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Early Thoughts on Codex of Frailty

1 year ago


Codex of Frailty is the second card spoiled for Outsiders - discounting hero reveals and reprints. But while Razor’s Edge may have been the first, it sure isn’t as interesting as Codex of Frailty.

As the first dual class card we’ve seen, there’s two whole classes we have to consider when looking at this card. Both generic Ranger and Assassin have been begging to have their card pools expanded, and Codex of Frailty does this in more than one way.

But, how good is it really?

We can already make estimations; unlike Razor’s Edge, its potential doesn’t rely on unrevealed mechanics, and it fulfills a rather generic function. The only unknown factor is the Frailty token, which I will simply regard as a slight negative for the opponent for the sake of analysis.

What Does It Do?

The effect of Codex is rather complicated, and is comprised of multiple steps.

  • Each hero puts an attack action card from their graveyard face down into their arsenal (if unoccupied).
  • Each hero that does, discards a card (of their choice).
  • Create a Ponder token under your control ("At the beginning of your end phase, draw 1 card").
  • Create a Frailty token under each opponent’s control (presumed to be some sort of minor negative).
  • Go again.
Card image of Ponder

The first thing to note about this sequence of effects is that it is neutral in card advantage. This is highly relevant in comparison to other universal search/recovery cards, such as Memorial Grounds and Become the Arknight, which are a net-negative in card advantage.

Card image of Become the Arknight (Blue)
Card image of Memorial Ground (Red)

Specifically here:

  1. The discard pays for the card recurred from the graveyard.
  2. The Ponder token reimburses you for having to have played Codex of Frailty.

Purely by the numbers then, it’s equal but slightly slanted in our favor due to the presumed negative the frailty token brings to the opponent. The difficulty here is that what these recurred cards are can wildly determine the worth of having played the card. You are going to have to check their graveyard and see if you want to take them being able to pick the best card from it as a necessary evil.

Generally I do think it a very dangerous thing to risk. A Bravo recurring a Crippling Crush doesn’t care what you have to throw at him; he’s already made all the bang for his buck that he needs.

Another thing that can wildly influence the effectiveness of the card is whether the opponent has a card in their arsenal or not. If they already do, they cannot recur a card. Granted, this also means they don’t discard a card, but later in the game that won’t make much of a difference.

You are unlikely to ever be playing this card if your arsenal is full - for obvious reasons, since you will not benefit in any way from it. Due to the nature of Ponder tokens, the card you draw up is doomed to land in your arsenal, so even that card draw will effectively be wasted if the arsenal is already full.

This also means that Codex of Frailty expects you to immediately play the card you recurred from the graveyard, since you want to get rid of it for the Ponder token to work. That will have to factor into your plan when playing the card.

Summarized: The card seems great if your opponent’s arsenal is full, and questionable if it isn’t.

But that’s merely judging the card by its own innate qualities. To fully judge its capabilities, one needs to look at the classes that can use this card: Assassin and Ranger.

Codex of Frailty in Ranger

Let's get one Ranger out of the way quickly: Lexi probably won’t make much use of this card. Her attacks are fairly interchangeable, her key cards are Non-Attack Actions, it doesn’t fuse and doesn’t pitch blue.

And while we're at it, we can quickly mention our incoming Ranger, Riptide. While it's been stated that Riptide will deal in traps, we don't know enough about him to make any assumptions about how Codex of Frailty might serve him. We'll leave that to be explored as the full setlist becomes more fleshed out.

Card image of Azalea, Ace in the Hole

So really, we're talking about Azalea here. Azalea doesn’t need anything more than a yellow pitch. She has arrows that have specific strengths and vary wildly between matchups, any of which Codex of Frailty can recover on demand. Since it puts them in the arsenal, it takes care of any reload concerns. And Azalea loves getting an arsenal card off of Ponder for Skullbone Crosswrap to make use of.

Card image of Skullbone Crosswrap

With her matchup-specific arsenal, being able to choose an arrow at will is desirable. It’s the reason Memorial Ground is so frequently found in Azalea list since its introduction in Monarch. Is Codex of Frailty better than Memorial Ground- which has recently seen some scrutiny for its lack of block and card disadvantage (while Codex of Frailty, as mentioned earlier, is card advantage neutral)?

