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Stonekin - Faction Discussion Thread


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Stonekin is a faction which we have slowly been working on in the background for awhile. Given our previous changes to Frost and our upcoming changes to Nature it feels right to also touch-up the hybrid faction which exists between them. For other topics, we have split the discussion into a main thread and threads for individual cards. In the case of Stonekin, the faction has so few cards we thought it best to keep everything combined in one thread. Please note that all changes proposed here are provisional and as such are subject to change. 

Balance Changes

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Tier 2

Earthkeeper: 
1. Back Up
   A. Remove steadfast from ability.
   B. Duration: 30 seconds --> Until interrupted
   C. Power cost: 0p --> 25p

Earthkeeper has a very powerful ability, particularly the blessed (b) affinity. By making it last indefinitely absent interruption, Earthkeeper can be used by Stonekin decks to set up incredibly durable defenses that do not need to be constantly maintained. We removed steadfast to allow Earthkeeper to be knocked back while channeling (similar to Timeshifter Spirit), requiring good positioning, and added a 25p cost to increase initial set up cost in exchange for the indefinite duration.

Matter Mastery: 
1. Gifted Takeover (g) - maximum of 2 orbs and 100 power costs --> maximum of 3 orbs and 140 power costs 
2. Rework Tainted Takeover (p) - "Grants permanent control over an enemy building and causes the building to lose 3% of it's maximum life points every second. The controlled building does not grant ground presence to play out cards or claim structures next to it."

Preemptively changing Matter Master before building orb & power costs are fixed to ensure Matter Mastery remains relevant. Changing takeover limit to 140 power to avoid interaction with Church of Negation in PvP. We can adjust PvE building power costs around the 140p limit. Reworking the purple affinity to give permanent control but cause the building to slowly die. Should give it use cases in campaign and RPvE without the player having to double back to kill the previously controlled building afterward.

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Tier 3

Deepfang: 
1. Change name: Stonekin Critter (ability) --> Budding 
   A. Now a passive which generates a Critter every 20 seconds instead of 2 on spawn.
   B. *New Description:* "Every 20 seconds, Deepfang spawns a Stonekin Critter that will follow it loyally and that can be sacrificed in order to restore its life points. Stonekin Critters are unstable and have a lifetime of 60 seconds." 
2. Stonekin Critter (unit):
   A. Joyful Death healing: 1000, up to Infinite --> 800, up to 2400 life points (800 healing to 3 targets)
   B. Damage (Steam Boiler): 60, up to 90 in total (500 dp20) --> 72, up to 108 in total (600 dp20)
   C. Lifetime: Has a lifetime of 60 seconds instead of being a permanent summon
3. Union requirements (both affinities) : No longer requires a Stonekin Critter.

Deepfang uniquely spawns with two Stonekin Critters (Crystal Fiends in PvE). These Critters can be sacrificed to heal Deepfang and also function as a prerequisite for its Union ability. Unfortunately, there are several issues with the card's current design. First, the Critters have an unlimited cap on their healing, meaning a single Critter can heal every Deepfang in range. Second, the Union ability of every Deepfang can be activated if there is only a single Critter alive from any Deepfang (including from the other affinity), but, third, there is no way to replenish Critters except spawning a new Deepfang for 250p.

Unlike with Legendary cards, it is not possible to introduce a spawn limit for non-legendary minions, which might explain why Deepfang lacks the ability to summon more Critters. The question arises though, if the player cannot access more Critters, then why are the Critters so central to Deepfang's design? The Critters are incredibly fragile and die to any moderately difficult camp leaving Deepfang a permanently crippled unit, particularly when the Critters are calculated into the unit's power budget. With these issues and Deepfang's strict orb requirements (2 Frost, 1 Nature), it is unsurprising the card see so little play. 

Without discarding Deepfang's existing identity, we have opted to make major changes to the card. First, we are making the Critters spawn passively but with a limited lifetime. Second, we are limiting the group healing ability of the Critters and slightly nerfing its single-target strength to account for the more plentiful supply of Critters the player will be incentivized to kill before they expire. At the same time, we are giving the Critters themselves a minor buff and decoupling the Union ability from Deepfang to stop the unit from being crippled unnecessarily in tough situations. 

Rageflame: 
1. Frostshower:
   A. Freeze Duration: 10 sec --> 15 sec
   B. Revert previous damage increase - Frostshower Damage: 1600 dp20 --> 1400 dp20
   C. Allow to target air units
2. Rework Blue affinity:
   A. *Blessed Frostshower*: "What is more, the unit is able to ignore the usual damage reduction of frozen enemies and will deal its full damage against them." --> "Additionally, units frozen by this ability will receive full damage when attacked."
3. New passive, Shatter Ice (both affinities): The unit is able to ignore the usual damage reduction of frozen targets. Take description from Core Dredge.

