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No gods, no kings, only NOPE - or divining the future with options flows. [Part 2: A Random Walk and Price Decoherence]
tl;dr - 1) Stock prices move continuously because different market participants end up having different ideas of the future value of a stock. 2) This difference in valuations is part of the reason we have volatility. 3) IV crush happens as a consequence of future possibilities being extinguished at a binary catalyst like earnings very rapidly, as opposed to the normal slow way. I promise I'm getting to the good parts, but I'm also writing these as a guidebook which I can use later so people never have to talk to me again. In this part I'm going to start veering a bit into the speculation territory (e.g. ideas I believe or have investigated, but aren't necessary well known) but I'm going to make sure those sections are properly marked as speculative (and you can feel free to ignore/dismiss them). Marked as [Lily's Speculation]. As some commenters have pointed out in prior posts, I do not have formal training in mathematical finance/finance (my background is computer science, discrete math, and biology), so often times I may use terms that I've invented which have analogous/existing terms (e.g. the law of surprise is actually the first law of asset pricing applied to derivatives under risk neutral measure, but I didn't know that until I read the papers later). If I mention something wrong, please do feel free to either PM me (not chat) or post a comment, and we can discuss/I can correct it! As always, buyer beware. This is the first section also where you do need to be familiar with the topics I've previously discussed, which I'll add links to shortly (my previous posts: 1) https://www.reddit.com/thecorporation/comments/jck2q6/no_gods_no_kings_only_nope_or_divining_the_future/ 2) https://www.reddit.com/thecorporation/comments/jbzzq4/why_options_trading_sucks_or_the_law_of_surprise/ --- A Random Walk Down Bankruptcy A lot of us have probably seen the term random walk, maybe in the context of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, which seems like a great book I'll add to my list of things to read once I figure out how to control my ADD. It seems obvious, then, what a random walk means - when something is moving, it basically means that the next move is random. So if my stock price is $1 and I can move in $0.01 increments, if the stock price is truly randomly walking, there should be roughly a 50% chance it moves up in the next second (to $1.01) or down (to $0.99). If you've traded for more than a hot minute, this concept should seem obvious, because especially on the intraday, it usually isn't clear why price moves the way it does (despite what chartists want to believe, and I'm sure a ton of people in the comments will tell me why fettucini lines and Batman doji tell them things). For a simple example, we can look at SPY's chart from Friday, Oct 16, 2020: https://preview.redd.it/jgg3kup9dpt51.png?width=1368&format=png&auto=webp&s=bf8e08402ccef20832c96203126b60c23277ccc2 I'm sure again 7 different people can tell me 7 different things about why the chart shape looks the way it does, or how if I delve deeply enough into it I can find out which man I'm going to marry in 2024, but to a rationalist it isn't exactly apparent at why SPY's price declined from 349 to ~348.5 at around 12:30 PM, or why it picked up until about 3 PM and then went into precipitous decline (although I do have theories why it declined EOD, but that's for another post). An extremely clever or bored reader from my previous posts could say, "Is this the price formation you mentioned in the law of surprise post?" and the answer is yes. If we relate it back to the individual buyer or seller, we can explain the concept of a stock price's random walk as such:
Most market participants have an idea of an asset's truevalue (an idealized concept of what an asset is actually worth), which they can derive using models or possibly enough brain damage. However, an asset's value at any given time is not worth one value (usually*), but a spectrum of possible values, usually representing what the asset should be worth in the future. A naive way we can represent this without delving into to much math (because let's face it, most of us fucking hate math) is: Current value of an asset = sum over all (future possible value multiplied by the likelihood of that value)
In actuality, most models aren't that simple, but it does generalize to a ton of more complicated models which you need more than 7th grade math to understand (Black-Scholes, DCF, blah blah blah). While in many cases the first term - future possible value - is well defined (Tesla is worth exactly $420.69 billion in 2021, and maybe we all can agree on that by looking at car sales and Musk tweets), where it gets more interesting is the second term - the likelihood of that value occurring. [In actuality, the price of a stock for instance is way more complicated, because a stock can be sold at any point in the future (versus in my example, just the value in 2021), and needs to account for all values of Tesla at any given point in the future.] How do we estimate the second term - the likelihood of that value occurring? For this class, it actually doesn't matter, because the key concept is this idea: even with all market participants having the same information, we do anticipate that every participant will have a slightly different view of future likelihoods. Why is that? There's many reasons. Some participants may undervalue risk (aka WSB FD/yolos) and therefore weight probabilities of gaining lots of money much more heavily than going bankrupt. Some participants may have alternative data which improves their understanding of what the future values should be, therefore letting them see opportunity. Some participants might overvalue liquidity, and just want to GTFO and thereby accept a haircut on their asset's value to quickly unload it (especially in markets with low liquidity). Some participants may just be yoloing and not even know what Fastly does before putting their account all in weekly puts (god bless you). In the end, it doesn't matter either the why, but the what: because of these diverging interpretations, over time, we can expect the price of an asset to drift from the current value even with no new information added. In most cases, the calculations that market participants use (which I will, as a Lily-ism, call the future expected payoff function, or FEPF) ends up being quite similar in aggregate, and this is why asset prices likely tend to move slightly up and down for no reason (or rather, this is one interpretation of why). At this point, I expect the 20% of you who know what I'm talking about or have a finance background to say, "Oh but blah blah efficient market hypothesis contradicts random walk blah blah blah" and you're correct, but it also legitimately doesn't matter here. In the long run, stock prices are clearly not a random walk, because a stock's value is obviously tied to the company's fundamentals (knock on wood I don't regret saying this in the 2020s). However, intraday, in the absence of new, public information, it becomes a close enough approximation. Also, some of you might wonder what happens when the future expected payoff function (FEPF) I mentioned before ends up wildly diverging for a stock between participants. This could happen because all of us try to short Nikola because it's quite obviously a joke (so our FEPF for Nikola could, let's say, be 0), while the 20 or so remaining bagholders at NikolaCorporation decide that their FEPF of Nikola is $10,000,000 a share). One of the interesting things which intuitively makes sense, is for nearly all stocks, the amount of divergence among market participants in their FEPF increases substantially as you get farther into the future. This intuitively makes sense, even if you've already quit trying to understand what I'm saying. It's quite easy to say, if at 12:51 PM SPY is worth 350.21 that likely at 12:52 PM SPY will be worth 350.10 or 350.30 in all likelihood. Obviously there are cases this doesn't hold, but more likely than not, prices tend to follow each other, and don't gap up/down hard intraday. However, what if I asked you - given SPY is worth 350.21 at 12:51 PM today, what will it be worth in 2022? Many people will then try to half ass some DD about interest rates and Trump fleeing to Ecuador to value SPY at 150, while others will assume bull markets will continue indefinitely and SPY will obviously be 7000 by then. The truth is -- no one actually knows, because if you did, you wouldn't be reading a reddit post on this at 2 AM in your jammies. In fact, if you could somehow figure out the FEPF of all market participants at any given time, assuming no new information occurs, you should be able to roughly predict the true value of an asset infinitely far into the future (hint: this doesn't exactly hold, but again don't @ me). Now if you do have a finance background, I expect gears will have clicked for some of you, and you may see strong analogies between the FEPF divergence I mentioned, and a concept we're all at least partially familiar with - volatility. Volatility and Price Decoherence ("IV Crush") Volatility, just like the Greeks, isn't exactly a real thing. Most of us have some familiarity with implied volatility on options, mostly when we get IV crushed the first time and realize we just lost $3000 on Tesla calls. If we assume that the current price should represent the weighted likelihoods of all future prices (the random walk), volatility implies the following two things:
Volatility reflects the uncertainty of the current price
Volatility reflects the uncertainty of the future price for every point in the future where the asset has value (up to expiry for options)
[Ignore this section if you aren't pedantic] There's obviously more complex mathematics, because I'm sure some of you will argue in the comments that IV doesn't go up monotonically as option expiry date goes longer and longer into the future, and you're correct (this is because asset pricing reflects drift rate and other factors, as well as certain assets like the VIX end up having cost of carry). Volatility in options is interesting as well, because in actuality, it isn't something that can be exactly computed -- it arises as a plug between the idealized value of an option (the modeled price) and the real, market value of an option (the spot price). Additionally, because the makeup of market participants in an asset's market changes over time, and new information also comes in (thereby increasing likelihood of some possibilities and reducing it for others), volatility does not remain constant over time, either. Conceptually, volatility also is pretty easy to understand. But what about our friend, IV crush? I'm sure some of you have bought options to play events, the most common one being earnings reports, which happen quarterly for every company due to regulations. For the more savvy, you might know of expected move, which is a calculation that uses the volatility (and therefore price) increase of at-the-money options about a month out to calculate how much the options market forecasts the underlying stock price to move as a response to ER. Binary Catalyst Events and Price Decoherence Remember what I said about price formation being a gradual, continuous process? In the face of special circumstances, in particularly binary catalyst events - events where the outcome is one of two choices, good (1) or bad (0) - the gradual part gets thrown out the window. Earnings in particular is a common and notable case of a binary event, because the price will go down (assuming the company did not meet the market's expectations) or up (assuming the company exceeded the market's expectations) (it will rarely stay flat, so I'm not going to address that case). Earnings especially is interesting, because unlike other catalytic events, they're pre-scheduled (so the whole market expects them at a certain date/time) and usually have publicly released pre-estimations (guidance, analyst predictions). This separates them from other binary catalysts (e.g. FSLY dipping 30% on guidance update) because the market has ample time to anticipate the event, and participants therefore have time to speculate and hedge on the event. In most binary catalyst events, we see rapid fluctuations in price, usually called a gap up or gap down, which is caused by participants rapidly intaking new information and changing their FEPF accordingly. This is for the most part an anticipated adjustment to the FEPF based on the expectation that earnings is a Very Big Deal (TM), and is the reason why volatility and therefore option premiums increase so dramatically before earnings. What makes earnings so interesting in particular is the dramatic effect it can have on all market participants FEPF, as opposed to let's say a Trump tweet, or more people dying of coronavirus. In lots of cases, especially the FEPF of the short term (3-6 months) rapidly changes in response to updated guidance about a company, causing large portions of the future possibility spectrum to rapidly and spectacularly go to zero. In an instant, your Tesla 10/30 800Cs go from "some value" to "not worth the electrons they're printed on". [Lily's Speculation] This phenomena, I like to call price decoherence, mostly as an analogy to quantum mechanical processes which produce similar results (the collapse of a wavefunction on observation). Price decoherence occurs at a widespread but minor scale continuously, which we normally call price formation (and explains portions of the random walk derivation explained above), but hits a special limit in the face of binary catalyst events, as in an instant rapid portions of the future expected payoff function are extinguished, versus a more gradual process which occurs over time (as an option nears expiration). Price decoherence, mathematically, ends up being a more generalizable case of the phenomenon we all love to hate - IV crush. Price decoherence during earnings collapses the future expected payoff function of a ticker, leading large portions of the option chain to be effectively worthless (IV crush). It has interesting implications, especially in the case of hedged option sellers, our dear Market Makers. This is because given the expectation that they maintain delta-gamma neutral, and now many of the options they have written are now worthless and have 0 delta, what do they now have to do? They have to unwind. [/Lily's Speculation] - Lily
No gods, no kings, only NOPE - or divining the future with options flows. [Part 3: Hedge Winding, Unwinding, and the NOPE]
Hello friends! We're on the last post of this series ("A Gentle Introduction to NOPE"), where we get to use all the Big Boy Concepts (TM) we've discussed in the prior posts and put them all together. Some words before we begin:
This post will be massively theoretical, in the sense that my own speculation and inferences will be largely peppered throughout the post. Are those speculations right? I think so, or I wouldn't be posting it, but they could also be incorrect.
I will briefly touch on using the NOPE this slide, but I will make a secondary post with much more interesting data and trends I've observed. This is primarily for explaining what NOPE is and why it potentially works, and what it potentially measures.
My advice before reading this is to glance at my prior posts, and either read those fully or at least make sure you understand the tl;drs: https://www.reddit.com/thecorporation/collection/27dc72ad-4e78-44cd-a788-811cd666e32a Depending on popular demand, I will also make a last-last post called FAQ, where I'll tabulate interesting questions you guys ask me in the comments! --- So a brief recap before we begin. Market Maker ("Mr. MM"): An individual or firm who makes money off the exchange fees and bid-ask spread for an asset, while usually trying to stay neutral about the direction the asset moves. Delta-gamma hedging: The process Mr. MM uses to stay neutral when selling you shitty OTM options, by buying/selling shares (usually) of the underlying as the price moves. Law of Surprise [Lily-ism]: Effectively, the expected profit of an options trade is zero for both the seller and the buyer. Random Walk: A special case of a deeper probability probability called a martingale, which basically models stocks or similar phenomena randomly moving every step they take (for stocks, roughly every millisecond). This is one of the most popular views of how stock prices move, especially on short timescales. Future Expected Payoff Function [Lily-ism]: This is some hidden function that every market participant has about an asset, which more or less models all the possible future probabilities/values of the assets to arrive at a "fair market price". This is a more generalized case of a pricing model like Black-Scholes, or DCF. Counter-party: The opposite side of your trade (if you sell an option, they buy it; if you buy an option, they sell it). Price decoherence ]Lily-ism]: A more generalized notion of IV Crush, price decoherence happens when instead of the FEPF changing gradually over time (price formation), the FEPF rapidly changes, due usually to new information being added to the system (e.g. Vermin Supreme winning the 2020 election). --- One of the most popular gambling events for option traders to play is earnings announcements, and I do owe the concept of NOPE to hypothesizing specifically about the behavior of stock prices at earnings. Much like a black hole in quantum mechanics, most conventional theories about how price should work rapidly break down briefly before, during, and after ER, and generally experienced traders tend to shy away from playing earnings, given their similar unpredictability. Before we start: what is NOPE? NOPE is a funny backronym from Net Options Pricing Effect, which in its most basic sense, measures the impact option delta has on the underlying price, as compared to share price. When I first started investigating NOPE, I called it OPE (options pricing effect), but NOPE sounds funnier. The formula for it is dead simple, but I also have no idea how to do LaTeX on reddit, so this is the best I have: https://preview.redd.it/ais37icfkwt51.png?width=826&format=png&auto=webp&s=3feb6960f15a336fa678e945d93b399a8e59bb49 Since I've already encountered this, put delta in this case is the absolute value (50 delta) to represent a put. If you represent put delta as a negative (the conventional way), do not subtract it; add it. To keep this simple for the non-mathematically minded: the NOPE today is equal to the weighted sum (weighted by volume) of the delta of every call minus the delta of every put for all options chains extending from today to infinity. Finally, we then divide that number by the # of shares traded today in the market session (ignoring pre-market and post-market, since options cannot trade during those times). Effectively, NOPE is a rough and dirty way to approximate the impact of delta-gamma hedging as a function of share volume, with us hand-waving the following factors:
To keep calculations simple, we assume that all counter-parties are hedged. This is obviously not true, especially for idiots who believe theta ganging is safe, but holds largely true especially for highly liquid tickers, or tickers will designated market makers (e.g. any ticker in the NASDAQ, for instance).
