[Infinity Wars] ~ Potential for Control Archetype Players ~

Summary: So in the previous post, I have discussed about how well aggro archetype is/will be covered in the Infinity Wars.  Now let’s look at control archetype.

Control Archetype

In contrast to the Aggro Archetype’s idea of hit fast and hard, decks falls under control archetype  strategically slows down the game by interfering with opponent’s action i.e. uses attrition plan.  The interference to opponent’s move is achieved by countering/destructing/devaluing opponent cards and actions. This is essentially resulting in you CONTROLLING the game/board.  As the game progresses, opponent continues to lose options or things that they can do to win the game.  As this happens you slowly build up resources to cast more powerful card to finish the game, or simply continues this to the end so opponent basically not able to do anything anymore and even your small attacks can end the game as there will be no interference from the opponent.  So think control archetype as generally passive game play i.e. counter what you see until opponent runs out of his gas, and at which point you finally start attacking; whereas, other archetypes i.e. Aggro and comb, you play actively play to win as soon as you can.

The newer players tend to hate playing against this archetype as games tend to take longer time to finish, and you feel like none of your plan goes through, but at the same time your opponent is not really attacking you either.  On the other hand, more experienced players tends to favor this archetype due to its relative challenge and satisfaction when winning with this type of decks i.e. feeling of having total control in the game.

However, in the digital world where people wants to play quick games, playing with or against control may not be so quick so some dTCG either on purpose for this reason, or perhaps due to its relative complexity for implementation on design/programming end, occasionally avoids to support this type of decks at the basis of game design.

Decks falls under this category can further be divided into subcategories as below.

So now let’s look at one by one whether Infinity Wars have us covered.  If so, how well and if not, what’s the potential.

Control/Tapout

The first deck type is actually called “control” i.e. Control Archetype control deck type.  In the Magic, this is referred to “tapout” control deck, which is probably the most main stream type of control decks in current era.   The word tap out comes from the mechanics in Magic that when you use mana/resource, you tap the land/mana card.  In tapout deck, you use up (tapout) your mana during your turn to counter upcoming opponent’s move.  This idea is on the contrary to the permission deck type (see below) where you save mana during your turn, so you have mana to use during your opponent’s turn to cast counter spell/card.  Since you don’t really tap a card in Infinity Wars, instead of calling taoput, I decided to call Control, which also encompasses other control deck types that does not fall under the rest.  The counter mechanism using “trapc card”  in to Yu-Gi-Oh or Shadow Era, for instance, falls under this category as well.

Let’s take a look at examples from Yu-Gi-Oh.

SolemnJudgmentSDLS-EN-C-1E.png

The mechanics of how trap card works is you place a card faced down during your own turn.  So you and your opponent knows that there is a “trap” on the field.  But your opponent does not know what trap is there.   When a specific event occurs, you can declare to use one of your faced down trap card even during your opponent turn.  In this particular case, whenever your opponent tries to anything, essentially you can declare to use this card and cancel the effect.

Infinity Wars

The short answer is currently there is no trap type card in Infinity Wars.  So will this deck  type ever be supported in Infinity Wars?  In theory, it will work.  The simplest form would be to use “passive trap card” as in Shadow Era.  Basically, you cast a trap card.  The trap card is executed automatically whenever a specific event happens, and you won’t be asked whether to activate or not.  Let’s take a look at an example.

As you can see, this trap gets automatically executed/activated when opponent player summon/cast an ally/character.  So you don’t have actual control when to activate this trap.  If not enough trap cards (as in current state of Shadow Era), the opponent sees trap card is on the board, and knowing how much cost your opponent spent to cast the card, he/she knows exactly which trap card is on the board.  So he/she simply cast the cheapest character from the hand to consume the trap card, then cast bigger guy.  Again, this is fine in Shadow Era because its concept is “active player driven design” and developer specifically does not like magic instant type of opponent driven counter.   This type of trap is what I call “passive trap” because once its on the field, you don’t have active control.  The passive trap will be easy to implement an works very well on Infinity Wars.   Here is example,

Death Trap

The next opposing character moves to the battlefield is destroyed. 

