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Nudging the tiller - balance

Sirlin has said, and I agree entirely, the two neutral decks should definitely be as well balanced against each other as possible, even to the detriment of those decks in 3v3 play.
Having that starter set, that easier, balanced game, is very important for the introduction to codex.


Can we come up with better suggestions for improving Troq for the 3v3 game, which doesn’t break the 1v1 game?

Mine was:
Amend level abilities to topband: upon attack 1 damage to base, midband: upon attack: 2 damage to base, maxband: readiness

EricF’s was:
Change mid-band to “Attacks: deal 1 damage to a building”. This gives him a niche as a neutral hero who can do the Onimaru thing of destroying a building in one hit (once he gets to max band), or combo with Wrecking Ball x2 to destroy a tech building even through a patrol zone.

Neither of these hit his ‘bigger and bigger’ character flavour though…

These changes are hypothetical and won’t see print, where it matters for teaching new players, it’s just day dreams that the closest they will see to reality is as a prototype forum tournament or something like that.

I just don’t get why it wasn’t possible to make Bashing better in 3v3 and keep it roughly the same in 1v1 vs Finesse.

I’m sure it was / is, but between wanting to keep the 1v1 game as simple and balanced as it is AND having lots of other things to worry about in 3v3 balance, some things just aren’t going to be caught / prioritized. Bashing isn’t unplayable in 3v3, and EricF has had decent success with it splashed in a Vandy deck iirc.

I’m pretty okay with Bashing being below average in 3v3, given how much fun BvF 1v1 is to play with new people (my board game friends who were never into MtG still had a good time playing it!)


And Troq, like so many “bad” Codex cards, is a lot of fun in Free-for-All, given that his Ultimate has a much better chance of getting full value. Iron Man and Regular Rhino are likewise good for convincing opponents that their best target is somewhere else.

Potentially interesting thought experiment. In a game like Codex would it be easier to make every card at least situationally useful by tweaking numbers and abilities OR leaving the cards largely the same but giving all Heroes, Bases (would have same type as main hero), and most Tech I-III stuff a Pokémon/Kongai like elemental type?

This elemental type could be something as simple as +1-2 attack power if you attack something you’re strong against, or attacker gets +1/+1 if attacking something they’re stronger then, or defender doesn’t get patrol zone benefits if you’re strong against them.

This might lead to lead to more early face stopping of which there will be no recovery though. If this was found to be true then most Tech I stuff could be energyless.

This could also allow for wacky interaction. For example Crashbarrow could have a new ability that says it loses Overpower if it attacks something with the Solid energy type.

This could allow for more mind games and caring more about what the opponent is probably going to tech instead of “I’ll just grab Bone Collectors if I’m p1 because they are never not good”.

With just tweaking numbers I think some cards will always end up being at the very least marginally better then other cards so why not just always grab them? I never see any one grab Masked Raccoon but what if he was suddenly strong vs Hyperion and/or was hitting base for 5? Then I’d be possibly interested some of the time.

Obviously a change like this doesn’t fall under the umbrella of “nudging the tiller” but I didn’t what to start a change thread for a thought experiment.

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I’m not sure I like the idea of adding a whole extra layer of complexity and type memorization, but I like the creativity, and your example of a situationally useful Racoon.

I think Racoon’s whole point is to be a beast in a dedicated Ninja and/or Cute Animal deck. The problem is that he doesn’t do that: unattackable just means that he’s worthless on defense; unstoppable with 3 atk isn’t great unless you have a way to boost damage… which you don’t, because you spent those tech slots loading up with ninjas so that you’d have a chance of getting the ability to happen in the first place (and to protect the Racoon on the back line).
Basically, for that specific example, I think making Racoon a 2-cost would be much more effective at getting it to do what it wants to do. Making it 5 ATK (keeping the 4-cost) would be even better, because then it becomes: if you have a ninja, this eats a tech building or a hero each turn. And that’s what a real racoon would do: get into your house and knock over trash cans.

