Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Mages => Topic started by: SharkBait on August 07, 2015, 01:34:01 PM

Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 07, 2015, 01:34:01 PM
So I was going to reply in the "Weighted Training Clothes" thread, but then I realized it's probably a derailment and would be better placed here. So, without further adieu:

Hanma said:
Quote
Assume you don't take tournament evidence into account, just look at the cards. I think it's obvious. He has 10 channeling, great defense on stat card, an answer to incorporeal built in, at cost spell book points to all meta spells and at cost access to another school of his choice(making him the most versatile), has the best spawnpoint, 2nd best familiar, and most important a card that NO OTHER mage has...Wizard's Tower.

I see both sides to this argument, but I want to ask something before I delve more into it. Out of curiosity, what do you consider to be the best familiar?

I do agree that the wizard has some pretty nice advantages, but I would be wary of any large change to the mage. Part of what I like about Mage Wars is that not every mage has to have things that do the same as every other mage. In reference to Wizard's Tower, I think it's fine that no other mage has access to something quite like it. It brings character to the wizard, and not every mage should have the same answer (for example, I don't believe that Warlocks need a "Volcano" that could have fire attack spells attached in the same manner as the wizard's tower. They have other ways of attacking, operating, etc.) Keep in mind, I hate wizards so this isn't a favoritism thing. They are my least favorite mage in the game, but I don't believe they're too ridiculously out of line. They have somewhat of an upper-hand, but I feel like they aren't far above the rest.

I have some ideas I'd like to play test sometime (that I haven't gotten around to doing yet) to see if they work. (For those interested in helping, the ideas are: The wizard has 31 life instead of 32 (maybe even as far as 30) and make voltaric shield cost 4 instead of 2. I can explain the thought process behind those in a PM or in this thread if anyone's interested in continuing this discussion line)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 07, 2015, 02:13:40 PM
I think it's clear he has some problems. I would not call him broken, but certainly stronger then the other ones.

possible (combinations of) solutions

Make the tower either: non-spellbind, or epic.

x3 for other element spells: The fact that he can pick 1 element cheaply and the others fairly cheap makes him VERY versatile in combination with the tower. (Druid, fire), (armor, acid ball)... If the tower weren't spellbind this problem would have been smaller. But they can use 1, 4 spellpoint boulder over and over again.

x3 for nature would help: a nerd that loves science and doesn't like strolling in the woods --> storytime

The shield is strong, but that alone wouldn't solve it. I think the 2 mana is fair. I would rather say 2 mana for the bolt. Because with the addition of a hawkeye you have an attack spell that's always ready to use of 4 attack dice and ethereal. that's sooo good...  :o

another thing that would help: make nullify/dispel novice. All the other mages would benefit. It's really a novice spell if you just think about it for a second. EVERY mage is using it in EVERY book. And if I would train my student warlock. The first thing I would teach him is dispell in case he messes up and curses himself/a friend.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: DaveW on August 08, 2015, 11:13:24 PM
Part of what I like about Mage Wars is that not every mage has to have things that do the same as every other mage. In reference to Wizard's Tower, I think it's fine that no other mage has access to something quite like it.

Agreed completely... I do like the flavor. While it is somewhat similar to the Temple of Light, the Wizard's Tower is much better in many ways. The free swapping of attack spells during Planning is an incredible advantage. In my mind, it should either or both 1) require mana to change the spell just like a wand (or not be able to change the spell at all, like a Thoughtspore), and/or 2) be Epic (since it is so dominating). There is no better spell for seven mana (or maybe eight or nine). In terms of tournament play especially, with the idea of wanting to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible, this is a must have... probably twice.

I have some ideas I'd like to play test sometime (that I haven't gotten around to doing yet) to see if they work. (For those interested in helping, the ideas are: The wizard has 31 life instead of 32 (maybe even as far as 30) and make voltaric shield cost 4 instead of 2. I can explain the thought process behind those in a PM or in this thread if anyone's interested in continuing this discussion line)

I'm not thrilled with the idea of giving him less life... there are plenty of ways to take him out fairly quickly if he is not careful as it is. I also think that the shield is properly costed at two mana since it isn't of any value on turns when it is paid for but the mage isn't attacked. True, the mage isn't being attacked then, but the opponent is doing something else that is beneficial to them on those turns regardless. The Wizard has to commit first... sometimes taking away other options that he would like to have on the current turn.

I find the Arcane Zap much more impressive than the shield. It is incredibly undercosted in terms of just one mana spent for a ranged three dice, Ethereal attack. Even without Hawkeye, the option to use a ranged attack spell anytime desired is fantastic. You bypass guards that don't have Intercept, don't have to face counterattacks, can use it as a low cost "wasted" spell if you are working through a forcefield, etc. It's just another thing that makes the Wizard so much more versatile. Ethereal makes it even more so. Even so, I don't think any change is needed here.

The only thing that I personally would like to see (even as a Wizard player) is a revision to Wizard's Tower.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: DaveW on August 08, 2015, 11:27:04 PM
x3 for other element spells: The fact that he can pick 1 element cheaply and the others fairly cheap makes him VERY versatile in combination with the tower. (Druid, fire), (armor, acid ball)... If the tower weren't spellbind this problem would have been smaller. But they can use 1, 4 spellpoint boulder over and over again.

x3 for nature would help: a nerd that loves science and doesn't like strolling in the woods --> storytime

I agree that Nature does seem to be reasonable as an opposed school, even more than War. I also promoted making one "opposing" element as costing triple (air/earth, water/fire). Either or both of these triple-cost options would work well, I believe, both conceptually and for balance. I know I generally put in a handful of attack spells from a variety of schools in my Wizard books. Having to pay triple for a couple of those might make me think twice about how much variety I really need in attack spells, or if I can get away with one or two fewer Arcane basic spells (Dispel, Teleport, etc.)

another thing that would help: make nullify/dispel novice. All the other mages would benefit. It's really a novice spell if you just think about it for a second. EVERY mage is using it in EVERY book.

I like the idea of making Nullify and Dispel novice. There are so many other novice spells from other schools that it makes sense to me to have one or two Arcane spells be novice as well... and Dispel, in particular seems a good choice.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: silverclawgrizzly on August 08, 2015, 11:28:43 PM
I really, really like the idea of making other elements cost the Wizard X3. Pretty much every Wizard book I saw at Gen Con had a swiss army knife of attack spells.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: DevilsVendetta on August 09, 2015, 12:25:04 AM
I still think the biggest thing that needs to be changed, and it's been mentioned, is the free change of spells on the wizard tower. It's an extremely beneficial advantage that no other mage has the benefit of. Even changing the wands to match wouldn't help, as the Wizard already will be carrying those. I also think it could benefit from not being able to be used every round, similar to...the name escapes me, but the Warlord catapult conjuration that needs two tokens on it to fire. If the Wizard's Tower had to build up 2 mana on it's own before firing, I think that would help as well. As it is now, with all of the other benefits, cheap attack spells in one school and nothing expensive in any school, the Wizard clearly has an advantage; not an unbeatable one, but a substantial one.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 09, 2015, 07:17:15 AM
Quote
another thing that would help: make nullify/dispel novice. All the other mages would benefit. It's really a novice spell if you just think about it for a second. EVERY mage is using it in EVERY book.

My biggest issue with this is that the game will then stagnate when everyone takes 6 of each. I'm very against making these spells novice. It goes back to the differences between mages for me. Where a wizard may take the course of dispelling, a warlock may take the brute force method and keep cursing regardless because no matter how many dispels a wizard has, a warlock has more curses. That's part of what I love about this game. Making everything a "dispel for the first 6 turns THEN start playing" kind of game is not how I want to play this game.
Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 09, 2015, 07:35:32 AM
Wasn't there a time a while back when the wizard wasn't so powerful? I somewhat remember hearing that he didn't have any problems until he got the tower. The wizard is in the core set and he's been out for a while. They shouldn't change the wizard unless it's really the only way to fix him. If he does get an errata, I think it should be x3 for untrained elemental schools, and nothing else. 3x nature school doesn't make sense thematically. Beastmaster doesn't pay triple for arcane spells and neither does the Druid. Nature is sometimes opposed to technology, but not science. Science asks questions, technology is application of the answers, and sometimes these applications pollute the natural environment. That's probably part of why the Druid pays triple for war spells but not arcane.

The wizard always includes an attack spell toolbox in his spellbooks because it's too good not to. That might be the case even without the tower, but I'm not certain of that. I'd like to see more variety of wizards. There are wizard spellbooks that I haven't or barely seen in a really long time, since people realized how good attack spell toolbox is. In particular I'm thinking of mana denial and teleport pit. Also, the water wizard needs fleshing out. The water wizard's main thing is being able to afford extra acid balls, surging waves and dissolves. Other than that he doesn't really set himself apart much from other wizards, though he has potential. Tbh I think the water wizard's niche should be tanking, but without the battle forge. Dissolve is range 0-1, and he has enchanter's wardstones, and rust.

For instance, summon a gargoyle sentry and a staff of the arcanum, put out a wardstone or two, start enchanting. Obelisk cloak and orb for swarms. Essence drains for bigger creatures. Drain power and powerful water attack spell for finisher (if and when they exist). The problem with this is that battle forge only costs 1 more point for water wizard than fire wizard, fire wizard  can do forge tank better than water, and there is currently no incentive for the wizard to go the enchantment tank route over the forge.


Also on another note:
Basic melee attack is a "free" 3 dice attack, and Hawkeye + arcane zap is 4 dice for 4 mana. Having a spell that you can use again and again isn't always OP. Look at force pull.

Also I agree with sharkbait. Dispel should not be novice. That would mess things up even more. Nullify is not used in every book.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Schwenkgott on August 09, 2015, 09:41:47 AM
In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 09, 2015, 12:08:17 PM

In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.

Yes. But the problem with the wizard isn't that he's unbeatable, it's that he somewhat overcentralizes the metagame. Or at least it seems that he does. It could also be a case of insufficient card support in other schools.

That being said, Mage wars is SIGNIFICANTLY more balanced than most other customizable strategy games, so I suppose we should be grateful. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be comparing Mage wars to ccg's, since those often don't even try to be balanced.
Since Mage wars is sold as sets rather than individual cards like ccg's are, it actually might cost them more to ban individual cards than to errata them, since banning a single card makes the whole set it comes in look deficient, but for an errata they can just say the old card text is from an outdated edition.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: andy on August 09, 2015, 10:31:45 PM
A lot of the discussion in this thread centers around changes to existing cards that would balance the Wizard.  What about solutions that don't involve erratas or rule changes?  What about printing cards that are not usable by the Wizard and address (directly or indirectly) the Wizard's advantages?  For example:


Name: Interrogation
Type: Incantation
Cost: 4
Text: War mage only.  Choose a level 1 incantation or enchantment spell in the opponent's discard pile.  That opponent must discard 2 additional copies of that spell from their spellbook or prepared cards (or all copies if there are fewer than 2 remaining).


Name: Distraction
Type: Incantation
Cost: 4
Text: Arcane mages excluded.*  Choose a spell bound to an equipment, conjuration, or creature card and discard it.  At the end of the round, the controller may bind a new spell for a cost of 3 mana.


What other sorts of cards could be printed that would do the following:
1) Clearly target the Wizard (without being an overreaction and nuking the Wizard);
2) Be at least somewhat useful not just against the Wizard; and
3) Thematically restrict use away from the Wizard.



* All of the current cards which are only playable by certain mages either say a particular mage or a particular school that is allowed to play them.  Why not instead say a particular mage/school who is not allowed to play the card?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: sIKE on August 09, 2015, 11:11:01 PM
* All of the current cards which are only playable by certain mages either say a particular mage or a particular school that is allowed to play them.  Why not instead say a particular mage/school who is not allowed to play the card?
Though the logic here is very solid, it would subtract greatly from one of the great strengths and appeal of the game itself. That other than a very specific and reasonable few cards, all cards are available to all mages, some at a greater cost than others, but none the less available. Would the exclude be Arcane Mages only or Wizards only? Not a fan of the idea even though logic says, this might be a good idea.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 10, 2015, 02:21:27 AM
3x nature school doesn't make sense thematically. Beastmaster doesn't pay triple for arcane spells and neither does the Druid. Nature is sometimes opposed to technology, but not science. Science asks questions, technology is application of the answers, and sometimes these applications pollute the natural environment. That's probably part of why the Druid pays triple for war spells but not arcane.

