Deck Doctor #3 - Simplicity and Sombra

Published by Tyro D. Fox in the blog The Leather Bound Book. Views: 1635

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Deck Doctor #3
Simplicity and Sombra

So, something amazing happened at the Pre-Release event in Croydon, UK that I attended: I actually came in the top 3. Seriously, that almost never happens for me! It was a simple, straightforward 'Limited' format where I was able to cobble together a rather steady blue/yellow aggro deck that could just storm ahead with a nice mix of competitive, swift and critter support. It was kinda relentless, playing to what I like to do usually: attempt to purely outrun my opponent.

So, I'm a little more hip to the wise or however that expression is supposed to go in regards to these new cards. My favourite being a blue requirement event that causes all character's in play to gain Swift for a turn. That's bloody amazing as far as I'm concerned! That went into my blue/purple faceoff deck so fast, it was almost shameful. Maybe I'll show you that some time.

Anyway, the up shot of getting 2nd place, was that I got an 'Angel Pack' or whatever they're called, which is mainly only made up of foil and rare cards. Lo-and-behold, I got me a shiny little 'Rarity, Truely Outragious', all of my own!

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EEEEEEEE! It's so beautiful!

Awesome! The reason I spent so long trying to come up with ways of building decks strong or surprising enough to stand up to this thing and I finally have one! I did throw it in a deck but, see if you can guess where it went, ay?

But for today! You ready to get your stethoscope on?

~|~​

Case #1 - <Unnamed> (Harmony) - Jonquil - Submitted to UK of Equestria's MLP:CCG Thread


OK, OK! It's another bloody Crystal deck. I talked the hind-legs off of several donkeys the last time we looked at this thing but to kick things off as a sort of work in and nod back to all that stuff I said about Crystal decks and their mechanics.

But, you know what Jonquil does that I've rarely ever seen anyone do? Cut out a couple of colours.

Why don't we think of doing this? Because it makes a decent amount of sense. Go back to Deck Doctor #2 and you'll see that trying to get the bloody thing off the ground is infuriating, normally. Your trying to balance a lot of stuff as you make sure that your drawing entry, building up a decent pile of action tokens, laying down new coloured crystal to get the most out of the Prismatic keyword and hoping beyond hope that you're not against a dismiss deck. This is on top of winning points to stay in the game, keeping your opponent slowed down enough to keep up and trying to avoid having an aneurysm in the process.

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Geddit? Though, it needs more shiny rocks to work properly.

Jonquil hit's on a very simple solution: cut down the deck. Focus what you have down to being reliable. And she has a point I think. The colours she's gone for are blue, orange, pink and yellow, with the orange Spike mane to compliment it.

And yes, I do mean compliment it. Here, orange is the heavy hitter. The character front and center is that 'Applejack, Crystalised', which gains +2 power for every colour it possesses. Pretty sweet, though, it can only get up to around +8 power with only three reliable colours to play with. Then again, how often do you need a character higher than 9 power? Maybe to one shot some of the nastier problems but 9 times out of 10, you can just walk it with an Applejack that can buck you into next week. Or two!

The other orange on display is here for defence. 'Applejack, Breezified' and Spike are both here for the express purpose of protecting the gigantic targets that plenty of the cards in this deck become as they lollop to 15 points. Honestly, I consider it a smart move, because knocking out one of the key crystal cards on the field is an expensive blow for any deck, let alone this one.

The rest? Fluttershy digs for friends to play, which is pretty powerful in it's down right. Rainbow Dash gives everything else a kick up the flank to get moving. Pinkie helps fix face-offs in your favour. The new face here is Bright Smile, which is frankly essential for almost any crystal deck.

Have you played Pokemon much? OK, remember when you use Sunny Day and then Solarbeam immediately because Sunny Day charges it up that much more quickly? Bright Smile is like that for this deck. It charges the other crystal prismatic cards with colours from your opponent's characters. That's important as you can now attempt to fish for the other colours you might not have. Seeing as white and purple crystal cards are missing from the deck, Jonquil can now slam back extra hard when she faces a deck with either of those colours.

