The Professional's Primer to Pure and Practical Pyromancy

Discussion in 'Deck Building' started by Frostguard, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    What's that? You want to see things burn?

    We all do, even if some people have not yet admitted it to themselves.

    You've come to the right place. Burning things is the noblest art of all, and those who disagree with this statement tend to end up demonstrating its truth.

    The Basics

    If you're here, you likely don't need an introduction to what burning does. Long story short, with burning cards you're trading immediate impact for a higher damage output over the span of several turns. You would be dealing a respectable amount of damage to your opponent as these cards run their course, assuming of course that you're still alive and not so far behind that the damage doesn't matter anymore. It goes without saying that dealing damage in smaller increments does make it much more vulnerable to armor. On the upside, however, unlike other cards available to wizards that deal considerable damage at range, burning cards are readily available on arcane items, meaning that a fire mage can be much more focused than any other wizard intending to specialize primarily in dealing damage.

    That's it on the surface.

    That can't be all of it, though. There has to be more.

    I have good news for you.

    Pyromancy is not about attaching a few burning cards and then trying to stay alive as the opponent's armor is preventing almost all the damage you'd deal over time. There's much more to it, and we can be thankful to two cards for that. One has been in the game since the very first set, and the second is a gift from the first expansion.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I mean these two, of course. Firestarter by itself doesn't add a lot more complexity to pyromancy by its own, but it drastically increases the damage output. Instant Burn is another matter altogether. Admittedly, when I started playing, Attack of the Artifacts was already out, so I can't tell for sure, but I'm fairly certain that its arrival changed how fire wizards played, dramatically and irrevocably. It's an incredible card that expects you to build around it but rewards you spectacularly for doing so. More on that later.

    The Three-Legged Stool of Reducing Everything to Cinders

    With that out of the way, I'll start off with something theoretical. As it is the case with many other things, your power stands on three legs. Occasionally you can do without one if your opponent's position is weakened, but you should seek to maximize your chances of having access to all three of them at any given time — or at least when you're about to go off. These three legs are, in no particular order:
    1. Firestarter
    2. Instant Burn
    3. Variety

    Let's go through them one by one.


    There's not all that much to write about this one, honestly, but I still decided to do so because there's one interesting and important thing about Firestarter. I get the impression that a lot of people gravely underestimate this card. I see way too many people playing Fireblinker Initiate (for that extra Ember Burst, I presume), or trying to save a token by going for Molten Pyromancy or something similar.

    For the love of Akon and Wym and everyone and everything else that can set things on fire, please do not.

    If you're having doubts, read the card. If you're still having doubts, read the card again.

    Firestarter nearly doubles your damage output for three turns — essentially for free, too, since it draws you another card (which, if you build your deck right, will be very likely another burning card). Is a single Ember Burst really worth giving up two of them, especially considering that if you have more Ember Bursts from other items, you very well might end up drawing one of them through Firestarter? Is a minor token worth giving up even just one of these?

    Say it's a personal opinion if you want, but I'm fairly confident in this — if you're any serious about all this burning business, your best course of action is forgetting that any arcane skill other than Focused Pyromancy exists. You may not like spending a minor token on it. I think having three Firestarters would easily be worth a major token in a deck that's focusing on burning. Don't look to save tokens here. Don't get your attacks from here. The increase in your damage output is so dramatic, and without costing you cards to boot, that it'd be folly to go for anything else with this item slot.

    I've also decided to edit in a little remark that I actually meant to mention but completely forgot. A little but potentially important trick with Firestarter is that if your wizard has other traits, and you draw Firestarter and other traits, it's a good idea to play Firestarter last, or at least as late as possible. It's simply about minimizing the chance that it gets replaced by other traits or enemy cards.

    Instant Burn

    With that we arrive to our second leg. This is much more complex, and I believe that this card is what elevates pyromancy into an art, magnificent, beautiful, and terrible when done right.

    On the surface, it's not a very complicated card. You get to trigger all burning cards you control. The devil is, of course, in the details. There are so many little questions, so many fine nuances to pay attention to.

