Heavy Armor and How We Use It

Discussion in 'Deck Building' started by Adolf Tickler, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Adolf Tickler

    Adolf Tickler Mushroom Warrior

    Hi all,

    As I'm moving up in the ranks, it's becoming clear to me that Armor can save a unit's butt, but more often than not it just isn't worth a spot in a deck. I want to talk about the role of armor in decks. How do people use armor; which armors do they use; how do they prioritize armor at the end of a turn?

    This discussion is primarily aimed at warriors and priests, since wizards can easily kite and control their enemy's movement. Also, which armors wizards use are pretty well known (Resistant Hide). In my experience, wizards use more blocks than armor.

    First let's talk about why armor may not get much play in decks.
    1. The main reason is that at the end of the turn, a unit is only allowed to keep two cards (with few exceptions). Since armor is really only valuable the more damage it reduces over time, you have to keep it at the end of the turn for its value to increase. This means that armor is competing with all the other cards in your deck for the last two spots in a turn.
    2. As I stated previously, for armor to be effective it must reduce damage over time. Armor cards that have reduce damage only once like Rusty Armor and Cloth Armor are worse than many black traits since they don't card cycle (replace a card after used). Many high level players are refusing to use items that have these one-time armors.
    3. Armor is passive. If someone isn't attacking your unit, its value in your hand is 0, or sometimes negative.
    4. There are a lot of cards to remove armor that ARE actually used in decks. I believe this was developed in the game because without so many removals for armor, tanks would have been indestructible.
    5. Limited useful items that include useful armor.
    Now there are some good armors out there:
    So what armors do people use?

    The one armor I always see is Reliable Mail. But why? Let's analyze it. There are three reasons why:
    1. It is consistent. With a 100% damage reduction change, you can always expect it to go off.
    2. It has a decent damage reduction of two. Many armors that reduce damage by 1 are not played/retained at the end of a turn.
    3. It is available on some of the best armors.
    So what I want to know is:
    1. Do other people agree with me?
    2. What armors do you use?
    3. What are your suggestions for
      1. Token-less armors.
      2. Minor token armors.
      3. Major token armors.
    I am mainly concerned with warriors on the armors because I mainly use warriors right now. I use token-less armors and I'm not happy with them. I'm looking for suggestions.
    Lastly, I'll say that this lack of variety of good armors is frustrating. I know that Reliable Mail isn't always a unit's first choice -- it varies on the build. However, it is still the one armor I see the most. What do you guys want to see in armors?
  2. Ben

    Ben Kobold

    1- Yes, Armor is underwhelming given for its pay off and I'd like to see it improved. The fact that it can potentially eat up one or two of your cards carried over to next turn just to be useful is rather annoying. And that heavier hitting cards still blow past a wide amount of armor.
    2- Reliable Mail & Frenzy Aura are my most frequent since I run warriors quite a lot. Other than that, I occasionally use Thickened Mail + Leather Harness to give me some small chance of shrugging off an okay portion of damage.
    3 -Would love to see armors that have additional effects on them to make them less cumbersome.
    • Armors that you can use to draw a card on command. Discard your armor, gain another card. Would reduce the cumbersome effect that armor has on your hand size.
    • Armor as a trait? Two or three round duration, same chance to roll as they are now. Would have the penalty of being seen by your enemy, but in combat wouldn't you be able to see armor anyway? Dunno about this idea, might need some work. Would also need some tweaking when considered with trait cycling. Could make all of armor-removing cards remove the armor-traits instead and it would be just fine.
    • Higher Armors that I'd love to see would enable a player to draw an additional card or keep an additional card at the end of a round. Or adjust cards like Horned plates to discard on use and draw an attack card. This would also solve the problem of an absolutely unlucky draw.
  3. Ben

    Ben Kobold

    Would also love to see a "Hardened" keyword on cards like Heavy Plate that reduce high damage down to a certain amount. "Hardened 8 - Can take no more than 8 damage on a single blow" or something along those lines.
    SuperBadShockSkag and Flaxative like this.
  4. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    Except for Toughness, armor is useless against high-damage melee. A block or forced discard will often negate more damage in a single use than armor will over the course of an entire match.

