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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!