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Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balance

The game's community balance team discusses card changes here.

Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balance

Postby ivko » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:41 pm

We'd like to have a look at the new cards we added, and see what changes the game need to keep everything in balance, and not decks that are too obnoxious thrive. Easier said than done, really :)

I will first paste VanguarX's topic for your viewing pleasure:

VanguardX wrote:Count me in. Here are my initial thoughts on balancing the new cards:

Harbinger of Sorrow: It's a really fun design, but it can be exploited because of Dark Portal. I'm in the minority, but I don't think it needs a nerf yet. Demons are easily teched against with artifact removal. That said, if we don't like the flavor of Demons being the best One Turn Heal deck, here are some alternatives:

  • Remove the 'demon' tag, which gets rid of the Harbinger train
  • Increase the cost to 4 mana
  • Make Dark Portal legendary, which would be a buff to aggro demons and a nerf to OTH demons
  • Round the number of souls summoned down, rather than up

Catacomb Keeper: It seems balanced as an addition to any new horizons deck, particularly reanimator archetypes. So far I haven't found it to be overpowered.

Cold Hearted Paladin: Cool design, but he won't see much play without a bit of a buff. I'm ok with leaving him alone, but if we want to buff here are some options:

  • I'd play the heck out of him at 2 mana/2 levels, although that could be too much of a buff
  • Make the body 2/3 to start, and drop him to 2 speed
  • Change him from a knight to a soldier

EDIT: tested the Cold-Hearted Paladin more, and I think he's good as-is.

Spore Shepherd: It isn't seeing much play yet, but there might be a deck for it and the design promotes choice and interaction. This card definitely does not need a nerf. We could give it a buff by playing with the curve. You don't usually want to go to three mana/one nature in a plants deck, and at 3 mana/2 aspects there are so many competing cards (timea & diogen in particular). However, dropping him to 2 mana/2 aspects seems like too much of a buff.

Overall, i'd leave it as-is and see if the community comes up with a plants list.

Siren of the Deep Sea Seems cool. I haven't used it enough to form a strong opinion. Like Spore Shepherd, it suffers from being at 3 mana/1 aspect which is an awkward spot. It would be much better at 2 mana/2 aspects, since implants don't have a lot of great cards in that slot, but it could be overpowered there and is probably fine as-is. It wouldn't surprise me if someone builds an oppressive implants deck using the current version of this card.

Deep Sea Horror As currently conceived, it won't see much play except with Siren of the Deep Sea. For it to see constructed play on its own, it would need to be a zombie.

Merchant of Souls: The only use I've seen so far is to build crazy combos (draw your whole deck, infinite heal, infinite damage). Ivko, is that what you wanted with the card? If you're looking for a cool combo card - this is it. If that wasn't the intention, maybe we should rework it.

Pandemonium: As is, it's much worse than Trigon. My suggestions to make it stronger:
1) Sacrifice 1 mana to add two levels. At that point you aren't ramping - but you are able to go from (for example) 3 mana 1 aspect cards and then play 2 mana/3 aspect cards the next turn, which can benefit decks like zombies (insatiable ghoul into cult). If we determine 2 levels for one mana is too good, try it at 1 mana plus discard 1 card.
2) The spell itself should be 1 corruption, 2 neutral - not 3 corruption. It will never be played outside mono-c control without some flexibility.
3) Alternative - if you don't like any of those, add a tag to the current version of Pandemonium that says "if you miss Divine Offering, you may put a copy of Pandemonium from your deck into your hand". As the 'evil' spell shrine, it might make sense to be the card you get when you make a divine offering and miss.

I will post topics about Harbinger of Souls, Pandemonium of Darkness, and Merchant of Souls, as I think there is a lot to discuss about these. Please let us know here whether you think any of the other cards requires attention and why.

Any other thoughts about the current project are welcome too!
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby ivko » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:06 pm

Go, go, go, don't be shy - we have started!

P.S: Excuse the double post and my silly mood today.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby Maraut » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:45 pm

A little side note before I comment on the new cards: The tainted cards from good aspects seem like a missed opportunity to introduce good-evil multi aspect cards. Are there any plans in the team to make these happen sometime in the future, or do you want to keep a strict separation of good and evil aspects?

Cold-Hearted Paladin

The creature itself seems strong. It's actually a fatty, but you don't notice it right away because of his low mana cost and seemingly weak stats. It just suffers from the same issue as many other strong creatures that never see play: it doesn't have any immediate benefit. In competitive constructed play, when you play a creature, there is a strong chance it won't live long enough to attack even once regardless of stats, which is why we see creatures like Battlescarred Elder, Karthas, Bezarok, but almost never Erulak, Magi Expedition or Antriel. The same is true for the Paladin: I have never played him in constructed, and when I faced him, I killed him right away.

Catacomb Keeper

You don't see this card very often - yet - and it made me feel like I'm the only one who appreciates its insanity, until I watched Fuzz' latest video. Getting a body and drawing three cards, at no other price than discarding an excess shrine or New Horizons, that is just scary. Still, it is an incentive not to run Silencer, and for that alone, it deserves to stay as is for the time being.

Spore Shepherd

I have seen it being played in polar bears, and it seemed to work pretty well. I have never played it myself, though, so I'll leave others to comment on it.

