With a major balance patch looming, it doesn’t make sense to do a full unrealized potential when the entire game could be different this time next week. Instead, I wanted to briefly follow up on my last article with some custom cards.
If you haven’t read my article on the Witch Hunter Archetype, you can find it here. To summarize, Witch Hunters suffer from an awkward, clunky playstyle, and many of their best cards brick quite easily. Setting up a combo by applying bounties and generating coins telegraphs your intentions to your opponent, allowing them to disrupt your plans or pass.
Despite their strengths, including powerful removal and carryover potential, these issues do too much to drag down a true witch hunter deck. With that in mind, I took on two different ways of shoring up these weaknesses.
The first was to make more decent bronzes with the Witch Hunter tag. The more units Tamara Strenger has to buff, the stronger she is. This may seem like a small buff, but the carryover Tamara offers isn’t negligible. Also, if you can have more Witch Hunters on the board the turn you play her, it helps make her tempo less awful.
The second way is to reduce the clunkiness of the archetype. To be clear, requiring set up and the risk of bricking is an important part of the archetype, but some quality of life cards are definitely in order here. I went with a few disloyal cards that already have bounty when you play with, along with other beneficial effects.
These cards reward setup, as you almost never would want to play them without having a way to kill them on the same turn. This incentivizes setting up a board with cards like Witch Hunter Executioner and Whoreson’s Freakshow. These cards are pretty flavorful in terms of lore too. Playing their own targets seems like something a literal inquisition would do.
I don’t intend for these cards to be a perfect solution to the Witch Hunters archetype, they’re more an excuse to explore some interesting mechanics and design choices. So without further ado, let’s take a look:
Witch Hunter Execution is one of the most promising cards in the Witch Hunter archetype. If you can get them to stick, they make using bounty much less awkward, so long as you have the coin to secure the kill.
That being said, they have low health even when buffed by Tamara, and almost any damage spell can remove them. So, Remi provides the deck with a little engine overload. Assuming you have the one extra coin required to kill him on the turn he’s played, he leaves you with two executioners and five coins. Your opponent would have a hard time getting engines to stick with for a few turns against this boardstate.
Finally, swarming the board with Witch Hunter units lets Tamara play for a little more tempo, which is a major problem for the archetype.
This card offers no removal value, but offers a way for Syndicate to protect their engines and generate a fair amount of proactive value. That being said, there are a lot of conditions to meet here. You need to remove the card, and you have to wait a turn before you get the effect. It also plays for every low tempo, even if removed the turn it is played. Assuming the token survives, immediately using the double order only gets you eight points total.
However, if used early in the round. The card has a high ceiling. While it certainly isn’t difficult to remove the card, not every deck is going to have a six damage answer every time. I have a feeling this card would be hard to balance, because it is either terrible or way too good. It’s lore-flavorful though, and I think something like this could have potential.
Felicia Cori offers some support for the carryover aspect of the Witch Hunter archetype’s identity. Eight points for six provisions may seem a bit much considering the premium normally placed on carryover, but you do have to kill the disloyal unit, and the card boosted is random. That amount of uncertainty makes it seem reasonable.
Also, as I talked about in the original article, Witch Hunters are heavily associated with tributes, making Off the Books almost necessary for the archetype to function. Felicia Cori provides seven coins when killed(including the bounty), which is exactly how many are needed to trigger The Flying Redanian’s hoard ability with Hidden Cache. I think this would give some potential for the archetype to expand to a leader ability that has proven very strong in the past.
Witch Hunter Grenadier
This card fits in with the archetype identity of clunkiness and multiturn setup, but offers a lot of flexibility at the same time. First off, it’s a proactive play, which is at a premium for any control deck. As long as you hold one of the earlier mentioned disloyal bounty cards in your hand, you can safely play this. If your opponent plays an engine, you can use your next turn to give it bounty. If not, you can play a disloyal unit to avoid missed value.
I hope you guys enjoyed these, and good luck with the new patch. I said last time that I was working on an Off the Books article, but ever since Coën was released I’ve been compulsively trying to make him work…
Until next time!