January 2024 Balance Patch

about 2 months ago

Hello friends!

What a fabulous year 2023 was in Kards, here’s hoping 2024 will be even better. The first step in making that happen is addressing some of the balance issues Winter War brought along. Winter War gave us a lot of new toys and we’ve been thrilled seeing you guys explore and experiment with them. On the whole, the expansion can be deemed a success, in the sense that it had a marked impact on the meta. We tried to make sure the new strategies and mechanics found in Winter War were powerful enough for people to embrace them, but as always, the danger in reaching for the sky is that you sometimes reach too far. There are several cards and strategies that have come out since the expansion released that are a bit overtuned. So we are doing a small balance patch now, and then aiming for a bigger release in March to shake up the meta.

This January patch is intentionally limited in scope - we are only adjusting cards from the new set and only 8 in total. The reason being that we only want to adjust cards that have clear balance issues in the new set and wait with any bigger picture changes until March. We feel this is fine because even if the meta is too narrow for our taste (in the sense that a few cards/strategies are a bit too prevalent), there are no big red flags that require drastic changes.

Without further ado, let's look at the changes coming on the 18th of January.

64. PANZERGRENADIER

Old: Veteran. When this unit becomes Veteran gain 3 additional kredits.

New: Veteran. When this unit becomes Veteran gain 2 additional kredits.

The 64. Panzergrenadier can give explosive starts and an almost insurmountable lead, if the stars align. And it doesn’t take a lot for them to align, leading to these veteran wannabes to show up in a wide variety of shells. We do like that it encourages fights for the frontline, but dislike how ubiquitous the unit has become. So we like for the unit to continue to be viable, but a bit less explosive, hence we are reducing the Kredits it gives to 2 instead of 3. 

JET PROTOTYPE

Old: Deployment: Remove the top 6 cards of your deck. Gets +1 attack for each with even cost.

New: Deployment: Remove 6 cards from your deck. -1 operation cost for each with even cost.

It is always fun to see new deck archetypes, but the fun can quickly turn unfun if the new archetype ends up stomping you repeatedly, followed by stealing your lunch money and giving you a wedgie. Such bullying is unbecoming a respectable archetype and requires a firm slap on the wrist. In this case, the wrist-slapping comes in the form of an increased operation cost, increased attack and a changed ability to now reduce operation cost instead of increasing attack. The expected result is that the unit can still function in the same decks as before, but is capped at an attack of 5 instead of 7, and running any odd-cost cards can risk the unit not being able to attack the turn it comes down, if played on 6 kredits. Sometimes you just need to beat some sense into these new kids on the block, you know.

H39 sWG

The SwG has swaggered into several powerful decks since its arrival. Alongside its primary accomplice 101. Infantry Regiment, it has been known to make grown men cry and opponents Furious (pun intended). It mainly shines when it comes out early, getting to work before the enemy has a real chance to deal with it. By increasing its cost to 4, delaying its arrival by a turn, players now have a much better chance of being able to deal with this menace on sight.

FROZEN ASSETS

Frozen Assets offers a lot of value for a low cost - often being able to kill the best the enemy has to offer and then copy it just to rub it in a little. We do like the overall concept of the card and do not want to nerf it too heavily, but bumping the cost to 4 seems like a no-brainer.

LINE OF ENGAGEMENT

Old: Add a LIGHT INFANTRY to your hand, support line and frontline, if possible.

New: Add two LIGHT INFANTRY units to the battlefield, one in the frontline if possible.

Soviet Tokens was the first deck to explode into the top tier post-Winter War. Though its performance has stabilized a bit since then, it is still putting up respectable numbers. The main culprit for putting tokens back on the map is Line of Engagement, it not only could give 3 tokens total, but could also allow the deck to contest the frontline as early as turn 2, something previous incarnations of the deck had struggled with. This gave tokens a much better game against aggressive strategies. We don’t want to remove this possibility from the card, so we are instead removing the unit you get in hand. Note that there is a slight upside to the card - you will always get 2 units on board, even if the frontline is unavailable - a slight uptick on the older version. So the card is now slightly worse if the frontline is empty or owned by you, but slightly better if the frontline is enemy controlled.

PRODUCTION ORDER

This card is exactly the same as before. But the two brats it spawns are seeing some change.

B-24D

Old: Heavy Armor 1. Costs 3 less to deploy if you control a unit with 3 or more operation cost.

New: Blitz, Heavy Armor 1. Costs 3 less to deploy if you control a unit with 3 or more operation cost.

B-24J

Old: Blitz, Heavy Armor 1. Deployment: Suppress all enemy units.

New: Heavy Armor 1. Deployment: Suppress all enemy units.

Essentially, we are swapping the Blitz around, from the already very-powerful B-24J to the much less used B-24D. This change is intended to reduce the power level of the B-24J, which was on the higher side, buff the B-24D - and possibly indirectly 3-operation cost matters deck - and on the whole give players a more interesting choice on which version to pick.

WINTER REGIMENT

By now many of you may already have had enough of all these lame nerfs. Fear not! We are ending on a bit more of a positive note, with a couple of buffs to round things out. Salvage has performed pretty well, both on the ladder and in draft, but we do want to push it slightly to allow it to shine some more. The first of these is an improvement to the Winter Regiment, giving it an extra defense. Coupled with its inherent repair ability, this unit is now much better suited to take on all comers on the battlefield, especially common sights such as 5th Rangers and 7. Schützen. Winter Regiment was already a pretty strong unit, our hope is that by pushing it some more it can become the lynch pin in either Japan-based Salvage decks or Japanese midrange decks.

DETACHED BATTALION 4

Old: Salvage. Deployment: Destroy target enemy unit with cost 2 or less.

New: Smokescreen, Salvage. Deployment: Destroy target enemy unit with cost 2 or less.

Finally, we want to push another already strong unit in Detached Battalion 4. Smokescreen is a very useful ability for a unit with the Salvage ability as it increases the chance of being able to attack profitably and thus utilize the Salvage ability. On the whole, Finland is used to a decent success in various different shells, ranging from a British control shell to air decks and German blitz strategies. We are happy that it is generally performing well and is supporting various different archetypes, but are slightly sad that none of them have really taken off. By buffing one of their better Salvage units we are hoping to see Finland bloom even further. Whether that will happen or not is up to you, dear reader.

That’s it for the changes. The patch is currently scheduled to go live on January 18th, make sure to keep an eye out for the full patch notes.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that there are more cards we are monitoring than just the ones being changed now. Specifically, we are aware of the potential highroll issues with War Production decks and we are also keeping a close eye on the British Push deck. We decided it was not necessary to change anything in it this time around, but if it becomes more problematic we are sure to address it in March. Until then, keep giving us your wonderful feedback, it is always appreciated and valued.

See you on the battlefield, commander!