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Author Topic: Bringing all mages on par!  (Read 277040 times)

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #90 on: February 28, 2014, 04:08:22 AM »
Quote from: silverclawgrizzly
The Stray Wood is sub par?

I was surprised by this as well. I trust Charmyna's judgement as he undoubtedly has more expertise on the subject than I, but I have a hard time justifying this sentiment. The only reason I can think of, as I stated, is that people are misplaying him. They may be trying to play him to his apparent strengths rather than his actual strengths.

Perhaps Charmyna could shed some light on his judgement, so we know what need be addressed.

Charmyna

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #91 on: February 28, 2014, 04:18:59 AM »
Straywood Beastmaster
The only core mage that is considered sub-par. Honestly, I'm not certain why. He would love to have more swarm support, but I think he should be perfectly capable of a few big strategy. I'm failing to think of any actual weaknesses that are keeping him from being Tier 2 where we want him to be. Perhaps the problem is that too many people are trying to play him with Swarm, since that is what he clearly wants to do, and he just doesn't have the support necessary for it?

Therefore, my proposed solution to bring him up to the appropriate level is to release cards to support a swarm strategy. Nothing specific comes to mind, whatever more creative people than I can think of will work.


Im not sure if he is Tier 3. I guess most of my opponents would place him tier 2 (many play him these days). Its just that in 90% of my games with Druid against Beastmaster the BM did not see any light at all. Well maybe I overrate this ;). Maybe an awesome Beastmaster just has to show me how he needs to be played. His abilities look really good for sure. He has one of the best spawnpoints as well.
Maybe its just that I really prefer mages with 10 channeling (counting druid as 10 channeling).
Well, I havent played Beastmaster for long so maybe I should build one and test him in the actual meta.

@Wizards Tower:
Im not sure how much this card is responsible for the mages success. Sure it is really nice that the tower is tough, a quick cast and it can be used in the same round he was cast. Still, I only include one Tower in the Blasting Banker because it costs too much if used constantly. It helps for sure to increase the focused damage after banking mana. So I wouldnt mind an errata to the tower.
I disagree though that the tower is the only or biggest issue with the wizard! Even without Wizards Tower I think the BB will crush most builds because of his big spellbook and voltaric shield.
Big spellbook is power! Many might not agree with me if I say "Its all about spellpoints" but I really think its almost all about them! If you play against an equally skilled opponent the game wont be a quick one. Sooner or later you will get to a point where you are out of essential spells/options. This point is reached far later for the wizard!  Therefore I believe we do either need one or two triple schools for him and/or novice versions of Dispel/Dissolves.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 04:20:46 AM by Charmyna »

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #92 on: February 28, 2014, 04:38:52 AM »
Having a weak school though should not shrink his spellbook. He shouldn't have to choose any spells from his weak school, meaning his spell book will be just as large and functional as it is now. Some wizards may choose to dip into their weak school, but they wouldn't be required to. If you believe his spellbook size is the problem, then the solution would be to reduce his spellpoints.

And I would still prefer alternate school options for Dissolve and Dispel rather than Novice ones. The Novice idea would flood the game with those spells. Not everyone needs 6 copies of Dissolve and Dispel. Not to mention the inelegant rules change needed for it to work as intended.

Charmyna

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #93 on: February 28, 2014, 04:41:13 AM »
Having a weak school though should not shrink his spellbook. He shouldn't have to choose any spells from his weak school, meaning his spell book will be just as large and functional as it is now. Some wizards may choose to dip into their weak school, but they wouldn't be required to. If you believe his spellbook size is the problem, then the solution would be to reduce his spellpoints.

And I would still prefer alternate school options for Dissolve and Dispel rather than Novice ones. The Novice idea would flood the game with those spells. Not everyone needs 6 copies of Dissolve and Dispel. Not to mention the inelegant rules change needed for it to work as intended.

Well I believe its really hard to work around nature school. And the veterans belt is too good to not include one or two. Even if some Wizards do not invest into the opposing schools at all (especially nature) that will still weaken them! Sure, it might not matter for their spellbook size, but then a Wizard without nature enchantments is quite weakened compared to one with nature access!

