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Serpents, *Sigh*


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#1 Runix

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 04:53 PM

I hate to consume the forum space with complaining, but after a significant amount of playing, I am slowly coming to a conclusion:  Serpent decks are just way too good.

I've tried a wide variety of approaches, but honestly, a Serpent deck on autopilot beats most everything but the most fine-tuned strategy, and even then it's very close.  It's the ultimate netdeck.  There's a bit of strategy to playing it out, but really, not much:  you throw the Serpents at the other player, change the icons around as needed depending on what they try to put up for defense, and basically overrun the other side sooner or later.

Generally speaking, the central problem is that the Serpents are very cost-efficient and very flexible (yeah, I know-that's their design feature).  They are awash with Terror and Combat icons, and can readily switch between the two, which really helps them dominate the Story phase.  Not only that, but they can generate Arcane if needed, which allows them to be used on offense and defense.  And they're Cthulhu, which gives them ready access to powerful destruction cards that can sweep the way before them.

The whole set of Serpents isn't completely imbalanced, but there are a few cards which really drive it and make it incredibly effective with little effort, and specifically, they are the cards that make it very cost-effective, too cost-effective in my opinion.  If I were to identify a few "problem cards", they would be the following.

Disguised Threat:  This allows the nastiest of the Serpents to hit the board on Turn 1.  I don't know how that's not a problem.  Does any other faction have the ability to put its most powerful non-Ancient One characters into play on Turn 1?

Feathered Serpent:  Ridiculously cost-effective, this card will handily win any one-on-one Terror or Combat struggle with little effort, then ready itself with Arcane to be ready for defense.  If this gets out on Turn 1, good luck defending against it.

Uroborus:  I didn't think much of this card until I really started playing it, but after playing it, well, wow.  It's the ultimate anti-destruction card.  You can't kill them.  Once the Cthulhu player has his discard pile stacked with Serpents, these just keep coming back every time you kill them.  It's incredibly annoying.  After having played against it, my thought is:  did we really need another reason for every deck to have to stack Snow Graves?  And that's without Sibilant Cry, which is just the icing on the Serpent cake. (P.S.  Is Uroborus supposed to be a unique card?)

There is, admittedly, a fairly straightforward solution to a Serpent deck:  the Khopesh.  Sigh.  They don't pack Toughness, so targeted destruction works.  But bouncing doesn't, because they're so cheap; forced sacrifice doesn't, because the Serpent player will just laugh as he sacrifices a cheap Serpent and drops his Uroborus on the board; trying to win in the Story phase doesn't, because it's very difficult to account for all the permutations of icons you could be up against.  All that really works is fighting Cthulhu with Cthulhu, and getting your destruction out fast enough to put the Serpents down, or at least until the other side pops them all back out with Sibilant Cry.

I enjoy this game and find it to be relatively well-balanced . . . except for Cthulhu.  It's like the designers throw the game balance manual out the window every time they design a Cthulhu card.  At this point, even though I'm a rank amateur, I just don't see many other decks making a lot of progress against a Serpent deck, particularly one with the Khopesh and a bit of Shub mixed in to deal with support cards and milling.  Maybe I'm speaking too soon, but my strong impression is that the developers let power creep set in with Cthulhu, and it's going to be really hard to put the serpent back in the basket (so to speak) at this point.

P.S.  One more point, while I'm ranting:  Cthulhu is awash with Deep One and Serpent sub-types, which is one of its hidden strengths.  Both Deep One and Serpent traits interact positively with a lot of other cards, but do not interact negatively that I am aware of.  One hidden weakness of Yog and Shub is that they have so many Monster and Creature cards, which are vulnerable to various negative interactions that specifically target them.  There is not, for instance, any Deep One or Serpent equivalent card to the Sledgehammer.  That would make sense if Deep One and Serpent characters were slightly less cost-efficient than Monster and Creature characters; but as far as I can see, they are, if anything, more cost-efficient than their Monster counterparts.  It's hard to find a Monster that's as cost-efficient as a Ravager from the Deep or a Feathered Serpent.



#2 KrissS666

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:38 PM

"did we really need another reason for every deck to have to stack Snow Graves?"

in fact snow grave break a lot of new kind of deck combo, but shub and cthulhu can destruct it

as far i play online with differents player, snow graves seams to be a must have in a competitive deck, no matter the main objective of yours !

it's not a broken card, just a slowing card since opponent remove it, but it can save you time to build up your defense and offense



#3 KrissS666

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:47 PM

just a slowing card until opponent remove it



#4 ssjevot

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 10:08 PM

I'd been using a Cthulhu/Hastur Serpent deck to great effect.  As much as I love my Mi-Go, Serpents are just plain better (Cthulhu/Hastur also offers a lot of other extremely strong cards).



