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Tabletop Game / Chaotic

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Chaotic is a Collectible Card Game that was made alongside the show of the same name. Originally based on a Danish game called "Gnolls and Gorks", Chaotic eventually evolved into the card game we know today and was officially released in 2006, along with a (now defunct) website which allowed people to play the game online.

Basic gameplay is done on two boards, each with ten creature spaces arranged in a triangular pattern, although all 10 were almost never used at the same time, typically only triangles of six or three spaces on each side were used. The goal is to simply defeat all of your opponents creatures. Creatures had five stats, four potential elements, various abilities, and up to three starting Mugic counters, which were used to cast Mugic, powerful spells that could reliably change the flow of the game. In addition, creatures could be equipped with battlegear to boost their strength even more. You could only have as much Mugic and battlegear as you do creatures.note  Battles are initiated when one creature moves into an enemy creature's space, and they consisted of flipping a location card for additional effects and to figure out who went first.

It was notable for being one of the first card games to use codes in order for players to transfer their collections online, and also for every creature's stats differing between cards, meaning that one card could have 50 courage while a different copy of said card having 40 courage. This ended up making every card unique on some level.

The Chaotic TCG provides examples of:

  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Aa'une The Oligarch, dear god, Aa'une the Oligarch. He starts out in his Projection form, which is a basic M'arrillian Chieftain who's only effect is that it's the side that starts the game face-up, similar to Magic's transform cards. In order to transform him into his incredibly powerful Avatar form, which has 200 in every stat, 100 energy, 20 extra damage with every stat attack, and the ability to basically destroy every creature on your opponent's board if you haven't used any mugic, you must:
      • Have Aa'une win combat. Already much harder than it sounds, given that his stats would be mediocre at best in the first set of the game, let alone the fifth, and he has no abilities to back him up, meaning he'll be easily squished by any frontline fighter worth its salt. Throw in the presence of cards like Tartarek, Psi Overloader and UnderWorld's plethora of damaging Mugic, and it's often a question of whether Aa'une even lives long enough to attack more than once.
      • Have Aa'une be equipped with Baton of Aa'une. Good to have on him, but is very easily gotten rid of by certain Mugic, attacks, or creatures (especially since M'arrillians have very few answers to Battlegear removal) and doesn't solve any of his existing combat-related problems.
      • Play the attack Rage of Aa'une. Again, good to have in your deck if you're playing Aa'une, but even with the max 2 copies it's entirely possible you won't have it on hand when Aa'une fights.
      • Then, if all of the former conditions are met on the same turn, you have to cast Calling of Aa'une to flip him over and play the Oligarch. The issue here is that Aa'une himself has no mugic counters and Calling is a M'arrillian mugic, meaning you have to have a fluidmorpher to cast it, as there's almost no way Aa'une himself could ever gain that many mugic counters on his own. This means if Aa'une is your only creature left, you can't transform him. There is a Location that lets Calling of Aa'une be cast for free, but being a Location, there's no guarantee of it actually coming up, but even then, there's always the chance of the opponent simply dispelling Calling of Aa'une and completely screwing you over.
      • Even after Aa'une flips, he still runs into problems. The biggest is that, even though he deals massive damage with Discipline attacks, flipping him requires you to cast a 4-cost M'arrillian Mugic, meaning you'll have to specialize in Water attacks, and the list of Water attacks that also use Disciplines is fairly short, rendering him unable to use his damage bonus a lot of the time. And while he can destroy all of the opponent's Creatures at once by simply tossing your entire Mugic hand, doing so requires him to win combat and flip without spending any of your Mugics other than Calling; if you somehow pull that off, chances are you can easily win even without transforming him.
    • Glacier Plains, M'arillian Heat Cannon is the only card in the game with an Instant-Win Condition; the problem is that the condition is ulcer-inducing to actually pull off. To win the game with its effect, you have to have a whopping 50 Mugic counters on your field. You read that correctly: 50. You basically need to keep an entire army of fluidmorphers alive for at least two or three turns without playing Mugic or abilities at the very least to even get that many. And to top it off, the Heat Cannon is a Unique Location, meaning that there's only a 1 in 10 chance on any one of your turns that it'll come up, and if it shows up before you have enough counters, you can kiss your instant win goodbye.
