Author Topic: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?  (Read 1042 times)

Offline Reth

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Hi everybody,

tried to squeeze my request fully into the headline but maybe that did not work out quite well. First of all I need to say that the input and basic consideration/concern has been originally brought up by another player I had quite some conversation with about that topic, as well as the proposals for possible changes. But for me those thoughts, insights and ideas have been very convincing and are coinciding with my own perceptions - I am very thankful for that conversation since it somehow started some "thinking process" on my side during past months - from which I got more and more the impression that I need to bring up this topic here. Hence I would like to open a discussion about it and also would like to know your thoughts, ideas, proposales, etc.

My (really big) concern/observation/fear is the following one:

While playing Redemption and watching its development for some years know for me it feels that speed is a must have to play successfully resp. competitive (I am speaking for T1 here but I assume this is also true for T2 and maybe several other formats too). This can be also verified by the winner/placed decks of the past years of Nats and other tournaments or themes being played (Throne, Flood Survivors, Koney, ... PoC Prophets, Musicians, ...). There might be exceptions (like the Mill deck from recent years or the ABom deck quite some years ago) - but those are rare and also not be able to be successful without a decent amount of speed. This is one aspect of convergence I recognised.

Next to it cards became more and more powerful (at least in my perception): A character today need to do a lot of things or at least contribute to some speed in order to see some play. So even really strong characters like Persian Conquerors does not seem to see much play (if any) in successful tournament decks - and there are lots of other really powerful cards which suffer from the same fate (I played a nearly complete Persian defense during the online tournament season this spring with quite some success and really enjoyed it, but I doubt that I would have been successful in higher level tournaments too - ok, for defenses another aspect comes into the picture which often prevents from diversity and somehow contributes to convergence too: Chump- and Stall-blocks).
But if a character does not contribute to speed or provides some CBx-Battle winning effects and/or protection (with or without support of cards like throne or similar) ot

So all in all for me it feels the competitive part of the game convergences to similar deck builds where there is no real difference between concepts or themes: Regardless whether Throne, Flood Survivors, Koney etc.: If you are not fast and being able to win a battle in one move you are not very competitive these days in my opinion.

The drawback is that lots of themes and great resp. strong cards are not played at all or at least not very much and on the other hand all successful decks work similar, regardless of theme, concept etc.: Characters or cards that draw and win battles in one move (by either CBx or protection or a combination etc.). So flood survivors feels and play similar to Purple Throne Kings with Red Wariors, and Persians, Egyptians, other nationalities have characters who draw/search/take and enhancements which interrupts + draw + play next.

What could be done? (will be continued within next post ...)

Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2020, 12:01:00 PM »
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What could be done?

One possibility to change/fix this would be a fundamental change to the latest development our Redemption cards have received - but maybe there are more! This change would need to first define what is "red", "green", "brown", etc. in terms of a brigade resp. what is "evil Egyptian" "Musician", "Animals", "Persian" etc. in terms of themes: What makes each brigade/theme special (could be one thing or maybe more).
So make brigades resp. themes more unique - above all in their possibilities to acquire resources! E.g. (the following examples are taken unchanged from my conversation with that other player mentioned in the beginning, but as said the entire topic arose out of that player's thoughts, insights, ideas etc. but which I fully second!):
Quote
Red could get an ability like "Once per turn, if your Red warrior is banded into battle, you may draw 2".  Gray could get an ability like "Whenever you discard a card from an opponent's hand, draw 1."  Green could get an ability like "Whenever a Green ability shuffles 1 or more evil cards, you may draw 1".
For themes this could mean: "Whenever your Egyptian DCs a card from opponent's deck you may draw a card", "Whenever you ressurect a Ruth hero you may xyz ..." - And so on and so forth.
One could even be more divers in rewarding brigades/themes with resource aquisition in order to not "limit" them to one unique activity (like shuffling a card, banding, DC from hand etc. - those are just examples to get the idea.)
Today abilities that provide access are printed on all themes in more or less the same/similar manner, like The Dreaming Pharaoh provides more or less the same as Queen Vashti (in terms of access) - so there is no unique "brown" or "evil gold" part in either one. Same goes for all the "Horses" cards or Faith of Samuel/Words of Ecouragement/Reach of Desperation etc.

To summarise: Making each brigade/theme acquire resources (cards) in a unique way would be one possibility to start to "define" what it is to be Red or Gray or Green /Egyptians or Persians or Musicians etc. For me it feels there should be more possibilities which make brigades or themes more unique.

So I would like to know your feelings, thoughts etc. about it but also would like to read about your ideas, opinions and so on.

