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View Full Version : Card Preview: Angelic Ascension and Alabaster Sphinx



Shaqattaq
07-19-2013, 01:14 PM
by Mike Rosenberg

Rise among the ranks, above your enemy’s heads, and rain down justice from the skies onto all opposing champions that stand in your way.

http://hextcg.com/card-preview-july-19th/

self1sch
07-19-2013, 01:23 PM
I like Angelic Ascension!

nekoangel
07-19-2013, 01:25 PM
both cards seem very neat if anything, i do like the tricks that can be done with the angel card but i think it should have cost 4.

Shadowelf
07-19-2013, 01:29 PM
both cards seem very neat if anything, i do like the tricks that can be done with the angel card but i think it should have cost 4.

True but if it cost 4 then it would have been a rare.

Angelic alliance is good only because as a quick action you can pull nice tricks on your opponent. Sphinx is just not my type of card, so meh

MercuryMonkey
07-19-2013, 01:43 PM
I like Angelic Ascension, I think 5 cost is correct compared with what else we have seen so far.

I don't think the Sphinx is my type of card either. If it's most effective when I have lots of creatures in my graveyard to choose from that isn't really a state which I would make it a goal to get into. Could be okay with Judgement to bring things back after a good board wipe.

Maphalux
07-19-2013, 01:48 PM
The sphinx will be fun for casual or PvE games.

Angelic Ascension is neat battle trick. The fact that it is permanent and a quick action is pretty cool. Costs a lot though out of necessity.

Not sure if I would ever want to choose to use AA on an opponent's troops over a more traditional method of removal.

Quasari
07-19-2013, 01:50 PM
The sphinx will be fun for casual or PvE games.

Angelic Ascension is neat battle trick. The fact that it is permanent and a quick action is pretty cool. Costs a lot though out of necessity.

Not sure if I would ever want to choose to use AA on an opponent's troops over a more traditional method of removal.

What if they are Invincible?

Maphalux
07-19-2013, 02:00 PM
What if they are Invincible?

Then I'd probably be looking for a card that would void it instead. But if that wasn't available, sure, my opponent can have a 4/4 flier if the alternative is much worse. :P

Aradon
07-19-2013, 02:02 PM
I like Angelic Ascension, I think 5 cost is correct compared with what else we have seen so far.

I don't think the Sphinx is my type of card either. If it's most effective when I have lots of creatures in my graveyard to choose from that isn't really a state which I would make it a goal to get into. Could be okay with Judgement to bring things back after a good board wipe.

As long as your creatures are trading with their creatures, it's not a bad situation to be in. And you can pretty much assume that your opponent will be packing removal to kill your best creatures. I'd say it's not an issue in any deck that uses a healthy amount of creatures. Action-focused decks like the original Moat - Serra Angel control deck wouldn't get much value out of it, but a Green-White creature deck would find plenty of value later in the game.

nickon
07-19-2013, 02:44 PM
I like the artwork on Angelic Ascension, big up to the designer of that card :) Especially combining the rare equipment with this card seems amazing. Imagine getting two 5/5 creatures with flight for 5 mana (2 diamond threshold seems to be justified in this case).

Edit: Ehr, I got that 5/5 information from HEX datamine (http://www.hex-datamine.com/cards/Angel/183), seems like the angels just got a tad bit weaker :)

Gorgol
07-19-2013, 03:32 PM
Imagine, you attack and they block, then you whip out your Angelic Ascension and boom its a Flyer. I assume the block would fail at that point if its a ground troop blocking, and then you get to fly over their heads for a dunk on their face! But yeah, its an OK combat trick, but you lose whatever ability was on the card you transform. Alternatively you could remove the opponents card ability if it was nasty enough by using this card as well, though at the cost of them getting a 4/4 Flyer.
Sphinx has interesting mechanics but I think is generally not worth the cost in most situations, plus its a FREE chance for your opponent to get a troop. Not only does it cost 6 resources but that could ultimately change things IN favor of your opponent. Flavor wise though this is a sweet card. Other than that not so much.

Vorsa
07-19-2013, 03:38 PM
Interesting cards indeed...

First impression is of course that Angelic Ascension is only really useful for it's Wild Growth style Quick Action potential, since a diamond deck presumably won't lack for cost 5 flyers with many more powers than the standard Angel (and that don't sacrifice a troop to play).
It is an alternative to voiding - or whatever creature elimination abilities diamond has - but it's certainly carrying a heavy premium & drawbacks for the potential to be used as both buff & debuff; if only there'd been a PvE equipment to take control of whatever troop you ascend...

