(S Rank) Songhai Impressions


#1

Hi everyone,

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.
Possible Changes:
Bloodrage Mask:
-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.

Heaven’s Eclipse:
-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.

Spelljammer:
-Stats changed to 2/2
or
-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.


#2

bruh if u looking to slow thing down every other faction will need to be nerfed same amount of critical cards needed for their faction


#3

what. I don’t think I got your meaning. Are you implying that even nerfing Spellhai and Spelljammer any other faction will be able to continue the tradition of hyper-fast decks that offer little interaction and ignore the board? Cause the Songhai toolset is unique in many ways IMO.


#4

Just some comparisons:

Kelaino- Four mana, seven stat points, has virtually no limit to how many procs it can generate per turn. (edit: I would also say that the five health instead of four is a fairly big deal)
4WM- Four mana, eight stat points, can proc up to 7 times per turn in theory (possibly more with a lucky heaven’s eclipse). In a vacuum it’s effect is more powerful than Kelaino, but in practice that may not be the case.
4WM with nerf- Four mana, six stat points, and aforementioned characteristics. Could be understated.

Rite of the Undervault- Five mana, draws up to six random cards from your deck.
Heaven’s Eclipse- Five mana, draws up to three spells in your deck. Can theoretically be used to draw specific cards by limiting what spells are in your deck, but will usually not happen since Spellhai decks run tons of spells.
Heaven’s Eclipse with nerf- Six mana with the same effects. Seems too mana expensive compared to the competition.

On Spelljammer I agree that it needs to be changed. However, 2/2 for a three drop that can potentially benefit your opponent seems too harsh.


#5

I am not implying that and if that is what was conveyed then I apologize. What I am trying to imply is that right now Songhai has become somewhat inbred and without a change made to some aspect of the dominant deck Songhai will suffer from a lack of diversity and other factions being forced to build around Songhai damages diversity in decks across factions. Songhai is definitely unique and I would like it to stay unique but I would like there not to be a defined “best” Songhai deck which at this point would appear to be Aggo Reva.


#6

THANK MAKANTOR, we have found someone who doesn’t cry for a nerf and actually exposes his arguments clearly, without whining or whatever you usually find in nerf threads.

You won my like friend.


#7

Yes I have thought of these comparisons and I can expand on my thoughts in regard to these.

Four Winds / Kelaino : The statline may be a bit worse which I think would be compensated for by the fact that it would remain a sticky body which Songhai values more than Abyssian due to cards like Mist Dragon Seal, Killing Edge, Juxtaposition ect. In addition Kelaino may proc more times each turn but each time Four Winds procs there is a 2 point life swing rather than 1.

Rite of the Undervault / Heaven’s Eclipse: Rite is currently a stronger draw spell without the same synergies as Heaven’s Eclipse. However the difference is that given the cheap/cost reduction spells in Songhai you are able to string Heaven’s Eclipse into additional plays much more easily than Abyssian playing Rite. My proposition is to try and have Eclipse function more closely to Rite where the Songhai player must take a turn off to refuel. Another difference between these two is that Songhai also has many alternative ways to draw cards and so nerfing Heaven’s Eclipse would not leave Songhai without any additional options.

Spelljammer: Changing the stats to a 2/2 may be too much but I think that any less of a change to stats would not be enough. In addition a 2/2 Spelljammer will still never benefit your opponent since you’ll either end up being up a card and force them to kill it, or be at parity while choosing to off it yourself.


#8

Good points. Though, I’d rather see Four Winds stay aggressively stated and have it’s healing gimped entirely (simply because I don’t think the most aggro faction in the game should also have one of the better healing options, this coming from a Songhai main).

As far as Heaven’s Eclipse goes, for the most part you do have to skip a turn. I think, maybe, you can get a BBS off (as Reva) with a Mana Vortex, but if you HE on 5 or 6 mana you are already skipping your turn in most scenarios. I don’t think HE should cost six mana because of the presence of Mana Vortex. It would effectively be an objectively worse Rite (considering you’d have to chain two cards just to get it on the same mana cost, which some decks may not even run aforementioned card).


#9

Not bad changes to be honest.
Bloodrage mask is most busted card in songhai at the moment not sure if a shift to two is too big a nerf but it definitely needs some sort of change. A few days ago i played a game where after counting up the damage my 2 bloodrage masks did 11 damage each. By the time the opposing general got close enough to hit me he was on less then ten health and really couldn’t afford to attack.

Agree 100% with your 4 winds change. One of the things when playing songhai is that using your general to kill a 4 attack minion will probably lose you the game even though that is the optimal play. At times i will see 4 winds placed aggressively in order to protect a heartseeker but when you are at about 15 health you simply can’t use your general to trade in.

Heaven’s eclipse is fine on 5. The only time it get’s out of hand is when you have bloodrage mask. If bloodrage mask was balanced this card would be very fair maybe even too weak.

