August 03, 2020, 10:00:28 PM

Author Topic: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy  (Read 6979 times)

iNano78

  • Ambassador
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Banana Stickers 4
  • Playing at the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa
    • View Profile
    • Ottawa/Gatineau Mage Wars (FB group)
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2016, 07:37:41 AM »
That doesn't make any sense. It's impossible to design your spellbook to completely negate the disadvantage of going second, as halewijin already explained. Both the beastmaster and the wizard have this unfair advantage when they go first. Also, even if it was possible to negate this imbalance through better deck design, why would they intentionally build in an arbitrary and unnecessary imbalance just for the sake of forcing player 2 to adapt, but not player 1?

I'm not sure the advantage of going first is as strong as you suggest.  Since there is no Planning Phase in Academy, you can directly respond to everything your opponent does*.  Thus, going second provides an opportunity that doesn't exist in Arena.  For instance, if your opponent puts on an armor that's going to negate most of the damage that your swarm of weenies intends to dish out, you can immediately Crumble it.  Even in the opening rounds, you can see what your opponent did with her first action and do something that, presumably, is the paper to her rock.  In other words, by going second, you have a knowledge advantage.

* ... except if you go last and have initiative on the following turn, in which case you could have a full action + quickcast + quickcast + full action before giving your opponent an opportunity to respond - aside from revealing Enchantments, of course.  In fact, in round 3, it might be to your advantage to NOT have initiative since this gives you the first of these big 4-consecutive-action plays.  And since (in my experience) most matches only last 6-7 rounds, you'll probably get more of these 4-consecutive-action plays than your opponent (2 to her 1).  If you add a quick-cast phase, then your effectively removing this "advantage" to NOT having initiative in round 3... so your suggestion might actually enhance the "advantage" of having initiative on odd rounds.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 10:23:01 AM by iNano78 »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2016, 08:01:24 AM »
That doesn't make any sense. It's impossible to design your spellbook to completely negate the disadvantage of going second, as halewijin already explained. Both the beastmaster and the wizard have this unfair advantage when they go first. Also, even if it was possible to negate this imbalance through better deck design, why would they intentionally build in an arbitrary and unnecessary imbalance just for the sake of forcing player 2 to adapt, but not player 1?

I'm not sure the advantage of going first is as strong as you suggest.  Since there is no Planning Phase in Academy, you can directly respond to everything your opponent does*.  Thus, going second provides an opportunity that doesn't exist in Arena, for instance.  For instance, if your opponent puts on an armor that's going to negate most of the damage that your swarm of weenies intends to dish out, you can immediately Crumble it.  Even in the opening rounds, you can see what your opponent did with her first action and do something that, presumably, is the paper to her rock.  In other words, by going second, you have a knowledge advantage.

* ... except if you go last and have initiative on the following turn, in which case you could have a full action + quickcast + quickcast + full action before giving your opponent an opportunity to respond - aside from revealing Enchantments, of course).  In fact, in round 3, it might be to your advantage to NOT have initiative since this gives you the first of these big 4-consecutive-action plays.  And since (in my experience) most matches only last 6-7 rounds, you'll probably get more of these 4-consecutive-action plays than your opponent (2 to her 1).  If you add a quick-cast phase, then your effectively removing this "advantage" to NOT having initiative in round 3... so your suggestion might actually enhance the "advantage" of having initiative on odd rounds.

That doesn't make sense either, and it certainly has been disproven by all of the Academy games I've played. The way it is now, going first IS strongly preferred by both mages regardless of whether they're playing aggro or control. No one who has much experience with Academy is going to argue that going second is better the way things are now. While yes, player 2 also gets 2 quickcasts and 2 full actions in a row early in the game without any chance for the opponents to respond in between, this happens during the setup rounds. In the example halewijin gave, if both players are at about the same skill level, Player 2 has the choice to either disrupt their own opening to cast armor and stuff in order to protect themselves from player 1's onslaught from round 2 to round 3, or keep their opening and take massive damage on round 3 that is nearly impossible to recover from without outrageous luck or a couple misplays from player 1.

