Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ascension Campaign Review

'Sup nerds. First off, terribly sorry about not getting an article up last week. I cut back to 1 per week during the off-season of spoilers since there isn't too much to talk about, but I ended up visiting a lot of friends in the period between Christmas and New Years and never had the chance to sit down and pound an article out. Meanwhile my butthurt was steadily growing as I was seeing images, articles, and videos emerge of people getting their Ascension Campaign cards in the mail while mine was nowhere to be seen.

Acolyte of the AbyssThat is, until yesterday. My overall opinion of this event was pretty contingent upon me actually receiving my card, otherwise my rage would likely know no bounds. I have played Alisaris since his release, through thick and thin, and had toppled some local meta sheep with him. I was proud. If anyone deserved that upgrade it was me. Me. I was being patient since things like this (like with the Quest Clear cards) usually sweet from West to East, but some people in my area had already gotten their cards towards the end of last week, so I was getting salty. Thankfully I opened my mailbox to that glorious red envelope and all was well.

Bias aside, I have wanted to do a full review of this campaign since it started, but I wanted to see it all the way through first. The idea of it was amazing, and is as close to patching a game as we can get without mass errata's, which come with their own set of issues. Force of Will decided to take some under-appreciated Rulers and give them a little push in the right direction, either because they were initially just poorly designed, over-costed, or simply out-classed. Regardless of the reason, these were some positively received changes to some lackluster cards. Alisaris saw his Judgment cost reduced significantly, his God's Art made cheaper, and made Vell-Savaria actually playable. Fairy Alice also got a Judgment discount and God's Art reduction, but also a slight power boost from 900/900 to 1100/1100. Pricia is the only one not to get a Judgment reduction, but that's forgivable since she didn't have an absurdly high base cost like the other two. Her Ruler ability, however, was changed from giving one Beast/Sacred Beast 100/100 for the turn to giving all Beasts/Four Sacred Beasts 100/100 for the turn. Her God's Art remained the same, but her base power was bumped from 800/800 to 1000/1000, similar to Alice. Additionally, all three were given Energize.

Pricia, Friend to the AnimalsThese aren't massive changes on their own, but I don't think they were meant to be. It seems like the campaign was less "Make these guys strong/competitive" and more "These guys don't see too much play because we released them over-nerfed" and was a step to fix that. Both Alice and Alisaris are high-cost Judgment Rulers who use certain mechanics to reduce those costs. Upon release these costs were simply way too steep for them to see competitive play, and Alice was just outclassed by Reflect/Refrain as the Ruler for a Fairy deck. Their God's Art cost reduction follows this same line of thinking, since both cards support "Judgment for game" type of play styles. Alisaris, after ramping up to his (previously) 12 RFG'd cards, would flip and then God's Art to nuke the opponent's field, paving the way for your now-Swiftness resonators to swing for game. Likewise, Alice would flip to recover all your Fairies for a second wave of attacks. Giving them cheaper God's Arts on top of their cheaper Judgments means this style of play is now more efficient and less will-hungry. Alisaris in particular went from needing 6 will to Flip -> God's Art to only 4, which puts him just under the curve of when power plays start to happen in this game.

Pricia seems to have gotten the short end of the stick here, although that's likely because she wasn't as bad off as these two were upon release. Like Alice, she suffered from Reflect/Refrain doing her job better in her own deck as his filter skill let you get rid of clunky Four Sacred Beast cards. Changing her Ruler ability from targeted to blanket, though, is a very welcomed improvement. That's a jump from a 100 power boost to a 400, 500, or even greater of a boost distributed across the field that you can pump unused will into at the start of the turn. The power increase is just a standardization so she can bump heads with the Lapis Cluster Rulers, and jump to 1200/1200 with a Wind resonator. She did, however, get a typing change. Her original race was Seven Kings, but now she's Human/Beast, so she benefits from Pricia's Call to Action and other similar support cards. 

Alice, the Ally of FairiesWhile the cards themselves had players excited, the means of getting them went from sketchy to slightly less sketchy. The use of specific "ascension materials" drummed up a lot of secondary market action, which a lot of people would say is a good thing, but as unexpected a sudden demand shift like that lead to some insane prices and a pretty bad shortage in some places. While Alisaris needed Ouroboros, Phoenix, and Attoractia (none of which were widely-played cards), Pricia needed the likes of Huanglong and Alice needed Bedivere, both of which were fairly pricey (by this game's standards) before the campaign began. Beyond this, the first few days of the campaign were full of confusion and worry. The form wasn't working properly for a while, and it took the company a couple days to address that, and the mailing address they gave wasn't in a format that the American Postal Service readily supported, leading to some people having to guess how to break the address up and producing funky-looking addresses. That, combined with the general confusion of international shipping, had a lot of players' packages end their journey before they could even arrive.

As of yet, though, I haven't heard of too many people not getting their cards, but that could just be because we're still in the time frame of reasonably getting them. In the coming weeks it will definitely be interesting to see how many complaints of "I didn't get mine!" we'll see emerge. That being said, I feel that Force of Will handled this very well for it being the first of its kind. Not only is it the game's first Ascension Campaign, but I don't think any other TCG has attempted something similar to it. It's natural for there to be a few kinks in the process, and I trust FoW to patch those holes if/when they do the next campaign. Now that we know how to properly format the address, and FoW got the kinks out of the printing form, I suspect any future campaigns will go a lot smoother. My only wish is that they change up the material requirements, since six SRs and three Rs for one Ruler was a bit high, and the Rulers that required the more popular SR cards ended up with the short end of the stick.

No comments:

Post a Comment