If you want something specifically good against Hyperion, you go for Glorious Ninja. It’s just that GN is also specifically good against almost everything else. But with a 5-ATK MR, you might choose to have one fewer GNs to put a MR on attack.

And I’m not sure any amount of type bonus would make Arresting Constable or Debilitator Alpha worth it at their costs.

But I really like the point you’re making about underused cards. Fore every underused card, there should be a situation where you can go, “I think my opponent will use that known and solid strategy (out of his several options); this card will make that strategy weak!”

So the question becomes, “What specific strategy is this card designed to beat?”

  • Racoon seems designed to beat a wall of units or maybe to survive a red-style barrage and counter-attack? The problem is that Raccoon is so expensive that you won’t have enough units in play to get him to do his thing, even against Tech 0 and Tech I armies.
  • Arresting Constable seems designed to take out much bigger cost-heavy units or units with killer abilities. The problems are that he’s as or nearly as expensive as many of those units, he’s too weak to survive to use his ability, and he can’t arrest Tech III units (the ones with the biggest stats and killer-est abilities). He’d be great against fliers/OP units, if so many of them didn’t have haste. And he takes a slot away from actually useful units. (I think he should either be 1-cost or 5/5.)
  • Debilitator Alpha seems designed to counter the very specific (and serious) threat of Tiny Basilisk. Which would be fine if DA were a Tech I unit that was a little weaker and a lot cheaper.

Sorry to rant!
It’s an interesting idea; maybe others find it more appealing than I do. (:


Yes, I feel you nailed the spirit of Codex: that every card should have a specific, useful purpose waiting for the right situation to arise. The reality is that a couple of cards are nearly unconditionally good while many are eclipsed and never see play. Which is fine in a collectible card game, but really unfortunate for a “said-and-done” card game meant to last decades.


I have been treating most of those good but not great cards as a puzzle. “What situation is this the answer for?” Sadly I haven’t solved very many.

You bring up some good points. I’m just not convinced you can tweak numbers and add or remove abilities and make it so every card in the game is situationally useful. I think there’s at least two problems with these kinds of adjustments:

  1. Tech slots are valuable so you will always just grab the generally best thing (most of the time this means getting the best bodies)
  2. The gold curve is too low so a tweak of a single number can have a huge impact on point one

not sure what could be done about point 1. However, during testing I would jokingly say that we should just double the cost and production of everything*. That way you’d have a ton more room to play with the numbers. If this is the case you could have Gemscout Owl still cost 1 and produce 2 gold, maybe now I’m interested. Fuzz Cuddles, Scribe, Tax Collector now cost 3, average Tech I 3/3s for 2 could cost 4, and the best tech I 3/3s for 2 could cost 5, and so on. Even then it would still be super hard to make everything situationally useful (then I guess will just have to double production and costs again, lol).

Control seems to be in a weird place in Codex. How do you make it good without making it too good? Not sure. While each individual Blue spec has found success in multicolor decks monoBlue is the weakest mono. This might just be because of the weak starting deck? or perhaps because meta decks smush illusions? or because their only form of hero defense (other then honest combat) is Free Speech? Funny thing is that Law in the form of Censorship Council can really stick it to Peace but it is often paired with Anarchy which can Detonate your CC. My eternal Codex goal is to find a control deck that works well. I have tried [Discipline], Balance, Law and that shows some promise. Will probably try [Past], Balance, Discipline or Past, Balance, Law (some serious control, not sure which starter to use).

With Law I’d like to see Arresting Constable gain haste. That way Law would have AC to stop a small amount of big dudes plan and CC to stop a swarm game plan.

No need to apologize. Competitive card game discussions are among my favorite kind of discussions. So throw all the thoughts out there you want.

*workers would cost 2 and produce 2. Or you could make workers produce 1 and you’d just start with double the amount of them.


