Artifact screenshot of the Axe card

Valve's card game Artifact launched a couple of weeks ago, and unfortunately it has not managed to make much of an impact in the already crowded genre. While the reasons for this are most likely going to be complex, it certainly didn't help that Artifact launched with some rather bare-bones features, no actual ranked mode, no progression, and some extremely wonky balance.

While there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, I am glad to say that the two latest updates have improved the game considerably. The first update brought in-game tournaments and the ability to communicate with your opponent, while the more recent one has added skill rating, account levels with a small progression system, and perhaps most importantly of all, some much-needed balance changes.

You can find the full list of changes, including some of the bug fixes, by heading over to Steam. For now, however, allow me to share with you all of the balance tweaks as those are likely to be the most impactful part of this update. Have a gander:

Axe

- Base stats changed from 7/2/11 to 6/2/10.

Bloodseeker

- Base stats changed from 7/6 to 7/7.

- Blood Rage (signature spell) mana cost changed from 5 to 4.

Cheating Death

- Mana cost changed from 5 to 4.

- Old Text: "If there is an allied green hero in this lane, allies have a 50% chance of surviving with 1 Health when they would die."

- New Text: "Active (Cooldown 1): Give a unit a Death Shield this round. May only be used if there is an allied green hero in this lane."

Drow Ranger

- Gust (signature spell) Old Text: "Silence enemy heroes this round."

- Gust (signature spell) New Text: "Silence an enemy hero and its allied neighbors this round."

Jasper Daggers

- Gold cost changed from 7 to 5.

- Old Text: "Equipped hero has +2 Attack and Pierce."

- New Text: "Equipped hero has +2 Attack and Pierce. Equip Effect: Purge your opponent's effects from equipped hero."

Lion

- Finger of Death (active ability) Old Text: "Deal 8 piercing damage to a unit."

- Finger of Death (active ability) New Text: "Deal 8 piercing damage to a unit. Quicken." (Quicken means "reduce cooldown by 1, but not below 1".)

Outworld Devourer

- Base stats changed from 4/6 to 4/7.

Timbersaw

- Reactive Armor (passive) Old Text: "Timbersaw has +1 Armor for each of its attackers."

- Reactive Armor (passive) New Text: "Timbersaw has +1 Armor for each of its attackers. Each of Timbersaw's attackers have -1 Armor."

If you've recently purchased any of the changed cards, worry not as Valve is currently offering a one-time-only buyback. So if you're eligible, do make sure to compare the current and previous prices as you might just come out of this with a small bonus. The only catch is that the buyback period will end on January 4th, so do make sure to take Valve up on their offer before you forget about it entirely.

To learn more about the various new features, as well as how Valve plans to balance Artifact in the future, you should take a trip to the official website. Have fun with the new meta!

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