• Power - A User Blog Call to Action!

    Hey guys, this is my first blog on here so if it seems rambly, just let me know.

    What I wanted to talk about today was the overwhelming sense I have that the general consensus of the population is to "nerf" the power level of the game. Even the WizKids rules forum states "When in doubt, choose the 'weaker' option" on their judge guidance forum.

    Well I say NAY!

    Many of us came to this game from Magic and many more will follow, unless, that is, every team is reletively the same. If the meta gets stagnant because we don't want to accept the changes new and powerful cards force upon us we will not garner new players but rather lose the ones we have over time.

    WHOA! You might say, there are plenty of new things.... Well, yes. There is, but let me give you an example.

    Lantern Ring: Limited Only by Imagination


    Before the ruling from Salt Lake (I think....) I had heard plenty of variations on how this card worked. The common one was each character would deal 1 damage when it attacked no matter how many matching symbols because it only mattered that there was at least 1 match. WRONG.

    Why would this be how people wanted it? Well, if you've ever played against a team that could deal 21 damage with three attackers and a Lantern Ring, BEFORE blocks were even made, you'd know why people wanted the "weaker" option. I'd like to take this moment to explain how picking a more powerful option is better in the long run.

    Powerful cards are designed with progress in mind. They make us think and rethink the meta game. They make us adjust to new and powerful strategies. They make the game better. A powerful card can create it's own powerful strategies which will in turn force the meta game to change. Yes, this could affect the price of your collection or individual cards. It may mean that the team the current Nat'l Champ won with is no longer viable. That's just fine. That's progress. I have yet to see a strategy that is unbeatable, I just don't think one exists. Yes, you can swing on turn three with a bunch of Guy Gardners and BOOM you win....but so long as I have at least one blocker and you can't Overcrush, I've still got a chance. I've lived the 1 life come back, it's real.

    In general I firmly believe we need to accept the power level of these VERY powerful cards and look not to "nerf" them but rather to how we can overcome the obstacles they represent. Let's look to how we can beat the super fast Guy Gardners or the Lantern Ring swings. Let's brew and find new and powerful combos to make work, forcing the meta to change around us. Let's embrace the power instead of fearing it.

    So? Who's with me?

    Who's willing to charge ahead into the world of powerful effects and cunning answers?

    Who's willing to navigate the unsteady waters of an everchanging metagame?

    Most of all, who's willing to stay the course and accept and learn from the loses while we face down new and powerful cards or mechanics?

    I for one am excited for every new card and the possibility each one brings.

    Thanks for the read and now...

    GO ROLL SOME DICE!



    Nemesis
    This article was originally published in blog: Power. started by Nemesis
    Comments 20 Comments
    1. JONNYNHM's Avatar
      JONNYNHM -
      I like they way the cards are ruled, and as a store volunteer i will rule that way. Since there is no card that you play and can win every time i think its fair. There are plenty of answers out there for these over powered cards, and so I agree with you. These cards help progress the game along and force players to rethink the cards they bring. I think that if you believe your deck should win every time no mater what everyone else has then go play something else. This is a new and evolving game.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      i completely agree with you. People for some reason are seeing these powerful cards as a threat to the game but if anything they make the game stronger. If the game gets stale it would die but stimulating the meta with powerful cards is the best thing they can do. really good blog post 5/5.
    1. Zeriphem's Avatar
      Zeriphem -
      I think your right on with this article. Powerful cards don't just stimulate the meta as Stormyknight said, but they also push us as players. We have to rethink teams and make serious decisions about the next team. Do you need to generate characters faster? Hit harder? More control? Power cards will always exist and continue to drive games, regardless what that game is. So if it's Guy Gardner/Tsraina/Lantern Ring or a turn one Grislebrand, as players we can only try to prepare and brew.
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      I completely disagree. While current levels of power are tolerable for a game like Dicemasters, "counters exist" or learning to adapt" will never be a valid argument when discussing cards of extreme power.

      Meta centralizing cards should not be praised in really any game, as they often have extremely poor design that do not promote skilled interaction or healthy gamestates. In a game like Dicemasters where the competitive format allows the use of all available cards, I think this is even more important to think about, because these power cards inhibit future card design.

      As for counters, I do not believe players should be forced to pollute teams with inherently bad cards that "might" be able to counter much more powerful strategies. When this becomes the case, games no longer involve thought to any meaningful degree, and end up becoming a coin toss. First turn advantage is already incredibly strong in Dicemasters, and poorly designed effects only serve to exacerbate this issue.

