Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Spellbook Design and Construction => Topic started by: Koz on August 27, 2013, 11:58:07 AM

Title: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 27, 2013, 11:58:07 AM
This is an old thought that I have discussed within my playgroup before and it has come back to light with some recent deck theorycrafting and build testing and I was wondering what other people's thoughts were on the subject.  The issue I am referring to is regarding "overused" cards.  In that I mean cards that go in pretty much every build, regardless of Mage or strategy. 

As an example, this is pretty much how I start every build, regardless of the Mage:

Dragonscale Hauberk x1
Elemental Cloak x1
Battle Forge x1
Agony x1
Nullify x2
Teleport x2
Force Push x2
Dispel x2
Seeking Dispel x1
Dissolve x2
Bear's Strength x1

From there I will modify those above numbers depending on Mage and strategy, such as possibly adding more Teleports or more Nullifies, or whatever.  I rarely subtract any of those cards though (with the exception of possibly removing one Dissolve for an Explode in the Warlock).  In addition to those cards, I also will use the following cards 99% of the time depending on which specific mage it is:

Gauntlets of Strength x1 (for all melee builds)
Retaliate x2 (for all melee builds)
Leather Boots and Leather Gloves x1 each (for most builds, but not all)
Eagleclaw Boots x1 (for 90% of my builds)
Regrowth Belt x1 (for most builds except Warlock which runs Colossus Belt for anti-control)
Stormdrake's Hide x1 (for back up armor)
Reverse Magic x1 (most builds)
Falcon's Precision x1 (for all melee builds)
Mage's Staff x1 (all builds not running a better weapon already, such as Lash of Hellfire)
Rhino's Hide x1 (most builds get one of these)
Cheetah's Speed x1 (all melee builds get one)
Bull's Endurance x1 (most builds get one)
Poisoned Blood x1 (most builds get one)
Purge Magic x1 (every Wizard build gets one and a lot of others if I can squeeze it in)
Purify x1 (most builds except Priestess)
Mongoose's Agility x1 (for all melee builds)

In addition, I pretty much run a lot of the mage specific spells that go with each mage every build, as follows:

Wizard: Wizard's Tower x2, Arcane Ring x1, Steal Enchantment x1 and Mana Crystal x2
Warlock: Lash of Hellfire x2, Drain Life x1, Ghoul Rot x1, Magebane x1 and Deathlink x1
Beastmaster: Ring of Beasts x1, Enchanter's Ring x1
Priestess/Priest: Staff of Asyra x2, Ring of the Dawnbreaker x1
Forcemaster: Forceblade x1, Forcefield x1, Ring of Defense x1, Forcering x1
Warlord: I don't play Warlord... but... Iron Golem?

Ok, so, after all that, what's my point?  Well, some people I've talked to about this have said that there are too many spells that are "mandatory" if you want to be competitive and that 50-70% of any given spellbook "builds itself".  The above framework doesn't even discuss the obvious includes that go along with each mage, such as Earth Mages running Iron Golems and Hurl Boulders in some quantity in every build, or Warlocks running Fireballs and Flameblasts in some quantity in every build, or Priestess/Priests running some healing in every build, or...well, you get the idea.

I'm not sure how I feel about this honestly, and I've told people who have complained about this that I don't feel its a huge deal, but I have to admit that I'm kind of getting sick of putting the same spells in every single book automatically, but they are too good NOT to include.

Now, before anyone goes off the rails with any red herrings such as "it's not so much the specific cards in the book as how you play it", or "I don't put x2 Dispels in every build, it's just you".  Yes, I know that its the actual tactics used in each game that is most important and I know that not everyone may use the same combination of "auto-includes" as I do, but I bet it will be close.  I get all that and it's not what I'm trying to discuss. 

So, my question is, how does everyone feel about this?  I used to not care about it at all, but recently I've started to not like it to a certain extent because I feel like the spell book building is being taken out of my hands by mandatory includes and obvious includes to the point where I'm not making as many decisions as I'd like to make regarding my build.  I also feel that as more expansions come out, the more mandatory and obvious includes will emerge.

So is it a non-issue to most people as it mostly is to me?  Is there anyone else out there, like my friends, who are really bothered by this?   



Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: sIKE on August 27, 2013, 12:24:59 PM
Interesting topic. At this point in the life cycle of the game many of the cards you cover are useful to all mages and therefore added into most books automatically. In the Gencon interview Bryan said there were over 900 unreleased cards they are working with. My hope is as the card pool develops and deepens, you will end up with 200 points worth of "must haves"  :) and then have to make the tough decisions. So obviously to me, the auto include cards choices are due more to a shallow set of cards available in game at this point. I am positive things will change in the future.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Stormmaster on August 27, 2013, 01:39:21 PM
Variety is the spice of life (and the game too).  I totally hear what you are saying about 'similar builds' and I have felt that (although to a smaller degree that it seems you do).  The way I tackle the issue (if you can call it an issue) is do the 'auto includes' and each new build regardless of mage, add in a new strategy, new combo, new win condition, new something to make it 'new'/'different'.

That way even though I'm including most of the auto includes it doesn't make the game feel stale or the same thing over and over.  To the point I can play the same mage multiple times but take it a different way, various creatures interact with eachother, spell combos, do I go more melee this time etc.

I do understand your sentiment but I think it is managable.

Also if you really want something fun and crazy I have made some 'theme' builds and just put all angels in a deck or angels and demons or make a cat beast deck or dog or wall maze/trap build or whatever.  Ya they include most of the auto includes but there is still points available for whatever FUN game variants you can think up.  Make it fun, make it YOURS, don't copy all the cookie cutter strategies.  Some of the most fun games I've played are weird ideas I thought up and was surprised they worked.  Even with weird stuff so far I have never lost a game of Mage Wars.  I suspect some day some strategy deck build won't work out though but as long as I have fun it will be OK with me.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 27, 2013, 04:02:56 PM
If you wanted to, you could trim that list of must haves a bit, but you're right that there's a list. I don't think anyone goes into the arena without at least a Nullify, some sort of 6 cost armor, and either Teleport or Force Push.

And with 120 points, why wouldn't you? Some basic cards are just such a handicap to play without that there'd be no better use of points. And It's not like the point budget is so tight that mages can't afford to pay to splash.

Maybe if books had to be 100 points, spellbooks would be tighter, but generally what you're describing is the benefit of experience: You've learned that these cards are better than the alternatives (or there are no alternatives) and so you use them.

But given that one of the most fun and powerful books of the recent tournament is an Earth Wizard with a Grizzly, and before that was Force master with Hand of Bim-Shalla, I don't really think we have to worry about books building themselves.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 27, 2013, 04:43:28 PM
If you wanted to, you could trim that list of must haves a bit, but you're right that there's a list. I don't think anyone goes into the arena without at least a Nullify, some sort of 6 cost armor, and either Teleport or Force Push.

And with 120 points, why wouldn't you? Some basic cards are just such a handicap to play without that there'd be no better use of points. And It's not like the point budget is so tight that mages can't afford to pay to splash.

Maybe if books had to be 100 points, spellbooks would be tighter, but generally what you're describing is the benefit of experience: You've learned that these cards are better than the alternatives (or there are no alternatives) and so you use them.

But given that one of the most fun and powerful books of the recent tournament is an Earth Wizard with a Grizzly, and before that was Force master with Hand of Bim-Shalla, I don't really think we have to worry about books building themselves.

Well, as I said in my post, these friends of mine say that 50 - 70% of the books build themselves, not that 100% of their content is predetermined.  And they are kind of right, because the majority of books do tend to contain a huge chunk of mandatory or obvious choices.  Sure, you can splash a Grizzly into your Earth Wizard, but that doesn't change what the thread is all about because Charmyna's build contains all the stuff that is an auto-include on my list except he only has one Force Push and no Seeking Dispel.  It kind of proves my point actually.