    • Allmageddon was probably the most powerful attack in the starter set Dawn of Perim, capable of nuking a creature for up to 50 damage (which was, in most cases, a One-Hit Kill). However, it also has a bunch of drawbacks. One, it's a Unique attack, meaning that you might not draw the card if you need it. Two, it has a build cost of 5, forcing you to run at least four wimpy attacks to accommodate it. And three, to get the max damage from Allmageddon, you have to use it with a creature that has all four Elements; if your creature is missing one or two, you're probably better off with a cheaper attack like Thunder Shout.
    • Warbeasts in general tend to have high Recklessness as a drawback, but most can be managed with a few Conjurors in back. Then there's the big daddy Khorror, a behemoth of a creature with 100 in all Disciplines barring Wisdom and an enormous 130 Energy... counterbalanced by a preposterous Recklessness 50 and no elemental types. You pretty much have to build your entire deck around sustaining Khorror to make sure it doesn't self-destruct the first time it fights, often by hoarding Mugic counters on Savell or Appelai and, in turn, not using your Mugics. To double down on the awesomeness and impracticalness, Khorror can swing for 105 damage with the Slashclaw attack, enough to one-shot anything that's neither another Khorror nor stacked with Energy buffs. That is, if you don't mind loading your deck with 0-cost bricks due to Slashclaw's enormous build cost.
    • Magmon, Engulfed gives all of your other Fire Creatures Fire 5 and isn't Unique, meaning that having two can let you deal an easy 10 extra damage with Fire attacks. Unfortunately, this is counterbalanced by him also giving Recklessness 5 to those Creatures, turning the advantage into an Equivalent Exchange... which, given the amount of healing and attack negation in the game, will almost always be a bad trade for you. The fact that Magmon has mediocre stats and no Mugic counters doesn't help his viability either, since you'll be strapped for resources just playing him and he won't easily win a fight on his own.
    • Stone Mail, from the Dawn of Perim set, is a Battlegear that gives a whopping 50 bonus Energy to a Creature, which is more Energy than most early Creatures even had to begin with. It also comes with a buttload of downsides: the equipped Creature can't move (so your opponent is free to ignore them even if it wins a fight), it takes an extra 5 damage from everything (which can get them killed faster than usual if your opponent can remove the Stone Mail), and it also loses all of its abilities (useful for getting rid of negative effects, but painful on most things).
    • Kha'rall Husk Armor follows Stone Mail's template of "huge Energy buff offset by huge downsides". It also gives 50 Energy, and only has one downside... but that downside causes the equipped Creature to deal no damage on its next attack if it took 15 damage or more from a single hit. This downside is so steep that it's basically useless in a straight fight (with the exception of a single Creature that can actually subvert its downside); as most decks have no problem hitting you with 15 damage per attack, the Husk Armor wearer will simply keep taking hits until it dies while not being able to do anything in return.
    • A Fluidmorpher with Heptadd's Crown or Muge's Tuningfork can use their near-endless supply of free Mugic counters on any Mugic card in the game, which makes it tempting to use them with otherwise-expensive Mugic cards from other tribes. However, building your entire Mugic lineup around a Fluidmorpher with one of these cards means you're just one piece of Battlegear removal away from losing access to all your Mugic cards, leaving you at a huge disadvantage, especially since the Fluidmorpher also needs time to ramp up before they can start casting Mugic.
    • Song of Deflection is often a better Refrain of Denial by letting you change the target of any single-target Mugic or ability, letting you steal opposing heals or destroying their Creature with their own damage Mugic. It's naturally bogged down by a hefty cost of 3, making it borderline impossible to cast when it was releasednote  and still very costly today as Mipedians are often chronically lacking in Mugic Counters. Xelfe is, to date, the only Creature that can cast Song of Deflection unaided, albeit at the cost of giving up his very useful ability.
