On defense cards


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Sal:

5 common cards that grant defense (if we're generous and count Tackle among them). Out of 30 (!!) common cards. I'm not counting Rebound, which does grant defense in one of its upgrades. 

10 uncommon cards that grant defense, of which at least 5 are deck specific (Into the Night, Seeker, Stinger, Shoulder Roll, Barnacle). Out of 48 cards. 

1 Rare card that grants defense, although admittedly a lot of it (Stone stance). Out of 15 cards.

 

Rook:

3 common cards that grant defense, of which one is kinda deck specific (Telegraph). Out of 28 (!!!) cards.

4 uncommon cards that grant defense, of which one is deck specific (Arc deflection). Out of 35 cards. Spurs, Shill Shot and Gun Smoke do grant defense in one of their upgrades (although only Gun Smoke is good before upgrade, and while Stone Shill Shot is amazing, it is extremely painful to upgrade. Spurs is questionable through and through).

1 Rare card grants defense, but it is deck specific (Muddle). Out of 15 cards.

It should be noted that the charge mechanic of Rook means he needs to generate less defense than Sal, although he has low hp and very few of his defensive cards scale like Sal's do, which makes him a lot more vulnerable to enemies that can spike (Hanbi in brawl mode is a nightmare).

 

Conclusion:

You better hold on to your starting defense cards, because you won't be offered many defense cards during your run. Especially since they're actually much closer to the value of common defense cards than your starting attack cards are. For Sal, assuming a common-only draft choice (the usual case at the beginning of a campaign) and ignoring Tackle as a meaningful source of defense, you won't even be offered a defense card in two thirds of drafts. Rook has it even worse, with no draft offering a defense card 80% of the time, if we ignore Telegraph (it is a very questionable card for many decks).

Inversely, you really want to get rid of your starting attack cards, so you see your few defensive cards (and any actually good attack cards you do pick up) more often. Whenever a defensive card is offered in a draft, you should have a very strong reason to pick any of the other choices.

Similarly for Graft choices: grafts that offer defense are inherently more valuable than those that offer damage (unless they push you over the edge of killing enemies before they get to attack at all). And for the same reason you want to get rid of your starting attack cards, card draw in grafts is very powerful, in that it increases the odds of getting your defense cards when you need them, on top of letting you access your best cards more often.

Impair is also extremely valuable, since it gets stronger the more your enemy tends to spike damage, and because stacking it minimizes the luck of the draw involved in having your defense cards available at the right time. This would be the case even if defense cards weren't as rare as they are!

And, of course, allies are crucial for most fights, since they will absorb some of the damage that would go your way, reducing the need for your deck to provide defense. Excluding AoE attacks, getting even just one ally in a fight reduces the damage coming your way by half, even before taking into account that the additional damage from your ally will reduce the length of the battle.

For the sake of completeness, I will point out that I did not count effects that heal, even though they serve a similar function to defense cards. There just aren't that many of them, and for the most part they either expend or aren't very reliable. Hemophage and Seeker being the two exceptions to that rule, off the top of my head. It doesn't really change the general conclusions.

 

Game design wise:

Please add more defense cards, especially at common rarity. Anything other than the default starting deck + frequent one card drafts is essentially broken due to this massive imbalance in defense card actual rarity. Somewhere around 25% of all cards being generally usable defense cards (e.g. Chamber is generally usable, but works best in a Combo deck vs. Shoulder Roll only works in a combo deck), with some extra proportion that are deck specific, would be much better than the current ~10% of general defense cards.

For a quick comparison with Slay the Spire, the Ironclad has 4/20 common cards that grant defense, and 9/38 at uncommon. And all of those defense cards go well in any deck, they just work better for some decks than others. While 4/20 is only 20%, the lower total card number means the odds of actually seeing one of the defense cards is higher than if it was 6/30, for example. While I don't believe Griftlands should strive to be Slay the Spire (they're different games), I'm bringing it up because there is a lot of design space for defense cards in Griftlands that hasn't been explored yet. Or worse yet, “wasted” on the random upgrades of the basic defense cards you start with!

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I prefer the lower amount of defense cards, and enjoy the gameplay more than slay the spire honestly.

Basically you should be getting hurt if you're going in to fight usually. I think that's a big part of the gameplay because it encourages you to pick and choose which fights you take.

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A couple of my thoughts....

You didn't include Shovel which is a fairly decent defence card. Which I always take but I know some people prefer the other path.

I think concentration becomes too powerful if you are able to simply let defence block everything. Like with tossing the coin it's a risk if you build around concentration as it's pretty easy to lose it.

While on paper you lay out some good points, in practise I haven't had any real defence issues. Rook eats a lot when I play as him. I find he tends to die a little more often than Sal especially at higher prestige. But not so much that it's really an issue for me.

