Fire: This faction has really been solid for the past updates. With the most powerful removal spells in the game (such as Catastrophe), this deck is known to destroy decks that are minion-heavy or setup-reliant. Also, they have very solid anti-meta cards such as "Ashes" which destroys deck-out strategies (which we see in Forest decks often), and Inferno (which devastates decks that rely on 4/4 beaters).
Unfortunately, Fire has been nerfed numerous of times, which now currently makes powerful removal spells like "Meteor" harder to cast. "Lava giant" currently cannot deal 1 damage per turn anymore, and now requires a double tap to deal 1 damage.
But despite this, fire still boasts a great arsenal for strength buffs (Cinderling and Fire Shroud).
Forest: This faction has been regarded as the hardest faction to use for the longest time. To make up for this, Forest has been buffed many times over the past updates. Chanting Druid now costs 1 power, making this card the arguably the most reliable power generating card in the game. "Absorb" now has the ability to take out items AND auras, making this card the most versatile removal for most situations (Don't forget Jungles and their huge item collection!). Deepwood spider currently removes the elusive ability from minions when it is played (which makes this card the most reliable 3/3 minion for defeating annoying cards like Darkling Assassin).
Unfortunately, Forest has also recieved a nerf. "Ant Swarm" is no longer 2/2, and instead 2/1. Sorry Ant Swarm decks.
Ocean: This faction is regarded as one of the fastest decks to use for the past updates. Ocean has the best aura removal in the game (Calm Seas), while having the most disruptive cards any faction could possibly offer. For example, "Flood" gives Ocean minions a great amount of momentum. "Sink" (Which used to cost 0 power....) is currently the best strength de-buff in the game since you also draw a card. Despite Sink being 1 power, that is still really good for its cost and is still very effective. "Crushing Waves" makes it clear that this faction can easily comeback when being pressured by a huge pack of minions.
Ocean currently boasts the best draw power in the game, making it the faction of choice when it comes to adding speed to any deck. "Sunken Treasure" brings a tremendous amount of speed for low sized minion decks, while also having 2 different power cards (Shimmerpearl and Rainbow Pearl) to further assist in swarming the field with minions.
There is so much to talk about when it comes to this faction, I'll leave it there.
Ocean has barely been nerfed, which is why it remains one of the best factions in the game. "Sink" is the only card that was nerfed, while it gets many buffs for the newer updates (Triton Waverider now has haste, Water Elemental now debuffs opposing minion by -1/-1 by a double tap, Essence Drift now affects both auras and items to draw a card).
Underworld: This faction is easily the most effective anti-meta faction out there. Cards that easily prove this is cards like: Essence Eater, Primeval ooze,Tentacles from below, and Spore Farm). Two spells that is very worth noting about is "Pilfer" and "Mind Transfer". These two cards steal cards from the opponent, which gives it room to disrupt setups and possibly deflect their strategy against them!
But that's not the best part....the best part is "Darkling Assassin". This card is what Underworld is all about. This powerful minion has the ability to lock down decks that rely on small minions, and boasting great sustainability due to its elusive ability. It has haste, which makes his effect of dealing 2 damage instant the moment it enters the field, which is excellent!
Underworld also boasts absurdly large stats with small amount of power required such as "Dreamfeeder, and "Phantasma". With such minions, Underworld can easily take control of the early game if these cards are drawn.
Nothing about this faction has really faced any changes.
Swamp: This faction is all about minion control. No, this faction SCREAMS minion control!! Just look at cards like "Horrify", "Bodyswap", and "Lich Touch"! Such cards can easily turn around a minion war in a matter of turns. Not only minion control that this faction excels in, it also boasts the most effective hand control compared to any faction! If 2 "Accursed" are on the field, you are only left with 1 card to save in your hand.
To make it worse, "Miasma" will attempt to take away your hopes of ever having any cards in your hand! Let's not also forget that this faction naturally counters the Forest faction (Doomsong and Grave Robbers).
1 card I would like to mention is "Blood orb". This card is the most effective life burning card in the game. So if you're ever considering a burn deck, you should consider Swamp as an option.
This faction has not received any noticeable changes.
Air: This faction is very similar to Fire, since they both have very amazing spell removals. Air differs from fire by removing cards through placing timers on them. "Chronomancer" is the main card of the deck, since this card enables many minions and spells to become extremely effective (examples are Time Eater, Uncontinue, and Aerovore).
I would like to mention about "Overworld Elixer". This card enables cards that require double tapping like Chronomancer to become very fast. This card can really help generate an amazing amount of speed to low-sized minion decks. Another card also considering when increasing deck speed is "Storm Core", which is a 0 power item that generates power for 2 straight turns!
You can probably notice that this deck places so much emphasis on speed, and it does! The Air faction places a lot of their support on haste cards. You'll find a lovely selection of haste support here. One card everyone would probably recognize is "Aeromancers" (free spell upon entering the field).
When it comes to spell negation, Air delivers quite well. Not only that it negates spells well, it steals spells from your opponent. What card may this be? It is called "Spell Net"!
