Arcane Wonders Forum

Mage Wars => Strategy and Tactics => Topic started by: piousflea on March 20, 2013, 01:08:11 PM

Title: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: piousflea on March 20, 2013, 01:08:11 PM
Sacrificial Altar seems to be a rarely used (in my experience) card with a tremendous amount of potential.

For 4 mana, the Altar (zone exclusive conjuration, Dark Mage Only) allows you to do the following:
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Once per round, before or after a friendly activation, you may destroy a creature you own and control to grant another creature +X Melee and +X Piercing until the end of the round.
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Now the first time I saw that card, I thought "This is terrible." Sacrificing a level-3 creature is like paying 17 mana (13 for the creature and 4 for the Altar) to give 3 dice and 3 piercing to a single melee strike! However, on second thought I am convinced that the Altar is incredibly awesome.

1) Sacrifice creatures that would have died anyways.
Got a Darkfenne Bat with 1hp and an Idol of Pestilence out? Make one last attack with the bat, and at the end of his activation Sacrifice him to buff one of your other creatures. It doesn't cost any mana or any actions!

Same goes for those situations where your opponent is focus-firing down one of your bigger creatures. That flaming hellion with 2hp left isn't going to last very long with 2 Knights of Westlock beating on it. So make its attack and then Sacrifice it at the end of the attack action.

For 1 quick action and 4 mana, if you can sacrifice a single level-2+ creature "for free", the Altar has paid for itself.

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2) Sacrifice works well with Battle Fury and/or Retaliate.

Unlike temporary bonuses that are worded as +X until the next attack, Sacrificial Altar gives +X/+X until the end of the round.

+3 Melee and +3 Piercing in exchange for a level-3 creature doesn't sound great... but +3 Melee and +3 Piercing for two (or three) attacks in one round is amazing.

It is theoretically possible to roll 30 attack dice with +6 Piercing: Take a Warlock with Lash, Bear Strength, Gaunts and Fireshaper Ring (9 dice total), sacrifice a Lord of Fire (+6 = 15 dice) and perform a Battle Fury attack (15 dice + 15 dice). Granted, it's a super expensive combo, but it could easily kill someone in one round (hope they didn't have Reverse Attack!).

As an extra bonus, if your warlock was hiding a Retaliate on him, he could retaliate an attack for another 15 dice. That's 45 attack dice (with +6 Piercing) in one round!

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3) Sacrifice completely ignores range, line of sight, incapacitation and banishment.

Did your opponent trap your Flaming Hellion in a corner square with 2 stone walls? Did he Sleep your Vampiress out of range of anything that can wake her? Did he just Banish your Lord of Fire?

Sacrificial Altar gives you an extra option. You can try to break the control spells and keep your creature in play, or you can Sacrifice the creature and Battle Fury for mega damage.

The mere possibility that you could Sacrifice a crowd controlled "big" and insta-gib your opponent can force him to play more cautiously. Or if he doesn't, you can make him eat 30 dice with +6 piercing.

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4) Sacrifice can "force" your opponent to waste attack dice on over-kill.

Your Lord of Fire has 2hp remaining and is stuck in a Force Crush. Sucks for you. Normally your opponent would ignore it and allow it to die its inevitable death.

However, you have a Warlock, a Bat and an Imp all in position to attack your opponent, and you could Sacrifice the Firelord to buff any one of the three. So your opponent uses his quickcast to throw an Invisible Fist and finish off the Firelord.

That's 4 mana and 1 action that he no longer has.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: DarthDadaD20 on March 20, 2013, 01:25:22 PM
Well good job....you broke the game! :) very cool. I have overlooked much of this (Granted I make it my mission to kill the warlock, and not play it, as it dominates my meta) But this is very cool to see broken down. Kudos.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Shad0w on March 20, 2013, 01:44:04 PM
It is a huge investment and takes several turns. If it pays off the line of play can be well worth it. I am surprised it took this long for the community to see.  ;)  Good catch Pious
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Koz on March 20, 2013, 02:23:10 PM
I did an analysis on this card awhile back.  I touched on the same basic concepts as you, just a bit shorter:

Quote
Sacrificial Altar: This card isn't terrible, but it's not really good either, and it has it's uses at certain times. You're killing off your own creatures for only a moderate bonus. If you kill off a Firebrand Imp (which cost you 5 mana to play) you gain a measly +1 bonus. Sure, you can kill off something like a Darkpact Slayer for a +3, but those are expensive. Obviously the best use is right when the creature is on the verge of death, but that can be difficult to time. Overall, it's a situational card that can be expensive to use. I don't think it's a terrible card, just not great. Compare this to the Hand of Bim-Shalla which does what it does for free and is much more flexible.


