Spell Changes to Improve Class Balance!
In this article, I will be highlighting spell changes that I believe would benefit the PvP and PvE metas for all schools. I will be going through schools and highlighting buffs/nerfs that I feel will overall balance the classes a lot more than they are now. Please note that Shadow Spells will NOT be analyzed in this post, as their value and swing in matches is too high and RNG based to make effective buff/nerf decisions. Credit to Alexander Lionheart for several spell ideas and the inspiration for several of my own. Check out his youtube channel here!
General Spell Changes
Polymorphs are right up there with pacify and taunt as some of the least useful spells in the game. It simply does not make sense to trade all your stats for the piddling stats of a creature for 6 rounds. A much more useful effect would be to create a cancel polymorph option that the player could select (called Demorph). This Demorph button would replace the draw button when polymorphed and would allow a player to cancel the polymorph at any point on their round.
X Pip Spells
X pip spells fall into an interesting category in that many of them are very useful but also so inefficient that they preclude use. As such, I think a viable solution would be for players to be able to select how many pips they wish to consume at time of cast. This would make several spells much more useful and encourage diversity of play.
The Taunt and Pacify spells are an entire line with versions for each school that have absolutely no effect in PvP and no real use in PvE. As such you will likely never see these spells cast. I am willing to bet that many have forgotten that these spells even exist. To change these spells I propose making them have a one round effect. Pacify could make an opponent unable to attack you if there is another target(s) on the field. Taunt will make an opponent unable to attack anyone but you if there is another target(s) on the field. These spells would activate the round after it’s cast (meaning it’s not an auto dispel for the first turn player). Taunt and pacify would only affect spells that deal damage (debuffs/buffs etc would be unaffected). The x pip version of these spells would last a round for each pip slot used (for example if you used 14 pips it would last 7 rounds). AoEs would be unaffected.
Berserk is one of the most poorly designed spells in the game. It gives a slight buff to your outgoing damage (only 5% more than the school specific spells) while giving an even bigger buff to damage you take. As such I believe in order to make berserk more useful, change its effect to +35% outgoing damage and +20% incoming damage.
Minions in their current form are not very useful at max level. It simply does not make sense to summon something that will likely die before it has any significant impact on the battle. As such I propose a new mechanic to minions. Allow players to load a card onto a minion that will activate upon the minion’s death. For example lets say I summon a Storm Elemental. At the time of summoning as long as I have the card I wish to load in hand, I load a healing current onto the minion (it would work similar to enhancing an attack spell in that I would lose the healing current spell and it would become attached to the minion for no additional cost). When the minion dies it will cast healing current on the user. In this way we allow minions to be a neutral tempo play rather than being a tempo loss (or possibly a tempo gain as they are at lower levels!). The ability to load minions will only be available to those who have unlocked shadow magic. Players could only load a non damaging spell onto minions and minions could only be loaded with spells that are at or below their pip cost and that match their school.
Self Hit Spells
Self hit spells are another type of spell that are useful at low level but fall out of usage at the higher levels. This is because the offensive bent of gear/stats often makes the self-hit portion of the spell too much for the benefit it imparts. As such I propose changing the spells to allow you the option of changing the self hit to backlash damage at the time of cast. Backlash damage would deal the damage printed on the card regardless of any stats while leaving any on field spells (such as blades, feints) untouched. You could also choose to have the spell act as it normally does. This adds some versatility to these spells and allows the player to choose the usage. Once again the option to convert the self hit portion to backlash damage would only be available to players who have unlocked shadow magic.
Accuracy Boosting Charm Spells
Spells such as precision, lightning strike and guidance see very little use for good reason. Even after casting these spells players have a chance to fizzle. Thus, instead of adding a percent of accuracy I propose buffing these spell’s effect to: the next spell cast will not fizzle. This makes these spells much more useful at all levels but particularly at the lower levels where accuracy is hard to come by. This even gives these spells some utility as a counter to common accuracy debuffing spells and smokescreen spam in Team PvP.
