We are excited to bring to you a patch full of awesomeness and goodies today! In addition to some bug fixes and changes to events, we also have the biggest round of balance changes EVER. While we have overall been pleased by the meta, some green aggressive decks are overperfoming. We want to take a bit of power away from these dominant green builds and redistribute that to the other aggro decks. In addition, we wanted to improve the competitive balance among all spellslingers to make sure they all have more than a fighting chance in the arena. As such, you will see a significant number of buffs to some of our less competitive 'slingers!
Card and Gameplay Changes
- Angrath's Deathraider: 4/1 → 4/3
- Shipwrecker: 1/2 → 2/2
Angrath struggles to maintain a board presence and his low toughness signature creatures make him too vulnerable to sweepers like Pyroclasm, Infest, and even Flame Shot. Increasing the toughness of Deathraider puts it more in like with other 3-drop signatures. Shipwrecker has a hard time trading with creatures in combat, making it a tough include in decks, so we are giving it a second power. Angrath has consistently been underplayed and we hope these changes will make him more popular.
- Weave Nightmares: attach to one of the top 10 cards → attach to one of the top 15 cards
- Extract Fear: 1 mana → 2 mana
Ashiok presents a unique play experience that many players enjoy, but Ashiok has been able to shore up their matchup against aggro better than we expected. We need to be careful with the power level of this 'slinger because it has such strong match-ups as the game goes on, so we are weaking Ashiok's early game by slowing down the speed in which Nightmares pop up.
- Fire Elemental: 3/1 → 3/2
The Elemental has been a bit too easy to trade with in combat, and this change will allow the Elemental to trade positively with some 1-drops.
- Unbridled Rage now adds a War Boar after debut abilities resolve
- War Boar: 0 mana → 1 mana
War Boars have been able to apply more pressure than we like for aggro Domri decks. This will slow down the ability for Domri to go wide. We also adjusted the timing on his special to work better with other cards.
- 26 health → 25 health
Drizzt has been in a better spot since our last update, and is no longer dominating the ladder. But with the goal of balancing out our aggro decks and weakening green, we'd like him to be a little bit easier to handle or race against.
- Ardent Supporter: 1/1→ 2/1
The Ardent Supporter has been hitting the gym, just like his hero Gids! Now he's better able to give as good as he gets in fights.
- Stoneforged Blade: +1/+0 → +2/+0
If you've been with us since our soft launch days, you'll know that Nahiri has bounced back and forth between a +1/+0 and +2/+0 Blade. Now that the overall power of other slingers is higher than it used to be, we feel that it is safe to revert back to the stronger Blade she enjoyed during the soft launch period. With this buff Nahiri should be able to prey on some of the slower decks in the format and provide aggro players with another option outside of Domri.
- Vivien's Arkbow: 3 charges → 2 charges
Vivien can quickly end games when she hits evasive upgrades, making the game feel non-interactive. Lowering the charges here makes it harder to roll sneak and/or flying in order to close out matches.
- Magnum Opus: 4 mana → 3 mana
We were very aggressive in making sure we solved the Ral problem. Now that it is in check, we believe we can give back some of the power we took away. Magnum Opus is ultimately a fair card and we believe that Ral is at his most fun when interacting with the board, which this card pushes him to do.
- Outwit: Draw 1 → Draw 2
- Teferi's Staff: Draw a trap from your deck → Draft a random trap of any color
Teferi has struggled to beat midrange decks and also keep up with other control decks, like Jace and Ashiok. Increasing the amount of card draw on Outwit should accelerate his mid-game and provide him with the card advantage to go toe to toe with slower decks. In addition, changing the staff to draft a trap reduces the sequencing issues of drawing it after exhausting all of the traps in your deck, and also gives Teferi more surprises to pull out. This should make Teferi more fun to play, and harder to predict when playing against.
Oath of the Paladin
- Aura of Courage: 5 mana → 4 mana
It takes courage to cast this for 5 mana, because many times you won't be able to play a creature to the board as well. Because you need a lot of creatures to make the level 3 class card sing, we'd like to make it easier to cast.
