February 21, 2020, 09:51:01 AM

Author Topic: The Great Mage Balancing Act  (Read 3855 times)

gpmushu

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The Great Mage Balancing Act
« on: January 07, 2015, 11:25:29 AM »
So I just got this game for Christmas and I’m loving it (already bought Druid vs. Necromancer and Conquest of Kumanjaro).  The gameplay is just the right amount of mix between MtG and DnD for me and my friend group and we’re probably going to try to start a regular playgroup, probably with 2x2 or 4-player free-for-all rules from time to time.  For this reason, however, I’m going to need to have at least four working spellbooks at all times and since we all like variety and will likely switch between mages regularly, I’d like to have all 6 ( later 8 ) spellbooks built and ready to pick up and play at a moment’s notice. 

I don’t want any of the spellbooks to be too far in power level from the rest of the others, so what I’ll be doing is dividing up all of the staple cards and just generally good cards between the spellbooks.  At the moment, I don’t have enough to really make all of the spellbooks completely even in power level because there just aren’t enough of certain cards, but I am planning on getting another copy of the core set when the Arena version comes out so I can balance the mages more effectively.  Right now, I’m just looking for opinions on basic numbers of the staple cards.

I think the most important things to balance between mages are not so much specific cards, but effects, most of which have certain cards which are just better than others at a specific effect either for the spellpoint or mana cost:

Enchantment Removal – Dispel*, Seeking Dispel, Purge Magic, Steal Enchantment, Dispel Wand

Equipment Removal – Dissolve*, Explode, Corrosive Orchid, Steal Equipment

Counterspells – Nullify*, Reverse Magic, Jinx

Mobility (friend or enemy) – Teleport*, Force Push*, Cheetah Speed, Mongoose Agility, Teleport Trap

Anti-Mobility – Tanglevine, Stranglevine, Spiked Pit, Force Hold, Banish, Sleep, Turn to Stone, Quicksand, Stumble, Enfeeble

Armor – Equipment*, Rhino Hide, Hand of Bim-Shalla

Defenses – Cobra Reflexes, Force Sword, Force Orb, Deflection Bracers, Reflex Boots

Channeling - Mana Crystal, Mana Flower, Moonglow Amulet, Harmonize, Spawnpoints, Familiars

There are also a few other cards that I feel are good enough to be spread out between the Mages, but don’t fall into any of these categories: Block/Reverse Attack, Decoy, Bear Strength/Hawkeye, Agony, Elemental Wand, Mage Wand, Battleforge, Healing spells, Anti-Swarm cards, Walls,

What is everyone’s opinion on balancing the spellbooks this way?  Will it work?  I know I’ll have to sacrifice some power level compared to what competitive play looks like, but that’s fine with me. 

What does everyone think is the right number for each type of effect and which ones are the strongest?  Also, how much does it hurt a mage to be using the less powerful version of an effect, like an orchid or explode instead of a dissolve? 

Are any of these categories less necessary to balance? 

Even after getting more of the staple cards, the plan is for each Mage to have only 1 Teleport and 1 Force Push to prevent the teleporting from getting out of hand.  Will this invalidate certain strategies or make other strategies too strong or do you think that things will balance out in the end?  I’m a little concerned that it will make it too hard to use creatures with Slow or make Tanglevine, Stranglevine, and Quicksand too strong. 

Since I wouldn’t be using 4-6 dissolves/dispels like you see in competitive decks, is it possible that games would all end up with mages buffed up too much and taking too long to kill since they have more equipment/enchantments than the opponent could deal with or do you typically find that only 2-3 is enough most of the time?

Thank everyone in advance for any responses.   

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Re: The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 02:44:15 PM »
I answered you on BGG.

Baldur333

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Re: The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 11:35:14 AM »
Hi, I took the liberty and copied - pasted the answers from BGG into this forum. In my opinion the answers are good, and it would be simply too sad if not published here..


    Chris May
    (Chrisgmay)
   
    I am by no means an expert but here is my opinion. Limiting the number of of teleports is a good thing. It is the only card I don't really care for and think may be overpowered. (Or at least makes games last too long). So to me on that front you are fine.