#5 Carioz

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:16 PM

Is it Call-for-ban-day already?



#6 KrissS666

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 12:06 AM

Serpent/uroborus destructive deck use :

- serpent (seriously ?)

- destruct cards

- temple of R'lyeh : http://www.cardgamed...of-rlyeh-nn.jpg

 

so, what's the point?

- serpents don't have investigation icon

- don't have thougness, but can have  some combat, arcane, terror

- don't have many skill

- don't have effect when it put into play (but play with deep one rising => no terror icon)

- need discard pile to build combo.

So :

- if you can have at least  same skill each time : he can't score :o and skill aren't the big point

- against a rush myska/agency willpower shotgun what is the result? you have sme way to destruct temple, willpower and some good chara with tougness, lot of investigation icon and maybe more combat icon

- against hastur/madness : serpent can be in trouble if there are more madness control (derangerd diva + others / enchanted wood) so if a lot of chara are insane (uroborus with his effect), all others creatures STAY insane.
Only 3 deep one assault to control flame cavern, enchanted wood and maybe others tricks

- against yog loge destruct : bounce, sacrifice (ok uroborus stay in the field, but insane ! )

- against glimpse of the void : rest in peace

- against dark young deck (shub niggurath) : force to sacrifice against infinite come back 50% / 50% depend how fast shubb is put on the field

- snow graves :

Serpent destructive deck is strong, but you need to check how beat him, and there are various way to do. There are lot of strong deck around with good combos !

 



#7 Runix

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 02:37 AM

Carioz said:

Is it Call-for-ban-day already?

No, it's Complain-about-power-creep Day.  Come on people, get your days straight!

But seriously, I don't think there's one card that's a problem with Serpents (although if there was, it would certainly be Feathered Serpent, with Uroborus a close second).  It's a deeper problem that has to do with how the game is designed.  Allow me to isolate a few potential issues, as I see them.

I suspect that the game designers have a "budget" that they use when they design cards.  If a card is a cost of 4, that's a "budget" of 4, which can be allocated variously to icons, keywords, special abilities, and so forth.  Quite simply, I think the game designers' "budgeting" is off, in that they aren't counting up costs correctly, which has resulted in steady power creep for the monster factions, especially Cthulhu.

[Terror] Icons.  A game designer could say, one icon should correspond with one resource cost.  Cost 1, one icon.  But the problem is, [Terror] is better than the other icons.  It goes first, for one thing.  It also really has two game effects:  it helps win the Terror struggle, and grants immunity to Insanity.  That, I think, is one of the serious problems at the core of the dominance of the monster factions:  the game designers have been granting [Terror] icons too cheaply.  Cthulhu has about as many [Terror] icons as Agency has [Combat] icons, but that puts Cthulhu clearly on top, as the Terror struggle goes first.  If I had to choose just one icon for a character, I'll take [Terror], no questions asked; if you don't have it, you're not going to make it to the other Story struggles unless you're flooding out characters like crazy.

Traits.  I'm not sure that the designers have been budgeting for traits, which could be a serious issue.  Most traits are not particularly relevant - Independent has some useful synergies with one or two cards, but it's not much.  Deep One and Serpent, on the other hand, receive a whole slew of beneficial card effects.  Given that fact, they should be not as good as the corresponding "generic" cards of the same cost, but I get the distinct feeling that that has not been taken into account.  I worry that the designers are just slapping on whatever traits they think fit the "flavor" of the card best, without taking into account how that changes the power of the card - in other words, they aren't including traits in the "budget" of the card.  As I noted above, Monster and Creature tend to be more of a vulnerability than anything else, and should be so budgeted - but again, I'm not sure there's any difference in cost for those cards.

Flexibility.  Any level of flexibility in using an ability dramatically increases its usefulness.  An ability that can be used as an Action is much more useful than something that can only be done during the friendly Operations phase.  An ability that can target a character is much more powerful than one where the target is chosen automatically or the other player chooses the target.  An ability that has no cost - or which has an unusual cost, like a wound or a story progress token - is much more powerful than one that requires spending resources and/or cards, which are what usually provide limits on how much you can do.

