Reign of Varna: Darkness Rising is Coming!

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since I stay as behind the scenes as much as possible, but it is time to share my fourth lead design project with you – Reign of Varna: Darkness Rising, which will be released on Monday, March 30th! Although it isn’t a full set like my last task with Imprisoned Heralds, I couldn’t be happier to have this opportunity. As the guy who has brought you such hits as Nethershriek, Rage of Kadras, and Wegu, I’m here to offer some new tools for guys to enjoy.

My goals for this eight card mini release were pretty straight forward. I wanted to take a look at what fun strategies were out there that could use a little bit of extra oomph and help support them. I really enjoy cards that come together and make you feel rewarded, but I also like to push the limits on new design space that we haven’t gone to yet. Two card and even three card combos are sometimes hard to put together, but once you do pull the off it is the best feeling you can get. Take a look at my first preview!


This card on its own doesn’t look like much of a problem, but imagine it with just about any burn spell in the game. It turns pretty much all of them into bigger Flame Lances, and turns level one Flame Lances into 10 damage to the noggin. This card in combination with something like Brimstone Tyrant can create a massive amount of damage and a clear board. Don’t overlook this guys level three text either. Yes, it doubles.

Initially I came up with another design somewhat similar the current Windspark Elemental that almost made it into Imprisoned Heralds, but it was deemed too powerful and oppressive by the development team. That version gave himself +attack and +health equal to the damage dealt, but it could get out of hand extremely fast and it wasn’t a play pattern that we wanted to support. This new version that we are releasing is much more palatable, and much more fun to blow your opponent up with huge bursts of damage.

While we do like having players put pieces together and feeling good about doing so, we also know that single powerful cards are quite appealing to our audience. Independently powerful cards are exciting and easily identifiable for newer players, so pushing designs in that space is also very good for the game. And this lady is a strong independent angel.


While this card doesn’t exactly fit the bill of being good whenever you draw it every time, when it is at its most powerful, it is a beating. This card doesn’t ask very much of the user, if anything at all, but it demands some kind of answer. Alloyin is especially good at protecting themselves and their creatures, so with Ambriel Archangel, you get an all in one package. While this card might come at somewhat of a cost of not being able to combine well with some of your other favorite creatures, there are a variety of synergies that will work well with her. Cards like Gauntlets of Sulgrim and Lysian Shard are standout examples, but I’ll leave it to you to find others. All in all, this card I expect to change the way a lot people construct their decks going forward.

Why did we push such a powerful all in one card? We had a clear goal for this lovely Angel and I think we did a great job with the execution. She promotes a specific underserved archetype, and gives Alloyin something powerful to fight back against Broodqueen and Rage of Kadras decks. Up to this point, Alloyin has been lacking in pure power level and that is something that our team was looking to address. I fully expect that this will be a game changer.

These are two cards that I am pretty excited about and can’t wait to take a look at what everyone else think of them. As I’ve already said, this mini release has some very promising tools to explore and I hope that they make the game more enjoyable for everyone. I had a great time putting this product together with the R&D team at the Stoneblade headquarters, and I hope that you guys are excited as we are. Enjoy everyone!


  1. souLance

    OK… I hindsight my above comment was too salty, no one should loose a job, but for the love of the forge Ben, PLEASE be careful making cards in the future, its hard because a good card is rarely praised while a bad card gets mocked and a broken card gets hate and causes people to not enjoy the game, thanks for all the good cards you’ve made, I’d just prefer more quality than guantity. . .

    And I’m sorry for saying SBE should find another designer don’t fire Ben,

  2. OhRats

    Reality check: it turns out that the buff to herald of destruction might be th most impactful thing coming out of this release. I know, it hasn’t been long enough to definitively judge the issue. But still, I can’t help but wonder: was this intentional on SBE’s part? Was the buffed card playtested?

  3. souLance

    Between wegu and windspark, I think it’s safe to say SBE should look for a new designer, No disrespect to the efforts you’re putting in Ben, you just seem to do more harm than good…

  4. Hackworth

    I assume the wording on the Windspark is not final, as it can be misunderstood easily. “[...], this deals that much damage to its controller.” could mean the controller of Windspark. Should be replaced with “[...], Windspark Elemental deals that much damage to that creature’s controller”.

  5. Kukkamatka

    Cool cards and look forward trying them out. I have no idea how they’re going to change the game, although it seems probable :) I only hope I get them from a booster pack – the only downside is, that most people’s card collection, like mine, can’t keep up with the game’s changes and that makes us understandably a bit conservative.

    1. Lyrra

      Agree. I actually stopped spending money on the game because it felt too overwhelming trying to keep up. Now I just muddle through with what I manage to forge/draft.

  6. mister_VWP

    Love windspark elemental although it might be to overpowered combined with poison.

    ambriel archangel is way to underpowered. If it would be ;
    aslong as the only creature(s) you control are/is ambriel archangel.
    You could be able to build a deck with archangel as only creature wich would be so freaking awesome! so pls make it possible to have more then 1 archangel and stil get its affects :)

    1. eastsideman09

      The already solid A/T Explosive/Rage decks get boosted too… Rage blowouts are effectively twice as powerful. Put a level 2 Oratek Explosives on a level 2 Scochmane, and you’re looking at a clear board and 51 damage to the face.

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