Rules Update

Recently WWG updated a few of their rules partially based on their experience with the app. These are fairly minor changes that help speed up the game, and I like them. You can check out their article on it here. Rob and Nathan also discussed the changes, took some questions, and played some Epic on a recent twitch stream.

Initiative Passing

The biggest changes have to deal with passing initiative in combat and at the end of turns.

Combat

Previously combat worked like this (AP = Attacking Player, DP = Defending Player):

1) AP Declares attacking champion(s)

2a) AP may play cards and activate abilities (“make plays”)
2b) DP may play cards and activate abilities (“make plays”)
2c) If DP made any plays, return to 2a. Otherwise, proceed to 3

3) DP Declares defending champion(s)

4a) AP may “make plays”
4b) DP may “make plays”
4c) If DP made any plays, return to 4a. Otherwise, proceed to 5

5) Assign damage

Essentially, the Defending Player would always be the last person to pass in order to advance to the next step.

Now combat works like this:

1) AP Declares attacking champion(s)

2a) AP may “make plays”
2b) DP may advance to 3 (declare blockers) or may “make plays.” If they make any plays, advance to 2c
2c) AP may advance to 3 (declare blockers) or may “make plays.” If they make any plays, advance to 2b

3) DP Declares defending champion(s)

4a) DP may “make plays”
4b) AP may advance to 5 (assign damage) or may “make plays.” If they make any plays, advance to 4c
4c) DP may advance to 5 (assign damage) or may “make plays.” If they make any plays, advance to 4b

5) Assign damage

Assuming no one makes any plays initiative passing/choice making looks like this:

1) AP

2a) AP
2b) DP

3) DP

4a) DP
4b) AP

5) –

After combat) AP

Implications

Now, the Defending Player has the first opportunity to “make plays” after blockers are declared. Not only does this reduce the number of times initiative is passed in combat by 1 (assuming no one plays anything), but it also slightly buffs the attacker in combat.

For example, I attack with Raging T-Rex while I have Rage in hand. My opponent blocks with Noble Unicorn while they have Hasty Retreat in hand. My opponent plans on using Hasty Retreat no matter what because they don’t want their Unicorn to die.

Previously

As the attacker, I don’t know my opponent plans on playing Hasty Retreat, so I play Rage on my T-Rex since, if my opponent doesn’t “make any plays” I’ll lose my opportunity to play it and lose 10 potential damage. When my opponent then gains the initiative, they play Hasty Retreat and not only save their Unicorn and return my T-Rex to hand, but they also get a free negation of my Rage in the process.

Now

The defender gets the first chance to play events. If they play Hasty Retreat now, they can protect their Unicorn; however, they will not be able to draw out my Rage. If, on the other hand, they know I have Rage because I revealed it for loyalty earlier, they could opt to pass initiative. If I play my Rage, my opponent may then Hasty Retreat my champion. But, I (as the attacker) now get the choice to either accept the current state of combat and break the Noble Unicorn, or I can play my Rage to try to get 10 damage through.

Due to this, the attacker gets a very slight advantage over the defender, or more precisely, the attacker loses a disadvantage they originally had.

End of Turn

Essentially, the non-current player was always the last player to pass before. Now, the turn can end after 2 consecutive passes.

Before, when the current player tried to end their turn and their opponent “made a play,” the current player was immediately thrust back into their main phase. From there, the current player could have either played more cards, made more attacks, or attempted to end their turn again. When the current player tried to end their turn again, their opponent could make another play and repeat this process.

Now, if the current player tries to end their turn and their opponent “makes a play,” the current player can either go back to their main phase in order to play cards/declare attacks, or the current player can immediately end the turn.

In other words, the non-current player no longer gets the last pass before the turn ends.

The main thing this eliminates (besides extra initiative passes in the app) is the ability to play a single card at the end of your opponent’s turn, see if they have a response, play another single card, see if they have a response, play another single card, etc. until you no longer want to play cards.

For example,
Opponent: “I try to end my turn”
You: “Okay, I play Muse, pass”
Opponent: *Sigh* “I try to end my turn again”
You: “No Wither? Okay, I play second Muse, pass”
Opponent: *Longer Sigh* “I try to end my turn again”
You: “Pass”

Now, if you pass after playing your first Muse, your opponent can end the turn before you get the chance to play your second Muse. You either need to risk playing both Muses (hoping your opponent has no Wither), or you can hedge against Wither, but risk only getting one Muse in play.

Conclusion

As I said, I am in favor of these changes. For the most part, they have almost no effect on gameplay (particularly the mulligan order change I didn’t bother discussing: second player mulligans first now), they make defender initiative passes less obvious, and they help attacking a tiny bit.

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