A few community members pointed out last time that they thought the previous Rageflame buffs were misguided as they lessened Rageflame's identity as a support unit. We agree with this assessment and have attempted to move in the direction of emphasizing Rageflame's support identity. To do this, we have reverted the damage buff, increased freeze duration by 5 seconds, and changed the blue affinity to have the same effect as Frontier Keep(r) where it allows frozen units to receive full damage when attacked. 

Stone Warrior: 
1. Damage: 1700 --> 1850
2. Life points: 2360 -> 2160
3. Ability cost: 100p -> 80p
4. Gifted Strike (g): Allow ability to target and damage structures. Deals half damage to structures.

The blue affinity was recently given the ability to damage frozen buildings. The green affinity's description suggests it can do the same and we don't see anything wrong with the interaction so we have modified them to be consistent. We also reduced the ability cost to buff both affinities slightly.

Stat realignment is for PvP viability which leaves unit with identical stat efficiency, which is the same as Mutating Maniac, better than Mutating Frenzy, and slightly worse than Fathom Lord. 

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Tier 4

Earthen Gift: 
Earthen Gift Redesign
1. Charges: 4 --> 8 
2. Infused Earth (r) --> Blessed Earth (b): 
   A. Damage buff: 30% --> 50%
   B. Every friendly building played out will be constructed 100% faster.

New Description: "Every friendly structure in the current game will deal 50% more damage, be constructed 100% faster, and restore 10% of its maximum life points per second, up to 4000 in total per structure. Lasts for 20 seconds. Reusable every 20 seconds."

3. Tainted Earth (p) --> Gifted Earth (g):  
   A. Affects Stonekin units, not structures
   B. Remove "Every hostile building in the current game will deal 50% less damage." 
   C. Damage buff: +50% more damage 
   D. Healing per second: 10% --> 5%

New Description: "Every friendly Stonekin unit in the current game will deal 50% more damage and restore 5% of its maximum life points per second, up to 4000 in total per unit. Lasts for 20 seconds. Reusable every 20 seconds."

Earthen Gift is one of the worst cards in the entire game. Before Reforging its normal price was 3 bfp despite being a Rare spell. As Stonekin's Pure T4 spell it should be one of the reasons why a player goes 2 Nature + 2 Frost orbs, but right now it is a waste of a card slot. The card's existing identity is as a combined buff and healing card but it is restricted to only work on structures. Even on structures it is not usually useful. 

Instead of completely rejecting the card's initial design we are attempting to improve on it for the one affinity by increasing the damage buff and giving it an effect akin to Kobold Inc (b) which will speed up the construction of friendly buildings. On the other affinity, we are swapping its effect from structures to Stonekin units and modifying its heal and damage buff accordingly. The idea is to potentially allow the spell to replace Regrowth while also giving Stonekin access to a minor damage buff for itself and any other friendly Stonekin players. 

Gemeye: 
1. Damage: 2750 dp20 --> 3250 dp20
2. Tainted Spit (p):
   A. All damage from purple affinity spit now deals piercing damage, not just the poison effect.
2. Gifted Spit (g):
   A. Paralyze Targets: 4 --> 5
   B. Paralyze Duration: 10 sec --> 15 seconds

The goal here is to break the two affinities into two different deck paths. By allowing the purple affinity to always pierce through damage reduction, it means that its damage will not be reduced when attacking frozen targets. On the other hand, the green affinity's built-in crowd control will synergize with splash options lacking CC and the to-be-buffed Noxious Cloud which deals significantly more damage than previously but needs time to work. The changes should also allow the green affinity to do a better job when utilized as part of static defenses for its built-in crowd control.

Grinder: 
1. Harmony: Either add a timer to Grinder's harmony effect on the unit itself or a yellow bar akin to Mountaineer to visual when the next tick of healing will occur.
2. Provoke: Single target --> All enemies in a 10m radius
3. Infused Provoke Buff: 50% more damage --> 75% more damage

Quality of life change for Grinder's harmony ability to help the player make better use of it. We also added some increased strength and flexibility to Grinder's taunt by allowing it to affect multiple targets in a small area (10m radius is the same size as Eruption). This will also allow Grinder (r) to taunt the empty air versus bosses to still generate the damage buff which has been increased to +75% to account for the fact that in the case of Grinder taunting multiple enemies and reducing their damage by -75% is substantially better than buffing itself by +50% damage.

