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Gunslinger83

The one card that needs errata to balance this game....thoughts?

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I have been playing this game since the core set released, and am of  the opinion that the single biggest mistake the designers of this game have made is the "Steward of Gondor" card. I've been thinking about this for a long time, but the thought "bubbled back up" the other day while listening to the COTR podcast guys speculate about the potential need to errata "Blood of Gondor" and "Gondorian Fire". It amazed me that nobody seemed to recognize that the root of the problem underneath these two, and many other resource generated effect cards... is SOG. I've also noted that a lot of the more well known community deck builders, like Seastan and Ataruslash, seem to be hooked on it like it's cocaine, and  barely have the ability to make a deck without it. This isn't a slam on them, but rather a slam on a card design that makes 1 card so central to virtually every power deck ever built.

​From the very beginning I've struggled with this card. It's offensive to one's sense of theme to constantly have to justify how Amarthiul, or Celeborn is suddenly the Steward of Gondor. It only took me a few plays before I became bored with including it in every deck, as it's so up-front overpowered and has no subtlety to it at all. It almost takes an entire consideration element, resource generation/management, out of the game once it hits the table. 

 I feel that I have been forced to play it as the lynchpin behind so many decks all of these years, that I almost can't stand to play it anymore... and yet I still feel pressured to because all of the newest scenarios released seem to assume a SOG driven resource power curve. It's part of the reason why they have struggled to bring the "Gondor" themed trait to maturity... because the biggest distinct perk that the Gondor archetype has (resource generation and hero defense) is applicable to everybody thanks to one OP card (along with a free Gondor trait to boot!). It is so blatantly powerful, that it changes the game, sort of similar to how a black hole warps gravity within it's vicinity... to where it in and of itself is an integral mechanic of the game an not just a card.

​The sad thing is, it would be the world's easiest card to errata and fix ALL of these problems. One simply has to replace "gains Gondor trait" with "play on a hero with the Gondor trait". Boom. It fixes the thematic problem, it somewhat mitigates the power problem (now you atleast have to play "In service of the Steward" before abusing it in every power deck you make), AND it actually gives the Gondor archetype something to build around as a distinct contribution to deck building. Suddenly not just every deck can make use of nearly infinite resources and "Gondorian Shields". These actually become special things that require the Gondor archetype as atleast a sub-theme.

​It's incredible how they won't touch the obvious offender, and yet they'll completely nerf an otherwise interesting card like "Master of Lore" in an attempt to stop one obscure combo that only people interested in exploiting and breaking the game are going to play anyway... and not even the most offensive card in this combo!

​Curious to the thoughts of other long time players? I really think deck building would be far more interesting and balanced if SOG were errata'd.

Edited by Gunslinger83

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This topic seems to come up a lot. I actually rarely put Steward in my decks. Silvan, Noldor, Spirit Theoden Rohan, hero Gandalf, Caldara, Heir of Valandil Dunedain, Damrod traps... None of these decks really ask for Steward. As far as it being OP relative to other resource generation, sure. So is A Test of Will for its effect.

I find it pretty strong to claim that modern quests demand Steward's use -- the only quests from the last couple of cycles I have felt compelled to use it for were Helm's Deep, Carn Dum, and Ruins of Belegost. I don't find it amiss that the hardest of the hard push you towards power cards; for the same reason, those were also the quests where I used A Burning Brand, which I frankly find more problematic than Steward (but still wouldn't care to errata).

(Steward IS in a couple of my more recent published decklists, but when you're talking about recurring Infighting or two-hero Secrecy, you deserve a couple of power cards...)

I bet Nate French could've saved himself a lot of emails if he'd just named it "Support of Gondor", though.

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Can I give multiple likes to a post? Because this is amazing in its accuracy.

I've always thought they could mitigate it with one of 3 changes:

-play on a Gondor hero

-gives 1 resource, not 2

-exhaust attached hero to trigger its effect

It is remarkably boring that every One Deck to Rule Them All mandates 3 SOG's, and w/o Leadership, 3 Good Harvests as well. 6 deck slots for one card? That's unrealistic. And just bothers me when it's for a Silvan deck or an Ent deck or a Hobbit deck or whatever. And every multiplayer game, the biggest competition is who gets Steward, which creates far more animosity between players than a co-op game should.

Has anyone crunched the ringsdb numbers as to what percent of decks use this card?

On a related note, I still play Master of Lore pre-errata, because I don't use SOG in my Ranger deck and need some resource smoothing ability. That nerf was completely unnecessary just to fix one broken mega-combo.

