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Svenn
10-13-2013, 12:38 PM
I'm seeing more and more Escalation decks the more I play. They seem to be pretty powerful so far, much more than I expected from Escalation. I streamed a match against someone playing an Escalation deck earlier for anyone who hasn't seen one in action (Replay: http://www.twitch.tv/svennethir/c/3078522 ). Now, my deck was an unusual one (no troops, just the charge power to drop in 0/1 Battle Hoppers, then all buff cards in my deck to buff them up) but I've played against these with several different decks and they are rough.

With card draw or anything that lets you get through your deck faster these things get out of hand fast. It's not uncommon for an Escalation deck to hit thousands or millions of health. Once they hit even 60ish health they are near impossible to beat. I'm wondering if maybe Escalation should work more like Rage does and instead of doubling every time it increases by the original amount (2->4->6->8 instead of 2->4->8->16).

There is a lot of card draw out there (and several of which are artifacts) and then there is the Demented Demolisher (When this troop enters play, you may void all resources from your deck).
1130

That cuts down on deck size really quick, then a player can use card draw (Cerebral Fulmination, Secret Laboratory, Pact of Pain, etc) to get to all of their escalation cards quickly. I've seen two win conditions here... killing with Ragefire or Sliver of the Immortal Spear. Either way these decks have Eternal Youth and start generating a ton of health. Most will also run Extinction to clear the board of all enemy troops or things like Inner Conflict or Murder just to keep from having to worry about damage coming at them.

I really like the idea of Escalation but with all the card draw and Demented Demolisher it seems a bit too easy to drop your deck to a smaller size and draw ridiculous amounts of cards. I think either Escalation is too powerful or there is simply too much card draw (I count 12 cards and 2 champion powers that let you draw cards, and some of those work every single turn).

Are there any counters to this? A really fast deck MIGHT be able to take this deck out... if the other player doesn't draw Extinction, Murder, Inner Conflict, etc. Lots of counterspells (which we don't have at all in Alpha yet) might be able to slow this down enough to kill them first.

I'm curious to hear what everyone's thoughts are on Escalation decks.

HyenaNipples
10-13-2013, 12:42 PM
This post is really more about Demented Demolisher decks than Escalation. There is another thread active already discussing it.

Gwaer
10-13-2013, 12:44 PM
This is my favorite deck currently. The only problem with it is that you have to draw all the resources you need and the demolisher. The earliest you can get it to go off as it is is turn 5 and that's a big if. There will be ways to streamline it when all cards are available. But it's definitely a deck to look out for.

Bluewolf
10-13-2013, 12:47 PM
IMO opinion: The win rate of this type of deck is currently below 50% against solid decks. At least, having played as it and against it, this is my finding. If you want to play one against me, I can show you some decks that beat it more often than not. Though I could not have played against the right versions of it myself.

Niedar
10-13-2013, 12:47 PM
I think it is pointless talking about what is overpowered right now when many cards either do not work or are not even in the alpha yet.

wutae
10-13-2013, 12:53 PM
Escalation decks IMO are powerfull against very slow decks. They work only in my opinion against weak and slow decks. Dont want to insult anybody or anyone. And i do agree that Escalation should work like Rage works. BUT i believe that they wont even be seen in competitive matches.

Juve
10-13-2013, 01:04 PM
for control deck just 4x http://hex.tcgbrowser.com/images/cards/medium/OmenofOblivion.jpg in sideboard should be ok

Lawlschool
10-13-2013, 01:08 PM
http://extra-credits.net/episodes/perfect-imbalance/

Worth watching, as this somewhat address the "X is OP!" problem you see in some games. If you think escalation is OP, find a way to negate it. Play a fast aggro deck and wreck them before Demolisher goes off. Or wait for demolisher and then mill their deck.

Svenn
10-13-2013, 01:18 PM
Well, like I said... even fast aggro decks have some troubles due to things like Extinction, Murder, Inner Conflict, and any other removal. I've played against it with fast decks and they tend to just remove anything troublesome I can even get out.

I am not saying that this deck is unbeatable or anything. I just think it's very powerful, and really once someone gets off their 3rd or so Eternal Youth it's pretty much game over. I have yet to actually build one of my own though.


This post is really more about Demented Demolisher decks than Escalation. There is another thread active already discussing it.

I really like Demented Demolisher and I think in a normal deck it is something that would be powerful but not game breaking. Combined with a bunch of Escalation and card draw though... it's pretty ridiculous.

Svenn
10-13-2013, 01:21 PM
http://extra-credits.net/episodes/perfect-imbalance/

Worth watching, as this address the "X is OP!" problem you see in some games. If you think escalation is OP, find a way to negate it. Play a fast aggro deck and wreck them before Demolisher goes off. Or wait for demolisher and then mill their deck.

Thanks, I'll have to check it out. Like I said, counters might help but since we don't have any currently it's hard to say how well that would work. I've tried some milling but since Escalation just gets shuffled back in their deck it's hard to mill fast enough. It's even worse when they've got multiple Slivers there generating cards in their deck constantly.

Barborin
10-13-2013, 02:06 PM
I've only watched a few games using escalation, but I don't think it is super impossible to beat. It looks like it takes a good bit of time to get working. Decks with bombs that they could get off around turn 5-7 at the latest didn't seem to struggle.

Showsni
10-13-2013, 02:31 PM
The more stuff you put in the deck to help you survive longer (Murder, Extinction, etc.) the weaker Demented Demolisher becomes - if you Demolish and then draw Murder for three turns when you need an Escalation card, that's probably enough time for the opponent to kill you. On the other hand, if you run, say, just Demolisher, Eternal Youth and Sliver of the Immortal Spear, then that's five free turns for the opponent to do what they like in. Against a slow deck that doesn't do much of anything then yes, that could easily be enough time to set up and win. But that's more something for opponents to bear in mind when deckbuilding. There are answers to the deck (if they Demolish to 4 cards in library and you play double Chronic Madness, it's gg!) so if it becomes super popular people will find ways to beat it.

Don't forget, we're currently playing without sideboarding, best of ones. Once sideboarding is added into matches (as I assume it will be for tournaments) then a lot of decks will find themselves heavily sideboarded against.

Malakili
10-13-2013, 02:33 PM
Keep in mind that we have no counterspells in the current environment but we know they are coming. Countering an escalation card prevents it from increasing AND puts it into the graveyard. These decks are super powerful right now, but the meta game will shift to incorporate this mechanic once we are dealing with the entire set.

darkwonders
10-13-2013, 02:36 PM
Keep in mind that we have no counterspells in the current environment but we know they are coming. Countering an escalation card prevents it from increasing AND puts it into the graveyard. These decks are super powerful right now, but the meta game will shift to incorporate this mechanic once we are dealing with the entire set.

But that's just 1 card.

That's like saying Mill could kill it too. But having very specific counters doesn't mean it's not really powerful.

SomeoneRandom
10-13-2013, 02:41 PM
Answering demolisher with mill seems really poor since the only good mill card is the Chronic Madness and until you cast your 4th copy you are down 3 cards(If demolisher removes 19 resources I suppose 3 is enough to potentially win, but 4 against other decks)... Honestly I think people are just snap reacting to a very efficient card and not learning how to deal with things, I think the online community will learn eventually.

darkwonders
10-13-2013, 03:31 PM
Answering demolisher with mill seems really poor since the only good mill card is the Chronic Madness and until you cast your 4th copy you are down 3 cards(If demolisher removes 19 resources I suppose 3 is enough to potentially win, but 4 against other decks)... Honestly I think people are just snap reacting to a very efficient card and not learning how to deal with things, I think the online community will learn eventually.

Well Unless the deck gets DD early on, mill could potentially push them to the graveyard. And unless you have a Resurrection card in your deck, if your DD's get discarded, you're pretty much screwed.

Estar1
10-13-2013, 04:15 PM
The card omen of oblivion can easily ruin this kind of deck, also aggro decks will get alot faster once all the cards are working properly and are in.

darkwonders
10-13-2013, 04:21 PM
If they release a counter card that says "Void all copies of card that was countered" that would really screw with this deck. And since MTG does have counter cards similar to this, I have a feeling Hex will do the same, though it'd probably cost 5 resources by itself too.

lamaros
10-13-2013, 04:23 PM
Talking about balance when most of the cards are bugged or not yet in is wasted time.

