From newbies for newbies: Guide to the Sleepers of AvarrachAS OF 30TH APRIL 2015 THIS GUIDE IS NO LONGER BEING UPDATED.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. The guide focuses on explaining cards keeping the faction in mind as either a pure deck or as the major part of a 2 faction deck.
Without further ado, I present: the Sleepers of Avarrach (aka the sleepers)
2. Faction Background
The Sleepers are the sixth faction in the campaign, and the primary 'antagonist' force in the campaign, until later on. They have a near monopoly on the Undead subtype, and they utilise graveyard mechanics more than any other faction. Although they usually start out slow and small, given time they can become unstoppable.
User friendliness: 2/5 to 4/5, depending on deck type. Some decks can be built extremely straightforward, while others require more thought and planning. Certain mechanics can also take some time to get used to, but other combos can be simpler to grasp.
Deck timing: Midgame all the way to Ultra Late game. Some characters start out at a medium pace, but other strategies such as graveyard cycling can take more time. However, certain unique abilities of the sleepers mean that unless checked early they can become increasingly difficult to stop as time goes on.
Focus: Defense early, then switch to an assault once a board advantage (more/bigger creatures) is attained. Early on, many sleepers are better at combat rather than fortress damage, but they have a few tricks up their sleeve.
- Infect. If a character with infect kills another character (whether through combat or a damage ability), the killed character comes back under your control.
- Bloodthirst. A character with bloodthirst X gains +X/X when in combat with another character.
- Revival. There are many mechanics and means to bring characters back from the grave.
- Poison. A slow damage over time, of varying strength depending on source.
The Sleepers are the game's resident zombie faction, and like zombies, they don't stop coming. They have a reasonably well rounded toolkit, allowing them to build up steadily into a near-unstoppable lategame. Infect is another devastating mechanic, allowing the sleepers to throw an opponent's characters back at them.
The sleepers have several weaknesses, though. The first, and probably most major, is removal from game. Cards that remove from the graveyard such as Soldier of Purity
or Grave Rob
, or cards that just remove characters from the game e.g. Flame Dawn Purifier
or The Calamity
prevent the sleepers from utilising the grave. Their early game is also quite weak, as their characters take lots of time to grow. Finally, they have a weakness towards flying, as no zombies have reach as of now.
3. Notable Characters
Under this section, I'll explain the uses and synergies of certain characters, as well as their place in a deck. Particularly noteworthy or powerful characters will be marked with an asterix (*).Agent Coyle, Zomborg
Although the text 'evolves into a stronger form' is sort of vague, the card still remains quite good. For a more detailed explanation of his evolution, feel free to look here: http://forum.lightmare.com.au/index.php?topic=63004.0
as it really is quite lengthy to type out. The infect combined with what is essentially a Heat Wave
and flying for a turn can net you a couple of character steals, especially versus softer guys like Flame Dawn. At the end, he automatically evolves into a Cyber Infested Dragon
, which is nice.Aleta, Immortal Sufferer
If there isn't anything better, Aleta makes a solid commander. Funnily enough, her ability isn't used that often in the 'standard' pure sleeper decks, as it will deplete the power of Endless Horde
and negate the abilities of cards like Sleeper of Avarrach
. However, she does work well turning small tokens into 4/4 zombies for absolutely free, which works well in certain decks.Best Fiends
Best Fiends can be strong if you get a bunch of them out, as they are 12/12 with just 3 deployed. In theory you can keep spamming them and returning them from the grave to your hand to push down an opponent's defense, but it can be a little slow to get going. Bear in mind that since it's not a direct revive effect, you don't gain the bonuses from artifacts like Decrepit Crystal
, and as a final thought, Purify
will give you a very bad day indeed.Bloodthirsty Dead
Although 4/4 isn't much to look at, the bloodthirst 4 actually gives this character much more robustness than is readily apparent. Basically, for combat math, decrease the incoming damage by 4, and increase your attack damage by 4, as the +4/4 buff from bloodthirst refreshes each time. To put this in perspective, a single Bloodthirsty Dead can eat up an unlimited number of unbuffed Flame Dawn Aspirant
Surprises don't come much nastier than this, and this guy is a major reason many ground attackers pull back on turn 5 against 2 purity sleepers. 6 damage is nothing to sneeze at, and Boomy is very, very easy to kill. He has excellent synergy with Kyrallic, Origin of the Virus
as anyone you blow up comes back on your side. If your opponent won't proc him, you can do it yourself with Firebolt
or even a tick of poison from Diseased Zombie
. Beware of friendly fire, though.Cyber Infested Dragon
In an Endless Horde
deck, this guy is an invaluable lategame play. 20 attack is respectable, although 10 health is far from ideal, and the infect and unstoppable are a potent combo to steal flying blockers. As a bonus, if this dragon dies, your Endless Horde get powered up by +6/6. Not sure if the ability procs if it is removed from the game, though.Dead Feaster
When buffed, this guy turns into one of the scariest blockers the sleepers can have. Similarly to Verore Death Worshipper
, this guy gains stats as he kills, which can potentially allow him to gobble up an entire assault line solo. One interesting fact is that since these bonus stats aren't lost upon death, he is a good candidate for a revival deck or Zombie Abomination
, that gains power of off stuff in the grave.Diseased Zombie
Part of the 'power 1-drops' with Ascension, Diseased Zombie is an alright card, and a direct upgrade over Soldier of Fortune
. A 1 damage per turn isn't going to kill a character solo, especially if there's healing or health buffs from the likes of Daode, Sage of Strength
or Aleta, Immortal Caretaker
. It can soften up an enemy nicely, though.Endless Horde