Edited by Network57

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I agree with the 1st post. In my opinion SoG is the best card so far in the entire card pool. Changing from "gains Gondor trait" to "play on a hero with the Gondor trait" helps and makes things more thematic as well, although to be honest I also think Blood of Numenor and Gondorian Fire need fixing too, since no matter what, you shouldn't be boosting defense/attack over +3 with these cards. Stuff like Protector of Lorien, Elven Spear and some others limit things to a maximum of +3, so I dont see why BoN or GF shouldn't have these limits as well, regardless of whether SoG gets errata'd or not.

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Yeah, I've always seen SoG as an extremely powerful card for recurring resource generation, even back in the Core only days. Borderline OP IMO. It's like the Black Lotus or the Moxes back in the early days of Magic where no one really understood how extremely powerful resource generation really is. You'd be stupid not to play it, it just accelerates the deck in question so much, especially with it's buddy, A Good Harvest.

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So, a few weeks ago, I decided to print myself a physical copy of CotR's Keeping Count variant from PrinterStudio. Because the cost of the cards only changes at certain thresholds, I had a few extra cards that I could do something else with, so I decided to print my own personal errata for Steward of Gondor:

4Lxi3fn.jpg

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so...   the problem really is SoG in solo decks.  Powerful unique cards in general sort of get unbalanced in solo, because the only one you have to share with is yourself.   When you hit a 4 p multiplayer game, SoG doesn't hardly seem so bad.  Because there can only be one on the table.   Even in a 2 player game, the effectiveness of SoG is basically cut in half of what it is during solo play.

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i dislike Steward for rather different reasons: in multiplayer games, it unbalances the performance of the decks in many cases. Whichever side gets the Steward can dominate while the other decks are left behind a bit. I would even prefer it to read "exhaust to add one resource to attached hero's resource pool. Then, add a resource to the resource pool of another player's hero". Even though this makes it even more powerful.

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so...   the problem really is SoG in solo decks.  Powerful unique cards in general sort of get unbalanced in solo, because the only one you have to share with is yourself.   When you hit a 4 p multiplayer game, SoG doesn't hardly seem so bad.  Because there can only be one on the table.   Even in a 2 player game, the effectiveness of SoG is basically cut in half of what it is during solo play.

With that said, I'd suggest that if it is only a problem in solo decks, then it isn't that much of a problem. I think that the larger problem isn't the card itself, but that it is a card that has been taken into account in the design of almost every quest in the game. Any significant errata on it at this point in the game would have some pretty serious ramifications. As a mostly solo player (and not a particularly good one), I certainly do lean on that crutch and would be somewhat disappointed to see it go away. I think some of the changes mentioned (1 resource instead of 2 especially) would have been better original design, but spilled milk and all.

Really, instead of errata or designing quests that punish/trivialize/are designed around SoG I'd like to see them continue down the path they are on... finding other, more interesting, means of accelerating resources/reducing costs.

The whole thing does really shine a spotlight on just how important resource acceleration really is in the game.

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So, a few weeks ago, I decided to print myself a physical copy of CotR's Keeping Count variant from PrinterStudio. Because the cost of the cards only changes at certain thresholds, I had a few extra cards that I could do something else with, so I decided to print my own personal errata for Steward of Gondor:

4Lxi3fn.jpg

Wow, that's some quality prints. How it looks on the back? Can you show?

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As with every other card in any card TCG/CCG/LCG, if you don't like it or it cramps Your style, don't use it!

 

I don't think that's his problem. The real problem is that if you want to look on ringsdb and 75% of the posted decks rely on a card you don't want to use because you think it's design is bad then you have a very small amount of decks you're interested in. That would change if this card would receive an errata.

 

And thumbs up for the suggested errata I could totally live with that!

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How about "Attach to a Steward hero."

 

Just joking. Did not used this card much because it did not make sense from the lore point, but with new leadership Denethor it looks interesting.

 

I dont think it errata is a good idea (i like the way you errata'd it tho), as it will break many people's decks. And its not like its neutral, so you have to get leadership resources to pay for it.

Edited by DarkPhoenix

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There's another way to errate it: make it enter play exausted! And why not? Limit Unexpected Courage to 1 per hero! And change Burning Brand to: "While attached hero is defending, it gains:Response:Exhaust A Burning Brand..."! People are going to hate this is there ever comes a FAQ that does this.

