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Author Topic: Is the arena wizard still OP?  (Read 37045 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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Is the arena wizard still OP?
« on: April 14, 2016, 11:35:30 AM »
Are there any mages that are not at a disadvantage against the wizard? If so which are they? I've suspected for a while now that Domination and Academy would make the wizard no longer OP, at least for some matchups. And yet the general perception that the wizard is OP just isn't going away. Because of that people are either using wizards competitively too much or they're avoiding him altogether because they think he's unfair. This reinforces the perception that the wiz is OP, and it also makes it hard to determine if the wizard is actually still OP or not.

So let's get to the bottom of this. Is the wizard still OP? If yes, has Domination or Academy made him less OP? If no, Was it because of the addition of domination or academy, meta game shift from creative spellbooks, or some combination of the two?


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Ravepig

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 11:44:06 AM »
My Druid made plant-food out of the wizard in my last match-up.  ;)
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 01:15:31 PM »
They are not unbeatable, but yes, they are significantly stronger than the next best, they are the top Tier all on their own.

Nothing in Academy, or Domination has remotely affected that, in fact Wizard has gained more than many from them.

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2016, 03:51:37 PM »
Also, Earth Wizard does anything earth better than Warlord even though Warlord can't choose his elemental minor school, or dip into Arcane school for utility without a triple cost. Exacerbated considering the earth creatures are slow and need teleport to be mobile enough for any strategy.
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 06:26:04 PM »
If the Wizard was ever overpowered (under heated debate apparently), then not much has changed.  The Arena Wizard still has the best mage abilities, the best training (e.g. no triple-cost, and cheap access to arcane and his choice of element), and the best (only) built-in ranged attack spell - which happens to also be the only built-in ethereal attack, and can't be removed if you want to protect your Incorporeal creature (e.g. Invisible Stalker).  None of that changed with Domination or Academy.

I did notice that Academy cards that are most useful in Arena tend to help the Beastmasters more than the Wizard (e.g. lots of useful creatures and Beastmaster-specific equipment).  This helps the Johktari Beastmaster in particular become "less bad," but doesn't make the Wizard worse.  So, sure, the Beastmasters have been pushed in the right direction relative to the Wizard, but the Wizard hasn't really gone anywhere, and the problems (if any) with the Wizard are still there.

Now, before we say that the Wizard can do everything better than any other mage, that isn't quite true.  There are some things that some other mages can do better: the Straywood Beastmaster and Necromancer are better at summoning swarms; and the Druid is better at controlling the board state through hindering and the "stuck" condition, and can extend her spell range so she can turtle in a corner while affecting the other side of the arena.   But the Wizard can trump any other mage at solo (e.g. armour up and go melee), "one buddy", and "burn" (e.g. hurling attack spells while pinning the opposing mage), plus has exclusive access to mana/action denial, and can build the ultimate toolbox of incantations, enchantments and attack spells at standard and/or discount cost (e.g. can include more "staple" utility spells than any other mage).  So... basically, the Wizard has none of the drawbacks that other mages have.  That will never change unless it is added to the Wizard's mage card (e.g. make something cost triple, or add a drawback to Voltaric Shield or Arcane Zap).

And all of that ignores any imbalance with Wizard's Tower.  If you gave every mage a "mage type only" card that was on the same power level as Wizard's Tower, that's fine... but the Wizard still gets all the other advantages above, so it still wouldn't be even.

I think the only thing Domination did was add a counter to Teleport, meaning Teleport isn't quite as powerful as it was pre-Domination.  Since Teleport is level 2 Arcane, it gave more advantage to Wizards than other mages - so I guess that pushed things slightly towards balance.  But Domination also brought Hurl Meteorite and Dragon's Breath... so... it's probably a wash.

In other words it's hard to balance mages through adding cards when the out-of-balance aspects are written on the mage card unless those spells are "mage type only."  And adding a bunch of "mage type only" spells hurts the  overall flexibility in spell book building because it means those new mage type only cards are intentionally overpowered by design and become must-includes in order to make a mage competitive relative to the Wizard.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 06:45:44 PM by iNano78 »
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Iudicium86

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2016, 08:28:53 PM »
Right! I also wanted to touch on the Wizard's tower and how it's OP compared to equally functioning cards.

