The Demonastery has its second new face of the Monarch set. Meet Chane, Bound by Shadow:
Chane brings some serious power to the table. Like Viserai, he is a Runeblade, which means he has access to the entirety of the Runeblade card pool (minus Viserai Specializations) as well as Shadow and Shadow Runeblade cards. Chane's ability lets us "Boost" our Shadow or Runeblade actions once per turn, which means that going wide with our attacks becomes very easy to do. Note that it specifically says "Runeblade or Shadow Action", which means he can give Go Again to a Runeblade Weapon Attack or a Crown of Dichotomy activation.
It's unclear at this point precisely how much of a boon or hindrance Soul Shackles will be. A lot of the Shadow cards spoiled thus far care about the Banished Zone in some way, so getting cards into that zone can be advantageous with cards like Tome of Torment and Shadow of Ursur in the mix. On the other end of the spectrum, banishing too many cards out of your deck will wipe out your library very quickly, potentially leaving you out of gas or dying very rapidly to an abundance of Blood Debts.
The "Runeblade Tax" just became more expensive.
Vexing Malice represents an important change for Runeblades of all varieties. Prior to this, there was no way for a single source to deal more than one point of arcane damage, meaning opponents could replace their worst piece of armor with any equipment with Arcane Barrier 1 and call it a day. If they sensed an incoming Rattle Bones, they could pitch enough to stop the Runechant damage to prevent the instant speed surprise Go Again play. Now with Vexing Malice in the mix, things won't be so simple. Opponents will need to start bringing even more Arcane Barrier when facing us, unless they want to allow us access to a few points of effectively unblockable damage. This in turn means less normal defense equipment, which makes our Arknight Ascendancies and other normal damage attacks all the more potent.
While I suspect there will be a good midrange- and synergy-based Chane deck in CC built around banishing and using Blood Debt cards to accrue advantages, I'll save my ideas around that until we have the full spoiler to work with. One thing that is clear to me is that if you're interested in playing an aggressive Runeblade deck in Blitz, Chane is almost certainly going to be the hero to build around. Viserai's Runechant creation is nice for small bits of extra damage, but giving actions Go Again every turn is on a whole different power level for a deck with no interest in playing a long, drawn out game.
Kevin Brayer (@Hannibal in Discord circles) is an author for the Rathe Times and has been playing Flesh and Blood since the release of Crucible of War. A Software Developer living in the US, he is a competitive player with a background in MTG. He loves putting time into mastering archetypes and is looking to make his mark by bringing everyone's favorite Arknight into the competitive scene. Kevin is excited to give back to the community by sharing his insight, humor, and love of all things Demonastery.
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