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razcrux
10-07-2013, 05:16 PM
Raz's Strong Hold card design package
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This faction has so much potential but still falls short of being consistent, or tier-1 in any but a few builds. We have/had a Kat OTK, and Kelthor has had a good engrage/bloodthirst build for a while, which is great; Zardoc as tier-1 for a while but is too dependent on his unique spells (especially now vs. academy). Sure Acamas can beat a Lock deck by rushing, but he is not generally viable (see below) -- Overall there is a lack of other builds around.

What I am proposing bellow is an entire set of cards that would fit into a future expansion. Each card addresses a particular "issue" that the faction is having, or that certain builds are having. Some cards bellow are also present in order to capitalize and emphasize existing cards that are under utilized because they lack strong synergy.

I hope that you (community + ubisoft) will like these designs and that they may become either a part of future sets, or inspire variations of them to help this faction along.

After the Creatures and Fortunes I also list out some spells that partly assist Stronghold, but also showcase some general effects that would open up new strategies for Stronghold, as well as all other factions.

P.S. On the odd chance: I used to work professionally as a card designer for another popular TCG, if there is any chance I might do some design work / beta testing for Ubisoft I would be most interested.

Part I analysis:

In analysis I look at particular heroes/cards and identify needs/problems and opportunities. In the second part I propose solutions that use the information from this analysis.

Acamas:

Acamas is a hero that allows creatures with Enrage to take some damage to do extra damage. His stats are 2-0-1 which makes him a perfect candidate for a Might-Destiny deck. The problems this hero faces is that many of his enrage options require at least 1 level in magic (Dreamwalker = 1 magic, Dreamweaver = 1 magic). If he wants to go a Might-Destiny only deck he either still needs one magic level for these cards, plus Zekiria the unique, or he has to forgo his ability and not use these cards.

Acamas is further hindered by the inherent weakness of Fortunes and Strongholds vulnerability to enemy ongoing spells. Strength of the Sea invalidates all of their strong fortunes: Broken Bridge, Alter of Asha, Sacrificial Alter, Surprise Attack and Desperate Assault. Strong hold does have the Blackskull crusher, which destroys ongoing spells if it attacks, but the problem with Blackskull is that it has to attack to use its ability, and a good player will never let that happen. Plus the blackskull costs 4 resources for an otherwise mediocre body; It's hard to justify a slot for a Blackskull when he will likely never even be able to attack and destroy the enemies ongoing spell, and instead you want other 4 drops like Cyclopses or Vultures.

Zardoc:

Zardoc is a fairly strong control hero, he could be even stronger though and the main problem is that his ability, while strong, won't help you to get actual damage on the enemy hero if the opposing board becomes full. Either his ability would need to directly synergies better with a creature that benefits from entering a new lane, or his earth spells need better synergy.

Kelthor:

Is probably doing the best right now in terms of cards that synergies and work together. He wants magic points and he gains great benefit from having some spells and his creatures all can be used to do on-demand surprise attacks. While he could be a touch stronger, he doesn't have a glaring weakness or problem that i feel is significant enough to focus on at the moment. If there are general solutions provided to Stronghold, this hero will benefit from them anyways.

Kat / Zoulieka:

This deck is generally seen at a higher level of play used as an OTK deck. Unlike other Seekers it is very hard to play this hero effectively as a generalist, like for example: 4-3-3, 4-4-2 or 4-3-4. Earth gives you some strong melee/anchoring abilities and board clearing effects, air positional control; the two should/could synergies with some of the higher fortunes to lead to some stronger late games.

Kat, Zardoc and Zoulieka all have earth spells that do general damage. There are some spell / magic wards and resists already in the faction (or Zouleika's ability) but there is still an inherent weakness to Dark Magic (that bypasses resistances) as well as a way to counter enemy board clearing spells (or your own) to maintain control.

