The new expansion has just been announced. We talk to Cygames and give you a look at a bonkers new Bloodcraft legendary!
The next Shadowverse expansion has been revealed, and it’s called Dawnbreak, Nightedge. This is the first new set of cards since Shadowverse turned everything upside down at the very start of the year by splitting its constructed game into two formats – Rotation, which only includes Basic cards and the last five expansions released, and Unlimited, in which every card ever released is legal. At the same time, the game also added an additional class – Portalcraft.
It’s an exciting time for Shadowverse – and we have three exclusive cards to reveal (further down) – so I asked Lead Game Designer Naoyuki Miyashita about both what’s coming up and how things have been going since the introduction of a new class and formats.
IGN: What are your gameplay goals for this set? How did you choose the theme?
Naoyuki Miyashita: In terms of the aesthetic theme of the expansion, the overarching idea is one of two opposing elements, and choosing between them, as per the title of the set, ‘Dawnbreak, Nightedge’. In terms of card mechanics, that theme manifests itself as a new keyword: ‘Choose’.
IGN: What are some of the key cards that we’ll be losing from Rotation and how did those impact your design philosophy for this set?
Naoyuki Miyashita: Some of the key cards for each class that are currently widely used but will rotate out with the new expansion are as follows: White Wolf of Eldwood, Albert, Levin Saber, Daria, Dimensional Witch, Breath of the Salamander, Draconic Fervor, Nephthys, Yurius, Levin Duke, Tribunal of Good and Evil, Bahamut, Sahaquiel.
For some of these cards, we tried to create a card that performs a similar function. In classes for which we didn’t create substitute cards, we have made cards that can either have a new archetype built around them, or which strengthen an existing archetype.
IGN: Can you tell me about the new mechanic introduced in this expansion? How will it change the game?
Naoyuki Miyashita: As the name suggests, the new ‘Choose’ keyword allows you to choose one effect from a selection. For example, a card might have a Fanfare effect that allows you to add one particular card from a selection of two to your hand; so you can choose whichever card is most appropriate to the current state of the match. ‘Choose’ cards have either two outcomes, as in the previous example, or three (some cards allow you to play a card without activating the Choose effect, for a total of three possible outcomes), increasing the choices available to players during matches.
IGN: Bloodcraft is one of the least played classes in Rotation at the moment, but one of the most-played classes in Unlimited. With that in mind how difficult is it to design new Bloodcraft cards?
Naoyuki Miyashita: The selection of Bloodcraft cards introduced by the previous expansion, available in Rotation, tended towards the control deck archetype. At the same time, the availability of cards from early card sets helped to increase the popularity of aggro decks in Unlimited. With that in mind, we have tried to increase the support for aggro decks in Rotation without undermining the balance of Unlimited. We have also tried to introduce new types of deck. For example, decks based around cards with Forest Bat synergy, such as Vania, Nightshade Vampire, or decks based around cards that have interactions with damage to your own leader, such as Darkfeast Bat.
IGN: It’s been two months since you introduced formats. How happy are you with the change? What has the community response been like?
Naoyuki Miyashita: We’re pretty happy. Speaking at the end of February, since the card adjustments and restrictions took place in January we have seen a wide variety of decks in use, a good balance between the win ratios of players who play first or second, and no particular problems associated with a majority of games ending in a particular turn. And we will continue to monitor that situation after the release of Dawnbreak, Nightedge.
The reaction from players was generally favorable towards Rotation. Rotation is very popular among high ranked players who are aiming to take part in pro tournaments. At the same time, more casual players are enjoying Unlimited, and I think in general players seem happy to be able to choose their preferred format.
IGN: How is Portalcraft performing? Is this in line with your expectations?
Naoyuki Miyashita: In spite of the fact that Portalcraft has relatively fewer cards than other classes, it has been quite widely used in ranked matches and I’m pleased that there is a considerable number of players who consistently support the class. There has been a wide variety of decklists used, and it is a class with complicated mechanics that demand quite a high level of player skill. Its popularity seems to stem from the fact that there are quite a few options in terms of both matchplay tactics and deckbuilding strategies, so in the new expansion we have tried to come up with cards that continue to support those class features.
Huge thanks for Miyashita-san for his thoughts! And now for our card reveals:
The new expansion will be out later this month. See more on Dawnbreak, Nightedge here.
Cam Shea is senior editor in IGN’s Sydney office and tries to spend as much time as possible in Japan. He’s on Twitter.