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The only change I find questionable is Matter Mastery P... I haven't used it much but of the occasional times I used Matter Mastery G, I feel like the permanent take over isn't as useful as it would seem because I always end up not caring what happens to the taken over building. More and more I feel like, for at least PvE, being able to take over things that Matter Mastery G can't -- even for only 20s is a lot more useful (even if "all" it achieved is to let AI destroy the problematic building for me). I don't PvP and I can only guess that being able to at least interrupt Church of Negation (if not more than that) is still pretty big impact (maybe you don't want to allow that for PvP and that is what change would accomplish).

 

Main reason I don't use Deepfang is the problem with Stonekin Critters so glad that will be gone. The other is I been working to build a deck around Northstar... Interesting what Rageflame B change will bring...

 

 For Grinder P, would all enemies within 10m of casting deal 75% less damage except bosses? Especially since I see for Grinder R, he would "taunt the empty air versus bosses"...

 

I definitely agree that as-is, there is really little reason to play :natureorb::natureorb::frostorb::frostorb: (for me is nothing but laziness since with just :frostorb::frostorb:, I already have access to Frontier Keep, Worldbreaker Gun, etc and only thing Deepgorge offers is auto freeze and despite it being able to damage air units, it isn't that useful for that). Grinder's Harmony can still be used but is it really worth it over over damage reduction and a Regrowth (or other healing spells)? 

Edited by Lans
typos
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1 hour ago, Lans said:

The only change I find questionable is Matter Mastery P... I haven't used it much but of the occasional times I used Matter Mastery G, I feel like the permanent take over isn't as useful as it would seem because I always end up not caring what happens to the taken over building. More and more I feel like, for at least PvE, being able to take over things that Matter Mastery G can't -- even for only 20s is a lot more useful (even if "all" it achieved is to let AI destroy the problematic building for me). I don't PvP and I can only guess that being able to at least interrupt Church of Negation (if not more than that) is still pretty big impact (maybe you don't want to allow that for PvP and that is what change would accomplish).

Right now Matter Mastery (g) can takeover every building in the game that is possible to be taken over, so there is no reason to use the tainted affinity in PvE. 80% of the current buildings will remain within reach for the gifted affinity, but by putting some minor limit on the card we give a reason for the tainted affinity to actually exist without hopefully impacting gameplay in a major way. We don't actually think Matter Mastery is a problem card so we are looking to keep at least one affinity useful for existing situations while giving them distinct reasons for existing. It is possible though that our current suggestion fails in that respect, if people think so they are welcome to offer other suggestions.

1 hour ago, Lans said:

 For Grinder P, would all enemies within 10m of casting deal 75% less damage except bosses? Especially since I see for Grinder R, he would "taunt the empty air versus bosses"...

All units taunted by Grinder(p) will receive the -75% damage debuff and be forced to attack Grinder. We are hoping the transition to an AoE ability instead of a single-target one will help Grinder better fulfill its role as a tank as well as provide a reason to use the ability.

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I have played matter mastery in many decks in both cpve and rpve and it can really be a life saver. Ofcourse now i am referring to the green affinity, however the other affinity has 1 major reason to be included over the green affinity which is volcanoes in fire rpve. If you manage to take it over with the purple affinity (as the nature affinity cant), it will make fire rpve a bit more easy to survive for more "fun" decks.

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22 minutes ago, Dutchy said:

I have played matter mastery in many decks in both cpve and rpve and it can really be a life saver.

Yeah, in trying to get some screenshots of when I considered using Matter Mastery P, either/both affinity made it so much easier to take and maintain T4 for this month's 1p rPvE9.

 

4 hours ago, WindHunter said:

Right now Matter Mastery (g) can takeover every building in the game that is possible to be taken over, so there is no reason to use the tainted affinity in PvE.

I don't think this is true... Tower of Flames and Volcano couldn't be taken over by Matter Mastery G but could with P... 

tower_of_flames.png.9ce75f56d2db28986ad74852f28f9aee.png

 

Actually since I have been running Gemeye G & P, I haven't used Matter Mastery of either affinity much because I really had to force my Gemeyes to be closer than their attack range to be close enough for the ground presence but I did remember correctly there are things Matter Mastery G can't take over that P could.

volcano.png.50b1433372f0c650e5ef31c6fbb51f6c.png

 

 

5 hours ago, WindHunter said:

All units taunted by Grinder(p) will receive the -75% damage debuff and be forced to attack Grinder. We are hoping the transition to an AoE ability instead of a single-target one will help Grinder better fulfill its role as a tank as well as provide a reason to use the ability.