The bolded part kind of talks about what a lot of your thread is about, namely sacrificing a creature that is about to die.  Unfortunately, that's very situational and can be hard to time.  If you pull if off, that's great, but it can be hard to do and Iím not sure itís reliable enough of a strategy to spend time on.


Quote from: "piousflea" post=9405
However, on second thought I am convinced that the Altar is incredibly awesome.

1) Sacrifice creatures that would have died anyways.
Got a Darkfenne Bat with 1hp and an Idol of Pestilence out? Make one last attack with the bat, and at the end of his activation Sacrifice him to buff one of your other creatures. It doesn't cost any mana or any actions!

Same goes for those situations where your opponent is focus-firing down one of your bigger creatures. That flaming hellion with 2hp left isn't going to last very long with 2 Knights of Westlock beating on it. So make its attack and then Sacrifice it at the end of the attack action.

For 1 quick action and 4 mana, if you can sacrifice a single level-2+ creature "for free", the Altar has paid for itself.

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2) Sacrifice works well with Battle Fury and/or Retaliate.

Unlike temporary bonuses that are worded as +X until the next attack, Sacrificial Altar gives +X/+X until the end of the round.

+3 Melee and +3 Piercing in exchange for a level-3 creature doesn't sound great... but +3 Melee and +3 Piercing for two (or three) attacks in one round is amazing.

It is theoretically possible to roll 30 attack dice with +6 Piercing: Take a Warlock with Lash, Bear Strength, Gaunts and Fireshaper Ring (9 dice total), sacrifice a Lord of Fire (+6 = 15 dice) and perform a Battle Fury attack (15 dice + 15 dice). Granted, it's a super expensive combo, but it could easily kill someone in one round (hope they didn't have Reverse Attack!).

As an extra bonus, if your warlock was hiding a Retaliate on him, he could retaliate an attack for another 15 dice. That's 45 attack dice (with +6 Piercing) in one round!

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3) Sacrifice completely ignores range, line of sight, incapacitation and banishment.

Did your opponent trap your Flaming Hellion in a corner square with 2 stone walls? Did he Sleep your Vampiress out of range of anything that can wake her? Did he just Banish your Lord of Fire?

Sacrificial Altar gives you an extra option. You can try to break the control spells and keep your creature in play, or you can Sacrifice the creature and Battle Fury for mega damage.

The mere possibility that you could Sacrifice a crowd controlled "big" and insta-gib your opponent can force him to play more cautiously. Or if he doesn't, you can make him eat 30 dice with +6 piercing.

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4) Sacrifice can "force" your opponent to waste attack dice on over-kill.

Your Lord of Fire has 2hp remaining and is stuck in a Force Crush. Sucks for you. Normally your opponent would ignore it and allow it to die its inevitable death.

However, you have a Warlock, a Bat and an Imp all in position to attack your opponent, and you could Sacrifice the Firelord to buff any one of the three. So your opponent uses his quickcast to throw an Invisible Fist and finish off the Firelord.

That's 4 mana and 1 action that he no longer has.


All of that sounds good, but I'm not convinced that it is reliable enough to waste the action to cast the Altar.  In a tournament or OP environment I would much rather spend the mana and the action to cast something that will be much more reliable in its use, and is useable more often.  What makes more sense to cast?  A Sacrificial Altar that may or may not be useful, or Leather Boots which will help you every time you take an attack for the rest of the game?  How about instead of spending the action on the Altar, you spend one more mana and play a Hand of Bim Shalla instead which will be useful to you every round?

There are just so many things you can cast for that action that costs 4 mana or less that I have a problem justifying its use.  Jet Stream, Geyser, Gauntlets of Strength, Block, etc, etc.  There are so many things to cast that are more reliable in their use.  

Bottome line for me is that it's an ok card that can certainly pull out a surprise win here and there, but there are just so many other things that seem like better cards to both play and include in your spellbook.

Maybe I'm wrong though and soon Sacrificial Altar will be tearing up the competitive scene...but I would be surprised.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Koz on March 20, 2013, 02:26:43 PM
What I think would make this card more reliable is if there were creatures in the game that had an ability along the lines of "when this creature leaves play, you may do X".  Or some equipment that gains some benefit when one of your creatures leaves play, or a creature that can be brought back from the discard.  Or something.

