Thursday, July 25, 2013

5 Best Unarmed Combat Cards

Unarmed combat cards! These difficult-to-counter hero-specific cards made their first appearance in the landmark Runes & Ruins set in 1996. Like Blood Abilities and Thief skills, they are still a bit controversial to old-time Spellfire purists. Not that we TAV players care what *they* think! 

So without further ado, let's go into my list of the five best unarmed combat cards for Spellfire: The Antigonish Variant!     

#5 - Watahh! (Chaos, 27/72)
From the Chaos sticker set comes our number five card. Watahh (think Bruce Lee). This awesome card can only be used in combat, but it can devastate an opponent in the right situation. Watahh allows you to remove any two cards attached to the opposing champion, or reflect the special power of any just-played card - even an event - back at the opposing player before it activates. Opponent has a Divine Wrath attached? A Spell Gem of Martek - Clear Crystal? A part (or two) of The Rod of Seven Parts? No problem. Bang! They're gone. Or what about a pesky Ambush or Ancient Curse, thrown down in the heat of battle? Now it affects your enemy instead of you. This card is pure primo. The fact that it's this low on the list shows you the awesome power of unarmed combat.                                              

#4 - Whirling Dervish (Millennium, 99/99)
They say "speed kills". Well, in the Antigonish variant of Spellfire, cheese kills! Whirling Dervish is one of the best ways in the game to cut the cheese. When your opponent slaps down an instant-kill card - like Intellect Devourer, Loup-Garou, or Melt Bone - you cackle with glee as Whirling Dervish comes spinning out of your hand. You ignore the instant-defeat conditions of your enemy's card (for example, you don't have to play an ally to satisfy the Melt Bone). Even better, the effect lasts until the end of the combat and makes your champion invincible except in a level-up war. If your opponent has no way to match your level, he's not winning with gimmicks. Chew on that, Living Wall!

#3 - Haymaker (Runes & Ruins, 92/100)
It was a close battle for #3 and #2 on this list, but Haymaker slipped down to the bronze position because with it you can never be *sure* your opponent is about to croak (except if they have pushed a Living Scroll or Crawling Claws into battle). It might be likely you'll win, but its not set in stone. Haymaker does have that awesome "draw and discard a card" mechanic, where you make your enemy throw one of his cards into the discard pile. What if it's his Cold Cup or his Caer Allison? Ouch, that hurts. Anyway, once the card has been drawn and discarded, we check the last digit of its card number. If it's equal to or greater than the champion's base level, the champion is instantly killed, unless he is one of the undead. But if you're using Haymaker against an undead champion, it's a good bet that things aren't going well. The Haymaker also provides a robust +7 level bonus, but its not often used to win a level-up war. It's used to end combat, in a hurry.

#2 - Stunning Fist (Millennium, 98/99)
Yes, I was present when this awesome photo was snapped. No, I didn't snap it. Stunning Fist features an image of my pal Chris (a great Spellfire TAV player), destroying the jaw of the one, the only, Hayden William Courtland, co-creator of this whole Antigonish variant thing. And what was captured by my pal Matt and his awesome camera skills on that hot July day was pure unarmed combat gold. Would you like a card that you absolutely, positively *know* is going to give you the victory? Then play this baby. So long as your current level plus 10 puts you 8 levels or more above your enemy, he is instantly killed. Unless your opponent has a Dodge or some other sneaky event (not likely), he's going down. Even if you're not 8 levels above after slapping this down, its massive +10 bonus will put you well on your way to victory in the ongoing level-up war. Haymaker might give you the win, but with Stunning Fist, it's amost a sure thing! 

#1 - Fighting Dirty (Dungeons chase, 3/25)
I've already written about this awesome card here. It forces your opponent to waste a card, like Haymaker. It potentially gives you a giant level-up bonus, like Stunning Fist. And it empties your enemy's hand even better than Cold Cup of Calamity. One of the most powerful Spellfire cards ever printed, Fighting Dirty can end the game for all intents and purposes - it's that primo. Think about it: you are losing by a few levels. You slap down the Fighting Dirty card. Your opponent draws and discards an Ancient Curse. There's a good event gone uselessly to the discard pile. Furthermore, because the last digit of the card number of Ancient Curse is a 9, you get a +9 level bonus. Lastly, your opponent discards 9 cards immediately from his or her hand. If I have to explain to you why this is the best unarmed combat card in Spellfire, maybe you should stick to Magic: The Gathering! :)

Next Time: My heroes deck revealed!