They gather in secret to celebrate the harvest, but it is far too cold today for there to be any crops left. The Trails have begun…
Welcome fellow Songhai celebrators and others. Today we come together in spirit and mind to discuss the boons given to us by the Trinity and how we may apply them to vanquish our foes. Grab your takoyaki and yakisoba and read on.
NOTE: I will give ratings on a 0 to 5 scale based on my initial assessment of the card, initial meaning what I think of it before seeing it in play. 0 is trash/meme and 5 is guaranteed staple. If a card is OP/meta warping I will give it a 6 which I do not expect to do, but we will see.
If you want to see my review for a specific card, press ctrl+f and then type in the corresponding values:
Bakezori - B4
Coalfist - C4
Hideatsu the Ebon Ox - H0
Horned Mask - HM1
Kaido Expert - KE3
Kensho Vortex - KV11
Knucklestorm - KS1
Massacre Artist - MA4
Meditate - M0
Orizuru - O3
Pandatentiary - P3
Phoenix Barrage - PB5
Second Self - SS2
Xenkai Cannoneer - XC5
Here is the first card: Bakezori. The thing I like most about this card is the statline, it has great survivability. I wish it had 3 attack so it could remove 2 drops at least, but the health is really appreciated more than anything else, especially because many minions within the faction have relatively low health.
The ability is similar to Mogwai, but is better in that you can move it through any means whereas Mogwai’s effect only activates when he moves himself. The biggest disappointment with this is the rotation of Onyx Jaguar. If that card was still here, then a bona fide Kaleos movement deck would most likely be extremely viable.
I can still see this card supporting an aggro deck or a zoo deck, so we will see. In a typical midrange deck, this card is too slow and would most likely make for a clunky hand at times. But that statline is still something to be admired.
The only true flaw I can see in this card is vulnerability to Natural Selection and Plasma Storm, but if I am going to be honest here, almost every minion worth running in the songhai faction is weak to Plasma Storm and Natural Selection.
My initial rating for Bakezori is 4 out of 5. The biggest reason for this is that songhai will be needing a 4 drop with dependable statlines since almost all of the good ones are rotating. In addition, I can also see this card supporting a backstab archetype and be a good target for a Killing Edge buff.
Next we have Coalfist. If you notice, both this card and the previous one are 4 mana. If you had to pick only one to run as a 4 drop, you would most likely pick Bakezori. Now there are many reasons for this but the two main reasons are: statlines and utility.
In Duelyst, having a good statline is everything otherwise you die to everything with the general consensus being that 4 HP is the breaking point with 5 HP being optimal and 4 HP being trash. Therefore, since Bakezori has a whopping 6 HP, he would be considered pretty playability for that statline if nothing else while Coalfist dies to pretty much anything including Homeostatic rebuke which is pretty sad. While 4 attack gets him over Plasma Storm and Natural Selection, Magmar has many other ways to deal with something that has 4 HP.
In terms of utility, I would have to say Bakezori has a good edge due to cheap card draw, coalfist on the other hand has many downsides:
- The target of the buff is random
- The target must be nearby Coalfist
- The buff lasts for one turn
If you can manage to overcome these hurdles and use his ability to the fullest extent, you still only get a +2 attack buff and the worse part? It costs 4 mana to do so. The true potential in this card lies in its snowball potential to jump from 2 to 4 to 6 attack buffs, but even so you are still spending 4 mana to do so and the buff is temporary.
My initial rating for Coalfist is a 2 out of 5. I do not think this card is completely unplayable, but I cannot see this card being put in any seriously competitive deck. And when it comes down to it, 4 HP is awfully easy to remove compared to 6.
Next we have Hideatsu the Ebon Ox. I have few good words to say about this card other than it having an amazing sprite and name.
The Trail is very difficult to complete, It is not impossible to build a deck that has 1-7 mana minions in it, that is very easy, the truly difficult part is drawing said minions and summoning them. And let’s say you were able to do this, now what?
You now need to have minions in your hand to actually benefit from the Destiny and those minions must be of a high mana cost just to have actual value. In addition, the target being hit by the Destiny effect is out of your control, it is random. It seems as if putting into your deck Meltdown would be much better and more reliable and would not limit your hand size.
