So recently on this post, I have written about my wish for Infinity Wars’ future support for intercept play. At the official forum, several of current alpha tester have kindly replied back but their opinion were pretty unanimous.
If you are interested in detail of the discussion, please see this thread on the official forum.
In short, every single one who have responded believed “simultaneous play” provides essentially similar experience and it is the core of the Infinity Wars; hence, the introduction of the intercept play may actually do a harm by changing it. I did like simultaneous play mechanics, and therefore, this was more of an option to those who wants to play in a different style rather than a replacement. But given relatively unanimous opinion [against intercept play], I have decided to take a second look by making actual deck attempting to do what intercept decks would normally tries to do i.e. Control archetype permission deck.
Before going too far, let’s recap about simultaneous play mechanics, which is claimed to be one of the unique mechanics in the Infinity Wars.
In Infinity Wars, each players take their turns at the same time, hence, it is called simultaneous play. How this works is each turn has two main phases. The first phase is “Action Phase.” During the action phase, a player essentially make all the move for the turn i.e. decide casting ability, deploying characters, moving characters etc. Once both players are done with their Action Phases, the second phase takes place, which is “Resolution Phase.” During the resolution phase, computer takes care of the order of the actions between each players and resolves them i.e. the actual effects take place.
The simultaneous play provide couple huge advantages over traditional one person at a time game play.
1. Minimal waiting time
As you carry your action phase, your opponent is also doing his. So the actual wait time is simply the difference in time you and your opponent taking the action phase.
2. Speculative play
I will elaborate on this a bit more later as this ties into my conclusion, but essentially you have to predict what the opponent is about to do and play accordingly.
This is a term/concept developed because of simultaneous play. Essentially, a player who has initiative gains priority during the “resolution phase.” For example, you cast a spell to “kill the target opponent” and your opponent cast a spell to the target character to become non-targetable by a spell.
Depending on the order of which spell to resolve first, the end result changes. If your spell goes first, the target gets killed. If your opponent spell goes first, your spell won’t work. The way Infinity Wars decide is based on the fact who has Initiative.
Is simultaneous play alternative to intercept?
So the deck I made contains many character damaging spells. As these are most obvious way of performing “counter” to opponent action.
In traditional game with intercept play, here is what happens:
Player 1’s Turn
Player 1: Summon a character A
Player 2: Intercepts, use a spell to kills the character A
Player 1: (may) intercept back and negate the killing spell
Perhaps if you are like myself, you would think you can never achieve the identical experience of “dynamic play” with simultaneous play mechanics as you don’t really see opponent’s move. Well, I have to say you are (i.e. I was) wrong. With initiative and zone mechanics, simultaneous play provide fairly close experience and may even be a step better as other forum posters have suggested.
For those of you who have not played the game yet, let me briefly explain the steps of character deployment. Unless the character have special ability of haste or from commander zone, generally speaking when you deploy a character, it goes to a support zone and exhausted i.e. not able to use during the turn. Then subsequent turn, if you want to attack with it, you move the character from support zone to the attack zone. If you want to use it for defend, just move to defend zone instead. You can move characters back to support zone or change from attack to defend zone. Again, all decided during your action phase.
Now it is the “support zone” that provides extra step to essentially give the same feeling as intercept. So let’s take a look at example.
Turn 1 Resolution Phase
Player 1: Deployed a character A, which goes to support zone.
Turn 2 Action Phase
Player 2 can see character A is in the support zone i.e. can now be moved to attack zone and attack you.
Player 2: Cast a spell to kill the character A
While player 2 is planning above,
Player 1: Really wants to keep the Character A. So cast a spell to make the character not target-able by spell.
Turn 2 Resolution Phase
Depending on who have initiative, the result be different as described above. The interesting part here is thought process. Thanks to the support zone, a Player 2 certainly have a chance to see opponent character before it can do its job. I.e. player 2 in sense still intercepting opponent just before its action during the following turn. Now more interesting part is Player 1. He can just blindly move to attack zone and attack, but based on his experience and knowing what type of deck the opponent plays, he have guessed there is a good enough chance, your character may be targeted by instant killing spell. So he has essentially decided to “intercept” Player 1’s expected move. Obviously, if player 2 did not use the kill spell, Player 1’s protective spell was simple waste.
One can think as Player 1 just put a insurance, but I can definitely see this as “counter/intercept” based on your prediction. So with this long (perhaps meaningless) post, I am convinced (at least for now) the simultaneous play is indeed “intercept play” as long as you put your thought and mind into it; otherwise, if you are like myself and stuck in traditional TCG, you may not noticed this fact until dissect down to pieces.
Now so rather than adding cards to change resolution phase, how about ways to strengthen the support for “permission” deck play by following types of card?
1. Initiative acquisition
Though counter to counter may not be a most common thing in Infinity Wars (at least for now), if it is the theme of your deck you certainly wants to make sure your spell effect won’t be countered. Who has initiative plays a huge role in this situation as example above illustrated. So making cards to give yourself initiative would work really well, and significantly increase success rate of your counter spell.
2. Hand Peek
Seeing opponent hand in Simultaneous play is actually truly powerful because it is the true reflection of what options the opponent really has at the moment you are making decision about your action. Whereas, in many other games, you can take a peek at opponent’s hand during your turn but when opponent’s get his turn he draws a card and hence by the time he can actually do his move, his hand has changed.
By being able to see hand, you can see what abilities (spell) he can potentially cast. You can also see characters with Haste i.e. those who can attack immediately.
Now at this point if hand peek is implemented, it would be really nice for a player to be able to select hand cards as a potential target. By this I don’t mean you can destroy the card from its owner’s hand, but rather if it comes on to the appropriate target zone. Currently, Infinity Wars support this functionality with cards in the support/commander zone for those cards only works for battlefield i.e. attack and defend zone. So I won’t be surprised if they support this for cards in the hand as well.
3. Ability Cancel
Not sure what would be the best method. Card like following would add a way to even negate opponent’s ability card.
All the ability your opponent’s cast this turn is negated.
Simultaneous play is awesome and it is indeed intercept play of its own. With additional cards support, players may even be able to make true permission type decks.