On May 4, LSS released the new banlist update for the Blitz and Ultimate Pit Fight (UPF) formats.
The following cards are now legal in Blitz:
- Aether Icevein (1) (in all its colors)
-Drone of Brutality (1) (in all its colors)
And the following heroes have reached Living Legend status and are no longer legal in Blitz:
The following cards have been banned in Ultimate Pit Fight for official tournaments:
Remembering that, for casual games, the banned list does not apply to the UPF.
The Winter's End
During April, the Skirmishes took place - tournaments with a more competitive level than normal Armories. These events were promoted all over the world and were made with Draft and Blitz formats. For those who went Blitz, the winning heroes accumulated points towards Living Legend status, and two of those heroes reached the required 500 points.
Oldhim, until then, was the hero with the most Living Legend points out of everyone, so it was to be expected that he would reach that status this season.
The elemental guardian was a veritable barrier of ice. The hero was one of the best Control decks of the format that had both damage control and disruption tools like Blizzard, Channel Lake Frigid and its own ability and, thanks to this control, it presented great difficulties to decks like Dash and Fai.
He was so defensive that Crown of Seeds was suspended because of him. The crown allowed him to hold a Blitz game until the opponent was completely fatigued - or the match was drawn. With the hero gone, the equipment is back to format, and can only be used by Briar, but the Runeblade will probably not use it, as her game plan is way more aggressive.
Oldhim showed just how strong control decks are in the format and, unlike Bravo, their disruption potential through Frostbite easily generated by Winter's Wail could hold off many hyper-aggressive decks.
The ice mage was the big elephant in the Blitz room for quite some time.
Aether Icevein (1) and Hypothermia were suspended to try to contain her, but it wasn't enough, and she accumulated the most victories in the tournaments and, consequently, the most points to reach the status.
Such was her performance that her number of points surpassed Oldhim and even Viserai, becoming the hero with the most points in the entire list. But how did the Iyslander go from her second position on the list (with 346 points) to become the highest-scoring hero in Living Legend history of the format (with 564)?
Ice, Arcane, and the nature of Blitz
Iyslander has been legal in Blitz since Everfest, but the deck was weird. She could use few Ice cards, and Wizards cards weren't exactly what the heroine wanted to do. She was a reasonable option, but in Uprising Iyslander received her due support.
New Ice cards, her specializations, Elemental Wizards cards appear and the weapon Waning Moon leveraged her, putting her on a new level and making her an extremely competitive deck. And, as the last piece of that puzzle, Storm Striders was unbanned from Blitz.
With all these factors, Iyslander was able to attack from all sides. She had the advantage of arcane damage (which is difficult to be blocked by many decks), control through Frostbite (as well as Oldhim), could use cards with high physical damage like Wounded Bull (1) and Fyendal's Fighting Spirit (1) and still threatened lethal on the opponent's turn with Storm Striders (with the combo of Emeritus Scolding (1) red and blue plus Waning Moon). This whole set made the Iyslander take off and hit the necessary points.
However, both heroes show us a Blitz nature: decks with Control potential tend to be strong in the format.
In a fast format where heroes have low health, it's natural to think that decks with the highest offensive capacity are the best, and this statement is not wrong. However, stronger than them, are those capable of containing this firepower, bringing to light how Frostbite is a strong tool.
While both heroes control and utilize disruptions in their own ways, Oldhim and Iyslander prove that disrupting your opponent's plans for your own agenda is extremely rewarding in the format, and that control decks are very strong. . Heroes weren't too powerful or had much better cards than the others, they just attacked the very nature of Blitz, either through hard control or a control-combo.
So, with the two main heroes gone that bashed the fast-paced nature of the format, what to expect going forward?
An unexpected unban
In addition to the already expected suspended cards that return to the format, the unbanning of Drone of Brutality (1) was totally unexpected. The rare from Welcome to Rathe was the first card banned from the game, and in my article on why cards are banned I explain how it was problematic to go against the premise basics of the game between attacking and blocking.
Drone of Brutality (1) rewards decks to just block every turn until they hit the fatigue, where the attack guarantees we'll win the game. But if it's so problematic (so much so that it remains banned in Classic Constructed), why was it unbanned?
The idea is to allow new decks to emerge. With the departure of the two main controls of the format, there is a gap to be filled. With Drone of Brutality (1) in the format, there is now a victory condition for Control and an incentive for this archetype, but the company has already made it clear that, if the attack turns out to be too problematic, it will be banned again.
The future of Blitz
Despite the two heroes being the highlight, they were not the only ones to have a good performance this season. If with the ice, these others were already good, the trend now is for them to be even better
Dash is an excellent aggressive deck capable of delivering very high damage thanks to Teklo Pounder and the boost mechanic. Chane is extremely efficient with his cards that can be played from the banished zone and the rate of attacks given thanks to his skill, in addition to using one of the best weapons in the format, Rosetta Thorn.
Kassai, Cintari Sellsword, with the Cintari Saber weapons, presents a constant threat of damage with its Attack Reactions and ends the game with her specialization, Blood on Her Hands presenting an impossible to hold damage in its fullness.
We can also think that other decks can emerge without the ice control. However, Kano can prevent the emergence of these decks more focused on red cards like Dromai, Fai, Riptide, Uzuri among others, and the Wizard could become the new deck to beat for the format.
Another deck that can respawn is Ira, Crimson Haze. The Commoner's queen is already pretty strong in Blitz because she can have different stances without having to change her deck, but Iyslander held back Ninjas. Now, without her, we can see a reappearance of the Harmonized Kodachi with two power.
Still in the field of speculation, a hero who can take advantage of Drone of Brutality (1) and go for a fatigue strategy is Briar. Currently, the Runeblade plays completely aggressive, but with Earth's talent, her ability and the return of Crown of Seeds a more control strategy seems to be viable, but I wouldn't be surprised to see other heroes who can go for a control plan, such as Arakni and Riptide.
Another unexpected ban was the departure of Go Bananas from the UPF. The justification for the ban was that the promotional card turned the format into a “Pay-to-win”, where a player with that card could buy many boosters until they got the named card.
What do you think of the bans? Will the Blitz meta have a profound change? Will Drone of Brutality (1) break the format?
Thanks for reading this far and until next time