ENLIGHTENEDOWL FIXES DUEL OF CHAMPIONS

Alright, you caught me… I haven’t actually fixed anything and since I’m merely just another player just like you guys and not on the development team or in the VIP club or anything like that I don’t have the power to make any changes to the game. But tell me that’s not a super catchy article title! Today I’m going over some cards that could potentially use some changes and explaining my point of view and giving my verdict as to why, or why not, the cards should be changed and exactly how I’d change them. By nature articles like this are more likely to be controversial than, say, a guide for a specific deck. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’d love to hear yours in the comments as well as in the poll at the end of the article!

LAVA SPAWN

First up is the card that I personally have seen the most complaints about recently on the forums and the card that I believe is the most frustrating for many people to play against in Standard- Lava Spawn. The first thing to do is to understand why people believe this card is overpowered and why it is frustrating to play against. The most common arguments against Lava Spawn that I’ve seen are that it doesn’t have counterplay until several resources later at which point it has already done a significant amount of damage and that with the new first/second changes its drawback isn’t a drawback anymore when you’re going first. People also complain that first turn double Lava Spawn going second is too good. Let’s tackle these points one at a time!

Personally, I disagree that Lava Spawn does not have counterplay until later on. Maybe that’s true if you’ve built your deck poorly or in a greedy way but in Standard especially every single faction has multiple cards, and I’m not talking about overly-obscure cards that would otherwise never be played, that deal with first turn Lava Spawn. Academy has Rakshasa Skirmisher as well as several early drops such as Gargoyle, Wizard Tutor and Makeshift Golem specifically designed to stall out the early game until you get to more expensive things that deal with Lava Spawn easily. Academy also typically has access to really good removal across several spell schools and has several cheap and efficient ways to simply kill Lava Spawn. Academy probably has the most trouble of all the factions dealing with Lava Spawn and still does fine. Haven can wall it with Lesser Glory, Loyal Griffin Devout Priest, Wolf Priest or Griffin Legionnaire. It also universally has access to Sunblaze and can use that plus basically anything to kill it outright. Inferno has Lurker in the Dark, Hellfire Bloater, Hatching Breeder and Fate Bender that all wall it early on and then even bigger walls such as Lashing Lilim, Osmotic Breeder and Hellfire Maniac eat it for breakfast a little later. Necropolis has Ancient Ghost, Hangman Tree, Lingering Ghost, Undead Minotaur, Untamed Wraith and access to all the removal under the sun. If you’re Mother Namtaru, which is undeniably among the best Necropolis heroes right now, you can simply use your broken unique ability to kill it outright. Sanctuary has Silver Bowl Spirit, Shark Protector, Spring Spirit, Kabuki Seductress, Dousing Kappa, Sayama Champion, Shinje Warrior, Nautilus and widespread access to Geyser. Stronghold can block it with Ranaar Harpy or Stormrage Hunter before really walling it with War Oliphant or Bloodclaw Shaman or just wiping it out with Insect Swarm that basically every Stronghold deck plays 4 of.

Basically, to sum that paragraph up, I genuinely don’t believe Lava Spawn is especially good in Standard if you’ve built your deck correctly which in this case means building it with Lava Spawn in mind. Every faction can deal with it as every competitive deck should have a realistic plan for it. Ironically, Lava Spawn is actually significantly better in Open than it is in Standard which is strange because there are that many more answers to it so you’d think it’d be worse. In reality Open is more, well, open, and it’s much harder to build your deck with Lava Spawn in mind especially given the fact that there are so many decks to worry about. Additionally it is backed up by very powerful threats, specifically Dark Assassin and a plethora of burn spells, that are not available in Standard. The other thing is that some of the answers for it, such as Shark Defender, that handle it very well in Standard are not going to make the cut in Open. The Xorm deck in itself is a huge problem for Open as it’s simply too fast and too reliable but I view that as a separate, albeit related, issue. Unfortunately there is no way to nerf a card for Open but not for Standard, which is probably the ideal solution.

The second argument, that the drawback of Lava Spawn is negated when you’re going first with the new first/second changes, in my opinion really isn’t a problem. The drawback is still definitely on the card and even if it doesn’t matter on the very first turn the card still has counterplay as discussed above and the drawback is still very much present later in the game when you draw additional copies that you want to play. In order for the card to be good it has to have an upside and a downside. Drawing Lava Spawn in the mid to late game is pretty crappy. Honestly drawing it as early as turn 5 or later is generally really undesirable unless you’re already snowballing hard toward victory. So really in order to balance out how bad it is to draw later it has to be pretty good to draw early and it is, of course, ideal to have it on turn 1. I think the drawback of Lava Spawn is very fair.

The third and final point of double Lava Spawn on the first turn when the Lava Spawn player is going second is the only one that I think is valid but I’d say back to that player that every aggro deck has a nut draw and sometimes it just happens. Ishuma had one. Crag Hack had one. Kelthor had one. Really good aggro decks sometimes get really good draws. They happen. For every one game you’ve played against a Lava Spawn deck where they’ve dropped double Lava Spawn on you immediately there have been 30+ games where they haven’t. Variance is part of the game. Also, as good as it is, double Lava Spawn is not unbeatable. If you mulliganed into a crappy hand that does nothing until turn 3 and they nut draw you it might be unbeatable but once again that’s just the variance of the game that can happen to anybody and it’s not something that’s going to happen very often.

If I were to change it, which I wouldn’t because I don’t think it needs it, the change I’d go with is simply making it a 3/0/2. Making it Unique is retarded. A card like that is designed to be reliably played on the first turn or two and the card is basically pointless if you’re only going to draw it on the first turn once in a blue moon. Likewise making it come into play and permanently reduce your Might is equally retarded. The card is not sooooo good to where it needs to set back your entire deck for the remainder of the game in order to be balanced. Making it vulnerable to Fire Bolt or killable by the abundance of 2/0/4 and/or 2/1/4 2 resource creatures available is more than enough to keep it in check. I’m not sure the card would even be good anymore, honestly, though in Open I’ll concede this would probably be a very positive change almost solely because of the Xorm problem.

OWL’S VERDICT- Don’t Nerf It

 

SPELL STEALER HERETIC

Second on the docket today is the best creature from Sins of Betrayal- Spell Stealer Heretic. The arguments against this guy are more straightforward. Simply, people believe its requirements are too low and that its size is too big for its cost and requirements. Additionally, there are issues with multiple copies of it being able to repeatedly use the same spell in the Graveyard over and over again.

Honestly, these arguments are all probably correct.

Normally I’d start from the top and address one point at a time but in this case I’m going to lump everything related to its cost, requirements and size together because they’re all very relevant to each other. Basically, as it sits, the card functions as The Banshee with much gentler requirements and it hits harder, which is very relevant as Heretic is much harder to ignore as an offensive threat than The Banshee is, and it’s also much harder to kill. Even if you treat the Banshee as having 6 Health because of Incorporeal, which you shouldn’t, Heretic still has more and hits harder and has Retaliation. Insect Swarm, for example, wipes out The Banshee, period. Spell Stealer Heretic can live through two of them. Likewise Arkath’s Wrath wipes out The Banshee whereas Heretic lives. Additionally you can, say, Fire Bolt The Banshee and then attack it with some tiny crappy creature to finish it off whereas this would not work against Heretic. The fact that it hits for 3 as opposed to just 2 is not to be ignored either. Everyone should know the massive difference the one extra point of damage makes. And, simply, as it sits its requirements are too low. There are several different ways to potentially alter them without rendering the card unplayable and I’ll go over several possible solutions in the next paragraph.

Changing its requirements is challenging as its a delicate balance between trying to keep the card good without letting it be too good like it is currently without accidentally rendering it unplayable. Potential changes to its requirements that would keep the card in the game without being over the top could be 5 Might/3 Magic, 4 Might/4 Magic or simply make it cost 7 resources with the requirements it already has now. No matter what it should absolutely Banish the card it plays from the Graveyard, period. I believe this was simply an oversight by the developers who didn’t realize how relevant the ability to play the same card repeatedly would be. These minor changes to its requirements, in addition to the new drawback of having to Banish its target, are perfect for balancing the card out and make changing its base stats, something that should basically always be the last resort, unnecessary. Other much worse suggestions I’ve heard are making it Unique, making its requirements 5 Might/5 Magic and making it so you have to pay for the card you choose with its ability as opposed to getting it for free. Briefly, here is why all three of these ideas are terrible- 1. Slapping Unique on anything you deem too good is not a solution, especially when the card can easily be balanced and kept non-Unique by making other changes. Likewise, making things Unique that shouldn’t be, such as this or Lava Spawn, take away the epic and special feel of cards that are purposely designed to be Unique and in that regard takes a lot away from the game. Uniques should have their own powerful feel and flavor and should be few and far between to keep them feeling special. Ubisoft has done a good job in this regard. 2. Making its requirements 5/5 is overkill in terms of nerfing it as the card wouldn’t be particularly good anymore and additionally, and this one is a tricky concept that a lot of people don’t understand, it would make it so the card no longer makes sense with itself. It has Magic Channel 2 and there isn’t a point of having that if its base Magic requirement is 5. If you’re dead set on nerfing its base requirements you definitely want to focus on Might as opposed to Magic in order to make the card still function as intended and Magic Channel is inherently and intentionally a part of the card. 3. Having to pay for the card is basically the same problem as with number 2. Having to pay for the card basically gives you a different card entirely. Not only would that be a massive nerf that would make this card competitively unplayable but it also completely removes what the card was designed to do. It was a very deliberate design decision to allow the selected card to be played for free. That’s the whole point of the card! Removing that aspect of it renders the card obsolete. Again, there are other changes you can make to make the card balanced while still preserving the intended flavor of the card.

Personally, the solution I like the best is 5 Might/3 Magic for 6 resources and the card you play gets Banished. This keeps its Magic Channel aspect relevant and helpful while balancing the card out in multiple ways. Also, making it Banish the card, as well as not having its requirements be 4 Might/4 Magic, help differentiate it from The Banshee because subsequent copies may have to take an inferior spell that doesn’t outright kill something (since the first Heretic Banished Soulreaver or whatever it played) and because it has an entirely different cost that doesn’t instantly remind you of its current counterpart.

OWL’S VERDICT- Nerf it

 

MOTHER NAMTARU, INVOKER OF DEATH

First of all I want to say that all Invokers received an enormous buff from the changes to their starting stats and all of them are pretty good right now. 1/2/0 starting stats with access to three spell schools is very powerful and their starting life of 18 is absolutely necessary to keep them balanced. If Kaiko were in Standard she’d be REALLY good. Mother is arguably the best Necropolis option for Standard and definitely the best option for Necropolis in Open and that is because, in addition to her great starting stats and efficient removal-heavy spell schools, she has the single best unique ability in the game. Her ability, probably inadvertently and more so than the developers realized, received a massive buff with the new first/second changes as the game now revolves extremely heavily around 2 resource creatures with most decks required to play at least 12 of them. Factor in that and the fact that Open is dominated by rush decks with Lava Spawn, Dark Assassin, Wolf Captain and others and you’ve got one incredibly overpowered card. The matter of contention here, of course, is her unique ability.

There is very little argument against the fact that the ability to kill the premier threats in the game- Lava Spawn, Dark Assassin, Wolf Captain and the Succubus equivalent in every faction- for free is too good. This is made worse by the fact that there is incentive to empty your hand (The Great Hunt) and, more importantly, much of what you’re discarding you’ll be getting back whether via Boneyard or simply by being a self-recurring Sahaar Mummy. The question here is not whether or not it’s too good but rather how to fix it. I’ve heard three proposed solutions. Two of them suck and one doesn’t.

Starting with the proposed solutions that suck it’s been suggested that her ability should be changed to make it so she can only kill creatures with a cost of 1 as opposed to 2. Even if it’s potentially killing good targets such as Tithe Collector or Lava Spawn this change is really bad. It makes it so her ability has anywhere between zero and eight targets in a deck with four probably being the most common answer and in some cases (the zeros) it’d be outright useless. Additionally it’d universally be bad/irrelevant after the first two or three turns. This nerf is definitely overkill and generally speaking any change that makes something potentially useless is a bad change.

The second proposed solution that sucks is keeping her ability free but making the discard random as opposed to how it is now where you can select what you pitch. This solution is terrible very simply because almost everything that does something randomly is bad for the game. Random adds variance to the game and takes away from the skill factor. That is one of the very worst possible things the developers could do. If I were on the development team I’d make it an extremely high priority mission to go back and change all cards that use the word “random” and outright remove that word from the game. Anything that adds variance is an unforgivable sin. There are very few exceptions such as Alone in the Dark where “random” isn’t usually actually random because it’s easy to reliably manipulate but even with that card there are times where it comes down to a coin flip and the outcome matters immensely which I strongly dislike. I love the concept of the card but I would have strongly preferred to see it worded differently. In this case, if you were to change Mother, the “random” would be a bit too random and it would be very negative for the game.