My initial rating for Hideatsu the Ebon Ox is a 1 out of 5. I would love to give this card a 0 because it is simply a watered down version of Meltdown, but in the end, this card is playable, just not optimal.
We have a new songhai artifact and its name is…Horned Mask? Very original sounding to be sure.
As for its effect, it is decent I suppose. For 1 mana, I can see it receiving play in low curve backstab decks along with much draw. The +1 attack is helpful in clearing 2 drops, the ability itself is not very good because minions do not typically survive long in this game so very rarely will it be able to benefit off of a measly +1/+1. In addition, it has to be a backstab minion, but at least all it has to do is attack, not backstab so that is pretty good.
My initial rating of Horned Mask is a 4 out of 5. If nothing else it adds +1 attack to your general and is only 1 mana. Will definitely be viable in backstab decks maybe it will even be OP because of the snowball potential. Shame Katara is rotating, the backstab archetype could really be amazing if it was staying.
And today we welcome the new member to the Kaido Clan, Kaido Expert. His sprite looks great along with the sword and tail.
Looking at the statline to mana ratio, right off the bat I can say that this card will see little play outside of backstab decks. The statline is so atrocious that I even have a difficult time seeing backstab decks play this card. The +1 backstab is unhelpful in clearing anything and without Assassination Protocol (AP) or Inner Focus (IF), this card will most likely die before getting any value.
Ignoring the mana cost and stats, let’s look at the ability. Summoning another backstab minion that costs 2 or 1 mana (as no 0 mana backstab minions exist) is decent seeing as how the only backstab cards to fit that category is Kaido Expert, Kaido Assassin and Scroll Bandit and almost all of these cards are good to have on the field for free.
I think what it really comes down to is whether or not you have AP or IF in your hand along with this card resulting in a 4 mana combo that does not do much for you.
My initial rating of Kaido Expert is a 2 out of 5. The mana cost and the easily killable statline bring this card down a lot. The effect is only good if you can play this minion in conjunction with IF or AP for 4 mana and you could be doing better things at 4 mana. I hope I am wrong about this card.
Next we have a spell with an interesting name and cool looking art (and hopefully animation).
Well, I think the biggest thing to note with this card is that it is only playable in an Arcanyst and midrange deck. In a burn or mantra list, you generally want to finish your opponent off with some sort of Eight Gates combo or Firestorm Mantra rather than summon random 2-3 mana minions around your general. And it will be 2-3 mana minions because by the time you would be ready to cast it, you will most likely be spamming your face damage spells that have been severely discounted by cards like Abjudicator.
In the midrange archetype, this card will see some play, but most likely it will be a meme more than anything else. I say this because the card is completely reliant on RNG to give you minions which is inconsistent and does not make for good competitive play, it is the reason why no serious player runs Grimes.
Looking at the arcanyst archetype, however, I think this card will be an auto 2 of. The reason is simply because it is an emergency button in case of board clear for practically 0 mana seeing as how you will be casting a lot of spells in the game. And while having randomly generated minions could be bad, it must be remembered that Blue Conjurer does something very similar and yet is a wildly popular card within the archetype.
My initial rating for Kensho Vortex is 4 out of 5. I think midrange decks can definitely run this card as a 2 of at least because you will get this card out for a cheap mana cost after having casted your Juxapostions, Mist Dragon Seals and BBS. You will most likely want to run some extra spells in your deck to get the actual effect off, but like I said, it should be cheap enough by late game that it should not take an entire turn’s mana to cast. For arcanyst deck, this card is a must.
Next we have Knucklestorm with fairly boring art, but I suppose aesthetics are irrelevant to those of you having come this far into the review.
There is not too much to say about this card. I think it has good utility in decks that either have a low curve/high draw or decks that run many spells. I cannot see it becoming meta warping seeing as how the intensity effect only adds +1 each time you cast it. Eight Gates will make this card a force to be reckoned with, but I think that is generally true of any spell that can directly damage the enemy general.
My initial rating of Knucklestorm is a 2 out of 5. It is not a bad card and I am positive it will see competitive play, but it is not particular overpowered seeing as how you have to draw it multiple times to get value meaning that it is inconsistent. If this card is does rise in power, I am almost certain it will be the Eight Gates archetype as a whole rather than this specific card.