As is so often the case in this game, it’s complicated. Memorial Ground allows you to use Azalea’s hero power for a cheap dominate. Oftentimes, this dominate will make up for the drop in card advantage, as a Red in the Ledger fated to hit can disrupt an aggro strategy much more than another piece of card value could.

Card image of Death Dealer
Card image of Red in the Ledger (Red)

In addition to that, it will be hard to use Death Dealer with Codex of Frailty, since it will block the arsenal with your Codex'ed card. Unless that arrow receives go again, Death Dealer will likely not be used, which in theory is used to make up for the card disadvantage Memorial Ground provides.

On the other hand, Codex of Frailty makes for a reasonably decent card to arsenal, as opposed to Memorial Ground which nearly always bricks in there. Codex of Frailty’s discard allows Azalea to filter through inconvenient hands (although it makes her more susceptible to fatigue, which is already a concern for her). But Codex of Frailty also has the downside of your opponent being allowed to recur something if their arsenal is free. So while Codex of Frailty has some upsides, it can also give your opponent a massive boon.

Card image of Hemorrhage Bore (Red)
Card image of Sandscour Greatbow

Sandscour Greatbow changes the conversation a bit, mainly due to the inclusion of Hemorrhage Bore. Destroying their arsenal can mean you immediately remedy what advantage they just got, and effectively leave them with one less card. But how likely is it that you are going to pull this off? You can’t recur it with Codex itself, since it won’t receive an Aim counter. You will have to get it on top of your deck, in which case you might as well have just used Memorial Grounds. And depending on the card they recurred, they may just be fine with overblocking to protect it if you don’t manage to put dominate on the arrow. it worth running in Azalea? Without having seen the Outsiders card pool, probably not, but it’s worth considering. The unique properties and synergies of Memorial Ground still set it apart as the better option, but that may not always be the case.

Codex of Frailty in Assassin

When we slide this card over to the other class, it looks a lot better. While Azalea has many cards that she's happy to see, the sole Assassin we know at this point (Arakni) has a very clear set of ‘good’ gamepieces- and seeing them more often is highly valuable. As opposed to the wide variety of arrows tailored to disrupt a diverse field of heroes, the contract cards outside of the Majestic rarity are not actually that scary. Arakni relies heavily on the 3 Majestics to create any sort of pressure or threat.

Card image of Eradicate (Yellow)
Card image of Leave No Witnesses (Red)
Card image of Surgical Extraction (Blue)

The threat density is a prevailing problem with Arakni lists - to the point of including asynergistic cards like Command and Conquer and sometimes even Pummel.

Arakni also has a wealth of attack reactions that can force through a Leave No Witnesses, negating the reciprocal benefit of the Codex. To properly use Codex in this manner, it would likely have to remain in the arsenal until an attack reaction can be lined up. Can this still be blocked and potentially backfire? Yes. They can overblock if they really want to keep that card. If it’s something akin to a Crippling Crush, it may even be worth it.

For Assassin, I would wager this boils down to a matchup-dependent answer. Into decks that have knockout attack actions (like Bravo), Arakni can simply leave Codex of Frailty sided out. Meanwhile decks like Briar and Fai - whose key cards are non-attack actions and instants respectively - cannot profit as much since they cannot get these back with Codex of Frailty.

On a more strategic level, Codex of Frailty also cycles through your deck faster, with its discard + Ponder token - meaning you get to more threats faster. The downside there is that, for a fatigue strategy, you effectively have 1 less card in your deck providing value.

So, is it worth it?

Based on what we know right now? For Arakni yes, for Azalea probably not. But... that can change very quickly when we see what else gets revealed. For now, we can only judge with our current card pool. Come March, we shall see how good Codex of Frailty truly is. Outsiders is bound to shake up both classes.

Discussion (3)

Author Maxd

Max Dieckmann

1 year ago
I might be wrong here, but the way that it's worded makes me think that you might be able to play it when you have no cards in hand, thus negating the downside of having to discard.

Jacob Irby

1 year ago
You are correct it is not a cost so you don't have to have a card in hand. A thing that scares me about this card is ripping block cards from the opponent or playing it as your last card to take their last card and basically time walk them.
Author Jeremy

Jeremy Miller

1 year ago
That is indeed something I missed when writing the article. Though I would consider it a bad play if they don't have an arsenal. They're basically guaranteed to be able to block it with the other 3 cards they have left and they could recur something we really don't want them to. But if they have an arsenal it's a ridiculously good play.

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