Argagarg guide

Discussion in 'Puzzle-Strike: Bag of Chips' started by vivafringe, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    This is intentionally shorter than my other guides due to Chump saying they were all too long.

    Argagarg Guide

    Triangle: on the defense/rushdown edge, very far towards defense

    I. Overview:

    Argagarg is a defensive master, but that doesn't mean he's a pushover. Carefully placed wards can make an opponents purples useless, and hex can prevent his opponents from acting at all!

    Strengths:
    - Can give more wounds than any other character.
    - Simple gameplay is great for beginners.
    - Good natural defense against strong reds like Ouch! or Stolen Purples.

    Weaknesses:
    - Simple gameplay makes it difficult for expert players to outplay their opponent
    - Lack of money or arrows limits Argagarg’s puzzle chip options

    Argagarg's General Gameplan

    Argagarg wants to disrupt his opponent’s plan with wounds while staying alive as long as possible. The longer the game drags out, the more Argagarg’s wounds and Protective Ward hurt his opponent.

    II. Puzzle Chips

    Chips Argagarg Loves

    - Color Panic, Ouch!, Stolen Purples

    Counterintuitively, defensive characters with blue reactions like strong reds in the pool. Argagarg can protect himself with Bubble Shield, while his opponents have no such defenses!

    - Ebb or Flow, Thinking Ahead, Really Annoying

    Argagarg has two blue arrows on his character chips, which makes these much easier for him to play than other chips. These three chips all have great mains for Argagarg, so he should be considering them even if his opponent isn’t buying attacks!

    - Safe Keeping

    This is a cheap chip that lets Argagarg stay alive in the late game. Because Argagarg has no natural forks, the pig is often useful for saving enders for next turn.

    - Gem Essence

    Argagarg loves this chip. He already has a chip of every color, and no natural forks to use them! Even better, the trashing effect will help Argagarg much more than his opponent; the more his opponent trashes, the more annoying Argagarg’s wounds will become!

    Chips Argagarg Fears

    - Combos are Hard

    Argagarg’s wounds can usually prevent opponents from getting to the really scary 8 and 9 cost chips. But many characters can easily get a 6 cost chip in the second cycle, before Argagarg has a chance to wound them much. Worse still, Argagarg has trouble getting that much money himself!

    - Risk to Riskonade

    Rushdown characters can use this to rapidly speed up the pace of the game, making his wounds much less relevant.

    III. General Tips

    - Argagarg is not a fancy character. He should be buying lots of combines, because they are a great defensive option that doesn’t use a precious arrow.
    - Keep track of the combine effects you and your opponent are likely to draw next turn. Often Protective Ward will hurt you more than your opponent!
    - Bubble Shield’s ongoing effect is deceptively strong, because it removes itself from your deck. This makes you draw your purple chips that much faster! That said, if your opponent is buying scary reds, don’t just automatically play it because you can. Often it is better to keep in your deck as a reaction!

    IV. Matchups:

    Matchups Argagarg Loves

    Cycling characters like Valerie, Lum and Gwen are vulnerable to wounds, making Argagarg a reasonable pick against them. Additionally, Argagarg is favored against Menelker and Onimaru, since their Deathstrike Dragon and Wartime Tactics become harder to use effectively as their decks fill with wounds.

    Matchups Argagarg Fears

    Midori and Jaina are strong rushdown characters that can end a game extremely quickly. Worse still, they have natural ways to trash Argagarg’s wounds! Bal Bas Beta also can trash wounds into 1-gems with Upgrade, and can use Rocket Punch as a reaction to Argagarg’s hex. Setsuki is one of the few characters that can use Really Annoying even better than Argagarg can, and in general has explosive economy that a few wounds barely hurt.
  2. ApolloAndy

    ApolloAndy Well-Known Member

    "Cycling characters like Valerie, Lum and Gwen are both vulnerable to wounds, making Argagarg a reasonable pick against them."

    I don't think you meant "both."

    Arg can also be strong against other long game defensive characters like Oni and Menelker because their "super awesome" chips get less and less awesome as their decks fill up with wounds.
  3. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Very nice guide! I think the clean concise style will be a big plus to new players, since they might be intimidated by a big wall of text.
  4. ChumpChange

    ChumpChange Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Edited Arg guide; actually brought the length up on this one by adding MfN and Self-Improvement to the danger chips.

    Argagarg is a defensive master, but that doesn't mean he's a pushover. Carefully placed wards can make an opponents purples useless, and hex can prevent his opponents from acting at all!

