[SUGGESTION] Acid & Radiation Changes

Discussion in 'Feedback and Suggestions' started by ParodyKnaveBob, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    Howdy, all,

    Just a little while ago, I watched a match between an Ancient Grudge + Pathfinding combo vs. focused Radioactive attacks, (which was great, btw, each player in the 16–1700s!) and it got me thinking about Rad attacks being nowhere nearly as rad as in their heyday.
    • The clarifying Purge nerf hurt all Rad attacks more than any other change in my anecdotal estimation.
    • Radiation Bomb's (majortoken) requirements and 2 base damage got hurt hard after the much-needed nerfft—"buffed burst nerf" for anyone unaware.
    • Accelerate Time's nerf to 5-squares-out might not have hurt as badly as Purge, and Radioactive Goo's range 4 is less affected anyway, but the generally more attractive Radioactive Spray and its potential range 7 lost that little bit of Accel love.
    • To address the 2 base damage a little more, Armor has gotten better and better over time, (everyone cuts a side glance at Monstrous Hide–some even remember to cut another side glance at Lycanthropic Form's Armor 2—neverminding plenty of other options of course,) and Priests have only a couple Armor-removal options (at range 1 only) which take away from Rad focus, while Wizards can help plenty with Armor-removal also at the cost of Rad focus, especially if you want control spells for the sake of defense & offense, too; Warriors can be some fun help to the priests here, but again, almost entirely range 1. Compare to how easy it often is to focus for other builds (rarity not being the difficulty discussed).
    • Rad Goo & Rad Spray each got hurt so very much when Castle Mitternacht introduced way too many extra movement options. If you do manage to get the piddly 2 damage, it gets hard to stack for an attrition build when Vengeance, Vanguard, and team Moves/Pushes have more and better options. Castle Mitternacht only added one Sparkling Cloth Armor item, but oh wow, it's now one of the very best in the game, and thus easily becomes incidental counterplay—same as Vengeance, Vanguard, etc.
    • Destructive Purge is great, but practically didn't exist until CM's great itemization plus Aloyzo's Arsenal's Epigenetic Eraser, but that's post-CM with all the above anti-Rad issues, and thus this is pretty much the only Rad card anyone plays in PvP anymore that I've seen.
    Even the Rad Assists don't see much use:
    • Gene Therapy requires (majortoken)s despite being bronze quality. It's not strong counterplay these days due to the lack of Rad seen in battle (and due to the lack of Spark Of Undeath due to its own mixed bag of issues). It's pretty costly to be a mere Handicap fixer for your own builds.
    • Gene Therapy and Genetic Engineering always had the "Adapted to" pot luck—which generally couldn't cause any harm—and Invisibility—which sometimes got a grimace from party support—but CM brought in some Form Boosts which (much to everyone's dismay) actually do more harm than good for most people's decks. If Vampiric Form and Ethereal Form were more viable, more desirable, then the "risk" of random Boosts would become more enjoyable.
    As usual, thinking about Rad terrain got me thinking about Acid terrain. Similar difficulties, y'know.
    • CM tried to ramp up Acid usage, but all the aforementioned CM-induced Move/Push options killed Acid's trap nuance.
    • One attempt to ramp it up was Acid Leak, which is certainly interesting, but perhaps even worse than Volcano as a trap setter since you can leave your own party members with good Armor on Lava to bluff your opponent into passing. You play Acid Leak, and you're less likely to even try to equip decent Armor, which can be scary for a Wizard: Elves have Fleet but must spend (majortoken) to get even 2 copies of it and thus once again get the racial short stick; Dwarves like to rely on Armor but will more likely rely on 25 HP in this case; Humans have everyone's favorite tokenless Human Skill, Subtle Positioning. You're more likely to stack Acid Leak ((minortoken)) with Dimensional Traveller ((minortoken)), or Hover perhaps more likely for free. Losing Armor (or playing without it) might seem scary to Priest/Warrior allies, but really, varying your party loses a lot of the necessary Acid focus for Hex of Dissolution to work. On that note...
    • The other CM attempt to ramp up Acid was the sad disaster, Hex Of Dissolution. Too powerful in testing, too impotent in print. Damaging 1:1 for Acid squares vs. damaging 1:3 for Acid squares. If only there were a simple mathematical compromise. $;^ D
    This is where I make a couple hackneyed suggestions.

