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Hello readers,
My name is Ronan Morris, I am an Australian L1 official judge, I have judged at the GP level.
I recently took the online Level 0 judge test to see what the questions were like and I scored 100%.  I was invited to write a breakdown of the correct answers to each question by the TCG Scrubs team in order to help everyone understand the rulings and further their Force of Will game knowledge 🙂
I will be referencing relevant CR excerpts, which stands for the “Comprehensive Rules” document, which can be found on the official Force of Will site and contains detailed breakdowns of all the rules for this game.
Question 1) D
Automatic abilities can be identified by the arrow (=>) that separated their trigger condition from an effect
 
CR “”906.1. Abilities described as “<trigger condition> => <effect>” are automatic abilities.””
Question 2) A
Because Speaker’s ruler ability directly instructs the player to “play the copy” of the revealed card as a part of its effect, you may ignore normal timing rules on the card. E.g. you can play Black Tears (A normal Chant card) at Quickcast speed.
Gill Lapis’ J-Ruler ability is different, because it says that “you may play the card without paying its cost until end of turn”, which just gives permission for the player to play it normally means that you must still meet timing and condition restriction of the card that you are playing.  E.g. You cannot play a normal chant from you opponents removed area at Quickcast speed.
Question 3) B,C,D
Cards that do not display a printed cost are treated as if they had a total cost of 0.  If an Inverse card is moved from the field to another zone via a non-playing method, the card moves to the new zone Hope side up.
 
CR “”203.5a. If a card doesn’t have any cost, the total cost of that card is 0.””
CR “”1302.3e-i. If an Inverse card moves to a zone by a non-playing method, unless otherwise specified, that card moves to the new zone physically hope side up.””
 
 
Question 4) B
During a priority sequence in Force of Will, rules processes (such as checking if a resonator has 0 or less defence) are checked before triggered automatic abilities are played onto the chase.  So, Nicole plays Alisaris and his “enter the battlefield” ability triggers, but before it is played onto the chase, Alisaris immediately dies and his “put into a graveyard” ability also triggers.  Now that rules processes have been applied, Nicole may play triggered automatic abilities.  As there are multiple triggered automatic abilities that happened at the same time, Nicole may choose which order she plays the abilities.
 
CR “”602.1. When players perform a priority sequence, do the following:
602.1a. If there are any rule processes to perform, do them. Repeat this while there are still rule processes left to perform left.
602.1b. Choose and play triggered automatic abilities “”

CR “”603.2. If more than one automatic ability is triggered, the turn player chooses one among them that they control, if any exist. If none of them are controlled by the turn player, the non-turn player chooses one among them.
                …
603.4. If any ability is chosen, repeat this priority sequence from the beginning “”
Question 5) A,D
Sha Wujing’s ability applies an additional cost to his opponent’s chants, and this does not affect the “total cost” of a card, so Excalibur can be cancelled. 
X values in card costs DO contribute to total cost, so Final battle is not cancelled. 
Severing winds can be played using an alternate cost if conditions are met; however its total cost is still considered to be “4”.  
As “The eternal tower’s” ability is an automatic effect, it its still able to cancel “Evil elemental uprising” as using automatic abilities is exempted from the definition of “chasing” in the CR.
 
CR “”203.5. The total cost is the number of wills needed for the attribute cost plus the number on the free cost.
203.5a. If a card doesn’t have any cost, the total cost of that card is 0.
203.5b. If a card has a free cost of X, X is the value you chose when paying for the card, while the card is on the chase. When that card is anywhere else, treat the value of X as zero. “”
CR “”1008.2. An effect that says, “cannot chase” to a card or an ability means “as long as the card or ability is in a chase area, you cannot put another card, or an ability that is not an automatic ability into the chase area”. “”
Question 6) A,C
As per CR 201.5, if a card refers to just “resonators” without specifying a zone, a card in the field is affected.  Therefore, Keez’s call is only able to cancel abilities of resonators in the field.  Although misty dragon and gem beast are not on the field at the time of their abilities being on the chase, misty dragons delayed trigger was created when it WAS on the field, so it is cancellable and the source of “enters the graveyard” triggers are of resonators in the field, per CR section 906. 7 & 906.7b.
A resonator played via stealth is not considered an automatic ability, it exists as a resonator spell on the chase.
Wilful samurai spirits automatic ability triggers moving from hand to graveyard, it never exists on the field so Keez’s call cannot cancel it.
 
CR “”201.5. If a card is referred to by its type name without specifying what zone it’s in, the card in the field or a ruler area is affected. If a card is referred to by its “(type name) card” in a zone, it refers to a card with that type in that zone. “”

CR “” 906.7. Some automatic objects trigger when a card moves from one zone to another. If these objects refer to the moved card or other cards moved at the same time, they refer to the information or status of the card as below:””
“”906.7b. If the card moved from a ruler area or the field to an area that is not a ruler area or the field, or vice versa, the ability refers to the card when it’s in the field or a ruler area””
Question 7) B
All effects that occur to the right of the colon ( : ) in an activated ability are part of the effect of the ability and only happen upon resolution of the ability. As naming a card is not a part of the standard procedure for “playing an ability” (CR 903) you are not required to name until the ability successfully resolves.
God’s art effects “once per game” limitation is based upon the name of the ability, so even if you play a separate Alice, or remove and play the same one again, only 1 “Azure Bonds” may be used the whole game.
 
