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Author Topic: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion  (Read 2546 times)

Enti

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Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« on: November 15, 2019, 09:45:21 PM »


Pillar of Righteous Flame. Arguably the most powerful legal MW card since the expansion Paladin vs. Siren. Or is it?


First of all, how do we even judge the strength of a card? We look at one card and experienced players can immediately assess if this card is strong or not. How do they do this? They compare it with similar, known cards!

For example:
We see a lvl 2 creature with 8 life, 2 armor and 3 dice attack. Nothing else. No effect. And it's an animal.
So how much mana would you estimate for this creature? Certainly not 9 mana, because for 9 mana you get 10 life, 2 armor, 4 dice.
And 8 mana? On that slot this unit would compete with the Silverclaw Ratel (8 mana, 8 life, 1 armor, 3dice piercing 1, when it is damaged, the Ratel has doublestrike)
No need to tell you, if that thing would cost 8 mana, noone would ever play this theoretical card.
So what if it cost 7 mana? Is it a good card now? "Good" as in, does it get played with a manacost of 7? Probably not because for one mana more you can get far more "dmg output" with the Ratel on the board.

Now imagine it is a knight. Suddenly all I wrote up there isn't relevant any more. Now your point of comparison immediately changes to the little Asyrian Defender. 8mana, 8 life, 2 armor, 3dice, def 9+ is now the point of reference. Again it is obvious that 9 or 8 mana is too much for my vanilla creature that I described. Considering that even the Asyrian Defender is very very seldom played, we can infer that the defender is too weak for its mana-cost.

Now ... imagine it is a demon. With what do you compare my vanilla 8life, 2armor, 3dice demon now? Either with Afflicted Demon or the Scourger I presume. Or you go with the Firebrand Imp..  And actually compared to the Firebrand Imp which is 5 mana, 6life, 2dice (fire) + flame immunity my vanilla demon suddenly doesn't look that bad. For 2 more mana you get +2 life, +2 armor and roughly the same attack.

And now imagine I say it is a shark. Again ...  I guess by now I have made my point clear. We use known, similar cards as reference if we judge how strong a card is.
If I ask you how good a creature is, you won't reference "Wall of Steel" in your reply and tell me that I only need 6 turns to get through that wall. You'll look for a similar creature to compare it with!


---



So let's face the question you have all been thinking about. If you have to judge how "good" Pillar is, with what do you compare it? I think there are 3/4 different card types you can compare it with.
First of all.. the most obvious one, we compare it with other conjurations that trigger an attack when someone enters the zone:
Apart from Manglers Caltrops and Bed of Urchins ... there are none to compare it with. I think it goes without saying that next to Pillar those two cards look... underwhelming. See for yourself:
Manglers: https://gyazo.com/07987c65d4121f0a8221a5918ba4387c
Urchins: https://gyazo.com/15e66df60ed823caab814d4379154b02
Pillar: https://i.gyazo.com/a91fa452eb00561b01e5d34ed3a1772e.png

We could also compare it with another card that is .. hmm.. apart from one effect very very similar:
Thunderstorm: https://gyazo.com/14108c1e6004008c2a70ecda5f611e35
Have you ever seen this card in a game? Probably not. Even though it's 3 mana cheaper and only has 1 attack-die less.
Well.. let's compare those two cards. Thunderstorm costs 3 mana less, as I said. But it doesn't attack when you cast it, only when a dissipate is removed. So that's a guaranteed 4 dice attack less than Pillar has. A simple 4 dice attack is worth 4 mana. That alone makes the Pillar superior. But the strongest feature of the pillar, the attack on entry and the +2 vs non-living is not even included yet in the manacost. Well, it feels wasted to compare those two cards, we all know that Pillar is way way better than Thunderstorm.

Now we could compare the Pillar with traps but let's come to the interesting comparison. In essence the Pillar is an attack spell, even though it's technically a conjuration. So let's compare it with attack spells. I guess it's best to compare it with Hurl Boulder. Finally a card that gets _frequently_ played in tournaments. A card that has many equal alternatives:
Fireball, Force Hammer, Lightning Bolt - they are all rather close together in terms of strength / mana efficiency.

