“The Capital City is ours. But we are no longer part of the Scourge. From here on out, we shall be known as the Forsaken. We will find our own path in this world, Dreadlord, and slaughter anyone who stands in our way!”
-Lady Sylvanas, Warcraft 3
Welcome back to another exciting preview for Crown of the Heavens. I am happy to bring you these two exciting Horde previews, so without further ado let’s take a look at everyone’s favorite Forsaken:
Sylvanas has many incarnations in the WoW TCG, and this new one will be her most powerful. Sylvanas, Queen of the Forsaken comes equipped with her own Army of the Dead. All you have to do is fill your graveyard with Horde allies prior to playing her and you instantly get Assault 4 and a number of 1/1 token allies simultaneously. She combines elements of two important ally archetypes in WoW, a finisher and a reset button.
Assuming you are playing a linear aggro deck in Core, or some kind of Spider Solitaire graveyard based deck in Classic, you should be playing the Queen of the Forsaken and bringing in at least three allies if you play her on curve. That means she will be a 7/4 attacker the next turn with her three 1/1 minions. That’s ten damage out of a five cost card; a very solid ratio in today’s environment. The best part about her is even if they deal with her as a 4/4 before your next turn (undoubtedly costing them a card), her army of skeletons should remain. Assuming you are not facing a sweeper like Bottled Spite, Fel Blaze, or Invoke the Nether, she is also a great source of mid game card advantage, similar to the other powerful Horde allies such as Mazu’kon. In today’s Core, card drawing is at a premium, so any sources of virtual card advantage you can get off of your allies is paramount. Playing a battalion of allies off of one five cost card will help that cause!
So where does Sylvanas really shine? When you have some additional affect to get out of her 1/1 skeleton tokens of course! The 20 pound gorilla in the room is obvious: Sylvanas is an amazing addition to Grand Crusader builds. Her tokens would be supersized into 3/3s and she has immediate synergy with the concept of the deck: an unstoppable wave of beefed up small allies hell-bent on destruction. Odds are that you would find the Queen of the Damned so cozy with the champions of the Light! It is possible that Grand Crusader builds will shift towards more of a lower curve featuring exclusive Horde allies instead of the Dragonkin/Horde mix you find in most builds. She will not replace Bottled Light, but instead act in concert with the “graveyard as a resource” sub theme the deck already contains. Aggro versions of Grand Crusader can use her as an amazing reset button, flooding the board with the same number of allies your opponent just dealt with. This really simulates that “Walking Dead” (again, pun intended) feel of Sylvanas.
Grand Crusader will not be her only home, however. In Classic, as mentioned above, I can see Sylvanas having a key role as a mid range finisher, similar to the role that Azjok-Anak Champion fills. Again, you are looking at a card advantage machine in a format that can take better advantage of flooding the board. In Core there are other combos with her small allies. Plainswatcher Taro is a big fan of Sylvanas, as long as she can dine on the souls of at least four of her former companions. Bottled Rage is another great way of raising the effectiveness of the skeletons.
The one card that I am really looking forward to pairing Sylvanas with is Deathwing. Since his printing, the Black Dragon Aspect has been looking for a solid home. He was touted as a potential Master Hero for aggro decks, but he required too many cards to be in play at the same time to make that a reality. In this way he acted as the ultimate “win more” card up until now. Now, this is a two card combo, say around turns six to seven, that is very difficult to disrupt in the current Core environment. If you can manage to set up a Sylvanas for 5 skeletons on turn 6 or beyond, you have the 12 in play cards to play the Destroyer. That’s a pretty easy combo and chances are you had to have an aggressive start to fill the graveyard in time for Slyvannas anyway, so Deathwing should finish the game in short order (or at least give you enough health to survive the few turns for him to do his dirty work). Unless additional graveyard friendly cards are printed to make this an even easier venture, Deathwing may finally fulfill his role as the potential aggro finisher.
In case you cannot tell, I am excited about the opportunities that Sylvanas brings to the table, but we do not want to forget about our second card: Nox the Lifedrainer!
Talk about a powerhouse finisher! Outside of Warlocks and Hunters, or the occasional Warrior delaying tactic, stopping allies as large as Nox is sure to be is a difficult gesture. With his cost of seven he seems like a control card, but he is clearly a mid range finisher designed to end the game in a turn. If you can manage to give him Ferocity on the cheap, he will end games immediately. I believe Nox will be a standout star in Limited, with so few ways of actually dealing with him. Time will tell if Crown of the Heavens will shift Aftermath Block Limited away from its tempo nature to where you can most likely control the board and sneak in enough damage for Nox’s “Soul Swap-lite” effect to end the game.
Crown is shaping up to be one of the most exciting sets printed in some time, and it should be sure to shake up the Core landscape. I look forward to any combos you may find with Sylvanas and Nox in the forums and make sure to tune in tomorrow for another great (monstrous) preview!