We assume that all hedging takes place via shares. For SPY and other products tracking the S&P, for instance, market makers can actually hedge via futures or other options. This has the benefit for large positions of not moving the underlying price, but still makes up a fairly small amount of hedges compared to shares.
Winding and Unwinding
I briefly touched on this in a past post, but two properties of NOPE seem to apply well to EER-like behavior (aka any binary catalyst event):
NOPE measures sentiment - In general, the options market is seen as better informed than share traders (e.g. insiders trade via options, because of leverage + easier to mask positions). Therefore, a heavy call/put skew is usually seen as a bullish sign, while the reverse is also true.
NOPE measures system stability
I'm not going to one-sentence explain #2, because why say in one sentence what I can write 1000 words on. In short, NOPE intends to measure sensitivity of the system (the ticker) to disruption. This makes sense, when you view it in the context of delta-gamma hedging. When we assume all counter-parties are hedged, this means an absolutely massive amount of shares get sold/purchased when the underlying price moves. This is because of the following: a) Assume I, Mr. MM sell 1000 call options for NKLA 25C 10/23 and 300 put options for NKLA 15p 10/23. I'm just going to make up deltas because it's too much effort to calculate them - 30 delta call, 20 delta put. This implies Mr. MM needs the following to delta hedge: (1000 call options * 30 shares to buy for each) [to balance out writing calls) - (300 put options * 20 shares to sell for each) = 24,000net shares Mr. MM needs to acquire to balance out his deltas/be fully neutral. b) This works well when NKLA is at $20. But what about when it hits $19 (because it only can go down, just like their trucks). Thanks to gamma, now we have to recompute the deltas, because they've changed for both the calls (they went down) and for the puts (they went up). Let's say to keep it simple that now my calls are 20 delta, and my puts are 30 delta. From the 24,000 net shares, Mr. MM has to now have: (1000 call options * 20 shares to have for each) - (300 put options * 30 shares to sell for each) = 11,000 shares. Therefore, with a $1 shift in price, now to hedge and be indifferent to direction, Mr. MM has to go from 24,000 shares to 11,000 shares, meaning he has to sell 13,000 shares ASAP, or take on increased risk. Now, you might be saying, "13,000 shares seems small. How would this disrupt the system?" (This process, by the way, is called hedge unwinding) It won't, in this example. But across thousands of MMs and millions of contracts, this can - especially in highly optioned tickers - make up a substantial fraction of the net flow of shares per day. And as we know from our desk example, the buying or selling of shares directly changes the price of the stock itself. This, by the way, is why the NOPE formula takes the shape it does. Some astute readers might notice it looks similar to GEX, which is not a coincidence. GEX however replaces daily volume with open interest, and measures gamma over delta, which I did not find good statistical evidence to support, especially for earnings. So, with our example above, why does NOPE measure system stability? We can assume for argument's sake that if someone buys a share of NKLA, they're fine with moderate price swings (+- $20 since it's NKLA, obviously), and in it for the long/medium haul. And in most cases this is fine - we can own stock and not worry about minor swings in price. But market makers can't* (they can, but it exposes them to risk), because of how delta works. In fact, for most institutional market makers, they have clearly defined delta limits by end of day, and even small price changes require them to rebalance their hedges. This over the whole market adds up to a lot shares moving, just to balance out your stupid Robinhood YOLOs. While there are some tricks (dark pools, block trades) to not impact the price of the underlying, the reality is that the more options contracts there are on a ticker, the more outsized influence it will have on the ticker's price. This can technically be exactly balanced, if option put delta is equal to option call delta, but never actually ends up being the case. And unlike shares traded, the shares representing the options are more unstable, meaning they will be sold/bought in response to small price shifts. And will end up magnifying those price shifts, accordingly.
NOPE and Earnings
So we have a new shiny indicator, NOPE. What does it actually mean and do? There's much literature going back to the 1980s that options markets do have some level of predictiveness towards earnings, which makes sense intuitively. Unlike shares markets, where you can continue to hold your share even if it dips 5%, in options you get access to expanded opportunity to make riches... and losses. An options trader betting on earnings is making a risky and therefore informed bet that he or she knows the outcome, versus a share trader who might be comfortable bagholding in the worst case scenario. As I've mentioned largely in comments on my prior posts, earnings is a special case because, unlike popular misconceptions, stocks do not go up and down solely due to analyst expectations being meet, beat, or missed. In fact, stock prices move according to the consensus market expectation, which is a function of all the participants' FEPF on that ticker. This is why the price moves so dramatically - even if a stock beats, it might not beat enough to justify the high price tag (FSLY); even if a stock misses, it might have spectacular guidance or maybe the market just was assuming it would go bankrupt instead. To look at the impact of NOPE and why it may play a role in post-earnings-announcement immediate price moves, let's review the following cases:
Stock Meets/Exceeds Market Expectations (aka price goes up) - In the general case, we would anticipate post-ER market participants value the stock at a higher price, pushing it up rapidly. If there's a high absolute value of NOPE on said ticker, this should end up magnifying the positive move since:
a) If NOPE is high negative - This means a ton of put buying, which means a lot of those puts are now worthless (due to price decoherence). This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to close out their sold/shorted shares, buying them, and pushing the stock price up. b) If NOPE is high positive - This means a ton of call buying, which means a lot of puts are now worthless (see a) but also a lot of calls are now worth more. This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to close out their sold/shorted shares AND also buy more shares to cover their calls, pushing the stock price up. 2) Stock Meets/Misses Market Expectations (aka price goes down)- Inversely to what I mentioned above, this should push to the stock price down, fairly immediately. If there's a high absolute value of NOPE on said ticker, this should end up magnifying the negative move since: a) If NOPE is high negative - This means a ton of put buying, which means a lot of those puts are now worth more, and a lot of calls are now worth less/worth less (due to price decoherence). This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to sell/short more shares, pushing the stock price down. b) If NOPE is high positive - This means a ton of call buying, which means a lot of calls are now worthless (see a) but also a lot of puts are now worth more. This means that to stay delta neutral, market makers need to sell even more shares to keep their calls and puts neutral, pushing the stock price down. --- Based on the above two cases, it should be a bit more clear why NOPE is a measure of sensitivity to system perturbation. While we previously discussed it in the context of magnifying directional move, the truth is it also provides a directional bias to our "random" walk. This is because given a price move in the direction predicted by NOPE, we expect it to be magnified, especially in situations of price decoherence. If a stock price goes up right after an ER report drops, even based on one participant deciding to value the stock higher, this provides a runaway reaction which boosts the stock price (due to hedging factors as well as other participants' behavior) and inures it to drops.
NOPE and NOPE_MAD
I'm going to gloss over this section because this is more statistical methods than anything interesting. In general, if you have enough data, I recommend using NOPE_MAD over NOPE. While NOPE in theory represents a "real" quantity (net option delta over net share delta), NOPE_MAD (the median absolute deviation of NOPE) does not. NOPE_MAD simply answecompare the following:
How exceptional is today's NOPE versus historic baseline (30 days prior)?
How do I compare two tickers' NOPEs effectively (since some tickers, like TSLA, have a baseline positive NOPE, because Elon memes)? In the initial stages, we used just a straight numerical threshold (let's say NOPE >= 20), but that quickly broke down. NOPE_MAD aims to detect anomalies, because anomalies in general give you tendies.
I might add the formula later in Mathenese, but simply put, to find NOPE_MAD you do the following:
Calculate today's NOPE score (this can be done end of day or intraday, with the true value being EOD of course)
Calculate the end of day NOPE scores on the ticker for the previous 30 trading days
Compute the median of the previous 30 trading days' NOPEs
Find today's deviation as compared to the MAD calculated by: [(today's NOPE) - (median NOPE of last 30 days)] / (median absolute deviation of last 30 days)
This is usually reported as sigma (σ), and has a few interesting properties:
The mean of NOPE_MAD for any ticker is almost exactly 0.
[Lily's Speculation's Speculation] NOPE_MAD acts like a spring, and has a tendency to reverse direction as a function of its magnitude. No proof on this yet, but exploring it!
Using the NOPE to predict ER
So the last section was a lot of words and theory, and a lot of what I'm mentioning here is empirically derived (aka I've tested it out, versus just blabbered). In general, the following holds true:
3 sigma NOPE_MAD tends to be "the threshold": For very low NOPE_MAD magnitudes (+- 1 sigma), it's effectively just noise, and directionality prediction is low, if not non-existent. It's not exactly like 3 sigma is a play and 2.9 sigma is not a play; NOPE_MAD accuracy increases as NOPE_MAD magnitude (either positive or negative) increases.
NOPE_MAD is only useful on highly optioned tickers: In general, I introduce another parameter for sifting through "candidate" ERs to play: option volume * 100/share volume. When this ends up over let's say 0.4, NOPE_MAD provides a fairly good window into predicting earnings behavior.
NOPE_MAD only predicts during the after-market/pre-market session: I also have no idea if this is true, but my hunch is that next day behavior is mostly random and driven by market movement versus earnings behavior. NOPE_MAD for now only predicts direction of price movements right between the release of the ER report (AH or PM) and the ending of that market session. This is why in general I recommend playing shares, not options for ER (since you can sell during the AH/PM).
NOPE_MAD only predicts direction of price movement: This isn't exactly true, but it's all I feel comfortable stating given the data I have. On observation of ~2700 data points of ER-ticker events since Mar 2019 (SPY 500), I only so far feel comfortable predicting whether stock price goes up (>0 percent difference) or down (<0 price difference). This is +1 for why I usually play with shares.
Some statistics: #0) As a baseline/null hypothesis, after ER on the SPY500 since Mar 2019, 50-51% price movements in the AH/PM are positive (>0) and ~46-47% are negative (<0). #1) For NOPE_MAD >= +3 sigma, roughly 68% of price movements are positive after earnings. #2) For NOPE_MAD <= -3 sigma, roughly 29% of price movements are positive after earnings. #3) When using a logistic model of only data including NOPE_MAD >= +3 sigma or NOPE_MAD <= -3 sigma, and option/share vol >= 0.4 (around 25% of all ERs observed), I was able to achieve 78% predictive accuracy on direction.
Like all models, NOPE is wrong, but perhaps useful. It's also fairly new (I started working on it around early August 2020), and in fact, my initial hypothesis was exactly incorrect (I thought the opposite would happen, actually). Similarly, as commenters have pointed out, the timeline of data I'm using is fairly compressed (since Mar 2019), and trends and models do change. In fact, I've noticed significantly lower accuracy since the coronavirus recession (when I measured it in early September), but I attribute this mostly to a smaller date range, more market volatility, and honestly, dumber option traders (~65% accuracy versus nearly 80%). My advice so far if you do play ER with the NOPE method is to use it as following:
Buy/short shares approximately right when the market closes before ER. Ideally even buying it right before the earnings report drops in the AH session is not a bad idea if you can.
Sell/buy to close said shares at the first sign of major weakness (e.g. if the NOPE predicted outcome is incorrect).
Sell/buy to close shares even if it is correct ideally before conference call, or by the end of the after-market/pre-market session.
Only play tickers with high NOPE as well as high option/share vol.
--- In my next post, which may be in a few days, I'll talk about potential use cases for SPY and intraday trends, but I wanted to make sure this wasn't like 7000 words by itself. Cheers. - Lily
Because of the Reddit character limit, I am posting this separately. Episode IX - Balance in the Force: If The Force Awakens was a bad premise executed incredibly well and The Last Jedi was an incredible premise executed badly, The Rise of Skywalker is a terrible premise executed horribly. I disagree with the popular notion that Rian cornered J.J. because TLJ screwed everything up. I have many problems with The Last Jedi, but Rian took what could have been a visionless carbon-copy of the OT, and gave a new bold direction, an inspiring purpose for this trilogy to exist. It opened up so many possibilities for Episode 9, but J.J. took the easiest soulless path. Episode 9 should never have been the plot conclusion that reverses from The Last Jedi and attempts to be a thoughtless fan service finale that ties up the Prequels and the Originals by redoing Return of the Jedi. Episode 9 should have been the thematic conclusion that wraps up the motifs of the Prequels, the Originals, and The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker failed to answer the questions that the trilogy has raised. I am not talking about J.J.'s mystery boxes. Sure, I would have liked to learn how Maz got Luke's lightsaber and who Max von Sydow's character was, but I am talking about the thematic questions. What should the Jedi be and where should the Jedi head toward? What should the galactic government be after the failures of the New Republic? What is the will of the Force? What is the balance? Why is Kylo Ren's path wrong? What is the permanent solution to the chaos that has been repeated again? Despite branding itself to be a finale that attempts to unify the whole saga, The Rise of Skywalker answers none of these because killing Palpy again, this time he is 'dead' dead, solves every problem of the galaxy. The movie fails to wrap up the 42-year franchise, it fails to wrap up what The Last Jedi has set up, it fails to answer The Force Awakens's questions, only raising more questions, it fails to be a fan-service movie, and it even fails to be a fun popcorn movie as its own. This is Spectre of Star Wars. It bafflingly misunderstands what the essence of Star Wars is. As the title suggests, this new story is about our heroes exploring what balance in the Force means. Balance is not just killing Palpy again and be done with it. Here are the basic ideas. Let's continue The Last Jedi's message about the power of myth and everyman. EDIT: I have incorporated EmperorYogg's idea. Crawl: The flames of resistance burn brightly! Word of mouth about the heroic act of Jedi Master LUKE SKYWALKER has spread from planet to planet and inspired the galaxy anew. To suffocate growing unrest, Supreme Leader Hux has silenced all communication between neighboring systems. Defiance is punishable by death. As the First Order struggles to maintain their systems, Lord KYLO REN rages in search of all records of the Force and anyone associated with it, determined to destroy any threat to his power....
The camera pans down and we see common people talking about the legend of Luke Skywalker as they look up the night sky. Then the montage of the word of mouth about Luke Skywalker's heroic sacrifice spreading among the common people throughout the galaxy. Even the FO troopers who witnessed the event at Crait talk about this in secret.
It has been two years after The Last Jedi.
The FO has blocked all civilian communications, trades, and movements between systems. People are only able to travel if they have permission.
Finn has become one of the Commanders of the Resistance.
Kylo dreams of his uncle returning to his mind and pulling him to the light. He dreams of Luke over and over.
Kylo reigns the FO as a Lord. He continues his "kill the past" mentality to the extreme. Kylo wants to remove all record of the Force and those associated with it from the galaxy. He massacres the suspected Force users and destroys the ancient Jedi and Sith relics. He hopes to maintain power as the leader of the FO by gatekeeping such knowledge as he has become fearful that he might lose his authority at any moment. This makes Kylo a thematical opposition to Rey, who wants to spread stories and knowledge of the Force to recruit the Jedi.