Swapping spells: Wizard Tower doesn't cost a quick action to change the bind spell, nor any mana. Unlike Elemental Wand, which takes up both an action and 3 whole mana to swap. Helm of Command also takes up an action and mana to swap spells to bind.

Conjuration Reload: Wizard tower doesn't have a limitation on how many rounds it can attack. Again, comparing an Earth Wizard to a Warlord, the Warlord's attacking conjurations are slow and can be 'shot' only once every other turn. Sure, the Wizard tower does dip into mana, but a low cost spell freed up off the Wizard's hand every turn can be quite advantageous. Maybe if Wizard tower had a two-mana limit before being able to take its action like the War conjurations or most spawnpoints.

I feel the Wizard Tower could be balanced by a combination or tweaks to its level (only 2?!), changed from unique to Epic, and a sort of 'cooldown' between its activations, or if not, then it takes an action+mana to swap the bound spell.
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2016, 10:00:00 PM »
The Wizard also is deceptive because if you are only playing with one base set or sharing a somewhat small collection, his full advantage is less apparent.  The Wizards big strength is spellbook design advantage... but his ability to cheaply run 4-6 copies of Dispel, Dissolve, Jinx and Nullify and teleport doesn't show up if you don't actually have enough copies of those spells one book can monopolize.  If you only have 5 dispels/dissolves/etc and those have to be rationed for multiple mages/books/players to access then the Wizard never gets to be maximized, which is one of the reasons the Wizard doesn't always seem as powerful right out of the box for beginners.

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2016, 11:31:23 PM »
Wizards strong but by no means unbeatable, nor does it take luck to bring down an equally skilled player running a strong wizard book if you're on your A Game. Not a certainty but it's do able.
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2016, 12:14:22 AM »
I would say wizzard, Mr beastmaster and druide are stronger than the others.
But the wizzard has advantages (two x1 school including arcane, no x3 school, arcane zap, 10 channel, wizzard power-tower,...) that makes him easy to be stronger!

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2016, 01:49:36 AM »
No and he never was.

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2016, 08:10:03 AM »
No and he never was.

Exactly my point: Domination and Academy haven't changed anything regarding the perceived power level of the wizard.  Both camps of "Wizard has always been overpowered" and "Wizards have never been overpowered" are still present and well populated.

"Wizards are strong but by no means unbeatable" is the same as saying "Wizards are overpowered." 
Overpowered =/= unbeatable.  It just means they have inherent advantages over everything else.  I've beated a Wizard, and I've lost when playing a Wizard.  But people in my group tend not to play Wizard often because it feels like playing (and spell book building) in "easy mode" - like a win using the Wizard is assumed unless proven otherwise.  ... Unless you're trying a particularly unorthodox Wizard, like my Mana Worm / Mana Leech swarm featuring Mana Siphon and more than enough Minor and regular Essence Drains along with Sistarran Robes, which tries to do something exclusively Wizard-y (e.g. get the opponent down to 3 or 4 mana per round while channeling 12 or 13 myself - very NPE, but spends a lot of time doing things that don't directly help you win) rather than just using an existing strategy and doing it better than the mage that's supposed to be best at it (like "burn" or "solo with tons of armor" or a "heavily buffed Grizzly buddy" or whatever).

And it's easy to see why the Wizard is better in general than any other mage: all other mages have abilities that depend on having certain types of spells (often creatures with specific subtypes) in your spell book and in play, and even those have drawbacks and triggers (see Malakai Priest's "Holy Avenger" for an extreme example; or Johktari Beastmaster's "Wounded Prey" ability, which is almost useless under many situations).  Meanwhile, the Wizard's abilities work just as well if he has no other cards in play, no armor, no weapon, no other cards of a particular type in his spell book, etc.  He is completely free to build his book however he wants, and effectively gets to put more cards in his spell book than any other mage.*  If every other mage had a spell book with 140 points (about equivalent to having Arcane + an element cheap and no triple cost school), and got to have a built-in 1-mana 3-dice ranged attack with a powerful trait (like also assigns a Burn/Rot/Stun token, or deals Critical Damage, or whatever makes sense thematically and is similar in effectiveness as Ethereal) and got to ignore some amount of damage (or had built-in armor) every round, then it might be an even playing field.