    Basically, the essence of Instant Burn is (and I've actually only had this epiphany while writing this) that it's fundamentally different from how other cards work in the game. Other archetypes scale, basically, in a linear manner with the number of cards drawn. It's simple addition, you draw more cards and those cards on average deal some more damage. Instant Burn is, subtly but definitely, a damage multiplier. It doesn't do much on its own but scales impressively with every other burning card you've drawn.

    First of all, a curious little thing is — quite contrary to the stereotypical portrayal of pyromancers in RPGs and in fantasy in general — that something that's very handy when dabbling in pyromancy is patience.

    You need to carefully consider many things if you want to get the maximum mileage out of your cards. Keep tabs on the duration of your attachments, both your own Firestarter and all the burning cards attached to your enemies. If most or all burning cards you control are still going to be around next round, and your Firestarter won't expire, either — or, on the contrary, you don't have one attached currently — then there's very little reason not to let that Instant Burn sit in your hand until next turn. Who knows, maybe you'll draw into that Firestarter if you don't have one, or into more burning cards you can generously distribute. If not, there's a good chance you won't lose much. On the other hand, if your opponent is going heavy on purges, or armor in general, or there's an enemy character who will die to two rounds of burning triggers but not one, then that might be reason enough to go for it.

    I firmly believe that there's no formula for this that would be set in stone. Assess the situation in every individual case, and decide whether the risk of having your opponent draw armor or something that helps them survive is worth the additional damage output you gain by waiting to draw a few more burning cards you can trigger.

    There are so many more things about this that can be mentioned. Did you know, for example, that Instant Burn has a hidden line of text stating that it is unblockable?

    It doesn't say so on the card, you say? But it is very real, if you read between the lines.

    Part of the charm of Instant Burn is exactly the fact that as an individual card it's laughably weak, it's the additional triggered effect that makes it so devastating. It can, in theory, be blocked. But when you have a decisive Instant Burn set up, and all available opposing targets have revealed blocks or unrevealed cards that could be blocks, you can — and you absolutely should — shoot Instant Burn at one of your allies. Even if this move doesn't end the game on spot, two points of immediate damage with three more at end of turn (assuming you have Firestarter) is a very little price to pay for the certainty of the colossal damage the card otherwise causes to your opponents not getting cancelled. Especially so if the allied target has armor to mitigate it, but I wouldn't consider it a necesssity.

    There are many more nuances to it, too. For instance — there are situations when this can be very relevant — Instant Burn attaches itself to the target first, and then it triggers all the other burning cards. This is a very old discovery of mine, going far back. I was playing on Central Processing Unit, and my opponent had a priest on the victory square at fairly low health with two others in line of sight and range but not within reach of the victory square. I had an ample supply of burning cards in hand, but they kept putting Impenetrable Nimbus on the priest on the victory square and they had five points already. I kept trying to replace it with burn but they always seemed to have more. Eventually I ran dry, having only an Instant Burn in my wizard's hand, while the priest had a Nimbus and two burning cards attached, in that order. Since I could imagine it going both ways but had no other possible outs in that situation, I went for it, and realized with no little glee that, as mentioned above, Instant Burn replaced Impenetrable Nimbus and then triggered the other two attachments, killing the priest. This can be very relevant in situations involving attachments that prevent damage, such as the worryingly abundant Lycanthropic Form or the much less frequently encountered Ethereal Form, or ones that trigger off of damage like Martyr Blessing.


    I believe that this is important, especially so in multiplayer where there are three available targets at most. I also see a lot of people botch this as well and go too deep on a single burning card (this tends to be Ember Burst, which is actually doubly a bad choice).

    As we all very well know, in Card Hunter there can be no additional copies of the same card attached to one character. This means that it's worth trying to diversify your burning cards, as doing so means that you have a better chance of being able to deal more damage with a single end-of-turn step or Instant Burn. Using the aforementioned Ember Burst as an example, if you forgo other fire cards for it, you'll find that your Instant Burns deal a maximum of four damage to each affected enemy at most. All your other Ember Bursts only serve for the three points of initial damage. All of this, while not bad by a long shot, is pocket change compared to what you could do with other cards. Ember Burst is especially egregious, since it has a duration of one round, which means it doesn't stick around in case you get your perfect draw a turn later, and it potentially hits several enemies by itself, meaning that it becomes redundant even faster.

