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Fan Spec: Ruination

My attempt at making a deck themed around death, destruction, limitations, and power at a cost, while exploring some of the rarer and more unique mechanics of Codex. Menelker seemed to fit into that theme. Comments/suggestions very much appreciated!

Master Menelker, Deathstrike Dragon
1-4: Arrives: sacrifice a worker (3/4)
5-8: Disable units Menelker damaged (4/5)
9: Flying on your turn (5/6)

Lingering Phantom ($3 Tech I)
Unit - Ghost
The first time Lingering Phantom leaves play each turn, return it to play. If it was patrolling, return it to the patrol slot he was occupying.

Fatigue Giant ($3 Tech I)
Unit - Monster
You may not attack more than once each turn.
Boost 3: Fatigue Giant becomes controlled by an opponent.

Keeper of Names ($3 Tech II)
Unit - Mystic
Whenever Keeper of Names deals combat damage to a non-hero/token card, trash that card and put a name rune on Keeper of Names. Trash Keeper of Names when it has three or more name runes.

Nightmare Amalgam ($3 Tech II)
Unit - Horror
Unattackable, Untargetable
Attacks a patroller: the patroller loses patrol bonuses for that turn.

Altar of Stagnation ($3 Tech II)
Arrives: sacrifice a worker.
Upkeep: each player sacrifices a worker.
Opponents can’t play workers.

Soul Leech ($4 Tech II)
Unit - Worm
Upkeep: you may deal one damage to every unit and hero you control. If you do, put a +1/+1 rune on Soul Leech for each damage dealt this way.

Blood Knight ($5 Tech II)
Unit - Soldier
Blood Knight receives one less combat damage each combat for every point of damage he already has.

Harbringer of Ruin ($8 Tech III)
Unit - Dark Angel
Opposing cards lose all abilities.
Attacks: trash five workers.

Chaos Orb ($2)
Spell - Burn
Deal 6 total damage to units/heroes/non-base buildings you control. If you do, you may do the same to an opponent.

Spirit Burst ($3)
Spell - Buff Debuff
A tech 0/I/II unit gains Indestructible. At your next upkeep, it loses Indestructible and gains Ephmeral.

Rune of Sealing ($4)
Ongoing Spell
Sealing 2 (Put two sealing runes on this. Remove one each upkeep. When you remove the last one, trash this card.)
Attach to a hero in the command zone. That hero cannot be summoned.

Deathstrike Dragon ($6)
Ultimate Ongoing Spell - Buff
Attach to your Ruination hero. He gains +3/+3, Readiness, Resist 1, and discards a card from an opponent’s hand at random when he attacks.

1 Like

Very flavourful, thanks !
Maybe 6$ is a bit expensive for the ultimate thought…

Please clarify if the “trash a worker” effects are all allowed to target the opponent, or if any of them are supposed to be costs.

Stagnation is broken either way.

I was trying to make Menelker’s ultimate parallel Midori’s, but the “be fair” summonings don’t fit Ruination’s theme so I thought increasing the cost would help migitate that. Maybe $3 or $4 is a better cost? I’ve never quite understood why Midori’s ultimate had the Hunter clause, its effects don’t seem significantly more powerful than other ultimates enough to require a balancing effect.

“Sacrifice a worker” is supposed to be a simpler way of saying “trash a worker that you own”, a la Land Octopus. All other worker effects target the opponent. I suppose if Stagnation is unable to be countered it could prove to be broken… I attempted to balance that out with lower health and a initial disadvantage for the controller. It originally did not have the middle ability. Would this work better?
Altar of Stagnation ($3 Tech II)
Arrives: all players sacrifice a worker.
Opponents can’t play workers.

“Opponents can’t play workers” is just not text that can be balanced, since the primary impact is to say “opponents can’t build tech 2.”

Also, this shouldn’t be Menelker. He is the Ruthlessness spec, not Ruination. Ruination would be some Red hero, possibly Gwen?

The earliest turn Stagnation can be played on is P2T4, by then opponents will usually have built their Tech II on schedule, and would probably have not chosen to delay building it when Ruination is one of the specs. So they’ll only be locked out of Tech II if it gets destroyed, but Ruination is not aggressive in the early game sans Menelker, and getting him out means delaying their own Tech II. The Ruination player would also have spent 3 gold and a worker for no immediate impact to the board at all.

I’d like to make this idea work, so here’s one final try at balancing it:
Altar of Stagnation ($3 Tech II)
Arrives: all players sacrifice a worker.
Tap: opponents can’t play workers on their next turn.

