Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gill Alhama'at Leaked!

Breaking news people! We got some leaks on Gill Alhama'at, and boy, now I understand why they've kept him under wraps for so long. This dude is a doozey!

The image is really blurry (It was ripped from a now-removed Youtube video), so let me translate:

Judgment 0: Play this only if there are seven or more mana counters on this card.
Energize (Light?)/Black
Mana 1
Remove a mana counter: Make any attribute of will, spend it only on Ancient Magics.
Resonance Light or Dark stone: Put a mana counter on this card.

So here we have the big baddie himself, rocking the Ruler's Memoria for Ancient Magics. Goodbye Sol, Mercerius, and Mars. This dude can do everything they do. Granted, he only starts with 1 counter, but he has a built-in way to make more. But what does he flip into, you ask?

1000 ATK / 1000 DEF
Judgment: Remove 20 mana counters from this card and RFG all other cards you control.
Mana 1
Remove a mana counter: Make any color will, use it only for Ancient Magics
Resonance Light or Dark Stone: Put 2 mana counters on this card.

Whaaaaaat? Judgment on a J-Ruler? What madness is this? Well, we'll go into that next. Aside from that, he's pretty much the same as his Ruler side. He'll get one more counter for flipping, and he gets 2 counters for calling a stone instead of just one. 20 to judgment is pretty costly, but very doable in a dedicated deck. Want to see what all that works gets you?

2000 ATK / 2000 DEF
First Strike
Chants in your hand gain "Ancient Magic"
You may play Ancient Magics from your hand without paying their costs.

Literally card game Jesus. A whopping 2000/2000 body with virtually every keyword (minus Pierce) in the game. Barrier against everything. Every chant you play is free. I assume that means you can awaken Ancient Magics for free as well. RIP everything 2k17. From the looks of it, you actually unfold the card and he's on the inside. That's a very awkward mechanic, and I question how stable that crease is. We'll have to wait for the official reveal for that, I suppose. But if you manage to flip this guy (Which I doubt will be too hard in a dedicated mana counter turbo deck) you basically win. I can't wait to see what builds come up around him!

RDE Preview #6 - Impressions

Here we go folks, yet another preview article. This one's circled back around to Kaguya support, so today we're looking at some Blue/Green cards and a new Treasury Item!

Starting off strong, we have Eia, God of Water. For a total cost four, he's got 1000/1000 power and Barrier against resonators. That's massive value compared to the more mediocre 4-drops we've been shown so far. While you control seven or more water magic stones he'll gain 500/500 and can't be blocked, making him a late-game terror. If that wasn't enough, each time you call a water stone his resonance will let you draw a card. This guy has everything you could ask for: Good stats, partial protection, a constant source of advantage, and he scales up with the game. Move over Charlotte, U/B Control might have just found it's new finisher!

That being said, he isn't without weakness. Most, if not all, removal comes in the form of chants nowadays. Barrier (Resonator) won't protect you against Bear Magic. Still, he's a powerful card that the opponent has to answer, plus you can throw him down with Rising from the Depths. Can you imagine dropping two, or even three, of this guy? Tapping for stone the following turn will draw you 2-3 cards. I love everything about this guy.

On the green side of things we have Gilgamesh. He's much less stand-alone than Eia, but he has a lot more synergy in the Treasury build. If you have three or more of them on the field Gilgamesh can't be destroyed, and he gains +100 ATK for every Treasury Item you control. If he's indestructible then he'll be a 1000/1000, same as Eia. Unfortunately, he's still Bear Magic bait, and his resonance isn't as good. Calling a magic stone will produce one will of any type, so he essentially let's you produce two extra will each turn, but by the time you're dropping a 4-cost unit you won't be needing ramp as much. Still, I imagine he can get pretty huge in a Treasury build, especially with all those Kimonos.

And here we have support for these two Myths in the form of Spinning Myths! With this, you can cheese them into play a whole turn early! Yeah... screw that. Here's a list of all the threatening Myth cards we already have: Izanagi, The Ox King, Chronos, Frigg, and of course, Odin. You can cheese Frigg in with this, then use her effect to grab it right back. You can drop Izanagi on turn three, turn 2 if you have energize! Odin can come in just as early and put you leagues ahead of the opponent in terms of will! This card just has so many possibilities and ways to break it, I can't wait to see what happens! It even ramps you a stone if you can torrent it. The best part is, if you're torrenting, he'll trigger Eia's and Gilgamesh's resonance abilities. This card is all sorts of juicy.

Millenia Bond is the Blue/Green pact spell for the set. It has quickcast and only costs two, which is a plus already. It's modal effects let you either cancel a chant and draw a card, or put a 3-cost or less Treasury Item from your hand into your field. The second ability isn't all that fancy, although it gives you some nice treasury ramp in the Kaguya deck. The first ability, though, means we're keeping negation once Alice rotates out. It isn't nearly as flexible as Wall of Wind and Seal of Wind and Light are, since it can only hit chants, but at least it's something. Unfortunately, most of the meta threats right now are resonator-heavy (Fiethsing and Lumia), but you can still manage a clutch cancel on a Moonbeam Butterfly. This just keeps decks like Sol and Mercerius suppressed, since their big bad Ancient Magics can still get easily cancelled. Oh well, sucks to be them I suppose.

Here we have the obligatory "This card is treated as X magic stone" that we seem to be getting this set. It's nice for resonance decks, and not much else.

Here we have the final card of the spoiler, and the only Treasury Item. Kaguya's Pictorial Scroll is basically the new Lumia resonator from Vingolf: On-enter, you remove the top 3 cards of your deck from the game face-down and you can play them as if they were in your hand. Let me just preface with: I utterly hate this card. I've played against Lumia enough to know that an essentially free Draw 3 is stupid, and now it's on a card that is even harder to kill. You can even play this with the pact spell while you cancel one of your opponent's cards to add insult to injury. You can use J-Ruler Kaguya to produce will to play these new cards, or just draw even more. This deck went from gimmicky to massive advantage Russian-engineered steamroller with just this card.

