Three’s Company In The Crucible
We’re back again to show off some of the most common cards to grace the Winds of Exchange set. If you’ve missed our previous articles, be sure to read about Brobnar and Sanctum as well as Saurian and Unfathomable. This time we will cover the final three houses in the set: Star Alliance, Mars, and newly introduced House Ekwidon. So without further adieu, let’s look to the stars and see what’s coming to Star Alliance.
The Wonders of the Stars
Star Alliance continues its plans of uniting everyone together. They feature a lot of abilities giving bonuses to friendly creatures and letting you use cards from other houses, even when Star Alliance is chosen as your active house. Featuring the most upgrade cards of any house, Star Alliance works well with other houses in the deck.
That remains true with Specialist Guthrak. A big benefit for Guthrak is the skirmish ability. This allows you to deal out damage when you choose to fight with it and not receive damage back. It’s ability though does a lot for you. After Reap and After Fight, you capture 1 Æmber for each house represented by Guthrak and its neighbors. So you could be capture 3 Æmber with Guthrak if you pair it with two different house cards, what a snag!
Each house in Winds of Exchange will feature a common card with the Enhance keyword. As shown in previous articles, these enhance abilities will vary by house. CPO Zytar does the honor for Star Alliance. This card hands out two bonus draw icons, which can be great for getting to your powerful cards more quickly. It also hands out a bonus damage icon, which can help you clean up weak creatures quickly.
Star Alliance always looks to lend a helping hand and that’s evident by our next card, Friendly Guide. Using other houses during a Star Alliance turn is commonplace for this house, but this one puts a small spin on it. This card could actually allow you to use a Star Alliance card on a non-Star Alliance turn! If you happen to get a deck with multiple Friendly Guides in it, you can line them up and see a cool chain reaction unfold. Also, it comes equipped with the elusive keyword. This means the first time it is attacked each turn, it suffers no damage. Who would want to hurt a guide anyway?
Now let’s take a look at a bit of history, Recorded History that is. This action card does a nice job of building up a future turn. When you play it, you can reveal up to 3 cards of different houses from your hand. You then archive each card that you revealed. A good strategy with this card is if you happen to draw it and take the first turn. You can play this card and then archive up to three cards to increase your draw for turn 2!
It wouldn’t be Star Alliance if there wasn’t a little bit of Teamwork. When you play this card, you can make a token creature. Then if there are more enemy creatures than friendly, you can archive Teamwork and use it in a future turn. A great way to generate another token creature in the future!
Now, Star Alliance isn’t always sharing. Sometimes they need to go on a Rogue Operation and take for themselves. This card allows you to discard the top 2 cards of your deck. You then can steal 1 Æmber for each house represented among the discarded cards. This can be great for fooling your opponents plan to forge a key. It also can be a great way to cycle your deck faster. Once your deck is depleted, you can reshuffle your discard pile and reform your deck. Now you can get those sweet cards you played earlier all over again.
The Invaders from Mars!
If Star Alliance wants to unite the houses, then Mars wants to do the complete opposite. Mars cards look to work within its own house, wanting to take over your whole battleline. Many abilities in Mars scale up based on the number of Mars cards and creatures in play. They also like to capture your opponents creatures. So what do they have in store for us in Winds of Exchange?
Tall is state of mind. At least that’s what Myx, the Tallminded believes. This card can do a great job at stopping your opponent from forging a key as it increases your opponents key cost by 1 Æmber for each Mars creature in play. So the more Mars cards you have, the longer you potentially delay that forged key!
Did we mention House Mars likes to see more Mars on the battleline? Oh good, because Ironyx Vatminder wanted to be sure we told you. This card allows you to make a token creature when you play it. It also features a destroy ability allowing you to make a token creature again. Wait. Make a token creature when you play and when its destroyed? What a great way to generate token creatures!
The card handing out enhance for Mars is Glylyx Weaponsmith. It dishes out two bonus damage icons because it wouldn’t be Mars without a bit of damage. It also gives out a bonus draw icon which could be helpful grabbing that card you need in a pinch.
That card could very well be Clone Home. This card allows you to make a token creature and if there are more friendly creatures than enemy creatures, you can archive it to use again later! So keep pumping out those Mars creatures to stay in front.
Mars would be happy if the entire board was just Mars cards. So that’s why they devised a plan to Scoop Up other houses. When you play this card, you put a friendly non-Mars creature and an enemy non-Mars creature into your archives. A great way to deal with that pesky non-Mars creature your opponent has for some time. It’s important to remember that your opponent’s creature will return to your opponents hand if it leaves your archives.
Finally, remember when we said about Mars liking to have its own creatures in play and nothing else? Say hello to Kaboom! This card sees you put each Mars creature into its owner’s archive. You then destroy each creature in play. Bye-bye other houses! You do gain 3 chains for doing this, but that’s a matter to deal with later, right?
The Give and Take of Trading
Now we arrive to the merchants and diplomats of Ekwidon. This new house features a lot of abilities involving trades with your opponent. You may receive something big, but your opponent shall also receive something in return.
Let’s take a look at General Ză-Orhă to start. Ză-Orhă brings the skirmish ability making it a good card to clear your opponents battleline. It also includes the Play ability allowing you to make a token creature for each forged key your opponent has. So the later Ză-Orhă comes into play, the more companions that join it.
Traders and Diplomats don’t always deal in fair trades. Some might even be accused of stealing. Well, Gemcoat Vender might be one of them. This card features the action ability, steal 1 Æmber and deal 1 damage to Gemcoat Vender. You might be saying, “wait, a repeatable steal effect?”. To that we say, Yes! While the damage return means there is a limit to how many times you can do this, it can be a great way to thwart your opponent from getting to the forge a key step.
The creature handing out bonus icons for House Ekwidon is Steward Su-Uzyanĕ. This card gives out two bonus Æmber icons allowing for easy Æmber generation to the deck. It also disperses a bonus draw icon, which is always helpful.
If you’ve read all the articles thus far, you might have noticed each house includes a token generation card. House Ekwidon looks to Hire On for that reason. This card allows you to make a token creature. If there is 6 or more Æmber combined between both player’s pools, you can archive Hire On to play at a later time.
As mentioned before, Ekwidon cards need to be looked at as “trading” with your opponent. The Visible Hand is a good example of this. With this action card, you can make two token creatures. The catch is you need to reveal your hand to your opponent to do so. A good idea for this card is to wait until late in your turn or on a turn where you can play a lot of Ekwidon cards. This allows you to show your opponent less information.
Need to get rid of a pesky artifact from your opponent? Well, just use Auction Off. This action card allows you to purge an artifact. The controller of that artifact gains 1 Æmber for doing so. That won’t be too big of a problem if you acquire the services of say 1 Gemcoat Vendor to steal it.
Phew, what a series of reveals we’ve had! So many cards to prepare for with many more yet to be shown. But you could see them all at KeyForge Celebration 2022! The event draws ever so close and we cannot wait to see you all here in Minnesota. Bundle up for the frozen north, but bring the fire to forge those keys. KeyForge is back!