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 payed 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.
I am also moving these articles over to the "General" section, rather than "Strategy."
Top 5 Defining Charm Cards
The Imperial Ninja was a card that became one of the biggest threats to your opponent's first five. Given that experienced players could make pretty confident guesses as to what would be in an opponent's first five, it was terrifying to play against. Even later on, it was a unit that you would be scared to block with a Phoenixborn because they could call out any cards that could counter or mess with what they were doing. The Imperial Ninja played a big role in bringing charm back briefly into the meta.
As always, ironically, Sympathy Pain has consistently been a strong charm reaction. Charm had a few reactions that triggered with similar timing windows, but this was a brutal closer. It was also something that could be triggered by yourself through recurring allies, taking damage from abundance, etc. It was instrumental in charm burn decks as well as being a secondary finisher in many mill decks.
As mentioned before, charm has several strong reactions with similar timing windows. Here is the other one in this list. Redirect was always easier to use since it only needed a single charm die. However, you did need a unit to stick around. I think Redirect was usually a more important card to play around. Redirect always needed to be on your mind when choosing the order of resolving Phoenixborn attacks. Redirect always needed to be considered when trying to close out the game (whether with burn or attacks). While it wasn't necessarily a card to build a strategy around, it was a card that you had to be aware of when playing against.
Coming in at the #2 spot is a card that opened up such a huge realm of possibilities. For the majority of the game's 1.0 cycle, it was the only way to really guarantee getting a focus or focus-like effect from your spellboard (not counting the meditate for a book + Encore option). This card was obviously great with Summon Indiglow Creeper which needs to be focused. It was good with Summon Silver Snake. It provided options with double-downing on a single die summon like Three Eyed Owls, Butterfly Monks, or Shadow Spirits. Beyond that, it had occasional uses just for its flexibility. If you drew into it, you could use it to find a Hypnotize or Meteor or some other card that would help you close or stall out the game.
In the top spot, I had to go with the one charm card/unit that is a win condition all by itself. This was a staple in just about any deck that included a lot of charm dice. It was a threat that needed an answer from your First Five. It was an excellent unit at the end of the game to actually force discards from hand to get your opponent to take damage from being decked. And it was always just a value body and blocker that could be thrown into any deck. Three Eyed Owls were not just cards included in charm-mill decks, but were featured in Orrick Gilstream's Gilder, Bear, Owl decks. They were included in some Brennen Blackcloud burn decks. As the game progressed, there become more and more answers for the Three Eyed Owls, so they fell off, but for much of the game, they were a linchpin in every charm deck.
Honorable mentions this time are pretty varied. Cognitive Dissonance was a solid mill card that entered the game late. I think it was likely going to be a necessary mill card, but I'm not sure that that archetype was fully explored. Orchid Doves were a solid summon and actually locked opponents units down when paired with [[illusion:power]]. But, it usually wasn't a card that was built around. I think that Mind Probe could have had a greater and greater impact as a way to seek out hard counters or just know what cards were coming next. Finally, we have the [[charm:power]] theme of refreshing and buffing units. Most of these cards were underpowered, but every once in a while, some of them would become relevant. The top ones would be Call to Action, Hypnotize and Refresh. Specifically Hypnotize was always a fun card to build around, but it was too rarely used by the top decks, so I left it out of the top 5.
After mentioning last week that Ceremonial has probably the strongest card pool, I would say that Charm probably has the weakest cards. A lot of the strong cards are reactions, which usually give your opponents ways to play around. The lack of dice recursion made playing mill an uphill battle as you were giving up resources to play charm and giving up board presence to mill from deck. I also think that charm dice were needed to heavily early in the game, but became much less useful late since there were no strong charm action spells. However, Summon Gilder, Summon Orchid Dove and Open Memories tried to push you to having lots of early charm. It has always been a tricky magic type to splash, but it has had solid uses as a main dice type (4+ dice).