Tribal Elemental Clash: The Merfolk of Widodo Pangarso

Merman

In my last Elemental Clash article on here I showed you the Spirit “tribe” in Elemental Clash which was brilliantly brought to life by Katy Grierson. In this second article in my little “Tribal Elemental Clash” series I am going to highlight another tribe, or major Creature type which was realized by another of my talented artists, Widodo Pangarso from Indonesia.

This time, it is all about Merfolk!

First of all some eye-candy: The card previews of all the Merfolk-Creature cards that exist at present, either contained in the Master Set or to be released in the Legendary Legacy expansion. All of them are decorated with artwork from Widodo, who turned out to be kinda my “Merfolk-guy”:

      

By showing you all the Merfolk Creature cards that exist at present, you will be able to see what the Merfolk Deck I am going to talk about later on does easier.

If you look at the artworks for the above cards, which were all done by Widodo Pangarso, you can see that Widodo, who hails from a rural area of Indosnesia, has a very unique style and is a highly gifted and skilled artist. I met Widodo the first time when I was looking for artist to illustrate the Elemental Clash Master Set on Deviant Art, a major platform for sharing art of all kinds and THE place on the web for game desingers like myself to find and hire artists, and he has since become not only a reliable, communicative, easy to work with and dedicated member of the international Elemental Clash art team, but also a good friend who has helped me out on this and that more than once. Furhtermore I would like to point out that Widodo is very flexible and can do other things than Merfolk as well as a matter of course. Firstly, Widodo has contributed a fair share of the Elemental Clash art that was not related to Merfolk, but also Spells and other Creatures of all types. He even made some great illustrations for the Sci-Fi themed Space Clash – a project which I will be giving some “shelf time” before pursuing it further. Here’s a sample – a Skaargen Bannership:

bannership fin

If you want to see more of Widodo’s fantastic work, you can visit his Deviant Art portfolio at

http://labylaby.deviantart.com/gallery/

But back to Elemental Clash and Merfolk!

Merfolk is a Creature type which has many members in the Elemental Clash Master Set and the upcoming expansion, as you can see in the above card previews and some support cards are coming up as well, making Merfolk the defining Creature type in the Water Element. To see how powerful a dedicated Merfolk Spellbook can be, I will show you such a Spellbook I have come up with. As always I will just provide the card list and then share my thoughts on the deck and its strategy.

Tribal Merfolk:

Spellcaster: Atanas the Wise (50 cards)

Creatures…24

3 x Merman

3 x Merman Warrior

3 x Merman Meddler

3 x Wave Courier

3 x Greater Catfish

3 x Mercury-Caller

3 x Merfolk Champion

3 x Mercury Shatterer

Spells…12

3 x Forbid

3 x Shattering Wave

3 x Will of the Waves

3 x Tsunami

Element-Stones…14

3 x Hastestone

11 x Mercury-Stone

Some Thoughts on the Deck:

This deck could be called an “Aggro-Control” deck as it features both denial and destruction effects “controlling” what your opponent does and on the other hand a ton of Creatures with which you are trying to overwhelm your opponent in a rush.

First off some words on my Spellcaster, Atanas the Wise. Atanas gives you a starting hand of 10, draws you 1 card each Draw-Phase and sports an impressive Spellbook size of 50 cards. The latter makes him the perfect Spellcaster when you are trying to fit in a lot of differnet Creatures into one Spellbook. Also, Atanas has the Flip Ability to draw you 3 cards which is also great so you have easy access to backup Creatures if your opponent managed to stop your early onslaught.

So besides beatdown with a lot of great and efficient Merfolk Creatures, the deck excells at neutralizing opponent Spells and Creatures with the classic Forbid and the new, free-to-cast Will of the Waves, as well as in destroying the opponent’s stones, be it by the powerful Shattering Wave or through Mercury Shatterer’s effect. The soon-to-be-released Merman Meddler even does both, as you can destroy him to neutralize a Creature or Spell unless the controller destroys one of his or her Element-Stones. A choice between a rock and a hard place so to say.

But let me go through the cards I chose to inlcude in the deck one by one sharing my thoughts on each with you:

Merman:

The “standard”, run-of-the-mill Merman from the Master Set has lackluster stats (1 ATK and 1 DEF) when played from your hand. However he has Boon and when he is played through Boon he comes into play with a +1 ATK and +1 DEF Counter on it, making it a 2 AKT / 2 DEF Creature permanently. A pretty good deal for a Level 1 Creature.

Merman Warrior:

Regular Merman’s stronger brother has a base ATK and DEF of 1 each as well, but the fun starts when he is in company: As long as you control another Merfolk Creature, Merman Warrior gets +1 ATK and +2 DEF, making him a formidable 2 ATK and 3 DEF Level 1 Creature. The best thing is to play him on turn 1 and then follow up with another Merfolk on turn 2 so Warrior will attack as a 2/3.

Merman Meddler:

As mentioned above, Merman Meddler, while lacking attack power, has an awesome effect: You can destroy it anytime in reaction to a Creature being summoned or a Spell being cast and then put your opponent to the choice between either having that Spell or Creature neutralized, sending it to the graveyard without any effects, or to destroy one of his or her Element-Stones. Either way you can considerably hinder your opponent in building up their army or stones with this one, so it is an excellent card for a deck with an “Aggro-Control” approach.