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Pictured: A Crystal Deck being Dangerous. Not Pictured: Hell frozen over.

Of the room she made by taking out Purple and White cards, it's mainly made up of handy tricks. 'Critter Cavalry' is still invaluable to have around. If only for the moment of "Ha-ha! You've activated my '*squee!* You, I get the points' card". 'Let's Get This Party' started is just card draw. 'Fingersnap' helps with both 'The Crystal Heart' and Spike, as I understand it. They're both vital components that have to be set up quickly to be of any use, so Fingersnap makes them both more immediately set up, ready to either save a card or grant it extra colours. Again, 'The Crystal Heart' can either help out in a colour shortage or boost a prismatic character. 'Hard Hat' is to allow 'Rainbow Dash, Crystallized' to still lend power when it uses it's ability.

The fixer resources are here too and, in all the times I've played this deck, they've been handy. Resource dismissal, card draw and a cheepish frighten aren't bad if they also lend colour when needed.

Prescription - We talked about this! The Crystal Entry cards suuuuuck!

Three cost for only two power is not worth the price in this game! Laying down more crystal is lovely but staying competitive is so much more worth it. Granted, you lower the effectiveness of 'The Crystal Heart' but the ceiling of use for that card is kinda low. It's nice early game, which is generally where Crystal decks need that shot in the arm, but cheaper entry cards would do so much more.

Which entry is...tricky. There's two schools of thought that have their merits.

One side says to go for cheaper cards, which is what I'd recommend but take that for what you will. Cheaper friends tend to be more cost efficient but are still only one or two power at most. Most have nifty little abilities like helping with troublemaker face-offs or moving by exhausting itself. However, getting enough colour for a crystalised prismatic character is trickier as you now need to balance power verses cost. Cheaper friends tend to be less powerful, so you need more to meet requirements. More powerful friends tend to cost more.

The other school of thought is to go "Screw it! I'm going to have fat stacks of colour to work from!". In Equestrian Odyssey, we were granted the 'Cutie Mark Consultant' cards. These are cards of each colour that are four cost for four power. Just straight up power in any colour you want. I've played against a deck that uses these instead, solving their problems but also rather stunting their early game as they sit around, waiting for action tokens. I'd say it's riskier. It does mean you have this big stodge of power to haul around though.

It's up for consideration. Otherwise, a nice, simple, straight-forward deck. Nothing too fancy or nuts!

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There are two types of players. Which are you?

~|~​

Case #2 - Rambo Dash (Harmony) - Lovelyloribeth - Submitted to MLP:CCG Subreddit


I tend to think I'm a hefty user of blue cards myself. They're simply the best at turbo-charging a deck to help it slam into an opponent. Swift is such a useful keyword, in my opinion, as it saves action tokens for something flashier. While blue can't dismiss or banish, it can frighten which attacks your opponent's action token supply by holding a card hostage. That's pretty cool.

But Villain Farming is rather a new for blue cards. Thanks to Competitive, it can push back against powerful foes while still keeping costs relatively low. You might have to work harder to solve a problem, but you become a monster in a face off. Something you can work to your advantage if needs be.

For those not in the know, Villain Farming is a rather odd and indirect way of playing the game. Rather than solving problems, you rocket up the scoreboard by beating up Villain Troublemakers. This strategy can be powerful in the right hands.

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Yeah...I think I can take that with a bunch of ponies.

Firstly, to make the strategy work, you have to throw in lots of Villains. These naturally have strong power, making your flip average increase as a consequence. As such, you can take the monsters your throwing around that much easier. Next, the Villain keyword does more than mean it's going to sit on a problem like a dragon with a hoard. It's going to frighten all cards at it's newly found purch then sit there, ready to take on all comers. If you can plan around it, you can trump other normal troublemakers or take a hatchet to your opponent's plans in one fell swoop. Lastly, you need the power behind you to actually pack enough of a punch to defeat the Villain and nab the points. A trickier task than the others.

