Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rex Does Kongai: Necros Three – Rising From the Dead

The Necromancers, as a group, are comprised of cards that are pushed to the extreme. They contain wild, far-reaching mechanics. But while these aren't exactly serious cards, I try to make sure that they're not completely broken as well. They might not make it to the top tier but my goal is to at least make them playable. This means their powerful effects have to be carefully managed and studiously constrained in order to keep them fair. As a result, Necromantic bars tend to be full of lengthy descriptions as their skills pick up multitudinous subclauses. I'm not sure if you could actually fit them in the game and its limited text spaces but, at this point, I don't really care.

Because Necros are where I get to let my imagination run wild and explore the crazy ideas that more serious groups and more competitive cards would never touch. They're a clearing house for extreme power and gamebreaking effects. Yet, I think I've kept them more or less in balance by keeping each Necro centered on a single bizarre mechanic or what I like to call their gimmick. Whether it's bringing dead teammates back to life or preventing them from getting there in the first place, the Necro's skills, their designs, revolve around supporting that one, central idea.

As a group, they mostly lack a shared template, the generic character that can be drawn from my other groups. They have their shared mechanics, it's true – they like to draw on their team for their power and they deal a lot with defeated cards – but I've mostly winged each of their bars as there's no central plan. If there is one, it contains that one skill which enables their gimmick, includes a skill that taps their teammates and more or less requests some help, and, finally, a flexible attack that can be used at either range so they have at least a base line of damage. As a general rule, the Necros are lean and weak and not very able to survive on their own. They're casters and glass cannons (And, yes, N2 is a big exception to this.) barely able to contain the power they throw around. But there's no one gameplan for getting there, as far as I've found.

That's largely because the Necromancers are the oldest group on display here. Not the first group I've made but the earliest to come into being for this set. I've been working on them behind the scenes even as the rest of this projects has gone on. Although I've held off putting them up in part because their extreme mechanics needed a little more time to marinate. But also because I knew I had a lot of the work done so that, if need be, I could reasonably expect to finish them off as the month drew to an end. That's where we're at now even though my procrastination has led me to get further and further behind. The general sketch of the Necros is there, the gimmicks are in place, and they just needs to be teased out and wrapped around more effectively.

That's what I've been working on and now it's time to share the latest results. With this update, I should have taken the Necros to the point of having more or less completed bars. I'm not finished with them yet but, at this point, the clock is running out and I need to move on.

Name: Dr. Emil Bluth
Title: The Animator
Innate: Dr. Bluth is healed for 40 whenever he is critically hit.
HP: 55
RES: 0/8/4
Bar (v3): Skill #1 proc increased, Skill #2 cost and healing increased, Skill #3 cost decreased, Skill #4 teammate healing removed.

  1. Vivification Process. 100En, 4spd, Light. 100Hit, 100Proc. Your living teammates each lose all of their energy. One random defeated card in your hand returns with full health and energy. In 2 turns plus an additional turn for each living card in your hand they will become an exploited corpse (Maximum: 5 turns). You are switched out and that resurrected card is switched in. Cooldown: 10 turns minus one turn for each living card in your hand. Both.
  2. Galvanic Flow. 40En, 8spd, Light. 100Hit, 100Proc. Your living teammates each lose 50 energy. Your team begins to Regenerate, gaining 3 health a turn for the next 5 turns (15HOT). Both.
  3. Electrical Surge. 20En, 7spd, 12dmg, Light. 90Hit, 100Proc. Your team loses all Galvanic Charges. A surge of power strikes your opponent, dealing an additional 10 damage for each Galvanic Charge lost (Maxmium: 52 damage). Cooldown: 2 turns. Far.
  4. Vital Forces. 0En, 5spd, Dark. 100Hit, 100Proc. Your living teammates each lose 20 energy. You are healed for 10 health and each teammate gains a Galvanic Charge. (Galvanic Charge: When Resurrection or Regeneration would otherwise end, you lose one Galvanic Charge and its duration is extended for another turn.). Both.
Not many changes here since, once you wrap your head around the massive weirdness that is a card that can revive its defeated teammates, this character is actually working rather well. It's not a card that's going to win many fights by itself, really, but it's there to serve as a way of supporting its team. And, of course, bringing back those missing cards.