I never said arcane is the opposite of nature. But you can, if you want, state that the wizard is bad in nature because, to be a good nature mage, you need to be connected with nature. Since the wizard is always in his tower hitting the books, nature is somewhat allienated from him.

The thing about fantasy is that you can state whatever you want. As long as you make the story believable and fun.  :)

I also wanted to note that the things that are listed were just some thoughts. Using them all is too much. I think the 3 best ideas are errata for the tower, x3 for non-chosen elements, and x3 for nature.

Also on another note:
Basic melee attack is a "free" 3 dice attack, and Hawkeye + arcane zap is 4 dice for 4 mana. Having a spell that you can use again and again isn't always OP. Look at force pull.

That is a really bad argument. For the normal attack you need your full cast, you need to be in the same zone, you can ignore guards, it is not ethereal and hawkeye is an upgrade, not a 1 time use attack spell. Also Force pull is not nearly as good as arcane zap.
While arcane zap might be very strong (or a bit too strong) I do agree that it is kind of too late to change that and it would make the wizard more boring. It is after all a very thematic spell.

My biggest issue with this is that the game will then stagnate when everyone takes 6 of each. I'm very against making these spells novice. It goes back to the differences between mages for me. Where a wizard may take the course of dispelling, a warlock may take the brute force method and keep cursing regardless because no matter how many dispels a wizard has, a warlock has more curses. That's part of what I love about this game. Making everything a "dispel for the first 6 turns THEN start playing" kind of game is not how I want to play this game.

Good job, you convinced me! I changed my opinion!  ;)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: wtcannonjr on August 10, 2015, 06:39:03 AM
In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.

I fall in this school of thought regarding the Wizard.

No changes to the game required. Just changes to player strategies and spellbooks, but tools are currently available. For example, Rolling Fog and walls that block LOS will counter Wizard Tower until you can focus it down with your own attack. The Warlord also has Conquer.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Coshade on August 10, 2015, 08:24:48 AM
In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.

I fall in this school of thought regarding the Wizard.

No changes to the game required. Just changes to player strategies and spellbooks, but tools are currently available. For example, Rolling Fog and walls that block LOS will counter Wizard Tower until you can focus it down with your own attack. The Warlord also has Conquer.

It sounds like you guys agree with each other!
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 10, 2015, 08:41:30 AM
I guess I should have clarified in the beginning that I didn't feel the wizard needed changed either. The suggestions I had were more "just to see what happens" kind of tests instead of "fixing" the wizard. From my (admittedly dark mage heavy) experience, Wizard's Tower isn't really all that scary unless you let it be scary.

Ultimately, I figured I'd open this up for discussion since I got the impression that there were large (vocal?) groups calling for changes/nerfs to the wizard because they're so broken (a statement that I personally disagree with.)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: ringkichard on August 10, 2015, 08:47:54 AM
So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Puddnhead on August 10, 2015, 09:19:30 AM

In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.

Yes. But the problem with the wizard isn't that he's unbeatable, it's that he somewhat overcentralizes the metagame. Or at least it seems that he does. It could also be a case of insufficient card support in other schools.

That being said, Mage wars is SIGNIFICANTLY more balanced than most other customizable strategy games, so I suppose we should be grateful. Then again, maybe we shouldn't be comparing Mage wars to ccg's, since those often don't even try to be balanced.
Since Mage wars is sold as sets rather than individual cards like ccg's are, it actually might cost them more to ban individual cards than to errata them, since banning a single card makes the whole set it comes in look deficient, but for an errata they can just say the old card text is from an outdated edition.

I don't get to spend nearly enough time with this game as I would like and thus I can theoretically agree with Schwenkgott but I more accurately agree with Vulcan here.

I'm the player who has a very tough time dealing with wizards.  If I specifically build a book to destroy gates and towers and pierce 1 armor all the time (Since EVERY Arcane creature has at least 1 point of armor?!), sure I can take out a wizard, but then I lose to a Druid or a Necromancer because I spent all of my precious spellbook points countering stuff that they don't have.

The point is, sure, you CAN beat a Wizard if you really want to, but I don't like a game environment wherein the benchmark for a book is being able to hold your own against a Wizard and then you have to use your "tools for wizard beating" less optimally to fight other mages.

Like I said before, I don't get to play as often as I would like and it takes me a little while to wrap my (puddn)head around various synergies and strategies.  I find that I often just get murdered without even having a chance against a well played Wizard because I'm trying something 'fun' or 'new'.  I also tend to root for the underdog and my ultimate dream is to wipe the floor with a Wizard that my Bloodwave Warlord just owned...so I guess I set myself up for failure more often than not.

As Kich said, small win percentages definitely add up and I can see a generation of Mage Wars players disappear into the void of a never-future if we don't either pool our knowledge on how to beat a Wizard to make the win rate more 50% or institute some buffs or nerfs.  I personally agree that going the hard route of collective knowledge and new card releases is ultimately better for the game.  Of course, I can dream about making that ultimate Wizard-death book, but I lack the experience and the time required to do so at the moment and implore the "Awesome Ones" to give us(or at least me) some trickle-down experiential knowledge so that we can start a little closer to even instead of just nebulously saying "learn to play, noob".
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 10, 2015, 12:08:45 PM
Like I said before, I don't get to play as often as I would like and it takes me a little while to wrap my (puddn)head around various synergies and strategies.  I find that I often just get murdered without even having a chance against a well played Wizard because I'm trying something 'fun' or 'new'.  I also tend to root for the underdog and my ultimate dream is to wipe the floor with a Wizard that my Bloodwave Warlord just owned...so I guess I set myself up for failure more often than not.

All hail the supreme warlord!  8)

It's not like they need to errata the entire arcane school. It's very easy to fix it with a few changes.

Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 10, 2015, 01:15:30 PM
Quote
As Kich said, small win percentages definitely add up and I can see a generation of Mage Wars players disappear into the void of a never-future if we don't either pool our knowledge on how to beat a Wizard to make the win rate more 50% or institute some buffs or nerfs.  I personally agree that going the hard route of collective knowledge and new card releases is ultimately better for the game.  Of course, I can dream about making that ultimate Wizard-death book, but I lack the experience and the time required to do so at the moment and implore the "Awesome Ones" to give us(or at least me) some trickle-down experiential knowledge so that we can start a little closer to even instead of just nebulously saying "learn to play, noob".

Knowledge collection:

Tip # 1: Kill it with fire (you had to see that one coming :P)
Tip # 2: The wizard's tower isn't all that good if it can't see you (obscured, walls, etc). Most of those will be temporary measures, but should still give enough time to lay some pain on a wizard should he choose to deal with the cloak/walls, etc instead of dealing with the Fire/animal/zombies in his face. Not saying this is a 100% strategy either, it varies match to match, but it's a good starting point.



aaaaaand I just realized I almost derailed my own thread. I'll create another one for pooling knowledge later and include the above.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: andy on August 10, 2015, 02:02:14 PM
* All of the current cards which are only playable by certain mages either say a particular mage or a particular school that is allowed to play them.  Why not instead say a particular mage/school who is not allowed to play the card?
Though the logic here is very solid, it would subtract greatly from one of the great strengths and appeal of the game itself. That other than a very specific and reasonable few cards, all cards are available to all mages, some at a greater cost than others, but none the less available. Would the exclude be Arcane Mages only or Wizards only? Not a fan of the idea even though logic says, this might be a good idea.
I would say two things in response:
1) I wasn't proposing printing tons of new cards restricted to (or excluding) a particular mage or school of training.  I think it would only take a few cards to give other mages the tools they would need.  Currently, roughly 1/6 of the cards are restricted to a particular mage or school.  It sounds like you're saying you're against any restricted-use cards, but these are clearly going to continue to be printed.  One of the common arguments for the strength of the Wizard is that he doesn't pay triple for any school.  Therefore, some cards printed in order to be used against the Wizard will have to be restricted-use, otherwise they would just give the Wizard a new tool.

2) In the particular comment that you quoted, I was just explaining the phrase "Arcane mages excluded" on one of the hypothetical cards I suggested.  It would, as the phrase implies, exclude Arcane mages.  That happens to be just the Wizard so far, but there could be others printed in the future.  The description of the Arcane school is that mages trained in it understand the flow of mana and magic so that they can control spellcasting.  The particular hypothetical spell I was suggesting would be thematically like throwing a rock against the wall to make noise while a mage is trying to concentrate.  I think it's at least somewhat thematic to exclude the Arcane school for this spell, since that is not the way an Arcane-trained mage would disrupt a spell being cast.  Also, I can imagine other spells which thematically exclude (rather than include) particular mages or schools.  Since I expect restricted-use spells to continue to be printed, I wouldn't mind if they branched out with their restrictions.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: wtcannonjr on August 10, 2015, 06:02:51 PM
So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 10, 2015, 07:42:56 PM

So here's the thing: suppose (just for this example) playing Wizard gives you a 55% to 45% matchup against other spellbooks. That's only a small advantage, and it would still be true that "it's the player, not the class". Individual players can have *way* more than 10% win chance variation.

Even then, with that very good level of balance, it would be wrong to play anything else at a tournament, unless you thought you had a very specific matchup advantage over Wizard.

Let me over-simplify things just to demonstrate the effect a small win rate change can have on tournament play.

Lets say you play Beast Master giving up a 10% edge over 6 games (assuming 50% base win rate) changes your mean expected wins from 3 to 2.4. If your need to win 5 out of 6 games, your chances with a 50% win rate are 7/64=.10 With a 45% win rate, your chances are aprox .05.

This is obviously an oversimplified model, because your last game is more important than your middle one, but it demonstrates how a small reduction in your chances per game can mean a drastic compounded change over the course of a tournament.

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: ringkichard on August 10, 2015, 08:43:22 PM

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

AW is always changing the game by adding new cards, and those changes affect everyone who buys the new product, or plays against someone who did. On that level, they're not interested in only doing the easier thing.

Now, my tournament example doesn't suggest any particular solution at all. It's really about how two conditions that seem contradictory can co-exist easily. It can simultaneously be true that Wizard is best and should dominate the meta, and also that Wizard only provides a relatively small bonus which is substantially smaller than the advantage gained through play skill.

Depending on how you define "op", Wizard can be both OP and much less of a factor than player skill.

So you're right, if we define OP as "disruptive to tournament play" we'll have a lower threshold than if we use "unfair in repeaded matches of serious play" which is lower than, "unbalanced in single casual games."

The complicating issue is that while tactics occur in the context of individual games and matchups, strategies can be taught and researched online, and tend to flow down from tournament play to serious play to casual play. So disruptions to the tournament metagame get adopted by even casual players. So even though casual players are far more likely to play less reliable tactics, they often end up copying highly optimized tournament strategies that are built for environments that magnify even the smallest incremental advantage.

--

Now, to be clear, I'm not totally convinced that Wizard's edge is only 55/45. I've pretty reliably beaten players who I suspect would be +100 to +200 elo points above me; and I did it by playing a carefully designed Wizard against Druid or Necromancer books they were working on. Maybe Wizard fits my strengths and weaknesses better, or maybe it's just got more power.

Hard to say with certainty, ya know?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: vlad3theimpaler on August 11, 2015, 01:28:17 AM
In my old World of Warcraft times, there was a saying:

It's the player, not the class.

Same in Mage Wars. With a good deck building skill you can always prevail against wizard whatsoever.
That's a terrible saying.
It's BOTH.

If we take a large sample of players of roughly equal skill and find that those playing wizards win sginificantly more often than any other mages, then we can conclude that the wizard is overpowered.  (Not necessarily broken, but overpowered.)
If we find that the wizard's win percentage is so high that the metagame becomes "how do I beat a wizard," then I would be willing to call it broken.

I don't think we're at the point of brokenness, but I do think the evidence supports the claim that the wizard IS overpowered.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: wtcannonjr on August 11, 2015, 06:47:07 AM
If we take a large sample of players of roughly equal skill and find that those playing wizards win sginificantly more often than any other mages, then we can conclude that the wizard is overpowered.  (Not necessarily broken, but overpowered.)
If we find that the wizard's win percentage is so high that the metagame becomes "how do I beat a wizard," then I would be willing to call it broken.

I don't think we're at the point of brokenness, but I do think the evidence supports the claim that the wizard IS overpowered.

Is the sample size players or tournaments? It seems to me we would need solid tournament-level data over multiple tournaments and geographies to really understand this using statistical methods. I don't think we have this type of data but perhaps some of the community have seen it. If it exists then let's publish it for review by all.

