Lets hop right in, shall we?
Tavrod, Auric Broker – Unchanged
I’m fine with Tavrod staying where he is, he is a very strong card and dodges a lot of removal, but I think the game actively wants a Midrange deck like Argenport to keep the meta in line. Argenport is the Jund of the format and keeps decks honest. If they were to make any changes to him I think the best option would be for him to get nerfed to a 5/6 just so he dies to Obliterate to give Praxis some room to step into the meta.
Elysian Pathfinder – Now 7TTT (Was 5TT)
I mean, I’m the Makdaddy because I love Inquisitor Makto and Elysian Pathfinder is the Makdaddy’s favorite drinking buddy but like… this seems fair. Makto + Echo is the strongest and quickest late game engine, not many decks can beat it once it gets going and it can come online quickly with some luck. This is a well done nerf because it hits both types of Makto decks, the dedicated Time/Justice/Shadow decks that jam Pathfinder on turn 5 or 6 and the controlling Primal/Time/Justice/Shadow decks that splash for Pathfinder but play him once they have board control.
Rest in Peace, Sweet Prince
Elysian Trailblazer – Now 7PPP (Was 5PP)
This is less relevant than Elysian Pathfinder. I’ve never really seen the Second Sight decks as problematic because of the turn timer usually clocking them out before they get to absurdity and because the amount of cards needed to make a combo work cut down on your room for interaction meaning you get bopped by aggro. I still sort of agree with this nerf though because it gives DWD breathing room to print cool spells and not have to worry about them immediately getting broken. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for them to make a promo revenge burn spell or something now.
Vara, Fate-Touched – Now “When you play another Shadow unit, play an additional Shadow unit from your void.” (Was “When you play Vara or another Shadow unit, play an additional Shadow unit from your void.”)
Man, this is really a blowout to reanimator decks. I haven’t played Reanimator enough to know the full scale of this but it has the potential to just break the archetype. Being able to Grasp at Shadows on 5, get back Vara and another unit was huge as was being able to chain Varas together. Now unless you can infiltrate with Direwood Beastcaller the same turn you Grasp at Shadows and get a Vara, you’ll be waiting until turn 6 or 7 when you can play another unit to get Vara value. Unless of course you’re an animal and don’t care if your Vara gets killed or silenced immediately.
Soulfire Drake – Now 6FFF (Was 5FFF)
This is a fair nerf, I still expect to see Soulfire Drake but maybe not as a 4-of anymore. Soulfire gave Aggro decks the chance to close out the game before Harsh Rule came down and not have downside because of how powerful its Entomb is. I expect to see Aggro decks opt for a different threat to close games on turns 5 and 6 or play more ways to protect their board.
Protect – Now 2J (Was 1J)
This hurts Aggro the most, being able to jam a 2-drop and hold up Protect was better than jamming a 3-drop against removal heavy decks. I’m not sure what to anticipate from Aggro decks because of this, there could be a shift towards playing more Aegis units in the wake of removal pile decks or playing better standalone 3-drops that dodge thing like Torch/Annihilate/Suffocate. Argenport is hurt by this too but that deck has options like playing more Sabotages to take the removal they’re worried and is also generally okay with waiting till turn 7 to play a Tavrod and hold up Protect.
Wanted Poster – Now 2J (Was 1J)
This one I’m upset about, the reason they cited for the nerf was “It was just getting played in the same turn as the removal spell” which is like the reason it was seeing play, the reason people love the card. It gave Justice decks much needed card draw and a way to pop Aegis against Aggro. However with removal pile decks playing things like Crests and Quarry a lot of their action comes out on turn 3 anyways so Torch + Wanted Poster is still a viable combo albeit slower.
Stonepowder Alchemist – Now 2/1 (Was 2/2)
I literally don’t know what this does, I guess it can’t block Grenadin anymore? Incoming Firemane Cub meta? This does make Vicious Highwaymen better as you can play it in mirror matches on turn 4 and not stare at your opponents Alchemist. Elysian gets better with this because all of their 1/1 creatures can trade with it and Crystallize/Yetipult kill it, but like when was the last time you got ‘Pulted?
Entrapment – Now 4J (Was 3J)
This kills the cards constructed playability in case you were on Mono-Justice for some reason. In Draft I suppose its fair but its always lived in this spot where the decks that pair well with Justice also play Nightfall and Justice itself has some strong 3 drops it would like to play instead. Don’t get me wrong though straight up 3 mana removal was strong.
Spiritblade Stalker – Now 6-cost Ultimate (Was 5-cost)
Spritiblade Stalker was one of the strongest cards in Justice for Draft, it had a hot bod and gave you the opportunity to catch up against Aggro. Now your opponent doesn’t have to worry about dealing with Spritiblade Stalker AND the flier you’re going to give Lifesteal and stomp them with the turn after you play it. I think this is a gentle push on the card’s power level, expect to see it, expect to lose it to it slightly less often.
Roosting Owl – Now 2/3 (Was 2/4)
If you are a member of the rare group of people who actually see Torch or Purify in Draft then this is a godsend. If you’re one of us average Joes who drafts decks the get immediately brickwalled by a 2/4 then this is pretty good too. To be fair thought you don’t lose to this card you lose to the 9/9 or whatever absurdity your opponent draws and slams because they’re the luckiest and you’re a chump on the internet.
