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Calm Sober Codex P/review
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Jezus fuck, why can't I look at this game without finding new errors each and every single time?

Here are today's pair:

First



Note that the helper text is WRONG on this card. That is not how Frenzy works and it can actually matter as the game has things like

this which care about ATK being below a certain value at a specific point during your turn.

By the actual rules if you have given a Fruit Ninja another +2 ATK from buffs, then he cannot benefit from Hidden Ninja and then attack later in the turn to get the +1 -- but by the incorrect reminder text printed on the card, you totally could do that.

Next up, we have a new issue in this mystification nexus of an ability which should never have been printed:



Take the time to actually read the ability there. Because I just noticed a ruling that Sirlin made about it back in March -- and nobody called him on until today.

Quote:

2016-03-11: The damage done by the sparkshot ability and by the Tower add-on are both combat damage. But they are also both "abilities" so Sentry CAN prevent their damage.


Except that the Tower only damages ATTACKING units and heroes, while the Sentry Ability only prevents damage to your PATROLLERS. Your Units and Heroes can only ATTACK on your own turn, and they can only PATROL when it is not your turn.

So Sirlin claiming that the Sentry Ability can negate tower damage is pretty much like a MtG card saying that "while attacking, this creature negates damage from opposing attacking creatures that block it". And if that's the fucking quality of the rules clarifications coming from the fucking designer, then this game might as well be calvinball.


Last edited by Josh_Kablack on Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:12 am; edited 4 times in total
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I Previously posted the following to BGG:

So I think I've figured out exactly why I both love and hate Codex at the same time: The decision tree is insane, making for truly extreme levels of both depth and learning curve. Here's a simple (ha-ha) enumeration of all the choices made in just the opening of a game of Codex:



Pre-game:

-->Each Player Chooses a team of three heroes.
-->Each Player Chooses a starter deck that is the same color as at least one of their chosen heroes


Player 1 Turn 1:

**Main Phase**
Choose which order to do any and all of the following (order can matter significantly)

Choose whether to make a worker (Hint: the right answer is always yes for at least your first three turns).
-->Choose which card to make into a worker

Choose whether to summon a Hero from your Command Zone
-->make any choices about whether and how to use your Hero's startband ability (Garth, Vir, Bigby, Quince, and Calamandra can all use their abilities on the first turn of the game)

Choose whether to play a card from your hand (Hint: the right answer is almost always: Yes for P1T1)

Choose which card to play
--> make any choices involved in playing that card (Reputable Newsman, Lawful Search, Time Spiral, Forest's Favor, and Bloom can all involve choices when they are played as the first card from your hand on the first turn of the game)

Choose whether to play another card (Hint: the right answer is usually NO for the first couple of turns)
-->make any choices involved in playing that card.

Choose whether to play a third card (Hint: this is only rarely even possible, and the right answer is almost always NO for the first couple of turns)
-->make any choices involved in playing that card

Choose whether to play a fourth card ((Hint: starter deck costs means that if this is even possible, it requires having skipped your first worker and I will call you an idiot if you ever do it p1t1.)

Choose whether any of your units or heroes which have the Haste ability attack
-->In FFA mode, choose which opponent each of those attacks.

Choose whether to save any leftover gold for next turn or to invest it in leveling up your Hero. (Hint: you will only rarely have leftover gold on turn 1)

Choose whether or not to build an add-on (Hint: the right answer is almost always NO on turn 1)
-->Choose which add-on to build.

**At the end of your main phase**:
Choose whether each of your units and heroes patrols or not
-->Choose which of the five available patrol slot to assign each of your patrolling units and heroes to.

**During your discard/draw phase**
If you summoned the hero Bigby Hayes, choose whether and how to use his Stash Ability during your discard/draw phase.

**During your opponent's turn**
Start choosing which two cards from your Codex to Tech in to your discard to improve your deck.

Player 2 Turn 1:

**Main Phase**
Choose which order to do any and all of the following (order can matter significantly)

Choose whether to make a worker (Hint: the right answer is always yes for at least your first three turns).
-->Choose which card to make into a worker

Choose whether to play a card from your hand (Hint: the right answer is almost always Yes: unless the first player made you discard )

Choose which card to play
--> make any choices involved in playing that card

Choose whether to play another card (Hint: the right answer is usually NO for the first couple of turns)
-->make any choices involved in playing that card.

Choose whether to play a third card (Hint: the right answer is almost always NO for the first couple of turns)
-->make any choices involved in playing that card.

Choose whether to play a fourth card (Hint: this will almost never be possible, and when it is, you should never do it on your opening turn)
-->make any choices involved in playing that card.

Choose whether to play a fifth card. (Hint: I'm not sure this is ever even possible, but even if it is in some oddball situation, it is a stupendously bad idea..)

Choose whether to summon a Hero from your Command Zone
-->make any choices about whether and how to use your Hero's startband ability.
-->choose whether to level up your hero
-->>> make any choices about whether and how to use your Hero's midband ability.

Choose whether any of your units or heroes which have the Haste ability attack
--> In FFA choose which opponent they attack
-->Choose what each of your attackers attacks. They can attack opposing units, heroes, bases, building cards, and (at least) theoretically add-ons here. Although all attacks are (subject to the limits of opposing patrollers)
-->If any of your units or heroes with the Haste ability kill an opposing hero, you may have to make choices about your hero's midband or maxband ability.

Choose whether to save any leftover gold for next turn or to invest it in leveling up your Hero. (Hint: you will rarely have leftover gold on turn 1)

Choose whether or not to build an add-on (Hint: the right answer is usually No on turn 1)
-->Choose which add-on to build. (Hint: Tower is the most likely to be usefull this early, but some niche strategies can use Hero's Hall)

Choose whether or not to build your Tech 1 building (Hint: unless you are drawing one or more extra cards, you will not have any Tech I cards in your hand before your third turn, so it's usually slightly better to wait until turn 2 to build your Tech 1 building -- but that depends on the cost of cards in each of your first two starting hands and the strategy you are pursuing.)

**At the end of your main phase**:
Choose whether each of your units and heroes patrols or not
-->Choose which of the five available patrol slot to assign each of your patrolling units and heroes to.

**During your discard/draw phase**
If you summoned the hero Bigby Hayes, choose whether and how to use his Stash Ability during your discard/draw phase.

**During your opponent's turn**
Start choosing which two cards from your Codex to Tech in to your discard to improve your deck.

Player 1, Turn 2:

**Tech Phase** Finalize your decision about which two cards to Tech In, and add those to your discard


Further turns often get even more complex, with the potential to play more cards from hands, the potential to bring multiple heroes into play with the greater likelihood of those heroes having multiple bands of abilities, the ability use more attackers, attack and target more opposing things, the potential to use abilities that manipulate cards in your discard or codex, etc. etc.

This means that each player makes a staggering number of decisions each game. Which makes for which remains intriguing and strategically rich well after a thousand plays -- yet is so perplexing and frustrating that very few new players will get through the half dozen games necessary to even begin to understand the strategic ramifications of most of the decisions they make.

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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I have to say, I'm not really sold on the whole thing. The tech trees in particular seem like they make the game's result baked in long before the game actually ends. There certainly are Magic games that are decided on turn five and actually end on turn twenty, but people hate Lantern Prison. I have no idea why I'd want to have a game where everyone was playing prison decks at each other. Most Magic games are decided only a turn or two before they actually end. That's really where I want a game to be.

-Frank
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Anyways, back to my languishing Spec reviews.

Up next is Demonology

The "theme" of Demonology is supposedly "power for a price". The actual theme is "After ripping off

Skeletons and

Disease as-mass-removal

now it's time to rip of Demons as spell-search

all from Alpha


because there's no need to be creative with the Black baddies faction. It's 1993 all over again....

The Unique mechanic is ......well lemme just quote here
some dude who has played a lot more Codex than me wrote:

All specs, including Bashing, can be part of a deck that is as good as the mono-color versions. The difference between Demonology and Bashing is that Demon + x + y works for 90% of possible x and y combinations, while Bashing + x + y only works for less than 5%. (Where "works" means "goes approximately 30-30 or better when played 10 times against each mono-color)


Which is to say that Demonology is a generally solid spec that offers some synergies with damn near every other Spec in the game - and enough of that synergy is in the easily-accessed Hero, Spell and Tech I cards to allow Demons to play nice with damn near everyone

Hero: (un)Holy Shit Value




Statwise she starts out at the 2/3 + startband, making her identical to Grave and in that big pack of tied-for 2nd best stats. She hits midband for only 2 more gold, tying with Grave and Calamandra for cheapest hero to hit 3/4 stats. For only 2 more gold she hits 4/5 stats - which are in the pack of tied-behind-rook for best maxband stats in the game, and yet also tied for "cheapest hero to get to maxband". Remember that at +5 gold invested in leveling him up, Rook is only at his 3/5 midband -- meaning that Vandy hits harder than the hero who is supposed to have the best stats in the game at that price point. Thus as just an attacking and blocking patrolling body, she offers a phenomonal stat to cost ratio.

But ability-wise she adds Sparkshot at startband (minimal added value), Resist:1 at midband (making her more expensive to target with removal), a tap-to-fetch a spell ability at midband and a dual use buff-stuff-to-make-it-die-later ability at maxband. While her midband tap exhaust-to-tutor is anti-synergistic with using her for combat, it gives her reliable access to a toolbox of "spend life for draw", "useful combat buff", and "patroller removal" Also, her midband does allow her to fetch her ultimate - allowing that to be a potential win condition as early as turn 3 or 4, without having to commit to it in advance.

So in addition to top-tier stats for as cheap as they come, she offers a very strong set of abilities

Spells:
Dark Pact. This zero gold cost spell deals two damage to a base, then "that player" draws two cards. Which is useful for earlygame cardflow or theoretically as lategame finishing direct damage. But for crying out loud, can Sirlin fucking stop pretending that this game actually supports multiplayer modes with wordings like that. "One of that base's controllers" is who needs to draw the cards from this for both grammar and 2-headed dragon mode to work.

Soul Stone: This buff attaches to a unit, giving it +1/+1 and the next time the unit would die, you remove all soul-stones instead. This is a key component to some Tech I beatdown rush plans, where you get an immediate buff and then double use out of a strong earlygame unit.

Shadow Blade: Deal 3 Damage to a patroller, if that patroller dies, then its controller discards a card.

Ultimate: Metamorphosis. This ultimate requires you to sacrifice all units you control. But then it brings all your heroes (which it hasn't previously buffed) to max level, gives them all +2/+2, Readiness, and Invisibility. So it makes Vandy 6/7 with Readiness and Invisibility and if you have a 2nd hero out due to being at Tech II or having built a Hero's Hall, you almost certainly have another 5+ points of Invisible attack right now (plus triggering their maxband abilities) and then Readiness lets them both patrol after sneaking double-digit damage through to the opponent's base. Oh, note that the "sacrifice all units" clause of her ultimate will only strip the soul stone from a unit buffed with soul stone, and also one of Demonology's tech I units can be Indestructible to dodge this. That makes for this to be a viable threat of an early-midgame win condition.


Tech I Cards.

Gargoyle:
This is a $3 unit that starts out Indestructible but unable to attack or patrol. You can pay $1 to make it a 3/2 flyer that loses indestructible until your next upkeep. This is one of only two different Tech I flyers in the game, and 3/2 manage to be not merely buffer than the 0/1 mana birds in green or the 1/1 tokens from the white spell, but on par with the cheaper Tech II flyers, making this considerable earlygame threat. While paying the activation cost is a significant gold drain, the fact that this starts out indestructible means that a lot of generic removal can't work against this until after it's made at least one attack. While this is a generally strong unit, it also synergizes well with anything that gives bonus gold early, anything that wipes the board and anything which can provide an attack bonus in the early game -- which is to say that it synergizes strongly with at least something from damn near every spec in the game.

Twilight Baron:
This is a $4 4/4 trample Overpower unit. With the drawback that you cannot play Tech II or Tech III units while it is in play. The other tech I units with similar stats are Future's 4/4 Knight of the Conclave (which is hosed by Forecast 3) and Ninjitsu's 6/6 Inverse Power Ninja, who is rarely at full stats and doesn't Trample anyways.

The drawback is non-trivial, but also not straightforward in application. It doesn't so much prevent you from bringing out higher tech units later, as it makes you contort your combat decisions in order to be able to bring out your higher tech units. Remember that HP is fully ablative in Codex and the attacker makes all decisions. So you can usually manage to kill this off just by making even trades instead of favorable attacks with it. Worst case, you maxband Vandy to make this 6/6 Overpower that dies on your next upkeep.

Also note that 4/4 Overpower are comparable combat stats to many Tech II units. Looking back at Necromancy's Tech II, only the Wight is a 4/4 - the other Tech II options there are all 3/3s or 1/4s. Ninjitsu's Tech II has the 4/3 Glorius Ninja and the 2/6 Porcupine , a 3/1 flyer and the 3/4 Racoon. All of which means that this dude can be part of a viable rush beatdown plan where you try to win using Tech I units, Heros and spells and never even playi any Tech II or Tech III units.


Tech II Cards:

Voidblocker:
Attacking this guy means you tap out exhaust one of your dudes in addition to the dude attacking. Some utility against weenie-horde token spam strategies, but generally low enough impact on the board by the time you're playing Tech IIs for this to be pretty niche.

Blackhand Dozer:
This is a $4 7/6 Overpower unit that has a pair of drawbacks. Mainly you cannot take any opponents' life base below 6 HP while he is in play, and then when he dies, you lose a lowest tech unit of opponent's choice. These drawbacks make him an interesting to use in the standard game mode, crazy strong in 2-headed and have some truly funky interactions with triggered effects timing in the Free For All mode where you are allowed to lend patrollers to other players.

Banefire Golem:
Hey, you know what's original in a black card, a 7/7 demon where you have to sacrifice one of your other creatures units to it each turn? But since we've already mined so much of 1993, in Codex this demon neither flies nor tramples, and instead the sacrifice triggers 1 damage to each opposing unit, hero and building.

Shrine of Forbidden Knowledge:
this is a building which increases both your draw and hand size by +1. It also makes all of your Demons unstoppable by units. The cost is that it deals 1 damage to your own base during each of your upkeep phases. This looks pwnsome since multiples stack and you will get the bonus draw at the end of the turn you play it, and an opponent destroying it immediately means you don't suffer the damage at the start of next turn while an opponent not destroying it immediately is ceding card advantage. The thing is that if you were going for extra cardflow, you could have just built the Surplus add-on to draw +1 card per turn back at Tech 0 instead of waiting for Tech II. You are also playing Demonology so you could jolly well just Dark Pact yourself a few times to trade life for cards.

The final card in Demonology II is the sort of thing that passes for an in-joke amongst Codex playtesters:



Believe it or not, that name comes from France...


Note that if you unshackle him, he's better than many tech III units. Note also that Banefire Golem eating a skeleton token will unshackle him. But for out of color combos here ya go:

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Tech III card: Zaramonde the Obliterator

Demonology's tech III is just short of top-tier tech III. If and only if you play it from your hand (at the maximum cost of anything in this game of $10), then it kills any single opposing card that is neither a building nor expressly untargetable. upon arrival. Then it's an 11/11 demon with untargetable and Obliterate IV. This means it offers a bit of turnaround potential immediately if you don't cheat it into play and you opponent has difficulty answering it (due to untargetable) and it very likely seals a win if it lives a turn to attack.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
I have to say, I'm not really sold on the whole thing. The tech trees in particular seem like they make the game's result baked in long before the game actually ends. There certainly are Magic games that are decided on turn five and actually end on turn twenty, but people hate Lantern Prison. I have no idea why I'd want to have a game where everyone was playing prison decks at each other. Most Magic games are decided only a turn or two before they actually end. That's really where I want a game to be.

-Frank


In actual play, Codex seems pretty short on turns played, with the median 2 player game ending on one or the other player's 7th turn. However the average game length seems to be 45-60 minutes for between 2 players who generally know the game and their cards -- turns tend to be long because of the number of decision involved and the added fiddliness of gold-tracking, levelups and and ablative health.

However your complaint is justified as a lot of games do seem to end with a turn or two of slippery slope where the loser is just hoping to pull a miracle draw -- and at 6 to 9 minutes per turn, that's a problematically long of an endgame.


