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The Chosen One's Tournament hero review

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Welcome every one MMDoC fan!

As many of you probably know, a new tournament has been announced to start soon. The main feature of the tournaments is that you can only choose one hero, but can switch cards and entire deck if you wish between different games.

In this series of posts I will share my thoughts on hero line-ups of different factions and what heroes are more suited for the upcoming tournament.

I will cover only STD format, because I'm much more familiar with it, but I suggest you register for both formats, as I have already done.

Before I start, though, let's decide what are strengths and weaknesses in this format are.
First of all, and I think the most important, you have to play a hero that has several different play styles. Because if your deck can do only one thing, no matter how strong it is in it, you will get easily countered. So, HERO DIVERSITY will be my first rating.
Secondly, the heroes will be rated on how they can adapt their playstyle to the opponent at hand. How easy or hard it is for them to add different technical cards to react to different opponents. ADAPTABILITY is the second rating.
And last but not the least, the heroes will be rated on how likely they are to get back in the game if they fall behind due to matchup, bad starting hand or mistakes. Having access to board clears, ways to rebuild board and card drawing/tutoring is very important here. RESILIENCE is the third rating.

Having said that let's move on to the first faction in this highlight:

HAVEN

One thing common for all STD Haven heroes is that all of them have access to Light school of magic. That means that every hero has potential access to dispels. Another notable thing is the Haven fortune called Tree of Truth, that is used to dispel enemy fortunes. Compared to Magic Deal or Price of the Void (neutral fortunes available to all factions), it is cheaper and has no additional costs (sacrificing a creature or taking damage, respectively).

SIEGFRID

Siegfrid is strong, no discussions. He is probably the strongest Haven hero in STD format. However, this is the tournament where he is much less useful. Siegfrid is pretty one-dimensional hero. He is good at quickly playing Barracks (he is I think the only hero who can play 2 Barracks on T2), ramping them up with cheap creatures and using Blind Justicars to clear the opponent blockers. If your opponent can shut down your barracks, you are left with very few options.
This is accentuated by the fact that you have limited access to technical cards. Yes, you have potential access to dispels, Warding Inquisitors and Angel Protectors, but actually utilising them on Siegfrid is very hard with 0 starting Magic. Dealing with opponent threats is also difficult, you are limited to either Broken Bridge them back or having a big stack with Blind Justicar in hand.
While not having board clears of his own, Siegfrid can rebuild the board fast if he has a couple of barracks in play, especially with self-tutoring cards like Griffin Crossbowmen and Griffin Legionnaire, unless you shut his barracks down.

HERO DIVERSITY: LOW
ADAPTABILITY: LOW
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: LOW-AVERAGE

CASSANDRA

Cassandra is a staple Haven hero. As all Seeker heroes she starts with 1 extra fortune stat which lets her play Barracks on T2 (via Haven fortune Construction). While being slower that Siegfrid, she can support her stacks with magic and angels, having some variability in deck builds.
She has a great access to technical cards doubling as creatures, even if they don't help ramping her stacks, like Benevolent Angel, Angel Protector and Warding Inquisitor.
You also have a way to deal with enemy threats, with Lightning Bolt, Lightning Strike and Blinding Light at your disposal.
Cassandra has a limited access to board clears with Word of Light and can't retake the board as easily as Siegfrid does. Unlike Siegfrid, she can easily restock her hand with Night of the Rising Moon, if she is built for it, discarding unnecessary technical cards and drawing 4 at a little cost.

HERO DIVERSITY: AVERAGE
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE-HIGH

JEZZIEL

Let's be honest, Jezziel decks have been relegated to the status of "fun deck" a long time ago. While Invoker stat change opened up rush possibilities for other faction heroes (Kal-Azaar 3/2/X rushes and Mother 2/4/0, 2/6/0 and 3/6/0 rushes), it did nothing for Jezziel. Haven doesn't have 1 mana creature with 2 attack, their 2/3 mana options aren't great either, her hero ability doesn't help rush, like it does for Necro, Inferno and Stronghold Invokers, and she has problems running Barracks, either straight or via Construction. However, she makes up a bit with several different ways of playing: you can play Light creatures with support spells, you can try cheating big Angels in play via Sunrise or you can go for Time Jump Mercenary OTK. This makes it harder for your opponent to straight up counter you.
3 magic schools give a lot of opportunities for technical cards, be it dispels, utility angels, protecting your big creatures with Holy Sacrifice and Martyr, or stalling for late game OTK with Celestial Armour and Cyclone. Utility angels can also be recycled with Sunrise or brought back with Town Portal to trigger their ETB again next turn.
With 3 magic schools you also have a lot of options of dealing with enemy threats, with Prime adding possibilities of TPing them back, playing Disintegration or Void Ripple.
Board clears are still not available and having 0 starting fortune, you will have a hard time drawing. If you lose a board, you better have a stalling mechanism ready in place until you can slowly get back into the game.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: LOW

