As you may know there was a recent announcement to some balance changes coming to Eternal. If you didn’t you can click here to read directly from Scarlatch, one of the developers at Direwolf Digital, but the tl;dr is this
- Bartholo, the Seducer – Now 4JJS with Ultimate: Pay 7 (instead of 3JJS and Ultimate: Pay 10)
- Vara’s Choice – Now 2TS (instead of 3TS)
- Beckoning Lumen – Now 4TT 5/3 (instead of 5TT 6/4)
- Purify – Now 2FT Spell (instead of 3FT Fast Spell)
- Moment of Creation – Now 7FFTT (instead of 8FFTT)
- Nostrix, Lord of Visions – Now gives +5/+5 (instead of +3/+3)
- Shelterwing Rider – Now 0/5 (instead of 0/4)
So what do these all mean? Well part of our team of Eternal writers has their feedback and comments on the changes right here!
Bartholo, the Seducer
John Wells – Here’s the big news. Bart going from 3 to 4 is huge. It has effectively neutered Argenport Midrange/Aggro as we’ve seen it since Tavrod, Auric Broker’s release. No longer can you curve Bartholo into Lethrai Falchion. Plus at 4 he seems more fair than at 3. While this adjustment is seen more as a nerf than a buff, we do see a small buff to his ultimate. Paying 7 to tutor up any Relic from your deck can be useful, but what relics do you want to play with Bartholo? At 10 his ultimate was trinket text, used by people like myself who spun Bartholo off of a Siraf activation. The premier relics in Argenport are Auric Runehammer and Sword of the Sky King, but SotSK seems like an odd inclusion into a deck playing Bartholo.
John Wells – Of the cycle of Choices, Vara’s Choice was in a weird spot. It was considerably better than Rolant’s and Talir’s, but weaker than Kaleb’s and the ever-present Eilyn’s. However at 3TS Vara’s Choice was slightly too expensive. In Xenan it competed with Ayan and Banish, and even then I only saw it used for the “Silence & Bounce” effect and not the “Silence & Discard” one. However now at 2, Vara’s Choice is a reasonable hand-attack choice for S&D and provides tempo on the S&B side. So far the amount of Xenan Midrange has risen, but how much of that is due to Vara’s Choice’s buff is unknown at the moment.
Keith Watabayashi – This might seem like just another attempt at helping a fringe strategy and for sure it is that, but it’s also a very significant upgrade. Time is the most played faction in Eternal largely because of the flexibility of multi-faction units like Desert Marshal and the raw power of units like Sandstorm Titan. For as as long as Eternal has existed Time has been all about big fatties and big value, with any other Time strategy just being plain weaker. This change to Beckoning Lumen opens up a third strategy: Lifeforce. Lifeforce is a very slow mechanic that rewards long-term planning, incremental value, and building to powerful synergies. This means Lifeforce is not just another keyword, it’s a whole other playstyle, and for a “stale” faction like Time opening up a new options is a great thing. So far, the main problem with Lifeforce has been how clunky the curve is and how slow the payoff cards are. This upgrade to Beckoning Lumen could change that as you now have a strong play on turn 4 that is also a payoff, much like Katra. But unlike Katra, it’s not game over if your opponent kills Lumen, and now you have two strong plays in the mid-game not just one. I love Time, and can’t wait to try my hand at a new, leaner and stronger Lifeforce curve anchored by Becky.
Keith Watabayashi – Do I really want any other cheap spell in my Praxis deck other than Torch? Probably not, and even though Praxis doesn’t have a strong turn two play outside of Temple Scribe, I would be very hard pressed to play a non-fast spell that doesn’t hit the opponent or relic weapons. However, with another cheap interaction spell, something like Praxis control or a Praxis spell deck could become viable, if not tier 1. The main attraction about Purify is the silence, which is incredibly powerful in any kind of Time deck since your units will almost always be naturally be bigger than your opponent’s, and if they’re not you can always just drop a Xenan Obelisk and run over that vanilla 2/4 that used to be a Statuary Maiden. Still though, I just want Torch all day, everyday.
Moment of Creation
John Wells – A card that has piqued my interest more than a few times, this has a splashy effect in a faction pair with little to no Spell support. Making two X/X’s can be powerful, given the right shell. So far no such shell has emerged. But maybe reducing the cost from 8 to 7 will help enough for others to experiment with it.
Nostrix, Lord of Visions
John Wells – As part of the AAABBB cycle of cards, Nostrix is in an odd place. The Mentor ability is widely seen as a terrible Ranked mechanic due to the immense lack of tempo. The real question here is whether +5/+5 to all copies of one card is significantly better than +3/+3 to warrant more copies. We’ve already seen Nostrix in some Hooru Fliers lists, but that’s mainly due to Nostrix being a big beefy flier and not an Uber-Mentor.
Keith Watabayashi – Someone at Dire Wolf really likes owls. Seriously. Shelterwing Rider was already a great…good…playable…niche card and has always been the weakest aegis card due to it becoming so easily ignored and this change does not address that. I like Shelterwing Rider as a design and as an interesting take on what kind of counter-play to aegis there should be, so why mess with the health? I guess to make it better against relic weapons and a better fighter, but I never feel that was the point of the card. Shelterwing Rider fits best in a tempo strategy, either midrange or aggro and whether it has 4 health or 5 health that’s not really going to change. Basically, any deck that wanted Shelterwing Rider got an upgrade but any other strategy that ignores it, or even wants to try it, will not be swayed by one extra health.
While most of our notes are for Ranked our very own Ian Suzuki has these comments about how Draft changes:
Hey folks. For the most part, I’m going to be focusing on how the changes to Vara’s Choice and Purify will affect the draft format. Changes to rares and legendaries don’t matter too much for draft. Bartholo was and still is good, same with Shelterwing Rider and Beckoning “Becky” Lumen. Moment of Creation is still probably unplayable for most decks. Nostrix’s power level definitely rose, but its prohibitive influence requirements demand a very streamlined Hooru deck to play anyways.
The power reduction on Vara’s Choice definitely helps. Time and Shadow both have quite a few removal options, and as such Vara’s Choice could sometimes get picked over for cards like Xenan Initiation. Vara’s Choice now seems more competitive as an early draft pick for Xenan decks, and is a more appealing as a splash than it used to be. However, this buff won’t solve the consistency issues that Xenan has in limited, so I expect that archetype to continue to be under-drafted.
The change to Purify is going to shake limited up somewhat. Becoming a normal spell in exchange for becoming more efficient isn’t a straight upgrade or downgrade. In two-color praxis decks, I think Purify probably gets very slightly better. Becoming cheaper allows for stronger tempo plays. However, Purify does get significantly worse as a splash. If you are splashing a card, you want it to have a strong effect – the power cost doesn’t really matter THAT much since you aren’t counting on drawing your fixing until later in the game (when you have plenty of power). As a result, Purify becomes less desirable for decks that are trying to splash it.