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Resonators are annoying. Let’s face it — they’re a let down in a whole lot of ways. They die pretty easily when you don’t want them to, stay on the board when you do. And they’re always grinning at you with those smug little mana producing, effect flickering faces. So, let’s make the game more fun! Let’s try and teach everyone how enjoyable the game will be when no one gets to use resonators and everyone gets to play the game with anything else! You know that everyone will have fun with this way of playing for sure — because at the end of the  day, when cards are raining down from the sky in a mixture of fire and glory, you’ll be laughing plenty for all involved. Rain’s coming. Get your umbrellas.



Epic Stories Deck Tech
Machine Gun Scarlet


 

 


Now, the synergy here should be very obvious very swiftly. The Dusk Girl enjoys pitching cards like baseballs, except towards people’s teeth rather than a wooden bat. Usually its a big sacrifice to have to throw away your own cards to keep the board clear, and you can find yourself without a hand in a hurry. Of course, that usually means you can then Judgment her for the same price as a cheap side of fries, however that doesn’t quite help you in the long run if someone can deal with her.

On the other side, we have Flute. She taps. She draws a card. As simple as that. Giving us access to blue is plenty fine since it gives us access to all sorts of different draw cards — plenty that we’ll never have to use or care about. Because Flute is all we really need! The beauty of her is that she draws us cards entirely for free, ensuring that we can keep our mana open to continue slinging mud at our opponents.

Thus an award winning combination is forged in which we can perpetually make our opponent’s boards realize their own mortality and we win the game! Done deal, done deal. Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. We still have to deal with multiple opponents and a tremendous amount of life points, and if the game goes on for long enough we’ll still be chewing through more of our resources than we need to.
Thankfully, that’s what we have 60 other cards for. The interesting thing about running a deck like this is that Scarlet’s effect runs two-fold. Certainly we can watch the entire world’s resonators burn to the ground — but at the same time all of the cards in our hand are capable of doing other things! Discarding, disabling, and generally making the world a living hell for anything that breathes — that’s the name of the game. But how do we get to rule this hellish wasteland and make it our own?
That all starts with



The Early Game



So, as it typically is with the early game, we’re trying to ensure that all of our plays are being set up nicely. While drawing through our deck with Flute,our goals are trying to do the following;

  • Pitch — Pitching huge, brick cards that don’t do us any good early game is a fantastic way to start setting up the graveyard for our secondary strategy, Recursion. Throwing out big dumb idiots like Yamata-no-Orochi, Umr, and Remote Control Golem can really help us set up for some thoroughly insane plays later on in the game, especially once we upgrade with some Valhalla shenanigans!
  • Control — Unfortunately it will still remain true that we won’t be able to keep the board entirely clean forever. Picking away at our opponent’s hands can be very thoroughly useful, though being able to rush either a Home of the Ultra Dragon, Al-Haber, or Realm of the Dragon King can very quickly turn the game towards our favor, making it very thoroughly dangerous for our opponents to play basically anything for likely the rest of the game.
Of course, we can only keep this up so long — and what’s the point if we’re not going to try and do something really big, really dumb, and really explosive? Really, it tends to start with just one, single little card. Once one of the more laughed at cards in the game, the second it reaches the battlefield both you and everyone else will swiftly know —
They’ll know you’ve entered


The Mid Game


If we were applying pressure earlier, we’re now starting to strangle people. The moment Leviathan hits the field, that field kind of isn’t even really there anymore. Things are made a lot stronger if he’s cheated out in some way. It should be relatively simple to do that with cards such as Valentina, the Crumbling Illusion, Umr (with Valhalla shenanigans), and other such cards. Having a fully stocked hand when Leviathan enters the field essentially means 1 of 2 things.

  • Your opponent’s field is going to be empty.
  • Your hand’s also going to be empty.
Being able to cheat this out with Valentina is very most ideal, since you essentially get to clean up shop for free. In this way you can just pay a measly 1 to bring out Scarlet and start beating people to death. A free sucker punch for 1000 damage is great. Even better if they’re not actually able to deal with her. Because that means the very next turn that’s another 1000 damage. And another 1000. And another. Even if she gets Black Moonbeamed, she can pitch a few cards and come right back out anyway. And what’s more?

You still have a 1500 Leviathan on the field who’ll also be punching someone in the teeth. If they can’t deal with your Leviathan as well (since most Resonators are probably not going to last very long) then that’s another 1500 damage coming their way. But even better.
If Valentina’s also on the board, then if they don’t deal with her, then Leviathan is simply going to come right back and continue doing what it was doing before.

