Spring Release: Card Balancing and Reserve Reinforcements Arriving Soon

6 days ago

Hello friends! On March 19th we will launch the Spring Release update to Kards and alongside all the exciting new features found in it we are also looking to shake up the metagame a bit. We are doing a standard balance patch based on the latest shifts in the meta, but we are also going a step further and returning 17 cards currently in the Reserve pool back to active duty in a significantly changed form. We are confident that the combination of these two things will lead to some fun and exciting developments for players to explore and discover, tiding things over until we get the Summer Expansion in a few months.

On the whole, the meta has seen some important changes since the January balance update, but remains healthy, with no single deck dominating the field. Following the January patch we have seen a few decks go down in popularity, notably the Jet Prototype deck, while other decks have grown in popularity, with cards like Winter Regiment, Halifax B Mk I and Devil’s Brigade all examples of cards seeing more play in recent weeks.

Still, even though the meta is in a healthy state on the whole, we are seeing a few cards and decks growing a bit too popular, which can lead to a stale meta over time if not addressed. For this reason we are slightly nerfing a few popular cards. The intention is for these cards to still be playable, but a bit less dominant than their current forms. As usual, we are then rounding out the balance patch with a few buffs to strengthen decks and strategies that are struggling at the moment. So, without further ado, let’s go through the standard balance changes coming in the Spring Release later this month. 

Card Balance Changes

20. PANZERGRENADIER

This Army-In-A-Can is ideal for the busy person in a hectic world - a quick canned soup on the run is perfect. But too many cooks spoil the broth, as they say, and there are too many cooks brewing with 20. Panzergrenadiers at the moment. So we are draining one defense out of the can, let's see if this ends up being the chef’s kiss.

THE GLAMOUR BOYS

The glitz and glamour of The Glamour Boys is quite in vogue, but if there is anything high fashion hates it is becoming mundane and common. This has been the fate of these fancy Canadians and has resulted in dampening their high spirits from 7 to 6. We’ll see how much their supermodel stardom fades now that they are more likely to become fashion victims out on the battlefield. 

SCRAP METAL

Jalvage (why not Salvasian? Much better) was the big winner following the January patch. This deck is performing well, but not too well. Still, as often is the case with 0-cost kredit buff cards (when will we learn?), they can lead to very high-rolly starts, this time alongside partner-in-crime Out of the Mist. The changed Scrap Metal can still accelerate you in the early game at 1k, but the turn 1 high-roll is at least now in the dumpster.

PRODUCTION ORDER: B-24D and B-24J

All good things must come to an end and the value offered by the inconspicuous Production Order was too much. Compared to the base B-24 Liberator, these special variants offered nothing but upside, power creeping a bit too heavily. Shaving off a single attack point means the value is still good, but no longer in the stratosphere. 

13. GEBIRGSJÄGER

The 13. Gebirgsjägers may put their pants on one leg at a time like other people, but what they really need are more snowballs. The 13. Gebirgsjägers can snowball harder than most other Alpines and may help the Alpine decks to fight through all the hate and suppression to become the true Ice Overlords they are meant to be. I for one hail them.

No. 43 COMMANDO

No. 43 Commando may never have seen the spotlight their smaller brother No. 10 Commando has enjoyed. Coming out for 1 less is unlikely to thrust them into the limelight quite yet, but who knows what future Commando support cards will bring.

15th MOTOR RIFLES

HQ immunity is no small thing, but the frail body of the 15th Motor Rifles has never allowed the unit to stand on its own two legs. Now with an attack of two, let's see if this old war dog finally has more bite than bark and give Soviet control decks some much-needed backing.

158th BUSHMASTERS

Old: When a unit is fully repaired, deal damage to a random enemy equal to damage repaired.

New: When a unit is fully repaired, distribute the damage repaired between random enemies.

“You don’t repair the dead,” is something a famous US general said at some point, probably, maybe. The point is that the repair theme suffers because units in Kards have a nasty tendency to be destroyed rather than maimed. That being said, repairs do happen, such as with a certain winter-themed regiment. This new and improved Bushmasters does not deal more damage than the previous one, but spreading it out makes it a lot more useful against weenie strategies and a 33% increase in punching power is the cherry on top.

