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Author Topic: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.  (Read 11020 times)

IndyPendant

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Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« on: January 24, 2014, 12:11:51 AM »
*Holds gauntlet up, lets it drop.* ; )  I was thinking about this recently, and I've finally figured out why the Malakai Priest seems such a poor choice to me: because the (Straywood) Beastmaster does it all better.  I shall explain:

Holy Avenger:
First, there's these two problems: "...the first time it attacks an enemy creature who attacked and damaged another friendly creature or Holy conjuration..."  It would have been much better if this had said "whenever" instead of "the first time", and left out the "and damaged" part entirely.  Most Holy creatures and conjurations have defenses, or high armour, and thus have had their life reduced when compared to other creatures in balance.  But the HA needs damage to be taken to trigger its bonuses.  This effect can also be manipulated by your opponent, since he can usually choose which of his creatures attack which target in what order.  And finally, the current meta has only the Asyrian Cleric as a low-level creature choice for HA, which...isn't exactly ideal for the role; the only other options are 12-13 mana level-3 holy creatures.  Four additional mana for a special ability that is of limited use?  No thanks.  The Beastmaster's Pet is soooooooooooo much the better option, it's not even funny.

Malakai's Fire:
The Priest starts with 9 Channeling.  Bringing out his HA costs additional mana.  And then, to add insult to injury, in order to inflict a Burn token he needs to spend a mana each time.  For this ability to be worth it, ideally you want to be using it every round to keep up the heat--which effectively causes the Priest to have 8-ish Channeling.  On average, a single Burn deals 3 damage.  However, using it requires Light damage, which means either his 2 dice base attack (which is at least one die less than any other mage), a Staff of Asyra, or attack spells.  --Which effectively means the 8-mana Staff of Asyra is required equipment, asap.  For the already mana-starved 8-channeling Priest.  Meanwhile, the Beastmaster doesn't have to pay a mana every time he wants to use his +1 Melee ability, and can equip the 5-mana Mage Staff and deal almost as much damage (although no Daze/Stun chance).  In this case, the Priest actually comes out ahead in potential overall damage, particularly with the Dawnbreaker Ring and Daze/Stun factored in--but it's just too mana-intensive for the manaphiliac Priest to realistically expect to effectively use.  (He really is just pouring out the mana.)

Creature Pool:
This issue will likely be corrected over the long term, but the fact is that currently the Priest's creature selection kind of sucks for him.  The mana-starved Priest needs to have multiple creatures out so they can take damage and trigger the HA, which means those creatures hit will likely need healing (or replacements when they die).  All of those creatures cost a minimum 12-13 mana, irrespective of all the other mana being drained out of the Priest by everything else he needs to do.  This is a nightmare.  Meanwhile, the Beastmaster's problem is which mana-efficient and effective low-costing creatures to exclude from his book, because he's got too many to be able to include them all.  (In addition, the Beastmaster even has his Ring of Beasts to reduce mana issues even further.)  Once again, Beastmaster wins effortlessly.

There are other examples I could mention--most of the best creature enchantments are in the Nature School, for example--but these are in my mind the biggest issues.  I think the Priest suffers from a slightly lesser version of the Warlord's problem: the Wizard does (almost) everything the Warlord can do, and does it much better than the Warlord.  The Beastmaster does (almost) everything the Priest can do, and does it at least slightly better than the Priest (and in some cases, does it much better).

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 12:16:57 AM by IndyPendant »

Zuberi

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2014, 12:39:27 AM »
I wish to point out that the holy avenger gets his bonus when your opponent attacks your mage also. Thus the priest does not need multiple creatures out as you suggest. I find he works best with just one or two creatures. Usually I just bring out my holy avenger and then buff my priest up with a battle forge to be my primary source of hurt. The avenger then acts as a body guard giving my opponent a tough choice. Either they take extra damage for attacking me, or they focus on attacking my creature while I take down their mage. Both ways I consider to be good for me.

Alexander West

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2014, 01:32:39 AM »
Creature Pool:  I'd suggest not getting too caught up in the school the creatures you casting are from.   Unless your mage's special ability requires a subtype, paying out of school points is usually worth having a better critter.  If your plan calls for something more like a Timberwolf, just pay for Timberwolves.  Obviously, when a decent level 2 comes out, it'll loosen up your points, but you work with what you have for now.  (I personally run 3 Knights of Westlock in my Warlord build, because they are just the best soldiers for the mana, and my personal preference in level 3s.)