Dralon
10-13-2013, 04:24 PM
perhaps giving demolisher's ability an exhaust cost would add some balance. However it is very early on, many cards aren't in game, many cards (including this one) will continue to be evaluated.

I continue the bug hunt!

Malakili
10-13-2013, 04:38 PM
But that's just 1 card.

That's like saying Mill could kill it too. But having very specific counters doesn't mean it's not really powerful.

Yes, it's powerful. But we have an incomplete set and essentially no meta-game. Things only matter in the context of an actual competitive environment. Right now we have nothing of the sort. When people have best of 3's and sideboards and a full set to work with, then maybe we can seriously talk about cards being powerful enough to warrant some kind of action (like banning). Right now it's a powerful mechanic in an incomplete game, which is essentially meaningless.

Terras
10-13-2013, 04:45 PM
I really think escalation is too powerful, just because of the shuffling it back into the deck action. Can't help but feel that's unnecessary. Or at least, just too consistent for the cost.

jtatta
10-13-2013, 05:31 PM
Like people are saying, Escalation isn't the problem as much as Demented Demolisher is the problem. I've been streaming a few different Demolisher decks and simply put they're very degenerate.

Escalation decks without Demented Demolisher just work because opponents aren't playing good enough decks. I realize that it's very tough right now to build a streamlined deck given the half spoiler/card pool but that's essentially what the problem is. That being said, very aggressive decks give Escalation decks fits because it's usually Extinction or bust.

Malakili
10-13-2013, 06:34 PM
Like people are saying, Escalation isn't the problem as much as Demented Demolisher is the problem. I've been streaming a few different Demolisher decks and simply put they're very degenerate.


As you acknowledge, a substantial part of the set isn't even available to play. All this talk about cards being too good or strategies being too good after 5 days of playing 2/3 - 3/4 of a set is absolutely ludicrous. I know people are used to beta testing RPGs and posting balance threads and such, but it doesn't work that way in card games. People need to lay off the panic button.

Mokog
10-13-2013, 07:11 PM
The full and meta are not yet available. Demolisher is a great card but because many of the great cards in the set are not available to test, the field is lopsided. Gut up and keep playing. We have a long alpha :-)

Purpherb
10-13-2013, 10:43 PM
What if they had some type of 'neutral' cards that had no required threshold. They could for instance have some type of removal that is more expensive or worse than the black deck has but would act as weaker versions of each type of mechanic so that players can fill the weaknesses of their colors somewhat. I don't think I have heard anything about this but it could help solve problems such as this by giving each color some type of removal, resource destruction, growth, etc. albeit in weake form than the decks who specialize in it.

Is the community against this idea?

Orcao
10-14-2013, 12:35 AM
What if they had some type of 'neutral' cards that had no required threshold. They could for instance have some type of removal that is more expensive or worse than the black deck has but would act as weaker versions of each type of mechanic so that players can fill the weaknesses of their colors somewhat. I don't think I have heard anything about this but it could help solve problems such as this by giving each color some type of removal, resource destruction, growth, etc. albeit in weake form than the decks who specialize in it.

Is the community against this idea?
You mean like Artifacts? They can currently void, provide resource ramp, heal (kind of), Provide card draw (Well, Draw a card, Discard a card) and do quite a few neat things. If you really want something a specific shard excels in, then you have to rethink your deck to include a splash of that color, or accept the slightly weaker version artifacts have to offer. Once gems are in a splash of ruby for Demolition + Ruby 3 (Major; When this troop deals combat damage to a champion it loses {0/1} resources) will make Demolisher decks far more risky.

Was that sarcasm in regards to the neutral cards. I honestly can not tell. If it is, um, oops :3

joseph5185
10-14-2013, 02:29 AM
I read the entire thread and I hear what you guys are saying.

I haven't personally met anyone who has even hit 100 life against me..however I will say this.

There is NO WAY HEX will allow players to realistically achieve life totals in the thousands/millions range that are currently possible because that is a drastic imbalance. . . . Regardless of what decks are played against it.

Gwaer
10-14-2013, 02:36 AM
With spear you ca do 5k damage every round. Try to kill them before they escalate to a million. Or run an ember spire witch. Or mill them instead. Or hit them with Reggie.

bangari
10-14-2013, 03:53 AM
1) There is ZERO chance that evaluations based on 4-5 days of play will be accurate. This had been true for every single ctg before Hex, it will be true for Hex. Arguing about how op a card/cards are makes zero sense.

2) There is ZERO chance that evaluations based on a partial card pool will be accurate. Seriously. Especially since the natural counter for escalation cards are not implemented.

Right now, not having any counterspell or similar effects essentially makes it impossible to do evaluations on effectiveness of escalation cards. We don't even know ultimately how many of those there will be.

Its alpha with half the set implemented, it gives you a taste of the game and lets you see how it will work. Thats all. Its not meant to be a balance trial.

darkwonders
10-14-2013, 06:08 AM
Uh... Stuff usually gets balanced before a game goes live, so this is exactly what an Alpha is for.

SomeoneRandom
10-14-2013, 06:49 AM
You really need to stop looking at this game like an MMO or Moba, there aren't nerf cycles in card games and honestly there shouldn't be. That is one of the best parts about TCGs, it is about discovery and creation... it is about reading the meta and finding what works best within it and finding the new evolution before others do. Since it is alpha there obviously some room for changes, but this card is not good enough to warrant this reaction.

kindmime
10-14-2013, 07:03 AM
You really need to stop looking at this game like an MMO or Moba, there aren't nerf cycles in card games and honestly there shouldn't be. That is one of the best parts about TCGs, it is about discovery and creation... it is about reading the meta and finding what works best within it and finding the new evolution before others do. Since it is alpha there obviously some room for changes, but this card is not good enough to warrant this reaction.

Having said that I realize that there will be a pve aspect in this game. I would hate to see a card "nerfed" because it is unfair in pve but balanced in pvp. I don't think this would be the case but would be upset if it was.

darkwonders
10-14-2013, 07:06 AM
What are you talking about? TCGs ban cards all the time because they were deemed too powerful. You can't exactly tweak abilities on a physical game. However, Hex has all the advantages of being an actual video game, meaning the devs can change how a card works if it's deemed too powerful.

Juve
10-14-2013, 07:26 AM
What are you talking about? TCGs ban cards all the time because they were deemed too powerful. You can't exactly tweak abilities on a physical game. However, Hex has all the advantages of being an actual video game, meaning the devs can change how a card works if it's deemed too powerful.

it is not an advantage, it's a trap

like wow pvp balance

Commoble
10-14-2013, 07:35 AM
What are you talking about? TCGs ban cards all the time because they were deemed too powerful. You can't exactly tweak abilities on a physical game. However, Hex has all the advantages of being an actual video game, meaning the devs can change how a card works if it's deemed too powerful.

The devs have specifically said that they're NOT going to make any changes to individual cards after the game releases. They'll only leave them out of the block rotation, or ban them in extreme cases, as with physical block-based TCGs.

SomeoneRandom
10-14-2013, 07:57 AM
What are you talking about? TCGs ban cards all the time because they were deemed too powerful. You can't exactly tweak abilities on a physical game. However, Hex has all the advantages of being an actual video game, meaning the devs can change how a card works if it's deemed too powerful.

Ban lists tend to be a VERY small amount of cards within a given format, and with formats that aren't eternal (like standard or extended) they tend to be rare. Before Jace/Stoneforge the last ban in standard MTG was in 2005... With a rotating set of cards and each new set adding somewhere between 15-25% to the card pool there will be answers...

As for PvE, they have said they want PvE to be where cards go wild, looking at equipment the format is degenerate already and it should be. That being said if something is too powerful for farming they can always ban it in PvE or even change it for PvE only. However, nerfing PvP cards will lead this game to destruction.