Zuberi

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #94 on: February 28, 2014, 05:43:45 AM »
You got me to jump on the card errata band wagon once before Charmyna, and it might be possible to bring me back aboard. You are far more versed in the current state of the game than I am. I don't see nearly as much play time as I would like. However, I'm going to delve into the theoretical a little.

If we are thinking long term about an idea state of the game that Arcane Wonders should be striving towards, then:
A) All the schools should be equal in power.
B) None of the schools should have cards that you are required to take.

In this idea state, having a Weak school would not impede the Wizard at all. He would be able to ignore his weak school and take equally potent spells from the other schools. It's only in an imperfect state of the game that having a weakness hampers the Wizard. Only when that weak school of magic preclude the Wizard from taking over powered or unique spells does the Wizard suffer. I'm going to argue that such overpowered and unique spells should not exist, and therefore the Wizard should not suffer.

Granted, it is probably impossible to reach such a state in the game. There will always be powerful spells and there will always be a difference between the schools, and things will shift from expansion to expansion. However, unless they actually want to construct an imbalance between the schools, giving the Wizard a weak school is not the solution. If we gave the Wizard a weakness in Nature, it only remains a handicap as long as there exist overpowered or unique spells in Nature that the Wizard wants. Arcane Wonders would then have to make sure this stayed the case to prevent the Wizard from resurfacing. This would in turn make sure Nature mages had an advantage which would have to be addressed. We would have a snowball effect in design principal.

If the veterans belt is "too good" then I think that is a problem on it's own that needs to be addressed. If a lack of nature enchants quite weakens you, then I think that is another problem that needs to be addressed. Ideally you should have viable options and not be required to take any specific thing. That is what we should strive for. And with that in mind, a weak school does not do the trick.

I took another look at your Blasting Banker build. The latest iteration contains 75 cards, which is roughly 33% more than my spellbooks. However, I have built spellbooks that haven't included anything from my weak school before, and NEVER reached above 65 spells in them. Therefore, the reason you have so many spells has to be because you are including more IN SCHOOL spells than me. Taking another look, and I see that indeed 46 of your spells are in school!!! That is insane!!!

Thus, I think you are correct that the main problem is that you have a bigger book than me. A 33% increase in available spells is HUGE. However, I think the root of this problem is your in school spells, not your out of school ones. The solution then is to eliminate the power discrepancy between Arcane and the other schools of magic, not to change the Wizard himself.

Unfortunately, this means the problem will be much more difficult to solve. We can't reduce the options available to Arcane, so we have to increase ALL of the other major schools. We need to provide enough power and versatility in each school so that the typical spellbook contains 40-some in school spells for every mage. This is a daunting task.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #95 on: February 28, 2014, 06:03:56 AM »
I was a bit surprised with Straywood being Tier 3 in Charmyna's poll
I think the issue here may be "how experienced the player is"
I'd expect the Straywood is the natural starting mage for most players
So I would say you are more likely to encounter newer players on OCTGN playing Straywood, still learning
Could that preference for less experienced players be clouding the issue?
As you can see, I believe Straywood Beastmaster is tier 2

My personal feeling is the Forcemaster is tier 3
Her creatures are so fragile/useless that she has to pay triple for Elites to stay near-par on actions
So she is already stuffed in the long attrition game - win or die
Then we have Psychic Immunity so she avoids half her spells
Yes, the 2 Grizzlies build is very strong, leveraging untype Force Pull and her Defenses - but that's it
There is only one way to play her - she is incredibly one-dimensional
And that does not make for a good mage design (but this cool Jedi superhero idea can be saved)
She is tier 2 for just 1 build (Import) and the other options (Spores, Solo) just don't work
To be tier 2 for using the type of spells you are not supposed to use is horrible design

As for why I rated Warlock below Priest, this may be because my local meta plays a lot of Nonliving
Earth wizard, Air wizard, Zombies, Skeletons
Warlock suffers all the issues of Jokhtari here in a far subtler way (Bloodthirsty Reaper, Vampirism, Death Link etc)
As a result, the Warlock is very unreliable - awesome against Living, rubbish against Nonliving
An unreliable mage is tier 3 in my books

