It works now
It looks really cool. Overseer may need to have something like a “tech 0 or 1 units” phrase so it can’t drop an Ultralisk or something. Either way, I’m eager to Zergling Drop and Nydus Worm in Codex
I was just watching an SC2 game’s commentary yesterday where the Protoss player (Zest) dropped a Xenostalker (a Colossus) behind enemy lines using its transport unit (Phase Prism) against his Terran opponent (TY) in the Katowice series/event - cast by WinterStarcraft… game 1 or 2 of 4.
Anyway, I don’t know if Overseers can actually lift massive units (Ultralisk). It may or may not.
The more important thing would be the balance impact for codex. I’d be interested to hear a few other opinions about whether the overseer could be tested as is or needs a modification.
Edit: additional response to @Nopethebard
I was always more of a Protoss player in SC1 & SC2. Never was particularly extraordinary, but I enjoyed the series and campaigns. The few Protoss inspired units that made their way into purple were an inspiration to me to bring the morph xenomorphic aliens too. But, I have made Zerg & Protoss additions to other games too. Codex is a perfect medium for it though.
I too am excited to throw around some alien hordes. Swarms of zerglings… powerful Xeno heroes… some unique new spells and mechanics explored.
I was talking about balance reasons. Giving a unit Unstoppable is really strong. I just used the ultra as a unit that is probably too good if it can be used this way
It may be fine as-is tho
I like the ideas, some ideas for cleaning up cards text/flavour:
Banelings: Given you have +armour abilities in the same spec, this can patrol and deal damage to multiple units, which feels unintended for a unit that explodes on dealing damage. Changing the text to “After this deals damage: Sacrifice this unit” also reads more cleanly imo.
Dehaka Statline: 2/4 at level 1 and Zagara 2/6 at lvl 6. Rook is literally made of stone. It is for this reason he always has the most hp at every level. It feels weird to me that other heros have the same toughness at the respictive levels. if Dehaka is an alpha predator / incredible strong either a unique statline of 3/2 at level 1 might be interesting, or if his toughness is super important a 2/2 or 2/3 with Attacks: gain 1 armour until end of turn sound preserve this idea without stepping on Rocks toes (other ideas include halfing damage, or some sort of self regen on upkeep). Given Zagara abilities/spells, a 2/5 at max feels fine.
Self-regen of some kind seems the most thematic approach IMO
Getting close to a testable faction!
@Shadow_Night_Black Awesome feedback and thank you for the suggestions (Dehaka, Zagara & Banelines… more below)
I do not want to step on Rook’s toes! I was just trying to use him for inspiration / balance.
Balance Questions: (Double-indented)
- Verbiage - As @EricF mentioned in post 19, I will change Creep Tumor’s wording to eliminate the redundant reference to “… units and tokens”, since it will affect both. (@zhavier also pointed this out in post 18). Similarly, I will get rid of that redundant wording in Evolve Baneline and Broodmother. This was mostly due to a misunderstanding / over-specification on my part.
Baneling - As @Shadow_Night_Black suggested, I will change the Baneling to read “… sparkshot and ‘after this deals damage: sacrifice this unit.’” That is more thematic. Will have to test how it plays. I am concerned that “Evolve Baneling” might be a little weak potentially. You should have ample sources of Zurklings (either through the starter deck unit, the starter deck Zurkling Rush spell, Zagara’s top-band ability, Zagara’s Swarm Attack spell, and late-game the Broodmother T3 in the Evolution spec)… however paying 1 gold and sacrificing a unit for a 3/1 seems a pinch on the weak side (Baneling dies to Deteriorate.) After play-testing it, I may consider dropping the gold cost to 0 either originally or the activation cost… or changing the Baneling unit to a 4/1 (still susceptible to counterplay, but more of a threat.) For comparison… The Present unit Sentry is a 3/2 with sparkshot and a prevent 1 damage as a Tech 1. So a 3/1 sparkshot seems a little on the lower end. The advantage of Evolution’s current “Evolve Baneling” is that it is an upgrade (harder to remove/answer) and has potential repeat value.
- I would love balance feedback on the Baneling (pre-testing thoughts).
