Programming Note: Due to the large number of cards to preview, we are starting the previews before the pre-orders are available. Pre-orders will be up in 1-3 weeks. Plus, Preview Monday will be twice as nice as usual, with TWO Summoner Wars previews per day. TWO! Click here for this morning's preview.
This afternoon we get to look at Natazga, the Swamp Orc Second Summoner, and explore some of the ways she can do what the Swamp Orcs do - put a bunch of yucky vines all over the Battlefield!
Natazga's stats aren't anything exciting for a Summoner, rolling with the fairly standard 2 ranged / 6 life statline. Her contrast to Mugglug is very similar to Torgan's contrast to Grognack in their cousin faction. However, this particular statline has significance for Natazga thanks to her excellent ability, OVERGROWTH. Much like Mugglug, it's an ability that's "always on" and allows all of your Units to spread Vine Walls on the Battlefield, but you're going to need to attack a Wall to do so, AND do at least 2 Wounds.
However, think about how that works. One of the great things Vine Walls can do for Mugglug is choke off opposing summoning points when you can get a Vine Wall in the right position. With Natazga, all you have to do is attack an enemy Wall and land 2 Wounds, and you automatically get a Vine Wall on a space where an opponent used to be able to summon. And if your attacker was adjacent to that Wall, you've just eliminated half of the spaces he could use to summon from that Wall on this turn! And that's just with one guy attacking it! Where Nat's 2 Attack Value becomes significant is that's about a coin flip to make a Vine Wall herself, and OVERGROWTH works on your Walls, too! So while your starting Commons are jumping on the opponent's Wall, closing off summon points and creating threats deep in enemy territory, Natazga can start building the swamp on her side as well. And one more thing - Vine Walls don't need to be placed on empty spaces, so don't forget you can trap Units that end their movement adjacent to Walls as well!
But... with just 2 AV on guys, it's only a 44% chance to make that wall, right? Isn't that kind of hard?
It's not hard when the walls are eroding! Natazga gets a whopping 3 copies of this Event, and you can already see the ramifications. Not only will this Event guarantee that you create Vine Walls when you attack a normal Wall (note that this doesn't affect Ice Walls or Vine Walls, or any Wall that didn't start the game with 9 Life), but it also guarantees that you can beat up a Wall (or Walls!) pretty badly this turn. Erosion allows Nat to plan out her turn Prince Elien style to know where the Vines are going to be, and put immense pressure on the opponent by beating up on his Walls very rapidly while closing off his points of summoning and creating new points of summoning for herself in their territory. It's nasty.
So, is that the only way Natazga can get the swamp growing? Do I really have to just continually attack Walls? Well, you'll find that you'll want to attack Walls quite a bit, but Nat brings a couple of buddies with her to keep the swamp growing:
Skrub is a straightforward champion with a straightforward benefit. Give up an attack to get a Vine Wall 100% of the time otherwise for free. Mugglug players will know the benefits of using one of your attack slots to kill your own 1-life Common Unit just to generate a Vine Wall. Skrub does something very similar, but can do so wherever he is on the Battlefield. He can be a great help to Natazga getting the swamp going initially if she's having trouble getting at the opponent's Walls. And speaking of other ways to get the swamp going...
This super-duper swamp beast excels at just that! Not only will his base Attack Value of 4 pretty much kill any Common or put a nice dent in any Champion, it will almost always generate a Vine Wall for Natazga when it attacks a Wall. Zur-Lak does have the drawback of losing Attack Value as he is wounded, but this can be turned into a positive rather easily. That drawback, combined with OVERGROWTH, creates extra incentive for the opponent to attack Zur-Lak rather than just run away from him. If they ignore him, he can run rampant with his 4 Attack Value, decimating opposing Walls and scattering Vine Walls all over the opponent's Battlefield. But, if the opponent chooses to engage him in order to drop down that Attack Value, he scatters the Vine Walls anyway! This dude is a vine factory, and truly a swamp beast to be feared!
Well, that's it for today's previews, but man is it great to be back previewing cards! Next week, we'll take a look into the new Sand Goblins and Mountain Vargath decks, which feature Summoners with very similar but yet very different abilities! Until then, summon on!