A few observations

Discussion in 'Castle Mitternacht Playtest' started by Frostguard, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Ah, right. There was one card I meant to say a few words about, hopefully I'm not too late.

    That card is Flaring Torch. I really like the concept, and I'm very well aware that Strong Hack is not a fair comparison, but honestly Torch feels a bit underpowered. Its initial damage is equal to Strong Hack if and only if the target has a Form attached. Even then, the burning damage is shrugged off without consequence by two out of three forms, which is more of the issue here, I think; it's not the first anti-form card that fails to affect the majority of forms in a way. And if the opponent doesn't have a form, well, then the burning might do damage but it's still sub-par compared to most other melee attacks at that quality, even.

    I'm probably forgetting the fact that Flaring Torch is on Beacon Shield, which is great.
     
  2. hello world

    hello world Hydra

    I think it exists to punish combustible now that fire mages are getting a lot of indirect hate.
     
  3. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Two things on torch -
    1 - It's c-, so it can have cheaper itemization than Strong Hack in theory;
    2 - point well made about its noninteraction with Lycanthropic & Ethereal forms.

    We're not changing it this build but we may make it slightly more appealing before the playtest is over.
     
  4. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    New build, more testing!

    I tested my Vanguards against Maniafig's Spark of Undeath - Inquisition Bolt party. It was a loss, a fairly bad one, too, but it's worth noting that I didn't draw a single Vanguard throughout the entire game, both wizards had drawn their only Parry when I first managed to attack them (and I still nearly killed one), they both drew Medium's Garb really soon (by second round, I believe), whose rolls succeeded almost without fault, saving the nearly killed wizard's life. The game ultimately froze due to the bug with Inquisition Bolt killing someone, but I was certain I was going to lose.

    Same combatants but on a more warrior-friendly map; I still didn't draw a single Vanguard but managed to corner and defeat the wizards. Their draws from Medium's Garb didn't help them as much as they did last battle, and only one of them drew Parry; they did take down one of my warriors, too, a job that was finished by the priest but started with the Inquisition Bolts when he was zombified. A lucky Dodge let me kill one of the elf wizards, the second was practically overwhelmed when trying to hold the victory square.

    Same combatants but on Forgotten Temple. I got lucky draws this time, even a Vanguard, and as such managed to pin the elves against the wall. Wind Dancer was oddly competent and I blocked two Punishing Bolts with Unreliable Blocks. The Blind Rage from Spark of Undeath helped augment the attacks I had, together with Prowl it was scary. Due to some bluffing I did with my least dangerous warrior to draw out the control cards another one managed to get in, and the game was practically over from there.

    My Vanguards against Maniafig's healing dwarf priests. He didn't draw Sacred Shroud much, which worked in my favour, but even then three priests with Talented Healer, a few Enervating Touches, ample Daylights and other healing spells aren't easy to take out. Since I only drew one Sundering Strike (and used it on the wrong person), I ignored the one with Sacred Shroud. Investigates further encourage focusing down on one opponent, made easy by the fact that my warriors were mobile as ever, preventing effective escape. Since I used no forms (I drew a Howl, but it gave me no Lycanthropic Form, fortunately), Daylight healed me as well as his priests, which further slowed down the rate of my warriors dying; still, one of them came dangerously close, saved only by Extra Hack so he could defeat his attacker before he himself would've been killed.

    When I read the update I believed (mild spoiler, but I still do) that Medium's Garb is still too strong, so I tried to create a deck to show it.


    I attempted to play with the deck above against Maniafig's zombifying Inquisitors. The core concept is simple: control, damage with Punishing Bolt and the occasional Obliterating Spark, get cards from Medium's Garb, replace them with Leadership if they're not satisfactory. Punishing Bolt is still a powerful card, and I managed to severely damage two elves (splitting damage due to Stone Spikes and Punishing Bolt's limited range). My opponent, not limited by such factors, focused fire on one of my wizards, who was then taken by death - in zombie form, by an Inquisition Bolt, so our match was cut short. I don't know who was close to winning, as we seemed fairly evenly matched.

    I played as the same three wizards against Maniafig's zombifying Daylight priests. The combination is a powerful one, especially against warriors due to their low health and generally low mobility. While the priests had nothing to explicitly counter control, Investigate works well in a pinch, and they don't need anti-control anyway if all I'm drawing are zombie cards. The tables have been turned: now I was the one trying to get close while being barraged by Daylight and they kept their distance. Due to Dwarven Battle Cry and Unholy Energy I even managed to unleash a 14-damage Punishing Bolt at one point, but these priests just heal up like crazy. I managed to kill one of them, but only to sheer luck (lucky draw from both my Medium's Garbs - Curse of Fragility and Hex of Dissolution to get rid of that Sacred Shroud - and two Infected Bites from zombie form). After that they just won by victory points anyway. Also remarkably Medium's Garb is punished by Blind Rage, which triggers after creating the card, which is of course an attack most of the time.

    Same combatants; this time the map was Lichard's Mausoleum, and as such it was extremely unfriendly to priests and just as much favoured my Telekinesis-reliant wizards. I managed to get to the victory squares in round one and kept even priests with Vengeance away by simply tossing them across the moat once they got close enough. I basically won by stalling, though when I already had two zombies I still used my remaining control to bring the weakest of the enemy priests to my own bunch and bludgeon him to death.

    Same combatants on Fool's Trap. I quickly managed to dispatch a priest with Punishing Bolts and also some zombie melee (I switched his places with another priest to expose him to the attacks). Another was retreating when wounded, though double Investigate healed him up quickly as my two zombies gave his buddy a beating. That priest wore a Sacred Shroud, which still proves a tough nut to crack; still, recycling my moves and low-damage zombie cards with Leadership (which I drew often in this game) proved victorious in the end. I already had two points from occupying the victory squares, and so I managed to win. Leadership is still an incredibly strong ability; I already thought it was quite possibly the strongest race-specific card out there, but with Medium's Garb and Wind Dancer (its combination with the latter I haven't even tried yet) it gets even more fodder for recycling! However, as in all battles against zombifying Daylight priests, the combination of Spark of Undeath and Daylight is incredibly powerful, especially against wizards who are feeble of health and incapable of healing (maybe I should learn from Maniafig and bring some Investigate, I feel it'd mitigate the damage from Daylight decently).

    Fire wizards seem to be hit rather hard from this expansion, so I decided to try and see if they can still be worked with. Here's the party I used:

    Darur
    Level 2 Dwarf Wizard

    Baruk
    Level 1 Dwarf Wizard

    Baran
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Fairly straightforward. Pure burning to burn, control with cold to keep enemies away and some priest who should resemble a drawing engine.

    Maniafig tested a trio of lycanthropes, whose mobility I gravely underestimated. A barrage of Nimble Strikes and Strong Hacks later my control wizard lay dead (I advanced too far ahead with him, I'll admit that, not foreseeing that two of them would be in his face in that very same round). Without control I had little chance, but I tried anyway; my fire wizard practically drew all his move and armour cards in the first two rounds, but Lycanthropic Form doesn't leave much space for fire damage, anyway. I used ample Unholy Energies but my own priest fell to one, after an obvious but at that point inevitable Mighty Charge and Vicious Thrust took her down to one hit point.

