1. #1

    Forgotten Wars - full set review

    Rating scale:

    5.0: Format all-Star (pao, dark assassin). Probably would only include super-powerful neutral cards that can appear in virtually any deck.
    4.0: Format staple (firebolt, insect swarm, untamed wrath, wolf captain, most of the unique spells). The sort of card you always need to be keeping in mind, or creatures which are so powerful that they warp the meta.
    3.5: Good in multiple archetypes, but not a format staple (void arbiter, tainted orc, lilim, vampire knight, coral priestess, tithe collecter). These are standard, very powerful, creatures which almost always be included in decks that can play them, but aren't so powerful that they dictate the meta. Might also include some spells and fortunes, but probably they will be rated a straight 3 or 4 (or lower).
    3.0: Archetype staple (lurker in the dark, stone shield, time jump, dreamweaver, wasteland, wolf justicar). Cards which are really good in a particular decktype, but need some synergies to get there.
    2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (most of the "wall" creatures, Inner fire, goblin sharpshooter, plague zombie, campfire). Cards you might put in your deck, but which aren't super exciting and which might get substituted for other options.
    2.0: Niche card (naga tactician, namatru channeler, dispels, purity, tree of truth, cosmic realignment). Most "counter" cards fall in this category, or just cards which require a lot of work to go right.
    1.0: Bad card.


    Academy heroes

    Hakeem, Seeker of Mysteries
    1/1/2
    Spell: Death, earth
    Ability: N/A

    Rating: 3

    Comment: Hakeem is a seeker hero, and so like all seeker heroes is somewhat uninteresting. Despite having an extra stat point to compensate for their lack of abilities, the 1/1/2 combination has generally been underwhelming when compared to the might or magic-focussed combinations of 2/1/0 or 1/2/0; the invokers with 0/1/2 have generally supported a magic/fortune gamestyle better than the seekers (although Kat and Yukio have formed sucessful OTK decks) and might/fortune has just never been particularly exciting.

    What makes seekers playable, if anything, is their spell schools. Dark and earth are interesting. Earth is obviously strong due to earthquake and insect swarm AOEs, but the power level of the school drops off very rapidly after that. Dark seems like the perfect complement to Earth, with its strong spot removal complementing Earth's ability to deal with smaller threats. It's essentially the combination that makes Ariana so good, with some Ariana builds playing few if any primal spells.

    All in all, this seems like a pretty powerful hero, potentially one of the strongest from the faction.

    Gazal, Lady of Secrets
    1/1/1
    Spell: Primal, light
    Ability: 3 - Until the end of the turn, whenever an effect causes cards to go from your opponent's library to their graveyard, draw a card.

    Rating: 2

    Comment: 1/1/1 stats is a known quantity - it's always ok, never exciting. Such heroes can certainly be good, but it's hard to get full value out of each of their stat points but even if you can't, ce'st la vie. Primal/light is also a known quantity, it's the fantastic combination that powered Kieran to domination of the Void Rising meta for a period. The fact that he dropped off so sharply after his nerf though shows that his dominance may have been more about the near-broken interraction between his (then-passive) ability and word of light/sunburst so it's possible that the combination actually lacks enough strong direct damage to be really good.

    Gazal's ability is exceptionally hard to evaluate in a vacuum. Obviously milling is a theme that's being pushed very strongly througout the academy faction and this is a pretty nice thing to do when you mill - draw extra cards to accelerate you into more mill cards to deplete your opponent's library. But milling has zero effect on the game until your opponent's last card is removed, so this ability is a VERY late game proposition. Plus you need to activate two mill effects in a turn before you break even compared to using one resource to draw a card, which doesn't necessarily seem that likely to come up with. Finally, add to the fact that drawing a card is generally less valuable in this game than in other games like MTG, due to the already high base-rate that heroes can draw in the late game, and I'm not super optimistic about Gazal's chances.

    Asalah, Invoker of Castigation
    0/2/1
    Spell: Light, water, fire
    Ability: 2 - Discard a card: Creatures you control gain +1[atk] until end of turn for each enchant creature spell affecting them.

    Rating: 2

    Comment: Few of the invokers have been competitive heroes. In fact, outside of a brief period of time during the first base set meta when Shaar was borderline tier 1, I don't think any of the invokers have seen any real amount of competitive play - Jezziel, Kaiko, Namtaru, Kal-Azaar, how often have you seen them in game? And it all comes down to the stat combination - 0/2/1 just puts you so far behind in deploying creatures (especially going second) that you have historically been unable to play a creature deck with an invoker hero. now, I note that a large number of the academy creatures have heavy magic stat requirements instead of might, which could make Asalah different, but I'm not sure the "low might/high magic" creature academy card pool is going to be big enough at this stage to support a hero. It's possible, but there's a high initial hurdle to jump here. Most of them look very defensive also, and I'm not convinced that the "buff your weak creatures with auras" strategy which is being pushed here will be viable.

    The spell schools here are pretty nuts. You basically get infinity damage options. You can punish lane stacking, you can punish cross formation clumping, you can ping everything, you can wipe the board and you have some cheap spot removal. That's impressive. Something else to note when thinking about Asalah's activated ability is that these spell schools have between them basically all of the even semi-playable auras - bless, inner fire, refreshing spring, ice shell, martyr, icy/fiery weapon. Not all of them are great, but at least a couple are otherwise playable, so there's something to build on there.

    As for her ability, I'd generally say that it's junk. It's pushing you to do the same sort of thing that Namatru Channeler is, and that creature hasn't exactly set the world on fire. I don't like auras as a rule, they open you up to blowouts when your opponent uses removal or bounce on teh creature and you'd usually just rather run a creature. but I do see the potential for a "weenie with buffs" creatures strategy with this hero, where you use your spells to control the board and then land a few choice threats (possibly even moonsilk spider?), buff em up and go to town. I'm not sure a bit of an attack buff is enough of an incentive to make that strategy viable, but I wouldn't completely dismiss the possibility.


    Myranda, Blademage Champion
    2/1/0
    Spell: Primal, air
    Ability: 4 - Relocate target friendly magic creature.

    Rating: 3

    Comment: Breaking from the mould of the other "champion" heroes, which have 2/1/0, Myranda's stats are somewhat surprisingly found on only one other hero - Kieran. I think they're one of the strongest possible combinations, as most creature decks are supported with magic so you get to accelerate your creature plan with 2 might while not having any wasted points in fortune.

    The spell schools that Myranda has access too are pretty decent, and she has two of them unlike the previous champion heroes. Air used to be clearly the worst faction, but with the introduction of Lightning Strike in Herald of the Void it gained access to one of the better direct damage spells in the game. Primal gives it some utility (town portal looks like a particularly good match for the hero) to go with that, and primal's generally been strong when coupled with a good direct damage school. This combination has only ever appeared on Akane, which is a highly underpowered hero, it'll be interesting to see if it can do some more here.

    Her ability also seems pretty strong. The on-demand teleport is a great way of giving the deck reach and it's priced pretty reasonably. Provided academy proves to be a decently playable faction, Myranda seems like one of the better heroes.

    Gazal, Herald of the Void
    1/1/1
    Spell: Primal, dark
    Ability: 1 - Discard a card: Choose target non-unique instant spell card from any gravyard. You can play that card. If you do, Banish it afterwards.

    Rating: 3

    Gazal mark 2 here (I assume the evil one based off artwork? I'm no lore buff), and she's also got 1/1/1 stats - boring, playable, nothing to talk about here.

    Primal and dark are the other half of Ariana's perfect magic-hero trio, but certainly not the strongest two parts, as Belias can attest to. Without AOE spells to efficiently deal with early game rushes you can't really play a spell-heavy hero. And dark magic requires a good investment in magic points before it starts to pay off, it's not until 4 magic that you start getting to the exciting stuff (soul reaver). Primal is ok at lower levels - town portal in particular - but it too demands a heavy payoff before you start getting to the really exciting stuff (spell twister, time jump). And it's an investment I'm not sure you'd be able to make (just ask belias)... until you get to Gazal's ability that is.

    And WOW - that ability jumps out initially as being utterly broken. Recuring any spell in any graveyard, for just one resource and a card in your hand, seems crazy. You get a huge tempo advantage by casting expensive spells for way cheaper and the card advantage of giving every instant card in both player's graveyard flashback. It's not card advantage, due to the discard and the opportunity cost of drawing a card with your hero, it's just a potential increase in card quality (assuming the card you play is better than a random card in your deck). So it's not completely broken. In fact, it might not even be that good except against other spell heroes, as long as they're not pure spell heroes that don't really play any good targets for their own removal to be used against. So in the end, the ability is likely to be extremely good against other creature/magic decks, but only averagely good otherwise, and basically dead against OTK/control decks. Which seems fine, it'll certainly mean that Gazal has the potential to be a strong hero, but she's not right off the bat broken or anything as far as I can see.

    Akane, Caller of Memories
    1/1/1
    Spell: Water, Air
    Ability: 6 - Take target non-unique spell card from your graveyard and put it into your hand.

    Rating: 2.5

    This is apparently the non-evil version of Akane, which I guess means that primal magic is evil or something, because she's lost that spell school in exchange for water. Her stats also changed when she turned evil, here's she's 1/1/1 instead of the much more potentially exciting 1/2/0 of her sanctuary iteration.

    Water and air spell schools are interesting. Pre-Herald of the Void they were the weakest combination, and it wasn't even close. Following the release of lightning strike, strength of the sea and song of the lost though, this specific combination is actually pretty awesome. You get some good early game direct damage, a very playable AOE spell, one of the best ongoing unique spells in the game and the potential for a combo with ice splinters and song of the lost which can effect an incredibly powerful one-sided board wrath. Some of the upcoming hate for ongoing unique spells such as strength of the sea might reduce the power of the school combination in the expansion, but right now it's powering Sandalphon to be one of the best heroes in the game and I expect it to remain decently strong.

    And finally that ability. It seems like an incredible letdown compared to Gazal and, well, it is. It's approximately 137.83% worse than Gazal's ability. In fact, it's barely playable. Maybe as a finishing move you recur a lighting strike or bolt to clear a blocker and win the game, but in any sort of board development situation, the cost is just too high for it to be usable. I know Akane's great spell schools mean that she has to lose out somewhere to be balanced, but I feel like this would have still been fair at 4-cost. Ah well, it is what it is, and I think Akane could be good enough even without an ability, so I won't complain too much. Having said that, Yukiko doesn't make it as a straight up might/magic hero in the way that sandalphon does, so her ultimate playability will come down to the strength of the academy creature base.

    Ammar the Cunning
    1/1/1
    Spell: Earth, water
    Ability: [passive] when you play a spell, if your [magic] level ir 6 or more and your [fortune] level is 3 or more, draw a card.

    Rating: 3.5

    Skipping right over Ammar's boring stats to his spell schools.... they're anything but boring. This combination has never been seen on a hero, and it seems potentially pretty powerful. Earth has excellent AOE damage and a bit of utility, water has pretty good AOE and a bit of utility. In particular, it's interesting to note that most earth magic heroes to date (other than Zardoc) had no way to punish lane-stacking - water gives Ammar the ability to do so through Geyser. This is an untested combination, but it seems really powerful to me. Also, provided unique ongoing spells are still playable in this expansion, the combination of strength of the sea and Might of Nature seems pretty busted.

    So if Ammar's good, it's going to be because of his ability. It certainly looks powerful on the surface. Once you meet the condition, you're drawing two cards for free every turn of the game. You have to give up a lot to get there though, including quite possibly some turns where you would otherwise be using your hero's natural draw ability. Because what are you really doing going up to 6 magic in these spell schools anyway? Time jump is ok, but only really as a finisher in an agressive deck which something investing 3 fortune isn't going to be. I think the ability is strictly bad UNLESS you can trigger it through the use of magic channel creatures. You probably want to be maxing out at 3 or maybe 4 magic naturally, along with 3 fortune, and then incidentally hitting 6 magic ocasionally through the use of magic channel creatures. That seems like it could be a pretty good plan, provided the magic channel creatures which are being pushed with the academy faction are actually playable. So we'll have to see on that front, but Ammar certainly has potential.
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  2. #2
    Creatures

    Key:

    (C) (U) (R) (E) - rarity.
    X/X/X - attack/retaliation/health
    Xr/Xm/Xma/Xf - resource/might/magic/fortune requirements. Only specified if > 0
    Note that none of the keyword reminder text is spelt out, you'll have to work that out yourself.


    Scholar (C)
    1/0/3
    1r/1m
    Melee
    Ability: Magic channel 1. Magic resist.

    Rating: 3

    This seems like a pretty solid card. Like tithe collector for haven, this is a strong utility one drop which I think you'll basically always want to play a full set of and will never be unhappy to see in your opening hand. It seems strongly synergistic with the academy game plan, which involves artificially pumping up your magic level, and surviving early insect swarms/earthquakes (even those you cast) in addition to firebolt seems extremely relevant. It's not exactly an agressive body, but it seems like a card you'll always be happy to have in your opening hand, especially if you're on the play, and might be able to get some value out of later in the game too. I'm not sure how often you'll want to play him turn 2 over a regular 2 drop just for the magic channel ability, but I imagine it will be some amount of the time even though that will feel pretty bad.


