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From the Deck: Rating Flashpaw Howler

Hey everyone, with Primal Dawn released we finally can openly talk about all the cards we saw at the preview at the 100k, and one of the cards that got my mind racing was Flashpaw Howler. This four-cost, 3/3, single-Diamond-threshold troop dramatically alters a fundamental game rule of Hex. While in play, no longer are your champion’s charge powers limited to only your first and second main phases (basic speed), but now can be used at any time (quick speed). In addition, the troop itself is also a quick troop, so Flashpaw can hit the field at any phase in the game and you can immediately follow up with your champion power, even if they have removal waiting for him.

I’m going to discuss every champion and how they interact with Flashpaw making their charge power quick. I won’t touch on the champion health totals unless I need to, and will try to not factor their health into the rating unless I deem it necessary. Remember, you need a single-Diamond threshold to play Flashpaw, so some champions will be on an uphill battle to begin with. Let’s go.

Benvolio [D-]

Sorry, drawing a card at quick speed is no great shake, especially when you need to discard it at the end of your turn anyway. The only reason this inches up from an F is that you can Benvolio on your opponent’s turn and not have to worry about discarding the card until the end of your own turn. If you have an effect that fires off drawing a card there MIGHT be a combo in there that asks you to do it, but it’s a stretch.

Bertram Cragraven [C+]

He’s used to create chump blockers, construction plan activators, and Reese-modified robots. None of these are particularly terrible to do at quick speed, but nothing really worthy of splashing Diamond to get there either.

Boris Blastforge [B]

One of the better targets as now you can block a flying troop with a surprise block of your own. (Flashpaw himself isn’t a terrible target vs. a Vampire Princess).

Bryson Maplewood [A-]

Quick speed +1/+1 and swiftstrike is a legitimate combat trick, particularly on defense. Flashpaw being quick might mean that you tip over the troop count requirement in the same instant you need the trick as well.

Bun’jitsu [B]

Here’s the situation you use this champion with Flashpaw: creating your Abomination in the opponent’s End Phase where there is little they can do about it and then it readies immediately as your turn arrives. It’s definitely an improvement to this champion’s power, which is why I give it a B.

Bunoshi the Ruthless [A]

Quick speed permanent +2/+2 combat trick at the cost of a troop (who can be already committed to a block anyway). Seems pretty powerful. Also being able to boost after seeing blockers assigned. Yeah, Bunoshi gets the first solid A.

Carrac The Scavenger [F]

Transformed troop goes to your hand, so there’s nothing “quick” about it, unless you have Primordial Caves and that means something (you wouldn’t). If Zombie was a quick troop then we’d be having a different conversation, on a lot of levels.

Concubunny Yuka [C+]

Forcing an opponent to discard a card unexpectedly in the middle of a chain is definitely something you CAN do, however, forcing your opponent to discard the card they just drew when they are topdecking means they basically don’t get to play cards that turn.

Cressida [D+]

Well, now you’re tri-shard just to make this work. Not crazy in Primal Dawn but definitely takes an effort. Is that effort worth it to get [1/0] on your opponent’s turn or outside a main phase? Probably not.

Daughter of Stars [B-]

Ok, a one-sided Yesterday is pretty good, especially when you can do it in your opponent’s End Phase and make them discard half their board for being over 7 cards with no chance to play them. You want to swing for lethal with this power anyway, which is why it’s not super relevant that you did it on your opponent’s turn or your own, but it might be, hence the rating.

Dimmid [C]

Basically the ability to get lifedrain on your opponent’s turn instead of your own. Might be good if you have health-gain triggers? Kinda meh, but there might be a combo out there.

Dreaming Fox [F]

Again, a quick speed charge power giving you a basic speed card.

Fahrny [A]

Quick speed direct damage is ALWAYS superior to basic speed direct damage. ’nuff said.

Feather Drifting [B+]

Edges out Boris Blastforge since the flight is permanent.

Fiona Honeyfinch [C]

There’s not a lot of difference doing this in your first main phase vs. trying to surprise your opponent with it on their turn. Flashpaw is going to be -1 Atk himself, even if you played him at quick for the combat trick. Decidedly average.

Gozzog [C+]

Sure it’s quick speed direct damage, but it can only hit the champion and only deal a single point of damage. Slightly better than average, but nothing to build around.

