April 12, 2021, 05:53:35 PM

Author Topic: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?  (Read 8500 times)

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« on: September 14, 2013, 07:44:36 PM »
From Druid vs. Necro cards previewed so far, Etherian Lifetree and Corrode potentially have a huge synergetic effect on the current meta. Etherian Lifetree is level 2 playable by any mage, Unique not Epic so you can base a strategy around it, supported by multiples. Corrode combats armoured targets, the bane of low dice attacks. Together, they have the potential to raise the Straywood Swarm build to tier 1.

Although I currently play Earth Wizard in serious matches (will change as Golems will be far weaker), my Mage Wars heart belongs to my first love, the first mage I ever played in Mage Wars, the Straywood Beastmaster. I always have a love affair with suboptimal factions (e.g. Jinteki in Netrunner, Lannister in Game of Thrones). But each time I return to Straywood, I always end up with the same build: Battleforge + Beast Ring + Enchanter Ring + Few Bigs + Few Pets + Few Level 1s + Buff enchants + Aggro equips + Utility incants. Yes, he now has Galador (great in the current Golem meta), both Dragon Scale and Storm Drake, plus other single toolbox copies of Eagleclaw Boots and Falcon Precision (mainly for Forcemaster match-up). But otherwise he is exactly the same 1 Core pool Beastmaster I nervously posted on BGG when I got such a warm reception from The Dude and Scott Douglas, stalwarts here. However, Etherian Tree and Corrode hopefully makes an unloved archetype playable again.

The Good. The game theory behind Straywood Swarm was simple:

1.   Only the Straywood Beastmaster can generate 2 creatures in 1 turn (without a spawnpoint) or freely move 1 zone to attack as well as cumulatively generating 1 independent threat

2.   Ring of Beasts provides maximum % benefit with cheaper creatures (albeit once per turn)

3.   The Straywood has an alternative quick action: a Fox costs 1 spell point 4 mana (with Ring) and creates at range 0 a new 3 dice fast attack threatening from next turn while Bear Strength costs 1 spell point 4 mana (with Ring) and upgrades an existing range 2 threat by 2 dice right now just before it attacks

4.   A 1 spell point Bobcat guard costs the same (with Ring) as a 2 spell point Block yet may survive on an 8+ to block again

5.   Animal upgrades (Tooth & Nail, Rajan’s Fury, Call of the Wild only for the mirror match) are most efficient in a Swarm

6.   A Swarm avoids placing “too many eggs in 1 basket” that control builds can efficiently remove (stacked buffs or curses Purged, buffed threat neutralised with Force Hold, Turn to Stone, Mind Control, Charm, Banish etc)

The Bad. However, the issues with a Swarm were greater than the benefits, namely:

1.   The lifetime of a 3 dice Fox is shorter than the bonus 2 dice you have placed on a Grizzly; a Bear Strength will give you at least 1 benefit use (cast just before, revealed after any Defence or Block) while that Fox may never get to attack (though this diverts an attack on you)

2.   Low dice attacks are blunted by armour (X dice attack vs. Y armour becomes more efficient if X > 2Y threshold) then popular Wizard’s Voltaic Shield absorbs critical damage

3.   Vulnerability to zone attacks, damage barriers and Epic control spells (Obelisk, Orb, Idol, Suppression Cloak etc)

4.   Lack of spike damage synergies (e.g. Big + Bear Strength + Vampirism + Retaliate + Battle Fury)

5.   Outside the Straywood, creature spawn points need to be played for swarming and the popular belief is that the current meta is too aggressive for such heavy early investment (Watergate bucks the trend)

6.   The game’s most valuable resource is the fleeting “opportunity window” (hence having that ideal card from a toolbox) and casting your biggest affordable threat is often the best expenditure of that resource

The Summary
Your swarm may get more actions per turn but each are more short-lived so less actions in total.
Your swarm may roll more dice combined but deal less damage due to the armour soak mechanic.

The current meta reflects the lack of swarm being played by others. Zone attacks are minimal, culled from books as they are full actions (no Wizard’s Tower utility) and often pricey spell points. Epic control cards (Obelisk, Orb, Idol, Cloak) see less play (although Earth Wizard kill zone plays them, along with Deathlock). In fact, as players remove anti-swarm cards in books (often to make way for expansion toys), this “gap in the meta” makes the game ripe for a blindside meta-call: The Return of The Swarm.

