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.