As to the tech trees, I also dislike the stricly linear implementation, but the effect in actual games tends to be more of "I have a window to get damage through - do I do 5 damage to my opponent's base? do I disable Their tech I building (doing 2 damage to their base) for a turn or do I take out their starting hero (gaining myself a levelup bounty and locking them out of that hero's spells for at least a turn)" than to be "Gee I can kill one of their Heroes/ Tech Buildings each turn, how do I best millstone lock them?". Generally by the time either player can reliably get the 5+ damage through to disable a Tech building on repeated turns, that player can just win by doing 5+ damage to their opponent repeatedly.

However, you're not wrong. Lantern Prisoning is not a common endstate, but it was a poor decision to design the game with a central set of mechanics to allow the potentnial of such millstone locks in each and every game. And it was poor design to not incorporate more comeback mechanics into the game in place of having a game where the final 15-50% is seeing if the loser can overcome increasing slippery slope....
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So that's Black down, with Purple and White handled previously...I'm almost halfway through the Specs. Up next is the Green Faction of the Mosswood Sentinels - now we're really ripping off MtG wholesale.

In Codex Green is nature themed, with common starter cards that accelerate mana gold and a number of big creautres and buff spells.



There's homage, there's plagarism and then there is simply phoning it in...


This is actually pretty disappointing at the conceptual level, seeing as green could easily have been themed around money having a bunch of cards along the lines of, trade caravans accountants, treasure vaults, insurance agents, etc. Or it could have been themed around jealousy with a bunch of duplication / theft abilities and some sorely needed come-back-from behind things that get bonuses when an opponent has more / better things in play. Or it could have been themed around poisons, sickness and medicene - taking the place of the Black Disease spec and adding some non-suck healing options to the game. Or it could have been centered around "green" troops - a bunch of units who are combat weak but cheap to get a bunch into play - but that schtick went to Blue's Peace spec instead.

While green is really strong on gold gain and pretty strong on units that can overwhelm the board in a straightforward slugfest, Green is really weak on removal, has almost nothing with Haste, and also has only expensive lategame options to increase cardflow. Green is also the color with the most forced color synergy where something in each of the three Specs cares that other things you have in play are also Green:


Why's it always gotta be about color?


So as a player you really want to swap in an out-of-color spec to gain better access to Haste, Removal and/or extra draw effects, but as a player you also really don't want to swap out any of the Green specs because you lose forced-color synergy . And while picking any team of three heroes involves trade-offs between strengths and weaknesses, this really comes across as ham-fisted design as regards Codex green, as none of the other factions have as many cards that care what color things are. Even Past and Future's ham-fisted need to stick with the Purple starter comes across as a design oversight and not the designer trying to box you in to a given playstyle.


So the first spec in Green is "Balance", and here's the official hype link

Hero: Master Midori


This comes from a different game, and ripping off multiple sources is called research.....




Hero Innates: Mr Green's stats are high-tier, but at the maximum cost for such, meaning that he's pricey to level up to higher bands. He has no startband ability -- so he compares poorly against a lot of the cast in the earlygame. His midband was nerfed at the last minute, as the version in the Spec hype link was brokenly strong in the Balance/Truth/Necromancy build - giving you zero-cost 5/5 Spectral Hounds reliably by turn 3 backed up by the potential of 3/3 skeleton tokens. The final version grants a mere +1/+1, which is just not enough to get excited about seeing as it is limited to units with no abilities. Not merely units which have no innate abilities, but anytime you do anything to give a unit an ability, that unit loses the +1/+1 bonus. That really limits the sorts of tricks you can set up and makes it so the red hero whose midband give all your dudes Frenzy 1 is a better choice for 80% of token spam plans -- since Frenzy 1 boosts any of your units which have Flying or Stealth or Swift Strike or what not. I'm not alone in thinking that he should have given his bonus to units with "no printed abilities" or otherwise had it slightly tweaked. What's particularily galling is that the next Green hero has a midband which gives all your units a minor ability, effectively shutting off Midori's midband if you level her to that point too. His maxband makes him a flying hero, but only on your turn. This is really strong, but the hype link is totally wrong about how much of a win-condition that is. Without support, Garth's token spam, Vandy's cheaper stats and threat (even if unused) to pull out her Ultimate, Onimaru's same-cost statline and more directly offensive abilities, and even Setsuki's potential for massive cardflow advantage are all better win conditions than the plan of"hit the opponent with a 4/5 flyer repeatedly".

Spells:

Moment's Peace: this is ripping off MtG's Fog, except that it is a lot more abusable in the context of Codex, where failing to defend your tech buildings means you fall off the slippery slope. It prevents you from patrolling, and it prevents opposing units from attacking you. It does let opposing heros attack, and you have no patrol zone, so you want to have answers for hero-based plans, but being able to play this will significantly crimp a lot of offensive plans.

Nature Reclaims: this trashes an opponent's non-unit non-hero card and also trashes itself for deck thinning. A strong answer against a lot of combo plans.

Circle of Life: pictured above. This lets you cheat in a green tech II unit up to two turns early. Can be very strong, but kind of a high-risk plan to commit to.

Ultimate: Final Showdown. This is the spell which makes Midori effective as a win condition. It gives him +3/+3, vigilance readiness, resist 1 and as per the wording "he...draws a card when he attacks" -- which is kind of odd in that I thought he was a card within the game and not the one playing the game. But that makes him a 7/8 flyer, and he had to be at max level at the start of your turn, meaning that he can swing for 7 (minimum) the turn you cast it. You can even stack both copies if you went all-in on drafting for that plan. The downside is that it gives a pair of 3/3 tokens with anti-air to an opponent - but those can't patrol until that opponent's turn, and even then the flying vs anti-air rules work such that unless your opponent has air-defenses already up, they are on no more than a 3-turn life clock.

Tech I cards:

Gemscout Owl: This is Codex's rip of Birds of Paradise, they are a 0/1 flyer than produces mana gold -- except they are kind of crap in this game. In MtG, mana birds were a potential turn 1 drop that provided extra mana production, mana-fixing, a potential chump blocker, and the potential to be a buff-spell delivery system. In Codex, you have to Tech these in, and build a Tech I building -- meaning that they are only possible sooner than turn 3 in very rare longshot hypothetical openings. They do provide gold production, and do so without having to tap exhaust, but they don't help you skirt Codex's multicolor penalties. Due to the floobiness with the flying rules, they can only chump-block patrol against attacking flyers. And they have a "can't attack" drawback on them, because being able to use buffs on them might allow effective offense. These are solely to pressure an opponent into acknowledging that you will have a slow but cumulative economic advantage in the long game, and then sacrificing with Circle of Life the instant they commit to trying to rush you down.

Tiny Basilisk: This is a 2-cost 1/2 critter that has deathtouch. That's awesome it trades favorably with all sorts of bigger, scarier, more expensive things. And then it sweetens the pot by adding "unattackable and unstoppable by tech 0 units". So this is pretty much Mono-green's most reliable earlygame removal option. The downside is that "unattackable" means if it's patrolling, the attacker which cannot attack it can and must bypass it.

So neither of Balance's tech I units can patrol effectively against a tech-0 ground unit -- which are the majority of starter deck cards

Tech II cards

Chameleon: this is a 2 cost 3/3 with Stealth. Yawn.

Dorthraki Dorthram Horselord: For just $3 this trap option gives you a 6/5 overpower unit. The hype link lies about this one too. In any 1-on-1 game you are not already winning, he's going to go join you opponent on your next upkeep. Because they get a turn to respond to your playing him before the power totals are checked, and their turn will consist of either increasing their own or reducing you total ATK -- and having him in play makes it worth them going down on cards to take a card away from you.

Faerie Dragon: This is a 4-cost 4/2 flyer. When it arrives, it can make one other tech I or tech II unit into a 3/1 flyer. Notable for being the only way to give something else flying in the game (aside from some clone effects which copy flyers) and has a couple cute combos with damage-based removal effects to one-two a buff opposing unit. But generally you only care about this decidely mediocre flyer because it's Green's best flyer.

Potent Basilisk: this is a 4-cost 4/5 with untargetable and deathtouch. It also has a disenchant effect when it arrives, because the deisgner felt that Balance needs 3 different ways to get rid of upgrades, when the remaining 19 specs have a grand total of 3 anti-upgrade cards between them ( Versatile Style, Assimilate, Zaramonde the Obliterator ). I find such decisions totally mystifying.



Wandering Mimic:


way cooler than the actual art


This is a $4 cost 4 /4 which has any and all of the following abilities { Flying, Overpower, Sparkshot, Stealth, Untargetable, Haste } which other things on the board already have. This is generally strong as it sets up a "what will it do next turn" threat for your opponent, and if you are already ahead on the board it can get you multiple abilities for cheaps. But where it truly shines is for posing hypothetical puzzle situations.

Tech III card

Tyrannosaurus Rex: because this is Balance, the T-Rex can destroy upgrades when it arrives. I'm still scratching my head over that one, especially given how rare ways to deal with upgrades are in the entire rest of the game.



Maybe they can destroy this guy's suspension....


But the T-Rex is a just-short of top-tier Tech III option. It's 10/10 with overpower and resist 2, meaning it hits hard though blockers and is a bit pricey for the opponent to target. But the real deal is the arrives ability, which seeing as you are already playing Balance you are not going to have opposing upgrades to target, so you are going to pick the other options: killing two units if you are behind, or two workers if you are ahead. Thus is has some comeback potential and at least a chance to delay an opponent building their tech III and seal a win.

And because it's Codex, the ability wording on T-Rex is of course phrased with needlessly ambiguous grammar:

Quote:
"Arrives: Destroy up to two units, upgrades, and/or workers.


As per the usual rules of what "and/or" and comma placement mean in English, that text should mean up to six targets. The online clarification rephrases things to a much less overpowered ability to destroy no more than two targets -- but why doesn't the card text use the clarification wording in the first place? It's not like "Destroy any combination of up to two of the following things: Units, Upgrades, Workers" or "Destroy up to two targets, each of which can be a unit, an upgrade or a worker" wouldn't fit on the card ?
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So just a brief rant about another way the rules are bad and the rules-handling and communication is as absolutely as bad as the very concept of hereditary aristocracy .

Today's topic headache is what the insiders are calling "triggered effects". Which are resulting in three different, yet similar interactions working in entirely different and non-intuitive ways that the insiders are insisting are not at all contradictory if you just understood the nitty-gritty of the rules at the machine code level. Which for some reason they can't actually communicate to people who interpret the wordings the other ways.

But before I get into the three particular interactions, let me lay out some actual rulebook quotes:

First, the timing rules:
rulebook, page 17-18 wrote:

Nothing Is An “Instant”
In some card games, you can activate abilities, then “before they resolve,” play so-called instant abilities. Codex does not have instants, so in general you have to finish resolving something before you can do something else. For example, if an effect said “Sacrifice a unit. If you do, give an other unit +2/+2 this turn” you couldn’t sacrifice a unit, then activate some other ability, or hire a worker, or summon a hero, etc., before giving the other unit +2/+2. You’d have to completely finish your first ability before moving on to doing something else.

You also can’t interrupt combat to hire a worker, summon a hero, play a card, build a building, activate an ability, etc., unless a card specifically says that you can. A triggered ability (such as “Whenever you attack, your units get +1/+1”) might kick in during another action, but you can’t use activated abilities or other actions you initiate yourself before resolving any effects or combats in progress.



Up next the general rules for the relevant parts of the Patrol Zone:
Quote:

Each of your five patrol slots gives a different bonus on opponents’ turns:
.....
✦ Scavenger: Finds 1 gold for you if it dies while patrolling.
✦ Technician: You draw a card if it dies while patrolling.
.....


So the first two rules interactions involve killing an opposing patroller in ways that give you a bonus:





Scenario One: what happens when a Gunpoint Taxman attacks and kills something in the Scavenger slot of an opponent who had zero gold before the attack?.


  • Does the steal gold effect happen before the gold gain from Scavenger happens? Which results in the attacking player having nothing to steal and the defending player having +$1 gold after the attack ?
  • Does the Scavenger bonus happen first? Which results in the defending player very briefly gaining $1 gold from the Scavenger bonus which is then immediately stolen by the player controlling the Gunpoint taxman?
  • Are the otherwise simultaneous, "when this dies" actions resolved in whichever order the active player prefers? In which case it probably results in the attacking player getting to steal the Scavenger gold, aside from really oddball multiplayer kingmaking edge cases where the attacking player doesn't want it to work that way.


Scenario Two: What happens when you use Shadow Blade to kill something in the Technician Slot of an opponent who has zero cards in their hand?


  • Does the discard effect happen before the card draw from Technician happens? Which results the Technician's controller discarding nothing and then drawing a card and having a one-card hand.
  • Does the Technician bonus happen first? Which results in the Technician's controller drawing their next card and then discarding it, maintaining a zero card hand but potentially changing targets for play from discard effects.
  • Are the otherwise simultaneous things which happen when the Technician dies actions resolved in whichever order the active player prefers? In which case the player casting Dark Pact is likely going to chose that their opponent stay at zero cards for this hypothetical - but might choose otherwise in the more likely actual play ramification where this is not changing hand size, but merely milling a random card to a different zone in a game with frequent discard recycling.



There are official rules answers to these questions. They are not listed on the entries for either Gunpoint Taxman nor Dark Pact on the official database at http://codexcarddb.com/

And the two scenarios do not share the same timing and resolution.

Also, according to the rules-insiders the rules for the timing and resolution are not contradictory and you should be able to see that from just using logic and common sense with the framework of the rules for the game.

According to me: the moderation on the game's official forums does not allow me to use sufficient profanity nor threats of violence to respond to that sentiment appropriately.

Moving on to scenario Three

Rulebook, page 4:

Quote:

It’s important to protect your tech buildings. If one gets destroyed, your base takes 2 damage.






What happens in the case where a player casts Earthquake against an opponent who has an undamaged base and a damage Tech building with 4 or fewer HP remaining?

Obviously the Tech Building takes 4 damage and is destroyed. But then


  • Does the rulebook clause about your base taking 2 damage trigger after the undamaged building clause of Earthquake, resulting in the base taking 2 damage immediately but ignoring the 4 damage-to-undamaged buildings effect of Earthquake, resulting in only 2 damage to the base?
  • As per the page 17-18 part of the rulebook, do you finish resolving all of Earthquake, dealing 1 damage to the undamaged base and then resolving the damage from the Tech building being destroyed, resulting in the base taking 1 damage plus 2 more damage?
  • Does the rulebook clause about the base taking 2 damage trigger during the resolution of the damaged buildings clause of Earthquake allowing the active player to decide to damage the Tech buidling first, triggering 2 damage to the base which is immediately resolved and then deal 4 more damage to the now-damaged base for a total of 2 damage plus 4 damage and then nothing counting as undamaged for Earthquake?


While the ruling on this is not intuitively consistent with the ruling on the prior scenarios, at least this time out there *is* a clarification for this one in the online database. It includes the wonderful explanation that "This is due to that you never read twice the same sentence". Which really explains a whole lot about the proofreading in these rules and wordings Bored
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

That nothing is an instant rant is horrible. They mean nothing is a LIFO MTG style instant. But in actual English they mean that everything is instant. The Magic thing where instant speed means it takes effect later is really weird, and using the word instant like that in other contexts is counter intuitive.

-Frank
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Feral



Much like "Ninjitsu", The naming convention seems a bit off on this one. Here it's in flavor, but poor grammar. The other green factions Balance and Growth use nouns for their names. Feral is an adjective in general usage -- and for the Australian slang cases where it can be a noun, the meanings do not match the flavor of this spec. "Ferocity" is the better word here, or if that doesn't sound right, "Wild", or even "Savagery" could have been alternatives.

Hero:


Calamandra Moss


Her stats and levelups are the same as Vandy's, making her top-tier value for stats as a fighting hero.

