I was looking over some Mass Mutation Sanctum lineups and felt like they are, on average, pretty underwhelming. I’ve always enjoyed Sanctum in Call of the Archons, so I thought I’d make a comparison between the two. I have no idea what kind of conclusion this will bring, but why not bring you along on the ride?
The bulk of any lineup, and more importantly, the flavor, is going to made up of the commons and uncommons. I’m going to look at cards from those rarities and compare the two.
The backbone of a good Sanctum lineup to me is creatures. Preferably ones that have repeated impact while sticking to the board. Let’s see what the two sets have to offer.
Out of the CotA common creatures, Raiding Knight an Staunch Knight are the least inspiring, while still having a use. The only time I am really sad to see them is when there are too many of them. One Staunch Knight is fine, because it is easy to keep it on a flank, but the more of them there are, the less likely I can keep them on the flank.
The top choices are Sequis for repeated capture, Sergeant Zakiel for house cheating and immediate impact and Protectrix, which makes fighting with Sanctum even better. But honorable mention to Commander Remiel for useful ability and Bulwark for making out of house creatures as survivable as Sanctum, or make Sanctum even beefier.
Let’s start with just a look at Power and Armor compared to CotA, because that jumps out to me.
CotA has average of 4.25 Power and 1.25 Armor, and that’s not counting the +2 Power from Staunch Knight and +4 Armor from Bulwark.
MM has average of 3.67 Power and 0.88 Armor. Bull-wark does grant an extra 6 Power on offense, but not survivability. So before even going into the abilities, they just stick less.
Which cards here do I actually like though. The Grey Rider and… that’s it? Ardent Hero is comparable to Champion Anaphiel in role, but I don’t need both. Bull-wark is inferior to Bulwark, and nothing here comes close to replacing it. Seeker of Truth is awful because of how flimsy it is. Gizelhart’s Zealot is more like a removal Action than a creature. Lieutenant Gorvenal is decent, but not better than Sequis as it is less survivable and requires fighting (with the demonstrated weaker overall creatures). Squire Alys is fine, maybe even good, but she acts like a Terms of Redress with a body, not a creature.
There is one creature that appears as a common that we haven’t mentioned yet, the hybrid mutant. To the best of our knowledge, this creature is picked as a common by the algorithm, then one of the variants is assigned. The average Power of the hybrid is 4.8 and the average Armor is 2. This brings the total average Power to 3.8 and Armor to 1, still lower than CotA.
Those are, on average, pretty good. The only one I really dislike is Umbra-Knight, and Lyco-Knight is underwhelming but still useful.
Let’s have a look at Uncommons.
CotA: Champion Tabris and Francus, both repeated captures with high power. Gatekeeper is fantastic Aember control. Grey Monk makes everything more survivable. Lady Maxena, big body, and creature disruption.
MM: Angry Mob, I’m not sold on it, but I can see how it can be useful. Baldric the Bold, decent body, great ability. Barrister Joya, actually comparable Aember Control to Gakeeper. Berinon, repeated Capture but a big weakness. Scrivener Favian, fantastic ability but needs the capture pips in the deck to shine.
CotA: Power 5, Armor 1.4 not counting Grey Monk on creatures other than itself.
MM: Power 4.2, Armor 1. And because Angry Mob comes in multiples, the average is even lower.
These two sets are comparable, but I still prefer the CotA lineup unless I can get a good Scrivener deck.
Honestly, both sets are fairly comparable in the Action department and do largely the same things. Free Markets vs Virtuous Works and Fangs of Gizelhart vs The harder they Come are just different stuff that does similar things.
There is just one parallel I need to mention:
Gah! My heart! One of the greatest synergies in Sanctum is to capture a bunch of Aember then make it all vanish with a well times Doorstep to Heaven after a board clear. Saurians get so many ways to make Aember on creatures vanish and even get used, and Sanctum gets.. Nothing. Not even one Uncommon card.
This area is actually fine. I mean, Font of the Eye would be a lot better with a Doorstep to Heaven, but it’s pretty good on it’s own. Though it’s a neutered Pile of Skulls, which is sort of sad. I do prefer Sigil of Brotherhood and Whispering Reliquary over any two of the MM Artifacts, but it is nice to not need to ever worry about having a Hallowed Blaster in your deck.
I was ready to go into the cards and learn that Sanctum is fine, but it really isn’t. I mean, I am sure there are fine lineups are there, but they are going to be much rarer. And it’s not like good Sanctum lineups were abundant in CotA.
Sanctum just doesn’t stick as well as they need to and they don’t really seem to have a strong identity in the set. If I didn’t hate playing Saurians, I’d play Saurian over Sanctum any day of the week.
Contact and afterword
So ya, sad set for Sanctum. I kind of wish they left it out again.
I’m the Thursday tournaments with some other variants, coming up is a banned list. So join the discord and find the #timeshapers channel to join in on the fun.
I’m also starting a 200 sascap Triad league, hop on the discord to find more info.
As always, you can follow me on twitter for updates. And join us at the Sanctumonius discord server if you’d like to chat with me, or join an awesome community of KeyForge players.
You can also listen to the Timeshapers Podcast, so find it on your favourite platform.