Denizens of Shim’zar Spoiler: Morin-Khur

by ZoochZ  /  August 25, 2016

Hey there Duelyrs and Duelyttes, Zoochz here.

Today, I have something extra special for you: my own card to spoil! Yeeha!

As is the habit with my pieces, this article will set some context before getting into the real reason you came here: the spoiler itself. Beyond solely building more hype in the waning moments before my card’s grand reveal, it’s particularly important to discuss a recent change to a Duelyst mechanic in order to truly grasp the awesome power of today’s spoiler. If you just can’t stand the suspense, however, feel free to jump down to the “I’m just here for the spoiler card” section. For those of you that can contain your excitement for five more minutes, read on.

In a recent Roundtable, Counterplay Games notified its eager fanbase that there would be a few mechanics changes accompanying the introduction of Denizens of Shim’zar at the end of the month.

One of these was the largely appreciated change to Shadow Creep. Now, enemies on Creep tiles only take a single point of damage instead of an exponential amount. Whether you celebrated the announcement of this change or not, most critics have agreed that it was a necessary one from a design perspective. As is, the current Creep mechanic stifled creation of new creep cards and, unsurprisingly, its change opens up a significant amount of design space.

sphere of darkness

The Shadow Creep change has been discussed a lot. That’s not what I’m here to talk about. Instead, I’m here to delve into the nuances of the other mechanical adjustment taking effect in just a few short days.

Moving forward, eggs hatch at the beginning of player’s turn. Holy smokes! If that wasn’t dramatic enough, the newly birthed minions are also activated when they hatch! I haven’t heard folks talk about the ramifications of this much it seems, when it strikes me as a real game changer.

Then again, folks haven’t seen the card I’m spoiling yet. MagWink.

Ramifications of the new mechanics change

First: Any creature with Rebirth just got much better. This is a little frightening considering how powerful these minions are in general. Young Silithar is practically an auto-include in most Magmar lists because of how sticky it is for a two-drop. Veteran Silithar is a frighteningly sizable minion to face on curve. Imagine these guys getting a boost to their playability. Scary stuff!

Perhaps the biggest boost to a Rebirth minion based on the new mechanics change is Silithar Elder. Moving forward, if its egg isn’t killed immediately, your opponent has a hasty behemoth coming for blood on his next turn. What’s more, because the creature will now be in Silithar form when the end of the turn comes, your opponent is producing two eggs as opposed to just one! Opposing players can’t even temporarily stem the bleeding by killing the Elder and leaving the egg alive; it’ll be up, running, and producing eggs the very next turn. I’ve seen some silly Silithar Elder pictures. Now they’ll get that extreme even faster.

There are also some non-Rebirth cards that received impactful though subtle gains from the mechanic change. Here are just a few:

NaturalSelection

Natural Selection is an incredibly powerful removal spell, albeit one with a fairly cumbersome drawback. Being able to target only the lowest-attack minion means that you’re not always able to kill the target you want. This restriction was particularly highlighted when you played with creatures with Rebirth. Oh, your opponent killed your Young Silithar but left the egg on the field? Nice two-mana do-nothing.

Now, that issue won’t happen! You won’t ever have an 0/1 egg on the field on your turn unless you purposefully use your rebirth minion to trade its life in that turn. Even then, you can always cast your Natural Selection before you make that play.

This small change now means that Natural Selection just became significantly better in decks that ran any sort of Rebirth minion, which is most of them.

SpiritHarvester

Currently, Spirit Harvester has an awkward inter-faction interaction, namely that its end-of-turn trigger inconveniently kills all of your precious Magmar eggs. If you had a Spirit Harvester on the board, your opponent could just kill your Rebirth minion without worrying about how to address the sticky egg left behind; you were going to do that for him! Similarly, if you had a Harvester in hand, any Silithars that had been turned into an egg on either of the last two turns would die if you cast him. That’s no longer the case! Go team Magmar!

ChrysalisBurst

Here’s the big winner in my opinion. Chrysalis Burst goes from borderline unplayable to potentially game-ending. Imagine casting this on turn 2. If your opponent leaves any eggs on the board, they’re no longer thinking about how to address those new creatures two turns from now. No, they’re getting a face full of hasty Magmar minions as soon as their turn ends. Of all the cards impacted by the new rule change, Chrysalis Burst seems like the one with the potentially biggest gains.

There are other nuanced benefits as well. Egg Morph’s “unhatch” mode now gets slightly more appealing since you can attack with the creature again. Plasma Storm no longer takes down your Silithars of the Veteran or Elder variety. You won’t find yourself awkwardly unable to walk somewhere because an egg is taking up the space you want to go. Good times.

Despite this mechanic change, eggs are still rather vulnerable on your opponent’s turn. Blistering Skorn or Ghost Lightning can take all the fun out of Burstin’. Bloodtear Alchemist remains public enemy number one when it comes to ovicide. If only there was a way to avoid the awkward phase where your opponent can pick off your eggs at his leisure… MagSunglasses.

I’m just here for the spoiler card; or, you can’t turn your opponent into an omelet without hatching a few eggs

Here it is:

morin-khur

At first, I was underwhelmed by Morin-Khur. Only 3 attack for 5 mana? The more I look at it though, the more powerful the Magmar Artifact seems. By the end of this article, I hope you understand why I think it’s certainly worthy of being a Legendary and the most expensive artifact we’ve seen to date.

I’ll reiterate the biggest point from above in case you were one of the folks who just jumped right down here and skipped all my detailed analysis. Once Shim’zar drops, minions hatched from eggs will have rush. This is huge.

Picture this: You have a Veteran Silithar on the board. Your opponent has a Dioltas. You smash your 4/5 into his 5/3, equip this shiny, new artifact, smash into the 0/10 Tombstone, unhatch your reptile and then attack something else! That, friends, is the sweet aroma of value.   

You can even do some silly plays with cards like Egg Morph. Imagine attacking with your Taygete, Egg Morphing it, then attacking with your already equipped General to get a fully healed Earth Sister that can reposition itself to wreak more havoc. How does an opponent come back after that!? That’s definitely not how I envisioned I’d be using Egg Morphs prior to seeing Morin-Khur.

I’ve saved the best scenario for last though:

You have your Morin-Khur equipped. You’ve locked eyes with your opponent. The sun’s beating down on your desiccated reptilian scales. You crack your neck intimidatingly and quip, “Prepare to be shell shocked.” You cast Chrysalis Burst.

(I would also accept “Looks like you’ve got egg on your face” or “Yolks on you.”)

Bam! You attack with your General and ZOMG you’ve got 4 potentially huge Magmar threats with rush ready to rumble into your poor unsuspecting opponent and his minions! Depending on what you get and where they spawn, that play could end the game right then and there from even a max life total. A Silithar Elder and Unstable Leviathan spawned near your opponent? MagGlad.

Heck, you don’t even need to have your artifact equipped to pull this off. This here’s a nine-mana combo that can be executed from out of nowhere. That’s a little scary.

Wrap Up

So what’s the final assessment?

Only time will tell if Morin-Khur is the real deal. Three attack for five mana isn’t really anything to write home about, so if it succeeds it will largely need to synergize with the deck it’s in fairly well. Hopefully more sweet Rebirth minions will show up in this expansion to filled out a real Morin-Khur inspired deck. 

What I do know for certain is that I plan on building this deck. It’s just too darn funny not to try out!

Thanks for reading,

Zoochz