dyeung87's Guide to The Idealist (Thinking of you, and how to crush you!)

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dyeung87
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dyeung87's Guide to The Idealist (Thinking of you, and how to crush you!)

So, I was Bored Now (heh), and wanted to write a guide to what has become one of my favorite (if not my most favorite) new additions to the heroic lineup, The Idealist. I've already posted this guide to reddit, but I thought I should post this guide here as well.
 
A complexity 3 hero well deserving of the rating, The Idealist doesn't need a heavy chain, or an endless supply of shadowy improvised gadgets, or even a body made from pure energy like the rest of her team. No, she can kill you with a mere thought (well, realistically, a bunch of her thoughts). Played in the right hands, you've got a hero who is capable of quickly dealing heaps of damage every turn onto the Villain, and their minions if needs be, and just in time to do her homework!
 
So let's get thinkin'!
 
The Deck ("Every Good Idea Starts With a Spark!")
 
The Idealist's deck consists of the following:
 
4 Concepts (7 cards):
 
(2x) Flying Stabby Knives
(2x) Giant Floaty Head
(2x) Karate Robot
(1x) Monster of Id
 
6 Fragments (18 total):
 
(3x) Better Punching
(3x) Bright Idea
(3x) Conceptualize
(3x) Hedgy Hogs
(3x) Sound Beating
(3x) Spark of Inspiration
 
This is the meat of her deck. Her Concepts provide the additional power options (aside from Monster of Id), and her Fragments are her One-Shots that supply her Concepts with food for thought. The Idealist lives and dies by her Concepts being in play, as well as having a steady source of fuel to power them.
 
1 Equipment (3 total):
 
(3x) Focusing Tiara
 
The only toy The Idealist has, and the only one she needs. This helpful piece of equipment supplies her hand and her Concepts with cards to use against her foes.
 
1 Ongoing (3 total):
 
(3x) Strained Superego
 
Likewise, the only Ongoing in her deck that isn't a Concept, Strained Superego supplies the Idealist with an extra power, or an extra draw if she needs cards. It also provides her with a way of moving around cards under Concepts in play to where they are needed. Yes, there's also that caveat that could destroy her Concepts, but with careful management of her cards, we can make sure that never happens (or at least, only when we want it to).
 
3 One-Shots (9 total):
 
(3x) Bored Now
(3x) Making Things Up
(3x) Vivid Thoughts
 
The rest of the One-Shots in her deck, Making Things Up and Vivid Thoughts can run through The Idealist's deck, searching for new Concepts and Fragments to play. Bored Now provides an emergency button in case Monster of Id gets out of hand, but more on that later.
 
Overall Strategy ("Hey, I've got an idea!")
 
An ideal state for The Idealist (heh) would be Focusing Tiara and Strained Superego in play, as many Concepts in play as she can get (at least two, but she can make do with one in a pinch) with one card underneath a Concept she doesn't want to activate (the reason for which becomes apparent below), and at least three cards in her hand to start with (shouldn't be a problem for her, barring any Villains that force her to discard).
 
With this setup, assuming one card underneath a Concept in play, The Idealist can:

  1. Put a card from her hand under the Concept she wants to activate with Focusing Tiara.

  2. Play a card (Vivid Thoughts or Making Things Up, or a Fragment if she doesn't have either).

  3. Use the power on Strained Superego to play a Fragment, putting the used Fragment underneath the Concept she wants to use (or her base power Wild Imagination if she doesn't have any more Fragments in hand).

  4. With Focusing Tiara, put a card from her trash underneath the Concept she wants to use.

  5. With Strained Superego, move the card underneath a Concept she doesn't want to use to the Concept she does want to use.

  6. With the extra power granted by Strained Superego, activate the Concept she wants to use (which should have at least 5 cards underneath it).

  7. With Focused Tiara, put a card from her trash underneath a Concept she doesn't want to use.


If that Concept is Karate Robot, that means the Idealist can deal at least 6 melee and 6 psychic damage to one target, plus whatever damage she may have dealt during her two plays. This could easily reach 20 damage per turn and beyond with as little as three cards in play.
 
But she obviously doesn't start there. As with all great minds, thinking takes a little bit of time.
 
Getting Started ("Here's the plan, guys! Pew, Pew!")
 