Dehaka - My first thought with Dehaka was he starts out tough and then evolves to become an aggressive threat as he levels up, especially if he techs in spells to support that. On that basis, I would lean more towards the 2/3 with “Attacks: Gain 1 armor this turn.” to support him having that slightly more-beefy-than-average feel, early on. Given that change:
- What are your thoughts on his mid-band and max-band statline, ability & cost. Assuming those don’t change, does he seem worthy of testing with just the above change? (At level 4 he becomes a 3/4 with readiness and at level 7 a 4/4 with overpower.)
- Does that revised Top-band ability / statline too redundant with his “Adapt Mutation” spell? If you think so, any thoughts/suggestions on tweaking that around?
- Zagara - She is kind of a half-caster and with starting as a 2/2 (with the ability to summon 1/1 tokens like Garth), I think it might be better to send her into testing on the lower end of the power scale. I was firing from the hip when first putting this together. I could see putting her statline at 2/2 > 2/3 > 2/4. She has a little more damage and less health that way.
- Do the Tech 3’s for each of the 3 specs seem powerful enough to be fun and potentially situationally useful, without being way too powerful? (I really like the thematic representation of the Brutalisk in Primal… if you are familiar with the inspiring unit, hopefully it gives you some nostalgic feels.)
- Should the Mutalisk be a 2/2?
If I don’t hear anything more from you guys over the next ~week, I will proceed with making a proxy-set of this faction to start testing out.
I am hoping to hear from one of the senior players here (the guys who know this game like the back of their hand) regarding if any of the specific cards in any of the 3 specs have broken combos with existing specs, or if everything feels like it would be at least play-test-able in its current form, with the changes noted in this post.
I very much appreciate all the help you guys have thrown at me so far.
Banelings seem okay as they are. Baneling as an Upgrade to a unit type that you can mass produce is inherently powerful. You can use them to decimate patrol zones in a way that few Tech 1s can. Please don’t buff them further.
You are limited in how many Banelings you can generate and they do not have haste. Thus your opponent has the opportunity to respond to them. (1 damage to a patroller or unit to answer.) Additional analysis below regarding their cost.
Sacrificing a Zurkling as part of the cost to summon a Baneling comes with several opportunity costs.
- Abathur’s top-band ability makes ZLings into 1/2’s instead of 1/1’s.
- Abathur’s mid-band wants to eat ZLings for potential card draw.
- Starter deck upgrade Creep Tumor gives ZLings haste and makes them better patrollers.
- Abathur’s non-ultimate spells synergize well with ZLings.
- Sequence Morphology (Evolution Tech 2) upgrade gives ZLings +1 armor and does not benefit BLings.
- Broodmother (Evolution, Tech 3) summons & buffs ZLings. Okay, not super relevant to the above…
- Dehaka’s ultimate spell = channeling +2 attack to your units. (Useful on BLings, but the cheaper nature of ZLings and potential for haste makes this more impactful on ZLings.)
- Zagara’s max-band ability gives your units Frenzy 1. (Useful on BLings, but the lack of potential haste makes this more impactful on ZLings.)
Currently, you need to pay 1 to play the upgrade, then tap & pay 1 more to turn a Zurkling into a 3/1 sparkshot (that dies as soon as it deals damage, either from attacking or defending… to prevent Armor abuse with them).
- Scenario 1: The starter deck ZLing costs a card + 0 gold. (0 gold + card)
- Scenario 2: The starter deck spell costs a card + 2 gold, for 2 ZLings. (1 gold + 1/2 card each)
- Scenario 3: Zagara costs 2 to summon, then 1 gold for a 1/1 ZLing. (1 gold + hero)
- Scenario 4: Zagara’s spell costs a card + 5 gold for 4 ZLings. (1.25 gold each + 1/4 card)
- Scenario 5: Broodmother (not going to address as a source of Lings, because Tier 3)
In each of those scenarios, the upgrade then needs to pay 1 gold for activation and sacrifice the unit, plus tap (max of once per turn, unless you build 2 upgrades).
With the activation cost on Evolve Baneling, the effective cost of the 3/1 sparkshot is:
- Scenario 1: (1 gold + card)
- Scenario 2: (2 gold + half a card)
- Scenario 3: (2 gold + hero)
- Scenario 4: (2.25 gold + 1/4 card)
- Scenario 5: does not compute
In each scenario above, the very 1st Baneling produced costs +1 gold, due to the upgrade’s original cost to play. So even in the cheapest scenario, the Baneling is strictly inferior to a Sentry (due to lack of the extra ability.) The compensating value is that the Tech 1 card is an Upgrade, which is harder to remove, and you have control over when to use it. For example, you could get value out of a ZLing by attacking and then sacrificing it for 1 gold to put in a 3/1 blocker instead for one.
