This is turning into the mother of all edits
After some feedback on reddit another round of revision seems in order (https://www.reddit.com/r/faeria/comments/673aw4/early_game_issues_reviewed_by_a_newbie/)
Faeria is one of the first CCGs i really enjoyed due to its high level of and variety in strategy.
This depth, however, poses a significant challenge to newcomers and greatly tips the scales towards yellow rush in the early game. Now before i go on, I want to clarify one thing - I do not think yellow rush is overpowered in the grand scheme and it definetely shouldn’t be nerfed as that would likely ruin it for the fairly balanced high level play.
BUT new players - unlike most veterans - do not have the tools required to deal with rush proficiently. Heck, most players do not have the knowledge to defend effectively nor the cards to have fun while doing it.
I made a cheap variant of Jok3se’s budget deck (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRtpwucIJTA ) that can be viewed here (https://www.faeria.com/the-hub/deck/937-rank-10-to-1-in-a-day) and it took me from rank 10 to 1 in a day. I only started to encounter proper land placement and GR crackthorn (and other decks properly utilized against rush - i.e. buff against choking sands, etc.) at rank 2. So, clearly, a huge portion of the player base cannot deal with one of the cheapest decks.
And this brings me to the actual point of contention - Yellow rush is simple, cheap and fun. Whereas the response requires good land placement, a deliberate and careful strategy as well as more expensive decks - if one wants to experience anything but green taunt buff. (Some argue that red is another option, but budget red is disadvantaged in its probability to draw both a taunt + buff… and it’s still taunt buffing)
Now it is easy to say that people should just read the guides on the web to learn about the game, but that is clearly not an ideal solution. We are not talking about deep meta game strategy. Yellow rush is one of the easiest and most basic gameplay styles that more often than not can be played without spending time studying anything. Players that are not interested in this style, on the other hand, will already be frustrated by their defeats or pyrhic victories and now have to put in extra effort to find guides and learn that they most likely crafted the wrong cards to rely on anything but land placement and green taunt buffing.
Regardless of whether you hate or love rush… this is bad for the game. People will not stick around, if they have to suffer through this experience without a tangible remedy. Which brings us to potential solutions.
Knowledge is Power
Faeria does a great job teaching players about many game mechanics in the solo missions. I believe this needs to be expanded upon with a (recommended) campaign that teaches players about rush. A defensive Jalmyr so to speak. Preferably not just about yellow rush. Alternatively, if a campaign like this proves too difficult to implement, it would still be a great improvement if a selection of according guides could be accessed ingame alongside visual aids.
Considering the current situation (see rank 10 to 1) placing such tutorials in prominent positions seems highly necessary.
On a sidenote - I think it would be absolutely awesome, if players could create and share puzzles ingame. Considering that these wouldn’t have to net rewards, there would be little competition to the mission packs and it might greatly expand the content of the game (for free devs winkwinknudgenudge).
Versatility is Fun
While i don’t believe (yellow) rush requires a nerf, I do think it would be good to provide basic decks of the various colors with a more versatile and enjoyable response to it. There certainly are some common and rare cards that might achieve this, but to me they do not seem particularly useful in non-rush games - or they are restricted to a color. A more versatile defender of the homeland or a weaker, neutral variant of battle toads like a “rare” 3 cost event that spawns two peasants might be one solution. Similarly, more events dealing with land control (like shifting tides) could also greatly improve the experience. You could, for instance, offer a neutral 2-3 cost variant of tides and allow red to destroy land again (4f, destroy an unoccupied tile/7f destroy any tile adjacent to yours).
The guiding principles here should be both viability and fun. While the defender will probably never get the same enjoyment as the rusher, he should at least not have to absolutely hate it. To examplify this - one of the coolest encounters I had as yelllow rush was against a blue player who managed to draw three shifting tides in a row. Super lucky of course, but even 1 is quite helpful in stalling the rusher and solidifying land control - allowing the defender to potentially launch a counter attack rather than just defending until yellow is drained.
Overall though, I believe it is most important to teach people what to do. In a fun and visible manner. Like Jalmyr.
Cheers for a pretty good game.