      I think it's important to understand that people do not necessarily want the game or certain cards "nerfed" per se, but that they are concerned about the future of the game. Instead, they desire more consistent rulings (or any rulings at all) and counter cards that aren't terrible. Packing problems, ruling problems, power levels, rarities, etc. These are all things that have caused people to leave this game already. I think most people would be inclined to agree with me when I say that something needs to be done, and soon, or this game will not survive. At the very least, the people who cared the most about the game and work hard to contribute as much as possible to make up for what Wizkids is incapable of will.

      I'm still in the process of getting everything together for the blog post I've been thinking about for a while which goes further in depth, but anyone interested can expect my thoughts in full sometime this weekend.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      the one thing you're forgetting about this game is there is a lack of a sideboard. The reason being you should have plenty of room for a card that helps you with X card. Putting sideboard cards in your deck are just one of the things people aren't used to because usually it's not something you can't handle with generic removal. I like the challenges that things like The Ring.
    1. Osprey's Avatar
      Osprey -
      I'm not forgetting about the lack of the sideboard. I believe I pointed out that "counters" don't actually matter that much.
    1. SirFrankus's Avatar
      SirFrankus -
      I'm with Osprey on this one.

      Power cards are cool, and can be fun. However, I can't help but feel they devolve the game when I look at the game as a whole. I don't like it when a winner can be determined before the game starts because player A brought "power card #3" and I only brought the counters for "power cards #2 and #5". It starts to feel like 10-20 minute slogs of "rock/paper/scissors". Each player has roughly 12 abilities to choose from (the 8 on their team, and the 4 BAC). I feel like there is a bubble that will eventually burst. There just aren't enough spots to "counter" the "power" cards if they are too powerful, and being able to guess the right counters takes away from game play and adds more to "deck building/pay to play" type stuff.

      I'm a bigger fan of playing the game, the decisions, and the back and forth nature of it. I'm no so keen on "I brought the meta, so you'll lose unless you brought the specific counters".

      Now that I'm thinking on it, it might be pretty cool if there was a tournament where each player brought 3 teams, winner has to keep the same team but loser can switch; best two out of three wins. If Wizkids doesn't decide to start rotating sets and make a "standard" format, I don't see a solution from preventing that bubble burst in an unlimited format. I hope it doesn't come to that, because this game is too much fun to devolve into a "power system" that shuns certain demographics of players before the scene is big enough so that it can allow multiple play demographics to exist.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Quote Originally Posted by SirFrankus View Post
      I'm with Osprey on this one.

      Power cards are cool, and can be fun. However, I can't help but feel they devolve the game when I look at the game as a whole. I don't like it when a winner can be determined before the game starts because player A brought "power card #3" and I only brought the counters for "power cards #2 and #5". It starts to feel like 10-20 minute slogs of "rock/paper/scissors". Each player has roughly 12 abilities to choose from (the 8 on their team, and the 4 BAC). I feel like there is a bubble that will eventually burst. There just aren't enough spots to "counter" the "power" cards if they are too powerful, and being able to guess the right counters takes away from game play and adds more to "deck building/pay to play" type stuff.

      I'm a bigger fan of playing the game, the decisions, and the back and forth nature of it. I'm no so keen on "I brought the meta, so you'll lose unless you brought the specific counters".

      Now that I'm thinking on it, it might be pretty cool if there was a tournament where each player brought 3 teams, winner has to keep the same team but loser can switch; best two out of three wins. If Wizkids doesn't decide to start rotating sets and make a "standard" format, I don't see a solution from preventing that bubble burst in an unlimited format. I hope it doesn't come to that, because this game is too much fun to devolve into a "power system" that shuns certain demographics of players before the scene is big enough so that it can allow multiple play demographics to exist.
      The point about automatically losing to Power card X is one of my sticking points here. If there are, say 5 power cards, and you can find a card that answers 3 of them, then another card that answers one of them and is at least decent at slowing the fifth, then you've found a solid pair of meta hindering cards to build into your over all strategy. From there, you're looking to build your win condition, and the few utility or economy cards you brought along.

      The Winner of a particular game or match could be argued to be be the person who built and piloted the best team, but in a tournament structure like Nationals or World, it's not about the best team in a given match or game, but the best team at surviving the gauntlet of variety, both expected and unexpected.

      Take a step back and look at it from a larger (true meaning of) Meta angle. The reason X team consistently beats Y team is because Y team can't afford the tools to stop X team. But X team can't spare the space to stop Z team who gets beaten by Y often. If you could build A-Team as a team that has a 60% chance of winning against all of the above teams, you'd be better than the team that beats Y 100%, Z 0% and A 40% of the time. That is what the real meta discussion is about, marginal advantages that have found broad successes.