Malakili
10-14-2013, 08:19 AM
What are you talking about? TCGs ban cards all the time because they were deemed too powerful. You can't exactly tweak abilities on a physical game. However, Hex has all the advantages of being an actual video game, meaning the devs can change how a card works if it's deemed too powerful.

They've outright said they will not be nerfing or buffing cards once they have been released. The uncertainty in the economy associated with the idea that cards could change at anytime would be absolutely devastating to a tcg. They have said they will ban cards if necessary.

This is a good decision by them and is vital to the success of this game.

darkwonders
10-14-2013, 08:47 AM
And yet the uncertainty of a card getting banned won't? I know I'll refuse to play against people with banned cards in casual pvp cause banned cards are usually no fun to play against

Vorpal
10-14-2013, 10:09 AM
I think Escalation cards are a neat idea (and help counter milling)

However I think they are going to be very hard to balance with a logarithmic progression. Instead it might be simpler if they were moved to a linear progression. As it is, you basically have a weak ish card, a normal card the second time it is pulled, then all subsequent times are in the 'ludicrous' category.

I want decks that are built around escalation and card draw to be viable. I just don't know that it needs to be so strong it's an autowin after the 3rd/4th time.

Zomnivore
10-14-2013, 10:13 AM
I don't think its particularly useful to get upset about a particular card's balance in a new design space.

They are going to fail to completely model a card's power.

That's inevitable.

I do think that part of the problem is that a lot of counter play, and other card interactions aren't in game yet. Still if it is too strong...oh well. Card game design is iterative.

It also doesn't help that their shuffling mechanism isn't fully formed yet.

Still I very much see the easy to spot progression to a high polish state, and hopefully the cards do balance out in the entirety of the set.

SomeoneRandom
10-14-2013, 10:14 AM
And yet the uncertainty of a card getting banned won't? I know I'll refuse to play against people with banned cards in casual pvp cause banned cards are usually no fun to play against

As has been said, banning cards comes across once in a long long while. There were 0 bans in standard (the most recent 6-8 sets) for over 6 years, and even after the ban hit it only was for the last 3 months of a format. Swinging the ban hammer is a lot harder and takes a lot more thought behind it rather than "this card saw a lot of play, lets just lower the power level".

Malakili
10-14-2013, 10:53 AM
And yet the uncertainty of a card getting banned won't? I know I'll refuse to play against people with banned cards in casual pvp cause banned cards are usually no fun to play against

We don't have to speculate about this, Magic has already given us a model to go by. Banning is rare. Very good cards that aren't banned eventually cycle out of standard anyway. Lastly, I'm sure banned cards will only be available - even for casual games - in the free for all format, which you are free to avoid (I know I won't be touching it).

This isn't an MMORPG where the classes and abilities are constantly up for balance discussion and passes. Cards cycle out, new sets come out and transform the game. Just because this has the "MMO" acronym in it doesn't mean they should totally overturn years of practice/knowledge about how to properly run a TCG.

Luckily, the decision is already made and they've made the correct one in my opinion, so this discussion is moot.

nicosharp
10-14-2013, 11:12 AM
We don't have to speculate about this, Magic has already given us a model to go by. Banning is rare. Very good cards that aren't banned eventually cycle out of standard anyway. Lastly, I'm sure banned cards will only be available - even for casual games - in the free for all format, which you are free to avoid (I know I won't be touching it).

This isn't an MMORPG where the classes and abilities are constantly up for balance discussion and passes. Cards cycle out, new sets come out and transform the game. Just because this has the "MMO" acronym in it doesn't mean they should totally overturn years of practice/knowledge about how to properly run a TCG.

Luckily, the decision is already made and they've made the correct one in my opinion, so this discussion is moot.

The only thing you can use Magic as is a comparison on thematics. It is a game built based on it being a physical TCG. Hex is a game built based on it being a digital TCG. The lines will not blur much between the two, but the development process should be expected to be different.

While using Magic as a comparison, there is nothing that I remember having an "Escalation" effect. The voiding all resources effect may be in Magic (not that I remember), but it also seems fairly unique. The two effects combined are a completely unique interaction you can not compare to anything in Magic.

This is also ALPHA.. Nothing has been set in stone, so discussion is important. If you don't want to discuss, don't.

Gwaer
10-14-2013, 11:17 AM
He's talking about card banning per format being a very well explored model in magic.

darkwonders
10-14-2013, 11:19 AM
Fair enough. Though that shouldn't stop us from discussing the cards now so we don't have to ban them in the future.

I'm curious if there will be any counters that void all copies of countered card. That would utterly destroy escalation decks unless there are other cards that let you reclaim voided cards.

EmraldArcher
10-14-2013, 11:24 AM
I think Escalation cards are a neat idea (and help counter milling).

They actually do very little against mill because all the escalation cards are sorcery speed and a fair amount of the mill effects are instant.

SomeoneRandom
10-14-2013, 12:09 PM
The only thing you can use Magic as is a comparison on thematics. It is a game built based on it being a physical TCG. Hex is a game built based on it being a digital TCG. The lines will not blur much between the two, but the development process should be expected to be different.

While using Magic as a comparison, there is nothing that I remember having an "Escalation" effect. The voiding all resources effect may be in Magic (not that I remember), but it also seems fairly unique. The two effects combined are a completely unique interaction you can not compare to anything in Magic.

This is also ALPHA.. Nothing has been set in stone, so discussion is important. If you don't want to discuss, don't.

Actually magic has a card that does exactly what Demolisher does, but it only costs 2... http://gatherer.wizards.com/pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=4710

Also Escalation was done somewhat with cards improving based on other copies in graveyard. Obviously not to the effect Escalation is, but neither of these were very overpowered. I think most of the cards are in a good state right now and that Set 1 will be fine. Chronic Madness needs to be cast 4 times to win, and before that you are causing card disadvantage. If you cant beat someone who basically discarded 3 cards for 0 value, then you need to improve your deck a bit. Ragefire also needs to be cast a 3rd and 4th time aimed at the face to win, but for the first two casts it has value. However, I think once we see countermagic there will be enough control decks out there to make "pure escalation" decks not overpowered.

bangari
10-14-2013, 12:53 PM
Though that shouldn't stop us from discussing the cards now so we don't have to ban them in the future.



The fact that we have a whole bunch of unimplemented cards, some of which are direct counters to escalation, does.

Making predictions of what cards are op and would/might be banned is stupid. A alpha with a whole bunch of cards not implemented isn't meant for test balance. This isn't an mmo.

Every single set in mtg people start screaming about op and unbalance when half of the cards are revealed. Every single time the premature predictions end up being stupid in hindsight.

TheCrazyNate
10-14-2013, 02:18 PM
Just out of curiousity - I just started following more closely since alpha started, but why did the OP not attack during each of his turns? Didn't he leave a ton of damage on the table?

[edit] nevermind, I'm stupid - didn't notice the inner conflicts

Svenn
10-14-2013, 04:47 PM
Just out of curiousity - I just started following more closely since alpha started, but why did the OP not attack during each of his turns? Didn't he leave a ton of damage on the table?

[edit] nevermind, I'm stupid - didn't notice the inner conflicts

Yeah, these decks are typically fairly high on control which stops you from being able to beat them before they get their crazy combo out.

Glad to see this is at least being discussed. I think when I was posting this I was looking more to see if there were actual counters, and it sounds like the counters are "hopefully be able to counterspell the escalates". Again, I feel like Escalate and voiding all your resources are both neat effects individually that are not OP... but combining them leads to craziness.

kormai
10-14-2013, 10:56 PM
Sorry there is 1 thing i dont understand, you had a lot of turns that you didnt attacked and he was open, for asfar as i see you barely got creature's, you barely attacked etc

Truhls
10-14-2013, 11:53 PM
svenn we really should finish that green/white life gain match sometime lol

Enyeez
10-15-2013, 07:38 AM
Your deck, played 0/1's and transformed them into angels, there was no risk of you winning the game before turn 8.
From what I saw, your deck seems unfocused, and it seems that you are playing for fun, where your opponent is trying to figure out how to win against even the hardest opponents.