The third proposed solution is the only good one I’ve heard and that is simply to add a cost to her ability. 1 is probably still too good and 3 is playable but mediocre and I believe that 2 is the perfect number to keep it good but not too good. This is a clean, simple solution that doesn’t add any variance to the game. In fact, it adds skill as you now have meaningful decisions to make and you have to balance the pros and cons of making such a play. I believe with her ability at 2 Mother would still be played and would still be perfectly viable but she wouldn’t be over the top, especially in Open, as she is right now. If anyone has a good reason not to make this change please let me know but as far as I’m concerned this is the most straightforward and obvious change on my list.

OWL’S VERDICT- Nerf it

 

ICE SPEAR

As you’ll read whenever I end up making my “Top 10 Best Cards in Sins of Betrayal” list, in a strong set that includes goodies such as Kiril and Spell Stealer Heretic Ice Spear is far and away the best card in the set and in my opinion was simply a mistake. It’s really good in Standard and outright ridiculous in Open. This is another card that I feel was simply overlooked by the development team. Clearly had they realized how powerful it actually is it would never have been printed in its current form.

For those of you who have been reading my content for a while you know I’m not one to cry for nerfs and the large majority of the time I lean towards “This card is fine and you just need to play better”. Ammar back in the day obviously needed severe nerfs and received them accordingly and likewise more recently Chain Casting needed a nerf and that card was also changed appropriately. I’m not saying it’s on the broken/stupid level of Old Ammar (hopefully nothing ever will be again) but Ice Spear, in my opinion, needs to be taken down not just a notch but several notches. It either needs to cost 2 resources and have a Magic requirement of 3 or it can cost 1 as it does now and have a Magic requirement of 4. As it is now it adds way too much utility for way too little of a cost with extremely gentle requirements and it aids, in a major way, both the killing of the opponent’s creatures and the outright killing of the opponent. Every time you have an extra resource you get to do an extra damage? It’s not quite that bad but it’s not too far off from what Ice Spear does. Open is such a fast format and the fact that you can start killing creatures that you’d otherwise not be able to as early as turn 2 or 3 and you can kill your opponent that much faster than you’d otherwise be able to is pretty silly. The fact that it’s with a card that only costs 1 is too good. The fact that it goes back to your hand makes it absurd. The advantages of that aspect of the card are numerous. You cannot destroy it by traditional means such as with Cleansing Light or by simply destroying the creature it was on with Soulreaver or whatever but even more importantly it allows you to redeploy it over and over again and continuously place it in the ideal position each and every turn. And, to make matters worse, the card only gets dumber and more overpowered in multiples, still only costing a paltry 1 resource each but having that much more of a devastating impact.

Personally, I think it’ll be too good pretty much no matter what if it costs 1 unless its Magic requirement is raised to some unrealistically high amount. If it cost 1 and had its Magic requirement at 4, as mentioned above, it would limit the number of decks that could use it but it’d still be really good (too good) in those decks. I think in order to be remotely fair it needs to cost 2 in addition to having its Magic requirement bumped up. I like having it cost 2 and having its Magic requirement at 3 as suggested above but even then I’m a bit skeptical. Right now, Ice Spear is silly.

OWL’S VERDICT- Nerf it, hard.

 

There you have it friends! Let me know what you think in the comments and please take a moment to vote in the poll. As noted in the opening paragraph I understand that discussions about buffs/nerfs/balancing can be a bit more touchy than other topics so I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to keep it calm and civil and that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Even if mine is clearly correct… :D

Happy Gaming!

-EnlightenedOwl

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TOP 10 BEST FORTUNES OF ALL TIME

Welcome friends to another Top 10 countdown! Today we’re venturing into dangerous waters and going over some of the most busted cards in the history of the game- Fortunes! As always this list is based purely on competitive power level and doesn’t at all factor in coolness/uniqueness, artwork, popularity, etc. Fortunes have historically been so incredibly powerful that multiple extremely potent cards have been left off this list and resigned to the Honorable Mentions section. At the end of the article you’ll be given the opportunity to vote in a poll and let your opinion be heard! So let’s get to it!

#10- Pillage

One of many cards on this list specifically abused by Cassandra, Pillage is a massive tempo swing in a well-oiled machine designed to out-resource you in just about every way imaginable. The effect of Pillage is straightforward but the benefits may not be so obvious. Not only does it prevent a player from playing certain cards outright, as they simply cannot afford them anymore, but it also makes it so they’re able to play fewer cards AND less powerful cards than they’d otherwise be able to. It also traps cards in hand which can set up big plays from other cards that may or may not be further down on the list… Pillage may not have won any games on its own but it’s a key role player that has enabled countless wins from other cards it gets paired with and it will likely continue to frustrate opponents for quite some to come.

#9- Twist of Fate

The most inexpensive, efficient catch all ever printed, Twist of Fate has prevented countless disasters and negated cards far more powerful and expensive than itself roughly a bazillion times. Two resources to take anything is likely the best we’ll ever see for a discard spell. It also has the added bonus of seeing the opponent’s entire hand and in a game where knowledge is undeniably valuable that bonus can be huge. I think in casual games and even ladder games that aspect of the card is frequently overlooked. At best a player may see one or two key cards remaining in the opponent’s hand and make a point to remember them. In a serious game though, such as in a major tournament, the Twist of Fate player can write down every single card they see in the opposing hand and that information will give countless other things away. You can take a pretty good guess what your opponent must have drawn if you expect him to play a card that you know for a fact he has but for some reason he doesn’t. For example if you know your opponent has a specific creature in hand that they can afford to play and they then proceed to pass the turn without playing it despite having the resources to do so it almost certainly means, unless they’re playing a jedi mind trick, that they plan to wipe the board soon. Knowing things like that and playing accordingly can make the difference between winning and losing. I also really love how skill intensive Twist of Fate is as better players definitely get rewarded for taking the correct card. Sometimes it’s straightforward and sometimes it’s definitely not and one way or another the card you choose will absolutely have an impact on the rest of the game. The efficiency of Twist of Fate is undeniable and it is the only common card to make the list.

#8- Gate to Sheogh

I’m not quite sure where Sheogh is but I know from my experiences on both sides of the portal it’s a place inhabited by Abyssal Lords and other monstrosities definitely not meant to enter this world on turn 3. However unnatural it may be, that’s exactly what this card enables. As much of a resource drop as Pillage is for opponents Gate to Sheogh is even more of a resource gain for its caster most of the time and it ignores the requirements of whatever abomination it decides to send to our aid. I don’t think I need to explain why this effect is so powerful. Some decks just can’t beat an Abyssal Lord on turn 3 at all, nevermind when it’s protected by Path of the Ancestors or Day of the Sanctuary. If it turned into an Abyssal Lord every single time this card would probably be #1 on the list but there is of course a catch. Everything you don’t take goes into the Graveyard, which Moon Phoenix and Spell Stealer Heretic and friends will tell you isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and you may end up with something a lot smaller than an Abyssal Lord if the gate operator is feeling uncooperative that day. Still though, is getting a turn 3 Hellfire Maniac or even just a Lilim really that bad? Unless you’re very unlucky this card basically always does something good and sometimes it just grants you free wins very quickly. A card with that kind of power definitely earns its place on my countdown, even if it was definitely hurt by the recent first/second changes.

#7- Cassandra’s Imperial Devotion

The artwork on this card, a boring statue and the clear boring sky in the background, is extremely disappointing to me given how epic and powerful the card is. Arguably the best stalemate breaker and “all of a sudden I’m right back in this game I previously had no chance whatsoever in” card of all time, CID has an effect unmatched by any other card in the game. As a faction-aligned Unique it was designed to be extremely powerful and that comes with the drawback of having difficult requirements that keep it out of the majority of decks that are eligible to play it. When it does get played, however, big things happen. After all it boosts both your resources and your life total and those are the two most valuable commodities in the game. CID was often the key piece that enabled Cassandra to “go off” and have massive turns that swung the game from looking not so great to a commanding lead all in one swift stroke. I guess being truly devoted to the imperials really pays off as in this case it gets you number 7 on my countdown!

#6- Tower of Oblivion

For as much life as Cassandra’s Imperial Devotion can gain, Tower of Oblivion can do that much damage and then some and force a massive discard, though that part usually doesn’t matter as the opponent typically just dies from the insane damage. Tower of Oblivion was the primary kill condition and sometimes the only kill condition for many Slowpoke decks for a very long time. The ability for one card to do a dozen damage or more in a single one time use for just 4 resources is absolutely unheard of. Yes, it requires significant setup from other cards, but those role players that set up a massive Tower turn are definitely present and they basically always have been. I’d imagine Tower of Oblivion, like Pillage and some of the upcoming cards on the list, is quite frustrating for many players to play against as it’s one of those cards that doesn’t really have counters and it can steal games from you out of nowhere regardless of what you’re trying to do. Notice how thus far, half way through the list, only one card is legal in Standard? That is because for a long time Fortunes were too powerful and Tower of Oblivion is definitely one of the cards that falls into that category.

#5- Cosmic Realignment

The great equalizer, the mill player’s best friend and sometimes worst nightmare, the biggest resource swing in the game if you view cards in hand as a resource, which you should… Enter Cosmic Realignment, the first entry in a top 5 filled with cards that have surpassed the realm of extremely powerful and entered the forbidden realm of outright unfair. Mathematicians cringe at the resource swing that occurs when a player plays Cosmic Realignment, the last card in their hand, while their opponent had 9 cards in their hand and plummets down to 5. This is without factoring in the facts that, with setup, you’ll often be discarding either nothing at all or things you specifically want in your Graveyard while your opponent will be discarding important cards they have no way of ever getting back. This is another card, like Cassandra’s Imperial Devotion, that can get you back in a game you were previously very much out of and it’s an engine in several decks that abuse it to its maximum potential. Cassandra, Ignatius, I’m looking at you… This is just another too powerful Fortune that was very deliberately kept out of Standard and very well may never be reprinted again but it will surely have devastating impacts on Open for as long as it’s legal.

#4- Cosmic Singularity

An engine if there ever was one, Cosmic Singularity allowed completely unfair things to happen, such as the repeated use of Uniques, specifically The Forbidden Flame and Prison, and it is the boogie man mill players check under their bed for each night. Night of the Rising Moon discarding Cosmic Singularity and whatever else, back before the Unique change, was far and away the best engine available. Well, I guess Cosmic Singularity with any discard outlet was the best engine available, as Sandalphon could play Prison over and over and over again thanks entirely to this card. Even now with Uniques fixed and the completely utterly broken things no longer doable, Cosmic Singularity, with setup, still provides a significant advantage to its user. Sure, in its current form it wouldn’t be number 4 if it’d even make the list at all but it was undeniably busted for a significant period of time and that alone grants it a very high spot on a list featuring some of the most elite cards in the entire game.

#3- Chain Casting

-_- Stupid cards are stupid. This card, pre-nerf, enabled several of the most unfair decks of all time to exist including Asalah OTK and possibly the most infamous deck of all time- Old Ammar. All the decks that utilized this card had a few wonderful traits in common- Non-interactive, unfun to play against, very difficult to counter, cheesy, etc. The bottom line, however, even if you loathe what the card did to the game the way I do, is that the card itself (and by default the decks it enabled) was just too powerful. The nerf it received was very much deserved but because this list is going by how good cards were in their prime rather than in their current form there is absolutely no way to deny the power of Chain Casting… Even if it probably should never have been printed in the first place…

#2- Throne of Renewal

Throne of Renewal is the card that enabled Fortune heavy decks to function without having to invest in Magic in order to clear the board. Without this card dozens of decks throughout the history of the game simply would not have been possible as they’d have no reliable way to deal with creatures and still build up their Destiny to do whatever it is they’re trying to do. The fact that it clears everything, including buildings and ongoing spells, is pretty insane for 5 resources not to mention the fact that it gives you back your own ongoing spells such as Weakness to use again as you see fit. There are tons of benefits to Throne other than just clearing the board. For example, loading up your opponent’s hand by returning everything can set up big plays on the following turn with Tower of Oblivion or Cosmic Realignment or even immediately if you’ve got the good old Inheritance + Chaos Seer after a Throne combo. Throne was, and still is, an absolutely crucial piece in many decks at any given time throughout DoC history and it is unlikely that another card of this power level ever comes along. If it were Standard legal it’d be the best card in the format by a good margin. Strictly on power level Throne of Renewal is one of the top 10 most powerful cards of all time and it’s only second on this list because number 1 is the dumbest card ever. Let’s get to it…

#1- Prison

This selection really shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone. For anyone who has ever been on the wrong end of a Time Jump you know how devastating it is for an opponent to get an extra turn. With Prison they get a cheaper extra turn that they can tutor for with Soothsayer after turns and turns of buildup in which they’re denying you resources with Pillage and the likes and that’s now when you’re only allowed to play Prison once. In its prime Prison could be played repeatedly and whether it was Cassandra utilizing Cosmic Realignment to discard Cosmic Singularity enabling a new Soothsayer to dig up Prison again or simply Sandalphon locking you out of the game indefinitely with 3 or 4 Prison turns in a row the card was about as unfair and broken as unfair and broken can get. It made it so your opponent could do basically nothing for whatever amount of turns in a row and it doesn’t take a genius to win the game against an opponent who can only sit their helplessly, unable to defend themselves, as the Prison player snowballs their lead and acts freely. Despite being among the oldest cards in the game (it was in the original base set) it is still to this day possibly the best card in Open. It is the most unfair card ever printed. It is the lock down shut out card we all fear. It is the best Fortune, and arguably the overall best card, of all time.

