SW Preview: The Esteemed One
Dominate the battlefield with Scraven's Sand Goblins
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 1-2 weeks. Plus, Preview Monday will be twice as nice as usual, with TWO Summoner Wars previews per day. TWO!
If there is one thing the Sand Goblins have always been known for it is control of board state. Well, that and their ability to destroy their enemies even when they thought they were safe by tossing a ton of dice. Well, and denying the opponent magic… You know what? Sand Goblins have been known for a lot of things, and that is no different when it comes to Scraven and the units he packs in his deck.
Stat-wise, Scraven isn’t the most impressive Summoner, especially for grinding it out in the end game, but he more than makes up for it with loyalty from those fight alongside him. Esteemed Leader allows Scraven not only to be protected, but also to keep his fellow Sand Goblin commons close-by so that he can send them out at the right moment. It is after your Draw Phase, and before summoning. Remember that, and don’t be that friend who asks for take-backsies.
Reach is definitely not an issue for these Sand Goblins, and they have the double benefit of having those Units or others return to Scraven's side after doing his deadly deeds. Functioning a bit similarly to Queen Maldaria’s Save the Queen, Esteemed Leader can be seen as both a blessing and a curse, as each attacking Sand Goblin Common MUST return to his precious side if able. Though, this can work to great strategic benefit as it is played out, creating both interesting waves of movement, magic denial, and also protection of other Common Units we’ll take a look at in later previews. Surely though, we won’t always want to lose momentum or board presence build up waiting for a timely power attack, right? Is there a way to even set that up with Scraven? Of course there is!
Send Out removes the Esteemed Leader ability from Scraven, allowing for his to advance on the battlefield and maintain position… well, at least until your opponent has a say about it. Do note that this card is played in your Event Phase, so you’ll still get the benefit of the early movement of Common Units if you so desire.
Oooooo. Ouch. Yikes. While Scraven might seems like an old, crippled goblin, do not let looks fool you, he very much has a desire for death. Having all those pesky Sand Goblin Commons going out and rushing back to his feet at times can seem tiring, but each one on the Battlefield it makes his desire for blood ever more desirable. Combine this with some well-executed Esteemed Leader board manipulation and you have this slow wave of movement throughout the course of the game and the board, getting Scraven into key positions to make deadly Bloodthirsty strikes.
The Flinger can seem undesirable given the spread of Common Units Sand Goblins have access too, but the Flinger’s strength comes from tactics that the rest of the crew simply does not have access to. Being able to attack through a card is pretty powerful and we’ve seen it work similarly with Violet and Tentacle Mutant, each working a bit differently. Note the Flinger cannot attack through multiple cards, only the one it is adjacent to. Still, being able to reach over a blocker is handy What might be more handy, though, especially if paired with Send Out, is the ability to clog a summoning spot while still allowing the Flinger to still attack over that wall.
Cyrus is the pack leader of the Sand Goblins, and very much tied to the Units he fights alongside. In fact, he won’t attack if he DOESN’T have Common Units to fight alongside… which would be such a waste, I mean LOOK AT THAT SWORD. At 6 life and Melee he is definitely at home with Kreep, Silts, Sand Wyrm and Biter, with the cost being well-worth it if you are keeping up with Units.
Pack Leader works like Bloodthirsty but it is always on and has no cap to how strong it can be. One thing you can probably determine already though, is that the new Sand Goblins really like to maintain presence on the board (well, most of them at least), and we’ll definitely find that out more next preview.
As an aside, I’d like to mention that Cyrus was designed with a purpose. We were contacted by one of our forumites, Caleb Wolfbrand, a little over a year ago. The story was that only a few weeks prior to the email they had lost one of their closest friends in their game group (Team RELENTLESS). His name was Jake and he absolutely loved Summoner Wars. It wasn’t an email that required action or response, but simply asked that if there was room to add a character named Cyrus to the game (a name of a character Jake had created for one of CW’s fantasy stories) or a Unit with the RELENTLESS ability, if we would. As all of you hopefully know Summoner Wars and Plaid Hat Games thrives on the community and the players, and I wanted to see if or that we make this happen. Jake’s favorite faction was the Sand Goblins, which at the time still had designing to be done, so while I was designing this deck I wanted to find a way we could fit him in. I was a bit cautious of putting in Relentless, being too tied to Cave Goblins, so we opted to make Cyrus the Pack Leader of the Second Sand Goblins Summoner, and find it fitting both to Jake and the faction.
So to CW, Team Relentless, and Jake’s family we both celebrate and remember Jake with this unit.