TaKtiX: Laurence J Sinclair

Laurence J Sinclair has been playing the Warlord CCG since the release of the game - mainly thanks to that killer Rathe art. He even stuck with it through that dark time involving Campaign Rathe art. Now he is a playtester and a member of the Warlord Story Team - guiding the armies of the Accordlands into an uncertain future.


Excess to Requirements

A big part of any CCG is realising that not every card can remain useful throughout the eras. With every new set, there's bound to be new cards that make older ones redundant, whether purposefully or through an unhappy coincidence. The better players adapt appropriately, relinquishing any hold that the old order had over their playstyle and wholeheartedly adopting the new into their embrace.

Others, they cling tightly to the cosy and familiar past, treasuring what has gone before and holding onto the forlorn hope that the next expansion will bring something to restore their champion to a place of prominence. Warlords inspire this sort of faith more than any other card. Gahid, while shown up by Aleron in almost every respect, still has his supporters.

Lord Netheryn is a case in point, and this Temple of Lore thread is what inspired me to write this post anyway. Any Warlord player that knows me will be aware of the candle that I hold for the rightful High King. Yet he has been made pointless by advances in card mechanics, even I have to admit. There is nothing that he can do that cannot be achieved more efficiently using Albrecht, Feyd Rowan or Sorceress Ygraine. His item readying capacity is still all his own, but the number of low-level goodies that he can use it with is dwindling.

Still, his art is cooler than that of all those pretenders put together. Cold comfort.

Those of you reading this, don't follow me and my mistakes. Learn to let go as the wheels of progress grind by, instead of throwing yourself under them to be flattened. Epic is a clean sheet to find new favourites, so forget all that you knew from Campaign. Embrace the change.


Winning With Class: Wizards

Last, but certainly not least among the classes is that most magical of professions, wizarding. Now, they may seem to have less options than the other classes, but this simply isn't so.

Traditionally, wizards sit in the second rank and toss Chain Lightning, Meteor Swarms and other huge spells at the enemy until the die, relying upon underlings to simply stay alive and protect their master. Old school warlords like Slayer and Taoth - both returning for Epic - excelled at this style of play, since they could cast more or bigger spells respectively. Ter-Soth was good because he could keep hold of a spell turn after turn, negating the weakness of the wizard class - a reliance upon drawing the right number of spells in a turn.

The thing is, while big spells are good, drawing two or three in a hand can leave you with dead cards. Yet drawing none leaves your warlord with nothing to do. Fighters aren't so reliant upon their cards, since when they're on the front rank they are able to at least attack regardless.

So, why not pack secondary casters, to share the workload? Well, with most of the big spells being level 4 or above, that means packing wizards of suitably high level, who will take time (and card slots) using movement to get into position. Scaled spells like Magic Missiles and Power Bolt, with devastating effects for high level casters but useable by a level 1, are a safe bet, since they can still be used by a starting level 2 een if your warlord doesn't Ring of Vorn into position first turn.

Of course, bringing out dragons is another way of getting a secondary caster. They fulfil the need for meat to protect the warlord, have their own in-built movement (doing away with the need for extra card slots) and are invariably wizards. Caitlin and Sorscha, able to search for specific cards and start with Dragon Lairs, excel at this sort of bully-boy tactic.

With the growing number of level 3 secondary casters - such as Duon Alestair the Attentive and Goza - perhaps the team playing wizard warlord will rise to popularity in the future.

Approach two for wizards is the spell blitz. Given that spending for a big spell limits what a wizard can do, the philosophy is 'why not just use non-spending spells'? Thus is born the deck that incorporates Fiery Bolts, Blast, Final Power, Ball Lightning and all those items that provide ranged strikes and DC checks. Every card deals death in some way, and the characters are low level and quick. Meat is not needed so much as offense, and so such decks will either win quick or lose quick. Taoth was the old-school mistress of this deck, with her inbuilt boost to otherwise humble spells making them deadly. The elves have usurped this somewhat, with Tepheroth and Feyd Rowan being able to generate unexpected offense, as well as being backed up by great characters like Tresven, Bis and Kapix. Of course, with Epic coming changes will have to be made, but that's part of the fun of the game.

In the future, wizards will have to come to cope with their new concentration on generating DC checks more than ranged strikes, and pumping their own skill with items. Medusan Lords' Gambit will define the spells to come, and perhaps a sniper-style 'killshot' wizard deck is the way to go. Only time can tell.