Although I don't feel the card is that powerful, it is at least noteworthy in being the backbone of one of the more iconic sleeper decks in existence. It basically gets strength from its counterparts in the graveyard, and various ways have been used to this end. Fill the Graves
, Shikana, who Demands Tribute
and One of Many, Exhumed
, and Cyber Infested Dragon
are only a few of the methods available.Evolving Parasite
Evolving Parasite is a fun card for mindgames, and is basically a kill-and-steal of the first character it enters combat with. Naturally, the bigger the steal, the better. Although interactions with the card have a tendency to be a little buggy, for the most part it forms part of some strong interactions. Fight
is an especially powerful card to guarantee a kill, especially if your opponent decides to bait you by putting someone like Wealthy Noble
in front for your parasite.Hehkeem, the Corrupted
Hehkeem is a powerful tool in the pure Sleepers arsenal, and can be a backbone of a reasonably scary 'recursion' or mass revive deck. Naturally, the deck's options tend to lie along the cheaper end of the resource curve, as he only brings back those cards costing 3 or under. As for his stats, 10/10 isn't fantastic by any means, but passable. Inevitable Dead
Another tool for pure sleepers, Inevitable Dead is quite notable for being, well, inevitable. They are guaranteed to show up in your hand, and they are good characters in their own right, having passable stats and bloodthirst 2. Although they see their most common usage in Hehkeem Recursion decks, they can have applications in even an Endless Horde deck, as you can fill your hand and start discarding when your hand size becomes greater than 8.Infected Pack Leader
Although functioning similarly to Pack Leader
, the infected variant has a trade-off between having a lower buff overall, instead being able to buff two subtypes (undead and beast), and as an undead beast, benefiting from both. However, if you're running a pure undead deck, generally this card is outclassed by Plaguebearer
, as it has a lower cost and does not have combat zone as a condition for the buff.Infectious Zombie
I'm not that big a fan of the card, and here's why. Unless you find some way to buff it up, and fast, 5/5 isn't going to kill much. Although it can work for example with Genesis Industries splash, I feel that with Kyrallic, Origin of the Virus
giving an overall stronger prescence I don't see a huge necessity in this card. It's still usable, but I don't like it personally.One of Many Exhumed
and Tusked Behemoth, Exhumed
Although they have the Undead Beast subtype which works well with Infected Pack Leader, their main use is to get cards from the deck into the graveyard. Naturally, they are often used in Endless Horde decks, although certain other decks can benefit from it.Patient Zero
Although this guy is often seen as a commander in Sleeper decks, I'm not a fan of him. He basically has an 8 cost deathray and character steal. Of course, it's nice to pull this off, but there are a couple of issues. Firstly, your commander is close to useless before you get the chance to pull this off, i.e. 8 turns of no contribution unless you use resource ramp. The second issue is of course, missing, and it wastes 8 resources, more than even missing a Mass Death
Although +1/1 doesn't sound like much, having multiple plaguebearers out helps to really get good value out of even small zombies, and can stack up quite decently. One benefit of these is their low cost, which means that even Hehkeem the Corrupted
can revive these. They work well with Overwhelming Dead
as well, as their initially puny stats can become quite respectable.Recurring Nightmare
The Nightmare is quite unique among the characters utilising graveyard mechanics, able to be played directly from the grave, much like how you would play a character from your hand. Although it can take a while to get going, the permanent +3/3 buff ensures that it can have quite a steady buildup. As it's played rather than revived, it's close to immune to most graveyard removal abilities, as it can be played onto the field before it can fall victim to a Grave Rob
.Risen of Avarrach
A card that is quite commonplace in the campaign, Risen of Avarrach has an automatic return, similarly to Aleta. Although it is rather slow, its low cost allows it to benefit from Hehkeem as well. 6/4 isn't that fantastic, statwise, so a Decrepit Crystal
might be worth considering to make them a larger threat.Sleeper of Avarrach
Another card that complements the Hehkeem recursion, Sleeper of Avarrach sits in the grave and grows in power until needed. Naturally, as with Endless Horde
you want to get these guys in the grave. However, unlike the Horde, you want to get them in early rather than necessarily in volume. They can be quite a threat when left to grow, though, and it's easy for an opponent to forget about them.Zombie Abomination
Zombie abomination represents perhaps the pinnacle of the sleeper's graveyard mechanics. From having cost reduced by the number of characters in the grave, to having stats equal to the sum of those of all in the grave, this guy seems quite the intimidating monster. However, there are soem issues, as it doesn't have unstoppable, making it easy to chump block. Secondly, there are means to deal with it without killing it, e.g. Demonize
. Finally, he doesn't have reach, allowing opponents to fly over him.Zombie Scavenger
Personally my favourite zombie, this card can turn into a beast if left long enough, and is worthy of a commander slot. With this card, even 1 for 1 trades between characters benefit you, as do chump blocking (throwing out small blockers to die), and throwing bodies at a defense line to break through. This can form a particularly nasty combo with Hehkeem the Corrupted in order to bring the zombies back again and again to die and fuel the scavengers.The Last Sleeper
A fitting end to what has been an entertaining faction, although who knows if they will ever die off completely. This is the only card the sleepers received in Order, in conjunction with their rotating out sometime later. In terms of its base stats, 6/6 is quite average for a 2-cost. However, upon being sent to the graveyard, it will revive itself some time later, gain +10/10 and infect. A useful card, and a fitting, final gift to the faction.