Greetings, Hex fanatics. I’ve come to you today to talk about Scars of War, the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Herofall. I’m Phil Cape, and you may remember me from such sets such as Armies of Myth and Primal Dawn, where I was the lead developer. Today, however, I’m coming to you not as developer, who shapes and molds the set into its final state, but as a designer.
So, where were we? Last time we introduced a new set, the Ardent alliance found Valor in war, while the Underworld raised their banner behind a new menace – the swarming, teeming abominations known as Dreadlings. Meanwhile, Assaults were launched, crypts were Scrounged, and an Ardent hero, Prince Talysen, fell. The dawn of the third chapter of HEX brought with it new Socketing gems, a slew of new Champions, and Faction Allegiance cards. This conflict changed the face of Entrath and the game itself, dramatically.
Mechanically, Scars of War continues the war that Herofall started. Most importantly, the way that the races work together in harmony is a theme we wanted to preserve. This isn’t a world of Orc Decks and Elf decks that are trying to do two different things and don’t really play well together; Scars of War is about a world where Elves, Orcs, Humans and Coyotles are all working together. Each race brings its own flavor to the table, but at the end of the day they create a play experience that is distinctly Ardent.
As in Herofall, you will be asked to choose between the Ardent and the Underworld, but this time players able to assemble one of each of their faction’s races will be those most rewarded.
Yeah, at Uncommon that’s a pretty sexy draft incentive. You’d be wise to learn which troops are which race in Herofall now, since it’s going to matter a lot. The “unity” cards, as we called them internally, cover a wide range of effects, costs, shards and power levels… but despite their varied effects I suspect they will play a large role in shaping the Scars of War/Herofall draft format, not to mention the constructed format. I hear one sided extinctions are what is colloquially referred to as a “big game.”
Players won’t be the only one’s teaming races up together. To make cards like Underworld Domination more powerful, we are also introducing a cycle of Gangs that give players access to two different races in a single card:
Notice how his powers both work together and feel like they belong a little bit more to one of those races than the other. The Shin’hare are always sacrificing their fodder troops for the greater good, while the necrotic are the masters of the crypt. This is one of the ways that we made it easier for players to gather together all of the races of their faction. We’ve also got a brand new mechanic that allows players to bring together all four races of their faction:
It’s called Conscript, and it ensures that there will be plenty of Ardent and Underworld troops of various races floating around in games. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of what this keyword actually does:
When a card Conscripts it:
So when you’re belting out a Boisterous Ballad your opponent best beware – believing themselves bulletproof would be brainless at best because brisk beatings are brewing. There are a ton of fun possibilities for Conscript to hit:
Boisterous Ballad is just a glimpse of what we have in store for what we’re doing with Conscript throughout Scars of War. I don’t want to give too much away, but here’s a glimpse into Rare Conscripting:
Yeah, that’s right. You might be better off leaving this guy alive… since the three troops he spits out could be more trouble than he is by his lonesome. I’m sure leaving him alive is just fine by most Totemic Elder players, since his beefy body will be tough to deal with. Personally, I dig the Minor Wild Orb of Vigil here, which gives your Elder both Skyguard and Steadfast, meaning your opponent has to deal with him on both offense and defense. Honorable mention goes to the Minor Ruby of Valor, which will give you four Valors from all of the bodies that the Elder provides!
While the Underworld continue to mount their offences in the wake of their defeat at Ayotochi, the Ardent are looking to gather together their army to mount an offense. While conscripting helps to bolster their numbers, they also have a new mechanic to allow them to deploy troops at a faster rate than the Underworld are spawning their Dreadlings – Mobilize.
When you play a troop with Mobilize, you can, as an additional cost, exhaust a troop to reduce its cost by 2. You can only exhaust one troop per instance of Mobilize, and the card’s cost goes back to normal once it’s been played.
This dude can come down super early and put a hurt on any opponent, whether you’re playing a limited format or a constructed one. But this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Check out the card from a guy that Cory Jones called a “Blowout Artist” upon our first viewing of it during our thematic meeting back in September:
Take note of the Quick on his type line, because it’s important. See, versatility is the name of this coyotle’s game. Not only can he beat down in the sky faster than usually allowed, not only can he ambush unwary attackers, not only can he reuse Deploy triggers, NOT ONLY can he save troops from removal effects, but he can do it all at a relatively efficient 4 resources. It’s no guarantee what will happen in the constructed metagame, but all I’m saying is that I will be a lot more careful when my opponent is representing the ability to play this dude because he offers a lot of very effective possibilities for a reasonable price.
In case that wasn’t enough, we have one final mechanic that works in tandem with Mobilize to round out Scars of War, Diligence.
Thematically, thinking about what wartime meant to the citizens of a warring state, the word that kept popping into my head was “busy.” Everyone’s doing something, making themselves useful. Even if someone can’t fight, they’re pitching in to the war effort. All that work sounds positively exhausting. It would take a lot of diligence to show up every day refreshed and ready to go. Running with that theme, we took a note from Tireless Researcher and dubbed the keyword Diligence.
Diligence powers are triggered effects that fire off every time the Diligent card readies. Diligent troops in Scars of War fall into three broad categories – You’ve got soldiers, whose Diligence grants them a combat related bonus that lasts until the start of your next turn;
Spell casters, who fire off an immediate effect, much like an action from a champion;
And those who aspire to become something else entirely; Diligence serving as a mere stepping stone to their ultimate true form. For example, check out this guy:
The Rune Ear Recruiter works hard for you by gathering more and more Shin’hare to your cause until the turn where it’s time to finally graduate him to a full-blown Samurai:
Once you choose to transform the Recruiter into his final form, all those Shin’hare you’ve been marshaling for the past few turns (plus any other Shin’hare or Dreadlings you might have) help fuel the Samurai into a true monster. This is but one of a cycle of troops in Scars of War that show troops growing through conflict.
There’s a lot of new stuff in Scars of War, but we also continue to build on familiar gameplay from Herofall. The Ardent faction still excels at valorous warfare. Take Valiant Reaver, for example. Having grown up surrounded by war, he aspires to nothing more than valor and gains great power when given that gift.
Yikes, this guy can deal damage super quickly. In fact, he’ll almost assuredly deal 8 damage at minimum (once he’s properly suited up with a single Valor). Doubling damage is a very enticing effect, especially when attached to such a robust body. You’d better believe there are more guys who want your Valors aimed directly at them.
The Underworld isn’t left out of the new twist on familiar strategies either. Check out this sweet new way to harvest Dreadlings for your army:
Scrounge returns in Scars of War, and this Webspawn has never made the mechanic easier. Everytime you Scrounge away a few bodies, the Webspawn replaces those corpses with two fresh Dreadlings, so you’ll be ready to Scrounge away next turn. And he will rarely be more effective than when paying this particular Scrounge cost:
They say the heart of innovation is blending the old with the new seamlessly, and this guy slots perfectly into a modern Dreadling deck, a McBombus action-centric deck, or even traditional Shards of Fate style Dwarves. Everyone wants three bodies and a global buff effect. Plus, when paired with even just one of the Webspawn above, he represents 12 damage coming at your foe immediately. This doesn’t even count any Dreadlings or other robots that you may have lying around.
There’s so much more I want to show off to you – Scars of War is truly bursting at the seams with fun and exciting new cards. I don’t want to steal anyone else’s thunder though, so I will just leave you with two lists of Scars of War teasers.
(To the tune of “My favorite things”)
Enjoy Spoiler Season, and I’ll see you on the Battlegrounds.