      Worlds was a good example of this. It wasn't that Dean's team can beat every team out there consistently but that it could beat most of the teams most of the time. These Meta Power cards, help create the landscape of the meta, but they don't lock us in to set ways. Things like Rare Grundy can come out of the blue and surprise the Meta, becoming a hidden power card, over night.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      The last thing we need is a meta like Modern in Magic right now. Without releasing cards like this it would turn into that, stagnant.

      I do agree that at some point they need to make something like standard. But the game is not big enough right now for them to justify splitting the already small tournament crowd of dice masters.
    1. Zeriphem's Avatar
      Zeriphem -
      Where as they haven't done this yet with Dice Masters, Wizkids does already do rotation with Heroclix. Heroclix has two formats, Golden Age and Silver Age. Now I'm not 100% sure which one is which but I believe Golden Age is everything ever made and Silver Age is from set X to current. Thing is they do this maybe every two years. Dice Masters is maybe 1.5 years old so if anything was going to happen it's still not going to be any time soon. I've been preparing my locals for set rotation so we know how we want our formats going forward when it happens.

      Come to think of it, aren't they also doing figure/gear, or whatever they call it, retirement in Star Trek Attack Wing?
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      If you have/need/want to take out sets your game is designed poorly.

      As far as to the original point and specifically lantern ring, the game has trended to direct damage abilities being limited to 1 damage per "use" for each character. Lantern ring ring gives that at a minimum to every attacking character on average with the so called weaker ruling. Even going with that it's still a verythromycin powerful card. I'very been playing with the more powerful version since the tourney ruling, but prefer the weaker.

      My main concern would be that any game that wants to continue to grow needs a steady influx of new players. These cards that currently meta defining could be the reason a new player gets discouraged at their first event and finds a different game to sink their money into. The draw of dicemasters to me is the variety you can build with and not the power cards. If 2/3 of my team is counters then I'm probably not having as much fun playing it.

      Another thing to realize is this game is not magic and that's a good thing. A big percentage of the player base are not magic players and if the game heads down a similar play style we may lose that group for the same reasons they quit or never gravitated to Magic.
    1. sewnwings's Avatar
      sewnwings -
      Once Wizkids gets serious and anounces a rotation then i think we can relax a bit. Most of the power cards are from AVX. To say that a rotation of cards in the format is bad design ignores the whole history of the CCG. It shakes up the format and pushes the gamer to buy newer product, the goal of any company.
      If a player can't be bothered to bring cards to interact with thier opponent's plan, then a strategy game may not be their bag. I want to play a game where my decisions matter. When i buy dice. How many i buy. What energy to hold up. I want to test my skills. Making a good counter meta call can be just as rewarding as picking a good win con.
      I would like to see someone test some alternative start conditions. Maybe the person going second gets a colorless energy or first player has globals locked out till their second turn. Maybe make a sideboard option for the game. It's young and has time to improve, but not making exciting and challenging cards won't bring any one new to the game.
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      The history of CCGS is littered with duds. Dicemasters in my mind is unique and should do its own thing.

      It's not my idea, but it's been mentioned before that to release cards similar to power cards from earlier sets but slightly different to give access to the mechanics to newer players. Eg. The new black cat = storm with better die stats.

      As for the issue of the sideboard, I'm totally opposed to the idea in a competitive setting. The team building aspect goes out the window if I know my opponent can just carry all the counters with him.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jwannabe View Post
      The history of CCGS is littered with duds. Dicemasters in my mind is unique and should do its own thing.

      It's not my idea, but it's been mentioned before that to release cards similar to power cards from earlier sets but slightly different to give access to the mechanics to newer players. Eg. The new black cat = storm with better die stats.

      As for the issue of the sideboard, I'm totally opposed to the idea in a competitive setting. The team building aspect goes out the window if I know my opponent can just carry all the counters with him.
      We were more talking about the lack of a sideboard in this game, being made up for by being able to sideboard in your mainboard. Bringing things to stop known decks is the sideboarding you can actually do.
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      I see. To be clear I don't have a problem with any of the power cards so far with Tsarina being the outlier at its time of release. She has since been at least manageable with later releases, to the extent that hard counters for her have not even been used (Psylocke) that I have seen.
    1. Shadowmeld's Avatar
      Shadowmeld -
      Put more simply, if every team just brought the 8 cards that helped it do its win condition the best, there would boil out to be only a few niche teams, as they become the most reliable and least counterable. However, the team that can then do the same job in 7 cards leaves a slot open to bring a card to counter the competitions strategy. And so on and so forth until we find the balance of least fidly, most reliable, and fastest team. It is not difficult to make a team in Dice Masters that can win, eventually. The difficulty comes in making the team the reliably fastest thing on the market.

