MZ Lessons: Carryover Part I – Deathwish
By Guest Contributor OtakuMZ
Introduction to Carryover Mechanics
Carryover is defined as “the ability to retain the power of units on the board from one round to the next.” Buffing minions in hand, in the graveyard, or in the deck through synergy (e.g. Spotter) or specific cards (e.g. Dandelion, Draig Bon-Dhu) are not direct carryover mechanics. Nevertheless, carryover of this type is very relevant as it translates a (potentially) lower-tempo play in the current round into more tempo in later stages of the game.
All in all, there are four possibilities for carryover to later rounds, even if the last one mentioned is outside of the above definition. Two have a keyword attached to it, namely “Deathwish” (e.g. Earth Elemental) and “Resilience” (e.g. Mahakam Defender). The other two will be called “Auto-Resurrect” (e.g. Olgierd) and the “DHG-Buff” for deck-, hand-, or graveyard buff.
This series of articles will take a closer look at all those carryover cards and point out the differences between cards of a given mechanic. Special attention will be paid not only to the obvious but the small intricate ones that make or break a game. As in real life, those small differences are the real important ones - just like remembering an anniversary on the actual day - or one day late.
Deathwish (DW): Mechanic and Cards
DW is defined as an effect that “triggers its ability when the card is moved to the graveyard.” This implies that cards that otherwise leave the board, by either being banished or put back to hand or in the deck, will not go off. In order to get carryover to the next round, the deathwish must proc after both players have passed. In patch 0.9.8, there are six DW cards available which provide carryover:
- Earth Elemental
- Harpy Eggs from Celaeno Harpy
- Prize-Winning Cow
Other Cards with the Deathwish tag which provide no carryover are:
- The Guardian
Of these, Iris can enhance carryover additionally which will be outlined in its own chapter further down below. The others are not relevant to this article and will not be further discussed. The six cards with real carryover potential will be highlighted in the next paragraphs.
Card Discussion: Similarities and Differences
Earth Elemental (EE) is the most basic DW. It represents ten Strength over two rounds plus an additional Shield. In contrast to Nekker, it needs no additional cards being present in the deck. Therefore, the potential power in late-game scenarios is lower for EE than for Nekker as the Nekker has an additional DHG-Buff baked in making it the only hybrid DW/DHG card. On the other hand, Nekker is only viable in certain decks, whereas EE is more universally usable.
Celaeno Harpy seems harmless at first sight. A meager five strength divided over three bodies, what’s the problem? The power lies in …
… six power from spawning Harpies once the eggs are killed, potentially as carryover strength. The spawning Harpies themselves are able to trigger an EE, if they spawn in the melee row and you have the EE on the far right. The sums up to a total strength of eleven on multiple bodies, which is above average for a Bronze card.
… the consume synergy, which provides an total ten strength if consumed. You lose the possibility of carryover when consuming though. Summing it all up, the max. overall power is 21 (5+6+10), an insane number even if it were a Gold card.
A potential of 21 wouldn’t be the problem by itself, but the consistency of which you are able to pull it off is so high with Celaeno Harpy that it is not healthy for the game. Therefore, it has already been confirmed by the developers that there will be changes made to this card with the next patch, likely to the spawning Harpy and maybe to the power gained when consumed.
Prize-Winning Cow (Cow) stands out as a combo card. The DW part alone is the least interesting. I f we look at the DW alone, the Cow is in between 8 and 12 Strength) which makes it comparable to EE. Instead of a Shield, making it more resistant in staying on the board it has the Retaliation ability, spawning more Chorts when damaged but not killed. The Retaliation tag enables it to spawn a multitude of Chorts, if it does not die immediately. To take advantage of this effect it must be boosted and/or strengthened to withstand e.g. weather effects. Healing effects will also help to enhance its value even further. In specialized decks, the Cow may be able to spawn an army by itself increasing its value by a huge margin, easily to 30 and beyond. The problem is consistency. There are no other cards that are similar and could also benefit from such a deck which makes a “Cow Deck” a one-trick pony and therefore easy to counter.
Botchling and Lubberkin are closely tied together as the one can summon the other from the deck. The idea of the card is to put a dying one in the deck again by means of Nenneke to have a chain of a 5 power, then a 10 power and finally a 15 power unit with just one card. This is finally not enough to make the pair work as there is no way to make additional copies that would make it worthwhile dedicating 2 Silver slots and additional support cards. However, the duo holds potential for future design space and aren’t they just adorable to look at?
Iris herself is a DW card, but she alone provides no carryover. However, she has the ability to boost your carryover units by three if she manages to stay alive during the previous round. Many players shun this card as inconsistent and win-more, and mostly rightfully so. It is difficult to control when she goes off. Either your opponent can kill her while she is no use for you, or they kill off the carryover.
The main goal is to play her late into a round which you will win with a few carryover units still on board. The best case scenario is that you are more than three points ahead and on at least equal cards. Even if by playing Iris you go one card down, but let’s say you have two Harpy Eggs and one EE still on board you gain an additional 12 carryover resulting n a total of 22 strength for the next round (2+2+3+3+12). From this example you may see that Iris is not worth playing on a board with less than three carryover which narrows her usefulness a lot if only played for carryover.
Therefore, you may want to include additional tools to enable her on the round played. Frost, Rain, Wyvern or Myrgtabrakke are decent cards to add to an Iris deck. My hope in this department for the next patch lies on Dorregaray. He could provide the additional functionality to kill off Iris if needed by means of Wyvern without putting an otherwise limited-use card into the deck.
Future of Deathwish
With the upcoming patch which will likely hit by end of August, we expect more DW synergy. On the one hand, there will be at least one archetype-supporting card added to the game - the already-revealed Cockatrice. Its ability is similar to Impera Brigade. Cockatrice gains two strength when an ally with DW is played and has Deploy: Gain two strength for each ally with DW. Unfortunately for DW, nerfs to Celaeno Harpy are almost certain. How exactly they will turn out is still unsure. It is to be expected that the Harpy spawning will be a token, different from the actual card “Harpy” and the consume synergy might be weakened. In any case, Deathwish is an interesting mechanic, and it is best to hope that the designers dive more deeply into it to make the game we love even better.
The following infographic will conclude the first part of this mini-series. If you like this kind of article, make sure to check out similar infographics here.