This is exactly the problem with the current state of the game for me. Complex multi-turn setups and long spell chains where I sometimes had to look two moves ahead were my bread and butter for so long, and the teams I enjoy playing. But exploding stuff or troll spawning and watching the pretty colors fall is far more time efficient and takes far fewer (and far less complex) decisions. You still can play methodical teams, and they still can be effective, but taking a loss with the former is also much more frustrating because you are carefully enacting a play, then a skydrop ruins it (as well as taking up more of your precious time, when we are now “intended” to play 25% faster). Taking a loss with the latter you can much more easily shrug off because the steps were random anyways, but wins are also empty and hollow. So instead, you play teams where you swipe once and then just kinda throw spells in the general direction of your opponent.
There is also the matter that I don’t engage well with the game when I’m fairly certain that if I turned over complete control of my team to the AI after the first turn that they would have the same outcome as if I had played the game about 90% of the time. Its not that it is not still enjoyable on some level, but a lot of the time it feels like I am on the outside looking in.
The other problem is that things that punish the use of random spawners (namely, freeze, and namely, mostly mab) also punish the use of careful spell chains. Careful spell chains are even harder hit by freeze because they generally require several swipes to position for the next spell. I’ve powered straight through being frozen with my spawner and exploder teams, so long as I freeze them first, and the AI side having freeze with spawning teams goes the same way if they start casting first.
This would kill the game all the way for me. And, as I said with the soft “spawn streak breaker” being capped at five spawner casts, the more effective teams get so much out of these actions that this would be over. Meanwhile, methodical teams require lots of actions. This hurts careful teams way more than it hurts spammy teams and would only further cement gameplay in the other direction. For a kraken/troll team, I’d just drop the turn once on purpose, pick it up next turn and finish wiping them if they weren’t already all dead in the first five actions. For an exploder team, I’d still have full mana at the top of my next turn (five actions per turn is also more than they would normally get on average anyways). For a spell chain that requires me converting and moving into places, I’d be stopped halfway to getting a devastating setup to the point where it just wouldn’t be functional anymore. This is not the right way to go. If you limited the actions even more, you’d have roughly the pacing of arena, which is terrible.
This either. These traits are balanced off multiple activations in a turn. Blob match calculation giving 10+ activations is the problem here, not their ability to trigger two match 4+ traits off two completely separate match 4+ instances.
Looping was never the problem. The problem is when it is so devastatingly effective that you almost always win in one board cycle, before running into a point where you might not have alignment and be forced to give up the turn. The other time it becomes a problem is when it is so braindead easy that you don’t have to look at the position of gems on the board and be aware where they will be after your next board action to do it effectively (and thus becoming a viable AI strategy). Using a converter chain to progress through a board also requires at least some degree of thought and planning (less so with seer/spider and alch/hellcat, but still there).
Remember Treant/Alchemist/Valk/Banshee? Very effective early game team, required careful planning to keep the chain going, could easily run into a wall where you would need a reset before continuing. Super slow, did very little spell damage, required methodical play to maintain advantage. Not a problem in the least. Then we have alch/hellcat/gard, or seer/spider/krakens. Okay, still requires a bit of concentration to keep up, you have to give up the turn at some point, and you usually have to cycle through more than one board in order to finish. A lot easier, but you are still planning out each step. Requires enough foretought that the AI probably can’t do it well. Then we have goblins and kraken/troll. Throw spells and see what sticks. Five green gems on the board? No problem, that can still be enough to net me a game ending loop. Freezing them is only viable if you can do it before they started, which, on an neutral start, is generally after they miss a cast and hand over a good board to you, which doesn’t happen. A single explode event filling an entire team from 0 through cascades kinda brings exploders into this category as well.
In short, I don’t think we are ever going to get the same level of strategy that we had before under the Unity ruleset. Even nerfing some of the more dominant options that are more likely to cause huge spikes won’t help when the spikes can still occur randomly. Any kind of new, pace-killing restrictions placed on how effective you can make any given turn through actual planning would render the game moot to me, because to me, that is the game at its core, and what the game has always been - maximize the impact of your turn, minimize the impact of the AI’s, or both, with faster being better.