      As such, power cards are designed to lead the pack as highlight cards of particular strategies. From there we have a beacon to build around. We know the other beacons we need to make our team faster than, and we know what our beacon will need to support its success. Whether the beacon cards themselves are used, they still do much for the meta by highlighting the viable mechanics to win the game, and also encouraging our opponents to play around those strategies, thus forcing our strategy to have to adapt to their counter.

      In the long run, these power cards set a benchmark that makes it easy to read where the key strategies of the game lie, and with that metric, it makes building and designing teams an easier task across all spectrums of players. Easier deck building leads to more confident and active players and more players leads to both more sales and more word of mouth, and thus more success for the game. As such, power cards actually promote a healthier game, so long as the cycle of new cards and rarity of these power cards does not restrict access to players. Guy Gardner, being in the starter, and one of the strongest power cards currently, is a good example of intelegent power card distribution. Everyone can afford to build a guy Gardner team. (Speaking of which, I expect to see loads of Guy teams in the PDC reports)
    1. Java's Avatar
      Java -
      Just for fun, I'd like to introduce a different perspective. I'm what you would call a kitchen table player, and I know (or care) little about the "meta" game. When we talk about the game living or dying based on how the meta is going, I'm here to tell you not to worry. As long as these "power cards" don't become too common, the game will survive. For each serious player that knows the current meta inside and out, and enjoys building a team to beat it, there are tens of thousands of us meeting at comic shops on Sunday afternoons playing drafts and commons-only games and anything else we can think of to limit powerful cards and combos that make a game last less than three minutes. We love you guys and girls. Your games are fun to watch. But we are happy down here. Worry not, there are plenty of us down here at the bottom of the food chain, buying booster packs at the comic shops and keeping the game alive for you. Have fun.
    1. Bronn1's Avatar
      Bronn1 -
      The key is to balance the casual environment with the competitive one. A casual, but competitive, game brings in new players. A broken competitive one makes them leave.

      I've seen this happening in our local environment, and I've been affected by it as well, as I didn't start playing this for the broken combos, I started because I liked the idea of fielding a Guardians team or a team of my favorite Avengers. While I am missing some of the broken SRs like Tsarina, I can field a competitive deck, but there's only so much fun that can come from crushing that kid with the theme deck with your Bolt Lantern Ring deck. And depending on how cutthroat your local group is, that can drive them away.

      I saw this very thing happen in Legend of the Five Rings. There were two arcs of the game where they tried to be "Magic-level competitive" (Lotus and Emperor Editions). Both times, while high level players liked it, it drove casual players away in droves. The second time, the game never recovered and now its sold off and becoming an LCG. I'm not saying that a game as popular as Dice Masters is at the point where its about to die from being ultra-competitive, but every slide begins somewhere. We already see people that used to write for this site fold up their tents because of issues with the game, and if someone that was into the game enough to write for it or be a regular TO for it decides to hang it up, that speaks to an issue that needs addressing. That we keep seeing posts about this kind of thing, suggestions on "theme" nights to encourage casual play, etc, says that this isn't a few people having issues with the direction of the game and it needs to be paid attention to by WizKids.

      The other thing that I'm concerned with is that so much of the game revolves around cards from AvX, with few if any new ones making a dent in the tourney scene. Mostly fair and balanced purchase and fielding costs are good to see in recent expansions, even if uniform wording and clear rules text are a work in progress, but when you measure them against the old cards, there's little reason to play said cards outside of one or two (Lantern Ring and the aforementioned Guy, but was there anything else that made much noise from WoL?). The much talked about potential set rotation to remove AvX from the environment would likely help things, but that continues to be a rumour for now. In the meantime, we'll await PDC results and see how much the environment has really changed over the last 6-12 months outside of Ring decks joining the party.

      At this point, I find myself not really minding missing competitive tournaments, because there's only so many times you want to watch Green Goliath kill your entire team thanks to Magic Missle. The game is definitely fun when people make the choice to leave the heavy hitters at home, but the local group definitely has to be aware of what they're presenting to the casual players and it just takes that one guy that always wants to win at all costs to irrevocably harm a playgroup. And that extends to the competitive scene. If they drive the casual players away and the game remains all about who has Blue-Eyes, Jinzo, Gobby and Tsarina, eventually, people will stop buying and therefore going to competitive events. We're not there yet, but the first step is admitting there's a problem.
    1. Mellingera's Avatar
      Mellingera -
      Hello all,
      First time poster, long time reader.

