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Offline AfdarentyTopic starter

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10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Writing http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=62084.msg1234404#msg1234404
« on: June 01, 2016, 02:18:06 PM »
Phase 1 Voting - Writing Tasks

Links to the other Phase 1 Voting threads:
10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Deckbuilding
10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Card Design
10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Miscellaneous

This is your chance to choose your favourite Phase 1 Task submissions - the tasks with the most points will earn bonus points. You can submit 1 vote for each category of Phase 1 tasks, which are:
  • Deckbuilding
    • The Trials #2 Task, Waging War against the False Gods
    • The Trials #5 Task, Aiding your Allies
  • Writing
    • The Trials #1 Task, Mastering the Cards
    • The Trials #9 Task, Being a War Reporter
  • Card Design
    • The Trials #3 Task, Improving the Future
    • The Trials #4 Task, Shard Revolution
  • Miscellaneous
    • The Trials #6 Task, Building the Game
    • The Trials #8 Task, Starting your own Little War

Anyone who registered their accounts before the posting of the 10th Trials - Rules is eligible to vote. To vote, simply rank the submissions below, starting with 1 as best. You don't have to rank all the submissions, just rank the ones you think were good. Please be sure to include the username and task name while voting. Votes will be counted by the alternate voting system. (Here's a nifty video explaining it)

Spoiler for Example votes:
e.g. if the 5 submission for Task X were by Wyrm, Pegasus, Psion, Gargoyle and Lycanthrope:

1 - Wyrm - Task X
2 - Pegasus - Task X
3 - Psion - Task X
4 - Gargoyle - Task X
5 - Lycanthrope - Task X

This is a valid vote.

1 - Wyrm - Task X
2 - Pegasus - Task X
3 - Psion - Task X

This is valid. You can rank all the ones you thought were decent and just ignore the rest.

1 - Wyrm - Task X
4 - Pegasus - Task X
2 - Psion - Task X
3 - Gargoyle - Task X

This is valid; but please ensure that the ranks are in order so that we can easily count votes.

1 - Wyrm - Task X
2 - Pegasus - Task X
2 - Psion - Task X

This is invalid. Please don't tie votes.

3 - Wyrm - Task X
2 - Pegasus - Task X
4 - Psion - Task X

This is invalid, since there's no vote for 1st place. Please start voting at 1 and go up.

Please send your votes for the writing category by sending a forum PM to Zawadx, Physsion and Afdarenty with the title "Phase 1 Vote - Writing".

Phase 1 voting will end in:
Phase 1 voting has ended!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 02:38:36 PM by Afdarenty »

Offline AfdarentyTopic starter

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Re: 10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Writing http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=62084.msg1234405#msg1234405
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2016, 02:18:29 PM »
The tasks:

     
Spoiler for Trials #1 Task, Mastering the Cards (Part 1 of 4):
         
Spoiler for Zawadx:
From Trials #1:
Mastering the Cards

Fractal

Fractal anything is viable? Right? Well it is, but there are some conditions. Fractal is a decent/justifiable card when cast on any creature, but decent/justifiable isn't enough to be the core of a competitive deck. For that, fractal has to be used on a creature which makes its effect worthwhile. These typically fall into four classes:

For now, I'm just gonna discuss Fractal Rush Creatures.

Combining fractal with 0-2 cost creatures can allow you to just unload an army of hitters the same turn as you fractal. With a stable quanta base, these creatures are usually out of your hand by the turn after you fractal. Since this strategy allows you to play 8 copies of a creature using just two cards within the first 4-6 turns, you really want to leverage the damage and be able to set your opponent up for the kill. So having at least 4 attack, as 8 4 attack creatures are enough to kill in three turns with 4 extra damage done beforehand.

Unupped, no creature can fit the criteria to make a Fractal rush. Horned frog comes close, but 3 attack is much slower than 4 attack (needs one more turn at least, and playing just one of the creatures beforehand isn't enough to ensure the required damage). Upped however, several creatures fit:

Minor Phoenix: 4 attack is a decent sweet spot, and it is in-element with deflagration so shields pose no threat. The CC resistance is just icing on the cake. Don't expect these guys to counter mass cc like Thunderstorm or Rain of Fire however; the one turn of damage lost and :fire spent reviving them is usually too much to recover from.

Graviton Guard: 4|7 is pretty much perfect for 2 mana, as this just ignores all cc and goes on hitting. Gravity does not have the best support for it however, though Chimaera can  be an out for shield bypass (or a Panic button if needed), Titan can augment the rush and Chargers act as another brand of fractal target (more on that later)

Giant Frog: 5 attack for 2 cost? Wow! Except, 5 attack is usually not to be faster than 4 attack. If you have 8 of these post fractal, you still need 3 turns for the kill. It does give some leeway vs shields however, which is necessary since :life does provide any form of pc or shield bypass… or any support really. However they are decent hitters played alone, and so can often take the game with sheer power.
 
Ball Lightning: 5 attack for 0 cost? Amazing! Except it just dies at the end of the turn, so you need multiple fractals to actually get the win. Which requires you to draw better, the bane of a rush deck.



Spark (and Phase Salvager)

Spark has unique position of providing the best damage-to-cost  ratio for any creature in the game. However, its normal effect is not a creature but rather a damage spell that only hits the opponent and is affected by shields. Which is… not a good thing. To make up however, Spark has some of the strongest combo potential for such a vanilla card. It is honestly an amazingly designed card , with such a simple aesthetic and mechanic but so many combos.

SoPa + Aflatoxin: This is mostly a grinder combo, since it's very slow in PvP. But spark provides the best malignant cell generator with SoPa, since you can play it after you've played SoP and still get the malignant cell. SoPa alone also makes the spark an amazing hitter, but it has very low HP and is too slow to grow without any inherent defense.

Fractal + Sky Blitz: While just fractal on Sparks is usually not enough to finish the game, Sky Blitz can function as a better second fractal. And using a pend base, you can get it out faster! Throw in some damsels for a wicked fun deck.

Immolation: Spark functions as great damage to add to an immo deck, and is the perfect imo fodder at 0 cost. Immo+Spark forms the foundation of some of the fastest PvP and grinder decks around.

What about Phase Salvager? Yeah it has an interesting mechanic, but costing quanta makes it pretty useless :/



Silence

Silence is a card that's often thought of playable. In reality, it fills a very special niche: ensuring you can push damage without opponent interfering with pesky cards. It's denial effect is the most potent in the game, but the trade of 1 card for 1 turn does make it pretty weak. So you must build your deck to maximize the value of Silence, and for that synergy is a must.

Parallel Universe/Fractal offer in-element synergy with Silence due to their bursty nature. If your opponent is a domin, silence can easily ensure your field survives the turn. If you want to stick silence in a burst deck, however, be sure to optimize it so that the job can be done in as few silences as possible.

Nightmare is an amazing card for any dark domin. One of its main perks is that it puts the opponent at 8 cards during his draw phase, preventing a draw from the opponent. Silencing during that time lets you stop the draw for two turns straight! While the combo is a bit inconsistent, it can be very strong vs decks  which rely on drawing its own combos.

Denial cards such as Devourer and Discord can be utilized alongside Silence to have denial for  a longer duration. Just as the quanta is stabilizing for the opponent, you can silence him to stop him for further turns. This is not very strong though, so your deck should include a bursty PU/fractal wincon to make the silences worthwhile.
         
         
Spoiler for ProBacon:
From Trials 1: Mastering the Cards
   Fractal- Fractal is an interesting card that has many uses. Some decks it can be used in are ones that use low level creatures as the base. Get one out then play Fractal to then spam your field with the tiny devils! Another way to use Fractal is to build up your quanta for bigger creature (such as dragons) and then playing the Fractal on one of them to get out a few more big hitters for massive damage in just a few turns. There are a few cards in particular that Fractal goes great with. One such card is Ray of Light. Fractaling a 0 drop that produces light is a scary thought, especially if you are packing Hopes in your deck. Another small creature that Fractal goes well with is Devourer/Pest. Pest ( I will use pest for the sake of typing) by itself is an annoying card that is good for control. The more Pests you have the less quanta your foe has. One last creature that Fractal works well with is another Aether card, Psion. Spell damage can only be stopped by two shields, and what if your foe is not packing those shields? Then you can use fractal to amass your Psion army that can’t be stopped. The best way to utilize Fractal is to have one or two creatures that you are going to make copies of. For the best result they should be from the same element if you want more than one. ALWAYS keep at least one of whatever creature in your hand just incase for whatever reason you lose all the rest. Focus on generating the quanta of the creature(s) you wish to fractal, only because getting 10 of any quanta is easier than getting around 30ish to play many creatures on the same turn.

   Dimensional Shield- The Dim Shield is fun little guy that is loved by hundreds and hated by thousands. For 6 (or 5) it protects you from almost all sources of damage for 3 turns. Because of this, some FG decks use it to buy time for the end game. Any card that takes some time to play (i.e. getting the quanta to play it) is helped by the Dim because the Dim buys time for you to get what you need. This is why most mono-Aether decks will pack a few. One card that goes really well with the Dim Shield is Fractal. In a mono-Aether deck, Fractal takes all the quanta you need, so that means you need some time to build back your quanta to play what you fractaled. A good example of this combo is in a Psiontal deck. Play a Dim to get a few turns to Fractal a Psion and play more the next few turns while you are protected. Another card that goes well with the Dim is Antimatter. Over the time that I have played Elements I have had some success with a Dim Shield/Antimatter stall. Sit behind your Dims and AM your foes strong creatures so when you can’t play a shield you are fine until you get another. Enchant Artifact is yet another card that goes well with the Dim Shield. This one is self explanatory, a shield that prevents almost all types of damage that you can’t destroy. Scary Stuff. The best way to utilize the Dim Shield is to just play them in succession. Wait until the shield has no turns left and play another one for 3 more turns of protection. Start the chain when you see that your foe is dealing massive damage. If you are only taking 5 damage and you start the chain, there is a chance you might run out before you can defeat your foe.

   Parallel Universe- Do you like your 12 | 12 Skeleton? Then why not have two of them! That’s right folks, for just 7 Aether quanta you can create an exact copy of your favorite card! With this card you can set up many combos. One combo with Sky Blitz works wonders as a FG killer combo. Get a creature, buff it up, Sky Blitz to double the attack power then PU your new strong creature to have two to then in turn quadruple your original damage. Another card that is a fun friend of Parallel Universe is the Wyrm. Dive, PU, dive, PU, dive, PU. Scary combo to say the least. Doubling the attack to then copy which leads to that doubled attack being doubled, another great FG killer combo. Another card combo that works well with PU is Voodoo Doll. This combo is featured in the funny deck (that works) It’s a Trap. You buff the defence of your Voodoo Doll then PU it so you can have another doll to soak up all that damage. The best way to utilize the Parallel Universe is to get a creature that is a big hitter (or in the Voodoo Doll case a big defender) then PU it to make another one. If you want you can use it on a weaker creature although unless you can support the buffing of more than one creature, it is recommended that you buff a creature then PU it.
         
         
Spoiler for Regyptic:
Mastering the Cards

Spoiler for Spark|Ball Lightning:
Spark|Ball Lightning

Overview
Spark and Ball Lightning are great examples of cards that are mostly useless by themselves, but can shine when used in combos with other cards. They can take on many different roles, such as fodder for Immolation or Mutation based decks or as a target for buff spells such as Blessing and Shard of Patience.

Hints and Tips
Spark and Ball Lightning are airborne and can bypass Wings and be effected by Shard of Freedom and Sky Blitz.
Use Spark as an alternative to Photons in Immolation rushes as fodder as well as an alternative source of damage, especially in restricted PvP rulesets or if you also splash cheap buff cards like Chaos Power, Plate Armor or Blessing.
As Sparks will die on the turn they are placed, they can be a great way to quickly produce death effects to increase stacks on a Bonewall, or generate quanta with Soul Catchers.

