Building Legendary Decks #1 – Build-Around Cards

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Building Legendary Decks – Build-Around Cards

A Legends article by Justin Larson

One of the great things about Elder Scrolls: Legends is that you, the player, are given a lot of control over your fate in the game. With decks ranging between 50 to 70 cards, the choices you make about which cards to include in your list give you the ability to approach the game from an almost infinite number of directions. When the game is new like Legends is, finding the most powerful cards and building a deck around them is a great place to start. These “build around” cards must first be identified. After you find one you like, you find cards that support what they do, enhancing and advancing that strategy. The payoff to this approach can be immense. This is how the state of the ladder – or the metagame, as it’s often called – begins.

Advanced deckbuilding options include taking a look at the popular decks of the moment – right now, that’s Tvp’s archer deck, the blue/green goblins decks, and purple/yellow tokens decks – and trying to build a counter deck that has a high win rate against them. That’s what I did with my Scout ramp deck – and it’s an approach to deckbuilding that rewards players for knowing the current metagame.

The metagame is defined by a cycle of powerful decks being created and then the rise of decks which counter those decks. In subsequent articles, we’ll take a look at this second, more advanced approach to deckbuilding. For today, let’s look at six cards that can really get the deckbuilding juices flowing.

1. Lillandril Hexmage.
Lillandril Hexmage is a 5 magicka, 4/4 blue creature with the text, “When you play an action, deal 2 damage to your opponent.” Right off the bat, this card lays out the basics for what make her so powerful. You’re going to want to play actions, so building a deck that profits from her isn’t going to be that much of a challenge. She’s blue, which is a color full of powerful actions. This is the easiest kind of build-around card; she’s a card that rewards you for playing the game in a way that you were likely to be playing it anyways. To maximize the value you get from her, you’re going to find cards that also benefit from playing actions, like Crystal Tower Crafter, Shimmerene Peddler, and Auridon Paladin. Those cards explicitly tell you that they want you to play actions. Beyond that, though, the decisions get a bit trickier. Do you want to use Hexmage to finish the game, topping out the magicka curve of a more aggressive deck? If so, cards like Slaughterfish Spawning, Ice Spike, and Raiding Party might be a good place to start looking. On the other hand, you can run a more controlling deck, using Hexmage to generate the value that multiple other cards would otherwise offer, grinding out games with cards like Piercing Javelin, Midnight Sweep, or even Nest of Vipers for the truly crushing control fan.

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2. Iliac Sorcerer.
Iliac Sorcerer is a deceptive card. At first, it looks like a small value creature that one might slip into an otherwise stock Wards decklist. It is, after all, a 1/1 purple Endurance creature that costs a single magicka. It has Ward and “After Iliac Sorcerer loses a Ward, double his power.” After the first time one of these things attacks you for 30 damage, however, you’ll want to reconsider your opinion. Iliac Sorcerer offers something rare in Elder Scrolls: Legends – it offers the ability to pull off a one-turn kill. What cards would support this? Well, there’s two things you’ll want to do with this guy. First, you’re going to want to increase his power, which leads to playing Items like Steel Sword (or Dunmer Nightblade, who gives you a Steel Sword when she dies), Mace of Encumbrance, and Tome of Alteration (or Daggerfall Mage, who gives you free Tomes). Second, you’re going to need a way to keep giving your little Sorcerer friend ward, which cards like Wardcrafter, Elixir of Deflection, and Mentor’s Ring can do for you. Cards like Firebolt, Fire Storm, and Ice Storm can help you break your own ward to keep the process going, if your opponent finally wises up and stops putting enemy creatures in front of your Sorcerer.

3. Goblin Skulk.
Goblin Skulk is a 2 magicka 2/2 green Agility creature with the text, “Pilfer: Draw a random card from your deck that costs 0.” Each color has a few cards that cost 0, so this guy is not only a fun card to build around (offering card advantage, a rare and valuable commodity), but also a tremendous amount of flexibility in terms of use. Cards like Cruel Firebloom and Curse can be used to control the board, generating a lot of tempo for you. Cards like Murkwater Goblin and Nord Firebrand can help you push for damage in a more aggressive deck. The most interesting thing you can do with your Skulk, however, is play it alongside Elusive Schemer. When Elusive Schemer dies, it shuffles itself back into your deck – but the copy that’s shuffled into your deck costs 0 magicka. That’s right, you can use Goblin Skulk to pull out free copies of a 4/1 that draws a card when you play it. That’s value.

