History of Midori in Puzzle Strike

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by skeller, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. skeller

    skeller Well-Known Member

    By Vivafringe

    Curious how some of your favorite Puzzle Strike chips came to be? In Hidden Gems, we explore the development history of various chips. This time we take a look at Midori.

    For a guy who could turn into a dragon, Midori had a hard life. Not only was he one of the worst characters of version 1, but he was by far the least fun to play. Here is what his chips were:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    If you haven't seen this version of Rigorous Training yet, you might think it looks powerful. Changing :ps1gem:s into Combines seems like a pretty sweet deal! The issue here was how easy it was to play around this effect. If Rigorous Training was in the discard, the player would go ahead and buy a Combine. If not, then the player would buy something else. Against a competent opponent, Midori could go an entire game without triggering it!

    And once players started doing that, Dragon Form became nearly useless. If Rigorous Training is activating regularly, then the non-orb restriction became a workable drawback. You can "cheat" some Combines and Crashes into your deck even though you can't directly buy them. But with 0 Rigorous Training activations, trying to do anything at all was crippling. Also notice that in this version of Dragon Form, you have to ante before you can discard it. A large amount of games simply ended with Dragon Midori killing himself with his own :ps2gem:. Awkward.

    All of this madness led to players doing this bold, innovative, and horrifying play:
    Turn 1, play Purge Bad Habits, trashing Dragon Form.

    The logic here was that even though Rigorous Training NEVER DID ANYTHING, at least it made your opponent play around it. Dragon Form was even more useless, so players just trashed it instead (it was still legal to trash character chips back then). Also worth noting is that the de facto best chip that Midori had, Purge Bad Habits, was still awful. Just compare it to Grave's Martial Mastery, which is more flexible and has a black arrow, to boot!

    ...yeah. For the Upgrade Pack (version 2), Rigorous Training became much easier to activate and a little less powerful, while Purge Bad Habits was changed to at least not be obviously horrible.

    Dragon Form: You could discard this before you anted, so you no longer accidentally killed yourself.

    Rigorous Training: When your opponent buys a chip costing 4 or more, discard this and trash a chip, then gain a chip costing up to 2 more than the trashed chip.

    Purge Bad Habits: Trash a chip from your hand, then gain a chip with cost 3 and put it on top of your bag.

    Rigorous Training was a great change and worked well with the character. Ironically, it also compares somewhat unfavorably to Martial Mastery, but since it gets him much needed orbs in Dragon Form, this is understandable. In practice, this new version activated a lot more, since the opponent can't just avoid it by being "forced" to buy a Stolen Purples or Roundhouse (heaven forbid!).

    Moreover, Purge Bad Habits at least looked better. You could put a :ps2gem: onto your deck and immediately start using it! You could see that you were going to draw two enders next turn, and grab a Gem Essence to play both!

    The result was... well, the character wasn't a disaster anymore. But there was still room for improvement! One problem was that the new Purge Bad Habits made him annoyingly bank dependent. When there weren't any 3-cost bank chips, Midori had to make do with a boring old :ps2gem:. And as it turns out, using Purge Bad Habits on a :ps1gem: to put a:ps2gem: on top of your deck was a deceptively bad play. The problem here is that it denies you a draw, slowing the rate of seeing the chips you actually want. If you weren't getting nice 3-cost bank chips, the new Purge Bad Habits was counterintuitively worse than even the old, awful version!

    The final straw was when character chips became untrashable. This was an undeniable nerf to Midori (although a positive change overall). The first thing we did was dust off an ancient version of Purge Bad Habits, from development of version 1:

    Purge Bad Habits: Trash 2 chips from your hand, then gain a :ps2gem:.

    This had originally been a bit degenerate, and had been axed for the weaker version. However, since you couldn't trash character chips anymore, we reasoned that it would probably be fairer now. As it turns out, we were right, and this previously broken iteration was surprisingly underwhelming. One issue was that you couldn't just trash one chip, and trashing two often left Midori with no money. We decided to effectively give Midori +2$ when he used the chip.

    Purge Bad Habits: Trash 2 chips from your hand, then put a :ps2gem: from the bank into your hand.

    ...and for the first time since the release of version 1, Midori was powerful! Unfortunately, the change put him over the top. He was by no means unbeatable; because of thindecking, this version is particularly vulnerable to disruptive chips like Stolen Purples and Color Panic! Still, he was probably the best character, and had oppressive matchups against a lot of the cast. If the opponents happened to be playing a character without good short term defense, they got pummeled before they could ever get going.

    The final tweak gave him even more money, but stopped his deck thinning ability. This balanced his matchups a bit more; he is more resistant to aggressive disruption, but slower against economic strategies.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Midori's come a long way since his less than stellar debut. He has more bite than ever before, but still falls short of feeling overpowered. However, what I like most about his chips is how much they fit Midori's flavor as a character. If you play by his honor-bound rules, you're going to get your teeth kicked in. But if you play "cheap" and attack him with disruptive chips, he can seem downright wimpy!

    Previous Article: History of Secret Move
    Next Article: History of Zane in Puzzle Strike

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  2. Turbo164

    Turbo164 Well-Known Member

    Good read! (viva post here so we can give you a Like too! :p )

    At what point was Dragon Form changed to its current version?
  3. Star Slayer

    Star Slayer Well-Known Member

    Great article. I was wondering about the change to Dragon Form, too, though. Not only was it reworded to work with panic time, the discard clause also changed at least twice, as far as I remember. Unless I am mistaken, the "You can't buy :psorb:s." was a late change to nerf Dragon Form a bit.
  4. vivafringe

    vivafringe Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for reminding me about Dragon Form! I had forgotten to talk about it. As Star Slayer said, the chip was changed to work with Panic Time. The problem was that after you changed, "Ante :ps2gem: instead of :ps1gem: during your turn" to the longer "Each Ante phase, ante a :psgem: of 1 higher than usual," there wasn't enough physical room on the chip to have the old "Discard if you buy an :psorb:" clause. So the "you can't buy :psorb:s" change was actually for space reasons, not power.
    variable, Xom, Star Slayer and 2 others like this.
  5. Star Slayer

    Star Slayer Well-Known Member

    Space reasons? I didn't know that. I always thought it was done to nerf him. These articles are great to bring such information back to mind.
    variable likes this.
  6. Archon Shiva

    Archon Shiva Well-Known Member

    Interesting. The power nerf is still relevant, though - I've had numerous early-game situations where I would have bought a combine after my uncounterable crash.
    variable likes this.
  7. SirHandsome

    SirHandsome Well-Known Member

    I also assumed the purple clause on Dragon Form was a power adjustment, but at any rate it was a great change for gameplay.
    variable likes this.

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