I find it interesting when last year's GEN CON winner was a Beastmaster. There wasn't a large discussion on the forum about the Beastmaster being overpowered. Credit was given to the player for designing a spellbook that no one was able to counter effectively IN THAT specific tournament. This year with the wizard dominating player choices for spellbook designs and winning overall we don't seem to be having the same conversation with credit given to the player.

Perhaps public discussion of an overpowered Wizard is creating group think in the tournament community so that more Wizard's enter tournament play and therefore are more likely to win tournament play. Is there any data available to test this idea?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: wtcannonjr on August 11, 2015, 07:06:36 AM


So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
Well I don't believe the Wizard to be over powered.  However, if I did believe say Wizard Tower gave an unfair advantage to a player, then tournament rules would simply not allow that spell to be used. I see this similar to poker tournaments where you might have a Texas Hold - em or 5 - card stud style of playing. Since cards are rules in this game we adjust them for the type of tournament we want to foster.

The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

When we change the game system by rewriting previous rules or rules on cards it adds barriers to new players learning and enjoying this magical game.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 11, 2015, 07:34:45 AM
The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

So you would rather rule out an entire mage out of the tournament then simply change a few things about the wizard? Seems much more extreme to me.

Like stated before by many people: The wizard isn't broken. He just feels a bit stronger then the other ones. With a few minor changes you can fix it.

Making him pay more for nature buffing enchantments and the non-chosen elements would make him less "I have an answer to everything you do" and I believe that's probably enough to make it even.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 11, 2015, 09:03:16 AM



So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

Um...what specifically are you recommending?
Well I don't believe the Wizard to be over powered.  However, if I did believe say Wizard Tower gave an unfair advantage to a player, then tournament rules would simply not allow that spell to be used. I see this similar to poker tournaments where you might have a Texas Hold - em or 5 - card stud style of playing. Since cards are rules in this game we adjust them for the type of tournament we want to foster.

The discussion so far has assumed that tournament rules are fixed and the game design must change. I am offering another way to look at the issue. Keep the game design the same and modify tournament rules to meet desired outcomes. For example, why not try a no wizard's allowed tournament and see who competes? There are many avenues available to us that are easier to implement than a wholesale change to game rules.

When we change the game system by rewriting previous rules or rules on cards it adds barriers to new players learning and enjoying this magical game.

Hmm...and what if the wizard loses his spot as #1 Mage at some pout in the future due to new cards? Then what? Do we just temporarily ban mages left and right?

But you might kind of be on the right track. We could use block formats, which only mages in the block would be allowed to participate in. Problem is that we just don't have enough sets yet to make a block format that doesn't include the core set. And I doubt there will be an arena core set 2 with different mages anytime soon, probably not until we're a decade in if at all.

Tbh, I really want to love the wizard, and there are some things about him that I really like. On the surface he looks like he should be my favorite Mage. A smart trickster researcher Mage that benefits from knowledge and counters spells? Yes please! Unfortunately he seems to be somewhat of a two-trick pony nowadays. The combination of wizard tower and his superior training means that he will ALWAYS want to run an attack spell toolbox supplemented by maximum metamagic. Mana denial and big arcane creatures don't see as much use nowadays. From what I hear, wizard wasn't at all OP in the early days, though that could just be because of a lack of player experience. The problem is not necessarily the number of elemental spells available over time, since the wizard only pays less than every other Mage for one element at a time. There could have been an advantage gained by earth wizards after forcemaster vs warlord, and for fire wizards with forged in fire, but the overall advantage of wizards over other mages in general would not have increased more due to forged in fire. I could easily see the increase in the number of elemental spells over time becoming a big problem in the future though.

Making him pay triple for non trained elements would help lower the power of wizards who use attack spell toolbox though. If they have to pay triple for non-trained elemental spells, that means that including the same amount of non trained elemental spells will leave less room for other spells. This might actually give the water wizard more of a unique flavor than just being "the most spell-point efficient wizard". The water wizard is already pretty powerful with easy access to dissolves, rusts, and acid balls, on top of all the other arcane staples, EVEN THOUGH there are very few water spells currently existing in the game.

While I don't like the idea of having to change the wizard, it seems like it might be the only viable long term solution. He is literally the ONLY Mage who does not pay triple for anything. All the other mages are faced with difficult decisions about what to include and what not to include in their spellbooks. When was the last time you went over on spellbooks points and had to trim down a wizard spellbook? Because on at least some if not most of the wizard books I've tried to make, I actually had to put a little effort to even REACH 120 points. Versatility of playstyle in a Mage is okay, especially for a more controlling Mage, but there's a difference between strategic versatility and having a relatively bottomless spellbook. If you have answers to everything, you should not also have maximum answers to every individual thing. The wizard isn't just extremely versatile, he's also got a LOT of synergy, and he doesn't seem to have to make much if any trade offs between synergy and versatility during spellbook building like the other mages do. He gets a large amount of both at the same time.

Changing wizard tower would only be a temporary solution. Even if we change the tower, we'll be at this same problem again in a couple years after more elemental spells have been released.

Sometimes it's better to rip the bandage off right away and get it over with. Otherwise you'll just have to do it later, and it will hurt more than if you had ripped it off right away.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 11, 2015, 10:00:13 AM
This was my response to a similar discussion we are having in the playtester forum.

What pushes Wizard over the edge is that his class specific cards are just better than every other class in combination with the training. For example, if Warlord had good conquer(No some control, no stupid soldier required) and the awful rule of outposts not being able to be put to next to each other was gone, I think he would be a high tier mage. Also most mages don't have much access to meta spells. Basically, other specialized cards don't answer meta spells well enough to let you forgo them, this then forces you to answer them with other meta spells. Which training then gets in the way of. Akiro's Hammer(minus the flaw of no indirect on the 8 dice) is a PERFECT example of this. Every mage needs something like this. Thematic, unique, and bumps them up to or at least near wizard tier. Honestly, I would say release a whole spell tome of cards specifically designed to balance the game and give each mage that already exists an even better and more distinct playstyle
Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 11, 2015, 10:07:31 AM
This was my response to a similar discussion we are having in the playtester forum.

What pushes Wizard over the edge is that his class specific cards are just better than every other class in combination with the training. For example, if Warlord had good conquer(No some control, no stupid soldier required) and the awful rule of outposts not being able to be put to next to each other was gone, I think he would be a high tier mage. Also most mages don't have much access to meta spells. Basically, other specialized cards don't answer meta spells well enough to let you forgo them, this then forces you to answer them with other meta spells. Which training then gets in the way of. Akiro's Hammer(minus the flaw of no indirect on the 8 dice) is a PERFECT example of this. Every mage needs something like this. Thematic, unique, and bumps them up to or at least near wizard tier. Honestly, I would say release a whole spell tome of cards specifically designed to balance the game and give each mage that already exists an even better and more distinct playstyle

How many spells that currently exist do you think would become or stay useless because of such a spell tome?

This might significantly increase power creep.

Would it make spellbook building more challenging for the wizard, or make spellbook building easier for everyone else, both or neither?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 11, 2015, 10:34:12 AM
How many spells that currently exist do you think would become or stay useless because of such a spell tome?
The only victim I think of becoming useless would be Steal Enchantment or Steal Equipment. Both of those cards are attempted examples of what I'm talking about but are just to expensive to really use on Forcemaster en masse. If there was a reprint it should be exactly like dissolve/dispel, + 1 mana maybe, but give you the option of paying double to steal things. I don't think it would really knock cards down from playable to unplayable though, simply due to lack of playable cards that are like what I described. Ex, conquer is unfortunately unplayable.

This might significantly increase power creep.
This is true, it totally could. I honestly wouldn't be entirely against that as long as the power creep favors the balance of the game for specialized mages though. Although, if the new cards synergized with the old ones, that would help a lot. So something that was unplayable is given new avenues of use due to new cards.

Would it make spellbook building more challenging for the wizard, or make spellbook building easier for everyone else, both or neither?
I don't know that it would make it more challenging for Wizard, just give him harder match ups. The best example I can think of is Magic. Blue in magic is essentially arcane in Mage Wars, counterspell can generally answer every card in Magic. I think it's fine that Wizard in general is very well rounded and has a way to deal with most things. The problem is that the other mages specialized strategies just aren't strong enough to give a reason to not play Wizard. Like, if Warlord was fixed I think he would dump on anyone that made conjurations SOOOO hard. I think if anything, it would make spell book building for everyone else way more fun! Because every book you built, if the mage changed it would be like playing a totally different book. As it is right now, you're going to see dissolve/dispel/seeking dispel/mana crystal(or wardstone) in pretty much every competitive book.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 11, 2015, 10:40:22 AM
This discussion isn't a new one. 
*edit* to add list of links to similar discussions, some dating back to 2013 or earlier:
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15570.0 (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15570.0)
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15370.0 (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=15370.0)
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13773.0 (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13773.0)
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=14864.0 (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=14864.0)
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12994.0 (http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12994.0)

While it would be great to have a large data set for detailed statistics, we only have a few tournament results to suggest that the Wizard is indeed the most powerful mage to some degree.  The best players either play the Wizard themselves, or build their spell books specifically to deal with Wizards, both because they're expected to be prevalent in competition and because a Wizard is pretty much always a tough match-up for every other mage.

Looking at it the other way, in a healthy meta in an asymmetric game, any mage and spell book will have some good match-ups and some bad match-ups.  It seems that well-constructed Wizards have many good match-ups, maybe a few even match-ups, and generally the "toughest" match-up that a Wizard needs to plan for is another Wizard.  All other mages have good and bad match-ups against other mages, and as far as I can tell, they all have a bad match-up against a Wizard and thus need to build and develop strategies specifically for facing Wizards.  But most evidence comes from limited tournament data and anecdotal evidence that might be biased by "group think" and/or sample bias (e.g. if half of all players play Wizards, and most top players play Wizards, then it shouldn't be surprising that Wizards tend to dominate) and confirmation bias.

Instead of statistics, we can also look (again) at what many perceive to be the "unfair" advantages of Wizards, and compare them to other mages:

1) high channeling of 10 (equal to some other mages, but a distinct and obvious advantage over any mage with channeling of 9);
2) cheap access to more channeling increasers than any other mage (up to 6x Mana Crystals, Moonglow Amulet, Harmonize);
3) the highest channeling creature spawn point - unless the opposing mage intentionally casts fewer spells in order to minimize it (which would probably be just as advantageous to the Wizard due to higher channeling);
4) an innate defensive ability that is always useful, as opposed to highly conditional abilities that either don't get used often (sometimes not even in every match) or need to be built around;
4b) the most obvious counter to this defensive ability would be to swarm the Wizard with lots of creatures/attacks, since Voltaric Shield only negates damage from one attack per round, but Wizard also has cheap or exclusive access to most of the best anti-swarm spells (Suppression Cloak, Mordok's Obelisk, your choice of zone attack spell(s) - e.g. Chain Lightning/Electrify or Hail of Stones or Ring of Fire/Firestorm) so that strategy tends not to be viable; oh, and if the opponent instead tries to use one very heavily buffed creature to overcome your Voltaric Shield (plus a "wasted" attack to turn it off first), you have Banish to deal with that;
5) the best innate attack in the game (ranged + ethereal, ignores guards, can be used with Quick Cast, only costs 1 mana which means if you use it every turn you're on par with mages who don't spend mana to attack but have innate channeling of 9; or think of it like an attack spell you always have access to in addition to your 2 chosen cards and possibly Mage Wand or Arcane Wand);
6) cheap access to the most staple spells (Dispel, Seeking Dispel, Teleport, Nullify, Jinx, Mage Wand, Arcane Wand), leaving more room for specialized spell book building (e.g. cheapest "base" cost);
7) cheap access to an element of your choice (tied with Warlock and Warlord and better than all other mages, except you can choose which one you want - e.g. pick "water" for more staples for maximum efficiency, etc);
8) regular cost access to every other school (e.g. all the Nature enchantments; any creature(s) you might want; a toolbox of attack spells for your Wizard's Tower - see below);
9) cheap access to powerful hard-to-kill arcane creatures with strong abilities;
10) Wizard's Tower = NOT zone exclusive, NOT Epic familiar conjuration (e.g. can protect a Battle Forge or Mordok's Obelisk or whatever) that is almost like putting a second Wizard in play.