If you summon a Swarm of creatures and your opponent is following a Few Big strategy, then the Etherian Lifetree is far more beneficial to you. It also gives your weaker creatures a greater % life gain, raising your Foxes and Falcons to 7 life. For the usual attacks encountered to deal 7 damage is far harder than 5 damage, hence your threats live to attack 1 more turn. This is like doubling the potency of their threat (turning them from living attack spells that can be one-shot removed to probable two-shot attacks). Flying makes fast Falcons far harder to target with creatures, increasing their lifetime further. Obviously this growing overlap of attacks will then accumulate.

The Straywood always had multiple Tooth & Nails to help penetrate armour. But this was inefficient against Few Big, the most common strategy played. Now however against Few Big, we have a stronger targeted anti-armour effect in Acid Ball. Permanently removing 1 (33%) or 2 (67%) armour before your swarm attacks while also dealing 2 dice damage is better than the swarm staple Marked for Death.

There are so many other benefits. The Swarm often attacks the opposing mage after his guard is in Tanglevine. Etherian Lifetree makes those vines that bit tougher. Those Mana Flowers you rejected before have become more viable, giving you the option to switch tempo to mid-range. Those Walls of Thorns (no barrier for your level 1 swarm) you plan to Jet Stream or Force Push opponent through once you Corrode all his armour is now harder to destroy, giving your swarm ranged cover. Your Unicorn pet used in a Swarm build has even more life buffer to leverage its regeneration. It's all good for the Straywood Swarm strategy.

I confess I was underwhelmed by the Druid mage card (I appreciate this is grossly unfair without seeing all her new cards). I am however excited to see Straywood Swarm resurrected as competitive. Maybe I've misread the impact Etherian Lifetree and Corrode will have on the meta. But if I am right, Arcane Wonders is to be congratulated for simultaneously weakening Iron Golem (much needed) while addressing some of the weaknesses of Swarm, making a Swarm archetype competitive.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 09:13:50 PM by DeckBuilder »
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

DarthDadaD20

  • Dark Father of Random Occurrence/TeamRocket Grunt
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1790
  • Banana Stickers 14
    • View Profile
Re: Etheria Tree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 07:56:56 PM »
I am just going to say that AW is taking huge steps to make everyones playstyle and mages:

1.playable/viable
2.unique
3.appropriate
4.Fun

And I have a feeling that you are going to be a big fan of the next set!

Nice article as well- I enjoyed seeing your thoughts. 
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
It has been around since the dawn of time,
it follows your loved ones as well as mine,
takes the form of a mountain as well as a flower,
it cannot be outrun by the greatest of power.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
Within Shad0w.

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etheria Tree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 08:21:42 PM »
Nice article as well- I enjoyed seeing your thoughts.

Thank you.
Although I am sure that someone better than me at this game will point out some flaws in my argument.

I can't wait for the new set!
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

DarthDadaD20

  • Dark Father of Random Occurrence/TeamRocket Grunt
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1790
  • Banana Stickers 14
    • View Profile
Re: Etheria Tree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 08:23:19 PM »
IDK- Its a really good article.  ;D
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
It has been around since the dawn of time,
it follows your loved ones as well as mine,
takes the form of a mountain as well as a flower,
it cannot be outrun by the greatest of power.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
Within Shad0w.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3130
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 09:34:41 PM »
I think I might have noticed a flaw: voltaric shield. Of course, I might be wrong. Leather gloves and boots together cost, 4 mana, 1 use of voltaric shield costs two mana. A single bitter wood fox costs five mana. That's without casting any spells to corrode the wizard's armor. Although considering that the the corrode effect will probably last quite a while, and the wizard has to pay mana for every use of of voltaric shield and not just the first one, I could still be wrong.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

ringkichard

  • Flightless Funpire
  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 2564
  • Banana Stickers 18
  • Kich, if you prefer.
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 10:37:08 PM »
I'm persuaded. Actual results will require testing, but this article has renewed my interest in trying Beastmaster with Falcons especially.
I can take the fun out of anything. It's true; here, look at this spreadsheet.