Unfortunately, "Silverhawks" got nerfed. It longer gets a 3/2 haste minion that only requires 2 power, it is now 2/2 minion when buffed by its effect. Sorry Silverhawk decks.
Jungle: Now this faction is the biggest powerhouse in the game. With strength enhancing cards with very little drawbacks (Ferocity, Huge), Jungle minions are going to be difficult to take down. Now only that, it also boasts a lot of strength debuffs as well! (Strangevines and Snake Pit). This faction is not themed this way however, it is mainly a trap based faction. A lot of the faction's cards require traps in order to be effective (examples are Savage Kobo, Savage Trappers, and Trapwine), which may weaken its late game, but that would mean it would rival the infamous Underworld faction for early game power.
2 cards that really opened my eyes are "Sacrificial Blade" and "Jungle Juice". These cards are arguably the best speed support in the game. Jungle Juice thins out the deck really fast, which helps you dig for cards you need that are still in the deck and benefit graveyard based decks like "Stitched Golem" decks while giving you an extra power. Sacrificial blade provides an absurd amount of power, especially when your minion is facing a stronger minion with no elusive. Sacrificial blade without a doubt is the best item in the game. Be scared of this card.
With cards like "Giant Constricter" and "Savage Shaman", your chances of having a minion stay on the field is very small. Be aware of these cards, as these cards can easily control the entire field by themselves.
Thanks for reading this post! Feel free to add more input on these factions. I would definitely love to see some discussion about this game!
Interesting post. You do summarize most strengths of the factions. Every faction does have its own appeal and style, as well as a lot versatility and variety.
I do take issue with some of your description of changes in decks. Some of this is simply omission, some is probably linguistic.
Mainly, I take issue with the term "nerfed" as to me this term connotes gutted, hollowed, or made worthless. Yes, some cards were weakened, but in almost every case, those cards were overpowered in the first place and, after changes, are still attractive. And some you cite as "nerfed" were not necessarily even weakened by the change. Let me take some specific examples:
silver hawks -- a two power point cost, 3/2 minion with the quick characteristic (not to mention spell immunity) is clearly not comparable with other quick minions which typically require 3 power for a 2/1 minion. Even with the condition required to augment their strength, silver hawks are not a weak card. Especially in PVP where a lot of people rely on spells to handle "nuisance" minions, the magic immunity adds significant value.
ant swarm -- I dispute that this card was even weakened by its change. It lost one health, but now gains health as well as strength every time its special power can be invoked. Yes, it is definitely more vulnerable -- especially getting started. But if it grows, it becomes much more dangerous. Yes, this slightly changes its role from a bland defender to a potential threat, but its role is much more effective, and much more needed by the forest faction.
sink -- arguable, the draw a card feature is more valuable than 1 power point casting cost; I would not call this nerfed. And, if anything, a one power point card that reduces the most threating opponents to something manageable is still a bargain. compare the cost of this spell to the cost to invoke the water elemental special -- assuming you water elemental survives to use it!
meteor -- the increase from cost 4 to cost 5 is not that significant, and even at its new cost, the meteor card remains one of the most popular in PVP. Its value quickly becomes apparent in many games.
fire giant -- this is one change I least like. Not because fire giant was "nerfed" ( I don't think it was even weakened as I'll explain later), but because it lost its distinctiveness. It is now just a cloud dragon without magic immunity. So why do I not consider the change a weakening? Because in exchange for the loss of ability to attack and inflict 1 life damage in the same round, the card now gains the opportunity not to attack if countered by a stronger minion. It is harder to kill before it inflicts significant damage, and blocks stronger minions for a longer time.
Regarding overall changes to different factions, I think some important things were overlooked:
Fire gained some significant things in changes; they weren't just "nerfed". For instance, ruby hatchlings are now quick, a very valuable change. Some minions gained health. Flame spider gained elusive -- another nice addition. And some spells (catastrophe, implosion) are now low enough cost to be used in combination with other useful cards.
Swamp has benefited significantly from card changes. Ancient ghosts are cheaper, zombie mobs are now cheap enough to be played on same turn as bodyswap. Elusive has changed screaming skulls from a vulnerable, easily countered card to a genuine threat. Added health to undead giants, eternal knights and vampire consorts make all three very strong cost 4 cards. And don't overlook the change to undead tritons which has made a nearly worthless card one of the most effective cost 2 minions.
Air has benefitted very significantly - mainly by adjustments to timers that make many cards more viable: from tornados, gravity wells, whirling djinn and storm clouds that now last longer, to air pressure and temporal which trigger quicker.
Underworld has benefitted from several cards that are cheaper, and others that have more health. To me, most significant is the reduction of deepspawn to cost 3 (which allows this excellent and dangerous card to be played with a meaningful second card / effect. Also, primal ooze now has enough health to survive one attack from a strength 4 minion -- very useful. And psychic vortex, now at cost 1, can change the entire game's complexion. The regenerative health of deeper darkness makes this previously overlooked card a potent barrier.