Well, that's it for today's spoilers! The pre-release is next weekend and the actual release is the week following. We may or may not get one last spoiler Monday, but since the entire set tends to be spoiled before pre-releases actually start, we'll be getting the rest of the cards next week regardless. There's a ton of things still left to see, and this set is still up in the air about whether or not it's good or bad, so here's hoping we get some amazing reveals. We've only really gotten one article for each color combination so far, so there's a ton of room for improvement/disappointment. Anyway, until next week!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RDE Preview #5 - Impressions

Welcome back Rulers! Sorry this is a day late, but I ended up going to a trivia night with some friends when these spoilers dropped so I wasn't here to do an immediate review, which is probably a good thing. I'm really bummed (and confused) about not getting the final Ruler revealed, although if it's Alhama'at (which is all but confirmed at this point) I suppose they're saving the big baddie for a larger reveal. Either way, we still got some Light/Dark stuff to fill the void while we wait:

Here we finally get to see the Alice that got revealed in concept art a while ago. At a 4-drop, she's looking pretty expensive to play, especially with an 800/1000 body. Precision and Flying are a good keyword combination, and she fetches a "Schrodinger, the Cat in Flux" when she enters. Her final ability is a 3-cost reusable 1-for-1 kill spell. She's very flexible in the fact that she can kill virtually anything, including Regalia and Additions, but it's a pretty costly 1-for-1 to do so. The fact that you have to sack one of your own resonators (non-token, mind you) means you're looking at a HUGE will investment into her, on top of her 4 will total cost. She definitely lends herself to a control deck, where you're aiming to play the long game anyway. The fact that she can potentially deal with 2 cards per turn (one with her ability, one with Precision) means she has decent built-in value. She combo's very nicely with the Valentina card and Triton from Vingolf 3, so you can steal your opponent's cards and then feed them to her last ability to get rid of 2 birds with 1 stone(-ing to death).

The other half of the Alice combo. Schrodinger is a 2-cost 100/600, pretty lackluster for that cost level. His ability, however, more than makes up for it. Whenever one of your opponent's resonators goes from the field to the grave, you RFG it instead, then create a 500/500 Shadow Token on your field. That's some really good value! Since Alice can potentially get rid of 2 cards each turn, you can get a sizable Token army fairly quickly. They even benefit from the old Shadow support, like Dark Faria and Dark Arthur. Unfortunately, the tokens die if Schrodinger leaves the field, and you can't use them as fodder for Alice's kill ability. This has surprising synergy with the new Lapis Ruler, since it's a cheap, constant source of RFG that will build up a field for you.

While I'm not terribly impressed with this combo, I think FoW really hit the nail on the head with their design, and I really wish more of the LEL/RDE dual-color cards looked more like this. They feel very similar to Seth the Arbiter, and have a definitive sense of being a hybrid of two attributes. Look at the majority of the LEL themes: Green/Light was "Inheritance", Black/Green was "Chimera". Those don't combine the attribute's themes at all. Green is all about ramp and negation, Black is all about control. The LEL cards (and from the looks of it, most of RDE) were focused on a definitive theme focused around whatever random gimmick they gave to the Ruler, rather than trying to combine the main themes and styles of the two attributes. The Alice/Schrodinger combo do that beautifully, and using the established precedent of Seth. Light/Black is all about balancing the scales: Your opponent loses something, you gain something. You're draining their resources for yourself. And the best part is these two are a self-contained combo; you can put them in any deck that can play the colors, you don't need a specific Ruler to use them properly. A+ bueno design here, we need more like it.

Here we have bad Steam Explosion. The damage multipliers on this card are definitely higher, but without the access to Mana counters to fuel it, it falls way behind. With it being Chant-speed, it just doesn't make the cut for most decks. You could honestly compare it to Crimson Ray, too. That's a 600 burn to a player or resonator, and 600 life gain for you, at instant speed. To get the same results here, you'd have to pay 4 will to burn the opponent and gain 600, and at chant speed. It's an easy way to seal games if you plan on playing the long con, since something like 6 will can net you a 1200 drain, but you'll likely have a Token army that can do the job by that point.

The card that made every meta player moister than they've been all year. Alice's World of Madness, on top of triggering long-time players with the "Alice's World" in the name, is your own little Dark Alice's God's Art you can keep in your back pocket. It's a -200 debuf for all resonators, so it will instantly kill Elf Tokens to shut down Fiethsing Turbo decks, and takes out any Tama on-enter. Stacking them just doubles down on the pain it brings, and will kill Sacred Elves (although by that point she'll have outlived her usefulness anyway). The effect weakening your own resonators hurts a bit, but it looks like a spicy tech in Dark Alice decks to make her God's Art more oppressive.

I'm not sold on Dark March Hare. 800/800 for a 3-cost is standard, so he's got that, and he counts as both a Light and Darkness Magic stone for resonance purposes. It just so happens he has built in resonances for both of those, too, and they do trigger when you play him. The Light resonance gives your field a blanket +100/+100 and the Darkness resonance gives your opponent's field a blanket -100/-100. This honestly doesn't do too much unless you're playing something like Grusbalesta for mass-stone calling, so until we see some support that'll make this guy more desirably, that's all I really have to say on him.

Closing out this preview, we have The Dark Sleeping Dormouse. He's 100/800 for a 2-cost card, and has resonance for both Light and Dark magic stones that will essentially swap his ATK and DEF for the turn. Really lackluster if you ask me. You're jumping through hoops to get a conditional 800/100 two-cost vanilla, which I doubt anyone would play even if those were his base stats and he were actually a vanilla unit. I've seen theories that the Light/Darkness Ruler will have a Little Red-clause that will prevent stat losses to your resonators, in which case this guy might be worth looking at, but until then I'm sticking with this verdict.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

RDE Preview #4 - Impressions

Here is it boys and girls, the article I've been waiting for! Ever since we saw Lapis' J-Ruler side spoiled a few months ago I've been super hyped to play a Red/Black deck with him at the helm. And focusing on RFG? The same mechanic as Alisaris? I'm totally on board. Sadly, overall, I'm terribly underwhelmed by this article. Let's go ahead and dive in.