From that perspective, it can be argued that some of the cards in the mix seem to have gotten away from the designers when it comes to balance, in that they didn't properly account for the power of the flexibility built into the card.  Descendant of Eibon would be fine - if he was powered by resources rather than success tokens.  The Khopesh of the Abyss and the Diseased Sewer Rats would be a lot closer to being balance if the wounding effect was untargeted (e.g., "lowest skill character", or "opponent chooses"), rather than letting the triggering player choose.

And hence, anything which is a no-cost Action that does not have a prerequisite condition to be met is very powerful.  That is at the core of the problem with the Feathered Serpent - I think they seriously under-budgeted for just how incredibly useful it is to have a character whose icons are "pick which ever ones you find to be most useful when the Story phase rolls around".  That's enormously powerful, and not in any way in line with the cost 4 of the card - and less by using one of the ways for getting Serpent players into play cheaply.  The other Serpent characters are a bit more balanced, because they require resources to change icons (and Yig is expensive, and can't be "tricked" into play early).

But again:  it's not just one card.  It's an overall design philosophy issue.  The icons and traits awarded to the monster factions have tended to be, broadly speaking, much more effective than the icons and traits being awarded to the investigator factions, and that is not being taken into account in the card costs.  The bottom line is, it's not the icons, and it's not the abilities:  it's the cost.



#8 Runix

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 02:54 AM

KrissS666 said:

Ugh, I didn't even think about adding Temple of R'lyeh to my Serpents deck.  Temple + Uroborus = free destruction.  That's just broken.

And for those still thinking I'm just a complainer and that this isn't that big of a deal, consider the following:

Turn 1, player draws Degenerate Serpent Cultist, Deep One Assault, and three copies of Uroborus.  Degenerate Serpent Cultist for cost 1, Deep One Assault it for cost 1, three copies of Uroborus go straight into play free, and with a 2 resource domain available for another card.

Or, worse.  Turn 1, player draws Cthulhu, Padma Amrita, Disguised Threat, Innsmouth Troublemaker, Khopesh of the Abyss.  Innsmouth Troublemaker for cost 1, Disguised Threat for cost 1 into Padma Amrita, Khopesh of the Abyss on Padma Amrita for cost 2, activate the Khopesh and target Padma, she takes two wounds and is destroyed, boom, Cthulhu into play on Turn 1.

Sure, it's a low probability that players are going to draw those exact cards at the start of the game (although I did have two copies of Uroborus hit the board on the first turn in a playtest, so similar scenarios are absolutely possible).  But the fact is, it's not an unusual combination of cards - you'll find most of those in any standard Serpents deck - and the extraordinary power of those combinations is at serious risk of upsetting game balance.



#9 Carioz

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:11 AM

Question: given the huge overpresence of Mono-Cthulhu and Cthulhu split decks at regionals, how many of them did win? If I am not counting wrong, just 2 Cthulhu split. So the overefficiency of Serpents (and Khopesh) didn't prove so overpowering, after all.

While I agree some Serpent characters are good, the fact that a pocket of (on the ground, so rather concrete and thus easilly counterable) efficiency for the Cthulhu faction can be found in that array of cards should not make us conclude that "cards should be balanced towards that standard", just that a feature of the Cthulhu faction is having a few character sharing a common trait and a rather aggressive price efficiency ratio (and before I get misunderstood, most Serpents are actually somewhat inefficient).

I'd also like to point out that Serpents, in your analysis, are efficient due to what I call "business icons", so terror and combat. That means they have capacity to displace characters out of stories due to struggles. This however tells us nothing about, for example, how efficient are they in improving your draws (they are not) or at resisting removals (they are not).

In the end I'd rather think of Serpents of a feature of the Cthulhu faction, and since I believe in factions specialization, instead of overlap, I am not actually seeing it as power creep, just as a defining feature.

That's just my 2 cents, as I am not privy to pricing mechanics and design "rules"



#10 dboeren

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:46 AM

Serpent decks don't seem to be cleaning up anywhere, which I'd count as good evidence that they aren't overpowered.

This doesn't include Padma yet of course and I am concerned about the early combo with her and Disguised Threat.  I'm glad someone brought that up again, when I posted it earlier nobody replied.

Most of the Serpents require a domain to do their icon magic.  Feathered Serpent is the lone exception, and is indeed a good character.  But there are no discounts available for him, you're paying full price.  You can use Disguised Threat, but that's one use.  And other than icons, he has no other special abilities - just flexibility.  I'm not sure I could say that's overpowered.