Actually, on reflection, I'd probably give it the thumbs-down in just the 1st set; reason being that Cryptozoic have been heavily promoting the Inspire mechanic in their diamond/human spoilers so far, and Angelic Ascension would wipe away all Inspire effects that troop had + (presumably) miss out on all the Inspire effects a played cost 5 troop would be eligible for.

Alabaster Sphinx is certainly novel - I do wonder how the AI will cope?
If it always picks the best troop it's too predictable, but if it picks at random then players may as well always pick that best troop and it's just a roll of the dice...

LordGorchnik
07-19-2013, 04:00 PM
Really like AA. Not big on the Sphinx. Regardless, thanks for the update.

Rycajo
07-19-2013, 04:06 PM
Actually, on reflection, I'd probably give it the thumbs-down in just the 1st set; reason being that Cryptozoic have been heavily promoting the Inspire mechanic in their diamond/human spoilers so far, and Angelic Ascension would wipe away all Inspire effects that troop had + (presumably) miss out on all the Inspire effects a played cost 5 troop would be eligible for.

This is a good question. We don't know how transform will interact with other mechanics. It would be sad if the Ascetic Aspirant (http://www.hex-datamine.com/cards/Ascetic-Aspirant/67) was inspired when coming into play, but then loses any inspire benefits when transforming into his other stages.

How about targeting? Because the new angel is actually the same card, just transformed, I would assume cards and effects already targeting the ascending troop would continue to target the angel after transformation... but maybe not.



Alabaster Sphinx is certainly novel - I do wonder how the AI will cope?
If it always picks the best troop it's too predictable, but if it picks at random then players may as well always pick that best troop and it's just a roll of the dice...

Another good question. How will the AI cope with these types of mind games? For both Mind Games the card, and any other card that makes the opponent make a choice. Perhaps the computer will generally choose the biggest threat, in an attempt to control the damage, but occasionally randomly choose something else? I wouldn't want to be the one designing the AI for such an issue.

I like the Sphinx though. I find it very interesting for PvP.

Shadowelf
07-19-2013, 04:11 PM
Another good question. How will the AI cope with these types of mind games? For both Mind Games the card, and any other card that makes the opponent make a choice. Perhaps the computer will generally choose the biggest threat, in an attempt to control the damage, but occasionally randomly choose something else? I wouldn't want to be the one designing the AI for such an issue.


That may not be as complicated as it appears. The game presents to you all creatures in your graveyard in a small window (like mtgo), you get to pick one, then your opponent does the same. Then the card will end up to the player's side that chose correctly

Rycajo
07-19-2013, 04:29 PM
That may not be as complicated as it appears. The game presents to you all creatures in your graveyard in a small window (like mtgo), you get to pick one, then your opponent does the same. Then the card will end up to the player's side that chose correctly

Sorry, I didn't mean how would the interface work. I meant how would a computer opponent, the AI, make the choice? A human will go through something like poor Vizzini (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_eZmEiyTo0) here. What does a computer do? Run an analysis of the number of times a player will pick the "norm" countered by the chance that the player KNOWS the AI will run that analysis, and then...

VoidInsanity
07-19-2013, 04:59 PM
Quick action Angelic Ascension could potentially be too strong if there is no upper limit to what can be turned into an angel. If it can turn any troop card into an Angel, even things with double its cost then it seems highly broken. Not only does it allow you to instantly turn any one of your troops into a creature with flight which is strong in its own right, but the ability to essentially kill an enemy troop with the same card?

If vs a heavy troop deck, getting a few of them AA cards would make any high cost troop worthless.

Ginaz
07-19-2013, 05:02 PM
Angelic Ascension looks like it could be pretty useful. The Sphinx is a whole lot of meh.

dogmod
07-19-2013, 05:03 PM
Quick action Angelic Ascension could potentially be too strong if there is no upper limit to what can be turned into an angel. If it can turn any troop card into an Angel, even things with double its cost then it seems highly broken. Not only does it allow you to instantly turn any one of your troops into a creature with flight which is strong in its own right, but the ability to essentially kill an enemy troop with the same card?

If vs a heavy troop deck, getting a few of them AA cards would make any high cost troop worthless.

Then you must think Murder is REALLY broken..

Shadowelf
07-19-2013, 05:36 PM
Sorry, I didn't mean how would the interface work. I meant how would a computer opponent, the AI, make the choice? A human will go through something like poor Vizzini (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_eZmEiyTo0) here. What does a computer do? Run an analysis of the number of times a player will pick the "norm" countered by the chance that the player KNOWS the AI will run that analysis, and then...

