Sorcery: Contested Realm Beta Design Notes
With Beta now out in the world for everyone to enjoy, you might be asking yourself what’s new or different in Beta from the original Alpha release. Let’s dig in!
What is Beta?
The Beta set for Sorcery: Contested Realm is mostly identical to the Alpha cardlist with a few notable exceptions that we’ll dig into shortly. But generally speaking, the two sets share the same pool of cards. Unlike Alpha, which was focused on fulfilling a Kickstarter campaign, the Beta set is meant to get Sorcery into the eager hands of the wider market.
As such we took the opportunity to make a couple of small tweaks to some problematic cards to help make our design intent a little more clear. We intentionally kept this list short so that it would have the smallest possible impact on how players have been enjoying the game up to now. So we wanted to shed some light on these updates as well as share our thoughts around why we felt this change was necessary. Let’s take a closer look!
What has changed in Beta?
This site was always intended to be playable to any corner of the realm. Unfortunately, an older version of the card’s text was printed in the Alpha set. The Beta version has been updated to expand the options for playing Cornerstone back to their rightful place.
The Alpha version of this aura was worded so that its expiry was based on how many times it had dealt damage, which led to some odd plays of thunderstorms lurking almost entirely in the void before swooping in to strike something with lightning. This level of precision was never the intention of this card and 4 mana for a guaranteed eventual 9 damage was an incredible payoff. In Beta, this text has been changed so that the thunderstorm passes after three turns whether it strikes anything or not. This opens up more counterplay for opponents to dodge the lightning and wait out the storm.
Pathfinder (and Frontier Settlers)
These are two examples of cards whose effect is unchanged but the wording has been updated to provide more clarity. In Alpha both of these cards directed you to play sites adjacent to the unit, which introduced confusion around regions. Typically ‘adjacent’ or ‘nearby’ effects don’t cross regional boundaries, and these cards didn’t explicitly give permission to do so. In Beta, these effects now refer to playing sites to ‘an adjacent void or rubble’ making it clear that they are breaking the typical rule around regions.
This card had an interesting reception in Alpha, as the natural language of its rules text could be read in two rather different ways. Word spread in regards to the proper intent of the card, but this still meant confusion and continued explanation whenever a new player encountered it. In Beta, this trinket’s ability has been clarified to mean that you would determine a random result a second time and then choose one of the two outcomes (and ignore the other).
In Alpha, this minion found itself in some unintuitive scenarios. For example, the constrictor could be moved away from its victim and the effect would still take place. It also boasted one of the most wordy rules text boxes in the set for an ability that we considered should be rather straightforward. The Beta version uses a similar template to the Brobdingnag Bullfrog (which is rarely misplayed), leveraging the carrying rules to make the ability resolve more intuitively. Coincidentally, it also provided a slight buff to the ability, letting the snake swallow its victims with great speed if you can find a way to untap it early.
The Alpha version of this site worked in a slightly unintuitive way, with the genesis effect seeming more like a splash of mud that immobilized nearby units. In Beta, the text has been updated to provide more clarity and to make the effect play out as intended; the quagmire appears and all nearby sites become boggy. Now, if a unit is able to escape the boggy area through some card effect they are free to move around, and units that step into the boggy area will quickly find themselves stuck.
There was a strange discrepancy in how some of the wall-themed cards worked in Alpha, with the aura Wall of Ice being able to stop all units in their tracks, including avatars, while the unique Great Wall could not. The Beta version of Great Wall received this small buff to its capabilities while also removing some confusing language around ‘ground minions.’ It now more correctly refers to movement on the ground.
The following cards had small quality of life or clarity updates.
- Ultimate Horror
- Grapple Shot
- Frontier Settlers
- Outback Strider
- Unland Eel
- Island Leviathan
- Shifting Sands
How do I use Alpha and Beta cards together?
Alpha and Beta are entirely compatible with each other, so you’ll be able to continue creating decks as normal. That said, the Beta version of cards represent the most cutting edge of our design intent, so that means that the Beta wording takes precedence over the Alpha version. These changes will be readily available on Curiosa for you to reference.
More Beta Articles
Be sure to check out the spotlight articles for Beta’s four new avatars!