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Author Topic: Top-Tier viable mages?  (Read 15983 times)

Nealo

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Top-Tier viable mages?
« on: September 15, 2015, 04:35:09 PM »
I've heard whispers here and there about certain mages being too weak to be viable against top-tier players/spellbooks (so far). I am wondering what people feel are the top tier mages and which mages are currently struggling to be viable in top-tier play.

From what I've heard, it seems that both Warlords are struggling, Priest is potentially the weakest at the moment, and that Arraxian Crown Warlock is not in a great spot either. I know that Hanma mentioned on Mage Wars Mondays that making Ballista Warlord Only could potentially bridge the gap for Warlord.

From what I can tell, it seems that Wizard, Forcemaster, and Priestess are the strongest. That's basically just cobbled together from reading forum posts and seeing conversations on octgn. What are your opinions of what's viable and what's not? More importantly, why or why not?

Biblofilter

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2015, 02:39:34 AM »
1. Druid
2. Priestess
3. Necromancer
4. Wizard

All 4 very strong mages, with Wizard being the most versatile (which makes him a really good tournament choice)

Necromancer absolute unbelievable - rocks vs. Beastmaster small swarms and Curse Warlocks not so hot vs. people who run non-living creatures.

Priestess, pretty strong, good counters to almost everything, excellent late game - which makes it a pain to get unmodified win in standard tournament time. On the other hand she might be "broken" if someone someday put a spellbook together planning winning on time.

Druid - WOW! Unbelievable hard to kill, spellbooks almost as good as Wizard. Can summon vines everywhere. Hinders elusive/fast creatures like Cervere..
Luckily unlike frostspells, there's a ton of Firespells  :)

I don´t think Forcemaster is up there - just to weak vs. psychic immune creatures I guess.

Both Beastmasters are pretty good but not vs. Druids or Necromancers.

If everybody else wood play Priesstress/Wizard or Druids id be fine playing Warlock.

This is all just my opinion of course.

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RomeoXero

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2015, 01:10:12 AM »
top tier eh? that's a tough call considering that there are only what, 12 mages? 15 if you count all the wizards? I suppose I should pick the top third, (4 or 5 mages).

1. Wizard (water) = Just too good at the undoing game. whatever you do, he can undo, twice. I wont get into why Wizards of all sorts are superior (perhaps unfairly so) as that topic has been destroyed here, but with all the options open to them wizards are probably the reason for this topic in a roundabaout way. nuff said.

2. Druid = My personal favorite mage. i think she handles the nature school so much better than the beastmasters. add her super efficient creatures, and her unique vine abilities (extended summon range, hinders the unhinderable etc)  she currently has almost as much versatility as a wizard, and that's with TWO 3x schools. awesome mage.

3. Priestess = She probably has the strongest mage abilities (read consistently useful) of any of the mages. the ability to remove conditions without having to book anything for it is AMAZING! even of the spells that remove conditions are in school (purify, healing wand) you don't need them and that makes room for another enchantment (i like enchantments, and parentheses which, at this point, should be blatantly apparent) or what have you. her late game is incredible, and even if your games go to time she can burst heal for ridiculous amounts reliably, making it difficult to attrition your way to a win there. as a side note i really like the priest, i am dedicated to making him a viable choice! he just feels so badass and i wish i knew why most people find him to be one of if not the weakest mage.

4. Forcemaster = Personally i don't agree with this. but her results in the hands of other (likely vastly more skilled) pilots is impossible to argue with! if you completely ignore the creatures in the mind school, her spell selection is pretty awesome. if you can somehow keep the enemy mage as action starved as she is likely to be then you might be in business. she is the absolute queen of the aggressive rush, with a unique weapon that never really goes away, and a potentially amazing familiar (they are damn squishy though,them thoughtspores), and you can splash for a good buddy out of school and it doesn't hurt TOO bad. i cant make one work to save my life, but that's a personal failing i guess. shes tricky, but definitely powerful if done well

Honerable mention: AC Warlock. = If the forcemaster is the queen of the aggressive rush, this guy is the smoldering, angsty king. hes not top 4 in my case because fire is, almost by default, teched against in every build. its almost stupid not to. but sometimes, even when you are ready for the assault, those fireballs and curses make too steady a damage stream to overcome. escalating damage is his specialty, but just like any good bonfire eventually he runs out of fuel. His bet is that hes got you reduced to a heap of ash before he runs out of resources. and hes tough enough to continue to press the assault even if you match him point for point. hes got more life than you. Couple that with the dark school being freaking awesome and he is a very fun mage to play! thats probably why he didnt make top 4, hes more fun to use than reliably victorious.

Anyway thats my take. hope it was useful! i know these are kind of general descriptions but that was kinda the idea. I love this game. Its awesome.
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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2015, 05:23:43 AM »
Romeo's list is a very accurate (and parenthetic(!)) description of the general consensus. Necromancer is probably somewhere near the top, too. The 10 channeling mages are generally perceived to have an advantage over the others. Though a Straywood Beastmaster with Lair and Swarm of Thunderift Falcons (known as Aviary) is also a potential contender if the metagame gets complacent.

