Hello everyone! My name is Nathan “noverb” Overbay. Today I will be walking you through all the new cards from the new campaign Promises by Firelight. For those new to my set reviews, my rating system is somewhat pass/fail and goes as follows:
- Playable: I think this will see play in a relevant capacity.
- Borderline: This card is close to playable. Often just shy of the pure power needed for Constructed play.
- Niche: This will only see play in select decks that can utilize a specific synergy with this card.
- Build-around: While similar to niche, this wants you to focus your deck around this card.
- Meme: This card has applications outside of trying form the best deck possible and instead do something fun or eccentric.
- Unplayable: This card is not powerful enough to see play or requires too much effort to be properly utilized.
- Market: This card will likely only be played as a Market card.
Endra, Champion of Shavka
Endra is a very playable two-drop. On it’s own it is a 2/2 that pings something for one damage. Whether that’s a Thudrock’s Masterwork, an Oni Ronin, or popping the Aegis on a Crownwatch Paladin. So just at a base level it has good utility. That’s not all, though! Shavka’s Song also replenishes your power letting you play another card in the same turn!
I can’t imagine that Endra hits Mastery a lot naturally but there are definitely options to push it if needed. Jack’s Knife and Kaleb’s Persuader have proven themselves as great mastery enablers. I can definitely see some sweet turns with it, let me give you an example:
Turn 2: Play Endra and ping something for one, maybe play a one drop.
Turn 3: Play power, play Jack’s Knife, attack for four and achieve Mastery 6. Ping something for two and ramp two power getting to four on turn three!
This card could lead to some silly starts. Even if you don’t help Endra achieve Mastery, playing future Endra’s will always be better. Not only that, but the combo potential of getting back Endra and replaying it to create bigger and bigger Songs is enticing. I think this card is solid in both formats.
The biggest turn-off for me is that the card actually does nothing on it’s own. If you have no dragons in play it does zero damage. It’s not totally useless, the payoff is that you get damage AND Units for each dragon you already have in play. I could imagine this seeing some fringe play in an aggressive Dragon tribal deck. Often cases this will just be a win-more card.
Throne: Niche / unplayable
Expedition: Niche / unplayable
Ixtol, Champion of Grodov
Hooo boy was this a big miss. I think this card is actually quite bad. This card is a six-cost 6/6+ and will grow over the course of the game. As a baseline that’s good, but the card has no immediate effect on the board and no evasion to speak of.
Why is that important? Well, since it costs six, has no immediate effect on the board, one removal spell (Slay, Desecrate, Annihilate, etc.) and it will be as if it was never summoned. If it manages to survive removal, it still has no evasion (Overwhelm, Unblockable, or Flying) so it’s huge body won’t make a difference.
The secondary effect of Ixtol is neat but generally won’t go into effect until A) the opponent starts to chump block, or B) you play addition cards to get the effect. Compared to something like World-Bearer Behemoth, Ixtol is a joke. However, DWD does buff cards from time to time. If Ixtol was given some kind of evasion, Summon/Entomb effect, or a reduced cost (4TTT maybe?) I’d consider playing it.
This card is strange. At face value it’s actually bad for you. Yes, it creates three extra power for you, but it makes it so much harder to play two cards in a turn. Digging a little deeper you can build your deck around this. Warp, Shift, and activated abilities all benefit from this increase power.
This is not an immediately powerful effect but I do think there is room to create a really cool deck around this. Will it be a competitively viable deck? That I cannot be sure of. This is definitely a brewer’s goldmine. I’m excited to see what people come up with.
Throne: Build-around / meme
Expedition: Build-around / meme
Aali, Champion of Kodosh
There is a lot to unpack with this card. The summon is quite relevant. Silencing bigger units is a great boon to handling late game board-states. That makes Aali a solid topdeck late.
You may not want to run it in every deck because it’s small stature without a Relic. I can imagine running this alongside Relic Weapons, in a token deck with Xenan Obelisk, or a curse deck with Kodosh Sees All. With a big enough relic you can give Aali flying to be your finisher, but I think that’s probably win-more.
The first thing I would try is find a deck where there is a solid relic in your market that you want to grab often. That could even be something as simple as an Avigraft. That way Aali is buffed without your deck being focused around it’s synergy. Aali’s summon will pick up the slack until the body catches up.
Throne: Playable / niche
Expedition: Playable / niche
Alright, alright, yes, this is a Relic Weapon. Yes, it flips a switch in my brain that makes me want to say “Oooh, I bet this will be great in Armory!” but this Weapon is real medium.
A five-cost 2/4 is a terrible, and I mean terrible, rate. Thankfully it has text that is sometimes relevant. There aren’t many Spellcraft decks, but there are some key Spellcraft cards that would be nice to lock out. Namely, Sodi’s Spellshaper. The problem in that instance is that Scimitar costs five, later than the average Spellshaper gets played.
To sweeten the pot there is a Mastery 6, and boy is this Mastery enticing. Getting three Paladins is actually quite appealing. That many units could do a decent job of holding down the ground while the Weapon picks off more Units. At base stats, though, Solburst Scimitar is unlikely to get three hits off. Unless it is A) against three unbuffed Cultists, or B) hitting face on a clear board for three turns, you are unlikely to hit Mastery.
