Mech Matters on Meta

So, as discussed in the previous post, I wanted to talk about something we’re going to frequently encounter on the ladder. His name? Frustration, Mechaz0r. Mechaz0r at first seems like a super neat idea, it requires 5 cards to be complete, and then you win the game!

Sound familiar?

 

672c717cd1d1b2419a601ed7412ac2c0

Hmm…This isn’t Duelyst is it?

 

No, it’s not Duelyst, but there’s if you recall the discussion about when minions become answer or die, or else you lose the game, there is a very specific minion in the game that is extremely similar to that, except you can see it coming a mile away.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For Mechaz0r to be built, it requires 5 of any combination of the following cards:

1 mana – Helm of Mechaz0r
2 mana – Wings of Mechaz0r
3 mana – Cannon of Mechaz0r
3 mana – Sword of Mechaz0r
4 mana – Chasis of Mechaz0r

With the exception of Helm of Mechazor, they all have innate abilities as well as progressing mechaz0r’s “birth” by 20% each time any one is played. It doesn’t matter if duplicates are played – they still progress to the mechaz0r.

1 mana – Helm of Mechaz0r –
2 mana – Wings of Mechaz0r -Airdrop (can be dropped anwyhere on the field)
3 mana – Cannon of Mechaz0r – Ranged (can reach anywhere on the field with attack without moving)
3 mana – Sword of Mechaz0r Frenzy (adjacent and diagonal tiles can all be targetted at once)
4 mana – Chasis of Mechaz0r(Cannot be targeted by spells)*

*Area of Effect spells not included

So what’s the big deal with this? Oh, well it’s just a card that’s 8 health, 8 attack, and receives all of the innate abilities and is played for 0 mana once mechaz0r reaches 100% completion.

 

MECHAZ0R

the forbidden one

 

So game over, right? The game has an internal clock that just determines that if you don’t win by the time the opponent gets out this card, you just lose, right?

No – that’s not the case, and that’s where the meta comes in. There’s a 3 attack, 3 health minion that costs 3 mana.

It’s value is 3. That’s right, it’s only 3. Using our algorithms, this card falls very very flat on it’s face when you compare the fact that our most basic card Windblade Adept has a value of 4 when zealed – which it should always be.

Crossbones

the main offender

I’m sure you can see where this is going, and that will be continued in the next article. But for now, know that Crossbones is a hard counter to Mechaz0r, and depending on the meta you decide on whether or not to play him.

Correction credits:
Boronian1

remoqaz

Summary:
There is a controversial “1-2-3-4-5” you-win in Duelyst that largely ignores the other elements of the game.

There is a hard counter that fails our algorithm test – Crossbones, that can instantly destroy a Mechaz0r with its Opening Gambit

Including Crossbones (a card that using our previous expressions to calculate value, the card would falsely appear to be useless.) in your deck depends on the meta – which is how many players are deciding to play the game this way (mechaz0r)

PS: If you guys could let me know about the length of each article (too long? too short?) I would greatly appreciate the feedback.

 

More Matters on Meta

I know, I know. These posts have no pictures. How boring is that? Boring or not, still the meta is something we must continue to talk about. Yes, there’s more. I wrapped up the last article  by making a little bit of a strange reference to literature and other works of art to describe the meta in gaming. Does it still hold? Let’s bash some more on Kaleos and see.

A perfect example of this would be an alternate general (Reva Eventide) ending up seeing significantly more play on the ladder than Kaleos Xaan – Songhai’s main general.

Why am I talking about meta? It’s more important to the game than to just bash on Songhai’s main general Kaleos – it’s actually something we need to understand in order to play even semi-competitively against others.
Is this still looking about as clear as mud?

 

Let’s say, for example all of a sudden every single deck you saw had 100% rush minions.

How would you deal with this? How would you counteract it? What would you do automatically different than usual the minute you start a game?

 

The “Everyone has rush on every single card” is the meta and “I’m going to run 3x Nightwatcher and a buttload of provoke minions” is your counter-strategy to the meta.

Night Watcher.png
hey, a picture!

Making sense now?  Good. A term you’re going to hear a lot is viability in the meta. What this means is as new things are discovered, uncovered, or developed, new counter strategies are also discovered, uncovered, and developed while old ones may go to the wayside.

