Looking for advice on blue vs black matchup

Discussion in 'Codex' started by Frozenstorm, May 22, 2016.

  1. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Hey all!

    Brother and I have been playing some blue vs black. We figured since the green vs red matchup feels really fun to play and like it was really carefully designed and balanced, the intended pair to be sold of blue and black would have a similar feeling.

    However so far I am struggling a lot to find blues counterplay to black. I sense that this has much more to do with my play than the actual balance of this matchup, so I'd like to get some eyes on the two games I've played thus far and solicit advice of better players where I went wrong in these two games. I've done okay with blue in the RACE tourney so far, but I'm really having a tough time finding how to stop Vandy from triggering metamorphosis on 3 heroes around turn 6.

    Here's a link to our game log

    Thank you for your time!
  2. Bob199

    Bob199 Well-Known Member

    Game 1, you went for an Oni all in, and then didn't attack Black's base with him at all.
    Game 2, you got outmuscled.

    The main problems for Blue in this MU is that Truth is a dead spec early game due to Deteriorate/Vandy's Ult, and that Blue doesn't have anything to deal with heroes besides Free Speech.

    Oni all in is viable if you can keep him protected with Newsman/Flagbearers/Free Speech/etc. You just need to realize either it becomes a base race at that point, or you use him to buy time to build into Peace Tech II Garrison goodness.

    Also, don't worker away Manufactured Truth, it lets you use Black's early muscle to your advantage.
    VaXaV and deluks917 like this.
  3. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Thanks for the reply Bob!

    I saw his hand and it had a doom grasp and sacrifice the weak in it though. Even with my newsman on 4, if I hit his base instead of Garth, his play is still to kill Oni right? Even if I put him in lookout, he still trades 2 cards + (2+4+1resist=7) gold + 2 skeletons (2 gold really, so 9 total) for my only defender that he knows I invested an ultimate spell in (9 gold worth of hero + 2 worth of levels for garth) and a 2-gold + card unit in newsman. This gives him pretty great control of the board with Plague Spitter and a bigger garth, right? I've ceded 2 turns of pressure to him and only done 7 damage to base, which even with Lich's Bargain and Dark Pact being likely, probably isn't going to stop his plans.

    Or am I understanding that trade wrong, and it's even enough that I should be able to take that and turn it into tech 2 pressure?

    What choices does blue have to answer muscle though? Like you said, hound is out as an option for the most part because black has too much cheap targeting, Brave Knight can get killed by shadow blade and a skeleton and makes me lose a card (and Vandy can just fetch that), not to mention just trade down with plague spitter. I suppose early injunction or community service? That's a lot of gold though, if you whiff it early you straight up lose right? And then those cards do nothing to help you against the hero(s) that are paired up with a Plague Spitter / BC?

    This feels like the core of my problem. It almost feels like in order to even compete with Vandy, mono-blue has to tech 2 free speeches very early. But if you're doing that, your starter units will have a tough time keeping up patrolling against early maxband Vandy + the shadow blades / tech 1 units black can play, and you'll really have to dig in to make it to tech 2 and even have a chance to compete.

    I tried to keep it as long as I could, but honestly if I never get a unit to untap how can I ever use it effectively?

    Maybe this is what I need to do? Try to absorb blows for the first couple turns, look for good trades with Manufactured Truth when the opponent isn't pressuring, and get a card engine rolling that both overwhelms on units AND gives more consistent access to spells?

    I don't know, is there a game of a strong blue player in this matchup someone can point me to that I can see what their thought process was like? I'm going to play a few more games and I welcome more feedback here (or a coach to help me figure out what I should do in my next game in that thread!), but I still don't feel like I know how to play blue well in this matchup at all.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 22, 2016
  4. Swap Go

    Swap Go Active Member

    Just a quick write up since i am on phone:

    -Brave Knight actually does Not trade down with plagye spitter since even though its 1-/1- runes its still combat damage
    -Traffic Director is premium in this MU. It cant be deteriorated, stuffs stw, can poke graveyards and its a prime target for MTruth.
    -One SFlagbearer is a good one off to stuff blacks targetting. Just dont put it in front of a nonmaxbanded Vandy
    -Elite Training is very useful in the skeleton matchup as an unexpected source of Sparkshot. Also it is your only reliable defense vs Gargoyles.
    -Excluding disease and overpowering demons, black has a hard time beating going wide. Stall with cadets and scribes and arrest troublesome demonz for time. Jail can also put them in troubles if they didnt go for gargoylez

    Maybe i can get to ellaborate tomorrow
    VaXaV and FrozenStorm (2) like this.
  5. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    But if I squad lead BK, that only deals -2/-2 and then BK can get deteriorated (decent trade on cards I guess but still doesn't feel great). If I don't squad lead BK, he gets shadow bladed and loses me him + a card in hand.

    I feel like I tried to do this game one b/c I thought the same thing, but the turn I drew him I didn't think I could protect him. I'll take a look and see if maybe playing him would've been a better move.

    100% agree and been trying to use that to my advantage (I think I got one such trade off). It's been hard to untap with him though!