Still not sure if that includes bosses or not but even if it doesn't, it seems like it should help alot.

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9 hours ago, WindHunter said:

. Revert previous damage increase
   - Frostshower Damage: 1600 dp20 --> 1400 dp20

This leaves me a bit confused. From my feeling the latest buff had no impact at all. I don't think I have seen a single Rageflame at all in the last months in a game.

I see you want to make him a sole supporter, but who would rely on a unit to freeze that does not hit air units at all and gives the same CC time as most spells.


Coldsnap does this better as it is almost instant and hits flyers.
Frost Shard does this better as it is instant and hits flyers.
Maelstorm does this better as it covers the whole camp, does more dmg then a half dozen Rageflames and hits flyers.

 

What I like is that with Gemeyes one of the basic problems of the Stonekin faction gets addressed for the first time: Dmg against frozen targets.

One of the reasons why more advanced players avoid Stonekin (from my personal feeling and from the conversations with friends) is that the faction is suuuuper slow. One of the reasons for this, beside that it is a very unit-based deck, is that Stonekin has very rare tools to circumvent the malus of frozen enemys. That Gemeye P has now the option to pierce this, while Gemeye G gives another better option of non-freeze CC will help here a bit.

 

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On 4/16/2022 at 11:12 AM, Volin said:

This leaves me a bit confused. From my feeling the latest buff had no impact at all. I don't think I have seen a single Rageflame at all in the last months in a game.

Haven't played with me recently and it shows, lel.

But I've given that some thought recently. My guess is, that most players don't bother using Rageflame because the freezing mechanic feels a bit clunky to use with the time requirement and no tangible reward for playing multiple Rageflames. Hence its support role is somewhat undermined by its own functionality.

All other support units in the game grant noticable supportive benefits if you play multiple of the same kind. Be it stun locking with Aggressors, shield spam with Winter Witches or heals with Timeshifter Spirit. As for Rageflame, its full capabilities are pretty much unlocked by a single unit. Sure you can spread them out to cover more ground, but that argument can be made for every other unit in the game. Besides, that method relies on enemy positioning and Rageflame isn't particulalry known for its range.

What if it'd use the Maelstrom ammo/stack mechanic instead? For anyone unaware, Maelstrom freezes enemies based on stacks accumulated. Upon reaching 5 stacks (more or less visible by the damage it takes), the target is frozen. So you can use multiple Maelstroms, building up damage and stacks more quickly, causing the target to be frozen faster.

Just throwing around some numbers, but let's say an enemy requires 14 stacks to be frozen and Rageflames applies a stack once every second. One Rageflame would obviously require more time to freeze enemies (14 seconds), but with two you'd already break even and with more Rageflames you can noticably reduce the time it takes to freeze enemies with each added Rageflame in your army. So there is reason to play multiple Rageflames.

Not sure how good Rageflame is in PvP and what the Taskforce there is up to right now, so would need input on that.

Edited by Bini Inibitor
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so will grinders damage reduction debuff work on bosses even tho the taunt doesnt?

will purple gemeyes also pierce ice shields and damage reductions from infestor and molochs?

Gemeye and matter mastery buffs look good and A+ on grinder getting a timer indication.

I like the direction of earthen gift, especially the unit version however i think it may need further buffs to replace regrowth but i really hope it can since thatd be great for thematics. Perhaps units under the effect of stone shell could also get a burst heal, this would make it function more comparably to regrowth and provide at least some access to allied heals which would likely otherwise be lost in most cases vs slotting regrowth. I think itd also be neat to see a damage reduction for structures under construction from the building version. The reduction could then be replaced by the damage buff on any structure fully constructed.

Im especially happy about mm buffs bc green seems like it will do fine even with struct costs rework but purple will be as good or better. Currently it has no real use, even the case dutchy pointed out isnt really viable when considering slot efficiency in competition with frost shard so these changes seem great overall.

Edited by JarodDempsey
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I guess I misread Tainted Takeover (same as now, no orb or power limit but it'll be permanent at cost of constant life lost instead of 20s). That I got no problem with (I would trade the 20s for constant life lost). 🙂 Also I'm all for reasonable limits on stealing structures (Gifted Takeover) or units.

