A small release today that will have major metagame impact.
Four heroes received buffs today, most importantly Arcanos and Abaddon. Both have hovered near the bottom of the use chart for months, and we decided that they were both in need of a rework.
The heroes are now:
14 HP 3 Mana
3: Blistershock: Deal 1 magic damage to target hero or creature. If you played a Spell card this turn, deal 2 damage instead.
4: Ice Blast: Enemy hero loses 2 mana. If they lose 0 mana, banish a card from their hand.
7: Solar Flare: Deal 3 magic damage to each creature. Your hero gains 3 mana, draws 2 cards and takes 2 magic damage.
Arcanos' challenge has always been that his position in the meta wasn't clear. He had a minor damage ability, a mana control ability that wasn't useful many times and an ultimate that didn't do enough, and more often than not got used as weak direct damage.
Now Arcanos has been built to be a strong, spell-focused control hero. Blistershock now has the potential to be one of the strongest 3 charge effects in the game, but requires active use off spells to maximize its effectiveness. Ice Blast is now always useful - players may want to ensure that they leave up 1 mana at all times, or risk losing key cards, and Solar Flare now has a true identity. It can only be used on Arcanos (no targeting) but it will often clear the board and give Arcanos the tools to take the late game.
16 HP 2 Mana
4: Necrotic Infusion: Target creature gains +1 Atk and Reassemble 2
5: Drain Life: Target creature lose 2 HP; Then your hero gains 1 HP for each HP lost this way
6: Soul Conversion: Steal target enemy corpse and resurrect it in an an empty ally slot.It gains Reassemble and becomes Undead
After playing the new Abaddon, you'll find it surprising how minor adjustments gain have such major impact of a hero's power.
Necrotic Infusion just adds another layer of Reassemble, but that 2 now makes the Skeleton that drop a real threat. Combine with new cards like Lady in Wait and Undead Charm, and you'll be creating 8/8s with regularity.
Soul Conversion has finally reached its potential. Players have long complained about the frustrating limitations on this ability, and we've agreed. With no mana cap and the ability to resurrect in any empty ally slot, Soul Conversion is now a "never fail" ability worthy of ultimate status.
We've also made to smaller changes:
Dravkas: Tinker's charge cost has been dropped from 5 to 4.
When we nerfed Dravkas back in November, we made it clear that if we found that we'd nerfed too hard, that we would readjust. This is exactly what has happened. With the advent of the new heroes and the new card sets, we felt that Dravkas could use a small boost. Tinker for 3 is far too strong, but we feel that at 4 it will be okay. Note that this make Dravkas the first hero to have 2 abilities on the same charge number.
Amorya: Starting life increased to 15
As the first free hero in the game, we've seen Amorya used more in the PVP arena that you'd expect. With that in mind, we've increased Amorya's starting life to 15, to put her more in line with the other free heroes.
Next up on the Buff List... Alisten (again), Grovenhold and Olfaan.
Balancing a game like this is not easy. You are constantly trying to make as robust an environment as you can, while not making changes for the sake of making changes. With every change made there will be those who think it is great, and other who hate it with a passion. Today we introduce a few changes, and a new tool in our efforts to keep the game fair and fun.
For the first time, we have banned two cards from the Limited Environment. This ability wasn't available before, but after reviewing our options, we coded it into the game. Both of these cards will still be available to play in Standard, and other formats, but will no longer be allowed in Limited decks. These cards are:
Essence of Life
Both of these cards have been banned from Limited for the same reason: they create a near unbeatable game state when played and there aren't enough tools in the Limited environment to deal with them at this time.
Those final words are very important. The banned list is not the final word on these cards. As we release new cards and new heroes, it is fully possible that these cards will return to the Limited card pool.
NOTE: If you are playing against the AI in the Limited Arena, you may still come up against these cards as they are still in the database. This will just need time to work its way out of the system. If you try to play live with a deck with either of these cards, you will not be able to do so.
Power Level Changes
There are three major power level changes in this release:
1) Devroth's Exile from Battle has been raised from 6 charges to 7. While yes, a minor adjustment, this should give players with larger creatures more time to get their hits in, and put Devroth's Ultimate more in line with other abilities of a similar power level.
2) Essence of Life has been raised to 5 mana. The much maligned card has proven itself as the most powerful Essence since its released, and yet it had remained as the least expensive. We've bumped the cost to bring it more in line with its power level and in line with the other Essences.
3) Frost Wielder has been increased to 3 mana. This was one of our most difficult decisions. We discussed no fewer than 8 options for toning down Frost Wielder, from making him a 1/1 to having the on enter have added restrictions to not touching him at all. In the end, it was decided to give him a simple cost bump.
Bug Fixes & Other Changes
1) The Arena pack awarding bug has been fixed. Season 2 packs will be awarded properly.
2) The copy for Flicker has been updated to match its functionality, rather than the other way around. The ability to target enemy creatures with Flicker is no longer a bug.
3) Ravinova can no longer use Prototype on Turret tokens.
4) The issue with "show unowned cards" in the Deck Builder has been fixed.
5) "Kingdoms" format tournaments have been replaced with "Singleton" tournaments.
6) Numerous copy fixes and improvements. Thanks to everyone in the community who helped find issues.
*** Gem rewards for the missing Season 1 Arena packs have been awarded ***