CR “”1112.2. “[God’s Art] <ability name> < activate ability >” means “<ability name> You can play <ability name> only once per game.””
 
 
 
Question 8) A
                The steps for playing a spell or ability are laid out, in order, in CR 903.
 
CR”” 903.2c. If the card being played has an [Awakening] (1109), choose whether or not to awaken that card or not.””

CR”” 903.2e. If a card or ability has the text “choose (number)”, the player chooses that number of options in that text. Options not chosen are treated as if they didn’t exist””

CR”” 903.2g. If the card or ability needs targets, the controller chooses legal ones. If they cannot choose a legal target, they cannot play the card or ability.””

CR”” 903.2j. Do the things required to play the card or ability. If they cannot do any part of them, they cannot play the card or ability. If any part of them is replaced by a replacement effect, it is still treated as if they did it.””
 
Question 9) B
                The “Battling” condition is applied in CR 804.5
 
CR”” 804.5. From this point, the attacking battles with another J/resonator as long as the condition is met.””
 
Question 10) D
You may use abilities that Rest your ruler in response to your own Judgement, as Judgement only cares about your ruler’s orientation at the time it is played onto the chase, it is NOT checked again when it resolves.  Orientation of the Ruler is maintained as it enters the field.
 
CR”” 705.1. The turn player may play a judgment process if it is main timing, they have a recovered ruler with [Judgment] in their ruler area, and they haven’t played a judgment process this turn.””
CR”” 705.3. When a Judgment process on the chase resolves, perform the following procedures.
705.3a. If that ruler is in a ruler area, the player who performed the judgment puts their ruler into the field under their control, J-ruler side up. From that point onward, the card is a J-ruler””
CR”” 302.3. If a card moves from one zone to another, if it moves from the field to a ruler area, or from a ruler area to the field, it’s treated as the same card and keeps its orientation.””
 
Question 11) C
Charlotte’s protector is discarded as part of resolving Heavenly Fruit. Automatic abilities cannot be placed on the chase in the middle of a card resolving so you finish resolving fruit first. Fruit gets removed because its effect is applied and then it attempts to move from the chase to grave, but now the replacement effect is active, so it gets removed. Now that the card has finished resolving, triggered automatics are placed onto the chase.
 
CR “”602.1. When players perform a priority sequence, do the following:
602.1a. If there are any rule processes to perform, do them. Repeat this while there are still rule processes left to perform left.
602.1b. Choose and play triggered automatic abilities “”
Question 12) B, D
Dawn of the Earth’s first effect will prevent Niddhogg from entering the field again, as it is entering the field without being played.
Aimul’s ruler ability will recover Niddhogg, making it an illegal target upon the resolution of Lumia’s ability since Lumia’s ability requires a rested target.
Barrier on a resonator only protects from the opponent of the resonator’s owner, so because it is Andy’s resonator he can still target it.
End of days doesn’t affect Lumia’s ruler ability since it replaces the “remove target resonator form the game” part of the ability with “remove from the game” essentially having no effect since it is still going to the same place, thus Lumia can still “see” it there. This is unfortunately not really clarified anywhere in the CR but the ruling has been passed down from official FoW staff and can be found in the Facebook ruling pages.
 
CR”” 903.3a. If the card or ability requires you to choose target, check the target at this point. If it’s not legal, all effects involving it are not applied. Even if all the targets of the card or ability are illegal, the other effects not related to the targets is still resolved.””
CR”” 1120.2. If a card has “[Barrier]”, it means “This card cannot be targeted by spells or abilities controlled by a player other than the controller of this card.””
 
Question 13) A,B
Scarlett’s agony explicitly states it stops attacking, which removes the resonator from battle and changing control ceases the attack per CR 803.5a.
 
CR”” 803.5a. In this battle, if the attacking J/resonator becomes a non-J/resonator, loses its ATK or DEF, moves to a non-field zone, or changes its controller, the J/resonator stops being the attacking J/resonator.””
 
Question 14) B,C
Both Limit and Drain are automatic abilities, so if a resonator has multiple instances of either, then each instance will trigger separately and resolve separately, giving them functionality in multiples.
 
CR”” 1118.2. “[Limit] ” means “This card comes into the field with limit counter(s) on it.” and “Whenever this card attacks or blocks => remove a limit counter from this card.”.””
CR”” 1135.2. „[Drain]‟ means, „Whenever this card deals damage ⇒ You gain that much life‟.””
 
Question 15) B,D
Intervention of Reality requires an addition to be targeted for its Legend 3 effect, since Legend is considered additional text.
Soul concentration can be used to gain 3 mystery counters.
Null darkness requires a resonator to be targeted as Null is also additional text.
Encounter with Cthulhu can still be played since it does not target any resonators.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Question 16) A
You can call a stone and then judgement, if your ruler is still recovered. You cannot call a stone if a judgement process has been performed already.  This is because the rules for calling a stone say you cannot have judgemented this turn, but the rules for judgementing only require a recovered Ruler.
 
