Since I got little response to my post in the previous thread. I thought I’d make it a full-fledged thread. I’m mostly looking for discussion or opinion on Starhorn and his presence in the Magmar faction warping it.
I believe Starhorn is warping the Magmar faction away from the initial Magmar playstyle. Mainly because his BBS is not supported by any of the Magmar cards and the faction needs to have them artificially added, splitting the faction into two halves and warping the game in general because they keep trying to give him tech cards, in essence making a lot of the expansions and new cards for Magmar about trying to make Starhorn work instead of changing the BBS to suit the faction.
Longer: I’m reposting a long post I made here in response to Rayqee so I don’t have to type out another essay. Apologies for the length.
Why does the useability matter: In short because you still have the option of making Klaxon work in Lilithe due to how the Shadow creep mechanic pays out. The pay-out for Shadow Creep tiles is inherent (the 1 damage and area denial) but so is Starhorn’s BBS with the 1 draw. What does differ between these is that Shadow Creep also pays out in other ways: Darkspine Elemental, Abyssal Juggernaut, Nightfiend (though not used a lot), Ghost Azalea and last but not least Obliterate. Lilithe also has access to these pay-outs and multiple ways to generate Creep without Cassy’s BBS (Which includes Klaxon). It is possible to build a creep deck with Lilithe and still have it work using only Abyssian cards. You’ll just have less creep.
Thus the point is options. You can run a Creep Deck with Lilithe, you have the option to and there is synergy with the rest of the faction.
Now compare to Starhorn. His BBS allows 2 things, as you noted yourself, it draws cards and allows you to flood the board. Neither of these mechanics are inherent in the Magmar faction in synergy or design. The direct synergy with card-draw was added after the initial design of the faction in the form of a reworked Vindicator and later through Visionar. These are the only direct synergies with card-draw in the Magmar faction and they were tacked on later to suit Starhorn, not the other way around (opinion: as is healthy). There is only one other card that deals with card-draw and that is Dance of Dreams. DoD is very niche but could, for Vaath replace Starhorn’s BBS in regards to direct card-draw synergy. However this is the only card that allows this. If they want to allow Vaath to use Starhorn’s pool more/similar cycle cards need to be added to the faction, again altering it’s basic faction ‘fantasy’. This would warp the faction.
In my opinion, Magmar has a distinct fantasy, a style of play. The 4 archetypes that seem to stick out for the faction are Rebirth, Grow, Self-harm and Rush. This style of play is focused on playing on curve with big, beefy minions that can take a few blows or become beefy. This synergizes with their spells (Plasma Storm, Natural Selection, Fortitude, Amplification, Flash Reincarnation, Kinetic Equillibrium… ) and fits with Vaath’s theme of being a Bruiser himself. The intent is clear, Magmar is the faction that can take a punch and keep going, even to the point where they don’t mind taking a little damage to make that happen. They play solitary, strong minions and weed out weaker creatures through spells. (please note that this is only a short summary and not conclusive).
The second function of Starhorn’s BBS is to flood, to get more value out of playing many/multiple cards than the opponent. This can only be accomplished with ‘weenie’ creatures (low-cost, low power creatures). The Magmar faction currently does not contain or support many ‘weenie’ creatures aside from Young Silithar, Rex and Gro (also added later) (oh and Phalanxar, which wasn’t really played). The Magmar faction is more saturated with 4-drops than weenies, meaning with the current crop of Magmar cards Starhorn can’t effectively flood the board. At the current pace of the game playing more than 2 4-drops in a turn is a pipe-dream, a once every 15 games prospect. So either Starhorn plays mostly neutral cards, which was what Kara did, or more smaller cards are added to the Magmar faction, disrupting the fantasy slightly.
This in itself might not be a bad thing, allowing Vaath more small minions might not be that bad. However, due to Magmar’s distinct lack of card-draw aside from Dance and Starhorn’s BBS Vaath would never be able to utilize most of these ‘weenie’ cards succesfully. He can play one or two but then his hand is empty, effectively handicapping him with a small hand due to the factions inherent terrible card-draw. This can be resolved by adding more card-draw options for the Magmar faction in general but this effectively changes the faction’s design to something else and shifts the designer’s attention away from the already lackluster, existing Magmar specialties (Grow, Rebirth, Self-sacrifice and Rush.). This is what I mean with warping the faction.
(Yes Visionar and Vindicator are bad, All the more reason to fear “Starhorn Support Cards” they design.)
Achknowledgement of possible hyperbole + hyperbole:
Now maybe I’m being pessimistic and CP can find a middle road somewhere. Entirely possible, but so far I don’t have much faith in them doing that, seeing as they dropped the ball on the Magmar part of Shim’Zar, hyperfocusing them into an aggressive faction. I hope we can agree that Shim’Zar was overall bad for the Magmar faction and poorly thought out. Another expansion like this for Magmar will ruin the faction.
Hopefully that clears up my point of view. I’d like to also state that we both want the game to be healthy and fun, which is why we’re having this discussion. So as long as we keep things civil I will not take offense to a dissenting opinion and your apology says you wish for the same thing.
I look forward to your (and everyone’s else’s) opinions.