Hi, everyone. This is my little review of 1.4, with some comments on balance changes, and what happened with the patch. To review the full patch notes, see here:http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=64572.0
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with these guides, I'll usually go through a short commentary on the changed cards and the effects I think they are going to have. I'll also talk specifically about their effect on deckbuilding, whether they have new uses, or whether their usage has been hampered.
2. The Cards
Note: I will mark particularly significant changes with an asterix (*).Noble Protector
This guy has been causing pain for various forms of control decks. I wrote a little piece on control, and how damage control affects different decks. In a nutshell, damage abilities hurt FD worse than other decks, comparatively. This guy stopped a lot of that, and still does, to a certain extent. However, now there is some option to at least take him out via damage control. With 5 hp, he is out of range of most damage abilities (that do 4 damage), but can probably still be dealt with. Overall, a welcome change.Aberion, the Hammer of Dawn
A small buff from 8 to 7 cost. I still don't think he's that worth playing, to be honest. Still completely outclassed by his Overseer counterpart, too. Not too significant a change, but probably a deserved one.War Machine
War Machine no longer exhausts commanders. It's a nerf, and probably a deserved one. I heard stories about how horrible a card this was in draft. Within constructed decks, its effect will probably delay it by a turn or two. It's still a potent engine once it gets running, though.Rubble Golem
Rubble Golem now only gains health if deployed. I suppose if it was used in 2COV shrine then its harm would be immediately apparent. However, I think the reason why this might not have been a major problem before the change was simple: the prevalence of single target removal. Any deck with Verore had access to Lightning Blast. CTA and stumble were usually there as well. Probably a deserved change, though.Agent Coyle, Immovable
I will wait and see how the change affects his trade value. 12 health on a vigilant blocker is nothing to sneeze at, especially as Coyle has a reasonably strong 7 power. He still excels at blocking strong single attacks, but now doesn't block damage nearly as well versus swarming tactics. He's probably still worth including, but perhaps not the autoinclude he was for DoD decks.Kung-Ji, the Glorious Strategist
Overall, this was probably a buff to Kung-Ji. The new effect is reasonably more potent than the heal, and shows a shift more to a morale-based defense. The old effect was probably only useful in tandem with cards like the Great Wall, in order to soak as much damage as possible. This might have ridiculous burst damage potential with Lingbao's Will, though. The health and power buffs are nice, too.Glorious Warrior
A buff from 4 morale drain per turn to 5. Not sure why this was necessary, though, as Glorious Warrior was already a good 4-drop, having nice stats and an ability to boot. Well, more glorious it is then, I suppose his armour got extra polish or something. I'd probably recommend this for all DoD decks in the state it's in at the moment.Surprise Defense
Surprise, indeed. I suppose dumping your whole hand's worth of defenders was too powerful a use for this card. I suppose it does help in getting major blockers like Ao Shun out to do some serious damage to an enemy assault. I wonder if the cost could use a little tweaking, though.Inspiring Soldier
So, this guy has been changed to a mini glorious warrior. Decent stats considering the abilty, and probably a worthwhile inclusion in morale drain decks. Overall, I'm quite happy with this change, and forsee this card getting a decent amount of play.Xi, Ascended
I like this change. Formerly, Xi could dump 10 resources at once to create a massive army to hit for about half a person's health in a turn. The spirits were appropriately costed, but the problem was the sheer burst of spirits that came late in the game. I think the turn restriction is a welcome one. She's still playable, especially if you can use her for a few turns.Prayer of the Dragon
A drastic cost reduction was what this card got. It was probably deserved. Whether it will be significant or not, only time will tell.Avatar of Lingbao
An interesting change. I did express concern before the path that DoD was basically Avatar or Bust. A 15/15 unstoppable is a decently scary threat, and it's quite a big morale hit if it succeeds. An unkillable 15/15 is pretty strong in and of itself, too.Avatar of Daode
An unblockable avatar, eh? As it's triple DoD it might be tough trying to get massive burst damage out of this, but I can see this card getting reasonably scary off the continuous health buffs and damage nukes that DoD can throw out. Blocking with this guy and having him swing for a decent amount next turn is also probably a good option.Wholesale Slaughter
This card no longer has an exile cost. Fantastic. I really disliked having to deal with having my guys sacrificed, more so when it can be done again next turn due to the way the discarding worked. Having said that, I do feel that the card isn't in a place I'm happy about yet, primarily because of the random, uncounterable sacrifice.Wealthy Noble
Yes, this one is that important. Noble warped the meta. I don't know how else to put it. Reportedly, every top deck save 1-2 ran it. Every rush deck ran it. Games were won and lost off noble draws. This was probably the simplest change, but oh so well deserved.Overwhelming Dead, Scouting Mission, Jinhai Ambush, Eucalyptus Tree
Most significant token spawners have been shifted to 2 purity. It's significant, but I'm not sure on their effect on the game yet.
3. The Meta and Decks
Do keep in mind that these changes were probably made keeping in mind what Oppression will contain. As such, the state of the meta will only persist for a few weeks.
First, the decks that were untouched. I feel that Hermit and COV Shrine probably didn't suffer much from this patch. Hermit usually didn't run nobles, and the dropbear change didn't affect its ability to churn out tokens and buff them. As for CoV shrine, Rita is still a thing, as long as she's allowed to create tokens from command.
FD/Sleeper decks were hit pretty hard. Between Wealthy Noble and Overwhelming Dead, I think this deck may have dropped down quite a little, but it's hard to be sure at the moment. FD/GI might overtake it now, what with having arguably more efficient characters. I think 3FD might actually move up comparatively, now that it will likely be more difficult for the above two decks to outrush it.
Pure GI and sleepers would probably be largely unaffected, barring the noble change. They will probably get out-tempo-d by Hermit though, and will likely have a difficult time against 2CoV removal. CoV/GI Genocide might be affected by the golem change as well.
Single purity shrine decks e.g. DoD/Exile/Sleeper and DoD/Verore/Sleeper will probably be hurt quite a lot by the purity increase in Overwhelming Dead. For a deck so precariously balanced, this might signal the end.
DoD Avatar morale burst decks are probably going to take a more slow-burn direction instead. Probably a good thing for the state of the game.
Overall, a decent patch. It is still less than 24 hours since this patch went live, though, so the changes might take a while to manifest.
If you've read this far, thank you. As usual, constructive criticism and feedback is welcome. Feel free to check out my other guides by clicking on the "a strange index of guides" link in my signature.