Top Tier School(s) Spell Changes
The literal worst school bubble in the game, this spell sees little use in PvP or PvE due to it’s universally useless effect. As such I would change its effect to: Reverse Pip gains for all players. What this means is that if you would normally get a power pip you get a white pip; if you would normally get a white pip you get a power pip. This makes the spell a useful control card. It allows interesting combo plays while slowing down the tempo and improving survivability against most bosses in the later game.
Hydra as a card is underpowered and as such sees little use. It has the least dpp of any single hit off-school damage spell. Its tri-hit, while unique, isn’t very effective with such low base hits for each head. On the other hand, one of the things balance needs (until it gets Nested Fury) is an off-school AoE. As such I propose changing hydra to an AoE that does 170 damage per head. In this way, the unique mechanics are maintained while giving Balance an AoE option for the balance mobs it encounters.
There is nothing wrong per se with Samoorai, it just doesn’t accomplish anything for Balance. Both Judgment and Savage Paw match its dpp while Savage paw has the additional benefit of a blade. As such I suggest changing Samoorai into a DoT which is one tool Balance currently lacks. 300+300 Damage over 3 rounds.
Donate power is a good spell that has lots of potential. However, its 3 pip cost acts as a turn-off for an otherwise well-balanced spell that could possibly see more use in team play. Thus, my recommendation is to lower the cost of Donate Power to 2 pips. Give up 2 pips to donate 2 pips.
King Artorious’ effect is underwhelming especially when compared to the spell Efreet. It does significantly less damage than Efreet while also having a significantly less valuable weakness. I understand Efreet is a unique card and Artorious does offer a pierce blade but more can be done to help. Improve King Artorious weakness to 70%, giving Balance a reason to use its higher pip spells.
Sabertooth’s effect is a bit underwhelming when compared to the other Rank 10 spells. A spirit shield makes sense, as the spirit schools are traditionally viewed as more defensive. However, I believe Sabertooth can be improved by adding an elemental blade to the caster in addition to its spirit shield. This makes sense, as the elemental schools tend to prioritize offense. It would allow Balance to draw from aspects of all the schools with its effect.
This card has been one of the most polarizing cards since its creation. Offering above dpp damage to balance with 2 effects, this card is still far more powerful than the other Lore spells even with their buffs. As such I propose increasing the weakness to 25%, increasing the accuracy debuff to 45% and changing the effect to randomly select one OR the other, not both each cast. In this way, Loremaster is still a potent tool — offering high dpp damage and either Weaver’s or Krampus’s effect — but it is not overwhelming.
This spell allows balance to remove an opponent’s tool and deal exceedingly heavy damage, all while still remaining a neutral tempo play at 2 pips. As a result, this spell on its own often prevents other schools from even casting an Aura in the first place. My solution is to increase the pip cost to 3. In this way, it still maintains its heavy damage and utility but it is no longer a neutral tempo play. As compensation, I suggest boosting the accuracy to 75%.
Mana Burn is an exceedingly powerful and meta-defining spell. Allowing Balance to maintain pip control and punish opponents for building pips while still doing impressive damage is amazing. As such I recommend these changes to the spell. Mana Burn will Cleanse one Negative Charm and then deal it’s damage while removing 2 pips from the opponent (instead of 3). In this way, Mana Burn does not destroy as many of your opponents resources while in exchange it gains some useful utility for Balance.
Scald is dealing less damage than it should as a DoT. DoTs tend to deal 25% more damage pip for pip. However, Scald bucks the trend, being slightly below dpp, while also being one of the few DoTs without an initial hit. An easy way to address it is to add 20 damage to the front of it. Thus scald becomes 20+495 fire damage over 3 rounds.
Detonate is one of the most complained about Fire spells in the history of the school and for good reason. It is a very situational spell that is impossible to use in a solo situation. Yet it has one of the most interesting potential effects in the game. My solution to make Detonate useful without being overpowered is for KI to change it from a manipulation to a trap. In this way by using proper trap stacking order, one could take advantage of Detonate. Detonate would be a unique trap in that it would absorb the entire damage of the DoT and then unleash it all at once.