There's much less agreement about how far apart the tiers are. Some people think Wizard dominates, while others think that the difference between mages is minor compared to player skill.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 05:26:03 AM by ringkichard »
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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 05:28:15 PM »
Figured I might as well chip in. 

I disagree that the AC Warlock is in a bad place, and I'm not sure why people would think that in the first place.  He's not absolute top-tier or anything, but he's still solid and has a nice niche.  The Anvil Throne (AT) Warlord has some really good abilities, but the war school is still a tad lacking in areas.  The Bloodwave (BW) Warlord is kind of a different story.  His battle orders are roughly as good as the AT Warlord's, but his veterans ability is really, really bad.  It's extremely limited (doesn't apply to ranged units, doesn't stack, and requires both players to summon lots of creatures), and it doesn't synergize well with most of the units that he is supposed to use thematically (like goblins) because they can be killed off pretty easily.  In short, there's no reason to use him over the AT Warlord.  I can't comment very much on the Malakai (MK) Priest because I haven't played much with him, but what I can say is that the Adramelech (AM) Warlock can actually make his malakai's fire ability work against him, so you have to be careful with that.  Otherwise, he seems decent.  Holy avenger is a really good buff, especially if you also have some good guarding creatures available. 

Like everyone else here, I'm going to list the Wizard as a top-tier choice.  He possesses an insane amount of flexibility, cheap access to most work-horse cards, and Wizard's Tower is an extremely good card. 

Everything after that gets a bit hazy and more open to argument.  The druid in general is very good, but fire (ie, both warlocks) absolutely destroys her.  Priestess is also very good, but she has a harder time than usual in tournaments due to time constraints, which make her late-game emphasis a liability.  Forcemaster is fantastic early-game but really suffers against psychic-immunity and opponents who can control her.  The devs have done a surprisingly good job of making the mages feel different but being balanced overall, so it's basically impossible to make a single chart of mage strength and have it be reliable. 

That being said, there are a couple mages that stand out to me as being less effective than most.  I firmly believe that the Johktari (JT) Beastmaster and the Bloodwave (BW) Warlord are the worst mages in the game at the moment.  I've already been over the BW Warlord, but the JT Beastmaster might be even worse.  Her primary ability is actually functionally useless a decent amount of the time, since it requires a living target to work.  Having innate fast and ranged +1 would be nice, but her signature bow also kind of sucks.  She might get a much-needed boost from some cards in Academy, but at the moment the Straywood (SW) Beastmaster can pretty much do everything better than the JT one if you pack a cheetah speed into your spellbook. 

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 08:59:08 PM »
Hm...I was hoping AW had improved the balance since last I played.  If the consensus is that Wizard is still the best, I'm very disappointed.

I get that balancing asymmetrical games is inherently difficult, especially with a small company, but if there is consistent community consensus that something is fundamentally wrong with a key hero in a game, and AW doesn't do anything to address that problem, I place full blame on AW.
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ringkichard

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2015, 09:27:38 PM »
When's the last time you played? Forged in fire helped Warlock and Warlord up some, and the release before that was DvN, I think? The release schedule has been sluggish, it's true, but every set since Conquest of K has eroded Wizard's raw power some. And now we're looking at Domination and Academy coming very shortly, so things seem likely to improve some in the next couple months.

Also, community consensus is more coherent and better informed now; there's better data available now than there was up until recently. The recent Gencon winner is a playtester now (Hanma), and OCTGN tournaments have really been picking up steam. Charmyna's back playing again, and the Arcane Duels podcast folks are doing good work.

I realize that you're not asking for instant gratification, but your conclusion is very unfortunately timed.
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SharkBait

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 09:34:51 PM »
I'm going to have to completely disagree with any tier list of any type. I do not believe that the wizard is as unbalanced as a large amount of people make it out to be, and I disagree that any particular mage is actually legitimately better than the others. The wizard has been WAY more developed than any other mage to this point, but I believe that there are strategies that can make every mage viable. Even the mage I see as the weakest (the forcemaster) has plenty of competitively and non-competitively viable ways to play. It's more a matter of someone (or multiple people) taking the time to develop how to play a mage than it is the mage's inherent abilities.
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ringkichard

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2015, 09:44:38 PM »
I should also note that there are Druid, Priestess, and Necro builds within striking distance of Wizard. It's not a blowout. There's more work to be done, of course, but it is in fact *being done*.

So blame AW if you like. It's not like there's some other company sabotaging the game while Bryan and Aaron are in a meeting down the hall and can't observe. I'm sure they'd both very willingly take responsibility for the current and future condition of the game, as they do every workday when they design and execute that future.

But that's my point exactly: yes the game is their responsibility, and they'e been chipping away at that rock--living that responsibility--every day you've been gone. It sounds like that's not enough to satisfy you, and I'm sorry to hear it. But please don't hastily judge that nothing has been done.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 09:46:53 PM by ringkichard »
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reddawn

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2015, 10:56:22 PM »
I left after playing Forged in Fire (great expansion) frequently, and while Domination/Academy looks interesting, I would have liked there to have been some decisive balance changes to address the Wizard. 