After the death of Plagueis, Supreme Hux has been obsessed with the Sith and the Jedi and wants to become a Force-user. Unlike Kylo, who destroys all records of the Force, he has been collecting the lightsabers and ancient relics. He beheads the traitors and captured Resistance fighters on the public square by using the lightsaber he has collected to show off. Despite wanting to become a Force-user, he has no knowledge nor cares to understand it. Only for his power. To beat Kylo Ren out of his power. Basically, Hux is an Indiana Jones villain. This makes Hux an opposition to both Kylo and Rey and gives him an interesting dynamic with Kylo.
As Kylo and the Knights of Ren massacre another group of Force worshippers (Not the Jedi nor the Sith. People like Chirrut who do not fall under any side), Kylo discovers some sort of a key. They return to Coruscant and examine it, discovering it is a key to the World Between Worlds from Rebels. He tries to destroy the key at first but chooses to venture there alone, determined to close this place once and for all so no one can access it. He then dreams of Luke again in his nightmare.
NandovMovies's idea on Chewbacca is pretty fantastic. Chewbacca and C-3PO (translating the Force worshippers' words for Chewbacca) are with these Force worshippers in the intro as Rey is trying to find all the Force-related relics to rebuild the Jedi, but Kylo and his Knights of Ren came in. The Force worshipper contacts Rey through the Force to alert her. We see Rey in her hideout on Kijimi, floating with the Force. There are many new recruits beside her. Rey tells them it is time to go.
Kylo demands the Force worshippers to join him, but they refuse. Kylo and his Knights massacre the worshippers. Before Chewie gets captured, he does something to C-3PO. He captures Chewbacca, C-3PO, and his Falcon and brings them to Coruscant.
The FO attempts to extract information from C-3PO, but Chewie mindwiped him. However, Kylo notices additional modification for C-3PO with the parts that are made with Ajan Kloss steels, meaning the Resistance base is on there. The FO then tortures Chewbacca to get information, but he will not open his mouth. Finally, Kylo arrives. Chewbacca looks away. Kylo interrogates Chewbacca to gain information about where the Resistance and Rey are and what this key is about. Chewbacca resists and starts remembering his happy days with Kylo and Han Solo, and Kylo relieves these moments. Chewbacca watching the marriage... Leia holding her newborn baby... Ben's Jedi training... and Ben killing his father. Kylo tries to suppress it, killing the past but it keeps haunting him back. Despite Chewie's effort, Kylo obtains information regarding the key and Rey and the Resistance's location.
The stationed Republic troopers raid Rey's hideout on Kijimi, but they were already gone. Rey and her Jedi and Rebel recruits escape. Her new recruits comprise of diverse living beings from Kijimi, from teenagers to elders, from humans to aliens... Rey has been recruiting those who wanted to be the Jedi and the Resistance through the stories. In the last hope to preserve the Jedi's legacy, Rey grows from student to teacher and shares the sacred texts to everyone who wants to be Jedi. She has been printing and researching the texts.
We get a chase scene in the village. Rather than Rey killing every enemy in her sight unlike Luke did in Return of the Jedi, she tries more peaceful solutions. Instead of slashing trooper's head, she Force-throws objects and cuts off the bridge, etc. The villagers cheer for the Jedi and block the troopers' way. She protects her pupils and escapes without killing anyone. Connix reveals herself with the hidden Resistance ship and helps them escape. Rey tells her they are new Jedi recruits.
In the road to regroup with the Resistance, Connix thanks Rey for alerting the Resistance. The Resistance has retreated again (As Kylo extracted information about the Resistance base) and she is angry that the Resistance cannot keep running away. They are now bigger than before and this is time to fight back. A new volunteer says that time might be closer since people are resenting the FO rule and the blackout was the last straw. They talk about the sacrifice of Luke Skywalker and how it has inspired people. He asks if Rey is Luke's daughter. Rey gives a bittersweet smile and tells him she is not. She still wants to be someone's daughter.
They regroup on the asteroid world of Opuchi in the Unknown Regions like Polis Massa. The Resistance, now significantly increased in size, has just fled from Ajan Kloss. Opuchi is the last place they have. The Resistance has become a more proper military now, but there are plenty of civilian vehicles modified into the warships. They have been gathering local resistance forces and unifying them under the rebranded name of the Alliance of Free Planets.
While I agree with the Rey Sue criticism in The Force Awakens, people who still complained about Rey being Mary Sue even after TLJ's release seem to misunderstand her character. Rey's character flaw (Yes, it does exist) was that she was so gullible and naive, and The Last Jedi challenged this in an interesting way. Rather than continuing Rey being another Luke Skywalker-type hero, which would not work because of her OP set-up in TFA, Rian made Rey's story as someone with innate power already present with no direction on how to process it and how to find her place in the galaxy. You know, sort of like Superman. If you view through this lens, every Rey's 'want' fails. Her Jedi fantasy gets crushed, her optimism about turning Kylo to good shatters, and her hope about her parentage is torn to pieces. To continue her arc, in REDONE, Rey is no longer a naive optimistic character as she used to be. She is jaded, stressed, and lashes out when she sees students doing something wrong. Not only Rey has self-doubt if she will be able to lead the new generation of the Jedi, but she is also disillusioned and feels that the Jedi's way is wrong.
The Resistance has no idea what to do amidst the communication blackout. The blackout is working for the FO. The Resistance is completely cornered and has no way out. However, R2-D2, who is with Leia, tells that the Coruscant Jedi Temple has an old communication system from the Old Republic that can send a universal signal. (If you have read my ROTS REDONE, R2-D2 was the one who transmitted Obi-Wan's warning message. Even if you take the movie canon, R2-D2 was Anakin's droid, and Anakin already knew where the Temple beacon was, so I do not think it would be big of a stretch that R2 knows about it.) The FO cannot stop it since it far predates the FO, the New Republic, and even the Imperial tech. Leia plans on using it to get allies for possibly the last strike against the FO. "It will go out across all system comm channels and will be inserted into the public holonet. Trillions of beings will soon hear my voice. This is a galaxy-wide call to arms. We can no longer fight in isolation. Together, we will restore hope."
Luke's Force ghost visits Rey after she trained the recruits. Luke: "Another hard day's work?" Rey ignores Luke and says, "Leave me alone." Although Rey has come to terms with Luke, her relationship with Luke is not smooth. Rey talks about how she is not ready for such a task. She does not feel like she has what it takes to be a Jedi and cannot live up to everyone's expectations. Luke says, he has just visited Ben, in his dream, and tells her that Ben is going to the World Between Worlds. A place described in the Jedi texts as a place of balance. The texts tell where the key is. Luke tells Rey that he sensed Ben can be saved thus Rey can bring balance to the Force. However, Rey asks if Kylo is worth saving anymore. If Rey re-establish the Jedi Order, the same thing is bound to happen and the cycle of suffering continues. Rey: "Balance? The dark suffocates the light, light extinguishes the dark. Over and over and over again. How is that balance in the Force?" Luke: "I know that anger. My father had it too." Rey: "So says my master and his master before him. A thousand masters so eager to tell us how to live." Regardless, Rey decides to have a dangerous journey alone. Although Rey doubts about it, Rey still feels the need to try. Leia and Finn doubt it.
Finn then talks about Kylo. He says, "He can't change. It's too late." Rey says, "It's never too late to change. You taught me that." This sets Finn's character arc that he needs to learn people can change as he did.
Maz is with Rey. Maz talks about the former Jedi who found Anakin's lightsaber. "The former Togruta Jedi" did not follow the Jedi's principles, yet was still able to do good, proving you can still serve the Force without inheriting the way of the Jedi.
Rey tells Leia that she does not feel she belongs with the heroes like Leia, Finn, and Chewie. She feels unworthy. Leia brings some senses to her. "You're not like my father or my brother. You're new. Whatever happens, remember the Force chose you, Rey. Your story isn't written by anyone else." Rey's arc in Episode 9 is about learning to stop relying on other people (or things) for validation and learn to start relying on herself. She doesn’t have to be told her place in the Galaxy, she has to find it herself and she can still be a hero despite coming from nothing.
Finn tries to persuade her not to go. The Resistance and the Jedi recruits need her. If she has to go, Finn will go with her. Rey refuses, but Finn begs her to take him. Rey uses the Force mind tricks on him, but it does not work as his spirit is too strong. Rey runs away with R2-D2 and leaves Finn without a proper goodbye.
R2-D2 wants to meet Kylo again, as he has always been with Ben until he became Kylo Ren. Rey hesitates, but Leia tells her to bring him.
Leia's mission is to gather many armies as possible for the final confrontation against the FO on Coruscant. Nien Nunb tells where Lando is and she meets Lando in his casino at Canto Bight. She asks him to join the fight but Lando refuses. What's the point of fighting when the same thing repeats. This conversation leads to Leia's decision at the end of the story. Leia gets disappointed and leaves the casino. Lando feels guilty for not helping Leia.
For Finn's arc, u/withoutamartyr seems to be ideal. Finn's mission is to get into Coruscant through the FO freighter and transmit Leia's message. Wedge is said to be there. Before they depart, R2-D2 and BB-8 come together. R2-D2's prod connects to BB-8 and gives him the map of the Jedi Temple, passing down the torch.
Finn, BB-8, and his squad, disguised as the migrant workers, are sent to one of the agriworlds in the Outer Rims. This can be Ertegas or Taris. They go through a checkpoint, which is about to close today. Only Finn gets accepted as the last migrant for today. One of the troopers recognizes Finn's face and about to detain him, but a sergeant trooper comes out and takes Finn away. The trooper takes out his helmet to reveal Wedge Antilles.
Wedge guides Finn and BB-8 to Babu Frik, who lives hiding in the migrant settlement. Babu Frik modifies BB-8's shell into the FO BB unit. Wedge talks about how people on Coruscant are starving due to the blackout as Coruscant has little to no farm. Finn has to get into the freighter loaded with bread-powder rations (The powder Rey used to grow bread in TFA), resources, and the weaponry. Here, Finn asks, "How'd you do it? How did you defeat an Empire with almost nothing?" Wedge responds, "We had each other. That's how we won."
With the help of Wedge, Finn hides in the bread-powder container and loads into the freighter while disguised BB-8 is already in the freighter and hacks the scanner examining the loads. They successfully get smuggled into the freighter which heads to Coruscant.
Among the troopers are Elite Troopers, who have been highly trained with high moral.
In the road to Coruscant, Finn, covered in bread powder, gets out of the container and sneaks into the vents. In the vent, water drops fall onto Finn and loaves of bread grow out of his skins and clothes. He gets detected and captured. The FO captain tries contacting other fleets, but BB-8 jammed the freighter, cutting off any communication from the ship. The captain says there must be a droid spy and orders them to find BB-8. BB-8 must have the Resistance location. The captain is giggling, thinking he will get promoted for killing infamous Finn. When Finn is ordered to be executed, the troopers refuse the order and shoot their captain. They take off their helmets, a boy, a 16-year-old child soldier as the FO has lowered the conscription age, and his older sister, Jannah. They are alien characters, Zabrak, Twe'lek, Chiss, Pantoran, Togruta, Mirialan... It does not matter. They say, "We all know your name." Soldiers do not know what they are fighting for anymore and their morale is an all-time low. Finn and the troopers start a breakout, and more troopers get inspired and do the same. The defected group gets larger and creates a massive mutiny and overthrow their superiors. Finn and the deserters take control of the ship before the officers were able to alert the HQ.
Jannah tells her backstory. She enlisted to the FO because they promised to give equal society for non-humans after two decades of brutal humanist rule of the Empire. Until she realized she is no different from a stormtrooper. Finn asks what was the last straw. She says it was him. It is because of the story of Finn that made her turn. She says Finn is the legend among the FO troopers and fangirls over Finn. She tells Finn's defection and myth have already caused several mutinies within the FO. "We are not alone. Good people will fight if we lead them."
The freighter of Finn and his army of the deserted Republic troopers gets into Coruscant. Coruscant is surrounded by the shield blockade like Scarif from Rogue One, reinforcing the notion that societies are isolated from each other. Large stations hover over the cities. Coruscant is no longer a vibrant city. Because of the embargo, citizens are poor and many have become scavengers. We learn of the FO's status in the galaxy and how the people feel about it. The public has turned against the government, but they cannot rebel due to martial law. They surround Hux's gigantic sky palace that is floating behind the abandoned Senate building. Like how Wallace corp. is built right behind Tyrell corp. in Blade Runner 2049. They fool the guards using the Republic trooper disguise (as the deserters are literally the Republic troopers) and go into the Jedi temple, marveled by its history and architecture.
Chased by Knights of Ren, Finn, and BB-8 restore the power of the Temple and successfully transmit Leia's inspiring message to people all over the galaxy to join the battle of Coruscant. "The First Order has continued the pretense that they would end social injustice and corruption. On the surface, their policies may seem to be aimed at righting the wrongs imposed by the tyrannical Empire. But their true goal has always been no different from the Empire: The subjugation of the thousand thousand worlds and the enslavement of all galactic citizens. They rule by fear rather than by consent. They state that all beings are equal citizens while they carry out missions designed to destroy whole populations." [...] "For too long we have watched the heavy hand of the First Order strangle our liberties, stifling our freedoms in the name of ensuring our safety. No longer. It is now time for action. Despite the First Order's threats, despite the Supreme Leader Hux himself, I have no fear as I take new action. For I know I am not alone. Beginning today we stand together as people. Today, we all vow to free the galaxy once more, and today the galaxy will indeed be free." [...] "We ask much of you. The fate of the galaxy rests in this one decisive fight for freedom. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The time has come to stop hiding and face tyranny one to one. This is our most desperate hour. Help us, everyone. You are the galaxy's only hope. Let the stars sing! Let the planets shout! May the Force be with all of us." A montage of people in the galaxy hearing her message, including Lando's casino where every droid there projects Leia's message. Even R2-D2, who is with Rey, projects Leia's message. Rey realizes the assault has begun.
In his journey to the World Between Worlds, Kylo meets Rey and fights her. However, Rey overwhelms Kylo and cuts his limbs out. He falls to the ground, tumbles near the lava. Kylo discovers he has transported to Mustafar, and in front of him is Obi-Wan, delivering his lines from ROTS. Kylo tries climbing up, but the fire catches up to his clothing. Kylo feels immense pain as fire burns his skins. Then he wakes up and his limbs are fine. An illusion. Kylo thinks this is a trick of the Force this place has set, trying to keep away intruders who aren’t worthy of possessing its power.
He meets the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker. Anakin could not contact Kylo for a long time as Plagueis has been blocking that contact. This would be a fantastic opportunity to redeem Hayden Christensen with competent direction and dialogues. Kylo at first resists Anakin and tries to destroy him. Anakin persuades him to realize errors of his power obsession and 'kill the past' mentality.
In TWBW, Kylo experiences the history of the Sith as he sort of time travels like Bran. Showing that Kylo's path is not so different from Darth Vader and other Sith. They spend a long time as these two having a journey together. Imagine Cade Skywalker meeting Anakin from Legacy. Kylo also meets his old self, deformed and scarred with deep sorrow, the inevitable fate if Kylo chooses to go down this path.