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The real issue comes from daily challenges, where sometimes you don't have a starting deck and are forced to draft from nonbasic cards. You don't get that many defensive cards, and you will be screwed if your opponent is a heavy hitter.

One time I have a deck with zero composure gaining cards, and have to tank every incoming damage, with no way to mitigate any of them.

Edit: Making the mutators not replace the starting deck doesn't really fix anything, so please don't change the mutators so that they don't replace the starting deck.

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Yeah, as RageLeague points out, the issue is mainly with dailys that replace your starting deck. In regular campaign, you get enough tools to make up for the scarcity of defense cards, so it’s not a big problem there. That being said, more variety is always good, right now you always end up using the same handful of defense cards in all runs.

(shovel is indeed amazing, but Rook only gets that in his campaign, not in brawl or dailys, so it’s not relevant here).

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dailies are the main reason this topic was made. 

if i had to say something that'd help, it'd be to add at least 2 defense cards as a requirement to every daily, even if it just incepts basic cards to help the player not face tank damage. either that or modify the battle and negotiation mutators to force at least one card per pack to have the word "defense" somewhere in it's selection. I.E. mulligan would make one slot and picky would make one or two cards be defense at least.

 

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7 hours ago, Snortlepig said:

Ok, sorry I think I was on the wrong page. I think I still am.

Why do we need more defence in dailies?

because sometimes you get about as much defense in dailies as you could find women in olathe*. mostly this is just due to how sometimes you get no defense cards or defense cards that only work with a certain synergy, such as shoulder roll or telegraph. this means you can't get defense or need to shift your strategy to fit your defensive options, which means every hit against the player is much more important than they'd normally be.

 

*That's a smart Lisa Reference. Am i cool now?

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Sal's starting deck has 4 defense cards out of 11, plus Fighting Dirty having the potential to offer defense or impair. Rook's has 3 pure defense cards out of 11, but the charge mechanic means he doesn't need as much defense at first; Ammo pouch and Spare charge can also provide defense under certain circumstances. So you start with somewhere in the 30-40% range of defense-to-other-stuff ratio in your deck. During the campaign or Brawl, they are offered a truckload of cards one by one, so you will eventually find more defense cards to add to your deck, despite how rare they are, so you can keep that ratio somewhat constant. It also helps that you have access to card removal, both through starting attack cards that self-destroy, and as rewards for quests/events, and paying for it with the black market people.

In dailys, there are two issues:

- Some modes remove your starting deck and make you draft a new one, which means your defense-to-other-stuff ratio will tend towards ~10%, since that is the ratio in the general card pool. This poses *severe* survival issues for all characters.

- Some modes (notably boss rush) don't offer regular one-card drafts after fights, but you need to pick 3 cards at once instead. Given how rare defense cards are, this means that there's usually only one of the three packs that has a defense card, if any. So if you want more defense cards, you have to pick that one, and even then you are only making your defense-to-other-stuff ratio converge towards 33%... which would be reasonable if the other 67% was made of synergistic cards, but if you're picking drafts only because there's a defense card in it, it's likely the other two cards simply don't work that well with your deck. The other two options are either picking packs with strong attack cards and accept your deck will likely have zero defense in it, or just skip most drafts altogether (aside from when the planets align and you get a defense card with two other good cards) to preserve the reasonable ratio in your starting deck.

 

As RageLeague said, I don't believe the issue here is the alternative draft styles, which are fun and in theory force you to try different deck building strategies. The problem is that the lack of defense cards in the general pool is so extreme. These new draft styles are just bringing it to the foreground.

The solution is to remove some of the most lackluster attack cards that don't see much play, rework some of the deck-specific defense cards to work in more types of decks (e.g. Telegraph grants 3 defense + 1 per concentration, instead of 2 per concentration), and add a few more new defense cards. Heck, even just dropping some of the Uncommon defense cards to common would already do wonders with this problem, although ideally both the common and uncommon pools would have 20-25% of generally usable defense cards, instead of just 10%. This would also have the effect of increasing variety in Campaign and Brawl mode, so it's not like this work would be done exclusively for the benefit of a few mutators in the dailys.

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Definitely agree with the premise of there being a lack of defensive cards.

Haven't played in a while (i.e. no experience with the dailies), but I did play a lot of campaign with the veteran mutator.

 

I remember feeling like the lack of defensive cards in the card pool was a very glaring oddspot in Griftlands. In drafting a deck with the veteran mutator, I quickly learned that I needed to take what defensive cards I could find, and then spend the first and maybe second days rounding out the deck to stand up on its own. I routinely ended up with a starting deck that was about 1-2 defense cards (many times situational, dictating the other cards), and 1-3 cards that was removal fodder (didn't fit the deck).

The above might not be a big issue, but I did feel like it severely limited the point of the card draft, and made it less of a (creative) draft, and more of a "defense cards first, other cards to fit" thing.

