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Balance patch 2.0

I think there is a very good discussion going on about the balance changes. But they are all in the tournament thread. So here a new one that they don’t get lost.

In my opinion the balance changes should make it more attractive to play new combinations. That’s for me the most fun of the game. But it is always frustrating if you know that you need a lot of luck against Nighmare. So I would focus on weakening the top 3 decks Nightmare, Miracle Growth and Purple Peace as a first priority. I like Bombers approach to change not too much at once it can be done step by step. I would prefer changes that punish the combination and not the card itself where possible. The MoLaC change was a good example, since it affects mono green hardly.

It would be interested in how often cards have been played in the past. I think that’s a question for the data expert @charnel_mouse. Do you have the data as well?

My suggestions:

Nighmare:

  • Keep Bombers changes, but they are not enough
  • For me Deteriorate is the root of all that evil. I would argue it is the most often played card within Codex. It should cost 1g
  • In the beginning I was not convinced that DP should be debuffed, since it is not so strong with any other starter than black. But now I think it cannot be avoided. My suggestion is to adept it to Martial Mastery, so that you have to discard a card. Then you can only fill your hand if you go down to 0 cards.

Miracle Growth:

  • Keep Bombers changes
  • Birds should disappear if the nest topples

PP:

  • Cadets and Brave Knight should be no soldiers any more
  • Probably there should be done a bit more, but I would be very careful with weakening Garrison or Drill Sergeant. Blue is already weak and should not be punished just because you can use Garrison very well with Purple. And the Drill Sergeant is already weaker than the Blooming Ancient. And until you bring both out, is usually t7 or later, and than it must be compared with other lethal combinations especially within purple. Has there ever been another overpowered combination with Peace and no purple starter? Even with the changes above Nightmare and Miracle Growth are very strong so you need combinations that can deal with that. But I currently have no idea what else can be done besides the soldier change.

On the other hand, I would improve some, but very few cards, that are never played, and improve them just a little bit as a first step. For me it would be:

  • Fruit Ninja should have anti air, like his white cousin
  • Bashing: Here several improvements should be done, I don’t know why that spec was so punished. I don’t find any card I would like to play.
  • Bigby: I think the hero is a bit too weak since his spec has a lot of interesting cards. Some suggestions (change only one, not all):
    o Maxband ability: 0g draw a card limited to once per turn.
    o Change midband ability to frenzy 1
    o Improve stats (Vandy stats are maybe a bit too much, but Garth old ones could fit)

That’s a level of data far beyond my patience for manual recording :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh I understand, you are creating the data manually! Thought you download it somehow and extract it…

That would be nice, but the way games are laid out in the forum isn’t consistent enough for me to trust an automated scrape, and some matchups are rare enough that I couldn’t assume errors were a negligible minority. You’d need a digital implementation for that, really.

Deteriorate is too good, sure. I was very very hesitant to make starter deck changes because they are far-reaching and matter a lot. I think the only nerf to any starter deck I would consider is deteriorate to 1 gold. As much as I hate thieving imp, any nerf to it makes it nigh unplayable.
I don’t like making dark pact more similar to martial mastery. I want cards to have a unique identity. Making it cost 1 gold is fair, probably.

Every unit in Peace is a soldier. It’s on flavour, and should be kept that way. The problem is with Battle Suits, not with Peace. I know that unit types very rarely matter in codex, and this is one of the only times, but preserving flavour comes before anything else in these situations. Make changes to Battle Suits if you don’t like Cadets getting bonus attack.
I agree that Blue is already weak, and doesn’t need nerfs. With such a terrible early game (blue starter and weak or expensive heroes) blue deserves to have a powerful late game.

All cards in Neutral starter should be the same or weaker than coloured variants. Except Tenderfoot, for some reason, which is the best 1 drop in the game. But that aside, Fruit Ninja is just kind of bad, and anti-air won’t help. Fox Primus still doesn’t see play either. I don’t know if these cards will ever be good, but that’s kind of ok. Having a couple of “always worker” cards in starter decks is fine, and again, I am very hesitant about messing with starter deck balance. They are very very big and far-reaching changes, moreso than might be obvious.
Bashing is bad, because it was very specfiically balanced against Finesse in a 1v1. Leave it alone, preserving that matchup is important for the tutorial. It’s fine if that spec is non-existent in the real game, since neither of them were made for the real game. It’d almost be better if Finesse were irrelevent too, but whatever.
As for Bigby… Stash is too niche of an ability to put on a hero. Which is why my buddy and I played Stash 1 Codex, where you have permanent Stash 1 and we changed Bigby’s top band completely, to “Arrives: Look at the opponent’s hand.”
He doesn’t need Frenzy, Onimaru is already a great combat hero for blue. And his stats are in-line with other casting/ability/combat hybrid type heroes (see: Geiger, River.)