CR”” 710. Call a Magic Stone
710.1. The turn player rests his or her ruler or J-ruler if it is main timing, he or she hasn’t called a magic stone and they haven’t played a judgment process this turn””
CR”” 705.1. The turn player may play a judgment process if it is main timing, they have a recovered ruler with [Judgment] in their ruler area, and they haven’t played a judgment process this turn.””
 
Question 17) E
Cheshire cannot gain any of these abilities since those cards are granted these symbol skills by an effect, and the effects that grant them symbol skill are only applied once they are in the field.  So they are not considered to have those symbol skills either in the hand or in the removed from game zone.
Question 18) A,B
A “will ability” is defined as an activated ability which requires no target and produces one or more will. 
Sacred Elf’s ability is a will ability, so is not affected by the Seal of Neo barrier, but is affected by the first ability.
Sprit Stones “banish” effect is NOT a will ability, so Nicole will not be able to use it.
Majin stones “2 will ability” is still a will ability, so it is still usable.
Fiery Fox’s ability is NOT a will ability, so it is unable to be played.
Flute’s water dragon is a continuous ability and is not any sort of activated ability, so it is completely unaffected by Neo barrier of shadows.
 
CR”” 907.1. Activate abilities that need no target and produce wills are will abilities””
CR”” 901.1a. Activated abilities are abilities with text “<cost> ( : ) <effect>””
 
Question 19) B
If there are multiple effect that are modifying the stats of a resonator, they are all applied in the order that they were played. So, Alice world is applied first, then it is buffed by rapid growth, and then it becomes a 4/4 so the final stats are 4/4.
 
CR”” 909.3. If two or more continuous effects are applied at the same time in the above conditions, apply them in the order below:
“”909.3b. If the order is not decided after this, apply the effect earlier applied first. The timing of an effect applied is determined as this; at the time the continuous ability became active, or the time the effect is made by an ability. In the case of an addition added to a card where that addition creates a continuous effect, the effect becomes active when the addition is added onto that card. If, for any reason the timing is still the same, the turn player at the time decides which one applies first.””
 
Question 20) D
Because planting beans states that the card first moves to the graveyard and then hand, as it moves through a public zone it becomes public knowledge.
None of the other options state for you to reveal the card, and they all have a card moving from a hidden zone to another hidden zone.
 
CR”” 302.2. Each zone is divided into “public zone” and “hidden zone”. Each player can see information of the cards in a public zone. Each player cannot see information of cards in a hidden zone, except for a player specifically allowed to see them by rules or effects.””
CR”” 304.2. Each player has their own main deck zone, it’s hidden and the order of the cards is managed. The order of cards is managed by stacking them.””
CR”” 305.2. Each player has their own magic stone deck zone, it’s hidden and the order of the cards is managed. The order of cards is managed by stacking them.””
CR”” 309.2. Each player has their own graveyard, its public and the order of the cards is managed.””
 
 
 
 
 
Thank you everyone who made it to the end, I hope these explanations helped you better understand WHY certain scenarios work they way they do. 
If anything here is unclear or you have any ruling questions of your own, I would like to suggest that you head on over to the Facebook page “Force of Will Judge Questions”, you can search through a wealth of previous rulings, and there are pretty much always judges online who can provide you with rulings you may need 🙂
Finally, I would like to thank the team at TCG Scrubs for hosting my article, as well as inviting me onto their YouTube channel to explain these answers as well.
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All Articles, Guest Article
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There is one card in the current New Frontiers format that is adequately poised to deal a crushing blow
to the meta-game as we know it. That card is “The Eternal Tower” from Advent of the Demon King.
At first glance this card appears to be unplayable; and for the longest time it was. This card reads:
Whenever a chant with total cost 1 or less is played, Cancel it.



Being an addition, this card can just sit on the board and retain its value until the opponent manages
to destroy it or develop an effective game-plan around it. This card can put a stop to a surprisingly
large percentage of cards in the current meta. I’ve taken the liberty of recording some percentages
based on the results from WGPQ Minneapolis to exhibit the kind of damage this card is capable of.
The following percentages represent how many cards in each Top Deck are susceptible to The Eternal
Tower’s ability:
  • Time Spinning Witch – 1st Place: 37.5% of the Main Deck, 46.7% of the Sideboard
  • Ayu – 2nd Place: 47.5% of the Main Deck, 66.7% of the Sideboard
  • Chamimi – 3rd Place: 29.3% of the Main Deck, 46.7% of the Sideboard, 20% of the Rune Deck
  • Kirik – 4th Place: 42.5% of the Main Deck, 13.3% of the Sideboard
  • Chamimi – 5th Place: 22.5% of the Main Deck, 60% of the Sideboard, 20% of the Rune Deck
  • Chamimi – 6th Place: 30% of the Main Deck, 40% of the Sideboard, 20% of the Rune Deck
  • Gill – 7th Place: 33.3% of the Main Deck, 66.7% of the Sideboard
  • Ayu – 8th Place: 47.5% of the Main Deck, 66.7% of the Sideboard
Of the total 458 cards played between all Main Decks, Sideboards, and Rune Decks… The Eternal 
Tower could cancel 177 of them. This means that, in the given event, The Eternal Tower would
consistently have a 38.6% chance of stopping whatever your opponent was about to play. The amount
of different cards from the Top 8 Decks in Minneapolis that can be stopped by The Eternal Tower is
astounding: 43. 43 different cards in the Top 8 Decks can be stopped by a 3-cost addition. This
laundry-list of cards includes, but is not limited to:




