Happy preview day!  Today we start our look at Swamp Mercenaries.  This is a faction I've been wanting to see for a while, since it combines two factions who each have their own mechanics to add to Summoner Wars.  

Swamp Mercenaries card back

Swamp Orcs card back    Mercenaries card back

We are fortunate to have designer's comments for this faction from Vincent, aka thenightsshadow, aka Bren:

Before we get started, there is something I want to clear up. Unlike the Vargath Vanguard, I am not the sole designer; Colby had his hand in designing as well. (Vargath Vanguard joins the Filth and Mountain Vargath First Summoners as the three decks out right now that are made solely by someone other than Colby.) I created approximately 50% of the deck.

Like Frank, I had been thinking of the Swamp Orcs and the Mercenaries and what each faction could possibly need. Unlike Frank, however, the art was already complete before I submitted anything, thereby limiting my original intentions and ideas. That doesn't mean that nothing could be salvaged from my original plan, however. I'll walk you through what ended up happening between the original document and the ability we have now.

Today we will focus on the first side of the alliance: the Swamp Orcs, who have the unique tool of Vine Walls: 

Swamp Mercenary Vine Wall

Vine Walls Rules card

The Vine Walls have apparently gotten a makeover, but their rules are unchanged. You can read the more detailed version of the rules here.  Now, on to the units! 

Glurblub, Summoner of the Swamp Mercenaries

The Swamp Orc Summoner Glurblub has the Vinemancer Sow ability, seen earlier on the SO Champion Splub. Some of you are always disappointed when abilities are repeated, but it is a useful ability, especially when coupled with a ranged attack, which Splub does not have. 

His original name was Glurblbl, but it was changed to the appropriate Glurblub.

One of the things that I wanted to point out with the Swamp Orcs was that there were other ways to grow the Swamp besides destroying ones own Units, like as shown with the Apprentice Mage Gambit in Mugglug's deck. So the original ability was one that managed to balance the risk and reward of growing Vine Walls with the original Mercenary's (Rallul's) intention to destroy all Summoning Walls. I'm not listing the specific wording here because I have faith it will see use in the future, but for now that's all I can say.

Colby had a completely different idea, though. Colby believed that Swamp Orcs could be more than just spamming Vine Walls onto the board for advantageous summoning and choke points. Instead, Colby, through his own designs, showed that Swamp Orcs could be more about the proximity of the Vines and what it means to be trapped in the swamp. For this reason, the ability was changed to what it is now; an ability that can't easily spam Vine Walls onto the board, and thus forces a player to keep their Vine Walls protected.

Mik the Tusk, Champion of the Swamp Mercenaries

Mik the Tusk does have a new vine-related ability: his Attack Value goes up one for each Vine Wall he is adjacent to.  And remember, you are adjacent to a Vine Wall in the space you are on, as well as those in adjacent spaces.

The original ability I had for this guy was...convoluted. I actually cringe when I look at it now. Essentially, you could uproot a nearby Vine Wall and place it underneath your attacking target if you hit. The point of the ability was to create another Glarg; another Unit that enjoyed being in the midst of Vine Walls. Colby made this guy a lot simpler and a lot stronger. Fun fact: he used to be a Common.

Swordsman, Common of the Swamp Mercenaries

The Swordsman has the frightening ability of being able the move through units and Vine Walls -- though not both at the same time, according to Vine Wall rules.  Not to mention a very nice Attack Value (which I in fact did not mention at first).  

This guy went through a few iterations, but the intention has always been the same; be a kind of Unit that could easily move into position. Both Swamp Orcs and Mercenaries are positionally-styled factions that can at times matter very heavily as to where each Unit is located. The original card wanted to keep that theme alive but also allow easy access to get into those positions.

Next week, we will see how the Mercenaries contribute to this faction.

Click here to pre-order the Summoner Wars Alliances Master Set.

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, Part 2, Part 3
Sand Cloaks: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Swamp Mercenaries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Tundra Guild: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Vargath Vanguards: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3


Comments


WOOKIE commented:

First!😛
Like what I see so far.
OK for now with a reused ability.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

RMZ1989 commented:

Wow!
Swordsman are actually the SE Swordsman with 1 less speed but can move through other units. Amazing common and especially great in Swamp Orc deck, getting very cheap unit with good AV. They had Conjurers, but they had to destroy walls to have the same attack as this though.
I am fine with the summoner, but we will see how he plays out with other cards.
Mik is great champ, fairly cheap and his ability is just great. He is a really good addition to Mugglug massive Swamp Deck(with App Mages) where you have Vine Walls everywhere. He might even have 6 AV sometimes.

