For a change, after Magic: the Gathering galore, this article will be about my own creation, the Elemental Clash Customizable Card Game and will introduce you to one of the new Creature Types – the Dwarves – to be introduced in the Legendary Legacy Expansion Set which I hope to be able to release right in time for this Christmas (it all depends on how my funds for commissioning the artwork will develop in the coming months).
So let me share with you some things about the Dwarves of Elemental Clash in the form of exclusive art and card previews as well as a Dwarf Deck you could build with the cards released in the Elemental Clash Master Set and to be released in the Legendary Legacy expansion:
Visually, the Dwarves of Elemental Clash are the creation of one man, Evgeni Maloshenkov, an extremely talented artist from the Ukraine with what is surely one of the most unique and recognizable styles I have ever seen (in any similar card game). Evgeni was kindly recommended to me by my Bavarian friend and fellow game designer Tobias Strunz, who had hired Evgeni before for doing illustrations for his epic game project “Gods and Minions” (Please check it out here. You will see lots and lots of great artwork by Evgeni Maloshenkov so it is really worth a look!).
So without much further ado, meet the Dwarven King Isengrimm, Lord of the Golden Halls, brilliantly realized by Evgeni Maloshenkov:
Deep inside the heart of the Iron Mountains in the North-West of the continent of Anduvia, the world of Elemental Clash, in the subterranean city and stronghold of Dwarrowhold, Isengrimm, the King of the Dwarves resides in the Golden Halls of the Dwarven underground capitol, clad in precious cloth and adorned with gold and gems unlike any man could imagine. The aged Dwarven Lord has seen many ages come and pass, his regal staff an insignia of his kinghood, his battered Eversteel axe a reminder of the many battles he has fought in his younger days. Isengrimm is liege and lord of the Dwarven race in Anduvia, which mostly dwells inside the endless, cragged and forbidding mountain ridges of what is called the Iron Mountains in the tongue of man, with Dwarven outposts and settlements spread throughout the vast Anduvian continent. In times of peace, Isengrimm’s children excel as craftsmen, mining the precious ores and gems to be find at the roots of the mountains…
…and skillfully forging them into mighty weapons and armor, precious trinkets or items of daily use, imbuing magic, which is still strong among the Dwarves, in the more unique pieces of craftsmanship they produce. The most sought after commodity, which makes the Dwarves delve deeper and deeper into the heart of the mountains, is the precious Eversteel ore, which the Dwarves have used to manufacture weapons of myth and legend for the races of Anduvia in the past. However, in times of war and turmoil, the peaceful, crafty Dwarves are able to muster fierce warriors, feared on the battlefields of yore, to defend their solitary mountain realms against Goblins, Orcs and other external menaces.
So much for the lore on the Dwarven Race in the world of Elemental Clash. In Elemental Clash: Legendary Legacy, the first full Expansion to Elemental Clash: The Master Set, Dwarves, sadly, make only a cameo appearance, being represented by only 3 Creature cards in total. Do not fear however: The Dwarven race will certainly be expanded upon in future sets of the game. Let me give you a preview of the three initial Dwarf cards to be featured in Elemental Clash: Legendary Legacy:
The three Dwarven Creature cards in Elemental Clash: Legendary Legacy are a craftsman, Dwarf Miner, a warrior, Double-Axe Brigand and the Dwarven King Isengrimm himself. Dwarf Miner, while being weak in Attack and Defense, has a useful Play-Effect (activated when he is placed from hand onto the playing field) of searching your Spellbook (card deck) for any 1 Element-Stone (so powerful, non-Basic ones as well) which is then added to your card hand. This is quite flavorful as Dwarves are notorious for uncovering gems of all kinds. Double Axe Brigand, the first Dwarven warrior card in the Elemental Clash Card Game, on the other hand has no inherent abilities but to make up for that has an Attack-value of 4, which is the highest in any 2 Energy Creature in Elemental Clash. His Defense is as low as it can get though, so the Brigand will either be a one-shot for dealing a lot of damage or you will have to find ways to increase his Defense in order to make him survive longer on the playing field. Now Isengrimm, the Lord of the Golden Halls is an amazing card, with effects befitting a king! First of all, Isengrimm is an “Unique” card, meaning you can only have one copy of him in your Spellbook. Then he has the Play-Effect of searching your Spellbook for up to 3 Dwarf cards, thus creating card advantage in your favor, and put them into your hand. But that is not all that is to the King of Dwarves. Isengrimm also grants a +1 ATK and +2 DEF boost to all of his minions, other Dwarf Creatures you control that is.
Oddly, there has been one other Dwarf card that I first released with the Tribes Expansion (The Elemental Clash “Master Edition” released on http://www.thegamecrafter.com) that was NOT a Creature card, but rather one of the powerful and among players very popular Spellcasters!
