If you are going to count all the cards and provisions of the currently popular Simlas/Waylay combo, let’s be fair and count all of everything.

First cards: scenario, Simlas, Vernossiel, Vanadain, Isengrim, Alissa, Waylay x2. A total of eight as you said. Then provisions: 14 + 12 + 11 + 9 + 8 + 7 + 4 + 4 = 69, again as you said.

But now let’s count points. This is clearly conditional, but I am intentionally assuming optimal or near optimal draws because I intend to support the claim that Simlas is unacceptably binary more than the claim he is OP. Simlas into 5 Waylays totals 32 points. Plus a contribution of 10 points to Vernossiel and 6 to Isengrim gives the 48 points previously listed. But scenario itself contributes a minimum of 15 (assuming) no procs on the Commandos, Vernossiel contributes 11 more (assuming he can only get further value from his own body and the deadeyes obtained via leader charges), Vanadain plays for at least 10 (I am counting a 7 point body, plus assigning 3 points of value to a lock used to shut down further value), Isengrim has a 6 point body — let me conservatively estimate only 4 points of value from non-Simlas induced cards — bringing his value to 10. Alissa plays for 6, as does the one Waylay needed (outside scenario) to get two to restore. That is 58 points on top of the 48 generated by Simlas for a total of 106. (Note these estimates are conservative.)

So these 8 cards have an average provision cost of 8.625 and play for an average of 13.25. But wait! The big issue is not points per provision — it’s points per turn used. And only 7 cards actually consume a turn — an average of 15.143 points per turn.

Points per turn is not a statistic commonly used (by in my opinion, it should be), so let’s think about this a minute. 8 cards is 32% of a 25 card deck. Assuming the Deadeye Ambush leader, 69 provisions is 41.8% of the deck’s provisions, and 7 turns is 43.75% of a typical 16 turn match. Allowing for Mulligans to prevent very low provision cards from ever being played from hand, it is not unreasonable to extrapolate what 15.143 points per turn would mean through an entire match. It would equate to roughly 242 points per match — over 80 per round. I do not think I could find any other combination that, only with good luck, can generate this rate of point production.

OK, this is some very strange math. Let me throw some of my own from a match I literally just played vs bounty SY:

R1 - Blue Coin. Did not draw Scenario or Vanadain:

1. Swordmaster : 4 points

2. V. Commando: 4 points

3. Sapper to purefy bounty: 4points+pure

4. Archer: 8 points

5. Bowman for 6

6. Bowman for 6

PASS - Engine value : 1 from sword (got killed) 5 from commando.

R2. - Drew Vanadain and Scenario here. He pushes hard.

1. Vanadain for 7 (gets killed)

2. Waylay for 6

3. Waylay for 6

4. Alissa for 6

5. Scenario - going to total here because it played out, so 16

6. Simlas into 4 waylays: 26

7. Yaevinn for 10 plus leader charge takes the round. Engine value: none, because Scenario commando got whacked.

R3.

1. Vernossiel for 11

2. 2 Leader Charges, making Isengrim to play for 11 as well.

Opp forfeit, I had an Oneiro left in hand, with access to about 6 more points based on the board value.

So 15 cards played with one to spare and one summoned for 5 points (Aelirenn)

131 points played, plus 5 from Aelirenn, plus 6, give or take from these engines.

This seemed like a pretty standard match, except the bad draw in R1 on blue, but you're saying I should be scoring what? 242 here? At over 15 average? From where? There might be some solid removal value from cards like Heatwave and Spores here which I didn't use, but those aren't part of the package, so where is all the value supposed to come from? I'm confused.

So I thought here, OK, Maybe I need to make sure I get the payoff of simlas and verno in R3, which means I need to draw that FD in R1. So I tried another one: No FD R1, but there was Vanadain. Without going into another long play by play, I had to cash Simlas in R2 for 20 points (post Xavier) to get to even cards. After playing Scenario in R3 and losing most of the deadeyes, I ended up playing Verno for 11 again, again totalling about 130-135 points for the match.

So I said, Goddammit, I need to draw that FD in R1. Try again: nope. This time drew into a real long R3 in a mirror match and guess how many total points I scored again? Freaking 130 and Im not even kidding. Simlas for 20, Vern for 11, Isengrim for 16.

Match 4: Hooray, I drew FD in R1, but no Vana, and I couldn't hold the round on red, so ended up getting pushed in R2 again, playing Verno for 11, etc.

Match 5: No FD in R1, red coin vs NR, played out the entire hand and could not win the round. Got pushed R2, etc., same story. Ended up playing Simlas for 14, because only had 2 waylays available.

At which point I just got sick of it.

Let me know how I'm supposed get to 240 here, cuz I just don't see it. Even if I play Verno for like 25 instead of 11, that's still only going to be pushing 150...

I agree that 5 waylays with Simlas requires good luck. But 4 waylays still generates 26 immediate points + 8 expected additional from Vernossiel and 5 from Isengrim. Even this is an extreme amount enabled by one card. Drawing a decent 15 point value card instead of Vernossiel will likely cost you the match! This is binary.

Moreover, quality of play has almost nothing to do with the value you obtain. Bricked Waylays are a definite issue. So is not getting Vanadain in round 1. Even failing to draw cards to compete in round one can result in losing significant value. (I have no interest in elf decks because I cannot tolerate their inconsistency; I certainly do not consider them overpowered.) But none of the limitations is based on player agency. **Balancing a card, deck, or faction by inconsistency is not really balancing at all.**

Finally, I don’t accept the argument that squirrels or even Xavier counter Simlas as valid. Squirrels reduce value by only one Waylay. And they come at the cost of a 4 point play while your opponent is playing 12+ a round. And they are effectively 4 point bricks in many other situations. This is hardly a quality counter. Xavier is a little better — less a wasted turn — but I don’t appreciate situations we’re tech cards are virtually mandatory (although I concede this is more the fault of Melusine).

This "binary" argument is also incorrect. Out of my 5 matches above, I think I played Simlas into 4 waylays once and into 5 zero times. Despite that, I won all but 1 of the matches. Binary to me is when you have one card or combo you rely on, and if it doesn't work, you're dead in the water. This does not really apply to Waylay elves.

And as for the counters, 4 point counters are used virtually ALL of the time. Squirrel is in every deck this meta because of the obscene echo cards, and it's almost never a brick. Using it on a waylay returns a value of - by your own logic - of 4+6+2+1=11 points. Not bad for a 4p card.