I see what you mean about how doubling the cost scale for everything would have left more room for tweaking.

I’m totally with you on all this. I think AC needs haste and to cost at least one less. Compare its stats and ability to other hasted units: Lobber at Tech I or Omegacron, Crashbarrow, and Glider at Tech II. Even with haste, at its current cost and stats + haste, AC doesn’t feel any better than Lobber: better ability and 1 more HP, but twice the cost? And compared to the Tech II units, it’s trash. Heck, I’d rather have a non-hasted Leaping Lizard just for stats.

I think situationally useful is okay for Tech II units, as long as they’re never terrible. If it can’t do something absolutely amazing right away, it should at least have a Tech II-sized body-to-cost ratio.

As for control decks to try out, I really enjoyed [Necro]/Discipline/Past a lot more than I thought I would. I put it together to get the Netherdrain+max Prynn “die in the past, die forever combo,” with Discipline’s Training Grounds as an extra way to get Prynn to max, but I found that everything synergized nicely: Necro’s hard control, Past’s Tech I bounce, Discipline’s additional control from MPM and Grave’s sword, Training Grounds+Garth’s max to bring the MPM out. I was playing against a new player, so I had an advantage, and several draws went well for me, but it just has so many possibilities.

That said, the deck I want to try out next has Law. (:


not exactly “control” but I was absolutely destroyed by a Discipline Disease Law deck.
I got looped with sickness and spreading disease.

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Hope this isn’t a necro, but it’s hard to search for more recent threads of this nature;

Now that we’re 1.5 years in, how are we still feeling about the balance of this game/any changes we might want to make?

Any further insights?

I’m just curious because I’d love to see this game become as balanced as possible - and since Sirlin’s currently holding back on working on that (due to all the negative feedback he’s received); it seems like it would fall to us to try and develop what we can.

I’d love to see if I can find a list of changes people generally think might be good, so I can test them out in my copy/plays against others (informing them beforehand of course).

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The bare minimum I think is that Blue starter & Law T2 need slight buffs, and Black starter / Demon / Necro need slight nerfs.

@Hobusu related to what you said here, what if instead of raising DP’s gold cost you made it damage Vandy directly. Like deal 2 damage to your base (only your base, no more using it for finishing the opponent) and 1 damage to Vandy. I think you could leave it at cost 0 there, give Deteriorate 1-cost, and hit Garth in the stats maybe? (move his midband to level 5 and take 1hp off midband? makes it much harder to set up nasty maxband fetches)

All together, those nerfs are super harsh. Feels like it swings it the wrong direction. If DP hits Vandy, what happens when Bigby uses Jurisdiction to cast Dark Pact?


I do like the idea of damaging Vandy directly in theory, but I really think Dark Pact and Deteriorate shouldn’t be at different costs because of Reputable Newsman. To be fair, adjusting either one to 1 would make it overlap with Nether Drain, but I think that being unable to block both DP and Deteriorate at the same time would make things harder for Blue in a way they really don’t need to be.

Edit: That’s a good point about Jurisdiction, too. Really, I think we ought to do some tests with DP and Deteriorate at 1 and see how that goes.

Is picking 0 something Newsman typically does? I’m pretty out of the loop but I always picked 2 for RN. It stops him from just dying to Sac the Weak and stops Lich’s Bargain, which is great in the early game and amazing vs some decks, and it happens to stop both Soul Stone and Sickness as well.

I don’t know if it’s common, but I don’t like the idea of breaking the two apart anyway. It’s not as big an issue as some of the others, though, and if Dark Pact cost 2 (for example) so that it overlapped with multiple other important spells (instead of 1 making it overlap only with Nether Drain within Black) I wouldn’t mind Deteriorate being different. It’s just something that should be kept in mind even if it’s not as important as some of the other issues, if only because the Blue/Black matchup needs as much help as it can get.

:clap: REMOVE :clap: VANDY :clap: RESIST :clap: