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becoming a little bit more prominent, and many clans are getting powerful 8 power cards, SoB clans are starting to feel outdated.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...
As a point of interest, now that Saki and Beeboy are unbanned, I expect to see a week where most people end up running clans or splits with some kind of "help me win" bonus. I suspect that SoB clans will be hard-pressed to keep up, and that few people will run them this week.
Watch who you're fighting in ELO this week and we'll see if my theory is correct.
The thing is, SOB is very powerful in this meta, more than you may think apparently. It can be used offensively and defensively and does very well against clans like Uppers, Freaks, AS, and FPC. You may need to rethink your SOB clan strategy if you think they are so hindered in the current ELO meta.
It could be that you're right... But honestly, an NM low-star half has been a staple of many of my decks, and lately I find it a bit risky to run. Those cards just don't feel quite as solid as they used to.
As an example of why I'm concerned about SoB, I had a 4-round win vs Mono NM earlier today. My opponent's hand: Karrion, Cutey, Bill, and Artus -- a seemingly flawless NM hand, with a DR, Defeat, and two cards capable of ending the game single-handedly with that kind of backup. My hand: Bryan, Milena, Cyb Lhia, and Dagg. You now have some idea of my opponent's predicament... If he overpills to get Karrion through, he risks an early KO. If he underpills Karrion, he has an uphill fight ahead of him. If he fails to call a bluff for fear of that KO counter, the game may very well be unwinnable.
Even though that Nightmare hand looks splendid on paper, it's still 5/6/6/7 unassisted power. There is literally no room for error.
First of all, you drew a better hand with 13 stars against his 12. Your opponent's predicament is exactly what you should worry about(remember you played first for the opening around, and you have to risk a lot more than him if overpill or underpill), so that's not the problem of Nightmare clan.
Most importantly, the key card that won you the game is Bryan, that's why I ve told you jungo's low star like Jean is the killer of SOB clan but you didn't realise it. Ability SOA kicks his ass. I have almost eaten every SOB clans with Jungo when Askai stayed. If you didn't draw Bryan in hand, try it again, and good luck!
@KillerYuri Ability SoA? That's not something that automatically destroys SoB clans. A experienced player should be able to anticipate a SoA and play around it. Now it may be difficult to play against but in no way is that a insta-win for a player that has a ability SoA card in their hand. Then again perhaps I am making a unfair comparison as I have Tyd to use against ability SoA.
Yes, I outdrew my opponent in that example by one star. Yes, I had a solid (but not outstanding) hand.
However, my opponent had essentially no hope of winning 3 rounds, and very little hope that Cutey would be allowed to get a fury off. His low-power draw limited the strategies that were viable for that game. I think the issue is exactly as I describe it -- this NM hand that looks like maybe one of the best possible 12* hands in the game on paper is still a one-trick pony. It has to land a high gap card to win, and it is forced to pill high 99% of the time to land that high gap card.
This isn't an isolated incident, by any means. I 3-rounded and beat a very similar NM hand later in the week with Milena, Victoria, Cyb Lhia, and Dagg, and there are many other specific examples I could list.
What I keep trying to say doesn't revolve around just this particular scenario, though. Most clans have been busy getting new staples that go from solid to situationally frightening. Look at FPC's current lineup with new staples like Futoshi Ld, Heitachi, and Shifou. Look at how well-rounded Skeelz has become with the addition of Michael, Snowflake, and Dr Falkenstein. Even Roots which everyone complains about UR "neglecting" has gained a strong nuke AND a strong round winner. NM and Piranas low-star staples, once great, are now starting to seem mediocre. SoB is never a round-winning bonus anymore... At best it levels the playing field just a little.