Best faction -- the definitive answer

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Best faction -- the definitive answer

Quintivarium
Players often ask, "What is the strongest faction?"  I have discovered a simple calculation which yields  the shocking, undisputable answer!  (Sarcasm intended)

I simply totaled the power point cost of all cards in each faction.  Assuming the card prices are an accurate reflection of the card strength -- a very reasonable assumption given the goblins' skill and effort at balancing things -- this actually is a good measure of which faction has the strongest cards.  The argument that holding the strongest cards leads to forming the strongest decks is a bit more suspect.

Anyway, in case you are curious, here are the rankings:
1. fire  (100 power points)
2. ocean (96 power points)
3. jungle (92 power points)
4. underearth (88 power points)
4. swamp (88 power points)
6. air (81 power points)
7. forest (78 power points)

It's probably coincidence, but these rankings actually do correlate very well with the impression I have from observing preferences of experienced players -- both from head to head play and forum posts.
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

SteveGoblin
Interesting....

Ice comes in at 95 by the way.

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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

Valentino
In reply to this post by Quintivarium
Brilliant formula. How comes I could not model that in excel? :-)
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

Quintivarium
In global chat, Corgi wrote,


“Jungle is so broken all the top decks main or at least side jungle.  How can people say fire is the best because it averaging cost is higher.  would mean its bad because the cast and summoning flow cost more.

Saying a faction is stronger because it cost more is dumb.”


Although the tongue-in-cheek nature of my original post may have been ‘lost in translation’, Corgi raises some interesting issues I wanted to address; hence, I move the post to this venue.

First, I’m not sure I agree that all the top decks are jungle.  While several top players do seem to focus on Jungle recently, I think this is due to them experimenting with a relatively new faction now that sufficient time has passed to accumulate nearly complete holdings.  If the deck design contest is any indicator, 3 submissions were ocean, 2 were under earth, one was air, and one was forest; jungle was a secondary faction in one deck.  I think there tends to be a bit of a cyclic nature to popular factions.  As one faction begins to dominate play, good countering decks arise that then shift dominance to another deck/faction.  The best players have a broad repertoire of decks; both to keep the game fresh and to keep opponents off-balance.  In the year and a half I have played, I have observed lost/taken under decks give way to direct damage decks to aquamancer decks, and now to constrictor decks.  And there has always been a niche for effective gimmick decks like kobo/blood orb, burning world/rage/pyrohydra or enchantress/pack attack.  To me, adding jungle to the mix simply adds richness to the game.

Second, I disagree that jungle is broken: it may be slightly over-powered – time will tell.  But it is not so overwhelming that there are no decks able to compete with it.  Like any other decks, jungle decks have their vulnerabilities.  But I do think it is worth looking at what makes jungle formidable.  

One card in particular comes to mind – the giant constrictor.  Its special ability makes it hard to counter, as well as devastating to most units it counters.  Simply including 4 copies of giant constrictor will pose huge problems for an opponent.  Just as the overpowered aquamancer draws players to ocean, the overpowered constrictor will draw players to jungle.  (Unfortunately, even if it is universally agreed that cards are over-powered, changing them is not easy.  I don’t know how to tone back the constrictor or aquamancer without changing their essential characteristics.  And if there were an obvious scaling back, it is hard to persuade players to “give up” their best decks – unlike the case where rarely used cards are improved.)

But jungle also poses other potent threats.  Strangle vines can quickly reduce powerful opponents to quivering weaklings – I fear they may be over-powered as well.  Savage trappers can be killing machines with their elusive ability to move opposite a target, and the plethora of useful but cheap traps jungle has to trigger their special.  Gargantula are durable and also have a nasty special power.  Giant crocodiles give jungle an excellent cost 3 defender.  Savage kobos have value as the only card summoning traps from one’s deck.  And jungle has several interesting auras/items like pack attack or drums of war that may initially appear innocuous – until used against you in a devastating way.

Every faction has its high points; I have simply focused on jungle here.
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

SteveGoblin
Re:Stranglevines: It currently strangles barriers too, which isn't really right - will be altered in next update.

Jungle is high-powered in terms of combat, but that comes at the loss of flexibility. it is savage, but it has a very hard time against some type of decks. It also has elements of unpredictability, which can make or break a game at a critical point.

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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

Marcus Gilfert
In reply to this post by Quintivarium
the answer to aquamancer is obvious to me, use of their power should cost either life or pp
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

BourkeStreet
Those two options are too taxing. You wouldn't have enough HP or powerpoints... it would just limit the card's maximum use. You should include a variety of cards in your deck that are efficient against small minions - there are many, instead of focusing too much on your own strategy, take time to think about counters for small minions the opponent will be bound to use.
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

Quintivarium
I've said this before, but countering aquamancers is NOT the same as countering the generic "small minion".  Probably 80% of the counters to aquamancer become ineffective after 2 rounds so you have a very limited window of opportunity to use them.  Thus, one must practically have the counter in hand when the aquamancer is played.  Even a lucky player (which I am not), cannot match aquamancers card for card with counters; one needs about twice as many counters as one's opponent has aquamancers.  This takes a giant chunk out of a large number of decks in which those counters do not organically fit.