If you haven't noticed by now, all of The Idealist's cards revolve around her Concepts. Therefore, barring any pressing matters, her first play should be a Concept. Failing that, her first play should be a card that is most likely to get a Concept into play. But which Concept should she choose?
 
If the Villain starts with Ongoings in play, Giant Floaty Head makes for an obvious choice. As a bonus, she can get an extra draw out of it. The downside is that unless Giant Floaty Head was played using Making Things Up or Vivid Thoughts, she won't be able to activate it to destroy an Ongoing, at least without out-of-turn powers. So, if there is an Ongoing that absolutely has to go, play Vivid Thoughts if Giant Floaty Head is not in your hand, or Making Things Up if it is.
 
If there are a lot of minions in play, Flying Stabby Knives can also be helpful. 2 damage to several targets can certainly be helpful to pick off stragglers or weaken them for other heroes to finish off. At the start of the game however, it's more likely that she's only going to deal 2 damage to one target. At that point, you should use her base power instead to get deeper into her deck and place a fragment underneath Flying Stabby Knives for next turn. By the time the next turn rolls around, the minions could have already been taken care of by the other heroes and the environment, limiting the amount of use that Flying Stabby Knives can get. Use your best judgment to determine if you should start with Flying Stabby Knives or one of her other Concepts instead.
 
If there's one minion that you want to prioritize over all the others, or if there are no minions you want to hit, then Karate Robot is your biggest weapon. This is your endgame card that can deal more than 10 damage in total to the Villain every turn, but it can also be used mid-game to deal a huge number to a single target. You can start with Karate Robot with the intention of building up a huge hit, and is therefore never a bad move.
 
Given the choice of playing a Concept directly from your hand or one of your other One-Shots that can get a Concept into play, you would rather play one of your One-Shots:
 
  • If the Concept you want to play is already in your hand, Making Things Up can get you to look at three more cards, play that Concept, play any other Concepts in your hand, then play a Fragment, placing that Fragment underneath that Concept so you can use it right away.

  • Conceptualize can search the deck for any Concept you want and place itself underneath that Concept.

  • Vivid Thoughts can get Concepts into play, but it is a crapshoot. If you have to decide between playing a Concept or Vivid Thoughts as your first move, it's better to play your Concept now and save Vivid Thoughts for next turn so those played Fragments from Vivid Thoughts won't go to waste, even if it's a Concept you didn't want to start with. An exception of course is if there's a Villain Ongoing in play that has to be destroyed ASAP, none of your other heroes can deal with it, and you didn't start with Giant Floaty Head in hand.

  • Bright Idea can be useful on the first turn if the Villain forced you to discard a card. Discard the Concept you want to play so you can play Bright Idea to bring it back and have it start with two cards underneath. Ditto if Making Things Up is in your hand; play Making Things Up, discard the Concept, and bring it back with Bright Idea! 

What if you didn't start with a Concept in hand? Conceptualize becomes a top priority in that case as it guarantees a Concept coming into play. Making Things Up is next, given the edge case that you have Bright Idea in hand or could potentially draw into it. Vivid Thoughts is last, but it's just behind Making Things Up. At worst, you might get one or two Fragment plays that aren't Conceptualize, and at its very worst, you've drawn three cards to your hand. Use your base power to get an extra draw, and better luck next turn!
 
What if you didn't start with any Concepts or One-Shots that can search them out? Well, unfortunately in this case, you're in for a slow start. If you have Focusing Tiara or Strained Superego in hand, play one of those, as either one of them gives you an extra draw (if you have a choice, prioritize Focusing Tiara to avoid some awkward situations with Strained Superego later). Barring that, you can play Spark of Inspiration or Bright Idea just for the extra card, and Spark of Inspiration even comes with 1 damage to everything and a 1 HP heal. If you have to make sure something dies, it's alright to play one of your damaging Fragments instead, but you have to make sure it's worth it for the loss in setup. Hedgy Hogs and Sound Beating can put in some work here, even if they aren't moved underneath a Concept afterwards. 
 
Save Better Punching for last, as its effect is entirely wasted without one of your damaging Concepts in play. Even if there's a high priority target with DR, 1 irreducible damage isn't better than 2 or 3 damage from your other One-Shots most of the time.
 
The Fun Begins ("I think you're in trouble, now!")
 
