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    Senior Member Veles's Avatar
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    Preview of Balance Changes for CotC Cards

    Some of these cards enabled decks that took control archetype to its extreme. In the community it is often called stall. Control archetype is of course essential part of a healthy meta, however, having decks that slow the gameplay too much or have decking out as one of their main win conditions is generally unhealthy and leads to negative player experience. This is achieved by continually playing tools that allow little to no interaction to the hero. In the second group we have cards that enable combo-like decks that use stall strategy to completely ignore board state for multiple turns while attacking opposing hero.

    Soul Reaper - Casting cost up to 4 (from 3). Ability changed to "Remove all ally cards in your graveyard from the game. Your hero heals 1 damage for each card removed." (from "Remove all ally cards in your graveyard from the game. Your hero heals 2 damage for each card removed.")

    Soul Reaper has been a staple in midrange Zaladar and we wanted to preserve the most of its original version. Heal has been reduced to make its potential appropriate to its cost in relation to other healing options in the game. Cost has been increased for that reason as well, but more importantly to get it out of range of Mimic. Mimicing Soul Reaper that was already used is not the issue here since graveyard is probably not as full of allies as the first time. Issue here is mill Praxix being able to discard Soul Reaper and then Mimic it. If Soul Reaper was to be removed from the game post summoning, it wouldn't change this interaction.

    Armor of Ages - Ability changed to "Your hero is disabled (it can't attack, defend or use its hero ability). When Armor of Ages is destroyed, your hero takes 6 damage." (from "Your hero can't attack or defend.")

    Armor of Ages is a common card in mill Praxix and other stall elemental decks. While not seen that often at higher ranks, it was quite popular at lower ranks. Being able to save the hero from both ally and hero attacks in combination with other similar effects like Rain Delay and excessive healing is too good since it has no drawback in decks it is used. This version hampers Praxix ability to mill and makes the armor bigger liability vs item destruction. 6 damage on destruction also mitigates amount of damage it prevents.

    Crescendo - Casting cost up to 7 (from 6). Durability down to 4 (from 6).

    Crescendo has fallen out of favor lately, but it has been a staple for a long time in Millstalker decks and as long as it is in its current form it opens up possibility for that deck to reemerge. Increased cost and reduced durability should make it easier to remove by increasing range of tech that would work against it, namely Widespread Decay or Acid Jet, which require now only 2 or 1 hit to do the job.

    Into the Forest - Ability changed to "Attach to target friendly ally until the start of your next turn. That ally has stealth." (from "Attach to your hero until the start of your next turn. Your hero is hidden (it and its attachments can't be targeted).")

    Into the Forest has been a center piece of deck which is difficult to classify, commonly known as Solo Gwen. It isn't control, nor aggro, and I would explain it loosely as a combo deck. It, however, implores stall-like strategy by chaining Rain Delays and Into the Forest and opted to avoid controlling the board as much as possible. Instead it tries to ignore board state while attacking the hero.
    Another use of Into the Forest is in control decks, most commonly Skervox. He would poison allies and let them slowly die while chaining Into the Forest, Rain Delay and his ability over multiple turns. Creation of many anti hidden cards have proven not to be successful and it still ended up on the ban list.
    Consideration was to just replace hidden with stealth. Stealth would indeed weaken match ups against heroes with direct damage but that still leaves majority of decks in similar situation as with hidden. This led to redesign of the card that still fits the flavor and could help ally based builds.

    Lay Low – Ability changed to “Duration 1. Friendly allies have ambush and stealth. “(from “Your hero and allies can't attack and are hidden (they and their attachments can't be targeted) until the end of your next turn.“)

    Lay Low has been used in similar way as Into the Forest with Gwen. It enabled strategy of ignoring the board turn after turn until combo with Knight of Unaxio has been set up. As with Into the Forest, we opted not to allow hero to have stealth, as in majority of cases it would have similar effect as hidden if we were just to do the most basic switch between the two abilities. In compensation for losing hero protection and hidden, allies will have minor buff of having ambush as well.

    Full Moon - Ability changed to "Duration 1. Friendly allies have +2 attack. Combat damage to your hero is reduced by 1. Ability damage to your hero is reduced by 2." (from "Until the start of your next turn, friendly allies have +2 attack and your hero takes no damage.")

    Full Moon is used by solo weapon based Darkclaw and control Millstalker. It doesn’t have hidden, but with current card pool complete damage reduction equals not being able to target the hero in most cases. Fixed damage reduction should still provide some protection in combat and bit more vs direct damage.

    Holy Shield - Ability changed to "Attach to target friendly hero or ally. When that hero or ally is dealt damage, that damage is reduced to 0 and Holy Shield is destroyed." (from "Attach to target friendly hero or ally until the start of your next turn. That hero or ally takes no damage and can't be killed.")

    Holy Shield is another card that provides complete damage denial. It can save far more than 4 damage than comparative cards can heal. It is not big issue with allies since their health is low in comparison to hero health. That is why we considered just removing the option to target heroes. This would make it targetable by General of Unaxio as side effect, which would then translate into buff to attachment priest deck and that is already high tier deck. Variations of the card that limited effectiveness upon different conditionals have proven too long and complicated for a card from basic set. In general, with all these changes it is desirable to keep effect relatively simple as they belong to the first set. In the end we went with the version which removes NPE potential of hero saving excessive amount of health while keeping ally protection aspect on reasonable level.
    Last edited by Veles; 03-28-2019 at 12:46 PM.

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