This week in ELO has brought a game balance problem to my attention. Now that Copy Bonus cards are becoming a little bit more prominent, and many clans are getting powerful 8 power cards, SoB clans are starting to feel outdated. In UR's delicate ecosystem, SoB clans were usually a balancing force. They messed up games for clans that have incredibly good synergy between bonus and ability. A good deck had to be able to defend against both SoA and SoB without losing the ability to win rounds.
A good example of how damaging underpowered SoB clans are to the game is Jungo. Askai is currently unbanned, and the vast majority of ELO players are either running him or have tried to run him this week. If SoB clans weren't weak in the current metagame, running Jungo would pose a risk of a low damage draw, even with Askai. Many Jungo staples have mediocre damage, if they are deprived of their bonus. With SoB clans too weak to threaten Jungo, they are becoming overused. The same can be said of All Stars... Deprived of their incredible round-winning bonus, they struggle to secure the rounds they need. However with Saki's arrival, and Robb Cr unbanned, All Stars pack an even bigger round winning punch and gain the ability to wall vs SoB clans.
Has anyone else noticed this? I think Lizbeth is a step in the right direction, but her price puts her out of reach of many players...
Yeah Battery just talked to me about my necroing habit, I guess I have to stop... Or just cut down a little :P
IMHO, Piranas are like Rescue, meant to be mono, so thats pretty much all I'm going to cover. Tula in a half deck fails, esp. on a 3-1 split. Piranas overall are meant to make and maintain a pillz advantage, so pretty much like you said, win 3 out of 4 rounds. The current cards that most Piranas players use, such as Hawkins, Taljion, Raeth, and Selma are used to manipulate pillz, via forcing you to pill or directly affecting pillz count.
Since Piranas decks are built around pillz, life takes a backseat in Piranas strategy. Most games I play, I hardly mind life, as I need to secure and exploit a pillz advantage in order to win. The problem with a life-gapping card (Although it may be useful in some situations) is that it would go unnoticed, since it doesn't help with the current Piranas strategy. Several gapping releases for Piranas would fix the problem, but then Piranas becomes a pirate-themed version of Nightmare.
Furthermore, Piranas already have life-gapping cards: Rhed and Bloodh. And both are quite unpopular when it comes to ELO play. Piranas are quite a specialized clan when it comes to doing good with them, I can't think of a good Vortex comparison to try and bring my point further :( (Mainly since I suck with them and hadly understand them lol)
I definitely like what you've had to say about the Piranas, Paladin. It's always good to see someone who has a deep understanding of a clan that's not extremely popular in the current meta, and works it to their advantage.
I don't think they need more gap, necessarily... But some good cards that made them less vulnerable to DR/defeat in some way would be welcome. Let me ask you this: which clans/setups do you feel give Piranas the most trouble?
I think SoB clans are still playable in ELO.
Here are two adventages of SoB clans that you should not miss out:
- Stably against others clan especially SoA clan!!
- Can be defensive cards most of them and most of the time!! Stop clan poison; +damage; +-life; pillz recover, etc!
Highlighted card in Nightmare: (I play NM in ELO so I would like write about them)
- Artus - 2* version of Jeena, very strong for defensive, too easily to fit in deck.
- Pan - A bit underrated includes its price. Stably +life, and better then similar cards with -life (no max.), like Oxen.
- Azel - No doubt strong poison.
- Phyllis - Stably 7/1+(3), too good as a 2*, quite similar to Z3r0 D34d +3 damage in GHEIST and Treeman +3 life in Roots.
- Edwin - I think Edwin is a good card, to take down opponent's power plus stop their bonus, and make 5 damage which is reasonable.
- Cutey - Another underrated cards, replacement of Kenny, but only 3*. Same stats as Loma Noju and Dr Saw, but they are 4*.
Here are three adventages of NM that you should not miss out:
- Many great low-star characters that allow you to leave space for big characters.
- Characters with independent abilities allow you to mix up with other clans easily.
- A clan with both great +life, -life and poison abilities, easily to match up variety strategies.
The only bad thing I can see on NM is that most of their playable 4 - 5* characters are banned permanently/very often.
I'm not denying that both NM and Piranas have some great cards, and that they can be pivotal in some games. It's just that this is true of La Junta and Ulu Watu as well. I myself have gotten pretty high scores running Ulu/Vortex and Junta/Vortex mixes.
Restating my whole point in brief: Piranas and NM both have serious disadvantages. Piranas focus on 3-round wins, and NM focus on scaring you with their lineup of glass cannons. Before, these just contributed to clan identity... And the fact that SoB makes cards solid in a wide variety of situations, both defensive and offensive, helped make these clans strong despite their weaknesses.
