Two important notes before today's preview. (If you can't help yourself, go skim the cards first, then come back here.)

First, the original October estimation for a Summoner Wars Alliances release will not be met. Hopefully this can still hit the streets before the end of the calendar year; we'll keep you updated. That is the reason the pre-order hasn't been up yet, but it will be soon.

Second, the Vargath Vanguard are the first faction designed by Summoner Wars lead playtester Frank Balog (aka killercactus), and he's been kind enough to provide some insight into the design and development of this deck. Frank's comments will be in italics.

Moyra Skylark

Frank: Moyra's ability was one of the last things I developed, but I knew that I wanted her to both stress and help with the positioning of units.  The Vanguards kind of have a theme in their lore where they really look up to Sera Eldwyn as their spiritual leader, and the Vargath's Sunderved is a general that's revered (much like Sam Farthen, too), so I sort of mashed those two ideas and came up with the idea of common units becoming inspired by her presence and divine influence.

Besides helping her common units get into position and increasing their attack values, Moyra supports her units in another way:

Divine Intervention

Frank: A cross between Divine Protection and Intercession, and one of the ways that Moyra can sustain a push like Sundy and Sam, along with Defenders and Blinding Light.  However, Father Benjamin was the real catalyst for this card, as I loved the idea behind him and wanted something else in the deck to work in conjunction with him.  In that regard, I looked at the previous VG summoners and saw that they both had ways to protect their units through an event card, so this seemed like a cool mash-up.  Very strong event card, too.

Moyra has 7 life, so trading two or three on a champion for one on Moyra is great. Yet every wound against your summoner does hurt. Therefore, like Samuel, she has an event that protects both herself and those around her:

Blinding Light

Frank: Kind of an obvious take on Shield of Light, but just another event card that stresses formation and positioning, and also allows Moyra to get up in the action and hold her formation together.

Even with the kinds of tools Moyra, Sam, and Sunderved all have for keeping themselves out of harm's way, all of them (and Sera, who lacks those tricks) sometimes find themselves needing a heal themselves. Finally, there is a way, and it is indeed potent:

Father Benjamin

Frank: My favorite card in the set by far, named for my son.  He began with vastly different stats, but his purpose was always the same:  when he dies, he can heal the summoner, which I thought could be useful in all of the Vargath and Vanguard decks.  Very Obi-Wan Kenobi-ish in that he helps after he's destroyed.  I have to credit my excellent playtest team for coming up with adding the magic cost to his ability when he dies instead of increasing his summon cost, and also for determining that he often could clog your hand if your summoner wasn't wounded, which led to the second part of his ability, which I really like and is pretty unique in Summoner Wars.  I love the way he turned out.

More from Moyra and Frank next week!

Cave Filth: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Deep Benders: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Fallen Phoenix: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Jungle Shadow: Part 1
Sand Cloaks: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Comments


tortugatron commented:

These cards suck. KC shouldn't design anymore :P

Ok I actually like these a lot. Very cool preview. Can't wait to see the goats! And cool symbol! Daddy Benny looks kind of small though...

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Syurtpiutha commented:

OK, these look insanely cool. Good job KC! These look both interesting and fun. Father Benjamin seems like an interesting adition to A Sera Eldwyn deck (another possible candidate for A hero is born after you put him back at the bottom of the deck).

I regret the fact that Swamp Mercs will be revealed as one of the last factions a bit less now.

Edit: What is up with Moyra's armor, though?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Laternal commented:

logo looks like an elephant, not that its bad thing ( everybody loves elephants). Hard to tell anything about VV before seeing commons. Moyra looks cool.

edit: With Benji you really have to adjust your playstyle to hold onto bunch of magic in the endgame

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

Hmm, the playstyle seems to be Sunderved style with no Mustering since you rely on Moyra for that. Instead, Unit preservation is done through Events like Sam. I wonder how different the playstyle will be once other cards are revealed. Also, one of the Commons is called Defender?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

GoldenJellyFish commented:

I dont know if its me being stupid, but are cards usually different colours to their summoner? Like Benjamin is different?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

jods commented:

The color choices and the card template looks very good, very 'imperial' or 'divine' or simply 'goldish'. Nice job!

Like GoldenJellyFish I was surprised that the summoner and event backgrounds are blueish, and the unit is grayish. Checking the other Alliances previews I think that's the first time -- although I would have liked different frames and backgrounds for the Filth mutations vs Cave Filth units -- is there a reason for that?

The cards feel very 'Vanguard' so far, I'm looking forward to next week to see the 'Vargath' side!

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Saucy_Salem11 commented:

Wow the VV sound incredibly strong so far... hopefully these units will help me fall in love with factions I don't really enjoy playing as! Nice work kc! Also, I can't help but read your last name as Balrog lol

Posted on 2014-09-25.

joepinion commented:

I read it as "Blagog." :P

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Hilgendwarf commented:

They're looking awesome! This is such a great deck!

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Micam commented:

Great preview, love the extra design comments by Killercactus.

@GoldenJellyFish - now that you mention it, the different border does stand out. Must be on purpose?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

ZeeJr commented:

Groovy.

