Wednesday, August 26, 2020

In League with the Legends - Quick Draw

It's been almost a month since we've been to the world of Runeterra, and last time we were in the Lab experimenting with ASM... ARAM. This time, we have another new mode to tinker with in the Lab, this time called Quick Draw.

Let us test our luck and skill at improvising with the fleeting hand and limited mana at our disposal. Can we rise above our opponents with quick thinking and finesse, or will they be the ones standing when the dust settles?

In theory, I think this is a really cool mode. Each round, we draw 5 Fleeting cards at random, which means they'll disappear at the end of the round, and gain 3 mana. Normally, 3 mana wouldn't extend very far, but each spell comes at a significant discount, costing anywhere from 0 to 3 mana. This means that we need to maximize our mana in order to get the most value out of each hand before it goes away.

While playing on stream, I did notice a problem where my hand was frequently full of cards that wouldn't make any meaningful impact on the board state. This left me twiddling my thumbs while my opponent was busy capitalizing on the big bombs they had lucked into. Or, as was sometimes the case, the opposite happened and I drew into the right cards to win almost immediately. Either way, it wasn't a pleasant experience because one party blew out the other.

The ideal would be something closer to those last few matches we played, where both players are making powerful moves to swing the game back and forth in an exciting match. One lucky draw or misplay could spell the difference between victory or defeat, standing on the razor's edge.

I would change the mode itself to make this pulse pounding match more likely. Rather, I would adjust the pool of cards available to draw, making sure that whatever cards show up in a player's hand have the potential to make immediate splashes on the board, even if not large ones. Even if it doesn't cost mana, it feels terrible to see one of your cards is a 2/1 with no relevant abilities, and the rest of the cards in hand are combat tricks or cost reducers, the latter of which probably don't need to be in this mode in the first place.

Still, it's a good experiment that could use some refining. When the stars aligned, it paved the way for some tense and explosive gameplay.

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