Balance Changes: Round Two

August 6th, 2014 at 5:13 am

Recently we announced a whole series of pending balance changes. We’ve been debating and testing these with the community, and now we’re planning some revisions based on all the feedback and data we have.

Many thanks to everyone who has been debating the balance changes in the forums and elsewhere and especially to those of you who’ve been testing them out on our test server. The feedback has been invaluable, and we’re ready to begin taking action based on it. It should be noted that none of this is final. It is very likely that we will make more updates before anything changes on the live server, and we continue to welcome feedback.

Rare Item Shopping

We’re going to return Randimar’s to weekly updates, not daily. It will stock more legendaries and epics than it used to (10 of each), but it will keep that stock for a whole week to give you time to strategize your shopping (are those ultra-rare items worth the price? How will you find the gold for them?). Randimar’s will also continue to keep stock local for each player. This means that you’ll have your own unique selection of items in Randimar’s, just as you always have. We hope this will give players different progressions in the short term, while increased access to legendaries will allow players to access all the same strategies in the long run.

The Daily Deal

To supplement this, Randimar’s has a new outlet opening! The Daily Deal will carry a small selection of items that rotate on a daily basis. It will stock one legendary, 3 epics and 10 rare items. This stock will be server-wide; that is, everyone will see the same items in this store. We think daily specials and the ability to discuss what’s in that store are interesting, but the new store will only carry a small selection to reduce the amount of checking you need to do if you feel you have to keep up with what’s there every day. In addition, if you don’t log on and check yourself, there will almost certainly be a forum thread devoted to discussing the day’s must-buy items.

Control Wizard Dominance

It looks like some of the changes may have swung the pendulum too far

in favour of control wizards and made it too hard for warriors and priests to close the distance on their arcane opponents. With that in mind, here are some updates that should give weapon-wielders a better fighting chance.

Winds of War and Gusts of War

The reduction in Step distances of Dancing Cut, Nimble Strike and others, combined with the changes to cards like Hard to Pin Down, means it isn’t really fair to leave wizards with a Push 3 card. So:

  • Winds of War is changing to Slide 1 (from Slide 2).
  • Gusts of War is changing from Slide 2 (from Slide 3).

Winds will remain the longer range card, but neither will be able to push warriors back quite so effectively now. Both cards still affect two targets and can disrupt your opponent’s blitz, but they no longer singlehandedly outclass a warrior’s built-in movement.


One counter we planned to help warriors keep moving was to prevent Encumber from “stacking”, that is, to only consider the greatest Encumber value, not the sum of them. That doesn’t help much when you’re a dwarf warrior with a Frost Jolt on you, though.

To address that we’re instead going to prevent Encumber from reducing any move below one move point. That will mean, even if you are loaded down with a Cone of Cold and a Frost Jolt, you’ll still be able to Shuffle along with each move card.


In conjunction with this change, we’re going to roll back the change to Encumber stacking. It’s too complicated to have special rules about Encumber stacking and a minimum threshold on move points—and probably unnecessary. We think this weighed in the balance with other changes will come out about right. We would very much like to hear reports on how this change affects control and movement.

Impassable Terrain

Flash Flood was conceived as a replacement for the too-restrictive Wall of Stone. It has slightly more counterplay than Wall of Stone since you can Fly over it as well as Teleport through it. However, there’s not a lot of Flying in the game and, overall, the replacement of this card for Wall of Stone helps control wizards by providing them a very powerful blocking tool that they can shoot over. It is also relatively easy to stack Flash Flood if you have the right legendaries, and that can make the game unfun for melee parties. That said, we want to try to make Flash Flood work. To address the issues with it, we’re making a number of changes.

You’ll now be able to target and affect impassable terrain. This means that you can clear Flash Flood with cleansing cards, like Cleansing Burst, Cleansing Ray and Cleansing Presence. You can also replace Flash Flood terrain with other terrain like a Lava Pool or Consecrate Ground. That allows for a lot more counterplay.

Note, though, that you can’t place terrain overlays onto natural impassable terrain, so you can’t put a Lava Pool on top of a river or a lake.

As a side note, this change makes Burst (and other area effect) cards a bit easier to use since you can now target impassable squares and have the effect “spill over” onto others.



Cleansing Cards

The cleansing cards just got a lot more useful, but they’re still pretty niche since they are dead cards if your opponent isn’t casting any terrain magic. To address that, we’ve added a minor heal effect to each Cleansing card:

  • Cleansing Burst: gets Heal 2.
  • Cleansing Presence: gets Heal 1.
  • Cleansing Ray: gets Heal 2. In addition, Cleansing Ray can now target any square, not just those that have terrain overlays on them. However, it only draws you a card if it cleanses a terrain overlay.

Flight Aura

That’s all well and good, but how are warriors to deal with Flash Flood if they don’t have a priest or wizard on their team? We want warriors to have some tools to deal with obstructing terrain and Flight Aura was supposed to be one of them. Its lack of the Keep ability on its armor has been a serious drawback, so we’re adding that in:

  • Flight Aura: gets Keep on the Armor ability. Armor value reduced to 1 (from 2).

Nimble Strike

Nimble Strike got hit pretty hard when we reduced its Step value from 4 to 2. We don’t want to reverse that change, but we would like the card to be a bit more special than simply being a higher damage Dancing Cut. This combines nicely with our desire to give warriors a way to get over Flash Flood (and other obstructing terrain). With that in mind:

  • Nimble Strike: add Fly to Step ability. Damage reduced to 4 (from 6).

Nimble Strike

Nimble Strike is still strictly better than Dancing Cut, but now its movement ability is better, not its damage, which we feel is more exciting and more defining (it’s the only Fly move available to warriors without requiring another card). It also provides a great way to bypass annoying terrain. As an added boost to the card, the Fly ability lets you ignore zones of control to more easily backstab your opponents. Our hope is that this change makes Nimble Strike less an insanely powerful card, and more an insanely cool card.

Cause Fumble

Cause Fumble got a needed boost in the last round of changes but it looks like we went too far. Its range of 6 allows priests to influence combat whilst hanging back too far, subverting our own goal of promoting positional play:

Now Cause Fumble and Defender’s Block both operate over the same (short) range.

Draw Limit

It looks like people are hitting the draw limit (5) more often than we wanted. So we’re doubling the limit to 10. That should prevent runaway drawing without overly impacting most decks in play. We want this rule to be as hidden a rule as possible, never showing up to punish good deckbuilding and only rearing its head to put a hard cap on card advantage.

Harness Stacking

There’s been some concern about the ability to accumulate large numbers of Harnesses in hand, given the change that allows them be kept in excess of your normal hand size. It’s very possible that we went too far here, but we want to get more data on these cards, so we’ll be keeping an eye on them as playtesting proceeds.

Test it Out

Don’t forget that you can try out these changes now on the test server!

3 Responses to “Balance Changes: Round Two”

  1. Nicely done on all accounts, guys. This is much-needed, and I’m excited to return!

  2. Please explain what are the effects of the new card “Flash flood” and the the damage balance for dancing cut.

    Nimble strike: 2 steps 4 dmg

    Dancing cut: ? steps ? dmg

    Vicious thrust: 1 step 7 dmg

    Penetrating lunge: 1 step, 4 dmg + penetrating?

    Then penetrating lunge and vicious thrust will have the same power (penetrating lunge -3 dmg but penetrating and it’s damage can be boosted cause it’s piercing) but the quality it’s different.

  3. I was just thinking, why not allow attack cards with ‘step’
    to ignore ‘encumber’ effects. Maybe only use as a higher end card effect.

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