Another week means another Cards of the Week! Let’s take a look at some of the hot new tech (or cold, lukewarm tech) that’s been on the rise, fall and lookout.
On face value, Howl from Beyond (Red) does not stand up to other attack buffing non-attack actions. It costs two and blocks for only two as well. This means when played from hand, it represents a massive loss of efficiency compared to other “buff” cards such as Come to Fight (Red), Force Sight (Red), Minnowism (Red) and so forth.
However, the moment Howl From Beyond finds its way into your banished zone, it becomes far better than any of the aforementioned options. This is because Howl from banished does not then require a hand slot to play, allowing it to become far more efficient than any other “buff” card in terms of hand efficiency. Now I understand you can say this for most Shadow cards, but what makes Howl unique is how unique and playable it is out of banished zone compared to almost any other card.
In Chane, Howl plays a close second to Seeds of Agony in terms of the best non-attack action in your deck. Supplementing Chane’s attacks with non-attack actions not only maximizes the power of cards like Bounding Demigon (Red), Rift Bind (Red), Nebula Blade and so forth, but pumping them for more attack is exactly in line with what Chane wants to be doing in CC. The +3 to his next attack action also allows Chane to mix in some taller attacks alongside a plethora of midrange ones. This can disrupt opponent’s defensive strategies and disrupt their rhythm on the defensive side of game.
Why hit hard when you can hit harder? This is the question Howl allows you to answer in Levia. For many, once she starts attacking, Levia is a strong force which can overwhelm opponents with her sheer damage values. However, there are many times where this is not enough, and Howl functions as the remedy to this solution many times. Playing Howl from banished not only allows you to buff your next attack, but if you decide to close the link there, then Howl will be a card which you can easily banish with your attack actions subsequently! This is fantastic as it makes Howl a recurring threat giving you consistent card advantage if you can banish it.
Never really making it strongly into meta in either constructed or draft formats, Guardian of the Shadowrealm pales very heavily in comparison to it’s set counterpart Soul Shield. Thus, it has earned the “on the fall” spot on these week’s Cards of the Week. While both cards are a two cost for six defense, the latter defense reaction at least has the redeeming quality of going into soul after the chain link resolves.
Guardian, on the other hand, is a card that needs to find it’s way into banished zone to activate it’s extra effect, which allows you to take it back into your hand as an action for two-cost. This is an extremely inefficient use of resources and actions. Since most classes need every action they can get, along with all their pitch, bringing Guardian back to hand is prohibitively expensive.
In addition to this, the defense value it gives is rather poor compared to most defense reactions. Since many cards block for three anyways, you could gain the same efficiency by blocking with two cards from hand rather then play Guardian of the Shadowrealm. Although you can play it out of Arsenal, placing Guardian in Arsenal over the multitude of way better options for that slot now available feels like a waste.
The induction of Monarch has left Dash in a weird place in the Classic Constructed meta. Previously the queen of Constructed due to her ability to slow the game down to a halt, and then attack multiple times with her pistol in a turn, the new Monarch meta breaks down her defensive playstyle entirely.
Levia has no problems blocking her out and then waiting to simply overpower her when the time comes, and both Chane and Boltyn can set up to simply deal more damage than she can on her big turns. Since defensive Dash isn’t usually coming with a flurry of on-hit effects, she loses out on the potential pressure she can deal against these classes that do as much damage as she can alongside apply on-hit effects. In addition to this, Prism presents unique challenges for her in Constructed. With very few of her cards being able to pop Phantasm, Prism can usually set up her board state before Dash can, preventing the Mechanologist player from saving their life total.
In Classic Constructed, Dash now faces a much more aggressive meta with the potential to completely wipe her out of the game before she gets her items set up. However, Mechanologist still has a plethora of items and new ways to deal with these meta changes, and how the class and players adapt to this new meta will be a very interesting question to see moving forward.