    • Acid Leak potentially dumping Acid Blasts all over the place is funny and interesting, and especially helpful to Hex of Dissolution—but only if anyone's willing to play Hex of Dissolution. Has anyone (in BM—understandable if not TKoU yet) ever actually tested, just for kicks & giggles or anything, Hex with 1:2 damage:tiles ratio like, frankly, so many of us have suggested soon after CM went to print?
    • Meanwhile, if you really want Acid Leak to randomly "Boost" toward attacking one's own Party (this is called a Handicap (hybrid))... well... it's just not as pleasant, just not as viable, unless I guess your whole point is to make it like Volcano (an Attack—not a "Boost") (which also notice how much less play that sees after all the above terrain nerfs happened).
    • It's been suggested by various players to only Leak under enemies' feet. If Hex were more powerful usable, that might not be necessary, but still, I have a Rad idea below that touches on this...
    • The funny thing here is that I actually don't have much help to offer on how to make Rad seem more playable. I just know it suffers a lot. ("But look at all those points you wrote below!" Yeah, and read 'em. I don't have much help to offer Rad playability.)
    • Obviously, one difficult way to make the (majortoken) Assists less a liability is to fix the "Boost" Forms to feel more like Boosts (after, once again, their overpowered testing went to print,) and, I dunno, maybe to change Invisibility to only prevent enemies from targeting? I don't know/recall if this would utterly mess up any 1P stuff. New less-than-(majortoken) items might also help. After all, I do see Epigenetic Eraser get played sometimes (if for nothing else another Destructive Purge, lol).
    • Oddly enough, I have one idea that could seem in part awful for Radiation... If Acid Leak were adjusted to only target enemies underfoot, then in its place, it could be pretty interesting—and dare I say MUCH more on-flavor—for a Radiation Boost to do it instead. Some new "Radiation Leak" (or "Radioactive") Boost (maybe Handicap hybrid) Trait attaches, and now your Rad cards (perhaps both Attack and Assist) suddenly drop Rad Goo on anyone's occupied square. This would certainly give more reason to equip the Rad Assists (and/or Arrogant Armor, let's face it,) since your own team becomes more likely to be pelted with Handicaps than before. (Again, much more on-flavor imo than Acid oozing out Who-knows-where.)
    • Now, it could further be that "Radioactive" could pump up all the healing/damage of your Radiation by ..2? $:^ . Suddenly, Rad Bombs are doing the same direct damage as Fireballs, Gene Therapy Heals for 5, and Rad terrain might not feel as absolutely worthless against Vengeance spam (with Monstrous Hide continuing to laugh at Magic damage per the norm). Even upping by 1 might be okay. Testable at least, eh?
    • To help something like "Radiation Leak" not completely overtake Blight, which I do love in certain contexts, Blight might need a minor adjustment, too? (Add 2 Handicaps perhaps? Or, add 1 Handicap and then hit for 2 (or 1) damage?)
    • Still, Holy Presence rarely gets used, and was clearly best when it synergized so well with Expedition to the Sky Citadel era Radiation. Like I wrote re: Blight, perhaps this could finally see a reason to play if Rad were given some love again, and/or Heal 2 instead of 1, and/or (dare I say) even attach a random Holy Assist or Boost to allies (after discarding other attachments, as is the original point of the card). (Boost was my obvious first thought, but Holy Presence might be more on-flavor to add an Assist—even moreso, $:^ b a Holy Assist.) Or, of course, it could get a better version of past treatment: "At the start of each round, discard all enemy controlled and Handicap attachments from adjacent allies then Heal 1 those allies. Keep."
    That's it for now. Curious to see mere fellow players' thoughts of course, but I'd love to hear 1. "the new Flaxative" (lol) comment especially since it's been some years since anything has changed and 2. The Knights' considerations, obviously.
    Flandur, Sir Veza and fatcat__25 like this.
  2. doublequartz

    doublequartz Orc Soldier

    Nice work on making many points and suggestions. In doing so, you've highlighted some relevant CM balance issues, and fixing those could partly help with Acid/Radiation. But these are probably not what we're trying to fix now, so I'll skip that.

    I like the idea of random Assist, and I think we could give that to Rad Assists. While their power vary, it'd at least lower the chance of getting an Adapted to card.
    Considering flavor, I'd give Radiation and Acid damages Penetrating... Unfortunately though, Rad Spray don't seem to have room for any more text, and that's already omitting a "squares". But if we can fit that in, then it's the only change I think is needed to make Radiation viable.