Your idea about developers using some sort of formula for calculating costs is very familiar to me, I have many years background in miniature wargaming and it's a VERY common assumption from newer players.  However, I do not believe that any such formula exists.  Too many criteria interact with each other to produce the total cost, and it becomes infeasible.  I know, I've also worked as an assistant designer for such games helping create stats for new models and determine their cost.  If you try, very quickly the formula becomes insanely complicated as you keep trying to take more and more factors into account.  You have to, because if you don't you won't get accurate costs.  What you would end up with is a cumbersome mess that's still no more accurate than just using your intuition for a rough guess.  Ultimately, all you really want is a rough starting point so you have somewhere to begin playtesting from.  Anything more is wasted effort.  And in a game with so many special abilities going on there's no way to pin costs down anyhow.

How much is a Terror icon worth?  Is it worth the same as a Combat?  Oh wait, the FIRST Terror icon is worth more than any others - because you don't really get "more immune" to insanity.  Then again, what faction are you in?  If you're in a faction with lots of Terror it's less of a big deal, but if you're in a human faction even a little access to Terror could be big news!  Does your faction have ways to enhance the value of that icon, like Hastur's events that can strip away protection from Terror?  What about the exact card it's on?  Terror on a Serpent is ordinary.  Terror on a Deep One is not - and they have more support cards that enhance them too.  Oh, but then again what's the typical job of that character?  If it's a support character that just sits back and exhausts to provide a service then their icons may hardly matter at all.

So as you can see, it's really hard to just declare a fixed value for anything in these sort of games, I expect if any game designers try it they will quickly come to similar conclusions and abandon their formula as anything more than a quick starting point for playtesting to determine the real cost - if that.

 

While I get what you mean with the "business icons", I find that as you gain experience the Arcane and Investigation icons get better.  It's not so much that certain icons are better or worse as that Terror and Combat have a low learning curve - it's really obvious how to use them.  Arcane CAN be really huge though when you effectively have a lot more characters available to use because they don't stay exhausted.  Investigation wins stories which is how you win the game, so that's very important as well.



#11 Yipe

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:08 AM

dboeren said:

Feathered Serpent is the lone exception, and is indeed a good character.  But there are no discounts available for him, you're paying full price.

Stygian Idol reduces the cost to play Serpent characters.  It's not unique, so you could potentially reduce Feathered Serpent's cost to 1 (though that is unlikely).

I really like the Serpent subtype, and while I think they've received a nice boost of late, I don't think they're overpowered.

Here's a mono-Cthulhu deck I developed for regionals that focuses on Serpents and Deep Ones:

SERPENTS and SEA MONSTERS

CHARACTERS (28)
x3 Degenerate Serpent Cultist
x3 Ocean Crawlers
x3 Brood of Yig
x3 Emerging Deep One
x3 Deep One Rising
x3 Feathered Serpent
x3 Ravager of the Deep
x3 Uroborus
x2 •Hydra
x2 •Yig

EVENTS (12)
x3 Pulled Under
x3 Sacrificial Offerings
x3 Sibilant Cry
x3 Deep One Assault

SUPPORT (10)
x3 Sword of Y'ha-tallo
x2 Stygian Idol
x2 Communal Shower
x3 •Temple of R'lyeh

50 Cards
9 Deep Ones
12 Serpents

I'm still looking for a way to put in Disguised Serpent Threat.  Perhaps drop the Sword of Y'ha-tallo?

 



#12 Runix

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:17 AM

Carioz said:

Question: given the huge overpresence of Mono-Cthulhu and Cthulhu split decks at regionals, how many of them did win? If I am not counting wrong, just 2 Cthulhu split. So the overefficiency of Serpents (and Khopesh) didn't prove so overpowering, after all.

I have not followed the tournament scene very closely, but from what I have read here, Cthulhu consistently does well, even if they have not dominated. But then, in tournaments a lot of players have gone in "blind", not knowing exactly what other players would be bringing to the table. From what I gathered from the reports, there were a vert significant number of Cthulhu destruction decks (some mono, some multi-faction), but a number of them were caught by surprise by event recursion decks and so forth, so the winning brackets had more diversity than the tournament as a whole. I'm not sure that will happen again. It's relatively straightforward to build a solid Serpents deck and splash in a little color from other factions (Power Drain, Snow Graves, etc.) to deal with specialized decks.

But it also bears in mind that much of the strength of the Serpents deck is very recent. Feathered Serpent's been around for some time, and has been recognized fairly consistently as a very strong card. Disguised Threat has also been around, but I don't think it's seen as much play prior to now simply because there weren't that many Serpents; with a whole slew of new ones in the recent cycle, that's changed. Padma is brand-new, and with dboeren, I'm very concerned about using her to trick in a very early Ancient One, which could really upset balance.

