Eternal Live Balance Update – March 2nd, 2022March 2, 2022
Hello, I’m Patrick Sullivan, one of the designers on Eternal, and what follows is our latest set of live balance changes. We are fresh off our recent World Championships, and are set to begin our 2022 Organized Play season with an Expedition Open March 25th-27th. We feel that now is an ideal time for a comprehensive set of changes to both Expedition and Throne.
Both formats were on display at the 2021 World Championships, and our competitors showed up with a variety of factions, strategies, and the games themselves were excellent. This matches my own experiences in our live environment, and with the data we’ve received. In contrast to the most recent live balance changes, which were necessary to remedy an unacceptable situation, these are much closer to “quality of life improvements”, removing some power and improving the play patterns of a few definitional cards, along with a handful of buffs to underrepresented cards and strategies.
Dinosaur Nest – Now transforms at the start of your fourth turn, after playing three units (previously transformed immediately after playing the third unit)
Note: As Dinosaur Nest is a Micro Campaign card from Valley Beyond, refunds will be offered in Gold instead of Shiftstone
Dinosaur Nest was the most influential card in both formats from Valley Beyond, facilitating a number of strategies–Dinosaurs, “go wide” tokens, sacrifice-for-value, and nuts-and-bolts attacking decks. We appreciate a lot of what is going on here–the flavor, the decks it facilitates, and giving an appealing, inexpensive buildaround for a unit type disproportionately composed of more expensive cards. The card is a bit stronger than is ideal, but not to a degree that’s inherently problematic, and the World Championships featured a variety of novel reactive cards in an effort to manage it.
The power level is a secondary concern to the play pattern–the strength of Sheltered Valley, in conjunction with two of the three skills (Killer and Charge) having significant immediate impact. This is a lot of where the power comes from, and it is an incredibly stressful experience to be on the other side of. It also dampens a range of counterplay–you can’t be comfortable setting up blockers with Killer and Flying as part of the range, nor are sweepers promised to function against Charge.
We hope this change does a number of things all at once–reduce the overall rate, give players another turn to find a Ruin effect to prevent Sheltered Valley from emerging, reducing the strength of the second copy early in the game, but most importantly allow players to know the full shape of skills among the created Dinosaurs before decided how to best respond before Sheltered Valley is part of the equation.
Helena, Skyguide – Contract now gives +1/+1, Flying, and Endurance (was +3/+4, Flying, and Endurance)
Another card that has become a staple in both formats, Helena, Skyguide is one of the top performers from Cold Hunt. Though we still like the design in spirit, we wish the Contract was used more sparingly as a tactical combat option than a core part of facilitating bursty kills. With its stats, skills, and cost, we believe this card is still a plausible competitive option, but hopefully with a healthier total range of play.
Sediti, the Killing Steel – Now 5/5 (was 6/6)
Xumucan, the Surveyor – Now 6/6 (was 7/7)
Two long-time competitive hallmarks, Sediti and Xumucan are crowding out other options among five cost units. Part of this is their overall rate, combined with their pip requirements constraining other options in multi-factioned decks. With a slight reduction in rate, we hope to produce more satisfying counterplay and a wider representation of more expensive units.
Wump & Mizo – Party Pair is now 4/4 (was 6/6)
The experience here was just a little too fast and intense, especially with multiple copies early in the game. The size of the transformed unit is not a trivial part of the card, and speaks to how easy it is to remove or block, already no small task with its ability to pick off smaller blockers.
(Though the cards listed below are not strictly worse, they will still be eligible for refunds.)
Grovod’s Burden is easily the most popular Market target in Throne, though that may say as much about Time’s overall popularity as it does about the card’s strength. That said, the card has proven slightly too reliable at grinding out long games of all types, from those centered around large units to those about card drawing and removal. Moving the cost from 5 to 6 removes a little bit of the overall rate and removes the interaction with Crack the Earth, a huge contributor to its current level of ubiquity.
In exchange, the card is giving +1/+1 to your single-faction units. This is a particularly appealing bonus to get when you’re taking advantage of Exalted synergies, and can help move a game towards its conclusion.
Talir, Timejumper – Charge, Inscribe, When a spell is played directly on Talir or a spell is played on the enemy turn, she travels to the start of the next turn.
Talir is picking up Inscribe and slightly different functionality. We believe the new text box is overall much stronger than the previous one, but all the different situations involving this card are tricky enough that we’re capturing in this category. This design is fun and evocative, and the combination of Inscribe and protection against slow sweepers like Harsh Rule should give some more room for exploration in competitive play.
Heart of the Vault – Now a 6 cost 5/5, same text box
Again, we are predicting that this version is a significant increase in power. Praxis midrange strategies have floundered in popularity and win rate compared to other Time options, and Heart of the Vault is that archetype’s most iconic card. We believe the power level of the Throne format is such that this will be an appealing option among many, not a hindrance to diversity as it has been in the past.
Nocturnal Observer – Now a 2/4
Baying Serasaur – Now a 3/3
Bloodscent Avisaur – Now has Deadly
Extinguish – Now 3-cost
Nightfall makes its return to Expedition with the 3/2/2022 Draft Pack update. We identified a few designs to receive straightforward buffs to make the cards more plausible in Expedition and Throne. Nocturnal Observer has an interesting package of incentives and synergies, Extinguish could be a fringe playable removal spell depending on the shape of the format, and Baying Serasaur and Bloodscent Avisaur are both popular designs that could potentially give a new dimension to Dinosaur synergies. Even if any or all of these cards fall short in constructed, they are materially more powerful in Draft, providing that format with a significantly different experience to explore alongside Cold Hunt.
Shatterglass Mage – Now 4-cost
Tattoo Dragon – Now a 4/4
Jawbone Greatsword – Now has Overwhelm
Sealed Writ – Now transmute at 6
Jotun Birth Song – Now 5-cost
A handful of old favorites that were short for constructed are getting a bit of a boost. All of the above cards incentivize an interactive game and facilitate strategies that are popular but not currently a part of the competitive experience. Torq and Jotun Birth Song both speak to bigger, more synergy-driven version of Yeti, Tattoo Dragon and Jawbone Greatsword help support Fire midrange strategies with novel incentives and synergies, and Shatterglass Mage is the type of aggressively slanted, interactive, dynamic midrange card that’s generally healthy to have around in larger doses. Lastly, Word of Sol is a novel, fringe option for a certain class of deck that doesn’t appear much in the current live environment.
To celebrate the return of Nightfall, we will be offering a special discount on the Night Lurker Totem in the Eternal Store!
From now until March 9th this totem will be available for only 500 Gems! Pick yours up today!