Upcoming Balance and Sanctum Changes

Some cards are set in stone, others move with the tide. Balancing aims to keep the game fair, with the Core set playing host to our most malleable cards.

July 15, 2021

Hey all, VideoJames here, Gameplay Lead for Gods Unchained.

The team’s been working on some balance changes that we’re looking to implement in the coming weeks but, before we get ahead of ourselves, we thought we’d run them by our community brains-trust to get your thoughts.

In a Gods Unchained match, the 6 mana turn is intended to be a turning point. It’s where the game transitions from aggressive decks holding all the power to more controlling decks being at an advantage. The general idea with this patch is to clean up a few loose ends that work against this, as well as shifting a few cards that feel like they have to be in every deck.

Have a look through the below, and leave your feedback in the Reddit thread so we can get your take on the changes.


Nerfs

Sip of Elixir – Text change.
Old text:
“Give a friendly creature ‘Afterlife: Unlock a mana lock and draw a card.’”
New text:
Unlock a mana lock”

The old version of Sip was about a mana cheaper than it should have been. The simple change here would be to up it by 1 mana, but we felt that the effects of Sip and Mana Toad were too similar. On top of that, the card’s effect was more complicated and less thematic than we wanted it to be.

Astric Implosion – Text change.
Old text:
“Deal 5 damage to a creature and 3 damage to all other creatures.”
New text:
“Deal 6 damage to a character and 1 damage to each other creature.”

This is a bit of an experiment, we’re shifting the role of the card to be less about getting value and more about flexible late game choices. This card being on 6 mana in a ramp god turned out to be a bit much, so hopefully this new version feels less oppressive while still being useful.

Vanguard Axewoman – Health and mana both reduced by 1.
Change from 2/3 to 2/2.
Change from 2 mana to 1 mana.

We like this card. We like its art. We like how it’s a powerful reactive tool. We like how it’s a Welcome Set card. We don’t, however, like how it’s in most decks and we don’t like how it’s a neutral card. Our expectation with this change is that the card will show up in creature control decks like Zoo, but less so in hard control decks.

Marsh Walker – Text change.
Old text:
“Regen 1”
New text:
Confused”.

4 health is a lot for a 1 mana creature. The simple nerf here would be to change it to 3 health, but that would remove the soul of the card. This change is simple and maintains what draws people to the card. Hopefully the change removes about half a stat point of value from the card, bringing it down to where we want to see it.

Blind Martyr – Strength reduced by 1.
Change from 1 to 0 strength.

This is a light touch for this card (PUN!), but we want to be delicate with Light. Light is at a good power level, it’s the other domains we want to push up. ‘+2 health to two other creatures’ is pretty easy to do with this card, so removing the chance for this to also kill something makes sense to me. Also, this option is now available because 0 strength creatures are now able to attack!

Canopy Barrage – Text change.
Old text:
“Pick one: • Deal 4 damage to a random enemy creature, or • Deal 2 damage to a random enemy creature and heal your god for 2.”
New text:
“Deal 3 damage to a random enemy creature and heal your god for 1.”

The theory-minded among you might have noticed that we have been strategically reducing the amount of reactive cards in Nature. This is because we feel like Nature is a little too good at doing everything. We think it should have the best creatures in the game, by way of confused, and we don’t mind them having ways to generate lots of low-ish quality random cards to go late. We don’t love how nothing really phases Nature. Nature should be big and powerful, but also somewhat fragile. Reactive tools were allowing Nature to get blown up, but then blow you back up and jump back into play on even footing.

Fleshbind – Text change.
Old text:
“Destroy target friendly creature. Heal your god for its strength plus health. Draw a card.”
New text:
“Destroy one of your creatures. Heal your god for its strength. Draw a card.”

We’re concerned about the amount and power of healing in Death. There are a lot of ways to generate a lot of health for very little mana. God health is very deceptive in games like GU. Players often overvalue health and undervalue tempo, which Death trades in a lot of tempo for healing, but being able to go from 10 health to 20 in a turn while also playing a creature is worrying to me.


Buffs

Tavern Brawler – Health and mana both increased by 1.
Change from 2/2 to 2/3.
Change from 1 mana to 2 mana.

We said we liked the old Vanguard Axewoman! It’s a powerful tool that War needs right now to get a more aggressive playstyle off the ground.

Vicious Rend – Text change.
Old text:
“Deal 3 damage to a damaged creature.”
New text:
“Deal 3 damage to a damaged character.”

Another experiment; We want to see if this will push players towards a more aggressive playstyle. Hopefully players won’t feel so bullied by 7 mana cards because their opponent won’t get a chance to play them!

Over-proof Brew – Text change.
Old text:
“Pick One: • Your creatures get +2 strength and take 2 damage, or • Enemy creatures get +2 strength and take 2 damage.”
New text:
“Deal 1 damage to each of your creatures. Give +2 strength and protected to each of your creatures.”

We are slightly concerned with the amount of protected we’re dishing out this patch, but we also want War to have some 5 mana finishers and this seems like a good thematic choice.

Blood-boil Outlaw – Text change.
Old text
“This creature gets +1 strength after it attacks a creature.”
New text
“This creature gets +2 strength after it attacks a character.”

