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zeromage

Radagast and Saruman

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I actually don't think all Wizards should work with the top card of your deck, I'd even say that's something only Gandalf should do. My personal vision of Istari heroes is that they should be neutral, and each should have their own gimmick NOT to play with the top card, but to gain recource icons in order to play stuff. Gandalf gains the icon of the top card of your deck, but Radagast could do that for your discard pile (though in my custom version I could never make that work), or maybe Saruman can play 1 sphered card per phase, but that card gains Doomed, something like that. Though I could understand if they didn't do this if they wanted Wizard Pipe to work with all Istari, but that's really unnecessary IMO.

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Ive been thinking a lot about your fan cards. The more I think I about them, the more I think they should definitely use these for the game. They are very thematic, especially with all the doomed cards from The Voice of Isengard Expansion. Perfect with Grima, the only thing I would change would be to reduce his willpower to 2. This is along the paradigm of Gandalf's stats, his heroe stats are 1 less than  his ally stats. Otherwise I'm honestly thinking of printing this as a House card. I really want to play pure theme in the Voice of Isengard Expansion with Rohan, but they possess only one lore hero. Saruman and one other lore hero would balance this, and be perfectly thematic

 

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What about a Radagast hero, neutral, plays with top card revealed, once per turn can pay for the top card of the deck if it's eagle or ent, half its cost rounding up?  This would be perfect as he was a servant of Yavanna.

Radagast was also said to be a "changer of shapes", they could make a double sided hero, both sides have different stats/abilities?

Radagast was a "master of hues", could once per turn pay for any card as if he has printed sphere.

Thoughts?

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Plat the top card of your deck would be very close to gandalf effect. What about that:

Radagast 11 threat
1 willpower
1 attack
3 defense
6 PV
Play with the top card of your deck revealed. As long the top card of your deck is an eagle each eagle ally gain +1 willpower and +1 defense
Action: discard the top card of your deck to choose an eagle ally in your discard pile: put that ally on the top of your deck. (limit: once per round)

Saruman 12
0 willpower
4 attack
3 defense
5 pv
Choose an ally. Raise your threat by one and give it +2 willpower or +2 attack. Discard this ally at the end of the turn. (Limit: once per round)

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Hate Saruman? It is really better to have 0 willpower instead of 1 but costing 1 threat less. There is already too many 2/2/2/4 heroes so I like to dispatch more the points. Raise the threat seem logical because the doomed ability is build around orthanc. I think sacrifice the ally is quite normal. You can already abuse from many 0/1/2 allies cost. The best ones are the two Rohan and the eagle who already have to die at the end of the phase.

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I have a whole set of Istari custom cards that I've designed that I keep updating when I think of improvements. These are the things on my design checklist for Saruman and Radagast in particular:

Saruman:

  • Combos well with doomed
  • Combos well with Grima
  • Combos well with Gandalf
  • Combos well with Wizard Pipe
  • Still useful outside the above combos
  • Is neutral, but is able to use his resource pool to play cards of any sphere under some restrictions (this is what I feel should be the unifying Istari mechanic, rather than "play with your top card faceup", which is redundant when you control multiple Istari).
  • Ability is not a wall of text (this one is the hardest to abide by!)

Radagast:

  • Combos well with Creatures, and Eagles especially
  • Combos well with Gandalf
  • Combos well with Wizard Pipe
  • Still useful outside the above combos
  • Is neutral, but is able to use his resource pool to play cards of any sphere under some restrictions.
  • Ability is not a wall of text.

So as you can see I impose a lot of demands upon each card, and it's tough to fulfill them all while keeping the ability short. But below you can see my most recent attempt and let me know your thoughts. I come up with new ideas for these characters every few months so I won't be offended if you don't like this particular version! As an exercise, I invite you to consider how each ability fulfills the above bullet points.

Name U Type Sphere Traits Keywords C E T W A D H Q V Text
Saruman Y Hero Neutral Istari. Isengard.   13     2 4 3 5     Reduce the X value of the first doomed X triggered each round by 1.

Action: Look at and arrange the top 3 cards of your deck. Then, you may trigger doomed 1 to draw the top card and give Saruman a matching printed resource icon until the end of the round.
Limit once per round.
Radagast Y Hero Neutral Istari.   12     3 1 3 5     Radagast gains a printed resource icon matching the top card of your discard pile.

Action: Discard the top card of your deck. If that card is a Creature ally, you may spend 1 resource to put it into play. At the end of the round, discard it from play.
Limit once per round.
                               
                               
                               
Edited by Seastan

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1 hour ago, Seastan said:

I have a whole set of Istari custom cards that I've designed that I keep updating when I think of improvements.

These are fun! I like the overall concepts.

Re: Saruman, can a player really "trigger Doomed 1"? It's obvious what you mean, but currently player card Doomed is only defined as quoted below, so I think you'd need an extra rule of some sort:

Quote

If a player card with the Doomed X keyword is played or put into play, each player must raise his threat level by the specified value.

 

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15 hours ago, sappidus said:

These are fun! I like the overall concepts.

Re: Saruman, can a player really "trigger Doomed 1"? It's obvious what you mean, but currently player card Doomed is only defined as quoted below, so I think you'd need an extra rule of some sort:

 

I figure it's pretty obvious what you're supposed to do here, but yes the rules for doomed would technically need to be extended to cover this.

