July 2024 Balance Patch - Dev Blog

8 days ago

Hello friends!

1939 Games are just about to head out on vacation and disappear into the summer sun. But we didn’t want to leave without moving some numbers around first to make us feel important. On the whole, the Covert Operations expansion has been a success, with new (and old) archetypes showing up and various new strategies and cards to humiliate your opponent with (the only reason we play, right?) Still, there are a few cards that are a little too good at the humiliation game and need to be humiliated themselves (read: nerfed). With all of the fancy technical talk out of the way, let’s take a look at what is coming in the Balance Patch, which will start rolling out on Tuesday the 9th of July. Keep an eye out for the Patch Notes as well, as there are many bug fixes included in the patch as well. 

We will start with looking at a number of cards that are being realigned into a more reasonable form, then end with a few additional ones getting a slight facelift to round things out. 


Old: Deployment: Deal damage to target enemy equal to friendly air units.
New: Deployment: Deal damage to target enemy equal to your other friendly air units.

Just when you thought Brit Air was dead and buried for good, along came this predatory seaplane allowing Brit Air to start snatching victories from the Jaws of defeat yet again. It now no longer counts itself as a friend, so if you want to get the same boatload of damage as before, you’re gonna need a bigger boat, my friend.


Old: 4 cost 3/3 unit.
New: 5 cost 3/4 unit.

Too much vitamin D can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness and confusion. The 20. Panzergrenadiers’ time in the sun has become so prolonged that most of us are starting to experience these side-effects when encountering it. Sometimes too much of the good stuff is bad. With the powerful deployment effect still intact, there is still a lot of value to be had here. But now a bit more thought needs to be applied to whether the card fits the needs of your deck.


Old: 1 cost order.
New: 2 cost order.

This card has taken the battlefields by a storm not seen since June 1940. It offers excellent value for a small cost, so it is no wonder that it has blitzed its way into thousands of decks. Doubling the cost means it now finds itself in the much more cluttered 2-cost slot and double-Blitz Doctrine is slower to materialize, giving the opponent more time to find answers.


Old: 3 cost order (only spawnable).
4 cost order (only spawnable).

Contest Doctrine has received a similar treatment as its parent. In addition to slowing the whole process down we want it to be a harder choice whether you can wait for your Contest Doctrine before you start deploying your cheap tanks - against aggressive decks you often won’t have that luxury.


Old: 2 cost order. Develop a US bomber. Deal 2 damage to all enemies if you have 6 or more unspent kredits.
3 cost order. Develop a US bomber. Deal 2 damage to all enemy units if you have 6 or more unspent kredits.

The Bomber Mafia offers value you cannot refuse. Or it used to. Now that the regulatory committees and the IRS and the guidance counselors have gotten involved, the deal has soured somewhat, what with increased costs and bans on indiscriminate HQ bombing. Bloody bureaucrats, always ruining things… Note that the develop pool remains the same, as we want the Production Order bombers to have more avenues of showing up and they are needed to keep the develop pool at a reasonable size.


Old: This battle, when you Develop a card, also Develop a RETRIBUTION.
This battle, the first time you Develop each turn, also Develop a RETRIBUTION.

The Retribution mechanic is mostly intended to be a bonus value for certain cards. We still wanted to offer the choice of going all out in the mechanic, but have it be slow and clunky enough not to be a real contender (similar to how we treat for instance draw denial and discard). It seems a lot of people like spinning their wheels, as the deck turned out to be a lot more popular than we anticipated, even if its performance is not that great (it basically dies to anything that applies any kind of pressure). We do want the deck to exist still, but obviously it has to be even slower and less consistent. 


Old: 4 cost order (only spawnable).
6 cost order (only spawnable).

Few things are more fun than making your opponent pay for their insolence (like daring to hurt your guys). Though now you have to pay a bit more to make them pay. Following in the footsteps of the previous change, we are increasing the cost here by a whopping 50%. We didn’t want to remove the spin wheeling potential completely, so the functionality remains the same. We could have gone for a more hardcore change, but chose to be softcore instead. We want to keep that PG-13 rating after all.