Hopefully I did not repeat myself too much in this post!  ;D

Bye

Offline Sean

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2020, 01:35:48 PM »
+3
The issue you bring up is, I think, why set rotation is normal among most other card games. 

I don't know if you idea is playable as you described it or not but I like it.  Fresh new abilities are always fun to think tank.  I would think that we would have to go by brigade for the most part but its possible there could be other parameters set to allow for the trigger of the special ability for each theme.
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Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2020, 01:58:33 PM »
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@Sean: Thank you. But as said: It is not my idea. I got this input and the thinking behind from another player during a conversation - but during past months and weeks I was getting a stronger and stronger feeling to make this idea/thinking more public and subject of discussion!

Online Mr.Hiatus

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2020, 02:45:11 PM »
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I am fine with power creep and speed. I am not fine with power creep and speed all in the same brigade, i.e. Throne. If more themes, like you mentioned, got more speed/power, there will naturally be more versatility in decks. I also would love to see certain defenses be able to beat certain offenses. This is a common theme in card games that colors/strategies are susceptible to others, but more dominant against others. I would love specific defenses to hinder speed, play first, protection, but be susceptible to low numbers, lone heroes, etc.

Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2020, 03:00:56 PM »
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I am fine with power creep and speed. I am not fine with power creep and speed all in the same brigade, i.e. Throne. If more themes, like you mentioned, got more speed/power, there will naturally be more versatility in decks.
Hm, but this is what happened so far to several brigades/themes - providing them similar kind of access and hence making them more and more convergent (they do not distinguish from each other as I tried to point out in the opening posts). Making themes and brigades more unique again IMO would result in much more versatile decks and concepts besides "setting up AFAP and rush each battle with one winning move (while possibly stalling/chumping during defense)".

I also would love to see certain defenses be able to beat certain offenses. This is a common theme in card games that colors/strategies are susceptible to others, but more dominant against others. I would love specific defenses to hinder speed, play first, protection, but be susceptible to low numbers, lone heroes, etc.
Nice idea!

Offline Sean

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2020, 03:26:25 PM »
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I am fine with power creep and speed. I am not fine with power creep and speed all in the same brigade, i.e. Throne.
How is Throne 1 brigade?  I'm confused.
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Offline TheIrishman

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2020, 04:18:02 PM »
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I definitely agree that there are very few deck themes that do speed well and since higher level tournaments are won with speed decks, the diversity of deck styles among the top finishers at these tournaments is virtually nonexistent.  Sadly, the key to winning a higher level tournament 9/10 times involves vomiting your deck onto the table and shoving a bunch of heroes into battle with special abilities that make your opponent defenseless.

With all of that said, it is very important to establish the fact that there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with speed and decks that use a ton of heroes in battle that would make them a threat to the game.  As has already been stated, the problem is that there are only a couple of deck themes that do speed very well and at a level that is magnitudes better than all other deck themes thus making those other deck themes essentially obsolete for players who actually want to place in the higher level tournaments.

While I definitely agree that all deck themes are being pushed towards speed more, I do not believe that such a push is a bad thing.  In fact, I would say it is necessary.  In any card game such as Redemption the key to victory is making a deck with good resources and consistent and effective ways of accessing those resources.  Get your resources out before your opponent and make sure those resources can actually pack a punch.  The key then to deck diversity is not to be afraid of speed and attempt to outlaw it.  Instead, "speed" needs to be obtained via different methods and with different end objectives.

Broadly speaking, you can achieve victory by either storming the gates with a bunch of heroes that are only strong together but benefit from large numbers or by using a lone ranger that is strong on its own by suffers from the inherent weakness of being alone.  It may be hard to stop an army, but is also hard to assemble one and resurrect it if it falls.  A lone ranger may be easy to "assemble" and then resurrect if it falls, but it may fall once or twice before it meets with success.

With the strategies above in mind, the way to move forward then is to provide "speed" options that can benefit each of these strategies.  "Speed" that enables a player to consistently get a couple of search abilities off early in the game will greatly benefit "lone ranger" decks that only need to setup a couple specific cards but not prove very useful to decks that need to assemble an army.  On the other hand, "speed" that helps a player start a drawing engine will greatly benefit decks that need to assemble an army but not prove very useful to decks that are trying to fish out 2 or 3 specific cards.

Throne decks mostly draw and Musician decks mostly search and recycle, so there is honestly already some level of diversity.  My hope and prayer for Redemption is that each offensive and defensive brigade will soon have a theme that can actually be competitive at Nationals.

Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2020, 05:03:00 PM »
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@TheIrishman:
Thank you for your response and considerations!

I am definitely not against speed, but ATM the kind of how speed is provided seems to contribute to convergence of decks (amongst others). Even Musicians are not fast enough any more (nor seem to be Ruth heroes). Also assembling a huge army AFAP and winning with it seems to be the "way to go" today. My biggest wish is that the potential of Redemption in terms of brigades and teams can be leveraged more providing much more diversity of decks and themes that would be able to compete providing uniqueness in different manners to those brigades resp. themes. This does not exclude speed at all! One idea of getting to such uniqueness would be e.g. "donate" unique activities of a brigade/theme by granting access to more/other cards. (I admit: I really like this idea!) By utilising these kinds of speed/access you can be competitive by using many different concepts besides using all the same kind of speed/access amongst all brigades and themes (like the Horses cards, the interrupt + draw + play next, the similar abilities on different cards [e.g. Queen Vashti and The Dreaming Pharaoh]) - all these kinds of access are similar throughout brigades and themes hence making all of them more convergent than unique/divers.

Bringing in uniqueness and diversity in the possibilities to gain speed/access would allow for lots of more completeley different concepts that would have to compete against each other (e.g. a concept that would need to DC cards from opponents hand in order to gain speed/access vs. a concept that would need to band in a dedicated kind of Heroes [like red warriors] to gain speed/access and so on and so forth)! For me this seems to be a really great and tempting idea (I am kinda fascinated by it ;D).

Offline dengar

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2020, 05:32:07 PM »
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I'm no expert but my 2 cents is the speed is a necessity to combat the power creep in the game because if your opponent can draw a card, then that card can do everything and cant be stopped.

It pains me to say this...but i feel a properly planned and implemented set rotation to scale back the game would help with this a lot.

(warning: ranting) and asfor the brigade colors being unique, my biggest gripe are the many characters that are multi brigade. like the heros that have 3 or even 4 brigade colors.
but getting back to powercreep, a reset like set rotation and scaling back the game to what it once was would invite a lot more creativity, for instance if you have a character that is multi brigade then sites loose there power because that same character who uses overpowered blue enhancements(random example) and game breaking white enhancements(random example) can acces that red site and the blue site and the white site and not have a site access ability because his own ability is overpowered and game breaking.

(gonna rant some more) and speaking of multi cards that do everything, I think that's something that seriously needs to be scaled back. cards that are both a good dom and evil dom, cards that are an artifact and enhancement, a site that's a character. basically it creates a situation of whatever you need you have. I feel the game would be a lot more fun if you didn't have the card you needed. I kno that may sound crazy but currently theres something like 4,000 cards in the game and atleast a 1/4 of them are multiple things. it realy kills a game knowing that your apponent may only have 5(random number) cards in there hand but that's 5 evil characters, 5 heros, 5 enhancements, 5 sites, 5 everything else in the game, and all of them cant be negated.

and speaking of cbn cards, the prevalence of cards that cant be stopped needs to be corrected. I played a game on lackey a few weeks back and by my second turn it was clear that every card in my deck was completely useless and it didn't matter what I played or even what I had in my deck, the game was over so I spent the rest of the game politely playing cards and pretending to still play the game knowing it didn't matter and id lost. and please do not suggest we need to implement cards that say "this card can negate a cbn card." id pull my hair out because the obvious solution to that is a card that says "this card cannot be negated, even by a card that negates cbn cards." (rant over, sorry)

I often play oldschool yugioh with a buddy of mine where mystical space typhoon can negate other magic cards when it destroys them and we run 3 per deck. and its a lot of fun because you kno at any given point your magic card can be completely shut down and the only way to stop it is by using your own mystical space typhoon to destroy his.
In redemption this would be using your destroy cards to destroy theres. but you have to make that choice to either stop them from destroying your card or to save it and destroy something else of theres that may actualy mess up there plan. but all the cbn cards throw this out the window and force you to strike first because if you don't then you loose and theres nothing you can do about it, even if you have a handful of cards that say "negate and kill everything."

strategy is involved when you have to carefully plan when and what cards you destroy and if your opponent is going to stop you, and what do you do if your opponent stops you from stopping them. but if your opponents cards cant be destroyed then is it still even a game? at that point u could just limit the deck to 10 cards and simplify the rules to "first player to draw a cbn card wins" cause that's about what u have. (sry last rant I promise)

however scaling back the game is going to anger many ppl that thrive on the current power of the game.
and set rotation is going to anger a lot of people also because everyone fears itll make there expensive cards worthless.

