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View Full Version : Looking ahead to set 4



Vorsa
09-19-2015, 07:02 AM
I know set 4 is ages off, but I still can't help musing on what we can expect from it...

Humans

The 1st big gain for Humans will be the introduction of D/S and R/S combos, which could bring some very interesting cards to the fold.
Humans did get both D/R shard troops in set 3, despite sharing that combo with Necrotic - we'll have to see if they can do as well out of D/S (shared with Coyotle) and R/S (shared with Necrotic).
Hopefully the emphasis on D/S and R/S will also bring more sapphire troops, as set 3 only contributed 1 in 8 troop (and an awful awful card at that).

The 2nd big gain will be their - anticipated - Human Allegiance rare resource; granted it's likely to be a simple one like Howling Plains Bluegrass (just "Gain D, R or S"), but it will still be a handy boost for the majority of Human tribal decks.
If there is indeed a Human Allegiance resource, you'd have to think there may be a few more Humans around to trigger it in drafts too...

If it does pan out that Inspire was unique to sets 1 & 2 (plus PvE book 1 I'd hope), then the Human tribal identity established in set 3 indicates we could be in for creation & phantom transformation effects - thumbs-up to that.

Elves

While we don't know any specifics, by all rights set 4 should be the Elf set; they were noticeably under-represented relative to Necrotic and Coyotle in set 3, established no more than a foothold in their late-to-the-party 2nd shard, and as a tribe lacked identity owing to a theme that was all-ramp but no pay-off.
Hopefully set 4 will bring another theme to the table, and some high cost Elves worthy of consideration - though with the emphasis on the new shard combos, there may not be any R/W additions.

As the Elves of set 3 were completely divorced from both beasts and plants, set 4 might represent a return to earlier themes - that could certainly be a means of injecting some muscle into their tribe.

Coyotle

Coyotle should be less prominant in set 4, as set 3 was heavily skewed towards them and Necrotic, but they should have plenty of dual-shard troops thanks to the introduction of D/S and D/W combos.
There's a chance they'll skip D/S in set 4 (same as Necrotic skipped D/R in set 3), but as they are the sole D/W tribe they're guaranteed a monopoly.

Personally I hope they'll add a new theme besides Prophecy, but only time will tell.

Orcs

Orcs should make some big gains in set 4 thanks to the introduction of the B/R combo, which they will have to share with the Necrotic - though since they currently have 0 dual-shard cards they're sure to be well represented here.
The - assumed - Orc Allegiance rare shard is the biggest mystery of the 4, as the 3rd option on it could be anything from a troop (Scarless Raider) to a buff (Rage?) or even removal (ala Scorch).

It seems likely we'll be seeing more Scarless Raiders, as so far they've no presence at all and it is making the Qutzul Gorecaster gear look odd!

From a lore perspective B/R is particularly interesting, as the Orcs have several factions and thus far none have spanned shards - could we be seeing a new one?
If Scarless Raiders are indeed adolescent Orcs (I'm just deducing from their relative height) and were to be a theme of set 4, a theoretical B/R faction could be composed of educators/indoctrinators - or even a less masochistic branch of Orc society altogether e.g. one who prefer not to do the bleeding in combat.

Necrotic

Necrotic should also be less prominant in set 4, as set 3 favored them strongly.
They could however pop in any of the new shard combos, though as we've yet to see wild Necrotic (if there are any - it's an aspect that's rather vague concerning their 'all shards' concept) the smart money is on B/R, D/S & R/S.

Theme wise Shift may not be done with, but it's hard not to hope that their anemic 'all shards' theme is pushed to the fore - it still has no commensurate pay-off, nor any common facilitators on par with Royal Herald.
If they do step in a new direction, I'd bet on it providing some on/above curve Necrotic troops to optimize all those Shifts from set 3.

Dwarves

Dwarves should make great strides from set 4 owing to the introduction of the R/S combo, which they will have to share with the Necrotic but which they likely have 1st dibs on.
The - assumed - Dwarf Allegiance rare shard is odds-on to be ruby/sapphire/Worker Bot, though it's not a sure thing as it remains to be seen if Worker Bots are limited to earlier sets (and PvE).

Speaking of; as we had 7 Dwarves in set 3 but no mention of Robots, it seems likely we'll again see Dwarves with more independent capabilities in set 4 (which makes sense - Robot specific abilities aren't fun in a draft if there's only a single common Robot in the set).
Whether or not we'll see any actual Robots I wouldn't like to predict, but a few artifact troops seems the norm so it's a definite possibility.

Shin'hare

Lovers of evil bunnies should expect much goodness from set 4, as - so long as Necrotic stay out of wild - they're poised to be the sole benficiaries of the B/W combo.
What they'll do with this combo no-one can say, but it will be unique to them and hopefully herald the appearance of a new major house...