    • Sink Scream is a 5-cost Attack that can reduce the opponent's Disciplines to 0 depending on the user's Elements; with all four, it instantly drains all of the opponent's Disciplines. Normally this card would just be bad... unless you pair it with Gan'trak (which changes your attacks from dealing damage to draining Disciplines, and instantly destroys any Creature whose Disciplines have all dropped to 0), turning Sink Scream into a One-Hit Kill. However, this requires having all four Elements on a single Creature, which would be demanding in any tribe, let alone one whose multi-element options are as restricted as the M'arrillians, and the enormous build cost makes this strategy hideously inconsistent and fragile at the best of times as all it can do is, more often than not, to pray for Sink Scream to show up in your hand. While it's naturally entertaining to spontaneously vaporize your opponent's Creatures, such a luck-based strategy is naturally not going to win you many games.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: For the original four tribes: Overworlders are Balance, with the most variety in creatures and no glaring weaknesses; Underworlders are Power, built for trading blows with the opponent; Mipedians are Skill, as they're focused on quickly gaining an advantage with Invisibility; Danians are Gimmick, based around manipulation of the unique mechanics Hive and Infect along with their discard pile. M'arillians also fall under Gimmick, as they have the unique Brainwashed and Fluidmorph mechanics and have a large focus on Discipline manipulation.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Mipedian Warbeasts, while whey have massive energy pools and disciplines, all but two of the Warbeasts also have massive Recklessness values, causing them to take large amounts of damage whenever they attack. Additionally, of the ones that don't have Recklessness, one reduces the energy of all other creatures you control, and the other forces you to sacrifice another creature after winning combat, or it gets destroyed.
    • This can be averted with the exception of The Warbeasts that lack Recklessness with use of Conjurers, most of which reduce Recklessness damage to Warbeasts, if not negating the damage entirely. However, you'll then need a way to stop the enemy from simply sniping your Conjurers first.
    • This can also be partially averted with use of the Stone Mail Battlegear, which negates all effects on a creature, however this has its own drawbacks in that it prevents movement and increases all damage dealt to the creature by 5.
  • Boring, but Practical: 1-cost attacks in general, most notably the ones that deal minor damage in 2 elements like Ash Torrent and Inferno Claws and the Alliances Unraveled attacks that deal 15 in a single element. They're not the biggest or flashiest attacks, but using them as the crux of your attack deck means you can deal consistent damage with every attack you draw instead of having to chip away with scratch damage while you wait for big 4- or 5-cost attacks. Furthermore, bonus element damage is very common and accessible by all tribes, so with a good build these attacks can easily deal around 10 more than their stated value.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The M'arillians have this as a game mechanic. They were introduced alongside Minion creatures from the other tribes that use a "Brainwashed" ability instead of their usual ability if they're played alongside a M'arillian Chieftain.
  • CCG Importance Dissonance: A given for a card game with a tie-in show.
    • Dawn of Perim was particularly bad about cards from the show getting underwhelming representations in the actual card game, with Intress and Tangath Toborn being two of the more notable examples. Both were portrayed as being very powerful creatures in the show, but in the physical game, their initial cards were quite weak even for the time.
    • Fortissimo, in the show, was portrayed as a fairly potent Mugic for the ability to temporarily grow a Creature to massive size, boosting their strength accordingly. How was this represented in the actual card game? Granting a creature a pathetic 5 Energy and 5 to each Discipline, which is the tiniest step up possible from doing nothing whatsoever.
  • Cherry Tapping: Decrescendo deals a piddling 5 damage for a whole Mugic counter, which is the lowest non-zero amount of damage a card can possibly deal and only makes a real difference against Creatures that are almost fatally wounded in the first place (compare Casters' Warsong, the same thing but with a potential 10 additional damage and thereby a credible threat, and Canon of Casualty, which is the same cost for 20 damage even if it is UnderWorld-exclusive). Needless to say, losing a Creature to Decrescendo is very embarrassing even at the time it was printed (the very first set in the game).