    Dancing Dervish (C)
    2/0/3
    2r/2m
    Melee
    Ability: Range Reflect 1

    Rating: 2.5

    I'm generally biased against 2-drops that die to insect swarm because most factions have better options. Unfortunately this is academy's only 2-power creature that you'll be able to reliably cast on turn 2, so it's probably going to make the cut for that reason alone. It does block neophyte lich and succubus (assuming your opponent doesn't do anything) which is something, but I doubt the range reflect will come up that much; elite squire is the worst of the protection creature cycle, and this will come up less than that. So basically you'll be playing an expert marksman with marginal upside, which isn't the worst but isn't exciting.


    Gargoyle (C)
    0/1/5
    2r/1m/1ma
    Magic flyer
    Ability: Magic Resist. Cannot attack.

    Rating: 2.5

    Academy's wall, and it's a pretty solid one. What I've found with the walls is that having some retaliation damage is very relevant, and that theyt are playable in a slightly wider range of decks than I initally expected. This one seems quite solid. It's probably slightly better than bramble beast (stronghold), and about on par with or maybe slightly better than hangman tree (necropolis), with magic resist being roughly as good or better than regeneration depending on the matchup. If academy turns out to be a very defensive early game faction as it looks, this probably goes up another notch.


    Enslaved Harpy (C)
    1/0/6
    2r/2m
    Flyer
    Ability: n/a

    Rating: 2.5

    Another defensive two drop, this not having a point of retaliation damage is a pretty serious knock against it - think about how much worse vampire knight would be compared to lamasu if it didn't have the life drain ability, it'd just die so easy without getting you any value in return. It also attacks pretty badly, obviously. I'm not saying this is awful - 6 toughness on a 2 drop that you'll often be able to play on turn 2 in this faction is enormous, i'm just not totally convinced that you wouldn't be better off with gargoyle even if that can't ever attack.

    Spirit-Bound Djinn (C)
    2/2/6
    2r/2m/3ma
    Magic flyer
    Ability: When Spirit-Bound Djinn dies, deal damage to your hero equal to its [attack]

    Rating: 3.5

    Turn 2 lamasu! Oh wait, not exactly. Your chances of hitting this on your second turn are exceptionally low. In fact, if I'm thinking it through correctly, only Myranda (2/1/0) can even theoretically do it, by going first and playing a scholar on turn 1. Still, undercosted/high stat requirement creatures can still be good as they enable you to play double two drops at four resources, which can get out of hand quickly. You probably won't be rushing huge attack damage with sanctuary, but simply being able to more quickly add to board presence than your opponent is strong with undercosted fatties like this, I think it's really solid if you're wanting to hit 3 magic, which I think most academy heroes will.

    Wizard tutor (C)
    1/0/5
    2r/1m/3ma
    Shooter
    Ability: Immune to Retaliation. Magic Channel 1.

    Rating: 2.5

    They promised me a tutor! Where's the tutor? I'm really confused why you'd call something a tutor (a term with long history in the TCG space of searching up a card from your library) when it doesn't, well, tutor. Wizard instructor? Teacher? Mentor? We're not short of potential synonyms here. Ah well. This is another defensive two drop that's also fairly awkward to cast on turn 2 without the help of a scholar (Asalah can do it naturally, though, on the play). It's also a little bit anti-synergistic. You want your magic channel creatures to themselves have a low magic requirement, so you can use the channel to ramp into higher levels of magic. I'll note it as I go along, but many of the creatures which would benefit most from magic channel themselves require 3 magic, so him already requiring you to have 3 magic is really awkward. It's not that you never want to ramp magic above 3, of course, but scholar is far better in the channeling role for that reason. Still, this seems fairly playable even if it's just another defensive body and I think it's probably more playable than enslaved harpy.

    Djinn Catalyst (U)
    1/1/4
    2r/1m/2ma
    Magic flyer
    Ability: Spells in your hand cost 1[resource] less for every spell of the same school enchanting Djinn Catalyst.

    Rating: 2

    You should probably pretend that this is a vanilla creature, I expect that the text is going to be relevant so rarely that it might as well not exist - not only do you need to meet the restrictive conditions of it, but you need to actually be able to do something with the extra resource(s) that you save. And a 1/1/4 flyer for 2 mana isn't exactly the most exciting creature ever. The only way I can see this being played is if Asalah "enchant your weenie creatures" is actually a viable strategy. It's clearly one of the linear strategies that they're pushing in this expansion, but just because they're pushing a strategy that seems inherently bad doesn't mean they'll be sucessful in making it playable.

    Nethermancer (U)
    1/0/4
    2r/2m/1ma/1f
    Magic shooter
    Ability: When nethermancer deals combat damage to the enemy hero, put the top 3 cards of opponent's library into their graveyard.

    Rating: 1

    Really?

    While I would like to be able to give this a one word review, I should probably explain myself. First of all, milling (which is TCG slang for putting a card from your opponent's library into their graveyard). People unfamiliar with TCGs tend to love milling because it lets you kill a bunch of stuff. Except it doesn't. Randomly milling your opponent does nothing. Literal nothing. Yes, sometimes you feel awesome because you cause your opponent to lose access to one of the more powerful cards in their deck. But you have just as much chance of making them discard something useless and digging them closer to their good stuff. Think of it as an ability which says "flip a coin. If it's heads you gain 2 life, if it's tails you lose 2 life". Sometimes you will flip a bunch of heads and that'll be awesome. Sometimes you'll flip a bunch of tails and it will suck. But no matter what actually happens, the expected value of the ability is exactly zero. It's the same with random milling. You should never place any value on a random mill.

    Now, milling as a wincondition can do something, eventually. If you manage to deplete your opponent's entire library, you have obviously done something and assuming they don't have the ability to win the game with their board/hand, you are going to win both through the incidental mill damage, and because they have no more resources to win the game with. Milling 50 cards though is not easy, and it requires you to basically dedicate your entire game to a control plan built around keeping you alive until the point where you can do something to start depleting your opponent's library. And Nethermancer? Nethermancer does not do that. First of all, his mill ability is never realistically going to trigger. Have you ever tried to play with Naga Tactician? Do you know how many times that guy hits the opponent without the help of a turn 3 coral priestess? Approximately zero. 1 attack is so unthreatening that you'll get blocked by anything. 4 health here is obviously slightly better, and the potential to boost magic damage with week of the wild spirits is there, but essentially this will never hit your opponent except on an empty board. This could only be a realistic wincondition in a very late game situation where you've managed to control the game and you've now got your opponent in a wasteland lock with these out on the field or something. And in that situation, I'm pretty sure you can find some better mill wincons than nethermancer. This is not the mill card you're looking for, move along.

    Rakshasa (C)
    2/2/5
    3r/3m
    Melee
    Ability: Evade.

    Rating: 3

    This guy seems pretty good as a defensive three drop that doesn't sacrifice all attacking power. While evade does only blank melee and flyer attacks, he does that pretty well and will allow you to hold off early attackers and develop up your board. I'm a little bit unsure as to how evade will play in practice (maybe you would prefer him to stay there and deal retaliation damage? maybe the random placement will end up setting you up for blowouts?) so I can't rate him too highly, but he seems on par with other decently strong 3 drops like Lamasu, Sun Rider or Kappa.

    Minotaur Brute (C)
    2/2/5
    3r/3m/2ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: Shockwave 1

    Rating: 2.5

    This "vanilla keyword demonstrator" is a fair bit less exciting than Rakshasa. Whereas I'm quite high on evade, shockwave seems like it will take a fair bit to be good, especially shockwave 1. He's not threatening enough on attack to really punish people for blocking him, and sacrificing a direct attack to do one damage to something adjacent if your opponent puts a creature there seems merely ok. It is pretty good at softening up 4-toughness creatures for an insect swarm, but you'll want to have a definite plan with him because his base stats aren't particularly exciting for a melee 3-drop. Note that he is a magic creature, though, which does help him with week of the wild spirits (that's true of a huge proportion of academy creatures).


    Wizard Apprentice (U)
    2/1/2
    3r/2m/2ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Phased. Attack anywhere.

    Rating: 4

    And here we have french vanilla keword demonstrator #3. Phased seems strong. And combining it with attack anywhere on an immune to retaliation magic shooter seems exceptionally so. Your opponent is going to want to have spell-based removal for this (and anything works) because otherwise it'll get out of hand quickly. It doesn't block, which is a definite drawback, but academy seems to have lots of defensive creatures and the upside here is strong enough that I'm pretty high on this apprentice. I was always a little bit disappointed in how hellfire cerberus played out in practice, because even if he survived the Pao/sunburst his "attack anywhere" goodness could be so easily negated by just sticking a threat in front of it that needed to be attacked. Wizard apprentice doesn't have that drawback, so he'll mess with your opponent's creatures anywhere on the battlefield with impunity. Well, "with impunity" except for removal, but you can't have it all. Note that he's markedly worse in a deck with earthquakes/insect swarms so be mindful of that.

    Unstable Djinn (U)
    4/2/6
    3r/4m/3ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. When Unstable Djinn attacks, pay 2[resource]. If you cannot, deal 2 damage to Unstable Djinn.

    Rating: 3.5

    This Djinn seems very pushed. Yes, he has all sorts of drawbacks. A high might/magic requirement means he'll only rarely come out on turn 3, although combined with a scholar on the play it's not farfetched (note that wizard tutor, annoyingly, doesn't accelerate this). And the attack cost, even if it can pretty easily be limited to "just" life is also real. But the payoff is certainly there. My go-to comparison for "awesome vanilla creature" is lilim, with 12 total stat points. Djinn equals that, for one less cost and I'm not even too concerned that an extra one of them is in retaliation because sometimes you won't want to pay the attack cost so having some retaliation on a reasonably high health blocker isn't terrible. And 4 attack on an immune to retaliation shooter is very strong. Hellfire Slave is another shooter that comes to mind with 4 attack, and that would have been borderline awesome if it weren't for only having 4 health as a drawback. Having unstable Djinn survive lightning strike and fireball is really good, and sometimes you'll be able to cheat it out a turn early. Anyway, you can't ignore the drawbacks here, but it looks like a really strong package overall.

    Wizard Disciple (C)
    2/0/6
    3r/3m/2ma
    Magic Shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Phased. Focused Blast 1.

    Rating: 3

    The first thing that strikes me about this is "why couldn't it have shockwave instead of focused blast"? That would make it like the "more difficult to remove/slightly weaker" version of wizard apprentice, and probably completely broken, but it would have been awesome. Anyway, I'm not quite sure about this guy. On the one hand, he's a very hard to kill attacker, but he only attacks for 2 so he's not that threatening. He's also sort of a good blocker, particularly against stacked lanes thanks to focused blast, but you're hero's going to take a beating because he doesn't actually block. Maybe if you combine it with an evade creature or something, or stack the lane yourself so you can retaliate if they attack through. But the focused blast effect is only for 1, so I don't know how punishing it'll be. At the end of the day, his stats are probably good enough to be playable (although one extra point of attack would have gone a LONG way), I'm just not quite sure what role he's going to play and whether or not this guy is the one you want to be doing it.

    Guardian Golem (U)
    2/1/4
    3r/1m/3ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: When opponent plays a card or uses an ability targeting a single creature, it must target Guardian Golem if possible.

    Rating: 2.5

    Interesting, very interesting. So first of all you get a creature that soaks up any targeted removal your opponent might want to cast, including those rare fortunes that target (eg. surprise attack). That seems decent, and will certainly mess up some opponents. And then you get a guy who's randomly awesome as a bullet against decks that want to cast spells on their own guys (see: spellskite). I'm not sure those upsides warrant playing a 2/1/4 for 3 resrouce melee creature, though, especially one which is often difficult to cast on turn 3. He's just going to be dead in a lot of game situations I think, either they'll want to use their removal on him anyway, or their deck doesn't play any targeted spells, or they just beat you down with better creatures instead. It's certainly an effect which will shut down or seriously frustrate some opponents though, so at the end of the day it feels like a meta-call rather than a staple creature.

    Sellspell Djinn (C)
    3/3/5
    3r/3m/3ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. At the end of your turn, if you have 0[resources] deal 1 damage to your hero.

