Ken Pilcher got in touch with us recently about posting a preview card for Shade of the Devoured Emperor. Considering we are huge fans of The Spoils, and desperately want to see as much Shade as we can, we immediately seized the opportunity!
We are pleased to present to you....It's a Trap!
Named after one of the most internet-famous moments from Return of the Jedi, It's a Trap is a Gearsmith Tactic that will be sliding into Shade of the Devoured Emperor boosters as an Uncommon. With a low cost of three and only one Gearsmith threshold, this card will likely find itself splashed into a lot of decks in both Limited and Constructed formats.
It's a Trap also has a Flip Up cost for two, one less than it would cost playing it from hand. I imagine this was done to compensate for losing a resource by playing this card via Flip Up, which makes sense. They probably could have added the “and play a resource” clause like some other cards have (Delusive Strumpet), but I can understand the desire to avoid adding an additional cost to a card like this.
This card doesn't have much to explain as far as Rules Text goes as it is a very simple card in design. Pick an item you control and any character, then bounce them both. No replacements, no hidden triggers, nothing that would baffle a new player. Just a relatively simple bounce spell that requires you to control a character.
The fun of this card, though, is realized when you notice that the character you have to pick can either be one you control OR one your opponent controls. This opens up a lot of options for this card as it can be used both offensively and defensively.
Offensively, you can use this card to bounce a blocker before has a chance to assign damage or be assigned damage. This means your attackers will be taking less damage and/or be guaranteed to punch through to the target of the attack.
You can also use this card to replay aggressive items that do not have a way to move themselves. Using It's a Trap you can get the item back to your hand and play it again on a new, more threatening target.
In the same vein as item bouncing, this card can be used to bounce two items when used properly. Simply pick an item you control and a character that has an item attached to it and that item will bounce as well.
On the defensive side, this tactic is best used when blocking. After your blocker has been assigned damage, bounce it and an item you control back to your hand so that your character can come back the next turn to fight another day. It also eats up the damage your opponent's characters would be doing, potentially saving other characters or your faction/location some damage.
Similarly, this card can also be used to save an item you control from being destroyed. Considering how popular cards like Plunging Shriever are, this card could be Gearsmith's answer to all the item hate that exists. We may just see this card revive some item themed decks, which is very exciting.
Unfortunately, this card cannot be used to deal with a problem item as you can only pick an item you control. If you happen to control an item that is causing you issues then this card can fix that, but more often than not this card is not an answer to items.
Personally, I am most excited to see the ways this card is combo'd with some of the more powerful items in the game. I can see this card being a nightmare in decks that contain Ass and/or Incriminating Photograph, and at one threshold it will not be too hard for those decks to fit this card.
It can also be extremely nifty in Arcanist decks, particularly ones that contain Inadequate Wand. It's a Trap, in conjunction with the Wand or another item of the player's choosing, provides the Arcanist player with extra bounce utility AND a way to keep the precious Wand out of the discard pile.
Based on It's a Trap alone, we at Clockman Card Vault are very excited about Shade of the Devoured Emperor and cannot wait for its release!
Be sure to discuss yours and our thoughts regarding It's a Trap on the Spoils forums as we would love to hear what you have to say about this awesome card!
With Seed 3 right around the corner, we at Clockman Card Vault thought we would take the time to compare one of the previewed cards with a card that is probably considered the best and most sought after card in The Spoils. Without much further ado, it is a battle of the Swords of Great Justice!
Cost, Keywords, and Uniqueness
Identical! These cards both have a cost of one and thresholds of three within their respective trades. This makes them perfect for comparison as it won't be necessary to determine which one gives more value than the other. Also, their keyword structure is the same with both having “their name, sword of great justice,” so they will both have the same benefits and drawbacks that come with these keywords. Finally, they are both Unique, so you do not have to consider what it would be like to have more than one in play unless there are some weird Limited Liability shenanigans going on.
