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Quick Hits: Friday Update May 22, 2015

We have some big news today that is sure to get a lot of Hex fanatics excited. If you have not already read the Friday update you should read that now. Here we have Juzamjedi and DeckOfManyThings to provide their instant reactions to this update and what it means to you.


Multi-Shard Cards

JJ: These are cards that get me excited as a deck builder. In Hex there are implied limitations for what each shard can do and more importantly what shards are not allowed to do. Cards with multiple shard types in the cost allow the designers to add effects together that you would not see from a single shard. The downside of course is that these cards are more narrow since you must play all of the shards listed on the card. Usually these kinds of cards get a buff in power level to compensate for the difficulty in playing them. When you put all of this together you get narrow, powerful cards with unique effects. The multi-shard cards in this update are perfect examples and I am already thinking about deck ideas for these cards.

The key to playing all of these sweet cards will be in the non-basic shards we receive in this new set. Our threshold fixing options in the Fate block are very limited. For Armies of Myth, so far the only nonbasic shard we have seen is Feralroot Acorn which indicates we should expect some more tribal support in the set; Feralroot Acorn is just worse than any basic shard if you don’t play Elves. While you are dreaming up your new deck ideas be sure to check out the other tribal cards we already have to see how they might work together. If I’m correct that the other nonbasic shards are also tribal then it makes predicting the power level of any individual card harder. You have to see how the entire tribe is going to work since they have to work together.

Deck: From the look of things, multi-shard is being seen by the game designers at Hex as the hardest hurdle to overcome when playing a card, judging by some of the powers they put on these multi-shard cards. Army of Myth, while having a steep play cost, is still creating some of the best troops in the game, albeit randomly. You have 38 possible uniques in sets 1 and 2—and more to come in set 3—so hopefully any time where you randomly create multiple of the same unique (causing all but 1 to die) will be few and far between. But then again, you’re paying 7+ resources to create those uniques, so some assurances in their hitting and staying on the board would be appreciated. Lanupaw, Prophet of Fate requires 3 different-flavored thresholds, but brings with him some truly brutal prophecies hitting three cards at or near the top of your deck. Finally, Periwinkle‘s ability to simply copy a 5+ cost card when you play it makes Ruby and Wild big beaters even harder to deal with, as a single interrupt will only hit one of the cards on the chain.

I look forward to these cards being played and built around. I don’t see them making a big splash in Limited, espeically draft, as it will force you into a shard combination from the get go, but they might find home in a tribal constructed deck and decks with combos that have struggled in the Sapphire-heavy meta might get just the push they need to become a powerhouse in their own right.


Extended Art Cards

JJ: Finally we have some treasures that might actually convince Pentachills to spend some of his huge hoard of gold! I think some of these cards look great and as soon as the patch hits I will be upgrading a few of my favorite cards into Extended Art. In the short term, gold is going to become a lot more valuable than it is already; as of yesterday showed the Gold:Plat price was about 83:1 and it will definitely increase as a result of this announcement. If you have a mountain of gold you should be selling it now if you can be patient about unlocking your Extended Art cards. Alternatively you might choose to use gold to create Extended Art cards and sell those cards on the auction house directly. Format-staple cards such as Cerulean Mirror Knight should be your first cards to target since they are already popular cards that people want. Extended Alternate Art Cerulean Mirror Knight might sell for more than 10000 platinum.

I think most people will only be targeting a few of their favorite cards to upgrade to Extended Art; possibly an entire deck if they play it frequently. For the masochists among us it will take you millions of gold to make Extended Art playsets. Here are some tables on the amount of gold it will cost to upgrade a playset (4x of each card) into Extended Art:

Shards of FateQuantityCost per EAPlayset Cost
Commons1131,000 g452,000 g
Uncommons992,000 g792,000 g
Rares1064,000 g1,696,000 g
Legends2310,000 g920,000 g
Grand Total3,860,000 g
Shattered DestinyQuantityCost per EAPlayset Cost
Commons931,000 g372,000 g
Uncommons662,000 g528,000 g
Rares714,000 g1,136,000 g
Legends1810,000 g720,000 g
Grand Total2,756,000 g
Armies of MythQuantityCost per EAPlayset Cost
Commons1001,000 g400,000 g
Uncommons602,000 g480,000 g
Rares724,000 g1,152,000 g
Legends1810,000 g720,000 g
Grand Total2,752,000 g

