June 1st Ban List Update
The Game Environment at a Glance
All data was retrieved from high level events between the dates of March 9th and May 28th.
The following represents Force of Will’s current metagame breakdown in New Frontiers:
Speaker of Eternal Night // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights (69.86%)
Kirik Rerik // Kirik Rerik, the Draconic Warrior (11.36%)
Lumia, the Fated Rebirth // Lumia, Saint of the Crimson Lotus (11.36%)
Ayu, Lunar Swordswoman // Ayu, Shaman Swordswoman (4.55%)
After reviewing this data and looking across the lifetime availability of the cards on this list in New Frontiers, we have decided the following:
Due to the continued metagame presence of strong Wind cards, in combination with an overwhelmingly dominating performance throughout tournament results, Scheherazade has been proven to be in need of some adjustment. While we currently feel that a ban on the Ruler herself is unnecessary in New Frontiers, it has not gone unnoticed that Scheherazade has proven to be a threat without peer across all Force of Will formats. Her flexible nature, card advantage, undercosted Dolls and Story chants, ability to loop her Story chants with “Ruined Story,” and capacity to play nearly her entire deck at [Quickcast]-speed all combine to explain her high proportion of Top 8 appearances. Utilizing this knowledge of Scheherazade’s anticompetitive nature, the following cards will be banned in New Frontiers and Wanderer as part of an attempt to lessen her monopoly on the metagame.
Story Listener, Eva - Banned
Although Eva appears to be a simple resonator on the surface, she has been utilized in a highly unintentional manner in the current metagame. Scheherazade was intended to be a powerful control Ruler employing Dolls to close out games, but Eva has instead seen far more play as an early, aggressive, low-cost tempo resonator. The ability to out-tempo aggressive decks with large, vanilla resonators was not at all how we intended Scheherazade to function. Therefore, “Story Listener, Eva” is banned in New Frontiers in order to allow strong, aggressive resonators such as “Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King” and our beloved “Piggy, Hoelle’s Great Hero Pig” to shine in the metagame.
Ruined Story - Banned
“Ruined Story” was undoubtedly designed to be powerful, though not to this degree. Scheherazade’s gameplay was intended to promote a slow build-up when revealing Story chants, with “Ruined Story” allowing late-game dominance that one would expect from a control deck. In addition, we wanted “Ruined Story” to be flexible enough to not be completely dead in a game that did not make it to later stages. However, we ended up over-tuning the card for the metagame it was entering into, leading to a cost that is too low for the amount of effects it can make use of.
In addition, “Ruined Story’s” ability to ‘loop’ Story chants ended up being more powerful than we expected, leading to excessive card advantage and game-stalling effects. While we believe the extra deck is still an interesting concept, Scheherazade’s current variants clearly gain too much value out of “Ruined Story” for us to feel comfortable allowing it to remain in the New Frontiers format. As “Ruined Story” is played in 100% of extra decks of Scheherazade decklists worldwide and continues to prove support to all other engines of the Ruler, we have decided to ban “Ruined Story” in New Frontiers.
Evil Djinni - Banned
While we wished Evil Djinni to be playable despite being a vanilla [700/700] outside of Scheherazade, our efforts unfortunately led to another over-tuned card. A single resonator being able to gain hand advantage, cause life loss, and remove resonators without targeting them is too strong for a three-will total cost, even when limited to a specific mechanic. While Evil Djinni, unlike other cards on this list, is not run in all versions of Scheherazade, it still promoted an aggressive flipping of Story chants simply to gain the [Legend] (5) text. Furthermore, this card cannot be effectively answered outside of “Abdul Alhazred, Poet of Madness” and “Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian.”.
As a result, although he is the most likely card on this list to be unbanned in the future, “Evil Djinni” is banned in New Frontiers for the time being.
True Blade of the Spirits - Banned
Almost universally played since its printing, “True Blade of Spirits” was actually intended mostly to be played as part of “Gill’s” package alongside Elementals and other Spirit Magics. However, it has instead resulted in one of the most oppressive, off-attribute removal spells our game has ever seen, eliminating nearly all one-will resonators and most two-will resonators from the metagame. With the added card flexibility allowed by its removal from New Frontiers, we hope to see more diverse deck strategies take off in the future. In today’s environment, we would no longer print such a card, as we are dedicated to more linear and stricter attribute and Ruler restrictions in our set design. Therefore, in the interest of demonstration to this commitment as well as a healthy metagame, “True Blade of Spirits” is banned in New Frontiers.
Two major events for Wanderer took place this season; one in the United States and one in Europe. The results showed us that Scheherazade and Wind are still a bit too powerful in the Wanderer format and so we will continue to refine the Wanderer ban list to enable old and new cards alike to prosper. With that said, the changes to the Wanderer format are the following;
Speaker of Eternal Night // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights - Banned
It’s been a little bit of time since we have seen a ruler dominate ALL formats in such a fashion. While Scheherazade’s power can be controlled in New Frontiers, we are taking a slightly different approach to Wanderers ban list. With the vast amount of Wind support available from the origins of the game, we would like to try removing Scheherazade and allowing her interesting support spells to be played. We want players to have a chance to use unique effects like Ruined Story and Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid. While Ruined Stories will be removed from the New Frontiers format, the ability to use it in Wanderer will hopefully allow some plays who wish to continue using this powerful modal spell for some time. This ban also gives us a chance to differentiate Wanderer and New Frontiers, and we hope for an interesting and diverse metagame in the coming year.
Otherworld Dreams - Banned
As has been discussed before, the ability to cancel any spell for one will is incredibly powerful. We thought that leaving Otherworld Dreams in the format might allow for a bit of a floodgate to any potential problems we missed. However after reviewing the results of Wanderer events, New Frontiers, and even Cluster formats. It is clear now that this card is too powerful for it to exist in the format we are trying to build. Otherworld Dreams is banned.
Faerur’s Spell - Banned
Another incredibly powerful chant, disguised as an innocuous answer to Quickcast spells. In the GP Providence decklists, this card appeared to be the #1 most commonly played card in the entire format. This has become aggro’s go to answer to ensure that their damage gets lands solely in the face of the enemy. In addition, Faerur’s Spell answers back any cancel spell, removal, quickcast resonator, and a wide swath of other decks. With such a generic 1 cost answer, many other options in the format where not being properly explored. With many other hits on this list, we felt it necessary to remove this answer from many decks and to push deck builders to experiment with the many cards available.
True Blade of Spirits - Banned
Morgiana, the Wise Servant - Unbanned
As an addendum, “Morgiana, the Wise Servant” was banned last June due to her overly strong power level when combined with both Reflect and Change the World. Without Change the World in format and Guinevere, the Jealous Queen, we feel for now that she is no longer too powerful for the format. Therefore, “Morgiana, the Wise Servant” is unbanned. We will as always keep an eye on the format and the future of this cards power ability.
The combination of Planting Beans and the powerful reanimation cards in the Origins format makes for a deck that consistently can take on combination decks such as Chronos, while also maintaining strong advantages in more resonator based decks as well. For this reason, Planting Beans is restricted.
We are continuously striving to correct our course by testing our design and banlist choices and communicating with our representatives from around the world. While our job is not perfect, we will always work towards creating a balanced metagame while simultaneously allowing players the time and effort to experiment with unknown and unexpected combinations. However, should an issue arise again, we will take swift stands against ubiquitous representation of singular Rulers or decks in any given format in the future. We constantly wish to ensure that Force of Will remains a fun game to play at both the local and competitive levels.
Thank you very much