Songhai is one of the most controversial factions. This is not a post saying that Songhai is terribly broken and overpowered, but that it has become powerful enough to warrant changes in the near future. Before I go any further, I would also like to point out that this post will mostly be directed at Songhai’s position on the S rank ladder. I know in the other ranks Songhai is difficult to play against given that it generally just works differently than other factions but learning to beat them does just take time. Moving forward right now Songhai is one of the most powerful factions on ladder and anyone looking to climb though S rank absolutely needs to make sure that they have a good Songhai matchup due to how common it is there. While this is possible and I’ve found that playing decks that are built with Songhai in mind will often do quite well. However having a specific boogeyman deck does limit the deckbuilding potential in the game.
The major problem that I see with Songhai is not the low cost spells that they are able to dump out of their hand, but rather the amount of value that can be generated by dumping their hand and how easy it is to refill after doing so. This allows Songhai to apply a huge amount of pressure while not really losing many resources in the process. As such the 4 cards I am choosing to look at all reward Songhai for playing a high density of low cost spells.
Note: (I do not claim all of these ideas as my own but I agree with them)
Edit: I would not look to implement all of these changes this piece is just meant to look at what some examples of what Songhai could be.
-Cost change from 1 to 2
The big impact that changing Bloodrage mask would have is that it would prevent Songhai from the big turns where they are able to equip multiple bloodrage masks and play out their hand. While equipping one mask and playing 2-3 spells would still be fairly doable they would be much more hardpressed to do so when trying to equip multiple masks. This would also make it so that it would be more difficult to develop a board while also equipping a mask. The problem with allowing Songhai to do this is that playing a minion in conjunction with a mask forces the opponent to spread out their resources in order to deal with both. This can really screw someone up in the early game and can often lead to a choice of mask getting in 5-6 damage or a board getting out of hand.
Four Winds Magi:
-Stats changed from 4/4 to 2/4
Four Winds Magi is another card that allows Songhai players to accumulate additional value from playing spells. However due to its increased cost it is used less as a combo piece and more as a midrange threat that Songhai can play to help them stabilize themselves. They will often play it at a range and then teleport it in to help finish off an opponent. I think that this is a fine way to play the card and that it’s spot on the curve and ability are really necessary for keeping Spellhai decks alive. However, it’s body is just large enough that it often takes slightly too many resources to deal with and with a 4/4 body even a dispel doesn’t do too much. My proposed change would move it away from being quite as efficient of a body for closing out games while still allowing it to act as what I see is a more aggressive version of Shadow Sister Kelaino.
-Cost change from 5 to 6
Right now Heaven’s Eclipse is Songhai’s primary late game card. When playing Songhai it is fairly easy to hold onto it in the early game, play a bunch of cards to dominate the board and then once you have control just cast Eclipse to take a turn off to refill your hand. Changing the cost of Eclipse does two relevant things in my mind. The first is that it prevents this initial tempo swing from happening quite as early which gives other factions another turn to stabilize. The second thing this change would do is that it would move a late game Heaven’s Eclipse to a place where it is more of a value generation draw spell and less of a card that just allows you to put combo pieces, which are often played on the same turn to end the game on the spot. This change would suppress that ability somewhat and would allow for more counterplay against an otherwise uninteractive spell. Allowing a player an additional turn to close out the game where they know that the end is coming makes for fewer games that end with Songhai just stealing a game out of nowhere.
-Stats changed to 2/2
-Ability changed to at the end of your turn EACH player draws a card.
Honestly I feel less confident about these Spelljammer changes than I do the other cards I have discussed. This is not because I believe it deserves to be changed less, in fact it’s probably the card on this list most in need of a change, but rather that the implications of changing it would reach far beyond Songhai and would probably redefine the meta to a certain degree. With that out of the way I can get onto how this might affect Songhai. In terms of Songhai decks Spelljammer is often the glue that allows these decks to straight up out value their opponents. A Spelljammer played early allows Songhai players to freely cast as many spells as they want. Whether it is noticeable or not an early Spelljammer will often put a Songhai player too far ahead early on and another the opponent will almost always be forced to remove it thus putting the Songhai player even further ahead. A stat change here would make Spelljammer much easier to deal with given the fact that it could be killed by a single general attack in addition to be susceptible to many more spells and minons. Changing the ability on Spelljammer would still allow players to refill their hands but would mean that removing the body would not force the opponent to fall behind in terms of resources.
My goal in proposing all of these changes is not to make Songhai unviable in any way. Rather it would be to alter the power and flexibility of some cards in the faction which have really forced other decks to be built around answering them. In addition my hope is that changes to these staple cards would really allow Songhai decks to branch out and find their own identities. Right now given how powerful these cards are Songhai decks that don’t revolve them are really just being pushed aside because these cards are too good not to play. Changing them would open up those slots to new cards and who knows maybe we’ll be able to see the rise of decks like midrange Kaleos, Onyx Jaguar or even a revival of mirror meld combo. Thanks for reading and I’m sure there are plenty of other thoughts out there but I wanted to give mine.