Tuesday, 14 January 2014
Playtest Report - Ranger
My initial impression of Ranger is that it is deceptively powerful. Ranger/Silver as an opening is great for forming an engine, as it not only gives you a good chance of getting at least one 5-valued hand in turn 3-4, but it also helps cycle your deck faster to get that card sooner. It is fantastic for connecting combo pieces, finding engine parts when you need them, or even just grabbing the higher valued cards among your junk. I haven't tried it yet, but Ranger + Tunnel sounds absolutely silly.
Its primary strength is the ability to cycle through your deck and pick up your "key" cards. This is the opposite of cards like Envoy or Advisor, who deliberately skip your key cards. This means that it is best in decks with high variance. Even Gold can be considered "key" though, so almost any deck can benefit from it.
Its subtle disadvantage is that it makes it far more likely for your key cards to miss the reshuffle. Because it picks them up, and cycles heavily, it is much more likely that you will trigger a reshuffle while key cards are in play or in hand. This is balanced out significantly by how much faster other Rangers will cycle through your deck, but it is something to be aware of, especially if you go through your entire deck with Rangers.
Overall, I like Ranger's current incarnation, but I am not 100% sold on it. It has Caravan's problem of being good in any situation for any deck; not overpowered, but aside from opportunity cost, there is rarely a case where you wouldn't want one. The obvious solution is to increase its cost and the number of cards revealed to 5 (a possibility previously mentioned); though this would make it the same cost as most of what you'd want it to find, as well as making it very similar in function to Cartographer at the same cost.