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Mage Wars => Player Feedback and Suggestions => Topic started by: Sailor Vulcan on December 21, 2014, 12:50:04 PM

Title: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 21, 2014, 12:50:04 PM
I just came up with a really awesome forcemaster build that relies on invisible stalker, only to find out that it's completely hosed by ethereal attack spells. The only, and I mean ONLY way to stop IS from either being a useless mana sink that can never attack, or from being annihilated by arcane zaps in the final qc phase if it ever dares to attack anything, is Fumble on the enemy mage. It's expensive, and it's only a stop-gap measure that falls apart the moment your opponent casts a nullify, jinx or seeking dispel.

Are there any plans to make a counter to the ethereal attack trait in the near future? Like say, an enchantment that makes a creatures' ethereal attacks lose the ethereal trait? Or maybe spells that can reconstruct incorporeal objects? Or something like healing charm, but for nonliving creatures? Or an enchantment that gives an incorporeal creature the skeleton subtype for an upkeep cost or something?

If there are plans for an ethereal counter, how soon can we expect them? Will they be available before summer?

Thanks!

Edit: I just realized I originally put this in the wrong section of the forums by mistake. I deleted it and reposted it here. Sorry about that.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: qaz_azaran on December 21, 2014, 03:36:36 PM
I dunno man, it seems like it'd be too powerful if ethereal creatures could avoid any and all damage.  It's pretty powerful as it is since 95% of creatures can't deal ethereal damage.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sdougla2 on December 21, 2014, 05:11:08 PM
That's one of my major problems with the Invisible Stalker. Particularly against the Wizard, IS is incredibly vulnerable to ethereal attack spells. I also don't think invisibility does as much to protect the IS as you might think against a creature with a good ethereal attack due to the Forcemaster's generally low creature count. Combine that with the high cost and upkeep, and I just don't have a lot of use for IS.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: V10lentray on December 21, 2014, 06:25:37 PM
I don't get why you are complaining about an attack that works the same on everyone.

Normally Incorporeal creatures are awesome, and all of a sudden this guy is terrible because of one type of an attack? Not many things in the game have an Ethereal attack. So he's obviously not bad.

I would love to watch someone play a reverse attack when the invisible stalker attacks, to me that would be hilarious, watching it kill itself.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Mystery on December 22, 2014, 02:49:19 AM
we should get something like block for incorporeals, simply. and in particular its only the wizard with the cheap ethereal attack, all the lightning spells or so cost 5+ mana too and are not expected to kill the stalker.

Title: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 22, 2014, 08:58:39 AM
What about jet stream, and light attacks such as pillar of light?

Invisible stalker is probably pretty good against non wizards who aren't expecting it and don't already have any ethereal attack spells. After losing against it once people will start including ethereal attack spells f they haven't already, making IS useless. IS only has 7 life and can't gain armor.  It only takes one pillar of light to beat it at the minimum. If IS attacks even once that's enough for an opening to kill it with pillar of light. There's no good reason to spend 15 mana on a level 5 creature that is likely to only get one maybe two useful actions in the majority of games.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: qaz_azaran on December 22, 2014, 11:52:06 AM
Even if it can't gain armor it can gain life. 

You could still put Bull's Endurance and a Healing Charm on it.  You could use Cobra Reflexes to give it a Defense.  Maybe beef it up with Bear's Strength so it hits harder on that first surprise attack.

Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sIKE on December 22, 2014, 12:07:56 PM
All of these can only target living creatures....

The IS in this situation is good to lock up an action on the opponent. I haven't played him (FM) in while but I always kept there in the zone with the mage and if he used up all of his actions then bam. Otherwise the mage has to do something otherwise.....
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Wildhorn on December 22, 2014, 12:09:14 PM
Even if it can't gain armor it can gain life. 

You could still put Bull's Endurance and a Healing Charm on it.  You could use Cobra Reflexes to give it a Defense.  Maybe beef it up with Bear's Strength so it hits harder on that first surprise attack.

It is Non-Living. None of these can be cast on it.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Wildhorn on December 22, 2014, 12:13:28 PM
If your only strategy in your book rely on 1 creature, than your spellbook is badly built.

Invisible Stalker is already very powerful. He bypass any guards, and else he prevent your opponent to use his quickcast during his turn (and if he use it then you are free to attack).
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 22, 2014, 12:57:37 PM

If your only strategy in your book rely on 1 creature, than your spellbook is badly built.

