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Thread: Competitive Rule Changes

  1. #1
    killercactus is offline SW App Champion Summer 2015, but still do what he says.
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    Default Competitive Rule Changes

    Everyone,

    Below are the competitive rule changes that we (by we, I mean myself, PHG and a small team of testers) were working on at one point to modify competitive play of Summoner Wars. I'm now making this public since there hasn't been a lot of action on it for a while, but there's some talk about it here.

    Some games have already been played testing these rules, and we've refined them based on those results to what you see below. This is mutually exclusive from my Errata project. It's possible (key word: possible) that we could see a competitive guide for Summoner Wars released by PHG explaining tourney formats and these rules. If you want to help, play games with these rules and report your findings here: were games balanced, did the rules come into effect, were they fun, etc. I can come up with an exact guide on how to report games if this gains footing.

    Anyway, here are the rules:

    1) "Mercenary Rule"
    Etch, Rune Mages, Stone Golems, and Apprentice Mages are restricted to a Mercenaries Summoner's deck. [This means they can only be included in Rallul, Farrah and Glurblub]

    2) "Inevitability Rule"
    Immediately after your turn ends, if you did not reduce the number of cards in your Draw Pile or attack an enemy card, you must choose an opponent. That opponent may place 1 Wound Marker on all Walls you control. If you control no Walls, instead place 1 Wound Marker on your Summoner. Ignore this rule if your opponent hasn't yet taken his first turn.

    3) "Magic Wall Rule"
    After the end of your turn you may remove one card from your Discard Pile and place it on top of your Magic Pile if the following conditions were met:
    1. One unit you control is adjacent to an opponent's normal Wall
    2. That unit attacked that Wall during your turn and inflicted at least 1 Wound.
    3. No other cards were affected by that attack
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  2. #2
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    I can see the first two (although the Merc Rule would rule out the most recent deck I played, which was in a tight contest with a straight-up Demagogue deck). But I'm puzzled as to how the Magic Wall Rule would improve competitive play. Could you enlarge on that?
    Light cleaveth unto Light, and Filth to Filth; with pride one contemneth another.

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    (If I've misunderstood and this is just an official codification of this variant of the game that does not effect the competitive community beyond providing an additional mode of play, please skip what I've read and tell me exactly that)

    I don't want to start a big debate on this subject, so please don't read into it that way or respond in debate form. I simply wanted to add my two cents on this since I regard this as a semi-official post on the subject. I love summoner wars. I obviously love it quite a lot since I've personally put 150+ hours into the youtube channel we run on summoner wars games. I've played hundreds and hundreds of hours of this game, well before getting the cameras involved. I know that some in the community deeply enjoy and prefer these three rules. I do not. Those I play with (last I talked with them about the issue) agree with me that they do not prefer them either. I'll go ahead and give my reasoning, not so people can see that "right", but so that people who disagree with me can see there are potential legitimate reasons why someone wouldn't want to play with these rules.

    Briefly:
    Rule 1) I find it simply unnecessary, especially with the second summoners being released and the new deckbuilding options they provide. I get that some don't appreciate those units being "abused" in different decks. I haven't ever been overly impressed with their effect on the outcome of a game, but I can of course agree that when everyone uses the same decks it's less fun (I just think it's more of a fad/crutch and not particularly helpful in a true advantage-granting sense). I don't mind this rule I just think of it as being similar to "ban bounders from all decks". I don't care but it seems unnecessarily restrictive and inefficient.
    Rule 2) I get the reasoning behind this rule, again, I just think it's irrelevant against a player who can play well. Defenders have certain advantages in all games, but so do attackers. We've played our share of games against those who turtle hard and the outcome seems very even on our end. Learn to emphasize your advantages and guard against your opponent's advantages and I don't see the big issue here.
    Rule 3) This one is the one that irks me the most. I haven't ever seen any reason for it. I have seen no evidence suggesting it actually solves any balancing issue. I could understand if someone simply said "I like this rule, it's fun", but I don't understand the argument that it improves the game in any objective sense. It's just a change of the fundamental gameplay that might even be "as balanced" as the previous game.