Ben is clearly the stand-out here. You gotta dig that the healing only kicks in when he dies from an opponent. That will create situations where your opponent doesn't want to hurt him. Bonus #2: This means you can't kill him yourself. Bonus #3: It doesn't say "Attack from an opponent's unit". So damage events, such as burn, and abilities, such as Hellfire, will still trigger Ben.

Many champs could benefit from being able to cycle to the endgame.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

jwalker commented:

hmm I'm maybe the only one not so convinced yet (let's see the rest of the deck however). I see lots of recycling here. Divine intervention is Divine protection but works on Champs for +1 wound on yoursummoner. Blinding light is Sam as ability. Divine presence is Sundaved light but its a good way to make MV units meaningful. However you need to have one common the the field inbetween 2 spaces of your summoner before summoning to use it, that's not trivial.
I like the design of Father Benjamin - IMO that was the only really innovative card today.

Artwork is again supreem!

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

This section is the most Vanguard-y part of the deck, and as jwalker points out, also the most similar to older stuff. There's maybe one other card that's a bit like something already out, but the rest is more unique and Vargath-y

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Irisches Glueck commented:

FB is Epic!! Having your summoner get wounded at inopportune moments is definitely and issue for these factions! FB is key to sustaining an attack and being aggressive. I've found myself sending him to the bottom a lot of the time (which I love that mechanic btw) but there have been plenty of occasions that I've found myself summoning him mid game as a cheap ranged champ.

That said, nothing beats the end game where your summoner has one health left, you have 4 magic, and FB is standing in between you and the opponent's lone summoner haha

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Adam commented:

Very cool cards, particularly Ben. I feel like the return to draw pile ability is unnecessary though. He is definitely not the first champion with a tendency to clog hands when drawn at the wrong time. The fact that his heal cost isn't figured into his summon cost makes him not worthless anyway.

Curious about the border color differences, too. The gold looks really great. Can't wait to see the goats.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

He's ability is definitely figured into his Summon cost since is is a +1 on SSCF. I'm curious to see the other Event that is related to him. Probably that insta-kill spell that the teaser battle showed.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

cmarie commented:

+1 curious about color differences. Can't wait to see some more of the VV!

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

He's ability is definitely figured into his Summon cost since is is a +1 on SSCF. I'm curious to see the other Event that is related to him. Probably that insta-kill spell that the teaser battle showed.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

cmarie - I fully expect to see a Moyra costume from you next August, or perhaps this Halloween.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Irisches Glueck commented:

Fun fact with the cards though, this is the first faction without grey tinted edges; it has gold instead! VV play with style =]! Nice touch

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

Hmm, Storm Mages with Divine Intervention means you can probably do two Call Lightnings before euthanizing them. I'm curious, how many copies of DI in the deck?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

THREE (?!?!?!) Divine Interventions

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

3 is a nice number, more reliable to have them on hand compared to Samuel's Divine Protection. Hmm, with Sybil, you can DI AFTER the die roll right? Making her very powerful in this deck...

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

Well yeah - you have to DI after the roll, because you can only play it when she actually takes damage.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Nburghardt commented:

I love Moyra's image. She looks strong and battle hardened.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

xMagox commented:

Does Moyra's Divine Presence triggers before the drawing phase, Like BS from Jexik?

I'm not very mutch into VG or MV, so this is the aliance that i was less expecting to see, but FB is a very cool card, nice job KC.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

freezinpee commented:

I was right, I do love the vv. I like that you took the best of both worlds MV+VG=VV. Well done sirs and madams

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

DIVINE PRESENCE indeed does trigger before the draw phase, just like BRILLIANT STRATEGIST. I had BS in my mind when I designed DP. I like how you feel brilliant when you choose correctly for BS, and I like how you feel like a battle strategist when you make the right DP move, since the deck is a lot about formation and battle strategy. Plus I just happen to like beginning of turn abilities...

Posted on 2014-09-25.

xMagox commented:

And it's also very funny/frustrating to forget them... since you have to use the ability before drawing your cards, what's a sort of automatic action... this happens to me... MANY TIMES! lol

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

I know - I want to introduce more of these abilities into the game so that it's less of a second nature to just draw cards first.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Heitsola commented:

I just stick my phone (or some kind of drink in a cup) on top of my deck when playing with Jexik so I don't forget.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Nburghardt commented:

Or just put a die on your draw pile.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Adam commented:

Glenn, what I meant is you don't pay the cost of his ability in advance. I wasn't very clear there.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

jnewby74 commented:

@glenn3e - what is SSCF?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

I used a Chess Queen on top of my deck at the PHG HQ tournament when I played Jexik.

@jnewby - the SSCF is a very basic formula that a lot of Summoner Wars Units fall into to compute their summon cost. You basically add up their life and AV, give them a bonus point if they're ranged (2 bonus points if they have 3 AV or higher), and then subtract 2 for commons and 3 for champs.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Barliman commented:

It stands for the Surprisingly Simple Cost Function, IIRC.