    Rating: 2

    That's some decently exciting stats on a 3 drop, but again this is only a 3-drop if you are either playing Myranda and are on the play or get a scholar into play (again, wizard tutor doesn't help here, annoyingly). The damage drawback is there, but as it's only one damage it doesn't bite nearly as hard as unstable djinn's, although it isn't nothing either (a side note: is having all of the various djinn's drawbacks so vastly different poor design? I feel like it would be so much cleaner and easy to keep track of if they all did the same thing - these guys are going to be really hard to "grok" when they're on the battlefield, especially in multiples). So assuming this was a 4 drop, would this be playble? Well yeah, kind of sort of. It's no lilim, archlich or tainted orc that's for sure, although it is slighlty better on raw stats than blackskull rider (would that get played if it weren't for the cost reduction? I'm honestly unsure but I'm thinking not). So I'm leaning towards "no" on this awkwardly-named Djinn, but I could be wrong.

    Void Shade (R)
    2/0/4
    3r/2m/1ma/2f
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Anchored. When void shade enters or leaves the battleground, put the top 3 cards of opponent's library into the graveyard.

    Rating: 2

    I guess if there's a mill deck you're probably playing this guy? I'm not even sure that's true, his stats are just so poor and incidentally milling 3 or 6 isn't particularly great, particularly because you can't abuse it with Throne of Renewal or Broken Bridge thanks to anchored. He costs one more and has more annoying stat requirements than the measuring stick for shooters (neophyte lich/succubus), and while 2/0/4 shooters for 3 can get there, they really want to be in caller of the void-awesome territory which I don't think void shade is. Pass.

    Spinning dervish (C)
    2/0/4
    4r/4m
    Melee
    Ability: Range Reflect 2. Evade.

    Rating: 2.5

    Double french vanilla! And it's an obviously synergistic combination too. 4 is a steep, steep cost for a 2/0/4 creature but weak-statted 4 drops can get there sometimes with enough utility (see: blackskull shredder, Crusher and void arbiter). Dervish doesn't seem to be in the same league as those, but in a deck which wants a defensive option this is awesome. It's a bit of a shame that it costs 4 might, instead of say 2m/2ma, because with a lower might requirement this could be the creature which makes the hypothetical asalah enchantment deck work, but as it is it's one of the more difficult to kill creatures going around which has got to count for something.

    Rakshasa Raja (U)
    5/5/5
    4r/4m
    Melee
    Ability: Evade. Rakashasa Raja cannot attack a hero.

    Rating: 2.5

    5/5/5/ for 4 - sign me up! Gaaaah, this can never win you the game. That REALLY sucks. All your opponent needs to do with this guy is ignore it until they can find a shooter/spell to kill it off. This will slow down the game though, in the same way that a fear 3 creature can against certain decks, but that "can't attack a hero" drawback is genuinely huge. Also, I feel like the decks most likely to want a sort of persistent-fog effect like this are the least likely to want to hit 4 might, so that's something to keep in mind.

    Titan (U)
    3/3/6
    4r/4m/4ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: Towering. Shockwave 2.

    Rating: 2.5

    So we have a griffin marksman with annoying stat requirements that isn't a shooter. And you get a rarely-relevant protection ability if you take the frequently risky lane stacking option. That's not playable. So it all comes down to how good shockwave 2 is. It goes almost without saying, but shockwave 2 is WAY better than shockwave 1 (see: heat wave vs earthquake). He's also decently threatening on the attack, so your opponent is going to want to block it fairly soon which I guess makes the lane-stacking option seem a bit better if you can avoid broken bridge or other punishing effects. I dunno, my gut tells me this all adds up to a not very good creature, but if the shockwave effect is very good and puts your opponent to some hard decisions then it could be decent.

    Obsidian gargoyle (U)
    2/2/6
    4r/3m/4ma
    Magic flyer
    Ability: Magic Guard 1.

    Rating: 3

    It feels weird having a protection creature outside of Haven, but it certainly fits flavour-wise. I feel like this could be pretty strong in the right deck. Again, the stat requirements are awkward without a magic channeler out (at least wizard tutor can help here), and 2/2/6 stats aren't great on a 4 drop but you don't expect great stats on your protection creatures and I feel like this could be relevant enough against enough decks (either magic ones or those with magic creatures) to justify inclusion a lot of the time. It works pretty well at protecting phased creatures too.


    Void-Tainted Djinn (U)
    3/0/6
    4r/4m/1ma/1f
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Magic Channel 2. When Void-Tainted Djinn destroys a creature, put the top 5 cards of opponent's library into their graveyard.

    Rating: 2.5

    Those stats are pretty good on a magic channeler. While he won't let you cheat your 2 and 3 drop djinn's etc. into play, having channel 2 on a 1 magic stat creature will quite easily push you into a more relevant magic level. His combat stats aren't exceptional, but are decent enough on a shooter even if having zero retaliation feels unnecessarily nerfed. His ability feels too much like random milling to me though to give it any real value. If your opponent is in danger of being milled out, they just don't let this guy kill anything - and if you're on a dedicated milling plan then you probably aren't threatening their life total so much that them ignoring him will be a problem. I think if you play this, you play it for the stats and magic channeling, which quite probably means you don't play it.

    Also, I'm confused. Aren't the djinn's all supposed to have a "damage you" drawback? Especially one that's "void tainted"? I don't really get what's going on with these, they're certainly not a creature type that's immediately resonating with me or which has a unified theme going on.

    Arcane Archer (C)
    3/3/6
    4r/3m/2ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation.

    Rating: 2.5

    So this is void-tainted djinn without the magic channeling and milling flavour text? Eh, I can live with that. It's exactly griffin marksman with slightly modified stat requirements and the magic subtype, which is fine, not exciting. I'm not sure which is better - magic channel 2 or 3 retaliation. On a 6-tougness creature, the retaliation damage comes up often enough that it's actually fairly close. I'm would like to take the easy route and suggest you probably don't play either of these, but there's much good beef that can defend AND attack in the academy creature pool so you might need to, and this is a reasonable amount of beef.

    Rakshasa Scout (R)
    3/0/5
    4r/4m
    Melee
    Ability: Swift. Evade.

    Rating: 3

    Damn, I misread that as quick attack and got all excited for a second. I suppose it's still pretty good. None of the swift creatures from Herald of the Void saw much play, blackskull shredder having some niche use, but it is an inherently powerful keyword because it can generate repeatable card advantage and 3 is a good amount of attack. I can certainly see the value in dropping this in front of a melee or flying creature to fog an attack with evade and then rushing back and swinging for 3, especially if you happen to have a certain phased "attack anywhere" creature lying around.

    Void Sycophant (R)
    2/0/6
    4r/2m/1ma/3f
    Magic Shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. The first time a card goes into opponent's graveyard from their library during a turn, draw a card.

    Rating: 3

    So this starts to ask the question "does putting two bad things together equal a good thing"? Void sycophant is a bad creature and you would never play it just for its body (although it is better than blind brother, which is something). Randomly milling your opponent is also a bad thing. But there's quite a lot of academy fortunes which mill with incidental value, as I'll get to later, so it's possible that you can include milling as a sub-theme and sort of alternative win condition/inevitability in a mostly regular creature deck. If that ends up being the case, then void sycophant is probably a key enabler for the strategy becuase drawing extra cards when you mill makes up for the fact that most of those mill cards do something else, but that something else is probably not worth a full card. Drawing more of them when you mill also increases the chance that you do actually mill your opponent out, becuase you can draw into more of the one shot effects. If the milling strategy is completely unviable, then obviously this is unplayable, but assuming it's a thing then this seems like a key part of it.

    Hasafah, the Unseen Arrow (E, unique)
    2/2/6
    4r/3m/1ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Focused Blast 2. When this enters the battleground or attacks, put a crippling counter on target enemy creature.

    Rating: 4

    It's not really fair to give ratings to unique cards, they're designed to be obviously broken but balanced by the fact that you can only cast them once (unless you're atropos, sigh). Anyway, like most unique creatures that aren't stupidly narrow, Hasafah is very good, despite his somewhat lackluster stats. The counter goes on any creature on entry and attack, not just a creature he's attacking, which is awesome. Focussed blast 2 isn't completely irrelevant and costing just 3 might, it's difficult to find a reason not to play him in pretty much any academy deck. Seems very powerful.

    Glyph-Carved Golem (E)
    2/2/6
    4r/4m/4ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: For every spell in your graveyard, Glyph-Carved Golem gains Ward from that spell school.

    Rating: 2

    I do appreciate that Ubisoft don't make all of the non-unique epics "OMG MUST HAVE 4x to play this faction" (I'm looking at you wolf captain). But that doesn't make it any more disappointing to open up an epic and see that it's an extremely narrow and probably unplayable card like namatru channeler or imperial guard. Or this guy. So if you do some work, you get a 2/2/6 for 4 with spell ward from a school that your opponent may or may not be playing. But you just played a 2/2/6 for 4 so your opponent laughs at you and plays a good creature instead of wasting their now (maybe) useless removal on it. It's kind of cool that ward works on your own spells, so I can see you playing this in an earth magic deck to stop him dying to your own AOEs, but outside of that I'm struggling to see much upside to this golem.

    Dragon Golem (U)
    3/1/7
    5r/3m/5ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: When Dragon Golem enters the battleground, take target non-unique spell card at random from your graveyard and put it into your hand.

    Rating: 3

    We are now moving into 5+ drop territory which instantly means that the creature needs to be pretty insane to be playable. Five resources is a fair amount in this game, and you really need to be getting a lot of value to justify spending it. Having said that, this golem does only require 3 might which certainly reduces the investment in a meaningful way, although the 5 magic requirement might be annoying for some decks to hit without magic channelers out.

    So, does dragon golem deliver the value? Sheesh, why do I have to answer all the hard questions? If I'm going to be honest, my answer is I don't have a clue. A general rule in this game is that card advantage is somewhat worse than in MTG because it's so easy to draw extra cards. But here you're potentially drawing quite a good card, assuming you don't play bad spells (most decks play a lot more bad creatures than bad spells, as bad/cheap creatures are needed for curve reasons). And in addition to the spell, you get quite a reasonable body so I'm going to say that this could well be playable, the biggest issue is how viable it is to rely on magic channelers to get you to 5 magic, becuase not too many decks want to get there naturally.

    Djinn (C)
    3/3/6
    5r/3m/4ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Magic channel 2. Spell Resist.

    Rating: 1

    Spoiler: Djinn Mentor blows this guy away. Even giving magic resist to a 3/3/6 for 5 doesn't make it playable imo, and any utility it brings is far outshadowed by his mentor.

    Spellstealer Wizard (U)
    2/1/5
    5r/4m/3ma
    Magic Shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. When Spellstealer Wizard enters the battleground, you may take target Ongoing spell under opponent's control on the battleground and play it for free.

    Rating: 2-4

    If you stick spellstealer wizard in today's Herald of the Void meta, he would probably be insane. So many decks rely on powerful unique ongoing spells - strength of the sea, might of nature, even light of tomorrow - that you have a pretty reasonable chance of nabbing one and running away with the game. Even stealing a stone shield that an OTK deck was relying on to keep them alive is pretty good, and then you get into slightly less exciting territory like inner fire and bless which will come up a non-zero amount of the time, but much less frequently. The developers intended the threat of spellstealer to shake up the meta, and with players already adjusting their game to include more dispels in their deck I feel like this will be the final nail in the coffin of the one-trick-pony unique spell decks. And when that happens, you're left with a highly underwhelming card that you never want to play, becuase maybe picking up an occasional creature buff or something is just not good enough given his stats.

    Shantiri Titan (R)
    5/2/11
    5r/5m/5ma
    Magic Melee
    Ability: Shockwave 2. While Shantiri Titan has no damage, it gains Cannot Attack.

    Rating: 2.5

    The wording here is pretty funny - when you read "gains" there you get excited and then you realise something's being taken away, not granted. That may have been better templated as "has Cannot Attack" even if that seems like more awkward English, I assume "it cannot attack" (which is much cleaner plain English) isn't acceptable because Cannot Attack is a capitalised keyword.

    Anyway, the card rather than the words. Ummm.... yes? Maybe? That's obviously some sweet stats (though suspiciously low retaliation) but it also gives your opponent a choice about how to deal with him, and giving your opponent choices is rarely a good thing (unless they're bad players, in which case they make mistakes and you win, but that's not a good way of thinking about it). I think that this is unplayable unless you have a way to damage it without using a full card. So using a direct damage spell on your own guy so he can attack is terrible, you never want to do that unless you're doing the last 5 points of damage needed to kill the opponent. But incidentally damaging him with an AOE seems perfectly reasonable, making him potentially attractive to any of the academy heroes with access to earth magic. I don't think he makes hail storm a playable event, but I didn't think hellfire bloater would make week of the dead playable in inferno either and I was wrong about that.

    Taweret Warrior (R)
    4/2/7
    5r/5m
    Melee
    Ability: When Taweret Warrior attacks a melee creature, it deals 3 more attack damage.

