Some people don’t like rules, but personally I find them to be one of the coolest things about complex games like HEX. Not only do elegant rules often result in interesting and complex play, but they also set a foundation for your expectations that creates amazing moments when you can shatter those expectations into little pieces.
One of the most important rules in the game is that you only get one permanent resources every turn at a maximum. This is very important to how the flow of every game feels, as you create a linear growth in power that each player is bound to. Breaking this rule too early in a game can lead to landslide results where one player grows exponentially in power due to how extra permanent resources in the early game lead to ENORMOUS differences in total resources available throughout the game. We’ve seen cards break this before, but always with some drawback. Surge Mechanism required a big up front and continuing investment throughout the game to make a difference, while a card like Genesis Pool Naiad requires you to actually use more Shards from your hand. Our latest scantily clad lady might require a more specific deck to use, but man oh man there is some potential here!
When you are done staring at the art (no, seriously, stop that!) then re-read that first line of text again because that is what makes or breaks our latest ramping two-drop. We’ve seen from Puck that conditional two-drop ramp troops can be insane in the right deck. Whereas Puck often gives a big ramp boost that decreases over time, the Archdruid will give you a typical ramp boost to start that grows as the game goes on (since activating her three times is giving you 3 more resources than you otherwise would have had). While Puck really wants to push out big threats extremely fast, Archdruid is more of a traditional ramp 2-drop most of the time that can also fit into controlling strategies that want to slowly generate advantages.
Of course, we have a tribute to make in our decks if we want all this power. If we aren’t gaining health, we aren’t gaining resources. Almost just as importantly, if we aren’t gaining health EARLY or REPEATEDLY then we aren’t pushing Archdruid as hard as we should. A traditional ramp deck is going to want to ensure that you get the activation on turn 3 as reliably as possible, so cards like Adamanthian Scrivener or Carnasaurus that can ensure you get early health are key. A more controlling deck is going to want to get repeatable effects so Pact of Life, Gozzog, or the obvious Vampire family will be common additions.
Of course, gaining all those resources has a pie-in-the sky payoff too. I’m not sure you should ever plan on going into a game and counting on getting to 20 resources, but if you can a couple Archdruids out it certainly is achievable. Make it to 20, and suddenly you can end the game against most decks in one swing. Much like how Pupil of Creation was really played for it’s ability to grow large instead of its haymaker punch ability, Archdruid isn’t going to be played for its ability to be a finisher should you have the world’s largest flood out.
Oh, and then there is PVE. Clerics with Wild shards – I think you know what to do…