So, we’ve essentially taken the old formula from before (keeping the board pretty squeaky clean from creatures, save for the blood and smoke) and turned it up a notch by actually adding face to fist contact. But it’s not quite over as of yet. Because, now that we have a damaging engine online, chances are we’re going to start coming under some pretty heavy scrutiny. Thankfully we can start running through yet more cards thanks to being able to draw 2 cards every turn. But, where does this leave us?

This leaves us with a very well stocked graveyard.
This leaves us with a decent mana supply.
This leaves us at



The Late Game



Now, with certain combinations of cards we can actually set up some pretty stupid value engines (such as with Crumbles + Guin + Duplication Mirror), but at this point we essentially want to close out the game. And we have several ways of doing this. Our biggest and likely most common routes being;

  • Beat Them all to Death — With a well stocked graveyard we can either bring out Corpse Gorger like cards (such as Deep Ones, Elder Things, and Prokaryotic Being) which at this point could have as little as 1000 attack, and upwards to as much as 3000 attack without breaking much of a sweat. There’s also a lot of other big dumb idiots such as Azathoth and Remote Control Golem that not only put on more pressure, but actually stick pretty gosh darned well until the game’s over.

  • Big Damage Spells — Sometimes your opponent won’t listen to your resonators however. Sometimes they’ll only listen to a top decked damage spell. It’s like the old days wherever someone would win by top decking a Thunder. Except its a 2,000 damage spell that can’t be cancelled.

  • Politics — If you’ve been playing a decent political game this entire time, then you can pretty quickly finish off the game regardless. Keeping your mana and your cards up means that for a large portion of the game your opponents have been more focused on weeding out each other rather than you. This also means holding onto key combo pieces all the while, such as access to Yamata-no-Orochi and Nightmares of Ry’leh, which can single handedly remove a player from the game if left unblocked.


Valhalla Upgrades


Now, if there’s anything that this deck is pretty lacking in, is cheap and/or multi-faceted ways of recurring creatures and very quickly refilling on an empty hand. Upgrading to Valhalla grants us the ability to do both! In fact, this also makes Umr a lot more empowered than he was before, allowing him to quickly grab both Book of Eibon and Oath of Dead to quickly resurrect two resonators for the price of one, very valuable!

New Stream is also thoroughly valuable in this situation. Whether you’re trying to quickly recover from Leviathan’s hand puking efforts or simply offload a pretty dead hand while there aren’t any resonators on the field, it’s a pretty useful card.
Oath of Dead is a thoroughly cheap card you can use to animate a dead thing in your graveyard. With the inclusion of this card and others I’d highly suggest changing the deck’s format to become way more reanimation heavy — and I’d also thoroughly suggest the inclusion of cards such as Shadow Doppelganger and Dance of Shadows to get the reanimation train going strong.



In Conclusion



This deck isn’t quite the flashiest and relies on quite a bit of talking and combo pieces to start becoming a doomsday engine of pain and agony. But, with a very strong early game that ensures either your opponents remain miserable or you’re entirely safe and protected this deck’s biggest advantage is being the rattler at the table. Always try and leave that as an option, and if offers are thrown your way for your opponents to keep their creatures on the field, maybe give them a listen, as long as they point their advantage towards someone other than yourself. This can be a very fun deck to play if you like watching your opponents suffer, but to actually win the game you still need eliminate three other players. And this is just how we do it!

More than anything else — talk with the table, and sooner or later you’ll be able to become the big bad King of Heck in no time.

So! What do you guys think? Is a reanimation strategy viable in a format where Dark Alice can run rampant? Think you’ll still be able to keep any of your friends after you’ve played this deck? Comment below and let me know!

And until next time, I’m going to polish my gun.
Which happens to be a girl.
#Anime

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All Articles, Epic Stories
 
Hello, everyone~! Monica here. If you haven’t heard of the format, Epic Stories is a super interesting format that’s super close to the Commander/EDH format in MtG. If you’re interested I encourage you to take a look at this article written by Frank here (in this text that is also a link but also text but also a link!) and take a look at any of the super cool Epic Stories matches hosted by TCGScrubs themselves (this one’s a personal favorite). When you’ve gone ahead and done that you can go ahead on, and this information will become a lot more relevant~ Because today’s article (which also just so happens to be my first) will be building off of the fundamentals of Epic Stories. We’ll be going more into the theory of deck building. Or just read ahead anyway! I’m a witch, not a cop.

