First of all, I agree with both posts above, that the draft was very fun. Overall, it became quite obvious that you already put extensive effort in the cube as it already runs very smoothly and is balanced very well.
The following feedback is based on just one draft, so everything has to be taken with a grain of salt
I’ll add to the comments already made first:
We did not like the concept of including the Mission II's with build-in outposts: This means that if you are lucky enough to draft one, you win a seed slot because you don't have to seed an outpost. One possibility would be to just leave those out (I guess replace them with regular missions) and maybe then allow 13 seed cards so that the number of dilemmas does not go down.
I would definitely cut them. For one they are very strong as they come with an extra seed slot, and have easy requirements (and their inherent drawback of low points becomes a wash in Warp Speed). Five out of six players seeded a Mission II which is quite telling. Even more problematic for me is how they tamper with the drafting experience. They are clearly first-pick-material, but they also soft-lock you in an affiliation unless you want to give up the huge advantage they provide. One of the fun things about drafting is figuring out what the players next to you are drafting (i.e. which affiliations are open), but this element gets hamstringed by the Mission IIs.
I would suggest getting rid of Lower Decks. There's a good reason this card is even on the OTF watch list! If something is too powerful for OTF, it is definitely too powerful for a draft.
I mildly disagree. First of all, constructed and limited cannot be compared that easily as they are totally different monsters. LD can be leveraged a lot better in constructed than in a limited environment. Secondly, I didn’t perceive it as being too strong; in the relevant matches it provided its bonus to about a quarter of the ATs/crews (I think the hand weapons and PADDs were much more effective). Yes it foils some dilemmas, but these are mostly the walls that tried to shoehorn big teams into an attempt and it is good these get some counters. Thirdly, I actually think LD has a balancing effect on the format, especially in regard to the missions where some of them come with attribute requirements while others don’t and this makes them more comparable power-level-wise.
The combo that won me most of my games might be a litte overpowerd, not sure though: Atmospheric Ionization + Interphasic Plasma Creatures + Hanonian Land Eel is pretty brutal! Maybe Atmospheric Ionization is a bit too strong for the format, but I'm not sure about this one - could be fine.
Not sure about it being too strong, but this combo would actually be an argument for keeping Lower Decks
Also take into account, that the more drafts we are doing the more the strong is getting identified, which makes it harder to get such combos in the future.
The combo Genesis Planet + Unstable Matrix might be too strong. If was not played in our tourney though (lack of skills to solve it), but if it works, opponents are usually down 4 dilemmas (space dilemmas) which is brutal
If someone can pull it off, it is probably super powerful. I am not sure if I remember correctly, but one player picked Genesis Planet very early, and failed to collect all the requirements to solve it in a reasonable way. I’d describe it as a trap card (high power at high cost). What I don’t like is how it contradicts the function of piggybacks as all the other cards give an indication of what they are piggybacking, whereas this needs some external reference (which is also not a good thing for the lesser experienced players).
The following is a collection of my personal impressions and comments which I picked up throughout the day:
- Range 7 seems to be the minimum you want on your ships. In every game my opponent seeded a 4-span mission next to my base, so in order to get to the second mission I always needed at least 7 range. I had the I.K.C. K’Ratak
in my deck and it was big speed-bummer. While drafting I mostly tried to get a certain amount of ships and didn't pay much attention to the stats, but going forward I will never pick a 6-range ship again in a draft unless I absolutely have to (which is unlikely with Mercenary Ship
being in the starter pack). I’d probably cut those ships to avoid this frustration point, unless of course they provide some other synergy.
- Lack of Preparation
seems weak with all the low-requirement missions running around. All-Available Personnel
(piggybacking Skeleton Crew
) might be a more reliable alternative.
- AMS is quite strong in my opinion as it jumpstarts the game and can be considered as “an extra turn for the cost of a seed slot”. I’m not sure if I cut it though, but I would definitely remove Dr. Farek
from the starter pack to raise its opportunity cost.
- I don’t like the Shades of Grey stuff. Most of the dilemmas that they enhance are unexciting without SoG, hence to make them on-par with other dilemmas you’ll need to spend an extra seed slot. That is probably too costly, and I’d rather play two good dilemmas instead of SoG and one dilemma. Villagers With Torches
works somewhat similarily; it usually prevented one red-shirt (like an Armus) and eventually it would have been better to slot a dilemma instead.
The cube provides a good mixture of build-around cards, filler material, and splashy stuff. Between putting together a good skill-matrix, grabbing essential pieces, and including some fun/surprise tech, it hits the sweet spot between accessibility and skill-intensivity, concerning both the draft itself and the games. Not too streamlined, and not too complex.
Any fact becomes important when it's connected to another. - Umberto Eco
Check out my YouTube channel
for some STCCG videos!