Welcome back to our regularly scheduled quarterly metagame shakeup in the form of the latest version of the Most Wanted List! For new and returning players, each of our supported formats has its own MWL, which is a list of cards that are subject to deckbuilding restrictions intended to keep that format fun, balanced, and interesting. Cards in the MWL’s Removed section cannot be included in your deck at all. Cards in the Restricted section may be used when building a deck, but you may only choose one card from the Restricted list to include. You may have up to a full playset of your chosen restricted card (normally 3x).
For the Eternal format, there is no change this time around, so let’s dive straight into the changes for Standard. With Regional championships having started, we’ve had a number of competitive events that have given us an accurate picture of the metagame. Our conclusion is that Runners are heavily favoured at the moment, with only a handful of Corp decks having a chance at competitive success. Argus, The Outfit, and Gagarin are the only Corps with decent win rates, leading us to conclude that a fairly major shake-up is needed to get Corps and Runners on a more equal footing. We decided to do this by unrestricting a couple of key cards that would boost Corp decks that are currently struggling, in the hope that forcing Runners to devote card slots to teching against a wider variety of archetypes would improve Corp win rates across the board. At the same time, we took action against the most successful Runners to broaden the variety of factions represented in top cuts. Despite this general Corp weakness, however, one particular Corp deck was identified by our testers as being extremely problematic, and we have taken some action to prevent it from dominating the meta in the months to come.
The new MWL will be legal for Standard events as of Friday 19 July 2019. Below you’ll find a summary of the changes we made, followed by a brief explanation for each change. To see the MWL in its entirety, please scroll to the bottom of the article.
MWL 3.3 Changes
Effective date: 19 July, 2019
Explanation of changes
Crowdfunding: This was the hardest decision we had to make this update, and we only took it after intense discussion both internally and with playtesters. We believe that Crowdfunding is a fun card that promotes good gameplay. But although run-based decks being good is indicative of a healthy metagame, Crowdfunding’s ability to recur itself mitigates the greatest weakness of those decks: that they’re supposed to run out of steam in the late game. This, combined with the current disparity between Corp and Runner economy, the suppressing effect Crowdfunding has on certain Corp archetypes, and the ubiquity of this card (with not only Criminals defaulting to it as their restricted card, but most top Anarch decks also spending nine influence on it), means that Crowdfunding has to go on the Removed list. However, our long term vision for the game isn’t one where run-based decks don’t have the tools they need to thrive, so we’ll be looking to unban Crowdfunding as soon as new cards mitigate the Corp-Runner imbalance we see today.
Tech Trader, Au Revoir, Power Tap: These three cards and their “whenever” clause allow Runners to construct engines that are not dependent on conventional economy cards. While these decks are often ingenious and fun to play, if they become too consistent and quick to set up (as these decks have), they can make an enormous amount of money very quickly, shutting down any Corp win condition that relies on taxing the Runner out. Kabonesa Wu, in particular, can set up all three copies of Au Revoir on turn 1, and restricting it ensures that the deck cannot also use the Laamb/Ankusa combo to bounce ice off the board. Restricting Tech Trader turns off the oft-maligned and widely-hated Rube Goldberg Hayley deck. It’s an unfortunate side-effect that this also impacts Geist, who, at the moment, is nowhere near as competitive as Hayley, but, with new cards coming in Uprising that may solve some of his problems, our friendly Underway Tech Lord is sure to make a comeback soon!
Corporate “Grant”: While broader action against currents will have to wait for a future update, we decided that restricting this card will help weaken some of the most powerful Criminal decks, particularly against slower Corps, where the 1 credit per turn loss (especially when combined with 419’s tax, or the requirement to install additional ice to play around Leela) adds up to a great deal over the course of the game. The removal of Crowdfunding means that “Scamshop” 419 now needs to make a choice between “Grant” and Power Tap, thereby bringing that archetype more in line with other Runners. There’s still a wide choice of unrestricted currents for Criminals who wish to include one to counter Corp currents.
Surveyor: Another controversial change, Surveyor has the potential to create monstrous servers if the Corp is allowed to stack them unchecked. However, glacier decks are currently not enjoying competitive success. Unrestricting this card is the most direct way to boost underperforming glacier decks. By forcing Runners to spend deck slots teching against glacier, this may worsen their matchups against other archetypes, and thereby boost Corp win-rates across the board. As with Crowdfunding, this may well be a short-term change, as new tools for glacier decks in the upcoming Uprising, combined with the rotation of cards like D4v1d, may mean Surveyor needs to be restricted again.
Excalibur: This change is also intended to boost glacier decks. While it can be seen as an “unfair” way to secure an agenda score, the current preponderance of low-influence and efficient AI and pseudo–AI effects ensures that counterplay is available to Runners, which should prevent this from becoming a failsafe scoring method.
SIU and Zealous Judge: A variety of Gagarin decks have been gaining popularity in tournaments lately. These have a formidable and robust kill combo and excellent matchups against most Runners. Extensive testing showed that, with a good opening hand, this deck can set up the flatline combo by turn 5, and that it is very difficult to disrupt, as contesting the board to trash the combo pieces allows the Corp to bury you in tags with Hard-Hitting News. Not interacting with their assets is no defence either, as SIU can tag the Runner without the precondition of a run, and Gagarin’s rich asset economy ensures it always has the credits to win the SIU trace. The speed and reliability with which this deck can set up its kill combo, combined with the fact that it does not require interaction from the Runner to enable it, make it not only the best deck but also extremely frustrating to play against. We considered a number of options to curb this deck, and in the end decided that restricting these cards disables the uninteractive combo kill without making Gagarin asset spam decks completely unviable, or weakening other Weyland archetypes. This choice not only makes the SIU/Judge combo impossible, but also weakens the Bio-Ethics Association version of this deck.
Changes we considered but did not enact
We hear the community’s complaints about currents being an inelegant mechanic which can be oppressive to play against and can lead to snowballing gameplay. We intend to curb currents, but did not have sufficient testing time to target them this update.
Aumakua and Engolo are a pair of incredibly efficient AI/pseudo-AI breakers which we have considered problematic for a while. We decided to give them a reprieve for now, as unrestricting Excalibur means we must ensure that accessible answers to it remain in the card pool.
Standard MWL 3.3
Effective 19 July 2019.
Changes from Standard MWL 3.2 appear in bold. Removals from the list are denoted via
|24/7 News Cycle||Bio-Ethics Association|
|Cerebral Imaging: Infinite Frontiers|
|Bryan Stinson||Global Food Initiative|
|Clone Suffrage Movement||Mother Goddess|
|Friends in High Places||Mumba Temple|
|Hired Help||Obokata Protocol|
|Jinteki: Potential Unleashed||SIU|
|Museum of History|
|Mumbad City Hall||Whampoa Reclamation|
|Mti Mwekundu: Life Improved||Zealous Judge|
|Sensie Actors Union|
|Aaron Marrón||Aesop’s Pawnshop|
|Bloo Moose||Au Revoir|
|Crowdfunding (previously Restricted)||Corporate “Grant”|
|Mars For Martians||Gang Sign|
|Salvaged Vanadis Armory||Inversificator|
|Şifr||Levy AR Lab Access|
|Watch The World Burn||Power Tap|
|GPI Net Tap||Labor Rights|
The next scheduled MWL update will be in September 2019, with sufficient lead time for it to be legal for the NISEI World Championship in October!