Tactical Tweaks - Patch #55

Team Horizon

Oct 21, 2020

ARC
Patch will be live Thursday, Oct 22th before 6:00pm ET!

This week is a spooky pre hallows-eve patch! We have some festive card changes, a few new cards, Prism shifts, and removals, all in the name of further consolidating Prism identities and tuning up some underperformers. Read down below to find out the details!

Changes ⚙️

  • The phrasing of effects that Draw a unit into play has been changed to Draw and summon a unit
  • All Summon effects have been renamed to Evoke
  • Keyword text badges are now centered if no other text is present

Bugfixes 🐛

  • Fixed a bug where Bogi Bogi can target ally units
  • Fixed a bug where Righteous could dust itself when "killed," rather than by damage
  • Fixed a bug where audio could play while the game was loading, even if you had the game muted
  • Fixed a bug where popups from action history could get stuck on screen as actions took place
  • Fixed a bug where the tooltips on cards would render incorrectly when the card was on the left side of the screen

ARC

Cards

Hello Skyweavers! We have some more consolidation to our language this week, the most notable of which is changing the “Summon:” Ability of Units like Allbane to “Evoke:” so as to differentiate its language from cards like Trydra, which “Summon” units, and cards like Leonitus, which do things when another unit is “Summoned” so that the term “Summon” is less loaded than it was before, since Units with effects that trigger when they are summoned are now termed as “Evoke:” effects, rather than “Summon:” effects. Additionally, all effects that were formerly phrased as “{Draw} (a unit) into Play” are now updated to “{Draw} and summon (a unit)”


Teleport (927)

Teleport - Draw and summon a 2 cost unit. If it has no attachment, give it Barrier.

    Cost: 1 2

    Text: Draw a 2 cost unit into play. Give it Dazed. Draw and summon a 2 cost unit. If it has no attachment, give it Barrier.

Likely the trickiest change I’ve ever made to a card, and one I would rather have avoided, but that was necessary for long-term design safety. Teleport as a card is uniquely dangerous due to the fact that it was a very powerful earlygame card which had a massive power gap between its best-and-worst case results - 2c units like Boulder, Lau Sensei, and especially Grunk and Rage Cage, were amazing with it, ignoring or even benefiting from the "debuff" it gave them in the form of Dazed, while for and any other unit, especially those with spells, the Dazed would be a debilitating debuff. In theory, the build-around opportunity this offered was really awesome, but the fact that Teleport was such an amazing earlygame tool when used with certain units meant that most aggro decks really wanted to run Teleport, which meant that what 2c units were viable for aggro was essentially defined by their relationship to Teleport, with even formerly popular mainstays like Halcyon, Hannah, and Cube Jr. which lacked synergy with Teleport being ditched in favor of the few units that could ignore or benefit from Teleport’s downside, thus stifling creativity and diversity in deckbuilding. Furthermore, this problem is likely to only become more prominent as new 2c units that are made in the future.

So after much deliberation, I've decided to make this change to Teleport, raising it 1c and removing its "downside" to allow it to function as a more general 2c unit tutor. It also now applies a barrier to any unit it summons without an attachment, so it can still reward the crafty player who builds around it with high-statted attachment-less units like Angler, or fragile units they want to protect, like Coffin Moth. Critically, this change also reduces the gulf between its best and worst cases, since even at its "worst," Teleport will let you summon a 2c unit without a downside, and in the "best" case, it can add some extra value to a unit via barrier, which serves to make Teleport place less of a constraint on deckbuilding.


Lau Sensei (1158)

Lau Sensei - Evoke: Draw your lowest cost air spell onto this unit. Give it banner.

    Text: Summon: Draw your lowest cost air spell onto this unit. Give it banner. Evoke: Draw your lowest cost air spell onto this unit. Give it banner.

    Power: 2 3

    Health: 3 2

Was a big partner in crime with teleport, but even with the tune up to that, Lau’s decent earlygame health pool and ability to fetch up Supersonic made him a strong standalone, so I’m trading a point of hp for power, to let him be cleaned up a tad easier and hit a tad harder. Should still be Good IMO. Also showcases our new “Evoke” keyword update.