Cards that work well with Spark
Chaos Power - In an upgraded deck this combo could potentially give you a 10|5 Ball Lightning for only 1 quanta. With Towers or Nova, this should be easy to pull off on the first turn of a game.
Shard of Patience – A great way to buff multiple Sparks. Not only can it buff all the Sparks and other creatures on your field at once, it will also stick around to buff up the next Spark you draw. With Spark having 0 cost this can be a very cheap way to get fast damage.
Fractal – This can often be used as a finisher, a full hand of Ball Lightnings will deal 40 damage by themselves. This can also be used as the start of a bigger combo. For example, double down on the burst damage with a Sky Blitz, use the mass buff of a Shard of Patience to keep all of your new creatures alive and dangerous or use the quick rush of death effects to boost a dying Bonewall.

Sample Deck
Patient Balls
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
7hi 7hi 7hi 7hi 7hi 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 808 809 809 809 809 809 809 80i 80i 80i 80i 80i 80i 8pp

With this deck you usually only need 1 turn of Shard of Patience after a Fractal to keep you Ball Lightnings alive before beating down your opponents in a couple of turns. This deck can easily manage 5 turn wins with huge rush damage.

Spoiler for Parallel Universe|Twin Universe:
Parallel Universe|Twin Universe

Overview
Double-up buffs such as Blessing, Momentum or Adrenaline.
This also gives you the benefit of effectively increasing your draw chance of your high priority creatures as once you have

Hints and Tips
When Parallel Universe is used on a creature that has doubled its attack with the Dive ability, the copied creature will retain this doubled attack until Dive is reactivated.
Copied creatures will not be able to use active abilities on the same turn that they are created, even if the original creature would be able to.
Multiple Parallel Universe cards can be used to get lots of damage on the field quickly, providing great burst damage. This is a popular strategy for many PvP and False God farming decks.
If used on a Chimera, Parallel Universe will combine all creatures on your field, as if a Chimera card was played from your hand, rather than creating a second Chimera.
Parallel Universe will also copy negative effects such as Poison.

Cards that work well with Parallel Universe
Crimson Dragon – What’s better than one dragon? Two Dragons! Parallel Universe works well with any high powered creature such as a Dragon to give you twice the fire power without having to pay twice the quanta cost. As the highest attack dragon, Crimson Dragon is a great choice for this combo. Upgraded you can be getting a second 15 attack, 12 :fire cost creature for only 6 :aether.
Voodoo Doll – When a Voodoo Doll is copied any damage it has taken will instantly be reapplied to the opponent. This strategy can be used to deal large amounts of unblockable damage and is the basis for one of the most efficient anti False God  decks around.
Mutation – Copying a creature affected by Mutation will apply another stat boost to the creature and give it a new active ability. Parallel Universe allows you to take your most powerful mutant and create one that is even stronger.

Sample Deck
Voodoo Bravery
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
4vj 4vj 4vj 4vj 4vj 4vj 74d 74d 74d 77l 77l 77l 77l 77l 77l 7ee 7ee 7ee 7ee 7ee 7tg 7tg 7tg 808 808 808 808 80b 80b 80b 8po

Voodoo Bravery is a popular and efficient False God farming deck. It makes use of Twin Universes effect of reapplying the damage taken to a copied Voodoo Doll to quickly burst down False Gods even from 200HP.

Spoiler for Lobotomizer|Electrocutor:
Lobotomizer|Electrocutor

Overview
Lobotomizer is one of a handful of cards that can single-handedly counter many strategies by itself. Any deck that relies on active abilities can be in serious trouble if one of this hits the table early. Whether your opponent is playing Firefly Queens, Nymph Queens or Steam Machines just one Lobotomizer can ruin their day. It can stop Chargers or Psions from breaking through your shields or shut down the Otyugh that keeps eating all of you creatures. This card is an excellent additions to any Aether deck.

Hints and Tips
Lobotomizer does not affect passives such as Devourer or Voodoo Dolls abilities.
A creature that was Lobotomized on the previous turn will not be able to use the abilities from Mitosis or Butterfly Effect on the turn they are played.
As well as removing the ability to grow its attack, Lobotomizing a Steam Machine will stop it from losing damage each turn.
Malignant Cells infest ability can be Lobotomized to stop them from replicating.

Cards that work well with Lobotomizer
Psion – For when your opponent drops a Reflective Shield to shoot your Psion’s spell attacks right back at you, all you need is a Lobotomizer to remove your Psion’s spell damage ability and switch them to punching your opponent instead (at least that’s what I imagine they do).
Dimensional Shield – While Lobotomizer is largely overshadowed by everyone’s favourite super shield, the combination of these two cards makes Aether’s famous defence even more impenetrable. While cards like Momentum, Blue Nymphs or Psions might be a counter to the shield by itself, an early Lobotomizer can quickly change that.
Lightning – Lightning and Lobotomizer can help cover gaps in each other’s defences. Lobotomizer can neutralise some higher HP creatures, such as Nymph Queen, that would require 2 Lightnings to remove, while Lightning can take out those creatures that are simply damage threats. While opponents can try to get around Lobotomizer by playing 2 of a creature in one turn, extra creature control from Lightning can help cut out both of these threats before they can make the most of their abilities.

Sample Deck
RoL/Hope
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
5lk 5lk 5lk 5lk 7jp 7jp 7jp 7jp 7jp 7jp 7jq 7jq 808 808 808 808 808 80e 80e 80e 80i 80i 80i 80i 80i 81q 81q 81q 81q 81q 8pu

A popular and relatively cheap False God grinding deck. While it can be used without Lobotomizer, including 2 or 3 provides a large boost to win rate, neutralising Gods such as Fire Queen and Osiris if one is drawn early, and giving the deck a chance against several other False Gods such as the Unstoppable and Elite Charger using Dark Matter.
         
         
Spoiler for deuce22:
Task 1
Card 1 – Silence
Breaks chaining cards, similar to CC in a rush but ultimately less effective, can use to OTK or 2TK
Rol hope, monoaether, silent dragons

Silence is one of the least used cards in aether, but it is far from the least useful. When used in rushes, it can be viewed as a weaker form of CC.  For example, take a monoaether rush like psiontal and compare it with using lightning vs silence. Silence prevents your opponent from both adding creatures to his side as well as killing your creatures, thus slowing your opponent. This is most effective when chaining silence. However, silence is more expensive than lightning, and your opponent can catch up quickly once the chain breaks. Thus, silence is rarely used in rushes. The best rush that it combos with is PU ruby dragons. Rubies hit hard but are very susceptible to CC, so the silence chain protects them and when used in combo with deflag can lead to 3 straight turns of unopposed damage. However, the most common deck that silence is used is in a stall with fractal as a second win condition. RoL hope is the best example of this as you can easily OTK, but a single silence in the deck can be used to break a dim shield chain for the win.

Card 2 – psion
Monoaether rush, AM duo, Blessed/CP
Lobo often needed

Psions are one of the newest additions to aether, even though they’ve been around for the last couple years. When they first appeared on the scene, many people doubted their potential power, including Higs. I immediately recognized their potential when they came out during war 5, but had to wait til war 6 to unleash them upon the masses. As many are now aware, they are best used in a monoaether paired with fractal or upped spiders (rushier, but weaker against stalls). While the attack/cost ratio is not ideal, lightning and dims are 2 of the strongest control cards in the game and fractal allows you to keep spamming. Also, using both spiders and psions will limit the usefulness of any shields your opponent may have. Outside of monoaether, they aren’t used very much. Because they are countered by reflect, it is often needed to have 1-2 Lobos in our deck. But another option is to use them in an entropy duo with AM or purple nymphs to heal yourself. Liquid shadow is an alternative that allows them to still hit through reflect, but the psions eventually die due to the poison effect. A more common duo with psions is with CP or Blessing, which can buff both attack and HP, making them great PU targets.

Card 3 – quint
Purple Nymph, water nymph, pharaoh, mitosis, even defense to prevent opponent, SoW/reflect from buffing

Quintessence is another one of the least used cards in aether. Obviously, if you’re going to waste a card space in order to make another creature immortal, then it better be a damn good creature. While one may think that using it on a high attack creature like ruby dragon, it is probably better used on creatures with abilities. Nymphs are probably the most common creature to be quinted, especially purple nymphs as they have low HP and arguably the best ability of any creature. Most other nymphs have high enough HP that require 2 CC cards to kill, so they aren’t often paired with quints. The next best creatures to quint are probably those that can produce more creatures, such as pharaoh, Firefly Queen, or mitosis-buffed creatures. Most often, this sort of combo is splashed in a large rainbow control deck to ensure creature production. Lastly, quintessence can be used on your opponent to prevent buffing, or more commonly in combination with Shard of Wisdom and reflect.
         
         
Spoiler for Timdood3:
Air has a wide variety of uses, and that shows in its diverse card pool.  Wyrm, Firefly Queen, and Owl's Eye all serve very different uses, but unify the element we all know and love as Air.

Wyrm's primary strength lies in it's ability, Dive, which doubles its attack.  If your goal is to kill your opponent by damage, and your deck is comprised primarily of Air, chances are there's going to be Wyrms in your deck.  Dive double not only the attack of the Wyrm itself, but also any buffs that have been given to it.  As such, any card that raises the attack power of the Wyrm is doubly effective.  Cards like Chaos Power, Blessing and Shard if Wisdom are all very good fits, and from all different elements too!  The only thing holding Wyrm back from being included in most all rush decks is it's high upkeep cost.  In order to dive, you need to use two :air, meaning that there's just no room for it in rainbow rushes.  In order to be used effectively, you should use a duo (preferably one that can buff its attack, as mentioned), or a trio if you can manage.  Usually six copies of a buff card is enough however, so a trio really is just cutting into the consistency of the deck.

Firefly Queen highlights the sheer versatility of Air not only by having an off element cost, but also by having that ability create a third type of quanta (either :light or :fire).  It can be seen in some fast decks, but usually you're better off using it in something a bit slower, but not late-gamey.  The goal is usually to have the ramping damage from increasing numbers of fireflies take out your opponent while other things keep your opponent from taking you down.  Things like Hope and Empathic Bond synergize well, with Hope reducing incoming damage by the number of Fireflies you have, while Empathic Bond heals you for just as much.  However, if your heart is set on something faster, there's always Adrenaline, which quadruples the damage output of a firefly thanks to Adrenaline's 'sweet spot' of three attack.  Not only that, but it also generates extra :light for....Well, whatever you want, really.  Blessings, Shard of Divinity, hell, even Golden Dragon if you want a little more burst.

Finally, we go from slow to slower with Air's rare weapon:  Owl's Eye.  The main use of Owl's Eye is to take out your opponent's creatures, obviously.  Used in combination with other defensive measures, Owl's Eye can wipe out your opponent's armies and leave them with nothing to kill you.  Shields like Wings or Bonewall work well, though in different ways.  Wings will keep most creatures from reaching you while you chip away at them, while Bonewall will keep you from being hit, and grow when something inevitably dies.  Even better is when your opponent has a few smalls creatures, and you just drop Bonewall and ping them down.  Cards like Shockwave can accelerate the killing process when time is of the essence, when one source of damage just isn't enough to save you.  Even Freeze will allow you to take out a creature while it's not only defenseless, but not harming you.
         
         
Spoiler for Afdarenty:


I've always considered Wings to be one of the most interesting Air cards. Against some decks, it is powerful enough to win you the game all by itself. Against others, it is entirely useless. Any deck that wants to slow down the opponent can benefit from the addition of Wings, whether they aim to win by deck out or by damage. Simply play it once your opponent has developed two or three creatures onto the board.