So now you've got your Concept out. Your next priority should be to get Focusing Tiara and Strained Superego in play to fuel that Concept. To this end, play Focusing Tiara first to keep a steady stream of cards flowing to that one Concept. With just the Tiara, you should be able to use that Concept with three cards underneath every turn (one for the Tiara at the start, one for the Fragment you're going to play, and one card from the trash from the previous turn with the Tiara). On Karate Robot, that's 4 melee and 4 psychic to one target each turn. Not bad.
 
If you have to start with Strained Superego with only one Concept in play, that's fine as long as you make sure to use your powers in a particular order. Fortunately, the order is very intuitive:
  1. Use Strained Superego during your power phase if you have a Fragment in hand. If this Fragment is Conceptualize, search for whatever Concept you don't have out to use for later and put Conceptualize under THAT Concept. If it's Bright Idea and there are Concepts in the trash, bring back a Concept and put Bright Idea under the Concept you want to use (since there's now a card under the Concept you don't want to use). If you don't have a Fragment in hand, use your base power and hopefully draw one.

  2. If you only have one Concept in play, then as long as you have at least one card underneath it, Strained Superego won't destroy it. If you have two or more Concepts in play, move the card underneath the Concept you don't want to use under the Concept you do want to use. Worst-case, destroy one of the Concepts you're not using if you don't have any cards underneath them. Next, activate the Concept you want to use.


Once both Focusing Tiara and Strained Superego are in play, you've reached your ideal setup. Use Karate Robot to pour on the damage to the Villain. Use Giant Floaty Head to replenish your hand or to aid with getting rid of any particularly annoying Ongoings or Environment cards. If there are a bunch of minions out, you can switch to Flying Stabby Knives if you have to, but it's usually best to just let the other heroes handle them unless they're high priority. 
 
If you want to, you can build up two Concepts on your turn and use both of them (Giant Floaty Head with one card first to get rid of an Ongoing, then Karate Robot with the rest for instance); Focusing Tiara will make sure you still have one card under a Concept to move around with Strained Superego.
 
Monster of Id ("Uh oh, my dark side's showing...")
 
Monster of Id is perhaps the most unique Hero card in all of Sentinels because it is the only card that is automatically played when it enters your hand (even if Hero cards cannot be played: notice the text is "put it into play"). It grants +1 to all damage The Idealist deals, which is good because she can deal a lot of instances of damage each turn. But the downside is that it slowly siphons cards away from your other Concepts on pain of, well, pain to herself. So, since you can't control when it gets played (other than deliberately searching for it with Conceptualize or bringing it back with Bright Idea), what you can control is how you react when it does get played.
 
First turn: It's entirely possible that you'll start with a three card hand and Monster of Id in play. Unfortunately, this is definitely not the optimal time for Id to show up; without the means to get rid of it right away, you're dealing at least 2 damage to yourself (number of cards under Id +1, and that +1 increase to her damage includes damage to herself!). Giant Floaty Head can get rid of Monster of Id for you, but as stated earlier, it's going to be difficult to get Giant Floaty Head into play with cards underneath it for your power phase. 
 
Conceptualize can stall the problem by getting out another Concept, putting Conceptualize underneath that Concept, and using your base power to draw a card and put a Fragment under the same Concept so you can feed the Monster. Focusing Tiara can put the problem to bed afterwards by resupplying the other Concept with a card from the trash for Monster of Id to take after you use the Concept.
 
You could try and take advantage of the immediate boost in damage by playing Hedgy Hogs, Spark of Inspiration, Sound Beating, or Better Punching, as long as you don't mind taking extra damage until you solve that problem. 
 
This is where Bored Now comes into play; ordinarily a useless card to you (you'd rather keep your Concepts with cards under them in play to use), Bored Now can take Monster of Id and shuffle it back into the deck so you can concentrate on setting up. It even comes with some damage as a bonus.
 
Alternatively, if you have Strained Superego, you can simply play it as your first play, use your base power to draw a card (but don't put a Fragment under Monster of Id!), and let Strained Superego destroy Monster of Id. You even get another card out of the deal, or play a Fragment if you so choose.
 
If you didn't start with the means to get rid of Monster of Id, then you'll have to make the most of it. Get another Concept out ASAP and use your base power to draw through your deck, hunting for a solution while putting a Fragment under that Concept so the Monster can feed at the end of your turn.    
 