Hux finds a Sith relic. I am undecided about what this relic should be or how he found it yet. He could have sent Pryde after Kylo to TWBW and learn about it. Regardless, Hux meets the Sith ghost of Plagueis. Plagueis tells Hux that Kylo killed him, not the girl. Now, Hux has a reason to turn his military against his despised tyrant boss for treason. Hux assumes himself as the 'Lord' and promises Pryde to promote him to the Supreme Leader if Pryde kills Kylo. Kylo has lost the power he so much adored. This humbles Kylo and changes his character.
Plagueis promises Hux that he will gain the immense Force power if he lets Plagueis borrow his body. Hux can be a Sith he has so desired. Hux can live forever. Hux denies.
Rey needs to learn about the true meaning of balance to the Force and her self-worth in the journey. Her journey also needs to come together with Kylo. Maybe Rey arriving at Tython, the ancient Jedi homeworld, to find the key to the World Between Worlds, and in that process, she witnesses how the Jedi Order has changed and perverted by dogmatism. Or she goes to Lothal and goes through the Painting of the Mortis gods. Or, a more interesting one, she goes to the homeworld of Celestials. Celestials have had such immense Force powers that Jedi and Sith legends suggest that they may have merged with the Force itself, and are actually the 'guiding' part of The Force. Unlike Jedi or Sith, they did not view the Force as light and dark. To them, the Force was only the Force. They saw the Force as a single thing. They recognized the Force had more than one aspect to it, more precisely sides to it. While the Jedi see any use of the Force that breaks what they define as being natural, as being an abomination in the Force. Basically they call it an unclean and impure use of the Force that brings nothing but death and destruction. To a Jedi, the light side is the only side. The true nature of the Force. While obviously the Sith saw things at the opposite end of the Jedi. In a way, the Jedi broke up the Force and were responsible for the creation of an imbalance in the galaxy as well as the Sith. Seeing they themselves are out of balance for they only see the Force as they want to see it and not as it is. Rey finally realizes the balance. She obtains the key and goes to the World Between Worlds. The challenge here is to integrate Rey's external challenge in this part. Like Rey just wandering around the ancient relics, learning things, and exiting is boring. There need to be stakes here, and I do not know what could that be. Maybe the Knights of Ren chase after both Rey?
Another alternative is Rey arrives at Lothal first and goes through the painting to reach the TWBW. Rey goes through time and space and discovers Celestials.
She encounters Kylo. Kylo and Rey fight, as he promised to Luke that he will destroy her, but Rey tries persuading him, using the knowledge she just gained. Trying to convince that Kylo's way is wrong. To Rey, the whole dark side/light side thing is drawn out, and clearly both have major flaws. In anger that he has lost his power in the FO, Kylo defeats Rey. However, Rey manages to turn Kylo to good. However, I am not sure what triggers Kylo to turn at this moment yet. Maybe Anakin and Luke intervene and tell Rey and Kylo that both Luke and Anakin were affected by the Jedi's inability to prepare them for the darkness they would feel.
Another argument to refute Kylo is that he is wrong that he can stop the Force. He cannot stop the Force and his determination to destroy those who can use it only furthers the Force's calling.
Or you can have a moment where R2 projects the recording of Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar. "I have brought peace, freedom, justice, and security to my new empire!" If you want a movie canon, R2-D2 shows Anakin choking Padme, which parallels Kylo killing Rey. Urging Kylo that he is no different from Anakin and the Sith's path. Kylo decides not to kill Rey but has not turned yet. Pryde and his Elite Troopers die.
Leia's forces drop out of hyperspace and face the FO navy on Coruscant. The Resistance is hopelessly outnumbered. Now, there is no going back. Leia trusts in hope and believes people will come together.
People on Coruscant get inspired by Leia's message and the space battle above Coruscant and start rebelling against the FO. The soldiers are dispatched to suppress the riots. Hux detects where the message is coming from and sends the troops into the Jedi temple. Finn and the deserted Republic troopers escape the temple and return to the freighter to leave Coruscant.
At the most desperate moment, the civilian reinforcements led by Lando from across the galaxy to join the battle.
In the freighter, before Finn decides to leave Coruscant, he looks out the window and witnesses the space battle above Coruscant and the soldiers suppressing the revolution. Instead of running away, he decides to broadcast his message to all troopers on Coruscant through the radio. Similar to the scene from The Winter Soldier, Finn accepts his status as a legend. "Troopers, I'm Finn. You know me. You've heard my story. Make my story yours." They don't know if it works until the FO forces halt and massive mutinies take all over them. Finn hears many voices from the radio, "We hear you, Finn.", "We are with you,""We all have heard of you! " We see a long slow-motion montage of Republic troopers, who took out their helmets, joining the crowd. Finn leads the charge into the government buildings. The revolution has begun. 'People' overthrow the FO. Very much like Les Miz and Metropolis imagery. With this, Finn concludes his arc. This reinforces the theme of rebellion reborn, the power of legend, and the theme of people versus the FO.
During the chaos, Chewbacca and C-3PO escapes and flies the Falcon to assist the revolution from the sky. We get a chase sequence on the cityscape. The Falcon destroys the planetary shield gate from inside to help the Resistance fleet coming into the planet.
Meanwhile, Plagueis once again asks Hux to borrow his body. Realizing Hux has no way out, he lets Plagueis. Plagueis possess Hux and revives by obtaining the body of Hux.
During Pryde's attack, the World Between Worlds gets destroyed. In the World Between Worlds, Rey teleports herself to Coruscant to face Hux possessed by Plagueis. (As you can teleport space and time in TWBW)
Rey arrives at the sky palace and faces Plagueis, but is too weak to fight him. Rey is defeated and can do nothing. Plagueis laughs and says it matters not that the FO fall. He will flee to Unknown Regions and return someday to avenge to rule the galaxy, and the cycle will continue. Plagueis uses the Force to control the sky palace and launches it into the sky, away from the planet. (Or the palace works like a ship and has a flying function) He says he will train Rey in the ways of the dark side to make her another Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. The Resistance attacks the palace, but lasers won't penetrate.
Before the sky palace lightspeeds, the palace pauses as if something is holding back. It is revealed that Ben Solo on the ground is holding the sky palace to stop escaping. Everyone on the ground is shocked to see Kylo Ren and sees his Force stopping the sky palace. However, Ben's power is not enough and the palace continues fleeing.
In the sky palace, Rey hears the voices of the past Jedi. The Force flows within Rey and everyone.
Just as Ben loses his grip on the sky palace, a boy comes out and extends his hand toward the sky palace. Others follow. Masses of the crowd gathers and reaches for the sky palace, including Finn and his band of deserters. Together, they stop the sky palace and Plagueis escaping. Here, Ben has a realization that the Force cannot be stopped. This is a payoff to the theme of everyone can be a Jedi.
Ben Force-pushes out of the wreckage and enters Hux's throne room. Rey also wakes up, keep hearing the voices of the Jedi. Plagueis's dark ghost leaves Hux's body, saying he cannot die. The Force ghosts of the Jedi appear and put their hands on Ben and Rey's shoulders. They then extend their hands and the light comes out as Yoda did in Episode III REDONE. However, it does not work and Plagueis overwhelms them still.
Rey represents the light and Ben the dark. Ben tries to help Rey by shooting out light with her, but it still does not work. Plagueis says the light cannot match the dark. Rey realizes something and encourages Kylo to find balance within the Force. They embrace balance. Rey and Ben extend their hands and the light and the dark come out. They do what Jacen Solo did in the Unifying Force and achieve complete oneness with the power of the Force. The light and the dark mix together and shoot out grey. The balance in the middle. Strengths and weaknesses of both sides. Rey and Ben obliterate Hux's body as well as Plagueis's soul.
I am not sure if 'grey' is an optimal option when the theme is about abandoning the light and the dark dichotomy. The scene is somewhat too cheesy in my taste, but so far this is the best way I can think of to go about it for now until I can think of a better solution.
There is a cool concept art of Treverrow version where Rey reaches a place of the Force beyond what we know and meets the Force ghosts of the past Jedi like Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Luke. The gray gets to Rey and she arrives at the sand field, where sand is black and the sky is white. Not heaven nor hell, a limbo. From the fog, hundreds of the Jedi walk out before her. Yoda reveals Rey succeeded where they failed. "You choose to abandon the light and dark dichotomy of the Force. To find the balance within."
The FO collapses and the Resistance assumes the control of Coruscant. Leia now sees it was corrupt out of touch bureaucracy of the Old and New Republic that birthed the Empire and the FO. In the half-destroyed Galactic Senate, instead of establishing the New New Republic, Leia declares there will not be a central galactic government. She will let each system to secede and declare independence.
Ben Solo turns good at the end, but is not 'redeemed'. I like Stephan Krosecz's idea. On Tatooine where Anakin was born, Ben defeats the FO remnants and stands before the mass grave where Ben ordered his men to slaughter the villagers and killed Mon Mothma. He is directly facing 'the past' and owning it. Ben tells Anakin's Force ghost that he will reject the surname, "Solo", as he feels he does not deserve his father's legacy and wander the galaxy alone to atone for his sins by helping people. Anakin tells him to carry that name. Solo is who you are and you should not bury it. Ben agrees and decides to carry that name in his journey to repent for his wrongdoings. This would be a far interesting angle for his character. This works with the theme that we should change for the better without forgetting the past. Acknowledging that people he has hurt should not feel obligated to befriend and accept him.
Yoda calls Luke "Master Skywalker" as a payoff to Yoda calling Luke "Young Skywalker".
In the end, Rey achieves balance in the Force by what Lucas has revealed in his interviews during the Prequels: "...The Force has two sides, the good side, the evil side, and they both need to be there.", "It is not a malevolent or a benevolent thing.", "Too much light or dark would be the undoing of life as you understand it." The prophecy is not the light side reigning the galaxy as the Jedi have thought, nor the dark side reigning the galaxy as the Sith have thought. It is about incorporating the pros of both sides and be better. After the victory, Rey gathers her pupils on Ahch-To, where everything began. Finn and Jannah are among them. Rey gives a speech.
She establishes the Jedi Academy, not the Jedi Order, that embraces the legacy of the Jedi but learns from the failures of the past Jedi Orders and erases rigid dogmatism that ultimately doomed her parents and the Jedi. The light side, the dark side, these are outdated binary concepts. It only becomes a cycle of reaction: the light side rules, which births the dark side, which births the light side. The cycle that only creates pain and suffering. As George said, "It rhymes." Rey believes there is a healthy middle ground. We should allow all human emotions and encourage the worshippers of the Force to follow their feelings and live to the fullest without a petty dogma controlling their lives. Rey announces the new Jedi code: "Emotion, yet peace. Ignorance, yet knowledge. Passion, yet serenity. Chaos, yet harmony. Death, yet the Force." It sends the opposite message to the original Jedi code and emphasizes a true balance. Rey believes it is important to accept these emotions rather than overcoming them or acting like they do not exist. The latter leads to Jedi falling to the dark after years of suppressing emotion and feelings that are natural and perhaps necessary to be compassionate and selfless as Jedi are. Emotions and passion exist because we are living beings. Rey allows people to express their darkness to others, not hide it away until it takes over them. We are all ignorant of some things which drive us to educate ourselves. Rey lets the students interpret the ancient texts freely as interpretations of religion to evolve as time passes, democratizing the Jedi. Individual Jedi can practice the Force in their own way they believe in. She recognizes this will not lead to the perfect world, but it is a step in the right direction. "Because we must try to be better." Rey breaks the cycle of pain and re-invents the Jedi for future generations. The story ends with Rey igniting her now white lightstaff, with the Jedi flag attached, and raising skyward, and her hundred students following her as Force-ghost Luke, Yoda, and Anakin, watching and smiling at the new generation finally bringing balance to the Force.
This is a continuation of the discord project to rate every card in the game on two main criteria: playability and flexibility.
Category 1: Playability
How good is the card in the decks it fits in? S: Best of the best. The card should probably get nerfed in the state it's currently in because it's just that good. You're going to play it all the time in the decks where it works. A: Very strong. Not something you'd see nerfed, but still a very strong card that you want to play every time. B: Good. A very strong option in the decks, but it can theoretically be gone without for one reason or another. C: Decent. It can be worth playing, but there are reasons to drop it as well. D: Bad. It's really not worth playing, though it at least has some merit one way or the other. F: Terrible. There's absolutely no reason to play this card.
