An interesting point was raised by Elfen BeZerKir in global chat – a discussion I wish to move here, both for preservation and because I prefer not to have to type a lengthy response in global chat. Elfen argues,
“Trap and rush decks need to be banned, 0 strategy involved and u won’t win unless you’re also playing one of those decks; removes all fun from the game”
While I disagree with Elfen, I think the points raised deserve deeper discussion. I, too, find certain ‘features’ of the game reduce my enjoyment, so I definitely believe such complaints merit consideration. So let me at least give my reaction.
First, suggestions like “ban all trap and rush decks” are not pragmatic. Defining and identifying trap and rush decks is impossible. Even if there were global agreement on your points, no action would be possible. Far more practical are comments like “savage trappers are over-powered”, or “power dive should cost 1 power point” as these suggest changes that can actually be implemented.
Second, I disagree that either trap or rush decks are unbeatable. I do not play PVP often, and I am not that great of a player. But I would guess I have well over a 50% win record against both rush and trap decks without either specifically targeting these decks or employing trap or rush decks myself. It is very likely that my defensive strategies work well in these contexts, but it definitely indicates that the claim one can only beat such decks by employing similar decks is exaggerated.
Rush decks are very vulnerable not only to forest canopy, but to anything that quickly blocks lanes (cloud of bat, mass collapse, or simply combinations of cost 0, 1, 2, or 3 minions). They are somewhat vulnerable to cards that quickly destroy health 1 minions (cinderbox is excellent) or that block power dive (e.g. mesmer). And they are vulnerable to things that increase the time/resources to respond. This includes power generating, card summoning, and life granting effects.
I am less familiar with trap decks. Depending on what you mean by trap deck, the term could encompass a wide array of vastly different decks. I will assume you mean decks that combine many traps with cards like savage kobos or triton hunters to summon traps and savage trappers to kill minions as traps are played. I think the best solution to this sort of deck is one with flexibility: cheap minions to sacrifice as trap exploders, cards to target the savage trappers before they do a lot of harm, cards (including barriers) with decent health or regeneration to soak damage, and cards like voltas and stormships able to wipe out significant numbers of low-health enemies. By the way, this defensive strategy is not bad against a large number of decks.
Finally, regarding the claim that trap/rush decks involve zero strategy, I completely disagree. Let me focus on rush decks that are more clearly defined, and, if anything, more restricted and hence less “strategic” than trap decks. Strategy takes place at two distinct times: during deck design and during game play. Getting a rush deck to actually defeat an opponent before stalling on clogged lanes is a challenge – mindlessly loading a deck with quick minions does not suffice. Balancing ways to accelerate the damage caused with ways to draw needed cards in time and with ways overcome enemy hazards requires very tricky and strategic deck design. To play a rush deck often requires more subtlety than it appears. When to defend vs. when to strike for more quick damage is not a clear-cut, formula-bound decision. Likewise for the decisions of when (and how) to draw more cards, when to sacrifice a unit with power dive, and when to augment units with cards like overload, huge, or drums of war. If you find playing against these decks leaves you with no thoughtful strategic decisions, I would suggest the problem is with your opposing deck – not with the rush deck. But let me take this point even further. I maintain that by encouraging the use of otherwise seldom-used cards, forcing some thought to defense, and deterring mindless stacking of huge minion upon huge minion, the rush deck actually increases the strategic value of the game – even when such decks are not played. I firmly believe a similar argument can be made for trap decks.
I fully expect that we will continue to disagree on the merits of rush and trap decks. I do not mean to de-value your opinion, and I mean no disrespect to you because I disagree – I could prove to be wrong. But, at least for now, I do disagree – for the reasons delineated above.
I think this is a natural part of any combination-based card game: smart people find or use smart tactics, which is, after all, the objective of 2-player fights.
Successful decks will rise and fall, as we have seen already in SC’s life. Future cards or alterations will continue to force decks to evolve, again and again.
As Quint has pointed out, beyond minor alteration of casting costs or the odd +/- 1 health here and there, we are pretty sure all is well and good.
And, after all, if you are facing the same opponent who always uses the same deck, then switch out your deck before you start the fight…
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change.”
In reply to this post by Quintivarium
I think when a game has been around long enough, certain types of decks rise as the cream of the crop. There are only so many combinations of cards, and by default, some will be better than others. A select few will be the best, and people who for whatever reason want to play other types of decks need to find ways of dealing with these powerful decks if they want to continue to compete, so I definitely agree with what you say. I play a rush Air Speed deck and while with that deck I win more often than not, there are decks that give me trouble and players that beat me over and over. These people figured it out somehow. I try to adapt, for instance, I had to put some Calm Seas in to deal with Forest Canopy, which pretty much kills my deck. But there are always ways to beat it. And I find myself often making tough strategy/tactical decisions, like "If I Power Dive my Storm Fiend now, it won't be able to block his Giant Constrictor next turn," for instance. There's a lot of timing involved with speed decks. They may be easy to play, but they're hard to master, especially against really good players.
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