Hurl Boulder, the classic attack spell. Frequently used to kill conjurations or to deal the last needed damage to finish the opponent: https://gyazo.com/0576b810f65381bd0e617e840c2cd6a7

8 mana, 7 dice, range 0-2

Finally a card we can really measure the Pillar against. But considering that the Pillar is ethereal maybe we should take the ethereal counterpart to the Boulder? That would be the Lightning Bolt. Also 8 mana but only 5 dice. So they subtracted 2 whole dice because its attack is ethereal? Well, and because it can roll a better effect. Let's say the ethereal was one dice and the better effect the other dice.
Here is the Lightning Bolt, maybe the closest attack spell we can compare the Pillar to:
https://gyazo.com/10e4c480e0adc1a8857bab1fbdc6c4da

You can draw your own conclusions, the post is getting to lengthy as it is.


---

I want to take a stance against three main arguments I have heard so far:
"Pillar is not too strong because ...  ['insert card' is better] dissolve and dispel are better"
First of all as you have seen in the beginning, I reject the whole premise of taking completely unrelated cards which have a fundamental different application as reference for a comparison.
But even IF I were to compare those cards with the Pillar I have to answer:
Dispel and Dissolve are zero-sum cards. You destroy something for exactly the same cost that your opponent paid for it. To destroy a 5 mana enchantment, you have to pay 5 mana. You win nothing in terms of mana.
Yes, it might be crucially important to dispel that enchantment and I'd rather not have a Pillar in my book than no Dispel or Dissolve, but that's not how the value of any card is determined, as we have discussed in the beginning.

Second argument goes like that:
"I have seen many games in which Pillar only gets 2 attacks out and then it's 9 mana for 2*4 dice ethereal with  daze/burn chance, that's not broken."

And I agree. In the worst case scenario the Pillar is not broken. In the utterly worst case scenario Pillar is like two a mixture of those two attack spells:
Arc Lightning: https://gyazo.com/2bc601d803d6342a6533360bac110f0f
Firestream: https://gyazo.com/8019d88a6a86096697383f3330a91691
And I admit, very few people would play those spells without hawkeye and other buffs. So you basically cast 2 spells with one action, but yeah... I agree that in the worst case scenario Pillar is not very impressive.
But highly situational cards are not judged by their worst case, but by their best case.
You don't look at Purify and say "well, if I neither have poison conditions nor poison enchantments, that card is utterly useless" when you build a deck. You think about prior games and on that basis you decide how likely it is that a situation arises in which Purify would be the best option in your entire book. And how dearly you'd miss it if you had to choose another option. Dispel for example. And most here would probably go for a Dispel instead of Purify even though in a best case scenario Purify is way way better. But how likely is said case to actually appear..


I have seen many many games in which Pillar was the sole pivotal card of the entire game.
Keejchen vs. markus at the German Championship this year. I've forgotten how many dice he has gotten out of the pillar.. The whole skeleton army forcewaved into that pillar.. Game over, in one move. From "he has no chance" to "he has won" in a single turn. Yes, he needed another card to pull that off, does that make force wave the second best card? Nope :p


The damage potential this card has is insane. Against every necro you have with minimal effort at least 4*6 dice, if you play against bloodthirsty zombies regularly 6*6 dice and more. And they don't even have armor! And the daze/burn chance is also increased against undeads.

Also, necro is one of the top mages. Having a card that obliterates undeads is very beneficial. Imagine two necro players, one has the pillar in his book, the other doesn't. The necro who has Pillar will probably win 10/10 games, that's how much impact this single card has.
And this is my problem with the card. You are practically forced to include it because it gives you such an insane advantage against every mage who uses non-living creatures. And accidentally, if you meet a Fire Elemental or a Whirling Spirit or an Invisible Stalker or a Gray Wraith ... You can trade very very favourably. 9 mana for 20/12/15/10 and you still have some attacks left for other targets.

The third aspect that makes this card so strong, apart from its undead and incorporeal kill mechanism, is whenever both sides play with creature spawnpoints. Imagine it's the turn in which you engage, both sides have 5 lvl 2 creatures. Your opponent attacks your field with 2 creatures, after that you play the Pillar in your zone. Now either he takes 4 dice for every additional creature he sends into this zone or he "surrenders" his investment and will lose the 2 creatures he has send into your zone. Also, next turn you play chant of rage and take is best remaining creature into your killing zone. Or you forcepush a creature that already moved. Or or or or.
This card has so many applications, you can even use it for dealing dmg to the enemy mage, if you prepare accordingly. I sometimes see the enemy mage keep standing in the same zone with the Pillar, because they expect me to forcepush/teleport them back into the zone anyway and then they used mana and actions to get away but because I am prepared they are in a worse position than before.