No idea how the AI works in general, but if i had to take a guess i would say that AI will choose a card at random without running any analysis or take any other parameters under consideration.

bangari
07-19-2013, 05:37 PM
Quick action Angelic Ascension could potentially be too strong if there is no upper limit to what can be turned into an angel. If it can turn any troop card into an Angel, even things with double its cost then it seems highly broken. Not only does it allow you to instantly turn any one of your troops into a creature with flight which is strong in its own right, but the ability to essentially kill an enemy troop with the same card?

If vs a heavy troop deck, getting a few of them AA cards would make any high cost troop worthless.

Its just a 5 mana vanilla 4/4 flyer with flash that forces you to sacrifice a troop. Its good, but hardly game breaking.

As far as removal goes, its beyond shitty. A 5 mana removal that gives your enemy another 4/4 flyer as replacement is pretty much unplayable most of the time, especially when it cost you 5 mana. Are there instances where you would use the card as a removal? Sure. But pretty much every other removal would be far better an alternative.

MercuryMonkey
07-19-2013, 05:41 PM
Regarding the AI they might just have it know the correct answer and then roll against a percentage for how often they want the AI to be correctly guessing. The percentage could be modified based on the number of cards in the graveyard as well as if they wanted it to be correct more frequently due to difficulty level. This avoids the problem of having the AI try to figure out player intention.

shocker455
07-19-2013, 06:25 PM
The ai for the card wouldn't be hard to make well. I'm assuming every card has a power value for the ai to know what to target/play/etc. Sum the power values for every possable choice. The cards power value/total = the % the ai picks it.

At least that's how I'd do it. Finishing college this year to be a game designer/programmer. *cough* hire me for hex *cough*

Erebus
07-19-2013, 06:44 PM
Its just a 5 mana vanilla 4/4 flyer with flash that forces you to sacrifice a troop. Its good, but hardly game breaking.

As far as removal goes, its beyond shitty. A 5 mana removal that gives your enemy another 4/4 flyer as replacement is pretty much unplayable most of the time, especially when it cost you 5 mana. Are there instances where you would use the card as a removal? Sure. But pretty much every other removal would be far better an alternative.

I agree, it'll almost never be used as removal except in extreme circumstances. When compared to cards like Murder or Void Key, it's obviously inferior.

I think it's best place will be in the popular Blood/Diamond Control. Get your opponent use to you chump blocking with Wretched Brood, then kill a creature and swing for 5 the following turn.

VoidInsanity
07-19-2013, 09:07 PM
But pretty much every other removal would be far better an alternative.

While its not the greatest removal in the game, the fact it doubles up as a removal could be a problem in a mirrored deck since you could combine this with other removal cards. What is to stop a mirror match turning into Angelic Ascension vs Angelic Ascension with nothing higher in your decks?

mmimzie
07-19-2013, 10:09 PM
Actually the Sphinx is very good. Its amazing in an aggro deck because it help you refuel after your start running on top draws. It combos with judgement: have 3 or more cards in your graveyard that have higher cost than you any on your opponents board? pick that and even if your opponent knows what your thinking he has a 33% chance of picking the right card. Even if you only have 4 cards in your graveyard and you randomly pick one you have a 25% chance to come out ahead.

Judgement also helps if this card fails on you, as long as you pick a card whose cost is less than sphinx annoying you to clear the board again. Additionally its a may ability so if you only have 1 or 2 creatures in your grave and dont wanna risk it you dont have to use it. More often than not this card will be pure advantage.

Rycajo
07-19-2013, 11:11 PM
Mimmzie, I totally agree about the Sphinx. Good examples of utility.


The ai for the card wouldn't be hard to make well. I'm assuming every card has a power value for the ai to know what to target/play/etc. Sum the power values for every possable choice. The cards power value/total = the % the ai picks it.

At least that's how I'd do it. Finishing college this year to be a game designer/programmer. *cough* hire me for hex *cough*

The biggest problem with some kind of ranking/formula system is a player could learn that ranking and then forever after pick the second best card in the line-up. A list of AI picks would quickly find its way onto fansites.


Regarding the AI they might just have it know the correct answer and then roll against a percentage for how often they want the AI to be correctly guessing. The percentage could be modified based on the number of cards in the graveyard as well as if they wanted it to be correct more frequently due to difficulty level. This avoids the problem of having the AI try to figure out player intention.

This suggestion has the same problem as the completely random method: The player may always pick the best troop to bring back as the AI doesn't take best plays into consideration.