    Diversifying also comes with the subtle but occasionally quite impactful upside that you can remove problematic attachments from enemies with relative ease. Dishing out attachments like nobody's business can easily rid a target of something like a Martyr Blessing that would otherwise make your life a lot more difficult. Bonus points if the target in question has an armor card that prevents the low initial damage from these cards, preventing the card draw as well, which you can remove after the Blessing has been removed.

    But the main draw of it is, of course, damage. Three different attachments with Burning 3 (which is surprisingly easy to achieve, see later) with Firestarter deal a whopping fifteen damage at end of turn (or for each Instant Burn), which is more than half the hit points of your average character. It is something of an idealized scenario, of course, but it goes to show the potential you have with this setup.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  2. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Cards of Choice

    Different burning cards are good for different things, and in different scenarios. Ember Burst is particularly effective, for example, as it can very easily hit two opponents, but due to its duration of a single round it only really excels if used in the same turn you're going off. This does mean that you typically want to keep one in hand for several rounds if the opportunity doesn't present itself, and that by extension that you shouldn't really overload on them as they're not particularly impressive on their own.

    Contrast it with Glob Of Flame. Same quality and rarity, but it's pretty much the opposite of our flashy burst. It has an immediate damage of a measly one point, affects only one target, has no way to go around blocked line of sight — however, it burns for three, and even more importantly, it has a duration of three rounds. This is subtly powerful and easy to underestimate, but it means that you can fairly confidently throw it out as soon as a target shows up, even if your hand is not impressive, you have no Firestarter, no Instant Burn, no other card to trigger. You can hit someone with it, and then stockpile with a good chance that you'll still be able to capitalize on it later. Either it'll stay around, or your opponent will purge it, which means they're using up a purge effect that won't bite you later on. There's a chance that they will have enough attachments to knock it off, in which case you didn't get much out of it, but such risks are part of the game, and this doesn't seem to happen all that often.

    Between the two are a few others. Flame Jet burns for as much as Glob, but only for two rounds, and can hit multiple targets but not as easily as Ember Burst. It's basically the perfect transition between these two extremes. You should stock up on this as well, since it's — much like Glob — very easily available on arcane items, and deceptively enough, hitting multiple opponents is not nearly as difficult with it as it might look at first glance, mainly due to how wackily linear targeting interacts with diagonals. If two characters are adjacent, much more often than not you'll be able to hit both of them. Generally, due to the shorter duration, you should prioritize keeping Jet in hand over Glob, although if you can hit two characters, it might be worth making an exception. Everything is subject to change and no rules are set in stone.

    Then there is Flame Spit, which is basically the same card as Flame Jet, except it trades the ability to hit multiple targets for... One point of initial damage? It's a terrible card, then, right? You should never play this, no? No. Jet is obviously better than this, but the title is important. Having too many Flame Jets is detrimental as well, especially considering that it easily hits multiple targets and lasts two rounds. Flame Spit is still a very respectable card that burns for high damage at good range. I quite firmly believe that you should play Flame Spit as well, to make sure your Instant Burns are as impactful as they can be. Let me put it this way: Flame Jet is obviously better than Flame Spit, but in almost all situations a Flame Jet and a Flame Spit are much better than two Flame Jets.

    There are a few other burning cards. As much as it pains me, as powerful as Fireball is, all three items with it come with so substantial downsides that they're just not worth it, unless you're willing to forgo consistency for the sheer joy of throwing Fireballs (which is not something I'd ever hold against you). If so, I'd recommend Staff Of The Fire God. The other two options are just terrible. Scorching Rays is a fun, exciting, and versatile card that is sadly overcosted, and even more sadly only shows up on an arcane skill which is not Focused Pyromancy and as such, as explained before, for all intents and purposes does not exist. The rest are the four cones, which have miserably short range, which coupled with the limited survivability of pyromancers are more likely to be suicidal than homicidal. And with that, we've pretty much exhausted the list of cards you can use.

    A Game of Numbers

    With that, we've gone over the three things your pyromancer should have in deck. That's good and all, but how many of each of these?