    The only cards I think you specifically need for every book are the dispels and dissolves and maybe nullify. You are right that if those two cards are limited to one each the games could go on forever with mages buffed and nearly unbeatable. You could pick up spell tomes or you could just proxy 10 or 12 dispels and dissolves.

    I have this same problem with my collection. I own two of everything (except spell tomes only one of each) and I still don't have enough dissolves and dispels for 8 or 10 spellbooks. If I get into more serious play with more people I willprobably proxy some for that purpose.

    You are definitely on the right track though. I think just using what you have and building the books the way you can will make,for interesting games. I think the game is balanced and I think that you won't have too much trouble if you build the books with what you have.

   


    Jonathan Maisonneuve
    (Wildhorn)
 

    Enchantment Removal – Dispel*, Seeking Dispel, Purge Magic, Steal Enchantment, Dispel Wand
    Equipment Removal – Dissolve*, Explode, Corrosive Orchid, Steal Equipment
    Counterspells – Nullify*, Reverse Magic, Jinx
    Mobility (friend or enemy) – Teleport*, Force Push*, Cheetah Speed, Mongoose Agility, Teleport Trap
    Anti-Mobility – Tanglevine, Stranglevine, Spiked Pit, Force Hold, Banish, Sleep, Turn to Stone, Quicksand, Stumble, Enfeeble
    Armor – Equipment*, Rhino Hide, Hand of Bim-Shalla
    Defenses – Cobra Reflexes, Force Sword, Force Orb, Deflection Bracers, Reflex Boots
    Channeling - Mana Crystal, Mana Flower, Moonglow Amulet, Harmonize, Spawnpoints, Familiars


    Enchantment Removal: Each book should have 2 Dispel (preferably 3) and 1 Seeking Dispel.
    Equipment Removal: Each book should have 2 Dissolve(preferably 3).
    Counterspells: Each book should have 1 Nullify (preferably 2).
    Mobility: Each book should have 1 Teleport (preferably an infinity), 2 Force Push
    Armor: Each book should have 2 Chest armor to swap corrodes.

    For the rest of your list, its up to book flavor and they are not required.

    I would have at least 1 way to bypass guard (Tanglevine, Moongoose Agility) and 1 way to bypass defense (Falcon Precision, Unavoidable attack) in each book too.

    NOTE: Spawnpoint and Familiar are NOT channeling improvement, they are actions improvement. If you cast one to save mana, you are wrong. They are there to save you actions.


 
 

    Justin Meshew
    (gpmushu)
 
    Thanks for the replies. This is about how I was thinking as far as absolute musts go for the different books. Definitely a good point about the spawnpoints/familiars. I wasn't really counting them as mana sources in and of themselves and more if the strategy is already using them as action generators.

    How do you feel about the Warlord and the fact that to get all of the staple cards he has to use up way more spellpoints? Just using the minimums you have here, he has to pay 18 spellpoints for 2 dispel, 1 seeking dispel, 1 nullify, and 1 teleport. Normal mages have to pay 12 for that and the Wizard only 6.

    Are there any good alternatives for the Warlord? Should he be using less of these than the other mages, or should he just suck it up and take the hit to spellpoints?

   


    Scott Douglass
    (sdougla2)
   
    Seeking Dispel is not completely necessary. Mainly try to run it if you are going to be playing high cost incantations and/or are a Wizard.

    Every mage should run at least 2 Dispels, with 3-4 being better most of the time.

    Every mage should have at least 2 Dissolves.

    Nullify isn't necessary. It can be useful, and Wizards should run a few at least, but it's not the critical staple that many make it out to be.

    The Warlord is weaker than the other mages until you add in Forged in Fire. Harshforge Plate and Harshforge Monolith help mitigate the high cost of Dispel. I probably wouldn't bother with Nullify or Seeking Dispel. I don't think Teleport is as necessary for a Warlord as for other mages once you have Forged in Fire, at least for builds that play a lot of creatures.


     
   
    Ivan Kidd
    (Zub3ri)


    I agree with Scott Douglas on the Warlord. For him, take out Seeking Dispel and Nullify and put in Harshforge Monolith and Harshforge Plate instead.