The meta is an important indicator of the health of a certain strategy, but that doesn’t mean that it is the end all be all of everything.

In closing, yes-  we can try to define intrinsic values for cards but sometimes we will add cards to our arsenal that don’t “work out so well” with our formulas we’ve developed thus far – but are an addition to the deck to deal with a situation that has become popular with the players.

These cards are called tech cards and they are designed to specifically hard-counter things in the meta that may be causing lots of difficulty for us in our deck.
next we’ll talk about mechaz0r and more specifically, how to counter that with a otherwise “useless” tech card.

 

Summary:

  • The meta can change and grow, causing players to find out what works and what doesn’t work
  • Tech cards, or “anti-meta” cards may not be viable with our algorithms and formulas we have come up with but can still be a necessity depending on the current state of the meta-game.

Meta Commentary: The Matter on Meta

Last article I concluded with a shocking and upsetting revelation regarding Songhai, the next faction available on the list in Duelyst. As I mentioned previously, I am actually a Songhai main, but when I took it apart and dissected it for purposes of blogging about it, I realized very quickly that there was an inherent problem with Songhai’s beginning deck, general, cards…the whole 9 and a half yards, so to speak.
Needless to say I was pretty taken aback by this. I had a hard time beating the NPC, nevermind beating a real live person. I wanted to continue the discussion on Songhai today with additional “back-breaking investigative research” (playing Video Games) but I happened to Superman Bounce (or double-jump: depending on where you live) my laptop out of my bed and onto the floor.
So for the majority of yesterday and today, I was computerless. For a guy like me, that’s pretty devastating. Needless to say, I don’t have much material in the way of Songhai to sling your way today.

 

However, the topic of meta comes to mind and I want to take the time to discuss that.
I know, I know I said this would be a jargon free, easy to read blog, but meta is such an important piece of jargon for gaming in general that if you don’t already know what it means there is going to be some point in your life (preferably now) where you find out just what exactly it does mean.

 
The meta, as defined by me is the game state and how it’s currently played not by development of the game creators and developers, but by development of the understanding of the game, the strategies that work, and the counters to those strategies as the game matures and develops itself over-time.

 
This might be hard to visualize without an abstraction, so I’ll give you a different example. Ever heard of the “Death of the Author” argument? No? How about this then, ever decide in your head that the real meaning behind a movie or book is different from what the author proposed? That, now that the author has released his or her universe upon the world, the world has free reign to shape and design it how they please and their old intentions and interpretations have died with their release to the public of the content.

 
Does that sound familiar to you? I’m sure it does.

In gaming, meta is like that except a lot less dramatic. It certainly has it’s fair share of people who disagree with what it really is, and even discussing what meta means is going to have it’s fair share of people who don’t agree with how I define it.
 

For our purposes, we needn’t care. In a less flowery, verbose format:

The meta is the state of the game as defined and shaped by the community at that given time, not exactly by the developers.

 

 

this is getting a little lengthy so I’ll continue the rest in a 2nd part released tomorrow.

Summary:

 

  • The meta, as defined by me is the game state and how it’s currently played not by development of the game creators and developers, but by development of the understanding of the game, the strategies that work, and the counters to those strategies as the game matures and develops itself over-time.

 

Winning Winning #Winning, Defining Your Win Condition

Last time, we talked about synergy. We noticed that divine bond had immense synergy with some of the cards in our deck – and we mentioned that we are going usually win if we can get it out on the board on top of an active monster and attack the same turn.
That’s in a perfect situation  – it won’t be like that everytime. But when it is, it’s great – we’re more than likely winning that match.

So now that we know the deck works with divine bond, what do we do to build around it to ensure that we last that long, get to play, it, and get to win?

Well, to get there, we’re going to need to stall.

Remember all those provoke minions? They become hugely important to control the opponent until you can get your divine bond and win the game!
This is called a win condition, and your deck type is called an archetype – which is not a word that I will be using very frequently because it’s jargon and we don’t need jargon.

So we have a few options for controlling our opponent and the board with provoking right now. Let’s build a deck and come up with an explanation for every card. If you can’t find an explanation, you don’t need it, or you need to think of a better explanation or run 2 copies because you might need it, but don’t know what to do with it.

