Resources are the backbone of every deck in Hex. Unless you are some cheaty Arena boss, you need resource cards to generate the permanent resources needed to play each and every one of your cards. Then there’s the thresholds needed to play those cards—another thing that comes mostly from resource cards. Finally, there’s the charges gained from playing resources, which fuel our Champion power. In the Shards of Fate set, we were saddled with Shards of Fate as the primary fixer for getting the threshold we needed to play multi-shard decks. But, like another fixer—Lixil, the Deathless Gem—you needed to actually have that shard in your deck when you searched for the threshold to gain and you got no charges from playing it.
Along came Shattered Destiny and our prayers were answered (or so we thought!) when dual shards were introduced that had the ability to let us choose from one of two thresholds when played and gain a charge at the same time. The only thing we didn’t get was a resource to play that turn, so our ability to play up the curve stumbled a bit as we had to wait out a whole turn to get full value for our resource play.
Now in Armies of Myth we got a few allegiance shards which give us immediate resources to play stuff that turn, the threshold we need, AND charges as well—which is great, but if you’re not playing a critical mass needed by the allegiance tag, you might end up not being able to get the threshold benefits from the resource when you play it.
But there was another card added in the set that plays similar to a dual shard (but is better in one way), doesn’t require you to have a basic shard to copy off of (like Shards of Fate), and gives you both a permanent and playable resource that turn, as long as you haven’t played another resource yet, and that card is Shardcall.
While technically a basic action and not a resource, Shardcall is a 1 cost 1 Diamond threshold card that creates a basic shard out of thin air and adds it to your hand. If you are playing Diamond/anything you can pretty much replace the dual shards with Shardcalls and be perfectly happy.
Mimicking a Dual Shard
This is the scenario you will find yourself in most often. You have a Shardcall in hand and no other resource. You play it reducing your temporary resources by 1 and then play the shard you created to bring that back up. You have basically played a dual shard this turn: your net temporary resource is 0. You got the threshold you wanted, gained a permanent resource, and you gained a charge.
Smoothing the Curve
This is a scenario that you love to be in with Shardcall. You drop a Diamond shard on turn 1 and Shardcall to grab your turn 2 (or later) shard. This helps you hit your curve to bring out the big threats on turn. This can also be done if you have an extra resource left over in a turn and have already played a shard. You’ll be grabbing next turn’s shard drop ensuring your Shardcalls are acting like the [1/1] (gain one charge) resource you want them to be in the long run.
Hitting a Threshold
Since you don’t need to have the basic shard in your deck, you can use Shardcall to hit thresholds that are normally impossible for your deck. If you have an Eye of Lixil out against a mono-Blood deck and you need to get that Blood threshold, Shardcall allows you to do just that. If you have an Eternal Sage out, your opponent’s board is all X/1’s and you want to deal 1 damage to all of them, Shardcall for a Ruby and go to town.
In addition, you can also use Shardcalls to hit double- and triple-thresholds, something that is impossible with cards that give you a threshold “you don’t have” like Sepulcher Crypt Dust.
You knew this was coming, but it’s pretty obvious. First, you need to be in Diamond, and not just splashing it either. Your first drop needs to be a Diamond in order to maximize any Shardcalls you have or might get. If you are playing Angel of Dawn, your first drop should be a Diamond anyway, so we’re all good there. A starting hand of four Shardcalls and no other resources is obviously a “must pitch” hand where if those were all [0/1] dual shards instead you could probably make it work.
Champion: Winter Moon
The idea here is to stop a T3 Titania’s Majesty, as well as the T4, 5, and 6 ones too. Plenty of interrupts and safe removal to slow down the best Majesty deck and even eliminate pesky Eternal Guardians as well with Martyrs and Pride’s Falls. Shardcall is used for getting a single Wild shard to use Winter Moon for the rest of the game, or the double-Sapphire needed for Countermagic if required. Free Angels, constructed Soul Marbles and Tiaanost bring the game home for you.
I hope this opened up your eyes to Shardcall. On the 2TurnsAhead podcast I claimed that it was “80% of a shard” and after playing it in Set 3 for the past month, I am comfortable in saying that it’s easily a 95% shard. There are few situations where you are unable to play it if you have Diamond as a primary resource.