Hello Champions ZerrisValaren here and this weekend I attended the main event for the East Coast Rumble. Originally I was attending to lend my skills as a Heraldor on Saturday, but I was able to last minute join the event. Since I was playing in the tournament I unfortunately could not post the articles to accompany the stream. So today I worked on some quick changes and got my review of the event’s spoilers. Before we dive into the review of those reveals I want to thank Playfusion, Toywiz, and the TO (Brian Schmidt) for the time they took to put this together and for providing great prize support and the space to play. Congrats to Peter Squindo for winning first place, which came with entry into PAX and the Pitched Battle events. Hope he does well over there!
One of the best parts about this event was that I was able to network with so many people, some of who I play on the app with like Slapchopz (who is an incredible dude), some of whom are just a state or two away. I met a lot of great players who I look forward to seeing again. On a personal level I was very proud of my girlfriend who won “best in faction” for Order. She rubbed it in that she has a poster and shot glass already, several times. I am also extremely proud of Darren M. Hurst (“D” on the App), many of you may know him from Thunder Pals streams. Darren came with a Death deck and fought against constant Destruction decks to come out in 4th place (probably knocked me out of top 4). I’ve said it several times on the Facebook or Discords… if you ever need advice running Death I suggest you hit Darren up the man knows Death like no other. If you want to get an idea of East Coast shenanigans follow YerTrey an NYC Vexillor on Instagram where he shared pictures, commentary, and videos in between rounds to get a feel of how the event was. But let’s get to the real reason we are here, these four cards;
The Spoiled Cards:
Let me begin by saying, Ancient Skeletons are (was) probably my favorite card in the reveal. Before we dive into why specifically let’s just run through the card. The skeletons themselves seems pretty comparable at first because at X-2-3 they are either average or slightly above average in terms of damage. Now factor in the fact they have a stacking and Risen keywords and they only get stronger. If you look at the other comparable stacking Risen units; Skeletal Legion is the closest option since they can do 5 over 4 while Skeletal Warriors really need you to be fully stacked up to deal their damage worth. For players who prefer not to take that sort of risk, Skeletal Warriors are somewhat dangerous since stacked units get targets painted on their head very quickly. This is what brings me to the passive effect printed on Ancient Skeletons. As someone who really plays a lot of stacking, its is extremely frustrating when you accomplish all that work to stack up a unit to 2 support, and someone just removes it. Ancient Skeletons gives you some nice benefits of people targeting your stacks. If he’s on the top of the stack, just remove him, don’t lose the stacked units (Risen/Spirits) under him. It is important to remember when he is placed the units under him return to their original position. In essence what your opponent did for you was restart the unit under him, and if they didn’t — they took 5. I call that a win/win scenario.
Honestly, by being another Risen with stacking I am hoping that Risen stacking decks would be on rise *I cringed too*. I am a big fan of the stacking mechanic the way it is, and I hope they continue to print cards that interact with stacking. It is really nice to see a Risen unit that does a lot of naturally printed damage without having to discard a card to do so. His passive effect can be played tactically to provide really good value for units. When I originally saw this card I instantly thought the following; Put him on-top of an Infected Terrorgheist. I could just imagine a Risen deck where I let an Infected Terrorgheist rotate to the end, drop Ancient Skeletons on him. Truthfully probably because I was taking a page from Surprising Skulkers. Ancient Skeletons protects your stack building, similarly to the Skulkers. If Ancient Skeletons dealt 5 he did his job, you stack on him again, if he got removed, they are taking 7 from an Infected Terrorgheist again!
Overall, Ancient Skeletons seem very strong and I think they are a welcomed addition to Risen stacking decks. I see incredible value because of them being an a decent damage card and also being a stacking unit with a passive effect that is pretty great to interact with. If Death starts to get cards that interact with stacks like Destruction or remove your own units like Chaos I can imagine this card value skyrocketing.
*Please Note* With the current test rules in the application, the Infected Terrorgheist combo I stated above would not work. Additionally if they are transferred to paper they would not be possible, due to the fact Playfusion has not said this are definite I would still consider the possibility for stacking on non-stacking units. Now in the event those changes are implemented, the value of this card is still great. Especially since you are going to need as many stacking units as possible, and the Skeletons essentially can “protect your stack”.
To be completely honest readers, at first I didn’t like this Champion very much, I am not a big fan of most wizards in general. I still feel Wizards should be able to at least use wizard abilities while casting. With that said, I still see this card has potential. As a 7 cost Wizard, with no subtraction from your starting health, Tidecaster was already looking good. The quest rotations are fairly straight forward at Spell/Ability/Ability/Healing and can be pretty aligned with the flow of the game. Much like Aspect of the Sea, cards like Inspired Glory are particularly powerful with Tidecaster, mainly because of their adjacent passive effects. Where as Aspect locks down units, Tidecaster locks down Heroic Actions. Yes readers, this obviously helps against Gordrakk, but why stop there? A lot of popular Champions in the current “meta” or variants of “meta” decks utilize Heroic Acts. There are a few of the new Champions from Onslaught that also are sporting some Heroic Acts that have potential. Let’s take a look at the Champions that fit the bill;
- Gordrakk (Obviously)
- Loud-mouthed Megaboss
- Vorrus Starstrike
- Celestant Prime
- Bloodreaver Chieftans
- Hungry Vampire Lord
- Valkia the Bloody* (Variant builds)
- Warboss Recruiter* (Variant builds)
- Knight-Heraldor* (Variant builds)
- Aventis (Onslaught)
- Flame-Belching Firebelly (Onslaught)
- Slaughterpriest (Onslaught & it’s funny because he can’t remove Tidecaster’s spells)
I could keep going but why bother I think you get the point. There are 18 Champions in the original set alone that Tidecaster can be placed in front of to get the benefit from her passive. Truthfully I still don’t think I would be as hyped about Tidecaster, if I also did not see some of these new Wizard spoilers. Let’s take a look at some of the other new cards out of Onslaught that really stand out with this Champion. Funny enough mostly revealed on 11/16/18.
