SW Preview: Undercover Agents
Trust no one.
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 soon. Plus, Preview Monday will be twice as nice as usual, with TWO Summoner Wars previews per day. TWO!
Welcome, everyone, to the first look at the 40th deck in Summoner Wars! FORTY!!!
Before we get into the actual preview, I want to make a couple of things clear about this specific deck, the Second Mercenary Summoner, Farrah Oathbreaker.
Farrah Oathbreaker is my attempt at a “thank you” to all Summoner Wars players, but especially to those who have hung around for quite a while and have really gotten into this game. Summoner Wars has been a big part of my life over the past 5 years - I’ve invested a lot of time into it, had a ton of fun, co-starred in a podcast, got to try my hand a little in game design, and most of all met some really cool people both online and in real life just because of this game. It is what it is because of the players and fans, and I wanted to give something back.
So, this deck might not seem very easy for a new player to pick up and play, and part of that is because I wanted to give longtime players cool mechanics and answers to fans pleas for “help” in some areas, and doing that required a couple rules cards and effects that can get a bit wordy, even if what they do is relatively simple once its done.
However, it wouldn’t be a Plaid Hat product without deep theme and story. I wanted to make sure that Farrah was deeply engrained into the Summoner Wars lore and as thematic as possible, and I hope I’ve accomplished that. That’s partly why I wanted to share Kynstri’s Mission with everyone before the previews. So please keep those things in mind as you read through Farrah’s cards, which I’m very excited about! And to all the Summoner Wars players out there, thank you!
OK, public service announcement out of the way. Let’s see Farrah!
Even though we’ve seen in her story that Farrah is very cunning and manipulative, she does know that working together makes everyone stronger. Farrah is an excellent and very persuasive leader, and she knows how to maximize the versatility of her troops. This is seen in her UNITY ability - she is able to capitalize on how her vast variety of units work together, oftentimes distracting the enemy while she finds the weak spot in their armor.
But wait a second… this is a Mercenary deck, right? Mercenary Unit have no Faction Symbol… so how is Farrah going to take advantage of her ability? Well, what we see in Farrah’s deck is a Mercenary company composed of spies in the real Itharian factions. I’ve already spoiled that one way Farrah can get Faction Symbols onto the board is by deckbuilding Common Units from the other Factions into her deck (up to 6 of them - kind of the anti-Mercenary rule!), though she is limited to only 3 copies at maximum of any specific Common Unit. But what about her base deck? What if I’m not into deckbuilding? Well, for that, we have Common Mercenary Units in her deck that also have Faction Symbols!
This is how Farrah takes advantage of everything “Faction Symbol”-related in her base deck – she has 6 different Mercenary Common Units, each with a different Faction Symbol! Trust me when I tell you that’s all you need to make this deck go. In terms of deckbuilding , this is a bit of a double-edged sword. First and foremost, these Mercenary Commons won’t be able to be built into just any deck like the Mercenaries of old (though the Champions can be). That’s a bit of a downer, I’ll admit. But, the plus side is that where they can go, they will gain the benefits of Faction specific cards! There have been so many times I’ve included a Mercenary in another Faction’s deck and been holding an Event card that I really wanted to use on them, but it doesn’t work. These guys work!
But now, onto probably the most thematic card that Farrah has, and really her calling card. Take a deep breath:
I know that was a lot to digest. Let me summarize for you:
- Get down a Unit with the same Faction Symbol as the opposing Summoner
- Place Undercover Agent under that Unit
- Until you discard Undercover Agent, your opponent plays open-handed and you have an invincible guy walking around that can’t attack.
This card introduces really 3 new and cool mechanics into Summoner Wars all by itself.
First is open-handed play. There are a select few cards that will allow you to glimpse an opponent’s hand, but never just permanently make them play open-handed like this does. When her agent is in place, Farrah always knows what the opponent is saving up to do, or holding deep in store for a future turn, which can be a huge advantage.
Second is cards that you can put on a guy and take off whenever you want. Obviously you might want to eventually reveal yourself as a double-agent and smack your old Summoner in the face, right?
And third is the concept of an invincible Unit. An Undercover Agent can’t be attacked or otherwise affected by an enemy card, so its really the ultimate blocker! It pays to have a man on the inside!
Now, though, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Well, that’s great that maybe I have 6 different Faction Symbols in the deck, but there’s 23 different Faction Symbols in Summoner Wars! How do I make sure I have the matching symbol?” Well, Farrah has a plethora of different ways just in the base deck alone to do this, and I’ll show you two of them today. First off, the easiest (and probably most effective) way:
If you’ve read Kynstri’s Mission, you’ve met Mingle before. She’s the chameleon-like Vekkid shape-shifter that was impersonating Vlox, and is Farrah’s top spy. Her abilities allow her to blend in with any Faction anywhere by taking on their appearance, and she’s a master at deception. Mingle is always ready to jump right onto the Battlefield to go undercover, and once you see more of Farrah’s cards, you’ll realize she’s probably her most essential Champion. Besides all that, she can be deckbuilt into any Faction and benefit from their Faction-specific cards by using BLEND IN on a friendly Unit!
What, Mingle isn’t enough to get that matching Faction Symbol? Well then, how about this guy instead?
The Changelings that Farrah has recruited from the Phoenix Elves to spy on poor Prince Elien and his infernal mother also are great for spying on other Factions! Unlike Mingle, who just blends in by disguising herself, these guys can actually morph into other Units and gain their powers! Battling with the Benders? Change into a Controller and control them! Dancing with the Deep Dwarves? Change into a Gem Mage and blast away! Changelings really like those 2 attack, 1 Life ranged Units since they get a bit of a discount with them (or how about Fire Archers? Queen Maldaria might like to get them out a bit cheaper!), but their real power might just be changing into an opponent’s Unit that’s in your Discard Pile to go undercover and wreak havoc! It’s almost like having the Filth’s ability to mutate at will, or Ret-Talus' ability to use RAISE THE DEAD on your opponent’s Units!
So, once you’ve infiltrated enemy lines with a man (or an evil she-Vekkid) on the inside, are you content to just learn about their hand? How do you strike???
I’m so happy I got to design a Tundra Orc Common Unit, because they’re the easiest Units ever to name – you just say what the Unit does, and add “-er”! These guys are spying on Grognack and Torgan for Farrah, and they’re very lethal shock troops.
Summoning during the Event Phase will already allow you to drop a fresh Wall and immediately summon an Invader where your opponent isn’t expecting one. If you have a matching Faction Symbol with your opponent though, you can summon next to that Unit as well. So now not only is your Undercover Agent invincible, but it's an invincible moving Wall! Enemy Summoners have a heck of a time staying away from Undercover Agents in fear of Invaders jumping out to surprise them! As for deckbuilding with them, I’ll let you guys discuss the kinds of tricks Torgan can pull with a bunch of these guys in his deck…
And the fun doesn’t stop there! Well, for today it does, but next time I’ll go into even more ways Farrah can manipulate the Faction Symbols in her deck and use her undercover spies to tear apart Factions from the inside. Next week, though, we'll get back into Saturos and Natazga and more of the nastiness they have in store!