To better understand what it is capable of, and to have a better idea of its limitations, in the spoilers below are the creatures that can hit past Wings and the creatures that cannot.

Spoiler for Creatures not blocked by Wings (34):
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
4vd 4vf 52h 52i 52k 55l 55o 58r 5bt 5bv 5c1 5f2 5f3 5fc 5fe 5id 5l9 5la 5lb 5le 5od 5oe 5of 5oj 5ok 5rh 5rm 5rq 5ul 5ut 5uv 61p 61v 625


Spoiler for Creatures blocked by Wings (54):
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
4ve 4vh 4vm 4vq 500 52j 52m 52t 52u 534 55m 55n 55r 55u 563 568 56i 58p 58q 58u 590 591 596 59c 5bu 5c0 5c8 5cg 5f1 5fa 5fk 5i5 5i6 5ib 5ie 5if 5ii 5io 5ll 5ls 5p0 5ri 5rn 5rs 5rt 5ru 5um 5un 5v0 5v8 61s 620 626 62c


When you look at the list of creatures blocked by Wings, you'll notice that it blocks many of the most efficient damage-to-cost ratio creatures in the game. Lycanthrope, Mummy, Graboid, Shrieker, Lava Golem, Nymph Queens and Ghost of the Past in particular are all staple cards in some of the fastest decks in the game, both in their upgraded and unupgraded forms. If you want to run a deck with less efficient, slower creatures you need some way to catch up with these faster creatures. Wings gives you 5 turns to do so, which is normally more than enough.

The drawback, of course, is flying creatures. If you're relying on Wings to buy you those extra turns you need to win against a faster deck, and the faster deck is running flying creatures, then it will be a short, painful game for you. Phoenix, Gargoyle, Psions, Sapphire Chargers, many of the Dragons, and in an upgraded format Wyrms and Guardian Angels are all cost efficient creatures that are not blocked by Wings. So how can you mitigate this weakness?

Flesh Spider/Phase Spider
Two powerful cards to use in combination with Wings are the Spiders. Their ability, Web, removes Airborne from the target creature. With a couple of these around even a whole deck of Airborne creatures will have a hard time dealing damage past your Wings. As a bonus, when upgraded both cards are extremely efficient damage dealers.

Owl's Eye
Although less obvious than the Spiders, Owl's Eye is another great addition to a deck with Wings. The ability, Snipe, can kill many dangerous flyers with only one use, such as Seraph, Crimson Dragon, Gargoyle, and Forest Spirit. After 2 uses only 5 Airborne creatures survive, and none of them are very efficient damage dealers. This means that it is very difficult to quickly deal damage past Owl's Eye and Wings when used in combination.

Reverse Time
Many of the cards that can hit through Wings either deal very little damage, or cost an awful lot of quanta to play. Reverse Time loves targeting expensive creatures - forcing your opponent to use their quanta to play one creature over and over and at the same time denying their card draw is very powerful. And if your opponent is using creatures that deal very little damage, well... What are you worried about?






Owl's Eye is, perhaps, my favourite card in the game. It has a good damage-to-cost ratio, both upgraded and unupgraded, which makes it a good choice in aggressive decks. However, the incredible and unique ability is what makes this card so powerful, and a staple in any Air deck that aims to control the opponents creatures. Few cards can generate as much card advantage as this one can.

It is a card that is best used as soon as you draw it, as the ability is limited to one use per turn. The more turns Owl's Eye is on the field, the more creatures you can kill with it. Sniping a high value creature like Crimson Dragon or Arctic Squid can often turn the tide of a game. There are many cards that have great synergy with Owl's Eye. A few of my favourites are listed below.

Flying Weapon
What's better than one Owl's Eye? Two Owl's Eye! With two, three, or even more of these on the field it becomes extremely difficult for your opponent to play creatures that will survive the turn.

Sanctuary
As Owl's Eye is a card that can generate enormous card advantage if given enough time, it makes a lot of sense to play it with cards that will give it that time. Sanctuary performs this task perfectly. Whilst Owl's Eye is in the process of killing any creature your opponent plays, Sanctuary heals off any damage those creatures have dealt to you. This combination can be extremely difficult to play against, and is the base for one of the most powerful deck out decks in the game - the Air/Light stall.

Bonewall
Owl's Eye is a card that can kill a lot of creatures over the course of a game. Bonewall not only gives Owl's Eye the time to kill your opponents creatures, but it also gains layers for each creature that dies. Once a Bonewall is played with an Owl's Eye on the field, there's a good chance that the Bonewall will last until the end of the game.






Although one of the Air cards that sees the least play, Firefly Queen fills an interesting niche. After using her ability three or four times, the damage output from Firefly Queen is enormous. This, plus her high starting health, make her an extremely effective card for any Air/Life or Rainbow deck that need either a high damage output from few card slots or a better ability to stall break. Notable examples of these kinds of decks are Adrenastaves (Adrenaline, Druidic Staff, and Flying Weapon) and various Rainbow stall decks. When you play a Firefly Queen, you should aim to use her ability every time you have the opportunity to do so.

In fact, Firefly Queen has such a powerful ability that it's not unusual to see entire decks built around her. As Firefly Queen is a card that starts slowly, many of the cards in these decks are there to help you survive the weak early game phase. These can be cards such as Wings and Owl's Eye, both mentioned above, Shockwave, Thunderstorm, and many others. Some of the most interesting cards are mentioned below.

Hope
This shield is a key card in any Firefly Queen deck. Each time her ability is used, a Firefly with Bioluminescence is created. For each Firefly, Hope will block 1 damage from each enemy creature. This combination can grow out of control very rapidly, and will often be enough to lock decks out of dealing any damage at all for the rest of the game.

Empathic Bond
Firefly Queen is a card that will produce many creatures over the course of a game. Empathic Bond uses these creatures to help Firefly Queen decks survive the mid-game, and it single handedly allows allows them to beat Poison decks. However, although powerful they are quite expensive cards. I would recommend only using two or three in one deck.

Shard of Freedom
Firefly Queens are quite vulnerable to Creature Control cards like Basilisk Blood, Gravity Pull, and Reverse Time. Shard of Freedom offers some protection against those cards, and provides a great damage boost and very valuable shield bypass. As Firefly Queen produces so many creatures each Shard can have a big impact.
         
         
Spoiler for Aves:
:darknessbig Mastering the Cards :underworldbig
Voodoo Doll


Ah, pain, and the enemy. What a wonderful combination!
Voodoo dolls are an apt representation of darkness, taking whatever damage that may come their way and firing it right back at the opponent. This effect comes from their namesake passive, voodoo. Any negative status effect or damage to voodoo doll is automatically transferred to your opponent. This leads to a surprisingly large number of effective synergies and combinations. While a 2-cost 0|16 creature may seem useless at first, it soon becomes quite evident that voodoo dolls sacrifice their relatively low attack power for extremely high utility and versatility.

Offense: If it hurts, it helps voodoo doll.
Anger leads to the Dark side. And what better way to express your rage with a bottle or three of rage potions? Rage potion grants your doll an additional 5(6) attack, turning it into a medium power attacker that is almost impossible to kill. In addition, the damage dealt to the doll has the bonus of doubling as a burst of direct damage.

Ever wish your opponent had an infectious disease? Then parasites and bloodsuckers are your go-to cards! Parasites can apply poison counters to dolls, which are then transferred over to your opponent. In addition, the damage the doll takes from being poisoned is also dealt directly afterwards, leading to double the damage for as long as the doll lives.

Prefer a colder method of revenge? Shard of Patience will stack two attack and HP on your doll for as long as it is in play, at the cost of delaying it. This not only renders your opponent's weapon useless, but creates a nigh-unkillable high attack creature.

Defense: Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.
With one application of gravity pull, all of your opponent's creatures will find themselves with a new target. With an ordinary creature, this would be the end of it. But with voodoo doll, not only does this stop all physical damage from enemy creatures, it also redirects any damage inflicted right back towards your opponent, assuming your doll lives to take the strike! On its own, even this isn't very effective; 16 hp doesn't tend to last long under gravity pull. This is where the basilisk blood comes in-- each BB adds a whopping 20 hp to the doll, and as the doll's hp stacks higher and higher, the slimmer the chance of the doll dying before your opponent does. Basilisk blood also has the effect of delaying the doll, and this status effect is transferred to your opponent's weapon, blocking it completely for as long as the doll is delayed.

Uses: Defend? Attack? Defend? Attack? Do both!
Voodoo Doll's high resistance to creature control means that it's an ideal choice for stallbreaking. Whether it's scaling damage through acceleration, poison, and shard of patience, steady defense through basilisk blood and gravity pull, or even simple direct damage through rage potion, voodoo doll's unique strengths have been found to be useful in decks of that nature. A prominent example of this is the popular FG grinder Voodoo Bravery, which rushes to get out voodoo dolls as fast as possible in order to use them as defense. Then, when the doll's HP is low, it is copied through parallel universe to bring about an unblockable one turn kill.

Voodoo doll's synergies enable a good defense while simultaneously not neglecting offense.  This makes it a good option for domin decks, which aim to deploy a fairly quick offense like rushes do, but also to be able to eliminate or slow down an opponent's own offense. The popular unupped pvp deck It's a trap! is another example of how voodoo doll can be used to generate a very strong defense that simultaneously encourages a high damage output.



Nightmare



Fear is the mind-killer.
This makes it an ideal choice for dealing with enemies! Mindless enemies are much easier to defeat! Nightmare is one of the only draw denial cards in the game, filling your opponent's hand with copies of a creature on the field. In addition, it drains 2 HP from your opponent per card created and siphons that HP back to you, making it a miniature drain life. This means that nightmare can preform a lot of roles at once-- but it's also a somewhat situational card, as it is generally only packs a big punch the first time it is used. Once a hand is clogged, it usually doesn't become unclogged, so only the first nightmare will have a significant dual-role. The subsequent nightmares will be solely about draw denial.

Denial: Stop playing cards!
Nightmare synergizes extremely well with other denial cards like silence and earthquake. When used in tandem, they can make a complete mess of your opponent's hand and quanta, often forcing them to discard crucial cards and slowing down their deck significantly, if not stopping it outright. Rewind will return one of your opponent's creatures to their deck, and then nightmare can delay their re-drawing of the card by another turn. Silence will force a player with a full hand to discard a card, and nightmare forces them to have a full hand. Discord and earthquake will reduce an opponent's access to usable quanta, and nightmare can then prevent them from drawing quanta production to alleviate the shortage. Individually, none of these effects will take down an opponent. But when placed together, their efficacy multiplies.

Uses: Stop, Drop, and Defeat!
Ghostmare is one of the archetypal examples of synergy between denial cards. It stacks draw denial with rewinds and nightmares, creating large periods of time where an opponent is unable to draw cards. In addition, ghosts of the past do damage when discarded, thus making your opponent's hand even more of a mess as they decide between damaging themselves and discarding useful cards, making the draw denial that much more effective. Nightmare chains and rewind spams can be devastating to a player caught off guard, often deciding the game right then and there. Savvier players will hold extra cards in their hands to dilute the power of the nightmare if they recognize the threat, but even this will only do so much against a properly chained nightmare combo.

Other Uses: World Domination
Nightmare is also a decent splash option in any domin, even without any other denial. In ideal conditions, nightmare will grant one turn of draw denial in addition to a swing of up to 16 hp for 1 quanta cost. Subsequent nightmares will of course be far less potent; however, when put together, these minor nuisances or delays can turn into game-changing ones as the denial and healing buys time to set up your own win conditions. Splashing in a nightmare or three is a strong choice in any domin.

