An updated version of this character, as well as a Print-and-Play deck, is available here.
Due to @variable’s recent output, I was inspired to try my hand once again at dreaming up another Yomi character.
Placeholder Name, the Immortal Elementalist
“By understanding and controlling the flow of the elements, I will cultivate perfection within myself.”
Important Note: Placeholder Name (PN from here on out) has something unique on her cards. Every suit in her deck corresponds to one of four elements:
- Spades -> Earth
- Hearts -> Water
- Clubs -> Wood
- Diamonds -> Fire
Thus, every hearts card in her deck will also have a water symbol on it; every spades card will have an Earth symbol; etc.
Force of Nature
If you use all four elements in a combo, you get one of the following effects, determined by the final element in the combo:
- Earth: Knock down the opponent and retrieve a normal card from discard.
- Water: Gain 3 life, and the opponent cannot use any abilities until the end of next turn’s combat.
- Wood: Draw 2 cards.
- Fire: Deal 5 unjokerable damage.
Power of Nature
The elements cycle in this order: Earth > Water > Wood > Fire > Earth, etc. If Force of Nature activates and the cards in the combo also follow the cycle, then you may retrieve 1 extra ace from deck or discard during the Power Up phase.[/details]
10* Elemental Alchemy [Draw Phase]
Discard this card and reveal another card from your hand. You may search your deck or discard for another card of the same rank and swap the two cards.
Q* Elemental Burst [During Combat]
If you hit the opponent with this card, get the effect of this card’s element.
A* Elemental Harmony [During Combat]
If this side of the Ace is used as a Linker in a combo, it may act as any element. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.[/details]
[details=Breakdown of Deck]Normal Attacks: x damage, x.4 speed
Throws: 4 damage, x.8 speed, 1 CP, Starter [Note: Her throws do NOT knock down.]
Elemental Alchemy [Draw Phase]
When you play this card, reveal another card from your hand. You may search your deck or discard for another card of the same rank and swap them. (If you search your deck, shuffle after swapping the cards.)
A: 8(1) damage, 2.2 Speed, 1CP, Ender
A: 8 (2) damage, 0.0 Spd, Can’t Combo
Elemental Burst [During Combat]
If you hit the opponent with this card, get the effect of this card’s element.
A: 8+6(3) [+2 Same Element] damage, 2.8 Speed, 2CP, Linker
A: 1(1) damage, 1.0 Speed, 1CP, Linker
Elemental Harmony [During Combat]
If this side of the Ace is used as a Linker in a combo, it may act as any element. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.
A (Requires 2 Aces): 18(2) damage, 1.4 Speed, 2CP, Ender[/details]
[details=Design Thought Process]My inspiration for this character was twofold. Firstly, I’ve always felt that Yomi underutilizes the combo-making aspect of the game. I wanted a character for whom making combos was more complex than figuring out the most damage one can do without ruining one’s hand. (I know that’s an over-simplification of combo-ing in Yomi But that is the gist of it.)
My second inspiration was thematic rather than mechanical. I’ve always liked the five phases of qi from Chinese Daoist thought (Earth > Metal > Water > Wood > Fire > Earth), and I have also always thought that that system of flowing energy could be worked into a cool table top game. When I started thinking about how to make combos more interesting, I began to think, “Well, what if the order of cards was more important?” Once I made a connection between the phases of qi and the links in a combo, I thought it made a great starting point.
I did diverge from the “source material,” though. I eventually decided it made most sense to have each suit correspond to one phase, rather than, say, having every rank of card correspond to a phase. As a result, I had to chop off one of the five phases from Daoism. (In case it isn’t obvious, I nixed metal.) Next, I decided to use the word “element” instead of “phase.” The word phase is more accurate in meaning to the original idea in Daoism, that qi is flowing from one state into another, but I was afraid it might be just odd enough as to cause some eyebrows to raise in confusion. The word element is smoother at communicating the mechanical ideas at play and piggy-backs on established Western conventions in gaming. So, I sacrificed a bit of translational accuracy for connotational accuracy, I suppose. Localization over translation.
When it came to choosing effects for each element, I wanted each one to feel distinct and serve a different niche. I didn’t want players to feel like they were all equally good so it doesn’t matter which they get. I want players to, at least in some circumstances, want or NEED to set up a combo in just the right way to get the elemental effect they want. I also like that it allowed me to take KD off her throws and instead make it an elemental effect. Choices that shake up the homogeneity of the game are good in general.
Next, I didn’t want to force players to make combos in the exact cyclical order every time, but I also wanted to reward players who did manage to do that. At first I considered just allowing players to choose an additional elemental effect, but that seemed too boring and obvious. Then I realized that forming a perfect cycle is akin to performing a straight, and so I could simply have it act as a way to get more aces. This also synergizes with the Aces, because it lets the player use an Ace in a combo and then get it back!
I made her throws 1CP so that she can get elemental effects off of throw combos; otherwise her throws would feel so bad. I also made a normal attack gap between 5 and 8 so that, again, there are more things to think about when making a combo.
When considering her abilities, I always wanted the focus to remain on her innate. So, all her abilities were designed to loop back into it. The first I came up with was the Ace ability, Elemental Harmony, which allows the 1 damage, 1 CP linker side of the Ace to act as any element in a combo. This was a fairly obvious ability to come up with, but it makes her aces very useful and again re-focuses everything onto the elemental effects. Next I came up with Elemental Burst, which probably gives her one of the best reversals in the entire game. Lastly, I wanted there to be a way for players to get ahold of a card they might need for a combo. I decided that the best way to allow that with it being too overpowered would be to make the player swap a card out from their hand rather than simply retrieving one. Plus, it felt thematic because a) it’s like one element transitioning into another and b) alchemy of a certain kind is a big part of certain schools in Daoism.
And that’s how I got to this final prototype (oxymoron much?).[/details]
Anyways, I have no illusions that PN is balanced yet. Damage numbers specifically were pretty heuristic. But, I do think it’s a relatively coherent and interesting design, and I do plan on play testing PN when I have a chance. I just wanted to float the prototype and get some first impressions. I’m most interested in feedback on macro-aspects of the character and any obvious problems I may have overlooked (either in terms of being very obviously too good or very obviously too bad).
That’s all. If you managed to read everything I wrote in the Design Thought Process section, 5 points to you.
[details=Change Log] * Damage from Fire elemental effect reduced from 7 to 5
- Normal Throw damage reduced from 5 to 4
- Power of Nature changed to award only 1 ace
- Wording of Elemental Harmony changed so that it cannot be used to pump Ks. (Original Wording: This side of the Ace may act as any element within a combo. You cannot use more than one in a given combo.)
- Parenthetical text added to Elemental Alchemy to make shuffling an explicit requirement if the player searches their deck.
- Water elemental effect changed from “Gain 6 life” to “Gain 3 life and the opponent cannot use any abilities until the end of next turn’s combat.”
- Damage from Fire explicitly made unjokerable.
- Elemental Harmony transferred from 8 to 10.
- HP increased from 80 to 85.[/details]