Friday, January 9, 2009

Creature Class Critique #12: Wanderers

Like Outlaws, Wanderers have no class identity. They just are. It's a miscellaneous grouping of characters that didn't fit in anywhere else. As such, they do they're best work individually, helping other decks, rather than working together in a deck of their own.

Seventeen Wanderers were introduced starting with Dagger Isle and ending in Necropolis Park. I'll briefly detail many of them. (The ones that are, in my opinion, the most useful.)

Common Threads

Bribery: All but three are bribable, mostly by Gold. Four are bribable by everything (and those four are the only ones bribable by Babes.) Furthermore, four creatures have an effect on your bribery cards: Cratur Hobbs (bribe with Magic Items), Jambo Slick (retrieve bribery card), Jamchops (bribe with any bribery) and Slatch Willer (discard Beer for Vitality bonus). This means that you can bribe anything with Jamchops or boost Slatch and then on the next combat, use Jambo to get the card back. Jamchops is strong also because he gets around terrain restrictions (SS House of Babes, Iron Crag Mountain Brewery) as well as the restriction imposed by the Fiends (see critique #9).

Up-Cards: Two cards allow you to fiddle with your Up cards. Buster Scrimbo, who also you to draw an extra card if he's your up card, and Jonstello the Seeker, who also you to discard him and find whatever card you want from your deck. Of the two, Jonstello is far superior, and as an added bonus, he's not too bad in combat, being a 7 with an off-color bonus of 3 (that almost makes him a "Black Knight").

Terrain-oriented: Barnicle Bazluee gives bonuses to creatures with Rivers & Lakes bonuses (or Banks & Lakes for those of you in France!) even when not on R&L terrain. Cactus McFingers allows you to play a terrain card after combat if you win. Tiger Baloo gains a bonus on Face-Down terrain. These don't exactly work together very well, except if you put down a face-down card or Rivers and Lakes after winning with Cactus, you'll be in better shape for your defense.

Where to Use Them?

There's no one place to put most of them, so I'll describe them individually.

Elandar, Mighty Wizard - Not a Wizard by class, but he's powerful, all
text boxes are blanked including ranged-attacks! and it's a slugfest. Best class to use with? I'd vote for Knights. Sure, a couple will lose their immunity to fear -- but "fear-based attacks" will be reduced to regular attacks, so there wouldn't be anything to be immune to anyway. But Knights, as a class, have the best off-color-bonuses and don't have much text to lose. Pirates are good, but they're very bribable, and the ranged-attacks have stacking penalties (and you can't use the ranged attacks). Some Giants have bone-crushing OCBs, too. But their best use is against any kind of trick deck (except "Spell-only", of course). You can't match any cards together. Low-vitality creatures are a good-choice
as well to prevent secondary attackers from getting to Elandar.

(Mini-quiz: During a primary matchup, how can you kill Elandar?)

Longshot Louie - A personal favorite. He's Vitality 7, OCB 2 and a channel receiver. Nice. His ranged-attack destroys the channeling creature (not the Guardian though). Nice bonus. He's good against a non-channelling deck; he's great against a channeling deck. Necromancers, Winterseed's Mistresses and Valkyrie Spirits beware!

(And it could be me, but I wonder if this card was inspired by the SF book Ringworld, by Larry Niven.)

Disgruntled Postal Worker: Great name, nice artwork. Great against Fairy decks or other low-vitality decks. At first, the DPW looks like a
worthless card -- if he wins, his opponent survives! But you can play him multiple times and leave your opponent with a bunch of Unchallenged Creatures that you can pick off at your leisure. Who to use him with? No clue, but he's best used to protect big creatures from being ganged up on by the little guys.

Quick One-liners

Cratur Hobbs: Get rid of those extra Items you don't need.

Delilah Rangoon: Despite the fact that she looks like someone I know, I don't like this card because unless she goes up against a Giant or Ogre, odds are that you will actually be giving the advantage to your opponent. (She should be an 8 against Mortals, but instead she's a push).

Evil Baron Stoner: In practice, his text box (add opponent's OCB to Stoner's Vitality) doesn't help much unless he goes up against a Snoot or a Schneeble because his base is only a 3.

Jamchops the Trader: Combine him with a Babes and Pig Dog for maximum fun; get around Greedy Fiends by using a Beer bribery; use Gold in the Iron Crag Mountain Brewery to get rid of Giants and Ogres.

Karnis the Transcender: Useful because he's an 8-point channel receiver with OCB 2, but also good if your opponent likes cards that use dice.

Slimwit Man: Silly picture, bad pun, odd card; I've never used it and don't plan to. Use it in a weenie deck to take out a big creature shield.

Whalebone Rick: I know someone named Rick who could look like this picture with a little work; don't expect to get the bonus unless you have a Creature Magic Item command card.

Cards to Watch Out For

Magnate Justice, of course. Why would anyone use a gray card that "Kills Wanderers" when you're not likely to see Wanderers that often? Beacause he's a Vitality 16 elemental with a 7-point off-color bonus that will clobber an Eternal Witch Lord! He's a great card against Undead decks (though he's overkill against Fairy decks and won't survive very long -- and worse, Gateway to Mystfall will bring back the destroyed Fairies.)

Elandar, Mighty Wizard. Watch out if your opponent has one. Most of these cards are trick cards that rely on their text box for their strategies. Granted, five Wanderers have OCBs of 2 or better, which is a 25-50% boost.

Summary: I started these critiques to find different types of theme decks that you could try to build around the various classes. But let's face it, some groups are just miscellaneous clusters of unrelated creatures that don't reference each other nor support each other. Wanderers is one of these. Use them individually in your other decks, but don't try to build a deck around them.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

Belmont D'Yan: External, Vitality 4, OCB 2, M, LGB, Wanderer, CMP 0 Green.
C: All Wanderers gain +2 Vitality if the Shield moved to the current space from a different one this turn or if the terrain has changed since the last combat.

(Come on, now. Could you think of a better name for a "Wanderer"?)

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