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An underspoken issue: the Faction/Neutral ratio

For starters, let us take a look at the Core cards.
Each faction has 40 cards, while the common pool of neutrals has a staggering value of 148 different cards.
On expansions, this shifted for 13 per faction to 16 Neutrals.

While the numbers are no Hearthstone and i’m thankful for that (less is more), i feel this heritage to the game is an issue to discuss - for i feel this bogs down faction identity heavily.

I come from a full Shadowverse background, never ever touching the original big boy icy dinosaur. This makes me come with a baggage of ratios much, much more favoring factions over neutrals - looking at the Basic/Standard pool, we have 53 per faction (sans Portal) and ‘measly’ 32 Neutrals, standardizing to 13/10 in the expansions. This, i feel, is a most significant trait on making things fun and unique, as this pretty much ensures most cards can be balanced around specific factions using and not at them becoming an universal problem, as we saw with Skorn when rotation happened and we got Krater as it, except Magmar.

While i can’t exactly ask to retroactively review it on expansion content, i can question that regarding the core package and future updates. It really could be a handy choice to check on the list which cards could be permanently bound to factions and maybe reworked a little to factor that. 14 per faction and 10 neutrals in future expansions could be a wondrous metric to get things slowly right.


There’s always the example of Decimus where neutral cards can support and even define a particular faction mechanic. But I see merit in your argument though, I find faction cards to be more fun and flavorful than neutrals in general. I also kind of wish CPG would print supports to some more obscure faction mechanics like 3 mana Lyonar or Attack reduction Abyssian instead of boring neutrals like Riftwalker.


Pretty much, as i’d be throwing Decimus entirely as a Momor boi or a costed-down Vet-only Zenrui as examples, and a slightly buffed Syvrel could be a scary notion for Songhai.

I can think Sun Seer or Bastion as Lyonar 3 manas with few tweaks and this is both fun and scary.

I have never understood why people liked to hate on neutrals. I think they are awesome.

Some of the most powerful cards in a vacuum and or the most unique faction mechanics should be faction for sure, but I see no reason why neutral cant be the go to for common tech or powerful deck types.

If neutrals are not good why have them at all? I think neutrals purpose is to either be lending towards neutral designed archetypes which I see no issue being strong as I think of them as their own faction, and or should give every one slightly weaker cards then faction options to help cover your faction weak points. Current Skorn versus Krater I think is a perfect example of how things should be. And I love that arcanysts are powerful but largely neutral archtypes where the factions can give them their own spin.

I can get behind stand alone neutrals that get used in every single deck being a little overkill like OG Skorn, Thunder, and Kron. But baring those I like em.

(I also just don’t quite follow what your saying about ratios. Are they good or bad? What are you measuring? And why?)


What i’m measuring is how many cards per faction to the total of neutrals, like, how many Magmar cards exists (102) in relation to the full neutral pool (225). In my eyes, too many neutrals in relation to the faction pool is bad.

Neutrals are touchy. If done well they’re indeed nice ways to cover faction weaknesses, the slot for vanillas and other generic spaces, but if poorly they’re either useless or so ubiquitous that the game completely revolves around them to homogenizing levels - see in SV the Wonderland meta where every deck became Alice decks, or even way back when, the days original Bahamuth was an absolute boardclear. A good example here of how neutrals are handled are the Golem and Mecha packages where every faction has their own spin to it and unique supports to that, but well… There was also the problem of E.M.P., it being OUR Bahamuth, and currently WONDROR as the guy stealing his throne.

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Considering neutrals are for everyone having at least twice the number of a faction seems right to me. As they need to have their own archetypes and provide weaker versions of a good chunk of most faction tools baring their unique key words.

I am still on the side of liking EMP. He does not fit into all decks by a long shot as some he is quite counter productive with, but he is an important tool to keep certain things from getting out of hand and helps archetypes that rely on neutral have a strong top end or who’s main gameplan is not quite as strong as lists vulnerable to EMP stand a good chance.

I am completely clueless to all your obscure out of duelyst references, but based on context I think OG Kron=Bahamuth being so good he was sort of a win con and near every deck was better with him. Where as Thunder/Skorn were just better then many faction options for the same role.

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For comparisons, Bahamuth was the equivalent of giving Taura Flying and the opening gambit of destroying ALL other minions, while Alice was… Almost Wanderer, except only for neutrals, flashed by default (4 mana) and not in a singleton format. Curving on what if Illusionyst just happened to spawn on his own every end of turn instead of per spell cast, among other bothersome cards of the time. Shit was dumb.

With currently 157 cards per faction and 128 Neutrals in wild/unlimited and 62/53 in Rotation, i feel SV strikes a better balance by eliminating illusion of choice - and the risk of abuse cases on what if certain effects fell in the hands of particular factions. Imagine in the future CPG gives, i dunno, Songhai some very powerful milling support that makes Decimus a staple, and the combo is so absurd that it forces them to nerf him to points where he is ok in Songhai but almost a joke in Magmar. Make him Mag only and the issue disappears outside fringe cases like a very lucky Joseki.

If half of those cards aren’t even meant for you, why were you given the option? If half the cards aren’t even that good on anyone in particular, why are they even there? This is my main gripe here. Limited overcosted buying of overly common effects is nice and all, but not everyone needs everything.

Blame monthly cards. Adding 4 new neutral cards every month really skews it towards neutral. Back when rotation was coming, I talked about cutting a ton of the core set and putting it into a new set retroactively. If that new set was mostly neutrals, I think it would help keep the game more focused on faction identity. So basically, I agree with you that having so many core neutral cards is bad. They dominate the game and lead to stagnation or power creep.

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Not only core but the inherent ratio during expansions didn’t help. 5/6 Neutral commons for 3 commons for each faction? That’s a lot of fodder.

Actually, considering your Shadowverse origins, your neutral hate start to make more sense.

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Duelyst montages but every time someone plays Wanderer you hear LANDS OF WONDERS, LANDS OF MARVELS


wut? the only faction that commonly ran OG skorn was magmar and only because it could be combod with amplification for a turn 1 5/7.

the majority of neutrals see no play in ladder anyway. all these unplayed neutrals could be slotted into factions, solving your supposed faction/neutral ratio problem, while making no difference to any meta deck.

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On Skorn, sometimes that, but also it was a fairly standard go-to card in times Swarmbyssian was on a rampage. Healnar also likes it as a card to self-inflict pain and be able to get early heal procs.

Pretty much, but turning them into faction cards can also warrant them the slot power to receive buffs/reworks that are still in their themes but would be otherwise broken/questionable if neutral. Imagine, lets say, a Sworn Defender that transfers his health to you whenever you take damage instead of the full-heal-self thing we have today. Shall we agree this is the sort of thing that is better to keep locked at Lyonar?

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