The changes I've made, then, are to tweak the bar here so that it's working better. I've solidified the Galvanic Charge mechanic, going with the idea that it's a way of extending the other buffs here. And making sure that Skill #4, the skill that procs it is a null cost that will allow Dr. Bluth to do something while still gaining the energy needed to use the ultra-expensive Skill #1. I've stripped off the healing of the good Doctor's teammates here, though, in order to concentrate the healing into Skill #2. The Animator now has to use that teamwide regenerative buff at least once but can then extend the effects on the cheap with Skill #4.

But I've raised the cost on Skill #2 so that it now costs too much to use in conjunction with Skill #1. Dr. Bluth now will have a choice between healing his living teammates and resurrecting the dead ones.

Finally, Skill #3 does a little too much damage, potentially, to be dual-ranged. So, since Skill #3 is single-ranged and carries with it a high opportunity cost before it gets good and also since it's the only attack on this bar, I've lowered its cost so that's it's a 20 energy null cast. That should make it easier for Dr. Bluth to step back and fire away with it since he'll almost always have that much energy – 20 is what you get at the end of the turn so that's, at worst, one turn of spacing in order to get it set up and that's time that can be spent making it better with Skill #4. Before, when it cost 40 energy, it took 90 to move and then use it. And it would take 90 since opponents would be sure to step close if he spent turns charging up his laser. Now it only takes 70, much more feasible.

A weird card, then, that deals pain in ways other than causing damage. Odd but a nice looking Necro.

Name: Herman Bluth
Title: the Re-animated Man
Innate: While Herman is in your hand, he has a 40% chance to absorb attacks meant for a teammate. Herman must have been revealed for this ability to become active.
HP: 85
RES: 7/4/4
Bar (v3): Skill #1 replaced, Skill #3 cost and dmg reduced, Skill #4 spd raised and healing lowered also now ends when health reaches 0, Innate now requires card to be revealed.
  1. Body Toss. 50En, 2spd, 35dmg, Phys. 95Hit, 100Proc. You grab a random teammate and hurl them at your foe, causing 35 physical damage to both of them. Your teammate replaces you on the field of play. Close.
  2. Bloody Knuckles. 30En, 3spd, 24dmg, Dark. 90Hit, 100Proc. You steal health from your foe and heal your teammate with the lowest health for 75% of that amount. Close.
  3. Tombstone Shove. 20En, 1spd, 15dmg, Phys. 100Hit, 100Proc. If this attack kills your foe, you gain 20 health. Close.
  4. Galvanic Process. 50En, 5spd, Dark. For the next 4 turns, you will not die until the end of the turn. At the end of each turn, you gain 5 health for each of your living teammates. If you have 0 health at the end of the turn, this effect ends prematurely. When this effect ends you lose 50 energy. Cooldown: 3. Both.
The big change here is that I've changed the Bapho process here slightly.

Herman's revnant buff was potentially too tough to overcome so I've cut the healing. He'll now gain 5HP per undefeated card giving him up to +10/+20 per turn. Still a lot but less than than simply amazing. The buff also now costs a lot more, taking 50 energy to cast but also draining 50 energy when it ends, for a total cost of 100 which I think I'd still pay (What happens if Herman has less than 50 energy when the effect ends? He loses whatever he has left but no more making that total cost lower than it might otherwise be. So it makes sense for him to be constantly dumping out his bar but, at the same time, that makes it harder for him to press the attack if he wants to keep his buff refreshed. Also, it makes knocking off this buff extremely painful.) because it's truly an amazingly powerful effect. I've raised the speed somewhat so it's harder to disrupt, though. Also, I've included a clause here that should prevent the problem of a character that can't and won't die. The buff will now end if Herman reaches the end of a turn with 0 or less health. He'll still get the healing, if any, and that might allow him to survive but if an opponent lands what would otherwise be a lethal blow, he'll lose 50 energy and he won't have the buff active starting with the next turn.