    If you actually got through what I just said without starting to reply, thank you. If you have started to reply, wait a second, because this is my actual point. I don't mind "A" game containing these rules. I don't mind "A" tournament containing these rules. But I do mind ALL COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENTS having these rules imposed upon them. I believe myself to be a competitive level player, and I really don't like these rules. I've given them consideration, I'm not simply being stubborn about nothing, I really don't like them and firmly believe they do not positively effect the balance of the game objectively. I have thought long and hard about the future of summoner wars after these new decks because it is one of my favorite games and I've really put a lot of time and effort into the community. I love it. I want there to be tournaments and things after plaid hat lets it go. But these rules change summoner wars fundamentally. It's like Warcraft and DOTA for me. If I loved Warcraft and didn't like DOTA, I'd be bummed if all competitive support for Warcraft was thrown out the window in favor of DOTA. I don't need these rules banned from ever existing. I don't care if people enjoy them. TONS of people play MTG and I don't; and I couldn't be less upset about their enjoyment of that game. But if this is the sole future of competitive play I don't care for it and I'll probably stop playing. Not bitterly or out of spite, but genuinely sadly, because in that future nobody plays my game anymore. They play an adjacent variant. And not only that, I've been told my game was inferior and doesn't count.
    Watch the SummoNerds youtube channel for lots of great games of Summoner Wars as well as interesting Deckbuilds, Challenges from the community, Guest Appearances from other players, and occasionally previews of upcoming cards! And to find out what we're doing next check out the SummoNerds Channel Thread!

  4. #4
    killercactus is offline SW App Champion Summer 2015, but still do what he says.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crimson View Post
    (If I've misunderstood and this is just an official codification of this variant of the game that does not effect the competitive community beyond providing an additional mode of play, please skip what I've read and tell me exactly that)

    I don't want to start a big debate on this subject, so please don't read into it that way or respond in debate form. I simply wanted to add my two cents on this since I regard this as a semi-official post on the subject. I love summoner wars. I obviously love it quite a lot since I've personally put 150+ hours into the youtube channel we run on summoner wars games. I've played hundreds and hundreds of hours of this game, well before getting the cameras involved. I know that some in the community deeply enjoy and prefer these three rules. I do not. Those I play with (last I talked with them about the issue) agree with me that they do not prefer them either. I'll go ahead and give my reasoning, not so people can see that "right", but so that people who disagree with me can see there are potential legitimate reasons why someone wouldn't want to play with these rules.

    Briefly:
    Rule 1) I find it simply unnecessary, especially with the second summoners being released and the new deckbuilding options they provide. I get that some don't appreciate those units being "abused" in different decks. I haven't ever been overly impressed with their effect on the outcome of a game, but I can of course agree that when everyone uses the same decks it's less fun (I just think it's more of a fad/crutch and not particularly helpful in a true advantage-granting sense). I don't mind this rule I just think of it as being similar to "ban bounders from all decks". I don't care but it seems unnecessarily restrictive and inefficient.
    Rule 2) I get the reasoning behind this rule, again, I just think it's irrelevant against a player who can play well. Defenders have certain advantages in all games, but so do attackers. We've played our share of games against those who turtle hard and the outcome seems very even on our end. Learn to emphasize your advantages and guard against your opponent's advantages and I don't see the big issue here.
    Rule 3) This one is the one that irks me the most. I haven't ever seen any reason for it. I have seen no evidence suggesting it actually solves any balancing issue. I could understand if someone simply said "I like this rule, it's fun", but I don't understand the argument that it improves the game in any objective sense. It's just a change of the fundamental gameplay that might even be "as balanced" as the previous game.