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS-

Altar of Shadows- Key component to the many Slowpoke and OTK decks of old.

Army of the Dead- Super powerful card that is unfortunately ridden with undesirable requirements and is faction-aligned to a faction that isn’t exactly dominant in Standard nor in Open…

Campfire- Super efficient Fortune that has always been good from its original printing in Base Set 1 all the way up to today where it’s still played in both Standard and Open to great effect.

Circle of Nine- Extremely powerful deck-enabling effect that is only really balanced out by the fact that it’s pretty awful to draw them in multiples or to find them for the first time in the mid to late game.

Garant’s Purge- Powerful and rightfully played in both formats but simply not strong enough to make the top 10.

Revised Tactics- Powerful, efficient, skill-intensive, criminally underrated card that I have nothing bad whatsoever to say about. It’s simply not a top 10 Fortune of all time.

Seria’s Legion- Basically the same issue as Army of the Dead in that it’s undeniably powerful but it’s stuck in Necropolis and it has undesirable Destiny requirements.

Titan Workforce- Its time in the sun was quite short as it got nerfed very quickly after its release but it was extremely good- almost certainly too good for Standard- in its short-lived original form. Had it been given more time for people to figure it out and do stupid things with it in Open this very well could have made the list.

Wasteland- Lock decks were definitely a thing back in the day but the key pieces were pretty much always other cards as opposed to Wasteland which was just kind of a complement to it all. The effect is powerful but not overly powerful and at the same time 5 resources is pricey and a Destiny requirement of 4 is pretty steep so while I’m glad this card was not reprinted for Standard I actually think it’s quite balanced overall and simply not good enough to make the top 10.

 

There you have it folks! There are some exceedingly powerful cards on this list and therefore plenty of room for friendly debate so definitely take a moment to vote in the poll and leave a comment and make your opinion heard. I hope everyone enjoyed this countdown, even if you don’t necessarily agree with every single word that I said, and I’ll see you all for the next one!

Happy Gaming!
-EnlightenedOwl

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STANDARD KIRIL GUIDE

Well, I didn’t need to wait until I’d originally set the poll to close on Tuesday- clearly Standard Kiril is the deck you guys want to hear about. Honestly in a moment of selfishness I considered not writing about this deck so I could keep it to myself for a while. I’m having results with this deck I’ve not had since I was crushing 10 Swiss Tournaments in a row with Kelthor way back in the day. I’ve played 30+ games with this deck and haven’t lost yet. No, it’s not unbeatable. Yes, the loss, and several other losses, will come sometime soon. But for now the deck is working about as perfectly as can be for me and, like Kelthor was, it’s remarkably consistent which is among the most desirable qualities a competitive deck can have, especially for laddering.

First of all I want to address something about Kiril in particular- Kiril is actually quite versatile and can be built a few different ways that actually look quite different from one another. Inevitably some cards will overlap between builds but there are some highly noticeable differences between, say, builds with Spellhungry Breeder/Spawning Chamber as opposed to really aggressive builds with Lava Spawn and Maniacs as opposed to my build. While I do believe those other builds can be successful and are still decent decks I’m also a firm believer that in any given situation there is one, and only one, optimal build and in this case I really believe I’ve got it. I hope you guys look at my resume when I tell you a deck is really good and give me a bit of credit here as I feel some of the cards I’m not playing are going to be hard to swallow for some readers. Without dragging the suspense out further, here is my build-

http://www.mmdoctools.com/deck/2095-kiril-5-5-0.en.html

As I mentioned I think several cards I’m not playing will immediately stand out. Where is Blazing Succubus??? Why aren’t you playing Darkflame Fanatic??? No Lava Spawn??? As always, as opposed to randomly throwing together the cards I feel have the prettiest pictures there are in fact actual reasons for the card choices I made but before I get into what I’m not playing lets do my usual setup of pros and cons followed by a card by card walkthrough of what I am playing.

 

PROS

-Extremely consistent and reliable

-Favorable matchup against basically every Creature deck in the metagame

-Does very powerful things that other decks cannot

-Fairly easy to play at a basic level and still not ridiculously hard to play at a high level

CONS

-Cannot remove Buildings once they’re down

-Cannot remove cards from the opposing Graveyard

-Cannot remove Ongoing Spells, such as Mass Rage, once they’re down

All the cons are basically the same. In a nutshell you should absolutely crush all Creature decks and you’ll probably have a hard time against other decks such as the currently popular Sandor Mass Rage deck, though this deck has a shot against anything and doesn’t have any auto-lose matchups.

 

INDIVIDUAL CARD CHOICES

Kiril- Kiril is a superior option to Kal-Azaar for this kind of deck for a few key reasons- Starting with 2 Might and 1 Magic as opposed to the other way around guarantees you the ability to play a 2 resource Lurker in the Dark, regardless of whether you go first or second, and in my opinion the two additional starting life is definitely worth more than the benefits you’d get from having access to Prime Magic. We’d not be playing Town Portal in this particular build even if we could and while Ariana is clearly a good card she’s not anything special in this deck as we’re already really strong in the late game and  and for each time she’d come down and make a huge difference for us I’d theorize there would be at least three times where having the two extra life saved our skins. Her ability to remove Ongoing Spells and Buildings is nice but it’s not as good as you’d think. Cool, I banished Mass Rage. Oh, nevermind, he played another one. Now what? Ariana usually just functions as The Banshee anyway and Soul Stealer Heretic is just a much better version of that in this deck. The Kiril unique ability is rarely utilized in this deck- we’re merely playing him for his starting stats and the spell schools he has access to.

Week of the Dead- Despite not playing Thrall of Hatred these are necessary to make Hellfire Bloater and Doom Bringer reliable. They’re also good for sacrificing guys that find themselves on the bad end of an opposing Cursed Bond, which definitely helps against Sandor, and you can get rid of things like Blinding Light as well. You also have subtle synergy with Hatching Breeder if you need to sacrifice him for whatever reason and get his token as well as with Osmotic Breeder if you play a spell and he puts a token somewhere undesirable, such as the spot where you need to put your Hellfire Maniac. The other cute trick with Week of the Dead is the ability to re-position Moon Phoenix. You could, for example, attack your opponent with it and then sacrifice it to Week of the Dead and replay it elsewhere as a blocker.

Cosmic Balance- This is probably the card that’s least important to the deck. It’s not here because it’s especially great or necessary right now- it’s just probably better than the other options. Week of the Mercenaries/Week of the Elder Races are poor choices for this deck as it’s very reactive and mid range ish and those cards are likely better against us than they are for us. Day of the Sanctuary is a poor choice because we’re using multiple pieces of targeted removal and this could be used against us. I don’t care for Week of Knowledge in general. It’ll help your opponent just as often as it’ll help you. We can’t play Rise of the Nethermancer unfortunately, because it’s really good right now, as it hurts our crucially important Soul Stealer Heretics and to a lesser extent Moon Phoenix as well. A Tear in the Veil is an option I guess but Arkath’s Wrath has it built in so really you’re just protecting Fire Bolt and Forked Firebolt which only do 2 damage anyway. Month of the Spider Queen is useless more often than not so that leaves us, by default, with Cosmic Balance. It’s randomly useful in a few matchups but this doesn’t usually get activated.

Hatching Breeder- Two drops are as crucial as can be to the game in general with the new changes to 1st/2nd and Hatching Breeder is one of the most efficient options around. He’s versatile, good at every stage of the game and he’s very cost-efficient. All Creature-based Inferno decks should be playing 4 copies of this Creature.

Hellfire Bloater- This card signifies a defensive deck with strong mid to late game which is exactly what we are. We just need to survive the early rush to begin doing very powerful things and taking over the game. This guy is one of several anti-aggro tools that make this deck so ridiculously good against Creature decks. You don’t always need to try to get fancy with this card and set up 2 for 1s. Often trading this card 1 for 1 is the correct play. If you have the opportunity to wipe out a crucial early threat such as a single Lava Spawn or a Centaur Archer with this guy you almost always want to do so. Likewise, if Week of the Dead isn’t up it’s fine to 2 for 2 by targeting, say, their Goblin Scout and your own Hellfire Bloater with Forked Firebolt resulting in all four cards involved (assuming the Bloater was in a row with something its damage would kill) hitting the Graveyard.

Lurker in the Dark- Despite being significantly nerfed this card is still a reasonable defensive pivot for decks like this and despite all the negative aspects of its changes there is a crucial upside- it’s now playable by Deleb and Kiril immediately on 2 resources, regardless of who went first. Dropping this card immediately is crucially important in several matchups, specifically stopping Lava Spawn, Goblin Scout + 2 drop aggression, fast Mother Namtaru draws and several other things. It can be even more of a pain in the butt to take down when it gains Magic Resist via Swelling Breeder and its 4 toughness is just enough to stay out of kill range of most of the early removal in the format. This card isn’t nearly the brick wall it once was and it probably never will be again but in this deck far more so than in other Inferno decks he plays a crucial role and needs to be a 4 of.

Moon Phoenix- Moon Phoenix is just a really strong late game threat that every Creature deck should be playing right now. There is no good reason not to play this card given the incredible advantage it gives you in long drawn out games, which is most of them with this kind of deck. We don’t want more than one copy because it’d eat too much of our Graveyard and potentially get to the point where we can’t cast them both anymore and also because they’re not good early on once again because of insufficient Graveyard food. However, in an ideal world we’d basically always draw this card by turn 10 or so.

Succubus- Succubus is basically a safer but slightly less efficient version of Hatching Breeder. Usually on 2 resources unless you’re staring down a Lava Spawn or two that you don’t currently have an answer for you want to play this guy as opposed to Hatching Breeder if you’ve got that option. This deck is very intentionally overloaded with 2 drops because of how ridiculously important that slot is now with the changes. As such, we have virtually no 3 drops. A lot of the time with the Dragon Crystal this deck will play a 2 drop immediately on its first turn (popping the Dragon Crystal) and will then play another 2 drop on the following turn. This allows for maximum resource efficiency and because the deck is so versatile this can be done both aggressively and defensively as needed. Succubus is just a really solid card and basically every deck across all the factions should be playing 4 copies of its respective Succubus-equivalent.

Swelling Breeder- Of all the 3 drop options available to Inferno I think this one will stand out to a lot of readers as a surprising choice. This deck is all about early defense and 4 Health Creatures such as Thrall of Hatred and Juggernaut just aren’t going to cut it in that regard. Really we just want a wall. The Magic Resist it gives is also really relevant as two of the Breeders it’s protecting- Lurker in the Dark and Osmotic Breeder respectively- are quite important to the deck, especially early on. The Magic Channel is randomly useful too but it’s more of a bonus as a reason to play the card. Fate Bender requires Destiny which we don’t want to touch and honestly this guy is almost certainly better in this deck anyway as the one extra Health definitely matters and the aforementioned benefit it gives matters often. We don’t want too many copies of this guy as he gets a bit clunky and underwhelming in multiples but he’s a really great teammate to draw one copy of at any given time.

Hasafah, Chosen of the Shadows- This man is very much at home in this deck as he’s far easier to cast here than he is elsewhere thanks to Kiril and his spiffy starting stats and also his 7 Health is super relevant when we’re packing 4 Arkath’s Wrath. We have multiple pieces of damage-based removal which make his ability a legitimate threat and of course he’s solid defensively which is a theme of the deck as a whole. I’ve found this guy to be not so great in other decks but I think that’s largely because he’s difficult to cast until way later on and those decks aren’t necessarily playing the right tools to make him good and I feel both of those issues are addressed here.

Osmotic Breeder- This guy is a very key role player in this deck that does pretty much everything I want it to do- it’s good defensively, synergizes with the rest of the deck and is versatile in where I can place it thanks to being a Melee Shooter.We’re playing more Spells than most other decks in the format so his ability definitely triggers plenty often and of course opponents play spells too from time to time. He’s also a reasonable offensive threat that can put pressure on the opponent and help win races by providing its own companions that can help both offensively and defensively. It’s very tough to win races against this deck in general and when you’re hiding behind reliable walls such as Lurker in the Dark and Hellfire Maniac as this guy chunks you for 3 per turn it becomes almost impossible. You’ll find he’s a very high priority target for opposing removal.

Doom Bringer- Board resets are excellent in this deck and this guy is the classic! He’s got great synergy with Arkath’s Wrath as he can take down things Wrath cannot touch such as Blackskull Crusher. Playing this guy makes it necessary to have a reliable way to sacrifice him when we want to, which in this case is Week of the Dead, but in desperate times you can always Soulreaver him if you have to. Between Week of the Dead, Soulreaver, Arkaths Wrath and Area Blast damage granted by Hikyu this deck doesn’t have much trouble killing off its own Doom Bringer when it wants to do so. Basically every Creature-based Inferno deck, other than all in aggro decks with Lava Spawn and friends, should be playing Doom Bringer.