Holy Avenger:  Yeah, this power is disappointing.  Agree it is worse than the pet ability.  If your guys aren't getting damaged, you're  winning, but it's still anti-synergistic.  You can usually set up a good HA attack, but it is somewhat restictive since your opponent can outmaneuver you and you are stuck going later in the turn order.  The + life seems really good on your guys with lots of defenses though.

Melee Attack:  I think a 33% chance of stun is generally better than a die of damage.  Right, it's like a 1 in 6 chance of negating your target's next attack, which is pretty nice.  Also, just being able to equip a 3 mana ring for +1 damage and +7% daze is totally fine.  In fact, it's better than the priestess since your ring doesn't get turned off when someone dissolves your staff.

Malakai's Fire is actually more like Wizard Zap than anything else.  1 mana for 3 damage is a sweet deal.  The fact that it doesn't cost a quick action makes it even better.

I think the biggest problem for the Malakai priest is that the holy school doesn't feed in well to the aggressive plan.  (In my opinion all the 9 mana casters are best at aggression, while the 10 mana casters are better at attrition; with the notable exceptions of the Forcemaster and the Druid.)  Except for the fast that Knight of Westlock is great, I don't see any reason Holy would be a better aggro school than Nature, War, or Dark/Fire.
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Aylin

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2014, 01:40:19 AM »
You're also forgetting that the best creature with Intercept in the game currently is the Guardian Angel, with her 2 Healing whenever she Guards. The times I've played Priest, I've done best with Guardian Angel, and then either Knight of Westlock of Highland Unicorn as my Holy Avenger. Without a guard the HA encourages your opponent to attack it instead of you, though it is a pretty tough choice to either attack you and get a 7-die/1-pierce attack or a 15-HP/3-Armour/8+ Defense Knight of Westlock and still have to face a 5-die attack, as Zuberi said.

When the Asyran Defender comes out there will be a decent level 2 HA choice as well.

Also I think you're vastly underestimating the value of Malakai's Fire. Burn is great, especially now that we've seen the low-HP Resilient creatures appear. As for the Hand of Purification vs. a 4-die basic melee attack against a 0-armour target, the average damage is 5 vs. 4. Against targets with Armour or Resilient, the Hand of Purification with Burn is able to keep most of it's damage, going to ~2.666 damage against Resilient targets vs. 2. If you give them both a Gauntlets of Strength it goes to ~3.6 vs. 2 against Resilient targets. Malakai's Fire, even with the lower 2-die attack, works better against armoured targets than the higher 4-die attack does (direct damage being amazing and all...).

If Malakai's Fire didn't cost 1 mana to use...it would probably be considered broken tbh. Compare it to the Wizard's Voltaric Shield: 2 mana to negate up to 3 damage on 1 attack vs. 1 mana to inflict 3 damage on average that isn't reduced by armour or traits. If they want to remove the condition markers...let them. It only costs you 1 to apply, but 2 for them to remove. If they're using Renewing Rain to remove them, that's 9 mana a turn to remove 1 burn token and most likely heal 1 creature for 2 HP (if you know they have it, focusing on one-two creatures is best to limit its effectiveness).

In a battleforge Priest book, in most situations I'd bring out the Dawnbreaker Ring first, the the Gauntlets of Strength because they're so cheap. The only times I'd bring out the (9-mana) Staff first would be against a Wizard (Iron Golem, Devouring Jelly being common) or a Necromancer (...) since then the staff gives between +2 and +4 dice depending on target. The main reason you want the staff in the end isn't for the extra damage, but rather for the higher daze chance and possible stun.

Both attack spells also have promise with Malakai's Fire. Blinding Flash can stun/daze an entire zone (and it works well with Samandriel) and still apply a Burn, and Pillar of Light can be used to add a Burn token the same round you summon a creature. It's a lot more versatile than Battle Skill. When we see more Holy attack spells it'll also benefit from that (I'm thinking the earliest we'll see new ones would be in the Paladin v Siren expansion).

Aylin

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2014, 01:43:36 AM »
Also, just being able to equip a 3 mana ring for +1 damage and +7% daze is totally fine.

