To be fair, during the 10 game run, I had some exceptionally bad luck. Under normal circumstances I would expect 9-1 in favor of Black, but that’s not much better… You have a point about P2 Blue losing before they start, and I do agree that this issue deserves some attention.
I wish I could chime in and make a better case for Blue here, but sadly I cannot. There are multiple different matches that I’ve played, even going back to the old forums, and the only success blue has had has been with some of the map cards.
I’ve tried discussing this topic in the past. I’ve tried searching out balance answers before. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything to be done about it, @thehug0naut, so I wouldn’t hold your breath on that. I tried to bring it up before the game had shipped, but really it had already been sent to printers at that point so it was too late anyway.
With all that said, I do still think this is a phenomenal game overall, and a lot of fun to play. I really would have loved for the mono-matchups that shipped to all be great representations of the great balance in the game as a whole, and I think Red vs. Green accomplishes that. It’s a ton of fun and has a lot of variety. I also think White vs Purple is just fine to be together. I’m pretty resigned to Black vs Blue being pretty far off at this point though. I’ve played enough of it that I think I know at this point that Blue needs a lot of things to bounce their way to even carry a slight advantage into the end-game, and even there it becomes a bit of a coin-flip. Black has great choices at all stages of the game, and especially has everything it needs to shut Blue down early. At Tech 2 in an even game, Blue has a slight edge, but it really takes awhile to get going.
My ongoing offer still stands to play this matchup with anyone at any time, if they think they have the answers for Blue, as I genuinely want this game that I love to reveal more balance in this matchup than I’ve seen.
Blue balancing suggestions
A free tower to start the game given to blue, in either first or second player, is one house rule I have thought of that would balance it maybe.
The real problem is that even Blue’s units that are strong against Deteriorate (Traffic Director, Porkhand) lose against SacTheWeak. So you need heroes. And none of Blue’s heroes can stand up to Vandy+units.
Has anyone tried nothing T1, going into max Quince+Units Turn 2, teching 2x Mind Control or Free Speech?
Mind control isn’t going to nab anything interesting on T3, and free speech isn’t actually killing the large pile of damage that black is building up. The problem blue tends to have is that black kills blue stuff without losing any black stuff. Shadow blade/deteriorate/sac the weak are all very effective at removing lots of blue units, and vandy plus a handful of cheap things are very effective at killing even big heroes.
Here’s another possible change to mull over, less drastic than the tower thing. Deteriorate can’t target illusions. Suddenly spectral aven becomes too powerful, probably, but pushes black to tech sickness to deal with illusions, or midband orpal, instead of just always having a free answer to illusions.
Regarding why it wasn’t caught in playtesting:
There’s a lot going on in playtesting. The Meta shifts a ton. Not just card changes make this happen but rule changes as well. Blue for awhile was extremely powerful (at least Truth was) so nerfs hit them and maybe it went too far. Black (the color I personally played the most in testing) was insanely strong for huge chunks of playtesting and it seems the nerfs to them weren’t taken far enough. iirc what ended up really swaying the mu in favor to Black was nerfing Justice Juggernaut, it used to be able to patrol, Black supposedly (I never faced this card) have extreme difficulty dealing with JJ so it was nerfed to not be able to patrol. With what has been discovered now this might not even be releavent though.
I think it would be great if balance changes could start to be worked on in the near future (6 - 12 months) because with the number of tournament minded people playing now it will allow for a much larger number of high level games being played. With the nature of the game an upgrade pack would be easy enough to do which should satisfy all (hopefully) players.
I would be thrilled if such things were worked on in that time frame. I had come to terms with the idea that it would not change until 2020 at the earliest.
And I don’t begrudge the nature of playtesting, I get that. I am very surprised to hear justice juggernaut was causing problems, but i had not really considered what problems it causes as a patroller. Blue benefits from stalling overall, so yea, i could see how that might cause problems.
The issue against early game’s black Vandy+Jav+Haunt is that you might never get to Tech II, and if you do, you spend all your money on Juggernaut and it dies to SacTheWeak. d:
I like the thought of Deteriorate not hitting illusions.
Alternatively, I think having one or two units in Blue’s starter that cannot be sacrificed would be nice and niche.
Or an ability: “If this is sacrificed,…something that hurts your opponent].” I like this, but making the opponent discard is stealing black’s flavor, trashing their worker is stealing red’s flavor (though I really like the idea of the worker no longer getting bribes from a Magistrate and leaving the workforce).