The - anticipated - Shin'hare Allegiance rare shard must surely be blood/wild/Battle Hopper, though there is a chance we've seen the last of Battle Hoppers now outside of PvE book 1 (there were no hopper effects in set 3 despite 7 troops and 2 champions).

Vennen

This may come as a shock to arachnophobes & regular drafters, but the Vennen were massively under-represented in set 3; they were outnumbered by all the other featured tribes, and are completely deficient in areas of their cost curve in the current PvP environment (they have a single cost 1 troop - who cannot attack - and no cost 4 troops what-so-ever).
Expect an onslaught of the creepy crawlies come set 4, though probably not picking up any more dual-shard cards as the focus shifts to new combos (they only got a single troop anyway even with B/S as a featured combo).

If Vennen enjoy the level of representation that Coyotle and Necrotic did in set 3, it seems logical they'll pick up some new themes along the way - although to keep the set 3 themes relevant, we should perhaps be braced for complementary themes such as milling or direct spider summoning.

Champions

If we make an unsubstantiated assumption that set 4 will follow the model of set 4 + the multi-shard model of set 3, there could be 10 new champions on the way with set 4:

Blood = Probably Vennen (Necrotic have a stronger claim on sapphire - see below)
Diamond = Probably Coyotle (no representation in this shard from set 3)
Ruby = Elf or Human or Necrotic
Sapphire = Probably Necrotic (no representation in this shard from set 3)
Wild = Elf or Coyotle
Blood/Ruby = Orc (so far every dual-shard race has represented their combo)
Blood/Wild = Shin'Hare (so far every dual-shard race has represented their combo)
Diamond/Sapphire = Human or Necrotic
Diamond/Wild = Coyotle (the only D/W tribe)
Ruby/Sapphire = Dwarf (so far every dual-shard race has represented their combo)

Gems

Set 3 was the first set with no minor gem sockets (though it did of course have troops who performed well with minor gems), so we can probably expect those to make a comeback.
Coincidentally, quick actions are the the only card type we've not yet seen socketed...

Kami
09-19-2015, 07:13 AM
The four starting races from Set 1 and 2 had their time in the sun. Why are we short-changing the four new races from Set 3 onwards?

If anything, Coyotle, Vennen, Elves, and Necrotic should continue to be fleshed out even more in Set 4.

Vorsa
09-19-2015, 08:25 AM
The four starting races from Set 1 and 2 had their time in the sun. Why are we short-changing the four new races from Set 3 onwards?

If anything, Coyotle, Vennen, Elves, and Necrotic should continue to be fleshed out even more in Set 4.

Numerically the four new races will still have a significantly stronger showing, they'll likely just be flipping the set 3 distribution where Coyotle and Necrotic had 50% more cards than Elves and Vennen.

However, they may not feel quite so dominant in set 4 due to a convergence of factors...

1. The devs already laid their cards on the table (https://www.hextcg.com/friday-update-multi-shard/) with regards to set 4 being "headlined" by the other 5 shard combinations.
With set 3 having checked-off the Elf & Vennen combo's + set 4 introducing the Dwarf, Orc & Shin'hare combos, their has to be a drift towards those races in order to flesh out the new combinations.

2. Set 3 introduced the Allegiance keyword, which requires a certain level of investment in a set to pay off - it's useless in draft & sealed without the guarantee of picking up a few appropriate tribal troops.
So either the older race combos "headline" set 4 without Allegiance putting in an appearance (meaning it's set 3 appearance was just an intro to its use in PvE), or there's enough troops for them to make it work.
If the devs do want to keep things symmetrical, the older races will each get a common Allegiance troop and a rare Allegiance resource.

3. The devs really tightened up on racial identities with set 3; it didn't take as many cards to establish a tribal theme, and there was a lot less attention given to niceties e.g. solid curves (cost 1 being a noticeable casualty).
Fun fact: there were more Coyotle and Necrotic in sets 1 and 2 (19 and 16 respectively) than there are Vennen in set 3 (14) - yet neither of those two races felt at all fleshed out or viable by comparison.
With laser focus & the absence of any vanilla troops, Vennen are way more intense than prior sets - heck; if the Vennen gained just 14 more bane based troops in set 4, people would be crying out for mercy even though they'd decisively be the least represented race in the game.
Ditto for Elves, if they gained a decent cost 1 wild ramp troop and actually had just one or two cards on par with Living Totem/Soul Marble to pour their resources into.

4. Cutting Robots frees up a ton of space in card sets; they were basically a 5th featured race in both previous sets, so once they're removed from the equation it creates a lot of spots to fill with tribal cards.
Even splitting their allowance 4 ways, it basically allows a 66-100% increase for each non-featured race relative to earlier sets.