Lastlight Druid – Now does a straightforward irrelevant thing (Was did a convoluted irrelevant thing)
If you break this in the meta pm me a decklist after your get a Nobel Prize in creativity.
Into the Furnace – Now Fast (Was Slow)
This is sweet, baseline this means Fire decks in Draft have access to a Shock but it also means we could be seeing some Into the Furnace in Constructed. In Constructed this seems a shoe-in for Stonescar Grenadins but could also see some play in Praxis as playing Granite Waystones is almost free.
Toppletower – Now 0/5 (Was 0/4)
I don’t know what you want from me, I’ve never actually played a Toppletower but the card art is adorable.
Amaran Shoveler – Now 1 to use (Was 2 to use)
This is a pretty good buff, no one really activated this card unless things were bad but now it’s a more reasonable ability and gives the Sentinel shell some better card advantage.
Lunar Magus – Now 3/4 (Was 2/4)
This actually pushes the card towards Constructed, you gotta respect Time for having beefy dudes with cheap mana costs. In draft this will trade with hold off almost every 3-drop instead of just 2-drops which is sweet.
Reliquary Raider – Now 3TT 1/3 You gain 3 health when she blocks (Was 5T 4/4 You gain 4 health when she blocks)
This is a pretty big change, I’m kind of surprised they didn’t just make a little brother card instead of redoing the original. This card could actually see some play outside of Draft, 1/3 means it can block stuff like Rakano Outlaw and you gain life in addition to being a creature that draws a card when it attacks. This seems great sideboard tech against Aggro and a strong card for long games.
Edit: While streaming last night, a viewer pointed out that the Reliquary Raider is now an insane option for Chalice decks. The card draw and life gain is absolutely what Chalice is in the market for.
Seasoned Spelunker – Now +2/+2 while you have a Relic (Was +1/+1 while you have a Relic)
I love Seasoned Spelunker and I think having a solid 3-drop that gets yuuuuuge when you get into the late game is what Sentinels needs, that archetype feels like it gets behind quickly and these buffs to the early game / support cards feels great.
Stirring Sand – Now 4TT but plays the Sentinel Exhausted (Was 5TT and Ready)
I have like no opinion, this is from the cycle of weird tribal cards that aren’t great except in nutso busto Drafts and janky Constructed decks. Not being able to return the creature Readied is kind of bad because this card was really an answer to your big ole blocker getting killed and your opponent jamming his chumps into your grill.
Parapet Sentry – Now has +2/+2 while you have a Relic (Was +1/+1)
I mean I don’t think this card needed help because its almost a Flametongue Kavu and got played in literally every Fire deck but I’m sure Sentinels will take the help.
Bellowing Thunderfoot – Now 5/5 (Was 4/5)
Thunderfoot got some new Jays and forgot where he came from, getting all aggressive in the streets. This change is pretty good because the goal for Thunderfoot is to be a haymaker, stunning a dude and spending the next turn still being brickwalled was not great.
Thudrock, Artic Artisan – Now 5/4 (Was 5/3)
This is a solid change, Thudrock was supposed to be one of the flagship cards for Yetis and it getting Torch’d immediately… kind of solidified Yetis being cute but ineffective. I don’t think this pushes Yeti tribal all the way into meta but I expect it to be more viable.
Amethyst Monument – Now makes a 4/4 Puma (Was a 3/3)
This is long needed, this card has always been the weak link of the Monument cycle. Fire got a 4/1 with Charge, Time got a 5/5 with Overwhelm, Justice got a Gemblade and Primal got a 4/4 with Flying, but Lifesteal is the mechanic you need to keep in check right? I’m not sure how much you’ll see of this card though with Shadow decks running large amounts of Crests and Seats and not really wanting to play more taplands and the utility slots being taken up by cards like Amethyst Waystone.
Cabal Slasher – Now 2S (Was 3S)
This cleans up the card a lot, a lot of the good cards that gain life come down on 3 and this dude just awkwardly showed up to that party 20 minutes late. This does give Xenan life-gain a solid 2 drop that isn’t an X/1 that chumps on turn 4.
Iceberg Warchief – Now 5/3 that gives your Yeti +2/+0 and your Spells +2 Damage (Instead of 5/4 that gives +1/+0 and +1 Spell damage)
I’m alright with this, this dude held the “Why am I still in this pack?” award for awhile. Now he makes a better Yeti lord and is playable in Fire/Primal decks with burn spells “Nice Sentinel, here’s a 5 damage Torch”.
Ayan, the Abductor – Now 8-cost Ultimate (Was 9-cost)
Ayan is a fine card but like that ult has always been generally unusable. 8-cost is great because decks with Ayan usually want 8 power to turn on Xenan Obelisk.
Mask of Torment – Now 4TS (Was 5TS)
This card is like shockingly close to mainstream playability, maybe this is the push it needs especially with the good lifegain cards coming down on turn 3 and earlier. This gets rid of that awkward turn 4 where you don’t have a Katra and are just gonna play another 2 drop.
Yours Truly, The Makdaddy