If you haven’t checked out the base set Good analysis, do that now!Good tends to normally have some pretty weak ground bodies but some things change in Tyrants! Let’s take a look at each new Good card and see how they stack up, what they add the alignment, or the game as a whole.
Before, Good was hurting for a “killer” silver. Where Evil has Corpse Taker, Sage has Muse, and Wild has Rage, Good really relied on simply throwing a few silvers together and hoping they came up when needed. Not to say any were bad, but they’re not holding a candle to the general purpose use of Blind Faith. With Blind Faith, you can recycle (so very often replacing itself, making it a free card) and blank out the textboxes on your opponent’s champions. “Abilities” and “Powers” refer to both the general textbox rules, the shaded areas (while it is in the discard pile), and the bold strip of keywords at the top (Airborne, Ambush, Blitz, etc).
This isn’t to say that an opponent just has to sit there helplessly, but you can make it so they can’t do things like use Jungle Queen to play cards as Ambush. This is extremely useful for removing Breakthrough from an incoming attack if you only have weak human tokens. A well-timed blind faith also lets you block some air attacker, maybe kill it, and turns off its potential Righteous. This is what advanced gamers were looking for. I promise you’ll find so many uses for Blind Faith you won’t want to leave home without it!
Often times in this cruel, cruel world, an opponent is going to start with a Thoughtplucker, Psionic Assault, Knight of Shadows or other levels of annoyance in their opening hand. Any time they get some incidental discard (or set up an engine), of hand control, you can find yourself annoyed, hosed, ready to rage-quit or all three! Markus, Watch Captain has your back.
As the Good tyrant, he at least had the common decency to be one of the top bodies in Good overall. As the Tenshinhan of humans, Markus starts big and can get big. Given this fact, the ability to essentially get free gold any time an opponent uses a discard effect (which is extremely common, regardless of your meta), is pretty amazing. With proper loyalty, he’s just a Triceratops that replaces Breakthrough for the ability to stop token spam. That’s if he’s not being incredibly anti-meta with his discard protection. Markus may find himself being slotted into every deck, even at 1 copy, just to threaten the “no fun allowed” crowd.
Really what we want to look at with Rabble Rouser is human spamming in general. Base set Good had some pretty nice human token spamming and support. However, it doesn’t hold a candle to the horror of Tyrants human token support. Rabble Rouser himself comes down with blitz and the ability to not only grant humans but double them like some sort of insane Krenko Mob Boss on crack. With the stupidly high number of ways to get human tokens (and give them all blitz) this is going to turn into a nightmare.
Insurgency gives us that nightmare. Let’s say that instead of six humans with blitz, you got four humans with blitz, unbreakable and +1 offense each. What if all your human tokens got those buffs? That’s Insurgency, which granted has no alternate draw 2, but a properly built deck can make that work. I won’t be spending much time talking about alternate versions of existing cards and their trade-offs (such as Forced Exile) but Insurgency warrants a mention simply for its buffing. Revolt is another that, ignoring Rally the People‘s “Recall” text, is strictly better, buffing everything by +2 after.
Paros, Rebel Leader is yet more buffing along with production! This gets quickly out of hand, turns on your Inheritance of the Meek and the new Quell for a major one-sided board wipe. Much of what helps a human token deck also have unbanishable, such as the new Noble Martyr (who can put six into play when allied from the discard, plus facechecks for 7 blitz immediately) and People’s Champion.
Throwing in a High King and Thundarus gives you more partial one-sided board wipes to the aforementioned plus Divine Judgement.
If you haven’t checked out the base set Evil analysis, do that now!Evil had a shaky start in set one with very poor champion bodies and a total lack of support for their best strategy—demon tokens. All of that changes in Tyrants, with a major overhaul to Evil’s arsenal.