Smradd
09-19-2015, 10:10 AM
I feel like they should buff necrotics mostly because they are the worst of the races in set 3, although there are many of them they are mostly unplayable.
I don't mind elves focusing on ramping at all. I'd rather have them constantly focused on that cause I love ramps and wouldn't mind making a good elf ramp one day if they put more playable ones in set 4.
Vennen's mechanic is boring for constructed. At least it is for me. So I don't expect much of them, but drafting with new spiderling-makers will be a lot of fun.
And coyotles got many nice cards in this set, no need to buffing them too much in the next one.
As for the other races, I doubt that they will be much represented in set 4.

Clawdius
09-19-2015, 10:21 AM
I just hope that the set 4 introduction is the first set that doesn't introduce a plethora of new bugs that go unaddressed for months. After all, right now the team is busily preparing PVE content and may even be working off a build where many of the bugs that have plagued the Frost Ring Arena since set 3 launched are not an issue. Once PVE is on the live server, I'm really hoping that we'll see an outwardly more responsive Hex Entertainment LLC.

As for new cards, I'm wondering if we'll see legendary resources. Of course I'm hesitant to say that any legendary resources will come about. They could be harmful to the game in the long run, especially when set 4 goes "out of print", since depending on their usefulness they could potentially become the sort of thing every player felt the need to have 4 of in order to put up a viable constructed deck.

pyrovoice
09-19-2015, 11:57 AM
Shin'hare

Lovers of evil bunnies should expect much goodness from set 4, as - so long as Necrotic stay out of wild - they're poised to be the sole benficiaries of the B/W combo.
What they'll do with this combo no-one can say, but it will be unique to them and hopefully herald the appearance of a new major house...

The - anticipated - Shin'hare Allegiance rare shard must surely be blood/wild/Battle Hopper, though there is a chance we've seen the last of Battle Hoppers now outside of PvE book 1 (there were no hopper effects in set 3 despite 7 troops and 2 champions).

Actually no, an allegiance card for all three shard would be meaningless. Shin'hares provide 2 types of play : The diamond/Wild token, where you put tons of creatures, boost them all and swing for 999 damages, and the Blood/Wild where you sacrifice your shin'hares to create combo. Best way would be 2 shin'hare resources allegiance, each helping its strategy without possibly helping the other

WolfCrypt
09-19-2015, 12:32 PM
I feel like they should buff necrotics mostly because they are the worst of the races in set 3, although there are many of them they are mostly unplayable.

Unplayable? What creating a 12/12 flying swiftstrike steadfast guy is unplayable? How does that figure? I find Necrotic to be very strong with Shift and your history if they can effectively get a consistent draw of Deepgaze and shifts.

KingGabriel
09-20-2015, 11:53 AM
Unplayable? What creating a 12/12 flying swiftstrike steadfast guy is unplayable? How does that figure? I find Necrotic to be very strong with Shift and your history if they can effectively get a consistent draw of Deepgaze and shifts.
Not to mention how strong they'll get in rainbow with more threshold fixers.

velk
09-20-2015, 03:43 PM
Unplayable? What creating a 12/12 flying swiftstrike steadfast guy is unplayable?

The part where someone murders it and 8 for 1s you.

WolfCrypt
09-20-2015, 03:56 PM
The part where someone murders it and 8 for 1s you.

I'm pretty sure there is a spellshield shift ability. And besides you think Necrotic can't raise discarded cards? Pfft

Xenavire
09-21-2015, 05:47 AM
I'm pretty sure there is a spellshield shift ability. And besides you think Necrotic can't raise discarded cards? Pfft

There is no spellshield shift. The only similar abilities are inspire or prophecy spellshield, but the necrotic don't have anything yet.

thegreybetween
09-21-2015, 11:33 AM
Very nice analysis, Vorsa. I think your assumptions are pretty spot-on. I did notice a few things worthy of consideration, though:

- Coyotle were represented by a diamond champion: Prairie Meadow (damage prevention). I still agree that a mono-Diamond champ would likely be Coyotle, but it has technically been done.

- I would actually be surprised to see the missing Allegiance resources (human/dwarf/shin'hare/orc) in Set 4. I have no doubt we'll see them eventually, but it would seem odd to introduce them with Set 4. Your argument for the potential mini-focus on the non-featured races is solid and valid, and it is probable that we'll see enough cards to make Allegiance effective. However, there are two main factors which I think will bump their launch to Set 5+: (A) From a purely thematic standpoint, it would be very difficult to introduce a rare tribal resource for a non-featured race. Fancy resources are pretty special, and it would definitely feel like a blow to the profile of the featured races to be outclassed by a rare shard drop from another race. (B) Allegiance, as a mechanism, has already been better represented than other hot keywords. Escalation is one of the flagship keywords in terms of its distinctive HEXness and cool factor, and we have exactly 5 of them. I have no doubt we'll see more Allegiance in Set 4, and quite probably Allegiance involving the non-featured races. But I also expect more Allegiance from HEX in future sets (and hopefully more Escalation effects too).

