Welcome in NotoriousGHP, the team captain of Team Rankstar's Eternal tournament team with his thoughts on the new balance changes rolling out! We have seen the metagame shift drastically the last week since the changes dropped. Step into the mind of one of the best in the game as he dissects the new changes!
On last Tuesday we received the latest balance patch for Eternal, this sets up the state of the game for the first ever official Eternal World Championship. This balance patch brought a ton of large changes that will certainly shakeup the metagame. It is bringing back old favorites and hurting several long standing power houses. I’m NotoriousGHP, team captain of Team Rankstar’s Eternal Tournament team and today I’ll be reviewing the latest patch in order to help you quickly adjust to this rapidly changing metagame. Let’s dive in!
Vara, Vengence-Seeker: Vara’s been one of the strongest, and most meta defining card’s to ever hit Eternal. Dire Wolf Digital has recently started to nerf campaign cards, and so it’s finally time for Vara to receive a much needed nerf. Vara moves from a 3/4 to a 3/3, which gives more counter-play to her summon ability, and makes her more suspect to 5 damage totals. This gives a lot more ways to kill Vara, such as the already strong cards like Sandstorm Titan, Nullblade, and Howling Peak’s Gundown as well as many other cards are able to now contest Vara easily. Lowering Vara’s health thresholds will introduce more ways to deal with her, and make her much worse against midrange or control decks such as Jennev Peaks. Vara being a base 3/3 is quite relevant, it allows her to die to Torch as long as you have a unit on board alongside undepleted power before her ability activates. If you sacrifice a unit, 3 attack bodies, or Torch, can cleanly answer her. Vara is still a powerhouse and I don’t really expect her playrate to drop, Shadow decks should still be playing this card, but I appreciate the additional counter play she gained this patch.
Statuary Maiden: A long standing midrange power house, Statuary Maiden ate a massive nerf this patch moving from a 2/4 to a 2/2. One of Maiden’s biggest strengths was the fantastic body, dodging torch, annihilate and vanquish leading to tough to answer, yet not overly-oppressive midrange threat. This nerf makes Maiden move from a very powerful unit to a unit that trades with basically every unit in the game, without receiving any compensation. I think this nerf was too harsh, and I don't feel like Maiden will be a playable card moving forward as it takes too long to get enough value to be worth its power cost. The four-drop slot in any Fire Shadow deck took a huge hit this patch, in the loss of Maiden and the nerfing of Vara. These were one of the selling points for decks like Winchest Control and Stonescar Midrange, and potentially will cause a large shift in how they are built, or just their overall strength will dip.
Evenhanded Golem: A new build-around card came with the release of Dark Frontier in the form of Evenhanded Golem, giving players a deck building restraint in order to gain access to an incredibly powerful two-cost unit. Many players found this card best paired with Shadow, giving access to cards like Last Chance, Haunting Scream and Memory Dredger in order to replay the Golem and gaining a ton of card advantage in the process. The difference between drawing and not drawing an Evenhanded Golem was massive, and so Dire Wolf decided to add the keyword Voidbound to stop it’s recursiveness. So far, a lot of players seem to be okay with this, as many felt this card wasn’t particularly fun to play against, especially when it was recurred multiple times. This nerf greatly affects the two most popular even decks, Even Feln and Even Argenport Weapon reanimator. I think at least the Feln deck will take a huge hit, but I suspect Even Argenport will continue to be viable. I think this change will help push Evenhanded Golem to a more healthy platform.
Darya, Warrior Poet/Moonstone Vanguard: I’ll be addressing both of these cards together as they were targeted in order to nerf the same deck: Praxis Pledge. Praxis Pledge has been a strong deck for a while now; using ramp units, Glasshopper and Pledge units in order to play powerful midrange units quickly and close games out before the opponent could restabilize. Darya has been moved from a 4 cost 3/4 to a 5 cost 3/5, and Moonstone Vanguard changed from a 5/5 that gained you 5 life upon blocking, to a 4/4 that gains you 4 life when it blocks. These changes definitely hurt Praxis Pledge, which was targeted due to one of it’s harder matchups in Stonescar receiving 2 different nerfs. Pledge still has incredibly strong openers, alongside some solid interaction, making it still a viable contender, but with its Pledge units being changed, and the curve getting worse some adjustments may need to be made. I could see this deck moving more towards a ramp deck again, although it plays a lot already, potentially adding Devotee of the Sands could help plan for the more clunky curve required to have the threshold of Pledge units.