Great cards, love them. Can't wait for next monday. :)

Posted on 2014-10-13.

killercactus commented:

These are my 3 absolute least favorite cards in the entire deck. I also basically didn't do anything to these cards... their final form is very close to how they began. Maybe that's why I like the other cards more...

Posted on 2014-10-13.

RMZ1989 commented:

@KC
Come on now, don't push my hopes even higher. :D
Well, I kind of agree that they aren't really original but they are definitely very useful.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Khayzhard commented:

Other spectacular artwork !!!

Swordsman is, at the moment, my favored Unit from this point of view.

About the Units' Abilities, I like them.

I have no problems in reusing Abilities (but only if the new Units have a different type of attack; in this case, the Summoner is ranged, whereas Splub was Melee).

I like "Miky" too, but I have a doubt: if Miky attacks a Unit on a VW, and Miky is both surrounded by VWs and is himself on a VW, does his Attack Value become 7? (2 base + 4 for adjacent VWs + 1 for VW under Miky)


Posted on 2014-10-13.

ZeeJr commented:

Seems like the Summoner will want help from Swamp Beasts and the champs who can produce walls. Using his own ability requires him to put himself in danger.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Nburghardt commented:

I'll like the Swordsmen with Rallul when summoning from a Stone Golem deep in enemy territory.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

sitnam90 commented:

Hmm I'm curious to see where this is going. Obviously don't get much of an alliance feel yet since this was all Swamp Orcs. Could easily of been a second Swamp Orc summoner. However I like the distinct visual feel of these guys. Repeating Vinemancer Sow isnt too bad I think. Only 2 av means it'll be hard to get off consistently but range means you can stay safe. I like how an AM deck wont seem to work well him him, though I think AM decks are cruthces for Mugglugg anyway

I like Mik, he kinda reminds me of the SO version of Grok. Him on top of a Vine Wall adjacent to an enemy wall can be a mean wall killing crowder. Definitely a nice option for Mugglugg too.

Swordsman is interesting. Basically an Angel that cant move over non-Vine Walls. Just being able to bypass defenders at a good price might make him a nice choice for a Rallul deck.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

killercactus commented:

At Khayzhard - yes, Mik can have 7 AV.

At RMZ - don't get me wrong, I really like these cards. I just like the other cards in this deck more, and besides maybe giving Mik another Life Point I didn't really do anything to them.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

RMZ1989 commented:

@KC
Wait, Mik can get 7 AV? Wow, didn't know that. I thought when your care is on some card that it doesn't count as adjacent.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Da-Niel, Unicorn Bro commented:

Glurblub's neat! He can attack and then make a defense for himself, in a way, by summoning up a vine wall. Or, that could even be a future offensive move as a new spawning point. Pretty cool stuff! Love the swamp orcs and itch-in to play them

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Firestorm commented:

Awesome! Makes me want to bring out my SO again in anticipation. Question though, how does swamp mercs work in deckbuilding? I suppose you can't just put them in any deck like regular Mercs? Will there be Mercs in this deck you can mix around?

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Khayzhard commented:

@KC
Thanks for the confirmation :)

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Divljan commented:

I have to say that I love the new vine wall art. It's an added surprise I didn't know we would be getting!

Posted on 2014-10-13.

prometheuslkr commented:

At the beginning of the article, you misspelled "thenightsshadow." It's supposed to have two s's.

The summoner's ability is an interesting one as a Swamp Orc, but I'm a little disappointed to hear that there was an earlier version which was more Rallul-ish and got axed. Obviously trying to make Swamp Orcs and Rallul compatible was going to be hard, but I would have liked a little more of Rallul's theme to be preserved. I'm sure we'll see some more of that flavor in the events, though.

Not sure how good the Swordsman is going to be, but he could be interesting. I think I'd have preferred that he have 1 attack and 2 life so he'd be more useful as a blocker.

Given that Glurblub has a harder time getting out vine walls, I think I'd put Mik the Tusk in a Mugglug deck and use champions like Splub and Splack here to supplement the Vine Wall production.

