Summoner Wars Mega #3: Phoenix Elves vs. Sand Goblins

Lawful Evil vs. Chaotic Evil.

Phoenix Elves vs. Sand Goblins.

The outcome of today’s match should leave everyone happy, because regardless of whether the fiery Phoenix Elves or the hell-continent-dweller Sand Goblins win, a faction of evil jerks has lost — and in battle-torn Itharia, where every madman has a summoning stone nowadays, that can only be a good thing.

As always, Somerset and myself were provided with a surprisingly unique match. It lacked the early-game assassination of our first match and the stalemated battle lines of our second. Instead, it was a highly tense game in which both Summoners felt the sting of enemy blades, and both subtle trickery and brute force had their moment. Spoiler Alert: At the end of this one, our score stands at 2-1. Oh, that was obvious? You want to know which of us is now ahead? Sorry, you’ll have to read on to find out the winner.

It could be another gender battle, but with Sand Wyrm there's no telling.

Somerset: Krusk of the Sand Goblins

As always, I’m nervous about this match. Perhaps that’s a good thing: I went into last game thinking I would be all aggressive and get it done, but ended up being reactionary and defensive. It almost worked — not the way I wanted, but hey. I’ve got to think more about my strategy! To that end, I seduced my opponent tonight and forced him to divulge his deckbuild. Unfortunately, he cried out the names of all Phoenix Elf champions. Foiled!

The Phoenix Elves have three champions who are hard hitters: Fire Drake, Maelena, and Laleya, all of which have the possibility of giving three wounds in one attack. Then there’s Kaeseeall who can mind-control adjacent units, Holleas who summons Fire Beasts at one less the summon cost during attack phase, and Rahlee who can fly in for surprise attacks. Dan loves to bring in units that will do things you don’t expect, so I’m certain he’ll try to bring at least one champion who does something unusual for the team. I’m not a big fan of his events either. I hate Magic Drain, and even though I know Dan doesn’t like it either, that’s not going to stop him from using it to annoy me. I’m fairly certain he’ll use Fencers, whose zero cost and Riposte ability (a wound to any melee attack not able to kill it) makes it a dangerous reactionary unit, and Fire Beasts, who are more expensive but more powerful and have an interesting Hellfire ability which wounds itself and everything around it.

Here’s the strategy: My champions will be Silts, who has one of the most devious and useful abilities in the game, Cunning, for switching places with any adjacent unit; Kreep, who has a high attack and six good hit points, and when coupled with Silts and/or Krusk’s Sandstorm doesn’t have terrible vulnerability; and Sand Wyrm, who is mobile, a powerhouse defender when not moved, and a potential assassin against wimpy Prince Elien. The goal is of course to bring out Silts and one of the others. I’ll be bringing some of all my common units because they all have great abilities, and the unit I’m bringing the most of is the least expensive, Bombers! They have a one-in-six chance of causing extra damage, and it also makes me laugh when they explode themselves.

As for my events, if I see Dan is bringing all melee units (he hates the Camouflage ability of my Javelineers), that will probably make my Duck and Cover events only useful as magic. Unless Shiny is immediately useful, that will also become magic. That leaves Taunt — useful for bringing enemies to my high-attack units for gang-up attacks — and Mirage, an excellent way to change the defensive setup or stage a Summoner-slaying.

Somerset’s Sand Goblins deck (reference):
Kreep, Sand Wyrm, Silts
5 Bombers, 4 Javelineers, 4 Scavengers, 2 Shamans, 3 Slayers

Just a pack of kittens, out from the volcano.

Dan: Prince Elien of the Phoenix Elves

One of our goals for this series is to illustrate that in Summoner Wars, you very quickly get a sense of a “baseline,” a standard formula that everything is based off, but that nothing completely follows. Each faction diverges from this baseline in some significant way; in this case, the Phoenix Elves, who I’ve been assigned to play in this next match, is the faction of choice for people who are convinced that they roll dice worse than other people. Which is to say a lot of their abilities and events are based around guaranteed hits, or creating opportunities to make attacks without offering their opponent a chance to hit back in the event that they miss.

Thing is, I’m not a big fan of the Phoenix Elves. I’m fine with rolling poorly at times, infuriating as that can be, so maybe a part of me finds their guaranteed hits sort of patronizing. Maybe it’s their ladyboy Summoner, the smarmy Prince Elien, with his weaksauce four life points — I like my Summoners with a bit more meat on their bones. Maybe it’s their tendency to start every single dang game by killing off piles of their own units. Or maybe it’s just because they’re obviously the evilest thing this side of Itharia. Whatever the reason, I’m basically rooting for Somerset in this one.