    Armor would be great against wizards because they don't have high damage output and cumulative effects like burning will trigger armor multiple times, except that nobody uses wizards to kill and armor doesn't stop control effects. Typically, I discard armor without caring, unless my opponent is firespamming or I'm running a toy armor build for giggles.
    illkkill likes this.
  5. I've spent some time delving into armor, mainly because I have 3 General Jelom's Helms and 2 Nasrum's Moccasins and I want to put them to use. Unfortunately, I believe
    they really need Xander's Mail to be effective, perhaps with a few other Officer's Harness items. The absurdity of having to luck into all the best Legendary equipment to have a good armor set-up shows you how crappy armor is. The fact that it clogs your hand is really a deal-breaker. You cannot carry them reliably from round to round without dropping other good things like attacks and blocks. Short Perplexing Ray can also really hose you if you are carrying good armor.

    That all being said, some points about armor:
    • Nimble Strike is only 6 damage. A good armor kit can soak all or most of that.
    • Dwarves benefit more from armor because it protects a larger sack of hit points. They will get more use out of it over the course of their life.
    • Elves desperately need the help. Beledorf has a good armor kit on his elves (Xander's Mail/Jelom's Helm) and has played it to a very high rating.
    illkkill likes this.
  6. Most good players won't be deterred by armor in the comp they run. At upper brackets, its Mass Frenzy + NS spam, or wwe/s pray + nimble strike spam, OR 3x wizards with s prays for armor cards and wows. No matter how you look at it, its almost universally better to just cycle in more nimble strikes if you have them because there is no counter.
  7. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    Flaxative likes this.
  8. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Probably in a perfect build, most armor cards are dead weight.

    What I found, though, running my vampire around several different rating tiers, was that in an imperfect build, happening to have a bit of damage reduction was a tremendous boon. We're talking a fragile elf priest with 1 Hardy Mail, 1 Enchanted Harness, and 1 Heavy Armor in his deck. Games against firestorm were much closer (and even winnable!) when I got one or two of those armor cards. The damage reduction was also super relevant against warriors, where it would bridge the gap between the heal from a frenzied drain and the damage from my opponent's stronger attacks.

    Now, I know we're talking about heavy armor, and that means warriors, not gimmicky priests. I just wanted to comment on the usefulness of damage reduction. It's better on some characters than on others, and more relevant in some match-ups than others, etc.... I generally like keeping an armor card around when playing against wizards or step warriors who've forgotten their frenzies behind.

    As for heavy armor... I'm not sure if there's much reason to run anything other than Dependable Mail (elves) or Perilous Ringmail (humans and dwarves) in high-tier PvP. Sure, some "better" sets of armor cards exist, but at what cost? Warriors want all their tokens for weapons, generally, and then you have two to divide among shield (usually Slippery Shield), boots (people seem to like Wlakwa's? I like Black Iron), martial skill (Savvy Attacker is often a good choice!), and racial (unless you're a human with Novice Command). When the pressure to put out damage is so high that you only have two tokens to spend on non-weapons, I can't find room for armor that isn't tokenless. And if you happen to be running a build that uses Strongarm, Nifty Halberd, or Blazing Shortsword, you're almost always going to want to spend the extra two tokens filling out the slots I mentioned previously.
    Qui11 likes this.
  9. Adolf Tickler

    Adolf Tickler Mushroom Warrior

    Wow. Wasn't expecting to see this much discussion on this topic. Good job everyone!

    I'm happy that you all agree with me about armor. I think we can agree that it has its uses, but those uses are rare or hard to predict.

    Flaxative, thanks for pointing this out. I 100% agree with you about token usage. This is why I asked for the breakdown between token-less, minor, and major token armors that are helpful. Overall, I feel like token-less is the best way to go since:
    1. Armor is not very useful.
    2. Tokens are usually saved for better things.
    So can we just say armor (at least heavy armor) is broken? I would be interested in a reworking of the warrior class. Either allow for good armors so that the role of TANK could actually win you a game, or remove heavy armor and replace it with something else. They could be called Berserkers instead of warriors since the lack of armor.
  10. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    I would personally rather see armor (and the penetrating keyword!) made relevant by decreasing the damage available to players.
    Sazanami, Sir Veza and neoncat like this.
  11. neoncat

    neoncat Feline Outline

    Yep, one-hit KOs are quite silly... Actually, I'm trying to recall - are there any emerald / purple cards available to priests? I think the only emerald card available to non-warriors is Freeze, which probably isn't truly emerald-class.

    edit: Priests get Healing Rays, which isn't truly emerald. Wizards also get Obliterating Spark, which is great, but not as great as Obliterating Bludgeon.