Across the Top 8 Decks, there were 14 cards capable of removing an addition from the board:
12 copies of Destruction of the Portal, none of which were played in the Main Deck; and 2 copies of
Shaela’s Foresight, which was played in the Main Deck by both Ayu’s. Assuming that each Destruction
of the Portal can get two uses and will not be canceled by another spell, there were effectively 24
Destruction of the Portal across 8 decks and 2 Shaela’s Foresight, for a grand total of 26 cards/uses
that could remove an addition after it is played. This percentage (even with each Destruction of the
Portal being counted twice) is 5.6% of all cards played in the Top 8 Decks. If you only count the
Destruction of the Portal as one card…that percentage drops to a sickeningly low 3.1%.



Barely three percent of all cards played at WGPQ Minneapolis could deal with The Eternal Tower
and almost thirty-nine percent of all cards played could be cancelled by The Eternal Tower.



It is my belief, based solely on observation and probability, that if a deck could be designed to play
The Eternal Tower as early as Turn Two, the current meta would struggle greatly to accommodate for its presence.


This being said…The Eternal Tower costs (Wind)(Wind)(1), and the only Wind Ruler that can
reliably produce three will by Turn Two, is Faerur Letoliel. Combined with cards like Spirit
Caller Elf or Absolute Awareness, Faerur can consistently have three magic stones by Turn Two,
whether he goes first or second. Playing four copies of the Eternal Tower may seem excessive,
but if that the line of play you choose to take, then it becomes essential.

Example List:


Wind offers a lot to control strategies and even aggro strategies. So, to develop a successful
midrange deck with the King of Wind, you would need some cancels that cannot be stopped by
your own addition, likely in the form of Ruined Story and/or Song of the Fairies. You would need
something to answer resonators your opponent is likely to land, for this you have access to Laurite,
and Laurite’s Disciples. For draw power, you have cards like Fairy of the Lost Isle to protect you
from flying resonators, and Ciel’s Familiar Mikay, to handle spot removal. Lastly, you will want
something to make use of Faerur’s Judgment; here we have Cecil and Tia, or Tia and her Falcon…
Either of these are acceptable, depending on the desired application, Cecil and Tia for board control,
or Tia and Falcon for pushing through that last bit of damage.


Coupled with some Speaking Stones and Spirit Stones, an additional 5+ Basic Wind Stones will provide
a stone base that can consistently produce the desired board state and offer ways to defend it.


Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more good reviews on bad cards!



TL;DR…The Eternal Tower = Good.

Guest Authored by Ryan Lilly

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Hi everyone! My name is Dylan Hunt and I came in second place at GP Montreal with Toolbox Lumia. Going into the tournament I knew that Lumia can out value other control decks from a mixture of re-triggering enter abilities and a large variety of cancel spells and hand refills, so I felt very confident in my deck choice.
 
I made a few last-minute changes to the deck that paid off in the tournament. The first was swapping one of the Magic Stone of Nature’s Beauty and 1 Blasting Waves into Magic Stone of Black Silence. This was purely to cast the flip side of Flourishing Hope as my only non-targeting removal and it worked extremely well. The second change was adding two final battle to the sideboard which immediately became a very consistent side in for me.


Ruler:
Lumia, the Fated Rebirth // Lumia, Saint of the Crimson Lotus

Main Deck:
2 Sorceress of Heavenly Wind, Melfee
1 Flourishing Hope
4 Sacred Elf
2 Null Page
3 Rachel, the Ancient Library Researcher
4 Lumia, Saint of Creation
4 Severing Winds
4 Tama, Familiar of Holy Wind
1 Miscalculation
1 Release
1 Scarlet’s Agony
3 Faerur’s Spell
2 Kaguya’s Moonbeam Butterfly
2 Nyarlathotep, the Crimson Radiance
1 Shining Demon, Mephistopheles
1 Shackles of Ice
3 Frigg, Goddess of Abundant Harvests

Stone Deck:
2 Magic Stone of Black Silence
4 Magic Stone of Gusting Skies
1 Magic Stone of Nature’s Beauty
3 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves

Sideboard:
3 Scarlet’s Agony
1 Faerur’s Spell
1 Miscalculation
1 Separation of Fates
2 Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian
3 Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid
2 The Final Battle
1 Destruction of the Portal
1 Flourishing Hope







Round 1 – Faerur
I knew this matchup would be a thing since it was a very powerful deck last format but the addition of Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian and Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid made the deck lose a lot of traction.
Regardless, it was a deck I had to respect due to incredible tempo and I had to load my sideboard accordingly.
 