P1Y1 MODEL 11

The Smokescreen-matters theme of Legions turned out to be just smoke and mirrors when Shock Attack was shockingly nerfed pre-launch. The reduced cost here is unlikely to really make the theme take off, but it is a small step in that direction for the future. The possibility of attacking with a 4/5 bomber on turn 5 is certainly enticing.

1re BFL

1re BFL has one of those effects that is highly polarizing - it either is completely useless or meta-defining. And there is a very thin red line between the two. So far in its existence the 1re BFL has certainly fallen on the useless side of the coin. There is a tipping point where the coin flips. It is doubtful a cost reduction of one is enough here, but the tipping point is certainly getting closer.

That’s it for the standard balance changes. But there is more! We are also experimenting with something we haven’t done before - returning cards from the Reserve list outside of the normal rotation when a new expansion hits. 17 cards are coming back from the cold, eager for the chance to be your latest bedwarmers. This is all well and good, but here’s the clincher - all of these 17 cards are seeing significant reworks and can be regarded as new cards. Before we start going through the returning reservists, let’s answer why they have all been reworked.

If you look through the reserve list, you can roughly divide it into three groups. One are cards that were reserved for meta reasons - strong cards that will (and did) have significant impact. Second group are cards that we deem not fitting anymore, such as cards that can create toxic environments, like resistance or draw denial, or that have effects we no longer want to see for that nation, like straight draw in Mobilization. The third and final group are cards that most would deem as subpar - cards that no one will mind seeing rotated out. 

Returning cards from group two without changing them is obviously out of the question, cards from group three will have no impact being returned and while group one would have an impact, there is a high chance that we would just regurgitate an old and stale meta. To increase the likelihood of something new emerging, the obvious solution was to take cards from group two and three - cards that would never be returned in their old forms anyway - and find new and interesting designs for them. Some of these new designs are intentionally pushed, to encourage some meta shake ups until the summer expansion arrives.

Each of the main nations is getting 3 cards reworked, with France and Italy getting one each (there are no Polish or Finnish cards in the Reserve pool). Let’s take a look at the 17 cards. 

Returning Reserve Card Reworks

THE MERCHANT NAVY

Tired of some pimply faced Blitz merchant dropping out of the sky to kill you with some pimped-up aeroplane on steroids? Well, fear not! The Merchant Navy is here to save the day! Now these creatures of the night will be sent back to the nether regions where they belong, giving you all the time you need to deploy your glitch and glamour and push your way to victory like a proper gentleman. 

QF 40mm Mk III

Bombing Berlin leading to increase in artillery production is a well known true fact from World War II. Or is it? In any case, you can now test this theory out in practice with the brand new QF 40mm Mk III, nicknamed “Dolly” for its expert cloning capabilities. Blitz artillery has often gotten out of hand, let alone getting two of them in one go, as you now can.

22nd GUARDS BRIGADE

22nd Guards Brigade offers an innovative new delivery system for inflicting carpet bombing level of damage on all enemies. Just chill on the battlefield for a bit and before you know it your enemies will start falling like flies. It may sound like the funniest joke in the world, but that’s just because it might just well be. There are ways to cheat on the Veteran trigger and the 22nd Guards Brigade offers one of the best payoff so far for Veteran units. Note that the damage is dealt to all enemies, not just units.

RAPID ENGAGEMENT

Look up Versatility in a dictionary and you’ll see a picture of the new Rapid Engagement. There are myriad ways for you to use this to your advantage. The most straightforward one is of course deploying a threatening unit and immediately give it Blitz. You can also use this to repair a unit and shake off any detrimental effects, like Pin, Suppressed status or ongoing conditions like that from Supply Shortage. Note that the unit will return to the same front, so you can use it on a unit in the frontline and it will return there.

33. PANZERGRENADIER

In our internal poll, this was voted our least sexy rework change. But don’t let the dullness fool you - in the right deck, a permanent attack buff of +2 is nothing to sneeze at. This may offer less of an immediate value as a Blitzkrieg, but it does help regain the frontline, which can be quite important, if rather situational. Running 4 copies will be rare but 1 or 2 may give you the surprise swing to seize the initiative at the right moment.

