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Artumnis

Card rotation

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Artumnis said:

This will be maybe stupid question, but I can´t find anything about rotation. There are a lot of cards now and maybe after this new cycle? What do you thing?

There is no rotation currently

there are ~990 cards in the card pool now, each house has around 120 in house cards (~30 more for Stark/Bara), I can't see the need for rotation.

In general though I think rotation is a bad idea for a LCG (at least one at this stage). We need more card diversity, not less. Ban/Errata problem cards and leave the rest alone to give the ability to make a variety of deck types.

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FFG has said that they are not considering rotation for the LCG, at least at this point. They ban cards from time to time, but mostly, the idea behind the LCG was that there would be no official rotation of entire sets/packs.

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Seems like we talk about this every so often lengua.gif

I would be on board for limiting the # of sets in any given deck at some point.  Not now, when there are so few cards in the environment - but someday it makes sense or we are going to see some SERIOUS power creep.  FFG has done an amazing job so far of staying away from too much creep (although Wildlings are a little crazy, Shadows is still a pretty broken mechanic, and Maesters seem pretty strong), mainly by making sub-themes that are equally as good, and putting in some good counters. 

But, limiting decks to 3-5 sets (plus all the base set, and house expansions) might make some sense.  I can't imaging having twice the # of cards and still having an environment where either 1. there is steady power creep and your older cards are useless anyways, 2. chapter packs have little in the way of useable cards (see: the last chapter pack), and/or 3.  we get some real broken combos since it is harder to playtest 8-10 different sets all in the same environment. 

Lastly, then it wouldn't be AS intimitating for new players.  Which is it getting to be now...

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I like the idea of being allowed to construct a deck out of only the Core Set, expansion boxes, and 3-5 CP Cycles.  I'd love it more if the chosen CP Cycles had to be consecutive ones, just so broken combos could be easily avoided, but that would probably over complicate deck building.

Along with the issues rings brought up, I also worry about the constraints that such a large card pool puts on card design. What types of cards can't Nate design because of X and Y in the environment?  Isolating what cards could be played together by restricting your chosen CP cycles to consecutive ones would help limit this, and potentially free up Nate to design a lot more and keep the game feeling fresh.  But, like I said, that idea might complicate the whole deck building process too much.

However, I think it's important that ALL cards always remain legal for competitive play as it's part of the LCG "spirit".

~Have I said this before?

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Yeah, great idea Rings!

I think the Core Sets (and any/all expansions) should always be legal, but then restricting people to 3 additional blocks would be best (five actually seems a bit unnecessary/excessive, and five is still quite a barrier to entry for new players). Three + core sets would encourage creativity during deckbuilding.

This would also lead to a lot of interesting trade-offs: Do I play the old stuff so that I can play the Fury plot? Is it OK to skip seasons altogether, knowing that I won't have any carrion birds to protect against opponent's seasonal effects? How will I deal with shadows if I don't play anti-shadow tech?

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Twn2dn said:

This would also lead to a lot of interesting trade-offs: Do I play the old stuff so that I can play the Fury plot? Is it OK to skip seasons altogether, knowing that I won't have any carrion birds to protect against opponent's seasonal effects? How will I deal with shadows if I don't play anti-shadow tech?

Good point - cards like the Fury plots would take a hit, in that their cycle probably wasn't one of the most powerful cycles out there (the To Be A events, a few characters...but I don't have a ton of black-bordered cards in my decks). 

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Kennon said:

 If we limit "blocks" like that, do you want to be the one checking each and every decklist for tournaments? 

Just like we do now?  Yes, there is potential to miss something, but we have been fine in the past and would anyone really put in the wrong cards on purpose, so they get an auto-loss? 

I really don't see the issue on this point.  If the choice was between having the issues brought up above, and having to spend a few extra minutes on decklists at the 3-4 big tourneys a year...I think I know my choice. 

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Have to say that I don't think it would be a good idea to limit deckbuilding to 3-5 sets.  It would be good in some ways, it would keep some of the auto-includes out of many decks (Val for example) but it would make it even more difficult to overcome an overpowered mechanic.  Even with only 3 sets it would still be possible to build a very competitive Wildling deck, and it would be even more difficult than it currently is to build a deck that counters it.  And if restricting the packs you can use in deckbuilding results in one or two really OP deck types, we're probably going to see less creative decks and more of the same thing over and over with very slight variations.  
It would also make some CPs nigh-on worthless, and would be completely unfair to allow the boxes when there is no Targ or Lannister box available.
Maybe some day when the card pool has grown a lot  or when there are several seemingly OP deck types, but in general I think I would be opposed to this.