but I'm oldschool and only collects cards before the priests set so take my post with a bit of salt, there may be alot of the newer meta that I don't understand and I apologize if my ranting is way off topic.
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Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2020, 06:38:02 PM »
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@dengar:

Thanks for your thoghts! Don't know whether your "ranting" might be OT or not. IMO if you go for sets after priests above all also the latest sets (maybe even beginning from CoW or earlier) you might find out that you might still have lots of possibilities to deal with all that CBN/CBx stuff - there are several possibilities (like tossing with Colliseum, using your own CBx stuff, being the one playing the first enhancement in battle, choose the blocker/attacker, side battles, etc. - while it might not be easy all the time I must admit).

Also the part with multi brigade cards being able to "break" the uniqueness of brigades is a reasonable and good point that would have to be taken into account if this direction would be chosen (at least DA-cards could be "avoided" to break the concept if themes would be the ones to make more unique and diverse).

But apart from that I like the ideas you mentioned from your YuGiOh experience - maybe sth. like these could also be adopted/incorporated to provice more uniqueness to different concepts/themes/brigades making them competitive in their own manner (I know: Trying this is a really hard and tough to achieve goal - regardless from where you start).

I remember that some years ago the declared goal was to strengthen the battle phase. IMO this had been achieved really well and great! And I remember lots of games with epic battles going back and forth! What a fun of playing!  :D
But also IMO the convergence to similar speed decks (like Throne, Flood Survivors, Koney even Musicians ...) compromises all these efforts since a lot of time is spent now to doing all that access stuff on your own (accessing cards by drawing, searching, revealing, looking, ...) and limiting the battle phase to one move + block and maybe playing one or two enhancements - if at all.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2020, 06:43:35 PM by Reth »

Offline Red

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2020, 10:10:28 PM »
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I intend on replying to this tomorrow when I can read it on a computer. I do not agree with the bulk of your thesis, although I do think consistency is out of hand, but it is not a problem to let all themes search and draw. I will further expound tomorrow.
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Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2020, 03:56:24 AM »
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@Red:
Looking forward to your thoughts!  :D :thumbup:

... but it is not a problem to let all themes search and draw.
Absolutely agree and that's not what I wanted to emphasize. Just the kind of how they search and draw seems to be too similar to me hence equalising them and make a Persian defense looking/doing the same as a Greek defense, a Throne offense looking quite equal to a Flood Survivor offense etc.

@all: Please don't get me wrong! I am not against speed or access (I really like using it myself) but I am strongly in favour of bringing in more uniqueness to themes and/or brigades - so giving more concepts and cards the chance for (competitive) play (like mentioned e.g. by granting access due to unique activities hopefully creating matches where a variety of completely different concepts compete against each other [not "just" Throne against Flood Survivors etc.]).

Offline Red

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2020, 10:42:00 AM »
+1

So all in all for me it feels the competitive part of the game convergences to similar deck builds where there is no real difference between concepts or themes: Regardless whether Throne, Flood Survivors, Koney etc.: If you are not fast and being able to win a battle in one move you are not very competitive these days in my opinion.

The drawback is that lots of themes and great resp. strong cards are not played at all or at least not very much and on the other hand all successful decks work similar, regardless of theme, concept etc.: Characters or cards that draw and win battles in one move (by either CBx or protection or a combination etc.). So flood survivors feels and play similar to Purple Throne Kings with Red Wariors, and Persians, Egyptians, other nationalities have characters who draw/search/take and enhancements which interrupts + draw + play next.


Throne, Flood Survivors, and Koney have absolutely nothing in common other than set up speed. I disagree with the general thesis that convergence is taking place at the top level.

Throne is a deck that wins by drawing a ton of cards, playing first, and having all of that attached to a band. Typically, Throne does not play a ton of enhancements and what it is plays are not CBN. Throne's selling point is that it is fast, not objectively more powerful than everything else.

Flood Survivors do not draw. The offense has 0 draw abilities and generates a card quality advantage by choosing what cards you need for that respective attack. Furthermore, the offense doesn't do broken things. The closest thing to broken is a single CBN battlewinner in Rainbow, that has condition that must be met to be CBN.

Kony was nothing like the above two decks. It could consistently deck out on Turn 2, as well as win two souls in a single turn through a busted Christ's Triumph interaction that should have NEVER worked. The other two decks are somewhat balanced and have weaknesses, Kony was a broken combo deck that shouldn't have existed.

