Kara Winterblade - Broken or Misunderstood?


#1

This won’t be short and definitely not sweet. I am, and no doubt many of you are, under the belief that Kara is a tad overpowered compared to other Generals. To sum up why this is I’ll use a few examples of Generals and what power the have.

Argeon Highmayne - Give a nearby minion +2 attack.
Zirix Starstrider - Summon a 2/2 rush that disappears at end turn. edit: apparently this was changed whoops! my point still applies.
Lilithe Blightchaser - Summon two 1/1 minions nearby.
Cassyva Soulreaper - Deal 1 damage to a minion and make a creep if it dies.
Reva Eventide - Summon a 1/1 ranged minion nearby.

Though there are others with varying effects you can see a sort of balance to these; +2 attack, +2 attack for a turn, two 1/1’s, one damage with an additional effect, or a 1/1 with an effect. Each have a varied use but almost all of them net a simple number, 2 for the price of 1 mana. Let’s look at Kara now.

Kara Winterblade - Give ALL minions in your action bar +1/+1.

At first glance, what’s the problem? She’s simply giving her unsummoned minions a boost. +1/+1 also adds up to 2, so it’s the same as all the others! And it is there that I think the developers missed a vital flaw in that thinking. IF Kara only has a single minion in her action bar this is indeed balanced, however, by applying it to all minions it overextends and throws the balance off. If Kara has 3 minions in her action bar she is essentially spending 1 mana for +3/+3 worth of boost. Argeon should be pissed, he only gets a +2 to another minions attack, meanwhile Kara over here has a 6 for the price of 1 stat increase.

To take this even further, what if Kara has 6 minions in her action bar each costing 1 mana to play. In a single turn she could spend 1 mana to increase their stats (a +6/+6, or 12 for 1 mana rate) and summon each one of them. Let’s say for a second that 1 cost mana creatures DIDN’T come with additional effects (like Dragonlark a 2/1 flying or Planar Scout a 2/1 airdrop) and were just 1/1’s, she would still be summoning six 2/2’s in a single turn.

And finally to drive this point home, the effect stacks. So, let’s say you draw a 7 mana creature at the beginning of the game, and have used your ability perhaps 5 times before you’re able to reasonably summon it. This 7 mana creature is going to have a +5/+5 boost to its stats along with whatever crazy stats and ability it already has.

Now, you might scream ‘but there are instant kill spells in the game!’ to which I’d say yes, you are correct. But each of these spells have draw backs, for instance Lyonar’s instant kill spell heals the owner of that minion its health value. That means Kara is getting those boosted stats right back into her health bar. Vetruvian’s have an instant kill but it has to be used nearby their general, something Kara can easily defend against by getting a ranged minion with +5/+5.

In the end there is only a single defence against Kara’s madness, Dispel, and unfortunately my current decks aren’t crammed full of dispel, infact I’m not sure my main deck has any at all (I play a Reva based deck, ranged for days.)

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe my logic is flawed and Kara isn’t broken, but that’s what a Forum is for right? If you can explain why I’m wrong about this please do so, I’m all for logical and well reasoned explanations.


#2

Ah ah ah, gotta remember, CPG nerfed the crap out of Vet.

Yeah, you are absolutely right, the mana costs of minions is balanced around their stats.
The way neutrals work is that they have a certain set of stats for a certain mana cost, and then they pay some of these stats in exchange for an ability.

A simple example.
Golems are used as the “basis” for stats/mana balance comparison since they are raw stats and have no abilities.
Hailstone golem - 4 Mana - 4/6 Very solid minion
Primus Shieldmaster - 4 Mana - 3/6 Provoke Considered one of the better neutral 4 drops in the game
As you can see, the Shieldmaster has one less attack, instead however, he gets to have provoke.

The point is, minions are balanced around mana costs, with faction minions being overall stronger than neutrals, take Aymara Healer for example, far better than any neutral 6 drop and one of the better in-faction 6 drops, and the best minion Vet has, our prized legendary.