Kagulichu [D-]

It’s a triple-threshold deck now, and likely going to grab a basic speed card. It doesn’t get an F because it might get a quick speed card that you can use. It should probably be an F.

Kishimoto [A-]

+2/+2 at quick speed is a combat trick worthy of inclusion. Because it’s only for the turn is why we’re not a directly A power here.

Knightsbane Ovo [B]

A quick speed revert on your own card is definitely something you can do. There’s probably better cards than Flashpaw to include in an Ovo deck, however. If you need it, it’s there and it has the potential of being amazing.

Kranok [D-]

Again, put a card in your hand that’s almost always going to be basic speed.

Lady Elizabeth [F]

Wow, there are a lot of champion charge powers out there that want to put basic speed cards in your hand.

Lionel Flynn [A-]

A huge combat boost at quick speed. Use it after blocks are declared for extra damage, or after they pump defense to ensure you take out the target. With no bonus to Def, however, his charge power at quick speed is slightly less than perfect.

Madame Anana [A-]

Do you want Phantoms? Because this is how you get Phantoms. Guarantee that your dying troop gets Anana’s power to get your Phantom. Removes the “come attack me, I dare you” of using her charge power at basic speed, however.

Mightsinger Alyndra [D-]

This isn’t an F because it’s in Wild, where you kinda want 5+ cost troops in your hand for a couple of reasons. Are those reasons relevant on your opponent’s turn? Probably not.

Monika’shin [B-]

Finally create something into PLAY. This is what we want for Flashpaw; however, the actual ability is something you want in a tribal shin’hare deck, and unless you want to run a Diamond/Wild shin’hare deck (they exist!) you’re probably not going to see this very often.

Morgan McBombus [D]

Not many situations where you want to tri-shard into a combo where you can Bumblebot on your opponent’s turn, especially since the Bumblebot has speed to begin with. If you find yourself in a situation where this is useful to you, you’ve probably already lost.

Nin the Shadow [C-]

Potential combo with spider decks looking to find spiders/Terrorantulas outside of the opponent’s draw phase. The only other potential is to bury the last cards needed to finish off your opponent before he can swing for lethal on you.

One Eye Open [C+]

Right shard, and some potential for “quick troop, ready everything,” surprise blocks on your opponent’s turn. Kinda situational, and that’s why it can’t crack into the B range.

Palamedes [A-]

Quick speed combat trick in the right shard. Shame it’s 4 for just +1/+1 though. Those classic Set 1 champions!

Paragon of Righteousness [A+]

Honestly if you got off a Holy Ascension you’re going to win anyway, but making an Angel every single turn, yours and your opponents? At quick speed? When you look up “win moar” in the dictionary, there is this card combo.

Patriarch Ozin [B+]

Being able to throw his power onto an unblocked troop at quick speed is about all you can ask for out of Ozin. With Flashpaw Howler, you now can do it.

Poca, The Conflagrater [A-]

Did I mention how great champion charge powers are that put things directly into play are with Flashpaw? Since the Blaze Elemental doesn’t die until the end of YOUR turn, you can get double duty with it (if it survived your opponent’s turn anyway, which is unlikely with only 1 Def).

Polonius [A-]

Another “directly into play” champion charge power! Unfortunately at 8 charges you’re only going to see this one time per game and rarely more, but doing it at quick speed gets you the ability to swing with it almost immediately (and probably kill an incoming attacker on their turn as well).

Prairie Meadow [A]

Diamond shard? Check. Save a troop from dying unexpectedly? Check. Able to do this more than once per game? Likely check. This hits all the boxes, with no downside, until you see the 18 health of Prairie Meadow… which might have been a sign that they knew Flashpaw Howler would exist when they came up with champion’s health totals. Another sign of this is down at the end of the article, under “Z”.

Raven Talon [F]

Man, the shard is right and everything. Unfortunately you’re relying on quick troops for this charge power to work outside your turn, which while you MIGHT have, it’s not really worth using the charge power on your opponent’s turn anyway.

Roshi Manabu [C-]

The only good you’re doing here is either firing off health-gain abilities or saving yourself from a surprise lethal attack that you didn’t see coming. Nothing to sneeze at, but I’m not building a deck around planning for failure.

Running Deer [C-]

The only good you’re doing here is either firing off health-gain abilities or saving yourself from a surprise lethal attack that you didn’t see coming. Nothing to sneeze at, but I’m not building a deck around planning for failure. (This being the a copy/paste of Roshi Manabu is not a typo).

