IMHO on balance as of 16/02/2019

(mods, just noticed this isn’t the balance forum :open_mouth: - sry & feel free to move it there and remove this).

Faeria has changed lots since I left during the swallow saga. I’ve been back for a while now and I think I have an OK feel of where things are - at least for the middle-end.

(IMHO, add an IMHO before every sentence - two works too :)).

IMHO the biggest positive is there seems to be fewer extremely OP cards than when swallow was first out. Certain cards are still a bit OP within suitable decks, but the decks themselves seem somewhat balanced.

However, there seems to be a trend towards unexpected mass-god-damage-kill strategies (such as Kobold Barracks + Barrensky Vermin etc) that often win a game out of nowhere. I’ll call these MOTK (mostly OTK) unless anyone has a better term for it. These strategies are often nearly impossible to detect or counter, instead the idea is just to win fast before your opponent gets a chance to play it.

Adding healing is marginally useful to avoid MOTK, but it’s tricky to know when it’s needed when there are one-turn strategies that can deal any god-damage value.

The increase in MOTK seems to result in fewer late-game strategies, because everyone has to avoid letting your opponent have enough time just in case they’re running a MOTK deck. I used to hit fatigue somewhat rarely earlier on, now it’s virtually never.

I think partly this is because as the number of cards increases, the number of direct-god-damage cards will. But direct god-damage cards have a complex balance, because they kinda synergize with eachother in burn and MOTK builds, so the more of them there are the stronger they become.

It’s also kinda more fun IMHO (and strategic) to play games where gods are struck in combat. IIRC earlier a lot of commenters here were keen to see more importance given to board-position. Basically, more chess less hearthstone.

(Aside: Does anyone have stats on game length now compared to say initial release? It’ll be hard because surrendering will mess up the stats).

Another issue is that synergies seem to be getting very strong, which reduces (viable) deck variability. A good example is pure Rakoans (a deck I’m having lots of success with now).

One reason for this is adding card family-groups (what are these called? clades?) - Triton, Yak, Rakoan. These creatures all actively synergize with eachother - that’s the intention - but I don’t really feel it adds anything to the game and may actually detract.

Another heavily synergystic set is the wheel +1 cards (Ignus’s Wrath etc).

Here’s my own ideas to fix some of that.

Again, these aren’t purely changes to address balance issues, but also to avoid excess synergy (which reduces deck variation) and to reduce unfun-when-common MOTKs. This is also about balance across all skill levels, not just top (I haven’t seen too many tournaments recently, so this is mostly from lots of ladder play).

  • Ulani’s Medallion

    • Not OP, but not very strategic.
    • This is part of a number of cheese OTK builds - they don’t necessarily have great success rates, but battles with a Ulani’s deck are more about draw luck than skill.
    • IMHO replace Fugoro’s Ulani’s Medallion with another treasure - Say Doom Scythe, Equinox Automaton, or Magda’s Rose.
  • Ruby Yak

    • Again, not OP, but not very strategic (balanced for OTK, which is more luck than skill).
    • IMHO make it only fire the first time a yak takes damage per turn, but buff it to offset the nerf (maybe 4/6). That will make it strategic as you’re trying to injure a yak every turn.
  • Swarming Carassius.

    • OP vs slow decks when used with Aurora’s Creation.
    • Most decks don’t have any way to deal with Carassii(?) as they don’t run transformation or plague, which means the only option is to win the game before they overwhelm (you can summon 8 at around turn ~17). This makes Carassius games somewhat more luck based than usual.
    • Difficult to fix. Some options:
      • You could make them divine so the only way to copy is getting lucky Gemshell Tortoise or Egg.
      • You could cap Carassii summons to say max 5 (kinda sucky).
      • You could make each extra Carassii cost 1f and drop the card price by 1f.

While many Rakoan cards aren’t OP in impure decks, pure (or nearly pure) Rakoan decks have so much synergy that IMHO Rakoan card balance needs to be mostly done in pure Rakoan deck context. Reducing Rakoan synergies might be a good idea.

  • Rakoan Illusionist - This is extremely OP now in a Rakoan deck. It usually deals 3+ damage and the drake usually survives (thus causing no friendly health loss). Plus a 1/1 creature that can be used as rakannon fodder or whatever. While it might not be all that strong in a deck with only a few Rakoans, it’s a large part of the reason why a pure Rakoan deck is IMHO OP. I think it needs to go back to 2f.