    If you actually got through what I just said without starting to reply, thank you. If you have started to reply, wait a second, because this is my actual point. I don't mind "A" game containing these rules. I don't mind "A" tournament containing these rules. But I do mind ALL COMPETITIVE TOURNAMENTS having these rules imposed upon them. I believe myself to be a competitive level player, and I really don't like these rules. I've given them consideration, I'm not simply being stubborn about nothing, I really don't like them and firmly believe they do not positively effect the balance of the game objectively. I have thought long and hard about the future of summoner wars after these new decks because it is one of my favorite games and I've really put a lot of time and effort into the community. I love it. I want there to be tournaments and things after plaid hat lets it go. But these rules change summoner wars fundamentally. It's like Warcraft and DOTA for me. If I loved Warcraft and didn't like DOTA, I'd be bummed if all competitive support for Warcraft was thrown out the window in favor of DOTA. I don't need these rules banned from ever existing. I don't care if people enjoy them. TONS of people play MTG and I don't; and I couldn't be less upset about their enjoyment of that game. But if this is the sole future of competitive play I don't care for it and I'll probably stop playing. Not bitterly or out of spite, but genuinely sadly, because in that future nobody plays my game anymore. They play an adjacent variant. And not only that, I've been told my game was inferior and doesn't count.
    You want to know a secret? I agree 98% with this post. The only 2% I don't really agree with is that I've seen what can happen with Etch and Rune Mages in certain situations that can turn a game you should win into a game you will inevitably lose, so I understand that part. But only really that part.

    These three rules were born from a collaboration of people that I mentioned above that, at the time we started talking about this, were probably the most dedicated players in the community (or, at least who we thought were at the time). Some of them are still around today, some aren't. However, I've vocally opposed a lot of this for the exact reasons you described, but the fact of the matter was that I just wasn't in the majority. Basically everyone else felt that #1 and #2 were flat out needed in competitive play, and that #3 made the game more balanced by helping to eliminate the perceived "defender's advantage".

    As I said though, #1 I kind of get because I've been involved in multiple games where Etch and/or Rune Mages were really the reason for victory and there was nothing the other side could do. I also believe that it was a mistake to design a 0-cost Mercenary that was universally available. Stone Golems being limited I don't really understand at all.

    #2 I kind of get also, because for the vast majority of us that actually play Summoner Wars, it doesn't do anything. It only activates in those crappy games where someone refuses to attack, and it brings about an outcome. I think its largely unnecessary, but it deals with those crappy situations.

    #3... I just don't buy at all that it's necessary, but I was in the minority. It can make games more fun by providing more magic, but I just don't feel its needed at all. Others will disagree with me.

    I'd love it if some of the players that were just at Gen Con in the tournaments can chime in - my impression in talking to dok was that they were very fun and competitive.
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  5. #5
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    Do you mean that people at Gen Con played magic walls?
    Olivier
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  6. #6
    killercactus is offline SW App Champion Summer 2015, but still do what he says.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olivier View Post
    Do you mean that people at Gen Con played magic walls?
    No - I mean that I want to hear about how their games went... if they ran into turtle fests, Etch wars, etc. since they were playing with all 40 decks
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    Quote Originally Posted by killercactus View Post
    You want to know a secret? I agree 98% with this post. The only 2% I don't really agree with is that I've seen what can happen with Etch and Rune Mages in certain situations that can turn a game you should win into a game you will inevitably lose, so I understand that part. But only really that part.

    These three rules were born from a collaboration of people that I mentioned above that, at the time we started talking about this, were probably the most dedicated players in the community (or, at least who we thought were at the time). Some of them are still around today, some aren't. However, I've vocally opposed a lot of this for the exact reasons you described, but the fact of the matter was that I just wasn't in the majority. Basically everyone else felt that #1 and #2 were flat out needed in competitive play, and that #3 made the game more balanced by helping to eliminate the perceived "defender's advantage".

    As I said though, #1 I kind of get because I've been involved in multiple games where Etch and/or Rune Mages were really the reason for victory and there was nothing the other side could do. I also believe that it was a mistake to design a 0-cost Mercenary that was universally available. Stone Golems being limited I don't really understand at all.

    #2 I kind of get also, because for the vast majority of us that actually play Summoner Wars, it doesn't do anything. It only activates in those crappy games where someone refuses to attack, and it brings about an outcome. I think its largely unnecessary, but it deals with those crappy situations.