Game 1: He resolved a turn 3 misty dragon and there was no way for me to respond to it in a timely fashion. This game was easily won on the back of Misty Dragon Spirit and despite my efforts to stabilize all it took was a Faerur flip and there was enough damage to push lethal.
 
Game 2: I sided into The Final Battle as well as Laurite and Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid as I knew that this matchup was decided entirely by his board presence and that I needed to whittle his board down as quickly as possible. I used The Final Battle after his flip using all of my will and reducing my life to 400 so that everything he had after flipping died and he couldn’t regain tempo afterword.
 
Game 3: I opened with Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid, Nyarlathotep, the Crimson Radiance, 2 The Final Battle and Tama, Familiar of Holy Wind. I opened the early game getting free value from Tama until he played a Misty Dragon. I was forced to use The Final Battle to clear it which left him feeling safe enough to invest into flipping his faerer to reestablish board presence. He went into a Tia Letoliel, Archer Princess of Elves with her Falcon and used her effect to clear my Sacred Elf I had drawn from Tama and hit me for 2 damage. At the end of his turn, I played Powerless Dragonoid to strip his counters so that on my turn I could play the second Final Battle for a board clear. At 200 life he thought he could slowly rebuild until I flipped my Lumia removing Nyarlathotep and started taking a huge comeback in life points that he couldn’t recover from.
 
 
Round 2 – Ayu
 
I wasn’t really expecting ayu since Scheherazade has a very strong matchup against it but I had a main deck Scarlet’s Agony just in case the matchup occurred.
 
Game 1: I opened really strong but he was able to hit me with a few burn spells early game and managed to final battle me after I used my agony. I had to play a Frigg, Goddess of Abundant Harvest to get it back and he had the Faerur’s Spell to cancel and end the game.
 
Game 2: He managed to resolve an early game copy of Ancient Barrier which made all of my spells very expensive. This was effective against the Severing Winds I miraculously topdecked every turn after he played it. Regardless, Agony was only a 3 cost with the addition and I sided into another 3 copies meaning the game was very much in my favor. Once I played a Shining Demon, Mephistopheles I was able to keep his ruler tapped which secured me the game.
 
Game 3: I knew very quickly that this game was in my favor when I drew into an opening hand that included Severing Winds ,  Faerur’s Spell, Sacred Elf, Agony and Mephistopheles. He made the right call to flip early and to try and hit me before I drew more answers but Agony kept me in the game. Mephistopheles then hit the field and was able to tap his ruler forcing him to play flutes water dragon to tap for stones. I had Mephistopheles attack and kill the dragon to sustain my lock and protected him with Faerur’s Spell long enough for Frigg to pick up Agony each turn and to totally lock down his board. Finally, Rachel was drawn and locked out his top decks as well which put me in full control of the match.
 
Round 3 – Control Scheherazade
 
This was a matchup I had playtested against very much and I was absolutely ready for this.
 
Game 1: I resolved a turn 1 Tama which proceeded to carry the entire game on his back with free advantage as the dolls were all canceled by the spells Tama drew and the deck had little in the ways of small resonator removal, and the life damage stacked up by Tama was about 1600. Each card he plucked from my hand with scorn or
Thought Control was met by me getting another card by a drawn Lumia, Saint of Creation, Tama or Frigg. Eventually my board was large enough that I made an effective push on him that he was unable to stop.
 
Game 2: This one was a lot more of a back and forth, but the Lumia, Saint of Creation proved her viability by providing cards that couldn’t be plucked by discard, which meant cards like Frigg were fair game. I baited the Evil Elemental Uprising and used Release as another way to gain an advantage, and once the uprising was used my grave was accessible by the Frigg I blinked each turn.  I flipped Lumia at this point with Nyarlathotep and started healing to 6900 life. Time was called but since I had 6900 life and there was no way for him to end the game we drew game 2 securing me the match win.
 
Round 4 – Discard Lumia
 
This was not a deck I had practiced for but I knew Blazer, the Legendary Thief was a powerful resonator and I needed to watch out for him. Billy Buttons was playing the deck and we caught up with each other as we hadn’t talked since worlds in Japan.
 
Game 1: I played the same way as round 3 (with less ridiculousness from Tama), it was very back and forth but I was able to get Mephistopheles on the board and tap down Blazer so it couldn’t attack me anymore. Billy decided to flip his ruler which was a mistake since I was able to tap it down and effectively turn it off for the game. Ultimately I feel this was a game in his favor as the Blazer was proving too hard to remove and had he not flipped he likely would have been able to stabilize by removing Mephistopheles.
 
Game 2: This was very much the opposite of the previous game. I tried extremely hard to out value him but neglected to Severing Winds the Blazer by keeping up the 4 stones to hard cast it and ultimately it was too hard for me to clear multiple copies of it. He whittled me down in time and took the game making the match a draw.
 
