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A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:23 pm
by Bandobras Took
I only ask that you read this all the way through, past the inevitable coronaries.

Sauron has expressed a desire that changes be within already established rules.

If that's the case, there's one change that could help a ton: make tournament events 3-deck rather than 2-deck.

There's a big concern with that, which I will address, but first, I'd like to point out the things this would do for the game and the tournament scene:

1) It addresses metagame stagnation. In a 3-deck setting, any alignment stands a good chance of dunking. Dunking thus will become more desirable as the quickest way of winning a tournament game.
1a) As dunking increases in popularity, hazard portions will have to shift to more directly combating dunk, and doing it for longer periods of time.
1b) Which means that MP-gathering will actually become slightly easier as main hazard portions have to account for dunking.
1c) Also, influence/diplomat decks may rise in Dunk vs Dunk.

2) It addresses several balance issues without actually changing any cards at all. Most of the persistent balance topics (Chance Meeting, Balrog sb play, etc.) have really to do with a turn economy advantage.
2b) If the available number of turns increases, than turn economy is no longer as big a factor; decks with slower MPs get a chance to catch up to quick MP decks.
2c) Likewise, a lost turn, while still damaging, becomes less of a killer, so something like River, though still a badly worded card, has a relatively less drastic impact on gameplay, so the card is weakened without being changed one bit.
2d) Against commonly perceived "cheese" tactics, the burden is on the "cheese" player to maintain the MP total/combo for a longer period of time. The higher MP requirements also reduce the effective power of "cheese" combos without changing the cards themselves.
2e) "One shot" cards such as Blind/Ire (and to a lesser extent Dark Tryst) lose relative potence, but will still have their place. As an example, Blind would go from gamebreaking vs. FW Dunk to crucial vs. FW Dunk to squeeze out another turn of delay.

3) It pulls avatars into greater parity and opens up more cards for use on the tournament scene. As an example, active RWs will have an easier time, and you can even plan for a "first deck" haven-squat and then a "second deck" active strat.
3b) Quest cards become viable and may even become desirable to achieve the higher MP requirements
3c) Deck manipulation becomes more important while deck exhaustion becomes less important -- the two might both be viable options, but will require playtesting (more on that later).
3d) Rings-for-points decks may become more viable, but that is a question of whether the looser turn economy requirements make some of the cloggy anti-Rolled measures more feasible.

4) The increased viability of dunk means that the reward for game mastery shifts not to the person who knows how to put down 25 MPs in 4 turns and exhaust, but to the person who can balance their anti-dunk and anti-MP strategies in the same deck, since dunk will be faced more often in a tournament setting.
4b) Players may enjoy the flexibility offered by an increased sideboard size, and game mastery would be here rewarded, too – the player who can work his sideboard more effectively will adapt more quickly to the game situation.

Now, on to the big and obvious negative: Time.

Obviously, going three-deck means a game potentially lasts longer. However, I do not believe actual games will last longer for the following reasons:

1) More players will attempt to dunk, which can end the game well before the victory conditions;
2) More hazard portions will accommodate this, meaning fewer hazards will go to anti-MP gathering, thus speeding up that aspect of play; and
3) Experience has taught me that game speed is a function of the player, not the rules. Nevertheless, should we adopt this as a standard format, judges will be necessary to enforce time rules and monitor stalling.

Which brings up the question: should we adopt this?

This isn't like the automatic attack errata, which has seen several decks based around the idea already built. This is – at least for most players I know – untouched ground.

But rather than dismissing the idea out of hand, I'd like to suggest that CoE members playtest this in casual settings – not trying to make a 2-deck deck run in a 3-deck game, but looking at the implications and building decks from the ground up, then playtesting and reporting back.

