We'll be patching out some additional balance changes in the next day or two, and it'll be another big one, with a lot of nerfs, and even more buffs. Normally, we’d prefer not to make a second large wave of changes so soon after a major balance patch, but we were a little too conservative in a couple of spots, and a little too aggressive in a couple of others.
When we changed Statuary Maiden and Steward of the Past to be compatible with the rest of the game’s rule set, we knew that we’d need to make some follow-up adjustments, too. A lot of the game’s balance involved those two cards in ways that would need to change with their updates, and we had some of those changes ready, such as Dawnwalker’s.
Nevertheless, you guys quickly developed powerful ways to exploit the changes in void-interaction. While you also found extreme ways to fight back against these strategies, it quickly shifted the focus of the format away from some of the more fun aspects of the game’s experience, and ended up limiting some of the range of meaningful interaction. To address this, we’re pulling forward some important changes aimed at a bit more short-term upheaval to the metagame.
One additional note - when we were preparing for the last round of balance changes, there was a lot of community speculation and discussion about Tavrod, Auric Broker. Big victory conditions can often hog the credit, since they so frequently get to deal the killing blow. However, Tavrod doesn't appear to be out of line compared to other strong finishers. There was more of an issue with the efficiency of a couple nuts and bolts cards, contributing to Justice decks of all sorts being a little too resilient. We'll continue to keep an eye on him as the metagame evolves, but no changes to Tavrod are necessary, at the moment.
Giving Echo to cards that aren’t supposed to have it can be fun, but it can also lead to incredibly repetitive game-states (Makto, Piercing Grief, Second Sight, Excavate, we’re looking at you…). While it has proven challenging to balance, one of the biggest problems has been the lack of sufficient counterplay. We believe there’s potential here; however, we’ve decided to pull way back on the power level until a sufficient quantity and quality of counterplay can arise.
We knew there were problems with these two, but it was ultimately a (hotly debated, fwiw) mistake on our part to not take larger action in the last patch.
- Vara, Fate-Touched - Now "When you play another Shadow unit, play an additional Shadow unit from your void." (was "When you play Vara or another Shadow unit...)
Vara has always caused a number of rules problems behind the scenes with the “not-quite-summon” aspect of her ability. Additionally, her ability to chain so effortlessly with other copies of herself can greatly restrict the range of reasonable endgame strategies. The recent change to Steward of the Past was the tipping point, and while Vara-based strategies could definitely be beaten, she’s been cutting off the majority of non-Fast Aggro strategies.
This change preserves her primary play pattern and high power ceiling, but now requires more investment and risk, with a lower floor.
- Soulfire Drake - Now 6FFF (was 5FFF)
Soulfire Drake has long been a ranked powerhouse, and while it can provide for some very exciting games, the change to Steward of the Past has led to it running away with the five-spot in the majority of Rakano, Stonescar, Skycrag (and even some Praxis) aggro decks. It was also one of the bigger contributors to the meta being a little more about Charge than we’d like.
- Protect - Now 2J (was 1J)
Protect is a classic – versatile and brutal in its efficiency. Unfortunately, costing only a single power and being able to do everything makes it difficult to then design other variations of this effect. In recent months, the tempo swings from Protect have been a major contributor to everything from fast Rakano decks winning on turn five through removal, to enabling cards like Makto, Tavrod, and Statuary Maiden. Powerful cards that can dominate the field of battle are an important part of the game, but when it’s too easy to protect them (i.e., not enough risk), the significance of many in-game decisions is reduced.
- Wanted Poster - Now 2J (was 1J)
The change to Dawnwalker reduced its effectiveness as a countermeasure against “all-removal” decks. While the format was able to adjust, there was a little too much incentive to avoid playing units or to win as fast as possible. The best gameplay from Wanted Poster comes from taking the risk of putting one on a unit, then trying to kill it on your next turn to earn your reward. At one-cost, it was just getting played in the same turn as the removal spell a significant amount of the time. Getting card draw above rate for completing a quest can be great, but the cost has to be more appropriate for the difficulty of the quest.
- Stonepowder Alchemist - Now 2/1 (was 2/2)
We knew reducing Stonepowder Alchemist’s cost to 3 was a substantial buff, but it did come in a little higher than we’d have liked. We wanted to preserve as much of its strength at countering aggressive fire strategies as we could, while introducing a few more weaknesses into the card, when facing midrange or control strategies.
- Entrapment - Now 4J (Was 3J)
- Spiritblade Stalker - Now 6-cost ultimate (was 5-cost)
- Roosting Owl - Now 2/3 (was 2/4)
While we made a few changes to Justice in draft last time around, we didn’t go far enough. In an effort to diversify the types of strategies that can work well in draft, we’ve pulled back slightly on the efficiency of some of its commons. Improving draft balance doesn’t necessarily mean nerfing a faction’s best commons. It’s ok for cards to be good, and it’s ok to weaken a faction by pulling back on a card in the middle of the pack, or even lower down.
- Lastlight Druid - Now 4P 1/4 "Summon: Nightfall. When you end a turn at Night, transform each other unit you played this turn into a random unit with cost 1 greater." (was 3P 1/5 "Summon: Nightfall, Other units you play at Night transform into random units with cost 1 greater.")
While not intended as a nerf or a buff, Lastlight Druid needed to be reworked because of some rules problems stemming from its unusual timing.
- Into the Furnace - Now fast (was slow)
- Toppletower - Now 0/5 (was 0/4)
- Amaran Shoveler - Now 1 to use (was 2 to use)
- Lunar Magus - Now 3/4 (was 2/4)
- Reliquary Raider - Now 3TT 1/3 You gain 3 health when she blocks (was 5T 4/4 You gain 4 health when she blocks)
- Seasoned Spelunker - Now +2/+2 while you have a relic (was +1/+1)
- Stirring Sand - Now 4TT but plays the Sentinel exhausted (was 5TT and ready).
- Parapet Sentry - Now has +2/+2 while you have a relic (was +1/+1)
- Bellowing Thunderfoot - Now 5/5 (was 4/5)
- Thudrock, Arctic Artisan - Now 5/4 (was 5/3)
- Amethyst Monument - Now makes a 4/4 Puma (was a 3/3)
- Cabal Slasher - Now 2S (was 3S)
- Iceberg Warchief - Now 5/3 that gives your Yeti +2/+0 and your spells +2 damage (instead of 5/4 that gives +1/+0 and +1 spell damage).
- Ayan, the Abductor - Now 8-cost Ultimate (was 9-cost)
- Mask of Torment - Now 4TS (was 5TS)
One of the most fun parts of Eternal is exploring unknown formats and discovering what might be possible with the introduction of new cards or strategies. While we’re not looking for perpetual table-flipping, we have been a little more conservative in recent months than we’ve planned to be.
As always, we genuinely appreciate the full range of feedback you all send us, from the positive about what’s working particularly well, to the constructive about what might be an opportunity to improve. We won’t always hit the mark dead-on, but we are always going to read and absorb every piece of feedback we receive in our quest to make this game better and better. Thanks again for your support, and for being a part of such an awesome community!
Unlisted Changes Edit
The following changes were not included in the official patch notes:
- Champion of Chaos - Unit type changed from Rogue to Gunslinger Rogue.