Round 5 – Control Scheherazade
 
This was actually someone from Untouchables Sportscards and I knew them from the ARG event we hosted at Gamer’s Lair. I was interested to see his take on the deck.
 
Game 1: He won the dice roll and opted to use Thought Control. After seeing my hand he decided to take Lumia, Saint of Creationfrom my hand instead of Kaguya’s Moonbeam Butterfly. On my turn 1 I used energize to play it for Shackles of Ice and ultimately there was no way for him to stabilize as I built a solid board presence without him being able to access his extra deck.
 
Game 2: This was ultimately the same with me opening Shackles, but this time my luck was not as fortunate as he had a very solid resonator hand that was able to take early game board control. I was unable to deal with this effectively and he took the game.
 
Game 3: We went into time very early and neither of our decks was quick enough to win in a few turns. Ultimately given his early game board and my lack of cancel spells I don’t have any doubt he would have won this if not for timer making the round a draw
 
Round 6 – Aimul, Princess of Despair
 
This was not a matchup I had played against, and I had very little idea what to expect other than the fact that her front side can prevent me from blinking my creatures by standing them in response. As it was Ryan Miles piloting the deck I had no doubt the deck would offer some unique tricks. Since we were both undefeated with two draws this was the match to make or break either one of our standings.
 
Game 1: I opened Sacred Elf which I knew was safe to blink because him standing it was effectively the same result. He flipped pretty early in the game putting a Rachel in play and I had a Shackles stuck dead in my hand. I managed to draw Mephistopheles and used it to keep his ruler tapped for a few turns. He tried to destroy his ruler with Karmic Retribution to prevent me from tapping it and I used Severing Winds to prevent him from doing so. He was able to successfully remove Mephistopheles in the next few turns but he realized too late his life was too low to actually survive me flipping and attacking and I took game 1 by attacking him with Sacred Elf and my Ruler.
 
Game 2:  This game was incredibly intense. He took an early lead with Rachel and I had an uphill battle dealing with them. I tried to flip with Nyarlathotep but he used
Separation of Fates to remove my swiftness and prevent me from healing. Then he flipped his ruler after stacking Grimm, Hope from the Future on his deck with Rachel and used his inverse ability to remove my imperishable and destroy my ruler. As I tried to answer his board as he would sack resonators with the Soul Returning Altar to clear my board and search with Rachel to keep my board presence low. I won this game mostly to both of us not realizing that Grimm had flying so I was able to clear it two turns later with Burgeoning Despair. His last shot was to attack me with his flying ruler for lethal but my sideboard Separation of Fates was able to keep his ruler from attacking as I recycled it with Frigg each turn by flashing and ultimately stole the game.



Top Cut

As best I can remember, top cut was composed of the following:

1 Discard Lumia

1 Toolbox Lumia (Me)

1 Kirik

1 Ayu

3 Control Scheherazade

1 Doll Tempo Control Scheherazade

 

Elimination Round 1 – Discard Lumia

 

Having played against Billy, I knew Blazer would be the sticking point in this matchup so I played accordingly. I also saw his decklist and knew he didn’t play 4 Severing Winds so I knew cancel wars would almost always be in my favor.

 

Game 1:  I don’t really recall much about these games, just that Mephistopheles very much had the game on lockdown very quickly. I was able to Null Page a Blazer and kill another so he wasn’t able to play any more copies, and from there I was able to flip my ruler with Nyarlathotep and get the continual life and board advantage with Frigg and Rachel.

 

Game 2: I wasn’t able to clear Blazer in a timely fashion, despite my best efforts with the side deck burgeoning despairs as he spread his board very wide with Laurite

 

Game 3: This came down to time, I was able to go toe to toe in life with tama attacking, but I was then able to flip my ruler (without Nyarlathotep ) and go for his face very quickly. Burgeoning despair was setup for the next turn so that he had no resonators to attack with, which meant I won the game and the match.

 

 

Elimination Round 2 – Control Scheherazade

 

This was a very interesting list since he played lots of non-doll quickcast creatures like Sorceress of Heavenly Wind, Melfee and
Fiethsing, the Fate Spinning Winds. He also had 4 Jeanne d’Arc, Mad Maiden which I knew would be a pain if I allowed him to set it up.

 

Game 1: I opened very well, 1 Sacred Elf , 1 Severing Winds, 1 Faerur’s Spell, 1 tama and one Rachel. I was able to get elf up early and got tama out as well. Faerur’s Spell cancelled a doll that tried to block Tama and I was able to get another turn of advantage. When I played Rachel he used ruined story and I let Tama be banished. He cast a Melfee and Fiethsing on my next turn which I didn’t cancel since they were not relevant to my board presence.

He casted Jeanne d’Arc on my turn and I used a hard casted Severing Winds to stop it, only for him to cast another one right afterword. He opted to not attack the Rachel, so on my turn I was able to remove it with Null Page before it dealt any damage. After I cleared his board he had to flip to regain board presence but my Lumia flipped with Nyarlathotep and was able to whittle away his board with advantage.

