The Elder Scrolls

My opinion on Tricolor

TheElderScrolls10 - My opinion on Tricolor

Okay, I'm probably stepping in a hornet's nest on a cactus by writing this post, but here we go.

For the longest time, I wasn't even aware that TES:L had a Tricolor problem. I mostly messed around with Dragon Tribal in the lower ranks (I still do) and was super hyped for Morrowind/AW because it meant new dragon tech for me. Finally having Blood Dragon, CiT (do people still hate this card?), and ramp all in one deck was like a dream come true for me. But then, I took a read of some of the posts in this sub, and maybe 30-40% of the posts (less now because Moons of Elsweyr AKA Dragon Tribal revitalized hype) are "TRICOLOR SUCKS". So I did a bit more reading into the matter, and TES:L does have a bit of a Tricolor problem.

On one hand, I don't want Tricolor removed. I love my Dragon Redoran, Dragon Pact (WIP), and the inevitable Dragon Empire deck I'm going to make when I'm done refining those two. But on the other, Tricolor, which was meant to offer a tradeoff of one weakness for another, came out more like cutting off your arm to achieve CHIM.

I'm not going to discredit Sparkypants here. They clearly tried all the soft nerfs. They tried to incentivize combos with FrostSpark, Isles, and AW, they tried to limit Tricolor by forcing it to use more cards and use one Tri-Attribute card, etc. etc. etc. They even made Soul Shred (which ended up being more of a nuisance than anything, but live and learn I say).

Now the issue with Tricolor is, from my understanding, goodstuff decks. That is, decks with the best possible 75 cards crammed inside. Tricolor keeps meme/theme decks alive, and while a lot of people say that Tricolor disincentivizes strategy by negating the rock-paper-scissors dynamic of classes, this can easily be remedied by adding dual/mono/neutral-only tournaments, so I won't make a big deal about it here.

Anyway, how do you deal with a goodstuff deck? Say, Can-Troll Tribunal, where every single card will remove, banish, transform, or silence whatever you just played. The answer is not "play on the dual tournaments only", because that effectively steps around the situation while doing no good. If I've interpreted this scenario correctly, most people don't hate Tricolor as a whole, they hate goodstuff decks, so nerfing those is the right call in my opinion. And I think it may be time to bust out the hard nerfs.

For example, Market. This is the deck that everyone hates right now, and though I've never run afoul of a well-constructed Market deck, I can see why. Being able to burst out 20 damage per turn plus drain more than compensates for their mediocre board unless you hard-tech support removal or something. A simple fix is to either limit its activations per turn (say 5) or remove one of its effects in return for a cost reduction to 2 or 1. This keeps Market as a strong card, without making it extremely annoying to play against.


Also, I'm not sure how many people agree with me, but I think Hallowed Deathpriest is an incredibly poorly designed card. Oh, is that the Odahviing that would save your butt? Poof! It's a 2/2 now! It's a real jerk move, while at the same time simply being a game of praying that your opponent has something of high value in their hand for the person using it. I think having it transform a creature on the board with less power than itself (like Grisly Gourmet) would be a fitting fix to this card and also have it work better with Rally.

Additionally, I think more frequent balance patches are due. If I'm not mistaken, the current balance patch rate is once every 1.5 to 2 months, for generally 4 or 5 cards to be balanced (and not always the important ones). Having a balance patch every month while also rebalancing more cards at once would definitely keep the metagame fresh.

And now, let's talk about Can-Troll Tribunal. Also known as Rewatching Infinity War while Waiting for your Opponent to Mill you to Death. I can't imagine that this is much better than Market Burn, though I've not encountered a goodstuff Tribunal deck myself (maybe I should just stick to the lower ranks). Either you run Aggro, or you die. This is the crux of the issue with the current metagame – uninteractive decks are a natural result of goodstuff deckbuilding.

Now I can think of two solutions to this. The first, and more likely to be implemented, is an improvement to matchmaking. Perhaps have the AI prevent players with more than 60% deck similarity from playing against each other, so that mirror matches are rarer. This will also bring back more diversity in decks as not everyone can run Tribunal.

The second, which seems highly unlikely, is to change Tricolor itself. Change its minimum to 50, like dual, but also make it that no more than 20% of the deck can be the third color. So even if you run a 100-card deck, that's still at most 20 cards. This makes Tricolor more of an augmentation to a dual-color deck that requires thinking about what cards you will use rather than a mishmash of all the best stuff.

Now I'm by no means Legend. These are just the opinions of someone who's been playing around a little and has given some thought to the matter. Do you disagree? Do you agree?

Also, no 4-color decks please. The amount of goodstuff that people will be able to make with these would be insane.

TLDR: Tricolor as a mechanic is fine, it's just that the current implementation has allowed for nearly uncounterable goodstuff decks to be created, a combination of stronger and more frequent balance patches as well as changing the game's mechanics to discourage goodstuff deckbuilding should fix this.

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