling the loses box and recording the 30-0 in the background, just click the save button and those results are locked in safe.

Reporting is Quick and Easy

It does not end there, we also have the tiebreaker set as total Warscroll Points killed so when reporting these results, you type in how many points each player got and again Tabletop Tournament does the rest in deciding tiebreakers in an easy to read fashion. 

The final part is the ability to adjust a players Tournament Points at the end of the final round of Swiss, most commonly used for painting, modelling and list submission soft scores.

Easy to Adjust for Soft Scores or Deductions! (finish painting the models next time)

Swiss Pairings 

This program is set to pair people by "true" Swiss i.e. Players on the same Tournament Points play another random player on the same points Tie Breakers should not be taken into account at this point. This is possibly the biggest point of contention or where I have struggled to get a clear answer. I have found that most events pair people on standings but call their event a Swiss Tournament I don't know if people just don't understand what Swiss is or if its just evolved to a more colloquial fashion from having to use excel to pair players and lacking the ability, maybe its intentional.

*Update 20/09/18

Alot has gone since I wrote this and our involvement with the scene has grown and opinions changed! Here is a update on the current AOS scoring on test and live.

GWGT, SCGT, Standard  V2 scoring are now the following 
Swiss paired on ranking ie 1st plays 2nd 3rd plays 4th and so on avoiding clashes.
1st tiebreaker Kill Points 
Each with different scoring for major/minor victory and draws.
SCGT follows
  • Major Win 30 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 20 Points Minor Loss 10 points
  • Draw 15 points

GWGT follows

  • Major Win 6 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 4 Points Minor Loss 0 points
  • Draw 2 points

Standard Scoring

  • Major Win 20 points Major Loss 0 points
  • Minor Win 15 Points Minor Loss 5 points
  • Draw 10 points
You mostly want different numbers based on how how much flexibility you need in your soft scores and how much weight you put on major Vs minor win.

Community Rules Pack Scoring

Paired true swiss (random player on the same Tournament points)

Scoring

    • Major Win 30

    • Minor Win 15

    • Draw 10

    • Major Loss  

    • Minor Loss 5

Tiebreakers

  • 1st SOS

  • 2nd Extended SOS

  • 3rd Victory Points

Pairings, Standings and Timers

If we're honest with ourselves, who posts paper pairings these days with projectors, flat screen TV's and Chromecast's etc being so cheap? We in the modern gaming world want quick ways to show our players their pairings and standings without 100+ people crammed around a pillar. This program has all this functionality available so you can cast a full screen clock, pairings, signed up players etc. to a big screen and its incredibly clear and easy to read.

How the Pairings Display to Cast

Clock for your Big Screens and Synced Online!

Online

All of the above is also on the web server giving players access to all this from their mobile device and even the timer is synced! I recently suggested Dennis to give the TO the ability to hide the standings so we can keep the suspense building up.

Players can also register and submit their lists online in advance Text or Image, a simple copy paste from Warscroll Builder is what I requested, allowing me to have them all at hand and available to all players once the event begun. This is also brilliant for players who want to follow the event live, media coverage teams can have them at hand or link to them in Twitch Chat and those players who love digging though lists for the next big meta-game change have tons of data to consume!

I also really love the RSS feed allowing you to follow the event and post useful updates like "Lunch Break Round 3 Begins at 1pm" or anything else you wish like spot prizes. You can do surveys like best painted on it where everyone votes and you can even link all your events as a series and log scores over the year and so much more!!

I could go on, but I hope you all appreciate how amazing this program could be for you and your events. 

Check out a recent AOS event I ran and have a nose about the event to see these features.

I just wanted to take this chance to thank Dennis for the hard work he had done on this and hope that many more of us chose to use it for our events. I genuinely feel it helps in providing a better service for all our players and helping to bring your events up to a standard I feel all events can easily be at without paying through the nose for software.