Now, when I first got into Epic Stories the idea of having two rulers was fantastic. It gave a huge amount of freedom, more so than when I had delved into the world of Commander. Choosing your general was a fantastic way of expressing myself as an individual I thought. But before long I realized that there was a massive flood of Commanders that were considered awful and suboptimal, that even if you poured thousands of dollars into a deck they’d still barely be playable at a decently focused table. However, in Force of Will, basically every Ruler is not only playable, but they can be made superbly strong. And every single color combination is available from the get go, without having to use a very very limited number of commanders. The idea of crazy insane combos came to mind too! Can you imagine making a bunch of elves with Fiethsing and sacrificing them for Kyubi’s effects? And with how cheap (most) Rulers are, I was a child in a candy store with all the money in the world. But that’s when I begun to realize something. When you’re granted this much freedom it suddenly becomes very difficult to choose. What combinations are the most optimal? What two Rulers would work best together? Do I make a deck that cares about these Rulers at all? When you’re granted this much freedom it becomes a difficult to choose who has…

The Right to Rule
Choosing your Ruler

So, a swift reiteration of the basics. You can choose any two Rulers to be your own for any given deck. Only one of these Rulers can be used to call for a stone, and you can only have one of them do Judgment per turn. Furthermore, and most importantly, the cards you can use in your decks are determined by which Ruler you decide to use — specifically only the colors of cards that correspond with their Color Identity. This is determined by using both the colors of the Rulers on both sides and all of the colored will symbols in their text boxes. 

So — with that out of the way, when it comes to choosing Rulers it could be a very daunting task! There’s quite a few Rulers that look like they’d work very well together, and a few that just seem to make very great utility. Do you choose based off of combos alone? Or, maybe you should chose two rulers with a lot of great utility, so that way your deck is a Jack of All Trades, Master of None? Or the right choice might be to choose for the colors alone and let the other 60 cards do the talking for you? Both of these questions are simply answered as Yes or No not because they’re the right answer (because they’re both right), rather the answers to these questions are based on the player themselves.

Regardless — try and think of your strategy, what you want out of the game. It can be as simple as “I want to kill everything,” or “I want to cast really big dumb spells” to something very intricate and complicated, a fantastic puzzle that when all of the pieces are put in the right place the word Doom is spelled out for your opponents. Either way, once you have a decent picture of what you want that’s when you should start choosing which two Rulers would best represent that strategy. At this stage when choosing a Ruler(s) a good rule of thumb is thinking of one Ruler as your “Primary” Ruler, and the other Ruler as your “Secondary” Ruler. Of course, that doesn’t change the question — how exactly should I go about choosing which Ruler is which? How do I choose;

Who Sits On the Throne

Primary Rulers are the big play-makers. They tend to present the essential strategy that your deck revolves around. Whether it be trying to rush your opponent down as quickly as possible, heavily control the board until you’re able to set up some great master plan, or revolve around a fantastical combo between the effects of one Ruler and another — the Primary Ruler is the one that facilitates these possibilities. 

Need some good examples of some fine Primary Rulers? Look no further;

Pricia, True Beastmaster is a strong choice for people who enjoy trying to beat their opponents senseless, as calling for Fire stones can give your early game creatures the means of swiftly knocking someone’s teeth in.

The Dusk Girl is a card that can very easily start controlling the board by using hand advantage to keep the board clear of threats for a decently cheap cost. She’s very thoroughly effective at making sure that damage isn’t going to be pointed at you as long as you have cards in your hand — though the same can’t quite be said for your opponents.

The Observer is not only thoroughly outdated, but he’s also much slower than his $200 counterpart. Even so, during his original printing he was hardly used and often times somewhat of a laughing stock. Some people tried to make him work, and some people did find moderate success, but nothing that was ever jaw-droppingly good. How in the world can this Ruler survive in a format with 8,000 lifepoints though?
Another thing of note with Primary Rulers is that, a lot of the time in a huge format like Epic Stories, they can very quickly fall short just on their own. They tend to be far, far too slow even for a format such as this one, waste way too many resources to actually be useful in a game that typically involves 3 other players, or one that’s simply irrelevant in a game with a huge amount of life points and an inconsistent deck construction. Where 4,000 points of damage can typically kill someone in a normal game, now you’re forced to deal about 24,000 to actually win in a typical game of Epic Stories — just the same in a game where you can’t repeatedly abuse many copies of the same spells or stones for consistency certain strategies that looked all powerful and unbeatable suddenly become unreliable or just plain impossible.
Thankfully — we still have the choice of;

Who Advises the King

A Secondary Ruler has the very, very important task of filling in as many gaps of weakness in both your deck and your Primary Ruler as possible. They tend to fall under a variety of different uses, the main three of which being;

  • Color Fixing — The biggest difference between Magic the Gathering and Force of Will is the stone system. While it’s awesome that we’ll always be able to hit every single one of our land drops, the problem still remains that under most circumstances we can’t quite choose what sort of stone we’ll get each turn — and that can be very devastating in Epic Stories — especially if we’re running three or more colors. Color Fixing Rulers such as Sylvia or Blazer can very much help alleviate this problem.