Gato (810)

Gato -

    Power: 2 1

Nerf to one of my favorite cards, but with some additional context - Sudden Gust now has Banner, to make it better as a standalone, which in turn lets Gato give a double banner when used with its spell, which should add more flexibility to it.


Sudden Gust (348)

Sudden Gust - Return the enemy's left-most card in hand to deck.

    Keywords: None banner

Small but notable buff, makes the spell more valuable as a main deck option. I like hand disruption as a subtheme for INT, and it serves as a nice pushback to resource generation.


Cobalt (939)

Cobalt - Evoke: Draw your lowest cost metal spell onto this unit.

    Text: Summon: Draw a metal spell onto this unit. Evoke: Draw your lowest cost metal spell onto this unit.

    Keywords: None guard

    Health: 3 2

Update to match our other spell seekers like Lau Sensei, and grab the lowest cost spell. It's also been overperforming a bit, so I’m giving it guard but slashing off 1hp to make it less durable but more protective.


Iron Mask (984)

Iron Mask - Has -10 cost if your deck is empty. Give your hero Lead, armor, and banner.

    Cost: X 10

    Text: Spend 1 mana for each card in your deck. Give your hero Lead armor and banner. Has -10 cost if your deck is empty. Give your hero Lead, armor, and banner.

This change is more for future-proofing. Any “low cost” draw effects (like the change to cobalt) can allow INT to grab Iron Mask consistently off a Conjure due to it costing 0, which could turn into an issue in the future. After this change, this can still occur with “high cost” draw effects, but those are less common, and will likely be used more sparingly in the future than “low cost” ones. Additionally, costing 10 puts Iron Mask in the same cost slot as spells like Touch the Sky and Grave Roil, so it’s harder to isolate this when Conjuring it from outside your deck.


Mulch (845)

Mulch - Deal 1 damage to target unit. If lethal, summon Elderwood.

    Text: Give target unit -1/-1. If lethal, summon Elderwood. Deal 1 damage to target unit. If lethal, summon Elderwood.

    Keywords: None wither

Nerf/simplification to a highly efficient earlygame removal/value card in INT, removing its ability to cheat Barrier and Armor. Should remain pretty reasonable overall.


Thanite (1092)

Thanite -

    Keywords: armor stealth,armor

Its playspace was a bit linear, since it would always be easy to pick off if its Cold Snap was employed, and its statline was just a tad poor, even with armor. Stealth helps it be a bit more durable if you opt not to use the spell, and gives it a small chance to live if you do, which should be fair.


Seal of Doom (572)

Seal of Doom - Lose 1 max mana. Do 3 damage to your hero. Give each unit -6/-6.

    Text: Lose 2 max mana. Give each unit -6/-6. Lose 1 max mana. Do 3 damage to your hero. Give each unit -6/-6.

Tweak to a removal option. In the current meta, losing 2 max mana is pretty lethal in the mid-game with the speed at which aggro decks can rebuild, so trying a tweak to make it more usable as an answer earlier on. Now deals 3dmg to your hero, and only takes 1 max mana. Also, directly costing you some hp matters a tiny bit more in longer 16+ mana games where mana becomes less of an issue.


Windweave (969)

Windweave - Mulligan your hand. Draw two.

    Text: Mulligan your hand. Draw two spells. Mulligan your hand. Draw two.

Minor nerf/simplification by just performing generic draws, rather than drawing spells, should make it a little bit less effective in mulligan decks. I have been hearing about Zam mulligan decks, but they seem to be fairly low on the ladder, so while I’m watching them with interest, I’m not sure they’re a problem that needs a big change/nerf yet.


Forcefield (1108)

Forcefield - Give target ally Shield. Give other allies Barrier.

    Cost: 2 1

A pretty major underperformer and anti-removal tool that feels like it could be pushed a bit, moving into the 1c slot teleport vacated. also a buff to tactician by proxy.


Mr. Whiskers (260)

Mr. Whiskers - Death: Give your hero Whisk Away.

    Text: Sunset: Dust the enemy's top dead card. Death: Give your hero Whisk Away.