Um excuse me what? Counterexample: Buddy builds DO work, and they are not all poorly built. Ever seen aggro priestess with vampire?

Having only one win condition would mean a poorly built spellbook. Having only one overarching strategy doesn't.

In any case, the purpose of the invisible stalker is to put a lot of early pressure on the opponent and deal extra dice so as to free up my mage to set up a bit so she can tank.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: qaz_azaran on December 22, 2014, 01:04:39 PM
Still, when it attacks it only loses invisible until the end of the round.  It seems like all you really need to do to keep it relatively safe is only attack with it if you can be the last one acting that round.  If you're worried about enemy mages only use it if they've already cast their spells for the round. 

You can use it all game long and never get hit so long as you're not too aggressive.
Title: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 22, 2014, 01:15:09 PM
Still, when it attacks it only loses invisible until the end of the round.  It seems like all you really need to do to keep it relatively safe is only attack with it if you can be the last one acting that round.  If you're worried about enemy mages only use it if they've already cast their spells for the round. 

You can use it all game long and never get hit so long as you're not too aggressive.

So you're saying that I should spend 15 mana on a level 5 creature wth an upkeep cost to pay every round, and then I'm only supposed to use it sparingly (if at all when I'm facing a wizard). That's such a huge investment for something I'm not using much anyways. They could easily just save their quickcast action until the final qc phase each round, and I won't be able to risk attacking the mage AT ALL in the early game without my IS getting killed or nearly killed by a pillar of light or arcane zap.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: qaz_azaran on December 22, 2014, 02:04:24 PM
I suppose they could, but I honestly don't see it being that big a handicap.  (I will admit that it may be my lack of experience talking here.)  There is something to be said strategically for making them hold onto a card and their quickcast action for the possibility of you attacking.  If you don't attack and they're focused on stopping your IS they basically waste any potential for casting a 2nd spell.  If they use their 2nd spell, hit them.

Given that the IS can attack 95% of creatures without fear so long as the mage isn't right there expecting it it seems to me that it's still a pretty powerful card. 

I do see where you're coming from that it'd be a little too easy to 1 hit kill an expensive creature and I agree that I would like to see some cards that can empower and heal non-living creatures such as the IS; but, I don't think the card is broken or useless as is.

Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sdougla2 on December 22, 2014, 02:33:55 PM
@qaz_azaran

but they can still use their qc, they just have to wait to use it until later. If you attack with the Invisible Stalker, they can attack it in the final qc phase, and if you opt not to, they can cast something else in the final qc phase (particularly the Wizard). Waiting to use their qc is often worth negating a 5 dice attack. Even if they end up not casting another spell when your Invisible Stalker doesn't attack, you spent resources and they didn't.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Invisible Stalker is useless, but it has a horrifically bad matchup, it doesn't synergize that well with the rest of the Forcemaster's options (it would work better for a mage with a strong swarm option so that it could at least be the last creature to act), and it's too expensive for how fragile it is.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sIKE on December 22, 2014, 02:43:40 PM
(it would work better for a mage with a strong swarm option so that it could at least be the last creature to act)

You can pass when your opponent has more creatures than you do. Every other round you can position it as such that it could be the last Action taken during the Action Phases.

But I do agree there are bad match ups, but against a few bigs and solo rush builds like our buddy the Johktari RUSHmaster he is quite good.....

Also I have learned that complaining about the OP nature of Wizard is like spitting into the wind as he doesn't win at tourney's and therefore is just fine.....

** added editorial about the Wizard
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 22, 2014, 03:07:13 PM
I wasn't saying the wizard's overpowered.

However, it's not just that the wizard is a bad matchup for the IS, it's that he completely utterly hoses it. There is no way to even fight back, since there are no ways to deal with the ethereal attack trait. The most you can hope for is that your opponent has no quick ethereal attack spells. That means that if I start winning with the forcemaster tank using IS, pretty soon people will start including more ethereal attack spells, like jet stream and especially pillar of light. It's really unlikely to work after the the first time when people aren't expecting it, and sometimes not even then.

