Time to set the world on fire, February 28, 2021
Hey Mages! Here we are again for another element presentation. Today we’ll be talking about the most potent, the king of efficiency, the pinnacle of raw power. You guessed it, today we’re talking about Fire.
Magma eruption by Camille Fourcade
So what is Fire about exactly?
We knew that every good card game needs a part focused around pure efficiency. By that we mean no specific strategy, no special techniques, no weird way of thinking. Just raw straightforward power.
Fire appeared as the obvious choice for this kind of mechanic. Although we also figured that Fire also needed to have a bit more to it to make it feel a bit more thematic, more…spicy. So the main themes we tried to convey with this element were:
What we did with Fire:
Fire had to feel satisfying to play, the same kind of satisfaction you feel when watching a match burn in your fingers. You know it’s not going to last, but it’s flashy, it’s powerful, you feel like you can use it to destroy anything if you’d like to. But an important part of that satisfaction also comes from the small part of danger that comes with it. You could burn your fingers if you’re not careful enough, but it’s okay, you know what you’re doing…you do, right?
(Also, please don’t put yourself in danger with matches okay?)
We wanted to convey all of this, so we started with the most simple concept: power.
Let’s face it, the general damage-to-mana-cost ratio of Fire is unlike any other element. But that’s not all, it is also the element with the fastest access to damage. The prime example of this is the “Flame” spell.
With a literally non-existent cost while still inflicting damage, this spell is the only one who can boast of having an infinite cost to damage ratio. All this while being playable right away without any component.
But of course we couldn’t let players cast infinitely valuable spells forever.
Fire can’t last forever
Luckily for us, the raw efficiency of fire spells made it so that it was pretty easy to empty your hand quickly, making players run out of steam if they kept using an overly aggressive playstyle. This was a good start, as it was putting a stop to the burning madness that Fire Mages would bring on the table. But it was a bit frustrating because allowing Fire players to play their spells so easily would either lead to rough victories or to the frustration of dealing with an empty hand.
We didn’t want to make the spells weaker. Power was part of the element’s identity. But we wanted to make Fire harder to keep alive. Just like a fire needs fuel to function, otherwise it dies. This is when we decided to add some mechanics on the components.
To make Fire harder to keep alive, components needed to have some kind of additional cost. They had to be easy to play but hard to maintain. This is why we decided that the smaller Fire spells would “backfire” when used as components.
Mental Flame by Geoffrey Amesse
The first way we found to make those components be hard to maintain was to make them discard when used or to make them cost additional Mana each turn.
This led to players being way more careful with their fuel (aka components). It actually made the element more interesting. Players would keep their assets a bit longer and see more clearly the opportunity to use them at their full potential instead of regretting using them too soon.
But we had one last thing to take care of and it was just what we needed to perfect the fire playstyle.
Playing with Fire.
The last thing we had to do was to make it threatening. It was already dangerous enough for the opponent, this part was pretty much taken care of. But when playing with fire, you’re also a threat to yourself, and we had to make sure players would feel the adrenaline rush of playing with their own safety.
Thus we balanced our cards in consequence so that playing Fire would bring both players closer to critical life values. We made some spells deal damage to their controller. Whether they wanted it or not.
First, this allowed for some components to stay on the board indefinitely to ensure Fire players could still keep some tempo. Second, this gave us the opportunity to create spells and equipment that would make the players pack an incredible punch. But all of this raw power would come with an alternative kind of cost.
To keep up with all those drawbacks, we made sure Fire spells felt powerful and brutal. Some of them can wipe a board with an unforgiving violence while others can dig a gaping hole in the Health Points of your target.
One thing is for certain, playing Fire will make you feel like you’re on the razor’s edge and it’s a thrill each time.
But we’ll let you discover that for yourself when you play Fire for the first time.
See you later Mages
We hope we managed to transfer the burning passion we have for Fire and its amazing potential.
We also hope you’re hyped for the upcoming element presentations. Next one is right around the corner.
Until next time though, take care of yourselves Mages, and have fun!