From newbies for newbies: Guide to the FactionlessAS OF 30TH APRIL 2015 THIS GUIDE IS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED. FUTURE EXPANSIONS (OPPRESSION ONWARDS) WILL HAVE THEIR OWN GUIDES. PLEASE SEE "A STRANGE INDEX OF GUIDES" AS LINKED IN MY SIGNATURE. THANK YOU.
Hello all, and thank you for taking time to read this. Firstly, a disclaimer: I am not a veteran player, much less a pro at the game. I have no ranking to speak of and almost no experience playing TCGs. Having gotten that out of the way, I would like this guide to be judged on the information in it, and not about its author.
The IW community is one of the better ones around, yet there is an issue for new players with a multitude of cards available at their disposal. Many (including myself) feel or have felt overwhelmed especially in deck building simply due to the inexperience in picking out good and bad cards for the deck.
As such, this guide is written to help explain, faction by faction, some of the more notable cards in the game. The intended audience is specifically new and novice players. This is because some aspects of the game take time to get used to, and more experienced players might forget that newer players do not know these aspects by heart yet. This guide is especially for the factionless cards and their place in various decks.
Without further ado, I present: The Factionless
The factionless cards make up a decent proportion of cards available to most players, especially through the starter decks available through the tutorials and campaign. They are mostly abilities and characters, with a location thrown in, but no artifacts. Most non-unique characters have straightforward abilities, while the unique characters have some varied and interesting effects.
One strength of factionless cards is that they can be put in any deck without having to worry about purity. This helps to round out certain decks well, for example, placing a few assassinates or called shots in a warpath deck with naturally few characters helps in having some potential for removal. Some locations and artifacts can also be annoying enough to warrant a Rift to the Old World or Vandalise.
However, one notable drawback of factionless cards is that they get almost entirely outclassed by their faction counterparts. A notable example is Rift to the Old World, which is a 6 cost location removal, in comparison to Cleanse the Land
which does the same thing but for only 2 cost.
3. Notable Characters
This section is devoted to the characters that populate the factionless cards, and will be divided into the unique characters, followed by the non-unique ones. The cards below are not necessarily good, just notable in some way or another. I will follow each character with some explanation as to their use and how to integrate them into a deck. Extra special cards will be marked with an asterix (*).
a. The UniquesAgent Coyle, Alpha One
A factionless, 1 cost legendary, this card can actually turn in to a huge threat if left unchecked. He has a selection of abilities similar to his factioned counterparts, namely those of Agent Coyle, Mechborn
(increasing stats), Agent Coyle, Firestarter
(multistrike), Agent Coyle, Immovable
(caps damage taken at 3 each instance), and Agent Coyle, Primal Hunter
(kills on combat without taking damage). Definitely versatile with buffs and a host of good abilites, and fits well with most factions. He also has 0 morale cost, which means that playing him is a very risk-free choice.Aleta, the Immortal Traveler
Aleta is an unlimited character generator, helpful in certain decks which rely on said unlimiteds. For example, Survival Swarmer
decks and Endless Horde
decks can benefit from this. She also helps to add a certain amount of consistency and introduce a new element to a deck. For example, summoning a Verore Death Worshipper
versus a Flame Dawn deck can allow you to benefit from card trades. However, at 6/16 for a 5 cost she works well as a decent emergency blocker too.Cheryl, the Forward Scout
I was quite surprised that Cheryl wasn't merged into the overseers when Ascension was released. She has decent enough stats, and flying. Also, she was, before Soldier of Purity
, one of the best and only options for graveyard hate. 5 cards is seriously no joke, as it can seriously cripple certain decks by removing, for example, Recurring Nightmare
, Mega Unit 02
when it's run in a revival deck, or even 5 Endless Horde
Although not ranked legal, Dugg is still quite a fun and interesting card. His main objective is to heal up your fortress, and provides an alternate win condition for doing so. He heals your fortress for 10 health the first time he's damaged that turn, and can push your fortress well above 100 health. Works extremely well with Daode, Sage of Strength
and Yuanshi, Sage of Ferocity
to get quick and easy procs on his ability, as well as defend with DoD cards to protect your fortress's health. Also synergises well with other fortress repairing cards like Genesis Scavenger
.Enyah, of the Endless Possibilities
7 resources? 15 morale? 2/2? From this it should be readily apparent that Enyah here is NOT meant to fight at all. Also, her ability only works from command. She creates what is known as a singleton deck, where there is only one copy of any one card in the deck. In all honesty, utilising an Enyah deck could take a whole guide to itself, but for now I will say this: making an Enyah deck is tough. Due to the 1 copy restriction, it can be pretty tough to get any consistency in the deck. However, it can be done, and I will leave it for better minds than mine to figure out how.Evellee, Mage Guild Recruiter