And let me just reiterate that if you spend 15 mana plus upkeep on a creature whose only viable actions are move and attack, and you only get off one attack with it before your opponent kills it with a pillar of light, then you basically just lost the game. And if you hold off on its attack indefinitely in fear of that final quickcast pillar of light, then IS will just be sitting there useless for most of the game, meanwhile you're still paying upkeep on it.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Mystery on December 22, 2014, 04:39:50 PM
how do you do your math on the ethereal attack spells?

pillar of light 4dice = 4 average dmg
arc lightning 3 dice = 3 avg dmg
jet stream 2 dice =2dmg probably 3 if pushed against a wall (should be possible as only uncontainable, which is not unmoveable if i am right)

so, still on avg by just attack spells only pillar of light kills on 2 attacks, while arc lightning or jet stream need more. With lighting bolt you still need one more attack on avg.

That would mean around 10-15Mana investment to kill on avg and 2-3 quick actions vs 15mana+1 upkeep for 1 full action. You probably get 1 or 2 hits in and just imagine that the mage needs its quickcast, reveal a mind control around same time, so he is on pressure, it is not so hard to kill an stalker if you focus on him, but it takes attention and resources to do so.

And apart from mage he is not to bad against, without ethereal it can be quite bad to kill.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Kharhaz on December 22, 2014, 05:05:56 PM
Forcemaster is a low creature, aggro melee themed mage. Stalker is invisible and is hard to target..... except for zone attacks, which do not care about the invisible trait. Attack spells like Blinding Flash and Electrify still do good damage to both mages and have a high chance of adding a status effect to both the mage and stalker.

Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sdougla2 on December 22, 2014, 05:39:50 PM
If I have 5 creatures and you have 2, I will always be the last to activate a creature unless you kill my last creature or otherwise prevent it from acting (Banish comes to mind).

5   2
you pass, I go
4   2
you pass, I go
3   2
you pass, I go
2   2
you go
2   1
I go
1   1
you go
1   0
I go

Whether you have initiative or not, with with more creatures you will always have the final activation.

As for attack spells, many attack spells will be expected to kill the Invisible Stalker for a similar amount of mana to the original investment (2 Lightning Bolts, 3 Arc Lightnings, 3 Jet Streams...), but the thing to keep in mind is that your opponent can improve those attacks. With Hawkeye, Lightning Ring, and Akiro's Favor, you shouldn't need more than 2 Arc Lightnings. Pillar of Light and Invisible Fist are also pretty efficient against Invisible Stalker even without support. Sure, improving ranged attacks require some setup, but that gives long term benefits that are often worthwhile anyway for the strategies that run them. In addition, stunning the Invisible Stalker is particularly efficient due to its upkeep.

Anyone running a couple of Pillar of Lights or Invisible Fists is in a good position to counter the Invisible Stalker efficiently, but Wizards counter Invisible Stalker much more efficiently. It's not that Wizard's are OP in general, it's that Arcane Zap hard counters Invisible Stalker.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Mystery on December 23, 2014, 03:12:09 PM
do all people carry two of the ethereal attacks? right now also not everyone has elemental wand, So ok maybe with hawkeye or so it will be more mana efficient for them, but not always and if they use der attack spells ok, than the are gone.

And if you fight an air wizard just don't play the stalker. There are always some cards you are not going to play or abbilites not use in certain matchups. Will you pay for the burn as priest vs female warlock? NO...


Of course I'd say the stalker is not extremly strong, but ok. I mean as said before if you are mana wise paying abit more, but u get maybe also a 5dice attack in, and force the oponent to take him into account. and stalker is no iron golem or grizzly
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: IndyPendant on December 23, 2014, 05:40:25 PM
This...has been gone over before, btw.  But the gist of it is: Invisible Stalker is a bad creature.  It's not a *horrible* creature, such as the Psylocke, but it is bad.  I provide a summary of the reasons below.  Each individual reason can be countered with a yeah-but; it's all of them together that add up to why I will currently never, ever play a Stalker.

1) The Stalker costs 15 mana to cast, and 5 spellbook points.

2) It has an upkeep cost of 1 mana per turn.

3) It is both nonliving and incorporeal, so almost all buffs are useless to it, it cannot be healed, and it has the zero armour and low health typical of Ethereal creatures.

4) There are multiple reasonably convenient sources of ethereal damage that are perfectly viable for non-incorporeal uses (such as Mage Staff and various attack spells).

5) Invisible can be gotten around via ethereal and zone-attack spells.