    Same parties, other map. This one started out reasonably well for me. With Frost Jolts I managed to slow the enemy's advance, but as we all know, there's no control enough to keep Vanguard at bay. I managed to push off Lycanthropic Form multiple times, and Boiling Armour removed Monstrous Hide a fair number of times, but in the end it ended as all such matches end: being hacked up by mobile warriors. I even managed to kill one of them in the end with a well-timed Perforating Strike from behind, but that didn't do too much good. Neither did the fact that all of them were badly damaged at that point.

    Same parties on Gladius Quad. As always, the warriors entirely cornered me and killed my fire wizard, but not before he could take much part in killing one of them and injuring the others. Control can't keep them at bay, but cold can hamper them, and even they have difficulty getting close to a control wizard with Unholy Energy and Accelerated Thought attached. Around the end of the battle a Medium's Garb showed up and gave me an extremely lucky Ancient Grudge which, considering that the battle had been going on for a while, dealt quite some damage. In the end I won, narrowly, my priest nearly dead and only the control wizard saving her. I was also rather lucky in the match, pushing off Lycanthropic Form yet again.
     
  5. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Some thoughts to serve as a makeshift summary (in a separate post due to character limit):

    Medium's Garb: Even back when I was only reading the changes I was inclined to agree that Medium's Garb wasn't nerfed enough, or rather, not in the right direction, and playtesting only confirmed this opinion. The problem was never with its armour component, I believe, but rather with the card advantage it guarantees. With the roll changed, now it's even harder to remove with Sundering Strike, though other methods are not affected. I'll be entirely honest: I think this card would be fine with a roll of 5+ if the Keep keyword was removed from its armour part. It might feel too much of a nerf, I admit, but let's look at it this way: arguably the advantage it gives is even more powerful than that of Frenzy Aura, so why should it be harder to remove in addition?

    Vengeance: Similarly to Medium's Garb, I don't think Vengeance's main source of power is the damage. Still, I don't think it was anywhere near that broken in the first place. Vengeance is still a force to be reckoned with, it still packs a punch, and furthermore (I believe this is an important point) it's still the card with quite possibly the worst synergy with Blind Rage.

    Inquisition Bolt: I really like the change, as it doesn't punish random non-form cards anymore. It seems to do what I feel it was intended to do - good damage against forms and feeble damage against everything else. It's worth noting that Fey Silversmith increases its damage twofold, bringing it up to the level of Sorcerous Bolt. Its synergy with Spark of Undeath went from nonexistent to incredible, as a zombie takes no fewer than nine points of damage from a silversmith-boosted Inquisition Bolt. That might be increased with other buffs, of course. I also love that it reveals cards, it's nice that finally non-elves have access to that sort of thing! Sadly its related bug is still around.

    Spark of Undeath: Zombie form can be a massive pain. From what I've seen zombies seem to draw it very often (in a way it's a nice counter to draw engines, I suppose, because those make them draw it even more often), which can lock them into being a zombie for a considerable time. It's very risky to use at the same time due to its short range and addition of Blind Rage that can prove to be counterproductive. Zombies with leftover moves can be a peril not easily escaped from, though it seems to be safe to use on enemies without cards (they might get a Shuffle, though!). It now has good synergy with Inquisition Bolt, however, as well as Daylight.

    Ancient Grudge: I for one was happy for the change, though again, I'm not sure if it's enough. It's less lethal now for sure, but the problem is that stalling is still very easy to do (if you're not up against Vanguard warriors), so it's still possible to get high damage numbers from this (especially with Unholy Energy and Accelerated Thought). Of course it's not nearly as bad as it was before.

    Daylight: I like the new Daylight! It's thematic, it's unpreventable (I never thought that it'd make it into the game in that form) and it removes terrain. A nice counter to acid and Volcano, and as such is welcome, I believe. Sadly it's a little risky to use against enemies with no forms as it heals them, too. With Spark of Undeath it's very potent, and allows priests to do some good damage at range while still healing themselves and their allies. Such a strategy could easily backfire when facing someone with Walpurgis Night, though.

    Howl: I've been using varying amounts of Howl on almost all my warriors. I really like the card (in no little part due to the sound effect); it's decent self-healing, though the card drawn often turns out to be a little sub-par. Sometimes it draws Lycanthropic Form, which is a mixed blessing; on the other hand, it can create Monstrous Hide (something which made my fire wizard's life harder at one point). Basically lottery, as it isn't guaranteed to give the type of card you need at the moment, but then nor is actually drawing from your deck. It's a nice touch that it can be used to delay ending the round even if the opponent's passed, but it needing an extra action can be unfavourable as well under other circumstances.

    Fire: I was worried about fire and I still am. While Lycanthropic Form can be pushed off with the right combination (or rather, amount) of cards, and I probably tested it against a deck against which it was almost doomed to lose (not even two control wizards could keep my Vanguard warriors at bay, so what chance would one stand?), but I think there are going to be issues. Fleet counters it similarly (and can be removed similarly), but Lance of Warding can't; Howl or Lycanthropic Form can create Monstrous Hide, which needs to be removed by fire wizards who hope to deal any damage at all; they should bring some tools to do that, of course, but can they do it often enough against enemies who can generate even more armour? And I'm not even talking about Vengeance yet, which I feel is going to be the hardest counter, considering that an enemy with Vengeance and three burning cards can move up to six squares (though at the cost of some of his health). It's also still impossible to burn spirits, sadly.
     
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  6. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    I played the previous team (fire wizard, control wizard, drawing priest) against Vitreo84's party with two human wizards and an elf warrior. They seemed to be focused on Flash Flood and Ancient Grudge and started the match with flooding a substantial portion of the playing field; a few Smoke Bombs made my life that much harder. A lucky Cleansing Presence helped me out, as well as an elf warrior who charged in with only an Officer's Harness, easy prey for burning (especially that between Dwarven Battle Cry, Accelerated Thought and friends it's very easy to get that Firestarter of dreams and also ample amount of burning. Control didn't help as much here, though I did get a lucky Frost Jolt with Cooling Laser at start, later with a Chilling Rime to finish the job.

    I switched to the Vanguards to see how they operate against Flash Flood. I expect the Smoke Bombs are dead cards against them, but Flash Flood might still be one of the few effective counters, so I looked forward to this battle. For the first two rounds, however, they could do little but stare angrily at the enemies on the other side of the huge mass of water. I managed to move around in time and wounded a wizard and the warrior, but lost one of my own in the process and got flooded again. In the end one of my warriors got to the victory squares and even managed to kill the warrior standing on them, and a lucky Battleaxe Block helped against an Ancient Grudge, but the next one following up didn't do more than four damage anyway, which was a relief. Telekinesis was annoying, especially with absurd amounts of Flash Flood, but my opponent didn't draw too much of them, Flash Floods are dead cards if the opponent's on the victory squares, and I made sure to exploit that fact. Like I suspected, Smoke Bombs were of no use whatsoever, but due to the forced stalling Ancient Grudges started to do some dangerous damage (exceeding ten points). I could've won the game with ease still, as my opponent was forced to move onto the victory squares, but I foolishly waited for the damaged wizard to join as well instead of killing the other one even though I had the damage for both. In the end this hesitation cost me the game, but I feel this was winnable. Ancient Grudge is still too powerful, especially when it comes in a nice package with Flash Flood and other cards that make stalling very easy. The elf warrior used Inquisitor's Strike with Dainty Silversmith, and it can hit for some hard damage.