Mano a Mano
If these two where to go one on one in battle the outcome would be pretty one sided. Although Iohane has the edge in Speed, Gideon takes down the fight due to his one extra health. Gideon and Iohane both punch for two damage, and Iohane would strike first, but Gideon has a little extra toughness that causes him to win the fight. Gideon also has the extra bonus of taking no damage if he is on the attacking end, which gives him an extra advantage over Iohane.
Mano a Everyone Else
With only two strength, both characters have a lot of problems taking out some of the larger opposing characters on their own. For low life characters, however, both Gideon and Iohane pack a punch. In our opinion, though, Iohane has the distinct edge due to having four speed. She may have less life than Gideon, but she can kill the opposing character before it ever has a chance to do damage to him. She can also do this on both attack and defense, while Gideon only has his “reduce the amount to 0” effect when on the attack.
In Battle Parties
Gideon and Iohane obviously get more powerful when they have one or more buddies backing them up, but who becomes more powerful than the other?
Neither Sword of Great Justice gives a boost to other members of their party in either stats or text, so it is a wash there. However, Gideon's amazing ability to not die while on the attack could actually cause the rest of his party to take the brunt of the damage for him. This is good because Gideon won't go anywhere, but on the other hand, your opponent may be forced to kill characters that you hoped would live.
Iohane could cause a similar effect due to the fact that she has four speed. Since four speed is high and somewhat rare among characters, Iohane will likely do her damage before most other characters. This could cause your opponent to ignore her as she has already done her damage, although this is only likely to occur if two speed characters are in the battle. As such, Iohane's version of the “Gideon effect” is much less of a detriment.
While Gideon may be adding one extra influence loss to each speed level that breaks through to the opposing Faction, those speed levels will only break through if you have some higher speed or lower speed characters in the party. Iohane, on the other hand, already provides that boost as he is the higher speed character you are looking for. He helps his lower speed buddies hit the opposing Faction (or location) by taking out some blockers during the higher speeds of battle.
We've already discussed both of Gideon's lines of rules text as they are both apparent during battle. However, his second line of text, “if your opponent's faction loses influence, increase the amount by 1,” is relevant all the time, and it is quite amazing. The extra damage here or there provided by Gideon can be the difference between winning and losing a game. Also, if he stays on the table for a number of turns, the extra influence loss could put you at a distinct advantage influence-wise.
The downside to this line of text, however, is that it doesn't help you recover if you are in a losing situation. If your opponent has board advantage, Gideon's extra damage effect may never be relevant unless you are running some form of direct damage. If you happen to be piloting a direct damage deck then Gideon is the greatest thing since sliced bread and there is nothing that can change that (with the exception of an Inhibit, maybe).
Iohane's base rules text, the non-Sneak text, is fantastic. First, she has the ability to be played at Tactic speed, which is an incredible ability for a character as cheap as Iohane and with great stats. This gives her the ability to be a constant threat, even when she is not in play.
When she is in play, Iohane provides a 50/50 shot for you to draw a card at the start of each of your turns. This is the kind of ability that can save a game for you if you really need to dig for a particular card to get you out of a sticky situation. Granted, you won't always get the card, but it is definitely better than not having the option for an extra card. Plus, if you have a character like Red Raven in play, it gets a little bit of a boost each time you flip a coin via Iohane.
Iohane's last ability is Sneak, which is simply to pay one to give Iohane Covert for the turn. This is a nifty ability as it allows Iohane players to “sneak” through for a little damage each turn, assuming the opponent has no Covert characters of his own. If he does, Iohane is now a four speed Covert blocker, which should be good enough to take out a large percentage of Covert characters without trading.
The winner of each category may not show it, but this is definitely a close battle. Although Gideon is one of the most popular and most expensive cards in the game currently, we at Clockman Card Vault feel that Iohane is the all around better card. Gideon, as his name suggests, is the Ultimate Warrior and does wonders in battle, but outside of that he has a very specific purpose. Iohane, on the other hand, can function as both a battle element and a support piece with her coin flip ability. Add in the fact that Iohane can be played at any time and she is possibly the best one cost character in The Spoils.