Spellcasters are ascended humans beings or humanoids who have mastered the magical arts to a degree that allowed them to transcend the flesh and the bonds of mortality – in the game, you can choose one Spellcaster, each of them modifying your hand size, the number of cards you draw each turn and the number of cards you are allowed to have in your Spellbook along with abilities unique to each Spellcaster, and build the best possible deck around him or her. Have a look at the Dwarven Spellcaster “Thorbald, Dwarven Tinkerer”:
Thorbald lets you draw a starting hand of 6 cards, draws you 2 new cards each turn while allowing you to have a Spellbook of 45 cards and his Static and Flip Abilities make him a specialist of artifice and forging. While Thorbald, being a master of machinery, is unflipped / face-up on the field, all your Neutral Spells and Creatures (which will be introduced in the aforementioned expansion) cost 1 less to cast / summon, with a minimum cost of 1. Any time during the game, by flipping the Spellcaster card face-down, you can search your Spellbook for any 1 Neutral Creature or Spell and can play it immediately and for free. With the various Neutral Spells and Creatures, among them very powerful ones, to be introduced in Legendary Legacy, a viable Thorbald Deck will be very much possible. As the last part of this article, I will show you a deck list for a Thorald – Dwarves – Neutral Deck. A word of caution: As, even after the release of Legendary Legacy towards the end of this year, there will be only 3 different Dwarf Cards, the deck is somewhat suboptimal as more Dwarves would be needed, especially considering Isengrimm’s ability which lets you get 3 Dwarves out of your Spellbook into your hand, to make this a “purebred” Dwarf Tribal deck. Instead I am running a “double-theme” of Dwarves and Neutral Creatures and Spells. The latter would work pretty well with Thorbald’s abilities in mind. So here is the decklist I came up with for you (in parenthesis the cost of the cards):
Dwarven Craftsmanship Deck (45 Cards):
Spellcaster: Thorbald, Dwarven Tinkerer
3 x Dwarf Miner (1)
3 x Double-Axe Brigand (2)
1 x Isengrimm, Lord of the Golden Halls (2)
3 x Stone Golem (2)
3 x Iron Golem (3)
2 x Gold Golem (3)
3 x Club (1)
3 x Shackles (2)
1 x Mindblocker (2)
1 x Spiritblocker (2)
2 x Greater Armor (3)
1 x Grimlock’s Maw (3)
1 x Bargost’s Tail (3)
1 x Ascarius’ Wing (3)
1 x Finborg’s Claw (3)
1 x Devastating Flames (3)
6 x Mars-Stone
3 x Power-Stone
3 x Hastestone
1 x Stone of Forgetfulness
1 x Corroding Stone
1 x Stone of Wisdom
How to play the deck:
This deck offers many great synergies and two “toolboxes” at once, one for Neutral Spells, powered through Thorbald’s Flip Ability, and one for Element Stones, enabled by Dwarven Miner, who searches out any Element-Stone, even non-Basic ones, from your Spellbook. Thus the deck runs many one-of Neutral Spells and non-Basic Element-Stones. Basically you should not flip Thorbald to search your deck for a Neutral Spell or Creature or Spell until you really, really need a specific one and rather use his Static Ability to play your Neutral Spells and Creatures for 1 less Energy. Thorbald, while face-up, will make your Stone Golems 2 ATK and 2 DEF Creatures for just 1 Energy, which is pretty efficient and likewise decrease the cost of your Iron and Gold Golems (3 ATK and 3 DEF and 4 ATK and 4 DEF respectively). Combine these as well as your Dwarves with (multiple) Power- and Hastestones which will give them +1 ATK and +1 DEF Counters and the Quickattacker ability (allowing your Creatures to attack the turn they come into play). For instance if you play a Powerstone on your first turn and a Stone Golem on top of it, the Golem will have 3 ATK and 3 DEF. Not a bad thing to have on turn 1! Your non-Neutral (Fire) Dwarves have different uses: While Double-Axe Brigand would be mostly used as a powerful and cheap attacker, while Dwarf Miner can search out key Element-Stones, such as the Unique Stone of Wisdom, which draws you 2 cards when you destroy it, or the lone copy of Stone of Forgetfulness if you need to empty an opponent’s Archive (discard pile). So, wait with using Thorbald’s Flip Ability until it is absolutely necessary and when you flip him, fetch from your Spellbook whatever you need most at the moment. If you are facing a deck with lots of Boon or Salvage cards, get out Mindblocker or Spiritblocker respectively. If you need to shut down a Creature compeltely, get yourself some Shackels. Good targets for Thorbald’s Flip Ability would be one of the 4 different Unique Equip-Spells in the deck, namely Bargost’s Tail, Grimlock’s Maw, Ascarius Wing or Finborg’s Claw, as all of them give their wielders considerable stats boosts and useful additional abilities. Lastly I would like to mention the lone copy of Devastating Flames, a truly devastating “burn spell” (a Spell which deals direct damage to a Creature or Player) which lets you distribute 5 damage as you wish among Creatures and/or Players and can be cast for free if you purge it and another Fire card from your hand.