    Same parties, but we went from Forest to Gladius Single. While restricted enough for Flash Flood to work its magic, line of sight also tends to be limited, but soon I found myself with my opponent's elf warrior on the victory square completely surrounded by floods. I had to wait them out, giving my opponent two victory stars for free, essentially, but I was ready to break havoc once it'd end. After that the elf used Nimble Strike to get out and attack my warrior who was standing alone, and she had Parry, too, which was troublesome. Both of us had Monstrous Hide, so we didn't deal much damage to each other. After the flood was gone I moved one of my warriors onto the victory square as soon as it was possible, before it was surrounded with flood yet again; that got one of my warriors locked away, but the placement also made it very hard to remove him from there with Telekinesis, but my opponent succeeded anyway. It was a long and harrowing match, lots of stalling going on, but in the end Vanguard spelled the downfall of the enemies; I could advance from two sides simultaneosly, eventually cornering them and killing a wizard as well as the warrior.

    My Vanguards against Vitreo84's triple control with bonuses like Punishing Bolts and Lava Pools. A Frost Jolt and ample focused fire made one of my warriors rather uncomfortable; the encumber halved Vengeance's efficiency while he was taking a beating. I started drawing my Vanguards in time, however, so my warriors moving in a coordinated way could slowly (very slowly) corner my opponents. Most of the time I managed to kill a wizard because they'd already been weakened by a stray Vicious Thrust (my opponent did a really good job of shifting them around so I wouldn't be able to hit the same one twice in a row), because they triggered an unseen Vengeance or because I had Extra Hack (incredibly good against wizards who run away or push the warrior away as soon as able). In the end I had one of my warriors on one hit point, but managed to kill all three wizards.

    Same matchup but on Celestial Dojo. I managed to quickly corner and kill two of them. The third ran off and caused some trouble, including killing one of my warriors (an oversight on my part that could have been avoided), but died in the end. There's not much I can say about this battle, really, it went down as most control versus Vanguard matches do. Vengeance helps, but the true counter to encumber is Vanguard itself, since it's unaffected by it.

    Some closing thoughts (on items this time):

    Bimson's Death Moat: It took only a few matches to make me utterly dislike this one. The synergy between the cards on it is frightening, and Flash Flood is really unfun to play against when brought in large quantities. Even if I bring wizards, they might have Smoke Bomb or worse yet, Illusory Barrier; the item is relatively cheap and offers sufficient quantities of both its cards if used en masse. With Telekinesis it's made even worse, although I feel Nimble Strike could counter it on the right maps. I could test that next, but I didn't do that this time because I was utterly sick of the mere thought of Flash Flood.

    Subterranean Ferocity: Not as good as it used to be, but Unreliable Block is a dead card at worst, and tokenless Dwarven Battle Cry is still amazing. Not that I'm complaining, mind you; after all, both the other races got just as many new interesting skills.

    Snarlcub Hide: Good change, it offers a little less self-healing now. On the other hand, it has better synergy with stacking Officer's Harness, which isn't too bad, really. My opponent's elf warrior was saved from a Vengeance (through Monstrous Hide, of course) by four Officer's Harnesses.

    Talissa's Trident: I didn't give this one its due recognition, but mobility has just been redefined. While no Vibrant Pain, as it does not allow its user to fly over Flash Flood, for example, it's like we got two unsunderable Sparkling Cloth Armour on a weapon with four good step attacks. Needless to say, Vanguard, Vanguard! Two of these and some other decent stepping weapon and a lot of movement goes down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  7. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    I've written miles and miles about how I love Howl, at least thematically, so I decided to make a party more centered around it. Howling Pain seems the way to go, but Nimble Strike deals little damage, so the solution, as always, is a priest with frenzies. So here come the fearsome dwarven howlers!


    I fought against Vitrebo and his three wizards who seemed to spam a lot of Illusory Barriers, Telekineses and Flash Floods. They had little in the way of damage, except for the usual Ancient Grudge, but a lucky Chilling Rime combined with a Flash Flood first round was very frustrating, as was the constant barrage of Telekineses pushing my characters away. Illusory Barrier has little utility against warriors, even less if they pack Prowl and Nimble Strike as I did. Cold does hurt, though, so the wizards managed to fetch two victory stars before they were forced to retreat. Illusory Barriers might have done little against my warriors but they sure managed to shut down my buffing priest (save for Mass Frenzy, of course), and navigating in a maze of Flash Floods is not a lot of fun. In the end, bit by bit I managed to wear down the wizards' health, who, unlike me, had no way to heal themselves. Ancient Grudges surfaced later and dealt heavy damage yet again, but at that point only one wizard was alive; a lucky Dodge got me out of the way of one of them, and would've let me get away from the other as well but I decided to dodge into it instead to see how much damage it would deal. At that point I was winning by victory points anyway.

    I fought against Vitreo's flooding wizards yet again, but on Crundyup's Bridge, a map much more friendly to such strategies. Again, a lucky Flash Flood and two cold attacks kept me away from the victory squares and the wizards for two rounds (though an Impaling Stab got through). After the Flood expired, however, my priest walked in, and surprised another wizard (Vitreo's still remarkably good at cycling them around) with a likely unexpected Powerful Bludgeon. After that they retreated more and more into the corner, and one of my warriors, hindered by the Barriers, had a hard time catching up; the other two characters were gradually cornering the enemies. While I drew some lucky moves on the priest, my opponent seemed to have figured out that she didn't have a lot of attacks, so moving her away wasn't his first priority. Extra Hack helped me kill one of the wizards, and cornering another one (completed by his own Flash Flood to keep my characters away) the other; the third fell to a Mighty Charge followed by a Lunging Bite.

    Maniafig's howlers had been updated since last battle; I had no idea he'd also added a priest, which turned this battle into a weird sort of a mirror match. I got incredibly lucky with my draws; I managed to put Martyr Blessing on both my warriors, who could quickly hop their way to the victory square, engaging the enemy warrior standing there. A lucky Sundering Strike removed a Monstrous Hide, my opponent kept attacking my warriors with Martyr Blessing on, and at the end of the round I used Howls to heal up a little and generate some cards. Much to my chagrin I found myself with two All-out Attacks when I'd already used up all my other attack cards. My warriors were both standing next to a nearly dead warrior, so the temptation was high, but I resisted it; turned out that it was only right to do so, since Massive Jaws on one of my dwarves and Sundering Strike on the other allowed me to take down the other warrior from full health frighteningly quickly. A Vicious Thrust ended the other one, and my opponent resigned. It might seem like a decisive victory but it was mostly all luck, really.