Ideally this would affect opponent’s economy and bloat their deck, but wouldn’t arrive early enough to lock them out of Tech II unless the opponent is really, really behind on board state and would’ve lost either way. It would and is designed to lock them out of Tech III though, but if the opponent don’t have a strong enough board state at Tech II to allow them to squeeze through 2 damage then they most likely wouldn’t have won the Tech III race (while Menelker delays his own Tech III as well) and/or protect it either. Direct damage spells like General’s Hammer or Fire Dart also shoots it down pretty quickly. I’ll defer to a more experienced player and change the concept altogether if you still think it cannot work though.

I chose Menelker because a majority of the spec is designed to be limiting and disruptive. I admit that it might not fit his character the best (though worker and card trashing seems pretty close to his ideology of “win at whatever cost” and “the strongest survive” to me), but Menelker’s gameplay in Yomi and Puzzle Strike is about crippling the opponent, so much that they’re ruined by the end if he had his way. Gwen’s spec would likely involve a lot more haste and self base damage a la Careless Musketeer.

Keeper of name seems utterly broken.
Same for Altar of Stagnation and Chaos Orb. These two basically prevent opponent to ever play over Tech 0.

1 Like

Keeper of Names could help an opponent get tech 0 units out of their deck, but overall yes, it’s pretty ridiculous tech denial. Chaos Orb is probably way stronger than intended, because there’s a silly interaction.

Play any tech X stuff you want to play, then Chaos Orb your own Tech X for 5, put 1 damage somewhere else, do 6 damage distributed however you want. Your tech X rebuilds for free at the end of the turn. If my understanding of the rules is right, you can burn down your own T2, rebuild it, then burn down your own T1 and rebuild it. You can also use this to “repair” your tech buildings.

It also has some really dumb interactions with indestructible units. Hardened Mox is basically a damage sink for Chaos Orb, and bringing out 6-damage freely-assignable direct damage spells on turn 3 for 2 gold each is probably game-winning, even with the worker sac.

Lingering Phantom is also probably too good as P2. They have to kill it twice, provide patrol bonuses twice, and potentially tank 4 damage or use other spells or effects to get rid of it. It’s a crazy-good stall card at tech 1.

Fatigue Giant is a pretty good aggro card, even with the restriction. It’s also a pretty good Squad Leader if you’re defending. Slapping down a 4/6 body for 3 gold and stalling for tech is quite good. Compare to things like Twilight Baron, Centaur, and Inverse Power Ninja.

Given those three cards, this spec probably has an oppressive early game.

1 Like

I think worker trashing is way too powerful of an effect for how it’s being used here. Also a 6/6 + abilities for 3? I think almost everything needs to be more expensive.

imho this fan spec has either stuff completely broken (most of it) and some rlly bad cards.

IMO all Codex specs are ultimately broken, so yeah he’s keeping the things balanced.

But yeah Chaos Orb interaction with indestructible units is OP and even destroying your own building at the end of a turn to make it repair instantly the next turn is awesome. Maybe increasing the cost to 4 ?

Fatigue Giant 4 attack is really too high, it’s not the thing “being greater than 3 attack”, it’s a real cap there.
Lingering Phantom, the effect is ok on opponent’s turn but really OP on player’s turn. Combined with Drakk’s maxband, it’s even better than Shark : dealing 3 damages and patrolling for 3 gold…

Soul Leech has a fun interaction with Healing, I think it’s balanced as it is. Altar of Stagnation doesn’t seem that awesome, I think you should buff it.
Rune of Sealing @4 is really expensive. It’s not only 4 gold, it’s also a card wasted. IMO as Menelker is difficult to summon his spells have to be awesome.
Spirit Burst is very expensive too. It would be ok on a normal hero, but Menelker makes sacrifice a worker…

Thank you for the feedback! Aside from just having fun exploring the mechanisms of Codex, creating fan specs and getting comments is also a way for me to learn, and seeing how unbalanced some of these cards I created can be is helping me to understand more on balancing and valuation in this game. Most of the cards designed here are trying to walk a fine line between “broken” and “unplayable”, and l leaned towards the powerful side initially just to be safe. I’ll try to adjust them and would really appreciate further comments.

Lingering Phantom

The patrol zone ability is a fun idea but it’s probably too strong. As for the interaction with Drakk’s maxband, Bone Collector accomplishes the same with more attack and less gold. The way it is now seems balanced, you get more value at the cost of less aggression at Tech I. If they don’t kill a patrolling Phantom then kill it again it gets to attack and earn patrol bonuses a second time, but with 1 health it’s not that hard to remove.

Lingering Phantom ($3 Tech I)
Unit - Ghost
The first time Lingering Phantom would leave play each turn, return it to play.

Fatigue Giant

This is one of these cards that would not be worth it if it gets nerfed even a little too much, as its entire saving grace is its raw stats. The point of comparison for FG was Twilight Baron, and with no helpful abilities like overpower I felt I had to give it phenomenal stats for it to be playable, but perhaps I’m wrong and the drawback isn’t really that severe. Would having 1 more health than Iron Man be enough? This could also be a interesting discussion - just how much difference does one health/attack make in the early game?