    With Firestarters, it's no question at all. The number you're looking for is three, don't ever consider going under. Going over it would be nice but it's sadly not exactly plausible.

    With the rest, it's not as easy. From personal experience the magic number seems to be about four. It means you're very likely to have a good mix and a good chance of having an Instant Burn or two a few rounds into the game, but not too many without other cards to trigger with them.

    Perhaps my favorite setup is as follows: Barnum's Staff, Overheated Staff, Flame Warper, double Rantic's Orb Of Inner Fire, Miligar's Dragon Tongue, and the rest doesn't matter. This is pretty to me becuase it has exactly four copies each of Instant Burn, Ember Burst, Glob of Flame, Flame Jet, and Flame Spit, but there are probably better ways about this, not to mention that the Accelerate Time on Flame Warper is basically a bad overcosted fifth Instant Burn. It's of course not the reason why I'm running the item, but the two Flame Spits, in fact, which are not exactly trivial to come by.

    You may also question the wisdom of Rantic's Orb of Inner Fire over Smoag's Bucket Of Pitch, Avakiria's Cup, and Wym's Fiery Bangle, which can be freely mixed and matched (also with the aforementioned Miligar's Dragon Tongue) to achieve a desired ratio of Globs to Jets.

    The explanation here is that while I'm advocating for staying focused on what you're doing and not trying to do other things (such as control) on the side as it lessens the impact of your combos as well as your chance of drawing them, there are other factors. Even beyond the pure aesthetic reasons of the coveted 4-4-4-4-4 split, armor is the Achilles heel of pyromancy. While I believe that it's worth outsourcing its removal to other characters for the most part, it doesn't hurt much to include a Boiling Armor or two, especially when it comes on such a nice item. As mentioned before, overloading on individual burning cards doesn't achieve too much. It could be argued that an additional copy of Glob and Jet each definitely wouldn't hurt, and I don't dispute that, honestly. I can't say I know enough to have a strong opinion on the matter. It's preference, I'd say.

    I'd point out the gem that is Overheated Staff. It uses one minor token and doesn't have a bad card on it, supplying the full four copies of Instant Burn, one of the not too easily available Flame Spit, and a trait that's mostly harmless. A good staff that doesn't use two tokens is a lot better than it seems, as it allows spending one token on arcane skill and the full four on arcane items (there isn't anything decent for no token). I consider it perhaps the most indispensible staff for pyromancers for this. Barnum's Staff is my personal favorite for the other slot for a well-rounded ensemble of burning cards, and not a single bad spell, for a modest cost of a major and a minor token. Other candidates include Staff Of Embers which I disfavor personally for the cone spell on it, but which is perhaps a viable alternative if you really, really like Ember Burst, and if you're willing to spend two major tokens on your staff and absolutely love Ember Burst, then Staff Of A Million Embers may be up your alley, but I consider six Ember Bursts too many.

    If you're adamant about using Staff Of The Fire God for the Fireballs, Overheated Staff goes well with it too, although with it you have a total of five Instant Burns, so it's probably a good idea to forgo Flame Warper as a sixth one is likely overkill. Another staff that pairs well with Staff of the Fire God is Red Flame, with its three Instant Burns complementing Fire God's one and the three Ember Bursts rounding out the two Fireballs for all your area-of-effect needs. I quite like this setup, although I believe it's much more suited to singleplayer adventures where the ability to hit a large area is more impactful, and where you may have that additional token to still equip Focused Pyromancy and four good arcane items. Other than these, I honestly can't really think of more items I'd consider using in these slots. Alternatively, if you're really in love with Fireballs, then double Staff of the Fire God with double Flame Warper (with probably Miligar's Dragon Tongue to have some Flame Jets as well) gives you an effective four Instant Burns, but you're paying a heavy price of half of them being both overpriced and limited, and having four rather unimpressive Magma Sprays. I would not recommend it.

