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ELO is not broken (a magical rant)

ELO is not broken (a magical rant)
Monday 29/10/2012, 23:56
ghelas - Titan English

Urban Rivals | Free Online Manga Trading Card Game | TCG | MMO
68 messages
ELO is not broken (a magical rant)
ghelas - Titan - The TrendEnglish - Monday 29/10/2012, 23:56

I hear a lot of complaints about ELO mode these days, what with cards like Kalindra and Askai roaming free.
I think these come from people focusing too much on cards that are individually strong and not enough on which cards have good synergy. Right now, building a good ELO deck is a fun puzzle. Which cards are banned this week? What can I do to counter the strong cards that aren't banned? While everyone is busy complaining, I am having the time of my life.

Let's take a look at Kalindra (the card people complain about most) and then take a look at some possible half-decks in two different clans, FPC and Pussycats. Think about using Fei, Chan, Shifou, and Zhu Tang -- three of those cards can easily beat Kalindra pill-for-pill, and the forth lets you threaten a fairly big life-per-damage gap of your own. Think about using Clover, Charlie, Lucy, and Ella in a Pussycats half-deck... All of these reduce Kalindra's damage so hard, that it's impossible for her to be the huge threat she usually is.

I think the definition of "OP" in this game is starting to change. When most players say a card is "OP" they now mean "I have to work to counter this card, and I don't wanna." A card that forces you right out of your comfort zone and into a creative deck you would have never tried otherwise is *good,* both for you and for UR. IMO, you can complain, or you can step up your deck-building game. The choice is yours.

Sincerely,
14/4 with an Ulu/Vortex deck so far this week.
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31/68
subclavianHoA - Imperator - Harbingers of Ares English
Friday 02/11/2012, 03:30

I don't think it's the 14 life per se. They changed elo from 12 to 14 life to combat the rampant abuse of second round 2hkos, and the thinking was by stretching the game out across 4 rounds it's more possible for strategy to win over random guessing.

I think it worked, for a while. 14 life introduced a new clan into elo (Freaks), and stupid gappers like Askai, Coby and Avola were held in check by mono-GHEIST on one end and the classic 11* Roots half on the other. But then UR banned Draheera, Arkn, and Arno, introduced ridiculous stop cards like Flinch and Victoria, and raised the base stats for 4*s from 7/5 to 8/5 and 7/6, creating a host of solid 4*s to shore up SOA-vulnerable clans like Sentinel, Junkz and Vortex.

The result was the decline of SOA which, coupled with the 14-life change, caused an increased popularity in using cards with powerful life gap abilities, which the UR staff continues to release in truckloads (kalindra, Hilly Billy, Moses to name a few of the recent ones).

The staff has also been releasing more SOA abilities lately, probably attempting to shift the emphasis from exclusively using SOA clans to incorporating more SOA elements per deck. So far the experiment has failed horribly. An SOA card in your opponent's hand is merely an annoyance to most people, and any good elo player worth his salt can work around it with minor inconvenience.

My point is: Bring back the SOA clans, and these stupid life gappers will disappear
32/68
ghelas - Titan - The Trend English
Friday 02/11/2012, 05:03

I think JO3 nailed it. We can keep banning strong cards, but the only place that will get us is a meta that exploits the next strongest card in line.

I partially agree with subclavian -- SoA clans could stand to get a bit stronger... But that is a very, very difficult line to draw, since they have the advantage of going though most DR, and they themselves have DR which is immune to any gapping abilities that usually slip through DR (unless it's on a SoB clan or Skeelz.)

All things considered, I still believe that the meta is on the right track. I just feel that focus should keep shifting away from individual cards and more toward synergy. The reason Jungo/Nighmare works so well this week is that Nightmare still helps control the opponent's Jungo/SoA clan/Kalindra, while Jungo brings high gap and round-winning ability... But realistically, there are many possible solid decks that can thrive this week. Consider a defensive NM/Pussycats deck, which neutralizes Askai somewhat while offering its own powerful threats... Consider a Freaks/Frozn pill manip deck, where pill gain alone might enable you to sneak in 3-round wins, if you're careful... Or try a GHEIST/Vortex deck, where Vortex's high power and attack manipulation can be used to try to call the opponent's bluffs with low risk, and activate powerful Revenge abilities if that wasn't the right call.

Think outside the Bunny. Whether it brings you great success or not, you may enjoy the game just a little more.
33/68
subclavianHoA - Imperator - Harbingers of Ares English
Friday 02/11/2012, 05:24

Here's an example of how much elo has shifted:

Go back a year or two on the message boards, and you'll see multiple threads debating whether Ongh or Askai was the best Jungo 5*. At that point in time, Ongh was actually considered on par with Askai due to his superior resistance to SOAs! Nowadays, resistance to SOA is an afterthought, and Askai is becoming borderline overpowered with frequent appearances on the banlist while Ongh has slid into obscurity (although he *is* an excellent counter to kalindra).