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4. Flesh Atronach.
Flesh Atronach is a beast of a card. This ugly fella can enter play as the biggest creature in the game, and like Hexmage, rewards you for simply playing the game. Maximizing his value, though, can take a variety of forms. Let’s look at the facts, first: Flesh Atronach is purple and costs 6 magicka. His power and health are equal to 1 plus the number of creatures in your discard pile. We probably want to use him to kill our opponent in one attack. How best to do that? Well, first, it’s important to note that token creatures, that is, creatures created by other cards like Scouting Patrol, Deathless Draugr, and Markarth Bannerman, will end up in your discard pile when they die. You can run a lot of these sorts of effects and end the game with a massive Flesh Atronach. An alternative approach could be running a more controlling deck, where Flesh Atronach is going to enter the game large simply because it’s turn 20 and you’ve been grinding your opponent out with high value guard creatures like Nahagliiv, Golden Saint, and Varanis Courier. Whichever route you take, it’s good advice to drop your Atronach into the shadow lane, where the chances of him being destroyed before his moment of glory are lower.

5. Master of Thieves.
Master of Thieves is a green/yellow card, so it’s going to be in a very specific deck right off the bat. Its base stats are already pretty good, coming in at a 3/5 for 4 magicka, meaning that it dodges lightning bolt and trades well with the many 3 health creatures that see play. What really shines about this fine feline is his special ability, which allows all the creatures you control with Pilfer to attack twice each turn. That right there is a lot of attacking. What to do with those extra attacks? There are some obvious routes to take, like jamming your deck with every small (they’re mostly small) pilfer creature you can get your hands on. Certainly, a Descendent of Alkosh or a Quin’Rawl Burglar attacking twice each turn can get out of hand very, very quickly. A double-attacking Torval Crook can ramp up your magicka faster than any other ramp card in the game can. Casting a 10 magicka card on turn 5 or 6 sounds fun, right? Finally, there’s Thieves’ Den. Combining Thieves’ Den with Master of Thieves gives every creature you control – even those who don’t naturally have Pilfer, like Master of Thieves himself – the ability to attack twice every turn. Talk about value! Landing both of these cards on the table at the same time should end the game in your favor in no time at all.

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6. Alik’r Survivalist.
Finally, we’ve got a card for those of you who like to attack your opponent’s face with gigantic creatures but don’t feel like putting in the time to grow your baby Flesh Atronach to Godzilla size. Alik’r Survivalist is in red , which is already the most aggressive color, and as a 3 power 4 toughness creature for 4 magicka that gets +1/+1 whenever he equips an item, his power is pretty obvious. He’s even kind enough to bring his own knife to the party, delivering a +1/+0 Steel Dagger to your hand when you play him. How do we get maximum value out of the Survivalist? Skilled Blacksmith could be a good friend to bring along, since he makes that dagger cost 0 and allows you to drop multiple items each turn pretty cheaply. Plunder is also a card to look at, since it turns one card (Plunder itself) into two cards, which then get a lot of value when handed over to the Survivalist. If you feel like protecting your Survivalist, you can run Sentinel Battlemace to give him Ward, or Assassin’s Bow to give him cover. And since face is the place you want to point your Survivalist, you can consider the Bone Bow to silence guards that show up to contest his survivalism.

Hopefully this short list has given you a few cards to consider building a deck around. There’s certainly a lot more options than we’ve examined today – Dres Tormentor for shackle decks and Tower Alchemist for decks running a lot of Support cards come to mind – but these are six cards that can take you to the top of the ladder with some time and creativity, so we started here. Next week, we’ll take a look at the other approach to deckbuilding that we mentioned in the beginning of the article – metagaming. Have a nice day!

Justin Larson
Team Prophecy

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