Looking at the other mages, there are definitely some good abilities that are on par with any 1 of the Wizard's abilities: Druid's "Treebond" is similar to Voltaric Shield in terms of damage absorption, but requires a tree and is negated if the tree is destroyed; Forcemaster's defence is similar, too; the Beastmaster's quick-summon is very good for one particular strategy, and has some neat combos with Packleader's Cowl, and is further enabled by all the new level-1 animals that showed up in Academy; and Battle Skill (+1 melee) is generally a good mage ability, as it can be useful even without a weapon.  But few mages have combinations of these.

* Of all the books I currently have built and have built in the past, only one Druid book has more total cards than my typical Wizard book (65-70 cards).  Most of my books for other mages only have 50-55 cards because they have to pay double for a lot of out-of-school spells.
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2016, 08:11:04 AM »
No and he never was.

Please explain.

If the Wizard was ever overpowered (under heated debate apparently), then not much has changed.  The Arena Wizard still has the best mage abilities, the best training (e.g. no triple-cost, and cheap access to arcane and his choice of element), and the best (only) built-in ranged attack spell - which happens to also be the only built-in ethereal attack, and can't be removed if you want to protect your Incorporeal creature (e.g. Invisible Stalker).  None of that changed with Domination or Academy.

I did notice that Academy cards that are most useful in Arena tend to help the Beastmasters more than the Wizard (e.g. lots of useful creatures and Beastmaster-specific equipment).  This helps the Johktari Beastmaster in particular become "less bad," but doesn't make the Wizard worse.  So, sure, the Beastmasters have been pushed in the right direction relative to the Wizard, but the Wizard hasn't really gone anywhere, and the problems (if any) with the Wizard are still there.

Now, before we say that the Wizard can do everything better than any other mage, that isn't quite true.  There are some things that some other mages can do better: the Straywood Beastmaster and Necromancer are better at summoning swarms; and the Druid is better at controlling the board state through hindering and the "stuck" condition, and can extend her spell range so she can turtle in a corner while affecting the other side of the arena.   But the Wizard can trump any other mage at solo (e.g. armour up and go melee), "one buddy", and "burn" (e.g. hurling attack spells while pinning the opposing mage), plus has exclusive access to mana/action denial, and can build the ultimate toolbox of incantations, enchantments and attack spells at standard and/or discount cost (e.g. can include more "staple" utility spells than any other mage).  So... basically, the Wizard has none of the drawbacks that other mages have.  That will never change unless it is added to the Wizard's mage card (e.g. make something cost triple, or add a drawback to Voltaric Shield or Arcane Zap).

And all of that ignores any imbalance with Wizard's Tower.  If you gave every mage a "mage type only" card that was on the same power level as Wizard's Tower, that's fine... but the Wizard still gets all the other advantages above, so it still wouldn't be even.

I think the only thing Domination did was add a counter to Teleport, meaning Teleport isn't quite as powerful as it was pre-Domination.  Since Teleport is level 2 Arcane, it gave more advantage to Wizards than other mages - so I guess that pushed things slightly towards balance.  But Domination also brought Hurl Meteorite and Dragon's Breath... so... it's probably a wash.

In other words it's hard to balance mages through adding cards when the out-of-balance aspects are written on the mage card unless those spells are "mage type only."  And adding a bunch of "mage type only" spells hurts the  overall flexibility in spell book building because it means those new mage type only cards are intentionally overpowered by design and become must-includes in order to make a mage competitive relative to the Wizard.

You might be right, but merely listing all of the things that the wizard can do that other mages can't doesn't necessarily prove anything and isn't really useful. For instance, look at what happens when I take your post and switch out the word "wizard" for "priestess", and the wizard's capabilities to that of the priestess:



Quote
If the Priestess was ever overpowered (under heated debate apparently), then not much has changed.  The Arena Priestess still has the best mage abilities, the best training (the Holy school has creatures with higher attack and more natural staying power than most other schools, plus superior access to daze and stun, all of which is more than enough to make up for the triple-cost for dark) the best (only) built-in way to increase her life indefinitely - and she also has the only built-in way to remove ALL condition markers from any living creature-and this ability can't be removed or countered in an way. If the priestess wants to remove condition markers, she WILL remove as many of them as she wants as long as she has the mana.  None of that changed with Domination or Academy.

