Review | 2022.10.12

Montage Elden Ring Across the Obelisk Gunfire Reborn Griftlands Shadowverse

Just vibeo ganes in this post.
Across the Obelisk tactics

Across the Obelisk Henrik dual rogue build

The lolbaters crew has gotten a few madness runs in. Dual rogue is fun and we like Nezglekt's madness healing passive.

Across the Obelisk rare items Kingmaker Fervent Ring The One

I mentioned previously that rare items can really make or break a build. The gold-rarity ones are no exception.

Across the Obelisk Sharpy updated patched Wind Blessing dispel
The patched verison of Sharpy/Wind Blessing that replaces evade with dispel.

Relatedly, I've found that Sharpy is a must-have pet for the every-turn dispel. To unlock:

The Gamer In Velkarath, head to the Harpy Nest "The Harpy Matriarch" Map Node. In this event, choose the [Combat] option and defeat the Harpy Matriarch, with the Harpy Egg being added to the party's inventory once she's defeated.

Then, in Aquarfall Marsh, get a boat using either the 800 Gold or the Crocomen method and go to the Altar "Altar of Songs" Map Node.

Here, choose [Continue] to put the egg near the altar, where it hatches, and Sharpy will join your team.

Heiner smash

Across the Obelisk offensive tank build shield slam Heiner
Yes, that will do.

Heiner on the front line is kind of boring. Shield, take hits to the face, repeat. And he gets wrecked when Archon Nihr converts player shields to unblocked damage. The thing is, that attack only affects the front line. So second row Heiner can load up on shield-all seriously help team defense without being an endgame liability. Having him in second row (rather than first) means two things:
  1. Heiner stacks up shield because he's not taking a lot of hits. (Good?)
  2. Your squad is missing damage in the usual rogue slot. (Bad)
Shield smashes to the rescue. These come in weaker flavors that don't burn your shield and they come in stronger flavors that do. I managed a 2300-ish stack against Nihr on Madness 3. On the down side, a lot of bosses are strong to blunt damage (this can be fixed with a damage type conversion item, but often at the cost of shield stack bonuses).

And for co-op, allies love the shield-alls. It also means the font line tank can work on thorns or bleed.

TheMastersSkywalker TheMastersSkywalker So I've played Across the Obelisk, Slay the spire, and Void Tyrants and enjoy them all. But I'd like something not roguelike where where I get to keep cards and mod my deck instead of starting over each time and relying on getting lucky each run.

I was looking for another travel-friendly Switch game and happened upon a site (gamerant or something) that listed all the top responses from a Reddit post (this is not uncommon). Magic Arena and Hearthstone were popular answers (iirc) but the top Switch response was Shadowverse: Champions Battle. More on that after a brief aside on /r/gamingsuggestions.

A brief aside on /r/gamingsuggestions

I'd stumbled across this sub before and have a sinking suspicion this is where J gets all his gaming intel. It's a pretty good community, here's another post:

Kakabundala Kakabundala Let's also do this one more time since the last one was so fun! Name Two of your Favourite Games in the comments and get the Third one Recommended.

Here are some responses (hey, I told you reposting top Reddit comments is not uncommon):
Shadowverse: Champion's Battle

Shadowverse Champions Battle showdown
"Shadowverse showdown!" It's what you shout before playing the game.

So yeah, a random Redditor and a bunch of upvoters informed me that I might like Shadowverse: Champion's Battle as a deckbuilding alternative to the roguelike fare I've recently enjoyed. The screenshots made it looks like Magic with some anime art style.

Shadowverse Champions Battle annoying eula switch
It started off with an annoying forced-scroll EULA and privacy policy.

Shadowverse Champions Battle texting club

I was somewhat surprised to find that there is a semi-substantive frame story that has all the sophistication of a Yu-gi-oh commerical stretched out over ?? hours. Then again, it vaguely reminds me of Magic in middle school, except that in this game everyone plays it rather than just the nerds.

While I'm glad that something stitches the Shadowverse Showdown!s together, that something is walking, clicking, and scrolling through vapid dialogue. The simplicity of the metagame coupled with the age of the protagonist made me worried that the actual card game would be painfully simple.

Shadowverse Champions Battle card vending machine Hiro

Frighteningly, Tensei Academy has a bunch of Shadowverse vending machines sprinkled about the campus. I'll go on record as saying that I strongly disapprove of marketing being embedded in an educational environment. Affiliate linking masquerading as a blog? Sure. Brought to you by Carl's Jr.

But having a school full of kids talking about Shadowverse while there are on-site Shadowverse vendors feels wrong, even if it's purely for the sake of gameplay facility.

On the other hand, maybe these kids are getting a sponsored education? If ShadowCorp pays all the student tuition, who am I to criticize a vending machine or two? It's at least as good as that Kanye West school.

Subtle indicators of a dystopia aside, the nostalgic part of me wishes the Shadowvendors were replaced with "fast travel to the comic book store".

Shadowverse Champions Battle card pack opening

On the subject of nostalgia, how great was it to open that sweet, sweet MTG booster pack? This game tries to replicate the feeling with shiny card reveals and indicators of what cards aren't in your collection. It's nothing like the real thing and that's why NFTs will never work. On the other hand, none of these card packs cost real money.

