First off, I wanted to give a thanks to the developers for making this game. Despite the imperfections and frustrations, you folks brought forth a great game for people to play. So, thanks (again)!
I wanted to specifically discuss about backstab, but as I kept thinking through it, I wanted to talk about infiltrator as well, then grow, so I just titled it “Duelyst’s Keywords”
The idea of backstab and infiltrator brings with itself certain drawbacks when compared to all the other words. This is (obviously) position. Well that’s the whole idea reaper. (Yea, I’m aware.)
Unlike any other keyword, infiltrator is not asymmetrical on the board, by that I’m not discussing by field but by turn order. Due to there always having to be a 1st player and 2nd player, (I hope that it can be rationally deduced or assumed) infiltrator stands to be played with more easy as player 1 than player 2. To reiterate, it is easier to break ground into opponent’s territory as player 1 than player 2.
Many might be saying “well yea, what’s your point?”. Few maybe (hopefully none) disagree.
The point that I am mentioning is for observation of it’s uniqueness of it’s keyword to any other but similar to backstab, but we’ll get there shortly, in that it’s value varies upon turn order. Note: Grow, or more specifically Gro, the only 2 mana grow minion, actually does play into this notion of value deterministic upon turn order.
Zeal, provoke, blast, flying, etc etc. Do not utilize the preemptive nature that turn 1 player 1 has in contrast to infiltrator and Gro require/demand.
Note for those who skim-read: This isn’t a complaint; this isn’t a rant. This is observation for the primary purpose of awareness.
How does this tie into backstab though? Backstab also has a uniqueness that separates it from the other keywords: Unlike any other keyword, backstab will almost always require an additional card or spell to utilize its keyword.
The use of combos in Songhai is not new, but I think it is important that it is looked at it specifically in this manner. Against anyone with even adequate game knowledge, even the highest skilled Songhai player will have to use at least one card to make use of their keyword. This isn’t demanded from Zeal, provoke, flying, blast, grow, etc etc. Your standard player and above understand this, and acknowledge this as to why you (the developers) instilled an additional card draw on Killing Edge under the condition of it being used on a backstab minion.
Again, this isn’t a complaint or rant. However, everything following IS opinion and suggestion oriented.
I am under the impression that this doesn’t cut it. I am completely unknowledgeable and uninformed on this topic, but again, I am under the impression that backstab falls short to other archetypes and doesn’t stabilize itself as well or easily as other archetypes. The following are legitimate follow-up supportive questions (because again, I genuinely just don’t know):
-Has a backstab deck ever placed itself as the highest, or among the highest, performing archetypes?
-Has backstab won major tournaments?
-Where does Kaleos place among his rivals (the general whose whole intention is backstab archetype)?
-Do you (the reader or developer) ever see backstab deck builds where they AREN’T putting in Spelljammers, Void Hunters or Blaze Hounds? (or anything else I missed of similar nature)
The backstab archetype is very card/combo demanding; hence why, at least I, always see these supporting (and deemed necessary?) support cards.
Opinion and suggested alternative
*At this point, I wanted to propose an alternative. If I’m all wrong, things are fine, and I’m bad, that’s fine. I can accept that. Ignore all this (don’t be an a$$ and criticize with nothing constructive) and continue on your day.
The alternative, at least for backstab, would be in either
(1) incorporating/reward card draw as success upon killing a minion, which has the feel/theme of collecting a bounty on a target.
(2) (more OP and one that I like less because of it) reward card draw upon successful backstab.
As I see things, Ranged is capable of working alone, not requiring outside faction cards to keep it afloat. Zeal, Provoke, Grow, Blast, etc. They all can function on their own merit. Unlike other keywords, backstab demands it being fed cards to be utilized, and killing edge just isn’t enough (the required spelljammers, blaze hounds, etc. support this notion). I think that incorporating a bounty with backstab for the killing blow of minions would support the archetype’s crutch of demanding card draws. I hope that point (1) wouldn’t seem OP to players as (A) sometimes backstabs need even more than 2 cards to pull off one kill and (B) it wouldn’t provide more cards for backstabbing the general.
All of this largely came to mind when I was building a Kara deck and opted out of Crystal Cloakers for the above mentioned reason(s). I do hope that those who read the backstab examination and opinion will sit on the proposed alternative for awhile. I hope anyone who has read this and comes across a backstab unit will bear this in mind, “This card is going to have to use another card just to make use of its keyword.”
Note again, THIS IS NOT A COMPLAINT. I keep reiterating this because I am aware of how it sounds. If I’m all wrong, if nothing was to ever change, I’m okay with that. I just wanted to throw out my observations simply for the sake of awareness and my added opinion.