Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Moldy Potion, part of the MetaBroz. My brother and I spend all our free time playing TCGs and recently have been working on establishing a foothold on competitive MetaZoo. My goal in these articles is to help inform you, the curious caster, and teach you how to interpret and utilize the pages in your spellbook. This is a list of what I believe to be the top best Cryptid Nation cards from 1st Edition. With Nightfall recently dropping, the meta is changing, but these cards stand up regardless. Now that we’ve been acquainted, let’s get to business.
At first glance, this a one-cost beastie with a 10 damage attack and a +25 damage Terra Bonus. You might think, “meh”, but you’d be wrong. Snow Snake also gains Invisibility when it’s Snowing or if a Snowing terra is present in the Arena. Invisible means it can’t be the target of attacks, nor can it be blocked. Now, consider that you can have 10 in a spellbook – that’s an unblockable army.
As if that weren’t enough, his Hiberfast attack also allows you to flip a coin, and if you get heads, target opposing page in combat loses all 4th Wall effects until the end of the opposing player’s next turn. This is a rather unique effect that Snow Snake possesses and there are times where it will make a huge difference in the game state. The most common 4th Wall effects are simply damage modifiers, but some 4th Wall effects add traits such as First Strike or Magiproof and being able to negate the 4th Wall effect can potentially weaken a powerful beastie in order to open the way for removal. In my experience, you’ll find more joy in ignoring their beasties and just smashing your opponents directly with 10 invisible snakebois for 350 damage.
A card no TCG is complete without, am I right? I must say, it feels a little ironic placing Fireball between Snow Snake and Gumberoo because, in most cases, this toasty page is the only answer to both. Slinging 25 damage with a burn effect for one Aura is a hoot, but target a Forest or Frost page and you will be adding an additional +20 damage. That’s 45 damage plus burn at a hard to beat price and, if you’re lucky enough to contract a Piasa Bird, your Fireballs will be free to cast… but so will your opponents, so be careful.
On top of the direct damage, inflicting burn on beasties and opposing casters is an effect that causes them to “lose LP” when they declare an attack and Life Loss cannot be prevented by traits and effects that prevent damage. Fireball is also a one-shot kill on Chaos Crystal and, if you see that shot my friend, take it. Letting CC live for more than a turn is asking for all kinds of trouble. In sum, it’s the epitome of the Flame Aura type. Fireball fills your spellbook with direct damage at a cheap price, and with the burn effect, it’s utilization goes beyond just the direct damage. I’m never sad to bookmark into a Fireball.
My greatest rival. The bouncy, seemingly indestructible cousin of the honey badger has had me feeling like Bill Murray in Caddyshack, devoting my life to murdering gophers. The thing is, they are nearly impossible to kill due to the fact that you reduce all combat damage dealt to Gumberoo to zero. This effect in itself is mighty, but multiply that by the fact that you can have six in a spellbook and they gain +10 LP and +10 damage for every Fearsome Critter in the Arena and you’ve got the most resilient defender (and attacker) in the set.
On top of the durability, Gumby also has the Recoil attack, which gives you the option to reduce Gumberoos attack damage to zero in order to bounce the opposing page back to its owner’s hand. The utility here is almost OP. If your opponent brings out a beastie who is actually a threat, just attack him with Gumby, negate all damage and bounce the beastie back to your opponent’s chapter (hand). I mean, come on. It’s too much. Like I said earlier, the utility is almost OP. In exchange for this power, Gumby has a mortal weakness. Deal damage to him with any Flame page or inflict burn and Gumberoo explodes, dealing 50 damage to its controller. I will say it. Nothing feels better than exploding a Gumberoo. Love him or hate him, this gopher is nothing to mess with, and a must-play in any Forest Aura deck
As with all TCGs, the ability to draw more cards into your hand is arguably one of the most powerful effects, and this is no different in the game of MetaZoo. Only a few pages in the Cryptid Nation set actually allow you to perform this action and they all pale in comparison to Growth.
Bookmark allows you to draw two, and Loveland Frogman allows you to draw an extra card at the beginning of each turn, but being allowed to draw five cards when your opponent is just waiting for their next one is just, well, it’s ridiculous. It’s absolutely a game-changer and if, for instance, you’re playing a Forest spellbook, you’ll most likely be drawing into a bunch of Forest beasties Fearsome Critters that will be giving each other a tribal boost and very quickly winning you the game. This is one of those pages that make me consider splashing a little Forest in all my decks just to use it, but with only one allowed per spellbook, it’s not something I expect to bump into every game. Just make sure you can adhere to the 4th Wall effect which states you must have a potted plant within arms reach to contract this page.
I want to say, “Here he is, the star of Cryptid Nation,” but I think we all know that’s Mothman. Bigfoot prefers his privacy and keeps to the wilderness, but let me tell you with confidence – this is one of the best beasties in the game.
First off, he costs four Forest Aura. A moderate fee… but in the Forest meta, four is nothing. Many Forest beasties come with the Convert trait, which allows them to be fatigued to generate an aura of their type. That means Bigfoot gets to come out early and begin establishing board control. The elusive Sasquatch also has one of the most powerful 4th Wall effects in the game, which reads, “If you are within five miles of a Forest, Bigfoot gains Invisible and Magiproof.” Mm, the flavor is palpable. This is a scenario where the 4th Wall effect has been worded rather loosely, and so it can be activated by the Forest terra, or even a picture of a forest. So he can’t be targeted by attacks, can’t be blocked and can’t be the target of spells. One of the few potentially Death Beam-proof beasties. All this taken into account, he’s reliable, durable, and powerful. The best of the forest beasties.
