file Balancing Ashur Tablets

30 Jul 2014 09:00 - 30 Jul 2014 09:34 #64428 by Pascal Bertrand

I think it´s a good solution.But then again I ask you Pascal: wich problem exactly we're trying to fix? what's wrong, especifically, with AT?

My issue with AT: It takes forever(*) to resolve 3.
And some tables resolve 9.



(*) forever = more than 10 seconds. From what I've seen, between 1 and 2 minutes.


Well in that case we should ban:

-all swarm decks because turns take ages
-all vote decks because voting takes ages
-all combat decks because combats take ages
-and so on...

We would remain with bleed decks and tables would last 1h.

1-2 minutes seems pretty fair to me, since MMPA decks (what we're talking about) usually play mid/high-cap vamps.

I can't think of any one-card non-interactive effect that takes as long as the third Ashur Tablets.

Swarm decks' turns take long, but each action doesn't. ("Embrace bleeds for 2. Embrace bleeds for 2. Tumnimos bleeds for 2.")
Vote decks do take a long time - well, some referendums take long. But that's because several people have their opinion to express.
Combat can take a long time, but I have never seen 10 seconds of combat without a card being player.

Ashur Tablets is *really* "I could have made my choices earlier, but thanks for waiting till my master phase. Now, I wonder what's in my ash heap."

The only other card that does that (often) is the Heart of Nizchetus. And the end of turn Dreams.

Basically, some players take too long to make choices. And since choices is the basis of this game (should I hunt? should I attempt to block? should I fool him and bleed for 1 to get blocked so that the next bleed can be a GTU bleed? ...), I like the idea of shortening non-interactive choices.


For instance, suppose Dreams of the Sphinx read "During your discard phase, discard down at random." I'm quite sure this would definitely save some time. It would also kill some players ("OOps, there goes my Deflection"), so it's probably not the thing to do, but it's something I keep (amongst many other) in mind.
Last edit: 30 Jul 2014 09:34 by Pascal Bertrand.

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30 Jul 2014 10:37 - 30 Jul 2014 10:39 #64441 by cordovader
What it really annoys me about all this discussion is that people that are for Ashur Tablets mechanics usually provide subjective and/or objective reasons why they like Ashur Tablets and why they think they're "balanced" in current game situation (avoiding the "no availability" arguments, which I think is the main reason why some players have that impression).

I have also the impression that players against Ashur Tablets have the impression that something is wrong for them, but that they don't have clear in their minds what's exactly wrong with them and why. Maybe not being able to counter them? Maybe not being enough played by themselves? Maybe more than one situation where another player seemed invulnerable and he played Ashur Tablets?

Since the first page of this thread there have been multiple arguments against Ashur Tablets:

-Decks containing Ashur Tablets win too many tournaments: which is false, unless we have a defining criteria of what means "too many". Going a little bit further, we could discuss other cards being present on TWDs (as Pentex Subversion).
-Ashur Tablets provide too much pool: false again, given that Ashur Tablets provide 3 pool for the cost of 3 MPAs and only of no one plays them before. The core problem is the combo Villein/Golconda/Giant's Blood (as masters) and Taste of Vitae/Voter Cap as minion cards (I'm letting out obvious cards as Abactor with Ariadne and similar stuff).
-Anthelios is the problem, since it allows you to take back whatever master card: false again, since there are some ally decks (for example), using Anthelios and not Ashur Tablets (for exemple Shamblings).
-Liquidation is the problem, since it gives 3 free pool: false again, since you have the downside of not replacing (I've played a lot Liquidation myself and I can tell you that sometimes not replacing makes the difference between killing or not one given turn) and the downside of discarding 7 cards from your deck (sometimes and advantage, for example for shamblers, and only without downside in the whole Ashur Tablets/Liquidation/Anthelios combo).
-Liquidation + Ashur Tablets is the problem, since it allows you to sideboard your deck during the game and perfectly predict your draws: again false, unless you have no deck remaining and you take back 12 identical copies of the same card, which is a really marginal situation, for not saying completely unrealistical. Other cards allow you to readjust not your deck, but your hand's proportions (Heart of Nizchetus, Nehemiah, Nicomedes, Blackhorse Tanner...). No arguments against that kind of mechanics.
-MMPA decks are the problem, since you cannot compete with them in winning the Ashur Tablets race so they auto-regulate themselves: well, this is not entirely false and not entirely true. I've been myself playing during games with Ankha (with his Giotto Verducci "Council of Doom" which uses Ashur Tablets) and he's won me the Ashur Tablets race with only one MPA and me having 3. Discarding (for example via Giotto's special, Ira River's special or The Barrens) also enables getting the Ashur Tablets before. It's true that having MMPA is an advantage, but not definitive.
-Ashur Tablets are bad, because they take too much time to resolve and there's no interaction between players: well, there's no interaction with other players in searching the cards, at least always. And if you asked "do you want me to take back X card so I cand do this and that for you in exchange for something else?", well, that's an interaction. Anyway, there are players that are experts in loosing time for their own advantage (for example Mr. Kamel Senni, french players know him well), that simply talk about negotiating or whatever without even having the card in hand and that makes part of the game.