Basically, if there's something you want to do, the Wizard can probably do it equally well or better than any other mage.  OK, that's not really true: he can't pump out a creature swarm like a Beastmaster or Necromancer, nor is he as efficient as a Dark Mage at Damage Over Time, nor as efficient as a Holy Mage at healing, but the Wizard doesn't need those when he can kill you before DOT has a chance to factor in and before you can do enough damage to make him need healing (e.g. wins a damage race) or can deal with swarms to render them irrelevant.  When you add up all the things the Wizard does better than another given mage (and that a Wizard generally doesn't do anything worse - e.g. no drawbacks relative to any other mage), it seems obvious that the Wizard would be the best choice most of the time, and that you'd be putting yourself at a disadvantage by playing any other mage.  You'd have to work hard to overcome another mage's disadvantage(s) through spell book building and/or clever play and/or luck, trying to find a way to surprise your opponent to gain other advantages.

(This partly explains how a creature swarm Beastmaster was able to win a high-profile tournament dominated by Wizards last year: nobody expected a swarm because it had been written off as "not viable" so few packed the obvious counters, and in a match that could easily have gone the other way (in favour of a Wizard), a key Chain Lightning attack roll fizzled, allowing the swarm to survive and win.)

As for a "fix," I agree with a lot of Sailor Vulcan's comments, especially that nerfing Wizard's Tower merely takes away one of the Wizard's tools but doesn't change any of his other advantages (e.g. doesn't fix the Wizard himself).  He can still pack a toolbox of attack spells including any elemental spells that come out in the future, and still has his high channeling, innate Arcane Zap attack spell, innate Voltaric Shield defense, etc.  That isn't to say Wizard's Tower shouldn't see errata (e.g. at least make it Zone Exclusive and/or Epic and/or add a cost to change spells) - just that it might not fix the problem where the Wizard is the "best" competitive mage.

I think the Wizard would still be on par with other mages if all unchosen element schools, and possible Nature, cost triple.  This would remove the "I have all the good spells" toolbox that he can currently pack for much cheaper than any other mage.  I could also see him still being competitive if his Arcane Zap cost as much as 3 mana (e.g. becomes more like a reasonably priced attack spell he always has with him, rather than a practically free attack spell)... but I doubt that mana-taxing Arcane Zap on its own would do much without also sbp-taxing the out-of-school attack spells.

As for the poker analogy... as a (former?) avid poker player, I had to shake my head.  Poker is a symmetric game (assuming you play many complete orbits of hands in a session).  Mage Wars is inherently an asymmetric game.  If the only mage anyone could play was the Wizard - or taking it to an even greater extreme, if everyone had to play the same spell book - then the poker comparison would be valid.  However, the perceived handicap of any other mage vs. Wizard is more like playing Texas Hold'em where one player always has connected hole cards (e.g. 67s or JQo) and the other player always has a pocket pair (e.g. 55 or KK).  The player with connected cards will win some hands, and might be able to play well enough to win a large enough share of hands and large pots through smart play (e.g. knowing when to fold; knowing when to bluff; correct bet sizing; etc) and even come out on top in a given session, but on average, the player who always has a pocket pair will win more hands, and if he's equally competent, should win more money in the long run.  That would be an unfair asymmetric game, not due to the rules of the game itself but due to the added asymmetric component being unfair... which is what we're talking about when we say the Wizard is inherently at an advantage vs. other mages.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 11, 2015, 10:54:54 AM
I also don't think adding an intentionally overpowered "this mage only" card on the power level of Wizard's Tower to increase each other mage's power level would be a good thing in the game.  Any card that basically says "you need to have this in your book in order to compete" restricts creativity and diminishes from spell book building, especially given it wouldn't be included in the core set.  Many of the Wizard's advantages are written on his mage card.  Unless all the other mages get equally powerful mage abilities and stats on their mage cards, I don't see how adding cards alone will serve to balance the game.  This is true for some of the mages relative to other non-Wizard mages (e.g. why the Johktari Beastmaster and Malakai Priest seem to be disadvantaged relative to their core set counterparts; it's not access to cards but rather their more conditional / must be built around / harder to trigger / weaker abilities that make them less competitive - or at least more difficult to win with).  Also, balancing the game through future cards still runs into the problem that any non-exclusive non-arcane cards would be available to the Wizard for 2x sbp, and any elemental school spells could even be 1x sbp.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 11, 2015, 11:25:49 AM
couldn't agree more with anything Sailor Vulcan and iNano78 said.  :)
Making more powerfull spells is not the solution. It could ruin the game all together.

With x3 for non-trained elemental schools and nature x3, the wizard would be forced to be a bit more like the "core-set" wizard. Mana denial & Using big strong creatures and supporting them with teleport/dispel/...

People that really want an attack spell build can afterwards buy the elementalist. I trust Arcane wonders that they will make sure that he is balanced.  ;D

Also: Keejchens awesome wizard book would maybe be better an elementalist.  ::)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 11, 2015, 05:05:11 PM

couldn't agree more with anything Sailor Vulcan and iNano78 said.  :)
Making more powerfull spells is not the solution. It could ruin the game all together.

With x3 for non-trained elemental schools and nature x3, the wizard would be forced to be a bit more like the "core-set" wizard. Mana denial & Using big strong creatures and supporting them with teleport/dispel/...

People that really want an attack spell build can afterwards buy the elementalist. I trust Arcane wonders that they will make sure that he is balanced.  ;D

Also: Keejchens awesome wizard book would maybe be better an elementalist.  ::)

I did not think there were currently any plans for an elementalist. Is this just speculation, or is it a real thing?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: wtcannonjr on August 11, 2015, 06:26:08 PM

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

AW is always changing the game by adding new cards, and those changes affect everyone who buys the new product, or plays against someone who did. On that level, they're not interested in only doing the easier thing.

Now, my tournament example doesn't suggest any particular solution at all. It's really about how two conditions that seem contradictory can co-exist easily. It can simultaneously be true that Wizard is best and should dominate the meta, and also that Wizard only provides a relatively small bonus which is substantially smaller than the advantage gained through play skill.

Depending on how you define "op", Wizard can be both OP and much less of a factor than player skill.

So you're right, if we define OP as "disruptive to tournament play" we'll have a lower threshold than if we use "unfair in repeaded matches of serious play" which is lower than, "unbalanced in single casual games."

The complicating issue is that while tactics occur in the context of individual games and matchups, strategies can be taught and researched online, and tend to flow down from tournament play to serious play to casual play. So disruptions to the tournament metagame get adopted by even casual players. So even though casual players are far more likely to play less reliable tactics, they often end up copying highly optimized tournament strategies that are built for environments that magnify even the smallest incremental advantage.

--

Now, to be clear, I'm not totally convinced that Wizard's edge is only 55/45. I've pretty reliably beaten players who I suspect would be +100 to +200 elo points above me; and I did it by playing a carefully designed Wizard against Druid or Necromancer books they were working on. Maybe Wizard fits my strengths and weaknesses better, or maybe it's just got more power.

Hard to say with certainty, ya know?

Understood.

I am not opposed to expanding the game through expansions and scenario play. However, making changes to core rules and card errata after publication creates barriers for new players who often see this as an unstable game system or a poor testing/development process. As I said before I don't see a problem with the Wizard as is.

When I first learned the game we always designed spellbooks against known specific mages like in a boxing match. It was fun. This might be an interesting tournament format. Players pre-register their mage class so that all players can design their spellbooks for a specific  field of mages. For example, 3 Wizard's, 2 Beastmasters, 2 Forcemasters, etc.
Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 11, 2015, 07:18:19 PM

So if the real concern here is to balance tournament play then wouldn't it be easier to just change tournament rules that impact only a few dozen players at a time rather than change the game itself which impacts all players at all levels?

AW is always changing the game by adding new cards, and those changes affect everyone who buys the new product, or plays against someone who did. On that level, they're not interested in only doing the easier thing.

Now, my tournament example doesn't suggest any particular solution at all. It's really about how two conditions that seem contradictory can co-exist easily. It can simultaneously be true that Wizard is best and should dominate the meta, and also that Wizard only provides a relatively small bonus which is substantially smaller than the advantage gained through play skill.

Depending on how you define "op", Wizard can be both OP and much less of a factor than player skill.

So you're right, if we define OP as "disruptive to tournament play" we'll have a lower threshold than if we use "unfair in repeaded matches of serious play" which is lower than, "unbalanced in single casual games."

The complicating issue is that while tactics occur in the context of individual games and matchups, strategies can be taught and researched online, and tend to flow down from tournament play to serious play to casual play. So disruptions to the tournament metagame get adopted by even casual players. So even though casual players are far more likely to play less reliable tactics, they often end up copying highly optimized tournament strategies that are built for environments that magnify even the smallest incremental advantage.

--

Now, to be clear, I'm not totally convinced that Wizard's edge is only 55/45. I've pretty reliably beaten players who I suspect would be +100 to +200 elo points above me; and I did it by playing a carefully designed Wizard against Druid or Necromancer books they were working on. Maybe Wizard fits my strengths and weaknesses better, or maybe it's just got more power.

Hard to say with certainty, ya know?

Understood.

I am not opposed to expanding the game through expansions and scenario play. However, making changes to core rules and card errata after publication creates barriers for new players who often see this as an unstable game system or a poor testing/development process. As I said before I don't see a problem with the Wizard as is.

This is a problem of appearances. Mage wars is actually much more balanced and stable than other customizable strategy games usually are. And there are always going to be mistakes in any game of this genre. There are too many moving parts that change too frequently. People seem to hold customizable strategy games to the same standard of inerrancy as a game of stratego or cards against humanity,  even though games like stratego or cards against humanity aren't anywhere near as complicated to balance. The problem isn't poor testing/development process, the problem is that there are only five people in the company that's making it! What about ccg's and their super-long ban lists? People seem to see those as being "stable" and having a fairly "good" testing/development process, right? How is banning a card any less indicative of a mistake than errata is?

I'm not sure banning cards in Mage Wars is even feasible. If cards were sold individually then it wouldn't be so much of an issue. But Mage wars cards are sold in sets, and if a card in a set is overpowered and gets banned, then that decreases the value of that whole set. A similar but not quite as bad problem can happen if a card is so underpowered that it's never or very rarely usable. This is likely why garrison post was errata'd, since not just a single spell, but an entire Mage, the warlord, was severely underpowered at the time, and he needed the garrison post to work right in order for him to take proper advantage of his barracks spawnpoint.

So instead they have to make more cards to rebalance things, and when that isn't enough, yes they do sometimes have to errata.

I notice no one is saying that there wasn't enough data for the garrison post errata. Anecdotal evidence on its own is weak evidence, but it's still evidence nonetheless. What we have is a LOT of anecdotal evidence over an extended period of time, much of which is from very talented competitive players, coupled with supporting tournament data.

And yes, the beastmaster won at gen con last year. On its own, that would be moderate to strong evidence that nothing's wrong. But in light of all the other evidence pointing the other way, I think it's more likely to be more of an outlier.

The first two rounds of the tournament are Swiss format. Maybe we should try to look at the mages and win-loss-draw ratios of all the players, not just the winner, and see if we notice any patterns.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: vlad3theimpaler on August 11, 2015, 10:52:26 PM
If we take a large sample of players of roughly equal skill and find that those playing wizards win sginificantly more often than any other mages, then we can conclude that the wizard is overpowered.  (Not necessarily broken, but overpowered.)
If we find that the wizard's win percentage is so high that the metagame becomes "how do I beat a wizard," then I would be willing to call it broken.

I don't think we're at the point of brokenness, but I do think the evidence supports the claim that the wizard IS overpowered.

Is the sample size players or tournaments? It seems to me we would need solid tournament-level data over multiple tournaments and geographies to really understand this using statistical methods. I don't think we have this type of data but perhaps some of the community have seen it. If it exists then let's publish it for review by all.

I find it interesting when last year's GEN CON winner was a Beastmaster. There wasn't a large discussion on the forum about the Beastmaster being overpowered. Credit was given to the player for designing a spellbook that no one was able to counter effectively IN THAT specific tournament. This year with the wizard dominating player choices for spellbook designs and winning overall we don't seem to be having the same conversation with credit given to the player.