    #3... I just don't buy at all that it's necessary, but I was in the minority. It can make games more fun by providing more magic, but I just don't feel its needed at all. Others will disagree with me.

    I'd love it if some of the players that were just at Gen Con in the tournaments can chime in - my impression in talking to dok was that they were very fun and competitive.
    I just see the easy option being two competitive rule types. Kind of like how when setting up a tournament the "KC Twist" can be an enforced rule or it can not be, it would depend upon the tournament organizer and their preferences. Other games handle competitive rules similarly. For example Xwing Miniatures (which has a strong competitive following significantly larger than that of SW) has like 4 different rule types that are all equally tournament appropriate and considered competitive. My big problem is I resent people telling me that the way I play is inferior based solely upon limited unrecorded personal experiences. If the community were to actually play a number of recorded high level games that showed a statistically significant benefit to magic walls id support them competitively, even though I don't enjoy them. But actually changing the fundamental game for everyone based on an unverified opinion is a hard pill to swallow.

    I also feel this move is premature since the greater community just now got all 40 decks and things like the mercs issue might be a 100% non-issue for all we know (in the majority opinion, I mean)
    Last edited by Crimson; 08-08-2016 at 04:09 PM.
    Watch the SummoNerds youtube channel for lots of great games of Summoner Wars as well as interesting Deckbuilds, Challenges from the community, Guest Appearances from other players, and occasionally previews of upcoming cards! And to find out what we're doing next check out the SummoNerds Channel Thread!

  8. #8
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    I also can't help seeing magic walls as a variant, not canon. also wondering if stuff like Natazaga (or something else I can't think of) remain balanced with magic walls. I kinda recall Waterd had concerns with Turt.
    Olivier
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    Quote Originally Posted by killercactus View Post
    No - I mean that I want to hear about how their games went... if they ran into turtle fests, Etch wars, etc. since they were playing with all 40 decks
    All 40 decks were available, but a small minority of them were actually used. I didn't play in the 5 for fighting (which probably saw more variety) but in the Pick your poison, this is what I saw:

    My decks: Mugglug & Tundle
    First opponent: Mugglug & Immortal Elien
    Second opponent: Mugglug & Grognack
    Third opponent: Sneeks & Prince Elien
    Fourth opponent: Rallul & Immortal Elien

    There were no etch-wars, not turtle-fests, etc, no games where both players sat back and waited for the other one to make the first move. Chess clocks were not used and didn't need to be. This is not because etch-wars etc are not a problem in Summoner Wars, it's because the competitive scene is dead. A big, thriving scene would have seen these things, just as Heroscape saw A+ armies in the big tournaments with the big prizes. When the motivation is there to win, people will play "un-fun" decks because they are good. When the tournament group is a bunch of people who just want to have fun, they are going to play what is "fun" rather than what is good. If tomorrow you announced a $5,000 SW tournament on the playdek app, I can guarantee you would see the etch-wars and turtle-fests again.

    As for the actual variant rules, I could critique them but there's really no reason to do so because they won't be used. There is no competitive SW scene; the game, if not dead, is very near to it. Even PHG knows this; they have given up on SW and are doing a lot to promote Ashes as their new competitive game.

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    2 and 3 are only noticeable when you face a turtle opponent.

    3 makes the game very aggresive rewarding, meanning you have to protect your walls, i e being in front of them and not behind them as it happens many times. I have played with and without magic walls and In my experience even elien with his magic drain and all his power to turtle is forced to come forward and games have been epic, exctly what I expect SW to be. It does not mean you cannot be defensive, you can and still win, but the probabilities to win by playing turtle are smaller than they normaly are.

    For those who think it is not a problem they are probably lucky not to have turtle players among their gaming group, but the day you get beaten many times by one of those and feel loke the best you can do is the same as they do, then you hate SW. If you are not a turtle, this rule will barely affect because it is normally more profitable to attack a unit than attack a wall ( the usual thing).

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