Forbidden Libraries are really annoying if your opponent gets to play them on the first few turns. I often know I’ve lost a match if my opponent uses a library on turn 2 and I don’t have any way to get rid of it quickly. It’s really frustrating knowing you’ve lost a match so early on.
Here’s one match where I knew I’d lost on turn 2. The early library allowed him to summon way more creatures than I did, even though we collected the same amount of faeria. I couldn’t destroy the library because he always had creatures that could’ve killed anything I moved near it.
Getting 2 extra faeria each turn helps too much. The damage rarely matters, because 3 Healing Songs almost always prevents it from killing yourself. It only matters against rush and burn. It feels like I have to play rush or burn to not lose against early libraries. Having to playing those decks all the time isn’t fun.
Burn isn’t even that good against libraries. The extra faeria can speed up their development so much that
you don’t have enough time to kill them with burn. Healing Song delays it quite a bit. Flame Bursts cost 1 more faeria, so you’re at a faeria loss if you use one against a library. 2 Groundshakers are efficient, but you rarely have 12 faeria and those two cards on hand when you need them.
Since the libraries are so strong, there’s no reason not to include 2-3 of them and 3 Healing Songs in every blue deck. I don’t like having to include those same cards in all blue decks I make. If I don’t, I’ll lose to decks that did include libraries. It really kills variety in blue decks.
I play three of these in one of my decks, and what I’ve found is that it is really powerful when played early, but it’s pretty useless when not drawn early. This makes it feel very powerful when your opponent plays it early and you can’t immediately zap it. It also puts it in a weird place balance-wise where it may be balanced overall but its power level is extremely dependent on being drawn at the right time (see: Faeria Tree, Prophet of Tides).
You are wrong when you say the self-damage doesn’t matter - trust me it does matter especially when late-game comes and you’re milling yourself for 10+ damage a turn. Any control deck that can hang tough against an FL deck without destroying the FL itself will win by default.
I actually agree that gaining 2 extra faeria may be part of the problem here. The accelerated faeria gain makes it easy to achieve overwhelming board presence early on, and in theory Blue decks (which already provide some ways to increase your mana) shouldn’t need this much of a bump. I’d personally be comfortable with FL providing only 1 mana per turn rather than 2. However, there would need to be some compensating buff, because without one FL would only be usable in decks that already provide such a mana glut that the owner can’t currently use all that mana.
My own experience of Library is that it is practically a win against non-aggressive decks that can’t deal with it when played early, that it’s not even that bad against aggressive decks (provided you manage to keep it around for 1 or 2 turns, as at least it drags your opponent attention and resources (or attack) that will not hurt you instead.
Concerning the damage dealt, a single library is often not enough to destroy yourself, thanks to the heal of Healing Song, and can even be an advantage in a race situation (despite the 2 hp/turn loss). However, playing a second one is a huge commitment (and a bad idea in a race) which requires to end the game quickly, or your opponent might just ignore them and let you die.
I also disagree with what you said about playing them late. Playing one library late is of course not as good as an early one, but it’s still not bad, as it will nevertheless get value the turn after it’s played (well, as long as you’re not in a dead situation)
So all in all, the only drawbacks I see to this card is that it can be a dead draw if you’re too much pressured, and if you have already one in play.
Maybe it should be indeed a 1f gain instead of 2, or the card should cost more, and maybe Healing Song should be toned down instead (indirect nerf to Library), as it really got too many buffs from the patch imo (lower cost, better heal, and indirectly better value from healing due to self-damaging effects being more frequent).
Can you lay out your argument for why a mid-late game Forbidden Library is somehow still a decent card to get? Here’s the way I see it: in this phase of the game both players usually have creatures (or at least lands) over halfway across the board, and your opponent is likely to have the choice of killing it quickly if they even want to. Assuming they can’t, or choose not to, the FL still needs to stay on the board at least two turns to provide any value, since the first production simply gives you the 1 card and 2 faeria that you spent back, and even once you’ve gotten “value” you’re now down 4 life and you’re a lot closer to milling yourself to death.
I do feel like Healing Song probably does need a slight nerf (maybe back to +4 life?), though. Drawing a couple of these does completely negate the few drawbacks of early FLs, leaving you with a lot of extra cards and more faeria than you’d have otherwise.
Can you lay out your argument for why a mid-late game Forbidden Library is somehow still a decent card to get?
Sure ! Here’s how I see it, around midgame :
- You’re in a winning position, in which case you’ll have no problem keeping it, and it will probably carry you the rest of the game
- You’re pressured, and then it’s more or less a dead draw (might still be a shield or a lure of your opponent’s creatures in some situations)
- The board is somewhat stable, in which case, either there are no creatures at all (easy, then), or you both have a zone of influence on the board (likely one harvesting on each side of the board), well, you drop the Library inside it or close to it, and your opponent will have a hard time getting to it, and will be punished if he tries. Or he’ll have to use resources in his hand to deal with it (move trick, blast, Wind Soldier …), in which case the library is a fair trade (probably to your advantage)
- You’re tied into a race : depending on what strength your opponent has on the board, you might consider dropping it anyway, if you’ve got some healing in hand.