  • Counterspell: The Refrain of Denial series is comprised of Mugic that negate other Mugic; the OverWorld version costs more but negates anything, while the UnderWorld and Danian versions negate only specific kinds. M'arrillians eventually got their own version, Denial Refrain of the Deep.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: M'arrilians specialize in Water attacks... and only Water attacks. Out of all their creatures, only 3 naturally have any additional elementsnote  while only 1 has no elements at all.note  As such, locations like Illusionary Lake or Carnival of Confusion utterly cripple the elemental parts of their attack decks.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Very much in play; because of game mechanics removing all damage taken by Creatures at the end of each turn, a Creature is not down and out until it's at 0 since it'll be good as new next turn if you don't kill it. This is also why healing is always saved until the last possible moment, since if you won the fight and didn't need the heal, you just wasted it.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Danians are probably the most difficult of the original 4 tribes to play due to their plethora of different mechanics. Their main mechanic, Hive, requires a little bit of micromanagement to make sure that its active when you need it. Compost, which uses various Danians in the creature discard who buff the ones still alive, makes it so you need to gauge whether a creature is more valuable alive then it is in the ground. Finally Infect needs to be properly spread throughout both armies. However, master them and you'll find that Danians are capable of growing to insane stat totals as the game goes on as well as being extraordinarily flexible in terms of strategies.
  • Discard and Draw: Quite a variety of attacks and some mugic discard or shuffle attack cards to draw new ones, such as Malevolent Blast and Melodic Might.
  • Elemental Powers: Creatures can have Fire, Water, Earth, and Air elements to allow them to do extra damage with attacks using those elements. Creatures can also have "Element X" abilities (e.g. "Fire 5," "Air 10," and so forth) that boosts any elemental damage they deal. Each tribe is also associated with a primary and secondary element: Underworlders favor Fire and Air, Danians tend to use Earth and Water, Mipedians often come with Air and Earth, and Overworlders lean towards Water and Fire. M'arrillians take it up to eleven by using Water exclusively, with only one or two exceptions.
  • Flavor Text: Some cards have this, and the text can range from a simple joke to revealing lore not even found in the show. Some of the notable ones are hinting at a secret connection between Intress and Takinom and Rarran being a creation of Mommark.
  • Home Field Advantage:
    • Location cards often have just as much of an impact on battle outcomes as creatures and attacks. In addition to possessing abilities of their own that affect Creatures in combat, Locations also have an Initiative label that determines who gets the first hit. Ideally, you want your deck to have Locations with abilities that synergize with your creatures and Initiative checks that your creatures can reliably win.
    • Magmon in particular is infamous for the Lava Pond giving any of his cards a free Fire 5. Thanks to the Lava Pond already giving 5 extra damage on all fire attacks, combined with base Magmon's preexisting Fire 5, Retalitator's additonal 5 damage to all M'arrillians/minions (Or additional 5 damage to non-M'arrilians if brainwashed), or Engulfed's ability to grant all of your fire creatures Fire 5 (And Recklessness 5), fighting Magmon on his home turf can be a very brutal experience.
  • Invisibility: A game mechanic, primarily used by Mipedians, that gives a creature additional abilities if they fight an opponent that doesn't have Invisibility. It's usually paired with Strike (your first attack deals more damage), Disarm (disables the opponent's Battlegear), or Surprise (skips the Initiative check and lets you attack first, unless the opponent also has Surprise).
  • Joke Character: While there are some creatures that generally aren't good, Fivarth is probably the one most clearly designed to be terrible. He has an utterly pathetic 15 in every stat and no elements, meaning he dies in combat if the opponent looks at him too hard and most of the attacks in the game are completely useless on him, and his only remotely useful ability is reducing your Warbeasts' Recklessness damage by 5... which doesn't do much considering that Warbeast Recklessness starts at 10 and often reaches 20 or more, not to mention the other Conjurors that are much better at dealing with Recklessness. His only saving graces are his 2 Mugic counters (which, again, most Conjurors also have) and being untargetable by Mugic and abilities, which doesn't mean much when he does absolutely nothing on his own.
