Changes to Cards in the September Release

In the September update, we’re going to be changing four cards: The legendary Neutral follower Alice, Wonderland Explorer; The legendary Havencraft follower Lion of the Golden City; the bronze Swordcraft follower Vagabond Frog; and the silver Swordcraft spell Shield of Flame. This is an explanation of why we’re changing things and what specifically is changing.

Summary of Changes
1. The legendary Neutral follower Alice, Wonderland Explorer will now give +1/+0 instead of +1/+1 to all other allied Neutral followers in your hand and in play.
2. The legendary Havencraft follower Lion of the Golden City will now cost 9 instead of 7.
3. The bronze Swordcraft follower Vagabond Frog will now cost 4 instead of 3.
4. The silver Swordcraft spell Shield of Flame will now have the effect “Deal 3 damage to an enemy follower. Enhance (6): Deal 6 damage instead.”

For a limited time after changes are made, these four cards will produce more vials when liquefied.

The Game Environment at a Glance
During the card changes in the August update, we changed the cost or effects of four cards. Here is a brief look at how these changes affected the current state of the game environment, and why we felt changes in September were necessary with the upcoming release of Starforged Legends.

All data was taken from high-ranking matches in mid-September.

Top 5 decks with the highest win rates
1. Neutral Haven (56.9%)
- Neutral decks that make use of low-cost, early-game Neutral followers and Alice, Wonderland Explorer
2. Neutral Sword (55.2%)
3. Neutral Rune (54.4%)
4. Ambush Sword (52.0%)
- A Swordcraft deck that primarily uses low-cost followers and followers with Ambush
5. Neutral Blood (51.7%)

Top 5 decks with the highest usage rates
1. Ramp Dragon (15%)
- A Dragoncraft deck that “ramps” by increasing its play point amount as quickly as possible to play high-cost cards by the mid game
2. Neutral Haven (13.8%)
3. D-Shift Rune (6.8%)
- A Runecraft deck that primarily uses cards with spellboost in order to use the spell card Dimension Shift
4. Last Words Shadow (6.1%)
- A Shadowcraft deck that primarily uses followers with Last Words effects
5. Neutral Sword (5.3%)

The most popular deck archetype at the moment, Ramp Dragon, currently has a win rate of exactly 50%. As such, we don’t believe any changes are needed for Dragoncraft at this time. Additionally, more than 5 deck archetypes are currently seeing a usage rate between 4 and 6.8%. Based on the high-ranking match data we’ve collected over the last month above, we believe the game environment is headed towards a more balanced direction. While Neutral Haven and Neutral Sword both have relatively high win rates when compared to other deck archetypes in the current game environment, there isn’t a specific deck archetype that is completely dominant in either win or usage rate. Additionally, there are currently more than 5 deck archetypes with a win rate between 50 and 52%.

We’re also still monitoring the win rates for players with first-turn advantage. According to high-ranking match data, the first-turn advantage is still steadily decreasing toward our ideal rate of 50%—from a 52.8% win rate (measured in mid-August) to a 51.7% win rate (measured in mid-September).

Looking Forward
Up until now, when cards ended up becoming stronger and more popular than anticipated, we would make changes we felt were necessary to balance the game environment. Unfortunately, this would result in some cards being stronger and more popular than anticipated. However, starting with the development of Starforged Legends, we’ve begun reexamining our previous design direction of creating extremely powerful cards to strengthen certain classes and strategies while continuing to pursue a design direction of creating an environment for new deck archetypes to emerge. Our goal looking forward is to have a balanced game environment which promotes diverse playstyles and deck archetypes, minimizing the need for making changes to cards. However, the Neutral deck archetypes that currently hold the highest win rates in the game are utilizing the same follower cards, and we believe this is an issue that needs attention.

To address this issue in our upcoming update, we will be making adjustments to certain cards in order to maintain and foster a diverse game environment.