    Rating: 2

    BEEF. Beefety beef. RWAAAR. HULK SMASH. I wish MMDOC had creature subtypes, because "Creature - Hippopotamus" as a subline would be pretty sweet here (ok, ok, someone's going to tell me that this is a "taweret" whatever that is, but they're not fooling me). Anyhow... this does pretty much what you'd think it does by looking at the artwork. It's not a subtle card, and if it didn't cost 5 it would probably be not a bad one either, but it does cost 5 which is a pretty enormous hurdle for a vanilla beater with no value to jump. The meta has moved away from heavy dark/primal magic decks in recent times, to the point where things like Dhamira fatties playing pit lords can be a thing, but that's a very specific deck and the lord is whole 'nother level of "own the board" above this guy. With no natural protection, base stats worse than tainted orc and only marginal utility against melee creatures, I can't see this hippo being playable. It is pretty decent with might of nature, but so is basically any melee creature.

    Djin Mentor (R)
    3/3/7
    5r/3m/2ma/1f
    Magic flyer
    Ability: When Djinn Mentor enters the battleground, increase your [magic] level by 2.

    Rating: 3

    If "magic channel" is ever going to be playble, this is the way to do it. Having this as a permanent rather than temporary effect is huge game and could really support a gameplan that involves incidentally hitting high magic levels without wanting to naturally invest in them (eg. Ammar, dragon golem). The body here isn't super exciting, but with only 3 might the stats are pretty friendly and that this is both magic and a flyer seems good. I like this and think it has a good chance of seeing play in a base x/3/x deck that wants to hit 5 or 6 magic sometimes.

    Surging Titan (E)
    4/4/7
    5r/5m/5ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Shockwave 3. Focused Blast 3.

    Rating: 3

    Another 4-attack shooter, and I've already gushed about the power of 4-attack shooters. At both 5 resources AND 5 might though, this needs to do a bit more to be played. The card this most reminds me of is Chaos Sorceress which if you're wondering is a 6r/6m cost inferno shooter (4/2/6 area blast 3) that's never been played ever. Except by that random low level ELO guy running a bunch bad cards who beats you because the card is actually pretty awesome if it gets into play. Now, 5 is a decent amount smaller than 6 (~a turn and a card), and surging titan's has better stats AND better abilities so they're clearly trying to push this card. Does it succeed? Maybe. The shockwave 3, combined with threatening 4 damage to the dome, does make it difficult to ignore and focussed blast 3 (and 4 immune to retaliation attack) can make it difficult to block. That's certainly good to have in your 5 drop. The card this seems most similar to is the sanctuary 5-drop shooters, with the shockwave/focused blast here substituting for outmaneuvre. I haven't mentioned the 5 magic requirement though. It's really tough for a 5 might deck to naturally get to 5 magic, so I don't think you can play this without either magic channeller or another way of boosting your magic, like djin mentor. In that deck though, this could give you a really powerful payoff for hitting 5 magic.


    Dervish Master (E)
    3/0/5
    5r/4m/1ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: Swift. Range Reflect 2. The first time Dervish Master destroys a creature during your turn, Dervish Master gains an additional attack.

    Rating: 2

    DAMMIT! I misread swift as quick attack again. WHY DO THESE KEYWORDS HAVE TO BE SO DIFFICULT TO GROK. Swift = fast = haste = attacks immediately. Grr. Ok, annoyingly difficult to intuitively understand keyword aside (-1 rating point), what are you getting here? a 3/0/5 for 5 that's hard to be shot down by archers and can sometimes kill two weak creatures in a turn, if they are sufficiently undefended or if you give him help with spells. I guess that sort of works, and he's probably pretty insane with Wizard Apprentice but you're asking a lot for this guy to get value, and you're paying a lot for it which doesn't seem to add up to a good package. He wears auras pretty darn well, so I guess in that deck if it exists he might be a good curve topper but I don't think you just run this as a vanilla dude.

    Nur, Spellweaver (E, unique)
    3/3/6
    5r/4m/2ma
    Magic Shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. Magic channel 3. Spell resist. When you play an instant spell, draw a card.

    Rating: 4

    Unique creature? check. Insane? check. Ok, so you want to have some number of instant spells in your deck (awww, couldn't it trigger off instant fortunes too??) but I'm guessing most academy decks want to have that anyway. If you get past that low threshold requirement, this is bonkers. The stats are almost good enough on their own, magic channel 3 is nice gravy on a 2 magic creature and drawing an extra card every time you play a spell, maybe even an AOE spell that she's resistent to. You want to play this, no questions asked. Also, note that this is the first time we've seen two unique creatures for a single faction, and all the other factions are getting a new unique too. The power level of these cards coupled with the fact that you can now run two in a deck has the potential to greatly increase the value of bard, so keep that in mind.

    On a side note, this artwork rivals jasmine (probably NSWF) for the most ridiculous/pathetic "teenage boy fantasy" artwork in recent TCG history. I mean, she is literally wearing a nipple tassel, it would be hard to make her look more like a stripper if you tried. It's completely unnecessary, and disappointing to me that the academy faction seemed to give the creative team an excuse to break away from their generally welcomingly restrained female artwork for other factions.

    Blade Mage (U)
    3/2/6
    6r/3m/5ma
    Magic melee
    Ability: When Blade Mage destroys a creature during your turn, take target non-unique spell card in your graveyard and put it in your hand.

    Rating: 2

    This guy costs 6 and has 3 points of attack and 6 points of health. Yes he only costs 3 might, and gets you some value, sometimes, if your opponent lets him, but srsly. No.
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  3. #3
    Academy Fortunes

    Chain Casting (R)
    0r/1f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Until end of turn: Spells you play cost 1[resource] less for every other spell you played this turn.

    Rating: 3.5

    This seems incredible in the right deck. The fact that the fortune itself is free (barring week of taxes) is extremely relevant because it lets you start getting advantage from the second spell you cast in the turn. This makes double-AOE to clear the board much easier, chain an ongoing spell buff as well as a removal, get extra value out of Gazal's ability (it doesn't matter where you cast it from for chain casting's purposes) and potentially do completly broken chains of spells involving Ammar or Nur Spellweaver draw card triggers. This requires you to build a deck around it - you want a very high number of spells (40%+?), and it's impossible to win the game with spells alone, but in the right deck seems very powerful.

    Unraveled Fate (C)
    1r/1f
    Instant
    Ability: Look at the top X cards of opponent's library and choose one to put in their graveyard, where X is 3 plus the number of cards named unraveled fate in your graveyard.

    Rating: 1

    FIrst of all, I like this type of targeted milling at a general level. If you're going to be trying to mill your opponent out, you want to be able to get incidental value along the way (or a repeatable source of mill, but we don't really have that in this game). And pseudo-"fatesealing" your opponent, by looking at the top of their library and messing with their draws to reduce their quality is nice incidental value. It's not worth using up one of your cards on its own but if it's also advancing your milling plan, then that's nice value. The trouble with unraveled fate is that it doesn't really advance your miling plan - discarding one is simply too small. Yes, it turns on your mill-trigger cards like Gazal, lady of secrets but surely you can get a better rate of mill than this?

    Conversion to the Void (C)
    1r/1f
    Instant
    Ability: Take a card from your hand and put it face down on the top of your library. Look at the top 4 cards of opponent's library and choose 2 to put into their graveyards.

    Rating: 1

    It may not be immediately apparent, but putting a card from your hand on the top of the library is generally one of the steepest costs you can pack onto a card. It's substantially worse than something which just says "discard a card to X", because not only are you losing a card from your hand, you don't even have the opportunity of pitching a worthless card in your hand and drawing something better. So is the payoff worth it here? Well, mill 2 is bigger than mill 1, but still not where you want to be I don't think. Cards like this (altar of destruction, blood shaman hut) work best when they are the last cards you use to kill your enemy off, and I can't see that really being the case with this one. It is possible that the ability to cheat the top card of your library has some relevance, but I'm not seeing it right now and don't think it makes a bad card like this good.


    Dangerous Research (R)
    1r/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Gain [resources] equal to your [magic] level. Deal damage to your hero equal to your [magic] level.

    Rating: 3

    I like this card, it's a really flavourful way of giving Academy resource acceleration. Haven's faction specific acceleration just gives you a solid benefit for a high cost, Academy's gives you a potentially very large but painful benefit if you've made the investment into your magic level. This can get really out of hand if you're playing some a deck with magic channelers out to artifically boost your magic to a very high level, it's seems entirely possible to me that this card will have uses outside of the combo decks that cards like river of gems and crystal cavern typically see play in simply because of the value that you can get out of it. The damage downside here isn't irrelevant, but it can help you chain together a bunch of spells in conjunction with chain casting and draw card triggers, or just drastically accelerate your board presence, plus there's potential combo use if you need to hit 30 resources to do something broken - I think it's really solid.

    Shifting Sands (C)
    2r/1m/3f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Permanent. When a friendly magic creature attacks, put the top card of opponent's library into their graveyard. A the beginning of your turn, return shifting sands to its owner's hand.

    Rating: 3

    If the mill strategy is going to work, this seems like a key part of it to me. It's repeatable, it enables you to turn all of your durdly 1/x defensive creatures into something which can win the game, provided you have some board control. The fact that it costs you two resources each turn to keep up is not all downside, it means that it's immune to any removal your opponent might run other than a fairly unlikely fate twister. I don't know if the obviously pushed linear mill strategy will be viable, but if it is then I think this is a pretty powerful card in it. And I note that the idea of linking milling with your battlefield presence is a great way of balancing the whole strategy, it makes it far more fun and interractive than milling has traditionally been.

    Lost in the void (C)
    2r/2f
    Instant
    Ability: Banish 3 target cards from a graveyard of your choice.

    Rating: 1

    Yeah, this is a sort of nice bullet against graveyard stratgies, but running bullets in your deck is typically a bad idea and this is a one-shot effect that just doesn't do enough to be playable. If it cantripped, or had some other minor utility then maybe, but as it is - just no.


    Rivalry (C)
    2r/2f
    Instant
    Ability: Draw a card. OR if your [magic] level is lower than opponent's, increase your [magic] level by 2.

    Rating: 1

    None these type of cards (either stat accelerants or the split "draw a card/if your opponent has X) have historically been very good, there seems to be enough of a payoff in academy for having a high magic level that perhaps this sees some play, but I wouldn't bet on it especially because you won't be able to guarantee that your opponent is actually investing in magic themselves, and at a lower rate than you.


    Void-Tainted Ritual (U)
    2r/2m/3f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Until end of turn: When you play a magic creature, put the top 3 cards of opponent's library into their graveyard. When void tainted ritual enters the battleground, draw a card.

    Rating: 2.5

    Again with the misleading naming - it's a ritual, but no ritual! As for the effect, it seems kind of nice and the fact that this replaces itself goes a long way to making this potentially playable. It costs you a lot of resources to really get value out of it, you probably want at least two triggers, but if you set up a turn where you go off with dangerous research and dump this and 3-4 creatures cheap it could get pretty out of hand.

    Rift's Echo (U)
    2r/2f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Until your next turn. When a friendly creature is attacked, put the top 3 cards of opponent's library into their graveyard.

    Rating: 1

    I've said it before, unfortunately i have to say it again - cards which give your opponent's choices are almost universally bad. And this seems like a particularly easy card for your opponent to play around - they won't let you mill if you seem likely to mill them, they will if you aren't. Giving your opponent the power to decide if this card does anything seems like a bad idea.


    Arcane Research (C)
    3r/2f
    Instant
    Ability: Increase your [magic] level by 2.

    Rating: 2

    Despite a slightly higher cost, I think this is a much better card than Rivalry if you're in the market for this effect. I'm not sure that you are, as I said, pure-stat boosting cards have never been very good, but if you have a deck which likes to go to higher magic levels but which doesn't absolutely need to do so, or which gets a payoff for just hitting ever increasing magic levels (dangerous research) then maybe you play this.

    Favourite Spell (C)
    3r/2f
    Instant
    Ability: Search your library for a spell card and put it into your hand. Until end of turn, that spell costs 1[resource] less to play. Shuffle your library.

    Rating: 3

    Is it just me or does this seem like a pretty silly name for a card? Silly name or not, a spell tutor like this can be really powerful, and being able to hit both unique and non-unique spells makes this more versatile than the already highly-played magic peddler, and at the same effective cost to boot. You dont't get the 1/1 body, but few decks can make good use of that body anyway, and the added utility that this gives you makes it generally better for academy heroes with access to fortune imo.

    Severed Fate (C)
    3r/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Put the top X cards of opponent's library into their graveyard, where X is the number of creatures you control.

    Rating: 2.5

    This seems like another key role-player in the mill deck, if that deck exists. It's not quite the centrepiece, but this should usually be able to mill 3 cards and sometimes a lot more, and it's that potential upside to turn a good board position, consisting of weak creatures, into a victory which gives it potential.

    Scrying Orb (C)
    3r/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Look at the top 5 cards of opponent's library and put them back in any order.

    Rating: 1

    Why on earth did the devs feel the ned to cost this at 3? This effect is simply awful, it's bad when you do it yourself (scrying pool/Index), it's even worse when you do it on your opponent because you don't have full knowledge about their hand. The fact that you can't manipulate anything other than the order of the cards you see is what makes this effect really bad - if you have the option of discarding to graveyard or the bottom of the deck then at least it does something, but without that it's simply too weak to be worth a card.