    [Triangle: on the defense/rushdown edge, very far towards defense]

    Strengths:
    - Can give more wounds than any other character
    - Simple and great for beginners
    - Good natural defense against strong reds

    Weaknesses:
    - Simple gameplay makes it difficult to surprise expert players
    - Very low money
    - Relatively limited puzzle chip synergy

    Gameplan

    Argagarg wants to disrupt his opponent’s plans with wounds while staying alive as long as possible. The longer the game drags out, the more Argagarg’s wounds and Protective Ward hurt his opponent.

    Puzzle Chips

    Chips Argagarg Loves

    - Gem Essence

    Argagarg loves this chip. He already has a chip of every color, and no natural forks to use them! Even better, the trashing effect will help Argagarg much more than his opponent; the more his opponent trashes, the more annoying Argagarg’s wounds will become!

    - Color Panic, Ouch, Stolen Purples

    Counterintuitively, defensive characters with blue reactions like strong reds in the pool. Argagarg can protect himself with Bubble Shield, while his opponents have no such defenses.

    - Really Annoying, Ebb or Flow, Thinking Ahead

    Argagarg has two blue arrows on his character chips, which makes these much easier for him to play than other chips. These three chips all have great mains for Argagarg, so he should be considering them even if his opponent isn’t buying attacks! Really Annoying is an obvious choice to send yet more wounds the opponent’s way. Ebb or Flow lets Arg draw the game out or even attempt a rush. And Thinking Ahead makes up for Arg’s lack of cycling by letting him add new chips to his next draw.

    - Safe Keeping

    This is a cheap chip that lets Argagarg stay alive in the late game. Because Argagarg has no natural forks, the pig is often useful for saving enders for next turn.


    Chips Argagarg Fears

    - Combos are Hard

    Argagarg’s wounds can usually prevent opponents from getting to the really scary 8 and 9 cost chips. But many characters can easily get a 6 cost chip in the second cycle, before Argagarg has a chance to wound them much. Worse still, Argagarg has trouble getting that much money himself!

    - Risk to Riskonade

    Rushdown characters can use this to rapidly speed up the pace of the game, making his wounds much less relevant.

    - Self-Improvement, Money for Nothing

    Arg normally wants to wound his opponents as much as possible. With these strong reactions, opponents can actually wind up better off after you play Hex of Murkwood. Self-Improvement’s main even lets them trash wounds.

    General Tips

    - Argagarg is not a fancy character. He should be buying lots of combines, because they are a great defensive option that doesn’t use a precious arrow.
    - Keep track of the combine effects you and your opponent are likely to draw next turn. Often Protective Ward will hurt you more than your opponent!
    - Bubble Shield’s ongoing effect is deceptively strong, because it removes itself from your deck. This makes you draw your purple chips that much faster! That said, if your opponent is buying scary reds, don’t just automatically play it because you can. Often it is better to keep in your deck as a reaction!

    Matchups:

    Matchups Argagarg Loves

    Cycling characters like Valerie, Lum and Gwen are vulnerable to wounds, making Argagarg a reasonable pick against them. Additionally, Argagarg is favored against Menelker and Onimaru, since their Deathstrike Dragon and Wartime Tactics become harder to use effectively as their decks fill with wounds.

    Matchups Argagarg Fears

    Midori and Jaina are strong rushdown characters that can end a game quickly. Worse still, they have natural ways to trash Argagarg’s wounds! Bal Bas Beta also can trash wounds into 1-gems with Upgrade, and can use Rocket Punch as a reaction to Argagarg’s hex. Setsuki is one of the few characters that can use Really Annoying even better than Argagarg can, and has such explosive economy that a few wounds barely hurt.
  5. ApolloAndy

    ApolloAndy Well-Known Member

    Generally curious what the "Arg experts" think of Improv.
  6. Delha

    Delha Active Member

    Inconsistent font size again, if relevant.
  7. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    I think it's dominated by Combine, except in Gem Essence games.
  8. ChumpChange

    ChumpChange Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I found Arg/Improv decent until the new Protective Ward, which you definitely don't want to trigger by accident.
  9. ghobot21

    ghobot21 New Member

    hi, can somebody help me. i wanna know something

    Argagarg - Protective Ward

    "An opponent affected by this chip would draw 4 chips at the end of his turn instead of the usual 5, plus however many extras from the height bonus."

    why does the opponent draw 1 less? and the 'opponent affected' means opponent who use 'combine', right?
  10. Bodknocks

    Bodknocks Active Member

    I'm not sure where you're finding that quote, but it seems like it's referring to an older version of Protective Ward.

