The Deck Doctor - #1 - Who Needs Friends When You Have A Frighten Deck?

Published by Tyro D. Fox in the blog The Leather Bound Book. Views: 562

So...I figured I'd do a smaller review idea thing for fun and because I thought that the gap between the last review and Kill La Kill was too big. So...How about a smaller thing?

On Card Games? Because I've become hard wired that way over the last year. Plus, you guys do know that I will review pretty much anything under the sun if you ask me, right? I even did Five Nights at Nightmare Fuel for this site on request!

Still, without a further ado, the Doctor is in.

Deck Doctor - #1 - Frighten Decks

So, because the My Little Pony: Collectible Card Game has it's claws in me pretty bad, we'll be reviewing a few decks I could find from the communities I frequent for this sort of thing.

Yeah, none from here because no one else has submitted a deck yet. Sorry...If you play, I'd be more than happy to take a look.

Case #1 - Jonquil - Submitted to UK of Equestia

Ah! A most difficult and awkward of decks to construct within the game: the frighten deck!

For those looking over without much of an idea of what's going on, let me explain: if you imagine that the game is like two opposing armies attempting to take control of at least one of two control points for as long as they can, then 'Frightening' an opponent's cards is essentially incapacitation.

A frightened card can't do very much at all. They're turned face down and then simply languish in place. They can't be moved unless some cards allow it, they can't use abilities, can't lend their power for anything and ordinarily require 2 Action Tokens to return them to normal.

Again, in normal circumstances. Orange decks tend to be the best at resisting frightening, especially cards like 'Megaphone' which will un-frighten everything you control if you flip a chaotic card. Not too bad but a little tricky to pull off.

Finally! A deck for me!

Anyway, this deck shows an interesting approach to a Frighten Deck: movement speed. The Rainbow Dash Mane is able to be flipped rather easily by being at a problem with two pegasi cards (even opponent's cards count). Once flipped, the keyword 'Swift' is added to the card, making it a breeze to get moving around. It's also teamed with 'Scootaloo, Fan Club Founder', a card that will follow the Mane Character at the cost of being exhausted when they get there.

It's not called 'Stalkerloo' for nothin'.

This means the card is unable to lend power that turn but it's still a cheap way of getting power across the field. In addition, there's 'Two of A Kind' which allows the movement of two characters for the price of one and the cost of laying a Troublemaker. Certainly not bad.

Why do I mention this? Well, Frighten as a tactic is powerful and intimidating. You are rendering a character inert, exacting an Action Token penalty on your opponent on top of picking off parts of their strategy as it stands at that point. If you can get down at least one 'Rainbow Dash, Goosebump Giver' you are in business as you can chain that frighten action like a little plague!

However, it's often very expensive. In the deck in question, to get a frighten ready, you'd need to get at least 3 Blue on the field, likely flipping Rainbow Dash. Then, you'd have to use at least two action tokens, which in early game, might not be so viable as you're often using that to move around. In a Dismissal Deck, at least the card you're getting rid of is out of the game and into the Discard Pile. Unless your against White or certain Orange cards, you're not seeing it again.

Seeing as the action is so costly, factoring in movement speed is a good idea as, you can stun a key character in your opponent's strategy then attempt to move other cards around with the remaining Action Tokens. If you have a decent amount of cards with Swift or any other movement abilities, you might just be able to make something very viable.

No all of us get to swim in Action Tokens like this guy up here in his money pool.
Got to work within your means.​

Lastly, I commend the troublemaker choices. While there are better ones available (a villain perhaps?), Parasprite Swarm is a natural choice for this type of deck. Sure, it's frighten ability if you sit there long enough is appealing but I always liked the ol' trick of adding a 'Fiery Temper' when it's counter reaches 7. That bypasses the check which only triggers at 8 and will carry on growing more powerful forever.

Silly, but true.

The Yellow Parasprite is a very reliable early game troublemaker. If you can hit your opponent with at least one, you can begin munching on their hand almost immediately. The Windigo, on the other hand, is a much more late game card. While weak comparatively, it prevents a certain number of characters to challenge the card. It's an effect that lessens over time but it means it does work best when revealed at a problem your opponent believed they had secure.

The Prescription

I'd consider finding bits and pieces from the 'Nightmare Moon' starter deck. Mainly, the Changeling Drone which gains power from all friends that have been frightened. Failing that, consider figuring out something else for your Purple cards to be doing than just offering off-colour.

You can try the Nightmare Moon mane but I think it might hurt rather than help your deck.

Aww...Don't worry Moonie! We'll get to a deck with you in soon.

There are a few things that come to mind. One being a Token Generator like 'Twilight Sparkle, All-Team Organiser' or 'Truffle' to help pay for both movement and frightening. While they would likely only be there to be put at home then constantly exhausted, they are lending some much needed support.

Another possibility could be 'Twinkleshine, Outside the Box'. With your Troublemakers comes the need to gain some advantage to ensure they stay for as long as you need them. Some do this with draw chance but it's possible to do so with the 'Inspired' keyword. Being able to see the top cards of a deck and alter them could give you just enough of an edge to ensure the opponent never get's what they need.

Next, how about resources? At the more common end of the scale, we have 'Study Session' which is played to home. Now, if you frighten an opponent's friends and they try to just replace them with new friends, they will enter play exhausted, delaying them even further.

