Hello all, Xyceres here!
I recently created a video on how to judge the efficiency of cards with regards to damage and threat removal (It can be found here). I have been considering continuing this into a series but the format has a number of issues. Most notably it is quite a long video and difficult to skim for information. As such I am splitting this going forward, the article (which you are currently reading) will have the assumptions, and conclusions. Whereas the video (found here) will be mostly in-depth examples and cases.
Several assumptions will need to be made to assist with the evaluation – These are not strictly true but can be quite nebulous to pin down exact values for as such we will consider them true to facilitate evaluation.
- A card and a resource are the same. (this will lead most values to be 1 higher than the resource cost)
- (Defense) text will not be considered (Most damage is from an attack at you, but not all)
- Secondary effects are meaningless (We are assuming we just need more HP to win and how to get that)
Now that is out of the way, let us talk about healing and damage prevention.
Healing and Damage Prevention Efficiency
Coming into this I was expecting to find a differential between the values of these two effects because in my experience in other games preventing damage from happening is much better then healing (because you could be dead before you can use your heal but survive if damage prevented). However, upon investigation I found that almost all effects healed/prevented 1 damage for each card spent (for example First Aid heals 2 for the cost of 2 cards and if you increase the cost by 1 as is the case with Cosmic Flight you get 1 more damage prevention).
Now some of you are probably noting that increased HP effects have a much better effect for their cost (they all seem to sit around 1 to 1.5) and I believe this is intentional as they are even rarer and can generally only be used once per game each (while also risking being removed by encounter effects)
Something I did note is that unlike with damage or threat we have multiple cards that prevent all damage from an attack (Shield Block and Backflip) these are entirely reliant on the damage being thrown at you which is dependent on boost pips and villain attack. I put together a spreadsheet to determine the average damage of a villain setup (found here). From this I found that prevention of all damage from an attack in most expert setups is around 4-5 on average at this current point in time. As the cards that prevent all damage do this for a single card this is quite good but leads to our next topic.
This means despite a 1 to 1 ratio on healing for cards there exist a select few cards that really break that value for a relatively simple condition however a really good ratio on a hero card is not completely unheard of (Repulsor Blast anyone?) and could be considered a defining part of the character but that is not the only effect that seems to really break the mould. Enter Expert Defense.
This card allows you to block 3 damage at the cost of 1 card (with condition of exhausting to defend) is available to all protection players and would allow you to get 3x the normal efficiency ratio at the cost of an exhaust to defend and 1 card. To compare this with damage this would be like a Mean Swing that does 5-6 damage and didn’t require a weapon, this card should be insane relative to the current card pool but instead has barely caused any waves in the community at all. From this I believe we can draw one of 2 conclusions either Expert Defense is significantly undervalued, or the true value of damage reduction is not 1:1 as most cards suggest.
Another example is Black Panther’s Wakanda Forever Which happens to give the player a choice of 2 damage, 1 damage and 1 heal, or 1 threat removal. This is presented as an interesting decision to most players and aligns more with healing being equivalent with damage and half as valuable as threat removal. This points us more in the direction that perhaps healing is not a 1:1 ratio after all.
For more evidence of this let us look at recovery stat. It always fluctuates between 3 and 5 currently and requires an exhaust preventing the use of other stats. Due to the ratios on other stats (1-2 thwart or 1-3 damage) you’d expect your exhaust to generate around 2 cards of value for this exhaust (maybe a little higher as it required a flip to alter ego to use) but with currently current ratio of 1:1 you are getting 3-5 cards of values, thus either the healing cards are sitting below the expected value of a game effect or we should all be recovering every single chance we get.
All healing and damage prevention cards seem to be low end of a scale that does not exist yet. This means that currently it is best to avoid the currently printed cards unless they are either, breaking the 1:1 ratio heavily or have some useful secondary effect that is quite useful (First Aid healing an ally for example).
As for future cards looking at the few efficient cards, we currently have I believe the true ratio to be the same as damage sitting somewhere between 1:1.5 to 1:2 range.
Want more information I also made a video of in-depth examples which can be found here