Wait, wait, keep playing cards!
There are those among us who once walked among the light. But they forswore themselves, haunted by nightmares and empowered by the blessed swords of vampires. We call these fallen warriors...Day Traitors. Day Traitors is a special deck that uses nightmare in a unique way, taking advantage of the fact that the AI will play any creature it can afford to. By nightmaring Rays of Light and then playing Solar shield, DT uses nightmare primarily not as a source of denial, but as a source of quanta! As the nightmared rays of light enter play, they will encounter the unassailable solar shield, which in turn generates quanta for the nightmare user! While this facet of the strategy will not work on a savvy pvp player, any elemental foolish enough to play those rays of light will learn an alternative meaning of why the card is called nightmare.


Shard of Void




And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
Your enemies will regret looking you in the eye. For you wield the legendary shards of void, artifacts so powerful that they can reduce the maximum vitality of their targets without damaging them! This effect is increased by 50% when used with a mark of Darkness! Excited yet?
.
.
.
Well, you aren't alone. This is why shard of void is often referred to as the single most useless and underpowered shard of them all. Without the mark, shard of void is extremely slow. Even stacked, it would take five shards of void to match one unupped dragon-- and you can have multiple dragons in a deck. Even with the appropriate :darkness, SoV will still slow down any deck's attempt at rushing because the max HP reduction and the physical damage will usualy overlap; SoV only causes "damage" when your opponent is already at or close to full health. Thus, SoV tends to lag behind any decent rush attempt when it comes to speed. This forces any deck that uses it to be built around it. The lesson here? All the other elements have overpowered shards. Darkness' shard encourages elemental pride!

It's all about the stall...break.
What SoV lacks in speed, it makes up for in pure stallbreaking power. Against any deck that relies on defense, shard of void is a nightmare to face; any healing is utterly useless in the face of maximum HP reduction. Drain life and vampire dagger go very well together with SoV in a mono :darkness deck. The vampire dagger helps you to survive while the voids slowly chip away at your opponent. If harried early, drains and siphons can be used in defense by taking out problematic early creatures and healing to stay alive. Otherwise, they can be kept in reserve as you save up quanta for a last-minute killing burst; it's easier to kill a 50 hp deck with bolts than it is to kill 200. It is important to remember that max HP cannot be reduced below 1, so either the dagger or the siphon is absolutely essential to deal the killing blow.

Wait, no. It's all about the stall. No, really.
Ironically, shard of void's slow pace means that it synergizes very well with other stalling cards. Any deck that uses voids will certainly be slower than any half-decent rush; thus, users will need to pack defensive cards in order to survive against a rush while waiting for the voids to do their job. Shields and creature control will slow down your opponent's offense. Healing will keep you alive long enough to break down your opponent. One particularly noteworthy example of this strategy is in Zen. Zen was a deck that used shards of sacrifice and divinity to stall while waiting for shards of void to whittle down the enemy into kill range. Protect Artifacts ensured that the voids did their job, while a siphon and a dirk would lie in wait for that final, killing blow. Unfortunately, Zen's original incarnation is not very effective now as a result of patch changes. However, the spirit of Zen lives on as people continue to try to make stalls strong enough to handle the burden of SoV. Perhaps one day, they'll even succeed.

And another thing...
Of course, as a shard, SoV has one final use beyond its ostensible role as a situational stallbreaker-- to create vampyric voodoo shard golems! One shard of void grants a golem the devourer passive ability. Two will grant it the voodoo passive. Three will make your turn one 18|18 attacker heal you! There's not really that much to say here-- play the nova, play the SoI with SoV. Laugh as your turn 1 high attack vampyric golem demolishes your opponent.




         
     

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Re: 10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Writing http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=62084.msg1234406#msg1234406
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2016, 02:19:08 PM »
     
Spoiler for Trials #1 Task, Mastering the Cards (Part 2 of 4):
         
Spoiler for Physsion:
:darkness Mastering the Cards  :darkness


I thought I'd do something a little different here, and go for three rarely used Darkness cards... Liquid Shadow, Cloak, and Parasite. My goal with this task isn't to win bonus points for making a beautiful submission, but to teach other players about how these three rarely-seen cards can be used effectively.














     Liquid Shadow     


Rarely used in competitive play, Liquid Shadow is in an interesting position - capable of acting as both a powerful buff to your own creatures, and as removal to your enemy's... without particularly excelling at either role. The double-edged sword effect of Liquid Shadow makes it reasonably difficult to use outside of very specific combinations, generally being too harmful to your own creatures to use offensively, and too beneficial to your enemy to use defensively. Within those certain card combinations, however, this little vial of liquid Darkness can really... shine.

Spoiler for Liquid Shadow Decks:
Shining Vampiresby TheCrazyMango
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
Deck import code : [Select]
7jo 7jo 7jo 7jo 7jo 7jo 7jo 7jq 7jq 7jq 7jq 7jq 7jq 7jt 7jt 7jt 7ju 7ju 7ju 7ju 7la 7la 7la 7la 7te 7te 7te 7te 7te 7te 8pt

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/duo-decks/shining-vampires/

Super-Power-Massive-Dragonsby Ginyu
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55k 5up 5up 5uu 744 744 744 744 744 744 744 744 744 744 748 748 748 748 748 7an 7an 7an 7an 7t4 7t4 7t4 7t4 7t9 7te 7te 8pn

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/trial-final-battle-results/(9th-trial-of-gravity)-ginyu-5-0-montrossen/

Liquid Antimatterby TheonlyrealBeef
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4vn 4vn 4vn 4vn 4vn 4vn 5uo 5uo 5uu 5uu 5uu 5uu 5uu 5uu 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 8pj

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/duo-decks/unupped-fg-farmer!-liquid-antimatter-1-28/

Offensively, Liquid Shadow is used to give your friendly creatures the Vampire Ability, stealing your opponent's life with every hit, with the drawback of adding a poison counter to their own health. The impact of this drawback is nullified on creatures with large amounts of health, such as Massive Dragons, Steel Golems, Basalt Dragons and, with additional in-element synergy, Light Dragons. Archangels in Light provide fantastic support for your vampiric dragons, topping up their health as they take gradual poison damage. In-element Gargoyles are solid candidates for the vampire buff thanks to their defensive ability, Stone Skin, but Earth quanta will be required to activate this.

Thanks to their absolutely colossal health pools, Flying Titans also make for excellent Liquid Shadow targets - contrary to Liquid Shadow's card text, applying the buff will NOT remove an animated Titan's innate Momentum.

Liquid Shadow can also be applied directly to a friendly Voodoo Doll - while they have no attack value out of the box, their tanky HP pools allow them to freely be aided by cards such as Rage Elixir, and buffed even further by Eclipse to make a significant impact against the enemy. By their nature, poisoned Voodoo Dolls will also apply a small amount of poison damage directly to the opponent, and hurt them even further with every tick of damage the doll takes.

While it can be argued that there are better uses for Purify, this card will purge all poison counters from the target, allowing it to keep the beneficial Vampire ability without suffering from the poison. Applying Liquid Shadow to a creature that already has two Purify counters on it will only remove one, allowing the creature to keep healing itself at a rate of 1HP per turn. This can be useful to note for Nymph Queen rushes, a strategy which already shares considerable synergy with Darkness.



Defensively, Liquid Shadow finds synergy in one of Darkness' favourite partner elements, Death. Bone Wall allows Liquid Shadow to be used on enemy creatures more readily, poisoning them but blocking their attacks, preventing the opponent from stealing any health with the Vampire ability. This strategy provides an extremely difficult scenario for Fire elementals to play around - with a Bone Wall up, Lava Destroyers and Seraphs will do no damage, and die to the single point of Liquid Shadow poisoning. Even more critically, the notoriously resilient and ever-popular Phoenix will die immediately to this strategy - since Liquid Shadow also removes the active ability of the creature it is applied to, Phoenixes will not turn to Ash when they die, and will not be able to be resurrected. Tanky in-element Grey Nymphs provide a strong offensive target for Liquid Shadow once the opponent's forces have been dealt with.

Antimatter also works incredibly well with Liquid Shadow when used on opposing creatures - before an AI programming change, this synergy made for a very popular anti-False God deck. Applying the Liquid Antimatter combo to an enemy creature heals you, while simultaneously damaging the opponent, giving two potential win conditions - through damage, or through deckout.


     Cloak | Improved Cloak   


Cloak provides a mechanic unlike any other in the game - complete field invisibility. Generally considered quite underwhelming for its cost and its relatively short duration, Cloak doesn't see much competitive use either, but can also work very effectively in combination with a few key cards.

Spoiler for Cloak Decks:
You Can't See It!by Odii Odsen
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7ms 7ms 7ms 7ms 7ms 7n4 7n4 7n4 7n4 7n4 7ng 7ng 7ng 7ng 7ng 7ng 7tb 7ti 7ti 7ti 7ti 7ti 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 8pr

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/duo-decks/you-can't-see-it!-(darkness)(air)(fun)/

Camazotzby ddevans96
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5j2 5j2 5j2 5ut 5ut 5ut 5ut 5ut 7gk 7gk 7gk 7gk 7gk 7gr 7gr 7gr 7i6 7i6 7i6 7i6 7i6 7i6 7i6 7t9 7t9 7tb 7tb 7td 7ti 7ti 8pt

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/trial-final-battle-results/(9th-trial-of-water)-ddevans96-5-4-jonathancrazyj/

Cloak does its best work when it's used to protect "glass cannons" - creatures and permanents that are typically fragile, expensive, high-priority targets, which can change the course of a game if they can survive on the field for as little as a single turn. A single Purple Nymph, Otyugh, Amber Nymph, Shard of Focus or Arctic Squid being allowed to use its ability once can mean the difference between winning and losing a game - either permanently crippling a player's attacking force, or beginning a chain of control that can't be broken out of.

Cards that can have an instant impact on the field, but have the majority of their game influence over a couple of turns, such as Blue Nymph, also benefit heavily from Cloak's protection. While an unupgraded Blue Nymph being protected from creature control for a single turn (by a Silence, or a temporary quanta lock from a Black Hole, for example) attacks twice and produces a single Unstable Gas for a total output of 32 damage, three turns of protection under Cloak allows the Nymph to hit four times and produce 3 Unstable Gases, for a whopping output of 84 damage. With support from either Vampire Dagger or Owl's Eye, that's a 100-0 for your opponent within the duration of a single Cloak.

Despite being a potential target of permanent control itself, Cloak also helps to protect useful permanents such as Shard of Patience and Eternity. Against the threat of Deflagrations or Steals, the extra layer of protection on top of these key permanents can be crucial for maintaining board control, or squeezing out that extra bit of damage to take the victory.



Unfortunately... several hard counters to Cloak exist in the game, and even more unfortunate is the fact that these particular cards already see considerable competitive use.


All five of these cards have a specifically-stated secondary function in their card text - "Removes invisibility." Cloak will be destroyed, regardless of how many turn counters remain, and all creatures underneath will take damage normally. Interestingly, the upgraded Lightning Storm contains the card text, wheres the unupgraded Thunderstorm does not - both versions of the card will destroy Cloak, regardless of the difference in card text.
























     Parasite | Bloodsucker   


Parasite's stats aren't much to look at, falling flat against comparable low-cost creatures such as Horned Frog and Lycanthrope, and its Infection ability seems mediocre compared to other repeatable-CC creatures such as Arctic Squid and Iridium Warden, but... recent experimentation into its interactions a handful of key cards have made it quickly climb the ranks as one of my favourite Darkness cards to build with.

