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 Divine Cards
No big surprises here as we start with one of the strongest units in the game (at least when unexhausted). Holy Knight was the lynchpin in many, many “One Punch” decks that tried to kill your opponent with Amplify and Hypnotize. While never being a top deck due to having many hard counters, it was a threat that needed to be guarded against. Holy Knight and Hypnotize by themselves worked as a decent closer in games with stalled out battlefields. But, more often than not, it was just a really powerful ally to drop in the first round and hit your opponent’s Phoenixborn with 5 attack. Combined in Jessa Na Ni, it could make for very quick games.
In this slot, I went with another divine unit that grew to being one of the strongest allies towards the end of 1.0’s cycle. It was really the unit that best synergized with mounts. Usually mount decks can have big problems if you do not draw enough allies to ride the mounts. Sun Sister let you get a recurring chain of allies and made those decks far more consistent. There’s not really much else in terms of the card’s interaction. It was a very sparingly used card when first dropped, but became almost essential in order to run these really powerful mount-conjurations.
The introduction of overkill gave an interesting way of doing damage through an opponent’s battlefield without having to go over the top or through milling. Power Through was really the first offensive alteration to become pretty widespread. It worked very well with the [[divine:power]] dice power; it had a reasonable respark cost and really was the best divine card at closing out games. Stacking overkill on an Elephant Rider was also an effective way to just run over chump blockers. Power Through didn’t necessarily dominate any meta, but it did enable a new way to push through the damage in inevitably stalled out board states.
At the #2 spot, I list one of the two popular divine summons. I think that both Winged Lioness and Emperor Lion are pretty similar in their strength. However, Winged Lioness is something that had to be played around more. The Emperor Lion was really just a unit with strong stats; a better Ice Golem and a tougher Frostback Bear. Winged Lioness were an immediate threat to any unit you would throw down. They worked really well with Power Through and were able to trade evenly with just about any unit. Usually, the defender would have final say for what stays and what goes within the battlefield by block or guarding with units and/or their phoenixborn. The Winged Lioness flipped that and gave that control back to the aggressor.
Finally, we have the easiest choice and probably the most impactful card in the game. Originally, I had no idea how strong this type of a board wipe would be. Spending two power dice seemed like a steep cost. However, I was very clearly wrong. This card, combined with dice pressure, would allow you to exhaust out your opponents big units and kill their small units. Meteor also was a huge part in Elephant Rider decks, as it didn’t actually affect the elephant. Additionally, it was very strong in mill and burn decks as just a way to make your opponent pay for being ahead on board state. Meteor completely flipped how everyone needed to think about summoning and using units on the battlefield.
The main two honorable mentions for this week are Summon Emperor Lion and Devotion. The Emperor Lion was a unit almost if not more popular than the Winged Lioness. It was a part of most decks that tried to accelerate the game and punch some attacking damage in round 1. However, at the end of the day, it was mostly just a body with big stats; like an Ice Golem without the hoops of needing to add an alteration. It didn’t really open up new styles of play. Devotion was a powerful counter to Meteor, Kneel and other exhaustion effects. It was the first alteration that was successful at actually keeping units alive. With these divine cards, I could really re-order any of #2-#7 without too much dissent on my end.
Divine, at the time of release, was immediately one of the strongest dice pools. As I have been making these lists, its more and more clear why. In Odette Diamondcrest’s deck alone, there are 4 of my top 5 defining divine cards. In fact, all of the cards I listed above are from her and Astrea’s decks. It really didn’t need much help from any other future expansions. A little bit sad to me is that none of the Laws really made it into contention for this list. While I’ve seen interesting use cases for a few of them, they never really took off as giving up that spellboard slot has always been just a little too much. Divine has one of the strongest themes and feels more unique and distinctive than most dice types.