To end the year, we've made a number of balance changes to Kingdoms CCG. The goal of these changes are to expand the top tier of heroes, and reduce the gap between the top tier and bottom tier. There will always be better and worse heroes - perfect balance is impossible and would be broken each time we release a new set - but we want players to be excited to build around any of our heroes and leave room for innovation. You never know when the next top deck is just around the corner.
Overall the game has settled into a top tier of heroes:
In Standard (in order): Bothar, Thania, Arcanos, Jorma, MEK
In Limited (in order): Bothar, Abaddon, Arcanos, Jorma, MEK/Bahamut
The very muscular elephant in the room is Bothar. Bothar was an attempt to create a Standard playable Hero in an age where Ancient heroes were consider "unplayable" in that format. The change to 2K has turned that age on its head, and Bothar's kit of flexible skills has reached the top of both formats by a strong margin.
We recently made a small change to Bothar, but the impact was minimal. So we've decided to make more significant changes to bring him in line with the other heroes in the game.
His changes are:
1) Wrecking Ball has been moved from 3 charges to 4 charges. This gives decks with small creatures and support gear a bit more room to be effective.
2) Crush You! has been changed to do 3 damage instead of 4, and remove 2 charges from the enemy hero's third ability only. Bothar remains strong against gear-based decks, but becomes a little less effective against creature based strategies. By removing the randomness from the charge removal opponents can now better plan their strategies against Bothar.
We feel that these changes keep Bothar powerful - among the best in the game - but should give all other heroes more game against him.
Next up is MEK.
With the toning down of Bothar, the concern has been that MEK will take over, and that MEKs lower numbers are directly related to Bothar's top tier status. We agree and have proactively changed MEKs most powerful tool - the Mechana War Banner itself.
Mechana War Banner now reads: Ally creatures are +1 ATK and have Volatile. On your turn: if you control a 'Construct', draw a card.
Removing the bonus +1 HP for Ally creatures makes controlling MEK's forces a little easier, and changes the dynamic of the late game for MEK. While MEKs forces will be able to "trade up" easily, they'll be much less likely to remain on the battlefield after combat is done.
More significant, the card draw is now conditional. As MEK creates Constructs it doesn't force players to make wholesale changes to their decks, but instead simply gives opponents a new method of controlling the number of cards MEK is drawing.
Finally, we have Thania.
Thania has avoided adjustments for almost a year, despite being a strong choice that entire time and dominant (60+% win rate) for much of that time. The time has come to make a change.
Step Through Time has been moved from 7 charges to 8 charges.
Arcanos has not been changed at this time, but we are watching him closely.
One final reduction in power has gone to Opus of Gadgetry. This gear now grant 2 charges in each ability instead of 3. The Opus was making balancing Hero abilities difficult, with players often able to use and refill their abilities to use them again on the same turn! Opus is still very strong, particularly when used in multiples, but we do believe that this will restrain its power overall.
We have also given a few heroes an added boost to try to bring them back into the metagame and again expand the range of heroes that players consider "top tier".
1) Noran's Polymorph has been moved from 7 charges back to 6. After a year with this change in place, it has become clear that Inspiration was Noran's OP ability and that Polymorph, while very strong could be reduced to give Noran some built in removal. Also, Puresoul is far more common now, so a strong counter is available.
2) Nomad's Grand Theft has been moved from 7 charges to 6. Nomad has a ton of potential, but has never been a top tier hero. My reducing the cost of his strongest ability, our goal is to make Nomad more intriguing to play and create a new challenge to the meta.
3) Olfaan has been given a full upgrade. All of the randomness from his abilities have been removed. Here he is in his new glory:
Numerous redesigns of Olfaan have been discussed over the past year, but at the core of it he was never a bad hero, just completely unreliable. We've given him the reliability he deserves and expect that he will now be a strong aggro option for Alchemy.
Finally, as mentioned in the forums ALL of the 15 Life, 2 Mana heroes have been upgraded to 16 life. This includes: Amorya, Shadow, Nomad, Petrice, Amarus, Wilrius, Olfaan, Crutomist and Alisten.