November 25, 2015 by KonanTheBarbarian
After seeing the patch notes of the big balancing that SBE did, I tried to extract the most important information and wanted to do a short write up of it. So far I have been quite accurate with my predictions, so hopefully my predictions aren’t too bad given the huge amount of changes.
Some overall observations –
- Lots of new keywords – especially the Forge keyword (Hearthstone’s Battlecry) means that most enter the field abilities won’t trigger anymore when reviving creatures (and basically all creatures with enter the field abilities have that keyword now).
- Better soft gated Nekrium removal!
- The cards people complained most about were nearly all nerfed (Rage of Kadras, Wegu the Ancient, Ice Grasp, Alyssa Forgeborn, Oratek Explosives, Bron) and there are much less auto includes now (Borean Windweaver, Shardplate Behemoth, Frostmane Dragon).
- When cards were changed the lvl1’s usually got a boost, while the lvl3 got a slight decrease in stats. Exceptions are the leylines which got a lvl1 nerf and a lvl2 boost, which I don’t get yet, but we will see.
- On top of that SBE tried to make the faction identities better, e.g. Alloyin grants defender, while Tempys removes defender now.
I will start with the top 3 winners and losers and will then list the biggest winners and losers of the different factions and below you find my reasoning.
My personal top 3 winners
My personal top 3 losers
Biggest nerfs were given to Herald of Destruction, Alysssa Strifeborn and Wegu, The Ancient. EDIT: I interpreted the Alyssa patchnotes wrong (along with all my teammates – have a look at the bottom of the article). Alyssa isn’t among the biggest losers then.
Death Current – Can target a level 2 or lower creature, any creature and kills 2 random creatures (used to be level 1, level 2 or lower, level 3 or lower
Hard to tell which of the improved soft gated Nekrium Removals will be the best (Spiritcleave and Grave Pact are also soft gated now), but Death Current looks quite Solid on paper, especially the lvl1 looks strong, which is always important.
Dreadbolt – Destroys a Level 1, 2 or lower, any creature
Hard gated, but unconditional removal? Will definitely see play and I don’t think it will be outclassed by its soft level gated brothers (still not an auto include).
Ebonskull Knight – Stat change to 9/9 at Level 1 (used to be 8/8)
A buff to a constructed staple? Might be the new Nekrium Shardplate Behemoth.
Keeper of the Damned – Stat change to 5/6, 8/10, 15/17 (used to be 5/4, 9/8, 17/15)
Playable utility stats and zombie synergy, could be enough to make Keeper playable.
Scourgeflame Sorcerer – Level 1 ability can target up to level 2 creatures, Level 2 has no restriction, and Level 3 requires no sacrifice
He might still be to squishy to get played, but he is now a Sorcerer! A Sorcerer is defined as being the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son, or a Wizard squared!
Zimus, The Undying – Level 3 now comes back without any restriction
The good old Zimus days are back!? Hard to tell, but I think Zimus will see play again. Might really depend on how often Wipe Clean will see play and how fast the meta will be. I included him in the top3, since Herald got nerfed and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little slower meta.
Soul Drinker – Stat change to 1/4, 1/8, 1/14 (used to be 3/1, 3/1, 3/1) and its ability at level 2 is no longer level restricted
Soul Drinker still doesn’t seem great, since he has a dead lvl1, but the improvement over the old version is so huge I had to list him here.
Vyric Ebonskull – Level 1 ability to destroy a random Level 1 creature
All the vampires got some love and Vyric is among them. Might fit into NT?
Call the Lightning – Gives double battle at every level, level 1 gives no bonus attack, level 2 gives +2 attack and level 3 gives +4 attack
Call the lightning will definitely see play. Making all your creatures attack an additional time is really powerful and there are lots of synergies to be abused.
Ignir, Khan of Ashur – 9/9 at level 2 (used to be 8/8) and level 3 ability now hits the opponent and a random creature (used to hit a single random target)
Ignir got a significant buff and was quite playable before – if the meta slows down Ignir might be a card people will complain about
Wildfire Maiden – Now destroys itself to do damage equal to its power to all enemy creatures and players
Wildfire Maiden is life, Wildfire Maiden is love. I actually think maiden might be awesome now. Get some buffs ready and wipe your opponents board!