    Stolen Research
    3r/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Increase your [magic] level by 1. Decrease opponent's [magic] level by 1.

    Rating: 1

    If your plan is to increase your magic level with a fortune, use arcane research. If your plan is to decrease your opponent's magic level then you need to take a good hard look at yourself, because that's a really bad plan. Curse of Negation saw some fringe play in combo decks, but the thing about that was that it enabled you to slow down any of your opponents no matter what the gamestate was, and even then it wasn't very good. This is worse than "not very good".

    Forgotten Spell (U)
    3r/3ma/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Take target insant spell from opponent's graveyard, play that card and banish it.

    Rating: 1

    I just don't think this card is playable. Gazal's ability is awesome because worst case is you get to double up on your own spells. This costs more resources, meaning you cheat the mana cost less often, and doesn't even give you that fallback option if your opponent isn't playing spells, or isn't playing spells you want to cast. The potential for this being a dead card is too high imo, and even if it does have targets the effect is too random to be better than putting a card in your deck which has a consistent effect.

    Offering of the Void (R)
    6r/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Gain [resources] equal to the number of cards in opponent's graveyard, rounded down, then banish all cards in opponent's gravyeard.

    Rating: 2.5

    This seems quite strong at first, but the more I think about it, the less powerful it seems. Realistically, most people don't play more than one card per turn which means that the usual best case for this card on turn 6 is that it's free graveard removal. I don't think I'd maindeck a card which simply cost zero to banish all cards in a graveyard, so that doesn't do it for me. If this can be playable, it has to be a resource accelerator that also happens to hate on graveyard strategies. So you'll want to hit at a bare minimum 8 cards, and realistically you want 10+ before this gets exciting. It is going to take you a long, long time to get to that point. And by that time, you're going to be at 12+ resources naturally anyway, do you really have enough cards in your hand to take advantage of the acceleration by then? I feel like this only does anything if you're playing some sort of combo deck that wants to set up one big chain-casting turn or something, and this gives you enough gas to keep going off after you've drawn a bunch of cards from instant-spell-draw triggers. It might be flat out unplayable, but if it is playable I think it's a support card for that one narrow archetype.

    Arcane Intuition (E, unique)
    6r/2m/4ma/3f
    Instant
    Ability: Look at opponet's library. You may choose a spell or magic creature from it and play it for free.

    Rating: 3

    I get excited by uniques as they usually do something pretty crazy. This.... is sort of a letdown though. I mean, don't get me wrong, the upside is very high. It isn't restricted to non-unique targets, so sometimes you nab a key, unique part of your opponent's strategy and end up with an insanely powerful card on the board, even if you overpaid for it a bit on the resources side (note that atropos is not a magic creature even though he feels like archlich's daddy). But other times your opponent will have already drawn/tutored for their only unique targets by the time you cast this and you hit a radiant glory or a lilim or, even worse, a firebolt or a dreamwalker in a kelthor 4/1/1 deck. And you just paid six for that. I suspect you play this in basically any deck that will hit the fairly restrictive stats requirements, and i also see it winning a decent proportion of games where it is cast, but it can also quite easily lose you the game if you take your turn 6 off and just whiff, and you have to respect that downside.

    Haven Faction

    As an overall comment on the non-academy cards, I'd have to say that I'm pretty sure Ubisoft has been looking at their faction play balance numbers very, very closely. I actually think that the game is currently fairly well balanced at the higher levels, even if it's a bit too rock/paper/scissors (a difficult problem to avoid with TCGs), but at lower levels certainly necropolis and inferno are massively dominant at least in terms of numbers. Haven is rarely seen at lower levels (ie. without having a full set of wolf captains), while sanctuary and to a lesser extent stronghold are also quite a bit less popular.

    So, no doubt with that in mind, the haven faction gets some extremely nice inclusions here and they're not even epic rarity! Their new fortunes are basically junk, which was pretty much the case with all of the fortunes from all factions in the previous expansion too which is a shame, but there's a potentially exciting hero and some very solid creatures which may even push the faction to be more more multi-dimensional.

    Hero

    Morgan, Beloved General
    1/1/1
    Spell schools: Light, water
    Ability: [passive] When you play a creature, if your [might] level is 5 or more and your [fortune] level is 3 or more, heal 1 damage from your hero.

    Rating: 2.5

    Morgan - you do too much!! First of all, we have an awesome spell school combination, seen before on ishuma (and kaiko, but she's an invoker so is inherently bad). And it's a fantastic combination, especially now that water has strength of the sea. Both light and water have a reasonable amount of AOE damage in multiple different area combinations, and when they combine together they really make it hard for you opponents to deploy in profitable ways. And I feel like all the light of tomorrow needs to be broken is a hero that can take advantage of it, and morgan could just be that hero with his passive giving him the potential to run grindier, longer term might/magic game than the haven rush or OTK combo decks we've been used to seeing. And that passive can be really powerful, pure lifegain spells are junk but incidental lifegain can be really good, putting your out of opposing burn range or helping you win a long game just for doing what you want to be doing anyway in deploying creatures.

    But wait, his ability needs you to not only invest in 4 magic, but you've got to get up to 3 fortune and that's where things start getting a bit tricky. On the one hand, you've got the basis for a great might/magic hero, with something like 4/4 stats. But then you've got to invest 3 fortune to start getting value out of his passive ability. So you're looking at realistically a 3/4/3 deck, which hasn't typically been a competitive combination. It's not that it doesn't have some inherent power, many of the best haven creatures are sub-4 might, including radiant glory and angel of mercy, and word of light and broken bridge are all nice incentives to get to 4 and 3 magic and fortune. It's just that when you play a hero with so many different stats you need to pump up, you end up with some really awkward early game hands, where you conceivably just can't play anything for on a particular turn until you build up another of your stats, because you went in one direction to start off with. My guess is that you're going to have to almost, or nearly so, only go up to either 4 magic or 3 fortune for the passive, with maybe only a single unique spell being at the top of your curve or something. I don't think pure 3/4/3 is viable for a regular creature/attack hero. You could of course just ignore the passive generally, and maybe hit it occasionally but play no cards with that requirement, but that feels like you'd just be better of with sandalphon then.

    Finally, you get a potential combo application. I don't often play combo decks myself, but I can certainly see the potential for an old-school style seigfried tower/prison/wasteland combo deck where you play a bunch of 2 cost guard and wall creatures to gum up the board in the early turns and then, with mogan's ability, gain a bunch of life after you redeploy them all to lock your opponent out of the damage race. The problem I see is that I don't think such a deck has any business going up to 4 magic. Getting up to 5 and 6 fortune for the more powerful fortune effects is hard enough without also trying to invest into magic. Not to mention that using magic to kill your opponent's creatures directly works against the throne/tower game plan (by putting cards in the graveyard). And rather than messing around gaining a bit of life after you've controlled the board, aren't you better off just killing your opponent already? And I also can't see week of austerity working in such a deck, so you're making it harder to get to your wincon. I think I'm talking myself out of thinking this guy is all that good, and if I keep on going here I'm going to drop him down to 2 so I better stop, because he's probably actually pretty good .


    Creatures


    Crusader watchman (C)
    0/1/5
    2r/2m/1ma
    Magic shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. While Crusader Watchman has no damage, it gains +2[attack] and +1[retaliation]

    Rating: 2.5

    Lets be very, very clear here. This is no wolf captain. In fact, one way of thinking about this is that it's a 2 attack shooter with 1 health, but when it dies it's replaced with a 0/3 wall (or however much it was damaged for). The value of a 0-attack creature is very, very low which means that any amount of damage done to this renders it effectively useless. In the absence of any other synergy in your deck, I do not believe such a creature is playable. It's arguably worse than expert marksman (this effectively dies to firebolt), and I'd rate marksman a 2. The reason this rates higher than marksman is that it does have some potential synergy applications. The most obvious is healing. I'm not talking about running terrible cards like heal or devoted sister in your deck, I just mean that you might be able to heal it incidentally with otherwise good cards, like the new haven unique creature, Alia or the new light spell lay of hands which is maybe playable. It also does survive an insect swarm or whatever and you can subsequently buff it with the new event, or strength of the sea, so there is some upside here, but it's a card that you need to work at making good, not one that's just automatically amazing on its own imo.

    Crsuader Chaplain (R)
    2/2/5
    3r/3m/1ma/1f
    Magic melee
    Ability: Cards in graveyards cannot be targeted. While Crusader Chaplain has no damage, it cannot be targeted.

    Rating: 3.5

    This on the other hand is just a straight up solid card. It has stats almost as good as the very decent lamasu, but has the added advantage of being a magic creature which is generally more of an up than a downside, particularly for haven which is historically weak against incorporeal creatures. The fact that it's a melee creature in a faction full of melee creatures, including an annoying 1-drop that you sometimes wish would just die, is a slight knock against it but only a slight one. So in short, I think it would be in the running for being played just on its stats - no charge compared to sun rider but magic subtype could well be more relevant depending on the meta. But this is far from a vanilla creature, it's also a powerful hate-bear against all sorts of graveyard based strategies (atropos, shantiri ruins, gazal Adar Malik etc. etc.). And a well designed one too, it's difficult for the other player to interract with it, but not impossible and at the end of the day it's a creature that's taking up a slot in your deck and on the battlefield (unlike a certain new event). And even if your opponent isn't playing any graveyard cards, having conditional shroud is pretty sweet (although not quite as good as hexproof - you can't target this yourself either unless damaged, so no blessings or martyrs or whatever). this is a really solid card, and will be pressing for selection at the 3 drop slot in all non-combo haven decks.

    Crusader Treasurer (U)
    2/2/6
    4r/3m/1f
    Melee
    Ability: Income 2

    Rating: 2.5

    This strangely-helmeted treasurer is an interesting one. On the one hand, income 2 is pretty powerful, and represents a serious amount of acceleration. On the other hand, he's a 4 resource drop so barring tithe collector, he's not coming out until turn 4. And by that time, what do you really do with all of those extra resources? Flood the board into opposing AOE spells? Play a bunch of expensive spells of your own? Except you've built up to 3 might to get to this guy, so maybe you don't have enough magic to do so. Anyone who's done the "double tithe collector on turn 2" play knows how difficult it can be to get real value out of a bunch of early extra resources in this game if you're playing a low-curve deck. So he doesn't want to be in that kind of deck imo. What you want to be doing with crusader treasurer is some sort of bigger strategy, where his extra resources let you catch up in the later game after you've sacrificed your early game by having your hand full of a bunch of expensive spells instead of a bunch of early drops. Paying for a few big threats leaves you less vulnerable to sweepers, and potentially being able to play multiples quicker makes you less vulnerable to dark magic spot removal. So he's a build-around me card, but potentially a pretty good one.

    Anael, Angel of Redemption (E, unique)
    3/3/6
    4r/4m/1ma
    Magic flyer
    Ability: Charge. Immune to retaliation. When Anael, Angel of Redemption enters the battleground or attacks, heal all damage and remove all counter (sic) from another target friendly creature.

    Rating: 4

    This is insane, and I shouldn't really need to explain myself. The body is incredible, especially for haven, and being able to charge from the ranged line is a unique and really powerful ability. It's even got the magic subtype! And then you get the ETB/attack trigger and things just start getting ridiculous. I'm not going to spend too much time on this, it's awesome and belongs in any haven deck playing creatures, even if that deck doesn't normally want to go to 4 might (much as atropos is frequenly used as the only 5 might creature in a necropolis deck).

    Crusader Commander (C)
    4/5/8
    5r/5m
    Melee
    Ability: n/a

    Rating: 1

    It's big and boring. And expensive. Big, boring and expensive creatures don't typically see play, and I can't see this being any different. If a retaliation deck wants melee beef, it uses wolf praetorian. If a regular deck wants beef it uses radiant glory, griffin marksman or, well, wolf captain. No need to spend 5 here.

    Scattershot Marksman (U)
    3/2/7
    5r/5m
    Shooter
    Ability: Immune to retaliation. When Scattershot Marksman attacks a melee, deal 2 damage to all other enemy melees.

    Rating: 2

    I'm not sure you want to pay 5 for this, but the fact that it's 4 might certainly helps. It's really tough to block this with a melee creature, which certainly limits your opponent's options, and it could get out of hand with teleport or possibly even that air spell which grants swift which I couldn't be bothered looking up. There is certainly value potential here, but I'm not sure your opponent doesn't just deal with this through spells, or flyer/archers and you end up with an overcosted, worse, lilim. Also can we has scattershot archers next please? I love that card.

    Fortunes

    Fleeting Oasis (C)
    2r/2f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Creatures you control gain Mending. At the beginning of your turn, return Fleeting Oasis to its owner's hand.