Rutherford Banks [A+]

If you need me to spell this out I will. Rutherford Banks is amazing on his own. Now you get the ability to use his power at quick speed and suddenly he’s off the charts. Use it to surprise block an incoming attack. Use it to Banks your troop back in their End Phase so you can swing with it immediately. Its even the right shard. I expect if Flashpaw Howler is going to see play, it’s going to be in a Rutherford Banks deck.

Sagebrush [D-]

Not much a prophecy power does at quick speed vs. basic, unless you’re somehow looking at the top card of your deck and want to prophesize it before your draw phase on their turn.

Savvas [F]

More creating basic speed cards with a quick speed activation. Stahp!

Sir Giles Rowan [B-]

The trait thing is the kicker; as you’re running Flashpaw Howler in a Ruby deck, you’re likely not going to have a lot of other Coyotle to go off of. You might have a Ranger that can get Flashpaw in the mix, but don’t count on it. We still rank this a B- because this can be a great combat trick, or can simply avoid removal by doing it at quick speed when your opponent can’t do anything about it.

Sister Anastasia [C+]

She gets a bump from the other two health-gain champions due to her being in-shard for Flashpaw.

Tetzot, Son of Omoc [B-]

Surprise Rock Elemental! Yes, please. This does get in the way of Azurefate Sorceress‘ Sapphire, however, but tri-shard Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby is the easiest tri-shard combination to pull off.

Urgnock [B+]

Quick speed combat trick that you’ll be using multiple times during the game. His health is a concern, but you should be aggroing hard—and with Flashpaw at quick himself, he lends himself to the aggro strategy (but maybe not his 4 cost).

Uzzu the Bonewalker [C+]

You need other cards in play to make combos work here. Eternal Sage is one great one to have (very few avenues to gain threshold on your opponent’s turn). If you can do it, it can be worth it, but it’s not an every-turn combo.

Warmaster Fuzzuko [A]

Giving all my troops +1/+1 at quick speed on my opponent’s turn is pretty damn good, especially when up against an aggro deck that just threw down some speed-laden troops you need to kill or at the very least trade with.

Webweaver Thox [B]

Can be a nice combat trick to -1 Atk your opponent’s troop after they commit to a trade block that makes it no longer trade, or neuter an incoming attack by 1 when you mess up the block math and don’t realize it until your twitch followers tell you.

Winter Moon [D+]

Winter Moon engine runs fine at basic speed. All quick speed it going to do is allow you to use it twice in rapid succession, or get cards you played on your opponent’s turn back into your deck before your very next draw. OK, but marginal.

Wyatt the Sapper [D]

By now you’re familiar with the “get a card in hand at quick speed that is likely a basic speed card” that really hinders some champions from realizing Flashpaw’s potential. Wyatt the Sapper is the last in a long list of champions this drawback belongs to.

Yotul Mogak [A]

Yotul has a lot of quick speed direct damage in his deck to begin with. Being able to pump them on your opponent’s turn? Fantastic.

Zared Venomscorn [A]

Putting -1 defense on something at quick speed is bonkers, and I can absolutely see the foresight of Flashpaw Howler existing as a playtest card as to why Zared got hit with the health-bat down to 16 when the champions all had non-20 health totals. If Zared was 18 or higher health, he would be a Rutherford Banks-level champion to use with Flashpaw Howler.

Zorzym of Korru [D]

Putting eggs in a deck at quick speed can be useful if your opponent is about to draw a bunch of cards, but you’re likely using this ability as soon as it comes on-line anyway. Plus, tri-shard. Yuck.

Eternal Drifter [Average of all Champion grades: C]

Zared’s power was bumped to an A+ for this average. On the whole, Eternal Drifter’s ability at quick speed is a C, almost a C+, when you have no idea what ability you might get. Worth including in a Flashpaw Howler deck? You decide.

 

So there you have it: all the champions rated against Flashpaw Howler. I’d be interested in any combos that I missed—or overrated—so feel free to make me look bad by pointing these out in the comments below. It’s ok, I can take it.

 

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.

2 Comments on From the Deck: Rating Flashpaw Howler

  1. If you use Benvolio during your opponent’s turn, doesn’t it remove the downside totally, since the discard language is only added “this turn?”

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