The biggest weakness of Sage is likely to be their lack of threats. While they can usually answer any threat or just work around it, Sage themselves generally do not have Champions that force action from the opponent, at least not on a spot-removal basis. This is because their Champions tend to be flashes rather than of the permanent type.
The few permanents they have, such as Steel Golem tend to be hard to remove anyway as they have Untargetable. Only about 5 Champions in Sage qualify (2 of which are hard to get rid of, but not impossible like Steel Golem and Sea Titan) and of those five, most hardly qualify as threats at all, usually just sporting big Airborne bodies or the ability to deal small burn damage. Their strength then, is in the ability to use lots of powerful flashes usually at Event-speed. Let’s take a look at the Power distribution for Sage.
Condition Data Sum gold Sage champion power 84 Avg gold Sage champion power 8.4 Sum silver Sage champion power 12 Avg silver Sage champion power 3
- This table’s data shows that Sage is 84/116 (Wild total) or 72% of the max, making Sage the second-highest Power card pool available. Their average is also 8.4 which is very close to Wild’s 8.9, so their averages don’t even suffer degradation. With such high Power bodies, 5 very usable airborne, 3 very usable big bodies (10+), 3 freeze cards, and even a breakthrough, Sage adds a ton of very usable offensive Champions to its library of high-control and high-draw. With so many “clean” methods of offensive strategy, which to choose? Generally, you want to maximize as many of those as possible without sacrificing other things the alignment is good at.
Despite the high average power of Sage Silver champions, they cannot do the same kinds of hurt as Evil due to the fact that Evil Silvers have better abilities. They can grow, break things that block them, are unbreakable, more of them have blitz, and can control discards. Remember that all of these statistics come with caveats. For example, Sage has some interesting dynamics in their Airborne champions, which warrants a comparison with Good’s.
Alignment Sum Avg Max Good 36 / 49 6.0 / 8.2 10 / 15 Sage 29 / 27 5.8 / 5.4 8 / 8 Evil 17 / 14 5.7 / 4.7 6 / 5 Wild 6 / 6 6.0 / 6.0 6 / 6
- So can Sage do better than Good if they try for an Airborne strategy? From the data, it’s pretty obvious that Sage is better than Wild and Evil all around with airborne. However, it’s a bit fuzzy with its ability to compete with Good in the air. The max absolutely can’t, but if one tailors one’s Sage deck specifically to deal with Good, you can include a 6/8 to deal with their 6/8, an 8/8 for their 6/6, a 6/4 to their 5/6, and a 5/4 to their 4/5. All having superiority in these mappings (or at least a tie). Good still has a 10/15 and a 5/9 that you can’t answer. What I’m saying is that Winter Fairy can’t really compete with Good at all but the rest of your stuff can do same or better as long as you can kill Thundurus and Angelic Protector (good luck).
As Sage can clearly rival Good in the air, is better than anything but Wild on the ground, and can freeze anything it can’t pierce right through, it’s actually one of the stronger offensive strategies, requiring very little defense to make up for it.
Including some Untargetable champions as well as four things above 9 defense (a 10, 12, 13, and 14). Nine is a specific number in epic that refers to the best average, which is a 9/9 as well as two prominent kill events Hurricane and Drain Essence which deal 9 damage. Though two of those are actually immune to the targetting of Drain Essence anyway.
Condition Data Sum gold Sage champion defense 89 Avg gold Sage champion defense 8.9 Sum silver Sage champion defense 10 Avg silver Sage champion defense 2.5
- While Sage’s Silver defense is so bad it rivals Evil, the Gold defense rivals Wild! With an 89/123 it has 72% of Wild’s 123 defense sum. The same as its offense ratio. So this means the average body of Sage is 8/9, while Wild is 9/9. Obviously these are rounded and both alignments can increase their average by omitting weaker cards. Just by running some of your best offensive strategies in Sage, you get good defenders for free. This means your biggest battle against things like Evil and Wild will be your ability to control the outliers. Evil is going to control you and you have to control Wild. In the air, you have to control Good’s outliers. This makes a powerful one-two punch of body-control for Sage.
Its control is serious business too. Transform is strictly better than Bitten, possibly better than Inner Demon (depending on whose turn you have to use it on) and also potentially better than Banishment (again depending on whose turn). The same goes for Wave of Transformation. It also has powerful hand control in the forms of Thought Plucker and Psionic Assault which can easily be 2 discards each, plus both can be recurring.
Time Bender is a recurring ability to banish your opponent’s best Silvers or bounce their Golds every turn. Sea Titan comes in with the same bounce, netting you gold advantage. Time Bender can boardwipe with bounce, netting either a loss or gain with gold depending on how you time it. Turn gives you control of something, and the conditions change based on whose turn it is but you can get it permanently, which is +1 gold use for you, -1 for the opponent if it’s permanent! Stand Alone is one of the best board wipes when you have supremacy, usually air supremacy. All of the Sage control is very high quality; they aren’t scrounging for effects here. If anything, it’s difficult to decide what not to put into a deck.
Sage’s best champions are very serious indeed. Djinn of the Sands is the best airborne+blitz in the game, sporting an 8/8 body immediately due to its counters, with the option to draw when you’re in desperate need. This can beat out any air champion besides Thundurus or Angelic Protector, the latter of which can’t kill Djinn either. It’s a truly horrific card that gets slapped down and immediately threatens 27% of your life total, then threatens to do it again next turn. For this reason, Djinn of the Sands has to be dealt with immediately. He’s not even color locked!
Ice Drake is a game winning card. With a body that goes toe-to-toe with the average Good air champion, he can ambushed in at the end of the opponent’s turn to freeze all their stuff from blocking you, then immediately be part of the upcoming mass-attack. Even if your opponent is playing some control, he’s a flash not a permanent and so it’s not possible to stop that freeze with control. The best an opponent can hope to do is board wipe since you telegraphed your big attack. Ceasefire was actually an annoying one to run into since they can stop the kill-shot and still draw. When you see Ice Drake in your hand, plan for your endgame.
Honorable mentions: Juggernaut and Frost Giant.
Juggernaut sports breakthrough+blitz which is practically unheard of. In fact, it’s the only champion in base set with this combination. That means it gets to throw 9 damage out immediately, which is 30% of someone’s life, and they can only mitigate it, not stop it. Since it’s unbreakable, it’s truly unstoppable too. Juggernaut is a threat of the highest caliber and must be responded to on the next turn or with banishment immediately. This is basically Djinn of the Sands-lite, as blitz+breakthrough is roughly equivalent to blitz+air most of the time. The draw a card tops the crazy cake with a fuck-you candle and since it’s the only part behind loyalty, it could technically go in non-Sage main decks. Frost Giant is sported here for the exact same reasons as the Ice Drake, except he isn’t color-locked at all, just doesn’t have as good a backup plan (airborne) and can only be used on your turn. Nevertheless, he wins games.
Sage generally has an answer for everything during play. Opponent plays a bunch of silvers? Make them discard so they can’t recover easily, skipping gold turns. Opponent can summon a bunch of huge things to block? Freeze them or burn directly. Opponent’s groundlings are too much to handle? Air superiority. Opponent has lots of blitz? You have lots of control that works well on their turn. Unbreakables? You have banish. There aren’t a lot of situations that can be drummed up that Sage can’t somehow escape if the player is good enough or conservative enough leading up to it.
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