- You’re up against an OTK : your life hardly matters, you need to rush him down as fast as you can, and Library may help you (or not)
Did I miss a scenario ?
The problem as I see it is that the lifeloss doesn’t matter enough. The buffed Healing Song is clearly responsible for this. Right now you get to have your cake and it it too. Healing is too cheap. if it were made more expensive players would actually have to choose what to do with their faeria. Do they they want to build their board or are they getting low and do they need to invest some faeria into healing? Right now the healing is very faeria efficient. Casting healing song for 3F after you just gained at least 5F is a small price to pay. The extra card you get to draw is just icing on the cake.
Make Forbidden Library more risk reward and nerf healing song.
I don’t think Healing Song is an outlier in terms of healing value, it’s just the best fit for a lot of decks.
Forbidden Library is clearly an outlier in terms of production value though. When you compare it with Gabrian Cistern and Faeria Tree, it’s pretty obvious which is better value, just in terms of reliable Faeria yield.
- Faeria Tree makes 8 Faeria in 4 turns, delayed by 1 turn for each point of damage dealt to it and unless it’s destroyed. If it doesn’t yield, it costs 2 Faeria and a card.
- Gabrian Cistern makes 5 Faeria over 3 turns, with 3 less Faeria for each point damage dealt to it, with a floor of -4 (and a card).
- Forbidden Library makes 4 Faeria over 3 turns, unless it’s destroyed… and unless it’s destroyed, it keeps making 2 Faeria per turn. If it doesn’t yield, it costs 2 Faeria and a card, but for that to be the case, it needs to be destroyed on its first turn in play.
Even without the extra aspect of -2 life for a card draw every turn, it’s a more playable card than either of those, as it needs to be completely destroyed to lose any value and if it isn’t destroyed, unlike the other two, it keeps on generating more value every turn.
Now looking just at the card draw for 2 life per turn; if we pretend that a card draw is worth the same as 1 Faeria, then Healing Song costs 3 Faeria for 5 life and Forbidden Library generates 1 Faeria for 2 life, every turn after its first turn. The exchange is comparable and it’s only one “bonus” aspect of Forbidden Library’s production.
If you think about it in those terms, Forbidden Library’s total production, equivalent to a whopping 3 Faeria (and really, a card draw has got to be worth more on average than 1 Faeria, but even if it isn’t, that’s the same amount of “Faeria” gain as Windfall or Feed the Forest on a Living Willow/Deepwood Grizzly), pays for a Healing Song every turn, at the cost of 2 life. This probably makes Shimmering Statue a bit sad. Maybe the best way to bring its value closer to similar cards would be increase the damage taken, making the malus meaningful in a broader range of matchups.
Make it cost 1 but product only 1 mana and 1 card, still for 2 damage.
So you’ve laid out several of the scenarios where it usually won’t work nicely, but I take some issue with your description of a “stable” board. In my experience I think the land ownership usually curves around the board, meaning that any spot could theoretically be reached (if not well protected by creatures) within 2 or 3 turns, even less if Slam is around.
It’s true that FL will last a long time, even in the late game, against non-aggressive decks (and in fairness to you, this was one of the important cruxes of your original argument). But very few decks have no ability to be aggressive; even Green has Slam and Huntmaster, and Blue can cover a lot of distance if you’re not taunting its creatures. Red and Yellow tend to be aggressive and have creatures all over your side of the board anyhow.
I guess if you’re winning and you still have a large deck, FL is a great way to make sure you draw the cards you need and have the faeria you need to play it. But outside of that, I really feel it’s purely an early-game play and if you can’t get it running early, you’re in trouble. I have a couple decks that run 3 of this card and I’m sure you have a few that run it as well, so if you’d like, feel free to friend me and we’ll play some games to test our theories!
It really depends on your deck though.
With a three wishes deck I can easily handle a turn 2 forbidden library even without being that aggressive simply because the value in my deck (and from 3 wishes) is enough to see me through.
It’s a tough call because if the malus is too large it simply doesn’t get played.
Personally I’d like to see the mana gain reduced or removed making it essentially infinite card draw instead of card draw + faeria to use the card draw.
Why not just make FL damage itself so it only lasts like 4 turns? Seems to keep the other structures balanced.
It certainly feels too strong to me. My biggest issue with it is the fact that it gives faeria. If it’s going to give cards and faeria I think it needs a steeper downside or much higher cost, otherwise I think it should only draw cards.