Alice, Wonderland Explorer
(Neutral, legendary)
Alice, Wonderland Explorer, currently acts as the backbone of 4 out of the 5 decks with the highest win rates. Following up an early game of Neutral followers with a turn 4 Alice creates a very powerful board stat that can be difficult to counter when played with a first-turn advantage. This is causing players to perceive the decks as unfairly advantageous, even though the overall win rate for the players going first is relatively modest at 51.7%. By removing Alice’s ability to buff defense, we believe that there will be new opportunities for counter play and that the card’s strength will be brought to a healthy level.

Details of the Change:
Alice, Wonderland Explorer will now give +1/+0 instead of +1/+1 to all other allied Neutral followers in your hand and in play.
Before: Fanfare: Give +1/+1 to all other allied Neutral followers in your hand and in play.
After: Fanfare: Give +1/+0 to all other allied Neutral followers in your hand and in play.

Lion of the Golden City
(Havencraft, legendary)
Lion of the Golden City is the key for Neutral Haven, which has the highest win rate and second highest usage rate among all deck archetypes. We believe Neutral Haven’s high win rate (compared to other Neutral decks) is attributed to Havencraft’s ability to play Lion of the Golden City as early as the fourth turn. Similar to Alice, Lion of the Golden City is able to create an exceptionally powerful board state as early as turn four, giving Havencraft an edge above other Neutral decks. As such, we will be adjusting its cost accordingly.

Details of the Change:
Lion of the Golden City’s cost will be changed from 7 to 9.

With the tweaks above, we believe the win and usage rates for Neutral decks will subside to reasonable numbers while still remaining viable. However, these adjustments may pose the risk of another deck’s dominance in the current game environment—specifically speaking, Ambush Swordcraft (which currently has the fourth highest win rate).

Vagabond Frog and Shield of Flame
(Swordcraft, bronze / Swordcraft, silver)
Vagabond Frog and Shield of Flame are staples in Ambush Sword. Vagabond Frog can quickly become a major threat when evolved or used with cards that increase its attack damage. It’s a sticky card that can be difficult to counter early, and as such we will be adjusting its cost from 3 to 4.
Shield of Flame is another card we will be adjusting. In the past, Ambush Sword had a tough time dealing with large Ward followers, but this strong removal spell can deal with them for the mere cost of 2 play points. We believe this adjustment will help balance the pace of Ambush Sword decks. Since this is a silver card, we decided to give it an Enhance effect for it to be a strong contender in Take Two instead of just removing a part of its ability.

Details of the Changes:
Vagabond Frog’s cost will be changed from 3 to 4.
Shield of Flame’s effect will no longer change when there is an allied follower with Ambush in play. It will instead have an Enhance effect that deals 6 damage when played for 6 play points.
Before: Deal 3 damage to an enemy follower. Deal 6 damage instead if an allied follower with Ambush is in play.
After: Deal 3 damage to an enemy follower. Enhance (6): Deal 6 damage instead.

Take Two Runs
These changes will also be applied to all Take Two decks after maintenance, even if the deck is being used in the middle of a five-match run.

Future Changes to Cards
We routinely review match data in the Shadowverse Team. When it’s necessary to create a great game environment, we change card costs and effects and boost the number of vials that are available from liquefying cards. Any future changes to cards’ costs and abilities will be announced on a prespecified date, and then changes will generally be made the next day. See below for the scheduled announcement and change dates.

October 28 (Announcement), October 29 (Change)
November 27 (Announcement), November 28 (Change)

These dates are, however, subject to change. Even if there are no changes made to cards, we’ll still announce that things are staying the same.

Temporary Vial Bonus
From the September 27 update until the next major update, the changed cards will produce more vials when liquefied.

- Copies of Vagabond Frog will produce 50 vials.
- Copies of Shield of Flame will produce 200 vials.
- Copies of Alice, Wonderland Explorer and Lion of the Golden City will produce 3,500 vials.

Normal and animated copies of these cards will both produce the same number of vials while the bonus is in effect. Details of when this bonus ends will be announced at a later date.

Shadowverse Team