I’ll just start with the headline – I think Breeder should be nerfed. I thought that The Dead of Winter was finally going to shut it down. I was wrong. It’s winning too many Kotei. It’s been winning things, in various versions, since the arc started. Do we need all three CE GenCons to be won by Fields of the Dead? Even when it isn’t winning, it’s filling up the elimination rounds. It’s annoying to play against. It deforms the environment with decks trying to meta against it, and it is more than capable of still running over a deck that brings a full meta package. For comparison, here are the decks in semi-recent years that won a higher percentage of the Kotei in their time than Breeder has so far this Kotei season:
Warrens of the One Tribe Ratling
Khol Wall Unicorn
There are reasons not to do anything about Breeder. The list above is bit of an unfair comparison, because, while those are the only decks that out-performed Breeder in terms of win % over a Kotei season, those decks were much, much more dominant than Breeder. If you banned or errata-ed something out of Breeder right now, to take effect in 30 days, it would only be around for two Kotei weekends before Before the Dawn hit. And then Forgotten Legacy is coming in July, and (since AEG will want it to sell) I’m guessing it will be legal for GenCon. That’s a big possible environmental shift. Maybe nerfing Breeder will just unleash some other deck.
Despite the above, I think that the tipping point for me to conclude that Breeder should be nerfed because it is a terribly unfun deck to play against and, so far as I can tell, not that fun to play with for many players. And, to a lesser extent, because there is not a lot of ability to meta for it that the Breeder deck can’t counter (for example, every Breeder deck just packs a suite of Event-negation cards, so that random chance of free Crossing wins goes down dramatically). When you get down to brass tacks, the ultimate point of errata and/or bans is to make the game more fun again. Breeder is not as dominant as some other decks that have received errata/bans in the past, but it is both environment deforming and unfun. Maybe changes in the upcoming environment would fix it anyway – but maybe they wouldn’t. And by the time we learned that they wouldn’t, it would be way too late, given that the coming environments are going to consist of the last bit of Kotei season and then the summer cons (things could be “fixed” later for EuroChamps, but that’s about it). Better to swing the nerf bat than risk having Breeder run around making tournaments unfun for the rest of CE.
I do not propose a specific solution. But I do think that the nerf bat should be swung and swung hard (I default to desiring hard swining because, if there’s anything worse that not swining the bat when it’s needed, it’s swinging it and still having the target deck out there annoying people).
Feel free to tell me why I’m right or wrong here, or on the forums.