Ban list update August 27th

August 27th Ban List Update
Effective Date: September 7th

New Frontiers

The Game Environment at a Glance

All data was retrieved from high-level events between the dates of June 8th and August 17th.

The following represents Force of Will’s current Top 8 metagame breakdown for New Frontiers:

Speaker of Eternal Night // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights (59.72%)
Lumia, the Fated Rebirth // Lumia, Saint of the Crimson Lotus (9.72%)
Kirik Rerik // Kirik Rerik, the Draconic Warrior (8.33%)
Faerur Letoliel // Faerur Letoliel, King of Wind (8.33%)
Ayu, Lunar Swordswoman // Ayu, Shaman Swordswoman (4.17%)
The Dusk Girl // Scarlet, the Crimson Beast (2.78%)
Time Spinning Witch // Time Spinning Witch (2.78%)
Gill // Gill, the Gifted Conjurer (2.78)
Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree (1.39%)

In addition, the metagame breakdown for winning rulers appears as the following:

Speaker of Eternal Night // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights (77.78%)
Faerur Letoliel // Faerur Letoliel, King of Wind (11.11%)
Time Spinning Witch // Time Spinning Witch (11.11%)

After a review of our CFC-WOM New Frontiers format, we have found that our previous (June 1st, 2018) banlist’s effect was not drastic enough to alter the overall metagame.  While we did initially accomplish our goal of reducing the overall percentage of “Speaker of Eternal Night’s” placement in playoff matches, the drop was not steep enough for the format to be able to be referred to as “healthy.”  While some around the world expressed a wish for an emergency banning to combat this, we wished to collect as much data as possible before issuing any severe decisions, especially as this was only the second format Speaker had been legal in.  However, after collecting this data, we have decided to implement the following banlist as we move into our New Valhalla season:

Speaker of Eternal Night // Scheherazade of the Catastrophic Nights - Banned

Since Scheherazade’s release, she has dominated our New Frontiers metagame.  As New Frontiers had less supportive weapons than the Wanderer format, we felt that she could be given an additional format with reduced support.  These bannings in June, combined with the new rulers in “Winds of the Ominous Moon,” were intended to reduce her representation in the meta to acceptable levels, and we hoped this to be the case.

Unfortunately, this was not so.  Even with some of her most powerful tools removed, she still had far too much flexibility and support.  Having access every game to an extra deck tailormade to counter many broad strategies led to a strong Swiss matchup spread, and the combination of “Puppet Maker” and a plethora of [Quickcast] Dolls still gave her a dominant win condition.

On top of this, her 3-cost [Judgment] gave her three separate [Enter] abilities and [1000/1000] [Flying] battle stats, while retaining her Dolls’ [Quickcast] ability.

As a result of these strategies dominating tournaments, we have decided to remove “Speaker of Eternal Night” from the New Frontiers format.

The following additional cards are UNBANNED. 

Evil Djinni - Unbanned
Story Listener, Eva - Unbanned

Eva and Djinni are not likely to cause a stir without “Speaker of Eternal Night” playing Dolls with [Quickcast] timing or being able to generate [Legend].  “Story Listener, Eva” and “Evil Djinni” are therefore unbanned in the New Frontiers format.

Ruined Story - Unbanned

Unlike the previous cards, “Ruined Story” has a strong base power level.  However, we still believe that its power level is not too strong for the current meta, considering it loses one of its modes and players are not guaranteed to start with it. Therefore, “Ruined Story” is also unbanned in the New Frontiers format.


The Game Environment at a Glance

As many players have noticed, with the introduction of the New Valhalla Cluster, we have brought the [Enter] tag back into the game. However, it now functions as “When this card enters the field” rather than “When this card is played from your hand.” This change has a drastic effect on the Wanderer format where many old cards will be look at again in a new light. However there are cards that we’ve found in testing that limit our future designs and are generally best removed from the format for the time being. In addition, we feel some cards have created an oppressive atmosphere where we would like to allow for potential growth, and thus have added some cards to the list to weaken, yet not remove strategies from the meta-game.

