In just a little while Rise of Bahamut will be rotating away and with it leaves Many powerful cards that have Shaped the metagame we lived in. Soon Dawnbreak Nightedge will be stepping into the shoes ROB left behind…. And they are some big shoes. I wanted to say goodbye to all of the toys ROB brought us and to talk about the most impactful ones. Its hard to really know what the game will look like in a few weeks but its nice to know what will be going to prepare for the future ahead of us.
To start I wanted to talk about the neutral card pool. The cards going away for neutral all tend to be heavy on tempo or strong card advantage tools. The most important card for neutral going away in the expansion is probably Sahaquiel, since she enabled so many other powerful cards and basically any class could get away with playing her if they tried hard enough. That was what made neutral cards as powerful as they were.
These two have seen play in the format for as long as they have existed. Having the ability to throw around a single point of damage may sound small but ends up being very impactful. These two are great at cleaning up trades or pushing a little extra face damage. Since the effect of a single ping ends up mattering so often and both of the angels are neutrals they both saw tons of play.
Could this be the end of the Ultimate Carrot? Khaiza is great, the carrot he gives is an infinite value 2PP 2/2. There have been plenty of decks in the past that have made use of The Ultimate Carrot. An unchecked carrot can take over some games by itself if its able to get enough good trades in. Somehow I feel as though it won’t be long before we have another carrot back in rotation.
Goblin mage is great it providing a decent 2/2 body while keeping your hand full and finding specific cards such as Rhinoceroach or Baphomet. She got herself nerfed a while back because at the time she only searched for 2 drops making her incredibly consistent. Now she still finds herself in some roach decks and neutral decks
Much like bahamut, this card ruled the format since its inception. Saha has always been one of the best turn 7 plays in the game and likely will continue to be just that in unlimited. In rotation where the card pool is even smaller Sahaquiel (with the help of Israfil and other strong neutrals) has very little stopping her from being a dominant force and I would like to see what the format looks like without her. It’s possible cards like Israfil just may not be good enough on her own.
Much of what is true about Sahaquel is true about Bahamut. Bahamut comes down on 10PP and messes things up. This card is so incredibly strong its very existence impacts the way people need to build their decks. Back when Bahamut broke amulets and was a 13/13 he really did do everything. Even after his change Bahamut remained a very powerful card in the format thanks to his versatile Fanfare. Now it’s his time to go. Much like carrot, I think Bahamut will be back.
While Forest did not lose too many important cards this time around they did lose a very important one, White Wolf. White Wolf is a very powerful card that may have been limiting design space for forest since cards that enable busted combos often do that. Forest has always been able to get away with beating face as a halfway reliable win condition and Combo kills as another one. I am very excited for Yggdrasil and think she will really help round Forest out moving forward.
Lily is great, She’s a 2PP 2/2 or a really strong removal. What makes her so good is that she transforms instead of destroying the target, this lets her get around last words effects. There are lots of powerful 2PP 2/2’s in forest so Im sure forest will find a way to survive without her. Plus with the recent announcement of Forest Whispers I believe everything will be okay.
This is a powerful one. White Wolf lets forest do some crazy things, Like draw the best card in your deck and make it cost 0. A White Wolf proc usually spells doom for your opponent and without this card forest will have to find another way to OTK. This card would force people to not leave strong followers on board when playing against forest because of the threat of a White Wolf killing itself.
Full disclosure, at the moment I am worried about Sword. Sword as a class does a lot of very fair things and in Shadowverse the strongest decks tend to do unfair stuff. With the loss of Swords best tempo cards and their most reliable win condition the class may struggle with staying ahead on board and closing out games. I really hope that Daybreak Nightedge gives Sword the tools it needs to work. I also would not mind if Gawain of the Round Table becomes strong before he rotates away.
Jeno is a Classic. On the play he can come down and eat pretty much anything on turn 4. His enhance lets him double as a 6 drop that’s also a sticky minion, something that’s hard to come by in Sword. There are lots of similar cards in sword but none fill quite the role Jeno does.
The Sky Knight himself is rotating away and honestly I am kind of sad about this. Albert has always been a huge part of swords game plan being the most reliable way to get massive burst damage and finish the game . With Albert going away I think Sword will start using Barbarossa as a replacement, though there are quite a bit of 5 drops for Sword to choose from.
Another great card who has been seeing play since its release. Fangblade is great at pushing face damage while clearing a path for your other followers. The body Fangblade leaves behind also needs to be answered since Fangblade can threaten to push face damage while clearing followers.
Rune may be getting the hardest hit with the Rotation of Rise of Bahamut. On top of losing almost half of the the daria shell, Rune is also losing some powerful options for its Dirt style Decks.
Dwarf Alchemist is like the oil to a lot of dirt rune deck engines. He provides a solid 2/2 body, an Earth Sigil and if you evolve him, he draws you a card with Earth Rite. Though the Dwarf Alchemist is going away recently Dirt rune has been getting lots of ways to make Earth Sigils so I believe the deck will find a way to survive.
The king of board flips is leaving with the come of the new expansion. What made this guy good was that he evolved into a pretty beefy body and threatened to kill something and generate value as long as he was alive and you had Sigils to spare. Its a shame he never did get to save his daughter before he rotated.
Efficient removal and burn damage. Piercing Rune is an overall strong card that gets incredibly strong when your able to get its evolve trigger off. Many games have been won off the back of this card and that will likely continue in Unlimited.