    Rating: 1

    Mending is so obscure that this could really use some reminder text. If you do need reminding, let me remind you - it's terrible. It lets you take a turn off to heal your guys, so basically you can fog your attack to hopefully be able to do stuff on later turns. That isn't something you want to spend a card on, this is unplayable outside of maybe some weird stall combo involving imperial guards.


    Inexhaustible Mine (C)
    2r/2f
    Instant
    Ability: Gain 2[resources], plus 2[resources[ for each card named Inexhaustible Mine in your graveyard.

    Rating: 1

    This mine's only inexhaustible because no one wants to actually mine it. Way too hard to get value out of this, and there's way better options particularly in haven.


    Toll Gate (U)
    2r/3f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Permanent: at the end of your supply phase, gain 2[resources] for each card your opponent played during their last turn and destroy Toll gate

    Rating: 1

    But it said on the box it was permanent! Look right there! I want my money back, this thing stinks.

    Stockpile (R)
    2r/4f
    Ongoing
    Ability: Until your next turn: Don't empty your resources during your supply phase.

    Rating: 2

    I can see people using this, but they would want to be needing a really huge amount of mana considering how easily haven can generate 20-30 by the sorts of turns that this is likely to do anything. And you have to effectively take the rest of your turn off too, so it's going to be pretty hard to use I think.
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  4. #4
    Inferno faction

    The inferno faction didn't make out too well in this expansion from a pure power level perspective, with a particularly disappointing new unique, but it certainly gained a couple of interesting combo/build around me options. The hero opens up some new possibilities, and there's an interesting risk/reward subtheme with some of the creatures and fortunes.

    Hero

    Ignatius



    Rating: 3

    His name is pretty funny, the first hero to go without a title, I assume he thinks that his name alone will strike enough fear in his enemies not to require some ridiculous suffix to go along with it. Very cool, very cocky, very inferno, I like it.

    I also like his spell schools, which have proven a potent combination for Adar-Malik. I'm not convinced you want to play a standard sort of might/magic hero with Ignatius, and I'm not sure that this combination is better than garant's primal/fire (no dispel, no town portal), but it's certainly worth considering.

    Where Ignatius looks like he'll really shine is in combo decks. It turns out I was needlessly worried last time about the ability of an inferno OTK deck to close out the game, taking into account the Herald of the Void nerf to tower, as Dhamira slowpoke has been a pretty big (although declining) part of the Herald metagame. Ignatius gives you some nice additional options for direct damage in a fortune-heavy shell. With no dispel option, you probably want to be playing a reasonable amount of discard in his deck anyway to pre-emptively (or after a throne/inheritance) remove strength of the sea and other ongoing spells that will wreck your day. With his spell schools giving you some board control and damage (shadow image) options too, I think Ignatius could be a pretty strong magic/fortune control hero that closes out the game primarily through direct damage from various fortunes and a few incidental triggers of his passive ability. Dhamira's special ability has proven to be pretty strong in this sort of shell though, so it's unclear whether he provides a better option than her, and he additionally lacks earth magic which is the other key to dhamira's success.


    Imp Jester

    [img]htthttp://www.mmdoc.net/images/cards/normal/Imp-Jester.png[/img]

    Rating: 2

    Much like Guardian Golem, this has a reasonably powerful and disruptive effect on the board, provided your opponent is trying to play targeted effects. It's particularly good against decks that want to buff their own creatures with ongoing spells, but it also soaks up any targeted removal, and the fact that this is such a cheap investment makes that a bit better. The problem here is that the effect is symmetrical, which drastically limits the range of decks that you can include it in. You don't really want to play this in a deck which does any targeting of its own, and those type of decks generally would generally play path of the ancestors, but unfortunately that spell plays pretty badly with the Imp as it negates his ability on the first turn it comes down if active. It might play fairly well with day of sanctuary in a non-targeting deck though, the fact that your opponent can use that event doesn't matter if you aren't targeting anyway and it's your choice whether to turn it on. Anyway, this is pretty narrow, and a really bad body, but not completely terrible.

    Fenzied Maniac



    Rating: 2.5

    Sigh, more necro 2-drops that die to insect swarm. Of that breed though, he's one of the better ones. Outside of Succubus and hellfire imp (in the right deck) I always find myself underwhelmed by Inferno's 2-drop options. Demnted is just so hard to get value out of, and while lacerator does do a good job of mitigating the card-disadvantage drawback of playing early creatures in a deck with board wipes, it's only good in that specific deck (Dhamira). So this is a pretty decent if somewhat unexciting option for inferno, and should be a staple creature in random garant/xorm decks, particularly the latter where the ability to pump to 4 attack makes blocking pretty scary and the 3 might requirement is much easier to hit on turn 2.


    Demon Thrall



    Rating: 2.5

    As one of the few inferno creatures that doesn't die to lightning strike or double earthquake, this bears consideration. Obviously Lilim is an auto-include 4x in the 4-drop slot, but I think this generally beats out Ravager because Ravager just never connects by the time he hits the board. Still, I'm not sure that most inferno decks really need 8 4-drops, they're usually either going bigger or smaller, meaning Lilim carries the slot just fine, but if you are in the market then this is a pretty decent option. The positional drawback isn't insignificant, but you can turn it off on your own turn at the risk of opening yourself up to blast effects (unless pao), so it's not too bad.


    Lashing Lilim



    Rating: 1

    Lashing Lilim is no lilim. 6 is a decent amount of health, but it's significantly smaller than 8 in the context of the game, and not much bigger than 5, so I feel that if you want an extra defensive 4-drop that punishes bad players for positioning their blocking units badly you just go with Demon Thrall. This is probably a bit better at lower levels where the sweep attack is more likely to trigger against opponent's who aren't paying attention, but it's so unthreatening and generally underwhelming that I don't think many, if any, decks want this.

    Abyssal Worm



    Rating: 2.5

    This card is fascinating. Once you get it out, and if your opponent doesn't instantly have a kill or bounce effect, it owns the board like no other creature in the game, particularly if you have might of nature out which is just terrifying to think about. Unlike most other fatties, this can't just be avoided by your opponent rushing you in different lanes while chump blocking him, and unlike Abyssal Lord he will actually kill virtually any creature in the game in one hit, so he's pretty effective at denying your opponents at least half of their draw step.

    So we get to the drawback, which is also impressive. I'm pretty sure that means you can't just play this in any old random deck, you have to build for it. One way would just be to play it as the top end of dhamira fatties, with might of nature, void arbiter and day of sanctuary which would lock most opponents out of the game pretty effectively in a very late game situation after you've gained board control. There are certainly some build around me options too, like the new inferno cheat fortune or the neutral fortune volunteers (which could even be used to accelerate him into play early in the right spot). This guy demands that you put some work into him, but the payoff potential is certainly there.

    Hikyu, Fists of Fury



    Rating: 2

    This is a fair bit below the curve for a unique epic. On stats alone, it's probably worse than abyssal lord despite costing one less and being immune to retaliation, and abyssal lord hasn't exactly been a staple card despite finding some recent play in dhamira fatties (a deck I feel is mostly exploting the current meta's relative lack of dark and primal magic more than anything). And the ETB/attack trigger doesn't really push him over the edge as far as I see. It can make blocking a bit difficult for your opponent, but for a faction which often has firebolt, inner fire and xorm's ability, blocking is already a risky proposition so this is just one more option and a telegraphed one after the first time at that. It can help you push through a bit more damage, but if you have this guy and another creature out that's attacking the enemy hero after turn 6, you're in a pretty good position already. Maybe inferno decks end up usually playing this, particularly given it doesn't require you to go to 6 might or build your deck around it as much as abyssal lord, but it's not exciting for a unique.

    Fortunes

    Dunes of Madness



    Rating: 1

    Ugh, this is terrible. You're discarding 3 cards from your hand to take 2 out of your opponent's, we're not exactly in hymn to tourach territory here. The only possiblity I see for this is in a dedicated pit of hate decks, but pit of hate is a terrible card and I don't recommend playing two terrible cards to maybe get an ok effect. Perhaps down the track if there's some graveyard plan that you could use, which somehow survives the new event, this might be used as a discard outlet, but even then it's random so I don't think so.

    Escalating Madness



    Rating: 2

    Making your opponent lose one card at random is quite a bit better than allowing them the choice of discard (from chaos imps or similar effects), but isn't worth paying a card for. Once you play the second copy though, you start getting card advantage and things start getting really good - that IS hymn territory, and hymn is one of the more powerful MTG cards ever, although barring an effect like void arbiter, pure card advantage is much worse in this game than MTG. The problem is that it's not easy to play that many copies, particularly once you start taking graveyard hate into account. I can see this doing some work in a dedicated discard deck though, possibly involving Ignatius.

    Gate to Sheogh



    Rating: 3.5

    This seems like just about the easiest way in this game to cheat something huge (even unique!) into play, which makes it immediately attractive. You do have to make a reasonable investment in might and fortune to get there, so you might not be doing this on turn 3 without being Garant going first or giving it some help, but even later in the game this only costs 3 resources. I saw some math a while back in relation to the MTG commander Animar which said that even if only 30% of your deck is a valid target, you still have ~80% chance of hitting when you look at the top 5 cards, which might start to get the gears turning on the possible combo applications here. What if you play a deck that's 30% enormous creatures (15 cards), 50% board control spells/fortunes and the rest this and Reinforcements? You might need to a bit more work than that to make this work in as a pure combo, but even if you just run it in a random Garant or Dhamira deck as a card which worst case hits a 2 drop, but maybe randomly hits the top end of your curve for awesome, I think you can do that. Something to bear in mind though is that this gets hit by week of taxes, so if that remains a prevalent event post-expansion, that does reduce its utility in a random deck quite a bit.


    Garden of Ecstasy



    Rating: 2.5

    This immediately struck me as being a really bad card. "Why not just play void arbiter and then you don't have to keep paying a cumulative upkeep of 5 to get the effect"? The answer is pretty obvious though. One, this isn't symmetrical. You get to draw an extra card before replaying this, after it bounces, if you so choose and if you have enough resources to do so. Two this doesn't die to lightning bolt, or boosted pao or fireball or whatever. Once you get to the point where you can start landing this, it's sticking around, period (ok, tree of redemption, but ongoing fortunes are almost irremovable by most decks). And if you've played the dhamira arbiter lock deck, you'll realise that in the sort of late game post-board wipes topdeck situation where this effect is good, you quite possibly have enough resources to keep paying 5 per turn for this - heck dhamira would often just randomly use her 6-cost ability in that spot for lack of anything better to do with resources once under the lock. And this doesn't even lock you out!

    This is a very, very late game card, and you don't want to clog up your deck with too many copies (maybe 2 max), but in the right control deck where denying your opponent their additional draw step is one of the most powerful things you can do, this could be a great way to close out the game.

    Necropolis faction

    The necropolis faction was probably the most played faction taking into account all ELO ranges for the Herald expansion period. It got some extremely pushed cards in that expansion and that, along with its already strong creature pool, translated into an extremely popular faction even if it wasn't necessarily imbalanced. Well, it seems that the devs want us to go in some different directions - which makes sense from both a play experience and a financial perspective - so necro has done particularly badly here it seems. Still, there's a couple of shining lights of interest here.


    Sihem, Spirit Severer



    Rating: 2

    Dark and earth are the best parts of Ariana's combination, certainly better than Nergal's primal/earth, so Sihem has a chance of seeing some play in place of nergal. That's especially true now that Nergal's ability has been nerfed to significantly reduce its early game utility, Fleshbane fortune takes a hit from the banshee nerf and Adar Malik gets hurt by all the graveyard hate that's now flowing around. But then again, if you just wanted a generic hero to run a necropolis might/magic deck, you might as well run ariana and get an extra spell school, a sometimes relevant ability and probably better starting stats.

    So is Shiem's ability any good? Not really imo. Now, it is true that might/fortune decks have difficulty in removing creatures in a targeted way, but necropolis already has mass grave for sub 2-cost creatures, and by the time you turn this ability on those creatures are rarely going to be dominating the battlefield anyway. It certainly has some value, but I really don't think it's enough to displace Fleshbane as the default necropolis might/fortune deck. It's not nothing, but it's not enough of an ability to push you to play her, unless you really wanted to build a necropolis might/fortune deck that isn't focussed on incorporeal creatures - even then, it wouldn't take too many untamed wraths or lingering ghosts in your deck to make Fleshbane's passive worth more over a game than Sihem, although the possible influx of academy magic creatures might change that.

    Creatures

    Sahaar Mummy



    Rating: 2

    Not a card that immediately jumps out at you as being anything more than utter garbage. Sure, it can come back to your hand, but the question is why you would want a 1/3 for 2 to be in your hand in the first place, let alone a second time. The answer might be if you have a sacrifice or discard outlet which gives you value at the cost of a card - sahaar mummy neutralises the "card" part of that. There's not many such discard or sacrifice outlets in the game right now (Namatru and the recursion fortunes are the one that jump to mind right), but squee, goblin nabob has done some work in MTG within combo/synergy decks and this mummy could do the same here, one day. It's worth noting that the excessive graveyard hate introduced with this expansion could seriuosly hurt his long term chances.