Koz

  • Sr. Mage
  • ****
  • Posts: 423
  • Banana Stickers 1
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 10:41:39 PM »
You and I are on the same page here and I've been thinking the same thing.  I've noticed the complete lack of AOE in builds as well as the lack of one-time staple cards such as Suppression Cloak.  The reason for these changes is just as you said, that swarms just weren't viable and people stopped putting in meta against them. 

I mentioned in the Druid vs Necro thread that the Etherian tree was going to be really cool for swarms and I can't wait to try it out, but there is another card coming that will also buff swarms that I think will help just as much as the tree, or more.  It's the Altar of the Iron Guard (promo from Gencon).  This will be awesome for the Beastmaster swarm I think.  For those that don't know, this is the 4 cost conjuration that puts a guard marker on any newly summoned friendly creature.

So, think about how cool that will be in Beastmaster.  In the quickcast phase, summon a Bobcat and you have an instant guard with a defense die ready to go!  Awesome.  Or wait until your opponent swings at your existing guard, then immediately quick cast another and you have another guard again, all in one action.  Add in the tree so that the they have more life and you have a pretty cool deck idea I think. 

With the Altar AND the tree, not only will the weenies have a better chance to survive due to the tree, but if they do survive the hit, they will be able to counterstrike, even if they were just summoned.  The Altar can also allow you to "double dip" on a creature.  What I mean by that is, summon up a creature (which gets a guard marker), then after it has been swung at and retaliates (provided it survived of course), you could then Rouse the Beast on it and have it either attack, or get another guard marker.  Pretty sweet.

The tree and the Altar both make swarms more viable instantly, although it remains to be seen if it will be enough to make people start packing those AOE spells again ;)


DarthDadaD20

  • Dark Father of Random Occurrence/TeamRocket Grunt
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1790
  • Banana Stickers 14
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 10:51:39 PM »
Alter of the Iron Guard is a VERY good swarm conjuration to have- Good eye!

Pop out quick creatures to eat damage, protect your mage, and you best creatures.

One mage uses it better (IMO) then all the rest- But I wont say who.  :-X
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
It has been around since the dawn of time,
it follows your loved ones as well as mine,
takes the form of a mountain as well as a flower,
it cannot be outrun by the greatest of power.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
Within Shad0w.

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 10:52:59 PM »
I think I might have noticed a flaw: voltaric shield. Of course, I might be wrong. Leather gloves and boots together cost, 4 mana, 1 use of voltaric shield costs two mana. A single bitter wood fox costs five mana. That's without casting any spells to corrode the wizard's armor. Although considering that the the corrode effect will probably last quite a while, and the wizard has to pay mana for every use of of voltaric shield and not just the first one, I could still be wrong.

Are you saying Leather Boots + Leather Gloves (2 fast actions + 4 mana, less with Battleforge) + Voltaric Shield (2 mana per turn) can keep a single Fox (4 mana with Beast Ring) at bay? Absolutely!

But what about a Swarm of Foxes preceded by an Acid Ball to negate the 2 armour? Sure, first Fox does no damage past the Shield. But then "Shields Are Down Scotty" and the remaining foxes in the growing swarm get an attack.

In my current default Straywood build of mixed creature sizes (Few Bigs + Few Pets + Few Level 1s):

1. Against Voltaric Shield, I gauge what damage my creatures can do after armour but before Shield then choose sequence of attack. A simple example: against a wizard with no actions left with 2 armour and Shield on, I first attack with my Fox to hopefully expend his Shield before my Vampiric Bear Strength Grizzly's full action attack. If the Wizard has any actions free, I attack with Grizzly first (as delaying Grizzly attack may result in a Teleport escape, killing the Grizzly needing vampiric healing or moving his adjacent Gargoyle into his zone to guard).

2. When facing Defence, I sequence attacking the target with Defence first with creatures that can only attack it, the weakest first until the target is within 25% probability killing range of a larger (but not largest threat) when I use that one. Opponent must then take a risk of dying if he wants to save up his Defence for the big threat but he usually blinks and opts to roll Defence. If my Grizzly is Dazed and I have smaller threats vs a Defence target, I will always attack with the Grizzly last (as he has no idea if the big threat will Daze connect or not so saving his Defence for it may be a waste). Far more than in (far simpler) Summoner Wars, sequencing attacks to maximise options while giving opponent as little information and retaining ability to react to anticipated opponent moves is really where the tactical skill of the game lies.