    Spell: Whisk Away Shroud

Not a strict buff so much as a “retooling” to preserve the core of the card while giving it some new life. Shroud lets him provide a sticky on-curve guard option, and giving the spell on death makes him a far superior curve play, while also reducing his lategame scam potential - I would frequently use him to recycle Ponderous after playing his study onto my hero. Any change that improves curve playability and simultaneously reduces options for lategame Conjure wars is a pretty good one!


Sworn Oni (994)

Sworn Oni - The glory effect of allies triggers twice instead.

    Power: 3 2

    Health: 2 3

Tweak, now has a 2/3 statline, letting it endure a little more punishment, potentially letting it stick to get its Quest going or enable other glory users.


Chief Justice (1026)

Chief Justice - Play: Give target enemy unit Silence

    Text: Death: Give light cards in your hand -1 cost and banner. Play: Give target enemy unit Silence

    Keywords: banner banner,armor

    Power: 5 2

    Health: 5 4

    Spell: Judgement Smite

This was a design I really missed. I like the option of it as a curve play to silence foes, and also the lategame silence + nuke option it offered. While the new version was cool, there wasn’t quite enough support for light buildarounds just yet. More elemental synergies will definitely be on my radar for the future though.


Honor Guard (745)

Honor Guard - Death: Summon Armored Guard with banner.

    Text: Death: Summon Armored Guard. Death: Summon Armored Guard with banner.

Flavor update and buff. Now summons an Armor Guard with Banner on death, making it more valuable and similar to Honor Guard itself. Don’t disrespect him or his son ever again!


Twisted Metal (626)

Twisted Metal - Give target ally unit +3/+1 or enemy unit -1/-3.

    Text: Give target enemy unit -1/-3, or target ally unit +3/+1. Give it Lead. Give target ally unit +3/+1 or enemy unit -1/-3.

Simplification and tiny nerf, no longer grants Lead. we have a fair bit of Lead already, and its usefulness here is pretty limited, so it's a nice one to simplify.


Avatar of Light (245)

Avatar of Light - Inspire Light: Give your hero +1 health and Shield.

    Text: Inspire Light: Spend 1 mana to give your hero +3 health. Inspire Light: Give your hero +1 health and Shield.

A change in the service of simplicity and flexibility. The mental math Avatar required due to guzzling up extra mana when light cards were played was awkward, and it could still heal for a lot lategame. Now it heals just 1hp for free, making its healing less sizable, but it also gives your hero a Shield, which lets you make bolder attacks or absorb enemy hits, which should help save you more health on average when you have less light cards, while simultaneously reducing its lategame healing output and making smaller healing combos easier to employ, since you don’t need additional mana to use the Inspire.


Three Lashes (1044)

Three Lashes - Do 1 damage to a target. Do 1 damage to enemies. Do 1 damage to each unit.

    Cost: 4 5

    Keywords: None banner,wither,lifesteal

This was always a cool spell, but lately it has felt pretty underwhelming, so I’m trying an exciting change in giving it +1c and all three spell keywords, letting it wither units, lifesteal health from the enemy hero, and banner up your own hero for a turn. Should be fun, and a cute teaching tool for how keywords work with spells.


Chain Storm (1119)

Chain Storm - Give each character Chains. Do 2 damage to each unit.

    Cost: 5 4

    Keywords: wither None

With Lashes moving up, I’m trying to move this back down and dropping wither. Aggro has gotten some new tools, and 4c to deal 2dmg to all units is a pretty reasonable rate, even if it slices through armor. It does blast through barriers too, which is a bit unfortunate, but barrier units have been a bit of a pain for people lately so I don’t mind that too much.


Think Twice (897)

Think Twice - Draw your lowest cost mind spell. Give your hero a copy.

    Text: Draw your lowest cost mind spell. Give target ally a copy. Draw your lowest cost mind spell. Give your hero a copy.

Simplification. Limits its usage alongside cards like Iron Mask, which I like as a bit of a balancing mechanism. Mostly it's just to make the card a bit simpler to read/understand though.


Olifant (507)

Olifant -

    Health: 4 5

Its stat pool was pretty below par next to other prisms units - INT has a 2/4 2 drop in angler, for example. While his shield is valuable, STR is still the prism of big units, so letting Olifant get +1hp feels pretty reasonable.


