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The peaceful balance of YOU NO PLAY CODEX


#1

So here’s the deal.

I’ve recently stumbled on this cute little setup - [Peace] / Balance / Truth (blue starter optional).

Quick forum search unearthed no discussions (or even pbf games) relevant.

The problem with this setup is that it can consistently establish permanent lock on a game in majority of match-ups.

“Establish permanent lock” means “Your opponent stops playing Codex and watches helplessly for a few turns how you slowly finish him, giggling sadistically”.

Lock itself is simple. You play Moment’s Peace, which denies your opponent attacking with anything bar his Heroes. You also play Free Speech on the same turn to deny your opponent his spells and Hero abilities. Finally, you patrol with Art of War Onimaru who wrecks any hero trying to nose his way towards Quince, and (most of the time) there is no way for your opponent to do anything about it.

Then you proceed playing those 3 cards every turn for the rest of the game due to your deck being super thin thanks to his lordly grace Flagstone Garrison.

Now, what is so bad about this particular lategame plan that warrants a thread of its own? What makes it worse than Growth or Past or %insert_spec_here% shenanigans? My answer is - lack of hard answers in most of decks, lame duck syndrome, often lack of response opportunity window, and apparent easiness in achieving the lock itself.

The usual game starts with fairly standard Tier one back-and-forth, until sometime around turn 5-6 FSG + Cadets hit the table, immediately followed by Free Speech. At this exact moment you MUST break through patrol zone with your heroes silenced, or you can pack your stuff and leave (barring a couple of specs that have at least a glimmer of answer). For if you don’t, you will be Free Speech’d every turn from now on, and FSG will keep the board flooded with bodies until Moment’s Peace + Art of War come couple of turns later.

Now, it feels bad to be on receiving end of this. You draw your spells, you can’t play them. You play your units, you can’t attack with them. Your heroes are dummy bodies with blank textboxes. Maybe you even have a good answer, but it requires Tech 3 which gets rekt every turn so you can’t play it. Stuff you do does not matter. Stuff that would matter you cannot do. Unless you run one of the “right” guys on your team.

The “Right” Guys:
They can do something even against ongoing full lock.
Prynn is the best. Rememberer + Seer + Archon combo can clear patrol zone for Prynn (or any other hero) to waltz in and murder Quince, breaking the lock for a turn. Slow Time Generator potentially shuts down and prevents lock completely, even if it already is established. Both answers are fast enough to respond.
Vir has Reaver, but I have not tested it. I suppose it’s going to be super hard to setup though, as you can neither Unphase Reaver nor Now! it, it has to somehow survive a turn on the table which may be impossible since by the time it’s Forecast ends (bar Seer synergy), Art of War is probably already online.
Geiger may attempt to snipe Quince or Midori with Tricycloid. Octavian works too obviously, but he can be too late to the party.
Vandy’s Zarramonde can outright kill Quince, but, again, he may be too late.
Garth’s Corpse Catapult is cute, and it can potentially arrive early enough to be able to shoot one building before Onimaru snipes it (tech I recommended). However, even if it does, the lock may still be established - you need warm bodies to murder patrollers and fill opponent’s deck with them.
Quince, obviously, can win by playing Free Speech first. Wow. Degenerate. But should do the job.
Blood can try to burn the base directly with effects like Bugblatter, Bloodburn, Pirate Gang Commander combined with ethereal units. But it has to have a good lead in case of AoW race.
Fire can try the same with Firebat / Lobber or even Cinderblast. Or Firehouse. Protecting it would be a bitch though.

The Losers
Green has literally nothing. Their best bet is to deny Tech 2 altogether, which may be extremely hard if not impossible to do. Second-best bet is probably to rush Growth combos and attempt to break FSG patrol zone before Moment’s Peace happens.
White is in the same boat as Green. Black is also, kinda. Zarramonde and Catapult answers are not too reliable.
Red’s plan here is to rush rush rush, but they’re good at this, so I guess no big deal. However, if they fail to burn a good chunk of base health before FSG drops, they lose. Which happens. Often.

Soft counters (what to do if you’re up against it but don’t play Prynn)
First and obvious plan - try to rush and seal the game before tech 2. However, it’s usually very hard to do against a decent opponent - [Peace]/Balance/Truth are by no means a pushover in early game.
Try to tech in evasion units. You need them to snipe Quince after FSG + Cadets + Free Speech power turn. I used Gemscout Owl to chumpblock flyers, so keep that possibility in mind.
Other approach is to achieve extreme board dominance to be able to crush 3-5 patrollers that will be protecting Quince. But if you somehow managed such advantage, you probably already won anyway.
Last resort. If you were caught off-guard, invest all your gold in Heroes and do your best at protecting them from incoming Tiny Basilisks / Cadets. Your Rook is still a 4/6 even silenced. The threat of him coming and smacking Quince’s face with a fist might be enough to prevent Moment’s Peace from being cast, which, in turn, will keep your units relevant for at least a couple more turns before Art of War. Make use of that time.