No interference on the simultaneous play mechanics, and definitely feels like counter.  And as long as, there are enough types of trap cards, opponent may not be able to predict which card you have placed as opponent won’t see the resource you spend on individual card.  Thanks to the simultaneous play.  It will introduce another layer of bluff play.  Given its relative easiness for implementation of this type of card, I would guess very high chance we see this type of card in the future like 80-90%.  Once enough of these comes out, you can technically make a control/tapout deck.

However, because I love Infinity Wars and seeing so much potential on this game, I truly hope they will take it to the next level and make it like Yu-Gi-Oh’s true trap cards.

By this I mean the following,

Death Trap

Destroy a opponent character newly moved to the battlefield. 

This is more like Yu-Gi-Oh’s trap card.  You actually get to choose when to activate the trap.  So simultaneous play takes place as usually but by having a trap card on the board, you now have a power to interfere resolution phase where currently once you finish making decisions of your move, resolution phase is carried over automatically between both players and neither player can do anything during resolution phase.  With this  “active” trap card approach, the computer will need to stop at appropriate steps of the resolution each time whenever a trap card is on the field and ask the player whether he/she wants to use the trap card.  The wrong implementation of this mechanics in digital TCG can become really annoying (see permission section).  The potential introduction of “active trap” in Infinity Wars is likely low 20-30% as it is essentially a huge game mechanics changer, and many TCG usually won’t make this degree of game change with future expansion.  But knowing Lightmare development team has avid Magic Player (supposedly) and Elphie himself played many other TCGs, I am not giving up on the hope.

Permission

It is called permission because when a player plays against this type of decks, they feel like they have to ask “May I cast this card? May I attack with this character?  ” i.e. feeling of requiring to get a permission from you before they can do what they want.  Needless to say, you as a permission deck player answer most of time “No” to these request.  In sense, active trap card in Yu Gi Oh is doing exactly this.  The difference; however, is that Permission originally came from Magic and in magic there was a special card type called “instant”.  These card can be used even during your opponent’s turn directly off of your hand.   In order to understand this concept, let’s actually look at a real card from the Magic.

Cancel

The simplest and the easiest to understand counter spell here.  Basically this spell can target any card in Magic except land card.  So your opponent’s play a card whether cheap creature, key card to complete his combo, massive board wiping spell etc., you can cast “Cancel” from your hand when your opponent uses his card during his turn.  In magic, it uses “stack system” so when instant cards are played, it goes to a stack and in the order of newest to the oldest cards actually gets resolved.  This means your opponent card is initially placed on the stack and waiting to be resolved, but you now have a cancel on top of it i.e. the opponent card never resolves i.e. goes straight to graveyard without actual effect.  Things gets interesting because your opponent can actually cast another “Cancel” on top of your Cancel.  So in the end, your initial card resolves.

As you can see this can quickly get complex, and not only that but in digital game, being able to counter from your hand creates a major issue.  In the physical card game play, you can simply speak up and say “hey I got counter” to indicated you are interfering with your opponent’s move.  However, in the digital game, the computer has to ask you first.  “Do you want to interfere?”   If computer asks only if you have a valid counter in your hand, from the fact computer did or did not ask your opponent, you will quickly figure out your opponent has some type of counter, and perhaps based on which phase the computer asked can further give you which specific card he/she has.

In order to avoid this issue, in digital game computer have to ask after every move even if you or opponent does not have a counter.  As you can see, this is gets annoying very quickly considering how many times you just have to click “no” or let timer to expire.

Infinity Wars

No instant in Infinity Wars, and potential chance of Infinity Wars implementing actual instant like card is ~0%.  It just will not work well on digital world, and adding simultaneous play system Infinity Wars decided to use on top of it, you just won’t see it.

