Aggro strategies have been in a fairly rough state lately, with the exception of mono-red, which has been both very popular and very successful (highest in both representation and win percentage in Mythril+ and globally). We are aiming to reduce its power level while also allowing other aggro strategies a chance to shine. Rather than buffing a bunch of aggro cards in other colors, we’re taking the approach of reducing the overall life totals of most Paths in the game. We feel this will allow for aggro other than mono-red to be viable while still allowing midrange and control decks room to exist.
This is a fairly large systemic change and we expect there may be a couple outliers in the immediate aftermath. We’ll be monitoring feedback and data very closely and will follow up with additional changes in a timely manner, should they be needed.
The goal with path changes is to bring down life totals in general, allowing a bit more room for aggro strategies to push through. However, starting life changes are individual to the path to bring some paths in line with others.
+5 starting life → +3 starting life
Alliance Command Center was in need of a minor nerf anyway, and with other changes we're making to mono-red aggro, we want to see where the rest of the aggro decks shake out before making further adjustments here. 5 starting life is now the new highest starting life total any path has and with trending aggro paths to lower life totals, keeping Command Center at 5 and nerfing some other aspect of it would be weird.
Coliseum is staying right where it's at with +4 starting life. With a path that naturally wants to be more combative and scrappy as the game goes on, keeping a life total that trends toward the higher side makes sense. Coliseum of Strife will be the only Path not having its starting life total adjusted.
+6 starting life → +3 starting life
Disk is a great example of a Path that can't be decided solely on "Is the general gameplan aggro or control?" and with Disk decks ranging from reanimator strategies to super hard aggro, we have decided to put Disk at 3 and see how it feels there to start.
+8 starting life → +5 starting life
Fires of Creation decks have been the go-to control option for a while now. While we think FoC brings an interesting and unique synergy to the game, the artifacts often lead to situations where players feel they are hopeless against them, whether that's actually the case or not. Fires of Creation will continue to have the highest starting life total in the game, at 25, but will no longer feel as insurmountable. We do feel the control-oriented nature of this path does lend itself to needing more health than other Paths to have a chance at hitting its late game but we want to bring it more in line with the rest of the Paths comparatively.
+6 starting life → +4 starting life
With Journey strategies often feeling fairly similar to Coliseum strategies and with the longer value-oriented returns being to the benefit of JoS, we're putting it right under Fires of Creation.
+5 starting life → +3 starting life
Rainbow's End is being adjusted down so as to not keep it on the same level as Fires of Creation. Moving to +3 instead of +4 should allow just that little bit of extra space to try pushing down a Rainbow player before they find their big combo finish.
+2 starting life → +4 starting life
Safehouse was showing up just a bit weaker than we'd like after its latest nerf. Putting some of its life back and trending it toward the control-oriented path life totals should likely leave it in a better spot.
+1 starting life → +2 starting life
This is an interesting path to play with in this new landscape. Turn of Seasons has felt weak for a while so giving it a minor buff feels alright. Although Turn is typically used for control decks, we're not shifting this toward the higher end of the starting total spectrum because of its sustained healing over time.
Our overall goal with this set of card changes is to bring mono-red aggro in line with other options. The changes themselves appear to be very heavy-handed to this end so we want to talk about that a bit before diving in.
While mono-red has been the only real viable aggro strategy for a while, we are going very heavy with its nerfs because we are worried that going more conservative on changes to it, in tandem with lower life totals across the board, may not end up in a meaningful nerf. Lowering life totals across the board is a buff to aggro strategies as a whole so we're being a bit more heavy-handed with the dominant aggro strategy. We'd rather retouch mono-red with minor buffs in a followup patch if we go too far this time than to ship such sweeping changes and not impact the metagame.
Give all your minions +1/+0 and Agile until Sunrise. → Give all your minions Agile until Sunrise.
Alacrity is a really strong finisher tool for aggro decks. With lower life totals around the board, we want to remove the added power from Alacrity to prevent it from ending games too early while still allowing aggro decks to go around boards they can't break if they can find lethal.
2[R] → 2[R]R
This change pushes Trapezists more into a mono-color identity. Making Trapezists on curve less common in Red/X decks should open the 2-slot up a bit more in those decks. Mono-red decks are unaffected by this change (except whatever weirdos might have been playing mono-R Rainbow's End and Coining Trap on 1).
NEW: added Stacking to brand
At 25 Dread, Banish this… → At 16 Dread, Banish this…
Dread Kurgan has been asked about by plenty of brewers since we released it. The idea of this effect is interesting and we want to make the dream a bit more achievable. Easing the pains of getting the chase goal with this should make it a bit more likely that you'll be able to include it in a grindy spirit deck and try for the memes. We've also added Stacking to the brand from Dread Kurgan to keep your artifact slots more open for other artifacts as you resolve multiple Kurgans.
...and lose 3 life. → ...and lose 4 life.
Ichor Feast is currently allowing a bit too much reliability in mono-red aggro decks and allowing them to keep up pressure without gassing themselves out. With this change, in conjunction with overall health reduction, we expect the tradeoff for the second and third copies of Ichor Feast to feel a bit more like an actual decision point for aggro decks.
2[Y] → 2[Y]Y
Adding a second gem to Icon should prevent games where Yellow-Green control is dropping Icon early and blocking out more damage than we'd like to see blocked.
We're adding Stacking to Mimir's Echo so Mimir can do Mimir things even harder. Enjoy!
DUR: 14 → DUR: 10
Decreasing the Durability on Trident a bit should allow for more chances to break through it before it's tucked behind another artifact. While this isn't particularly popular in mono-red aggro lists, it is a bit too powerful overall and this should bring it more in line with other artifacts.
2/1 → 1/2
Strigoi Pup will continue to crowd out the 1[R] 2/1 slot if generically playable. Moving to the more defensive stat line should open room for more diversity in the 1-drop slot of non-Vampire decks while still leaving some incentive for Vampire tribal fans to want to drop a Blood Dolls next to this good boi.
2/1 → 1/1
Removing some power from Acolyte should lead to less burst damage in red's early game. While there are other 2/1 minions for 1 red that can be used in place of Acolyte, that tradeoff comes at the loss of the more powerful minion should you push the Breach effect through.
1▽ → ▼
We're removing the mana cost from Tiger Hook Swords' activation, at the cost of changing the Utility Action to a Standard Action. This means that people looking to combo Tiger Hook Swords with Master of Shadows will need to use another adjacent minion in combination with the Master to do the combo kill things they are currently doing with Master of Shadows. This also allows the opposing player a chance to more reliably break the interaction, as the Hook Swords will not be on an Immortal minion in most cases.
1[R] → 2[R]
Deal 3 damage to you, your opponent, and minions that Threaten this. → Deal 3 damage to minions that Threaten this.
Vulcan Brand represents a pretty scary amount of damage. While this card has been a pretty big overperformer of late, we do like the field clearing effect it has. We're going to remove its direct damage and simultaneously increase its cost as part of a pretty heavy approach to mono-red aggro decks. We'll be keeping an eye on this one and adjust as needed in a followup patch.
4[R] → 4[R]R
While not as impactful as the gem change to Daring Trapezists, this is a change made to more heavily reinforce the Rushing nature of this card with Oberos' identity as a faction.
Refunds for crafted copies of each of these cards except Dread Kurgan will be available for anyone who crafted the card between May 10th and the time of the changes going live.