The Global Operations Team’s Design Committee is excited to present some new additions to the Standard Format’s restricted list, which will come into effect on Friday, May 6, 2022!
First, we don’t want to bury the lede on this one – we are addressing the negative trait interactions possible with The Many-Faced God. Two methods arose in discussion of how to do so – we could either pod Many-Faced God with Bribery, preventing what players have felt is the most unfair interaction this deck can manage, or we could issue an errata, changing Many-Faced God so that it could only affect your own characters.
While this second option does have a thematic advantage over a pod, ultimately it was decided that there was currently no need to break the errata barrier, as it were. The only real problem currently is with a set of specific cards, which is exactly what the pod system was designed to address. In addition, this approach retains some competitive options in the existing design, such as being able to give the “No Attachments” keyword to an opponent’s Voltron character. We will therefore be creating a new pod, containing three cards: The Many-Faced God, Bribery, and Dissension (which we decided to include as well, to ensure this deck did not continue having easy removal options available).
Next, is a change that will affect Tyrell Kingsguard players. While the restrictions of The White Swords and Ser Boros Blount were effective at slowing down these decks, they continue to have exceedingly powerful draw and economy. As such we are removing those two cards from the Restricted List, and instead putting them in a pod – together with Ser Balon Swann.
On the one hand, this will force players to choose between the extra economy from Swann, or the free characters from Boros or White Swords, which we hope to be effective at reducing their tempo. On the other hand, decks that were using one of those two cards now have the ability to choose another Restricted card (such as The Bounty of Highgarden, if they feel the need to address their reduced economy).
Our last change was the hardest to arrive at, as we faced the same problem we did with Stark in our last update – a faction that is overperforming, not due to any specific card (or even a specific strategy), but simply because they have several extremely powerful options available to them that can fit in almost any deck. This time, that faction was Martell.
In the discussion of what specifically was causing the issue, we eventually agreed that too many of their tools were reliant on artificial inflation of the number of plots in their Used Pile. One option was to restrict several of the cards that cause this inflation, but we felt that to do so would effectively be a soft ban on all but the most powerful of those cards. We needed a solution that would allow players to make a real choice when constructing their decks, rather than automatically playing the best of a few options.
To that end, we will be adding the following cards to the Restricted List:
Host of the Boneway
In Doran’s Name
To the Spears!
We hope that by making Martell players choose between some of the cards that most helped them draw cards, gain gold, and push through challenges, their performance will be reigned in appropriately.
However, there was one last interaction that resulted in an unacceptable level of card draw – that of playing Secret Schemes with The Annals of Castle Black. With two copies in the discard pile, and a copy of The Water Gardens in play, Martell players were able to draw a staggering number of cards in one turn – many of which came after the Taxation phase had already enforced their Reserve value. And if their deck chose to, it could also replay cards like In Doran’s Name and To the Spears, each in a different phase, to maximize the benefit provided by Annals while staying under its twice-per-phase limit.
Allowing Martell access to all of this, and all of their previously-played copies of The Hand’s Judgment and He Calls it Thinking to protect it all, led us to the conclusion that The Annals of Castle Black would also need to be added to the Restricted List in this update. While we never want to restrict a Neutral card purely on its interaction with one specific faction, it seemed for now to be the best option. We considered instead creating a pod of Secret Schemes and Annals, to address the prime offender, but we decided that having a single card both appear on the Restricted List AND be featured in a pod was unnecessarily complicated and potentially confusing, and (much like errata) was not a precedent we felt comfortable setting at this time.
As always, the Design Committee will watch the results of these decisions closely, with a mind towards maintaining a healthy, fun, and diverse meta that provides a wealth of effective, competitive options, and we welcome your feedback.
Good luck, have fun,
The Card Committee