Are you ready?
…bow to the Monsters…
…break it down!
Apologies, but I just couldn’t resist that somewhat degenerate entrance. My name is Jaron Tomsky (A.K.A. Vylokx of Tier Fun infamy) and if you’re at all like me and adore all things Monster then boy oh boy do I have some tasty treats in store for you today. I proudly present your Crown of the Heavens lineup of Monster heroes, along with a few choice Monster allies that perhaps a few of you might be anticipating to boot. So let’s kick off this “Viva Los Monstruos” bash with our first official Demon hero (woo to the hoo!) since way back in the March of the Legion block. Meet my all-new second favorite hero of all time (behind Obliveron, of course), Tyrus:
Oh yeah, this Demon hero will do nicely! Wait a minute; do I recall picking up a quest or six from this surly Satyr in the MMO? Well, it looks like a certain cloven-hoofed celebrity has made the leap from pixels to playmats in most excellent style. I simply can’t resist such a powerful permanent flip that can routinely come to fruition as a consequence of ruthless Demon aggression, and then rewards a board full of malevolent henchmen (hero, pets, and other as-of-yet unseen Monster Demon recruits included) with the potential to completely void and null my opponent’s entire hand. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d also like to mention that revealing Tyrus’ horrifically awesome art in fully-flipped glory is just the perfect morbid cherry on top.
Monster Demon rush decks, with a few Warlock-only tricks to get flipped fast such as Searing Pain or Bottled Void, could be a dreadfully fun new archetype to build around and play in both Limited and Constructed formats. Let’s not forget Mr. Blackhorn has the wicked capability as a Warlock to search out any crucial finisher Demon (perhaps to be named later…wait for it!) or Commander Ulthok via Summoning Portal. Also, for those of you that appreciate a bit of Classic love in your previews, I’ve got two words for you: Unholy Power!
Moving right along, here comes our second-ever Ogre Hero:
Any player has to appreciate that extra rotund Ogre health, right at first glance. For Grok’thol, it seems as though size matters all around, as once you’ve got enough beef with 6 or more ATK on board to flip, his Smash and Assault 3 might just be all he’ll need to drop all foes at once. As long as this Warlord promises to do the renowned celebratory Ogre dance at the end of the carnage, I’m game!
Also, I know that more than a few players have been anxiously awaiting any Monster Hero that can pack Devout Aurastone Hammer, specifically to churn out a Commander Ulthok pronto. Gentleman and gentlewomen, start your acceleration engines! Perhaps you might plausibly attain his flip requirements with a solid curve of naturally high-ATK Ogre brethren, or with some cheap weenies boosted by a single Frozen Frenzy for the win, or possibly even a board full of nature-type Monsters, Crul’korak, and a single Primal Strike or Infusion of Earth. With all of this strong potential, it really wouldn’t surprise me if this portly powerhouse is ready to take the top tables by storm right out of the gate.
Next up, let’s take a trip to a much kinder and gentler neck of the woods:
So that’s what our brand new Harmonize keyword does, eh? I definitely consider dropping allies ahead of schedule every turn to be a thing of pure beauty. Remember a minute ago when I mentioned some potential Monster acceleration shenanigans? Well, if you enjoy getting your big green, or neutral, bombs at a major discount rate then Arisella is clearly the Dryad arms dealer for you. Being able to drop such costly tide-turners as Edwin VanCleef, Ulthok, Ozumat, and many more a turn or two sooner for the duration of the game could be extremely difficult for any opposing deck to overcome.
My initial thoughts are that a quick and easy flip might be reached with a single self-duplicating Unstable Corruption brought out even earlier with Shadowfang Keep, or alternatively Gift of the Earthmother attached to any ally with a health value of 4 or more springs to mind. However you reach your goal, I think you’ll find that we can all appreciate the refreshing harmony of nature just a bit more when we decide to go green.
What’s this? You may have assumed that was the end of the new Monster Hero showcase for this set, but I’ve got yet another game-changer to show you and this…thing is definitely not like the others:
Bet you didn’t see that one coming (unless you were just skimming ahead and read this part first, cheeky)! This wild Monster hero is just like school in the summertime: no class. After you recover from that knee-slapper, note the 11 extra health and ridiculous omni-removal activated power post-flip, only with Iso’rath you’ll have to pay a whopping 10 resources to get your full package of monstrous benefits. That’s right; there are no shortcuts for this tentacled terror. He looks like the kind of fellow that enjoys taking his time with a meal, so if all goes well your opponents will find a new definition of pain and suffering as they are slowly digested over a thousand years...or until time is called, whichever comes first.