But specifically, I think Uroborus could be the card that really kicks Serpent decks into overdrive. He's incredibly easy to get into play - all you have to do is suicide a cheap Serpent, and you can drop all the copies of Uroborus in your hand on the board - and once in play, he doesn't leave it for long, coming back readily out of the discard pile. As I noted above, it very effectively defeats bouncing ("leaves play" could mean simply returning one of your Serpents to your hand, so the Initiate of Huang Hun is a waste of a card against a Serpent deck) and effectively mitigates destruction with its back-from-the-discard-pile feature.



#13 dboeren

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:39 AM

That's true - I forgot about Stygian Idol.  But, it only discounts one character which is not as effective as something like Shadowed Reef which is the sort of thing I was thinking about.

What do you think about the comparison to Blood Magician?  For the same 1 cost, he can grant or remove any one icon on any character.  This is hugely more flexible than the Serpents and he's only a cost 2 character.  You get anything you need, remove Terror from opponents to drive them insane, grab Investigation or Arcane when unopposed, and you don't lose an existing icon like Serpents do.



#14 .Zephyr.

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 05:44 AM

 I also completely disagree about this point system. Its quite stupid as you need to consider too many interactions this game is all about. Also cost in this game is non linear. 0 = no domain, huge boost. 1 = almost free, as that's what domains start with 2 = needs some investment 3 = std cost for good character 4 = big cost, it has to really influence the game 5 = ancient one or sth of that magnitude 6 = thinking how to get this on board will take me most of the play And with so many effects that bypass cost totally its not really that important when you make a good character. Having both serpent and disguised threat on one hand is enough of a cost considering with shocking transformation you get to look through all your deck and get anything you want to…

But im also worried about power creep and card designs that break so much of standard assumptions. They're somewhat fun, as they change the way the game works making nice variety. But i see two problems with that: a) are players forced to buy new packs to play against them, because they're just leagues better, if so will this trend keep up and get out of control or will it eventually stabilize on new level that will be better. b) how will the game look like after all those changes, i see a trend to make powerful cards really cheap. In CoC you can take 3 actions anyway, so low cost its not that big of a problem. If both sides can get stronger things early you'll just start stronger, the problem is how strong must new hi-cost cards be… also struggle mechanics is less important if Khopesh just kills your guys.

The example of design that really worries me is Ya-te-veo for 2 you get TC and mini shotgun… and really no drawback… why? i think cards with raw power + control should have at least some disadvantages.

Also cards like Apeirophobia for cost 2 considering how little cards in this game power draw and that this cards timing makes it possible to remove whole hand before resourcing… its not really possible to protect from it (no skill or no T protection? yeah right) and you need only a bit of hastur to make it possible (like 3x Stygnian  Eye, 3x Infernal Obsession, 3x Apeirophobia added to 41 cards with any other idea…).

Uroborus just changes whole sacrifice mechanics to some crazy state. With cards like 3 bells or some rituals it might create crazy combos, and against any deck that uses sacrifice it says "your cards don't work" and you cant destroy/kill this guy cause that's just what he wants, and he enters play for free… why?

I just don't see how will the "new" game be better, even if those strong cards will have powerful enough counters.

And serpents don't seem to be too much of a problem, feathered is ok, but just kill him with anything, hes dead, not a bit problem IMO. There are many more problematic cards out there. Sibilant Cry might be to good with that many strong serpents, and that might be an issue though - getting all of them back after you just traded them with temple, or getting them back early if you need them, especially with some kind of yog discard yourself mechanics… but maybe its ok, idk

Maybe it's just me not being familiar with CCG like card dynamics, but those new cards look so game changing, ware all previous packs also like that?
(i got into CoC at the begining of this year so when catching up i considered old cards "standard power", and now new cards seem so much better than them…)



#15 AUCodeMonkey

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:44 AM

Serpents are not overpowered. Sure, Uroborus and Padma bring them in line with Deep Ones, but they are not broken. Serpents are generally flexible… but at a cost. Serpents are expensive. Sure, there's cost lowering stuff, but A Small Price to Pay, Sacrificial Offerings, A Single Glimpse all don't factor cost or skill into anything. Any Syndicate deck will have David Pan and a variety of skill lowering to negate any effect Serpents might have. A Temple of R'lyeh is easily removed by a variety of Shub cards, or bounced/destroyed by Torch the Joint, Lodge Housekeeper, Constricting Elder Thing. You even mention that it gives Snow Graves a reason to be in more decks. You know what else deserves to be in more decks then, if Snow Graves is more relevant? Stalking Hound. That jerk is just as annoying as any Serpent.

