With PVE right on our doorstep and some finalized talent trees available for us to peruse, the FiveShards crew is here to give their initial impressions on our first tier of talents.
Keep in mind that no one without an NDA or a paycheck from HEX Entertainment has fully experienced PVE in this way before, so when we look back at this in a year there will almost certainly be some things we can point and laugh at ourselves for saying. Still, hopefully this can give you a guide for thinking about how to start spending your talent points as you explore the amazing deckbuilding and playing space we all will be going through.
On to the Cleric!
Pray – Default – (2 Charges): Create two Blessings in your deck.
Wurtil: If you can stretch the game out long enough, essentially you get a massive health boost for the cost you pay in charges. What you really want to do though, is figure out a way to exploit triggers off of the health gain (Righteous Paladin), the free Action played (Archmage Wrenlocke), or the card draw (???). Right off the bat we are likely skewing our deck somewhat to our champion power, but that synergy means we have an awful lot of potential power hiding here. Grade (A-)
Tecnophi: As the default cleric power, this creates a 0 cost basic action that gains 2 life and draws a card. For every activation, the deck gets that much better. This action just begs to be synergized with cards like Paladin of the Necropolis or Righteous Paladin.
Funktion: Whereas the warrior power encourages you to hit things in the face, and the mage power(s) encourage you to do something clever, it feels like the cleric powers encourage you to build some sort of engine (Wrenlocke / Skarn come to mind). Say you choose not to build an engine, you’ll at least be pretty hard to kill and being sturdy seems like what the cleric is all about.
Enhance Blessing: Life Essence – 1 Talent Point – Blessings grant you an additional 2 health.
Wurtil: This can be a LOT of extra health over the course of a game. While it doesn’t necessarily synergize well with any triggers that Blessing would generate, it does likely result in super-powering your ability to stall out a game. A decent talent to take when you want to stall out the game, but really, it will mostly be a stepping stone for the next Enhance Blessing… Grade (C)
Tecnophi: How useful can this be? I don’t see this playing a huge role in games. I guess it’s nice to have.
Funktion: Unless you are just trying to become harder to kill or do shenanigans with Holy Ascension this is not what you want to be taking.
Blessing of the Immortals – 2 Talent Points – When a Blessing is created, there is a 10% chance it transforms into Blessing of the Immortals
Wurtil: There just HAS to be a way to break this. Scheme to create extra Blessings, broken PVE cards you can drop in the crypt and play early – I’m not sure what the combo will be exactly but something down the road is going to work extremely well with this talent. On its own for a generalized deck, it likely isn’t creating a huge benefit as you might not even have great targets for it all the time in your crypt. Grade (C-)
Tecnophi: Blessing of the Immortals is an amazing card, but I can’t willingly bring myself to spend the talent points here. The chance for this to play a role in a game is just too low for the imaginary cleric deck in my head. It will feel awesome to play out the card, but I would wildly guess that it might see play less than once every 20 games.
Funktion: I am a big fan of using High Tomb Lord and its Razor Grips equipment, having an extra way to achieve extreme levels of broken is great for that deck. One of the cleric decks I plan to build will be using this interaction. Note this might also be great in situations where you need to dig yourself out of a ditch, maybe an encounter / dungeon is constantly destroying your stuff. Better yet, maybe you are self-burying and have a way to REALLY turn this online… okay I just thought of that and now it is time to build another deck!
Hale – 1 Talent Point – +3 Health
Wurtil: This is the entry node into the Healing Aura part of the tree. As a talent point tax to move forward, you’ll pay it if you want access to Healing Aura, but as a talent itself it is just further enhancing the already high Cleric health pool. Grade (D+)
Tecnophi: Clearly a lower value talent that unlocks access to better talents. I would consider it as part of the cost for those talents.
Funktion: You’re only taking this to go further in that branch.
Hearty – 1 Talent Point – +3 Health
Wurtil: As this is only one of the 3 entry nodes into its side of the tree, Hearty gets judged harshly when compared to Hale because you don’t really have to grab it unless you want early access to Fortitude (hint: you probably don’t…) Grade (D-)
Tecnophi: This is a good candidate for the least picked talent, along with the talent that it directly unlocks.
Funktion: #WorseThanHale it could at least give 4 life instead to distinguish itself, though I still wouldn’t take it.
Affinity – Cleric – 1 Talent Point – Clerics in your deck have Lifedrain.
