Welcome back to the Laziest Peon – a series of articles where I compare a common or uncommon WoW TCG card to its WoW MMO equivalent.
This week I’m going to look at one of my favourite bits of kit – Ramstein’s Lightning Bolts. Initially, I was going to present Spell Reflection, but I realised partway through that that would have made four “s” articles in a row. Its funny how the mind works. Onto the gear!
Ramstein’s is a 3-cost trinket from the Through the Dark Portal expansion. Its a generic trinket that any class can use, and deals 1 point of nature damage to everything – well almost everything. It cannot hurt totems (totems can only be targetted as though an ally – they arent actually an ally). Its a very equitable, symmetric card – burn for all!
Its an impressive card, for 2-resources you can unleash the fury of nature (destroying the card in the process). Read the fine print though – it also deals damage to your side of the table. In some cases, that can hurt you more than your opponent – so you have to be careful when you use it. One place that Ramstein’s is a perfect match is against Onyxia. The lovable Dragon usually takes out your allies for you, so you wont really have much to accidentally fry on the friendly side. Wait though – didnt Onyxia just tap into The Whelp Pits, or summon the Brood of Onyxia? Usually that’s a very bad thing for the raiding Heroes – but if its turn 5 or later (which Stage 2 usually is) and you have this trinket, then YAY! Nighty-night Whelps! And there isnt a thing Onyxia can do!
How come? Its equipment – Onyxia can counter an ability (Meaningless Exertion) but she cannot counter equipment coming into play. About the only thing she can do is hope you’re all tapped and Burninate. And like you’d be that silly. And even if she did somehow try to remove it, its instant speed! You can just blow it up in response.
I think the bolts have some use outside of Onyxia’s Lair though. Its not a bad card whenever you want to wipe away some weenies. It doesnt target, so it gets around the usually rush cards of Apprentice Teep and Apprentice Merry, even “Chipper” Ironbane gets the boot from the bolt. Trolls love this card – it basically reads “Pay 2, destroy -> Call all Trolls big sissies” – giving many +1 ATK (Ash’ergi, Blood Guard Mal’wani, etc) and revving the guts out of Warcaller Zin’bawa. Warriors love it too – going on a Killing Spree that wipes your opponent’s board (and yours if you are not careful). The Alliance can even extend the reach of the bolts to nab Latro Abiectus and Jeleane Nightbreeze – using Barnathrum, Lord of Pain.
There is a lot this little card can do in the right deck but how does it compare to the MMO trinket of the same name? The bolts drop from Ramstein the Gorger, and undead Abomination (think Plagueborn Meatwall, or Stitches) in the dungeon-city of Stratholme in the Eastern Plaguelands. Since patch 2.3 the text has been “Unique-Equipped. Use: Harness the power of lightning to strike down all enemies around you for 200 Nature damage. (5 Min Cooldown)” Prior to 2.3, it wasnt unique and didnt have a cooldown.
Mass damage? Check. Nature damage? Check. Destroyed in process? Nope. A card like Ramstein’s has to be destroyed from a game balance point of view. If it was useable each turn, that’s 2-points to everything for 2-resources, for ever! You’d only need 4 turns (2 for you, 2 for your opponent) for most allies to be wiped from the board, and it would make many abilities irrelevant (Holy Nova, Consecration). I think the version we see in Through the Dark Portal preceded patch 2.3, which is why its non-unique. Not that that really matters a lot, since its destroyed in the process. It does beg to ask the questions, are there any unique equipment in the TCG (the answer is no, but there are plenty of unique allies), and will be see any unique equipment in coming sets? Its hard to guess, but I dont think so. Unique is usually for especially nasty equipment, which in the WoW TCG is likely to result in epic and high cost – effectively making it unique to begin with.
Ok – so I waffled on a bit there, but you can see a neat example of translating a MMO trinket into a TCG card. Its a simple transisiton (when compared to say Shiv – from last time), but a powerful card in the right hands. Ramstein’s Lightning Bolts is one of those cards kooky deck builders love, but doesnt see a lot of competitive play.
I hope though, that you consider playing a couple in your raid decks, if you dont already.