 


I agree with what is said so far about Rageflame but that is NOW because the way I am reading the change, units besides Rageflame B (even without special ability) can deal full damage:

On 4/15/2022 at 6:57 PM, WindHunter said:

units frozen by this ability will receive full damage when attacked

And that would be a pretty big thing to me since none of the other freezing sources allow for other damage sources to cause full damage (aside from Core Dredge B :neutralorb::frostorb::frostorb: and/or with aide of Northstar :frostorb::frostorb: or other sources with "piercing damage").  I have been working towards a :natureorb::frostorb::frostorb: at T3 deck because of Core Dredge B/Northstar but with this, I could possibility go :natureorb::natureorb::frostorb: or even :fireorb::natureorb::frostorb: / :shadoworb::natureorb::frostorb:Yeah, problem is still figuring out how to slot Rageflame B in to deck and maybe is still not enough to make Rageflame B "worth it" but I still think the change will make Rageflame B better.

 

Also, yeah I know Core Dredge doesn't seem to be highly regarded but Core Dredge B is like 5800+ dp20 against frozen units at U3 and that is way high for T3 unit (before +50% from Home Soil/Northstar). I don't mind Stonekin being faction that is heavily unit based and unit based strategies will always be a lot slower than spell based. I think is a good thing people (maybe less advanced players, like myself) have that option.

Edited by Lans
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My few takes on it:

- I don’t like Deepfang change at all. I HATE units on timer. And I love deepfang, I don’t really care if it comes with weak bodies that can’t be replenished, because 2 Deepfangs get max effect of Stone Shell immediately by being 6 bodies. I’ve never had problems with them dying in  expert CPvE, I really can’t think of such situation when they fragility was determining? Imo Deepfang would be better with some minor stat/speed buff(perfect option). Nobody uses him because it’s same slow crap as Magma Fiend with very little AoE damage on multiple targets (but mostly because it’s slow), and so proposed “buff” unfortunately won’t change anything.

- Matter Mastery is in terrible spot, as every similar card with two affinities (Amok, Twilight Pestilence, Forest Elder etc), where one affinity is totally pointless because other is superior.  Let’s take situation, End of Nightmare, you have to assault camp with bombard, you play stonekin, while you can brute force it with razorshards, taking control over it would be much better, so? Green affinity? Most likely can’t take (it’s twilight ultimate building after all) , why do I need this crap to waste my precious spot in deck?While ofc most likely I would be able to take control of weaker building and it will stay for me... Cool but.. Why? There are way too few scenarios for it, and so purple affinity will be superior in 95% of situations. Not even mentioning that you could potentially heal building with cobold engineers if you would like it to stay on some maps lol (unless you also make it not possible to heal?)

Overall I like other changes, Especially Gemeye and Earthen Gift.

Edited by SpiritAlpha
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The fire preset used player card costs as reference, so Gifted Takeover may be less effective in these matches. We may adjust costs in the future, but with the change toward T3/140, Nature affinity should be equally effective against Fire soon.

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15 minutes ago, Bini Inibitor said:

The fire preset used player card costs as reference, so Gifted Takeover may be less effective in these matches. We may adjust costs in the future, but with the change toward T3/140, Nature affinity should be equally effective against Fire soon.

Than again, if green can take over all the threats, what the point in purple?..

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11 minutes ago, Bini Inibitor said:

Primary use for purple would be against Willzappers and Volcano/Artillery, as green won't be able to do that.

zapper is more than t3 or 140 power cost? if this is true then green would really be useless. I mean with other power/orb changes to structures green will already lose out on artillery which can be quite impactful since it does a fair amount of damage and knocks l, it also will technically lose out on hate caster but those arent a significant threat so thats mostly a loss of convenience but losing out on zapper would completely dumpster the card. considering volcano exists it is already at a huge disadvantage compared to purple once the changes go through. considering frost shard exists i think if it can effect zapper, green could be a less effective but still viable alternative to purple for a cheaper cost for new players.

Edited by JarodDempsey
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Thank you for all the comments so far. It is important for us as faction designers to receive feedback from a diverse set of players and typically speaking the more feedback the better. Feedback helps us to get a general sense for how the player base feels about our changes and if they think we are on the right track. I have a few comments in response so far: 

Matter Mastery: There is a lot of speculation about Matter Mastery already here from just a few tidbits of information and I would like to state that it is important not to get worked up over a proposal or an idea both before you have all the relevant information, but also before you have heard the reasoning behind the decisions and have spent time considering the various implications. As I already stated, we do not view Matter Mastery as a problem card, so we are not attempting to use the upcoming changes to building power/orb costs as a way to nerf it. Instead we are attempting to creating two affinities which are both viable in different situations. Too often balancing PvE cards really means balancing around RPvE, but campaign maps are just as important. We are attempting to account for both modes and will release more information on this subject in the future.

I will admit a mistake of mine in forgetting about Fire RPvE when talking about Matter Mastery(g). Fire RPvE's building are the only ones in the game with assigned power costs, and so are the only ones the green affinity cannot takeover. 

