Flesh and Blood


FaB: September 19th List of Banned and Restricted Impact Analysis

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A new list of banned and restricted cards was announced and, despite the farewell of a hero, brings with itself a vision of what to expect of the next few months. Check out our analysis of the changes!

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translated by Joey Sticks

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revised by Tabata Marques

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Banned and Restricted List

On September 19th, LSS released another update to their banned and restricted list. We didn't have any significant changes in the meta, but we had important warnings and the farewell of a hero.

Classic Constructed:

- Briar, Warden of Thorns (and her signature weapon, Rosetta Thorn) reached Living Legends status and is no longer legal to play in the format.

- Bull's Eye Bracers was moved from banned to suspended until Lexi, Livewire reaches Living Legend.



- Drone of Brutality (1) was banned.

Briar's Long Journey

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Briar, Warden of Thorns was released in Tales of Arialink outside website and heavily impacted the meta. This hero had very strong cards, such as Channel Mount Heroic and Plunder Run (1), and an unstoppable combo involving Ball Lightning (1) and Sting of Sorcery. Besides that, the hero's original ability allowed you to stack Embodiment of Earth infinitely, which made her not only an excellent aggressor but also an excellent defender, which made every decision your opponent took bad.

It didn't take long for her to become the best aggressive deck at the time.

January 12th 2022 Bans

So far, this hero was strolling her way to Living Legends status in an incredibly scary manner, until January 12th, 2022's list of banned and restricted cards.

In that list, the hero went through a change and lost two main cards in her strategy: Ball Lightning (1) e Plunder Run (1). Her errata limited her ability of creating Embodiment of Earth to only once per turn, while the bans aimed at directly removing the hero's offensive capability. With that list, she had her power considerably reduced.

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With the release of Everfestlink outside website (the next set), this hero was set aside. Bravo, Star of the Show became the meta's greatest challenge and Chane, Bound By Shadow returned to the radar. At that time, Runeblade lost its dominance and disappeared.

When Guardian and Runeblade reached Living Legend status, Briar, Warden of Thorns saw her way free of predators and returned to the meta, once again becoming an excellent aggressive deck, and once more gaining several Living Legend points and getting closer and closer to the finish line. However...

Prism's Departure and Oldhim's Dominance

Prism, Sculptor of Arc Light reaches Living Legend status soon afterward, and, without her, Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity brings an Ice age to the game, alongside the wizard Iyslander, Stormbind. With so many Frostbite and Channel Lake Frigid in competitive events, our Runeblade once more becomes stale and can't win these events anymore. And that's how it was during the entirety of 2023.

Ice Bans and Final Steps

With bans focused on the Ice heroes, Runeblade gained some space: it won a few points there, a few over here, but it was still missing from the main competitive events. However, it was already so close to the status that any bigger tournament she won would be enough.

With Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity reaching LL status and Lexi, Livewire becoming the new challenge, Briar, Warden of Thorns finally wins the last tournament needed and reaches Living Legend status, this way being able to leave the meta after a long journey of highs and lows.

Lexi, The Big Elephant in the Room

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Bull's Eye Bracers's status change was only a way of returning that equipment to Azalea, Ace in the Hole when Lexi, Livewire reaches Living Legend. The only substantial change was this one, but many warnings are present in this announcement.

Lexi, Livewire has been a threatening deck for a long time now. Ever since Outsiderslink outside website, it is the best deck in the format. Banning Bull's Eye Bracers wasn't enough to reduce her power, and during the entire Dusk Till Dawn season she won tournament after tournament - particularly national tournaments.

With so many victories and so many Living Legends points won (only 72 remaining to reach LL status), the next ban list was announced for November 6th (11 days before Worlds), aiming exclusively at cleaning the meta and banning the hero - because, with the next Pro Quests, PTIs and Callings seasons, Lexi will certainly reach LL status. Only if something very crazy happens to the meta game after Bright Lights we'll see bans to another card at that moment.

Another hero which will be banned if she reaches the necessary points until that date will be Iyslander, Stormbind. Despite needing just a little under 200 points, that possibility exists, and it will be considered, so, we can certainly have a Worlds Championship without Lexi, the Archer, but there is still some uncertainty regarding the Ice Wizard.

A new set focused on Mechanologists, Bright Lights, - with a lot of support for Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire and three new heroes - might bring a drastic change, so we'll be facing an uncertain meta. We can at least start saying goodbye to the two remaining Ice heroes, but what the meta holds for us is still a mystery.

Drone of Brutality

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An observation: Drone of Brutality (1) wasn't banned in this list. Its departure was announced alongside the new Blitz rules some time ago. However, I took the liberty of inserting it here to comment on it and on what that brings to the format.

Drone of Brutality (1) is clearly a problematic card. In my article about the game's banned cardslink outside website (it is a little dated, but its explanation still stands), I described what is this card's biggest problem and how it goes against the game's ideals.

The idea of returning it to Blitz came with the reasoning that the game was in a different period, with other threats, and as a sort of incentive to other heroes to build decks more focused on Control (considering Oldhim and Iyslander had reached Living Legend status).

At a first glance, the idea worked. This card made other decks Control decks, such as Ira, Crimson Haze, Yoji, Royal Protector and Riptide, but these decks highlighted the card's problem: infinite game states, repetitive end game states, deckbuilding restrictions, and others.

With the official announcement of Blitz' rule changes, these decks leaning more towards Control can find new tools and fit them in certain matches. For that reason, Drone of Brutality (1) returns to where it should have never left.


Changes to Commoner and Ultimate Pit Fight

Aiming to keep a certain pattern among formats, Commoner and Ultimate Pit Fight (UPF) will follow Blitz changes, and can now swap main deck cards depending on the match.

To summarize: decks must have exactly 40 cards in their main deck (commons only in Commoner's case) with 12 equipment cards, weapon cards, and cards that can be switched from the deck.

Increase in Living Legends Points

The company went on to announce that it intends to, from now on, release more sets with limited formats (in other words, they intend to reduce the number of expansion sets, as Dynastylink outside website and Dusk Till Dawn were, for instance). For that reason, and as they are trying to keep a certain rotation of formats, many competitive tournaments had their Living Legends rankings updated, accelerating the process of heroes reaching that status.

That change happens, mostly, due to the arrival of several new heroes in a nearby future, which will keep the game "fresh" at all times.

Final Words

Despite this list disappointing a good portion of the community which expected a direct ban to Lexi, Livewire, this hero's presence is expected to be temporary, as it already has a set departure date.

Unfortunately, as this meta is so resolved, the departure of Briar, Warden of Thorns won't have any significant impact. The archer is clearly a stronger aggressive deck and all eyes will still be focusing on her.

We're facing an uncertain future. Just as Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity's departure was impactful, the archer's departure and the new decks which will come with Bright Lights might bring us a Machine Age, with Mechanologists dominating, but, with the possibility of Iyslander, Stormbind still surviving in the meta, all that can be different. Only time will tell what we'll see next.

Thank you for reading and until next time!