Now, I did not test this team quite extensively enough yet. I tested them enough to see that experience is truly, truly outrageous. It’s by far the most broken tech 2 plan I encountered so far, and the worst part is that it seems to violate Codex’s core tenet of “a decent answer / counterplay to anything should be reasonably accessible”. Because not everyone wants to play Prynn.

If anyone already explored this deck and has a lot of good experience - please share. I want to believe it is not as broken as it seems.


#2

Why can you not protect Tech 3 against this set up, before Art of War is online?


#3

Because Tech 3 and Art of War usually happen around the same time. And then it gets burned every turn forever.
And even if your Tech 3 building survives, it has to be a relevant Tech 3 unit, i.e. Archon or Zarr. Archon is very good. Zarr, however, can be cutely shut down by Flagbearer. Which I guess I would tech if I saw Zarr’s threat on horizon. Cinderblast is basically “play ONE fire spell”, but that spell can be Fire Arrow bumped by Hotter Fire to Quince’s face, potentially. Gets shutdown by Flagbearer too, alas, but at least you may have Bloodburn to ping it - unless it was Naturalized before. The rest of t3s are even less relevant / harder to setup.


#4

This is a late game strategy that could face some serious problems in the early game. Still, I am glad you have brought it up, looks pretty strong against a few setups. However, it is weak to one of the strongest decks at the moment, Past/Peace/Anarchy. I’d be interested to see those duke it out.


#5

I’d be interested to see this in action, but it seems to require too much setup to be consistently reliable. You need at least a Tech II + Heroes Hall, 3 heroes on the board, plus Onimaru surviving to maxband, 3 specific cards drawn plus 7 gold to cast them, with a flagstone garrison in play to guarantee future draws.

It also isn’t sustainable. Let’s assume that you play all three of those spells and nothing else. Discard 2, draw 4. Next turn, you play all three again. Discard 1, draw 3. Play all three. Discard 0, draw 2. Eventually it becomes impossible to re-draw your deck.

Sorry, I just don’t see this being anywhere near as degenerate as you’re describing–though I’d welcome a PBF match to be proven wrong.


#6

I believe the idea being that you also attack with your units to continually trade and replay them to keep drawing cards.


#7

Anyway, I have used a deck similar to this; Balance/Peace/Law. I play it like a silly Art of War deck with possible Peace tech 2 then suddenly switch gears out of my early aggression into Law tech 2. Throws people for a loop and occasionally I get a free hard lock with Censorhip Council. Then Art of War and Justice Juggernauts appear, and my opponent has a bad time.


#8

I agree with this. Definitely worth testing, but it seems to require a lot of stuff to line up to pull off. You need to keep 3 heroes alive, 1 at maxband. Because you are keeping them alive you can’t really patrol them, at least not as your main defense. You also need to build and protect a Flagstone Garrison, Tech II, and Heroes’ Hall (the latter 2 only long enough to get all 3 heroes out to be fair), none of which can patrol either. And you have to do all of this while not having room to tech much of anything stronger than an Overeager Cadet. If you can pull off that kind of setup, you are going to win regardless of what your deck is.


#9


Yeah, this. You want to trade in at least a couple of your guys every turn to maintain hand size (2xFSG + 2 units played each turn to worker + spell trifecta).

What you are describing is full setup. Which I don’t need to online simultaneously. In practice, FSG + Quince + Free Speech are usually played together around T6, and it becomes super hard for your opponent to breakthrough already. The expected schedule is T7 Oni and Heroes Hall, T8 max Oni, T9 AoW + Midori + Moment’s Peace, and it is sealed. Real games rarely develop according to this, though - you obviously want to adapt to opponent’s moves.

It is actually a fairly standard monoblue opener strategy, which you usually counter by excessive Overpower units (Growth, Blood, Demons etc) or evasion (Finesse, Ninjutsu, Discipline, Future etc.) or maybe Tech 3 (Anarchy, Past).

Moment’s Peace breaks all these counters (except for Archon), leaving you only the aggro option, against which monoblue is fairly robust. Most aggro options involve Heroes’ Hall and spellcasting. If you commit to such strategy, you are pretty much all-in, and it might not always work, since those all-ins have been tested excessively by Sirlin and his crew to not be broken. Ironically, the “correct” answer to many of those all-ins is exactly Free Speech gameplan.

