SW Preview: Danger in Numbers
Scraven's pack of miscreants

Summoner Wars | 2016-04-18

Sand Goblins

Big news: We hope to open Summoner Wars pre-orders tomorrow, April 19! But first, your next Scraven preview.

Last week we learned a bit about Scraven and what at first may seem like the most straightforward offensive strategies that come from his deck, but Scraven's has some interesting elements that pack strength in both offensive and defensive situations when used properly. You might want to sit down for this next part... it's a lot to take in.

Hunter

Let's sit on this for a minute.

Yes, they are called Hunters. Yes, we know Marek has Hunters. Yes, it was very intentional. I wanted a unit that carried resilience with it unlike other units we had seen, a theme that taps into the very core of the pack mindset. Hunters in both sets trigger each others' abilities, but remember they do not have the same abilities. First note Sand Goblin Hunters continue to grow more resilient at the expense of being more costly yet remaining 1 AV, while the Sand Cloak Hunters have the ability to increase AV with an Event Ability under them. I know what you may be thinking, so I'll go ahead and answer: yes, if a Sand Cloak Hunter had an Event Ability under it, ALL Hunters would get that ability.

The other neat thing about Pack Dominance is the element of magic denial and protection. In combination with Scraven's Esteemed Leader ability, Scraven can take his most wounded Hunters after attacking and pull them out of harm's way, which allows for you to influence who might be taking the attack from your opponent, and even allowing time to get another Hunter out (in turn giving another life point to all your SG Hunters.) You have to be careful though, as even denying your opponent the magic for the Hunters won't net you position on the field if each of them slowly begin to topple one-by-one. For example, if you have 3 Hunters on the field and one is sitting with two wounds and a different one is destroyed, the Hunter with two wounds will be discarded. I did mention that this deck has elements of both offense and defense though, so lets look a bit more on how these guys can be used offensively.

Barrage

Yikes. Maybe it IS wise to pack a bunch of Hunters? As ravenous as a Bloodthirsty Scraven or a rallied-around Cyrus might seem, a pack of Hunters (even just a few) can create some devastating results, and Scraven has the movement to get them into position. Do keep in mind the stipulation about other modifications to Attack Value also, so for instance a Sand Cloak Hunter with an Event Ability wouldn't get an additional die.

"But Brian, how could I have a Sand Cloak Hunter use Barrage AND one of Marek's Event Abilities at the same time?"

Well, you wouldn't. You'd be using one of Scravens.

Sand Blast

Yes, Scraven comes with 3 Event Abilities, two of which you'll have to wait until next preview to see. Sand Blast can be quite an interesting card, especially for offensive play. One of the most obvious thoughts for a Scraven deck would be throw it on a Sand Cloak Unit and let all your Units toss the enemy Units around. As fun as that is, one of my favorites would be to throw it on a Flinger who can ping a Unit previously hiding behind a wall or blocker and tossing them into the open. Not to mention the added benefit it gives to setting up a solid Sand Wyrm attack, or get in closer position to Silts, getting around Biter or Kreep's abilities... any number of things.

Sand Drake

Lastly I want to take a look at another one of the Champions in Scraven's deck who seems to look at the terms offensive and defensive a bit differently. Aside from being perhaps one of the most awesome pieces of art we've seen in the game (with one of the doofiest looking pieces of art in the game riding on his back), Sand Drake acts as a protected transport for some of your Common Units across the battlefield.

Not only that, but Sand Drake also gains strength for each Unit in tow. (Cue your crazy ideas for Bomber spam.) One thing that comes from this is that the Units underneath aren't seen as being on the battlefield at that time, so it doesn't help for Hunters on the Battlefield, Bloodthirsty Scraven, or Cyrus. What that does mean, though, is a long-term bypass to the cost of Hunters by slowly summoning them and slowly dropping them. I do not advise this in general, but if your opponent is piddling around and you have nothing else to do, give it a shot.

A lot to take in, I know. I wish I could say this is the craziest part of Scraven's deck... but it isn't.

 

Until next time.

Second Summoner Previews:
Kynstri's Mission
Saturos: Part 1, Part 2
Natazga: Part 1, Part 2
Malenatar: Part 1, Part 2
Scraven: Part 1
Little Meda: Part 1
Shiva: Part 1
Brath: Part 1
Farrah: Part 1


Comments


Sujoah commented:

Wow. I feel like I won't know how to play these guys at all until I actually sit down with them and play them for the first time. Definitely a lot of interesting tricks that they can do though!

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Kiwi commented:

Congrats to the team for caputering the Sand Goblin theme so well. And very unique too. Well done !

Posted on 2016-04-18.