At first I thought Heitsola said he put his phone into his drink in a cup to help remember Brilliant Strategist. *That* sure gave me mental whiplash! But what he and KC really do is a good idea.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Justantula commented:

I'm happy Moyra is like Sunderved, MV and VG commons have always needed an attack boost on the regular. I'm not a fan of her armor but other than that she looks great. I can see Calvary Knights utilizing Divine Presence and moving in the proper lane to hit a summoner or something. Yay!

With Father Ben, you can finally rush in with Sam & Sunderved(as you should be doing) and have a healing option. Very nice.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the ranged VV common, Sunderved would appreciate it :p

And someone mentioned actually playing A Hero is Born? I thought that was an insta-build event...



Posted on 2014-09-25.

Caleb Wolfbrand commented:

Awesome. Excite to see the rest of KC's deck.

Sad about the delay, but I kind of expected it.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

jnewby74 commented:

@ Justantula - I agree with A Here is Born being insta-build. I especially don't get why you would play it to bring out FP after placing him at the bottom of your deck as Syurtpiutha suggested? Not sure I understand that one.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

JanE commented:

C'mon guys, you stole my thoughts! I also thought that the name of the designer was a joke. What? Balrog? No... Blagog! Well... whatever.

I like the feel of this deck, looks like old Summoner Wars goodness. Something in the newish decks went a bit brainburnly complicated for me. And the theme is very Vanguardly. Good job Franky boy.

@Justantula: And they are called Cavalry Lioneers for now on...

And somehow Moyra's ability made me think Demon Hands guarding her, as strange as it would be thematically...

They can do damage before they move, so... Can you choose a Demon Hand with Moyra's ability, check for the damage, then move them 0 spaces. Then in the movement phase do the same. And attack with them in the attack phase with +1 AV with 3 dice? So potentially 5 damage with 2 summon cost (Averaging 3 damage!). And Moyra has event to prevent Demon Hands from dying. She takes the damage if they die anyway... And she has priests to heal Demon Hands. Or is my idea solid?

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

And she has Father Benjamin to heal the damage off that she takes from the Demon Hands. It's funny how Demon Hands seem to synergize well with Vanguards.

I mentioned in the thread about comparing COMMAND vs DIVINE PRESENCE, and one thing I didn't mention there is that DP works on Mercenaries. Vanguards especially have a history of playing nice with Mercs, so I didn't wanna lose that.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

glenn3e commented:

@Jane

Oh wow, nice one. Yeah Demon Hands with Moyra's work well together. I already tried Sera+ Demon Hands and they work well with Priests. This takes them a step further.

@KC

Yeah and Stone Golems love Moyra. No more Ranged Units potshotting them.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

killercactus commented:

Right, and Stone Golems are tough enough to hang around to make sure they benefit from DIVINE PRESENCE at the beginning of the turn, as are Demon Hands. And Sword Grounders.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

hextr1p commented:

Chiming in regarding the different colored borders for the Summoner cards and the Unit cards. We changed up some aspects of the card design for these new decks. Some of these changes were simply cosmetic to help give the 'Alliances' cards a different look than the previous 'Summoner Wars' cards. One of these changes was extending the background of the character art for both the Units and Summoners to the very edge of the cards, where as the other cards had a textured border which matched the back of that faction's card, and the character art background was much more contained.

All of the 'Alliances' factions previewed thus far are set up this way. This faction happens to be one in which the two background types differ MORE than the other factions. However, all other design elements of the two card types in this deck still match (banners, wound counters, metal textures, font colors). So identifying the two as a part of the same faction isn't difficult.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Micam commented:

Had to go back and look over previous previews regarding the different borders, and they do indeed seem to feature this extended background art. It's a subtle change, but I like it. Prob seemed more obvious on these cards due to the gold corners drawing more attention.

Posted on 2014-09-25.

Laternal commented:

So with Moyra and Munddol I can get app. mage to attack with 4 dice...

Posted on 2014-09-27.

sitnam90 commented:

Oh thats brutal Laternal. I mean it does cost a maagic and you need Mundol out but still.

Posted on 2014-09-28.

Irisches Glueck commented:

Yeah that is the thing with Moyra; she has a lot of potential strength. With Priest healing wardens, Moyra + Mundol & App. Mages, Sybil and Divine Intervention, extra. The issue usually comes with paying the cost and timing. Having the priest get to the wounded Warden, Having the App Mage be alive for a turn while still being in Mundol/Moyra's oras, Paying 8 for a champion in a deck which typically favors heavy common play, extra. This is something I love about Moyra! IMO she probably has some of the most diverse builds which are all equally very strong. Going up against Moyra is a really tough thing to gage. So, Deck building with her is one of the more challenging, fun, and rewarding summoners in the game.

Posted on 2014-09-28.

killercactus commented:

Yeah I feel like most of the Alliance summoners are strong internally, so that deckbuilding with them is just ancillary, but fun. Moyra is almost the opposite - she's good internally (weaker than the others though, but only because her base deck gets all of its juice out of formation - it's sweet if she can hold rank though), but really opens up with deckbuilding. Which is good I think that the set had at least one deck like that.

Posted on 2014-09-29.

Dragon4201976 commented:

I totally want a view of the card back for the Symbol!

Posted on 2014-09-30.

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