<![CDATA[My Site - General Discussion]]>Tue, 15 Dec 2015 18:43:48 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Academy Review part 3]]>Sun, 16 Aug 2015 21:16:48 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/academy-review-part-3Hello fellow Mages and welcome back! This is part 3 of my Academy review, the final part! In today's section we will talk about the final card type, creatures. And man are there quite a few of them.

After that, we're going to go on to my final thoughts and conclusion!


Creatures


Ankylodon
First up we have the Ankylodon, another dinosaur! Hopefully this is the continuation of a trend and we continue to see more dinosaurs added to Mage Wars over time!

It costs 8 mana and is a Nature level 2 spell.

Ankylodon has 3 armor and 6 health which makes it pretty survivable in Academy because of all that armor. In Arena, he should be able to survive a few hits as well.

It has a full action melee attack of 3 dice with sweeping. This attack is great in Academy but because it is a full action, he cannot use it to counterstrike.



This guy is great for attacking multiple creatures that are guarding and removing their guard markers.
In Arena, I don't think he'll ever get played. There are much better level 2 creatures. If the attack wasn't a full action, he might see some use. But it is, so he won't.



Atticaran Porcupine
The Atticaran Porcupine is another 8 mana, Nature level 2 spell.

It has 9 health and 1 armor, making it arguably less survivable than the Ankylodon.

It has a quick action melee attack of 1 dice with Piercing +1 and the Counterstrike trait.

That means that whenever he gets melee attacked, whether guarding or not, he always makes a counterstrike.

In addition, his ability states that while he is making a counterstrike, he gains melee +2. So that 1 die attack goes up to 3 dice, which is pretty decent in Academy. 

I don't think this guy will get used much in Arena either. There are simply better level 2 options in the Nature school.




Azurean Genie
Next we have yet an 8 mana creature, the Azurean Genie. He is level 1 Arcane and level 1 Air. It is nice to see another Air school creature.

The Genie has no armor, 10 health, and a quick action melee attack of 3 dice.

What is special about him is that he comes into play with 3 Wish tokens. He can remove a Wish token as his action to give a Living creature in the same zone Melee +2, heal it 2 damage, or give it a Stagger condition.

Stagger conditions are a new condition introduced in Academy. It has a different effect depending if the creature it is on is a Minor or Major creature. 

If they are a Minor creature, they are incapacitated until their next activation. 
If they are a Major creature, they roll 2 less attack dice next time they attack. Either way, the Stagger gets removed at the end of the creature's next activation.

So this guy is pretty good. The only problem is that using a Wish token uses his action, but Staggering a Minor creature can often be worth it, as can healing something 2 damage. Giving a creature Melee +2 doesn't seem that worth it because his own attack rolls 3 dice. I could see it being used if another one of your creatures has some piercing and you're trying to kill something with armor.

This guy is great in Academy and will be pretty good in Arena as well. There are plenty of good Minor creatures in both games and his ability to Stagger them makes him very useful.



Darkfenne Asp
The Darkfenne Asp is a 4 mana, level 1 Nature spell. This little guy has wreaked havoc on me when I play as the Wizard. 

He has no armor and only 3 health. But he has a defense of 5+ which can be used as many times as he wants. Which makes him hard to kill without Unavoidable attacks, which there are hardly any of in this set.

The Asp has a quick action melee attack of only 1 die. But on a 7+ of the effect die, he causes a Weak token. 

For those of you who do not remember, Weak is one of the best tokens in the game. For each Weak token on a creature, they roll 1 less attack die. In this set, there is no way to get rid of them, so they are devastating. 
The Asp is a Pest, which means he doesn't Hinder in Arena and also that it can be ignored if guarding. But it doesn't care about any of that. It just wants to inflict those Weak tokens over and over again.

This card can be brutal in Academy especially when paired with the Beastmaster's ability to pay an extra mana and bring it into play active. He is a great target for the Badger Frenzy enchantment card. I forsee it becoming less useful in the future due to the probability of more Unavoidable attacks being added. In Arena he could be useful in swarms but his low health makes me doubt he'll see play all too often.



Jade Gremlin
Jade Gremlin is one of my favorite creatures from this set. It only costs 4 mana and is a level 1 Arcane spell.

JG has a quick action melee attack of 2 dice.

He has no armor and only 5 life, so pretty fragile huh? Not so fast. His ability lets his controlling Mage pay a mana whenever he is melee attacked to have him avoid the attack. 

So he basically has a infinite, always-effective defense against melee attacks, unless they are Unavoidable. 

So, shoot him with something. An attack spell, ranged attack, doesn't matter. You can't hit him up close, so you will almost always have to shoot him.
He does have the Pest trait, which we already talked about. To reiterate, it makes it so he doesn't hinder in Arena and can be ignored when guarding. If he didn't have the Pest trait, he would be the greatest guard in the game, so it's good that he does.

This guy is great in Academy and will likely see plenty of use in Arena as well.



Lightning Raptor
Lightning Raptor is easily my favorite creature from Academy. It costs 8 mana and is a level 1 Arcane and level 1 Air spell.

This bird has 1 armor and 9 life. It has a quick action, lightning melee attack of X dice, where X is the number of Charge tokens on it. 

In addition, the attack is Ethereal and on a roll of 7+, inflicts the Stagger condition. 

Lightning Raptor is Unique, meaning that only one can be in play under your control at a time. 

This bird gets Charge tokens during the Upkeep phase, one token per turn. The maximum number it can have is 5. When it gets to 5, the attack gains the Counterstrike trait.
Playing the Wizard, this is my favorite creature to bring out on the first turn. Since the first two rounds are "setup" phases, by the time anybody can attack, he'll have two charge tokens on him and you'll have had plenty of time to boost it with enchantments to prolong its life. 

His only downside is his frailty. But if he gets up to those 5 tokens, he is amazing. If your opponent brings one of these out, kill it. As quickly as you can. 

This is an amazing creature in Academy. It should be good in Arena too. It just needs to be supported with enchantments that boost its survivability.



Mana Worm
Mana Worm is like the infant version of the Mana Leech from Arena. 

It is a 5 cost creature and it is Arcane level 1. 

It has 1 armor and 6 life so it will likely survive an attack in Academy. 

The worm has a quick action melee attack of 2 dice. When it attacks and damages a creature, the controller of that creature loses a mana.

This is a pretty simple card but can be very important to the Wizard's strategy. This is another tool that pairs nicely with the Wizard's other mana denial spells. 

It is a good card for Academy where mana is even more important. Mana denial Wizards in Arena will likely use it as well due to its low cost.



Paralyzing Basilisk
Paralyzing Basilisk is yet another 8 mana creature. He's a really good one.

He's Arcane Level 2 and has 2 armor and 7 health. So he'll last through a few hits on average. 

He has a full action ranged attack of 0-1 zones. The zone distance doesn't matter in Academy but does in Arena. It rolls 2 dice and has a chance for a Stagger if it rolls 7+ on the effect die. 

This guy is really good in Academy. His attack is ranged which lets him ignore guards. It also has a chance to Stagger which is awesome. 

He isn't a great guard because he doesn't have a quick melee attack to counterstrike with. 
In Arena, only having one attack and it being a full action attack really hurts his usability. With there being zones in Arena, he can't move and attack, which is unfortunate. I suppose he could be used to protect conjurations but the Arcane school has better creatures to do that with.



Pellian Lynx
Pellian Lynx pretty simple. 

It is a 4 cost Nature level 1 spell. It has no armor and only 5 life so it will die quickly.

It has a quick action melee attack of 2 dice with 1 piercing. 

It is an Animal spell, meaning that the Beastmaster can use his ability with this card, which I would almost always recommend doing.

The 5 life puts it just above the threshold of being likely to be killed in one hit, but it is possible. 

That is why I recommend bringing him out active so he can get at least 1 hit off.
The Lynx is an okay creature in Academy but will never ever be used in Arena. For 1 mana more in Arena, you could get a Bitterwood Fox with the Fast trait and 1 more die or damage, or the Feral Bobcat with a defense and the Charge +2 trait. 



Rajah, Jungle's Talon
Now this is one of the Beastmaster's best creatures in Academy. 

Rajah is an 11 mana, Nature level 3 creature and man is he awesome. 

He has 1 armor and 11 health. He won't go down easily. 

He has a quick action melee attack of 4 dice with Piercing +1. 

He is Legendary, which means that only one of him can be in play at a time and he is also Elusive, which means he doesn't get hindered in Arena and that he can ignore guards when attacking. 

This guy is amazing in Academy and will be amazing in Arena as well. 
He is almost like a lesser version of Cervere, the Forest Shadow from Arena. He costs less, has one less armor, doesn't have a defense, and isn't fast. He does have Piercing +1 though. Cervere costs 4 more mana, 15, but that extra mana gives him a defense and the fast ability, which I think are worth it. 

I think they are both viable options in Arena play.



Razortusk
This is the 6th creature that costs 8 mana and there are still more to come. 

The Razortusk is a Nature level 2 spell. It has 2 armor and 7 health. 

It has a quick action melee attack of 4 dice.

Pound for pound, this is one of the best creatures in Academy. It will survive a few hits and has a significant attack all for 8 mana. 

In Arena, it won't see as much play. For one more mana, you can get a Timber Wolf with the same attack and armor, but with 3 more life. 



Redcrested Cockatrice
This is the 2nd to last creature that costs 8 mana, I promise!

The Redcrested Cockatrice is an Arcane Level 2 spell. 

It has 1 armor and 9 health.

Its attack is a quick action melee of 2 dice that inflicts the Weak condition on a 7+ effect die roll. 

Its ability gives it Melee +1 and Piercing +1 whenever making a counterstrike.

That makes this bird a great choice to guard with. 

In Academy, as I already discussed with the Darkfenne Asp, Weak tokens are devastating. Any card that can inflict them is very useful.
It's hard for me to judge how they'll be used in Arena. For 3 more mana, the Wizard can get a better guard, the Gargoyle Sentry. However, this card has the chance to inflict weak tokens, which might make it see play. Only time will tell.



Ridgeback Skunk
Ridgeback Skunk is a 7 cost Nature level 2 creature.

It has 1 armor and 7 health. It has a quick action melee attack of 2 dice.

What makes this creature unique is it's ability; one that is very thematic.

When a living creature hits this guy with a melee attack, they get a Stagger marker put on them at the end of the attack, during the Counterstrike Step. 

This ability makes Ridgeback Skunk an excellent guard in Academy. 

However, if he attacks a guarding creature and that creature then counterstrikes him, that creature does not receive a Stagger marker.
That is because counterstrikes do not trigger additional Counterstrike steps. In Arena, I do not predict he will be used too often.



Sailfin Hydra
Time for the Wizard's big bad creature! The little cousin of the Darkfenne Hydra, this is the Sailfin Hydra! It costs 12 mana and is an Arcane level 3 spell.

It has one armor and 13 life. In addition, it has the Regenerate 1 trait, so it won't be dying easily. Its attack is a full action melee attack of 3 dice. 


What's nice about the attack is that it has the doublestrike trait, meaning that it makes that attack twice in a row. 


The issue with it being a full action attack means that he cannot use it to counterstrike while guarding. 


Also, in Arena play, he would not be able to move and attack, so I don't think he'll get used much. In Academy, it is a great creature, but not so much in Arena.



Satyr Gruff
Here is the final 8 mana creature, the Satyr Gruff. It is a level 2 Arcane spell.

It has 1 armor and 10 health with a quick action melee attack of 3 dice.

In addition, when he does 4+ damage to an opposing creature, they get a Stagger marker. 

With his base attack of 3 dice, that will sometimes happen. However, if he gets buffed up, that could happen all the time. 

He is a good creature in Academy. But I think he might be even better in Arena, simply because there are more buffs to give him, such as Bear Strength and Lion Savagery.

Interestingly, he is a soldier, so there are plenty of war cards that can help him out.



Slavorg, Fang of the First Moon
This is the most expensive card in this set at 15 mana. Slavorg is a level 4 Nature creature with a quick action melee attack of 4 dice with Piercing +2.

He has 2 armor and 13 health. He is Legendary, meaning only one of him can be in play at a time, Epic, meaning that you can only have one in your spellbook, and Beastmaster only.

He seems expensive, but that isn't really true. He actually costs 2 less mana for every animal creature in your discard pile. This makes him a potent mid or late-game creature after some of your beasts have been destroyed.

On top of all that, at the end of Slavorg's action, the Beastmaster can pay 2 mana to place a Guard marker on him. This doesn't require an action by the Mage, which is great.
This guy is pretty good in Academy but I just wish he had Elusive like Rajah or a defense like Cervere. I suppose his ability sets him apart and it is really good. He just has to be a late game creature or he's too expensive to bring out in Academy. 

He could be good for swarm books in Arena as well. Not really sure honestly. Cervere costs the same amount and has Fast, Elusive and a defense. Slavorg has piercing +2 and 2 more health, but the defense of Cervere actually makes him more likely to survive. My estimated guess is that Cervere is better in Arena but Slavorg could end up being much cheaper. If you can get him for 9 or less mana, then he's easily worth it.



Steelclaw Cub
This guy is amazing. The Steelclaw Cub is a 4 mana creature from the Nature school. It is level 1.

It has 2 armor and 5 health, so it won't likely die in one hit by a creature in Arena. 

The armor makes it pretty survivable unless it is getting hit by a Piercing attack.

It has a melee attack of 2 dice which is a quick action, and it's a pest. 

Again, this creature is pretty awesome. For 4 mana, it is extraordinarily worth it. But it gets even better with the next card.



Steelclaw Matriarch
Behold the final member (maybe?) of the Steelclaw family, the Steelclaw Matriarch! 

This mother bear is very protective of her children, which we'll see in just a second. 

She costs 11 mana and is a Level 3 Nature spell.

She has 3 armor and 11 health so she has amazing livability in Academy. It'll take alot to bring her down.

Her attack is a quick melee strike for 3 dice.

But what makes her great is that she gains Melee +1 for each Steelclaw Cub you control in her zone. In Academy, you can have up to 3 level 1 spells in your book, meaning that her attack can get up to 6 dice. 
In Arena, she could get up to 9 dice. Without any other buffs. Which is crazy. That will likely never happen though. And if it does, one zone attack might destroy the Cubs. I foresee both of these bears being tried out in Arena though. Whether they're viable or not is a different story.



Tarraki, Thousand Bites
Tarraki reminds me of Sosruko, the ferret from Arena. They're quite similar stat wise except for one big thing which I'll get to. 

This little guy costs 5 mana and is a level 1 Nature spell. 

He has no armor and 4 health but like the Darkfenne Asp, has an infinite use defense of 5+. This makes him hard to kill without Unavoidable attacks. 

His attack is a quick action melee strike of 2 dice. It is also Unavoidable, which is great in Academy. 

He also happens to be Elusive which is great because like Rajah, he can ignore guards. 

The other traits have been covered multiple times already so I won't repeat them.
So comparing him to Sosruko, there are a couple of differences. Sosruko costs 7 mana. He also has 1 more health, with 5. But the biggest different is his ability for his attack to Taunt, which Tarraki does not have. Tarraki's attack is Unavoidable instead. 

Guarding with creatures is arguably more important in Academy. This makes Elusive arguably more important as well. Any creature with the Elusive trait is very valuable in this format. In Arena, I don't see him being used.



Wychwood Faerie
Wychwood Faerie is a creature every Beastmaster should bring out during one of their setup rounds. 

She costs 4 mana and is level 1. Like Tarraki, she has that same defense. She only has 3 mana so if she does get hit, she's likely to die.

Her attack is one 1 die but that's not really why she's important.

Once per round, if in the same zone as her controlling Beastmaster, the Beastmaster pays 1 less mana when casting an animal creature spell or enchantment. 

So this is basically an investment card. She breaks even in 4 turns but that doesn't take into account her attacking things. 
In a way, she is like a lesser version of Fellella, the Beastmaster's familiar. She costs much less, is weaker, and doesn't actually cast the spells for the Mage. If paired with enchantments to boost her life, however, she can last a while. 