Second, I've changed what was another problem. The attack skill that allowed him to gain health and, perhaps, stave off death has been changed from a nuke into a tiny little chip hit. That creates less of a massive health swing as well as makes it easier for Herman to get in range and use Skill #3 to finish off a weakened foe.

The massive health swing is still there but it now takes place on Skill #1. The idea here is that Herman picks up somebody and chucks them at his target, smacking them both together and hurting them both. This skill functions as a free switch, giving him yet another way of escaping the fight but it's incredibly dangerous to use since it costs his team some of its health. And, then, leaves that weakened (Or, possibly, dead) teammate who's just lost a ton of health out on the field – I might not have mentioned it but I think that free switches should activate the Cooldown Timer and, thus, prevent another quick switch. But that's where the beauty of N2's innate comes in since he has a chance to protect that injured ally from taking that damage by soaking it up himself.

I like the change since it plays against the idea of Herman as a helpful protector – it's hard to argue someone has your best interests at heart when they're using you as a shotput. But it also reinforces it because Herman's abilities make that random loss of health much less dangerous than it would othewise be since he can heal and block and everything else. A big, slow, lumbering card that flits in and out of play even as he laughs in the face of death – I think this card has been sufficiently Necrotized.

Name: Amanothep
Title: The Undying
Innate: When Amanothep is killed, he is resurrected with 1/3 less maximum health and 10 less maximum energy after the next 4 turns. Cooldown: 7 turns
HP: 60
RES: 2/1/3
Bar (v3): Skill #1 proc lowered, Skill #2 cost raised, Skill #3 now exploits on kill
  1. Song of Osiris. 0En, 8spd, Dark. 100Hit/90Proc. You die and will return to life with full health and energy after 3 turns minus one turn for each of your living teammates (Minimum: 1). Cooldown: 5 turns. Both.
  2. Grasp of Anubis. 30En, 6spd, 8dmg, Dark. 100Hit, 100Proc. You lose all of your remaining health. Your opponent takes 2 damage (U) for each 3 health that you've lost. Close.
  3. Eater of the Dead. 45En, 4spd, 15dmg, Dark. 95Hit, 75Proc. For the next 5 turns, your foe is infected by Death Beetles (Death Beetles. If Amanothep is dead you take 12 dark damage at the end of each turn. Up to 60 DOT.). When they die, their corpse is automatically exploited. Far.
  4. Ka Strike. 30En, 7spd, 5x6(30)dmg, Phys. 90Hit, 100Proc. Knocks a buff off of your foe. Both.

Not many changes here. Just some minor changes to flavor and little to deal with function.

Skill #3 now exploits cards that are killed while under its effect. This is potentially a very powerful debuff since it hits for a lot of damage – although how much depends on how long Amanothep remains dead. But it's potentially up to 60 damage following a 15 damage hit and whatever other damage that Amanothep kicks in, including, potentially, a large blast from Skill #2. It requires a switch from Far to Close but #2 is cheap enough and, if the two are chained into one another then the debuff from #3 because near certain death for almost any card. I've raised the cost of Skill #2 somewhat to make that more difficult. But having it exploit cards is done to prevent N3 from getting a cheap kill that can be capitalized on by another card. You won't be able to pull off the EotD -> Anubis combo to switch to, say, Necro #4 who'll immediately raise the newly dead Zombie anymore. Minor, but could be an important in terms of preventing abuses.

The other change was to lower the proc rate on Skill #1 so it was no longer a certainty. There's now a bit of an element of risk when using it to escape from the field in addition to the problems caused by actually killing yourself.