    During testing for 3rd edition rules, for a short while Arg's Prot Ward was something like, "Ongoing: Your opponent draws one less chip on their draw phase, discard at the end of your next action phase" or something like that. It got changed near the end of development and now does something completely different in the current iteration of the game. Seems like that quote is referring to the older, obsolete version of the chip.
  11. ghobot21

    ghobot21 New Member

    ooo...now i see. i read it on the 'puzzle strike's Guide' section here, on fantasystrike. when i look at arg's protective ward pic, it is the new one, and then i saw that rule. so i thought there is a hidden rule which i dont know of.
    now at least i know the chip's rule in the Guide section is still not renewed. thanks for the clarification. :)
  12. Dasilodavi

    Dasilodavi New Member

    Too much of Arg's design is fighting itself, and though it would lengthen the guide I think it would be worth mentioning. Otherwise the guide is inconsistent.

    For instance, yes Arg likes blue chips with good mains, but having them means the opponent can defend against Hex.

    He likes combines, but his own ward blocks them.

    He likes attack chips because he can defend against them naturally, but only if bubble shield isn't already out.

    And yes, all this is workable if you're adept at reading discard piles, knowing your opponent's bag contents, using cycling to keep chips in proper order, etc. But that all goes against the first thing you say, "[Arg's] Simple gameplay is great for beginners."

    Personally I think he's a mess, and the guide doesn't really convince me otherwise.
    DrFaustus, Vauceene and keithburgun like this.
  13. qauz

    qauz New Member

    Arg has a unique strategy in the early-mid game. He's likely to survive long enough to build up a 4 in his pile, and may be able to activate his ward in time to prevent combines before he crashes the 4 to his opponent. While building to the 4, usually you can wound your opponent 2-3 times, this will make it that much harder to defend against that first big crash. He's in a sense a defensive rush down player, you can't easily kill him (besides jaina etc...) before he'll hit you with a 4 and some wounds, if you can deal with that than generally Arg is weak later in the game - only hex is good late game.
  14. Proven

    Proven Member

    He still feels like a clunky character to me. His chips have no natural synergies. They only work because of the mechanics of Puzzle Strike as a whole. Having two blue arrows helps a little but depending on the bank it's more often the case that he has three different enders. Depending on the opponent you'll focus on one or two of them throughout the game and just play around the last one. It can be irritating because his entire gameplay is preempting his opponent, but as it's done so far in advance you don't get as much satisfaction from it unless you have good game sense or your opponent is sharing information with you.
  15. NidoKing

    NidoKing Active Member

    yes, Argagarg is flawed. I think most people who say otherwise are just in denial. Shame, since it seems like a smudge on an otherwise super-polished edition. The attitude I interpreted during the testing was that his long-standing reputation as "an annoying noob character" who several testers admitted to not even wanting in the game, led to people not caring to give him the same polish that some other characters received since they "don't like him" anyway

    I think with just a week of dedicated brain storming by the community a better version could have been released, since such late-pushes successfully ended up in a much more polished version of chars like Persephone and DeGrey (in Upgrade Pack)
  16. rabid_schnauzer

    rabid_schnauzer Well-Known Member

    The thing is, this version of Arg is balanced for power level - he's arguably bottom-tier, but he's not trash tier. Many prior versions of Arg were not. Sadly, this power-balanced Arg loses a lot of the simplicity of the prior ubalanced Arg versions (Swap in RA to win of 2e and RB arg; Avoid Jaina and Monopurple to win of 2.9 arg prototype) and comes off feeling clunky and/or boring and/or random enough that I can't say I'm completely satisfied with the character design. Still, it is an improvement.

    And as the 2.9 version (prot ward as opponent draws 1 less chip) showed. Even minor changes can take a notable period of testing to reveal the full impact on powerlevel, character revisions should not be a one-week process for anybody.
  17. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Well, we tried pretty hard on Argagarg, much more than a week. But no one ever thought of a decent version for him, and then we ran out of time. It's not that he was an "annoying" noob character, it's that he was a noob character that was way too strong for how brainless he was to play. I won several tournaments with him, basically just doing nothing but buying combines. So in the end we released a version that no one really liked but at least wouldn't dominate tournament play.