Hero Innates: her startband gives her Stealth, but at the prohibitive cost of discarding two cards. Note that mono-green has the worst card draw potential of any of the colors - so you're probably only going to do this if it's a win. Heck even then, Feral is so stealth heavy that a savvy opponent is likely to build a Tower to negate stealth making this ability even more marginal. Calamandra's midband gives all your units Resist: 1, making them harder for red to target and making black be a bit pickier about the type of removal, but actually making your own token spam strategy worse as Calamandra's midband automatically negates Midori's midband bonus while doing nothing against the sort of sweep removal that can be effective against tokenspam. Her maxband is an interesting tap ability where for 4 gold you can put a tiger unit from your Codex directly into play. This offers psudeo-cardflow as well as a potential way to cheat a tech II tiger into play early, but the costs are really significant. First it takes a total of 10 gold (2 to summon Calamandra, 4 more to maxband her, 4 to use the ability).Secondly, as it is a tap Exhaust ability, using it involves the opportunity cost of neither attacking nor patrolling with a 4/5 Hero. Thirdly, those tech II tigers are going to be Feral Tech II (Unless you are also running Truth) meaning that you are forced between choosing Feral (or Truth) as your Tech II spec or having the potential to redraw unplayable-from-hand Tigers later in the game. Finally, the Tech II tigers are not really win-condition units, meaning that playing them directly from Codex can result in lategame deckbloat. So at 4 gold plus tapping out a 4/5 body this usually doesn't quite compare favorably to spending 5 gold to build the Surplus add-on and using that 4/5 body to attack or patrol. So this ability exists primarily as a way to punish an opponent who screws up their opening and lets the Feral Player get the levelup bounty from killing an opposing hero -- as in that case Calamandra can get a Tech II tiger into play a turn or two early and generate slippery-slope advantage.

Spells:

Behind The Ferns: This is a channeling spell. So long as it is in play, your units with 3 attack or less get stealth.



The timing rules are incomprehensible, but this combo is explicitly rules-legal


Ferocity: Your units get Armor Piercing and Swift Strike until your next upkeep. This should be pretty useful as Swift Strike on an attacking unit can substitute for removal - but it costs a card in a faction with very weak card draw .

Murkwood Allies: for 5 gold you can make either four 1/1 tokens or one 4/4 tokens. For an additional 4 gold Kicker Boost (9 total) gold you get to do both. This is a gold-expensive tokenspam option which looks pretty good in a faction that has weak cardflow but strong gold generation.

Ultimate: Feral Strike: this is another two-part Kicker Boost spell. For 4 gold you can either drop two units from your hand into play or fetch 2 units from your Codex into you hand. For another 4 gold you can do both, fetching and immediately playing two units from your Codex. You have to meet Tech Level requirements, but not Tech *spec choice* requirements -- making this one of the best ways to cheat out multi-spec tech II combos and definitely the best way to cheat out multiple different Tech III units. The issue is that doing so is painfully slow and pretty pricey as a win condition. You need your Tech II (or III) building built, then you need to maxband Calamandra, then she needs to survive a turn and then you need to pay 8 gold in a single turn.

Tech I Units:

Centaur: Both of Feral's Tech I units are typed as "Unit -- Centaur" - which doesn't matter for any single rule nore interaction in the game but it's downright odd that one of them as also named just Centaur.


Not just a Centaur, it's also a Centaur, which probably makes it a Yo Dawg

This guy is a 3/4 with Overpower for 3 gold. Which is as buff as Tech I units can get without a drawback (see Twilight Baron, Inverse Power Ninja, Knight of the Conclave) and the addition of the Trample Overpower Ability fits the $3 for 3/4 plus an ability mold of Present's Argonaut or Future's Gilded Glaxx. So a kinda buff unit at a balanced price.

Huntress - She's a 3/3 for $2 gold with 2 abilities. Anti-Air is pretty meaningful in a Tech I, even if the rules for how it interacts with flying it are fullblown nuthouse. Sparkshot is so bullshit minor that you don't fucking care. You're lucky if Sparkshot deals an actual point of damage in a typical game instead of just making your opponent decide to not put a chump blocker in both Scavenger and Technician for the one turn you threaten a Sparkshot attack. So a basically fair unit with one meaningful ability and one joke ability.


Tech II Units:

Stalking Tiger. This is a 3 cost 4/4 tiger (so fetchable via Calamandra's Maxband) which has "Stealth while attacking a unit" and "Invisible while you have a Feral Hero". That's decent utility, although I object to the forced combo design -- it would have been more interesting for gameplay if the conditional invisibility was tied to hero level and not to hero identity. It's also just sad design that it has a conditional Stealth (which is a subset of Invisibility) and then another ability which is a conditional Invisibility.

Predator Tiger. This 4 cost 4/4 tiger (so fetchable) is Codex's nod towards landkill / worker-harrasment. it's unstoppable by Tech 0 Units (tokens and starter deck cards) and whenever it deals damage to a base, it trashes a worker at that base. So if a Feral player can somehow remove all of their opponent's Tech I or better units and Heroes from the Patrol Zone, this will then lock said opponent out of gaining more workers and therefore prevent them from building the next tech building.

Barkcoat Bear: This 4 cost bear is 5/5 with Trample Overpower and Resist 2. Thus it's going to roll over any patrollers less than tech II with added Overpower damage and it's pricey to hit with any sort of targetted removal. Note that multiple instances of Resist stack, so with a midband Calamandra this costs +$3 gold for an opponent to target.

Rampaging Elephant. At $6 this is expensive. It's a buff 6/7, and the first time it taps each turn it auto untaps readies. If you can give it a relevant evasion ability, attacking with it twice in one turn is very nearly a win. It's a shame that it requires a Tech Lab to get the Ninja school out. Given how rough a hose the asynchronous play is to tap-to-do X abilities, this sort of thing should probably have been a keyworded ability and there should have been some combo-piece setups to grant it to different things which don't have it innately. On the downside, there's a bit of edge-case weirdness in how this works every turn, not merely on your own turn. Thus an opponent doing something to tap exhaust it as part of their turn triggers the auto-ready but only the first time on each of their turns.

Gigadon this is a $9 cost 8/8 with Trample Overpower and a ripoff of MtG's Affinity. You get a discount of $1 for each green unit you have when you play it from your hand. The wording on that discount is utter shit and you have to lookup that database to find that the cost is really always $9, don't count the discount for purposes of





Which actually again makes me sad about the difficulty of setting up combos between tech II cards from different factions - because using the Insurance Agent ability and the discount and a way to sacrifice a unit for a benefit would be a pretty cool gold-gain engine -- that you will never be able to pull off in a normal game. Also the forced color-synergy still bugs me, as there is no other faction which has things that care about the color of other cards. This could have worked just fine with an affinity for something not based on color like "tech 0 units" or "building and upgrade cards" or something which could have had interesting multicolor synergies to discover in other specs.


Tech III Card:

Moss Ancient: This is a weird Tech III. It's untargetable with 8/9 stats - but it also generates three 1/1 squirrel tokens upon arrival and each attack -- and so long as the Moss Ancient stays in play, all your Squirrels get Haste and Invisible. This means that it shows up and gives you 3 points of immediate invisible damage plus a big untargetable patroller, then if it survives to attack it can swing pretty hard and in theory lead to a rapidly-snowballing squirrel swarm. But only in theory, Sirlin's example math in the hype link leaves the crucial "but the game will be over before that" line out.

Power wise, this is probably in the top half of Tech III options in the game, but not by much. Design wise it's really disappointing that there is only one other card which makes any sort of "squirrel" in the entire card set. This would have been more interesting if there were giant squirrels or flying squirrels or something other than 1/1 tokens which could have benefited from the abilities this grants.

And flavor wise, there's a tragic missed opportunity here. This is a *Moss* Ancient and the game does have a literal rolling stone as a unit back in the Strength spec. Flavor text along the lines of "Eventually the eldest trees wearied of Ardra's command and gathered the stones away to make homes for their furry friends." references the other card's flavor text in a way that doesn't even scan as a joke on a casual read.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Growth

Unique Schtick. Not truly unique, but Growth offers the best buff spells in the game. This gives it a lot of synergy with token swarm strategies and with efficient evasion units and heroes. Growth offers mild token generation on both its Hero and one of its tech I units. Growth also probably has the most blatently direct rip-offs of MtG cards out of all 20 specs.

Sirlin's Hype Link

Hero: Argagarg Garg Gargling Gershwinn. Originally a rip of the merman from the first Dark Stalkers videogame.



See how cool the concept of "merfolk pacifist from a fighting game" is. No wonder it has such traction.

In the lore he's a fighting pacifist. So in this game that translates to his having only a 1 ATK value at all levels but having good buffing and debuffing options Thus you generally don't want to fight with him, but he makes your other dudes fight better.





Hero Innates: At startband Arg comes with a free 0/1 token chump blocker. At midband, you can tap Arg to give a unit +1/+1 this turn. Which means that any of your 0/1 token chump blockers now threaten to become 1/2 chump attackers to deal chip or finishing damage to opposing forces. At maxband, Arg summons a 3/3 token with Anti-Air. This is notable as the gold gain options in the Green starter mean that there is a standard opening which involves Maxbanding Arg on turn 2 - effectively giving you a 1/5, a 0/1 and a 3/3 early in the game at no card cost (plus your either your mana dork sticking around or your opponent having spent a card to kill it).

Spells

Humble Polymorph: Squirrel. This is a debuff which changes the target to a 1/1 green Squirrel with no abilities until your next upkeep. It's almost a removal spell so it's really useful in green. It also has a bunch of hair-splitting clarifications because Codex can't grammar. The actual rulings are that the anything printed on the card is overwritten with the values 1/1 and "no abilities" but any abilities or stat increases granted by anything else (targeted buffs, +1/+1 runes, Calamandra's Midband, Moss Ancient" still apply. Apparently the Name and Type of the unit are both overwritten with Squirrel, Unit-Squirrel although no currently existing rules reference makes that explicit.

Giant Growth x2 Dinosize. This is a $4 buff that gives a unit or a hero +6/+6 this turn. Remember that only the active player can cast spells, so this doesn't have the surprise value it would in MtG combat, but it pretty reliably lets an attacker kill something without taking any damage in return..

Spirit of the Panda. This buff spell is notable for intentionally having oddball art
And for having a bunch of oddball rulings involving cases where the buff spell and unit have different controllers due to Assimilate, Mind Control, Kidnapping. Predictably, said rulings are not actually referenced in the Spirit of the Panda lookup in the rules database: http://codexcarddb.com/card/spirit_of_the_panda

Ultimate Spell: Overrun Stampede This costs 6 in Codex. And for inexplicable reasons it has a unique psuedo-trample mechanic which is different from the standardized keyworded Overrun psuedo-trample mechanic. And the card itself has rules text about how the two interact. This spell is a very good exemplar for Codex. Just this single card shows how much this game knocks off MtG, how incomplete rules standardization is and of just how fiddly the rules get for really minimal gameplay differences.

Tech I Units

Galiana Glimmer. She's a $1 2/2 legendary nymph. During your upkeep she generates +$1 gold for every pair of green units you have. If you are using any sort of token-geneation plan, even one as simple as opening with Arg as your first hero and playing the green starter Panda who arrives with a 0/1 wisp token she is something which your opponent must deal with or fall behind in resources. Altenately, she's a key part of the dedicated legendary lineup involving the Growth / Strength multicolor where Strength's Mythmaking upgrade buffs her to 4/4 stats and she'll still sometimes generate bonus gold without tapping.

Giant Panda: This is a $3 2/4 panda who comes with a free 0/1 wisp token. Which is almost good value, as a 2/4 can survive a round against any of the multitude of $2 3/3 + an ability Tech I units out there. But the panda arrives exhausted so only the wisp token can chump block for the first round meaning that even choosing to teching this in to your deck is generally sacrificing tempo now in hopes of being able to swarm later. Compare to Necromancy I's $2 cost 3/3 Bone Collector that generates a skeleton each time it attacks with no downside.

Tech II Cards

Artisan Mantis: This is a nerfed version of MtG's Siege Rhino. Like Siege Rhino it's a 4-cost 4/5 unit which has the arrival ability you gain three life you repair three damage to any of your buildings. In Codex arrival ability does not cause opponents to lose life and the unit itself lacks trample. This would be a Meh aside from how intentionally hostile Sirlin is to the concept of healing abilities in his games ( he thinks they are inevitably unnecessarily game-slowing ). As things stand, this, Grave's Versatile Style and the Brick Thief from the Neutral starter are the only cards which allow you to repair damage to your base. So this is a clutch tech in the Core Set red vs green matchup as it allows you to survive that final turn against a direct-damage burn base race.

Blooming Ancient: This unit is a combo-piece. Whenever another unit or hero of yours arrives, it gets a +1/+1 rune. And at no cost you can shift a +1/+1 rune off of Blooming Ancient to another unit.

Oversized Rhino. $5 7/8 stats no abilities. That $5 threshold matters for letting Midori's Circle of Life and Garth's maxband get a really big body into play.

Blooming Elm: This tree is a forced combo-piece with Blooming Ancient. It's a "building" and while it's in play all your dudes with +1/+1 runes get trample Overpower. You can also tap it to put three +1/+1 runes on something which didn't already have any -- but as this is a Tech II and even buildings have Summoning Sickness Arrival Fatigue, you're unlikely to be able to use that ability more than once within the average game, so if it wasn't in the same spec with Blooming Ancient and Dinosize you wouldn't care. As it is, you still generally only Tech this in when playing against Future, Balance or Discipline because the final tech II card is generally a better and more reliable win condition in Growth:

Might of Leaf and Claw. This is Growths default win condition. It's a $3 upgrade that puts the game on a very short clock. Whenever you attack and deal combat damage, it gets a rune. At 5 or more runes, all your dudes get +5/+5. Everything being +5/+5 is Trumpian yuge in a game with ablative health. Basically so your opponent loses unless they can either a> destroy this upgrade before it triggers (only possible with Balance, Discipline, Future or the Tech III demon) b> Sweep your board to prevent you from attacking 5 times or c> Kill you between the time this hits the board and the time it collects the 5th rune.

Tech III UnitThis is a refreshing change of pace. Now we're ripping off Princess Mononoke instead of MtG




It's a max cost legendary unit that comes with 12/12 stats, Resist 2 and Obliterate 4, it also makes all your Growth spells cost zero to cast and lets you cast them even when Arg is not in play. But compared to other Tech III options in the game, that's merely average. Sure 12/12 stats and Obliterate 4 is very likely to win the game if you get to swing with Guargum, but it gives you almost no comeback potential and nothing to seal a win the turn you drop it. Honestly the spellcasting ability should not have been limited to Growth and should probably just allow you to cast anybody's spells for free with no hero in play. That would open up a bit of safety margin on plans which tech in different Ultimates.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List



the tl:dr version of this particular Spec review


Okay so Codex has a two-hero non-faction of The Renegades - who are neutral in the larger conflict. This would make more sense if the motivations of the other factions in the larger conflict was actually explained in any of the lore for this game instead of hinted at by flavor text in Sirlin's other games. It also makes no sense why the neutral faction gets the color brown.

Click here to see the hidden message (It might contain spoilers)


Mechanically, including either (or both) neutral hero(s) in your three hero team does not trigger the usual one extra gold cost multicolor penalty. Additionally the neutral starter spells do not count as off-color for anybody and heroes of any color can cast them without the usual cost increase. At the concept level that's fine as it offers some pregame customization flexibility at reduced cost. As an executed design it runs into all sort of problems. Firstly since there are only two neutral heroes, any three-hero team which can run the Neutral starter will have the option of running at least one colored starter deck, and well the neutral starter is so generalist that you're better going with a colored starter in the vast majority of builds. Secondly, since Specs and tech choices gate off tech II and III units, it's only worth including any spec if either
A> The hero, spells and Tech Is available are strong and/or synergies with your other options
OR
B> You plan on choosing that Spec as your tech II in most games

The first neutral faction Bashing fails point A so hard that it's embarrassing. Hence the earlier quote about how "Bashing + x + y only works for less than 5% of possible hero teams". The reason for this is because Bashing was balanced pretty tightly to work in the starter set training-mode game where one player plays the Bashing spec and the other player plays the Finesse Spec. But the starter set balance came at the expense of making the spec nigh-useless in the full game. Additionally, there was the design criteria to include all of the keywords in the starter set to help people learn the game. That was failed pretty hard, as this game couldn't even remember to put all the keywords in the fucking rulebook, but the failed attempt at it results in the neutral Specs lacking focus and being scattershot in a game where all the payoffs are synergistic.

Hero: Troq Bashar (nee Snufflesnout)





He is originally based on some dude's Tauren from World of Warcraft, and he's intended to be the secondary big throw character (ala T. Hawk) in the Fantasy Strike fighting game (which is currently in you can drastically overplay each month for early alpha builds stage of development).

