Monday, January 19, 2009

Creature Class Critique #20: Knights

"We're Knight of the Round Table! We fight when e'er we're able! ...."

Okay, let's kick some butt! That's what Knight do and they do it very well. And they do it anywhere. Not just in the Woods, not just in Swamps or Rivers & Lakes, but everywhere. And especially in Spirit Mountain.

There are eleven Knights: eight in Limited/Revised, 2 in Drifters Nexus and 1 in Necropolis Park. (Dagger Isle had too many Pirates to fit any Knights). And all of them will fight for you -- for a price.

That's right -- they have a price. They can all be bought by booze, gold or women, except the shining Paladin who sets a virtuous example that isn't followed by anyone. Unfortunately, that means that your soldiers are free to fight for whatever side pays the best (the way mercenaries have been fighting for ages!). Protect yourself.

Kicking Elemental Butt: Seven of the eleven have substantial off-color bonuses against elementals. The others have less of a bonus because of their special abilities. This means Spirit decks will tremble at the sight of your flashing blades -- but Undead decks will get ready to dine on your innards. Your main advantage is negated against Mortals and Externals -- worse yet, Externals have a nasty advantage over you!

Quick rundown of the creatures in this class:

The Swordsman is V6, O3.
The Axeman is V7, O4.
The Corporal is V8, O4, immune to fear.
The Captain is V10, O5, immune to fear.
The Marshal is V11, O4, with a bonus to fellow Knights.
The Paladin is V14, O2, with a bonus to fellow knights and immunity to fear to all Mortals.
The Lancer is V10, O4 and gores mammoth creatures, but has trouble stabbing those little buggers.
The Archer is V6, with a 3-point ranged attack.
The Prince of the Lost is V16, O8 with +2 in the Dry Heaps, making him the King of Kickass.
Arnath, Lord of the Skies if V6, flies and destroys flying creatures.
And Kurgan, Blademaster of the Exiled is V5, O1, gains a bonus if he's the first Knight ,and he is the only Knight that is doubly bribable.

Interesting note: All Mortals played *after* the Paladin are immune to fear, but the Paladin himself isn't immune. Call it a false sense of security -- others see the Paladin fighting and that bolsters their courage, but it doesn't stop the Mummy from scaring the begeezus out of Paladin while he dispatches it back to eternal damnation.


There isn't any. Go out there and beat their brains in. Might for right! (And controlling the disputed lands is right in my book!) And if you lose, blow them up and take the other guy out with you!

Okay, okay, there's more to it than that. But your offensive strategy depends entirely on what cards you use to support your Knights.

Fiends: Obviously, a well placed Greedy Fiend will protect most of your men. And use the Shadows, too, to steal your opponent's bribery cards.

Soooooooul Mirror: If you play a Marshal or Paladin first, then all of your creatures, even your non-Knights, will get a bonus. And you can use all of the following cards that apply to Knights. Note: you can play the Paladin first and then play your Greedy Fiend -- he's now a 5-point Knight who's immune to fear and has a decent chance of surviving until the next turn.

Warwick's Conversion
: when you can't spare the command card slot for the Soul Mirror.

Horse: For a three-point command card, you're first Knight gets a +6 vitality bonus. Even the Prince of the Lost (who has a trusty steed) or the Lord of the Skies (who seems better off flying his drake). And you can use Warwick's Conversion for a quick six-point bonus to a non-Knight.

: This one should be obvious. If you have creatures that will beat up on Elementals, then it helps if you know when the Elementals are coming. Gives you a leg up on the competition.

Elandar, Mighty Wizard: This is a great card for a Knight deck -- because many of your creatures will be unaffected! Your opponent loses his special abilities, but you still have your off-color bonuses. Sure, you lose your immunity to fear, but your opponent's attacks are no longer fear-based. This is best used with Swordsmen, not Paladins.

Ranged Attack Platform: Someplace for your Archers to hang out.

St. Ballantine's Evocation: Standard card. If your Knight's going to lose, take the other guy out with you.

Valkyrie Spirit: Knights aren't channel receivers -- unless there's a Valkyrie watching over them. In that case, your Knights (and your fake Knights) can get a 3-point boost!

Archangel Odessa: If you can get your hands on her, she can channel another three points to your Paladin, but your Valkyrie Spirit is a better bet.

40,000 Useless Warhammers: Watch out with this one. Don't use it against an Undead deck. Otherwise, your OCBs should be enough to kill a few creatures. (Watch out for Mules and Lying Scum who can use their text box to win control of the space.)

Brom's Dragon 19: Change creature's border color for a stone. You're not using your stones to channel, so use them to make your opponents Elementals and get an OCB boost.

Spires: You're not flying, you're not getting terrain bonuses. However, if you're opponent is playing Spires for defense, too, he'll probably have Tangle Webs and Sliphs for defense. Careful!

There are others (and please, feel free to add some) but I want to move on. This is getting long.

Secondary Classes

As good as the Knights are, they can use a little help. Unless you have the Dragon working for you (and you're going to need a steady supply of stones to keep that going), you're vulnerable to Fairy and Undead decks (any External deck, in fact) and you won't get any benefit against Ogre, Pirate, Slag Beast and Giant decks.

You need a secondary class, one that's a different color.

Angels are good (see critique #2). Spirits are nice (that Sun Spirit OCB comes to mind immediately and your Knights are unaffected by Stinking Spirits) even if your Valkyrie Spirit isn't one of them.

Check out the first 19 critiques for mentions of Knights.

Cards to Watch Out For

Schneeble, Crook End Snoot and Crook End Snooter: They're little and they strike big against Mortals.

Tookle: Get rid of your Lancers. If a small creature deck is coming at you, it's going to be too much fun. Too many bonuses on his side, too many primary opponents to blow them all up. And there's a better chance at losing the Low Up Card bonus.

Merchants: You've got a lot of Gold-lovers on your side. Super Models are less of a threat. And Major Party Animal doesn't do too much to you at all.

Which Guardian to Use?

Rak Nam is Mighty like your Knights, but he doesn't really have anything to offer them. Your choice of Guardian comes down to personal preference. Sikura to stop spells, Siin to stop channeling, Gaar to gain some channeling . . .

Grazhue works only if you have the Dragon standard bearer or some other outlet for your stones.

Summary: Knights are a natural for a theme deck. They've got power and they've got potential, but they've got problems, too. A few flaws and weaknesses that opponents can exploit if they have the right deck. Unfortunately, they're not as dangerous and exciting as your chivalrous expectations may lead you to believe. They are, after all, mere Mortals. It's a long way from Camelot and and the Crusades and the Holy Grail. But they're still lots of fun.

C. J. Burke
Keeper of the Flame

Fort Knight: Mortal, Vitality 14, OCB 7, Medium, Gold, Babes, Knight, CMP 0, red bar.
All of your creatures are immune to ranged attacks.

(Get it? Fort Knight? Fortnight? Vitality *14*?? Ah, never mind.)

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