This card is well above the powerlevel of any comparable card. What are my suggestions to fix it? I don't mind that this card is insanely powerful in the right circumstances. I mind that it comes so cheaply to have such a powerful tool with you.
- First of all: Make it more expensive, so that you really have to sacrifice other tools if you want to include the Pillar into your book. I suggest lvl 4 holy.
- Secondly, remove the ethereal. Incorporeal creatures already don't see any arenas from the inside.
- Bump it up to 13 mana, that way you have at least to plan ahead if you want to use that card and cannot decide at the beginning of every turn if you want to use it now.
- Remove "non epic" from "Siphon Energy" target bar.




How do you judge how strong a card is?
What are your craziest Pillar-moments?
Do you think the card needs to be re-balanced? Why, why not?

I hope we see a civilized, fruitful discussion here and feel free to rip my text apart :)

shoopufff

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2019, 12:32:51 AM »
Solid write up!

I do think Pillar is an extremely powerful card and I would not be upset if it was changed but I also do not think it breaks the game or forces you to put it in every deck.

So, for the sake of discussion, I will dig into this a bit more to examine what makes Pillar appear so much better seeming than other options.

Pillar of Righteous Flame is first and foremost an EPIC card. This means you can only have 1 and in this respect if you look at most other cards with the epic trait, you'll see that they are far better than their non-epic counterparts, for good reason because you can only have 1 ever.

With that in mind, let's look at some easy to compare cards 1 epic and 1 not.

Heal - Quickcast - 9 mana - holy 2 - living creature - 8 dice
Lay Hands - Quickcast - 9 mana - holy 3 - Living non-mage creature - 12 dice and infinite condition removal for relevant cost

So the first major difference of course is that Lay Hands cannot target the mage, which is a reasonable downside because that is the most important creature there is and the one you'd likely want to heal most. However, quoting you in from your post:

Quote
But highly situational cards are not judged by their worst case, but by their best case.
"

Lets ignore that bit and focus on what it's good at, healing other creatures. Using that we can see that for the same mana it's 1.5X as effective as heal in dice alone and comes with the extra condition removal, if we measure that with another known spell (Cure) that gives you the ability to remove a single condition we can estimate that cost to at least 2 mana because while that spell also heals 2 attack dice, you can only remove a single condition. With this I would estimate an Epic card is roughly twice as powerful as a relevant non-epic card.

Taking this information let's go back to the spell that I agree is closest to Pillar in function, Thunderstorm. Let's see if we can backtrack and find out where Pillar is about twice as powerful based on the above. So if we first try to measure their comparable attacks we can take two extremely similar light and lightning attacks namely, Arc Lightning and Sunfire Burst.

They both have range of 0-1 / ethereal & unavoidable / arguably similar effects and cost 5 mana. However, notably the light attack has the +2 against nonliving (like Pillar) but interestingly, has 1 less attack die than arc lightning. By this I think we can agree that pillar has 2 extra attack dice when compared to Thunderstorm with arc lightning and sunfire burst as our models for comparing light and lightning attacks.

So, with this knowledge we could say just by the default attacks Pillar has at least ~1.5X the power of Thunderstorm just by the attack power alone because it has 1 extra dice in addition to the situational +2 vs nonliving.

However, as you noted, pillar attacks on entry which if you assume they both get the same number of attacks is either 2X as many attacks to 1.33X. This is determined by assuming worst and best case for casting the spell (only gets 1 attack from dissipates so adding another attack doubles the attacks, to gets all 3 where it only adds an extra attack out of 3. e.g. 1.33X). Taking into consideration that pillar costs 1.5X mana (3 extra) as Thunderstorm, we could potentially just chalk this extra attack part up to that difference.

But, there is still one more aspect to Pillar that Thunderstorm doesn't account for, which is the free attack on any enemy creature that enters the zone. This is similar to caltrops and bed of urchins as you mentioned, but those are permanent (and removable) vs a temporary barrier. Yet again, there is another significant difference that they cannot attack flying creatures which is impossible to measure with known cards since there is no other card with all these qualities. With this, it should easily put it up to the 2X power threshold of an epic spell if we value caltrops (5 mana) and bed of urchins (7 mana) very conservatively.

This is all without mentioning that there is one other significant benefit to Pillar which is that it only attacks enemy creatures. Caltrops, bed of urchins and even THUNDERSTORM will attack any creature in its zone because it does not make the enemy distinction.