    Rotting Mummy



    Rating: 1

    I'm not sure I've ever given a rare a 1, but if there ever was a card which deserved it, this is it. You can ONLY trigger this effect - which is only moderately and situationally powerful - if he dies to exactly poison damage. You can't week of the dead him, you can't sacrifice him to a fortune, you can't do anything except play him, hope he doesn't get hit with removal, and then get a bit of value out of him if he dies 4 turns later. UGH, just terrible.

    Rotting Zombie



    Rating: 1

    So you want me to pay the same amount as decay spitter to maybe get the same number of counters out of the deal, but split across two creatures (usually worse) and only if my opponent is stupid enough to kill him while lane-stacked? And I end up with a 1/5 instead ofa 2/5? No thanks. He is buffed by both day of training and week of the wild spirits, but buff potential doesn't make bad creatures good.

    Putrid Ghoul



    Rating: 1

    It takes so much work for this to do anything. So you play him, and on your next turn he attacks as a 1/6 (i assume "beginning of your turn" is early enough that the poison damage immediately triggers). Then the next turn, he's a 3/4 and will die if he takes even one damage. WHO THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS A CARD WORTH PRINTING???? I guess the person whose job it was to make sure necropolis didn't get any good cards this expansion. To that person all I can say is - Well done sir, mission accomplished.

    Al-Betyl Ghoul



    Rating: 1

    Vanilla is how I like my icream, not my 5 drops. This compares very unfaourably to living nightmare at the same cost, and that barely saw any play.

    Damran, the Tained



    Rating: 2

    At least necropolis got a good epic, right? Take a guess. The ETB/attack trigger certainly has some (mostly situational) value, but he's basically just a more expensive, non-flying putrid lamasu, and there's a reason no one plays that.

    Fortunes

    Eternal Battlefield



    Rating: 1

    It is with a feeling of dread which I approach the necropolis fortunes, given how bad their creatures were. And that's immediately justified with this piece of filler. This is expensive - REALLY expensive - graveyard hate that still allows your opponent to redraw their atropos or whatever naturally, or tutor for it with bard. It is also an anti-mill bullet which counts for something I guess, but not very much.

    Death is not the End



    Rating: 2

    This card at least does something. In the best case, you're putting something awesome on top of your deck, and rubbish on top of your opponent's deck so you get a card quality advantage, although you do lose card advantage by playing this for no immediate effect. I doubt that's something you want to do, becuase chances are you don't have both of the right targets lined up at the time when you're able to cast this, even putting graveyard hate aside, but it does do something. If there's potential combo applications here, I'm missing them though, there seems to be better ways to recur cards from your graveyard if that's what you're trying to do and messing with your opponent's draw step is marginal value at best in this game.

    A Life for a Life



    Rating: 2.5

    The creature cost limitation on this means that not only are you always 2-for-1ing yourself here, you're suffering a severe resource/tempo hit too. That doesn't seem very good. The one situation in which it could be ok is with creatures that you've already gotten value out of with an ETB trigger. This seems like it may have have been the primary reason for the banshee nerf, because getting to 6/3/4 is fairly unrealistic, otherwise that would have been an awesome target. But decay spitter works with it OK, as does atropos, especially if you have a recursion spell/ability waiting to use (preferably instantly, given graveyard hate). It's also important to note that might/fortune heroes often have difficulty in taking down a particular enemy creature at instant speed, so this really helps in that respect, so it does have some uses.

    Harvesting the Dead



    Rating: 1

    All of this cycle are pretty bad, this is no exception. Even putting all fo the caveats about graveyeard hate aside, raise dead for five just isn't a big enough effect to justify the possibility of maybe getting 2 back sometime down the track. Simply not a playable card, even at half the cost most likely.

    Stronghold facton

    I really like what stronghold got out of this expansion. They got a nice hero, some good new curve options and some interesting, though generally over costed, fortunes. It doesn't scream out raw power, but certainly will shake things up a bit.

    Zouleka, Renegade Wizard


    Rating: 3.5

    Air/earth (kat's schools) have gone from average to great with the post-herald buff of the air school. Forked lightning from this set has also given the school more very topend power if so desired. Strong AOE combined with targeted removal and some utility is exactly what you want in your spell schools, the only thing that really hurts is the lack of a dispel, something most stronghold heroes battle with.

    And the ability is a perfect complement to these schools. While stronghold does might/fortune builds better than anyone thanks to surprise attack, might magic is still generally the best combo for a creature deck so you're fairly likely to meet its requirements. And free magic resist seems very powerful. It doesn't kick in until your next turn, and can only target something which survived your opponents turn, so there's some limitations, but giving your best threat additional survivability against opposing magic creatures and spells (or your own AOEs) is going to give a lot of value over the course of the game, for very minimal opportunity cost.


    Cowardly gnoll


    Rating: 2

    The big brother of blackskull goblin, I feel the drawback here will ensure that he sees as little play as that goblin despite a solid and well costed body. It's a little harder for your opponent to kill it for value (outmaneuver alone doesn't do it for example) but it's still going to set you up for some devastating 2 for 1s, and the payoff isn't quite there to justify it, especially as you'll rarely cast it earlier than tainted Orc, even if it's cheaper. It could be an interesting option in acamas because it's easier to cast in turn 3. You really want to have 2 creatures on board before deploying this though.

    Sahaar brute


    Rating: 2.5

    It's a shame bloodthirst doesn't play well with acamas, because this could be a replacement dreamweaver in that deck so it didn't need to go into magic at all. It does work with kelthor though, so it's a really attractive option there as it gives you even more ways to start doing dirty things with his ability - lightning strike gives you a solid way to turn on bloodthirst too. I'm not sure that other stronghold heroes want to run this, but it's comparable to or better than dreamweaver just in its own, so it's in the mix.

    Sahaar harpy


    Rating: 1

    I'm pretty sure this doesn't get played without the annoying return to hand clause, so I assume it's intended as an upside? I guess it's a really bad and expensive way of giving this swift, but this just does so little that it doesn't seem playable unless you can find some use for it in shaar combo as redundant pao copies or something. Pretty sure you just run kat's finale though.

    Sahaar hunter


    Rating: 3.5

    This has staple creature written all over it, the biggest knock seems to be that you might clog up your melee line a but much if you just substitute this for centaur archer. It's really hard to block this as it naturally blocks any freshly-deployed 5 toughness creatures and threatens to eat up to 7 with any of the numerous 2 attack boosters available. The 4 toughness means that this dies to lightning strike which stops it being totally insane, but it still seems like the best stronghold 3 drop when you're on the attack, and you run war oliphants for defence.

    Sahaar marauder


    Rating: 1

    This isn't an inherently bad creature, but 4 is such a crowded slot on the stronghold curve and this just doesn't seem to specialise in anything well enough to get a run. Ambush 1 is nice but not backbreaking, swift is nice in on an archer, but it only attacks for 2 and 6 toughness is nice but stronghold has two other 4 drops (and a 3) that defend better than this. I can't see it being playable, it just doesn't fill a role.

    Zefiria, Windchaser


    Rating: 3.5

    The only thing keeping Zefiria from being a 4 is that her base stats are just ok, not completely insane like some other uniques. Magic resist is genuinely nice though, and there's an outside chance this would see play with no other ability, although melee isn't the best creature type for stronghold given how many other melee they have. The swift trigger is really strong in all sorts of game situations though. It gives you reach past blockers on a clogged board or helps you grind down your opponent's creatures if you're playing the midrange game. Pretty much an auto inclusion in any stronghold creature deck.

    Ancestral guidance


    Rating: 2

    This at least does something that could be worth a card without additional cards in the graveyard so it might be vaguely playable unlike basically all of the rest of the cycle. If you don't have fire magic and want a creature buff, this is a pretty decent option seeing as it only costs you one card unlike blood shaman hut, and if you hit this for 2+ it becomes legitimately good. Note that it doesn't go straight to the graveyard, so you can't use two in the one turn for value.

    Desperate assault


    Rating: 1

    The conditional trigger here is exactly the fateful hour mechanic from MTG, and the lesson from that is that while it could be nice upside on an otherwise reasonable card, it could never be relied on so didn't turn bad cards good. And this is a bad card, especially at 4 fortune. The problem with having this card only be awesome when you're at sub 6 life is that the situation comes up less often than you think. You frequently go from above 6 life to dead in the same turn. Plus, you want to be killing your opponent or have a not-dead, active, blocking creature to take advantage of the damage boost on the swing back, because you're unlikely to stay alive long after triggering it; this is not an attrition card. Having ways to reduce your own life makes this slightly better, but fateful hour + phyrexian mana spells never made it in mtg and I doubt week of shadows and blood pool will here, either.

    outraging vision

    Rating: 2

    What's with this name? Is it even English? Anyhow, This is a really, really hard card to evaluate. At a lower cost, the global counter effect is probably worth a card even as a one shot effect. Goblin warchanter is generally better, but the flexibility of turning on bloodthirst creatures is good (bloodthirst counters have a habit of being self sustaining once you turn them on) and warchanter is eminently playable. The issue here is the crazy resource cost, which I think pushes this into unplayable territory but it might just get there as singleton in a controllish kelthor deck or something.

    Rushing assault

    Rating: 2

    This card also has a very powerful effect for an absurdly high cost, and again I'm struggling to figure if the combination makes for a playable card. Probably the biggest issue here is that if you're at 4 fortune, you can cast broken bridge and people tend to be pretty wary of stacking lanes against bridge. This isn't at 3 fortune either where you can sometimes get a surprise bounce in with Kat because people aren't totally sure you're playing fortunes, it's very telegraphed. Putting that aside, pairing this with a dark assassin for 6 seems fairly reasonable, and maybe you kill a couple of other guys and get a hit in with a cheap blackskull rider. This also gets around fortune ward which is a huge issue for surprise attack decks at the moment. I dunno, I feel like this might have a chance, but is probably 1 or 2 resources too expensive to see play given that it always needs to be played on the same turn as a creature to do anything.
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  5. #5
    Shalan,Voice of the Lotus



    Rating: 2

    Earth/water is an Intruiging combo, only seen elsewhere on the new academy hero, ammar. While it has some issues dealing with very large creatures or ongoing spells, it gives you a powerful mix of mass and targeted AOE damage as well as some good utility and buff spells. You also have two of the most powerful unique spells in the game. Ishuma chaos some pretty decent damage options though, and additionally has a dispel, so Shalan has a bit of competition spell school wise for random sanctuary creature deck.

    Shalan will find it harder to take advantage of both his passive and magic schools than ammar though, because unlike academy sanctuary can't really go deep into both magic and fortune and still play out a creature game, and shamans ability isn't that useful otherwise (he doesn't work with pao in some sort of combo deck). So the question is whether the ability is powerful enough to use on its own in a might/fortune deck - I can't really see it. Yes you get some additional value out of whirlpool, kabuki tei and the new bounce fortune, but bouncing isn't generally a great strategy because it requires so much to go right for it to be useful. Sanctuary decks don't usually have issues winning when their creatures stick around long enough to do cute things with them, the issue is that most of their creatures are weak and whirlpool is fairly miserable on an empty board. This ability very much feels 'win more' and just generally cute to me and I can't see it setting the meta on fire.

    Sayama Stalker



    Rating: 3.5

    This is an awesome 2-drop that fits in perfectly with the sanctuary game plan. It's virtually impossible to block this with a 2 drop given ambush 2, so it's going to get the damage flowing early, or give you a good way to setup an outmaneuver on a weaker creature. Between this and spring spirit, sanctuary now has two excellent 2-drops, this should basically be an auto-include although do note that it along with some of the other new creatures will start to push you in a direction where week of wild spirits is no longer an auto include.

    Sayama Champion



    Rating: 3

    Thud. Thud. Thud. That's the sound of kappa lumbering out of the building. This isn't quite a strict upgrade, but it's pretty damn close give the times you want to deploy your defensive 3-drop over other options when you have more creatures than your opponent are pretty small. If it was just attack/defence stats, the comparison would be much tougher but Sayama champion has one lower might requirement which is often relevant - you can accelerate into it with gold pile going second or you can setup a 3-magic/fortune spell on your following turn while still hitting your 3 drop. It's a surprisingly relevant aspect of the card.

    Sayama Spy



    Rating: 3.5

    If I was rating this blind, I would probably give it a 2.5. This spy is essentially Shadowmage infiltrator but dies to blockers, though it still cantrips in the process. Infiltrator was never amazing in mtg, even though card advantage is WAY better in that game, although removal is much worse here. The vast majority of mmdoc games end with both players having 4+ cards in hand, it's only really the 'midrange creature vs spell control' matchups where card advantage becomes relevant. Plus, he gets blocked by heaps of 3-cost creatures - juggernaught, kappa, oliphant (slowly), radiant glory etc.