If its Age of Sigmar or any of the Fantasy Flight Games Events you are running I recommend you give this a go and feel free to let us know how you get on.

Thanks for Reading

Ritchie

 

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Warhammer 40k; To Infinity and Beyond!

Shaun Wright

Greetings loyal servants of the Holy Emperor! 

 

...Now that we've got that out of the way for the inquisition guidelines let's have a little chat about the exciting times ahead for you champions of humanity and xeno alike. It seems we haven't been able to move an inch recently for the repeated waves of Warhammer 40k news and the shocking revelations of just where it looks like we're headed. The first piece of news and one that looks like it could be the start of something greater is the new announcement of Shadow War: Armageddon!

Street Fightin' and Holy Smitin'

 

Set in the broiling urban networks of a hive world, this new skirmish format is the resurrection of the classic Specialist Game Necromunda. The more venerable readers among you will remember Necromunda as a wonderful city skirmish game pitting the gangs of Necro against each other in bloody, brutal and stylish combat. Necromunda is still revered for featuring a strong progression system and a pretty cool equipment system. Who didn't love kitting their gangers out with as many bolters and meltaguns as you could lay your grubby hands to? At JustPlay we will have the new Organised Play Pack with exclusive certificates, token sets, dice and more! All this should make for a exciting campaign in store more information to come.

The new Organised Play Pack

For us at Justplay the return of this form of organised play is really wonderful news as we're about to begin a slow-grow campaign starting Wednesday 12th April for Warhammer 40,000. This league will focus on collecting, building and painting a new budding force and will allow all of us to try out some funky new forces or even just make ourselves paint our models in a timely fashion for once (I'm guiltily looking at my own unpainted pile right now). Alongside the prospect of starting a new force or getting our stuff beautifully painted, each week will see a new mission played by each member having an effect on the space system the campaign takes place in. Achieve mission specific goals and you'll gain advantages such as ammunition depots, chaotic boons, holy relics and other benefits going forth into the following weeks. 

This new slow-grow campaign supplemented by the skirmish format Shadow War:Armageddon will see many new ways to play 40k in store and to find new and interesting opponents. 

For me personally this next few weeks is going to see me delving back into one of my oldest love affairs in tabletop gaming; the putrescent, bubbling plague bringers of the XIV Legion; The Death Guard. 

 

The Plagued Man Cometh

The Great Reaper Mortarion approaches.

 

A plague marine bearing a rotting pox of Nurgle.

 

A plagued Lieutenant bearing the gifts of his dark lord.

 

As is clear to see a new dawn is coming for the children of Nurgle in Warhammer 40,000, and I couldn't be more excited. Games Workshops new models look absolutely incredible and the followers of big papa Nurgle have always held a soft (and bloated, some would say decaying) place in my heart. 

I've happily thrown in my lot with the dark gods and will be playing the Death Guard in our upcoming slow-grow campaign and chronicling my progress deeper into Nurgle's favour. Painting blogs, lore and battle reports are all coming soon alongside a detailed layout of our slow grow so make sure to check back in soon for updates and news as we move forward.

Sadly that's it from me ladies and gentlemen, our Wednesday nights have grown week on week with a wide array of marines (and shockingly even a few non Astartes armies) and I've loved meeting you all and seeing your generalship in action. Coming up soon I'm looking forward to leagues, lore and all the fun involvement we'll be seeing from people taking part in the campaign.

If you're looking for a game, this week will be our final store credit raffle for 40k so come on down and smash in some power armour for the glory of the dark gods.

 

Your loving plague lieutenant,

 

Justplay Shaun 

 

 

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Final Fantasy Opus 2 and Wednesday nights!

Shaun Wright

Good evening fellow FFTCG fans, I'm here to spread the glorious news of the release of our new Opus 2 booster set and to take a look at some of the cards I'm looking forward to trying out myself. Furthermore before we get into the nitty gritty of ogling the new Emperor Xande card (spoiler alert: he's bonkers) I just want to remind you that Wednesday nights are our dedicated Final Fantasy/Warhammer 40k night and we'd love to have you guys down to play.