Just for notice, as always, the fact of loosing time or not depends on the player. I think that I myself rarely loose time with Ashur Tablets, thinking of what I would take back the turn before and doing all stuff as fast as I can (if it's necessary for the game, something different is that you're already on 1 vs. 1 and you have 1 hour remaining).

There are people that take more searching for something with Magic of the Smith or an Alastor, than me resolving Ashur Tablets. That means it's not the card that has a problem, but that it's heavily depending on who plays what and how.


PD: Orpheus, I'll gladly lend you one of my Ashur Tablets decks for the next tournament, so you can experience yourself what that is about. I have my Girls + Inner Circles deck and my Nana&Friends POT/ANI rush, so you can choose your playstyle. ;)
Last edit: 30 Jul 2014 10:39 by cordovader.
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30 Jul 2014 11:11 #64442 by Juggernaut1981
Cordovader: Rather than blending together all the arguments... try this. It should be clear enough.

These are my arguments, based on things from ICL and Darby.

1) Ashur Tablets are un-interactive and therefore bad cards by design (ICL's blog). This can be caused by 'wasting time', 'unable to be stopped' or various phrases saying the same core idea: This card does not interact with my game, they are playing solitaire over there.

2) Ashur Tablets allow in-game sideboarding, this is not really done in CCGs and comparing to MtG (i.e. MtG does it so we should) is bone-headed. Deck design is meant to be a significant part of VTES.

3) Ashur Tablets mitigate the costs of other cards (Liquidation and Anthelios being obvious examples) because cards you discard are brought back at a greater rate than lost.

4) Ashur Tablets individual effects may not be off the top of the power curve for sensible VTES design, but in combination they are.

5) Ashur Tablets aggravates the problems already caused by Anthelios, Liquidation and the MMPA archetype. They were problems before, but with Ashur Tablets in the game they have become larger problems.

6) Managing decreasing resources is a major component of VTES, other cards that either eliminate or generate large changes in resource are also problematic... Ashur Tablets is just getting more attention since it is more recent and less accepted due to familiarity.

7) You provide as many subjective and low-baseline statistics as you claim others do. Your comments about how long it takes you to resolve Ashur Tablets are unhelpful to a wider discussion about how long MOST people take to resolve the card.

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30 Jul 2014 11:34 #64443 by ReverendRevolver
Ive said before that changing the 5 brown backed cards and 2 green backed ones that gives extra masters to not stack is a solition. Also, one trifle a turn as well.

So......



SCIENCE!


test one variable at a time, document so results can be replicated and tested again by others.

Lets call the erratta of rules/the 7 cards giving extra mpas one variable, since they all stab at the root of the problem.

Thats test 1.

Lets test Anthelios changed and or Ashurs not picking up masters, or being random as test 2, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 for 2.1+2, and 2.4 for 2.2+2.

Test Ashurs pickinv up fewer cards as test 3.

Test Liquidation banned from setup as 4. Loquidation removing cards from game also falls here, but we can assume rfg cards dont matter for recursion amd bloat.

Test Anthelios banned as test 5.

Once we get that worked out, i think we know where the speedbump is.

Villeins changed (for the better), and Lilliths is banned. We can test these variables/roots to stop further arguments on banning components of mmpa decks.

Im still a fan of the erratta of the 7 cards giving additional mpas and also trifle once a turn\since last untap.

So, once its deturmined that such a fix works we can look at each part. Huitzl may be tested. Isonwyn as well. Thing to remember is H is a 10 cap infernal minion with no built in multiact, so hes less aggro than the rest. Iso is a small vamp compared to the rest, even if he does tap, so thats debateable. Anson(my favorite, since hes the star of the first deck I really built) is kinda strong too, so limit on him makes snse. Nana amd Cybele are of coirse the problem poster children. Parthenon stacks to anything, so its probably on the chopping block. Ans year of fortune is a vote, so debatable as well I guess.

Thoughts?

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30 Jul 2014 11:53 #64447 by cordovader

Ive said before that changing the 5 brown backed cards and 2 green backed ones that gives extra masters to not stack is a solition. Also, one trifle a turn as well.