She is cheap enough to where I see her being experimented with in Arena too. I don't know how effective she will be. It's possible that she dies very quickly in matches.



Wychwood Hound
The last creature in Academy is the Wychwood Hound. It is a level 1 creature that costs 5 mana.

It has 0 armor and 7 health.

Its attack is a quick action melee of 2 dice, which isn't that great.

However, when in the same zone as another Wychwood Hound, it gains Armor +1 and Melee +1. So they get better when two or more are in the same zone.

It's important to not that these effects are not for EACH other Hound in the zone. 

But still, 2 of them together in the same zone can be dangerous for their enemies. 


These guys could be amazing in Arena when combined with Redclaw, Alpha Male, who gives all other canine creatures in his zone Melee +1 and Armor +1 as well. So a pack of them could get pretty potent!

So those are all of the cards from Academy. As you can see, we have all new cards and many of them will really change how Arena is played. Arcane Duels has done a video of the creatures as well as their awards from Academy, which I will post below! I highly recommend watching it and letting them know if you agreed with the awards they handed out or what cards you think should have gotten them instead!


Conclusion 

When I first heard about the idea of Academy, I really wasn't excited at all. I didn't think I would like it and didn't really think that Mage Wars needed this simpler way to play.

Man, was I wrong. 

Everything about Academy has blown me away. I didn't think that the epic feeling of Mage Wars could be taken and made into a 30 minute game. But it has been. Academy is easier to teach, MUCH easier to learn, and possibly most importantly, MUCH faster. 

As always, the first couple of matches tend to run long because of all this new information. But once we got it down, it really took like 20-30 minutes to play each game. There is no bad card in Academy for Academy. There are cards that wouldn't be good in Arena but every card works well in Academy. It is incredibly well balanced, just like Arena. 

I don't like Academy MORE than Arena, but I will honestly probably play it more often. I can get more people to play this. If anybody reading this knows somebody who looked at Mage Wars and thought it was too complex, buy Academy and teach them that instead. I'm sure they'll have a different reaction. & after a while, if they want to try Arena, that's great. But if not, Academy is a fantastic game in its own right. 

Pros


  • 56 new cards, all of which are brand new.
  • Simpler way to play
  • Faster way to play
  • More portable
  • Well balanced
  • Lower cost


Cons


  • Card distribution. It is fine for spellbook building in Academy but there aren't enough copies of some cards for Arena. For example, there is only 1 Lightning Raptor, which is disappointing.
  • New players will still have to check the codex in the back. There are still plenty of keywords like Elusive, Guard, Counterstrike, etc. The easiest way for someone to learn this will still be to have somebody who already knows how to play teach it to them.



Final Thoughts

Academy is fantastic.

It has accomplished everything is was designed and intended to do. It is a simpler and faster way to play Mage Wars. Every card in here is good and they are all usable in Arena as well. If you heard of Academy and thought you wouldn't like it, I implore you, reconsider! It really is great and I look forward to future expansions. 

So I hope you all enjoyed this review! Let me know what you think of Academy in the comments below and until next time, I'll see you in the Arena! (Or is it the Academy this time?)


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<![CDATA[Academy review part 2]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 21:07:46 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/academy-review-part-2Today in part 2 of my Academy review, we are going to take a look at the Incantations and Enchantment spells from this set. In part 3 we will discuss all the creatures (there are lots) and my final thoughts about this set.

Let's start with incantations.




Crumble

Incantations

There are 4 incantations of Academy, all of which are similar to their counterparts in Arena. 

The first of these is Crumble, Academy's Dissolve.

It's a Level 1 Water spell and targets an equipment. It costs X where X is the casting cost of the equipment, but you actually gain 2 mana after you cast this. 

So it seems just like a different version of Dissolve, right? There are two small detail that separates them. First, Crumble targets the equipment itself, not the Mage. This means that a Nullify will not stop it. Second, Crumble is a full action. This means you cannot move and cast it in Arena.

Crumble is a full action spell. That's perfectly fine in Academy. It is the only way currently to get rid of equipment in Academy, so you absolutely MUST have this in your spellbook. But in Arena, in my opinion, Dissolve is usually still the better option. 



Disperse
Disperse is almost the same story as Crumble. It's very similar to Dispel from Arena. 

It is a level 1 Arcane spell and targets a Revealed Enchantment. It costs X mana where X is the reveal cost of the enchantment. Not the total cost. The reveal cost.

So again, you're saving 2 mana.

But again, it is a full action. Like I said, same story as Crumble. This is a fine card in Academy and will be used often, but in Arena, it will be left to the side and not used very often unless you don't plan on using your full actions for other things.


 




Group Mend
Group Mend is a lesser version of Group Heal in Arena. 

It is a 5 mana incantation from the Holy school. It is a level 1 quick action spell and targets an entire zone.

It heals every friendly living creature in that zone 2 dice. The dice are rolled for each creature individually.

Since there is only 1 zone in Academy, this is a very useful card. Your creatures will all be in the same zone throughout the match. 

So if you have a few creatures with some damage on them, this is definitely worth playing. 

In Arena, 2 dice of healing isn't as effective. The only time I would really put this in my book is if I have a strategy where I know at least 3 creatures are going to end up in the same zone, something like a swarm book (which by the way, are much more viable after this set).



Mend
The last incantation, Mend, is a Novice healing spell. It costs 2 mana and is level 1. 

It is a quick action and targets a living creature. So it can be used to heal a Mage if necessary. 

It heals the target the number rolled on 3 dice. 2 mana for 3 dice of healing is extremely efficient. 

Every spellbook in Academy should have at least 1 of these if not more.

In Arena, the biggest issue with it is that the range is 0-0. 

So your Mage has to be in the same zone as whatever you want to heal.

For 3 more mana in Arena you could simply use Minor Heal and heal 5 dice for 5 mana instead. It costs 1 more spellbook point though unless you are a Holy Mage. 

I think this is one of those cards in Arena that may be thrown into a book when there is 1 spellbook point left and the book needs a healing spell. Other than that, I think Minor Heal is better for Arena play. The reason for this is 3 dice of healing will often have less of an impact in Arena. This is because the creatures in Arena generally have lower health.


Now that we've seen the 4 incantations, we'll check out the enchantments.


Enchantments



Akiro's Game
Akiro's game is the first enchantment in Academy. All enchantments still have a casting cost of 2.

This enchantment has a reveal cost of 3 mana and is a level 1 War spell. It targets a zone, which there is only one of in Academy. It is Epic, so you can only have one in your book.

When you reveal this card, you gain two mana. So it really costs 1 mana to reveal but still costs 5 mana to destroy.

During the Upkeep phase, the most expensive creature in the zone gets a Stagger marker placed on them. 

If there is a tie, the effect die is rolled to determine which creature gets it.

So I think this card is fantastic. It's cheap both to cast and to put in a spellbook. You can put it facedown and reveal it right before the Upkeep phase to get a Stagger on your opponent's strongest creature. Don't expect it to last a while though, your opponent will likely try to get rid of is ASAP.

In Arena, I think this could be useful as well. This is another zone enchantment which is something I'm always in favor of. You could put this in a zone with a conjuration you want to keep alive, like a spawnpoint or something else important. If your opponent sends out a single creature to destroy it, you can then reveal this card and have that creature be Staggered every round.



Arcane Ward
Arcane Ward is a Novice Level 1 Arcane spell. It has a reveal cost of 0 but is a mandatory reveal. It can only target Non-Mage Objects.

It's very similar to Nullify except that the mana your opponent spends on the spell is given back to them.

The enchantment or incantation they tried casting on the object is still cancelled and destroyed.

Interestingly, its target line means you can place this enchantment on equipment or other enchantment cards. I don't know how often that will happen.

I think it has better uses, but it's an interesting idea.

This card is amazing. We have an Arcane spell that is Novice and is something that many Mages will want to use in Arena and Academy.

Obviously the drawback is that it cannot be placed on Mages themselves, but this is essentially the new Nullify to use on anything that isn't a Mage. It costs less mana and less spellbook points to use. It gives your opponent their mana back but destroys the card they had used. I think this card is close to an auto-include in both Academy and Arena, especially for Warlords.



Badger Frenzy
Badger Frenzy is the first on a couple of cards that target Minor creatures. In this case, it must be a Minor, Living, Animal creature.

It costs 1 mana to reveal and is Nature level 1.

It allows the creature to gain the Doublestrike trait the next time it makes a quick action melee attack. Then, after that attack, this card gets destroyed.

In addition, if the creature is level 1, this card costs 1 less to reveal, making it 0 to reveal.

I think this is a great Academy card. The Beastmaster has many great targets for this spell which we will see in part 3 of this review. Academy Beastmasters should pack all 3 of these into his spellbook. It's that good.

In Arena, it could be very good as well. There are plenty of good targets for it like the Timber Wolf. For 3 mana, the Timber Wolf would get an extra attack of 4 dice, which is really amazing. 



Divine Reversal
Divine Reversal is pretty easy to understand.

It's a mandatory reveal of 1 mana and is a level 1 Holy spell.

It targets a Living creature, including Mages. When the creature is attacked, this card must be revealed.

2 damage from the attack is cancelled and then the creature this card was on heals 2 damage. Divine Reversal is then destroyed.

This card will draw comparisons to other healing spells. The most similar one is another enchantment, Healing Charm. Healing Charm is not a mandatory reveal and costs 3 mana to reveal. The other stats are the same, but the thing it does it obviously different.

Healing Charm lets a living creature heal up to 4 dice of damage when revealed. Depending on the roll, that can either be fantastic or awful. Divine Reversal has a more predictable outcome because it blocks 2 damage outright, then heals 2 damage, which is less random than 4 dice. 

I think this card is viable in both Academy and Arena but I don't know if anybody other than the Holy Mages will use it in Arena.



Dodge
Dodge is another Novice spell introduced in Academy. 

It's a level 1 War spell but any Mage can use it for 1 spellbook point. It costs 2 mana to cast and 0 to reveal.

It can only be cast on Living creatures. It has a mandatory reveal that activates when the creature it is on gets attacked.

Dodge counts as a defense. This is important because you can only use 1 defense per attack. So if Dodge doesn't work and the creature it was on has their own defense, they cannot use it. 

If the creature this was on was a Minor creature, Level 1 or 2, it simply Dodges the attack automatically.

If it is a Major creature, the d12 gets rolled and on a 7+, the attack misses. Either way, Dodge is destroyed after the attack.

The most obvious comparison to this card will be Block from Arena. There are a few differences. Block is not Novice and is a Level 1 Mind spell. It costs 2 mana to Reveal. It can also only be played on Corporeal creatures. & it does not have the different effects depending on the level of the creature it is on. Dodge is a great card in Academy where there aren't very many Unavoidable attacks yet.

Which is better in Arena? I think they're both useful. Block is better on Major creatures because it guarantees that the attack misses. With Dodge on a major creature, it is a 50% chance to hit. On Minor creatures, however, Dodge is obviously better. So I think that spellbooks that have Minor creatures that are vital to their strategy will really enjoy and use this card.



Exile
Exile is the first enchantment in Academy with the Dissipate trait. It costs 3 mana to reveal and is an Arcane Level 2 spell.

It can only target Minor creatures and has the Dissipate 2 trait. With the Wizard's ability, it can be made into a Dissipate 3 card.

Exile essentially works as a lesser version of Banish, except as an Enchantment instead of Incantation. 

So when the creature this is attached to activates, Exile can be revealed. The creature then gets banished outside of the arena, along with the enchantment and gets the Dissipate tokens placed on it. 

When the Dissipate tokens run out, the creature comes back into the game.
In addition, if the creature this is on is level 1, the cost of this card is 1 less.

This is a great example of a card that adds to the Wizard's control game in Academy. Although only able to be used on a Minor creature, it disrupts the tempo of the opposing Mage and removes one threat from the zone, albeit temporarily. This will be a popular card in Academy. Will it be used in Arena? That's harder to say but I doubt it, unless spellbooks that use low level creatures become popular again.



Gator Toughness
Gator Toughness is Nature Level 1 enchantment that can go on any living creature.

It costs 2 mana to reveal nomatter what it is played on. 

It gives the creature Armor +1 and Life +2.

In Academy, this extra armor and two extra life is quite a big deal. Academy creatures have less armor and life than their Arena counterparts, so this will actually affect them more.

In Arena, this is a good card as well because both of these traits are stackable. So this can be played on a Mage with all their other armor to make them a tank. This + Rhino Hide + Elemental Cloak + Leather Stuff + Chestplate = 9 armor. Then all you need is Veteran's Belt.

9 armor is a bit much, even with Veteran's Belt. But it's pretty crazy to think about. I'm not even taking into account things like Fortified Position and Divine Protection. This kind of defensive strategy isn't really practical, because armor gives diminishing returns. But my point is that there are plenty of options for getting armor in Arena. Corrodes will be even more important now. 

Rhino Hide costs 1 more mana if being put on a Mage and is realistically the better option. 2 armor is better than 1 armor and 2 life if the Mage has no armor on it already. This is a fine card for Academy but will not be played on Mages. Its best use will be on creatures.



Giant Size
Giant Size is one of my favorite enchantments from Academy. 

It's an Arcane level 2 spell and costs 3 mana to reveal. It can only be cast on Minor Living creatures. 

It has the Dissipate 2 trait, so it lasts 2 rounds before it gets destroyed. 

This can be made into Dissipate 3 with the Wizard's ability. 

It gives the creature Life +5 and Melee +2 for as long as it is in play. 

This can be crucial on a weak creature with little life, or it can make a decent creature into a great one. 

Much like Gator Toughness, this card is more significant in Academy because of the generally low health values of creatures. In Arena, this is a perfectly good card as well. There are plenty of level 2 creatures who would be good targets for this, such as the Timber Wolf or Blue Gremlin. 



Hoodwink
Hoodwink is an interesting card. It doesn't cost anything to reveal, targets a non-Mage object and is a level 1 Arcane spell. 

It is Wizard only and Epic.

When the card is is attached to is the target of an enemy action, Hoodwink can be revealed. 

When revealed, the controlling Wizard gains 3 mana and Hoodwink is destroyed. When destroyed, Hoodwink is placed back in the Wizard's spellbook, essentially making it Cantrip.

So you basically gain 1 mana every time you play this card. 

It will be best used similarly to how Decoy is used. Put it facedown on your creature and make them think it is an Arcane Ward or something. Then when they try to trigger it with an incantation or enchantment, just reveal it and gain a mana.

In Arena, the mana gain could be 2 if wearing an Enchanter's Ring. But it would be used essentially for the same purpose, pretending it is something else.

Like Arcane Ward, this can even be played on equipment spells or other enchantments. However, I think it's most useful on creatures.



Iguana Regrowth
Iguana Regrowth is an enchantment whose reveal cost is X where X is the level of the creature it is attached to.

So it can be pretty cheap or pretty expensive, depending what it goes on. It can target any living creature, including a Mage.

It is a Nature level 1 spell and gives the creature Life +2 and Regenerate 1.

This card goes really well with Gator Toughness. If they both are put on a creature, that creature gets a total of Life +4, Armor +1 and Regenerate 1. In Academy, and even in Arena, that can be a really big deal. 

Like many of these cards, they'll have the biggest impact on creatures with low health.

In Arena, it isn't AS good but I do think it has its place.

I would be interested to see a Fellella, Pixie Familiar build where she gives herself all these enchantments to make sure she survives and then proceeds to dole out enchantments to all the other creatures.



Joined Strength
Joined Strength is an awesome card. It costs 1 mana to reveal, is a Nature level 1 spell, and can only be cast on an animal creature.

It is unique, meaning only one can be in play at once, and Beastmaster only. 

It gives Melee +1 to whatever creature it is on. The next part can be a good or bad thing, depending how you look at it. 

Whenever that creature takes damage, it takes one less damage and your Mage takes that 1 damage instead. This can be dangerous if the creature gets attacked multiple times in a round.