    We played one more, but on Heart of the Mountain this time. We now entered a duel of Martyred warriors, and I came out losing, sadly enough; foolishly, I tried to flee, only to be killed by Nimble Strikes. The dead warrior had already gotten a victory star, though, and a substantial part of the battle was Maniafig's warriors fleeing from my warrior who obviously had All-out Attack. In the end he let me kill one of his warriors with it, but mainly because his other warrior had two in his hand, one-shotting mine. I took the victory square with my priest, used my Greater Heal and hoped; I got lucky yet again, as my opponent's warrior got only two Mighty Charges in the final round, and thus didn't manage to kill my priest, winning me the battle.

    One more battle with the same parties on Cyberspace Arena. We spent the first round advancing, though with Vanguard and Nimble Strikes Maniafig managed to occupy a victory square first. Next there was a duel between each of our warriors in the middle, which ended favourably for me, due to Martyr Blessing and three Sundering Strikes boosted by Prowl. After killing his warrior I had to retreat with my own, and after unleashing a Fiery Stab from my priest from a safe distance we ended the second round. Third round was his other warrior against my other warrior and priest; my priest's Sundering Strike got rid of an Ill-fitting Armour as well as a Monstrous Hide, and while her Controlled Overswing ended up being suicide due to the enemy warrior's Mad Dog, he resigned at that point.

    Back to Vitreo's flooding control wizards on Streams of Blood. Honestly I don't even know why I keep subjecting myself to such torment. He focused fire on my priest, removing her Sacred Shroud with a lucky Hex of Dissolution, nearly killing her; my warriors were relatively safe, but were blocked from the victory square soon enough. Moving my priest onto acid backfired, as one of the wizards got a Fiery Stab to the face, but my priest was soon killed by a Flash of Agony; I managed to advace in the end, but control wizards won this time, though I can't quite shake the feeling that a large part of that they owe to the fact that all three of them drew their Subtle Parries (one of them each), which stopped critical attacks.

    We gave the same teams a run on Gladius Triple; my opponent started off right away by flooding all three sections of the battlefield, and to add insult to injury, chilled one of my warriors as well. The other managed to get through, and much to my surprise killed one of the wizards fairly quickly (Mass Frenzy with Prowl does help). I managed to advance in the end, pinning the other two against the wall. I decided to retreat to the victory squares (especially after my attacking warrior being pushed back over Flash Flood), getting two more victory points; after that, exploiting my Martyr Blessing, one of the wizards executed my warrior with two Punishing Bolts. At that point I decided to attack with the other warrior, who happened to have three Nimble Strikes, among other things, in his hand, and nearly killed another wizard, but in the end it was the other who died due to my priest's Extra Hack and Sundering Strike.

    The build seems powerful in its own right - it has enough damage to deal with warriors, the mobile variant at least, and enough mobility to get to wizards, most of the time. For the first time I feel Sundersong might be excessive, given that it's a reasonably frequent draw from Howl, which offers penetrating attacks as well. Howl is a great card, I believe; I could compare it to Spin Around, except it seems to be cheaper, and healing is a much better effect than changing facing, which is fairly pointless in almost all matches. It usually draws an attack as well, which is usually more welcome than a block or an armour card; it can draw Monstrous Hide, which is excellent armour, Mighty Charge, which is either very useful or completely useless, depending on the situation, a cycling card that in turn draws from the character's own deck, Prowl, which is fantastic, being both movement and a self-buff, or even another Howl, which is yet another shot at all of the above and some bonus healing to boot. Using it takes a turn, which can be a blessing at times, but at others definitely a curse. Having fought against a control deck, there are few things more disappointing than ending a round next to one of them with the promise of going first next round and only drawing Howls. All in all I believe it's balanced. Some more blocks might've helped my party more.

    Excessive control is as unfun to play against as ever. The party I fought against didn't even make use of Gusting Feystaff and other new things, about which I'm honestly a little worried about; on the other hand, using cold on staves could compound it to an even more frustrating experience instead. Despite all the mobility we get, I can't help but feel that wizards still have it a little too easy when it comes to keeping enemies away. It may not be a balance issue, considering that I still managed to win much more often than not, but there's little counterplay to Flash Flood with cold cards, even less to Hypnotic Beacon (fortunately my opponent didn't use that this time); Daylight might help, but that yet again assumes that there's a priest in the team.

    Another important note, possibly more connected to the paragraph above, is that there's one thing I distinctly don't like about Ancient Grudge, and it really shone through the decks that tried to make use of it. Suddenly the amount of cards in the discard pile go from completely irrelevant to extremely important. The amount of cards in the discard pile is more or less proportional to the time elapsed in the game, so it becomes a significant factor on its own. Which means that certain decks don't even need to occupy the victory squares to gain benefit from stalling. I'll admit that part of this is personal preference, as I never much liked stalling in this game or any other, but in Card Hunter at least it needed some active play to be successful in that. I'm not saying that playing against three dwarf wizards sitting on the victory squares and playing Winds of War and Gusts of War and Telekinesis on everyone who gets close is any fun, but at least they did have to get to the victory squares first. With Ancient Grudge these kinds of wizards could just flood the victory squares, flood themselves away and wait endlessly. How much that actually works out in practice is a different question, but I'm still not sure I like the idea.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
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  8. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Since the Howlers seem relatively balanced, we decided to match them against Maniafig's three acid wizards to see how they fare. I was a little reckless early on and lost one of my warriors early, though not without dealing some damage with him. After that I decided to be more defensive, and tried to hide behind pillars from Hex of Dissolution (which still deals too much damage at times). Nimble Strikes were great, and a timely Greater Heal probably saved my match (though to be fair, it happened in the eighth round, it was a small wonder I hadn't drawn one in all that time). Howls are good to heal off small damage from acid terrain, Acid Spray and Acid Jet, but of course do little against Hex of Dissolution. In the end I gathered two victory points with the priest while trying to be close to the wizards but still out of their line of sight; still, it was the priest who landed the killing blow (she had a Fiery Stab in hand, though my warrior had more moves and attacks and I only moved the priest to attacking position to try to draw out a potential control card).

    We decided to repeat the battle on another map, Cyberspace Temple, because it was likely I got a little too lucky the time before. This time I was careful to advance carefully, but that didn't stop me from losing one warrior early on (it's hard to hide from three wizards' lines of sight), though his own Blind Rage killed the warrior (he couldn't get in range in time). The priest mostly applied only Mass Frenzies as she lagged behind the others. The other warrior managed to get in range, killing the wizard my dead warrior managed to injure (badly), and another due to a lucky series of Howls and other good draws such as Vicious Bites. He was still left at five hit points, however, and I had the feeling that Monstrous Hide wasn't going to help much. While I did get lucky (again) as my opponent didn't draw a Hex of Dissolution in that critical moment, but even if he had I think it was dubious whether he could've managed to kill my priest who in the meantime had strolled onto the victory squares and was on full health.

    Third time's the charm, so we fought once more on Cyberspace Dojo. It is fairly unforgiving early on when playing against wizards, considering how few safe spots exist, or indeed none if said wizards bring some linear attacks, which they did. They managed to bring down my priest really early, but their two lines of defense were Telekineses and acid being difficult terrain. Nimble Strikes and Prowls aren't hindered much by either, so I managed to kill two wizards relatively early and then win by victory squares. I had a lucky Extra Hack but the wizard wouldn't have had a way to escape even if I hadn't, so in the end it didn't matter much.