Category 2: Flexibility
How many decks can this fit in? S: This is a good option in basically any deck of the class. Top tier crafting material. A: This is a good option in at least 3 different decks. B: This is a good option in at least 2 different decks. C: This is a build around card that itself enables a deck, but doesn't really fit into anything else. D: This is a good option in only one deck. F: This card just doesn't have a deck where it fits in, either because it's just that outclassed by other cards for the deck it wants to be in, or because it wants to be part of a deck that simply doesn't exist. Finally, since there are two key factors that these criteria do not cover, there are two extra modifiers that can be added onto each rating: *: This is a tech card, and can move up or down significantly depending on whether or not you run into what it counters a lot. #: This is a budget card, and moves up in the respective category if your resources are limited. Backup Dancer: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Fun fact, this is the only basic 1/1 that doesn’t have a card strictly better than it due to it having a mustache. It’s also the one you’re most likely to see due to dance off. It’s also still complete and total garbage, and I’m only writing this because it doesn’t need a justification and I’m bored. Bungee Plumber: Playability: B Flexibility: B Justification: While it is a main removal card that doesn’t really run into much competition, it runs into the issue of competing with mission in aggro and not removing anything bigger than a 1 drop (most of the time) and thus falling off way faster than something like berry blast which consistently deals with cards above cost, leading to it being a bit less flexible and a bit more cuttable. Disco-naut: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: Still a 2/1 bullseye that lets the cards that need it most ignore the mechanic designed to slow them down, which is a mechanic so powerful that this has gone through 2 nerfs and still remains uncuttable in anything remotely aggressive. Grave Robber: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Not really a bad card in a vacuum considering it’s a 2/2 bullseye, but competing with Disco-naut and having an ability that is very hard to use effectively due to crazy’s lack of good gravestones and sneaky having a better payoff for gravestones leaves it in a very mediocre spot, even if going for pirate synergy. Loose Cannon: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: Block charger incarnate. Trading poorly and charging block when it’s not trading leave this card in a very poor spot on average, with its main application being it being okay in budget imps from being okay with Imp Commander. Mystery Egg: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: RNG does not lend itself to good cards, and this is no exception. In the most budget decks this can be a decent combo with Unlife of the party, but it falls off in usefulness quite fast. Quickdraw Conman: Playability: A Flexibility: S Justification: From S/S to just not quite S/S, conman remains an absolute monster of a card that you need a very good reason to ever consider cutting due to being easy chip on a very durable body. The only thing that could make this better is if plants had good draw for it to punish even harder. Tennis Champion: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: 4 damage for 1 in aggro, but becoming a heavy block charger afterwards leaves it with very few applications compared to something like bonk choy, especially with differences in phases. If it was a 2/1 with +2 attack on turn of play it would be about 20 times better, but as is it’s mainly just a budget card. Trapper Territory: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too low value to really see play anywhere, and with PoTG gutted it doesn’t even have it’s moderate usefulness as an anti-cyclecap tech. Unlife of the Party: Playability: C# Flexibility: D Justification: While very weak initially, if it can be set up a bit it snowballs quite hard. Its main weakness is not being playable solo on 1 like you would want to with most 1 drops you run which makes it weaker in non-budget aggro, but it’s still playable and quite useful in Zoo Z-mech decks which can grow it incredibly fast. Aerobics Instructor: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Solid snowballing card for dance decks, and though moderate inconsistency at actually doing anything can make it mildly cuttable, you usually want to run it anyway from massive potential snowballing and not losing stats for it. Barrel of Deadbeards: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: It’s a bit awkward to play, which leaves it quite inflexible, but in valk decks or very specific impfinity decks (that are quite a bit weaker with the BoB nerf) it’s an absolute all star for being able to clean up youyour opponent’s board respectively and leaving behind a very good body. Conga Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Trades like a 3/2 or occasionally a bit better, but the one damage is unlikely to kill and it’s not good at pushing due to poor stats, which leaves it with much better alternatives. Cuckoo Zombie: Playability: D# Flexibility: F Justification: If left unchecked, Cuckoo Zombie will absolutely clock your opponent, so they better watch out, but on the second hand, its low health and poor timing means it won't last a minute against an average defence making it a poor play on the average day. Disco Dance Floor: Playability: A Flexibility: D Justification: An absolute all star card in aggro and dance that will usually generate at least 6 damage and often more if you can get a good fusion off. Generally not worth it elsewhere due to not trading at all. Explosive Fruitcake: Playability: A Flexibility: B Justification: In a weird spot as a removal control sometimes doesn’t want to run because it’s an inherent -1 but also aggro doesn’t want to run because it’s a bit too slow. Would be amazing in midrange as a massive tempo card if crazy midrange was more of a thing, and is a staple in valk and trickster since they’re combo decks and don’t care as much as control decks about the card advantage, along with being a sometimes inclusion in control if you can stomach the card disadvantage. Final Mission: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: No longer S thanks to costing a reasonable amount, but still a very solid finisheremoval for aggro and valk decks since you will inevitably have fodder lying around for it. Meteor Z: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: If you really need a buff, just play sugary treat, but you probably shouldn’t need either of them since they really don’t help all that much from not providing (much) more survivable trades and automatically 2 for 1ing yourself. Newspaper Zombie: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Too much investment for something too easy to shut down, running into the same problem Hibernating Beary had where you invest into it to become good but a lack of other targets for your self-hurt means it gets shut down and you’re left lost. Quazar Wizard: Playability: A Flexibility: A Justification: Midrange, Aggro, and Valkyrie absolutely love this card as it’s an easy to activate body that produces a super at the loss of a single stat point. Control can also think about it, though lack of activators can sometimes lead to problems. Generally just a fantastic card you want to run most of the time. Space Ninja: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: This card has some very sick combos you can set up with it, but they’re incredibly unreliable and with the Barrel of Barrels nerf even slower than before. It does have the advantage of being a 2 cost 3/2, but with the ability rarely if ever going off it doesn’t see much play. Sugary Treat: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: A pretty poor buff card due to a lack of health provided which makes it unlikely to compensate for the inherent dangers of buff cards, being massive potential to get 2 for 1d and being useless without a target. Can at very least be okay at pushing damage, but generally there are better options for that too. Zombie’s Best Friend: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: The randomness of the ability means the body generated will often be useless, so it’s very important to run this in a deck with final mission and that really wants lots of fodder. That leaves valk, in which it can be a decent option, but valk has a LOT of decent options so it can also often be cut. Abracadaver: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: This card runs into a major problem with the current gravestones, which is that there is no gravestone that meaningfully punishes you for fronting it with a small card. That means that most gravestones will be fronted with small cards, and this will die for free. If it had any chance of getting through on its own it would be at very least decent, but right now the situations counter it too perfectly. Disco Zombie: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Poor body that produces a body that will more often than not weaken your board state. There is always better things to run. Exploding Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Suffers from the same problem as abracadaver (will be fronted by its exact counter most of the time) with the added problem of additionally being garbage on its own too. Fireworks Zombie: Playability: B* Flexibility: D Justification: A cheap, 1 card method of disrupting swarm while putting out a body, along with being decent on its own as well for finishing off anything heavily damaged from combat. The more swarm you see the better this gets, and if you don’t see much it’s more cuttable. Gizzard Lizard: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: It competes with fireworks while being significantly worse due to requiring a sacrifice to do anything and not really helping much more against swarm. Jester: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Theoretically, this doesn’t run into the same problem as Exploding Imp and Abracadaver because it wants to be fronted by small cards. However, the reward being mediocre chip at best and outright block charging at worst leaves much to be desired, so the main application of this is to evolve headhunter, which can simply be done by better cards. Moon Base Z: Playability: C Flexibility: D Justification: Can be a decent damage pusher for aggro but reliance on having another card and being generally a bit slow make it often not the best option. Can combo with cards that trigger upon hitting the plant hero, but that’s even slower and less useful. Unexpected Gifts: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: Has mild merit due to being the only direct source of card advantage in crazy, but the card quality is questionable and it’s very unlikely to provide cards you want to advance your gameplan. Zombot’s Wrath: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: If it hit for 6 more often than once a year, then it would maybe be a better card. As is, it’s just a bit too expensive to be worth it since aggro has final mission and control decks have other small removal. Cakesplosion: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Add fruit and make it cost 2 less and do more damage, or just run wrath instead because basically nothing relevant has 4 health. Cosmic Dancer: Playability: D# Flexibility: D Justification: Too expensive for what it does normally, but can be an okay budget option for dancing decks. Headhunter: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Restricted to only dancing decks but quite a good card in them. Solid body unevolved that can help open up the block meter for a flamenco, or evolved on any of the fodder you have lying around a massive body that provides free damage. It also crosses the 4 threshold with its evo, so you can strategically avoid either hammer or shamrocket depending on your matchup. For some variations of dance it’s too slow and can be cut, but a lot of the time it’s good to have around. Orchestra Conductor: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This card’s existence is a misconduct. Stupid Cupid: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Comes down in the wrong phase, like old cryo yeti. If it had gravestone, it would become ridiculously better, also like cryo yeti. As is, it’s complete trash. Tankylosaurus: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: The subject of a sort of build around in impfinity that was massively hurt by the BoB nerf and already kind of inconsistent as is since this card can hit face. Still an okay deck that can completely demolish some plant decks though, as long as you can get around hitting face constantly. The Chickening: Playability: D* Flexibility: D Justification: The massive lack of swarm decks right now really hurts this card. If they ever come back this will be a solid option for control, but as is it’s simply not necessary. Valkyrie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: Formerly S/S, the cost nerf took it out of usability for everything not built around it since it’s no longer completely busted. Still an amazing build around card that enables an aggro/combo deck, which is an unorthodox and good combination since it doesn’t run into the normal problems combo decks have of being overwhelmed early. Binary Stars: Playability: B Flexibility: D Justification: Very combo reliant to be useful and is thus quite inflexible, but has the strength to back it up if you do have the synergy for it due to straight up doubling your damage output. Flamenco Zombie: Playability: A Flexibility: C Justification: The dance finisher that is basically the entire reason you play dance because it can semi-consistently kill on 5 and very consistently kill on 6/7. Not much else to say here, it’s a dance card through and through. Foot Soldier: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: This would probably still be bad even if it didn’t have the play restriction. As is it’s god awful. Frankentaur: Playability: C Flexibility: F Justification: As of now it actually has stats to be playable, but it just really doesn’t have anywhere to fit into since the stats are really all it has and unlike Supernova Gargantuar it can’t also break through blockers to be a 1 card threat. So it’s just in a kind of purgatory where it’s technically playable but it doesn’t have a deck to be playable in. Gargantuar-throwing Imp: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: I’m as shocked as anyone that the massive 1 strength buff this got wasn’t enough to make it anywhere near playable. Which is to say, not shocked at all. Hippity Hop Gargantuar: Playability: D Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda just clogs lanes, so it’s outclassed by Frankentaur at whatever the niche of being a good crazy 5 cost garg is. It’s not exactly a niche in high demand. Imp-throwing Gargantuar: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Kinda funny that Crazy got the first two throwing cards, meant to synergize with the self hurt they have going in fireworks and barrel, and they got the two that aren’t playable in any form while Gargantuar-throwing Gargantuar is a high tier finisher and Imp-throwing Imp is the best card in its deck, and they don’t even have the synergies. Poor crazy. Anyway, this card is bad, it’s always been bad, and it’s beaten out by pretty much every card in the game in usefulness. Don’t play it. Disco-tron 3000: Playability: F Flexibility: F Justification: Swarm the field the turn after your finisher can come down with bodies that would barely be relevant 2 turns ago. It’s really bad, and becoming a gravestone way back when didn’t help it all that much, though it got a bit better, it’s still unplayable. Gas Giant: Playability: B Flexibility: F Justification: By all rights this should be a good card, and it is, but crazy has no midrange deck to use this as a finisher in, so it just doesn’t go anywhere. Solid body with 1/4 of your opponent’s health down the drain when it dies, while also functioning as a board unclogger to help get other threats down and get them through chump blockers. Gargantuar’s Feast: Playability: D Flexibility: D Justification: The Mt. Everest of control finishers. Getting to it is the game winning pinnacle of the game, but actually getting there is a massive ordeal that fails most of the time and is too impractical to be a good idea. If you'd like to have your voice heard on these tier lists, feel free to join the discord, where we have these discussions on the cards, or to make a comment, which I will try to respond to as well explaining why a card was given a certain rating. The next class we're covering is Smarty.
Hello, I am Imbure and I will comment on most of the things in Gwent Homecoming giving my thoughts on it. To start off a little bit about myself, I like Gwent. Yeah, that’s about it. Special thanks to SirPumpkn for helping me with ideas, where some weren't fitting or just not well polished enough so I could rereview them with his assistance, thanks a lot! Since it takes a lot of time to go over it all and if some people are interested just to find the most interesting parts, I have it on google document with highlights to say which parts are more interesting / important. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kG3gWspUD_VoV5l-pJbFwBJfJ2k0uQ95n_Aqs5a8QCw/edit?usp=sharing Before the whole thing, I do realize that this was PTR and will try mention as little of balance issues, bugs, wrong tooltips or poorly worded abilities, but rather problematic or lacking concepts when it comes to gameplay and I will mention some of which concepts are amazing. One more disclaimer, I do understand that some of these changes might require a big amount of time, that does not mean you need to instantly release them with Homecoming if think them worthy, at least those that require time, others could be looked at and patched in close future. Marketing I am not qualified in this field, so my opinion should not matter much, however, I think marketing is important, I do understand that you are not going to market the game as it has way different feeling to it compared to Beta, so if people join in now they’d be playing a different game and redownloading it in a few days, but when it does come out, marketing is crucial to have a big player base. UI and Visuals Now as the new patch hits a lot of things have changed and different mechanics have appeared in the game and players misplay a lot with them. Ability locked cards Cards that only acquire an X ability should have an indicator for two reasons. Even if players get better at the game, they will still make misplays here and there, it does not feel good and the victories against them often don’t feel deserved. Indicators Visuals like Lock, Adrenaline etc. had nice looking icons. I assume these ones are used as the card sizes changed and artists still have a lot of to do, but on an off chance it is not the case, please bring back those amazing looking effects! Before playing it, With the new abilities highlighting the rows that have abilities and give them different highlights. Deck / Graveyard Size Indicators Small graveyard card amount indicators for how many type of cards do you have in your deck, Artifacts, Traps, Spells and etc. so you wouldn’t need to do unnecessary counting, a quality of life change. Side of the Row Points Make an option that you could see your numbers on your left side and make the right side clean, so streamers could place their faces somewhere. Since it’s only optional, players would still be able to see it in the best way. Just a nice quality of life addition to the game. Weight of the Cards The cards have lost points and I think for the old players even 20 power plays won’t feel impactful, on top of that, placing a card doesn’t feel like doing something amazing. It would be immersive if cards felt like they had weight attached, as if the enemy should stutter upon seeing my THICC GERALT IGNI, instead of it falling like a piece of paper, even though it’s a card game, it doesn’t have to feel as one. Drag and Drop Drag and drop just feels better, as you actually play the card from your hand, CURSORS ARE EXTENSIONS OF OUR ARMS. Colors of the Board / Shadows Now the feeling of darkness is taken too literally. Even the torches don’t feel as if it was lighting up the area. Nilfgaard that has the sun as their symbol can barely have any light on them. Corners of some places are just too hard to see as they blend in within the darkness remaining invisible. The board itself is relatively lit, so that is visible, which is nice. The things can be dark, just make that we see something there instead of it being pitch black. Lacking ability to see something makes the game dark literally, that creates this weird Batman vs Superman movie problem, where they made the scenes hard to see without actually creating the darkness. Time Consumed on Animations Speed up the animations. Eithne takes a decent amount of time to go off, if you also add some artifacts which they often use to the mix, you start feeling bad for roping them when it’s out of your control. Deckbuilder When searching for cards, make it so looking for Da’o you would find it by writing Dao. That