God Powers have been a large focus for the community for a long time. Often when people describe a deck, they call it “Nature Flourish“ or “Onslaught War“ or “Heal Light“. While it’s good that God Powers have a strong impact on the game, this impact has been too great, drawing focus away from the real star of the show: the cards.
The goal with God Powers is to provide a mechanic that lets players tweak their game plan on the fly. In the past, we’ve struggled to get that idea to stick. The long and short of it was that our designs were too impactful, and using a God Power was somewhat comparable to playing a card. This devalued the choice to switch between God Powers to gain an advantage, it also meant using a god power instead of a card would have a similar impact.
The power of three
With Divine Order, this all changes. Soon there will only be three God Powers for each domain, many of which are lower power and less complex. This makes choosing a God Power simpler, and the choice you're making clearer. It also makes the first screen a new player sees about half as scary.
Before you say: “They're catering to the casual audience over the hardcore gamers!!!“ I'll say: simple game pieces do not necessarily lead to a simple game. A four year old can understand how each chess piece moves, but that does not mean chess lacks complexity. We actually see this change as a solid step towards fostering a healthier community.
Why did we reduce it to three options? Our new designs are a lot closer together now. Too many powers simply offers different ways to achieve similar things. Having four choices made some God Powers redundant. With our new powers, players are given a smaller, but richer range of options.
Overall, these are going out in a pretty good state, but they are going to get some final tweaks once we have a better understanding of how they are being used.
The new God Powers
With all the high level stuff out of the way, let's take a look at the new lineup for each domain:
With this lineup, Nature now has a choice between more presence, stronger presence, or generating closed value.
Animal Bond is like its old version, but now it only gives you a 1/2 Badger, which can trade up against a 1/1, but not against a 2/2. This is important for matchups against some of the other domains' God Powers, but the biggest hit here is that we split up the best friends. At least they'll be forever together in the Welcome Set.
Flourish gives your high health creatures a little more space to trade up, while keeping themselves alive.
Selena’s Lead lets you build value for future turns if you want to go for a combo turn down the line. It also allows you to storm back the board after a boardclear.
War’s powers have been a hot topic lately, with Onslaught War being the top deck right now. This patch in general will have a huge impact on the meta, so we'll see if we need to make more changes to Onslaught in particular.
Onslaught is reactive and should let players take the initiative. For now, its "plus strength" text is being removed.
Slayer has been reworked to be very aggressive, making up for its linear game plan. This should let players punish decks that want to waste time or finish off low health opponents.
Valka’s Presence lets War players push for a more open, value based game. The 1/1 Vikings are cheap at only 2 mana and don't have a downside. Without a buff, they won't trade well against anything but Nature's 2/1 Oakspear Guards though.
Magic’s powers have taken some significant changes. The largest is Clear Mind losing protected, as gaining protected each turn was not only frustrating but leading to some very slow games.
Magebolt is very simple, allowing players to play reactive and controlling. It also allows them to finish off a very low health god in a pinch.
Clear Mind is a slower, more closed power, allowing players to see out combo pieces and improve the quality of their draws.
Pallas' Genius is on my watch list as it gives a lot of value and can make for some annoying or weird plays. In general though, it allows you to generate more value for a longer game.
Light’s powers are all about the board.
Heal is a staple of Light, and is best played when targeting a damaged creature. It allows for some clever trading and strong open play.
Summon Acolyte has remained the same and worries me a little. It’s very strong and generates a huge amount of value per turn. 2/2 Acolytes are the best creature a God Power can summon, only losing out to a group of Oakspear Guards.
Lysander’s Honor allows for some better trading (similar to Heal), but it can also suppress your opponent's creatures without needing anything on your side of the board.
As if it were mocking Magic, Deception's powers are like mirrored versions of its magical counterpart.
Thievery, like Pallas' Genius, has a lot of potential. There's plenty of variance to be found here, and we will be keeping a close eye on it. In general, Thievery should allow you to stretch out your deck and go a little longer, playing a more closed, slow game.
Flip should let you dig for combo pieces, and then get them out immediately. This pushes a more aggressive combo centric approach.
Orfeo’s Distraction is the new Cheat, just in a more thematically correct form. Cheat was an interesting power and makes for some brain bending turns, as well as some powerful decks.
Undying Wish is being simplified to append an afterlife that summons a 1/1 Imp to one of your creatures. This also stacks, making it extra hard to clear off your board.
Blood Ritual has become very niche but very powerful. It's a controlling power (like Magebolt) only you can’t ping a creature down over many turns. In exchange for that, you get to heal when land a kill. You also get to ignore things like protected and certain other mechanics from the second expansion.
Neferu’s Sacrifice is a monster draw engine. For Death, taking damage isn't always a bad thing, and this power is going to be great for digging deep and keeping pressure on the board. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye on this one.
We're looking forward to seeing how these iterations go. The interactions between all the creature-summoning God Powers should be especially interesting. With the reduction in power, we're also interested to see what decks pop up in the meta.
As we said before though, we're always iterating on these designs. We expect to make some more changes once everything shakes out in the meta, but until then, happy casting!
~VideoJames, Gods Unchained Gameplay Lead