Not that I’m going to send Prince Elien gently into that good night, appealing as the thought may be.

Somerset has played as and against the Phoenix Elves many times, so I’m going to mix up my deck a bit to try and keep her off guard — which means no Fire Drake and no Guardians other than the one I begin with. The Sand Goblins are tough little buggers, so I suspect I’ll be scrapping for every inch of ground. To bend this to my favor, I’ve decided to load up my deck with my tougher commons: Fire Beasts. Problem is, they’re rather expensive at three magic, so I’m also packing Holleas to summon them at a discount, and hoping I’ll draw either her or the event A Hero Is Born (to get her anyway) relatively early on. I’m also bringing Laleya and Maelena, more economical champions than Fire Drake, who are still experts in the art of dealings lots of damage. In order to provide some cheaper alternatives, I’m also bringing a good number of Fencers and Warriors to round out my force — no Archers, for fear of her employing those obnoxious camouflaged Javelineers.

There isn’t anything too complicated or tricky to my gameplan this time, just a slugfest of attrition in which I hope to establish a superior magic economy, keep Prince Elien snug at the back of the battle, and gradually grind forward until Krusk has nowhere else to run.

Dan’s Phoenix Elves deck (reference):
Holleas, Laleya, Maelena
2 Archers, 5 Fencers, 5 Fire Beasts, 1 Guardian, 5 Warriors

Posted on January 7, 2013, in Board Game, Game Diary and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. A few thoughts:

    1. This is the best one yet. I mean that both as a match (it’s always great to see Dan get his ass kicked, especially when he doesn’t see it coming) and as an article.

    2. Why no stats on dice accuracy and magic economy this time? Did you not keep count?

    3. Congrats to Somerset on the perfect victory! Confession: I may be developing a little crush. Just a little one. Don’t tell my wife.

    4. For next week, my bet is on Benders. All the way.

    • Hi Dale!

      1. Thanks! I think.

      2. We did keep count, we just didn’t talk about the stats in our post-game chat. We’re trying to be more dynamic in those, since they’re sort of goofy (we sit on our respective computers, five feet apart, and talk on Steam).

      The accuracy stats are a little skewed because we didn’t count instances of guaranteed hits, i.e., the Fire Beasts’ Hellfire, Spirit of the Phoenix on Warriors three times, stuff like that. They just refer to actual ROLLS. But for reference, the Phoenix Elves hit 22/28 and the Sand Goblins hit 22/35.

      Magic economy: The Phoenix Elves took 11 cards, the Sand Goblins took 5.

      3. Hm.

      4. Noted!

    • Thanks! It was a lucky victory though, this is the second time I’ve had critical hits on last ditch efforts. I’m afraid my luck will run out soon!

  2. Too bad the Phoenix Elves didn’t take it. Halfway through I thought they would. For next time, I’m guessing Cloaks. The Benders are slippery, but the Cloaks are too. Either way it should be interesting, with both sides having such low-hp units.

  3. That was a satisfying match from a Sand Goblin players perspective. I may be converted to using the bombers now. I agree that they are both fun and useful. My vote is for Benders next match only because I like them so much.

    • Somerset Winters

      Yes, I’m glad I kept them in. They’re such a good reactionary unit -free!- with the potential to do a lot of damage.

  4. This series has convinced me, and we aren’t weven halfway through… I went out and bought the Master Set. We’ll see how this goes! 😀

    • Congrats, proud owner! I’m sure you’ll love it!

    • digitalpariah76

      You did the right thing, sir! o7

      • digitalpariah76

        It was Dan that got me into SW a while back and I’m about to receive the last faction deck that I don’t have (Jungle Elves, yay!). I’ve already had a lot of fun with SW and I haven’t even tried any of the reinforcement decks. Next stop, SW dice!

      • Thanks guys! I’m pretty excited!

        Any suggestions for someone starting out? How to maximize my enjoyment of this thing? How to not get overwhelmed?

      • digitalpariah76

        I’d suggest reading the rules, then playing a solo game (or play with another player, just with open hands maybe) to help you learn. The flow of the game isn’t complicated, and nor are the rules on their own. It’s the cards that complicate things, but they’ve all got pretty clear instructions on. Also, if any questions crop up in-game, the Plaid Hat forums have threads for basically every card & faction. Look for “The Book of x” where x is the card you’re looking for. Also, I’d suggest avoiding using Swamp Orcs for your first few games perhaps.

      • All sound advice! I may as well plug my own article on the topic:

        And yeah, don’t play Swamp Orcs until you’re comfortable with the rest of the Master Set.

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