 

For now, we’re going to stick with 3 ofs.

deckLandscapeLyonar (1)

The proposed deck has been seen before, and here it is once more. Here’s the explanation behind everything in the deck:

Rock Pulverizer: Provoke
Vale Hunter: (Ranged, can pick off pesky hard to reach objectives)
Windblade Adept: 2 cost 3/3 when zealed (6 – 2 = 4)
Saberspine Tiger: Removes any 3 health or lower units that need to be answered quickly due to its rush ability which allows it to be played the same turn.
Silverguard Knight: Provoke
Lyssian Brawler: Good target for Divine Bond, celerity allows it to damage the general or any minion with less than 3 attack for 8 total if it sticks.
Primus Shieldmaster: Provoke
Brightmoss Golem: Excellent Divine Bond Target
Stormmetal Golem/Dragon Bone Golem: Game tempo

Tempo is playing upon the pace at which the game goes. At 7 mana for example, you’re going to want a 7 cost play.
Keep in mind this is all in a perfect game where all the cards you draw go your way and everything is awesome. You can still win, or lose without having your win condition even showing up in your hand. Think of it more of an ideal win condition rather than the only condition upon which you will win. Be attentive so that you can be adaptable and respond to situations as they arrive! You won’t always get your divine bond out and win, or even get it out at all,  but you can still win – and of course, there will always be losses.

Tomorrow, we take a look at the other factions and their special abilities one at a time starting with Songhai. Once we break in all the factions, we will start discussing the board!

Summary:

  • A win condition is something you create your deck around based on the idea that in a perfect game x y z.
  • Run 3 copies of everything that helps you arrive there, 2 of things that might help.
  • Divine Bonding a big Minion is a perfect example of a “win condition”
  • You can win (or lose) without meeting your win condition
  • Your win condition defines your deck style.

Daily Duelyst, Weekend Roar-ior Edition Volume 1.

Some people don’t like reading. Some people like reading, and can’t find the time. Some people just want to get to the bottom of it and don’t appreciate my flowery prose.

Whatever the case may  be, I’m not here to judge you – here’s a complete summary of everything we learned this week (our first week!) It’s a lot, so for those of you who don’t like reading I do apologize but in summary:

  • Duelyst has two types of replace mechanisms in game to decrease the likelihood of probability being the sole cause of determining the winner or loser of games
  • The Mulligan (jargon), here-on referred to as the Pre-Game Replace at the start of the turn is often used to replace your highest mana minions. Duplicates in your deck of the same card can be returned during the Pre-Game Replace
  • The in-turn replace is best used at the start of your turn to increase the likelihood of you developing a better strategy.
  • Replace cards you don’t want to use that turn to maintain mana efficiency.
  • Replacing in-turn can never return the same card.
  • We can add some more functionality and data harvesting helper tools to improve our gameplay. (scripts)
  • After an arbitrary amount of games, decide to review which cards didn’t receive play or could be replaced using your replays.
  • We can create a pegging system to determine which cards are objectively better than others.
  • V = A + H – C (Value = Attack + Health – Cost).
  • Zeal is activated when you keep your general on any adjacent tile to the unit. Zeal is activated when you keep your general on any adjacent tile to the unit. Stay near a +2 1/5 zeal and it becomes 3/5 instead of 1/5. So (3 – 5 – 3 + p = 5 + p ) (where p is provoke)
  • Tempest, for example is 2 mana, deal 2 manage to everything. The formula is 2n-2 scales and scales with it’s potential damage.
  • It is possible to “run out of options” as the game progresses.
  • This is offset by having cards in your deck that allow you to draw cards.
  • This value can be determined by Value = A + D – C  +  VoCD
  • A = Attack, D = Defence, C = Cost, VoCD = Value of Card Drawn
  • All the cards in the range have to be taken into consideration, therefore your answer is a variable.
  • Dispel is an integral part of Duelyst and failing to have it absolutely can cost you the game.
  • Value = (Attack + Defence) – Cost + (Value of Dispel)
  • Value =(Attack + Defence) – Cost + (Value of Provoke)
  • Value of Provoke is the value of the value of the provoked minions.
  • The value of dispel is equal to the value of the dispel card + the amount of value removed from the minions dispelled.
  • Due to the situational nature of the game, an Opening Gambit’s value can have a huge range
  • Prismatic cards are rarer editions of cards that have no impact on gameplay other than aesthetic.
  • Deck synergy can win you the game
  • Synergy can make a minion become answer or die
  • There can be obvious synergy in the deck with card + card, but there can be less obvious synergies that can happen that can win you the game, don’t get stuck on just one card!

