Post-Shim'zar Gauntlet: Comments & Concerns


Now that we’ve had a month to acclimate to Shim’zar, I’d like to get the community’s thoughts on how the Gauntlet experience has changed, and what (if anything) should be done to address these changes. That said, three major topics come to mind:

1. Rarity Balancing

  • This is relatively straightforward. Essentially, which cards do you think should receive an increase or decrease in rarity (and therefore an increase or decrease in Gauntlet prevalence)?
  • Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some card rarities that I find problematic:
  • Falcius --> Rare, if not Epic (the card is absurd; essentially a 3-mana Entropic Decay with a 3/3 body)
  • Pax --> Epic (obvious)
  • Astral Flood --> Rare
  • Wind Slicer --> Common
  • Obliterate --> Rare (this may single handedly resurrect Cassyva)
  • Ghost Azalea --> Epic (same as Obliterate)
  • Mandrake --> Epic (obvious)
  • Moloki Huntress --> Rare (perhaps this would be too good?)
  • Sunforge Lancer --> Rare (similar to Obliterate, ressurect Zir’an)
  • Altered Beast --> Rare (Vanar already have Aspect; they don’t need even more efficient removal options)
  • Frostburn --> Epic (Again, Vanar is already top-tier, they have plenty of removals, and they don’t need a board-shifting AoE)
  • Wailing Overdrive --> Rare (I have won so many games with this nonsense; Faei doesn’t need even more burst)
  • Iceblade Dryad --> Rare (why not push Vespyr synergy?)
  • Lightning Blitz --> Rare (perhaps not?)
  • Hydrax --> Rare (Honestly, why not? It’d make drafting Battle Pets a little more bearable)

2. General Balancing

  • The general consensus seems to hold that Zi’ran, Cassyva, Starhorn, and Kaleos all pale in comparison to their other generals (both between and with-in faction). Zelda’s (fantastic) Gauntlet guide is also corroborative.
  • On this point, how should CPG (if at all) go about increasing the viability of bottom-tier generals? Two options come to mind (and I’ll include a poll below):
  • (1) Make new cards to heavily-support said Generals (e.g. Visionar, Onyx Jaguar, Abyssal Juggernaut).
  • (2) Have General selection be first pick, and then have “occurrence bonuses” tailored to each general (e.g. Obliterate and Ghost Azalea ‘X’ times more likely to be offered to Cassyva, Sunriser ‘X’ times more likely to be offered to Zir’an).
  • CPG should design new cards (in future monthlies and/or expansions) to help support bottom-tier Generals.
  • CPG should implement a new system in which Generals are the first pick, and then a specific “occurrence bonus” is tailored to that General (e.g. Obliterate is 3x as likely to be offered for Cassyva).
  • Other (please elaborate in a reply or PM).

0 voters

3. Card Restriction Balancing (e.g. Hearthstone’s Approach)

  • Again, personally and from conversations with other Gauntlet vets, I think a consensus has formed that Shim’zar has had an overall dilutive impact on the Gauntlet experience.
  • In particular, Battle Pets (e.g. Sol, Ion, Ace, Rae, Gor, Z0r), when offered, effectively reduce the decision-making to 2 cards.
  • Additionally, high synergy/combo cards (e.g. Zukong, Hydrax, Winter’s Wake, Corpse Combustion, Night Fiend, Shadow Nova, Pantheran, Whispers of the Wind, Blood Baronette, Calculator, etc etc etc.) only compound the dilution further.
  • Ultimately, should CPG consider removing certain cards (those that would never see play outside of constructed decks) from being offered in Gauntlet? I will include a poll below.
  • CPG should implement a system that removes ALL Battle Pets and certain high combo/synergy-dependent cards.
  • CPG should implement a system that removes SOME Battle Pets and certain high combo/synergy-dependent cards.
  • CPG should implement a system that removes certain high combo/synergy-dependent cards.
  • CPG should not implement a removal system.

0 voters

Lastly, I have some questions of clarification. @Ryvirath is there an “occurrence bonus” for Shim’zar cards (e.g. Inquisitor Kron 2x as likely to be offered than Pandora or other core legendaries)? Also, is there any method or pattern to rarity or card type offerings, and have they been modified with the release of Shim’zar?

All right, now that I’ve gotten that mountain of text down, I’d love to hear what you all think (and don’t forget to vote in the polls above)!

Edit: Also, I realize that in discussions of balance, there is a heightened potential for “unconstructive” discussion. Please do not derail any of the discussions here with condescension or ad hominem. If you feel strongly about certain claims, then please try to communicate them in a calm and clear manner so the discussion can grow and more perspectives can be heard. Thank you! :slight_smile:


I am a Steam player, so I started playing quite recently. I have played mostly gauntlet so far (1 run/day on average).

