Now that some new Ranger spoilers have released, it’ll be interesting to see how the original Ranger, Azalea, adapts to its new card pool. With a variety of interesting options, the class is about to be turned on its head!
World Premiere! "New Horizon" from the new Flesh and Blood set Tales of Aria releasing September 24, 2021! Thanks @fabtcg for allowing me reveal this game-changing Legendary. pic.twitter.com/2kM79Aq69u
— theRadBrad (@thaRadBrad) September 1, 2021
Spoiled by TheRadBrad on his Twitter, New Horizon forces Azalea players to side out their previous legendary helmet in favor of something else. The new legendary equipment slots allows for Rangers to have two Arsenal slots, albeit conditionally. The moment the equipment is gone, or the player no longer has a face up card in Arsenal, this effect is gone.
This obviously works very well with the new elemental heroes, but brings about interesting questions in Azalea, who depends almost entirely on Death Dealer and Skullbone Crosswrap to keep arrows face up in Arsenal. Without the latter, satisfying New Horizon will be a interesting hoop to jump through, albeit quite rewarding.
With Azalea’s current suite of cards, the headpiece allows her to finally implement a trap-based game plan without losing her arrow slot in Arsenal. With a few more tricky arrows, this could allow her to now efficiently control gameplay from both the offensive and defensive side of the floor, with skilled players managing the board state in a much truer “control” fashion than has ever been implemented in Flesh and Blood. There’s a truly a New Horizon ahead!
Although Skullbone Crosswrap is a still a very strong equipment, I can’t see it measuring up to the crazy card advantage offered by New Horizon in the long run. There is surely merit in the arcane damage it can stop and its ability to set your deck, but the new bows and Lexi’s ability seems to create a ton of friction between them and the head slot. As the new headpiece rushes into the meta in the next few weeks, its going to be safe to say the Crosswrap will have a bit of a recession as Ranger players either switch to Lexi or try out the new headpiece in their Azalea builds.
If there’s one card I’ll bet money on being extremely dangerous moving forward, it’s Perch Grapplers. Unconditional go again for the entire turn is extremely powerful for any equipment slot, and now that you can support it with a myriad of ways to put cards intoArsenal face-up, alongside what seems to be more pitch-intensive decks in the new elemental Ranger builds, the Grapplers won’t just be great, they’ll be a staple for almost every build. In addition to this, the double Arsenal slot greatly helps Lexi/Azalea set up even bigger turns with this leg piece, allowing them to extend chains wider and longer, and spread their on-hit effects in a reliable manner again and again. Watch out for Perch Grapplers in Tales of Aria.