Perhaps public discussion of an overpowered Wizard is creating group think in the tournament community so that more Wizard's enter tournament play and therefore are more likely to win tournament play. Is there any data available to test this idea?
Of course there wasn't a discussion about the Beastmaster being overpowered.  That was a list that won ONE major event.
That's not what we're talking about here.  This is a wizard thread, not a gencon thread.  We're talking about the CONTINUOUS dominance (or at least, perceived dominance) of wizards across a large number of events since nearly the inception of the game.  Not even close to the same thing.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 12, 2015, 02:06:39 AM
I did not think there were currently any plans for an elementalist. Is this just speculation, or is it a real thing?

Not sure.. I thought there were, but now I think I'm wrong.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 12, 2015, 04:14:26 PM
   I just found this thread. I just mentioned about the wizard under the gencon discussion thread. I agree with a lot of what has been said here. I do not think the wizard is over powered, or needs any changes. I also agree that we should not make a bunch of his spells novice. As is mentioned, nullify is not in every book, but dispel is in many. They just release a new dispel for academy which may prove useful to some. So, changes are happening over time as is normal.

   I think tweaking should not happen to any of it at this point. A bm won gencon last year, and the tower was out then too. So, any given day anything can happen.

   I cannot agree enough that it is the player, not the mage. However, that said, some mages are better than others. You cannot create true parity with mages who have different flavors and uniqueness. It is bound to happen some are better than others. However, you can try to minimize the disparity between them. I suspect that over time, the ones on the bottom rungs will get improved. PVS cannot do anything but help the wizard since it will round out the water element. But, hopefully the wizard will become somewhat static, while other mages get some new tools as other sets are released.

   I almost lost to sharkbait in our match. He was hyper aggressive and it was a chore to weather that firestorm. I probably was lucky he did not off me along the way. I managed to turn the corner on him and fight my way back. And he did not have a tower, playing the fire sorceress.

Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 12, 2015, 04:28:25 PM
   Regarding the statistics for tournament play.  I think the first real event back in 2013 Bashcon, a warlock won. Origins 2013 saw a priestess win, I was in that game playing for first place with a forcemaster. That event is the reason why hob, and tol got errata. Gencon 2013, an earth wizard won, and I was playing for first place then too, and was playing an air wizard.

  Not sure what won origins 2014, and 2015. Last gencon of course a bm won. and a water wizard won this year.

  It would be nice to get more data on wins in other events. The assessment regarding group think is valid too. If in many local groups, the best player happens to play wizard and beats everyone, they presume wizard is unbeatable. I do think there is not enough data to confirm any conclusions at this point.

  I do not think that among the top tier mages: wizard, warlock, necro that any one consistently wins against the others. No mage is unbeatable, and there is no such thing as an unbeatable build for any of the mages. All mages in the hands of experienced players are dangerous to play against. Especially if they also built those mages spell books.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Schwenkgott on August 12, 2015, 06:14:23 PM
Spoken like a true Mage Warrior  8)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 12, 2015, 07:48:53 PM
THIS JUST IN! It turns out that the wizard can do everything an arraxian crown warlock does just as well as an arraxian crown warlock, if not better. Yes, you heard right. A wizard that's pretending to be a warlock is equal to the real thing if not better. And a wizard that isn't pretending to be a warlock is even better than that.

I just had a really fun epic duel with the gen con champ on OCTGN. He was using his fake warlock against my real one. Other than the one main play mistake I made all game and the fact that I got terrible rolls, we were actually fairly evenly matched.

The wizard should not be able to warlock just as well as or better than a warlock. I think this counts as conclusive evidence that the wizard is OP. While I was using core set x1 only arraxian crown warlock, core set x1 only is not a big enough disadvantage to explain how his imitation-warlock was able to put up such a good fight and win against my real one.

You can watch the awesome fight here:

http://www.twitch.tv/carcharodonmega/v/10684198
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: DaveW on August 12, 2015, 09:25:28 PM
How can you see the board? I have a 17" monitor and can barely make out what is going on....
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 12, 2015, 10:56:23 PM
Expand it? I have 2 x 24's so it should be large enough. Sorry about that if it's tiny
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 12, 2015, 11:13:15 PM
THIS JUST IN! It turns out that the wizard can do everything an arraxian crown warlock does just as well as an arraxian crown warlock, if not better. Yes, you heard right. A wizard that's pretending to be a warlock is equal to the real thing if not better. And a wizard that isn't pretending to be a warlock is even better than that.

I just had a really fun epic duel with the gen con champ on OCTGN. He was using his fake warlock against my real one. Other than the one main play mistake I made all game and the fact that I got terrible rolls, we were actually fairly evenly matched.

The wizard should not be able to warlock just as well as or better than a warlock. I think this counts as conclusive evidence that the wizard is OP. While I was using core set x1 only arraxian crown warlock, core set x1 only is not a big enough disadvantage to explain how his imitation-warlock was able to put up such a good fight and win against my real one.

You can watch the awesome fight here:

http://www.twitch.tv/carcharodonmega/v/10684198

   so how does pretty evenly matched translate to wizard is op? i would expect warlock and wizard to be close most of the time. also, given you both pay double for each others school, the only book advantage is whatever holy spells the wiard puts in. expecting that to be a small number of levels there is only a 3-6 pt book difference.  again even match all other things being equal. so how does evenly matched imply wizard is a better warlock? an epic fun match in no way implies you got slaughtered. so again, how does that mean op? will try to watch this link at some point when i have time to see how you arrive at this conclusion. but my impression right off is that it is an incorrect conclusion, especially based on one game.

Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 12, 2015, 11:41:28 PM
I'm not convinced after watching the game that the wizard is OP either. The warlock did have his hands tied behind his back a little with the card choices in the book while the wizard did not. It was also a fairly close match most of the  way through.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: jhaelen on August 13, 2015, 03:34:49 AM
Imho, the problem with the Wizard isn't so much that he's overpowered, it's that he's the most flexible and versatile Mage - and he's strong, too!

There's nothing you cannot do with a Wizard, and you're able to have a potential answer to any kind of threat your opponent might throw against you.

What this means is that there's no matchup that is unfavorable for you, so by definition it's the best Mage to choose for a tournament.

If, however, you're in a situation where you know what to expect, i.e. what kind of Mage your opponent will play, other Mages can often be a better choice.

So, if players would prefer to see fewer Wizards in tournament, he'd either have to lose some of his flexibility (e.g. by having him play triple for some spells) or power (e.g. reduce his Channeling, maybe conditionally).
Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 05:52:22 AM
You guys are totally missing the point. Yes we were fairly evenly matched that game. That game, where he was playing a fake-warlock rather than a normal wizard. If we were evenly matched while his wizard was using a wizard strategy, then I might say you had a point. The wizard can do basically everything a warlock can do but better. If he were using a regular wizard build I probably wouldn't have stood a chance.

Hanma said that the imitation-warlock is just one of his casual wizard builds.

The big advantage wasn't just access to holy spells. He also had mana denial and much better defense on top of all the warlock stuff he was doing. For all intents and purposes he was playing a warlock with wiz tower  and healing spells instead of bloodreaper, ranged attacks instead of melee attacks, and hurl boulders instead of fireballs, but with the addition of mana denial, extra armor, and innate 10 channeling on top of everything else. This means that the warlock is currently defunct because the wizard can take on his role and do it just as well if not better.

And that's when the wizard is "handicapping" himself by taking on the role of another Mage. If he were playing normal wizard strategy, he would have done even better.

The fact that we were fairly evenly matched in this case does not mean that the wizard is not OP. It indicates the exact opposite of that. Wizard is WAY OP.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 06:28:33 AM
I thought it might be interesting to look at the book of the Gencon winner.  :)

If you look at the weighted training clothes book and add the x3 for nature and x3 for attack spells you see that he would have to pay 5 extra spellpoints for non-attack spells (hawkeye, regrowth, rhino hide, 2x dragonscale hauberk).

Which isn't that bad and easily replaceable with other spells.

but 12 extra spellpoints for attack spells. 6x hurl rock, 1 hurl boulder, 1 fireball, 2 flameblasts. Which is even more powerfull due to the spellbind of the wizards tower.  (which might be a good card to change). This advantage will become even bigger when the siren will get new powerfull water spells out.

This sums it pretty much up:
I really, really like the idea of making other elements cost the Wizard X3. Pretty much every Wizard book I saw at Gen Con had a swiss army knife of attack spells.

When adjusting the spellbook with these rules you would have to remove a total of 17 spellpoints.
Note: his 6 hurl rocks would be 18 spellpoints already. So clearly, even with these changes it's still very versatile.



Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 07:23:46 AM
Actually, making non-trained elemental spells cost triple would cause the champion spellbook to go over by 56 points.

This is how I determined that:

1) open champ's spellbook in OCTGN
2) remove all spells except for non-water elemental spells
3) calculate spellbook points.
4) subtract the number you got in 3) from 120.
5) multiply the number you got in 3) by 3
6) add the result you got in 4) to the result you got in 5)


(120-28)+(28*3)

The result I got was 176 spellbook points, or 56 points over.

I think tripling nature would be overkill and unthematic. Paying 3x for nontrained elements should be more than enough to fix the problem.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 07:29:07 AM
um... You are tripling everything  ???, not only nature and non-trained elements. You should just add the level of those spells. You really made some calculus errors.

Fireball: level = 2
In his book: 2 x 2 = 4
with triple rules: 2 x 3 = 6
So just add the level.

And about the theme: That's really a matter of opinion. Let's agree to disagree on that  ;)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 07:37:52 AM
um... You are tripling everything  ???, not only nature and non-trained elements. You should just add the level of those spells. You really made some calculus errors.

Fireball: level = 2
In his book: 2 x 2 = 4
with triple rules: 2 x 3 = 6
So just add the level.

And about the theme: That's really a matter of opinion. Let's agree to disagree on that  ;)

Sigh. I'm starting to feel like people aren't listening to me lol. No, I ONLY tripled non-trained elements, not nature. No, you don't just add the levels. The fireball is already included in the 120 points. If you don't subtract the 4 points BEFORE adding 6, then you're adding 4 points worth of imaginary spells ON TOP OF the triple-costed fireball.


You're not just adding a triple costed fireball, you're taking away the double-costed fireball first and replacing it with a triple-costed fireball.



As far as I'm aware, I didn't make any errors. 120 spellbook points total -28 spellbook points worth of non-trained elements +(28*3) spellbook points worth of non-trained elements =176 spellbook points total.

Also, if you just add the levels, you actually get 204 spellbook points!

I think you need to show your work lol...

Also, why are you using Calculus for this? It only needs simple, one-variable algebra, of the variety you learn in elementary school. It might sound weird coming from me, but I think you're thinking too hard on this.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 07:45:33 AM
aha, now I get what you did! You do make errors
You actually let him pay x6

He has 14 points for non-trained spells. He has to pay double, so indeed this is 28.

But here you are wrong: It's not 120-28+28x3 but:

120-28+14x3
= 120-(14x2) + (14x3)
= 120+14x(3-2)
= 120 + 14

--> Just adding the level, what I said in the beginning.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 07:49:38 AM
Without the nature you have 14 spellpoints. But adding the regrowth belt, the rhino hide and the hawkeye gives you 17.

(In your calculation you double the points and afterwards you triple them, making it x6 in total)

I think you need to show your work lol...

Also, why are you using Calculus for this? It only needs simple, one-variable algebra, of the variety you learn in elementary school. It might sound weird coming from me, but I think you're thinking too hard on this.

And to be fair, I was using the word calculus, because counting sounds a bit simple and I didn't want to offend you...
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 08:01:52 AM
According to OCTGN, he has 28 points in non-trained elemental spells. I think you were trying to get at the answer a different and better way than I was.

28 spellbook points worth of non-trained elements/2=Total combined levels of non-trained elements.

Total combined levels of non-trained elements*3=42

120+42=162.

You're right I accidentally hextupled it instead of tripling it. I should have gotten the level first.

However, even if he did have only 14 points worth of non-trained spells...

14 spellbook points/2 = 7 total combined levels of non-trained elements

7  total combined levels of non-trained elements *3=21 total spellbook points worth of non-trained elements.

Pointing out that I made a mistake doesn't offend me. I was just kind of incredulous. I'm sorry if I sounded irritated. Even the best of us make obvious easily avoidable mistakes sometimes.

EDIT: This time I also forgot to subtract 28. The correct answer should be 134 points, so actually you're right that it's only +14.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 08:08:22 AM
120+42=162.

Here you forgot to substract the 28 sp. (But I think you know.)

However, even if he did have only 14 points worth of non-trained spells...

