The smart people of the internet have figured out the complete list of CotA cards that stick around in AoA, which means, it’s time to start analyzing.
Since my objective at this time is to prepare for sealed in Birmingham, I care a lot more about Commons and Uncommons than I do about Rares. Even when I play today against opponents on the crucible, sometimes I don’t look over their list, but I can intuit most of the cards I need to think about and play around, simply because they are more common.
Also, as a general rule, you’d need to prepare for things that happen out of hand and less from things that stick around on the board. Troublesome creature will cause trouble, and you’ll need to take care of them, but you don’t usually get to react to cards out of hand, they just happen to you, and you need to be prepared. So Witch of the Wilds is a powerful card, but is unlikely to do anything before you get a turn to react to it.
EDIT: Nathan (AKA CorayThan), owner of DecksofKeyforge.com and winner of the Denver Vault tour, had some feedback, which I’ve added his thoughts into the post, lightly edited.
Key Charge and Chota Hzari remain in the set, so untamed has retained their top of the line key cheating. An important question to ask, though, is did they retain their aember burst to go along with it?
Dust Pixie is out, but Flaxia and Nature’s Call remain, and can often pull off the same burst. Although rare, they retain Fuzzy Gruen. They also have Regrowth and Nepenthe Seed for some recurring shenanigans. So I’d say yes, they retain their burst potential.
Mimicry is still in a set, and while it’s not exactly likely to play around it, it is something to keep in mind. Possibly holding a powerful action a turn longer and baiting out the Mimicry with a softer action, or simply being prepared for all the actions you yourself have in your discard pile.
Grasping Vines is good artifact control and should be remembered.
Save the Pack is in, but Cooperative Hunting is out (which makes me happy, I dislike that card), so the only card in CotA it combos with is Common Cold, but that will kill your own creature too. Save the Pack is not a card I like, and I don’t think I have really had the opportunity to play around it. But I guess spreading some 1 damage around their cards can make it detrimental for them to play it.
Nathan: ” I think you missed on the untamed burst potential. It went way down unless they have some good AoA replacements for hunting witch and dust pixie. Keep in mind, those are both great aember burst commons. Nature’s call and Flaxia staying can’t make up for 90% of burst untamed had. I have a feeling untamed will be much worse in AoA.”
I’ll mention Sneklifter just because it is a very powerful artifact control card. I do not recommend passing on playing artifacts very often against shadows because of it, because, well, it’s Rare. However, if you’re up against shadows, and you’re in the lead close to the end of the game, don’t play an artifact that gives you little benefit, but if your opponent took it, might save them the game, such as Lash of Broken Dreams. It’s going to be hard to discard it, but if you’re 2 keys to their 0-1, it may be a better play.
Too Much to Protect is a big card to keep in mind. Bursting for aember against shadows was always dangerous, and it still is. Think to yourself, if I generate 12 aember, and they play Too Much to Protect right now, do I have an answer, or do I just concede? If the answer is concede, hold back.
Miasma is a powerful card and should be kept in mind, though it is very hard to play around, you just want to do what you would do anyway, check as often as possible. If you’re planning ahead, and edge out a win by one turn, Miasma might be a wrench in your plans.
Key of Darkness is still in. I have never seen it go off, and it’s not something I play around.
Nerve Blast and Oubliette remain as the small creature hate, but Relentless Whispers is out.
Light’s Out will wrap up shadows that stick around. It’s not as devastating as Nature’s Call, but it pulls it’s weight.
Lastly, I want to mention that there is a reduction of steal 1 cards in shadows, but no doubt will be made up with AoA cards.
The two drop to 5 aember control are still in, Gatekeeper and Doorstep to Heaven, which are important to keep in mind.
Sanctum keeps punishing big creatures with The Harder they Come and The Spirit’s Way. Not exactly cards you need to prepare for, but just not to be surprised by.
Blinding Light and Radiant Truth might be stunning your side of the board, it seems that it is still a good idea to keep your valuable creatures on the flank. There are some exceptions, but it’s generally slightly better.
I have more to talk about what is out, then in here. Some out of hand aember control left: Raiding Knight and Terms of Redress. Also no more Sequis, Francus or Champion Tabris. I hope Sanctum makes up for it in AoA cards.
I’m looking over the mars cards, and the CotA cards are just not very exciting. All the good cards have been removed. John Smyth, Grabber Jammer, Squaker, Soft Landing, Blypyp are all out the window. Mars are getting a very big face lift and all their signature cards are going to change. I haven’t gotten a good look over the AoA cards, and they are not all spoiled, but just looking at the CotA cards, it seems explosive out of hand Mars boards have been toned down. This may be very good news though, as it may mean that Mars will need less synergy to function properly or at least adequately. So more Mars deck that actually work.