Really excited for his summoner bio. I hope it will shed some light on the mysterious Rallul and Mugglug.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

jwalker commented:

Great cards + Artwork. Swordsman are useful in both Mugg and Rallul. And Mik most probably get the 3rd champ slot in Mugg - man he's very similar to Glarg, super strong for his cost as long as you have your vines.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Nburghardt commented:

Glurblub looks like a tusked djinni.
Yay for more glowing effects. :)

Posted on 2014-10-13.

sitnam90 commented:

@Prom: Both Mugg and Rallull have tanky commons 1 costers, Conjurers and Sword Grounders. Swordsorcs give both something neither had in their old arsenal, a cheap heavy hitter

Posted on 2014-10-13.

glenn3e commented:

Glurblub's art has some Cthulu vibes there. Heh!

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Adam commented:

"The Swordsman has the frightening ability of being able the move through units and Vine Walls -- though not both at the same time."

Why not?

Posted on 2014-10-13.

sitnam90 commented:

The Vine Wall rules wording prevents you from moving over a unit over a vine wall

Edit: Just noticed the Swordsorc looks like a swampy Ragnor!

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Recna commented:

I like how the new summoner looks a lot. Everyone in the original swamp orcs looked way too similar to each other. I'll need to see the rest of the deck to judge his ability more.

I really like Mik a lot in Muglugg's deck. Considering how big I've seen his swamp get he'll be swinging for 5-7 dice easily. I only wish you named him "Muck" the Tusk to keep with the theme of swampy sounding swamp orc names.

Swordsmans are great no complaints about the unit itself. I only wish you mentioned on the Swordsman card itself that it cannot move through a unit standing on a vine wall. Since the vine wall card you posted in this preview does not have that specific line written on the card itself I can imagine a lot of players that aren't familiar with swamp orcs getting that rule wrong a lot. I'm sure its covered in the detailed rules in the manual the vine wall card is referring to it just seems like an easy rule to not know you're getting wrong.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

RMZ1989 commented:

@Adam
As Sitnam90 said, that is the Vine Wall rule, even flyers like Angels, Winged Mutation, Archangel and Vampire etc, can't fly over unit that is on the Vine Wall.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

killercactus commented:

Honestly, I'm considering FAQing that Swordsmen actually can move through guys on Vine Walls. It seems very unthematic that they can't do that, and that rule is in place because if you fail the roll, you're on top.of another guy. They don't have to roll

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Recna commented:

Personally I'd be all for putting it in the FAQs that Swordsmen can move through a unit on a vine wall. It makes sense for them mechanically since there's no way to fail to move off a unit from the vine wall itself.

And thematically from Muglugg's deck the swamp can ensnare people from far away so yeah I can imagine the flailing vines catching flying units when they try to fly over it too. Meanwhile the Swordsman knows how to navigate the swamp and move past people so why not both?

Posted on 2014-10-13.

EpicGollum1499 commented:

Loving the vine wall makeover!!!

Posted on 2014-10-13.

jods commented:

I love that the Vine Walls got a facelift and now look very different from regular walls.

I have a mixed feeling about illustrations. First I want to congrat cupidsart because today's cards look awesome! But on the other hand I hate that the art was commissioned before the faction designed. Although cupid's work is excellent, the characters feel very generic and do not convey any theme or mechanic. Like the last VV preview in fact. :(

Now that we've seen the Vine Walls being an important part of this faction, I wonder how the mercs will fit in and still be important to Rallul...

@killercactus: sorry but that wouldn't FAQing the Swordsmen. That would be creating an errata. I think it matters because I'll never go read the FAQ unless I feel unsure about how a card work. And in the case of Swordsmen it's very clear: the rulebook says no and the Swordsmen text doesn't say otherwise. So you probably should start a 'revised cards' list if you want to change that.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Zwierzakov commented:

Nice addition to Muglugg. I dont see vinewalss without Muglugg ability :P

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Slow Focus commented:

Absolutely love the artwork here, Glurblub especially! He looks really sinister and imposing with those vines and the costume is really cool. I love that the units are really novel by comparison to the older SO stuff but still feel true to their theme and vibe. I'm really liking the gray/gold uniforms.

Swordsmen will be great in both SO decks -- having a 2AV common that doesn't rely on Vine Walls will free up their tactical game a bit!

I love Mik -- I'm sure he'll be solid in Glurblub but he'll be an absolute beast in Mugglug! So long, Glurp -- nice knowin' ya. (On second thought, they could be brutal working together!) 5-cost champs are great and 6 health is perfect. His ability should be solid when pushing an offensive, and will be devastating when trying to hold the fort on defense.