An extreme example to show the faults of either method: I have out an alabaster sphinx in play versus a computer opponent. I only have two troops in my graveyard - a battle hopper (http://www.hex-datamine.com/cards/Battle-Hopper/16) and a Mammoth Squirrel Titan (http://www.hex-datamine.com/cards/Mammoth-Squirrel-Titan/260). Against the card ranking AI, I could safely pick the Battle Hopper without worry. Against the random AI I might as well pick the Mammoth Squirrel Titan as the AI is just as likely to pick it as the Battle Hopper.

Of the two methods I think I would prefer random, as that basically just changes the ability to "Pick a troop in your graveyard. There is a 1 in X chance your opponent with put that card into play under his or her control, where X is the number of troops in your graveyard. Otherwise put that troop into play under your control."

shocker455
07-20-2013, 12:10 AM
My way even if the person knew the formula it wouldn't matter. The formula balances risk reward, so what ever the player picks, he can't turn the odds in his favor.

Rycajo
07-20-2013, 12:14 AM
Ah, I understand your method better after re-reading your explanation. That is probably the best method I have seen.

Shadowelf
07-20-2013, 04:49 AM
My way even if the person knew the formula it wouldn't matter. The formula balances risk reward, so what ever the player picks, he can't turn the odds in his favor.

But can it be designed to be random ? like if you had let's say 6 creatures in your graveyard and the AI 'rolls' a d6 and picked the creature rolled ? Isn't it simpler than creating a formula to support these kind of AI decisions? (asking out of curiosity-i'm not familiar with AI programming)

Kovaks
07-20-2013, 05:03 AM
The alabaster riddle item portion of the card seems pretty fun, especially for raids. Mid-game, your team could pull a number of sizable creatures in a single turn and smash the boss. Plus, as mmimzie mentioned, your team will normally pull more creatures than your opponent. Will make for some chaotic and fun games!

bangari
07-20-2013, 05:09 AM
While its not the greatest removal in the game, the fact it doubles up as a removal could be a problem in a mirrored deck since you could combine this with other removal cards. What is to stop a mirror match turning into Angelic Ascension vs Angelic Ascension with nothing higher in your decks?

So?

Whats going to stop a mirror match with murder being without any big creatures at all since both sides' gets killed off?

Thats just how card games like this are. You drop a bomb, i remove it from play through whatever means i have. When i fail at that for too long i die.


since you could combine this with other removal cards.

to do what exactly? Turn his creature into an angel for no reason, then kill it with removal?

Yes, the card is technically a removal. Its flexible. That flexibility comes at a HUGE cost. You're losing a 5 drop. He gets a free 5 drop flyer. You spend a crapload of resources and is still down a card.

Every turn after the 4th-5th turn you want to put down a big threat or kill his threat. Reducing his threat to just a 4/4 flyer at the cost of 1 turn worth of resources is hardly a winning move.

For AA removal to win you the game, you have to be behind such that you NEED to meet a threat, but not behind enough that your enemy gaining a 4/4 flyer wont push the game too far his way. In that sort of situations, ANY card would have worked.

BlackRoger
07-20-2013, 06:23 AM
I'm not sold on Angelic Ascension.
A 5 mana for a 4/4 flier is fine, but considering you need to waste 2 cards for it, its pretty bad.
Only any good if you can bait your enemy into blocking and then using it, then again if you have 5 unused resources, and are attacking with a creature too weak to attack otherwise, your enemy can probably guess you have a trick up your sleeve.

bangari
07-20-2013, 07:24 AM
I'm not sold on Angelic Ascension.
A 5 mana for a 4/4 flier is fine, but considering you need to waste 2 cards for it, its pretty bad.
Only any good if you can bait your enemy into blocking and then using it, then again if you have 5 unused resources, and are attacking with a creature too weak to attack otherwise, your enemy can probably guess you have a trick up your sleeve.

Creatures with flash work well enough in mtg that killing off an enemy creature shouldn't be too difficult with AA.

If they never attack when you have 5 mana free, then you benefit from them giving up their advantage when you miss a 5 drop. Its still good.

The issue is how the card works with inspire. A 5 mana 4/4 flash flyer that gets pumped by multiple inspires could ambush a lot of enemy creatures.

shocker455
07-20-2013, 10:25 AM
But can it be designed to be random ? like if you had let's say 6 creatures in your graveyard and the AI 'rolls' a d6 and picked the creature rolled ? Isn't it simpler than creating a formula to support these kind of AI decisions? (asking out of curiosity-i'm not familiar with AI programming)

Is it easier? Of course. However once someone finds out it's purely random they will just pick the best card as the risk reward is the best. Also if it's purely random it makes the ai weak, as it is t making smart decisions.

mmimzie
07-20-2013, 10:42 AM
Creatures with flash work well enough in mtg that killing off an enemy creature shouldn't be too difficult with AA.

