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The Mind of a Hunter: A Flesh and Blood Turn-By-Turn, Pt 1

Greetings everyone, and welcome to the first in a series of articles where I dissect a game I played turn-by-turn, walking you through my thoughts, plays, sequencing and feelings throughout each turn. I have several hopes for this series. First, I hope that the complexity that is playing Ranger will become much clearer for everyone. Second, I hope that it’ll illuminate all of the considerations that go through my head whenever I’m playing out each and every turn. Finally, I hope it’ll be an enjoyable read and potentially become something that I’ll be able to do more regularly, with a wider variety of classes.

In this matchup, I played Azalea while my opponent played Katsu. I was trying something very different to my usual Azalea build. For a start, I played nine Defense Reactions (much more than my usual zero). Next, I played some additional defensive equipment over more aggressive equipment (specifically I played Perch Grapplers over Snapdragon Scalers, purely for the two Defense). I was curious to see how a slower paced Ranger would go and to see if it could compete over the long game with a notoriously effective late game hero.

 

Azalea Turn #1

Ridge Rider Shot (Yellow) x 2
Plunder Run (Red)
Nimble Strike (Red) 

  1. Pitch Ridge Rider Shot (Yellow)
  2. Use Death Dealer (load Ridge Rider Shot (Yellow), draw Nock the Deathwhistle.
    Opt 1 (Eye of Ophidia onto the bottom)
  3. Use Nock the Deathwhistle for Red in the Ledger
  4. Use Azalea, exchanging Nimble Strike (Red) for Red in the Ledger. 
  5. Attack with Red in the Ledger with Dominate (blocked with Whelming Gustwave).
  6. Place Plunder Run (Red) in Arsenal.

What started as a particularly weak opening hand ended up finishing quite strongly due to a fortunate Nock the Deathwhistle draw. Getting a Dominated Red in the Ledger off on the first turn of the game certainly put me in a good spot, and ensured that Ninja couldn’t block and fix their hand and that if they already had a great hand, they wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of it. Being able to Arsenal a Plunder Run right after that was just icing on the cake.

 

New Hand:

Nimble Strike (Blue)Ravenous Rabble (Red)RemorselessNock the Deathwhistle

 

Arsenal:

Plunder Run (Red)

 

 

Katsu Turn #1

1. Attack with Enlightened Strike for seven,
2. Arsenal.


An unfortunate counter attack, probably the best the Ninja player could have possibly hoped for this turn. With my hand as it was, I decided not to block at all though in hindsight, perhaps blocking with Nimble Strike here to save myself two damage was actually the right call. I figured preserving my Nimble Strikes for later in the game would be much more useful than my two life at the time.

 

End of Round #1

Azalea – 33
Katsu – 38

 

Azalea Turn #2

  1. Use Skullbone Crosswrap (Opt 1 and keep Hamstring Shot (Red))
  2. Play Plunder Run (Red) from Arsenal
  3. Attack with Ravenous Rabble (Red) for seven (blocked by Ancestral Empowerment and Flic Flak (Red))
  4. Pitch Nock the Deathwhistle
  5. Use Death Dealer to load Remorseless (drawing Hamstring Shot (Red))
  6. Attack with Remorseless for five (blocked with two Ancestral Empowerment)
  7. Arsenal Hamstring Shot (Red)

A potentially great turn thwarted by my opponent’s solid defensive turn and lack of incentive to hold any cards back. Although it may have seemed like a poor turn for them, it was basically a neutral reset and arguably beneficial for them as I didn’t get to land my Plunder Run trigger. 

