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CAPS 2017: EricF ([Peace]/Balance/Anarchy) vs. payprplayn ([Necro]/Blood/Law)

Yea Necro Tech 2 and Lord specifically are worthwhile for their face value, not just the tech 3 trickshot. And it synergizes well with Drakk (hasty Wights or Necromancers are also scary ^_^). Still though, I think more often than not, you’ll be better off with blood tech 2 and using the Skeletons as Bugblatter fodder :wink:

So Bugblatter is better than corpse catapult for that purpose?

In general I would say yes. YMMV on a case by case basis, but 20 base damage can go by in a flash with blood :wink: Corpse Catapult is slow, Bugblatter can start going straight base right when you lay it down by causing mayhem with your other units, and works double-time by utilizing opposing unit deaths as well.

I am not the leading expert on black or red though. Those are by far the colors I expected to like least coming into my time playing the game, and while I’ve played and enjoyed them a lot more than I expected to, I would not consider myself a natural for either playstyle :wink: White and Purple are my favorite starters I think, with Green right behind them.

For red speciality, I’d defer to @Shax and maybe @petE or @cstick? Black… idk who do we collectively think are the strongest black players, forum? @zhavier and @Jadiel play a lot of black start I think, and do it well. @Bob199 was one of the first Necro/Blood players I faced, he seemed to have the idea of it pretty well. @EricF is just generally pretty fantastic at this game, and I’ve seen him play plenty of mean Red and Black-centric decks

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I hear you. I just love the idea of the Necro skeleton army plan, though. If you were optimizing a codex for Necro tech II, with other strategies viewed simply as potentially useful contingencies, would it still be [Necro]/Blood/X? Would the X be Truth? It’s a little annoying that the thing I intended my codex to do is not the thing that it’s best at doing. It’s one thing if that’s just because I didn’t build it properly, but it kind of undercuts Sirlin’s intent that all specs be balanced if the best possible codex for using Necro tech II is better at Blood tech II. Not that I have anything against Blood tech II, it just makes me feel like if I’m using the spec I like, I’m doing it wrong, which is offputting.

I hear you on that. I really want to play Strength tech 2 in Growth/Strength decks, and Spirit of the Panda doubling Barbarians, but more often than not it seems Growth tech 2 is the better play :confused: I also want to play Hive in Future tech 2, but usually it seems like Future Tech 2 plays to win by using Omegacron or a hasted Void Star.

That isn’t to say you can’t win by playing Necro Tech 2 though. I’d say if you wanna play for Necro tech 2 and Drakk, Strength is a decent sub for Law, as is Demonology.

  • Birds synergize great with Drakk midband, Rook is a great early-game nuisance, and Boulder gives you a way to protect Skeletons (plus mythmaking can make Jandra scary as shit)
  • Vandy is just generally nasty and gives you a second hero that doesn’t pay taxes on Deteriorate or StW, she’s scary with Bloodlust, ZZara is one of the best trickshot Tech 3s, and Dark Pact is a great way to help you dump units on the board for a War Drums or dig for a Lord.

All that said, I think Mono-Black or Demon/Necro/Finesse are both fine decks for specifically wanting to play Necro Tech 2. They also play to win in most cases by doing something other than Necro Tech 2, but part of the whole reason for that is Necro Tech 2 isn’t Necro’s strongest aspect, and is balanced as such. Garth and Necro Tech 1 are some of the strongest hero + Tech 1 combos in the game, and Necro Tech 2 is somewhat situational to counter-balance that.

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What you got happens if a link is on its own line. If you want it to show as a link, it needs to be part of a paragraph. If you want to quote part of a post, I’ll direct you to two answers I got on quoting things from another topic:

Also, be aware that quoting people seems to strip out newline characters and some formatting things, so everything runs together into a single unformatted line unless you manually put it all back in (case in point, I had to separate mysticjuicer’s quote back into three lines.

Thanks, I changed it.

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I really like your recommendations, and I get your point about Necro tech II being situational to balance out its strong hero and tech I. I hadn’t thought about it that way before. I guess I just assumed that when the game was balanced, it wasn’t just by spec and faction, but by hero and tech II/III as well, to avoid exactly this sort of thing. I guess doing that really evenly while maintaining balance on a whole-spec level would require balancing tech I’s against each other, which would really limit the amount of variety that the game could provide at tech I. Or I’m completely full of crap and have no clue what I’m talking about. That’s also a possibility.