Having +1 to Melee or Ranged Light attacks doesn't also give you +1 on the effect die. The chance to stun remains at 1/3 regardless of any equipment or enchantments you have.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2014, 02:13:43 AM »
I don't like Priest either, Indy, so you are not alone
sIKE and Zuberi both cite it as their favourite, they both make intelligent cogent arguments so I must be doing something wrong

The problem I find is that there isn't an ideal Holy Avenger creature out there
I want Fast and either Flying or Elusive and with Defence as a deterrent to being attacked itself

I know sIKE creates a Fast Elusive Unicorn Avenger but that seems quite mana intensive for the Priest.
Also Unicorn feels Swarm or anti-Pestilence. I look at it as a Toolbox creature really.

The first time I played Priest, I experimented with a Cheetah Speed Gray Angel Avenger (as it can firefight anywhere) and regretted it.

The other few times, I went with
Knight of Westlock Holy Avenger (activates last) + Guardian Angel guarding with it in Near Centre
Then you bring out your Royal Archers etc (you already buffed Near Centre with Sacred Ground)
Temple of Light is not that bad either (1 point level usually, for the Daze/Stun)

But Ranged Strategy is Fool's Gold, don't go there, it dies to Teleport Wand

+5 Life is useful for lower-life creatures like Knight (and Unicorn I guess).
But yes, I feel it is weak: Pet > Blood Reaper > Eternal Servant > Holy Avenger ?

Pillar of Light Wand used to be poor (vs. Undead or Golem-Jellies now), I prefer Staff + Bear Strength etc.
So Malakai's Fire is, as you say Indy, a very situational mana-intensive benefit as well, doubly stuffed

Holy is a weird school for me with its focus on level 3 creatures. Knight of Westlock is its main attraction.

When I recommend Conquest, it's not for the 2 mages that are best treated as showcases, very entertaining against each other (both have board control abilities and very thematic background) but not really up to scratch in my books. It's for the other cards in that set.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 02:28:27 AM by DeckBuilder »
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jacksmack

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 03:19:01 AM »
Also I think you're vastly underestimating the value of Malakai's Fire. Burn is great, especially now that we've seen the low-HP Resilient creatures appear. As for the Hand of Purification vs. a 4-die basic melee attack against a 0-armour target, the average damage is 5 vs. 4. Against targets with Armour or Resilient, the Hand of Purification with Burn is able to keep most of it's damage, going to ~2.666 damage against Resilient targets vs. 2. If you give them both a Gauntlets of Strength it goes to ~3.6 vs. 2 against Resilient targets. Malakai's Fire, even with the lower 2-die attack, works better against armoured targets than the higher 4-die attack does (direct damage being amazing and all...).

except vs a resilient target you cannot reliably damage that target with just 2 dice.
even with 3 dice you have almost 30% of not doing damage.

I think the points of burns strengths is good. But i disagree on how easy it is to apply without bearstrength / staff of asyra.
I wish that it wasnt limited to 1 per round, rather 1 per attack to avoid zone attack abuse. But still allow for attack spell synergi.
Would it be overpowered? cant see how with geyser, renewing rain, healing wand, spring and suring wave in game.

I too feel that the priest is weak and also extremely predictable.

svvcDark

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 03:31:26 AM »
At the moment, the worst thing about the Priest is the limited card pool that he's got to work from. He's not the greatest mage in the game, sure, but I don't think he's the worst either.

Give it some time and I'm sure his play style will start to become more individualized.

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2014, 10:04:12 AM »
Also I think you're vastly underestimating the value of Malakai's Fire. Burn is great, especially now that we've seen the low-HP Resilient creatures appear. As for the Hand of Purification vs. a 4-die basic melee attack against a 0-armour target, the average damage is 5 vs. 4. Against targets with Armour or Resilient, the Hand of Purification with Burn is able to keep most of it's damage, going to ~2.666 damage against Resilient targets vs. 2. If you give them both a Gauntlets of Strength it goes to ~3.6 vs. 2 against Resilient targets. Malakai's Fire, even with the lower 2-die attack, works better against armoured targets than the higher 4-die attack does (direct damage being amazing and all...).

except vs a resilient target you cannot reliably damage that target with just 2 dice.
even with 3 dice you have almost 30% of not doing damage.

I think the points of burns strengths is good. But i disagree on how easy it is to apply without bearstrength / staff of asyra.
I wish that it wasnt limited to 1 per round, rather 1 per attack to avoid zone attack abuse. But still allow for attack spell synergi.
Would it be overpowered? cant see how with geyser, renewing rain, healing wand, spring and suring wave in game.