Next we have Massacre Artist (MA). The name is not too memorable compared to Hideatsu the Ebon Ox and the sprite is of the same nature, but it is not particularly horrendous either.
The effect itself is pretty amazing. By itself, it enables an entire archetype, but the larger problem is that the archetype itself is inherently countered by wall hugging should it ever become strong enough. So that should be stated before moving on with the review.
The effect, if you can activate and have the right board, is great, but the problem is having the board for it. Kaido Expert certainly helps in this respect, but that card is still pretty bad despite the support it seemingly gives to backstab.
But let’s not limit ourselves to backstab decks, this card has much utility in normal midrange decks as well. The effect, if activated, makes all attacks by your minions and generals in that turn, completely free of consequence, free of retaliation which is very good.
As a 4 drop in a midrange deck, it has a large amount of utility and the 5 HP is icing on the cake, but let’s compare it to the other 4 drops in terms of stats and utility.
- Compared to Bakezori, the stats are obviously better in Bakezori’s favor, but in terms of utility, if you can get MA’s effect off with some kind of board, I would say MA wins as the better 4 drop, but you have to get him to backstab.
- Compared to Coalfist, I would say MA not only has better stats because 5 HP beats a 4/4 any day, but also because his ability is much more immediate and consistent.
My initial rating for Massacre Artist is a 3 out of 5. The ability is great but if you are unable to activate it you will end up with a vanilla 2/5 for 4 mana which is a huge tempo loss so it really is a high risk, high rewards type of case.
And now we meditate ourselves into oneness with the Trinity themselves with Meditate. The name is not noteworthy, the art is a pattern more than anything else.
This one should be brief. Simply put, I see 2 problems with this card.
- I cannot think of a single spell I would want 5 copies of in my deck save for Knucklestorm (KS).
- Even if you can put 5 copies of KS in your deck, which is not a very consistent thing to do, you still need a good amount of draw in order to benefit from this.
My initial rating of this card is a 1 out of 5. Outside of KS, there are not many spells I would want so many duplicates of. Outside of that you need to be able to draw in order to even profit off of this. Arcanysts will love this card for its 0 mana cost, but outside of that specific archetype, it is trash.
And the next minion is a crane with colorful wings and an amazing statline for a 3 drop.
The midrange archetype has really been itching for some new 3 drops after the rotation of Ki Beholder and Battle Pando and this card could be our saviour. The stats are very solid and the ability Flying is good for pinging off those pesky heartseekers or Eggs. The card seems very vanilla and bland at first, but who knows, maybe it could be great? I wouldn’t count on it.
My initial review of Orizuru is a 3 out of 5. I do not think this card will run your deck if you choose to run it as it is pretty solid, but I can’t help but wonder if it is even comparable to Battle Pando who had board wide ping? We will just have to make do I suppose.
I like the whole Pando theme CPG is trying to make here. The name is really cool and the art is cool as well.
For the ability itself, I definitely think this card can be run without any major consequences. Being able to completely body block the enemy general when they have no other cards on the field is great tempo and for only 3 mana means that you can play this as P2 T1 if if they had nothing to play on their first turn. I would actually say this card is Pandamonium 2.0.
My initial rating for Pandatentiary is a 4 out of 5. I would love to run this card in my midrange deck as a great tech to decks with little minions or simply because of its large tempo gain for only 3 mana. It is also a great counter to minion heavy decks if you can clear the enemy’s board first as they will be unable to do anything on that turn which is just devastating.
Next we have Phoenix Barrage with really cool looking art, but unfortunately the ability leaves much to be desired. This one will be brief.
The effect is basically 7 mana for two phoenix fires. Let that sink in. I don’t really have anything to say about this spell since the effect is pretty simple, as simple as it gets.
My initial rating for Phoenix Barrage is a 0 out of 5. You cannot be in your right mind if you play this card.
The next card is another spell called Second Self. The art is just as boring as KS was and the name is not very memorable.