At the very least, this would be an ICE-era way of handling several balance and game scene issues at once. Playtesting will tell if the time burden actually becomes too much to be feasible.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:26 pm
by Vastor Peredhil
I answer more, thoroughly later, but I like the idea, but I am also playing 50/50 decks with 50 card sideboard for fun ;)

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:17 am
by Bandobras Took
That's another thing that opens up. If there's no longer the pressure to exhaust once to call, decks larger than 30/30 might make their rounds.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 11:00 am
by Jose-san
I understand your point, and I like how it would change the meta-game, but I don't think this is new-player friendly.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:22 pm
by marcos
in my oppinion it will only enforce speed decks, in a way that the metagame will become (even more) infested by short rest, radagast, and mordor shuffle decks. I know i can exhaust a deck twice pretty quick and score a decent amount of points i do that already in 2-deck games, so in my oppinion not much of a change but just enforcing speed decks and yes, probably even more dunk as well

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:15 pm
by Bandobras Took
That may end up being the case, but a deck that has to exhaust twice and get to 30 points is harder to build and call with than a deck that has to exhaust once and get to 25. It gives your opponents more turns to work your MP total back down, or bring their MP total up, even on speed. Certainly you can do it, but can you do it in time to stop a dunk, especially hero dunk? If you devote enough hazards to stopping a dunk, will you have enough hazards to stop an opponent's MP gathering deck? Add even three turns to the game and even FW dunk will be breathing down your neck.

Which is why I recommend we spend some time playtesting with the three-deck idea. Will speed decks actually come to dominate, or will a slow big-MP deck be competitive (not better, just competitive)? The goal isn't to axe any given strategy and make it worthless, but to bring various aspects of the game into closer parity while maintaining their distinct feel.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:23 pm
by Bandobras Took
Jose-san wrote:I understand your point, and I like how it would change the meta-game, but I don't think this is new-player friendly.
I'm not sure why it would be unfriendly to them; this would be a tournament convention, and as such isn't much different from new players having to learn to use their sideboard in the first place or adjust to the two-deck game. If anything, it's more old-player-unfriendly, since we'd have to change our instincts and put ourselves on the level of someone going to their first tournament again. :)

Oh, and if Dunk rises to new popularity among all alignments, that should please thematic players, too -- you won't be building a tournament deck without thinking, "Hey . . . what about the One Ring?" :)

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:53 pm
by Sauron
I think it's a fair idea, but would need some playtesting to see.

Also remember a dunk is only worth 6TPs in a 3+ deck game.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:13 pm
by miguel
When playtesting, be sure to try some good Malady decks...

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:49 pm
by Thorsten the Traveller
As a thematic/dc player I would obviously applaude it.
However, Marcos has a point, rapid cardflow/cardmanagement is such an important part of competitive play that chances are you'll see yet more drop and run decks.
And as we all know, if you keep on playing long enough, Fallen Wizards will usually win in the end, so who knows, even Sorryman might have a shot (which is of course why Bandobras started this all :wink: ).

As I said, I would applaud it, but I think most current competitive players won't. Apart from the extra time it takes, they hate nothing more than the tension of being beaten by a dunk. From plenty and dire experience I can also say that playing dunk in a tourney is a choice that needs to fit your personality, as you depend more on dice rolls. That is why dunk isn't that popular in tourneys I think, even if it can yield great results and is relatively easy to play. I mean, plenty people prefer Mordor Shuffle over playing dunk, for *** sake, that should tell you enough.

Playing a 5 rounds Worlds or Lure GO will become a tough thing as well, you'd have to go in serious training to survive that. :D

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:25 pm
by Shapeshifter
I like the idea in general.
Thorsten the Traveller wrote:Playing a 5 rounds Worlds or Lure GO will become a tough thing as well, you'd have to go in serious training to survive that. :D
That's the point, I think. In most tourneys only 3 round will be played then, probably.

Let's try it, anyway.

Re: A Sauron-Friendly Proposal

Posted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:52 am
by Bandobras Took
Malady's a good point, but I believe it's the ridiculous synergy with Akhorahil that makes that card a burden. Non-akhorahil malady needs to pull deck manipulation tricks. If we find nothing worse than one card combined with one avatar that's bad, I'd say that's a good going rate. :)

P.S. And if Malady's all that's bad, we would simply need to overturn a digest ruling and read both the card and the "You may not target an opponent's character with your resources" rule as written. Still within the scope of ICE-released content. ;)