I was not surprised by Priests appearing in tournament games with its most life left as a tie-breaker
Who else has as much damage potential as well as healing potential?
Well, the Warlock has with all his drain life style abilities but he is match-up lotteries
Perhaps again the Priest being stronger here is a reflection of the local Nonliving meta.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 08:48:12 AM by DeckBuilder »
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BoomFrog

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #96 on: February 28, 2014, 06:10:15 AM »
I wanted to read this whole thread before replying but it's moving too fast for me.  However skimming I believe this critical point has not been talked about enough:

Quote from: baronzaltor
-He is trained in Arcane.  That alone is enough to make a strong mage, also its worth noting Arcane contains all of its own counters.  Its magic AND metamagic.  Its mana AND mana denial.  As such, he monopolizes his own counter measures.  A good chunk of this schools themes should have been distributed over other schools.   So its very hard to build against an Arcane mage without being an Arcane mage (this issue isn't just an Arcane one, but is relevant here)
For thematic reasons Arcane has it's own counters.  It doesn't matter if Wizard is strong, what matters is that the counter to a wizard is another wizard.  Teleport is countered only really by more teleports, Dispell is countered by enchanter's wardstone or transfusion.  Transfusion is countered by seeking dispell and destroy magic.  Mana denial is countered by mana generators and mana prism.  Whirling spirit is countered by ethereal, most of which are arcane.

That's what destroys the lizard-dynimite-spock balance of the metagame.  If the druid was the only teir 1 then fire wizard and warlock would rise in power just by their metaposition.  If Warlock was Teir 1 then necro and earth wizard would rise in power.  But if Wizard is the only teir 1 then only wizard rises in power in the meta.  That's what caused the meta feedback loop.  Every mage needs his counter to be in the hands of another mage, so let's put them there.  That's my main point but here's some specific ideas for Warlord spells that counter arcane problems:

Teleport is a strong flexible card but the reason it is essential is that it is the cornerstone of pit assassination strategies.  It is also the best counter to a pit assassination aside from having piles and piles of personal defenses.  My proposed counter is: Fall Back!

Fall Back! - War 1 - Enchantment, Command - Friendly Corporeal Creature - Mana 2/1 - When Fall Back! is revealed move attacked creature one zone.  You cannot reveal Fall Back during a spell cast step or an attack step.  This has no effect on restrained creatures.

The idea is that you could use this after being teleported but before the pit death.  But what about forcehold I hear you say?

Force of Will - Mind 1 - Enchantment, Psychic - Target Self - Mana - 2/0 - [Basically mind shield but works on any enchantment revealed on your mage]

Wizard's Tower Wizards tower is strong but it is immobile.  This would be a much greater weakness if walls and blocking LoS in general were much more viable.  So the solution is to make cheap LoS walls available that cost less to cast then they do to destroy with an attack spell.

Wall of Dirt - Earth 1 - Wall, Extendable, Extendable - Mana 3 - Health 6 Armor 0 - And you thought the stones were dull.

I think putting extendable twice works within the rules, allowing you to place 3 walls at once for a total cost of 11 if the middle wall is in range.  This would help save actions vs wizard tower.  The main advantage of the other familiars is they can run away, wizard tower is much more comparable to battleforge and I don't personally think it is a broken card.  Just too strong in the current meta of no walls.

That's all I have time for today, hope this helps.  :)