So, overall, while Pillar is obviously a very strong card I don't know if I think it's as egregious or offensive enough to ruin the game. In fact, I wish there were more cards that change the dynamic of the battlefield like Pillar because it changes how you think and makes games that much more interesting in my opinion.

Thank you for the post Enti! I always enjoy reading your insights into the game.

keejchen

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2019, 01:16:06 AM »
Shoopufff you're using Enti's argument incorrectly.  :)

So the first major difference of course is that Lay Hands cannot target the mage, which is a reasonable downside because that is the most important creature there is and the one you'd likely want to heal most. However, quoting you in from your post:

Quote
But highly situational cards are not judged by their worst case, but by their best case.

Lets ignore that bit and focus on what it's good at, healing other creatures.

Lay Hands not being able to target Mage is not a "worst case use" of Lay Hands. It is a limitation printed on the card. Neither the best nor the worst case use of the card will be able to affect a mage. This is what makes Lay Hands a balanced card, along with the Holy Only limitation. If any school could use Lay Hands and it affected mages, it would be in almost every book.

If Pillar had Holy Only and did not affect mages, it would be a different story.
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shoopufff

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2019, 02:47:12 AM »
That's a fair assessment. The primary reason to use that card in a comparison of the epic trait and its effect was because it has the simplest example of an epic to non-epic comparison.

Another epic card that I would argue has potentially even more power than Pillar is "Idol of Pestilence" which is also usable by all mages and affects all living creatures in all zones (except the necromancer).

I would argue that in the same way that Pillar counters and neuters non-living creatures, Idol of Pestilence has an even stronger effect on living creatures, especially with a focus low cost swarm style ones. Especially in conjunction with Deathlock (which is also epic and usable by all mages).

But, I don't think Pillar or these cards are required in every book just because they are super amazing at what they do.

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2019, 05:07:57 AM »
Option A: cast pillar and 2 teleports.
Option B: cast pillar and 2 force pushes. (Bigger risk than A)
Option C: cast 4 level 1 attacks with hawkeye

Wizard A: 8 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Wizard B: 8 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Wizard C :4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 21 dice avrage (Jet Stream)

Priestess/Paladin A: 10 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Priestess/Paladin B: 6 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Priestess/Paladin C: 4 SBP, 20 mana, 4 actions, 24 dice  (Luminous Blast)

Warlock A: 14 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Warlock B: 10 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Warlock C: 4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 20 dice + burns (Firestream)

Beastmaster/Druid A: 12 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Beastmaster/Druid B: 8 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Beastmaster/Druid C: 4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 20 dice (Spray of Barbs)

Forcemaster A: 12 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Forcemaster B: 4 SBP, 11 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice (Force pull)
Forcemaster C: 4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 20 dice (Invisible Fist)

Warlord A: 16 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Warlord B: 8 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice.
Warlord C: 4 SBP, 20 mana, 4 actions, 24 dice (Hurl Rock)

Necromancer A: 14 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Necromancer B: 10 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Necromancer C: 8 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 24 dice (Hurl Rock)

Siren A: 12 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Siren B: 8 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Siren C: 4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, avrage of 22 dice (Swell)

Not taking into account that Pillar gets + 2 vs non-living or that you get controll over the zone. The only downside is that for a lot of mages the Pillar costs more SBP so you basically sacrifice SBP for tempo which I would say is worth it.

EDIT: Basically what I meant is that you gain similair efficiency to the attack spells by just playing Pillar but the difference is that you also pay maybe 6 SBP's to take controll over a zone for 3 rounds which I think is extremely strong.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 06:17:35 AM by Knabb master »
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Enti

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2019, 07:25:04 AM »
With that in mind, let's look at some easy to compare cards 1 epic and 1 not.

Heal - Quickcast - 9 mana - holy 2 - living creature - 8 dice
Lay Hands - Quickcast - 9 mana - holy 3 - Living non-mage creature - 12 dice and infinite condition removal for relevant cost


I very much like this comparison. You take a regular card and compare it with its epic counterpart. I haven't thought of that and it's certainly worth exploring.
Although my analysis and conclusions significantly differ from yours! I enjoy reading yours nevertheless! :)

The first thing we notice is, that Lay Hands is way more powerful than Heal. Same mana, 1spb more, but 4 more  dice! That's 50% more healing!

But now we take a look at the two things that balance this epic card:
First of all the range is 0-0. So You have to be in the same zone as the creature you heal, that already is a very big disadvantage because if your strategy is to play with temple and summon units, your mage will not stand at the frontline, but in the back.