Starting off strong with amazing demon token support is the Evil tyrant himself: Raxxa. Raxxa is narcissistic and what he wants most in the world is to make every demon like himself. He brings along his own two personal demon token bodyguards and then gives every one of them +2/+2, so they can all be 6/6 like him. Oh and he can totally nuke weenies with 2 defense. This is a growing trend with demon tokens: far more of them. Remember how he can weenie-nuke? Try that after a Zombie Apocalypse or Wave of Transformation.
Spawning Demon was the savior of the demon token strategy. Despite having to compete with some amazing silvers, Spawning Demon provides the same effect as Infernal Gatekeeper without the gold cost, and at event speed! Of course you can pull some fun stuff, such as ambushing this in, paying your gold on the response, getting that demon for a life, and blocking with both your silvers for 8/8, though who wants to lose their engine? Everything like this pairs nicely with Raxxa’s Curse, which kills a silver and gives a demon token (totally invaluable with your own Reaper live). And of course, you have a coup de grâce in the form of Raxxa’s Displeasure which is the most one-sided board wipe (demons never die) I’ve ever seen in Epic.
Reaper is really just a free kill every turn, since you don’t care that what you kill turns into a demon token. You have far more of those. Reaper even doubles the output of spot-removal like Medusa and Bitten. Pairing it with Raxxa’s Curse means “no, actually you don’t have one but I do” after you kill something. This is one of Evil’s biggest on-board threats.
Combining it with things like Zealous Necromancer means a zombie token with every single kill from Reaper, to even out the trade of demons. More than that, it means Reaper can convert your own zombies into demons when necessary, which is usually a great idea the moment Raxxa makes his appearance.
I was a bit skeptical of Zealous Necromancer’s potential before I actually investigated him more and played a few games out. Once I did though, I fell in love. This card single-handedly wins games. The first clue that it’s solid as hell should be the Ambush + Draw. Any time you have OPP+DRW on a champion for free, you’re starting off on solid ground. But on top of that, the ability is so loosely worded that you can do all kinds of crazy things.
Imagine, if you will, a demon token engine. I know, hard to fathom. Imagine that you never swing with them and only keep them up for blocking purposes, usually trying to kill on the block. Every time you lose a demon token and every time the attacker dies, you get a zombie. This becomes absolutely outrageous in a very short period of time. Any opponent not packing weenie-nuke is going to have a hard day. Wiping the field of 2, 5, or 9 defense at a time (there are board wipes for each) is absolutely imperative once Zealous Necromancer makes the scene. I’ve used this to repeatedly stall out for the perfect card, even a second copy of it. I’ve used it to appear like I’m building up a huge zombie defense wall only to swing with all of them plus him, then play Raxxa’s Displeasure and swing into an empty field with demon tokens. Truly a champion of nightmares.
I don’t even understand how White Wizard design team keeps pumping out excellent cards without the game taking off as an international craze like this. The Gudgeon is one such amazing card with many uses. Let’s take for a moment that he protects you from burn, all freeze (except unblockable), discard control, just a surprisingly large number of cards that target players.
Obviously, not all burn (Draka’s Fire comes to mind) and not all of everything, but the protection is worth mentioning. The Gudgeon essentially forces a response. With it being unblockable, it’s not something an opponent is going to remove with most existing board states. Any time it provokes a hand response, it’s essentially operating like a true net +2. Which is absolutely great. Don’t deal with him? Well eat your 2 damage every turn. And sure, he’s easy to kill but it’s much harder when he’s untargetable too due to the effect of Royal Escort. Which is in an alignment that buffs humans. Like The Gudgeon.
If you haven’t checked out the base set Sage analysis, do that now!Sage started off the strongest in set one, relative to all the possible categories, making them the most solid pure color as well as the most splashable. Tyrants, by comparison, isn’t making that significant of a leap but still manages to keep Sage in the game, maybe even still in a station slightly above others.