Daria is finally going away! After dodging nerfs for a year The dimensional witch will take a vacation from rotation (as well as her entire package). Rise of Bahamut created an entire Archetype for Rune that was beloved and behated by many, and for good reason, It was a very powerful deck that could end games by creating a single explosive board that was so beefy nothing could answer it.
Dragon is getting smacked with this rotation. On top on losing 2 very powerful class cards with Breath of the Salamander and Draconic Fervor, Dragon is losing its most iconic class card, Bahamut. Dragon has relied on ramp into unanswered Bahamut as a reliable way to win the game since Bahamut got printed The same is true for Sahaquiel, another of Dragons strongest cards. So far there are still alot of cards to be spoiled for Dragon in Daybreak Nightedge and the cards that they have gotten have looked promising so I am not too worried about Dragons future.
Breath of the Salamander has been a staple when it comes to removing single target threats and wide boards. Most Dragons won’t leave home without 3 of these, and for good reason. There aren’t too many 2PP deal 3’s with as much important text stapled on it as this one. Luckily for Dragon, Daybreak Nightedge seems to have some nice ways to help with Salamander rotating.
Draws 2 cards. Ramps. Gains HP. This card does so much and is very aggressively costed. The loss of fever is going to hurt but dragon does have other tools that can make up for it. One specifically that dragon will be getting Is Galua of two Breaths, who gives you the choice between destroying a follower for 4PP or to draw 2 cards for 2PP on a 4/4 body for 5PP. While this does some different things than fervor it comes down on the same turn and does a pretty good job at filling your hand up and getting something strong into play.
Imperial Dragoon never really dominated any metagames but he would occasionally find his way into some strong Dragon decks. Chronos with Imperial Dragoon was actually a pretty strong win condition if you could get it off and I am a little sad it never got that dominant but maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Shadow lost a very important card this expansion in Lurching Corpse. On top of it they ended up losing a lot of the other strong removal options they had; Necroassasin and Khawy. I think because of this unless Shadow gets some good replacements Shadow may end up really struggling to remove big followers.
Lurching Corpse has been a staple in shadow for a long time. Its Last Words effect can make board clears like Israfil or Bahamut incredibly awkward just by existing and can 1 for 1 large followers. Sometimes it will stick around for a few turns and you can use it as a sacrifice to a Demon Eater or Necroassasin. Necroassasin has a similar style effect as Lurching Corpse and is rotating with it. This may leave Shadow looking for new ways to remove strong followers.
How could Shadow Reaper not be on this list? Back in the Rise of Bahamut and Tempest of the Gods days Shadow Reaper used to Cost 2PP. This guy with the help of 3PP Prince Catacomb was able to become a 6/6+ pretty often. Gone are the days of 2PP Shadow Reaper but at 3PP still isn’t bad. Occasionally the reaper will find a home as a 1 or 2 of in a deck, but Shadow Reaper has really fallen from where he once stood.
Sometimes i’ll be playing against a Shadow and ill think I got this one and then I hear it. “Judgement for heretics like you” then my hope will start to fade. Kaway does a lot of good things for Shadow. He is a ward, heal, follower removal, and a good target for reanimate and Nephthys. That said, Shadow has always been able to get by without Kaway and now will have to.
Nep is a fan favorite for many and understandably so. She is a powerful build around legendary who would always find a way to pop up every now and then. I want to believe that one day Nephthys will be a powerful deck in Unlimited. A world where Shadow has so many cards to choose from Nephthys will work like a well oiled machine.
Blood lost some strong tools this time around, fortunately most of the cards moving out Blood already has replacements for. For a while now Blood as a class has been in a pretty weird spot with its best decks getting by using Bloods strong reach and powerful neutral cards. I hope the rotation of powerful cards like Bahamut and Sahaquiel will help Blood moving forward.
Yurius is a deceptively strong card. While he is just a 1/3 his ability to pile on chip damage while making value trades is what made Yurias such a powerhouse. Yurius had a home in most aggro and vengeance lists. If two of these stick the damage they push can get out of hand. Blood however has plenty of other 2 drops to use in place of Yurius.
While Blood has a lot of 2PP deal 3’s none do quite what hungering horde does. Hungering Horde is great for cleaning up boards full of skeletons and fairies. That said it’s still a 2PP deal 3 and blood has lots of those.
Matriarch did not see play often but it was still always a pretty strong card that could swing games hard. Since the loss of Revelation Blood has not had many AOE’s and Matriarch was one of the few decent ones left.
As far as Rise of Bahamut leaving I think Haven got off the easiest. The most important card for them to be Rotating is Tribunal considering it was a staple in many different styles of Haven, however the rest of the Haven cards leaving rarely saw play.
Tribunal is a 1 for 1 one now and you can save a 1 for 1 for later. You can time the countdown to disrupt your opponents swing turns. This is one of the most creative 2 for 1’s I have seen on a card and It will definitely be missed.
Lion Spirit is a strong way to AOE a board and is stapled to a pretty reasonable body. It can also be tutored by Aether of the White Wing. Lion spirit was a strong tech card but now Haven will just have to keep evolving its Cudgels.
While I think the cards listed above are the most important cards in Rise of Bahamut there are many other cards that do see some fringe play and it would have felt wrong to not include them somehow in the article.