Although we haven't seen the rest of the set yet, we think it may be tough to top Iohane as the best card to be found in the Seed 3: Fall of Marmothoa fixed set.
OVERALL WINNER: IOHANE, THE CONVEX!!!
Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be many preview articles to be found here at Clockman Card Vault! Today's preview card comes from the upcoming Seed 3 fixed set. From what we have been told, Seed 3 will feature 30 fixed cards with power level equal to that of rares from previous sets. This card certainly does not disappoint in that regard.
Let's start with the basics: cost and threshold. This card has a rather cheap cost of two, which means it will usually be playable whenever you happen to draw it and you won't have to worry about allotting a lot of resources to throw this card in to play. This card can be played from turn oneonward, so it's unlikely you'll find this card to be dead in your hand.
The one threshold means this card is likely to be a mainstay for heavy Rogue decks and easilysplash-able for anyone else. Many decks will have no problem starting one Deception resource just to run a few copies of this card. Some decks, such as Banker or Gearsmith builds, won't even have to start the Deception icon in play if they have ways to search out the lone Deception resource required for this card.
So what do you get for putting this card into play? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this card is all about acceleration, whether it be hand or resource acceleration. It is rather quick acceleration too as the trigger on this card fires at the start of both players' turns, rather than just on it's controller's turn.
This comes with a price, however, as your opponent will benefit from this card as well. Unlike Free Trade Agreement or Obscene Communion, in which one player chooses one effect that both execute, Community Chest allows each player to pick his poison. While you may be accelerating your resources, your opponent may be choosing to fill his hand. The upside is that you get to do whatever you want/need, but the downside is that your opponent does as well.
Thankfully, though, this is a Unique item, so you will only have to worry about two of these at a time, and that's only if your opponent is playing one as well. This card won't create the obscene acceleration that Free Trade Agreement does, but it will certainly help particular decks get to their resource and threshold plateaus faster.
The real magic of this card, however, comes with the second effect. If you have one Deception threshold at the start of the game and choose to put this card on the bottom of your deck via your mulligan, you essentially increase your handsize by one!
This is an unbelievable option to have at the start of the game. Not only do you have a card that you can mulligan without worry (assuming you don't depend on the first effect) but you gain something amazing from it if you do. If you happen to draw two of these in your opening draw and choose to mulligan both, your hand on the first turn will be either ten or eleven cards!
I don't know about you but I already enjoy the card advantage that comes from going second in The Spoils, so imagine that card advantage having the potential to increase by one to four cards! I know drawing four of these in your opening hand is very unlikely, but even drawing just one can be a huge shift in your favor.
The effect this card will have on Banker, Rogue, and Warlord combo decks will also be astounding. With the exception of a handful of cards, these three trades do not have many tools to search their own decks for cards. This generally means that if you mulligan one or more Community Chests it is likely they will stay on the bottom of your deck, meaning you never have to worry about the ones you mulligan-ed clogging your hand later.
If you happen to build a deck with no search, Community Chest effectively allows you to play a deck that is 69 cards rather than 73 (after your two starting resources). If you have no desire to use this card beyond its mulligan ability, you will never care how many of them you draw in your opening hand as you can bottom deck them and know that you'll never see them again, assuming your opponent doesn't shuffle your deck with an effect of his own.
With this in mind you can also put Community Chest in what would normally be spaced reserved for resources, allowing you to pack more options in your deck while minimizing the negative effect of drawing these cards beyond the first turn. If your Community Chests take up resource slots you will have no problem placing them face-down as a resource when you draw them, rather than having to make the hard decision of whether or not to play them.
Lastly, you don't even have to play a Rogue deck to benefit from this card! Sure, it requires one threshold to play and activate the second effect, but is one threshold really such a big deal? I would not be surprised if many combo decks of the future start one Deception threshold just to play this card and no other Rogue cards.
What do you think of community chest? Be sure to discuss the card and this article over on The Spoils forums here!