Here we have Lapis in all of his would-be glory. His Ruler side greets us with a whopping 8 cost Judgment, 6 of that being reducible by your opponent having cards removed from the game. He's rocking the standard double-color energize and the standard single ability Rulers are allotted. Once per turn, during your turn only, you can target one non-magic stone your opponent controls and have it be RFG'd instead of going to the graveyard this turn. I dislike virtually everything about this ability. For one, it doesn't actively do anything to help you or your deck. Lumia can re-use enter effects (at all stages of the game), Fiethsing generates free resonators, and the Luminaries have their whole Mana thing. Those all actively propel their decks' early and mid games and give you a leg up during the first few turns. Lapis? He has negative synergy with how you should be playing the game. Obviously you'd want to start working towards his judgment as soon as you can, so you'll want to run some low-cost kill spells like Unseen Pressure or Dark Purge. The only things your opponent will be playing in the early game will be Mana Dorks, Guineveres, or Tamas. All things you'll want to kill at the end of the opponent's turn, since they come live as soon as your turn starts. You played a Sacred Elf? Let me Dark Purge that at your End Phase so you can't Wall of Wind me or get any free mana. Oh wait, I can't do that because Lapis' Ruler ability only works on my turn, and I need those RFG cards. I'll just Unseen Pressure your Guinevere at the start of my turn then, and hit her with Gill's ability then. Oh, you used her in response to Lapis' ability? That's cool I guess. I got nothing out of this exchange. And I won't even mention that Laevateinn can be a free out to this too.

Granted, you can use the ability before you'd go in for the kill to make sure the resonators get RFG'd, but you're still having to wait until your turn to do it. Their Guins will, no matter what, be able to dodge him. Elves can still make the mana and Wall of Wind your kill spell. You aren't actually gaining anything by using him as your Ruler, whereas Mikage can start investing in his judgment using spare will, or Valentina can let you go 2-for-1 with your kill spells. This guy is basically demanding to be used as a control Ruler, yet is 100% outclassed by the other control Rulers we already have.

But surely his J-Ruler side will make up for that? Assuming you can get the necessary RFG cards, of course. The first thing you see when you flip him is that he does nothing but use cards in your opponent's RFG zone. So, unlike Alisaris, if you fall behind and have to judgment for a higher-than-minimum cost you're just SOL. You can give him one of four keywords (Swiftness, Precision, First Strike, or Flying) by putting one of your opponent's RFG'd cards on the bottom of their deck. The only truly relevant one of those is Flying (and Swiftness, in some situations), but given that he's a 1000 beater who will likely be coming into the game (very) late after you kill most of your opponent's cards, that may not even matter. Once Alice rotates out and he's one of the only J-Rulers with access to Swiftness it may matter, but with as late in the game as he'll probably come out, waiting that one turn probably won't hurt you.

His next ability lets you essentially play one card from your opponent's RFG zone each turn. He's like a reverse-Lumia, except you have to build up to it and he can't refill his resources. And it's still dependent on what the opponent is running/using. It's a nice nod to his original God's Art though, being able to play your opponent's stuff. His final ability lets you pay two will and spend 2 of your opponent's RFG'd cards in order to kill a resonator. He has a built-in Stoning to Death, which is nice, but it will rapidly deplete your RFG resources if you're not careful.

Here we have Lapis' stone, the Red/Black Shock Rock. It's unique effect is that on-enter your opponent RFG's the top card of their deck. A neat little way to give Lapis' engine a nudge, but you can't really count on this every game to be a consistent source of removing. It certainly helps, though.

Valentina's back (again), this time rocking out Shion's corpse that she stored after shanking her back on Attoractia. She's a Twelve Apostle again, back to serving Lapis after striking out on her own didn't work. A 900/900 for four will isn't awful, but you could definitely do better. Anything she deals damage to gets RFG'd, and she'll remove a 2-cost or less resonator on-enter. You can spend one RFG'd card to give her Swiftness or Precision, and you can spend 3 to give her 500/500 (Shion's God's Art, anyone?). Honestly, she's underwhelming. She comes out at the same time in the game a Captain Hook or a Charlotte can come out, and comparing her to those two, she doesn't look so good. You can kill a 2-drop, sure, but what kind of value is that? Abdul totally shuts that ability down, anyway. She offers a way to consistently RFG cards, but that depends entirely on how long she's able to survive.

Here's a neat little guy that lets you try to get your RFG engine going sooner. A 2-drop with 600 attack certainly isn't bad, but 500 defense puts him below the standard 6/6 power curve 2-drops tend to have. And he's even restricted with a 2-color cost too. He will RFG the top card of the opponent's deck whenever he deals damage to them, but with only 500 defense? He dies too easily. One Space-Time, a Demonflame or Lightning Strike, and he's done. He should have had Swiftness instead of First Strike so you can at least get some immediate value out of him.

I really don't like this card. As much of a struggle as it is to get those RFG cards, and he uses one to deal 400 to the opponent? As a 3-cost unit? That gets shut down by Abdul? He just doesn't have anything going for him. Maybe if he had a second, reusable ability, preferably one that help you turbo RFG. But as-is he's just kind of filler.

Here's a cute card. It's a 4-cost Addition, none of that cost being void will, that forces the opponent to 1-for-1 with you whenever one of your resonators dies. That's cool for like a token-spam kamikaze type of deck, maybe with Fiethsing or the Vingolf Kaguya, but for this deck? No thanks. And since the opponent banishes, if they have more than 1 resonator you can't even try to use Lapis' Ruler ability to benefit off of this. As expensive as it is, and giving you no real RFG accrual, I just don't see this having a place in the deck.

