Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Return of Some Old Favorites!

The Lab is open for business again!
You can still attack, but you're going to pay.
To treat myself this Christmas, I decided to re-acquire two amazing chase cards that I'd traded away over the years. There was a bit of sticker shock involved when I checked the prices of these babies on eBay, but I thought "What the hell" and went ahead and grabbed them up. My Gib deck and my Kings & Thieves deck were the beneficiaries, as these two cards instantly made them much better. Let's take a look at both.

Mad Scientist's Laboratory (Night Stalkers chase, 25/25) allows you to haul champions and allies out of any discard pile and use them as +1 undead allies during combat. While this might win you a level-up war once in a blue moon, the real value in this card happens after combat, when all the reanimated champs and allies go straight to the Abyss. Your opponents lose the services of their Korgunard, their Goldmoon, or their Bigby...permanently. For its ability to cripple any deck that depends on bringing champions (or allies) back from the discard pile, Mad Scientist's Laboratory is a supremely primo realm.

Den Of Thieves (Night Stalkers chase, 24/25) might be even better than Mad Scientists Laboratory. It causes your opponents no end of pain, as they have to discard a card from their hand or pool for each champion or ally they want to use. Now in TAV there's usually only one attack per turn, so the Den isn't as powerful as it is in standard Spellfire. However, if the opponent has a deck that uses a lot of allies, they are still going to feel the burn of this card. Also, in a 4 or 5 player game, each opponent will have to carefully weigh the cost of attacking you while you sit back and watch them discard valuable cards. I feel great having Den of Thieves back in my Kings & Thieves deck!

Next time: The 10 best TAV magic items.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Candle In The Wind...

Let's take a little peek, my friend.
Candlekeep (Forgotten Realms, 20/100) is the only holding in my Gib Deck. Why? Because it's freaking awesome, that's why. Once this baby is attached to a Forgotten Realms land, its power takes effect. Any time an opponent plays an event - any event - you get to take a long look at their hand. This happens whether it's a combat or non-combat situation. If you have four opponents, and they each play an event on their turn (very possible), you could get a peek at all four hands! Events are very common in Spellfire, even more so in TAV. There aren't many decks that don't contain the full complement of ten events.

Candlekeep can give you an invaluable peek at what instant-kill cheese, powerful champions, or counter-effect cards your enemies are packing. Then you can decide from a knowledgeable position how best to deal with them.

For maximum protection, latch Candlekeep on to one of you rear Realms. You don't want this thing exposed to attack near the front. When it comes to Candlekeep, your opponents will be dying to extinguish it!

Next time: The 10 best TAV magic items.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ever Been Inside a Haunted....Hall?

Who ya gonna call?
The Haunted Hall of Eveningstar (3rd edition, 28/400) is a realm I have in my best deck. 

"But why?" I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you. Spellfire is a game of card advantage. Even more so in the Antigonish version of Spellfire. More cards equals more instant kill, more counters, and more events. The Haunted Hall can help by providing an extra card instantly upon being played.

Ideally, you want the Hall somewhere at the back of your formation, but even up front it's decent. If your opponent attacks it with a powerful champion, and manages to raze it, all is not lost. If it's rebuilt in any way (including by discarding 3 cards, using a Labor of Legend, or even discarding Korgunard the Avangion) you get to draw another card. Each time it's rebuilt during the game, the same thing happens.

Drawing cards is a good thing. Keep repeating that, because it's true! The Haunted Hall of Eveningstar gives you one more way to make it happen.

Tomorrow: Light a candle!  

Friday, December 28, 2018

Remember: Always Use Protection!

Spellfire card or WWI German medal? You decide.
Amulet of Spell Protection (Artifacts chase, 17/20) is a great magic item that's found its way into my best deck. Not only does it give a nifty +5 bonus and make its attached champion immune to pesky offensive spells like Death Spell, Mindslayer, Takhisis's Abyssal Gateway, and Mindshatter, but it also can be discarded to cancel the effects of any spell.

Now discarding this card would have to be a last resort. It's just too good to toss away haphazardly to cancel any old spell. But let's imagine your opponent decides to Wish away your Living Wall or (even worse) your Caer Allison. You need that Wish stopped, but are out of counters. Or you have a counter, but no spellcasting champion. Amulet of Spell Protection to the rescue!

Mind you, the main power of the Amulet - making the attached champion immune to offensive spells - is good enough to make this a must-have card all by itself. The +5 and the discard ability are just the icing on this primo cake.

Tomorrow: Is this place haunted?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Nice to Sea You!

Actually, isn't it more of a lake than a sea?
The Last Sea (4th Edition, 38/500) has only one power, and no movement restriction of any kind. Still, its ability is very primo. Once this baby has settled into your formation - ideally not at the front - you can voluntarily raze it to cast a champion-less Spell Turning. You can redirect that Raze, Creeping Doom, or Death Spell at any target you choose.

Now, razing your own realm is on the list of "last resort" actions, to be sure. The aim of Spellfire is to raze your opponent's lands, not yours. However, if you're short of spellcasters or out of counters, this ability can really save your bacon. 

I should note that the spell you turn doesn't have to be aimed at you. In a multiplayer game (the best kind!) you can use The Last Sea to mess with opponents spells even when they are targeting other enemies. Great for stopping the person in the lead from getting a spoils, for example.

While The Last Sea is not the monster card that, say, Cormyr is, it's still good enough to be firmly ensconced in my best deck. If I had more of them, I would probably put one in just about every deck I own. Anyone know where I can buy a few cheap?!

Tomorrow: Are you wearing protection?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Don't Be Hasty!

Watch your head.

Haste Spell (Dragonlance chase, 23/25) is a card I have in my Gib Deck, mostly because it's a cool chase card. Sometimes, however, it comes in handy, especially when cast by one of my primo gibs like Irod, Reltub, Occav, or Thiaf. Let's use Gib Irod as an example. When she casts haste she gains a +13 to her level. She can cast Dispel Magic or Dispel to protect the Haste against counters. With a Star Gem of Martek: Clear Crystal attached to her, the Haste cannot be countered at all. 

This card isn't for all decks containing wizard spell-casting champions, though. They have to be high enough in level to make a doubling worthwhile. Erellika isn't going to benefit from a Haste. For anyone of level 8-9 or above, however, the Haste Spell packs a punch and can be the difference between winning or losing a level-up war.

Tomorrow: The Last Sea!

Monday, December 18, 2017

This Wine Is Vintage!

Fancy a drink? Careful there!
Wine of Eternity (Forgotten Realms chase, 21/25) is a great card for eliminating enemy champions. Unlike Takhisis's Mirror of Life Trapping (Dragonlance chase, 14/25), a champion "put to sleep" by Wine of Eternity can't be freed by a mere Dispel Magic. No, to get your champion back you must draw and discard a card at the beginning of each turn, hoping its last digit is equal to or greater than the affected champion's base level. That's a heavy price to pay, because whatever that card was - Menzo, your Wish, your Dreaded Ghost - it's gone. 

Another primo use of the Wine is against avatars. No drawing and discarding there - if Wine of Eterinity is successfully used against an avatar, that card is out of play until the Wine itself is canceled somehow. All avatars are higher than level 10, so no last digit can free them. I've used this card to rid myself (at least for awhile) of Istus, Kiri-Jolith, and countless other problematic avatars.

So if you're looking for a card that can put enemy champions on ice for awhile, and also cost your opponent a (possibly awesome) card each turn, crack open a bottle and pour a glass of this vintage!

Next: Don't be "hasty"!