Secondly, what makes the 0-0 range even worse, is that you cannot even heal yourself. If you think back on the last 5 uses of Heal that you have seen, I am sure at least 4, probably all 5, were used on the mage.

There is a reason why you don't see Lay Hands played, it's to narrow in its use, the exact opposite of the Pillar in fact, further showcasing how much of an outlier this card is.


Let's take a look at some other epic cards and compare their powerlevel to their "next of kin".

Blur: https://gyazo.com/ffdbe71487b0dfb7ce2cb4d7146436d9
Hoodwink: https://gyazo.com/f8c615fcea0db0bc5dea7941dda0f886

Teleport: https://gyazo.com/0d56f78aaa786c9b659ecbd1f7ec0c0b
DI: https://gyazo.com/4b97ced33cb80e197a7f525ffd8aaf90

Thunderstorm: https://gyazo.com/14108c1e6004008c2a70ecda5f611e35
Pillar: https://gyazo.com/a91fa452eb00561b01e5d34ed3a1772e


I am not saying that Pillar breaks the game or that you are forced to include it in any competitive book.
What I say is that Pillar is too cheap for the amount of damage it can do and is unbalanced spellbookpointwise as well.
If I think about the wizard tower errata und compare the old wizard tower the the Ballista we have nowadays, I have to conclude that the Ballista is a better card than even the old wizard tower was. And it might well be that in future expansions we get a lot more cards that are on par with Pillar's powerlevel.


----

Option A: cast pillar and 2 teleports.
Option B: cast pillar and 2 force pushes. (Bigger risk than A)
Option C: cast 4 level 1 attacks with hawkeye

Wizard A: 8 SBP, 15-21 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Wizard B: 8 SBP, 15 mana, 3 actions, 24 dice
Wizard C :4 SBP, 16 mana, 4 actions, 21 dice avrage (Jet Stream)

First of all I really had to think hard how you manage to get 21 dice with Jet Stream in 4 attacks. That thing has 2 base dice. So with Hawkeye you have 12. Then I thought you pretended to hit 4 flyiers in row.. That would give you 4*5 dice, but you said 21 dice average. Well, you included the pushing!
First of all, one armor is way more devastating then as compared to Pillar and secondly.. I played a jet-stream Wizard for a long time and let me tell you it is so damn freaking hard to bash against walls with every attack, because you opponent knows that this is your goal once you start that. Jet Stream is not a good example to use because it is so highly dependant on the situation. That alone makes Pillar way way better.
Secondly.. you haven't included the actions that are needed to deal the damage in your analysis. Yes, you mention them, but you don't talk to them.
Even saving a single action is worth a lot when the killing starts. Secondly you neglect to mention that a forcepush at the right time not only deals those 2*4 dice dmg but in most cases lead to a situation, in which the pushed creature will die, no matter the dice of the Pillar because your own creatures are waiting in the Pillar-zone and you give them a target they wouldn't otherwise have.
And often your opponent won't enter the zone to guard the unit, because they get 4 more dice everytime they move into the zone! But if they do the same with you, you can move out of the Pillar zone and protect your forcepushed unit.


I can give you a real example: 4 Skeleton Sentries and 3 Skeleton Knights stand in my zone. I cast the Pillar to the right, move to the left and forcewave them all in. 14 mana. 7*6=42 dice in one turn with 2 actions.

Against undead we need to compare the Pillar with the holy tools that were especially made for battling undead.
https://gyazo.com/0dedf633e09c31b5678420f436761f37

And again, I don't think that single card breaks the game, I think it has a significantly bigger impact into the game than a lvl2 spell for 9 mana should have. I mean, compare it to some dark-school high-level spells..
https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/magewarsboardgame/images/4/42/Drain_Life.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150428040042
And its even stronger brother, Drain Soul: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/magewarsboardgame/images/9/96/Drain_Soul.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20150428040041

One of the strongest and most costly attack spells in disguise. There is not a single incantation more expensive than Drain Soul and they even made it "dark mage only", restricting its usage to 3 mages!
And now compare this strongest dark school specific spell with Pillar in terms of damage output and game-impact.
Bump Pillar up to 16 mana and it would still be the better card. And yes, it's level 2 and everyone can have it in their deck, not only dark mages.

