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XCAPS 22 Ideas?

Hey all!

With the winter tourney buttoned up, we’re on to thinking about Spring. We usually have “wrinkles” in the format in Spring and Fall, stuff like mono only, balance changes, weird matchmaking rules, draft specs etc

What do folks want to do this spring?

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Oh boy oh boy, it’s finally time. I am here to present my minimal list of changes that I hope to be adopted in every tournament forwards, even the official ones!
I have tried to change only the most egregious outliers, as hopefully agreed upon by the community.

Here we go:

Lich’s Bargain:
4 base damage to 6 base damage
Lich’s Bargain is a consistently strong and safe option, and the downsides are just not harsh enough to justify the insane value the card brings.
I think it’s very telling that even with this exact change, people were still playing this card in the experimental tournament.
If this is too much, I think 5 damage is more than reasonable, but I’m pushing for 6.

Pirate Gunship:
Lose Obliterate 2
Gunship is busted, everyone knows it. It’s too cheap, too fast, and too good at locking down a board. With this change, it’s still possible to maintain a board against a gunship and maybe claw your way back. It’s still very strong without obliterate, and this has been my house rule for a little while.

Might of Leaf and Claw:
+5/+5 to +3/+3
This card was definitely designed with mono green in mind, but is simply too strong in decks with haste. Since upgrade removal is so scarce, this card hitting the table is often an instant victory. Reducing its power a little still makes it very worth playing, but allows an overwhelming board to still compete.
If this is thought of as too harsh, I would rather change activation to 4 counters from 5 than give more stats, but I think this is a reasonable change at 5 counters still.

Vandy Anadrose
Lose resist 1
She just shouldn’t have this. A cheap combat hero with great stats who also defends against spells. She’s just absurd. Take this away and it becomes more reasonable to deal with her in alternate ways.

Those are my big four changes I think would seriously benefit the game long term. I do have one more change I’m less confident about that I will propose here, but I’m more interested in thoughts on the four above.

Garth Torken:
Midband 2/4 to 2/3
Garth is a caster hero like Drakk or Vir, but he gains such incredible stats at midband he’s very hard to put down. This would make it a little easier to extend a kill on a safe Garth.

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I’d be against changing Might of Leaf and Claw, since the reason for changing it is specifically for multicolour instead of the general case, and I don’t want to gimp monocolour in the process. The others seem fine.

My opinion might not count for quite as much since I haven’t really been following the tournaments for a while now, but from what I remember of the ones I did participate in and/or watch plus past balance discussions I think pretty much all of these seem reasonable. The one thing I’ll say about MoLaC is that it does seem fair with its printed stats in mono-green, so I wonder whether instead having some kind of restriction on combining haste with it might be better than nerfing mono-green to fix a multicolor problem. Edit: and it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks the MoLaC one might be too wide-reaching of a change, heh.

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In regards to molac, I agree it’s unfortunate that it makes the card weaker in mono green, but I don’t think we can allow it in its current state in multi colour. It’s simply too oppressive.

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I agree that it shouldn’t be left how it is in multi, but how about this as an alternate proposal:

Whenever you deal combat damage with an attacker, put a growth rune on this.
While this has fewer than five growth runes, your units and heroes cannot benefit from haste.
While this has at least five growth runes, your units and heroes get +5/+5.

This is technically a small nerf to mono-green since you can’t use Mimic to copy enemy haste for quicker activation, but that would require a tech lab so it won’t come up nearly as often as the multicolor scenarios where haste is readily available. (Edit: Or you could use Circle of Life to get Mimic in play, which is certainly more likely to come up but I can say from experience still won’t happen nearly as often as haste + MoLaC currently does in multicolor builds that include Growth.)

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I think all the proposals sound good. :+1:
Hobusu’s suggestion for MoLaC seems a bit better than bomber’s in my eyes, but has some corner cases where it still will be too strong. But I think corner cases that create good combos are perfectly fine for this game :sunglasses:
If it were me to decide I would nerf Vandy even a bit more: I would increase the DP cost to 1 gold.

Concerning the main question what X we do prefer: I don’t have a strong opinion on that. I would be fine with balancing as well as the other proposed modes. I’d love to participate in an X game where the model picks “fair” decks for us, but as this was done recently, I assume the majority will prefer something else.

A format I would selfishly be interested in would be something like

Everyone picks 3 decks for the tourney.
Every match there’s one ban, each player chooses from remaining two decks (blind?) before the match.

I’m just putting it out there since I have 3 decks I want to try out :stuck_out_tongue:

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I like Bomber’s suggestions, especially the gunship. I think DP is Ok if I compare it with the other card draw possibilities from the heroes. Garth 1 card for 1g vs Vandy +1 card for 2 base damage. If you fetch it to use it any time like garth, it will be +1g. Setsuki is here the strongest.

With black I see more an issue with deteriorate. It is stronger than spark and cost 1 less. With that card garth and vandy make black starter so strong.

