"Under the Hood" - Indirect Buffs and Nerfs of Patch 1.74


#1

Hey everyone, Alexicon1 here. Starting up a new (hopefully regular) segment, documenting those changes to the game that are under the hood and not necessarily have been specified by Counterplay. I’ll run over each change, and a basic breakdown of the effect on the game. As this is my first go at it, feedback would be much appreciated, either here or on Discord at Alexicon1 | C67#0939. Without further ado, let’s begin with the Vanar secondary General, Kara Winterblade.

So, firstly this change is very interesting from a deckbuilding perspective as it really opens up new opportunities for some fun stuff. Obviously Counterplay, along with us, are sick of Kara’s lethal of choice being 8/7 Saberspine Tigers pounding our faces in, and have made a definitely worthwhile change to counter that.

Overall I believe this is a buff to everybody, both players and to the health of the game, as we don’t want Generals being so blatantly overpowered and ruining the experience for everyone else. As CP said, Kara is a staple of the tournament scene, and although this change may dampen her appearance slightly, don’t expect it to knock her out completely, unlike the Zirix BBS change that saw him ungraciously eliminated from the meta pre-Shim’Zar.

This change will definitely mean new archetypes for Kara, especially Zoo and Wall decktypes. Just imagine… for 3 mana… 4 x 1/2 Gravity Wells… with Provoke. Bonechill Barrier has received a huge buff when used in synergy with Kara’s BBS, delivering 3 1/3 Walls, guaranteeing at least one stun unless your opponent miraculously has dispel for all of them. And don’t get me started on Jax, I am loving the 5 2/2 Ranged minions, now not killable by Skorn. Voice of the Wind is wonderful now, especially when proc’d by Snowchasers coupled with some Glacial Elementals. Pretty nice boardclear, I must say

My Opinion
I believe that this change is a really nice one, definitely needed and I’m really happy that Counterplay are taking our opinions to heart. So, next up, a major component of the Baconator…Saberspine Seal.

Well then, for starters this is generally a buff to control decks, as even a single mana delay on the Baconator combo allows for those late-game decks to dig their toes in and grab a foothold to withstand that out-of-hand onslaught. Huge change to tempo right now as these sort of decks are forced to have an alternate play on this new gap in their game plan. This may drop the playrate of such decks, but it still will be quite powerful and firmly stamps a dependence on Mana Vortex even more to get those combos out earlier when your opponents are still finding their feet.

Continuing the trend of Counterplay dealing with our issues, this potentially opens up opportunities for some counters to Songhai! Although this a surprising nerf, with the benefit of hindsight I believe it is a healthy one and supports players being able to survive more than five turns against Songhai and the Baconator.

I’m not sure how this will enable new archetypes to come in as this is a flat-out card nerf, but may increase use of other archetypes in Songhai, such as Backstabhai and Onyxhai with which I am seeing some quite nice decks popping up. Next up, another surprising change, but the 0 mana Vetruvian Spell… Siphon Energy.

At first glance this seems to have become the Dispel version of Entropic Decay, but actually means a lot in the current Vetruvian metagame. No longer can Vet players stand back and drop potent threat after potent threat and removing enemy threats all the while, but now they must join the fray and be in the thick of it. This overall is a buff to Ranged deck archetypes, potentially revolving around Jax Truesight and minions whose effect outweighs the need to join battle, such as Kelaino or Shadowdancer, making it seem like a straight-up Abyssian buff. Also is a buff to Wall Vanar slightly, as the the General now needs to be in reach of your other minions and General to clear your lovely, artfully sculpted Walls.

Like I said above, this change is actually quite surprising and I believe I would be hard-pressed to find anyone that expected this change, especially seeing as players tend to express concerns about other aspects of the Vetruvian Imperium. Siphon Energy’s nerf almost singlehandedly removes Vet’s “Jack of All Trades” status, now almost requiring more aggressive play.

Similar to Saberspine Seal, I’m unsure how this will empower Vetruvian’s most played archetypes right now as it is again a flat-out nerf, although with that condition now that the General has to be in the thick of it, artifacts may see wider use. Who knows, maybe soon Oserix will be a Vetruvian staple…one can dream. I’m not yet convinced what this will do to Vetruvian as a faction, more testing will be needed to see what far-reaching consequences this nerf has. Anyway, onwards to, in my opinion, the most surprising card change I have seen in a long time, the staple card Ephemeral Shroud.

To be completely honest, I was frankly shocked when I saw this little guy taking centre screen on the Patch 1.74 page. Never did I expect a change such as this. But obviously Counterplay have some vision about Dispel that this change is a step towards. This now neatly trades, without much second thought into almost every card in the game. Now Shroud has become Cass BBS fodder, dead to Skorn and Bloodtear, Lilithe can sacrifice a Wraithling into it without a second thought. Overall, this is actually a buff to Abyssian, and also Songhai (especially Reva), as now they have effective responses when their potent minions have their power leached from them, in the form of Reva & Cass’ BBSs among others.

