Friday, September 25, 2015

The Worst Millennium Cards

The Millennium sticker set was the first "official" set released after Spellfire's termination at the hands of those scallywags at Wizards of the Coast. The cards making up this set were fan-designed and approved by the Spellfire "council" in 2000. Some of the Millennium cards were amazing, others were dire misfires. Today we'll focus on the misfires. Without further ado, here are the 8 worst Spellfire cards from the historic Millennium set.

#8 - The Wealthy Oriental Vassal (Millennium, 8/72).

This card is banned in Spellfire: TAV. Not much to say here...a continuation of the idiocy that was the Poor Oriental Lord (Dungeons chase, 20/25). Cards that make you check the edition of all other cards in play are lame. Plus both of these awful champions need specially-constructed decks in order to not ruin your own game. Just bad.

#7 - Rigged Dice (Millennium, 22/99).

The entire dice mechanic that was shoe-horned into Spellfire in this set was a bad idea. With hindsight, it's clear this cringe-worthy scheme should have been shot down at the earliest stages - but it wasn't. So we get cards like this, which I picked for number 7 because it exemplifies the shocking wrong-headedness of rolling dice to determine Spellfire effects. Repeat after me, everyone: "Draw and discard".

#6 - Cannibalize (Millennium, 68/99).

Sigh. At #6 we have this thing. So in my deck, I'm supposed to waste one precious card slot for a psionic power that subtracts 2 from each of my own champions (killing any/all of the following: my Erellika, my Gatekeeper, my Crawling Claws, my Living Scroll, my Hettman Tsurin, my Cistern Fiend, my Julio, etc.)...and the plus side is a +6 or maybe a +8 ally? Possibly, at the outside, a +10 or +12 ally with no other powers? This card is like shooting yourself in the arm and hoping the bullet goes right through and kills the enemy next to you. Plus we have to look at that awful vampire-crying-his-eyes-out artwork. Maybe he's crying because he just tried to use this card in an actual game of Spellfire and the other players are still laughing at him?

#5 - Amish Nick (Millennium 41/99).

Another very bad idea: let's make a Spellfire card that will be useful only to the most nerdy of players. A card that is only remotely effective if its owner understands the order in which Spellfire expansions were released! People who aren't founts of information about Spellfire history are either incapable of using Amish Nick, or, worse, can be hoodwinked by those who are. Terrible idea, terrible card. Let's move on.

#4 - A Horrible Mistake.

Yes, it certainly was a horrible mistake. An event that is only useful when your opponent copies another card. What, doesn't everyone at every Spellfire table have a mitt full of Bell of Mights and Egg of Emulations? No? So this card is rarely useful? And it takes up one of your precious 10 event slots? Boy, I'm glad I have this event in my deck instead of a Caravan, or a Dodge, or a Cataclysm, or a Black Bess, or a Trasure Fleet, or a Good Fortune, or a Wine of Eternity, or a Bronze Dragons, or a Calm, or...

#3 - Dark Cloud (Millennium, 83/99).

A realm whose only power is to cancel the power of three specific other cards. Two of which no one ever plays with. A card even Spellfire novices would turn their noses up at. Printing this card is a literal waste of paper.

#2 - Headbutt (Millennium, 95/99).

Roll some dice and add the total to your champion. Then roll some more dice and add that total to your opponent's champion. So long as it isn't a monster (because that makes sense). Also, spells and psionics can't be used and...did a 10-year-old make up this card? Probably. Yeah, this crap is #2 on the list. Even the fact that the two people in the card photo are friends of mine can't save this clunker.

And now...the worst card of the Millennium set...

#1 - Madame Griselda's Tarroka Deck (Millennium, 32/99).

Just read it. Who okayed this?

Ugh...I can't handle any more of these awful cards from the Millennium set. Before I go insane let's look at the opposite end of the spectrum. Here's a really great card from the same set.

The Forgotten Idol (Millennium, 34/99).

Awesome art, useful power, just a primo card. Designer must be a genius or something. Ahem. :) 

Next time: The worst of the Inquisition set, perhaps?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Kalidnay and Kalid-na

Let's take a look at two cards featuring the same horrible monster - Ancient Kalidnay (Artifacts, 92/100) and Kalid-na (4th edition, 279/500).

Ancient Kalidnay is one of the best realms in Spellfire. When you first drop it, it's placed in the vertical orientation, and is considered both a Dark Sun and a Ravenloft realm. At the end of your turn, you may choose to voluntarily raze it. If you do, you take another turn. That's primo. If you choose to save the extra turn for later, you can take that risk - although Kalidnay has no movement restriction and no power that is useful in battle. I always use my Kalidnay immediately, because it's just too difficult to keep it alive and unrazed (unless it's buried deep in your formation somewhere, protected by other realms). 

Unrazing Kalidnay results in it being shifted to a horizontal orientation, which serves as a reminder that its special power has already been used. It's a one-shot deal, you can't take repeated extra turns. I rarely unraze Kalidnay, but I usually don't replace it with another realm right away, either. Why not? Because once your Kalidnay is in the discard pile, your opponent is free to play his own. Just about every deck will contain a Kalidnay, you can bet on that!

Which brings us to Kalid-na, the hideous creature who in the D&D mythos comes from Ancient Kalidnay. In Spellfire, especially in The Antigonish Variant, Kalid-na is a great choice for any deck containing wizard spells. He is high level, can use psionic powers, and stops anyone from playing Kalidnay. Assuming you don't run Kalidnay yourself (whoops!), this is a primo power. Not only are you removing your opponent's access to one of his realms, you are in effect stripping away one of his turns - the extra one Kalidnay would have given. The only downside is that said opponent is coming after your Kalid-na with every champion-killing card at his disposal!

Next time: The worst Millennium (sticker set) cards! Yup, I'm going there.