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Skowza said:

Have to say that I don't think it would be a good idea to limit deckbuilding to 3-5 sets.  It would be good in some ways, it would keep some of the auto-includes out of many decks (Val for example) but it would make it even more difficult to overcome an overpowered mechanic.  Even with only 3 sets it would still be possible to build a very competitive Wildling deck, and it would be even more difficult than it currently is to build a deck that counters it.  And if restricting the packs you can use in deckbuilding results in one or two really OP deck types, we're probably going to see less creative decks and more of the same thing over and over with very slight variations.  
It would also make some CPs nigh-on worthless, and would be completely unfair to allow the boxes when there is no Targ or Lannister box available.
Maybe some day when the card pool has grown a lot  or when there are several seemingly OP deck types, but in general I think I would be opposed to this.

I agree with your underlying sentiment that it would be great if the environment remains generally balanced without any need for rotation/banning/deckbuilding limits, but I just don't think that's very likely to be the case in the long term. The risk you point out is possible, but then again, limits on deckbuilding wouldn't be the only tool for restricting cards...selective erratas/bannings remains an option for specific cards/mechanics that prove too powerful. Given what I see as the eventual, inevitable emergence of unbalanced combinations, limiting deckbuilding might be a good solution because it sets very clear guidelines that are easy to follow but still allow for a lot of creativity. Such a restriction would also lower the barrier of entry for new players looking to experiment in the competitive scene.

With regard to specifics, maybe rather than specify "core set + X blocks," just say "X blocks," and count the core sets and expansions as their own blocks? The core sets/house expansions contain a lot of neutral cards, so it might make sense to count these as legitimates blocks for the sake of deckbuilding restrictions.  

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Retiring a set of chapter packs completely would be extremely bad decision for the game which would lose FFG customers.

Limiting deckbuilding to a few blocks of Chapter Packs is by far preferable to simply retiring sets but at the moment I don't see it as  necessary at all at any time in the near future.

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Put me down as preferring the individual card rotation policy that is banning. A problem card creating an imbalance in the meta? Ban it. Restricting design space? Ban it. I figure that at this rate we're likely to see less than a handful of cards get banned once a year. I can live with 3 cards a year from the entire card pool getting banned in tournament play, especially if the cards are older ones.

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rings said:

Kennon said:

 

 If we limit "blocks" like that, do you want to be the one checking each and every decklist for tournaments? 

 

 

Just like we do now?  Yes, there is potential to miss something, but we have been fine in the past and would anyone really put in the wrong cards on purpose, so they get an auto-loss? 

 

*shrug* Keeping track of the current banned list is quite a bit easier than which particular block every card you see an opponent play against you. At the moment, it's possible. In another couple years, I wouldn't want to be policing my opponent. 

As for putting in the wrong cards with the auto-loss risk.... well.... obviously as someone that wouldn't you'd think people wouldn't cheat. But the problem is that they do all the time, on all sorts of things. We've been lucky enough to not have a high profile case in Thrones that I can recall, but Cthulhu sure did a couple years ago in relation to shuffling. 

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Penfold said:

Put me down as preferring the individual card rotation policy that is banning. A problem card creating an imbalance in the meta? Ban it. Restricting design space? Ban it. I figure that at this rate we're likely to see less than a handful of cards get banned once a year. I can live with 3 cards a year from the entire card pool getting banned in tournament play, especially if the cards are older ones.

This is an interesting thought.

However, I really think it would be wrought with peril (that sounded ominous!).  People would think the developers were 'out to get' whatever style they wanted to play.  Look at the huge amount of discussion any card is even thought about being changed/banned now.  Doing that with 3-5 cards a year would really piss off a lot of people, while limiting the card pool would always be a set rule that never changed.  There would still be bannings, but more for brokenness than to try and balance the meta. 