Spoiler for Parasite Decks:
Parawallby CCCombobreaker
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Deck import code : [Select]
534 5un 5un 5un 5un 5un 5un 5v0 5v0 5v0 5v8 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 606 71a 71a 71b 71b 71b 71b 8pk

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/round-6-171/(darkness)-lt-cccombobreaker-3-2-(time)-gen-playeroa/msg1111827/#msg1111827

King Bloodwallby Physsion
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534 534 534 534 71b 71b 71b 71b 7t7 7t7 7t7 7t7 7t7 7t7 7tb 7tb 7tb 7tc 7tc 7tc 7tc 7tc 7tc 7tg 7tg 7tg 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 7um 8pk

http://elementscommunity.org/forum/trial-final-battle-results/stop-making-me-do-more-work-dammit/12/

Parasite's options are unfortunately limited by its dual-element cost, essentially forcing it to be used in a deck with Death to make use of its ability. Death, however, does present some incredibly strong cards which pair very well with Parasite - the most important of which is Bone Wall. Once Bone Wall lands on the field, any creatures afflicted with poison from a Parasite's Infection will quickly find themselves turning into more bone shields. Players should carefully time their usage of both of these cards so that none of those precious death effects are wasted - it's often worth holding your Bone Wall in hand and taking the direct damage from an Infected creature, then playing it just before the creature dies, in order to maximize your bone shield charges against the rest of the opponent's forces.

Parasite's strongest in-element synergies are with Voodoo Doll, and with Eclipse. As discussed earlier, a Parasite applying Infection counters to a friendly Voodoo Doll will stack poison directly onto the enemy's health bar, and also cause additional damage every time the doll takes damage from the poison. This provides the little bugs with an excellent alternative damage source, allowing them to stack poison on the enemy when there are no creatures to take care of. When used in a Death duo, the powerful Grey Nymph is able to play a similar role - controlling the enemy field with fast-acting Aflatoxin, throwing more poison counters onto the enemy via a friendly Voodoo Doll, and also laying down a considerable physical beating herself.

Eclipse fits beautifully into this combination, buffing both Darkness and Death creatures - in fact, with Eclipse on the field, Parasite and Bloodsucker respectively become first equal with Horned Frog and Giant Frog as the creatures with the highest attack:cost ratio in the game. (3:2 for Parasite and Horned Frog, 5:2 for Bloodsucker and Giant Frog.) Eclipse also buffs Grey Nymphs, or any other Death creatures you may also be using, such as Flesh Recluses or Mummies.

         
         
Spoiler for ji412jo:
I'm going to discuss of 3 very important darkness cards here.
First : Devourer, why is it so good? Why does it draw bans?
Second : Drain life, why is it so good? Why does it see a surge in popularity?
Third : Steal, why is it so good? Why do i always seem to lose darkness trials to this card?

First of all, proof it draws bans : http://elementscommunity.org/forum/trial-of-darkness/5th-trials-registration-36158/msg457159/#msg457159 ,
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RyjS-VrlxhNr5j1txL80RDloZto6g56E4u7-_kjZvMQ/edit#gid=14 ,
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_nu5wOfiVyYv-aX6O7ox55iP3BtbZsVNlJLriMO6db4/pub?output=html#
I could add a lot more, but I think you get the point.

Devourers are often seen as a one trick pony in pestal, but nothing could be more wrong. Devourer is a complete monster, because it destroys all splashes. If you don't know how devourer works, it has the same chances to steal quanta from any of your pools, regardless of how many quanta you have in it. So 1 devourer has just as much chances to remove your 75th darkness quanta than it does to remove the 1 aether quanta you wish to keep to cast a lightning. Therefore, if you cannot splash cards, like what I call instant CC*, it forces you to either bring a mono deck, or put more quanta/cards in your second element. Devourer heavily scratches a lot of deck ideas, and that'S without counting the decks it is very strong it, like pestal. Devourer not only works great with fractal, but also with cards which use the fact your enemy has less quanta, like reverse time, or a ghost of the past (if your enemy can't play cards, he has to discard, and well if he discards a ghost...)
The cards I call instant CC are the cards that can kill or effectively remove from the game the turn it is played, no matter what quanta you have. I do not qualify drain life in this.

Which leads me to talk about this very card, drain life. This paragraph is going to be extremely subjective. I personally tought drain life was a very bad card as it was very outshadowed by fire bolt, up until I saw one deck. The one deck that changed my view about darkness entirely. This deck would be Siphonary, made, as far as i know, by one of darkness former masters, theonlyrealbeef. Darkness having an effective stall? Yes please. Because, when you look at it, darkness has everything to stall, vampire dagger is the best card in the game in my opinion and I have never hidden that fact. Dusk mantle while being based on luck blocks a lot of damage. Alongside with other stall cards , in siphonary those cards being sanctuary and miracle, it makes drain life shine. While drain life cannot deal 100 damage, the damage done by your vampire dagger is more than enough to claim a win. Now, I have overused siphonary, and lots of variants, but from it came variants that are now different enough to be considered their own decks, like drainbolt. As I said earlier, this paragraph is very subjective.

Steal. Considered by many but myself to be darkness's best card. Steal is a card that takes away a permanent from your opponent, and replaces yours if it is a weapon or shield, and this is what makes me dislike the card.Yes, dislike, I do not like every single darkness card, unlike I like to pretend it. Darkness already has the best weapon and one of the best shields, why would I want to replace them? But in a darkness versus darkness situation, it makes for a whole different system. While you can acquire the best cards in the game, you can also kill strategies, like by stealing dimensional shields, catapults, etc. It is a card I have always made the mistake to underestimate and underuse. A card that has been my demise. A card that almost all alone nearly made me ragequit this community. Steal is strong. Very Strong. Steal works well with cards that ensures your opponent cannot play another of the permanent you stole, whether it be quanta denial ( devourer, black hole, earthquake, discord ...) or another way.
         
         
Spoiler for rob77dp:
Credit to Aves for most of the Formatting

Name of Task: Mastering the Cards
Evidence of Completion:
:aetherbigMastering the Cards :gravitybig



Flesh Recluse / Flesh Spider


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The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web. --Edwin Way Teale

In specific meta - that is limited card choice for yourself and/or the opponent - a narrow strategy can be leveraged for your gain! Let us consider the case of the  Flesh Recluse [unupgraded: Flesh Spider] where the former is a power play at 6 ATK for 3 quanta and the latter is situational. In-depth discussion of the Spider is excluded here with the general premise of being useful in the non-power-only instances of the Recluse's best uses.

With Fractal
Fractal is one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, combinations with Flesh Recluse. The 6-copy limit of any non-pillar non-pendulum card per deck puts a practical cap on how much power you can pack using Flesh Recluses. However, add Aether quanta and Fractal and the power cap is nearly eliminated!

The Recluse's 6 attack for 3 quanta ratio of 2-to-1 is tied for 2nd best in the game (Giant Frog of Life is 2.5-to-1) and in many ways surpasses the other 2-for-1 options.
  • Graviton Guard, Elite Antlion, Minor Phoenix (attack-to-card slot ratio)
Spoiler for Additional commentary:
    • These are all 4 attack for 2 quanta tying Recluse's ratio of 2-to-1 but they are typically inferior in pure damage considerations where card slot aspects of Elements are accounted for. What this means is that your hand (8 slots) and game board (23 creature slots) have limited card space which assigns relative value to each card taking up a slot. More power per card slot should be considered in breaking ties of attack-per-cost and Recluse offers 6-to-1 attack per card slot against these three's 4-to-1.
    • I would be remiss not to mention that Recluse is not categorically better than these options. Obviously certain game and deckbuilding environments limit element choices but also other aspects of each card come into play:
      • Guard has SEVEN HP placing it out of range of any non-aggregate single-hit Creature Control (CC) in the game.
      • Antlion can burrow and protect itself against CC - this mechanic also synergizes quite well with Shard of Patience resulting in a de facto "+4" if burrowed to grow then unburrowed to attack.
      • MP is very resistant to most hard CC, becoming resurrectable-Ash upon its initial death.
      • All three of these are very viable Fractal targets (even beyond the very real application of a saying of Higurashi that "Fractal anything is viable").
       

  • "2 for 1's" such as Ash/Brimstone Eater, Elite Deja Vu, Physalia, and Micro Abomination (attack-to-card slot ratio)
Spoiler for Additional commentary:
    • The tie for attack-to-cost ratio is present here as well but these creatures offer even less in the attack-to-card space consideration.

  • "Free to plays" such as Gnome Gemfinder, Photon/Ray of Light, Damselfly, and Spark (attack-to-card slot ratio -and- mulligan/draw effect)
Spoiler for Additional commentary:
    • These are special cases where attack-to-cost returns an infinite value lending cause to more carefully consider and weight attack-to-card space and mulligan/draw related aspects. Recluse wins out here for purposes of this discussion.

A Fracluse deck (the more proper name for the Flesh Recluse + Fractal combination -- you can probably imagine another way to combine the card names) might look something like this (variations might be proper given various upgrade limiting, elemental composition, and similar deckbuilding restrictions):
Fracluse for Mastering the Cards, 10th Trials of Death
Hover over cards for details, click for permalink
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52g 52g 52h 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 61t 61t 61t 61t 61t 61t 622 622 622 710 710 713 713 713 72i 72i 72i 8pu

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as playing a shield or Fractal, playing or holding early-drawn Recluse(s), etc.



With Wings
Applies to Recluse or Spider
Wings is a very strong shield hailing from the Air element. Given Elements' somewhat limited creature card pool, in comparison with most other card games such as Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering, and the rarity of "flying creatures and ranged weapons" the Wings shield is a strong defensive play of its own accord.

The Flesh Recluse's active ability ":air :web" which removes airborne aspects of the target (i.e. - ranged (flown Owl's Eyes) and flying (dragons, etc)) creature has two opportunities for application. The least useful and rarely practical application would be to bring a creature into the "damage dealt" situation for Warden's 'guard' ability. The more frequently implemented and practical application is to increase the effectiveness of Wings.

When building a deck to combine Recluse and Wings consideration must be given to available information about the expected encounter or duel/match.
Recluse Wings for Mastering the Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52h 52h 52h 534 534 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 5ol 5ol 713 713 713 713 713 7n8 7n8 7n8 7n8 7n8 8pr

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as more/less hard/soft-CC, more dragons if Steal (or opposing Wings!) or shield-bypass (Poison) if Steal or a strong opposing shield are expected, etc.



With Shard of Bravery
Shard of Bravery is all about temporary card advantage. Cheap efficient hitters like Flesh Recluse are a great way to leverage such temporary card advantage.

Let's indulge in the rush-heavy fully upgraded realm of Elements, shall we? Here is a place that speed trumps all but not heavily enough to completely eliminate consideration of flexibility and nimbleness. Flesh Recluse being a Death creature opens up the possibility of using the Recluse for fast hard-hitting and in-element shield-bypass of Deadly Poison. Combine with a quanta-sync like a Dragon or two and the stall-breaking-over-time ability of Arsenic and you have flexibility and nimbleness present with speed available with the addition of Shards of Bravery.

A deck combining Recluse and Bravery frequently plays like an old Street Fighter match -- mash the buttons and spam what you get as fast as possible! However, a skilled player will be able to find the intricacies of balancing speed and card advantage of the nature that Shard of Bravery brings enjoyable alongside the thrill of 5 turn wins.
Arachno-Courage for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 710 711 711 713 713 713 713 713 718 718 718 718 718 71a 7ee 7ee 7ee 7ee 8po

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as when to Shard and when not to Shard, choosing Recluse or Poison plays, etc.

Bone Wall

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Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor's wall is ablaze. --Horace

Bone Wall (BW) is a unique shield card with interaction of the game board events (defense counter increases with death effects), effectiveness of blocking (non-bypass attacks are each entirely blocked - it is not damage reduction nor chance-to-block dependent), and built-in resistance to Permanent Control (PC) (Deflagration and Steal affect only a single counter).

