Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been away for Xmas for the past week or so. I had a new Laziest Peon all ready to go before Xmas – but its been delayed while I work out some other (hush hush) details. If I dont get any word within the next week or so I’ll upload it, and supply a 4th installment.
So I hope the Great Father Winter brought you all that you needed to reach your holiday goals, and I’ll talk to you all soon.
Welcome to the second installment of the Laziest Peon – where I take a card from the WoW TCG and compare it to the WoW MMO.
In honour of my newly created toon – Huchin – I thought we’d take a look at one of the common abilities made available to Shaman from the latest set – Stoneclaw Totem. Its funny, but its taken four sets for one of the first totems a Shaman gets to make its way into the TCG.
Ok, now for the breakdown. Stoneclaw Totem is an Earth totem – so its fighting with Earthbind Totem and Earth Elemental Totem for a spot. Earthbind is one of the staple Shaman cards, as it offers so much board control for such a little cost. It a lot of ways its the younger brother to Stoneclaw Totem – both come out with a big “TARGET ME NOW” sign painted over their artwork. Earthbind ties any allies down once they become exhausted, as an instant it can really mess with your opponent and force them to scrounge for some ferocity or spot removal to deal that 1 point of damage to allow their board to untap. And that’s the first strength of Stoneclaw Totem – its a pain to remove. For 3 resources, you basically get a 5-health protector. Most ways you cut it, that’s two attackers. The totem distracts aggressive decks, slowing down their race to kill you. 5-health equals Latro and Teep (or Merry and Jeleane). Heck, its even a big swing for a Cat Druid or Warrior. The frailty of the earlier totems became apparent with the 1-health and the prevalance of 1-damage abilities (Shiv, Arcane Shot, etc).
And that’s when the second ability kicks in – if you attack the totem you cannot ready at the next ready step. Ouch. That stops the aforementioned allies for TWO TURNS. That’s a pretty big swing in momentum.
Now, all that stall comes at a price – this totem isn’t instant. Yep, unlike many of the totems to date, you cant plonk this one down during your opponent’s turn. You lay it down and it sends out its shamanistic pulses for all to see – its an obvious threat and forces your opponent to think around it. I like that feel to it.
Lets compare it to the MMO equivalent. Stoneclaw Totem (Rank 1) – “Summons a Stoneclaw Totem with 50 health at the feet of the caster for 15 sec that taunts creatures within 8 yards to attack it. Enemies attacking the Stoneclaw Totem have a 50% chance to be stunned for 3 sec.” Taunt – check. Decent health so it cannot be one-shotted – check. What I like is that they’ve turned the game-effect “stun” into the TCG effect “doesn’t ready”. 3 seconds seems to be a rough equivalent to a turn as in both the MMO and the TCG this totem gives you just enough time to do something else like run away or stall to get off another spell. And there we can see a subtle aspect of this card – its doesnt remove the threat. Latro is still on the board, he’s just busy attacking a pretty stick for a turn. This card wont remove a threat – it’ll just pospone it until you can hopefully dig for a solution, or work around it. In the TCG, two turns can make all the difference. The only obvious spot that it fails the equivalence test is, as I have already mentioned, that it is not instant. But really, giving the totem instant speed would result in some other penalty – like extra cost. At 3-resources this isn’t cheap, but at 4 or more it wouldn’t be playable.
I’ve created a new toon to work on over the Dec/Jan period – I’m calling it my Xmas Project. Plucker is now 70, and a little goal-less, and Tanarel is a chore to play at the moment, so I created Huchin, a Tauren Shaman. As of yesterday he is level 16. My goal is to be 20 by the end of next weekend, then to try to hit 40 by the end of January. If possible, I’m going to try to get him up to Tanarel’s level so I can keep pace with some friends who are in their late 40s. Its likely not going to be achievable, but we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.
Note to self: read the quest text, or better yet, never assume you have the right location for a quest drop. Its funny how things drop faster when you’re in the right spot.
On Saturday just gone we had our final WoW TCG Raid of the year, and the end of a 3 month ladder. With all three Raid players winning, we had 3 players tied on highest points. But it was close, so very close.
Let me lay it out for you. We had an all Alliance Raid Group: Timmo Shadestep, Halavar, Kintara Wintermoon, Bildros Nullvoid and Kana Nassis. With an aggressive opening few moves, dropping allies left, right and centre we blasted through Stage 1 easily. Stage 2 was managed quite well, Onyxia could only manage to put 9 Whelps out and we traded those for health and allies. We managed health well, pulling out some nice Power Word: Shield (the best one was from a top-deck to keep the Priest alive one more turn!) and heals when required, and going into Stage 3 we still had all 5 of us all under 50% health. But the writing was on the wall – we just couldnt see it. With some massive draws, Onyxia threw down Draconic Rage (two more to add to one she had in Stage 1), Tooth and Claw, Trample, and dual Dragon Hide. The Priest was without Mass Dispel, so we were struggling. Halavar threw down some massive targets (Hellreaver, Two-Handed Weapon Specialization) and threatened to pound Onyxia. The rest of us put down some protectors and tried to prong the dragon into attacking. But a Burninate and Wrath of Onyxia, along with several Flame Breaths kept the board down. First the Priest went, and Onyxia entered into the final stages of her Raid timer (at 20 resources Onyxia wins). The Rogue was next (I guess all those poisons annoyed the Great Drake), and with 13 damage still to be done in 6 turns we looked in decent shape. But then the aggressive Hunter was eaten and the tide had turned. Bildros wasnt laying anything but breath-fodder, and Halavar had already gotten back 2 Hellreavers twice and was seriously running out of juice. It went down to the wire and in the end, the Alliance ran out of turns.
So close! Stage 3 is just harsh, with the sheer amount of cards that Onyxia can throw down a turn.
The Bildros and Halavar decks we exposed as flawed, and since I built them I’ll try to poke around and provide an analysis and possible improvements. I havent yet made a Raid deck that I was happy with, though I’m starting to come up with things that a deck does and doesnt need. I’ll make a separate post for that analysis.