If we bring back the SOA clans, many of the cards we consider "overpowered" will be much less so. People hate SOAs because they're a buzzkill, but I believe they're a stabilizing force and a necessary evil in elo.
34/68
wasteroftime - Moderator - Open Casket English
Friday 02/11/2012, 05:32

Imho those who have played in the different phases of ELO development are the ones best able to give the most meaningful comments.

i can only go so far back to the time when the most popular clans were banned on a weekly basis. others have been around far longer and would have more insight.

i think some people may be doing some revisionist history by talking about the rampant 2HKO of the past.... sorry that was never really the case. Only a handful of clans had cards that were able to threaten 2hkos on a regular basis (La Junta, FPC - both of which always ran the risk of losing rounds and being at a pill disadvantage, Bangers + AS. Beyond that, the threat of constant 2hkos was not really as common as people are suggesting. Unfuried 2hkos were not that common, and furied 2hkos was a really risky move.

what has changed is how games tend to unfold.... i prefer the old balance where getting a "SURE" win due to pill advantage was a bit harder to secure that it is now. The certain win is more often secured now due to more nasty cards and the amount of high powered cards that magnify even a tiny pill advantage.

the positive change has definitely been the increase in the variety and playability of the clans. this is good. however they accomplished this by giving a lot of the clans some nasty game changing card that make certain draws more decisive
35/68
ghelas - Titan - The Trend English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:04

@Waster: Why do you feel the people most qualified to have an opinion on this are the ones who have been playing longest? I'm by no means a longtime player, but I am having no trouble making many different setups work equally well in ELO. What part of the past could possibly invalidate these observations?

I think a lot of the older players are simply hesitant to adapt to new styles and try new combinations. I feel that Vortex has arguably the strongest bonus in the game, for example, but most players are hesitant to run them. (Although, the antithesis of Rescue, you almost *have to* run them in a half-deck.) FPC has also become a very solid, mono-playable clan, but I barely see them either.

@subclavian: I would rate Ongh about on par with Askai. He may do 1 less damage, but he's better at high-pill battles, in addition to being more SoA resistant. I often run him in a Jungo half with Vortex, with very good and consistent results.

Definitely agree that SoA is a huge stabilizing force in ELO, though, and that there's some unfair bias against it. I still have no idea why Draheera was banned -- I felt that she was a very fair card; weak against SoA herself and not playable in a half-deck that could help make up for some of the GHEIST's inadequacies.
36/68
subclavianHoA - Imperator - Harbingers of Ares English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:09

@waster:
I'm not gonna debate the merits of 12 vs 14 life elo, though I've played in both and I'm slightly partial to 14 life due to how much it has helped the Freaks. What I'm saying is, 14 life isn't the only reason elo is in such sorry state nowadays. For me, the decline of SOA is just as important.

I think it's great that there are still enthusiastic players who think elo is awesome. elo participation has fallen steadily and has been struggling to break 10k recently. The format is dying and it needs your help!
37/68
0 Anderson - Titan English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:34

@Ghelas
Most top 100 ELO players are the experienced players with more than a year in this game having partaken in ELO changes and have adapted
38/68
wasteroftime - Moderator - Open Casket English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:40

Who is best able to compare the enjoyment of how enjoyable something is? those who have played it across the different phases of change it has undergone or those who have to imagine what it was like and compare it to how it is now.

if we are talking about observations of the current system, then when older players bring up the past.... then those observations would not be up for dispute either, they are just observations... and they are entitled to their perspective on how the format has evolved. it has changed, whether it is more enjoyable for them or not is their opinion, but they at least have the ability to make real comparisons.

@sub... yep its not just 14 life, it is power creep and the ability to lock up wins at an earlier stage of the match.

past -
low variety, generally repetitive decks
present -
high variety, this is good

past -
opening rounds are rarely decisive
present -
more games are decided immediately after the opening round (and some times even before a single round is played)
this is bad in my opinion

past -
third round was often some 50-50 guess work (annoying) but perfect pilling meant a comeback was possible
present -
third round is more often (compared to the past) a formality since the life gap can no longer be closed

past - more enjoyable matches (in my opinion)
present - more variety in decks (also a good thing, but quality of matches has dropped)

As for what can be done to improve participation in ELO... change the available pool of cards in some drastic manner... sooner or later this will have to happen. eventually there will be enough "newer" cards out there that old ones can be removed from the ELO environment. Balancing this will be challenging. This is good for new and future players, and this is potentially good for veteran players who might regain interest, this will not go well for content players --- so exactly what happens in this community every single time change happens
39/68
ghelas - Titan - The Trend English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:46

@Anderson: Yes, it stands to reason that the successful guys are the guys that adapted. But I'm talking about the many old, die-hard players that seem to think ELO is a 50/50 game these days... And yet, the strategy ELO mode offers keeps me entertained for many hours every single week. I'd love to convince some of these people to give ELO another try, and to dig deep enough to see past the initial impression of "If I don't run the temp-banned cards when they're unbanned, I can't win."
40/68
ghelas - Titan - The Trend English
Friday 02/11/2012, 06:55

Waster, fair enough, several very good points there, but I did not say anything about comparing. Just trying to share my personal experience and shatter what I feel are inaccurate ideas.

"past -
low variety, generally repetitive decks
present -
high variety, this is good"
100% agreed

"past -
opening rounds are rarely decisive
present -
more games are decided immediately after the opening round (and some times even before a single round is played)
this is bad in my opinion"
Also strongly agree, although I maintain that a well rounded deck is less susceptible to this.

"past -
third round was often some 50-50 guess work (annoying) but perfect pilling meant a comeback was possible
present -
third round is more often (compared to the past) a formality since the life gap can no longer be closed"
Don't know about this one, I often have pivotal 3rd rounds. Quite frankly 50-50 guess work in the 3rd is what I find frustrating about the game; it's possible to draw a weaker hand, play 2 perfect rounds, and be destroyed by a 50/50 guess on the third... That's no fun.

"past - more enjoyable matches (in my opinion)
present - more variety in decks (also a good thing, but quality of matches has dropped)"
As you said, I don't have the experience to compare, but I do find the current matches enjoyable. I assume this means they *are* enjoyable. ELO is a great, challenging, thought-provoking mode. That's the important part to me.

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