Balancing Form card pools

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by Steinhauser, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Steinhauser

    Steinhauser Lizardman Priest

    Warning: Hogwild theroycrafting is afoot!

    The Lycanthropic Form card pool strikes a balance that makes it eminently playable but not overpowered. It does this by supplementing a warrior's card pool with things a warrior generally wants: mobility, reliable armour, step and penetrating attacks, healing, and All-Out Attack. However, it lacks in some areas, namely blocks and high-damage attacks. This creates a nice tension where you want to sculpt a hand with key cards from the warrior's card pool before engaging as the werewolf, or vice versa. Helped along by this is the fact that most warriors aren't doing much with their martial skills, so lycanthropy skills are an easy fit. This is, in my opinion, a form done right, and my baseline for comparison.

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    The same is not true for either the vampire or spirit forms, both of which are nearly all downside when compared to (or combined with) their class' card pools. The vampire movepool is very one-note. It provides a little more mobility than a priest would normally get, but otherwise is just a collection of middling damage draining cards that all do the same thing. These draining cards do see play on vamp build priests, but only backed up by Talented Healer, which makes the whole idea worthwhile - otherwise, why not just run a warrior? Vampiric Form items all compete for space with Talented Healer, while ironically needing that card to be good. My suggestion is to substitute Talented Healer into the vampire's card pool. I opted to replace Flight Aura as it has redundancy both with copies of itself, and with the vampire form's two move cards. I also changed Consuming Touch to Curse Of Fragility to somewhat break the ubiquity of draining attacks. It also acts as a pseudo-frenzy, which the low damage vampire sorely needs. These changes can let a priest run something of a "vamp build in a can," while dedicating item slots to support during the downtime when the form is not active.

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    The spirit form is more complex to improve for several reasons. First is the utter uselessness of many of its cards. Doom, Boo!, and Ancient Grudge are absolutely dead the majority of the time. Grudge can be built around, but within the form itself it cannot be powered up, because form cards don't add to the discard pile. Meanwhile Doom and Boo have next to zero use cases in multiplayer; however, their flavour is spot on. The rest of the card pool is mediocre, lacking both damage and control - and any wizard wants at least one of those, if not both. Complicating this problem is Medium's Garb, which spews card advantage every turn, offset only by the poor quality of those cards. I worry that any significant improvement to the Ethereal Form card pool would push Garb over the edge. My solution is to add both Flash Of Agony and Unstable Bolt to the pool over Boo and Ancient Grudge. Both these cards reward the wizard for having the form attached, and lose a lot of value when drawn from a Medium's Garb. While Boo and Ancient Grudge are arguably iconic ghostly spells, they lack a ton of synergy with the form, and are well-itemized for wizards should they want them.

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  2. Flaxative.

    Flaxative. Kobold

    Ehmmmm.....No!
     
  3. Maniafig

    Maniafig Thaumaturge

    Ehmmmm.....Yes!
     
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  4. Sir Veza

    Sir Veza Farming Deity

    +1
    Though I'd like to hear @Flaxative 's reasons. He's very good at this, and I respect his opinions.
    I might even learn something.
     
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  5. Happenstance

    Happenstance Thaumaturge

    The werewolf card is strong enough to stand up to most war builds. I only play leagues, but my triple wolf Musical Chairs build was dominant, and my 1/1/1 wolf war in Death March has a pretty good win rate too. Weaknesses: penetrating, silver (a comparatively small group of usable weapons), lack of blocks (mitigated by play style).

    The vamp card pool is okay. It requires building around it though - it has to be buffed, so there's one other character which has to be a support priest. Then you either need a war to tank, or a control wizard to supplement the lack of movement. Weaknesses: movement - yes, they get two move cards but only a 20% chance to draw either per drawn card, lack of high damage (both critical weaknesses).

    The ethereal card pool is very average. Doom is useless except as a gold block probe. Aside from the curses, which are nice, the weaknesses are a lack of both control and high damage, either of which is critical to a good mage build. If doom was replaced with winds of war, I think ethereal builds would be a lot more viable. I still play Vasyl's sometimes, because the extra cards are really nice (especially teamed with leadership), but I would never play an ethereal mage.

    The zombie card pool is awful. They get one good card, one average card, and four stinkers.

    As it is, shifting block is unplayable, especially on a war, where it will cripple your party balance 75% of the time.
     
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  6. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Just in case anyone was wondering, @Flaxative. is not me...
     
