Thoughts on the upcoming Rise to Power expansion

Karst stumbled through the fetid gloom of the Deepwood grove, sweat and rank moisture tarring his furred face and whiskers as his lungs heaved against the miasmic air.  Weaving through tangled claw-roots and scum-streaked puddles, he sought respite from his exhausting days of flight.


The young Tigrin’s body was covered in welts and bruises, the result of his failed attempt to seize status among the Pack of Lorus. As if the wounds inflicted by the teeth and claws of his rival were not enough, the vegetation tore at him with roots and branches, slowing his retreat from the pack. Behind him he knew the victor’s wolves’ eagerly pursued him, seeking a fresh kill.
Now, days after his failure, he shivered in the darkened shroud of a fallen forest giant, mind warring between the impulses to flee, fight, or collapse.


Suddenly, an odd sensation pulsed through his body. He felt a warm wave of serenity and succor, seeing a faint glimmer of yellow light grow, far in the gloomy distance, where there had been none before. Karst suspected the shimmer to be the predatory pulses of hunting echowisp twins, but exhaustion and desperation drove him from his muck-slicked shelter, willing to seek even the illusion of comfort in his desperation.

 

*Pulse*

*Pulse*

The glow was like the sedate heartbeat of some luminous forest giant. The soft light drummed a steady rhythm for his aching paws as he emerged, startled, into a clear, sheltered grove. At its center, a yellow lantern hung, glimmering, from the boughs of an enormous, yet decrepit tree. Other lanterns, cool and soulless, hung from bare and fungal-blighted branches.


The rotten stench and oppressive gloom pervaded even this place, but the glow promised an alleviation that undeniable.  As Karst stumbled over the taproots of the declining giant, a grand patch of bark warped and puckered, coalescing into the semblance of a face;  the lantern pulsed more brightly, evoking sensations of power and warmth within the Tigrin as words sounded within his mind. “Hooom, little one, I am pleased you have come.  We have much we can do for each other…”


Days later, Karst stalked through the twisted boughs and roots of Deepwood, stopping to survey his rival’s camp from the sheltering shadows; pulsing golden vines now wrapped around his healthy, vigorous frame.  Deeper in the woods, his patron sat, dozens of lanterns gleaming brightly from its branches; as its Tigrin avatar struck first blood, Wegu smiled, great roots heaving its bulk upwards…

 

Greetings Forgeborn!

Today, I want to talk about how the grudging Wegu makes friends, and specifically what makes a good friend for our beloved lonely tree. Without any further ado, here is the card:

The art on this card is striking. I hate Wegu but I could not resist the awesome image. I always look at the cards when they are represented with an impressive piece of art, so I started looking at the ability to find potential decks to use it. It actually perfectly matches the art. The key word that defines this card is flexibility. The spell isn’t a mere average pump spell. It also gives you the much needed life boost in some matchups.
This card isn’t level gated at all, so the boost may tremendously vary depending on the target. Imagine you play an AU Control deck versus any form of aggro deck, you survive till 3.1 and apply on your Chrogias in 3.2, you effectively gain an amount close to 40 hp, when before sometimes your opponent could have still tried to race you down. The pump effect can also easily be relevant, be it to win a trade with a key Arcflight Squadron or Toxoid or to just create a monster. Here, cards such as Brightsteel Gargoyle, Frontline Combatant or Umbruk Lasher come to mind. This flexibility is also reinforced by the fact that you don’t need to level this card for it to be effective. It perfectly fits as an underdrop, and in most matchups I don’t really see myself needing to play it before PL2.

 

With these thoughts in mind, I considered some decks that could include this new spell.

 

Robots also want to have friends

3 Arcflight Squadron
2 Automaton Prime
1 Cypien Experimentation
2 Brightsteel Gargoyle
3 Esperian Scarab
3 Frontline Combatant
3 Relic Hunter 

2 Ferocious Roar
3 Lifeblood Dryad
2 Oros, Deepwood's Chosen
3 Wegu's Embrace
3 Weirwood Patriarch

 

As usual with growbots, the aim is to keep control of the board while continually pushing for damage. Wegu’s Embrace perfectly fits in the deck. It has some native targets such as Oros (due to his breakthrough), Frontline Combatant and Brightsteel Gargoyle, the latter actually becomes surprisingly hard to remove once it is buffed if your opponent doesn’t feature Nekrium. It can help you push for the final points of damage, or even more importantly save you while you push for these final points of damage versus decks such as burn. Oros or Relic Hunter can really help you doing so due to their Breakthrough ability.

Early on, controlling the board is key, and having your squadrons or any of your high armor creatures (Automaton Prime or Frontline Combatant) survive a trade can usually force the use at least one card out of your opponent, and usually more.

 

Nobody is safe from the wrath of the old tree

3 Ator, Thunder Titan
2 Borean Windweaver
2 Call the Lightning
2 Chaos Twister
2 Shatterbolt
2 Staff of Vaerus

1 Lightbringer Council
2 Lysian Shard
3 Oros, Deepwood's Chosen
3 Umbruk Lasher
3 Umbruk Icecrusher
3 Wegu's Embrace
2 Wegu, the Ancient

lightbringer-council

I couldn’t help but making a Wegu deck to find a home for his new Tigrin friend. The deck also features the mighty Lightbringer Council, whose art also reminds me of Wegu’s Embrace. These Tuskins really want to see play together. Maybe Karst will join the council too after all?

The aim here is to win early with big creatures that become aggressive thanks to Ator. With a 16/14 repartition of the deck, you shall not miss any Allied trigge.  Wegu isn’t a win condition at all, but can grow out of control if left unchecked. Staff of Vaerus and Call the Lightning can really get you the win out of nowhere, and even as early as in PL1. Wegu’s Embrace comboes extremely well with these double battle effects. Umbruk Icecrusher in 1.1 followed by a Staff of Vaerus and Wegu’s Embrace deals 44 straight damage to your opponent and grants you 22 health, as early as 1.2! Umbruk Lasher can be really effective in clearing the board, and all of your other creatures have to be dealt with immediately.

Chaos Twister can be a game changer against any form of growwide or raid strategy, while Shatterbolt handles especially the single target threats. Shatterbolt also goes through Ambriel Archangel (in case the Burn player you might face ever plays him), and can directly target the face to finish off your opponent if you happen to lose control of the board.

 

In draft, I honestly don’t expect it to have a high impact when Ursine Strength already exists. Board matters a lot more than health there, and when you invest a spell to win a trade when your opponent will actually clear your creature with another one.

In constructed, I expect Wegu’s Embrace to be here to stay as a potent underdrop in most Uterra decks, and I believe its art truly deserves some recognition by being played.

ursine-strength

 

Be sure to stay tuned to the Ironmind Company for our upcoming Rise to Power brews, and for our analyze of the impact of the new Heroic cards in draft.