Let's start with 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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 Academy, it is a good counter to the Packleader's Cowl of the Beastmaster.
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.
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.
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.
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*