A lot of post-Rise salt seems to involve out-of-hand damage. Specifically, Starhorn’s new toys which can do some absurd face burn with no regard to position. It’s one thing to have a sniper minion that can be removed, cornered, traded for or rushed into. (See: Decimus, White Widow, any ranged/blast unit.) Your opponent has to work and sacrifice board position to protect them until they can do their thing, or sit on combo cards in hand.
But sometimes, out-of-hand damage is just plain annoying. Songhai caught a lot of flack lately for “ignoring the board” with their spell-centric direct-damage shenanigans… which is disappointing, considering they have one of the most interesting position-dependent keywords (Backstab) that keeps getting ignored in favor of less tricky spells and face damage.
So - what if some spells had casting range requirements?
There are many spells already with prerequisites for their optimal use, and you can play around them. For example;
-Sun Bloom: Don’t play valuable engine cards directly adjacent to each other.
-Bone Swarm: Don’t play lots of 1 or 2-health minions next to your general.
-Entropic Decay/Dominate Will - Don’t play big fatties right next to the enemy general.
-Warbird: Don’t line up your minions for a kill shot.
-Star’s Fury: Don’t line up your minions for maximum dervish spawning.
Some spells, however, don’t interact with the board - stuff like Phoenix Fire and Entropic Gaze. These can be frustrating when they bypass all your careful positioning and forethought in favor of blunt out-of-hand damage. To that end, it might make sense to give uninteractive spells that target Generals a range at which they can be cast.
Let’s say Phoenix Fire has a range of 4 - you could cast it on turn 1 as Player 2, provided the enemy walks all the way forward as is usually the custom. If you want to go maximum Spellhai, in which you’d deliver blows to the face on a regular basis, you’d have to keep within range of the enemy General to do so. If we give something a little more blunt like Entropic Gaze a range of 3 or even 2, you’ll have to be more up in the general’s face - in range of their retaliation options - to unload face damage. Even artifacts like Bloodrage Mask would benefit from a change like this, as they’d feel a little more “fair” in terms of sniping.
This doesn’t apply everywhere, of course - some spells rightly ought to keep their range, or else dealing with minions stuck in corners becomes incredibly annoying. (Siphon Energy, anyone?) Spells that target Generals are the only case where a range limitation would make things feel more fair.
So what do you say? Good idea? Bad idea?