    Anyway, I'm not rating this blind, I've been jamming an Ishuma deck and he plays really well in practice. Even if the game ends with you having a full grip of cards, he's drawing you deeper into your deck to find what you need. And people do silly things to stop him like using 2 solid removal spells - at the very least trying to block which sets you up for the usual type of block punishing tricks (he'd be so busted with a fire magic hero). And again, he's a 3 drop with 2 might req, the cantrip after one hit makes him one of the better creatures to gold pile into as well because that is one card which can seriously deplete your hand. Maybe he ends up just being ok - he doesn't help the tempo game out much, and most mmdoc matches are decided on tempo (or combo/race/disruption) - but right now I'm pretty high on him.

    sayama dune prowler



    Rating: 3

    This is pretty much the perfect outmaneuver creature and drastically reduces sanctuary's reliance on the somewhat awkward 5-drop shooters. Being melee stops your ranged line being too full to continue the maneuvers and his stats combined with ambush are great if you don't need to defend. It might not be entirely necessary to run a full set depending on your deck, but certainly worth a look if you would otherwise be using a 5 drop outmaneuver and don't mind making wild spirits worse in your deck.q

    sayama warden



    Rating: 1

    This is basically a worse kappa if you never trigger the bounce text, and see my comments on Shalan for my thoughts on that strategy. It's also worth noting that all of these cost reductions reach a point of diminishing returns, or become totally irrelevant at some point. A different bonus like drawing a card or getting a bonus outmaneuver or something would be more valuable most likely.

    Raya, sibilant seductress



    Rating: 4

    Like all of these epics, this is super weak to shadow image given that your opponent gets 2 triggers out of the deal. But apart from that, this card is just amazing. It's repeatable pseudo-removal that can upgrade to more relevant targets as the game goes on, plus pretty solid stats that only need 4 might. Your opponent better hope they have some removal for this once it lands, or else it's going to own the board.

    Sinkhole



    Rating: 2

    I don't like bouncey bounce as a full on strategy, but this is a 1-cost cantrip so it doesn't need to do much to be playable because the downside is so low. This does cost you some tempo, but you should almost always be able to find some way to get value off the bounce so it's worth thinking about. A miserable card on an empty board, though.


    road to enlightenment



    Rating: 2

    Continuing the trend from herald of the void of remaking blue spells into sanctuary fortunes, this is a clone of accumulated knowledge. Very different games as far as card advantage foes, but AK was a pretty decent card and this could be too, although graveyard hate being potentially prevalent makes all of this cycle bad including this. It always cantrips though.

    Zen garden



    Rating: 1

    I'm pretty sure I dint want to pay 4 every turn for this effect, even if removal is hard to find in a fortune deck. If this is sucking up your resources you're going to lose the board over time, even if you stop their single biggest threat.


    honor bind us



    Rating: 3

    This is overrun, right? It turns a big board position into 'win the game, now'. The problem with that is that you should usually be able to win the game anyway if you have a full board, especially if you're sanctuary. The games you lose are the ones where all of your creatures get killed off and this does nothing to help you there. I do respect the ability of this to kill off all of your opponents creatures though if your opponent can't deal well with you outside of blocking (especially good for a fortune deck with no spells), but as a finisher you'd usually just want to play another outmaneuver dude.

    Neutral

    The majority of neutral creatures are pretty much deliberately overcosted filler that I won't bother reviewing - Burning sand elemental, catcus thing, sahar bedoin and greater air elemental.

    Neutral creatures

    Moon Phoenix



    Rating: 3

    This creature is absolutely fascinating, perhaps the most interesting card in the entire expansion. Based on an average draw in this game of about 1.5 cards per turn over the course of a normal length game, this will be able to be re-played approximately every two turns in the absence of any other interference with your graveyard. That makes this an exceptionally good attrition card. But are attrition cards like this that good in this game? The vast majority of MMDOC games are decided by tempo or some kind of game state lockout/combo, not card advantage. Still, there's something to be said about an almost infinitely recursive threat like this just as a vanilla, decently statted, creature and I can certainly see this being included in all sorts of decks as a random out to those (relatively rare) attrition game states.

    The reason I rate this a bit higher than those comments would warrant, though, is the combo potential. Combined with cosmic singularity, the phoenix's ability to exile cards from your graveyard can be used to strategically filter your deck to drastically increase your card quality when you redraw. I haven't seen anyone take advantage of this yet, but perhaps that's because the expansion hasn't been around long enough for people to get playsets of this mythic. The potential seems to be there, though.


    Soothsayer



    Rating: 2

    Now that we have unique fortunes, this completes the cycle. Given that when you're playing unique fortunes, you're already bumping up your fortune stats, this directly competes with observatory for a deck slot (unlike magic peddler/arcane academy). Soothsayer gives you a body and is a bit cheaper, particularly taking week of taxes into consideration, but observatory obviously gives you far greater flexibility. I think the sort of decks that want this effect will probably stick to observatory, but if you have some way to get additional value out of the body, eg. sacrificing it to something for value, or if you ONLY want to tutor a unique fortune then perhaps the soothsayer is better.

    Sahaar Skirmisher



    Rating: 2

    There is no question whatsoever that this is a powerful ability. The only "unblockable" creature in the game to date, this can come down and give an agressive deck some great late-game reach to push through those last points of damage, something few cards in this game can do. 5 toughness puts it out of range of most kill spells, so you're very likely to get at least one hit in, although 2 damage is unfortunately low - Pao is almost always going to be the better finisher. Overall this card just suffers from the "overcosted neutral creature" curse, if it was a bit more agressively costed or had better stats, it could be a real contender. As it is, it could still play a niche role in some agressive decks that don't have much other interraction, eg. crag hack.

    Neutral fortunes

    Black Fang Extorsion



    Rating: 1

    I'm pretty sure this card is mispelt. extorsion = "outward rotation of the upper pole of the vertical meridian of each eye." Extortion = "The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force." In addition to being uncertain about the proofing of this card, I'm not actually sure what it does. What sort of deck wants to play this? Do you really run 4 copies in a stall/combo deck to hope that you draw one on your first turn so you can stop your opponent's first play? Doesn't a wall do that just as effectively, without being an almost dead draw later in the game? Do you play it in an agressive/swarm deck to stop your opponent using cheap removal or playing multiple cheap creatures to block you? I'm not really sure, either way I'm pretty sure this is a bad card. The only situation I see this being playable in is if you knew your opponent was playing a deck that was like 75%+ < 3 cost cards, which I guess could happen many expansions down the line with continued power creep (assuming no rotation), but right now most decks have plenty of things to play that are unaffected by this so its utility is really narrow.


    Cosmic Singularity



    Rating: 3

    This is exactly what "hate" cards should look like imo. Assuming you build your deck to have a discard outlet of some sort (eg. hero ability, day of fortune), then this does a pretty effective job of denying your opponent from using their graveyard as a resource AND stops them from milling you out, so you attack two completely different strategies. And if your opponent is doing neither of those things, you can always just cycle it. But it also has "offensive" upside - you can use it as part of a pro-active strategy to recycle your own deck, to re-use unique effects especially if you can tutor for them, so even if the strategies that this defends against are rare in the meta, this card has the potential to be main-decked. A really nice card.

    Full Moon



    Rating: 1

    This, on the other hand, is way too narrow and difficult to gain value off to be a good card. It's completely dead a lot of the time, only really defending against creature recursion strategies and the fact that it only recurs creatures limits its combo potential.

    Second Chance



    Rating: 1

    Another card where I'm not really sure what it actually does. Are you meant to use this on your opponent's creature when you kill some useless 1-drop to force them to draw it again? If so, that seems terrible, you're using up three resources and an entire card to slightly reduce the quality of your opponent's next draw in the best case. Or are you meant to use it on your own guy when it died this turn (how? retaliation? AOE damage? it's going to take some work) - in which case you are, again, using three resources and a card to (maybe?) increase your draw quality? This seems like unplayable garbage, especially compared to some of the graveyard recursion options in necro faction for example.

    Volunteers



    Rating: 2

    This is the type of card which gets increasingly better as the game's card pool gets larger. It's effectively show and tell, and that has turned out to be one of the most broken cards in MTG despite taking a few years to get rolling. However, the limitations on volunteers seriously restrict its broken-ness - particularly the requirement that you must meet its requirements, as it means you can't cheat the resource curve too much. Still, as the card pool gets larger over time, chances are they'll print some ridiculous creature that costs a huge amount of resources but has low stat requirements, at which point this starts getting awesome. This is a sleeper - probably not quite awesome yet, but huge combo/build around potential in the future.

    Fortune Telling



    Rating: 1

    Four??? you really had to make this cost four??? This is not the type of card that you'd play in a deck randomly for value (it's just a loot effect that cantrips, you don't get any card advantage), it's a combo enabler - drawing you deeper into your deck and letting you set up some sweet graveyard interraction. But at four resources, this is just not a card that you play period, it's way too expensive. You're basically going to be taking an entire turn off to do nothing that affects the board, that's not really tenable. Make this cost 2 and we might be talking, but it's way too much as is.


    Time of Need



    Rating: 2.5

    This is basically all of the unique tutors (bard, magic peddler, soothsayer) wrapped into one card, but you have to pay the full cost all on the same turn and it makes some of the cheaper unique spells a little more expensive. That's actually not bad. The individual tutors do see quite a bit of play due to the extreme power of the unique cards, if your deck is sporting multiple different types of unique cards (you'd want 3-4) and can support the stat requirements on this thing, it could easily be worth playing - double plus so if you have some gold piles or campfires to accelerate into it a bit. It could get even better over time as more unique cards are added to the card pool.

    Events


    Eye of the Mana Storm



    Rating: 2

    Magic shield is a super powerful effect, providing complete immunity from magic creature and spell damage. This effect costs a huge amount of mana, though, and day of the sanctuary will often do what you want for a quarter of the cost. You probably don't want to play this in any deck which plays damage spells of its own and have it turned against you, so if it's playable at all it's only in a pretty narrow range of decks and even then it only becomes relevant so late in the game that it's probably not worth running.


    Graduation Day



    Rating: 1

    The broken ammar deck showed the power of free spells, although the key to that deck was his draw text. I just don't see how you get good value out of this card. Even assuming it hits (which requires an unusually high spell density), you have to play two spells in that turn to be ahead by just one resource on this deal - it's just not a strong enough effect. This might see play in some combo deck somewhere down the line, but it wasn't played in Ammar and that was pretty much the perfect home for it if anything.

    Rise of the Nethermancer



    Rating: 3.5

    I was tempted to give this card a 5 just based on the potential for it to be played in any deck and the massive effect it has on the overall game, but at the end of the day it is "just" a hate card, and doesn't really do anything if your opponent isn't trying to use their graveyard in some way. And the very existence of this card drastically reduces the chances of that even happening. Being so cheap to activate and not even taking up a deck slot gives this enormous power as a potential bullet, to the point that it's hard to see graveyard strategies or synergies of any type being strong strategies in this game pretty much for as long as this card exists. Which is a real shame tbh, even if some of the adar/atropos recursion was pretty silly - this card represents the door shutting on a huge amount of potential design space.

    Week of Training



    Rating: 4

    Cheap anthems are possibly the most powerful type of event, a fact which Ubisoft have finally recognised after multiple iterations of week of the wild spirits. The +1 to attack effect can drastically affect a player's clock and ability to control the board, which are almost the only two things in this game which matter. The upside of this is obviously lower than week of mercenaries or wild spirits, but in an appropriate deck (most likely haven or academy at the moment), this is a very servicable and guaranteed anthem for a cheap cost. In case there's any doubt at this stage, don't forget that this looks at base attack, so wolf captain or 1-attack creatures which have had their power buffed through another effect already still get the bonus.
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  6. #6
    Sk3eve's Avatar Junior Member
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    we want colorful pictures
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  7. #7
    Nice, looking forward to this, and I would like if you could add a sentence or two in the end about each faction as whole.

    Btw, it is Spell resist ability, not Magic Resist. It is different because Spell resist doesn't affect attacks from Magic Creatures.
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  8. #8
    I was actually planning on doing that bane, but I didn't do it for academy because it's pretty hard to get your head around an entire faction that you've never played with. I will do it for the others though . And thanks for pointing out the error.
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  9. #9
    No problem, I like your reviews, even though I don't agree with some stuff(as you have said, it is pretty hard to know what will be the future meta and how will the new stuff affect it when you have never played it), but I like to listen to different opinions and why people think that some stuff is good while other that is not.

    And I can't wait to see your ratings of Necro and Inferno cards.
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  10. #10
    Thanks for the awesome work!

    I agree with most of the points, but think that Myranda and Gazal HoV are stronger than 3.0
    Let's see how things will turn out :-)

    Btw, why are there no 4.5 ratings? Or do you want to point out how OP those two 5.0 cards are compared to the rest?
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