Monday, November 8, 2010

The Arena: Prologue (Chain-Stunning)

One of the most loathsome playstyles that may discourage or turn a player away from the Arena is "Chain-stunning."  What happens is the "chain-stunning team" will load their decks with a few specific cards that complement one another to produce the effect of permanently immobilizing their opponents; this was easier to perform in 4v4.  These cards include Choke (from Fire) and/or Blinding Light (Myth), both of which incapacitate all members of the opposite team, for a mere two (2) pips, and Earthquake (Myth), which deals AOE damage and previously removed all wards and charms (positive and negative) from enemies.

The "first generation" chain-stun was comprised more of the use of two or more of the inexpensive AOE-Stuns:  Choke and/or Blinding Light.  

Originally, whenever a stun affects someone, a single ward (Stun Shield) appears on the victim, to prevent yet another disable from landing on him/her.  To remove this shield to open the person for another Stun, a ward removal spell (such as Steal Ward [Ice] or Pierce [Myth]) or a Stun must be played.  This was a highly effective defensive mechanic for 1v1.

But, when a team of wizards (two or more) was utilized, a loophole was created: one wizard would immobilize with Choke or Blinding Light, and then a second would cast either of those spells in the same turn, to remove each Stun Shield.  Or, if the opposing team managed to put up any Stun Shields (assuming they have first turn), the double cast could still produce the same result: one AOE-stun to remove the Stun Shields, and a second to paralyze the now-vulnerable players.

Hence, the other side was disabled and unprotected from a second wave of stun.  Because of the low pip-cost, there was a requirement of a minimum of one turn and a Power Pip generated for each "chain-stunner" in order to repeat this tactic.  With a high rate of Power Pip chance, "chain-stunners" could virtually create an infinite loop.  True, while decks at the time could hold up to seven (7) copies for certain schools, there was still the sideboard to hold Enchanted (per Accuracy boosts) stun cards.  Thus, a flaw such as not having a stun in hand was easily avoided.

By forcing the other team to pass each and every turn, other members (mainly attackers) could efficiently set up for mountains of damage, usually in AOE form.  Damage reduction shields and charms would not be a factor against a "chain-stun" team, if their enemies are prohibited from casting anything.

Nothing was more demoralizing or offending than entering a battle with a wisely created deck and strategy, only to find your wizard unable to act offensively or defensively every single turn of the battle.  Crowns Players suffered the most from a loss (pretty self-explanatory there) due to "chain-stunning."  The only true counter to this at the time was to have First Turn and your own "chain-stun" team; this was a type of fire that even water could not put out.

Luckily, an update in June of this year somewhat corrected this loophole, but "chain-stunning" was still possible, and along came the "second generation" tactic.

KingsIsle modified the secondary effect of stuns to not produce just one Stun Shield, but four (4).  This counteractive update successfully trumped the ability to spam AOE-Stun after AOE-Stun.  Even if the "chain-stunning" team all used a disable-all spell, their opponents would have at least one turn to act since there was now a shield for every potential stunner.  So, along came the use of the spell that has the ability to remove all wards:  Earthquake.

With a more concentrated and synchronized team (at least three Myth Wizards, especially) one could still chain-disable opponents.  I'm not going to go into lengthy details on the procedure, but if enough people are interested in this expired method, I'd be happy to update this post.  (I still remember that annoying battle against four Myths, just the day before Celestia arrived).

The arrival of today's update has added further countermeasures against the act of "chain-stunning."

Without the ability to remove all Stun Shields and disable all opponents in two or more consecutive turns, there is a largely improved balance in Player vs. Player.  Crowns Players will get their money's worth whether they pay a fee per match or a time-interval pass, as their wizard(s) will have at least a chance to fight or cast back.  As of now, players are free to test themselves offensively and defensively in any match.  Go forth, fair duelers; it's a new dawn.


  1. Truly the Dark Ages of the arena are over, and now it's the beginning of the Renaissance. The old days of the arena were horrible and there was a time where there was no Stun shield just imagine being in a 1v1 were a wizard could continually stun you for 0 pips (Ice or Myth)and then unleash a spell then keep stunning you until you died.

  2. Awesome article Kevin, you really do a great job 'round these parts. I have no use for people that chain stun or do anything like that or other odd procedures. It's also so boring. How fun can it be to just stun stun stun? Those people got issues. :)


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