"I got to working on the Crusader's artwork after jmizzle7 won the first ever card creation competition and zanz announced it'd be in-game. I wanted it to be pretty reminiscent of the historical figures, yet barring the religious symbols. After initial versions were posted on the forums, feedback caused me to add the glow and sparkle on the helmet and sword; making him just that little less human and a little more awesome." -vrt
As a 'sister' card to the Flying Weapon card, Crusader is a flexible Light creature with the Endow ability. For 3 (or 2 upgraded) quanta, Crusader can Endow a weapon, increasing its ATK by an amount equal to the weapon in question, while also gaining the weapon’s abilities.
- Crusader gains the ATK (not HP) and the ability of the weapon it targets with the Endow ability
- The Crusader’s ATK and Endowed ability are affected by weapon modifications (increased or negative ATK can be added to the Crusader; lobotomized flown weapons won’t transfer their ability)
- Crusader’s Endow ability can work on all targetable (non-immaterial) weapons, regardless of which side they’re on or if they’re a creature (flown) or a permanent (slotted).
Unlike the Flying Weapon card, Crusader doesn't need to have a weapon in the weapon slot for it to be played. For 5 , the Crusader card is a relatively frail card in regards to stats (2|4 or 3|5 upped). However, its true prowess comes with its ability, Endow. After Endow is triggered and the player targets a weapon, the Endow ability is replaced with the weapon’s skill, and the Crusader gains 2 HP and ATK equivalent to the weapon’s full attack. In other words, one could theoretically have multiple ‘weapons’ on the field at once via Crusader; sometimes with the added benefit of having additional ‘weapon damage’ applied with the skill. Another special thing to note is that Crusader can target any weapon on the field; whether the weapon is flown or within the weapon slot, or on the enemy’s or the player’s side, Endow can basically give the Crusader any weapon ability that is visible and targetable, making it extremely adaptable to practically any situation.
Since the weapon needs to be targeted in order for Crusader to gain the ability of it, Morning Star (the rare Light weapon) doesn’t work with the Endow ability, as it’s immaterial (i.e. - cannot be targeted directly). Although the Crusader is relatively vulnerable, facing an opponent with heavy permanent control can be frustrating; relying on certain weapon abilities (Eternity or Pulverizer, for example) is a broken crutch against something as simple as Steal. From that, it could be said that the Crusader can double the effectiveness and reliability of one's weapon (instead of immortalizing it via Protect Artifact), as the copying of the weapon skill can act as a failsafe against PC-oriented opponents.
A secret regarding the Crusader’s Endow ability is that the ATK gain from the weapon in question can be further modified by the use of ATK-changing spells on the weapon (if flown). For example: if a player uses a Blessing on a flown Vampire Dagger, increasing the Vampire Dagger’s stats to 9|7, a Crusader will gain 9 ATK rather than the usual 6 from the ATK boost. Likewise, if a Flying Titan is afflicted with Antimatter, a Crusader using Endow on the Titan will receive -8 attack (as well as the momentum ability).
Also, abilities given to flying weapons can also be transferred to the Crusader (i.e. - a Dagger given the ‘Destroy’ ability via Butterfly Effect will also transfer to the Crusader as well). Status effects (Adrenaline, Infection counters, etc.) cannot be given to the Crusader though, except spell-buffed Momentum.
As there are 16 unique weapons in total, each of the weapons will be analyzed separately with the Crusader card, but the main three choices will be highlighted in comparison to the rest of the weapons in the latter spoiler:
With additional access to other cheap Darkness cards like Steal and Cloak, Vampire Stiletto | Vampire Dagger is one of the top weapons to Endow; because of the weapon’s synergy with buff effects such as Blessing and Eclipse (if the weapon is flown), the Crusader can reap the additional benefits of the increased ATK, and thus drain life for even higher amounts from the opponent.
In regards to damage, Crusader’s given Fahrenheit's | Fahrenheit's ‘Fiery’ ability can rack up damage extremely fast; if Fire Bolts or Fire Lances are unable to be used, having multiple Crusaders with the Fiery ability can slice the opponent’s health in pieces after a few turns. In a duo-Light/Fire deck with high emphasis on generation, Crusaders can be the perfect fit for dealing damage akin to a Fire creature, but with much more resilience to CC effects.
In addition to gaining the ‘poisonous’ passive skill to counter cards like Otyugh or Scarabs, Crusaders gaining the Venom ability can be incredibly devious. One could say that unlike Puffer Fish, which can be blocked by Diamond Shield, Crusaders can bypass the shield with the additional ATK granted from Arsenic | Arsenic. Because Arsenic is also incredibly cheap (and requires very little maintenance to apply the poison), the combo between Crusaders and the rare weapon can be easily pulled off. From this, potent poison-stall decks revolving around Death-Light combinations can be designed for a very dangerous offensive.