Hephaestus is a great spell that has a lot of potential. However, it’s dpp is too low. Dropped spells tend to have a higher dpp and Hephaestus defies this trend. This may be due to the bubble in which case I advocate making it at least meet the dpp standards rather than exceed it. To that end, I propose buffing Hephaestus to 530-580 Damage.
Krampus falls victim to the same paradox as Hephaestus. Dropped spells tend to be above dpp with an effect, while Krampus is significantly below dpp with an effect. The effect is also a cost free action so I believe Krampus should be allowed to go above dpp. As such I propose buffing Krampus to 450-490 damage
Burning Rampage has been a problem from its creation. The ability to spike huge damage (more than Stormzilla or Catalan) with no counter from second and only class specific counters from first make it an extremely powerful spell. As such instead of nerfing its overall damage I prefer redistributing its damage. Burning Rampage should be 440+330 after 2 rounds. In this way, it is still a potent hit but its first hit can be shielded from and its second hit isn’t a gg if uncountered.
Handsome Fomori’s 25% accuracy debuff is a joke. Today’s meta has increased the prevalence of accuracy jewels and as such 25% is not going to be doing much, if anything, to an opponent’s spells. Thus, I propose increasing the accuracy debuff to 50% making it a more realistic combo spell and a possible alternative to Winter Moon.
Ice Colossus is still dealing less damage per pip than it should even after its buff. Ice and Life spells tend to match up in dpp in comparable cases. However, Centaur outclasses Colossus for no apparent reason. As such I suggest buffing Colossus to match Centaurs damage at 515-595.
Cooldown is a pretty cool (heh puns) concept. It’s a spell that reduces one tick from all DoTs on your team. Despite being a cool concept it is rarely ever used. The simple fact is that triage is the better card in most cases as it removes the entire DoT. It is rare for a wizard to be affected by more than 2 DoTs at any one time. Thus, I don’t believe the 2 pip cost for this spell is warranted. Reduce the pip cost to 1 and call it a day.
I can already hear the comments now. “No nerfs needed Eric? But Ice is a top tier school, have you lost your mind?!” The simple truth is that none of Ice’s non-shadow spells are OP on their own. Ice is doing so well due to a number of small factors coming together, not due to overpowered spells. Ice’s stats, spell synergies, tc availability and recent changes all come together to make it the top class without any truly overpowered spell.
Goat Monk is a card that doesn’t really have a justifiable use in a life deck. As such I propose making it life’s first stun spell. Add a stun to its effect. This gives life some combo utility that it currently lacks and allows them some more offensive options.
Life has been asking for a low pip AoE for a long time and sacred charge is the perfect way to do it. Simply change it to deal 360 damage to all enemies and 250 absorb to the team.
This spell has been a polarizing one since its creation. It has the ability under certain conditions to completely reset an opponent’s mistakes over and over and over again. I believe the spell should indeed give a second chance but it should not give a guaranteed stall option. As such I propose buffing the spell to recover 30% of your max health but be unaffected by healing buffs or debuffs both statistically and on the field.
Low Tier School(s) Spell Changes
Lord of Night
Lord of Night is a great spell except for it’s piddling effect. A 25% infection is useless in PvE and accomplished almost nothing in PvP. As such I propose buffing the spell to leave a 25% death damage bubble rather than an infection. This gives death a potent offensive option that is useful in both PvP and PvE.
Dr. Von’s Monster
This card is another card that leaves a very weak infection that is not at all useful in any circumstance. As such you will almost never see this card used. As a nine pip card I believe it’s effect should be very potent. I propose replacing the infection with a -80% weakness which allows the spell to be a potent recovery and counter move for death wizards.
There is no logical reason for mass infection to cost 3 pips. Doom and gloom has a stronger effect while costing a pip less and infection is a cost free card. Reduce mass infection to 1 pip to allow for more sensible usage in team settings.
Death’s King Artorious spell is the most disappointing of all the King Art spells. It’s effect offers yet another weakened infection that death does not need. As such I advocate changing its effect from a weakened infection to a feint. This allows death some combo utility and offers a powerful aftereffect for the class, justifying it’s use over Skeletal Dragon.