Usually, this job was done by orange manes and for good reason. Maud and 'Applejack, Ambassador of Honesty' are able to climb to powerful heights just on their own and smack Villain's left, right and centre without any worry over being frightened in the aftermath of a villain drop. Maud required a hole hokey-pokey of card play and careful discarding to raise her up to the mighty heights of power she could achieve. While faster, she is more precarious as any card effect that causes the discard pile to be emptied kills her power outright. Applejack, on the other hand, is slower but snowballs into greater and greater power that she can spread around wherever it's needed. There's a reason they're usually used for the job over most other characters.

Don't talk to me about the Fluttershy mane that neutralizes troublemaker abilities. She's more troublemaker management than full on villain farming. Doable, yes but not as efficiently.

What does 'Rainbow Dash, Ambassador of Loyalty' have? Um...Raw speed, really.

Competitive only activates during a face-off and this mane flips in face-offs. Face-offs are what it loves to do. So, the question should always be on getting it in one as often as possible. After all, an extra two power in a face-off is nothing to be sniffed at. The ability to move by exhausting the card seems arse-backwards but it does fall into the flow of laying down a Villain, moving to be there behind it then carrying on with the rest of the turn, ready for the Villain to flip. Being up and ready to go is the single, biggest advantage Rainbow Dash has over the behemoths of orange that dominate this strategy.

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Aye aye, sir! Exhausting Rainbow Dash!

Next; friends! Ordinarily, an orange deck would likely throw in some Diligent cards to get more than just points from a successful villain takedown. Sometimes, there's 'Vittles Stand' to get some power moving around or cards that cause extra cards to flip. Purple has gained a few reasons to play troublemakers, even gaining the ability to summon them immediately with some cards. Yellow, as previously stated, seems to have become Troublemaker management while White just seems to want to get rid of them immediately if they're in the way. Pink has 'Bell Tower', which is hilariously powerful at the right moment as it immediately uncovers a troublemaker.

But we're going for all out blue, I assume. The merits of which are that they're either extra powerful or fast when dealing with a troublemaker. 'Prince Rutherford' appears to be the only card interested in the opponent as it slaps an opponent card with a frighten when it lands after play. Everything else is about moving or face-off power to the max. 'Spitfire' even brings in reinforcements with the brand new token mechanic. So, it's pretty focused on killing stuff.

The events are a smattering of movement to do with either a troublemaker or while trying to pound a troublemaker into the ground with some cards to gain extra card flips. Most of which only work because of Rainbow Dash herself. Fair enough. Again, this deck is focused on being a ballistic missile that's looking for every chance it can to kill villains quickly. It's so blunt force in its approach, it's actually kinda fun.

Oh! And 'Trashed' to make sure that your resources can't cause any issues and 'Singing Barrel' for literally no reason at all.

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My reaction to Singing Barrel being in a Mono-Colour deck​

The actual Villains chosen are pretty much your biggest choice as, well, they need to be both a problem for your opponent but just enough of a non-issue for you to be able to handle them. Ahuizotl and Queen Crysalis work perfectly nicely as they actively attempt to make the simple act of confronting them that much harder. Lord Tirek does the same by dismissing the weakest card among those facing him then gaining an extra point of power. The less you have fighting your troublemakers, the better!

For, in my opinion, blue's main method of board control is troublemakers. They don't have much else that could manage to move or disrupt another player's plans other than frightening. At least, reliably. So, your troublemakers are important in blue especially. A Harmony deck can take advantage of plenty of troublemaker based events to give them plenty of abilities.

Trixie is an interesting choice. The ability to drop it, frighten and then neutralize abilities does help, even if it works both ways.

Prescription - Learn to Throw Curve Balls

What the heck is 'Singing Barrel' doing in a deck like this? Get rid of it!