I think that some people, like a couple of guys in my play group, don't like that so much of the spellbooks are "samey".  That's a valid criticism.  It doesn't bother me as much as it does them, however, what really got me thinking about this recently is the auto-include of Battleforge in every single competitive build I see.  I'm actually kind of getting sick of seeing everybody drop this, and I'm kind of getting sick of playing it to be honest.  But it's too good NOT to play.

So, I was just wondering what other people thought about that issue.  Maybe it's not an issue at all.  Maybe I'm just sick of seeing Battleforge :P
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Memnaelar on August 27, 2013, 06:13:35 PM
I do have similar feelings on Battle Forge, based on my own, admittedly limited, observations.  I suspect that Battle Forge would become at least a question if there was a "Purge Magic" equivalent for equipment or if there was some other counter for its cost-benefit ratio of effectiveness currently. 

Who knows?  Dissolve is a Water spell and there appear to be a few Water-based mages on the horizon.  Perhaps that's where our equipment purge might lie?
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: sIKE on August 27, 2013, 07:39:43 PM
I hate to say it, but there is a Water Wizard out there already kicking arse and taking names.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: reddawn on August 27, 2013, 07:56:55 PM
Well, Battleforge is going to be a competitive auto-include because at the moment, its action advantage is more difficult to attack than those of enchantments.  I suspect this will change come NvD.

I would argue that Lash is not an auto-include for the same reason Dragonscale Hauberk, is.  Lash is unfortunately a pretty poor weapon right now, because there's no other elemental-based weapon to threaten the cardpool with.  Staff of Asyra, Galvitar, and to a lesser extent War Sledge are the best weapons because they can't be resisted and have good effects.  Hauberk is just too safe of a play for someone not to have at least 1 in their spellbook, because it totally counters the best damaging spells in the game, and the Warlock's elemental school.  It's why I have severely cut down on using flame-based spells in my Warlock book...it's better to just load up on curses and other direct damage effects, which Dark magic and the Warlock are the best at.

Overall, I don't have a problem with some cards being auto-includes.  The cardpool is still pretty small to be making that kind of list anyway, and if anything that it's good that people recognize staple cards now instead of putting a random book together and hoping it wins.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: aquestrion on August 27, 2013, 10:23:17 PM
I try to not run any counter cards. I instead choose to use all my actions to kill the enemy mage. Countering their moves is just a way to prolong an already long game. If you have a problem with them using a battle forge drop a wall or 2 by it. this is normally enough to stop them for a turn or two if they have to reposition themselves to use it. Fog bank is awesome!
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: reddawn on August 27, 2013, 10:42:08 PM
I try to not run any counter cards. I instead choose to use all my actions to kill the enemy mage. Countering their moves is just a way to prolong an already long game. If you have a problem with them using a battle forge drop a wall or 2 by it. this is normally enough to stop them for a turn or two if they have to reposition themselves to use it. Fog bank is awesome!

That sounds good in theory, but against a good opponent you're going to have to adapt or you run the risk of your actions becoming borderline worthless.  If someone stacks armor, for example, you're gonna need Piercing Strike if you expect your attacks to remain worth the actions they require.

Piercing Strike is also conviently good against the Forge.  Or at least more effective and much less expensive than attack spell alternatives.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: aquestrion on August 27, 2013, 11:00:50 PM
In practice (not theory) I have used a FM to success fully stop an opponent mage from using his battle forge 60% of the rounds we played...I will say I love piercing strike as it is an excellent solution to almost all armor problems. But the battle forge is a card like any other and it can be ignored and or bypassed. If a enemy mage keeps stacking armor I pray I roll crits. And if not then I use creatures with Pierceing trait. I understand not every book is compleatly  rounded against all eventuality s but I try my best to use my actions to kill the enemy mage....right now I favor FM and she is pretty good at handling armor. But so is dark pact, and grizzly
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: sdougla2 on August 27, 2013, 11:56:25 PM
The issues with Battleforge are that it's cheap enough to fit into pretty much any build, it's the safest/strongest action advantage option at the moment, it doesn't constrain your actions particularly to take advantage of due to all of the cheap equipment cards available, and there is not an action efficient way to deal with equipment spam.

I don't actually want a Purge Equipment spell introduced. I think that would push things too far in the other direction. Purge Magic works well within the game because it punishes overcommitment to enchanting a single creature, but you can spread enchantments around. You can't spread equipment around, you can only equip your mage. I think we need a more action efficient way of dealing with equipment, but I'm a bit concerned that a straightup Purge would make equipment too weak (or force Armor Ward on all equipment builds, which may or may not work out well in practice). The other thing that I think we need, which should be released in the next few sets hopefully, is better access to piercing. That will make getting damage through to high armor targets more manageable, and make stacking equipment somewhat less of an issue.

I'd like to see more competition between Battleforge and other action advantage cards so that there would be more variety in builds and matchups. I like Battleforge, I just feel like it's too much the default way to play. Right now I feel like you need a reason not to include Battleforge rather than a reason to justify running it.

It doesn't really bother me that there are cards that are staples, I just don't think any single action advantage card should be a staple for all classes.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: jacksmack on August 28, 2013, 03:37:41 AM
One of the current promos is:

Critical strike:
Lvl 1 war school
Enchantment
Command

Targets living creature (as usual)
2 + 3 cost
gives piercing +3 for the first attack each round.

I also believe this 1 should be released asap, and preferably as lvl 2.
Make other schools pay for it, unless they wanna use the novice incantation


This is gonna sound crazy. But i would actually like to see a non-mage enchantment that each attack can reduce 1 critical damage and another if you pay 2 mana.
Holy incantation cost 2-2.

In my last few games Thorg was almost killed by the lvl 1 flying pet bird, and Brogan was killed by 2 gremlins and a jet stream.
One would think thorg was a decent counter to the pet bird... take it down in 2 rounds get a veteran token and move on. But nooo. Thorg was badly injured after this.
Brogan should be good vs gremlins right? They cant use defense vs him, and their piercing +1 shouldnt matter much when they roll 3 dice vs 4 armor. Again. Not the case.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: DeckBuilder on August 28, 2013, 06:35:00 AM
I am very happy the subject of this thread has come up. I totally agree with the opening post, even to the point of his specific cards named. The fact that players independently come up with the same mandatory list is an issue.

I appreciate the card pool is in its infancy and, with a greater card pool, there will be more variety. However, my experience from Netrunner (which uses a same "players can include all cards but within a budget and some are at a premium" mechanic that is Mage Wars training) is that the new cards are often just replacement upgrades to an evolving mandatory list.

There are 2 issues here.

1. Some cards conduct a specific function and there are few alternatives (Dissolve, Dispel, Seeking Dispel etc)

The solution here is more variant cards with the same function but with different parameters.
Eg. "Sunder" range 2 War command level 1, next attack by target creature this turn also destroys 1 equipment on the defender of cost X or less where X = damage rolled, actioned in the Roll Dice step, spell cost ?
This is Dissolve with far longer range but unreliable, War 1 not Water 1, an alternative (currently Fire 2 Explode, Mind 3 Steal Equipment).

2. Undercosted cards

This is a bigger issue. We have undercosted cards. Iron Golem is one. Ballista as it stands is another. The fact persistent enchantment buffs (non-exclusive Ring) are not much more than one-shot commands (Warlord exclusive Ring) is another undercosting.

We also have overcosted cards that will never be played. There is no limited pool "draft/sealed" in Mage Wars unlike in Magic or HeroClix (when these overcosted cards get played). With overcosted cards, we just have to accept they are obsolete, extraneous. This is fine in a starter box but very annoying in expansions (Dispel Wand is my major issue here).

