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Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

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

Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby The Fuzz » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:22 am

The Enchained Soul seems to be a problem for sure, as it has featured in several silly combos already, and likely will again.
It is already something that is summoned from a lot of effects in corruption, and is their mascot basically. Due to the slave tag, it needs a way to get rid of itself, otherwise it becomes a big issue. But without slave tag, Haunt would be completely busted.

So, I support a Legendary Portal. Stacking reduction is, as mentioned, ALWAYS a bad idea.

As for the Harbinger, its fine as is. If portal is legendary, and soul gets looked it, it might be ok. Though, tossing the Demon tag might be good, since in Fuzzy Demons (the mono C version), it is crazy, and a legendary portal is a great buff to the deck, as it is a way to reset portal.

We might need a topic of Enchained Soul.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby VitamineC » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:46 am

Enchained Souls itself has never been a problem in my opinion, being able to summon 20+ of them in one turn for a low cost is the problem.

Also has anyone got some actual stats of the winrate of a Harbinger OTH deck?
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby Zephiria » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:36 am

VitamineC wrote:I completely agree with Zephiria.
Edit: Seems like Zephiria just changed her mind and deleted her post. :D

Yes, I actually wanted to play the deck myself, before commenting on Harbinger changes, but I'm kinda busy atm.

However to repeat what I said, before deleting it:

I think, we have the classis zero mana - zero card cost issue here, where portal reduces manacosts to zero and the cards you use have been drawn for free at the beginning of your turn.
I think, this has to be changed about portal regardless of this deck and might already be enough to bring Harbinger in line.
How strong should Harbinger be, if he's played in a deck without portal?

Legendary vs adjusting manacost-reduction. Maybe this should be discussed in a seperate thread. For now:
1) Adjusting manacost:
- Targets the actual problem at its base. The other option would be to limit the carddraw when there is more than one portal in play.
- Is a nerf to portal, if a deck wants to have more than one copy in play at the same time.
- Depending on how it is done, it might also be a nerf to the 1/1 flyer demon - portal interaction.

2) Making DP legendary:
- Reduces options for the portal player, because he can only have one portal active at any given time
- Surpasses intended restrictions and interactions by exploiting that legendaries are destroyed, if the player decides to play another copy.
It means, the healthcost/energy interaction doesn't have to be monitored like it should and it also has the side effect that you can get rid of cards like haunt, that simply love to target portal. (This has been mentioned as a pro, which I don't think it is)
There might be a point in the future, where legendaries get changed, so that you simply can't play another copy, if there is already one in play, at which point further changes to DP might be necessary, if we go with these unintended sideeffects.
- Is a change that has an effect on distribution of legendaries in the different aspects and overall game. Thus a pretty big one.

@Enchained Souls:
The card enchained soul is not a problem, but freely summoned Souls are.
Whenever they are freely summoned, we have an example for a card that allows you to do an action without paying any cost and so they become combo enablers. I agree with Fuzz, that we should discuss this seperately.

Can we agree to leave Harbinger alone and look at portal + enchained souls instead or is there any reason to believe that Harbinger warrants a nerf outside of the portal-harbinger combo deck?
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby Maraut » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:28 pm

Making portal legendary would provide a cheap, flavorless and unwaranted way to cheat your way around the cost associated with it. You know something is wrong when the solution to a card's downside (increasing life loss) is that card itself.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby Zadorec » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:51 pm

Maybe we could have both Dark Portal versions for testing, the legendary one, and the one that only reduces from the base cost. After testing we could decide which looks better.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby YSChaos » Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:23 am

I suggested the Legendary Portal before and think it's worth testing, but an alternative could be similar to Ne'eva's ability:
Demons cost 1 less, to a minimum of 1.
It's never bad to have the same wording on different cards, makes them easy to understand due to consistency.

As for Harbinger, the stats are too good. 1/4 or 2/3 seems more reasonable, or even 3/2.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby VanguardX » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:12 am

I'd support either of these tweaks:
-Remove the demon tag (easiest fix)
-Change portal so only the first portal reduces demons' cost. Additional portals allow you to draw more cards, but don't reduce cost further.

