Today I am going to spend a little time talking about one of the new cards from Reign of Varna: Darkness Rising, and rightfully so. As a baseline, this card has some resemblance to older cards like Fell Strider and Zimus, but this card allows for some new and fun interactions, while having the potential to devastate a game on its own.
While I think this card on its own isn’t the most powerful the game has going on, I the combination with other cards you can allow you to generate a huge advantage and take over a game if the opponent isn’t doing much to stop your synergies. one of my favorite ways to play the Spiritstone Sentry, and actually how I intended people to play with it when we designed it, was to move it around! Cards like Windcaller Shaman and Borean Windweaver have been my favorite cards in the game, and this was a card I wanted to be in the game to pair with that type of deck.
Ever since the beginning of the game, I have had an affinity for “combos”. The way the game works, you get to draw a good portion of your deck each time through, and huge chunks of it each turn. That always made me feel like I could count on drawing cards like my Doomwing and Thundergale Invoker in the same couple turns and really take advantage of the game engine. As it turns out, there needs to be a higher concentration of these two card combos, add Nethershriek for example, to really start capitalizing on what I was looking to accomplish. Spiritstone Sentry is another addition to that type of deck.
There are other ways I see people making use of the card as well. Lanes full strategies that allow you to reliably expect Spiritstone Sentry to die and come right back in the side lane are pretty fascinating. The interaction with Broodqueen is also quite powerful, and lets you set up the lanes full strategy while also giving you a way to kill your own Spiritstone Sentry and grow it yourself. This deck, while quite powerful, isn’t exactly what I enjoy playing with though, so let me give you a quick look into a couple decks that I’ve been playing with.
The first deck is set up to really take advantage of Spiritstone Sentry and the different ways to utilize him dying and coming back. Cards like Tarsus power him up, which gives a bit of an advantage over the other decks playing Spiritstone Sentry, and Scythe on a side lane Sentry is usually a pretty devastating play on its own. I’ve added my favorite sacrifice outlets and ways to get additional copies of the Sentry (Suruzal is both!). I found this deck to be very powerful, but playing against it is not much fun. That means that people are ready to adapt and figure out ways to beat this deck. After just a few games I ran into tons of hate cards like Justicar, Nanoswarm, and Herald of Destruction. While each of these aren’t game over for the deck by any means, they can cause this deck some real fits.
There are ways to combat those cards fairly easily. Cards like Cull the Weak and additional copies of Byzerak Spitemage are good ways to fight the creatures, and the sacrifice outlets are easy ways to take advantage of a semi useless creature in one of your lanes. Suruzal is especially good at resetting one of the creatures that your opponent deemed worthy of a card like Nanoswarm.
The second deck, is my baby. I enjoy playing this deck a little too much, and have tried to sneak in new pieces into every set ever since Doomwing was created. Nethershriek is my favorite card I’ve designed, and I had to fight pretty hard to get it to exist today. Some other people in R&D weren’t big fans of the design, so if you enjoy the card then you’re welcome. If you dislike the card, then add it to the list.
The way I like to both build and play the deck, is in the early game you want to play the cards that have the powerful effects and are worthy of being moved around. The list includes Cindersmoke Wyvern, Zarox, Doomwing, and Nethershriek. Sometimes you will find a good place to take advantage of the interactions between these cards and the ones that move them, but it isn’t important to take advantage of the combos yet, unless you feel pressured to do so. The cards that move these guys around aren’t level restricted, so that means that when you draw hands of a level 1 and a level 2 in the mid to late game, you can take advantage of the synergies. It is still usually right to play the cards that you have spent the majority of the game leveling up, but this deck can provide you with a ton of fuel even when you aren’t drawing as many level 2 cards as your opponent. You are quite reliant on drawing some of the cards you leveled up, though, just like the rest of the decks, but there is only so much you can do about that. Just watch out for the mini nonbo of moving your Spiritstone Sentry out of the side lane with Blizzard Shaman!
All in all, there is a lot of exploring left to do in the game of SolForge. Take some time, find some fun synergies and try them out. Hope you enjoyed!