Changes to Cards in the January Release

The January update will take place on January 23. Although this date wasn't previously announced, it was chosen in light of upcoming events and tournaments.

There will be changes to three cards in this update: the silver Runecraft follower Magic Illusionist; the gold Shadowcraft follower Immortal Thane; and the legendary Neutral follower Bahamut. Furthermore, we'll be simultaneously introducing a one-card restriction to two cards in the Unlimited format: the legendary Forestcraft follower Aria, Guiding Fairy and the bronze Bloodcraft follower Blood Wolf. This is an explanation of why we're changing things and what specifically is changing.

Summary of Changes
1. Magic Illusionist's defense will be lowered from 2 (evolved: 4) to 1 (evolved: 3).
2. Immortal Thane will now cost 8 instead of 7.
3. Bahamut's attack and defense will be lowered from 13/13 (evolved: 15/15) to 9/9 (evolved: 11/11). Additionally, its effect will no longer destroy amulets.

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

The Game Environment at a Glance
First we'll discuss the game balance of the Rotation format, first introduced during the December update. Then we'll detail our design direction concerning card effects since the release of Starforged Legends and card changes deemed necessary to support that design direction.

Game Balance in Rotation
All data was taken from high-ranking matches in early January.

Top 3 decks with the highest usage rates
1. Midrange Shadow (18.4%)
- A medium-paced Shadowcraft deck that balances both aggressive and defensive play, with Demonlord Eachtar placed at the top of the deck's cost curve.
2. Ramp Dragon (14.1%)
- A Dragoncraft deck that focuses on maximizing play points in the early game to unleash high-cost cards during the midgame.
3. Dirt Rune (13.8%)
- A Runecraft deck that relies on Wizardess of Oz and Earth Rite cards.

The win rates of these decks are: Midrange Shadow at 52.8%, Ramp Dragon at 54.1%, and Dirt Rune at 53.6%. These three deck archetypes constitute the top three deck archetypes in the Rotation format.

According to our same high-ranking match data taken in early January, the first-turn advantage for all deck archetypes in the Rotation format is 52.0%. One reason for this is that Midrange Shadow, the deck with the current highest usage rate, possesses a high win rate of 54.1% when going first. We expect this month's card changes will lower Midrange Shadow's usage rate while also bringing the total first-turn win rate closer to 50%.

Design Direction Since Starforged Legends and Card Changes
Before Starforged Legends, we designed powerful cards to bolster certain classes and strategies. When these cards became more dominant than anticipated, this would lead to certain decks having inflated win and usage rates. Changes were necessary to bring these cards in line. Since the release of Starforged Legends, we've continued to pursue a design direction of creating an environment that would lead to new deck archetypes, while rethinking the old design direction of creating powerful cards to strengthen certain classes and strategies.

This time, from viewing our data of high-ranking matches taken in early January, we can see that the top three deck archetypes are utilizing powerful cards that were originally designed to strengthen certain classes and strategies. The game environment of Rotation, added to the game on Dec 28, is on average about one turn slower compared to previous game environments. Powerful cards, born from our previous design direction, are relatively too strong in this slower format. In order to balance the game environment, it was determined that some of these cards warranted changes.

Magic Illusionist, Immortal Thane, and Bahamut are three cards that are often utilized in the major three deck archetypes. The Shadowverse team recognizes that these cards are part of the aforementioned powerful cards designed to bolster certain classes and strategies, and as such we've brought them up as candidates to receive changes before. Now that they are used in the deck archetypes with the highest win and usage rates, their costs, attack, and defense will be changed. We expect that this will balance their cost with their strength.

Additionally, Bahamut is seeing increased usage in control decks across all classes, due to its ability to stall a match. This creates a game environment that makes it difficult to employ strategies that utilize amulets. By changing Bahamut's effect, decks that rely on amulets should see more play. We expect the game environment to diversify as a result.

Details of the Changes
1. Magic Illusionist's defense will be lowered from 2 (evolved: 4) to 1 (evolved: 3).
2. Immortal Thane will now cost 8 instead of 7.
3. Bahamut's attack and defense will be lowered from 13/13 (evolved: 15/15) to 9/9 (evolved: 11/11). Its effect will be changed from "Fanfare: Destroy all other followers and amulets. Can't attack the enemy leader if 2 or more followers are in play." to "Fanfare: Destroy all other followers. Can't attack the enemy leader if 2 or more followers are in play."

One-Card Restriction in Unlimited
From the January 23 update, the following two cards will be restricted to one per deck in the Unlimited format. You will only be able to add one of these cards to your Unlimited deck during deck construction.

1. Legendary Forestcraft follower Aria, Guiding Fairy
2. Bronze Bloodcraft follower Blood Wolf

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

Reasons for the Restriction
After calculating data from high-ranking Unlimited matches taken in early January, the following three deck archetypes emerged as the top 3 most used.

1. Combo Forest (11.3%)
- A deck that uses Rhinoceroach to unleash extremely damaging combos.
2. Carabosse Blood (11.0%)
- An offensive Bloodcraft deck that relies on Carabosse, Wicked Fairy.
3. Vengeance Blood (8.7%)
- An offensive Bloodcraft deck that makes use of cards that activate Vengeance, such as Belphegor, and cards that become stronger once Vengeance is activated, such as Dark Airjammer.

The win rates of these decks are: Combo Forest at 53.9%, Carabosse Blood at 55.4%, and Vengeance Blood at 53.3%. Forestcraft and Bloodcraft are the top two classes in the Unlimited format.

In addition to the three aforementioned card changes, one card each from both Forestcraft and Bloodcraft were chosen to receive one-card restrictions. These cards were chosen based on the number of decks they're played in and their respective contributions to win rates when they're played in a match.

According to our same high-ranking match data taken in early January, the first-turn win rate for all deck archetypes in the Unlimited format is 52.3%. One reason for this is that Carabosse Blood, the second most used archetype, possesses a high win rate of 54.6% when going first. We expect that this month's introduction of one-card restrictions will lower Carabosse Blood's usage rate while also bringing the total first-turn advantage closer to 50%.

Temporary Vial Bonus
From the January 23 update until the next major update, the changed cards will produce more vials when liquefied.

- Blood Wolf will produce 50 vials.
- Magic Illusionist will produce 200 vials.
- Immortal Thane will produce 800 vials.
- Bahamut and Aria, Guiding Fairy will produce 3500 vials.

Normal and animated copies of these cards will both produce the same number of vials while the bonus is in effect. This bonus lasts from the January update until the update planned for February 14, after which the amount of produced vials will return to normal.

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. In order to maintain a great game environment, we change card costs and effects and boost the number of vials that are available from liquefying cards. This includes both of our constructed formats, Rotation and Unlimited. In addition to the card changes we've made in the past and card changes targeted at Rotation, we will designate cards to have a one-card restriction or card bans for Unlimited.

Any future changes to card costs and effects 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.

February 15 (Announcement), February 16 (Change)
March 29 (Announcement), March 30 (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. If emergency changes are deemed necessary, we may make changes, specify restrictions, or specify banned cards outside of the above dates.

Shadowverse Team