14 spellbook points/2 = 7 total combined levels of non-trained elements

7  total combined levels of non-trained elements *3=21 total spellbook points worth of non-trained elements.

Not sure what you are trying to say here. But indeed you are correct  :P

And yes, making a mistake is nothing to be ashamed of but when correcting someone it's easy to sound horribly pompous. I was trying to avoid that.  :)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 08:12:05 AM
You actually got the right answer. It is just 14 points over. Thanks for pointing it out. I suppose I need more math practice lol.

The next and more important question is how much of a difference does 14 points make?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 08:26:46 AM
The next and more important question is how much of a difference does 14 points make?

When adjusting the spellbook with these rules you would have to remove a total of 17 spellpoints.
Note: his 6 hurl rocks would be 18 spellpoints already. So clearly, even with these changes it's still very versatile.

1) add nature.  :P but let's not continu about that.

2) It's a step in the right direction. If you use this and remove the spellbind on the tower, a wizard will think twice before adding another 6 sp hurl boulder.

Because the spellbind makes them use that 6 sp-spell 3-4 times. Making it actually 20-ish spellpoints.
Combining the triple payment with the spellbind-removal will make a big difference because they won't be able to reuse expensive spells like that.

They can of course still use a wand, but then they have to spend actions to use it. (+ no channeling, and easier to counter with dissolve)

Someone mentioned that changing spells on its own wasn't going to help, but I think for the tower it will because it is more an extension of the wizards ability card. "being able to use the wizard tower"

Combining these 2 effect would probably force a wizard to make choices. Which counters the biggest problem of the wizard: being able to have a counter for everything. And next to that, I think the element choice will feel more game-changing than just "being the most sp.-efficient".
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Laddinfance on August 13, 2015, 08:39:32 AM
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

I look at the druid and the necromancer and it seems they're a lot more unique. It would be quite tough for the wizard to try and "be them". So then looking at them, I'll be looking at what we can do to give our mages more unique feel.

Now this is not a response directly about balance, but I feel this issue better addresses what has come up from the game proposed here.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 13, 2015, 08:47:50 AM
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

Don't be too harsh on yourself. The wizard acting like a warlock is possible, but 99% of the wizards are playing like a wizard. You guys do an amazing job making them feel different. Before buying/playing the druid I was expecting her to ruin the game.

"Another nature mage that will feel the same as the beastmaster but with plants"

I was really wrong!  ;)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 13, 2015, 09:04:10 AM


While I do think it's good to at least have some realization that this may be a possiblity, using the half of a game that I recorded as the only evidence right now is NOT what I would consider proper testing methods. I still think that there were multiple times that if vulcan had cards that weren't restricted to JUST the core set then he'd have won the game. There were also cards IN the core set that I'd have used that he did not and still more ways to come up with to have combated the Wizard in Warlock's clothing that would have done the warlock better. When you use EVERY card available + PROMOS vs someone with ONLY ONE CORE SET there is BOUND to be a difference. Player skill can help mitigate some of this, but you're still playing with one arm behind your back.

All I'm saying from all of this, is that using this recording as the only piece of evidence on either side of any argument that a wizard can warlock better than a warlock can is irresponsible from a testing perspective and leads to knee jerk reactions
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Coshade on August 13, 2015, 09:12:24 AM
I agree with Shark. Vulcan had Hanma until he started to get armor going. Without Acid Ball or rust Vulcan just lost to armor. The Core Set had a lot of problems with massing armor and that game just proved it.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Coshade on August 13, 2015, 09:13:05 AM
A curse wizard sounds like a blast to play! It's supposed to be a warlock wizard right? Did it run any demons? I would be down for some hell spawn Wizard creatures :P
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Laddinfance on August 13, 2015, 10:10:52 AM
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

Don't be too harsh on yourself. The wizard acting like a warlock is possible, but 99% of the wizards are playing like a wizard. You guys do an amazing job making them feel different. Before buying/playing the druid I was expecting her to ruin the game.

"Another nature mage that will feel the same as the beastmaster but with plants"

I was really wrong!  ;)

Thank you Halewijn. It means a lot to hear stuff like that from our players. In general, we want to keep each mage very unique and ideally, it's something that we want to keep looking at.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: V10lentray on August 13, 2015, 10:12:56 AM
Chitin Armor is practically rust proof....
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 13, 2015, 10:43:30 AM
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

I look at the druid and the necromancer and it seems they're a lot more unique. It would be quite tough for the wizard to try and "be them". So then looking at them, I'll be looking at what we can do to give our mages more unique feel.

Now this is not a response directly about balance, but I feel this issue better addresses what has come up from the game proposed here.

Fair point. I guess it's not conclusive after all. I stand corrected.




What I'm worried about now is that if they just try to power up all the other mages with more powerful cards over time in order to keep up with the wizard, that might make a LOT of cards in the earlier expansions significantly less usable in competitive play. Plus, I like having to make difficult decisions when spellbook building. If in the future I end up usually having to make an effort to reach 120 points instead of trying to trim down to it, I will be kind of disappointed. It really seems that part of why the wizard is so powerful isn't just a particular spell, but rather his training.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 13, 2015, 11:36:37 AM
As with all research, the a multiple ways this can be interpreted. What I see from your game is that our mages aren't as different as we'd like. And honestly the solution to the problem is go make them more unique. They need things to differentiate themselves that you can't always just pick for your spellbook. So in the midst of working on PVS, this is a good realization.

I look at the druid and the necromancer and it seems they're a lot more unique. It would be quite tough for the wizard to try and "be them". So then looking at them, I'll be looking at what we can do to give our mages more unique feel.

Now this is not a response directly about balance, but I feel this issue better addresses what has come up from the game proposed here.

I'm really glad that you think this way! It's exactly why I'm pushing so hard for better unique cards such as the good version of conquer. I do have to add though, here's a list of the things I can do better as a Wizard than other mages.
1. Curse Wizard, better than curse Warlock/Necromancer
2. Attack spell fire Wizard, better than Adramelech Warlock
3. Aggro, better than Forcemaster and Joktari Beastmaster most notably, but better than all other mages too.
(Attack spell Wizard, with or without Jinx)
4. 1-big strategy, better than all other mages, biggest names being Warlock and Priest. (See Wizzly Grizard)
5. Turtling for time wins, better than all mages aside from Priestess. (My gencon book last year had me at 40+ life every game.)
6. Mid-game in general, better than all other mages. (Weighted Training Clothes)

And here's a list of things mages can do better than Wizard, and the mages that do so.
1. Auto attacking. Forcemaster and Warlock. Keep in mind I am of the opinion of auto attacking is not currently a viable competitive strategy
2. Massing Creatures. Priestess, Necromancer, and Beastmaster. This also generally doesn't happen because it relies on your opponent not interacting with you.
3. Turtling for time wins. Priestess, also relies on non-interaction.

Here's a list of things I feel are equal.
1. Destroying conjurations, Warlord and Wizard are fairly equal thanks to Akiro's Hammer.

I will add that one game on a stream definitely isn't conclusive evidence, but though my personal testing I draw the same conclusion that Sailor Vulcan does. Curse Warlock isn't even close, curse Necromancer is closer in power though.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 13, 2015, 11:40:06 AM


While I do think it's good to at least have some realization that this may be a possiblity, using the half of a game that I recorded as the only evidence right now is NOT what I would consider proper testing methods. I still think that there were multiple times that if vulcan had cards that weren't restricted to JUST the core set then he'd have won the game. There were also cards IN the core set that I'd have used that he did not and still more ways to come up with to have combated the Wizard in Warlock's clothing that would have done the warlock better. When you use EVERY card available + PROMOS vs someone with ONLY ONE CORE SET there is BOUND to be a difference. Player skill can help mitigate some of this, but you're still playing with one arm behind your back.

All I'm saying from all of this, is that using this recording as the only piece of evidence on either side of any argument that a wizard can warlock better than a warlock can is irresponsible from a testing perspective and leads to knee jerk reactions


   Agreed. While I have not seen the match, I also believed there was a build issue at play too. So, the immediate jump to a conclusion is just wrong here. It is a bad conclusion. And again the chorus of change, change, change. More time and tournaments are needed. Along the same time aw will be releasing more products which will include bumps for the lower tier mages.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 13, 2015, 11:56:08 AM
And here's a list of things mages can do better than Wizard, and the mages that do so.
1. Auto attacking. Forcemaster and Warlock. Keep in mind I am of the opinion of auto attacking is not currently a viable competitive strategy

What is "auto attacking"?  Reverse Attack? Dancing Scimitar? Or generally melee attacking as your Mage's main action every turn (e.g. with Galvitar + Dancing Scimitar and whatever enchantment/equipment melee buffs you can afford)?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 13, 2015, 01:14:13 PM
And here's a list of things mages can do better than Wizard, and the mages that do so.
1. Auto attacking. Forcemaster and Warlock. Keep in mind I am of the opinion of auto attacking is not currently a viable competitive strategy

What is "auto attacking"?  Reverse Attack? Dancing Scimitar? Or generally melee attacking as your Mage's main action every turn (e.g. with Galvitar + Dancing Scimitar and whatever enchantment/equipment melee buffs you can afford)?

Melee attack main actions. This is even arguable given that I could auto attack, zap, and attack spell through Wizard's Tower every turn though.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: sshroom on August 13, 2015, 01:38:00 PM
Maybe there should be some kind of limited tourney format where wizard or just wizard's tower are not allowed? We don't allow wizards in our playgroup and I really think the game is fairer and more fun that way.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 13, 2015, 01:44:10 PM
Melee attack main actions. This is even arguable given that I could auto attack, zap, and attack spell through Wizard's Tower every turn though.

Yep, and with either Staff of the Arcanum or trusty ol' Mage Staff, you could be "all Ethereal all the time" with all 3 of those attacks - not that Ethereal matters when attacking mages, but it comes in handy against any Incorporeal creatures your enemy might summon.  Ditto for the fact that all 3 can target flying creatures (using the Staff of the Arcanum's ranged attack or Mage Staff's Reach).  Heck, with the Staff of the Arcanum, you could even have 3 ranged attacks (to avoid guards) for all 3 of those attacks!  That's something nobody else can do.
(Well, except the Priest or Priestess using an Invarium Longbow + Temple of Light + a Quick-cast attack spell... but that's more costly, less versatile and usually weaker)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: coyotecloudchasr on August 13, 2015, 03:29:01 PM
As a newbie just throwing in my two cents to agree with sshroom:  in our group's very first game of playing Mage Wars together (and before reading any forums)  it was clear to us that playing the Wizard along with the Gate to Voltari and Wizard Tower cards was "easy mode".  It almost didn't matter what else you threw in your spellbook, because it was obvious that Gate played early gave you more creatures and Tower gave you more attacks than other mages.   Although we didn't ban Wizards from play,  we still look at playing a Wizard spell book as "easy mode" to winning.  I don't think it's a stretch that anybody just opening a box of Arena, knowing nothing about the game except the basic rules, and making their own decks (like we did) would see the Gate and Tower cards as overpowered and grab the Wizard as their first choice, leaving the other players feeling a little left out trying to figure out how to get around the obvious advantage those cards give the Wizard.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: rant on August 13, 2015, 05:21:59 PM
Ok, so hear me out. I don't believe wizards tower is OP.  Walls can pretty much negate it and force the wizard to deal with it. Meanwhile, continue to build YOUR strategy.  Until the meta changes, pack a few walls that block LOS in your books.  Most walls are cheaper than WT giving you the advantage. The wizard uses mana to knock down your wall? Put up another.  Make it useless.

The issue I see with wizard is his access to dispel and dissolve.  Six each for 6 SBP each will ruin anyone's strategy and only cost 12 SBP TOTAL!. These two cards are auto includes because they are so good.  Pay what your opponent paid and chip away at their strat.

There are four types of cards in play during a game, creatures, conjurations, enchantments, and equipment. A water wizard is able to negate both enchantments and equipment for a 1:1 mana ratio. That's half the game being negated at 1:1 and more than likely cheaper in spellbook construction. (ugh, I should really start maining wizard)

Does anyone have an example of a card that does it better than dispel or dissolve?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 14, 2015, 02:24:02 AM
There are four types of cards in play during a game, creatures, conjurations, enchantments, and equipment. A water wizard is able to negate both enchantments and equipment for a 1:1 mana ratio. That's half the game being negated at 1:1 and more than likely cheaper in spellbook construction. (ugh, I should really start maining wizard)

If equipment and enchantments are important in your deck, try Armor Ward and Enchanter's Wardstone. If you want general protection, a good old Nullify can always help.