Current fortune themes:

There are several fortunes for Stronghold that pump your Might faster than any other faction: Blood of my Tribe and Orc Armory. Sadly though aside from Blackskull Clan Warlord there is not a lot of reason to pump your might faster than normal 1-per-turn, nor to have a higher might than 6.

Part II solutions:

Creature 1:

Blackskull-Archer, Shooter
3 Resources
4 Might, 0 Magic, 1 Fortune
2 Attack, 0 retaliation, 4 life
Enrage 1

Purpose: enrage shooter-creature that isn't dependent on Magic and has Enrage, synegizes with might-focused deck and fits in the resource curve to replace Dreamweaver in on-magic decks.

Creature 2:

Blackskull-Cyclops, Melee
5 resources
6 might, 0 magic, 1 fortune
2 Attack, 2 Retaliation, 7 Life
Double Attack
When Blackskull-Cyclops is deployed, destroy all ongoing spells.

Purpose: provide a better counter to ongoing spells, give a reason for accelerating your might

Creature 3:

Hexproof-Dreamroot, Melee
4 resources
3 might, 1 magic, 2 fortune
2 attack, 1 retaliation, 4 life
Spell resist.
All creatures adjacent to Hexproof-Dreamroot gain Spell Resist.

Purpose: give protection from spells to friendly adjacent units, promote fortunes in a magic-focused (insect swarm) hero build.

Creature 4:

Wind Harpy, Flyer
3 resources
3 might, 1 magic, 0 fortune
2 attack, 0 retaliation, 4 life

Retribution 1 (Enemy creatures that move into the same row as this Creature take 1 damage)
Assault 1 (This creature deals 1 damage to all enemy creatures in the same row as it when it moves from one row to another)

Purpose: give a direct synergy to wind / redeployment effects

Fortune 1:

Deadly Assault
2 cost
4 might, 2 Fortune

Ongoing fortune:
Until the start of your next turn, target friendly Creature gains: Assault 2 (Creatures with Assault deal damage to all enemy creatures in their new row, when they are moved from one row to another)

Purpose: synergies with Swift abilities from Zardoc, Zekiria and Wind spells

Fortune 2:

Anger of my Tribe
5 cost
4 might, 5 fortune

Ongoing fortune:
Until the end of your turn, all creatures gain Enrage 1

Purpose: synergies directly enrage theme, providing more options to apply and combine with existing cards and abilities

Fortune 3:

Eye of the Hex-mark
3 cost
5 might, 4 fortune

Ongoing fortune:
Target creature cannot be targeted. At the start of your turn, return Eye of the Hex-Mark to your hand.

Purpose: provide a counter to enemy targeting, includes Dark spells but also any other form of targeting (note that it also blocks yourself too) -- note you could cast this on the opponent for some reason (prevent them from sac'ing a creature, for example). Makes your fatty creatures instantly more viable.

UNIQUE Fortune 4:

Surge of the Stronghold
5 cost
9 might, 2 fortune

Ongoing fortune:
Until the end of your turn, all creatures with might 5 or more cost 3 to deploy.

Purpose: Make it easier to play high-cost cards (a theme of Stronghold), and synergies with high-might levels (for example: Insect swarm + blood of my Tribe combo followed by this card for late-game play of high-might cards).

SPELLS:

These are not purely Stronghold in focus (the above should be more than enough to really bump them up a notch), but I wanted to show case some possible spells that would syenrgize and diverge a bit current thematics:

Spell 1:

Tornado
Wind Magic
3 cost
4 magic

Attach to target creature. Enchanted creature cannot move or attack if its Might is 3 or less.
At the start of each turn, Tornado moves to an adjacent battleground position. If that position is empty, destroy Tornado.

Spell 2:

Vacuum Storm
Wind Magic
3 cost
3 magic

Select an empty battleground position. All creatures adjacent to it take 1 damage and are immobilized until the start of your next turn.

Spell 3:

Guided Strike
Wind Magic
4 cost
3 magic
Ongoing spell:
Until the end of your turn, all Shooters gain +2 attack.

