Last week we saw the Swamp Orc half of the Swamp Mercenary alliance. Now we will see the other half.
The Mercenaries as a whole are a very eclectic bunch. They include normal human soldiers like the different types of Grounders; more sinister criminals and sorcerers; mages following Rallul's unique cause; maverick individuals of the different humanoid races; and a wide variety of sentient animals.
The Mercenaries in the Swamp Mercenary faction are all of the latter type: intelligent creatures found in and near the swamps who are willing to follow Glurblub. They are also willing to follow Rallul and Mugglug, but any other Summoner who wishes to employ them will be disappointed, for the rules say:
Despite the fact that these Units are considered both Swamp Orcs and Mercenaries, Swamp Mercenaries do not follow Deck Building rules for Mercenaries .... Swamp Mercenaries can only be included in a deck with a Swamp Mercenary Summoner, Swamp Orc Summoner or Mercenary Summoner. You may include more than 6 Swamp Mercenary Units in your deck.
Now that we understand that, let's take a closer look. Just like last time, designer's notes will be italicized.
First out of the gate -- I didn't want to stop him -- is a Boarboon. It's tough (3 Life Points) and fierce (AV 2), especially when it is first summoned and its AV is one higher. Of course, its magic cost is appropriately high.
Look at the card. Then imagine it with one less cost. Sick, huh? Boarboons are still cool at 3 cost but are obviously tempered to avoid being super powerful. The original ability of this card showed off what I thought of a dog or pig being assimilated into the Vine Army. Basically, the beast was powerful (3/3/2) but had to be adjacent to a Vine Wall or he wouldn't live. I think this version is more fun to play with, despite it being weaker.
The Swamp Rat is at the opposite end of the scale. It has zero cost, low LP and AV, and instead of running and hitting, it hits and runs. After attacking it can be placed next to a nearby Wall you control -- probably on the far side of it where its victim cannot hit back for a quick kill and easy magic. But to help ensure keeping the magic from its enemies, any friendly attack on a Swamp Rat makes him flee the field. Easy come, easy go.
I think my original ability was more broken. They had the PUNY ability and were ranged. They started out being able to jump to any Vine Wall but the added restriction of range and being discarded when attacked by a friendly Unit were added to cut down on the Mugglug abuse.
Though not the first reptilian, the first turtle-like unit we see is named Turt, appropriately enough. Also appropriate is his toughness, being half as likely to be wounded from attacks. This wonderful doubling of his life span comes with the appropriate cost of his heavy shell: slow movement, moving only 1 space per turn.
I gave him the VETERAN ability (When you move 2+ spaces this turn, +1 Attack) when I first created the faction, something that my brother first cooked up. I wanted this to be a Vanguard Champion but when the Turtle art popped up I had to change him to a SLOW guy, completely opposite of his original ability. This guy got a defensive upgrade instead of a life upgrade and that made a bigger difference.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Prong, a diminutive froglike Champion who is a true creature of the Swamps: not only can he move through Vine Walls with ease, he can deflect all damage from one attack per turn onto an adjacent Vine Wall, destroying it. His apparent magery also has an offensive side, for tiny Prong can hit as hard as the ponderous Turt, or a Boarboon in its first rush.
His ability is pretty much word for word from what I started out with, except that it wasn't on a Champion, it was on an event that gave it to everyone (but could only block enough wounds as a Vine Wall had remaining). He used to cost 3 and had unlimited range when he first came into testing, but the restrictions I had on him came back independent of myself, and he turned out to be a fine and cool Unit.
The fun is not over yet, of course.
Please stay tuned for the Events next week. My favorite? I nickname it Vine Pulse.
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