  • The rest of the Rakoan cards aren’t as bad although most are slightly OP in a pure Rakoan deck. Frog Tosser, Gift, Cannoneer, Shaman Ulani, and Shield Mates are probably the 5 next most OP.

There’s a few other cards that seem a tiny bit OP although I’m sure everyone has different experiences.

  • Windborne Champion - maybe its gift should only work on adjacent creatures? Would make board position more important.
  • Emperor’s Command - too flexible, but could be countered with a reduction - say 1 less healing.
  • Rapala (maybe just for me) - so good at throwing a spanner in the works of opponents. Maybe 3L1W or 2L2W instead of 3W1L.

I generally agree with your post, with a few corrections/suggestions on some points:

  • I feel like the best alternative to Ulani’s Medallion is Flame burst ruby - it’s flexible, and shouldn’t be too game changing, as it is only usable once.
  • Divine carassius makes sense.
  • I haven’t encountered too many illusionists, and changing the card’s cost wouldn’t help with the problem you are describing
  • The Champion and the Command are fine as they are, in my opinion, and to change them like you propose would make them less unique.
  • Rapala is Weak, if anything. All you need to do is place a single lake next to water, and keep dumping the fish there. You are bound to have a couple cards burn, but only on the first turn after Rapala is summoned, which wouldn’t swing the match in most situations.

Thanks for the comments.

I had a look through the list but IMHO I wasn’t that keen on the ruby because of color identity. When you’re playing against blue with no red you would now have good reason to fear global 3 damage, as Fugoro is already popular and powerful (and it’s only 7f total). However, I’d agree ruby is a better option than most.

The main problem is the whole nearly-pure Rakoan deck is OP IMHO. Every extra faeria increase reduces OP-ness, whether you’re talking single card or whole deck.

I find Rapala is powerful in many situations.

  • If you’re getting rushed, rapala gives you 1 turn of breathing room, which is fairly often all that’s needed to get back on your feet (at least in board-control decks).
  • If you’re threatening to end the game next turn, dumping it reduces their chance of drawing an escape mechanism (or a MOTK). Same goes if you’re planning a big move next turn and don’t want it disrupted.
  • While you can just dump the fish over time, each costs 1f. Quite often when I play it the fish just end up sitting around or getting bashed by a creature worth less than 1f per life. It’s even worse (better) late-game as the fish have less potential to become collectors.
  • As Rapala is a single card, burning a single opponent card makes it at worst neutral with respect to both collection size (29 each remain) and draw count. You also usually burn approx 1/2 a spellwheel of your opponent if they’re non-blue (1/2 cos the forced lake is like a single prairie otherwise).
  • Synergizes (slightly) with Dustbringer Wraith, Blightborne Spectre and Haunted Husk.
  • It can permakill Ruunin.

It’s the only non-rakoan other than Emperor’s Command in my best deck, and I always keep it if I get it on the initial draw. I’d say it’s pretty rare that I end a game with it in hand.

You might be right about their balance, it’s really hard to read unless you watch other people play lots. As for unique-ness, I’m not so sure.

Also, two comments on Gagana.

  • First, where is the list of Gagana Crew Members? All I have noted is they always seem to have a gift or last word and I haven’t seen a legend.
  • Second, I think her(?) wildifying ability isn’t as good as it could be (while staying balanced).
    • You can’t really build a viable deck that relies on a single creature to provide land requirements, so mixing lots of high-single-land cards like Dream Reaver, Baldurion, Desert Twister etc isn’t a risk worth taking.
    • If she were divine it’d be a bit safer to rely on her. If she needed fewer wild lands (say 3) you could add cards that she helps with that are still somewhat accessible without (eg Aurora, Groundshaker, Last Nightmare). With those two changes she might need a small nerf though, like 2/7.

What I meant is, Rapala is easy to “neutralise”. And in those situation when the fish does make a difference, it’s usually not enough to win a match. Unless you use a combination of “card draw” cards - but that requires a rather specific deck, built around those cards. The best legendaries are those that don’t need a specific deck to work (like Fuguoro :slight_smile: )

And you are right - it’s rather strange that we don’t get any info on who the “crew members” are. It would have been better if we were allowed to “choose one” out of 3 random members.