Back to the main criticism; your deck is so rock simple, any decent player is going to see what your doing and be easily able to counter it. The point of this deck is to go 'Ramming Speed, Ms Dash!' and slam into every villain going, I'm going to guess. But I could think of a thousand different ways you could be stopped. Without much reliable frighten, your down to using your troublemakers at maximum effectiveness. This means you don't have to splash in some extra colour if you don't want to.

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"No! Ramming Speed is too slow. Let's go to Ludicrous Speed!"

I think it's mildly underrated but why not go for an 'Applejack, Liar' set in here? Why? It allows you to bluff your villain placement. Think about it! Your main advantage over a normal villain farmer deck is speed. If you can misdirect your opponent into lining up in just the wrong position, then you can either nab the points first or lead them straight into a trap. Plus, we can't rule out the psychological aspect of dropping two troublemakers in one turn. Heck! If the opponent knows it's a villain farming deck, they'll be extra cautious, but you'll be in the know.

What else? Well, how about some new problems? I know why you have 'Singing Barrel'. It's to deal with the problems that have non-colour requirements right? Yeesh! No, no, no! You have a thousand and one far better options! 'Ready to Fight' grants plus two power in face-offs. Just two power for nothing! And it's uncommon! You know what else would work? 'Under Lock and Tree' as that just gives your mane character plus one power for whatever! 'Blending In', 'Locked Out', or definitely 'Cult of Personality'! All of those are easy to find and easy to overcome.

As for friends...Well, have you considered cards like 'Scootaloo, Fan Club Founder'? You see, it's a card that follows the Mane Character around wherever they go by exhausting it. Considering that this Rainbow Dash flies around in the same fashion, it would still be useful to get a three power card in the face off your about to enter, thanks to the aptly nicknamed 'Stalker-loo' here!

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"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!"

If you can, look for 'Scootaloo, Flying High', who can butt into Face-offs as much as she likes though, she gets retired in the scuffle. It's valuable if you need that extra three power kick. It's super rare though.

Another good idea? How about a blue Diligent card with Hasty? Oh yes! 'Filthy Rich, Cold Hard Cash' can swamp in and fight with the power of money! A few good rounds with any villain nets you a powerhouse you can roam around, letting you compete with anyone competently.

Though, this assumes you want to stick with the Mono-Colour idea. I'm sure you can find plenty on how to play with another colours. Like I said, Orange has power and extra flips, Yellow has Troublemaker handling, Purple has handy little events everywhere and Pink has 'Bell Tower' if nothing else.

Though, I do like the idea of this deck. Being a huge villain battering ram is not a bad idea. Certainly pretty formidable.

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"This isn't even my final form!"

~|~​

Case #3 - Ambassador of Friendship (Harmony) - Hodelino - Submitted to MLP:CCG Subreddit


Welcome to Solid City, population: this deck.

Yeah! This is just decent. Like, seriously decent. It's just powerful enough to play with but not stellar. It's a good, grounded base where it can generate action tokens decently while still remaining competitive. On one hand, Pink is around to lend colour so that various dismissal cards can be played.

Something coming along that wants to kick you in the teeth? Bye bye! Though, most of these cards are only usable in Face-offs. Showdown cards get around the issue but it's an extra card you have to rely on, so Sod's Law dictates that it rarely will.

Eh...Might just be pessimism.
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"You're not allowed to play that because no."​

On the other hand, Purple is gaining Action Tokens and power for more face-offs. It's throwing cards around, stacking it's own deck, looking for all the events it can; there's some very powerful cards on display working towards some useful synergies. Having high numbers of events allows for 'Trixie, The Great and Powerful Showoff' to explode in power at the right moment. 'Twilight Sparkle, Ursa Vanquisher' just delays opponent characters, making it instantly invaluable while 'Moondancer, Page Turner' puffs itself up on the cards being picked up and then put back on the top of the deck by almost everything else.

Oh! And, with 'Ancient Research' as your first problem, that's a turn two flip for Twilight. Neat!

