I've been using this strategy in unlimited tournaments since I discovered the core mechanic (and improved it with the help of my opponents) last summer. Since I've seen other folks playing variations on this a few weeks ago, I've decided to write about it. I call this team "Kimmy Schmidt", because the Stirge is unblockable. Here are the important cards:
- Kobold - Greater Humanoid: This is here for the Swarm effect; [fist] energy is a bonus. Buy all 4 dice as soon as you can. During play, you'll want to field one (maybe two, tops) and keep the rest cycling through your bag as energy.
- Stirge - Epic Beast: Buy these after your Kobolds. Keep one or two in the field, and the rest cycling through your bag courtesy of Swarm. Attack with just one Stirge when you can increase its attack using the Anger Issues global. If your opponent hasn't seen this strategy, considering saving up for a really big hit to start. But don't worry, with the Swarm-fueled economy, Stirge will come back through your dice bag in no time.
- Anger Issues: Bring this for its global action: "Pay [fist]. Target character gets +1A until the end of turn." You can do it as many times as you have [fist] to pay for it. Once you've got a Stirge fielded and lots of [fist] energy to spend, use this global to pump up the Stirge's attack.
- Human Paladin - Lesser Emerald Enclave: Get one on the field when you can. The Paladin's active effect - "your characters in the field cannot be affected by global abilities used by your opponent" - will protect your Kobold and Stirge from cheap deaths from something like Magic Missile's global, or field removal from Distraction's global.
You can fill out the rest of your team however you like. You'll want something with some blocking strength for when your opponent's characters start coming at you. Power Transfer is nice if you've got it, but your opponent can use it to swap Stirge's attack to something lower. Try to avoid lots of characters cycling through your dice bag so that Swarm will remain effective. Bringing another unblockable character is a good plan; or something with a strong attack that can take advantage of the Anger Issues action.
In tournament play, I found that this setup took a little too long to get up and running to be truly deadly. There are also a few specific threats be aware of:
- Adventurers: The Kobold must attack if your opponent has any Adventurers fielded, which will probably break your swarm. You can avoid this by bringing the Kobold - Paragon Humanoid, but at it's really difficult to want to play it at twice the cost.
- Wasp - Founding Avenger: You'll use the Anger Issues global several times per game, so it's deadly to lose 1 life to Wasp's ability each time.
One of the longest-lasting artifacts of a home-made Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey stock. After roasting and carving a whole turkey, it feels very efficient to also utilize the neck, bones and other leftover bits to make something, and then use it throughout the year. When successful, the stock is a thick or even gelatinized liquid that adds flavor and a smooth thickness to dishes. We use the turkey stock throughout the year as a replacement for water when making making cous cous, wild rice, or any time chicken stock could be used. There's no strict recipe for stock - it's more of a set of general guidelines. Here's how it's done:
Collect cleaned vegetable trimmings and any vegetables that are about to go bad. Stash them all together in a gallon-size plastic zip bag and store it in a corner of your freezer. You can collect stock ingredients for a few months - more is always better - though we usually only end up doing it during the Thanksgiving effort. Most ingredients are fine, but there are a few things to keep in mind:
Do keep these things in your stock bag and add them to the stock pot: Carrot skins (washed), beet stalks (the green part), leek trimmings. All left-over meat bits (bones, giblets, necks, et cetera); roast them if you like and you can use any the drippings from the roasting. You many want to break the larger bones into smaller pieces with a large knife to they'll fit better in the pot. It's fine to mix poultry with beef or pork or whatever; or even omit the meat if you're aiming for a vegetarian stock. Don't sweat it of you're missing anything from here.
There are a few things to avoid adding to the stock. Kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels' sprouts, and broccoli will turn too bitter. Beets and tomatoes will turn the stock red in color. Potato peels are too cloudy. Oily fish will be too fishy; most lamb is too fatty, and drained bacon fat is just too fatty. Also avoid salting the stock; it will be too strong if added at the beginning and it's best to season when the stock is already incorporated into the final dish.
Throw all "good" stuff into a stock pot (you'll probably need one which can hold at least 2 gallons). Then add:
- 1 unpeeled onion, root end removed and onion quartered
- 1 whole carrot, quartered
- 1 stalk of celery, quartered
- 4 garlic cloves, whole
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of Thai fish sauce (if you have it)
- 1 cup dry white wine (if you have it)
Add about a gallon of water; enough to cover most of the solid bits. Simmer the pot for a while; a little boiling won't kill the stock, but it can cause cloudier stock, and more impurities to strain / skim off. Check the pot occasionally to make sure the majority of solid parts are covered with liquid; add more water if not. You want to cook the stock for as long as possible - more time equals more concentrated flavor and more deliciousness - but it can be done in just 3 hours (especially if crack the bones).
Strain the solid chunks out of the stock and cool it. For the ultimate cooling mojo: put an empty pot into your sink, and then fill the sink (but not the pot) with ice and some water. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the ice water. Then pour the hot stock into that pot in the sink. Stir the ice-water once in a while. For long term storage, freeze the stock in muffin cups or ice cube trays for easy portioning.
For a professionals take on stock, see Freezer-Bag Quick Stock from Lynne Rossetto Kasper.