The death school isn’t in a great place in the max level pvp meta. As such none of it’s spells require a nerf. Even Bad Juju is a well balanced spell that simply fell victim to the jade menace. The reshuffle changes significantly reduced the viability of the dreaded Jade Juju set and as such even that spell does not need a nerf.
Keeper of the Flame
Keeper of the Flame is Myth’s version of Brimstone Revenant and as a result falls quite short. Myth does not have the same trap synergy that fire has. In fact, most of myth’s signature double hit and DoT spells are very hard to use with traps. As such I propose making Keeper of the Flame a unique card that synergizes well with one of the characteristics myth is known for: stuns. Instead of leaving a myth trap change Keeper of the Flame to remove one stun defending spell. This means that instead of stunning (a 4 pip stun spell is much too spammable), it will remove one stun shield or conviction that the opponent has. This gives myth some potent combo ability and the ability to use stuns multiple times in battle.
Dimension shift as a card is just really poor in anything that is not an extremely slow tempo match. Minions don’t last long enough for Dimension shift to work and it is a very expensive card. In order to buff it I propose changing the effect to switch all hanging effects with minion OR opponent and reducing it’s cost to 4 pips. This gives myth some more potent combo ability at low pip levels which is exactly what it needs.
As can be seen the myth school does not need very many buffs. Similarly, it does not need any nerfs. The myth school has very potent spells. Medusa, Basilisk, King Art, Celestial Calendar are all very strong spells. The reason myth is a low tier class is because the meta is so fast many of these potent spells rarely come into play. Even shatter (which was once a very overpowered card in a meta where the neutral phase of battle dominated) is no longer overpowered. As such I can’t see any justified nerfs to myth school spells.
The disarm spell is in an interesting place as the only single removal spell with a pip cost. When both cleanse charm and cleanse ward cost 0 pips, both shatter and enfeeble cost 3 pips and both Mystic Collossus and Glowbugs costing 5 pips+shadow it makes little sense for Disarm to cost a pip when pierce costs 0 pips. As such I propose changing Disarm to cost 0 pips to match it’s ward counterpart.
Catalan’s 25% accuracy debuff is laughably bad in a meta where accuracy is very easy to come by. One of the things Storm needs is some combo utility and as such I propose changing Catalan’s accuracy debuff into a stun instead.
Catch of the Day
Catch of the Day is grossly underpowered having the lowest dpp of any Storm spell outside of low end bolts. As such I propose buffing it’s damage to meet the damage per pip standards of its other 5 pip counterparts. Have Catch of the Day deal 670-710 damage and remove 2 blades.
Healing Current is a potent Storm tool but falls victim to the fact that 66% of the time the heal is not worth using. Storm in the current meta is in great need of some reliable healing particularly since it’s health buffer is so low compared to the other schools. As such I propose changing healing current to 400, 600 or 800 heal. In this way it has more palatable low and mid level heal potential at the cost of reducing the max heal potential.
The Storm elemental is the most passive minion in the game. Boasting no attacking spells it is completely useless in most PvP environments. It does however serve a function in the low level PvE environment. As such in order to make it more viable in PvP while allowing it to function just as effectively in PvE I propose giving it a modified lightning bats. This bats would deal the same damage as the typical lightning bats but would also taunt all enemies. Minions having unique more potent attacks are not unusual (see the Ice minion which casts ice bats and ice sharks).
Storm’s King Artorious spell has an even worse aftereffect than Death’s. Lightning strike is near useless at the level King Artorious is received and at every higher level particularly with the jewel update. What Storm really needs is some offensive/defensive utility and King Artorious is the perfect opportunity to do so. Change the Lightning Strike effect to a -90% accuracy debuff which will allow Storm a chance to combo or to play a defensive spell.
Insane Bolt has been a polarizing spell since it came out. When it hits it can completely swing a match or end it in your favor. However, when it backfires it results in an automatic loss. As such I propose a complete revamp of the spell that reduces it’s swing factor while also making the spell less risky for the user. Change the card to 600 moon damage to opponent AND auto fizzle next outgoing spell. In this way, the spell is still very potent but less match defining while simultaneously reducing spam potential.
Questions/Comments? Let me Know in the Comments Below!