How many times have you felt frustrated by either shard screw or shard flood? How many times does someone hand you a deck, and the first thing you want to do is add or remove one shard?
How about we fix that right now with a couple of new cards that will both smooth out your draws and give you more consistent games of Hex? Say “hello” to Necropolis Coins and Scrios Coins!
The designs on both of these cards seem like a good deal for a common-rarity card. For 2 resources, you can discard this and draw a card, trading these in for a chance at something better than a shard. Shard Prism already sees some fringe play, and these coins are cheaper to activate than the Prism. They still give us a threshold like a standard shard, though at the cost of the temporary resource. If that was all these coins did, we would still consider playing them. However, they do more! Let’s take a closer look.
Let’s start with Scrios Coins, which will allow us to ready a troop we control at quick speed. That’s right, this ability is not Basic, so you can ready that troop on the opponent’s turn as a pseudo-removal action via blocking. This works nicely for control and midrange decks that are looking to go big with troops, and can often turn this ability into effective removal. It also works nicely with troops like Phenteo, the Brood Priest that have a strong activated ability, to use it more than once per turn. This effect also plays nicely with the many Diligence effects in Scars of War, including if you need to trigger Diligence on your opponent’s turn. I like Scrios Coins a lot, since Sapphire decks tend to both want more resources and also want to keep resources open for the opponent’s turn.
Necropolis Coins is a lot more straightforward, and the Blood/X beatdown decks are the ones that will be most interested. Aggressive decks like Yotul Mogak‘s already exist, and a couple of these coins could fit in just fine (though loss of health is not increased by Yotul’s power). If Scars of War’s Limited format is as fast as Herofall’s, then this shard should be a middle to high pick. That said, even the slower Blood decks could be interested in this card as a little bit of insurance against shard flooding.
While Standard Constructed loses access to the Shattered Destiny dual-threshold shards due to set rotation, we now have a new cycle of resources that gives us more options. In regards to options, I have advocated since Shards of Fate that multiple options on cards leads to a healthy competitive environment. Having a choice on these coins between adding another resource and choosing the active ability on a resource adds a lot more complexity to the game.
While there are the positive sides of having resource options, there is also the possible major downside of not having a dual shard this set (aside from the continuing Well cycle). Along with that, these shards favor mono-shard decks in terms of consistency. However, they remain possible to run these in multi-shard decks.
Finally, one surprising thing that was pointed out during our initial review of these resources is that each of these coins are Common rarity. That means these will be available easily in the Limited format.
Necropolis Coins may be played in a deck that needs an additional means of closing a game through the -2 health effect and drawing a card when flooded. As a note, Necropolis Coin causes champions “lose health” instead of dealing damage, so it may not be as effective in a Yotul Mogak deck as it could have been, our first thought as to where this type of shard could shine. Necropolis Coins definitely can still be useful in Yotul, without him interacting with the health loss effect. Ideally, I can see this resource being used in a Blood/Ruby aggro deck that just need that last push to end a match.
I am excited for this Scrios Coins as it opens a lot of options for the player. Not only can it be used as a combat trick to allow blocking, but you can trigger Diligence effects on troops on your side of the field, such as the recently introduced Cerulean Sage, as long as the troop is currently exhausted. Opponent attacks, you use Scrios Coins on your Sage, and then you end up winning a trade and drawing a card. A classic two-for-one! How about using Scrios Coins on Mindwrack Sorcerer? Opponent’s troop dies, they have to discard a card, and you draw a card! Be careful of Scrios Coins and its interactions in Limited! I warn you now!
You are likely wondering, as I am, “What are the Ruby, Diamond, and Wild coins?” Since the Scrios and Necropolis coins are at Common rarity, it is very likely that these coins are part of a cycle of resources for each shard. Given the potential of these Blood and Sapphire coins, I would not be surprised to see effects of similar potency from other coin resources.
That said, the coins explore a brand new space in Hex deckbuilding. Usually, a set number of resources and non-resource cards are our solid guides to building a deck: 24-36 in Constructed, and 17-23 in limited. Especially for Limited formats like Draft, it’s important to note that these resources are fully usable as resources, while also being able be used like quick actions. In fact, the coins are better than your average quick action, being a cantrip that replaces itself in your hand.
Not only that, using one of these in your deck does not use up a spot for your other non-resources! Take one of these in Draft, you still have room for your 23-ish non-resources. Will players take the coins highly given their deckbuilding flexibility? And in Constructed, especially for slower decks, would you replace one of your standard resources with these?
Exciting times are ahead! Beware those with a coin in the hand!