    Baran
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Farun
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Wulfterr
    Level 1 Human Priest

    I thought I might add a support priest for the frenzies, which new Vampire's Kiss will probably need. She's a human because at first I planned to add a few team moves to increase mobility, but that turned into Subtle Positioning as I needed the tokens elsewhere. Seeing the results with this deck, maybe Leadership could help them draw those Swarms of Bats more often? That's one thing to test.

    Just as much as the previous three battles weren't a good choice to test acid, I believe this matchup is not the way to test the new Vampire's Kiss. This time by party wasn't too mobile, despite the Swarms of Bats. Which were, by the way, entirely useless in this battle; none of the cards, except Hex of Dissolution, triggered it, and using it manually just led to one more Telekinesis as always. (Honestly it's still way too easy to get loads of these, even with another main focus.) I couldn't even control the victory squares, and my priests went down one by one, without landing even a single attack.

    Same parties but on Citadel Engineering Bay. I had pretty terrible draws at the beginning. Which is a draw I'd have been glad to have in the middle of the battle; all attacks. Due to ample amounts of Telekinesis (yet again), I couldn't do much but watch as my priests were hexed into oblivion. I had a Swarm of Bats succeeding in the end (against Hex of Dissolution, of course) but I could only play my Spear of Darkness as I didn't manage to get in melee range, and the priest in question fell to a second Hex. Something might be off with my build, that's more than likely, but considering that it's hard to get more Swarms of Bats (theoretical maximum is five, but that costs two major tokens at the very least), I don't think vampires can be mobile enough on their own for this kind of deck. Immovable could help, I suppose, but it's hard to get much of it.

    Baran
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Farun
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Maruk
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    I only made little modifications. Flail of Fury isn't a thematic weapon, but it's a strong one, so I kept it; I changed to Garalem's Boots and Naradoc's Boots (depending on the tokens) because both Flanking Move and Immovable seem valuable when focusing on attacks that can hurt enemies at range, especially if those enemies want to push my priests away.

    I modified Maniafig's zombifying Daylight priests to fight against his acid wizards. The match started roughly, I lost a priest fairly early. Due to a Vengeance and a Wild Run (and a definite lack of Sparks of Undeath up until way late into the game) it seemed a better strategy to try to rush the wizards and damage them. It worked to an extent, but then I retreated back to the victory square and even though I used Cleansing Burst and Daylight to get rid of as many acid tiles as I could (it's not like I drew more than two Daylights until around the end), but getting hit by four Hexes of Dissolution doesn't do well for health, either. I had two priests surviving, one barely, when my zombifying priest drew two Sparks at the same time and the other one had Daylights as well. This allowed me to turn two wizards into zombies, and an Impaling Stab finished one of them. I managed to kill the other in time (rather, I weakened it and Blind Rage finished it off), but the wizard crawled onto the victory square and I made a foolish mistake (failed to walk out of his line of sight with the wounded priest) so with that and the victory squares he won, though I wasn't far from finishing off the third wizard, either.

    We fought on Gladius Single. I got a significantly better draw than last time, and managed to clear away quite a few acid tiles (it's not like he couldn't replace them anyway). Eventually I managed to get in melee range (either my opponent didn't draw as many Telekineses or just used them all up to move his wizards), and due to the map being a little more confined Hexes of Dissolution weren't that horrible, either. I zombified two wizards, who then later couldn't use acid or control, but they were close to the victory squares, so melee was the only option. Naturally the priest with the best melee attacks in hand was immediately stunned (and then subsequently killed), the other one managed to almost kill both zombies with Talented Healer, two Enervating Touches, Extra Hack and Vengeance; the one that wasn't yet destroyed walked away and my priest walked on the victory square. Next round a lucky Daylight took care of the fleeing zombie, and the remaining wizard didn't have enough damage or control to take over, and my party managed to win, even if luck played a significant part in it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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  9. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    I managed to lose the second half of my post here when I got the notification that it was over 15000 characters, so I'll try to rewrite it from scratch.

    Vitreo84 had made a new team with two wizards who seemed to focus on direct damage (Punishing Bolts, Obliterating Sparks, Mighty Sparks, even Big Zaps and an occasional Ancient Grudge) and a dwarf warrior with Crazy Sal's Halberd and Double-edged Swords, and I brought my howlers to fight them. We fought in Crypt Feast (I think it was Feast). I have to say I feel I got really unlucky throughout; I didn't draw Nimble Strikes until the end of the second round, from Martyr Blessing, on an encumbered warrior. I moved in to attack my opponent's warrior, who then of course ran away. My other warrior got encumbered as well, and as such was late for the battle; one of my warriors was dead soon, though not without nearly killing the enemy warrior. After that my other warrior was subjected to so many Telekineses that not even his Walk, Prowl and Nimble Strike were enough to get him back, while my priest was beaten with impunity. A lucky Desperate Block saved the enemy warrior's life from a Controlled Overswing, and that marked the end of the game.

    We fought with the same parties, but this time on Gladius Single. I actually drew my Prowls and Nimble Strikes in time, and managed to advance more quickly. I went forth with my priest and her Dangerous Maneuver, and as expected, the warrior swooped down on her soon. A few attacks and two Greater Heals later one of my own warriors went in, and the enemy warrior was running; this time, however, I had enough moves that I managed to hunt him down despite a Telekinesis as well. After that I used my spare attacks on an enemy wizard, who later on put on a Forcefield. The two wizards had enough damage to take out my priest, but couldn't do much with the warriors; I managed to fetch two victory stars and kill the non-forcefielded wizard, winning the game.

    Crundyup's Bridge was where our next battle would take place. I got an early Lava Pool, from which I had to move one of my warriors onto a more open square. He was on full health and had armour as well, and yet my opponent drew enough direct damage on his wizards to utterly obliterate him. The game wasn't too interesting; his Polearm Slashes failed against my Sundering Strike, then my priest's Sacred Shroud consistently failed, costing her her life. I managed to kill the enemy warrior but too late; I couldn't defeat the two wizards on the victory squares, one of whom had Forcefield, and lost the game.

    I got the request to test with the Vanguards, and so I did. The map was Lost City; I had a good start, drawing a Vanguard each on the two warriors at the edge, allowing me to place the one in the middle on the victory square without using any move cards. He later ran onto the victory squares, and since my opponent's warrior was moved onto it as well, I Prowled next to him and gave him an Extra Hack with a Vicious Thrust. After that my other two warriors caught up, though one of them was removed with a Telekinesis, and the other didn't have enough moves to engage the retreating enemy. My attacking warrior had some armour and got lucky with its rolls (so did my opponent, though, once more Polearm Slash failed against Sundering Strike), and he was killed, though with much difficulty. A Lava Pool ensued, and my other warrior got around and almost finished off the dwarf warrior and attacked the dwarf wizard as well; later on the wizard stood on the lava and got beaten up, so he died at the end of the round. The lava, while damaged my warrior standing on the victory square, also gave him Vengeance-assisted movement, which I used to get close to the enemy warrior, and later to move into melee range and kill him. Since I had two stars from victory points, that was the end of the game.