    The rest is up to you. I personally like going all-in with Robe Of Lightness for the maximum cycling, any pair of boots with double Flanking Move which often turns out to be useful if you want to preserve priority banking on drawing an Instant Burn for next round which you would then shoot at an ally without giving your opponent a chance to react, and that's mostly it. Racial skill is likely to use as many traits as possible without a token (you likely won't have any to spare). If you like playing it a little more safe, you could go for something like Warp Robes which only has one trait but two actually useful cards, but I believe that the armor here is deceptive. For the most part, you really want to prioritize keeping burning cards in hand, so most of the time it'll likely end up discarded, and at that point it doesn't matter too much whether it's a Drakehide or a measly Cloth Armor — and when you do empty your hand enough that you can keep the armor, chances are the game won't go on long enough for it to make a difference.

    One note here is that if your wizard is a dwarf, you may be tempted to use Raging Battler for the trait goodness and the armor card that heals you when you inevitably discard it. I'd strongly advise against this. Setting yourself up does involve keeping one or two attack cards in your hand for several rounds if that's how the cards line up; it's a highway to suicide. Blind Rage is terrible for a character who wants to stockpile attacks for the optimal moment to use them, especially if that character is a wizard with a mediocre health pool.

    Everybody Needs Friends

    After covering how to equip a pyromancer, the question arises — what about the other two party members? Card Hunter is all about teamwork, after all, and we have two other characters to go with our friendly neighborhood arsonist. Doubling up on the fire may sound like a good idea but it really is not, considering that their Instant Burns aren't cooperating with each other, that they'll likely be competing for the limited number of possible attachments to opponents, and that they're just not very good at surviving without support. Don't worry for a moment, though, there are many ways in which other characters can make turning the world to ash a much smoother experience.

    I haven't actually tried this but I'm fairly confident that another wizard goes very well with a pyromancer. This wizard could be specialized in board control with a little armor removal on the side. Keeping attackers at bay synergizes very well with the highly potent but fearsomely squishy fire mage, and removing armor can phenomenally increase the damage output without compromising draws.

    What I have tried and can confirm to be fantastic is a priest focused on card draw. You don't need to actually try this, just co-op with only one other player. You'll have two characters but they'll draw three cards each turn. It doesn't take long to notice that pyromancers shine in a setup such as this, and the difference is much more pronounced than it is for other characters. I believe that the explanation lies in the highly self-synergistic nature of pyromancy. While most other character archetypes are fairly linear in regards to their damage output as a function of cards drawn, as the individual cards stack additively — as mentioned before — Instant Burn essentially acts as a damage multiplier. With a pyromancer, drawing more cards means that you:
    1. Will have much higher chances of hitting your Firestarters reliably
    2. Will have much higher chances of drawing Instant Burns
    3. Will on average have many more burning cards you can trigger
    Basically, you draw more copies of the cards that deal damage and more copies of the card that essentially multiplies said damage. It can get out of hand very quickly. Obviously the utility of draw caps off at some point, but it's not easy to reach, and even if you do, it can be used on the other two characters.

    A fun idea that I considered once is pairing a pyromancer with a warrior with Inquisitor's Strike, but it's superfluous. If you've built your wizard well, any character that takes increased damage from the silver attacks is very likely on the way out due to all the burning anyway, and Inquisitor's Strike is worse against other targets. Warriors in general don't seem to mesh well with fire mages, although they can be useful as a distraction.

    If you're feeling experimental, Curse Of Fragility can effectively act as a card that says Burning 4, duration 1, and can be very potent, although the short duration makes it a little problematic, and you only get much out of it if you have two burning cards attached at the same time; I suspect that it's worse than using those item slots to help the pyromancer draw cards, although it mitigates the weakness to armor somewhat, and is a lot of fun to watch. Another option is going for radiation in hopes of rolling Squishy, Vulnerable, or in a perfect world, Combustible to achieve a similar effect, but it's going to be unreliable.

    As for races, due to the aforementioned exponential effect of card draw, humans with Leadership can be very impressive in improving a pyromancer, and are especially good for the unimpressive Cloth Armor on Robe of Lightness or other possible placeholder cards from a racial skill for example. An all-dwarf party with Dwarven Battle Cry can also be spectacular.

    Closing Thoughts

    This has ended up being a lot longer than I originally intended it to be. If you've gotten this far, I applaud your patience. I don't have all that much more to say, so I'll include a screenshot, one close to my heart that hopefully illustrates some points of this post well enough.