Anyway, I'm really thrilled to see the Swamp Mercs at long last! I'm really eager to see their events and remaining units, I'm really looking forward to playing this alliance!

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Justantula commented:

Ooh. I like how these look more civilized than the pure Swamp Orcs. Swamp Merc would at least eat you with a fork and knife with a napkin in their laps.

I'm having a hard time with Glurblub. The glowing hand doesn't really work. Everything else with his art is nice but I would of preferred a staff or weapon of some sort.



Posted on 2014-10-13.

thenightsshadow commented:

My name's Bren, Vincent is my pen name.

Out of these Units, I liked Mik the Tusk the moment I saw his new ability. He was an instant in in my Mugglug Swamp Orc decks and even combines well with the second Swamp Orc Summoner, something I didn't want to touch on in the article.

What interests me the most (and my main gushing point), however, is Glurblub's events, but you're gonna have to wait for those. Glurblub's ability is more useful than it might appear, and for once a Champion with the same ability as the Summoner is not redundant. Splub can and will do major work. With the lack of Vine Walls, though, comes the need to either defend the ones you make or bring in Swamp Beasts. It creates a new dynamic since Apprentice Mages aren't really heavy in this deck, which in my opinion a good thing.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

JanE commented:

So these Swamp Mercenaries can be used in Swamp Orc and Mercenaries decks. But what about other decks? They are Mercenaries after all...

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Justantula commented:

@JanE I don't think you can. Since they are half Swamp Orcs, I'm sure they'd be restricted to only Mercenaries and Swamp Orc factions.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

tortugatron commented:

Correct. No Swamp Mercs in other non SO or MR decks.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Lets play a game! commented:

Splack and Mic can work real well together. If Mic is attacking a real key target it might be worth it for splack to attack Mic and toss a vine under him for a bonus AV.

Also with Mugglug's Ambush Mic can toss a max of 8 dice! One day Mic is going to one shot Sam Farthen

Posted on 2014-10-13.

tortugatron commented:

I guess I'm going to make one criticism of these cards, which so far I really like. The faction symbol isn't all that different from the old SO and actually I think it's worse. I would have loved to see the SW symbol bigger and the vine 'S' growing around it.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

Araphor commented:

At least one champion should be mercenary and can be used in other decks. This is an important characteristic of ME.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

BuckWilde commented:

tort, they tilted it a little bit. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?!?!? I was actually surprised how they integrated the SW symbol in there. My least favorite faction symbol is the VV one because it reminds me of an elephant.

Posted on 2014-10-13.

RMZ1989 commented:

@Araphor
SM cards won't be usable in other decks outside of SO and ME, they won't be like other Mercenaries. So having one, or more ME champs and one or more ME commons is irrelevant.

Posted on 2014-10-14.

killercactus commented:

Well, we could've pulled a Cave Filth here but I didn't want to add more confusion and card backs unless it was absolutely necessary.

Posted on 2014-10-14.

tortugatron commented:

Yeah. We will get more mercs with their second summoner 'Raboom' anyway. There are enough mercs.

Posted on 2014-10-14.

ZeeJr commented:

One extra life on Mik seems pretty good.

Some other 5-cost melee champs, such as Varn and Dwaf, would be balanced much better if they had an extra life too.

Posted on 2014-10-14.

CupidsArt commented:

Tort, I tried multiple applications of the two logos but this was the best combination. Some of these guys were harder to work together than others, and for the VV, I like that one, :P

Posted on 2014-10-14.

Irisches Glueck commented:

An issue I see with the box is the coloring of the backs of the card; it is similar to the SE and DD with the master set. This however seems to take it to an extreme with FP and OC having a similar green, DB and CL both sharing tan, and and this isn't even accounting for the VV and TG which are the only 2 we do not know. IDK I would have just preferred a bit more color diversity. Like DB being violet, SM being teal, VV being gold (which for all we know they very well might be), extra. To me it just feels like half of the backs are perfect for the factions and the others are just so similar to others it might make playing/sorting cards a bit more difficult

Posted on 2014-10-14.

Roufus commented:

Mercenary Orcs.
Can I call them Morks? I'm definitely calling them Morks.

Posted on 2014-10-15.

thenightsshadow commented:

Think less of it as Swamp Orcs becoming Mercenaries as it is Mercenaries that align themselves with the Swamp Orcs.

Posted on 2014-10-15.

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