    Hex of Dissolution: I might be alone with this, but it still does too much damage. It reliably managed to deal 10-11 with only two or three acid cards used beforehand. Comparing it with Sorcerous Blast and Silver Bolt, both of which have six base damage and are much harder to boost, should show that it's still overpowered: its base damage is one point lower, but it removes armour and can be very easily boosted by abundant cards. Acid in itself seems balanced, but this card does not.

    Spark of Undeath: I find this similar to Everybody Drink!, in that it mixes a really good effect with a very bad one. That means that it's very hard to use effectively; there are specific circumstances under which it's a good card to use on specific characters, but those situations are rare enough that anticipating them is a mistake. It can shut down wizards decently, especially that zombies still draw Zombie Form very often, which means that someone hit by this card might end up as a zombie for a long time. Whether that's intended or not I can't tell, but it certainly takes away from the support value of the card - for the most part. Zombies still get Infected Bite or Brains! at times, both of which are potential game-breakers. The end result is a card that's really hard to use effectively. Use it on your own characters? They get two cards, sure, and a decent melee frenzy, but you might end up getting nothing but Bludgeons and Able Bludgeons for several rounds. Use it on enemies? They still get boosted attacks, and the entire thing blows up in your face when they stun your characters or poison them. Or both. I think it might be a good thing that it's so risky and hard to use, because it sure wouldn't be fun to have some crazed priest who'd just proceed to turn all my characters into zombies and keep them that way for the entire battle. All in all I suspect it's intentional, but could be put to good use.

    Daylight: I really like the improvements. Daylight, however, like its sibling, Inspiring Presence, remains a hard card to use effectively. Its range is longer, which translates to a larger probability of accidentally healing enemies, but also a larger distance the priest can stay behind his allies. The latter is not necessarily a good thing, because priests, or at least most priests, tend to accumulate a few melee attacks over time but generally also have poor mobility, so they might find it difficult to get into range when there's no one left to heal (or when their attacks are needed). On the other hand, it doesn't run the risk of giving attacks to enemies (at the cost of not giving them to allies, either), and much like Inspiring Presence, it's really effective against wizards (even more if they use terrain, but it's still decent healing if they don't). If the opponent has a melee party with no forms, however, it might as well be a dead card, as it heals everyone equally. And gold is a little costly for a card that's likely to be dead against a relatively abundant deck archetype; I don't think we'd see much of it in ranked matches, unless acid wizards really take over everything (or unless Volcano makes its return - it might be very effective against that, too!).
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
  10. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    I have tried zombifying and failed yet again. As I was battling Maniafig's acid wizards in zombie form, in a fight that had by that time devolved into melee (in which zombies outperformed my priests who are a little hapless when it comes to sustaining melee combat for long), I thought I found the idea. The idea. Even during that battle I was thinking how neat it would be to be able to keep those filthy zombies away, out of melee range but still within the reach of Daylight.

    And such the deck was born.

    Darur
    Level 2 Dwarf Wizard

    Baran
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    Farun
    Level 1 Dwarf Priest

    The concept is simple. I took the basic formula, but removed one Daylight priest - those things are much easier to draw than Spark of Undeath, anyway - and added a wizard. The wizard mostly has Inquisition Bolts on staves (though four Obliterating Sparks don't hurt, either) and all control on arcane items. The focus, oddly enough, was initially on control; but I thought that decent damage on staves could maybe accelerate the pace of the games a bit.

    I played on Bridge against Vitreo84's elven warrior-wizard-priest. To be honest, I didn't get much of a glimpse of their decks, as I managed to draw lots of Sparks of Undeath very early, and the wizard and the warrior spent the entirety of the battle in zombie form until they were killed (from the point they were in range, of course). Inquisition Bolt deals high damage to single targets (since zombies very often have Creature of the Night as well, it either deals seven or ten points of damage), while Daylight deals unpreventable damage to multiple targets and heals my own. Both have their utility, and that is good. Control is really good for keeping zombies away, and Flanking Move fits this deck like a glove. Putting Blind Rage on the warrior was a risky move, but I had enough Telekineses to keep her away. Inquisition Bolt also reveals if the zombies have Infected Bite, Brains! or some other nasty card in their hands, so it becomes easy to assess reasonably whether it's a good idea to get in range with the priests if they have some melee attacks in hand. Daylight, naturally, heals enemies that don't have forms on, but generally the entire deck focuses on damaging those that do, so it's not much of a complication. I managed to win relatively quickly, though a lucky Impaling Stab had to do with it, too.

    I fought Maniafig's acid wizards on Citadel Host. Being separated didn't bide well for my dwarves, while acid wizards can operate relatively independently. I made a serious tactical mistake, using up my Daylights to kill a zombie when I could've used an Inquisition Bolt instead (it was so tempting with my priest having three of them in hand with Talented Healer, though!), allowing the wizards to accumulate many more acid tiles again and kill my wizard. I got lucky throughout the match, however, a Dwarven Battle Cry drew me a Spark of Undeath when a nearly dead wizard with an almost empty hand was available as a target; I drew both Spark of Undeath and Daylight with reasonable frequency, and in the end I zombified my other priest to give her the damage and cards to kill the last enemy standing. The victory squares being bunched together surely made my work easier, and so did plenty of healing.

    We decided to give another go to the trio of acid wizards, this time on Frozen Tenement. With Gusts of War I managed to get on the victory squares early, getting a point; I used Daylight prematurely, without drawing any Sparks of Undeath beforehand, to battle the increasing sea of acid. An Obliterating Spark, followed by a Spark of Undeath and two Inquisition Bolts finished off one of the wizards. It seems that the bug that occurs when killing someone with Inquisition Bolt is still around, so the match was stopped early; it's worth noting, however, that I had two of my characters on full health and the third well over half.

    Maniafig's howling human warriors challenged the zombifiers, so battle ensued in the Ice House! Maniafig's warriors managed to secure more victory points than I did due to their superior mobility and my characters' reliance on each other. Their priest brought ample amounts of Purges, which initially allowed him to remove a few Zombie Forms. However, their own Lycanthropic Forms worked against them, and I managed to quickly kill one of the warriors who drew it. I still had the disadvantage in victory points but it was three against two at that point; several of my characters nearly died a few times, but control and healing together could always save them (luckily for me, as my opponent gathered four victory points from the victory squares alone, making my situation a little awkward). At one point, nearly fully healed up, I decided to zombify a warrior in melee, which turned out to be a mistake, as two of my characters got stunned in that same round. The zombie started fleeing afterwards, and the priest was next; he took a few Inquisition Bolts, but adamantly stayed on the victory square until my priests started chasing him in melee; he fled, however with his move cards removed he had a Subtle Parry, Accelerated Thought and two attack cards in hand. Seeing how he had three hit points left, it caused his defeat. The final zombie, on one hit point, charged at my priest, who then killed him with a Spark of Undeath (through an Inquisitor's Badge).