That is good because it will allow that creature to stay alive longer but it gets damage on your Mage, which is never good. 

If the creature ends up getting destroyed, the Beastmaster can pay 1 mana to move this card to a new animal in his zone. 

So again, I think this card is great. It can give a creature that little boost it needs to be truly formidable. In Arena, it will be good as well. It can be played on the Beastmaster's Pet to make it even more powerful.



Minor Essence Drain
Minor Essence Drain is the Academy version of the Arena card of similar name, Essence Drain. It is a level 1 Arcane spell and costs 0 mana to reveal. It can only target Minor creatures.

It basically gives that creature Upkeep +1, meaning that the creature's Mage must pay 1 mana during the upkeep phase or the creature gets destroyed.

The thing is, it does not actually call it Upkeep +1, it just states what the effect is. 

This is because one of the main goals of Academy was to make the game simpler. One way of doing that was removing many of the keywords so that players don't have to reference the codex so often.

This is another one of the Wizard's control cards. This one provides another avenue of mana denial. Often, the owner of the creature it is attached to will chose to kill the creature if it is cheap. So as the Mage playing this, it works in your favor either way. If they kill their creature, then awesome! You just spent 2 mana to kill a creature. If they let it live and choose to pay the upkeep every turn, then great! They have 1 less mana a turn and this card will break even in just 2 turns. 

Combining this with the Wizard's equipment and other mana denial spells makes this a formidable strategy. If swarms become popular again in Arena, this card could help destroy them.



Panther Stealth
Panther Stealth is yet another awesome enchantment from the Nature school. It is a level 1 spell and can only target a Minor living creature. 

It costs 1 mana to reveal but costs 1 less if the creature it targets is level 1.

It gives that creature the Elusive trait. This allows it to ignore guards, which is great. 

The Academy Beastmaster has many minor creatures whom would love this card.

It can completely change the game in the Beastmaster's favor.

This will be useful in Arena as well if using low level creatures. Things like Timber Wolf or Vine Snapper could benefit greatly with this enchantment on them.



Shrink
Shrink is a card that should be in almost every Wizard's book in both Academy and Arena. 

It costs X mana to reveal where X is the level of the target creature. & it can target any non-Mage creature. It is a level 1 Arcane spell.

It has the Dissipate 2 trait and causes the creature to gain the Pest trait. 



Again, pest means they cannot hinder enemy creatures in Arena and that they can be ignored if guarding.

In addition, the creature that has been shrunk rolls 2 less attack dice.

So, like I said, this card is great. I think its main use will be on guarding creatures.

In both Academy and Arena, the Mage can use their quick cast to cast this on a guarding creature and then use a full action to attack whatever they want. This would wreak havok on things like Guardian Angel and Dwarf Panzergarde. 

In Academy, it is a good counter to the Packleader's Cowl of the Beastmaster. 



Tangleroot
Tangleroot is the last of the Enchantments with the Dissipate trait. This one has Dissipate 3. 

It is a Level 1 Nature spell and costs 2 mana to reveal. It can only be cast on Non-flying Corporeal creature.

Basically it reduces the attack dice of the creature it is attached to by X, where X is the number of remaining Dissipate tokens on it. 

The name and image of this card make it seem like it would be similar to Tanglevine, but they're really quite different. 

Tanglevine is all about stopping movement, something there is none of in Academy.


Instead, this enchantment can make a creature absolutely pitiful, at least at first. As the tokens grow less and less, they get their strength back. I like the idea of the card but somehow the theme of this one just throws me off a bit. 

I would think a card with an effect like this would be more akin to the Dark school and would be released with the Warlock whenever that comes out. 

Regardless though, this is actually a really good card. I predict it'll be played in both Academy and Arena.



Wolf Fury
The last enchantment is one that will DEFINITELY see play in both versions of the game. 

Wolf Fury is a Nature level 1 spell that can only target living creatures. It costs 2 mana to reveal but costs 1 less if the target is a level 1 creature.

It gives the target Melee +1 and their melee attacks Piercing +1.

It kinda reminds me of Lion Savagery except it is just a straight up melee boost instead of relying on movement between zones with charge.

This is just another great nature enchantment from this set.

It can be played on anything, but a good target for this spell would actually be Mages who want to get in and do the fighting themselves. This pairs well with a bunch of other cards and a Mage with a good weapon could prove truly dangerous with the assortment of boosts attached.


So those are all the cards for part 2 of this review. As always, the Arcane Duels guys have posted their video of these cards as well, which can be seen below.


Next up in the final part, part 3, we will have the creatures of Academy along with my final thoughts and score. Until next time, I'll see you in the Arena.       *cough* I mean Academy  *cough* 
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<![CDATA[Academy Review Part 1]]>Fri, 14 Aug 2015 20:57:46 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/academy-review-part-1Introduction

Mage Wars Domination was just pre-released two months ago at Origins and now we already have another being released, Mage Wars Academy (just Academy from here on out)!

Truthfully, I don't know what to call this. It isn't really an expansion. Mage Wars Academy is its own standalone game. However, every single card in Academy can be used in Mage Wars Arena. So it kind of is like an expansion but you can play it on its own and never have to touch Arena. 

Academy is the culmination of your training at the school for Mages in Sortiledge. It is your "final exam" before you are recognized as a fully fledged Mage. 

We're going to take a look at three different things; 1) The components, 2) The gameplay/rules and 3) All the different cards that come in this set. 

This review is very long and is therefore going to be broken up into multiple parts. In part 1, we will take a look at the components, the rules, the Mages, the attack spells, and all the equipment that comes in this set. 

Let's dive right in.



COMPONENTS


Let's take a quick look at everything you get in Academy.

  • A new rulebook
  • 2 spellbooks
  • 2 status trackers
  • 2 Mage cards and their ability cards
  • 2 quickcast markers
  • 6 attack dice and one d12
  • A bunch of other markers and tokens
  • And finally, 131 spell cards. All of which are brand new, never before seen spells. There are no reprints.

Now that we've talked about what you get, let's take a look at how to play Academy.



How To Play

In this section, I'm going to give an overview of how to play Mage Wars Academy. However, Arcane Wonders has released a series of videos on YouTube explaining how to play in a much more visually pleasing fashion. They explain it far better than I ever could so I highly recommend watching the videos. I'll embed the first one below. 

I'm still going to take the time to type out how to play for those of you who prefer reading rather than watching videos. So here we go.

The rules for Academy are designed to be simpler than the rules for Mage Wars Arena while still giving the same epic feel that Mage Wars brings. Is it more streamlined, has less keywords, and has FAR less status conditions (at least to start).

Anybody who has played the full Mage Wars game will have an extremely easy time learning how to play Academy. But that was not the point of Academy. The point of Academy was to help bring in the gamers and non-gamers that had looked at Mage Wars Arena and either didn't want to, or couldn't, invest the time and effort it takes to learn how to play without having to look at the rulebook every turn. 

I think it does a fantastic job of just that.


Setting Up

To play Academy, each player will need to select a Mage. In this core set, it will be either the Beastmaster or the Wizard. More Mages will be released over time, in "Mage Packs". If anybody reading this has played Netrunner, it will be very siimilar to the data packs. Basically, in a Mage pack, you will get a brand new Mage, their ability card, their suggested starting spellbook, and a bunch of other cards that will augment that Mage's spellbook, as well as the other schools of magic. 

The players will also need their respective Mage's spellbooks. The rulebook of Academy provides a starting spellbook that I highly recommend both players using the first few times they play, regardless of whether they have played Arena or not. 

There is no board in Academy. There is only one zone in the game, the space between yourself and the other player. Each player places their Mage card in front of them along with their Mage's ability card. The ability card contains all the important information that makes up your Mage, including health, channeling, their training, their ability, and other things.

Once that is done, each player gets a status tracker and resets it. There are two dials, one for Mana and one for Damage. Both players rotate the damage dial to zero. The Beastmaster rotates his mana dial to zero as well, while the Wizard actually sets it at 3 mana. Each Mage then places a quickcast marker on their Mage.

Finally, each player rolls the d12 to determine who will get initiative. The first two rounds of the game are considered "setup" rounds. Neither player can attack with any creatures or cast any attack spells during either of the first two rounds of a match.


Playing Academy

Congratulations! Once you have all that set up, you are ready for your first duel in Mage Wars Academy!

There are 3 phases to a duel in Academy. They are the Reset Phase, the Upkeep Phase, and the Action phase.

During the Reset phase, the initiative marker is passed to the player who does not currently have it (except for in the first round). All creatures are then turned so they are "Active". When a creature has used its action, they are turned sideways. In addition, all quickcast markers are flipped back over to the ready side. Finally, each Mage channels mana equal to their channeling. 

During the Upkeep phase, some abilities or effects might be activated, such as Regenerate.

The Action phase is where most of the excitement occurs. Each creature may only take one action during a round. There are 3 types of actions. Attack, Guard, and Cast a spell. Only Mages can cast spells, so most creatures can simply decide between Attacking and Guarding. 

Melee attacks work in almost the exact same way as Arena. As always, a creature making a melee attack must attack a guarding creature the enemy controls if they have any. That guarding creature then makes a counterstrike if it does not get killed. 

Ranged attacks do not have to attack guards and do not trigger counterstrikes. 

One change in Academy is how Mages cast their spells. Instead of a planning phase where a Mage must choose 2 cards to last the entire round, like in Arena, a Mage simply looks through their spellbook to choose a spell once they choose the "cast spell" action. The quickcast marker works the exact same way as in Arena.

There are 5 types of spells in this core set. There are creatures, enchantments, incantations, equipment, and attack spells.

These spell cards work the same way as the cards in Arena. They are either a full cast spell or a quick cast spell. They all cost a certain amount of mana. They are all from one of the various schools of magic. Basically, almost everything is the same on the cards. So Arena players will be able to look at a card and instantly know everything on it. 

As always, play lasts until one Mage takes damage equal to or greater than their life total. That Mage is then destroyed and the surviving Mage is declared the victor. 


Multiplayer


Academy also comes with rules for multiplayer gameplay. There are two forms of multiplayer, either team battles, or free-for-all. 

In the team battles, initiative passes between the two teams instead of between individual Mages. Each team also activates one creature at a time, then the other team activates one, and so on. Also, both quickcast markers on the same team cannot be used back-to-back after one creature's activation. Guarding creatures protect both Mages on a team instead of just the controlling Mage. If your teammate dies, their Mage is removed from the board along with any cards attached to them. However, the remaining Mage retains control of the rest of the cards in play that were previously controlled by the destroyed teammate. 

During free-for-all games, initiative is passed to the left. Activations also occur in a clockwise manner. Guarding creatures only protect their controlling Mage. A Mage can choose to attack an unguarded Mage even if another opponent has a guarding creature. 


Building Your Own Spellbook


Making your own spellbook is half of the fun in Mage Wars. This is true for both Academy and Arena. 

Academy spellbook building is very similar to Arena. Each Mage in this core set has 40 spellbook points to build their book with. Each Mage is trained in a specific school of magic. Cards from the schools your Mage is trained in cost spellbook points equal to their level. Spells from outside schools your Mage is NOT trained in cost spellbook points equal to double their level. And spells from opposite schools of magic (ie the Beastmaster and Fire spells) cost spellbook points equal to TRIPLE their level. 

In addition, each Mage may only have 3 copies of a level 1 spell in their spellbook and 2 copies of any spell of a higher level. 

Now that you know how to play Academy, let's get to what everybody is here for, the cards that come in this set. In part 1, we will take a look at the two Mages, their attack spells, and their equipment spells. 





Mages

Spells

First and foremost, we have the Mages themselves. This core set comes with the Keslar Grove Beastmaster and the Sistarran Wizard. 

The Beastmaster is focused on using his creatures. He has a wide variety of them, including some powerful ones and some cheap, weak ones. So he can swarm or he could try doing a solo buddy build. He also has access to many enchantments designed to make him or his creatures better.

As you can see from the image above, he has 40 spellbook points to build his book with, 24 life, no armor,7 channeling, and 0 starting mana. The starting mana of the Academy Mages is another slight change from Arena. In Arena, every Mage started with 10 mana. In Academy, it varies. Different Mages might have different amounts of mana they start with. The Beastmaster starts with none.

The Beastmaster is trained in the Nature school of magic and fire spells cost him triple when building his spellbook. Another important thing to note is the level of the Mages themselves in Academy. In Arena, all Mages were considered to be level 6 creatures. In Academy, they are level 4 creatures.

His ability, Stir the Beast, allows him to pay 1 mana once a round to have a level 1 animal creature he just summoned come into play active. This is a GREAT ability. In fact, it's one of the best abilities in the game, Academy or Arena. It's like a permanent Rouse the Beast except it only works on level 1 animal creatures. To make full use of this ability, players will want to use the Beastmaster as a swarming Mage with lots of level 1, weak creatures. 

The Beastmaster also has a basic melee attack of 2 dice. 

Now that we've looked at the Beastmaster, let's take a look at the Wizard.



The Wizard tries to control the zone of battle through trickery and deception. He has access to many enchantments designed to force the opposing Mage out of their strategy. The key to defeating the Wizard is adaptability and predicting what he will do.

The Wizard has the standard Academy spellbook points of 40. He has 24 life, 1 less than the Beastmaster. He also has a channeling of 7 but he starts the game with 3 mana. 

The Wizard is trained in the Arcane and Air schools of magic. He has no school of magic that he is opposed to, so he pays a maximum of double for any spell he puts in his spellbook. 

The Wizard's ability, Extend Magic, allows him to add an extra Dissipate token to enchantments by paying an additional mana cost equal to that spell's level. 

There are 5 spells in Academy with the Dissipate trait, 4 of them being enchantments. In case you all don't remember, the Dissipate trait was introduced in Forged in Fire on the Rolling Fog conjuration card. What it does is gives cards a certain number of rounds that they remain in play before they get destroyed. So if a card has the Dissipate X trait, it stays in play for X amount of turns. Once X amount of turns is over, it is automatically destroyed. 

Many of these enchantments with the Dissipate trait are meant for "control" style of play, so this ability allows him to play that way even more efficiently. 

Just like the Beastmaster, the Wizard also has a basic melee attack of 2 dice.


Now that we've seen the Mages, let's move on to the other cards.






Equipment

Emerald Elk Stave
First up we have the Emerald Elk Stave. 

This is a 2 cost equipment spell. It is a level 1 Nature spell and can only be used by a Beastmaster. It takes up the shield slot.

It allows the Beastmaster to heal 2 animal creatures in his zone 1 damage each during the Upkeep phase by paying 1 mana for each creature healed this way.

This is a pretty good card in Academy. Many of the Beastmaster's creatures are level 1 and pretty weak. We'll see them later on. This helps allow him to keep them alive. The healing doesn't cost an action to use. 

The card itself costs 2 mana to cast and the healing costs 1 mana, so it isn't expensive to use either.  
I expect to see this used in Academy practically every match. It's just too good not to use. In Arena, it could prove useful as well. Many Arena Mages won't want to Dissolve something like this, so it could stick around and heal a bunch of damage. 

The thing is, the creatures have to be in the Beastmaster's zone, so that means he will likely have to venture into the fray of battle, which is obviously dangerous.



Johktari Hunting Knife
Next we have the Johktari Hunting Knife.

This is a 4 cost equipment spell taking up the weapon slot. It is also a level 1 nature spell.

It gives the controlling Mage a better attack; one that rolls 3 dice. Additionally, it has a special effect. Once a Mage attacks with this weapon, a friendly Animal creature gains melee +1 until the end of the round. 

Also, if the Mage is level 5 or higher, the weapon rolls an additional attack die. This is the first of a couple of cards that have certain things happen depending on what level the creature it affects is.

For 4 mana, this is a really good weapon in Academy. It works well with the Beastmaster's many animal creatures. 
The issue with it is that to make full use of its benefits, you must attack. That means that you cannot use your action for summoning creatures, which are probably more important. Therefore, I think this is best used after you get some creatures out on the board or are trying to save up mana for something expensive. In either of those cases, you won't mind using your action for attacking.



