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The Final Countdown: KARDS base set completed!

Hello friends!
Now that the terrific season changes are out of the way we can get back to our regularly scheduled program of card updates.
The next one marks a special occasion as we are completing the KARDS base set!
We have 344 cards in the base set now, 6 new cards are coming, bringing us to a 350 card base set. After this addition our focus will shift to other improvements, but rest assured that new cards will be added to the game later on, just not in the near future.

Changes to existing cards

Before we take a look at the new cards, lets go over some existing cards that are being changed.

Reducing random damage effects

To start with, we are continuing our efforts to adjust the amount of random effects in the game, especially random damage effects.
A couple of such cards are changing:
Daylight Bombing has kept its random effect for a long time, simply because it seems so fitting to reflect the uncertain results of bombing runs. But for gameplay reasons it makes sense to change it. We’re keeping the direct damage effect, but adding an effect reflecting the economic impact of bombing, something we want to emphasize a bit better in the base set.
The random effect on the Shturmovik has also stuck around for a long time, this time simply because the card has not seen much play and has thus flown under the radar a bit. The new effect it has is slightly weaker, hence us giving it Heavy Armor (which fits historically, the Shturmovik was very sturdy). However, the new ability does allow for bigger blowouts if you give the Shturmovik a hefty attack boost before attacking a small unit. On the whole, the hope is more people will try Shturmovik out in the future.

Discard gameplay

The second item we wanted to address is that of discard.
Discard as a tactic is something we want to be part of the game, but not in the driving seat. Getting the balance here right might take awhile, for now we’re making a couple of changes. Note that one of the new cards can also affect the balance here, so we’ll monitor the strength of discard after this update to see if further adjustments are warranted.
U-375 is the mainstay of the discard strategy, both being the cheapest and most numerous of the discard orders. So when it comes to addressing discard, it seems a natural candidate for adjustments. Limiting the cost of cards the U-375 can hit gives players a bit stronger agency when it comes to sculpting their hand to defend against potential discard, and at the very least protects your late-game bombs from being hit. The cost-relevant clause also fits with the German theme, as seen for instance on cards like Sudden Strike or Encirclement.
Another change for the M36 Jackson does two things. First of all, it makes it a much more attractive propositions to run on its own, a 6 attack tank with op cost of 1 is solid rate for five. Secondly, with the cost now 5 and the above changes to U-375 makes it more likely (even a given with some hands) that the Jackson is selected for discard, triggering its effect. All said, running Jackson now makes more sense when playing the US, especially in a discard heavy environment and sending those U-Boats across the Atlantic can be a risky proposition.

Balancing of rare cards

Next, we have a host of cards receiving a stat change, either to cost or attack/defense.
One thing to note is that all of these changes are to cards with special or elite rarity. The reason for that is simply that as people’s collections grow, we’re getting more accurate data on card usage for more rare cards, giving us stronger indicators for what can be pushed a bit and what is a bit too strong. Let’s go through the changes, in no particular order:
When we first came out with Ultra we overestimated this card a little bit - focusing too much on best case scenarios for its use. Now that we have a better understanding of how countermeasures play out, we feel safe in bringing the cost of Ultra down. Note that there have been some issues where Ultra has failed in canceling the effect of a played order. We’ve been hunting down these issues and have solved some of them, but please let us know if you run into them so we can fix them all. 
Grenadier Guards, the premier guard unit in the game has very generous stats. Too generous it can be argued and we want to lessen its bite a little bit.
This is the second boost we’re giving the 1st Airlanding in a short time, but we really want to get this unit to a point where its ability gets to shine. For that to be good it relies a lot on this unit surviving combat, which a bigger butt should help with.
The Panzerzug is another card where we were too focused on best case scenarios. Now that we have battle tested it a bit more, we feel what it needs the most is the ability to help more out in closing games - many times it sits in the frontline generating card advantage, but not really helping in finishing the opponent off, leading to instances where you can fatigue yourself to death before you can close out the game. The bump in attack power should help with that and creates a nicer symmetry of 9/5 cost & 5/9 stats, so a win win on all fronts.
Stirling is an older design that we’re seeing now needs a little boost to warrant its special rarity status. The increase in defense is not a huge boost, but should make the Stirling a more attractive proposition to play.
The Corsair F5U-1D on the other hand has proven to be a bit too cost effective. It almost always generates a 2 to 1 card advantage and with its current stats often 3 to 1. Lowering its defense reduces the 3 to 1 cases significantly and brings it within range of many more removal cards.
An unconditional removal order such as Blade of the Samurai is undeniably strong, but in a format full of decks with cheap, aggressive units and bigger ones often generating card advantage on entering or leaving play, paying a full 7 for it is a bit steep.
This change should not be a surprise to anyone, and many would even argue this change it too little. Our reluctance in altering the B-17 Flying Fortress mostly comes from desire to maintain the B-17 as an iconic unit of the US forces. Plus, the US is the least played nation right now, so we don’t want to rock their boat too much. But a change was needed, and this is what we’re going with. One of the reasons of why we’re pulling the trigger on this change now is the addition of a new card for the US, which you will see momentarily.

Six new cards

Speaking of new cards, let’s take a look at the six last card of the base set.
The 93rd Guards hit on many of the themes for the Soviets - strong guard units, resilience and destruction benefits. The 93rd Guards can create a lot of inevitability in long games, so make sure you either have a deck that can win before the enemy starts drawing them in droves, or a deck that can basically ignore them (like burn or artillery decks). 
The Supply Chain can play various roles in a deck. At its simplest it is a cantrip - filtering through your deck for a cost of 2. But there are many ways to take advantage of its discard clause. Unlike the clause on the M36 Jackson, the discard here can be triggered by your own actions. This can for instance work well with the Japanese cards that force discard (like Divine Wind, or a new Japanese card you find below), or in conjunction with War Production. And then of course it can be very nice against discard.
Uncle Sam wants you to recruit him in a deck full of big, fat units. What is better than two B-17? The answer is six B-17s of course, and now you can make that dream come true. The random factor may be an issue, but if you construct and play your deck correctly you can minimize it. 
The G4M1 Betty was a fast, aggressive bomber, but to get the extra speed it skimped on defenses. These facts are reflected in the stats here - you can roll the Betty out very fast and it can wreak havoc if left unattended, but at a pretty big risk - sacrificing a card for a vulnerable bomber. Then again, you can reduce the risk factor for instance with cards like Supply Chain.
What is missing the most for Japan is strong late-game cards. They can build strong aggressive decks, but have a harder time being the mainstay in a more midrange or control deck. The last couple of additions for Japan are intended to help addressing this, giving them strong late-game cards. Empire of the Sun is a powerful removal order that can kill any enemy unit and restock your hand at the same time. It kicks in late in the game, so make sure you have plenty of other tools to keep the enemy at bay, but against slower decks Empire of the Sun can be devastating. 
The other control oriented card Japan is getting is Home Defense. Getting two units directly into play for 10 kredits is decent value (especially as one is a guard + ambush unit) and if you manage to play this for only 5 you’re getting great value. Getting both a guard unit and a bomber means you’re shoring up your defenses while still deploying a threat at the same time. Note that the two units are fixed to always align so that the Chi-Nu is guarding both the HQ and the bomber. Also note that with the extra copy of Aichi D3A-2 you get from Home Defense you have a greater chance of growing them big.
That’s it for now.
As for the arena of future updates, I have some limited information about what is on the draft table, but all I can say for now is that we’re shifting mode into some more feature development.
See you on the battlefield!
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