September 22, 2019, 03:54:35 PM

Author Topic: Rush/Fast books are dead and will never recover unless cards are Errataed/Banned  (Read 1057 times)

wtcannonjr

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I know the convention up North East uses core set for first rounds ect.  That maybe too restrictive for players who like other mages tho.
I think this may be a reference to the WBC tournament held in Sevens Springs Resort, PA. This summer the WBC Arena tournament did expand the format to allow all Arena mages and cards, but continued to exclude Academy cards. We also dropped Apprentice mode from the demos and tournament rounds in an effort to attract more experienced players.

I need to provide a post-event report with details but here are the highlights. We had 11 players participate in the two day event with a customized Straywood Beastmaster (Chris Byrd) winning the event for his third year in a row. New players to the game were allowed to select any standard book of the 14 possible mages to use for the 4-round tournament.

The Academy cards have been excluded on the basis that interactions between Academy (with still evolving rules) and Arena rules have not been fully documented (or systematically tested). In addition, the card effects and interactions between the two product lines are more likely to involve questions that would interrupt games during the timed events. 

RE: Variety
I don't see a fixed card pool as the end of variety. However, it does change the focus of variety to exploring different strategies and tactics within the range of decisions a player has to make both before and during a match. The Arena only format provides players a choice of 14 different mages with unique training across 10 different schools and 14 different combinations of mage abilities. It also provides 482 unique spell cards distributed over these 10 schools. Plenty of variety by these numbers.

I prefer to see the glass half full of water rather than half empty. Adding Academy cards to the tournament glass feels like mixing oil with water just to fill up the glass. It does add a new taste to the overall drink, but I prefer the water only. Other tastes will vary ...
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zot

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this sounds interesting from a bookbuilding perspective. takes us back some time for sure. I would have to check my competitive books to see how it may affect the builds and consider alternatives to any academy cards in them.

DaveW

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I have all my Academy and Arena cards mixed together. Just the prospect of having to sort them out would be seriously depressing. Then it would get worse once I got to realize how much money I spent in getting Academy cards to use with my Arena set (especially lately, knowing that there won't be any more Arena cards coming out)... I'd never use them again as I absolutely despise Academy play.
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zot

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there has been nothing official about further arena sets.

DaveW

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there has been nothing official about further arena sets.

Yes, well, I've given up hope on future Arena expansions. I'll also never play Domination or Academy again, so....

Not only that, but I'm doubtful that Academy will have much more that could be used in area, now that I have seen some of the stuff that came out in Monk. The Monk, to me, is weird and has really odd spells. I hope they do stop trying to replicate martial abilities... even if you try to explain it as mana is really ki instead. Those few spells from that produce that I have seen really give me less of a feel that this game is staying on point in terms of genre, and more about finding excuses for validating strange tactics and simulating something less "fantastic."
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I'm back from a bit of a break. I'm going to cherry pick a few quotes, then give my thoughts.


So whats is the problem?
In short: Rush / fast books cannot compete anymore.... AT ALL. They are dead with the current card pool.

It has for a LONG time (many releases) been an uphill battle to rush vs defensive spawnpoint mages who stays in their starting zone. But the combination of the above mentioned cards simply wrecks the last tiny chance fast books had vs them.

Its pretty simple... the time (rounds) it takes for you to cross the board and either engage the opponent mage or attempt to get board control is longer than the time that it takes for your opponent to recover his initial mana expense of the spawnpoint(s).
......................
Kallek is potentially the biggest but not the only problem. Crumble and Disperse also deserves to be mentioned.
It used to be the case that (not counting discount rings) that casting an enchantment and benefiting from it before it would be dispelled would leave you ahead in the sense that for instance with a bear strength you would have gotten 1 attack off with more dice leaving the offensive player in some sort of an advantage after he nullified your quick cast.
Crumble and Disperse skews this in a problematic way... It makes undoing too easy and adds to the forgiveness of the initial mana sink of the spawnpoints.
.......................
All in all there are too many ways to get mana back too fast.

Bolded certain parts for emphasis

This, in its essence and intent (as I understand it), reflects my views as well. I don't agree with every solution posted, but I do agree that defensive play and the ease of which mana is recovered from long-game "investments" due to efficiency in later cards is a problem for the game. It also means that to be competitive in a tournament of players all playing to win, using a "rush book" (definition coming later, there is some grey area) is a significant handicap to the point of being noncompetitive.



Of course its problematic to the health of the game that more or less every release since Druid vs Necromancer overall favors long games and passive games.
Eventually a "game of dueling mages" will turn into a "game of emptying your opponents spell book before he empties yours!"