But in Codex he has the just-short-of-Rook good stats. But he pays the maximum costs for them like Midori and Onimaru do. So at any gold level between no levels and "OMG, what do I do with all this gold? he's got worse stats than Grave, Vandy or Calamandra. So that should still be in the three-way tie for 5th place hero statlines in this game right? Except that his startband is blank, meaning that Onimaru hits harder than he does. So a full quarter of the cast has better statlines than the guy who's supposed to be big and strong and slow and straightforward to play. Also, Giger, River, Bigby hit their 3/4 maxbands at the same cost where Troq hits his 3/4 maxband - meaning that they are going to be hitting and soaking as well as Troq is at equivalent value. -- meaning that it actual play his stats are only arguably in the top third of the cast. At his Midband he gets the ability that whenever he attacks anything, he deals one damage to that the controller of whatever he's attacking. It would have been nice if the card said that, but at least this time there wasn't room for grammatically correct wording on the card and the clarification is on his entry in the rules database. At his maxband, he gets vigilence readiness - which is nice, but in no way comparable to even the weaksauce win condition of Midoris flying capstone. This really is a design and flavor failure. The big strong guy needs to actually have high stats in most games, at least if you want players to pick him. But instead he has stats that max out higher than you can afford meaning that he's a barely passable fighting hero. His statline should have mirrored either Rook, where it's highest in game or Calamandra/Vandy - where it's the cheapest to reach those levels. And with his current ability set, either approach would have been fine. Alternately, if he is going to have Midori's high-cost levelups, he needs to actually have abilities that make them worthwhile -- and a blank startband doesn't help with that. It's not like he doesn't have a list of abilities from Sirlin's other games { Giant Growth, Defense Mastery, War Stomp, Beast Unleashed, Lockhorn Skewer, Bull Rush, Overpower, Cornered Prey } any of which could have been adapted.

Spells:

Wrecking Ball: this is a 0 cost spell which deals 2 damage to a building. Due to Codex's cardflow rules it's generally a really poor use of a card to play.

Intimidate; This is Troq's single good spell. For 1 cost it gives a target -4 attack. That generally means that you can attack anything short of Tech IIIs or buff Tech IIs without taking any return damage. So it's basically really cheap,slightly limited removal that requires you to have an attacker on the board.

The Boot: This is a $3 straightforward removal which destroys a tech 0 or tech I unit. This is a good use of a card, but a losing trade on the gold cost. There are no Tech 0 and only two Tech I cards that cost more than $3 in the entire game.

Ultimate Spell: Final Smash. This should be pretty good but it's just not. The effect destroys a Tech 0 unit, bounces a tech I unit (without the bounce keyword which Undo used for that back in Purple) and gains control of a Tech II unit. The first issue is that as an ultimate, your Hero has to start the turn at maxband, and as discussed above, that's too expensive to be worthwhile. The second issue is that the effects are NOT optional as this is a "do as much as you can" deal, so you will often end up bouncing or destroying your own unit to gain control of an opposing Tech II. And hey, you have no synergy with bouncing other Bashing units. The third issue is just how rare it is to hit the good case - if an opponent does have a T0 a T1 and a T2 threat all out at once, then this is well worth the $6 gold spent and gains card advantage as it answers multiple threats -- however due to the card flow rules, an opponent is unlikely to play more than one new threat per turn. And due to the ablative health rules, those threats are unlikely to last multiple turns. And if they do have multiple threats staying out, you are unlikely to be able to keep your expensively-maxbanded hero alive to cast this in the first place. Oh, but on top of that the multiple threats need to be spread across tech levels. So uh yeah, you're just about never going to hit the good case here and this is usually just a more expensive version of Quince's Mind Control ultimate that also wrecks your own stuff half the time you use it.


Tech I units

This is where it goes beyond being a weaker spec and gets downright insulting. Bashing Tech I has units that are flat out identical, but worse than Feral Tech I's units.



You could make a case for this until Midori was nerfed late in development. Now the case is: don't play Bashing you scrub.



Of course the Bashing version loses the meaningful ability and keeps the joke ability


I get that the deal is avoiding the multicolor penalty, so these should be fractionally weaker than units from colored factions. But honestly you could just run Calamandra instead and use the gold you save on leveling up your hero to pay the multicolor penalty.

If Codex had at least pulled in units from a pair of different specs to do weaker versions of. then you could make a novelty / diversity of threat argument for using Balance. But as it stands, the comparison is straightforward and Bashing comes out on the wrong side of it in teambuilding. You pretty much only run bashing if you are going to take it to Tech II and III, because Intimidate is the only useful tool in the accessible part of the toolbox.

Tech II cards:

The theme of just being inferior to cards in other specs continues at Bashing Tech II, but at least these spread it around a little, so it's possible to make an argument in favor of bashing due to diversity of threat. It's still not a good argument.



Making you pay an extra gold for an identical unit negates what you save on the multicolor penalty, and costs more if you summon this unit twice in a game




Identical, except the Bashing version is inferior




Identircal, except the Bashing version is inferior




The Bashing version has 1 more HP. The Feral Version has Overpower and Resist 2. by now it should be obvious which is the generally superior unit.


Also, I'm kind of upset about flavor for the Regular-Sized Rinocerous and the Oversized Rhinocerous, as the real world has two different Rhino subspecies that conveniently come in Large and Larger: Link and anyone who has been to a zoo or even googled Rhinoceros should know that.

The final two units in Bashing are things that you might actually care about, as they are not merely weaksauce versions of units in other specs.

The Harvest Reaper is a $5 cost unit which comes in a 6/5 stats with Overpower. Thus it has similar uses to Oversized Rhinocerus in combination with Garth's maxband. Sadly, it's not Green so it doesn't work with Cirlce of Life, and the forced color-specificity of Green means that you get stuck with a multicolor limitation even trying the noncolored spec that isn't supposed to trigger multicolor penalties. Did I mention how badly the design of this whole spec is fucked yet?

Tech III unit
Trojan Duck. This is a $7 cost 8/9 unit that comes with Annihilate Obliterate 2 and whenever it arrives or attacks it deals 4 damage to a target opposing building of your choice. That's about middle of the road for a Tech III. If it survives to attack, you almost certainly win, and even if it doesn't it still did 4 damage to your opponent despite their answer to it.

The thing that bugs me the most about all this is that the design challenge of Bashing was not hard. It's basically a Zoo Deck. It needs to have creatures with efficient stat-to-cost ratios who constitute an earlygame threat. It then needs to back those up with efficient earlygame removal, and if the efficiency is strong enough it can keep the Hero who takes too much gold to get to the good stats at his maxband - but that hero needs to have abilities which help with earlygame pressure. Also due to Codex's wacky cardflow scheme rendering the strategy of "play more cheap things instead of fewer expensive things" a guaranteed fail state, a Zoo Deck Spec needs to have something that can at least partially compensate for going down on cards early. And then due to the Tech building curve of Codex guaranteeing obsolescence of earlygame threats it needs to have minor access to either burn and/or evasion abilities in the lategame.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Up next is the other neutral Renegades Spec: Finesse.

Like Bashing, this is an intentionally weaker spec. Unlike bashing it has enough unique things that there are strong hero teams which use finesse for various synergies. The big deal is that a couple of the SPELLS and TECH Is do things that nothing else does cheaper or at lower levels.


Hero: River Montoya.



Her name is almost certainly a Princess Bride nod, as her art shows her as a left-handed fencer.


Her stats to cost ratio is exactly the same as the blue-faction Law Hero, Bigby. So is her midband. Her startband is inferior as Bigby has a startband ability and she doesn't. Her maxband is a cost reduction for tech 0 units - which is of pretty limited use as by the time you've sunk 7 gold into your hero, tech I and tech II units are dominating the board. This compared poorly to Bigby's maxband ability of tap to draw a card. So she continues Bashing's theme of the neutrals being inferior to the real heroes. But at least River's maxband has theoretical use in setting up one of Codex's infinite loops.

Spells

Discord: This is a $2 cost spell that gives all of an opponent's Tech 0 and Tech I units -2/-1 until end of turn. This is perhaps the best sweep spell available in Codex. It's only 2 cost, it's not an ultimate, it doesn't sweep your own units, it doesn't require you to have built your Tech II building. But it fucking kills token swarms, and thanks to the cardflow rules enforcing one-card-per-turn play, token spam is one of the stronger general archetypes available in the meta. Even if you are not facing a token-swarm, it's a single turn defang of about half of the things you are likely to see in a typical game letting you swing without taking ablative damage.

Harmony: This is a $2 Channeling spell is almost a win-condition in and of itself, but damn the rulings contortions on it bug the jalapeno shit out of me. The way it actually works it, so long as this is in play, and you cast another spell, this checks to see if you* have 3 of the tokens Harmony makes in play yet. If you don't, you get a 0/1 token. At any point during your turn, you can sacrifice Harmony to turn all the tokens this has made from 0/1 tokens to 2/1 Unstoppable tokens. What the wording on the card says is gibberish like "limit 3" and "they will flip over". The database clarification (and the printed tokens) specify that flipping the tokens to transform them give the tokens slightly different names, but apparently the Limit:3 still applies: because that's what Sirlin meant and you gotta be able to read his mind -- that's way more important than being able to read the words printed on the friendly card. Oh and on top of that, this spell is also keyworded as a "buff" spell....which doesn't break anything but is weird as this does something very different from what all the other spells tagged with "buff" do in this game.

* honestly the game terminology is so ill-defined that I'm not even sure about whether "limit" checks just your own troops or all troops in play and there is definitely some weirdness involving cases where both you and an opponent have the same type of token in play but have exchanged control of some of them.

Two-Step. This is a $2 cost high risk, high potential buff. It' another ongoing channelling spell, so it goes away if you lose River. It gives two of your units both +2/+2. That's the like double the single-turn effect of the Green Starter Rampant Growth at the same cost as an ongoing or two-thirds the total bonus of Growth's Dinosize at half the cost. The downside is that in addition to being channeling, the spell ends if either unit dies. This makes it very fragile. But it has tremendous upside if you can buff an earlygame evasive unit with it. Demonology's Gargoyle is a favorite target, but Balance's Tiny Basilisk is also pretty good.

Ultimate Spell: Appel Stomp. Once you get past the fact that the art shows a big red apple while the flavor text explains that Appel and Apple are not the same....This is a $1 cantrip which sidelines a patroller. It also has the option to go to the top of your deck instead of your discard when you play it. If you draw both of these, you can pay one gold per patroller to sideline everything. Thus your opponent should either destroy your units which can attack or tech in some patrollers with Resist and Untargetable. One one hand, this is pretty underwhelming for an ultimate -- especially as River can tap to sideline a low-tech patroller as her midband without needing a card nor a gold. On the other hand, the entire game needs a lot more things like this - cantrips which are only useful in situation X but don't require many resources to power a major effect.

Tech I Units

Unlike Bashing, Finesse has a pair of unique-enough to be useful Tech I units.

Nimble Fencer is a $2 2/3 who gives herself and anything else with the "Virtuoso" tag Haste while she's in play. That's not terribly cost efficient, but it is 1 more point of Health than any other Haste unit below tech II has in the entire game. Of course the "Virtuoso" tag is a mouthful to say and it only appears on three other units in the entire game - but one of those is the other Finesse Tech I, and therefore highly relevant. The neutral starter virtuoso is something you might sometimes care about but the Finesse Tech III virtuoso is something you will never play after you've learned the game from the Starter set.

Star-Crossed Starlet is a $2 3/2 with the Virtuoso tag. She takes 1 damage on each of your upkeep phases and gets +1 ATK for each damage she has taken. That's kinda more rules than a starter-set card should use, but the overall effect is pretty good. By herself, she's a 3/2 blocker, who becomes a 4/1 attacker if she lives. (and nothing without some sort of drawback hits for more than 3 at Tech I). If you have Nimble Fencer in play, she shows up for 3 points of hasty damage. And if you can layer some ongoing buffs or +1/+1 runes on her, then her attack can get scary large. That "turn damage into ATK bonus" ability actually does something useful with the ablative health used in Codex and probably should have been a standard ability which got keyworded and used a whole bunch.


Tech II Units

I'm not going to cover each card in detail. Finesse Tech II is a weird mish-mash of forced-combo synergy and random cover-the-bases diversity, it has a dirt-cheap medium stat anti-air unit, a cheap-but-weak flier, two units which give bonuses to your Virtuosos and an Invisible unit. Once you're done with the single hero training mode you're very unlikely to pick Finesse as the Spec you take to Tech II and III, but at least the assortment is not a set made entirely of "just like X, but worse" the way Bashing is.

Tech III Unit



Exercise for the reader: identify the videogame character this art was based off of


This is a bottom-tier Tech III. By himself he's notably better than any non-self-hosing tech II in the game. And if you already have a board strong enough to have the interlocking Virtuoso buffs going, then making all your dudes hit first will let you lock down the vast majority of opponents who don't already have a Tech III on the board. But if you are at all behind, he's just a medium-sized body with Swift Strike.

Again, the design challenge here was not hard. Finesse is basically what would have been a "white-weenie" deck way back in the Ice Age when I was still playing MtG. Cheap creatures that buff each other and benefit from "buff all ____" effects, backed up by a bit of sweep. This actually would have been really easy to do in a really novel way in Codex. Nimble Fencer was a step in the right direction, but really each and every unit in Finesse should merely have given itself and *all* your other units a tech-level appropriate keyword. This would result in a snowballing board-presence army if your opponent didn't kill key parts of it, and more importantly would have synergized greatly with any other spec in the game which lacked the keywords provided by Finesse's Tech Is and strongly with all the other specs that have ways to "cheat" out off-color Tech IIs, and made it so that this Neutral faction actually found its way into a lot of different hero teams.

Instead, the version that the game actually contains is basically the fourth Black faction - since Two-Step on a Gargoyle is a big Tech I threat, Disharmony is among the easiest ways to unshackale Terras Q, and a Hasty Tech I gives black further diversity of threat in first-cycle card drafts.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In Codex, the Red faction is about, Anarchy, Fire and Blood. That should sound familiar:




Much like Green, this is a blatant knock-off of MtG's theme for the color sadly without any introspection about what else the color could be associated with. (Warning Signs, Debt, Commies, Sweet Wine, Santa Claus, etc). Again, I am disappoint.

Up first is Anarchy



Mandatory


Anyways, by itself, Anarchy offers a bunch of tools for a midrange deck that can aid either rushdown or lategame plans.


Hero: Captain Zeno Zane (the Insane)

Fashion Sense


Zane's cost-to-stat ratio is mediocre, but the Haste on demand makes up for that. It's punk-rock that Zane is the only hero in the game who comes with Haste. Since Heroes don't exactly cost cards, that means that he's an everpresent potential threat Anarchy's opponent has to account for in their patrol decisions. Zane's midband further alters your opponent's patrol decisions - do they want to risk letting an aggressive plan stay at parity on resources. Zane's Maxband ability is in theory useful for helping to break patrol zones, but in practice leads to a bucketfull of complicated rules-timing edge cases.

Spells:
Chaos Mirror - this is an oddball combo piece slash countermeasure. It swaps the stats of two cards on the board for one turn. If there is any sort of high-stat but big drawback unit on the board, this lets your cheapest Chump attacker borrow those high stats to hit face. Pwnsome with Demonology's Terras Q, and even decent with Inverse Power Ninja. The bad case is pretty much just that you have to use this as an answer, which makes your weakest unit into their best unit and their best unit unit into your weakest unit for a turn -- very likely setting up a David killing Goliath scenario. Of course as Sirlin somehow thought he was designing a game without a stack the rules get all sorts of convoluted as to what exactly the swapped stats are - this is only supposed to swap the stats printed on the card and not buff spells -- but Growth's Polymoprh overwrites printed stats and various blue effects copy cards, meaning that there are a bunch of corner cases where it's non-obvious what the numbers this moves around actually are. Also, the "Unit and/or Hero" wording used in this game means that how this spell actually works is grammatically ambiguous. I'm reasonably sure the intent is "Pick one unit or hero. Pick a second unit or hero. Treat the printed ATK on each as though it were the printed ATK on the other until end of turn." but I can make grammatical arguments that
> it only allows units to swap values with units and heroes to swap values with heroes
OR
> it allows you to swap the values on one pair of units and on a second pair of heroes
OR
> it allows you to swap the values between a pair of paired things, any of which can be units and/or heroes.
Needless to say, there is absolutely no clarification in the card database.