Lastly, 'Diamond Tiara, Breaking News' causes little Action Token bonuses in the event of a dismissal. 'Lemon Hearts' gains power while card drawing if you get an Event. Not a terrible thing I guess, though being Immediate is powerful enough to be interesting as you can fish for Events even on your opponent's turn.

Yeah! It's pretty solid...Buuut!

Prescription - Maybe a few Tweeks

'Cutie Pox Scare'. The ability to drop an Event as soon as your opponent is about to score points you can just tell them 'No! You have to make up the work all over again!' like a fussy mother tipping a bucket of mud on a kitchen counter, just for the spite of it. A perfect card for this deck.

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You have no idea how irritating this card can be till you have it played
three times.

Another fun one would be 'Private Journal'. Attack their hand! Not only see their entire hand but also place something distressing out of reach by placing it on their deck. Or forcing them to flip it, thus sending it right out of their reach. Depends on the timing.

If you're not feeling like being a complete git, 'Missed Teleport' is...OK, it's still a gitish move but it's useful. Sending incoming characters wherever you'd prefer you'd want them to be is pretty powerful.

Next, you might want to consider how to deal with Resources because some decks will be using them but you have nothing to counter with. The more common approach is 'Special Beam Cannon' which banishes the resource, discounting it from the game entirely. Or, 'Rest in Pieces' if you get luckier with your cards. This miserable looking card can wipe out all resources your opponent has, cripping anything they were planning with them.

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"Those are nice resources. Such a shame if something were to - BAM!"

Lastly, 'Ponyville Emergency' to send stuff home or 'Scope Things Out' just to put more things on the top of your deck for Moondancer's benefit? There's loads that you could utilise.

The most devastating thing I can think of for a deck such as this is the rare Resource 'Utterly Drained'. This dementedly cruel card neutralizes Boosted Mane Character effects. Some decks rely on their Mane heavily so stunting that is a devastating blow. Other Manes can be weaker or less useful on their Boosted side, like Discord or the Orange Spike that saves things from being dismissed. With this they are now stuck the the side where they can't do anything useful.

This deck doesn't desperately need a Troublemaker but some might be of use. Certainly, there's plenty of unpleasant cards to utilise. You can rarely go wrong with a 'Spike, Excessive'. It's seven power and extorts two Action Tokens out of the opponent to go away once flipped. Plus, no ventured points on offer either! 'Rover, Gem Hunter' might allow you to pick up any Events that get flipped during a Face-off. Plus, no points either! 'Starlight Glimmer, Exposed Inequality' could get you an extra push to your problems. 'Arimaspi' has his advantages too. Once he's down, you can be assured that no more Troublemakers will bother you at it's problem until the card is defeated.

Riskier cards are 'Chimera', which negates the power of all cards of a single colour for an Action Token. Potentially powerful. Another is 'Biff', who can also turn over a Mane Character to it's start side for two Action Tokens as well as prevent a Mane Character from lending power to fighting it. Heck! You have plenty of Events so, how about a 'Wild Manticore'? They can flip an additional card when involved in a face-off, taking much better advantage of that hefty flip average you have.

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I do like Troublemakers. It makes me feel like this.

But, only if you like to live dangerously, of course. They're all holding some pretty hefty point bonuses as a cost for their powerful abilities.

One last thing: why are you running 'Which Pinkie is Which'? Only 'Twilight, Ursa Vanquisher' can activate its ability. I'd be cautious of it just because you'd be running the gambit of getting both of these cards in play but it's also awkward to solve. There's plenty you ought to have instead. 'Spell Showdown' is pre-packaged Event digging and perfect for your deck. You also have plenty of Unicorns, making 'Dark Magic Surge' decently useful as having the most Unicorns there gets a one Action Token reduction on Event costs. Pretty sweet, I think.
~|~
Let's finish up with a deck I was asked about. Oh yes! It's time for a deck I built! Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaa!