BTBAM commented:

Thanks :)

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Crimson commented:

Wow I wasn't sure how I felt about scravens deck but this is amazing. I love that event abilities came back (even if it's mareks alliances theme) because it gives her champs and commons a home somewhere else and adds a lot of deck building options.
Every card in this preview was amazing and fits the theme perfectly. I can't wait for the rest of this deck

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Syurtpiutha commented:

Wow... That is a lot...

Hunters plus more hunters + that sand drake make for one very happy Syurt.

Barrage looks terrifying too.

Unsummoning a full sand-drake seems like one of the most painful things that could happen, I take it the units under Sand Drake are also lost if Tacullu pulls that off?

Posted on 2016-04-18.

jtberman commented:

I love the art on Sand Drake, but it'll be an agonizing 4 weeks to wait for my favorite two cards in this deck to be revealed.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

BTBAM commented:

@Syrutpiutha Catch the part that you can only unsummon one per turn also.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

lunacyfrog commented:

Might be just me, but I can't see running too many of Scraven's hunters in the same deck with Marek's. I just picture ending up with a bunch of 5+ cost commons clogging my hand...

Posted on 2016-04-18.

BTBAM commented:

@Syurtpiutha The cards under the Counter Summoned unit are discarded as well.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

This comment has been deleted.

Irisches Glueck commented:

Sand Drake, Marek's lovable Thief transporter

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Nburghardt commented:

Scraven's deck feels like an adventure. It can take lots of strategic shifts and is full of shenanigans.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

prometheuslkr commented:

Sand Drake in Marek becomes a barrel full of Thieves that can push and then barf them out for stealy madness.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

BTBAM commented:

Sounds like Sand Drake will die a very sad, very harsh and immediate death.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

prometheuslkr commented:

Keeping it flanked by javelineers sounds like a good way to keep your forward summon spot rolling. Or if you're marek, give it Blitz and make your opponent regret trying to surround it.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

killercactus commented:

@lunacy - there's thing called the Build Magic phase. It's useful ;)

Posted on 2016-04-18.

glenn3e commented:

When I play Scraven, I summon almost all the Hunters I can, either that or they go into Sand Drake. Their cost isn't too prohibitive, since you will be losing some to battles and need replacements. Usually its good to save one hiding in the bottom corner to boost the others though.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Syurtpiutha commented:

BTBAm: That;s what I figured.

Question for the playtesters, did Sand Drake get summoned a lot? Usually when I play Krusk I have difficulty bringing out the expensive champs (like Silts) because I feel like I need most of my commons (especially the shamans). Based on what I read of Scraven so far, that might be a problem there too.

Did Sand Drake see a lot of play while testing? I'd think you's like it early for it's ability, but getting that 7 magic fast seems like it could be difficult.

Posted on 2016-04-18.

lunacyfrog commented:

@killercactus- Sure any cards can be built to magic, but deck building is about optimization. Having never played the deck, I'm just speculating that having too many of both kinds of hunters in the same deck will be sub-optimal. Seems like too much of a risk of all Marek's hunters coming first and then Scraven's hunters being cost prohibitive. It's not a criticism. Actually it's a good thing because otherwise the double hunter combo would be powerful enough to start narrowing competitive deck-building options.

To be fair, I'm probably underestimating the value of having a bunch of 5 life Scraven hunters running around with abilities granted by Marek hunters hiding in the back row. Maybe that's worth 3-4 magic per unit?

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Prelate commented:

Can't wait to try an "all hunter deck" with some scholars thrown in! A ranged Barrage with Sand Cloak hunters is going to be very scary! Especially with some other EA's that will be revealed......

Posted on 2016-04-18.

Irisches Glueck commented:

@Syurtpiutha - I found I only really summoned sand drake if I drew him early. Cause if I did, I really wanted him to act as a hunter jump off point. But when I built with scraven, I usually cut him first out of the 3 champs. That said, if you do a heavy thief build in marek, the sand drake worked well there

Posted on 2016-04-18.

jwalker commented:

Sand Drake idea is awesome. I'd loved him a bit more with the typical SG discount (7 is even one more than normal)

@lunacyfrog if you summon the SG hunters first (3x) then you pay 0, 1 and 2 magic for them (average of 1). Then you summon 2 SC hunters and you got yourself 3 1/5 units for 1 summoning magic cost.

Posted on 2016-04-19.

killercactus commented:

One of my favorite testing memories was before Drake's ability was "once per turn". I summoned him with Marek, played Greater sneak, put 2 guys under him and swung for 4. Then next turn i stashed 4 more 0-costers and swung for 8...


Posted on 2016-04-19.

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