This isn't just a problem with the razortusk strategy, btw. EVERY matchup has the same issue. Player 1 has a huge advantage, at least if they know what they're doing. The razortusk strategy just makes it more obvious.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Halewijn

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 1786
  • Banana Stickers 6
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2016, 09:22:15 AM »
I just wanted to say that the advantage IS there, but I don't think it's as huge as Vulcan is describing in the last comments. I don't really care about it anyway. In my opinion, Academy is very nice to play a short fun game, but if you want a real "tournament-level" game, just use Arena. I get that the first and last quickcast phases make the game a bit more difficult so I understand why to leave it out.


@Vulcan: In the future, I'd be happy to play academy with first/last quickcast phases.  ;)
  • Favourite Mage: Bloodwave Warlord
When in doubt kill it with fire? I never doubt and crush them right away.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2016, 09:27:46 AM »
So I just spoke to Laddinfance, and he seems to think that the reason for this whole initiative problem is because all of us are taking entirely the wrong approach to the setup rounds. I want to test this. Anyone up for a game of Academy?

I'm sorry that you feel this way. In all the testing we had done for Academy, this was not an issue. The player who goes second gets to see what their opponent is planning and is meant to react to that. The "set-up" rounds are not meant for the two of us to simply play out our strategy. It's meant to get you prepared for the open rounds. So, it's totally fine to adapt to what your opponent is playing. Also, you do alternate your actions back and forth during the "set-up" rounds. Which allows you to react to what your opponent is playing.

To the question of Academy competitive play, we wanted to get at least the first set of expansion Mages out before we pushed something like that. Though it is certainly something we're interested in. Regardless Academy is something we're looking to support in Organized Play. Which we're working to update right now.

So you're saying that if the first initiative player is a wizard who summons and enchants a razortusk round 1, I should be putting armor on my mage or something round 1, and then if they beef up the razortusk even more round 2, it would be a good idea to increase my mage's armor even more. Or alternatively, I could summon a creature to guard me and enchant it with arcane ward round 1 to prevent it from being shrunken on round 3, and then round 2 put two armor on my mage. Then not do the actual opening moves of my strategy until round 3? Please elaborate.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

SharkBait

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 701
  • Banana Stickers 10
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2016, 10:17:56 AM »
So you're saying that if the first initiative player is a wizard who summons and enchants a razortusk round 1, I should be putting armor on my mage or something round 1, and then if they beef up the razortusk even more round 2, it would be a good idea to increase my mage's armor even more. Or alternatively, I could summon a creature to guard me and enchant it with arcane ward round 1 to prevent it from being shrunken on round 3, and then round 2 put two armor on my mage. Then not do the actual opening moves of my strategy until round 3? Please elaborate.


Competitively speaking, shouldn't you be preparing for what the opponent does anyway? There's no reason that the "actual opening moves of your strategy" and "countering the opponent's strategy" need to be mutually exclusive. It's always easier said than done, but the above is true in competitive Arena play as well
  • Favourite Mage: Adramelech Warlock
When in doubt, kill it with fire

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2016, 10:27:13 AM »
No, vulcan is right, although I'm not a fan of his solutions. You have the chance to cast an enchantment (buff enchantment, panther stealth, badger frenzy, shrink, ...) and immediatly start with a huge attack that might  do considerable damage in turn 1.

This could be countered by player 2, but then you have to invest in defensive stuff, like armor, during the first 2 rounds and frankly, nobody likes doing that. The first player can just cast tons of attack power during the first 2 rounds.

Apart from that, I don't think Academy is fit for competitive play at the moment. Maybe it will be in the future.
Simple example of one of my wizards:
Turn 1: 10 Razortusk + badger frenzy (
Turn 2: Joined strength + wolf fury
Turn 3: panther stealth/shrink/Giant size + mega double attack ( 6 or 8 dice, piercing 1 + 4 dice piercing 1 )

You do on average 10/12 damage in during your first move. This combo is not possible if you are player 2.

Btw joined strength is beastmaster only. So technically it would be

R1: razortusk and badger frenzy
R2:  wolf fury and giant size
R3: Panther stealth/shrink, and then razortusk attacks enemy Mage for 7+4 dice, piercing +1.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

iNano78

  • Ambassador
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
  • Banana Stickers 4
  • Playing at the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa
    • View Profile
    • Ottawa/Gatineau Mage Wars (FB group)
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2016, 10:45:18 AM »
Btw joined strength is beastmaster only. So technically it would be

R1: razortusk and badger frenzy
R2:  wolf fury and giant size
R3: Panther stealth/shrink, and then razortusk attacks enemy Mage for 7+4 dice, piercing +1.