Spell 4:

Rooted Fists
Earth Magic
4 cost
3 magic
Ongoing spell:
Until the end of your turn, all creatures with Anchored gain +2 attack

Spell 5:

Echoing Blows
Earth Magic
4 cost
5 magic
Ongoing spell:
Until the end of your turn, target Melee creature gains Double Attack (may attack a second time)

Spell 6:

Devouring Earth
Earth Magic
4 cost
4 magic
All creatures with Anchored are destroyed.

razcrux
10-08-2013, 05:25 PM
Hi there, just wanted to add a possible variation for the Stronghold UNIQUE fortune.

This card concept is extremely simple, but sometimes simple is best:

UNIQUE Fortune 5:

Battle Cry
2 cost
4 destiny

Gain resources equal to your Might level.

Purpose: Stronghold doesn't have a lot of resource acceleration cards, this card would work very well with Rushing Assault so that you could do bigger late-game drops and really capitalize on the power of Rushing Assault (which currently is hard to do, due to the high play cost)

Harmbringer
10-09-2013, 02:45 PM
Gaining Ressources is mostly a Haven ability.
And unique isnīt something reliable as well (okay Soothsayer...)

It would have more flair with:
Raid
Might 4 / Destiny 3
Until end of turn: For each of your opponents card that is destroyed --> get 2 RES

Other cards are mostly pretty under powered in my view. Or grant wrong abilities --> e.g. Magic resist isnīt really something that can be shared this would be Magic Guard.

But overall good thoughts.

razcrux
10-09-2013, 04:58 PM
Thanks, fine tuning of points is up to play testing; I generally try to set numbers that are just under what I consider powerful, so that in testing you can then increment a card upwards and monitor the results of the changes. If you start with all the cards above what you consider "strong" power, you can't get good test results because only the cards that are dominant will be "visible" in your resulting sample data. This is because strong cards force players to build decks to counter them; which then detracts from less powerful cards (this is all card design theory 101 stuff). When all cards start at par or sub-par power point you can then see which cards have abusive combinations (cough cough Chain casting...) and catch those cards without having to swim in lot's of new overpowered cards and not being able to tell easily which ones are the source of the meta changes. Even play testers don't like nerfs, everyone likes buffs. So starting in playtesting with average-powered cards and then buffing them over time in increments during playtesting is rewarding to your play testers.

The most important is identifying correctly the needs, and addressing those needs with designs that address and support the identified solutions. Tweaking the card to then make sure it is strong, but not Ammar-strong is the detail-work.
:-)

As for resource gain a purely haven thing, I think this is a bit of a mistake to make it only Haven that can get such an ability. Here I did attach it to your Might level; which is a very Stronghold concept: go to high might, and quickly -- I do like that Haven has the most resource gain options, but other factions also need resource gains if they are going to be able to have power-turns and reversals. Resources are an intrinsic part of your ability to have burst turns and reversals after board clears.

Stronghold does have the Vulture that gets cheaper the more creatures die, so we could make cards cheaper instead of just giving you resources. The card you list could also work, as it provides some burst economy. Unique fortunes are actually much easier to rely on now than non-unique fortunes: if the purpose of the card is a one-time reversal (like Forbidden flame). So I think making a strong reversal stronghold fortune be unique is a good thing, not a bad one.

As for magic guard vs. magic resist aura's. To me it doesn't mater which effect is granted, just that there is such a form of protection possible. Stronghold has a theme of being anti-magic, it would be nice to see that theme really come to the surface. Another way to implement that could be:

Creature 3:

Hexproof-Dreamroot, Melee
4 resources
3 might, 1 magic, 2 fortune
2 attack, 1 retaliation, 4 life
Spell resist.
All spells your opponent casts cost 2 more resources to play

It wouldn't be outright protection for your units, but it would be a heavy burden upon them until eliminated. Secondary benefit is that it would make dark spells equally affected because cost increases are universal.

But magic gaurd would also work.
:-)

Thanks for reading and your input!