I put in for Holy Immolation, Makantor Warbeast, and Spectral Revenant.
As people have caught on to the meta, the meta has become more and more about out-of-hand damage, and it’s just not enjoyable. I have played a LOT of very enjoyable matches against Abyssian players, but those matches stop being enjoyable until the 7-mana mark. Then I get hit in the face, consistently, with 2-3 Spectral Revenants in a row. No deck in this game can consistently eat 18 face damage over three turns and keep trekking along. It’s not a skillful position, either - it’s almost impossible to position your general such that you cannot take a rush minion to the face. I can’t congratulate my opponent, either, because it isn’t particularly skillful to simply be alive and then smack face three times in a row. It’s not strategic.
Makantor Warbeast and Holy Immolation are in a similar position. These cards are not played for value clears. They are played to hit face, and they usually kill one minion as well because it’s just not possible to set up your units to avoid these threats consistently. There isn’t enough space on the board, and the only way to create units 2 full spaces away from your general is to play a minion and then move two spaces in the opposite direction. If, like me, you play decks like Backstabhai, you’re just throwing weak minions into a meat grinder with such a play. Effectively, there is no “right” play to avoid these cards.
I don’t have a problem with strategic board clears. My problem with these cards is that they usually kill a minion while also doing damage to the general without any kind of board presence. Just as my matches against Abyssian players consistently end with 2-3 Spectral Revenants smacking my face, my Lyonar matches are consistently a series of 2-drops combo’d with Holy Immolation followed by 5/2 Saberspine Tigers that have gotten a buff from Roar. When playing against Magmar, I eat 2-3 Makantor Warbeasts before getting finished off by an Elucidator combined with Thumping Wave (irk, I forgot to add that one to the poll). There’s no strategy in smacking face with no board every turn, especially when it is unavoidably destroying whatever minions you played that turn as well.
I would like to see Holy Immolation no longer deal damage to generals. It’s great for Lyonar to have a clear and a tempo combo like this, but getting hit for 12 damage in a game because of “clears” is pretty unreasonable. With the damage Holy Immolation does, this would be the equivalent of Hearthstone’s Flamestrike hitting face - wouldn’t that be insane?
I would like to see Rush reworked so that Rush minions can no longer hit generals on the turn they are played. Not only would this slow down the meta (which Spelljammer is somehow getting heat for), but Rush minions would still be very strong because Rush minions have good reach and tempo by default. Additionally, if Rush minions could not hit face, this would open up more design opportunities for Rush minions that could have interesting abilities that would otherwise be too strong right now because of their general-hitting potential.
If Songhai’s out-of-hand damage has to take a hit to ensure this change hits all factions equally, I am completely fine with that. Nerfing Inner Focus and Bloodrage Mask would probably be in line with making these changes, and Lantern Fox’s Phoenix Fires could even be changed to only target minions - I think that’s great. Make this game more about controlling the board and making strategic decisions instead of a competition for who blows the opponent’s face off with Rush minions first.
Edit: I want to add that I think part of the reason this meta has evolved is that there are basically two approaches to the game right now: facemonkey, starring Reva in the spotlight, and delay until you can play an “answer or die” minion that doesn’t get answered. If rush is completely nerfed, I expect that cards like Nimbus and Aymara healer will come back strong in the meta, and bring a host of other issues that will need to be addressed. Meta problems don’t exist in a vacuum!