All that said… I won’t… for now
They are probably fine to be tested, as is.
I was just stating I think there is a chance they may be underwhelming in practice.
I am excited to see how this will work out, in play.
Edit 3 Addendum: The more and more I analyze this, the more I think it is probably okay as it.
Edit 1: Added emoji, and Dehaka’s ult to top list.
Edit 2: Adjusted the effective cost on Baneling to account for the upgrade’s cost.
Edit 3: Updated a miscalculation on Scenario 4. Had original referred to Zurklings as Lings, but realized this was not ideal in a post also about Banelings and have updated them to ZLings & BLings.
Game 1, P1=Green, Green wins T6 by MOLAC
- This is a good time to discuss that Brown has virtually no answer currently to ugrades. (Tech 2 Swarm unit “Infestor” can steal an upgrade, if it hits a base. However that unit is only a 2/4 for 3 gold without stealth or haste.)
- Green has a lot of answers for upgrades (Nature Reclaims, Potent Basilisk, T-rex)
- White has an answer in Versatile Style
- Purple has an answer in Assimilate
- Blue has a preventative measure in Reputable Newsman
- Black has a quasi-answer in tech 3 from Zarramomde, and additional threat from discard with Carrion Curse.
- Red has no direct answer, but has overwhelming aggressive pressure to keep opponents from having time to actualize upgrades for value.
- Brown is currently a little weak in this department. This could be addressed with the cards under consideration for tweaks below.
- This is a good time to discuss that Brown has virtually no answer currently to ugrades. (Tech 2 Swarm unit “Infestor” can steal an upgrade, if it hits a base. However that unit is only a 2/4 for 3 gold without stealth or haste.)
- Game 2, P1=Green in progress
- Game 1, P1=Purple in progress
- Draft 1 in post 1 was scrapped. The starter deck was significantly reworked.
- Link above is to the most current version.
Open Balance Considerations for discussion:
Abathur’s spell "Symbiote
- This card is currently a copy of rampant Growth, which in most situations is not strong enough to warrant teching in one of the very limited slots.
- Current idea for a rework: rename to “Adrenaline Infusion” - Cost 1 or 2 - Choose one: Give a unit +3 ATK and ephemeral until end of turn; or Give a unit or hero +2 ATK / +2 armor this turn.
Both evolution tech 1 options feel a little too weak amd slow to use. (Tech them in at the start of T2, maybe see them to play on T3, they don’t start creating potential value until T4 typically.)
- Current idea for rework: Drop the cost of Evolve Baneling from 1 to 0 to play and gove the upgrade haste. It will still require a 1 gold activation cost and require to exhaust (to limit to 1 per turn). I would consider alternatively making the activation cost 2 but removing the exhaust requirement.
- Current idea for rework: Leave the cost as is for Evolve Ravager, but add the following text to the upgrade, “Your Roaches gain +1 health.” This keeps Ravagers a little slower to get out (than Banelings) but also makes it a little easier to do by increasing the stat line of your Roaches to a 2/3 for 2. I feel like this may make them viable. Definitely open for discussion.
I am on the fence about Ultimate Evolution (Abathur’s Ultimate spell). It does not feel strong enough. It may need to be revisited.
Dehaka: as discussed in the posts above, so as not to step on Rook’s “Big Body” toes… Dehaka’s health at level 1 dropped to 3, but adding, “Attacks: Gain 1 armor until end of turn.” This gives him a slightly tankier feel and supports using him aggressively. However, this interacts with his spell Adapt Mutation. Worthy of testing.
Primal Power: Dehaka’s current ultimate spell is similar to Drakk, but inferior in potential value. I may tweak it around or scrap it entirely. Another idea I had for an ultimate for Dehaka would be a spell that gives him Indestructible until end of turn or start of next turn. Just a thought.
Sequence Morphology: This card is unique, but I am not sure if it is valuable enough to be playable in most matchups, as it comes online very late. This card may end up getting scrapped.
