1. #1
    del170109032657's Avatar Community Manager
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    Interview with Dev SimonV - New mechanics in Griffin Bane and more!

    Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with our Dev SimonV to discuss the upcoming Griffin Bane expansion. Here are some of the main topics we covered and a quick summery of his replies:

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    Now that we've had some time to understand the Base Set 2 and HoN metagame, what are your thoughts on the current state of play?

    It’s interesting to see what players come up with the break the meta. At first everyone was playing Necro but top players knew that Deleb was the real thing. Then came Hakeem, Acamas, and Kat. It’s a good sign when there’s a rotation in the meta like this. My only regret is that Haven and Sanctuary don’t see the same amount of play in top tiers.

    How do you feel the addition of creature tribes worked out?

    I think it’s a good start, I mean we haven’t done that much yet, but the basics are there.

    Will there be more tribe specific functions coming over the next few months?

    Always. All expansions this year will have a tribal mechanic included in some way or another.

    What were your concerns heading into Series 06?

    Haven and Sanctuary aren't played enough. We hit them hard in Base Set 2, but it was needed. Haven had two aggressive creatures that enabled rush in a faction that’s meant to be slow. Sanctuary had Ambush cards. Those were creating frustration simply because of lack of feedback. When we built Base Set 2, we took cards with abilities we were more likely to redo and Ambush wasn't part of that. As such, Sanctuary took a pretty big hit.

    How will the Griffin Bane expansion help to fix these concerns?

    When we started balancing Haven, instead of trying to make it win at all cost, we asked ourselves: “What does Haven need to be a threat in mid to late game?” First it needs to stand up to Dark. It also needs relevant threats in T3-T4 and T5. To detract it from becoming rush, its early drops needs to be more defensive or to get better with time.

    Sanctuary is a tougher deal. The faction is not meant to perform rush strategies either. We needed to assign it another kind of play style and try to achieve it. It feels like it should be good in control decks and that’s where we put our focus. I think we ended up with some really good aggro-control decks.

    We've had quite a few new mechanics added in prior expansions. Aside from just tribes, we've seen the addition of new heroes and even buildings! Are there any major mechanics planned for Griffin Bane?

    Stacks! And Tokens! Stackable is a new ability that lets you deploy, relocate or move a creature with Stackable onto another creature with the same name. Let’s say Serpentfly has Stackable, you deploy the first one normally, then you deploy the second one on top of the first one, the size of the Serpentfly will go up by 1 and the 2nd Serpentfly card will go to your graveyard. Since your stack of Serpentfly is 2, it’s ATK is 2 and its HP is 4. If you deal it enough damage to kill 1 Serpentfly, the stack size reduces. There are stacks in GB that can go to insane numbers but dealing it damage is enough to reduce its threat level. A stack of 5 1/0/1 (thus a 5/0/5!!) on the receiving end of a Fireball, will see its stack reduced to only 1 (and thus make it a wimpy 1/0/1 again.)

    Will these Stackable creatures be available only to certain factions or will there be cross faction capability?

    Haven, Inferno and Necro all have tokens and Sanctuary has one Stackable creature. All factions have different takes on the mechanic. Haven has tokens that spawns on a building when you play Humans. Inferno spawns tokens when spells are played. Necro just plays A LOT of tokens... Skeleton army FTW!

    Will any other balancing be done to other sets of cards to take stacks and tokens into account?

    Swelling Breeder was nerfed because it was too good with the new Breeders. It was ok in the reality of HoN but had too much of an impact on Griffin Bane. The new version now giving Magic Resist to adjacent breeders. Also Djinn Cloudshaper and Enthrall got nerfed. Djinn requires 1 more Might and Enthrall costs 1 more. Puppet Master, as a result, also got nerfed to cost 7.

    How will this impact the competitive and top level players?

    It nerfs Hakeem and makes Dark magic users a bit more vulnerable to rushes. The problem with Dark wasn't necessarily its ease to destroy a creature... but also to steal it.

    You mentioned that breeders would be receiving some love in Griffin Bane. What new Breeder cards can we expect?


    This is the Breeder Matron. When we started the tribal theme, I knew I wanted to do breeders first. They are seen as really bad cards right now, which makes this an unexpected choice for the first strong tribal theme in Inferno. It’s an interesting challenge to bring these creatures to a better spot in the meta. Plus, since most breeders aren't played, it gave us room to create pretty much anything.

    Matron is clearly only good if your board is full of breeders. There are other breeders in this set that spawns breeder tokens.

    Any final thoughts on the direction of the game and this series?

    It’s been wild balancing this set, but I think each faction has a new fun strategy to play with. It’s probably one of the most complex set we've had to date because of stacks and how they change the game. It’ll be really fun to see what decks players come up with.
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    Originally Posted by JasonParadise Go to original post
    Also Djinn Cloudshaper and Enthrall got nerfed. Djinn requires 1 more Might and Enthrall costs 1 more.
    I'm sold.
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    Stoneofhelp's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by JasonParadise Go to original post
    Stackable is a new ability that lets you deploy, relocate or move a creature with Stackable onto another creature with the same name. Let’s say Serpentfly has Stackable, you deploy the first one normally, then you deploy the second one on top of the first one, the size of the Serpentfly will go up by 1 and the 2nd Serpentfly card will go to your graveyard. Since your stack of Serpentfly is 2, it’s ATK is 2 and its HP is 4. If you deal it enough damage to kill 1 Serpentfly, the stack size reduces. There are stacks in GB that can go to insane numbers but dealing it damage is enough to reduce its threat level. A stack of 5 1/0/1 (thus a 5/0/5!!) on the receiving end of a Fireball, will see its stack reduced to only 1 (and thus make it a wimpy 1/0/1 again.)
    What happens if a stack gets hit by a soul reaver or a enthrall? does it take away the whole stack or one one of the creatures in the stack?
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    del170109032657's Avatar Community Manager
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    Originally Posted by Stoneofhelp Go to original post
    What happens if a stack gets hit by a soul reaver or a enthrall? does it take away the whole stack or one one of the creatures in the stack?
    The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.
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  5. #5
    The djinn nerf affects all academy, hakeem will be a lot weaker with both nerfs, djiin and entrhall, but the enthrall nerf is more than fine. Actually, Hakeem plays circle of 9, unlike other academy heroes like myranda and akane, it will hit them too hard in my opinion, I think a minimum cost was a better idea, like 1-3.

