Rise of the Forgeborn Patch 2.1 Previews – Faction Pump Cycle

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tarsianpactOneof the most fun things about writing articles about trading card games is that every now and then you get asked to write a preview article…meaning you get to see some new cards before anyone else!  Today it’s my turn with SolForge and I’ve been asked to take a look at a cycle of cards that will be coming soon to draft decks near you.

Each of these cards is a creature enhancer that has some similarities to cards from the past but definitely its own flavor and impact.

cypienbattlesuit

Let’s start with Cypien Battlesuit.  This is Heavy Artillery with a cookie and a requirement.  The cookie is 1 Armor; the requirement is that the creature be Alloyin.

These are both significant, but I think gaining armor is more important – enough so that while Heavy Artillery is generally a late-or-last pick, I think the Battlesuit is going to be a solid combat trick.  “Exact” kills are common in Solforge – I play out a 4/6 and you block with a 6/5, hoping that my creature dies and yours lives.  A big problem with Heavy Artillery is that it can only turn a loss into a draw, meaning you’re losing cards.  Sometimes it’s a finisher and sometimes the two for one is against a higher-level card, but in most situations it’s mediocre.  Cypien Battlesuit can turn a loss into a win, forcing the opponent to deal with your almost-dead but high attack creature.

tarsianpact

Tarsian Pact is a very interesting, and probably my favorite card of the cycle.  The boost to attack and health is big enough at each level that it will often turn combat losses into wins.  Normally that’s pretty good but not crushing because what you’re left with is fragile enough that your opponent can finish it off, often at the cost of less than a card, e.g. Magma Hound damage, a Nekrium enters the field effect or by blocking with a token or “two in one” creature card.  Tarsian Pact has the potential to do much more.

Let’s say you block a 5/5 with a 4/4 plus Tarsian Pact, playing both on your turn.  Your new 6/6 drops to 6/1, ripe to be finished off by almost anything.  Then it regenerates to 6/3 on their turn (out of range of most half-cards already) and then up to 6/5 on yours when it goes active.  At that point if your opponent has put out another blocker he runs the risk of you playing a trick and your creature having more time to recover.

The bottom line is that regeneration is very powerful when you can time it and when the regenerating creature is bigger than what it’s likely to fight.  A spell that gives regeneration and a size boost is going to have an impact.
This is before considering that one of Nekrium’s big weapons right now is the Big Regeneration strategy.  Nightgaunt is able to regenerate almost infinitely but most other regenerators can be worn down and that’s often how they get stopped.  Either that or their attack is low relative to their investment so they can be ignored.  A spell that boosts attack, health and adds to their regeneration is going to make it a lot more likely that “not quite Nightgaunt” regenerators can reach that threshold where the opponent can no longer contain them.

And don’t get me started on what this spell can mean for a deck with Grimgaunt Predator.  Even at level one a 7/7 regenerating GGP is going to be hard for a lot of decks to handle…especially since it will probably come in and eat something, meaning it’s 9/9 instead.

savageoath

Savage Oath poses the classic question – is it better to do one thing well or two things reasonably well?  This card isn’t as good a combat trick as Enrage, both because it’s slightly less powerful and can only target Uterra creatures.  It’s strictly superior to Feral Instinct…except, again, it can only target Uterra creatures.  Since the main role of Feral Instinct is as a finisher it’s potentially a big deal that only one of your factions can use it – I can imagine someone looking at the level one Death Seeker sitting in front of their level 3 Nightgaunt and wishing they’d drafted a finisher they could actually use.

That said, we’ve all had situations where the pump from Feral Instinct wasn’t enough for use in combat, or where we looked at the Enrage in our hand and wondered why it couldn’t help us finish a game where our giant monster already outclasses the enemy.  Savage Oath is more restrictive in some ways but more flexible in others; I think only experience will tell us how it ranks among Uterra’s combat tricks.

tremorcharge

Finally, we have Tremorcharge.  More than any other card in the cycle, this fits a new role and looks to be a solid card in a Tempys-heavy deck.  The health boost will typically upgrade you one level in combat – meaning a loss becomes a draw or a draw a win – provided the original fight was close.  That’s typically going to be worth somewhere between half a card and a card.  Then your creature has mobility (if you turned a draw into a win), which will hopefully let it trade with something else.  That’s solid, but situational – you need to have the right fights available in proximate lanes.

But, like Savage Oath, Tremorcharge can be used for straight-up mobility as a finisher.  Here it’s worse than Jet Pack or Aerial Surge, mainly because of the chance that the creature you want to use it on won’t be Tempys.  So again we have a tradeoff – not as good a finisher but often a better combat trick.

None of these cards are bombs – nor were they designed to be.  Instead they are going to test our ability to find the right situations to use them.  SolForge draft rewards consistency so I think that a lot of top drafters will be cautious about a spell that they may not be able to use due to faction restrictions.  SolForge also rewards knowing the peculiarities of your deck as you draft it, however, and there are some draft decks in which these spells will be quite powerful.  I don’t think you’ll need to pick them early but keep your eyes out for them and in the right situations they will win you games.

8 Comments

    1. chad.ellis

      My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that we’ll see more of that as Solforge grows. The beauty of their business model is how well it scales, so if SBE is successful at building a critical TCG mass they will be able to do more and more with art.

  1. Unique

    Savage Oath starts slow but is very playable at L2 and bonkers at L3. It’s a fully powered L3 Strength in Numbers plus Breakthrough. Assuming you get even trades (2 for 2) at the early plays it can easily be a blowout finisher in draft.

    1. chad.ellis

      That’s a good point, but I tend to evaluate pump spells on how they perform at lower levels. Feral Instinct is a great finisher but I’d say it gets cast at level one over 90% of the time. Savage Oath is a huge punch in the fact at level 3 but the “if you get even trades” with it twice at the lower levels is a significant “if” and in most situation where it’s just trading I think you’re better off leveling up another creature.

      1. Unique

        I agree in just about all cases of pump. The difference here is the level 3 is essentially a good LV3 creature. A 15/15 with breakthrough is pretty nice, and in a faction with cards like Brighttusk Sower and such, even that little bit of lane fill becomes a huge body with this card. That’s if the match up is close and you need a little width. If things are close to over, this card is probably the end on any average Lv2 body, let alone a Lv3.

        1. chad.ellis

          You’re right, and this may be an example of a pump card that should be used more aggressively because of its level three potential. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for that, especially since it’s not just equivalent to a level 3 creature but to an aggressive one (assuming it attaches to an active creature). That can totally reverse a losing race.

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