Zarox – Stat change to 2/8, 4/12, 10/18 (used to be 2/7, 4/11, 10/17) and ability gives him +2 attack, +2 attack, +4 attack (used to be 1,2,4)
Hands down – the biggest winner of all changes is Zarox! I really think he is insanely good now. NT mobility will definitely play him and Mono N lists might splash him, since he got that good.
Umbruk Icecrusher – Allied power also grants +2 attack and +2 health at all three levels
If there will be an agressive UT deck, Icecrusher might be part of it. He is now a must block with and takes out most blockers.
Stone Brand – Now removes defender
Stone Brand is basically the new Jet Pack in AT defender decks. Less flexibility, but more raw power… Most likely has only impact on lower rarity formats
Valifrax – Ability now triggers when it moves (used to be when it was played)
First I didn’t want to include Valifrax, but thinking more about him I figured out that he might be good in certain decks now. You don’t have to get the lower lvl spells anymore while playing him and you can now use him to get more than 5 cards in your hand!
Rageborn Hellion – Stat change to 4/8, 6/12, 9/18 (used to be 2/8, 5/12, 9/17)”
Hellion is really hard to judge and while I don’t see a deck for him right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if he would see play
Uterra Packmaster – Stat change to 6/6, 9/9, 14/14 (used to be 5/5, 8/8, 14/14)
Packmaster just needed a little boost and I think the slightly increased stats will be enough to make him playable. Patron of Deepwood is still really good and might be enough to fuel a mono Uterra archetype.
Lifeblood Dryad – Ability now gives +2/+2, +3/+3, +6/+6 (used to be 1,3,6)
This buff is actually really really huge! If there will be a grow wide deck, Lifeblood Dryad will be part of it
Dozer, The Dormant – Stat change to 0/10, 0/13, 0/16 (used to be 0/8, 0/12, 0/18) and ability now makes a 10/10, 13/13, 16/16 (used to be 8/8, 12/12, 18/18)
Dozer might be the new Bron – not sure if the build around shell will be good enough, but it’s definitely a big buff to him and I can see him being in Dream Tree lists.
Malice Hermit – Ability now gives Poison 1, 2, 4 (used to be 2, 4, 6) and gives Malice Hermit +1/+1, +2/+2, +4/+4 (used to be 1,1,2)
Malice Hermit is really hard to judge, since giving less poison is a big deal, but I can easily imagine that he will be a powerhouse in certain (poison?) decks.
Umbruk Lasher – Stat change to 7/6, 10/9, 14/13 (used to be 6/4, 10/7, 18/14)
Lasher seems quite good in Umbruk decks now. Solid lvl1 stats, along with Dino and buffed Call The Lightning synergy … there might be a new UT deck out there.
Shardclaw Crusher – Stat change to 5/5, 8/8, 12/12 (used to be 3/3, 6/6, 12/12) and ability gives +5/+5, +8/+8, +12/+12 (used to be +3/+3, +6/+6, +12/+12)
Shardclaw Crusher will most likely just see play in lower rarity formats, but some interactions are quite neat even for standard constructed (Brimstone Tyrant, Upgrade?)
Nuada, Faith’s Flourish – Ability makes a 9/9 Treefolk at level 1 (used to be 7/7)
I first didn’t want to inlcude Nuada, but since Christmas is soon, plants might make a small revival
Killion, Infinity Warden – Stat change to 6/3, 9/7, 16/14, 22/20 (used to be 4/3, 9/7, 16/12, 22/18)
Killion is basically the only big winner in Alloyin. You might disagree, but overall I think Alloyin didn’t get too much love with the big rebalance.
Doppelbot – Stat change to 4/4, 8/8, 12/12 (used to be 4/8, 8/12, 16/20) and ability now replaces itself with any Creature in opponent’s hand.
Doppelbot could really be hit or miss. On the one hand his lvl1 might have a too low health to ever get an activation – especially later in the game. On the other hand he might copy a lvl2/3 and give you information about your opponents hand. You probably have to combine him with cards like Ator or Korok to make him work.