Polar Bear (687)

Polar Bear - Death: Give your hero Seek.

    Health: 3 4

Buff to another statistically weak STR unit, the 5/4 statline line is fair for a 4c unit, so it should hopefully be less miserable than the 5/3 statline was.


Cryogen (328)

Cryogen - Sunrise: Give enemies Frozen.

    Keywords: armor,stealth stealth,armor

    Power: 6 5

Small nerf, reducing her attack a tiny bit - I like her role as a finisher, but thanks to armor she squares up a bit unfairly next to the statlines of other big cards like Tiamat. She effectively gains extra power thanks to her auto-frozen anyhow.


Tiamat (477)

Tiamat - Glory: Do 3 damage to enemies. The enemy loses 1 max mana.

    Keywords: guard,wither guard,wither,banner

Speaking of Tiamat, here’s a small buff to her in the form of Banner - shouldn't be too massive since she’s a large lategame play, but lets her have a tad more impact. Banner was the only keyword our cycle of elemental dragons did not have, so it's fun that they now possess all of them. It also fits nicely into her overall theme - three heads, all stats being multiples of 3, and now 3 keywords too!


Jar of Souls (805)

Jar of Souls - Summon your top three dead units as 1/1. Give them Hex and ready them.

    Cost: 7 6

    Text: Summon your top three dead units as 1/1. Give them Hex and wither. Ready them. Summon your top three dead units as 1/1. Give them Hex and ready them.

Moving down the curve to encourage use of it as a pushback to aggressive plays, and dropped wither off the summoned units for simplicity. This was formerly uber-good for recycling spells at 6c, but since it gives hex now that’s not really an option, so I think it's solid, but not broken, as a 6c option.


Forest Hart (121)

Forest Hart - Other allies are summoned with +1/+1.

    Keywords: stealth stealth,lifesteal

    Power: 3 2

    Health: 4 6

Reversion/buff to a more primal form. Was always a big fan of the sturdier statline + lifesteal for Hart, made it a potent play in the midgame to try to take board and push in vs a slow opponent.


Buckler Up (199)

Buckler Up - Give target unit Lead, guard, and armor.

    Text: Give target unit guard, armor, and Lead. Give target unit Lead, guard, and armor.

Ordering fix. All buff spells that place enchants onto units are intended to place their enchants before granting stat buffs or keywords, for consistency, and to let them beat chains.


Nakamoto (1090)

Nakamoto - Evoke: Dust spells in your deck. Give your hero +1 health for each.

    Cost: 3 4

    Text: Summon: Dust spells in your deck. Give your hero +1 health for each. Evoke: Dust spells in your deck. Give your hero +1 health for each.

    Power: 3 4

    Health: 3 4

Curve futzing to make room for another 3c INT card. Nakamoto also is one of those cards that tends to get mana potion-ed out early in tandem with something like iron mask/cobalt, so I like moving him up 1c with +1/+1, to make any possible shenanigans with him a little slower, but also let him work better as a body outside of such early combo plays.


Magnanimous (1062)

Magnanimous - Play: Give spells in your hand and deck -1 cost. Mulligan your hand.

    Keywords: banner guard,banner

    Health: 3 4

Was seeing very little use, so I’m giving it a bit more bulk and guard, to make you a little safer the turn you play it.


Wed Dead (955)

Wed Dead - Kill target unit. Give its health to its hero. Its player gains 1 max mana.

    Cost: 3 2

Was pretty bad at 3c, so trying at 2c. The cost for using it as removal for an enemy remains fairly steep, and can’t be found by cards like Kook Book, so it seems like it should be ok as a ramp tool as well. Could see removing the ability to hit enemy units if this proves too useful like this.


Cleanse (922)

Cleanse - Dust target character's enchant to draw a card of its element.

    Text: Dust target character's enchant. Draw a card of its element. Dust target character's enchant to draw a card of its element.

Small but notable nerf, now must successfully dust the enchant to draw off of it, which means it cannot attempt to dust Lead to draw metal cards. This is more for consistency with other “Dust to do X” effects than to nerf cleanse, but the nerf to incidental draw is nice too.

Tox - Evoke: The enemy loses 1 mana next turn. Add Vile Vial to their deck.