AW should pitch future cards at the same cost:benefit ratio as current undercosted cards to give us genuine choice when building books. So that there is a genuine trade-off between Iron Golem and any future Stone Golem. The current "good cards" is the power level all future cards will have to stabilise at if we are to create variety.

However, this is unrealistic. I hope AW release cards that have a power-level distribution that is narrower than the current pool. And that the mean of this distribution curve is aligned with current competitive cards (no more Dispel Wands please).

There is an alternative, the method used by FFG in their oldest LCG, Game of Thrones. In that game, there is a list of "Restricted cards", their incredibly strong cards released, and players may only play the legal number of copies of 1 of those cards. This method conceded that super-cards had been created but normal power level is lower than them and players can only have 1 of those cards (allowing for strategy and variety). However, I am unsure this approach works with Mage War's game-defining mechanic of "pick" rather than "draw". This mechanic is why I am most concerned about the growing variance in power levels between cards.

LCGs (even slow ones like MW) have a trade-off they must balance. The more they release, the greater short-term profit (repeat purchase from current low penetration) but the greater the barrier to entry (so they will be stuck with current niche penetration). However too few releases which do not inject (ideally minimal) power creep and the game stagnates, losing the enthusiasm of its current base. Magic solved this with the Standard rotations. How AW approach this is crucial to how they approach "shaking up" the current mandatory list.

It seems a shame that a Director in AW chided Shad0w for suggesting promo cards provide a great opportunity to beta test. I have worked for big companies that leverage free insight available by crowd sourcing. Market research, qualitative (focus groups etc) and quantitative (surveys) is very expensive. To not leverage free resource feedback on promo cards seems wasteful as the active fan base enthusiasm is one of the greatest strengths a small company has. After that intervention, it has made me far less enthusiastic to offer any advice.

So whilst I applaud this topic being broached, it seems quite pointless. That Director insisted all promo cards will eventually be released as is, that they are previews to reward activists. Including Ballista and Altar of Peace. So whatever we discuss here, I have very low hopes that they will be listened to.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Wiz-Pig on August 28, 2013, 07:42:35 AM
1. Some cards conduct a specific function and there are few alternatives (Dissolve, Dispel, Seeking Dispel etc)

The solution here is more variant cards with the same function but with different parameters.
Eg. "Sunder" range 2 War command level 1, next attack by target creature this turn also destroys 1 equipment on the defender of cost X or less where X = damage rolled, actioned in the Roll Dice step, spell cost ?
This is Dissolve with far longer range but unreliable, War 1 not Water 2, an alternative (currently Fire 2 Explode, Mind 3 Steal Equipment).

Fantastic Idea for a card! I really like the idea of Sunder especially since it helps to address a War School weakness in a thematic way.

We also have overcosted cards that will never be played. There is no limited pool "draft/sealed" in Mage Wars unlike in Magic or HeroClix (when these overcosted cards get played). With overcosted cards, we just have to accept they are obsolete, extraneous. This is fine in a starter box but very annoying in expansions (Dispel Wand is my major issue here).

Generally agreed though you can be certain of future synergies in any specific case.

It seems a shame that a Director in AW chided Shad0w for suggesting promo cards provide a great opportunity to beta test. I have worked for big companies that leverage free insight available from crowd sourcing. Market research, both qualitative (focus groups etc) and quantitative (surveys) is expensive. To not leverage feedback on promo cards seems wasteful as the active fan base enthusiasm is one of the greatest strengths that a small company will have. So, after that intervention, it has made me far less enthusiastic to offer any advice.

So whilst I applaud this topic being broached, it seems quite pointless. That Director insisted all promo cards will eventually be released as is, that they are previews to reward activists. Including Ballista and Altar of Peace. So whatever we discuss here, I have very low hopes that they will be listened to.

I'm not sure that is the case. He did imply it and then did not respond to my direction questioning to ascertain whether that was actually his position. They may be walking a fine line or be debating the merits of the issue. Hopefully their opinions are evolving on the subject and they will leverage that opportunity in the future. I think if nothing else there are some people such as Shad0w who are involved in the playtesting and on the forums who will be influenced in their thinking by posters and lobby for card refinements that are sensible.

I do agree it was disheartening to all outward appearances.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 28, 2013, 10:06:15 AM
The issues with Battleforge are that it's cheap enough to fit into pretty much any build, it's the safest/strongest action advantage option at the moment, it doesn't constrain your actions particularly to take advantage of due to all of the cheap equipment cards available, and there is not an action efficient way to deal with equipment spam.

I don't actually want a Purge Equipment spell introduced. I think that would push things too far in the other direction. Purge Magic works well within the game because it punishes overcommitment to enchanting a single creature, but you can spread enchantments around. You can't spread equipment around, you can only equip your mage. I think we need a more action efficient way of dealing with equipment, but I'm a bit concerned that a straightup Purge would make equipment too weak (or force Armor Ward on all equipment builds, which may or may not work out well in practice). The other thing that I think we need, which should be released in the next few sets hopefully, is better access to piercing. That will make getting damage through to high armor targets more manageable, and make stacking equipment somewhat less of an issue.

I'd like to see more competition between Battleforge and other action advantage cards so that there would be more variety in builds and matchups. I like Battleforge, I just feel like it's too much the default way to play. Right now I feel like you need a reason not to include Battleforge rather than a reason to justify running it.

It doesn't really bother me that there are cards that are staples, I just don't think any single action advantage card should be a staple for all classes.

I agree that there needs to be better alternatives to action advantage cards.  Right now Battleforge is an auto-include because it is the best and safest spawnpoint.  Wizards Tower is amazing as well, but that card serves a different purpose and does not replace Battleforge in Wizard builds.  Other than the Temple of Asyra, nobody really runs the other spawnpoints in competitive play because they are so expensive.  Nobody runs the familiars anymore either, because they are both expensive AND fragile.  Sectarus seems to be taking a backseat to Lash of Hellfire because Battleforge is still the Warlock's preferred card of choice for action advantage (and people don't generally run two action advantage cards because they are too expensive).  So that leaves Battleforge.

Companies are often reluctant, or outright unwilling, to errata cards to be MORE powerful, so I doubt we will see any re-releasing of existing spawnpoints with adjustments that would make them more attractive in comparison to Battleforge.  Which is a shame, because that's kind of what would fix the Battleforge problem.  If creature spawnpoints were more viable, people would actually have to choose between using one of them over Battleforge and you would see some variety.   
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Fentum on August 28, 2013, 11:44:35 AM
@ Wiz-Pig

WOAH! Hold up.

Where did THAT come from?  Can you please reference or link the Director's comment?  Ballista is MAD as currently written. Charmyna started a really good thread about this with various constructive commnest and suggetsions. Are they all to be ignored by principle?
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: sdougla2 on August 28, 2013, 01:26:27 PM
I still think Thoughtspores are potentially worthwhile because they're cheap enough that losing them to an attack spell is not terribly inefficient, and they can offer a great deal of tactical flexibility.

The problem with Fellella and Huginn is that they are incredibly fragile for their cost. Defenses are good on creatures that are tough enough that the defense isn't necessary for them to survive a hit, or creatures that are so cheap that the defense makes them efficient at guarding or attacking a guard. If someone Fireblasts my Feral Bobcat, I'll just shrug it off, since the Bobcat costs about what the Fireblast does. If they Fireblast Knight of Westlock, that's fine, he'll probably be okay unless he's already taken a decent amount of damage. If they Fireblast Fellella or Huginn, I'm generally pretty far behind. If Fellella and Huginn were cheaper, it might be worth the risk, but as they are currently priced, it's hard to justify.

Similarly, the expensive spawnpoints are so expensive that they stifle your ability to do anything impressive for too long. Lair costs 15. If you think of that as 2 Mana Flowers and a full action each turn, it sounds good, but the channeling is inflexible, and you're severely constrained in your ability to take advantage of the action advantage offered by Lair while simultaneously consistently using your QC and your mage's activation effectively. I think that Lair would be fine if it cost 12 honestly.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Doma0997 on August 28, 2013, 01:56:47 PM
@ Wiz-Pig

WOAH! Hold up.

Where did THAT come from?  Can you please reference or link the Director's comment?  Ballista is MAD as currently written. Charmyna started a really good thread about this with various constructive commnest and suggetsions. Are they all to be ignored by principle?

Ho Hum. Just a friendly neighborhood directory here.
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12908.30
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Memnaelar on August 28, 2013, 02:05:04 PM
I think this is a really useful conversation to have.  While, obviously, when playing for fun with friends, I'll end up experimenting with cards quite a bit regardless of efficiency, it has been a bit jarring to note that the tournament decks I've seen listed here seem to have a lot of commonalities.  I'm sure this will even out a bit as more sets are released and certain cards and strategies have their counters released as well, but it's worth taking a look at the thinking behind these repetitions even if their efficiency is theoretically going to be cut down in the long term. 

Me, I just hope a card's released that makes me want to pay the terrible costs for Gate to Hell.  What a great idea for a card that just doesn't seem like it'll ever find its way onto the table for me.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Fentum on August 28, 2013, 03:04:50 PM
@ Wiz-Pig

WOAH! Hold up.

Where did THAT come from?  Can you please reference or link the Director's comment?  Ballista is MAD as currently written. Charmyna started a really good thread about this with various constructive commnest and suggetsions. Are they all to be ignored by principle?

Ho Hum. Just a friendly neighborhood directory here.
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12908.30

Thanks
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 28, 2013, 03:15:19 PM
Would you play this card?
New Lair. Level 3 Nature. 10 mana. Conjuration. 8 hp, Arm 2. Spawnpoint. Nature Mage Only. 0 channeling. May cast a creature every turn during deployment.

What if it had this rule instead?
"New Lair may play one creature per turn during the final Quick Cast phase, regardless of that spell's action length."

Still not convinced? What if it had this rule, too: Do not select a creature spell for New Lair during Deployment. Instead, select a creature spell during your final Quick Cast.

The new rules don't change the long term strategic value of the New Lair, but they sure do make it more tactically useful. I think the version with both rules might be as strong as Wizard's Tower.

Aside from the great strategic value of spawning creatures (free full actions) the tactical value of the existing creature spawnpoints is kinda terrible: the spawned creature sits there doing nothing for your entire turn, waiting to get hit, and that's after you spend a turn casting the Lair, which does nothing for a turn, either. The problem with spawnpoints isn't just that they're too expensive, it's that they're too slow.

I mean, strategically, Real Lair is 10 mana for 2 channeling and one free full action every turn. That's probably a really good deal, especially because two mana flowers take up 2 actions to cast. It's just not any help in combat for a long time, so it's a tactical liability instead of a strategic asset.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Fentum on August 28, 2013, 03:32:48 PM
Would you play this card?
New Lair. Level 3 Nature. 10 mana. Conjuration. 8 hp, Arm 2. Spawnpoint. Nature Mage Only. 0 channeling. May cast a creature every turn during deployment.

What if it had this rule instead?
"New Lair may play one creature per turn during the final Quick Cast phase, regardless of that spell's action length."

Still not convinced? What if it had this rule, too: Do not select a creature spell for New Lair during Deployment. Instead, select a creature spell during your final Quick Cast.

The new rules don't change the long term strategic value of the New Lair, but they sure do make it more tactically useful. I think the version with both rules might be as strong as Wizard's Tower.

Aside from the great strategic value of spawning creatures (free full actions) the tactical value of the existing creature spawnpoints is kinda terrible: the spawned creature sits there doing nothing for your entire turn, waiting to get hit, and that's after you spend a turn casting the Lair, which does nothing for a turn, either. The problem with spawnpoints isn't just that they're too expensive, it's that they're too slow.

I mean, strategically, Real Lair is 10 mana for 2 channeling and one free full action every turn. That's probably a really good deal, especially because two mana flowers take up 2 actions to cast. It's just not any help in combat for a long time, so it's a tactical liability instead of a strategic asset.


I do occasionally wonder if there is a slow build meta that I am missing. One where many creatures come out to do battle in a grand melee style. When perusing art and just looking at the game, it looks as though that might happen. When actually playing the game COMPETITIVELY, it seems better to have just a couple of creatures and go for the kill.

The assassin style just leaves all the spawn points far too slow, as you say.



Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: sdougla2 on August 28, 2013, 03:59:35 PM
I think you raise some good points Ringkichard, although I would also say that the channeling on a Lair is significantly worse than a pair of Mana Flower because playing a creature every turn severely constrains your actions. Channeling on Battleforge is almost as good as having 1 extra channeling for the next 6-8 turns because of how cheap some of the efficient equipment options are. A big part of the problem with spawnpoints is how tactically weak they are, and allowing you to play something at the end of the turn would drastically help with that.

I still probably wouldn't play much with the first version you mention, but the final version sounds very interesting.

In terms of spamming creatures, I just tend to think that it's better for most mages to spam creatures without a spawnpoint if they want to spam creatures. The creature spawnpoints are expensive enough that you could have had an extra creature out a turn faster, and even if you're both going for board dominance plays, you're usually better off with that extra creature out a turn early, as you can either kill your opponent's spawnpoint or the creatures that they're generating with your early board advantage. You may be forced to switch into assassination based play if they start spamming Darkfenne Hydras or something, but you're still in good shape in that case anyway.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 28, 2013, 04:22:04 PM
There are two other problems with creature spawnpoints vs Battleforge.  Creature spawnpoints can only summon into their zone, while Equipment has a range of 0-2 which is a HUGE advantage.  The other issue is that when spawnpoints summon creatures, those creatures are useless for a turn while equipment is immediately useable the same turn. 

Creature spawnpoints should have broken the rules when it comes to spawning creatures if they were going to be so expensive.  They should have been able to either summon their creatures at range (0-2 or even just 0-1) or they should have been able to summon them with ready action markers.  They just need something to make them a more attractive option in competitive play.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Moonglow on August 28, 2013, 05:20:17 PM
One approach to boost familiars a little would be to give them a rule update rather than errata the cards. 

Something that makes sense thematically and would make them a little more robust would be to allow familiars to share damage with their owner - keeping it simple would be assigning any damage taken by the familiar or owner to either or both.  Basically you could keep your familiar alive, but it would weaken you.  Similarly you could sacrifice your familiar if you take an unexpected hit and would die otherwise.

Its a little like the casting already is, in that familiars and spawnpoints can use the owners mana to cast as well as their own.

There might be more complicated approaches that could be a bit more balanced, like if the familiar would die, the owner can divert any damage that takes the familiar below 1 to themselves at x 2, cost leaving the familiar on 1.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 28, 2013, 06:00:08 PM
Yowsa! Letting a Mage take the damage for a familiar would be
1. Elegant rules design.
2. Only of medium difficulty to implement.
3. Potentially game Breaking.

Even if you restricted it to living familiars (to exclude Wizard's Tower) Hugin and Fellella and the Imp would become frighteningly good.

As an Enchantment, though, that effect could go a long way to solving Familiars' problems.

Sympathetic Ward: Enchantment. Level 3 Psychic. 2+6. Living Creature. If this creature would take damage, the owner may instead lose life equal to this creature's life. If so, cancel all damage to this creature.

