Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rage of R'lyeh Spoiler - Impressions

Oh boy oh boy oh boy! We finally got the red Starter Deck! I've been waiting to see this thing since the starters were announced, so of course leave it to FoW Inc to wait to reveal it until the last week of spoilers. But I can't say I'm disappointed.

The Ruler for the deck is Lunya, who flips into our old friend Red Riding Hood Nyarlathotep. Judgment for RR2 is pretty expensive, especially in Lapis Cluster where the standard looks to be 2-3 total cost. She also comes with the standard Energize, and her unique Ruler skill has her deal 100 damage to a resonator whenever one of your resonators attacks. This isn't much damage on its own, but it allows weaker units to trade with slightly stronger cards, as well as turns Demonflame into Stoning to Death, which is some pretty good value. Red doesn't have too many ways to get rid of huge resonators outside of stacking burns, so this could easily come in handy. Just be weary, as it's not an optional effect, and doesn't specify that it has to target the opponent's resonators, so you may get blindsided by having to burn your own stuff.

Once she flips into Nyarlathotep, we see some effects harking back to her days as Little Red, the Wolf Girl. She's packing Swiftness and the new Cthulhu keyword, Limit. Unlike the Cthulhu's we've already seen, however, she only enters with Limit 2, so she's not here to stay very long. She burns a resonator for 800 on-enter, and if she gets caught without Limit counters, she flips back into a Ruler at the end of turn (unlike our friend Yog, who burns you while flipping back). This is almost word-for-word Little Red's old effect, albeit adapted to incorporate Limit, but I feel that a more lenient flip-back effect is all she really needed. Her stats got updated too, packing the same 1200 ATK, but her booty got a bit bigger, sitting at a nice 800 DEF. This keeps her out of the range of Thunder/Lightning Strike or from dying to most 2-drops (and some 3-drops).

Leave it to FoW Inc to turn Little Bo Peep into a Cthulhu. Or to turn Cthulhu's into cute, innocent little girls tending to sheep. I personally think the idea is pretty quaint, where instead of trying to get revenge or brooding, some Cthulhu went the Android 17 route and settled down. Although this isn't some puny little girl you'd want to go stealing sheep from. Niggurath packs a whopping 1200 ATK and DEF, putting her a little above most 5-drops, and will get a Gentle Goat from your deck whenever she attacks or enters your field. Albeit not the most useful card to search for, at least Niggurath nets some advantage on-play, which is more than I can say than most other 5-drops we've seen this cluster. Unfortunately, she only has Limit 1, and bounces back to your hand when her time runs out. Fortunately, she can pop one of her Goats and add 2 counters to herself, giving you some flexibility on how to use her. This let's you block or attack with the Goats, and if they come under fire from any type of removal, just turn them into counters for her.

The Goat itself isn't much to write home about. It's a 3/3 for 1 will, which is pretty decent, and becomes 5/5 if you control a Cthulhu, so it automatically comes in at full power when you grab it with Niggurath.

I'm still not sure how to feel about Nightmares of R'lyeh. Quickcast for RRR is pretty expensive in a red deck, especially since this deck may need it's mana to keep flipping its Ruler/fielding its bouncing Cthulhu's. However, it can provide a HUGE momentum swing. Gaining 1,000 Power is 1/4 of the opponent's life. Slapping this on Pricia means she'll gain 2,000 Power which, if combo'd with a few other cards, can easily turn her into an OTK machine. The downside is that it drops the target's DEF by 1000, so viable targets and few and far between. Niggurath is the only viable target in this deck, although it can be used defensively as a super Space-Time Anomaly to kill an attacker. Losing 1,000 DEF, and being able to target J-Rulers as well as Resonators, makes it an easy 1-card kill to just about anything, assuming you have the available mana.

Lightning Strike is Lightning Strike. It's a slightly better Thunder, which was already too good on its own. We've known about this card for a while, so there's not much to say.

And here we have Hastur. Holy cow did he do a 180. He went from something unspeakable to... this. But at least he got a lot better. 900/900 for a 3-drop is above-standard, so he can already trade with any equal-cost unit, and he's also packing Swiftness as long as Lunya is your Ruler. An added plus is that he does an Artemis Bow to any resonator whenever he attacks or blocks, letting him kill off 1300 DEF or lower units single-handedly, 1400 with Lunya's burn. If you attack one card, then target different cards with his and Lunya's burn effects, that's potentially 3 different cards you can take out with just this one attack. That's mad value. Like Niggurath, he also has the bounce effect once he runs out of counters, but lacks any inherent way to add more. Given his low cost and powerful effect, that's more than fine.

Lunya's Best Friend is filler and little more. 200 ATK isn't going to do much, so he's just going to be a 6/6 vanilla most of the time. So at least he can trade with a Lancelot I guess. For something as majestic as he, I was kind of expecting more.

Next up is Fayli, an 800/800 vanilla for 3 will. Pretty standard stats, but for no effect, she falls short. Her only saving grace is Charlatan's Tricks which, for only 1 will, can copy ANY resonator or addition on your field. If you control Fayli, though, rather than adding the target to your hand, you can put it right into the field. Got an Azathoth out? Have another. Unfortunately, it probably won't be worth it to have to run Fayli, but some gimmicky decks would drool at the idea of this combo. Being able to just search out a copy of something you control is good on it's own, although in red it's pretty outclassed by the Rukh Egg/Guinevere combo.

Emissary is an interesting card. 500/400 for a 1-drop is pretty good, especially with Swiftness, but being unable to attack the opponent REALLY holds it back. It's clear this is meant to poke off the opponent's resonators, and it can trade with a Lancelot thanks to Lunya's burn effect, but not having Precision really hampers this guy, especially early game.

R'lyeh, World of No Lies is a really strong addition (heh) to the Cthulhu deck. Putting a Limit counter on every Cthulhu you control let's you get more value out of them, especially low-Limit cards like the ones in this deck. It grants some utility while staying on the field by pumping all your Cthulhu's by 200/200, giving them a little more pushing power. Nyarlathotep is 1400/1000, Hastur is 1100/1100, and Niggurath is 1400/1400, and it just stacks from there. One of these on the field let's Hastur survive a Nighmare's pump, making him a 2100 ATK monstrosity, and two of them let Nyarlathotep survive a pump too.

All-in-all, while I doubt this deck is going to be meta on it's own, it definitely gives Cthulhu's some really neat tools to play around with, and definitely helps to encapsulate what Red tries to do, without printing more cancer like Lancelot or Cthugha. There's also some wonderful flavor here, what with goat-herding Cthulhu and Lunya being an homage to herself, and I'm happy with the way it turned out. At least it wasn't as bad as the Water Deck.

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