Here we have the final card of the spoiler. It's a resonator kill spell for total cost 3 at instant speed, which is fairly standard. Endless Night, Oni Strike, and Plot of Water and Darkness are all similar. Those cards, though, all have secondary effects. This card will remove the target from the game, sure, but realistically that has no functional difference. No big resonators have an on-death effect that RFGing them can get around, and you certainly won't use this on a Rukh Egg or Monkey Trapped in Life. Lacking the secondary effect, this card just feels like a functionally worse version of the previously mentioned cards. It helps with Lapis' judgment cost and helps you get more of your opponent's cards RFG'd, sure, but this has almost negative synergy with Lapis himself. Using this much will on a kill spell that doesn't even need Lapis to RFG, his Ruler ability just feels even more useless.

As an added bonus, here's the Pre-Release Promo for Return of the Dragon Emperor. This got posted a while ago on the main site, but I figured I'd throw it in here since this is the Red/Black article. He has the same cost as Valentina, but is rocking 100/100 more in stats and has Flying/Swiftness, a potent combo. At the end of your turn you have to spend 1 of your opponent's RFG cards or banish it, and you can pay 6 will to play it from your graveyard. The keyword combination is extremely powerful, allowing for some easy kills from out of nowhere, and being able to use him from your graveyard (and dodging negate spells) is very powerful since it means you'll always have a live beater. Consuming your RFG cards like that, though, can become very expensive very fast. The thing I don't like is that between him and Valentina, this deck is looking like it's aiming for a very high cost curve, and I'm not a fan of that.

That's it for this week. I was super hyped to see these cards, but honestly I feel let down. The deck feels like a more control-oriented Alisaris, except its RFG engine is way slower and depends almost entirely on the opponent and what/how they're playing. What the deck does, and how it's trying to do it, seem very out of sync. To me, it feels like the Lumia of this set: Very incoherent, low-powered support, but without the benefit Lumia had of being generic and having a splashable Ruler ability. I really hope the rest of the Red/Black stuff can redeem these cards.

Monday, February 13, 2017

RDE Preview #3 - Impressions

What up party people, we've come to yet another Monday which means another spoiler article. I am oh so hyped today, not only because of some good slew of cards, but also because of the lore implications of these cards. We'll be looking at the Light/Blue support today, so let's dive right in!


Millium makes his triumphant return this set, after not receiving any actually support last set and only appearing on one or two cards. I'm going to preface this by saying I'm really not a fan of having Rulers appear as different Rulers in the same cluster since it really cuts down on aesthetics and giving people a variety of characters to get attached to, but by golly am I satisfied with the way they've done it this time. Millium has a base Judgment cost of 7, 5 of that being void cost. You can reduce this by 1 for every four "Dragon Power Counters" he has on him, meaning you'll need a whopping 20 of these counters to completely remove his void cost. Luckily he adds 1 counter each time you do a Force roll, and it's important to note that it's only 1 counter per Force ability, not 1 for every die you roll. Sorry Pandora. But what do you get for all your trouble of amassing 20 of these counters? A Harpies Pet Dragon of course! But oh, he has 0 ATK and 0 DEF. Looks like all your effort was for nothing, since he just dies to game mechanics when he enters...

Hold on there baconator, because he's got a whopper of an effect when he enters. Not only does he have Flying (as a Dragon should), but as he enters you'll do a Force check of X, where you roll 1 die for every Dragon Power Counter he has. You went through all the effort of getting all twenty counters on him? You roll twenty die. TWENTY. DIE. Then he gets the result as 100/100 counters. If you rolled 40 or higher, you nuke the opponent's J/resonators. For the D&D players out there, Millium is the final boss of a dungeon, the opponent's field is the adventuring party, and you're doing a massive constitution check. Spoiler alert: They all die. Naturally, getting the 40 to trigger this effect means his attack is going to be 4000 or higher, so he's going to 1-shot the opponent. Throw a Laevateinn in and just make it game then and there.

What I love about this card is that he's interchangeable with old Millium. They both focus on getting huge J-Ruler sides and beating the opponent down, but Millium 1 does it over time and pressures the opponent over the course of a few turns, while this Millium does it in one explosive play. Millium 1 can flip a lot earlier than this card, but doesn't have as impactful of an entry. They both work best in Force-based decks, so you have two J-Rulers that pull from the same support pool and offer two different ways of playing the deck. A+ cluster design here.

What would a Ruler be without their special stone? Stone of the Dragonoids has all the standard shock rock effects, with the unique ability being that it puts a Dragon Power Counter on Millium when it enters. Totally useless outside of his deck, but also offers a good way to turbo through those counters. When 20 is your goal, every bit helps.

Here we have Valentina Moojdart Ryula, Alabaster Dragon Princess. Aka Millium's bae. 3-cost with 800/800 stats is standard, and she has a modal effect on-enter. You can either put a 2-cost or less Dragonoid into play from your graveyard or heal your Astral Ruler. Yup, you read it right, we can now heal dead J-Rulers. This is huge news for post-rotation, since we'll be losing all the regalia that give us easy Imperishable, and she offers great utility to J-Ruler-centric decks that might have fallen on hard times and gotten Moonbeam'd early. She works especially well with Millium since he keeps all of his counters even after he dies as a J-Ruler. In old Millium this means you can re-flip him, keeping your previous Force checks, and start pumping him up again. In this new Millium you get even more value out of her. Dragon Millium keeps all of his counters, so if you flip him and only get like 14 on your rolls and he ends up dying, Ryula can heal him. Then he'll still have all his Dragon Power Counters and those 14 +100/+100 counters. Flip him to do his effect again, which adds to his existing counters, and even lets you hit his 40 counter threshold if you didn't roll a 40 either time. That's some nice synergy. She also pumps your other Dragonoids and Ancients by 200 ATK/DEF, which is a nice little bonus.

That leads us into our next Dragonoid, Alabaster Dragon Knight. He's a 2-cost with 400/400 stats, so below par for what he should be. However, he's a 2-cost Kid Puss-in-Boots and will Force roll on-enter, potentially netting you a 1000 ATK/DEF 2-cost. Or a measly 500/500. If you have Pandora out and get two rolls, you're just making it rain pain on your opponent. He can be revived by Ryula's on-enter, which will trigger his Force roll again, netting you even more Dragon Power Counters for Millium.