Icaria, the Liberator: “Rise up, or be cut down” is a line we use to hear constantly, being a powerful control top end while also showing up in decks like Rakano Midrange. But, when she was nerfed to 8 power, her playability dropped drastically. After many patches, new campaigns, and sets, Icaria returns to being the 7 cost powerhouse she once was. This time with the support of sites and Sediti cheering her on. Icaria is super powerful, and decks that could play her were already doing well. Now that she’s 7 cost again, those decks received a massive buff in the form of a hard to interact with, top end monster. Icaria will slot back into Rakano midrange, Ixtun peaks and most other slow Fire Justice shell’s, the question is: will she be as strong as she once was?
Bartholo, the Seducer: One of my least favorite cards in the game, Bartholo was also on the receiving end of an unnerfing: moving back to a 3 cost unit. When this card use to be 3 cost, it was a true terror, as players coupled it with cards like Lethrai Falchion to quickly swing games with the hard to interact with unit. Times have changed, removal is more plentiful and relic weapons are very playable as clean answers to Bartholo. So far, I have not found Bart to be very strong anymore, even with the changes as the game has gotten much more efficient since his release. Imagine playing Bartholo only to be met by a Gunrunner.
Banish: Banish was once a card people were even willing to splash in some decks, offering a fast speed 3 cost removal which answered 4 or less cost units and relics was powerful, but has been out shined by cards such as Desecrate, and Annihilates playability skyrocketing. Now, Banish hits units and relics that cost 5 or less, which is big, especially with answering the 5 cost warp cycle, and the Sediti curse which can grind out games by themselves. I’m not convinced Banish is great anymore, especially because Xenan is quite the weak color combination, but this buff is more than welcome and im excited to cast this card once again, especially from my Eclipse Dragon power.
Knight-Chancellor Siraf: Siraf used to be the queen of midrange battles, allowing the once dominate Combrei Midrange decks to grind out opponents with these random, but powerful units generated from Siraf. Siraf has always had a great body, dodging Torch, Vanquish and Annihilate allows for Siraf to be a tough to answer unit, while being strong on offense and defense. Eternal has gotten much more efficient since the days of Combrei Midrange, so much so that this buff allowing him to ultimate one turn sooner likely won’t allow Siraf to shine the way it once did, but for those interested in casting Siraf once again, this buff is timely. I do think this buff could be relevant if Vara, Vengeance-Seeker starts to see less play, as aggressive builds of Combrei could return to abuse Stand Together and Sword of Unity once again.
Rindra, the Duskblade: The final change I’d like to discuss today, is the change to one of my favorite cards; Rindra. Funnily, many players at one point assumed Rindra was an Elf, and wanted to play her in the Elf tribal decks, only to find out she was only an Unseen. This was disappointing, and left the Elf deck without a strong play on turn 4, crippling the deck. Dire Wolf decided it was time for a change, and has turned Rindra into an Unseen Elf, allowing Rindra to fill out the needed 4 drop slot in Elves, and giving the deck a massive upgrade in its Haunting Scream targets. I haven’t gotten to look at Elves yet, but this is a massive buff to the deck, and although I don't believe it will crack open the metagame, I do think this change makes the deck playable.
That’s all for my review of the latest patch in Eternal, and I hope you enjoyed! I’ve spoken with a lot of people about the changes to mix reviews, and I'd love to hear even more opinions on the Reddit thread for this article! Thanks for reading
For a full list of changes, check out this announcement page here from Dire Wolf Digital!
May your Scorpion Wasp always be at the ready when facing down an Icaria,
The Inked Gaming Team