Hellfire Maniac- I have, multiple times in multiple places over the course of my time with DoC, called this card the best non-Unique 5 cost Creature in the game. To this day I still believe that statement to be correct. This card is insane. It’s usually at least a 2 for 1, often a 3 for 1, and it just deals with everything. The benefit it provides goes well beyond the fact that it removes things- It also really limits their options and positioning in a major way by essentially taking two important Creatures out of the equation via forcing them to attack the Maniac as opposed to doing whatever they’d like to be doing. Hellfire Maniac is one of the reasons to play Inferno. I wouldn’t cut one single copy of this card for anything, ever. Simply an amazing Creature.

Hikyu, Chosen of the Flames- Uniques, especially ones of this power level, don’t need much of an explanation. He was intentionally designed to be overpowered and, viola, they succeeded! Between his stats, ease of cost and absolutely game breaking ability there is just no way to justify not playing this guy. He can win the game on his own.

Spell Stealer Heretic- Well, I haven’t made my top 10 list yet but this might be the best card in Sins of Betrayal. In a nutshell it’s a significantly better Banshee that’s easier to cast, harder to kill and more of an offensive threat and sometimes as opposed to just being The Banshee it can just grab Arkath’s Wrath and wipe the board of everything but itself and one of my Osmotic Breeders. In simple terms, this card is stupid. It’s absolutely the best card in the deck probably by a good margin and for me to say that about a deck playing Hellfire Maniac it takes a lot. This card will likely get nerfed. It should probably have 4/3 requirements as opposed to 4/2 and it should definitely banish the card it plays after it’s done using it. The fact that I can use the same Arkath’s Wrath over and over again with this guy is just overpowered. This is the card that really puts Kiril over the edge and makes it possibly the best deck in the format. Kal-Azaar also reaps immense benefit from this monstrosity.

Fire Bolt- I believe this is my single most written-about card throughout all my guides and articles. Nothing like repetition! Fire Bolt is simply the most cost-efficient removal in the game, period, so we play 4 copies.

Forked Firebolt- Forked Firebolt is better than Alone in the Dark in this deck for a couple reasons, a big one definitely being its ease of cost at only 2 Magic as opposed to Alone in the Dark which forces you to go to 3. Now, granted, this deck needs to hit and exceed 3 at some point but you don’t always want to do it early on. I suppose you could go for a 3/1 or even a 2/2 split if you’re really high on Alone in the Dark, which is undeniably a good card, but I’m a man who prefers consistency and I feel that Forked Firebolt is also a very good card and one that has solid synergy with the rest of the deck at that so for that reason I opt for a 4/0 split and haven’t yet missed not having Alone in the Dark. This is, like its smaller counterpart, simply very cost-efficient removal.

Soulreaver- There was definitely a point in the meta, pretty much from when the dominant Hakeem deck got nerfed until Sins of Betrayal got released, where this card really wasn’t particularly great in Standard. Now, however, it’s in a really good place. Multiple things occurred to make that so. For one Chain Casting got severely nerfed and OTK combo decks basically don’t exist in Standard, forcing a Creature-focused environment, and of course that’s where Soulreaver shines. Also all the important cards in Standard other than Insect Swarm are Creatures from Lurker in the Dark to Hellfire Maniac to Blackskull Shredder to Bloodsnake Shaman to all the Uniques that every deck has several of. Hikyu, Zefiria, Raya, etc. are of course ideal targets for Soulreaver. The format has also slowed down a good amount as more defensive tools have become available and Lava Spawn decks really aren’t good right now so you’ve got a bit more time to get this online. With games regularly getting drawn out and decks fighting to go over the top of each other with bigger and badder Creatures Soulreaver is one of the most desirable cards in Standard right now as long as your deck can cast is reliably without setting itself back too much which this deck definitely can. One problem a lot of decks have is if they go to 4 Magic for Soulreaver early on they’re unable to play a lot of their Creatures due to insufficient Might and even though they killed one Creature they still die to the rest of the rush. This deck, however, can simply follow up with Arkath’s Wrath.

Arkath’s Wrath- Speaking of following up with Arkath’s Wrath… This is one of the key cards the deck is really built around. Arkath’s Wrath + Spell Stealer Heretic is absolutely miserable for aggro decks to play against. Between the Wraths themselves, the ability to replay the Wraths with Heretic and of course Doom Bringer this deck has A LOT of resets it’s quite tough to deal with. I also feel this card is in a very good place in the metagame right now as we’re once again back to a very Creature-heavy environment and this is basically the Ice Meteor that you can’t avoid via positioning. Sure, it hits your stuff too, which definitely matters, but in the matchups where this card is really important, such as against Deleb or Mother Namtaru, you’ll find the only thing that really matters is just getting the wipe. I feel this is one of the most powerful cards available in the current state of the metagame. I cannot bring myself to play Lava Spawn and Maniac in the same deck as Arkath’s Wrath. I’ve seen other Kiril players do it and that’s their business but it just feels really muddled and non-cohesive to me and I personally just couldn’t do it. I’m all about synergy and consistency and as it sits this is very much in a deck that appreciates it and takes full advantage of it.

 

And now, finally, an explanation on some of the cards I’m NOT playing. I feel I touched on a lot of them in my descriptions above so some of this might be a bit repetitive. Think of it as a quick reference section for people who aren’t patient enough to read 3,000 words to get to this point and just want to know why whatever card they think I should be playing isn’t in my list.

Lava Spawn- Quite simply I’m just not an aggro deck. Kiril can be an aggro deck and play this guy, Maniac, Darkflame Fanatic, Blazing Succubus, etc. but that’s very different from the build I’m presenting you today and I honestly believe my build is significantly superior. I don’t think Lava Spawn is in a particularly great place in Standard right now as pretty much every faction has reliable answers for it early on and it’s quite common for it to not be able to get through or do anything meaningful early on and then be a burden of a draw as the game drags out as few decks have ways to actually unload unwanted copies other than simply playing them. Both in the games I personally have played and in the dozens and dozens of games of friends I’ve spectated I’ve seen this card consistently be really ineffective and I strongly suggest players shy away from it. Ultimately the Lurker in the Dark nerf, among other things, hurt this card a lot.

Spellhungry Breeder- Despite it being about as good in this deck as it’s ever going to be I don’t want to play with Spawning Chamber, because, well, that card generally sucks and Spellhungry Breeder is nowhere near good enough on its own to warrant an inclusion. It certainly isn’t the early defensive wall I’m looking for. Also, the visions in my head of stabilizing on 2 or 3 life and being finished off by my own guy were definitely not helping. In general I’m not a fan of this card as it’s only good in its combo and its combo isn’t particularly difficult for good players to disrupt.

Darkflame Fanatic- This guy is only good in aggressive versions of the deck which I certainly am not. I’m focusing my early drops on defense and with only 4 Health, 0 Retaliation and an ability I’d not be fully utilizing this just isn’t the right fit for him.

Fate Bender- It requires 1 Destiny which Kiril doesn’t start with and I’m simply not willing to go there. It’s too important to be maxing out your other two stats and once you hit the mid to late game you want to be drawing a card every single turn. Playing this guy would be too much of a setback with not enough benefit. Also of note is the fact that his ability would never trigger as we’ve got no way to force the opponent to discard. Playing cards that force discarding, such as Chaos Lacerator or Maniac Taskmaster, also require Destiny.

Blazing Succubus- Honestly this card is overrated and overhyped right now. It’s pretty good but it’s nothing special. Even on its best day it’s definitely worse than good old Lilim. Anyhow, it once again falls into the category of belonging only in the aggressive versions of the deck which I am not. I couldn’t fully utilize its ability and the ability of Osmotic Breeder is definitely better for what this deck needs. I’m not saying it’s necessarily better overall. It’s simply better for this deck and that’s all that matters. In many ways this deck really is all about dragging the game out as you slowly out-attrition your opponent and eventually win the game the deeper it goes. That’s basically how the matchup against almost every Creature deck plays out.

Bound Succubus- It’s ruled out automatically by its 2 Destiny requirement but even if that weren’t so it’d come down to this guy vs Hellfire Maniac, as too many 5 drops gets very clunky, and for me that’s not even a choice. I do think this card is pretty decent but it’s definitely not right for this deck.

Executioner Succubus- Just worse than Spell Stealer Heretic by a lot. It’s harder to cast, has less Health and has a worse ability. You can’t play both due to clunkiness and lack of space and when you’re forced to choose between the two it’s not much of a decision.

Magma Burst- It’s just not good enough to make the cut. There are only so many spots available and you have to have a certain number of Creatures. There is also a point where too much removal becomes a bad thing because you have too many answers and not enough threats and you sit there not pressuring them and giving them all the time in the world to draw their way back into the game. Forked Firebolt is just better and there isn’t room for both.

Alone in the Dark- Unlike several of the cards on this list this card is actually not overhyped and it’s truly good. If it required 2 Magic as opposed to 3 we might be having a very different discussion but as it stands for the ease of cost and the synergy with the rest of the deck I’ve got to go with Forked Firebolt over this. If you wanted to try a 3/1 or 2/2 split I guess I could live with it but I’m opting for 4/0 favoring Forked Firebolt for a very simple reason- it’s what I genuinely believe is the best option.

Fire Rain- Like the two spells listed before Fire Rain it simply came down to only so many spaces and choices had to be made. I view this as inferior to my other options and therefore it didn’t make the cut. Builds of Kiril with Spellhungry Breeder/Spawning Chamber may want to look into this card but it’s not for me.

Enthrall- I don’t particularly want to go to 6 Magic, this doesn’t combo super smoothly with Spell Stealer Heretic and there just flat out isn’t space for it. My late game is quite strong as it is without this and I have no shortage of ways to deal with Creatures, including the big scary ones this would ideally be targeting.

Spawning Chamber- This isn’t even a consideration without Spellhungry Breeder and between the facts that I think both cards suck individually and the combo itself is overrated and also the simple lack of space this just wasn’t going to happen for me. You could build Kiril in a way to really set this card up if you went out of your way to do so but I think Kal-Azaar is a better Hero for that.

 

PLAYING THE DECK AND MATCHUPS-

As repeated several times throughout the article the deck was very consciously designed to be extremely anti-Creature and as such I genuinely believe you’re favored, to various degrees, against every single Creature deck in the format. In those matchups you’re basically playing defense all the way into the mid and late game sitting behind Hellfire Bloater, Lurker in the Dark, Hellfire Maniac, etc. and using Fire Bolt and Forked Firebolt as needed to simply drag the game out until you hit a point where your card advantage really starts to add up and your Heretics and other late game gems can really take over the game. Since almost every card in your deck is anti-Creature the small advantages you acquire from turn to turn tend to add up over time and eventually you’ll win the attrition war. Arkath’s Wrath + Heretic is extremely difficult for aggro decks to deal with. Deleb specifically is one of your very best matchups. Mother Namtaru is another favorable matchup where only Boneyard annoys you but it’s more of a pain in the butt than an actual problem most of the time. It basically just drags the game out even more and in basically every matchup and certainly in every Creature-based matchup the longer the game draws out the better it gets for you. Notice how I’ve used the term “drags the game out” several times throughout the article. This is entirely intentional. That should be your main goal against Creature decks.

There isn’t ANY Creature that gives you serious fits. Between Hellfire Maniac, Soulreaver, Arkath’s Wrath and Doom Bringer you’ve got the answer for everything somewhere regardless of whatever defensive ability it may have. Be it Enemy Spell Ward, Magic Resist, Magic Shield, etc. we have ways around it.

Against non-Creature decks, which there aren’t a ton of at the moment, things get trickier. I haven’t played the matchup enough times against competent players but I’d imagine Sandor Mass Rage or generally any Mass Rage deck that is well built and well piloted would be an unfavorable matchup. We cannot remove Mass Rage once it’s down and we probably don’t have the pressure to aggro them out. However, with our plethora of removal, we can easily kill every single Creature they ever drop and possibly run them out if win conditions. Likewise we often have cards that are potentially annoying for them to remove such as all our guys with more than 5 Health as a lot of the time those decks rely heavily on their own Arkath’s Wrath. Also, a well-timed Cosmic Balance can make a huge difference, especially if it hits their Wrath or one of their win conditions such as Ur-Jubaal’s Call. In my experience these matchups, while certainly not nearly as good as the matchup against aggro decks, aren’t nearly as bad as you might think. You certainly have a fighting chance.

Necropolis decks are the most difficult among the aggro Creature-based matchups but they’re still favorable. There are two primary reasons they’re harder than the others- 1. Boneyard. We can’t stop this card from doing its thing so it’s a valuable asset for them that gives them a huge boost in the attrition grind that inevitably occurs. Often to win these matchups you need to pop your removal on their newly-recurred Boneyard Creature and shove through for damage. 2. Specifically mid game builds, similar to what we’re running, often pack things like The Banshee that can, once again, keep them in the attrition war with us which almost no other decks can do. These matchups take practice to learn how to play them correctly.

