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Exclusive Herofall Spoiler: Swampwater Recluse

Hello everyone! Both Future and I (Piecetinker) have been given the privilege to announce a new spoiler for you here on FiveShards: Swampwater Recluse.

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First let’s touch on the new keyword, scrounge: when you play this you may void X troop(s) from the crypt. In the case of Swampwater Recluse, it gains X/X for the number of troops voided.

Piecetinker:

With the introduction of Dreadlings, we may be able to quickly pump the crypt with lots of troops. So far, here are the cards we know that can make Dreadlings:

Dread Driver
Dread Factory
Skittering Dark
Living Factory
Underworld Decree

I feel like Dreadlings can really make Swampwater Recluse shine, but it’s hard to evaluate this given the Dreadling generators we have seen so far. We have seen some nice Valor generators, but would like to see an efficient card that can produce Dreadlings within the first two turns. We also know that there is a gem for generating Dreadlings, but it doesn’t really suit the timing of this card.

Out of the gems that are rotating in with Herofall, here are the ones that truly stand out to me in Swampwater Recluse:

Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy
Minor Blood Orb of Intimidation
Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice
Minor Wild Orb of Brawn
Minor Wild Orb of Vigil

Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy ([B]: Speed in all zones.) can be used in a Constructed deck that utilizes this card as either aggro or “all-in”. By that I mean you want to play lots of Dreadling generation and then turn three pump out a frightening Swampwater Recluse. Since this is a 3-drop, you want to get this card out at least as a 3/3 with speed to cover the cost. That means you want to generate at least two Dreadlings and have them in your Crypt by turn two. Another idea for this gem is to have many troops in your Crypt and then do an unexpected burst of damage during either mid- or late-game. As for limited, you may not want to play Frenzy.

Minor Blood Orb of Intimidation ([B]: This can’t be blocked by troops with Atk less than this troop’s Atk.) is definitely one of the stronger gems in this rotation. In constructed, Intimidation with Recluse can spell doom if not disrupted. Imagine this card in a BSW deck where you pump Dreadlings for the first half of the game and then generate an effectively unblockable 10/10 while protecting it with interrupts. In limited this pair is just complete domination. Having a huge evasive troop in a slower format such as sealed easily makes this a bomb. Be very aware…

Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice ([B]: When this enters play, you may sacrifice a troop. If you do, this gets +3/+3.) is one I went back and forth on. The trouble is that scrounge triggers when you play the troop from your hand, while Sacrifice doesn’t until it hits the board—at least as it’s currently worded. If both effects triggered at the same time, you’d be able to order them so that the Orb of Sacrifice triggers first, allowing you to then scrounge the same troop you sacced for a +4/+4 in one shot. As it stands, these two abilities don’t begin to feed each other until you play your second scrounge troop. However, mitigating the downside of multiple scrounge troops in the same deck is a nice perk.

Minor Wild Orb of Brawn ([W]: +1 Atk and crush in all zones.) and Minor Wild Orb of Vigil ([W]: Skyguard and steadfast in all zones.) are just overall great gems that can be situational in either constructed or limited. If you want a way to block vampires in constructed, you can switch to the Vigil gem. If you want a way to get damage through, you can add the Brawn gem. I’d say these are great for reserves options and this card becomes more flexible because of them.

Out of all of these, the two you should look out for are Minor Blood Orb of Intimidation and Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice. For competitive constructed, the best gem may be Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice. For limited, you’ll usually want to grab Intimidation because any sort of evasion (whether situationally unblockable or flying) can be a huge threat.

I wish I can completely evaluate this card, but missing information such as Champions and Dreadling generators makes it really hard to figure out the best way to use this card. If we get good options to us, this card can definitely be one of the more frightening in Constructed. In Limited, there is no reason why you wouldn’t grab it!

Definitely keep an eye out of this card!
Future:

In Herofall we get a new crypt-interacting keyword: scrounge. I believe we will have a bunch of common/uncommon scrounge cards with constant numbers on this keyword and a basic effect added to them (get bonus stats, another keyword, draw a card, maybe destroy a troop/artifact/constant) and some rares/legendaries with interesting effects—and the card we get to reveal today is a mix of both. While I like the keyword, I feel that it can be a bit clunky in limited as the more scrounge cards you draft, the worse each of those become as you might find yourself out of fodder.

As for the card itself, it looks like a Necrophage Sensei’s brother, with both of them depending on your crypt and their base stats being close to each other. Before, such a comparison would have already made this card look pretty bad—but with the introduction of Dreadlings, things might change. But they as well might not.

First of all, most of the time we do not want to play Swampwater Recluse on curve; to do this, we would want to fill our crypt with troops on t1/t2, which means we won’t really be gaining board position. Also, the best Dreadling generator spoiled so far, Dread Factory, requires some time and effort to get going. This combined with the fact that we don’t want to draw more than one Recluse in a game leads me to the assumption that it will play the role of a late-game finisher, with or without Dreadling support—like a Gallows Ghast that you don’t need to draw early in the game to be effective. Another interesting use of this card is enabling you to play Kagulichu in a Dreadling-based deck, eating all the unwanted troops before using your charge power—but it will probably be easier just to change champions in this case.

As this card is designed to get huge, we will look to use Swampwater Recluse’s gem slot to get any kind of evasion to assist in connecting the overpowered shin’hare with an opposing champion—and with the new major gems’ overall weakness, this means we will use the minor ones most of the time. For Wild/Sapphire, Wild/Ruby and mono-Wild decks, it is probably better to socket Recluse with a Minor Wild Orb of Brawn, as it’s the only thing in these three shards that helps us push the final points of damage. For Wild/Diamond, the obvious choice is Minor Diamond of Wind; flight is a better tool than crush most of the time. Finally, for Blood we have three viable options: Minor Blood orb of Frenzy and Minor Blood Orb of Intimidation both serve Recluse in its endgame-big-guy role, while Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice changes the way we play it. With the Sacrifice gem, we will be looking to play a utility 2-drop (such as Cottontail Explorer or Moon’ariu Sensei), and then sacrifice it, getting a 4/4 or bigger on turn 3.

Now, that we have reviewed our options, let’s think if we want to use them. For every shard combination outside Blood/Wild, the socket options don’t really look impressive—but Recluse could still find a home in weenie decks as a potential follow-up on opposing board wipes. For Blood/Wild, the major concern for me is that Dreadling-based decks in those shards will want to play Oberon’s Eulogy, and Recluse goes against that idea.

After thinking a bit about this card, I’ve come to the thought that the option I’m the least impressed with is Swampwater Recluse’s biggest chance to see play: Kagulichu’s Crypt Cleaner with a Blood Orb of Sacrifice, feeding on our used Howling Brave, Moon’ariu Sensei, Cottontail Explorer and occasional Battle Hoppers.

Piecetinker is new to the competitive scene of TCGs. Despite this, he placed Top 8 in both the HexTCGPro July and Invitational tournaments. Primarily focusing in Constructed play, Piecetinker will continue to learn and improve his skills. You can find his Twitter here.

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