But now, strong SoB and CoB cards are becoming more common in other clans. These cards offer the same sort of well-roundedness and carry none of the disadvantages. This is the important part: We can assume that more good SoB and CoB cards are going to be added to the game. If that continues, running a SoB clan or half may soon lose any advantage, unless NM and Piranas get a bit of a boost.
Mirror-matches end in first turn 50-50s, so they're quite infuriating some times. But other than that, AS simply due to Saki and Marina (Who's just convienently a DR :P), Skeelz, since their stats are higher to balance thier bonus, which is dormant most games, plus Greem derp/old, and mix in a little Chiara and Sandro for some painful gameplay. And Nightmare, just a bit, when they draw more than 2 uber-nukes like Cutey, Kenny Cr, or Karrion. Most times Tula, Taljion, and Raeth can beat them pill-wise, its just the pure guesswork involved...
Sorry to intrude, I played Piranas for a very long time, its was basically all I used, now I prefer Berzerk/Vortex or Skeels, but I dont feel Piranas are weakened, its just that you have to really now how to play with them to manage good results.
Actually the main reason i changed from Piranas is because i felt that it really makes you try and predict correctly your opponent to win, one mistake and usually you're in a tigh spot if you dont draw a good hand.
Lizbeth can be a problem when you play first against a hand that has SoA as an abillity but even then people spent all the rounds afraid of her that its really a good mind game to win the other 3 rounds.
Selma is a beast and can easy overpill win and let the opponent shivering.
I dont like taljon that much, he has good suport but for a wal I prefer to use Piranas 2 stars, Hawkins, Tula (but she is a bit shakky now a days), Puff or Kalder and Spycee just because we can (if bonny wasnt banned in elo, my god, Piranas would be amazing in mono). I have lost count on how many times Kalder won me the match simply because we only had one pill left at the endgame and there was no SoA on the other side.
Rateh is a good choice for Elo but for me Scubb takes the prize for best 4 stars in mono. For 3 stars Tyd obviously or Baba.
And then there is Bloodh, in the good old days Bloodh was a fraking demon, speacially when rhed was not that week in power. Rhed Bloodh was an eck of a combination.
Between them, Nightmare and Piranas have 5 8-powered cards. 4 of them are 5* that struggle against fierce competition especially in ELO decks, leaving just one that is arguably good enough to find a spot in mono decks (Tyd), and he has no ability. SoB and CoB, as pointed out, cripple both clans already, but that's not their only problem. More and more 8-powered 3* and 4* cards become a staple in competitive decks, making it very difficult for mono Piranas and mono Nightmare to match them pill for pill and pull out a 3/4 victory, and they both need it since most good decks run decent SoA cards as well that can take out Piranas' pill manipulation and Nightmare's life manipulation, making 2/4 victory that much more difficult.
In short, since both clans rely on raw stats + ability vs raw stats + ability, they need several releases of cards with better raw stats and more variety in abilities in order to stay competitive when run mono.
It doesn't have to clash with the clan themes, either. Amiral Coco was a step in the right direction. Copy, Defeat and Revenge abilities that play into their clan's theme (pillz and power manipulation for Piranas, life and attack manipulation for Nightmare) and better DR for Piranas coupled with a few more 2*, 3* and 4* star cards with slightly higher raw stats will make these clans as viable as other clans that follow a similar pattern: which is most other clans nowadays.
Biggest problem with Defeat: and DRs for Piranas is that they'll become the next Freaks. Say I draw both Scubb/Selma and the 2/3 star DR/Defeat: card, and Hawkins and Tula (Really could be any low star card.)
Now, since you have less stars than your opponent, he goes first. And now he has to guess if you'll derp-pill Scubb or block with your defeat/DR. And if you block with your DR when your opponent tries to deny Scubb, you win. Or if he few-pillz to sneak past your DR, you can overpill with Scubb and get your pillz back, along with doing a decent 5 damage. Like Freaks, 90% of games will come down to 1st turn 50-50s.
You're talking about the ideal scenario here, though: Drawing a 5* and 4* with good synergy, a DR, and an anything else. IMO that situation keeps your odds at 50/50 or better with any clan.
When I'm talking about Piranas DR/Defeat problem, I don't mean the fact that they don't have any, either. I mean the fact that their low damage cards make them painfully vulnerable to it. Selma hits for a mean 4 damage through a 3 DR. Sure, that's offset somewhat by her pill gain, but it's not going to win you the game unless you 3-round. And now that Defeat: +/- 3 life cards are becoming more common, some Piranas cards are just helpless against them. Hawkins and Puff both become a liability in that situation, actually gaining life for your opponent.