I'm sure we'll have stuff like that eventually, which will be very cool.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: baronzaltor on March 20, 2013, 03:54:43 PM
I play with the alter if Im doing something with more than a few creatures and have the wiggle room in my spell points.

Im assuming the Necromancer is going to have potential to make more use of it, since he has abilities that require or benefit from creatures being dead.  So it might be a good tool for him to generate bodies to trigger other things.

Too bad sacrificing a creature doesnt trigger Valshalla's wrath tokens, thatd be a nasty combo almost worth paying triple to have her.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Sausageman on March 20, 2013, 05:18:14 PM
I put it in my latest Warlock book for much the same reason. In fact, one of those was EXACTLY Idol of Pestilence and Darkfenne Bats :)
It's my mission to find uses for cards people largely dismiss....
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Tacullu64 on March 20, 2013, 08:39:28 PM
Thanks piousflea. Finally a use for those extra weakness markers. :cheer:

Seriously, have you given up the beat down for control. This sounds like a long term strategy. I like it.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Snotwalker on March 21, 2013, 07:59:37 AM
Wow.  You actually got me thinking of adding the altar into my Warlock build...  I can definitely see some situations where this would pay off nicely.

As an example, the last time I played against a Wizard opponent, he was going heavy on mana-denial, and was throwing down some Essence Drains, costing me an additional upkeep +2 per creature... eventually, I had to let several of them die so as to free up some mana.  The Altar would be very useful in such a situation, so at least I could get something out of those Drained creatures when I kill them off.

Or what if a creature is Charmed and isn't really doing me any good anymore?

For a measely 1 point out of 120, I can see this being a good addition to my Warlock's spellbook for those types of situations.  Obviously not an every-game cast, but a good and cheap "Pawn Shop" option for creatures that have outlived their usefulness.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: xJEDIx on March 21, 2013, 08:20:41 AM
I really want to see how Necromancer will interact with this one!  :whistle:
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Aarrow on March 21, 2013, 09:27:17 AM
What a crazy powerful game finisher!

Use the Warlock/Lord of Fire combo to start beating down...  then if they survive a few turns, you can pull this finisher off in as little a two turns:

(Any turn starting with 20 mana and opponent has initiative-clear his facedowns for pinpoint accuracy)
No first quick, activate last and summon Darkfenne Hydra, last quick to summon Altar
Next turn, play jinx, sacrifice demon, and attack for 27!  Your opponent can't even respond!
If your'e confident your opponent doesn't have a quick answer except running away, then grab teleport instead of jinx, and also grab Hand of Bim-Shalla/Attack Spell/ or just attack
You could roll over 40 dice in one turn!  (demon attack, hydra attack, your attack, +quick spell)
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Koz on March 21, 2013, 09:35:41 AM
Quote from: "Aarrow" post=9484
What a crazy powerful game finisher!

Use the Warlock/Lord of Fire combo to start beating down...  then if they survive a few turns, you can pull this finisher off in as little a two turns:

(Any turn starting with 20 mana and opponent has initiative-clear his facedowns for pinpoint accuracy)
No first quick, activate last and summon Darkfenne Hydra, last quick to summon Altar
Next turn, play jinx, sacrifice demon, and attack for 27!  Your opponent can't even respond!
If your'e confident your opponent doesn't have a quick answer except running away, then grab teleport instead of jinx, and also grab Hand of Bim-Shalla/Attack Spell/ or just attack
You could roll over 40 dice in one turn!  (demon attack, hydra attack, your attack, +quick spell)


You wouldn't get all those dice.  + x to melee only affects the first strike a creature within a given attack.  So with Triplestrike the Hydra only gets the +6 melee for the first strike, then the normal three dice for the remaining two strikes.  So 15 dice, not 27.  Still good, but not out of control ;)

If you want out of control dice, Battle Fury is where it's at ;)
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Aarrow on March 21, 2013, 09:43:00 AM
Alright, so the "until end of turn" effects, only affect additional separate attacks, not double/triple strikes?

Whew!...  back to playing a fair game again!

So... what's the highest quick attack in the game?

Also, besides battle fury/end of turn effects, is there any way to "double-dip" ANY bonuses?  (zone attacks, sweeping, anything)
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Koz on March 21, 2013, 10:01:48 AM
Quote from: "Aarrow" post=9487
Alright, so the "until end of turn" effects, only affect additional separate attacks, not double/triple strikes?

Whew!...  back to playing a fair game again!

So... what's the highest quick attack in the game?