Hydralisk is currently an inferior version of Huntress or Gunpoint Taxman. It probably needs a very small ability to increase its value ever so slightly. I am not sure what to do with it.
Evolve Husk (primal tech 2): Considering adding heroes instead of just units.
Zagara: Her statline in the most recent version is 2/2, 2/4, 2/6. That has her ending HP in line with Rook’s (though without 2 lives). I could see making her a 2/2, 2/3, 2/4 and reducing her level advancement cost, or making her 2/2, 2/4, 2/5 and tweaking her advancement costs less. Additionally, she is a Hero of the Queen unit, which at the base is a 1/3 with anti-air. I could see maybe putting her stat line more in line with Garth’s but giving her anti-air. However, as she represemts the spec of Swarm, her ability to summon Zurklings is essential. Also, giving her anti-air would take away from the potential scenarios in which you would want to use the Queen from the starter deck. This is all still being wrestled with mentally.
Swarm Attack: This card is currently a slightly inferior version of Murkwood Allies. It has a lot of potential in-faction synergy… but the cost may need to drop by 1. Or an additional effect may need to be added.
- I want to see Cerebrate in play. It may need to trigger on arrival (due to its high cost.) It may also need a slight buff to its health.
These are just ideas for discussing, after we have seen a few games play out.
Thank you to all the people contributing to this effort!
For Abathurs spell, probably worth looking at the power level of Argagarg’s spells, for comparison. Dinosize in particular, which does in fact affect heroes, as a direct upgrade to rampant growth
My initial balance thoughts:
I like the starter deck and hero interactions. It has the opportunity for defense and shenanigans, plus a uniquely Zerg inspired feel.
- I am considering putting text on them like Bluecoat Musketeer where they cannot have more than 3 ATK. (Due to the fact that they can be hasted.) However, thematically, it is fun to imagine what it would look like if Argagarg Garg Dinosized a Zurkling.
- I think this card is fine as is, but one idea I had for tweaking it (so you don’t end up with a ton of buildings if I implement the next change below)… Rename it “Rapid Expansion” and have it be a 2 cost spell that when you play it, the spell becomes a worker rather than going to the discard pile. Would be awkward to word it.
- Creep Tumor
- This card is currently a 1 cost ongoing spell. It requires a hero or Queen to cast, but does not have channeling or attach to a unit. Another way this card could be implemented is to make it a 1 HP building for 1 gold, with Invisible and the same other text.
- An additional thematic element that could then be added, would be to add the following text: “Upkeep: Put a creep spread rune on this card. When the 2nd rune is put on this card, put a copy of this card into play.” That way, if you play a Creep Tumor as P1T1 with a hero & worker, one T3 you will have a 2nd and on T5 you will have a 3rd put in play. This is another mechanical interpretation.
- As a 1 HP Invisible building, it makes detection more viable as a counter-strategy, but also opens up the possibility for cards like Earthquake, and Death & Decay to do mass creep clears. This is a little less thematic early game, and a little more thematic later in game. It also allows for a different kind of counter-play.
- As discussed above, in the next version, at Level 1 Dehaka will be a 2/3 with Attacks: Gain 1 armor this turn, instead of being a 2/4. (Makes him slightly less beefy early game, but with stacking Adapt Mutation, has the potential to make him a menace late game.)
- Her HP will probably be dropped. Not sure if it will go to a 2,3,4 or 2,4,5 progression. Her attack will stay a 2 to make her more of a threat than other Queens. However, she will not be given Anti-Air like other Queens, otherwise there is almost no situation for using them.
- He hasn’t seen playtesting in any of the games yet. However, there is a very silly line you could play with him.
- Currently: 2 gold, give a unit or hero +2 ATK / +2 armor this turn.
- Idea 1: Rename “Adrenaline Boost”, 3 gold, Boost 3, Choose one: Give a unit +3 ATK & ephemeral this turn; or put a +1/+1 rune on up to two unit and/or heroes. If you boosted, choose both. (The wording may need to be tweaked so Abathur cannot target himself with this.)
- This is a +1 priced inverse of Orpal’s Sickness, with built in flexibility and aggressive potential (Abathur is not an aggressive hero unless he can get his ultimate off, and even then he’s no Vandy.)
- Primal Power
- Dehaka’s ultimate spell is a weaker version in almost all cases of Drakk’s. Maybe this is still okay.