Players who like direct damage decks or decks loaded with strength 2 quick minions generally have no problem with aquamancers; those who want to try other strategies with their decks have major problems.  Any one card that severely restricts possible decks to that extent reduces my enjoyment of the game.

BourkeStreet, if you truly think charging resources like life or power to trigger a special is too taxing, how do you justify the existence of minions like Ruby Hatchling or Necromages which do exactly that to power a weaker special?
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

BourkeStreet
Quintivarium, the many counters/ways to handle Aquamancer are actually there and I’ve seen players sometimes effectively deal with my Aquamancers everytime I play them. You just don’t seem to use them. We’ve played heaps of games and you’re very weak to be honest, even though I rarely use my Aquamancer deck these days. I’m not being mean but it’s true. The decks you play seem to be fun decks filled with entertaining ideas but are very easily overcome.

I myself don't find any issues against Aquamancers, nor do I carry cards specifically for Aquamancers.

With the two cards you've requested justification for, you're failing to view the game - Faction's strengths as a whole:
Ruby Hatching doesn’t take anything to trigger it’s Ability. If you mean Fire Wolf, they’re from the Fire Faction, these minion abilities match the Fire Faction’s strength > Heaps of spells / destructive auras to remove an existing Aquamancer/threat. Good set ups such as with Primeval Flame, Flame Spider will easily deal with future smaller threats including Aquamancer.

Necromages’ ability costs HP to use but it’s well suited to the Swamp faction’s ability to gain HP.
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

Quintivarium
BourkeStreet,

My strength as a player is not relevant to the issue; I see no reason discuss it here -- although I am more than open to constructive criticism of any of the many decks I have publicly posted in other threads.

There are ways to deal with aquamancer, I agree.  Some styles of play will use decks that naturally incorporate those cards, and these players will not have a problem with aquamancers.  I am not surprised you find aquamancers little problem, from what I have observed in the eight or ten games we have played, I do not believe aquamancers to be inimical to your style.  

But aside from direct damage spells or traps (and I will include taken under and lost here) and relatively expensive quick minions, there are very few cards able to single handedly negate an aquamancer.  All I can think of are flame spiders, storm ships, dactyls, wall of stalagmites, deepwood spiders, and liquefy.  I do not count cards that only work if they are already in play (e.g. primeval flame) because the holder of an aquamancer would probably not play the card until my counter has been removed.  I also do not count combinations (e.g. decay followed by uncontinue) because to count on a combo requires more cards than trying to be sure you hold a counter card before your opponent draws each of his aquamancers.  For players who like neither high cost quick minions nor direct damage spells, aquamancers are a huge problem requiring at least 8 to 10 cards that do not synergize well with the rest of the deck.

And your argument about game-faction strengths misses the point entirely.  Fire wolves, with their special power do fit the fire faction strengths and feel, but I can think of no reason that charging a resource for aquamancers to invoke a much stronger power would be inconsistent with the feel of Ocean.  You argued that charging resources to invoke an aquamancer power was too taxing.  That argument makes no sense if you maintain that exactly the same cost is not too taxing for lesser powers on other units.  If anything, I would argue the aquamancer power should cost more based upon faction strengths -- inflicting arcane damage on other units is not a strength of ocean -- it is a strength of fire.  And bringing health to units is a strength of forest.  The aquamancer special power may make sense for the unit, but it is not particularly consistent with ocean faction strengths.

That said, while I would be happy to see the aquamancer balanced by almost any means, I would prefer it to be balanced by either increasing its cost or giving it a timer (like whirling djinn).  Both of these adjustments have less impact on play strategy and better maintain the aquamancer uniqueness.
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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

SteveGoblin
Just wading in here...on the side of neutrality...

Firstly, Necromages can use their ability on any target, making them useful for targeting some of the powerful/annoying barriers.

Secondly, each faction does have game mechanic themes, but the themes are not absolute. The reason is that all factions need a way to perform some basic functions, or it wouldn't be playable.

Thirdly, the theme of Ocean is 'change' which often involves moving things around: The Aquamancer actually fits this quite well, because it moves health about.  If it was just doing 1 damage it would not really fit Ocean.


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Re: Best faction -- the definitive answer

BourkeStreet
In reply to this post by Quintivarium
My argument about game-faction strengths misses the point entirely, yeah no. Looks like Steve beat me to it. Aquamancers do match the Ocean’s theme of ‘change’ by moving health around. So that’s that.

“For players who like neither high cost quick minions nor direct damage spells, aquamancers are a huge problem requiring at least 8 to 10 cards that do not synergize well with the rest of the deck.”  - Cards that can efficiently handle Aquamancer are abundant, you just don’t like them.
Your card choices just happen to be ineffective against Aquamancer strategies. Certain strategies are naturally effective against other strategies, it’s part of the game. What you’re after is to nerf a certain card just because it thwarts your rigid decks. And that’s the end of that.