The new Majestic from Monarch, Tome of Torment, has been polarizing players. Most people see it as a subpar card, while a minority sees some use in it. It doesn’t cost anything to play, it draws you a card, but it doesn’t defend and loses you an action point. You can, however, play it from the banished zone.
Is it all worth it? Traditionally drawing a card in trading card games is seen as a very powerful effect. Even in Flesh and Blood, tomes are regarded as powerhouses, but Tome of Torment is seen as the oddball. Let’s look at the card in context of the two heroes who can play it.
Levia is an interesting Shadow hero. She can reuse the Shadow cards that she plays from the banished zone. You play a Shadow card, it goes to the graveyard, her Brute cards banish it then you can replay it again. But is it worth replaying the Tome of Torment? The key thing about the tome is loss of the action point. Levia has access to one consistent way of generating those – Scabskin Leathers. With high rolls, the Tome of Torment can give you ways of fully utilizing those. Netting an extra card from the banished zone is extremely valuable if you have a surplus of action points. That is a big “if” however…
Other than high Scabskins rolls, the main way I see a use of Tome of Torment is playing it once you’ve defended with your whole hand. You can simply play it and draw a card to stash in your Arsenal. It might not be much, but it is card advantage. With more than one Tome in banished zone, rolling Scabskins is pure value, even with no cards in hand.
Another way to use it is to play it after an attack with go again. Cards like Dread Screamer and Art of War let you go wide, but sometimes you just don’t have the cards to keep the pressure. A Tome in the banished zone can help build that card advantage. Play out your turn and once you start running out of gas, roll Scabskins, draw more cards and keep going!
The hard part for Levia is to actually get the card banished. It doesn’t defend, so getting it in the graveyard in the first place isn’t easy. The easiest way to get it there is to simply play it out. You might have a very defensive turn, or a high Scabskin roll, playing it from hand let’s you get it into your graveyard/banished zone recursion mechanism. Levia also has two cards that help set it up – Ebon Fold and Shadow of Blasmophet. Both cards get it ready to be played. Deadwood Rumbler can help you get it from the graveyard to the banished zone.
Chane has a different way of utilizing Tome of Torment. The hero naturally banishes cards with Soul Shackles, so getting it in the banished zone isn’t the hard part – generating value with the Tome itself is. Chane does have a very consistent mechanism of dealing with the action point deficiency of Tome of Torment – creating Soul Shackles with his hero ability. By simply creating a Soul Shackle, you play it out and benefit from the extra card drawn.
The other advantage for Chane with the card is the reliance on non-attack actions to fuel his turn. Cards like Bounding Demigon, Rift Bind and Nebula Blade synergize really well with non-attack actions.
However, unlike Levia, Chane doesn’t have the constant recursion of Shadow cards; once it’s in the graveyard, it stays there. Also, the opportunity cost of using your Soul Shackle on the Tome of Torment means you cannot use it on a different target.
It seems more powerful in more defensive Chane turns. As you defend, you lose resources to play cards from your banished zone. Tome of Torment lets you have strong turns, even after you lose your whole hand on the defense. Play it from the banished zone, draw a resource card and swing with Nebula for four or a Bounding Demigon. The card fixes the awkward Chane issue of not being able to play cards out of the banished zone with zero cards in hand. Not only that, but it can power up big turns by netting you more cards if you have ample ways of generating go again for your attacks.
Despite both Shadow heroes having interesting ways of interacting with Tome of Torment, we might not see many players utilize this card. After all, it doesn’t defend, it doesn’t pitch well and it eats up your Action Point. But I feel there will be players out there who won’t scoff at the card draw, will succumb to the Shadow side and start creating scenarios in which the Tome of Torment really shines. Is it a bad card? Is it just a hard card to play? Is it simply misunderstood? Try it out and I’ll leave you to decide!