"But even with Alabaster Knight and Puss-In-Boots, you'd still have to play twenty of them to get Millium's counters up!" You're absolutely right, which is why we have this little tool right here. Tiny Alabaster Drake isn't a Dragonoid, so he won't benefit from Ryula's power pump, but he doesn't need to. A 1-cost 100/300 isn't the worst, especially with Flying, but he also has a reusable Force ability. Whenever he attacks, you Force 1 and he gains that much power for the turn. If you have Pandora out, he's just a monstrosity that will fly over the opponent and beat their face in. The best part is that you can naturally play him Turn 1 and Pandora on Turn 2 and get the full benefits from her, unlike Puss-In-Boots where you lose out on so much power if you play him before Pandora.

First Sylvia's Roar, now Millium's Roar, it's like I'm watching Fairy Tail with all these dragon roars going around. Millium's Roar isn't quickcast, which is always sad on any chant, but will let you Force 1 and pump up to two different resonators by the result. That's a substantial amount of power being distributed to the field, especially if Pandora is out.

The final card today is Dragon Power, where we see Natsu and Igneel doing a combo attack Alabaster Dragon Knight either transforming into a dragon, or pretending like he can. Unlike Millium's Roar this card does have Quickcast, letting you drop a surprise power boost on your opponent's turn. It's basically a more expensive Dreams of Flight, giving you 1 Force roll and powering up a card by the result for the turn. It lacks remnant, costs 1 more will, and doesn't give Flying. What it does do, however, is recover the target if it's a Dragonoid. The only Dragonoids we saw today were Ryula and Knight, but even Knight alone makes this a powerful card. If you played him and rolled a 3 or 4, he'll be a 700-800 attacker. Swing with him, then drop this to pump him up even more and let him swing again. We've been promised more Dragonoids too, so this card can only get better. The most interesting thing to note, however, is that it's an Ancient Magic.

That brings me to the lore part of today's spoiler. A lot of these flavor texts refer to Force being the last power/chance to stop Alhama'at. Millium's flavor text mentions that only he can wield the power, due to being a descendant of someone who could. This "Dragon Power" being an Ancient Magic, and the lore articles specifically mentioning that Millium's stone has almost identical power to that of the magic the Luminaries use, starts to add up. This sounds like Millium is the descendant of one of the Luminaries, potentially the Light one. Does this mean Grimm is/was a Luminary? Or does it go back further? If Millium has Altean ancestry, but isn't aligned with Altea and doesn't know of it's existence, that likely means the Light Luminary betrayed the others in the past. These Dragonoids being a tribe/race of people who use this magic could mean the Light Luminary broke off and founded his own faction. Jordan has said we won't get all the Luminaries, and if that's true, it could be because some of them are dead/gone. And how does Gill Lapis play into all of this? In the lore, Charlotte noted how similar Millium's stone's power was to Lapis', but it's been stated/implied that Lapis hates the Luminaries and his father. There's a ton of stuff going on here and the lore is getting juicier and juicier each set. I'm loving this.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

RDE Preview #2 - Impressions

Welcome back guys, gals, and lizard people. Today we'll be looking at the Red/Green support, coming to us in the form of Pricia. While I'm not too thrilled about getting another old character in a new Ruler form, she's packing some pretty amazing support.


Here we see the Wild Child back in her old body, where she belongs. It's implied in the flavor texts that Faria was able to defeat Valentina and drive her out of Pricia's body, restoring her soul with her Memoria. This has some pretty neat imagery on her Ruler side, where you see her still in Valentina's attire, holding her memoria, with a somber look on her face. She's been through a lot, and wakes up on a strange world, and this art captures that perfectly, even right down to the colors.

From an abilities standpoint, she's just as beautiful. A 2-cost judgment is a little cheaper than most, letting her flip earlier than an opponent might be used to. She has the standard two-color energize, but she's also rocking out two different Resonance abilities. If you flip a Fire Stone, target resonator gets Swiftness. If you flip a wind stone, target resonator gets Flying. Since 8/10ths of her stone deck are going to count as both, calling a stone essentially guarantees you both keywords. On any resonator. Playing a card before you tap for stone will let you get your aggro on, and boy does it look nice.

Flipping her, you get a monstrous 1000/1000 body (a body she seems more than willing to show off) and a wall of text that rivals last article's Kaguya. When she enters the field, or attacks, you get to choose one of two abilities: Put a resonator on the bottom of your deck, then flip the top card and play it if it's a resonator (and put it to your hand if it isn't), or put a stone on the bottom of your stone deck and call the top card of your stone deck. This lets you recycle a resonator that already attacked, or turn a tapped stone into an untapped one (and trigger any resonance abilities of your resonators). Being able to trigger this on-attack is a great way to keep your resonance abilities triggering.

But that isn't all she's packing. We also get a God's Art, for the low low cost of two will. Pricia recovers herself and gives your field Swiftness and Flying. That's stupid powerful for only two will, right? She swings, then recovers AND gives your field hard-to-block keywords. The catch is that you can only play this ability if a Fire Magic Stone and Wind Magic Stone were put into your field this turn. You know, like from her first on-attack ability that would call a dual stone?

Of course, a Ruler is nothing without their Memoria. This particular Shock Rock keeps the standard formula going, and its unique ability let's you draw a card whenever it leaves for a non-field zone. Captain Hook? Draw 1. World Flame Summoning? Draw 1. Pricia used her on-attack ability to cycle this stone? Draw 1. Remember when aggro decks' biggest weakness was their lack of hard advantage? "We fixed that" - FoW Inc, probably.

Who's this little doll? Mariabella is back, following her good friend Pricia. If only Machina were here to see her. She's certainly come a long way since her last incarnation, whose only real purpose was to die. Now, though, she's packing heat. For a 4-cost resonator 1000/1000 stats are very respectable, and she's got just about everything you could want in a high-cost resonator. On-enter you can grab a Basic Stone from your stone deck and play it, so you get some nice ramp just from playing her. "But we ain't stopping there!" - FoW Inc, probably. She's also rocking double resonance abilities just like Pricia, one for wind and one for fire. Fire stones will put a blast counter on her, and wind stones put a breeze counter on her. You can remove a blast counter to deal 500 damage to a J/resonator, so she comes with her own blocker removal. Removing a breeze counter gets you a wall of wind which, of course, can be stacked with itself. Really don't want your opponent playing that card? Remove 3 breeze counters. Why not? You have a 1000/1000 negating monstrosity on board. Who got Cyber Dragon Infinity in my Force of Will?