OVERALL RATING: LOW-AVERAGE

KIERAN

Kieran has been considered to be the best Haven hero before Siegfrid era began. His 2 starting Might allows him to play Barracks on T2, and access to Prime with Time Jump gives him a strong finish. Like Siegfrid, however, he is pretty one-dimensional as well. Kieran gameplan consists of playing early Barracks, ramping the stacks up and finishing with Blinding Light, Time Jump, Blind Justicar or a combination of the above. It's possible to try building him Jezziel style, with angels and Sunrise, however, to surprise your opponent.
Access to Light and Prime magic gives Kieran ability to dispel and spot removal, however it comes at a price - removal is costly, both in terms of resources and Magic stat. He lack Cassandra's Air school which gives her an edge in earlier supporting spell damage. With 0 starting Fortune it's basically impossible to use Campfires, Broken Bridges and Construction, which cuts on his stability.
Kieran's hero ability adds little in terms of board clears, he is having a tougher time rebuilding lost board and card drawing options are really limited.

HERO DIVERSITY: AVERAGE
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: LOW

OVERALL RATING: LOW-AVERAGE

MORGAN

Morgan, while being a bit of a meme with "209-card Morgan" decks, is pretty strong and has quite a few options in deck composition. You can build him in standard Barracks style, make a Light creatures deck or angels/fliers deck supported by Frozen Wave and other water-based spells.
Access to Water gives Morgan access to a mix of assorted AOE damage, buffs and protective spells. He may encounter some problems with single strong threats, however, due to lack of Prime/Air single target nukes.
He has strong board clears, and can be built to have good draw engines, if you need it. His passive ability, when he gets it going, also helps him survive if he falls behind in board control. His problem lies in his early phase, as he is a bit slow at the start, and tends to have quite a few high cost/high requirements cards. If he can survive the initial rush though, he is very likely to recover.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: HIGH

ALIA

Alia, having Fire magic available, bring a new possible play style to Haven table - Mass Rage control, which utilises combat protection/retaliation abilities of Haven creatures while limiting opponent's ability to outmaneuver/overcome them with forced attack at the beginning of each turn. Moreover, Alia's hero ability let's her heal her creature in the lategame, removing any damage from last turn attacks. At the same time, you can still play her with Barracks or angels, if you choose.
Fire magic lets her utilise buffs and low cost supportive damage spells, like Fire Bolt and Forked Firebolt to finish any creatures damaged by previous turn retaliation. Dispelling is harder though if you play her with Mass Rage, due to the lack of cheap targeted dispel. What Alia lacks is high-damage, single target spells, so she may have problems dealing with big threats.
Arkath's Wrath gives her premier, but costly board clear ability and in the case of losing the board she can wipe it empty or use creatures with specific protection abilities to slowly contest it back, especially if enemy creatures are tied by Mass Rage. Alia isn't usually build with extra card draw in mind, but you can easily do it, using NotRM events and adding technical fortunes like Block Supply Lines or Conflicting Orders, which have a good sinergy with Mass Rage.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE-HIGH

CHARITY

Charity is the progenitor of different Haven retaliation decks. Having long been a subpar choice, due to considerably high cost of her hero ability and the fact that it is single target, retaliation decks have seen a resurgence after ToR release, which added several cards crucial for this play style.
Earth magic gives her an ability to deal with opponent buildings, a bunch of different protective spells and cheap AoE removal. She may, however run into some problems with dispels, like Alia does, when you have to lose your own ongoing spells to get rid of opponent's ones. With a lot of high retaliation creatures at her disposal, she can use Blind Justicars for single target removal.
Insect Swarm gives her good board clear ability, and in the mid-late game you can possibly play two Swarms in a turn or combine a Swarm with a Word of Light. With access to Stone Shield and Truce of Elrath she can stall losing board for quite some time and a single well-timed Falcon Holy Priest can let her wrestle the board back in a moment. With a mix of technical fortunes and spells you can easily build her for card draw with NotRM in events.

