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Dominating with Dragons – A Dragon Boot Camp with Dromai

Dromai is the newest Illusionist to grace Flesh and Blood, and she comes in red hot with a variety of different playstyles and gameplay patterns to learn. Although she does possess many of the same qualities as her Illusionist partner, Prism, there are some notable differences in her gameplay that make it so the same gameplay patterns won’t transfer over from one hero to another. In fact, Dromai being the first hero to truly leverage allies as a critical piece of her offense allows her to fundamentally alter the way you need to think about your gameplay should you be coming over from any of the previous heroes in the game. Let’s look at exactly how to leverage Dromai’s dragons to the maximum of their abilities.

 

 

Header - The Dragon Issue

So before getting into her gameplay, it’s important to really understand the mechanics around these dragons, because boy, are there a lot. First, you need Ash to even think about creating them, and for most games, you’re going to need plenty. There’s two main ways in which this can be achieved, either through card effects like Sweeping Blow or through Dromai’s ability trigger whenever you pitch a red card. 

Dromai, Ash Artist // DromaiSweeping Blow (Red) (Regular)

Second, every single dragon you make is going to use Ash as a material. Thematically, it makes sense for these Illusionists to need something to conjure up their creates from, and mechanically, it’s going to mean an Ash is placed beneath each dragon you conjure to represent this. However, there is one more catch. If an Ash is placed beneath a dragon, that dragon gains Phantasm, and whenever it would be blocked with a six or more-power card while it attacks, it can simply pop and vanish. That’s right – the dragon you spent a good chunk of resources to play, and the Ash you worked to obtain, are both gone if Phantasm is triggered. If you’ve felt bad about Prism’s Heralds getting popped before, just wait until you feel the pain as your dragons go. Not only is it a massive investment of resources lost for almost nothing, but there is also almost no way for you to gain your action points back after a Dragon pop.

Second, aside from having Ash on the board, you require the invocation card for a specific dragon to even summon it. Some of these are cheap, like with Cromai and Azvolai, and up to three can be used in a deck. The real powerhouse dragons however, like Dominia, Dracona Optimai and Tomeltai however, are only one per deck and cost a lot of resources as well for their invocations, especially in a red-heavy deck. Since Dromai has no current access to tutors for Dragons, this is a real issue in terms of getting the right dragons out at the right time. For example, Themai is a key piece to beating Iyslander, but should two out of three Themais be in the bottom half of your deck, then your game plan is heavily set-back.

Lastly, the third main mechanic surrounding them is that they can be attacked by your opponent, and subsequently killed should their life total be matched of exceeded by damage. An important mechanic to retain here is that if the dragons aren’t killed over the span of a single turn by your opponent, their life total heal back up to the printed amount on the card. The ability for your opponent to equally kill dragons means that if they don’t have the ability to pop them, there is at least a way in which the opponent can get them off the board. Just like before however, there is another catch. Any on-hit effects that don’t target a hero will trigger when hitting an Ally, this means Mask of Momentum draws, Dawnblade triggers, Herald on-hit effects and more will all connect should they attack your allies. As a result, it’s important to keep in mind what on-hit your opponent can present when you have allies on the board. As much as they are good for you, they equally represent offensive opportunities for your opponent. 

 

Header - Gaining Value

Alright, so those are three major issues to playing these allies, so why even play them? If they require so much set up for so little return, then what’s the point?

As much as they have downsides, allies do offer a great benefit, which is that they represent consistent damage on the board state turn after turn. Equally, each of her allies has their own unique effect, so they can also create a strong board presence on the game where opposing heroes will want to deal with them before continuing their attacks on Dromai.

Since attacking them takes so much longer and more resources than simply popping them, you absolutely do not want your dragons to pop through phantasm. This is the worst-case situation for you and represents a very solid swing in value for your opponent. The more resources invested in the dragon, the greater it’s effect, but equally the greater tempo loss when it gets popped.

Now, if your opponent were to manually kill the dragon through attacking it, that’s a better story. If your opponent attacks it, you not only exhaust the resources they spent killing your dragon, but also reduce the overall tempo loss from losing that offensive piece. In most cases, dangerous offensive dragons like Dracona Optimai and Vynserakai will rarely sit on the board for more than a turn if they’re not popped and will be immediately attacked when possible.

The third and best-case scenario is then that any dragon sits on the board offensively for more than a turn. Dragons like Kyloria and any of the three legendary dragons are great for this as they build value every time they attack, allowing you to snowball games in your favor. Similarly, if you can get dragons like Themai or Miragai to stick around for a few turns, you shall equally gain value by applying controlling effects on the board state that the opponents must deal with. 

 

Header - Clean Attacks

Although playing dragons is the big attraction to initially playing Dromai, you’ll quickly find yourself on the losing end if you’re introducing them into the battlefield and attacking willy-nilly. For example, if you were to play against Guardian and play your first dragon the board being Nekria, the worst thing you could do is attack with it. Without other effects to remove Phantasm, Nekria almost certainly gets popped and you get no value out of the Ash creation effect she brings. Rather, it’s wiser to simply say pass and let your opponent either invest their whole turn into killing her or let her be.

