12/26 balance change: Snowball area damage decreased by 5%
12/28 balance change: Snowball slow-down effect duration increased to 3 seconds
12/29 balance change: Snowball knockback effect removed
1/12 balance change: Snowball now splits into two 'Snowbits' upon impact!
Hello, challengers! This is my first card idea thread, so feedback of course is appreciated. I'm not expecting to get anything from anyone anytime soon obviously, given how quickly threads are pushed to page 2, but...let's get into things, shall we?
Reasons for adding the card
Spells aren't necessarily a bad thing for the game - they can teach players a lot about game strategy! For example - have you ever tried to Zap an Arena Tower, only to realise it did not go down? How about trying to aim the Rocket so that it hits both the Elixir Collector and a second building? What about the time you missed with Arrows on a Minion Horde?
However, a spell with an interesting theme, like Poison, would bring something fresh to the arena of "spells". Most deal area damage, but that's about it - few other interesting properties. My idea resolves that by adding in a special feature to the spell that makes it unique and gives it its own function.
Frozen Peak also still needs cards - no more legendaries, but another common and a rare should do. My card idea fixes one of these problems.
So, let me introduce you to the Snowball.
What's that rolling over the hill? Is it a Snowball? Yep, it's a Snowball. For the price of three drops of elixir, you can create a mini-avalanche anywhere in the Arena. Let it go and let it snow - the Snowball brings good tidings (10 feet of good tidings) to all foes of your kin. . Wanna build a snowman? Well now you can - toss a Snowball at the opposition and cover them in frosted flakes. Amusement (and repercussions) guaranteed.
a) When hurled at a group of unsuspecting opponents, the Snowball flies over your King tower, with snowflakes and pieces of ice falling off of its sides. Then, if it is striking air troops, it continues in its "spin-fly" animation until striking the target. If it is targeted at ground troops, it crashes to the floor just in front of the enemy, flinging snow in their faces.
b) Same air attack animation. If targeted at ground troops, the Snowball descends to the ground and starts rolling towards them. Upon making contact, they are engulfed by the Snowball and start rolling backwards with it. It then dissipates into loose particles of snow. Affected troops develop a blue tint that progressively gets darker at the timer approaches 3 seconds, then lighter again.
b) is the preferred animation as it is more unique to the Snowball and thematically more suitable. However, it is somewhat more complicated.
The Snowball is a 3-elixir common card. The reasoning behind its cost is simple - it shouldn't replace the Fireball, nor Arrows as a damage-dealer, as its primary usage will depend on how well players are able to get to grips with its special effect. As it does not deal as much damage as either or have the latter's radius, 3 elixir is a good start. Secondly, this will also further differentiate it from Poison and Freeze, which are both 4 elixir and serve different roles in the Arena. This should decrease in-house competition between the two of them, despite their similarities.
Its special effect, which I have been going on about for a while now? Upon striking enemies in its radius, the Snowball deals AoE damage and slows down enemies' attack and movement speeds by 35%, for 3 seconds, keeping consistent with the Ice Golem. The 35% threshold is for consistency with all other 'slow-down' related 'ice' cards, while the 3 second duration ensures that it is not overpowered - we don't want it to replace either Freeze nor the Ice Spirit!
In addition to slowing down troops in a 3-tile radius, the Snowball also does moderate AoE damage. For a spell, its damage output is very low - barely more than Zap, and much less than the Fireball. This damage should be enough to take down small units, but will be very ineffective against tanks and even glass cannons if relied upon alone; have troops on standby to take advantage of the slow-down effect. The 3 elixir cost will make for some positive trades.
Note: The Ice Spirit, Golem and Wizard do NOT have immunity to the Snowball! They can and will still be affected.
Here is a table of card stats for the Snowball - in italics is the row of information for Level 9 (tournament standard for common cards.)
Elixir cost Radius “Slow-down” effect “Slow-down” effect duration 3 3 35% 3sec
Level Area Damage Crown Tower Damage 1 85 34 2 93 37 3 102 41 4 112 45 5 123 49 6 135 54 7 148 59 8 163 65 9 179 71 10 197 78 11 215 86 12 236 94 13 259 103
And now, stats for the Snowbits! :3
Radius “Slow-down” effect “Slow-down” effect duration 2.5 35% 1.5sec
NEW CARD PICTURE (corrected)!
At tournament standard, this is the damage dealt by each spell against non-crown structures.
Zap - 169
Tornado - 174
Snowball - 179
Arrows - 243
The Log - 260
Fireball - 572
Poison - 610
Lightning - 864
Rocket - 1,232
This is the damage dealt by each spell against crown structures, at tournament standard of course.
Zap - 68
Tornado - N/A
Snowball - 71
Arrows - 98
The Log - 104
Fireball - 229
Poison - 244
Lightning - 346
Rocket - 493
As you can probably tell, the Snowball does moderate AoE damage, and even in comparison to other spells does relatively little by itself. This puts less emphasis on how many hitpoints it can whittle down from a unit/building and more on the slow-down effect, which is the highlight of the card. In comparison to other low-cost cards, the Snowball's damage seems to be balanced - in exchange for the reduced damage impact it has a larger radius, which offers some extra utility that cards like the Fireball are lacking due to a reduced area of effect. The Tornado and Snowball are both 3 elixir spells and do similar damage to each other at comparable levels, an indication of balance.
One potential problem I have identified is the obsolescence of Arrows with the Snowball's introduction - Arrows is outclassed by almost every other spell in the game at the moment due to a lack of versatility and meta suitability - Zap does the jobs it can do for less, and Fireball does the jobs it can do better - and even some of the things it can't do, like take out glass cannons behind an Arena Tower. One last remaining use of that spell is to wipe out Minion Hordes.
With the Snowball offering moderate AoE and a slow effect for the same elixir is problematic, because it means that it will start being used in Arrows' place, as the damage is high enough to take out Minions at tournament standards. For that reason, I implemented a 5% damage nerf for the Snowball in order to fix this problem, rendering it unable to destroy a Minion Horde in one hit. This gives it 179 damage at tournament standards, or 71 against crown structures, as opposed to 193 and 77 respectively. This should further discriminate between it and Arrows, in order to prevent the Snowball from taking Arrows' one and only job for most players - to take out Minion Hordes. The Fireball can also do this, but with a greater risk (smaller radius) and higher elixir cost.
These some previous buff ideas for the Snowball, as consensus had it that this spell is rather underpowered.
1) Simple damage buff - I'm not keen on this one as any additional damage will likely cause it to one-shot the Minion Horde, which I want to avoid to prevent this spell from outclassing Arrows, which is already overlooked by many players.
2) Elixir cost buff - the Snowball could be decreased to 2 elixir with no stat changes necessary. This buff seems ineffective, however - Zap would still heavily overshadow it in terms of versatility, and The Log's two unique features (knocking back ALL troops and the legendary rolling distance) will still render the Snowball a comparatively weak card.
3) Slowdown effect duration buff - the Snowball's slow-down effect could be increased from lasting 3 seconds to 5 seconds. This wouldn't change the fact that Zap offers an instant cast time for a lower elixir cost in additon to being able to reset the attack charge of the troops it targets, for virtually similar damage (nothing that Zap cannot kill can be killed by the Snowball.)
4) "Split-ball" buff - this is an idea I conceived after reading StabbyGobs' feedback. The Snowball will, upon impact, explosively split into two 'Snowbits' that can target other objects that were missed by their former form, with all-round decreased stats.