The Beginning of 5th Age PvP
The past year has been a time of adjustment and change for the PvP community. From the introduction of Turn-based to the most recent spell and treasure card audit, it has become clear what the developers want in the beginning of 5th Age PvP gameplay experience: A fair and balanced gameplay experience that involves strategy and not just RNG as we’ve seen in the past. The start of a new era is upon us, and I for one, am looking forward to it.
5th Age PvP is looking to become balanced for the first time in a decade. Losing to a “maycast” or a black mantle should not occur nearly as much as it used to. When you lose to an aura cast off a pet or a weapon cast that steals your pips, the game isn’t very enjoyable. Now that the impact of RNG is lower, strategy becomes much more important. The games in this new meta show an increase in games won by skill and better deck cycling. PvP is headed in the right direction.
Spell and Treasure Card Audit
The continuation of Spell Audits in the game has had a vast impact on the game both in PvP and in PvE. Spells being nerfed or buffed as a result of these audits have already helped rebalance the meta. The Spring Update changed many spells and added new ones in an effort to rebalance the game. The standardization of blades and global spells have both created a meta in which every school’s damage is more in line with their class identity. For example, ice can no longer deal more damage with an Abominable Weaver than a Rusalka with just a single blade or global damage buff.
The Shift in the Bubble War
The Global spell additions of Circle of Thorns and Deadzone now allow for Death and Life to fight for “Bubble control”. They also allow these schools to gain a buff previously unavailable to them. Speaking of Global spell changes, the other change was likely intended as a “nerf” was the change to Sanctuary. The spell went from being a 3 pip global spell that boosted outgoing healing by 60% to a 2 pip 35% boost instead. Life is now the only school with two different spells at 2 pips to maintain bubble control. This along with the introduction of the spell Infestation, a 4 pip hit and bubble, makes life a very difficult school to combat for control of the global buff.
One of the other major differences is the banning of treasure card global spells. Any treasure card that changed the bubble or hit and then changed the bubble, such as Brown Spider or Red Ghost has been made no PvP. The only exceptions are Power Play and Hephaestus. I would say Balance is buffed because of this but.. well… Power Play is definitely the worst bubble in the game, and Fire’s Hephaestus is 5 pips. Regardless, this keeps the bubble war more strategic for the most part. Players have to know when they can afford to fight bubble and whether they can safely discard them. The game isn’t decided by whoever packed more bubbles in their sidedeck anymore.
The Blade Nerf
The change in blades is a very different story from the change in global spells. Blades being standardized to 35% is a step towards fixing the damage for each school. Ice having weaker hits but dealing more damage than fire or storm made no sense. We all know the PvE community may be a bit upset over this change, but it is for the best. To the Ice wizards who are questing on their own, it’s only one more blade than before. You will be fine!
Along with the blade nerfs, there was one that did get buffed up from before. Storm’s blade being buffed to 35% is huge! The extra 5% is damage, and damage means everything for storm. This will bring you one step closer to defeating your opponent a round sooner.
The Side Deck Philosophy
Along the lines of this audit, we also have the Treasure Card changes. Since many Treasure Cards were banned or nerfed beyond usability, players are scrambling to figure out what to put in their side deck. Spells like Cold Iron and Chimenea no longer being legal confused many players, including myself, at first. However, I now understand the reasoning behind this. These treasure cards, commonly referred to as “Potboiler” spells have been reworked as craftable beastmoon recipes. The side deck is becoming exactly what it’s name entails. Expect more spells intended for a specific matchup in the side deck as opposed to these undercosted, overly efficient, shield breakers.
For example, Myth can no longer spam Rat Illusionist or Yellow Troll to break shields and gives themselves additional buffs. Ice wizards have lost many Treasure cards from earlier updates such as Icebird and Polar Swarm. Their deck builds have changed significantly with each update. The reliance on putting up two blades and a Global buff into an overtime for an open hit now requires more pips. With Polar Swarm and Ice Elf no longer legal, they are forced to use Frostbite.