Also, BW's resistance to PC is a boost against many rushes that might pack just a few copies of Steal/Deflag or heavier control decks employing Pulverizer or Shard of Focus/Butterfly Effect.

With Fire Bolt
The power of combining BW with CC could not be farther from an original concept. Avoiding the mainstream and more well-known Bonebolt (BW+Lightning), Pandebonium (BW+Pandemonium), and Cat Walls (BW+Schrodinger's Cat -- albeit this is less common or well-known than the previous two) let us consider the concept from a more flexible and stall-breaking view...! <Root-nod>

Bolt gives additional flexibility, similar to Lightning in Bonebolt but with scaling damage output, with variable use as CC that kills and stacks BW counters or direct damage to the opponent to break an opposing stall.

A deck with Fire Bolt and BW could win by deckout {rare}(kill opposing creature damage threats but face healing > poison) or dealing damage reducing opponent to 0 HP (Poison attrition and/or Fire Bolt to face). This would be using BW as long-term defense (building counters through CC) or ability to use BW as basic defense (slow the opposing control deck's damage to allow Fire Bolt to break the opponent).
Fire Wall for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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52g 52g 52r 52r 52r 52r 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f6 5f6 5f7 5f7 5f8 5f8 710 710 718 718 718 718 718 718 72i 72i 72i 72i 8po

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as bolt calculations, using or saving Deflagration, replacing Fire Bolt with Rage Potion/Elixir, etc.



With Cremation
Cremation (upgraded version of Immolation) is a guaranteed death effect if it is played - death effects synergize with BW! Typically, Cremation is employed alongside powerful Fire-centric rushes (ex: common Crema-rushes) or as instant-infusions of Fire quanta (ex: Unstable Gas spam). It also can be combined with BW to take advantage of the wall-bonus that deaths give to the shield.

As with Arachno-Courage, above, upgrades greatly enhance the rushing style of this deck so here we build it completely upgraded:
The Counter Mod for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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711 713 71a 71b 71b 71b 71f 71f 71f 71f 71f 74a 74a 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7du 8pk

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as discard priority in case of poor draw, baiting CC, etc.



With Schrödinger's Cat
Among the many ways of building decks with BW and the many ways of building decks with Schrödinger's Cat, some upgraded and some unupgraded, some more stall and some more rush, and so on. Here we will focus on integrating Schrödinger's Cat with our be-loved Bone Wall!

This is an opportunity to show off the speedy and versatile power of a deck like this - Bone Wall is great defense and when combined here with Soul Catcher provide 2 layers of deterant of opposing CC. The versatility of Death and Entropy duos is touched on here as one could sub Anitmatter for Discords if expecting shield-bypass (Chargers?) or splash Butterfly Effect when you just _know_ a Dim-chain is headed your way. Also, for more firepower the Discords can be removed in favor of our features card above, Flesh Recluses. :)
Cat Wall for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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4vl 4vl 4vl 4vl 4vq 4vq 4vq 4vq 4vq 4vq 52h 52h 52h 52h 52r 52r 52r 534 534 534 6ts 6ts 6ve 6ve 71f 71f 71f 71f 71f 71f 8pj

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as specific support card choices, CC baiting, etc.



Plague

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Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague. --William Safire

Plague is a seldom used (competitively, at least) CC spell for Death. In the style of Death element, it kills but not instantly (think Retrovirus but a spell... or vice versa). Staying in line with many cards within Death it adheres strongly to the death-effect theme that runs through the Element. The most effective use of Plague, when it is used, combines it with other cards that stall or benefit/boost from death effects.

With Sanctuary / Miracle
For example, combining Plague and a few other Death control cards one can create a fairly feasible stall. The healing from Sanctuary and Miracle provides the time for Plague to do its CC thing (delayed fashion as it is). Death's nymph (Grey Nymph) is somewhat useful here too as you can fill the board with cells if you are not facing any PC such that your Skull Shield is safe - the 1|1 Malignant Cells cannot penetrate the shield.

In this example deck I have also included some other supporting cards like Retrovirus (CC and death effect) and Shard of Divinity (increases healing capacity).
White Plague for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52l 52l 52l 52p 52p 52p 52p 52p 534 534 534 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 5lm 5lm 5lm 5lm 5lm 5lm 5m6 5m6 712 712 712 7k2 7k2 7k2 8pq

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as varied upgrade quantities, alchemy card(s) or Nymph(s), etc.



[color=lime green]With Shard of Gratitude / Heal[/color]
This is similar to the White Plague, above, however a few key differences can be noted and discussed.
1. Shard of Gratitude (SoG), given the deck's Life Mark, heals for 5 HP which is 1 greater than Sanctuary.
2. SoG is -1 cost to play.
3. SoG does NOT provide quanta protection.
4. Heal is less expensive than Miracle.
5. Heal is capped to +20 HP compared to Miracle "total HP minus 1".
6. Spine Carapace is a more active and aggressive AoE shield than Skull Shield.
7. Spine Carapace is a more expensive shield but it does allow for 'less other CC' to be required to control spam decks like NT, Scarabs, and some of the high HP Gravity and Earth attackers.
Plagued by Gratitude for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52p 52p 52p 52p 52p 52p 534 534 534 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 5c2 5c2 5c2 5c2 5c2 5c2 712 712 712 712 7aj 7aj 7aj 7ba 7ba 7ba 7ba 7ba 7ba 8pn

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as which cards are optimal to upgrade, how many Nymph(s) or alchemy card(s) to use, and choice of shield as Carapace or Skull or *both*!?, etc.



Elite Otyugh
Elite Otyugh is a creature - this is an attempt to illustrate a way to use Plague in a non-stall deck. Plague can be used to assist in bringing larger creatures into Oty's devouring range and to improve chances Skull activates (Sidenote: Skull Shield's chance to activate/Skeleton-ize is %chance=100*(1/(2*[creature's HP])) i.e. - Phoenix is 1 HP so chance% = 100 * (1 / (2 * 1)) = 50%)[size]. The struggle with type of approach to implementing Plague is that the offense in this deck a bit slow - Poison is hard to stop but Oty grows from 0 ATK initially - and it lacks any sort of healing.
Hungry Plagues for Mastering Cards, 10th Trials of Death
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52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52g 52l 52l 52l 52p 52p 52p 52p 534 534 534 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 542 55t 55t 55t 718 718 718 718 718 74b 74b 74b 74b 74b 8pl

Note: The scope of this article does not cover many aspects of deckbuilding, gameplay, and in-game decision-making such as deciding when it is best to Gravity Pull your own creature, when to devour and when to let Skull Shield block, whether to devour cells or let them fill opponents' board, etc.
         
         
Spoiler for theelkspeaks:
-Mastering the cards


-Stone Skin is a core card in a number of slower Earth decks.  The key to the card is twofold - it both gives you the second-largest burst healing in the game (only to Miracle), and it is one of the only cards in the game that allows your HP to be raised above 100.  This card is one of the more skill-testing and mindgating cards in the game - does your opponent have enough damage in hand to burst you down, or can you afford to build up a greater amount of :earth quanta to gain more HP on a later turn.  Playing this card too early may result in you not having enough life, but playing it too late can result in premature death.  On the flipside, the card is skill testing to play against, as opponents have the opportunity to hold burst in hand to surprise you out of your stone skin with a burst kill, but if you do end up playing it before you die, they will regret not getting the extra turns of damage off.    This card is most often played in :light/:earth duos, taking advantage of powerful cards like Miracle and Sanctuary in :light and Auburn Nymph in :earth to lock the opponent out of killing you nearly indefinitely.


Iridium Warden is a surpringsly important creature in :earth based strategies, again being more played in stall-oriented decks.  For just one quanta per turn, Warden can be ETG's equivalent of a tapper - it cancels your opponent's best creature out of the game indefinitely, and can change to a different creature if a new creature becomes stronger.  The nasty upside to this card is nearly limitless, however, when paired with buffs.  Placing a buff such as Blessing on Warden takes it out of range of the most common removal spells and allows it to "punch" any non-flying creature every turn.  In doing so, it becomes nearly as powerful as Red Nymph in quickly shutting down the opponent's creature based offense, and is much more resilent than many other lockdown cards.  Other powerful buffs to pair with Wardens are the Quintessence/Shard of Wisdom combo, Shard of Patience (buffing a whole field of them at once), and the traditional Blessing.  Playing it in any of these duos can give you a powerful way to reach the lategame and dominate it.

Basilisk Blood is easily the most underused and undervalued card in the :earth element, if not the entire game.  By spending just two quanta, you can lock an opposing creature out of the game for 6 turns.  In addition to being a powerful tempo advantage, often locking down 7-10 quanta cards, it usually gives you significant life advantage.  In many faster decks, an opposing creature being locked out of the game for 6 turns literally renders it irrelevant.  This card is a powerful option on a splash in a non-:earth deck or a rainbow, pairing amazingly well with Supernova, Nova, and other cheap cards.  When paired with Gravity Pull, it lets you turn a creature of your own into a giant blocker, and when paired with Catapult, you can create a giant and unblockable missile to lob at your enemies.  In its most traditional use as a rush enabler, it pairs powerfully with Graboids/Shriekers to make up for the slow entry to the battlefield.
         
         
Spoiler for iancudorinmarian:
Mastering the Cards


     Shard of Serendipity, while it is my favourite card, is not as versatile as it might seem. Most of the time, if you plan on using this card, you can't really use any other entropy card except supernova, unless you plan on packing tons of entropy pillars as well. Having said this, this card is best used in rainbow decks with quantum pillars and supernova in them, or, if you're crazy like me, in mono entropy with supernova. While not being very effective unupped, this card can become great when it is upgraded. Drawing three upgraded cards with a single one for three entropy quantum is a really good deal. Of course, there are times when you can get unlucky and get some pillars, but those cases are pretty rare considering the pool of cards available, which is every card in the game except mark cards, nymphs, shards and Miracle. The cards that work well with Shard of Serendipity are Supernova (not that great with nova), Quantum Pillar, Bonewall (You can get good spells out of Shard of Serendipity to supply your bonewall), Flying Weapon (There are also a lot of weapons, and this helps making them useful rather than clogging your hand) and many others. So if you plan on using this card, keep in mind the cards and the types of decks I mentioned.


     Nova is one of the most versatile and most used cards in the entire game due to its ability to give you a burst of quantum in the early game, allowing you to rush your opponent with cheap and powerful cards. Nova is best used in decks that use cards from all elements, but the total cost of cards for a single element should not exceed four, unless they match your mark's element. In nova decks it's usually recommended to use a few quantum pillars as well to make sure you have a continuous quantum generator. One of the most famous decks uses this card: the Grabbow, also known as Antabow due to the creator's name: Antagon. The cards that work best with Nova are Graboid (cheap creature that most of the time deals at least 10 damage), Forest Spirit (Nova allows you to play this early and grow it before your opponent can deal with it), Arsenic (great value for its cost) and Fog Shield (considered one of the most broken cards in the game due to its ability to do so much for such a low cost) and pretty much any 1 to 4 cost card in the game.
     Supernova is actually more powerful than its unupped counterpart, even though it might seem weaker since it costs two entropy quantum to get it played, it allows you to play cards that cost a lot more, giving it a lot more versatility. With Supernova you can use 1 to 8 quantum from a single element, giving you access to cards that Nova decks can only dream of. Supernova is best used in decks that use entropy mark (although it can be used with entropy pendulums and a mark from a different element), a few Shard of Serendipity, several Quantum Pillars and a few cards from each element. One of the most famous decks that use this card is the Loufoquebow (or however your spell that). The cards that work best with Supernova are Shard of Serendipity (you will end up having a lot of spare quantum, especially if you also use Quantum Pillars), Bonewall (having Supernova allows you to use expensive and powerful CC cards as well), Pulverizer (PC on a stick, usable several times in a Supernova deck) and pretty much any 1 to 8 cost card in the game.
     To sum up, Nova and Supernova might count as the same card, but they are used in completely different decks, so keep that in mind when you want to build one of those decks.


