In anticipation of the upcoming February update, we’d like to take this opportunity to outline a few card changes we will be implementing and our reasoning behind them.
1. Piercing Rune (Runecraft spell): If an allied follower evolves, change the cost of this card to 2 (previously 1).
2. Goblin Mage (Neutral follower): Put a random follower that costs 2 play points or less (previously 2 play points) from your deck into your hand.
Coinciding with these changes, liquefying Piercing Rune, Goblin Mage, and Fortunehunter Feena will yield more vials for a limited time after the update is released. Due to Fortunehunter Feena’s mechanic to add a Goblin Mage to your hand after evolving, we’ve decided to make it worth more vials even though no changes will be made to the card itself.
Runecraft has been the predominant class since the release of the Rise of Bahamut card expansion. Decks based around Daria, Dimensional Witch (Daria Tempo Runecraft below) are still a dominating presence in Tier 1 (the top tier of decks).
In addition, Runecraft has a number of other Daria-based decks in the Tier 1 to Tier 2 range. These include decks that use Dimension Shift (D-Shift Runecraft below) and decks that use Earth Rite effects (Earth Rite Runecraft below). Here are the usage rates of these decks according to our most recent analysis of top-ranked players (taken in the second weekend of February from high-ranked matches):
Daria Tempo Runecraft 19%
D-Shift Runecraft 10%
Earth Rite Runecraft 3%
Altogether, Runecraft accounts for 32% of decks in play. This led us to pursue changes to help address this issue.
In our analysis we also discovered an extremely large difference in current Runecraft win rates depending on who takes the first turn. Of course decks that favor going first or second are bound to appear; however, if the difference in win rate is too severe, the game shifts towards matches being decided more by random chance than by player choice.
To summarize, there are two issues that currently need to be addressed in the Runecraft class:
1. When all of the variations are tallied together, there is very high Runecraft deck usage.
2. The win rate for Runecraft decks is highly influenced by turn order.
We felt that a change to Piercing Rune was appropriate to counter both the high prevalence of Runecraft decks and the influence of turn order for three reasons:
1. Two to three copies of the card are included in all three of the top Runecraft decks.
2. The advantage this card confers to players who start second becomes even more pronounced when an allied follower evolves.
3. The cost of this card is low relative to the power of its effect.
Here is the specific change:
Old: If an allied follower evolves, change the cost of this card to 1.
New: If an allied follower evolves, change the cost of this card to 2
We expect the usage and win rates of Runecraft decks to fall in line with other classes after these changes, but we expect that another current Tier 1 deck will dominate as a result. Specifically, Roach Tempo Forestcraft (below), a combo deck which focuses on amassing a massive hand via cards like Goblin Mage and Rhinoceroach, is the primary check to (and the most played deck after) Daria Tempo Runecraft. According to our analysis, Roach Tempo Forestcraft had an even higher win rate than Daria Tempo Runecraft. For these reasons we’ve targeted one of its core cards, Goblin Mage, with some changes.
Goblin Mage has become a staple in many decks since the introduction of the Rise of Bahamut expansion; it can be played with little repercussion—playing it doesn’t reduce the size of your hand, and can be played on its own merit. It also allows you to include a specific, powerful 2-play point card when deck-building.
While other classes include Goblin Mage in their decks, the inclusion of this card is especially noticeable in the Tier 1 deck, Roach Tempo Forestcraft. One reason for this is that Forestcraft is abundant with useful 1-play point followers, ensuring a strong early curve. Roach Tempo Forestcraft can effectively ignore the inherent downside to Goblin Mage when deck-building, thanks to the standard inclusion of valuable, low-cost cards.
We believe that the changes to Goblin Mage (detailed below) will allow it to continue functioning as a powerful card that lets players include a specific 2-play point card while also keeping Roach Tempo Forestcraft balanced.
Old: Put a random 2-play point follower from your deck into your hand.
New: Put a random follower that costs 2 play points or less from your deck into your hand.
Temporary Vial Bonus
We will compensate for the above changes by increasing the number of vials you receive for liquefying Piercing Rune, Fortunehunter Feena, or Goblin Mage.
Vials obtained from liquefying Piercing Rune and Fortunehunter Feena will be increased from 50 to 200 for a normal card and from 120 to 200 for an animated card.
Vials obtained from liquefying Goblin Mage will increase from 10 to 50 for a normal card and from 30 to 50 for an animated card.
Note that Fortunehunter Feena itself will not be changed. We have increased the number of vials this card yields because its mechanics are heavily related to Goblin Mage.
This compensation will be available from the end-of-February update until the next major update. After this period the number of vials received will revert to normal. We will follow up with details in the future.
We will continue to analyze players’ match data in order to ensure game balance, and we will adjust card abilities when necessary. In such cases, users will be notified in advance and compensated with vials for liquefying affected cards.
Thank you for continuing to thwart the forces of darkness with us!