Path of the Barbarian
- Axe of Vengeance: 2 charges → 3 charges
- Indomitable Strength: 6 mana → 4 mana
Barbarian has probably the weakest level 1 of any of the classes. We want to put a bit more power into the Axe, as well as give it more of a chance to stick around for the level 2 & 3 cards. In addition, similar to Aura of Courage, the non-board affecting nature of the level 3 card means it is often too pricey to cast when facing enemy board presence.
School of the Wizard
- Wizard's Familiar: 2-mana discount → 1-mana discount
- Water Elemental: 2 mana, 5/5 → 5 mana, 5/4
The level 1 card allows for players to cheat out powerful spells like Day of Judgment sooner than we'd like, providing a massive tempo advantage to control decks. We want to slow this down. In addition, bouncing the Water Elemental is currently an ineffective strategy since the mana cost is so cheap, so we'd like to open up that counterplay and also make it easy to remove from the board by removing a health.
- Scour the Void: 5 mana → 6 mana
This card provides a lot of value in a lot of different decks, but is especially powerful in Ashiok. Moving the mana cost up makes Ashiok pay more for the massive amount of nightmares they generate.
- Tajic: 4/5, protects other friendly creatures → 5/3, also protects himself
Tajic had an incredibly tricky bug to fix that meant he sometimes (but not always) protected himself. While working to fix the bug we decided we'd actually like the effect to be more universal, while also making it easier for him to be killed in combat. So we got a fairer version of the card while also (hopefully) squashing any bugs related to the card once and for all.
- Storm Seeker: 4/2 → 4/3
We would like Storm Seeker to be a viable weapon against slow control decks as a safety valve. It was just a bit too far under on stats to be a reasonable include, so we're giving it an extra health.
- The Titan Cycle: 7 mana 8/8 → 6 mana 6/6
Decks are generally skipping over the Titans for other finishers. In addition, there is a dearth of 5 and 6 mana creatures currently seeing play. Moving the Titans down the curve should allow midrange decks to be more dangerous to control decks and go over the top of aggro a bit easier. These are exciting cards for new players to open or craft, and we want them to live up to their potential in game.
- Team Captain: buffs others → also buffs itself
Team Captain has been pushed out by faster creatures that provide immediate value, so we wanted to raise the ceiling and have it provide more value over time to compensate.
- Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant: 2/4 → 1/4
- Charm Ray: No longer affects the cost of set traps
Karazikar was just all-around too good, so we are knocking off a power. This makes the power-stealing ray more relevant, and makes Karazikar less valuable when he gets into close-quarters combat.
Karazikar's Charm Ray (Reduce the cost of a random card in your hand by 2, and raise the cost of a random card in your opponent's hand by 2.) was causing a bug when it changed the cost of traps. Charm Ray will now ignore armed traps, but can still reduce non-armed traps.
- Caller of the Cursed: 4/4 → 6/4
Caller is a fun combo card but is hard to recur due to its low power. By increasing it from 4 to 6, decks trying to take advantage of recurring can now more reliably get it back from the graveyard. In addition, it now has a board presence that is more in-line with its expensive cost.
- Sacred Sanctum
- Now heals 2 at start of game
- heal 4 and no mana gem → heal 2 and empty mana gem
Sacred Sanctum currently provides a massive amount of life as the game goes on, keeping decks without board presence afloat. We're reverting it to its previous version from the beta by making it heal 2 at the start of the game and 2 for each trigger. This makes it an interesting choice against aggro while also reducing the total healing. Never fear, though, as instead of getting no mana when the heal goes off, you now get an empty mana gem! This makes it an ideal land for control decks that are looking to hit 7 or 8 mana as quickly as possible.
- Giant Growth: 3/3 → 3/2
Everyone knows what to expect when going up against a green deck with 2 open mana. We want traps to be an effective card type, but the value of Giant Growth was outsized compared to its cost. Knocking off a health makes it a bit less likely for the creature to survive the fight and Giant Growth less of an auto-include.