HERO DIVERSITY: AVERAGE
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE-HIGH

SLAVA

Slava is the second Haven hero to have 3 magic schools available to him. Compare to Jezziel, he trades Prime for Fire, and an extra starting Magic stat for Fortune stat. This gives him a lot of flexibility in building the deck and you can utilise almost any play style possible, though maybe not to the fullest extent.
With a mix of Fire and Air you have low-cost spells to finish one or two creatures off, single taget high damage spells to deal with threats and high damage AoE board clear. You may have some problems with stalling tactics, however, due to both Celestial Armour and Arkath's Wrath having a high cost and Magic requirements. You also have the same problem of dispelling your own Mass Rage if your deck runs it and you need to dispel enemy ongoing.
Clearing the board for Slava is easy as well as stalling to rebuild it, but as have been said before, doing both things at the same time can prove to be problematic. With high Magic requirements for premier spells your early game weaknesses can be exploited by an opponent, and you should have a plan how to handle it before the game starts. Building Slava for card drawing theoretically is possible, but with 3 magic schools to choose spells from you may not have room for enough fortunes to utilise NotRM effectively.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE-HIGH

ANTON

For a long time Anton decks have been seen as low skill requrement ladder deck for noobs. I still remember a lot of whine posts from Ubi forums about him and Anastasya, where new players cried about those heroes being OP. However, without his ability Anton is basically a worse Cassandra, so to utilise him to full extent you have to learn when and how to use it.
The answer seems obvious at first - just include more cheap Haven stackables in addition to Griffin Crossbowmen and Griffin Legionnaires, put in a couple of Garrisons, use Reserves fortune, maybe even neutral Pao Hunters... But wait. That really cuts into your deck space and you want your deck to be as tight as possible, right? To put in all these cards you have to get rid of dispels, or damage spells, or resource ramp or other utility cards. While you still have the same options available to you that Cassandra has, you may not use them as effectively. Either you leave some of them out completely, or cut the number of copies, which lessens deck stability.
You still have almost no board clear like Cassandra, and while your ability may help you in retaking the board, it will worsen your draw ability and Anton struggles in effectively using NotRM.

HERO DIVERSITY: AVERAGE
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE

OVERALL FACTION RATING

Overall I rate Haven as a faction to be AVERAGE.
Best picks - MORGAN and ALIA.
Honourable mention - CASSANDRA
Sleeper picks - CHARITY and SLAVA.

Next time we will cover Necropolis faction and see what their heroes can bring...

Отредактировано ftr_midnight (2019-05-04 15:50:31)

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NECROPOLIS

In general, Necropolis creatures don't have outstanding raw stats. Most of them are designed to outlast their opponent with use of poison, crippling or life drain/regeneration. It is helped by the fact that Necropolis faction has the most abilities to interact with their or their opponents graveyards. Making full use of your graveyard or not letting your Neropolis opponent to use their is often vital in winning the matchup.
Note: Curse of the Penitent spell is not taken into account when talking about board clears. The primary reason for that is you have to combine it with other damaging spell to clear the board (unless all/most opponent creatures have exactly 1 hp).

FLESHBANE

Having no starting Magic and only one spell school, Fleshbane is ill-suited to use many different builds. You can theoretically build a Vampire deck using his hero ability or fit some kind of stack build to him, but it will be lacking in supportive magic. Another option to explore would be a fortune build using Seria's Last Order to reanimate some big threats from the graveyard, but again, you will be struggling to survive until that moment.
Looking at his supportive options, with Dark magic school, useful spells include Cheap Death to clear blockers if you go for some kind of rush-y build and Weakness and Moonsilk Strand that can help you stall opponents rush if your build is mid or late-game centered. Supportive fortunes include Sacred Venom Fumes if you are using Vampires, but others mostly revolve around interacting with graveyard. While Dark magic is really good at dealing with single big threats, you will rarely have time to put even 2 points in your Magic stat, let alone 3 or 4.
With no elemental magic available you don't have board clears apart from The Shadow of Death fortune (which is highly situational). The most useful tool in retaking the board is Boneyard, which, combined with your hero ability, can let you build a board several times during a single match. Combining Boneyard or two with Grave Warden gives you good card draw ability, and that frees your hero to use his ability in lategame.