Shadowverse Champions Battle card packs
You can also (virtually) rip multiple packs open at once and dump them (virtually) onto the (virtual) table.

Did you actually play the game or just wander around and open cards?

In fact I played it. In short, complexity level feels like c.1992 Magic the Gathering.

Shadowverse Champions Battle moon al mir aj card

Usual stuff: cards have a casting cost, summons have attack and defense. Defense is more like hp, because summons don't heal (on their own). Anything above a cheap grunt has keyword abilities, e.g. storm overcomes summoning sickness, ward draws aggro. Cards can have both keyword abilities and long-form text for bespoke effects. This is great, it gives the game variety and complexity with a relatively small set of global rules.

The card above has a 'Havencraft' designation. Shadowverse has a handful of deck type analogues to Magic colors - a deck can be built with members of a single set and with neutrals (that tend to have less synergy). Each deck type has a focus and set of common mechanics.

Shadowverse Champions Battle Dragon Warrior evolve

A core mechanic of Shadowverse is 'evolve'. Magic has a few flip cards and I think the flip mechanic is common to other CCGs. Starting on turn 4/5, you can expend one of your 2-3 evolves to flip a deployed unit to its more powerful form and often trigger an evolve ability (e.g. destroy an enemy unit, create more allied units).

Shadowverse Champions Battle cards board

The board is pretty straightforward. In this case I have the Havencraft mechanic; cards that count down some number of turns before deploying a powerful unit. Since each battle starts kind of slow, I've found this to work pretty well.

Some other comparisons to Magic and deckbuilders:

Final thoughts

I'm enjoying the card portion of the game and suffering through the frame story. I think minor complexity tweaks could go a long way but I'm happy that the game is neither simple nor collapsing under its own weight. The cards/deck flavors are well-designed so it's a shame that (as far as I've seen) there aren't additional formats, e.g.
Overall I am liking Shadowverse and can't wait to show that stuck up class president that disbanding the Shadowverse Club was the wrong move. I will inevitably find out that there's some legitimate reason she's such a jerk and also that she is/was a big Shadowverse enthusiast.
Gunfire Reborn

Gunfire Reborn Lu Wu scope

With limited non-handheld single player game time, I've only gotten though the first Gunfire Reborn boss. I'm liking the Borderlandsy feel and need to get some co-op in.

Gunfire Reborn Crown Prince inn Gunfire Reborn hero skills acidic explosion Gunfire Reborn horsehead shackles Gunfire Reborn loot items
Elden Ring

Elden Ring astel boss

I thiiink we did Elden Ring out of order, doing Starscourge Radahn after the lava castle and capital. I love a good lake of rot though.

thumbnail Elden Ring stars thumbnail Elden Ring underground aqueduct thumbnail Elden Ring underground waterfall thumbnail Elden Ring sea of rot waterfall thumbnail Elden Ring fashionring pose bloodhound claws
thumbnail Elden Ring star crater hole thumbnail Elden Ring sea of rot thumbnail Elden Ring astel battle arena stars

Griftlands boss battle Rook Grout Monster
I gave Griftlands another Rook run. It was fun and nice to be familiar with Rook's play mechanics, but it wasn't as compelling as the first time.

Gloomhaven Shadows Within
Gloomhaven: raiding crypts, throwing rocks, bezerking.

Achievement unlocked nitrogen narcosis xbox

From the 'cool story, bro' department, the past month has seen a couple of wacky unofficial achievements. They're, well, "you had to be there" situations, I am writing this for my own benefit and maybe that of my compatriots.

Gloomhaven Oozing Grove ooze split rngesus

Gloomhaven Oozing Grove: kill three trees that collectively produce an elite ooze every round. We got some harsh rng early and were playing out the scenario. Ted exhausted before Jon killed the last tree, I was hobbling back, invisible but surrounded by oozes (the Nightshroud is not good against hordes). We maxed out oozes as Jon exhausted, so there wasn't a glimmer of hope. Rather than farm gold/xp, I played it out, trying not to think about how many self-damage/split cards the oozes would have to draw in order to Jooneztown themselves. They proceeded to draw something like 5 or 6 split cards in a row, killing off the low health ones and creating new almost-dead oozes. I still had to kill two, but it was a hilariously unlikely set of card draws.

Across the Obelisk Sylvie 1hp win

The AtO green zone was not kind to my AtO squad (Derrick and Jon not Jon). The tank, healer, and other lizardrogue died off, leaving me with four half-dead enemies. Through a combination of invisibility, evade, and luck, Sylvie took down the lot of them with a single hp remaining.


This is not the sort of deckbuilding content I'm here for.

Related - internal

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Reviews of roguelikes Griftlands and Crying Suns.


Volcano Manor and the Leyndell, plus some Reddit commentary on the invader mechanic.

All the genres

Finishing Wonderlands, starting Stellaris, still playing Gloomhaven and Gunfire. ESO next?

Related - external

Risky click advisory: these links are produced algorithmically from a crawl of the subsurface web (and some select mainstream web). I haven't personally looked at them or checked them for quality, decency, or sanity. None of these links are promoted, sponsored, or affiliated with this site. For more information, see this post.


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