- Resilient Sphere: 2 mana → 1 mana
We've seen a proliferation of decks relying on powerful legendary creatures like Karazikar, Tajic, and even Strahd. Resilient Sphere should be an appealing card for those who are looking to fight back against some of the most powerful creatures in the game, but it's narrow window of use means it sees almost no play. If you are taking the step to put this card into your deck, we want it to be effective.
- Pixie Trickster: 1/2 → 3/1
Making your opponent's creature into a Frog can be pretty punishing, and you don't always have a small friendly creature to target. By buffing the stats on this card we expect it to see more play in midrange blue decks, as its aggressive stats make it excellent for both dealing face damage and trading with opposing creatures...like a Frog.
- Icingdeath: 5/6 → 6/8
Icingdeath doesn't have the stats to stand toe-to-toe with some of the other expensive creatures in the game. With an ability that can be so situational, we wanted to make sure there was enough power in the card elsewhere for when you don't get full value from it.
- Sadistic Mindflayer: 2/3 → 4/4
We were conservative on the rate of this card since it can pack a powerful punch. But the body is too weak to make it into decks, especially with other sacrifice cards in its cost range.
- Sinister Southpaw: 5 mana, 4/4 → 6 mana, 5/4
Speaking of sacrificing creatures, the Southpaw has been a powerful tool to stay ahead on the board. We want to make it easier to come back from behind when facing slower decks, and moving this up the curve provides a larger window for midrange creatures to be effective when going up against Southpaw.
- Old Gnawbones: 5/3 → 5/4
Who said you can't teach an old dragon new tricks? Gnawbones has seen less play than expected, and so we are increasing her survavibility in an attempt to make it a more attractive card for decks looking for explosive plays.
Game System Changes
We have adjusted the formula for gaining and losing trophies on the ladder. Previously, the minimum was 20 and the max was 40, with 30 being the baseline you would gain/lose if playing someone with a similar trophy total. Now the minimum is 10 and the maximum is 50. In addition, we've increased the sensitivity of the system so players with a small difference in trophies should still see a difference in trophies won and lost. This means that you should see a wider array of numbers when playing matches, and winning is more important than ever!
We are adjusting the structure of many of our events to be easier to complete. Events with special rules should be a fast and fun break from the ladder, but instead felt grindy based on all of the wins required to complete them. In addition, once you choose your deck, you were locked into a run and couldn't switch if it was poorly positioned for the event. In order to make the experience more enjoyable, we are adjusting the max wins/losses from 4/2 to 1/1. Win or lose, you can then adjust your deck and go back into the following events:
- Double Trouble
- Mana Tug
- Floor is Lava
- Spell Slingers
- Battle Bots
- Fully Equipped
- Gideon's Day Out
- Scrapyard Scramble
- Reuse & Recycle
The entry fee will now be 500g. Winning the event will award 800g.
We are also adjusting the banned Spellslingers for the following events:
- Domri is now banned in Gideon's Day Out
- Ashiok is now banned in Battle Bots
- Fixed several bugs where translations are missing or incorrect in multiple languages.
- Fixed a bug where Hlaavin, Lord of the Unseen prompts an error message instead of returning to the arena with Relentless.
- Fixed a bug where stealing an enemy Wildshape Brontosaurus makes the opponent immune to damage.
- Fixed a bug where Matron Malice sometimes returns to the arena when she shouldn't.
- Fixed a bug where Plot creates two mana gems but only causes Nissa's Thrive ability to heal the player for 1.
- Fixed a bug where Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant's Enervation Ray can steal power from creatures with 0 power.
- Fixed a bug where Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant's Charm Ray can make set traps unusable.
- Fixed a bug where Recycled Grotesque can be played after sacrificing your last creature with Vraska's Throne.
- Fixed a bug where Boar God's Skull created by using Vraskra's Throne to sacrifice Ilharg, the Raze-Boar can't be used the turn it's summoned.
- Fixed a bug where sometimes ongoing abilities of a stolen Sparkling Unicorn still affect the original controller.
- Fixed a bug where, when the player has no creatures, Mindless Rage deals damage based on the opponent's strongest creature.
- Fixed a bug where Mystic Weapons do not count as upgrades.