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Author Topic: Bringing all mages on par!  (Read 271573 times)

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2014, 10:25:26 AM »
Warning! Warning! Another long post from DeckBuilder

I am immensely enjoying this thread - so thanks, everyone, for both its friendly positive tone and great content.

Variant cards are not original (why Tarkin also thought of it), just an elegant way of obtaining 2 benefits
1. eroding the Universal school that is Arcane but also
2. creating more choice for all mages (except Water Wizards) when building books.

I have been pushing for some time to have a "Utility Cards mini-expansion" (Magic deck box size, 55 cards)
Initially it was to give more copies of existing cards we all want (Dragonscale, Teleport, Enchanter's Ring etc)
However, this upgrade (very different to other expansions) is also an opportunity to explore Variant spells
Because I really dislike the fact I can't choose different spells, compromising spell functionality to pay just 1SP
The main resistance seems to be that Mage Wars is driven by Theme, not by expanding deck building options
Hopefully, by including Novice spells that weaken Wizard's monopoly of Arcane, this idea may be reconsidered

Novice Teleport doesn't work, because Teleport is a Level 2 spell and the novice trait means you always pay 1 spellpoint (another example of poor rule construction to add to my list; there are many traits that could be worded much more efficiently to allow for greater scope...)

Nerfing range alone might not be enough (the parameters could be tweaked, of course).

Good points, ACG. I think changing other parameters is also the way forward.
So I am going to expand on your suggestion, ACG.

WHAT IS NOVICE?

The advantages of treating Novice as a same name variant spell is
(a) same maximum allocation
(b) must adhere to the no friendly duplicates attached rule (only 1 of Nullify or Novice Nullify on target)

Let's establish a basic principle of the Novice spell which I propose should be the following:

"In some situations, using a Novice spell is just as good as the Trained version
But in all other situations, the Novice spell must be worse than its Trained version"


What you are getting for buying cheap is simply a more situational version of the trained card

DISPEL

Let's look at an obvious Novice Dispel (because it already exists as a cantrip with upfront + opportunity cost)

Dispel, Cost X, Incant, quick. range 0-1, targets a level 1 revealed enchantment, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Destroy target level 1 revealed enchantmemt of casting cost X


If you pay 4SPs, a quick action, 4 mana and your shield slot opportunity cost, you get a cantrip version.
Which can then be Dissolved so the opponent is up on spell points (why Dispel Wand is a Wizard toy).
How many times have you just Dispelled a Mongoose Agility or Agony (or Marked for Death if Swarm ever works)?
This Novice spell gives the Wizard no advantage but gives all other mages more options, especially the Warlord.

Just existence of this would mean the mage who used to have 4 Dispels [8] may choose 2 + 4 Novice.
Which not only erodes the Wizard but also provides greater skill when building your book

DISSOLVE

Now imagine if this applied to Dissolve...

Dissolve, Cost X, Incant, quick, range 0-0, targets Mage, Water 1 Novice
Destroy a level 1 equipment of casting cost X attached to target


This is ok for a melee mage or when being attacked by a melee mage
It would still be used in a mix with full fat Dissolves in non-Water mage books
Yes, it will devalue equipment so reduce Battle Forges out there, a good thing

Suddenly paying 4SPs for a level 2 out of school equipment may not be that much of a risk anymore!
Both Novice spells make out-of-school 4SPs investments (Vampirism, Mage Wand) less of a risk, increasing diversity

TELEPORT

Now what about Teleport?
Good point, ACG, about design restrictions like Novice wording (there are so many, it gets me so annoyed)
There is nothing to say you can't have a level 2 Novice spell!
Yes, it costs 1SP to everyone but you can only have 4 Teleport spells maximum
Novice Teleport must be very weak compared to normal (as here, even a Wizard gains, though gains less)

Teleport, Cost 6 Incant, quick, Range 0-0, Targets Friendly Mage, teleport, Arcane 2 Novice
Target teleports to a target zone up to 2 zones away


This is a range 0 push 2 for yourself only with targeting zone restrictions intact
It is incredibly less verastile than Teleport, in reality just an Escape spell mostly
Yes, it will devalue Tanglevine but it's too good anyway (I don't like Stranglevine or Quicksand)
But it will also help reduce the fear of cheesy Teleport kills as escaping will be more affordable
While Teleport still grants the ability to extract a Fortress Mage 4 zones away from its Corner

I know Teleport is a polarised subject so this is just a tentative proposal
If this existed, I know some of my opponents wouldn't insist on playing with our House Rule

NULLIFY

So what about Nullify, another Wizard cornerstone?
Here, although I hate mandatory reveal, we are stuck down this route
Because any optional reveal would be better, so it may have to be as weak as...