    Hint: If you play your cards right, they're all dead.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
    esthkol, Kornl, Maniafig and 4 others like this.
  3. Deepweed

    Deepweed Thaumaturge

    As a resident pyromaniac, I approve of this guide. The "magic 4" burn wizard setup is also what I use very often.

    Only notes I have would be that warriors aren't actually that bad with fire mages, they just have to be played defensively, and that Ember Burst is usually thrown on a single target around the corner to keep other burning cards like Glob of Flame. In terms of what to discard at the end of the round, it depends a lot on what the opponent is running, but I usually keep at least one Instant Burn since you're only running 4 with Overheated Staff. Unholy Energy combos with burn wizards well as well, because there's almost no drawback.

    Meta-wise, burn wizards are strong when they're not expected. Burning damage as an archetype has the most direct counters in the game and so it's not nearly as good when everyone else is running burn and burn counters.

    Again, good job with this guide. I will recommend it to people who want to learn burn wizards.
    Sir Veza likes this.
  4. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Huh, interesting to see that others reached the same setup of the magic four (I'm stealing the name, by the way).

    Thank you for your reply, by the way! All good points, especially how Ember Burst can be used to hit someone instead of discarding it.

    I like that you bring up Unholy Energy, and especially how well it synergizes with keeping attacks in hand, although using it can be a bit tricky. I've found that exactly because of how impactful Firestarter is, managing attachments is a much more important part of playing a pyromancer than for most other characters. It certainly is an argument against playing too many traits that attach, although I certainly like the consistent draws. I might've mentioned before (or perhaps just wanted to) that it's always a good idea to make sure that Firestarter is the last attachment you play, to have it last in the queue if possible. In a similar line of reasoning, Unholy Energy is a little risky in the sense that if you attach it after Firestarter, it might end up being counterproductive that way. Before you have it, though, it's a fantastic play, as it increases your chances of drawing into one, and by the time you're about to decimate your opposition it likely doesn't matter too much if it falls off by next turn.

    I perhaps worded the part about warriors a little harshly, I agree. It's more that unlike priests, warriors don't really have much in the way of a direct synergy with burning. A defensive warrior may still be very useful, of course.

    Keeping an Instant Burn around in hand if you have one is also a wise move, I agree.

    I'm afraid I'm not really qualified to make remarks about the meta itself, however. It does seem to me that the current environment makes burning very difficult. Lycanthropic Form has a base armor 2 that can't be removed by cards meant to remove armor, and they'll randomly fill their hand with an unconditional armor 3 as well — even if they're not werewolves at the moment, as Howl can generate it as well. Vengeance also makes it difficult to survive when dealing damage in increments. But I'll leave that to people who are more experienced with the stuff.

    Thank you again, anyway.
    Sir Veza likes this.
  5. Robauke

    Robauke Guild Leader

    I can confirm that instant burn was a rush of a change for fire wizard play, of course it was. Also the magic 4 stood and stand at the end of my considerations on equipement as well.

    I would actually would welcome deeper contemplation on Hot Flames, its overlooked so often, if only it leads to the realization that theres really no application for it in pvp or pve.
  6. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    I appreciate the confirmation; I was definitely late to the party compared to a lot of people here.

    The point about Hot Flames is interesting, and I can actually see more merit in it with the endless Lycanthropic Forms and Monstrous Hides to fight through. I think that the bottom line is that it's just not as good, though. The way I see it, with Hot Flames you're sacrificing the sky-high ceiling for a little higher floor. It likely leads to a more consistent performance, but in my personal experience pyromancy is exactly about taking advantage of that inconsistency, using the unimpressive stage to lay low, build up and prepare, and then unleashing a world-ending conflagration when it is time.

    Additionally, Hot Flames sacrifices something you can't really get anywhere else (a boost to burn damage) for something that you can very easily outsource (ways to deal with armor). I haven't experimented with it, I'll admit that much (I'm too fond of the intensely explosive nature of Firestarter, personally), but I suspect that while there might be certain corner cases when Hot Flames wins you a game that Firestarter does not, it would likely lose you more games on the long run, unless the meta is really armor- and/or werewolf-heavy. I wouldn't know about that latter too much, though.