Also, besides battle fury/end of turn effects, is there any way to "double-dip" ANY bonuses?  (zone attacks, sweeping, anything)


Actually ANY + x to Melee or Ranged only affect the first strike in an attack, not just ones that are "until end of turn".  Bear's Strength, for example, only adds +2 melee to the Hydra's first strike of a Triplestrike.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: dexmark on March 21, 2013, 02:07:52 PM
For me this conjuration is only good for finishing an opponent.

If the game will last a few more rounds, I would not try to waste my dying creature to improve my hit on one of my other creatures.

The reasoning is. I played multiple tournaments on other games, that last sacrificial lamb is very important to do one of the following - tie up your opponent (hinder), harrass or do one more ping on your opponents life.

By safricing the creature, you lend your opponent to concentrate more on you or your other creature. I want them to sacrifice and waste additional action killing the guy. If they don't then they will get hit back.

Wasting of action is key in winning this game.

For me this conjuration is not that great at all. An extra pair of hands with their own gun in a battle is better than killing your guy and getting his gun to improve your chances to hit your opponent with two guns.

My 2 cents.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Koz on March 21, 2013, 02:54:02 PM
Quote from: "dexmark" post=9513
For me this conjuration is only good for finishing an opponent.

If the game will last a few more rounds, I would not try to waste my dying creature to improve my hit on one of my other creatures.

The reasoning is. I played multiple tournaments on other games, that last sacrificial lamb is very important to do one of the following - tie up your opponent (hinder), harrass or do one more ping on your opponents life.

By safricing the creature, you lend your opponent to concentrate more on you or your other creature. I want them to sacrifice and waste additional action killing the guy. If they don't then they will get hit back.

Wasting of action is key in winning this game.

For me this conjuration is not that great at all. An extra pair of hands with their own gun in a battle is better than killing your guy and getting his gun to improve your chances to hit your opponent with two guns.

My 2 cents.


I think the card has uses, namely if you can time it just right so that the creature is going to die anyway before its next activation and you sacrifice it to boost another creature's attack.  At least that way you get some last use out of the creature before it dies.

However, I think that the set of circumstances where this card is good is so narrow that it becomes an unreliable card.  It's got potential, and certainly could win the game for you on occasion, but there are just SO MANY other cards to play that are more likely to pay off that it can be hard to justify the action.  

Another problem for this card is the "when do I play it" question.  If you play it early, you are slowing your offense by an action, and those early actions are pretty key in setting up those powerful in-your-face beat-down assaults that rely on tempo and pressure.  If my opponent stalls his in-your-face assault by an action, that's one more action I have to prepare for it, which is a big deal.  

If you cast it mid to late game, when you are within striking distance of the other mage, then you are spending an action to set up potential damage in the future instead of just causing actual damage immediately.

Eh, like I said, it has it's uses, but I doubt it's going to see extensive play or be a huge game winner when it does.  Unless of course they start making some cards like I talked about that have abilities that trigger off of creatures leaving play.  Then it could be quite the combo card.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Shad0w on March 21, 2013, 10:38:15 PM
Quote from: "xJEDIx" post=9472
I really want to see how Necromancer will interact with this one!  :whistle:

Quote
Jedi's Friend:
Shhhhhhhhhhh keep it down Jedi do not let the other students hear yooooooo.....



Zapppppppp the shot rang out and the students next to Jedi was knocked out.


Quote
Shad0w: Did I interrupt your conversation?


Quote
Jedi: No sir


Quote
Shad0w: Then back to the lecture
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Nitz on March 22, 2013, 12:56:53 PM
Also, is this a good way to get rid of creatures if you're paying a having mana tax on them from Wizard Shennanigans?  Seems like a legit way to drop the tax and get some benefit from it.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: dexmark on March 22, 2013, 01:30:16 PM
Quote from: "Nitz" post=9574
Also, is this a good way to get rid of creatures if you're paying a having mana tax on them from Wizard Shennanigans?  Seems like a legit way to drop the tax and get some benefit from it.


This is definitely one use for it. A 4 point investment to get rid of a mana curse on your creature and get  some bonus stat for one round.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: DarthDadaD20 on March 22, 2013, 01:54:27 PM
It worth the mana....No question about it. Should be in most warlock decks as a meta/back up for sure.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: piousflea on March 24, 2013, 11:39:11 AM
Quote from: "Koz" post=9517

Another problem for this card is the "when do I play it" question.  If you play it early, you are slowing your offense by an action, and those early actions are pretty key in setting up those powerful in-your-face beat-down assaults that rely on tempo and pressure.  If my opponent stalls his in-your-face assault by an action, that's one more action I have to prepare for it, which is a big deal.