I'd even be satisfied if Pillar would stay as it is, but can only be used be holy mages. Or better even, only the Priest can use it. That would finally be an incentive to play that sucker.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 11:16:59 AM by Enti »

DaveW

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2019, 10:57:50 AM »
I have used Pillar in a number of games, sometimes with success, sometimes not.

I played it once in a tournament to deter a bunch of creatures moving into my zone and killing me in a few turns. The only trouble was that I was moved from that zone and killed elsewhere. (You need more than just this card to use it effectively... which means more mana spent and more actions taken to support it.)

One downside that hasn't really been addressed is that if you play your cards right, the Pillar player will have to play additional spells to make use of the thing... stay away from that zone for three turns and you don't need to worry about it. Sure... he'll get one attack on casting the spell, and probably a second the turn after, but that could be all without additional actions and mana.

I also played it in order to make a single absolutely necessary attack against a ghost... no other enemy creatures anywhere near it, but I couldn't let the ghost sit in the zone and take apart several other creatures instead. I feel it was worth the cost even for that one attack.

The spell puts a cramp on mobility... but so do many other spells. You just need to know how to work around it.

With all that said... I feel that the spell should have been level 3 Holy at least, probably level 4. I don't think that it should be Holy mage or Priestess only on top of that though. This would make it more in line with other very powerful spells. It might also be a couple of mana more, but 13 seems too high to me, given that you can simply avoid it unless the other player puts more resources into using it to reposition you.

Instead of an increased mana cost, I like the thought being used in some tournaments where the Pillar doesn't attack if you are moved into it... only if you voluntarily move into it (and on casting and when removing dissipates). It still feels like a level 3 (or possibly 4) spell though to me.

Edit: Note that level 4 Holy makes it much more costly for a Paladin to use. Maybe that's a good thing conceptually, but I feel that the Paladin kind of needs access to this spell. (Again... just my opinion.)
« Last Edit: November 16, 2019, 11:04:11 AM by DaveW »
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shoopufff

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2019, 05:13:51 PM »
Along the lines of Holy Mage only, I think it makes a lot more sense thematically that they would be the only ones able to use it.

It would also give you a very good reason to pick them if you want to use it.

But really, I would like to see more cards that affect the board like Pillar and the other traps because they feel like a design space that has not been used that much in Mage Wars.

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2019, 05:17:35 AM »
I don't think there is anyone who will argue that the Pillar is balanced, however the game is still enjoyable with it and it is hard to build a strategy that only revolves around the card. It is not like disciple who even though she was probably weaker than the Pillar she was much worse for the game. My main concerns about nerfing Pillar are that:

The things that it is strong against are not particularly weak, mainly referring to zombies and maybe also devouring jelly. You might need to change more things other than just the Pillar.

Not everyone will play with (or know about) the new Pillar and a nerf would to a lesser extent spilt the player base (now this has already been done with disciple so it is not THAT bad).
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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2019, 07:46:02 AM »
Pillar has two things going for it.
A) It is an epic card, which is a trait that does have some weight as to the math that goes into it
B) It is a skill card

Mage Wars has two aspects to it, the building component and the gameplay component.

From a spellbook building component? Yes it is an easy choice for holy mages and 9 out of 10 times a solid choice for everyone else, even at 6 spellbook points for the three dark mages, as an ace up your sleeve, tempo zone lockdown card.

Like a few other spells, the potency of Pillar is something that is determined by external factors, most importantly the timing, and cannot be the solo determiner of it's costs. The same argument of "imbalance" could be made for all the timing/skill cards like reverse attack, eye for an eye, mind control, and divine intervention.

Knabbmaster has a great breakdown of comparing the cost of attack spells and pillar (plus teleport/push costs) which is a very good light to look at it in a spellbook building perspective, but doesn't translate perfectly either into a gameplay aspect. He is 100% right that it can be a very big, EPIC, tempo card that can go along way and, more important than anything, is readily available to all mages regardless of training. Epic spells that are not powerful is just bad design. Mediocre Epic spells do not make for fun gameplay. I, personally, would not call it "OP" by any means.

For the push/wave argument, may I introduce you to Wall of Earth for the low, low cost of 5 mana.

And I am still trying to wrap my head around a situation where 4 skeletal sentries and 3 skeletal knights have not already won the game, that's ~27 dice a round; not to mention Unholy Resurgence means some of that skeletal army may survive. Regardless, you are using an extreme example, which shows the potency of two skill cards at work might I add. Should force wave be epic and cost ~9-12 because it CAN be such a huge swing? 