Nullify, cost 2+2, enchant, quick, range 0-2, targets non-Mage creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
You must reveal if this creature is targeted by an incantation or enchantment
You may pay its reveal cost to cancel that spell. Then destroy this enchantment when it is revealed


Again vastly inferior to a trained version (doesn't protect/disrupt Mages), in some cases it's just as good
It still triggers on the same spells as Nullify and this is important (anything less and it could be better)
I would use this spell to protect a Buffed Elite from control spells, Purge Magic etc, adds unknown mystery
Maybe it is too weak but it is very difficult to create a lesser version with the same mandatory triggers

JINX

Another cornerstone of the Arcane repertoire, this needs a Novice version to give to Aggro mages

Jinx, Cost 2+1, enchant, quick, range 0-2, targets creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
You must reveal when this creature casts a level 1 quick non-enchantment spell
Cancel that spell, return it to its spellbook and rebate its mana then destroy this enchantment


Again, I hate mandatory reveal cards but in this case, the no duplicates rule prevents stacking
Jinx is such a tempo card, a brutal trade at mana disadvantage, it really suits aggro builds more
It can delay a key Dissolve, Dispel or Force Push though it it does not help against Novice Teleport
Again the distinction between level 1 (6 copies) and level 2+ (4 copies or epic) becomes relevant

SEEKING DISPEL

Continuing the opening of Arcane School to other mages, this is another staple as control becomes stronger

Seeking Dispel, Cost 2, Incant, quick range 0-1, targets Hidden Enchantment, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Controller must reveal target enchantment, paying whatever cost necessary, else destroy this enchantment


This may be nerfing control a bit too much, just the first idea that came to my head. I dunno.

HARMONIZE

Another staple of Arcane exclusivity is this spell and I feel a Novice version should be offered

Harmonize, Cost 2+2, Enchant Epic or Legendary Object, quick, range 0-2, mana, Arcane 1 Novice
If this object has a Channeling attribute, increase it by 1


This is just to make spawnpoints and familiars more appealing to all Mages, less of an investment to buff.
I can't raise its cost (because Novice must be able to replicate in some situations rule) but can limit targets
Here I chose to exclude the Mage, Battle Forge, Thoughtspore etc

ENCHANTMENT TRANSFUSION

Finally, the last cornerstone of what makes Arcane special - but without giving other mages its tricksiness

Enchant Transfusion, Cost 2+X, quick range 0-2, enchant creature, metamagic, Arcane 1 Novice
Same tiny text but only any number of controlled revealed enchantments and only range 1 transfusion


Here we try to emulate what the picture on spell shows a beastmaster is doing, saving enchantments
I think its important that the Novice does not have half the tricksiness of the original
But it can identically replicate its use in some situations
This was inspired by Wildhorn's comments about "Transfusion cheese" which this tries yto minimise


Anyway, these are just rough draft ideas of course, open to debate - I'm sure others can do better
But the point is that, apart from Dissolve, they are all Arcane staples
By giving lesser versions at 1SP price for all Mages, it weakens Wizard considerably in a far better way
Without blurring the colours of Arcane's flavour by giving it to other schools
Whilst also more choice to our strategising when we build our books - a win-win!

Obviously the inverse occurs as well, rewarding War with better versions of Novice Commands etc
There would be slightly more powerful versions of existing Novice spells for those trained mages
But the priority is to weaken Wizard which is why I've stuck to these spells (and not included Block)
I've also avoided the entire mandatory reveal issue and gone for lesser clones that can replicate

WIZARD'S TOWER

You could extend this concept to Elemental spells but I'd rather not
Instead I'd nerf Wizards' Tower so that it cannot change its spell (like a Thoughtspore)
It's because of Wizard's Tower that all Wizards field the same toolbox of Attack spells
By removing its ability to change spells, you still allow ballsy builds like Blasting Banker
You remove the samey-ness of Wizards, who will now have more spells of their element
That's just my opinion on how to nerf Wizard's Tower without destroying BB Nuke builds


Sorry about the length of this - it's long even by my standards!
But I felt it was important to paint a "what if" world where these spells existed so that we could all envisage it

I know Charmyna is in contact with Aaron and I hope I have managed to convince him about this approach.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 11:08:36 AM by DeckBuilder »
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baronzaltor

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #61 on: February 27, 2014, 10:31:45 AM »
Triple for Nature also taxes Equipment like Eagleclaw Boots, Regrowth Belt, and Sunfire amulet.