Most generals BBS’s have a downside.
Zirix : Do I even need to say it? No rush anymore, random spawn
Sajj : Costs her health to trade minions
Vaath: Has the same problem as Sajj although his faction offers more healing
Starhorn : Draws opponent a card as well, currently, and for a while, considered worst general in the game simply because his BBS is the only one that offers something to your opponent
Kaleos : Situational although very powerful, requires minion active and in position, ready to go
Reva: One of the more powerful BBS’s in the game, very vulnerable to pings and such
Lilithe : Very synergistic BBS, although 1/1 are very easy to clear
Cassyva : The polar opposite to Reva and also a very good BBS, synergises with her deck strategy, although requires reducing a minion to one health, which can sometimes be challenging
Argeon : Solid BBS, allows weaker minions to trade up or just to be able to hit face harder. However, has the same weakness as Kaleos, requires an active minion to get any immediate impact out of it.
Zir’an : Very good BBS, but a bit too situational for how the meta works right now, getting a fair bit of support in Shim’zar. Requires a damaged but alive minion to function, not always possible.
Faie : Situational, allows for some interesting positional plays, otherwise, works as a 2 damage burn tool

Kara : Overtuned. Breaks the mana/stat balance of EVERY minion in her action bar. Those of you who have suffered the wrath of Kineticats know the feeling when she drops a 7/6 Tiger. Yes, she has to slow down the game for her BBS to function, the problem? She’s a Vanar general. She gets to enjoy access to the faction with the largest number of and the most efficient removal spells. She has no trouble dealing with several of your threats to slow down the game until her BBS takes over and you can’t do anything anymore.
The only way to kill her is to do it quickly, which really only Songhai has even half a chance, too bad she’ll just cryo your 4WM and chrom your foxes. Vet has no burst outside of artifacts left, but we’ll ignore that since they aren’t an entirely viable faction right now. Lyonar, can win if they manage to get a minion to stick, but that is a feat in and of itself against a Vanar general and her plethora of “screw your minion” spells. Abyssian Creep is the only deck that has a fair chance in the late game and that’s because it relies more on spells and creep instead of heavy minion play. Swarm is also not too viable, especially since Skorn was added. Finally Magmar, Starhorn will have to sit this one out on the bench with Zirix and Sajj, Vaath has a decent chance if he can end the game by the midgame, cause even he will have trouble trading into 6/8 Dancing Blades. Makantor and Taygete along with some well placed egg morphs can win him the game.


#3

I agree that Kara is overpowered, however, there is one small caveat to your logic. Those other generals you mention have Bloodborn Spells that have an immediate impact on the field. Kara’s BBS while yes it does grant tons of stats (definitely too many in my opinion), those stats are not on the board ready to go. Simply put, a 2 stat pump on the field is far more valuable than a 2 stat pump in the action bar. (Just ask Magic players the difference between a spell being an Instant or a Sorcery). Kara’s pump has a slower speed to it than say Argeon’s. So, reducing Kara to buffing a single minion in the action bar by +1/+1 is far too harsh.

Thus, in trade for the slower speed, Kara’s BBS should pump more than 2 stats. I know the devs are probably looking into this and I’ll be happy with just about anything they come up with, but here are my preferred solutions for Kara:

  1. Make her BBS only work on Vanar minions. This at least opens up the neutral minion design space to be used against her rather than constantly in her favor. This also solves the Kineticats problem.
  2. Make her BBS pump the 2 minions in her action bar with the lowest Attack (or possibly the lowest Health) instead of all 6. This would force her to play many of her minions with no buffs at all (so that she could stack buffs on the remaining 2) or it would keep her minions to a medium sized range (if she kept her action bar full of minions they would probably not get more than 1 buff each). You could still get a Kineticat in this case, but it would take a LOT more effort on your part and your opponent would have some notion that it’s coming if they monitored your playstyle.

Both of these would make Kara a lot more interesting while still preserving some of the interesting parts about her. Pumping minions in your action bar is actually pretty interesting. I want the flavor to stay, just the power toned down a bit.


#4

I do enjoy your solutions! I disagree with the caveat to my logic though, sure it takes a bit more time for her to get the effects down on the board, but that’s never seemed to be a problem, she uses ice spell thingers to get rid of my minions or stun them while she beefs up her own and plays them. Either way, I hope the mods go with something unique like yours!


#5

Kara’s BBS while yes it does grant tons of stats (definitely too many in
my opinion), those stats are not on the board ready to go. Simply put, a 2 stat pump on the field is far more valuable than a 2 stat pump in the action bar.

True but this is negated by the ability to then play these creatures the self-same turn they are buffed. If you use her BBS to pump up a snowchaser, chances are you’re going to be able to place it in the field. If you buff up a Primus Shieldmaster and play it the self-same turn you’re already getting a return on your investment since Shieldmaster only needs to be present to be a threat, not attack. This goes for every minion with an ability that only requires them to be around, it makes them harder to remove, possibly puts them out of range of standard removal (Pheonix Fire, Plasma Storm, Cryogenesis,…) due to more health or attack.