Laser focused on this card. It’s only 2 health, so very easy to remove, and it’s intended that this card feels like a threat so we’re okay with people feeling pressured by this card. That being said, 2 strength a turn is quite a bit! We don’t want players feeling like they are totally on the back foot on turn 1, but we do want them to pay attention!

Vampiric Skull – Text change.
Old text
“Burn 1. Roar: Summon a random creature that costs 3 mana or less from your void.”
New text
“Roar: Summon a creature that costs 3 mana or less from your void, give it soulless.”

This card just needed some love. Initially we overvalued what a random 1 to 3 mana creature would look like, as well as what the stat line of a 6 mana creature should be.The addition of soulless will keep this card from being a combo piece in some already popular decks, but it should be a powerful card for newer players to drop down on 6 mana.

Green Giant – Strength increased by 1.
Change stats from 6/8 to 7/8.

With all the nerfs to Nature over the last few patches, we do think a few buffs are in order. This one is minor, but +1 strength also has a multiplicative effect with overkill.

Epiphany – Mana reduced by 1.
Change from 7 mana to 6 mana.

This card was just very expensive for what it does. It might be good in a future draft format, but for now, 6 mana is a much better place for it. With Astric Implosion losing the bulk of its card advantage value, Epiphany can now be a greedier option.


Changes

Enduring Shield – Stat and text change.
Stat-change from 1/4 to 2/2.
Old text:
“Blitz. After your god is attacked, it gains protected and this relic loses 1 durability.”
New text:
“Blitz. When you attack with this relic, randomly give protected to one of your creatures without protected.”

Protected is a very strong mechanic. It can negate a huge amount of damage and completely delete some playstyles from a meta. Some people said that this card was op because of the change to favor generation, we say this card has been problematic for longer than that. With this change, it goes from being a late game survivability option to a fast evasion tool, which fits in great with the vision for War.

Antimagic Wards – Text change.
Old text:
“Add a mana lock to your opponent’s mana gems. Draw a card.”
New text:
Give ward to a creature in your hand. Add a mana lock to your opponent’s mana gems.”

This is an interesting change. Technically, this is a nerf. Drawing a card is of higher value than giving a creature ward. That being said, drawing a card isn’t what you want to do when you are trying to rush down your opponent before they get to higher mana. So while the value of this card is going down, the impact on your game plan should actually go up!

Auric Mage – Stat and text change.
Change stats from 3/4 to 4/5.
Old text:
“Backline. Leech. Roar & ability: Deal 1 damage to each creature.”
New text:
“Leech. Roar: Deal 1 damage to each creature.”

This card was so weird for a War card. We don’t think we’re done with this card, but this is a good first step to hopefully make it a little more on War-ish and a little more playable.

Annoying Bureaucrat – Stat and text change.
Change stats from 3/4 to 5/4.
Old text:
“Hidden for 1 turn. At the start of each player’s turn, that player selects a card in their hand and obliterates it.”
New text:
“Hidden for 1 turn. Roar: Pull a random card from your opponent’s hand to their void.”

While we are sad to see the innovative lockout deck go, nobody liked the lockout deck, so it can go. (Sorry if you liked the lockout deck, but is there such a thing as being too thematic?) This card is also a lot simpler and consistent now. Like Auric Mage, this one will need some more work, but hopefully it sees a little more play and is a little less…annoying.

Purification Filter – Text change.
Old text:
“Destroy all creatures with strength 3 or more.”
New text:
“Destroy an enemy creature with 3 or more strength. Give +2/+2 to a random friendly creature with the lowest strength.

We like this rework, but we really don’t want to give Zoo Light more tools. This might be one to hold off on until we see how the new meta shakes out.
Other than that though, the thinking with Light is to reduce closed card advantage tools. If Light gets ahead in cards, we want it to be because they fought in open combat and won.

Wildfire – Text change.
Old text:
“Deal 2 damage to each creature. Each creature that survives gains burn +1 or confused, chosen randomly.”
New text:
“Deal 1 damage to each creature. Your wild creatures gain regen +1 and +1 strength.”

One of the best board clear options should probably not be available in the best board presence deck. We wanted to look for a thematic change here, and since the game is from bushfire island (Australia), we thought we’d bring in the regenerative effects of bushfires! Also, to go with this change…

Add the wild faction tag to the following cards.

Faction tags are something we’re going to be looking at soon, so get ready for that. In the meantime, here are some wild animals!


Shifting up the Sanctum

Something we’ve been thinking about for a while is making the Sanctum a smaller part of the game. We love that it exists, we like the costs of things and we are okay with how favor is generated. We want the Sanctum to be important, without fully deciding games. We want Sanctum management to be a skill, without being a requirement to play and we want good Sanctum control to give an advantage, but maybe only a five to ten percent advantage.

This is the first step towards getting all the parts of the Sanctum to feel really interesting, so expect more in the future, but it will all depend on how this iteration feels.

Answers

Defenders

Removal

Threats

Value

Before we go ahead, we’re keen to get your thoughts on the above. Sound off in the post’s Reddit thread or in Discord’s #balance channel to let us know what you think!

~VideoJames, Gods Unchained Gameplay Lead

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