  1. I think having separate rarity for gauntlet and constructed is a great idea and should be considered.

  2. I’d like to know how the current system works exactly first. The current system has some hidden branch synergy informations, correct?
    I think a synergy matrix would work best (ie each card has a synergy value regarding each other one).

  3. This could work like the previous question actually: Cards could have a synergy matrix towards other cards, instead of just a synergy value for each general. Some heightened chances of getting cards that go together could be interesting. But there too, it would probably very hard to do it right.
    I think lowering the chance of getting very situational cards could be a simpler way to do it.


I play a lot of gauntlet, and though sometimes i have very bad runs, i mostly get to 7+ without problem.

that being said, here is my personal opinion on the matter:

I like the idea. Basically because gauntlet is a totally different game mode than constructed, and some cards have a totally different value as well, and since their value is changed, their rarity should too: if a low rarity unit as pax is highly valuable in gauntlet, makes no sense that he can be picked more often than high rarity kinda useless cards.
Yet, there is a problem with this mechanic: some high rarity cards are very specific, and if their rarity were to get lower, not only they would still see little play, but would also limit your picks a lot more.
Lets say corpse combustion: cards like this need some specific builds to work. If you dont get that, they are useless, even if they are C, R, E or L. So lets say CPG changes corpse combustion to common, so that people start picking it more often. Now is when the problem appears: corpse combustion remains useless; but if it is epic, out of 30 drafts, you may find it in 5 of them (example), but because it is now common, you may find it in 17 of them, so it starts limiting your options even more.

Now lets take another scenario: cards that because are epic or legendary are always competing againt other big cards,and so they are not picked a lot, for example: Moloki huntress / Makantor warbeast / alcuin lore master. In this example you would never pick moloki huntress over makantor, even in a very grow oriented draft. So you lower moloki’s rarity to rare, opening 2 big options:

  1. they stopped competing againts some big cards in epic but they start doing it in rare, so the situation remains the same.
  2. some cards are powerful enough to be epic or legendary and must stay that way, because if their rarity were cheaper, they would become extremly powerful and make the gauntlet diversity narrow. Moloki huntress, for example, is really good, and if you had the chance to pick her more times than you do, you would do it. So now you start to see her a lot more often in gauntlet, and as she is really strong, you make gauntlet itself really hard to play, punishing other players than dont have cards to react to it, and so it becomes less and less fun, and people stop playing it.

So yeah, i like the idea, but changes have to be tested a lot before implemented.[/details]

(1) agree
(2) no please.
Gauntlet had a different logic than constructed, and there relys its fun: building and having a decks worth tested without being able of picking everything you would like to. So there is no reason to give players everything they want. Sometimes you start a gauntlet picking cards considering the general you want to play in mind. Some other times, you do that, but drafts take you in a different direction. or you just start picking and then, with the deck finished, see what general is more convenient. Because of this, gauntlet is very diverse, you see pretty much about everything and this is the point in which it differences itself from constructed.
if you had your drafts being given because of the general you picked previously, it would look a lot like constructed, and become very stale, so people wouldnt play it.
But, as for option (1): more cards would increase the pool in constructed as well, and it would be nice to have all generals being viable at some point.[/details]

[details=3-]No please. As i said regarding the second point: "Gauntlet had a different logic than constructed, and there relys its fun: building and having a decks worth tested without being able of picking everything you would like to."
If you start limiting options through out cards being removed from the pool, would only drive to gauntlet having its diversity narrowed. its kinda the same that giving options depending on the general you picked: it encourages less strategic thinking, makes gauntlet more predictable and a whole less fun to be played.Also, it could lead to the thinking of: Why not ban Hydrax from constructed? no one plays it … or why should i even pull it from an orb? its useless for any other thing than becoming spirit
I think bans should only be considered if cards were REALLY powerful. and in that sense, they would be really expensive, therefor not so usual in gauntlet.[/details]

seeya guys :smiley:

EDIT: not sure why “1-” text doesnt hide as it should :confused:


@allthepeoplethatvotedinthepollwithoutpostingtheirreasoning, Oi! :triumph:

For starters, I certainly wasn’t expecting such a large split in terms of General balancing. For the 90% of you that voted in favor of adding new cards, how would you respond to the following arguments:

(1) New cards will simply dilute the card pool further, resulting in a lower chance of even drafting new cards.

(2) Even if new cards were to be made, they would more than likely bolster a given faction (e.g. Falcius, Mandrake), rather than increase the viability of a specific General (i.e. the dominant General would still see more play).

Lastly, what major/minor objections do you have towards the “General-first” approach?

In regards to a proposed card restriction system, the distribution is much more interesting here. Again, how would you all respond to the following thoughts:

(1) If CPG shouldn’t implement a restriction system, then how do you envision the long-term outcome of Gauntlet? Do you think diluting the card pool with obviously underpowered or synergy/combo-dependent cards is fun or necessary? What are your major objections here?