Wave Courier:

A comparatively weak Merfolk when it comes to ATK and DEF values as he is a Level 2 Creature with just 1 ATK and 1 DEF. However he has a play-effect (an effect that triggers whenever this card is put from your hand into play) that lets you draw 1 card so he is at least decent. Maybe there will be stronger alternatives in the future.

Greater Catfish:

This one is kinda like the big step-brother of Merman, as he is not a Merfolk but a Fish with 2 ATK and 2 DEF, being a Level 2 Creature and has the samee ability as Merman. When the Catfish is played through Boon, he will come into play with an +1 ATK and +1 DEF Counter, making him a good beater at 3 ATK and 3 DEF.

Mercury-Caller:

Now we are talking Merfolk! This is the Merfolk counterpart of the Spirit draw-engine Jupiter-Caller. Mercury-Caller has the following play effect: When it comes into play, you get to look at the top 3 cards of your Spellbook and take any Merfolk Creature-cards among them into your hand. This makes Mercury-Caller a valuable way to restock on (Merfolk) Creatures when you are about to run out of steam towards mid-/late-game, supplying you with up to 3 new Merfolk cards.

Merfolk Champion:

This is most likely your ace-Merfolk Creature with incredible abilities which will not only strengthen your army but also will turn every one of your Merfolk Minions into tiny draw engines. Merfolk Champion gives a +1 ATK and +1 DEF boost to all other Merfolk you control and whenever another Merfolk you control deals damage to your opponent, you may draw a card. The “may” is VERY important in the Elemental Clash context, as you’d run yourself out of cards by drawing a ton of them each time your army attacks so the draw is optional. A deliberate design decision.

Mercury Shatterer:

This one is not a Merfolk but it fits the resource denial theme of the deck very well as you get to send an Element-Stone your opponent controls back to their hand when Mercury Shatterer enters the playing field from your hand.

Forbid:

This Water Flash-Spell neutralizes any Creature or Spell when being summoned/Cast. While this  is very powerful you’d best use it when the opponent has nothing in hand to play in its stead as the Element-Stone-Stack they tried to play that to would be empty again so they could play something else to it. Still a very potent form of denial.

Shattering Wave:

This card is, in my opinion, probably one of the most powerful and versatile cards in the game and one of my all time favorite Water cards. I like it that much that I have once written a whole article about it. Shattering Wave lets you take target Element-Stone and put it on top of its owner’s Spellbook. Its most obvious is is to deprive your opponent of one of their resources, one of their Element-Stones. By doing so, you are furthermore ruining your opponent’s next draw, as all they will draw is the Element-Stone they already had in play. If you use it against a multi-element Spellbook, you can also mess around with the order of your opponent’s Stones in their Element-Stone-Stack, so to leave them with two Stacks of the same Element for instance. A less obvious use for Shattering Wave, and this has won me the game not just once, would be to play it during end game to put one of your own Element-Stones back on top of your Spellbook so you will have one more card to draw. As you’d lose when you are unable to draw, this one card can mean the difference between victory and defeat, even though this may seem insignificant at first. And did I mention Shattering Wave has Boon?!

Will of the Waves:

Same as Forbid this neutralizes a Creature or Spell. What makes Will of the Waves special, being part of a four card cycle in Legendary Legacy, is the fact that it has an alternative casting cost, and you can cast it “for free” even if all your Element-Stone-Stacks are occupied, by conveniently purging it and another Water card in your hand. Especially in an all Water Deck this will put your opponent under a constant threat as they can never be sure if you have it handy or not even if all your Element-Stone-Stacks are occupied.

Tsunami:

ATK- and DEF-wise, Merfolk may be outpowered by other Creatures easily and if you need something to turn the tide, quite literally, Tsunami is your solution. It single-handedly wipes out all opponent Creatures while leaving your side of the battlefield unscarred. This comes at the steep cost of you having to send the top 5 cards from your Spellbook to the Archive. For once, with a Spellcaster like Atanas who starts you off with a 50 card Spellbook, the 5 cards will be a price you’d be willing to pay more often than not and on the other hand, this deck features quite some cards with Boon, so having to discard the 5 cards from deck to discard will probably give you some free Spells and Creatures as a bonus.

Hastestone:

The only special Element-Stone this Spellbook features makes your Merfolk even more threatening as it gives all Creatures played to the Element-Stone-Stack it is located in the Quickattacker ability, allowing them to attack the turn they are placed on this stack, so the very turn they come into play. This applies some much-needed extra pressure to your opponent starting early on.

—————————————————————————————-

Well so much for today’s Tribal Elemental Clash article. I will follow up with the next installment of the series sooner or later, and I can tell you so much that the next article will most likely be about the Goblins, which are, at least in Legendary Legacy, illustrated by one of the new members on the Elemental Clash art team, Evgeni Maloshenkov.

Thank you once again for your time and interest!

Sincerely yours,

Andi

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