    Acid in the other hand, is just overcosted in general. I think Acid is supposed to be good source of Difficult terrains, and even though keeping opponents from making big moves is certainly powerful, the current best choice for Difficult terrain is... Illusory Barrier, and that sounds wrong.
    Acid Pool could go with Emerald quality, Acid Blast don't need its plus 1 level, and Acid Spray... could just work like Rad Spray instead. There should also be Wall of Acid, so that it can keep up with the aforementioned Illusory Barrier. With all that changes, Acid terrain might be finally viable by itself, and then we can consider if Hex still needs a buff.
  3. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    Thank you. I know it's a lot for "one" suggestion post, but I've grown to see how much cards exist in ecospheres—not islands. A little change can impact so much, and I wanted to handle the ripples and waves best I could.

    You're right, huh, I like it: Radiation becoming usually Penetrating (like the two player Traits with Psychic damage) would be on-flavor and all the damage buff it might need. Interesting. Also, it appears to me the text could fit the word Penetrating between 2 and Radiation.

    I shall make this its own thread, but I'm first writing this here since it concerns your text length concern. Really, I've wished for years that every terrain's parenthetic note could instead get wrapped up into a new keyword for each terrain type, but I know some use the keyword Stop and thus, so far, need to remain in the card text. $:^ \ But hmm, glancing through that now, it seems the only time Stop is even used is for when a card declares itself to have Difficult Terrain (i.e., Cave In, Rockfall) or if it's Stone Spikes or Mud Pit (which doesn't declare itself Difficult Terrain). And then, there are cards like Hypnotic Beacon and Healing Beacon which declare themselves (lowercase) difficult terrain, but don't explain that with the Stop keyword. Hmmmm. And, of course, Difficult Terrain is like Open, Impassable, and Blocked in that you can right click map squares to see that description without any explanation; therefore, the "newbie explanation" isn't really justified. Digging further, I see Flash Flood, Wall of Stone, and Pillar of Stone declare themselves impassable or blocked yet don't over-explain those terrain types. Yeeaah, I'm gonna soon suggest cutting down all the terrain explanations into a gigantic keyword overhaul. After all, those aforementioned ancient Psychic Traits don't actually use the Penetrating keyword. Lol.

    (Now I'm debating mentally on whether Unbuffable would then be needed to keep the scariness in check. Despite being Penetrating, 2 damage isn't that big a deal, right? On the other hand, in a slightly mixed Rad build, you might get Rad Bomb up to 7 damage total per hit, and 9+ each during a single round if you really crank it. After all, Irradiated Terrain would be understood to stay 2 damage, no buffs available—unless some crazy new card changes that. Likewise, Fire is usually understood to get its main power from the Burning as opposed to the initial hits. I would just hate it if I suggested Unbuffable, and then that kept most Rad attacks dead.)

    So far, I think I still like Acid not being Penetrating, though. After all, Boiling Armor and Acid Terrain rips it all off anyway, and Melt Armor has the sweet 2-for-1 of removing an Armor and a Block. Getting closer to damage with each range 10 (buffable) Dissolve Armor sounds fine to me, and clearly Hex Of Dissolution is intended to crank up the pain even if your opponent still has Armor remaining, ha ha ha ha. Besides, removing one Armor and revealing another has its benefit, which you'd lose if Acid were Penetrating. $;^ J $}^ }

    I agree that a Wall of Acid could be a great addition. Clearly, BM didn't want that in the first place for whatever reason, but times have changed (especially with CM), and you're right Illusory Barrier being the go-to for Difficult Terrain instead of Acid is .. mm. (Sure, Illusory Terrain is one-way Difficult vs. Open, but still. Acid, pew pew splat.)

    Changing costs winds up overhauling the entire roster of items. I wouldn't wanna do that to the devs, old or new. Lol.
    (This is why Boo! is in such a terrible place. What's a good fix? Clearly, it's not changing the cost of 20 items and/or the identities of the other cards on those items to keep their costs the same.)
  4. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    I'd hoped @Cribbage would post here, but since s/he hasn't been on in a few years $F^ J I'll relay the info. We were chatting in-game, s/he suggested changing Acid Leak like so. (And if not exactly like so, then amidst my memory, my opinion, and my posting it for someone else, then my version of like so.)
    • Trait. Attach this card to yourself. Duration 3.
    • When you play an Acid card, create and attach an Acid Blast card to target occupied square. Keep.
    This way, you can pick allies' squares if you want.

