(mods, just noticed this isn’t the balance forum - 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.