The latest ban announcement has seen Winter’s Wail, Hypothermia, Amulet of Ice and Belittle leave the format. This is a huge hit to all Ice-based heroes, but also a hit to aggressive strategies relying on Belittle to fix their resource base.
Both Dorinthea and Boltyn have been seeing relatively high representation in the Pro Quest season. Dorinthea has been picking up 13 Pro Quest wins, giving her the fourth highest number of wins at the time of writing this article. Boltyn has also seen an uptick from the previous season, taking out four events to date.
Both Warriors have been significantly hindered with the presence of Ice in the format. A single Frostbite can turn a power turn into an average turn for the decks. Hypothermia stops most of the go again attacks for both decks as well. With Dynasty, the Warriors have both gotten some tools to strengthen their builds. Puncture has given Dorinthea some counterplay to heavy armor defense. Spirit of Eirina has given Boltyn a slight power spike as well. Jubeel has proven to give Warriors some counter play against arcane damage heroes. Despite all this, the high representation of Ice has still made it tough for these two to break through.
As Ice lifts its hold from the metagame, I predict aggressive strategies will rise in popularity. Runeblades, Ninjas and aggressive Warriors can roam a little bit freer, but there is an Ice hero that hasn’t been as affected as others – Lexi. Lexi can take up the mantle as a primary disruptor, assuming the other two Ice heroes see slight decline in representation. Azalea also significantly benefits from the power level reduction in Oldhim and Iyslander, but could mainly benefit if we see a significant uptick in aggressive strategies. With the new tools in Dynasty, Azalea has been gaining more and more pieces to her arsenal. Sandscour Greatbow along with Drill Shot and Heat Seeker has boosted the threat potential for both Lexi and Azalea. If we see a drop in representation of Oldhim and Iyslander, these two could prove to be a fine alternative to disrupt the metagame.
Dash has also gained a number of exciting tools in the Dynasty set release. Cards like Pulsewave Harpoon, Nitro Mechanoid and Hanabi Blaster have given the hero lots of different avenues for deckbuilding. However, Hypothermia has been a hindrance for both the aggressive variants and control variants, as boost attacks and Teklo Pistol hits do not have natural go again. Hypothermia was a tool used by both Oldhim and Iyslander against Dash, giving her a boost to both those matchups with one swift suspension.
Viserai and Briar have dipped in representation this Pro Quest season when compared to the Road to Nationals and Nationals seasons of last year. With the Ice melting away, both Rubeblades have a clearer field to roam around. Winter’s Wail was a crucial tool at slowing down Runeblades’ explosive damage output, with many decks optimised at their resource usage. A single Frostbite often meant no Rosetta Thorn attack or one less offensive card played, so this change should make it slightly easier to close games against Oldhims. As for Iyslander, both Rubeblades have struggled against Hypothermia, as they do not have many attacks with natural go again. Despite these hits to the Ice heroes, Runeblades are still vulnerable to disruption. It might make it easier to get s win in those matchups, but both Oldhim and Iyslander are feared foes for Briar and Viserai. This is especially true for the builds that relied on Belittles to fix their resources.
While the bans and suspensions might seem heavily punishing for Oldhim and Iyslander, Winter’s Wail, Amulet of Ice and Hypothermia were only the tip of the iceberg of their disruptive abilities. The classes above might gain some ground in terms of representation, but good Ice pilots will still find ways to unleash the power of Ice on the metagame. Warriors, Rangers, Dash and Runeblades are all waiting to take a piece of the metagame pie and I cannot wait how the Classic Constructed format shakes out before Outsiders shakes things up once again.