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From the Deck: New Gems in Old Favorites

In the August 12th update from HEX Entertainment, we were treated to all the new gems to be found in Set 5: Herofall. This is a HUGE shift to the game, and forces all of us as Hex players to re-examine every socketed card and compare the new gems and how they can best work in them. We won’t look at every gem combination in every socketed troop here, but we’ll go over the classics and how the new gems can make them work:

This was a very popular set 1 card with the Major Blood Orb of Brutality, which allowed the Inquisitor to burden an opponent’s troop with -3 Atk every time it was played—and with Inquisitor’s ability to go back into the hand instead of the crypt, coming into play is something the Inquisitor likes to do a lot.

Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice, [B]: When this enters play, you may sacrifice a troop. If you do, this gets +3/+3.

This gem has you hopefully possessing a troop you can afford to sacrifice every time the Inquisitor gets played. If so, it becomes a 6/4, 9/7, etc. that can easily take over a board. Getting those sac targets can be the problem, but with enough Dreadling generation in your deck you’ll always have enough little dudes you are more than willing to slam into the Inquisitor for that enters-play buff. Minion of Yazukan also makes for a convenient re-useable sacrifice.

Major Sapphire of Sorcery, [S]: When this enters play, create a random action with cost equal to or less than this card’s cost that you meet the threshold requirements to play and put it in your hand.

While it’s a random action and has a chance to be something unplayable, card advantage is a real thing and you’ll be getting something in blood or sapphire, both of which have some game affecting actions to generate. What’s more, each time the Inquisitor’s cost is increased, you have the potential to generate more and more expensive actions

Major Wild Orb of Conjuration, [W]: When this enters play, create a random troop with cost equal to or less than this card’s cost that you meet the threshold requirements to play and put it into your hand.

Same deal as the Sapphire of Sorcery, but in this case we get a body we know we can play next turn. Larger upside than the Sapphire gem, and is still in a sister-shard for Blood with Wild, so this might be a thing.

Minor Ruby of Valor, [R]: When this enters play, create a Valor and put it into your hand.

While Valor is the domain of the Ardent, it’s still a buff and getting multiples of them off of one troop throughout the game can make a difference… but probably not.

Winner: Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice

For the past 4 sets the Dreamer has been the card-draw king with the Major Sapphire of Mind netting a draw on each hit (and with this extra-dimensional being unblockable, he hits a lot)—but now we don’t even need to worry about that since there are no more “on hit” gems but “on attack”. With this in mind, lets look at some gems that would do well in him.

Major Sapphire of Enfeeblement, [S]: When this attacks, target opposing troop gets -Atk equal to this troop’s Atk until the start of your next turn.

This allows the Dreamer to swing with a buddy that would be killed by a lone blocker on the other side of the board, but the key here is that the -Atk lasts through your opponent’s turn as well—so even if the Dreamer swings alone, he’s taking away up to 3 Atk from a counter-swing.

Major Ruby of Twinstrike, [R]: This deals double damage.

Six unblockable damage per swing and each Atk buff counts double? Seems good, and Ruby/Sapphire is a very popular archetype.

Major Ruby of Impulse, [R]: When this attacks, draw a card. That card gets “At the end of the turn, if this is in your hand, discard this.” this turn.

Generally a worse version of the old standard gem where Dreamer is concerned, and in a different threshold. The only advantage you have is you get the card immediately upon attack, so even a 0 Atk Dreamer gets you card draw.

Major Wild Orb of Cultivation, [W]: When this attacks gain [1/1]

Like you weren’t attacking every turn with Dreamer anyway? Hello more resources to spend. Like the Ruby of Impulse, this also works with a Crippled Dreamer.

Minor Sapphire of Wit, [S]: When you play an action, this gets +1/+1 this turn.

A minor gem, but in a shared shard it’s worth noting that getting additional damage in (or being able to block above his normal weight class) makes this an option for the Dreamer in all decks where he’s included.

