So I had what I thought was a good turn, but turns out I forgot that suiciding Zane levels Calamandra. So this is a do-over at taking the turn. Let’s look at what options I have left (all lines presume worker):
Line A: Play Grave, Grappling Hook the Savior Monk to Lookout, Safe Attacking, Fox Primus safely kills the Savior Monk, Aged Sensei, Grave patrolls in SQL. To kill Grave, Dreamfire needs to pay for Midband and also pay for the off-color Grappling Hook. That means he’s either missing his Tech I, or he’s not playing any units (in which case, Sensei’s Advice + Primus + Aged Sensei gets a kill and two levels for whatever hero I played). But Tech I isn’t that important with Calamandra maxband, and a world where he gets maxband Calamandra AND has a patroller is kind of scary. But wait, he couldn’t afford Flagbearer or Primus in that line, so it’s either Viper, Smoker, or Sensei, all of whom have 1 defense and Zane can kill even in SQL. So as long as I draw Sensei’s Advice, it works out…but I go down to 1 card in this line, so it’s 3 cards in 6. It’s a coinflip, and Snapback isn’t really an out (Grave will be on CD, so needing a hero where Snapback is off color means I have to skip worker to play it. I guess maybe maxband Calamandra is bad enough that I’d do it, but not feel good about it.)
Line A2: As A1, but Aged Sensei patrols in Scav or Tech and Grave sits on the sidelines. Now, Calamandra needs to midband and discard two cards to kill Grave, but doesn’t require the grappling hook.I think this is probably worse, funny enough. While in the normal scheme of things, making them spend 1g is less impactful than making them spend a card (1 card is the correct comparison, not 2, because Grappling Hook is a card), the gold pinch is kind of criticial here and of course there’s the chance that they just don’t have Grappling Hook (in which case line A1 is really good). Going really low on cards doesn’t really matter when Calamandra maxbands, and this gives one more precious gold for Dreamfire to mount a defense.
Line B: Fox Primus trades with Savior Monk, Aged Sensei and Smoker into Scav/Tech slots, Tech I. Basically the line where we don’t give Calamandra a hero to kill, so maxbanding requires a full investment of 4g. When we get the Tech 1, it also makes the Calamandra maxband less scary because we can tech in Hooded Executioners and stymie his plan to play few but powerful units. I don’t really like how this puts me behind on the board when I’m player 1, though.
Line C: Play Aged Sensei and Smoker, Fox Primus to SQL, Aged Sensei to Elite, Smoker to Scavenger, Tech I. He has to midband Calamandra to kill Fox Primus (or use off-color Grappling hook). In either case, he either pays two MORE to level up, or Calamandra is limping around injured. If he has off-color grapple, he can choose to return Smoker to my hand or kill Sensei.
I think it’s not B. I either want the big play where I get the free trade (but at risk of danger on the next turn), or go fully conservative and lean on the patrol zone bonuses. Let me pretend he has the grappling hook and the worst case draw (probably Viper). So Calamandra is maxbanded, and there’s a Fox Viper in SQL. Primus with Sensei does get a free kill… and then I can just do Tech 1 and build up some other force. But if I don’t draw my Tech I unit turn 4, the Predator tiger could just eat my workers and that’s basically gg. The world where he maxbands Calamandra but also plays Tech I is not scary, because Primus + Zane can just kill the Tech I.
Whereas in C…he can have Calamandra and the Savior alive, and Savior heals them yeah okay that’s rough as hell. So I guess I’m doing the flashy, kind of risky Line A after all.
For tech, I think I’ll discount the scenario where Grave is left alive. If Grave lives, I don’t really need to rely on my Tech choices to be in a good spot. I can just spend my money leveling Grave and building Tech I. If I do tech I units, they’re a dead draw if I get them in my first 3 in 7. For somethign playable next turn, it needs to be Garth or Zane spells. There’s an arguement that I risk the dead draw just to give myself a better chance of playing Tech I units on turn 4 in case he does a T3 Predator Tiger. But if I do Nether Drain, he needs to maxband again, either spending 2 or finding a way to kill Garth.
Chaos Mirror is actually a really interesting out, come to think of it. Because of Frenzy 1, Fox Primus swapped with Calamandra can kill maxband Calamandra all by herself. Actually if Sensei buffs it’s even a safe kill. Line A and teching in double Chaos Mirror might be the way to go. Yeah, let’s do it, this seems correct. Since I’m so down on cards, commiting to not building Tech 1 next turn either is not that bad.