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 Post subject: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 6th, 2014, 18:15 
Skirmisher
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In-game name: Smogan
CASUAL CORNER #2 – MOBILE ARTILLERY

Welcome to Casual Corner #2! Casual Corner is a series of articles written to encourage creative and casual deck building in Scrolls, as well as to provide newer players with fun decks to work towards or try out. Each article will detail a new casual deck, built and tested by me, Smogan, where “Casual” means decks that are not built with competitive play in mind. Often they will be good, sometimes they will be bad, but they will always be built with fun gameplay in mind! Because the process of deck building is far more important to me than the final product, these articles will provide a rationale for why individual scrolls are included, as well as tips and strategies for playing the deck. Interested readers are encouraged to take these decks as a skeleton, swap in your favorite scrolls, and make it your own! Feedback and discussion are very welcome!

“About to dodge? It’s too late!”

Battles and wars can be won and lost on the back of powerful artillery. From trebuchets and cannons to howitzers and mortars, artillery sacrifices mobility in exchange for extreme range and extreme destructive power. But what if artillery WASN’T immobile? What hell could be wrought if the machines of war could be mobilized and repositioned with the greatest of ease?

This is the goal of the Mobile Artillery deck. By combining the strength, range, and splash damage of Energy’s best lobbers with the movement and positional manipulation of Order, nowhere on the opponent’s board is safe. Your enemies will weep and you will laugh maniacally whilst orchestrating the dreaded dance of the Destroyers!

Decklist (see it on Scrollsguide)

Artillery
3x Destroyer
3x Storm Runner
3x Summons

The centerpiece of the deck is Destroyer. Destroyer is unique among the lobbers in having but 1 countdown, allowing it to attack its large splash area every turn. Having 1 countdown turns on every trick detailed below. Further, Destroyers are the only structure included in the deck, meaning that 3 copies of Summons effectively gives you 6 Destroyers in your deck. With this set up, the shelling never ceases. Storm Runners round out the artillery. Compared to Destroyers, Storm Runners trade speed (having 2 countdown) for mobility, allowing an entirely different set of tricks.

Tricks and Traps
3x Iron Whip
3x Blessing of Haste
3x Focus
2x Machinated
3x New Orders
3x Refined Strategy
3x Flip

Iron Whip and Blessing of Haste allow a just-deployed Destroyer to immediately attack. With a Destroyer and either of these two scrolls in your hand, you can put instant area of effect damage anywhere on the board. Machinated (for the Storm Runners) and Focus (for Storm Runners and Destroyers) dramatically increase the damage dealt, one-shotting most enemy units. The Destroyer + Blessing of Haste + Focus combo is akin to the ever-popular Mangonel + Speed + Focus.

Once a Destroyer is on the board, typically players can simply move their units out of range. Not so here. New Orders gives +1 movement to all of your units – even your structures! Finally, there is a use for the giant wheels on your Destroyer! New Orders allows for blow-out plays. Put yourself in your opponent’s shoes. You’ve played a few creatures in the middle of the board to gain control of the center against an opponent on 4 Energy. He drops a Destroyer that is now threatening your creatures. Shrugging, you shift them all back one hex, easily out of range. But then, your opponent sacrifices for Order (“Wait, he’s got Order?”), plays New Orders, and moves the about-to-attack Destroyer in range of all your units. Surprise!

Refined Strategy makes this even easier, as it simply allows you to move your Destroyer anywhere on the board. As a bonus, Refined Strategy can act as an additional Blessing of Haste for your Destroyer when needed, giving you 9 total scrolls that allow for instant Destroyer damage. Meanwhile, Flip lets you snag enemy units that have wandered too far out of range and drop them right in the line of fire.

Removal
3x Spark
3x Burn
2x Thundersurge

While the Artillery takes care of most enemy units, it is always good to play some simple removal when you can. Burn, being one of if not the best Energy scrolls, is an auto-include. Spark softens up big units and takes out early threats like Kinfolk Brave and Viscera Sage. Thundersurge gives you a comeback mechanism against enemies that have managed to spam the board. Interestingly, once you have a Destroyer or three on the board, enemy units start having to crowd together to avoid taking damage, making Thundersurges even more effective.