I always assumed that within a spec, say, certain tech II units would be stronger than others (like your example with Hive/Omegacron) but I never realized that certain specs just have stronger tech II’s to make up for their weaker heroes. Of course, by that logic, Blood tech II should also be weak, because Drakk is amazing, but that’s certainly not the case, though I suppose blood tech I is pretty middling. Anyway, I started writing this post mainly to thank you for yours, and then kind of got lost in the weeds. So, thanks. :smile:

Yeah it’s precisely that. And as it turns out, having strong heroes and tech 1s is a big deal, and way more valuable than a strong tech 2 or 3 :wink: Present Tech 2 is awesome but Geiger and Present Tech 1 are nothing super special. Peace Tech 2 is crazy good but Cadet, Brave Knight, and Oni with his spells do not cause mass havoc in the first 3-4 turns. Cadets only become great with Battle Suits and Garrison(s).

Each spec is balanced in that it has good / great pieces in the right situation that it can bring to a deck to provide it with options at every stage of the game, but not every card in every spec is as viable as every other card in a general sense. There are some cards that are really hard to justify teching / playing, and others that it’s tough not to tech / play them.

Drakk is amazing in some ways but not game-bendingly OP by any stretch. And Blood tech 1 is close to bottom-tier. Crash Bombers aren’t awful but aren’t universally great, and the Mine is almost unplayable.

As someone who just finished CAWS with Blood/Strength/Growth, I can without a doubt say the most challenging part of playing that deck was how weak its tech 1 spectrum is. Only 4 units, nothing with 3 attack, only boulder that has 3+ HP and can immediately patrol… It’s plain to see why Anarchy is better suited to bringing the red starter to that combo, as Taxman by itself is hugely valuable as a 3/3 2-cost with good utility. Not to mention Surprise Attack + Might of Leaf and Claw :wink: As much as hasty frenzied Doubling Barbarbarians are a tasty combo to dream of dropping, I think you need the Green starter to focus on that specific combo.


I kind of think Blood tech 1 units are mostly the tech 1 units you kidnap from your opponent. :wink:

Well yes, but Kidnapping turn 3 / 4 (the usual tech 1 phase) is a high percentage of your available gold. Can sometimes be worth that investment (like, if you can trade a Bone Collector into a damaged midband Grave for a simultaneous wipe of your opponent’s board and free Drakk levels ^_^) but also can often be spending a lot and not actually doing that much (like if you are taking an opposing SQL Argonaut / Stewardess / Brave Knight and simply weakening it to kill a tech 0 in technician. No hero kill, you spend 4 gold and a card to slightly damage a tech 1 unit and eliminate 1/2 gold and no card b/c technician? Oof, that’s a rough card to have spent a tech on)

Darn it, why have you already covered most of what I was about to say? :wink:

I’ll just throw in a couple things from the wall of text I had before…

For starters, this is a new enough game that there’s no way anyone can be certain what the best codex for any particular plan is. Sure, odds are high that [Past]/Peace/Anarchy is the “optimal” codex for a Peace Engine deck, but lots of other builds are viable for that strategy. I think the history of tier lists for Melee might be helpful for understanding this. The first list was created almost a year after the game released in North America, and a new list was made as recently as December of 2015. Characters at the top in the first list (Sheik, Falco, Fox, Marth) are still at the top, but the order has changed and other characters have turned out in hindsight to be much better than anyone thought one year into the game’s lifespan (look at Jigglypuff – she started out somewhat low, but at one point she was ranked higher than Sheik, the character initially thought to be the best). I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but my point here is mostly that no one should get discouraged if the “best codexes” don’t line up with how they want to play. Keep experimenting! It’s too early to consider anything set in stone, not by a long shot.

@FrozenStorm, I definitely feel you on the whole Growth spells + Strength Tech II thing, but it still seems like a strong option if the opponent has ways to remove MoLaC. It’s definitely the best if you’re using Blood instead of Anarchy, since the latter at least has the option of Gunships as an alternative. I think that’s another key to the balance issue: Even if a specific codex has a game plan that it wants to go for (MoLaC with [Anarchy]/Strength/Growth, Peace Engine for PPA), you still have multiple fallback plans if your opponent has something that makes the main plan unfeasible. Maybe the “best” way to play a codex with Growth and haste is MoLaC, and maybe the “best” way to play a codex with Blood and Necromancy is Graveyard & Crashbarrow shenanigans. On the other hand, maybe an opponent would punish you super hard if you tried it, so you use a somewhat weaker but still good option, like Dinosized Barbarbarians or Frenzied Skeleton hordes. That’s why I love Codex; I don’t have to worry about locking into a single strategy from turn 1, like in other card games I’ve played over the years. For some reason, I have a much easier time explaining that here than I did when I was talking to a Magic fan last weekend…

Anyway, this still ended up being a small wall of text in the end. I’ll just leave it here and bid you both good night!


