Shard of the Week: To Flank or Not to Flank

Shard of the Week: To Flank or Not to Flank

Shard of the Week: To Flank or Not to Flank

Welcome back readers!
Worlds have finally collided. I’ve been playtesting for a few hours a day since release and this is quickly becoming my favorite set… despite my poor luck with it. The strategies are fun, the synergies are interesting, and the play style reminds me of when I was first learning Call of the Archons. In fact, I feel like I’ve gone back to beginning with so many new strategies and interactions to learn. Today, I would like to point out a few things that have pleasantly surprised me about this awesome new set.

The Flank
With Worlds Collide, we are seeing more new cards that exclusively hate the flank. This is typical, but with another set added we can get a better idea of the direction Fantasy Flight is taking with ‘flank hatred’.

Dis gets three here (Sinestra, Lord Invidius, and Dexus). These seem very easy to play around, but they’re still worth an honorable mention.

Our two new houses, Saurian and Star Alliance, don’t care where you put your creatures. Absolutely zero hatred of battle line positions. They don’t care… and that makes your decisions alot easier.
Brobnar and Logos have a a few things to say about board positions… and they hate the flanks too.
Rather than bore you to death with a list of cards, lets get right to the point…

When we count out the cards from every set- there are 17 that hate flanks, and only 4 that hate non-flanks. This makes it apparent that the flanks are not a safe place. It’s definitely easier to remember 4 cards to avoid from an archon list than 17. Now we have a clear message from Fantasy Flight… expect the flanks to remain a weakness.

So commit these cards to memory… they are the ONLY four cards that have a negative impact to non-flank creatures.
Hand of Dis
Booby Trap

Longfused Mines (appears in Worlds Collide)
Radiant Truth

So keep your important creatures tucked safely towards the center of your battle line. Especially true when facing off in Worlds Collide.

The Saurian Trap
Dinosaurs are amazing. They do alot of interesting things with æmber and the potential is through the roof.
That’s not to say they don’t have some dino-sized drawbacks.
Many of the Saurian setups require a very synergistic card pool that includes lots of ways to mess with æmber. Often, they build a ‘glass-house’ that intricately controls æmber.
But glass houses can break.
Some well timed plays can shatter your combos and leave the opponent calling ‘check’ every turn.
I have lost a bunch of games where my intricate setups have failed and the opponent got a huge payout.
Getting the right card pool isn’t necessarily the hard part; there are plenty of ways the Saurian cards can combine. The hard part here is taking an honest look at your weaknesses and being prepared for the cards that can demolish you. I would say that if you don’t know what cards can readily disrupt your combo, practice until you find them. Identifying the ‘trouble cards’ from the opponent’s Archon is a critical aspect of playing Saurians.

Where the Saurians have really succeeded for me is the Ward ability paired with huge power levels and capture. The right assembly of cards can feel like Sanctum’s older, bigger, uglier cousin. As much as I would enjoy some crazy dino combo deck, I’m often just excited to open a pool that has some decent capture and big bodies.

The Star Alliance is Grand
One of the biggest surprises for me was the Star Alliance. There are quite a few cards in this house that stand out:
Comm Officer Kirby, Helmsman Spears, Medic Ingram, Lieutenant Khrkhar… the list goes on to almost every crew member.
At first, I had thought the setups for these cards would be too difficult to pull off in most games.
I was so wrong.

Medic Ingram and Khrkhar are able to Ward or Taunt protect really well. Neither of those in your list? Well… Red Alert has you covered there. There are too many interactions to discuss all the crazy plays that can be done when your creatures are protected and ready to reap. This varies greatly from one deck to the next, but almost always enables house cheating, getting more cards into play, archiving, drawing, capturing, or something else I haven’t even considered yet.
This is a much better house than I realized.

Infurnace… Infuriating?
House Dis has been just as impressive as I had expected. The common Infurnace is the new all-star of the house, with it’s ability to manipulate a player’s discard pile and æmber simultaneously. Considering that we also have Rotgrub at common makes us really want Hysteria in our deck.
Lets play demon’s advocate and propose a simple scenario using just two of these cards:
You play an Infurnace. It’s ability purges 2 cards with æmber pips- opponent loses 2 æmber. You play Hysteria to return all creatures in play to hand. You replay the Infurnace and purge 2 more cards. The opponent has now lost 4 æmber, had 4 cards purged, and has no creatures in play. You did all of this with 2 cards. While I try not to rely heavily on any combo, these cards are also good independently.
But wait, there’s more!
This time around, Dis has much better control of the board than we typically expect. Three Fates is back, along with an arsenal of new board clearing tactics that seem far superior to Unlocked Gateway.
Dis might be the best house in the set- time will tell.

Is Shadows Still OP?
Shadows seems very average in Worlds Collide… and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We’ve all pulled that deck where one house was great, but the other two were trash. Shadows is unlikely to be in that trash category here. Sure, you might get the occasional Bad Penny, but it’s going to be decent overall.
Chain Gang and Too Much to Protect seem to be the standouts so far, and Rigged Lottery gets better as more players are seeming to gravitate towards Dis and Saurian now for æmber control.
So Shadows seems good, but I just haven’t been amazed by it. Yet.

So these are just my initial impressions from early playtesting, but I’m sure I will have alot more to say as new strategies are discovered. What are your experiences with Worlds Collide? Is it living up to your expectations? Are you surprised by any of the houses?
Feel free to send me a message at jasonalanshearer@gmail.com

Just in case I didn’t say it enough: FLANK. Until next time!
—Jason

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