Karajah
Johktari Beastmasters rejoice! There is finally an equipment spell with a quick action ranged attack!

Kajarah is a 3 cost equipment spell from the Nature school. It is level 1 and takes up the Weapon slot.

It gives your Mage a quick action ranged attack of 0-1 zones that rolls 2 dice of damage.

In addition, if one of your animal creatures has already damaged the target this round, it rolls 3 dice instead.

This is a pretty good weapon in Academy. The ranged attack allows your Mage to get around guards and not be worried about Counterstrikes.
In Arena, something like this is what the female Beastmaster has been waiting for. Unfortunately, the range of the attack is only 0-1 zones which means she still has to be up close and personal with the action, which doesn't let her use her innate Fast ability to its maximum potential. Oh well. Maybe we'll get what she needs in the future.



Leather Chausses
Leather Chausses is a very simple card, but groundbreaking at the same time. 

It introduces a new equipment slot, the breeches. It only costs 2 mana, is a novice level 1 spell, and gives the Mage Armor +1, like Leather Gloves and Boots.

This card will see tons of use in both Academy and Arena.


It's that simple.



Packleader's Cowl
Packleader's Cowl is another Beastmaster only card. It costs 3 mana and is nature level 2.

It takes up both the helmet and cloak equipment slots. Normally this would be a bad thing but currently the Beastmaster doesn't have any other equipment he can wear in the helmet slot. So it doesn't really affect it.

It gives the Beastmaster Armor +1 and in addition, allows him to pay mana equal to the level of a friendly minor Animal creature in his zone to give it a guard marker once per round during his activation. 

Minor and major spells are something newly introduced in Academy and are incredibly important to how the game plays. All spells level 1 or 2 are considered Minor spells. Any spells level 3 or higher are considered to be Major.
Back on topic, this is a VERY powerful card. Like his ability, it doesn't cost him an action to use. His innate ability gives him an infinte Rouse the Beast for level 1 creatures and this spell gives him an infinite Defend for minor creatures. 

This card will see lots of play in both Arena and Academy. The only downside is that many Minor creatures are fragile and might be killed if attacked. So I think it may be better used on level 2 creatures who are a bit more durable.



Repulsion Cloak
Repulsion Cloak is a Wizard only equipment spell. It costs 4 mana, is a level 1 Arcane spell and takes up the Cloak equipment slot. 

It is essentially a weaker/cheaper version of the Suppression Cloak. When the wearer gets attacked by a melee attack, the attacker must pay 1 mana. If they don't, the attack is cancelled.

This is an excellent defensive spell in Academy. The Mages generate more mana, making a single mana more valuable. Combining this with the other mana denial spells in his spellbook, the Wizard can completely drain his enemies of their mana. Every Wizard will play this in Academy.

In Arena, I don't see it being played as often. Wizards will play Suppression Cloak instead.




Rod of the Arcanum
Rod of the Arcanum gives its wielder a better attack. It costs 4 mana and is a level 1 Arcane spell. It isn't Wizard only, so the Beastmaster can use it too.

It gives an attack of 3 dice. In Arena, it's 4 dice. 

In addition, when the attack from this weapon hits a Non-Mage creature, the controller of said creature loses a mana. 

This is another tool in the Wizard's mana drain arsenal. The issue is that the effect only works when hitting a creature that isn't a Mage, which isn't usually the best option. 

This is a fine card in Academy and most Wizards will likely carry it, but I do not see it being used much in Arena. There are simply better options for Wizards, like Mage Staff.




Sistarran Robes
Lastly we have the Sistarran Robes, a chestpiece for the Wizard.

It costs 4 mana and is a level 1 Arcane Spell. It isn't Wizard only but 95% of Mages who use it probably will be.

It gives Armor +1. In addition, if an opposing Mage loses a mana because of an effect you control while wearing this, you then gain a mana. This can happen once a round. 

As you can see from some of the other Arcane equipment shown already, this pairs nicely with a few of the Wizard's other cards. 

If attacking a non-mage creature with the Rod of Arcanum while wearing this, it will cause a swing of 2 mana, something that is can be a big deal in Academy. 

This card is a bit harder for me to predict how often it will be used in Arena. Some Mana Drain Wizards may try it but my bet would be that most will not in favor of chestpieces that give 2 armor.







Wispwillow Amulet
Here we have the first amulet in Academy, the Wispwillow Amulet.

This is a 3 cost spell from the Arcane School. It is a level 1 spell. 

This amulet his the Dissipate 6 trait, meaning that it will be in play 6 turns. It comes into play with 6 Dissipate tokens on it and one gets removed every Upkeep phase.

What this amulet does is give the Mage wearing it a mana whenever one of those Dissipate tokens is removed. So you pay 3 mana to eventually gain 6. 

This works great in Academy because matches generally last around 6-8 rounds. In Arena, with longer matches, this card won't be as useful. Use a Moonglow Amulet instead in Arena.




Wychwood Ironvine
For the last equipment spell in this set, we have the Wychwood Ironvine. 

It is a 5 cost equipment spell taking up the belt slot. It is Nature level 1.

This belt gives its wearer Armor +1 and the Regenerate 1 trait.

This is a very good card. It is currently the only belt that gives armor plus it gives regenerate 1. This makes it slightly better than Regrowth Belt, depending on how much armor you already have equipped.

It will be used constantly in Academy and probably very often in Arena as well. 




Next up we'll take a look at the attack spells of Academy.

Attacks

Arcane Missiles
Arcane Missiles is the first attack spell of this set and it is one of my favorites. 

It is a 6 mana Arcane Level 2 spell. It is a full action to cast and targets 1-3 creatures or conjurations.

It rolls 2 attack dice and the attack is Ethereal and Unavoidable. The damage is also critical.

The reason I like this spell so much is because it is Unavoidable. The Beastmaster has quite a few creatures that have really good defenses but low life. 

This spell helps take them out easily. If I was building my own Wizard spellbook, I would try to put 2 of this spell in there.

In Arena, it's alright. The full action makes in unappealing to me but it was probably made that way because of Wizard's Tower. The damage is critical which is nice but for 2 more mana a Wizard could just cast a Fireball. Or for 1 less mana, an Acid Ball. I just don't see it being used.



Forked Lightning
Forked Lightning is another good attack spell in Academy. Every attack spell in this set is pretty good actually. They're good in Academy, at least.

This one is a 6 mana level 2 Air spell. It's a full action, just like Arcane Missiles, and targets a creature or conjuration. 

It rolls 3 attack dice of lightning, Ethereal, damage and also inflicts a Stagger condition on a 7+.

The nicest thing about this card, though, is the Sweeping trait. This means that the attack hits 2 different targets. 

This is a really useful way to possibly kill or Stagger two creatures with just one action.

From my experience in Academy, having the most creatures is paramount to being able to win. It isn't always the case, but the winner of the match usually has more creatures alive at the end. Having more creatures means that you can set them on guard and protect your Mage from melee attacks. 

This is a spell that is good at both doing damage and removing guards.

In Arena, it has the same problem Arcane Missiles does. It's a full action and better attack spells can be cast instead.



Lightning Jolt
Lightning Jolt is an attack spell that I think will definitely see use in Arena. It is a 4 mana Level 1 Air spell.

It is a quick action with range 0-1 and targets a creature or conjuration.

It rolls 3 dice of Ethereal lightning damage with a chance to Stagger on a 5+ effect die roll.

The most basic of Lightning spells, this card is fantastic. 4 mana for 3 dice is pretty good and it has a very high chance to Stagger. 

In Arena, I think this will be used quite a bit by Wizards or any future air Mages. It's a quick action so it can go on Wizard's Tower but it is only range 0-1 so it isn't overpowered.

The most similar card in Arena is Arc Lightning, also a level 1 Air spell. Arc Lightning is 5 mana but has the same range, target line, and amount of attack dice. The differences are the Arc Lightning is Unavoidable, which is nice, and that the effect die rolls are different. Arc Lightning has a chance to Daze on a roll of 7-8 or Stun on a roll of 9+. I'm honestly not sure which effect is better. The Stagger is easier to inflict and is more useful on a Minor creature, but Arc Lightning could potentially Stun a large creature or even a Mage. 

I honestly think they both have their uses but since Lightning Jolt is newer, I'll probably try it more xD



Piercing Thunderstrike
Piercing Thunderstrike is possibly the best attack spell for Arena that is in Academy. 

It is a 6 mana, quick action spell with range 0-1. It targets a Creature or Conjuration and is a level 2 Air spell.

Piercing Thunderstrike rolls 4 dice of lightning damage with the Ethereal Trait. It has a possibility to Stagger on a 7+ effect die roll.

The unique thing about this card, however, is that it has the Piercing +2 trait. The only other attack spell with Piercing is Devil's Trident. 

This is a great card to use on lightly armored creatures or Mages. In Academy, the Piercing +2 will cut through most creatures armor and the Stagger is just icing on the cake.

In Arena, this card's purpose will be much the same. It shines when played on creatures of 2 or 3 armor, obviously. Air Wizards will love this card.



Voltaic Discharge
The very last card in this set is Voltaic Discharge. It is a 6 mana, full action, zone attack. It is an Air Level 2 spell. 

When you cast it, it attacks every creature in the zone, including yours and even your Mage. 

It rolls 3 dice of lightning damage and inflicts a Stagger condition on a roll of 7+ on the effect die. The attack has the Ethereal trait as well.

So yeah. This is kind of like a last resort spell when your opponent has a bunch of creatures out and you have like 1 or 2.

This spell is just a chance to try to even the playing field by taking out, or at least Staggering, a good number of their creatures.

I don't see this being used in Arena. Electrify is another Air school zone attack and it costs just 3 more mana. It doesn't attack the caster, rolls 4 dice, and is even Unavoidable. So yes, this attack is not inherently Unavoidable. The Beastmaster's animals can all still try to Dodge it unfortunately. 

So those are all the cards for part 1 of this review. Check out Arcane Duels' fantastic analysis of these same cards in the video below and I will see you in part 2!
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<![CDATA[Battlegrounds: Domination Review]]>Fri, 19 Jun 2015 19:05:35 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/battlegrounds-domination-reviewIntroduction

Hello fellow Mages, and welcome back to the Arena! 

The long awaited moment has finally come; the next Mage Wars expansion is upon us! 

This expansion is quite different. This is the first expansion in the "Battlegrounds" series for Mage Wars. This one is called "Battlegrounds: Domination" and introduces a completely new way to win your battles. Let's dive right in!

Overview


Battlegrounds: Domination (BGD from here on out) is the next "big box" expansion for Mage Wars. Like I mentioned previously, this expansion is very different than all others that have come before it. There are no new Mages included with this expansion, but fear not, this is still probably my favorite expansion to date!

Components


So, what do you get in BGD? You get some stuff that comes in every expansion, like a new rulebook, some markers/counters. You also get 116 brand new cards. But most importantly, you get 20 puzzle-cut tiles. You can see an example of them below.
These tiles make it so you can build your own Arena layouts. No longer are you stuck with the 4x3 layout that the original board comes with. There are tons of different shapes you can make, such as the ones beneath this. The rulebook comes with a bunch of different map designs or you can just make your own!
In case you didn't notice, some of those maps are designed for more than 2 players. So that means there are official multiplayer rules included in Domination, which we'll cover in the rules section right now!

Gameplay/Rules


Alright, so this expansion is the most unique one to date. Previously in Mage Wars there was only one way to win, which was by killing the other Mage, but now if you play with Domination, there is a new way to win which is achieved by controlling different spots on the board. It is important to note, though, that you can absolutely still win by killing the other Mage. So if they're only trying to take control of those zones and neglecting to protect themselves, you can take them out.

In Battlegrounds: Domination, you are fighting over zones that have special conjurations in them called "V'tar Orbs". These orbs were created by the Dragons before they disappeared from Etheria. Although the dragons are gone, their creations still remain. Taking control of the orbs gives you a portion of its power each round and when you have enough of the orbs' power, you are able to open a portal straight to Voltari, the source of magical energy, and simply obliterate your opponent.

The orbs start off as neutral. Neither Mage controls them at the start of the game. In order to get control of an orb, it has to be hit with a melee attack. Easy right? Not so fast. When the dragons created the orbs, they knew that people would come looking for the power they granted. So they created guardians to protect the orbs from any outside force. The are called the Sslak and the Usslak and they can be seen below.
These creatures are not controlled by either Mage. Their job is simply to protect the orb and prevent a Mage or its creatures from touching it. 

To this effect, you cannot melee attack an orb while there is still a Sslak or Usslak in its zone. In addition, each Upkeep phase, they will get a guard marker placed on them if they do not already have one. 

So when you try to attack either one of them the first time each round with a melee attack, they will be able to counterstrike. 

As you can see, they also gain the Unmovable and Anchored traits when in a zone with an orb. Unmovable simply means they cannot be pushed or pulled. Anchored, however, is a new trait. This is one that people will be excited about. A creature with the Anchored trait cannot be teleported!

These creatures are not super powerful but can be a pain to take out. The Sslak has just enough health and armor to where it will survive a couple of hits and the Usslak is even tougher to kill. 

But when you do finally kill it, you can take over its orb. Immediately when you melee attack the orb to take it over, you get a small bonus. You can gain two mana, two health, or one of each. 

In addition to that, each upkeep phase, you will receive one V'Tar and gain either one health or mana for each orb you control. During the Upkeep phase, if you have enough V'Tar, you win the game! The amount needed depends on which map you are playing. If both Mages have enough V'Tar to win, the higher amount is the victor. If there is a tie, you play another round and keep doing so until one Mage has more than the other.

In addition to that, we have official multiplayer rules. There are rules for both Team games and Free For All.

In team games, initiative passes between teams instead of individual Mages. In addition, activation also switches between teams instead of individuals. So when it's your team's turn to activate, you can activate the creature of either Mage on your team.

Quickcast works the same way except you can't use both quickcasts from your team right after each other. That would be pretty overpowered! 

If a Mage on your team gets killed, their Mage card and all cards attached to them get discarded, but the remaining Mage gets control of all of their creatures and conjurations. Unless, of course, those cards are specific to a certain Mage.

In free for all games, initiative passes to the left. So do actions, meaning that in a 3 player game, the person with initiative activates one creature, then the person to their left does, then the next person and then it comes back to the original player. 

If a Mage gets killed, everything they controlled is removed from the board.

And as always, the last Mage standing wins. Unless it's a Domination game, then the Mage who gets the V'Tar requirement first wins.

Cards/Special Tiles


There are 26 new spells with this set and 9 special tiles included in the 20 tiles. Let's first take a look at each card and then we'll come back and explain what the different tiles do. We'll start with creatures. 

Creatures
First we have these guys. I already mentioned them briefly but I'll mention them again here because they can be included in your spellbook and there is a special tile that allows you to summon them whether they are in your book or not. 

Personally, I don't think these guys are worth spending the spellbook points to add into a spellbook but I definitely think they're worth getting out through the special tile seen later on.
This guy is pretty neat! He's really good at guarding conjurations from melee attacks, gaining the Vigilant trait when in a zone with a conjuration you control. This means he can take an action and then place a guard marker on himself at the end of his action phase.

With 3 armor and 6 health, he is unlikely to die in one shot and his 8 mana cost makes him pretty easy to cast. Plus he is an Animal and a Canine, meaning he will get all the boosts that synergize with those two traits.
We've got another Demon on the loose! And once again, this guy is pretty solid. He can only be used by the Warlock but is a great defensive creature. 

He costs 11 mana, so he isn't exactly cheap, but he has a defense of 6+, 1 armor, and 9 life. Plus he gets Regenerate 2 when in a zone with a burn marker. So once again, he likely won't die from one hit and his regeneration gives him the possibility of sticking around for a while.

We haven't talked about the best part yet! His damage output isn't great, only rolling two dice. However, he has a pretty high chance of Taunting whatever he attacks. A Taunted creature MUST melee attack Skeelax the next round if possible. So this is a good way of drawing targets away from your Mage. 
Here we have the first of quite a few cards in this set that were promos in the past! 