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what does it mean?

You don’t need to have Bigby in play to Stash.

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Intriguing! What is your take on this major change? It seems like this removes a lot of the variance from the game. This probably leads to less lucky wins, which is something I would favor, but how did it feel for you compared to the standard codex?

I think it would change a lot more if we remembered to use it more often! But mostly it helps line up spells for critical turns.

That is a huge change IMHO. If nothing else, it severely reduces the value of breaking tech buildings, and makes teching ultimate spells much, much safer.

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You can see a few games using that change here.

I agree about some of these changes being too off-flavour, especially Bigby getting frenzy and those Peace units not being soldiers. Bigby is not a weak hero, it’s his set of Tech II cards that has issues.

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Oh man, do I have all kinds of things to say. I’d like to start out with a proposed methodology/goal: make the minimum amount of changes required to balance the specs in such a way that they are all viable or playable. I think the first step to that would be to shave the top off the most powerful specs and do throw a bone to the weakest few.

I don’t think any changes should be made to bad cards in good specs. In an ideal world all cards would have a time and a place, but it would take too many changes to make that happen.

I think before debating specific changes it would be best to decide on what needs nerfs and buffs.

In my opinion:

Nerfs:
Black starter
Vandy
Garth
Rook
Pirate ship
MoLaC
Garrison
Drill sgt
Crashbarrow*

Buffs:
Blue starter
Bashing/torq
Jaina

*I could be convinced this is unnecessary

I agree with Bomber that we should be very cautious with changes to starter sets. The one change that I think is warranted is Deteriorate costing 1g.

Blue starter probably shouldn’t be touched because mono-blue actually does very well vs. mono-purple. If anything in blue deserves buffing, I’d say it’s Law tech 2.

I also don’t think Jaina needs a buff. She’s vulnerable and kinda one-note, but once she gets going she can be very potent.

Going second the blue starter feels really terrible, but if the black starter and vandy/garth get tuned that may not be as much of a problem anymore. If I was going to change the blue starter it would be like a small buff to porkhand magistrate, that card is 100% trash.

Has anyone had real success with Jaina in a tournament? She’s so soft and takes so much to level. I would reduce her midband a level or maybe give her resist 1.

I don’t think either of the changes I’ve mentioned are massive buffs that would move the needle too much.

You’re probably right about Law, but at least Scribe and Insurance agent are playable. A small buff to arresting constable would probably be good.

Not just kinda well, bansa and I played purple/blue and I went 0-10 on purple

Blue is actually crazy good against Purple. The starter isn’t that bad, it’s just really weak to Black and Red (which are good in general but still, Blue is weakest to them).

Editorialized my thoughts on Pena’s list but I pretty much totally agree. Every other spec sees play w/ good things easy to find.

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Constable and Gaurdian at the Gates. Both are complete trash and in dire need of a reason to play them. I don’t think either card has once been played effectively towards a win. The Ram and building aren’t great either but at least are playable, and Scribe/Tax Collector/Insurance Agent as you pointed out are decent.

Fire + Graveyard is still pretty solid, and mostly Jaina doesn’t see much success b/c hero hate is pretty common. Fire engine T2 is also really good. W/o good hero hate Jaina succeeds much as Setsuki does. I actually would have her maxband at 6 instead of 7 for a minor buff though. That’d have her maxband threat a little more reachable early

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@FrozenStorm I don’t know if you remembered but we actually messaged back and forth on this topic ~4 years ago, “Interest in playing a balance patch tournament.”

LMAO it is essentially the same list we were discussing then. Lich’s Bargain not being on the radar is wild though.

yeah, at that time I was thinking the deteriorate nerf + some nerfs to the heroes would be enough, but it seems like the community sentiment is leaning towards also doing something to lich’s bargain and dark pact. Even with Garth having a 1-4 midband and lich’s bargain costing 3g or something, necro still has some of the best T1 units and will still be very playable I think.

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Garth’s maxband and hero hate spells alone are worth having him around, not to mention the power of skeleton spam. I maintain he is the more critical piece of nightmare than Vandy. If Cala or Grave were black heroes they’d swap in for Vandy fairly well I think, though DP also is just crazy strong.