The Undying One hasn't gotten many changes, though, because I'm pretty happy with how he's turning out. Skill #3 is a little problematic and could use some tweaks but it's a neat idea that I think could really work. Otherwise, the moebius gimmick is nice and the balance seems about right.

Name: Xal'zun Mauok
Title: The Bone Caller
Innate: At the end of each turn, Xal'zun creates one Bone Minion and one more for each defeated card in play (Max: 5 in 3-Card, 9 in 5-Card) (Bone Minion. Is destroyed, crumbling to dust, if you leave the field for any reason. Each Minion prevents 2 points of damage from reaching a target but crumbles when hit. Each surviving Minion deals 2 physical damage at the end of the turn and then crumbles.).
HP: 60
RES: 0/2/8
Bar (v3): Skill #1 now prevents Minions from crumbling, Skill #3 dmg added and range restricted to Close, Skill #4 interrupt chance up to 40%.
  1. Bone Dance. 45En, 3spd, Dark. 100Hit, 100Proc. For the next 3 turns, any Bone Minions you create will not crumble at the end of the turn, will deal 6 more damage (8 overall), and their attacks will deal dark damage. Far.
  2. Zombification Ritual. 30En, 6spd, Dark. 100Hit, 95Proc. All of your Bone Minions are destroyed (100Proc). If you do not control a Zombie, you exploit a defeated opponent to create a Zombie (95Proc). Zombies have half health, no resistance, limited speed, and will randomly attack, intercept, or rest each turn until defeated. Zombies are destroyed if you leave the field for any reason. If you already control a Zombie then your Zombie gains 10 health plus 1 health for each Minion destroyed (95Proc.). (Zombie: [Character] has been raised as a mindless zombie! They have less health and 0 resistance and 0 speed but will continue to plague you until they are defeated. Your attacks will strike this zombie until their health is gone and they are destroyed. [Character] may attack with [Signature Skill], intercept, or rest each turn.). Both.
  3. Vile Touch. 20En, 5spd, 14dmg, Dark. For the next 8 turns, your target has an Unnatural Growth (Unnatural Growth. You take 2 damage a turn. If you are killed while under this effect, 10 Bone Minions spawn from your exploited corpse. 16 DOT). Close.
  4. Bone Fragmentation. 40En, 8spd, 12dmg, Dark. 95Hit, 100Proc. One of your Bone Minions is destroyed. If you lose a Bone Minion in this way, your foe takes 12 physical damage and has a 40% chance to be interrupted. Both.

Again, nothing but minor changes for a card that's already working well. The Steamroller Effect is a powerful idea but I've become concerned that this card doesn't do enough to get it rolling. So, I've buffed up a few of his skills so that he does more by himself. That can be dangerous since there's the threat of a strong card backing up a stronger Golem/Zombie but that Zombie creation doesn't mean anything if you can't create dead cards.

So, I've buffed up the buff in Skill #1. It now not only creates super-Minions but also prevents those Minions from crumbling so that MM can build up an impressive amount. That means they deal tons and tons of damage but, honestly, at the point where you're getting five or six of them your opponent is already in trouble and, mostly, they're going to be destroyed in the course of trading attacks, anyway.

I've added an initial hit to Skill #3. Along with an increase to the delayed damage it now deals up to 30 damage a hit, making it a credible threat. It also last longer making it more like to proc its on death effect. The idea here is that debuffing a target with this skill doesn't take away from the damage curve of Skill #4. Because it's deadlier I've now restricted it to Close range instead of its former dual-range state.

And, finally, I've increased the interrupt proc on Skill #4 making it more likely to hurt and to keep an opponent from hurting back. Again, it's more of a credible threat and it makes the MM more of a viable attacker even by himself.
The problem is what happens when his attacks start to work and his special abilities start to flow. He might be a little too strong here since we don't want him to completely pave hs opponents over without any chance for them to survive.