While playing the warlord, his Harshforge Plate in combination with the dwarven runes help out as well.  ;)

Ok, so hear me out. I don't believe wizards tower is OP.  Walls can pretty much negate it and force the wizard to deal with it. Meanwhile, continue to build YOUR strategy.  Until the meta changes, pack a few walls that block LOS in your books.  Most walls are cheaper than WT giving you the advantage. The wizard uses mana to knock down your wall? Put up another.  Make it useless.

Those things can help. But while you are investing almost the same resources for a wall that is GOING to get destroyed, he is investing in other stuff as well. You are still battling a wizard. Some walls can give you a round or maybe 2, but don't expect more than that.

The wizards tower by itself is indeed not overpowered, but in combination with all the other things the wizard can do make it a very strong card. I'm not going to repeat everything, but many things are written down in this tread.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: ringkichard on August 14, 2015, 06:50:40 AM
I've been thinking about walls. I think they're best used similar to Jinx. They block LoS, and as long as the enemy can't (or won't) see or move around them, they can strand opposing resources for a turn. A creature that attacks a wall isn't moving past it, e.g.

As an attrition play, they're only useful if they're defending an investment that will pay off before the wall comes down, but as a tempo play they seem undervalued.

The third use of a wall is tactical separation. Divide before you conquer. "If your enemy is crossing a river, the best time to attack is when half his force is across."
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 14, 2015, 07:47:43 AM
There are four types of cards in play during a game, creatures, conjurations, enchantments, and equipment. A water wizard is able to negate both enchantments and equipment for a 1:1 mana ratio. That's half the game being negated at 1:1 and more than likely cheaper in spellbook construction. (ugh, I should really start maining wizard)

If equipment and enchantments are important in your deck, try Armor Ward and Enchanter's Wardstone. If you want general protection, a good old Nullify can always help.

I'm concerned about the additions of Crumble and (the new Dispel; can't remember it's name offhand) add another 6 copies of each of Dissolve and Dispel that cost 2 less mana. Sure they're full action, but of all the mages, this probably bothers the Wizard the least. Assuming he doesn't need to move, he can still Quick Cast his Arcane Zap or one of many attack spells from his toolbox, or even a Wizard's Tower, onthe same turn that he undoes whatever his opponent did for 2 mana less than before.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Mystery on August 14, 2015, 08:11:59 AM
how many wizards truly run 6copies of dissolve and dispel?
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: SharkBait on August 14, 2015, 08:15:21 AM
Quote
Assuming he doesn't need to move, he can still Quick Cast his Arcane Zap or one of many attack spells from his toolbox, or even a Wizard's Tower, onthe same turn that he undoes whatever his opponent did for 2 mana less than before.

If the other mage just stands there and casts the enchantments/equipment on themselves without moving/forcing the wizard to move then I'd almost argue they deserve their spells undone
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Schwenkgott on August 14, 2015, 09:19:19 AM
Yes. And you can run out of range 2 from the wizard tower. Then it is totally useless for attacking the enemy mage.
Good players will not be beaten by just using wizard tower, jinx and a random attack spell. This strategy exists since wizard tower was released and has seen many many counters. You just have to be prepared.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 14, 2015, 10:47:10 AM
Yes. And you can run out of range 2 from the wizard tower. Then it is totally useless for attacking the enemy mage.
Good players will not be beaten by just using wizard tower, jinx and a random attack spell. This strategy exists since wizard tower was released and has seen many many counters. You just have to be prepared.

Yes, definitely a good thing both Dragon's Breath and Hurl Meteorite are full action, and thus can't be cast by Wizard's Tower.  Wizard's Tower basically constrains the design space of all future attack spells such that there should never be a range 3 quick attack spell.

And definitely a good thing Astral Anchor (and Eagleclaw Boots) came along and can allow a mage to stay at range 3 without getting Teleported (and Pushed) into range of a Wizard's Tower. At least, not until they get Dispelled (and Dissolved).
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Mystery on August 14, 2015, 10:55:36 AM
but how do you destroy the wizard if you run away? if he has the mana/channel advantage and some creatures too available.

He looses no spells on the WT if you summon many creatures and those should do your work, wizards tower probably kills some and you will run out of them at some point.


Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: rant on August 14, 2015, 01:52:41 PM
Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.

Currently there are three mages without a lvl 1 wall: priestess, priest, and force master. I think the rest should bring walls specifically for WT.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Laddinfance on August 14, 2015, 02:20:16 PM
Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.

Currently there are three mages without a lvl 1 wall: priestess, priest, and force master. I think the rest should bring walls specifically for WT.

Wall of Force is in Battlegrounds.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 14, 2015, 02:29:44 PM
Yes. And you can run out of range 2 from the wizard tower. Then it is totally useless for attacking the enemy mage.
Good players will not be beaten by just using wizard tower, jinx and a random attack spell. This strategy exists since wizard tower was released and has seen many many counters. You just have to be prepared.

I think we need to play.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: iNano78 on August 14, 2015, 02:37:39 PM
Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.

Currently there are three mages without a lvl 1 wall: priestess, priest, and force master. I think the rest should bring walls specifically for WT.

Wall of Force is in Battlegrounds.

And has 4 life.
(as opposed to 3 life on the promo)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Puddnhead on August 14, 2015, 03:36:48 PM
Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.

Currently there are three mages without a lvl 1 wall: priestess, priest, and force master. I think the rest should bring walls specifically for WT.

Wall of Force is in Battlegrounds.

And has 4 life.
(as opposed to 3 life on the promo)

And can be Arcane Zapped with almost zero effort.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 14, 2015, 05:24:02 PM

Wizard is above average and Priest is below average, that's fact in my pov. It is beatable, but do all mages have enought possibilities to have the Wizardstower counters and still be able to beat a lot of other spellbooks?
The Wizardstower/ some atatck spells just cost not a huge amount of the Wizardsspellbook. So even if the tower dies, you still have the attacks available for yourself, if you run away and not attack the tower and stay out of range at some point against more mana channeling set-up wizard you have to move out or your creatures and than the tower will have channeled some mana and cast whatever attack spell. Anyhow even if the tower is really useless (you never move in range) it basicily costed mana but you only counter a spell that is a few spellpoints for the wizard.

Currently there are three mages without a lvl 1 wall: priestess, priest, and force master. I think the rest should bring walls specifically for WT.

Wall of Force is in Battlegrounds.

And has 4 life.
(as opposed to 3 life on the promo)

And can be Arcane Zapped with almost zero effort.

On the plus side it's incorporeal so it can't be climbed over.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Laddinfance on August 14, 2015, 05:48:18 PM
We've rambled about the Wall of Force enough, it should probably have it's own thread.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Kharhaz on August 14, 2015, 06:01:46 PM
Yes. And you can run out of range 2 from the wizard tower. Then it is totally useless for attacking the enemy mage.
Good players will not be beaten by just using wizard tower, jinx and a random attack spell. This strategy exists since wizard tower was released and has seen many many counters. You just have to be prepared.

I think we need to play.

Time to chime in I suppose and bring this ship back on course. :P 

Sidenote:

The ability to lose means nothing in a game of random dice. I have seen Bloodwave warlord decimate Wizards from amazing rolls alone. Does not mean that BWW is OP or better than Wizard? No.

Great players lose from Wizards Tower all the time, to say otherwise would be to suggest that it only bad players will lose to Wizards tower, which is not true. Wizards tower can win games and other times it can be more trouble than it is worth; being destroyed in one quick action from a lucky roll. It is one card and Mage Wars is won over the course of multiple rounds. Wizard Tower is just a really really strong card, in an already potent school, that plays to the major strengths of the wizard's wheelhouse.

All that to say:

The complexity of this "issue" is two fold.

The wizard and the arcane school.

The wizard possesses a statistic advantage in mage wars. Not only does he receive zero spellbook restrictions, The wizards abilities are top tier; voltaric shield and arcane zap are both > tough, melee, curseweaving, treebond, deflect, veteran tokens, battle orders, wounded prey, archery, fast, plague master, or divine reward. That is why more often than not a wizard imitation can do what every other mage can do but better. At the end of the day there is only one way to win, excluding battlegrounds, destroy the other mage.

Then there is the arcane school. It's like a coworker who you don't really like, but gets his job done like no other. There are mechanics rooted in arcane that not only one card shutdown books, but do it without defense. Arcane has the best spawn point and arguably two of the top three familiars. It commands the tit for tat counter game and can not only out pace other schools, but also play attrition while it is doing it. No other school can switch gears or even has as many tools in their respective boxes. Unless there is a massive change in the way that mage wars is played this is unlikely to change in the near future.

Long story longer:
The reason that anti-conjuration is being chanted in the deep is that the wizard is dependent on conjurations for the majority of his mana boost / denial, and action efficiency. However you cannot give everyone a "destroy conjuration" spell. While that would indeed change mage wars, it would have some serious ramifications across most of the mages, some more than others.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: sIKE on August 14, 2015, 08:07:17 PM
Long story longer:
The reason that anti-conjuration is being chanted in the deep is that the wizard is dependent on conjurations for the majority of his mana boost / denial, and action efficiency. However you cannot give everyone a "destroy conjuration" spell. While that would indeed change mage wars, it would have some serious ramifications across most of the mages, some more than others.
And if you made such a thing, unless you wanted to make one for each non-Arcane school/Mage and make it School/Mage Only it would just be added into his tool and kill the Lair/Ballista/Temples/Mana Crystals/Renewing Spring/Gate to Hell and so on and so forth. If we want to balance out mage with cards, we are going to need to make a butt load of them and we are going to have keep the Wizard from having access to them. With 30-40 per release this is going to take alot of time and really move us away from the mages being able to dip into other schools.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Cnoedel on August 14, 2015, 10:45:08 PM
Most of my thoughts have already been articulated and I agree on the theory that there is a "tier list of mages" and that in this list the wizard holds a very good spot with just a few others. Not that he is OP, he s just very good and takes up a lot of the meta right now.

Now I want to adress theories how to scale him down without hurting him too much:

1. Do nothing, meta will change against him: Easiest way, people expected the LairBM this GenCon, prepared  and were taken by surprise when Wizards showed up.

2. Give other schools possibilities like Dispel/Dissolve/Nullify but theme them well - like Corrosiv Orchid/Explode - and make them more viable.

3. Punish Arcane mages for using arcane spells by either releasing thinks like a "dark Conjuration: Whenerver a Mages plays an arcane spell he loses 1 life" (just out of the top of my head, don't get to judgy on me :D) OR hardcounter the Wizard like the new Warlock hardcounters the druid. Maybe the Barbarian is super arcane resistent thus does not care about your wizardry.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 14, 2015, 11:37:41 PM
And if you made such a thing, unless you wanted to make one for each non-Arcane school/Mage and make it School/Mage Only it would just be added into his tool and kill the Lair/Ballista/Temples/Mana Crystals/Renewing Spring/Gate to Hell and so on and so forth. If we want to balance out mage with cards, we are going to need to make a butt load of them and we are going to have keep the Wizard from having access to them. With 30-40 per release this is going to take alot of time and really move us away from the mages being able to dip into other schools.

It should be War School only, let war mages focus on destroying conjurations. They already have awesome tools to do it and it suits their theme. Other mages could get reductions such as -1 cost rings but better, etc.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 14, 2015, 11:57:29 PM
.   there is no solution because there is no problem. what will happen is that the other mages will get stronger over time, and it will be done thematically for those mages. no hard counters to a specific mage. that will lead towards match loss just because of what mage someone is playing.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Kharhaz on August 15, 2015, 01:16:57 AM
.   there is no solution because there is no problem. what will happen is that the other mages will get stronger over time, and it will be done thematically for those mages. no hard counters to a specific mage. that will lead towards match loss just because of what mage someone is playing.

Unfortunately the extreme flexibility of the wizard allows him to cherry pick each and every meta. Unless you throw in a bunch of mage only cards; but each one of these that become mandatory for the mages to be competitive means less overall customization, which can be a bad thing as customization is big part of why mage wars is awesome.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 15, 2015, 06:54:41 AM
Unfortunately the extreme flexibility of the wizard allows him to cherry pick each and every meta. Unless you throw in a bunch of mage only cards; but each one of these that become mandatory for the mages to be competitive means less overall customization, which can be a bad thing as customization is big part of why mage wars is awesome.

Then make him less flexible (spellbind, x3 for elements) and let's stop this discussion  8)

Even Hanma, Thé Wizard, seems to think he is overpowered, seeing his comments in this tread and the interview. (correct me if I'm wrong) https://youtu.be/4jH8kyWx0-Y?t=36


Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 15, 2015, 09:05:44 AM
.  and i have been playing for first place in three different major tourneys (2 gencon, 1 origins) and do not believe the wizard is op. nick is a very strong player. had i got one more damage, i would have won instead. then would you think my opinion would carry more value? his opinion is just that. an opinion. one of many of us. his opinion certainly carries more weight because he is a very strong player, and is among the top due to his win too. much more weight than a new player who doesn't have the same game understanding. which is why polls are not a good way to discuss things like this. not all votes are equal. i will be skipping the poll.

   even steve believes the wizard is not op. too bad he is not on the forum much or he could chime in himself.

   i think if nick or i wanted, we could field a priest (that we built) and beat enough wizards among the general players to throw off your thinking and this discussion. which could then imply it is more the player rather than the mage. still would not make the priest better or the wizard less.

    i will say that had i been involved with kumanjaro, i would have been against wt in its current configuration. it should have some cost with the spell swap at a minimum. but i also was against necro poison immunity. immunity is fine for non mages, but never on a mage. a whole class of spells and conditions are now useless against him. don't get me started on resilient. i still believe that a well crafted necro, or warlock can win against wizard enough that there is no clear best mage among them. and by well crafted i do not mean build to be anti wizard specifically. even if the wizard had some small statistical edge versus those others does that really matter? some change to him then elevates the edge to one of the others at that point, and then the clamor moves to that mage.

    at gencon a priestess went 5 and 0 during qualifiers. no wondering about that? i believe he faced at least 2 wizards. and one of those was nick. any analysis done to see why he was effective? he also did not build for a tie, but built to kill. realizing it was just one tourney. but it shows that any given game a wizard can lose. i caught the priestess off guard, or i would have had a much harder game against it.


Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 15, 2015, 09:23:46 AM
not all votes are equal.
why not?

If you read this forum, litteraly no one is saying the wizard is unbeatable.
The things we ARE saying is that he has many different advantages and feels stronger than the other mages. And that maybe things should be done about it. A priestess winning is not something suprising.

I was also not claiming that the poll will give the "only and perfect truth". But it can give you information about the distribution of the opinions. (If analysed correctly and given there are at least 30+ votes)
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 15, 2015, 10:04:51 AM
.  the why not, is because you are advocating making changes. and an uninformed vote skews the poll. not that their vote is unimportant, but for any change, it really needs to have some validity behind it. i am trying to convey there is not enough data for any changes.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 15, 2015, 10:31:28 AM
.  the why not, is because you are advocating making changes. and an uninformed vote skews the poll. not that their vote is unimportant, but for any change, it really needs to have some validity behind it. i am trying to convey there is not enough data for any changes.
If you have a profile on this website, you probably know a thing or 2 about mage wars. Wouldn't call that uninformed.

If not done already, maybe read the other tread about the wizard to read pro's and con's of different oppinions.
I did also suggest reading this tread before voting.Yes, I do think changes are a better option, but after 10 times people saying the same pro's and con's a poll might give you a good view about how many people have a certain opinion.

How would you collect data then? Besides the experiences of players?

Just vote that you like the wizard how he is already. Arcane Wonders doesn't like errata, which I fully understand. So unless a huge amount of people want errata it's probably not happening. After that Arcane wonders can officially say that they won't change him and the matter could be settled then.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: sIKE on August 15, 2015, 12:33:20 PM
My problem is that clear as day the Wizard has many many advantages that no amount of cards can fix without breaking the gameH The card in question needs a slight modification for balance sakes much less severe than what was done to ToL, HoB, and BF. I don't get why people pull out pitchforks when errata is talked about. He's broken....
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Nealo on August 18, 2015, 09:38:38 PM
.  the why not, is because you are advocating making changes. and an uninformed vote skews the poll. not that their vote is unimportant, but for any change, it really needs to have some validity behind it. i am trying to convey there is not enough data for any changes.

I am under the impression that the poll will not be taken into account by anyone who actually has the power to errata a card. I think that the forums exist for discussion and this is one issue that is interesting to discuss. I don't know if the card needs to be changed, yet I did put in my two cents about which change made the most since to me assuming it is considered to be too strong. I definitely see where you're coming from: a wizard wins GenCon and there is a fear that this will lead to a wizard nerf. Obviously that should not be cause for errata. That said, I trust that Arcane Wonders will make an informed decision based on many playtests and the opinions of those players that have proven themselves to be the strongest about the card and not defer to the forums.

Seems like HoB and ToL was a fairly clear case and BF was not working as intended by the designers, so I'm not surprised that they changed it. I figure that if the designers find that this card is working just fine, they won't change it just because people are saying it's OP on the forums.

So, all that said, what's the problem with discussing it on the forums? If you believe that it is not overpowered (and I would not be at all surprised to find out that it is not), then wouldn't it be best to just work on the next killer spellbook and bring it to a tournament full of wizards to take advantage of this misconception by the wider community? I'm just saying: so what if everyone is overreacting? That's why there is a group of people who design the game to make the final call about this (or any) card.

EDIT: I read your response to my post on the other thread, and you do make a good point about new players. These kinds of threads can be confusing for new players, especially if they feel like a certain strategy is just unbeatable. As a newer player, I know how confusing it can be to figure out how to create a decent spellbook and what strategies are viable. I think you're 100% right though that ultimately the skill of the player can get overlooked in the discussion of the strength of a card or mage. I do think that the discussion about the Wizard is an interesting and thought-provoking one, despite all of that.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: zot on August 18, 2015, 09:47:24 PM
.  the why not, is because you are advocating making changes. and an uninformed vote skews the poll. not that their vote is unimportant, but for any change, it really needs to have some validity behind it. i am trying to convey there is not enough data for any changes.

Seems like HoB and ToL was a fairly clear case and BF was not working as intended by the designers, so I'm not surprised that they changed it. I figure that if the designers find that this card is working just fine, they won't change it just because people are saying it's OP on the forums.

So, all that said, what's the problem with discussing it on the forums? If you believe that it is not overpowered (and I would not be at all surprised to find out that it is not), then wouldn't it be best to just work on the next killer spellbook and bring it to a tournament full of wizards to take advantage of this misconception by the wider community? I'm just saying: so what if everyone is overreacting? That's why there is a group of people who design the game to make the final call about this (or any) card.

  There is no problem discussing it of course. But do note that the designers do pay attention to these forums and take it all very seriously. That is a good thing to a point. Once the complaining gets to a critical mass they feel they have to do something even if it may be wrong to do anything.

  Interesting that you mentioned the tournament nonwizard, I already planned on bringing a not wizard to next gencon. No idea what mage it will be yet, but definitely something else.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Nealo on August 18, 2015, 09:52:50 PM
Quote
But do note that the designers do pay attention to these forums and take it all very seriously.

I suppose that is good in the sense that the players' voices are heard, but by definition, most of the players are not top-tier, so I hope that ultimately reason prevails when changing a card. That's one of the challenges, it seems, with a card with a small player-base. With larger games, there is no worry about people all migrating away from the game because it is a large enough and well-supported enough game that it wouldn't make much of a difference if a small group of people lost interest. With Mage Wars, there is still the challenge of enticing new players and if most of the players are led to believe they are playing an imbalanced game, that could be problematic for the overall health of Mage Wars.

Definitely a tricky problem!
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Hanma on August 25, 2015, 03:11:28 AM
I thought this was pretty relevant to the Wizard discussion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=381&v=e31OSVZF77w
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on August 25, 2015, 06:27:40 AM

I thought this was pretty relevant to the Wizard discussion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=381&v=e31OSVZF77w

There are two things wrong with your argument in regard to Mage wars.

1. At some point they started substituting the word "asymmetry" with "imbalance" without ever explaining WHY. As far as I'm aware, a game having different game pieces with different abilities is NOT the same thing as having imbalanced game pieces.

2. The wizard is an entire Mage. He's more than just a single deck archetype. All the mages in Mage wars are more than just one deck archetype. For other mages we don't counter them outright, instead we counter some of their strategies or aspects of them. It's the difference between carrying counters to flying creatures because of the straywood aviary and carrying counters to all beastmasters in general. If the wizard is so powerful that the mage itself needs to be countered outright, which isn't the case for any other Mage as far as I'm aware, then something is wrong.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Halewijn on August 25, 2015, 06:53:08 AM
The only tactic that seems to work for me vs. wizards is pure agression. Kill them before all their vast advantages overwelm you. But many decks just can't go aggressive.
Title: Re: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Ganpot on August 28, 2015, 11:54:59 PM
Wizard Tower is just a really really strong card, in an already potent school, that plays to the major strengths of the wizard's wheelhouse.

All that to say:
The complexity of this "issue" is two fold.  The wizard and the arcane school.

I'm a bit late to the discussion, but I think I agree with the above statements most.  The wizard by himself is good, but not overpowered.  The arcane school by itself is good but not overpowered.  And the Wizard's Tower by itself is good, but not overpowered.  By combining them, however, you get a really nasty and hard to beat opponent. 

I think the wizard's abilities themselves are fine.  They are powerful, but they cost mana to make up for it.  The wizard's main problem is that his deck-building flexibility is almost unlimited.  The easiest way to fix that would be to make the wizard pay triple for the element which opposes his chosen element (water = fire, air = earth), and for all War school cards.  Without the element restriction, the long-rumored elementalist mage would be unnecessary, since the wizard could simply do the job himself (with the added benefit of still having access to Arcane spells).  And the War restriction makes thematic sense. 

As for the Arcane school itself, the 3 main problems are Teleport, Dispel, and Nullify.  From what I understand, each of these cards is considered top tier in the meta, and have been for a long time.  This hasn't really happened with cards from other schools, at least to this extent.  In order to fix this, Arcane Wonders needs to design and release cards (from schools OTHER than Arcane) that directly counter these cards in order to reduce their popularity to manageable levels.  It should be perfectly viable to build a competitive deck with absolutely no copies of those spells at all.  Astral Anchor and Harshforge Plate are a good start, but it's not enough. 

Last is the Wizard's Tower.  I think the only things that should be changed are that it should cost a quick action to change out the tower's spells, and the tower itself should be epic.  Being able to bring out another tower as soon as the first one is destroyed is just silly, and the quick action to change spells would bring it more in line with other familiars. 
Title: The Wizard discussion
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on September 11, 2015, 06:04:17 AM
What would happen if the wizard's channeling was lowered to 9 and nothing else was changed? I mean, he already has access to a ton of meta magic and mana spells. What can the wizard do in the first two or three rounds with 20 mana at the start that he'll have more difficulty doing with only 19 mana starting out?

Right now it only takes him three casts to get him to 13 channeling. If he starts with 9 channeling it will require one extra cast. So if he opens with two crystals and the tower, he'd be at 11 channeling plus tower, rather than 12 channeling plus the tower. With that dissipating amulet coming out in academy he'll effectively be able to increase his channeling by 1 until round 6 for a really low cost.

But anyways, a few wiz openings but with 9 channeling...

R1: (19 mana) gate to voltari and harmonize (1 mana left)
R2: (10 mana +4 mana gate) deploy a creature. If gargoyle sentry your left with 3 mana, which prevents you from revealing a lot of good enchantments that you could cast. If mana leech you're left with 6 instead of 7, which means you won't be able to cast the tower that round. If gremlin you'll still be able to cast tower, but you won't have the 1 remaining mana for arcane zap.

Another opening:

R1: (19 mana) mana crystal, wiz tower (7 mana left, not enough for an immediate fireball or Boulder against any non turtles.

Considering that pure aggression is generally the best strategy against the wizard, with 10 channeling he can counter it very easily with early attack spells. As long as his opponent has initiative round 1, wizard will be able to cast a wizard tower and use fireball on enemy Mage in the first round, and he'll still have enough leftover for a crystal. This means he can both attack from effectively 3 zones away and effectively increase his channeling by 2 in the first round. All it takes is for the enemy Mage to move one zone round 1. With only 9 channeling he won't be able to do all that in the first round. Of course another way to prevent him from doing all that r1 could be to take away the tower's channeling.