His deck was made to have the opponents holding dead removal cards in their hand, while packing a lot of removal itself, with the ability to sift out its draws with the laboratories.

I was hoping reversion could target cards being played, so you could reset the escalation counter, but that was not the case, it could have made reversion playable.

Furthermore, judging the escalation spells from an incomplete cardpool and with a deck not ready to handle them is kind of unfair.

vulture27
10-15-2013, 07:47 AM
Your deck, played 0/1's and transformed them into angels, there was no risk of you winning the game before turn 8.
From what I saw, your deck seems unfocused, and it seems that you are playing for fun, where your opponent is trying to figure out how to win against even the hardest opponents.

His deck was made to have the opponents holding dead removal cards in their hand, while packing a lot of removal itself, with the ability to sift out its draws with the laboratories.

I was hoping reversion could target cards being played, so you could reset the escalation counter, but that was not the case, it could have made reversion playable.

Furthermore, judging the escalation spells from an incomplete cardpool and with a deck not ready to handle them is kind of unfair.

^ /agree

I couldn't bring myself to watch more than a couple minutes of the video. Getting wrecked when you are playing a deck full of bad cards is not the same as your opponent's deck being overpowered.

mortikal
10-15-2013, 09:02 AM
I wouldnt mind seeing certain cards get restriction... like X per deck lets say 2 ragefire.... and certain champs allow more ragefires.

SomeoneRandom
10-15-2013, 09:06 AM
I wouldnt mind seeing certain cards get restriction... like X per deck lets say 2 ragefire.... and certain champs allow more ragefires.

I could see this happening in PvE for future cards. Don't think its a good idea for PvP personally. I could also see a card with this building restriction. I know they originally revealed a card that was a 2/2 flier for 1 but required 20 unique non-resource cards. I could see them doing something like "For every 5 humans you can include 1 of this card in your deck".

goldpannerpete
10-15-2013, 10:37 PM
i think the issues with escalation and demonic dementor will be addressed at least partially when we can use a sideboard.

Lennier
10-16-2013, 08:50 PM
I was able to find out Eternal Youth caps out at 1.6 trillion. I wasn't able to find the Ragefire limit, since it goes up slower. At one point my life was stuck at 0 for a few turns, then the last cast of Eternal Youth set my life to the attached, almost illegible number. I also noticed my escalation cards became very blurry at times once they got up in the millions.

Hurrn
10-16-2013, 10:19 PM
I was able to find out Eternal Youth caps out at 1.6 trillion. I wasn't able to find the Ragefire limit, since it goes up slower. At one point my life was stuck at 0 for a few turns, then the last cast of Eternal Youth set my life to the attached, almost illegible number. I also noticed my escalation cards became very blurry at times once they got up in the millions.

Can't quite read your card, but was the number actually ten digits (i.e. 1,610,612,736)? That would be the largest doubling of 3 that would fit in a signed 32 bit integer. It would take 30 casts to get that point. The 31st cast would raise it to ~3.2 billion, breaking the max of ~2.1 billion.

I'll bet the largest value for Ragefire is 1,073,741,824, also on the 30th cast. The next cast would put it 1 over the max of a signed 32 bit integer.

Geometric progression leads to enormous numbers very quickly. A linear progression (3,6,9,...) would avoid this problem and perhaps address some of the general concerns about Escalation.

EDIT: commas added to large numbers for clarity when reading.

ossuary
10-17-2013, 04:53 AM
They really ought to add commas to their number display code. :)

I'll be interested to see if they're going to update the numbering algorithms at some point to allow for higher numbers, or if they'll just cap it. It changes things slightly in an infinite life vs infinite damage deck if there is a cap, because life ramps faster than damage... if you hit the cap, the power of ragefire actually goes up (or eternal youth goes down, if you look at it that way), because you can't gain enough life to stay ahead of it anymore.

Lennier
10-17-2013, 06:54 AM
Delete - double post

Lennier
10-17-2013, 06:55 AM
Yes, that was the correct value (1,610,612,736) for the maxed Eternal Youth I had. I'll have to try it again to make sure and maybe the card won't bug out display wise next time.

houjix
10-17-2013, 09:26 AM
Geometric progression leads to enormous numbers very quickly. A linear progression (3,6,9,...) would avoid this problem and perhaps address some of the general concerns about Escalation.



This is probably the crux of the whole situation right here. Doubling effects should always be used with care and this is probably a bad situation to use them in. The switch to a linear progression could allow them to assign different variables to the Escalation to adjust just how strong they want the subsequent plays to be. For example a burn spell could deal 2 but have an Escalation 3. So playing 3 would give you still generate a healthy 15 damage versus 14 for the currently implementation. On the 4th play, doubling begins to pull away, but the numbers are still close. The 5th plays is where it begins to get out of hand. Perhaps in their design meetings they never anticipated decks to uses escalated cards more than 5-6 times in the course of a normal match.

Gimick
10-17-2013, 10:01 AM
After reading a few of these threads, I decided to try out these "OP escalation" decks. I have to say that they are fairly bad. Not very consistent and will lose to most faster play decks. They work well against slower decks, but even then you can get bad RNG and not get the cards needed, in the right order, to win.

That said, I think the concept of escalation is broken. I've won a game, only getting 2 resources out, and just getting lucky and drawing a ragefire each turn. My opponents deck was firing on all cylinders. Getting resources out each turn and getting creatures and combos out like clockwork. But just about no deck can win against 2, 4, 8, 16 direct damage on turn 5.

My suggestion is to fix how escalation works. I'd make the effects of the card additive instead of multiplicative (i.e. Ragefire would be 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc. Instead of 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.) And then make it so that escalation cards can only be put back into your deck and reused once, instead of infinite. (i.e. if your running 4 ragefires, you would have a maximum chance of pulling 8 of them during a game, instead of infinite). So that the second time you use the card it goes into the void.

ossuary
10-17-2013, 10:21 AM
That defeats the purpose of making use of the digital space. You were incredibly lucky, one time. Lots of people win games against better decks because they get lucky. That doesn't automatically mean it's broken. If you change it to a linear progression, it becomes too low damage over too slow of a time to be worthwhile.

Give it some more time to be tested, when there are more cards built in. And remember, Hex isn't Magic... the balance is not the same. Hex has a lot of cards that are potentially more powerful, and purposely deal with bigger numbers - like doing 5K damage with Sliver of the Immortal Spear.

Gwaer
10-17-2013, 10:37 AM
Honesty I'm pretty certain their randomization mechanics need a lot of work. Once you're not getting doubles and triples of cards in your pening hand constantly you'll see a lot less turn 5 16 damage rage fires.

houjix
10-17-2013, 11:21 AM
That defeats the purpose of making use of the digital space. You were incredibly lucky, one time. Lots of people win games against better decks because they get lucky. That doesn't automatically mean it's broken. If you change it to a linear progression, it becomes too low damage over too slow of a time to be worthwhile.

Give it some more time to be tested, when there are more cards built in. And remember, Hex isn't Magic... the balance is not the same. Hex has a lot of cards that are potentially more powerful, and purposely deal with bigger numbers - like doing 5K damage with Sliver of the Immortal Spear.

But you still only start with 20 life, so things need to need balanced around that fact, not the outlier deck that can gain 1 million life.

I even showed that a linear progression with the right variables can achieve a similar result over an expected number of plays, but prevent the spiraling out of control the comes from constant doubling if the game moves beyond that point.

Vorpal
10-17-2013, 11:50 AM
If the only viable slow decks are escalation decks, then that is a problem. Other slow decks need to be viable beside escalation. If the only way to beat an escalation deck is with a rush deck, then escalation needs some tuning, even if they get beaten frequently by rush decks.

When you can get up to hundreds of thousands of life very quickly with the geometric progression we currently use, I find it hard to believe any slow non escalation deck can possibly compete (barring the spear).

Right now Eternal Youth is 5x2^(n-1) where n is the number of copies of the card you have played.

5, 10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320, 640...it quickly gets out of hand fairly quickly. What deck that has 20 life is going to be able to compete?