Doctor's Deck - Sombra the Soul Engine

Mane - Pinkie Pie, Ambassador of Laughter
Colours - Pink, Orange and White
Strengths - Able to gain abilities and advantages by retiring extraneous friends, able to steal friends then feed them to the various cards of the deck that consume them to get their abilities running, Pinkie Pie reduces the cost of some cards by one Action Token, King Sombra Friend, lots of dismissal potential during face-offs, mild Eccentric play.
Weaknesses - Can be hard countered with movement abilities and the Yellow Derpy Mane, King Sombra's ability is mandatory so whittling down your playable characters is inevitable, reduced card costs only when Pinkie is flipped and only where Pinkie is.


Strategy Summary
Ride on the wild edge by attempting to make use of as many disposable friends as possible in order to rocket the deck's potential power skyward. Nothing is sacred and everything may be burned with the star of the show: King Sombra, which will devour cards in order to grow in power over time.

Overview
This deck is rather silly. Oh! It's fun but it's still kinda silly. And yet, I'm surprised at how well it can work when it get's half a chance.

The key element of the deck is flipping Pinkie Pie. Once you have that sorted, you then move Pinkie to not only cause some eccentricity but also rake in as many savings on Action Tokens as possible. She must have a little coupon book that she's using to reduce the Action Point cost of the first friend played per turn, to a minimum of one. In other decks, we'd be using this to swamp problems but not today.

Nope! Everything is now kindling for the fire.

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Weeeeee! Throw another pony on the fire! I wanna go faster!

'Breyburn, Two Left Hooves' is insane cost effectiveness, especially when played first on a turn when Pinkie is flipped. We can get that down to one action token for four power. Do we care about having to get rid of a card in play? No, not today! Much like how we're happy to throw a card away to power up 'Lilly, Panicked Pony' when she enters play. 'Snips and Snails, Joined at the Horn' is rather similar to Breyburn but the Hasty keyword does bump up it's cost. It's worth it for being able to plonk it whenever we like.

Of course, we have 'King Sombra, Slave Driver'. A highly difficult card to build with but it's what the deck is pivoted around. Sombra devours a friend in play you control at the end of each turn, growing slowly stronger and stronger as the game progresses. While still four power just on it's lonesome, throwing it down early can grant that extra steamroller of power whenever it's needed.

But you have to feed your despicable unicorn dictator and the fodder ought to pull it's weight as well. Cards like 'Dance Fever, Disco King' and 'Purple Waters, Prismatic Poet/Musician' are here to be cheap to play. 'Aloe, Magic Touch' is cheap and boosts the power of something else by two for a turn. The breezified Pinkie Pie and Rarity cards are practically free while still having handy little abilities.

Seriously, Block Two have been slowly making older cards retroactively more useful than before. Now, we have cards that make great use of these free friend drops while still being just as disposable as we need them to be. Pinkie can provide some extra numbers to a problem while Rarity get's cashed in for an extra point when a Face-off is won.

'Daisy, Mousy Mare' looks odd in amongst the Pink and White. She's here because she's reuseable. When retired, she's returned to the hand, not sent to the Discard pile. That means that she can be used as repeatable fodder for Sombra! 'Goldengrape, Popular Punster' is able to find friends in the deck that might be required at a moment's notice on the event of winning a Face-off. 'Pinkie Pie, PFF' does this too but when she enters play instead. That way, we can also keep on top of the demands of the deck for more cards to eat just to function properly. 'Featherweight, Editor in Chief' allows use to force a disadvantage on our opponent in a Face-off. Always handy as we haven't the best flip average in the world here.

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A deck about using cards like they're nothing? I swear I made this deck way before the finale of
Season 5. Do I get an episode on the last deck I put up here where Twist inflates to ridiculous size
to save the day?