Charmyna

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #97 on: February 28, 2014, 07:42:49 AM »
After thinking and playing around with the Beastmaster I realized what I dont like about him:
His quick summoning ability, the Ring of Beasts and his Spawnpoint play against each other. What I mean is: If you want to profit from the quick summoning and the ring you want to cast a level one creature as often as possible. If you want to gain an advantage from the Lair you want to use it as often as possible as well. So in the end you want like 1-2 small creatures every round. That is too much! You will have only very few mana left for other projects and as we all know animal swarm builds dont work that well. Maybe we should give them a try but I doubt much has changed for them.
So what to do? I try to cast as many creatures as possible (without going for too many small creatures) from the lair: some small, some Timber Wolfes, some Grizzlies. This way I save actions while using my mages actions for other stuff. Therefore, I will use the quick summoning only very few times during the game - actually I will use it so seldomly that I might not even consider casting the Ring of Beasts.
Lets compare this to the druid: He gains a benefit from his inherent abilities every round! The vine markers are great as is the treebond ability. Sure you might not use the vine tree every round to gain an action but you payed less for the tree compared to the lair and the tree has other uses as well. In addition the vine tree is much more flexible compared to the lair: Using it to cast Tanglevine can be quite important to lower the opponents damage output and you can use the tree to summon creatures at the front.
So atm I feel like the Beastmaster might be on par with Priestess and the Warlock. But the druid seems stronger for me and maybe the necro as well.

Edit: After thinking about it, maybe a mix of foxes/falcons and timber wolfes might work quite well with an Etherian Lifetree. Worth a try at least.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 08:06:11 AM by Charmyna »

DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #98 on: February 28, 2014, 08:33:43 AM »
I totally agree about Swarm - Obelisk/Orb is a huge big Sword of Damocles hanging over it
The Beastmaster Swarm build I posted (which uses Lifetree) does work and is fun but has too many weaknesses

I think you are being greedy about the anti-synergy between Lair and Ring of Beasts and Quick Summoning!
You are saying he has too many good options! Hardly a bad thing. :)

My usual Beastmaster does not use Lair, mainly 2 Grizzlies, 1 Galador, 1 Cervere + 4 Quick Summons and is brutal
The synergy is simply Forge -> Ring of Beasts -> Enchanter's Ring -> equip while buffing
No Lair, just straight at the opponent (you can even attack his start corner with a Falcon Pet in turn 2)
It's especially brital against players without Purge Magic (which is a weakness)

On the other hand, I know sdouglas2 posted some excellent Mid Range Straywood posts based on Lair and Flowers
It's not how I play him but I can see the greater long term resilience to my aggro-tempo build.

Yes, Swarm is fun but flawed currently
But the Straywood's other strategies are perfectly competitive against non-Wizards.

I started a thread among playtesters on "How to Improve Swarm and Ranged Control"
Which focused on 2 strategies that I felt were not fully realised with the Warlord (for FIF)
I will cull the less sensitive bits and re-post some of it

But I think we may have stumbled on an important distinction here
Certain strategies that are meant to be suited for certain mages are currently unplayable

Beastmaster Swarm
Warlord Ranged Control
Warlord Aggro Melee
Forcemaster Solo
Forcemaster Spores Control

Maybe, when looking at the non-Wizard mages, we need to identify what associated strategies don't work?
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 08:46:27 AM by DeckBuilder »
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #99 on: February 28, 2014, 08:36:26 AM »
Wall of Dirt - Earth 1 - Wall, Extendable, Extendable - Mana 3 - Health 6 Armor 0 - And you thought the stones were dull.

I like this because it's such a simple unsexy card that promotes tactical play - isolates Forge too
There could be so much more tactical play skill in Mage Wars
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Wildhorn

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #100 on: February 28, 2014, 08:42:17 AM »
About Zuberi's posts (very interestig and bring a different way to see things):

I agree, giving Wizard an opposite school would not hurt them that bad since most of their spellbook is made of Arcane. Opposite school would maybe hurt them by 5-6 SP (opposite school would just increase by 1 spells they already pay 2 for). Nothing to fix them.

Maybe Wizard should instead be nerfed by reducing its spellbook points from 120 to 110 or 100? Would be a more effective errata.

To boost War school, give swarm build more love and reduce power of teleport, here some card idea:

- Magnet boots: Prevent the mage to be teleported. (flavor text: "How do they work?"). This would be a level 2 War equipment. Being boots it would force to choose between them and Eagleclaw Boots and prevent a mage to be totally unmovable.