Grinder's Taunt: I have not responded to the question about the damage debuff from the taunt working on bosses yet because a final decision has not yet been reached.  

Gemeye: Piercing damage is essentially true damage. It punctures all damage reduction effects, including Moloch's. We could make it so the effect only punctures Freeze, and I think we should generally be very wary about adding true damage to the game, but in this case I think Gemeye is a safe and fitting candidate for full piercing damage. 

Rageflame: The nice thing about the new blue Rageflame is that it can CC every target in range and these targets will not have Freeze's typical damage reduction. Additionally it grants the freeze condition to card's like Core Dredge(b) which deal extra damage against frozen targets. One thing I'd like to note here is that Rageflame(b)'s freeze will have zero damage reduction. The description sounds like it only works on unit attacks, but targets frozen this way also receive full damage from spells. 

In terms of some of the suggestions offered: I am somewhat conflicted on giving Rageflame the ability to target air. Not opposed, mostly unsure. About making it like Maelstrom: I think one of the issues becomes, are we encouraging Rageflame to be a 1-2 unit support group or a 5-6 unit support group? By making it like Maelstrom we make groups of Rageflame freeze near instantly, but then you bound a lot of power in a unit with a low stat efficiency and particularly very low damage. I'm not sure if we should be encouraging that. The idea was more to enable mixed compositions and potentially make a "pure" Stonekin deck finally viable from T2 to T4. 

Lastly, I want to mention that none of the proposed changes will happen this upcoming patch, but the patch afterwards. We are in the finalizing stages of our current change ideas and we cannot add more to the table without continuing to delay the patch.

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These changes sound promising to me. I like that you take your time and try to view each intended change from every possible angle (PvE, rPvE, PvP) before implementing them.

In my opinion it is very hard to see all the impacts on the game's balance a seemingly minor change might have before a large number of players starts useing / abusing the new effects.

Keep up the good work!

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On 4/18/2022 at 5:07 AM, WindHunter said:

About making it like Maelstrom: I think one of the issues becomes, are we encouraging Rageflame to be a 1-2 unit support group or a 5-6 unit support group? By making it like Maelstrom we make groups of Rageflame freeze near instantly, but then you bound a lot of power in a unit with a low stat efficiency and particularly very low damage. I'm not sure if we should be encouraging that. The idea was more to enable mixed compositions and potentially make a "pure" Stonekin deck finally viable from T2 to T4. 

Recently I created a deck that only consisted of Elementals. T1 is fairly limited at that with only Ice Guardian. In maps with delayed T2 access, the start with the deck obviously starts to fall apart, but does reasonably well in a variety of advanced PvE maps and rPvE 9. Could've gone T4 with Gemeyes or Grinders, but wanted a decent variety and keep using my T3 units.

In addition to what I brought up earlier, reason of bringing this suggestion up is also the current situation and alternatives around that level. I could spent 130 power for a supportive unit that deals mediocre damage and can freeze after some time attacking. Thing is, I can either wait several seconds for enemies to be frozen, keep taking damage in that time frame and leave air units unaffected, or I simply spend the power on a Cold Snap and use Stone Warrior's Shatter Lance to immediately dispose of targets, minimizing the damage I would've taken otherwise.

What I didn't account for in my suggestion however was the fact, that upgrades reduce the freezing delay from 7 to 5 seconds (I simply forgot this was a thing), which definitely puts things in a better light. Hence the numbers I presented revolved around the 7 second mark (U0) with additional Rageflames reducing freezing delay to 5, 4 and 3 seconds respectively and upgrades increasing overall freeze duration.

While it's definitely not as bad as I initially thought due to this oversight on my side, I still don't think it's a particularly great place to be in with a T3 hybrid support/offense card. I assume players want to make liberal use of their T3 cards in mid and late game, maybe transition with them into T4 and keep using them or entirely rely on a T3 army. And with its, albeit limited, offensive capabilities want to use it more than once or twice.

From my experience after several matches and now I ask myself constantly: "Why I am hamstringing myself with this card?" It's rather costly, damage quite low for that, range is low and can only attack ground targets. It's certainly usable and looks cool at first glance, but in various situations I simply felt like exchanging it for any other card. Deepfang looks more compelling for its stats and Critters. Coldsnap is available at T2 and freezes air targets as well while having more liberty in doing so. Frost Shard basically does, what Rageflame currently tries to do; instant freeze, damage, works against structures, more liberty and at a similar, nonbound cost. Not to mention "progress" is completely reset, if Rageflame stops attacking for even a fraction of a second and Rageflames don't synergize with eachother.

