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By Slothland, May 23, 2018

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The final balance update before “Project Homecoming” has been released and there are several changes to cards with “Create” mechanic along with other cards. Consequently, the tier scores that we provide in our Arena Picker have been updated according to the changes in the Swap Update. In this article, we have provided the explanations of the new abilities of the cards and how they affect the Arena Tier Scores of the changed cards and some other cards.

Arena Picker Change Logs – Swap Update

In the "Swap Update", 13 cards have been changed by CDPR. These cards have been reevaluated in our model for the Arena Cards Picker. New abilities of the changed cards and their impacts can be found below.



New Ability: Now does not trigger during the mulligan phase.

Wardancer was utilized mainly for its ability to prevent drypassing by providing carryover. Now that this isn’t the case, Wardancer became a very risky pick, especially early in the draft before picking swap cards such as Vrihedd Officer or –new- Elven Scout. Even with swap cards in the deck, trying to combine them with Wardancer is still a risky path to take. The bronze with the highest tier score in the Arena mode becomes one of the worst bronzes with the Swap Update.

Tier Score Change: From 59 to 13.


Elven Scout

New Ability: 10 power, swap a card.

Elven scout was capable of providing wide range of effects from removal to carryover or even generating high value engines such as Vrihedd Dragoons. With its new ability, Elven Scout is still a decent bronze pick in the arena that can improve the hand by a couple of points and get rid of bricked cards in hand. Considering cards with similar abilities such as Vrihedd Officer and Ves, Elven Scout is objectively weaker than its swapping counterparts; however, it is still a solid pick in the arena mode.

Tier Score Change: From 50 to 45.


Brouver Hoog 

New Ability: Now can pull non-spying silvers or bronze dwarves.

Unlike in the constructed mode, this change doesn’t have a significant impact in the arena mode since there are no card advantage spies in arena. However, with the change Brouver lost an important target (Joachim de Wett) which made him lose a point from his tier score.

Tier Score Change: From 76 to 75.



New Ability: Now spawns a random unit instead of create.

Doppler has seen play even in the constructed mode thanks to the high value bronzes in Scoia'tael. However removal of the selection between three choices and letting fate decide how much points one can get off of Doppler makes the card significantly risky and therefore weaker. Compared to the wide selection of more consistent bronze cards, Doppler is less likely to be picked and therefore has a lower tier score now.

Tier Score Change: From 38 to 30.


Olgierd von Everec

New Ability: 5 power, Deathwish: Resurrect this unit to a random row.

Before the Swap update, Olgierd was utilized to establish carryover, especially in round 1. The new ability encourages killing Olgierd several times in a single round by sacrificing it to cards like Cyclops, Gremist or Vilgefortz. Another obvious synergy is consuming it repeatedly, however, given the low value of consume cards in arena this strategy is not likely to become efficient enough to consider Olgierd as a high pick.

Tier Score Change: From 52 to 24.


Black Blood 

New Ability: Now creates only Bronze Necrophage or Vampire and boosts the created unit by 2.

Black Blood has lost its flexibility however it has been compensated by the boost on the created unit. Having access to weather clear with Abaya was an important aspect of the card and losing Nekurat as an AOE effect or weather clear definitely hurts. Considering its tags, Black Blood is still a solid pick that can open up tutor picks such as Vesemir: Mentor. It should be noted that, Black Blood now has a floor value of 10 points (Rotfiend in the case where Ghoul does not provide more points) which makes it more consistent in terms of points than before.

Tier Score Change: From 55 to 52.


Dun Banner 

New Ability: Now summons itself when the point difference is more than 25 instead of 20.

Unlike constructed where card advantage spies are inportant, it was already very hard to setup the condition of Dun Banner in the arena mode. Now with the increased point difference condition, Dun Banner is truly nothing more than a 4 point card, except in the circumstances where you are already likely to lose the game. In our Arena Tier List, however, the tier score will remain the same since, as mentioned, the condition was already very difficult to satisfy to get consistent value out of Dun Banner.

Tier Score remains 16.



New Ability: Now boosts allied machines (not just bronze machines) by 3.

Missing the important synergy with Henselt in the Arena mode, Winch was not that spectacular before the change. Even though there are more machines in the Arena pool (Skellige and Nilfgaard machines), these machines are not usually strong to justify picking in order to make Winch worth a pick. It should be noted that in a special Arena mode with just Northern Realms cards, Winch may provide some value, in a bronze-heavy deck with some silver machines such as Foltest’s Pride.

Tier Score Change: From 40 to 18.


Slave Driver 

New Ability: 10 power, set an ally’s power to 1 then deal damage to an enemy equal to the power lost.

Slave Driver was a similar card with the old Elven Scout providing a somewhat proactive play with a choice from your opponent’s bronzes. The new ability has significant removal potential in the arena mode which makes it a card to consider. Compared to Cyclops however, dealing one less damage can lead to awkward situations where you are not able to kill a specific unit on the board right away. On the other hand, new ability synergizes very well with healing effects such as Yoana, An Craite Armorsmith and reset effects such as Cockatrice.

Tier Score Change: From 46 to 42.


Faction Runestones 

New Ability: Now include faction bronze cards in the create pool.

The change that extended the create pool of faction runestones has the biggest impact in the arena mode when compared to the other card changes in the Swap Update. Including the bronze cards in the create pool significantly lowered the expected value of the Runestones. In addition, diluting the create pool makes the cards less flexible since finding a weather clear or lock is now less likely. Another impact of this is the best faction runestone has changed. Before the Swap Update, we believed that, Dazhbog Runestone was slightly better than Morana Runestone, however thanks to the high value bronzes in Scoia'tael, we believe the expected value of Morana Runestone is now higher than the rest of the faction runestones.

The change to faction runestones has another aspect to be considered as well. Faction Runestones were often taken somewhat early in drafts, especially when offered with a similar power level cards, to open up tutor cards in the later picks - namely Pavko Gale, Vesemir: Mentor and Kiyan. As the faction runestones fall down the tier list, it makes it more unlikely to draft a faction runestone and have it ready to combine with the tutors in the later picks during the draft. On the other hand, picking the tutors early in the hopes to find a faction runestone to combine it with has a lower expected value. For these reasons the tier scores for the tutors have been adjusted according to their new expected values.

Tier Score Changes: 

Dazhbog Runestone: From 56 to 41.

Devana Runestone: From 55 to 39.

Morana Runestone: From 55 to 43.

Stribog Runestone: From 55 to 40.

Zoria Runestone: From 54 to 38.

Pavko Gale: From 64 to 56.

Vesemir: Mentor: From 68 to 62.

Kiyan: From 68 to 62.


The Arena Picker Tier Scores have been updated according to the Swap Update changes and are ready to use. Happy drafting!


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