 

New Hand:

Nimble Strike (Red)Nimble Strike (Red)Endless ArrowRidge Rider Shot (Blue)

 

Arsenal:

Hamstring Shot (Red)

 

Katsu Turn #2

  1. Arsenal.

End of Round #2

Azalea: 33
Katsu: 38

 

Azalea Turn #3

  1. Pitch Nimble Strike (Red)
  2. Use Death Dealer (no effect)
  3. Pitch Nimble Strike (Red)
  4. Attack with Hamstring Shot for five (blocked by Snatch (Red), Crane Dance (Red)).
  5. Arsenal Endless Arrow

A bit of a shame that I’ve drawn all three of my Nimble Strikes before drawing any Nimblisms. Fortunately, thanks to Death Dealer, I’m able to cycle both of them out of my hand even though my arsenal is loaded. Interestingly, if I’d had Snapdragon Scalers that turn, it might have been a great turn to use it. In this particular game, I was trying something slightly different by playing an additional two Defense equipment and seeing how that went.

 

New Hand:

Ridge Rider Shot (Blue)Ridge Rider Shot (Red)Command and ConquerRemorseless

 

Arsenal:

Endless Arrow

 

 

Katsu Turn #3

  1. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi for one
  2. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi for one
  3. Attack with Command and Conquer for six (block with Remorseless and Ridge Rider Shot (Red)).

I would usually block the second Kodachi hit, but decided against it because my hand was full of 3 Defense cards. This meant that my opponent’s follow-up Command and Conquer was more easily dispatched and I didn’t waste any of my cards’ defensive or offensive potential.

 

End of Round #3

Azalea: 31
Katsu: 38

 

Azalea Turn #4

  1. Use Skullbone Crosswrap (Nimblism (Red) moved to the bottom)
  2. Use Azaela, flipping Endless Arrow into Enlightened Strike
  3. Pitch Ridge Rider Shot (Blue)
  4. Attack with Command and Conquer for six (blocked with Leg Tap (Red), Hurricane Technique and Breaking Scales).


I went for a blind Azalea draw here because I figured there was the off chance it might improve my hand. Additionally, I had no use for Endless Arrow and didn’t want it to clog up my Arsenal on the following turn. I was very fortunate in that I flipped into Enlightened Strike, which would be a great asset for next turn. Command and Conquer was the bigger threat straight up for this turn, plus I had the resources to pay for it. Forcing an Equipment block was very positive here and even though I wasn’t dealing a lot of damage, I felt as though I was setting up for a large comeback turn and I was able to keep the opponent’s aggression down as well.

 

New Hand:

Sic 'Em Shot (Red)Ridge Rider Shot (Blue)Ravenous Rabble (Red)Ridge Rider Shot (Yellow)

 

Arsenal:

Enlightened Strike

 

Katsu Turn #4

  1. Play Sigil of Solace (Red)

End of Round #4

Azalea – 31
Katsu – 41

 

Azalea Turn #5

  1. Attack with Enlightened Strike for five (Ridge Rider Shot (Yellow) to the bottom), giving it Go Again (blocked with Flic Flak (Red))
  2. Pitch Ridge Rider Shot (Blue)
  3. Use Death Dealer to load Sic ‘Em Shot (Red) (drawing Razor Reflex (Red))
  4. Attack with Ravenous Rabble (Red) for three (revealing Take Aim (Yellow)) (blocked by Sink Below (Red))
  5. Attack with Sic ‘Em Shot (Red) for four
  6. Arsenal Razor Reflex (Red)


A solid amount of damage threatened that turn, and I managed to avoid Flic Flak (Red) ruining my entire offensive. I had to option to use Razor Reflex (Red) to push through an additional three damage, but I wanted a card in my Arsenal for the following turn so I could attempt to set up something with Skullbone Crosswrap.

 

New Hand:

Take Aim (Yellow)Nimblism (Red)Sic 'Em Shot (Red)Fate Foreseen (Red)

 

Arsenal:

Razor Reflex (Red)

 

Katsu Turn #5

  1. Surging Strike for five (block with Take Aim (Yellow) and Fate Foreseen (Red), placing Razor Reflex (Red) on the bottom).

An easy block to stop a significant amount of damage, with enough back-up defense in case he had a Whelming Gustwave to follow it up.

