Elemental Clash: Alben Banishment and the Art of Dennis Saputra

Hi everyone!

Here’s yet another Elemental Clash Strategy / Deck article in which I want to introduce you to yet another talented member of my Elemental Clash Art Team: Dennis Saputra from Indonesia. Also, I would like to showcase some of the “Unique hosers” which will be included in the Unique-ridden Legendary Legacy Set to give players viable weapons to combat opponents running many Unique cards. This article will, as usual, feature a deck which will include many cards illustrated by Dennis Saputra.

Besides Widodo Pangarso and Enggar Adirasa, Dennis is my third artist from there and one of the newest members to the team. I found Dennis, or rather he found me, on DeviantArt, THE platform for finding great and gifted artists for any kind of art job, when I was looking for inexpensive illustrators for my upcoming game Crystal Clash (which is totally unrelated to Elemental Clash save for the name and will be published this coming year by a renowned American games publisher). Dennis was willing to work at very low charge compared to how brilliant his artwork for the game turned out and he proved to work diligently and with commitment, very reliably and communicative, even though the job was not really paid well.

Here a few samples of the artworks Dennis made for the Crystal Clash “Chaos Deck” (Dennis made all 40 card illustrations for the deck):

Chaos Art Banner

So you see even at half the per artwork cost as compared to what I usually pay for one Elemental Clash illustration, Dennis put a lot of work in the Crystal Clash illustrations and I felt he really gave his best considering the low payment. I especially love the vibrant color of the artworks Dennis delivered and the attention to details (for example: have you noticed that the five-headed dragon’s heads have a number of horns from 1 to 5?). Being very much satisfied with Dennis’ great “performance” I approached him with the offer to illustrate for Elemental Clash as well. He willingly agreed to that and was excited to get to contribute to the game and I offered him double the money per illustration for his work on the Elemental Clash project, as he really deserved it and I didn’t want to pay him less than my other Elemental Clash artists.

Here is a link to Dennis’ Portolio if you’d like to check out more of his awesome work:

http://elangkarosingo.deviantart.com/

And here is the first card Dennis illustrated for Elemental Clash and I think he really proved to be more than able for the job!

Print

Since I like to have one artist illustrate one specific tribe or Creature type in the game (like Katy Grierson who did all the Spirits and Evgeni Maloshenkov who did the Dwarves) for the sake of some visual consistency, it was decided that Dennis would be doing the Albs. Sadly, there are only 3 Alb Creatures in total in the upcoming Legendary Legacy Set, so I had to assign Dennis some non-Alb illustrations as well which he has executed brilliantly so far. Here the two other Albs Dennis did: Xilvox, the Dark Alben Prince and the Light Alben Queen Titania:

Print

I think Dennis did a great job on the royal Albs as well. So with Darkwood Judge, those are all the Albs that will be included in the Legendary Legacy set, although more of their kind will follow in inevitable future expansions. The fact that both the above cards have the “Unique” keyword, which means you can only have one copy of them in your Spellbook/Deck, and makes them clearly overpowered compared to non-Unique cards both when it comes to stats and abilities. There will be a large number of such deliberately overpowered Unique Creatures, Spells and even Element-Stones in Legendary Legacy, some of which I have already written about on this blog, such as the four mighty Dragon Lords. In order to counterbalance the raw power of the Uniques and to force players to consider well how many Uniques they run in their Spellbook, instead of just including all that are available in the Elements of that Spellbook, I will release a number of so called “Unique-hoser” cards, or Anti-Unique cards. Two of them were illustrated by Dennis Saputra and can be seen below (the middle card was illustrated by Dennis as well but is not an Unique-hoser):

Print

If you read the first card, Royal Revival (you may notice that the sarcophagus bears the image of Xilvox – great idea Dennis!) you will ask yourself how that can be an Unique-hoser. You may draw 1 card or take target Creature with Unique from any Archive and put it into your DEF-Zone under your control. ANY is the keyword here. If you are running Royal Revival against an opponent with many Unique Creatures, this can backfire at your opponent as when you manage to destroy his Uniques or send them from Spellbook to Archive directly, you can use Revival to steal the most powerful Unique-Creature in the other player’s Archive and start to use it against him immediately. And if your opponent doesn’t have any Unique-Creatures, you can conveniently recycle Royal Revival by choosing the draw 1 card effect rather than the revival effect. Banish the Legend is a more straightforward way to fight a player using Uniques. It allows you to either draw 1 card, once again in case your opponent isn’t running any Uniques, or purge any 1 card with Unique in play. Well it should be obvious that this is a cheap and efficient way to get rid of even the toughest Unique Creature once and for all. Plus you can also purge any other permanent with Unique, for example some powerful Unique Equip-Spell if need be. There will be a Fire and a Water Unique-hoser as well, which Widodo Pangarso will be illustrating soon.