Next, there's 'Monstrous Manual'. Yes, that sounds weird but it's not for Troublemaker's attacking you, it's for your own Troublemakers. You see, when a problem is resolved and then changed, this resets everything around it, including the removal of active troublemakers. Inactive ones are spared this, so, 'Monstrous Manual' can help you keep, say, a tenacious 'Parasprite Swarm' you happen to have out on the field, saving it from dismissal.

Going up the scale of scarcity, we have 'I Can't Decide'; a Report Resource that will cheaply allow you to repel at least one opponent friend from a problem. There's always the dreaded 'Utterly Drained' that will remove a Mane Character's abilities but lastly, and likely most interestingly:

'Golden Oak Library' is likely the best Purple Resource you will ever need for this deck. Once it's down, it will allow you to dig through your deck a little and pick out Event cards. Considering that you're likely to be anticipating your 'Thunderclaps' one of these could help the wait feel less like a needle in a haystack.

I hope that helps.

Case #2 - Metaphor - Submitted to UK of Equestia

So, Metaphor...What did your opponent do? Did someone hurt you? Why are you lashing out like this? What did they do, Metaphor? What did they do?

This is a Chill Pill. I want you to take it and then call me back in the morning. Trust me, I'm a Doctor.

In this Article at least...

For those not in the know, the deck contains the basic necessities for a decent Frighten deck ('Goosebump Giver', 'Celestia, Fair but Firm', 'Changeling Drone', 'Crystal Guard', Nightmare Moon Mane). All of these give plenty of oppotunities to frighten a character. While heavy frightening is certainly powerful, the concern with the deck is it's off-colour.

Those black cards are 'Colourless' characters. While they can still be used to solve problems, these usually come with some harsh penalties that affect the entire game for both opponents. Usually, you might see one or two of these guys in a deck.

Metaphor has put in three. Each with a crippling ability.

Worst/Best case scenario is that both opponents can't score more than two points per turn, can't cause face-off's and can't draw any more than two cards. So, for both opponents, they will have to crawl to 15 points one point at a time.

To make things worse (or better), Metaphor plans to not only be frightening opponent cards to render them useless but utilising various events and resources to make those frightens count as hard as possible. 'Unending Nightmare' wastes precious Action Tokens the opponent needs to un-frighten cards by automatically reversing the effect. 'Faint of Heart' can dismiss frightened friends, making it the only dismissal I know of that needs Blue. 'Train Tracks' forces a friend to become frightened for the entirety of an opponent's turn unless they exhaust two characters. Then, to cap it off, a further tax on recovering from a frighten by way of 'The Scariest Cave in Equestria'. Good grief! When a frighten lands, it's going to count.

And yet, I can see pretty glaring flaws in this deck. A few of them are quite simple.

Off-colour is necessary to satisfy the secondary requirement on problem cards. While a colourless character can do this just fine, Metaphor doesn't have very much of it in this deck. Yes, the deck hovers at a lean 45 cards but this doesn't change the fact that we're looking at about a 1/5 chance of getting a vital, incredibly necessary card because he only has two of the three Colourless character. Add onto that the fact that each card is 'Unique', meaning that only one of each card may be in-play at any time. If finding the colours you need is becoming a problem during a game, you may have to throw down as many frightens as possible.

Which, as we've discussed, is expensive. Investing in all the Events and Resources to boost frighten capabilities can only do so much if your opponent is comfortably romping home with their star characters.

And that's where I feel this deck fails. It desperately needs to lock down the game as hard and as quickly as it needs the breathing room in order to pick off cards while drawing in each point, one at a time. Forgetting the 1/5 chance of drawing one of these vital cards, dismissal decks could pick this apart easily as it would simply pick off each Colourless character then plough on as if nothing ever happened.

A decent Troublemaker deck could cause some serious havoc with the plan to slooooowly rack up points just by appearing. Even more so if it's a villain, which would stomp through everything then frighten all involved. Which would waste Action Tokens for yourself as you un-frighten everything.

Heck! Even a half-decent Aggro deck could punch through it with the right cards or the right Mane. Various Orange cards would laugh at the implication of being struck with such a thing and continue onwards, one powerful card being a particular version of Maud Pie. Plus, both Rainbow Dash Manes can move friends around very easily. Un-frighten one thing then rush up to whatever's dealing points.

The Prescription

I would consider having a bag of lollipops on hand to give to any opponents that have to fight this thing because, when working optimally, this is brutal. I struggle to think of a Tempo Deck better equipped to make people cry.

There are somethings that offering tender gestures of love cannot fix. At the moment, this deck is neck and neck with Nonose McSuperEvil up here. And we know his hugs are crap!

But as I said, watch out for decent players that will likely be able to throw their own strengths in the way of your progress. Plus, remember that your off-colour has a 1/5 chance of appearing, making getting them down for the basic task of solving your own problems (let alone imposing the game wide rule changes) that much harder. You can just spam your opponent's problem for points if you're in a pinch but you leave yourself wide open for dismissal, troublemakers, soft-dismissal, 'A Simple Mixup' plays, 'Pony Charms' and agro decks forcing face-offs and stealing points from you due to a not hugely exciting flip average.

But, frightening is a mighty thing in this deck and that does deserve recognition. If you can bring a deck to a standstill, you're sitting pretty. Even so, I would recommend finding room for some more off colour to help the deck compete when it's not being very forthcoming with the cards you need.

Of course, if this is a gimmick deck, feel free to ignore everything I said and have fun.

Anyway, remember: I do take requests because I am but one dithering shut-in and can only find so much new stuff to talk about. If you want to see it on here, let me know! Or offer to write it yourself.

Again, a thing that you've always been able to do.
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