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.

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