Very much this. Just because the “strongest thing your deck offers” (or “Plan A”) is what you’ll usually do with it, you won’t always do it. There are always opposing decks or openings that will make the “best” option for your deck seemingly much weaker than your “Plan B or C”

Part of what makes Necro/Blood fun is it has two very good but very different strong options. Against a deck that is faster to a hard power spike than Graveyard + Blood Tech 2 but lacks token clear like Degrey / Discord / Rewind, you will likely worker Graveyard and focus on an early hero’s hall for Drakk + Skeleton pressure. Against Vir, BEWARE OF GAME PLANNING FOR MOLAC. You may still end up playing for Blooming Ancient and Growth tech 2, but hasty Dinosized Doubling Barbs might work better, depending on the board state turn 3/4. Dinosized Doubling Barbs are a strong game plan, and in a different way than Dinosized Barrows or Gliders.

The only thing that is clear this early in Codex’s metagame is that there isn’t one totally dominant gameplan. Each one does have a weakness. Some matchups are more tilted than I think the design intended, but that’s more of a hunch than a proven certainty.


Well, I don’t think Sirlin ever intended for every codex to be balanced against every other. In fact, I’m pretty sure he said as much. The stated goal iirc was along the lines of A) all of the mono-colored decks are well balanced against each other, and B) There are many multi-color codices that can stand up to (and even slightly surpass) the mono-colors, without vastly outstripping them. A) was achieved, as I understand it, by specifically balancing those codices, while B) was achieved by creating a lot of rich interaction, and then applying a global nerf to multicolor codices to prevent them from being too powerful. That approach is necessarily going to mean that a lot of multicolor codices are pretty weak. Do you mean that some of the mono-color codices/matchups are more tilted than intended?

I think if I remember the stated goals from the “Sirlin on Game Design” podcast correctly, it was something to effect of

A) Define a “well balanced matchup” as being no more favored than 6.5-3.5 for either side in a 10-game series of two expert players, where ideally the majority are 5.5-4.5 or 5-5 straight up

B) All Mono vs mono should be well balanced, with perhaps one or two exceptions being 7-3

C) No “sane” multi should be worse than 3-7 or better than 7-3 against any mono (of course, intentional anti-synergy multis are expected to be worse than 3-7 in many matchups)

In other words, “no sane decks (especially the designed mono-decks) should sit down at the table and already be highly likely to lose the game before it begins”, where highly likely to lose the matchup is 75% or more games in that matchup.

I don’t think that’s the case.

I think PPA might be 7-3 or better against most / all monocolors.

I think Necro/Blood/(Truth or Fire) might be 7-3 or better against most / all monocolors.

I think (Necro or Demon)/Strength/Growth or Growth/Strength/(Necro or Demon) might be 7-3 or better against most / all monocolors.

As for mono-colors, I think Blue vs Black specifically is a 8-2 or 9-1 in favor of the Black player. I recognize that’s a bold claim to make, and by no means am I sure I’m right (I’ve played a lot but I wouldn’t call myself an expert. I miss lethal damage an embarrassing amount of times).

I’ve played 15 or so games of Black vs Blue though, against multiple opponents (but mostly with @Youngbuck), with P1/P2 flip-flopped, on both sides of the matchup. It is VERY hard for Blue to get any kind of opening against early Vandy / Dark Pact pressure. Oni and Tower are basically required early, Law Tech 2 stall with Scribes and Insurance Agents to try and get off a lawbringer gryphon, with Free Speech drawn at opportune times to stave off Metamorphosis. I think that’s the only Blue win we managed, and it was with some variant play from the optimal Black play we found. See below:

Blue vs White and Black vs Purple are better balanced mono matchups than the ones boxed as expansions, and I at one point advocated for the expansions to be boxed as such (mootly, they’d already been finalized, and I didn’t have as much evidence of Black v Blue being so tilted at the time anyway).

Blue vs Purple I just got done playing 5 games of, and that actually seems to heavily favor the blue player (it won all 5 games, see below link).