If Eternal Youth were instead 5xn, where n is the number of copies of the card you have played, it would go
5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45

You are still getting incredibly efficient cards that are going to be extremely hard to counter (and even harder as the game goes on) but it's not completely outside the realm of possibility that some other slower decks might be able to compete.

Of course, with a full card list, and a sufficient sideboard, you might be able to build in counters to escalation into your slow deck. If revert works on escalation, diamond is set. Sapphire is already set. And so on. Escalation is something to keep an eye on, but hard to evaluate fully with current card situation. I think even at 5x for eternal youth or 2x for ragefire, they represent incredibly efficient cards even the 3rd time you play them (no difference between the two methods for 1st and 2nd plays)

ShadowTycho
10-17-2013, 12:07 PM
I think escalation is fine, people just need to wait until a counter spell is in the game or some other interesting and more complex effects.
yeah heavy anti creature control beats creature aggro consistently. thats how it should be.

Hemotherapy
10-17-2013, 12:20 PM
What Shadow Tycho said.

Escalation is fine, we don't have access to all the cards yet.

OP's original problem seems fine to me, I can't imagine a deck thats built around a charge power to gain a 0/1 token and then using strictly buff cards in your deck would be incredibily competitive even against a non-escalation deck.

I think we've got a case here that 2 johnnies butted heads and one thinks the other is OP because of the way he lost the game. ;)

nicosharp
10-17-2013, 12:27 PM
I have to say, between Sabotage and Escalation, Winning with either is exhilarating.

Deathfog
10-18-2013, 07:39 PM
Logical control to an infinitely expanding function is increasing the cost along with the power. If a card costs 1 the first shot for X, 2X for 2 is probably still usable. Once it get to 5+ still works but is game ending at that point.

Svenn
10-21-2013, 07:00 AM
^ /agree

I couldn't bring myself to watch more than a couple minutes of the video. Getting wrecked when you are playing a deck full of bad cards is not the same as your opponent's deck being overpowered.
I've played Escalation decks multiple times with a bunch of decks, including ones where I have win ratios of 90%+. This just happened to be the one I got on video. As I said in the initial post... yeah, the deck I'm playing in this particular match isn't so great. However, it's not just this one match I based this post on, it was several matches with a bunch of different decks.

Eierdotter
10-21-2013, 07:07 AM
i saw a wild ramp deck using the fist to win against a escalation deck...

Fist op, ban each wild card !!!

srsly what is this all about?
is this thread even ment to be serious?

DeusPhasmatis
10-21-2013, 07:54 AM
Ruby Deck Wins takes out Demolisher Escalation pretty often, and once counterspells are in I expect Saphire/Blood Control to handle it pretty well (even better with Booby Trap and Omen of Oblivion in the sideboard for proper matches, if Demolisher Escalation actually becomes a problem).

stiii
10-21-2013, 09:32 AM
I've played Escalation decks multiple times with a bunch of decks, including ones where I have win ratios of 90%+. This just happened to be the one I got on video. As I said in the initial post... yeah, the deck I'm playing in this particular match isn't so great. However, it's not just this one match I based this post on, it was several matches with a bunch of different decks.

Maybe then you should have put up/made a video with one of those better decks? People can only judge you on what you say/do. And what they saw was you complaining a card is broken while playing a terrible deck.

Hatts
10-21-2013, 01:54 PM
Honesty I'm pretty certain their randomization mechanics need a lot of work. Once you're not getting doubles and triples of cards in your pening hand constantly you'll see a lot less turn 5 16 damage rage fires.

Clusters of cards are expected in a random shuffle. What you're asking for is for them to make the shuffle less random so that it feels more random like Apple did with it's shuffle (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1334712/Humans-concept-randomness-hard-understand.html)

DeusPhasmatis
10-21-2013, 02:04 PM
Clusters of cards are expected in a random shuffle. What you're asking for is for them to make the shuffle less random so that it feels more random like Apple did with it's shuffle (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1334712/Humans-concept-randomness-hard-understand.html)

From personal anecdote, it seems their random functions are slightly broken, because I have never won the coin flip in all ~30 games I've played, and that's a one-in-a-billion chance (which greatly elevates the probability that something is broken). It's worth looking at from their end to ensure that their pseudo-random number generator is working properly, and all the places that use it are doing so properly.

But yes, clumps of cards are expected in a randomly generated hand.

Hatts
10-21-2013, 03:12 PM
That's something different (http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=28068):


Yeah, the AI is just REALLY good at coin tosses. Sounds like the guy who made it did too good a job.

:P




Chris Woods

So yes, their random function is very broken when it comes to games vs the AI. Since the coinflip works properly PVP it's more likely there is leftover code for testing / debugging the AI which didn't get removed.

I don't think there is something similar in the shuffle code causing excess clumping, it's just more memorable. It's especially memorable in escalation decks because it leads to drastic results.

This topic comes up on the shadow era forums every couple of months. The developer has shown the code he's using (a standard php shuffle) and posted a webpage where people can test it. Still there are people who will swear up and down that you need to play vs the AI X number of times to shuffle the deck before you play a competitive match.

blakegrandon
10-21-2013, 07:10 PM
Since the coinflip works properly PVP it's more likely there is leftover code for testing / debugging the AI which didn't get removed.
.

Let me stop you right there, the coin flip most definitely does NOT work properly in PVP...I've gone first maybe 5-6 times out of over 150 games?

It's starting to get to a sample size that statistically is almost impossible.

Escalation is incredibly powerful with the right decks, especially with blue draw and chronic madness.

Hatts
10-22-2013, 06:27 AM
Let me stop you right there, the coin flip most definitely does NOT work properly in PVP...I've gone first maybe 5-6 times out of over 150 games?

It's starting to get to a sample size that statistically is almost impossible.

Escalation is incredibly powerful with the right decks, especially with blue draw and chronic madness.

Sorry I must have missed the bug report for that one blake, can you share the link?

Raith
10-22-2013, 07:40 AM
http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=28739&highlight=coin+flip

Pretty far off topic, but I haven't gone second in PvP for at least the last 30 games played. My buddy just accepts he will always go second. ;) But I also seem to go first against other players as well.

ostrakon
10-22-2013, 08:38 AM
I don't really think escalation is that big of a deal. Too many working parts and not enough combo enablers to really "go off" yet. There are also some fairly hard counters that haven't gotten implemented yet, like interrupts.

Gimick
10-22-2013, 11:28 AM
I've seen designers try to implement exponential curves into video games before. Be it damage, mitigation, experience curves, etc. And it's NEVER gone well. Ever. Not once.

I completely acknowledge that there are hard counters to these cards that are not yet in game. That is fine and that will be great when they are implemented. But likely these counters won't be for every color or every deck. So escalation decks will continue to be popular (which is not a problem at all).

The problem I see, is from a design perspective. Escalation = 200% more when you play a card with the same name. This increase is permanent and continues indefinitely. There is nothing subtly about that mechanic. There are no nuances to explore as a player and even less for the designers of the game. If they are going to add a card with escalation, I'm sure there has to be a large amount of consideration as to if they want to do so, because it has such a huge weighty effect on the game.

I am more partial to a more nuanced approach to this same type of effect. How about instead of every escalation card being 200% more powerful the next time it's used. It could % escalation could vary from card to card. This would give the designers a ton of more flexibility in how they design these types of cards and would give players more pause to see if these certain type of cards would fit their decks. Right now, I think anyone running ruby will want to put 4 ragefires in their deck...because... .why not? Same with diamond players and Eternal Youth. Healing is always good. Doing direct damage to troops or players is always good. I think Chronic Madness may cause players to take pause a bit if it fits with a deck, but even then, throwing 4 in any sapphire deck gives you a good chance of having an alternate win condition of decking someone out of the game, even if that isn't your decks ultimate goal.

