Summoner Wars Mega #4: Cloaks vs. Benders
Today’s match was one that everyone knew would come eventually: the showdown between the mind-controlling Bender Empire and the nomadic nation of exiles they created, the Cloaks. As former countrymen face off in a duel of wits, it’s Itharia’s profoundest civil war yet! Only problem is that they’re double-dipping from the same bag of tricks, as both specialize in neutralizing their opponents’ abilities. So the question is: who neutralized better?
Somerset and I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting match. Or a longer, more grueling match. Emotions ran high as we undermined each other at every turn. Read on to discover which nation was swept away by the tides of change. Also the tides of mind-control and thuggery.
Somerset: Tacullu of the Benders
I really like the Benders — I just wish I were better at playing them. Of all the matches I have played with this team, I don’t think I’ve even won a single game. I generally get close, but then it all collapses in a flurry of one-hit-point-easy-kills and then there the enemy is in Tacullu’s face, with no magic in reserve for Counter Summoning. Dan and I go through both of our team’s units and abilities about a week before each game, and though that helps me feel a little more confident, I really think I’ll be outwitted in this upcoming game. The Cloaks are slippery fellows with tricksy abilities and Dan knows them inside and out.
I can see him bringing a good assortment of his commons, and putting them all to good use. I’m especially worried about Snipers. My plan with the Benders is to be a relatively defensive team, because all my units but one (the Parasite) are ranged and have one hit point, so any unit that can shoot at five spaces gives me pause. That’s why I’ll be bringing almost all my Controllers, to not only move opponents away, but also to shuffle around my own units when they’re in potential danger. The downside of that is it may make this a very drawn-out game where instead of attacking I might be constantly drawing back into strategic positions. I’m okay with that, and I’m fairly confident Dan will be aggressive and fall into the traps on my side of the board. Of course, Mind Control (of which I have three) will be very useful against his low-cost commons that meander over onto my side of the board — I really hope he brings some of those Slashers over.
I’ll need a lot of magic and I’m planning on being a common-heavy team. To that end, I’ll be taking Sorgwen to increase my total attacks, and Kalu and Talu so I only have ot pay for two champions total, but am likely to get all three. I’ve never seen the Mimic event used to great advantage because there are so may events that are personalized to the individual factions, so I’m happy that the Cloaks only have one team-specific event (Raid). It’s unlikely I’ll be able to get a Thief through Mind Control, nor would I think it’s too useful an ability to have with the low chance of getting a Raid from Dan’s hand, but that would be such a fun way to say “How the turntables…” One way of accomplishing that fun move is using my Mind Witches, so I’ll be taking a couple because of their ability to Mimic the name and ability of anyunit, including champions — how amazing would that be against Dagger, Sin-Sin, or Violet? I also plan on bringing all my Deceivers, because as long as I place them out of the way of ranged enemies, they are a great way to shut down advancing armies.
As always, I’m nervous and excited about this upcoming match. I guess we’ll find out who is the cleverer of us two.
Somerset’s Benders deck (reference):
Kalu, Sorgwen, Talu
2 Breakers, 5 Controllers, 7 Deceivers, 2 Mind Witches, 2 Parasites
Dan: Vlox of the Cloaks
I love toying with my opponents, so I’m a big fan of the Cloaks — which makes it even more demoralizing to say I have a bad feeling about this matchup (though I think it’s ultra-cool that we’re basically fighting a pitched civil war, given the relationship between our factions. Grumpy freedom beats mind-enslavement any day of the week). The Benders have a way of making me feel incredibly neutered. I suppose that’s the point: they like to mess with your head and hand, dipping into your events and even your units’ bodies. Par for the course, except it feels like my Cloaks have an above-average number of susceptibilities to the Benders’ tricks. I fear I may be out-toyed with. Here are some of the things weighing on my mind:
First, one of the natural weaknesses of the Benders is the frailty of their soldiery. If I were playing as nearly any other faction, I’d stock up on high-life commons to take advantage of this and let me march into their ranged attacks without fear of dying right away. As the Cloaks, I’ve only got one common type (Scrappers) with 2 life, so that’s not going to be exploitable. At least it cements the Scrapper as a unit I’ll definitely be bringing along to this fight.
Second, Tacullu (the Bender Summoner) has that obnoxious Counter Summon ability that wipes out a nearby unit by paying its summon cost, which means I’ll be giving him a wide berth, especially with my two varieties of 0-cost commons, the card-stealing Thieves and the possibly-powerful Slashers, both of whom are normally staples of my Cloaks decks. I’ll be using fewer of them than I normally would.
Third, I won’t be able to hold onto certain key cards for a future ideal turn, courtesy of their three Mimic events, which lets the Benders peer into my hand and steal an event. Since only one of my five event types is bound by a faction-specific keyword (Raid, which relies on having a Thief), I’m going to be dumping events like crazy, or at least pretending that I don’t have any in my hand. (“You really want to play that? I have no events, you know. Just doing you a favor.”) And I’ll be damned if I’m going to let her take a Magic Drain. Can you imagine getting drained more than twice in one game? Insanity.
Fourth, those three Mind Control events mean I’m not going to be wandering onto their side of the battlefield unless I’m darn certain of the reason behind it. I’ll need to keep meticulous track of how many of these end up in the discard pile to determine when to push into Bender territory.
So as much as I hate to say this, I’m going to play the Cloaks in a less tricky manner than I normally would, and instead focus on being sort of a thug, plus a few opportunistic muggings when I see an angle I can exploit. I’m bringing The Admiral to give my guys the survivability they need to go toe-to-toe with the Benders and come out on top in terms of life points, Hawk to kill her frail commons from relative safety, and Violet because she’s a bit cheaper and should be able to thin out the enemy ranks if they cluster too much.
Wish me luck. I think I’ll need it.
Dan’s Cloaks deck (reference):
Hawk, The Admiral, Violet
4 Gunners, 6 Scrappers, 3 Slashers, 2 Snipers, 3 Thieves