     Discord is a very powerful weapon that allows you to potentially win a game with your opponent unable to do anything at all during the whole game. Quantum control is a very powerful aspect in Elements the Game and a very limited one as well. Even though this card was slightly nerfed by reducing its maximum scrambling capability, it is mostly irrelevant to its purpose. Discord is best used in decks that want to win as fast as possible or in some slower denial decks, but it is also usable in midrange decks, though it's almost completely useless in stall decks. One of the most popular decks (and generally not fun if you're on the receiving end) is DBH, which stands for Discord-Black Hole. The aim of the deck is to play Discord early and when it seems like there's nothing more to scramble from the elements your opponent needs, it uses Black Hole to absorb all the scrambled quantum and the cycle starts all over again, and during this time chipping away your opponent's hp with cards like Abomination, Saphire Charger or plain Purple Dragons. The cards that work best with Discord are Black Hole (stated above), Earthquake (similar to black hole, but instead of absorbing the scrambled quantum, you deny their useful quantum directly, leaving them with useless quantum), Devourer (Similar to Black Hole, but it can be played quicker and it also acts as a quantum generator) and many other cards. If you plan on using Discord, keep in mind the deck and the cards I mentioned.
         
         
Spoiler for dark ripper:
Spoiler for Immolation:
Immolation


Strategy:

1)Immolation is the heart of fire in my opinion. Simply from the description of the card itself we can understand that the purpose of this card is RUSH! We sacrifice a creature and in return we get decent amount of quanta. This card allows us to summon cards right from the very first turn. So, firstly, we consider in what kind of decks immolation would fit in. Rush decks that depend on finishing off the enemy in just a few turns are the most effective way we can use Immolation. These decks should be at least duos since mono fire with immolation wont work fast enough unless it has several upgraded cards including minor phoenix and/or brimstone fire eater and burning towers, in which case a fully upgraded mono fire with cremations-considering you get a decent draw- can be devastating for the opponent.
Spoiler for example:
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5fc 5fc 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dg 7dh 7dh 7dh 7dh 7di 7di 7di 7di 7dm 7dm 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7ds 7ds 7ds 7ds 8po
   So, immolation works best when its surrounded by other fire creatures and/or spells that can be summoned immediately. This also should be considered the primary weakness of the card since its synergy with other elements is very limited unless there are several fire cards in the deck.
   Now, about which cards we should considered including when building a deck with immolation. Most of those cards are creatures but there are too many cards that synergize well with immolation such as pretty much every card that requires less than 2 quanta to be summoned.
 In order to maximize the efficiency of Immolation what you need is a 0 quanta cost creature such as:


Those creatures will be used as fodders to fuel the primary damage dealers of the deck which will mainly be :


Spoiler for example:
[/deck]5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f6 5f6 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fc 5fc 5fc 5fc 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 8po[/deck]

However, what makes Immolation such a good card is the diversity that it provides. It synergizes well with many elements with low level cards and can creature rainbow fire based decks with cards such as:



when unupped.
Spoiler for example:
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4vh 4vh 52q 52q 590 5f6 5f6 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5f9 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fc 5fc 5fc 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 5l9 5og 5og 8pm

and several other cards when upped, which greatly improves its ttw.
Spoiler for example:
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5fc 6u1 71a 71a 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 77g 7ae 7dm 7dm 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7ds 7ds 7n0 7n0 8pm

As for the mark of the deck, since Lava Golems will be our main source of damage, you either want Fire Mark or Earth Mark.

In conlusion, Immolation provides Fire with a lot of diversity as well as synergy with other elements and can be the base for creating many fun decks!

Spoiler for Phoenix:
Phoenix


Strategy:

When you think about fire, the first fire creature that comes to mind is probably Phoenix. Phoenix summarized what fire has to offer with its decks. A high damage creature with low defense but can be reborn! Most of fire's creatures are high damage/low defense so the ability to be reborn is especially important for fire decks, since it offers a consistency of damage when up against a high CC deck that can normally counter fire decks.
An example of such a deck is:
Spoiler for example:
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5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f2 5f2 5f2 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f4 5f6 5f6 5f7 5f7 5fc 5fc 5fc 5fc 5fc 5fc 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 8po

  Normally such a deck would be easily countered by heavy CC but the ability of phoenix to be turned to ash when killed and be able to be reborn back to phoenix for just 1 fire quantum allows fire to launch such decks with high probability of winning.

  When phoenix is unupgraded its synergy with fire is very high with either mono decks such as the above or decks around Immolation(chech above). But, on the other hand, its synergy with every other element is extremely low. Its relatively high cost of 7 fire quanta makes it difficult to be a part of any duo(or trio etc.) deck that doesnt have Immolation in it.
  However, enter
Phoenix is a card that when upgraded its cost is vastly reduced and its stats are somewhat lowered. Now, normally this is a downgrade when it comes to mono fire decks but it skyrockets its synergy with other elements.
  and their upgrades.
Minor Phoenix combines with those cards especially well. When unupgraded, phoenix can be used as a damage dealer in immolation decks as well as a fodder sometimes, but when upgraded, its fodder duties augment due to its low cost which makes the deck a lot faster.
Spoiler for example:
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Thanks to its low cost, and relatively high damage considering the low cost, one of the most famous decks around is Fractix.
Spoiler for example:
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  Fractix is a very strong deck that uses phoenix to its fullest potential. Single CC is meaningless against this deck and even with mass CC you can just revive the phoenixes later. Its relatively fast and with some form of PC it has a very low ttw.

As for nova, every low cost high damage creature can be used as a part of rainbow, nova based decks. Such is the case for phoenix (only)when upgraded. Its not exactly perfect synergy, neither can you make extremely good decks when you base them towards just nova and phoenixes, but it gives another option whereas unupgraded phoenix doesnt.

In general, phoenix provides fire with a lot of different kinds of options, rush, control, duo possibilites. Both the upgraded and the unupgraded versions of the card serve different purposes thus giving fire a fresh air of versatility.

Spoiler for Lava Golem:
Lava Golem


Strategy:

  Lava Golem is the common example creature of fire. High damage and very low defense. Such is the nature of fire creatures, rush before you die! But, given enough room, lava golems have the potential to grow unstoppable with their ability of +2/+2 with 1 earth quantum. This ability, limits the decks that can be created around lava golems since a mono fire such as:
Spoiler for example:
5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f0 5f2 5f2 5f4 5f4 5f5 5f6 5f6 5f7 5f7 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fa 5fc 5fc 5fc 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 5gi 8po[/deck]
although high damage, it is weak to cc and can work only under specific circumstances(low/no CC decks).

  However, Such mono decks dont bring out the full potential of Lava Golems. Lava Golem's ability is fueled from earth quanta, so its only natural that the best decks that can be creatured based on lava golems have some sort of earth cards/earth quanta in them. Here is such a deck, our very own false god Hermes
Spoiler for Hermes:
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This deck and several modified versions of it try to maximize lava destroyer's ability to finish of the opponent with lots of damage right from the start. You bring out the laval destroyer, and if its not dead in a couple of turns, suddenly a 11/5 beast is on the field.

The cards the most efficiently accompany lava golems are:



 Immolation decks are almost always combined with lava golems and the reason is simple. Immolation not only can summon a lava golem immediately after a fodder is sacrificed but it also generates earth quanta on the process to help laval golem's ability.
 Gnome Gemfinders are the most favourable fodder creature for such decks. It acts as a fodder first and foremost, but when immolation isnt drawn or you need some earth quanta gemfinders do just that. They produce earth quanta for lava golems to grow.
 Heave Armor can cover the only weakness of Lava Golems, their 1 defense. Having the same type of quanta as laval golem's ability can create powerful fire/earth duos with unkillable lava golems.
 An example deck of the synergy of those cards:
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77d 77d 77d 77d 77d 77d 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 77e 7dm 7dm 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dp 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7dq 7ds 7ds 7ds 7ds 8pm

Sometimes lava golems can also be used in low numbers in rainbow decks.

  All in all, lava golems mainly focus on rushing the enemy with high damage right from the start, and the most effective decks around it do just that.
         
     

Offline AfdarentyTopic starter

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Re: 10th Trials - Phase 1 Voting: Writing http://elementscommunity.org/forum/index.php?topic=62084.msg1234407#msg1234407
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 02:20:03 PM »
     
Spoiler for Trials #1 Task, Mastering the Cards (Part 3 of 4):
         
Spoiler for worldwideweb3:
Elite Charger

This is one of the best cards gravity has to offer. It has good damage to cost ratio, and has shield bypass! The hp is also pretty good, with only lightning and rage potion being able to kill it in one turn. Elite charger can be used in a mono gravity deck, with overdrive. The deck has great rushing potential, as damage increases by 3 on charger, with overdrive. Also, with its high hp of 5, overdrive can take the damage of a single charger up to 23. Combine this with heavy armour, and you have a great hitter, with cheap cost. The card can also be use with fractal. Fractal chargers is another great deck, which has the potential to dish out damage at will. Different versions of fractal charger can also offer some cc, in form of lightning, or one of the best shield in the game; dim shield. Another aether card that works good with chargers, but isnt used as much, is PU. PU can give you multiple chargers fast, and also gives you the option of using it on one of the opponent's creature. Charger's attack of 7 give it the sweet spot for adrenaline. An adrenaline'd charger is able to do 15 damage a turn. Adrenaline also helps against freeze, as it is able to get out of frozen state in 1 turn. Charger also works well with nightmare, as 5 cost is difficult to achieve, unless you have gravity pillar/pend/mark. A good domin, with NM and dagger, can be lethal, as it combines the damage of chargers, with healing of daggers, and denial of NM.
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Titan is one of the good weapons in the game. It has good damage of 8, which is able to bypass shield, but that's not all. One of the reasons it's used a lot is due to its HP. When combine with Animate weapon, it has a hp of 50. Imagine an 8/50 attacker that can bypass shield. It's large HP, gives use to another in-element card, gravity pull. Playing flying titan's with GP means that you are able to deal damage fast yourself, while being able to prevent opponent attacking your 100 health bar. However, like every flying weapon, it's prone to 2 cc cards: RT and freeze. RT is a pain for every flying weapon deck. To help against both RT and freeze, we have another in-element card, catapult! By playing titan, and using AW on it, then catapulting it, it is bale to do 34 damage to the opponenet! This is more than 1/3 of the total hp. When frozen, it only adds to this damage, as it is ablt to do 50 damage, taking away half the health! Rage elixir is another card that works well with titan. It gives it 14 shield bypass damage, that is extremely difficult to stop, and RE can also be used to cc opponent's creature, as most creature's are below 6 hp! Another card that does well is crusader. It gains a massive +8 attack boost, and also gets shield bypass, which light on its own lacks. Here is an example combining some of the things i've talked about.
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This card is an absolute beast when used right. It's ability is one of the most potent in the game. As a result, any card that buffs hp is beneficial to the otyugh. Blessing does it really well, giving otyugh hp and attack.
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The deck can not only do well in pvp, but can also take on and defeat the fg Graviton! Another card that Otyugh fares well with is shard of patience. Shard of patience gives otyugh +2|+2 every turn, giving it the ability to devour most creatures. Sopa also helps with one of the problems otyugh has: low damage. With sopa, you can easily take control of the board and build your attack up! One of the most famous plat grinder called Swallow uses this synergy. Otyugh also works well with gravity shield, as any creature with less than 5 hp is devoured and any creature with more than 5 hp is unable to attack. Heavy armour also works great as it raises otyugh's hp by 6! And as it only costs 1, it is extremely fast to set up. Also, heavy armour being in earth helps more, as it gives way to pulvy, which is pc on the stick. Earth also has cards to slow opponent's damage like wardens and earthquake, and also help raise hp, by use of stone skin!
         
