Summoner Wars Mega #1: Mountain Vargath vs. Jungle Elves
Today the stout Mountain Vargath will face off against the mobile Jungle Elves. This matchup probably wouldn’t even occur if the lore of Summoner Wars were ironclad, since both factions are only fighting to defend their homeland. Ah well, maybe there’s a tract of mountainous jungle somewhere that everyone lays claim to. The Itharian Poland or something.
This match caught us both by surprise. It was surprisingly nonviolent, though it lasted fewer than 10 full rounds. Neither faction managed to get through their entire deck, and nobody was sure who would win until the very last dice roll.
Somerset: Abua Shi of the Jungle Elves
Many a Summoner has been snuffed by a flurry of Abua Shi-empowered and -hasted assassins — as in my Summoners. I have often been the recipient of those perfectly executed multi-event attacks, and it bites [pun! —Dan]. It is incredibly daunting to play the team my husband likes best, against one of the teams I like most, especially since I’m pretty sure I’ll fail miserably at being clever enough to pull it off. To be honest I haven’t played the Jungle Elves often nor lately, so I’m flying by the seat of my soft black velvet pants here. The JE can end the game surprisingly fast with the right units and events. I have seen this. I know it can be done. However, the Vargath are powerful, well-armored, guerrilla-maneuvering units with amazing advantages on the opposing side of the board. To defeat these overgrown goats, I will have to end the game quickly and decisively with carefully hoarded events and strong empowered attacks, because there is no way the JE can survive a game of attrition against the stronger Vargath team. Sunderved, with his seven life points and Command ability will probably be surrounded by strong defenders and a difficult little billy to land a hit on.
My goal is to bring out as many hard hitters in the early game as possible to control the board and keep the minotaurs away from my walls and my side of the board. To this end, I’ll be dispatching several of my own starting units and burning my deck like crazy. I’m planning on bringing a common-heavy deck to the table, with Gorillas, Elephants, and Lioneers, all empowered by Abua Shi, as my main attacking force. I’ll be leaving in a few Archers on the off-chance I’ll be able to use their Arching Shots to get at the well-protected Sunderved. Building my deck this way necessitates leaving behind Miti Mumway, one of my favorite but terribly expensive champions, in favor of empowering Shikwa to dispatch Sunderved’s retinue of defenders and then landing her second attack on the Summoner himself, and using Makeinda Ru strategically placed to control choke points and quickly eliminate threats.
Somerset’s Jungle Elves deck (reference):
Kadara, Makeinda Ru, Shikwa
3 Archers, 3 Elephants, 2 Gorillas, 3 Lioneers, 7 Lionesses
Dan: Sunderved of the Mountain Vargath
It’s a bit ironic the way this matchup has aligned. Somerset’s chosen team is the Mountain Vargath, so on the one hand I’m relieved to have taken them away from her. On the other, the Jungle Elves are my personal favorite — they’re the sneaky jerks I use to scare new players away from the game. One minute you’re thinking their units seem overpriced, and the next you’ve surrounded the enemy Summoner with a pack of enraged pachyderms and lion-riding elven boy-toys. And it’s only the fourth round.
Unfortunately, my love of the Jungle Elves makes me wary of facing them. I bottle up, wall in my Summoner, and pray they don’t use Jungle Guards — or, crud, even their basic Archers — to kill me in spite of my defenses. And now I don’t even have that luxury, because the Mountain Vargath are distinctly not a team that likes being bottled. They break from the norm by having no (or near to no) ranged units, and they love nothing so much as bustling over to the enemy side of the board to pick up various bonuses, from the Warrior’s extra attack to the Warden’s strong defenses when hanging out by enemy walls. One thing is certain: I’ll need to stay on the mobile offensive and keep Sunderved in the middle of a retinue of soldiers if i want to take advantage of my units’ abilities.
My longterm goal goes something like this: Put a wall of commons around Sunderved where they can be empowered with his Command ability, march them into enemy territory, and then use Muster to transfer even more soldiers to his side, which will hopefully be right in Abua Shi’s musky grill.
I’m taking Growden for just that purpose, since he sunders walls at a frightening rate, and the JE having fewer summoning spots is nothing to sneer at. Bellor will hopefully let me get a few extra hits with his Retribution ability, and Luka should be able to nullify a few of Somerset’s powerful unit abilities. My common choices aren’t as focused, since I want a bit of everything.
Dan’s Mountain Vargath deck (reference):
Bellor, Growden, Luka
3 Brutes, 5 Rushers, 3 Storm Mages, 3 Wardens, 4 Warriors