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  7. Flaxative.

    Flaxative. Kobold

    Who are you?
     
  8. Sir Veza

    Sir Veza Farming Deity

    Okay, I'm slightly confused. I know there are two, so are you @Flaxative , or @Flaxative , or someone entirely different.
    Don't go changing on us now, Bro! I might lose it to the point that Cuervo makes me sober, and I don't think I could handle that.
     
  9. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    Remember the "Can you spot the differences" pictures from your childhood? This is a little like that.

    • One has a period in their user name, the other does not.
    • One is a "Party Leader," the other a "Kobold"
    • One gets the designation "Staff Member"
    • One has a little green corner overlay on their avatar - What does that even mean?
     
  10. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    That I'm online ;)
     
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  11. Flaxative.

    Flaxative. Kobold

    That WE are online
     
    Sir Veza likes this.
  12. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    Looks like there are still things about CH for me to learn.:)
     
  13. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    This has been talked about before, but I'll go ahead and weigh in right quickly. I like the mentioning of plusses, minuses, and flavor.

    Concerning Vampires, trading Flight Aura for Talented Healer would go a long way toward improving, yes, but it'd also be changing a stay-in-hand card for a Trait, giving it one more Trait than Werewolves and Spirits, thus shrinking its in-hand card pool from 10 to only 9. Also, could you imagine the fear people would have of using Vampire's Kiss on an opponent for pulling Talented plus a card from one's own deck? People already don't like playing the nerfed Kiss for fear of granting Swarm Of Bats if nothing else... At the moment, Forms only pull Form or Handicap cards, (although we all know how much of a "handicap" Mad Dog is,) and this would offset tremendously in my opinion.

    Concerning Spirits, Doom always struck me as being a weird card for them anyway; interesting flavor, sure, but much less so than, say, Ancient Grudge (which unfortunately brings anti-synergy with Forms, yes). Also, removing Boo! from the lineup would be a flavor shame; the real problem there is that the OP Boo! got nerfed into barely-niche usability (meaning all those Wizard Boo! items you mentioned rarely see any play at all). If your proposal would make more sense to me, it'd be perhaps trading Doom for Unstable Bolt, but that does seem even less flavorful.

    I agree with your overall assessment that 1. Werewolves by themselves are decent, but combine with warrior builds to become powerhouses, 2. Vampires aren't terrible, but vamping priest builds without the Form can often do it so much better as to not bother with the Form, and 3. Spirits are okayish support by themselves but otherwise hardly synergize with wizard builds at all. I also re-assert what many others have said before: when BM nerfed Boo! and Vampire's Kiss (and Hex Of Dissolution) so very hard without the changes getting to enjoy the same widespread testing as the original OP versions did, a giant chunk of Castle Mitternacht items and concepts died a hard death. BM, again, please consider re-vamping (badum*pssh*) those three cards: Kiss gives Heal 1.5 so to speak? Hex deals +1 damage for every 2 Acid Terrain? Boo! gets .. just .. some kind of crazy overhaul or something? $:^ , (Hey, new thought, maybe Boo! could keep the original effect, but at a much shorter range?)

    Regards,
     
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  14. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    I'd be happy to play Vampiric Form if I could get a copy from a Divine Armor.

    And I always thought it would make more sense for Vampire's Kiss to give the target Vampiric Form and let them draw random vampire cards next round.

    Has anyone found any situation where Boo! is useful? I'd buff it a lot (remove the restriction and discard whole hand or maybe discard all but oldest card) and change the range to 1. Remember, this is a wizard card, so if it gets blocked you're in big trouble. It would also encourage people to use all those robes with Sparkling Cloth Armor.
     
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  15. Steinhauser

    Steinhauser Lizardman Priest

    I did consider the number of traits of each card pool, but to build on your last statement there, vampires are the only form that truly has a handicap for a trait. Mad Dog is almost strict upside, and Traveling Curse is also not really a handicap coming from the spirit form, trading 1 damage for an eventual 5. (You could argue Ethereal Form is itself a handicap - lul.) Werewolves also have an additional cycling card in Howl. It doesn't cantrip, but it otherwise effectively shrinks the card pool to 9 while being pure upside. Vampires could stand to have a pure-upside cycler along with a pure-downside one. I wasn't too concerned with drawing Talented Healer off of Vamp Kiss either; unless it's on a priest, it's not prone to do much.