Detonate. This trashes (removes from game) one building card. (The type of building that you have to draw from your deck) or if your opponent isn't running any building cards, it can trash one of their workers. This is mildly interesting in that it's self-trashing. And if there was any way to tutor for it rather than it eating up a tech-slot, it might actually be viable to use it for the landkill option to delay your opponent's next Tech building by a turn.

Surprise Attack.:


Not even kidding, here's what this spell does

In a bit more detail this $5 to deal 6 damage - but that damage is delivered via a pair of ephemeral haste shark tokens. That's a bit pricey, but as removal it can kill two defenders, giving it positive card ratio or against an open patroll zone it has a better cost to damage ratio than any other non-ultimate burn spell.

Ultimate Spell: Maximum Anarchy. This is a 3-cost sweep that destroys all units and heroes. The idea is that as red, you're going to have more haste and direct damage than your opponent, so resetting the board should usually be a net win for you. The drawback is that this is a ultimate, you had to spend 2+5 gold and then have Zane survive an opposing turn in order to be able to cast it. Furthermore, it merely "destroys" things - any unit with indestructible still lives and things like Black's Graveyard and Demonology's Soul Stone let opposing units return or survive. This does have strong synergy with the two Blood Units that have effects on Death, but within Anarchy it's really just a midgame stall plan in hopes of reaching your sweet sweet tech III.

Tech I Units:

Calypso Vistari: This named unit is NOT legendary. She's a $1 2/2 and if you played a spell this turn, you can tap her to sideline a patroller. She's also typed as a Mystic, which can matter in the currently big in the meta Past/Pease/Anarchy team.

Gunpoint Taxman: This is a $2 3/3 with Anti-Air. He also has the ability "Whenever Gunpoint Taxman kills a patroller, steal ① from that player. ". Which once again has grammatically questionable wording, but the intent is clear. Aside from the abovementioned timing issues about what happens when it kills a patroller in the scavenger slot.

Tech II Units:
Disguised Monkey. I mentioned this in my review of Bashing. It's an in-joke with the art depicting a monkey in Jefferson DeGrey's clothes. I also suspect (but cannot prove) that this card is an unwitting reference to one of my own in-jokes. You see, I was a big fan of Sirlin's Street-Fighter meets Dominion game Puzzle Strike and did a strategy blog over on BGG. And back in 2013 I made This post, and for Zane I cribbed flavor text from a similar anarchist faction in another game ( which I have also reviewed at some length here on the Den) for Zane's faction. And then 3 years late, Codex gives Zane the only monkey card in the set. Coincidence? Maybe?

Marauder. This dude is a 4/3 haste for 3. You can also Boost him for 4 more gold to trash an opponent's worker - setting them a turn behind on the mana curve and delaying their tech 3 for one turn. Ah who am I kidding? 9 plus times out of 10 you are just playing him for the hasty damage and laughing at Setsuki's Glorious Ninja who pays $2 more just to add first swift strike on to a haste body with the exact same stats.

Steam Tank. This is a $3 3/6 that gets +4 when attacking buildings (like an opponent's base). So it's a reasonably beefy ground blocker that threatens a big punish if you can clear your opponent's patrol zone.

Chameleon Lizzo: This is a $4 4/3 with Haste and Stealth. Which is kinda questionable as you have a $2 monkey who has haste and a single-turn of stealth in the same spec. But in addition to this having one more point of attack and keeping stealth beyond the arrival turn it also returns to your hand at the end of your turn. So just like in MtG, it dodges sorcery speed removal but costs you mana/gold every turn. Unlike in MtG, there is no instant speed removal, and the cardflow rules work completely different. The timing works so that he returns after your discard and draw -- meaning that if he doesn't die in combat the turn you play him, you can play him again next turn, effectively using him as a (not quite) zero-card-cost direct damage spell.

The final card in Anarchy Tech II is the crazy trap option


Pun intended

On paper this looks awesome, especially as it lets you dodge tech building and tech spec choice requirements. However in Codex, even buildings have summoning sickness, so you're not tapping this before turn 5 (and average game length is 7 turns per player). Additionally if you can play this, then you chose Anarchy as your Tech II spec - meaning that 75% of the other Tech II choice which were optimal for you to have drafted jolly well already have Haste, the most expensive of them only costs 4. So most hands with Sanitarium in them will offer you a choice along the lines of:

Josh's Inner Monologue wrote:

Do I just play a Marauder for $3 and to deal 4 Hasty damage this turn and leave a body on the board or do I pay $4 now to play a Sanitarium which if it survives a turn lets me spend another $1 to have a chance to play both a Maruder plus something else on the board for a turn? If the game is over within two turns why the fuck am I giving up tempo now for a chance of a slightly better result in the next turn? I should be killing them or their board right the fuck now. And if the game is not over in 2 turns, why the fuck am I still worrying about Tech IIs instead of focusing on surviving long enough to get to Anarchy's devastating Tech III ? Ephemeral units sure as shit won't help me defend against the part of their board I didn't blow up the turn I wasted building the Sanitarium. Fuck why did I tech this in instead of literally anything else in this Spec at this tech level? Damn this is up there with the Forecast shit and the stupid Ninja poodle on the list of "Never Tech" cards.


Tech III Unit


Anarchy boasts what is very probably the single strongest Tech III option in the entire game -- only Past's Ebbflow Archon and Truth's Liberty Griffon even contend here. The Pirate Gunship is a 6/7 unit which comes with Resist 2, Flying, Haste, Long Range and Obliterate II. That means that it shows up for $6 and kills three things immediately. And unless your opponent has a flier with Long-Range or more than 6 HP or a patrol line where you have to fly over 7+ points of Anti-Air ATK remaining in their patrol slots after they soaked two Obliterates, it takes zero return damage. Also it has Resist 2, meaning that damn near any spell an opponent might try to answer it with is gold-negative for them. If you are behind, this just kills 3 cards for 1 card and then likely requires your opponent to spend more gold than you did on an answer that only delays it for a cycle -- making it a pretty substantial reversal. And if you are ahead, the combination of haste and flight and chump-clearing Obliterate will likely let you pick and choose which of their dudes to kill or how best to set up the lantern prison finale for the next couple turns you might need to observe the formality of winning.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Blood

This is an interesting spec. It's supposed to be aggro-rushdown. Instead, it's a massively insightful revelation of exactly how little Sirlin understands what "rushdown" means.

Hero: Drakk Ramhorn





Flavor wise, he's like a goblin rider or something - he's not supposed to be strong, but he has thumbs and co-ordinates his worg's attacks. He's a new-to-Codex character so his flavor details are thin, but it still seems odd that he has nothing in his spec to indicate his mount - it really seems obvious that the mounted dude oughtta have a spell or unit representing his mount. Mechanics wise, his stats are on the weak side, but his abilities are pretty good. His startband of geting a point of damage through when he dies is nothing to write home about, but his midband of Orcish Oriflamme Frenzy 1 is actually pretty good in the context of Codex and synergizes really well with token-spam strategies such as Skeletons or Pandas. His maxband is potent enough to allow for a lot of mid-to-lategame threats, and perhaps the most reliable way to give a Tech III unit Haste to pull out a comeback or a win.

Spells

Desperation: This is a $0 cost spell that self-trashes and lets you draw 3 cards. The drawback is that it only works when your hand is empty. That would be pretty much exactly what weenie Rush needs in Codex to compensate for the way the cardflow rules make playing multiple cheaper units an objectively wrong choice. The problem is that you then have to discard anything left in your hand before your discard/draw. Meaning that this does not let you recover from going down on cards early - it's only good for a final push, and then only if you teched in a bunch of $1 cost stuff. This would have been so much better if it did let you recover from going down on cards early -- the drawback could have been that it cost you life or you had to sacrifice a unit or something.

Bloodlust. This is a $2 buff spell that targets up to two unit/heroes and gives both of them +1 ATK and Haste until end of turn then deals* each of them one damage at end of turn. That's actually pretty good. The downside is that most of the time, you are going to have to go down on cards to use this optimally. Unless you are summoning Drakk and a 2nd hero both on this turn (and you can't have 2 heroes in play until Tech II or Heroes Hall - about halfway through the game) then you need to play at least one Unit as well as Bloodlust for the Haste to matter. Alternately this still has some utility in that it can remove a pair of x/1 things (like wounded heroes or tokens) for a single card. The caveat is that the wording on the damage from this makes it unclear whether Fire's upgrade that increases the damage dealt by red spells applies, because of course the wording on a Codex card is unclear. And of course, there is no clarification in the Codex card DB entries for either card. Bored

Kidnapping. This $4 spell is literally


.

In Codex, it can't target Heroes nor Tech III units, but the effect is still more powerful within the Codex
rules framework than it was in the MtG rules framework. Firstly, $4 is relatively less in Codex than in MtG. Secondly, in Codex your opponent cannot respond to this with any sort of combat trick of their own. Thirdly, card ratio is even more important in Codex than it is in Magic - and this is a spell which very likely kills two enemy cards. All that adds up to make this one of the best non-ultimate spells in the game.

Ultimate War Drums. This is only $2, but it's an Ultimate with Channeling, so it's pretty durn fragile. While it's in play, your units get +X ATK, where X is the number of units you have. So in theory if you have the maxband Drakk to cast this, you can then pay $2 to drop this, pay $1 for a Crash Bomber (which gets Haste due to Drakk's Midband), then pay $1 and $1 for a pair of Shoddy Gliders and they all get +3/+3 plus Frenzy 1 from Drakk's midband, giving you 20 points of Hasty ATK for $5 and 4 cards. Sadly you don't really have the cardflow or even any deckstacking/card fixing abilities to be able to set that sort of thing up with any reliability -- so it's not going to happen. Still the less-than-theoretical reality of this giving a couple of units +1 or +2 over a turn or two is still really meaningful in a game where everything has ablative health.



Tech I Cards

Crash Bomber: This guy follows the standard 2/2 stats + an ability for $1 paradigm. His ability is that when he dies, he deals a point of damage to something. Due to the asynchronous ideal of Codex the ability needs to be overly complex to avoid out-of-turn decision making. Still this guy is a decent deal in that about half of the time, he's going to be able to trade with an opponent's $2 3/3 Tech I unit.

Rickety Mine:



This is not as useless at it looks, but it is one of the worst designed cards in the entire set, so I have a lot to say about it.

Do you like deciding games on coin flips? This card does that. If you win two flips it then it gives you significant snowballing economic advantage that takes another couple turns to actually seal the win. If you lose the first flip you've lost a lot of opportunity cost and potential tempo in order to merely trade 2 life for a net of +1 gold.

This is shit design, and therefore you can see Sirlin ardently defending it in a BGG thread Here. In MtG, paying 2 mana now for something that gives you +3 mana next turn is notable, since that's eating up your second turn drop in order to give you a 5 or 6 cost drop on turn 3 and putting you substantially ahead of the mana curve -- even back in my MtG days that was the difference between a Mahamoti Djinn and a Serendib Effreet. In Codex, having to Tech this in first means that you are not dropping it until at least turn 3 when you are making your 7th or 8th worker so in the best case this means that you have 11 gold instead of 8 gold on turn 4 -- which is just not the same relative advantage. On top of that, all of Codex has literally 4 cards which cost more than 8 gold to play (even counting boost costs) -- and three of them are Tech IIIs which are gated more firmly by the game's Tech building requirements more than they are by their gold cost. So the only card this is helping you get in play faster is Feral's Gigadon -- which you could have got to at literally the same speed by playing Gemscout Owl, Merfolk Prospector or (probably) Galiana Glimmer instead. Instead of allowing sooner deployment of better forces, the extra gold that Rickety Mine gives you is going to allow development of your gold sinks -- and if you win a flip or two it allows much better development of those gold sinks. The mine is going to let you bring out an additional hero or build an add-on, or build a tech II / Tech III building without sacrificing a full turn of unit cost. That's not useless, but it's damn sure not exciting.

Furthermore in MtG, cards that damage you can synergize with stuff that prevents or redirects damage, as well as with stuff that triggers when you are behind on life. Codex has absolutely nothing like that which can interact with this at all -- meaning that there are no ways for a player to feel clever in using this card.
So it really is shit design all the way through. Here are some ways it could have been less so:

  • If it was a starter card, the gold gain could let you play ahead-of-the curve units meaningfully.
  • If it could trigger either of Blood's "this deals damage when your units die" effects, there would at least be in spec synergy.
  • If codex had any sort of meaningful damage redirection or "gain a bonus when behind in life" the risk of self-damage could be mitigated making players feel clever.
  • If it could have let you play an additional worker or counted as a worker or reduced the Worker requirements for tech buildings to let you tech-up faster to get ahead of the curve at a risk in a way that's in-theme for the rushdown at all costs spec.


Tech II Cards

Shoddy Glider. This is a $1 3/1 flier with Haste and Ephemeral. It's pretty crappy for a card at Tech II, but it's likely to trade with an opposing something that cost more than $1. While the low low price tag can matter in conjunction with Desperation, this really exists as a hasty flying body to combo with Zane's Chaos Mirror.

Captured Bugblatter. This is a $3 4/2 but you care about the ability. Whenever any unit dies, this deals 1 damage to an opponent. This sort of triggered ability is part of a bunch of the more complex timing rules questions in Codex, but power-wise it synergizes really strongly with all of Blood IIs pair of ephemeral units to do extra damage in the late midgame.

Crashbarrow. Speaking of midgame damage. This is the Red haste unit which contends with Present's Hyperion for best Haste-to-the face Tech II. For the low cost of $3, this is a 6/2 Haste, Ephemeral unit which comes with Overpower -- (*cough* Ball Lightning *cough* ) -- meaning that it usually kills something and also gets trample damage through most patrol lines. The runner-up deck at the 2016 Worlds was a Crashbarrow deck using Black's Graveyard and Blue illusion duplicates to play additional Crashbarrows.

Land Octopus. This is a $3 unit which comes with the crazy-go-nuts statline of 8/7 and Overpower. The downside is that it eats two of your workers every turn. The other downside is that it can't patrol. So basically it's a forced-combo design. You're supposed to play this with a Maxband Drakkor Bloodlust or the red starter Charge so that it shows up with Haste and hits for 8+ trample overpower immediately. Because if this doesn't win you the game inside 2 turns, it has lost you the game. The problem with that combo, is that Crashbarrow is right next door at the same gold cost and deals only 2 points less of hasty Overpower damage without needing any sort of combo piece and playing a Crashbarrow is not locking yourself out of the rest of the game. So aside from oddball theoretical puzzles involving Garth's Maxband ability and an opponent's base at exactly 7 HP, you will never choose to tech in a Land Octopus instead of a Crashbarrow.

Ogre Recruiter. This is a $5 ogre who brings 5/4 stats and any time he attacks and lives you gain control of an opposing Tech 0 or Tech I unit. That's interesting, but probably most relevant in multiplayer modes. In head to head, he's not really helping Blood get more damage through before the game gets to Tech III.

Tech III Unit

Blood has a very weak tech III unit, the Pirate Gang Commander. He's a $6/6 who shows up with three 2/2 Pirate Tokens.

Not actual card art


While he's in play,

  • All your units gain the ability dies: deal 1 point of damage to each opposing base. It seems odd that he gives that ability to your units while he's in play instead of just having an equivalent ability himself.
    AND
  • He lets you play Blood tech I and Tech II units at no gold cost and without any tech buildings. Of course you had to have 10 workers to build the Tech III building required to get him into play, and there is only and there is only one other Blood unit which costs more than $3 and the game punishes you for playing multiple units in a turn so the gold reduction is not actually an ability.

In theory, he's part of a big endgame push involving War Drums and/or Desperation to seal a win. The problem is that without support he's a 6/6 and a trio of 2/2s which just doesn't fare well when compared to even mediocre opposing tech III's that have stats like 8/9 Trample Obliterate 2 and deal 4 damage to your base when they swing or 7/8 Swift Strike, and the ability to "sideline all patrollers"
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As I understand it, there are no cards you can play during other players' turns, so everything that would be an Instant is actually a Sorcery with Uncounterable? So Kidnapping is really



But really this all goes back to a more fundamental issue: what the heck is this game trying to do? I mean, very obviously it's um... highly informed by Magic as it existed in the mid nineties. I just want to know why you'd go so far back in time in order to start your design. Shouldn't you be trying to build on the way things were in a popular recentish format of Magic? Has Sirlin not been following CCGs for the last twenty years? If so, why does he think he's qualified to make a new deck building game now?