Again, similar to Siphon Energy, I would be hard-pressed to find anyone that expected this change, especially since it is such a widely used card. This really is a nerf to everyone, sadly, except perhaps Lightbender who may be unceremoniously placed into the spotlight as the game’s premier and most reliable source of Dispel, although I expect that most decks will still run this card.

A straight nerf, this won’t augment any decks run by anybody and is just more easily dealt with now. However, this may mean that more beefy two-drops are placed in decks to prevent Player 2 obliterating any chance at a ramp with nary a Skorn or Bloodtear Alchemist. I think players will begin to think twice about dropping a Shroud turn 1 for potentially only loss. After my tears are dry, we will continue to the next card, an interesting one, one Zen’Rui the BlightSpawned.

The moment I saw this, the little Abyssian in me leapt for joy at the fact that your opponent can’t just casually drop Zen’Rui the moment after you play your Kelaino and completely negate a powerful turn. Considerable thought now needs to be put into whether you steal that minion that your opponent may have an immediate answer to in their hand for a large tempo loss. As well as Abyssian, Songhai is the other major recipient of this buff, as that early Lantern Fox now almost requires immediate dispel, lest a hand be filled with flames.

I was caught unawares by the change, but actually this is quite a healthy one, meaning that control decks now have to devote more resources to sustaining the Zen’Rui and the captured minion, and that +1 health begins to compensate for that. Unsure about how this change will play out, I will eagerly await to see if decks can remain competitively viable with the 6 mana Zen’Rui in them.

As a result of this change, we may begin to see a larger resurgence in Abyssian as that early Kelaino now definitely needs to be dealt with, otherwise your opponent will remain at 25 health long after they should have been dead. Coupled with the Saberspine Seal nerf, this could encourage larger use of Spellhai over Baconator (not saying Spellhai is obsolete and unused though) which would be a nice change from turning away with 20 health to return to a DEFEAT screen. Now, last, but definitely not least, the (maybe former) premier 5 drop of Duelyst, the Shim’Zar Terror, Inquisitor Kron.

Folks, this is the one we have been waiting for, we’ve been asking for it and Counterplay have heard our cries. The -2 Health change to Kron is a definite buff to most archetypes, because although 4 Health has some weight behind it, 6 Health coupled with Kron’s other effects was simply too powerful. The change may begin to accomplish Counterplay’s vision of Replace-oriented decks and I have already seen some springing up on my climb through the Diamond ladder towards S-Rank.

This change, although definitely expected, defied what I think many thought the change would be, but it definitely does not disappoint. Kron should no longer be such a terror on the ladder anymore, although he remains quite powerful especially with that effect of his. Dispel is now no longer a must as Kron can be dealt with a General hit and a contribution from most two-drops. I am looking forward to see how players take the new Kron into new directions.

From this nerf and the Zen’Rui modification, the market for neutral 5 drops really opens up. Grovekeeper and Sunset Paragon will definitely see more use as people start to move away from the mentality that "they are putting Kron in because he is so ridiculously overpowered and start to shift towards more synergistic cards. Definitely a healthy change to the game, and it really couldn’t have come soon enough.

With that, so concludes the inaugural version of “Under the Hood”, so tune in next month for patch 1.76’s card changes! Feel free to leave any comments, compliments or criticisms below, I’ll be sure to read them!

Until next time,
Alexicon1


#2

Most of these I can agree with (Kara’s BBS change brings tears of joy to my eyes) I heard mixed messages on whether Kron should be nerfed, those arguing against that it was merely his forcefield minion that gave him his incredible power.
Kron himself never quite seemed the major threat he was depicted as, in my opinion. A big threat, given the lack of good 5 drops, sure, but not an immensely powerful foe. I could usually deal with him as a 4/6, just his minions were a pain at times. He now seems below useful.
This seems the work of a large body of the community hating him due to nothing else being played in the 5 slot, making him incredibly abundant, meaning all fingers can be pointed at him, rather than dispersed amongst other powerful class cards, due to appearing everywhere.


#3

Karas bbs doesnt buff walls.


#4

Yeah cp made quite a few necessary nerfs, I’ll applause for the nerf to kara and zenrui. Shroud imo and any neutral dispel should just be omitted to make it less punishing to play a card that is weak to dispel.

But I can’t agree with many of their nerfs. Veteuvians only ranged removal is completely removed, wtf? Isn’t that card bad as it is already? As well as the lack of good removals that are not limited by range(now none). Kron? the main problem with the dude was the forcefield guy, now he’s just below useful if he doesn’t spawn that particular dude, even in replace decks. Saberspine seal? The problem doesn’t even lie with saberspine, its the ridiculous overall damage output songhai has and the 0mana ridiculous spells. I am again very disappointed with what they did.