I'm not convinced that the Wizard is somehow going to be brought in line as the card pool grows, at least considering the current pattern of releases; the problem is that he can, through his training, just adapt to best suit the current card pool. 

For the Wizard to be balanced via new releases, those new releases, maybe a couple or so, would need to stop introducing important cards that the Wizard can include at base spellbook point cost...which is pretty limiting from a design perspective, considering that would include all of the minor schools (and Arcane).  But as Academy gives the Wizard lots of new toys, such as a level 1 Arcane creature (the Wizard used to be the only Mage with a Spawnpoint without that, IIRC), I just don't see that happening.  I'm not sure why the first set of Academy was Wizard v. Beastmaster and not Priestess v. Warlock, to be honest.

I hope that as I play these new releases, I'll see yet more improvement in terms of balance, but I really see the problem with the Wizard based in his mage stats card (primarily) and the unyielding expansion of the Arcane/Minor schools, not necessarily the lack of options for other mages.

Here's to hoping I will be pleasantly surprised in the coming months.
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Sailor Vulcan

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Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2015, 06:20:44 AM »
I left after playing Forged in Fire (great expansion) frequently, and while Domination/Academy looks interesting, I would have liked there to have been some decisive balance changes to address the Wizard. 

I'm not convinced that the Wizard is somehow going to be brought in line as the card pool grows, at least considering the current pattern of releases; the problem is that he can, through his training, just adapt to best suit the current card pool. 

For the Wizard to be balanced via new releases, those new releases, maybe a couple or so, would need to stop introducing important cards that the Wizard can include at base spellbook point cost...which is pretty limiting from a design perspective, considering that would include all of the minor schools (and Arcane).  But as Academy gives the Wizard lots of new toys, such as a level 1 Arcane creature (the Wizard used to be the only Mage with a Spawnpoint without that, IIRC), I just don't see that happening.  I'm not sure why the first set of Academy was Wizard v. Beastmaster and not Priestess v. Warlock, to be honest.

I hope that as I play these new releases, I'll see yet more improvement in terms of balance, but I really see the problem with the Wizard based in his mage stats card (primarily) and the unyielding expansion of the Arcane/Minor schools, not necessarily the lack of options for other mages.

Here's to hoping I will be pleasantly surprised in the coming months.

The problem seems to primarily be the combination of his training and the wizard tower. I'm pretty sure that one or both of those will need to be errata'd. Several people on here have suggested making him pay triple for the opposite elemental school which he did not pick. Like if he's trained in earth, make him pay triple for air, or something. I'm not sure how that can be justified thematically, unless all of the spell book point multipliers are just "arena rules" in Etheria.

Some potential solutions that address the wizard tower include making it epic, increasing its mana cost to 10 or so, making it cost mana and/or quick spell to replace the spellbound attack, or simply taking away its spellbind ability, since it might be good enough as just a familiar.

One thing I've noticed is that I have not seen a wizard running any of the big arcane creatures or a mana denial build for a pretty long time. Wizards seem to have become somewhat stale, strategically speaking. I rarely see any unique wizard builds anymore. It's always mana crystal(s), wizard towers, a ton of attack spells, leveraging extra dispels, dissolves, and teleports, and sometimes using a spawnpoint.

Oh, and I mostly agree with RomeoXero's tier list. I think Necromancer should be on there, probably right below Priestess or Forcemaster. Not sure if the AC Warlock should only be an honorary mention. He's pretty powerful.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 06:45:51 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Borg

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2015, 06:54:02 AM »
Wizard's Tower :
Remove Spellbound and you've got a balanced card imo.
This way you can't use each and every toolbox attack spell over and over again.
Thus, removing Spellbound would remove the toolbox ability for the largest part.

Wizard :
Tripling the cost of one opposing elemental school is not enough imo.
Triple cost for all three non proficient elemental schools is.
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Halewijn

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 07:19:42 AM »
A month or 2 ago there was a hugh discussion about it. Some people were against changing anything. It should be easy to find the tread.

imo, Borg is saying exactly what I think and why those things should change.
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Drefan

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2015, 08:02:13 AM »
Wizard :
Tripling the cost of one opposing elemental school is not enough imo.
Triple cost for all three non proficient elemental schools is.

I agree with this, however I do think the Wizzard's Tower should be left the way it is now.
The only time I feel that the Wizzard's Tower is extremely strong is when it's combined with the Ballista.

If the Wizzard's Tower gets hit with the nerf hammer I feel that they lose the mobility of being a Wizzard.

Increasing spellbook construction cost seems to be the best way to potentially "fix" the Wizzard. Having to many tools in his toolbox is the biggest issue for me, limiting them would be a great way to deal with the issue.

I'd like Ballista to follow Akiro's Hammer and become Warlord only, I dont find any reason behind making it aviable to other mages since it's a war machine!
« Last Edit: October 17, 2015, 08:06:59 AM by Drefan »
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Halewijn

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Re: Top-Tier viable mages?
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2015, 11:57:08 AM »
agreed with the warlord only.

However, I do feel like the wizard has so much spellpoints left he can afford to use the perfect attack spell vs each different opponent.
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