Creatures
3x Tool Initiate
2x Scattergunner
3x Siege Cracker
3x Gravelock Elder
2x Cannon Automaton

At some point, even the most vicious artillery commander tires of endlessly killing enemy after enemy. Eventually you need to start smacking some idols, and lobbers can’t exactly do that. Scattergunner and Siege Cracker provide substantial bang for their buck at only 3 cost. Units tend to be cleared out of the way, allowing Siege Cracker to shine by hitting idols for 6, or with machinated, the full 10. Gravelock Elder and Cannon Automaton make the deck for two reasons: 1) they are the only large Energy creatures besides Solemn Giant and Iron Golem, who are too costly for this deck, and 2) they are the only Energy creatures (besides again the Giant and Golem) that cost 4 or more resources, and this deck needs to fill those slots. Their role is to threaten enemy idols and end the game, and they perform it well (especially the Cannon), but I’ll look forward to having more choices for Energy creatures in the future (Mojang I love you….please hook us up!).

“Let me just tweak this…” – Amhan, Machine Master

Tool Initiate gets special mention here. He is not just a reskinned gun automaton – his ability is phenomenal for Destroyers! Let’s face it – a Destroyer’s 2 damage isn’t the best, and often isn’t enough on its own to take out significant threats like Honorable General or Harvester. But Tool Initiate changes all that. His attack buff increases his own countdown by 1, meaning he can buff a Destroyer by 1 attack every single turn! If this combo is not dealt with swiftly, you will soon have Destroyers with 5, 6, or even 10 attack jumping all over the board taking out wave after wave of enemy units. An active Initiate also adds extra damage to hasted Destroyers played from your hand. Trust me – opponents never see it coming! For this reason, keep using the Initiate’s ability to pump rather than attack, just to keep the countdown fresh, even if your artillery has already become excessively strong.

Playing Mobile Artillery

The overall strategy of Mobile Artillery is to pressure the opponent with powerful, cost efficient threats like Scattergunner, Siege Cracker, and Cannon Automaton, all while constantly sieging their defenses with Destroyers and Storm Runners. When the scrolls fall your way, the opponent will be completely unable to keep units on the field while you ransack their idols.

Resource-wise, in the early game, build up to 4 Energy first and foremost, playing creatures onto the field if it is safe. If necessary, goad the enemy into bringing his units to the top or the bottom, where quarters are tighter and they are more likely to bunch up. Depending on your hand, once you are at 4 Energy, you can either build up to the full 6 Energy or start adding an Order or two. By the end of the game, I’ll rarely have more than 6 Energy and 2 Order – with the deck’s low curve, more is just rarely needed unless a specific plan calls for it (e.g., Refined Strategy + Focus).

Being light on traditional removal, the key to the deck is carefully deploying artillery. Storm Runners, barring unlikely double-haste plays, tend to be played out early and are less often utilized as surprise attackers. Destroyers can sometimes be placed without hasting them when you don’t have it, but typically only if you are confident you can move them into position the next round to do some good damage. However, it is often best to drop them with a haste effect, and then start dancing them around the board while pumping them with Initiates and Focus. When moving them around, it will be critical to know where the lobber attack will actually hit. Learn the pattern – there is nothing worse than moving a Destroyer to its new home only to find it is still out of range of the enemy pile!

Note that, when thinking about Destroyer placement, there are 5 “Death spots” on the board (shown here). Units placed in the “Death Spots” will not be able to move out of lobber range before the Destroyer can land a hit – or two hits if it is already primed to attack. Pay attention when the enemy shifts units to these hexes, and consider taking the opportunity to pin them down.

Overall, remember that Destroyers are key to keeping enemy armies in check. Keep them safe when possible by protecting them with Gravelock Elders, and even with Storm Runners when necessary. However, with 3 Destroyers and 3 Summons, do not be afraid to trade a Destroyer for a big shot to soften up the enemy ranks – another one will surely be coming along soon.

Below are a few more tricks and tactics you can try – each has the potential to blow out the opponent!
• The Conductor: When the opponent splits his army to play around Thundersurge, simply Flip a unit into the middle to connect everybody.
• Concentrated Fire: Place two Destroyers with overlapping attack areas, and start Flipping enemy units into the shared space for double damage!
• Bait and Switch: With a Storm Runner out, let the enemy think you forgot to move him closer when he is on 1 countdown – they may feel safe to bunch up a bit. Then, on your next turn when he is primed and ready, cast New Orders to move him twice – a great way to rain on the enemy parade!
• Killshot: When playing with 8hp idols on the testing grounds, Machinated allows most of your units to take out an idol in one hit – don’t forget to go for the win if the opportunity presents itself!