    I think you are right on the money by identifying TYPES of cards rather than specific cards needed by each mage. Stay true to that route and don't get locked down to specific spells. In addition to the changes mentioned for the Warlord, you might have the Forcemaster carry Steal Equipment instead of Dissolve, or a Warlock carry Explode. You can be creative with what tools you use, as long as they cover all of the functional bases you mentioned.

gerni

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Re: The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 07:00:54 AM »
To most of your questions, my answer is: depends on how your enemy build her/his book. Not very satisfying, eh?

Quote
What does everyone think is the right number for each type of effect and which ones are the strongest?  Also, how much does it hurt a mage to be using the less powerful version of an effect, like an orchid or explode instead of a dissolve?

Well the specific solutions like explode and orchid are the more powerful, since the have an additional effect, but i know what you mean. From my experience, the simplest solutions to a task, namely: dissolve, dispel, teleport, force push, nullify and rhino hide do not have alternatives from an efficiency point of view, which leads to not so diverse books.

Quote
Even after getting more of the staple cards, the plan is for each Mage to have only 1 Teleport and 1 Force Push to prevent the teleporting from getting out of hand.  Will this invalidate certain strategies or make other strategies too strong or do you think that things will balance out in the end?

It certainly limits strategies, like pit plays, pushing enemies through walls of thorns for example. It also limits you when playing against guards.

In my group, we put small paper sheets as proxies in our spellbooks. Before the game, we simply put the real cards in the book we want to play.
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Re: The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 09:18:15 PM »
I think that the key thing about balance is that no mage is capable of beating every other mage and every person has their own tactics that they run.  I run a Priestess that has forty spellpoints of creatures because I enjoy spamming Guardian Angels, Knights of Westlock and Royal Archers (along with Brogan).  I tend to have creature heavy decks because creatures are among the most efficient ways of dealing damage with mana.  I can either spend nine mana for a Force Hammer that deals six dice of damage or twelve mana for a Royal Archer that deals four dice of damage, so I am ahead if the Royal Archer survives for three turns.  Creatures are also one of the best ways to prevent damage to yourself because every turn enemy mages are killing your creatures is a turn that they are not killing you.  Of course, there are ways of making creature suffer, but they tend to be nice and fragile conjurations that are easily to destroy (Orb, Obelisk, etc).

Sailor Vulcan

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The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2015, 12:03:19 AM »
I think that the key thing about balance is that no mage is capable of beating every other mage

Don't you mean to say "the optimal balance makes every mage capable of beating every other mage?

Quote
Creatures are also one of the best ways to prevent damage to yourself because every turn enemy mages are killing your creatures is a turn that they are not killing you.  Of course, there are ways of making creature suffer, but they tend to be nice and fragile conjurations that are easily to destroy (Orb, Obelisk, etc).
that really depends on what kind of strategy your opponent is running and what kind you're running. If you're depending on your timber wolves to deal damage to the enemy mage, and your opponent kills them before they can do too enough damage, then your loss of an action and maybe other resources that you spent at least 9 mana on are going to hurt you. Keep in mind that killing a creature is a lot more permanent than a tanglevine or a force hold.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 12:05:19 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: The Great Mage Balancing Act
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2015, 11:45:00 AM »
Well, no spellbook is capable of beating every other spellbook and some mages are the natural antithesis of other mages.  For example, a Druid will defeat a Forcemaster without that much trouble, a Forcemaster will defeat a Wizard without that much trouble, a Wizard will defeat a Warlock without that much trouble and a Warlock will defeat Druid without that much trouble.  It also depends on the experience of your opponents (I have been playing an average of seven games a week for a year now, so I tend to be one of the top players in my area now) and experienced players are capable of making spellbooks succeed that would have otherwise failed (I have won a tournament with a Priest, for example).

My preference for creatures tends to be because my best book is a Priestess with forty spellpoints of creatures, and she has performed quite well.  A Forcemaster, however, does quite well with a handful of creatures, and needs to be swarmed before you can take her down.  I have never seen a Forcemaster be able to handle being swarmed by four Knights of Westlock, which is why a Forcemaster should try to kill you long before you get your creatures going.  The book that has been able to consistently beat my Priestess is a Forcemaster that attacks her with melee attacks on the third turn.