The Winter Grand Tournament, Realm Modifiers and the Ray Problem

The Winter Grand Tournament is over, congratulations to Torus(Pete) for Winning with Draco Cyan Freeze, you can go over to to check out Echo’s article on the deck when he publishes it soon.

Coming in Second was Sara with Rayders – even with the negative effects Ray was still a force to be reckoned with and losing in a VERY close final.

The other decks in the top 4 were Hex Clunker and another Draco Deck which I believe was an early draft of Torus’ deck. None of the top 4 decks used the modifiers, the only affect it had was limited Ray to one trade per turn the Draco decks were already keeping low hand sizes so the modifier didn’t affect them.

With none of the top decks utilising these modifiers, and them not becoming viable decks because of the modifiers affect on the metagame I think it’s safe to say the incorporating them into them into the Grand Tournament hasn’t worked and they should be removed before the next one. I’m still all for these being part of a separate game mode outside of Canvas but they shouldn’t be in the default rules.

The meta still consists of Ray and Hex Clunker the new entries from Draco are additions thanks to new cards printed in Snow Dragons of Altari bring it’s new mechanic Freeze. I was expecting to see some Freeze decks at the GT but was surprised to see it was almost half of the decks overall. I’m glad to see these new cards are affecting the game and bringing some new deck types to the top.

However we still have Ray, even with the limit on trading for Spirata it’s still a very strong deck. It has been slowed down but only by maybe one turn and of course once the Realm Modifier leaves either by being removed from the Game or being changed it just comes right back so how can we fix Ray? Well here are my solutions.

To prefix this all of these assume that the single trade rule should become a permanent addition to the base rules for all decks.

1. Ban Firetender – This card is what fuels the fire for Ray giving you effectively 3 copies of your Legend – other decks that do use up 2 rare slots for this – for Ray it’s just a simple uncommon. It makes Ray too consistent and if your opponent has no removal in hand pretty much puts you on an unstoppable path.

2. Ban Hue’s Lab Coat – This addresses the issue less than a Firetender ban but I think we can all agree that a 6 cost uncommon was a mistake, it even has a useful ability against Achrom Decks and turns on Blueprint Swirl.

3. Created a restricted list – I think this is the most likely for Achroma as they really don’t want to ban cards. and it can be the easiest way to reduce the effect of the some powerful commons and uncommons. A restricted card can only have one copy in a deck and I would add the following.

  • Firetender – Reducing the copies of Ray from 3 to 2 does have a significant affect on the chances of finding Ray in your starting cards
  • Hue’s Lab Coat – Just losing a 6 cost card is a huge loss for the deck
  • Advance Scouting Party – This card is fueling card draw and allowing you trade to gain it’s full cost back more often than not.

Notable exclusions from the list

  • HAIM Shard Cache – This card is too important for Achrom Decks as well that need it and at the moment Achrom is not in a good place – more on that later
  • Full Palette – This card is a great gain card but for all Spirata decks but it’s only 1 better than an Abundance and requires you to have something to target.
  • Giant Prism – Achrom Decks need high shard cards to keep going as well so we don’t want to restrict too much but I think it’s possibly also worth adding to the list.

4. Fix the imbalance between Chroma and Achrom. It’s clear from this Tournament that Achrom is not in a good place right now. All the top 4 decks are Chroma and Achrom just can’t keep up, Chroma is consistently getting really good gain cards while Achrom is stuck struggling to keep up.

There a few comparisons I like to make to prove this point, Full Pallette is Pay 2 Gain 6 but Snuff Out is Pay 2 Drain 2, that a significant difference.

Blueprint Swirl is a 2 cost +2 at minimum, the 2 cost Achrom locations are Soaking Stone – Steal 1 and Achrom Factory – -X for your pixies with no base resolve.

Trainee Painter is a 1 cost +1 with Action Splat, the Achrom version of this is Ravaged one which is 1 cost for just Action Squish, no natural resolve.

We even saw it in RotRR Chroma Canister is a 2 cost with +1 resolve and dispose +1 for each splat on your Canvas, the Achrom Version is Squish Grenade which is also 2 cost, dispose to -1 for each Squish on your Canvas but no natural resolve.

This has been a consistent issue with Achroma for a quite a while with Achrom being held back for some reason while Chroma keeps getting stronger and stronger until eventually the game will just become a race to 30.

I don’t think Achrom will ever see a card like Copper Joss give you +6 for 4 cost the best it’s gotten that wasn’t an X is the two steal 3 Draco legends. I’d love to see an Achrom version of Ray but knowing the imbalance between the two I would expect it to be 1 cost for drain 3 at best.

So I think until we start making Achrom better chroma is going to keep running wild at these events.

My ideal world is going to be a mix of 3 & 4 but we will have to see what the team decides is best for the long term health of the game, a lot of players have left the game recently even selling up due to the Realm Modifiers as well other issues that I really hope the team at Realm Runner Studios will address very soon. I’ve really enjoyed this game and it would be a shame to see it fall from some early missteps when I feel it has the potential to be great.