I tried to make the smallest possible changes in order to not affect balance too much.
I’m very wary of making changes to starter deck cards because they have huge importance across a game.
I tend to agree that black starter is too strong, but it’s strong in combination with hero strategies. Hopefully by addressing other aspects it will make it less oppressive.
I still hate that imp though.

I’m actually less convinced recently that black starter is too strong. I was paying attention to @FrozenStorm’s deck for the winter tournament, and it really seemed to me like the starter was a liability for him. There were lots of games where he didn’t seem to have good options to deal with early pressure. Even comparing deteriorate to spark misses the context where the neutral starter also has wither, which is stronger than deteriorate in that it can target anything.

Nonetheless these balance changes sound worthwhile to experiment with.

I would suggest considering for Might of Leaf and Claw

Whenever you deal combat damage with an attacker that did not arrive this turn put a growth rune on this.
While this has at least five growth runes, your units and heroes get +5/+5.

As a nerf to the haste combo that doesn’t also nerf haste.

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I like the concept, but I feel the ‘no haste’ clause is a bit… unwieldy.
It could simply be “deal combat damage with a green attacker” though that might just make bloodlust the new molac strategy.

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I considered having it work like that, but I thought that it would be more interesting to pose a challenge for multicolor players—basically, having to (mostly) act like you’re Green for your next five attacks to ‘prove your worth’ or something. You can choose when to play MoLaC and thus start the challenge, the ‘nerf’ only lasts until you succeed, and you get such a huge reward for succeeding that it seems fine to temporarily disable haste imo. Basically, I think it’s good to have the risk actually match the reward and disabling haste does a fairly good job of making that be true in multicolor.

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While I usually think interestingness is overly fetishized here, I appreciate the design choice to add challenge to a game-ending card.

@Bomber678’s suggestion of restricting the runes to be added only when green creatures attack would be most consistent with the existing green rules like Circle of Life only applying to green units. It would also be thematic to restrict “Might of Leaf and Claw” to green units. This would be a small nerf to Water Elemental, and still allow some counterable combos of bloodlust and haste to be available.

You are right that it would be more consistent with existing cards, and it would still make a big difference, I’m just a bit concerned about whether it would be enough. It seems potentially worth a try, though.

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To be clear, I am also happy with your proposal.

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I am 100% behind the nerfs to Gunship and Vandy!

I’m also for a change to Bargain, but I think it might be better to reduce the board presence it gives rather than increase the base damage. There are only a few specs (mostly Blood and Fire) that can capitalize on the base damage without overcoming the board presence, and it’s already risky to use Bargain against those. I’d propose reducing the stats on Horror, or even removing its Deathtouch.

I’d be willing to try each of the proposed changes to MoLaC, but I like @Hobusu 's best, since it specifically targets Red+Growth, which is the real culprit IMO. I’d also like to hear @zhavier 's perspective.

Edit:

Tiny correction: you can also get a Mimic without a tech lab using Circle of Life.

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To think I used to be considered an expert on Red vs. Green… Shame covers my face in a crimson as deep as my sin, as Thelo would say. :laughing:

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It is significantly harder to keep Setsuki alive than it is vandy and garth in there current states, so the comparison for card draw isnt exactly fair. Setsuki is incredibly dangerous at maxband, but far easier to get rid of than Vandy, who is probably as dangerous at maxband as setsuki.

Regarding Molac: I am interested in the idea it needs to be a green unit or hero dealing damage. Though in most matchups using Miracle Grow, I would prefer Blooming Ancient vs this nerfed Molac 9 out of 10 times. Monogreen growth, molac has always felt like win more. If you are able to activate molac from monogreen, its because your opponent has not been destroying your board enough.

Molac’s design seems to be “do 5 unfavorable trades and if you still have a board next turn, win”

So, to summarize:
Option 1: Change to +3/+3 instead of +5/+5. Affects monocolor in unfortunate ways/
Option 2: Suppress haste on your heroes and units while this is not active. Has some mild effect on monogreen, but mainly makes the multicolor synergy non-existant.
Option 3: Only green units/heroes can add runes to molac. Leaves bloodlust as an option in multicolor, hits water elemental in the monocolor.

My other ideas:

Turning off haste for everyone, now that seems like my kind of crazy. Maybe also reduce the activation runes to 4 and the bonus to +3/+3.

Add a clause: If you ever have no units in play, destroy this upgrade. Seems spicy. Specifically avoids using a hero as the only thing left in play. Wisps unite! I think I like this one the most.

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I like that “if you have no units, destroy this” clause, seems to fit. I’m not sure how often it would have impact, but it would give counterplay vs flimsier haste units.

Turning off haste for everybody… that’s a big impact on lots of matchups. Cards like crashbarrow and chameleon would be unplayable. To consider this direction you would have to restrict it to lower tier units, in my opinion, because breaking the viability of whole specs is too much.