Ghoul Rot or Triple Attack would still be terrifying, because the caster would have to pay dearly every time, but killing Familiars wouldn't be Flameblast and done. And that Enchantment could go on other important creatures, too, though you'd have to think twice about putting it on a Grizzly.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Moonglow on August 28, 2013, 07:22:58 PM
I was only thinking of the living familiars - I hadn't thought of WT as a familiar, more an incantation spawnpoint :) but guess its closer in nature to a familiar.  So yeah, living familiars only.

I'm not sure how game breaking it would be - I totally concede the possibility though.  I guess like has been discussed on other threads, the point of the game is to kill the other wizard.  Voluntarily taking damage yourself is helping the oppositions cause, so it has to have some greater benefit to you.  It'd definately need some play testing, but could also be done in different ways that aren't so strong, or make the cost to the familiar's owner greater, like you take x2 damage.

I do like the enchantment approach too though, although it seems expensive, both spell book wise and casting wise - 8 + the cost of hugin doesn't seem to address the concern that the familiar's are too expensive to be useful.  I appreciate it makes them less fragile, so the cost is balanced, but its .... ok just had a look at Hugin, 11 + 8 doesn't seem that expensive for what you'd get.

Did you mean take damage equal to the familiars life? So like for Hugin you'd take 5 damage?  Why not just take the damage from the attack - I guess the creatures life is all the damage it would take, the rest being surplus to requirements :)  but it might have only been 1-2 hits that got through...

I guess from your grizzly comment, you're thinking of it as a way to balance it from being used on everything, taking 15 hits would make it not worth playing unless you were at full health and you were saving the Grizzly's life.

I'd been thinking of restricting it to familiars, but your way makes it a more interesting card.

Yowsa! Letting a Mage take the damage for a familiar would be
1. Elegant rules design.
2. Only of medium difficulty to implement.
3. Potentially game Breaking.

Even if you restricted it to living familiars (to exclude Wizard's Tower) Hugin and Fellella and the Imp would become frighteningly good.

As an Enchantment, though, that effect could go a long way to solving Familiars' problems.

Sympathetic Ward: Enchantment. Level 3 Psychic. 2+6. Living Creature. If this creature would take damage, the owner may instead lose life equal to this creature's life. If so, cancel all damage to this creature.

Ghoul Rot or Triple Attack would still be terrifying, because the caster would have to pay dearly every time, but killing Familiars wouldn't be Flameblast and done. And that Enchantment could go on other important creatures, too, though you'd have to think twice about putting it on a Grizzly.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 28, 2013, 08:00:31 PM
I've said this before, and I will say it again. What makes MW deckbuilding so special isn't the "mandatory" part of the building. Arguably every single "deckbuilding" game on the market today has elements that every deck will include as it makes them either playable, or better. From the ones I have played and love, there are a few examples I could give. If we look at one of the recently popular Android Netrunner, there are a few builds in particular, that, in order to be "competitive", need Account Siphon, as well as some amount of breakers, and economy. This is just one of many. You can't play Standard Magic the gathering without including lands in your deck, and you certainly can't be competitive without including "dual" lands. (Dada, I see your belcher and it is an exception, not a rule). As well, even if you look at minis games, which are closer to Mage Wars, have certain "necessities" that are required for tournament friendly builds.

Next, let's compare card pools to that of many other games. Let's face it: There aren't THAT many cards in Mage Wars. I mean, compared to Magic: The gathering or Warhammer, and the comparison isn't even there. This isn't the fault of the creators or the game itself, it simply means the game is young. Even Netrunner has a comparatively larger cardpool, as well as much faster churn rate (defined as new cards added to the old card pool in order to stimulate growth in players and the game itself). Again, this is due to the model of Mage Wars, which isn't a problem at all.

What makes Mage Wars Deckbuilding so special is the sheer amount of splashes you can make in a build. The fact that a Grizzly can be summoned and then have a circle of fire cast on it... from a priestess. What also makes this game so interesting is that there is no "tournament" formula. As the player skill is relatively similar and the same people come to tournaments, the builds tend to be the same. If we took everyone on these forums and had a massive single elem tournament, we would see builds we never even thought of.

As well, free actions are nigh unbeatable. With proper thought and planning, free actions become a bane instead of a boon. Battle forge is the strongest spawnpoint we have right now, we the reason being that what we cast is static, hard to destroy, and cheap. Battle forge itself is hard to destroy, but it is very, very beatable. Even when combined with Wizard's Tower, it is still beatable.

Dude.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 28, 2013, 08:11:56 PM
Yeah, since there's no chance my crazy design ideas for rebalanced familiars would ever be adopted, I just kinda went nuts with it.

Making a creature potentially immortal seems really strong to me, just because of the action advantage, but is immortal Hugin any better than Wizard's Tower? Hugin does cast Teleport, which I think is the best spell in the Game, but has an action marker instead of a ready marker,  so... I dunno.

Here's another crazy idea for an Enchantment: Haste: Level 2 War. 2+5 Non-Mage Living Creature. Replace this creature's action marker with a ready marker. It now activates before or after any other friendly creature's activation.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Moonglow on August 28, 2013, 09:42:35 PM
Do an RCT type trial, make two identical books with the difference being immortal Hugin and the other having linked Hugin.  Two players play 5 games randomly getting either book each game.  See which build wins most often.

I really like the Haste idea too, as it seems to create a different mechanic than the game has now. Like lots of spells feel like variants of the same (push etc), the way you've implemented haste is pretty cool and introduces a whole new way to consider a creatures actions. 

Yeah, since there's no chance my crazy design ideas for rebalanced familiars would ever be adopted, I just kinda went nuts with it.

Making a creature potentially immortal seems really strong to me, just because of the action advantage, but is immortal Hugin any better than Wizard's Tower? Hugin does cast Teleport, which I think is the best spell in the Game, but has an action marker instead of a ready marker,  so... I dunno.

Here's another crazy idea for an Enchantment: Haste: Level 2 War. 2+5 Non-Mage Living Creature. Replace this creature's action marker with a ready marker. It now activates before or after any other friendly creature's activation.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Stormmaster on August 28, 2013, 10:15:36 PM
I think I need to get with the times and toss a Teleport in.  I've never put that in any deck and never cast that spell.  So far haven't ever needed it but looks like it might be useful.

This discussion is a great extension to the other thread created about a base set of cards that should go in every book.
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12571.0
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: reddawn on August 28, 2013, 10:50:09 PM
Yeah, after playing multiple games with creature Spawnpoints for the past couple of weeks, I haven't been impressed at all.  The problem is that the quality of the action advantage you're getting for the immense amount of upfront mana you're spending is just too low.  The Straywood BM has a little easier of a time with it, since he can at least buff up his with Totems or whatever, but all the others are just very subpar.

For example, I've been playing and losing with the Warlord a lot recently, trying to get the Barracks to work even though I thought it sucked from the beginning.  Turns out I'm still right about it; small soldiers just don't pull any weight and their damage falls off almost immediately.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 28, 2013, 11:52:00 PM
If you try and play Warlord with an outpost strategy, you're gunna have a bad time.

South Park References.

In all seriousness, I do completely agree. Which is why I've been playing around with Troll control. And I assure you, it's not because the rhyme is so clever.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Moonglow on August 29, 2013, 12:09:50 AM
And I assure you, it's not because the rhyme is so clever.

Go on, admit it, its one of the reasons...
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Fentum on August 29, 2013, 01:51:45 AM
Here's another crazy idea for an Enchantment: Haste: Level 2 War. 2+5 Non-Mage Living Creature. Replace this creature's action marker with a ready marker. It now activates before or after any other friendly creature's activation.