 

Flame and Ruin

So let's start off with the biggest, meanest man of the set himself, the heavyweight lord of Syrcus Tower, Emperor Xande.

Coming in at a hefty 5 red-specific crystals, Xande is not the easiest card to play, but for such a high cost he rewards the player with an incredible tempo gain of a 5000 damage strike each time he attacks, forcing your opponent to deal with him immediately or quickly lose the board. Not to be simply dealt with, Xande goes further and deals another 9000 damage to an enemy forward on being placed into the breakzone, making his vengeance have an incredible effect on most boardstates we can expect.

Alongside a very healthy 9000 power statline, Xande is an incredible late game control and aggression tool, forcing your opponent to respond immediately or to suffer as his mounting damage overwhelms the board. Xande is a card that demands attention and if given it, responds in kind with a sickening 9000 damage finisher.

 

Whilst on the subject of Fire Legendaries, 2-011L Tifa is likely to be a phenomenal staple in upcoming red decks.

Whilst again rocking the powerful 9000 statline, Tifa's ability to make another forward unblockable is an incredible boon to the late game board states of Fire, allowing the deck to bypass other deck's late game forward blockers that can usually cause issues. 

The brutal ability Falcon's Dive comes at a high price but will be essential for fire decks making the late game pushes past blockers and will ensure almost any board state featuring a Tifa in play will be incredibly unsafe for the defender. Red aggro archetypes were a monster in the opus 1 meta and with cards like these it is very much still ready to throw down. 

 

Freezing the fireworks

Whilst we've mentioned a few of the fire heavyweights and the effect they can have on this new meta of ours, it's important to take a small look at some of the fancy new counterplay options opening up to other decks. Nothing freezes out a large, aggressive card like the new 2-026L Vayne and his insane control mechanics. Take a look:

Weighing in at an extremely cost efficient 4 crystals and with a beefy statline of 8000, Vayne is the premium in control cards coming out of this set. First up his ability to stop the opponent's 5 cost forwards from activating AND forcing them to dull when he enters the field is an incredible control tool if he can be protected. The ability to remove so much tempo from the opponent and stop his board from participating is crushing for any late game focussed decks. 

Furthermore factoring in his Force of Will ability, Vayne is able to lock down any forwards for the small cost of 2 crystals and a discard. An immense control tool all contained in a single, flashy package. 

 

Choice and Calm

Finally as we come away from the blinding lights of our expensive Legendaries, I'd just like to talk a little about 2-049H Asura. Coming to your deck as an extremely cost efficient 1 crystal summon, Asura is a card to be watched this expansion. Take a look:

 

What's immediately interesting is the incredible flexibility that comes with this card. Whether treated as a cheap cycle for low cost characters, crystal reactivation or even flexibility for your forwards, this card has it all at an insanely low price. 

As a player who loves the combo playstyle used in many green decks this card screams out options to me and will find itself into many decks going forward. The ability in the extreme late game to reactivate 5 backups is an insane tempo gain and allows for some very devious counterplay going into your opponent's turn. 

Whether slotting this into green/blue to pull your key Yuna or simply looking to shore up your early game boards, this card will very likely see a lot of play by those looking for options. 

 

Final thoughts

The opus 2 expansion for me is an incredibly exciting time for Final Fantasy TCG (to the point that I bought a full booster box day one) and opens up a vast array of new decks. I'm looking forward to experimenting with the new synergies and intricacies and looking for some wacky decks in the process. 

If you play Final Fantasy we'd love to see you this upcoming Wednesday and each week as we look to create a strong player base and get experimenting with our decks in the process. 

