Almost that time again! It is nearly Gencon, which means we are merely days away from more WoWtcg action. Wife and I are both truly excited. Aside from all the obvious interest in playing our favorite game in a larger setting, it is basically the only vacation we get to take together each year. If it were closer to our anniversary it’d be perfect.
Yes, I’m super lucky. I know.
Other exciting developments have come up though. In the Retro WoWtcg group it has been brought up that there is interest in custom cards! If you haven’t done so already you should definitely check out the group over on Facebook. There are a number of people still discussing the game and it’s just another place for us to congregate and share thoughts about this great pastime.
The announcement about the custom cards didn’t have a huge amount of details, but basically post Gencon there is going to be some planning to determine what the next steps will be such as how the testing will go and how the cards will be used. There was also some talk of introducing monks to the game which is incredibly exciting. I have fond memories of the Pandaren Brewmaster in Warcraft 3 and later of Chen specifically in Heroes of the Storm. Although Chen as well as other pandaren have made appearances in the card game, they were pretty few and far between. None of them really made a competitive splash either so the prospect of pandas delivering a beatdown is enticing!
There is a ton to talk about regarding the monk class, the pandaren race, and really Mists of Pandaria as a whole. A slew of new races and concepts were introduced in that particular expansion and there are plenty of adjustments that can be made to existing classes and ideas. We have discussed on a few occasions several holes in classes and themes that could use filling, as well as many places where things are looking a little thin.
Wife and I discussed in a recent podcast both the custom card idea and a suggestion for them as a whole. Short version is this: introducing new cards especially ones that are player created can easily spiral into madness. Not to say that custom cards are bad, but more that they must be carefully curated. I’m assuming of course no one involved is a professional game creator so there’s the glaringly obvious potential for things to go awry. Therefore we both felt it’d be appropriate to maybe make a “new classic” format. Just so that you can keep the new cards in a safer sandbox. One other option we discussed was the chaos format. Since highlander variants are basically a for fun idea most of the time it feels appropriate to let creativity roam free there. It also could help minimize the impact of any particular card.
Switching it up to highlander isn’t without pitfalls however. It will be significantly more difficult to make appropriate decisions about power level due to the nature of the format. For example, if the card only comes up 1 out of every 10 games it is going to be tough to get an accurate read, especially since the situations can be so varied in highlander. Additionally the card may be stronger or weaker due to the additional variance. You could make a similar argument about more traditional formats. My opinion however is that this is exacerbated by the core tenants of this game mode.
In any case, whether the cards are introduced into “normal” classic, a new classic, highlander, or something else altogether I’m thrilled at just the prospect. For my own contribution I am going to repeat some ideas I had a while ago. These were intended for the chaos format but can obviously be modified and adapted depending on what the parameters turn out to be. The following is an old reddit post that I had made that introduced a number of additional gameplay concepts. I don’t think that the new cards need to anywhere near as complex or wacky as these, but hopefully this prompts some people to get their own creative juices flowing and we can keep expanding this amazing game.
My wife and I were discussing the chaos format the other day and in explaining the rules, I was lamenting the fact that there are so few heroes. In addition that the ones that do exist seem exceptionally imbalanced on as a result of the flips. Granted they are all really powerful so it sort of levels out, but on the surface they seem crazy. The conversation continued as we were brainstorming other ideas for heroes, namely the faction leaders. As part of that it was mentioned that it is unfortunate that all the hero cards would be left by the wayside regardless. This led to talking about how to possibly incorporate them. and the idea we had was adding “champions”.
Champions would be up to 4 “slots” for regular hero cards that you can start the game with. The number and kind you were allowed to have would be defined by the heroes you use. Essentially the champions would be used to help smooth out draws in a possibly volatile format (I know the volatility may be a draw for some but this is just an idea).
These cards would be “in play” but essentially untargetable and not attackable. Champions do not count for the purpose of allowing professions, reputations, or text restriction cards. They DO count for anything that looks for a hero or class of that kind (so empower would trigger from them). Their flips can be activated as normal with the addition that anything which refers to/references your hero means it counts for your “main” hero. Additionally heroes such as Warlord Grok’thal, or Emmi Sprinklestrike, or Tilly Fiddlelight would grant their powers to your main hero. Cards that require your hero to exhaust still require your main hero to do so.
As an example let’s take:
Sylvannas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen
40 health <allies you control can protect your hero> – chaos format rule
Undead Banshee Queen Ranger
Champion: 4 – can use 4 champions
You may only use undead champions
Can only use undead, abomination, banshee, val’kyr, or varimathras allies
Can only use Hunter abilities, death knight unholy abilities, death knight blood abilities, and hunter equipment – the intent is that she can also use spec cards from ANY of those. I am not 100% the wording makes that clear (or legal with the current rules) but that can be corrected
Can only use neutral quest and locations, or cards that are undead required – Again the wording may be incorrect to allow her to use undercity etc. but the intent is that she can.
Can use neutral abilities
At this point Sylvanas would not be able to use master heroes. The specificity on the last 2 elements is to allow for other heroes to have varying numbers. For example Jaina was a diplomat, she could possibly have multiple reputations as a bonus.
Garrosh was another idea:
Garrosh, Tyrant of Orgrimmar
<allies you control can protect your hero> – chaos format rule
Champion: 4 – can use 4 champions
You may only use orc champions
You may only use orc allies
Can use any warrior cards – intended to allow for any specs to be used
Can use neutral cards
Didn’t get much farther on powers
This exercise may be a lot of work for little gain (using the hero regular cards), and it could end up being discarded and stick to trying to come up with other heroes. We had toyed with the idea of allowing the champions to essentially function as big allies (protecting, attacking, targeting, etc) and/or you needed to get through all the champions before you could interact with the main hero but it seems like it would get clunky quickly or extend the game to uncomfortable lengths when you have essentially 150-200 (or more) health.
Another attempt was allowing heroes into the deck, and you can play them by exhausting your hero. Then they would function as gigantic allies with flips as “normal”. Personally we liked the idea that you started with them already available to level out variance and it could make things really weird having heroes in a deck, but it is there as a possible idea.
A few heroes are still possible problems such as grlglmrgl, but this is still the planning stage and it may never get past that point.
Any thoughts? Is it crazy to move in this direction? Honestly we haven’t gotten to play the chaos format itself let alone this variant, although we have played a large number of singleton games so we were looking to branch out.