This oddity actually reminds me a lot of the truly old-school Demon heroes such as Pinprik, in that an optimal deck will have to be built with a very unique and cautious approach due to some huge built-in bonuses and drawbacks, but the benefits could pay off big-time in the right metagame. The enhanced hand size might also become a major factor in Limited games if you can somehow draft or construct a sealed deck around a great curve of only Monsters and neutral abilities while avoiding class cards entirely, including equipment. I’ll also be very interested to see if there are any neutral abilities in this set that directly support this servant of the Old Gods. Time will tell if this intriguing freak has what it takes to make it in the competitive scene, but I already give this thing a perfect score in the originality department. If you decide to give Iso’rath a shot you’ll have to be willing to try something risky yet tenacious, and embrace both the good and the bad, just as you would a free cup of cursed frozen yogurt; which I call fro-gurt!
Phew! That’s certainly a lot of great stuff to digest already, especially in the case of Iso’rath and his digestive system, but wait…there is more indeed! I’ve also been given the amazing privilege of presenting a select few rare Monster allies that may very well find residence in our future Monster decks. Okay, I admit one could even pack them in a favorite Horde and Alliance creation, if those golden oldies still float your boat. Behold:
Once this visage appears on your side of the table your Hero and allies are in for unprecedented life boon. Aessina is quite the generous gift giver with an astonishing +10 health to each and every friendly living creature. However, with great power comes a bit of a high price tag at a cost of seven, but with the Elusive keyword to keep her safe from attackers and hastened by an abundance of acceleration options she just might end up making the difference down the stretch between a win and a loss in any format.
Arisella, Daughter of Cenarius seems like a natural fit for Aessina, but even Iso’rath, with his starting health value of 21 and lack of class abilities, appears to be a potential runt of the Hero litter that might benefit most from a big boost of late-game tender love and care. That is, right before the burly beast gobbles up every enemy in sight…to wit, “om nom nom nom.”
I’ve got one more hors d'oeuvre for your viewing pleasure, and you might say I’ve been saving my personal best for last. Courtesy of my win at the 2011 DMF Las Vegas Hero Challenge, and ready to rock you like a Monster Demon Satyr Warlock hurricane, here I am:
Wow-ee wow wow!!! Vylokx…must…compose…self…too…much…happy…happy…joy…joy!
All righty then, I think I’m fully composed now…or at least as much as I ever was. Basically, it appears that my namesake will be typically entering play on turn 6 as some sort of crazy hybrid of board-wiping Fel Blaze and Aspect of the Wild/Grand Crusader-like pump for all Demon and Monster allies in my party only (i.e. my homeboys) and on a solid 5/5 frame that can stack! Ladies and gentle-demons, I think we just found our shining star for Monsters in Constructed. Yep, I think I can work with this.
I would have even been cool with a 1/1 blank ally named after me, but I suppose Baby Murloc already had that niche covered. Tyrus Blackhorn and I already seem to be a match made in Demon heaven, if you’ll pardon the oxymoron, but I could see Vylokx fitting snugly as a finisher into a lot of other established Monster archetypes such as Grglmrgl. Oh, and I mustn’t neglect to once again mention the astounding artwork by one of my absolute favorite artists, Genzoman (Gonzalo Ordóñez Arias)! That’ll do, CZE, that’ll do.
I think it’s now safe to say that I won’t be the only one hoping to crack one or two of this bad boy at an upcoming Crown of the Heavens Sneak Preview. Can you say Vylokx equals Limited Monster bomb? I’ll be your best friend if you say it out loud, Timriv. My only concern now, after having my ultimate dream come true in absurdly overwhelming fashion, is how I’m going to find a way to continue building diverse fun decks for my weekly Tier Fun column when I’ll be compelled to add 4 Vylokx to the first line of every single decklist until the end of time! #TwistingNetherProblems
I’ll leave you with one obligatory final thought: Both Obliveron and Xia can play me! Man, I’ve always wanted to say that.
Viva Los Demonios! (Now including: me!)
~Vylokx / Jaron Tomsky