This weekend is an exciting time for us at www.fiveshards.com, as well as an important event for the overall Hex community. The Blood Cup runneth over this weekend, bringing with it our first major look at the new constructed meta game featuring Shattered Destiny (set 2). Running alongside the tournament is a fantasy feature, pitting your analysis skills against the rest, deciding which cards will be the major contributors to our new playing field.
With all of that being said, here is a peek at a card from each shard of Shattered Destiny that I feel will have a subtle, yet significant, effect on this weekend’s tournament. I’m not pointing out the obvious powerhouses of set 2, but instead focusing on some of the new underlying staples to the new meta game
Sapphire: Field Tactician
This little guy is going to have some fairly major playing time in the new constructed. While it lacks a bit in the toughness department, it is adequately powerful for aggressive strategies, and also packs a useful and free to use ability. Any tempo based aggressive decks using sapphire are likely to utilize this handy troop somewhere in their 75. Gorefeast decks, in particular, can make great use of this troop, especially in mirror match scenarios, where its ability to exhaust a troop is useful both on offense and surviving through an opposing attack. Look for Field Tacticians to see some play, and be effective where they are used.
Diamond: Royal Herald
If a human-based deck can be any good, it will need threshold fixing. This little troop allows for effective threshold management without losing much value in the rest of the card. Whether the strategy is based upon inspire or some grander strategy, fixing of thresholds while protecting the game state against opposing aggressive decks will be needed. Royal Herald fits the bill of both of these needs, and should become the cornerstone of any successful human deck.
Blood: Withering Touch
Blood has long since been a central color for control strategies. With Extinction still being one of the strongest cards available, I do not see this changing. Inquisition has long been a staple, heavily used in either main decks or reserves. Enter Withering Touch. For one less resource, we get a more focused disruption card, serving the main purpose Inquisition often served; to remove opposing answers. This won’t invalidate the uses for Inquisition, but will certainly provide more focused opportunities to use discard as a directed control mechanism. Withering Touch may not populate too many main decks, but the number of these coming out of reserves will likely be high. I expect this to be a staple card for as long as it is legal to be used in the constructed format.
Ruby: Scraptech Brawler
The cat might already be out of the bag for this universally useful troop. His power level will never individually win you any games, but his strengths lend themselves to multiple strategies. Aggressive decks get a “free” troop that happens to pick up the large majority of playable inspire abilities. Decks will also utilize his tunneling ability to gain some resource burst in a future turn. This lends himself to multiple strategies, while lacking very little in individual strength. The question isn’t whether Scraptech Brawler will be used, it is how will it be used.
Wild: Arborean Rootfather
Who’s your daddy, indeed! Welcome in a new player to the constructed environment. Unlike many of the cards I have included here, the Rootfather creates entire strategies on his own. He certainly fits well into existing decks, from 2-Pact to mid-range decks. The key here lies in Rootfather’s ability to cycle himself back into your deck in exchange for another card (while making himself cheaper to play upon redrawing that same card), and also in the 2 sockets. Having both a major and minor socket allows for an enormous amount of customization and versatility, depending on the shards being used in your deck. The combination of these two abilities, attached to a rather significant 8/8 body will prove to be a force to reckon with in the coming months.
Shardless: Reactor Bot
Aggressive strategies get a boost across the entire spectrum in Shattered Destiny. Reactor Bot is a very aggressive choice that can fit into a large variety of decks and shards. Essentially a 3/3 attacker for 2 resources is strong. The ability to utilize other charge-gaining effects for further beatings is a plus. There are very few aggressive strategies that shouldn’t at least consider how Reactor Bot fills a role in beating down their opponents. It may not be for every deck, and it doesn’t seem to be the type of card to stash away in reserves, but Reactor Bot is going to see its day in the light of some aggressive top end decks.
I hope this quick read has given you an effective glimpse into some up and coming contributors to the constructed scene of Hex with Shattered Destiny. There are certainly other cards that will influence deck construction and play styles. What cards are you expecting to face this weekend? Discuss it in the comment section below and let me know what card(s) you think I missed, or if I nailed some of your choices. If you haven’t signed up already, please be sure to sign up for the Blood Cup tournament here, and also the Blood Cup Fantasy Competition here. I will be playing this weekend, and I hope to see as many of you in the tournament as possible. It may even be that I will be playing one or more of the above cards in my deck!
Until next time…