    Just a thought. Probably by the end of the night, I'll share some findings I've been informally collecting.
  5. ParodyKnaveBob

    ParodyKnaveBob Thaumaturge

    Sometime in the last few days, I decided that I might not be giving Acid a fair shake since I'd kinda tried it once. I created a focused Elf Wizard team (Focused Rapidity unfortunately taking a (majortoken) away from the staves); then, a hefty Dwarf Wizard team; then, a Human Vanguard team. The test fared well, but my Elo didn't.

    Quick intro: I returned to the game in either 1600s or high 1500s, I don't recall. Played one of my old parties for a bit and didn't do as well as expected. Then, seriously experimented for the first(?) time with an Ancient Grudge build which "wasn't good" just because I was maintaining 1400s with it, and I'd prefer to return to the 1600s. These facts should establish some background; 1. yes, I'm rusty, but 2. even in weird experiments, I'm an "okay enough" player.
    1. From Elves to Dwarves to Humans, my Elo gradually plummeted to 1202 or so. I figure, okay, next day, I'll hit 1100s, and then I'll post here.
    2. Then, after the above post (re: Cribbage), I played Mom. It's been so long since I've played Mom. I smashed her p2w deck. $;^ J
    3. A real opponent beat me. Back down to 1201 or so.
    4. Mom kept me afloat again.
    5. I managed to beat a real opponent. I drew combo-heavy cards in the first couple rounds, I killed two characters, and my opp resigned before round 3—surely not realizing I would be running completely out of steam right about then.
    6. Someone threw turn 1. $F^ , New person, hadn't read the rule on the forum. Whatcha gonna do. (Besides show the link on the forum. Lol.)
    7. Then, a 22-minute knock-down-drag-out where I surprisingly beat someone with elves who kept not drawing Movement nor relevant Blocks.
    8. I stopped there. Looks like my deck is 1200s material. I'm not the best player, no, but I don't think it's accurate to say I'm a 1200s player, either.
    In my 21-match plummet (before I "recovered" in the 1200s), I only won 4 matches, one of those being a six-elf-wizard battle EDIT: my 3 dwarves vs. opp's 3 elf wizards (I misremembered). I fought Cardotron2000 four times and lost all four times. I could easily get 9-damage Hexes; I often had 10-damage; sometimes, I cranked it to crazy numbers like 13, 15, and more. I almost always destroyed one character, sometimes two; my elves couldn't escape enough, and my dwarves couldn't chase enough; my humans' Subtle Positioning certainly helped (which, again, it's sad to have humans more mobile than elves, but whatever), but they still couldn't damage consistently enough. Protect self with a couple huuuge Acid Jets and maybe a Spray round 1; by round 3, hope your defenses still hold up and most likely get some Hexes and/or an Everlasting Ground to use while still relevant; by round 5–6, usually start losing terrain and HP momentum in huge swaths while your foe does bad things to you.

    Most players who talked to me loved what I did. $:^ ] Despite losing so consistently, I actually found the decks fun to play, too. One or two foes mentioned that fighting against Acid was unfun and like pulling teeth, but whatcha gonna do. It's Acid. The biggest thing opponents loved was seeing something different, was seeing someone actually try the Hexes, and seeing someone actually pulling off 2-shotting their dwarves and such, lol. Some tried to advise. Fwiw, I didn't ask for anyone's comments; people just responded this way to the battle. That's player interest right there.

    To take advantage of (majortoken) Fleet items, my Elves took a step down to use Staff of Dissolution + Ancient Linestaff ((majortoken)(minortoken) R) and Advanced Corrosion. My Dwarves had some Toughened Hide Strips to complement their health and be okay ontop Acid Terrain.

    I don't own Caustic Pain, but since it comes with Deadly Sparks instead of Acid Jets, it was probably more viable in testing than in the final 1:3 Acid damage:tile ratio. I'd test it if I had it, but Hard-to-Block Linear 5-damage in a 3-wizard Acid focus doesn't strike me as remarkable (in place of Linear 3-damage dropping potentially 10 Acid squares).

    Acid Leak being random and 50/50 hitting allies wasn't terrible since I built for it in a couple ways. I still feel like that's Radiation flavor instead, though.

    My informal results: People in-game do want to see this work. In-game, this doesn't work. It lacks staying power.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021

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