Covert Operations: Card Balance Changes

about 1 month ago

Hello friends!


This June will see our summer expansion drop for KARDS - Covert Operations. As we have done for the past two expansions, we will also rotate out cards to the Reserved Pool, with a few returning from it. So, a bunch of new cards coming, lots of beloved (and not so loved) cards leaving and old favorites returning, what more could we need to shake the meta to its foundation? Why, a balance patch, of course! In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. So, when Covert Operations sneaks upon you on June 11th, a few cards are seeing some changes.


The balance changes this time around can be divided into three groups. The first one consists of 3 cards we are adjusting for the upcoming meta. Another three changes are to returning cards.

The final 7 cards are changes to some olden goldies to help out newer player. We are using the opportunity now to adjust the starter and level 12 decks and want to brush up on some of the older cards that have fallen a bit by the wayside power level wise. But without further ado, let’s take a look at what is changing in the upcoming patch.


Card Balance Changes


Old: Smokescreen. Your orders cost 1 less kredit, to a minimum of 1.

New: Smokescreen. The first order you play each turn costs 1 less.


The 85 Pioneer Company can generate a lot of value, especially late in the game when you are sitting on a lot of kredits. This can be problematic in certain decks, so we want to curb its power a little bit. The new version means players will now have to gain incremental value from the card over the course of several turns. Note however that the card no longer has the minimum of 1 clause, so a 1k order can now be played for free if it is the first order that turn. For instance, if the enemy starts and deploys a 15th Cavalry Regiment, it is now possible to deploy a pioneer and immediately use Naval Power/United We Stand/Through the Breach/etc. on the first turn. The loss of the explosive turns in the late game means this can be deemed an overall nerf, but the slightly stronger early play makes up for it a bit.


Old: Alpine. Your LIGHT INFANTRY units have Alpine.

New: Your LIGHT INFANTRY units have Alpine.


The 67th “Muad’Dib” Baranovichi has single-handedly elevated a rag-tag army of tiny fighters into fearsome killing machines with a special penchant for killing black-clad bald men. His revolutionary days may not be over, but we are curbing his enthusiasm a little bit.


Now that winter is over and summer is upon us, we enter that time of the year where we can collectively hate our social-media friends for all the “see-how-fit-and-active-I-am” selfies they post of their mountaineering exploits. Meanwhile, us mere mortals can now launch our own Mountain Offensives more easily in our make-belief but oh-so important virtual wars.


Next up are three changes to returning cards. Specifically, these are three changes to research options. The three Research cards (Royal Research, Reich Research and US Military Research) are returning with Covert Operations. Each one can lead to 4 unique research options. These cards were heavily played the last time they were in the active pool and this highlighted that some of the research options were slightly subpar. So in order to balance the research package a bit better and make each research decision more interesting, we are buffing the three research options we felt the most needed it.


Old: Gain 10 additional kredits next turn.

New: Gain 10 additional kredits and draw an extra card next turn.


There certainly were cases where this option could lead to blowouts the next turn, but sadly these cases were rare. So to make the option slightly more enticing we are tagging an extra draw in there as well.


Old: Destroy all enemy units.

New: Destroy all enemy units. Gain 1 kredit for each unit destroyed.


It always felt a bit of a shame that a card with such a cool art and visual effect when played saw so little play. Partly this was because the other high-level research option for Germany (Type XXI U-Boat) is so strong, but mainly because spending your whole turn on this was usually too little too late. Now you gain a few kredits, providing an opportunity to get some key plays in alongside clearing the enemy board.



New: Add a B-29 SUPERFORTRESS to hand. Destroy a random enemy unit.


This option was mostly chosen for its removal option when you were in a tight spot and didn’t have time to build towards the nukes. But it was too slow and clunky, so now the removal is built right into the option. It has less effect, but you don’t have to spend an extra 8 kredits. The B-29 is then just a bonus that sometimes can come in clutch in the late game in certain matchups.


Finally, here are the 7 changes to spruce up the starter and level 12 decks a bit..


Old: Deployment: Gains Blitz and Fury if you have more units than the enemy. Otherwise it gains Guard.

New: Deployment: Gains Blitz if you control an infantry.


The Italian M13/40 is seeing the biggest change. Its old form had a lot of words but saw little play. We are hoping this new incarnation, with a lot less words, sees a lot more play. In a sense it can be regarded as the big brother of Panzer 35(t) and could fit well in Combined Arms shells.


Artillery is always dangerous at lower levels, so we want to be careful about buffing such units. This change makes the card slightly better for new players (and in draft), but we do not anticipate any big ripples with this change.


Old: Deployment: Gains +2+1 if you control the frontline.

New: Deployment: Gains +1+1 if you control the frontline.

The same does not apply to the M7 Priest, it is now much more aggressively statted and has a decent chance to see some play at higher levels. We want this card to be at a similar level as the German Nebelwerfer and the two should be a lot more comparable now.


A long, long time ago this was one of the key cards in aggro decks, but after its defense was nerfed to 2 it disappeared into obscurity for the most part. It is now regaining its third defense back, but there are a lot more aggro tools (and anti-aggro tools) now available, so only time can tell if this card manages to regain its glory days. At the very least it will be a lot more solid options for new players taking their first steps.


Another old staple faded into obscurity is also getting a slight facelift. The extra attack does make the Hayabusa a lot stronger, but probably does not compensate for the extra kredit cost now encumbering it since its heyday. We could still see this sneak into some very dedicated destruction based burn decks.


Historically, Dewoitine was actually quite a decent fighter that performed very well. We want to reflect this a bit better by improving it slightly. French air decks as a viable thing is still far away from reality, but they now have one more decent body to fill out the roster.


Last but not least we have For Freedom, one of these iconic cards that has never really gotten its time in the sun. That might be about to change, as reducing the cost to 1 makes this a much more appealing package. A cheap draw with a small buff can improve a lot of decks and you can expect to see people fighting for their freedom a lot more in the near future.


That’s it for the balance patch coming out alongside the Covert Operations expansion on June 11th. Keep an eye out on our Discord channel, where we are smack in the middle of spoiler season for the new set. Keep the feedback coming and we’ll see you on the battlefield, commander!