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Channeling Aria in Part the Mistveil

Much like the world we live in, the world of Rathe is expansive and varied. As our travels continue, we have landed in the land of Misteria - which coincides well with FAB's real-world milestone of breaking into the Japanese TCG market. This new expansion is celebrated by art and styles reminiscent of the culture - and just like the real world, we find similarities in the most unexpected places. As the Mistveil parts, I can't help but see Aria in all of it.

Aria introduced us to the Elemental talents, but I'd like to focus on Frostbite for the moment. On its face, Frostbite increased the cost of cards, and could be stacked to scale that tax to absurd degrees, resulting in many 4-card hands being utilized to play a single attack of mediocre stance. The impact could range from mild annoyance to freezing a hero out of playing anything at all. 

But look deeper, and you can find the greater intent behind Ice's disruptive tendency. Chilling Icevein offered a way to directly rip cards from an opponent's hand, provided their conditions were met. And Coronet Peak - an Uprising addition to the Elemental card pool - simply took your action in exchange for their card.

Card image of Chilling Icevein (Red)
Card image of Coronet Peak

The most direct parallel is obviously Mask of Recurring Nightmares. As an attack reaction, it forces the opponent to select and banish a card from hand. Nuu can coax an opponent into comfortably blocking; then by activating mask you challenge the next turn they'd lined up for themselves. Whenever you lead with a blue card, the opponent needs to be thinking about the possibility of you activating mask and banishing a card from hand.

But perhaps it was the true goal of Ice that a hero be forced to play sub-optimal turns, left unable to use a full hand. And we see similar disruption at work in Nuu's design. Rather than burying the opposition's hand in frostbite, we're now forcing the opponent to play their cards out, discouraging or outright preventing them from keeping a full grip to attack with. It’s not just the disruption from attacks that we have to worry about either. Bonds of Agony, Persuasive Prognosis, and Siren's Call all strip the opponent of cards before they've even been played.

Card image of Oldhim, Grandfather of Eternity
Card image of Lexi, Livewire

If we look at the disruptive decks of old, all of them hit with incredible force as well. Azalea is a strong disruptive deck in the current meta - and she has the ability to hamper your turn while doing 15 dominated damage. Even if we look back at Lexi, she had the ability to do large 20-damage turns and restrict your play. Guardians present many of the same damage/disruption pairings.

The disruption option on Nuu is turned up to 11, but it looks like her damage has been hampered quite a bit. Many of her more disruptive attacks come in at 1 damage, and many of the blue pitch attacks follow suite. The red attacks that we expect strength out of come in at 3 damage which is very fair. Playing this type of game will put Nuu at a large disadvantage, but we can look to other classes to see what we can do more effectively to see what we can do for our deck.

While I still don't think it's worthwhile to imagine Assassin as a mill-based class, it offers a the closest thing we see to that in Flesh and Blood. One of the benefits of running a deck that banishes off of the top is that, usually, no one really knows what's at stake. This tricks the opponent into being a little more relaxed about the defense; taking a single card off the top of a 60-card deck, there's a good chance it won't greatly impact our game. If they knew each time what they were about to lose, they'd play it differently - especially those combo decks like Kano and Boltyn!

Card image of Briar, Warden of Thorns

The class doesn't see much play now, but back in the era of Aria, Runeblade was everywhere, employing a delicate dance around playing non-attack and attack actions. They were at their strongest when the class could sequence their deckbuilding around guaranteeing the proper type of cards in hand at a time. Nuu doesn't favor non-attack actions, but employs a similar tactic of balance between card types in her use of attack reactions. Much like Dorinthea, she should be able to swing a middling attack with a great threat behind it if it hits. Furthermore, there's a cumulative impact as you layer more reactions onto Nuu's cards.

The Mystic talent showcases the power of blue cards via transcend, in a way that feels similar to Elemental's fusion. The main mechanic of Part the Mistveil is to make Inner Chi via playing a transcend instant after playing another blue card. While it is much easier to pull off, it still feels like the design asks you to hold back, as most blue cards will have dampened power over their red counterparts. The effect of the transcend card can provide great value. These can give cards go again, increased damage - but they can also feel flat with an effect such as “shuffle your deck”. The payoff is found in tapping into the full potential of your hero and their card pool. Many of these cards have synergy through pitching a blue and further synergies by pitching a chi. Levels of Enlightenment is a great example; it's able to be modified by how many blues you have pitched.

In my opinion, Nuu is a hero that could have easily been from Aria - and as LSS has aged, they've had the benefit of circling back to some of what they've done before. Here, Nuu once again shows that they value having an element of control or disruption in the game. All of the mechanics brought into this set have learned from other concepts LSS has implemented up until now - and as a former Lexi main who's missed the playstyles of Aria's heroes, I'm happy to find reflections of them in Misteria.

Discussion (1)

Reader

Dead on Bored

1 month ago
Yeah for sure gives off some Aria Vibes , probably why I'm enjoying it so much... Fun article pointing out some of the comparisons... These Heroes do seem to be on another Level of Power like Aria turned out to be ... and last set was no slouch, excited to see what the finale is .

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