The title of this piece is fairly self explanatory, and I know it will immediately resonate with a significant portion of the closed beta player base. However, I can’t really talk about this without first introducing to the more recently arrived players what it is I want to make Great Again, so behold :
The Janky Glory of Crowns Past
Since the very early days of closed beta, there existed a deck archetype revolving around Crown of Possibilities and the cleverly named Clockroach (along with other Echo units, usually). The general concept was that Crown would give a second keyword to the echo copy of the unit when drawn, rapidly snowballing into monstrous walls of text with the help of a few tricks allowing you to draw them again (notably Second Sight, Sandform which is now Twinning, Cloudsnake Harrier which is now Nesting Avisaur, and Dark Return). Below is an explanation of two variants of this deck along with one appropriately hilarious sample game, courtesy of LocoPojo :
“Crownroaches” was a very iconic deck. It was the second deck I built in my Eternal career (right after the obligatory pauper Rakano pretty much everyone started off with). I immediately fell in love with the quirkiness and the snowballing and the semi-controlled unpredictability. I’d go as far as to say this deck is what made me fall in love with Eternal itself ! To me it was, right up until its downfall, the poster child for Eternal as a complex and fun game, full of clever design and possibilities to explore. Based on the large number of people I witnessed making the same discoveries through the Discord channel, I can confidently say I’m not alone on this.
One important thing to understand is that the deck was never actually good from a competitive standpoint. It should certainly be remembered that the first ever Eternal tournament was won using this very deck (by Zureiya), but this says a lot more about how little we the players knew and understood about the game at that point than it does about the power level of the deck. The archetype was never ranked higher than tier 3 on pretty much anyone’s tier list at any point in its long existence. Even in the most controlly metas, where it would comparatively thrive, it was meh at best. There was a running joke that Clockroaches was the deck you would run when you didn’t feel like winning. And yet many played it anyway, because it was just that much fun !
So many people played this archetype, including most of the brightest minds in the community, each adding their own twists and tweaks. Yet, to this day, it is unclear what the optimal list for it would be. Behind the randomness and apparent mediocrity, there is a huge wealth of complexity and finesse that we didn’t quite get to the bottom of. Should one splash for Dark Return ? Should one play midrange Elysian powerhouses like Dawnwalker and Cirso along with the core ? Maybe splashing Phoenix is the answer ? (…okay, probably no on that last one. Many things to say about that in terms of fun to be had, though !) Towards the end of closed beta, some extremely janky and equally amusing Crown-based decks started popping up, thanks at least in part to the unholy experiments led by mad scientist Yours Truly. Gaze upon Crown of Icaria, otherwise known as Jank Crown, and tell me that’s not a fun thing to have in the game :
2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
3 Lightning Storm (Set1 #206)
2 Sandform (Set1 #79)
4 Second Sight (Set1 #207)
3 Secret Pages (Set1 #81)
4 Clockroach (Set1 #94)
4 Crown of Possibilities (Set1 #355)
2 Push Onward (Set1 #213)
4 Cloudsnake Harrier (Set1 #225)
4 Rise to the Challenge (Set1 #320)
2 Elysian Pathfinder (Set1 #108)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
2 Worldpyre Phoenix (Set1 #54)
2 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
1 Lavablood Goliath (Set1 #62)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
3 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
2 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
2 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
(note that this is a pre-wipe export, so it won’t load into the current version of Eternal – not to mention how abysmally bad this deck would be now, considering it was already bad before)
The Fall of an Idol
Alas, the reason I’m writing all this in the past tense (and with a catchy corny slogan like Make [ ] Great Again) is that Crown/Roaches was nerfed in the big patch that led us into open beta. On the surface, the card doesn’t seem to have changed significantly :
The only difference you’ll find here is the rarity of the card. While mechanically this doesn’t do anything to the power level of the deck, it’s perfectly in line with the problem DWD set out to fix by hitting Crown with the nerf hammer (as expressed through Discord ; I don’t have a direct quote so I’m paraphrasing) : “Crown was a difficult deck to understand and interact with for new players and it created a frustrating experience”. I don’t debate the veracity of this statement at all. I can totally understand how it would be so, and I have heard such new player feedback first hand. I think that bumping the rarity of Crown was a good way to solve it, because it put the deck out of the reach of new players due to the prohibitive entry cost of a full playset of a legendary (the deck doesn’t really work with anything less than a full 4 of those). What this rarity bump on itself would have achieved is effectively eradicate the deck from the lower leagues, because no one in their right mind would invest that much of their precious early career currency into a notoriously uncompetitive deck. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about what to advise new players to work towards, I know that this would have been enough for me to strongly discourage anyone without a lot of Shiftstone to throw away to pursue the Crown dream, even though I’m a huge fan myself. New players would not encounter the deck in any significant amounts while playing, but would still witness the silly shenanigans through the streams and Youtube channels of the community’s oisive content producers fooling around in Masters. It was, all in all, a masterful adjustment by DWD.