Tidecaster and Aspect are really going to enjoy Split Casting when with another Wizard. Possibly even with each other. Inferno Blades seems like it is almost a “must play” as it allows you to use abilities. If you happen to be running Tidecaster with Lotann, you may want a 7 damage Jaws of Death too. Overall Tidecaster feels like a Wizard that should have already been in the game. Possibly even an answer to Gordrakk for an alliance that struggled against him. I do say, I am much more excited about Tidecaster and very excited to see some builds utilizing the Champion. Most importantly, I can’t wait to drop some Lightning Whales, because why not? There is no better way to make an entrance than Lightning Whales, Sigmar just get’s it.
Foul Butcher another Destruction Wizard, and we all know I am not a big fan of Wizards as stated above. Mainly I much prefer Smashing and Bashing (see what I did there) but I can’t deny it is as a somewhat interesting Champion. At 8 cost, he is pretty high for a Destruction Wizard (since a lot of the Grots cost around 4) but he also doesn’t provide any decreased health (similar to Tidecaster) and more health is always good. Additionally, his rotations are not too bad as damage is fairly easy to get and his own passive could rotate the healing corner. I still feel he is not going to see much play. I hope I am wrong readers because I would love to be in a world where Wizards see play, but let me explain why before getting the pitchforks or writing a 9 page thesis about it.
Looking at the current card pool I completely feel underwhelmed by Foul Butcher’s passive. Reckless Inspiration just looked like it would be PERFECT with him and I feel this was a missed opportunity for some synergy as Butcher would ideally always tack on an additional health from exhausting your own unit. Another reason I feel underwhelmed with his passive is because the way it is worded it doesn’t feel very “butcher” like. In my mind when I read “Foul Butcher” he should instantly do something from “removing” units or when a unit leaves play. I immediately feel disappointing when I finish reading it because I generally have to take damage for a unit to exhaust, and it’s only from his lane! At least if i take 5 on a turn before they exhaust, next turn I am gaining back 2 of that damage. If it was leaves play you could also justify that Gaze of Mork and Foot of Gork synergize with the Butcher. I guess he’s just really Foul (that’s number three HEY OH!) at his job.
I think it’s safe to say, this guy should probably be tabled until more cards are shown that can help him abuse his passive effect, or until we get some more wizard love. I would love to be proved wrong and shown where this guy ends up being a really playable Wizard and even splashable in most decks but I still just rather play a Kunnin’ Grot Shaman over him in a Wizard/Warrior line up. If they had just done a little bit more, like make his passive trigger off units leaving play in general, made him gain from any lane, or was a warrior wizard it would be a whole different discussion. Overall this just is just underwhelming.
Man, Aqshy just looking like the better Realm at the moment. Unlike most of the other realm of fire spells and blessings we have seen Cleansing Broach showcases the cleansing power of the realm in the form of an instant use blessing that provides 7 health. I rather enjoy seeing a blessing that is an instant heal and especially seeing a Realm of Fire blessing that doesn’t just “blow stuff up”. The card itself is pretty cool as I imagine the Champion takes a nice Cleansing Broach (like a heated brand) and places it along a big gash and then dives right back into a fight, which is a pretty wicked image.
In terms of how the card stacks up, 7 health instantly is pretty much larger than most of the instant blessing damage (Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’ is not instant guys) and we know that those blessings can change the tide of a game. Most “control decks” are very risky in the current meta because they can’t reach the “damage hump”. The “damage hump” refers to where the damage from an aggressive deck starts to fall, because they run out of steam. A blessing like that provides additional chance for you to push yourself over that “damage hump”. Once you are finished fighting that up-hill battle and you are making your way down the hill, it’s a lot easier for you to increase your health, and not just maintain enough life that you die…
Truthfully I think Cleansing Broach is a great sideboard Blessing if it doesn’t make a main deck. Being able to instantly gain 7 can make you survive a lot more burst damage, where as a Healing tick from a blessing such as Healing Storm may not. In a world with Gordrakk and Chaos Quick Quest, if this is your 1st or 2nd blessing I think you are in better shape. I am personally going to throw this into a lot of my decks to test as a main blessing or even as a sideboard.
All in all, I do not particularly believe any of these spoilers are #skarbrandgood, but they are great tools to have. I look forward to additional reveals and I hope you enjoyed my review of the East Coast Rumble reveals. Feel free to hit me up on Discord as ZerrisValaren, Facebook as Jason Michael, or the comments section letting me know what you think! Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming top 4 deck lists article I will be sharing once the TO’s get back to me with the information.
Until then catch ya guys on the app!
-ZerrisValaren aka Jay