has been implemented in League of Legends champion select search and is a nice quality of life change. Excluding some bugs, where you switch some filters up and it still saves some of the previous filters, it’s still good. Twitch Tool Hovering over a card on Twitch so you could see what it does for Homecoming would be great for new players and old players to get a better feeling on the game. Gameplay - The Juicy Part Unrewarding Round 1 It always was that you would fight for the first round fiercely so you could bleed round two and go into round three, there was some strategy to it. Even though it was somewhat flawed to an extent that some cards would be just 20 power plays each and you have 2 of them, here it’s not exactly the case. Now you just barely commit in R1 and R2 because they feel unrewarding and committing for a round feels risk with close to no reward. This vacuum of space was left after we lost the spy mechanic, which was unhealthy, but it was one proper way to actually bleed R2. Suggestion for Unrewarding Round 1 - the player to win the first round gets an extra mulligan to their bank. It’s a subtle reward that pushes the players to utilize such a thing, however, it is not too big of a thing to make decks around it. You do not need to do it the same for second round, because if you play go to 3 cards in hand only then you start committing your 3rd round, before that you are still not committing second round if you are ahead, while second round going below 7 is considered committing and bleeding is also a thing, so it already creates initial tension on round 2. Provisions Maybe people play too much on golds now, but I think that’s just a balance thing and I have nothing, you have honestly outdone yourself, this system is amazing! Too Many Overlapping Abilities Some archetypes are crying for cards while others have 20 to choose from. I think a heavy overhaul on some bronzes with lack of oversight or being undertuned is not the worst that can happen. Archetypes Many of the archetypes are small packages that work with one other and that’s a whole new different thing to Gwent, where you have way more win conditions, instead of having 2. I like it as it adds more variance to the game, hopefully not too much RNG. Northern Realms Orders Without Charges - Seems underwhelming in power and lacking tools, even considered the fact that it would fit fine in a starter deck, something that has a leader and many cards based on it shouldn’t be just a starter deck, but also have some sort of playability. Northern Realms Charges It has a huge arsenal of tools, I would say probably more than any other deck and that is not necessarily bad. Some cards however are overlapping - Ballista and Reinforced Ballista is just the same card, but one is worse than the other. I know that this is meant for machine tag, but I would use some Humans then to make more Orders decks that fill the vacuum that armor left archetypes left off. Spies Where Are Thou? Reveal I am so funny. In its current form Reveal can be played two ways. You play a very few unit deck, where you are almost sure your reveal card will show greater strength card or you will add a lot of units and hope that you get to reveal Daerlan Soldiers. First example is a very niche deck with a small amount of variation. The second one has a wider range of choices, but is widely based on RNG. I know that the old archetype was unhealthy in many ways and you are looking to replace it, but it should not be then switched into RNG playstyle or based on small niche deck. Instead of this, Reveal could switch between bronze units in your deck. Every unit that reveals could always show the top bronze card, take the top bronze card in your deck and switch it with the last one pushing every bronze card like an array switching places towards top. It might take some time to come up with an easy text, but as you have detailed explanations at the bottom, healthier gameplay will always beat complex text reading, especially because beginners won’t care about it and experienced players will know how the system works. Armor In live Gwent Armor is a whole archetype of cards, however, it does not have to be, removing the thing entirely is bad as you could do some less greedy plays with defensive opportunities. Potion that worked like Thunderbolt where you could give an allied unit some points and add armor to an unit, perhaps a charge too, so then Order + Charge decks would be viable or just in general some strategies. I assume it will be added with Redania, but now as a mechanic it doesn’t have to be deleted outright. Weather Decks We had decks like Dagon Fog and Eredin Frost, problem was that they were lacking balance in weather department and only some archetypes were viable as some didn’t have enough tools to them. You could make more cards that play weather, for example spying cards that apply X weather, cards that buff from weather and etc, it wouldn’t break the game but would still make the archetype a thing. Other thing is to make weather decks work with each other, it wouldn’t be just play a frost unit or play a fog unit or rain unit, a card would work when there is a hazard in general. Perhaps limit those to bronzes, so it doesn’t feel to oppressive to play against gold weathers. Considering its current form, it wouldn’t be a bad design choice as you’ve already made weather into a really balanced thing. New Witchers Archetype It’s a new addition that players have been waiting for a long time, it has a nice touch on the lore, nerfing Silver Witchers is most likely necessary, as I don’t know how it will be in the future, don’t nerf them in a vacuum, buff other Witchers. New and Old Mill Live Gwent Mill is really frustrating to play against and in most cases you either win or lose based on your opponent’s draws and your deck choice, whether it thins or not. New mill usually doesn’t mill to 0, unless you are Discard Skellige, but rather hinders your deck. Maybe the RNG on Viper Witchers is not good, but in the current form you can even give GGs to them! No More Proper Handbuff In its current form Handbuff if applied the same way to Homecoming would be game breaking, but instead you could just make them lower power units that have a different thing, not deal that much damage. Then carryover wouldn’t be as much of a problem, it was an interesting deck in ST that feels missing. No More Spellatell Deck used to be really unique and you could still make it work as you play less tutors in the game or even add a cap to how much the card could go up to. New Trap Deck It’s a great deck with proper synergies built in that require a good amount of skill to pilot and to play against, it’s all that Gwent is about, the archetype has a fine deal of cards and the new way you made Traps, that they are no longer unit is also great, as a lot of old trap design was: “If he played X, I have to play Y and win, however, if he played Z I have to play C to win, if I mess this up, I will lose, if I don’t, I win.” It used to be some sort of coinflip to an extent, you fixed it, good job. New Artifact Deck It requires skill to play around and even if it does feel oppressive sometimes, you can totally outplay it and artifact removal is cheap. Specters Cursed was transformed into an archetype that was based on a one card, but you had opportunity to have flexibility with your silvers and golds, now all of that is gone and Specters archetype rewards going all with Specters, due to its golds and bronzes abilities. Problem is you can’t build a deck anymore with it, excluding the Henselt combo, but it’s not exactly a specter deck. It feeds into a problem that I will mention that all decks have. Strengthening Archetype Considering that most cards are playing on low points the playstyle against and with that kind of deck might be quite boring, unhealthy and / or unbalanced, I do understand that it was either taken away forever or just placed onto a queue for future balancing. Kambi Rest in peace the mightiest rooster FeelsBadMan Lack of Card Archetype Supporting Cards This is probably one of more troublesome things. When a lot of cards were shown people instantly have noticed that many archetypes have been butchered. More experienced players instantly mentioned that CDPR, you guys, can add new cards to the game. First time we saw Alchemy cards we had to wait a long time until it saw playability, it was something around midwinter. There were more decks, but this is just an example. A lot of decks that we had to wait for to become working and we gave you a lot of time are now gone again. We already waited for so long, they became a thing, an actual archetype. We started having Moonlight and waited for new patches to make it into an actual archetype instead of small package. All of that was taken away and we are left with waiting again, that’s why overhauling some cards might be necessary, if not within the release of Homecoming, at least could be done with close upcoming patches. Flexible Tags Currently there is a trend on cards removing specific clan tags and etc. In its current form we have lost clan tags and gained Soldiers, Warriors and etc. These have positives and negatives, abilities like Muzzle and unlock that synergy with Soldiers would give a possibility to outplay, it also makes the arena better as the synergies are no longer only in one faction, however, the game becomes harder to balance as you don’t balance things in the vacuum. Considering that we have provision, cards shouldn’t be too hard to balance. Card to Add Card Shuffler: Bronze Card X Power, Y Provision. “Order. Add a mulligan to your leader.” You could add a shuffling animation to it as if it were a Cursed Knight, so it felt as if it was shuffling cards upon activating the order. Some leaders can’t have more mulligans like Francesca due to the fact that she’d be overpowered, but if she could work by adding some high provision cards for getting mulligans, you would not make that leader broken, but rather playable and I hope the game is all for that. Leaders I will mostly focus on the more problematic ones or the underwhelming ones when it comes to their ability rather power as most leaders can be fixed with adjusting their power or mulligan amount. I haven’t seen that many leaders in play, so can’t comment on all of them. Emhyr Van Emhrys Not only that the ability is somewhat underwhelming in power, it is also a boring effect that has no value. You started a lock archetype, it could work as: “Reset an unit, if it’s an enemy unit, lock it as well.” It might be slightly oppressive, but there are more oppressive things in the game than that, some of it won’t hurt too much. Usurper It is problematic that this leader could just build a deck that is not reliant on leaders and is more likely to win than any deck in that case. It is just not healthy for the game as well. I think the old leader ability might be a better choice, where you could create one. Of course it adds its own baggage as not being that much useful in the current form how leaders work. If you take the last mulligan away it would be a tech deck or work only in tournaments, but not sure even that is good. Eithne I have been playing Eithne myself and she is overtuned. I think changing the amount of mulligans shouldn’t be much touched on, since her ability is powerful due to how well you can align cards like Regis or Geralt: Igni. Considering that ST would need to a buff on every card or leaders to push for good synergies, as now ST is good as always at abusing neutrals. Changing Eithne could go as far as removing 1 power per turn or making a variety that you get X, Y and Z amount of pings through all 3 rounds, that it wouldn’t be too overwhelming playing her. In current form to make ST not broken and still work without overhauling all cards, it’s enough to just bump her down to 3 pings a turn. In the future it could be reworked, but it needs ST cards to be buffed as well. Adda She needs a rework to bonus a certain archetype or have an unique ability. Raw damage should not be a thing, that’s why Radovid was a bad choice from a design perspective as well, he didn’t fit into any archetype. Filavandrel Aen Fidhail Boost all non boosted units in your hand by 1. At the start of the round the effect resets. Then tutors like Witchers would not be affected and it would be a balanced leader, not an autoloss if players know how to play around that leader ability. Francesca Now she seems weak because she does not have enough mulligans. If you gave her an extra mulligan, she would be too strong most likely. So instead give her a chance to earn those mulligans with cards like Card Shuffler or winning round 1 and having an extra mulligan for round 3. Brouver Hoog It’s a bad card, movement with even a lot of damage would be awful. I think you could make it so it creates a few base copies of the same bronze card so it would synergize with Dwarves and Elves spam. It would be a great card for beginners that are usually looking for only one wincondition and could function as a learning leader. Handsize For now I think at start people don’t value the power of bleeding as many don’t know their decks, not even talking about opponent decks and since there are no spies, people should start thinking of winning 2:0 as everyone keeps mulligans or try to throw out non-efficient cards in R1 and R2 to instantly go to R3. That opens more 2:0s which are actually good to the context that enemies have to drop too many bad cards for the opponent to pick it up that the plays are inefficient. Blacklisting In the current state of Gwent, if blacklisting existed you could add a lot of golds, a few 4 provision golds and then you would be playing all golds. Bronze cards already feel like a hindrance to the deck, so if you give incentive to play low provision cards, people will pay even less attention to the bronzes than they do now. Don’t add blacklisting back. Card advantage Card advantage doesn’t matter as much anymore and you need to work for your cards. As now more removal exists, like Ciri, Ciri Dash, even for that you have to work, it used to be just dump a spy and you have Card Advantage. We are moving away from 1 card reward, which makes the game a tad bit more complex in a good way. Mechanics Order and Charge These give more control to the player, so the game feels more active, which is good, opens a new design space with artifacts, on top of that finishers can be played around and played around back as the order doesn’t activate instantly, but you could wait extra turns for it. Immune This is extremely hard to manage. We used to have gold immunity and we didn’t play too many cards that fight enemy cards, now as we do, immunity is just a more important gold immunity. It is a good mechanic to an extent if you look very carefully at it. If these cards became top of the meta, we are looking at distasteful playstyle of closed beta NR Gwent. Just be conscious of adding these type of cards within the future as mechanics should still exist for some decks to even work. Thrive Not sure if it’s that interesting of a mechanic, it will make for a powerful deck, but it might just feel like Tetris in the end where you barely interact with the opponent cards, as in Tetris, there is no opponent. In the future consider more interesting archetype cards that make you play around something. Conditions for Cards Artifact removal in some cards is genuinely very interesting - you have to have X amount of Bloodthirst in SK to remove an artifact. It is an interesting mechanic that ties into the archetype, a certain condition. It would be nice to see proper conditions, unlike ST: “Have an elf in your hand.” condition to trigger some. This idea with conditions with more bizarre requirements and rewards would also be interesting for the game and design field that could be explored even more. Lock No Longer Unlocking If you are playing a lock, you always lose close to no value. Both players usually have some sort of engines and if you’d be able to lock or unlock, locks would become close to an auto-include, now you are playing around enemy deck with those, instead of having ultimate card, an answer to everything. Wonky Combos There are combinations that are hard to pull, but if you do, you win the game. That I think is a genuinely good thing. Gwent for a long time has been a game of average card plays, especially when you look at Veteran decks. Combos that require a lot of work and have a big payoff are insanely great for the game as it opens different win conditions. No Short Rounds / No Topdeck Wars If you manage to get down to 1 card, have more mulligans than your opponent and your 1 card has more provisions, you are still more likely to win, so instead of having short rounds, you still play for the same strategy to bleed and go to round 2, but instead still draw a small package of your synergies. That’s great, topdecks is genuinely a bad idea to the game. Drypass Strategy It no longer exists within the game and as of late I am playing Spies (used to play a lot of ST and will still do so after Homecoming), my wincon is to pull Cantarella and use Menno onto it or just drypass and get a card advantage. This strategy was not healthy and made a lot of win conditions quite binary, that is not good to the game. If a strategy is available, if it’s unhealthy, doesn’t make the game better. Arena Live Gwent’s arena is dreadful, it was made like Hearthstone’s arena, where instead it should have been made in an unique sense, where you draw some cards, then you draw a package of a few cards that have synergy, can be wonky combos too, then some more cards in between, more packages and that would make an interesting arena deck. Of course the package amount had to be large, but having a big community to offer those packages wouldn’t have taken too much time. Moving on to new Gwent as we have lost a big pack of tags and replaced it with tags that work all across the game, we can build decks with synergy. However, building Arena decks might have another problem coming, Hearthstone Arena is balanced around the fact that it has mana curve, so even if you get these 10 cards that are insane finishers for 10 mana, you still need to play out your first 9 rounds. Gwent’s lack of mana curve should not make the player draw all randoms so players that want to have a huge amount of wins in a row, or just percentage wins should not just rely on good draws. If there was a number of provisions decided before the arena is drawn, the player does not know of the number that he gets, but it would be for the example a number between 165 and 200. Then every card you draw is randomized to an extent where you draw 25 cards by provisions without getting a broken deck or a deck that will never be able to win not because of your choices, but rather of how unlucky you were. This randomization is healthy to an extent as you still go into arena to find funny combinations and some game mods could break the stigma of arena, however the classic Arena should have a variance to it and shouldn’t feel like a boring experience. Achievements Requiring players to have a lot of : “Have 4 Phoenix Eggs on your side of the board.” “Use Scorch to acquire 100 point swing.” “Complete Arena run without a lose.” “Win 5 Arena runs in a row without breaking the contract.” and things like that. Extreme challenges are great for players that are trying to excel at a certain deck or funny combo that they try to pull and have this amazing aftertaste as if they just defeated a Dark Souls boss. It’d be just like Dark Souls. Starter achievements could be Scraps, Ore, Kegs and then Powder in the respective order, somewhere there arena tickets too, but most likely it’s best for newer player category as well so they would check on it and perhaps get hooked onto it, old players don’t need it as they have all the kegs in the world. Like that players that are deep within the game would actually get something that is relevant to them, as Powder and new players don’t yet need Powder, but need to fill the collection. Tutorial Make tutorials that actually teach all of the interesting mechanics and show more complex cards from the enemies or create an AI that has specific challenge to beat X deck with a Y deck, that is already prebuilt, where you have a narrow win condition, which is just disturbing enemy combination or something with a specific card. When new players will lose a couple times to interesting cards they will understand that there are interesting cards and you can disturb them. This clears up new players from playing raw number cards in the game as a lot of decks start off with point slam cards without knowing about the interesting stuff. Leaders could also be used for strong combinations. I really love designing cards and in general CCG development, so I gave my view on Homecoming, maybe one day I shall sit in CDPR’s studio thinking of new cards for you and how to balance them, so if you feel like my ideas are not good, don’t be afraid to critique them so I could defend the idea or change the idea if the idea doesn’t stand on its own. Thank you for reading Sincerely, Vilhelmas “Imbure” Stankevičius
Plants vs Zombies Heroes Balance Survey: The Results: Part 9: Crazy
Crazy is next, and it was the most buffed and least changed class out of all of those on the zombie side. It got 115 changes split into 79 buffs, 15 nerfs, and 21 changes.
