Activatable Structures Have Haste
Players have long been asking for the option use structures with the activate ability on the same turn they’rw played. The wait is over. This dramatically improves the playability of these structures, as they now combine the surprise-value of events with a resource for future turns. Many affected structures were adjusted in compensation.
Slam is Gone
We’ve listened to community feedback and Slam has clearly been causing problems. Many players reported that it felt unfair to defend against Slam creatures, as they could crash right through your blockers for full damage. The ability was confusing as well. Many players initially assumed that it worked in incorrect ways. Slam’s presence also made every move trick in the game harder to balance. While we’ve explored many variants of the mechanic since its release, we’ve ultimately decided to just remove it. Boulder Thrower still functions as if it had Slam, as it helps bring out the card’s flavor, but the mechanic has been removed from every other card. These affected cards have been adjusted in compensation.
We’ve increased the quality of two cheaper neutral taunts. These changes expand the options of all colors to deal with low-life haste threats. The new Defender of the Homeland is an absolute nightmare for Khalim’s Follower. Imperial Guard has received a boost as well. Radiance also picked up a lifegain gift, which can help you survive once your life has dropped low enough to play it.
Forbidden Library was shifted to a 4-lake design. This gives people more time to draw an answer and set up their lands before the economic powerhouse comes down. Dream Reaver’s lake cost was increased to delay its game-ending power. Frogify’s cost has been reworked to make it more efficient with a larger color commitment, similar to a blue version of Last Nightmare.
Removing slam resulted in several key changes to green powerhouses. Oak Father reverted to its pre-slam version, while Feral Kodama was redesigned to make use of Shaytan Vampire’s gameplay (we’ll talk about why that design left yellow in the yellow section). Sagami Huntmaster has been shifted to Sagami Grovecaller, restricting the move trick to friendly forests as has often been suggested by the community. Ruunin has been redesigned to be more mobile, cheaper to play and less frustrating to play against. She now grows with each death instead of getting her cost reduced. This means you won’t have to deal with an infinite progression of 0-cost 6/6s. Now she can grow without limit but still costs 6 faeria each time.
We’ve scaled back the power of red’s infamous “angry” archetype. The key cards we’ve changed are Shedim Pest, Firebringer and Hate Seed. Hate Seed received a cost increase, Firebringer’s stats were reduced and Shedim Pest has been altered for increased consistency. Shedim Pest now can be played as a 4/3 for 4, which is nowhere near as weak as a 4/2. However, its upside is only a 6/3. This also exposes the creature to 3 damage removal and 3-attack taunts, which can be found more easily outside of red than 4 damage. Lord of Terror was also redesigned, to reduce red’s tech options for removing high-life creatures. Hellfire disappeared from competitive play once its damage was changed from 10 to 9. We like how the card encourages on-board play to absorb the damage and have reduced its cost accordingly.
We’ve reworked yellow rush to produce a lower variety of threats. An early Dune Drake demands different answers than a Khalim’s Follower. An efficient 6/6 like the previous Shaytan Vampire, or a 12/12 Zealous Crusader, complicate things further. We’ve weakened Dune Drake accordingly and have redesigned Zealous Crusader to a version that gains only +1/+1 with each successful attack. The Crusader will continue to be an efficient reward for going face, but should no longer produce reliably 12/12+ threats.
Shaytan Vampire also caused issues with its hyper-efficient lifegain. This meant that one of the best ways to be0at a rush deck was to race it with Shaytan Vampire. It also restricted the design space of yellow’s “life-for-power” theme. We’ve shifted the core gameplay to green, which is a more natural fit, and introduced Shaytan Monstrosity. This card presents a new synergy option for yellow to take advantage of its high-attack creatures (including temporary attack boosts).
Doomsday now ends the turn when it’s played. This prevents decks from wiping the board and then taking advantage of a defenseless opponent via haste creatures or other tricks.
The Annoying Gnat has returned to a 1/1 version, due to the vocal concerns of certain balance testers that believe it has been dramatically underrated and will restrict future design space for sacrifice and flying decks. While the card might seem weak as a 1/1, the Gnat has been underrated many times in the past. We look forward to seeing how this insect surprises us in the future.