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Geiger R&D :: Turn 6 Threat (Rushdown Openings)

Geiger often finds himself matched against a more economic character who is strongly favored in the long game. Crashing a 4-gem on turn 6 is often his best response.

The most basic recipe for a turn 6 4-crash is pretty simple - buy a combine on turn 1-2, buy another combine on turn 3-4 while playing the first on turn 5-6, and play the crash gem on turn 6. Geiger’s character chips, and any cheap pigs from the bank, make him excellent at making sure he has the crash on exactly turn 6.

The tricky part is cycling control. Geiger must either not overdraw with Future Sight at all - probably by using pigs - or overdraw on turn 1 or 3 and again during cleanup 3 or action 4 to get back on cycle. Overdrawing twice on turn 2 or 4, action and cleanup, always leaves you on the right (even) cycle.

Avoiding extra overdraws is great for leaning on It’s Time for the Past and an ender. Typically, this strategy uses an economic puzzle chip ranging from Training Day to Money for Nothing to set up the turn 2 combine buy. Alternatively, the turn 1 buy might be Really Annoying or just a scratch, if the second hand after pigs is 4x :ps1gem: and ITftP. Either way, Geiger aims to repeat the trick during the second cycle. The goal is to give Geiger enough of a chip quality edge that he’s okay going late once the opponent has sacrificed economy for defense.

The double overdraw case, in contrast, doesn’t have time for messing with the past. In exchange, Geiger has more flexibility about when to buy combines - he sometimes gets an extra use of his turn 1 combine and can put off the second. He also has more money from :psgem:s, rather than relying on puzzle chips to keep his economy running.

Occasionally, Geiger will combine into the 4-gem by turn 5, but find himself on an odd cycle. In this case, he can try to overdraw with Future Sight on turn 5 and pig the Crash gem or R&D.

Even more rarely, with the right puzzle chips Geiger can go into hyper-cycling and overdraw every single turn, culminating with an action-overdraw on turn 5. Pig R&D or the crash for turn 6 if neither is already guaranteed.

Finally, recognizing when to back off is a key part of using the turn 6 combine rush. A rule of thumb is to back off and go for a longer game when the opponent buys and uses a second crash gem. This doesn’t necessarily mean to go full economy - it simply means you probably need to crash more than one :ps4gem: to finish the job. As a consequence, you should be less picky about the timing of your first 4-crash.

In its basic form, the rush is easily defended. However, it only takes up two of your first four buys. The other two can either go towards your economy, or towards chips like Repeated Jabs to make the rush more threatening.

A few puzzle chips substantially modify the rush on turn 2:

Bang then Fizzle: Can do a quadruple overdraw. The first two overdraws happen on the second turn. Unlike other rush variants, you should minicrash for value; failing to do so might leave you with a fizzle on turn 4.

Chips for Free: Double overdraw, using this instead of Future Sight. Upgrade your Crash to a :ps4gem:, then either rebuy the crash or upgrade the :ps4gem: to a DCG.

One True Style: Playing this on turn 2 gives you some leeway - sometimes it counts as a ‘real’ combine. But if you’re relying on it, make sure you aren’t stuck unable to use it on turn 3! Or you can get it later, when you have more :ps1gem:s in your pile, to increase the odds of a second 4-crash by turn 8.

Risk to Riskonade: Double-cycle turn 2, using Riskonade and trashing it. This variant often ditches the turn 6 timing in favor of an odd-cycle overdraw strategy that crashes :ps4gem:s on both turns 5 and 7. There’s an even riskier rush that involves not trashing Riskonade on the first play, but it’s outside the scope of this article.

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.