    At that point, development was private, so a handful of people had to come up with solutions to most of the late-development problems. I think we did pretty well on most stuff, but yeah, we came up pretty blah for Argagarg. It's not that the power level is really that far off; it's more that pretty much no one enjoys actually playing the dude. I do wonder what would have happened if one of us had thought to make a public brainstorm thread. Maybe something awesome would have come out of it, like what happened with DeGrey. Or maybe not, IDK.

    Regarding this guide, I remember it being kind of awkward to write, because at that point not much was known about the character other than that he was probably low tier.
    keithburgun likes this.
  18. Caphriel

    Caphriel Well-Known Member

    I feel that Arg, and to a lesser extent Gloria, are weakened not just by the fact that a lot of the blue :pspuzzle:s have relatively weak main actions in many cases, but also by the fact that there are so few blue chips. There are 24 chips in each set, plus 3 promotional chips. Base set has 3 blues, expansion has 4 blues. It's fairly common to have banks with no blues at all, or 1 or two blues that are not particularly useful in the matchup/bank.

    In regard to his character chips, protective ward feels terrible to play. It's awful play it and then realize you wanted to combine this turn (which is just a mistake), but it's even worse to play it and then draw a bunch of combines next turn. It helps against characters like Jaina who want to combine a lot, but as soon as Arg starts wanting to combine, Protective Ward starts to hurt him about as much as it hurts his opponents.
  19. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, pretty much. I complained repeatedly that blue mains in general kind of sucked, but I think a lot of people disagreed with me. At least we buffed Thinking Ahead.
  20. Caphriel

    Caphriel Well-Known Member

    Self-Improvement is another one that strikes me as weird (getting a bit off-topic at this point, but whatever), in that most of the time you're going to want to trash a gem, or a wound if you have one, and Now Or Later is just better for that, except in edge cases where you'd rather use a blue arrow than a brown one. And it costs half as much, and can be used to draw chips if you don't want to trash anything. Yes, Self-Improvement can get rid of :psorb:s and :pspuzzle:s, too, but that's not as common of a target for trashing, in my experience. Money for Nothing is usually worse than buying a :ps2gem:. Blues Are Good would be better if there were good blues to target with it. Etc.

    I actually think Thinking Ahead is possibly one of the more powerful blue mains. I'm guessing the buff was adding the :ps$:?
  21. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    And reducing the cost to 2.
  22. Inkstud

    Inkstud Well-Known Member

    It's a tricky balancing act (so to speak) when it comes to blue mains. You want them to be something usable, but if the reaction is strong, you don't want the main to be too strong as well. There should be a cost / benefit analysis to buying blues in response to opposing reds. Getting the reaction should be good, but if they don't play those attacks, maybe you're stuck with an ender that's not that great. Like... improvisation is maybe the best blue main (arguably, sure) so it's no surprise that it's reaction is probably the weakest. Ebb and Flow, ok main, ok reaction. Self-improvement, strong reaction, weak main.

    Mostly I think they're fine. Blues are Good is kinda just crappier than I wish it was though. I like... never ever buy that. It seems super circumstantial. Feels like there should be a pig or a black arrow on it or something.
    Star Slayer likes this.
  23. Caphriel

    Caphriel Well-Known Member

    The problem with the power of the mains being balanced against their reactions is that it means that characters with mostly blue arrows can't use them for anything particularly good, though. I understand the balancing tension, I just think most of the mains are a little bit too weak.

    Blues are Good is useful when combined with Improvisation, but I don't find most of the other blue chips to justify adding it to your deck in most circumstances.
  24. rabid_schnauzer

    rabid_schnauzer Well-Known Member

    From a deck-thinning / econ perspective, you want to play Prot Ward when you will cycle on your end of turn draw. Arg can get off to a surprisingly good money start if he buys a pair of :ps2gem:s and manages to end his first cycle with both of his ongoings in play.

    However, from a not-shooting-yourself-in-the-foot perspective you want to play Prot Ward when you know you will not draw a Combine/OtS/Mixmaster next turn.

    However since there is no way to know what you will draw after you cycle, that means that Arg players often want to take the gamble on not drawing combine effects after the reshuffle. :pspig: effects can mitigate this a little, and Arg players should consider them.
  25. Caphriel

    Caphriel Well-Known Member

    Playing protective ward when you're going to cycle before you discard it is usually just a matter of "Did I draw Protective Ward on the last turn of a cycle?" more than choosing whether or not to play it. If you drew it on the last turn of a cycle, you'll play it unless playing something else is better. If you have nothing else to play, it's a no-brainer in almost all circumstances.

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