Hi, all. I am going through a series that will go through all the different dice types in an attempt to rank the top 5 most defining cards of that dice type. These are cards that, I think, are the most important to be aware of when playing against someone who has that dice type in their deck. This is not necessarily the most commonly played cards, but rather, the cards that really drive the direction a deck could go.
Note: I am counting only cards with a cost that can be paid with that dice type. Cards with basic costs are excluded; cards that have multiple dice type costs are excluded; phoenixborn and uniques are excluded; cards with parallel costs are included in BOTH dice types sections. All cards are being thought of with respect to their 1.0 state.
- Top 5 Defining Ceremonial Cards
- Top 5 Defining Charm Cards
- Top 5 Defining Divine Cards
- Top 5 Defining Illusion Cards
- Top 5 Defining Nature Cards
Top 5 Defining Sympathy Cards
Nightsong Cricket opened up some very interesting strategies. It was one of the few cards that let you summon 2 units a turn. This let you fill your board relatively cheaply with 2/1 units. Usually paying a die for a 1 life unit isn’t great, but with some skillful play around the Renewed Harmony ability, you could dissuade opponents from killing them. They were excellent blockers as long as you managed your discard forcing your opponent to give you back your phoenixborn unique or other powerful cards. They were probably best in Coal Roarkwin who would give the flexibility to just slash anything that you handed back to him.
The River Skald had arguably the strongest ability in the game. If you included this and Hand Tricks or some other draw in your first five, you could instantly kill any of the power 3 health units (Emperor Lion, Hammer Knight, Sonic Swordsman). It was no slouch as just a big body to attack with either. The potential to double-exhaust and attack with Secret Door was much discussed, but was a pretty rare scenario. It probably was strongest in Victoria Glassfire decks that were already planning on packing a lot of card draw. It definitely did not fit in every deck, but could do a lot of work in aggressive battlefield decks.
This card didn’t quite make my charm list. The reason it rates so highly here is that sympathy is just a much strong dice type for effects that help you win on board-state. Most of charm’s best cards are working with mill or direct damage, but when playing sympathy, there were a lot more options to play through your battlefield. Seeds of Aggression was finally a counter Blood Chains that was able to do some work. It was one of the few cards that actually let you use your exhausted units productively. You could both kill off your exhausted unit, free up a space on your battlefield and take out an opponent’s heavy hitter. It was versatile and let you take down big blockers without receiving much damage on your end.
Changing Winds always had a really awkward, expensive up front cost. However, if you were able to get out of the first round unscathed, then the benefits were enormous. Playing within sympathy allowed you to trigger all of the effects based on card draw (Squall Stallion, River Skald). It gave you more fodder for Coal Roarkwin slashing or more Illusionary Cycles for Victoria Glassfire. However, its best synergy was probably with Butterfly Monks and Shadow Spirits as it gave you an accelerator to find one of those books. You got to peek at potentially 3 different cards to find one of those books, meaning that picking up a second book in the first round was really not an uncommon scenario. You also got to get a free die rotation, which works perfectly for those two books that need power symbols. Until Resonance dropped it was additionally the strongest card for focus effects, particularly focus 2 effects like Summon Indiglo Creeper and Summon Ghostly Mount.
Crescendo was basically an auto-include in any deck that was trying to win through attacking. It was a card that really let you get ahead on tempo and clear out an extra blocker without taking a main or side action. When combined with Out of the Mist or a different side action clear, it let you take out 2 blockers in one attack. It was also just an efficient unit killer. Any 3 life unit would cost more than the 1 die that you could spend with Crescendo to clear it. In fact, you could also use this card completely defensively just to trade an attack action for one of your opponent’s power allies. It was the most efficient way to kill an opponent’s unit in any deck.
There are a ton of honorable mentions I will give here. This list feels by far the most subjective relative to the other 5. String Mage was a strong ally that shut down ping damage and was a very hard counter to Indiglow Creepers. Essence Druid was an expensive ally, but gave the strongest recursion in the game (outside of Encore). New Ideas was a powerful card included in Coal Roarkwin or Fiona Mercywind. However, it wasn’t really ever played for its ability, so it’s hard for me to count it as a “sympathy” card. Polarity Mage and Raptor Herder were strong allies. I also left off Salamander Monks which were great in Brennen Blackcloud decks and Squall Stallions that were fun and unique to build around.
After reviewing all of these card lists, I have to say that Sympathy is the most balanced card type. I don’t think any of its cards were really thought of as particularly oppressive or unpleasant. Some of them are pretty wordy in text (Dark Presence), but overall they mostly found little niches to fill. Sympathy cards in general were very playable, but required a very specific build to use well. Overall, I really like the space the sympathy holds within the game and I would guess it is the dice type that requires the least updating with Reborn.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading through these lists. If you have any comments or suggestions on other topics you would be interested in reading, please let me know!