Eventhough the buffing only happens in the actionbar, the creatures can still be played the same turn. THis is not to mention rush minions who don’t even have that downside. Imagine she’s not saving her tigers for later in the game, she buffs them and sends them into your primus fist. Instead of mutual annihilation the tiger now lives, becoming far better value because unless it’s dispelled it will be allowed to attack again thus doubling its value OR it takes a dispel or removal and thus costing your opponent another card. Win-Win for Kara.

Now you could argue that you could do the same with Tiger + Fortitude for an even greater benefit for the tiger on Magmar, making it a whopping 5/4. You’d be wrong though, not only did it cost the Magmar player a card extra making the value proposition 2 card (the dead minion and removal or another minion/general hurt) for 2 cards (the tiger and the buff), Kara’s other minions in her action bar get the same benefit as the tiger even if you don’t play them this turn. This is where the value proposition is skewed.


#6

Honestly, I like how her minions get stronger and stronger as the game goes on. The only thing pushing her a bit over the top is the dumb neutral tiger. Honestly I feel rush/charge/haste is hard to balance in any card game but in this one I feel that it should be confined to specific factions (ie no neutral rush)


#7

Tiger + Greater Fortitude is definitely not the same as Tiger + Kinetic Surge. Burning a card is a huge cost even if it’s a cheap cost. I just think that going down to buffing one minion +1/+1 is too weak.


#8

In my view, a good nerf option for Kara would be:

1 - Give + 1/+1 to nearby minions. (Very similar to the BBS of other generals)

or

2 - Give +1/+1 to 1 minion in your action bar. Only 1.


#9

I always saw Kara’s little axe/scythe/mace thingy as the winterblade artifact (not that this matters at all) but going off of that, what if Kara’s BBS allowed her to stun any enemy minions on the 3 tiles infront of her.
Since I don’t know how to word this better, here is a crude diagram. X’s are the stunned tiles.
X
X Kara (facing towards the X’s)
X

Might get oppressive late game as perma stun? Stat buffing on the whole seems so bland to me so I would like a bit more active skill fitting of a huge freaking ice warrior thing.


#10

I still think the Kara hubbub is overblown. But it might be because, no matter what I do, I cannot seem to win when I use her. :slight_smile: Everyone tells me playing her is auto-win and for me it’s auto-lose. Very weird. :slight_smile:

Seriously, let’s see what the expansion brings. From what I’ve seen so far, certainly Magmar, Abyssian and Songhai don’t have a lot to fear from her, Lyonar is up there too in terms of power additions, and well, Vetruvian, poor Vetruvian…


#11

A testament to her power, I had a roughly 20% winrate with her at s rank… WITH A 39 LEGENDARY DECK. I was forced to run black locust as a 4 drop. Bloody black locust :joy:


#12

I think she is strong, but you have to know what you are doing. Once you get your game plan down and learn the matchups, player her is probably straightforward. Until you get the experience I don’t think that she is that easy to play.


#13

What’s funny is that I see others play her and they seem to do basically the same things I do… try to control the board, buff in hand, remove enemy threats. But they always seem to have a pair of 5/4 tigers on turn 5 and I do not. :slight_smile:


#14

Since when do the vet summons have rush ;D
Anyhow, i sortof have to agree with that general skill being certainly at the top of the curve as far as general abilities go, if not slightly above it :stuck_out_tongue:


#15

I think Kara is fine on her own , she sure has the most impactful BBS but also the slowest, and she forces huge building constrains to be played optimally.

The problem is the combo with Saberspine tiger, this combo is absolutely stupid ,if you manage to survive long enough this card is almost auto win and there very few things your opponent can do to interact with it.

I thinks the problem is rush minions in general, but outside of this I think Kara is fine. Have you ever played Kara without tiger? You can believe me it is not the same deck.


#16

I agree with you about Kara without tigers. Because i played with Kara a lot in early stages of meta, when Kara wasn’t popular. It will be really slow deck without proper win condition.


#17

New season, new 'x general is OP because Tigers’
Nerf Tigers.


#18

Kara has win conditions they are called Spirit of Wild or Razorback.That is wha most annoying about Kara without Tiger it would be a board centric finishers which is fine.


#19

Yeah, those require you to have a board, instead of stacking for x number of turns and then dropping 2 7/6 tigers and bursting you down from 16~ health. Something even Songhai has trouble doing PURELY out of hand.


#20

Give +1,+1 to all Vespyrs in your hand.