  • Keystone Army: Certain decks rely on a specific Creature to enable their combos or attack decks, and taking that Creature out usually hobbles or cripples the rest of the army. Warbeasts are a particularly notorious example, since losing even a single Conjuror will often result in the beasts themselves imploding from Recklessness damage. Arrthoa, Captain of the Ezoa is another notable instance, as decks built around him will often load up on difficult Stat Checks that they can freely abuse with his ability; this also means that losing Arrthoa completely neuters the majority of their attack deck.
  • Kill One, Others Get Stronger: The point of the Danian compost archetype, composed of Creatures like Makanaz and Ivelaan which can both fight decently well on their own and also provide innate buffs after being killed. While they start out on-par with other fighting creatures, losing their creatures will make the remaining ones much more powerful.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Stelgar both subverts and plays this trope straight. Normal Stelgar has a good 65 on all stats and the typical underworld elements, fire and air, and it gains more in every stat except energy every time it does attack damage. However, grow its power stat too much, and Stelgar destroys itself. On the other hand, play Stelgar in a minion deck and it changes to gaining mugic counters every time it wins a battle, which, unlike the power stat, can be used up in a productive way, so it becomes a viable muge... in theory, since M'arrillians already have Fluidmorphers and the likes. In Stelgar's second card, Stelgar, Vicious Mutation it plays this trope extremely straight. It starts with the water element, which is unusual for Underworlders, and 20 in every stat. However it gains 10 in everything at the end of each turn. Protect Stelgar long enough and it will grow into a massive creature with over 100 in every stat. Then equip some element gaining battlegear on to it. Now you've got a complete monster.
    • M'arrillian Fluidmorphers also work this way. Initially, they have no Mugic counters and often have abilities that require lots of counters, making them very weak for the first couple of turns. However, they also gain a counter each time one of their allies deals Water damage, meaning that as the game goes on, they'll build up lots of counters to oppress the opponent with.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Befitting their status as the Outside-Context Problem, M'arrillians have numerous unique traits in their gameplay:
    • Their Chieftains are Loyal to both M'arrillians and Minions, forcing the latter type to use Brainwashed abilities instead of their regular abilities.
    • Their Mugic mechanics are different from the other tribes, as no M'arrillians start with Mugic counters. However, their casters are Fluidmorphers that gain a counter each time you use a Water attack, allowing them to build up huge counter totals over the course of a single combat. To balance this out, M'arrillian Mugic cards tend to have hideously high costs, often in the 3-4 counter range. They also have many abilities that interact with Mugic aside from casting it, such as the quartet of Milla'iin, Ihun'kalin, Fal'makin, and Emna'ool discarding Mugic for their abilities and Fal'makin, AZAIA Inquisitor's ability to cheat out cheap Mugics when he attacks.
    • Even among the M'arrillians, Gan'trak's ability is completely unique and deck-defining. While active, Gan'trak causes your attacks to drain the opponent's disciplines instead of their Energy and destroys creatures with 0 in all disciplines. While creatures tend to have higher disciplines than Energy, meaning that you'll likely need more damage to kill with Gan'trak than regular damage, this also wreaks havoc on opponents that depend on discipline-based attacks, and M'arrillians have numerous ways to exploit this ability, with cards like Fal'makin to instantly pop creatures as soon as their weakest discipline is drained and Neth'uar to deal more damage against weakened opponents.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Najarin, Fluidmorphers' Foe has an ability that gives him a Mugic counter whenever an opposing Creature gets one. They had to roll out a very quick errata to make it no longer trigger off Creatures named "Najarin" to prevent two copies of Fluidmorphers' Foe from causing infinite loops.
  • Power Creep: As with most trading card games, this inevitably set in, with cards of all types just getting stronger over time. Compare, for instance, Tangath Toborn from Dawn of Perim, with a piddly 30 energy and no stats above 50, to Tangath Toborn, In Training from Beyond the Doors, with a much higher 65 energy, better stats all around, one additional Mugic counter, and an extra element. Another example is Infight, which deals an unconditional 20 damage on a cost of 4 and with a drawback, which was ruthlessly power-creeped by the 1-cost Primal Smash, which has the same damage and no downsides aside from being Unique.