Fatigue Giant ($3 Tech I)
Unit - Monster
You may not attack more than once each turn.
Boost 3: Fatigue Giant becomes controlled by an opponent.

Altar of Stagnation

Despite how broken it is, I am really interested in making this card work and feel like it could. This is the current version in mind:

Altar of Stagnation ($3 Tech II)
Legendary Building
Arrives: all players sacrifice a worker.
Opponents can’t play workers.

The pros are that if it’s protected, it stagnates the opponent’s economy/deck cycling and prevents them from reaching Tech III (and if, as P2T4, you manage to draw and play AoS, break through their patrol zone, destroy their tech II, and defend AoS from their counterattack, you get to lock them out of Tech II forever as long as AoS stands - but if you get to do that you probably deserve the win anyways). The cons are that since its effect comes relatively late in the game, the opponent will already have a good number of workers to use regardless (some red aggro decks stop at 8, and some never go past 6), it is easy to destroy, and has no good immediate benefit. Nerf AoS too much and it goes in the list of cards beside Rickety Mine, WGD, Reaver and Corpse Catapult that have good effects but are too risky to tech/play/ protect.

Nightmare Amalgam

The reason Amalgam was not more expensive is that it has no use as a patroller, so being more expensive may make it too much of a tempo loss to be worth playing. I can see increasing the cost to 4 and dropping the attack to 4, but again would this make it go from “too good” to “not worth teching”? It serves as guranteed board presence in the vein of a weaker Immortal, so I feel its stats had to be higher to make up the difference.

Nightmare Amalgam ($4 Tech II)
Unit - Horror
Unattackable, Untargetable
Attacks a patroller: the patroller loses patrol bonuses this turn.

Keeper of Names

New version:

Keeper of Names ($3)
Whenever Keeper of Names deals combat damage to a non-hero card, put a name rune on Keeper of Names and trash that card. Trash Keeper of Names when it has two or more name runes on it.

The way he is designed now, two skeletons would shut down a patrolling KoN, but if he gets to attack once he might get to get rid of an opposing Ancient or Garrison for good. And since Codex is a reactive game, if the opponent goes Ruination and you suspect KoN, simply choosing a spec without a lynchpin strategy or go heavy on cheap blockers would do. In my personal opinion KoN belongs in the groups of cards in Codex that, along with ones like Terras Q and MoLC, are powerful if you get it working right, but is hard to get there in the first place.

Chaos Orb

This was conceived as a risky spell dealing a massive amount of damage, but with the risk of leaving yourself vulnerable to their counter-play if you did not assign the damage carefully. Here’s an attempt at balancing it.

Chaos Orb ($2)
Spell - Burn :target:
Deal 6 total damage to your units costing 5 or less. If you do, you may do the same to an opponent.

Spirit Burst

I agree that Menelker’s spells have to have good value considering his worker sac. I feel Spirit Burst’s is good as is though, but any explanations why it isn’t is welcome. Used offensively it’s delayed hard removal, and used defensively it could protect that Octavian or Colossus for the one crucial turn it needed to win the game. Reasonably versatile and powerful.

Rune of Sealing

This is a more aggressive version of the original RoS. It has more effects and doesn’t self-trash, but has a shorter duration and gets back into the cycle slower. I feel this is a reasonable boost in power without going overboard.

Rune of Sealing ($4)
Ongoing Spell
Attach this to a hero (even one in the command zone). The attached hero is not considered to be in any zone. Discard this at your next upkeep.

Essentially, the hero cannot be summoned, cast spells, use abilities, or attack/patrol, but is returned with all levels/runes/damage intact.

That was part of the idea. Card/worker trashing and worker prohibition are very potentially degenerate concepts, but it interests me to attempt to implement them in a way that would be balanced. Codex is often described as the game where “everything is broken, so nothing is”, and I wanted to experience the process of making seemingly broken effects viable. If MoLC was conceived as a fan card, for example, I’m reasonably sure that it would’ve been declared as broken. It doesn’t always work out that way in play though. This fan spec is one big experiment in understanding how to gauge the potential power level of cards, and so far it’s going great.


Just wanted to say, I think balance is hard, but that you have put together what looks to me a really cool and interesting themed set if catds!


In general, worker trashing as an attack tool is intrinsically very powerful so cards that have it often have to pull very particular and/or tricky prerequisites (Predator Tiger) or are costly to the point that it’s not usually worth it (Reaver).

Thanks for taking the time to write this! Yeah, I designed this quite a while back when my understanding of balance isn’t as good, making it mainly a collection of interesting ideas I had. I might go back and re-balance this one day.