Speaking of key cards, the others are mainly here to take advantage of the opponent's deck. Because why should the opponent keep those cards to themselves when we've got a ravenous Sombra over here looking for an entrée? 'Sugar Bell, Takes the Cake' has this aspect covered as it takes hold of an opponent's card immediately once it lands in play, keeping hold of it until she leaves play. Perfect! 'Sonata Dusk, Siren's Call' can do the same but at the cost of herself being retired and banishing a card from hand. It's a small price to pay for being able to keep a card for a full turn. Plus, it's an Immediate effect. Oh, and 'Simple Mix' up, an event that gains control of a character until the end of the score phase. Not as much fun but still handy in the right place.

Everything else is either offensive or picks up cards from the Discard pile for later use. 'Roseluck, Fainthearted Filly', is a necessary evil. Even with Pinkie Pie's coupon book of legendary savings shrinking her cost to three action tokens, making her cost effective, it's still a lot to pay when we're trying to throw down as many bodies as possible for the other cards to consume. But! Most of the actions of these other cards are classified as 'Retiring'. This means that Roseluck can just spin like a top every turn to fetch something new from the Discard pile, keeping the train going. 'Princess Cadence, Everlasting Love' is similar but it's only to replace whatever was retired from the Draw deck, not the Discard deck. Still useful.

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Huh...Who threw away the Pinkie Pie, PFF?

'Bulk Biceps, Extra Strong Masseuse' is the intermediary here. When it enters, it dismisses something. When it leaves play, you fetch a card of your choice from the Discard pile. Perfect! Oh! And 'Tom, Rolling Rock' is just something to throw at a problem when it looks a little too well defended, dismissing something uncontestedly. It also adds a small booby trap to the deck. It's risky as the opponent might not have anything in play that's two power or less but we almost certainly will. The rest of the dismissal cards - 'Catch Me!' and 'Yoink!' - pick off more friends during Face-offs only. Mainly so that we can make sure some Face-offs tip in our favour while still thinning down the ranks of the opponent.

Very lastly, 'Party of One' and 'Party Bomb' in case you need a panic button.

Oh yes! We go full on war with this. Which in light of a certain episode seems like it's jumped right out of one of the alternate timelines, with Pinkie Pie as it's Captain of the deadly team.

Strengths

Everything is disposable in some way. Sure, some cards do hold some uses like Roseluck and Sugar Bell but most are one shot abilities. Once they're spent, you can do what needs be done with them afterwards. They're only power at that point. Only a few cards have longer abilities and there's plenty of ways of generating fodder if needs be to make sure they're not munched on.

Sobra is the most powerful card in the deck, potentially. Throwing that down early then working to keep it happy and fed with spare cards means that you have a towering behemoth that rumbles through everything your opponent has to offer. If it becomes too powerful or it's advantageous for it not to be around, you have the means to dismiss the card while still making use of it. For example, Lilly could dismiss it, gain it's collected power for a turn then confront something for that turn.

Then a 'Pinkie Pie, PFF' could bring out another Sombra for when you're ready for him.

Another aspect of the deck being so disposable is that it's often hard to see where striking the deck's assembled friends would hurt it the most. Usually, these cards are often being disposed of left, right and center, so there's often not many cards that you couldn't do without. It's why they're being played usually.

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Reminds me of the Borg ships. Y'know, because they have redundant systems that
means that there's no perfect spot to strike it. No little lights or cockpit or anything like
a proper end of level boss.

It's such a vicious deck in the right hands. It steals friends as well as dismisses them, often feeding them to other cards to propel itself forwards at the same pace. Even around Troublemakers. If you have something vitally interesting or powerful to play with, you ought to watch out around this thing. It might be gobbled up somewhere.

Lastly, it's Problems are mainly unpleasant. They are largely dismissal so are all intended to force more dismissal of the opponent's more important cards while we could just throw something in the bin we're not using right now.

Weaknesses

King Sombra is a target so swollen and massive when at full power that it ought to have a neon sign saying 'YOINK ME!'. Other decks that have power gain as an advantage tend to have methods of avoiding dismissal, such as a Diligent deck and it's ability to distribute power across the cards evenly so that nothing is powerful enough to be a target. Sombra is just a walking monster that, while useful, can be taken out all too easily, so be careful.