  • Power Degeneration: The Recklessness ability, used by some Underworlders and most Warbeasts, cause a creature to take damage every time they attack. Meanwhile, the Exhaust ability makes a creature's specified discipline drop with every attack (for instance, Exhaust Wisdom 10 means you lose 10 Wisdom every time you attack).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Overworlders and Underworlders don't have many tribe defining abilities like the M'arrillians, Danians, or Mipedians do, but have the largest pools of creatures in the game, and are rather effective anyways. Underworlders in particular just focus on large damage, but it doesn't stop them from being probably the most popular tribe in the game.
    • In terms of attacks, we have Primal Smash, which has no effects, but is a 20 damage card with 1 build cost (most 1-cost attacks average 10 to 15 damage, often with conditions attached), allowing it to be safely splashed into just about any deck.
    • As for Mugic, there's Cadence Clash, a 1-cost Mugic that dispels another Mugic and returns it to the hand. Unlike Refrain of Denial and its variants, Cadence Clash puts the dispelled card back into the hand, allowing it to be cast again. However, the opponent will have to pay the cost again to use it, and Mugic Counters are a limited resource; if they can't, you've basically gotten rid of the card anyway. It's also a lot cheaper than other negation cards and is a Generic Mugic, meaning that you can run it in any deck.
    • Surprising Riffs is a Generic Mugic that costs 1 and simply flips a Battlegear facedown. It's hands-down the most easily accessible Battlegear removal card in the game, allowing it to disable dangerous ones like Heptadd's Crown or shut down Energy gains from the likes of Evergreen Tunic while being splashable into everything.
  • Skill Gate Characters:
    • UnderWorld decks qualify as both this and Difficult, but Awesome; they tend to focus on massive Mugic damage to destroy opponents as quickly as possible. The mechanics are fairly easy to grasp, and against other rookies, it's entirely possible to incinerate several fragile backrow Creatures before the first combat; however, to remain competitive against opponents that run anti-burn measures (which is to say, most competent ones), succeeding with UnderWorld requires both a solid build and good judgment on where and how to use your burn damage as the classic "spam damaging Mugic on backrow" strategy simply won't work.
    • Mipedian decks built around Invisibility can use huge Strike numbers to deal massive damage on their first swing, often generating an insurmountable lead against unwary opponents while being very easy to play. On the other hand, stronger decks and players will often have means of shutting down that first big swing (most notably Xerium Armor), completely neutering their biggest advantage and forcing the Mipedian player to try and outmaneuver their opponent's countermeasures.
  • Take Me Instead: The Defender ability, which allows a creature to enter combat in place of an adjacent ally that is attacked by an enemy. Useful for giving your Squishy Wizards or other keystone creatures an extra layer of protection.
  • Uniqueness Rule: The Unique and Legendary labels. If a card is Unique, you can't use another card of the same name in your deck, and you can only have a maximum of one Legendary card in your entire deck. Loyal is a variant that disallows Creatures from other Tribes if you include the card in your deck.
  • Video Game Stealing: Vlar's card has the unique ability to swipe the opposing engaged Creature's Battlegear at the start of combat if he doesn't have one himself. He doesn't even have to be fighting that Creature, or even near them, in order to do it.
  • Weapon of X-Slaying:
    • The Doomhammer grants its wielder bonus damage against Danians and UnderWorlders specifically in addition to its other effects.
    • Danihilation, as the name suggests, deals bonus damage to Danians.
    • Reckless Reproach and Reckless Defeat deal additional damage to the receiving Creature equal to the Recklessness it has. While it doesn't specifically say so in the text, they're specialized for doing massive damage to Warbeasts, which usually have huge Recklessness values (and, perhaps not coincidentally, those two cards were released in the same set as the first Warbeasts).
  • You're Nothing Without Your Phlebotinum: On a meta level, Kha'ralls, the M'arrillian fighters, were designed around this. They gain powerful benefits and a lot of Energy by being equipped with specific Shard Battlegear, but to offset these bonuses, they universally have poor stats on their own; removing their Battlegear by any means usually results in them going down very quickly.