They do keep Sample Collection and Uxlyx the Zookeeper, and I do believe more archive enemies have been spoiled, so that will remain a theme here.
Nathan: “Mars has Mars First in AoA for out of hand Mars shenanigans, although it’s strictly worse than Squawker.”
Interdementional Graft remains with a similar mindset to Too Much to Protect. Keep it in mind. Also be aware that Titan Mechanics can be comboed with it to get them (or you) even more aember.
Logos retains the only CotA enemy archive manipulation in the game, Dysania. Even though Rare, it is important to remember that sometimes against Logos, it is safer to keep an important card in hand than in the archives.
Of course the most important card to mention is Library Access. While we do have Nepenthe Seed, you won’t have to deal with any LANS decks. Rejoice! This also means it might be ok to pick a deck without artifact control.
Logos does not retain any of it’s aember control from CotA, so need to keep an eye out for which aember control they get from AoA.
Logos also loses Phase Shift, which is quite significant even without Library Access in the set. House cheating reduced.
Remote Access is an important card to remember. If you have any Omni: Sacrifice artifacts, try to use them as early as possible against Logos (and also Dis, following).
Nathan: “Logos has an AoA corollary for Phase Shift. It’s actually better than Phase Shift unless you’re trying to loop, and without Library Access, that is not a concern.”
Just as we wrap up Logos with Remote Access, we open up Dis with Poltergeist. Since it will kill your artifact anyway, Omni: Sacrifice are not the only devastating targets of Poltergeist. However, Omni: Sacrifice effects are usually more powerful, and you wouldn’t want to let your opponent have them, so use them.
Even though Rare, we would be remiss not to mention Restringuntus. It is an exceptionally powerful card. Hand crafting a 5 card hand can be very satisfying, but it is not without risk. If you’re not holding removal in the last card in your hand, you might get locked out. I’m not sure if it is worth playing around, though, as mentioned, it is Rare. Maybe the further along you are, the more likely a powerful card like this is to show up, and more valuable to play around.
Charette is the key control to look out for, but there is also Shooler, if you’re only at 6. Drumble is out, so it may be safer to be on high aember against Dis.
It is important to mention two cards that have left the set, and those are Arise! and Gateway to Dis. You are unlikely to pass the turn to a Dis with a full board on your side, and an empty board on theirs, and get the turn back with their full board and your empty board.
Coward’s End is still around, and encourages you to fight at least a little. But there is also my favourite board clear in the game: Champion’s Challenge. Just keep in mind Brobnar can clear the board, even if you have a bunch of Armored Sanctums. In fact, especially if you have a bunch of armored Sanctums, as they will have less damage on them.
Burn the Stockpile is in, but Lomir Flamefist is out and so is Bumpsy. Need to keep an eye for what aember control AoA introduces.
Lastly, Brobnar retains a lot of out of hand attacking. Granger Chieftain and Relentless Assault stick around, and so does Gauntlet of Command. Anger is out though, which reduces their spontaneous aember generation.
Smith is something to keep in mind. If you can keep their board small, it is probably advantageous.
I’m sad to see Punch go, as one of my favourite Brobnar cards.
Changes are coming
Time to wrap up this post. What I take from this rundown, which I was doing while writing, is that houses are going to change to varying degrees.
Mars seems to be the most significant change, with no out of hand Mars board shenanigans.
Followed by Dis losing their devastating board recursion in Arise! and the most no questions asked board clear Gateway to Dis. They do get a new board clear, Unlocked Gateway, but it does not let them refill the board afterwards.
Logos is also quite different, losing a lot of what made it unique. A lot of card draw is gone, and the signature house cheat card Phase Shift. I have a feeling they will have other card draw in AoA, though.
Sanctum has retained a lot of what has made them Sanctum, but I think their face lift will come mostly from new powerful effects, rather than losing old ones.
Shadows loses a few signature steal cards, but will gain others. The swinginess of the steals may go down, but it is still their signature move.
Brobnar remains largely unchanged. They still want to fight and do so ASAP.
Untamed remains the burst house. It loses a little bit of control from losing Lost in the Woods, but retains Nature’s Call and Grasping Vines.
Where to now?
It will take me time to process all the AoA cards and evaluate them, and I will probably break it down to smaller posts, talking about certain types of new cards and how they affect the game. First up will be the cards that stun creatures as they reap, as it significantly changes the way the math works on reaping.
I hope to get 4-5 posts out before UKGE, so follow me on twitter if you want updates.