It didn't feel like a satisfying reward for slotting Rageflame in, when I can have more efficient results with cards that offer better stats for their cost or achieve a goal in a similar or better way and multiple Rageflames not really contributing much more.

I really want to know what others think of Rageflame.

elementalistdeck.png

Edited by Bini Inibitor
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4 hours ago, Bini Inibitor said:

I really want to know what others think of Rageflame.

First of all: Thanks that you gave it a review under the mentioned points.

Rageflame is a card that gives me much nostalgia . Back in the days I wanted to have this card so badly cause it looked cool to me, and the options with Rageflame and Stone Warrior B looked so great in theory. I can't recall the price but it was high and I remember that when I got it, I was very disappointed. Sadly the Stonekin freeze deck only works really good on the paper. In rpve at least it can take out easier 9 maps, but the options are still very limited. You are glad to roll a bandit map 🙂
 

On top to the structural problems, that all 3 freeze spells do a better freezing job, the combo of Rageflames, Stone Warriors and Core Dredges does only a very average dmg output, the high cost of the Stone Warrior ability and that can't hit flyers you really suffer against any stronger boss.

I'm aware, that possible decks that have a T3 army need to be balanced against further T4 options and in addition may have conflicts with PvP - so I'm not sure if my dreams may come true here. But personally I would love if at least some of the mentioned problems with this deck could be addressed to enable a second (and complete different) Stonekin archetype deck, that plays in the same level like many of our other various upper fun decks.

In my dreams Rageflames dmg does not get reverted to the old level, but even gets slightly increased on top of the suggested idea of "their freeze does not apply the usual" malus. On top it would hit flyers too.
If it would be possible to reduce the Stone Warrior ability cost slightly this could result in a wonderful (and balanced?) deck to me.


Rageflame freeze would have its pros, but still the spells would have other advantages so Rageflame would be an option for the main Stonekin Deck with Grinders, but still far away from a set must-have. Yeah, Stone Warriors ability is strong, but looking at you Emberstrike (played in an environment of better void return) it still would have lesser AoE and a condition to use.
This Deck would ofc be a powerhouse in T3, but at an invest of a good amount of bound power and probably still inferior to Ashbones or Horrors - in the best case comparable (would love to see that). For expert maps or stronger rpve maps I would still consider a T4 would be played and needed, where L units (and the T3 Core Dredge) are usually not the first pick and have to be strong to be viable at all. Regrowth and Shatter Ice compliment the mentioned playstyle enough to encourage players to take a 4th orb I'd guess, and if not - who cares? Ashbone Decks are usually played to at 3 orbs, everybody who plays them knows that they are super strong on the one hand, but need a lot of player skill to survive and their vulnerability justifies  the fine T3 deck in my opinion.
I would not see (but perhaps I oversee something) any conflicts with the new Frost and the main Stonekin deck.

The only thing I can't judge really is the possible pvp impact if Rageflames and Stone Warriors get a stronger buff.

I would really love to see this (on the paper) obvious second Stonekin Deck being enabled for more content and be raised to the power level of other faction decks.

And last but not least this deck would still have one weak point (which Ashbone decks have not at all): Bosses. I guess this alone is justifying some buffs for this deck if possible. And the second weak point would of course be, that any other CC gets applied way faster. Both should be fine so that this deck does not get too strong at all.

 

TL;DR

- Don't nerf Rageflames dmg - buff it even a bit more.

- Make it hit flyers.

- Reduce Stonekin Warriors ability cost a bit.

 

Edited by Volin
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I'm against any damage buffs to Rageflame. The card has a very supportive design. Making it also a damage dealer would mean remolding it into a completely different identity. The concept of Rageflame, as a supportive freeze-unit, isn't so fundamentally broken and unsalvageable to warrant that.

Rageflame shouldn't be able to stand on its own. It should enable other T3s like Stone Warrior or Core Dredge. Potentially, there could be more units with synergetic effects that fit the color requirements. Like Deepfang or Lost Horror R, which, right now, is just woefully inferior to G. Something like being able to attack two targets but dealing extra damage against frozen enemies instead of S and M knockback. Maybe even eventual Frost/Fire units that benefit from attacking frozen targets.

So the question is: How to help Rageflame fully unlock its supportive identity without nudging it into the position of a carry/DD?

So things like anti-air, how the freeze gets applied or other buffs to allies.

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I think is wise to take slow and measured approach here and make more changes down the line as needed.

 

16 hours ago, Volin said:

TL;DR

- Don't nerf Rageflames dmg - buff it even a bit more.

- Make it hit flyers.