  • Stabilizing — Whether it be stabilizing through raw card advantage ala Dragon Shrine Maiden or Christie, keeping boards clean through the use of cards such as Ebony Prophet and Alucard, or other means of supporting your deck’s overall ability to survive or pull off a particular strategy, these sorts of Rulers tend to be very strong general use cards to keep your head above water and give you an overall advantage in the resource game.

  • Enabling — Some cards are just very hard to use on their own. They’re too slow or too impossible. Or, sometimes its the exact opposite. Some Rulers are immensely strong, but they’re missing a key piece to make that strength consistent, either in New Frontiers or in Epic Stories. An Enabler takes that Ruler’s ability and escalates it to the next level into the realm of absolute absurdity. Sometimes you don’t get fixed colors out of the deal. Sometimes you’re not entirely all that stable either. But when the moon doth glow and the grass doth grow, these two Rulers together can sometimes create a combination of effects powerful enough where even those things don’t quite matter, or their overabundance is made very shockingly known.
Now, if you’ve been paying attention, the Primary Rulers listed above actually work very strongly with the Secondary Rulers listed below! And for more than just filling in a few gaps as Color Fixers, Stabalizers, and Enablers. When trying to put combinations of certain Rulers together, try and make sure that they’re fulfilling as many roles as possible — never settle for just one! Ask yourself;
  1. Does this combination ensure that I have an Energize token?
  2. Does this combination give me the colors that I need to do what I want to do?
  3. Does this combination not only grant me advantage/fixing, but also somehow aid in my Ruler’s overall strategy as well?
For the examples listed above, each of these Ruler combinations actually fill a multitude of different Roles at once.
  1. In the case of Sylvia and Pricia, always having access to both Green and Red is fantastic as you can proc off either of Pricia’s abilities.  But Pricia is aggro as heck. It makes it so you don’t have to run a single non-basic stone, also making it harder for certain decks to counteract you while also making your colors absolutely consistent. However, it also comes with the added benefit of making every single one of your stones Fire in some way without having to sacrifice that absolute consistency, basically making it so that Pricia’s secondary ability will always take place, ensuring that you can almost always grant something Swiftness as well.
  2. In the case of Scarlet and Flute, not only are we granting Black and Red access to one of the strongest colors for drawing in the game, but we’re also giving ourselves an extra draw during each of your turns. That’s fantastic under any other circumstance, but the fact that Scarlet’s biggest gimmick revolves around emptying your hand to empty the field means that you can quickly use Flute to feed into Scarlet’s strategy like feeding bullets into a gun. 
  3. In the case of Alisaris and Malefic Yggdrasil, this is a very significant case of a very strong combo strategy. On the surface it’s nice that we can have a Red, Black, Green color combination as this gives us access to ramp and lots of removal. Giving Alisaris the chance to have Energize without having to pay 200$ is also pretty fantastic. If that’s all this did, it would be fine. However, this is taken another step further in the fact that Malefic Tree’s own big gimmick is removing cards from the game. Your cards. While that’s a grave disadvantage in a format such as Epic Stories, Alisaris can very easily thrive off of this — being able to quickly Judgment if your opponent dares to start trying to attack you, and when your deck is running thin from taking a lot of damage you can God’s Art and shuffle your remove from play back into your graveyard, creating a combination that can be very fearsome while also holding interesting plays on their own! Of course, this is at the disadvantage of not having perfect color fixing or an excess in card or board advantage, but to some, that may very well be worth it.

In Conclusion

While the task may seem very easy at first, it can become daunting in a hurry. But that only speaks volumes of the incredible freedom that having two Rulers can give you — the only sort that can quickly take you from feeling as though you’re flying high on the winds of your own will to locked away in a cage without bars. Even so hopefully this — and the coming deck lists — can help you reach a better understanding of what you’d like.

Though, the very best way to help you find what you’d like to play is through testing! Thankfully the game is very much cheap enough — and we have many awesome tools at our disposal through the Force of Will Database and programs such as Untap. And of course there’s always the friends you have at your local card shop (or bitter rivals).
In the end, this is a very young format in a very young game. Who knows what exciting combinations that have yet to be discovered, and what combinations have yet to come!
For the viewers at home; What sort of combinations have been your most favorite so far? Are there any that you feel are too powerful? Too weak? Comment below and let me know!

This is Monica, saying something at the end of an article because I’m very bad at ending things that aren’t matches~

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