Friday, November 30, 2012

Shadow Era Spoilers: Dark Prophecies #7-8

Technically, this set is three cards, but Kyle has grouped the actual #7 and #8 as one spoil, so I'm doing so as well.

Let me remind/clarify that these card evaluations are done purely on the stance of competitive viability, not how cool or fun you may think they are, as these things are entirely opinionated. If you have this one deck that plays Selfishness and Selfishness is the key that holds your deck together, that's awesome for you. That doesn't mean your deck is good compared to everything else out there and that doesn't mean the individual card is good either.

Spoiler #7: Nurturing Spring
Spoiled by Shadow Era Radio on 11/24/2012

Nurturing Spring (3)
Human Item - Artifact
While in play, friendly allies have +1 health.
Any player may activate the following ability on their turn: 2se: Nurturing Spring is destroyed.

Now this is an interesting card, except for two problems.

One- It costs 3cc. This is huge, because turn three in human decks are already full up as it is. Unless Jasmine is suddenly a bad card, and I don't think she will be, There's a question of simply how much room there is for this card.

The second issue is that, let's face it, 2SE isn't that expensive, especially for shadow players with access to Font. The opponent can simply hold off and blow up Spring if it ever becomes relevant. Yes, it can be painful with multiples over time, but if you want it for the se removal, just play Radiant Sunlight.

This card has sort of the same issue as Good Ascendant in that it operates an already populated cost slot and the effect is rarely relevant. However, Nurturing Spring is easier to destroy and can't destroy other cards itself like Good Ascendant can.

Nurturing Spring Rating: 2/10. No one plays Good Ascendant and there's even less reason to play this card. It has one real use, and that's to trick an opponent into wasting 2se on it, but they can simply blow it up with regular item destruction or- better yet- just ignore it. +1 health is meh for all the same reasons Elementalis is. I can see it finding a home in some resource denial deck, but only due to not having enough se denial cards over and above PotL and the sunlight.

Spoiler #7.5: Contaminated Well

Spoiled by Shadow Era Radio on 11/24/2012

Contaminated Well (3)
Shadow Item - Artifact
While in play, opposing allies have -1 max health, to a minimum of 1.
Any player may activate the following ability on their turn: 2se: Contaminated Well is destroyed.

This card is WAY better than the spring, and that's because while it can't kill allies outright, it can soften them up for another card to kill in one shot, the same way that playing Aldon with another ally already in play creates instant value.

What makes it a far cry from Aldontastic is the inability to kill cards by itself, which Aldon can do (being an ally). However, Contaminated Well does interact well with any heroes that do burst damage such as Majiya, Zaladar, Banebow, and, that's right, Baduruu. Aldon can't compliment non-ally damage, so there are situations where this card actually trumps Baduruu.

Is this better than playing Evil Ascendant? Probably not. EA doesn't affect the board immediately when played, so it lacks the surprise factor, but if you want immediate value only DMT does pretty much the same thing. The selfdestruct clause doesn't help Contaminated Well's case either. However, in a meta not unlike the current one where Armored Sandworm and Infernal Gargoyle run rampant, Contaminated Well does something that EA can't do. Shadow heroes also have access to Shadowspawn, a card that could potentially shut off the downside to Contaminated Well.

Contaminated Well Rating: 5/10. While this card does have its faults and is rather easy to deal with, it DOES have a unique effect, it gets around armor abilities, and it's important to ever underestimate cards with immediate value that can keep on giving. I can see this card seeing play, and in the right list at the right time, this can turn the tables during midgame board control, a time that often decides many a win. If this is good in a playset, or even good as more than one of, I will go out and buy a new hat just so I can eat it. Contaminated Well is mostly a DMT that doesn't happen to be an ally or conflict with DMT's unique clause.

Spoiler #8: Word of the Prophet
Spoiled by Kyle on 11/30/2012

Whoa, baby.

I'm actually struggling with how much I should talk about this card and how much I should save for later.

This thing is really awesome. I mean, really awesome.

Word of the Prophet can go in pretty much any deck, and effectively acts as a mulligan. It's not a true filter like Careful Planning because the cards get shuffled in, so you have the same chance of drawing whatever you put back, but any poor or otherwise clumped hands can easily be replaced, and when you like what you have, Word can just become a resource instead.

If you really want that turn one ally drop, this card is not for you. For everyone else, it is a godsend. Have Aeon or the King's Pride in your starting hand that you can't cast nor sac early? Word of the Prophet. Have four Jasmines, and you'd really like to play them later under said Aeon instead? Word of the Prophet. Playing Millstalker and really having trouble digging for those teeth, Speedstrikes, Evil Ascendants, or any other piece you're missing? Word of the Prophet.

