Thank you so much for your exhaustive feedback, and the kind words! It really is an insanely fuzzy feeling to have a dedicated player of my little game.
I'm sorry the design changes in this new version didn't meet your expectations. I'd like to talk about them a little. Hopefully this doesn't come off across as "well this is actually GOOD for you", because you enjoy what you enjoy. I just want to explain my thought process.
The move from 4 to 3 cards is a consequence of the Cantrip upgrade, which often ends up letting you play 4 or 5 cards in a turn. In fact, this version is balanced so that you can go infinite in the bossfight if you finish the levels optimally and only buy Cantrip upgrades.
Now, the harder sell - you rightly noticed that I punish players for being methodical. It was very much a conscious decision to encourage "speedrunning" with the loot track and enemy design. Just as a player of other games, I find it boring to be slow and methodical, and when that's the optimal way to play, I feel like I'm cheating myself out of having fun. I believe this is a widespread sentiment, and it was probably the most common complaint about the Classic version. As a designer, the introduction of these new elements is my way of protecting players from themselves.
I really appreciate you willing to give this new version a chance despite not liking the direction it's taking. It'll be a while yet, but going forward, I want to design some new "characters" with different decks and inherent mechanics that mix up the gameplay. It might be very interesting to introduce a character balanced around, e.g., freezing the loot track and not having to care about turn count, and actively encouraging methodical play.
That video was really fascinating and changed my outlook on how I should be approaching the game (and perhaps games in general).
A lot of the criticisms of my initial reaction were definitely a knee-jerk response of seeing something so new compared to what I was used to, and the more I play, the more I like the upgrades you made. Hopefully I didn't come off as negative, you clearly know what you're doing and I appreciate how responsive you are with the community.
I will definitely be purchasing the game when it makes its way to Steam!