 

 

Game 2: This was very similar to Game 1, but he used Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic to prevent the trigger of Rachel when she left the field and used final battle to mop up my board.  Burdening despair ultimately cleaned up his board, and I poked him with a Nyarlathotep, powered Lumia  until he was dead.

 

Elimination Round 3 – Doll Tempo Control Scheherazade

 

Having seen his decklist, it became quite clear that this was a poor matchup for me. Rather than effigy, he played the smaller dolls that became larger with stories revealed in the extra deck and the rest of his deck was dedicated to protecting them while they punched me.

 

Game 1: I poked him very often and he used final battle to clear the board. His hand discard ate a lot of my hand and I didn’t manage to resolve any cards to refill it. I was forced to flip early with Nyarlathotep, and managed to get him down to 1000, but a main deck separation of fates killed Lumia and ended the game.

 

Game 2: This was the same as game 1 but my hand was depleted even faster due to additional sideboard hate for my resonators.

 

Ultimately I was very happy with the decks performance. There was a lot more control decks that I would have anticipated, but this worked in my favor as generally I out value most control matchups. I think my decks ultimate weakness was resonator based aggro, and ultimately I think the meta is diverse enough that you can’t have a deck that dominates all of the other decks with one particular ruler or color combination. I was excited to see the American players willing to take a risk with Aimul, Princess of Despair, and was very happy that me and my friend Jean-Luc (who got third with Kirik) were both able to secure 2 invites for Canada. The games I played were all extremely intense, and it felt like every tech choice I made flowed coherently into a finely tuned machine. I’m looking forward to GP Toronto where I will try to secure my 1st place paid invite.



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All Articles, FOW NEWS, Guest Article
Should Force of Will bring the EU bans to the United States (and the rest of the world)? The short answer is “yes.” While I’m certain that you’ve either nodded your head in agreement with that statement or thrown me the middle finger through your screen, the fact remains that banning Pricia, True Beastmaster, Griphon Racing Across Darkness, and Captain Hook, the Pirate is vital. Issues such as game balance, uniformity, and other secondary concerns could unhinge the game if not properly cared for. It is imperative that Force of Will Co., Ltd. quickly implement these card bans across the world for the reasons I will now enumerate. With each of these arguments I will address popular counter arguments and rebut them. Let’s dive in.

Game Balance

The single most salient factor in this card banning disucssion is that of game balance. Ideally, the designers of a trading card game aim for a play environment that is not lopsided toward any one strategy. While a handful of strategies are likely to emerge as dominant, it is undesirable from the point of view of a balanced game to have just one or two “top decks” that cannot be consistently beaten by other strategies. (This, of course, assumes an equal skill level on part of the participants and issue we shall address shortly.) If a trading card is to be balanced, every single card printed (or in the current format, at least) must be equilibrated in terms of resource cost and effect. This means that if even one card breaks this cost:blanace ratio, it contributes to a possibly dominant and unbeatable strategy.

The Nine-Tailed Fox, an Object Lesson

The Nine-Tailed Fox To illustrate the compounding problems of unbalanced cards, let’s consider the ruler everyone loves to hate: The Nine-Tailed Fox. The ruler itself is plenty powerful. Pulling resonators from your side deck is a useful ability in anyone’s book. And certainly so if the resonators you can reach for are some of the beefiest in the format. Sure, you have to make sacrifices to use The Nine-Tailed Fox’s effect. But is the cost really balanced with the effect. It certainly is not in terms of Griphon, Racing Accross Darkness. Griphon, Racing Across Darkness Look at this way: you sacrifice two “ingredient” resonators and a killing stone for a 1200/1200 flying resonator that nets you two magic stones. In this equation, you trade two resonators and a magic stone for another resonator and two magic stones. This puts you one turn ahead in terms of resource production. (And possibly two turns ahead, because if you’re smart, you already spent the will from the Killing Stone you sacrifice to Fox’s effect.) Demonic Dead Enter Demonic Dead. With this resonator in your graveyard, you essentially halve the resonator cost of Fox’s effect (since you can bring Demonic Dead into your field again and again to use as one of your “ingredients”.) So now, the equation looks like this: sacrifice one resonator and one Killing Stone for a resonator and two magic stones. Start to see a problem? Add to this that this deck has the attributes to access cards like Severing Winds and Faerur’s Spell with 100% consistency in terms of will production and you have yourself a statistically unbeatable deck. That’s a problem.

Should It Have Been Griphon or Demonic Dead?

With the scenario that I’ve just illustrated, an argument could be made for either Griphon, Racing Across Darkness or Demonic Dead as being the major problem in the Fox equation. Which one should have received the ban? While many will disagree with me, I think it would have worked just as well either way. With Griphon gone, the player cannot out-ramp the opponent to victory. If Demonic Dead were banned, the player could not so easily access Griphon (or the other Chimeras.) Either way, Griphon is the card that gets stopped or slowed down.

What About Pricia and Captain Hook?