It also makes each Wall of Thorns a bigger investment, as well as each Tanglevine for locking someone in place.  And of course Grizzly Bears become 12 spell points each instead of 8.

Id try out "Pays triple for Nature and War spells".   Neither school on its own hits him so hard that its crippling, but together they help enforce an more Wizardly theme.  And, it simply takes away the fact that he has no represented weakness.  It also makes a stronger distinction against the Warlord, making it harder for an Earth Wizard to just run a better Warlord-themed book because they each pay triple for each others primary school.

War school is still filled with novice spells that he can take advantage of.  (the Armors, Evade, and so on).  But Vetern's Belt, Grimson, and more specialized War spells become a bit harder to run.  It puts more incentive on the Wizard to focus on Arcane and Elemental school equipment, it also puts a small tax on Battleforge except for Fire Wizards.

So, I think while it wouldn't hit the Wizard too hard it still limits how rounded his books can be and puts a tradeoff in place for the flexible nature of his training.   It also leaves a little bit of wiggle room for designing other mages with elemental trainings when compared to the Wizard down the road.

that is more or less off the top of my head though… I'd have to try to build a few spell books with different point costs in mind to see if it makes a meaningful difference.  At the end of the day, it might not have much of an impact or might have too much impact.  Id encourage folks to build a few spell books treating different schools as adjusted costs and seeing if the results feel too handcuffed or on par with other mages, or if it has any effect at all. 
Thats something everyone can test and toss out some results on. 

As for Wizards Tower itself, if that were to be changed up, I think the easiest change to it is just to remove its Channeling.  It provides an extra action, but if that mana has to come 100% out of the Wizards own pocket its harder to budget and use as often.  It becomes a flexibility tool moreso than a spam-you-with-spells-tool.  Id also consider giving it some kind of cost or action expenditure to change the spell in it, like most other spellbind items do. 

Again, thats all just me thinking out loud.

ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #62 on: February 27, 2014, 01:00:47 PM »
Increasing spellbook costs for Wizard would make Wizard's power curve narrower, but not shorter.

By that, I mean that 3x cost for Nature and War could be helpful (I haven't tested it), but that just nerfs Grizzly Wizard; it doesn't weaken Wizard in general. Wizard doesn't need Grizzly. He doesn't need more than one element, either, for Wizard's Tower or for Golems.

Wizard is completely capable of filling a 120 point book with only Arcane and one element and never choosing a sub-par card. 

If our goal is to encourage players to play many different spellbooks, making all Wizard spellbooks the same by restricting splashing might be a step backwards, not forwards.
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ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #63 on: February 27, 2014, 01:08:14 PM »
Also, I'm not a fan of silver-bullet style solutions to complicated problems. I think Druid v Necro took a bite out of the problem, the upcoming Forged in Flame expansion takes another, and I'm sure that the next will continue even further.

Swallowing a spider to catch a fly is fine, until you have to catch the spider.

I do totally understand the wish that we'd hurry up a bit on addressing Teleport and Wizard's Tower. But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?
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Alexander West

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #64 on: February 27, 2014, 01:37:02 PM »
Warlord Wishlist

When I sit down to build a book, I have in mind a reason that it will be better than whatever is currently popular.  When I want to build a Warlord, I look at his VET tokens, battle standard, his command ability, the command ring, and melee training.  Each of these abilities tells me something:
VET tokens: make lots of soliders, make sure they are durable enough to make use of being a VET
standard: make at least one soldier with a horde of guys getting buffed by him
Command: get a mass of melee or archers in the same place
ring: better rates on command incantations, or command ability can be free every turn
melee: fight on the front line

To me this says I should have one very resilient soldier to put a battle standard on (and try to engineer getting a VET token), a couple medium soldiers to get pumped by the standard (tough enough to live with a VET token), and then a horde of weaker soldiers to maximize the standard and command buffs.  The metagame punishes swarming, so instead maybe I want just a handful of pretty elite soldiers.