6) While Invisible, it does not Hinder--but it is still Hindered by Druid Vine tokens.

7) You can just ignore the Stalker; since it is so expensive for the benefits it provides, concentrate on winning the damage race instead.

Now, to repeat: each and every one of these points have their counter-arguments.  The problem is that when taken altogether, they add up to a rather poorly designed, overcosted creature.

However.  It is also worth noting that the Invisible Stalker was a part of AW's very first expansion for Mage Wars.  In my opinion, AW has vastly improved the quality of their expansions since CoK, and FM vs WL was still pretty good overall.

My point is, don't lose track of the fact that inherently weak cards like the Stalker are by far the exception, rather than the rule.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: echephron on December 23, 2014, 05:48:16 PM
I haven't noticed people talk about one benefit of having an invisible stalker in play which does not attack.
The enemy is likely to prep an attack spell for the IS, and save his QC till the end. This limits the spells they can prep, especially if its a spell they would not cast on your forcemaster.

I'd like to see a list of enchantments which can target a (visable) IS
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sIKE on December 23, 2014, 06:16:28 PM
Agony            Creature
Arcane Corruption      Creature
Chains of Agony         Creature
Charm            Non-Mage Creature
Debilitate            Creature
Enchantment Transfusion   Creature
Enfeeble            Creature
Essence Drain         Non-Mage Creature
Force Crush         Creature
Force Hold            Creature
Fumble            Creature
Harmonize            Object
Jinx               Creature
Life Link            Incorporeal Creature
Magebane            Creature
Marked for Death      Creature
Mind Control         Non-Mage Creature
Mind Shield         Creature
Pacify            Non-Mage Creature
Rust               Creature
Stumble            Non-Flying Creature
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: echephron on December 23, 2014, 10:30:55 PM
not charm, mind control, mind shield, pacify (psychic immune), harmonize(not channelling object)
pointless ones:
rust
jinx
mage bane
Arcane Corruption(no positive enchantments)

Near pointless:
Debilitate
Marked for death

Life Link? you mean death link which is living creature only. or is it a SUPER SECRET playtester card for the distant shaman? I'm guessing it is.

so that leaves only these as "worthy" spells to cast on it:
Agony            Creature
Chains of Agony         Creature
Enchantment Transfusion   Creature
Enfeeble            Creature
Essence Drain         Non-Mage Creature
Fumble            Creature

Force Crush         Creature
Force Hold            Creature
Stumble            Non-Flying Creature

EDIT: incorproeals are uncontainable, so cut all the force spells but fumble.

well i'm surprised IS isn't uncontainable or unmoveable. Half of these viable spells are force spells oddly enough. maybe a creature made out of force should be immune to the force subtype.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Mystery on December 24, 2014, 02:40:39 AM
force hold and force cursh: incorporeals cannot be restrained or am i wrong
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 24, 2014, 07:06:24 AM

force hold and force cursh: incorporeals cannot be restrained or am i wrong

Incorporeals have the uncontainable trait. They can be restrained, but not by spells that specifically specify that they don't work on uncontainable creatures.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Laddinfance on December 24, 2014, 09:11:34 AM
Actually, in the entry for restrained it states that it does not work on Uncontainable creatures. So no you cannot restrain Incorporeal creatures.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on December 24, 2014, 10:02:30 AM
Oops, I didn't see that. My bad.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 08, 2015, 06:30:53 PM
I recently attempted another tank forcemaster, and it gradually and inevitably morphed back into my first one. It doesn't work without invisible stalker. But invisible stalker is still WAY too fragile. I honestly think it should get an errata, since any fix that uses new cards would likely have to depower ethereal attacks. Maybe if it were forcemaster-only, but it seems weird to have an ethereal-counter restricted just to the forcemaster for the sole purpose of making the stalker viable.

Invisible stalker is one of the if not THE only card in the game that is hard-countered by anything. Most spells in this game are not rendered entirely useless by the mere existence of a particular game mechanic. Cheetah speed can be destroyed by a dispel, and a enchanter's wardstone can make it harder to destroy it, and teleports and pushes and charges give other ways to improve movement and positioning. You summon an invisible stalker and attack with it even once, and they can OHKO it with a single pillar of light in the final quickcast phase. No other cards in the game that I know of are that desperately vulnerable and situational.