3. If suspecting a Block or Reverse Attack (usually vs. Forcemaster), I attack with my level 1 first to sniff it out (obviously).

In this way, having different creature sizes (each with different mana investment, levels 1 cast quick) is actually a boon in maximising an optimal attack sequence. I accept "spamming Foxes, Falcons and Bobcat guards" by definition loses flexibility to optimise sequencing.

Thanks for your post. It revealed to me another bonus to Acid Ball. Have you ever tried to Dissolve a wizard's armour? That hidden enchant on him is probably a Nullify (metamagic 1 with Arcane Ring). So my melee-engaged Beastmaster ends up having to off-initiative Final QC Decoy (1 spell point) on him to sniff out his Nullify (rebate mana if not) followed by on-initiative First QC Dissolve armour (2 spell points), the only double-action that does not deny you a melee attack. This is so very fast action intensive. Now I can cast simply use a single fast action Acid Ball instead (2 spell points)!

Of course, with my current Beastmaster trying to save spell points by using Decoys instead of Seeking Dispels (as well as minor bluffing spending an unused QC then later giving me a vital 1 mana via Enchanter's Ring when needed), I open myself up to Armour Ward when I Dissolve. So this is another benefit of Acid Ball as it bypasses "destroy equipment".
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 09:31:05 AM by DeckBuilder »
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 11:21:32 PM »
It's the Altar of the Iron Guard (promo from Gencon).  This will be awesome for the Beastmaster swarm I think.  For those that don't know, this is the 4 cost conjuration that puts a guard marker on any newly summoned friendly creature.

Yeah, I am certain canny players and book-builders like you and others will have noticed this meta trend and been planning to exploit it. Except now this thread (if people take notice) spoils the blindsiding surprise factor! Sorry to let the "Feral Bobcat out of the bag"...

On Altar of the Iron Guard, I'm afraid I think this should never be printed As Is. See my reasons in this thread.
http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=12931.0

The fact that whoever rolls game start initiative can have a 4 cost LEGENDARY conjuration that gives all his creatures guard tokens when summoned whilst his opponent cannot have this ability is plain wrong. Talk about having tempo advantage for the whole game (until their corner conjuration is destroyed) just for rolling initiative! It is almost turning the game into a game start coin flip. And the cost is paltry too, 4 cost for 2 armour 5 life zone exclusive with such a great effect!

I do agree with you though, that if it ever saw light (I hope not), Straywood with his First QC Bobcat guard will be a big benefit recipient. As will ranged zonal control (Goblin Slinger + Dwarf Panzergarde, Royal Archer + Guardian Angel, Skeleton Archer +?). But every book gains from this must-have card except Forcemaster! Crazy.

If you want to debate my thoughts on this early order Promo Card (or Akiro's Favour, Ballista or Altar of Peace), please feel free to resurrect the link above. I would love to start a healthy debate on where we think there may be lines being crossed and pre-empting mistakes being made. But this thread isn't the place for that.

As Swarm is part of another paper-scissors-stone "favourable match-up" triangle in this game (along with tempo and other dimensions), like you I am excited in seeing how the strengthening of Swarm will impact on the game.

However, I am slightly worried about having too much "Nemesis Mage" match-ups. For example, Druid dies to Warlock and Forcemaster dies to Necromancer. This is not healthy. Favourable match-ups are fine as long as every mage is roughly balanced on favourable and unfavourable match-ups. But "almost auto-wins" would turn every tournament into a glorified paper-scissors-stone like the worst days of constructed Magic. So far, Arcane Wonders have made very few mis-steps and, for the moment, I am keeping faith that this will continue.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 11:48:21 PM by DeckBuilder »
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

DarthDadaD20

  • Dark Father of Random Occurrence/TeamRocket Grunt
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1790
  • Banana Stickers 14
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 12:38:34 AM »
I honestly think that no mage is a "Complete" counter to another- sure, some may have big advantages when playing another- but I have seen some things- mages beating other mages not only repeatedly but badly when the "Meta" says they shouldn't.

And I have never thought Alter of the iron guard is OP- There are many ways around this. Say, a Mage fills his starting zone full of cheap creatures that all (Because of the Alter) have guard markers on them???

What do you do?