HERO DIVERSITY: AVERAGE
ADAPTABILITY: LOW
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: LOW-AVERAGE

SERIA

Seria has a wide range of options in building. While stacks Seria has been the most popular lately, many other play styles are possible. You can play reanimator Seria with her named fortunes, you can build up Vampires with Frozen Wave sinergies, you can try an OTK build with water spells, or just stuff her up with value cards to steadily outmuscle your opponent.
Water magic offers her a mix of AOE damage, buffs and protection effects, while Dark magic is great at dealing with big single threats, outright killing them or even stealing them to your side. Focused mind gives you protection from Mass Rage and "cannot attack" effects, which are used by some Sanctuary decks. You may run into problems dispelling other ongoing spells, though, as you need to either sacrifice magic creature for Magic Deal or pay in life for Price of the Void.
In terms of board clears, Frozen Wave is good at dealing with anything not flying, while doubling up as a stalling spell. Boneyards are as useful as for other Necropolis heroes and Bone To Bone fortune is great for stacks builds while still usable in other decks just for its value. Again, sinergy of Boneyards with Grave Wardens is a good draw engine in itself and Seria has no problems including NotRM in events.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: HIGH

NERGAL

Once upon a time, Nergal was a feared hero. Having been absent for entirety of BS2 it only recently returned to Standard hero roster and is very underexplored hero. Having balanced starting stats it's possible to build him in different ways, and his hero ability and access to Prime also give him an option of Posion OTK builds.
His combo of Earth and Poison give him access to a wide range of options, including both AOE damage and single target removal (either cheap and temporary with Town Portal or costly with Desintegration/Void Ripple), stalling with Earth Shields and creature protection options. Soul Harvest fortune is great for stalling as well.
While Insect Swarm may not have enough damage on its own to fully clear the board, Nergal has little problems building Poison counters to finish opponents creatures off at the start of their turn. As have already been stated for other Necropolis heroes, Boneyards gives him ability to retake the board and he can combine them with Wardens/NotRM to draw cards so he can use his ability more often.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE

MOTHER NAMTARU (INVOKER)

Mother Namtaru (Invoker), or Old Mother, as she is often called, is probably the strongest Necropolis hero right now. Rebalance of Invokers stats opened up a bunch of rush builds (even some funny ones like 1/4/0 or 1/3/0 variations) and with access to Prime you always have a threat of Time Jump, combined with opening the lane with her hero ability.
Access to 3 magic schools including both Prime and Dark and her ability gives her unrivaled options to deal with single target threats, AOE damage ranging in cost and strength, buffs, dispels and creature protection spells.
While her board clear has added utility, it has some downsides as it is costly and cannot deal with flyers. Boneyards help with retaking the board and she can use her ability to fuel them while fighting the opponent at the same time. What she really struggles in, though, is card drawing. She cannot utilise Grave Wardens due to their 2 Fortune requirement, and is hard to build with NotRM, her ability is used instead of a draw and forces her to discard at the same time.

HERO DIVERSITY: LOW
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE-HIGH

ARIANA

Ariana is best compared to Old Mother, as both of them have the same starting stats and three magic schools. However, while Mother is more rush oriented, Ariana is more mid-late game centered. Her ability costs more, but can deal with wider range of threats. With Time Jump in mind, Ariana is looking for making value trades until she has enough resources.
Trading Water for Earth, Ariana gets better stalling tools and more spells dealing with poison counters, which are often use to enable her ability. Dark still offers her single target removal and Prime gives her an ability to dispel any harmful effects.
Insect Swarm is easier to use than Frozen Wave, but is good enough to clear the boards with help of a poison counter or two, and Ariana has easier time stalling while raising her army back. Card drawing problems, inherent to Old Mother are still there, though.