This guy is a level 3 Animal creature with 10 health and 2 armor, making him a little vulnerable to piercing attacks. He costs 13 mana to bring out, which is quite a bit, but he has two options for attacks. 

He's got a quick melee attack of 4 dice with Piercing +1 and also has a full action, zone ranged attack of 2 dice that deals Poison damage. The attack is unavoidable and is critical damage so it bypasses armor. It also has a chance to daze. 

Altogether I think he's a decent creature but not great. A Timber Wolf has just as much survivability for 4 less mana and one less spellbook point. Oscuda is better offensively though!
Time to introduce Slaknir! This guy is a Goblin and a Soldier. 

His stats are pretty low considering he costs 12 mana, but his effect more than makes him worth it. He only has 9 life and 1 armor so he won't survive too many hits, but while he's in the Arena, all your Goblin creatures will gain the elusive trait, which is amazing! Any Warlords who make a Goblin heavy book will definitely want to include this guy.

Those are all of the creatures, next we'll move onto conjurations! 

Conjurations



Here's another former promo! 

Altar of the Iron Guard is an amazing conjuration for defensive spellbooks. I suspect that many Priestess books will start using this quite a bit. 

The effect is pretty self-explanatory so I'll just give my opinion on it. I think it's a great card. It's only 4 mana and gives you an amazing defensive effect!
Here's the 3rd promo released within this set. This one is super powerful. It prevents anything within a 2 zone radius from being able to fly.

This is another card that I think many Warlords will put in their spellbooks since they don't have many flying options. Necromancers will probably love it too.

This is one of those cards that will really change the meta. It wouldn't completely destroy the Straywood Aviary build that won GenCon last year because the birds could probably handle it somewhat quickly, but it would certainly slow them down!
Raincloud is an interesting card! It's an Incorporeal conjuration that can move from zone to zone. It also gives all objects in its zone Flame -2, Acid -2 and Regenerate 1.

It's too bad that it gives these effects to your opponents cards too but it also has the added effect of letting you remove a burn or corrode marker from an object in its zone during the upkeep phase.

I'm not sure how often I will use this card but it's definitely interesting. Some Druids will probably want to try it out!
Alright. This is a Domination specific card. And MAN is it powerful! This card has a couple of requirements that have to be fulfilled before you can cast it, but once you do, you get an extra V'Tar per Upkeep phase.

That may not sound like a big deal but if you are playing a Domination game where the first Mage gets to 11 V'tar, having that one extra can mean the difference between winning and losing!
This is another Domination specific card. This one is really good too.

Basically when put into play, it allows your creatures to move FROM their zone, as long as it has a V'Tar orb in it, into the zone where this card is.

This can be a really big deal with creatures that are slow and is an even bigger deal when playing with the Secret Passages tiles, which I will explain later on.
This card is really simple. It's a Force wall designed for the Forcemaster but usable by any Mage. It's got a couple of noteworthy aspects though.

First of all, it blocks line of sight and passage. So this is a good way for Forcemasters to cut off escape routes.

Next, it's pretty cheap. 5 mana for 4 health may not seem very good but it's also Incorporeal which makes its survivability much better.

Finally, during the Upkeep phase, you can pay mana to reconstruct damage that has been done to it. So if the enemy doesn't kill it, you can just make it whole again!

Those are all of the conjurations so now we will move onto Equipment!

Equipment
This ring is super simple. All Wind attacks get +2 added to their effect die roll. No big deal right? The only Wind attack out there is Jet Stream right?

Not anymore! There are two new Wind attack spells released this set. We'll see them soon, so keep this ring in mind when we look at them.

Unfortunately that's the only piece of equipment in this set. So now we'll move onto those attack spells I was just talking about!

Attacks

Here is the first Wind attack spell, Sandstorm!

This is a zone attack that can target up to 2 zones away, making it the first zone attack with that kind of range. It costs 8 mana but hits everything with 2 dice with Piercing +1. In addition, it rolls 2 more dice against flying creatures.

And then on top of all of that, it has a HUGE probability of rolling some kind of effect on the effect die. You need a 4-6 to push, 7-9 to daze, and 10+ to push AND daze. Combine that with the ring above and there's an 11 out of 12 chance that you'll roll a success.

The only downside is that they get pushed in a random direction instead of away from you.
Here is the other Wind spell. This one is FANTASTIC!

It only costs 4 mana. The range is 0-1 which admittedly, isn't great. It does 2 dice of damage which gets boosted to 4 dice if they're flying. On a 6+, it pushes. So with that ring, it's a 4+.

But here's the great part. It is SWEEPING! That means it can hit two creatures in the same zone. And then have a chance to push them both. It's also unavoidable and Ethereal. This attack spell is simply fantastic, in my opinion!

The only downside is that it is a full action spell. But let's be honest, that is probably a good thing. If this would go on a Wizard's Tower, it would be really overpowered.
This attack spell is best used in Domination. It doesn't have to be, but is much better when used in it.

8 mana. 0-2 range. Can target creatures or conjurations. Simple so far.

Lightning damage. 3 dice. Ethereal. 6-7 is a Daze, 8+ is a Stun. 

Now comes the fun part! It get's Mana Drain +X and Piercing +X where X is the number of orbs you control. So if you control 3 orbs, you basically cast this spell for 5 mana and it's 3 dice with Piercing 3 and a good chance to Daze/Stun. This card is pretty good!
Here we have a super powerful Flame attack spell.

This is the former promo, Dragon's Breath.

It has a range of 0-3, which is tied for the longest range of any attack spell (the other is Thunderbolt and I'm excluding Chain Lightning from that), but the range actually has a limitation that I'll get to in a second.

It's a level 3 fire spell so the only Mages who will likely use it are the Warlocks and Fire Wizard and any other future fire Mage. It's just too many spellbook points for the other Mages!

It costs 12 mana and rolls 4 dice, which isn't great for that cost. But it has a REALLY high chance of burn! And at the end of the first attack, it can target another creature/conjuration 1 zone further away and attack it as well. But both creatures have to be in range.

This  seems like a situational card for me. I'd probably use Fireball much more often than this.
And now for the ultimate Earth attack spell, Hurl Meteorite!

12 mana, full action, another 0-3 range attack spell. Yay! Level is Earth 3 so Warlords and Wizards rejoice!

NINE DICE! Yes you are seeing this correctly, NINE! Plus 5-8 is a daze and 9+ is a stun. When you want to kill something, this is the spell to use.
The final attack spell, V'Tarrian Energy Wave!

12 mana, full action, range of 0-2. The interesting thing is that it targets 2 adjacent zones. Arcane level 3 so the only ones who will use this are probably going to be Wizards, which is unfortunate.

This is a zone attack of 2 dice. It is unavoidable and Ethereal.

It also gets more attack dice the more V'Tar orbs you control. So if you control 3 orbs, suddenly this is a 5 dice attack that hits 2 adjacent zones and any wall in between those two zones!

That's the end of attack spells, so now we move onto enchantments!

Enchantments
First and foremost, we have Astral Anchor. This is the card most people will probably be most excited about.

It has a reveal cost of 4 and targets a zone, which is nice. We need more enchantments that target zones! It's also a Mind level 1 spell so it's affordable to anybody.

The effect is pretty evident from the description. It prevents teleportation to or from that zone. This is something that people have been begging for for a while and it's finally here.
In case you don't know, the Necromancer is my favorite Mage. So when I saw that Plagued was being printed in this set, I jumped for joy! 

This card is amazingggg for Necromancers and Warlocks. The reveal cost is only 4 (6 if on a Mage) and it can go on any corporeal creature that doesn't have Poison Immunity. So I can stick it on my opponents living creatures and it's basically a Ghoul Rot on the entire zone. And the best part is that my Nonliving creatures won't  be affected because of their Poison Immunity!
Here we have a Domination specific enchantment, Sentinel of V'Tar. I really, really like this one! 

It has a reveal cost of 3 and is a Nature level 1 spell, so it's affordable for any Mage. It can only target Living creatures though, so Necromancers probably won't use it as often.

Basically this makes one of your creatures into a super powerful guard. But it only works while in the same zone as a V'Tar Orb. 

While they're in the zone with an Orb you control, a creature with this enchantment on it gains the Unmovable and Anchored traits. That means they cannot be pushed or teleported out of that zone. In addition to that, they gain Armor +2 and Melee +1 while guarding.

This card can turn some decent creatures into amazingg guards! I plan on using this in a Druid spellbook on some Vine Snappers or Raptor Vines. Giving armor to those guys makes them fantastic.

And now for the final enchantment! This is another Domination specific card.

Reveal cost of 3, 0-2 range, Mind school level 1. Interesting thing about this card is that it can only target a zone with a V'Tar orb.

& that's because of what it does. It allows you, once a round, to push an enemy creature within range of 1 a zone further away. So basically you can push creatures away from orbs you control with this spell.

That's all of the enchantments so let's move onto the final type of card, incantations!

Incantations
First we have Cascading Force Wave! This is a card akin to Force Push, but it is much stronger.

It costs 3 mana, targets corporeal creatures, is a Mind level 2 spell and only has a range of 0-1.

But that's because after you push the first creature into a new zone, you can pay 3 more mana and push another creature in that new zone. And then you can push another creature and keep on going.

There are two important things to note. A creature cannot be pushed twice with the same Cascading Force Wave. And it cannot push creatures through walls, but it can push creatures into them.

This can be both a great offensive and defensive spell. If you have a line of creatures heading towards the enemy Mage, this can help them all get there much faster. Similarly, if the enemy Mage has a line of creatures coming right for you, you can slow them all down at once with this.
Here we have V'Tar Suppression! This is a Curse spell.

It costs 6 mana and affects the entire Arena. It's a level 2 dark spell so it can be pretty costly but it's extremely powerful.

After you cast it, during the next upkeep phase, V'Tar orbs simply don't work. That means neither player gets V'Tar points and neither player gets the additional mana or healing boost.

Opponent going to win next upkeep phase by reaching the V'Tar goal? Play this card and you get an extra turn to try to take an orb away from them or defeat them.
And now for the final card in this set, V'Tarrian Healing Song.

This is a Holy level 1 incantation. It costs 5 mana, has a range of 0-2 and can only target living creatures.

The creature must be in a zone with a V'Tar orb you control but if it is, this card can potentially do some amazing healing!

You heal 2 attack dice PLUS 2 more attack dice per V'Tar orb you control. Control 3 orbs? That's EIGHT dice of healing for 5 mana. That's fantastic!

So that's the end of the cards from this set. What are my favorite five cards? Let's start at number 5 and work our way to the top!

5) Gravikor - Flying creatures have been the bane of my existence in many Mage Wars matches. This is an amazing card for Warlord and Necromancers and anybody else who hates flying creatures.

4) Windstorm - Another card to destroy flying creatures! What else can I say, I really like taking them out ;)

3) Plagued - Like I already said, this card is amazing for the Necromancer, who is my favorite Mage!

2) Astral Anchor - The card everybody has been begging for. Teleport just got countered.

1) Sentinel of V'Tar - Potentially the most powerful card in this set for Domination games. This card single handedly turns creatures into amazing orb guardians!

Special tiles

As I already mentioned, there are 20 puzzle cut tiles that come in this set, 9 of which are tiles which have special effects associated with them!

Altar of Oblivion
First we have the Altar of Oblivion. If you control this zone, once a round you can destroy a creature you control to gain mana equal to half its casting cost and also one V'Tar.

The creature can be anywhere in the Arena, it doesn't have to be in that zone. So, have a creature about to die? Sacrifice it! Sadly you cannot do this with the Forcemaster + Mind Control trick because you have to "own" the creature, meaning it had to start in your spellbook.

Corrosive Pool
Next we have the corrosive pool, the first tile that represents a hazard that creatures want to avoid. This zone hinders non flying creatures. In addition, during the Upkeep phase, any non flying corporeal creature in this zone will get a Corrode marker placed on them. You don't want to get stuck in this acid pit!

Molten Rock
This is another hazard zone you want to avoid! Just like the corrosive pool, this zone hinders non flying creatures. In addition, all non flying corporeal creatures in this zone during the Upkeep phase get a Burn token. Try avoiding this as well unless you have Flame Immunity! If you do, this could be a good place to just camp out.

Ethereal Mist
This is pretty simple! All objects in this zone gain the Obscured trait. This makes it a perfect place to hide from something like a Wizard's Tower.

Samandriel's Circle
This tile is a great way to take care of the Necromancer's zombies! It does a few things.

First of all, it gives all living creatures in this zone the Regenerate 1 trait.

Secondly, during the Upkeep phase, all nonliving creatures in this zone get 1 point of direct damage. Yes, that goes right through the Resilient trait.

Third, it also Hinders all nonliving creatures.

Septagram
This tile introduces a new keyword, Warded! The zone itself, and all non-Mage objects in it gain this new trait. What does Warded do? It protects things from enchantments and incantations. Anything with the Warded trait cannot be the target of an enemy enchantment or incantation.

Spiked Pit
This is another Hazardous zone. This tile starts the game with a Spiked Pit marker on it.

When a non flying corporeal creature enters this zone, they activate the trap. The effect die is rolled to see if they avoid the trap. If a 9+ is rolled, they are hit with an Unavoidable attack of 4 dice with Piercing +2.

In addition, this zone also hinders non flying corporeal creatures even if the spiked pit marker has already been activated.

Secret Passages
There are two of these markers included in this set! They aren't on the actual tiles themselves but can be added whenever you create a board.

As a move action, a creature in a zone with a secret passage tile can move directly to the other secret passage tile zone. They ignore any walls and everything else in between and move directly into that zone.

This is a great way to come up behind your enemy to cut off their retreat. Be sure to guard these and be aware of them so you don't get caught by surprise!

V'Torrak
Now for the last special tile, the V'Torrak. This is it! That artifact that the Mages have been fighting over. This is the key to opening up the door to the plane of Voltari!

If you control this zone, once per turn during the upkeep phase, you can pay to bring out a Sslak or Usslak under YOUR control! You have to pay their mana cost and 1 V'Tar point but you get the creature from OUTSIDE of your spellbook and place it in this zone.

On later turns you can then move it into a zone where you control a V'Tar orb so that your opponent cannot take it from you.

That's everything from this set. Let's go to the conclusion for my final thoughts!

Conclusion

Whew, that's alot of stuff! We got 26 new cards, a modular board, official multiplayer rules and an entire new way to play Mage Wars. All in one expansion!

So, what do I think of all this? This is without a doubt my favorite expansion yet! I feel like I say that with each and every expansion that comes out but it's really true!

Many people have said that they don't want to play Domination Mode, they just want to continue playing regular Mage Wars. And I will admit, I kind of felt that way at first as well.

But after testing this expansion out and playing Domination many times, it is safe to say that my views have drastically changed! 

I'm not saying this is a BETTER way to play, only that it is different and exciting. It makes you rethink about how you design your spellbooks and opens up countless new strategies and combos to discover! 

Even if you never want to play Domination, this expansion is worth it simply for the new cards and modular board. I've played regular Mage Wars matches with different shaped Arenas, using the special tiles, and it makes it exciting and fresh! 

Pros


- New cards. 26 different ones.

- Modular board.

- Exciting new game mode.

- Official multiplayer rules.

Cons


- At first glance, may not appeal to those who think Mage Wars is fine how it is. But trust me, this is worth trying out!

- More special tiles would have been nice.

Things to note


- The reason the tiles aren't double sided is because is would have cost more money and therefore would have increased the cost to the consumer.

-There is another expansion coming out soon, Mage Wars Academy! It will be pre-released at GenCon and has a full release date of September/October. It will be a simpler way to play and be pretty cheap as well. It's designed as a entry point for less experienced gamers. Check it out!

Final rating

10 out of 10, perfection! 

It's more Mage Wars and there are no cards in this set I would consider underpowered or overpowered! If you like Mage Wars, get it!