Mid-Game (Either Focusing Tiara or Strained Superego out): With Focusing Tiara and at least one other Concept in play, there's not much to fear from the Monster, so long as you manage your cards carefully. The Tiara allows her to take a card from the trash and put it under the Concept she just used so the Monster can feed safely.
 
If Strained Superego is in play as well as at least one other Concept, you're also in luck. What happens on your turn depends on the order in which Monster of Id and Strained Superego came out:
  • If Monster of Id came before Strained Superego: During your play, put all played Fragments under the Concept you want to play. As your power, use Strained Superego to play a Fragment (or a Concept with no cards underneath it if you want, but just make sure there's at least one card under another Concept in play!), putting it underneath the Concept you want to use. During the end of your turn, Monster of Id will take one card from under the Concept you want to use, but Strained Superego can move it right back. Then, you're free to use your end of turn power to activate the Concept you want to use.

  • If Strained Superego came before Monster of Id: If there's only one other Concept in play, then you're going to move all but one Fragments played underneath the Concept you want to use, and the remaining Fragment goes underneath Monster of Id. For your power, either use Strained Superego to play a Fragment if you have a Fragment in hand, or your base power if you don't. Either way, you can place the Fragment under the Concept you want to use, as long as there's already a Fragment under Monster of Id. At the end of your turn, Strained Superego moves the card underneath Monster of Id to the other Concept, but don't use the power on that Concept! Instead, use Strained Superego or your base power, whichever hasn't been activated yet. You want to get either the Focusing Tiara, or another Concept out ASAP. If another Concept gets played (via Conceptualize, Bright Idea, etc.), or if you started with two other Concepts, you can place all Fragments under the Concept you want to use, activate Strained Superego, your Base Power, or the Concept with no cards under it during your power phase. During the end of your turn, move one card from underneath the Concept you want to use to the other Concept, then activate the Concept you want to use. The Monster then safely feeds off of the other Concept, which Strained Superego can then move next turn. 

Endgame: This is the best time for Monster of Id to show up because by this point, you're well equipped to take advantage of the bonus damage without any of the side-effects. Simply add step 8 to her ideal setup at the start of this guide: move that card underneath her concept in play to underneath Monster of Id. And obviously, you're always going to choose that card to move with Strained Superego. At this point, if Monster of Id isn't in play, you can play Conceptualize to search for it, or Making Things Up/Vivid Thoughts to try and fish it out.
 
Weaknesses ("My Head Hurts...")
 
Like I said earlier, The Idealist lives and dies by her Concepts being in play. Against Villains with a lot of Ongoing destruction, it can be tough for The Idealist to get any traction. Fortunately, she does have ways of quickly recovering; Bright Idea can bring back a Concept with two cards underneath it at the ready. Making Things Up can play all the Concepts in her hand and in the next three cards (for this reason, it may be smart to hold onto excess Concepts against such destruction-heavy Villains). Conceptualize can get her started all over again, and Vivid Thoughts can be played if you're feeling lucky.
 
Another part of her setup that is particularly vulnerable is her Focusing Tiara and Strained Superego. While she does have three copies of both, she can't search for either of them, nor play them outside of her play phase (barring extra plays granted from other heroes). Against Villains that don't have a lot of Ongoing/Equipment destruction, her extra copies make for good discard fodder for her Concepts, but otherwise you'll definitely want to hold onto them in case the ones you have in play are destroyed.
 
Also, one notable thing that is absent from her deck is some form of defense; The Idealist is a hero that just thinks about destroying what's in front of her. She has no extra targets to tank damage for her, and nothing to prevent any damage being done to her. With only 24HP to start with, her health can disappear quickly under the strain of a Villain or an environment that likes to scalp the lowest. Without anyone to heal her or tank the damage for her, you're on a clock to do as much as you can before you go down. In this case, you might have to skip playing Strained Superego in favor of getting out Karate Robot and Focusing Tiara and do as much damage to the Villain as possible with your Fragments and powers. Hopefully, the rest of your team can finish the job.
 
Team-Ups ("Great Minds Think Alike!")
 
