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[Effort Post] [Idea] Re-invigorate clash royale ladder with in-game card substitutions


Soul Crusher
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I posted roughly this idea a long time ago, but I think it has become more relevant now as the game is getting older and needs some new fresh ways of playing the game (not just new cards). It appears many in this subreddit (including myself), feel that clan wars II doesn’t sounds like quite enough to bring significant interest back to the game (of course I’m hoping we’re all wrong).

My suggestion (in bold below if you want to skip to it) addresses several of the main problems with the game (or at least the problems I feel it would be great to address):

  1. Rock-paper-scissors. Yes, you can play incredibly well against a hard-counter and win, but hard counters exist nonetheless.
  2. Progression (above 6.3k). Part of the reason is that it takes so long to upgrade decks, than the meta shifts and your deck is no longer relevant. I believe progression should be more closely tied to gaining skill instead of following the meta.
  3. Stupid/no-skill decks becoming meta (e.g. e-golem+healer+heal spirit; lavaclone a few seasons back).
  4. The meta decks are largely the same, albeit with minor variations.
  5. The need for a new way of playing ladder without killing current ladder
  6. Lack of new architypes

The supercell goals that my suggestion boosts:

  1. Makes you upgrade more cards (*but only a small number, not ruining progression for the average player*)
  2. Makes it a better e-sport by making skill more important.

My suggested change: In-game card substitutions.

Details: Your deck consists of 10 cards: the normal 8 cards, and 2 extra cards. You start each game with the normal 8 cards. During single elixir only, at any point you can substitute these two extra cards in for any of the original 8 (using a similar interface to emotes). Once substituted out, you cannot sub it back in. Your opponent is informed of the substitution if you already played a card that you are subbing out.

Why single elixir only?

  1. Good players are encouraged to make early moves to learn about opponent's deck, instead of waiting for double elixir to make the first move.
  2. Stop everyone finishing games with Rocket.

How it addresses problems:

Rock-paper scissors.

Golem/NW first play is a thing (certainly around 6k). Wouldn't you love to be able to quickly plonk down inferno/poison?

More generally, how often do you build a deck, then start a match and wonder "if only I had poison instead of lightning" (e.g. one opponent has graveyard, next opponent has e-drag beatdown), "should I have Pekka or Mega-knight" or "should I have Rocket or earthquake". "My deck is strong against all architypes except x", (e.g. 2.6 hog could have another air card for lavaloon battles instead of skeletons, or swap cannon for inferno).

Or perhaps more extreme, "if only I had fireball and poison, or log and zap" (e.g. first opponent has three musketeers, next opponent has double barrel bait. If you start the battle with fireball+zap, you could easily use substitutions to get the correct two spells),

With substitutions, you can add the hard-counter to your opponents deck, they can add the hard-counter to yours. The more skilled player should win.

Xbow would also face a lot more earthquakes...

Progression. With substitutions, you are much more immune to meta changes. Progression should be about improving skills. As you get better, you should progress higher. By eliminating hard counters this would help massively.

Stupid/No-skill meta decks. Often, these decks which prey on you not having the correct counter. During a toxic season, if everyone has the counters in their substitutions ready to add to their deck, the problem would be minimised.

E.g. vs e-golem+healer meta, have (two of bomb tower/poison/log/delivery) ready. You may already have one/two of these cards in your original 8 cards. Then you could have 3-4 counters

e.g. vs lavaclone meta (thankfully largely dead). Imagine most players had tornado/poison ready as substitutions. The deck that preys on you not having these cards would die.

...and...Xbow would also face a lot more earthquakes...

The meta decks are largely the same, albeit with minor variations. With substitutions you could create completely new exciting decks combinations with separate single/double elixir strategy

(e.g. surprise sub in golem/NW for double elixir: take a current meta deck: ice-wiz, baby-D, nado, barb-barrel, goblin cage, lightning, golem, NW; instead start your battle with ice-wiz, baby-D, nado, barb-barrel, goblin cage, lightning, hog, mini-pekka and do a last minute sub-in of golem, NW for two cards).

Or you run different strategies: get early nado king-tower, then sub it out. Hog 2.6 could swap hog for rocket in double elixir.

I think many new strategies could be created and random cards (rage/clone/freeze) become more relevant. It would also likely result in balance changes

A new way of playing ladder. You can play ladder the old way fine with just your normal 8 cards. Decks will still work. However, you are likely to do better by being able to take advantage of subs.

A new ‘architype': we have all forms of spell bait. This could introduce substitution bait. Bait your opponent into subbing out the hard-counter (can't sub something back in once it is subbed out)!

How can it be implemented? Use the same interface to emote. If you can emote during a game, you can easily pick a substitution.

Would love to hear your thoughts

(by the way, for reference, I think I'm decent, but not great: last season just shy of 6500 trophies, 13 wins in recent no-tilt. I play a completely off-meta deck which is some variant of cards I randomly upgraded when I first played the game (imagine many people are in the same boat). I love the game and yet am on the verge of quitting due to boredom/frustration

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