Spelljamer, 2/2 is probably too weak and even though it needs changing a lot of other decks rely on this card. I’d prefer a 1/3, still very playable and doesn’t die to as many things.

Edit: maybe 3/4 4 winds is better


#10

I like your suggestion for Bloodrage Mask a lot. It feels strange that it pretty much permanently outvalues Crescent Spear, while being only a common itself.

Honestly, the biggest beef I have with Songhai right now is Reva’s bbs. It wouldn’t be an issue except for Inner Focus, the fact that she gets to place it, and that it creates a board presence while proc-ing mask and four winds.

The change to four winds you made I don’t like. One, it makes it yet another inner focus target. Two, I think four wind’s statline is very much not Songhai’s source of power. I’d change it to explicitly not proc on bloodborn spells. Manaforger and Archon don’t interact with bloodborn spells, why should four winds (also an arcanyst) interact with them?

Heaven’s Eclipse and Spelljammer aren’t what I would want to change either. I think Heaven’s Eclipse is a rather well-balanced card, and Spelljammer is important as-is for so many decks that I want it to stay as well.

The other change I would make to songhai is to alter Inner Focus to also say ‘This minion dies at the start of your next turn.’ Or at least some significant drawback- I like that one, but others such as ‘you draw one less card at end of turn’ or ‘deal 4 damage to your general’ would work. In my opinion, IF should be a card for combo decks that seek to end games with 10+ damage burst out of hand. Right now, it is too easy to use IF. It cycles with Lantern Fox, provides instant and certain value with Reva’s bbs, and is used with Chakri for serious burst that leaves a giant minion sitting around next turn.

Speaking as to what is likely to happen, seeing as IF hasn’t been touched in multiple nerf cycles to Songhai, I doubt it will be changed, and seeing as Heaven’s Eclipse has been touched over and over again in nerfs, I doubt it will be changed either. Truth is, judging by CP’s history I expect them to continue a steady drip of cards that support Control decks rather than altering Songhai. Songhai as-is keeps a lot of players in the loop via its rapid-paced gameplay and rewarding mechanics. So I think we should all just strap in for the ride and play other face decks. Lilithe face is fairly viable also imo.


#11

Actually, I was replyingbto Kevin.


#12

It goes to show how powerful bloodrage is when crescent spear is one of the strongest artifacts in the game yet is still pushed out of play.


#13

Ah gotcha gotcha


#14

I figure to respond in this thread as it’s less bloated overall. Some of the threads though should be merged or locked since they’re all similar in nature. Keep in mind I haven’t played Songhai in over a year so take my comments with the proverbial grain of salt.

Songhai as a faction has many strengths with seemingly very little weaknesses. It is hard to have meaningful interaction and they have a lot of tools to continue staying gassed up (looking at you spelljammer). They have a lot of reach which is part of their faction identity but in a game where healing is at an absolute premium, they have a large amount of it through 4WM which is already extremely well stated allowing them to effectively race.

They are the most mobile faction through Juxtaposition, Inner Focus, MDS and Kaleos BBS though Kaleos has been long supplanted by Reva. They also trade extremely well with once again 4WM, Fox, Backstab + MDS, XHO, HE and KE.

On the note of KE they have what I consider to be a stupid combo of Reva BBS, Inner Focus and KE. A 2 card + BBS combo that makes a 5/3 ranged that is often beyond range of any melee minions. This results in a situation where it often trades for 2 cards at worst with mana advantage since your combo only costed 4 mana. Mana advantage is at a premium where the game is quite fast.

Thus we end up with a situation where Songhai has no real weaknesses and plenty of strengths. They are strong early and late, can deal immense damage with no board out of no where, has plenty of must answer threats that also generate value and has high mobility and ranged potential. This is exacerbated by the deletion of Kron from the meta which was one of the best checks against Songhai and a crucial OBS/Phoenix Fire magnet that still generated value.

Kron let you play aggressive by providing a must kill threat that can stop the movement of Reva or defensive where if you generate a provoke minion let you sit in a corner with multiple provoke walls to prevent Juxtaposition plays.

The amount of Reva I have played against since Kron got deleted has skyrocketed with the last 6/9 being Reva with Kara being changed. This is obviously not healthy and needs to be looked at. I am at S rank so this observation isn’t without merit.

Lastly in a game where you now only draw one card a turn and most factions can only play one threat p/turn most times early/mid game, Songhai having free spells and spell cost reduction it allows them to play multiple impactful spells a turn matters. As a former magic player that qualified for Australian Nationals and played every week against a collection of the highest Australian ranking players (think of it as a nation wide tournament where the top 4 represents their country against other countries), a common saying is that the easiest way to win is to play multiple relevant spells a turn. Songhai is the perfect example of this especially when they have a spelljammer and the change of only one card draw p/turn.