Someone grab him, quick! He's gone MENTAL!    :o

Cool ideas. Love the familiar concept, but anything that increases the opportunity to 'chain free actions to cause mayhem', e.g. Haste, is a worry.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 02:25:38 AM
And I assure you, it's not because the rhyme is so clever.

Go on, admit it, its one of the reasons...

I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I have an addiction, and no, it's not fiction.

I'm stretching here.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 29, 2013, 08:00:39 AM
Anybody want a peanut?
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: jacksmack on August 29, 2013, 08:17:38 AM
Anybody want a peanut?

I want more cats so i can make a BM deck using makunda.

release Druid vs Necrobob already!!!
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Stormmaster on August 29, 2013, 09:50:23 AM
You have to wait until October bob, sorry.  :-\
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 10:50:50 AM
I've said this before, and I will say it again. What makes MW deckbuilding so special isn't the "mandatory" part of the building. Arguably every single "deckbuilding" game on the market today has elements that every deck will include as it makes them either playable, or better. From the ones I have played and love, there are a few examples I could give. If we look at one of the recently popular Android Netrunner, there are a few builds in particular, that, in order to be "competitive", need Account Siphon, as well as some amount of breakers, and economy. This is just one of many. You can't play Standard Magic the gathering without including lands in your deck, and you certainly can't be competitive without including "dual" lands. (Dada, I see your belcher and it is an exception, not a rule). As well, even if you look at minis games, which are closer to Mage Wars, have certain "necessities" that are required for tournament friendly builds.

Obviously every game has staples that go in pretty much every deck, no one has said otherwise.  I've played A LOT of ccgs in my life including: Magic, L5R, Netrunner, Warlord, Spycraft, Doomtown, Shadowfist, Star Wars (both Decipher's and FFG's), Rage, VtES, Doomtrooper, Shadowrun and probably a couple others I'm forgetting off of the top of my head.  I've been playing these games a long time as well.  Hell, when I started playing Magic I was already old enough to drink...and The Dark was the new set.  Yeah, I'm that old ;)

Anyway, my point is that I'm familiar with the concept of staple cards.  The fact that this game stands out as having many more staples than any card game I've ever played is kind of the point of the thread.  You're talk of lands in Magic is a red herring and not at all the same as what is being discussed in this thread.  If I sit down to play Mage Wars as the Priestess vs the Warlock, something like 25-30% or more of our builds will be the same.  The day that I sit down for a game of Magic playing Blue/White against someone playing Green/Red and our decks are 30% identical, then you can compare Magic and Mage Wars.  But that's not the case, and never will be.

Comparing miniature games isnít really helpful either, because if you play Eldar vs Chaos, you arenít going to have any similarities whatsoever.  There may be some sameness between any two different Eldar players, but thatís not the point because you would expect to see similarities between two different Warlock builds as well.  The problem is that you see the same similarities in builds when you compare a Warlock build and a Priestess build.  That doesnít happen in other games Iíve played, ccg OR miniature games. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Mage Wars, but I think this is a legitimate criticism of the game.  Everyone in this thread has been pretty constructive and just wants to see a great game be better, so just hand-waving away the issue with "all games have staples" seems rather dismissive.

For most of the last year I really had no issue with this aspect of the game.  But the more I've played the more certain cards have been revealed as not worth competitive play (creature spawnpoints, familiars, etc), so the "sameness" of builds has increased.  I don't think this problem will go away as the card pool expands either.  For instance, the only card that is going to replace Dispel in builds is a card that does the same thing but more efficiently.  So you just swap one staple for another.   

The real problem (if it is indeed a problem) is that any Mage can include any card in their builds in any amount they wish to pay for.  You can't do that in any other card game I've played.  You brought up Netrunner and I kind of wish there was a limit to the amount of out of school cards you could include in your build just like Netrunner has.  That would at least create more variability.  Maybe something like, no more than 18 points (15%) can be spent on out of school spells.  Or no more than one copy of any single out of school spell.  Or something.  And those were just off the top of my head, not specific, well thought-out recommendations so don't take them super serious.

Anyway, obviously the most important part of Mage Wars is the tactical play, but it would be nice if there were fewer staples in the game so that such a large portion of your build wasn't predetermined as soon as you pick your mage.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 10:54:04 AM
One other little point to bring up, is that these mandatory cards can actually unfairly impact certain mages.  For instance, one of the major problems with the Warlord (among several problems) is that he has to pay triple for many of the staple cards in this game forcing him to either play less of the staples or just eat the ridiculous cost of them.  What a huge liability and a completely unfair handicap to an already weak mage.

Less staples would alleviate this problem somewhat.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 11:16:51 AM
You seemed to have missed my second point, which is that this game is young. How many cards are in Mage Wars right now? approx 160, as my count may be off. Compare this to Netrunner, which was released at the same time, which has 195 cards, and that's not including the core set. As well, you have approx. 20 of the Mage Wars cards to build with that are "X mage only". This leaves us with around 140 cards to work with. Now, we also have to realize that some cards are just better. Simply put, in most cases, Nullify is better than mind shield. As well, you have reiterations of multiple cards. Such as Defense and armor cards. They have small variations that become important based on the meta. As well, some cards have much, much better value in them than others.

Do I think this a bad thing? Not at all. But I also don't think it's complaint worthy, either. Now, once the card pool has even increased by 1/2, and the result is the same, then yes, I could see where a problem could arise.

As well, I don't think competitive shells work, especially in this game. There are 3 cards I'm probably always going to include: Dissolve, Seeking, and Dispel. That's about it. And even then, the numbers are mixed for each build I create. Just because it plays well to include ALL those cards doesn't mean it couldn't play better some other way. Too many people write off cards because they don't see them, and I think that is the real crime of the game, not that there are a number of cards that people like to use.

Dude.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 11:19:41 AM
As to your little point, I agree. Warlord was neutered because he was "too powerful". This is why he has the triple arcane cost. There aren't many people who do think it's balanced. That being said, can you give me another example of a mage who was neutered because of school and spellpoint costs?
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 11:22:11 AM
You seemed to have missed my second point, which is that this game is young. How many cards are in Mage Wars right now? approx 160, as my count may be off. Compare this to Netrunner, which was released at the same time, which has 195 cards, and that's not including the core set. As well, you have approx. 20 of the Mage Wars cards to build with that are "X mage only". This leaves us with around 140 cards to work with. Now, we also have to realize that some cards are just better. Simply put, in most cases, Nullify is better than mind shield. As well, you have reiterations of multiple cards. Such as Defense and armor cards. They have small variations that become important based on the meta. As well, some cards have much, much better value in them than others.

Do I think this a bad thing? Not at all. But I also don't think it's complaint worthy, either. Now, once the card pool has even increased by 1/2, and the result is the same, then yes, I could see where a problem could arise.

As well, I don't think competitive shells work, especially in this game. There are 3 cards I'm probably always going to include: Dissolve, Seeking, and Dispel. That's about it. And even then, the numbers are mixed for each build I create. Just because it plays well to include ALL those cards doesn't mean it couldn't play better some other way. Too many people write off cards because they don't see them, and I think that is the real crime of the game, not that there are a number of cards that people like to use.

Dude.

Actually I didn't miss your second point at all, because I said this specifically:

Quote
I don't think this problem will go away as the card pool expands either.  For instance, the only card that is going to replace Dispel in builds is a card that does the same thing but more efficiently.  So you just swap one staple for another.   

So I think you missed my point ;)

 
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 11:26:47 AM
As to your little point, I agree. Warlord was neutered because he was "too powerful". This is why he has the triple arcane cost. There aren't many people who do think it's balanced. That being said, can you give me another example of a mage who was neutered because of school and spellpoint costs?