- Reduce Stonekin Warriors ability cost a bit.

Most definitely the lack of anti air very likely what will prevent me from using Rageflame more in future as it is today. I mean if I want to use Stone Warrior B's Blessed Shatter Lance or make most use of Core Dredge B against flyers then I'll be forced to have another freezing source and if something has to go then first is most likely Rageflame. Bringing up Lost Horror, G's triple shot is an "easy" 5610 dp20 (as long as there is 3 targets) and no need to worry about freeze duration and 10s of freeze immunity affecting damage so it seem to synergize better with new Rageflame B (definitely had it in mind when I previously said or even :shadoworb::natureorb::frostorb: T3).

 

I found it difficult to pay power cost of Stone Warrior's Shatter Lance because of having all power bound in units. In forge, without considering power cost, I can see Stone Warrior B can easily 1 shot a frozen Giant Wyrm and nearly 1 shot frozen Abomination thanks to its  XL modifier and Blessed Shatter Lance ability ignoring freeze penalty and high single target damage, 2600 vs 1040 for Gifted Shatter Lance both at U3. Nice thing about Rageflame change is it'll make the two Stonekin units work better together (normal damage will not suffer freeze penalty) but neither could hit flyers so probably won't see too much of that.

 

I feel like for rPvE (only tried a bit of 9), you want a streamlined T3 (or bypass it entirely with Amii Monument or Enlightenment at least is awfully close/easy with :neutralorb::natureorb::frostorb:) so I think that is going to be even harder to encourage players to use Rageflame if you need more than 2 T3 units.

 

For me, both Core Dredge and Rageflame is more about nostalgia as well (don't think I managed to get my hands on them before). I feel like the power and sustain can hold up to T4 but you so rarely need that combination or for long (PS: probably not the most power efficient way though since of the times I played them, it wasn't very fast clear time) and for defense, now you also got Frontier Keep also. Maybe not as strong as Ashbone Pyro but a lot more forgiving (although I only dabble a little with Ashbone Pyro and is more from watching others). 🙂

Edited by Lans
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That Rageflame should remain a supportunit is ok, but in its current state it does exactly that not well. 

I have tried it in several decks, cPvE and rPvE, and it simply performs poorly. This is also due to the fact that the card with which you could combine it well also does not offer what you need for a good combination (Stonekin Warrior -> also no anti-air, ability too expensive to be able to use it often).

So I see the points similar to Volin. Rageflame should get anti-air (I haven't read a good reason why it shouldn't). Also the cost of Stonekin Warriors ability should be reduced (or a little rework? Something more like Shatter Ice to hit more units). I would not reduce the damage from Rageflame again. This buff was not rly noticed anyway. So why go back again?

Furthermore you could maybe think about it that enemy units are frozen faster (1-2 sec).

The idea that units frozen by Rageflame get full damage is great. If you go this way, the blue Rageflame performs much better than the red one I think. Here you should have to think about something for the red one. 

Edited by Blashyrkh
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1 hour ago, Blashyrkh said:

Also the cost of Stonekin Warriors ability should be reduced (or a little rework? F.e. a kind of aoe Shatter Ice)

Stonekin Warrior actually fills an important role in Stonekin PvP as prime XL counter (It can even oneshot Juggernaut with its ability). So doing a complete rework might leave a gap in that regard.

1 hour ago, Blashyrkh said:

Furthermore you could maybe think about it that enemy units are frozen faster (1-2 sec).

I like that one. By the time it freezes the enemies, other cards already would have killed them.

1 hour ago, Blashyrkh said:

The idea that units frozen by Rageflame get full damage is great. If you go this way, the blue Rageflame performs much better than the red one I think. Here you should have to think about something for the red one. 

Maybe
blue one -> freezes units and they take full dmg
and
red one -> freezes units and buildings and buildings take extra damage while frozen?

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55 minutes ago, Metagross31 said:

and
red one -> freezes units and buildings and buildings take extra damage while frozen?

Yeah, that is interesting. As it stands Rageflame R actually synergizes poorly with Core Dredge R (frozen buildings is no exception to the half damage rule).

 

Yeah, I also feel Rageflame sorely needs anti air. I think one of the "selling point" of Stonekin would be access to paralysis (e.g. Ensnaring Roots) and Curse of Oink like Nature does and freeze (e.g. Coldsnap / Frost Shard) for "best of both world". But playing Defending Hope again today, definitely reminds me why I am using Coldsnap instead of Rageflame (nothing new but why wait for T3/Rageflame when it can't freeze the Twilight Creep/Death Gilders and has 5s delay when I can just toss a Coldsnap then Shatter Lance).

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