Any hero that can grant The Idealist extra card plays is most welcome; The Argent Adept is a great partner for The Idealist as he can also provide her DR and healing as well. Extra blind plays off the top of her deck (from La Comodora, Omnitron-X, Freedom Five Bunker, etc.) can be just as useful, as long as an inadvertent Bored Now doesn't get played. Extra powers are still useful to The Idealist, but not as much if you're only building up one Concept. Still, you're getting an extra draw and another Fragment under a Concept at the very least.
 
Heroes that can keep the damage off of her are also appreciated. Dr. Medico (Sentinels team or Void Guard) works wonders in making sure The Idealist stays healthy, and Unity can keep a fresh supply of low HP Hero targets in play along with Stealth Bot to take the damage for The Idealist.
 
Legacy is good when partnered with just about any Hero, and The Idealist is no exception. With Lead from the Front, Heroic Interception, and Take Down, he can alleviate the pressure off of The Idealist whilst providing her with additional increases to her many instances of damage. Just be wary of an inopportune Monster of Id!
 
Super Sentai Idealist ("Megazord, Battle Ready!")
 
Super Sentai Idealist's base power Form the Head changes the way you're going to be playing the deck. First off, a few things to understand about her base power:
  1. It doesn't destroy all cards underneath her like a Concept would, just one.

  2. She's not a Concept, so Fragments can't put themselves underneath her.

  3. Cards underneath her typically can't be destroyed unless she uses her base power.


What this means is that Super Sentai Idealist can start off slow, but eventually reach frightening amounts of damage, and is very resilient to Ongoing destruction since she's collecting her Ongoings underneath her anyway.
 
With this in mind, her ideal strategy becomes:
  1. Put a card from your hand under a Concept in play with Focusing Tiara.

  2. Put all Fragments played underneath the same Concept.

  3. During the power phase, play a Fragment with Strained Superego. Put it under a Concept with no cards under it if you have more than one, otherwise put it under the same Concept. With Focusing Tiara, move a card from the trash under the Concept with the most cards under it.

  4. End of turn, move the one card under the other Concept to the Concept with the most cards with Strained Superego (if you only have one Concept, then Strained Superego does nothing).

  5. Activate Form the Head, deal a boatload of damage, then destroy a Concept under her. This allows you to bring it back with Bright Idea, and continue to Form the Head later. 


With Monster of Id in play, you might just choose to swallow it up with Form the Head. Otherwise, you can still keep the monster fed by having at least two other Concepts in play and moving around cards with Strained Superego as needed.
 
***
 
And that is how to optimally play with the youngest (and in my opinion, the strongest) member of the Void Guard. When you get down to it, The Idealist is not that hard to use well. But with a little thinking, and some well-placed ideas, she can wreak havoc on even the toughest Villains in the game!

Edited by: dyeung87 on Aug 25 2018 - 10:25pm
Dandolo
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Nice guide Dyeung! The Idealist is a very complex character; but, you really do a great job here of covering how to approach playing her in the many different situations that come up based on what cards ahe can get out and in what order.

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I looked through the Idealist guide I had written to see if there were any points I could add to what you covered in your guide. One thing I think could be useful is some numbers on the expected return of playing Vivid Thoughts. The odds change based on what you have in your play area, trash and hand but here are some general numbers that can help a player decide if playing Vivid Thoughts is worth it in a given situation:

On average you can expect this card to reveal 1.5 fragments, 0.5 concepts, and 1 other card.

Here's a more detailed look at the probabilities:
1 other card, 2 fragments                     23.4%
1 other card, 1 concept, 1 fragment   19.3%
2 other cards, 1 fragment                     17.9%
1 concept, 2 fragments                         11.7%
3 fragments                                             8.9%
2 other cards, 1 concept                        7.0%
2 concepts, 1 fragment                          4.1%
3 other cards                                           4.0%
1 other card, 2 concepts                        3.2%
3 concepts                                                0.4%

bjorn.arnesen.us
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Void Guard Idealist comes off as a much happier version of Raven, now that I've read her cards a few times. Possibly even the White Raven personality, not from the bad future, but the Teen Titans Go Episode.

doppelgangerung
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One point regarding teammates: Writhe's Lies of the Shadows allows him to destroy his Shadow Cloak and make Monster of Id's damage somebody else's problem; he can fairly easily recover the Cloak on his turn, setting him up to do it again (and again, and again...)