Alright, so set 12 has all of one card coming out for Gowen that actually allows Gowen to do something new--the level 1 samurai, and already, people are talking about hosing it. Which brings to realization that while Falkow, Lawt, and especially Refess have gotten a whole new slew of goodies since set 7, Gowen's been using the same exact stuff since the days of Bringer and giant bug, with perhaps a slight detour for Dilate, who's somewhat irrelevant these days since Gowen's sort of junk anyway.
And IMO the reason is that over these last several sets, Refess had SKs and buncles become complete metas, Lawtia went bonkers with two new tribes (dogs and augments), a fantastic splash unit (Gaiessoul), while Gowen got...?
Not a whole lot of stuff, really. I mean if you just look at the new stuff, you might notice burning air, "OPOP" Dilate, and uh...um...maybe Mureria? And of course, all of the good things it used previously (Bringer, Jack, Rhino, RFA SS--a Gowen SS due to more easily using miracle fruit) just don't work like they used to and lost roles.
Focus is a junk mechanic if there ever was one--basically a guarantee to mediocre RP in that you'll destroy those who don't have an answer to it, and get wrecked by anyone who does. Merc nation still stinks, Gowen warriors aren't that great. Monsters never were top tier and got nerfed (rhino), and BKR Jack doesn't work like it used to.
And the reason IMO is that Gowen is still every bit as one-dimensional as it ever was. Gowen only has one way to play--to use a bunch of individual units that can't really work together, press the attack button, and win. Except Refess and Lawt have caught up (and actually surpassed) Gowen in this area. In terms of grims, Lawt's always had attack grims, but its SP denies are better than that. Falkows return-type grims are usually better. And Refess is no slouch in attack grims either, while having a whole slew of healing and buffing grims that outdo Gowen (1 SP magic weapon vs. 2 SP general's order that buffs attack by 20 for a whole field?).
And yes, Icyman has done well with martial artists, but that's more speaking to the strength of a shade open and the Gaiessoul hitting at just the right time to wreck field position.
And the funny part is that the one card that may make Gowen finally competitive in set 12--that level 1 engaged-unit-cem samurai, is being talked about being changed. So my question is how exactly does the balance/testing team want Gowen to stand out? Lawtia and Ref can hit every bit as hard and as fast. Lawt and Ref can use attack grims just as well. What's supposed to be unique about Gowen now?