    Thanks for the reply, would love more advice!
  6. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Bumping this as I now have 2 more games under my belt, and I am still struggling super hard!

    Where is the hero of Blue players that can explain to me how I beat Garth early + Vandy mid? Please look at my play and tell me what I'm doing wrong, as I feel so lost! I always feel like I'm weighing all my options very carefully and I'm still coming out behind most turns.
  7. Bryce "The Rice" Fieldworker

    Bryce "The Rice" Fieldworker Patreon Supporter

    I heard from a dragon that Brave Knight in Elite with a Tower is pretty good.
    That same dragon said you should build Tower turn two.
    LK4O4 likes this.
  8. LK4O4

    LK4O4 Patreon Supporter

    Yeah, the @Leontes tech as Blue against Black is early Tower and Oni/Brave Knight. Seems pretty good to me.
  9. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    I'll try that next game and see where it goes, thanks to both of you.

    If you get a chance to check the thread above and follow my moves in game 4, I'd greatly appreciate a turn by turn breakdown of what I'm doing wrong!
  10. Leontes

    Leontes IYL2 Yomi Bowl Champion Staff Member

    Also make sure to utilize Traffic Director (safe from Deteriorate) and the Elite slot once you have the Tower built. Elite + Tower is a lot of "defending damage". Blue doesn't have a lot of attack damage outside of Oni so it's a good way of helping to control the board.
  11. Bob199

    Bob199 Well-Known Member

    FrozenStorm (2) likes this.
  12. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Thanks Bob! Right now I'm more focused on just Mono-blue's way to deal with this though. So far this matchup has given me anxiety about the "never stupid for coming to the table with the deck we sold you" claim, which I know is most likely unfounded and more so due to my sub-optimal play. I'm willing to be just a bad player, but my continued lack of anything resembling success in this matchup concerns me that others I introduce to the game will be turned off by it if they play mono-blue.

    A Little Backstory
    Just as an anecdote to elaborate on the reason I'm digging so hard at playing mono-blue, I played my first games with my print and play set at a local board games meetup. The player I sat down to play with had played a lot of Magic: the Gathering and said his favorite style of play in CCGs was control decks, so he wanted to play mono-blue. Not having been to one of these meetups before and only having taught the game to my brother so far, I didn't know if blue would be a good introduction to the game for him, but he seemed determined to not play the "gimpy starter version", so I obliged.

    I chose mono-white as that is probably my favorite mono-color right now, and I crushed him in both games we played. The first game I used Grave + early HH into Sets, and FDS'ed him to death (though he got a lot of mileage out of Porkhand disabling my grave and GatG keeping my Rambasas out!). The second game, I got an early Rook midband hero kill to maxband Rook, went to birds + earthquake, and he got very frustrated with his double tech building blowout. It lead him to claim that Rook seemed insanely OP. I tried to point out that a little more defense to avoid the hero kill, a tower for the birds, and Free Speech probably would have saved him, but he felt totally unsatisfied with that explanation.

    In hindsight I definitely should have played a more straight-forward deck like green, and been way less aggressive with heroes, as a gentler introduction. It was a social mistake on my part. But still, I wasn't sure that the advice I had given him on playing blue was good, and I wasn't really sure if blue could handle that early aggression or not, as I hadn't done it myself. That is why I am trying to play more blue; I want to have better knowledge of the colors I'm bad at so when I introduce the game to new players, I can better explain mistakes they might make.
    Alextfish likes this.
  13. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    its weird to start wiht blue because u need to know all the other decks and wat they want to do before u can play blue well
    VaXaV, GRAG, Xom and 3 others like this.
  14. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    100% agree and never making that mistake again. First game with a new player will be Bashing v Finesse or Green v Red from now on! I did play Green v Red with another Codex backer after I played the first guy, and that was a much better game
  15. EricF

    EricF Well-Known Member

    If someone wants to play control with mono-blue, I would recommend teching in Brave Knight + Free Speech for each of the first two techs, and then adding Injunction + Community Service, and eventually going either Law for Censorship Council + Gryphon or Truth for cheaper Gryphons to finish the game.
  16. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Well I didn't follow your advice to the T @EricF but I did incorporate it, and I still lost :( The early Tower + BK / Free speech does definitely seem like the right move against Black. I don't "want to play control" so much as I just "want to win", but that feels really hard still. Black's heroes have so many abilities and strong spells (and Blue seems so WEAK to spells without free speech), that it feels like I don't have any other choice of tech options.

    Do experts think this is closer to even than a 7-3 matchup in favor of Black? I mean I'm 0-6 right now including a game Youngbuck and I played via Vassal, and I feel like I've made the games a little closer as I've received everyone's advice but not to the point where I felt like I had a chance at winning after turn 4-5 :/ I'm seeing ways I can improve but even as I look back those "misplays" don't feel like they would have changed the course of the next couple turns significantly. I feel outclassed in heroes and units! Am I just a scrub or is this as tough as it seems?
  17. Ryker

    Ryker Well-Known Member

    I've won one in four matches playing the Blue side. I haven't lost it playing the Black side, but again, small sample size.
    FrozenStorm (2) likes this.
  18. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Is there record of the game you won somewhere I can study it?
  19. Bob199

    Bob199 Well-Known Member

    Frozen, if you want to do a pbf as black, and I take blue, I can give you some better advice, and you can learn the constraints black has
    Bianary and Shax like this.
  20. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    Yknow that's probably the best way for me to learn, thanks for offering! I'll start a thread and tag you later today :)
  21. YoungBuck

    YoungBuck Member

    Hey y'all

    Im the Mono-black player on @FrozenStorm (2) 's thread. Also very interested on people's thoughts on this match up.