The TL;DR version: Serpents are fine. Just learn how to beat them, and you will learn about good deck construction along the way.



#16 .Zephyr.

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:08 AM

Bouncing temple doesn't really help as its you can still drop it later and sacrifice everything you got, then play sibilant cry… This seems insanely strong as sibilant cry becomes "Opponent sacrifices as may characters as you have serpents" card…

Some hastur cancel might make it backfire, but not much else i guess.

And I thought my Hydra+temple making it "pay 2 to force opponent to sacrifice character" was strong…



#17 dboeren

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:03 AM

AUCodeMonkey said:

You know what else deserves to be in more decks then, if Snow Graves is more relevant? Stalking Hound. That jerk is just as annoying as any Serpent.

I've been on and off with him vs. Dreamlands Fanatic.  While Stalking Hound is the better character and can come from the discard pile, you have more control over Fanatic's condition which means he's a bit more reliable.  They're both very nice though.  Really, I think I like a mix of both just in case.

I'd prefer if more of these type of cards were restricted to their own factions though instead of being so easy to splash into any deck…  and that goes for Snow Graves as well.



#18 AUCodeMonkey

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:21 AM

.Zephyr. said:

And I thought my Hydra+temple making it "pay 2 to force opponent to sacrifice character" was strong…

 

Not to be an overtly huge ass, but it's not.

It requires 2 cards - a 5 and 2 cost - to be devastating. You need 3-4 turns to get a domain with 5 resources on it, plus another domain with 2 resources on it. PLUS you have to have other characters out prior to Hydra in order for the Temple to be useful. It takes too long to set up, and requires too many cards to be reliable.

I can force an opponent to sacrifice something by paying 2 as well: A Single Glimpse. I can do it again, depending on skill levels, with Calling Down The Ancients. I can destroy Hydra with a Short Fuse, a mainstay in Agency decks. If I'm playing Hastur, I can easily drive Hydra insane. If I'm playing Cthulhu and/or Shub and/or Agency, I can destroy your Temple easily.

Even more efficient than either A Single Glimpse or Temple/Hydra is a Many-Angled Thing. Make your opponent sacrifice something and I get a creature out of it? Sign me up 3 times.

Plus, my Marcus Jamberg -> Dimensional Rift cheese deck makes yours completely useless, and I can act it out, in its entirety, with regularity between turns 2 and 4, which we've established is usually before you could get your Temple/Hydra combo going.



#19 Yipe

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:41 AM

I think the frustration you're experiencing with Serpents has more to do with their ease of use (and deck design) than their perceived imbalance.  I've found that effective Serpents and Deep One decks are simple to slap together and straightforward to play.  A relative novice can build a competitive mono-Cthulhu deck in a few minutes and be successful, giving rise to threads like this one.

Also, all of the Serpent cards synergize nicely with each other and the various Cthulhu destruction effects (e.g. Sacrificial Offerings, Temple of R'lyeh), so triggering combos is easy to do.  This may make them seem more powerful than they are.

However, such decks have limitations.  While they can chew through certain opponents, they struggle when confronted with non-standard deck designs.  Our regional championship is a good example.  We had 3 mono-Cthulhu decks in our tournament, with 2 making it to the quarterfinals.  One didn't get past that point, and the other lost in the semis.

When I first started playing CoC, I remember feeling the same way about many Agency cards.  Now that I have some time under my belt, I realize that straight-up destruction isn't always the key to winning.



#20 Hellfury

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:55 AM

Runix said:

I enjoy this game and find it to be relatively well-balanced . . . except for Cthulhu.  It's like the designers throw the game balance manual out the window every time they design a Cthulhu card. 

Well, I wont deny that Cthulhu is in no need of help in overall efficiency of their cards right now. I am with you there.

But you do have to keep in mind that this is an asymmetrical game. If I have learned anything from my time playing M:tG is that power levels will always fluctuate. Such games will never be as balanced as we or the designers would like. Its simply the fundamental nature of the game.

If we are not complaining about Cthulhu this month, we will complain about the OP of Nerds next, or the OP of H.O.S.T. after that, etc. It's cyclical.

You just have to learn how to deal with the strongest archetypes in your meta with what you have available. If that doesn't work, then locally ban some cards.






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