(Editor's note: The in-game client version of this patch was "220.127.116.1148", unchanged from the previous release. We added the "e" to distinguish between these updates.)
7/18/19 Balance ChangesEdit
The July metagame (including this past weekend’s World Championships) has been dominated by Rakano Valkyries, Recent changes to Stonescar and Hooru cards have left Rakano largely unchecked in the metagame; and returning Icaria, Liberator to seven clearly restored another good threat. However, after review of recent game data, we are focusing on two uncharacteristically powerful Justice sources of card draw.
- Privilege of Rank - Now 2J “Draw a Justice Sigil from your deck. If Privilege of Rank is discarded, play it.” (Was 3J “Draw two Justice Sigils from your deck. If Privilege of Rank is discarded, play it.”)
- Curse of Provocation (made by Sediti, the Killing Steel) - Now “At the end of the cursed player’s turn, if no damage was dealt, draw a card.” (Was “At the end of the cursed player's turn, if you didn't take damage, draw a card.”)
Privilege of Rank - Privilege of Rank is already a two-for-one worthy of some consideration, but the discard ability has grown in potential for abuse with the increase in powerful discard outlets, such as Honor of Claws, Gustrider, and especially Bullet Shaper. The ability to play Privilege of Rank as a zero-power two-for-one or two-for-zero has become such a powerful accelerant, that the majority of the format had grown to revolve around (either playing it or stopping it). Some decks regularly splash Justice Sigils with no other Justice cards, besides Privilege of Rank, just to exploit the efficiency at which it draws extra cards.
Our hope is that this change preserves the spirit of the original design, while pulling back on its ability to draw so many power cards that playing many expensive cards is largely trivial. We believe the problem with the current top-performing Rakano decks is how easily it can play 6s, 7s, and 8s, in general - changing any one of them wouldn’t really address the underlying issue. We will be monitoring them closely to see if any of them have a disproportionate impact; but for now, we believe the real problem among the threats to be a five-drop.
Curse of Provocation (made by Sediti, the Killing Steel) - While Privilege of Rank has been the most important engine fueling the Rakano deck. Sediti, the Killing Steel wasted no time skyrocketing to the top of the format, a great deal of that effectiveness coming from his Curse of Provocation. While Sediti is not trivial to play and does incentivize some good things, we felt the curse was just too brutal, without a satisfying enough range of counterplay. It’s hard enough to get through the 6/6; but the curse made falling behind too much of a death sentence.
This version opens up the play on both sides; with damage spells played on units, relic weapon attacks, chump attacks (or trades in combat), and even Nightfall all meaningful counterplay. Sediti players will now have to exercise more care in timing damage spells of their own, since Torching an attacking unit definitely counts as damage.
While we believe these two changes are substantial for high level ranked play, that isn’t the only environment important to balance for. Today’s final change is one targeting a controversial card that has led to a few too many repetitive loops and one-turn kills.
Razorquill - Balancing cards and games isn’t just about “fairness”, it’s also about “fun”. While assembling the Razorquill/Katra/Stained Honor can be a fun puzzle, it can also be frustrating to face if too easily assembled and too reliable. While we’re not looking to take action on every combo players discover, this one has worn out its welcome, having too large of an effect on some portions of the meta game. Our hope is that this change preserves the possibility of achieving powerful combos with it, while greatly reducing the ease and reliably everything can be put together.