Foot Soldier Zombie (9):
Ability now works in environments as well as heights (1) No condition for dealing damage (1) Has gravestone (2) Stats from 3/4 to 4/5 (1) Health from 4 to 5 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 (1) Stats from 5 cost 3/4 to 4 cost 3/3 (1) Cost from 5 to 3 and works in environments (1) My thoughts: Giving it gravestone is probably the best buff here since the fix in timing is the main problem it has. Small stat buffs don't really change anything, nor does making the condition less restrictive, though both obviously help the card a bit.
Health from 1 to 2 (2) Ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (3) Stats from 2/1 to 1/3 and ability from 2 or less strength to others with 3 or less cost (1) Stats from 1 cost 2/1 to 2 cost 1/3 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) Stats from 2/1 to 1/2 and ability from 2 or less to 3 or less (1) My thoughts: I can't see what reason there is to buff cards that are already staple cards for entire classes of decks. Disconaut still being a staple is just a testament to how broken it was before it didn't give bullseye to cards with 3 strength, and it's still a great card now with no reason to be getting buffed.
Stupid Cupid (8):
Strength from 4 to 3 and has gravestone (3) Has gravestone (4) Health from 2 to 4 (1) My thoughts: The card is never going to be good without gravestone or completely insane stats. The question then becomes "is 4 attack on a 4 cost gravestone that shuts off a card for combat too much?", and I'm inclined to say yes for the time being (the difference between turn 4 and turn 5 is massive, which means the difference between this and cryo yeti is also massive as far as the effect goes), so I like making it a 3/2 along with it and then it can be buffed back if it's still bad.
Orchestra Conductor (8):
Strength from 0 to 2 (1) Health from 2 to 4 (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 1/3 (2) Stats from 0/2 to 1/4 (1) Stats from 0/2 to 3/3 (1) Has gravestone (1) My thoughts: This card is so bad I really don't have a suggestion here. It needs something massive though.
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Cost from 4 to 5 (3) Ability from 2 strength to 1 strength (1) Can't do bonus attacks (1) My thoughts: Putting the card back at 3, where it' basically autoinclude because it's so easy to make overstatted, does not sound like a good idea. At the same time, making it cost even more also doesn't sound like a good idea because the deck, finally, has had enough of its broken cards hit that it's more or less fair. It can't kill until 7 now which gives plenty of time to establish a kill and doesn't have a broken aggro package that all but guarantees a kill even without valk. It's still a great deck because that aggro package can still take games without valk and valk can still kill, but it's significantly more beatable to the point where it's actually in line. As for the other changes, reducing the strength gain makes it unplayable, and making it not do bonus attacks is awkward though a good nerf if the card ever gets out of hand again to avoid killing it for other heroes.
Damage from 4 to 5 (4) Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Now has "gain a cakeplosion" (1) My thoughts: All of these changes are good and make the card much more worth playing. Increasing the damage means it hits that many more things and sometimes gains tempo, making it cost less means it can actually gain tempo by costing less than things it removes, and having it gain itself makes it the ultimate value tool for hard control decks to never run out of small removal.
Quickdraw Conman (6):
Health from 3 to 2 (2) Loses bullseye (2) Stats from 1 cost 1/3 to: 2 cost 2/3 (1) 2 cost 1/4 (1) 2 cost 1/5 (1) My thoughts: Honestly, I think all of these changes kill the card other than 2 cost 2/3. 1/2 for 1 is terrible stats that get traded cleanly by 90% of playable 1 costs, losing bullseye makes it a massive block charger, and 2 cost 1/4 and 1/5 are also terrible stats with the ability not being impactful enough at 2 cost to make it worthwhile.
Disco Zombie (5):
Health from 1 to 2 (3) Health from 1 to 3 (1) Strength from 3 to 4 and backup from 1/1 to 2/1 (1) My thoughts: I think the best buff to this is making the backup dancer less completely useless, so it having 2 strength at very least, which I presume some people intended for to affect this through buffs to basic 1/1s.
Imp-throwing Gargantuar (5):
Now throws: Random 1 cost imps (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less (1) Random imps that cost 2 or less and when an imp is played it (the imp) gets +2 strength (1) stats from 5 cost 5/5 to 4 cost 4/6 (1) Stats from 5/5 to 6/7 (1) My thoughts: There are two different lines of buffing here and neither one is a bad idea. 3 people decided to buff the cards that ITG throws so that the ability isn't a liability. Of those I think having it throw 2 cost or less imps (to mirror ITI) is the best idea seeing as at this stage of the game they won't really be anywhere close to too strong. The second line, chosen by 2 people, is to just overstat it to compensate for the fact that the ability is indeed a liability and justifies a higher power level elsewhere much like fruitcake and pumpking. 5 cost 6/7 would be good for that, maybe even 7/7 if that's not enough. You are making a ton of block chargers with it after all, and that's a much more tangible downside than giving your opponent a card or two that they're not going to have time to play since their deck is built to work with the cards they're going to get normally.
Gargantuar-throwing Imp (5):
Health from 2 to 3 (2) Health from 2 to 4 (1) Now has gravestone (1) Stats from 2/2 to 3/3 (1) My thoughts: Who would have guessed that giving more attack to a card that doesn't care about attacking and instead wants to get hit as much as possible didn't make the card more playable? Evidently anyone but Popcap. These changes help the card a lot more. More health means you can get a better payoff when you apply self hurt cards to it like fireworks, or you can give it gravestone and have it be a punishing card for trying to front every gravestone with a small card (and it also happens to get it by cards like whack a zombie which are a massive weakness to an already slow card).
Explosive Fruitcake (5):
Ability from 7 damage to 6 damage (4) Ability from 7 damage to 8 damage (1) My thoughts: So we have 4 people who don't want fruitcake to hit Pecanolith and 1 person who wants fruitcake to hit Mirror Nut. Given that pecanolith is still an amazing card and mirror nut is still a mediocre one, I don't think this is an issue, and I don't think this needs a change.
Zombot's Wrath (4):
Cost from 3 to 2 and loses asinine condition that nobody ever triggered (1) Cost from 3 to 2 (1) Ability from all lanes to 4 lanes (1) Ability from all lanes to 3 lanes (1) My thoughts: There's a reason why they haven't made this 2 cost, and that's because zombie berry blast is too good as a function of the phases. That's why it even has the condition in the first place, since they know it's bad at 3 but too good at 2, so they made it 3 with upside. The problem is that the upside is impossible to use, and so it's still bad. Making it so you can actually trigger it in class by not requiring the water lane is a massive improvement.
Exploding Imp (3):
No longer damages itself (1) Now has splash damage 2 (1) Strength from 6 to 8 (1) My thoughts: Giving it splash is interesting but zombies don't need splash for AoE and it works worse than just using tricks for it, making its strength 8 is probably too much if you ever want to actually have gravestones that you don't want to front, and no longer damaging itself is probably the best change but does happen to kill the flavor. The alternative is making it have 2 health so if it happens to get ignored it can't be ignored a second time, or just having cards that give it a chance to get through by being gravestones that the plant hero wants to ignore.
Cosmic Dancer (3):
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Health from 3 to 4 (1) Stats from 2/3 to 3/2 and both overshoots from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: Making everything overshoot 3 seems a bit overboard and provides dance with mayhaps too much fuel. Just putting it to 3 cost should be enough for it to at least be considerable.
Newspaper Zombie (3):
Health from 4 to 5 (1) Stats from 1/4 to 0/5 (1) Health from 4 to 3 and gets +1/+1 when revealed if there are no plants there (1) My thoughts: I don't like the idea of making it bigger when there's nothing there because that defeats the purpose of it actually trying to be a gravestone that thrives on being fronted by something small, which the game is lacking. It just needs to actually punish being fronted by a 2/2 instead of dying to it, so going to 5 health would be a great buff to it.
Health from 5 to 6 (1) Stats from 1/5 to 2/4 (1) Health from 5 to 4 and ability from 2 damage to 3 damage (1) My thoughts: This should remain primarily as a punish card for fronting gravestones with small things since the game needs those to help out the cards that don't want to be fronted by small things, and as such I'm inclined to be on board with increasing the damage out of borderline block charging range.
Meteor Z (2):
Cost from 2 to 1 (2) My thoughts: Maybe this becomes playable at this point for pushing a bit of damage in aggro. It's certainly not even close to playable right now, so it's worth a try at 1 cost to see if that helps enough (which I think is likely, but probably won't be broken either due to how restrictive it is as far as actually getting the damage goes).
Conga Zombie (2):
Health from 2 to 3 (2) My thoughts: Right now it feels like a 1 drop that costs 2, and giving it an extra point of health means it can actually do some mildly useful things like be a good punish for playing a 2/3 in front of a 2 cost gravestone.
Stats from 3/2 to 4/1 (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: The former change gives it excavator stats, which is a bit of a buff but doesn't solve the core problem of it being fronted by small cards like most other gravestones. The latter change does solve the problem but in doing so breaks the card since it becomes a 3/3 for 3 with massive upside. I think the best way to go about this is to have playable gravestones that actually punish fronting them, and then Abracadaver naturally becomes more playable because it sometimes gets through and gets its massively impactful effect off.
Gizzard Lizard (2):
Gains 1 strength when evolved (1) Ability from 2 damage to 3 damage (1) My thoughts: This card is mostly fine as is, being a 3/3 for 3 with upside, it just doesn't have enough swarm to run into and goes off in the wrong phase, problems that can't be fixed by buffing it like this. Having it do 3 damage is additionally excessive in its own right.
Binary Stars (2):
Stats from 3/3 to 2/5 (1) Health from 3 to 4 (1) My thoughts: Binary is fragile for a reason. The ability it has is almost outright game winning if it manages to stick. As a result, it's very difficult to stick, because if you could do it easily and regularly the card is broken. It's also strong enough that it really doesn't need a buff right now.
Moon Base Z (2):
Cost from 3 to 1 and overshoot from 3 to 2 (1) Cost from 3 to 4 (1) My thoughts: So we have an insane buff and a strong nerf to a well balanced card that really doesn't need a change. Seems to cancel each other out.
Space Ninja (2):
Stats from 3/2 to 2/3 (1) Has gravestone (1) My thoughts: Neither of these changes really help the card that much, and neither of them need to since at the end of the day it's still an on curve 2 drop with upside, which will always be borderline playable by nature. It's probably fine for it to get either change or no change at all.
Mystery Egg (2):
Tribes from Gourmet to Gourmet Pet (1) Health from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: It really doesn't need a change, but neither of these are really changes either, so it works out fine. The problem Boog pets has isn't exactly a lack of 1 drops, and increasing the health of a card with an average lifespan of half a turn only serves to not have it die to like, banana bomb, which I wouldn't play on it anyway.
Final Mission (2):
Cost from 2 to 1 (1) Damage from 4 to 5 (1) My thoughts: I must have missed the part where this was a bad card. It was busted at 1 cost and still sees constant play at 2 cost. It really doesn't need a buff.
Cost from 4 to 3 (1) Strength from 2 to 3 (1) My thoughts: Both of these changes feel like a bit much. The strength increase makes it a 3/6 and a maybe a bit overstatted given the ability, though with how mediocre the card is right now I'd be willing to give 3/6 a shot and see if it's actually broken or just good. 3 cost is definitely too much, however.
Gargantuars' Feast (2):
Cost from 11 to 10 (2) My thoughts: This probably doesn't change anything since games rarely if ever get that late in the first place, but if zombies are to ever get good ramp this is probably a bad idea.
Aerobics Instructor (2):
Now has gravestone and ability from +2 strength to +1/+1 (1) Ability from +2 strength to +1/+1 (1) My thoughts: This is an absolutely massive buff to a card that is already great and is thus unnecessary. It also makes it feel less in class because it's moving away from the all in glass cannon style of crazy.
Tennis Champion (2):
Strength from 1 to 2 and ability from +3 strength to +2 strength (2) My thoughts: This is really all the card needs to be good. The problem it has is that it can just be tanked and then it block charges, and 2 base means it doesn't do that and can be the zombie version of bonk choy.
Flamenco Zombie to 2/2: Look, I see what you're doing here, but you need to go through the block meter with your finisher just like everyone else. It's not even that big of a problem to deal with. Disco-tron 3000 to 5 cost with bullseye: This is the kind of massive buff it needs to be actually considerable for dancing decks. When you're trying to end the game on turn 6, a 4/4, 3/1, and 1/1 don't really help you for 6. For 5 it can be moderately useful as a setup for flamenco. Zombie's Best Friend doesn't need to be next door to a zombie: Let's be real here. How often are you actually playing a deck that actually wants this card and doesn't have something out to trigger the effect. It basically never happens short of maybe specifically on turn 2 when your 1 drop got removed, and that means you're early in the game with other play options. This really doesn't change anything and is unneeded since the card is fine as it is. Gas Giant to 6/6: This is honestly unneeded. It has its play niche of being a finisher for midrange decks, it just has a problem where there aren't any other midrange tools in crazy. A stat buff won't do anything other than make it too powerful when you can build a midrange deck with it. The Chickening to 3 cost: I don't see the point here, it's a solid AoE for low cost cards, and it just doesn't see play right now because plants don't play swarm because their swarm isn't even great into decks without AoE right now. It's a tech card that doesn't have anything to tech against, and once it does it'll be good again. Unlife of the Party can't trigger in tricks: But why? It's not exactly a great card right now and having trick phase shenanigians for it is the main thing it can even do decently. But those are just my thoughts. Feel free to comment about your thoughts on these changes or comment about what class you want to see next, except we're down to 2 classes and I want to keep alternating so the next choice is Kabloom anyway.