More than just basic utility and digging for cards, things get crazy when you look at more specific interactions. For example, Bad Santa. Everyone loves a good santa bomb combo, and prior to this card, you used to have to play a 1cc ally to get the full effect. This didn't hurt too much, as Kristoffer Wyld is a decent multipurpose ally, as well as Birgitte. However, shadow decks lacked these options. Now they have one. Technically speaking, Word of the Prophet is -1 card advantage, but when followed up by a Santa Bomb (TM BlanketEffect), that effect is completely negated.

Speaking of BlanketEffect and the Santa Bomb, he came up with a really cool deck a few months back called the Feedbomb Dynamo, which revolved around using Bazaar and Bad Santa to bomb the opponent constantly while chaining together Feedback to play a large number of cards each turn to avoid the same fate. Previously, the deck was forced to play Fire Snake for early bombs and as a hand emptier, but Word of the Prophet does a simply superb job at not only making digging for Feedback easier, but gives a much better alternative to playing Fire Snake.

That deck also wanted to play Shadow Knight, but it was never possible as SK into the snake is just a horrible feeling. This brings me to my next interaction, Shadow Knight and Lily Rosecult. Both of these cards replace themselves in your hand, but not necessarily with what you want. The opponent also knows what card is returned, which makes it a rather transparent technique. While in the past you could always just sac these cards, now you have another option. After playing a Word of the Prophet, you can (or opt not to) shuffle away this and any other revealed cards, such as retreated allies, to keep your opponent guessing.

Next up on the list of tricks with Word of the Prophet are card stealing effects. This means Dimension Ripper, Transference, Nightprowler, and Gravedigger's Cloak. According to Soothslyr on the dev team, Word doesn't do exactly what it says in that the cards are shuffled not into your deck, but to the original owner of each individual card.  In other words, if you steal say a Puwen you don't want, you can give it back, thickening out the opponent's deck with cards they don't want to draw, and replace it in your hand with another card from your own deck.

What can also be done with this, among other things, is that this is the first time you get to shuffle your opponent's deck in a game. If they play say Resurrection, Careful Planning, any card that lets them manipulate the top of their deck, this trick can completely undo their plan. For that matter, Prophet can let you shuffle your own deck, so if YOU play Resurrection but don't want to draw allies the next ten turns, Prophet can help with that.

This is getting really long already, so it's about time that I wrap it up.

The downside to WotP is that while it does replace other meh cards in hand, it's still -1 card advantage. Most high-end competitive decks are able to easily draw 2+ cards a turn, such as Zhanna or Amber, so the card disadvantage isn't quite as painful as it could be. However, this card is no substitute to an actual draw engine. You need to have other ways to draw to play this card successfully.

Word of the Prophet Rating: 9/10. Mulligan: the card and then some, WotP is one of if not the best piece of utility in all of Shadow Era. Almost every deck will want to have this card at one point or another. There are decks that won't, however, as detailed in the wall o' text above, but the majority of high-level players should agree that this card is getting hella played. The Feedbomb Dynamo hasn't been talked about that much of late, but if this card is printed as is, expect that to change significantly. Blanket may have predicted the future with that list.


  1. Hmmm. The first toward obviously filler (why not at least try this type of effect at cc2? They already don't work at 3, it's not going to be different here). Word of the prophet though is tricky. My Initial instinct is that this is like faithless looting, except the discard on that is usually better and in fact the only time you play that card is if you can use the graveyard part it so it's like drawing 2 for 1. The fact that this can be a mulligan is really big game here though, but I don't think you can evaluate it on that alone. Mull is inherently less important in this game because of the sac mechanic which lets you get use from dead cards and never worry about missing land drops.

    I think you need to really evaluate this by how useful it might be s a mid game play. And outside of some corner cases, I just can't see this. Also you'll rarely be using it to profitably cycle all 3 possible cards ESP mid game so it's value is further reduced.

    Anyway, an interesting card but not an auto include for me.

  2. But you need the card early, meaning you're going to have to have many in your hands, 3 or 4, and this is purely wasted space after the early game.
    I can't think of a deck where I could free 3-4 spots for the 2% of cases
    where I'm going to need this. Only decks that work at low ressource levels
    will use them mid or late game, and that's still room taken from something

  3. I think you overvalue the card. The card disadvantage is a turn of for me. I could do much better with including another card in a deck imo.