Starting off with the Tyrant: Helion the Dominator. At first, I was unimpressed by Helion. He’s flashy but seemed to be a bit too niche for me. However, there are some things you boys, girls and others need to know. “Gain control” can target things you already control. I confirmed this with Nathan Davis at White Wizard personally. So right away, we have an 8/8 (respectable) Ambush, that can loyalty to take away the toys and even get those toys killed after an attack is declared. Just his existence will make you rethink attacking with your strong champions first. On top of this, if he’s played on your turn after playing a nice big silver champion like Ankylosaurus, that champion gets to attack with blitz. Yes, you can do the same thing with Turn but allowing your existing gold champions to double attack. Pro tip: Target Helion with his own effect to give him blitz the turn he enters play!
We’re not done. Let’s take Forcemage Apprentice, one of the best cards for consistent damage in the game, and give him that effect twice. Okay, so he doesn’t have blitz or re-prep but Helion can at least take out multiple utilities/tokens at a time or just hit face at his leisure.
Shadow Imp is a treasure. “Pinging” to death with 2 damage is usually the job of Forcemage Apprentice but now you get to double down on that. Shadow Imp is unblockable, so that 2 is hitting, has blitz, so it’s hitting every time it comes in, and has ambush so it can eat a hit in a pinch or come down at really weird times. On top of that, you can attack, pay a gold to ally it back to hand, play it and attack again. This combined with the “gain control, prep it, blitz it” effects are causing Sage to have a very blitzkrieg style of offense which allows them to just constantly re-use attacks.
One of the better attacks to re-use are unblockables and the biggest unblockable is Knight of Shadows. As a 9/4 with the same effect as Thoughtplucker on Tribute, he threatens to come out swinging. Granted, he’s speedless but can be paired with Turn once he does get rolling. Nine to the face every turn is nothing to laugh off. Especially when paired with a +2 effect.
It’s the year of the unblockable! Temporal Enforcer isn’t screwing around. All those amazing time cops in Sage are back but this time with the body of an unblockable rogue. So much utility was never had in one card! Paint this picture in your mind: setting up an unblockable on your opponent’s turn, making them lose a gold via bounce, and setting up re-usable silver bounce (token kill too) all in one card. How does that sound for a deal?
Obviously, the downside is “dies to removal” but don’t most things? The extreme level of bounce in Sage makes it worth mentioning though that bounce does not always lead to a gold advantage. Make sure you’re not doing something weird like bouncing a silver, a blitz, or an incredibly powerful Tribute/Loyalty. You really don’t want opponents to repeatedly use cards like Raging T-Rex and draw up a storm. That having been said, it makes speedless cards all the weaker as true removal is no longer even necessary. And it means speedless cards without any sort of re-usable entry effects are more dangerous to run. Anything with Blitz or an entry effect of yours is going to be amazing with Temporal Enforcer, even making Frost Titan a re-usable freeze without opponents being able to take him out.
If you haven’t checked out the base set Wild analysis, do that now!Wild has never screwed around. The fun doesn’t stop in Tyrants. Remember when Wild had very little it could do with airborne? That changes.
Draka, Dragon Tyrant is now the largest blitz airborne in the game. Before, that prize went to Djinn of the Sands with his full counter armament. On top of that, Draka sports a weenie-nuke that can wipe the entire field of tokens, utilities, multiple silvers, and says to opposing air blockers “you better have 13 defense if you want to live through this”. Just as horrifying is Draka’s Enforcer which gives such a respectable 7/7 ambush body you’d think it wouldn’t also have airborne. That means the Enforcer can kill most of the average airbornes it ambushes in to block, without dying. On top of that, drawing a card.
Any time you have OPP+DRW on a champion, you’re in good hands. Wild getting such over-the-top airbornes really helps determine what two colors a “dragon” themed deck would want to be. Given the loyalties required on all three Wild dragons and both Sage dragons, the deck maps itself. Good dragons are mostly poptarts anyway.
Have you heard of our lord and savior, Brachiosaurus? This is the first legal card that can add gold in the game. Despite being restricted to Wild, the gold itself automatically sets Brachio up as a completely free field development most of the time on a super respectable breakthrough body. Can life get any sweeter? It’s a dinosaur, which means Chomp! and Great Horned Lizard can buff it. The latter of which is extremely respectable in its own right with ambush, blitz, breakthrough.
