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