If my warlord is going to be fighting on the front line, it means I'm probably going to want a spawnpoint to do my summoning for me.  This will free up my actions to do damage.  Whether I'm trying to use archers or melee guys, the command ability says I want my enemy to be one space away (so I can either have archery range, or leverage charge).  This means I might want to use my quick action to cast a spell that controls enemy location (force push, teleport, tanglevine).  Basically, I'm looking for more standard and quick actions so I can line up all my synergies.

The new generation of spawnpoints (Druid and Necromancer) have been great because they allow the spawnpoint to summon *at the mages location*.  This allows them to get in the action 1-3 turns earlier, depending on where the action is at.  This is huge!  Following this logic, this is what I want as a Warlord:

Command Post - Conjuration (Outpost) - Unique - Some Stats (Incl. Channeling 1).
May not be placed in a zone adjacent to another friendly outpost.
Like Wizard's Tower for command Incantations (and War conjurations?)
Like Garrison Post except Spawnpoint may also summon here.

I understand if a Spawnpoint/Tower is too much text for one card, and obviously the Tower functionality is more important to me.  (Maybe Garrison Post could be erratad then?)

I also really need an in-school method for moving enemy units.  I can not pay triple for teleport, and even paying double for force push seems wrong.  The Warlord cares a lot about board position and needs his own spell for it.

Marching Orders - Incantation - War - 3 mana
The casting player may immediately make one move of their choice for the target.  The casting player may pay an additional 2 mana to target each unit in the zone.

With just these two spells, I feel like a Warlord gets a lot better at their core competencies.
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Alexander West

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #65 on: February 27, 2014, 01:38:26 PM »
Swallowing a spider to catch a fly is fine, until you have to catch the spider.

I do totally understand the wish that we'd hurry up a bit on addressing Teleport and Wizard's Tower. But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?

Not only did a Priest win at Bashcon, but they played a Warlock in the finals.  I don't even think a Wizard was in the top 4.
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sIKE

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #66 on: February 27, 2014, 01:51:45 PM »
Wizard is completely capable of filling a 120 point book with only Arcane and one element and never choosing a sub-par card. 
I disagree completely with this statement. You are saying a Fire Wizard can build a winning book without Dissolve, Geyser, Surging Wave, and no Nature or War spells either? Purely using Arcane and Fire (sticking with my Fire Wizard example in this thread). I don't think so.
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ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #67 on: February 27, 2014, 02:03:45 PM »
I disagree completely with this statement. You are saying a Fire Wizard can build a winning book without Dissolve, Geyser, Surging Wave, and no Nature or War spells either? Purely using Arcane and Fire (sticking with my Fire Wizard example in this thread). I don't think so.

Actually no, that's not what I meant. Not Fire; only Water and Earth. Maybe only Water if you also make nature 3x so that Wizard needs to pay 3x for both Dissolve and Orchid.

Fire Wizard would be more balanced, but it wouldn't matter. It would not be played. Water Wizard would be the only Wizard.

That's what I meant by making Wizard narrower, but not shorter.

And, unfortunately, Wizards Tower, because of spellbind, makes Wizard the most resiliant to spellbook restriction. You only need to include 1 Hurl Boulder in your book, and thereafter you can cast it turn, after turn, after turn. Even if you made that Boulder cost 3x, Wizard is still paying the same for an opposing school Hurl Boulder and a Wizard's Tower as my Warlord pays for 4x Hurl Boulder.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 02:06:36 PM by ringkichard »
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #68 on: February 27, 2014, 02:19:36 PM »
But a Priest book won at Bashcon, didn't it?

Indeed. And there was a pretty unusual Earth Wizard build as the sole Wizard...
I am not taking anything away from the worthy winner (who in my opinion was brave to enter with a Priest).
But I think OCTGN is a much better indicator of what's a strong mage out there (and the global meta).
I would be interested if sIKE or Lettucemode could print out the win/loss resulte of mages on OCTGN...

What we may be seeing is a difference in books because of tournament timings and win on damage/health rules.

We have to assume that there are two different metagames in MW: one for timed games and one for untimed games.

I can see why most people would think this way. I will tell you from experience that you can play anything from the most aggressive builds to the most control heavy and win in about 45 minutes. Just keep in mind the goal is to kill the other mage. The only time I see games take 2 hours plus is when you have 2 turtle builds and nobody wants to commit to attacking.

