February 28, 2020, 11:14:24 PM

Author Topic: Juli's Strategy corner #1 Tar trap interactions  (Read 295 times)


  • New Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 16
  • Banana Stickers 0
    • View Profile
Juli's Strategy corner #1 Tar trap interactions
« on: January 16, 2020, 01:33:56 PM »
Juli‘s strategy corner #1: Tar trap interactions

In this post i do want to present two interactions i found concerning tar trap. I also share some thought about the card in general and how to use it, as well as play against it. (If you are not interested in how i evaluate the card, please skip straight to the interactions noted with 1. and 2.)

What is tar trap?

Today we want to take a look at one of the most recent additions to the card pool: Tar trap.
It is introduced the elementalist (academy) set. Tar trap is an enchantment, both level one fire and earth. That means when building the spellbook, both warlocks and warlords get it the cheapest for 3 sbp each, while druid and the beastmasters pay 5 total spellbook points for this spell. All the others just pay a solid 4 sbp for including it. The reveal cost for tar trap is 4 mana.

Ok, so far these stats are nothing special at all, what does it do? what is it good for? First of all, Tar trap is one of the rather few mandatory reveal cards. It triggers when the creature activates. The text states that this creature cannot take any non-spell actions. That includes move actions, attacking and guarding. Special mention here ist hat the creature is NOT restrained, that means it can still hinder enemy creatures. On top oft hat, fire attacks will roll one extra die vs the poor creature covered in tar. Of course this effect is fairly strong, thats the reason for Tar trap having the dissipate two trait. So when casting this spell, you should expect to get 2 uses out of it in the most cases.

How to use tar trap ?

Now we have this spell, it seems to counter quite a lot oft hings that creatures want to do. But how do we use it to our highest possible benefit? One decent comparison to tar trap is tanglevine. Tanglevine is also able to hit non flying creatures only, makes them rest in place and weakens their defensive capabilities to some extent (guards no longer have to be attacked, defenses get -2 on their rolls). Tar trap on the other hand does a way better job at stopping (big) attacks. When you get the trap connected to a big creature, chances are that you will dodge 2 big swings from it, while also making sure it cannot guard, and if youre able to move the fight to different Zones the trapped creature will have to catch up. Tar trap is also a very good tool to buy yourself some time when facing a mage that is heavliy focusing on melee attacks.

Remember that the trap only stops opponents from choosing non spell actions and it gets revealed at the START oft he activation phase. In this way you are NOT able to deny a spell  being cast like you would be able to with say an enfeeble. Your opponent knows that there is a tar trap on him before he decides on what to do. Still, there is a decisive difference between getting struck by somewhat around 10 dice or not being hit at all. If your opponent planned well enough he can still get 2 solid uses out of both action markers.

How to play vs tar trap?

So far for using the Tar trap on your own, but how does one play against it? The obvious first: if your mage does not ever plan on melee attacking you should not be afraid of a tar trap hitting on your main character. In that case it limits your movement, but thats about it, there are other spells that can do it aswell, like force hold, tanglevine or stumble. Sure, being stuck i soften an unconfortable situation, but since its only for two turns. So try and use your cards the best way, knowing you will be stuck in place there for 2 turns. Dispelling it in „turn 2“ with only one dissipate left is only worth it in very very rare cases.

Different reasoning applies once your mage is intended to deliver strong melee hits. Chances are rather high that once you are able to throw around 8 dice, a tar trap will appear. One way to deal with that is of course to prepare 2 cards that are able to be used efficiently, even though your main plan is to hit melee and do something else. Another possible preparation would be seeking dispel + main plan. This route takes advantage of tar trap being a mandatory reveal card with a decisive trigger, your action marker being flipped. So there is no way for your opponent to revealing it earlier, what means you are definitely able to seeking it 100% oft he time. If there is tar trap, you seeking it and proceed going melee. If there is no tar trap you can just execute your main plan instead (while going melee with main action ofc). Once you are out of seekings you are pretty much back at option 1. Keep in mind that Tar trap only stops melee ACTIONS, not melee spells. So your buff still applies to all the available melee spells. In that sense, if your opponents mage or another good target is for some reason still in your zone, the mage in tar trap can still hit for a ton of dice when using two flying side kicks for example.

How to react when tar trap is on your buddies?