You bring up a key point. Sacrificial Altar is highly action inefficient for a pure Beatdown strategy and I wouldn't recommend it in a straight up "Lord of Terror" rush.

However, there are many times when you start to rush, then realize that your opponent has prepared a strong counter-rush defense, and you decide to sit back and swarm up a bit before attacking... It is during these rounds when your paying 5 mana for a bat or imp every round, that you can afford a quick action for Sacrificial Altar.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Intangible0 on March 25, 2013, 01:01:41 AM
I'm glad someone put this interesting conjuration up for review. It has its perks and disadvantages as previously stated. A point too I'd like to bring up is that it offers one advantage that is invaluable in Mage Wars:
Other games like MTG are all about efficiency and allowing your deck to do what it does best in hopes that the enemies tactic doesn't trump yours.
Mage Wars boasts a great balance that allows us as players to think, "what if they play this though..."
That being said something as simple as having a conjuration on the field or casting an enchantment and keeping it face down plays mind games with your opponent. It's something else they're going to have to constantly keep in the back of their minds.
Will they want to curse your creatures? Probably not if they think you're just going to drink its blood. Waste a Fireball? That's a turn's worth of mana blown on a creature that will just make you more powerful in the end.
Also it's good that you mentioned the extra turn the enemy would want to waste killing off your creatures. Action economy is well worth noting and if you can set your opponent back even one action trying to kill off a creature your not particularly attached to, then you make up for the action casting the altar.
Even with Firebrand Imps this could be worth it. I can't tell you how many times I've had tiny creatures down to one HP.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: baronzaltor on March 25, 2013, 01:12:07 AM
Its also noteworthy that Sacrificial Alter is one of the only ways to get a hefty boost to a non-living creature that otherwise cant be targeted with things like Bear Strength or gain abilities like blood thirsty.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Tim on March 25, 2013, 12:05:44 PM
I always like Piousflea comments/review/strategy! It helps me a lot with spellbookcreation en overall strategy.

So this is specially for you:
Thanks you, Piousflea
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Nicho2222 on March 25, 2013, 10:37:36 PM
The altar can also ruin a warlord's day.  You think that your going to get veterancy off of one of my creatures, not if I sacrafice it before you land the killing blow, plus theres the extra bonus of damage and piercing.  Can help break through those high armor targets that he can summon and/or fortified position.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: NerdGuy on April 05, 2013, 09:30:49 PM
A helpful look on a card I've completely overlooked.  Doesn't fit in my current Warlock build, but I'm intriqued enough to fool around with it.  Thanks for the write up.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: blivenbo on February 07, 2014, 02:10:41 AM
Sacrificial altar with plague zombie that is an eternal servant is just a plain awesome combo
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: sIKE on February 07, 2014, 10:58:44 AM
Sacrificial altar with plague zombie that is an eternal servant is just a plain awesome combo
In theory yes, but you have to have that 9 mana when you pop him, I find that I want to do other things than pop him and pay 9 mana to bring him back.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Sailor Vulcan on February 07, 2014, 01:57:46 PM

Sacrificial altar with plague zombie that is an eternal servant is just a plain awesome combo
In theory yes, but you have to have that 9 mana when you pop him, I find that I want to do other things than pop him and pay 9 mana to bring him back.

What if your eternal savant is trapped behind walls with no way out?
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: sIKE on February 07, 2014, 02:04:18 PM
What if your eternal savant is trapped behind walls with no way out?
And I assume you want to resurrect him? Have him attack himself....
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: blivenbo on February 22, 2014, 04:46:49 AM
I thought when eternal servant is brought back to life he returns to the zone he died in so a walled in servant would just return to the walls if you res him
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: Zuberi on February 22, 2014, 07:37:28 AM
The eternal servant ability is a reanimate effect which does indeed summon him back into the zone in which he died.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: svvcDark on February 22, 2014, 11:34:31 AM
Would the sacrificial altar's sacrifice count for the graveyard's extra mana ability when a creature is destroyed?
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: ACG on February 22, 2014, 11:48:08 AM
Would the sacrificial altar's sacrifice count for the graveyard's extra mana ability when a creature is destroyed?

Yes.
Title: Re: Sacrificed on the Altar of Awesomeness
Post by: BoomFrog on February 22, 2014, 02:41:04 PM
I thought when eternal servant is brought back to life he returns to the zone he died in so a walled in servant would just return to the walls if you res him

However you could choose to not make him your servant after he dies and now you can reuse the token.