Blood abilities! The sacred powers of kings, bestowed by the gods through their royal blood! Added to the Spellfire game with the Birthright expansion, these spell-like abilities can be cast by Regents and some other champions. Difficult to counter, but overall pretty tame, here are my picks for the top 5 blood abilities in the game. Please note that all choices were made with the particularities of the Antigonish variant in mind.
This card echoes Loup-Garou with its "play something or else" mechanic. Two problems: firstly, it's an ally, not a magic item, that your opponent needs to play. Allies are much more common than magic items (at least in TAV), so the odds are not as good that your enemy won't have one. Secondly, Melt Bone won't win the combat for you and raze the realm you are attacking. What it will do is send the enemy's champion away, defeated, if he can't play an ally. He can, however, put forward a replacement champion (if he has one) and continue the fight. If he has no other champion, the battle is over and spoils is drawn!
#5 (tie) - Battlewise (Birthright, 37/100)
Doubling the total level of your champion? Excellent way to win the combat if this card is played late in a level-up war. Only #5 on this list because long, drawn-out level-up wars are more common in standard Spellfire than they are in the Antigonish variant.
#4 - Divine Wrath (Birthright, 39/100)
Divine Wrath discards all allies played in the battle so far, and prevents any new ones from being played. That's a pretty good power, so long as you can slap down the Divine Wrath before the Dreaded Ghost or Loup-Garou ends the combat. But the best part of this card is its second power. Unless dispelled, Divine Wrath stays with your champion until the end of your next turn (provided said champion stays alive), which means on your next turn you can attack again with the champion, who is automatically +6 in level and immune to allies! Good deal.
#3 - Death Touch (Birthright, 43/100)
Instant-kill cheese in the form of a blood ability! Sweet. Death Touch does what Divine Wrath and Melt Bone cannot reliably do - end combat, in a hurry! Draw and discard a card (itself a punishing mechanic - "whoops! there goes my Wish!"), noting the last digit. If it's equal to or greater than the champion's base level, it's lights out and give me my spoils! The best defense against Death Touch (besides a 4th edition Dispel) is a high-base-level champion. But high-base-level champions are very vulnerable to instant-kill cards in TAV. It's a trade-off, and one that makes Death Touch a must-have card for any Regent deck.
#2 - Create Minion (Dungeons, 79/100)
The cards above are very good - but our #2 and #1 blood abilities are primo. Let's start with Create Minion, a card that let's you pull any one champion from your graveyard to your pool. Gibs, avatars - you name it, you can get it. And the best part? You can use Create Minion in phase 3 or phase 5. Either before or after combat, your choice. Awesome. No need to put Hettman Tsurin back in play until phase 5, but you sure want your Living Wall out there during phase 3. Great card, versatile and powerful. The only "downside" to Create Minion is that the champion becomes undead - but this is hardly a big problem.
#1 - Death Field (Dungeons, 81/100)
What, no sticker-set card in one of these "top 5" list posts? Nope, not this time. Death Field takes our #1 spot, and it's not close. Maybe it's just the fact that I've been plagued by avatars like Istus and Kiri many times, but I absolutely love quick and easy removal that can eliminate troublesome avatars. It also works on Bigby, Gib Htimsen, Kronos, the Living Wall, etc. What an awesome card! The only problem with Death Field is that it can't target annoying low-level champions like Erellika, Lyr, Gwenyth, and the Headless Horseman. Still, it's easily the best blood ability ever printed.
Next time: 5 best thief skills.