So......



SCIENCE!


test one variable at a time, document so results can be replicated and tested again by others.

Lets call the erratta of rules/the 7 cards giving extra mpas one variable, since they all stab at the root of the problem.

Thats test 1.

Lets test Anthelios changed and or Ashurs not picking up masters, or being random as test 2, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 for 2.1+2, and 2.4 for 2.2+2.

Test Ashurs pickinv up fewer cards as test 3.

Test Liquidation banned from setup as 4. Loquidation removing cards from game also falls here, but we can assume rfg cards dont matter for recursion amd bloat.

Test Anthelios banned as test 5.

Once we get that worked out, i think we know where the speedbump is.

Villeins changed (for the better), and Lilliths is banned. We can test these variables/roots to stop further arguments on banning components of mmpa decks.

Im still a fan of the erratta of the 7 cards giving additional mpas and also trifle once a turn\since last untap.

So, once its deturmined that such a fix works we can look at each part. Huitzl may be tested. Isonwyn as well. Thing to remember is H is a 10 cap infernal minion with no built in multiact, so hes less aggro than the rest. Iso is a small vamp compared to the rest, even if he does tap, so thats debateable. Anson(my favorite, since hes the star of the first deck I really built) is kinda strong too, so limit on him makes snse. Nana amd Cybele are of coirse the problem poster children. Parthenon stacks to anything, so its probably on the chopping block. Ans year of fortune is a vote, so debatable as well I guess.

Thoughts?


The problem about Nana and Cybele is that they share 2 disciplines.

Anyway, if you compare Nana and Anson I think they're pretty balanced:

-Nana Buruku: 3 disciplines at superior (including ANI and PRE, which is good), 2 MPAs, +1 hand size
-Anson: 2 disciplines at superior and 2 at inferior (including PRE, dom and aus, which is not bad at all), 2 MPAs and prince

I would even say Anson is better than Nana Buruku, giving him acess to both Second Tradition and Parity Shift (among other Prince cards) and all Toreador stuff, having PRE for vote decks and CEL for cept/combat decks.

PD: I will answer Juggernaut in another post, since I guess it will take me more time. :)

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30 Jul 2014 13:11 - 30 Jul 2014 13:16 #64450 by Ankha
Replied by Ankha on topic Re: Balancing Ashur Tablets

1) Ashur Tablets are un-interactive and therefore bad cards by design (ICL's blog). This can be caused by 'wasting time', 'unable to be stopped' or various phrases saying the same core idea: This card does not interact with my game, they are playing solitaire over there.

All master cards fit your description (unable to be stopped, no interacting with my game). As for wasting time, one have to choose 13 cards. It usually longer than choosing one card, but not 13 times that longer. Anayway, the players are more to blame than the card.

2) Ashur Tablets allow in-game sideboarding, this is not really done in CCGs and comparing to MtG (i.e. MtG does it so we should) is bone-headed. Deck design is meant to be a significant part of VTES.

Side-boarding means you bring cards that weren't present in the deck in the first place, with has nothing to do with recursion (the card must be in the deck, and it must have been already played). Plus you just can't add Ashur to a deck without any careful deckbuilding beforehand.

3) Ashur Tablets mitigate the costs of other cards (Liquidation and Anthelios being obvious examples) because cards you discard are brought back at a greater rate than lost.

I can't see the link with Anthelios. As for Liquidation, yes it couterbalance the cards removed. Is it an unbalanced combo? Maybe. But it needs more ground before being judged "unbalanced".

4) Ashur Tablets individual effects may not be off the top of the power curve for sensible VTES design, but in combination they are.

Apart from Liquidation+AT which is a pool-gaining combo (just like Villein + Giant's Blood), I can't see another plain combo. Anyway, is there anything wrong with combos in VTES?

5) Ashur Tablets aggravates the problems already caused by Anthelios, Liquidation and the MMPA archetype. They were problems before, but with Ashur Tablets in the game they have become larger problems.

Any master aggravates MMPA-related problems.

6) Managing decreasing resources is a major component of VTES, other cards that either eliminate or generate large changes in resource are also problematic... Ashur Tablets is just getting more attention since it is more recent and less accepted due to familiarity.

Less accepted by some people, apparently. Others either don't care or accept it. It can't be a criteria.

7) You provide as many subjective and low-baseline statistics as you claim others do.

Everyone is subjective, it's not a problem. "Partial" is what you probably meant.
Do you provide any proof that "Ashur Tablets is just getting [...] less accepted due to familiarity." ?

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Last edit: 30 Jul 2014 13:16 by Ankha.
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