Lumia, the Fated Rebirth // Lumia, Saint of the Crimson Lotus - Banned 

Since Lumia has been introduced into Force of Will, she has been played quite often, though until now always in moderation.  We’ve seen Lumia combo with cards such as “Captain Hook, the Pirate,” “Faerur’s Command,” and many other cards across this game’s history.  In Wanderer, she retained balance by the fact that older cards were designed around their “enters the field” effects not being repeatable through the [Enter] tag (originally used in balance with cards such as “Dream of Juliet”).  Thus, she only worked with cards that were present alongside her in the New Frontiers format that were balanced around having repeatable “enters the field” abilities, and she was strong, but not imbalanced in Wanderer as a result.

However, the change of the [Enter] tag to work in combination with so-called “flicker” (remove from play, then return to field) effects presents unacceptable combinations with Lumia.  One of the most egregious combinations is Lumia/“Nyarlathotep, the Usurper,” which prevents the opponent from ever having a card that can interact with the combo unless they have very specific cards such as “Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian” in their opening hand.

Our general belief is that no deck should be so dominant that it forces one specific card to be played in an attempt to prevent the deck from running over the meta.  As a result, we are taking a proactive measure and banning “Lumia, the Fated Rebirth // Lumia, Saint of the Crimson Lotus.”

Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo - Banned

While we banned many 0-cost cards early on (and “Severing Winds,” a pseudo-0-cost card), we believed “Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo” was one of the few that could stay, providing certain resonator-based decks such as Gwiber decks with free protection that could help maintain their power level without being too overpowered.  Until Winds of the Ominous Moon, this was the case, even as Faerur/Gwiber was slowly rising onto our watchlist.

However, since the release of the ruler “The Time Spinning Witch” in June, we have seen a troubling deck enter Tier 1 that heavily limited deck choice in the format.  Using Apollo, Time Spinning Witch can play “Moon Incarnation” for one blue will, searching out “Bloody Moon” and preventing special stone-based decks from playing the game unless they always had “Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian” available.  This heavily limited the meta to decks that could play on extremely low counts of stones or decks that were entirely mono-attribute.

While we thought about banning “Moon Incarnation,” the long-term concerns about Faerur/Gwiber led us to take the safer option and ban Apollo instead, killing two birds with one stone. This allows the Time Spinning Witch deck to still have a stone destruction option while slowing down the deck to a much more reasonable lockout turn, while also causing Faerur/Gwiber to be far more susceptible to control cards such as “Sign to the Future,” making the deck less unfair.

As a result, “Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo” is banned.

Play Dead - Banned

While masked by the rise of the “The Time Spinning Witch”/“Bloody Moon” deck, which pushed it completely out of the meta, Kirik’s place in the corresponding metagame post-Apollo ban is far too dominant.  It is one of the fastest decks in the format, a combination of early “Rukh Egg”/“Cthugha, the Living Flame” plays and inexpensive resonators such as “Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King.”  However, while this has been acceptable in the past due to inherent weaknesses of such fast-damage strategies, “Play Dead” has largely erased those disadvantages.

First, it is simply a cancel spell for resonator removal spells, as “Play Dead” brings a [Swiftness] resonator back into the field recovered when it is put into the graveyard, allowing it to simply attack again.  This requires the opponent to have removal spells that remove the resonator from the game, which are not anywhere near fast enough to deal with the speed of the Kirik deck.

Secondly, it is a combo piece with Cthugha, as you can attack with a resonator, deal damage, play Play Dead on the [Swiftness] resonator that attacked, banish it to Cthugha, then get it back and attack with it again (and Cthugha!).  This allowed for very strong proactive plays as well, even if going against a deck that did not have much interaction.

While we wish aggro to have its place in the format, Play Dead pushes aggro past an allowable power level.  Furthermore, it also consolidates all red aggro decks into the Kirik ruler, as it is the only deck that can consistently play the card.  We wish to see more diversity with other red rulers being viable going forward.

While we will keep a strong eye on the “Rukh Egg”/“Cthugha, the Living Flame” combo in the future, for now, “Play Dead” is banned.

Origins - No Change

In Closing

As we continue to grow as a game and as a company, we often reflect back on the choices made and ask ourselves if the results of our decisions have fulfilled their intended purpose. Our goal is to strike accurately and precisely with regularly scheduled events when necessary to create a fun and healthy metagame for as many formats as possible. We also understand the repercussions that occur with popular Ruler bannings. With that being said, the health of the game and long term stability is of the utmost concern. We will continue to address obstacles that arise and ensure that the user experience of Force of Will remains an enjoyable one.

Thank you very much 

R&D Team