Evellee is a factionless recruiter, and serves one purpose, to get characters straight out of your deck and on to the field. Recruited characters go straight to support (with vigilance and charge characters possibly being excepted). She is definitely best with a deck built around her, for example with Hellkeeper
to allow you to churn out 6/6 flying demons for 1 cost each (using her first ability), or with Ju-Lin, who Rewrites History
to get multiple copies of him out on the field to accumulate chapters quickly (using her second ability).Jubalia, the Messenger
Jubalia is a flying beatstick, pure and simple. With untouchable, she can give most enemies a hard time when they are not bringing AoE damage abilities, and 10/10 is quite good for a flyer. However, do remember that untouchable does not mean invincible, and cards like Mass Death
can still kill her. She is a worthwhile slot filler in flying oriented decks, but doesn't really have any special abilities unlike Cheryl and Radariah.Navi
Another card of the Omni trio, Navi is a card which provides another alternate win condition, namely her killing 10 characters. She (it?) works surprisingly well in a GI deck, with buffs from Secluded Constructor
, Navi can become a serious threat, especially with attributes like Unstoppable and Shield 1. However, unlike Dugg and Raa, each Navi keeps its own kill counter, so having Navi sniped might prove quite a setback. Also, as a bonus she has possibly the most cost efficient character nuke (damage ability) in the game, with 5 damage for only 2 cost.Q
You want randomness? I'll give you randomness. Q is a character from the Star Trek set, and applies a random effect to all characters in play. It can range from dropping health to 1, reducing all attack to 0, giving all characters unstoppable, giving all characters buffs etc. Way to random for my taste, but it could be fun dropping all opposing characters' health to 1 before a Heat Wave
The last of the Omni Trio (with Dugg and Navi), Raa also provides an alternate win condition, to get 30 demons on the board. If an enemy character dies, two 1/1 demons are created. This can be quite fun with a Verore or Exiles deck which has the capability to spam demons, but honestly feels like such a tough condition to meet, especially when your 1/1 demons just melt to any AoE abilities.Radariah, the Untouchable
She should really be called Radariah, the Loner, as she only will attack if alone. Her stats go up by 1/1 every time she hits the fortress, but only if she is successful in doing so. Also, due to her untouchable ability, most heals and buffs will not work, with Kung-Ji, the Glorious Strategist
being exceptions in the healing department. Works decently with Aberion's Banner
, both of which work with a solo attacker.Shikana, who Demands Tribute
Shikana is a huge flying monster, with an added psychological factor put in. He demands a sacrifice every turn, failing which he will kill every character in a combat zone (exactly like Mass Death
) and leave the game. Most opponents will at least be forced to think twice before committing a character to attack or defense. Works best with cards that are easy sacrifice fodder like Rita's Thrall
.Shirazius the Cruel
4 cost for 15/14 is quite good, but with a drawback of hurting every character in the same zone as him for 3 at the end of each turn. Careless play (for example, putting him in support with a bunch of wealthy nobles) can be suicidal. He works best alone, which can be decent with Aberion's Banner
. However, he has much better synergy with Infiltrate
, to deal steady damage to an opposing zone of your choice.Varyus, Master of Choice
Like Enyah, Varyus is a deckbuilding tool in command, and also restricts you to a singleton deck if placed in that zone. However, unlike Enyah he is actually useful even if included in a regular deck (but not in command), as he gives card drawing power, an unparalleled ability. The ability to gain access to any ability, character, artifact, or location is quite valuable, and can be exploited very well by drawing key cards and abilities at opportune moments.Yobo, who Nobody Likes
Sad, Yobo is sad. Why? Because nobody likes him, that's why. Heck, your whole army's morale goes up when he dies, and even the graveyard doesn't want him, so he leaves the game. Even though he might not be liked, he can still be useful from a morale aspect. For example, he can help you recover slightly from DoD's morale drain, or counter the Flame Dawn and Overseers' high morale costs.Boyo, who Everybody Likes
Boyo, like Yobo, plays with morale a little. Unlike Yobo, this guy is a little more double-edged, with morale cost starting at a high 10, and going up every time a character you control dies. This can actually be part of an interesting combo with Infiltrate to drive his morale cost up, then send him over to your opponent's side in order to kill him and inflict serious morale damage.Silfurstar, the Fallen Crusader
When I first saw this card, I felt underwhelmed, and admittedly still do. For a 5 cost, 6/6 stats isn't much to shout about. He has an ability that procs if he dies to a defending character: He gets raised back as a 10/10 human and kills the character that killed him previously. His most likely intended use seems to be in clearing a huge defender, but with 10 morale, he's very risky, and a big morale hit.Zuza, Angelic Siren
Introducing a new subtype (siren), Zuza is a hypnotising singer, able to take control of a battlefield character for 4 resources, until she leaves play or switches to another character. She is good against a deck that focuses on 1-2 absolutely huge characters, but she can be dodged and played around. She's definitely a respectable threat, but largely player skill dependant.