Delpha, Chronosculptor – Stat change to 7/7, 9/9, 14/14 (used to be 5/7, 9/10, 15/16)
Delpha is now a solid underdrop, so that is something. Her other stats dropped though and her ability can be hit or miss (she might even target your Overload cards), so while I think she got better, I don’t really think it will be enough.
Epoch Hawk – Ability change to “If you have 6 or more cards in hand, activate to make a Epoch Soldier.” Epoch Soldier has trigger to draw a card at the end of the turn when it hits opposing player.
Epoch Hawk had to be changed, since Ironbound Reinforcements got the Forge keyword now. The card was pretty bad before and its stats didn’t get better, so it really depends on how good the Epoch Soldiers are. I would say they must be 8/6 at lvl2 or better (probably 8/8) for Epoch Hawk to see play.
EDIT: Epoch Hawk has its ability also at lvl1 and the Epoch Soldier are 4/4, 7/7, 11/11
Crypt Conjurer – Stat change to 2/8, 5/14, 8/20 (used to be 3/8, 5/14, 8/20) and ability drains for 2,5,8 (used to be 3,5,7)
The lvl1 is what matters most and 33% less drain and one less attack will definitely have a huge impact on drain decks.
Howl of Xith – Now drains for 3x player level (used to be 4x)
Howl might still see some play as finisher, but it definitely lost quite a lot of its power.
Spiritstone Sentry – No longer grows based on how many creatures have died that turn. Stats now 4/4, 6/6, 10/10 (used to be 3/3 at all levels)
Herald got a huge nerf, so SSS had to be nerfed as well. Doesn’t seem that great anymore to be honest.
Ice Grasp – Deals 2 damage (used to be 3)
33% less damage is hopefully a big deal, since I really hope this card will never see tournament play again.
Herald of Destruction – Ability no longer deals damage to the creature that triggered Herald
Herald is now officially removed from the game o.O probably among the biggest of all nerfs, although understandable.
Rage of Kadras – Now a one level overload spell
This is exactly the card Rage should have always been. Still really good, but you now just have 3 shots to wipe the board.
Borean Windweaver – Stat change to 6/5, 9/8, 14/13 (used to be 6/5, 12/9, 16/13)
Windweaver will still see play, since the lvl1 is what matters, but it’s really strong lvl 2/3 got toned down, so it’s probably not an auto include anymore.
Bron, Wild Tamer and Dino Knight – Ability no longer heals itself
Bron was insanely strong before and will still be good, so I also like this change.
Wegu, The Ancient – No longer gains Breakthrough at level 1 or 2
Our beloved friend Wegu got finally toned down! Thanks god – this was long overdue, since losses against Wegu were among the most frustrating in Solforge history. I listed him among the biggest losers, since Nekrium removal got so much better.
Shardplate Behemoth – Stat change to 0/11, 0/13, 0/15 (used to be 10, 15, 25)
Still one of the best underdrops in the game, but definitely not an auto include in all Uterra decks anymore.
Stasis Warden – Stat change to 5/6, 9/10, 15/16 (used to be 4/5, 7/8, 11/16) and ability can now only target friendly creatures
Stasis Warden is now a dead card. Nothing else to add.
Jet Pack – No longer removes Defender
Jet pack is now more or less a dead card. Nothing else to add.
Oratek Explosives – Now deals damage to a random enemy creature
Explosives might still see play, but since it’s untargeted it will not be as frustrating to play against
Relic Hunter – now 5/5, 9/9, 15/15 with Breakthrough. Relic Scout no longer grants Breakthrough
Seems like a good change to me. The focus might shift more to Relic Hunter itself again and there might be a good AU deck built around him (E.g. replace a Behemoth and you have a 15/16 Breakthrough at lvl1)
Alyssa, Strifeborn – Stat change to +2 health at ever level, and ability no longer grants bonus health to Alyssa
Alyssa is among the biggest losers, since there is no interaction to abuse anymore. A good change, but the card will never see play again.
EDIT: I was told that Alyssa still gets +1 health per damage dealt to her. I interpreted the patch notes that she doesn’t get any health when being dealt damage. It seems like she will get +1/+1, +2/+1, +3/+1 per damage dealt. So the lvl1 got a buff, while only the higher levels got worse. So she’s definitely not among the biggest losers of the set