With Lightning dominating at the last Caster Cup, everyone has been searching for the ultimate counter to come along and finally sweep them off their feet. Funny enough in my own testing, I found a possible solution in one of the most unlikely beasties: Honey Island Swamp Monster. I’ve seen many praises aimed at Murphysboro Mud Monster, who is typically the go-to earth Sasquatch when countering Lightning decks, but he’s not the only earth Sasquatch that can deliver some tricky plays. In fact, Honey Island Swamp Monster has the ability to perfectly take out some of the most popular lightning beasties to come out of Wilderness and Cryptid Nation.
Before we get into that though we have to start off with the original Earth threat, Murphysboro Mud Monster, whose main strength is in its attack effect which deals damage to more beasties than just the primary defender. Honey Island Swamp Monster has a similar concept in its arena effect, however instead of dealing damage through declaring attacks, this guy deals damage when being declared as a defender. Now you’re probably wondering – how does that help take out Lightning if it can’t actually attack them? Well if you’re familiar with Lightning’s play style, it’s very aggressive and almost every single beastie comes out able to attack the moment it hits the battlefield because they have fleet. Honey Island Swamp Monster is the perfect wall just waiting for them to swing in because once they do, that’s when it’ll get the chance to shine.
For example, say we have Quetzalcoatlus trying to swing in to deal 90 damage to your life points. All it sees on the field is a fatigued Honey Island Swamp Monster, so it looks like the perfect opportunity to swing in for an attack. Then, right when it declares its attack, you whip out the spell card, Awaken the Defender, which causes a fatigued earth beastie to awaken and take 20 less damage from attacks. Now thanks to Honey Island’s arena effect, suddenly Quetzalcoatlus is taking 20 damage plus an additional 20 damage due to being weak to Earth – all before inflicting paralysis or dealing damage from his attack. Then if the paralysis effect from Quetzalcoatlus’ attack fails, Honey Island gets the chance to retaliate due to its life points doubling to a whopping 160 thanks to its defender trait. As a result, Honey Island will get to attack back and deal an additional 40 damage to Quetzalcoatlus bringing the big bad bird down to just 10 life points.
That is unless you happen to have a Swamp or Forest terra in play, in which case you’ll be able to wipe Quetzalcoatlus off the field in just one swift blow. Pretty nice move, right? Lightning does not want to attack into this beastie because that bonus 20 damage it deals when declared as a defender can also easily take out the little guys like Radioactive Hornets and Phantom Car, which I covered in previous articles. Aside from comboing with Awaken the Defender, this beastie also pairs well with the spell card Jeering Rocks, which is a handy removal spell disguised as a combat trick. Even if the Lightning player you’re going up against doesn’t want to attack, Jeering Rocks forces them to attack another one of your beasties which will allow you to declare Honey Island Swamp Monster as a defender and deal all the shenanigans we discussed previously.
Have you had a chance to test out Honey Island Swamp Monster against a Lightning build? Leave a comment below letting me know! If you’d like to help support my writing and decide to add any of these cards to your decks (or purchase any other TCG products through ChannelFireball) feel free to use my code “GHOSTBEAR” at checkout.