It's the most wonderful time of the year, and you know what that means.
Yup, it's time for the next set of previews from Project Phoenix.
These previews will be a little different from the normal ones: instead of 3 cards, we'll be showing off 5 cards AND the Phoenixborn today. Plus, we'll be doing previews EVERY DAY this week, all ramping up to the release date on 11/30.
And what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving week with a Phoenixborn that would've made way more sense on Halloween.
They say that Dredgemeadow is a no casket village. If you die, your remains either get buried deep where no one knows, or they end up in the scientist's lab. Plutarch is Project Phoenix's Time and Ceremonial deck ([[time:power]] & [[ceremonial:power]]), and is centered heavily around the cycle of death and rebirth, whether natural or otherwise. His ability, Gather Specimens, is where the majority of his interaction comes from, allowing him to tuck ally cards from any player's discard pile underneath him facedown. He can then spend those cards to place Imbued Vigor on his units, creating exceptionally awkward turns for his opponents. The Dauntless keyword enables you to perform attacks that are almost always bad for your opponent, or hold one turn of defense that no one wants to deal with.
The facedown mechanic isn't new to Plutarch, having first been explored by Jericho Kill, and because of that he can benefit from a few of the same cards as she, including Prepare. Being able to tuck ally cards from your discard and Prepare them back to your hand can be quite difficult to deal with. Plus, there's other ways to tuck allies underneath Plutarch, like Dark Procurement.
If Prepare let's you tuck cards from your draw pile, Dark Procurement let's you do the same straight from the battlefield, allowing you to store cards under your PB lightning fast. Since Plutarch's Extract Essence doesn't exhaust him, every ally card you tuck is yet another weapon to further your goal. Additionally, Dark Procurement has the added bonus of being able to snag allies your opponents own, potentially cutting off supplies to other discard-based strategies like Summon Fallen, Bound Soul, Sun Sister, and even the [[Ceremonial:power]] dice power itself.
Of course, if your opponents are more keen to using conjurations over allies, you can always trigger DP on your own allies. You can always use Anchornaut to hit itself, but if you're looking for something more substantial, we've got you covered:
In the tradition of most Ceremonial precons, Plutarch's deck has a whopping four. Nihilist may not seem like the most impressive unit on the surface, and its Entombed ability makes it a little more difficult to interact with since it can't be revived with the [[Ceremonial:power]] dice power, but don't be fooled. This ally is a value machine. 2 Life for 1 die is already pretty thick, but more impressive is that it places 2 wound tokens for just one die, and can even target the opponent's PB directly, all without triggering damage effects. It's also going to be one of your most tucked allies; after all, nothing is wasted on Plutarch.
At this point, it's pretty clear that Plutarch's deck has many ways to stuff the underside of your PB with a plump supply of allies, but how does that help you win? Well, with a little dark science, we can use those allies to create the ultimate force of nature:
It's alive! What has science done!?
Well, in this case, science gave us arguably one of the strongest conjurations in all of Argaia. Necromantic Abomination is a pitiful 1/1/0 for 2 different colored dice, but even adding just a few choice body parts can ratchet this mutation into a truly threatening beast. With 3 allies, it's a 4/4/0 for 2 dice that can effectively reduce any instance of damage it takes down to 1. To take down the abomination, it's going to take lots of small hits, not big ones, but even small units will have a hard time dealing with its Terrifying 1 ability.
The Necromantic Abomination takes a lot of setup though, and doesn't really take off until you're able to stuff at least a few allies under your PB. Also, if the conjuration dies, all the allies go back to their discard piles, meaning you need to start all over again. To help mitigate these issues, and to really bring this unit to abominable heights, you really want to focus the summon spell. At Focus 1, it becomes easier to accelerate the growth, but at Focus 2 you can start recycling the allies you've invested and create a dangerous death loop.
Since the SNA ready spells are crucial to winning with this precon, you may be a little hesitant to meditate often. Luckily, with this ally, you might not have to:
Alchemist is a stout little ally that gives you the ability to convert your basic symbols into class symbols. Since a majority of Plutarch's deck can function only on class symbols, Alchemist is hugely important for keeping your draw pile intact without having to slow down. Effectively, having an Alchemist around lets you perform "soft meditates" without spending any resources. He might be able to help open up decks that use larger color pools that have a harder time with dice fixing as well, like 4-color Orrick Gilstream decks. Watch out though, if this unit is destroyed while dice are still attached to him, the dice will fall into your exhausted pool.
To finish off our previews today, we're going to show you Plutarch's special card, which you may find especially diabolical:
In Dredgemeadow, death is not guided by the reaper's hand but by Plutarch's allowance. This is a devilishly powerful spell, not only allowing you to bestow a second life onto a unit but even enabling you to reanimate an opponent's unit onto your side! With Extend Animation on the other side of the table, the fates of your Hammer Knights and Flying Monkeys gets a lot less certain, possibly even dangerous for you. That being said, Plutarch's methods aren't perfect, and the subject ends up in an Unnatural state, losing all their abilities and heavily stifling any chance of recovery. Still, sometimes a big body is just a big body, like with Iron Rhino.
If you manage to get up to Focus 2, Plutarch will have perfected the process and may start bringing back units without being Unnatural. Not only will this improve some revived units significantly like Majestic Titan or Leech Warrior, but it can also open some new avenues of play with things like Nihilist or Crimson Bomber.
That's all we have for today, but come back tomorrow for the start of Devlin and his dangerous crew.