When you consider other decks like Prophets and Musicians, I don't see how you can argue convergence because decks play battlewinners, draw, and search. I mean, given the constraints of the Redemption game engine, I do not see a way in which you can generate resources outside of those basic mechanics. Furthermore, each of the top decks has a significantly different win condition that makes it not work the same way as the others, which I see as a good thing. Throne wins by overwhelming its opponents, flood wins from behind, and prophets win by taking control of the game through different anti-meta techs such as Jonah or CWD. I see these as fundamentally different, even if some of the behind the scenes engine is the same.
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Offline Reth

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2020, 11:13:05 AM »
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@Red:
Thanks for your response.

... even if some of the behind the scenes engine is the same.
Depending on what you mean by this that might be my point about convergence. For me Throne and Flood Survivors do not differ that much - at least not in terms of speed. Even if one deck generates speed by drawing and one is getting it by searching out does not differ too much in my eyes (see my examples with the Horses cards, Queen Vashti and TDP, etc.).

Also what I wanted to point out with the convergence is the necessity for aligning all other themes/brigades to these methods in order to make them playable (at least competitivly). Hence here I see a big convergence if brigades/themes if it would be tried to make them equally competitive. The same goes for battle winning (see also my note regarding the "strengthening of the battle phase" which was IIRC a decleared goal a few sets ago and which worked out quite well in my opinion - at least when I played / watched games without Throne/Flood Survivors. For the latter 2 decks for me it seems battle phases are quite short (on average). This will leave out any other concepts (like the ABom deck, Hand Control, Mill, or others) more and more so that such concepts will never see any play besides in casual or fun games (which is also a really great thing - don't get me wrong).

I mean, given the constraints of the Redemption game engine, I do not see a way in which you can generate resources outside of those basic mechanics.
This is what I tried to bring in as a suggestion (not originally generated by me) to grant access/speed (search, draw, reveal+take, look+take, etc.) by rewarding unique things a brigade or theme can do. So not stopping speed/access at all but generating a hopefully more broader basis for different concepts being able to compete with each other hence getting more diversity and uniqueness. And maybe there are other possibilities to turn the tide too into such a direction (broader basis for variety of unique concepts) - I think the community can generate some good ideas and proposals here. I am absolutely clear about that this is not an easy way to go nor do I have much clue how such a general change of direction could be achieved not loosing what's already available in terms of cards, themes, concepts etc. (with loosing them would be a really hard cut I would imagine).

Offline The Schaefer

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2020, 12:47:02 PM »
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So while I can understand that there seems to be some similarities in that top decks have card advantage engines. I think I overall disagree with that "deck themes" themselves are too convergent. Redemption being resourceless basically ensures that card advantage and set up speed will be the best strategy competitively. I dont think there is any way around that fact outside of set rotation which could control card pools to limit how abusive those strategies can be.

I feel like the core strategy of competitive deck themes (provided there is no tier 0 deck like I believe there currently is) is diverse enough that what they do is different and diverse. Whether that be how they approach card advantage, or how they aim to win.

I do think convergence occurs when you look at staple cards. I do think there is a heavy arguement for staple souls/doms or cards like Book of the Cov. contributing to convergence of ideas but that not a deck theme problem.

This isn't a problem exclusive to Redemption either. Mtg while it is a resource based game uses a ban list and has multiple formats to promote diversity of play. YugiOh has more similarities with Redemption and the competitive scene there mostly consists of either setting up an "unbreakable" board or breaking boards and winning shortly thereafter. Yugioh deals with this by utilizing its ban list to control what the top decks are and to make sure that no one deck spends too much time in the sun for the competitive scene. It also unbans things (there is also a limited and semi limited list but that doesn't really equate much to Redemption outside of maybe T2) to give new life to older decks.

All that said I think it takes a careful approach on how to address it and set rotation (introduction of a new format basically) address this the cleanest but other measures like ban lists should be implemented as necessary for the existing formats for the heath of the game while still trying to create new and exciting deck themes. And that is way easier said than done. Not impossible just difficult and takes a lot of careful planning and time.


Online Mr.Hiatus

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Re: Speed + Power Creep => convergence, loss of diversity + loss of potential?
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2020, 10:09:27 AM »
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Quote
How is Throne 1 brigade?  I'm confused.
Not that it is necessarily one brigade, but the heroes that you use that are different colors rarely have colors to play on them, everything else has some sort of purple in it. That, or Counsel of Abigail can be played on your red guys, your purple guys band, and your Captain/Isaiah/Elijah are not meant to play anything off of, or you just do what I did and recur/draw/play Root of Jesse in T2. That's what I meant by saying Throne got everything this year and the primary color is purple.