Here we have the token filler/gimmick card for the theme. 800/700 with flying for a 3-cost is really good, and it will replace itself when it dies (just like a... phoenix!?). This thing is target for Pricia's J-Ruler ability, netting you 2 cards off the top of your deck, and also works great with Lumia. It's also a target for Flame King's Shout, is a beast, and is just generally good overall. I don't know if it will make it into a competitive deck, but dang is this thing a nice card.

Speaking of gimmicky cards. Fiery Soldier of Milest counts as a Fire Magic Stone, so he'll trigger all your resonance effects. He can give himself swiftness from Pricia's Ruler ability, so he's a discount Lancelot with a bit more synergy in this deck. He's actually pretty good for early aggression in the deck, and you can ship him away with Pricia's J-ruler ability once you're done with him.

First we got a beast, and now a machine? This is actually low-key legacy support for old Alice cluster decks. 700 is higher than normal for a 2-cost resonator, but he makes up for it by having basically no defense. Swiftness ensures you'll get something out of him, though, and First Strike makes sure he won't die via battle against weenies. All-in-all, though, he's not too impressive. Also, obligatory "Burning Pot"/"Grass attribute"/Weed joke.

Hot golly, a good pact spell!? This thing is a monstrosity, let me tell you. As with all pact spells, it has two effects which can both be used if you have two Wind/Fire J/resonators on board. One effect is a one-sided duel of truth, and the other says you put the top card of your stone deck into play whenever one of your opponent's resonators dies after being dealt damage by one of your cards. At minimum, this thing will be a 1-card removal AND a ramp spell, which is amazing in and of itself. But the potential to get 2, maybe even 3 stones? That's insane! And with quickcast it can serve as blocker removal. This thing is just all-around good.

That's it for today, and gosh is it a lot to take in. Pretty much all of these cards are amazing (not just passable, outright good) and have tons of different decks they can go in. This is some A+ card design right here. Like Kaguya, Pricia is definitely going to make a meta impact when this set drops!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Return of the Dragon Emperor - Spoiler #1 Impressions

Just as one spoiler season winds down, another kicks in. We got the rest of Vingolf spoiled last night thanks to the FoW official database, but I didn't find too many of the cards worth talking about, especially not in the wake of a new spoiler article tonight.

Kicking off these spoilers is Kaguya, the-girl-who-gets-printed-every-set-in-some-fashion, in her fourth ruler appearance. We see her making a return to her roots with a huge focus on Treasury Items. She flips for free, but can only judgment if you've put a treasury item into your field this turn. She also has the handy ability of being able to check your top card, and if its a treasury item, you can add it to hand. Plusses are always good, especially when they're on a card you start the game with, and are repeatable. You can only use it once per turn, and only during your turn, but it's still a good stream of advantage if you play your cards right.

Flipping her, you're met with a wall of text that rivals even her Moonlit Savior text box. She has no stats, and no "cannot battle" text either, so she'll act like Fox and Reflect and just sit on the field once you judgment. If you have 3 or more treasury items then she gets Barrier, so no Black Moonbeam. She also has a multitude of effects that can scale with the number of treasury items you control. Resting one lets you sap 200 ATK from a j/resonator, resting two lets you make one will, resting three lets you draw a card, resting four lets you bounce a resonator, and resting five will make her a 1500/1500 flier. Keep in mind none of these are once per turn, and there isn't a restriction on how many you can use either. Got six treasury items? Draw 2. Or maybe make 3 will you can spend on anything.

Really, I hate this kind of ruler design. A comprehensive list of non-battling utility Rulers: Kaguya Princess of the Moon, Reflect // Refrain, and Nine-Tailed Fox. Two of these are banned, one is currently a meta deck (although not as strong as it used to be). Utility Rulers, by default, have a leg-up on others just because you remove the ability to kill them via battle, and most/all of them have ways to get around effect destruction. It removes almost all counter play to the Ruler itself, and they tend to have reactive effects that they can tailor to almost any situation. R//R could do virtually anything, Fox has a toolbox of Chimeras to answer any situation with, and Kaguya is Class G's Tank on crack.

I'm not crying wolf just yet, but unless her support is just dirt, I don't see this card not impacting the meta. She offers ramp, draw, battle counterplay, and the ability to become a Behemoth. Heck, she has built-in blocker removal so she might as well say "This card cannot be blocked" if the blocker doesn't have Barrier. 

Here we have her dedicated shock rock. It has the standard shock rock text, produces two colors, and counts as both basic magic stones. Its specific ability lets you check the top 2 cards of your deck when it enters the field. This lets you put any Treasury Items you see on top, the use Kaguya's Ruler ability to add them to your hand. Wombo combo. Not much else to say about it, but the ability is really generic and can go great in any deck.

Right out the gates we get a resonator that counts as a treasury item. It took the Luminaries two sets to get an Ancient Magic resonator, and even then it was just a vanilla. 500/500 with Flying for two will is good value, especially a card that rests a blocker on-attack, and rests a potential attacker on-block. And rests a card when you rest it for one of Kaguya's J-Ruler abilities. The card isn't stellar on its own, but being able to play on curve and maintain field presence while building up treasury items makes it a double whammy of a card.

Water Kimono of Twelve Parts: Official Outerwear of Croco-Shark Nation. I'm a huge fan of cards with "You can run X number of these" effects, since it makes for really interesting deck brews. Water Kimono lets you run twelve in your deck (hence the "Twelve Parts" in the name), and has a cheap cost of only one water, and an even cheaper bestow cost of resting it. The bestowed resonator gets +1/+1 for each bestowed Water Kimono, so it scales exponentially. One will give it +1/+1, two for +2/+2 (a total of +4/+4), three for +3/+3 (totalling +9/+9), and so on. Six of them will give a resonator 3600 ATK/DEF. Seven will be an OTK. Combo this with the Kaguya resonator from Legacy Lost and you're looking at a relentless chain of attacks. If you bestow it to a water resonator, however, you can flat-out win the game if you bestow all twelve Kimonos to it. 