Old: When you lose a kredit slot, this unit gets +2+2 if on the battlefield or -2 cost if in hand.
When you lose a kredit slot, this unit gets +1+1 if on the battlefield or -2 cost if in hand.

The Self Kredit-Denial (SKD) deck can attack from various angles, some early, some late, which is one of the reasons it can be so dangerous in the hands of a skilled pilot. There are mainly two aspects of it that are causing some concern. One is the highrolly chance of getting a couple of 5th Regiments out early and quickly growing them into something most decks can’t deal with at that stage. We are tackling that issue here, by reducing how quickly it can grow into a threat. This also makes the choice of which bonus mode to trigger on it harder.


Old: Set your kredit slots to equal the enemy kredit slots. Your units get +1+1 for each slot gained.
Set your kredit slots to equal the enemy kredit slots. Your units get +1 attack for each slot gained.

The other concern regarding SKD decks is when they get their engine running, culminating in chaining One Roofs into The Great Expanse for massive gains. Ideally this leads to instant victory, but sometimes it is enough just to buff your army to take total control of the battlefield. Now the latter is harder, as the defensive part of the buff is gone. And no, we are not going to rename the card now to The Not-So-Great Expanse, stop asking.


Old: 5 cost order.
4 cost order.

So far in this blog we’ve been delivering some tough discipline to some naughty cards. Now it's time for some tough love, starting with Night Raid. Some would argue Commandos are the epitome of naughtiness, but naughty boys require some love every now and then too. Night Raid has fallen out of favor for various reasons, yet should be a solid choice for any Commando deck. Let’s see if a bit of love leads to more Flower Power.


Old: Deals 1 damage to each HQ at the start of your turn.
Deals 1 damage to each HQ at the end of your turn.

The Soviets may be struggling at the moment, but they have several decks that are at the cusp of being good in the meta. One of those is the self-damage deck. The T-35 was always intended to be a solid piece in that deck, but never really took off (must be all that heavy metal). By moving the effect to trigger at the end of turn you are (almost) guaranteed at least one hit, which is often enough to get the ball rolling.


Old: 4 cost unit, 3/6 with Ambush.
2 cost unit, 2/4, no Ambush.

The 60th Cavalry Regiment lives to laugh at those that enjoy the wheel spinning we talked about earlier. The problem it has is that it lives in a limbo in being too slow against aggro decks and applies too little pressure against control decks. It is now statted to be able to go up against aggro units a lot faster and starts hampering control decks a lot sooner. Blitz Doctrine into Contest Doctrine? I don’t think so.


Old: 8 cost unit, 2/4 with Ambush and Guard.
7 cost unit, 2/5 with Ambush and Guard.

Italy Control was once a mainstay of the meta, but has been in steady decline for a while now. Bringing the statline of this former stalwart of the deck to be more in line with the modern Kards ecosystem hopefully brings it back from extinction. Few things are sadder than endangered Italians, but buffing La Decima should be a solid first step in making Italian Control 10/10 again. 

That’s it. Some final thoughts. Based on our data, Brit Air and various aggro shells revolving around Blitz Doctrine have seen the most success post-Covert Operations. The new SKD deck performs very well in experienced hands, but the tricky sequencing it demands make it only decently successful overall. The “greedy” ramp-Retribution package is very popular, but has middling success. It can however be annoying to play against simply because of the games dragging out with endless Developing. These decks were our main focus for adjustments in this patch. Overall, there are a lot of playable decks in the meta, some of them on the cusp of being competitive. Our hope with this update is to allow some of the strategies overshadowed by these over-tuned cards to shine. We will continue to monitor the meta and your feedback over the summer, ready to step in again as needed once we have soaked up enough sun to last us through the winter months.

Until then, see you on the battlefield, commander!