Invoke Miragai // Miragai (Regular)Invoke Ouvia // Ouvia (Regular)Invoke Nekria // Nekria (Regular)

This is much stronger gameplay. Like the adage of sticks being easy to break when alone but difficult when together, Dragons feed off the effects of other dragons. Miragai isn’t powerful innately, but makes it so other, stronger dragons can attack every turn. Ouvia and Nekria work best as a combo to pop out multiple Aether Ashwings quickly, and so on. Now if you’re playing an opponent with few to no poppers, sure go ahead, your dragons can be played and sent to beatdown your opponents immediately, but any time you have doubt in the attack, make sure you play it safe. This applies much more depending on how much cost the dragon itself was. The higher the initial cost, the more you need to worry about making sure his/her dragon attack is clean and going to pass by without interruption. 

 

Header - Double Dragoning

Sweeping Blow (Red) (Regular)Billowing Mirage (Red) (Regular)Dunebreaker Cenipai (Red) (Regular)Spears of Surreality (Red) (Regular)

Like clean attacks, it’s important to maintain clean entries around your dragon’s invocations. This mainly means not always playing your dragons at the start of a combat chain should you have the option to. Dromai has great attacks like Sweeping Blow, Billowing Mirage, Dunebreaker Cenipai and Spears of Surreality, which all serve as ways to proc her hero text and give your current dragons go again and serve as safer attacks from Phantasm due to Phantasmal Footsteps being a saving backup. Use these to open your chain links and draw out initial blocks, and then attack with your Ashwings or dragons (should it be safe) and lastly play out your stronger dragon invocation and attack with it.

Should an opponent see a Tomeltai, Vynserakai, Dominia, etc hit the table, there’s an immediate knowledge that it needs to die or they will snowball the game. They will absolutely keep back cards on offense to strike back at them should they get information about their presence early enough. Try to hold off on playing those invocations for as long as possible on any given turn so your opponent must commit to blocking your other cards, and then lay the big dragon down at the end so they very well don’t have the offensive resources to kill it on your turn or even pop it with Phantasm. This will assure you get at least two attacks off with your bigger dragons and start allowing you to win the game. 

Additionally, I want to note that it’s very important to double dragon throughout your gameplay. Simply, this means to play out two (or more) dragons on your turn rather than just one. This makes it much more difficult for your opponent to wipe them off the board and allows you to build a much more relevant board state throughout the game. Similar to Prism gaining immense value from playing multiple auras in a turn, Dromai gets the same from multiple Dragons. Not only does it add to your offensive explosion, but it also helps bring out multiple permanent card effects onto the table that your opponent may not have been ready for. Most decks can adjust to a getting rid of a single permanent, but less flexible decks will really start to bend and maybe even break when it ramps up to two or three permanents landing on a board in a single turn. 

 

Header - Ashwings

Last bit not least, let’s talk about Ashwings. The little bits rounding out Dromai’s dragon engine are pesky but critical sources of damage for her and represent allies with little to no investment to play. As a result, someone popping an Ashwing with Phantasm may mean you lose the rest of your chain link, but it also isn’t as big a resource loss as it would be for other dragons. Many times, you’re simply happy to get a card out of the opponent’s hand anyways in that case.

However, this opportunity cost equally depends on what you were planning to do at the end of the chain link, so it isn’t always a black and white scenario. The fact that they can be popped by Phantasm as well puts them in an interesting space compared to Prism’s Spectral Shield. They aren’t exactly Dromai’s solution to Rhinar and Bravo and the like compared to how Spectral Shields and auras are for Prism. Rather, they shine more so against midrange decks that can clear larger dragons easily but must waste a lot of resources to “overkill” the tiny ones. These sort of decks, like Iyslander, Viserai, Briar, etc, will struggle the most against Ashwings. Another interesting highlight I’ve noticed during testing is how well they function into Prism. Simply put, Ashwings function as better Spectral Shields in that matchup, and should Prism ever find herself with less Shields on the board than there are Ashwings, she’ll quickly lose tempo and the game will slide away from her.

 

Header - Wrapping Up

That wraps it up on my Dragon boot camp with Dromai. With her complex gameplay and deep card pool, there’s a lot to still breakdown out of the Draconic hero. Between Ash management, Phantasm, balancing non-attack and attacks and also balancing her red pitch count, there’s still a lot to break down in the future. However, her dragons will always be the mainstay of her deck and are going to a critical piece to manage currently in the future for those who wish to play her on the competitive stage. 

1 thought on “Dominating with Dragons – A Dragon Boot Camp with Dromai”

  1. Galin Yordanov

    The number of drawbacks she has is way too great in my opinion. having phantasm and no spectra on any of her dragons is ridiculous. Go wide decks like Fai absolutely destroy her, while go tall decks like guardian or brute can easily keep popping all your phantasms the entire game long.

    She’s just a much worse Prism from where I stand.

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