Ok, so this is what happens when your mage gets hit. But what if tar trap lands on one of your big critters? (with big i usually mean lvl 4+ creatures with at least one ench on them). The earlier the game, the more valuable are the actions of your first big creatures on the board, and the more painful it is to skip even two of them. In my expierience though, it is rarely worth it to spend a dispel on „turn 2“ oft he tar trap, with only one dissipate remaining, since that would be trading one action and 6 mana for one „good“ hit, usually you should be better off just throwing an attack spell in that case if you need the dice. Although i might consider a dispel one my biggie is approaching or surpassing the 10 dice benchmark. Most of the time you try to not lose the creature hit by TT while also trying to keep the fight close so it doesnt need to „catch up“ to the battlefield and even lose a third (or fourth) action in the meantime. So you basically just let the tar trap dissipate away.
So far in my expierience, tar trap is a very good spell at keeping big offensive creatures at bay, as it also is useful to delay the power turns of melee mages by 2-4 turns (double tar trap) when played by a control deck, so that the investments (= mana/action generators/spawnpoint) can pay off and the control player is better prepared for taking hits. It is probably used 95% of the time for its mobility and attacking power controlling abilities, only in very rare cases fire spells will benefit from its secondary effect. Right now there is pretty much the mindset, predict it with seeking or let it wear out, thats one of the reasons it is used that frequently.

Tar Trap interactions:

Now that i shared my thoughts on the tar trap itself i would like to present two interactions with tar trap that i recently stumbled upon. I wonder wether i am the first one to notice this (please correct me if im wrong and it does not even work like this!) or if these interaction are already known and been already played. Im interested to hear your thoughts!

1.   Tar trap vs necropian vampiress

Both cards share the exact same phrase, for when their extra ability does trigger.  WHEN THIS CREATURE ACTIVATES… In other cases of two effects happening at the same time, there is usually initiative involved in determining the order. But if im seeing this correctly, the owner of a creature should be able to decide on the order of effects taking place, am i right? At least i always played it like that. Following that logic, if i suspect a tar trap being cast on my vampiress, i can activate her, pay one extra for flying, the mandatory reveal triggers, checks (as discussed a few days ago) another time if the target is still valid, which in this case ist not, and tar trap is discarded. Like that i am able to „counter“ a potential Tar trap by activating the ability on vamp similarly to gremlins being able to teleport out of tanglevines and quicksands right?

2.   Tar trap vs Fizzle

In that same discussion i am reffering to for example 1, we were discussion what happens if the mandatory reveal contition for a card is met, but it cant be revealed that turn. I was mentioning Reveal magic, That one does have a specific line of text on how it interacts with mandatory reveals. It states: Once Reveal magic has been cast, the enchantment cannot be revealed this round. If it is a mandatory enchantment, then it is not destroyed i fit would be forced to be revealed this round.
Different case holds true for fizzle: in that case the enchantment gets turned face down, and CANNOT BE REVEALED this round. So, in my mind, this presents a possible „counter“ to tar trap once it is in „turn 2“, like it has prevented one action and there is one dissipate left. I cast fizzle to turn the tar trap face down for 4 mana, opponent loses 2 mana, afterwards i am allowed to activate the creature with hidden tar trap, it has to be revealed, but cannot due to fizzle and has to be discarded.
In that case i used 1 spellbook point and 4 mana, while my opponent lost 2 for destroying the second turn of tar trap, with possible ruining my opponents turn since he calculated down to 0 mana and cant perform both of his actions anymore.

So that were my thoughts about tar trap and two interactions that im not 100% sure of if they work like i imagine them to do. Feel free to add your own thoughts and correct me if im wrong of course!



  • Member of Arcane Duels; MageCast Co-host
  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 1541
  • Banana Stickers 7
    • View Profile
Re: Juli's Strategy corner #1 Tar trap interactions
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2020, 01:59:08 PM »
Nice write up, Juli!

I think you are correct about Necropian Vampiress interactions with Tar Trap, but I don't think Fizzle interacts the same way.  This is, of course, my own interpretation which is often not focused on the letter of the rules, but on the intent of the rules.

I would think Fizzle works the same way as Reveal Magic when it comes to mandatory reveals. It basically delays checking for conditions for reveals until the next round. I'm likely to be wrong here because Fizzle does not explicitly say those words (I don't have the card in front of me). The other piece of this argument is that I don't believe a game effect preventing a reveal discards the spell. the rule is that if a trigger condition was forgotten or a target found to be illegal then the spell is discarded with no effect.  It would seem to me that the rules on Fizzle trump the general rules of discard when not revealed.  It's not that it wasn't attempted or triggered, but that the trigger was prevented from taking effect until the next round when the triggers are "active" again. Like I said, completely my interpretation. I'd love to hear some feedback from people who have rules and cards in front of them.
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster


  • Playtester
  • Legendary Mage
  • *
  • Posts: 757
  • Banana Stickers 5
    • View Profile
Re: Juli's Strategy corner #1 Tar trap interactions
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2020, 02:47:48 PM »
indeed interesting. I am inclined to side with puddn on the reveal magic interaction.