    The deck seems to work. And that's an understatement. Subterranean Ferocity, providing tokenless Dwarven Battle Cry, is still a very powerful item. I'm not even sure at this point whether even my warriors would want Raging Battler instead of it; they might, but I'm not sure. The success of this party itself depends on drawing Sparks of Undeath, seeing how those turn Inquisition Bolt from mostly harmless into a powerhouse, and of course Daylight damages enemies instead of healing them. As such, the Unholy Energies found on Vankenstein's Pillar are also remarkably good, and it's best if the priest in question applies it to herself. The control wizard solves mobility issues as well, as well as providing some protection against melee, Daylight allows them to deal with terrain and to heal up even more effectively, and they have a few melee attacks to pack a punch as well if needed. Sacred Shroud is either really good or mostly useless depending on the opponent.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say that this deck is overpowered, but honestly it doesn't seem fun to play against (confirmed by Maniafig). The issue becomes similar to Vampire's Kiss before the nerf; denying people use of their own decks is not a nice move. As I've often pointed out, zombies tend to draw Zombie Form reasonably often, which means they can remain in that state for a long time. Personally I think it's not Spark of Undeath that needs revision, but Zombie Form itself; I'd try to significantly reduce the odds of it drawing itself. As things are right now, it stays on for way too long. That'd decrease the value of Spark of Undeath as an attack and increase it as an assist; how much good that is I can't know for sure, but I suspect it could be for the better.
     
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  11. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    We wanted to test the effectiveness of vampires with the nerf Vampire's Kiss got, so I took them to fight against Maniafig's howling humans in Batford's Ballroom. The human warriors with their mobility got to the victory squares really fast, and my dwarves were only halfway, so in desperation I used up a Swarm of Bats to get there with one of the priests. Despite the battle being three on one, the priest held out for rounds, buffed Vampire's Kiss still heals way too much. Eventually she died, and the other priest got in range as well, lasting surprisingly long, but in the end I lost the fight.

    We fought on the River of Tezkal. It occurred to me that my opponent seemed to prioritise purging over almost everything else a priest can do; routinely removing my Talented Healers and frenzies are in the biggest part what cost me the game, I believe. I couldn't really keep any of those things on, and vampires, especially with the new Vampire's Kiss, really need those. Even with the increased healing it's hard to win a damage race with two warriors, who also bring their own Howls to the game to heal. I gave away two victory squares in the beginning, and couldn't keep up reasonable damage or self-healing. A few Defender's Blocks also hurt, Inspiring Armour is a decent way to draw cards, too. All in all, I didn't stand too much a chance.

    Since purges seem to defeat Vampires badly, we decided to test them against something else. Maniafig brought out his stalling grudging elves. I think he got unlucky draws; with a wizard in Ethereal Form he moved next to a wall, so I manually used a Swarm of Bats to pin the wizard against it and kill him; the other priest did better, unleased an Ancient Grudge for twelve damage, too, and nearly killed a priest. One of them had six hit points only when a Sorcerous Bolt triggered her Swarm of Bats, and she managed to kill the other wizard with Invigorating Touch, at which point I needed only one star to win, given to me by the support priest standing on the squares. Hypnotic Beacon could've made my life harder but my opponent accidentally put Acid Jet over it.

    While my results could suggest otherwise, I'm still not convinced that Vampire's Kiss didn't stay overpowered (though not as hilariously broken as it had been, I'll concede that). I feel my defeats owe much to the fact that my opponent kept bringing decks that directly countered mine; purges and control are really effective against this deck, but I'm not sure what else is. Vampire's Kiss still allows the user to chew away at enemy armour, even if at a slower rate, and healing two points per damage dealt can still shoot up to ridiculously high values (get two ordinary frenzies of your choosing and it's already healing 16; 18 if you have Talented Healer). It's much easier to shut down, yes, but as I mentioned above, I don't really think it's good to have an archetype that's destroyed by a few others but is still overpowered against others. That's just an opinion, anyhow.

    Swarm of Bats is now significantly harder to get as we don't have vampires kissing each other ceaselessly. Even then I feel it's worthy of a revision; no matter how we look at it, it's still four steps with teleport and, under the right circumstances (that is, being attacked), effectively cantrip. It still makes attacking vampires very risky, especially if there's a wounded character around.

    I understand that the synergy of Ancient Grudge and Pathfinding is probably deliberate, twelve damage from a bronze card available on arcane items as well is still too much as far as my opinion is concerned. I've mentioned an aspect of it I don't like, and using it with Pathfinding is just way too random. You draw Pathfinding and get hilariously large amounts of damage or you don't and then you won't. I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing to have in the game.

    I fought against Vitreo84 this time, giving a few more shots to the zombifying deck. Despite a first-round Unholy Energy, I only drew a Spark of Undeath (well, two of them) in round three. I zombified the wizard and killed him quickly, sadly with Inquisition Bolt, so the game was frozen. I still had a Spark, however, as well as two Daylights and a few more goodies saved up, and I hadn't lost too much in health or anything, so I think it was definitely winnable or better.

    We fought again on Dojo (after a failed attempt in which I managed to kill the wizard first round, sadly again with an Inquisition Bolt; I keep forgetting about the existence of the bug). My opponent either got really lucky this time or this is the entire point of his deck; getting three Inquisitor's Strikes in the face with Creature of the Night on really hurts, considering that the only reason that the warrior managed to pull that off was my opponent's wizard drawing more Telekineses than my own. It was my Sparking priest who died, and then Zombie Form was promptly purged from the wizard. It was a lost battle from that point. I managed to hold the victory squares for a bit of time with the help of Daylight's healing, but the inevitable defeat followed.

    We fought once more on Haunted Graveyard. I got plenty of Sparks of Undeath; I needed two to keep the priest in zombie form (after Purging Burst), and I managed to kill her soon after. The wizard followed, while the warrior dashed forth to the victory squares. I managed to keep walking away from the zombified wizard, who then was stuck with an Officer's Harness and two attacks in hand, standing on acid. He died soon after; I decided to bait the warrior with my own wizard as he had Flanking Move; it worked too well, because the warrior also had more moves and went ahead to kill my wizard despite the healing. I zombified the warrior as well, but in the end had to beat him up a little as I didn't draw Daylights, and with my wizard gone I had no good way of dealing damage to zombies too quickly. In the end the warrior drew a Lycanthropic Form, however, which proved rather detrimental.

    The priest with the Sparks of Undeath really seems to be the weakest point of the zombifying build. Once she's dead, both Inquisition Bolt and Daylight fail to deal any meaningful damage. Considering that she needs to stand the closest to the enemies to do her thing, that's a risky endeavour. But I guess that's what control is for. At first I thought it might be best to have the two priests share the duties, but that'd be likely to lead to even less reliable draws, and more importantly, token conflicts; to get reasonable amounts of Spark of Undeath the priest needs to put major tokens into weapons, but Daylight is found more on divine items that require yellow tokens.

    An important note is that Inquisition Bolt still freezes the game on kill, something I manage to forget everytime. It's hard to test some builds with that in mind, considering that its damage potential is very high.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  12. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    After a short break, there's some more testing! I got back to my wizards with Medium Garb and Leadership.

    Maniafig brought similar control-oriented wizards. They had no Punishing Bolts, but plenty of Stone Spikes. And so many Gusts of War it was absurd. Pipes of Hamelin were also annoying, of course, seeing how there's little meaningful counterplay to them. Getting much damage out of Punishing Bolt is also hard when fighting against three wizards, as they tend to empty their hands with frightening speed every round; it's rare that there are more than three or four cards in their hands at the start of the round, and they get rid of them quickly. It's limited by its range in addition, and my opponent got lucky with a few Stone Spikes to actually deal damage to my wizards. In the end I lost, and quite badly, though I did kill one of the wizards.

