As one of the most adorable Life creatures, the Rustler (and its upgrade, Leaf Dragon), can convert quanta into quanta repeatedly in a turn, making it one of the most efficient quanta transformers in the game.
The Rustler opens up many windows of opportunity for Life-Light synergy. It can serve many purposes, from being a simple way to balance extra quanta, to being the absolute lynchpin of a deck. Rustlers work by giving 2 quanta per 1 quanta upon activating its ‘Photosynthesis’ ability, and the player can use this ability more than once every turn, which is particularly important for this card.
One special thing to note is that Shard of Readiness will allow a player to generate 2 quanta for free if the spell is used on a Rustler or Leaf Dragon, but it will prevent the player from activating the skill multiple times. This is to prevent situations where players can generate near-infinite amounts of quanta without any other requirement, and would throw off game-balance if it could.
Rustlers are a great way to quickly gain a lot of life quanta. They work quite nicely with unupgraded Fireflies, as fireflies produce light quanta, which can be turned back into life quanta by the Rustlers. One excellent example of this is a basic variation on the Firefly Queen Deck. As the Rustler transforms the quanta emitted from the Fireflies into quanta, the Firefly Queen uses the same quanta to produce additional Fireflies on the field.
By the same token, Rays of Light also works well with the Rustlers - as ‘free-costing’ cards, Rays of Light can be played at any time, and also generate quanta each turn similar to the Firefly. While the Rays of Light are weaker than the Fireflies (1|1 (Ray of Light) vs. 3|2 (Firefly) in regards to Attack & HP ratios), many consider the two cards to be an effective strategy of gaining additional quanta faster, and are another combo that demonstrates the synergy between the Life and Light elements.
Finally the Rustler also works well in combination with Miracle | Improved Miracle. Because Miracle requires a lot of quanta quickly, you may often find yourself with much more light quanta then you actually need. All of the excess quanta will typically go to waste, as Miracle consumes all leftover quanta after played. The addition of a Rustler will end this dilemma, by turning your extra light quanta into life quanta, which can then be used to quickly turn out dragons, adrenaline-affected frogs, etc. Thus, if you are generating excessive amounts of quanta to play expensive Light cards like Miracle, Rustlers become perfect for calculating and transforming quanta to ensure that nothing is squandered.
Other Cards With Synergy
Sadly with only 1 HP, the Rustler is fairly weak in comparison to many other creatures, making it vulnerable in those deck archetypes to strong CC. However, the upgraded version (the Leaf Dragon) has a total of 3 HP. Though this +2 HP may not seem like much, it certainly makes a difference against certain CC cards such as Plague and Thunderstorm, which will oftentimes kill a Rustler upon being played. With the addition of Blessing (another Light card), Leaf Dragons and Rustlers become much more stable, and can become decent attackers as well as impressive quanta-exchangers.
Cards that can assist with generating the necessary quanta for the Rustler to transfer into are Luciferin and Solar Shield - while the former can be used more easily when you have a field with vanilla creatures, the latter can provide a nice defense alongside the quanta generation for the Photosynthesis ability. Expensive Life cards, such as Mitosis and Emerald Dragon are also good cards to use alongside the Rustler, as their costs can be difficult to play with.
Because quanta can be a scarce and difficult resource to accumulate throughout matches, cards like Rustler can be wonderful to have as a back-up plan to manage your quanta, and should never be overlooked in regards to the Life-Light synergy.
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