If escalation was able to be set at any % (other than 200%) of the designers choice, then I think we would have more gradual curves to these cards. Lets say a ragefire-type card did 4 damage to a player, but it's escalation was set to 150% more. The next turn it would be 6, then 9, then 13 (rounded down), etc. Less drastic and gives the designers control over if this card is balanced and could tweak it if it wasn't. Perhaps they want to make this card have 125% escalation (4, 5, 6, 8, 10, etc)

You would obviously have to put some text on the card to que the player into how the card would be escalating. So there would be text to say something like "The next time a card with the name is played it will be doing X". As long as you have that, it doesn't matter what the % increase is "behind the scenes" the player is informed on how the card will work in the future.

Also, you could have cards that "deescalate"? Imagine a card that gives you 10 life the first time you use it... then 8, then 5, then 2. Anyways the possibilities are endless, and I have no doubt that CZE has thought about this and perhaps has these types of ideas in the hopper to implement later. But what we're seeing now is the blunt force trauma of a 200% escalation effect. I think there is more room for a nuanced approach and hope its being considered.

SomeoneRandom
10-22-2013, 11:57 AM
Yes escalation is good, that is because it is a 4+ card combo. Escalation doesn't start to get really powerful until the 3rd/4th cast. Looking at Chronic Madness, until you cast the 4th copy of it your opponent hasn't lost the game yet, that means you are down 3 cards for no affect. Crash of Rhinos is under-par in the first cast, good in the 2nd cast and by the time the 3rd cast rolls around it is pretty solid; however, it suffers from the issue of being in wild with less than stellar options for draw. Ragefire is just solid all around, the game win doesn't come until cast 4, but the first 2 casts can go to troops to delay the game. In reality, unless it is a control mirror you should be ending a game before turn 10, casting 3-4 of these cards is unlikely in these scenarios. During control match-ups there is a bit of an issue with card draw making escalation cards degenerate, but there are also more counters to things in that match-up.

As for future design space, yes they are locked into escalation being double each cast. However, I don't see an issue with that... I see plenty of design space for another 2-3 cycles of escalation cards and as you mentioned they could even do a cycle of cards that "fade" that decrease by 50% each cast. There is nothing stopping them from future blocks making escalation X with another name.

Svenn
10-22-2013, 12:02 PM
If escalation was able to be set at any % (other than 200%) of the designers choice, then I think we would have more gradual curves to these cards. Lets say a ragefire-type card did 4 damage to a player, but it's escalation was set to 150% more. The next turn it would be 6, then 9, then 13 (rounded down), etc. Less drastic and gives the designers control over if this card is balanced and could tweak it if it wasn't. Perhaps they want to make this card have 125% escalation (4, 5, 6, 8, 10, etc)

This was mentioned earlier but I think the easier (and probably better) way to do it would be to have "Escalate X" where X is the amount it increases by each time (like how Rage works). For example, Ragefire does 2 damage with "Escalate 3"... second time is 5, then 8, then 11, then 14, etc. It doesn't get wildly out of control. You can still build a good Escalate deck with lots of card draw for increasing power from each cast... but it's not basically "well, gg" after the 3rd or 4th cast. Good luck once someone gets their 3rd Eternal Youth off and is sitting there at probably 60-100+ health.

One thing that hasn't come up because we don't have any yet... what about cards that search your deck? This seems like an obvious choice to add at some point, but toss those in and Escalate will become really ridiculously powerful.

Yes, it's early Alpha but Escalate is something that needs talking specifically about because it's not something tried and tested with other TCGs. Since they aren't going to change cards once we get our real cards in beta we need to be discussing any potential issues such as this early on.

Svenn
10-22-2013, 12:08 PM
Yes escalation is good, that is because it is a 4+ card combo. Escalation doesn't start to get really powerful until the 3rd/4th cast.

I mentioned it already but the problem isn't just Escalate itself, but the amount of ways to compliment an Escalate deck. Demented Demolisher, tons of card draw (lots of which are artifacts). On top of that, Escalate cards get shuffled back into your deck so it's not like once you cast one you have less of a chance of drawing them or anything. Basically, too much card draw/deck manipulation and ways to get through your deck to the Escalate is the issue more than the Escalate itself I think.

Malakili
10-22-2013, 12:52 PM
I mentioned it already but the problem isn't just Escalate itself, but the amount of ways to compliment an Escalate deck. Demented Demolisher, tons of card draw (lots of which are artifacts). On top of that, Escalate cards get shuffled back into your deck so it's not like once you cast one you have less of a chance of drawing them or anything. Basically, too much card draw/deck manipulation and ways to get through your deck to the Escalate is the issue more than the Escalate itself I think.

How many times do people need to say that when the full set is implemented there are going to be ways of absolutely crushing escalation based decks consistently. The fact that they are super powerful right now is just to say that the the set isn't all implemented.

houjix
10-22-2013, 01:50 PM
How many times do people need to say that when the full set is implemented there are going to be ways of absolutely crushing escalation based decks consistently. The fact that they are super powerful right now is just to say that the the set isn't all implemented.

Yes, they can be beat now. Yes, they probably will be beat more with the full set. (Note they also benefit from a full set too). However that doesn't mean people can't look at the mechanic objectively and realize the potential issues it can cause.

You don't let a monster loose just because you have a silver bullet.

Gimick
10-22-2013, 01:54 PM
I mentioned it already but the problem isn't just Escalate itself, but the amount of ways to compliment an Escalate deck. Demented Demolisher, tons of card draw (lots of which are artifacts). On top of that, Escalate cards get shuffled back into your deck so it's not like once you cast one you have less of a chance of drawing them or anything. Basically, too much card draw/deck manipulation and ways to get through your deck to the Escalate is the issue more than the Escalate itself I think.

Don't think this was mentioned, but another way to limit escalation (because the card is put back in the deck and doesn't decrease the chance, as mentioned above). Is to increase the threshold on all the cards after it is cast. This would narrow the use of the cards into only showing in escalation decks or mono-color decks, instead of... every deck, because they are just too good.

Malakili
10-22-2013, 03:07 PM
Yes, they can be beat now. Yes, they probably will be beat more with the full set. (Note they also benefit from a full set too). However that doesn't mean people can't look at the mechanic objectively and realize the potential issues it can cause.

You don't let a monster loose just because you have a silver bullet.

Not every deck is going to be balanced against every other deck, that isn't how card games work.

DeusPhasmatis
10-22-2013, 03:20 PM
Yes, they can be beat now. Yes, they probably will be beat more with the full set. (Note they also benefit from a full set too). However that doesn't mean people can't look at the mechanic objectively and realize the potential issues it can cause.

You don't let a monster loose just because you have a silver bullet.

The thing is, escalation takes so long to get started that either you build your entire deck around which (which leaves you vulnerable to aggression), or it's extremely unreliable. Yeah, it's big numbers when it goes off, but the PvP meta-game is usually defined by the fight between aggro decks and control, and I expect both of those to cause serious problems for escalation decks.

If you're not playing an aggressive deck, and you're not playing a control deck, and you're not playing a combo deck that can race escalation for your win condition, what the hell are you doing?

Quasari
10-22-2013, 03:26 PM
Good luck once someone gets their 3rd Eternal Youth off and is sitting there at probably 60-100+ health.
The third escalate would only give 35 total health across all three. So at most, they would be sitting at 55 health and that's if you aren't doing anything.


One thing that hasn't come up because we don't have any yet... what about cards that search your deck? This seems like an obvious choice to add at some point, but toss those in and Escalate will become really ridiculously powerful.
The only one that is known at the moment is the Transcended and they've stated that these effects will be few and far between.


Yes, it's early Alpha but Escalate is something that needs talking specifically about because it's not something tried and tested with other TCGs. Since they aren't going to change cards once we get our real cards in beta we need to be discussing any potential issues such as this early on.
Escalate decks are probably the slowest combo deck I've ever seen. Seriously, it relies on Eternal Youth to stall till it's escalated enough ragefires to kill you. The freaking video vs a poor deck lasted nearly 40 minutes. This isn't op. The only reason they are so powerful right now is that a huge number of there answers are not available.