         
Spoiler for mathman101:
Trials #1
Mastering The Cards

Spoiler for Evidence of completion:


Adrenaline
Adrenaline is life's alchemy card pairing with Green Nymph, and allows creatures to attack multiple times in a single turn. For this reason adrenaline is usually used in rushes due to the extra attacks given to the creatures. Depending on the creatures Attack amount it can give and extra 1,2,3, or even 4 attacks. When looking at the most effective way to use this card, it is good to know where the 'sweet spots' for it are in regards to attack values. The 'sweet spots' are the maximum total damage for each number of attacks, these values are when a creatures attack is 0(5 attacks), 3(4 attacks), 8(3 attacks), or 15(2 attacks).
Another effective way to use Adrenaline is on creatures with passive abilities; venomous creatures (Scorpion, Puffer Fish, etc), quanta generating creatures (Firefly, Ray of Light, Gnome Rider, etc), vampire creatures (Vampire, Liquid Shadow targeted creatures, etc). By adding adrenaline onto creatures with these effects a scorpion can add poison to the opponent twice per turn, a devourer may steal tice the normal quanta, or a firefly can generate 4 light quanta per turn.
A few key cards that work exceptionally well with adrenaline include:
  • Minor Vampire - as it can heal up to 8 hp in a turn while dealing damage (12hp if nightfall is in play)
  • Animated Druidic Staff - it can heal up to 20 hp per turn, even if the staff is frozen or delayed.
  • Overdrive - can ramp its damage very fast, and quickly change  a 1attk creature to a 15+attk creature in a few turns.


Emerald Shield
Emerald shield is one of the 2 shields that life has, and both has a damage reduction and a spell reflection. Being a shield this deck is rarely used in rushes, but more so useful in stalls and slower rushes. The shield reduces incoming physical damage by 1, so paired with some form of healing this can help with those slower rushes that can't out rush the fastest rushes. Another benefit of emerald shield is that it is immaterial, meaning that it can not be destroyed or stolen, which is very good when wanting to guarantee a defense against multiple low attacking creatures.
A few key cards that work really well with Emerald Shield include:
  • Shard of Wisdom and Quintessence  - When paired with these two cards you can give you opponents creatures spell damage with your reflective shield they will continue to damage themselves, with the added benefit of the shield being immaterial so they cannot remove your shield.
  • Fire Bolt, Ice Bolt, Drain Life - Spells that need time to 'charge' their quanta for critical damage need some way to stall while waiting to strike. Emerald shield can reduce the damage for stalling while waiting for the 'quanta charge' but more importantly, if the opponent plays a reflective shield and tries to render your bolts useless you can bolt yourself and reflect them to your opponent.





Forest Scorpion
The forest scorpion is a creature that will deal 1 damage per attack, adds 1 poison counter to the opponent per hit, and has a health of 2. At first glance this creature may not look like much due to it's low stats, but upon use and the right combination of cards this creature can be a real annoyance. When looking at where this creature fits in to deck types he is usually in breaks due to his poison being a bypass of shields, or in rushes when paired with adrenaline for the speed burst and muliple poison counters that can stack up quickly.
A few cards that pair really well with forest scorpion include:
  • Adrenaline - This will allow Scorpion to deal up to 4 damage per turn, and apply 2 poison counters per turn. This can ramp up quickly if not destroyed or healed fast. By the fourth attack the scorpion has dealt over 16 direct damage and applied more than 8 poison counters totaling over 24 damage almost a quarter of your opponents full health.
  • Antimatter - Antimatter will cause your scorpion to heal you opponent 1 hp, but it will also allow it to pass through shields regardless of damage reduction and still apply a poison counter. This is a nice combo because Antinmatter can be used on opposing creatures to heal yourself while waiting for the scorpions poison damage to reach massive amounts, or can be used on the scorpion itself to bypass shields to apply extra poison counters.
  • Momentum - momentum allows creatures to bypass shields and adds 1 extra attack and health. By applying this buff to a scorpion the scorpion can bypass all shields and apply its poison counters to the opponent, while also gaining a minor attack and health boost.
         
         
Spoiler for killsdazombies:
Mastering the Cards

I decided, for my card spotlights, I would take a look at the lowest rated cards on life’s element subthread. This included Shard of Gratitude at 4 votes, Cockatrice at 5, and Jade Dragon at 6.

Shard of Gratitude
Spoiler for Shard of Gratitude:
Shard of Gratitude is most easily used in a stall deck. Stall decks in elements are atypical, in games like magic; a stall deck will revolve around building a pillowfort of cards and hiding behind it. In elements, we don't have such a luxury; instead we must focus away from damage prevention, and into recovery. Shard of Gratitude is simply, pound for pound, the most healing you will get from a base permanent. Yes, Sanctuary has a strong similarity with this card, but all the more reason to use them together. Light and life are already swimming in synergy, namely leaf dragon, going from the max 30 healing per turn with Shard of Gratitude to 54 with sanctuary's is just over half your health every turn. With this incredible healing per turn, you have the time to set up and strengthen one of elements few pillowfort cards, Hope. This is of course disregarding life’s three other healing cards, and light’s three other healing cards. All together you have a grand total of eight healing cards and one of the strongest potential shields in the game.
Cockatrice
Spoiler for Cockatrice:
Cockatrice might take second place compared its competition, horned frog, but that to me seems like an unfair comparison. Cockatrice is like a hardier version of frog, and in fact, in the standard life rush, they are used together. Let’s compare the cards themselves, horned frog is a 2 quanta 5/3, and cockatrice is a 3 quanta 5/5. This is effectively, 1 quanta for an extra bit of health. Cockatrice is used as an additional cheap creature, often with frogs, not only because they are relatively the same, and still very cost effective, they also can deal with situations frogs cannot. Rain of fire is a card that tends to devastate frogs, cockatrice however is sturdy enough, both upped and unupped, to survive it, forcing the opponent to either burn another card to deal with it, or simply accept the remaining damage. In a rush deck, which is the primary place one would find and use cockatrice, it is difficult to survive the pushback some elements can send, cockatrice not only helps to survive this pushback, it also serves to deal cheap, quick damage. Cockatrice gets an insanely bad rap because it is viewed in the same light as horned frog. The stability cockatrice offers often makes it a better target for buffs, like mitosis, and can rapidly force opponents to use multiple burn spells on it, clearing the way for softer frogs.
Jade Dragon
Spoiler for Jade Dragon:
Since nearly all of the unupgraded dragons start off with relatively similar base stats (right around 10/5) this paragraph will focus on primarily on its upgraded variation, 12/9. Jade dragon sits in a nice and steady middle ground. It has enough damage to be tied, or stronger, than about half the other dragons available, and much like cockatrice, is sturdy enough to take quite a few hits. With 9 health, there are very few situations in which jade dragon can be removed with a single card, most of the ways of dealing with jade dragon are rather soft CC cards that will only delay the issue. Since jade dragon has quite a bit of damage, it can be used easily with parallel universe without breaking the bank for life quanta as fractal would. Jade dragon can also easily be hit with rage pots, leaving it a small bit of room to avoid cc, though 3 health is usually considered the resistant or nonresistant threshold. Jade dragon is often used in the slower stall variations of life decks, like a life/firestall. Unlike in the standard light/firestall, you’ll almost always have too much life quanta. Tossing in a jade dragon or two allows you to move rage pots otherwise used for CC into damage, while finding a use for that plentiful life quanta.
         
         
Spoiler for dawn to dusk:
Mastering the Cards
Thorn Carapace is one of Life's two shields, and serves as it's only form of CC. This is, however, slow. But has an AoE effect to it that can bypass Immateriality and Cloak. Due to how slow it is, it sees most use as either a counter to a deck (like perhaps a RoL hope), or in a stall deck which can afford to take damage as long as there is a long term gain. This means, that if there is enough defense to back it up, a single Thorn Carapace can prove to be a powerful card, capable of stopping many decks.

Considering this, Thorn Carapace is best used alongside cards like Shard of Gratitude (in any life stall) due to its consistent healing, Stone Skin (in an Earth Life stall) since it provides a lot of short and long term bulk, and even sometimes Emerald Shield (in counter decks) to provide versatility.
Adrenaline is one of the most aggressive cards at life's disposal, and thus has a lot of use in many rushes and stallbreakers. It is a buff, meaning it can be removed with Reverse Time, and gives no stats meaning that the creature will still be susceptible to creature control, but it's main use is to provide a consistent burst to the opponent, and allow for creatures to be very cost efficient. This efficiency is reflected in the cost of Adrenaline, being cheap to use, and potentially giving large amounts of damage.

This card is best used with Horned Frog, as it is in-element with Adrenaline, as well as very cheap. Druidic Staff is another, albeit quite niche, use, and allows for it to heal 20hp per Stave per turn to the user, given that the weapon has been flown beforehand. Finally, it has great use with Momentum, as it can provide a small buff to a creature, increasing its effectiveness depending on what it is, and also gives the shield bypass effect which can greatly hinder the use of Adrenaline.
Empathic Bond is a scaling heal for life. Despite starting slow with few creatures, having multiple Empathic Bonds out with a near-full board can potentially heal for more than your full health every turn. It mainly only has niche uses, but can be used in various types of decks, from a stall-with-damage, to domination decks. It has troubles against cards like Rain of Fire and Thunderstorm, as AoE effects severely hinder Bond's usage. These cards are hard to fight back against, unless a card like Cockatrice is used to fuel the bonds which are surprisingly bulky against AoE spells.

These niche uses restrict the amount of plausible cards which can be used with Empathic Bond, however some of those cards which stand out are Mitosis, which is not only in-element, but provides a very consistent creature generation to fuel the bonds, aflatoxin which can double as a lockdown tactic, whilst still providing large creature generation. This can also be used alongside cheap creatures such as Horned Frog and Cockatrice, which are cost efficient, and provide useful offensive stats while still being useful contributions towards the Empathic Bond.
         
         
Spoiler for willng3:
Mastering the Cards (AKA "Your word counts are now diamonds!")
Spoiler for Evidence of completion:
Spoiler for Adrenaline | Epinephrine:
Card 1: Adrenaline

Adrenaline and Epinephrine are simply one of the best damage boosters that this game has to offer and are in some cases essential for giving lower (0 to 3) Attack creatures usage in decks outside of gimmicks. Adrenaline's ability to tear down Bone Wall charges, delay turns, and freeze turns are all factors to be considered when expecting to face decks that could make use of those cards.

Usage #1: Small creatures with Abilities
Adrenaline's ability to increase the number of attacks from a creature per turn also gives it nice usability in conjunction with lower attack creatures with abilities, such as Ray of Light, Firefly, Devourer, Forest Scorpion, Minor Vampire, Druidic Staff etc. In this context, outside of having a :life requirement, Adrenaline can see usage in a wide variety of deck archetypes, ranging from pure rush to some forms of stall. However, its best usage comes into play when the user is able to take full advantage of the creature that the spell is being applied to, as many of the creatures listed above are extremely frail and are very susceptible to almost all forms of creature control. Let's take a look at and discuss the implementation of some of these strategies.

Firefly
Spoiler for Example Deck #1: Firefly Swarm (with Queens):