12/4 Balance ChangesDecember 4, 2019
It’s important to keep Eternal’s formats evolving, growing, and presenting new puzzles to solve. We’ve been planning a major Throne shake-up for the end of the year for a while now, but we pulled forward a few of those changes in order to help improve balance. After careful consideration of community feedback and discussion, it’s clear we didn’t go far enough towards opening up things enough for the format to feel new.
Torch – Now slow (was fast)
Let’s get the big one out of the way first. That Torch is extremely powerful has never been in question, and it is a fun card to be very strong. With Eternal entering its fourth year, Torch has been such a ubiquitous fixture for a very long time, setting an impossibly high standard and generally crowding out other possible options. This isn’t always a problem, particularly with cards with as much play to them as Torch; but when it’s the same dynamic for so long, it contributes to a feeling of sameness. Fire has also been consistently overrepresented in Throne, as well as consistently overperforming, regardless of what faction or factions it’s paired with. We believe Torch’s unmatched rate to be a major contributing factor.
While Torch does good work as an efficient answer to key threats, it’s been consistently played more than twice as often as any other non-power card. By removing fast from Torch, we’re hoping to preserve this incredible efficiency, while pulling back a little on its flexibility. While we’re confident its power level is still very high, we’re hopeful that this change will open up a little space for other options and make the card less automatic in every Fire deck.
Auralian Merchant – Now 0/3 (was 0/4)
While the flexibility and customization afforded by Merchants and Smugglers adds a number of dimensions to the game, we’ve identified Auralian Merchant’s strength as a ramp card as one of the two biggest factors contributing to the overabundance of Fire/Time decks (with or without a third faction). We’ve already pulled back on Tocas, Waystone Harvester for this exact reason and both of these cards have been having a suppressing effect on aggressive decks, while appearing as ubiquitous fixtures in big Time decks. Our hope is that this change preserves Auralian Merchant’s dual-functionality as a Merchant and as a ramp card, while pulling back on its ability to hold off as many aggressive threats.
Heart of the Vault – Now 7FFFTTT 7/7 (was 6FFFTTT 6/6)
Heart of Vault is definitely the other major contributing factor to the overabundance of various Fire/Time decks. While we’re not generally trying to go after big, high investment units, particularly those that provide definition to a strategy, Heart of the Vault isn’t exactly the highest investment and while its influences requirements were intended to limit how many places it could appear, influence-fixing has improved enough that the card has been showing up in a lot more places than desired. Additionally, it has been such an omnipresent pillar of Throne for so long, a lot of other potentially exciting options have gotten relatively little time in the spotlight.
Desecrate – Now 3SS fast (was 2SS slow)
While there is certainly a place for hard kill spells that can hit most anything, Desecrate has proven itself a little too efficient for how reliable it is. Inexpensive removal spells tend to have blind spots (such as Permafrost, Torch, Defiance, Suffocate, Annihilate) that allow players to adjust their strategies to fight back against, when those cards are very popular. Expensive removal spells may have less holes, but also require more investment, frequently making inexpensive threats an effective way to fight back against them. Desecrate has been getting the best of both worlds, without counterplay present in either category. While increasing Desecrate’s cost is a meaningful change, our hope is that the added flexibility of being fast will give new options to players willing to risk the three damage.
Note: As Desecrate is only available from the Homecoming campaign, falling outside of our normal system for refunding crafted cards, we are giving a one-time grant of a 1,250 gold to users who purchased the campaign (similar to previous campaign changes). Users who upgraded the card will receive an additional 1,250 gold. Players will of course keep all their copies of Desecrate.
We really appreciate the full range of feedback you all send us and all the discussion we’ve got to see from players across the internet. Whether it’s positive sentiment about what’s working particularly well or constructive feedback about what might be able to be improved, it’s all appreciated and considered in our continuing passion to make Eternal better and better. Our next balance changes are scheduled for Monday, January 6th. Thank you for taking the time and for caring so much!