Hark, Card Hunters!
In 2016, Blue Manchu released the Castle Mitternacht expansion items, introducing a bunch of new mechanics. And then… that’s it. No balance changes or new items, for years. Blue Manchu got busy with their next game. Leaving everything as-is wasn’t exactly the plan; luckily for Cardhuntria, The Knights of Unity are here to update the items and cards you’ve been using unchanged since 2016.
First, the big news: we are aiming to release a new expansion, “Celestial Forge,” in the first half of 2022. Some balance changes will accompany the new cards & items. We also have a really exciting new feature slated to release alongside the expansion, but we are not ready to reveal it at this time.
There will be a separate post previewing the expansion cards. This post is primarily about the balance changes. We will be conducting a public playtest of these changes soon (alongside the new items), and this is where we will be describing the changes and providing some developer commentary and context for the playtesting. (Details of the playtest–start and end dates, test server instructions, pizza reward amounts, and survey questions–will be provided elsewhere, likely on the forums, Steam forums, & Discord. Stay tuned.)
As much as possible, we don’t want to nerf things. Players work hard for their collections, and when your hard-earned legendaries become less powerful, well, that’s a bad feeling. Most of the time we’d rather address balance by powering up weaker cards, or by just adding new content. But there comes a time when something in the game is so out of whack that attempting to balance AROUND it will create more problems down the line. With that given, we felt the need to address a few long-dominant cards like Lycanthropic Form, Howl, Vengeance, and Bless. In addition, we’ve buffed a few things. These changes will debut alongside an entire new set of items, and are explained below, side-by-side with their current versions.
Most long-time players will agree that one of the current balance issues is that werewolves are a little… too good. They’re definitely pushed, and their kit is just far and away the most universally useful out of the forms. Vampires and spirits get good stuff but are far more likely to get a card they don’t want in a given situation. Another issue with forms is that the Vampiric Form card was just… less good for vampires than the tried and true Talented Healer. This is somewhat simplified, but anyway–onto the changes:
– Lycanthropic Form’s armor no longer protects against fire damage
– Vampiric Form has a new effect: “Add Penetrating to any Unholy Melee attack you play.”
– Monstrous Hide no longer protects against fire damage
– Howl no longer heals
These changes will go some way to evening the forms, but perhaps even more crucially we are adjusting the card pools to try to bring them more in line with each other:
|i. Invigorating Touch
iii. Spear Of Darkness
iv. Enervating Touch
v. Sneaky Bloodsuck
vi. Consuming Touch
vii. Swarm Of Bats
viii. Creature Of The Night
x. Vampire’s Kiss
|i. Dastardly Curse
ii. Unholy Curse
iii. Teleport Self
iv. Acid Jet
vii. Beam Of Hate
viii. Repulsive Cone
x. Creature Of The Night
|i. Frenzy Aura
iii. Lunging Bite
iv. Vicious Bite
v. Vicious Thrust
vi. Mighty Charge
vii. Mad Dog
viii. Monstrous Hide
ix. Creature Of The Night
You’ll notice the absence of All Out Attack on the werewolf side, notably, but also that Ethereal Form’s kit is more utilitarian now. Vampires get Impaler (shout out to my boy Vlad), which has a cool new interaction with the form itself. We’ve also removed the form cards themselves from the pools. This change will make it so that no unwanted form has a random chance to prolong itself past its initial duration, and it also means that Howl will no longer have a chance to activate ‘free’ reliable armor, and that Medium Garb will no longer randomly stop you from drawing cards from your deck.
So, we know Vengeance is really good. But possibly the worst-feeling thing about it is that if you use low rarity wizard control effects against a warrior holding Vengeance–effects like Winds of War or Force Blast–the entire effect is undone by Vengeance. This is a level of control resistance that warriors, with all their mobility tricks, frankly didn’t need. The fix we found for Vengeance was to put a damage threshold on the trigger, so it hasn’t been nerfed at all in the context of most damage, but it no longer punishes chip damage.
And yes, we decided to bring this change to a couple similar cards. Martyr Blessing should still be quite powerful without being as unfun to play against, now, and the change to Elven Maneuvers actually allows us to ‘unnerf’ the card a bit!
– Vengeance now only triggers if 3 or more damage is dealt
– Martyr Blessing now only triggers if 2 or more damage is dealt
– Elven Maneuvers now only triggers if 2 or more damage is dealt. Duration increased to 3, filter depth increased to 4.
The levers introduced here allow us to further refine the balance of these cards as needed without any drastic changes, and we’ll be watching them closely during playtesting. The damage thresholds here also introduce some more nuance to the valuation of armor. Sometimes that Reliable Mail will mean that your opponent’s Weak Chop doesn’t trigger Martyr Blessing when they’re checking for blocks 😉
Finally we have a collection of miscellaneous changes; some buffs, some nerfs. The general goal here was to rein in some situationally obscene base game effects while maintaining general worth, while boosting some underpowered cards from Mitternacht.
– Shifting Block now draws a card (after applying the form)
– Acid Leak now only places acid under enemies
– Boo! now grants a Panic rather than a Dash
– Bless now targets up to 3 contiguous tiles (like Wall of Fire)
– All Out Attack now removes Penetrating & Unblockable, and adds Easy to Block 3
– Perplexing Ray is now Arcane
Shifting Block’s low power compared to similarly costed blocks (especially at its rarity) made Castle Mitternacht shields unappealing. Throw in the extreme uneven nature of the old forms and it just wasn’t good. It might still not be top tier, but at least now it replaces itself, and with the form changes it might be quite strong now (we’ll see in the playtest).
Acid Leak and Boo! changes are more minor, intended to push the needle just a bit on Castle Mitternacht wizard items.
Bless is possibly the biggest nerf to the strongest card in the game, but mind that it can still accomplish what it used to (12 points of healing and 6 cards drawn over 2 rounds). You’ll just need to do a lot more work to get that maximum effect, and possibly make more tactical compromises.
The All Out Attack change may be completely unnecessary now that it’s no longer in the werewolf deck. That said, we were interested in a version of All Out Attack that can still do just as much damage as before, while requiring players to do a little more work for those combo kills. I’d say this is the most tentative change in this batch. Let’s see how it plays out in testing.
Perplexing Ray simply should have been Arcane this whole time, and that is being fixed now.
Feedback is, as always, welcomed, but more importantly we look forward to your participation in the playtest and accompanying surveys. We intend to iterate, possibly multiple times, over the course of the playtest. We haven’t changed PvP balance significantly since 2016, and we want to be very careful. Any of these changes is up for further modification depending on how testing goes.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re as excited for the upcoming update as I am!