Winner: Major Ruby of Twinstrike

Creating a 3/3 War Bot with Speed every turn that gets the socketed power of the Theorycrafter forces us to look at both enters play AND on attack/hit effects.

Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice, [B]: When this enters play, you may sacrifice a troop. If you do, this gets +3/+3.

Yeesh, you probably don’t want to sacrifice something for a temporary troop, even to make it a 6/6.

Major Blood Orb of the Underworld, [B]: When this attacks, Underworld troops you control get +1/+1 and lethal this turn.

Couple this with an attacking Theorycrafter and your Underworld troops (which sadly the War Bots are not) get +2/+2 on attack.

Major Sapphire of Sorcery, [S]: When this enters play, create a random action with cost equal to or less than this card’s cost that you meet the threshold requirements to play and put it in your hand.

Kinda turns the Theorycrafter into a mini-Zakiir, giving you free actions every turn when the War Bot gets generated.

Major Sapphire of Enfeeblement, [S]: When this attacks, target opposing troop gets -Atk equal to this troop’s Atk until the start of your next turn.

An every-turn -3 Atk onto an opponent’s troop for the rest of your—and all of his—turn.

Major Ruby of Twinstrike, [R]: This deals double damage.

Turns your War Bots into beasts dishing out 6 damage on attacks. Since they die at the end of turn anyway, this is nearly all the advantage of the Blood Orb of Sacrifice without the downside.

Major Ruby of Impulse, [R]: When this attacks, draw a card. That card gets “At the end of the turn, if this is in your hand, discard this.” this turn.

Draws you a card, but you have to play it. Not sure if it’s worth playing Theorycrafter just for that.

Major Wild Orb of Cultivation, [W]: When this attacks gain [1/1]

Insane levels of Ramp if the Theorycrafter can swing as well, just “crazy” levels of ramp when only the War Bot is giving it up for the resource cause.

Minor Diamond of Wind, [D] When this attacks, it gets flight this turn.

Gives your War Bots evasion which they will likely need to get their damage through. Can be really good against the right deck.

Minor Wild Orb of Brawn, [W]: +1 Atk and crush in all zones.

4 Atk crush War Bot every turn can be a really good buff.

Winner: Major Ruby of Twinstrike

You knew we had to talk about the socketed card that is responsible for the most combolicious of combo decks. Her double gems (one major, one minor) get grafted onto any troop of her cost or more. Remember, you’ll be pairing her gems together.

Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice, [B]: When this enters play, you may sacrifice a troop. If you do, this gets +3/+3.

If you have a good generator for sacrifice targets, this can make all your 4+ cost troops come in at +3/+3… seems hard to pull off though.

Major Diamond of the Ardent, [D]: When this attacks ready each Ardent troop you control. Ardent troops you control get +1/+1 this turn.

Great major gem to get inspired onto your additional troops.

Major Diamond of Hope, [D] When you draw this, it gets cost -2 this turn.

The best combo here is that you inspired a 2-cost troop with a relevant minor gem. Meh.

Major Ruby of Twinstrike, [R]: This deals double damage.

This gem gets better the longer this article goes.

Major Ruby of Impulse, [R]: When this attacks, draw a card. That card gets “At the end of the turn, if this is in your hand, discard this.” this turn.

You probably don’t want to be attacking with the Azurefate, but if you have an inspired troop out there with this, you can get some good card draw in.

Major Wild Orb of Cultivation, [W]: When this attacks gain [1/1]

Again, swinging with your 4+ cost to get [1/1], probably not worth it in this case.

Major Wild Orb of Conjuration, [W]: When this enters play, create a random troop with cost equal to or less than this card’s cost that you meet the threshold requirements to play and put it into your hand.

If this instead made troops costing equal to (or more), then the Azurefate’s inspire would trigger off of everything that gets made. Sadly, you’ll probably be making stuff that doesn’t chain the inspire.