Now, before we say that the Priestess can do everything better than any other mage, that isn't quite true.  There are some things that some other mages can do better: the Straywood Beastmaster and Necromancer are better at summoning swarms; and the Druid is better at controlling the board state through hindering and the "stuck" condition, and can extend her spell range so she can turtle in a corner while affecting the other side of the arena.

But the Priestess can trump any other mage at  "few big" (e.g. summoning a squad of 3-4 creatures to work together to take down the enemy mage), "turtling" (yes even the druid, while the druid has superior position control I admit, the priestess has superior access to healing, and Divine Intervention can allow her to get a powerful creature like Brogan to attack and destroy the Druid's tree very quckly.), and even defensive swarms (summon a swarm of lv1 creatures that are more durable but have lower attack, keep them alive as long as possible so that they can attack over and over and over again. It's a pretty new playstyle, and before Academy cleric swarm was probably the only viable way to do it.)

She also has "exclusive" access to Angels, especially Guardian Angel, which is one of the if not THE most powerful defensive creature in the game, and can build the ultimate toolbox of enchantments, incantations and creatures at standard and/or discount cost (while her spells aren't all widely used by the other mages, those that do use them oftentimes really need them just as much as if not more than the Arcane metamagic staples.)

So... basically, the Priestess has none of the drawbacks that other mages have.  That will never change unless it is added to the Priestess's mage card (e.g. make her channeling 9, or add a drawback to restore or divine reward.)

I think the only thing Domination did was add , a counter to Divine Intervention, meaning DI isn't quite as powerful as it was pre-Domination.  Since Divine Intervention is Priestess-only, it gave more advantage to Priestesses than other mages - so I guess Astral Anchor pushed things slightly towards balance.  But astral anchor only works on a zone. If the creatures move before they teleport than astral anchor poses no danger, especially if you're using Temple of the Dawnbreaker to reroll escape rolls, which the Priestess can use at discount spellbook cost, and a lot of her creatures are powerful enough to destroy tanglevines and stranglevines pretty easily on their own anyway... so... it's probably a wash.

In other words it's hard to balance mages through adding cards when the out-of-balance aspects are written on the mage card unless those spells are "mage type only."  And adding a bunch of "mage type only" spells hurts the overall flexibility in spell book building because it means those new mage type only cards are intentionally overpowered by design and become must-includes in order to make a mage competitive relative to the Priestess.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2016, 08:14:42 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2016, 08:22:38 AM »
A couple of Wizard builds are still completely unbeatable by certain mages (both priests', both warlocks, forcemaster, both beastmasters).

those couple of wizard builds can sometimes struggle to some extend against druid and necromancers.

Voltaric shield + veteran belt + armor stacking is a combo that is so incredibly strong so when you add in regenerate and Divine protection its a nearly untouchable wizard.

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2016, 08:26:14 AM »
Quote
You might be right, but merely listing all of the things that the wizard can do that other mages can't doesn't necessarily prove anything and isn't really useful. For instance, look at what happens when I take your post and switch out the word "wizard" for "priestess", and the wizard's capabilities to that of the priestess:
You can't. You would have to remove about 5-10 cards from the book.
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iNano78

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Re: Is the arena wizard still OP?
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2016, 08:46:24 AM »
You might be right, but merely listing all of the things that the wizard can do that other mages can't doesn't necessarily prove anything and isn't really useful. For instance, look at what happens when I take your post and switch out the word "wizard" for "priestess", and the wizard's capabilities to that of the priestess:

...

My post immediately above yours serves as a good response to your post.  You can't just swap "Priestess" for "Wizard" there, as the Priestess's abilities either requires holy spells to gain life, or requires the opponent to put condition markers on her or her creatures.  If you don't build around them, her abilities do nothing.  Besides, Divine Intervention aside (an Epic mage-type only card; Wizard can pack 3 or 4 Wizard's Towers instead...), the Wizard could build a "summon a few big" book that is better than any "summon a few big" that the Priestess can build, including a Guardian Angel if desired - or stay in school and go with the Gargoyle Sentry, who does the same thing and is nearly as good.  Besides, a Wizard could duplicate (or come up with similar enough substitutions, like Gargoyle for Guardian Angel) to build the same book as a Priestess and likely do it cheaper (or better in some other way).
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