The consistently worst matchup that I am aware of is the under the radar but extremely powerful Akane Frozen Wave Lock monstrosity that many of you will be just hearing about now for the first time. Maybe you’ve faced this deck on ladder but even if so it was probably a suboptimal list that you went against. Here’s a good list! A very good list if I do say so myself…

http://www.mmdoctools.com/deck/2096-akane-frozen-wave-lock.en.html

Because we ourselves are a defensive deck we have a very hard time putting up enough offense to get through their extremely capable defense and once they get the Frozen Wave lockout online there basically isn’t anything we can do about it. Counting our Flyers we have… Umm… The Moon Phoenix stands alone! So yeah… In this matchup once the lock is in place the game is over. We can never attack again and we will, slowly and painfully, be overcome by their Flyers. Akane Lock in general is really really good and if I weren’t writing a guide about Kiril that’d be the deck I’d be writing about. It has game against everything with those MVP Captive Djinns and it does something very powerful that several decks, including this one, cannot deal with.

Notice many of the things I listed as being annoying for us all have one thing in common- they’re problems easily solved by Rise of the Nethermancer. This is the one drawback to running Spell Stealer Heretic and for all the good it does it simultaneously makes us unable to run Rise of the Nethermancer and therefore gives us issues with a couple Graveyard-focused cards and themes that otherwise wouldn’t be nearly as big of an issue. Rise of the Nethermancer is definitely the most important Event in Standard right now and I strongly feel that every deck that can run it without crippling itself should do so. It’s to the point now where if I were still running Deleb (which I wouldn’t because it’s definitely bad now) I’d be running 4 RotN right alongside 4 Week of the Mercenaries. As much as I believe my build is superior to the aggro build of Kiril that is one advantage it has over us- if it’s willing to not run Heretic and focus more on aggro it can also run Rise of the Nethermancer and not have some of these problems.

Of course, Kiril, like every deck, will evolve over time. The list that I’ve got right now is a very stock list because it’s early in the metagame and as always early on people just default to Creature decks because they’ve not figured other decks out and this is about as good of an anti-Creature deck as you’re going to find. When the metagame evolves this list will need to change with it in order to remain competitive but as of this very moment, as in the Monday afternoon when I’m finishing this article, I think this is likely the best discovered deck for the current Standard metagame.

Other decks of note, for those curious about my perception of the current metagame, include-

Akane Frozen Wave Lock

Asalah Neutral Spirits (yes really)

Deleb Aggro

Dhamiria Mid Range/Dhamiria Mass Rage

Garant Mid Range

Kal-Azaar Mid Range

Morgan Mid Range

Mother Namtaru Rush

Sandor Mass Rage

Shaar Aggro/Mid Range

Sveltana Late Game

Toghrul Aggro/Mid Range

Yukiko Late Game

Zardoc Mid Range

Some of these are of course better than others but those are some of the decks that are in the discussion of being viable to some degree.

As I approach 6,000 words I will leave you with this- I’ve read several threads on the forums crying and calling for nerfs and calling Card X and Strategy Y overpowered. I tossed in one post replies on two threads and walked away, as the stupidity leaves me sitting at my keyboard fuming, but I strongly believe Standard is in a really good place right now and most of the cards people are crying about- specifically Lava Spawn- do not need to be nerfed. Of course everyone is entitled to whatever opinion they’d like but I’m a firm believer that opinions can be wrong and even if you don’t necessary agree with that I think we can all agree that some opinions are more worth listening to than others. Take that for what it’s worth…

Anyhow, as always comments and feedback are welcome!

Happy gaming!

-EnlightenedOwl

SINS OF THE LAST UPDATE

***NOTE FROM ENLIGHTENEDOWL***

This is the second article for MMDoCKing by potential new contributor gardiet. As with all new contributors he’s still on a trial basis regarding whether or not to make him an official contributor to the site and whether or not he writes here is largely up to you guys! After reading the article please take a moment to vote in the follow up poll on the main page. If you liked what you read and want to see more content from this author let us know! If you didn’t like it POLITELY let us know that too! Your vote matters! Enjoy the article.

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SINS OF LAST UPDATE

by gardiet

Yes, another article about the last changes in the game. But don’t worry, my view is quite different from EnlightenedOwl and Counterbob ones. And as you can guess from the title of the article, not very positive.

I’m using the usual pros and cons format, but I will start with the negative points to leave a good taste in the end. As any DoC player, I would prefer that the game were better and better and enjoy. Let’s offer not only what I think is not so good in the last update, but also some ideas to solve the current situation.

CONS

1. Timing

I’m referring to when they chose to launch the new expansion, Sins of Betrayal. Having new cards and possibilities must be always positive, but I’m not so sure. We had complete access to Griffin Band on July, at the end for gold. This means that anyone not so wealthy such as myself (without a lot of gold to waste) has built up to their competitive decks no more than 2 months ago. Is it time enough to enjoy? In my opinion it isn’t. Before we were able to test our decks a lot and weren’t worried about the new cards and strategies that they will allow.

I would have preferred some more time before the new expansion. Could this be really a conclusion of a DoC player? Am I mad? Of course DoC team need money and new cards is the best way to obtain it.

Solution: In this case I prefer the community solving the problem, if you guys even agree that it’s a problem. How much time do you guys think is the best before a new expansion?

2. New system to start the match

It is true, the old system was very favorable for second, and now it has been solved. But what price we must pay: RUSH, RUSH, RUSH, … It seems that only aggro decks are now tier1.
Delaying the resources incoming makes it mandatory to play with 1 resource creatures and Dragon Crystal is not enough to solve that problem. In my last jackpot tournament I only played against aggro decks in the top positions (Inferno and Mother Namtaru). What a shame the incredible art work in the new cards are going to waste as they’re all unplayable because only rush strategies are usable.

That is by far the worst of all negative point, and makes me enjoy the game much less.

Solution: The simplest I can think of:  go back to the old system but give the Dragon Crystal to the first player. In this way great removers as Insect swarm or Geyser could be used after only two turns of the rival, and not three as it is now, and this is a radical difference.

3. Daily rewards

Not bad change at a whole, but there is a particular detail that is very negative. It seems that tournament tickets won’t be a reward anymore. I agree with Counterbob in his analysis about the impact of tournaments in the community. Avoiding tickets from the daily rewards system make them very difficult to get, except using real money. Is it a deliberate movement of Ubisoft? I think so, and I don’t agree at all about limiting one of the most interesting part of the game to those players that pay.

Solution: Clearly, maintaining tournament tickets as a daily reward.

And finally a point not related with the last update.

4. Ubisoft attitude regarding external resources

I can’t speak about the support that EnlightenedOwl, other webmasters or tool developers are receiving from Ubisoft. I can explain the response that I had when I contacted with that company looking for help to create an external tool, similar to the outdated “Forge of Champions”. They answered me that no support was possible, in a clearly not motivating way, and I was asking only for a way to obtain the images of the cards.

I have some experience in external tools for online games, and I know the big impact that webs like mmdocking.com or programs like DoC Replay Manager have in the community. They improve a lot the player experience and cover aspects not completely solved by the game.

Solution: Dear Ubisoft members, please, not only read and be watchful of the community opinions, but also consider support in any way webmasters and tools developers.

PROS

1. Ubisoft attitude

Yes, just the opposite of the last point, but in other aspects. I think that there are signals of an approach from the developers to the players. Cards nerfed, trying to solve the second turn advantage (yes, bad solution but an attempt), infernal pit changes, replays in the game, campaign, daily rewards, … They all are examples of the interest that developers have to improve the game.

I could now write about some other positive changes, but I have touched on them  before in the article so I’m not repeating them. I have explained my main feelings about the current situation of the game and I prefer not to bore you by making this article too drawn out. Don’t think that the small pros paragraph means that I don’t see anything positive. I appreciate the Ubisoft efforts, but other articles have explained it before and I prefer to stand out as a different critic with a proactive point of view.

Sorry if my English is not so perfect (I edited this article relatively thoroughly to hopefully make it clearer and easier to understand without taking away from the points the author tries to express- EO) and please comment and offer other ideas to improve the game.

Best regards
gardiet

SINS OF BETRAYAL METAGAME CHANGING CARDS

***NOTE FROM ENLIGHTENEDOWL***

Please note that this specific article was written BEFORE Sins of Betrayal was available in the shop and I have intentionally waited until now to post it to see if his predictions have proven to be accurate! Let him know what you think in the comments!

This is the second article for MMDoCKing by potential contributor Bomy999. As with all new contributors he’s still on a trial basis regarding whether or not to make him an official contributor to the site and whether or not he writes here is largely up to you guys! After reading the article please take a moment to vote in the follow up poll on the main page. If you liked what you read and want to see more content from this author let us know! If you didn’t like it POLITELY let us know that too! Your vote matters! Enjoy the article.

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Sins of Betrayal Meta-Changing Cards

By Bomy999

The new expansion Sins of Betrayal (SoB) is out! Sort of, at the moment you can only get these cards by winning swiss tournaments. I want to give my opinion on what will be the most important meta-changing cards.

The cards I’m about to discuss will have a great impact on the DoC-meta, they will change how the game is being played. I use some loose criteria.
First of all: they can be staple cards (4copies always).
Second: they may have a really strong effect (like for example ice-meteor).
Third: you can build a deck around it (for example the Titan workforce pre-patch).

Remember that this is my take on the expansion. I could be wrong as we don’t have seen these cards in action yet. Without further ado, I give you my list of meta-changing cards!

Kiril (Hero)

Kiril

This guy is just a monster. He’s got strong spell schools with dark and fire. His stats 210 are really good to rush your opponent. But most importantly, his ability (fire creatures cost 1 less), just makes this hero one of the best out there! Toghrull be warned ;-)

Storm rage (Spell)

Storm Rage

This is exactly what the air-magic spell school needed: a strong area of effect damage doing card. To me, this looks like a staple card. I would always play 4 of them in any air-magicschool hero. It is like 3-magma bursts in one card!?

Illusionary Nightmare (spell)

Storm Rage

Mark my words, this card is going to give you ‘nightmares’ (pun intended ). This card basically forces you to cluster your creatures together. Which then will be weak against… the water spell-school. For example I can see Seria playing this card together with Ice-meteors and geysers, things could get nasty. What are you going to do??

Tori of the Eternal Empress (building)

Storm Rage

Maybe not the biggest game-changer, but a Coral Priestesses in a building looks pretty awesome to me. If you can get this building to stick on the battleground, then the outmanoeuvre might just win you the game.

Ice Spear (Spell)

Storm Rage

Don’t be mistaken by this cute low cost card. This could potentially be a gamechanger! What deck couldn’t use a +1 attack for only 1 cost, which you can do each turn! (Because the card gets back to youre hand.) I have encountered a (horribly strong) combo where the necropolis creature: Namtaru Channeler combined with this card just went crazy going up to 5attack combined with other water spells. The only question on my mind is how many of these Ice spears you would want to play in your deck. Because a hand with only ice spears won’t help you of course. So my guess is that water hero’s will add at least 2 of them in their decks.

 
Honorouble Mentions

Some other great cards that just didn’t make the list but might as well be up there-

Sandor, will he be the ‘new and improved’ Toghrull with his amazing spell schools?
Executioner Succubus, a really cool banshee-like creature for inferno?
Alone in the dark, random effect but really good value.
Frozen wave, a meteor-like effect all over the board could be devastating.
Throne of Ahhriban, situational but really strong effect.
EternalApprentice, with his cripple ability he can slow rush decks down considerably

 
Now the important aspect, what do you think will be the biggest meta-changing cards of the new expansion? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in chat!

 
Bomy999

HEHEHE :D

Sins of Betrayal Standard has been going quite well for me…

Kiril OP

Of course, Open has been going quite well for me too…

Garant OP

So, as with all things with the new MMDoCKing, I leave what happens from here to you guys. Which of the two decks- Standard Kiril or Open Garant- would you rather read a guide about? Whichever receives the most votes on the poll on the main page by the time the poll closes will be the subject of a guide I write for you guys. Regardless of which you choose I hope everyone is enjoying DoC and is having as much fun with Sins of Betrayal as I am!

Happy Gaming!

-EnlightenedOwl

AN UPDATE ON THE STATE OF MMDOCKING

Hey all…

It’s been roughly two or three weeks since I’ve taken over the management of MMDoCKing and I feel it’s time to do something the previous owners weren’t particularly good at- communicating with you guys. I want to bring everyone up to speed with what I’ve done, what I’m doing and what I’d like to do going forward.

Starting with the first on the list, things I’ve already done, hopefully you guys have noticed a significant increase in the overall activity of the site. I personally have been writing more and I’ve also communicated with a few other people who are willing to write here and gotten their work up as well. I’ve also added several polls to the main page and have placed a huge emphasis on community feedback and community involvement in a genuine attempt to please our audience as much as possible and make people feel truly involved. I allow feedback polls and comments for all of our writers because, quite simply, I don’t want to post things that you guys don’t want to read and if a particular author isn’t doing it for you for whatever reason I have no problem making executive decisions and telling that person, politely, that things aren’t working out and they’ll no longer be writing here. Hopefully this kind of system, where everyone gets an honest chance and then the community votes to determine an author’s fate, is considered fair and reasonable to all parties involved and will result in a site with content that people enjoy and without content they don’t. The biggest condition I was given by Enclase upon acquiring the site was to show him “that there is a need for MMDoCKing” by the time his contract to keep the site up expires. I’m hoping the huge increase in activity in such a short period of time is enough to convince him to let me keep at it as things will only continuously get better.