- Mana Dismentling: Destroye target conjuration that you own and control. Gain mana equal to half of the mana on that conjuration. Would be a level 2 War incantation. This would help with swarm deck for two reason. First, allow to get back some mana once Spawnpoints are done and only uselessly stack mana and also would help if you lay down a Mana Prism to counter some of the Obelisk upkeep.

webcatcher

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #101 on: February 28, 2014, 08:49:48 AM »
Quote
Alternate Solution #2: Someone (too lazy to look up who right now, sorry) mentioned giving every mage training in level 1 Arcane. This is a horrible idea. It again homogenizes the game, would flood the market with such spells (like the Novice idea would), and have such a huge impact on the game on whole that nobody could possibly predict the consequences. I do like that it wouldn't require any card errata or even any new cards. It could be implemented over night. So I applaud you on elegance, but it is an elegant nightmare.

That was me. I'm not going to try too hard to sell this idea since I think it's one of a number of viable options, but I don't think it would have nearly the impact you think it would. Remember, anyone who wants to can already load up on level 1 arcane spells just by playing a wizard. All this solution would do would be to let people do the same thing without recourse to the wizard. In my opinion, this is the opposite of homogenizing the game, because you get more viable builds vs the Wizard. As BoomFrog pointed out, Arcane is very strong and is the only thing that can counter Arcane. As we've seen, this is not healthy for the game. Releasing cards in muliple other schools that can counter arcane or releasing multiple novice spells are both valid solutions, but they're slow and carry their own potential balance pitfalls. At the end of the day, any of these solutions will change the game balance, but that's what we want, right? The game balance right now is Wizard on top with privileged access to most of the game's best spells, and everyone else playing at a disadvantage.


ACG

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #102 on: February 28, 2014, 09:41:02 AM »
Obviously, we need to make this ability useful against people who don't run any living creatures. I don't think we need to do an errata to the ability itself though. Perhaps create a Beastmaster only conjuration that only provides a benefit if they don't have any mage specific markers (Wounded Prey and Pet) currently in play. In a normal match up, they would then have options, and in a match up where wounded prey was useless she would have an alternative (note this would help against Solo Mages as well). It might be possible to make such a card useful to mages other than beastmasters. I don't want a card with too narrow a market, but this is an issue unique to the Johktari. Perhaps our creative expert, ACG, can come up with something more elegant. Maybe he already has and I'm just not thinking of it.

I literally can't resist a challenge. Here's a possible way to make Wounded Prey more useful by adding a card (the specific parameters may need to be tweaked a bit). I'm still trying to think of a more elegant solution.



The idea is you attach it to a mage and then use wounded prey on it. Not particularly elegant, but effective. Note it has the "creature" subtype, so can be affected by things that affect creatures. Also effective against zombies, though at a high price (in spell points and mana). Can be used to make undead creatures vulnerable to poison, etc. since it is alive. Limited among the nonliving to undead creatures, since there are several nonliving creatures for which it would make absolutely no sense (how can a fungus infect a golem?)

sIKE

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #103 on: February 28, 2014, 10:03:34 AM »
Quote
In this idea state, having a Weak school would not impede the Wizard at all. He would be able to ignore his weak school and take equally potent spells from the other schools. It's only in an imperfect state of the game that having a weakness hampers the Wizard. Only when that weak school of magic preclude the Wizard from taking over powered or unique spells does the Wizard suffer. I'm going to argue that such overpowered and unique spells should not exist, and therefore the Wizard should not suffer.
This is backwards thinking, once again Fire Wizard with an opposing elemental school would loose at least 6-10 spell points on "required" water spells. As Charmyna and I keep saying about the Wizard his strength in play is ability to carry a lot of cards (i.e. spells to cast) in his spellbook and a lot of the same card (i.e. Dissolve) of the most important ones due to no opposing school costs.

Look at Blasting Banker is carries 72(!) cards in it. Go count the number of spells in a non-Wizard book, my guess is they average about 60 + or -  a few in either direction. This number of cards in a spellbook means flexibility to respond to all of the other mages out there, so a couple to counter the Warlocks, a couple for Holy, etc.

As long as the Wizard can stock up on practically (Mage and School only cards) any card he wants and can carry more in his spell tome than any other mage he will be  the "Winner".
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webcatcher

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Re: Bringing all mages on par!
« Reply #104 on: February 28, 2014, 10:14:35 AM »
+1 to sIKE. Wizard has too many options.