Harbinger of Sorrows

Pretty famous right now, isn't he? He is strong, very strong, and I don't think we want decks that impose a hard time limit on a match, like the old Dragon OTK did. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fix the issue. Remove the demon tag, round down the number of souls summoned and whatnot, just as VanguardX already wrote. My personal favorite would be to remove the demon tag, but give you the option of choosing either hero and gaining souls based on the life total lost by that hero this turn.

Siren of the Deep Sea

I still haven't tried to stick a Murderous Instinct on her and lead her on a killing spree. So for now, I'll leave others to comment on her.

Merchant of Souls

It was only just released, but I know this card already has a nerf on its back. And it still seems like one of these cards that is only good for whacky combos that need to be hit with the nerf bat. You had to fix one right after it was released. No idea what you were thinking when you came up with this one. Hell, its stats don't even allow it to be used outside anything but crazy combos - it's a tainted turn 5 card that dies to a Noxious Fumes.

Pandemonium of Darkness

I already wrote about it in its own thread. I don't know how to fix the aspect side without making it an auto-include. But at the very least, the aspect requirements of the spell side should be eased to CXX. Let's see it this can help the card along.

Deep Sea Horror
Big Creature. No instant benefit. Dead creature. Maybe playable in limited with CX aspect requirements.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby Ante » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:49 am

I want to ask in this topic what is the purpose or the intention of the "Tainted"- Mechanic.

Only 3 Cards interact with it in its own way ( Harbinger of Sorrow, Catacomb Keeper, Cold-Hearted Paladin) and Catacomb and Paladin only because they also have make use of levels. I dont get why Spore Shepheard, Siren of the Deep Sea and Merchant of the Souls also have it, or is it only because the cards are considered strong if they are played early in the game and they need a drawback?

In addition I think for future cards Tainted has to get more versatile in terms of it costs of level, like Tainted X.
Tainted X: When this creature enters the field, lose X life unless you have at least X Levels in Evil.

So to rebalance some of the cards i think this definition of Tainted is necessary.

All in all i think none of the cards are too strong, they just miss some flavour.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby SashaIr » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:41 pm

I agree with the "Tainted X" mechanic idea (Fuzz suggested that?). CHP might be Tainted 2, Harbinger maybe 4, Spore Sheperd... well, it probably shouldn't be Tainted at all.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby ivko » Thu Feb 08, 2018 3:57 pm

Ante, the flavor of the mechanic is that the creatures are "touched" by Evil, but that of course should be obvious from the name. We've tried to incorporate the flavor into the art, concept, and mechanics, but sometimes it is indeed a bit subtle.

Siren has a normal looking human body, but is in fact a corrupted monster below the water level. We made special art for her, if you noticed the art continues downwards to show the "Deep Sea Horror" part :) The Tainted flavor is not felt so strongly in this card, because Dominion is the closest aspect to Corruption, and one could easily imagine the card without the Tainted part.

Spore Shepherd is unique because it gives Nature a way to destroy enemy creatures by forcing a sacrifice, which is a Corruption ability. Merchant of Souls can resurrect creatures from the graveyard, which is also a Corruption mechanic. Art for all the Good cards that are tainted have an art concept with a darker feeling than usual.

Obviously we didn't succeed fully, because a couple of people have asked us the same question. To this day I'm not 100% sure where our mistake was with the Tainted design.

About Tainted X, the cards were actually initially designed in that way. But later we agreed to simplify it, as the benefit was small and we didn't want to make the mechanic more complex than it needed to be. Perhaps we were wrong there too, and people expected a number that mirrored the Valor mechanic.

To all: Guys, my apologies but I've been super busy due to two blocking issues we have for the mobile version - one for Android, and one for iOS. So I haven't been able to be as active as I would have wished here. Will catch up during the weekend!
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby VitamineC » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:11 pm

We got your back, ivko! The reason we have the balance team in the first place is so that you can spend more time tending to other issues.

As for the tainted mechanic I agree that it's not the most interesting mechanic but it has its place design wise. I'm not sure "Tainted X" would be that great of a change mostly because the gap between Tainted 2 and Tainted 3 would be huuuuuuuge and Tainted 1 might as well not exist.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby VitamineC » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:15 pm

Is there any reason Deep Sea Horror is CC and not 1C? It's probably never going to be a constructed card anyway, but at 1C it might be a nice big card for limited or new players. The change would also have 0 effect on Horrors spawned from Sirens.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby Rinriet » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:29 am

@Ivko, is it intended that the effect from Spore Shepherd "other plants get +1atk" was global?
Most of the time having to wait opponent's turn (when he can kill your Spore) just to see how then he gets 2 2/1 sprouts isn't fun.

It is intended to be a part of a combo? (Holy Rad, etc)

At the moment, people I see use him only as a buff to sac weak or haunted creatures and then strike with strong sprouts, because of how bad he usually is as removal.
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Re: Currently Discussing - "Mobile Version" New Cards Balanc

Postby VanguardX » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:39 am

Ok, after some more testing, I've kept decks featuring Cold-Hearted Paladin, Siren, Catacomb Keeper, and Spore Shepherd in the top 10 on ranked. They all seem good, but not overpowered.

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