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On 5/3/2018 at 2:22 PM, Gizlivadi said:

At this point I don't even care half as much as I did before what our possible Saruman and Radagast heroes would do... I just want Caleb to get on with it and make them. After pretty much 2 cycles mostly comprising some very tertiary characters or FFG created characters, it's long due for us to get some powerful Istari for a change...

I couldn't agree more. I left the game at the beginning of the harad cycle but I'm looking to get back in now that its over. I'm still blown away there's no Saruman or radagast. I play this game specifically for the Tolkien stuff. Some ffg characters are fine but id like the stars to be characters I love from the stories. I'd also love to see a powerful lore galadriel hero. 

Sauron was afraid to attack Lorien pretty much just because of her after all. 

Edited by zeromage

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Cool ideas here, put me down for wanting a Saruman hero as well. I would love to see something like

Saruman 12

Willpower 1

Attack 4

Defense 3

Hit Points 5

Istari, Isenguard

Ranged

Action: Exhaust Saruman and spend all resources from his resource pool to put the top card from your deck into play, this does not require a resource match. That card gains doomed 2.

Whenever you raise your threat from the doomed keyword, deal 1 damage to an enemy in the staging area. 

 

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So I was thinking more about Saruman and palantir today, and how they might combo with the Istari trait. I thought of this:

"Play with the top card of the encounter deck face-up. While the top card of the encounter deck has 'doomed x' keyword, Saruman is considered to have leadership, lore, spirit, and tactics resource icon. At the end of the round, the players, as a group, must raise their threat by X where X is the threat of the top card of the encounter deck."

This works well with palantir because you get the top card for free. It's also a form of scrying, but dangerous to play in single player since you have to take the threat hit yourself. While there are others playing with you, you get the benefit of being able to spread out the threat, but only a portion of the flipped cards. I also must point out that as shadow cards are dealt out, there is no player action window, so you avoid the game breaking possibility of all shadows being dealt *essentially* faced up (flipped before they are passed out).

This version kind of whiffs on the wizard pipe, unless you can get some mining involved or you are trading junk for the top of your deck. But I was curious to see what you guys think, if this is too powerful or what stats go well with this version. The doomed x keyword makes him appealing only in specific scenarios.

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1 hour ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

Gandalf's, and therefore Saruman's, ability is a passive effect; not an action. In this case, shadow cards would be common knowledge. You could change it to "Action: turn the top card of the encounter deck face-up . . ." AFAIK that would avoid the problem.

My worry is that with an action, if it is not triggered near the end of the round, players can avoid the threat jump. I get the issue however, so maybe a card effect like this is not possible, at least the way I am envisioning it to be.

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I just want Caleb to get on with it and make them, honestly. With the very slow pace of releases and previews the game has lost A LOT of momentum for me, and I don't think I'm the only one. At this point I just want the game to get more Wizard heroes seeing everything else is being covered.

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1 hour ago, Gizlivadi said:

I just want Caleb to get on with it and make them, honestly. With the very slow pace of releases and previews the game has lost A LOT of momentum for me, and I don't think I'm the only one. At this point I just want the game to get more Wizard heroes seeing everything else is being covered.

Maybe they're saving the big guns for last, like last ap elrond style or for next deluxe.

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21 hours ago, Zura said:

Maybe they're saving the big guns for last, like last ap elrond style or for next deluxe.

I think you're right (I hope you're right, assuming we're ever getting R&S heroes), especially considering what Caleb said in an article about saving up and spacing out important characters to keep player's attention. The difference with Elrond was that he was released in the second cycle of the game. The problem with saving the big guns for last, particularly when the game has slowed down to a pace that's less than half of what it used to be, is that players eventualy get tired of waiting.

I mean, sure, we might get them in the very last release of the game. But is it really worth it when during the game's life itself, when you actually got to play and test new quests and see the game evolve, you never got to play with them?

Edited by Gizlivadi

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Last AP of cycles (so far)

Mirkwood: Dain Ironfoot

Dwarrowdelf: Elrond

AtS: TaTheoden

Ringmaker: Erkenbrand

Angmar: Arwen

Dreamchaser: TaImrahil

Haradrim: Quickbeam

Some big hitters here, Dain, Elrond and Arwen are definitely power-deck staples.  How did Erkenbrand make it on this list?

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3 hours ago, dalestephenson said:

How did Erkenbrand make it on this list?

More wondering about Tactics Theoden and Quickbeam... Not that either are terrible, but both are fairly niche. Also, it's interesting the 3 out of the 7 are tactics.

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Theoden is at least a big name in the books, while Erkenbrand doesn't get a line of dialogue (he does get some praise in his absence, though).  I personally have used TaTheoden more than Erkenbrand, I don't think he's any more niche than SpTheoden -- he's a decktype enabler, not a utility hero.

Quickbeam's problem is just that he's too recent.  If he'd been around in Ringmaker/Angmar times he'd be in a host of Ent decks, and I think he'd make an outstanding tactics splash in any lore/lore/tactics deck.  Self-readying hero with 2/4/1/5 stats?  Not niche.

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I just meant that TaQuickbeam seems best suited to work as a splash card into Lore decks. His utility seems quite low when paired with Spirit or Leadership (you'd be better off running Beorn, I'd argue). Likewise, TaTheoden works far-and-away best with mono-Tactics decks, and his utility is dramatically reduced outside of that combination. They just don't compare with Dain, Elrond, and Arwen.  Basically, I'm not convinced that there's enough evidence for the "final AP pack will have a big hero reveal" hypotheses.

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