However, that does not mean “permission” deck type can never be implemented in the Infinity Wars.  You can have trap cards that pay as you go.  Given they are trap card, you won’t get annoying after every move “do you want to counter?” question.  The computer should do so only when there is trap card on the field, which your opponent knows that anyways.  But unlike in the tapout discussion above, this time these trap card can cost 0 to be placed on the board.  But when you use it, you have to pay.  This means you have to save up resource if you plan to use it.

But again, for such mechanism to work Lightmare has to implement mechanics to allow user interfere during resolution phase.  In my personal opinion, this won’t still defeats the greatness/benefit of simultaneous play as most player may not use trap card.  But for some players, they get option to do so, and even allows them to build permission or tapout control.

Mill/Stall

The aim of mill deck type is to have opponent run out of the cards from their library.   In some games, you can win a game automatically by out decking the opponent.  In others, the opponent get penalized for having empty deck but not a instant win situation.

Stall is very similar to the Mill, the only difference (if there is any) is you basically stall the game but not all way to the point out decking.   As the opponent lose cards from the pile and hand, what he/she can do become more and more restrictive and therefore, not too hard for you to win at that point.  Playing with or against this type of deck gives you the most feel of “attrition”.

Infinity Wars

In Infinity Wars, you do not automatically win due to out decking, but the player get penalized for having empty deck by losing 10 Morale every time the player cannot draw a card, and the player will eventually lose the game if Morale goes down to 0.   So this is perfectly capable approach to win a game i.e. game covers this type of deck already.

Lock

The “lock” condition refers to the state where your action becomes restricted.  So lock  deck types are essentially decks that aim to achieve this goal.  Generally speaking there are three main ways to lock the opponent: locking resource, locking hand and lock the game play.  The last lock is extremely strong and thus it is categorized under combo archetype.  Locking draw is essentially providing the end result effect of hand lock; however, I have made this separate category.

Resource lock

Resource is the key element in pretty much any TCG to cast a new card.  So by destroying, or locking resources, the opponent will not be able to do what he/she planned to do.

Infinity Wars

I have yet to seen cards to support resource lock.  As discussed in the resource specific article, and discussion on the official forum board, resource related play at this point is missing in the Infinity Wars.

Potential example card:

Plague

While plague is in play, all player’s maximum resource will be reduced to half.

Hand lock

Even if you have enough resource, if you have no cards in the hand then you cannot cast anything.  So by destroying/locking hand cards, the opponent will not be able to do anything new other then what is already on the board.

Draw lock

Draw lock is another way to lock the opponent.  The end effect of locking/blocking drawing card is essentially hand lock.

Infinity Wars

I have not seen any cards that really support this deck type.  However, pretty much any TCG eventually have this type of card so the chance infinity wars getting cards supporting this strategy is 99+%.

Morale

This is a type I am debating whether to be included in waste basket sense (control deck type) or should be named of its own type.  But Infinity Wars have concept of Morale.  A player loses morale as his/her characters get destroyed.  And a player can lose a game if Morale goes to 0.  So there is a potential you can make a deck focusing on taking your opponent’s character rather than actually attacking opponent’s fortress.   Given the most recently announced Faction descendant of Dragons focusing on Morale attack, Infinity Wars will definitely support this type of game play, and because you are “Controlling board” by keeping opponent’s character off of the board, I definitely think this falls under control archetype.  For now, I will call this Morale deck.

Conclusion

There are always people who loves to play control archetype decks.  There are wide ranges of deck types that can be considered under Control Archetype.  Just as in many other TCG, Infinity Wars is indeed missing several control deck type support at this moment.  However, unlike the others despite merely 100+ cards at the start, there is already a great control scheme faction, Morale deck type.  As the game evolves, it is perfectly reasonable to believe we will start to see more support on control deck types.  But the question remains whether deck types that can be truly considered as “tapout” or “permission” will ever be implemented given their decision to use Simultaneous play.  Based on the other TCGs’ history, though it seems perfectly capable for Infinity Wars to potentially implement mechanics to allow “permission” and “tapout” deck types, I will remain skeptical until I hear something official.

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