Has anyone been able to think of any solutions to fix the stalker that don't rely on errata and don't unbalance other cards? I really am interested to know.

Thanks!
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Halewijn on August 10, 2015, 06:22:40 AM
I'm going to test him out.

About the arcane zap: Pretty easy, don't use him vs a wizard. For the same reasons you probably don't use a bloodreaper vs a necromancer. You have to adapt every game.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 10, 2015, 07:11:15 AM

I'm going to test him out.

About the arcane zap: Pretty easy, don't use him vs a wizard. For the same reasons you probably don't use a bloodreaper vs a necromancer. You have to adapt every game.

Wizard isn't the only one with quick ethereal attack spells.

The necromancer is a living creature, and bloodreaper's healing effect is not poison. The necromancer has just as much easy access to poisoned blood and deathlock as the warlock does.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: sIKE on August 10, 2015, 08:57:04 AM
If your opponent is holding off until the Final Quickcast Phase so he can try to zap the Stalker and has to sit and do nothing with that QC marker cause your Stalker is still Invisible, I think you have won the battle there and have come out way ahead. When I was working though my first IS build, my goal was to put pressure on my opponent during his initiative phase (the one where I get the final creature actions) and try to get him to have both casts done before then and then use my Initiative phase more for development and positioning. You see the Jinx book of Hanma? This approach would be very disruptive to his plans, because of when he wants to cast that Jinx.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: Trent Magnus on August 10, 2015, 09:54:41 AM
The Invisible Stalker is not a simple card to play, it takes skill. Many people forget the "Stalker" part of Invisible Stalker. It's not called the Invisible Bulldozer or the Invisible Berserker. Knowing when to strike and when to hold back and pass are key. The Invisible Stalker will mess with your opponents mind. I would gladly pay 1 mana per turn to tie-up my opponents quick cast and have them keep an unusable spell in their hand (plus, Psi-Orb should have you covered on the cost anyway). Strike when the time is right and pass when it is not. They are great for messing with infrastructure away from the main fight and they are great at delivering those last few points of damage for the win.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: V10lentray on August 10, 2015, 10:02:44 AM
Just force hammer and jet stream it. It makes the stalker a big wussy -  8)
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: coyotecloudchasr on August 10, 2015, 01:53:51 PM
It's funny, as a new player I looked at this card and thought it looked way too expensive for what you got. Then when it's played against you, you go "oh crap, how do I deal with it?"  It seems any competitive deck already has either a way to kill it (mage staff, zap, jet stream, etc.) or a way to ignore it (e.g. Agony, Vine tokens) as part of their usual inventory.  I was surprised to see this card in TrentMagnus's GenCon deck as I considered it more of a casual card.
Title: Re: the problem with Invisible stalker and question about possible future fixes
Post by: iNano78 on August 10, 2015, 03:37:03 PM
I ran Invisible Stalker in my Forcemaster book for a long time (10+ matches?) and was undefeated over that time (although sometimes didn't play the Stalker in favour of focusing on Thoughtspores and non-creature spells).  Then on recommendations from here, I played around with the Necropian Vampiress instead of the Stalker and couldn't win with her... and then switched back (although I'm tempted to try a Devouring Jelly next time I play Forcemaster).  The thing with the Stalker is I play him very conservatively.  I always pass and move him last, so if/when he's visible, my opponent only has 1 full action and maybe their Quickcast to deal with him.  Often he goes after non-mage creatures and tries to stay out of range of Ethereal attacks.  Sometimes I don't even attack with him because I know my opponent is saving for an Ethereal spell (or 2).  I can't recall anyone ever killing him (maybe once?).

That said, today's spoiler means he can never be viable in Domination:
http://www.arcanewonders.com/arcane-wonders/dominate-the-arena-vtarrian-energy-wave (http://www.arcanewonders.com/arcane-wonders/dominate-the-arena-vtarrian-energy-wave)
It's an Ethereal zone attack, so doesn't need to target the Stalker in order to hit him, which means it can even hit him while invisible!

But take my successes with the Stalker with a large grain of salt.  I don't play particularly competitive tournaments, and I'm sure my Stalker would get vapourized by a more experienced player.

*edit* Apparently I forgot that Electrify is also an Ethereal Zone attack.  Good thing for the Stalker that nobody ever seems to play it...