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New Codex Faction! Feedback Welcomed

I am going to start and end with a huge thank you to the few of you that have provided some very valuable and much needed feedback!

I have revisited the drawing board. The faction was originally Zerg (Starcraft, both 1 and 2) inspired. Initially it was named the Zurg Collection. I have changed the first word to Zurk (eg Zurklings)… and am still chewing on “Collection” vs “Collective” vs something else entirely. It is a race/species that assimilates others into its collective hive mind, thus the current name.

I drew upon a lot of the inspiration from @EricF’s post above to almost completely rework the Brown starter deck.

Per @zhavier’s suggestion, I may still consider taking the Zurkling out of the starter deck, but that may have an adverse interaction with the Evolution Tech 1 card, the way it is in the current draft. Zagara can still summon Zurklings, as can the starter deck spell, but if someone were playing multicolor with Evolution, the Tech 1 would be useless if you did not also use either the Swarm spec or use the brown starter deck. Now that I am thinking about it, the Evolution spec in its current iteration is almost married to the Brown starter deck. I guess it could be splashed with 2 other color/specs for Abathur’s spells / hero abilities / tech 2 & 3… it just would be challenging to do well (I feel like that line just triggered someone into wanting to find a way to do just that).

@zhavier If you do me the honor of another review, I would be curious to hear if you still think the Zurkling unit should be removed from the starter deck as it currently is. As far as haste goes, in SC2, the “Zergling Speed” upgrade combined with creep spread from creep tumors allows Lings to get into almost any fight very very quickly (short build time compared to all other units, balanced by them being weak / slow early game without upgrades and creep spread). I kind of think as the current Creep Tumor card (ongoing spell in starter deck) as representing that level-up process.

Addressing the feedback from @Nopethebard, The started deck only had 5 units, which was supported by Zagara’s ability to summon a 1/1 (like Garth). However, the units available were a bit cheap and squishy and the starter deck has been completely revamped. Baneline has been reworked into a Tech 1 within Evolution. I am not 100% sure about the mechanic yet, but I like the idea, especially for the theme of that spec. Lastly, Abathur’s spells were all tuned down slightly. Changelog on page 2 of document.

@feathers Can you share a link to the spec you proposed? I would be interested in perusing.

@charnel_mouse Thanks so much for your interest in wanting to test this out, once we get past some of the obvious balance tweaks needed! Starter deck has been reworked… Abathur’s spells have been reworked… Dehaka as a combat hero has been reworked into a unique place (I am not sure how he will fare as is, but has been tuned down from his previous). I added to the text of spells which I was thinking should be targeted.

The 3 specs are: Evolution, Primal, Swarm

The Evolution hero, Abathur, Genetic Sequencer
Abathur is a spellcaster like Argagarg Garg. He is focused on the evolution of the species and continual enhancement and empowering. I have revisited and toned down the power of his spells slightly. The Symbiote spell likely needs a slight tweak as it is currently just “Rampant Growth”. I have contemplated lowering the cost and keeping the effect, or boosting the effect (more akin to Dinosize).

The Primal hero, Dehaka, Apex Predator
Dehaka is all about aggression and has naturally drawn to his side the most robust and physically impressive specimens. His previous version was a bit too powerful, so I took away swiftstrike completely and changed around his stats. He starts off the game very strong with a 2/4 body like Rook, but as he advances he only grows to a 3/4 then a 4/4. He is an aggressive hero, encouraged to attack through Readiness (mid band) and Overpower (max band), and has the option to make up for his lack of health through his spells, particularly Adapt Mutation (which has been slightly reworked from he previous version).

The Swarm hero, Zagara, Queen Broodmother
Zagara believes that every species plays a role in enhancing the overall power of the collective. She is first and foremost a queen, however she has evolved beyond the majority of her kind and is a paragon of their kind. She too is a caster, but of a different sort. Her spells mimic several of the standard queen abilities, but at an enhanced level. She has a top band ability like Garth to summon 1/1 tokens (same as before), but she starts as a fragile 2/2 that grows to a 2/4 and then a 2/6. My one concern with that currently is that the queen unit in the starter deck is a 1/3. So Zagara should probably be changed to a 1/3 or 2/3. I will need to revisit that before the final version I print to test. The swarm spec contains several of the most powerful spellcasting units from the collective.

Other Stuff:

The new document linked here has 3 pages.

  • Page 1 is the new faction in my standard format. (I have this in an Excel Doc)
  • Page 2 hides some fields to make room for:
    • Comparable Cards (where applicable)
    • Changes from previous version.
  • Page 3 is the original I had shared.

Thank you all so much for feedback! It may not yet be in its current form, but I feel a lot better about it now than in its previous version.

Without further ado, here is the revised Faction: Zurk Collective

(hopefully I got the shareable link right this time)
Edit: 1st try at fixing link

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You linked the first draft again.

I don’t have the Google drive app. I will fix the link in 1-2 hours and edit this post stating when it has been done. Sorry I am so bad at this.

Edit 1: took a stab at fixing it. LMK <3

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cleanup: (Single-indented)
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.
  • Other:
    • 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.

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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.

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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).

Cost:

  • 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 :wink:
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.

Thanks!

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.

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