Hope you all enjoyed this review! Let me know what you think of this expansion in the comments below, and until next time, see you in the Arena!
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<![CDATA[Core set 4th edition changes]]>Mon, 25 May 2015 15:31:55 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/core-set-4th-edition-changesHello fellow Mages! It has been a long time since my last post and I wanted to apologize for that! I was finishing up college and was super busy with everything! But I graduated two weeks ago and am ready to get back in the Arena! Here we go!

One of the big things that has happened lately is the newest printing of the Mage Wars Core set! This is the new 4th edition and it has made some pretty big changes! This article is meant to go over the differences between the new 4th edition and earlier renditions of the game! This will not be a review of Mage Wars itself and will not explain how to play (to view those, visit http://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/what-is-mage-wars or go watch one of the numerous videos on youtube. They all do an excellent job!) but will rather dissect the components of the game and the changes made. I managed to finally get a hand on a copy of the new edition last night and jumped right into it.

Let's begin!

The first and most obvious change is the box itself! The size of the box is different and it has different art! Plus it has been renamed "Mage Wars Arena" in anticipation of the upcoming Mage Wars Academy expansion! Images of the box and comparisons between the box of the new and old versions can be seen in the slideshow below!
When you open the box, the first thing you will see is the updated rulebook! There have been some slight changes to rules and more stuff has been added but I won't go over those in detail! 

Below that are the various counters! If you looks closely at the slideshow below, you'll notice a few changes! First, the damage counters are now in denominations of 1, 3, and 5 instead of 1, 3 and 6! There are also new counters included for Wrath, Rage, Banish, and Gate Closed/Open for use with Gate to Hell! 
Next we have another big change, the arena board itself! The previous board was the Westlock Arena! The new board is the Straywood Arena! The new board is gorgeous, as usual, and folds differently so it fits in the smaller box! I just want to make this clear, the board itself is the exact same size when unfolded! It just folds differently so it is smaller when stored! 
We also get two new spellbooks with different art! Check them out! 
Finally we have the cards themselves!

First and foremost, we get MORE cards than we did in previous editions! There are more of the staple cards (Teleport, Nullify, etc)!

Second, some of the cards have alternate artwork! Check them out below!

Final thoughts

So, what do I think of the changes they have made? 

I think they're all great! More cards! Smaller box! That means the game is more portable! Yay! The new artwork on everything is gorgeous! The board, card artwork, and spellbook artwork is all amazing! 

Some people are getting confused about the "Arena" term added to the name of the game. Like I mentioned already, this is because a new thing is coming out called "Mage Wars Academy"! It is basically a faster version of the game that is more easily explained to new players/non board gamers! But don't worry about losing the "feel" of Mage Wars, Academy is awesome! It's a different game but it is very short and easy! Length and complexity were two of the things many people complained about when trying Mage Wars! Academy is the answer to that! People can play Academy and never play Mage Wars Arena, or they can use it as a "stepping stone" before they just into Arena!

All in all, the future is looking bright for Mage Wars! Up next we have Battlegrounds: Domination, which is having a pre-release at Origins next week and then has a full release in July!
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<![CDATA[FiF Follow-up Thoughts]]>Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:30 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/fif-follow-up-thoughtsSo Forged in Fire has been out for just over a month now. I thought I would post my thoughts after a month of playing and see if I still feel the same way I did when I initially laid my hands on the card and wrote the review. 

These are my follow-up thoughts:

The Mages

Both Mages are fantastic. So much fun to play. Both Warlords are soooooooo much better now. It's night and day comparing how they used to be vs how good they are now. I prefer the Anvil Throne Warlord over his counterpart, but that might just be because I like Dwarves :P And the Runesmithing is awesome. My favorite ability of any Mage thus far.

The new Warlock is great too. I actually like her more than I thought I would. Sure, she's a glass cannon, but she makes up for it in sheer firepower (pun intended). If fire is your thing, the Adramelech Warlock is your Mage. Marked for Death is my favorite curse with her. The enemy Mage gains Flame +1 when it's on them b/c of her ability, then you get to roll another die b/c of the card itself. All your fire attacks (which is pretty much all she does), instantly get that much more deadly. 


Instead of talking about every single card, I thought I'd just point out my favorites and least favorites and explain why they were chosen. We'll start with favorites.

Favorite cards (in Descending order)

5) Altar of Domination: This had to be on the list just because it's so much fun! Everybody knows about this by now, but that feeling you get when Talos comes onto the board made this an auto include on my list of favorites. If I was making a list of the 5 BEST cards from this set, this probably wouldn't be on there. Only because it's soooo hard to do. But since this is a list of my favorites, it definitely deserves to be on there. 

4) Lion Savagery: Such a good enchantment. Pretty self-explanatory why. Charge+2 is awesome on its own and the Piercing +1 is just icing on the cake.

3) Ignite: Cheap way to set things on fire. 'Nuff said. I like it when things burn, so naturally, I like this card :P

2) Akiro's Favor: OMGGG I loveeeeee this card. I love it, love it, love it. I cannot express how many games I've had terrible dice rolls. This card helps rectify that. 

*Drum rolls please*

*In Eric Summerer's voice from the Dice Tower* "And finally, number one!"

1) Defend: Every Mage should have this. Except the Necro, cause it doesn't affect nonliving creatures *cries a little*. Oh well. It's still a great, great, AMAZING card. Did I mention it's great? It's a novice spell, add it to your spellbook! Now!

*Honorable Mentions*
ArmoryConquerGoblin Alchemist

Least favorite cards

There are only two I don't like and one of them is just "ehhh" while I don't think I'll EVER use the other. So, again, in descending order;

2) Combustion: Mehhhh. Very situational. I'd much much MUCH rather have the Burns on a creature or Mage than use this card to make them all go away, even if it does make a decently powerful attack. Only way I'd ever use it is if I think they're gonna Geyser themselves.

1) Cerberus: Unless something changes, I will never use this card. I mean the ability is okay. It's nice to have something guard your conjurations. But the only real one to guard (for the Warlock at least) is Pentagram. And it's incorporeal so it'll survive a bit on its own. The only worry is Ethereal attacks. But wait, those are usually attack spells! And Cerberus doesn't have Intercept, so he's useless against those. But my biggest issue is the mana cost. 17 mana for a guard dog. No thank you.
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<![CDATA[The wizard (and the arcane school)]]>Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:06:52 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/the-wizard-and-the-arcane-school
*Please note- If you have not read the previous post "What is Mage Wars?", or do not have a general understanding of how the game works, this post will not be useful to you. It will most likely confuse you unless you understand how the game plays. I will not be going over the types of spells or mechanics of gameplay in this post. Instead, I will be referencing cards, images of which can be found at the bottom of the page, and talking about the usefulness and details of said cards.*

Today we will be taking a closer look at the Wizard, including general strategy tips for using him As you can see from the photo above, he has the generic 120 spellbook points, 32 life, 0 armor, and a channeling rate of 10. He also has the basic quick melee attack of 3 dice.

The Wizard hails from Sortilege, the nation dedicated to studying magic itself. Inhabitants of this country are all accomplished and powerful Mages and are all searching for Voltari, the source of magical energy itself. Because of this, the Wizard is trained in the Arcane school of magic, giving him access to many mythical creatures, portals, and debuffing spells. Wizards often train in schools other than Arcane. Because of this, he is also trained in one Elemental school of his choice, Fire, Air, Earth, or Water. This gives him access to many more powerful spells from his selected school. 

The Wizard has one ability, Voltaric Shield, and another attack, Arcane Zap.

Voltaric Shield:

The Wizard's Voltaric Shield ability allows him to pay 2 mana during the Upkeep phase to flip his Voltaric Shield marker to the "On" position. Then, the first time he is dealt damage that round, he can cancel up to 3 points of that damage. This is one of the best abilities in the game, in my opinion. For the small cost of 2 mana, he can cancel up to 3 points of damage. It doesn't matter if it was normal damage or critical damage, he can cancel it. Combine this with some armor and the Wizard becomes one of the hardest Mages to kill. 

Arcane Zap:


The Wizard has a unique attack called Arcane Zap. It is a quick ranged attack that costs 1 mana to cast. It has a range of 0-1 and rolls 3 attack dice. In addition to this, it has the Ethereal trait. This attack is useful in certain situations. It can obviously be very handy when attacking an Incorporeal object, or when you want to be a zone away and attack instead of directly in the zone. In addition, this makes the Wizard the only mage that can naturally attack Flying creatures without having any equipment attached. 

Strategy Tips:

The Wizard can pretty much excel wherever he wants to. His training in Arcane and an elemental school of his choice allows him insane versatility when building the spellbook. Because of this, he can employ a variety of strategies to lead to victory. This post will look at some of the cards that are essential to any Wizard spellbook.

As I mentioned before, the Wizard can choose his training between any of the 4 elemental schools. This gives him access to more cards than any other Mage. In addition, he does not have to pay triple for any school, making it so he can put most cards in his spellbook at a low cost.

Arcane School:

The Arcane School has some of the best cards in the game in it, including things like the essential Dispel and Teleport to the powerful familiar, the Wizard's Tower. Dispel and Teleport are cards that are needed in almost every spellbook, while the Wizard's Tower can only be used by the Wizard, but can cast an attack spell every round. You can also switch the spell bound to the Tower for no mana cost, giving it huge versatility. 

One of the most essential incantations out of this school of magic is Teleport. Controlling where the creatures on the battlefield are is a huge aspect of Mage Wars, and Teleport is the undisputed king of doing that. Enemy Mage sitting in a corner turtling? No problem, just walk up there and teleport them away, then swarm on them. Almost every spellbook needs a couple of teleports in them. Dispel allows you to get rid on enchantments. This is the best way for getting rid of curses on yourself or removing buffs from the enemy. 

Besides Dispel and Teleport, there are many other useful incantations from the Arcane School as well. Drain Power lets you steal your opponent's mana from them and can be useful when employing a mana drain strategy, which we'll talk about later. Banish is a good way to get rid of a creature that is too big to kill. When FiF comes out with Sardonyx and Talos, Banish will be one of the few ways to deal with them. Seeking Dispel is another great Arcane incantation. It lets you destroy facedown enchantments for the very low cost of 2 mana. This can ruin people's plans (ex: A Priestess with a Divine Intervention on herself in case she gets in a bad situation). 

Many Arcane Enchantments are powerful as well. Nullify is another essential card, allowing you to counter a spell your opponent targets you with. Harmonize is a good card to play on either yourself or a spawnpoint, as it adds the Channeling +1 trait to the object. Essence Drain can be played on an opponent's creature to give it the Upkeep +2 trait, and can be useful in that mana drain strategy we're going to talk about. Enchantment Transfusion is a VERY useful level 1 spell that allows you to move enchantments from one creature to another. So if you have a couple buffs on a creature that is about to die, you just play this card and move all those to another creature. You can do many other tricks with this card too, many of which are talked about on this thread : http://forum.arcanewonders.com/index.php?topic=13739.msg34822#msg34822

This school has some very formidable creatures. The Devouring Jelly is one of my favorites from it. It is Resilient, so it is very hard to kill, and it can Reconstruct damage from itself. In addition, it has a 5 dice attack that can inflict Corrode markers to reduce the target's armor! This is a great creature; its only weakness is that it is slow. You'll need to support it with spells like Teleport in order for it to get where you want it to go quickly. Another favorite from this school is the Gorgon Archer. Like the Jelly, she is slow, but her ranged attack is one of the best in the game. It is a full action ranged attack that can target up to 2 zones away. It rolls 4 dice, which is okay, but the d12 roll is where it is amazing. If you roll a 4-9, you inflict a Weak condition marker. A creature that has these rolls 1 less melee attack die for each Weak marker on themselves. And the markers stack! On a 10+, you inflict 2 of them! Weak is by far one of the best conditions in the game, especially when facing an aggressive melee style Mage (Warlock, Forcemaster), and the Gorgon is one of the few creatures that dish it out. Besides these, the Arcane school has quite a few more good creatures including the fan favorite, the Darkfenne Hydra, the Gargoyle Sentry and the Blue Gremlin, among others. 

The Arcane school does not have any attack spells so far, but the Wizard does not need any from this school. His specialization in an elemental school of his choice gives him access to plenty of powerful attack spells. 

It does, however, have access to 7 different Conjurations, some of which are extremely powerful. First, the Arcane school has the Mana Crystal, which can be used to boost the Wizard's already-high channeling. Next it has the Gate to Voltari, one of the best spawnpoints in the game. Whenever your opponent casts a spell, you get to place one mana on the Gate. Next it has the Mana Siphon and Mordok's Obelisk, both of which are cards that help mana denial strategies that we will talk about it a little bit. Finally, it has the best familiar in the game so far, the Wizard's Tower. Unlike most Familiars, this is obviously a Conjuration instead of a Creature, but it is amazing. You can bind a non-epic attack spell to the Tower and cast it once a round. And during your planning phase, you can change the bound spell FOR FREE. This allows it to have amazing versatility. One of my favorite things to do it bind Surging Wave to it and just keep casting it at the opposing Mage, giving it the Slam condition over and over. This works even better if they are against a wall of the Arena, because them you can push them into it for even more damage. 

Finally, we come to the equipment. The Arcane school also has some pretty good equipment spells. One of the most commonly used is the Elemental Cloak which is used in many, many spellbooks. Next we have the Mage Wand, a wand that can spellbind a non-epic incantation to it. This can be very powerful. You can make yourself a Teleport Wand to get your creatures across the board, into battle quickly, you can make a Dissolve Wand to constantly get rid of your opponent's equipment, you can make a Drain Power Wand to keep the opponent's mana supply low. You can attach most incantations to this spell, giving it huge versatility. Besides these, it also has things like the Staff of the Arcanum and Suppression Cloak, which we'll talk about more in a moment, and a few rings, the Arcane Ring and Enchanter's Ring.

So this was a quick breakdown of the Arcane school. There are quite a few cards in it and I'm not going to break down every single one of them. I didn't even mention quite a few of them, just the ones I think are most useful. As you can tell though, this school is filled with powerful cards that are useful to many Mages, not just ones with training in Arcane. Hope you learned something. Let's move onto the Mana denial strategy you can employ with the Wizard.

Strategy: Mana Denial
As the title suggests, the thing you are trying to do with this strategy is to limit your opponent's mana. If they don't have mana, they can't cast spells, and if they can't cast spells, they can't win (in general). 

There are a few things you absolutely HAVE to have if you are going to try this strategy. 