Also forgot, due to their ability to cycle cards and many cards having the same essential function they also mulligan well as opposed to say Vet which needs Pax/Falcius/First Wish to start the early snowball or folds.

edit: Forgot to mention, the unnecessary change to Zen’Rui also didn’t help matters. I miss taking their Lantern Foxs.


#15

Agreed. This is the #1 thing that has never made any sense to me about Songhai. Yes, the 0-mana spells are a pain, yes the synergy is pretty automatic and constant, where other factions have to pick and choose. But the healing is the real standout in terms of things that just clearly don’t belong. Songhai is a burn class, they should not be able to so easily both damage you just for casting spells and heal themselves as well.

The incredibly cheap spells, and especially the ones the cycle, are also a problem. It allows the creation of decks that don’t have to choose between dumping their hands or waiting to use cards later in the game.


#16

Hello!

Question from a new player:

Does anyone know if there was a specific design reason to make the Four Winds Magi costed 4 mana and the Shadowdancer 5 mana? They have pretty similar effects and the same stats. And in my opinion, using the Magi’s effect is even easier to set up than Shadowdancer’s, because board clears are way easier to achieve than messing with the opponent’s hand full of spells. (I can only see Keshrai Fanblade and Archon Spellbinder, which both don’t seem very atractive to play.)
I don’t understand why they don’t cost the same. Seems like Songhai being privileged here.

Also, why can Reva choose where to put her BBS and Zirix can not? Both minions can be killed by the opponent general. I get that it is prefered for Reva to put the ranged unit far away, but this can be avhieved by blocking spots with other minions or moving away. Zirix has the same reasons to be able to choose the spawn as Reva, so why the difference?
Either make them both random or both choosable. I don’t get the inconsistency in design.

Thanks in advance for clearing this up and sorry if it was answered already elsewhere.


#17

Zirix BBS is a remnant from when it used to be a 2/2 with Rush. The random spawn was needed to balance it, and wasn’t even enough, resulting in Zirix BBS being changed.

They are just too lazy to adjust that.


#18

like the post i made “steps to nerf songhai” my last comment on it said i regret making that post because i played kaleos to s rank this season so touching songhai in general is a bad thing reva can be beat… its just people want auto pilot decks (eg. reva) and think it takes more skill to play than other decks than trying to build a kaleos deck thats why most call kaleos thrash… at the end of the day if i was to nerf reva it would only be her bloodborne spell to

“summon a 1-1 heartseeker it is unaffected by spells this turn”

that would be the only logical solution to me at the end of the day if ppl care about other threats you got decks like vanar and magmar two best minion removal class. Simple as that


#19

Indeed.

As outlined as per my post earlier Songhai has just too many strengths without seemingly any tradeoffs. In no way do I think that I should make any balance decisions but I personally feel that 4WM shouldn’t have the healing component. It doesn’t fit with the faction identity and would go a long way towards making racing a more viable option. The healing feels unnecessary.

The only other change I would foresee is making Bloodrage Mask cost 2 or not trigger off BBS. As opposed to say Void Pulse which is another 1 mana, 5 hp swing this one forces you to either give up board control by hitting the general or let it do 2/3 dmg every turn reliably, nullifying any equipment you have.

Honestly I don’t think spelljammer is the underlying problem. It’s a card made for aggro decks to punish control decks. I just think that overall the game is more slanted towards aggro and that Songhai is best able to abuse Spellhjammer with their lack of interaction. I don’t think it would nearly be as problematic in Argeon and Faie decks.

Thus I’m excited for the new 2 mana 1/4 healing mystic knock off for additional early plays that matter as a Cass player.

edit: @kevin2hard. In no way do I believe Kaleos is trash however I do believe that Kaleos is a subpar option relative to Reva. I could easily believe that people could play Koleos to S-Rank but I also believe that Reva would have a higher success rate at doing so.


#20

As for the comparison of Four Winds to Shadowdancer I feel that the reason Dancer costs more is that Dancer’s effect will often be more powerful the turn that it comes down where as Four Winds Magi’s effect usually becomes most effective the turn after. Thus you play Four Winds as the setup and it needs to be down slightly earlier in order to go off at the same time. Also depending on what the board looks like if your opponent cannot wipe your board Shadowdancer will often get off more procs though this does not mean that it is a more powerful card as a whole. Least that is how I think of it.

The official reasoning that Counterplay has given is that they wanted the original generals to have an easier BBS to use and felt that allowing Zirix to place the Iron Dervish would add too much complexity.

Also it is more relevant for Reva to place than Zirix since her BBS would be all but unplayable if she did not get to place while Zirix’s is still fine. If you could place Zirix’s then it could be seen as better than Lilithe’s since they apply the same amount of stats.