Actually, once you’ve provoked me to spell it all out it does not seem too much different from other instant-win shenanigans that come online at Turn 9. It’s just that most of these shenanigans have hard answers aplenty, and/or sacrifice board position to get there. For instance, Might of Leaf and Claw gets hated by Grave / Vir / Midori, and sacrifices board position for 3g upgrade. Various Nulcraft-buffing cheese can be soft countered by patrolling flyers. Meanwhile Balanced Truth hardly sacrifices any board since FSG produces board instead, and hate is so narrow. Also the horrible lame duck syndrome it brings. At least when you get Blooming Ancient’d its over in a single turn.


#10

It’s much easier than you make it sound because your opponent can’t play any spells or use his heroes’ abilities. He has to do it the hard way, blowing out your Garrisoned patrol or employing evasion. And most of evasion is Tech 2 as well, so… you can see where this is going.


#11

But what about the turns before you get everything set up? Garrison doesn’t come until you get your own Tech 2 going, and without it you can’t count on filling the patrol zone or consistent access to Free Speech (or Moment’s Peace). You aren’t exerting much board pressure before then, so decks that can put pressure on early seem likely to disrupt the combo from getting off the ground.

Perhaps it makes sense to test this in some real games. I’m up for a pbp if you want someone to test with.


#12

I mentioned the Free Speech + Moment’s Peace lock back on the combo thread on the old forum.

Your setup here is basically not any worse than most other Garrison Combos in that it’s a win when it happens. It’s not actually infinite as the tech II plan of Maxband River + Setsuki’s Ultimate + Smoker + either Drill Sargent or Blooming Ancient is.

What will be concerning is if ( unlike repeated free hasty stealth 1/1 ) it is actually a win condition you can pull off with any reliability against a skilled opponent. I encourage people to try it out in PBF games.


#13

[quote=“rabid_schnauzer, post:12, topic:741”]
What will be concerning is if ( unlike repeated free hasty stealth 1/1 ) it is actually a win condition you can pull off with any reliability against a skilled opponent. I encourage people to try it out in PBF games.
[/quote]If it’s a turn 7-9 win condition, is it actually that concerning? Or would it fall into the category of “if you let them set this up you probably got outplayed” like Garrison+DS bombs, or leaving a green player who went Growth at tech 2 with a bunch of board and then suddenly he’s got active Might of Leaf and Claw?


#14

Suiciding+replaying cadets with FSG doesn’t actually gain you the extra cards you need to support casting “three spells a turn” - FSG lets you play units without paying the card cost (and cycle faster), it’s not until you have TWO fsgs that you have the ability to go card-positive by playing cheapo units. (except Scribe, admittedly, but if you’re teching scribes as your tech one, that’s making your tech options REALLY tight, since scribes are not the strongest units in the world.)

But getting two FSGs on top of the other stuff is going to be that little bit harder for everything.

Also, don’t forget: Moment’s Peace means your units can’t patrol. So you can’t have both an “FSG patrol zone” and casting moment’s peace.

I mean … all that doesn’t make this bad, haha. but it makes it seem pretty beatable? And a few things claimed in this thread seem to be factually incorrect.

@Caphriel: A turn 7-9 win condition that follows multiple turns of soft lock might be moderately concerning, unlike the other examples - if you can drop moment’s peace and/or free speech repeatedly starting around turns 3-4, that can interfere pretty heavily with attempts to disrupt you.


#15

This here, sounds like my type of deck.

It might not be “top tier”, but it would get you out of pools easily enough ^^


#16

Vir can also assimilate the garrison unless you wait to play it after the lock is established.

I’m leery of decks that look weak to any monocolor deck, and Purple seems to have this one’s number.


#17

One is enough for a start. T5 FSG, Free Speech, Worker, cycle a couple of units is common, and reduces your handsize merely by 1 which is acceptable. But even two is not unreasonable. For instance, in a recent game I had a “bad luck” of not drawing a single FSG on turn 5, because they both were on the bottom of my 9 card deck, so it led to this:
Player 1 Turn 6
Gain gold (9) + scavenger(1) + gemscout(1) = 11
FSG (8)
FSG (5)
Quince(3)
Cadet(3)
Cadet(3)
Free Speech(1)
Worker up (0)
Discard 3, Draw 5.
Patrol with 2 cadets, mirror and Gemscout I had leftover from past turn. Opposing board had a hero and a couple of dudes, could not break my patrol without spells, which led to quick snowball on my side.