Wurtil: This talent can be just nutty if you fill your deck full of Clerics, but at some point you must have a reason that you want an insane health total AND a deck full of troops. There are a few Clerics that can really make great use of this in Righteous Paladin, Goremaster, and Te’talca, High Cleric, but really the pool to choose from drops off dramatically after that in terms of the PVP cards we know today. This is your go-to Holy Ascension and Righteous Paladin enabler, but after that we will have to see if PVE serves us up some ways to really abuse this. Grade (C+)
Tecnophi: At face value this talent gives a good keyword to all cleric troops. Looking at the existing cleric troops, there are quite a number that will see play. To my surprise, I think this talent might be very popular with a Ruby – Orc – Cleric deck, where there are a good number of troops that can benefit from this. Starting out, I think this talent will be hard to pass up.
Funktion: Okay, at first this blew me out of the water, but as soon as I started doing some test-draws I began to take off my rose-tinted glasses. It can help turn a few cards online, most notably Righteous Paladin, but I feel like you’re getting the most mileage out of it by just giving your whole team lifedrain and making it so you can take a beating.
The Righteous Path – 2 Talent Points – You begin the game with a Monument of Faith in play.
Wurtil: Just getting an artifact into play for free is likely going to be a bigger draw than enabling your troops with Steadfast (Droo’s Colossal Walker excluded). It charges your Soul Vessel, making it a decent splash talent for Healing Aura builds, but otherwise you’ll have to bring your own options to the table for making the most of an often blank but free artifact. I feel like the 2 Talent Point cost here reflects some powerful options unlocked by it in further tiers, but for now you can likely ignore it. Grade (D+)
Tecnophi: Steadfast usually didn’t feature as a main part of a strategy other than with Droo’s Colossal Walker. At 2 talent points, it doesn’t look too attractive to take. Looking forward, this talent leads to access of the Faith in Our Leader talent; doesn’t seem worth it either.
Funktion: It starts in play and is an artifact which will help turn a few dwarves online (Rocket Ranger) but honestly I’m scratching my head on how valuable this is and whether I actually want it in PvE situations. Also nice if you’re building a deck based around troops with exhaust activations.
Enhance Blessing – Empowerment – 2 Talent Points – Your Blessings have “A random troop you control with the highest cost gets +1 ATK / +1 DEF”.
Wurtil: This appears to be permanent, making Enhance Blessing the go-to talent for Clerics looking to bring their beatsticks. Goremaster likely deserves yet another mention here for being both a Cleric and a fantastic carrier of your Blessings, but even if you decide to just try and be a race deck that likes to exchange blows and come out victorious because you started at a higher health, Enhance Blessing is going to be a solid addition. Grade (B+)
Tecnophi: This is a great upgrade to the standard blessing. Decks looking to win by going over their opponent in later turns will be considering this talent.
Funktion: It makes doing something you’re already doing that much better. This puts Bravery to further shame! Unfortunately Blessing isn’t a quick action (yet?) but I can certainly imagine a situation, where if it were, then you could work on wombo-ing a troop that swings for lethal out of nowhere.
Aura Aspect – Good Karma – 1 Talent Points – Your Healing Aura has “at the start of your turn, move each Blessing in your deck up one space.”
Wurtil: If you are playing a Cleric, you likely are figuring out a way to exploit your Blessings. Aura Aspect just means you will now be doing what you want even earlier in every game. A go-to talent for those looking to build control Cleric decks, and strong for anyone who is getting an extra boost from their Blessings. Grade (B+)
Tecnophi: Interesting digital mechanic and great for the cost. The only downside is the talent path needed to get to it. (Assuming I am reading the talents selection correctly)
Funktion: The thing you are trying to do with blessings will happen earlier in the game on a more consistent basis. I do feel like you’ll still be able to do whatever it is that you want regardless, but I do still really like what this card does on a digital mechanics level. Fresh ways to manipulate your deck with minimal input from the player are pretty awesome! I feel like the biggest drawback here is that it takes so many talent points just to reach it.
Healing Aura – 2 Talent Point – Start each game with Healing Aura in play.
Wurtil: Way, way better in most situations than a pure +3 Health boost that other talents give. Gives many additional health gain triggers for Righteous Paladin/Paladin of Necropolis, and will represent a huge boost in survivability in most games. That’s all on top of being yet another free starting artifact to do with as you please. Grade B+
Tecnophi: Not sure if this is necessary, but it isn’t bad. Looking at the rest of the talents available, this is more likely to be picked than not.
