Tuesday, December 8, 2015

TEAM: Sulentic Shards (Crystallan team) Review Version 2.0

Sulentic Shards (Crystallan team)
Original Assessments in Gray from MAy 26, 2015, revised assessments in white.

A Team of Bruisers - Having 5 Guards with an Orx Strength is no joke. These guys hit like a ton of bricks. Every single Rush you should be Slamming a couple of opposing players. This team is not for the timid. This is truly where the teams advantages are. Not just the Guards either, the Jacks are 3+ Strength too, and benefit from Harmonics. This team is a force to be reckoned with. The Crystallans also may be one of the top teams to benefit from the Star Realms League rules for Organized play. Being able to Slam from 2-3 hexes away, with 3+ Strength, and between 3 and 5 dice makes the Jacks no joke when it comes to crushing your opponent on the field. And in the Star Realms rules, if you can clear the Pitch so that there are no opposing player on the Pitch at the end of your opponent's turn, you automatically win in a 7 point landslide!

Pitch Perfect - Harmonics is a very strange ability, it definitely has some depth to it. Having the plus to Movement in most cases is a must. The extra dice to Speed comes in handy more often than I would have initially thought, and when you can get the extra dice on Strength for the Slam, that is amazing. With the Movement 5 bonus being the one you will see the most often, that should be the only one you rely on getting (much as I alluded to in my original Overall thoughts).

Defensive Chops - With the right setup, defending your side of the pitch is made easier by the Harmonics ability. Spacing your players to grant bonuses to other players is key. Knowing the capabilities of your opponent will help you know whether to set up for the blocking of the front 1-2 point zones or blocking the 1-2 centers and crowding the 3-4. I hold to The C3 Defense being the best setup if you are the Visiting team. It has proven itself very strong. Try it out.

No Strikers - Well, scoring is not easy with the Crystallans. A jacks only team is a challenge, but this is not an insurmountable obstacle, I mean look at the Orx. :-) This is a very difficult hurdle to get over. Jacks are less reiable scorers than Strikers, plan for this difficulty.

Clumping - If you are not careful, you will find your players clumped together. An astute opponent will try to get you to maneuver your players into areas that will handicap your ability to defend. This is also made even more difficult by one's own brain constantly saying, "Yeah, but 6 dice Slams!" It takes a few games to not fall into this trap. But if you can plan ahead, this weakness can actually become a strength as you learn where a player should end up when performing an action - it might be different than other teams.

They Are Big Rock Guys - Terrible Speed and Movement. Now these are mitigated by the Harmonics, but you cannot rely on it all the time. Getting the ball stolen is a problem. Try your best to Threaten hexes around your Jack if you have to hold on to the ball. If you can manage to be within three hexes of two Crystallans, you get an extra dice for Speed rolls too.

MVP Recommendations:

Crypt - This guy is a great choice if you are going for a team to crush and destroy your opoent, in a literal sense. With a 2+ Strength and a higher than average Crystallan Speed, this guy is a murderer. With a possible 6 Dice Slam on a 2+, you are all but guaranteed to send someone off the pitch with every Slam!

Any Striker MVP! This team would kill for a Striker. Whether it is Nightshade or the Praetorian or WHOEVER, it doesn't matter, grab 'em!

Don't fall into the trap of HAVING to have full Harmonics on everything you do. Crystallan Guards are utterly amazing BEFORE the extra dice from Harmonics. Take advantage of the single bump from Harmonics that 1 other Crystallans near you grants, this is a great advantage in and of itself. Use the plus to Speed to keep your players safe from those in the back Slams, and when you need to Steal (but you had better be Threatening the ballholder with at least one other Crystallan too!). If you are willing to put in the time on the Sulentic Shards, I have a feeling that the reward will proportional. If you are a fan of the Orx from Season One, I think you might enjoy the Crystallans. I agree with the original assessment for the most part. Like each of the teams from Season Six, the Crystallans are not a "pick up and play" team. They take time to learn and time to master, but I think they are a bit better than I originally thought having played with and against them more now.

C +

C + is probably right, but easily a "B" if in the Star Realms League

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