I absolutely take it into account in all my above posts. There is a narrow opportunity window to deny the lock during turns 6,7,8 before AoW + Moment’s Peace + Free Speech happen together. However, it is hard to execute while being silenced. If you have a board full of units, but no heroes (maybe because your hero died to Tiny Basilisk or Cadets offensive), Moment’s Peace will arrive ahead of schedule before Art of War. If you invest gold into a huge threatening hero body, Moment’s Peace won’t happen, you will have to fight through Garrisoned patrol, which may be tough because you have fewer units.
Someone like Drakk may be able to capitalize on this window with Crashbarrows or Shoddy Gliders, but if I see Blood tech 2, I’ll likely take my chances at Moment’s Peace before AoW and patrol Midori in SQL. It’s interesting to see how this plays out.

Turns 3-4 is overly ambitious, turn 5 is the earliest reasonable :slight_smile:

Vir can’t assimilate his own butt because he has a gag in his mouth :wink:
I’ve tested it vs. Zane, who has “trash a building” spell, and it’s useless because if you can’t cover FSG with Free Speech you simply don’t drop FSG in the first place.

Meh. You can always switch gears if you face Prynn and play Balance Tech 2 or the usual Drill Sergeant shenanigans. It’s not like you are forced to go for the lock. It’s Codex, not M:tG :stuck_out_tongue:

It’s a usual Codex game up until that point. TBH, very few games between good players end before Tech 2, judging by PbF at least. And those that do end so early involve some Ultimate Spell move at turn 3 or turn 4, which, IRONICALLY, is hosed by early Free Speech tech.

Well, if teching and playing 4x Cadets / Spectral Hounds / Basilisks in first 2 cycles is not board pressure then I don’t know what is.

I, um, really dislike pbp? =\ Most of my testing is real life with a PNP set. I encourage you to try it though :stuck_out_tongue:


#18

I don’t see how you are keeping that owl alive to turn 6 to gain the gold you need for 2 flagstone garrisons and free speech. If this is working consistently, I have some doubts about your opponents. If you don’t draw free speech on the same turn as the garrisons do you hold off? What if quince dies on turn 5?


#19

That means that at the end of turn 4 when you drew your unlucky turn 5 hand, you had teched 2 FSG, 2 Cadets 1 Free Speech and 1 Gemscout.

I can’t see how you can possibly hold off a decent player for 5 turns with just the blue starter and 2 Cadets. Pretty much any opposing deck should be able to put out threats which will mean that your tech 2 is unlikely to survive, at which point you have no out whatsoever.

I’m willing to give it a go, but I can’t see how you can tech that all-in and not get punished repeatedly by a decent opponent.

ETA: Incidently, I’d love to hear what you typically tech each turn. What are your usual choices for the first 5 turns?


#20

Additional answers:

Red also has Hotter Fire + Lobbers / Firehouse, which can either keep FSG off the table, or quickly burn out a base, is unaffected by Free Speech & Moment’s Peace (Bamstamper Lizzo can kill off Newsman), and includes more upgrades/buildings than Midori can trash with Nature Reclaims.
Trojan Duck, Maestro, and Plague Lord can also burn things out (Duck breaks Garrison; Maestro will quite quickly kill the base, Plague Lord x2 will race Onimaru, and if Oni diverts to kill Plague Lords, they can be re-played to wear down all heroes, eventually breaking the lock)

Any blue starter can play Newsman on 2 and just shut the whole thing down.

Also, just doing some quick math:
Turn 1-4: play random units / sacrificial heroes, build Tech I and Tech II, float 1 gold
Turn 5: 9 gold (10); FSG (6), Quince (4), Free Speech (2), Worker (1), Hero’s Hall (0)
Turn 6: 10 gold (10); FSG #2 (8), Free Speech (6), Midori (4), Moment’s Peace (2), 1-cost unit (0) <- one of your heroes has to patrol and die here, or you don’t get to Moment’s Peace?
Turn 7: 10 gold (10); 1 cost unit (9), Oni (7), Moment’s Peace OR Free Speech (5), Level up a hero (1), Worker (0) <- let’s say Midori dies here
Turn 8: 11 gold (11); Max Oni (8), Quince (6), Free Speech (4), Units (0) {note, we still haven’t found time/space to play Nature Reclaims on anything}
Turn 9: 11 gold (11); Art of War (8), Midori (6), Free Speech (4), Moment’s Peace (2)

And that’s all assuming your Overeager Cadets can die each turn and let you keep drawing extra cards off 2x Garrison - many decks have an option to patrol with just a bunch of 0 or 1 ATK things and deny you the card draw. And that turn 7-8 window when you drop one of your defenses (i.e. get a hero killed by your opponent attacking with their Heroes), you can just die to an Ultimate spell or a Tech III attacking.