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FaB - Analysis of the March 25th Bans and Pro Tour: Los Angeles

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In today's article, let's analyze the updated ban list, its consequences for the game, and see how the Pro Tour: Los Angeles will affect the metagame.

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translated by Joey Sticks

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The Ban List

Recently, on March 25th, 2024, LSS announced another update to the ban list! The two cards that were banned were quite unexpected, and their absence won't kick-start barely any changes to the metagame.

The following cards were banned:

Classic Constructed:

- Berserk is banned;

- Crown of Seeds is banned.

Blitz:

- Berserk is banned;

Berserk?

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To add a bit more context to this change: this list was announced one day after the Pro: Tour in Los Angeles, in which Dromai, Ash Artist was the winning deck (which put her 4 points away from Living Legend). However, some players were creative and brought a new build with Dorinthea Ironsong's axes, and others got spectacular results with Kayo, Armed and Dangerous, which shows how diverse the meta is.

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In general, Kayo was the most represented hero at the Pro Tour and a total of four players reached Top 8 with him; it wouldn't be crazy to say that, currently, he is the best deck in Classic Constructed - and the responsible for that is probably Berserk, right?

Well, no Kayo list actually uses this card, and competitively it isn't popular. So, why ban it?

Berserk, in a vacuum, is incredibly powerful. In the right build, it can draw cards infinitely for Brute and end the game quite quickly. Even though this build isn't very popular, it restricts design space, which means: the design team will have to create new cards thinking about how they'll interact with Berserk. By the way, many feared Kayo, Armed and Dangerous would become unbeatable with this card.

Fortunately, this didn't happen, but, even then, the mere existence of this card forced the design team to think about how every new Brute card interacted with Berserk. To get rid of this issue, and because it already wasn't a popular card competitively, banning it will not only not impact that many decks as you'd think, but also make it easier for the design team to work on new content.

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Crown of Seeds is similar to Berserk in this sense. When Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity dominated the meta, players saw this equipment had a lot of potential and could be highly problematic. With this in mind, it also restricted any new heroes and cards with the Earth talent that the design team could release without breaking the game, and, considering that, currently, no hero can use this equipment, it was banned without negatively impacting anyone.

Blitz

Berserk's ban in Blitz happened for the same reasons as its ban in Classic Constructed. However, Crown of Seeds is still valid in this format.

Considering some Briar lists use this equipment, and it doesn't seem problematic, it will remain valid. However, as this hero is approaching Living Legend status, LSS assured us it will be banned on the nest banlist (July 8th).

The Living Legend Format

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This format changed significantly after the Los Angeles' Battle Hardened. This showed us how the restricted list for Living Legend really made a lot of difference.

Once dominated by Bravo, Star of the Show, Living Legend has gotten a breath of fresh air with Chane, Bound by Shadow (winning deck at the Battle Hardened), Lexi, Livewire, and Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light, which became the new decks under everyone's radars. Furthermore, the strong restriction of Ice heroes pushed them out of the spotlight, even though Iyslander, Stormbind, almost made it to Top8.

This format will now adapt to these new threats, and the terrifying Bravo, Star of the Show will no longer be its main deck.

How Pro Tour Affected the Metagame

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After getting another win in the finals against Dorinthea Ironsong, Dromai, Ash Artist has practically reached Living Legend status. Even though there are still 4 points left for her to reach it, she'll inevitably leave this format after the first week of the Pro Quest comes along, in April. So, the meta will start preparing for a format without this Illusionist and her dragons.

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What Made Dromai So Strong?

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When Uprisinglink outside website came along, Dromai was one of the lesser known heroes released. The best lists used several generic Illusionist cards and Phantasmal Footsteps, but this deck still struggled a lot against opponents that used cards with 6 or higher power - like Guardians.

However, almost a year after her release, the meta was facing one of the strongest decks in the history of the game: Lexi, Livewire. This Ranger was putting every deck in check, but there was one deck that could handle her arrows and win tournaments, and that hero was Dromai. So, Dromai started taking off and stacking Living Legend points.

The last piece of her puzzle came in Bright Lightslink outside website: Tome of Imperial Flame.

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Now, Dromai uses Crown of Dominion, and is more aggressive than ever. Thanks to the tome, it is easier for us to manage Ash, and her board state grows quite fast in a single turn. Those who couldn't handle her dragons before were now totally doomed.

Miragai and Cromai made it harder for you to stop their horde of dragons, Themai stopped Defense Reactions and Instants, Yendurai was incredibly difficult to remove, Aether Ashwing were like Harmonized Kodachi, and so much more.

As soon as Lexi, Livewire and Iyslander, Stormbind reached Living Legend status, a meta more centered around attrition came along, and we saw a rise of Brutes and Warriors thanks to Heavy Hitterslink outside website. As players didn't have many ways to deal with dragons, Dromai's aggressive version was the list that most won championships in the Road to Nationals and also won Pro Tour: Los Angeles. But what will the meta be like when she's gone?

A New Era for Warriors

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At the Pro Tour, a new version of Dorinthea Ironsong stood out, particularly in the Top 8: a version centered around Hatchet of Body and Hatchet of Mind.

This list will probably be explored by players moving forward. Besides Dorinthea, Kassai of the Golden Sand has been performing well, and even won The Calling: Los Angeles. Warriors might be the new class at the top of the meta.

Rangers and Assassins Might Pop Up

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Without Dromai, decks that couldn't deal with dragons could become more popular, as they'll have decent matches against any other hero - particularly Assassin and Ranger. Uzuri, Switchblade and Arakni, Huntsman might beat down Warriors, Azalea, Ace in the Hole is already strong and might pop up even more, and even Riptide, Lurker of the Deep might show up a bit more to bother Brutes with Traps.

Final Words

Even though this banlist update was quite shy, the meta is quite open. Considering Kayo, Armed and Dangerous is the most important deck in this format, Dromai, Ash Artist's departure might bring new decks to the meta and put Brutes in check. Furthermore, a new set is just around the corner - and it will bring three new heroes, which will probably mix up the metagame. Only time will tell us what the future holds!

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Thank you for reading and see you next time!