Who knows, you too could find yourself pulling a Foil Tifa like I did :D

Justplay Shaun

 

 

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Control in Star Wars Destiny

Ritchie McAlley

One trend we've noticed is the application of terms from Magic: The Gathering to Destiny. We see these key terms being used a lot and it's easy to understand that many of these are relevant to the game directly. Whilst we all know these terms and use them when discussing decks and the meta, often times players can find themselves using terms even if they don't know what they really mean. 

One key example is the misuse of "Control" and the overuse of it when talking deck construction in Destiny.

Since card games first existed people have loved playing control decks. The intoxicating feeling of showing yourself as the better player through the old mantra of control being the "harder, skilled approach" and "lol aggro is easy" is a longstanding myth within the card game scene and has taken a strong root within the scene when discussing Destiny, with many people looking to build what they like to call control decks.

Lets look at this for example, a SWDestinyDB Hall of Fame deck labelled Vader Jabba Control.

What exactly defines the controlling element about this deck?

Is it ever going to lock down the game and make it impossible for you opponent to progress their board state?

Is it going to remove their threats efficiently so you steadily gain an advantage? 

No. This deck is going to slowly fall behind while doing a little damage, as your opponent adds upgrades to the board and removes your Crime Lord dice after you put so much effort in to get them out. It's an easy mistake to believe that decks that want to play slow and a longer game fall under control, but attrition and slow play does not mean this deck is in control of anything.

This is the question we need to consider; where are all of the control cards?

 

True control cards

By the strict definition of control, these are the only two usable, quality control cards in the game. Both cards permanently answer an opponent's threat and establish a form of control of the board state. Within the current meta they are both rarely played and when they are played played, they are not enough to let you take control of the game because you still aren't a control deck - because there aren't enough control cards to be one.

I don't mean to bash this deck in particular or the designer for naming it such, but any of these types of deck (Jabba/Dooku control for example) all boil down to the same thing; they try to play a longer game while being in "control", often just falling behind to the opponent's deck over time as they progress their board and you don't. You watch your opponent create upgrades and you don't do anything to deter/control it.

Dice Control 

For us Destiny players this is where the term control is often used and really becomes relevant. I think most of us call card like Electroshock a dice control card, as they remove an opponents dice from the pool and therefore affect the board state.

Whilst widely used, this is not really control in classical terms. This form of interaction is one of the game's defining features; interacting with the other player's dice and making the game as awesome as it is. In effect this mechanic when understood properly is most akin to gaining tempo on your opponent, rather than a form of pure control. 

For the purposes of our game it's fine to call these control cards but seeing a deck being called a control deck because it has a high number of dice control cards is slightly misleading. I think this began as a nod however to the meta we saw early on in the tournament scene, with the early dominance of the 14 upgrade decks. These decks that worked vigorously to get dice on the board are finding that the playstyle just does not cut it anymore. As I talked about in my Training Day deck update blog post, tournaments being "best of one" changes the meta. More and more players are finding they need to have a way to affect the opponent's dice if they want to win. Most decks seeing consistent success are now dropping to 12 upgrades or lower and having a way to interact with 10 or more dice control cards.

This widespread play has become the norm and defining these decks as control simply doesn't work.

Will there ever be control decks?

All of these issues aside, I think there already is a space for control decks but the key example also happens to be a combo deck. Hyperloop does genuinely take control of the game and stop your opponent from doing anything while you chip away at them to victory. I think this is the truest form of a control deck we have seen and I would happily accept that label for it, but its also a miserable combo deck so...

Moving on from here and looking to the future I would like to see some more strategies appear within the scene that don't rely on straight-up damage, but with the initial spoilers from Spirit of the Rebellion looking pretty damage focused these hopes may go unanswered. With more damage sides than we have have ever seen I am not hopeful yet, however we have only seen a handful of cards and I am sure we have a lot of interesting cards on the horizon to play with very soon.

If you're in the UK feel free to come along to our next Destiny Event and blow my decks out of the water! Tickets are on sale now and you can get them here.

Thanks for reading,

Ritchie

 

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