The more I think about it, the more I believe that limiting the card pool (someday, not soon) is the more graceful way to ensure that either every future chapter pack isn't either ****, or there is a large power creep and your old cards are worthless anyways.  I didn't come up with the idea (I got it from Dobbler, not sure if he did...~and I usually HATE any ideas he has), I just like it. 

@Kennon.  If someone wants to put their entire competative career on the line to try and cheat and win one tourney, they are mental.  We actually HAVE had people try and cheat in the past, and they quickly have quit after being caught.  In this game, you don't get a lot for winning (no $$, little in the way of prizes), it is a pride thing.  ~You wouldn't understand of course, being the Chump of the 2 Champs and a Chump gui%C3%B1o.gif  FFG has done a good thing and put an icon for each series/block as well, so it wouldn't be THAT hard for ONE of your opponents to notice you have too many sets in there. 

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bloodycelt said:

White Wolf has so far been able to run Vampire without having to rotate any cards... and it's been around since '94/'95.

 

I don't think anyone is claiming that it would be impossible to avoid rotation/restrictions, but rather that the competitive environment would benefit in the form of more flexibility/creativity in design space. In other words, players would in theory have access to more interesting cards and mechanics to play with than if game designers had to somehow avoid potential NPE by limiting the cards that come into play. Also, some form of restrictions can help to lower the barrier of entry for new players. I'm not sure how Vampire does in terms of organized play...does it actively attract new players?

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I heard Vamapire CCG has died. But this is because it was basically at the end of its product lifecycle, and White Wolf let it go, whitout even trying to turn it in an LCG.

But I liked White Wolf's policy and its non-rotaional "coherence" approach. Yet, I'm not sure if it can be efficently applied to AGoT.

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So far as I can tell, VTES managed to survive on an 'Eternal' card-legality policy by essentially adding new 'Houses' to the game on a very regular basis.

Each new expansion cycle came with various new clans, who would use their own self-contained (or narrowly shared) disciplines. That meant that, so long as each expansion was of a similar power-level to other expansions, an eternal format was no problem. Each clan could only realistically sling around the cards that came in their expansion, along with a similarly contained pool of cards that related to any other disciplines they shared with previous sets.

The point being that the structure of the game made it very easy for WW to issue a huge overall pool of cards, while simultaneously constricting decks to using cards from only one or two individual 'silos' at any one time (if they wanted to be realistically competitive).

 

That was, as I understand it, a great model for VTES; but it wouldn't work so well for Thrones. Why not? Because we have six houses whose card pools will only ever increase. There aren't an unlimited number of new houses to add and there's no mechanic in the game that could be used to force cards to only use cards from certain blocks at any one time (without resorting to absurdly narrow and constricted design). Without FFG bringing in some kind of rotation policy (likely still several years away, which I welcome) each house will eventually have access to an enormous number of excellent cards (i.e. a deck made solely from the Varys, The Red Viper and Wildling Hordes of every cycle), allowing them to build decks that far exceed the current power-level; leading, inevitably, to the kind of broken Turn-One-Win NPE's of the unrestricted vintage CCG format.

The sad fact is that (assuming all other things being equal) bigger pool = better decks. Unless you can find a way to force players to only use a small amount of the pool (i.e. the excellent 'only three chapter pack cycles' suggestion) then a rotation policy is the only* answer.

 

 

*and when I say 'only', I obviously mean 'only viable one that I can think of right now'.

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Actually, as far as I recall from my VTES days, there's a sort of limitation in place in VTES regarding deckbuilding. Characters (of the blood-sucking variety, 12 in a deck that is separate from other cards) are limited to blocks that are numbered from 1 to 4 (possibly higher by now, this was a while back), and you are only allowed to play characters from two subsequent blocks. So having characters only from 2 and 3 would be legal, but having characters from both 2 and 4 would not. The blocks do not go strictly according to set, but can span a few sets (so three subsequent sets could have characters of block 4, and then the next one of block 5 with the block number all the time increasing).

Each set also contains quite many cards that are in all sets (basic combat cards etc.) and the number of actually new cards is much smaller. Also there's the fact that different sets concentrate on different clans (akin to houses)... it would be similar to AGOT getting only one new set a year, and one year there would only be cards for Martell and Lannister, next year for Stark and Greyjoy...