Well I will tell you just a few of the many things I have done-

The FM's force pull- Get that mage out of that zone. (I know,I know...Eagle claw boots- Dissolve them!)

Use Force Wave to clear out all those guards from that zone.

Go for long ranged attacks or attack spells- Force that mage out of his hidey hole!

This game IMO just presents too many options for anything to be certain.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
It has been around since the dawn of time,
it follows your loved ones as well as mine,
takes the form of a mountain as well as a flower,
it cannot be outrun by the greatest of power.
Where does my greatest enemy lie?
Within Shad0w.

The Dude

  • Hitchhiker of sorts
  • Playtester
  • Sr. Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 435
  • Banana Stickers 5
  • It's like... good gracious...bodacious.
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 02:42:44 AM »
I think straywood might be viable again, but just wait until you see the Necro's playstyle.
  • Favourite Mage: Johktari Beastmaster
Always carry a towel...

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 06:32:01 AM »
And I have never thought Alter of the iron guard is OP

Ok, I'll bite (although I'm conscious it's off topic. better resurrected in the thread link I inserted). I'm also slightly intimidated by your number of posts. I want to give due deference to someone far more experienced than me (which is why your compliment meant a lot to me, Dada). So sincere apologies if this post comes off as slightly too aggressive in its rebuttal. I am simply trying to apply logic and avoid a mistake being made to a game I love.

Issues with Altar of the Iron Guard:

1. Powerful arena-wide conjurations which change the rules should be global effects, not one-sided. Obelisk, Orb, slightly OP promo card Altar of Peace which completes the set, Idol, Deathlock and now Etherian Lifetree, totems and fine promo card Gravikor. So why does Altar of the Iron Guard have a great rules-changing one-sided benefit? It breaks the game's internal design rules. But to make matters worse...

2. It is Legendary, effectively saying "get me out first and not only do you gain a great benefit but you deny the opponent that benefit". You accept this happens in mirror matches. In the heyday of Temple of Light, whoever cast Samandriel first had a huge advantage. I retain Lord of Fire in my Warlock book mainly for the mirror (as Vampiress and Bloodpet Slayer are more efficient). During that time, with only my 1 Core pool local meta, I experimented with a Fire Wizard with both of them! (I called him my "Red Sorcerer" in reference to Melisandre, Priestess of Fire and Light.) But note how expensive both are. Which leads me onto...

3. It is so cheap. Both to cast (4) and to have in every spell book (level 1). This makes it an auto-include in almost every book and anything that removes variety is surely bad for the game?

To have the cheapest conjuration yet that helps almost any book with a great one-sided benefit then make it Legendary and is a level 1 available-to-all spell so that it will become almost ubiquitous, these are the ingredients of a card that has to be amended before release.

My work clients pay me for "solutions not problems". Instead of just being critical, what "tweak" could be made? My proposals are either:

(a) make it War Mage only. This instantly balances the Warlord (more at least) and the card fits with the Paladin hence school exclusive.

(b) make it universal "all mages summon with a guard token". Just like with Etherian Lifetree, this gives every mage the option to judge if it benefits them more, effectively accepting that they are the defensive longer-term counter-attack build in this match-up.

Which proposal depends on Arcane War's strategic balance of restrictive theme vs. flexibility (no more inflexible mages like Forcemaster that provide little variety in builds). As a deck builder, I personally prefer option (b) as option (a) is akin to "building your book by numbers" as it becomes a no-brainer insert for every War mage. But I also appreciate that many of the fan base treasure the theme. These players take less pleasure in building a clever book and take more pleasure in the experience of playing thematically, like a combat in 4th Edition D&D. But I don't think the card is so strongly War-themed that it's worthy of restricted access, though it does help to balance Warlord more. Difficult choice...

I'm sure there are other "simple tweak" ideas out there to salvage the card. But eventually releasing it as it stands? "Say it ain't so, Joe!".
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 08:28:07 AM by DeckBuilder »
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.

jacksmack

  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 1073
  • Banana Stickers 19
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 07:07:09 AM »
My perception of Altar of Peace is that its extremely situational.

I doubt each and every mage will auto include this, or atleast wont QC it whenever they win initiative.

I fits some strategy's (swarms), and maybe strategy's can even be made around this card - but in most games I play I rarely summon more than 4 creatures and I doubt that giving these (up to) 4 creatures a guard marker in my mage's zone or in my spawnpoints zone is gonna change as much as you say.
Often the action is NOT in the zone of my spawnpoint or mage.