      I currently work for an LGS and have been working hard at getting a Dice Masters scene up and running. The player base we have range in ages from 9 to late 30's. The thing I am seeing is that as new players are coming in to play and getting hooked the younger players are constrained by the limits their parents set with spending. So cards like Tsarina and Gobby are usually out of any kids price range. (I wont get into the bottomless pockets some of these kids have nowdays, just using generalizations for this).

      Older players will (usually) have the advantage due to deeper pockets to spend on a game like DM. There is inherently a disadvantage that younger players have to deal with in any CCG. Magic is a prime example. New players are always at a disadvantage. Even with deep pockets, a new player then has to learn the intricacies of the game. I can't begin to list the times I have sat on win conditions with a deck I threw together at the last minute to play against a kid who just spent good money on a deck. The same thing can happen with DM, its just a LOT harder to hide that with the transparency the game has. Which is why I am loving this game so much. I love both games for what each bring to the table.

      Right now I am watching DM go through a lot of the same "balancing" MTG went through in the early stages. Sometimes you just dont know a cards power until something later on unlocks it. Yes, Tsarina, Gobby, Hulk and a number of AvX cards are bonkers. No question. But so was Shivan Dragon once upon a time. Now its laughed at. But after MTG was out for a while they started to put in different play formats. What was once type 2 is now Standard, Type 1.5 is now considered Legacy, Modern came to pass when I took a break from playing and I am very happy they introduced that. The only thing is that DM isnt even 2 years old yet. I am sure very soon we will start seeing game formats like Marvel only, a 2015 only, a most recent 4-6 sets. Who knows. I am looking forward to it whatever it ends up being.

      So the question I have is are you wanting to see the power level of the game increase in order to help new players not have to try and track down AvX and spend a fortune? Or because you want to see more "OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!!! Look at what this card does!" when you see a spoiler?

      Personally I am happy with the original set being "bonkers" in comparison. It reminds me of the early sets of MTG. Sets where cards ended up on banned, restricted, reserved, never again will be reprinted, lists. It helps form those kinds of competition formats. It also helps retain value with those who are interested in collecting. I am enjoying what has been brought out. I have played against some decks with almost no rare or SR cards at all that just dominated. I helped a kid put together a team recently that used a few WoL cards in particular as win cons and he stomped a veteran player at our store. The thing DM is doing well is providing a game with amazingly fun synergies. Combos. Whatever you want to call them. That is what has been so fun for us to see. Are most of the AvX cards strict upgrades to most of the cards being released? Yes. No doubt. Does that mean you are going to win with them? Nope.

      I think a more important thing for the game designers to look at is the HUGE advantage going first provides. We are actually going to start trying a few house rules to see is we can help that. Like first player only draws 3 dice instead of 4 on the first turn. That is my biggest concern with the game. If it continues on where everyone knows the biggest advantage to this game is who goes first, that will be worse off than power creep.
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Look at me, copying Mellingera. Long time reader, first time poster. In my local gaming scene, only 1 LGS is trying to actively support DM with tournament play currently, another is looking into it. My local table is 6 players, representing a 30 year age range, empty pockets to deep pockets, and a wide variety of player approaches with maybe the slight "aggro" slant you'd expect from casual players.

      Here are a couple of thoughts based on my experiences and observations. First, the WizKids "Rainbow Draft" format is a great equalizer for deep pockets to empty pockets. If you have one starter box at $20 retail you have 10 BAC to choose from and then $12 for the cards in the tournament draft. Second, at least for my group, we tend to want to try out new strategies and not just stick to one thing. We trade cards, we buy boxes of boosters together, and we generally tend to agree if something is "broken". One of my friends decided that the GL rare from JL was too powerful and told another player he wasn't going to use it. I told him I would like to play with that card in his deck vs the rare Power Ring from WoL that I have. Third, at least for casual players, even if you get stomped in play at the FLGS, there is usually a benefit to playing (besides learning what doesn't work) such as free product. Some of my favorite cards are OP promos and they can catch another player completely by surprise. The 2 point Constantine that lets you laugh off life drain tax is staggeringly useful in any deck and just insultingly good in a weenie/swarm deck. "Oh, please big bad Green Goliath, KO me so I can get even more life." (The look on your opponent's face: priceless.) Fourth, reading articles and posts about DM helps keep me from getting caught off guard and since it is free a new player can do this as easily as an established one.

      This is a great game, and I think it has a lot of "leg" to it. I've been gaming for over 35 years and this one looks like a keeper. (Yes, Virginia, there are "Chainmail" veterans who still live and walk among you.)