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If anything I tend to end up with a big stockpile of resources on at least one hero after a few turns of games. Maybe I'm building decks wrong, but card draw is almost always a more limiting/deciding factor in quest success.

 

Even when using a hero like Elrohir I rarely seem to have enough consistent demand for the extra resources to make it worth it.

 

It feels like a luxury for a lot of decks. I'm sure some of the 75% of decks that are using it are doing so out of habit not necessity. 

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As with every other card in any card TCG/CCG/LCG, if you don't like it or it cramps Your style, don't use it!

 

I don't think that's his problem. The real problem is that if you want to look on ringsdb and 75% of the posted decks rely on a card you don't want to use because you think it's design is bad then you have a very small amount of decks you're interested in. That would change if this card would receive an errata.

If 75% of the posted decks actually require Steward of Gondor to function properly, then what would change with an errata is that 75% of the posted decks would no longer function properly.  This is not a good thing.

 

However, the actual percentage is likely to be somewhat lower, since most non-leadership decks don't include Steward for obvious reasons.  There are 86 pages of published decks at ringsdb, and 37 pages of decks with Steward of Gondor.  It's actually not even the most commonly used card (39 pages of decks with Test of Will), though it obviously is a very well-used card.  Of course, with most of those 37 pages of decks, there's more than a fair possibility that you won't have Steward of Gondor in your opening hand, especially if you have only one core set, so I very much doubt SoG is *required*.  For the few power decks that are guaranteed to get SoG quickly into your possession, I very much doubt someone who doesn't like playing Steward of Gondor because of its design would be interested in playing those decks in the first place.  If Steward of Gondor is a problem when playing solo, it's clearly a self-inflicted problem.

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Without doubt SoG is a strong card. But I strongly disagree it needs errata. Let's look at the pros and cons:

 

Pro:

-increases a player's ressources per turn by 67% (5 instead of 3)

-grants the Gondor trait (what enables specific attachments and other buffs)

-low cost

-instantly repays itself (you don't loose "tempo" for playing SoG as you get your invested back instantly)

-universally useful (the ressources can be used for anything, unlike something like "O Lorien")

-Attachment (unaffacted by charcater targetting effects)

 

Cons:

-Leadership only (so you have to "find" a way to pay for it without a Fitting hero)

-Attachment (affected by attachment targetting effects)

-unique (only one can be in Play at a given time)

 

What instatly comes to mind is, that there are more pros, than cons, so it looks like SoG is at least decent. As being an attachment usually is more "safe" than being an ally this is more of a pro than a con. Needing access to Leadership is also fairly easy these days (a good harvest is probably the best example), so that's only a small downside. Getting two extra ressources per turn is great and don't having to wait for them even better.

So why don't errata it? Because it is unique.

The more Players there are the weaker SoG gets. Assuming the Players have Access to ressource trading adding two extra to a pool of 9 is much worse than to 3.

In my oppinion the idea of SoG being to good comes mainly from Solo Play. You might argue that in multiplayer games everyone tries to get down Steward first, but I would say that it's still preferable to have SoG out than not to, but that goes for any Card that is deemed "good". If you face much (direct) damage, you want your wardens of ealing out asap.

The nice Thing about solo Play is the ability to Play every Card you want without looking at other Players. Wanna go Gandalf? Sure. Light of Valinor? Noone else will take that. Unique Cards always look better solo than multiplayer, because they are only balanced, because they are unique, what has the least Impact in solo Play.

 

I am not sure, if looking at the amounts of decks in ringsdb that use SoG says much more about the Card, than that is good and useful. I always have the Impression (could be wrong though) most of the posted decks are self-sustained (aka playable solo) as it is much easier to uplot These decks than Fellowships of 2 or more decks that are supposed to work together. 

The fact that there are a good amount of decks that have no Leadership heroes and run a good harvest to get it in Play doesn't allow for errata either. When printing a Card like AgH you WANT People to Play one or two off colour Cards. Songs etc. are much better for smoothing than a good harvest. that it results mostly in Steward being picked is it's universally functionality. And that is one of the few Cards that work super good with any sphere, you wouldn't Play many other Cards off sphere. Feint is an awesome Card, but why run it in my mono Spirit deck, that either can't fight at all (and therefore can't benefit from that one round) or already handles combat nicely with Spirit Options. Trying to say: Only effects that are always good will ever be splashed and we have very few of them (and you can't use AgH before a Response like a test of will, otherwise this would be done, too).

