Balance Update – May 12

Some cards are set in stone, others move with the tide. Balancing aims to keep the game fair, with seasonal sets enduring a balance phase before stats lock.

Updated 19 May 2021: The following cards have been re-balanced with new card text since the update went live:

  • Call to Arms
  • The Hunt
  • Assassin’s Aim

See the below article for more details!


In the last few months, we’ve reexamined all aspects of the gameplay of Gods Unchained. Card balance, domain gameplay diversity, the role of the Sanctum and favor, god powers, and more. In an effort led by VideoJames, lead designer of an upcoming expansion set, and supported by the whole game design team, we are taking the lessons learned from the prior 18 months and applying them to a new philosophy going forward.

Today’s balance patch focuses on the Core and Welcome sets, and is the first of many steps towards realigning all six domains in a way that ensures that everyone has several fun and powerful options, and no one domain has too many.

Over the last three months, we’ve seen a pattern of Nature being played far more than any other domain. It has rarely been the most-successful domain among our top players, but in all ranks of play it is being played roughly one-third of the time. We’d like our domains to be between 11% and 22%, an amount that lets all six domains see meaningful play. That has been happening less and less as of late.

In addition, Magic is consistently winning the most among our elite players. While Magic isn’t out of balance overall (winning between 52% and 54% of their games for quite some time), there are some particular decks that are doing very well. In response to Nature’s prevalence, “ramp magic” control decks have been getting out of hand. This has the side effect of crowding other decks out of the metagame.

Those two issues, combined with a desire to address Light’s and Deception’s shortcoming in the meta brings us to this list of gameplay changes.


BUFFS

  • Bright Mage Increased Strength by 1, reduced Health by 1, gained Ward.
    Changed from 2/4 to 3/3, and gained new keyword: Ward. 

These two changes are designed to increase the resilience of Light’s creatures, and to position early Light creatures as a counter to Magic’s sweepers. Changing Bright Mage from 2/4 to 3/3 also gives early game Light more of a punch, and lets it trade with bigger creatures when it needs to.

  • Raid Reveller  Increased Strength by 1, changed card text.
    Changed from 2/2 to 3/2, and changed its text from “Roar: Each creature in your hand gets +1 strength” to “Protected.”
  • Call to Arms Changed card text.
    Changed card text from “Draw a card. Give each creature in your deck +1 strength” to “Draw a card. Give +2 health to each War creature in your deck.”

War has the worst card performance out of all domains in Welcome Set. One domain has to finish last, but these two cards were well below the curve. As part of our overall changes to domain identity, we wanted to give War another option against Magic’s sweepers.

A previous change had this giving Protected to all of the cards in your deck. While it did well to solve the problem, and was winning about 55% of the time, the negative play pattern was extremely frustrating to some users and we’ve adjusted the change.

NERFS

  • Mana Toad Decreased Strength by 1.
    Changed from 3/1 to 2/1.

This change is intended to reduce the number of creatures it destroys, and to allow it to be targeted by things like Umbra Arrow and Light’s Levy. While ramp is fine to exist, this form of ramp usually also served as a removal spell as opponent’s didn’t want to destroy it on their own turn. 

  • The Hunt Increased Mana cost by 1 and changed card text.
    Changed from 5 mana to 6 mana. Changed card text from “Deal 6 damage randomly split among all enemy creatures.” to “Deal 8 damage randomly split among all enemy creatures.”’

We feel that while Nature isn’t overpowered, it does many things at a good level. Many things more than other domains get to do, it appears. Nature shouldn’t have a sweeper at 5 mana, or at least not one as good as this. We feel this change will make it less of an auto-include and more tailored to controlling Nature decks.

Our initial change of just increasing the mana cost served to be more of a nerf than intended, and initial results are showing that 8 damage is the right number for this card… but we’ll make changes as necessary.

CHANGES

  • Assassin’s Aim Increased Mana cost by 1, changed card text.
    Changed from 1 mana to 2 mana, and changed card text from “Target friendly creature becomes hidden for 1 turn. Draw a card.” to “Give +3/-1 to one of your creatures. At the end of the turn, give it hidden.”

This is the largest change in this patch. We want to give more aggro options to Deception, especially those that let you convert cards in your hand into effects on the board. The old version of the card wasn’t working for its original intent. While it was winning approximately 50% of the time, it wasn’t helping aggressive decks who would rather deal more damage now instead of drawing a card they can possibly win with later.

The initial change to this card did not give -1 to the target, which led to extremely punishing starts when combined with some other turn-one creatures. 

We’ll continue to keep a close eye on this one.

FIXES

We’ve also worked in some fixes to a few Core/Welcome/Trial of the Gods cards.

  • Pallas’ Incantation fixed an issue that occasionally caused a match to lock up. Card relived.
  • Rod of Rodents fixed an issue where a Rat would occasionally not be summoned after ‘Pick One’ spell was played.
  • Jump On! now works as intended. 
  • Living Container fixed an issue where Living Container was summoning and destroying an extra creature unnecessarily.
  • Divine Messenger fixed an issue that would occasionally lead to a match to soft-lock.

These are the first of many balance changes we intend to make across the game. Let us know what you think of these Core/Welcome card changes in our #balance discord channel. We’ll be reading.

~Thandrie “Seeker” Davis, Lead Game Designer


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