The ability however is pretty interesting. It not only allows you to obtain a copy of a friendly minion from thin air, meaning it does not have to be in your deck, but it also keeps the buffs of the target minion.
Such a tutoring effect can be useful in those situations in which you need another Zendo to finish the game, another EMP, another Painter, there are many cards you can copy with this to suit a particular instance. However, it does cost 2 mana so you will have to be cautious about using this card as any minion you summon using this effectively costs +2 mana which can result in a huge tempo loss if the enemy is able to clear it before it gets any value.
My initial rating of this card is a 3 out of 5. While the effect is helpful, it is a utility card more than anything, it has no direct impact on the board so you really have to be careful in using it and on the right minion otherwise you lose huge tempo. It is certainly not a staple, but not trash or meme either. Perhaps it can find a home in Baconator 3.0?
And here is our last Songhai card from the Trails of Mythron expansion, Xenkai Cannoneer (XC). The name is very cool and the art, especially the dragon head cannon, is amazing to look at.
But is the card itself worth running? Right off the bat, it is obvious that you must run this card in a ranged deck in order to fully benefit from this ability, but there are 3 problems with this:
- This card is pretty much the only ranged support card that exists for Songhai. Other than this card, there really isn’t anything else out there that can support this archetype.
- There are very little ranged minions that are actually worth running, one of them being Ki Beholder, but he is rotating.
- Since this card is the only thing supporting the ranged archetype if you don’t draw it, you lose meaning this archetype will be much too inconsistent to see competitive play.
There are other things to touch on about this card such as the 4/4 statline which is just atrocious and the 5 mana cost. For 5 mana, you should be doing better things than summoning a 4/4 whose ability is delayed until your next turn.
However, ignoring the possibility of a ranged archetype, I do think this card has some viability in regular Reva midrange decks. You can simply tech this card in place of Hamon Bladeseeker or Geomancer as well as replacing some of your 2-4 drops with more ranged minions and try that out. I am confident that something along those lines could be viable at the very least after all, rush has always been an strong keyword, I don’t think this will change in the case of XC.
My initial rating for Xenkai Cannoneer is a…3.5 out of 5. I really dislike doing decimal ratings, but I truly think there is some hope in this card once a deck has been optimized for it. At the same time, though, I don’t see the card being a particularly strong 5 drop. The biggest reason why I give it this score is simply because of how inconsistent it is without enough ranged support.
And that is the end of my review of the Songhai cards as well as some neutrals released in the Trails of Mythron expansion. I like some of the cards with the most noticeable being Kensho Vortex, but there was also many cards that I fail to see the good in. Though there was little support given to the midrange archetype in terms of minions, maybe some new archetypes will sprout from its absence?
The biggest concern I have is the support given to other factions specifically Magmar and Vetruvian (especially Magmar). Though the Songhai faction definitely was given some good things, they might be largely overshadowed by what was given to those specific factions. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, post what you think about my observations, did I miss something, was I inaccurate on some statements or do you think my ratings were flat out wrong?
I hope you enjoyed this review and were able to read some portions of it however long it was!
EDIT: I just wanted to add that this review was made before I read or watched any other reviews apart from comments made in spoiler threads from 3 weeks ago and onward. I still haven’t read or watched any reviews and I hope that this review does not copy anyone else’s as what I have written is my honest opinion after having thought about each card. This post took 3 hours to write out so that is the reason this came out so late.
EDIT2: After thinking about it some more, I have decided to bring down the ratings of two cards by one point, Hideatsu the Ebon Ox and Keshno Vortex. Keshno Vortex I think is great, but not a guaranteed staple so I brought it down to a 4 out of 5. Hideatsu just seems worse and worse the more I think about him. He is still playable, but even then. These changes were made before any comments were posted on this thread, I am noting this for posterity sake.
EDIT3: I completely revised my review of Kensho Vortex due to a misinterpretation of its effect. The rating is unchanged, however. My thanks to @unreason for pointing it out. I also edited in an actual review of Orizuru (O3) and deleted the sarcastic remarks in its place. This edit was made approximately 7 hours after the edit before this one.
The next edit will hopefully be discussing some neutral cards so stay tuned for that.
For now I need to sleep and contemplate why I spent 4 hours writing and editing this whole post.