Adding to the massive pool of breakthrough is Ankylosaurus. This little 7/7 silver is as close to maxed out as a silver can get. With the highest (non-legal) silver body in the game being 8/8, no breakthrough, Ankylosaurus is really pushing the limit. It’s excellent when added into a pure breakthrough group attack, since it makes that group one of the scariest things in all of Epic. It’s difficult to block effectively and everything is contributing to the final push for damage. However, it should probably only be used in addition to Wurm Hatchling, not as a replacement even in a dino-buff deck. Growth is worth something by itself.
Other cards such as Dark Offering are too reliant on deck design to say anything general about (especially with the awful rule 5.0: which states that unbreakable champions cannot be targeted by “break” effects, even though there is no such rule for unbanishable!). With this in mind, let’s move to a product review.
What do I think of Tyrants? Maybe I gave something away with my take on The Gudgeon, but the card design is absolutely brilliant. Every single alignment got exactly what they were missing. I don’t want to betray White Wizard’s attention to detail, so let me list all of them:
- Evil gets demon tokens, token buff, zombie token spam, more proper draw, and more proper OPP
- Good gets better bodies, more cohesive human support, more human token support, nice utility and protection, more life gain, more speed
- Wild gets more airborne, dinosaur support, more breakthrough, more severely needed blitz, more incidental effects
- Sage gets more technical and specific support, more hand control, more unblockable, more permanent bounce, more ping damage
Here is what each still lack in my opinion, and I look forward to seeing in the next set (Uprising):
- Evil needs bigger bodies and more airborne. This should stay their weakness but doesn’t have to be this weak
- Good needs bigger ground bodies and better silvers. This should also stay their weakness but needs improvement
- Wild needs a few more airborne and more focus on blitz. Again, having blitz as a weakness is okay but blitz is far too important to have this few/weak bodies of
- Sage needs even more ping damage. It has basically everything else covered right now and therefore could use a new direction after ping damage is achieved
Here’s what I think Tyrants did poorly, despite loving the card design of the set:
- The production values were not up to my standard. Star Realms and Epic set 1 were almost there in card stock and right on the money everywhere else. But this card stock is flimsier and a bad “matte” feel instead of waxy smooth like other games White Wizard has released. This is a noticeable drop in quality.
- Some of my copies and many of friends of mine had bad miscuts. Not within their own bleed, more like into the very next card.
- The ink run sometimes had different layers run incorrectly. My Raxxa Tyrant for example looks like a cheap 3D glasses effect (slightly) because of the tiny misalignment of the cyan ink.
- Again with the ink, the black was far too dark (in fact all darks looked like they weren’t proofed in CMYK mode), at least on every print run I’ve personally seen. The text therefore looks way too bold relative to the clean thin look of set 1.
- The $5 SRP makes sense for turning a profit margin but no sense given the production quality. I understand that as a smaller print run than base (less cards, maybe less funding), they must have had higher costs, however it’s not okay to also have worse quality on the print run if your price point is higher.
Also, I believe that they did some things right that were absolutely an improvement. Just, for example, the spread of new tactics despite having a minor fraction of the card pool of base set, is rather impressive. Allowing us to re-use old cards to a significantly more complex degree is the hallmark of great design. The new token art was a vast improvement over the old and getting a free token in every pack finally made the extreme token decks I’ve built feasible. Despite all the imperfections on the physical front, Tyrants remains such an excellent sequel to the Epic base set and will really put naysayers to shame.
White Wizard is clearly a company with a love for competitive card games and with some smart minds behind them. I recommend getting three of everything so you can compete to the fullest in Epic constructed. Combined with base set, it’s cheaper and more fun than any TCG on the market.
For more Tyrants strategy, watch these videos:Raxxa’s Revenge
Hopefully you all found this an informative and helpful article. If so, be sure to share this with your friends!