Tox returns, albeit in a different form. Looking to try out a new kind of mana-stymieing effect, and also slings a vial into the opponent’s deck. Seems like a fairly interesting overall option for aggro decks, though its fragile body should help keep him in check.

Mortal Blow - Kill target unit.

An important contextual card and thematic piece for STR, helping reinforce it as a prism with very clean, flexible and effective removal. Also sets the baseline for a caveat-less removal spell at 4c, providing a clean base which other removal spells can be measured against.

Claw Swipe - Do 2 damage to enemy units.

Another clean and effective card to help further establish STR as a good baseline prism and provide basic removal to measure other removal options against. One-sided AOE damage feels very STR, since it lets STR preserve its own units, and a simple AOE like this is a useful learning tool for newer players. Seems pretty powerful. Could move to 4c if needed though.

Subjugate - Set all units to 1 power.

Another thematic damage prevention card for INT, letting it set power of all units to 1 to block offensive pushes and play for time, also opens up some fun options with Funeral Moon and the like.

Eradicate - Dust target unit with 2 power or less.

A callback to the old design for Identity Crisis, offers a potent earlygame removal tool and can even be used on bigger units if you work for it. Took the slot of kill in twain in WIS, offering another removal option and reducing some draw that didn’t feel particularly WIS in nature.

Gravekin - The death effects of ally units trigger twice.

A terror from the past lives again! Gravekin is a very thematic HRT card, and with Sworn Oni and Sapphire providing doubling for other effect types, I like bringing Gravekin back in. However, his cost is higher, and his stat total is weaker now. so it's less splashable, and you need to be actively planning around it more. Having Bone Mask over the old Gravekin’s fate makes its usage a bit more specific, giving it a more aggressive edge, and makes it less generally useful.

Gale (439)

Gale - Glory: Ready your hero.

    Keywords: None stealth

    Prism: hrt agy

    Health: 3 2

AGY is the prism that cares most about attacking with their hero, so having Gale in HRT always felt odd to me. so trying a shift from HRT-AGY. I have also traded 1 of her health for stealth to let her be wiped out by AOE and bannered hero hits a bit easier, since she seems far scarier in AGY than she was in HRT. Montage is another card that really feels more AGY, but I think that’d be a bridge too far in terms of power level/efficiency for its combos.


Bird Knight (1056)

Bird Knight - Death: Summon Songbird.

    Prism: agy hrt

Traded from AGY to HRT for Gale, has death effect theming for HRT + the curve and elemental slots of the two matched nicely. Had also fallen pretty far out of favor in AGY aggro recently, but it should be a decent defensive tool that fits in with HRT’s general death effect focus nicely.


Wash Ashore (976)

Wash Ashore - Spend mana equal to target unit's cost. Return it to hand. Give it Dazed.

    Prism: str tok

This felt a bit complex for a STR card, and was pretty abysmal in terms of play and winrate. I think Claw swipe is a better inclusion at this point in time. I can definitely see re-adding this in the future, but for the moment It will just exist as an attachment for Shoal Sprite.


Kill in Twain (455)

Kill in Twain - Kill target ally unit. Draw two of its element.

    Prism: wis tok

Removed as a standalone for prism identity purposes, as it's more of a HRT card than a WIS one, but will likely return in HRT in the future.

    Levitate (772)

I like this card, but it feels a bit weak in the current meta of aggressive decks, 4c to whisk a small enemy unit into your hand doesn’t have enough tempo value at this point. The flavor is also a tad odd. I do want to experiment with more stealing effects in the future though.

    Captain Chen (1144)

An old staple being moved to the bench. This is solely so that I can make an adjustment to him in the future when a new feature is introduced. Rest assured, he will return. In the meantime, enjoy Tox.

    Bury in Snow (850)

Removed from STR for Mortal Blow. Honestly, I have every intention of bringing this back, but for now, I think the cleanliness of having a simple baseline kill spell in STR is more useful for our new players, especially in our first prism.

    Psychosis (397)

This is another design that is perfectly good, but it doesn’t feel particularly HRT-themed, so I’m benching it for the moment in favor of Gravekin as a means of reinforcing HRT’s identity. It’ll definitely return in the future.

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