Deck: The method unveiled today for unlocking Extended Art is not quite what we were told during the original Kickstarter almost two years ago. I, for one, am thankful that they have moved off the “achievements” system for unlocks as achievements need to be designed with care and foresight to prevent degenerative play-styles as people stop playing the game as intended and just play to specifically unlock achievements. However, as a gold sink I feel that this might be going a bit too far. Since this is a function of all cards now and forever in the future, this gold sink will live on in perpetuity as well—but I feel like players who have been happily spending their gold on spinning chests, buying cards on the AH, and purchasing the AA Commons are being punished for the actions of a minority of players who have been sitting on gold piles. JJ goes into detail above about how much gold it’s going to cost to pimp out all your cards for your playsets, and those numbers look like they were designed to even make the gold hoarders cry.

HexEnt staff have mentioned that achievements are still on the table for double-backs and that they will do “something else.” I really do hope they look at each and every achievement they put into the game carefully. Anything you can engineer or farm is bad achievement design. Cool stuff that’s hard to pull off, maybe even luck-focused? Much better. The last thing Hex needs is “achievement runs” to unlock features on cards by playing in a manner that is only to pull off achievements and not actually play the game. That tends to leave your players thinking your game isn’t fun (well, unlocking achievements that way inherently isn’t fun, so yeah.)

As for unlocking for gold, Chark posted that the ability to unlock EAs will be done via “Stardust” which can be bought with gold. Stardust, we have been told, will also drop in PVE including from the Arena. This is exciting information for sure.


VIP Tournaments:

JJ: The format is still current set 1 + 2 constructed so some people will shy away. Don’t be one of those people! The reason of course is that this tournament will reward these new Armies of Myth cards that will get you started with your collection and both of these are solid. Carnasaurus looks like it was engineered to fight the mono-Sapphire menace that has been dominating constructed the last 2 months because it is a troop that answers both Cerulean Mirror Knight and Storm Cloud. Valiant Escort is an efficient troop that could be the start of an aggressive Diamond-based deck.

Deck: Is it just me or is the normal art version of Valiant Escort better looking? I mean, it’s a great problem to have, when your normal and your AA art are both so good that they cause a discussion of which is superior than the other. I’m looking forward to the VIP tournaments and assembling a playset of these AAs. I know we’re nearing the end of the “1 year extension of the VIP” so there is a possibility that these AAs will be the last ones given out as VIP tournament prizes. I really hope that they get another, more inclusive, tournament spun up after this—find a way to use the extraneous VIP tickets and in general make a larger portion of their player base happy and able to get a couple different AAs every month.


Cirouss’ Video:

JJ: This is a great way to meet some of the faces behind the game as Cirouss interviewed the art director, designers, developers, and several players. There were actually a lot more people that went to the Hex Raid that did not make it into the video; I know this because I was there and am one of the players featured in the video. The enthusiasm in this video is great and it is genuine. The people at Hex headquarters have a lot of fun with their work and they were great hosts for our group. The Hex Raid itself was a lot of fun; they showed us a sneak peek of Arena PVE and had the Hex Raiders do some playtesting against the bosses. We also got to do a special draft that was limited to only the people in the Hex Raid itself. The players at the Hex Raid were all very dedicated to the game and those drafts were the most competitive Hex pods I have ever played among. I highly encourage people to join in the fun next time there is a Hex Raid. Alternatively, Hex headquarters has a game night every week so if you are ever visiting nearby you should try to make it out there.

Deck: What can I say, Cirouss put together a fantastic video. It’s great to see the passion these guys have captured by a third-party. It makes everything they say and do feel more genuine. Well done!

Hex Kickstarter backer. Contributor to 2 Turns Ahead Podcast. Invitational Qualifier. Shoutcaster for the Cup of Fate tournament series. Player formerly known as JuzamJedi.

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