Name: Fenda Ahkbakba
Title: The Dark Ritualist
Innate: Fenda Ahkbakba drains 25% of damage caused by her successful attacks.
HP: 55
RES: 1/0/5
Bar (v3): Skill #1 cost dmg and DOT increased now causes all teammates to Bleed, Skill #2 cost increased dmg lowered range restricted to Close, Skill #3 now cannot kill teamamtes, Skill #4 functionality changed
  1. Sacrificial Blade. 35En, 6spd, 32dmg, Phys. 95Hit, 100Proc. Your foe has a 50% chance to Bleed, taking 6 damage for 2 turns (12 DOT). Your teammates begin Bleeding, taking 2 damage for the next 5 turns (100Proc. 10 DOT.). Close.
  2. Boiling Blood. 25En, 5spd, 10dmg, Dark. 95Hit, 90Proc. Your foe's damage and resistance is lowered by 3 for the next 4 turns. If your target is Bleeding they suffer an additional 22 damage. Close.
  3. Blood-letting Rite. 30En, 7spd, 48dmg, Dark. 50Hit, 100Proc. Your teammates lose up 20 health – they cannot drop below 1 health in this way. This skill is 1% more accurate for each point of health lost. Far.
  4. Dark Ritual. 50En, 3spd, Dark. 100Hit, 90Proc. All of your foes begin Bleeding, taking 2 damage for the next 5 turns (10 DOT). If one of them is defeated, that card is exploited and their corpse explodes in a shower of gore and dark magics, hitting their entire team for 12 damage and healing your entire team for 25. Both.

I'm still not sure about this card although I think it's getting better. The changes I've made here are to emphasize two things. First, the Ritualist is a dangerous card that can deal a lot of damage in a hurry. And, second, this is a character with a wide-angle lens who hits a whole lot of targets.

Skill #1 has seen its damage climb. It now deals 32 raw damage with a good chance to hit for another 12. That damage over time is also more lethal since it works quicker. So, in two turns, that's 35 energy for up to 44 damage. At the same time, the Bleeding teammates effect has been strengthened. It no longer affects a single ally but all of them. Although it does cause each to lose less health and to do so over a longer time frame, it's taking a larger chunk out of the overall health.

Skill #2 has been tweaked as well. It now works like a damage dealing Blood Burn, dealing damage and automatically lowering resistance and damage with an additional kick of damage when it hits a Bleeding foe. But the change here is to set its damage at a point where it will two-hit cards that have anything just under 80 health (Before resistance, of course). The alteration to Skill #1's Bleed which enables this also makes this feasible since that bonus damage will have fewer turns in which to apply. I've raised the cost, slightly, so that it's no longer quite as repeatable since it's gotten much nastier and also restricted the range but having only a single turn in which to tear open that Bleeding wound is what helps keep this in balance more than anything else.

I've altered Skill #3 slightly by adding a statement that it can no longer kill off your teammates. It'll now cause them to lose 20 health but won't cause them to drop below 1. That leaves them easy to pick off and you don't want to match up against a fellow deck destroyer if you're using this but it's now somewhat less risky.

And, finally, Skill #4 has been reworked completely. It's now a powered up version of Thorn's Bleeding Ritual that causes an entire enemy team to start Bleeding. Additionally, if one of those targets happens to be dead, it cause them to explode in a fountain of blood. That causes some additional damage to the enemy team but, more importantly, grants some healing to N5's. This skill now gives her a heal that she can use to help offset the damage she's causing to her own side and that'll help lessen that pain.

Overall, then, the idea here is a lightning fast damage dealer who's going to risk a lot on being able to destroy her targets before they destroy her. Because she's so lethal, I've given her extremely low health and low resistance. But that just makes her health stealing innate more important since she'll be so easy, otherwise, to spike out. If she's attacking, if she's killing, you probably won't mind that she's taking your team to the brink as well. But if she's not then she's going be causing you the problems. I can live with that.

No comments: