Welcome to the first of our previews of Primal Dawn. My name is HEXRysu, aka Ryan Sutherland. I led the design on Primal Dawn and will be your guide to what our latest set has to offer.
The Primal Dawn has come and brought a new and exciting keyword. Let’s take a closer look at the set’s namesake that we previewed yesterday:
Even without knowing what Empower does, we start out with a pretty powerful card here. It gives you three troops and a boost to each of the troops in your hand, a fantastic way to recoup if you’ve fallen behind in cards. But what happens when three troops just aren’t enough? Then it’s time to Empower!!!
Whenever you play an Empower card, you can choose to pay double its resource cost to double the numbers on the card. Now, if you can afford it, Empowered Primal Dawn will refill your hand with six troops and give them all +2/+2.
You’ll also be finding Empower on Ardent troops in Primal Dawn as they have learned to harness the power of the Primals themselves in their fight against their foes, the Underworld. As you’ll see, Empowering does even more when it’s on a troop. It not only doubles the numbers in the text box, but also doubles the troop’s attack and defense!
Are you tired of your opponents having a bunch of nettlesome cards in their hand? Then give into the Madness! Madness of the Mountain God is the control player’s worst nightmare. While Empowered, he strips each player’s hand down to a single card. Use it or lose it! If you can’t afford his Empowered price he still gives you a very efficient 4/4 body that will immediately punish decks that try to horde cards.
The true beauty of Empower is that it will allow you to run both efficient early-midgame troops and giant finishers all with just a single card.
Here’s an Empower coyotle who will be loved in draft. Nightsky Prophet gives you a great body and Prophecy boon to your next troop early in the game. Late in the game, he gives you a huge 6/4 body and an extra +4/+2 on your next guy, making two threats your opponent has to deal with. Plus, the Empower version will cost enough that you’ll trigger your Playing With Fires and Sylvan Performers.
We saw earlier that Empower works great with elf cards that care about high cost troops, but how well does it work with Prophecy? Well, amazingly, is the answer.
When you Prophecy onto a troop, you don’t just double the base stats of the troop, you double what the current stats are. So you get double your prophecy!!!
As an example, let’s say we played our first Nightsky Prophet without Empowering him, and hit another Nightsky Prophet, because we’re lucky like that.
This is the guy we draw, but if want, we can empower him to make a 10/6 for 6 resources.
Of course, it’s a shame we have no way to get more value out of a card through the combination of Prophecy and Empower…
Meet your new best friend:
If you play a Cyclone Rider and prophecy onto Primal Dawn you’ll have the option of playing it for three or empowering it and getting 6 wild troops for 6 resources.
Here’s one last Empower card to whet your appetite, only because he’s my personal favorite, and certainly not because he can deal 20 damage by himself. Or rather him and a few Shroompin friends.
This guy’s the bane of the shin’hare’s existence as he goes from village to village freeing the poor shroomkin from their merciless long-eared masters. For five resources you can get a 4/3 that comes with a pair of 2/2 Shroompin. Not a bad deal. But wait, there’s more! If you’re willing to Empower him and pay a full ten resources instead you’ll get a 8/6 that comes with four 3/3 Shroomkin. Twenty attack for just one card.
For those of you who have played Armies of Myth, you know one of the most important things it introduced besides the other four races of the Ardent and the Underworld are the Prismatic cards and champions.
Primal Dawn allows players to play with the other five pairings, which means that the options for players will open up greatly. In the coming weeks we’ll show you more of what to expect from these shard combos, but here’s a little of what to expect.
Ruby Sapphire differs from our previous Ruby Sapphire Dwarf decks in Shards of Fate and Shattered Destiny; this time Ruby Sapphire is much more interested in actions. Finding the right balance of actions and troops like our goofy Gobbler here will be a great challenge for experienced players.
Wild Diamond is focused around health gain. However, much like Righteous Paladin, you’ll be able to leverage your health gain into powerful attacking troops like the way Forever’s Child turns every point of health you gain into one of her adorable little (or not so little) Orchin.
Ruby Blood on the other hand makes every point of damage you deal become that much more painful. The Angel of Agony salts the wounds of opposing troops by changing one of the fundamental rules of HEX. All of the new ruby blood cards will fit in great with Zoltog, Moqui, and all of the orcs of the Ardent forces.
Diamond Sapphire takes to the skies, showing that having the high ground is the most important thing you can have in battle. Or sometimes you just stop time itself with a giant Avatar of Time is the most important thing you can have in battle.
Wild Blood will be focused on the crypt. More importantly, this shard pairing is going to be utilizing troops in your crypt as a resource. If you’re the type of player who wants to maximize the value of every card, this will be the perfect shard pair for you.
This Freak of Nature is a perfect example of the type of things you’ll see in Wild-Blood. This Plant Abomination is an absolute monster that embodies the life and death of Wild and Blood shards. While in the crypt, he continues to grow, but feed him a little health and a few corpses and he can return from your crypt to return to the fight once again. All this, plus while in play, he constantly shrivels opposing troops.
The set has support for all of our Armies of Myth archetypes, and don’t be surprised to see old cards in a brand new light. Cards like Gossamer Tears may find a time to shine in the Wild Diamond deck while champions like Savvas find a lot of love with cards like our little Gobbler.
Consider the following situation that has come up countless times in Armies of Myth draft. It’s your Wild-Ruby opponent’s second turn and they are attacking you with an Ashwood Soloist and you control a Runeweb Infiltrator. Not an entirely uncommon situation. Normally you’ll happily take the damage, because one damage is far better than losing one of your best spider makers.
Well, until that 1 damage turns into one or two of these:
Free 3/3s. Get them while they’re hot.
And for those of you wondering, yes, if you happened to control a Periwinkle, your Maws will multiply, even though you didn’t spend your five resources on him. For those of you who are fans of races not as cultured as the elves, don’t worry, vennen, necrotic, and coyotle will all get their very own “free”cards, although not always found on a troop.
Primal Dawn also takes some of our old friends like the vennen and changes the way they play a bit. Do not be surprised to see a much more Action based version of vennen thanks to cards like this:
While upfront, this card is only 1/3rd as good as Incubate, Brood Bounty serves as one of the best ways to make sure you’re able to play cards like Flickering Gobbler.
Finally, we know there are those of you who say to us that two or three shards just isn’t enough. For you dreamers out there, your five shard day has come.
Let’s be honest, it’s just more fun to play ALL THE SHARDS!!! We hear you and want you to spread your wings with a cycle of Midnight cards like our lovely Spiritualist. Obviously, five shard strategies are only as strong as the threshold fixing that is available, so we made sure there are plenty of guys like Hextricator to help you out.
This guy allows you to continue to play out some troops while also letting you fix an additional threshold. So while you’ll still be able to get some Infusion Devices and Bonewalkers from your Armies of Myth pack, you’ll find some real all-stars in Primal Dawn.
In addition to a cycle of Midnight cards, we are also offering one other strategy for those willing to go off the beaten path. Try giving Chants a chance.
Chants are a cycle of constants, one in each shard that trigger every time you play a constant. The more and more of the chants that you are able to squeeze into your deck, the more power each subsequent chant will have. Truthfully, all five of them together work great, but even if you get a few of them going off in succession, you can get a lot of power out of these constants.
With all of these Prismatic, Empowering, and Chanting things going on in the set it’s easy to lose focus on what the first Book of HEX has been all about, and that’s the conflict between the races of the Ardent and the Underworld. For those who have been waiting for more coyotle, elves, necrotic, and vennen, we have plenty more cards for you.
Our exploration of Ruby Elves continues, and above them all is the Voice of the Ashwood. The Voice embodies everything Ruby Elves are about. A fusion of passion and artistry, destructive might, and artful creation. As early as turn three you can hit for two and play a mighty Cerberus or cast Wild Growth on the Voice and power out an EXTREMELY early Syyn, Etherdrake Nomad or Arborean Rootfather.
Lanupaw may be the seer of seers, the sage of sages, the prognosticator of prognosticators, the prophet extraordinary, but when he and every other coyotle comes down they’re going to want a Starcaller Ancient to be waiting with them. Starcaller Ancient will be an all-star in a Prophecy themed deck.
As if there weren’t already a ton of other reasons to draft five shards, the necrotic flavor of five shard decks is another way to take it, due in large part to this powerful draft-around card. Few cards in the set can match the power of the Scion when put into the correct deck.
And for those depraved few of you who have stayed true to the vennen, the malice of Xentoth herself is now yours to command. As Xentoth is the Primal of Blood Magic, it’s fitting that her malice allows you to convert your own blood into her children. However, she gives as much as she takes, as she’ll allow you to recoup your lost health and cards by sacrificing the Spiderlings that come out of your opponent.
Finally, for those of you who are more fans of our Shards of Fate races like the humans, orcs, dwarves, and shin’hare, don’t worry, there’s still plenty in store for you in the set. This is thanks in part to all of the prismatic cards that will line up with what your shard combo is doing. But we also have a few new troops and shards for you as well.
As you can see, on top of everything else I’ve mentioned, Primal Dawn brings back double-socketed cards from Shattered Destiny, and will finish out the Allegiance Resources of Armies of Myth.
The Primal Dawn is almost upon us! Between all of the awesome new prismatic cards, cards for each of our races, and doubling down with Empower, there is something for everyone in the next set of HEX. Make sure to stay tuned to HEXTCG.com to stay up to date with all of our spoilers in the coming weeks as we lead up to release weekend.
As a last treat here’s a little preview of some card names you’ll see in this set:
Artisanal Cheesesmythe (with his friend the Cheese Goliath)
Here’s a hint: I’ve given you one of each shard.