Like, I keep coming back to the same fucking question: Why would I play this instead of Magic? And I keep not getting a real answer. I don't know what issues Sirlin thinks Magic has that he thinks he has an answer to.

And honestly, I don't know that Sirlin has the genre awareness to know whether he has anything to add to this game format. I'm not sure he has the curiosity to even find out. Let's consider his failure to make a "Rushdown" faction in a card game. First of all, "Rushdown" isn't a card game term, it's a fighting game term. The card game term is "Aggro." Sirlin comes from fighting games, and he's used to the terminology, but it's the wrong terminology for a card game. I understand that he's claiming some sort of bullshit "card game based on a fighting game that doesn't really exist" backstory or some bullshit to explain why he's using fighting game terms in a card game instead of card game terms for his card game, but it also leaves us with no real evidence that he has any idea of what the hell he's talking about.

And this becomes very hard to ignore when we talk about shit like creatures that do damage when they die. I understand that in a fighting game, a move that damages both players is a "Rushdown" maneuver because it shortens the game and rewards early beats. But in a card game, an ability that gives you incremental advantage for trading resources with your opponent is Control, not Aggro. Converting it back to a Fighting Game, that would be the kind of thing that a Turtle player would do. You're getting inevitability while trading your shit for their shit. You are slowing the game down and getting a small incremental advantage every time you do it.


The Zulaport Cutthroat will never feature in any aggro deck.

With the game failing to deliver on basic implementations of basic concepts it is supposed to be getting across, I don't have any faith that it can get across any deeper concepts it's trying to do. And I don't even know what the deeper things it's trying to do even are. That weird card flow engine severely punishes people for playing a lot of cards on any turn except the last turn, and the punishment gets more and more severe the earlier in the game you play those cards. But... why? What is the game trying to accomplish with that?

In Magic, I know that a more expensive card can only be played later in the game and also implies that the deck needs additional mana sources in order to be played at all. There is a tempo constraint to a higher cost, but also a deck building constraint. Any five cost card requires you to survive long enough to play it and also to play at least five mana worth of cards that don't block or attack (obviously there are exceptions). Even having such a card in my deck means that I can't be playing a lean 22 land goblin deck and requires me to come up with some early defensive plays if my opponent is. In Codex, I don't know what the constraints are supposed to be for using any particular kind of card. What they actually are is arcane lists of combos that you can and cannot make between different cards in different splats. But I have no idea why anyone would want that or what the benefit is supposed to be.

The resource management restrictions seem to be pretty much random. And the fact that Sirlin doesn't seem to grasp some fairly basic concepts of how card games work doesn't put the lie to that at all.

-Frank
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
As I understand it, there are no cards you can play during other players' turns, so everything that would be an Instant is actually a Sorcery with Uncounterable?


Pretty Much.

Codex has the Resist and Flagbearer abilities which kinda sorta maybe function as psuedo-counterspells, as well as a single spell that prevents your opponent from casting anything for the next turn -- but you see all of those coming in advance.

Quote:


But really this all goes back to a more fundamental issue: what the heck is this game trying to do? I mean, very obviously it's um... highly informed by Magic as it existed in the mid nineties.


Yes, but as a caveat some of that may be due to my own detailed MtG knowledge all coming from that era, so it's at least possible that my own biases in this thread are making Codex look even more 90s than it really is.

Quote:
I just want to know why you'd go so far back in time in order to start your design. Shouldn't you be trying to build on the way things were in a popular recentish format of Magic?


I think that comes back to the "10 years of playtesting" claim. That doesn't actually mean 10 years of playtesting - that means 10 years of concept and back-burner development. My guess is that a lot of the basics and early skeleton for the game were laid down in 2005 and 2006.

Quote:
Has Sirlin not been following CCGs for the last twenty years? If so, why does he think he's qualified to make a new deck building game now?


Overwhelming egotism. Plus a bunch of suckers like me fans who paid out over $300k on the Kickstarter for this.


Quote:
Like, I keep coming back to the same fucking question: Why would I play this instead of Magic? And I keep not getting a real answer. I don't know what issues Sirlin thinks Magic has that he thinks he has an answer to.


I thought I covered this back on the first two pages of this thread. The main issues with MtG that Codex purports to fix are


  1. Uneven Playfield -- the "one time buy in" really is Codex's biggest general selling point
  2. Preeminence of of Pre-game Preparation over in-game play
  3. Mana-Screw / Mana Flood
  4. The decisiveness of top-decking


I'm not going to recap how Codex's fixes are at best problematic near-misses for those issues.

As for why you, Frank Trollman, would play Codex instead of MtG.

  • You have claimed that the existence of $50 lands and mythic rares offends you, so Codex's attempt to replace an uneven playfield with a one time buy in should appeal somewhat to you.
  • You have also said that netdecking and imitation leads to a stale meta in MtG formats and "those issues are not going away". Codex's heavy emphasis on in-game drafting and play choices over pre-game team selection means that MtG style decklists are insufficient to give a player similar levels of advantage during an actual game. (Although if Codex got to MtG levels of playerbase it is likely we would see online strategy that looked like chess openings and/or poker systems)


You can doubtless supply your own longer list of better reasons why you would rather play MtG.

Quote:
And this becomes very hard to ignore when we talk about shit like creatures that do damage when they die. I understand that in a fighting game, a move that damages both players is a "Rushdown" maneuver because it shortens the game and rewards early beats. But in a card game, an ability that gives you incremental advantage for trading resources with your opponent is Control, not Aggro. Converting it back to a Fighting Game, that would be the kind of thing that a Turtle player would do. You're getting inevitability while trading your shit for their shit. You are slowing the game down and getting a small incremental advantage every time you do it.


Furthermore, the lack of out-of-turn effects, and the requirements to keep tech buildings on the board to play up-to-date units and the requirement to keep heroes alive to play any sort of reset spell means that all control in Codex is board control -- which means that MtG style control doesn't really exist and the most control-ly deck plan is really just Disruptive Aggro.

Quote:

With the game failing to deliver on basic implementations of basic concepts it is supposed to be getting across, I don't have any faith that it can get across any deeper concepts it's trying to do. And I don't even know what the deeper things it's trying to do even are. That weird card flow engine severely punishes people for playing a lot of cards on any turn except the last turn, and the punishment gets more and more severe the earlier in the game you play those cards. But... why? What is the game trying to accomplish with that?


It's trying to crib from Dominion's rapid deck cycling while holding on to the "playing more cards now means you have fewer options next turn" from MtG, while also interacting with the mana gold system to give players a fully integrated mechanic for thinning the chaff out of their deck.

It's obviously a failure, but I do think it's at least an interesting failure.


Quote:

In Codex, I don't know what the constraints are supposed to be for using any particular kind of card. What they actually are is arcane lists of combos that you can and cannot make between different cards in different splats.


That plus some wishy washy stuff about how much given combos restrict developing your gold sinks Heroes on any given turn of the game.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Fire

The overall design of this spec makes me really really mad. The hero has basically one ability and all the spells do the same thing, meaning that for cross-spec synergy you are only really considering the Tech I units. Flavor-wise it is the burn spell spec, because MtG did that for Fire. So of course the most damaging burn spell in the game is not here (Discipline). Nor is the cheapest (Demonology, instead Fire brings quantity of burn over quality of burn.

Hero Jaina Stormborne



Fanart by Isaac Klunk is better than actual art. You should commission dude for your game's art.


She starts out at decent 2/3 stats, but then doesn't gain much with levelups. So while she might block or attack early, later on she's sitting out of combat and sniping. Her startband ability is Sparkshot, which is most charitably described as a waste of ink. Once you sink another 3 gold into her she gets the Prodigal Sorcerer ability at midband -- "tap to do a point of damage to a patrolling unit or a building". Oh wait, it can only target patrolling units - not backline units nor heroes, so it's not as good as the Prodigal Sorcerer ability.. At her maxband, she actually gets her a meaningful version of her fire arrows - she can now tap to deal 3 damage to any unit or building -- although she still can't target opposing heroes which is thematically inexplicable. So as I have said previously, Sparkshot is a mini, next-to-meaningless, joke ability which should just be globally replaced with something that might actually matter. Then both of Jaina's next abilities require her to tap, so she can only use one at a time, and her Maxband is literally just an upgrade of her midband. So, uh yeah, she's got one ability. And while the ablative health of Codex means that being able to snipe things without taking return damage is scary strong, the asynchronous play mean that Codex has no out-of-turn effects, so if you use Jaina to snipe something for a point, then you cannot patrol with her, so you're giving up the opportunity cost of attacking and blocking. That's a questionable deal, but the bigger issue is that she's a menu with one choice. That's design that pisses me off.

Spells
Speaking of meanus with once choice, the Fire Spells actually offer less variety than MtG's 3 common burn options in Alpha. You see, Fireball could be split between multiple targets Disintegrate overcame Regeneration and Lightning Bolt punched above the curve while also being an Instant that served as a combat trick - thus each had slightly different uses.

For contrast, here are Codex's fire spells


Your options are: press any key to continue


That's not a toolbox, not even within the parameter of all spells have to be burns that deal damage. There's a distinct lack of a hit everything for low damage sweep, there's a distinct lack of any burn that overcomes a keyword ability, there's a distinct lack of an expensive single-target option, etc, etc.

Ultimate Spell

It's literally Ember Sparks but with 2 more damage and the ability to target heroes.


GRRR. Rage.



The fire spells make me look like this - well played.


Tech I Units

Once we get into Fire's units, I have a lot less to complain about - many of these are the playable versions of Bashing's chaff.

Lobber. This is a $1 2/2 unit which comes with Haste and also "Tap to do 1 damage to a building". Remember that Haste is huge in this game so getting that as well as the ability to damage an opposing base despite any patrollers for $1 is a really good deal.

Firebat. This is a standard chassis $2 3/3 + an ability unit. The ability is that you can tap it and pay one gold to deal 2 damage to a patroller or a building. Between the gold cost and the high opportunity cost of tapping in Codex. that's about fair for how potent repeatable direct damage is in a game with ablative health.

Tech II Cards

Doubleshot Archer. This is a $3 4/3 unit which comes with Long Range and Attacks: Deal 3 damage to that opponent's base. I have a bunch of issues with the overall implementation of Long Range in this game, but this is a solid unit for a low cost.

Bamstamper Lizzo: A 5/3 for $4 that deals 3 damage to a unit when it arrives. That does mean that he kills himself if there are no other units in play then, but usually he's a unit bundled with a removal spell, which is pretty solid in Codex.

Molting Firebird. This is a 4/3 flier for $4 which also does a point of damage to all of an opponent's creatures units and heroes when it does manage to get through. That's a decent set of stats for a Tech II flier with a pretty big potential upside ability. My only gripe is that some sort of similar token-clearing ability really should have been available outside of a the gated Tech II level in the burn spec.

The final two cards in fire are a bit of a forced combo thing for a win condition you are unlikely to pull off in actual play:




Firehouse suffers from buildings having summoning sickness, so usually by the time you can play it the game has reached a point where you are better off dropping a Bamstomper Lizzo or casting Ember Sparks to deal with threats/deal damage/ have a patroller NOWNOWNOW than have a chance of maybe doing some more damage a turn from now. Hotter Fire is weird in that it has a rules reminder in the flavor text, and on principle I must object to its racism -- which is to say it shouldn't care about color and should allow for more creative multicolor uses. But aside from those issues it's reasonable enough as a force multiplier for literally everything in Fire - which is either a burn spell that does damage or has an ability that does damage.


Tech III Unit

Cinderblast Dragon. An average-or-slightly below Tech III option. This is a 6/6 flyer with resist 2 and the ability "Arrives or attacks: You may play a non-ultimate Fire spell from your hand or codex for free." If the fire spells were a bit more flexible, and if it was likely that you were dropping a Fire Tech III unit without having teched in a bunch of Fire spells previously, that would actually be good since it can get you a free card draw and play. As it stands that means he has the arrival ability: clears 3 tokens OR kills a midband hero OR deals 3 damage to the enemy base -- any of which is unlikely to be enough to turn a game around if you're behind when you play him. While attacking with a 6/6 flyer who also sends 3 points of burn to the enemy base is pretty likely to be a finisher by that point in the game, it' still somewhat less so than attacks by all but one of the other flying tech III options in the game.
I would have liked it much better if it let you find and cast anybody's non-ultimate spell. That would let it do really useful things like give itself haste as well as a bunch of funky multicolor tricks.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Flagstone Dominion:

Canonically, these guys are the second set of outright villains in Sirlin's Fantasy Strike setting. They represent popular facism -- authoritarians using lies and prejudice to attain and hold political power. The problem with this part of the lore is that the "bad guys" in the setting are using lies and slander to win elections and overtax merfolk and miners to build a defense against the other "bad guys". While the "good guys" in the setting are training in hidden dojos, fighting dynstic deathmatches over who gets to train their most talented student - who is so talented because of his bloodline.



Not Quite Here, but along similar lines


Which means that the supposed villains are at least nominally in favor of democracy (albeit a somewhat corrupt form of democracy) and using government to protect their citizens (albeit excluding certain types of citizens) while the good guys believe that hereditary status is worth fighting to the death over and all people of talent should just abandon the major population centers and fuck off to Galt's Gulch Morningstar Sanctuary. From my perspective, that kinda makes this set of fascists the better option than the supposed "good guys", as at least they protect their populace and include mechanisms for nonviolent change in their society.

but that's all a tangent....

The real reason I bring this up is that the Spec names in Blue are meant to be Orwellian Newspeak propaganda: flavor-wise Law, Peace and Truth are really about Oppression, Warfare and Illusions and about selling those concepts to the unwashed masses using the inverted names.

Mechanics wise, mono-blue is supposed to be a "control" deck -- but MtG style control cannot work in Codex since the asynchronous play rules, relative cost of answers, cardflow rules, and strategic need to defend you own heroes and tech buildings all work against a plan of "I answer your threats with mana-cheaper counterspells or card-cheaper sweep spells until I can win with my own hard-to-answer lategame threats". If I want to be polite, I would just repeat my stolen line from above that "in Codex all control is board control". I am very far past the point of being polite about Codex, so let me make this perfectly clear:

The average pea-brained rooster in that barrel of cocks he is sucking gave more of a sarding shit about what in the hell control-style play in a CCG actually means than that motherfucking moron of a mouthbreather David Sirlin did when he ripped off these cards from other games and called them a godsdamned faction.


What instead happens is that Blue gets a starter deck that is the most fragile in the earlygame, but scales into the lategame pretty well. Due to the need to defend your Tech building and Hero in the earlygame in order to avoid falling off this game's slippery slope, that fragility is a big deal. But that scaling doesn't matter much, because you are jolly well playing one card per turn and workering one card per turn and the best Tech 0 Card in any starter is only about on par with a middle of the road Tech I card or hero's Spell card and well behind any of the Tech IIs or Ultimate spells you are scheduled to have access to by turn 5. So people who are knowledgeable about this game joke that the "Tower" defensive add-on available to all colors is secretly the 11th Blue starter card. While people like me just swear about that sort of design online.

Law

The Law spec has the most direct analogues for MtG style control-effects. Law gets some deck manipulation, a couple tap to tap-out-opposing stuff effects, a Sweep, a potent mass-tap out spell, a play one of your-dudes as mine spell, a useless wall of ice, a debatable use "limit opposing cards played per turn" building and a tech III which grants the Starcraft Terran Lift Off ability...because somehow that didn't fit in the Starcraft rip-off Spec confused??: It almost kinda-sorta follows the control script of stalling with incremental advantage into inevitability aside from the incremental advantages being easy to counterplay and substitution of weaksauce lategame offense in place of inevitability. It's like how I'm kinda-sorta a rich and famous aside from the bit where I'm only internet famous to readers of the Gaming Den and how you have to count the value of all the play money in my boardgames instead of the value of my assets in US dollars.