Funktion: See notes about Monument of Faith & artifacts. If you want to build Pact_of_Life.dek then this is right up your alley. Outside of that, I’m really not thrilled about this; if I didn’t have to take it to reach Good Karma I probably wouldn’t.
Aura Aspect: Animation – 2 Talent Points – Your Healing Aura has “[(3)][ONE-SHOT]: Create Soul Vessel and put it into play.”
Wurtil: Counts itself, so already it is a 2/2 thanks to Healing Aura and up to a 3/3 with Monument of Faith. This can be insane in an aggressive artifact deck, as it only grows from there and will consistently be available. So powerful that you can feel good in those decks bringing reversion effects just to re-buy the ONE-SHOT that you know will be sitting around. Considering it is a reliable source of either a huge attacker or a decent blocker this is a great way to spec your Cleric and know that you still can play both aggro and control decks. Grade (A)
Tecnophi: It looks very attractive to a Dwarf Cleric with their affinity with artifacts and robots. Not too sure it would be nearly as good with other races. This type of talent I would need time to mess with.
Funktion: Okay much like Healing Aura which is required to unlock this, your deck either wants this or it doesn’t. If you’re all aboard the “Soul Train” then it is definitely going to be BIG. It does make me want to try things out with Lord Alexander & Phoenix Guard Trainer. The fact that the ONE-SHOT is available whenever you want it, rather than being something you need to draw, makes things dramatically better off for me here. An artifact / constant heavy deck that runs Extinction / sweepers? Sign me up!
Fortitude – 1 Talent Point – +1 Dungeon Life, +2 Starting Health
Wurtil: The value of a Dungeon Life is something we won’t be able to fully measure for a bit. Still, I’d rather have a Dungeon Life than even 4 more Starting Health, so right off the bat Fortitude feels much stronger to me than either of the +3 Starting Health talents. The problem is that it still doesn’t feel like it adds as much as some of the flashiest Cleric talents, so I doubt I end up taking Fortitude in many of my own builds. Grade (D+)
Tecnophi: Only experience I have had with lives in Hex so far is the Frost Arena. After getting a good feel for it, lives didn’t really seem to matter anymore. I would consider this talent if there is a new hard dungeon that I would like to have more chances at learning the encounters or eeking out a win.
Funktion: Let’s imagine for a second that not only is this the best talent that the cleric has access to but that it is also the best talent any class has access to. That would mean that some dungeon bosses were incredibly grueling to reach. I don’t expect that situation to exist, at least not in our first PvE release, but boy do I hope that were the case. Back to reality… this is a dud.
Unlock: Divine Altar – 1 Talent Point – Create 1 Divine Altar in your deck at the start of the game, or 2 if your deck has 100+ cards.
Wurtil: Wow, I’ve read Divine Altar a dozen times and still don’t believe it is a card. There is a reason you only get 1 in your deck to start, and that’s because once you start doubling your Blessings and Clerics the game is going to rapidly get out of control. Where Aura Aspect: Animation is fine in control and amazing in aggro decks, Unlock: Divine Altar is fine in aggro and amazing in control builds that expect to make the game go long to benefit from a huge advantage. So good it makes me wonder if I would actually start a 100 card deck just to get a second copy available to access… Grade (A)
Tecnophi: This is a fun card. Really pushing to include cleric troops to maximize its effectiveness. Only being a single copy in a standard size deck, it isn’t exactly something to be relied on, but, its potential is huge. Happy to take the talent.
Funktion: This talent is pure fun! This is possibly the coolest talent clerics have access to. It working its way to the top of your deck makes cards like Peek even better if you are trying to find it. This is everything you want it to be, I really feel like it warrants me writing more about it but it is just awesome… ’nuff said.
Faith in Our Leader – 2 Talent Points – Your Monument of Faith has “While you have 25 or more Health, when you draw a troop, it gets +1[DEF].”
Wurtil: High highs and low lows seem to define the Cleric talent tree, and Faith in Our Leader is one of the lower lows. Conditional even when you do build your deck around it, and not many clear paths to getting a payoff. All that, and then it costs 2 Talent Points? No thanks, especially not when Cleric has some other amazing places to spend those valuable points. Grade (D-)
Tecnophi: It is very hard to justify taking this talent. A minor, conditional effect that costs 2 talent points to take. Too steep of a price with too little of an upside.
Funktion: Can we go back to talking about Divine Altar? It costs two whole talent points (4 if you wanna be technical) and really doesn’t pack much of a punch at all. It is even more awkward when you consider it seems possible to unlock this talent without actually taking The Righteous Path, not that I think anyone would.