  1. Suppression Cloak. Equipment, 8 mana. This is one of the most important cards for this. It makes it so that whenever an opponent's creature, or Mage, attacks you with a melee attack, they have to pay 2 mana to do so. If they can't pay the 2 mana, they can't attack your Mage. The idea with this build is to limit their mana so much that they have to make choices between either casting spells or attacking you, not doing both. 
  2. Mana Siphon. Conjuration, Epic, 12 mana, 9 health, Incorporeal. Another essential for this strategy. When it comes into play, you choose a Mage within 2 zones and within LoS of this. Then that Mage loses 2 channeling while this card is in play, nomatter where they are in the Arena. After played, you can wall it off to protect it. 
  3. Mordok's Obelisk: Conjuration, 8 mana. Epic. 3 armor, 7 health. This card works best against swarm style builds. It makes all non-Mage creatures have the Upkeep +1 trait, meaning the owner has to pay 1 mana per creature during the Upkeep phase, otherwise they are destroyed. When facing a swarm build, you want to wait until your opponent has many creatures on the board before you play this (4+), that way it has maximum effect. And you're going to want to protect this from being destroyed by surrounding it with walls. I usually play it in a corner so I only need 2 walls to protect it. 
  4. Suppression Orb: Conjuration, 8 mana. Epic. 2 armor, 8 health. This is an out of school card. It's from the Mind school, but can be useful with mana denial strategies. It forces the owner to pay a mana whenever one of their non-Mage creatures makes a move action. If they don't have mana, they can't move. Same idea as the Obelisk, the Suppression Orb works best against Swarm spellbooks. You'll also want to protect this if you play it. If you aren't facing a swarm build, or if you are planning on playing lots of creatures yourself, you might want to stay away from these two cards. This strategy can work well without them, but you should still have them in your book in case you decide you need them.
  5. Drain Power: Incantation, 16 mana. Magecast. This incantation, when paired with the other cards we have talked about, can completely get rid of your opponent's mana. It costs 16 mana, but you roll 8 attack dice. Your opponent then loses that much mana and you gain it. On average, 8 dice will roll 8 damage. So you're paying, on average, 8 mana and a quick action to cast this spell. With the Wizard channeling 10 mana per round, this means that you can cast Drain Power every turn if it is on a wand. 
  6. Essence Drain: Enchantment, 2 mana to play, 4 to reveal. Like I mentioned before, this is an enchantment that gives the creature it's attached to the Upkeep +2 trait. So you attach it to your opponent's most powerful creature and then they have to decide whether to pay the 2 mana every turn to keep it alive or just kill it. They could try using Dispel on it, but you shouldn't let them have much more than 6 mana anyway. If they use Dispel, they won't be able to do much else that round, and you can always cast another one afterwards. 
  7. Enchanter's Wardstone: Conjuration, 4 mana, 4 armor, 4 health. This conjuration makes your opponent pay 2 extra mana when trying to destroy an enchantment you control. It'll make those Essence Drains even harder to get rid of.
  8. Mana Leech: Creature, 8 mana, 1 armor, 8 health. Whether you use these guys or not is up to you. Many people don't, because they are weak, but they do drain your opponent's mana, which is what we're talking about. So they could be useful.
  9. Staff of the Arcanum: Equipment, 8 mana. If you use this, you're going to have to get close enough to hit the opponent or his creatures, obviously. But no worries, if you have the Suppression Cloak on still, this pairs with it very well. Luckily, this staff has both a quick action melee and full action ranged attack, so you can sit one zone away and blast away at them to. When you attack your opponent or his creatures with this staff, you'll be draining away 1 mana.
  10. Pacify: Enchantment, 2 mana to play, 2 to reveal. Another out of school card, this one is from the Holy school. You play this enchantment on your opponent's creature and they have to pay 2 mana the first time they make an attack. Again, if they don't have the mana, they can't attack.


Using these cards together should ensure that your opponent has very little, or no, mana. And if they have no mana, they're going to lose. If they only have a little bit, they're going to have to make tough choices. When they have less mana than you, you can take your time killing them. 

Of course, don't expect your opponent to just let you do all of these things without a fight. They will try dissolving your equipments, so pack some Nullify cards to prevent that. They'll go after your conjurations, so guard them with some Walls. The best walls to use would be the Wall of Steel but you can use any you want that don't let creatures pass through them. So if you used the Steel walls, that would make you an Earth Mage to pay the least amount of mana for them. And if you chose to do that, you would have access to other powerful spells like Hurl Boulder and the Iron Golem

Since your Wizard is going to be up close and personal with your opponent, you'll want some armor. His Voltaric Shield is great but you want armor just in case. You can pack Leather Boots and Leather Gloves very cheaply, since they are both novice. 

These are just some general tips for using a mana drain strategy. The Wizard is the best at it, but other Mages can do it as well. The Wizard can employ many other strategies as well that we will take a look at in a future post.


I hope you all enjoyed this breakdown of the Wizard and the Arcane school! Until next time, hope to see you in the arena!
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<![CDATA[Lord0fWinter's FiF Review]]>Fri, 06 Jun 2014 17:44:42 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/lord0fwinters-fif-review1Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Arcane Wonders in any way besides the fact that I love Mage Wars. I am not being paid or compensated in any way for this review. I did not get a copy of this expansion to review, these are simply my thoughts about it now that we know everything that will be included. All Mage Wars related products and images are owned by Arcane Wonders (www.arcanewonders.com).
Overview


Forged in Fire is the 4th expansion set for the game Mage Wars. The three previous ones have been divided into two types, "Big" expansions, which introduced completely new Mages, and "Small" expansions, which have released alternate Mages. These are "new" Mages in the sense that they have new abilities and stats, but are based off of Mages that are already in the game.

Forged in Fire (FiF from here on out), is a small expansion that introduces us to both the alternate Warlock and Warlord.


The Mages

As I mentioned above, the two Mages included in this expansion are the alternate Warlock and the alternate Warlord. The new Warlord is from the Anvil Throne Mountains where they have discovered something deep in their mines that could change the balance of power in Etheria... Harshforge Metal. This rare metal has one quality that has made it extremely sought after: resistance to magic. Adramelech himself has ordered his servants to find this metal and bring it to the Arraxian Crown to use for their own purposes. But the Dwarves of the Anvil Throne will not let it go so easily...

We'll take a look at the new Warlock first.


The Adramelech Warlock

The new Warlock is the Adramelech Warlock, meaning that she is one of the personal servants of Lord Adramelech. Thus, she has a fixation on fire. When I say she loves it, I mean she LOVES it. Almost everything about her has to do with fire spells and Burns. She is the most fire-oriented Mage thus far. Let's take a look at her image and stats card.
First of all, the artwork. She looks awesome. She obviously loves fire, having the Lash of Hellfire in one hand and a Fireball in the other. She has 33 health, making her quite fragile, and 9 channeling. The only Mages that have less health than her are the ones with a Channeling of 10, the Wizard, Necro, Priestess, Forcemaster, and Druid (the Druid has channeling 9 but when Lifebonded to a tree, goes up to 34 life and 10 channeling). The training is the exact same as the old Warlock but the stats and abilities are different.

Her three new abilities synergize very well with one another. 

Fireweaving: The new Warlock's first ability lets her move a Burn condition from one object to another one in that same zone once per round. This is a great ability when paired with some of the cards we'll see later. It allows her to put Burns on objects that are easy to catch on fire and move them to something that isn't so easy to catch on fire. We'll see how that can be important a bit later on. 

Smoldering Curses: Any enemy creature that has a curse she controls on it gains the Flame +1 trait. This makes it easier to inflict Burns on them and causes attacks that deal Fire damage to roll 1 extra die. 

Demonic Reward: If a Demon she controls attacks an enemy creature with a Burn marker on it, the Demon can heal 1 damage. 

As you can see, all 3 of her abilities have to do with Fire type attacks and Burn markers. Her basic attack is even the Fire type. It is only 1 die, but on a roll of 5+, inflicts a Burn. Combined with her Smoldering Curses trait, that will go up to 2 dice and 4+ is a Burn. Some other cards, including old ones like Fireshaper Ring, can help increase that even more.



The Anvil Throne Warlord

The new Warlord is from the Dwarves of the Anvil Throne Mountains, who were the first to discover Harshforge Metal. It has been a hard task, but they have managed to bend it to their will and shape it into equipment the likes of which has never been seen before in Etheria. Let's take a look.
All of the alternate Mages so far have been of the opposite sex from the original Mage. So that leads me to my first real question of this set, is this a Female Dwarf? It's so hard to tell with these pesky Dwarves, I suppose it could go either way. I'd like to believe that this is indeed a female Dwarf, but who knows. 

ANYWAYS, the new Dwarf Warlord has a respectable 34 health and 9 channeling. The training is the exact same as the old Warlord but the stats and abilities are different. His/her new abilities are very fun and thematic to use.

Runesmithing: This is one of my favorite abilities of any Mage. The Anvil Throne Warlord has 5 different runes that he can pay an additional mana to assign to an equipment when it comes out. The 5 different runes all has different effects: 

PRECISION: Piercing +1,
FORTIFICATION: Armor +1,
POWER: Pay -1 mana,
REFORGING: Cantrip
SHIELDING: Defense +2

Each Rune can only be assigned once per game and they make those equipments harder to destroy by forcing the opponent to pay 2 extra mana when destroying an equipment that has a rune on it. I LOVE this ability. It is SO thematic and fun. When you think of Dwarves, one thing you think of is smiths. And this ability is a great way to integrate that idea into Mage Wars.

Battle Orders: Similar to the Bloodwave Warlord, this Warlord has his own set of Battle Orders. He has three:

Take Aim! - Ranged attacks gain the Piercing +2 trait.
Quick March! - Gain the Fast trait
Hold The Line! - Gain Armor +1 and Tough -2 trait.

These Battle Orders are pretty nice as well. They can be useful in many different situations. Depending on your strategy with the Warlord, you might think the Battle Orders with the old Warlord was better, but to me, it's a toss up that depends what you are trying to do.

Battle Hardened: Finally, the Anvil Throne Warlord has the Battle Hardened ability. Instead of having the Battle Skill ability, which grants an innate Melee +1 trait, the new Warlord has an innate Tough -2 trait. That means that whenever the effect die is rolled for additional effects after an attack (Burn, Corrode, etc), you subtract 2 from whatever is rolled. This is very thematic and actually a very good ability. You might think that the Melee +1 is better just from comparing the 2 because it gives immediate payout when you attack, but the Tough -2 will be helpful in practically every match.

So here are the two Mages. Personally, I'm more excited for the Warlord (not to say I don't like the new Warlock though). I felt like the old Warlord had an ability that wasn't very useful (Vet Markers) and even though I really wanted to like him, I just couldn't at the time simply because he wasn't too good. However, this set is full of cards that help BOTH Warlords, not just the new one. The old one is getting a major upgrade too. Let's take a look at some of the new toys he is getting. We'll take a close look at a few of my favorite new cards from the War school and then I will have the rest of them in a slideshow below.

War & Earth schools

Picture
Harshforge Monolith
This is a pretty cool card. A common trait in many games is LOTS of stacking enchantments, whether it is things like Bear Strength and Rhino Hide that improve creatures, or curses to hurt the opponent. 

Well, this card is a way to reduce that enchantment stacking. Every enchantment within 1 zone of this conjuration gain the Upkeep +1 trait, meaning that the owner has to pay 1 mana per enchantment, otherwise they get destroyed. 

So, if your opponent stacks a bunch of curses on you, you just throw down this card and drain their mana. It's got 4 armor and 7 life, so it can take a few hits, but won't last forever. And because it's Epic, you can only have one in your spellbook. So you'll want to protect it with something that has the Intercept trait if you want it to last.

Picture
Conquer
This is one of my favorites. Basically, if you have a soldier creature in a zone that an opponent's conjuration is in, and they don't have a creature in it, you can cast this card and automatically destroy that conjuration by paying the conjuration's casting cost. That is AMAZING! Then after that, you can re-cast that conjuration (assuming it isn't "Arcane Mage Only" or anything like that) or cast a new one from your spellbook by paying its casting cost as well.

Enemies will now have to guard their Conjurations carefully when playing against Warlord spellbooks. I think this card will mostly be used to take out conjurations like Wizard's Tower and Battleforge, but it can be used on any corporeal conjuration that isn't attached to anything (no targeting Tanglevines).

On a side note, that art is AWESOME!

Picture
Harshforge Plate
Another great card for the Warlord. Typical armor in the sense that it gives Armor +2, but that is where the typicality stops. Its effect states that when wearing this, when an enemy targets you with an enchantment or incantation, they must pay an additional 2 mana to cast that spell. 

That's an awesome effect. They now have to pay more to curse you, teleport you, dissolve your equipment, pretty much do anything to you except simply attack you. I think that when I play this card, I'll add the rune of Reforging to it so it gains the cantrip trait. Or maybe the rune of Fortification so it gains another Armor +1. Either way would be a good way to go. At that point, it would cost 12 mana to Dissolve and you could play an Armor Ward to increase that cost even more. 

Picture
Altar of Domination
Now for one of the crown jewels of this set, the Altar of Domination (AoD). This is a Warlord only Epic conjuration. 

Basically, if you have 3 or more outpost conjurations in the Arena, along with this card, then each Upkeep phase, you place a token on this. Then, when there are 4 tokens on this card, you grab Talos from your spellbook and summon him to the zone with the AoD in it for free. Then the Altar is destroyed. 

We'll get to Talos in a moment. But this card only has 3 armor and 8 health. & when it comes out, your opponent is going to try destroying it as hard as they can. You'll understand why when we look at Talos. But the point is that you're going to want to protect it for 4 rounds. There are a couple of ways you could do that. 

  1. Summon something with the Intercept trait (Dwarf Panzergarde for a War School creature) to defend against melee and ranged attacks.
  2. Use Rolling Fog, a new Air school card that we'll be talking about later.
  3. Wall it up using one of the many walls the Warlord has access to.

Now let's see Talos.

Picture
Talos
What a powerful creature. He has as much armor as an Iron Golem, one of the hardest-to-kill creatures in the game (5), has more health (16), and most importantly ISN'T SLOW! That means he can move AND attack every turn. 

& he has a great attack. One of the best attacks in the game. 6 dice, Reach (meaning it can hit Flying creatures), and Piercing +2. Talos is Burnproof, has Psychic Immunity, is Nonliving and Epic. Talos also has a new trait: Unstoppable.

UnstoppableThis creature is exceptionally large, heavy, and/or strong, possibly animated by powerful magics.  It is virtually impossible to hold or push. This creature cannot be hinderedIt also has both the Unmovable and Uncontainable traits.


Being Unstoppable means that many cards designed to slow creatures down won't work on him. Cards like Tanglevine, Force Crush, Force Hold, etc. The only cards that will work are Banish and Turn to Stone. Later on we'll take a look at another card that's Unstoppable. It's the other crown jewel from the set ;)


Talos also has one more special thing about him. He is the only creature in the game currently that comes into play with his action marker flipped to the READY side. That means he can move and attack on his first turn on the board.


With that much armor and that powerful attack, along with his traits Talos is without a doubt the best creature in the game, if you can get him out.

And that is that hard part, getting him out. He can ONLY come into play through the Altar of Domination. If the enemy Mage destroys the Altar, he can't come into play. If they destroy your outpost cards, the Altar won't get the tokens it needs. The nice thing is that even though he's Level 7, he costs no spellbook points to put in your Warlord spellbook. And although his mana cost is 28, it doesn't actually cost anything when you summon him. These will only come into play when another card that targets Talos says something like "Casting cost is X, where X = Level of creature".

Those were just a few on the new cards from the War & Earth school. The rest are in a slideshow below. Highlights include Gurmash, a new familiar for the Warlord, the Altar of Carnage, Construction Yard, Defend, Akiro's Favor, & many more. Look below to see the pictures of the cards.

Fire & Dark Schools

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Devil's Trident
First off, I love this artwork. Gorgeous, like always. 

The card itself is very unique in it's own right. It is the first attack spell that can only target creatures! 

Why? Well, because the attack has Piercing +2. That's awesome, but would be a little too powerful in killing Conjurations. It's only 7 mana, so it's cheap to cast, and only costs 2 to put in a Warlock's spellbook. 

The attack it makes is awesome. It inflicts Fire damage, rolls 4 dice, and has an awesome d12 roll. On 3-5, it Cripples the creature, meaning they have to roll the d12 to move, on 6-8 it Cripples and Burns and on 9+ it just does a Burn. So 6-8 is the sweet spot that you really want to hit, but all the effects are good. And as I mentioned before, it has Piercing +2, helping it get through armor.

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Bloodfire Helmet

A great new equipment piece for the Warlock, this helmet gives all friendly Demons Melee +1 when attacking an object with a Burn condition.

This builds even more on the new Warlock's obsession with fire. Her Demons already heal 1 damage when attacking an enemy creature with a Burn and this will make them stronger when attacking as well.

You'll get the most out of this helmet if you have multiple Demon creatures out. The core set only came with a few Demons but this set adds 5 more new ones.

Let's look at one of my favorites.

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Blood Demon
That artwork is evil looking! I love it :D 

This new Demon is amazing. He costs 1 less than the Dark Pact Slayer, has a little bit less health and armor, but will probably survive much longer.

His attack is only 3 dice but is Vampiric, meaning that he will heal himself when damaging other Living creatures. 

Oh, did I mention that he's flying?  That makes most creatures unable to even hit him. He also has Bloodthirsty +1, which can be both a good & bad thing. It'll give him Melee +1 when attacking a damaged creature but it means he HAS to attack a creature that is damaged. So even if you want to attack their Mage, if it isn't damaged and there is a creature in the same zone that IS damaged, the Blood Demon has to attack it.