    I decided to get Superb Electromancy instead of Focused and add Phantom Pains to the deck to be able to deal with wizards.

    I fought Maniafig's wizards yet again, on Filing Fracas. Nothing went according to plan. I didn't draw a single Illusory Barrier but all three of my Obliterating Sparks, as well as a few Stone Spikes. In the end, with the aid of those and a late Path of Knives I managed to kill two wizards, winning the battle.

    We agreed to give my wizards another go. I added more Phantom Pains, as I had drawn none of my Illusory Barriers before. Unbeknownst to me, he's changed back to his Vanguard warriors, who of course turned the battle into a massacre. Surprisingly, not as much as I expected. I managed to kill a warrior and injure the priest, but at the same time he butchered nearly all three of my wizards at the same time; in the end he settled for two and victory by victory squares.

    We tried a mirror match between triple acid wizard parties. It's worth noting that it is a game of stopping building up your damage at the right moment, but what you need more is drawing more Hexes of Dissolution than your opponent. I had fewer, and I lost. Some control on the top of that made sure I couldn't start the round and blast the injured wizard in the open, and my other two wizards were dead, so I lost the match in the end.

    I still wasn't convinced that the double draining ability Vampire's Kiss has isn't utterly broken, so I switched back to the vampire party to check it out.

    Fanturluche was looking for a match, and he ran two elf warriors (they seemed to have a good bunch of Howls and Lycanthropic Forms) and a wizard, who had Accelerate Time, Ember Burst and Flaring Torch. I got lucky with Swarms of Bats early on, as well as with a Dangerous Maneuver and a Team Walk, so I managed to occupy the middle two victory squares (we played on Celestial Lions). His wizard played Ember Burst on one of my vampires, and then made clever use of her Blind Rage and played Accelerate Time (she had three attack cards at that point). Due to Swarm of Bats I managed to get to his wizard, and ultimately killed him; I nearly brought down the non-werewolf elf warrior as well, but she put up Forcefield, so it was delayed a bit. Vampire's Kiss was very useful throughout to get rid of Mimetic Crowns and Reliable Mails, and with frenzies (Mass Frenzy was practically constantly on, and Unholy Frenzy was abundant as well) it still heals back enormous amounts of health. Fanturluche managed to kill one of my vampires in the end, but too late; I'd already gathered two victory points from victory squares and a timely Consuming Spear boosted by Unholy Frenzy and Mass Frenzy got through the wounded elf warrior's Reliable Mail and killed her.

    We played the same teams, but on Crypt Feast. I was at an initial disadvantage due to only having Walks, and even needed to use a Swarm of Bats manually to get in range in time. I got really lucky and had two Powerful Bludgeons on my support priest, which caused some pain to the elf warrior who got close; the elf didn't fail to retaliate, however, and my priest ended up nearly dead. She did die later, when I ran up with her to the wizard to beat him up with Controlled Overswing, but the next Vampire's Kiss gave the wizard an Invigorating Touch, which he used to kill my priest and heal up. At this point the bludgeoned elf warrior was already dead, one of my vampires finished the job. After that I surrounded the wizard with my two vampires and killed him, then moved back onto the victory square, winning the race.

    I played the same vampires on Ziggurat against Fanturluche's two human wizards and a priest who had Walpurgis Night and Arrogant Armour. The former happened just at the wrong time, nullifying all buffs I put on my vampires. Later on two heavily boosted draining attacks, at least one of them a Vampire's Kiss, were dodged (no failed Dodge rolls happened until much later), and an All-out-boosted draining attack was blocked by a Surging Shield Block. The warriors, like the elves before, were heavily loaded up with Inquisitor's Strikes, which really hurt. Especially if you can't drain your opponent because their Dodge rolls keep succeeding. Nonetheless, one of my vampires died, I managed to keep the other one alive for a while but even Vampire's Kiss is little help against two warriors.

    Some closing thoughts:

    Inquisitor's Strike: It seems nicely balanced to me. It's almost on par with Powerful Bludgeons and Hacks if the opponent has one or two attachments; still, people tend to rely on those, so it's interesting that a card now exists to punish them explicitly.

    Hex of Dissolution: I still think it deals too much damage. I've detailed that opinion above. Its base damage is nearly as many as any ordinary silver-quality attack's without any extra, and at the same time it does so much more. The incremental damage from acid tiles is probably fine now, I'd just tone down the base damage a point or two.

    Medium's Garb: Now that Ethereal Form's card pool is much less appealing, Medium's Garb feels less of an issue. I still think, however, that there are a few potentially game-breaking cards possibly showing up from there, most notably Unholy Curse. Otherwise I find that it's hard to put to very good use without Leadership, and the two can rarely be drawn reliably together. I wouldn't be sure it's safe, especially with potentially two of it on a single item, but now it doesn't look that menacing, either.

    Vampire's Kiss: My opinion did not change. Of course it's not as blatantly broken as before, and it pretty much needs to be combined with frenzies to be effective, but I still think that healing two points per damage can still run away really fast. In my battles against elf warriors I managed to bring back dwarf vampires from the brink of death to full health in just a few attacks, which is I believe something that shouldn't really happen. It has more weaknesses, like Purges and control, but I find that armour, which should be its main counter due to the card's low base damage, fails to act so more often than not because it tends to hang back as the oldest card in the characters' hands.

    Swarm of Bats: It's significantly harder to get now, but that doesn't make it any less powerful. It's still an incredibly scary effect when drawn, and its rarity does nothing with the fact that it can single-handedly turn matches around. It might be rare that opponents draw it, but it's likely going to be a constant menace, and I'm not sure that's a good thing.

    Gusts of War: More specifically, Gusting Feystaff. Maniafig made good use of it against me. And honestly... Control cards were already found in ample quantities before Castle Mitternacht. Wizards already had more than enough means to keep everyone well away from them for practically indefinite amounts of time. A staff with three Gusts of War, carefully adjusted to level 17, was probably the last thing we needed. It's true that they might need to give up some damage potential to use it, but at that point they'll hardly need any damage. Triple Vanguard may counter the control, but I'm not sure about even that. And even if they do, there are two more races...
     
  13. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Thank you for all your help with the Castle Mitternacht playtest.

    Unless you posted more in another thread (in which case, sorry I missed it), I have you at 100 games.

    You will receive 20 Epic Mitternacht chests when this content is released.
     
  14. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    My thanks.

    I actually didn't consider my testing finished, at least not permanently so; I admittedly have run out of ideas. I had one to abuse Quick Run with Fleet and All-out Attack to Quick Run behind enemies and kill them, but due to token limitations (I suppose there's a reason why minor-token double Fleet doesn't exist) I found it practically impossible to get more than two of the staple cards each, and then I'd need some heavy attacks to use those All-outs with. So I discarded the idea so far.

    Note to everyone else as well, I'm up for some testing if someone has an idea and needs to try it against someone.
     
  15. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    If you do test more, we can adjust your rewards, but I think we're in the last day or so of testing so I'm trying to wrap things up. :)
     

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