I’ve had a few people ask me why I’m not playing Lightseekers right now and consequently why I’ve not really been active on facebook, youtube or discord like I used to be.
First let me say that I still love Lightseekers and I hope that the next expansion will resolve the issues that I see in the game. Secondly, the issues I have only exist in the top bracket of the game so if you’re a player who isn’t concerned with making the top cut then this won’t be a problem for you.
When the 2018 competitive season began, I had only really played Lightseekers at home with friends and family so taking my aggro Impex deck to a tournament presented me with a challenge I hadn’t experienced in the game at that point. In the Manchester “Road to Regionals” I won all of my swiss rounds but ultimately lost the final. The deck I was facing was a Treanu deck that essentially had more healing than I could deal with and then used Spectral Web, Vine Lash and Mimicking Horror to One Turn Kill (OTK) me.
At the first Regional tournament in Scotland, we saw Jake win with Granite. The strategy with Granite being: heal and block attacks until such a time as your deck is empty then win. Using the +5 damage at that point is usually unstoppable.
As the season swung back round to the Manchester Regional, I made the semi-final before facing another Treanu deck, once again using the same Vine Lash/Mimicking Horror to execute a OTK. The final was Treanu vs Treanu, essentially identical decks facing off.
Although other decks came and went during the season, this was the way the meta grew. The Treanu deck suffered some errata and fell by the wayside but Granite stayed strong and eventually won the UK National Championship.
This is where we started to see a pattern emerging. To win, the best route seemed to be to stack your deck with so much healing that your opponent could never kill you. You then just had to outlast him or draw the perfect combination of cards and then OTK.
Following the release of the Lightseekers app, I developed a Tempuz mill deck. In this deck I was essentially recycling my discarded cards and healing so often that sometimes I’d often only have a few cards on my discard pile when my opponent’s deck ran out. This saw me all the way to the top of ranked until Calak came along.
Using three lots of Flying Fortress, Reality Rift and Calak’s ability, you could OTK like never before. The tournament at Playfusion Headquarters saw four Calak and two Granite make the top 8! At this point it was becoming clear that if you weren’t playing the best OTK deck then you had no chance in a tournament.
Not long after, we saw the rise of Reefi. Once again, another deck that would heal over and over whilst recycling discarded cards until your opponent’s resources ran out. This deck was particularly powerful because it used Shield Wall, Storm Shell and Reefi’s ability to mitigate chip damage to the point where Calak was no longer a real threat.
After the Heroic Starfish Championship, Reefi was nerfed and the game went through some changes. Uprising was announced and with the arrival of “Classic” mode, the (often overpowered) Awakening cards were all but gone.
And so, with the approach of the new competitive season, I began crafting on the app. I was excited to see what new decks might come out of the new card pool. This caused some problems when playing because Classic isn’t an actual mode of play on the app so if you’ve made a Classic deck then you’re going to mostly lose on ranked because other players aren’t restricted like you are.
So I had a game with my team mate using purely classic decks. As the game progressed, it became clear that he wasn’t attacking much and seemed to be able to heal past any damage I was inflicting. And then it happened. OTK. So yeah, if you were hoping that Classic has removed such decks, think again.
If we look at the state of the game over the last year, it has become clear to me that the way to “be the best” at Lightseekers is to create some kind of deck that continuously heals you until your opponent runs out of cards or until you can finish him in one turn. Sadly, I have no interest in playing that way.
For me, Lightseekers was at its best when decks were interacting with each other at a much higher level. Right now, it doesn’t matter what you play. If your opponent has a OTK deck then he can almost ignore what you’re doing and just heal/draw until he’s ready to end it.
To enjoy this game I need it to be a case of Attack, Counter-attack, Heal, Block, Attack etc.
IT SHOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE TO DO 30+ DAMAGE IN A TURN USING ANY COMBINATION OF CARDS
I have asked myself why Lightseekers has gone this way and I think it boils down to buffs.
When I think about playing Hearthstone or Magic, I play cards on the table and they interact with my opponent’s cards on the table. Although this is possible in Lightseekers, it generally isn’t the case. One buff does not attack another buff to reduce it’s power, health or to remove it entirely.
And of course removal is sparse in Lightseekers. Not only sparse but also blockable with various buffs that stop removal, or stop Attack removal cards. This makes it an almost certainty that no matter what rules change or what cards come and go, there will be some combination of cards that can be played on the table that will allow a One Turn Kill.
BUT it’s my hope that things will change. Playfusion have shown that they are happy to make changes to cards using bans and erratas and a new set is coming soon. I’m lurking in the wings, waiting to see if OTK decks dominate this season like they did the last one. In the meantime, I’ll continue to run tournaments and the Heroic Starfish store will continue to get the game in to the hands of players around the country.