Again, I agree here. It's no longer a game of "dueling mages" so much as a game of starcraft where you spam units out of buildings (spawnpoints) faster/more efficiently than your opponent. Tactics still have some play here, so it's not the end of the world. However, since the ritual and spawnpoint spam is so prevalent, the game does tend to degrade into armies smashing into each other. It's just not a game of dueling mages anymore when mages rarely engage each other.

The above could also be recency bias, but I've had this feeling for a LONG time. Of note, it's not a bash on starcraft. I love that game. It's just not a dueling mage game.

I am still curious to hear what decks "are dead and will never recover [...]" - how he defines a fast/rush deck. Because if he uses the same definition as someone in Discord "Either you have won in T5 or you will definitely lose the game" then imho it's no loss that this kind of deck is not viable any longer.
If he was referring to something else, please let us know what deck exactly you mean. Every deck that doesn't use 3 spawnpoints + mediation amulet + Ritual? Hardly... so what are we talking about!?

Reddice has a good point on this:

I think you are somewhat misunderstanding rush in this context .

Obviously just running and throwing boulders will not work and is not a fun experience for any player. But that's not what rush entails. Rush implies aggressive play, which should be a perfectly valid strategy. I personally find games which involve few creatures to be far more interesting and tactical than games with large armies. As JackSmack said, the later often divulge into teleport wars. No fun for anybody.

I think we're all (including myself, a bit) using "rush" and "aggressive" interchangeably when there should probably be a bit more nuance to the subject. Yes, rush books that can win on T5 or 6 by throwing tons of dice are generally viewed as uncompetitive because those books have no mid or long game plan to which they can pivot. You win, or you get thwarted. I tend to view that as being ok to an extent because it's on the extreme side. Conversely, TOO much economy will do the same thing  at the other end of the spectrum(get beaten by faster books due to extreme investment in the long game).

What I don't find all that interesting is the fact that there really isn't an avenue for a mid-game aggressor to beat one of the aforementioned economy-spawnpoint builds either. Those economy builds are now able to minimize the time that they're vulnerable to the point of them being inherently untouchable due to the time it takes to set up to kill them. I'm going to use a personal example here, but there is a near zero chance that an adramelech warlock book built specifically to fight those long game books actually stands a chance against them. It's simply too easy to earn back the mana/action investment inherent in the spawnpoint/economy play that there isn't really any counterplay that exists other than to build a better spawnpoint/economy book OR outplay your opponent to a significant degree. I find that in high level tournaments, the degree to which people are outplayed tends to be extremely tight. It is good that the competition is close, but it is unfortunate that one must build a narrow set of books to keep the competition close enough for a realistic chance at winning. That reasoning alone is why I chose to run the necromancer at GenCon this year despite my years of practice with a completely different style of play/mage.


Iím on board with keejchenís logic. As I pointed out earlier rush builds are not dead. They maybe more difficult to execute.  I would say keep things the way they are until next couple of tournaments.  I donít think we have fully explored the Current meta yet.  Zot took 2nd with well planned book construction and a rush tactic that worked.  I donít know if he ran any zone attacks but I do feel they could have been very effective against a ritual of kallek book.   Zone attacks are really effective, my buddy and I run a tsunami in every other build because they can swing a game.

This isn't intended to diminish zot's play, or those at GenCon, but zot took 2nd in a field of 6. Zot played his mind out, and made one hell of a run with a book that was at a significant disadvantage from the roll for initiative. This disadvantage was despite the fact that the book was designed to beat the ritual spawnpoint economy books. Zot "stole" a few wins where most would have never stood a chance, and that's a testament to his play. I'd argue that if he'd leveled the playing field and joined the dark side (read: Played a ritual book) the tournament would have turned out quite differently.

I'm not trying to argue that these books are unbeatable, but I do believe that the economy spawnpoint books are at a significant advantage vs every other type of book that exists to the point of it over centralizing the game around them. Remember when everyone ran wizards because they enjoyed a similar advantage from the start of a game? In my opinion, this situation is similar.

One of the things that the ritual of kallek specifically does is that it exacerbates the divide between 9 and 10 channeling mages. 10 channeling mages (+Druid) benefit more from ritual than their 9 channel counterparts due to the already significant extra mana they enjoy during the game. It's a multiplier effect that tends to spiral out of control.

I don't have a lot of immediate solutions to the issue though without a complete rework of some of the systems in mage wars. One of the reasons we're trying out the rule that all mages channel 10 in the league season 2 is to see the effect that has on both variety of mages and variety of builds since the initial playing field is a bit more level. The hope is that the initial starting advantage previously enjoyed by the economy spawnpoint builds is smaller to the point that they may have a larger window of vulnerability that they have to account for. We'll see how it plays out the next couple of months. Hopefully that data can drive further discussion.

As always, the above is just my 2 mana :D . This looks like a great discussion at least because it brings some good ideas out.


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zot

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"stole" ?

 :D