Minor Ruby of Valor, [R]: When this enters play, create a Valor and put it into your hand.

If you need a Valor engine, this could be a key part of it.

Minor Ruby of Zeal, [R]: Swiftstrike in all zones.

Oh man, this looks good.

Minor Sapphire of Dread, [BASIC][1-SHOT][S]: (2) Create two Dreadlings and put them into play.

This seems like it can make a good Dreadling engine with enough troops to Inspire. However, given they must cost 4 or more resources to get the inspire from Azurefate (without cost reductions), it may be difficult to field enough troops to make a huge impact here.

Minor Diamond of Wind, [D] When this attacks, it gets flight this turn.

Toss-up between this and the Ruby of Zeal to couple with the Ruby of Twinstrike, though Wind requires you to be in Diamond as well—which, granted, is reasonable with Uzzu.

Minor Wild Orb of Brawn, [W]: +1 Atk and crush in all zones.

A third contender for the pairing with Ruby of Twinstrike.

Winners: Major Ruby of Twinstrike and Minor Ruby of Zeal (simply because of the thresholds not spreading into a third shard).

Major Blood Orb of Sacrifice, [B]: When this enters play, you may sacrifice a troop. If you do, this gets +3/+3.

Without crush, 11/11 is basically just an 8/8 that dies less.

Major Diamond of Hope, [D] When you draw this, it gets cost -2 this turn.

Rootdaddy was already ahead of the curve at 8/8 for 7, so 8/8 for 5 (or heck 8/8 for 3 if you threw him back early), seems pretty good.

Major Ruby of Twinstrike, [R]: This deals double damage.

Still great in an 8/8 troop.

Major Ruby of Impulse, [R]: When this attacks, draw a card. That card gets “At the end of the turn, if this is in your hand, discard this.” this turn.

If you were able to play Rootfather without cheating him out, you should be able to play whatever he draws for you with his attack.

Major Wild Orb of Cultivation, [W]: When this attacks gain [1/1]

If you played Rootfather, you probably don’t need any more resources from a gem.

Major Wild Orb of Conjuration, [W]: When this enters play, create a random troop with cost equal to or less than this card’s cost that you meet the threshold requirements to play and put it into your hand.

The amount of troops this can make is practically all of them. Seems way too random for what you want to do; compared with lower-cost troops that can practically double in value with this gem, Rootfather has the potential to generate lower-cost troops far too often.

Minor Ruby of Zeal, [R]: Swiftstrike in all zones.

If I can’t have the speed gem in there, I might as well make sure I kill your blocker without fear of reprisal.

Minor Diamond of Wind, [D] When this attacks, it gets flight this turn.

Great for Rooty to get evasion with his attack.

Minor Wild Orb of Brawn, [W]: +1 Atk and crush in all zones.

Even better for the Rootfather to get crush with his attack.

Winners: Major Diamond of Hope and Minor Wild Orb of Brawn (Or Twinstrike/Brawn if you are Ruby/Wild)

 

This was just a cursory look at the new gems going into the old classic socketed troops that saw a ton of play before the new gems. I purposely left out Rune Ear Hierophant so that you guys can have something to add to the comments. Which of the new gems are the best to put into the set 4 monster? Add your comments below.

Matt Miller, known as DeckOfManyThings in-game, is a professional MMO designer by day, and a Hex Kickstarter backer by night. He's been playing TCG's since being taught by Peter Adkinson how to play Magic: the Gathering with Alpha cards, and is now devoting a lion's share of his free time to playing and improving his skills at Hex. Find him at @ManyThingsDeck on twitter or /u/ManyThingsDeck on reddit.

1 Comment on From the Deck: New Gems in Old Favorites

  1. These new gems could make Obsidian Cyclops relevant.
    Double damage with almost any of the Minor Gems
    It gets even better in a PvE elemental deck with its equipment.

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