You could do: “If this is sacrificed,…[something that helps you].” Like gaining a bunch of money?
Of course, none of these addresses Deteriorate, which makes it easy to safely kill the units it doesn’t kill outright, so the Deteriorate nerf still sounds better.
I kinda think I’d like to see a boost to Musketeer. Like: “When this dies on an opponent’s turn, one of your heroes with no +1/+1 runes (choose randomly if you have more than one) gets Long Range and a +1/+1 rune.” Put that damn rifle to work.
not targeting illusions sounds a bit too much, probably. On second thought, maybe something a little more minor, like “illusions cost 1 more to target” as a rules text change on deteriorate. I also like this because it feels like it has interesting impacts to dreamscape.
A sacrifice effect could just be a “dies: X” effect, but that strays into adjusting matchups that aren’t blue v black. You could also get some wierd hero synergy where orpal midband and garth doom grasp are paired with the blue starter in order to take advantage of whatever starter unit provides a boost from sacrificing.
Ah, yes. This wasn’t a thing during much of testing (fuzzy on the timeline). Haunt didn’t always cost 0. He bounced around from never played to played but only as a sac target to the beast he is now.
Since @FrozenStorm and @Nekoatl just did that huge set of Black vs Blue games, I asked them to give their thoughts on rebalancing the matchup. Here’s FrozenStorm’s, here’s Nekoatl’s, and here’s my analysis of their suggestions. Full disclosure: I’ve never played either color before, but I thought it would be worthwhile to reorganize it all by spec and throw some of my own thoughts on the issue in. Nekoatl at least seems to agree with most of it, so I’ll call it good enough!
Since I’ve already spent hours on that post, I’ll just say that it seems like a cop-out to do anything like “can’t target illusions” that will be meaningless noise in the majority of matchups. Imagine a new player seeing that version of Deteriorate and asking why it says that, and you have to explain how this one matchup was horribly broken until that was added, and it feels wrong because it only affects one spec… It’s a mess, imo.
Hey guys I can fix the matchup for you.
Nerf Vandy, (remove resist 1, make midband at 4, maxband at 6), nerf Dark Pact (costs 1), nerf deteoriorate, (costs 1).
Matchup fixed, easy.
This is worth a try.
I’d really like to see @FrozenStorm and @Nekoatl test out these changes in pbf matches. At the very least, if those changes were proven viable, forum matches would have a chance at being balanced better.
I am not really a fan of changes that drastically affect other matchups. the resist 1 and changing the cost of midband feel like overcorrections. Deteriorate and dark pact costing 1 seem reasonable, and have less direct impact on other matchups.
Vandy is known very, very strong, pretty much agreed to be the best hero.
Mainly because she has everything, including really great spells.
Even if not the midband change, which I still think is a good idea for the amazing stats she has, the Resist 1 is definitely unnecessary and should never have been there to begin with.
just changing dark pact to 1 feels like a pretty strong nerf to vandy. But I do know Vandy is very strong, I just don’t want to have some huge overcorrection. There are 19 other heroes to balance against, and just bringing down the nerfhammer on Vandy might cause more problems than it fixes.
Broadly speaking, I feel like it’s safer to err on the side of caution with this stuff — having one option that is way too good is far worse for the long-term life of a competitive game than having one option that is way too bad.
I played Mono-Blue in most of my games and my feeling is that they don’t have answer to hero-based strategies. I mean, Free Speech costs 1 card and just delays the thing…
I’d bet giving Deathtouch to one unit or changing General Hammer, Dreamscape or Jurisdiction for real good anti-hero spells could do the thing.
Or making Law Tech II units affect heroes… Or something with Porkhand Magistrate.
I think that Black starter is really OP too. Most factions don’t have any answer to Thieving Imp for example ! StW should not affect Tech III units too.
IMO each color should have an option to deal with heroes and something to earn card advantage (like Brave Knight, Graveyard or Scribe, before getting an Ultimate Spell).
Necro-ing this thread just to suggest something that occured to me. @nekoatl suggested reworking Lawful Search to be an upgrade as part of the problem for blue is knowing whether a hero is actually safe to play.
Would it help to slightly buff lawful search so that it could be cast by administrators aswell as heroes? Makes sense flavour wise too, which I extra like.
Edit: I should actually read the full thread of MMM before posting. @hobusu already suggested this - clearly great minds thinks alike!