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Cardiology: Glory Multipliers

Decision: Should You Play Glory Multipliers?

TL;DR:

For most decks, no.  For some, highly specific decks (Keys, Tomes, Relics, and other such shenanigans), they might be beneficial, particularly if you're the big fish in a small pond.

Prelude: 

This week we're going to do things a little differently, in that we're looking at two cards for Cardiology.  Solid Gains and Great Gains can both be called "Glory Multipliers" because they both essentially do the same thing - reward you for gaining a certain amount of glory during a round.  Since the mechanics of scoring either card are the same, it's easy enough to examine them both at the same time; they differ only in magnitude.

Factor: Investment vs. Return

Compared to almost any other objective, the requirements on the Glory Multipliers are simple to achieve - gain X glory in any way.  However, we need to consider how well the reward matches the effort of these cards.  For example, killing 3 enemy  models would give you 3 glory, but if you did that, you could also score Butchery or Devastation, which would reward you with more glory than Solid Gains.  You could also score 3 glory by successfully scoring 3 other objectives - in which case you could score Victory after Victory instead of Solid Gains and get twice the glory. 

The Glory Multipliers' value, however, lies in their flexibility.  You can score them by gaining sufficient glory in any way.  This allows you not only to score a combination of kills and other objectives, but to make use of methods not covered by other objectives.  Below is a (probably not complete) list of universal options you could use to gather that all important 3/5 glory that aren't covered by one of the alternatives mentioned in the previous paragraph:
  • Katophrane Relics' 6-card ability
  • Tome of Glories
  • Tome of Offerings 
  • Crown of Avarice
  • A Destiny to Meet
  • Keys
  • Apex Predator
  • Hero's Mantle
  • Treacherous Second
  • Shifting Map
  • Slumbering Key
  • Anticipation
  • Daylight Robbery
  • Sacrificial Pawn
  • Scavenge
Between the two Glory Multipliers discussed here, Solid Gains is obviously easier to score.  Great Gains rewards you with twice the glory, but at the cost of being significantly harder to score.  The increase granted by each, relative to the glory scored in the round, can be seen below.  In an ideal world, of course, you'd play Great Gains, because you would be scoring just oodles of points every round and it would never be dead in your hand.  In reality, however, the utility of either of the Glory Multipliers is directly related to your ability to score multiple glory in the same phase.  Choose your poison accordingly.

Factor: Ease of Scoring

While Glory Multipliers seem easy to score, let's take a look at the most recent Grand Clash (UKGE) to see just how often they would have been useful.  If we examine the top 6 matches of the last round at UKGE - ostensibly where the best players playing the best decks were - we see that on average, any given player scored 12.83 glory in an average game.  This means that in an average game, on an average turn, the average undefeated player at UKGE could not score Great Gains.  Conversely, the average undefeated player in an average turn of an average game in the 4th round could score Solid Gains. 

Of course, averages don't tell the whole story.  Of the 12 players covered in this analysis, some did much better than others.  In an average turn, 5 of the 12 players could have scored Great Gains, as they averaged more than 15 points per game.  On the other side of the coin, 3 of the 12 players could not have even scored Solid Gains on an average turn, as they were putting out fewer than 9 points per game.  All of the players who scored 15+ points per game won their games - all of the players who scored fewer than 9 lost theirs.  Which leads us to our next point...

Factor: "Win More" Cards

One criticism that is often leveled at Glory Multiplier cards is that they are "Win More" cards; cards that function best when you are already in a significantly stronger position than your opponent.  The numbers we examined above in the final round of UKGE certainly seem to support this criticism.  This is particularly telling when we consider that some of the points accounted for in the above analysis no doubt came from objectives scored - at least one of which would have to be replaced to make room for a Glory Multiplier. 

For example, if you score Fired Up, Blooded, and Geared For War in the first end phase of your game, you have gained enough glory to also score Solid Gains - but you can't, because you don't have it in hand.  While this is likely an edge case for Solid Gains, the concern becomes quite real when we look at Great Gains.  Scoring 5 glory in a round can be quite difficult, particularly if you have to do it without the help of 1/3 of your objective hand.  And if you can score that 5 glory in the round and end the round with Great Gains in hand, you are probably already doing well enough that you don't really need Great Gains.

Simply put, these cards benefit players the most during lopsided games where one player is doing significantly better than the other.  Since the goal of competitive deckbuilding is to be able to "beat the field" and not "beat the kid who just started playing yesterday", Glory Multipliers may not be the best choice for most builds.

Summary: 

Glory Multipliers probably shouldn't be first line picks for most decks.  There are niche decks that can benefit greatly from them, particularly those decks that:
  • Score large amounts of glory in a single round (Keys, Tomes, Relics)
  • Don't run a lot of Score Immediately Objectives (those decks should run Victory after Victory and Combination Strike)
  • Don't need a lot of glory from their objectives in "off rounds"
  • Aren't overly dependent on objectives/kills for glory gain (they have better options)
If your deck fits that profile, try the Glory Multipliers out and see which one (if any) fits your scheme best.  We'd recommend starting with Solid Gains and working your way up to Great Gains if you find you're routinely overshooting the 3 glory mark for Solid.

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