Sunday, August 3, 2008

Creature Class Critique #9: Fiends

Quick! How many Fiends are there?

If you said three, one for each bribery icon, you're wrong. There are four of them: Mad, Greedy, Ugly Wart and Idiot Fiend. The last guy may not get much play, but he's also a backup card that gets shoved into my deck at the first sign of Tookle. More on that later.

The Fiends are the pawnbrokers of power in the MidRealms, each having carved a nice piece of business for himself. As such, they don't work together very nicely, not even as a secondary class (and with only four of them, they certainly aren't powerful enough to be the main thrust of the deck.

As mentioned in previous critiques, the Fiends are great defensive cards to make up for a weak link in your deck -- namely a bunch of creatures mostly briable by the same thing.

Here are the four Fiends:

Greedy Fiend - a 1 pt creature, bribable by Gold that prevents all Gold bribery (even your own cards) if he isn't bribed away. Useful with Knight decks and decks that use a lot of "female" creatures. Warning: it will not protect you from a Yap Attack.

Mad Fiend - a 1 pt creature, bribable by Beer that prevents all Beer bribery (even your own cards) if he isn't bribed away. Useful with Giant decks and anything with Phil the Bar Fly and Slatch Willer. Warning: it will not protect you from the Major Party Animal or Santa's Beer Sled.

Ugly Wart Fiend - a 1 pt creature, bribable by Babes that prevents all Babes bribery (even your own cards) if he isn't bribed away. Useful with Ogre and Elemental Lord decks and decks with large creatures that tend to be Babes-bribable. Warning: it will not protect you from McHooter's Distraction or Essence of Babeitude.

Idiot Fiend - the only truly offensive Fiend. He's a 6 pt. creature with a +4 bonus if he comes up against a Fairy. Additionaly, he has a 8-point fear AOE (Fairies only) that will take out every Fairy in the game except one. (Mini-quiz: which one? It's an easy one.) Naturally, he goes in my deck when I see Tookle because Tookle is the Guardian of choice for all those small Fairies. (Mini-quiz: Name two medium-size Fairies.)

Suddenly, that Fairy deck of his might add some Goblins to deal with the nasty AOE you keep casting. He'll get tired of playing Gateway to Mystfall to keep getting his creatures back.

Pirates don't gain much from the use of Fiends. Being bribable by everything, you'd need too many Fiends to get any reliable use out of them. And with 1-pt Vitality, they won't hang around very long to be of much protection. Better to have a couple of Shadow cards to steal away the bribery cards (and Cabin Boys, if you like, but let's save the Pirate talk for another day!).

Other Cards to Use:

Simple. There are *no* other cards to use with Fiends. Fiends *are* the other cards.

Actually, there are two Terrain cards that come in handy because your Fiends can't be everywhere and they don't last long. S.S. House of Babes forbids any bribery by Babes and the Iron Crag Mountain Brewery does the same for Beer. These can save you a couple of Ugly Wart and Mad Fiends in your deck. Too bad there isn't a similar card for Gold.

One drawback: don't get too attached to these guys. My first Beer deck didn't need these cards. It had Mad Fiends, but I pulled them out. Why? Because I knew my opponent was playing with them in his deck. Why should I waste the cards when he was doing the dirty work.

Summary: Fiends are great defensive cards, either to protect against your weakness or to attack his strength (if that strength is Fairies). You can't build decks around them, but there are many decks that will definitely benefit from their inclusion.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

The Bribery Coast: Location Terrain, up 12.
(pictured: pirates on the beach, burying and digging up various chests.)
Counts as Rivers and Lakes.
No bribery by Gold permitted on this space.

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