And, overall, forest has also significantly benefitted from card changes: I especially note the improved abilities of many of the cost 1 and 2 fey minions and the increased health of several barriers.
I agree that Ocean is by far the least impacted by card changes -- it has received the least benefit. And it is still probably the most popular faction. Its cards did not need boosts!
I do not mean this to be a negative post. I do appreciate you perspective on the factions. But I do want to contradict the impression that changes have generally weakened any factions. They have rebalanced cards to make a large collection viable, and to reduce over-dependence on most cards.
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by LiefLAO
The strengths of the factions were already talked about; interestingly, most factions also have weaknesses, although, obviously, not weaknesses that cannot be overcome. Let me give my perspective on some of these.
Fire: Despite some very powerful cards, fire is all about damage and destruction: damage to opponent life, damage to enemy minions and barriers, and in a few cases, destruction of cards or generation of power. But it has very little to deal with auras, items, and especially spells. There might be subtlety in fire strategies (for instance, balancing primeval flame's survival with their damage infliction, or finding ways to use catastrophe's, inferno's, or burning world's indiscriminant destruction to your advantage), but there is nothing subtle about fire cards, they simply try to out-blast an opponent.
Forest: Without extreme care, the forest faction tends to be very passive. Most cards are defensive: lots of good barriers, cards that grant life, health -- very little that directly affects an enemy. And unlike most factions, forest has very little that poses a growing threat -- cards like sky hydra, blood vapour, or aquamancer, cards that can quickly grow to levels where they cannot be destroyed, but that profoundly shape the game while they exist on the board. Since ant swarm is so weak, and only grows if an opponent allows it to, I consider only living essence to be a dangerous forest card. And with only two strength, its danger is not in itself, but indirectly through other cards it might impact. Forest is rife with very nice effects, but hard to work as an aggressive force.
Ocean: One appeal to this faction is it seems to have a bit of everything: creatures which buff themselves (aquamancers, deepsea things), excellent de-buff creatures and spells, power generating cards, and numerous card calling/recalling effects (sunken treasure, triton pearl divers, triton hunters). But it has no magic immunities (except for the insignificant shimmerfish), and spell countering traps. It also is weak on direct damage, relying on cards like giant volta and triton aquamancers. I think that may by why most ocean decks seem to use secondary factions with good creature removal abilities (fire, underdark, or air).
Underdark: Underdark is another very versatile faction with a response to almost everything: it can remove troublesome minions, counter spells, neutralize special abilities, steal auras, steal items, and steal minions. It has a great selection of cheap (and not so cheap) barriers. But except for deep spawn, (and I guess, underworld elixir) it has no creature buffs. And its top minions are on the weak side: the 4/4 underdark worm with no specials really pales compared to a bone dragon or a pyro hydra, and neither the essence eater or (usually) shadow dragon with only 3 strength and no bolstering feature is very fearsome. Darkling assassins are dangerous, but at 2 strength, don't require an immediate counter. Only the deepspawn is truly terrifying, but it takes time and substantial power to grow.
Swamp: Swamp has no spell counters and no direct damage spells or effects (except banshees and undead giants very limited special abilities). But it has such a nice balance of debuffing, inhibiting, and table turning (bodyswap) abilities that one hardly notices. Swamp must also be careful in management of its discard pile (which is difficult since there is no way to see its contents). Undead giants could very well burn the cards needed for stitched golems and rise again. But the biggest weakness by far is swamp's inability to neutralize the oh-so-popular triton aquamancer. Only 1 swamp card can stop it (the rather inane murder of crows) and it only works the turn an aquamancer is played.
Air: The first thing one notices about air is that it has no minions above strength 3. It also is short on high health minions. And I think that is why it takes considerable effort to make a competitive air deck. Only by looking deeper and by working off the strengths of air card's special abilities can a viable deck be constructed. Air must also watch for cards that counteract one another. Aerovores (the most durable air card) hurt the many air cards with timers, although they assist air pressure and chronomancers. Aetherfish and chronochrome add duration to the minions and auras like tornado and gravity well. But they are counter productive on temporals and air pressure. Air can be very powerful, but I think it is the trickiest faction to use well.
Jungle: Jungle is new enough that I haven't yet noticed a lot of deficiencies. It has no good counters to spells (except to drain life of one who uses them). It also has a lot of randomness (lost spellstone, strangle vines, colossal eggs, dactyl hatchlings, savage kobo, trapvines, ferocity), but I don't know if this is actually a weakness, or just an annoyance to those of us who don't like to roll dice. I also find its minion selection limited, but I can't quite put my finger on why it feels this way. It may just take time for me to figure out how to get maximal benefit from several very unique creature specials. A lot of jungle cards do demand special care. Ravagers can decimate friendly forces more than enemy forces; saberines are easily deflected from paths where they are needed, toxipedes may never get to use their special ability (either because they get destroyed first or because the 2 power to trigger it cannot be afforded), and numerous traps and auras can get in each other's way. But even with limited experience, my jungle decks tend to be effective.
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