 

To summarize: SoG just Looks to good especially in solo Play, but that goes for all strong unique Cards. SoG in General is from the root of it's design a Card that it's better to have than not and we have so few of These that an easily splashable attachment (FFG pretty much invited People with the release of AgH) gets more Attention than it Needs.

If you don't like "always good" Cards the only solution is to cut SoG from your Collection, but you better don't run a test of will either.

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I find suggesting errata for a card simply because you don't like how often it is used is a terrible terrible reason to do so. I also would disagree with the stance that it is Over Powered because that is a very very subjective term.  And if you want this card to get an errata for being OP, then why not ALL cards that fall into your definition of OP?   Also, note that people who want this change would then be affecting the games of others if an official errata was released.  And if your reply to that is, "well you can just ignore the errata", then my reply would be "you can just "house-rule" the errata yourself and play it your own way and leave my cards alone, please and thank you."

 

 I really think errata should only be used to limit broken limitless combos or to correct unintended scenarios - though the latter is mainly for encounter cards.

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So, a few weeks ago, I decided to print myself a physical copy of CotR's Keeping Count variant from PrinterStudio. Because the cost of the cards only changes at certain thresholds, I had a few extra cards that I could do something else with, so I decided to print my own personal errata for Steward of Gondor:

4Lxi3fn.jpg

This ^ is freaking righteous. Hats off to you sir, not only did you think of this before me.... you went as far to print off cards!!! I'd almost pay you to personally mail one of these to each of the game's designers, and maybe 3 for myself.

​Wow, really impressed by the quality of discussion....exceeded my expectations for this thread. Love this community.

​Anyway, so I do concede a few things that I hadn't thought of when writing this. SOG is indeed a problem that scales down with number of players. I've been playing this game 5 years and have only played real live multiplayer maybe 5 or 6 times, the rest has been solo (occasionally) or double fisting (mostly)... so that does tend to color my perspective. It makes sense that more players in the game tends to tone down things like unique power cards and surge, and drive up the problem of location lock, etc.... so the game does definitely change with number of players.

​As far as the argument that making an errata now would nerf 75% of the power decks, I have two things to say about that:

​1. Good. It will force creativity. Now when the deck building gurus sit down and open their binders, they'll actually have to consider resource acceleration as something they have to creatively implement in their design, instead of a run of the mill 3x "A Good Harvest", 3x "SOG", done... on to next element. One of my biggest problems with SOG is not only it's power, but that it's so damned boring. It's like playing Tactics Boromir every time. In fact, what finally solidified my opinion on this card was when I realized that the only way I was able to beat "Deadman's Dike" was turning Elrohir into Tactics Boromir...literally. If the card were atleast the slightest bit interesting, I could forgive it's power. I mean don't people get bored out of their minds playing this card deck after deck after deck?

​2. Actually, the errata I propose doesn't even really nerf it's power... it just confines it to an archetype. If you want the tremendous resource acceleration of SOG, gotta find some way to incorporate Gondor into your deck. This is almost too easy with the new Leadership Denethor.... as he's set up to do exactly that. And that brings me to my next point.....

​The thing that offends me the most about this card is what it does to the "Gondor" trait archetype. I really believe it's the reason that the designers have not been able to give us a compelling reason to build Gondor decks in 4 deluxe boxes, 4 chapter back cycles, and 4 saga releases of player cards.

​It's clear to me that Gondor was supposed to be the resource generating/ultra defense archetype.... sort of how the Dunedain are the enemy engagement bonus archetype, the Silvans are the "in and out" archetype, etc. However, the most powerful resource generating tool that Gondor has, is available to everybody! Not only that, but the damned thing actually GIVES the Gondor trait... meaning whoever SOG gets played on can take advantage of all the Gondor defense/resource synergy.

​Why would you ever build a Gondor deck when the best that the Gondor archetype has can easily be incorporated into any archetype with 3 cards (6 if no leadership heroes)? That in my mind is the biggest problem.... and the reason I suggest the errata that I do.

 

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Not sure if adding "Attach to Gondor Hero" really reduces the power very much. Tactics Boromir and Leadership Denethor are arguably some of the best targets for it right now, which would not be affected, and it's thematically sound. SoG is a powerful card to be sure, but it is entirely optional with all the different discounts that exist for Noldor, Silvan, Dunedain, or Rohan decks. Or just run a Caldara deck or a Elrond/Vilya deck and put stuff into play for free. Or run a Gloin undefended attack deck and generate more resources than SoG ever could. Steward of Gondor can enhance all these decks if included, but it's definitely not a make or break kind of thing.

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