    The stackable units sound funny, but I can see the complains about dark magic on them, we will see...

    Haven needs 2-3 cost creatures way better than the drops we have, it doesn´t need to be rushy, ok, but make them as useful as rakshasa and lurker in the dark, something that doesn´t hit you hard but is annoying as hell to fight, I don´t understand why does inferno have better deffenses than haven with lurkers, bloatters, lilims, 2/0/4 shoters...

    Jason, I have a very straight question for you: Do you think stall decks are healthy for standard meta (we already have a mass rage deck working quite well) with cards like revised tactics, night of the rising moon, tutors, and so on...? I ask you because I think it´s too easy to discard dead cards and to fecht for the cards you need, in a game with 50 cards to draw, hero ability to draw, and one extra "mana" each turn... I don´t want to see stall decks in standard, at least not at that level of strenght.

    Also, I like the idea of breeders even if they are "ugly" :P but don´t forget to test it, you say breeders are weak? the breeders we have in standard are quite popular and strong in their respective decks.

    Lastly, you focusing on buildings again. Do you know how insanely good is going to be (again) earth magic with fissure and the likes? I would never play a buildings haven deck with those spells out there...I hope you don´t balance the entire faction around buildings unless you work on those spells deeply.

    Oh sorry, last question, will you guys balance the meta with patches if needed? I mean, before a new expansion is released and after GB.
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    Stoneofhelp's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by JasonParadise Go to original post
    The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.
    ouch, the only problem with that is that it gives dark magic a huge card advantage. Use one spell to economically get rid of a stack of three cards. Which as far as I understand is why creature enchantments are absent from the meta. Same problem. Now Hakeem will be even stronger O_o

    I thought it might have been a nice answer for dark magic other than dark ward if it only affected one of the creatures.
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  7. #7
    The spell will impact the entire stack. A stack acts as one creature when it is on the battleground. If you play Soulreaver on a stack, you kill the whole thing. Town Portal will return the creature card that was originally put in play into the owner’s hand. If the stack is made of tokens, they are banished instead.
    So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?


    ouch, the only problem with that is that it gives dark magic a huge card advantage. Use one spell to economically get rid of a stack of three cards. Which as far as I understand is why creature enchantments are absent from the meta. Same problem. Now Hakeem will be even stronger O_o
    Indeed it does if you play all the creatures from hand - normal creatures with stackable look rather poor to me (no advantage of being stacked and many disadvantages), but as free tokens it's only a tempo advantage for you.
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    Stoneofhelp's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally Posted by ttyieu Go to original post
    So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?.

    As far as I understand you cant heal a stack, those creatures die. And not only will a fireball now reduce the creatures hp by 5 but also its attack power. Before your creatures attack power would at least remain intact. Like you said, few advantages, many disadvantages from the description so far.
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  9. #9
    So how will tokens work exactly?

    Will they be similar to Boneyard effect?
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    del170109032657's Avatar Community Manager
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    Originally Posted by Portios86 Go to original post
    Jason, I have a very straight question for you: Do you think stall decks are healthy for standard meta (we already have a mass rage deck working quite well) with cards like revised tactics, night of the rising moon, tutors, and so on...? I ask you because I think it´s too easy to discard dead cards and to fecht for the cards you need, in a game with 50 cards to draw, hero ability to draw, and one extra "mana" each turn... I don´t want to see stall decks in standard, at least not at that level of strenght.
    Of course it's healthy. We need a huge variety of deck types to keep the game fresh and enjoyable. If it was only aggro, only stall, or only control, it wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable to play. I'm all for it.

    Originally Posted by Portios86 Go to original post
    Oh sorry, last question, will you guys balance the meta with patches if needed? I mean, before a new expansion is released and after GB.
    We have put in place a new system that allows us to balance cards on the go without an update/patch to the client. We will be able to react much faster than we were able to in the past. I wouldn't be surprised to see us balancing things as needed after the GB release.

    Originally Posted by ttyieu Go to original post
    So what determines the current number of creatures on the stack? Total amount of hp? What happens when you cast a spell that increases hp or heals? Let's say you have 4x 1/0/2 creatures on the stack so together they are 4/0/8. Now you increase their health by 3 - is it just 4/0/11 or maybe 6/0/11 - a damaged 6x stack? If it's 4/0/11, what happens when you deal 2 damage to it and what if 4?
    Enchantments like a hit point buff will only impact the bottom creature in a stack. You'd have to destroy all other monsters on the stack before cutting into that extra HP on the bottom creature.

    Originally Posted by DoubleDeck Go to original post
    So how will tokens work exactly?
    Which part? Tokens will be banished after being destroyed. There are cards that will add Tokens to the battlefield. It should become much more clear as we show cards from the set that deal with Tokens.
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