I’m not super keen on this card but it could do something in the right deck and metagame. This is the first card that I think gets a little more playable in Expedition than Throne due to the overwhelming presence of Sodi’s Spellshaper and the lower power level of Units. I’m gonna tentatively just call it playable in Expedition.
Lys, Champion of Linrei
This card is very intriguing. It’s important to note that this is not a “may” effect. It’s going to happen to someone every turn Lys lives. So the benefit is that you can run Echo and Fate cards like Jotun Hurler and Xo, cards that you already want to play, to draw extra cards. The extra cards made by those effects will turn into real cards from your deck.
The downside is that once you find a hand you like you may be forced into making your opponent redraw their hand. Which they could play around by holding excess power or cards worse in the match-up as a way to draw extra cards. On the flipside, you could slam Lys after they Market for a finisher and force them to discard it. So it’s not all bad targeting the opponent.
I feel obligated to mention that Lys also works well with Manacles and other mill strategies. For that reason Lys also earns a “meme” tag. Rejoice, for the game now has another way to slowly grind the opponent out of cards in deck. *audible sigh*
Throne: Niche / meme
Expedition: Niche / meme
I’m actually quite excited by this card. Eilyn’s Favor and Cobalt Waystone already see a lot of play for their ability to give you (the player) Aegis. The common factor for those cards is that they both give you Aegis at slow speed. The ability to grant player Aegis at fast speed is ridiculous. This card adds a whole new to how hard Aegis is to play around.
It’s worth noting that Aegis already existed to serve this functionality, but there’s a huge difference between the two. This draws a card. Being able to counter an effect and replace itself means that it will almost always be a two-for-one. This card is something to think about when crafting your Primal decks.
Kuro, Champion of Makkar
Kuro feels very pushed. A three-cost 3/3 with Quickdraw is a very solid body. In addition to that, Kuro has two very strong abilities that make me think Kuro is going to slot into a number of decks.
The first is that Kuro gives your curses Fast. That means that your Permafrosts, Avigrafts, and Hostile Takeovers can all be played in combat or at the end of their turn. This allows you to hold up Wisdom of the Elders and other Fast/Ambush cards alongside your curses.
That’s probably the weaker of the two abilities on the card, though. The second is that upon reaching Mastery 6 you draw THREE Units from your void. That’s phenomenal. Stonescar has already shown how well it can achieve Mastery with it’s weapons and pump Spells. I’m sure Kuro will find an immediate home in a Stonescar Aggro/Mastery shell.
This is definitely the bogeyman of the set. Eremot’s Designs is a solid replacement for cards like Defiance and Suffocate as they cover draws where the Aggro opponent goes wide early. I’m actually not quite sure how Aggro decks can even attempt to thrive in an environment where this exists.
It’s not great in all match-ups but it’s also not meant to be. It’s a very polarizing card in that it will either be an absolute powerhouse or do close to nothing. In the scenarios where it does nothing at worst it’s just Market fodder. I think this card should at least be a two-of in almost every non-Aggro Shadow deck.
When you are playing this card you should minimize the damage it does to you. Just like Hailstorm, be considerate of your own Units. For example, if you need ramp play Power Stone over Devotee of the Sands.
This card is so cool. At worst it costs four and puts two bodies in play. I’ve play Marisen’s Disciple and while this is worse at base level, the upside is so high. Doubling Warcry effects are the first thing that comes to mind, but there are other cute interactions like Void Drummer I’m down to try. This card is probably just strong enough to see play in Expedition but would require more help to succeed in Throne.
I’m curious to see how Solwatcher Tota interacts with cards like Xenan Obelisk. Does the Totemite end up bigger than the original due to seeing the static buff, coming in at whatever Tota is, and then receiving the static buff?
I know I’m not the first to say this but this just screams Exalted Rod. I doubt you actually want to play this as a five-cost 3/3 with exalted, so you really should be going for the broke stuff here. So let’s see what bomb Weapons we have access to:
- Heretic’s Cannon
- Dramatist’s Mask
- Divining Rod
- Deepforged Plate
- Sword of Unity
- Cirso’s Cleaver (you know you want to)
If you aren’t swinging for the fences you should leave this card in the dugout. As I mentioned above, an obvious go to is Divining Rod. This will allow you to load up your board with Exalted units and hopefully crush your opponent. Another option is to use Dramatists Mask. Not only with it give the Artisan Charge to attack immediately, but it actually triggers Exalted next turn in a neat package. Give it a try!
Oh baby does this have a lot of words on it. At base value it is a six-cost 6/7 Flying Dragon (the typing IS relevant) that locks down a Unit on board until it leaves. This is comparable to Aniya, and while it doesn’t have the ability to gain Aegis, it does have a much bigger body with evasion.
But wait, there’s more! You can also pay four to deal one damage to an enemy unit and then kill it if it has Endurance. You can ping enemy flying blockers and pesky Sandstorm Titans that would have you play a fair fight on the ground. This effect also slots in rather well alongside Vara’s Sanctum if you enjoy playing the Deadly ping strategy.