Also keep in mind a few things about pillar that I see a few people get confused on:

It is a ranged attack, not a zone attack: Defenses, like Force Orb or Cobra Reflexes, and Intercept can force the Pillar to miss a creature.

Creatures summoned into the zone do not get attacked by the pillar as they are not "entering the zone" as stated in the FAQ:
"Entering a Zone A creature only “enters” a zone if it moves there using a move action, or is Pushed or Teleported.  Being Summoned or otherwise put into play in that zone does not count as “entering” the zone.  Thus, traps and spells like Mangler Caltrops are not triggered when a creature is Summoned. "

and last but definitely the least important, and has never come up in a game of MW ever, Pillar cannot target a creature that is currently invisible.

If anything, more, epic/mage only, spells need to use Pillar as the bar.

iNano78

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2019, 09:10:32 AM »
The card that Pillar reminds me of is Mass Sleep. That is, both Mass Sleep and Pillar can completely swing a game from (a) a huge army of creatures is about to finish off the lone mage and the victory seems to be inevitable, to (b) the huge army has been completely decimated and the lone mage now holds the advantage and goes on to win. And both require some set up and/or precise timing to get the most value out of them.

Mass Sleep isn't Epic, but it's a level 4 Mind spell (e.g. costs 8 sbp for most mages), doesn't work against enemy mage or Psychic Immune creatures (e.g. most undead, non-living, incorporeal, etc, plus a few others like Knight of the Red Helm), and costs 15 mana + a Full action. It doesn't need to be Epic because no one would ever consider putting 2 copies of this spell in their spell book due to opportunity cost (e.g. sbp and mana cost), let alone likelihood of finding two opportunities in one match to play such a card.

I think it's interesting that Pillar works against all creatures (including mages) and is especially effective against the subset of creatures that are coincidentally immune to Mass Sleep (e.g. non-living & incorporeal). Pillar is definitely more versatile, as in any match, you can almost always get value out of Pillar (e.g. at least 2 attacks off against at least 1 creature including enemy mage), whereas Mass Sleep might get played in 5-10% of your matches even when you're looking for an opportunity because it requires that your opponent has summoned a swarm of living non-mage creatures and they've been corralled into one zone - and even then you might not be able to justify the mana cost and action. That said, I often include it in a solo or buddy Forcemaster book because those times that it does get played are almost always situations that turn a loss into a win.

If Pillar were level 4, cost 15 mana + a Full action, then it probably wouldn't be too powerful. Would still be much more versatile than Mass Sleep, and would probably get played more often and by a variety of mages compared to Mass Sleep.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 09:17:47 AM by iNano78 »
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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2019, 09:28:35 AM »
Wouldn't the best nerf be to add an additional mana cost for all attacks after the initial one? Maybe 2 mana for each attack? 2 mana for 4 dice (or more) are still very good. If you use force push to get an attack on an opponent creature, you pay 5 mana for 4+ dice and effect, just like an attack spell. The pillar would still be a very fun tactical card to use for more aggressive short term goals. Temple of light would of course be a more flexible choice and it can theoretically stay in play for the rest of the game, but it isn't super good economy-wise. If the extra attacks from the pillar would cost 2 mana, we would hopefully see less of the pillars in non-holy decks, and maybe we will see more Tempe of light in holy decks. More variation is good for the game.

If you only increase the initial casting cost of the pillar, you will get rid of some of the "must have in every deck" problem. But the risk of negative game experiences (the skeleton swarm for example) would still be a problem. It's the same problem if you make it higher level or holy only.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 09:38:52 AM by Powlich »

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2019, 05:18:18 PM »
The comparison between Pillar and Mass Sleep might just show how overpriced MS is....

I thought the decisions these days were based around making games shorter... Pillar does that.
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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2019, 07:55:27 PM »
Like a few other spells, the potency of Pillar is something that is determined by external factors, most importantly the timing, and cannot be the solo determiner of it's costs. The same argument of "imbalance" could be made for all the timing/skill cards like reverse attack, eye for an eye, mind control, and divine intervention.

You are right that there are some cards that can be very powerful in the right, specific circumstances. We all love those cards. Predicting that next turn your opponent might finally make a powerful long range (therefore not unavoidable) attack so that you can finally play your reverse attack and change everything, those cards are great and they are highly valued.
I myself won several games in the German Nationals because of reverse attack so be assured I am not someone who doesn't appreciate this card. If I remember correctly I was the only one from the top5 who included this card in his deck in the first place. So really, I do appreciate this card a lot and love it.
It needs a lot of experience and a good read on the game-state to really see the full potential of this card, hence why I like it so.