A quick list of known cards that aren't in alpha:
Sadistic Castigator with any way to handle the Eternal Youths(counter spell, Emberspire)
Eye of Oblivion(he could pretty much solely handle the deck)
Reginald Lancashire
Counter spells in general
Resource Destruction(Gem in particular, once the Demented Demolisher does it's thing, resources are hard for it to come by)

Anywho, the deck relies too much on draw power to get it out, therefore it does nothing much other than Demented Demolisher and cards that can stall/draw. Escalate only seems like an issue when you look at the big numbers it can produce. It's slow and vulnerable. Once control get's all their tools, and once we get sideboarding, I doubt we'll ever see them in a competitive environment in a shape similar to this. It'll more than likely be decks that are built solely on getting The Transcended and using their escalation card of choice for their win condition.

Svenn
10-22-2013, 04:50 PM
The thing is, escalation takes so long to get started that either you build your entire deck around which (which leaves you vulnerable to aggression), or it's extremely unreliable. Yeah, it's big numbers when it goes off, but the PvP meta-game is usually defined by the fight between aggro decks and control, and I expect both of those to cause serious problems for escalation decks.

If you're not playing an aggressive deck, and you're not playing a control deck, and you're not playing a combo deck that can race escalation for your win condition, what the hell are you doing?

The problem is that an Escalation deck IS a control deck. It's nothing but control and draw with an alternate win condition. If it's got Ruby it's Ragefire and burns to remove anything you throw out. If it's got Diamond it's got Inner Conflicts to stop anything you throw down and plenty of healing. If it's got Blood it's lots of Murders and Extinction. Usually it's 2 of those 3 so it has plenty of control and stall. There's a ton of draw to get them to the cards they need so they are never lacking for control.


Escalate decks are probably the slowest combo deck I've ever seen. Seriously, it relies on Eternal Youth to stall till it's escalated enough ragefires to kill you. The freaking video vs a poor deck lasted nearly 40 minutes. This isn't op. The only reason they are so powerful right now is that a huge number of there answers are not available.
See above. It can afford to be slow because it's all control as it builds up. The escalate cards themselves are typically control or stall tactics until they get powerful enough to kill you. Also, that's only one of the escalate decks I've seen. There are more involving things like Sliver of the Immortal Spear or other alternate win conditions.

Like I've said... it's not impossible to defeat but it is certainly very powerful.

DeusPhasmatis
10-22-2013, 06:16 PM
The problem is that an Escalation deck IS a control deck. It's nothing but control and draw with an alternate win condition. If it's got Ruby it's Ragefire and burns to remove anything you throw out. If it's got Diamond it's got Inner Conflicts to stop anything you throw down and plenty of healing. If it's got Blood it's lots of Murders and Extinction. Usually it's 2 of those 3 so it has plenty of control and stall. There's a ton of draw to get them to the cards they need so they are never lacking for control.
Then it's just a control deck. How is it any worse than any other control deck?

Svenn
10-22-2013, 07:18 PM
Then it's just a control deck. How is it any worse than any other control deck?
Because normally in a control deck you don't play a card then have it go back into your deck and come out stronger each time.

DeusPhasmatis
10-22-2013, 07:23 PM
Because normally in a control deck you don't play a card then have it go back into your deck and come out stronger each time.

That doesn't mean it wins the game better than other win conditions. Getting escalation cards to point where they win the game is roughly as hard as getting a Storm Colossus onto the board and attacking 4 times. I don't see how escalation decks are better than Saphire/Blood Control.

Svenn
10-22-2013, 09:57 PM
I decided to build several of my own Escalation decks this evening. I built a Blood Diamond deck (Sliver of the Immortal Spear + Eternal Youth + Demented Demolisher), a Ruby Diamond deck (Ragefire + Eternal Youth), and a Blood Ruby deck (Ragefire + Demented Demolisher). I had a very high win rate with these decks, especially the Blood ones, including against some fast aggro decks. Here's one of my games (I won using Sliver of the Immortal Spear after getting way too much health):
http://www.twitch.tv/svennethir/c/3127229

DeusPhasmatis
10-22-2013, 10:29 PM
It's nice how your opponent went second and was playing a slow beatdown deck, giving you plenty of time to establish control. I'd be more interested to see how you fare against Ruby Deck Wins when they get a solid hand and play first.

Eierdotter
10-23-2013, 02:50 AM
As mentioned a lot of times:
Escalation Deck to strong - NO (currently Yes with nearly no answers)
Escalation Cards to strong - Maybe

Escalation seems to escalate at the 3. and 4. cast to be a flat win nearly every time.
But it takes a lot of luck/time to get there.
having a opening hand with 3 Ragefire feels insane, but that is luck.

Lets take a look at the Cards with two different escalation patterns, multiplicative and additive:
Ragefire - Ruby (2 cost)
2-4-8-16-32 (*2) - good
2-4-6-8-10 (+2) - moderate
Chronic Madness - Sapphire (1 cost)
3-6-12-24-48 (*2) - strong
3-6-9-12-15 (+3) - moderate
Eternal Youth - Diamond (3 cost)
5-10-20-40-80 (*2) - strong
5-10-15-20-25 (+5) - moderate
Clash of Beasts - Wild (3 cost)
1-2-4-8-16 (*2) - strong
1-2-3-4-5 (+1) - good
Relentless Corruption - Blood (3 cost)
1-2-4-8-16 (*2) - moderate
1-2-3-4-5 (+1) - weak
Red numbers indicate, where i think the effect escalated into beeing very strong for the "effect/(cost+cards played)"

SomeoneRandom
10-23-2013, 05:04 AM
I don't believe they should have gone with a geometric growth pattern, it makes them fairly boring and mildly unplayable. You are looking at a 3-4 card combo... IT SHOULD BE A BIT DEGENERATE. Sure there will be games here or there where you randomly start with 2-3 in hand and win with ease, but in reality if you are able to sit there and do nothing until you have draw 4 of the same escalate card you already won the game and a vanilla 4/4 probably would have won it for you as well. Escalation was built for control decks as an alternate win condition to playing a big fatty and protecting it, and I see no problem with that.

I think the only change I would have done to make them a bit more reasonable was to start Ragefire at 1 and make it an instant and start Eternal Youth at 4. Currently the standard burn spell is already 2 damage, which makes every red deck run Ragefire no matter what, but at 1 damage decks without draw would have to reconsider using it. Going along with Eternal Youth, the first cast is almost as good as their 1 shot life gain spell (30% less) and once it is cast a 2nd time it is about 50% higher. I feel like the magic numbers should be 1st cast sub-par, 2nd cast even or slightly above, 3rd cast good. Where as currently they tend to be good around the 2nd cast and on par the first cast. Chronic Madness and Relentless Corruption are actually scaled perfectly in my opinion.

Soldack
10-23-2013, 06:21 AM
My suggestion for fixing escalation cards is to make them a cantrip but not shuffled back into your deck.

Malakili
10-23-2013, 06:39 AM
I decided to build several of my own Escalation decks this evening. I built a Blood Diamond deck (Sliver of the Immortal Spear + Eternal Youth + Demented Demolisher), a Ruby Diamond deck (Ragefire + Eternal Youth), and a Blood Ruby deck (Ragefire + Demented Demolisher). I had a very high win rate with these decks, especially the Blood ones, including against some fast aggro decks. Here's one of my games (I won using Sliver of the Immortal Spear after getting way too much health):
http://www.twitch.tv/svennethir/c/3127229

I play decks like that too and win a lot. Again, how many times do I have to say who cares if they are really strong right now. When even the POTENTIAL to counter spells isn't in the game, it is obvious that spell based decks are unbalanced because you can build your deck knowing it you have a straight shot to your win condition.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I can't express just how pointless it is to worry about how strong cards or decks are without the entire set being implemented and therefore a full metagame evolving.

Svenn
10-23-2013, 07:06 AM
It's nice how your opponent went second and was playing a slow beatdown deck, giving you plenty of time to establish control. I'd be more interested to see how you fare against Ruby Deck Wins when they get a solid hand and play first.
When I get home I'll try and create a highlight of the games against the ruby aggro decks that's in my 3+ hours of streaming from last night. I did lose one of those, but it was one of the only matches I lost in 3+ hours. It's one of the tougher matches but with so much control they usually aren't even too much of a problem, especially having Extinction.