With a body that big Draconus can tussle with the likes of Sediti and Icaria, survive a Sodi, Wingbreaker hit, and provide a solid clock on the opponent. Spitflame Draconus won’t be sitting in your collection for long as I imagine quite a few different decks will want it.
Dakus, Ancient Flame
This card seems quite good. Sure, the glaring weakness is that it dies to Torch/Conflagrate. Aside from the unfortunate three health, the body is solid for the rate. Being able to trade one of your less enticing units to re-draw Dakus when it dies seems great. I could definitely see this finding a home in an aggressive Stonescar deck in either format. Not to mention it’s also a Dragon and that is becoming more and more of a boon.
Regular play-ability aside, I really want to do dumb things with this card. Let’s give it Revenge and make the re-draws have Destiny. Why stop there? I want to find a way to loop two Dakus infinitely. If you figure out how, you let me know.
Harga, Armory Warden
It really took me a while to understand why Harga wasn’t dealing damage back to your other Units. Harga has eight health so that she can survive most attacks from your Units and help them achieve Mastery. I was so stuck on why she wasn’t helping herself that I didn’t see how she could help your other Units.
That being said I think Harga will actually see a lot of play in a very specific deck. She seems like a great fit alongside Yisha being that she becomes an 8/8. Not only that but she has other text to increase her power and give herself and others Killer. Harga is a very interesting card and I’m excited to see how she interacts with everything.
This card is definitely something to talk about. I can’t say I really know what to do with it. It is a cheap blocker that can soak up a hit and live to soak another on later. Just that alone seems very helpful in certain situations.
The part that puzzles me is the Mastery. Mastery 5 is not something that this will hit naturally basically ever. So what are we doing to the Mount to increase it’s power in Elysian and what Flying Units do we want to get Aegis?
The first thing that comes to mind is Palace. End of their turn five you slam this down and then on your turn six you slam Palace, give it +4/+4 and then go in, giving your team Aegis in the process. There’s the usual suspects of Hooru fliers, but now also featuring the likes of Qirin Ascendant maybe?
Stormtamer’s Mount has a lot of potential but you definitely don’t want to shove this into just every deck. I can’t wait to see the decks that properly use this inconspicuous beast!
Throne: Niche / build-around
Expedition: Niche / build-around
Elves have been sitting on the fringe of playability for a few sets now. This may be what they finally need to break in to common playability. Not only is this an anthem effect that also gives Endurance, but it is a card advantage engine as well. I am actually thrilled that this got printed and am excited to start playing Elf brews.
Do you like super cute interactions? Praxis Arcanum actually makes this a two-cost Relic. Which means that Elvish Swindler can snag it from your deck and put it right into play. C-c-c-combo!
They are really trying to push this Curse-matter theme, huh? The question to ask yourself here is “How many cards do I need to draw for this to be good?” and I think the answer is two. At one it is solid. I’d play a five-cost 4/4 Flying Endurance Unit if it drew me a card as well. The catch here is that it doesn’t always draw the card and you have to twist your deck to make it draw the cards. So generally you want to have this consistently draw two+ cards to be a pay-off in your deck.
I believe we are inching towards the critical mass of good Curses and good Curse pay-offs. This may be the tipping point in Expedition as JPS Curses was already a fringe control deck. Patriarch could serve as a solid win-con next to Kodosh Sees All. I’m not so sure the same can be said for Throne, though.
Throne: Niche / unplayable.
Expedition: Niche / playable.
Tome of Horrors
This card seems horrible to-me. In all seriousness, I can see this card being somewhat of a Cauldron Cookbook for Feln decks when facing long grindy match-ups. I just don’t know how useful that is now. Decks in Eternal have become incredibly efficient of late. You often don’t have that kind of time.
I should probably at least address the first half of the card. If you are successfully dealing damage to the opponent your objective should be to bring them from twenty-five to zero, not seventy-five to zero. However, if mill is really where your heart’s at, go wild.
If the enemy player has an Aegis, take it.
I never imagined I would ever read that line of text. This card is amazing. The main question I’m asking myself is whether this is main-deckable or not. It could obviously be useful as a Market card to get rid of pesky cards like Kairos, Icaria, Vara, Harsh Rule, Prodigious Sorcery, Garden of Omens, Jotun Feast-Caller, I could go on. That makes me imagine that maybe you could play 2-4 in the main.
I think it’s a safe bet to throw this one in the trash heap. It provides no card advantage, cannot be Marketed, and doesn’t retroactively remove influence costs. If you run this card and a bunch of very eccentric power requirements and then never draw this you are in trouble. To draw this you are likely going to want to run a set, maybe even tutors like Display and Swindler. Then, if you draw multiples of them, they do nothing. This card is just awful.
I hope you enjoyed my initial thoughts on all of these new cards. At a glance I think this campaign is a great addition to the game. I have my worries about Eremot’s Designs but time will tell if they are warranted. Many thanks to SteverCakes for having EternalWarcry.com updated with the new card images so quickly!
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