We'd need to test out legendary portal before making that change - it might be too much of a buff to aggro demons.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby hallyll » Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:20 am

Of the suggestions above, making portal legendary seams to be the best solution. the harbinger is still gonna be good with single portal but since demons have been in T2, sometimes pushing into T1.5 pretty for at least the last couple of years while ive played.

So a new demon which aids sustainability both through life gain and board control with high speed blockers was a really cool new card for demons to get IMO.

I think stacking portals can be risky in of course but when done correctly the deck is able to pull off some completely broken beyond repair plays that shouldn't be able to happen haha

Vanguard knows this new demons list better than I do.
I'm not exactly sure how concerned he is about legendary causing portal to buff aggro demons too much.
I'm guessing that his point is just that we should test and make sure, I agree.

A fair bit of speculation here on my part but I think legendary might be an ok solution, I definitely don't want to see harbinger changed. An extra way to make sure your portal doesn't kill you too fast is good, but as I mentioned above demons did need a bit of extra pepper.
Also killing your own portals has issues for the demon's player as I've played many games without ever finding 1/4 of my portals, there is a decent amount of artifact hate around so demons players cant be too casual about killing their own portal.

Most games, if you find two portals and both of which are destroyed, (by the legendary effect or your opponent) your chances of finding another one and surviving for a comeback are very slim against any strong deck. I kind of like this as demons has always been a balancing act.

Death by portal damage risk would be mitigated by making it legendary but death through lack of portal is a risk you cant ignore either.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby VanguardX » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:49 pm

hallyll wrote:Vanguard knows this new demons list better than I do.
I'm not exactly sure how concerned he is about legendary causing portal to buff aggro demons too much.
I'm guessing that his point is just that we should test and make sure, I agree.


My concern is legendary portal makes aggro demons too good (look at me, worrying an aggro deck might be too good - aren't you proud hallyall?).

Legendary portal allows another way for demons to avoid killing themselves. You might not need to run herald of despair. It also gives demons a way to get rid of a haunt on a portal on-curve (as opposed to herald, sac herald).

We took purple demons and red demons to #1 on ladder before harbinger. With portal as legendary and harbinger as a demon, I think it might be too much of a buff.

I'm not sure though - which is why I want to test it.
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Re: Harbinger of Souls, Combo Spawner

Postby ivko » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:04 pm

I just read through the entire topic, trying to catch up with things.

In my opinion it is probably best to target a Portal change. Enchained Soul is a interesting little creature, and it definitely needs a way to sacrifice itself. Harbinger itself I believe is fine outside of the combo, however I am still a bit concerned about its usage in aggro demons outside of the combo. The ones of you who have played the deck, how easy it is to alleviate the life loss from Portal with Harbinger (without aiming for a combo win)?

The upsides of tweaking Portal are quite a lot:
- it keeps the balance of Enchained Souls in turn linked to half a dozen other cards intact
- it keeps Harbinger an interesting card, and TBH nerfing a card that has just went out can be disappointing
- it allows us to keep Portal in check, so it doesn't limit future Demon cards too much

I think that we definitely need to get rid of the "reduction to 0" at least in part. As mentioned it allows for combo wins and really unpredictable stuff to happen. I think we are okay with free Nightbringers, and I personally am perfectly okay with keeping it the only 1 mana Demon.

So we have the following options:

1. Make Portal Legendary.
2. Change the cost reduction to "Demon cards you play cost 1 mana less to a minimum of 1".
3. Change the cost reduction to "Demon cards you play cost 1 mana less that their base cost", which is not ideal due to it being inconsistent with Reverence. The upside (is it an upside?) is that we are keeping Nightbringer's cost zero with Portal.

Essentially, all these keep the Harbinger combo in the game. So I think we definitely need these versions to be tested, but I would like to keep the options down to only two. I will see when we can schedule the test version when we agree on the action needed on all the currently open topics.

Which options should we test? Is there one of them that is definitely not going to work?

I think that even though option 2 allows the Harbinger combo to still be too good, it basically doesn't affect it. So we should probably test 1 and 3.
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