We had a great weekend with our Provisional Showdown being the largest event in Jasco Games’ history! Hundreds of players battled out to reach the top 16 spots, but it was easy for any player to see that there was an issue in the format. Once we reached the top 16, half of them were the same character, Kirishima. This was compounded with the top 4 finalists all playing Kirishima.
We at Jasco Games have decided that, effective March 1st, Coordinated Effort will be banned. In addition, we are giving Kirishima an errata to limit him. One of our goals is to provide the most enjoyable play experience for the community. We have tested an incredible number of games with this changed version of Kirishima, as well as the regular version of Kirishima without Coordinated Effort being available to him.
We have kept our eyes on Kirishima for some time, and we were even concerned about him during the release of Set 1. He has been the top contender since release, and we wanted to wait until after the first big major event to get the proper data before making a decision. (numbers and statistics are listed further down)
For Kirishima’s errata, we have been testing the following and are comfortable with these changes:
Enhance [Once per turn, your turn]: Build the top card of your deck face down.
Enhance [Once per turn] Add 1 foundation from your stage to your hand: This attack gets +2 or -2 damage.
The primary issue with his top enhance was that it felt very discouraging to attack Kirishima at any point. If you wished to attack him, he would gain board advantage for free and obtain another option for him to add to his hand.
As for his bottom enhance, Kirishima had the freedom to effectively block with any two cards from his stage. He could recklessly play his hand out without the fundamental need to hold blocks in hand. This allowed him to be an incredible defensive wall that was extremely hard to break through. Kirishima’s bottom enhance also gives him the ability to recycle attacks such as Hardened Frenzy or the randomly built face down attacks from his own enhance and Hardened Jab/Chop. This gave him far more consistent attack turns than most characters who fundamentally rely on naturally drawing their attacks. Kirishima can also “unflip” foundations easier than any other character by adding flipped foundations to his hand and replaying them. His stage acts as an additional hand with amazing options every turn, so we are limiting that addition to once per turn.
Concerning Coordinated Effort, this card does way too much for a reusable commit cost. It clears the card pool, eliminates progressive difficulty, builds a ready foundation, stores an attack in the stage, and has a 6 check with a decent block. Most importantly, this card provides a negative play experience (NPE) as soon as it hits the stage. Blocking is one of the fundamental mechanics of the game, and players are discouraged from blocking out of fear of being punished by Coordinated Effort, either on the same turn or on a future turn. Although Kirishima played this card the best, it still found itself maxed out at 4 copies in an astounding number of decks, even as a 3 difficulty with the Unique keyword.
A lot of characters gravitated towards the Coordinated Effort + Hardened Jab package because it was much stronger than their own respective support kit. With Coordinated Effort gone, Kirishima decks become less consistent and other decks become more inviting. Players were already maindecking answers for Coordinated Effort (such as Electric Jolt and Irrefutable Force of Nature) and now may have more freedom with their deck space.
Here are a few key stats that led us to this decision:
- 37 Players brought Kirishima to the Provisional Showdown, with an additional 25 players bringing Kirishima in their sideboard. This grants us a sample size where we can look past individual player skill
- Kirishima played a total of 165 matches against other characters, finishing with a combined record of 92-53-20 (63% winrate in matches with a result)
- Kirishima had a winning matchup against 18 of the 21 other characters present at the provisional (with a low sample size on the other 3 “losing” matchups)
- Out of 114 decks running under the Earth, Good, and Void symbols only one deck did not run Coordinated Effort. Decks that ran coordinated effort also had a positive win rate on the whole though not quite as dominant as Kirishima
These changes are not entirely permanent. We at Jasco Games can unban or un-errata cards. We will continue to track tournament data because we wish for the game to be the best that it can be.