The middle card I included in the image above for the simple reason that it was illustrated by Dennis Saputra as well, depicts an Alb and will be included in the Alb-themed Spellbook I am going to present you now:

Alben Banishment:

Spellcaster: Scalden Deathbringer (35 cards)

Creatures…11

1 x Titania, Queen of the Woods

1 x Xilvox, Darkwood Sovereign

1 x Bargost Thundertail

1 x Ascarius, Lord of the Storm

3 x Flowering Wall

2 x Darkwood Judge

2 x Venus-Wurm

Spells…14

3 x Bloody Tribute

3 x Royal Revival

2 x Banish the Legend

2 x Excavate

2 x Strength of the Woods

2 x Necromancy

Element-Stones…10

3 x Peakstone

2 x Powerstone

3 x Venus-Stone

2 x Jupiter-Stone

My Thoughts on the Deck:

First off why I chose Scalden as my Spellcaster:

As I wanted to make this an Alb-themed deck, I had the choice between Danuviel the Enchantress and Scadlen Deathbringer. The latter has been called an unplayable Spellcaster by some less imaginative fellows, as he has just a 35 card Spellbook through which he cycles pretty fast, drawing you 2 cards from it each turn, but indeed the Dark Alben Assassin Spellcaster has a special place in my heart. I think he is one of the Spellcasters which are more challenging to build working decks around and this one is challenging indeed, but challenges can be fun and the result rewarding if they are mastered. I have built some decks around Scalden before, which were control type of decks, which fits in well with the Static and Flip Ability of Scalden. Actually, the “double draw” works very well in a control approach as you will get ample “solutions” for any “threats” your oppoent might get out in the form of Creatures.

Moving on to the Creatures, I included some Unique ones in this deck myself, though I did not load the deck with them. In an Alb Spellbook, the Darkwood Prince Xilvox and his graceful counterpart, the Light Alben Queen Titania is a must. While Titania is a great early play to speed up your resource development, Xilvox is an amazing draw-engine in a Spellbook which focuses heavily on killing opponent Creatures. Xilvox forces you (this is not optional) to draw 1 card whenever a Creature is destroyed. Not purged mind you – there is somewhat of a dissynergy between Banish the Legend and Xilvox, as purging a Creature does not count as destroying it. However, there are ample ways to destroy Creatures by other means, such as playing Darkwood Judge, which forces your opponent to destroy a Creature of their choice as a Play-Effect. Also, Venus-Wurm is added for general beatdown and as a safety net so to say to prevent you from running out of cards too fast. Flowering Wall serves a similar purpose, acting as a somewhat decent blocker and returning one card from your Archive to your Spellbook each turn. Ascarius and Bargost are added for additional power and to be revived cheaply via Royal Revival.

On to the Spells:

I am running the two “Unique-hosers” I talked about above: Royal Revival and Banish the Legend. Royal Revival has a bit of a dissynergy as well with Banish the Legend, as you can’t revive any Uniqes that were purged be the latter. Still, Royal Revival has a twofold purpose. At the very least, you can use it as an extremely inexpensive way to reanimate any of your lost Unique Creatures. If your opponent is running Uniques too, you can use Revival to permanently steal one of your opponent’s slain Unique Creatures and have it fight on your side. Banish the Legend is obviously included as a cost-efficitent Unique-removal Spell and its purging capabilities make sure your opponent won’t retrieve his Uniques from the Archive. And even if your opponent doesnt have a single Unique card in his deck, you can just use Banish the Legend to draw another, more useful card. Bloody Tribute is one kickass card in a deck like this: For the cost of 1 Earth, each player has to destroy one of his Creatures. And it comes with Boon. When Xilvox is out, you will get to draw 2 cards when you cast it, it is a cheap way to get opponent Uniques into the Archive to reanimate them with Royal Revival and on top of all that it has the Boon abiltiy. Tribute combos well with Venus Wurm as well, allowing you to restock your Spellbook in the process. What a great card in any control deck running the Earth Element. Excavate and Necromancy are good ways to recover lost key cards like your more powerful Unique Creatures or simply a destroyed Venus-Wurm, to make use of its  card recursion ability again.

The Element-Stone base is quite straightforward. I decided that 10 Stones would be enough in a Spellbook with 35 cards, a Spellcaster which draws you 2 new cards every turn and a relatively low overall-cost of Creatures and Spells in the Spellbook. Peakstone is obviously great as it provides Energy of both the Earth and the Air Element and Powerstone pretty much nullifies the -1 ATK and -1 DEF Static Ability of your Spellcaster and can net you one more card when your Venus-Wurms are destroyed.

Well that’s it for now. More articles with fresh Legendary Legacy card previews coming up. Stay tuned!

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