As I've said before, Escalate by itself isn't too terrible. It's when combined with things like Demented Demolisher and card draw that it becomes a problem. There are a lot of options for this, so it's very easy to go through your deck fast. The reason this really works though is because you don't need any troops in your deck (other than Demented Demolisher). In fact, the only other troop I put in was a 0/1 Invincible and I barely used her. One of the decks I didn't put any other troops in at all. Normally you'd need some troops to actually be damaging your opponent to win... but with the alternate win conditions you can just go all control making it very hard for your opponent to do much of anything to you. Maybe the issue is just control, or maybe it's the alternate win conditions, or maybe it really is just Demented Demolisher.

Take a look at Ragefire, for example. Your win condition IS the control. The same card that's going to win you the game is the card that's going to delay the game long enough for you to win... and that card never goes away so there are ALWAYS 4 in your deck and they get better at what they do every time you use them. When you cut your deck to 20 cards in a couple turns in and then mix in card draw it's pretty easy for that to get out of hand fast. And since you have no need for troops your hand is ALWAYS just ways to remove anything your opponent does. What do you do when your opponent just always has a hand full of control cards and nothing else?

Eternal Youth isn't a win condition in itself, but once you've cast it 3 times (which is not hard when you have 4 in the deck, they get shuffled back in after use, and you can cut all your resources out then draw multiple cards a turn) you've basically won the game. It can be combined with something like Sliver of the Immortal Spear to be a very easy delay until you get your alternate win condition out, which is not something the opponent can easily counter.

Again, Escalate by itself isn't too crazy but with the amount of ways to really manipulate your deck/draw fast they get powerful quickly. Some ideas that might tone them down a little while still making them powerful:
1) Don't shuffle them back into your deck after use. You get 4 uses max out of them, unless you have ways to pull from your graveyard. That still gives you some pretty powerful effects (Ragefire goes up to 16 damage, Eternal Youth goes up to 40 health) but you can't just cycle them infinitely for complete overpowering.
2) Escalate only increases the power of the current card, not ALL cards of the same name. Drawing 1 of the 4 in your deck with the current setup isn't too hard so they build up fast, but drawing the same card enough times for them to become overpowering might help.
3) Put them on a linear scale instead of an exponential scale, potentially using "Escalate X" with X being the increased amount each time. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc damage or 5, 10, 15, 20, etc health is still very powerful.

These are just some quick ideas that haven't been tested so I don't guarantee that any of them are great ideas, but maybe something worth looking at. Personally, I'm partial to the third idea as I like how they work now but they just get out of hand too fast with exponential growth. I feel like that will keep them from quickly hitting the "Well, I'm at 100 health, you want to concede now?" point while still letting them have a good increase in power to make it worthwhile.

Svenn
10-23-2013, 07:18 AM
I play decks like that too and win a lot. Again, how many times do I have to say who cares if they are really strong right now. When even the POTENTIAL to counter spells isn't in the game, it is obvious that spell based decks are unbalanced because you can build your deck knowing it you have a straight shot to your win condition.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but I can't express just how pointless it is to worry about how strong cards or decks are without the entire set being implemented and therefore a full metagame evolving.
I would just like to point out that this thread was mostly just to start a discussion about escalation and it's potential counters. It was not supposed to be an "OMG NERF ESCALATION" thread. The original post was asking for possible decks that could beat this now or things that might be able to counter it that aren't implemented yet.

Malakili
10-23-2013, 07:43 AM
and that card never goes away so there are ALWAYS 4 in your deck and they get better at what they do every time you use them.


possible decks that could beat this now or things that might be able to counter it that aren't implemented yet.

Countermagic Sapphire 3 SS QuickAction 0/0 No Interrupt target card. Each card in an opposing zone with the same name as that card gets permanent cost +[(2)].

Stoneskin Diamond 1 D QuickAction 0/0 No Interrupt target action targeting you or a troop you control.

There are also softer counters in Ruby (demolition, which punishes the 5 resource demolisher, Emberspire Witch - prevents health gain, a perfect sideboard card against Eternal Youth based decks, Blood Magic (Misfortune, Bloat fly - which force discards), Sapphire (Sabatoge, punishes deck thinning. Splinter of Azathoth, interrupts spells, but only delays them by putting back into hand).

The only color which lacks a way of slowing down or countering escalation decks is green, and monogreen ramp decks are one of the things that can punish these decks by attacking early with things that put you on a very short clock.

Granted, a number of the cards I've mentioned are implemented in the alpha right now, but who cares if a deck or mechanic is very powereful in an alpha with 1/2 the cards not implemented.

Svenn
10-23-2013, 08:46 AM
Countermagic Sapphire 3 SS QuickAction 0/0 No Interrupt target card. Each card in an opposing zone with the same name as that card gets permanent cost +[(2)].

Stoneskin Diamond 1 D QuickAction 0/0 No Interrupt target action targeting you or a troop you control.

There are also softer counters in Ruby (demolition, which punishes the 5 resource demolisher, Emberspire Witch - prevents health gain, a perfect sideboard card against Eternal Youth based decks, Blood Magic (Misfortune, Bloat fly - which force discards), Sapphire (Sabatoge, punishes deck thinning. Splinter of Azathoth, interrupts spells, but only delays them by putting back into hand).

The only color which lacks a way of slowing down or countering escalation decks is green, and monogreen ramp decks are one of the things that can punish these decks by attacking early with things that put you on a very short clock.

Granted, a number of the cards I've mentioned are implemented in the alpha right now, but who cares if a deck or mechanic is very powereful in an alpha with 1/2 the cards not implemented.
Thanks, there are some interesting options there. Countermagic will be a really good one, especially against someone who uses Demented Demolisher too soon. Stoneskin will help but only for Ragefire really.

Demolition is nice, but I like to include Surge Mechanism so I can still pump up my resources without needing to have them actually in my deck. It would work if it removed threshold as well. It could at the very least slow the escalation down though.

Witch is way too easy to remove, so that's not going to be that effective against a deck full of removal. I had someone attempt to use 3 Eternal Guardians and they even managed to Time Ripple them back into their hand twice with my removal. I still removed them every single turn they entered play.

Discard might be a viable way to counter escalation, but with so much card draw you're likely to have a hand full of cards you don't need anyway in my experience. If you can get some discards in early to remove key cards that could definitely stop an escalation deck. A combination of discard with counters seems like the best way to handle escalation.

Sabotage could work if the person doesn't draw too much health gain first. With just 2 casts of Eternal Youth you can survive Booby Traps without too much of a problem. However, they will slow the Escalation deck down which might give you enough time to finish them off before they get too crazy so it could work.

Some good counter ideas here. Thanks! :)

Malakili
10-23-2013, 09:25 AM
You're welcome.

I mean, the big picture here is that we need to take into account the entire meta game and how the deck/mechanic fits in. There are plenty of ways that are going to help slow down a deck like this. The way you win in Hex (or any card game) is getting to your win condition before the enemy gets to their win condition. It's easy to think of ways escalation decks get to their win condition - but the opponent is trying to slow them down and reach theirs.

There is no magic bullet deck in card games, you can't put together a perfect deck that never loses. In most games a win percentage in the 60s with a deck is absurdly good (against other similarly skilled opponents). For constructed tournaments, I suspect escalation decks will be played, but they will exist within in environment that is aware of that fact.

Will a well constructed escalation deck crush some random guy in the casual channel looking to play his timmy deck (https://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr11b)? Yes. But so will a well constructed ANYTHING deck. We can't worry too much about how good cards are in that kind of environment - but that is essentially the only one we have to go on right now.

Inquitus
10-24-2013, 01:10 AM
Svenn,

With the greatest respect, you are wrong. We cannot make an assessment of escalation cards while playing alpha with a good portion of Set 1 not in play. The lack of counters makes escalation decks very very strong in the limited alpha environment, but we cannot extrapolate this to draw any conclusions of how they will fare within the game once we are playing with a full set 1. I think they will be significantly weaker and current flavour of the month iterations likely not viable in constructed.