Geiger’s traditional niche is that he’s a low-powered character who makes up for it with extra consistency. All his character chips help him have the right chip at the right time.
But a novice playing Geiger might well find him less consistent than a character like DeGrey. Indeed, all his character chips do nothing if they’re drawn at the wrong time - It’s Time for the Past fizzles if there’s no discard pile, Research and Development fizzles if it’s drawn after all of Geiger’s purples, and Future Sight is a wasted ender if it’s drawn at the same time as another, more important ender.
Therefore, without foresight, Geiger’s consistency is quite inconsistent.
The “Two Hands” strategy
Geiger can reclaim his spot consistency champion with careful cycling control. Each turn, he draws just enough chips to cycle his discard during cleanup. His hand, minus one chip, ends up back in his bag. Repeat, and he’s alternating between two hands, the contents of which stay consistent from turn to turn. And he can pass chips back and forth between them with pigs and Research and Development. He usually uses this strategy to pack enough money in one hand for a specific big buy, while packing combines or a puzzle chip combo into the other. As long as he keeps R&D separate from Future Sight and a purple, he can exactly plan several turns into the future.
Geiger can keep this cycling mode for four or five turns from the start of the game with Future Sight and pile height bonus. To extend it, he wants a Gem Essence for thinning or a trickle of cycling chips like Axe Kick. And if he draws a bit too heavily, the pigs on Future Sight can put a brake on his cycling speed.
The biggest cost of this strategy is that it sacrifices It’s Time for the Past. There’s never a discard pile for it to pull from. But that drawback can be overcome with even more care.
Another way to fix the fizzling character chips is tactically shuffling the discard. Geiger starts the turn with most of his deck in the discard and plays It’s Time for the Past (if he has it). He overdraws his bag with something like Roundhouse, then plays Research and Development (if he has it). With both those chips running, he should have little trouble matching up a puzzle chip fork with Research and Development, and the fork-R&D pair can substitute for the Roundhouse.
The two strategies can be combined. Geiger starts the turn with an empty bag and a full discard. He uses It’s Time for the Past if necessary, overdraws and engines off until he has exactly as many chips in his bag as he’ll draw during cleanup and stops there. They key to succeeding with this type of deck is to carefully balance engine chips against payload chips as extra draw-power is useless… or to use a One of Each engine or mass Secret Move to pig the right number of chips.
One consequence of combining the strategies is that Geiger can play a single payload like Ouch! two turns in three; turn 1, play it while pigging or R&Ding back It’s Time for the Past; turn 2, return it and play it again; turn 3 set up the next hand to contain both It’s Time for the Past and repeat.
This strategy, though potent, should usually give way in the endgame to a full engine that draws most of its deck every turn for pure power reasons. But if the endgame stretches too far and decks unavoidably bloat, a full engine might switch back into a two-hand strategy.
Geiger can abuse reactions like few others due in large part to his consistency tools. It’s Time for the Past lets them pull double duty - Geiger can react and then fig the reaction out of an otherwise empty discard. Then he can use his other character chips to put it back in his bag for next turn.
Reactions work oddly with the two-hand strategy. On one hand, Geiger can guarantee he always has a reaction when he needs it. On the other hand, the strategy’s fully visible to his opponent, who knows whether he has a reaction at almost all times. He can only surprise with a reaction when he overdraws by one and the overdrawn chip is the reaction.
In summary, Geiger deserves his reputation for extreme consistency, but only if he works for it.
Geiger R&D is a series of articles exploring Puzzle Strike’s resident time traveler. Its purpose is to help experienced players add Geiger to their competitive repertoire, since he’s known to be very difficult to raise to a competitive standard.
About the author: Bucky is an old online tournament player and current Puzzle Strike coach. He was the only player to reach Grandmaster rank with Geiger on the online leaderboards after the 3rd edition updates.
This space reserved for highlights from the discussion thread.