The OCTGN meta and most local metas I expect, all play an unlimited time limit game.
Because frankly I consider it the most skillful way to play the game (but sadly impossible in tournaments).
And yes, just like in Chess, you resign when you know your chance of victory is lost (when Aggro stalls vs. Control).

You yourself Kich, playing Air Wizard, came 2nd in Tom's convention and said...

My big takeaway from my games tonight? Cloak of Shadows is the real deal, and my Wizard Teleport Ambush book had a miserable time trying to go off against Necro under tournament timing. I couldn't be more pleased!

Your game report and others gave quite crucial insights for me in 2 ways because it confirmed:
1. Obscured hurts Wizard (why I focused on Necro in the later "How to Beat the Wiz" thread)
2. There is indeed 2 different metas, the tournament game and the unlimited time limit game.

I know how erudite you are, Kich. So I hope you refering BashCon's Priest win was not deliberately disingenous. :)

As for your fave phrase, between "spiders catching flies" and Aaron's "turn on a dime", we may have a long wait...
Meantime I wonder how many disenchanted players may leave the Mage Wars hobby because of this imbalance.
I mean how long have they known that Wizard's Tower, coming out with Temple of Light's nerf, was overpowered?
From the way I've lost local players, I weep at the damage that ostriche conservatism may have done to the game.

You have also claimed...

I can think of two cards off the top of my head in the new set that will disrupt the meta enough to require adaptation from BB.

Wizard is still very strong, of course, but the metagame is always a moving target.

As you know from PMs, I don't think a War Mage Only card and another War 1 Earth 1 card will dethrone the Wizard.
They just give a Warlord a good game against a Wizard (I admit the latter will have impact as everyone can play it).
I fear you are feeding false hope like...

I recall kich said in a post in the BB thread that there are at least 2 new cards that will give that build trouble...

But I sincerely hope I am proved wrong, that all my anti-Wizard proposals that never saw fruition were not needed.
However assuming the final cut is still true, I sadly do not see Wizard being dethroned in the unlimited time format.
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sIKE

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #69 on: February 27, 2014, 02:35:38 PM »
Water Wizard would probably be the least affected by these changes, the end result would still result in a smaller toolbox and decreased flexibility. With the Druid out there, the Water Wizard would probably want to carry one or two Fire Spells...

The Wizard Tower nerf should be Epic. The problem with it now is that it isn't worth taking down as it will just be replaced by another. Epic would resolve that dilemma, placement and protecting would be a much higher priority which means that a Wizard will not move one down/up round 1 and cast it into the FC zone and start blasting.
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ringkichard

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #70 on: February 27, 2014, 02:42:22 PM »
We'll know more after Gencon, but I suspect that Wizard will overall do very well, but not be the exclusive one to do so. I think Burn Condition strategies, from a number of different mages, will generally do well, also.

I think you're right that Wizard does worse in a strictly timed environment. I'm not sure that's a problem, except that it distorts our playtester perception of Wizard's power if we're only playing tournament timing.

I lost a couple of arguments about the power-level of some spells that could have hurt Wizard more, so I understand your frustration, but I really do think this problem is getting better, not worse.
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #71 on: February 27, 2014, 02:44:00 PM »
I could get behind making Wizard's Tower Epic. I don't know that it would have a whole lot of effect (compared to making Hand of Bim-Shalla Epic) but that seems like a reasonable idea. I'd want to see exactly how FiF effects the meta, first, though.
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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #72 on: February 27, 2014, 02:47:11 PM »
I agree that Epic is the simplest and best fix for the tower. Here's an alternative to the Wizard nerf off the top of my head. What if this sentence was added to the Training section of the rulebook: "Because they are critical for any mage and are among the first spells learned in any magic curriculum, all mages are considered trained in level 1 arcane spells regardless of their other training restrictions."

sIKE

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #73 on: February 27, 2014, 02:54:10 PM »
I could get behind making Wizard's Tower Epic. I don't know that it would have a whole lot of effect (compared to making Hand of Bim-Shalla Epic) but that seems like a reasonable idea. I'd want to see exactly how FiF effects the meta, first, though.
HoB was made Unique, so you can run multiples still, but only have one on the board at a time.
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Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #74 on: February 27, 2014, 03:11:54 PM »
Now that I think of it, paying triple for nature and having more non-arcane equivalents of staple spells probably will be exactly enough. The warlock is trained in fire but does not pay triple for water spells, after all.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 03:26:00 PM by Imaginator »
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