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.
If you're organizing a conference, one of the most important tasks is selecting speakers who will give unique and interesting talks to your attendees. But you've also got your budget to worry about...
Whether or not you can pay for your speakers' conference ticket and travel costs is one of the biggest factors in determining who can speak at your conference. There are few types of people who are generally more able to speak at conferences than others. To illustrate this, let us take a look at Earth 517, where StickerConf (the nation's most prestigious annual conference for sticker designers and developers) has just opened their speaker application process. These are some of the people who are thinking of applying:
Logan is the best there is at making stickers, bub. His sticker consultancy has been in business for decades and he is a common fixture at conferences. He is a popular speaker, but his well-worn talks always seem to cover the same material.
Just like last year, Logan will apply to speak at StickerConf, and will pay travel and ticket costs with his company's finances.
Scott is a committed single father. As a widower, he is the sole wage-earner and caretaker for his children Rachel (4 years old) and Nathan (1 year old). Scott's independent shop has been a leader in the sticker-making industry since the beginning, but these days he only has time for two things: parenting and making stickers.
Scott can't afford to pay his own way to StickerConf; there are college funds which need to be filled. Taking days off from his work to prepare a talk and to speak at StickerConf is already a significant commitment. If StickerConf won't cover his travel and ticket costs, Scott won't apply to speak.
Ororo is an industry longtimer and senior director at the largest sticker factory in the US. Her first priority is her career and managing her team at the sticker factory. The factory doesn't cover conferences, so she uses her own vacation time to attend and speak at a few conferences each year. Due to her busy schedule, she often neglects her own personal time.
Having already agreed to speak 2 other conferences this year, Ororo has room for perhaps one more new talk in her schedule. She will apply to speak at StickerConf if her costs are covered, but otherwise is considering taking a real vacation.
Hank is a tenured professor at a university where he teaches several courses on sticker making. He has a well honed stage presence, and years of experience teaching the traditional and theoretical methods. However, without any real world experience, his talks haven't changed much over the years.
Hank gets ample time off during school breaks, and a yearly stipend from the university for conferences and travel. He enjoys learning new things at StickerConf, and will apply to speak every year.
Warren is an entrepreneur who founded StickrIO a few years ago. He has managed to speak at a few conferences in the past year, and he has had a really great time talking to the community and increasing awareness of StickrIO.
Warren will apply for every speaking slot he can find, polish up his slide deck in the week before the conference, and StickrIO will pay his travel costs.
Kitty is attending state college on a full ride scholarship, and next year she will graduate with a degree in Sticker Sciences. As a full-time student with no parental support, she is broke as heck. But she is heading straight towards a career in sticker making and has been watching StickerConf's talk videos on YouTube for years.
She would like to share her fresh perspective with the professional sticker community; as well as to meet all the people that she has admired from afar. A quick peek ahead in Earth 517's timeline shows that one face-to-face conversation with Scott will give Kitty an insight which enables her to complete the breakthrough new sticker adhesive that she's got brewing in the school lab. But if StickerConf won't cover her ticket and travel expenses, Kitty can't speak.
Based on these profiles, if StickerConf does not cover travel and ticket costs for their speakers, they will only receive talk proposals from Logan, Hank, and Warren. However, if StickerConf is able to cover speakers' costs, they will have a much wider variety of talks to choose from. In fact, the lack of expense reimbursement tends to play a larger role in talk submissions for under-represented people than it does for those who are not.
At this point, most developers already have more t-shirts than they can possibly wear. So if you're organizing a conference - or a sponsor looking to stand out - consider some alternate ideas for conference swag:
- Stickers! (Everyone)
Developers love stickers, and they're relatively cheap. Just be sure to get fairly sturdy stickers that won't fall apart after living on a laptop or notebook for a few months.
Sources: Sticker Mule.
- Water bottles (CascadiaJS)
Save the environment by providing nice refillable bottles instead of disposable water bottles.
Sources: Mizu, US Imprints
- Notebooks (Nodevember)
It's a bit old-fashioned, but I still prefer to take notes on good old paper. I can freeform the notes without worrying about formatting, and I don't get distracted as when I'm on the computer. Notebooks are also a great place for all those stickers!
Sources: Chameleon Like, Bound Custom Journals, Poppin, Field Notes.
How else am I going to write the notes?
- Swag bag (CascadiaJS, SassConf, Nodevember)
Everyone loves a nice sturdy bag to hold all of the stuff they accumulate at a conference. Also these are great for re-use at home or later during the conference trip.
- USB Battery (Nodevember)
A their booth, one of the Nodevember sponsors was giving away a very handy rechargeable USB stick.
Sources: Branders, 4 Imprint, Print Globe.
- Taster glasses (Nodevember)
I got a lovely little taster glass from the closing Nodevember party. They also have mustache-shaped bottle openers, if that's your thing.
Sources: Clear Water Gear, Discount Mugs, Yankee Schooner
- Hoodies! (CascadiaJS, SassConf)
A very cool item. They're fairly expensive, especially the CascadiaFest ones with the customized sleeves. But this can be a special item for speakers, or super-early ticket buyers.
I got some branded earbuds from a conference, but sadly none of the silicon tips fit my ears.
- Books! (SassConf)
Many a publisher can be talked into providing a few copies of a book as a give away. And O'Reilly will give free e-books to communities.
(The above photo was taken before CSSConf AU, but I really dig the enameled coffee mug, sturdy shopping bag, and custom lapel pin that they gave out!)