Today, I am going to talk about the what’s appear to be “negative” part of the recent patch. For some players, this is a major issue. Is HEX going wrong direction? Let’s take a closer look. [This is an article posted on HEXREALMS.com]
First, we need to understand what the Prep Phase is.
The prep phase is designated between the ready step and draw step.
Previously, you could stop at the opponent’s Prep phase and decide to take an action or not. Now with the recent patch, you do still stop at your own Prep Phase; however, you will no longer gain stop at opponent’s Prep phase.
So what does this really mean to the players?
In the original game, Prep phase was essentially the stop where you can potentially do something AFTER opponent’s ready their cards and BEFORE draw their card.
Why is Cryptozoic doing this? The reason is the same as for when they made the decision of not having event triggered ability going into the chain. Basically, they are trying to make the game more streamlined i.e. minimize the extra clicks of “Pass Priority.”
Obviously, the less chance to intercept, the less game’s potential. Technically, it may be true but the difference may be so subtle, the gain of taking away more frequent “Pass Priority” click may be more rewarding than the loss.
In order to see if the most recent change really fits this, I belive the easiest way to look at is to see what would be our alternative if we lose the opponent Prep phase stop.
We will still have End Phase of your turn stop, and First Main Phase of your opponent’s turn stop. The opponent’s Prep Phase loss is in between these two.
If you were to do something during end phase of your own turn, opponent’s cards are NOT READY, BEFORE HIS DRAW.
If you were to do something during the first phase of your opponent turn, opponent’s cards are READY, AFTER HIS DRAW plus you may see attempt of his first move, which should not be resolved yet.
So from here you can see you will no longer have a chance to act at the stage opponent’s cards are READY, BEFORE HIS DRAW.
You still don’t get how all these affects us as a player? Let’s take further look.
Personally, nothing is more clearer than the actually looking through some examples. Specially thinking in terms of the status of you and your opponent’s when opponent’s Prep Phase stop was still there.
Remember Prep phase occurs before the opponent’s draw. So one thing that a player may consider doing is bury some bad card into opponent’s deck. So he may actually draw the card right away. If there was a quick action to do such, you could have technically done so during your opponent’s prep phase.
However, this situation is irrelevant as most of may have intuitively recognized. This is because your resource points stays the same during end your turn and your opponent’s turn as they will only replenish only during beginning of your turn. Therefore, putting some booby trap into opponent’s deck during your own turn would do the exactly same thing.
Case: Potential Attacker Exhaustion
The another component of prep phase was the fact it was after readying opponent’s cards. So perhaps you may want to exhaust certain card so he won’t be able to use it during the turn. The Prep phase appeared to be the best time to do this as opponent’s had all troops, constants etc. back to ready status but had not had a chance to do other actions.
What if you want exhaust opponent’s Fist of Briggadon? Obviously, you could have done this during your opponent’s Prep phase using card like Kraken’s tentacle. But doing so during your opponent’s first main phase will achieve the same for card like Fist of Briggadon as his primary method of use is attacking phase.
Case: Ability Exhaustion
Unlike the case above, what if opponent’s uses the card’s ability rather than attacking? For instance, card like Howling Braves gives him extra resource. He is likely to use it during his first phase. In the past, you could have perhaps prevented this from happening by using card like Field of Poppies during his Prep phase.
The reality is you could not have done it anyways unless your opponent made a mistake. If your opponent had used Howling Brave’s ability during his own Prep Phase, your stop for Prep phase for his turn came after i.e. Field of Poppies would have been too late.
This is an illusional case that you feel like had potential of blocking those ability execusion but in reality people just weren’t using during their prep phase.
Now with the change, it became more irrelevant for opponent’s to use ability like Howling Brave during his Prep phase because doing so during his first main phase would still gain the same.
Now so technically speaking, this scenario is really not affected. In case you wonder if we could still prevent/intercept opponent’s ability, yes. we can. We just need cards with text “next opponent’s ready phase” so you exhaust opponent’s card during your turn and it will stay so.
Case: Own Prep Phase
There are many scenarios where you want to do something during your own prep phase, but remember this is not affected with the patch. You will still have own Prep phase stop.
Does this unilateral retention of prep phase give some unequal advantage? I highly doubt so. If there is some ability that seems very strong and opponent decides to use during his prep phase, Cryptozoic just need to make sure the ability has target. By doing so it will enter into the chain, so you will still have chance to react.
Taking away a phase stop seems a big deal, but looking into more detail I just could not prove the significant loss. Perhaps I may be missing some situation here, but for now I say Cryptozoic is right. Taking away opponent’s Prep Phase stop really has minimal impact on the overall game strategy, but allows improved streamline i.e. gain > loss.
What do you all think?