That WAS the example.  My point was that these staples can be an unfair disadvantage to certain mages, not that it's running rampant in the game at this point.

Did you have anything to add that wasn't overly defensive or hand-wavingly dismissive?

Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 29, 2013, 11:38:06 AM
From a competitive standpoint, I suspect that Wizards would have an easier time staying in school than other mages, if there were a restriction on out of school spells. Arcane+Element is a much wider pool than Holy, for example.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 11:39:24 AM
Eh. Exactly how you said my first point was a copout, I think switching staples is just as much of a copout instead of a real answer. If I make a Dispel that is holy but only destroys level 1 enchantments, then I know of three mages that will use that card over arcane holy any day. Staples are created for every card game available. Kati Jones and Data sucker for netrunner. But I do see your point, These are staples that are faction or deck specific, and not game specific. But I also think you overly exaggerate the number of staple cards in this game. As I said, there are only three staple cards that I will use in a build, and even those are meta specific. In a game with no variance in card draw, of course the most powerful card is going to win. This is part of the core dynamic of the game. As I said before, its the splashes that make the game interesting, not the few staples.

As well, you give one example that was shown to be a mistake that hasn't happened since.

I'm not sure what you find to be overly defensive or dismissive, I'm only disagreeing with what you say. You say it's a problem, and I don't see it as such. You say that over twenty cards are staples of a book, and I don't agree, because it's not true. There are a few staples, as they are good, universal cards with powerful abilities that can't be ignored. But going as far to say that cards like Block and Elemental Cloak are staples are more a statement to your building style than a statement of the game itself.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 11:44:33 AM
From a competitive standpoint, I suspect that Wizards would have an easier time staying in school than other mages, if there were a restriction on out of school spells. Arcane+Element is a much wider pool than Holy, for example.

Yeah, that would certainly be an issue.  There may not be a good solution to the issue with the current mechanics of the game. 

One thing that might help, as someone in this thread mentioned (perhaps you), were spells that were similar to other spells but in different schools.  The example used was a War school card that destroyed equipment but in a way that was flavorful to the War school.  Having more cards like that would see the sameness of different Mages diminish while still seeing the same level of sameness between mages of the same school(s).  That would be very similar to how other games work (ccg or mini), where builds of the same faction have similarities, but are completely different than a build from another faction.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 29, 2013, 11:48:48 AM
Some day, I'm going to get the playtesters intoxicated and pump them for the story of the Warlord. He seems like he was supposed to be what the Druid is (hopefuly) going to be: area control appealing to people who want to play SimCity. But during development he was strong enough that he could take on Forcemaster agro, so something clearly happened to him.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 11:52:42 AM
Eh. Exactly how you said my first point was a copout, I think switching staples is just as much of a copout instead of a real answer. If I make a Dispel that is holy but only destroys level 1 enchantments, then I know of three mages that will use that card over arcane holy any day. Staples are created for every card game available. Kati Jones and Data sucker for netrunner. But I do see your point, These are staples that are faction or deck specific, and not game specific. But I also think you overly exaggerate the number of staple cards in this game. As I said, there are only three staple cards that I will use in a build, and even those are meta specific. In a game with no variance in card draw, of course the most powerful card is going to win. This is part of the core dynamic of the game. As I said before, its the splashes that make the game interesting, not the few staples.

As well, you give one example that was shown to be a mistake that hasn't happened since.

I'm not sure what you find to be overly defensive or dismissive, I'm only disagreeing with what you say. You say it's a problem, and I don't see it as such. You say that over twenty cards are staples of a book, and I don't agree, because it's not true. There are a few staples, as they are good, universal cards with powerful abilities that can't be ignored. But going as far to say that cards like Block and Elemental Cloak are staples are more a statement to your building style than a statement of the game itself.

I'd say that the majority of my "mandatory" list is pretty damn close to what most competitive players put in their builds, barring a card here or there.  By the way, Block is not on my list at all, but I would be extremely surprised by any top player not running a copy of Elemental Cloak.  That card is too good and versitale to NOT include.  Especially since the only other cloak in the game is Cloak of Suppression, so it's not like there's a lot of competition for the slot.

Out of curiostity, if you were making a competitive tournament build (not a "fun" build), which of the cards on my mandatory list would you not include, and why (you can go mage specific if you want to in your explanations)?  Also, which of the cards on my "obvious choices" list for each mage/strategy would you not include and why?  I'd just be interested in seeing your explanations, not that I'm trying to call you out.  I'm honestly curious. 

Remember, I'm talking a competitive build here, not a "fun" build.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: ringkichard on August 29, 2013, 12:00:33 PM
Remember that shared core resources have major design benefits, too. If there were 6 seperate ways to destroy Equipment and six more to destroy Enchantments, and 6 more to heal creatures, (etc) that would be a lot of design work and game space spent re-inventing the wheel. I'd much rather see Druid vs Nero introduce new cool things than have 23 words for snow.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 12:08:52 PM
Remember that shared core resources have major design benefits, too. If there were 6 seperate ways to destroy Equipment and six more to destroy Enchantments, and 6 more to heal creatures, (etc) that would be a lot of design work and game space spent re-inventing the wheel. I'd much rather see Druid vs Nero introduce new cool things than have 23 words for snow.

I get your point, but I think you may be going a bit overboard.  Would you consider Turn to Stone, Tanglevine, Force Hold, Spiked Pit and Force Crush all just different words for snow?  I don't, I consider them similar in application and strategic use, but different enough that they aren't just "different names for snow". 

I don't see why they couldn't do the same thing for other types of effects like equipment removal or enchantment removal.  And not EVERY school would need to have a spell that does every type of effect, just like not every school needs their own version of Tanglevine. 
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: DeckBuilder on August 29, 2013, 12:09:33 PM
Woah. Let's keep this friendly. We all love this game and are on the same game. wanting to improve it. Constructive criticism should not be treated as attacks to be responded to defensively, nor should we get too argumentative. Chill... :)

I don't think this problem will go away as the card pool expands either.  For instance, the only card that is going to replace Dispel in builds is a card that does the same thing but more efficiently.  So you just swap one staple for another.

I have to respectfully disagree with the above about "staples". It is possible to create variant spells that may suit some builds better than others. My rules for building for example are something like...

Wizards have 1 Purge (3pts) plus X Dispels (1pt), I sadly can't fit Purge in most other builds.
Warlocks have 1 Dissolve (2pts) plus X Explodes (2pts) for that low-mana Dissolve window.
Non-Wizards/Warlords have 1 Seeking (2pts) plus X Decoys (1pt) to ferret out Nullify/Reverse Magic.
Warlords have 1 Teleport (6pts) plus X Force Push (2pts), others have more Teleports

There is currently a small amount of variety among the staples. But this is based solely on Training access, the spell point cost.

Even Dude should agree that what the game needs is more genuine trade-off variants. I mentioned "Sunder" before as a hypothetical example. Here is a more crucial hypothetical spell.

"Negate": enchantment 2+3 metamagic, you MAY reveal this enchantment to counter an incantation just cast solely targeting the enchanted creature

Here we give players the option to mix-and-match cheaper, greater scope but no flexibility Nullify with a slightly more expensive, more limited scope but fully controlled timing Negate. The existence of this spell will then make ferreting Nullify with a Decoy before your kill-zone Teleport no longer possible.

In Magic, there are upteen variants of the same spell function:
(a) counter spell (hard, bypassaple, limited category, extra benefit, extra penalty etc)
(b) destroy enchantment (exiled, gain life, return to hand = "book", global effect etc)
(c) destroy artifact
(d) creature control
and so on

With all these variants, even within Standard rotation, it empowers players to build with certain subtle nuances of X of type A and Y of type B. Currently in Mage Wars, apart from choices gained from Training access (detailed above), we are pretty much railroaded in what we choose as our "staples".

