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Top 5 Defining Nature Cards

Intro

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.

Previous Installments

Top 5 Defining Nature Cards

#5

Raptor Herder Raptor Hatchling

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.

#4

Summon Butterfly Monk Butterfly Monk

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).

#3

Ice Trap

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.

#2

Summon Frostback Bear Frostback Bear

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.

#1

Molten Gold

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.

Summary

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.


Comments

  • Massive Growth was never particularly strong outside of cheeky "Grow Finch" decks.

    rude

  • Oh man, I never realized the potential of mind fog + hypno. That sounds like a really cool deck

  • @Angus
    We both know he has not looked up every deck on this site before writing his summary ;)

    I do agree with the list in pretty much everything. Natures Wrath is the only meta relevant card not on the list that qualifies.
    Clearly all of the above cards were not just defining for the color but for the entire meta game.
    That is a strong reason for them to get changed in 1.5.
    The Bear is going to get changed and we know the explicit text already (assuming it will not get more changes).

    So lets predict some changes for the rest as well :
    Butterfly Monks will probably get a reduced conjuration limit.
    I dont know why bears have a limit of 2, but im sure every reasoning that was applied to bears applies to the monks as well so i would be surprised to see 3 or more. 1 feels way to few but then again i would still try to run 3 copies given the overall lower power level.
    Given that the card is in aradels deck maybe 2 conjurations are reasonable, but since mist spirits are unlikely to get any change at all 1 would be enough to use her battlefield.
    Would i change the text ? The heal is probably not needed anymore, but that strongly depends on how strong other cards are.

    They could also shift costs like with masked wolf, but then the power budget gets higher again and the unit needs to represent that.

    Molten Gold was used mostly because it deals damage to any target. In most uses it reads : deal 3 damage to a PB or kill a unit. It also places wounds instead of damage. Compare that to Freezing Blast.
    If other similar spells were to be made, molten gold needs to lose some power. Since it is often a kill spell, the AMA would suggest the addition of a condition on it, but that is against the design rules that natural magic has fullfilled until now.
    The closest thing is to change the targeting mode.
    But they cant both become 'deal some damage to Unit' Spells unless the values are very different and you cant have too many of those spells either.
    So i dont know where they could be going with this one - too many possible ways to go about it.
    The solution i would come up with if i had to write as little text is as follows :
    Molten Gold 1[[natural]] 1[[natural:class]] - deal 3 Damage to a Unit or deal 2 damage to a Phoenixborn.
    Freezing Blast - 1 [[natural]] deal 2 damage to an exhausted unit.

    Raptor Herder : This Unit is used quite a lot but i dont think he needs a change.
    You must have some cards that simply work without too much thought or otherwise your game is not fun.
    And his numbers can essentially not be dialed down. You can only limit the raptors to 2 or remove the parallel cost. If i had to do anything, i would limit the raptors to 2. Its almost never relevant but it is weaker.

    Ice Trap : Given the AMA Texts and general philosophy of the Remake i would guess a cost Change to 1 [[natural:power]]. That might still not be really balanced but it gives more opportunity to counterplay than before.
    Again the philosophy of not having as much unconditional removal anymore makes it difficult.
    Having 2 or less life is a condition, but you cant have too much conditional removal as well and freezing blast as well as Molten Gold will probably be focused on dealing with units. One of these spells will need to do something different.
    Ice Trap for sure would be a good card to get a 'cant be in your starting Hand' keyword. Just to keep the game less solvable.
    And another funny observation : If the Game had Unit Types it should probably read 'can not affect birds' and this would reduce the power quite a bit.

    Ice Trap
    This Post was written by the Bird gang :
    Three-Eyed Owl Mind Fog Owl Orchid Dove Glow Finch Nightshade Swallow Seaside Raven Winged Lioness Steadfast Guardian Majestic Titan

  • @Cronos Genesis
    I actually expect them to re-design Molten Golden to only affect undamaged characters. OR, maybe take up a side action in addition to current cost. It plays into the idea of powerful effects but without allowing severe misuse, IMO.

  • 'undamaged' is probably a good keyword for molten good.
    I did not think about it at all.

    The Side Action cost is so much more about mind games that i dont like it.
    A beginner can see that their opponent was not able to cast molten gold if they only had damaged characters.
    Side Action Management can be difficult to evaluate until you have played about 20 to 40 matches and know all the cards that typically come up in optimized decks.

    But still : You could make freezing blast only target undamaged units and do something entirely different with molten gold so we will see.

  • Honestly, making Ice Trap cost a [[nature:power]] is probably good enough. If you want to play an expensive 2 lifer, just play is with Magic Syphon or [[illusion:power]]. The Ice Trap player probably will win the trade, but not everyone is going to be running nature. Hopefully, with 7 dice types you'll only see each one in about half of the decks.

    I was very surprised that Sympathy Pain got pushed back to dealing just 2 damage, so I expect something to change with Molten Gold. I am also curious if they ever slap on some parallel costs for [[time:power]] with some of these burn cards because there's really only so many of those cards you can include. If you look at the history of the game, basically no burn cards were released past Brennen's deck because the core already had enough to make that deck viable. There were a few very conditional Sympathy cards that didn't get a ton of use.

  • As far as i see it Parallel cost has always been between [[Sympathy]] and one other Dice type in 1.0.
    The preview seems to indicate that Time also gets accesses to it which is fine but the reason seems to be that Refelections in the water were a good fit themetically.
    Obviously there was a need for some cards in the pool to use time Dice but i cant figure out what reason at this point.

    Would i add burn to ashes ?
    Only if you can somehow make sure that you dont put all of it in one deck.
    I explained in the past how one could tackle this with cards that ask for a minimum number of dice in a type inside your pool.
    For example if molten gold was only usable if you use at least 4 natural in addtion to its cost. Much like Mass Heal has an effect that only triggers if you use at least 1 Divine.
    If similar cards have such a text, you can realistically limit what cards are used in conjunction and then you can have burn in a lot of different varieties.
    Parallel costs are kind of the opposite of that. Instead of limiting the dice pool you allow more.
    To answer the Question : Thats the wrong direction for burn.
    To Elaborate :
    Time should probably be about gaining board advantages through very timing sensitive cards and the slow charging Units/effects that can potentially win on their own if left unchecked. It probably needs a third thing going on but i dont know what yet.
    Countering/Preventing effects would make sense thematically.
    Mechanically Cards with multiple modes would be very interesting.
    Maybe the status token manipulation is that third thing.