    If I'm already writing another post here, there's one thing I'd mention, which is not even really aimed to the people playing burn wizards but the people co-opping alongside them. Do pay attention to the attachments on enemies. Too often I found myself bringing a pyromancer just to see an allied warrior deciding to use attacks to finish off enemies that were dying to burn at end of turn even when other targets were in range who were intact. Not only is it lamentably inefficient, it also robs the pyromancer of a good deal of emotional satisfaction.

    One further little edit, another short point about shooting Instant Burn at your allies: since, as I mentioned later in the first post, Instant Burn attaches first and trigger after, shooting it at your allies can also be useful to avoid missing out on some damage if all available enemy targets already have three burning cards attached to them. It doesn't come up a lot, but it can happen to be relevant from time to time.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
    Sir Veza likes this.
  7. Robauke

    Robauke Guild Leader

    Okay, hot flames is lame. I debate that Focused Burning is the ultimate arcane skill for a pyromancer.
    Reint likes this.
  8. Frostguard

    Frostguard Thaumaturge

    Interesting proposition, you had me start calculating probabilities in my head.

    My first instinct is that it's probably not worth it, then a little voice dissent rises that says that you're willing to further reduce the consistency of a pyromancer to live the dream of Firestarter and Kindler for that ultimate round when the stars align, which is fairly commendable.

    Let's get into a little math, but without calculating odds just yet. Kindler on top of Firestarter is a 20% damage increase on burning 3, and a 25% on burning 2. Firestarter to nothing is a 67% increase on burning 3 and a 100% increase on burning 2. Kindler is a much smaller improvement to Firestarter than Firestarter to nothing, so this already feels iffy to me. Kindler to nothing is 33% on burning 3 and 50% on burning 2. What this means is that you're willing to sacrifice an increase of 33%/50% (difference between Firestarter to nothing and Kindler to nothing) for a potential gain of 20%/25% (Kindler on top of Firestarter). What this tells me is that you don't gain as much damage, relatively speaking, from having Kindler on top of your Firestarter as much you lose by having a Kindler instead of a Firestarter. And that's not accounting for the fact that Kindler lasts one turn fewer, and that having two attachments makes the combo much more vulnerable to displacement by other traits or enemy cards.

    On the other hand, if you're going really heavy on card draw, then you'll likely cycle through your Firestarters with ease, and any copy after the first does effectively nothing, while having a Kindler there could be further improvement. This poses an interesting conundrum, and without having made any calculations I've started to suspect that if I start calculating the chances of hitting at least one Firestarter versus Firestarter plus Kindler, the balance will tilt towards the latter the more cards you see of your deck.

    As a simplified model of the question, let's say you have a deck of 36 cards, and let's calculate the odds of the given configuration being found in the top N cards of your deck. Basically we're interested in four different scenarios:
    1. You're using Focused Pyromancy, in which case the question is the probability of having at least one Firestarter (one from a set of three cards) in the top N cards.
    2. You're using Focused Burning, and the question is the probability of having at least one Firestarter (one from a set of two cards) but no Kindler in the top N cards.
    3. You're using Focused Burning, and the question is the probability of having the Kindler but no Firestarter in the top N cards.
    4. You're using Focused Burning, and the question is the probability of having at least one Firestarter and the Kindler in the top N cards.

    What we're looking to find out is if the chances of 4 are high enough to offset the difference between 1 and 2/3. We can also use the percentile damage increases to weight our probabilities and calculate an expected damage increase, even?

    I'll confess that curiosity got the best of me and I looked up an online calculator for binomial coefficients, because that's what we're going to need here. Since handling a parameter is beyond these, I've decided to try it for 6, 12, and 18 for N, to see how the trend changes; I suspect that it'll show an increasing favor towards Focused Burning over Focused Pyromancy with an increase in N, but I doubt it'll be enough.

    And alright, since apparently I have nothing better to do on a Thursday evening, I ran some calculations. Please note that I've been using approximations fairly liberally to make it all manageable, so these are more ballpark figures than anything, though at a first and a second glance the numbers make a lot of sense. I've put it all into spoilers, proceed at your own risk.