...and no I did not really find competitive VTES very appealing for new players (went to play once)... or the game very balanced, or nearly as interesting as some others. :)

Dobbler's idea is quite similar to the VTES block system, and I can see it forcing players into interesting choices (Clash of Kings just for Castellan, or do I want KL for Shadow-Tyrion and substitute castellan with Alchemist's Guild Hall?), which is always good. Also the fact that all sets have their unique icons on the cards helps in keeping track... On the downside, this might just lead to Wildling -decks dominating the environment forever... :)

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WWDrakey said:

Actually, as far as I recall from my VTES days, there's a sort of limitation in place in VTES regarding deckbuilding. Characters (of the blood-sucking variety, 12 in a deck that is separate from other cards) are limited to blocks that are numbered from 1 to 4 (possibly higher by now, this was a while back), and you are only allowed to play characters from two subsequent blocks. So having characters only from 2 and 3 would be legal, but having characters from both 2 and 4 would not. The blocks do not go strictly according to set, but can span a few sets (so three subsequent sets could have characters of block 4, and then the next one of block 5 with the block number all the time increasing).

You are absolutely right, I had totally forgotten about the 'You can only mix vampires from consecutive sets' rule.

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I don't see how someone could be pro-rotation which is banning entire cycles and against spot bans on the cards that restrict design space.

I mean what would be the point of banning something like House Dayne Knight? How does that in anyway give an old school  Martell player from 2008 an advantage over a player from 2018?

Theoretically one could build a "best-of" deck, but the reality is that if cards are costed appropriately who could afford a deck full of 5-3 cost super character cards like the Viper, Beric, and Varys? When we end up with cards that become unbalanced because of the cost/benefit ratio then rotate that single card. Or the one which enables them to be played with minimal risk or investment.

The limited format also being discussed is beter than full set rotation, but At what point do you see this being needed and how many stes? Do we include the expansions in that? What about the Core Set.

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Penfold said:

I don't see how someone could be pro-rotation which is banning entire cycles and against spot bans on the cards that restrict design space.

Who is that directed at? Has anybody in this thread actually advocated that as a policy?

Apologies for the lack of clarity in my previous post, but I'm not actually a fan of MTG style 'rotation'. I much prefer some method of restricing access to the total available card-pool. That is to say, some variation of the 'only three CP cycles at a time' suggestion offered earlier.

 

Penfold said:

 

I mean what would be the point of banning something like House Dayne Knight? How does that in anyway give an old school  Martell player from 2008 an advantage over a player from 2018?

Let me preface this by saying again that I'm not for an all-out 'rotation' policy (with cards being essentially ruled useless forever), but am for some kind of 'three sets only' kind of rotation option, whereby player's access to the overall cardpool is somehow limited in order to stop them from having access to everything ever printed. Further, I don't think we're yet at a point where we even begin to need that kind of policy implemented, but that we will eventually and inevitably reach such a point in X years time.

Anyway, that over; HDKnight. He's a very weak example of 'why we need This Kind of Thing' as he's an extremely generic weenie whose function is easily replicated by other cards. As such, rotating him is very unimportant as his individual power level is very low. He is, in short, not the kind of card that these kind of policies are implemented to regulate.

 

The point of this kind of policy would be to prevent players from building a deck entirely from A+ quality cards (or building a deck with such tight internal synergy that it felt essentially the same as a deck built solely from A+ quality cards) and pulling off consistent Turn 1 Wins (or similar NPE's). The point isn't about preventing the 'in since 2008' player from having an advantage or using his favourite card, it's about keeping the overall play environment's power-level at a sensible, enjoyable, point.

Rotations/Restrictions aren't put in place to deprive people of relatively low-powered cards like HDKnight, they're aimed at preventing absurdities like Turn-1-Greyjoy-Raid-Wins, and Clever-Combo-Twelve-Claim-Challenge-On-Turn-One type experiences. Be those effects generated by decks running nothing but superman uniques or decks that reliably combo out before the end of the first two turns.

You only need to look at how vintage highlander Thrones games play out to understand why some kind of policy will inevitably be needed. The real question is which is the most practical implementation option for the community and at what point will players feel that it's right to bring it in. I don't have a perfect solution for that. Nobody does right now (partly because of the hodge-poge way in which AGOT has been produced and marketed to date), but surely we can all agree that some kind of restriction/rotation policy is going to be needed in the medium-term future?