Even worse is the pace of play you have to keep up with when Sombra is out. His consumption of characters is every turn so you must be able to play something every turn if you want to keep Sombra growing in power or if you want a choice in what Sombra eats. If you want to keep Sugar Bell and her enthralled friend, you need to keep throwing the big, nasty beast a string of bones so that your not forced to get rid of either of them.

There's no 'may' in that ability text. You have to do this per turn.

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"End of the turn? LUNCH TIME!"

Furthermore, you don't have a great deal of power elsewhere. A couple of cards can cause Eccentric effects, slowing down an opponent and dismissal can cripple a deck if struck at just the right time. However, there's little else other than raw play efficiency to overcome Troublemakers or tricky lockout situations. The deck can fight as dirty as it likes but a decent Purple deck with specialisation in movement can mess up most of this decks plans. White is able to tax its actions while Yellow is able to strike right at those precious Action Tokens directly, stunting the deck and forcing it to stumble.

Lastly, 'Bubbly Mare, Helping Hoof' is a Mane that restricts the opponent to playing one card of each type per turn. In a deck where friend play is vital, this is a bottleneck for the deck it could do without. A perfectly capable player can use this to choke Sombra to a standstill.

Where to Go from Here?

I'm toying with Token generation though I'm unsure if it's appropriate. Yes, generating extra fodder for Sombra and other cards is lovely but it's trying to find friends that will do it cheaply. Or at least, will do it constantly. 'Party Favor, Balloon Master' seems like a decent choice for this as it's entire point would be to be gobbled up then have something take it's place. If combined with an Aloe to double it's power, it could be highly lucrative.

Other considerations are making use of 'The Old Switcheroo' as it plays into the idea of adding more fodder to the furnace. The ruling might be a little muddy on what happens if you dismiss the card you swapped for. Still, more cards for the card monster. That would work wonderfully with cards like 'Pinny Lane, Bowl 'em Over' which would not only dismiss something but generate Action Tokens too.

Choo-choo! More coal for the Sombra train!

[​IMG]
I actually found this on Google Image search. What are the odds?!

Now, some Hasty characters would be lovely, right? Boom! 'Pinkie Pie, Filli-Second'! Cards in hand now have Hasty until the end of the turn. It even has Hasty itself. They also gain that ability when the card is flipped in Face-offs because of it's Chaos effect. That's fantastic! It means you can strike even when it's not your turn. Lightning speed play! Might be necessary to keep ahead of Sombra's appetite.

Oh! And if we wanted to be utterly unlikeable, 'DJ-Pon3, Loose Cannon' can dismiss everything at a problem if it's dismissed itself. That's kinda powerful if I feel like causing some extra havoc. If I wanted to push the vitriolic hate that bit further, I could add an extra card to steal characters with in the form of 'Hoops, Peer Pressurer' who gains more fodder or just something useful to attempt to confront a problem with. It also allows us another booby trap thanks to it's Chaos effect which steals a card for the duration of a Face-off. Tones of fun to be had.

By the user of this deck only. Your opponents are going to be grinding their teeth in irritation. And in the end, isn't that what we all want?

[​IMG]
"HAX! BAN THE HACKER!"
"It's a card game how am I meant to hack a -"
"I STILL CALL HAX!"

~|~​

There you go! Have some fun with this and I hope I helped out. Have fun guys and see you next time! Remember, you can contact me for any specific help as well as suggesting a new deck for me to pick apart on both Everypony.com or UK of E.

I've also been thinking of moving into other games like Magic or Vice Shwartz but I haven't the expertise yet. Maybe you'd be interested in helping out? Even as another MLP:CCG Deck Doctor to write articles here would be marvelous. Talk to me if you'd be interested because, this isn't as much fun on my own...

Spread this link if you enjoyed it! I'm done with the ending self-promotional thing.
  • rowcla
  • Tyro D. Fox
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