I took a double-take at that as well, but by "wizards" I think he meant "mages" in general - since in many languages, mage and wizard are synonymous.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2016, 11:54:32 AM »
Btw joined strength is beastmaster only. So technically it would be

R1: razortusk and badger frenzy
R2:  wolf fury and giant size
R3: Panther stealth/shrink, and then razortusk attacks enemy Mage for 7+4 dice, piercing +1.

I took a double-take at that as well, but by "wizards" I think he meant "mages" in general - since in many languages, mage and wizard are synonymous.

No. Beastmaster has no starting mana and 7 channeling. 7 mana is not enough to summon a razortusk round 1.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 12:03:02 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #23 on: March 30, 2016, 01:42:44 PM »
So you're saying that if the first initiative player is a wizard who summons and enchants a razortusk round 1, I should be putting armor on my mage or something round 1, and then if they beef up the razortusk even more round 2, it would be a good idea to increase my mage's armor even more. Or alternatively, I could summon a creature to guard me and enchant it with arcane ward round 1 to prevent it from being shrunken on round 3, and then round 2 put two armor on my mage. Then not do the actual opening moves of my strategy until round 3? Please elaborate.


Competitively speaking, shouldn't you be preparing for what the opponent does anyway? There's no reason that the "actual opening moves of your strategy" and "countering the opponent's strategy" need to be mutually exclusive. It's always easier said than done, but the above is true in competitive Arena play as well

Not quite the same. Using halewijin's example, if player 1 is a wizard who summons and beefs up a razortusk with enchantments during the setup rounds, if you're playing a sailfin deck, you might want to first summon a redcrested cockatrice, enchant it with giant size, then round 2 enchant it with arcane ward (to stop shrink) and cast a dodge on yourself (in case of panther stealth). Then round 3 after player 1's razortusk has attacked, reveal giant size on your cockatrice if necessary (don't extend it if you don't have to), then cast exile on the razortusk and equip yourself with wispwillow amulet. Round 4 you have 10 or 12 mana and it's your initiative. Guard with the cockatrice and if your arcane ward is gone by now you can qc a hoodwink on it, otherwise don't qc yet. When the razortusk tries to attack again, reveal exile for 3 mana and extend it for 2. You should either have 3 mana (giant size revealed, arcane ward triggered) 5 mana (giant size revealed, arcane ward not triggered), 6 mana (giant size not revealed, arcane ward triggered), or 8 mana (giant size not revealed, arcane ward not triggered). You should try to summon either a genie or your hydra next round, depending on how much mana you have and what your opponent is doing.

That is when you go second. If you have initiative first, however...

R1 wispwillow amulet
R2 saiflin hydra
After that, go to town.

When you go second, you have to cast your wispwillow amulet and summon your sailfin hydra AFTER you've done the other stuff listed above. In other words, your setup rounds and your opening would not be the same thing.

I'm still not entirely sure whether this is the case. I'm hoping to test it.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

SharkBait

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 701
  • Banana Stickers 10
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #24 on: March 30, 2016, 02:21:03 PM »

When you go second, you have to cast your wispwillow amulet and summon your sailfin hydra AFTER you've done the other stuff listed above. In other words, your setup rounds and your opening would not be the same thing.

I'm still not entirely sure whether this is the case. I'm hoping to test it.

No that's exactly what i mean. Your setup rounds being the same for every match up doesn't make any sense, competitively. You can still follow through with your strategy, though you're changing your tactics up a bit.
  • Favourite Mage: Adramelech Warlock
When in doubt, kill it with fire

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2016, 03:37:20 PM »
I don't know about that. Most of my Arena decks cast the same spells round 1 and 2 every game. Like my core set x1 only wizard. He opens with battle forge and mana crystal round 1, every single game. And he almost always puts the forge in the corner, unless he's fighting against a turtling build.

Also this is based on turn order not matchup.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2016, 07:30:07 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: First round initiative gives unfair advantage in Academy
« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2016, 09:21:02 AM »
Okay, here's a good question. About what proportion of games with custom decks were won by the player with second initiative during playtesting of Academy?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.