But it is at least two magnitudes below the Pillar in terms of power-level. As you so rightly point out, it is a very situational card. But Pillar is not. It really is not. And that's exactly the problem. Even in the worst case, you have just begun to play the game and have no idea what you are doing, you still get at least 8 dice out of the pillar - for 9 mana and one quick cast.
You know what the worst case is with reverse attack. You invest 2 mana, a quick cast, and get ZERO because your opponent used an unavoidable attack. And this worst case happens significantly more often than worst case with the Pillar.
And if you start to compare their best case... oh boy. I'd say a realistic best case scenario with reverse attack would be playing against an Adramelech Warlock who is fully buffed and you KNOW that he cannot play fireblast because he already used up 6 of them. At this point it's not such a gamble any more to play the RA. And because it is best case, your opponent doesn't have any armor, so you deal 9 dmg and 2 burns.
Additionally, because we are talking best case here, you yourself didn't wear any armor either so you prevented 9 dmg.
If I have to place a mana-cost on this, I'd go with 2 times drain life or more generic 9dice dmg are 9mana and 9 heal are 9 mana, so roughly 18 mana worth out of those 7 we invested.
e4e has a far worse efficiency-coefficient. Realistic best case would probably be that you again have 0 armor and someone attacks you with a pumped FB, so you might get 9 mana out of the 4 you invested. Roughly speaking.


Let's just take the example from the DM (german championship) as a "realistic best case example" since we have actually seen it happening - probably in contrast to my very favourable theoretic RA example.
9+5 mana generated 42 dice. So investment is 14 mana and you have gotten out of it an attack spell worth 42 mana.

Another example that comes to mind, again a real example not a theoretical one as used for RA:
In my ADMW2 tournament game vs. Jacksmack - sadly coshade and puddn haven't uploaded that game - I placed one or two lasher next to his graveyard and whenever he summoned a creature from the yard I snatched it into the zone with the Pillar. And since brutes are bloodthirsty to begin with, they never leave the zone anyway. Until they are dead again. I don't know how many rolls I have gotten out of the Pillar, I played the game maybe 8 month ago, but I guess..  7? Maybe 8?


I'd love to look for some more examples, I remember a Tsunami by juli which "accidentally" pushed someone in a pillar, than through a wall of thorns than back through the wall of thorns and into the pillar again. And the Pillar was played x turns ago for something entirely different. And Tsunami or the WoT don't have 50% of the players nagging how unbalanced those cards are.

Because, and that's what I was trying to show from my first post on, Pillar is not in the same sense situational like the other cards you have mentioned.
I'd go so far and say Pillar might be one of the most versatile cards in the whole game, which is exactly the problem. There are so countless situations in which you can beneficially use it compared to e4e or RA or WoT or whatever.




Two more points I want to stress once again, because nobody has said anything to them yet:

Firstly:
If two necromancer play against each other, and are roughly at the same skill level, the necro with Pillar will win. Thus forcing necros to include a pillar in case of a mirror match.


Secondly:
Apart from being so very good against undeads, the Pillar (obviously) is also the perfect weapon against ANY incorporeal creature, making incorporeal play styles virtually non-existent because you have to expect at least every second book to have a hard-counter against you in their arsenal.




and last but definitely the least important, and has never come up in a game of MW ever, Pillar cannot target a creature that is currently invisible.

I would not be surprised if AW comes up with a rule that changes the targeting system of ranged attacks itself.
So that indestructible, epic light-conjurations now can target invisible creatures in the same zone.

And I expect people would still defend it because there are so few instances in which it matters, so why fuss about it! :p
« Last Edit: November 21, 2019, 08:18:51 PM by Enti »

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Re: Pillar of Righteous Flame - Discussion
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2019, 11:01:27 PM »
   the pillar would still be strong if you did as davew suggested which came via farkas and victore as possible solutions which was to only let the enter zone attack happen if the opponent took an action that resulted in a move into the pillar zone. you would still have all the other benefits. I think that even if you removed the enter zone affect completely it would still get played by several mages.

   if it did not have the enter zone portion of the spell, you could get max 24d (plus possible daze/burns) for 9 mana and 1 action.

   currently I feel it is more comparable to back to back zone attacks generally affecting 4-6 creatures in many skill cast situations. the 42d example seems like really bad play on one players part where they overloaded a zone.