Summoner Wars: A Meta Gaming Experience:
Part 3 of 4: The Mercenaries and Filth
Sorry about the delay on this installment guys, but I've been very busy, and have also been suffering from some writer's block with this subject. Now as you have probably noticed, this is labeled Part 3 of 4, even though the whole series was supposed to only be a 3 Parter. Well due to some disccusions that I've had, I feel it is necessary to include the topic of Mercenaries and other Filth before I talk about the Second Summoners...
So last time we took a look at the Master Set, how it expanded upon the ideas of both the Big Three style of play and also the 'Anti-Big Three' style of play, which was first explored through the Cave Goblins, and how it overall began to bring more balance to Summoner Wars. This week we'll be taking a look into the, in my opinion, most diverse and unique developments in Summoner Wars to date, The Mercenaries and Filth.
Now after the release of the Master Set it was announced that there would be two final factions released. Those were later revealed to be The Filth, and The Mercenaries. Now both of these two factions had unique features within them, though I'd first like to discuss the Mercenaries.
Mercenaries had been around since the very beginning of Summoner Wars, as Khan Queso was the first promo card that was given out with a direct order from Plaid Hat Games. Since then, Mercenaries have been a very intricate part of Summoner Wars, providing new, and sometimes more powerful combinations to Factions which lacked certain aspects, such as beefy champs, or diverse commons. Now up to the release of the Reinforcements for the Master Set and the Mercenaries Faction Deck, there were a total of 3 Promo Mercenary Champs, 4 Regular Mercenary Champs, and 4 different Mercenary Commons. So at that point if you owned a single copy of each set that had been released, you had a grand total of 27 Mercenaries. That's more than enough of field an entire deck's worth by themselves! Now with the release of all of the Master Set's Reinforcements along with the Mercenary Deck and their Reinforcements, that brought the grand total to 4 Promo Champs, 14 Regular Champs, and 13 different types of Commons. So as before, if you owned a single copy of each set that had been released thus far, you'd have a total of 86 Mercenaries which could be drafted into any deck that you wanted! Despite the 6 Mercenary Limit that exists, that is still a huge amount of deck building options created by these generic units.
Now the real meta-game functions that arose from the Mercenary surge was that many of the lesser used Mercenaries now had a spot to go, The Mercenary Faction Deck itself. There were, still are, and will be even more different combinations and uniquely diverse deck builds, each with their own strategies and tricks, that can occur with the Mercenary Faction that I couldn't even do it justice by listing those that I know.
The Filth had the second unique mechanic that I'd like to discuss. Mutations. Mutations are in my opinion, the zenith of all Common-Friendly play. They take the concept of playing Commons to a whole new level, where it is not only viable to play Commons, but encouraged, due to their strength and versatility. This Common-Friendly push was solidified by the fact that within the Filth Faction Deck there is only a single champion (GO ABOM!!!), and once again furthened by the fact that only two additional Champions were released, leaving the Filth with the least amount of Champs in the game to date!
The Mutations were in many ways a triple sided sword, almost acting as an Anti-CUE. They encouraged heavy Common play, but they also granted two magic to the opponent for each one that was destroyed. Though back on the bright side of things, the fact that they gave the opponent two magic wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it actually is possibly a good, or even a great thing, as it DOES GIVE YOUR OPPONENT TWO MAGIC PER KILL. Now that may sound strange but think about it, would you want to feed your opponent Mutant after Mutant and have them profit double magic from them so then they can dish out big beasty type champs easier and quicker? I wouldn't.
So in order to avoid that, the Swamp Orcs' Survivalist Mentality arises once again, though this time it rears an even uglier face than it did the first time around... Mutations. The Filth really amplify the Survivalism that was first seen in the Swamp Orcs though in a very different way, now instead of picking the best choice from a few and running with it through the bitter end, you had a whole array of units in your deck, and almost every single possibility covered by at least one unit. You want to assassinate someone? Summon the Beastial Mutant. The opponent got a big champ out? Summon the Claw Mutant. The Filth and their Mutants were and are the Swiss-Army-Knife of Summoner Wars.
For such a small amount of content, the Mercenaries and Filth had easily the largest Meta-Game Changing effect thus far in Summoner Wars. Together they opened up new and exciting opportunities to earlier factions, and also pushed forward with the Common-Friendly play style that was emerging. You have to remember though, the game was finally shifting away from the Big Three/CUE/Beast Champ style of play that was so common during early Summoner Wars. The Filth pushed the balance of the game to be more Common-Friendly, and then the Mercenaries with their massive deck-building options pushed it over the edge. There really wasn't a single good reason to not play Common-Friendly at this point.
Now I know that some of you out there will argue that it was still more productive to play Champ-Heavy in the Big Three, and some of the other Champion-Dependant factions. I'll agree that it may have still been more viable, but not by much. Common Units had finally found their spot among the ranks of the Summoner Wars, and they were gaining ground, fast.
So next time, we'll be discussing the final segment in this forever evolving Mini-Series: The Second Summoners. So until next time, keep on summoning!