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Sardonyx
Behold, Sardonyx! The Bog Queen herself has sent Sardonyx, Blight of the Living, an undead dragon from another age, to do her bidding. Living creatures... beware.


Sardonyx is the other crown jewel from this set. People have been wanting Dragons in this game ever since it was released, and the first one has arrived. & he does not disappoint...


Sardonyx is insanely powerful and expensive. He is a level 8 Dark creature. Level 8!!! And he costs 24 mana to summon, tying him as the most expensive creature in the game, mana wise, to bring out (Adramelech being the other). 


But that buys you one of the best creatures this game has to offer. He has no armor, because it would be unfair if he did. Instead, he has 31 health! That's the 2nd most in the game (Earth Elemental). He can gain armor from Fortified Position anyway, but you don't want Sardonyx sitting in one place.


No, no, you want him chasing the other Mage around the Arena until they are trapped in a corner. Then he can unleash his undead fury upon them.

Sardonyx has 3 attacks. A quick melee attack of 5 dice with Piercing +2. A full melee attack of 5 dice with Sweeping. And a full ranged zone attack of 0-1 zones that inflicts Poison damage of 2 dice, and has an effect roll. On a roll of 8+, creatures gain a Rot marker. The attack is also Unavoidable


Sardonyx has the typical traits of a Skeleton type, Psychic Immunity & Nonliving. He is also Legendary. Along with that, he is the 2nd creature that is Unstoppable

The loyalty of Sardonyx comes at a price though. Each Upkeep phase, the Mage who controls him loses 2 life. Not Health. Life. Life is much harder to get back. The best ways to do it are with the Sunfire Amulet and Drain Soul. So while Sardonyx is a beast on the battlefield, do not field him without caution otherwise he will hurt more than he helps. On top of everything else, Sardonyx causes all Living creatures in his zone to gain the Finite Life  trait, meaning that they cannot heal when he is in their zone. This card is a beast and will definitely be going into my Skeletal Necromancer spellbook.

There are a few more cards from the Fire and Dark schools in this set which can be seen below. Highlights include Sersiryx, the new familiar for the Warlock, the Wildfire Imp, a level 1 Demon, Ignite, and Arcane Corruption

Other cards

There are 6 cards in this set that are from different schools. I'm going to take a close look at the 2 cards that introduce new things to the game and then the rest will be a the slideshow below.


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Rolling Fog
We mentioned this card before when talking about the Altar of Domination and how to protect it while it is generating Domination Tokens. Now we'll see why this card can be used for that.

This is an Epic conjuration from the Air school. It costs 7 mana and introduces a new keyword to Mage Wars- Dissipate Tokens.

Cards with the Dissipate X keyword are only in play for X amount of turns. They are then destroyed. For Rolling Fog, it remains in play for 3 turns. It cannot be destroyed or removed for those 3 turns. 

So this card gives all Objects and Zones in the ENTIRE Arena the Obscured trait. If you remember from DvN, something that is Obscured means that it can only be targeted from 1 zone away. Many cards and attacks in Mage Wars are range 0-2, so this means that the gap between objects will have to be closer in order to cast those spells or make those attacks. 

If you play this with the Altar of Domination, it means the enemy Mage can't cast attack spells from 2 zones away to try to damage it. They'll have to get closer, which they might not want to do because that means it will be easier for you to attack them with your own creatures and damage them. But if they don't come closer, your AoD will have 3 turns to get tokens on it. 

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Disarm

This is a very cheap spell that introduces a new type of marker to Mage Wars, Disable markers. 

This card is from the Mind School, is Level 1, and is Novice, meaning that any Mage can put it in their spellbook for 1 spellbook point.

When you cast it on a Mage, you target one of their equipment cards and place a Disable marker on it. 

Disable: Disable is a condition marker that temporarily prevents an object from functioning. If an object has one or more Disable markers on it, it is Disabled. Disabled objects lose all attack bars, action bars, and non-trait abilities. It does not lose any of its attributes or subtypes. Each Reset Phase, remove one Disable marker from each object, unless that Disable marker was placed during that Ready Phase. For objects with multiple Disable markers on them, remove only one each Reset Phase. Disable does not have a removal cost and cannot be removed by spells or abilities which remove condition markers.

So this card is basically useful for making a piece of equipment not work for a turn, which could be handy in some situations. You can get rid of armor for a turn, get rid of a weapon, a wand, etc. 

There are 4 other cards that are all pretty good shown below.

Final Thoughts

The Warlord is indeed getting a much needed upgrade. I suspect he'll be one of the better Mages after this set. I am, however, a little disappointed that there was not any alternative to Teleport. I know that a card that so many people have been asking for would require serious playtesting though, so I can accept it. I'm less excited about the new Warlock, but that's only because I am so excited for the new Warlord. I will have loads of fun playing as both Mages.

Out of the 41 cards from this set, 22 cards, more than half, are from the War and Earth schools. This is because Arcane Wonders knows that the War school needed some serious help to be playable.

13 cards are for the Fire and Dark schools and 6 are from other schools of magic.

How will this set affect the other Mages? Well, the Druid is probably the first one to come to mind. With such a Fire-intensive Mage joining the party, she could perhaps see a decrease in strength/play since almost everything she has is weak to fire. Expect to see her (and all other Mages, but her especially) carry more cards around that get rid of Burns (Geyser, Renewing Rain). Rolling Fog has a huge effect on her as well. Because it obscures zones, she cannot cast spells through her vine markers that are more than 1 zone away. 

I don't see Wizards losing their spot as the "best" Mage. Their cheap access to Arcane staples like Teleport and Dispel, along with the powerful Wizard Tower still give them an advantage over the rest of the competition, and they've gained access to a couple new toys from the fire school like Ignite and Combustion. It will be interesting to see, however, if the Warlord ends up turning into a bad matchup for the Wizard. I think he could. If left unguarded, Conquer is the best way to get rid of the Wizard's Tower, by far. And the Harshforge Plate will make it harder for the Wizard to cast spells (like Teleport and Dissolve) targeting the Warlord.


Expect to also see an increase in the amount of Force Hammer and Fire-type attack spells that see play. Fire spells will help destroy the new Outpost cards that the Warlord has and the Force Hammer will be the best way to destroy the Altar of Domination

Overall, I think this is a great set for fans of Mage Wars. It introduces two alternate Mages that are very fun to play and has lots of cards that will be useful in many Mages' spellbooks, not just the two offered. As a "small" expansion, this is a HUGE improvement over Conquest of Kumanjaro. Go out and get this! You won't regret it! 

Pros
-New Mages are very fun to play.
-On that note, the War school got a much needed upgrade
-Some VERY fun new spells
-Artwork is top-quality as always

Cons
-Slight balance issues that were present before this expansion's release are likely to persist after this set comes out.
-Not very many spells from other schools

9/10

Until next time, my name is Lord0fWinter, and I hope to see you in the Arena!
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<![CDATA[Building a spellbook part 3 - Defense]]>Fri, 30 May 2014 00:08:51 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/building-a-spellbook-part-3-defensePicture
This post is written by Zuberi, a prominent member of the Arcane Wonders forums, and a newly recruited playtester. 










Writing Your Own Spellbook – Step Two: Defense
“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.”
            -Helmuth von Moltke

You can’t expect your opponent to just let your strategy roll over them. They will try to stop you and you must be prepared for that. Now, I am not a fan of the idea of “necessary” spells, but there are some things that every Mage should be concerned about regardless of what strategy they have planned.

First and foremost, every Mage needs to be worried about their own demise. It doesn't matter what your strategy is; if your Mage dies, your plan for victory will fail. Thus, you should include ways of preventing damage. Armor is the most reliable way of doing this but there are other types of defenses that could be useful as well. In addition to preventing damage, removing damage is also very useful in keeping yourself alive. You can remove damage with effects like Regeneration and Vampiric as well as direct healing spells.

Along the same line, if your opponent employs these defensive measures, it is going to interfere with your attempts to kill them no matter how you plan on doing so. Thus, you should have ways of removing these. Corrode can be very handy in dealing with armor, but I would recommend every book to include a way of removing Equipment and Enchantments entirely. Dissolve and Dispel are usually the answers for this.

Finally, every Mage should be concerned about positioning. Even if your strategy doesn’t normally care about where things are located, I assure you that your opponent can make life hell if you don’t have a way to move things around. Finding yourself trapped in a corner might make you concede quicker than you thought possible. There are lots of spells to help control positioning, including pushes and walls, but Teleport is currently king.

In addition to universal concerns, your particular strategy may have weak points that you need to be worried about. Let’s take a look at the five archetypes we set forth in our last discussion.

Solo (Aggro)
The primary fear of a Solo build is that they won’t be able to deal their damage. When you’ve placed all your bets on one horse, you have to be able to depend on that horse. You need to be able to get past guards and defenses, such as with Mongoose Agility and Falcon Precision. You also can not let your Mage be controlled by effects like restrained and incapacitated. You may want to pack extra Teleports and Dispels, as well as a way to remove conditions.

Another fear you’ll have is the sheer numbers of creatures your opponent could overwhelm you with. Killing them typically takes longer than it does to summon them, and distracts you from killing their Mage. So that’s usually not a very good option. Instead, you want to find other ways to reduce their numbers and usefulness. Suppression Orb and Mordok’s Obelisk makes it expensive to field a large army, and Walls can further prevent that army from getting to you. Including single target control spells, such as Force Hold, can help deal with especially annoying creatures.

Buddy (Aggro)
Buddy builds' main fear is very similar to that of Solo builds, except now it’s worrying about your creatures being unable to deal damage. Since your damage is spread among a few creatures, it might not seem like as big of a threat to have some of them reduced in effectiveness. However, it is much easier to control non-Mage creatures and there is the new possibility of your creature being permanently negated by being killed.

Thus, your attention shifts slightly away from dealing with guards and defenses (though those are still important) and more towards keeping your critters alive and threatening. Take a look at what critters you’ve picked out and think of ways to shore up their defenses and protect them better than they do by themselves. Rhino Hide and Regrowth tend to come in handy, but you need to tailor things to your individual needs.

Swarm (Aggro)
Who cares about guards and defenses when it only prevents a small fraction of your damage? Why should you care about a lowly fox being crowd controlled or even killed? Instead, a Swarm build worries about mass devastation.

The first concern is arena wide effects that affect your entire army. These usually come in the form of Conjurations such as Mordok’s Obelisk or Idol of Pestilence. Having an efficient means of destroying Conjurations is therefore paramount. Force Hammer is generally a good option.

The second concern is zone wide effects. Unfortunately, there’s not really a good spell you can include to prevent these from devastating your strategy. Instead, you need to keep this in mind while playing. The strength of the swarm is that you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket, so you should keep that the case and not pile all of your creatures into the same zone where they could be efficiently dealt with.

Finally, the one thing that could prevent a lot of your damage is that pesky armor. I already talked about dealing with armor, I just wanted to stress the point that Swarms care more about this than most other builds. Equipment removal and Corrode is a must.

Mana Denial (Control)
The noose you are tightening around their mana supply takes a little while to strangle them, so your biggest concern is staying alive until then. Most likely this will go back to the defensive and positional spells we’ve already discussed. You may also want to include some good defensive creatures, such as Gargoyle Sentry.

Zone Control (Control)
A Zone Control build is kind of playing it’s own mini-game. Its biggest fear is losing that mini-game. If it is unable to prevent it’s opponent from getting an advantageous position, or if it’s opponent can turn the tables and deny them from having good positioning, then it is doomed. Nullifies and Jinxes to prevent Teleports and Pushes are a good idea. Enchantment Transfusion can help you to get these where needed as well.

Conclusion
At this point you should be able to build a decent book. We could still make it better, though. Next time we shall look at the concept of Adaptation, or changing your strategy to meet specific situations.

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<![CDATA[Building a spellbook - Part 2]]>Mon, 12 May 2014 14:54:18 GMThttp://magewars.weebly.com/general-discussion/building-a-spellbook-part-2Picture
This post is written by Zuberi, a prominent member of the Arcane Wonders forums, and a newly recruited playtester. 




Writing your own Spellbook – Step One: Offense
Last week I presented an overview of how I go about designing a spellbook. This week we're going to look at the first step in that process which is creating a good offense. Before I go into too much detail, I want to state real quickly that this, and the rest of my advice, has been influenced heavily by the work of others on the Arcane Wonders and Board Game Geek forums. I make no claims of originality.

Now, the first thing you need to do when designing your own Spellbook, is to decide what type of strategy you'd like to employ. In my opinion, there are two distinct types of Strategies you can choose from to start with: Aggro and Control. If you think of Mage Wars like a race, Aggro would be like trying to run faster than your opponent, while Control is like trying to trip your opponent. All's fair in love and Mage Wars.




Gathering the Essentials
Once you decide what type of strategy you wish to use, it is time to gather the essentials needed to enact your plan. The specific spells will differ depending on what Mage and Strategy you've picked. Generally speaking, Aggro mages want to focus on ways to increase their damage, while Control mages want to focus on ways to limit their opponent. You usually want to include as many spells as you can within your Mage's school of training and avoid any schools of magic that they are weak in. I'll go over five example archetypes and give some advice on what you may want to include.

Solo (Aggro): Choosing to forego dangerous creatures and kill their opponent by themselves, Solo Builds rely a lot on burst damage to kill their opponent before being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The first thing to consider is how you will generate damage without using creatures. You will probably want to take a look at Conjurations, Equipment, and Attack Spells that can be used to cause damage. You may also want to look into ways to generate additional actions for yourself to help keep you from being overwhelmed by your opponent. There are some Spawnpoints and Familiars that can help with this.

Buddy (Aggro): This type of build casts one or two large creatures and then gives them a lot of love and attention. These creatures can potentially be buffed to insane levels and present a very formidable threat. Obviously, the first thing you'll want to do to make this type of book is to pick out a creature or two to be your buddy. It should be high level, able to deal a good amount of damage, and be fairly easy to keep alive. After that, you'll want to find ways to increase the damage your buddy(s) can cause.

Swarm (Aggro): Choosing quantity over quality, this build likes to field an entire army of creatures. Most of these creatures don't receive a lot of individual attention, and you probably don't really care a lot if a few of them are killed. Just like with the Buddy Build above, your first task should be picking out some cheap creatures that you can easily cast. After that, you may want to find a way to cast even more creatures, such as with Spawnpoints, or to cast bigger creatures, such as by increasing your Channeling. Finally, you may want to look at ways to buff your army's damage. You should focus on buffs that affect multiple creatures, such as Arena or Zone wide effects.

Mana Denial (Control): This build is designed to hit your opponent where it really hurts; their mana supply. Once you've neutered their ability to cast anything, you can kill them at your liesure. Obviously, you'll want to look for anything that reduces your opponent's channeling or forces them to pay extra for things.

Zone Control (Control): The name of the game is Positioning, and you are the star player. This build aims to keep your opponent right where you want them. Some place where you can hit them but they can't hit back. You'll want lots of things to restrict their movement. You might block them in with Walls, cast spells to Restrain them, or otherwise make movement painful, such as with a Suppression Orb or Chains of Agony. You'll also want to make sure you have ways to move around yourself and deal damage without fear of retaliation. Ranged Attacks and Damage Over Time effects (like Ghoul Rot) are very common for these types of builds.

Mid Ranged
I know I stated earlier that there are only two distinct types of strategies in my opinion, however I would like to add that you don't have to go with a pure build. It is perfectly acceptable to include multiple tactics within your spellbook and create some kind of hybrid. If you combine elements of both Control and Aggro, I would lable the book as “Mid Ranged.” Having extra options can make you more versatile, which can be a huge asset. However, if you include too many options, you may find that you can't do any of them well enough to actually win the game. We'll talk about versatility more when we discuss Step Three: Adaptation.




Next Week I shall discuss defending your chosen strategy from the evil plots of your opponent.


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