Only a week following the release of Into Shadow, Eternal‘s latest campaign, new balance changes have been implemented that promise to further alter ranked play.
«The ranked metagame is currently in a pretty good place,» the release notes state, «but we are making a few changes to improve balance and to diversify some of the play patterns and card choices among top decks.»
This time around, «changes» means nerfs, and they are as follows:
Auralian Merchant: Now 0/4 (previously 1/4)
Channel the Tempest: Now 9PPPP (previously 8PPPP)
Icaria, the Liberator: Now 8FFFJJJ (previously 7FFFJJJJ)
Predatory Carnosaur: Now 7TTT, 7/7 (previously 6TTT, 6/6)
Additionally, 24 other cards have been adjusted. While these changes almost exclusively affect Eternal‘s draft format, there is an additional nerf here that impacts current ranked play:
Vital Arcana: Now gains 2 health (previously gained 4)
The single deck most impacted by yesterday’s nerfs is Temporal Control, a true control deck that plans to draw cards and stall the game until the opponent’s soul has been sufficiently crushed and they concede.
This type of play-style can be extremely frustrating to play against, as it often leads to very long, grindy games, and I would not be surprised if Dire Wolf Digital is specifically targeting Temporal Control following complaints from the community.
Full playsets of Auralian Merchant, Channel the Tempest, and Vital Arcana are staples in Temporal Control, and these nerfs will definitely have an impact on the deck. However, I certainly believe that it will remain a viable, if not strong, choice for the foreseeable future.
The changes have splash damage outside of Temporal Control as well.
Since its release, Auralian Merchant has been considered the best of the Merchant-cycle, and the full four copies are featured in almost all Time decks. Channel the Tempest has also been ubiquitous, acting as the finisher-of-choice for many Primal-based control and midrange decks.
Both cards still seem playable, but a reduction in their power level will definitely open up some space for other cards as players begin assembling new decks.
The nerf to Icaria, the Liberator has a broad impact as well. Since her printing, Icaria has been one of the most powerful finishers in the game, and an Icaria on seven-power (or five with a Bulletshaper in play) is often unbeatable.
This has lead to a slew of midrange decks with casting Icaria as their game-plan, and it will be interesting to see just how much the one additional power will matter to these decks.
With this change and Into Shadows‘ printing of Azindel, Revealed, it looks like Dire Wolf feels that eight-power is the right spot for game-ending creatures to sit.
With so many new cards and changes in flux, aggressively-slanted Combrei decks seem like the clear choice for ranked play. Perhaps the strongest deck immediately preceding the release of Into Shadow, none of yesterday’s nerfs directly affect it, and it is perfect for punishing new decks that have not been finely tuned.
Full patch notes, including all draft changes, are included in this post.
Information on the new promo card and avatar included with this patch are available on Dire Wolf’s website.