Nerf Breeder Now

I’ll just start with the headline – I think Breeder should be nerfed. I thought that The Dead of Winter was finally going to shut it down. I was wrong. It’s winning too many Kotei. It’s been winning things, in various versions, since the arc started. Do we need all three CE GenCons to be won by Fields of the Dead? Even when it isn’t winning, it’s filling up the elimination rounds. It’s annoying to play against. It deforms the environment with decks trying to meta against it, and it is more than capable of still running over a deck that brings a full meta package. For comparison, here are the decks in semi-recent years that won a higher percentage of the Kotei in their time than Breeder has so far this Kotei season:

Chagatai Unicorn
Warrens of the One Tribe Ratling
Khol Wall Unicorn

There are reasons not to do anything about Breeder. The list above is bit of an unfair comparison, because, while those are the only decks that out-performed Breeder in terms of win % over a Kotei season, those decks were much, much more dominant than Breeder. If you banned or errata-ed something out of Breeder right now, to take effect in 30 days, it would only be around for two Kotei weekends before Before the Dawn hit. And then Forgotten Legacy is coming in July, and (since AEG will want it to sell) I’m guessing it will be legal for GenCon. That’s a big possible environmental shift. Maybe nerfing Breeder will just unleash some other deck.

Despite the above, I think that the tipping point for me to conclude that Breeder should be nerfed because it is a terribly unfun deck to play against and, so far as I can tell, not that fun to play with for many players. And, to a lesser extent, because there is not a lot of ability to meta for it that the Breeder deck can’t counter (for example, every Breeder deck just packs a suite of Event-negation cards, so that random chance of free Crossing wins goes down dramatically). When you get down to brass tacks, the ultimate point of errata and/or bans is to make the game more fun again. Breeder is not as dominant as some other decks that have received errata/bans in the past, but it is both environment deforming and unfun. Maybe changes in the upcoming environment would fix it anyway – but maybe they wouldn’t. And by the time we learned that they wouldn’t, it would be way too late, given that the coming environments are going to consist of the last bit of Kotei season and then the summer cons (things could be “fixed” later for EuroChamps, but that’s about it). Better to swing the nerf bat than risk having Breeder run around making tournaments unfun for the rest of CE.

I do not propose a specific solution. But I do think that the nerf bat should be swung and swung hard (I default to desiring hard swining because, if there’s anything worse that not swining the bat when it’s needed, it’s swinging it and still having the target deck out there annoying people).

Feel free to tell me why I’m right or wrong here, or on the forums.

7 thoughts on “Nerf Breeder Now

  1. breeder is a very tough match-up for everyone and the breeder player i know hates the deck because, in his words, ‘it lacks elegance’ (he really loved spider paragon until it got nerfed). i think phoenix has a better chance at beating breeder than anyone else with CoT (thunderous report and a good player can decimate a breeder deck) or the new stronghold. but as for breeder needing to be nerfed i both agree and disagree. i agree because, like you, i dread a poor draw against breeder. i disagree because breeder is a part of the environment and we should just deal with it- many clans have had unbeatable decks throughout the years. breeder isn’t unbeatable, just a huge headache. i count my blessings when my spider opponent isn’t running fury of the dark lord, which is the only card they run that could be MRP’d (in fact, i’m surprised it doesn’t show up in more spider builds, since it can hurt many the honor-runner). it made me pack wander the stars, which is a terrible card when fury doesn’t show up. but yeah, sometimes breeder can just ruin your day.

  2. I don’t want breeder to be nerfed. I want it to win 20 kotei’s (1/3 of the total) and then the PDT to trot out some trite statement about how balanced the environment is/was, but they made a small mistake (as always). Naw, just joking, something needs to be done yesterday.

    To the above poster:: a deck doesn’t have to be unbeatable to be environment deforming, and who cares about the totally unbalanced past? what it is like now is what matters Celestial was touted as a much more balanced environment and that is what it should strive to be.

    I actually think it is too late to nerf breeder unless they were already thinking about it. Nerfing it without a decent amout of thought will just rip the heart out of the deck and leave all those poor Spider players without a good deck and possibly Embassy a clear field (then again people will have more room for honor meta…).

  3. I recognize that your sentiments are yours and yours alone, but I humbly disagree that breeder is unfun to play against. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Phoenix player, but Breeder is a completely different game; not an unfun one. People who play against Breeder like it’s any other military deck will lose. The same can be said for Ninja. A similar argument can be said for Unicorn, and another for Mantis. The difference is this: Breeder punishes you more for playing wrong.

    Is Breeder very strong? Yeah. Is the theme of breeding dozens and dozens of tokens a little silly? Probably. But I, for one, love playing against Breeder if only because it mixes up the game and throws something at me that I don’t see anywhere else–a royal ton of dudes. And who doesn’t love dudes? I do.

  4. I think it’s pretty much a given that all the decent players who are arguing that Breeder is too good understand that the deck doesn’t play like another military deck. Really, that’s part of the issue. No other deck has an unbeatable clock. Honor decks, for example, can be dragged down and slowed from reaching their goal and be forced to cross very late in the game, or never at all. (Just look at the 5 games that go to time each round of a Kotei.) Your average military deck (let’s say Crab) doesn’t reach a point where it’s unbeatable, even if they get most of their deck on the table. But because Breeder can make these tokens nonstop, it has a real warm-body clock it hits where eventually, you can’t deal with the number of personalities it has on the table. The only cures for this undefeatable military lock are single cards which all have counters available, and breeder is not a deck where you don’t have fate or dynasty room to run meta… The nasty ‘lock’ of this deck comes from a small handful of cards, so you’ve got room to play almost every meta card you could care to.

    And you can argue that it’s ‘flavorful’ for a zombie deck to work like this, but the game balance people aren’t going to take “It feels good” as a good excuse to let a deck play like this. 🙂

  5. Looking at the stats, breeder is on course to win more koteis than any other deck, let alone clan, in the history of L5r. Does this feat mean they are unbeatable? No. Does it mean they are environment deforming? Absolutely.

  6. Edit to the above post, actually they should win 16 koteis at this rate, which is slightly less than the most (17).
    Sorry.

  7. It is, I think, worth considering that all of the most abusive recent decks got nerfed mid-season (Chagatron, Khol Wall) or only came into existence mid-season (Warrens of the One Tribe). All of those decks would have won well more than 17 Kotei, I think, if they were given free reign for a full season.

Leave a Reply