WOLFPACK

Here is the first example of a card from the second group mentioned above - a card that had an effect we wanted to see less of in the game (draw denial). Still, this is an iconic name and picture, so it was inevitable that the card would return in a changed form. We want it to retain the discard association so common with the German U-Boat cards. Effectively, this is similar to the Airstrike countermeasure, the difference being that you now have a better control over which unit it affects. This is a strong card and you can expect to face it a decent amount of time once it is back on the menu.

SU 152

Soviet tank decks may not be the top tier meta decks at the moment, but when that day comes, the SU 152 offers excellent value. It may even be possible for it to fit into a shell with cheap German tanks, though such decks will always have a distinct mad scientist flavor to them. But then again, mad scientist decks are the bread and butter of many card gamers.

10th GUARDS REGIMENT

Retreat and suppress effects are a dime a dozen in the current meta, making life difficult for Guard units lacking in powerful deployment effects. Many aggro decks rely completely on being able to bypass Guard units with retreat or suppress trickery. 10th Guards Regiment is tailor-made (literally) to give such decks grief and help restore the tarnished name of all good Guards out there.

NO RETREAT

If 10th Guards Regiment is not enough, now you can also Build-Your-Own super Guard. Alternatively, you can protect your key units, like 272nd Guards or 67th Baranovichi, from the infamy of having their powerful abilities stripped away. And perhaps there are even more crazy concoctions out there - Beriev Be-4, anyone?

MOBILIZATION

The old effect of Mobilization - drawing 3 cards straight up - was something we did not want to see in the US card pool. US draw tends to be unit related instead and Mobilization now fits the bill. The old Mobilization usually saw play in slow ramp or control decks to refill the hand, but the new version is much less suited for this role. It is more likely it will find a place in small unit heavy decks, or possibly some combo decks. It forces you to keep a close track on what units are left in your deck to maximize its efficiency, an important skill to nurture.

EMBARGO

The previous version of Embargo was too narrow in its application for putting strain on the enemy resources. The new version is a lot more straightforward and thus generally more useful. It is not for every deck out there, but in the right type of deck this card can be quite potent. It is a softer version of the well known (and often hated) kredit denial strategy. It does not give the same kind of long-term value, but if timed correctly can effectively buy you an extra turn.

47th INFANTRY REGIMENT

The base version is similar to the old one, but the ramp relevant ability has been changed. Note that the Blitz on the Veteran version means that the copy is able to attack into the enemy support line immediately. This requires a bit of a setup, but can be quite cheeky. Bottom line, 47th Infantry Regiment is now less of a lame ass and can instead be the backend of ramp strategies aiming for fast attacks from the rear, end result being it no longer is the butt of someone’s jokes as it was before.

CODE OF BUSHIDO

This card was a bit of an odd duck that had no home. The new version operates in the same design space, but allows for much stronger potential synergies with other Japanese cards, including the two below. At face value you are losing 2 cards to destroy 1, but there are many ways for you to come out ahead, including often being able to destroy much more costly units than the 3 kredits you have to spend.

Ki-21 SALLY

The stats remain the same, but instead of potentially getting Fury the card now fits into the self-discard theme. There have been some attempts with the old version for an OTK deck, but it never really had a leg to stand on. The new version loses that capability, but offers many interesting options with the right support.

B5N KATE

The oft-mentioned self-discard deck lacked more payoff options. The new Kate offers a good payoff and can be very potent in the right shell, especially against enemy aggro decks. A free Tora! Tora! Tora! or two every turn can quickly overwhelm even the staunchest enemy.

B-26 GROUPE BRETAGNE

Picture this. You’ve ramped to 20 kredits. You dump three B-26 Groupe Bretagnes on the battlefield, filled with glistening enemy tanks and infantry frothing at the mouth. You play High Altitude Bombing. Game over. You wake up, absolutely soaked. Sounds familiar? If so, this is the unit for you. Build it and they will come.

MARE NOSTRUM

Legends tell of days of yore when Italians roamed the lands, gaining life with everything they touched. The legends have faded to myths and even the myths are now mostly forgotten. The wind blows and the sea stirs, the wind driving the waves to our shores once more. This is not the beginning. But it is a beginning.   

This is it for the reworked cards. The release lands on March 19th, until then you can rev your theorycrafts and ready yourself to hit the ground running. Please continue to provide us with your excellent feedback. Until the next time, see you on the battlefield, commander.