- Swarm Attack
- Currently: 5 gold, summon four 1/1 Zurklings with no patrol bonuses. Likely if you are playing this, you have a creep tumor in place to give them haste and patrol bonuses. This is just weaker than Calamandra’s Murkwood Allies.
- Idea 1: Reduce cost to 4 gold and leave as is.
- Idea 2: Now summons three 1/1 Zurklings plus a 2/2 Roach.
- Idea 3: Could be combined with idea 2… Add a 2 gold Boost. If boosted, instead summon two 3/1 Banelings with sparkshot and one 3/4 Ravager. (Originally this card summon 4 1/1 bodies for 5 gold. Idea 1 just reduces the cost. Idea 2 keeps it at 4 bodies, but ups the total stats to 5/5 and reduces the aggressive potential of a full Zurkling swarm and adds a little more defensiveness. Idea 3 allows you to drop it to only 3 bodies ofr 7 gold, but total stats are 9/6.)
- Evolve Baneling
- The cost of this upgrade being reduced to 0. This upgrade gains haste.
- Evolve Ravager
- The upgrade gets the additional text: Your Roachs gain +1 HP.
- Infested Human
- This unit feels a little too weak at the moment. Not sure what to do with it yet.
- Sequence Morphology
- May scrap entirely. Open to new ideas.
- Evolve Husk
- Considering adding Heroes to it. (Gives -1 ATK to units or heroes that attack your buildings). This comes into play fairly late game and does not feel impactful enough as is.
- Feels weak, may tweak.
- Feels weak, may tweak. Low HP, high cost, no immediate impact. May make it trigger on arrival in addition to on upkeep.
- If implementing the change to Creep Tumor listed in Starter Deck, could implement something like, "Cerebrate gains 1 armor for each Creep Tumor you control. Cerebrates were kind of late game antagonists in the campaign, that you had to push deep into Zerg territory to get to.
If implementing the change to Creep Tumor listed in Starter Deck…
- Nydus Worm
- Costs 1 less for each Creep Tumor you control. Makes creep spread a threat.
I like the idea of a 1hp invisible building. I don’t think the busywork of tracking counters and making copies of it is worth it for the flavor.
I still haven’t gotten around to reading the actual PDF yet so no comments on balance for anything, but this bit about the wording is resolved easily enough by borrowing the wording from Boot Camp.
Going off of the version used in my playtest as Green against bolyarich, my main observation so far is that the starter cards aren’t scary enough. I can look at the starter cards as Green, from experience so far, and think “I’m not scared about any of these”. With the largest body that can attack being 2/2, and no spells that benefit units on the board, Brown has a less scary early game than Blue. I think it could do with some tuning up, and that should take precedence over adjusting Tech I onwards.
Flavour-wise, I don’t think giving haste to the Zerklings so early does what it’s intended to do. From my (very limited) experience of StarCraft I, the scary thing about fast Zurglings early on is one of two things:
- Easy surrounding of more vulnerable opposing units;
- Easy run-around to attack workers.
Given how the patrol zone and workers are handled in Codex, I don’t think granting Zerklings haste properly conveys either of these reasons that the early speed boost is scary. Maybe something like Rook’s midband would be more on-point.
Archon, you’ve mentioned you might have some ideas for handling the early game against Calamandra, maybe this might change things?
If you want to convey zerglings tieing up opposing units, how about making them sideline anything they damage?
That’s an interesting idea. With the haste or without?
Seems like without would be best, with haste that’s kind of hilariously good. “What’s that, you thought you had patrollers? I’ll just play a bunch of units that say no to that.”
I am publishing version 1.3 here. In this post I will detail the changes I have made so far.
In post #36 above, I detailed several changes I am considering making. Some have been made in the “Changes & reasons” section below. Others are still under consideration in the “Balance thoughts” section below.
I am making a full print-and-play set of tomorrow of v1.3. I used Microsoft Excel and made the card very similar in formatting and appearance to the original Codex cards. I will not publish my PnP set, since I pirated all the art for personal use. I bought extra Codex books from the Sirlin website to put my brown set in (using the Black binder since it is closest in appearance to Brown, also that got me an extra blue Codex, and my physical binders have been used so much that they are all falling apart.) PM me interested in a look.