#5

the siphon nerf enforces vetruvian as the ‘in you face’ faction since lots of spells have the around a general limitation. How ever i feel siphon will never see any play ever again, if you already use dispel and want more i’d rather use rae. Maybe if they made it draw you a card it would see play but as is never


#6

It kills the faction. Anything that is out of range kills vetruvians now. Vets already have this issue after the blast nerf and as of now. If you don’t dispel a fourwinds, ranged unit, shadow dancer, you’re dead. Now this is just completely making the faction unplayable as it was before. Thanks cpg, you guys are doing great, you buff vets again just to plunge them into the dirt , again. Oh and I forgot to mention songhai is completely unaffected and will remain to be dominant as the other factions suffer tools to deal with their bs. Saberspineseal is not even the **** problem , like nvm, I give up


#7

Can you stop assuming that Vetruvian us dead and Songhai is OP when it’s only been barely a day since the patch? Like seriously, how about you actually test out a few cards before resorting to fallacy arguments. You also are incorrect in the fact that they do have ranged removal (look at every flying minion, buff, and both blast minions and artifacts.


#8

Well I do admit it was a reactionary comment so forgive me for that. But to be honest, I don’t really find any reason for the dispel nerf. And the fact that vets already suck in the ranged department.

As for why no flying and blast? Flying is kinda okay but requires set up which is fine, but blast is not so fine cause the minions are kinda bad when compared to others. Pyro does to ping, scarab does nothing for a whole turn and people can react to it. It’s kinda a really bad card to play when behind on board.

And vetruvian is kinda having an identity crisis. It used to have blast from third wish, making them the ranged faction. Now thy removed that and nerfed the dispel as well, they’re kinda trying to make vets the “in your face faction”. But isn’t it abit too much if they really just die to anything (or things that are game losing if unanswered) by having not a single ranged removal for it if they do go for the " in four face" playstyle.

As for songhai, that is gonna be a fact I til the next expansion or balance changes. Why? Cause saberspine seal is not the main problem, they’re just gonna replace it with other cheap damage like flameblood warlock. The main problem with the function is all the 0mana spells and uninteractive playstyle. Nerfing saberspine seal was completely unnecessary. Even if it was intended as a solution to what people are complaining about, well it doesn’t change anything, other than the fact that it’s unplayable.

Gonna do some okay testing before I give further comments on vet, but as how things are, I think it’s quite abysmal. Cause the meta is so fast and vets need turns to set up their blast minions and now have 0 or very inefficient ways to remove minions on their turn. Eg. Rasha + second wish for four winds. Rash+1st and 2nd for kelaino. Skorn and rasha for ping on heartseekers. And if the general is too far, even rasha can’t fix the problem. silhouette tracer might help, but it’s costly for 4 just to move your general there to sajj bbs / falcius. Blast artifact can get destroyed and need prior positioning as it is quite easy to get clocked off with cheap minions.


#9

I’ve been playing vetruvian since the patch came out, and although I agree it’s too early to say that vet is dead, I have to say it’s been a pretty frustrating experience


#10

for zirix 3rd wish works as removal for corner minions (other than pandora) and doubles down as burst for ending games. I say this from experience since i used 3rd wish for some time now (since shimzar launched) and it is a solid card.
It is not to hard to maintain a token dervish on board and 5 dmg is enough to kill most of the meta corner minions. And since it is out of hand and can go on any dervish it requires less set up than a blast would, try it with at least 2 copies (now testing how 3 of them work, might be 1 too many).

Bdw this is in a mid range control-ish deck, i have no idea how it would fit in agro if at all.


#11

That is a fair point. But I do have to mention that I play sajj and that isn’t quite a valid option for me. I suppose I can tracer+ bbs but it’s costly and if it’s anything more than 4, I will need more. And I’m not a huge fan of dervish vet. But still, I’ll just try to make do


#12

I completely agree, it’s now slightly more annoying to deal with threats out the way. Maybe if it was “Dispel a enemy minion nearby any ally” that could work better


#13

Yes, the new Kara BBS does in fact buff walls. Anything played or summoned. Dying Wish Summons(Fenrir Warmaster), Opening Gambit Summons(Keeper of the Vale), Upon Spellcast Summons(Prismatic Illusionist), they all are affected.


#14

Like I said in the OP, this opens up so much more opportunities for kara


#15

Thoroughly agree. While it certainly moved Kara’s power away from her oppressive start-point, I’ve very interested to see if this change is indeed the great but fair power shift I envision it. Seems like it’s still good, just in a different way.


#16


#17

Then the texture is poorly written


#18