As for what I’m actively doing… Priority number one, far and away, is getting the deck builder and card viewer up to date. This is something I’ve been fully aware of since the beginning and something I’ve been actively working on since the very first day I took over here. Unfortunately, it’s proven to be a far more complicated pain in the ass mess than I could have ever guessed and I cannot guarantee a date for things to be fixed. Basically, this is the problem and this is where we are regarding fixing it- Problem one was I know nothing about programming/coding so even if I had all the access and information I needed I personally probably wouldn’t be able to do it. So, I needed to find a programming guy I could trust. I did in fact find a programming guy who, while I don’t know him in real life, has been extremely polite, mature and positive and I have as much faith in him as I realistically can given the fact that he’s an anonymous person on the other side of Internetland. Problem two is accessing the data. Come to find out, from Enclase, the deck builder and card viewer are all stored on a different server that even Enclase does not have access to. Apparently only Bokkengro, the old programmer, has access to this location. My attempts to contact Bokkengro have been entirely unsuccessful and he’s not replied to any of my emails or been in the chat, ever. Upon conceding I may never contact Bokkengro and he may for whatever reason not even be willing to give me the information I need if I were to finally get a hold of him I moved on to the much more of a pain in the ass but unfortunately probably necessary Plan B. Plan B is to forget the entire thing that we already have in place and redo it, every single card one at a time, from the ground up. My programming guy felt confident he could do this even if it would be a huge pain and take a bit of time. Problem solved? Of course not. Life can never be that simple. The problem NOW is in order to start from the ground up and get everything going we need access to the server on which MMDoCKing is hosted so all the stuff can be programmed onto that same server. This is, once again, information I was not given upon taking over the site. One would think Enclase would have access to that information so I’m waiting on a reply from him but right now, almost a week later, I’ve heard nothing back. When he replies if he has good news we’ll hopefully get to work as soon as possible. If not, or if I can’t ever get a hold of him again, we’ll have to look at other options. Rest assured that I’m just as frustrated as anyone with the deck builder and card viewer situation and I am fully aware of how big of an asset it is to the site. I assure you, I’m definitely working on it. I wish I had something better to give you but now you know as much as I do and I’ll keep at it and try to make more progress as fast as I can.

As for the future… Once the deck builder and card viewer are up to date it’ll enable a lot of things. I can see contests, tournaments, etc. but a lot of things like that are enabled by having a deck builder… I’d of course like to get more people coming back to the site and more contributors. Again, going back to the deck builder, I suspect more people would be willing to contribute if it were up to date… I also plan on cleaning up the site and doing some organizing. Getting rid of some blank pages, condensing things and getting rid of some of the old spam and clutter that doesn’t need to be there. I’m still working on learning all the technical things as far as managing the site and using the software. For example, I’m not sure how to make it so when I post an article you only see the first paragraph or two and have to click “read more” in order to view the rest. I’d like to figure that out for two reasons- 1. It gives me a more accurate count of how many people are actually reading the posts because right now some people may just be reading the whole thing from the main page without ever actually clicking on it and 2. It makes the main page have more content on it and feel less cluttered. Little changes like that will add up and make a significant difference and I’m still trying to figure out how to do them. Of course, this is all pending that at the end of the month Enclase decides this site is worth keeping around. I certainly think it is, and I think the progress we’ve already made is very apparent, but it’s not entirely up to me. As always definitely let me know what YOU think in the comments!

More articles and fun stuff coming soon!

-EnlightenedOwl

MAKING DOC MORE SUCCESSFUL BY COUNTERBOB

***NOTE FROM ENLIGHTENEDOWL***

This is the second article for MMDoCKing by potential new contributor Counterbob. As with all new contributors he’s still on a trial basis regarding whether or not to make him an official contributor to the site and whether or not he writes here is largely up to you guys! After reading the article please take a moment to vote in the follow up poll on the main page. If you liked what you read and want to see more content from this author let us know! If you didn’t like it POLITELY let us know that too! Your vote matters! Enjoy the article.

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So I started writing this article late last week and after reading EnlightenedOwl’s post about the new update I noticed that some of this article will cross over on some topics he talked about.

While we are on that note I want to give my two cents about the update. Overall I’m a fan of what they are doing. The Infernal Pit change is the best thing they could have done. The new dailies are a little grindy but nothing too unobtainable even by the casual/newer player.

The Dragon Crystal. Now I like the new start of the game as it is way more balanced they it was. What I don’t like is that the Dragon Crystal has two other abilities besides adding a resource. I’ve had games where I was able to do something or my opponent was able to do something we shouldtn’t of been because of the Crystal doing one damage. Now I understand 90% of the time its going to be a resource but still not too thrilled about it doing a point of damage.

I have voiced concerns about this (both prior to and after the update) and just been told things like “our VIPs are saying its working out” Never ever given any actual information about how its working out or statistics. I don’t have all the hours in the world testing all of this, and it is still very early in the process of it being in the game and I may be over reacting. Time will tell but so far after playing for a few days the concerns I had going in are still the concerns I have today. I will say I have seen that going first and second is way more balanced and I do appreciate that, rather than the old ways of doing things.

It being a fortune is also questionable. At its core it is supposed to be helping the second player keep curve with the first. But when you literally can’t play it because of an event card and you are put behind by 3 turns because of it that just isn’t right. This along with it doing one damage were two major concerns I had when they first announced it in the Dev diary and I was told basically nah its fine don’t worry about it. The crystal should also be banished after being played. I’ve had times where both myself and my opponent were able to play Moon Phoenix because if it being in the graveyard.

Lastly with the update that happened everything they talked about occurred. The new start , the card changes, the infernal pit changes. I’m missing something.. O yes! The Ticket changes. O wait they didn’t happen yet.. Why? I’m not sure. Apparently they are waiting to update that with the shop changes when Sins becomes released. This is very confusing. Why do everything but this? Seems even more questionable when you have Swiss events now with an increased prize that includes Sins packs. These packs aren’t available yet any other way, so people looking to grind out some Swiss to get the packs but have to spend seals on it when they should be able to use gold.

That was a little ranty and I do apologize. Let’s move on to more important matters.

How can we make MMDOC more successful? This is an honest question I have. I’ve been playing TCGs of all kinds for over a decade and this is one of the best I’ve ever played, but nobody plays it. I’m quite passionate about this game and I want to see it succeed. So let’s brainstorm here and see if we can find something as a community to help push this game into the forefront. Let’s break it down to a few categories where I see a few weak points.

 

Advertisement

Plainly speaking WHERE IS IT? I would of never heard of this game if I wasn’t bored one day and went looking for free to play games on Steam. Since then I’ve seen maybe 2 ads for the game. This is just sad to me. Why don’t they want to tell more people about the game?

One thing I did see recently that was a step in the right direction was the streamer Trump, who is very big in the Hearthstone community, had a YouTube series on MMDOC which was a paid promotion. This is definitely something they should keep doing. Get the big names playing this game; it gets more eyes on it. Getting them to stream it would be the next step as Twitch is just a launching pad for games these days, but I’ll get to that later.

Some people say well Hearthstone can do so much because they have the name Blizzard behind that. Well yes they did have the WoW fan base already but it’s not like Ubisoft is a small brand. There is a lot more they could be doing to push this game.

 

Player Base

It’s relatively low and some of the more popular streamers have even left the game completely. Some of that was due to slow reactions from the team and the game becoming stale, but over the last year with all the changes that have been made to the game it’s become far from stale. Having a smaller player base is in part to the previous bullet point that nobody knows about this game.

Now with the campaign it gives newer players a chance to earn gold and get used to the game without having to face people with full decks in ranked or even unranked ques.

One thing that the community has been dying for is a Draft mode. This helps both new and old players. The new players get a mode where they don’t have to have a full deck to play competitively. This can give them time to build a collection before they get demoralized because of losing to full decks when they can’t afford the cards they need. This also helps keep the older players entertained by introducing a new mode and keeping each game fresh. I’ll talk a bit more about drafts in a bit.

The player base breaks down from the lack of advertising. There isn’t a great flow of new players and some of the older players have left due to boredom. Now that they have increased with more modes of play with Swiss and Jackpot each day and having Open and Standard, which happened earlier this year, it has kept the game from becoming stale. They have made some strides in the right direction. Keeping people interested in playing and drawing a new crowd are areas they need to put a brighter focus on.

 

The Community and Community Support

Overall this is a really nice community of passionate players but there are always sour apples on the tree. I’d love to see in this game is a way to report players for poor behavior. Most other online games have a way in the game client where it’s just a few clicks and bam a report is filed. I’ve experienced more toxic behavior in the last month since I’ve come back to the game than in all the previous time I had played prior to taking my break.

A lot of the time it feels like Ubisoft and the CMs give very vague feedback to its community. Compared to some other games, the community support just doesn’t feel up to par. I’ve voiced concerns about aspects of the games on social media and gotten responses which basically say nah don’t worry about it wait and see. I’ve seen people associated with the game in streams responded to peoples questions in similar ways as well. Even a response from a CM that was “ But I’m just a CM” Yes we know this that is why we are asking you this so you could relay this to the Dev team as you are the Mid-point between the community and the dev team. There was another concern by a few in chat that the ticket prices were a little high and could be 10k or 15k. I agree I think 15k would be a better option. During the discussion it came up that it’s tough for newer players that are managing there gold to be getting into Swiss events. We were then told that Swiss isn’t for new players. Why are you trying to put a gate on parts of your game? Yes very new beginners won’t fare well in Swiss. But newer players that have a deck that they have been spending time on and gold on want another place to compete. Swiss is that place. It’s a competitive area that gives them chance to win a prize. If you are creating gates for these types of players the game won’t grow.

When they first released the Dev Diary about the new 1st player start change, a lot of people had concerns. Most of the responses were just our testers said it worked. Now I’m not being verbatim here but that’s basically what we got told. I would of preferred actual examples. Something along the lines of well in our play test games we noticed a X% of this was happening Y% of this time so we came the conclusion of Z.

Other times their Reponses have felt like they were talking to me like I was 10 years old. Most of the time after an interaction with somebody from the company I come back with a sour taste in my mouth rather than a confidence in the company making this game.

The community as a whole since I’ve started playing as been asking for a way to see banished cards and there has been little to no response or action on this. For me this is really confusing. It seems like such an easy fix. But hey I’m not a programmer.

I know that the CMs and Devs and what not do a good job but there is still a lot of wiggle room for improvement and this may come off as me being super picky (which I actually kind of is). These are just a few examples of what I am talking about. I’ve had previous frustrations with responses from them in the past as well as having positive ones. The thing is though I want to see this game succeed and with small fixes the company can make on its surfaces to things like community support. Us as a community can also improve with not trying to push the Dev team into a fire every time a change is made or isn’t made. You can voice your concerns but don’t just say omg they bad this game sux cuz of change lawlz. Stating your opinion properly will never be dismissed.

Streaming

Twitch has come to the forefront of gaming culture. It has become the new TV to some of todays youths. It’s incredible the numbers some channels can pull in. MMDOC needs to capitalize on this. There are a fair amount of streamers but not that many compared to most games. They also host there team streams in the middle of the day and morning for the US. Now I know there is a big EU and RU presence in this game but perhaps they could run two streams. One earlier for the EU/RU scene and one for the US scene later in the day. Three of the more popular streamers left the game completely earlier this year which defiantly doesn’t help but is in correlation with some of the other points I’ve talked about.

The game already has Twitch integration and that’s great but nobody really uses it. A thing they can build off of that, as a game like Smite has, is to put a twitch tab into the game client. What would be on this Twitch tab? Well you could have video of the top streamer going on live in the client. You could also have the toggles for you to go live in that area as well. What would this do for the game? It would help get the game more visibility. A lot of the players probably don’t pay attention to twitch but if they knew more about the streamers with an easy access point it would boost numbers.

Boosting the numbers gets more people to see the game on Twitch. O man this game has 1k people watching it, let me go check out this stream and see what this game is about. O man this game looks fun I’ll download it. That’s something that can easily happen. I’m not sure on the programming how that works but it’s a possibility. I know they have the banner but most people probably don’t really recognize it.

Promoting streams is something as a community we can do. If you have a streamer you like tell your friends or people you play with. If you know somebody that makes YouTube videos promote them. Post their videos on Facebook. These are easy steps as a community that we can do to help promote the game in general. Again the more content people see of this game the better.
If you stream, make videos, or know somebody who does please provide links down below.

Tournaments

This is an area in need of dire improvement. The only tournament going around is the Road to Paris and that has a steep access point. Every once and a while there are community tournaments. Which is great. We need to do more of those. If you are running a community tournament I highly recommend streaming it. Let me know if you are and I’ll do my best to promote it. This goes back to my point about streaming. If you get people watching this being played a competitive level they will be more interested in it.