 

Penfold said:

Theoretically one could build a "best-of" deck, but the reality is that if cards are costed appropriately who could afford a deck full of 5-3 cost super character cards like the Viper, Beric, and Varys?

Well, it's all very well to take the few example characters given and then to feign bewilderment as to how a good deck could ever be built using only characters precisely like them. But the point I was driving at was that nightmarish super-decks will eventually arise if the cardpool becomes wide enough. As you can observe in the vintage Thrones environment, those decks use not only the best 'expensive' characters, but also the creme-de-la-creme of the cheaper characters available (plus of course events, locations and attachments of similar high calibre). Those decks are no fun to play against because they create games in which you are either 100% locked down from the outset, or in which the game is over before the first Standing Phase even arrives.

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I fundamentally disagree. Comparing anything pre-LCG to LCG is flawed. The game is substantially different in design philosophy. Pre-LCG has more gold, search, and draw available to it and cards that were easy to trigger and had much stronger effects with little to no meaningful drawback. You just don't see those kinds of cards printed on a regular basis for every house the way it was in the LCG.

If the problem is specific cards get rid of those cards.

Sure restricting someone to 3 cycles of material is a way to limit degenerate decks, but it is also a way to to force the designers into a holding pattern of ideas. Every three cycles you need to have certain themes or mechanics revisited so each player can have the feedom to play what they want or you ignore it entirely and realize you can never include any real additional support for any theme. It all has to come out in that same 3 cycle block or for practical purposes you've missed your window.

I wouldn't want to design under those constraints. Whatdoes that do to FFG's bottom line? If I have a deck from a two years ago that hits on all cylinders why would I continue to collect other cards I know would not ever be able to be used in my deck?once I did decide that a new segment of cards had enough stuff for me to build a deck I liked better than what I am playing those cards become pretty worthless to me.

Does FFG start reprinting past sets in some sort of collectors box that lets the themes carry forward? Doesn't that in the end defeat the entire purpose of the segmented cycle format?

 

Meh. I'm not enthused by it all.

 

P.S. that previous post was directed more towards Rings. Sorry about the lack of quotation.

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Penfold said:

 

Sure restricting someone to 3 cycles of material is a way to limit degenerate decks, but it is also a way to to force the designers into a holding pattern of ideas. Every three cycles you need to have certain themes or mechanics revisited so each player can have the feedom to play what they want or you ignore it entirely and realize you can never include any real additional support for any theme. It all has to come out in that same 3 cycle block or for practical purposes you've missed your window.

 

Just to clarify, the idea would not be to restrict the "standard-format" card pool to the most recent X number of blocks/sets, but rather to restrict deck lists to a certain number of blocks. If someone wants to include a particular card in their deck, they have that option, but they'll have to opt to use that block. This will undoubtedly restrict players from playing all the cards they'd otherwise play with in one deck, but that's the point. The goal is to prevent decks from becoming so efficient that they are too powerful...leading to NPE combos, excessively cohesive control mechanics, etc.

 

As Rings and others observed, we probably don't need to implement such a system right now. But as more cards are printed, it seems inevitable that decks would become increasingly efficient. If they become so efficient that games are less enjoyable (or harder for new players to enter), restrictions on deckbuilding would offer a solution where new and old players can enjoy the game. Given the lag time between card development and release, FFG may want to consider this sooner rather than later, since any restriction/rotation policy will dramatically impact card design.

EDIT:

Just to add a couple examples, in case it's helpful...Lanni Kneel and Wildlings have received erratas (Alchemist Guild Hall and "The North" agendas) because both were too efficient within the current card pool. Card for card, Alchemists Guild Hall isn't any stronger than Black Cells or Orphan of Greenblood, but kneel and wildlings have proven to be too strong. Without any form of rotation/deckbuilding restrictions, it's hard for me to imagine either Lanni Kneel or neutral Wildlings receiving much more support. Unfortunately, that means that old mechanics will (likely) be abandoned in favor of new mechanics (like Clansmen) to avoid further development of an existing mechanic. So the only alternative to some form of rotation, in my opinion, is to create entirely new mechanics that are inconsistent (or less consistent) with existing builds.

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