Hero: I-guess-I-better-add-a-token-minority-to-the-Fantasy-Strike-cast





Bigby's stats and levels are exactly identical to the Neutral River's stats and levels. He starts out at the hgih-start 2/3 value and levels up very cheaply but for fairly minimal stat increases. His startband is the :pig: mechanic from Sirlin's other superior game Puzzle Strike, which is minor-yet-useful ability in the context of Codex's cardflow and worker rules. What's nuts about it is that this ability gets the Stash keyword despite Bigby's startband being the only instance of this ability anywhere in the game. At his midband, Bigby gets the same tap-to-sideline a low-tech patroller than River does, only here I'm really not sure what Law is supposed to do with that - it's not just that tap to remove a blocker is a minor yet offensive ability in a spec with a supposed plan of "stall the game", it's that the two units in the spec which have power greater than 2 just do not care about low-tech patrollers. Even in mono-blue that's not a good ability, it synegizes better with things that have earlygame hard-hitters like Demonology (because everything does) or Discipline or Ninjas or Feral or even Growth. Bigby's maxband ability is tap to draw a card. Which isn't as crazy a cardflow ability as Setsuki's is, but Bigby gets there pretty cheaply, so it can allow for some midgame multiple card play turns without sacrficing cards-in-hand.

Spells

Jurisdiction: this is an interesting tutor. It cost's 2 and then allows Bigby to fetch and cast any non-ultimate spell from your Codex for that spell's normal gold cost. The extra gold cost is significant, but it generally gives Bibgy access to a list of 8 other spells he can cast right now, making for a lot of versatility.

Injunction:

This is a 3-cost spell that is game warping enough that opponents need to plan around it. It disables (tap out, they don't untap next turn) an opponent's Tech I or Tech II building and all of that opponent's units of the chosen tech level. While that usually means tap out and lockdown two or more units for a turn if timed correctly, the clarifications also mean that casting this prevents your opponent from building their next level tech building if their highest one is disabled during their turn. There are also clarifications about how a currently destroyed tech building cannot be disabled by this and neither can units of the associated tech level -- so when playing against Law there are turns when it is correct to choose not to use your free rebuild on destroyed tech buildings.

Community Service: this has the art from a Strong Bad email and some pretty great flavor text. It's a $5 spell which lets you put an opposing Tech I or II unit from their hand xor discard into play under your control. It's got a real chance to whiff, as you can select a group of cards that has no eligible units in it, but it can also swing games as you can pull an opponent's Gigadon out of their hand and drop it into play on your side, leaving them short a card and facing their own biggest threat.

Ultimate: mild ire of god Judgement Day. A sweeper that destroys all Tech 0,I, and II units. It passes over the houses marked with the blood of the lamb Heroes, Tech IIIs, indestructible units, buildings and upgrades. Notable in that it is one of two ultimates in the game that don't require your hero to be out and max level before your turn. For 10 gold you can summon Bigby, maxband him and then cast this all in the same turn.

So overall, the Law spell package has a hypothetical (if not always efficient) answer for most basic strategies. Against token-spam it has a sweep, against going with few big units it has a steal, and against midrange pressure it has a one-turn delay that targets multiple units. On top of that it has an expensive wildcard spell -- so there are a number of game plans where the Law spells can work.

Tech I Units

Scribe: this is a $2 cantrip (you draw a card when he arrives) with 1/3 stats. That's decidedly mediocre. The free card might seem nice, but remember that even the crappy $2 unit in Bashing is a 3/3 with an ability, and a 1/3 fighting 3/3 means that your opponent ends up with a 3/2 left in play, while you end up with the extra card in your hand. So basically, playing this guy means that you are ceding tempo to any opponent playing same-cost units.

Tax Collector: This is a $2 unit with 2/3 stats and the abilit "Arrives, steal $1 from an opponent" If that triggers, you are only down $1 and so is your opponent and you've also put a body into play. It runs into similar tempo issues in that most opposing Tech Is are going to be 3/3 or better -- but at least here it's only giving up one point of ATK, allowing for the potential of even trades when the Tax Collector is defending in a relevant Patrol slot. On the downside there is also the real potential that the arrives ability will hit an opponent with zero gold and not steal anything, instead just being an inferior stat unit (II know I'm developing my gold sinks and patrolling in slots other than scavenger in the 2nd cycle where gold is still tight against any deck running Law).


Tech II Units

This is where things go way wrong - you're either losing hard here or locking your opponent out of actually playing -- there's not really a middle ground.

Insurance Agent. This dude is a $1 2/2 unit, which is normally a Tech I statline, but his weirdball ability is part of one of the handful of infinites in the game. When he arrives, you put an insurance rune on some other unit -- if the enruned unit dies while Insurance Agent is still in play, you get to draw a card and collect gold equal to the cost of the enruned unit. Note that you don't have to insure your own unit. On the downside, there are all sorts of weird rules to remember about arrives triggers that make the infinite pretty difficult to even explain and pretty much impossible to ever achieve in actual play.

Wall of Ice Guardian of the Gates. This is a 1/6 "cannot attack'" that disables "tap out, do not ready next turn" any unit it deals combat damage to. You might reasonably tech this against a Skeleton Spam or Crashbarrow deck. In every other matchup it's next-to useless. Either it should have lost the "cannot attack" limit or it needed to come with Anti-Air or Detector or a similar evasion-negation ability to be relevant as a Tech II unit.

Arresting Constable.

Cool 'stache bro.


His ability of tap to disable an opposing tech II or lower unit is potentially a partial lockdown threat, but at $4 for a 2/3 unit he's pretty easy for an aggro opponent to answer favorably before that gets going.

Justice Juggernaut: This is your entire offense. It's a $6 unit that brings 4/6 stats, Unstoppable and Two-Lives.


Juggernaut ignores walls


On the downside, it cannot patrol -- so you need to have some sort of at least partial lock going afore you drop this.

Censorship Council: Discussed much earlier in this thread -- this is a really bad card that limits you to what the game rules strongly encourage you to do anyways. Currently it is inexplicably inspiring fear in the meta. Supposedly it combos well with the Blue Starter card Jail:



These cards are not winning the game,against you. These cards are insulting you for having already lost the game before this combo was complete


Tech III Card

Lawbringer Gryphon. This $10 cost unit is a 7/6 flyer that comes with Flying, Resist 2 and Obliterate 4. But the crazy bit is that while it is in play your base (your HP) gains Flying and can not be damaged by attackers without Flying nor Anti-Air. The maximum cost is kind of a big deal and anti-synergistic with Law's card-advantage abilities, but getting a serviceable Tech III flyer plus wacky defensive ability that renders you immune to more than half of the likely damage sources makes this definitely a top-half option for Tech IIIs. The problem is that you had to suffer through a pretty crappy suite of tech II options and play a defensive stall game in order to get here.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I think you've covered this before, but it is possible to play a mixed faction, right? Is there any way to play another faction for Tech 1 and 2 and still bring out Blue for Tech 3? If so, what could that look like?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
I think you've covered this before, but it is possible to play a mixed faction, right? Is there any way to play another faction for Tech 1 and 2 and still bring out Blue for Tech 3? If so, what could that look like?



That's legal, but likely sub-optimal. As this is Codex, the relevant rules are needlessly complex, so let me go over them again:

So in the standard (ie non-training wheels) mode, you get a three hero team. Each Hero brings their own unique "Spec" of 12 cards along with them to your "Codex" (the binder full of cards you can draft (tech) from during the game.) The prebuilt teams are all the same color/faction - with each color having 3 heroes who bring their own Spec. And each blue Spec has it's own Tech III unit:



A mono-blue Codex contains all three of these, but a mono-blue Codex is extremely unlikely to play more than one in any given game


but you totally can mix heroes from different colors. It's currently popular to run
Past (purple) / Peace (blue) / Anarchy (red)
or
Necromancy (black) / Blood (red) / Truth (blue)
or
Strength (white) / Growth (green) / Demonolgy (black)

The drawbacks to going multicolored are minor but hardcoded into the game in an effort to keep the monocolors competitive:

A: iIf your heroes come from more than one faction (not counting neutral as a faction) then the first tech-building or add on (that is the first building which isn't a card in your deck) you build costs +$1 gold.

B: If you try to cast a starter deck spell and that spell is from a faction which the hero casting it is not, then casting that spell costs you +$1 gold. Note that Neutral does not count as a faction here,

C: There's some forced-combo stuff in Green and Red that cares whether the other cards you have are Green or Red, so you can miss out on those by running multicolor teams.

Those really are not that severe and it is almost certain that the best decks in the game are all sets of multicolor specs.


However the game has additional rules to throttle your choices at the midgame. When you build your Tech II building you must choose only one of the three Specs associated with your Hero Team as the one associated with your Tech II building. Under normal circumstances you can only play Tech II Units, Buidlings and Upgrades (remember that Spells work differently) associated with your chosen Spec. When you later build your Tech III building, that allows you to build the Tech III unit of the Spec you chose back at Tech II. So usually your Tech II and Tech III choices are a package deal.

Now if that isn't needlessly complicated enough to confuse the first-time or casual player, remember that this is still a psuedo-CCG, so for all those rules there are a bunch of effects which are exceptions.

Most commonly, one of the four add-ons available is the Tech Lab - which lets you unlock a second Spec for your Tech II and Tech III units. Anyone can do this in any game, it is cheap costing only a single gold. But the problem is that you only have one add-on slot available, so there is the very significant opportunity cost of not building a Tower if you do this.

Additionally, a bunch of cards are capable of "cheating" out-of-spec Tech IIs and IIIs into play:



These cards allow you to get out-of-spec Tech IIs into play, but for various reasons cannot do so for Tech IIIs


These two cards let you get out-of-spec Tech II OR Tech IIIs into play


So while it is possible and rules legal to choose something useful like Blood(red), Necromancy(black), Present(Purple) or Peace (blue) as your Tech II spec and then build a Tech Lab solely in order to play the Lawbringer Gryphon, doing so incurs the opportunity cost of not being able to take advantage of any of the other three add-ons and has the vulnerability that an opponent can prevent you from playing your tech III choice by destroying either your Tech III building or your somewhat more fragile Tech Lab.

The bigger problem is that something like 50-60% of games end before Tech III buildings are even built, so any plan counting on a Tech III victory has to stall heavily, in a game with next to no ways to regain player life base HP.

Furthermore, if you are counting on an out-of-spec Tech III to win the game, then Lawbringer Gryphon being merely a good TIII option isn't good enough. You want an actual top-tier tech III such as Past, Anarchy or Truth. Note that two of the current decks considered strong in the Meta are a Past/Peace/Anarchy that tries to win with Peace's Tech II engine and Blood/Truth/Necromancy that tries to win by duplicating and reanimating Blood's Tech II Crashbarrows -- and both of those have the option of going with Tech Lab to win with a top tier Tech III in games where their Tech II plans come up short.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Peace

Again, with the Orwellian doubeplusunoldspeak, Sirlin has some fun in the hype link but what really matters is that the Peace spec is full of Soldiers. This gives it very-strong cross-color synergy with a purple starter card,



It might as well just say "all your Peace cards"


This is one of the reasons that Past/Peace/Anarchy is strong in the current meta, but that's a discussion for after I finish the last two spec reviews.

Getting on with this one, we get the uncomfortably stereotypical samurai:

Hero: General Onimaru


Cool 'stache bro


He has the Midori / Troq top-tier but not-quite-best stats and levels at high cost. However it's extremely notable that he shows up as a 2/3 with Frenzy 1, meaning that at first level he can attack as a 3/3. That means that if no patrol zone bonuses come into play, he can one-shot any opposing first-level hero aside from Rook and live to benefit from the levelup bounty of killing an opposing hero. Thus going first and summoning Onimaru usually makes it a tricky high risk play for an opponent going second to summon any of their heroes on their first turn. At midband he gets Readiness, which is decent but only really notable due to it's interaction with his Ultimate. When he hits maxband he summons a trio of 1/1 solider tokens.

Spells

Boot Camp - this is a $1 cantrip (you draw a card for playing it) that counts as both a buff and a debuff. It taps exhausts any unit or hero (aside from Onimaru) and also puts a +1/+1 rune on it. This is incredibly useful in actual games. Note that you can cast it on your stuff which you already tapped for whatever reason. Note that unlike the green and neutral versions, this doesn't care if there are already +1/+1 runes on the target. Note also that tapping a unit causes it to be sidelined out of the Patrol Zone - so you can use this to get past a patroller and hit a backline unit/building at the cost of giving an opposing unit/hero +1/+1. Also, as a $1 cost targeted cantrip, it's among the best ways to pop illusions, which combos well with a couple of the Truth spells I'll get to next time.

Elite training - this is a $2 buff that gives up to two of your target units and or heroes +1 ATK, +1 Armor, Anti-Air and Sparkshot until your next upkeep. It can buff Onimaru, but it can't pop opposing illusions, and it's not a catrip nor a rest-of-game buff so Boot Camp is generally way way more useful.

General's Hammer. This is a $3 spell that does 3 damage to a building. That's kinda weaksauce burn, but it has a forced-combo applications with a Peace Tech II unit.

Ultimate Spell: The Art of War. This is a $3 buff that gives Onimaru +2/+2, Swift Strike and Unstoppable until your next upkeep. Note that if you can cast it, he was already a 4/5 + Frenzy 1 and Readiness. So in all likelihood, he's swinging for 7 Unstoppable damage to your opponent's base the turn you cast this. And he gets to patrol too, dealing 6 Swift Strike damage to any opposing units that attack him. While the 9 gold to summon then Maxband Onimaru is pricey, This is a pretty solid win condition -- it's notable how it is similar-to-yet outright better than Midori's Ultimate as a Win condition.

Tech I Units

Peace follows the Law Paradigm of one card-advantage Tech I and one Gold-Advantage Tech I. Except that Peace's versions work better.

Overeager Cadet is a $0 cost 2/2 soldier. That not great by itself, but it has strong synergy with any card drawing or arrival trigger engine, such as the big on in Peace Tech II. Also, if said cadet gets a +1 from something (like Battle Suits or Bootcamp) it can then trade with a bunch of opposing $2 cost Tech I 3/3 cards

Brave Knight: This is a $3 3/3 Soldier who comes with Readiness, and if he would die from combat damage, he goes back to owner's hand instead. Thus when trading, he often gets you a card for making a trade.

Tech II cards

The big deal is the combo Sirlin talked up in the Hype link - it is a really strong Tech II plan, and either half of the combo is still helpful without both in play:

Every unit is now a cantrip which also gives you a floating +1/+1.Multiples of these cards stack to make it even better




It's really more like this kind of Drill Sargeant


You've also got three other cards in Peace II, and they look like this



Okay, not really, but they might as well


Since I'm in a ranty mood, I'll talk about them anyways:

Flagstone Spy: This is a $3 3/3 Invisible Soldier who lets you peak at an opponent's hand and steal a gold from them each time he gets through.

Air Hammer. This is a $4 3/3 Bird Soldier with flying that gets +2 Atk against damaged buildings. So the idea is that you open with general's Hammer, then this flies over and does another 5. I think the bigger deal is that he can answer opposing fliers.

The idea here is that you can load your engine's bounty of +1/+1 runes on either an Invisible attacker or a Flying attacker - and each of those has a rider effect when they get through.

Debilitator Alpha - this Clockwork Soldier is a piece of never-tech crap. It's a $5 4/5 with an ability that points to some way underexplored design space - when it's in your Squad Leader patrol slot, anything attacking it gets -1 ATK. The concept of abilities which are conditional upon which patrol slot a unit is in is a great concept that emphasizes the Patrol Zone mechanics, which are among Codex's best pieces of design. So this sort of thing should have happened a lot more. The issue is that the vast majority of other $5 tech II cards are either flying over this or trading extremely favorably even when it gets the Squad Leader bonus and it's added ability. This particular ability belongs on a cheap Tech I unit as a potential defense against Bone Collector and similar token-spam strategies -- not on something that could have been an additional piece of your game-winning engine.

