1. #1

    Why am I finding Jackpot tournament play so hard?

    Hi all,

    Another frustrated sub-1500 elo player here (fluctuate between 1200-1400 chasing achievements and experimenting with decks) who can't bridge the gulf between normal duels and jackpot tournaments. 1 semi-successful tier 3 result aside (with Ishuma rush 5/2/1), I consistently get owned in jackpot duels at all t-elo levels regardless of what deck/hero/faction I try. As someone who has spent plenty of time trying to get good at the game (lvl 88) and who has had some success (getting as high as elo 1400 and completing 103/140 achievements), I have become EXTREMELY frustrated at my inability to do well in Jackpot tournaments. I'm looking for any and all constructive advice and assistance. The decks I usually play are here, and include Ishuma rush, Garant Gate, Adar Atropos/Spitter, Crag rush, Cass spell/fort mix, Alia creature/spell:


    I don't like mill and other fundamentally negative decks (duel prevention rather than turn-for-turn strategic play), but apart from that I'm willing to try anything to get better Jackpot results. I prefer not to carbon copy other decks (my own are hardly standard), but I'm at the point now where I will if I can find one to suit. I have more than 3800 cards so I know I should be able to put together a winning deck and I have confidence that I'm not a really bad player (though not a champion, obviously), so here's hoping that the DoC community can help me take that next step.
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  2. #2
    Adar Malik - any combo deck will totally destroy you. Need cosmic balance to have any chance against them. It will still be very hard to reach T2/T1 with it in the current meta.
    Cassandra - built in a very wrong way. You will not be successful with it. Need prison and wastelands/pillages.
    Crag Hack - will never work without some fortunes and 4 dark assassins. No point in playing it in its current version.
    Fleshane - just too bad for the Jackpot
    Garant - very inconsistent and luck-dependent. Need some other fortunes. Can be played for fun, not viable for the JP.
    Alia - the best of these decks. You need mass inner fire, though, to be able to defeat control decks quick enough.
    Ishuma - need stream singers instead of waterfall guardians or just anything instead of them.
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  3. #3
    Thanks for your response. If I can make further enquiries, it would be these:

    Re Adar - I have cosmic realignment (balance?) and noticed that it was included in most standard decks but removed it because I didn't really get it's significance. Replenishes cards in hand if running short, but Adar's not rush so I didn't find this a problem. I can see how it'd be useful to disrupt control decks (mill and otk), but I don't play vs those much. Can you explain why it's such a popular card or give me a link to a demonstration? Mainly I'm getting beaten by Kelthor spell or enraged, or Cass fort. I did think about getting more puppet master/spell reaver/shadow image spells (dumping firebolts & plauge zombies). Would this help?

    Re Cass - I've put prison and 2 wastelands in (all I've got, with no pillages), added gold piles, removed all spells, put in mana storms. Better? http://www.mmdoc.net/show_deck/22496/

    Re Crag - which fortunes work best with him? I've only got the 1 da but have thought about getting another 3? If I made the changes you suggest would it be competitive (t1 or t2) or not?

    Re Fleshbane - I know. I love it (he got me to elo 1200), but I get that Adar is the best Necro hero.

    Re Garant - Which fortunes? Gate decks are too luck dependent, I agree. Not worth pursuing this deck-type? I just bought 2 more Abyssal lords the other day.

    Re Alia - She does play well. Do I need x4 mass inner fires to make her complete? I currently have 0. This would be costly. Worthwhile?

    Re Ishuma - I was originally playing a 5/2/1 deck, which I've gone back to. I've also added a couple of stream slingers as suggested. Better? http://www.mmdoc.net/show_deck/22498/

    Thanks again for your suggestions. Any further help (strategy tips or card suggestions) would be most appreciated.
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  4. #4
    Cassandra needs 3-4 Pillages, period. Without them you'll be Fireballed and Forbidden Flamed all day long. A couple of Cosmic Realignments are also a must to mitigate card disadvantage.

    Crag needs 4 DA, period. Replace enrage creatures with their blank counterparts (Centaur, Tainted Orc, Oliphant). Add Blackskull Shredders for more instant damage. The only fortune he needs is Sacrificial Altar.

    Ishuma could also use 4 DA. Remove Yuki-onna and Shanriya Guard for this. Replace Moon Phoenix and/or one Wanizame with another Kenshi. Otherwise it seems fine.

    Your other decks are not really JP material. Except Alia maybe — never played her, but on a glance she looks like a weaker Kelthor without useful hero ability.

    Hope this helps.
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  5. #5
    Okay. I'll start using my gold for VR packs in order to get pillages. I just got 1, so I guess I need 2 or 3 more, as well as prison which I have and how many wastelands? I currently have 2 of those and 1 cosmic realignment.

    I've just bought another 3 da (there go my wilds) which I've put into my Ishuma (with an extra Kensi) and Crag decks. Ishuma seems to be playing a little better now. I'll add the 4 sa for Crag (I do use them in my Kelthor enrage deck), swap the ragers out and I'll see how that goes.

    Alia's mass heal ability is great in late game or mid game with creature advantage, but it's dead weight early game, obviously. I love her defensive/offensive mix though.

    Thanks for all the advice and keep it coming!
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  6. #6
    jkk89's Avatar First 1700 ELO! Hooah!
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    You dont need Wastelands in Cassa (1 is good but U are not experienced enough to play it correctly), also check the Cassa thread on the forum (in Post Your Deck section), read it all. U will not achieve anything with copied (or copied and changed) deck without fundamental knowledge about the deck,its strategy and reasoning behind certain cards.