Pricia, True Beastmaster Pricia, True Beastmaster is just plain broken. No one, no one, in their right mind would say that a 1000/1000 body that recycles fresh magic stones when it enters the field or attacks for a total cost of two will is balanced. No one in their right mind would say that a card that could OTK for four will is balanced. Pricia had to go. She was the most poorly designed card in all of Lapis Cluster, and we’re not sorry to see her hit the bricks. Captain Hook, the Pirate Captain Hook, the Pirate was banned because in the absence of The Nine-Tailed Fox and Pricia, True Beastmaster, Lumia, the Fated Rebirth becomes the dominant, unbeatable deck. The Lumia player can re-trigger Captain Hook’s effect over and over again, wiping the opponent’s magic stones and locking them out of the game. While this is true in theory, it can be difficult in practice. I’m not convinced that banning Captain Hook was necessary. While we lost some counters to this card when Alice Cluster rotated out of New Frontiers (I’m looking at you Prison in the Lunar Lake), we’ve gained access to several more. Consider Dawn of the Earth, Keez’s Call, and the infamous Abdul Alhazred, Poet of Madness. I think they could have held off on the Captain Hook ban until it could be conclusively proven to be a major problem. But overall, it’s not a move that I think will upset the balance of the game, cripple Lumia in any meaningful way, or turn players off.

Should any Other Cards Have Been Banned?

Severing Winds should have also seen the ax. While the effect is a good and possibly even necessary one at it’s core, the card is too lopsided on the effect side of the cost:effect ratio. If Severing Winds only reduced its cost by [2] instead of WW[2] if your opponent had played two or more spells, or perhaps gave your opponent 1,000 life points or some such, it would have been well designed. But this card has proved a menace and a game-stopper. No card should be so pervasive as to totally alter the structure of play for fear of its presence. I recall having stated in a previous article/video that I thought that Severing Winds was balanced. But let me admit here to all of you that I’ve come to change my mind on this card.

Uniformity

Another major issue with the EU card bans is uniformity. It’s improper to have a trading card game that has different rules for different regions. All regions of the world, under the banner of a single game, should follow the same rules. Period. All regions of the world play in local and regional events to work their way toward a single objective in terms of competitive play: the World Grand Prix. That WGP will play by a single set of rules that should also be consistent with the rules used and implemented by the various regions. What sense does it make to have some cards banned in the EU and not elsewhere? Force of Will Co., Ltd. has done something like this before with the Wanderer format. The cards that are now banned (worldwide, mind you) in Wanderer were once only banned in that format in Europe. The company used Europe as a sort of testing ground, and when satisfied with the results, implemented the bans elsewhere. This desire to take a careful and deliberate approach to card bans in commendable. But that’s what your R&D team is for. Keep the testing in house, take your time, carefully consider and debate the issues, and when the time comes, announce a worldwide ban, errata, un-ban, or rules change. This makes the company look more professional and capable. The last thing this game needs is a slap-happy, fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants approach to something as major as card bans.

The Real Customers of Force of Will

The most frequent counter argument to banning any card goes a little something like this: “Get gud scrub!” “lol you just mad cuz you suck” “Build a better deck, n00b” etc. etc. These statements are bullshit. If the cards being banned are so mathematically superior to other cards in print, or their interactions with certain other cards are so intrinsically powerful that other cards or card interactions cannot counter them, then where is no conceivable way that you can “get gud” or not “suck.” Think of it this way: I get a semi-automatic 12-gauge shotgun and you get a baseball bat. We’re expected to fight to the death. If you complain that my armaments are “superior” and “unbeatable” in our current meta, my reply is to “get gud” and stop complaining. If you can’t win, it’s because you haven’t tried hard enough. Could you beat me? Sure. It is likely. Not at all. What these “arguments” tend to forget (or fail to mention) is that the typical trading card game player is not a competitive player. The typical Force of Will player has never been to a Grand Prix. And probably will never go to one. The typical player doesn’t spend six hours a day (or even six hours a week) playing the game. And while you might label these people (including perhaps your dear author) a “n00b” and a “scrub,” they as a group spend the most money on the game. For every Top-8 GP contender there are tens of thousands of average players. These are the real audience for the game. While card bans might piss off a few people at the top of the pecking order, they aim to ameliorate the concerns of the masses. If a few top players end up quitting over a round of bans, so be it. Others will take their place and the game will be healthier overall for it. The company knows this (or has learned this over time) and is no longer catering to the top-level while ignoring the true economic powerhouse behind the game: the casuals.

Bring the EU Bans to the US

Should the company bring the EU bans to the US? Yes. Yes. And YES. For the reasons I’ve given hear and for those many that I’m sure to have overlooked. Let me close by again saying that in a perfect world, there would be no reason for card bans. Each and every card would be designed in such a way as to make their cost:effect ratio perfectly balanced. Not only perfectly balanced in and of themselves, but in relation to every other card in print. (A feat that by definition becomes geometrically more difficult to more cards are printed.) We don’t live in that perfect world. And we never will. Card bans are a necessary part of trading card games. Mistakes happen. I look forward to seeing the recent round of card bans implemented very soon worldwide and the attendance numbers at the local stores in my area increase.
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