But Seriously, How Good is the Deck?

Mobile Artillery is an absolute blast to play. While the Groovy Gravelocks come up with creative ways to snipe idols, this deck looks for creative ways to capitalize on mobile Destroyers to constantly keep their board under siege. However, the deck does rely on having multiple pieces to make big plays happen, and while there is lots of redundancy built in to make it pretty darn consistent, you will still have those times when you draw only Order tricks or just draw the wrong combo piece at the wrong time. For this reason, Mobile Artillery is a strictly casual deck – it will struggle against the best netdecks out there. Still, if the pieces fall your way, the raw, repeated power in the deck will always give you a punchers chance against even the best deck. To give you an idea, I beat the Hard AI with this deck an estimated 8 out of 10 times.

Overall, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being a championship caliber deck and 1 being a deck with nothing but 49 copies of Vengeance Vail and one lonely Sinmarked Zealot, I’d rate Mobile Artillery a 5 out of 10. With careful play and creative use of Destroyers, you can feel confident that you can keep up with and often beat other casual decks.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Mobile Artillery is quite strong against decks that try to mass up small units. It is particularly, hilariously strong against decks built around Amnivore and Scavenger Construct, because they rely on bunching up small dudes in a small area…..and that’s just asking for it! It also does well against decks that rely on a few key structures because, well, structures can’t run away – just drop a Destroyer, let it do its work for a round or two, then move it elsewhere when it is finished.

The combos this deck can pull off, coupled with the element of surprise, lead to some serious card advantage blow outs. Dropping that first hasted Destroyer to knock off two guys, then unexpectedly moving it the next turn to attack 3 or 4 more, can often put you so far ahead that your opponent will be completely unable to recover.

A weakness of the deck is that is struggles against decks that put out lots of strong creatures in the first three turns that remain spread apart. Sometimes you can goad the opponent into moving them close together, but sometimes they don’t go for this, making it hard to make a blowout play. Furthermore, decks with many high health creatures become difficult to defeat unless you can buff a Destroyer several times with Tool Initiate.

Other Scrolls to Consider

Customize the deck! Don’t just play my version – try out these or other scrolls and see what fits your play style best!
• Make it rareless! Try this list.
• Want more Order tricks up your sleeve? Try Transposition, Pother, or Kabonk.
• Hate letting your opponent have big threats? Swap out the Thundersurges for Violent Dispersals.
• Hate my selection of three-drops? Cannonetta sure likes being Machinated if you have her.
• Like building up more resources? Make it a more late game build by adding Law and Desert Memorials, Solemn Giants, Mangonels, and some card draw.
• Prefer being more aggressive? Cut the high cost critters and throw in Gun automatons, Dust Runners, and never go above 4 Energy!

Conclusion

Destroyers are fun and powerful, and get even more fun and powerful when they hit turn after turn after turn. By combining the artillery of Energy with the mobility of Order, this deck is full of surprises and packs quite a punch! Mobile Artillery lets you play the role of an artillery commander – one who single handedly turns the tide of battles. If you like ambushing enemies, wreaking havoc on their formations, and blowing up entire chunks of the battlefield all at once, then this deck might be for you. Give it a shot!

Go play some Scrolls!!!

What deck should I build and play next? Give me some suggestions in the comments!
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 Post subject: Re: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 6th, 2014, 18:59 
Spearman
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Joined: Fri Nov 01, 2013
Posts: 25
In-game name: Dryad
I like it! Might try that at some point :)
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 Post subject: Re: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 6th, 2014, 23:20 
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Posts: 163
Location: England
In-game name: Magpieman
Another great article :) I would love to see your take on a rat deck, taking advantage of scrolls that are often not played such as unforeseen onslaught, essence feast, and maybe even monstrous brood.

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 Post subject: Re: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 7th, 2014, 01:37 
Skirmisher
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Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013
Posts: 70
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In-game name: fatlamas1234
This is great, I love this "Series" you are doing. For the next deck try a deck with no card above 2 resources.
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 Post subject: Re: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 7th, 2014, 17:33 
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Posts: 87
In-game name: Morre
Great read again. Keep it up! I'm already excited for the next one :)
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 Post subject: Re: Casual Corner #2: Mobile Artillery!
PostPosted: January 8th, 2014, 13:34 
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In-game name: ARN64
I really feel like Concentrate Fire should be in there ;)
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