    Stay tuned for my write-up of my experience in the Newbie Melee!

Divine Bond: 1 + 1 = Infinity, Let’s Talk About Synergy!

Last discussion we introduced the topic we talked about opening gambit and how it immediately impacts the game, and because of the state of the board at the time, the value of a card with opening gambit can vary by a huge margin.
Just one day before, we talked about card draw and it’s importance in the deck. However, our winrate with the 5 mana  5/4 dying wish “draw a card” necroseer had us see a winrate of 30% opposed to our usual 40%.

Unless your goal is to sandbag yourself to the bottom of the division, this is not a good thing. Why did this happen? It’s entirely possible that the removal of Brightmoss Golem broke our deck synergy, a very important part of deckbuilding.

So, in order to rectify this – we need to take necroseer out once more, and put Brightmoss Golem back in and figure out what happened.

 

dynamic 4 value (4+Value of Card Drawn) vs static 8 value

Not only does Brightmoss Golem have a higher static value than Necroseer, there is a very important thing to notice about the stats of Brightmoss Golem and another card that we have in our deck that will make playing Brightmoss Golem an “answer this minion or lose the game” technique for our opponent.

Take a look at the following sequence of actions and determine what card we have that allows us a huge advantage when played with a card it synergizes with:

If you guessed divine bond, you’re absolutely right.

In this sequence of photos, divine bond won the game by synergizing with Lysian Brawler. It’s important to note that we specifically chose a different example than the most obvious synergy: Brightmoss Golem to demonstrate the importance of not getting hung up on the cards. Look at the numbers and values, not the picture art of the cards. The numbers win you the game, not the specific details of the cards – in most cases a well built deck will have a number of options to win!

 

Here’s the card divine bond:
DivineBond.png

In the picture sequence above, we used 7 mana to do the following to Lysian Brawler:

  1. Divine Bond – Lysian Brawler becomes 8/4
  2. Divine Bond – Lysian brawler becomes 12/4
  3. Roar (bloodborne spell) Lysian Brawler becomes 14/4
  4. Lysian Brawler becomes answer or die
  5. Victory

In this situation, step 4 is irrelevant – there was no chance for the opponent to actually answer as this all took place on the same turn, out of hand when Lysian Brawler was already active and able to attack.

Let’s create some mathematical expressions for what happened.

Lysian Brawler is a 4 mana 4/4 with celerity (value of 8 or 4 depending on if it gets to attack twice or once).

V = A + D – C +(celerity)

Divine Bond: 3 cost, add the health to attack of a minion.

V= NewAttack – 3

V = 8 – 3

V = 5

New value of Lysian Brawler

V = A + D – C + (celerity)

V = 8 + 4 – 4 + (8)

V= 16

Second Divine Bond: 3 cost, add health to attack of a minion

V = NewAttack – 3
V = 12 – 3
V = 9

New Value of Lysian Brawler

V= A + D – C + (celerity)
V = 12 + 4 -4 + (12)
V =24

Value of Roar

V = NewAttack – Cost (1)
V = 14 – 1

V = 13

Final Value of Lysian Brawler
V = A + D – C + (celerity)
V = 14 + 4 – 4 + (14)
V = 28

Max general HP: 25

Lysian Brawler becomes answer or die!

Phew, that was a lot of steps. As you can see, the value of Lysian Brawler scaled massively due to synergy with divine bond and celerity. This won us the game!

This is a lot to digest, so we’re going to stop here.  Tomorrow is the Duelyst Newbie Melee, so we’re going to have a weekly recap (Daily Duelyst- Weekend Warrior Edition) and Sunday we will talk Duelyst Newbie Melee!

deckLandscapeLyonar (8)

Summary

  • Deck synergy can win you the game
  • Synergy can make a minion become answer or die
  • There can be obvious synergy in the deck with card + card, but there can be less obvious synergies that can happen that can win you the game, don’t get stuck on just one card!
  • Divine Bond has humungous synergy in our deck currently, and works better with Brightmoss Golem than Necroseer.
  • Divine Bond can be defined as V = NewAttack – Cost
  • Synergy can be defined as S = #Winning

Act Now, Pay Later – Opening Gambit and Shiny Things.

