Today’s anticipated balance changes have arrived. After taking some time to evaluate and test some of the new cards, we are ready to share our thoughts with you. Check out the new cards below, followed by an insightful commentary to prepare you for the changing meta.
Outcast Tower is an incredibly unique card that levels the battlefield immediately. The moment you play this 0-cost structure, all of the faeria on the board evaporates. This card is most likely going to be used in aggressive decks that are built to better capitalize on having only three faeria per turn. The card has even repercussions on both players, requiring any deck that uses this card to build around it by using a lot of 3 and 4 cost drops (Did you hear that? It sounded like someone whispering “Angry Red…”).
Earthcraft is a great card. 2 faeria gets you 1 card draw and 1 coloured land. By itself that is good value. However, since typically you can only do either one of those per turn, this card is made even better. Playing this card allows you to do two actions off the faeria wheel in one turn, while still allowing you your actual action! You cycle and ramp your land, while leaving your actual faeria wheel free for another action. Expect to see this card in both mono-green and multi-colour decks that use green.
- Change: Cost down from 3 forests to 2 forests
Sagami Elder did not see much play at its previous cost, and it is unlikely that it will see play now. The 2 attack leaves it vulnerable to Choking Sands, and its weak attack value allows 6 attacks minions to trade into it cleanly. Even by buffing this card a single time with any of green’s +2/+2 buffs, it is still only at 4 attack which is frequently not enough to trade up. Green tends to favour creatures with higher
base attack that allow buffs to spike those creatures up to the critical 5 attack threshold and beyond. Furthermore, green can achieve +1/+1 buffs more reliably than a combat trigger by using creatures like Ancient Beastmaster and Spirit of Rebirth (both of which sit at a cool 3 attack, waiting for those buffs). It seems Sagami Elder will share the fate of most elders, and live out a quiet existence secluded from the new generation. Perhaps we can visit him on weekends though.
- Change: Stats are now 4/3 and creature gains +1/+1 if summoned adjacent to an enemy well
The change to Axe Grinder is an undeniable buff. Red favours attack over life on creatures for 2 reasons. 1. Red has an ample amount of burn cards, which allows high attack creatures to trade with a bigger creature when combined with burn. 2. The last patch introduced a whole new archetype for red, focusing on playing creatures with higher attack than health. A 3 cost 4/3 for only one coloured land is an amazing card in and of itself. Furthermore, the card fits right into the new “Angry Red” archetype. Oh, and I almost forgot. If you play it next to an enemy faeria well (which is where you are headed with this deck anyway), you get a 3 faeria 5/4 creature. Expect to see this axe-wielding rat slammed down in front of your orb quite frequently in the foreseeable future.
- Change: Deal 3 damage to Anything, but can no longer be used as a 6 cost AOE
Flame burst regains its ability to target your opponents orb, while losing its AOE component. This is a fine trade off as red already has a plethora of efficient AOE cards such as Firestorm, Groundshaker, and Garudan. With aggro red on the rise, Flame Burst now gives the deck that extra reach it so desperately needed. If your opponent is able to barely hold off that initial rush, sit back and draw into your 9 direct damage! Expect to see this card in almost any red deck due to its incredible flexibility, and of course, expect to die to this card in rage inducing fashion.
- Change: Crumbling Golem is now only dealt 1 damage if the card your opponent plays is a creature
The buff to Crumbling Golem reduces his crumbling by a signficant amount. It is now feasibly a guaranteed 6/5 or 6/4 body as most decks will not be churning out more than 1 to 2 creatures per turn. This will allow our friendly Golem to get value instead of dying over two turns to a bunch of cheap events. Although the card does not fall into the more attack than life category, it is quite strong and will most likely work its way into aggro red.
Lord of Terror
- Change: Stats are now 1/5
The Lord of Terror became slightly less terrifying today as he lost +1/+1 in stats. This is quite a significant nerf as the 5 attack benchmark is much easier to hit than 6, which will see lord of terror getting even trades as opposed to trading up or surviving combat. 3 mountains is a large investment for a creature that is only going to trade evenly, which suggests this card may fall out of favour within red control. Could his reign of terror be over?
- Change: Cost down from 2 deserts to 1 desert, and drain down from 3 to 2
The Malevolent Spirit, commonly seen haunting its way around burn decks and aggro yellow, has become slightly less menacing. The reduction of damage on this card comes hand in hand with flame burst’s new ability to target the orb. 5 cost for a 3/3 body and a 2 health drain to face is much less powerful in both burn and aggro. Malevolent spirit had already been falling out of favour in yellow rush, and this nerf will solidify its departure from that archetype. In regards to burn decks, Malevolent Spirit may simply be replaced by Flame Burst, as it is unlikely the deck can afford to pay 5 faeria for only 2 damage. If these speculations hold true, this poor spirit may finally find peace, and leave terrorizing the lands of faeria in order to seclude itself back to the realm of spirits.
- The changes outlined today leave a pulsing arrow pointing at one deck type in particular. And I bet you can guess the colour of that arrow. In case you got lost at some point, the arrow is red. The “Angry Red” archetype gets a substantial buff through the changes to Crumbling Golem, Flame Burst and Axe Grinder. Furthermore, Outcast Tower may also create its own type of aggro red deck that focuses on starving your opponent of faeria while playing high attack cheap creatures in his face.
- It will be interesting to see how the burn archetype adapts to the nerf on Malevolent Spirit, but the subsequent addition of Flame Burst as a direct damage tool.
- Finally, Earthcraft adds a powerful ramp tool that is useful in any instance of green, and may increase the amount of dual-colour green decks on ladder.