Each expansion is theme-centred as it introduces new mages. Because the game is theme-centred. It could be argued that what the game needs to get round this "staples" issue is an expansion of alternative utility spells. Then this would give book-builders the creative license they crave to trade-off choices and mix-and-match.

Final point: please let's not forget that we are all on the same side. We all love this game and as such it is easy to let our passion spill over.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 12:15:13 PM
Woah. Let's keep this friendly. We all love this game and are on the same game. wanting to improve it. Constructive criticism should not be treated as attacks to be responded to defensively, nor should we get too argumentative. Chill... :)


Final point: please let's not forget that we are all on the same side. We all love this game and as such it is easy to let our passion spill over.

How dare you!  This is the internet!  We're supposed to get heated and out of hand and flame anyone who disagrees with us!  Who taught you how to post on the internet FFS?

 :P
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 01:35:05 PM
So, here is a competitive build that I have been playing around with that has had moderate success, not having lost a game in it's current form:

Johktari Beastmaster

Ring of Beasts
Regrowth Belt
Bearskin
Elemental Cloak
Hunting Bow
Moonglow Amulet
Enchanter's Ring

points: 11

2 Battle Fury
2 Seeking
Tele
Purify
Dissolve
Force Push
Heal
2 Dispel
4 Rouse
2 Sniper Shot

points: 34

Lair
2 Mana Flower
Wall of Thorns
2 Rajan's
2 Tanglevine

points: 13

Galador
3 Dire Wolf
2 Steelclaw

points: 22

3 Hurl Boulder

points: 12

Divine Protection
2 Jinx
Marked for Death
Harmonize
Nullify
Ghoul Rot
Block
Healing Charm
Bear Strength
Eagle Wings
Hawkeye
Cheetah Speed
Rhino Hide
Falcon Precision
Lion Savagery (or second Bear Strength if not using promos)

points: 28

That's basically it. Sure, it uses a few staples, but not nearly as many as the list states. As well, there are a lot of cards in here that are not used at all, Lair, Dire Wolf, hunting bow, and Galador being a few examples.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 04:07:04 PM
What, is that the only build you have not running Battleforge?  ;)

Not to sound crappy, but this seems more like a fun build than a competitive one, just because of the inclusion of Lair over Battleforge.  I just can't help but think how much better it would run with the Battleforge.  And a few other changes.  Bearhide...bleh.  Never understood why anyone would run this in a competitive build at this stage in the game (maybe once Druid/Necro comes out it will be worth it).  It's far too easy to eek out another point to put in Stormdrake's Hide instead.  Or, better yet, drop the Block and the Bearhide and put in a Dragonscale Hauberk.

Anyway, you should throw this up on Octgn and see how you do against Charmyna or any other competitive player.  I'll play you too, but I have yet to find time to get a single game in, but I think I'll be able to this weekend.

If you can beat competitve builds regularly with this Beastmistress then I'll stop looking at it as a "fun" build.  Until then, all I see when I look at it is the Lair and the Bearhide and can't help but think that it could use some tweaking. 

Again, not trying to be offensive, maybe you play it really well and it plays way better with the Lair than I can believe.  But I'd need to see it in action

Anyway, you have to admit that this is a very non-standard build you've posted, and that competitive builds, by and large, run pretty much every card on my list, in pretty close to the same numbers.   
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 04:57:14 PM
As you said before, I gave you an example.

You come across kind of rude man, to be completely honest. Just because you haven't seen something work does not mean it doesn't. Lair is actually really effective against wizard type builds that rely on mana denial, as it acts as a static 3 channeling (with harmonize). This, coupled with ranged package, leads to some very effective games. No, your right, it doesn't have battle forge. But it also doesn't need it. Only a few of those pieces of equipment do I actually need in any given game, and although the free action +1 mana is nice, it isn't necessary.

As well, I am out of Battle forges range most of the time, making it inefficient for me to use. It is much more efficient for me to use lair as my free action, rouse with my quick, and still be able to shoot my bow.

As for your criticism on bearhide, it's fair. It's not like this book is perfect, and I didn't claim it to be. But it does win, believe it or not.

If all you see is two cards when eyeing a build, it further proves that your original list on "overused" cards is completely subjective, as you seem to overrate some cards completely, while underrating others.

You asked for a competitive example, and I gave you one.

As for your poke at not including battle forge: I include it where appropriate. Jamming every decent card in the game simply because they are good does not make your build competitive.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Koz on August 29, 2013, 05:18:02 PM
I wasn't trying to be rude, apologies if I came off that way.  Perhaps we've both taken each other the wrong way in this thread.

Also, I never said your build couldn't be competitive, I just said I'd need to see it to believe it because it seems like it could be more efficient (in my opinion).  Honestly though, I haven't played with or against a Beastmistress yet, so she may break the mold of the standard staple inclusions just due to her being the first purely ranged focused Mage.  Don't know yet, guess time will tell.

And honestly, I was serious about you throwing this up on Octgn.  I'd like to see you go up against Charmyna or another player with a competitive build and see how this does.  Charmyna is always on it seems and I will be on this weekend at some point so if you want to give it a whirl, pop on. 

I'm not calling you out or saying you aren't going to win or anything like that.  This isn't a "put your money where your mouth is" challenge.  I just want to see a tested Beastmistress in action and see how it runs :)

Again, sorry if I came off as rude, it wasn't intended.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 05:58:58 PM
No worries, to be honest, it was kind of expected. I mean seriously, who in their right minds posts a lair build and gets away with calling it competitive... but it works!


IF my connection wasn't so damn spotty, I would love to try out octgn's mage wars interface. I'm stuck playing IRL at the moment. What a drag  ;)
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: reddawn on August 29, 2013, 08:15:42 PM
Well, if you're going to pick a Spawnpoint to use, it should be the Lair.  Though, I would have included some level 2 creatures and level 1s with the Fast trait.

I'm surprised you haven't used Dire Wolves.  I over-estimated them initially, but they get the most dice of any creature for their cost, and access to Bleeds.  They're best as Redclaw escorts, but they're still fine outside that.

Galador is a weird card to me...it hard-counters some very powerful creatures like Iron Golems and Thorg, but outside that it's kind of just a punching bag with antlers. 
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 29, 2013, 08:35:50 PM
It's kind of the point, actually. People target Galador so hard as soon as he is cast, as people think he is easy to kill. People will often start targeting him rather than me, or the lair. Baiting the opponent into attacking something I don't actually care that much about. Which is also why healing charm when Galador takes a hit works really well too, as it shifts focus from something that seemed easy to kill at first, to them going on another plan. Da beats, my friend.

What's funny is that as surprising as it sounds, lair+harm, dire dire dire works too well against the opponent who wants to position control you.
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: Wiz-Pig on August 29, 2013, 11:47:37 PM
What's funny is that as surprising as it sounds, lair+harm, dire dire dire works too well against the opponent who wants to position control you.

Could you clarify what you mean by too well?
Title: Re: Overused cards?
Post by: The Dude on August 30, 2013, 12:32:00 AM
So, in builds that go Turn 1 mana crystal, turn 2 battle forge, often with the Johktari beastmaster I can throw Lair one zone closer than normal with a harmonize. Which means I can deploy a Dire wolf, and either run in and start smashing face, or run the opposite direction. Now, they have a Lair in their face churning out high quality damage outputters. When control is given too many targets too early in the game, it gives them much more opportunity to make a mistake, as I am pressuring them into bottlenecking me or the lair early.