If I had to guess, I'd say that Sets 5-6 will likely switch to a thematic focus not centered directly on tribes - perhaps introducing an external collective threat like a Chaostouched incursion, or delving more into the collective history of Entrath and the direct implications of the HEX comet. I would expect the missing Allegiance shards to enter at that time, as part of the story of the established races marshaling their forces to face the new threats.

- That said, I generally agree with the rest of your assessment regarding the distribution of goodies amongst the races. Shin'hare are poised to reap the benefit of B/W, and could frankly use the push to tie their two halves together into a more cohesive and competitive force. I do expect Necrotic to take more advantage of B/R than Orcs (though Orcs will likely get a token card or two), primarily because Orc archetypes have been very dominant and (as you noted), Necrotic still need to flesh out one of their archetypes to stand toe-to-toe with the Orcs. Coyotle have exclusive dibs on D/W, and given their status in Set 3, I expect that most of the heavy cards we see from them will consequently be limited to those multi-cards. D/S and R/S is more difficult to say. Both Humans and Dwarves are incredibly well developed relative to other races. They don't need a boost to their established archetypes, and the lack of focus on these races with Set 4 seems insufficient to introduce any significant new directions for them. I expect 1-2 cards for each race max, the rest going to the Necrotic. They'll have quite a few multi-shard cards at that point, but that is both thematically poignant and a potentially elegant way to improve upon their rainbow archetype, depending on how they decide to implement them as fixers.

- If Set 2 is any indication, we're also likely to see at least one, probably two new keywords. As noted, both the Vennen and the Elves are very one-trick-pony tribes at the moment, so the new keyword(s) will likely center upon them. Tunneling was a pretty big departure from anything previously introduced and a pretty big game-changer in its way, and I wouldn't be surprised to find a new keyword which has a similar impact - probably the one involving the Vennen, given their already esoteric mechanisms and the fact that they could most benefit from additional depth.

Other fun speculation points:
A) Set 4 Buffalo - Which will it be? Both the Vivid Buffalo (W) and Livid Buffalo (R) would find happy homes in an elf-featured set.

B) Set 4 Dragon - Every shard, including Shardless, is represented with a dragon now, but we've also yet to have a set which didn't feature a dragon. Do you think we'll see our first multi-shard dragon? If they put out one per set, they just bought 10 sets worth of time by introducing that cycle. Or do you think we've seen the last of dragons for a while?

C) Socket Cards - This will be interesting. So far, each set has introduced at least one cycle of socketable cards. With Set 3, we saw some unforeseen consequences of this powerful mechanism with the introduction of cards which could grant mighty socket powers to cards that were never designed to wield them, and we now have a ban list. Some of the cards originally spoiled in Set 3 looked awesome (and stupidly powerful), and have yet to make an official debut. So, what do we expect here? Do we think we've seen the last of socketed action cards? Do we expect our old friends like Time's Offering to return in some reworked and balanced way? Do we think HXE will take a small break on socketed cards for a set or two while they refine their testing methods? Personally, I think we'll have a cycle of minor-socket action cards with very modest utility effects; or we'll have the socket powers added to troops via the action only last until the end of the turn:
- Galvanize, 4[D][D][Minor Socket][Quick Action]: Troops you control gain all socketed powers of this until the end of the turn.
(I could see new language to auto-revert socketed text as well to prevent copy shenanigans retaining permanent buffs)

Anyway, more food for speculative thought. Good times.

WolfCrypt
09-21-2015, 11:52 AM
There is no spellshield shift. The only similar abilities are inspire or prophecy spellshield, but the necrotic don't have anything yet.

I did say besides so I was like. "If I'm wrong they can get the card back with little effort." :P

katkillad
09-21-2015, 10:32 PM
I just hope set 5 goes back to no spiders.

Venitas
09-22-2015, 01:57 AM
I just hope set 5 goes back to no spiders.

Eh. Spiders will be around in some form or another for as long as the Vennen are.

Eggs, on the other hand...

Turboflex
09-22-2015, 08:59 AM
The purple side of the Shin'hare actually did OK in set 3. A legendary, two rares, two uncommons, three commons, that fit into the sacrifice theme. The green side really didn't get much though, just two cards. So I would definitely expect something there set 4, something that maybe has some lore to it that establishes some character, as the purple side has Yazukan's order, and the Imperial household as major themes.

WolfCrypt
09-22-2015, 11:40 PM
In set 4 I want Elf Warlocks.