Players already started packing more shields and blades in the side deck as well as spells for more specific situations. Spells like Earthquake for blade stack, Triage for heavy damage overtimes, and Empower for weaknesses are situational spells that have been seeing more play. Thus, games become more about counterplay and strategy. The better deck builder and deck cycler should have the upper hand. While deck fails will still happen from time to time, this will likely be the only form of RNG that could cost you the match.
The New Best Pets
What players defined as the “Meta Pet” for each school has drastically changed with the Spring Update. Many desirable pets will now sit in their owners bank waiting for their time to shine another day.
Here is an example of one of the more popular fire pets for max level at the moment. “Using Fire-Sniper on a pet? You must be crazy!” But alas, I am not. Fire used to rely on using gear sets with ridiculously high amounts of damage to just kill their opponent as quickly as possible. Due to the stat change, they can’t do this reliably anymore and now have to use different gear to get higher resist. Because of this, they start to lack in other needed stats, such as accuracy. A couple years ago, this pet may have been laughable and probably just a ‘failed pet’ that otherwise might’ve ended up being trashed.
One thing you may also notice on the above pet is the lack of any maycast talent, specifically, the school aura maycasts (Reliquary, Furnace etc.) These auras were often game breaking and the deciding factor in who won any given match. These auras are still used from time to time, so don’t dismiss them quite yet. However, they are not optimal pets anymore. Many players have been trading it off for either a different maycast, Armor Breaker or even Mighty to boost the other talents on their pet.
A lot of players use maycast Balanceblade, as this seems to still cast consistently throughout a match. The same thing goes for other school blade casts (Fireblade, mythblade etc.) Other maycast talents some players still use include Pierce, Steal Ward, and even Shatter. Even though those pet talents still don’t cast that much, the are powerful effects that happen often enough to be viable. It is up to you if you want to give up some stats on your pet for one of these casts. For me personally, I’m not a fan of RNG on your pet in PvP, but I can understand the appeal.
These maycast talents are also a risk at the moment since they could be nerfed (reduced in cast rate) at any time by the devs. For example, maycast Balanceblade as well as Dragonlance were reduced in a recent smaller update.
Continuing on the topic of maycasts, we also have The Kroger Jewels. What is a Kroger Jewel? These jewels come from the $20 gift cards found at your local Safeway and Fred Meyers. Specifically the jewels for the month of June and July being the Chi Focus Jewel and the Undauntable Jewel. These jewels, while not necessary, have become a huge part of the PvP. Going into 5th Age PvP, many players need this jewel in order to compete. These dual talent pet jewels have a huge impact on matches due to each of them having their own unique, and often powerful maycast attached to them. While the maycast alone is not the reason to use the jewel, it very much makes them more desirable.
The Chi Focus Jewel is used to complete many setups where their pip chance is lacking behind, but the maycast talent is just gravy on top. The cast on the jewel is maycast “Dragonlance,” a powerful damage and pierce blade combo. It casts often enough to decide matches on its own. The same thing goes for the Undauntable Jewel. Spell Defy is one talent most players desire on their PvP pets, so the maycast Brace talent is free and just an added bonus.
Is 5th Age PvP ready?
5th Age PvP is right around the corner, but there is still much work to be done. More spell audits are ahead of us and many more factors of the game need to be rebalanced. An upcoming gear audit this summer is something to look forward to as certain stats start to change. Wands with some horrendous maycasts (looking at you, Outlaw’s Courtesy) will either be made “No PvP” in the same way as the Sinbad wandss maycast, or greatly reduced in its cast rate. All we need is for more players to see the effort they’re putting into PvP and give it a try. More players in the queue equals much shorter wait times and a healthier meta.
What are your thoughts? Is the meta headed in the right direction? Do you agree with the treasure card bans? Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear other opinions on what 5th Age PvP is looking to become or what they would do differently if they were in Kingsisle’s shoes. Until next time, happy peeving!
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