Of the banned characters in Devastation, Arec was definitely the most deserving – at least after the starting position changes toned down a bit of Kaitlyn’s tremendous positioning power. His UA is one of the strongest in the game, with the ability to completely shut down a wide swath of enemy options under the guise of “fairness”, and his Styles were among the best brawling styles a fighter could ask for. Together, he ground out games with above-average damage and near-perfect ability to set up mixups that players could at best escape and at worst suffer 6 or more guaranteed damage.
When reworking Arec, there had been a discussion floating around for some time that all he really needed was 1 less Power every beat. Testing proved that to be fairly accurate – Arec’s problem was the combination of his UA and his trading potentional, not just one or the other. And to that end, I present the new and improved (for his opponent, at least! We did not in fact buff Arec) master of sorcery:
Arec’s UA is unchanged. The errata to no longer negate End of Beat continues to exist, but other than that his Influence Tokens will continue to shenanigan exactly as they used to.
Hex, as well, is unchanged. The ability to automatically hit any opponent anywhere on the board is strong, but Style changes limit his ability to set it up.
Now, here come the big changes. Returning continues to be a strong Style, with an excellent statline and the ability to win Priority ties. However, the auto-stun is now gone and returned with an ability providing utility/card advantage instead of sometimes (always, with Influence) winning the beat outright.
Perceptional, AKA busted Geomantic clone. With Perceptional Strike originally outspeeding both Dodge and Burst and letting you spend a token to wipe Start of Beat or Before Activating and guarantee the hit, the Priority was brought down a peg. Additionally, the Power was tapped down by 1 as well.
Mirrored is no longer a strictly better Sarafina UA, now providing a much more limited choice of teleport locations. Along with that, it lost a Power and Priority in order to be worse at filtering out options where the opponent cannot get out of Range 2 due to an Influence Token.
Manipulative had a Power converted to a Priority, but the effect remains the same and continues to be his real payout attack. Without Returning’s auto-stun, he’ll need to work a little harder to punish the manipulation, though.
Phantom was always fine, and continues to be acceptable. Its statline is fantastic except Power, and with his other cards weakened the lineup should give more reason to play it.
Arec’s finishers now negate his Influence antes. This means he needs to work much harder to land Uncanny Oblivion, particularly. It also means he can’t use Start of Beat cancelling to break both Dodge and Burst as his main counters.
Overall, Arec’s nerfs are likely to be less severe than some were expecting but still heavily tone down the character’s trading potential and board control. Dedicated Arec players will need to get used to playing without their main repositioning tool (Mirrored’s End of Beat) and Power hits to just about everything except Returning, including a more pronounced weakness to enemy Stun Guard without an auto-stun tool. This makes Arec more base-reliant in particular, forcing him to Dodge or Burst more when trying to get to his optimal ranges (both of which can be very punishable).
We hope you enjoyed this preview! Join us next time when we talk about some bonus fighters.
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Content - Daniel Honig
Editing - Marco De Santos