Yesterday we covered provoke and dispel. We are quickly beginning to understand all the fundamentals of the different aspects of the cards but we still have a long way to go. We have yet to talk about the board, different interactions with the board, mana tiles, and more. Yet still, we have managed to get quite a few winning games under our belt.

Screenshot - May 11, 2017 10.53 AM
The board can sometimes be a chaotic and complicated mess that separates Duelyst as a game from other card games.

As we already know, different cards have different effects that can dramatically change the game. Some of those generate value over time, or the value is dynamic – like that of a provoke, as mentioned yesterday. Others still, generate their value by removing value from other cards – as demonstrated by the example featuring the ephemeral shroud.

Opening Gambit is a static, instantaneous value generator. It is usually extremely desirable because it happens immediately. In a way, provoke is an opening gambit as instantly anything on a directly surrounding tile becomes provoked. That’s not correct in the sense of Duelyst’s vocabulary, but it’s a good way to think of it if you are having difficulty.

As briefly mentioned, the value from an opening gambit is instantaneous. Using our method of creating algorithms in order to objectively understand the value of cards, opening gambit can appear to be a simple calculation at first.

 

V = VoC + VoE

Two different kind of cards with Opening Gambits

Value = Value of Card + Value of Effect.

Fairly simple.
For a healing mystic  (2 mana 2/3 opening gambit: heal anything for 2 hp) the value is:

V = 2 + 3 – 2 + 2

V = 5

However, there are very complicated cards such as Blistering Skorn. Blistering Skorn deals 1 damage to everything, including itself. Blistering Skorn is 4 mana 4/5.

Why is blistering Skorn complicated? It’s complicated abstract an algorithm for the value of Blistering Skorn because its value has two important things that we have to take into consideration at once:
Its inherent reduction of your own value
Its increase of value due to its impact on the opponents value.

Truthfully, like most cards in Duelyst this card is extremely situational, which is something we have not addressed yet because we are trying to objectively define cards and determine their worthiness in our decks on mana cost alone.

That being said, In a situation where you have 5 units including your general on board, and your opponent has 1, the formula is

V = (4+5) – 4 + (1 -6)

V = 0.

That’s correct. When you have 5 units including your general, and your opponent only has their general on board, the value of skorn is 0. Note  that it is 1-6 (1 being the opponent) and not 1-5 (5 being how many units you have on the board) as Blistering Skorn also damages itself. That doesn’t mean that Blistering Skorn is a bad card. Let’s reverse the situation.

Our opponent has 5 units including their general, and you have 1. Now the formula is:

V = (4 +5) – 4 + (6 – 2)

V = 9

Blistering Skorn can either be very useful or completely useless depending on the situation we’re in.

That’s all we’re going to touch upon for calculating opening gambits for now.
By now you have probably unlocked or received a different kind of copy of a card, a card that is purple, pink and green in the background. These cards are called prismatic cards and are rare copies of their regular counterpart. They have no impact on the gameplay and you cannot use prismatics to exceed the 3 copy limit.
There are two types of prismatic cards. Ones you receive for leveling up your faction, and those you receive in opening packs, by chance. These prismatics can be disenchanted into spirit which – with the Newbie Melee in our sites, will be a topic we will be talking about tomorrow along with deck synergy and why I removed necroseer from the deck again in favor of Brightmoss Golem.

 

deckLandscapeLyonar (8).png

 

Summary:

  • The board is an integral part of Duelyst and what separates it from other card games.
  • Opening Gambit is an effect similar to a spell that happens automatically.
  • Sticking to our formulae, the  value of Opening Gambit can be Value = Value of Card + Value of Effect.
  • V = VoC + VoE
  • Due to the situational nature of the game, an Opening Gambit’s value can have a huge range
  • Blistering Skorn, for example can have a value of 9, a value of 0, and that’s not all.
  • Prismatic cards are rarer editions of cards that have no impact on gameplay other than aesthetic.
  • Progression prismatics cannot be disenchanted. Prismatics from card packs can be disenchanted for spirit  – another essential part of Duelyst.