Especially early on (if you wish to be guaranteed to be able to cast it), you are giving up casting flowers or crystals.

I am not worried about this card. But time will tell... I didn't even know that it would be in DvsN

DeckBuilder

  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 666
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: Etherian Lifetree and Corrode: changing the meta-game?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 07:35:29 AM »
My perception of Altar of Peace is that its extremely situational.

I doubt each and every mage will auto include this, or atleast wont QC it whenever they win initiative.

I fits some strategy's (swarms), and maybe strategy's can even be made around this card - but in most games I play I rarely summon more than 4 creatures and I doubt that giving these (up to) 4 creatures a guard marker in my mage's zone or in my spawnpoints zone is gonna change as much as you say.
Often the action is NOT in the zone of my spawnpoint or mage.

Especially early on (if you wish to be guaranteed to be able to cast it), you are giving up casting flowers or crystals.

I am not worried about this card. But time will tell... I didn't even know that it would be in DvsN

It's not. It's just the early order promo. This thread got derailed when Koz correctly highlighted it helps Swarm.

You make a very good point about "opportunity cost" in casting it. I had not factored that in. I would still take the benefit (and denial of benefit) given the opportunity, depending on the match-up.

I agree that Altar of the Iron Guard seems situational (certainly extraneous to Forcemaster's railroaded build). But many builds are defensive in nature, especially control builds. These builds accept that the more aggressive opponent will spend resources (move actions, cheetah speed etc) bringing the battle to you and you'll leverage this in the longterm by weathering the storm.

We have established Straywood gains big from it. But so does almost every Wizard who can time arrival of his full action guards 1 turn later at cost of a fast action and 4 mana and a zone. My Earth Wizard Golem kill zone which only summons guarding Golems, wizards with Gargoyles or Guardian Angel, every wizard gains from that extra delayed summon. Then there is the ultra-defensive Priestess, the original Archers + Guards zonal control. Finally, Warlock now has access to cheap Resilient guards. In fact, I envisage almost every book except for Forcemaster and some Super Aggro do-or-die builds wanting this card.

It also forces the opponent to always attack with the biggest creatures first. Because if he doesn't, the mage can summon his guard in at the opportune time (Straywood can bring in 2 Bobcat guards!). Currently we can soak-off activated guards with distraction attacks, leaving The Big Bad for their mage (if playing assassination style). But this forces the opponent to play in a certain way, reducing tactical options.

It really is a deceptively powerful ability, like stacking ready actions to sequence actions in bursts or multiple enchantment transfusions (for no action). Take the latter. You pay a fast action and mana in advance to have the ability to time the Nullify or multiple transfer your face down curses from your Imp familiar to a target. Multiple burst actions are precious, previously unavailable opportunity windows (the most valuable resource) and are potentially game breaking. To give this minor benefit to one side and deny it to the other, the net shift is big.

You also mention spawn points. I rarely play them (have never played Pentagram or Barracks). I generally end up regretting experimenting with them, except for the Harmonized Temple of Asrya pre-nerf of Temple of Light. In my games, spawn points have a huge bullseye on them and you often find them assaulted. To have creatures arrive guarding them just in time during Deployment is such a huge benefit! Maybe this is simply a difference in local meta styles and your spawnpoints are never assaulted.

I like the card's idea (but it depends on the text for Vigilant). Those useless Garrison Posts hence Barracks may become more attractive (I wouldn't go so far as to say playable yet). I just think it has to be tweaked as it undoubtedly breaks the game's internal design rules so far. And the issues it generates are surely not good for the game?

Hey, maybe I'm wrong about this (Shadow diplomatically wrote "no comment" in the thread link given above). A bit more humility on my part is needed. But if anyone wants to debate this further, please resurrect the thread link above. I also have concerns over other promo cards. Especially as their Director said they will all eventually be released "as is" and they will not use promos as a great opportunity to leverage one of their best resources, beta-testing by their fanatical fan base.

So back to Etherian Lifetree and Corrode changing the meta to reintroduce Swarm...
« Last Edit: September 15, 2013, 09:51:48 AM by DeckBuilder »
It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye. And then it's just fun.