 

EDIT: There is also a very important distinction between "apply defense" cards and "gain defense" cards, that plays off the above issue. There were times where I didn't get enough "apply defense" cards, after which I devalued hiring/gaining followers/pets, because I couldn't protect them well enough.

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On 7/18/2020 at 3:28 PM, pacovf said:

I'm bringing it up because there is a lot of design space for defense cards in Griftlands that hasn't been explored yet.

I agree that there aren't enough defense (and composure) cards, especially ones that apply it. I frequently skip cards simply because their benefit doesn't compensate for diluting my defense cards even further. It's a shame because, like pacovf's quote here, I find it's constraining my deck building.

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Ok so we have a few new defense cards. The ratio of defense to all cards now are (in parenthesis when only counting defense cards that work for most decks):

Sal:

Common: 5/30 (4/30)
Uncommon: 10/48 (5/48)
Rare: 2/16 (1/16)

Rook:

Common: 5/30 (4/30)
Uncommon: 6/37 (5/37)
Rare: 3/17 (1/17)

Release Valve, Challenger, Sentinel and Casings (all Rook cards) are all great additions! I am not sure about Fixed, wording is unclear as to whether it triggers when your allies hit the target too or not; pretty good if yes, mediocre otherwise (for an Uncommon that expends, at least). Temper and Blood Guard (the only new Sal card that grants defense so far) both seem pretty questionable (especially Blood Guard, for a *Rare* that expends).

This helps Rook quite a bit, since it's a drastic increase to the number of defense cards he has available, and with almost all of the additions being usable (if not necessarily optimal) in all deck types to boot! Defense cards are still on the rare side for him, mind, but he's getting there. Sal remains essentially untouched.

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'nother update, 'nother post.

Sal:

Common: 5/30 (4/30)
Uncommon: 10/48 (6/48)
Rare: 3/17 (2/17)

Rook:

Common: 7/32 (6/32)
Uncommon: 7/39 (6/39)
Rare: 4/18 (2/18)

Sal gets one new card, Waylay, at Rare. It's an amazing card. A bit unfortunate that, being at Rare, you won't really see it often enough to change Sal's ratio of defensive cards. 

Rook gets another batch of great cards. At common, Tight spot is probably his best defensive option now. Dugout is interesting, I have to try it out to see how bad the downside really is (it seems really bad). At uncommon, he gets Lever, which is perfectly serviceable. He also gets Energy loop, which heals him instead of giving defense. I will be saying a bit more about that in a second. And at Rare, he gets Garbage Day. I really don't see this being playable at 2 actions very often. It would really have to cost 1 action to justify being a Rare.

Smith got a bunch of new defensive cards too... but I don't have enough experience with him to say how much he needs defense. Because of Moxie and Alleviate, it's perfectly doable to survive with barely any defense cards at all. So I don't want to discuss him right now. 

Heal effects in general can replace defense cards in many situations, but only Smith has enough of those to be worth mentioning. Rook has 2 of them now, both uncommon: Brain Tick and Energy Loop (and technically Bog Symbiosis, but ignore that), Sal has a few more, with Leech and Seeker being the only non-Rare ones, then Churn, Hemophage and Ravenous (and technically Terrorize, but ignore that too). Really only Leech, Seeker and Hemophare are worth mentioning, and they all require specific decks to work.

Anyhoo... I think Rook maybe wants one more defensive card at uncommon (unless we count Brain Tick / Energy Loop), rework Telegraph so that it gives base defense (or drastically reduce its max xp), and maybe rework/buff a few of his weaker defense cards, and he's good to go. Sal, however, is still tragically lacking, especially at common. Boosting the defense from Tackle to 4 at base (even if it means decreasing its damage a bit), and adding a couple of defense cards at common would be great. At uncommon, Sal mostly suffers from most of her good defensive options only really working in a discard deck, and there being SO MANY uncommon cards diluting the pool for Sal. Defensive surge and Battle Scars are great in all decks, Active defense and The Slip are fine to take if you're desperate for defense, and then you get into the questionable off-synergy choices (Seeker, ZigZag). The others you should never take if your deck isn't built around them.

 

Unrelated: why are Tracer and Fixed almost, but not quite, the same condition? It would be nicer to just have both behave the same (hint: like Tracer does).

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I don't think the numbers on those new cards are going to be permanent. I played Rook's boss rush and it was much easier than usual on hard. I like to pretend I played better than usual but I straight up had +20 defense on most of the turns so the cards were doing all the work that run haha. 

 

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50 minutes ago, SpicyNiceCream said:

Someone has been sitting in the game since April, now he's finally updated.

  Hide contents

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Also the new Cult dudes.

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okay this has been nagging me for the longest, how do i spawn in units like that.

namely which debug menu is it. i've pressed damn near every key on my keyboard trying to find it.

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