b. The non-uniquesBounty Hunter
, Demon Hunter
, and Spec-Op
All these cards do a similar thing, and that is to deal double damage to a selected subtype of character. I assume that in the future there will be similar cards for beasts and angels, but these are the ones available now. One issue with these is that they are very very specific, with their effect only coming into play versus a specific character type. This means that, for example, a bounty hunter is just an ordinary character against a demon. While they can be useful situational cards, the diversity in decks means that unless you can predict which type of characters will be thrown at you, you risk not utilising these characters to their full potential.Cartographer
3 cost for a 4/4 character is pretty bad, considering even 1 cost characters have those stats. Getting a location on-demand can be nice, but there are few locations that would demand this kind of priority. Also, this card becomes inefficient dead weight if you already have a location in play, as another location in your hand will probably not do you a lot of good, barring location removal being played your opponent.Collector
A card that might see play in Omnitron decks, Collector starts out at 4/4 and gains +4/4 for each artifact you control. Considering Omnitron decks pump out artifacts like crazy, you might push past 10/10 or even 20/20 quite easily, and he can make a formidable blocker while stalling for Omnitron.Conscripted Militia
The first of a few unlimited characters for the factionless, Conscripted Militia is based of the idea of strength in numbers. with 5 together, suddenly you're looking at an army of 10/10s. One deck that works decently is using Fill the Graves
, and other similar cards to get as many of them in the grave as possible, then play Hehkeem, the Corrupted
to get them all back. However, Burning Prejudice
is a strong counter to a conscripted militia deck, exhausting all your soldiers simultaneously.Defense Golem
At first glance, Defense Golem is a pure, placid, blocker. However, don't be fooled, this card has more uses than that. Secluded Constructor
s love this card, as it's an extra 20 health going on to any character you want. Also, Balance
suddenly creates a 20/20 hulk of a golem that can also block flying. Although it doesn't belong in rush decks, most other decks will value this as a good defensive option.Field Engineer
This card is really built for a defensive deck, enabling you to heal up from attacks with ease. The effect stacks with multiple engineers, allowing you to sustain your fortress for much longer. Consider this card in strong defensive decks, especially with Dugg, DoD decks, and Veroria, the Lone Keep
to keep them safe.Martyr Golem
This card continues to be one of the top tier legendaries, for good reason. Aside from a built-in self healing ability, Martyr golem lives up to its name by taking damage in place of your other characters. This has particularly potent combos with cards like Spirit of the Ancient Guardians
, Devil of Despair
, and even strong characters like Skraar
. However, remember that Martyr Golem is very, very weak to AoE damage, as the damage is multiplied by the number of characters receiving it. Also, the Martyr will not protect you from kill spells, just damage.Mortar Cannon
This card does pretty much one thing well, and that is shoot an enemy fortress. It can be decent in a deck that just wants to hit the fortress without worrying about defenders, and works surprisingly well in a defensive deck as you can keep yourself safe while chipping at your enemy's fortress.Soldier of Fortune
1 cost for a 4/4 with no special abilities, sadly this card is outclassed by almost all factioned 1 drops like Diseased Zombie
, Ghost of the Ancestors
, and even Flame Dawn Footman
. Could work as space filler, but in all honesty I don't like this card.Survival Swarmer
The swarmers really deserve a guide to themselves I feel, but I'll just say a few words about this one, the unlimited survival swarmer. Unlike the factioned swarmers, this one is completely vanilla, that is, without abilities. However, they do gain the buffs from the other insecoids, and can become quite dangerous in numbers. With the recent swarmer additions, you can add effects such as +3/3, consume 2, infect, reduced morale cost, artificial typing, charge etc. all to this humble swarmer.Tech Knight
Another unlimited character, this tech knight has an interesting ability to fully heal if in the support zone. Although 7 health isn't a lot to heal, if you buff him with a Secluded Constructor
to a high health pool, suddenly a full heal in 1 turn can be quite a scary thing. Of course, by then your opponent will probably be trying a kill spell on your knight, so be wary of that.Wealthy Noble
Wealthy noble is a simple resource ramp card, giving you 1 extra resource if he's on the battlefield. Sadly, he has a pitiful 0 attack and 2 health, and a hefty morale cost. Be careful playing these out against factions like Verore and DoD as they have easy options to just kill a noble outright, and give you a whopping 10 morale hit.