Remember all that crappy Addition support from CFC? Let's revisit those. Ancient Automaton is going to be a monster in this deck. If you have the items to make Kaguya a 1500/1500, then Automaton will be a 1400/1400 two-drop. How insane is that? Keeper of the Frozen Casket is a one-drop that gives all your Additions Barrier, so R.I.P. any Addition hate.

Mystia is pretty good for what she does. 500/500 for a three-cost are abysmal stats, but she searches a treasury item on-enter, so you can get your Kaguya pain train going early. When she dies (which she will, with those stats) you can play any three-cost or less treasury item from your hand. She essentially replaces herself on the field, but I doubt she'll be necessary to the deck. Water already has access to Summon from Memoria which, coupled with Kaguya's Ruler ability, should be more than enough ponder/search to give you a healthy flow of treasury items.

Here we have discount Horn of the Sacred Beasts. It only shuffles three back, rather than the whole graveyard, and can't refresh your stones. It's good for when/if your opponent kills off a Water Kimono or two, and you're gunning for that win condition, but overall I think this'll just serve as a low-cost warm body for Kaguya's treasury item thresholds, with the utility of being able to snipe pesky graveyard cards.

Here's the monster addition. Giving blanket destruction immunity to all other treasury items means you're safe from Heavenly Gust, the only real anti-Addition card that sees meta play at the moment. If you have two of these out, your Additions are safe from any kind of destruction. The only real out would be Lumia's Judgment, but Red/Light doesn't see much play at all so that might just end up being a niche weakness. We'll have to see once this whole set is spoiled. This moon will also sap 200 ATK from a resonator when it gets rested, doubling down on Kaguya's Rest-One ability, but it doesn't do much otherwise.

That's the last of it for today. Honestly, this deck is poised to be really strong unless some hard Addition hate comes out. Lumia's Judgment has the potential to totally shut it down and skate around almost all the protection the deck has, but its color combination and high cost will make it hard to run competitively, and this deck will definitely be packing a ton of negation since it has green access. I don't want to be a doomsayer, but Kaguya is looking very solid, especially since we have more support to see.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Vingolf 3 - Valhalla Spoilers

Here we go kids, the last spoiler for Vingolf, and what a ride it has been. According to Jordan we'll be getting the entire set spoiled before it drops next weekend, so I'm anxiously waiting to see what reprints we'll be getting, as well as what other Rulers will be gracing us with their resonator forms. Fingers crossed for Alisaris! This is another posted-immediately-after-the-spoiler articles, but I'll be gone all weekend at Carolina Games Summit, so I'm knocking this out now.

And we're starting off strong. Siegfried (on top of being one of my favorite myths) is an absolute monster of a card. 7/7 for three will is standard, but he'll become a 13/13 with flying if you have a Dragon. That alone is insane, but he also recovers all of your dragons when he enters! That's just insane! Dragons are a pretty beefy race of cards, generally packing high costs and higher attack power. On top of the well-known Gwiber and Draig, we also have Bahamut from this Vingolf and Flame Dragon of Altea. It's also important to note that his effect isn't restricted to just resonators: Dragon Rulers are going to get a second wind too! He'll restand Sylvia, who can potentially recover three more stones (and let you play another Siegfried!), and every J-Ruler in Vingolf works with him. I mean, even if you only have one dragon in play he's going to be a power play. One Gwiber? That's still 2400 damage getting thrown at the opponent. Utter madness.

Sol is a meager 4/4 for two will, far below the standard, but he's functionally a new Gretel. Instead of calling wind stones, however, he calls basic light stones. As noted in the article, Millium is the biggest candidate for this. However, a Wendy rush deck using the new Light Dragon Ruler from Vingolf will benefit from this guy a ton. He gives the potential for a 4/4 pump from triggering resonance twice, and if you've got new Grimm on the field, this guy is a Fairy Tale and will recover Wendy. The combos are just waiting to happen.

And now we start to move into Meh City. Knight Lord of Godspeed has the honor of being the first non-fire resonator with printed Swiftness we've seen, but that's really all he has going for him. He's a 10/10 vanilla that can swing off the turn he's played, and he'll give your field Precision, but that's not much. You can play a Celestial Wing Seraph for the same cost, but get a second strong resonator plus its effect. He looks cool, but he just doesn't cut it in my opinion.

Barust is going to spawn some pretty irritating locals decks. He gets 2/2 for each magic stone in any graveyard, which isn't all that good at first glance, but he synergizes with himself. Rest him and banish one of your magic stones, and you can deal 500 damage to one resonator. Yeah, it's awful. Rest him and banish two of your magic stones, though, and you can destroy one special magic stone. Losing two of your own stones to kill one of your opponent's sounds really bad, but I bet you can use a bunch of ramp cards to keep yourself afloat. Sol, Blessings of Yggdrasil, and Magic Stone Analysis all come to mind. Turn 1 you play this guy. Turn 2 you play one of those cards to get a third stone, use this guy to kill 2 of your stones (down to 1) to kill your opponents one stone. Next turn you tap for stone, going back up to 2, and play another of the aforementioned cards. Sack 2 stones to kill your opponent's only stone, rinse and repeat. As long as you have one of those ramp cards in your hand, you're golden. Run a 20-card stone deck and stall your opponent out as long as possible, and once they run out of their 10 stones, you just take your sweet time killing them. They can't play with no stones, and he'll be impossibly big. At the end of this series of unfortunate events, all 20 of your stones will be gone and all 10 of your opponent's will too, so this guy is leeching off of 30 stones in the graves. That's 6000 attack. RIP your opponent.

