Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Imbued Principle

I need a new Imbued deck since my last decent one took a tournament at the NAC (so I'm retiring it).  And the guys in L.A. hate the Imbued so much that I almost feel obliged to keep throwing Hunter decks at them. 

What you folks get from all this is a first-hand insight into how I approach deck building in general, with a specific twist on what makes Imbued work.

In looking for a new angle to play, I want to leverage a long-standing maxim about the Imbued. 

The Imbued really aren't about having Powers based on their Virtues. 
Their real functionality is derived from the Convictions they have accumulated.

Since I want to re-test the validity of this maxim, I need to find ways to accumulate convictions at an unusually rapid pace.  I think the best way to do that is accessing them from ash heap during my untap phase.  If I use minions that can further leverage cards from the ash heap, I get even more mileage from the mechanism.

Step 1.  Select the lead imbued.  There are 3 imbued that get extra convictions from the ash heap. 
  1. Erick "Shophet125" Franco - a rushing minion
  2. Xian "DziDzat155" Quan - a blocking minion
  3. Leaf "Potter116" Pankowski - a passive minion
All 3 of these minions share the Innocence virtue, through they share no other virtues. 

Perhaps the most pivotal hunter for long-term staying power, Jennie "Cassie247" Orne, also has INN.  Since 2 of the lead minions have combat-driven specials, having Jennie's special card text seems like a no brainer.

Innocence is looking key here.  Inez "Nurse216" Villagrande's special text allows her to getting an Inspire (INN) from the library when she enters play.  I'll plan on Inspire being a key part of the deck's bloat engine. 

In addition to that function of the deck, there is a little used clause that allows transfer of convictions with Inspire - it's a nice extra utility for a deck that loads convictions or might require a lot of movement from the incapitated region.

Step 2. Plan for conviction. It looks like there will be 5 Hunters in play at peak performance, which means that I'll want 3-5 convictions per minion, or 15-25 convictions total.   If I try to construct this deck at 60 cards, I would be running 35-45 non-conviction cards.  

Because the deck will be churning to find conviction, I can actually plan more for optimal conviction placement.  This is in direct contrast with normal Imbued decks that just want to acculumate ANY conviction in the first 5-7 turns.

For the first cut, I will paradoxically plan to run fewer convictions than normal, but end up with more relevent placements. 

Here is another foible of the deck - I'm building it to this point without specifically knowing what it will do besides gain conviction.  The minions' card text suggests that permanent-based combat will be involved.

Step 3.  Get convictions in the ash heap.  Seems like there are 2 straightforward ways to achieve this objective: Liquidation and Scrounging.  Both have issues for this particular deck design.

I won't have a deep enough library, nor enough Master Phase Actions (MPA) to build a full Liquidation/Ashurs recursion design.  I'll have to be careful about how I plan for losing non-conviction cards.  Jenny being a Visionary allows me to play Unity to layer some permanent recursion into the library design, but it will only drive Imbued-related recursion. 

At the same time, I won't have board access to Viligence for untap/block so the opportunity cost of Scrounging is high and the failure risk (blocking) is also higher than that of Liquidation. 

Since I'll be tossing cards into the ash heap, Gramle seems like a great way to get the backup copy before it gets Liquidated too.  It has a hidden advantage of flushing one more conviction from my hand after the search function, just like Scrounging would - but it's more targeted.

Step 4.  Build basic Library-based function.  Inspire was a clear choice, as was Unity.   Church of Vindicated Faith goes in every Imbued deck.  So does Ivory Bow, Crusader's Sword, the Unmasking and a few Angels of Berlin.  This is looking very heavy on Master cards so the Parthenon may be in order.  

A few of these cards (Unmasking, Unity) will have to show up in multiples so that I don't lose deck function by Liquidating important cards.

Step 5.  Develop offense.  Normally, I'm looking to do this MUCH earlier than step 5, but this deck's design plan has been different and I'm clearing planning on midgame swarm-bleed as a primary offense strategy. 
 From here, I think the following is the deck's supplemental plan.
  1. Agg damage and some prevention on Erick to clear the way for bleeding offense.  How those rushes occur remains uncertain, but I would sure like them to either be permanent or to recur through Unity.  I'm done Chainsaw rush with Imbued so that is not an option.
  2. Get a defensive weapon (Sniper Rifle) on the Xian and find something for him to do with all that conviction he may accumulate by blocking 1-3 times per turn.

Step 6.  Add situtational cards.  Hmmmm.....already getting to 60 cards, but there are a few more things to add.  The most promising is Determine, often not included because of the Conviction cost.  But we should be absolutely loaded with available Conviction, so the potential for repetitive bounce or action cancellation seems too good to ignore. 

Every minion who has Judgment gets access to Viligence and Discern.  Every Imbued with Defense gets access to Champion.  Maybe I can add 1 Project for block denial, if I have a bleeding minion with Martyrdom.  

At this point, I can construct the rough draft of the deck to see how well the ratios work for cardflow.

Deck Name : The Imbued Principle
Author : Darby Keeney
Description :

Crypt [12 vampires] Capacity min: 3 max: 5 average: 4

2x Jennie "Cassie247"     5  inn jud vis  Imbued:4
2x Erick "Shophet125"     4  inn jud      Imbued:4
2x Leaf "Potter116" P     4  inn red vis  Imbued:4
2x Maman Boumba           4  inn mar      Imbued:4
2x Xian "DziDzat155"      4  def inn      Imbued:4
2x Inez "Nurse216" Vi     3  inn          Imbued:4

Library [63 cards]

Action [4]
  1x Augur
  3x Gramle

Ally [1]
  1x Moise Kasavubu  *// might be replaced by Carlton Van Wyk

  1x Vagabond Mystic

Conviction [20]
  6x React with Conviction
  7x Second Sight
  7x Strike with Conviction

Equipment [7]
  1x Crusader Sword, The
  2x Eye of Hazimel
  1x Ivory Bow

  1x Sengir Dagger
  2x Sniper Rifle

Event [2]
  2x Unmasking, The

Master [13]
  3x Angel of Berlin
  2x Church of Vindicated Faith, The
  4x Liquidation
  2x Unity
  2x Wider View

Power [13]
  2x Discern
  3x Hide
  5x Inspire
  1x Rejuvenate
  2x Vigilance

Reaction [2]
  2x Determine

Crafted with : Anarch Revolt Deck Builder. [Tue Aug 30 11:14:39 2011]