Hi, my name is Alex Muhich. I’ve been playing card games since 2006 and have been a tournament official for a few games since 2011. I had heard of The Spoils from Dragon Shield sleeve boxes and more recently from the event held at the ARG Championships in Florida, but didn’t know anything about it. I had been given a brief description of what it’s like, but had never sat down and played until I had some free time between rounds at Force of Will AGP Dallas 2016.
I chose to play the Warlord starter deck and the demo’er played Gearsmith. I used my life as a resource pretty heavily and lucked out drawing a board wipe Tactic that cleared my opponent’s Micromajig tokens. I ended up winning the game with the high Strength Characters that the Warlord deck had access to. Even if I would have lost, I was in love with this game. I tend to be a pretty serious player, so getting used to the playful nature of card names and flavor, may take some getting used to for me, but I can’t get enough of the mechanics and play of the game.
Once I was dead for top8 in the Force of Will event, I needed something else to do on Sunday and luckily for me there was a 1k Sealed event for The Spoils. Sealed was right up my ally as I didn’t have any cards worth using in a Constructed event and it gave everyone a more even playing ground.
We were given six packs of Seed Saga: The Descent of Gideon and after a quick deck swap, I had my pool to work with. Here is the deck that I built for the tournament: (If you want to see the rest of the pool, it’s posted at the bottom of the article)
Adriel, Supreme General of the Imperial Army
2 Dying Hero
Storm the Gates
The Emperor Born
2 Mistaken Identity
2 Well Laid Plans
Hall of Great Justice
-Rage, Deception for Starting Resources
When I was looking at the cards, I instantly knew I wanted to play the “Strangulates”. Removal is at such a premium in limited formats and the ability to play it as a resource because of Flip Up gave this card some extra utility that it didn’t need. What I didn’t realize until I started playing is how many characters have four or less health, basically everything. With only a threshold of one Deception, I knew in the worst case, I could splash these. But it turned out that almost all of my Rogue cards were worth playing.
I didn’t have any bomb Characters in Warlord or Rogue, but I did have a “Hungermaw Deephate” in Arcanist which only had an Obsession threshold of one. Eight for an 8/8/3 that can return non-resources to their owner’s hand was perfect for a late game big, dumb threat that could be used to clear out blockers or to change the tempo of the game in my favor. I never ended up deploying it, but I’m glad I had access to it as many games would have been more easily won had I gotten it into play.
With minutes left in deck-building I was torn between using “Hall of Great Justice” and “The Tournament Faction”. I wasn’t sure how to value influence or how often I’d have five resources and a character to destroy. When I looked at the influence difference as a cost to activate the ability, it suddenly hit me that this effect was worth it. Especially since I had several characters with high Strength, most notably the two “Dying Heros”. I actually felt kind of stupid for not realizing how good another source of removal would be, even at the cost of five influence.
If I could rebuild my deck, I would add the “Sprint” and cut the “Necromantic Healer”, as it wasn’t pulling its weight in my deck. It looked good at first, being able to prevent damage, but often I wished it was basically any other card. Having only 1 Strength meant it wasn’t aggressive and many of my Characters have low health, where preventing 1 damage was often not enough to safe them. I would have had Sprint in the deck from the start if I had realized how relevant the surprise extra speed could be. I know in other games that type of effect is very powerful, but at a cost of three resources, I wasn’t sure, even if you get the card back as a resource.
After going 3-1-1 in Swiss and I wish I had taken notes about my matches to make writing this easier, but even if I had, the matches I had won were pretty unimpressive. I had aggressive starts and won the game having taken little to no damage. I often curved out by playing a Character on each turn and then either “Strangulate’ed” or “Mistaken Identity’ed” my opponent’s removal spells to get rid of their Characters. The match that I lost was where I was playing second, the opponent curved out, I had taken too much damage, and they had two “Alluring Quicksands” to remove the Characters I was trying to use to stabilize.
Very few opponent’s expected the first “Mistaken Identity” and much less the second one. Being able to get a 2-for-1 twice in the match was often integral to sealing my victory. Especially when the Character they were trying to kill was often going to be finishing them off. I was a little worried when adding them to the deck, but worst case if they didn’t have anything with the Cost template when I was searching through their deck with the card in the next paragraph, I could play it as a resource.
A sure fire way to win a sealed event is to have opened very powerful characters that are hard to remove. I think I played “Well Laid Plans” at least once every game, usually grabbing a Character on their end that had five or more life that was a game breaker. Then from my side, I’d hopefully have a Character with Flip Up still in my deck so I could get more value from putting the card into my resource pile. I remember a few games where I cast both of my “Well Laid Plans” and they didn’t have any cards left in their deck that I cared about afterwards.
Having access to a four Speed, three Strength Character on it’s own would be good, but add Item destruction for the relatively low cost of two influence, and Flip Up, and a way to protect itself? Come on, you had me at four Speed, three Strength for four. “Plunging Shriever” was one of my favorite cards. I only remember destroying one or two items with it, but boy did they matter. Destroying my opponent’s “Roundalicious Breasticles” before it could amass counters was integral to me winning that match. “Plunging Shriever” was my first choice for a Character to put into my resource via “Well Laid Plans”.
When I finally made it to the finals, I was so nervous. I had lost to my finals opponent in the swiss, so I asked for a prize split to hedge my bets. I’m glad that we both could split the cash, but I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little sad when I saw how amazing my opening hand was. I led with the Rage and a Deception, then first turn played a Rage, and dropped “Adriel” and “Slinking Bandido” on the play. I had a cute play with “Adriel”, where I attacked, traded with their three Life Character, paid three resources to draw a card, then one more to play it again. Not super exciting, but moving the card to the top, redrawing, and replaying felt fun to do. With the help of a “Mistaken Identity” and my opponent drawing blanks, I was able to get six counters on the “Bandido”. Even though it’s fragile, when left uncontested it will win games very quickly. The turn before my opponent offered me the handshake, they drew a bunch of cards and just couldn’t find an answer to the “Slinking Bandido”.
Overall, I’m completely sold on this game. I can’t wait to play it again, preferably Sealed until I can get some more cards, and I even plan on becoming an Ambassador to help spread the awesomeness that is The Spoils.
Rest of Pool
2 Virulent Dogmatist
Wand of Possession
Essence of Elitism
Lab of Luxury
P3pp3r 0f 1n54n17y
Unbearably Heavy Shoes of Teleportation
2 Velocious Golem
Black Scourge of the Brine
Framptle Tromwibbler, Lord of Bling
High Court of Demands
The Currency Bazaar
2 Unscrupulous Attendant