Dangerous Beauty: Answering Bryozoarch
Of all the WoE cards that I have seen so far, none seems likely to dominate the meta as much as Bryozoarch. The 6-power Unfathomable creature shuts down action abilities, which means it can’t be removed via normal removal such as Gateway to Dis or Imp-Losion. So, how do you deal with it? That’s the question I am going to try to answer in this article.
The best way to deal with Bryozoarch is clearly by fighting it off the board. However, at six power, a lot of creatures will have trouble killing it. Creatures with poison such as Macis Asp or Raider could help, or just big beefy creatures like Spartasaur or Jarl Svend. Honestly, it’s such a huge threat that if I had to fight a Mother and a Ganymede Archivist in to get rid of it, I would absolutely do so. Of course, if possible the Bryozoarch player will hide it behind a Taunt creature, but WoE has limited options for that. Only two WoE houses have taunters – Sanctum has four and Star Alliance has three. Of course, getting a Bryo out from behind a Lady Loreena without actions is almost impossible, so you might need alternatives besides fighting to deal with Bryo.
Direct from Hand Removal
A second way to kill Bryo is using a creature card that will kill it with a Play effect. Probably the best one of these is Neutron Shark, but there are other alternatives. Skixuno, Numquid the Fair, and Opal Knight are three other creatures that can directly kill Bryo with a Play effect, although in most of those cases you will also be taking out several other creatures as collateral damage. Totally worth it to get rid of Bryo. If Bryo is paired with something that can give it ward, such as Cultist, that makes this more difficult. Shark and Numquid probably still work, but the other two don’t. As long as there is no ward, Cyber-Clone can purge it with a Play effect, which is amazing.
Reap or Action Effect Removal
Certain creatures have reap abilities or action abilities that destroy other creatures. If you can get one of these to survive a turn, they could remove Bryo, although of course your opponent will be desperately trying to get rid of them. Probably the best example of one of these is Whisper. As long as you have an Æmber (and Bryo is unwarded), you can destroy Bryo. Etaromme can do it with a reap, but only if Unfathomable is the most plentiful house on the board. Hystricog can do it, but only if Bryo is damaged. Of course, as will be discussed later, damage pips are still live, so damaging Bryo might not be too hard for an MM deck. Bulleteye can do it if Bryo is on a flank, and Shakedown Sullivan or Evil Twin Ol’ Paddy can do it with a lucky draw. One of these that is super rare but also super effective is The Grim Reaper. Its ability to come in ready and then immediately purge Bryo could be very clutch in the right deck.
Technically, Ultra Gravitron also fits into this category, although I am hesitant to put the big robot here for two reasons. First, it’s very hard to get Gravitron together without being able to use It’s Coming… Second of all, in most circumstances Gravitron could just kill Bryo by fighting, although I suspect it’s safer to purge it and make sure it never comes back.
Uxlyx the Zookeeper and Collector Worm are two more creatures that can remove Bryo, although you better not pull your archives after using either of them. You also better hope that your opponent doesn’t have Cultural Exchange.
Technically, there are two ways to kill Bryozoarch with damage, so I will discuss them both here. The first way is with damage pips. Even actions can contribute their damage pips here, because Bryo only prevents play abilities of actions, not bonus icons. This works even better if you have Maleficorn, who makes it so that Bryo could be killed with just three damage pips, or four if it was already warded.
The second way to kill Bryo with damage is with creatures that deal damage via reaps, actions, or some other method. There are a ton of these, so I am not going to list them all here. However, a few highlights include: Rock-Hurling Giant, who could kill Bryo with two Brobnar discards, Jackie Tar, who only needs a high tide to deal six damage, and Evil Twin Kaupe, who can discard cards to deal damage. The Dino- and -Saurus mutants from MM are another good source of direct damage. Two exalts can kill Bryo.
The Fish token from Unfathomable could kill Bryo if a few circumstances break right, though I wouldn’t count on it.
Creature-Based Board Sweeps
We already talked about one of these with Skixuno, but there are at least two more creature-based board sweeps that exist. Harbinger of Doom is the most obvious, as it is basically Gateway to Dis on a creature, but Spartasaur is another effective one. In fact, probably more effective, because you can have the board sweep happen the turn it comes out, as long as you have a ready Saurian creature to swing into something (or an Orator Hissaro or Golden Spiral).
Special Case Creatures
There are some creatures that can kill Bryozoarch that don’t fit into any of the other categories.
First, we have Scowly Caper. It’s unlikely to be successful at killing Bryo, given the fact that it’s easy to neutralize and WoE produces a lot of creatures, but it could theoretically do it with the right circumstances.
Secondly, there is “Bubbles”. “Bubbles” can’t get rid of Bryo permanently, but it can neutralize it for a turn, which might give you the opportunity to do something to get rid of it. Heck, if you combine “Bubbles” with Thalassophobia, that would get the job done, at least for a while.
Another one is Evil Twin Eclectic Ambrosius. Putting an ignorance counter on Bryo would completely neutralize it. ET Ambrosius is a deceptively dangerous card.
General Sherman could temporarily remove Bryo, but more importantly it would allow you to potentially re-arrange your opponent’s battle line and move Bryo to the left flank, where it could easily be killed with an action.
Battle Line Manipulation
Speaking of re-arranging your opponent’s battle line, we now come to my favorite way to kill Bryo. Some creatures or artifacts, such as Quantum Fingertrap, Tyxl Beambuckler, Malison, and Tactical Officer Moon, allow you to re-arrange your opponent’s battle line and move a creature to a flank. All you have to do is use one of these effects to move Bryo to the left flank, and then play any action to destroy it. I am not a rules expert, but I don’t think Spectral Tunneler would achieve the same effect here.
There are a number of artifacts that could potentially kill Bryozoarch. Key to Dis is the most obvious, but there are many others. Spangler Box would remove it, at least for a while. Custom Virus could do it in theory, but I don’t think the trait overlap works. The Big One could do it, although token creatures will slow it down, as they are not played in the traditional way. Crazy Killing Machine could kill Bryo with a lucky flip. Wretched Doll could do it, although it would take forever. Book of Malefaction could remove Bryo if your opponent stole from you with the Book in play. Kiligog’s Trench theoretically could, but it would have to have started a while before Bryo was played. Election could do it, but it is unlikely that you would be able to get enough yay counters before your opponent got enough nay counters to stop it. Fangtooth Cavern could get rid of the Aquan, although it might take a while. Multiple Fangtooths would likely be necessary. The Pale Star and Strange Gizmo would be a bit situational, but they could both work.
Finally, there are a few upgrades that could potentially rid you of Bryozoarch. First amongst these is Painmail, which could kill Bryo just by calling Dis two turns in a row, and there’s little way to stop it. Soulkeeper could get rid of Bryo if it was the most powerful creature on your opponent’s side of the board and you had a way to kill your own creature. Extrematode Infection could also kill Bryo, but it’s very slow, and you will probably lose the game before it goes off. Sadly, though, it’s almost as fast as Wretched Doll.
There you have it, some ways to kill Bryozoarch. I fully believe that it will be the chase rare of the set, and archon decks will have to be able to deal with it. It shuts down many COTA decks by itself, and even with all the solutions mentioned above, it’s not going to be easy for most decks to answer. Thank goodness they didn’t bring back Seabringer Kokoa for Taunt! I hope you enjoyed the article, and you can feel free to message me on TCO or most Keyforge Discords as SecondAct if you want to discuss more strategy (or anything else Keyforge). Thanks for reading!