If they never attack when you have 5 mana free, then you benefit from them giving up their advantage when you miss a 5 drop. Its still good.

The issue is how the card works with inspire. A 5 mana 4/4 flash flyer that gets pumped by multiple inspires could ambush a lot of enemy creatures.

Most likely it doesn't work with inspire as the angel does not come into play. It says transform card. So the card is turned into a 4/4 angel and if it is fighting another creature after the card resolves it will take damage as normal. So its really only any good on a weaker creature to buff it or on a stronger creature to nerf it.

As such its a pretty lack luster card. While it does provide an on curve cards a 4/4 for 5. You have to spend 2 cards to do it. In na aggro deck you'll wish you just had any other additional card so you can get around blockers. In a control deck there are better combat tricks, heck i'd almost risk saying repel is better.

snarvid
07-20-2013, 01:08 PM
Love Spinx with its armor in a Blessing the Fallen Inspire deck. I think you could force opponent to choose Legionnaire of Gawain and grab pretty much anything else.

Also, if Sapphire instead of Ruby, Cerulean Mirror Knight gauntlet recursion FTW.

MastrFett
07-20-2013, 01:37 PM
My main question with the Sphinx is if you have multiples of a troop in your graveyard and you pick one, does the enemy have to pick the exact one that you chose. And if they just have to pick the name of the card, what if one has a permanent buff to it? Does that make a difference?

Prism
07-20-2013, 03:45 PM
I'm curious if there will be an option to display more information... Turn troop into an 'angel' does not mean anything to me. Turn troop into a 4/4 flying angel does. Shows far more information in very little added space.

snarvid
07-21-2013, 05:34 AM
My main question with the Sphinx is if you have multiples of a troop in your graveyard and you pick one, does the enemy have to pick the exact one that you chose. And if they just have to pick the name of the card, what if one has a permanent buff to it? Does that make a difference?

It says "a troop", which I read as a single specific card. If not, the Sphinx would also resurrect all examples of same troop, and I'm thinking not.

snarvid
07-21-2013, 05:36 AM
I'm curious if there will be an option to display more information... Turn troop into an 'angel' does not mean anything to me. Turn troop into a 4/4 flying angel does. Shows far more information in very little added space.

My guess is in-game when you mouse over the word angel on the card it'll show the angel card, like in MtG forums.

Shadowelf
07-21-2013, 06:30 AM
My guess is in-game when you mouse over the word angel on the card it'll show the angel card, like in MtG forums.

I bet minor incoveniences like these is what we will testsing at Alpha/beta...i bet that they will 'fix' it in the future to be more clear and comprehensive

Moon_Knight
07-21-2013, 12:31 PM
My 2 cents are on a spesific card since there are so many cards in hex witch provide a permanent efect.
for example I can have 2 cards with the same name but with different stats now that makes them 2 different cards in my opinion.

MastrFett
07-21-2013, 02:20 PM
My 2 cents are on a spesific card since there are so many cards in hex witch provide a permanent efect.
for example I can have 2 cards with the same name but with different stats now that makes them 2 different cards in my opinion.

That's what I figured. The only thing is let's say I had 3 battle hoppers in my graveyard along with a number of other troops. I pick one of the battle hoppers thinking my opponent won't expect me to pick such a lowly troop. Now my opponent guesses the same thing and picks a different one of the battle hoppers. It would sound like he "solved the riddle" but since the one he picked isn't the exact one I did, although it is the same card, I get it. That might be frustrating, and against what CZE would want from this card.

mmimzie
07-22-2013, 11:25 AM
Well thats called building your deck around the card. more creature the stronger the sphinx can be, additional the more access you have to removal the strong the more effective it is, becuase you can remove what they get.

TheWrathofShane
07-26-2013, 03:34 AM
I see three main functions of the instant speed angel card.

1) Surprise 4/4 flying to take something out on a block.
2) Turn a major threat into a 4/4 flyer.
3) Use it for an offensive swing.

Number 2 is to situational to rely on, and requires you being able to deal with the flying beater which you couldnt deal with otherwise. Its just an option really. So the weakest thing I would use this one would be a 1 drop creature. So you can assume this spell is more like a flash aura which gives +3/+3 and flying, with the niche option to use it on opponents creature. As long as you take out a creature right away it becomes worth it. But if they use instant speed removal they just 2 for 1 you.

Now for the sphinx card, your odds are much better then the opponents! Seems like a fun casual card.