    Let's start with calculating an average burn value. It's definitely between 2 and 3, and I'm inclined not to take Instant Burn into account here, since if you're using the Instant Burns as you should, then the Burns themselves won't be triggered nearly as often as the other burning cards. Using the magic four for simplicity's sake, we're calculating an average of three times three and one times two, which results 2.75. For the sake of simplicity, if we calculate with 2.75, then Firestarter is a 72% increase, Kindler is 36%, and Firestarter with Kindler is 109%. (For the record, this does not contradict the math above, as you'll notice that Firestarter is double the increase of Kindler alone, and if you pile Kindler on top of Firestarter it's just a +50% boost.)

    Scenario 1. For N=6, I get 43.2%. For N=12, it increases to 71.7%, and for N=18 it is 88.6%.
    Scenario 2. For N=6, I get 26.6%. For N=12, this is 38.5%, and for N=18, 38.9%.
    Scenario 3. For N=6 I find 9.3%, for N=12 9.0%, and for N=18 5.2%.
    Scenario 4. For N=6 I get 4.4%, for N=12 17.7%, and for N=18 36.8%.

    I'm honestly not sure I want to go into the details about how I got these percentages, although if you're really interested I can maybe take photos of my handwritten notes and send them over. Lots of binomial coefficients, fractions, even more fractions, subtractions, and like I said, quite a few approximations on the way to make sure I don't drown in the calculations required.

    In any event, these numbers make sense. The chances for scenario 2 stop increasing significantly after N=12 because the chance that you also draw your Kindler alongside one of your two Firestarters (scenario 4) goes up. Scenario 3 starts out low and goes even lower, it's simply because it's unlikely to begin with that you draw one exact card while not drawing any from a set of two, and of course it'll go down as you increase the number of cards seen. For scenario 4 it's pretty self-explanatory I guess, it's initially very low but it goes up radically with the number of cards seen.

    So what does this mean? We need to take the average damage gain from scenario 1, aggregate 2, 3, and 4, and compare the two, for each N.
    Average damage increase for scenario 1 is +72%; weighted with the chances for N=6, 12, and 18, we get 31.1%, 51.6%, and 63.8%, respectively. That's what we can expect from Focused Pyromancy.

    What about Focused Burning?
    For N=6, we have a 26.6% chance for +72%, a 9.3% chance for +36%, and a 4.4% chance for +109%. The average of these is 19.2%+3.3%+4.8%=27.3%. Focused Pyromancy wins at 31.1%, although not by too much. Interesting.
    For N=12, we have a 38.5% chance for +72%, a 9.0% chance for +36%, and a 17.7% chance for +109%. Average is 27.7%+3.2%+19.3%=50.2%. Focused Pyromancy still wins at 51.6%, but the difference is quite tiny.
    For N=18, we have a 38.9% chance for +72%, a 5.2% chance for +36%, and a 36.8% chance for +109%. Average is 28.0%+1.9%+40.1%=70.0%. Focused Pyromancy loses with its 63.8%, and the margin is significant.

    This also aligns well with my initial suspicion that Focused Burning will get better the more cards you see, with the breaking point somewhere between seeing the top third and the top half of your deck, probably closer to the former.

    While these figures may give the impression that Focused Burning is a lot better if you expect to see the top half of your deck and only a little worse if you do not, I think that these calculations are not conclusive by themselves. I'm simply checking how likely you are to find a given combination of cards in the deck. It does not account for whether the attachments in question stick around by the time you use them, for the shorter duration of Kindler, for the effect of doubling down on your own attachments potentially making keeping them around a lot harder, and I could go on and on. I'd point out that all of these factors speak heavily in Focused Pyromancy's favor.

    Calculations are rough and likely not entirely accurate, but my assessment would be that Focused Pyromancy wins out.

    Be careful what you ask about.

    ...I ought to find some hobbies.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  9. Robauke

    Robauke Guild Leader


    Well thats exhaustive. I reckon it will get the likes it deserves over time.
    Since you mentioned Sky Citadel Gear to create extra vulnerability - One thing in theory possible is to bridge the lack of natural firestarter by creating the fire boosts using Genetic Engineering (etc.).

    If only that card would somewhat react to the character class of the target, that would be sweet. As it is now, theres way too many boosts in the pool.

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