    As Black, I feel like I had an answer to almost anything Blue did. Free Speech hurts, but if Blue is Teching heavy on spells, I felt like my T0 and T1 units just outclassed his units. And if he didnt get Free Speech, I could Vandy midband/Dark Pact to dig for whatever I needed that turn.
    FrozenStorm (2) likes this.
  22. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    I just played Bob as the black player and being an objectively worse player than Bob (and not really all that studied with playing black), I won on both sides.

    I know it's "too late" for changes to the cards, but what about changing how the expansions are bundled? I'm concerned that new players purchasing a Blue / Black expansion would not have a very good time with playing blue, and wonder if perhaps a Blue / White pairing (and Purple / Black) would be better both on flavor and matchup strength?

    Blue / White:
    - Flagstone vs Morningstar, who are two sides of a coin flavor-wise no?
    - Free Speech works WAY better on Rook (who needs to continually cast Earthquakes and needs his two lives to do so) than it does on Vandy
    - Blue can play for tech 3 and almost certainly win against white, whereas Zzarramonde matches up with Gryphons pretty decent.
    - White can't eliminate Blue's hand like Black can, and from the limited experience I have playing as Blue you NEED your cards to have your proper counters ready

    Purple / Black:
    - Origin Story gives you a way to deal with Vandy before she gets nuts
    - Mox can help stunt early pressure better than Blue's starter, as well as Argonaut / Glaxx
    - Nullcraft is immune to deteriorate just like traffic cop
    - Purple operates much better than Blue without its heroes early game, helping you stay away from giving Vandy or Garth early levels

    What do people think? Have you played much Blue vs Black? Can you show me how Blue stops Black? Do you think new players will have a bad time with this matchup, and a different pairing would help grow the game better? Does anyone know if that would even be possible?
  23. YoungBuck

    YoungBuck Member

    Thematically this match-up makes much better sense too. Jail even has one of White's card (Jefferson DeGrey) on it!
    Alextfish likes this.
  24. GRAG lives in Kyoto.

    GRAG lives in Kyoto. Patreon Supporter

    That's an interesting idea, given that, at least in theory, the print run for the boxed expansion factions hasn't started yet.
  25. jasonwocky

    jasonwocky Active Member

    I think the game plays somewhat differently in person than it does on the forums. Since the bundling probably matters more for the face-to-face game, it's tough to say. I think it's known that Blue vs Black is a tough matchup for Blue, though, even in that environment. But I'm sure it has been play tested a lot.

    Blue is an advanced color to play in general. I think new players are likely to struggle with it almost regardless and it's not one I would recommend to them as an "early impression" sort of experience.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2016
  26. GRAG lives in Kyoto.

    GRAG lives in Kyoto. Patreon Supporter

    That suggests the idea of packing blue and purple together, but then you wind up relegating both to a sort of Advanced Players Only shelf that is less likely to entice people and would probably harm sales. Hmm.
  27. sharpobject

    sharpobject Well-Known Member

    The expansions aren't bundled in the physical product afaik
  28. GRAG lives in Kyoto.

    GRAG lives in Kyoto. Patreon Supporter

    Right, I mean, like:
    • Starter Set (Red vs. Green)

    and then there are "expansion sets" that almost certainly have all or nearly all of the components needed to play the game, which are at least currently slated to be:
    • Blue vs. Black
    • White vs. Purple

    I feel like as a boxed expansion, Blue vs. Purple might work inasmuch as it could be like a "probably for advanced players mainly" thing, but that would almost certainly harm sales of that particular expansion set unless somehow the marketing can tap directly into players' lizard brains and their need to assert dominance by showing off how "advanced" a set of specs they can play
  29. sharpobject

    sharpobject Well-Known Member

    No that's not it. The components you need to play come in red vs green, then the 4 expansions do not include those components and only include cards.
  30. GRAG lives in Kyoto.

    GRAG lives in Kyoto. Patreon Supporter

    Ah, right, boards and the like
  31. lettucemode

    lettucemode Patreon Supporter

    How much do we know about the white vs blue or purple vs black matchups from experience, rather than just theorycrafting? If one of those similar to blue vs black, then not much is being solved by changing the bundling
  32. frozenstorm

    frozenstorm Active Member

    I have played ~ 5 games of white vs blue and feel it was more like red vs green in the amount of counterplay available than blue vs black.

    But this is an admittedly low sample size in both cases, and I am by no means an expert player. I think it merits further investigation but agree it is premature to say definitively it would be an improved packaging.

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