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
Perhaps somewhat ironically, I included an ally in the most defining nature cards. As Summon Fallen has proven, getting 2 bodies for 1 die is a really good deal, regardless of what the bodies are. Being able to put up 2 blockers after getting your board wiped is really strong. The Raptor Hatchling is also no slouch if your opponent lets you fill up your board. Raptor Herder was also very strong as a mount. It didn't have the biggest impact to the state of the game, but it was a flexible card that needed to be respected.
Butterfly Monks are the nature friends of Shadow Spirits, which I labeled as the best conjuration in the game. The reason Butterfly Monks are a peg lower is that they were not a win condition in themselves. They were, however, one of the best two defensive units in the game (with Turtle Guard). They were the perfect card to clog up the board in Coal Roarkwin decks (before breaking through with One-Hundred Blades. They were blockers and healers in burn decks. Meditating your spellboard to kill you Butterfly Monks and heal was a huge late game play to survive. Altogether, they made it extremely difficult for your opponent to punch through your line (assuming that you drew your second copy of the book).
This card definitely fell off a bit as decks gravitated to letting units sit exhausted on the field, rather than killing them. However, I think this remains as a defining card not just for the nature magic type, but really for all of the game. Any power unit that had less than 2 life had to live under the fear of being Ice Trapped. This made running Biters, Blue Jaguars, and Winged Lionesses a challenge. It made it so that cards like Flash Archer or Blackcloud Ninja never really get off the ground. It also was a solid option to use as a tempo play to swing in early against an opponent's Phoenixborn.
When this card dropped, it completely redefined the standard for a strong conjuration. Coming out of the core set, there really was no strong mid-tier unit. Iron Rhinos were too expensive and the good 1 die summons were all 1 attack Three-Eyed Owl, Gilder, Butterfly Monk. Every conjuration moving forward was held to the Frostback Bear standard. Overtime, it became less dominant as other strong conjurations were released and punching attack damage became harder. I would say it is still close to the most efficient unit for its impact on the battlefield. Forcing an opponent to suffer either Spite or Freeze was a really solid ability along with great stats for the cost.
Maybe this isn't the best card in nature, but it certainly has closed out the most games. Molten Gold has long been the most reliable and consistent closer in the game (with the only counter being Vanish). It gets around Chant of Protection, Redirect and Sympathy Pain and can go straight to the Phoenixborn's face. It is a big reason why most burn decks could turn to nature, despite nature having only one other card that did damage directly to the Phoenixborn (Frostbite). It was also one of the best spells to remove big units from the game. Especially as most of the dangerous allies in the game have exactly 3 life. It sometimes made things hard to play as most nature dice would be spent on conjuring units, but it when it did get played, it almost always had a huge impact. This card made it incredibly dangerous to be at anything under 4 life.
Somewhat surprisingly, the nature dice color is not super deep. There are a lot of really strong, power cards listed out in this top five, but it gets pretty mediocre after that. A lot of that is due to positive alterations never finding a good home. Massive Growth was never particularly strong outside of cheeky "Grow Finch" decks. Frostbite has seen some use and popularity, though it typically is outshined by Chang of Revenge. Nature's Wrath is really the only other card that I considered for this top 5. It definitely has its uses and gives access to a really nice board sweep outside of Mist Typhoon.
Nature dice have always been a very popular "dominant" (4+) dice type in the game. Nature decks tend to be very efficient on board state with solid conjurations and unit guard to back them up. This, combined with the [[nature:power]] ability give you a lot of control of the battlefield. Having access to Molten Gold means that even if a deck is struggling to push damage through the front lines, there is a backup option to burn out the last bit of life from your opponent. It is rarely a good splash magic type, but if you are willing to commit, you can get a lot of strong cards.