  12. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Healing Rays is pretty bad. Freeze is balanced (IMO) by how inconsistent the Sub-zero Staff is. Obliterating Spark is great, but fair. It's when you get into 14+ damage range that things get really silly. Basically, what I'm saying is I agree with you.
    neoncat likes this.
  13. Adolf Tickler

    Adolf Tickler Mushroom Warrior

    To be honest, I use a lot of my extra heals offensively to check for blocks. It's actually a great use, and Healing Rays is not bad for that given it's range.

    Also, I agree that the damage available to players should be decreased. Would definitely make armor more important, however I'm still having an issue with the keyword 'keep.' Having to have this passive in your hand at all times just makes it more difficult to play other cards and setup your next turn. More armors should be able to bypass the two card minimum at the end of the turn. Maybe not the armors that you are proposing neoncat, but at least a higher variety that are available to new players.
    Kablizzy likes this.
  14. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    I've always wondered what the game would be like if you could keep 3 cards instead of 2 at the end of each turn. This could possibly make armor more relevant. Or at least you wouldn't be discarding it so often...
    I think that everything worth saying has been said already. Armor is good sometimes but is often going to be discarded in lieu of something actually playable. Even if you have good armor it is often invalidated by Impaling Stab , Short P. Ray, and 11+ damage attacks. Armor can only prevent a few points of damage from each attack, and how often is a character with armor going to be hit repeatedly? Everyone seems to be doing 4-20 damage with attacks these days. So unless you are packing 2X Heavy Armor it's not going to help much.
  15. ElShafto

    ElShafto Goblin Champion

    On my two-warrior, one-priest setup I fluctuate back and forth between Bulging Cuirass and Perilous Ringmail. Both no-token. It's purely flavor of the moment - if I've suffered one or two Traveling Curse deaths recently, I'll switch back to Bulging Cuirass, but if I am hitting a bad streak where I'm not drawing enough attacks, I'll go back to the Ringmail. I've probably had double Thickened Mail help me survive matches (Hi Flax !) as often as Traveling Curse has cost me matches.

    EDIT: Apparently I'm the only dumbass who can't link items to the Wiki successfully. Which button is it?
    Sir Veza and neoncat like this.
  16. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    Items is the Green ball. Or just write the tags yourself like this:
    [item]Item Name[/item]
    ElShafto likes this.
  17. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

  18. Lizard People

    Lizard People War Monkey

    Armor competing for damage cards at the end of the round also contributes to the predominance of step attack builds seen among warriors - if you're getting around and using all your attacks/blocks each turn, you don't have to choose what to keep at the end of the round; armor's all that's usually left. If you're nursing OBludgeons/AOAs and holding back for the chance to strike, armor becomes a dead card at turn's end - need to discard it or your strategy implodes on you.
    Sir Veza likes this.
  19. ReesJ

    ReesJ Kobold

    I'm running a human warrior and in my 2Wa and 1 Wiz combo. He is actually decked in armor and there are times i have blocked over +8 on attacks. He has 2 reliable mail, 4 officers harness and 2 mail! Had times when had most of them on sometimes and warriors hit for 0 damage:)
    Sir Veza likes this.
  20. Jade303

    Jade303 Thaumaturge

    Officer's Harness functions quite differently from the most common types of armor. I think that it is a unique exception to the rule. Other possible exceptions: Thick Hide Armor and Dynamic Armor.

    I guess the thing about armor is, it won't hurt to have extra Mass Frenzy, Inspiration, step attacks, move cards, .... but the second you have normal 3 armor cards you are going to - one of them into the discard pile. So fitting more than 2 into a deck leads to potential discarding. And if you want those armor cards to appear more often, you have to run more.

    I wonder what CH would be like if all armor cards could be kept. I mean, you can't have more than 8 ish in a deck, and there are ways to get rid of all of them (Boiling Armor, Acid, Shredding Strike).... it would certainly allow for tankier warriors.

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