Initial Feedback (short)
So the most common feedback thus far is that the starter deck is a little bit too weak. In combination with the heroes, it does not pose enough aggressive threats, nor have strong defensive power. I intentionally tried to not go over-the-top on the power-level of the first draft. However, due to this feedback, I have made several small changes to the starter deck that should help Brown to be a little more stable early game and have more threats the opponent must play around.
An additional comment was that the Evolution Tech 1’s were a bit too slow to bring about real value. As such, those cards have been modified slightly. I really like the idea of Evolution’s Tech 1’s both being upgrades that synergize with the hero (Abathur’s) top-band ability.
Changes & Reasons (long)
The new PDF at the bottom of this post has a column on the right that notes the changes from the previous version. Additionally, from a formatting perspective, I added horizontal lines, so that the cards taking up more than 1 line are not confused with the cards above or below them. I will go through them each, individually here, top-to-bottom.
Creep Tumor - For thematic reasons, this has been changed to a 1 HP, invisible building. Also, due to recent suggestion, rather than giving Haste to all Zurklings, it now gives “Deals damage to a patroller: Sideline that patroller.” In my mind, this is a slight nerf. Previously, the aggressive threat from Brown in the early game was being able to spawn a lot of hasted 1/1 Zurklings. Now that they are less hastey, that opens up room for adding a little more aggressive potential to the rest of the early game cards. (Don’t worry, I did not go over-the-top on the buffs.)
Rapid Expansion - Previously, this was a 3 cost building that tried to represent an economic expansion. I wanted it to have a similar effect to Rich Earth, but do so in a different way. Due to changing Creep Tumor into a building, I did not want to have 2 buildings in the starter deck, so this has been converted into a spell. This card WILL need testing, and if it is found to be WAY too powerful (winning >60% of games where it is used in turns 1-2, it could be nerfed by increasing the cost to 3. However, since this card requires having a Queen or hero in play, and in multi-color play it may already have a +1 cost tax applied, I think it bears testing it out at the 2 cost slot.
Heroic Calling - I have removed the previous card “Inject Larva” from the starter deck. Inject Larva represented investing early game into a later-turn’s explosion. In Codex mechanics, this meant a 1 cost ongoing spell that was not attached or channeling (quasi-upgrade, with requirement for a Queen or hero to cast.) This card is a functional reprint of Rampant Growth, and gives the Brown starter deck the potential for a more aggressive early game.
Zurkling Rush - Due to Zurklings no longer getting haste from Creep Tumors, I think they are a little bit weaker now in the early game. Previously, this card summoned two 1/1’s for 3 gold, equivalent to Summon Skeletons. However, the base Zurkling token (and unit) has the drawback (without a Creep Tumor) of not gaining patrol bonuses. Due to that change, I feel comfortable increasing the number of tokens summoned to three, for testing. I realize that this is slightly stronger than the previous version, but the previous version of the starter deck was a little lacking, so I feel like the 4 changes above, in combination, all slightly increase the overall early game options for Brown.
Adrenaline Boost - This was previously just a copy of “Rampant Growth”, which has now been working into the starter deck. The new card is intended to be a flexible buff that can fill both the offensive and defensive roles.
Evolve Baneling - The cost of this upgrade was dropped from 1 to 0, and the upgrade was given haste. It still costs 1 gold to activate, and has to exhaust to activate (limits it to once-per-turn), but it allows Brown to get out slightly earlier Banelings. Banelings are not immediate threats, in that they are 3/1’s, without haste. They still require sacrificing a Zurkling as part of the cost as well (representing the thematic evolution of a Zurkling into a Baneling.)
Evolve Ravager - Several Codices represent having a 3/4 creature and those often with extra abilities to boot. So the nature of the Evolution Tech 1 being an upgrade that requires a turn to activate and then a creature to sacrifice was a little too slow to be valuable. In this current iteration, I have added +1 HP to the Ravagers, to make them a 3/5 unit, which is still slow to get out. That makes them a pretty big body on the board, with in-spec synergy with Abathur, but still a little slow. If they prove too weak as-is, I would toy with making them a 3/3 long-range, or giving the upgrade itself haste.
Sequence Morphology - This card felt a little too weak in its previous version, so instead of just giving +1 armor to all units and heroes, I changed it to a Tech 2 upgrade that gives +1 ATK, +1HP, and +1 armor, which feels appropriate for Evolution, but may need balancing in some sense.