Ubisoft should also be looking to do more tournaments. The Road to Paris is nice. It leads to a world tournament and you have a grand champion and all but there is more to be done. They could have an open style tournament accessible to all. They could run it once a month or every other month. You have player’s register between day X and Y and the tournament is held on day Z. As for prizes they could be in game or actual cash. You could even charge an entry fee weather that is in game currency or cash. Just look at what MTG does with its Grand Prix circuit. That can be used as a great example. You can charge people like 10 dollars or something along those lines and all those who enter get an exclusive promo. Depending on the amount of entries you can pay out to a decent amount of players. The MTG grand prix pays out to top 64. Now the MMDOC tourneys would likely have less people so you could pay out to top 16 or top 32. You can even change the formats they are played in. the first can be open, the next could be Standard.

That’s just a base idea for a large Ubisoft sponsored tournament. They don’t have to lead to a world cup or anything. The winner just gets the title of MMDOC Open champ or something like that. If you have any suggestions to these ideas and want to build upon this please comment below.

Drafting

This above all else is the number 1 thing they should be looking to put in this game. Not only is the most asked thing about from the community but it would help grow this game.

Drafting creates a whole new format for old players to try to master. Some people absolutely love and excel in limited formats. This would be there go to format. This also gives the newer players a way to play at a higher level without having a full constructed deck. You could charge people tickets like in swiss and even run it like swiss.

If they want this game to reach more people and be more successful this should be a priority.

Casuals

This game compared to some other online TCGs is a bit more complex and can drive some casual gamers away because of it. Adding the campaign to aid players in the complexities of the game is a great thing they have included. I’d like to see them release a campaign with each set release as well.

Over time they have been making small improvements here and there. Having a draft mode would also be a great way to help build the casual scene. I can really see where only being able to play MMDOC here and there can be really taxing and frustrating. The casuals market is the larger market of most games and its potential is just not being tapped quite properly yet. Over the last year they have made small improvements to aide in this area but there’s always room for more. The infernal pit change is the best step they’ve made in this process.

I hope by reading this slightly ranty article you understand my passion for the game and my desire for it to be successful. At the core this game is amazing and just needs to be seen by more and supported a bit better by Ubisoft.

If you have anything to add to this by all means leave a comment. I want this to be an open discussion point as a community to help build this game up. We are smart folk and I know we can come up with some great ideas.

Counterbob

Twitter – @counterbob
Twitch – thecounterbob
Youtube – counterbob8
In Game- Bigbobbyk

UMMM, AM I MISSING SOMETHING? AN ANALYSIS OF POST-CHANGES PRE-SINS OF BETRAYAL DUEL OF CHAMPIONS

For those of you who saw the patch notes or who have simply played the game in the past couple days it’s pretty hard to have not noticed some of the game-altering changes the development team opted to make with their most recent update. Sins of Betrayal is around the corner and it will, inevitably, drastically change the metagame and the viability of currently popular Heroes and all that good stuff so this article is going to focus much less than usual on strategy and card evaluation and much more on theory and analysis, which I’m equally as passionate to write about. Overall I think most of the changes are quite good and it gives me legitimate hope, kind of, for a game and a development team I freely admit I was getting highly frustrated with. However, I’m not thrilled with all the changes as you’ll read below. Without dragging out the teaser opening paragraph any further, let’s get into specifics!

SPECIFIC CARD CHANGES-

Lurker in the Dark- This card was definitely too good and needed to be changed and while I’m not sure I love what they opted to do to it it’s something I can accept. Post changes I doubt this card will see much play as it’s simply not particularly good anymore but it is still playable I suppose. I’d certainly not be excited to play with it. Even though the nerf here was quite extreme I’m not sure there was any better way to do it without completely reworking the card. Making it cost 3 and still have Fear 3 is a possible alternative to what they opted to do and I think I like that better but admittedly that version of the card is still good and it’s possible that they were simply sick of the card and wanted to see change and variety in the metagame and therefore, when faced with two options like this, specifically made a point to opt for the one that takes this previously overplayed card basically out of the metagame. Even if it’s played it certainly won’t be anywhere close to as important as it had been previously. Inferno as a whole is significantly weakened by this change as Lurker was played universally in its faction’s decks.

Chain Casting- I promised myself as I wrote this that I’d try to keep the ranting in this particular section to a minimum. Those of you who have read my past writings probably know how I feel about combo decks- specifically non-interactive, unfun, in my opinion really bad for the game combo decks such as Old Ammar and Masfar Combo. Pretty much all of the decks that fall under this category have one thing universally in common- they’re enabled by Chain Casting. In my opinion Chain Casting is probably the number one card on the “bad for the game” list ever printed. So, needless to say, I’m quite thrilled with this change and I hope it takes this kind of combo deck out of the picture. Now, granted, I don’t mind fair combo decks or interactive combo decks. In fact, I quite enjoy playing decks like that! I just don’t like the you sit there helplessly while I do my own thing regardless of what you are doing and after I’m done completely ignoring you from the start of the game til now I’ll kill you all in one shot on turn 5 kind. The type of combo deck I’d like to see, for example, could be a Reanimator deck as in you get some monstrously huge guy into the graveyard with Day of Fortune or similar means and then use Sunrise or Resurrection or a similar card to get it into play far faster than you would by normal means. Alternatively, how about a deck with one big expensive creature that says “When Big Expensive Creature Dies, as long as you have more than zero cards in your hand, discard your hand. If you do, return Big Expensive Creature to play” in conjunction with an ongoing spell that says “As long as you control a friendly creature all damage that would reduce your life total to less than 1 reduces it to 1 instead”. Something like this is powerful and worth building a deck around but it’s nowhere near unbeatable- you could Banish the creature as opposed to killing it, you could bounce the creature, you could make your opponent have no cards in their hand at the time you kill the creature, you could simply destroy the ongoing spell itself… There is plenty of counterplay. The interactions in these games would be a lot of fun and I think both sides of a game with interactions like that would be quite enjoyable as well as skill-intensive. Definitely let me know about this section in particular in the comments.

Bloodsnake Shaman- A necessary change that, unlike Lurker in the Dark, doesn’t neuter the card. Bloodsnake Shaman, and Stronghold overall, is still quite good. This card will still be heavily played and will still win a lot of games. No complaints here at all. This is almost certainly how the card should have been printed in the first place.

Titan Workforce- I don’t want to copy/paste the paragraph I already wrote about this from my recent “Top 10 Cards in Griffin Bane” article but the short version is this card was clearly too good by a laughable amount prior to the change and this change, while it severely weakens the card, is entirely necessary. The only reason it severely weakens it is because the card really was that broken and overpowered in the first place. This card will still see play and be a valuable asset to decks that use it- you just can’t build an entire deck around it anymore.

Invokers- I have no idea what Sins of Betrayal will do to the metagame but between then and now, which is only a few more days, a few of the Invokers are suddenly quite good. Mother Namtaru is probably just a better Ariana now. Geyser isn’t quite Insect Swarm but it’s not too far behind and you also get access to Ice Meteor. She’s probably your best bet for Necropolis in Standard. Kal-Azaar is already quite good now with his new starting stats and when Sins of Betrayal comes out, with all the new boosts specifically aimed at Dark and Fire Magic, he will surely only get better. Even Shaar is a legitimate option for Toghrul players to consider switching to. There are pros and cons to both decks and I’m not sure which is better but the point is this conversation would have been ludicrous a few days ago and now it’s an actual debate.

All the other changes are much more minor and not worth writing about. Many of them are really just bug fixes as opposed to actual changes to any given card.

QUALITY OF LIFE CHANGES-

Infernal Pit- Far and away the best non-gameplay change since the introduction of the Altar of Wishes, making the Infernal Pit give Wildcards is something we should all be happy about. I feel the way they set this up is very fair and reasonable and it will make the game MUCH more accessible both to new players and to the many DoC players who simply do not desire to/are unable to put real money into the game. Superb change and props to Ubisoft here. And this is from someone who hasn’t been shy, at all, about bashing them repeatedly for idiotic decisions.

In-game Replay Manager- Not NECESSARY per say but certainly very convenient this is another great addition that no one should have a reason to be unhappy about. I hope everyone takes the time to send their thank yous to the guys who programmed the original replay viewer tools, as we’ve been using them this entire time for lack of better options, and they’re now basically obsolete. Another great change that I commend Ubisoft for as long as they manage to keep it bug free and we don’t get client crashes from Chaos Seer or Soul Consuming Wraith or whatever similarly unique and tricky to program card they may print in the future.

Pack Inventory- In my opinion, who cares… But, apparently some people do and I suppose there isn’t any negative aspect of having this so it’s whatever. I view this change as very minor. Not important to me.

Daily Quest Changes- This is another change that I view as very minor and probably unnecessary but once again it makes life more convenient and on principle- the fact that Ubisoft seems to finally be willing to put in effort to make things more convenient for the players- I find this very promising. Is it possible the development team is finally starting to “get it”? I think we’re still a ways off from that point but this makes me think they’re at least trying and I think that’s really important.

FIRST/SECOND CHANGES-

Please note, the following statements are aimed ONLY at Standard play. Open may be a different story.

Of all the positive changes we’ve covered thus far, with me giving anywhere from my seal of approval to an enthusiastic thumbs up and a smile to each of them up to this point, that ends here. This section is where the title of my article comes from. Am I missing something? High level players please feel free to chime in and let me know if your experiences have differed wildly from mine but for me, across a healthy amount of games with and against a healthy amount of different decks, it seems (dragon) crystal clear to me that going second is still far and away better than going first. The development team has repeatedly claimed, in multiple places, that going first is now an advantage. That is, bluntly, bullshit. The Dragon Crystal is really powerful. You already start up a card going second now anyway because you don’t draw on your first turn when you go first and the DC, at worst, puts you up two cards which is incredibly good. It also kills important early threats, such as Goblin Scout, immediately so any tempo advantage going first could potentially have basically doesn’t matter. The +1 resource is basically the same. Does it matter if you can theoretically rush me down a little bit better since I, the second player, am behind on resources if I can still Insect Swarm on the same turn I would have been able to before? Oh, also, I’m up a card. Also going first and mulliganing into a slow or clunky hand is death. If you are unlucky enough to find a hand with no play until turn 3 you’ll often find yourself staring down a Goblin Scout or Maniac or whatever aggressive 1 drop followed by a 2 resource 3 drop (thanks to the Dragon Crystal) and a 3 resource 3 drop to an opponent who started with an additional card. From here you can easily be on the backfoot for the entire game and it’s very difficult to recover. I’ve found very consistently regardless of matchup and regardless of deck I’d rather be the second player. I think almost no deck prefers to go first, again.

Assuming my statements in the paragraph above are accurate, which I’m extremely confident they are, I’d strongly argue that this change was either an outright failure or simply pointless. In scenario one if in their testing they somehow GENUINELY believe that going first is an advantage, or is even on par with going second, their testing went horribly wrong. I don’t know if they had biased/tunnel-visioned testers, too small of a test group, decks designed specifically for how they thought the new system would work as opposed to how decks are built in real life, or simply too few games to get accurate results but I really can’t emphasize enough that if they truly genuinely for real for serious came to the conclusion that going first is better something major needs to change in their testing process. They’re just so so sooooo wrong and the people who make the game being that far out of touch with how things actually work is scary to me. In the second scenario the development team doesn’t actually believe going first is an advantage and is simply saying whatever needs to be said to get you enthusiastic about the changes I’d say that’s equally bad. I’d say that’s dishonest and deceptive and I’d say the changes were basically pointless for any purpose other than simply making a change at all. Going second is still very advantageous over going first, just like it was. Yes, it’s now advantageous in a different way. But it’s still clearly advantageous. Changing why it’s a problem doesn’t actually fix the problem. A few of their changes, specifically this one and the severe Lurker in the Dark nerf, to me indicate a very deliberate effort to simply change the game to try to make it fresh as opposed to actually fix the game. Changing and fixing are not the same thing. I definitely view the first/second problem as changed, not fixed. 

Also, a nitpick. The Dragon Crystal is effected by Week of Taxes in Open and in my opinion definitely should not be. This simply adds variance to the game which is virtually always a negative thing. I’d like to see this changed.

SUMMING IT ALL UP-

The card rebalancing and quality of life changes are really good overall and Ubisoft gets credit where it’s due. The game is definitely more user-friendly now and that’s a plus. The first/second changes don’t suck but they’re not anything special either. We basically just have a “fresh” and slightly more complicated version of what we already had before. Balance in this regard is NOT fixed and going second is still much better. If they’re actually trying to fix this issue several tweaks to the system surely need to be made, such as making the Dragon Crystal less powerful or allowing the first player to draw a card on his starting turn. The Infernal Pit change is definitely my winner for the “best change in this update” award for making the game so much more accessible to new players. Of course, this also leads to a massive rant- What good is making the game more accessible to new players if you get very few new players because you don’t advertise? I’m not going on a three paragraph bitchfest as I have in the past about this, as Ubisoft members probably don’t even read these and if they do they don’t care what I think anyway. Nonetheless, the one, single, lone, biggest, most crucial, most important, most pivotal, far and away top priority thing Ubisoft should be concentrating on with this game is ADVERTISING. Duel of Champions is the best game your friends have never heard of. The game is far from perfect, but especially with this new change to the Infernal Pit we have more than a good enough product as it is to make people want to play this game and stick with this game. OF COURSE we should continuously try to improve, regardless of how well this game could potentially be doing with advertisement, but it’s absolutely imperative that we’re aggressively seeking out new players and building our player base and getting more and more contributors to the community. This game is better than comparable competitors, such as Hearthstone, and their numbers are laughably higher. That is very largely because of how much they’ve spent on advertising. We CAN compete with them, but not if we’re not fighting a fair fight. You’ve got to let people know that this awesome game is out there so they too can discover for themselves just how much better it is than anything else available. End rant…

ANYHOW, I’m super excited for Sins of Betrayal and I’ve already begun having nightly dreams about my instant new favorite card, Arcane Master Djinn, and all the cards she’s going to help me draw. Eye are pumped! :D Please let me know what you guys think about everything in the comments and definitely contact me- ryan.spring0_o@yahoo.com- if you’re interested in writing articles for the site. With SoB knocking at the door there will be quite a bit to write about if any of us can peel ourselves away from the game itself.

