Time for some more Equipment of Interest! Lets dive in!
I usually end up talking about crazy Legendary equipment in these articles so this time I figured I’d start with some common cards with some common equipment. So here we have the Blood Bearer, the unfortunate Shin’hare given the job of lugging buckets of blood around! Now, I really like this card, I think it’s a nice passive boost that plays very well with Shin’hare sacrifice decks. That said, lifegain isn’t generally considered to be a very powerful effect so a lot of people are fairly unimpressed with this guy. Either way, his equipment has the potential to make him very interesting, especially for a 1 cost common.
With the gauntlets, his health gain triggers when opposing troops die, as well as your own. Simple enough. Pretty much what you would expect from a common piece of equipment – a minor modification to a fairly minor effect. The uncommon Helmet Of The Yoke makes things a little more interesting though – you get an extra 1 health for each troop in the graveyard. Obviously not much use at the start of the game, but if you’re running that Shin’hare sacrifice deck and you’re a few turns in, your graveyard may well have quite a few troops in there. Even 2 or 3 troops makes this effect much more powerful, and as you continue to sacrifice those runty little Battle Hoppers you are both gaining more health and making the effect more and more powerful. Combined with the gauntlets, and any time a troop dies you’re going to be getting a nice health boost, which could easily keep your health total well out of reach of your opponent. As I said, not bad for a 1 cost troop.
Next, Countermagic, a staple of many control decks. Obviously this card is pretty great by itself, a Quick Action that lets you stop any card from resolving (assuming you have the resources to play it.) So, how can equipment improve this card? Well, the Antimagic Helm basically removes the requirement to even have the resources available to play it – you can just discard a Sapphire Shard from your hand instead of paying the resources. This will be great for surprising your opponent when they’re about to play some game-changing card (to the extent that your AI opponents can be surprised, anyway.) Obviously discarding a valuable resource from your hand might not be ideal, especially if it’s the only one you have and you’re going to need it next turn, but if it’s going to keep you in a better position than your puny opponent, it may well be worth it.
The Boots of Negation stop this card from itself being interrupted. It’s some nice insurance to make sure things go your way, though the value of this will obviously depend on how common interrupts are in PvE. It may be the case that it’s rare, making this piece situational, but if there is an interrupt-heavy dungeon or quest, this piece may be a great addition, allowing to you both interrupt your opponents cards without fear of yourself being countered, or allowing you to interrupt their own counters without suffering the same fate yourself.
When Runic Monolith was revealed, it was met by the community with a resounding “meh.” It’s not a terrible effect, allowing you to take your opponent’s biggest hitter out of commission every other turn, but the fact that it costs 2 resources and is only viable on alternate turns means there are generally going to be a lot of options far more worth taking that this thing. So, does the equipment change this? Maybe so!
The Fang of Xentoth applies the same “can’t ready” stipulation to the target, essentially allowing you to lock down a single troop permanently, if you’re willing to keep pumping the resources into it every other turn. This allows it to function as some soft removal, though it’s a costly example of it, and you can still probably find better alternatives. It is an improvement though. Vestiments Of The Ancients, though, is a whole different story, completely altering the functionality of this card. It goes from some mediocre stalling to some very impressive ramp that happens to have an exhaust effect.
Lets say you drop this thing on turn 2. Now that your next Artifact or Dwarf costs 4 less resources to play, you can now immediately play a Hex Engine or a Researcher Adept for free. Both of these are great options, giving you either reliable turn 3 resource acceleration, or a 2ATT/3DEF troop and card advantage. Leave it a turn or 2 and you can get a nice cheap Droo’s Unstoppable Walker or a Master Theorycrafter much earlier than you would be able to normally. Have two of them, and use one to play a Hex Engine and you’re going to be able to play some very powerful cards very early in the game. Remember in the Kickstarter video when Cory was talking about how equipment fundamentally altered cards? I’m pretty sure this is the card he was talking about.
The last card in today’s lineup is the Genesis Hydra. This is another card that I really like, and it has the capability to grow to immense proportions – a fact exploited in the latest Threshold Podcast puzzle – but it has a fairly large weakness; it starts off small, and has to be able to survive the first hit it takes so that it can begin to grow. Basically, with a starting defence of only 2, if there is no way available to deal 1 point of damage to the Hydra it essentially becomes worthless. Both pieces of equipment help address this.
First up, the Snakeskin Sandals give you a flat +1ATT/+1DEF buff. Basic stuff, but valuable – increasing the Hydra to a base 3/3 means that he can take up to 2 damage and still survive to grow (a much more achievable feat, as it vastly increases the range of troops he can safely block, as well as the number of damaging effects you could cast on it yourself), and also increases the rate in which he grows; his first growth will boost his attack to 6 rather than 4, and on to ludicrous sizes from there. A simple piece of equipment, but effective.
The Serpentine Armguards are the piece we’re really interested in here, though, as they give the Hydra the ability to fight another target troop outside the normal combat phase. Basically, this lets you pick and chose the best fights to make your Hydra grow and ensure his survival, while also functioning as removal, allowing you to pick off the opponent’s troops with your ever-growing monstrosity. This makes the Hydra both much more reliable and much more than just a giant stompy monster. Not that giant stompy monsters aren’t awesome. Because they are.
So, that just about wraps up this instalment of Equipment of Interest. With hundreds of cards and thousands of pieces of equipment, I’m sure there is plenty left to say on this subject. Hopefully next time we’ll have more PvE-exclusive cards revealed, and I can talk about those specifically.
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That’s all for today! Check back next time, when I reveal the dark secret behind the creepy man who lives at the end of your street!