    And I would highly suggest to not change anything in the deck that U chose to copy, if U dont know EXACTLY what are U doing. And for that U need ton of practise with a deck.

    Here is mine for refference http://tools.mmdocking.com/decks/show/4126 (1600 elo)
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  7. #7
    Thanks for the advice, but which Cassa thread on the post your deck section? Generally, I like to read the forums when I can, but I don't have the time to read everything. I scrolled through to about page 15 and came across 4 or 5 Cass related threads but none of them were very helpful. Could you link to or name of the particular thread you're referring to, please, or an article or youtube video maybe?

    What fundamental knowledge are you referring to? I've probably played around 3000 duels, so I'm not that inexperienced, though I've only played around with Cass. I guess you're saying that the best way to learn is just to commit to Cass fort and work out the kinks myself. I'd be the 1st to admit my lack of knowledge and experience in this game (or games like it) but the advice of more experienced players is hard to follow where it is not clear or specific.

    Since making the changes suggested by others, I've focused on Ishuma and had some success. The strategy I play is to use the faction outmanoeuvre/honour abilities to whittle down creatures in order to establish control of the board (and hopefully card advantage), before going for the kill, so it's not pure rush. It's why I've got the 5 might creatures in there - the extra hypnotise/outmanoeuvre is key to my style. I'm finding that the cleansing lights/singers/Mizu-Kami/ven kap all combine with the faction abilities (and Raya) to make the deck well rounded with some ability to cope with spell/fortune based decks. I'm back around elo 1400 now (after dropping below 1100 chasing achievements and experimenting), so I'm not unhappy. Though to be a 'good' player I do feel I'll need to get better with Cass Fort and Kelthor variations.

    Anyway, all the good advice has been great. Working in the right direction and feeling more positive. Thanks all.
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  8. #8
    ZergRusher's Avatar Duel of Champions Grandmaster
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Ishuma: http://mmdocking.com/guide-ishuma-lo...ns-by-gialota/ +2 Singer, -1 Champion, -1 Prowler
    what i played: http://tools.mmdocking.com/replays/show/1573 (i prefer a lower cost curve of creatures but im not good with Ishuma)

    Cassa thread in my singnature but i find hard to believe that you couldn't find it. The deck by jkkk89 is fine a little bit anti-stall than anti aggro but i guess in the current meta it's fine.

    and yes, out of the decks you mentioned only Ishuma and Cassa are acknowledged as T1 so choose one and stick with it (I think Cassa is stronger but i might be biased and Ishuma should be easier to play).
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  9. #9
    Thanks for those great links, ZR. Gialota's deck looks more streamlined than mine (I don't have any champions yet, which is obviously not good) and is pure rush, relying purely on spellstorm to hinder spell decks and ven cap to counter fort decks. Reading the guide, I agree that this removes the chance of dead cards in hand (how many times have I drawn early cleansing lights/singers in mirror matches or vs Kelthor or Crag? Too many times). Your suggested changes seem a good compromise. I have 2 singers in my deck. That being said, I prefer to play Ishuma to build advantage (impossible vs Adar mid/late game and very difficult vs Kelthor, I agree) instead of going for the all or nothing pure rush build. Hence why I favour week of taxes + spellstorm vs risky week of mercs which often get turned against me. My joy from playing Ishuma (which I used to hate before I got and played him) comes from the factions tactical abilities and the synergy with his hero ability. Since I find myself playing vs spell damage/board clearers so often, I find mizu really useful, even if only as blockers vs magic creatures in non-spell decks. Cleansing light is a far better weapon vs earths grasp/enthrall, etc than the limited and temp solution of 1 shot singers, imo. Those I find most useful for surprise removes of stat reducing spells or mill spell shields. My x4 1 drop x12 2 drop creatures still give me good rush potency, but the kensi/pao combos also give me some mid game firepower if things start to turn.

    Here's my deck as is, which I'll change by adding x4 champions when I get them and probably removing x2 spies, 1 wanizame and 1 mizu (x1 mizu x1 ven kappa plus my anti-spell/fort events will probably suffice for cover). I've only got RotNM in there because I only have x3 wot, but it comes in handy vs Adar sometimes, though I'd still swap it out for another wot.


    I'll go over the Cass guide when I get a chance, but it looks great. I'm not sure why I'd lie about not being able to find it though? Thanks again for the help.
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  10. #10
    ZergRusher's Avatar Duel of Champions Grandmaster
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    i didn't mean to offend you or anything. The Cassa guide is really easy to find (imho), you could've even written Cassandra in the search bar in the forum. I wsn't implying that you were lying i was rather implying that, well, you didn't try hard to find it. But let's get over it.

    Btw.: here's a deck by top Ishuma player: http://tools.mmdocking.com/replays/show/1685 (i don't agree with some of his choices but hey i'm not that good as Ishuma, e.g. only one champion can puts you in a disadvantage vs aggro decks like Cassa/Sandal or sometimes Kelthor, especially after the FF->Vultures combo)

    and swapping Mercs to Taxes is ok. Nethermancers should go when you have the 4th Taxes or one Cosmic Balance. You should be fast enough not to allow graveyard recursion.

    Kenshi is not a bad card but i'd get rid of him asap. It's too expensive for what he does and he will get Striked vs Kelthor or Sandal. 3 Wanizanes and 2 Kenshis is just too many "support" creatures.
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