Here he is, the star of Cryptid Nation! On stats alone, this boy is a beast. He has 100 LP, which I believe is the highest LP in the entire set. He has flight, has fear of course and his Winged Attack deals 100 base damage, with +25 damage terra bonuses from Nighttime and City. Listen, he’s a legend. Unless they have a Death Beam, he will take a minimum of two pages to remove and will kill any beastie in the set in one swing.
However, let’s sit down because I’m about to keep it real. Mothman’s effect, which involves a sort of maniacal guessing game in which I must risk my entire hand and my new bff Mothman whilst my opponent gets to draw back up to seven pages, and then I try to “prophesize” or guess what card they will reveal at random, is not my cup of tea. I’m not Jean Grey I’m not John Travolta in Phenomenon. There’s no way I’ll guess what card they’re going to reveal at random. I know my place. I’ll never use that ability, and I don’t need to. I very much prefer just bashing things with my 100 damage Mothman. He is so incredibly powerful on the board that you don’t need the effect. And why risk him on a gamble? The only time I would consider using it would be in a complete Hail Mary scenario when I knew there was no coming back. When the goblins are chittering from the shadows and I know the end is near, then I suppose we can go nuclear and play the guessing game.
Flight, Fleet, First-Strike, Paralyze. What else must I say? The legendary storm bird not only lives up to it’s name, but is driving some of the top decks in the game. Lightning Aura as a meta is feisty, tricksy and it moves quickly. Magic players who enjoy playing blue tech decks will enjoy Lightning for the control aspects; Paralyzing is one of the most powerful actions in the game, stripping beasties of their effects and attacks.
No attacks means they can’t defend themselves, they lose all 4th Wall and additional effects, and are basically helpless. Quetz inflicts paralyze with every attack, as long as you win the coin flip. Remember First Strike as well! This means that Quetz may paralyze their beastie and weaken them before it strikes, leaving it open to attack and unable to strike back. If it weren’t for the coin flip mechanic, Quetz would be unstoppable. But even with that limiter, the fact that you can have four Quetz in your deck and all will get +50 damage in a lightning storm makes Quetzacoatlus the most dangerous Lightning Beastie.
*Blood-curdling scream* Okay folks, we’ve arrived. I know, it’s only number three, but doubt not, this is the best beastie in Cryptid Nation. Now, I know, it’s not Mothman and only has 70 LP, but the devil is the man.
Flight, Fear, the price is right at four Dark Aura, but really we’re after its arena effect; reduce all combat damage to Jersey Devil to zero. It’s like a giant, flying fearsome Gumberoo and believe me, it’s horrifying. The Devil’s attacks deal 50 base damage and inflict burn (so it is actually capable of exploding Gumberoo) and he can swing for 100 damage if you can get the Forest and Nighttime terra pages into the Arena. That’s power to rival the Mothman himself, except this one can’t be killed in combat. Like I said, Jersey? He’s the man. There are ways to effectively deal with a Jersey such as Death Beam and Jack-O-Lantern Bomb, but for the most part, it’ll be durable and deadly and one demon you want on your side.
Okay people. Three Dark Aura, four per spellbook; Destroy target beastie and place it into the Afterlife. What else must I say? It’s the ultimate removal. It’s why wizards become warlocks. It’s why Jedi are tempted by the Sith. What is more powerful than Death? Not much. I always feel safe when I’m holding one in my chapter. No matter the threat, I can turn into Palpatine and Death Beam them to dust… unless they’re Magiproof (looking at you, Bigfoot).
We have arrived at the head honcho, the numero uno; one of the Obnoxious 9 and a card that can be played in any spellbook. I instantly feel like I’ve won anytime I play it and usually I sense my opponent is visualizing their demise. It costs three neutral aura, it gives target beastie +100LP and +100 damage on their attacks. Boom. That’s huge. Remember, Neutral Aura can be paid with any Aura type so if you’ve got a Powerup Red, plan on using it in every spellbook. Allow it to travel from deck to deck. There’s no reason not to play it.
+100LP and +100 damage is no small boost. It will make any beastie instantly the most powerful beastie in the arena, and it lasts as long as it remains under that beastie, so it’s nearly permanent. It’s a game changer, a game ender; one of those cards you play and the whole mood of the room instantly changes to, “uh-oh.” It’s a tough card to obtain and an even tougher card to deal with… but here’s a hint. Powerup Red hates Telekinesis. I’ll let you figure out the rest.
I don’t think I need to explain this card but I will just so we’re clear. It costs one Aura and you bookmark two cards into your chapter. More cards. It’s a no brainer. It won’t win you any games, but it’ll help you get to the pages that will. Must include.
Well that brings the list to a close. I wish you all the best on your spellbook building. There are many powerful cards in Cryptid Nation, and my advice is to read carefully. MetaZoo is deceivingly simple on the surface, but underneath, there’s a world of nuance that can be used to your advantage. Come find me on Instagram @metabroz if you have any questions!