(2) If CPG should restrict certain combo/synergy-dependent cards, then which ones and why? Why not Battle Pets as well?

(3) If CPG should restrict only SOME Battle Pets, then which ones and why?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to add to the discussion myself (semester is ramping up in further), but I will try to check-in on the weekend. In the meantime, I’d greatly appreciate your thoughtful responses to these questions, as I primarily play Gauntlet (and love it) and I worry about its long-term quality.


I’ll try to do my best:
(1) It is in my opinion a necessary evil for a way simpler solution.
(2) Not if we tie those cards directly to the general BBS. Falcius and Mandrake are not fitting examples, becouse they are exeptionally good standalone cards regardless of what general uses them: Mandrake’s cost can be reduced by your opponent’s minions too, and Falcius is just “Deal 4 damage to a nearby enemy and drop a 3/3 as an added bonus”(anyone could profit from that, regardless of synergies with anything). Onyx Jaguar, Sunriser and Visionar are in my opinion, better examples to observe, they have strong synergy with only one of the two generals BBS and they perform worse with the other, becouse their strenght is not within their bodies, but in their ability.

About the “General-first” approach, i think it would make worse the situation then it already is. Nobody right now would risk the gamble of picking blindly a general not knowing what cards he/she’ll be getting during the draft, while right now anyone can start building the deck with a concept and a gameplan in mind, with the option of changing it (and the general) midway if the options presented during the first half of the draft didn’t allow for the original gameplan. The option of choosing the general at the end gives the player a lot of flexibility and doesn’t hinder the deckbuilding process. For me, a “General-first” system would fly if the game offered more choice during the draft process, so more than three cards.

About the restriction system and the Battle Pets part, i’m still not sure what would be the better choice.


There’s another consideration here:

When Shim’zar released, I believe it was confirmed that there was a Shim’zar incidence bonus on cards - which just means, when your 3 cards are shown to pick from, the chances of each one being a Shim’zar card is slightly increased over a core set card.

This also has an effect on the balance of cards being seen (i.e. so many battle pets!) and thereby on the power level of generals in Gauntlet.

Nobody knows how much the incidence bonus is or when it will be removed, but Hsuku and I have been gathering statistics on the drafts and will hopefully publish some results soon.


(1) More cards will make the pool wider. not sure about using the word “diluted” at it seems like a bad thing.
You will have lower chances for new cards, but also lower for the old ones. Also, the new cards could have a “slightly better” drop rate, to assure people to use the last expansion frequently.
Also, though it may be an idea brought too soon, if expansion continue to appear, will these rotate in the sense that some wont be able to be used anymore? we dont know that.

(2) depends on the cards and the new sets as a whole. 1st example that comes into my mind is abyssian: cassyva got a lot of love, but lilithe not that much, and that is why she is weaker now. but what if the new expansions give lilithe the love back? Same goes for every general.


My opinion:

  • the faction balance of Gauntlet right now is quite ok, each faction can do more or less well and reach 12 wins with decent picks. My only complaint would be that some of them lack AoE (mainly Vet), which makes certain matchups unlikely to win.

  • general balance, on the other hand, is quite disappointing and also visible on the ladder. While Cassyva suffers from the rarity problem you mentoned (it was a terrible idea to make both finishers legendaries, the only powerful creep synergy common in Gauntelt is Juggernaut), other weak generals simply lack good cards that work with BBS.
    We have Kaleos whose only card that gains much from BBS - Onyx Jaguar - is not good for tempo, neither for value, it’s basically a win more card that requires several minions on board or spells. Other cards don’t gain that much since backstab is too easy to play against and big dudes that were teleported often take 2 turns to come back anyways.
    Then there’s Ziran that often can’t use her BBS. Cards that gain value from BBS are clunky in this case as well. There’s just no reason to pick her over Argeon. Being able to heal herself like Priest in HS, even for 2 HP, may be a way to save her.
    And the worst one, IMO - Starhorn. The BBS is awful, especially when it comes to Gauntlet. You draw your opponent answers for stuff you get - great… Once again, I think a BBS change is required.

  • some card rarities don’t make much sense indeed. My biggest problem is Ki Beholder being rare - this stupid thing played on t1 together with e.g. Primus Shieldmaster next turn can shut you down for the entire game if you’re playing a faction that lacks AoE options (and didn’t get offered Crossbones), as I mentioned above. It’s also a giant power creep when compared to the 4 mana basic card, so I wouldn’t mind it being a legendary. Falcius is another card which should be epic at least.

  • the Shimzar bonus is annoying because sometimes your only option is picking a sabotaging battle pet. They also “block” great options such as Dancing Blades or removal spells. I don’t think a banlist is needed yet, but the bonus should go ASAP.