Hallo there, boys and girls. Let me start by admitting that the title is just a bit misleading, as I haven`t solved quite everything. There`s still global warming. Racism. Human nature. But! I`ve solved Gwent. Read on and find out how. A warning: There`s a wall of text below that would make GRRM proud. These are some thoughts about the state of Gwent and how I would like to see it improved - with concrete solutions. If you are short on time, you can scroll way - waaaaaaaaay - down and find a summary. Ok, some background. I`ve played Gwent pretty much since the beginning of the open beta, clocked in over 1500 hours, been/am in the pro league; the usual. I really like CDPR as a company (they make games that fit my needs), I like the Witcher lore, I love - LOVE - the Gwent art, and I enjoy brainy games. As you can see by my time investment, I was very much into Gwent; until Homecoming came along that is. When CDPR revealed some of the changes they were going to implement, I was skeptical, but I really tried to keep an open mind and adapt to the new reality. So when HC was published, I played the game for a few weeks, and then I stopped. Haven`t played it since. HC made me think hard about what I don`t like about shiny new Gwent and why I don`t like it. And after a few days it was 14 pages of 11-font word documented text of Gwent fan fiction; or as it is to me "Game Solved - My Ideal Version of Gwent". Let`s get to it then. This is where I`ll list all the things that I would like to see changed, why I believe they should change and most important of all, how to change them. There are four basic keywords I`d like to see in Gwent. ASYMMETRIC GAMEPLAY - IDENTITY - CONSISTENCY - CHOICE Asymmetric gameplay: I don`t know about you, but for me the tension, the fun and the strategy/tactic in these types of games comes from the wildly contrasting play styles - factions and archetypes that have different win conditions, require different setups, spike in power at different times, have their own weaknesses and strengths; all the stuff that requires the player to assess and understand the board state, to adapt to it, to use the knowledge and the tools at his disposal to his own advantage. But HC has purged most of the traits from the factions. No more spies, no spellatel, no mulligan-scoia, no movement, consume, weather, etc... Which brings us to Identity This is something that has bothered me since the beginning of the open beta and it has only worsen over every iteration of Gwent. With "identity" I don`t mean only faction identity (I`ll come to that later), but the identity and consequently also the purpose of any given card type. What`s the identity, the flavor of an organic card as opposed to an alchemy card? What kind of playstyle does it lean towards? What archetype does it empower? In other games the difference between a green spell and a red spell are easy to spot and to understand. Green is for growth and you put a red spell in your deck because it goes boom. That`s intuitive. In Gwent tags and categories are mostly used as restrictions, from the days when there were tutors, so that those couldn`t access every single card of a specific type. Moreover even the units don`t have an identity. For me there should be a numerical difference between a unit that is designated for the melee row and one supposed to be played on the ranged row. I can`t see that in HC Gwent. As mentioned before, there is also the disappearance of all those juicy faction-specific abilities. While there were some positive additions (orders, thrive) now it`s mostly deal damage and boost, boost and deal damage, boost when boosted, etc. If you take away the names and the numbers from the ability descriptions, can you tell which faction a card belongs to? Consistency For this part I´d like to argue what kind of game this is. You say it`s a card game like Hearthstone. Wrong. Let me give you a practical example to illustrate what I mean: I was playing a game with Usurper and no silver witchers - so no thinning. In those games you end up with 9 or 10 cards in your deck when the game is over. My opponent played Xavier Moran in round three and buffed him to over 40. I had GIgni and Gerald Professional in my deck and never drew them. Lost. You see, in other card games you always have access to all of your cards - there`s only the question of probability. If you play long enough, eventually you will draw all of your cards. Gwent`s different. There is a limited number of turns (usually 16) and the 10 cards you don`t draw, you will never have access to. And it stinks - STINKS - to be at the mercy of the half of the deck you don`t draw. Your play doesn`t matter, your preparation doesn`t matter, your tech choices don`t matter. So if you want to compare Gwent to a Blizzard game, it`s not Hearthstone. It´s Starcraft. Both players have armies (decks) with resources (units, etc.) that need to be managed properly for maximum value. That means thinning, tutoring and mulliganing - manipulation of the deck - to get access to all of those answers you`ve prepared. Deck management in OB Gwent was its own mini game that added tactical depth on so many levels. I would really like that back. And so would you. Just look at the prevalence of the silver witchers. The players have spoken with their deck building. Choice Answer me this: What is the benefit of playing Caretaker on the melee row? What is the CHOICE here? SOLUTIONS BABY! Now to the solutions. The very first adjustment I`d like to see is the game reverting back to the values of OB Gwent, where bronze, silver and gold cards had target values of 11, 15 and 19 respectively. This is important for so many reasons. First of all, the board states right now look frankly very dull with all these 4-power cards around. All the units look very same-y. With such low numbers there is not enough room for variation of the card stats, which diminishes their identity (I`ll come back to that later). Besides, wasn`t the lesson from the open beta to give the cards bigger values, so that there would be more leeway to balance them? Moreover, for a year or so we`ve been conditioned to work with the OB values - so from a pedagogic perspective the decision to go with the current numbers seems to me quite boneheaded. Lastly, as we`ve seen over the last months, when the values on the cards are so close together, it oftentimes takes just one ping to scorch the whole board. Low values make control way too easy to pull off and way too strong. So going forward I will be working with the OB values when talking about the solutions. Ok, the center piece of my proposition, the thing that solves most of it. Bring back the third row! No, wait! The game doesn`t need a complete overhaul for this to work. There are in fact already three rows in the game: Melee row...one Ranged row...two Hand... three rows. That`s my first proposition: make the hand the third row. This way the game keeps the nice look with the big cards, but gets additional strategic depth and enables the return of all those faction abilities that disappeared because (I suspect) they couldn`t work on two rows. How does this third row work? For starters, instead of calling it the siege row, it would be the base or camp row. Narratively it makes sense that your army has a base from which it initiates its warring campaign. At the start of the game, all your units and resources are inactive in this base (the base row), then are activated (or deployed - call it as you want) as they are placed on the battlefield. They can be deployed to any of the three rows, provided there is enough space, meaning they can also be played to the base row - with a penalty (more on that later). But then - you might ask - does that mean that the players can interact with the opponents hand? Yes, absolutely! The cards in hand can be passively targeted - and attacked - by each player. You can damage the cards - even the inactive ones - but never below the value of one. You cannot destroy them. And of course, since the cards are face down when inactive, you would damage random cards. You can also play any type of weather on the base-row and over time harm all the units on it - active and inactive alike. Understandably this seems problematic . It is not. Here`s a handy (had to do it) solution: FORTIFICATION. Fortification functions much like armor. It`s the protection value for the whole row - meaning it protects any unit on that row, so long as it`s not destroyed - and is indicated on the left side of any row. It has no influence on the overall power values of your army on the right side. Each player starts the game with the base row (and only the base row) fortified for value of 30 (can be discussed, but let`s work with that number for now). This value is persistent for all three rounds , but can be reduced (siege machines, dragons, weather) or raised. In round one you could for example play Ragnarok, and over 8 turns the fortification value would be lessened by 16 and stay 14 for rounds two and three, unless further changed . If the fortification is completely destroyed, active cards can be directly, inactive cards indirectly attacked. Furthermore, fortification is not only a tag, it`s also an ability. Specific units have the ability to fortify a row - any row. Shield Maidens and Mahakam Defenders are the first that come to my mind. Just imagine the Spartans from "300" who cover with their shields, so that the guys behind can stab and poke. That`s what this is. As long as the fortification is intact, it will protect any unit on the row. This is the sort of thing the game needed with regard to engines. Up until now players never had the possibility (yes, Quen) to protect units before they were played. Instead you had a binary back and forth - you play a card, the opponent destroys it or doesn`t. With an ability like fortify you can prepare the field for engines and other cards of value, which would make them so much so much more viable. Equally it would make locks necessary again. Lastly it also creates another option to deal with weather and other raw-wide effects, which in turn allows weather to be designed more aggressively. Those are just a few of the advantages you get from the fortification ability. There are so many more and I will come back to them later when I get to some practical examples for cards, etc. For now I`d like to jump to the next important point: STRUCTURE FOR EVERYTHING. Remember how I wrote about the lack of identity of card types and about the adjustment of the current card values back to those of the OB? Let`s address that. While this might not be a problem per se, it would make Gwent so much clearer and more intuitive, if any given card type had a precisely defined character that makes it easily readable and understandable; makes it instantly evident what the designated row, role and purpose of that very card is. Of the two general card types (I`ll leave out special cards for now) here is how I imagine the unit subcategories should look like (keep in mind that is just a very abridged version, there are many more intricacies to all of this; also the numbers as presented below are orientational... so just go with the flow for now, ok?): Melee units: High health (7 - 12), low damage (1 - 3), reach of 1 (with an asterisk). Small penalty for ranged row deployment, but can gain defensive ability (like armor or fortify; depending on the rarity of the card). Bigger - faction-specific - health penalty for deployment of the ranged row. Units mostly have armor (about 2). Orders and duel abilities prevalent. Ranged units: Mid health (4 - 8), mid damage (1 - 6), reach of 2 - 3. No penalty for melee deployment, small faction - specific penalty for base deployment. No armor. Deploy ability prevalent. Siege units: Low health (2 - 4), high damage (1-8), imprecise or volatile, reach 2 - 5. Can have armor. No penalties for melee and ranged deployment. Support: Mid health (4 - 7), no damage. No armor. No penalties on deployment. Versatile. Alchemists: Low health (1 - 6), versatile. Poor man`s mages, meaning that they have a wide range of utilities, from damage to support, but not as powerful as mages. Can be unique (gold, silver) but are mostly bronze units. Officers: Archetype "joints", the units that make an archetype work smoothly. Low to high health. Can have armor. Versatile on deployment. No row penalties. Tutors. Mages: Low health (1 - 4), very versatile with abilities for damage, control, support. No armor. No deploy penalties. Always unique (cannot be bronze). Witchers: Witchers obviously... Additionally to the stuff they have going for them now, witchers must always be unique (cannot be bronze; yes, you Viper Witchers). Always immune (they are, as per the lore, immune) - just for the extra flavor. Legendary Units: Faction specific legendaries need to aggressively incentivize archetypes, be the centerpieces or big payoffs thereof. Need to be complex and versatile - meaning having always multiple deploy choices. Neutral legendaries meanwhile should fit into multiple archetypes. Please remember that this is just a brief overview of the characteristics I´d like to see on this unit types. There is way more complexity to every single of these categories, and there are more categories. And not to mention special cards. What I want to illustrate here is how the game needs a system and a structure to give each card type instantly recognizable traits, roles and purposes - identity. This paired with the third row and the OB Gwent card values creates much more variety on board; bigger range of stats, bigger diversity in damage output, reach, etc. To the factions. In my ideal world their rough characteristics would look like this: Nilfgard Nilfgardian troops - as per the lore - are well trained, well equipped and disciplined. They also rely on intel and advanced scientific and technical knowledge. Translated to the game mechanics this means: - Units with biggest overall stats - Signature units: spies, alchemists, siege machines - Signature abilities: orders, reveal - Unit focus on melee row - Great at thinning/managing troops - Weak to control and weather Skellige Skellige units are reckless fighters and pirates. No well equipped (because they don`t need to) but drunk enough to make up for it. - Mid stats, highest damage output of all the factions - Signature units: resurrecting units, pirates, warriors - Signature abilities: discard, resurrect, duel (makes most sense in SK), plunder - Unit focus on melee row Scoaitel Scoaitel units are sparse and badly equipped. To make up for it, they are very mobile and slippery and like to attack from a hidden or fortified position. Have lots of magic users. - Lowest overall stats of all the factions, but with wide variety of damage output - Signature units: Spell-tutors (elves), item-tutors (dwarves), trap-tutors (dryads) - Signature abilities: move, hide, fortify, ambush - Unit focus on ranged row Monsters Monsters are the least homogenous faction, having a polarizing diversity for stats (bigger than Nilfgards, smaller than Scoiatels) and abilities among its units. I would divide them in four groups, each one with a specific focus: Wild Hunt, vampires, necrophages, beasts and insectoids. - Wild Hunt is the destructive part of the faction, with stats that rival those of Nilfgardian units and big damage output - Vampires grow while in the graveyard - Necrophages abuse the opponents graveyard - Beast and insectoids rely on weather, effects and swarm tactics - Signature abilities: consume, deathwish, infect - Units not focused on any particular row Northern Realms NR is the faction that is usually the target of aggression. They start out weak but get stronger with growing success and numbers. - Mid stats, mid damage, swarm tactics - Signature units: bronze tutors, siege machines, crew - Signature abilities: tutor, boost, crew, promote (an additional ability - since NR for me always was the dullest faction -to make the more unique; for bronze units - destroy an enemy gold-unit to get promoted; promoted unit gains additional stats, armor, charges, color) - Units not focused on any particular row Lastly, some examples how I wished the cards were designed (on the base of the pre-HC values and abilities) : Drummond Shieldmaid, 4 power Melee: Deploy - deal 2 damage to an enemy unit; if it was already damaged, summon another Drummond Shieldmaid from your deck Ranged: Deploy - fortify 2 Base: Deploy - penalty 1 Here you have two choices, thinning and damage, or low value but defensive setup. An Craite Raider, 4 power Whenever you discard this unit, resurrect it Melee: Deploy - Deal 2 damage, knockdown "Knockdown" would be an ability that whilst dealing damage it also slams the opponent into the ground, giving him a concussion and disabling a permanent ability for a turn. This as a measure to artifacts and other engines (Skellige to me is a faction that shouldn`t good at control, but instead specializes on slowing down the opponent). Again here the option of discarding the card for thinning and big value, or playing it from hand for low value and an effect that might prove more useful. Meaningful choices and a variety of answers for problems. So this is it, my Christmas- wish list for Shupe. As I wrote before, this is a short version, so please don`t nail me on the details. There are many more areas for the game to improve, like old abilities that are missing and new ones that need to be added, meaningful use of the graveyard, leader abilities, etc. But c`mon, look at the wall of text. If you`ve managed it this far without shaving in-between, you obviously haven`t gone through puberty yet. To summarize, things I`d like to see: - Readjustment to the pre-HC card values - Third row as described above - Consistency; ability to manipulate the hand that is dealt to the player - Structure and identity that are presented trough stats and abilities for all factions, archetypes, units AS PER THE LORE! This last part - the lore - is extremely important, as a lot of the cards just look and feel disconnected from it. Right now Nilfgardian units don`t feel more powerful than any others, because they aren`t, the stats don`t show it. Four is equal four is equal four is equal four. Scoiatel troops don`t feel sneaky or slippery or like they`d shower you with arrows from the trees, because there aren`t abilities that would represent this. And one last - last thing that makes me uninterested in Gwent right now: boring abilities (boost and damage, damage and boost...). This is most pronounced on the legendary cards, that are mainly dull and unimaginative. Just look at gold - Eskel: that is a bronze ability at best, requires no setup and with little satisfying payoff. There are three units in Gerald:Professional, Leo Bonhart and Eyck of Denesle that do pretty much the same thing. That`s not the stuff I expect from a gold unit. Now let me be constructive here and give another example how I`d like CDPR to translate the lore into the Gwent mechanics. Look at Gaunter O`Dimm; another character that simply destroys units. Boring. What does O`Dimm do in Witcher 3? He gives great power, then takes it away, with a hefty price. So: Gaunter O`Dimm, 7 Power Melee: Deploy - Discard two cards and give a unit 15 armor Ranged: Deploy - Discard two cards and boost a unit by 15 Base: Deploy - Boost a unit by 2 and give it immune. After 2 turns, destroy it See, the two-cards-discard is the price to be paid, just as the lore dictates. Mechanically it also prevents Gaunter from being the last card played, giving the opposing player a chance to respond to it. The card fits into multiple decks and gives you meaningful choices. It can work in a discard deck, or in a armor-centric deck. It can be an enabler for engines. But it can also be a safety net for any sort of swarm deck that is brick-prone. Choices. Gold cards should incentivize hard choices, calculated risks, gambles. There just aren`t many of those in the game right now. There is no choice in playing Caretaker on the melee row - there`s nothing to gain from it. You`ll always play it on the ranged row. Obviously these are just the most pressing things that annoy me about the game in this iteration. But I`m spent now, so in closing: I really hope CDPR makes some (all?) of these things happen, because I`m convinced if they create a solid foundation for the game, in the long run, Gwent will destroy the competition. I don`t want to go back to the other games economy, or art. I don`t want to ever again open a pack that doesn`t give me the choice of the fifth card.
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