HERO DIVERSITY: LOW
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE

ADAR-MALIK

Adar-Malik has a lot of things going for him. While it's underrepresented in common play, he posesses a number of treats useful in competitive games. Having balanced stats, he has no problems utilising both spells and fortunes, Fire magic is good for board control and his ability is great even with no Pao Deathseekers in Standard. The only thing that he can't possibly do effectively is rush his opponent down, but he rarely needs it.
With Fire and Dark he has targeted damage, removal and the best board clear in Standard. Like Alia in Haven, he can run Mass Rage builds with great effect, using Void Wraiths to deal direct damage with Boneyards giving him a supply of blockers. And even if opponent can dispel Mass Rage or get an immunity from it, he can still use Immolation to burn the wraiths, getting them back next turn with his ability. Like Seria, he has problems dispelling enemy effects.
Arkath's Wraith is great but costly board clear and Adar-Malik can use Soul Harvest to heal himself in the process, Boneyards help with retaking the board and he usually has no problems drawing with Grave Wardens and NotRM usable.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: HIGH

SVELTANA

Sveltana's passive ability and her base stats are focused on building a Ghost tribal deck. With no starting Fortune stacks decks and fortune reanimation decks are out of consideration. Her passive though is great at what it does. While Incorporeal units are hard to kill in creature-to-creature combat as they are, added hp helps them a great deal survivng magic spells.
The problem with Sveltana lies in her lack of supportive options. Air magic offers single target damage spells (but Dark that she also has is better at it) and a bit of low-ish damage AOE, but not a lot of utility. Primarily, you have no dispels (while you have a lot of magic creatures to Magic Deal with, you need 2 Fortune for that) and no generally useful buffs/effects. If only she had Prime/Air magic combo or even Prime/Dark/Air to go along with Ariana and Old Mother...
With no board clears, she has to rely on her incorporeal creatures and Boneyards to stay ahead on board and has problem drawing.

HERO DIVERSITY: LOW
ADAPTABILITY: LOW
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: LOW-AVERAGE

MOTHER NAMTARU (NIGHTMARE)

Mother Namtaru (Nightmare), or New Mother is versatile hero that is generally built around mid and late-game contol. With 3 magic schools including Prime you can go for creature based control, fortune reanimator build, stacks build or various OTK builds (Poison, Water or Mercenaries).
Earth and Water magic offer a ton of damage, stalling and utility spells, while Prime gives her access to dispels, single target removal and Time jumps. If you are going to use a creature focused deck you can substitute the lack of dark single target removal (which is cheaper/more effective than Prime) with Banshees.
With a combination of Insect Swarm and Frozen Wave you have a great board clear tools at your disposal, Boneyards, Earth Shields and Frozen Wave ongoing effect help in stalling and retaking the board and you can easily have both Grave Wardens and NotRM for draw.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: HIGH
RESILIENCE: HIGH

OVERALL RATING: HIGH

ANASTASYA

Anastasya, while being the bane of new players in Ubi era, is another underrepresented hero in current play. With balanced starting stats she can be built in several ways, utilizing either spells or fortunes, but rarely both. There are some options off the beaten path as well, like a crippling Anastasya rush or crippling OTK with Eternal Mentors. Her ability gives her some staying power against rush, but should not be overused, else you may suddenly find yourself with no board presence and a lot of opponents creatures buffed via event or a spell.
Dark and Prime give her single target removal she needs and you can use your ability to deal with dark ward/spell ward resistant creatures. Often build with a lot of crippling creatures and effects, she can use supporting fortunes, like No Mercy for the Meek, Ritual of Weakness and The Shadow of Death. Access to Dispels also helps.
Anastasya weakness is the absence of board clears so she can be rushed down in early game. Retaking the board is possible, with Boneyards, her hero ability and crippling spells slowing opponent creatures down. If you need card drawing, consider using Grave Wardens over NotRM, as it's somewhat harder to utilise for her.

HERO DIVERSITY: HIGH
ADAPTABILITY: AVERAGE
RESILIENCE: AVERAGE

OVERALL RATING: AVERAGE

OVERALL FACTION RATING

Overall I rate Necropolis as a faction to be STRONG
Best picks - SERIA and ADAR-MALIK
Honourable mention - MOTHER NAMTARU (INVOKER)
Sleeper picks - MOTHER NAMTARU (NIGHTMARE) and NERGAL

Next stop - Inferno...

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