But tragically, the story does not end here. In the same stride, a less direct but mechanically impactful “double penalty” nerf took place. The way we originally understood it is as a rewording of the Echo keyword to: “Get an additional copy when drawn”. With that supposed rewording, the second copy would no longer be *drawn*, and as such would not activate Crown of Possibilities a second time. Regardless of whether or not this is how the change actually happened (it’s not, more on that below), this effectively kills all synergy between Crown and Echo units, save for the indirect link of shared synergy with “redraw” cards like Second Sight, which triggers both. The consequence of this is that the previously tier 3 deck, without any buffs to compensate, is now completely and irremediably **dead**. Not worth pursuing even to me, unabashed Crown & jank lover.
This is not just a gut reaction or knee-jerk. I didn’t expect anything out of it save for a hole in my pocket, but I went through the paces and crafted sets of both Crowns and Roaches. I tried the deck in many of the permutations me and others have crafted over the months. Few of them can get through half a gauntlet without getting crushed by the ostensibly subpar, badly piloted AI decks. It just doesn’t work anymore. Typically I would say that lists need to adapt to changes and you can’t expect the old to work with the new, but there simply isn’t anything you couldn’t do with the old that you can do with the new. No-echo Crown was unplayably bad before the nerf and it still is.
C is dead, baby. C is dead.
When we jank lovers discovered this, we were horrified and initially thought it was a bug. Then we looked at the Echo tooltip and thought it was changed. But it wasn’t ! I had to pull a screenshot from closed beta to realize that this was how the tooltip was worded all along ! What really changed is specifically the Crown/Echo interaction. It was later confirmed through Discord that this was indeed changed on purpose, and the following was eventually added to the v1.14 patch notes: “Crown of Possibilities interaction with Echo – an Echo’d copy of a card no longer receives a second battleskill from Crown of Possibilities”.
So I’d like to use this opportunity to dispel the notion that there was a rule change about Echo. There wasn’t. I have had my part in spreading this misconception, and for that I apologize.
The cases where this assumed rule change would have had any practical application outside of Crown are fringe, but not insignificant.
One of the things that the supposed Echo wording change should have affected is Destiny + Echo, notably Vodakhan combo. If you have Voice of the Speaker and Vodakhan out, then draw a power, said power gets Echo and Destiny. Previously you would draw an additional card for both of the resulting power cards ; if there had been a rule change, you’d now draw 1 card instead of the 2 you drew in closed beta. You still draw 2. [note : at any rate, we already had a change put in place in the same patch specifically to keep it from spiraling out of control (namely the hard limit to number of free actions per turn), so this would have not been a significantly positive change either] . This also applies to other instances of Destiny + Echo, like Talir + Twinbrood Sauropod.
Another thing that would have changed with a modification of Echo would be the Fate/Echo interaction, as fate also says : “does something when *drawn*”. However, an Echo Fate card (like say a Static Bolt on which you applied Elysian Trailblazer’s effect, which is the basis of a once popular deck nicknamed “Carpet Shuffle”) will still trigger it’s fate effect on both the first card and the echoed version, just like it has been doing up until now.
To me, what remains of this whole affair (besides the fact that erroneous information can be passed around and taken as fact throughout the community very easily…) is overwhelming sadness that my once favorite thing about the game, the very thing I would use as an example when excitedly talking about how awesome Eternal is to my friends and anyone who would listen, has been gutted beyond hope of recovery. I strongly believe that the bump in rarity was enough to achieve the stated objective of shielding new players from a frustrating experience playing against it. The huge industrial-strength nail in the coffin seems entirely unnecessary, and even hurtful to the growth of the game. The “wow factor” an iconic, unique and fun deck like this brings to the table seems like exactly the kind of asset the game needs to stand out from the crowd of obviously inferior CCGs the gaming market is currently being flooded with.
So DWD, I humbly beg of you : please don’t kill Crown.
And you, dear reader, if you took the time to read this far, please take 10 more seconds to click this link and make your opinion on the matter known, whether you agree with me or not : Just Answer 1 Question For Me.