    The main reason I kept Doom over the more flavourful cards is because it has some use in single player, and spirit form was the only way for a Wizard to get it. I can dig your flavour arguments. Ultimately competitive viability and flavour are going to have to trade off, unless individual cards are changed. (Which brings me to...)

    I agree 100%, this would be an ideal solution if they could get it right. But I can see from a dev's perspective how form cards that are already itemized can be solidly into "it ain't broke so don't fix it" territory. This is probably true of forms themselves as well - 1 of 3 being viable in MP without breaking anything, and the other 2 being flavour fluff, seems like a good rate at the end of the day. Again, from a dev's perspective. For players it will always look like a missed opportunity.

    I agree. Part of what makes werewolf form so good is Howl, which lets you run the form by degrees without actually running it. Vampire form coming from somewhere other than the class slot would make it much better.
     
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  16. Scarponi

    Scarponi Moderator

    Vamp Kiss is perfectly strong enough as is, people are afraid of the possible negative repercussions, but it has been used very effectively at high levels. This is a perception problem, not a card problem.

    Boo! is way overcosted, and so a straight buff on it would both help the Spirit form, and the items Boo! is on. I don't know that the buff needs to be big, in the end if its still overcosted, but by a smaller margin we're still in better straits.
    Yeah, but still pretty niche, the best use I've found is to hit one of your own guys who's dumped his attack payload already just so he can retreat back.

    If your guy is using Kiss with Talented Healer what you give your opponent means very little unless its Bats, because it doesn't come into play until their turn.

    And this! (Though it would be interesting on a Howl heavy warrior. :) )

    As a whole I like the OP proposed Vamp form changes. I like Flash of Agony being added to the Spirit card pool somewhere, and a buff to Boo! would finish things off nicely I think.
     
  17. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    I forgot to mention two things earlier:
    1. I, too, like Flash Of Agony as a proposed Spirit card.
    2. Hm. Forgot again. $F^ }
    Also, Talented Howler would be a disgusting headache. I say that with love. $:^ b

    Ditto @ Vamp stuff. Vampires slowly turning the entire board into Vampires sounds like appropriate flavor and in-game mayhem. $¦^ J And yes, it's hard to get extra Vampire Forms without Kissing allies and hoping for the best. $F^ ,

    I'm pretty sure Lucky Dice Boo!ed his own allies wearing Arrogant Armor. $:^ J There are other ways to Boo! allies and mitigate the Fright of course, too. (Makes sense that a Gold+Silver+X card would be almost equal to a Purple card: Demonic Power + Boo! + mitigation ~> Delegate.)
     
  18. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    I forgot to mention two things earlier:
    1. I, too, like Flash Of Agony as a proposed Spirit card.
    2. Hm. Forgot again. $F^ }
    Also, Talented Howler would be a disgusting headache. I say that with love. $:^ b

    Ditto @ Vamp stuff. Vampires slowly turning the entire board into Vampires sounds like appropriate flavor and in-game mayhem. $¦^ J And yes, it's hard to get extra Vampire Forms without Kissing allies and hoping for the best. $F^ ,

    I'm pretty sure Lucky Dice Boo!ed his own allies wearing Arrogant Armor. $:^ J There are other ways to Boo! allies and mitigate the Fright of course, too. (Makes sense that a Gold+Silver+X card would be almost equal to a Purple card: Demonic Power + Boo! + mitigation ~> Delegate.)
     
  19. Happenstance

    Happenstance Thaumaturge

    How about making Boo! a cantrip? Would give it a boost without changing its function.
     
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  20. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    In that rare moment you get a wizard behind an enemy, give Fright + Dash and then Cantriply play .. what would you play next? .. something unrelated and powerful? .. something to mess up the Dash like a Spirit's Acid Jet, or a hopeful Roots, Telekinesis, etc.?

    Still sounds really niche.

    In that less-rare moment you've built for, give Fright + Dash to your own ally and then Cantriply play .. something to remove Fright? .. the Dash you just gave? .. something unrelated regarding a different character?

    Still sounds really niche.

    The card's function + restriction is still way underusable and overcosted at Silver. Give it Cantrip, it might meet Silver quality via BM's Design Document, but it'd still be underusable. Usable, but under-so.

    That's my low-mid-tier assessment.

    (However, remove the behind-back restriction and make it, say, Range 1-4, keeping it Sonic so that Arcane Boosts prevent more OPness, and it might suddenly get powerful but risky to use, which seems to me a suitable balance for a Silver card and a Form-definer.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
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