DeathFromAbove here with a guest blog post. In this General Discussion, we will be taking a look at the Beastmaster of Straywood. I will be giving a general explanation of his special abilities, a look at a few of the key spells that should be added in almost all variants of his spellbook and then discussing a few general strategies that players tend to use this mage for.
By looking at the stats card, you can see that he has the usual 120 spellbook points, a healthy 36 hitpoints, 0 armor, and a channeling rate of 9. He also comes in swinging with a Basic Melee Attack of 3 dice. Not too shabby.
As you can guess, the Beastmaster shares an affinity for nature, resulting in his training in the Nature school. Unfortunately, nature tends to be of the flammable sort, so any spells relating to the Fire school will cost triple if the player desires any of them. That’s ok though, Nature is a force to be reckoned with, even against fire.
The Beastmaster has 3 abilities to call upon in his quest to destroy enemy mages: Quick Summoning, Pet, and Battle Skill.
This is what makes the Beastmaster one of the best mages for swarming. This particular ability allows the Beastmaster to summon a level 1 creature as a quick cast. You may be thinking “It’s just a level 1 creature. How much help can they be?” Well if used correctly, the Beastmaster could potentially have 4 creatures by round 2, summoning 2 each round. Not many mages can pull that off. Even advanced Mage Wars players can be stymied occasionally by level 1 creatures. Never underestimate a horde of those buggers. That was something I learned pretty quickly when I started playing Mage Wars.
If swarms are not the direction you want to go in, then the Pet ability can help beef up your chosen creature champion. This token allows the Beastmaster, by paying mana equal to the creatures’ level +1, to make a pet out of a summoned (non-legendary) creature. Why would you want to do that? Well the Pet Token adds +1 die to its melee attack, +1 armor, and +3 hitpoints added to the creatures’ life. The creature also gets an additional +1 melee dice roll if the he/she/it is in the same zone as the Beastmaster. With this ability, it can turn even a weak Bitterwood Fox into a force to be reckoned with. If it can do that to a fox, imagine the Steelclaw Grizzly as a pet…..
This ability is for the more proactive Beastmaster. A Beastmaster that isn't afraid to go toe-to-toe with an enemy mage himself. Plain and simple, the ability adds +1 to melee dice rolls. As you continue to play this awesome game, you will begin to notice that sometimes one extra die makes all the difference when attacking.
The Beastmaster can excel in a number of ways, depending on how the player uses his abilities. He can make it a quick game by overwhelming his opponent with small but incredibly annoying creatures, preventing the other mage from enacting any of their strategies. He can bide his time and create a horde of weak and strong creatures that will slam into the opponent like a wall of claws and teeth. Or he could choose a few creatures from his spellbook as his personal bodyguards and take on the opposing mage himself. This is what makes the Beastmaster one of my favorite mages. Some of the key cards that really help boost the Beastmaster spellbook will be talked about next.
In terms of good swarm creatures, Bitterwood Foxes and Thunderift Falcons are a great combination. The Foxes have the Fast trait and can reach the opposing mage relatively quickly and begin nipping at their heels. The Falcons (obviously) have the Flying trait which, unless the opponent brings out either a flying creature or a weapon with reach, means that they can’t be touched while they harass the enemy into a corner. Don’t like the little guys? Then save up some mana and bring out the heavy hitters such as Cevere, The Forest Shadow and the Steelclaw Grizzly. They may be expensive, but they can deal some heavy damage if used correctly. Cevere has the Fast and Elusive trait meaning he will not be hindered as he charges straight for the opposing mage. The Steelclaw Grizzly is a beast. The most expensive creature to get out usually, but if you slap the pet status on him, maybe even a Bear Strength enchantment, he would be rolling an astounding 10 attack die for his full attack. There are very few creatures that can withstand a blow that ridiculous. The Beastmaster has a variety of other creatures that can play towards a specific strategy.
As for enchantments and incantations, they are all mainly centered on supporting the creatures the Beastmaster summons. Bear Strength, as I mentioned before, increases a melee attack by +2 dice roll. That’s some serious steroids right there. Looking for some more defense? Slap on either a Rhino hide, which increases armor by +2, or a Bull Endurance, which increase the life of the equipped creature by +3. If you are running a swarm, a must have card is the Call of the Wild. This particular incantation increases the melee attack of all friendly animal creatures by +1 for that round. If you have 5 creatures out, that’s essentially 5 extra attack dice! Bring on the pain.
As for equipment, the Beastmaster comes with a decent beginning line-up. A must-have is the Staff of Beasts and the Regrowth Belt. The Staff gives the Beastmaster, at the cost of 2 mana, the option to either heal a creature the total of 2 dice rolled or add 2 extra attack die to a creatures melee attack for that round. Plus, it gives the Beastmaster another melee attack option of 4 dice. When you include the Battle Skill trait, it's 5. The Regrowth Belt gives the Beastmaster Regen 2 meaning that every upkeep phase, the Beastmaster heals 2 damage. This allows him to focus more on supporting his creatures than his own health.
As for Conjurations, there are some key spells to keep in mind. If you are going for a swarm, Rajan’s Fury and Tooth & Nail are a must. Rajan’s Fury, when set up, gives all friendly animal creatures the Charge +1 trait. This means that if a creature moves into a zone and immediately attacks an opposing creature, they get to tack on an extra attack die to the attack. Tooth & Nail gives all friendly animal creatures the Piercing +1 trait. This means that when any of your creatures attack, at least 1 of any of the non-critical damage will hit the defending creature. The one conjuration that is a cornerstone piece in any of the Beastmasters playstyles, it is the Lair. This awesome conjuration gives the Beastmaster a spawnpoint to summon his woodland buddies and it starts with 2 channeling. That is insane. Most spawnpoints in the game only start with 1 channeling.
Finally, attack spells. If there was a spell section where the Beastmaster lacks in, it would be in attack spells. That’s not to say that he doesn't have any good attack spells in his starting spellbook. Jetstream gives the Beastmaster something to keep flying units at bay and Geyser is also very useful for eliminating any burn conditions given to the Beastmasters creatures.
I hope you enjoyed the breakdown of the Beastmaster! Believe me I could go on about how awesome this guy is, but the only way to truly understand this Mage is to go out and play as him. A more in-depth strategy will be posted later. Thanks and I hope to see you in the arena (with the Beastmaster).