Take all this with a grain of salt. It’s way too early to know much of anything for certain, hardly anyone is good enough at the game to be considered expert (I’d only nominate EricF myself, with nothing but respect for the other PbP tournament regulars). A lot of current results are skewed by beginner mistakes.

The game is still a lot of fun even with two experienced and thoughtful players in a seemingly skewed matchup. I have fun w/ that Blue v Black matchup and welcome any Blue player to try and beat me on Black, and I still get a kick out of trying the Blue side once in awhile myself. Glutton for punishment I suppose ^_^.

It’s pretty unreasonable to expect a game with this many unique cards to totally avoid some heavily skewed matchups. Overall, the game is really beautifully balanced and I come to this forum pretty much every day to play or spectate because it’s a really fun and interesting game. It’s certainly light years ahead of MtG and Hearthstone, for my money, and deserves to be treated as such. I want it to be a highly successful game that many people play for a long time. But I don’t think it was a universal success in the “you can’t lose before the game starts just because of the matchup” department. I’ve definitely looked back on games where I felt like I knew exactly what my opponent was going to do, was proven right, and still couldn’t find an opportunity for strong counterplay.

I’m open to the idea that I’m just bad at the game though :wink:

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This is a lousy shorthand for Zarramonde, in my opinion. I propose that his new nickname should be “ZZ Top”.


By “couldn’t find an opportunity” do you mean you felt like your codex had no answers to that strategy, or just that you weren’t drawing them? It’s still a card game, after all, and whether or not you can be beaten by the matchup, you can definitely be beaten by bad draws.

In my own brief time playing the game, I’ve also felt like I could predict my opponent’s plays, but could do nothing to stop them. In my case though, and admittedly I’m a much greener player than you, so this is to be expected, I’ve been able after the fact to figure out either A) that there was actually something I could have done to stop that play, or B) There was something I could have/ should have done one or more turns earlier to avoid winding up in that situation. This is leaving aside the situations where I had simply failed to draw the cards I needed, which is bound to happen sometimes. It does seem to me a bit far-fetched that someone as balance-obsessed as David Sirlin would spend ten years developing this game and then release it with one of the featured matchups being that lopsided. The dominance of the top-tier multi-colored codices is much easier to believe, since those particular builds may have not received as much focus in playtesting.

I just want to say, from a new player perspective, that this has been a wonderful and informative discussion to follow.


You’ve won my vote :wink:

Both. I’ve felt at times like “I need to hit a really good draw to stop this”, and at other times like “even if I could fix my hand to whatever I wanted right now, I would still be just delaying a loss rather than preventing it”.

When I started out, I felt this way in a lot of matchups. Even in Red vs Green! But I will say that matchup in particular is SPECTACULARLY balanced IMO, and definitely the right one to be called “the core game”. Both decks have cards that look not so great from one angle, but can stealthy dominate certain strategies for the opposing deck. That matchup is still fun the 20th time you play it.

But yea, by the 10th game of Black vs Blue YoungBuck and I had the Black tech tree pretty solidly road-mapped. Both players knew what was coming for Black each turn (See below and try Black for yourself in the matchup). The fact that Black gets to draw so many cards with Dark Pact, has illusion kryptonite in Deteriorate in its starter (so Aven and Hound’s usual strength is negated), and Black can bleed Blue’s cards in so many different ways (Imp, Shadow Blade, Carrion Curse) means the Blue can’t stay at card-parity.

Black plan vs Blue

T1: Vandy or Garth, drop whatever else you can afford in your hand
T2: Tech 1 + HH + any other units you can afford, use Deteriorate to get any kind of favorable trade. Tech Dark Pact and Shadow Blade or Nether Drain or Bone Collector
T3: Dark Pact, Garth and Vandy now out, flood the board, trade units off for any card advantage you can, Tech the other Dark Pact and whatever you didn’t tech / is situational of BC/ND/Shadow Blade (maybe doom grasp if max Oni is an immediate threat)
T4: Continue crushing card advantage with Dark Pact, Tech Cursed Crow and Metamorph
T5: Build tech 2 disease, make a big play with Vandy maxband, dark pact for card advantage like it’s going out of style
T6: Orpal, Meta, fetch Cursed Crow or Cursed Ghoul as situation dictates. Crush building(s) with meta’d Garth and Vandy

Congrats, you’ve won! Any turn Free speech is played, you just use your board to exercise the domination of your card advantage previous / incoming.

I’m sure this was tried (though not in the game I looked at), but reputable newsman at 0 seems pretty key here. Seems like it should at least disrupt the initial script a little bit.