Happy Gaming!

-EnlightenedOwl

TOP TEN CARDS IN GRIFFIN BANE

Heart of Nightmares feels like ancient history and Sins of Betrayal is fast approaching. With Standard pretty well established and big changes just over the horizon, now seems like the perfect time to showcase the ten best cards from the most recent expansion, Griffin Bane. This list is based strictly on the cards that are the most powerful and most impactful to competitive play as opposed to the coolest cards, most unique cards, cards with the best artwork, etc. As always you’ll have the opportunity to share YOUR opinion by leaving your two cents in the comments section as well as voting in the poll on the main page!

#10- Forked Firebolt

Forked Firebolt is simply a cheap, efficient, easy to cast removal spell that can be anywhere from fine to amazing against pretty much any creature-based deck. The single most important card in Standard right now is probably Insect Swarm, which this complements very well, and a couple fortunate Heroes get to use both of these spells together to great effect. Standard is mostly dominated by aggressive proactive decks at the moment and whether it’s pumping up Bloodthirst creatures or simply clearing a path for aggressive Inferno baddies Forked Firebolt fits perfectly into this style of play. Because of how efficient it is I can’t imagine this card not being played at any given point in the metagame until it rotates out of the format even if there are a select few matchups, such as against Masfar or Nahla Constructs, where it’s not especially good.

#9- Bloodclaw Shaman

Far out of Insect Swarm range sits a cost-efficient wall that no melee creature dares attack into in the early game. This same wall can also go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye and snowball out of control, suddenly hitting for 10 instead of 1. We call this wall “Bloodclaw Shaman”. Basically, this guy takes the best qualities of the previously available Stronghold 3-cost creatures and combines them into one package. It’s nearly as good on defense as War Oliphant and it can hit as hard or harder than Centaur Archer but it’s not nearly as easy to kill. Of course, it’s not a perfect card and in this case it’s highly reliant on other cards to live up to its full potential but between Insect Swarm and Firebolt and Surprise Attack that some Stronghold decks have access to and heavily played goodies such as Blackskull Shredder and Sacrificial Altar that all Stronghold decks have access to, it’s not exactly difficult to find a way to get this guy rolling. And when this guy gets rolling the game often ends soon after.

#8- Ice Meteor

Honestly, this card is overrated, but its effect is extremely powerful and cannot be ignored. Requiring 5 Magic makes it difficult to play for many decks and likewise makes it easy to anticipate and play around. Good players can really minimize the efficiency of this potential blowout with intelligent positioning. In terms of power level it’s not even close to Forked Lightning and I’m sick of hearing that comparison. Nonetheless, all that aside, if you can survive to the point where you can actually play this and you’ve got some kind of presence on the board Ice Meteor has a game-changing effect. If you have a way to really set this up, such as Outmaneuver or Zefiria’s ability (which is the same thing without the keyword) it can be a blowout but no matter what it should be card advantage for you when you cast it unless you’ve really done some things incorrectly leading up to that point. Because spells of this power level are not printed particularly often and because of the card advantage it provides, especially in multiples, in very long games Ice Meteor earns a spot on my list.

#7 & #6- Nahla and Toghrul

Fire Magic is in a very good place right now so enabling Fire Magic for two factions that didn’t have it before (Asalah and Shaar, both of which are not played, basically do not count) is a very game-changing thing to do and both of these Heroes have seen extensive play and are likely among the top 5 or so options available for Standard. As it turns out, these happen to also be two factions that received SIGNIFICANT buffs from Griffin Bane as you’ll see a bit deeper in the list. Nahla to me seems like the best option for Academy right now, though some may prefer good old Masfar Combo, and Toghrul faces stiff competition in a probably overall slightly superior deck in Kat but Toghrul does have a few distinct advantages over Kat, such as snowballing harder, and even if it’s a tad worse overall it’s still quite good and a completely viable option. I opted to put them together, basically as a tie, because I view them as similar in some ways and I’m not sure which is better overall but these are definitely the two standout Heroes from Griffin Bane and they’ve therefore been included on my countdown.

#5- Blessed Lake Spirit

A huge buff to an improving faction reestablishing its identity, Blessed Lake Spirit is one hell of a hoser in a metagame filled with Insect Swarm, Firebolt, Forked Firebolt, Ice Meteor, Sacrificial Altar and several others. It’s body, as far as combat is concerned, is of course highly underwhelming which makes it quite poor in some matchups but for every matchup where it’s bad there are five matchups where it’s good and when it’s good it’s REALLY good. The ability to shut off Insect Swarm in Standard is insane (imagine if other factions had a similar card that could do that) and shutting off The Forbidden Flame in Open isn’t the worst either. For a reactive creature, which is almost always worse than a proactive creature unless it’s a Necropolis card, it has an absurdly powerful effect and at only two resources to play this guy (or girl, or spirit, or thing…) is too good to pass up. It is unfortunate that having more than one of these in play at any given time doesn’t do what we’d want it to do (randomly pick one, and only one, to do the damage to) so decks that want this, which is most of them, usually don’t want four with the exception being decks that can discard unwanted copies reliably such as with Night of the Rising Moon. It really feels to me like this card should be higher than number five in any given set but it is after all a non-Unique card and it’s merely a rare as opposed to an epic whereas three of the four cards remaining on the list were all designed to be overpowered. Nonetheless, a great creature that basically every Sanctuary deck should be playing.

#4- Army of the Dead

The first of three examples on this list of an epic card deliberately designed to be overpowered, Army of the Dead certainly meets that criteria AND can be played as early as your second turn (Seria goes second and plays a Campfire into this on turn two), which is a bit absurd… This card is extremely versatile as it can be used offensively or defensively (or both at the same time) and it alone is probably enough defense to get to wherever you need to be in terms of Magic requirements in order to drop serious haymakers such as The Banshee or Enthrall. This card isn’t seen a lot because, simply, Necropolis sucks, and the current best Hero for the faction, Ariana, starts with 0 Destiny. It simply doesn’t have a home other than Seria, which isn’t a top tier deck right now for multiple reasons. The card itself is ridiculous though and if the developers aren’t careful with the starting stats of upcoming Heroes we could suddenly be seeing this card A LOT. Almost no decks in Standard right now play anything that can actually remove this so most of the time when this comes down in the early or mid game it turns the tide of the game by itself and very little can be done to stop it. Racing against an opponent with this card is exceedingly difficult. Don’t for one second underestimate this card just because you’ve not gotten to play against it very often. I promise, this is one of the most powerful cards ever printed and if it were not aligned to a specific faction pretty much every deck in the format would be playing it.

#3- Hikyu, Chosen of the Flames

The second overpowered by design epic on the list, new Hikyu is one of only two big Unique creatures (the other being Damran) that is probably better than its original counterpart. And old Hikyu was really good… The thing that makes this card so good is the fact that when you play it, even if they immediately Soulreaver it or Ice Meteor it or whatever they’re going to do to it at the very first opportunity on their turn, the damage has already been done. This is likely the number one card in Standard to break stalemates wide open, suddenly decimating your opponent’s board from nowhere and creating comebacks in hopeless-looking games. With 7 Health it’s well out of Insect Swarm range and quite difficult to kill the old fashioned way and because his ability effects all of his friends too he’s not a card you can neutralize or stall out by dancing around it with chump blockers or by simply throwing a Blinding Light on it. Hikyu is undeniably one of the top 5 creatures in Standard and he’s quite soft on his requirements, unlike new Zefiria, so any non-combo deck with access to Fire Magic can play him. If Hikyu is only number 3 on the list then 1 and 2 must both be broken and I think it’s safe to say that is indeed the case…

#2- Bloodsnake Shaman

Unlike the other three cards in the top 4, Bloodsnake Shaman was likely not intended to be overpowered and has turned out to be significantly better than the design team anticipated. Upcoming nerfs to this card would support that theory. Even after the nerfs it will still be quite good, very similar to if not still better than Tainted Orc, but the way it is worded now is quite silly. Stronghold was already a major player in Standard prior to the release of Griffin Bane and the printing of this card, as well as a few smaller much less relevant contributions, vaulted the faction to its current spot atop the format where only Inferno, which is also about to incur a huge nerf, can even make a case against it. Shaman as it stands is just too solid overall. Its stats are a bit too good for its cost, its cost is gentle and realistically obtainable by basically anything, its ability is insane and basically generates card advantage continuously while simultaneously making it a serious threat to kill the opponent from nowhere… Yeah… Can’t get ‘em all right. I applaud the development team for stepping up and scaling this card back as it is absolutely too good as it currently stands. Pre-nerf it’s the best non-Unique creature in Standard.

#1- Titan Workforce

Some cards are good, some cards are very good, some cards are overpowered and some cards are stupid. Titan Workforce, pre-nerf, is stupid. I can’t imagine the development team intended for this card to be as good as it is. Yes, it’s an epic and a Unique and it was purposely designed to be powerful. Was it purposely designed to be unbeatable and unremovable by half the format? I’d really hope not. But that’s exactly what it is. This card alone enabled multiple previously non-existent decks to come to be and to be quite good too. It provides basically unbreakable defense, an endless supply of threats and completely unfair amounts of card advantage. As it stands it’s basically a card without flaws. If I were to redo this list after Sins of Betrayal comes out (at which point this card will be severely nerfed and the game itself will be changed in a big way) Titan Workforce would almost certainly not have the top spot on the countdown but until that day I think it’s pretty hard to argue with. Academy players, go get yourself some free elo with this laughably overpowered monstrosity while you still can and non-Academy players keep your fingers crossed that your opponent doesn’t find this game-winner until it’s too late. Robots FTW!

 

Honorable Mentions-

Spellhungry Breeder/Spawning Chamber- Monstrous together but both highly mediocre on their own, Neither card is good enough individually to make the list.

Dark Lotus Pond- Hit or miss. Sometimes it hurts more than it helps, though that’s usually because the player is using it incorrectly, and it only really fits in one or two decks because it is faction-aligned and has tough requirements. The effect is certainly quite powerful potentially but it doesn’t affect the board at all and it can be difficult to find a window to play this where you don’t lose so much tempo that it isn’t worth it. This would probably be in the 11th or 12th spot on an expanded list.

Golden Horseshoe- Powerful but tough to play and not a card you want too many of. This card meets the definition of honorable mention quite perfectly- a card definitely worth mentioning but not worthy of being on the list.

Blinding Light- If not for a few serious counters running around, such as Focused Mind and Week of the Dead, this card would be quite high on the list. It’s also definitely hurt by the fact that all the good Uniques do something immediately when they come into play as opposed to only when you attack with them. It’s still a good card but high level players build their decks with it in mind and have answers for it in one form or another.

Hatching Breeder- A super solid and efficient card overall, you really can’t ask for too much more out of a 2-cost creature, nevermind a common! While this card is played basically universally in Inferno decks, as it absolutely should be, it simply isn’t powerful enough to make the top ten list. Super solid card though that will see its share of playtime for a long time to come.

Kabuki Propagandist- Extremely powerful effect certainly but definitely much worse as the game goes on and undesirable requirements for decks other than Yukiko. Its body for its cost is meh and it’s not immune to retaliation. It’s a card that should be played where it’s not overly inconvenient to do so (Yukiko) but that’s about it. Sanctuary has a healthy amount of solid defensive tools right now and will take this guy if he’s available but he’s not a necessity by any means. Had they made his requirements a little different, such as 3/1/1 or even 4/1/1 he’d be a lot better and we’d be seeing a lot more of him but as he stands he’s too narrow to make my list.

New Hasafah/New Raya- Both of these cards are MUCH worse than their original counterparts and while they are better than most creatures of the same cost that’s really where the impressiveness ends. For epic Uniques in the same cycle as all stars like Damran, Hikyu and Zefiria I can’t help but find these a bit disappointing. They’re just kind of creatures that are pretty good. Neither of them really stands out to me and I’d not be heartbroken if I couldn’t play either of them in one of my decks. More meh…

 

That will wrap it up for me my friends! Let me know what YOU think in the comments and be sure to vote in the poll on the main page and make your opinion heard! I can’t wait for Sins of Betrayal and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Until then, keep checking MMDoCKing for new content and make sure to tell your friends we’re under new management by an exceedingly handsome, charming, MODEST Owl. :)

Happy Gaming,

EnlightenedOwl