I too feel that the priest is weak and also extremely predictable.

Bad maths are bad.

With 2 dice you have 56% chance to get at least 1 critical damage.
With 3 dice you have 70% chance to get at least 1 critical damage.

Aylin

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 10:46:48 AM »
Also I think you're vastly underestimating the value of Malakai's Fire. Burn is great, especially now that we've seen the low-HP Resilient creatures appear. As for the Hand of Purification vs. a 4-die basic melee attack against a 0-armour target, the average damage is 5 vs. 4. Against targets with Armour or Resilient, the Hand of Purification with Burn is able to keep most of it's damage, going to ~2.666 damage against Resilient targets vs. 2. If you give them both a Gauntlets of Strength it goes to ~3.6 vs. 2 against Resilient targets. Malakai's Fire, even with the lower 2-die attack, works better against armoured targets than the higher 4-die attack does (direct damage being amazing and all...).

except vs a resilient target you cannot reliably damage that target with just 2 dice.
even with 3 dice you have almost 30% of not doing damage.

I think the points of burns strengths is good. But i disagree on how easy it is to apply without bearstrength / staff of asyra.
I wish that it wasnt limited to 1 per round, rather 1 per attack to avoid zone attack abuse. But still allow for attack spell synergi.
Would it be overpowered? cant see how with geyser, renewing rain, healing wand, spring and suring wave in game.

I too feel that the priest is weak and also extremely predictable.

Wildhorn's got the rough calculation I used, so I can skip that part.

If your opponent is using Geyser, Surging Wave, or Renewing Rain to remove the Burn tokens you're still coming out ahead. Either they're going to wait until they have a lot of burns on them (which is good for you), or they're going to try to remove the Burns every turn or every other turn (also good for you). The cheapest of the Burn removers is Geyser, but it still costs them an action to use while Malakai's Fire doesn't cost an extra action. I already addressed Healing Wand/Restore.

As for predictable...yeah. You know the Priest is going to be trying to hit you in the face relatively soon with some board disruption thrown in. At the moment I think the Priest is about average, mostly due to how empty the Holy school is (no released level 2 creatures, few enchantments/non-healing incantations, only one level 1 creature, etc).

Zuberi

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 11:47:40 AM »
I agree 100% about the limited card pool being a weakness of the priest. Holy definitely does not lend itself currently towards the aggressive strategies I would like to go with with the priest and I feel my game play is horribly predictable, but I don't think that indicates a weakness of the mage. The priest himself is built just fine, and I really enjoy him. As more cards are released his options shall grow.

sIKE

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 12:38:12 PM »
Yes the creature pool is very thin, a total of 13 creatures (1 Released Promo) with 3 of those (23% of total count) being Promos. Look at the Nature school with a total of 29 creatures (1 Released Promo) with 5 of those (17% of total count) being Promos. Close statically but sheer numbers totally favor the BMs/Druid from a selection POV. If I double the number of Holy, the Priest/Priestess would have fewer creatures. On top of everything else, still not one Familiar.
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Aylin

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 12:42:10 PM »
Yes the creature pool is very thin, a total of 13 creatures (1 Released Promo) with 3 of those (23% of total count) being Promos. Look at the Nature school with a total of 29 creatures (1 Released Promo) with 5 of those (17% of total count) being Promos. Close statically but sheer numbers totally favor the BMs/Druid from a selection POV. If I double the number of Holy, the Priest/Priestess would have fewer creatures. On top of everything else, still not one Familiar.

Practically speaking, there isn't a Nature Familiar either...at least not one that appears outside of non-competitive flavour books.

sIKE

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 12:48:07 PM »
Practically speaking, there isn't a Nature Familiar either...at least not one that appears outside of non-competitive flavour books.
That is (mostly) a different topic, but all major schools expect Holy having one available with some having two already. 
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Aylin

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Re: Why the Malakai Priest isn't very good.
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 12:55:28 PM »
Practically speaking, there isn't a Nature Familiar either...at least not one that appears outside of non-competitive flavour books.
That is (mostly) a different topic, but all major schools expect Holy having one available with some having two already.

Dark doesn't have a released familiar either. And the War school one isn't restricted to a certain mage or training.