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Watch/Ban List Updates 1/08/18

Jan 8, 2018

Hey all, Corey Burkhart here, with some updates for the Watch and Ban lists for our constructed formats! There’s a few things to talk about, so let’s jump right into it:

Rock:

No Changes.

Standard:

No Changes.

Immortal:

  • Hideous Conversion is Banned.
  • Lazgar’s Vengeance is Banned.
  • Cyclone Shaper is added to the Watch List.

You can see the Watch/Ban List for each format in its entirety here.

Rock

Rock is in a much healthier place since the removal of Choir of Lumos. We’re seeing a variety of competitive decks being played in the Rock events, and we’re pleased to see that the change was precise enough that the Luminaries are still among them. We’ll continue to monitor Rock as we do other formats and take action as necessary.

Standard

Standard has been a roller coaster of change. The new decks just keep coming, and many of the previous Standard all-stars are getting into the mix. We’re really pleased with where the Standard format is as a whole right now as there are a wide variety of decks, play patterns, archetypes, and strategies seeing play.

Accordingly, Rock and Standard are receiving no changes at this time.

Immortal

Immortal, however, is a different story. When we first set up this format, we knew it was going to require the most scrutiny. As more and more cards are released, the number of potentially problematic combos rises. Occasionally, some problem cards end up becoming more than just problems and become serious concerns that we need to address. The Immortal changes for today are:

  • Hideous Conversion is Banned.
  • Lazgar’s Vengeance is Banned.
  • Cyclone Shaper is added to the Watch List.
Hideous Conversion

I’m not surprised to see us banning this card in Immortal. It was a card that caused us to change several designs back in Armies of Myth and Primal Dawn when we were testing for Standard. We knew the card was incredibly powerful then, and after releasing cards like Deathseeker, Naive Lackey, and Blightbush, Hideous Conversion combo decks now have the added consistency they need.

In the abstract, this is not a bad thing. This is a deck that plays a large amount of fairly weak troops and uses a constant to pull its combo together. The issue is that there’s not many proactive ways to interact with this deck. If the Hideous Conversion goes unanswered, you’re mostly sitting around waiting for your demise, and that can take many minutes in some cases. This leads to some very unfun scenarios. We’re happy having combo decks around, we just want them to be something players can plan for and answer effectively. While some cards exist in that niche, there’s not enough of them for us to want Hideous Conversion to remain in the Immortal format at this time. Hideous Conversion is banned in Immortal for the time being.

Lazgar’s Vengeance

Lazgar’s Vengeance had its reign of terror over Standard, and it does a similar thing here. Lazgar’s prevents players from preparing midrange and other aggressive troop strategies. If you were playing aggro, it was almost always correct to have Lazgar’s Vengeance in your deck to win matchups against other aggressive troop based strategies. The result was that many of the decks that can play enough answers to combo and control decks (in the form of midrange decks and other aggro decks) were pushed out of the metagame. The only thing that could live in that ecosystem were decks featuring Lazgar’s Vengeance or decks that were built to safely ignore it. By eliminating Lazgar’s Vengeance, our aim is to make room for other troop based strategies to flourish (as we’ve seen them do in the Standard format).

This ban is aimed to give enough space for people to explore other strategies. Games with Lazgar’s Vengeance were often incredibly brutal, and there were only a few ways to interact with the card—play no troops in your deck that die to it, interrupt it, or kill all enemy troops before they attack. With so few strategies capable of dealing with Lazgar’s, it placed negative pressure on the number and types of effective decks for combo and control as well. The card just didn’t have many effective spots to attack it. As such, Lazgar’s Vengeance is banned in Immortal at this time.

Cyclone Shaper

Cyclone Shaper is an engine card that can enable some non-interactive combo decks. Reducing the cost of your actions—not to mention either a two or four attack body—is quite potent. Cyclone Shaper is not a card worth banning on its own, but it’s getting scarier over time as more powerful actions are added to our game. It’s a card that can only improve as we release more cards which reduce the cost of other cards, draw additional cards, or allow you to search your deck. We’re already starting to see Cyclone Shaper’s power in decks looking to take additional turns, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it end up in more places in the future as well.

For now, Cyclone Shaper is being added to the Watch List because of its potential to enable uninteractive combos. We’ll keep our eyes on Cyclone Shaper as time passes. It’s not too powerful in the current environment, but it’s a card that we’re aware of, and we are tracking how it plays.

And that’s a wrap! We’ll be covering Frostheart and Dead of Winter champion balancing tomorrow. Be sure to check for that announcement as it may also shake up how you do your brews.

See you in the Battlegrounds~

HexPureforce | Corey Burkhart


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