 

End of Round #5

Azalea – 31
Katsu – 36

 

Azlaea Turn #6

  1. Use Skullbone Crosswrap, revealing Razor Reflex (Red) (leave Ridge Rider Shot (Red) on top).
  2. Use Azalea to flip Razor Reflex (Red) into Ridge Ridger Shot (Red) (leave Sigil of Solace (Red) on top).
  3. Use Nimblism (Red)
  4. Attack with Ridge Rider Shot (Red) for seven with Dominate.
  5. Arsenal Sic ‘Em Shot (Red)

Crosswrap finding an arrow on top was beautiful and I was able to have a very simple turn with a reasonably threatening amount of damage. Ending my turn with Sic ‘Em Shot (Red) in Arsenal also made me feel confident about having a strong follow-up turn, but with my opponent on a full hand, I figured that may not be likely.

 

New Hand:

Sigil of Solace (Red)Sink Below (Red)Red in the LedgerEnlightened Strike

 

Arsenal:

Sic 'Em Shot (Red)

 

Katsu Turn #6

  1. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi for one
  2. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi for one
  3. Attack with Leg Tap (Red) for four (block with Sink Below (Red), put Red in the Ledger on the bottom, draw Plunder Run (Red))
  4. Soulbead Strike (Red) for four (block with Plunder Run (Red) and Perch Grapplers).


Defending with the Perch Grapplers here ensured I could have a reasonable follow-up turn (nine damage with Sic’ Em Shot and Enlightened Strike), and also made it so that they couldn’t continue their aggression with the remaining two cards they had in hand. Denying the Go Again on Soulbead Strike here ensured I wouldn’t have to waste even more cards defending their follow-up strikes.

 

End of Round #6

Azalea – 29
Katsu – 29

 

Azalea Turn #7

  1. Use Skullbone Crosswrap, revealing Sic ‘Em Shot (Red) (leave Sigil of Solace (Red) on top)
  2. Remove counters from Fyendal’s Spring Tunic
  3. Attack with Sic ‘Em Shot (Red) for four
  4. Attack with Enlightened Strike for five (placing Sigil of Solace (Red) on the bottom and drawing Sigil of Solace (Red))
  5. Arsenal Sigil of Solace (Red)

An awesome counter attack turn, where I was able to use effectively two cards to force through nine damage. I considered trying to push through another two with Enlightened Strike, but figured it would potentially prompt them into blocking and could allow them to more efficiently block (blocking a five with two 3 Defense cards “wastes” a Defense and disincentives it, while blocking a seven with two 3 Defense cards gets maximum value out of them). It also ensured, of course, that I would end up with a card in Arsenal and I figured that, at worst, I could always just defend for a round and then move on.

 

New Hand:

Nimblism (Red)Sleep Dart (Red)Endless ArrowHead Shot (Red)

 

Arsenal:

Sigil of Solace (Red)

 

Katsu Turn #7

  1. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi
  2. Attack with Harmonized Kodachi
  3. Attack with Leg Tap (Red) for four (block with Sleep Dart (Red) and Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, reacts with Razor Reflex (Red))
  4. Attack with Rising Knee Thrust (Yellow) for four
  5. Attack with Whelming Gustwave (Red) for three

This was a blowout turn thanks to Razor Reflex. I had figured that, with all of my opponent’s Ancestral Empowerments gone, I was safe to block for four. I blocked with Tunic here because I tend to have very few resource difficulties (especially when playing more defensive) and I couldn’t see myself needing it for quite some time – the potential tempo-gain here was much more potentially useful! Unfortunately, the Razor Reflex made that all for nothing and I ended up taking a serious beating this turn. I remember thinking that I had lost the game that turn.

 

End of Round #7

Azalea – 17
Katsu – 20

 


 

That’s where today’s article is going to end. With a lower life total, two pieces of Equipment destroyed and a four card hand next turn, will I be able to mount a comeback?

Join me again next time to find out!

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