Other Cards With Synergy
Dagger 2/1 | Dirk 4/1 - Poor
While the Dagger itself is fairly weak (even with a Darkness or Death mark to boost its attack by 1), a very secret combo using Dagger, Animate Weapon, and Butterfly Effect can be used to give Crusader a useful ability; overall though, Dagger is generally avoided.
Short Sword 3/2 | Long Sword 6/2 - Poor
Again, the Sword cards aren’t very useful to pair up with Endow, but they are a semi-decent ATK boost.
Hammer 3/4 | Gavel 6/6 - Medium
Crusaders will gain the ‘Hammer’ ability, which means in addition to their attack, they’ll also deal 1 additional damage if the player has an Earth or Gravity mark. The Gavel can give a Crusader a fairly meaty amount of attack.
Short Bow 3/3 | Longbow 6/4 - Medium
Similar to the Gavel except it grants the ‘Bow’ ability instead (bonus with an Air mark). However, the Short Bow | Longbow also the passive ability, ‘Ranged’, which transfers to the Crusader when Endowed. Thus, this is the cheaper (and more ‘accessible’) weapon of getting around the Wings shield, compared to Air’s rare weapon.
Lobotomizer 5/4 | Electrocutor 5/4 - Good
While Mind Flayers themselves require two elements to play, the synergy between Light and Aether is much stronger than what most people give credit for. Crusaders with Lobotomize can be quite annoying to deal with, although the Lobotomize ability becomes easily redundant when there are multiple Crusaders in a deck.
Owl’s Eye 5/7 | Eagle’s Eye 7/7 - Very Good
The relatively high ATK and impressive abilities (from the ‘ranged’ passive skill to the Snipe ability) makes the Eagle’s Eye an incredibly strong weapon to use Endow on. In addition to increasing the amount of CC available in a deck, Crusaders can also gain a huge boost in attack and overcome the Wings shield - Light and Air synergies can be greatly and further expanded on using these weapons in conjunction with Crusaders, and are an overall strong choice to pair up with them.
Pulverizer 5/12 | Pulverizer 5/12 - Medium
While Pulverizer may seem beneficial on a Crusader, the card combo requires three elements to perform optimally, making it less efficient than if the Pulverizer was used alone (or if Butterfly Effect was used on a vanilla creature). This combo can be useful if used on an opponent’s Pulverizer (assuming one has the quanta to use the permanent control), but otherwise okay.
Discord 4/3 | Discord 6/3 - Good
Similar to the article on the Flying Weapon, multiple Crusaders that Endow Discord can be a frustrating combo. However, if one attempts to also use Black Hole in addition to the effects of Crusader + Discord, the combination becomes a trio, which is much harder to pull off in comparison to the Flying Discord + Black Hole combo.
Titan 7/50 | Titan 8/50 - Good
Despite the massive ATK gain from either version of Titan, the effect of ‘momentum’ can be given to the Crusader beforehand. Thus, using Endow on a Titan can act as beneficial bonus damage, but can be generally considered as a lost potential when compared to the capabilities of the other weapons.
Druidic Staff 2/7 | Jade Staff 4/7 - Very Good
The healing from the Staff can be great for Endowing, and the synergy between the two cards is very valuable. While players can reap the benefits of major healing if they place Adrenaline on the Crusader with the Druidic Staff’s ability, they can simultaneously deal moderately high damage (higher than a flying Druidic or Jade Staff), especially against tough defenses such as Permafrost Shield.
Morning Star 7/7 | Morning Glory 8/4 - Useless
Because the Endow ability must have a weapon to target, Light’s own rare weapon cannot be coupled with the Endow ability, as Morning Star is immaterial. Thus, it’s important to note that Crusader is technically a duo-deck card rather than a mono-deck card.
Eternity 4/8 | Eternity 4/8 - Very Good
With Time and Light, having additional Rewinds for CC can be fun, but also really expensive. However, some Light-Time duo decks often rely on the Rewind ability for various reasons (as a stalling option with Blessed Dune Scorpions, for example), and the card advantage with additional rewinds can be great.
Trident 4/9 | Poseidon 4/9 - Medium
Unless a player manages to balance the usage of , , and generation, a Crusader using Endow on a Trident can be very limiting, as the damage from Trident and Poseidon isn’t strong, and the ability itself being overshadowed by a few Earthquake spells.
With that said, Vampire Stiletto, Arsenic, and Fahrenheit are some of the best weapons to combine with Crusader, given the right setup and combinations with those cards. Ironically, one can counter a Crusader-using enemy by protecting the opponent’s weapon of choice (via Protect Artifact), or by not playing weapons/destroying them when possible. No matter what though, Crusader is an amazing utility creature that can be incredibly fun to use, no matter what weapon the owner (or the enemy) chooses to wield.
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