Tech III Unit

If you didn't win the game via Garrison + Drill Sargent or via double Garrison draw engine or via Art of War, you get a decidedly-worse-than mediocre tech III option. Patriot Gryphon is not a soldier, but it is an $8 cost 6/7 flier with Resist 2 who is unstoppable by units with ATK 2 or less (so opponent's can't chump block this flier with their mana birds). It also gets a weird building-based variant of trample Overpower where it gets to both kill a tech building/add-on/building card and also hit the opponent's base at the same time. If you get to attack with this against an opponent who doesn't have strong Tech II or better fliers, then it's very nearly game over. The's just not as good as a bunch of tech IIIs that have more common near-win situations let alone the Tech IIIs that help you notably on the turn they arrive.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Moving on to the last Spec left for me to cover:

Truth


Not this


This is again named ironically, as the Truth hero is an underhanded politician who has a bunch of Illusion powers which get vaguely patriotic themes. I'll just let you draw your own conclusions about which real-world politics that's symbolizing.



More like this


The relevant bit of mechanics is that in Codex the "illusion" type comes with the drawback that it dies when targeted by anything. That means specifically cards with the little bullseye target symbol "◎ " somewhere on them.

Hero: Sirus Quince



I woulda thunk the Evil Spock beard would have clued voters in


His stats are intentionally crap, but his levelups are cheap and his particular brand of token spam abilities are really really interesting. When he shows up, he brings a 0/1 Illusion token with him. He can pay $2 to make a 2nd illusion token. At his midband he can pay another $2 to turn one of those 0/1 tokens into an illusionary copy of any other unit short of a Tech III at the price of the illusion self-trashing at end of turn. At his maxband he gets a similar-yet-better ability which is an arrival trigger for any of your own units where a pre-existant mirror illusion can become a copy of that unit. The maxband ability costs no additional gold, works on Tech III units, but only on your own units. The maxband ability illusions can also stick around more than one turn, but get trashed if Quince or the original leaves play. This is a big deal if the game gets to the Truth Tech III.

There is some weird interaction with

which for a while allowed you to hypothetically build an infinite mirror army over infinite turns -- until Sirlin said we were all being stupid for not reading his mind about what Limit meant. I'm pretty sure all the latest "clarifications" do is require one additional extra step to circumvent the stealth errata, but I'm am completely sure that any combo which requires infinite turns to get to infinite damage is not worth wasting your time and effort patching.

That's a nice metaphor for how all of Codex was handled -- cards with interesting abilities have unclear wordings and weird rules interactions, then Sirlin says some unhelpful gibberish in an attempt to "fix" the parts of the game that do not actually need to be fixed. This is then followed by Sirlin's beleaguered semi-official Codex rules guy trying to parse and then defend Sirlin's gibberish on the official rules question thread. But then whatever the semi-official parsing becomes, it's a crapshoot whether it gets collated to the rulings google doc or the searchable-by-card online database and it either gets lost in the thread or copied to the offline notes of the guy who actually runs most of the PBF tournies.

Spells

Free Speech - this spell has the meaningless text "Silence an opponent", but then has reminder text explaining that the never-before nor-again used rules text "silence" means that said opponent's heroes lose all abilities and cannot cast spells until after their next turn. (The jury is still out on whether the Growth Tech III's spell-playing ability bypasses this).

Hallucination -- this is a $2 debuff that turns up to two units (which must be below Tech III) into Illusions for this turn. It's got the ◎ on it, so if you cast it twice in the same turn, it can kill a pair of things for a total of $4, which is generally a better-than-fair trade, although it was high risk to draft in two copies. I kinda think this would be a more interesting spell if the effect lasted until your next upkeep -- that would let it serve as a counter to an opponent trying to use targeted buffs and open up a lot of options in multiplayer games.

Dreamscape -- this spell also turns things into illusions, because why be innovative in your spell design. However this one is an ongoing channeling spell (it ends if Quince dies) that turns everything short of tech IIIs into illusions while it remains in play. The idea is that Truth plays this and their illusions benefit from the Truth tech II stuff that boosts illusions while their opponent(s) just suffer(s) the downside -- and with Dreamscape up, the targetting rules Hallucination becomes really efficient removal.

I gotta stop here and say that this part of the "design skeleton" of this spec really bugs me -- two of the three non-ultimate spells turn other things into illusions and two of the hero's three innate abilities turn tokens into illusions of other units. That sort of redundancy is pretty poor design given Codex's drafting mechanics. It would have been better to give Quince a "tap to make target unit an illusion" ability in place of one of his token transformations and to have one of Truth's spells transform tokens into illusions with different stats in place of redundant spells that just add the illusion type.

Ultimate Spell Control Magic

Look at the bald-dude with forehead tattoo wearing loose clothes while doing weird blue things with his misdrawn hands.


A big turnaround, but not a win condition the way some other Ultimates are.

Tech I units

Spectral Hound: This is a 3/3 for a mere $1 with the drawback that it's an illusion. As previously mentioned, this was abusively good before the game's penultimate nerf of Midori's midband.

Spectral Flagbearer: This is a $1 2/2 illusion with the Flagbearer subtype - which is another stealth keyword that the rulebook forgot to define. The Flagbearer effect works just like it does in MtG, although the effect is obscure enough there that I wonder why this is a keyword worth stealing. The point is that a flagbearer acts like a lightning rod for enemy spells and effects and anything you opponent plays which can target a flagbearer must target at least one flagbearer at least once. This is pretty relevant for the illusions spec, since any targeted effect has to target the flagbearer, so unless said effect is multi-target it cannot be used to pop bigger threat illusions.

Tech II cards

Macciatus, The Whisperer. This $2 legendary 3/3 herald gives all your illusions +1/+1 and means that they no longer die when targeted. This is a reasonable deal since if you chose Truth as your Tech II Spec choice, then all of your lategame stuff is already Illusions. Sadly there is nothing with both the Legendary and Illusion tags to work as a Strength / Truth incentive.

Reteller of Truths: She's a $2 3/3 Bard Illusion who has a psuedo-resuurcetion ability for your illusions. The actual wording on it is painfully ambiguous: "The first two times each turn one of your non-token Illusion units dies (including this one), return it to its owner's hand." From the extant clarifications I can guess that means "If ANY of your (non-token) illusions die, then first trigger all dies:do X effects and then also return the illusion card to owner's hand instead of discard (unless another replace death effect such as Graveyard is in play in which case the active player chooses which applies). If you have already done this twice in the current turn, this ability does not function. Multiple copies do not stack--you only get two per turn regardless how many copies of this card are out." but I'm really not sure if that is how it was supposed to work or not.

Spectral Tiger: this is a $3 5/5 Tiger Illusion

Although not as cool as this tiger illusion


so it counts for your illusion bonuses and Calamandra can fetch it with her Maxband. It has no other abilities, so Midori's mindband buffs it. That's not bad, but at this point it probably should have also gotten the "Soldier" tag for purple's Battlesuits and the Legendary tag for Strength's Mythmaking and just been a unit designed to grab whichever cross-spec bonus your were running.

Illusion Roc: a $4 4/5 Illusion with Flying. Comparing those stats to Fire's $4 4/3 flier that kills tokens or Future's $5 cost 5/4 flier with overpower and firebreathing leaves me confused. For the Tiger and the Hound, Illusion is a drawback the allows for statlines to be cheaper but here Illusion seems to just allow similar stats for similar costs, which implies designer concern that Truth's illusion-buffs compensate for the Illusion type-weakness.

Eyes of the the Chancellor -- this is not a bad card,

Fnord


It's a $3 upgrade that is the sole always-on, full blown Detector in the game -- which means that any stealth/invisible attacker after the first each turn is always unblockable against anyone who didn't choose Truth as their Tech II spec. Detector options in Codex need to be more common and available in the synergistic Tech I and Spell levels of Specs -- but they also need to not render Strealth/Invisible completely useless. It also has Haste -- did you guess that Upgrades without Haste have summoning sickness arrival fatigue? I wouldn't have, and I know that buildings do in this game. Guess what, the game has zero, count them zero ways to give anything that is not a Unit/Hero haste.

Tech III Unit

This is the 3rd last of the Top-Tier of Tech IIIs, mainly due to how it interacts with Quince's abilities. Normally this is "just" a 5/5 hasty and flier at the bargain price of $3 which lets you hit or trade with merely good evasion for dirt-cheap while having a bunch of gold available to levelup other heroes, cast spells or do other useful things.

However, if you have any other illusion in play, it gains unstoppable, untargettable and unattackable. So if you have a maxband quince in play, you can spend $2 or $4 to get to a pair of mirror illusions, drop this for $3, one of your mirrors becomes a copy, the other gets to be an illusion not named Liberty Gryphon and you swing with 10 points of unstoppable hasty damage. Note that you needed 10 workers to build your tech 3 - so the potential to drop and maxband quince for $6, then make a 2nd mirror illusion for $2 then drop this for $3 only adding up to 11 gold, means that it's possible to swing for 10 unstoppable from an empty board. More commonly, your board isn't empty and you can both use the Gryphon and the token copy to swing for 10 hasted unstoppable while having a bunch of leftover gold to do additional useful things.

That's not quite as much reversal as Ebbflow Archon nor even Pirate Gunship. But that much damage is a much firmer sealing of the game and aside from winning before it happens, there are very few things an opponent can do to prevent it.
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...You Lost Me
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

On Mind Control you also missed that it's using recycled art from Mind-Parry Monk.


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Again, look at this fucking map you moron. Take your finger and trace each country's coast, then trace its claim line. Even you - and I say that as someone who could not think less of your intelligence - should be able to tell that one of these things is not like the other.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Huh, yeah, I did miss that.

Seems a poor choice since Mind Control can't gain control of Mind Parry Monk.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Codex: Additional Thoughts

So that's all 20 Specs down -- although I did gloss over the Starter Decks cards -- which is probably unfair since in an average game, a plurality (if not a majority) of cards each player sees in their hand will be starter deck cards.

Codex Takes Too Much Table Time to get to the Important Decisions

I'm going lead this off by giving a very rough outline of the first two cycles of a very roughly typical 2 player game of Codex:

P1T1: Make a Worker, Play a $1-drop, summon a Hero. Discard and Draw
P2T1: Make a Worker, Play a $2-drop, summon a Hero. Consider Patrol Assignments. Discard and Draw.

P1T2: Tech in 2 cards (probably Tech Is) Make a Worker, Build your Tech 1 Building, Play a $3 drop (or a cheaper card and level your hero). Consider attacking, Consider patrol assignments. Discard, Cycle Deck, Redraw, crossing fingers that exactly one Tech I card is in turn 3 hand.
P2T2: Tech in 2 cards (probably Tech Is, maybe spells, but Tech II drafts are reasonable in more defensive matchups) Make a Worker, Build your Tech 1 Building, With your $4 remaining, play one card, possibly level up your hero, possibly build a Tower or Hero's Hall Add on, possibly save gold for next turn. Consider attacking. Consider Patrol Assignments. Discard, Cycle Deck, Redraw, crossing fingers that Teched cards are in the 2nd cycle hands where you need them.

P1T3: Tech in 2 cards (probably a mix of Tech I, Spells and Tech IIs), Make a Worker, Split remaining $5 gold between playing a card and/or leveling a hero and/or building an add-on and/or saving for next turn. Consider Attacking, Consider Patrol assignments. Discard, Draw.
P2T3: Tech in 2 cards (probably a mix of Tech I, Spells and Tech IIs) Make a Worker, Build your Tech II building, play a $2 drop. Discard, Draw

P1T4: Tech in 2 cards (probably a mix of Tech I, Spells and Tech IIs), Make a Worker, Build your Tech II building, play a $2 drop. Consider attacking. Consider patrol assignments. Discard, Draw. (potentially cycling if a lot stayed in play or you had extra draw)
P2T4: Tech in 2 cards (probably Tech IIs and Spells, although in some cases a Tech III draft can be reasonable here). Consider whether to make a worker (no longer 100% automatically the correct choice, down to like 85%) . If Tech II building survived, consider bringing out second hero. If not making worker, play two cards, if just playing one card consider leveling up heroes, etc,etc. Consider attacking. Consider patrol assignments. Discard, Draw. (potentially cycling if a lot stayed in play or you had extra draw)

While I have previously posted about just how massively large the *number* of choices are in Codex, the takeaway here is that basically turn 3 is a critical, decision heavy turn for player 1 - they have enough gold to have options, but have to have strong enough threats to deal with player 2 potentially being up a tech level next turn. Conversely, turn 4 is the most critical decision heavy turn for player 2 - they may be able to play a Tech II card (if they Teched it in at the first opportunity) and have a notable gold advantage over a player 1 who is building their Tech 2 building to catchup.

And well, it's a problem that the big meaningful choices don't hit until turn 3 or turn 4 when nearly half of all Codex games are decided by turn 7, and yet the average time for a Codex game is nearly an hour. It's chess, where knowledgeable players are just going to spam a bookworm opening against a bookworm defense

Grandmasters literally sleep through parts of the game anymore


and the real tactical puzzle is the math-heavy midgame turn which determines momentum for the rest of the game. For all Sirlin's prior whinging about the flaws of chess, and his claim that you get to "start playing the game right away", this is truly disappointing, and would have been easy to address with the simple expedient of designing around draft-into-hand or even a draft-to-top-of-deck instead re-reusing Dominion's draft-to-discard-and-then-reshuffle model.

Moving on, Another complaint I have not covered is that

Codex has really insufficient pregame customization

Pregame customization involves picking a team of three heroes (from the set of twenty), and then picking a starter (from the set of seven) deck which shares a color with at least one of those heroes. That's a couple thousand options, but it really doesn't offer enough playspace to go with non-synergistic, playing-for-fun themedeck choices.

Some examples:


  • Want to run a "dragons" deck ? Well, tough, there are two dragon units in the entire cardset-- each in a different Spec and Tech II and Tech III so you can't even get both into play without a Tech Lab.
  • Want to run a deck based around the best/worst art/flavor text in the game -- well tough, that's spread through way more than 3 Specs and you're not allowed to cherry pick cards.
  • Want to run a "sniper" deck with as many Long Range units as possible? Well then you want the blue starter for Bluecoat Musketeer, but you also want the Black Starter for Skeletal Archery -- and you can only run one starter. Then you need Fire for Doubleshot Archer and Anarchy for Pirate Gunship -- and hey, the keyword only appears on those four cards, so there goes that theme idea. Trying to expand it to be "Swift Strike" OR "Long Range" would mean you would need to add Ninjitsu for Setsuki and Glorius Ninja, but you'd also want Strength for Oathkeeper -- and you can't have four specs -- and none of those four specs match the color of either starter with a long-range card -- so this theme deck is not happening.
  • Pick damn near any pair of keywords that isn't force-comboed into a single color the way Forecast and Fading are and you get similarly impossible-to-build theme ideas.


This sort of thing happens because there are too few total cards, too many keywords, each keyword appears on too few cards and the lists of what you are allowed to mix and match in a given deck gate off large chunks of the playspace. This results in an overly Sirlin game, where the only option is outright Playing to Win. And well, that's no way to enlarge your playerbase.



Codex Deckbuilding Guidelines



Setup Time is Way Too Long in the Common Case

Now Codex adds insult to injury by piling problematic setup time on top of insufficient customization. You see, each of those Heroes comes with their own Spec of 24 cards (2 copies of each of 12 uniques), and if your chosen team of three heroes isn't pre-built into a given codex ( card binder) then you are moving cards in and out of sleeves until you have the correct 72 cards arranged. Sirlin has defended the official binders having non-removable pages because of course he has. Why would he facilitate customization in your Customizable Card Game? Now if Codex really had a large enough playerbase where people would show up with their own Codex teams already in binders, then setup time would be acceptable -- discounting the need to deshuffle and sort everything after each game inherent to the deckbuilding genre. But as it stands one player is going to show up to game night lugging their Deluxe Set and then players are each going to pick teams of heroes to play, and then you are both going to sort multiple cards in and out of multiple binders before you even get to play.

This would be exactly like having to re-edit your Trade Binder at the start of any game of MtG -- while your opponent is at the table with you --a completely unacceptable waste of time.

*****

But I don't think I really covered Codex's true failure.

It was conceived as an alternative to MtG; But it's incubation period was so long that two far more popular and accessible alternatives got to market first.

If you are looking to play not-MtG today, people will tell you to play Hearthstone or Epic or maybe an FFG LCG like Android Netrunner. In the Category of second-place to Magic, Codex doesn't even register and instead shows up as also also ran competing against niche products like Blue Moon Legends and Ordus Reigni.



Codex Development Cycle as it would appear at a hypothetical shareholder's meeting presentation

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