Here we have the wondrous return of Explode, but not in keyword form. Anytime something of yours attacks, if it gets blocked, you nuke the attacker and blocker. Sadly, its mandatory, but it's non-target removal. You won't want to use any big resonators in this deck, since the opponent can just block with weenies and make it a 1-for-1 trade. I feel like this guy will be good in a token deck that can churn them out (cough Elves cough), maybe with a Library of Alexandria to get the maximum Aggro out of them. He can even kill J-Rulers, too. Swiftness might not be the best keyword on him, though, since you'll probably want to refrain from attacking with him. Don't want to kamikaze into some worthless chump blocker.

If Alisaris doesn't get a resonator, I'm blaming this card. He burns your opponent and one of their resonators for 600 on-enter, and does nothing else. Just sits there are a weak 600/600... for 4 will. Honestly this guy is pretty useless, so if Alisaris got the boot for him, I'm writing some very angry letters.

Here we have one of the poster children for this Vingolf. Chronos' art was one of the first released, and seeing how OP his Ruler was, I know a lot of people were excited to see where they went with him. Honestly his effect is amazing, it gives you 2 draws per turn which really adds up. However, on a 4-drop resonator, it may come in a bit late to be of any real use. Ramp decks will make great use of him, but he's really vulnerable to removal and doesn't do anything to actively help you win. He's an investment card: You don't get anything out of him until the following turn, and from there he just turns into raw advantage. If you can take the tempo hit of playing him when you should be playing something like Captain Hook or a similar swing-card, then he'll pay off big time. With all the easy resonator removal in the game, I doubt he'll ever be worth it. Maybe in a Mercerius/Sol deck, where you can drop him with Rising and force them to deal with other threats before him. Heck, drop 2-3 of him and just go to town on advantage.

Speaking of Rising decks, here's Rising from the Depths: The Resonator. Tomoe has two identical awakenings, so you can choose to play her as a 3-cost to bounce one resonator, or as a 4-cost to bounce two. She's essentially a blue version of Nyarlathotep, but offers way less utility. Once she hits the field she's just a vanilla, and since we're in a meta of on-enter effects, she's really not all that great.

Trash-tier vanilla card. Moving on.

I really want to like this card. She's a 5-drop, so on the expensive end of resonators, but will let you add a Chant, Resonator, and Addition from your graveyard to your hand on-enter. This is a great reset, but for 5 mana, you'd want something with more of a tempo swing that this, especially since she's only 8/8. If mass-discard makes a resurgence then I bet she'll see play, but I don't see any current deck investing that much into her. Lumia can make great use of her by spamming her for the +3 every turn, but they'd just rather abuse Hook and win sooner.

Home boy Oberon switched from fairies to elves. I guess he wanted to be taller. 7/7 for a 4-drop isn't good stats, but he gives you three Elf token when he enters, so he more than makes up for himself in value. Feithsing loves this guy, and he adds a ton of speed to Elf tribal decks. There isn't much else to say: He does tight, clean work.

Here we have Green Wendy. Silph doesn't have flying, unfortunately, but recovering when you call a stone is pretty good aggro value, especially on a 6/6 two drop. Combine this with things like Sol or Magical Stone Analysis and you've got a pretty good rush turn. The lack of flying makes it a lot easier to block, though. He (she?) takes less deck-investment than Wendy, though, so there are definitely some perks here.

Oh this guy looks super fun. His stats are low for his cost, but that's not what's important. For one black, resting him, and sacking a resonator you can revive any resonator from your graveyard. You can only do this during your turn, but the possibilities are still endless. Easy access to Azathoth, Hook spam, you name it. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure you can't revive what you sacked, but that's probably for the best. It sucks you can't use him in response to targeted removal, but I suppose that would be broken. Still, big resonator spam is viable now, and I can't wait to test it out.

I'm torn on this guy. I've been told "He's amazing! Instant inclusion in control decks post-rotation," but I'm not sold. 6/4 aren't the worst stats for a 2-drop, since Bow and Space-Time will be rotating (unless Space-Time gets the reprint in here, which I'm kind of expecting), but you can't really ever attack with him. He's basically a pseudo-blocker for 600 that will gain you life, and is recurring. Kind of. Paying 3 to add him to your hand from your graveyard when you call a stone is... not that good I would think. It isn't instant-speed, so you can't use your unused will before upkeep. You'd be starting the turn down 3 will for anything else. 5 down if you play him. Seems like a huge will sink for very little real payoff.

Another card similar to Shade. Loki gets a bigger booty the more cards you have in your graveyard, and at 10, he gets flying and lifelink. Not awful for a 2-drop, but starting out with 100 defense leaves him very vulnerable to burn and damage. 500 and Lifelink isn't very impressive, either. You aren't doing any real damage, and black has plenty of other options for scary boss monsters. Heck, Rinka can fly and she can potentially hit for way more. In a post-rotation format, where we've lost things like Lucifer, then maybe. But we'd have lost a lot of other control tools too, so it's really up in the air. Personally, I think there will be plenty of better options.

I was hyped to see Odin, but a little disappointed he wasn't Light/Darkness with a self-recovery effect like his old J-Ruler form was. He's still a monstrosity, though. 6 will is a lot, but once he's in play, he doubles your available will. All of your stones produce 1 more will when you tap them. How insane is that? There's the argument that once you're at 6 stones you shouldn't really need more ramp, but there are ways to get this guy out earlier. If you're playing Fox, you can Alice's Castling a Griphon away to drop him early. Sariel can cheese him in from your graveyard on Turn 5. From there, feel free to cast stupidly-expensive cards like they're nothing. Valentina's Reach to draw your whole deck or make your opponent discard their 7-card hand. Steam explosion for a 1-shot. Use Charm of the Princess to steal a 10-cost resonator just to style on your opponent. I mean, imagine this guy in Vlad Tepes.

That's it for this week's spoilers. We'll be getting Vingolf's actual release next week, and I'm super pumped to see what else is in store. I'll definitely be throwing up an article covering anything noteworthy that gets revealed then, and I think we may be getting L3 spoilers starting Tuesday? We'll see. Until then!