Dehaka - His initial version was a 2/4 at level 1 and has been dropped to a 2/3 with “Attacks: Gain 1 armor this turn.” This makes him slightly weaker early game, but slightly stronger late game once his mid and max band abilities come online and has additional synergy with his spell Adapt Mutation, to make him an aggressive threat. Overall, I like this change, as it gives him a more unique feel.
Evolve Husk - This Tech 2 Primal upgrade was tweaked slightly to now give -1 ATK to all heroes and units that attack a building you control. The prior version only affected units. It is still a low-cost upgrade with a marginal defensive effect, in an otherwise aggressive spec. Overall, I feel like this is still adequately balanced and provides a more unique and potentially usable option.
Swarm Attack - Due to Zurklings no longer getting haste from Creep Tumors out of the starting deck, this card needed a slight rework. I tossed around several ideas. Previously it summoned four 1/1’s for 5 gold, which would likely have haste. Now it summons only three 1/1’s for 5 gold, but also gives all of your Zurklings haste. On its own, this card is weaker than it was before. Even in combination with the new Creep Tumor, I think this card is weaker than the old Swarm Attack was with the old Creep Tumor. That said, this is now a niche card with some potentially power synergy / combo power with a high level Abathur, Zagara, or Tech 3 Evolution Broodmother. This card may be a little weak in its current form, but I would consider it worthy of testing as it.
Infestor - This card, as a Tech 2 Swarm unit, is Brown’s only response to opponent Upgrades or Buildings (Might of Leaf and Claw, Jail, Censorship Council, Flagstone Garison, Morningstar Pass, etc.) As such, in its previous iteration, it was a bit lacking as a counter-play option. So in the revised version, it now has stealth, which means your opponent has to play around this counter-play. I do not think it makes this card too strong, but it does add a bit more balance to the overall Brown strategy options.
Nydus Worm - As a clarification, I added that this unit cannot attack. This Tech 3 card for the Swarm spec is a pinch weak, at the moment. It is a 0/8 creature that is untargetable, but can’t attack, for 5 gold. However, it gives all Brown units unstoppable when attacking buildings. The design intent here is to represent an end-game, all-in attack option. Thematically, if this card is a bit too weak, I see two options: either reduce its cost, or add the flavor ability “Whenever you damage an opposing base: Trash a worker at that base.” Either option could increase the late game effect of this card. I think it is good enough to test, as is, but probably is a lower-tier Tech 3, without either of the above changes.
Balance Thoughts (future ideas / feedback welcomed)
First thing’s first… the starter deck needed a slight boost in power before addressing the overall Tech 1’s, 2’s and 3’s.
However, I also made a few critical changes to some of the non-starter deck cards. Most of these I feel are not substantial changes, but will help Brown to better fit into the overall meta.
Cards that may likely need future reworks:
- Corruptor - a bit weak for a Tech 2 flier
- Changeling - may better fit as a 1 cost 2/2 than 2 cost 2/3.
- Hydralisk - a bit weaker than the other 2 cost 3/3 anti-air units.
- Mutalisk - too powerful, or perfect as is?
- Ultralisk - is he “ultra” enough?
- Swarm Attack - how does this fit with the changes to creep tumor?
- Swarm Host - should this creature be weaker and summon more tokens?
- Broodlord - should this creature be weaker and summon locusts, like the Swarm Host??? (fits the Swarm Spec theme)
- Nydus Worm - see the thoughts in the section above
- I have played well over 100 games, probably somewhere around 200, in the past 6 months with my girlfriend (VERY casual games… we each random a spec from our codex, and play with a random map card).
- I also have 2 nerdy board-game bro’s I play with occasionally (at a more competitive level.)
- Today, we all did a proof-read of my PnP mock-up and they gave me some initial thoughts on balance.
- However, tomorrow I will proxy up this set as linked above and start playing out some games.
I happily welcome and humbly request any balance feedback, especially from the more-experienced competitive player here (you know who you are, <3).
I am just trying to come up with a fun, but thematic new Faction to add in for more diversity, with my physical deluxe copy.
Given how David Sirlin incorporated the Protoss feel from Starcraft into the Purple Codex, I felt like there was a gap, for a Xenomorphic Codex representing the Zerg.