June 16, 2013

ICC Strategy for the Raid Boss Part 2: Scourge Allies

Scourge allies will allow you to dish out damage, among many other utilitarian uses. There are some core strategies, however that should remain consistent throughout each raid.

                                                           Dark Prince Strategy
Get the princes out as soon as possible by turn 5. If one is played, it will fetch the others. Although these guys are a standard 5/5/5 ally, they turn off abilities in play, negate powers of opposing allies and turn off equipment powers. Expect to be interrupted. However, if one of the princes is interrupted, and you get a hold of another, only the princes not in the graveyard, but in the hand or deck- will come forth. It is adviseable that if you use this strategy, be prepared for a smart raider to take possession of one of the three princes, mainly Taldaram or Valanar. Interrupt this immediately. By shutting down your allies, the raiders have a chance at beating you to turn 10. Don't give them the luxury. I have seen raiders power through the princes by killing them and I've defeated raiders using them because they failed to deal with that major problem. If you can present more headaches ahead of the dark prince strategy, you may overwhelm the heroes. Attack only with the princes if there are no protectors on the field and a hero is wide open to be swung at.

Thrifty Lich
If you are having difficulty by turn 4 finding big allies to drop down, or you are under pressure from allies or spells, it may be advantageous to pop down cost 2 or lower allies as most abilities cost 1 or 2 resources at best. Shambling Horrors are hard to get since there are only two, but pop one down for extra protection if you are having trouble against attacking allies. Vile Spirits should be rammed into important allies (if you can) so that you can utilize their effects. If the heroes don't take care of them, they will ram into an ally and possibly take out another. This is not good for board advantage (for them). Drudge Ghouls are a minor nuisance to raiders, but become a pain in the ass when you keep playing them from the grave for the cost of one. Play a Drudge Ghoul if you have resources to spare. They are good for a turn 1 play.

Valithria Dreamwalker
There is a strategy that exists with Valithria that I'm not fond of. It's hard to pick up one card out of 60 out of a draw, and commonly I'll use Valithria as a resource if I am good on health. You can protect Valithria with protectors, but it is susceptible to spell suppression (what isn't) and easy ally destruction. This dragonkin isn't untargetable, but is elusive without the keyword. Consider using this card as a resource if a warlock is in the party- they may take control of this ally and use it's powers for their own gain.

Pre-Prince Strategy
Before turn 5 you have a few pre-prince options. All of the above obviously, but unless there is a particular ally you need to pop, avoid playing Val'kyr shadowguard until the late game (around turn 8). I do not like Lady Deathwhisper as I feel she is not worth the cost of playing. Marrowgar is only useful around turn 6 or 7 if you haven't acquired Sindragosa yet. In fact, Marrowgar is a good follow up play on Turn 8 if the heroes popped Sindragosa, who is susceptible to interrupts. Save Marrowgar for the late game, or don't play him. If you find you are at an advantage at the moment in the game, play Rotface or Festergut. If you have an ally problem and you have the choice between the two abominations, play Rotface over Festergut. Otherwise play which one tickles your fancy.

If you happen to get Saurfang by turn 6, he can present an interesting problem to raiders. However, at his cost, he is susceptible to an interrupt and may not be worth playing. I'd use him as a resource unless I'm getting hit hard by turn 6.

The Big Three
The big three can be a little controversial to play. The object of defeating raider interrupts is to get them to waste their interrupts on cards that didn't cost you as much. If, for example Sindragosa is interrupted and you can't chain it, you just lost 7 resources to one card. A huge board advantage. If you keep playing high amounts of low cost cards though- you may run out in terms of hand size. This can be a good thing if you have a priest in the party. If a mage or other class plays a card to see your hand, just let them. It's a waste of resources- but prepares them for what is coming. If they do that, you can mess with them if you think they are cunning enough.

The big three are:

Blood-Queen Lana'thel

For a delay strategy, Sindragosa is the most dangerous, and thus the most susceptible to an interrupt. Any incoming attacks have to be addressed to Sindragosa; and it has 20 health. It's a big problem that raiders need to be prepared for- the question is, is the gamble worth it risking 7 resources for an interrupt. Putricide and Lana'thel cost the same, but in terms of cost versus reward, Lana'thel is worth it more if there are allies on the board. Putricide is less of a problem, but again, you risk 6 resources for an interrupt. I generally don't like to play these three unless I have no choice.

The Lich King has a few protectors to help out, but the main way to keep delaying is to clamp down on destroying (or converting.... hehe) opposing allies. This can be done with a combination of abilities and allies. Protectors aren't the best strategy to drop in my opinion as they can be susceptible to tomfoolery. Use them as resources and focus on playing (pre-princes) cost 2-3 allies, then ramp up your ally removal by turn 4 if you can. Next article we'll look at abilities. Remember- if your opponents are focusing on interrupting your abilities more than your allies- feel free to drop some big bombs.

*Save big bomb allies for play if the raiders focus on interrupting abilities. If they like this strategy, bait them for cheap.
*Always count on getting the princes out by turn 5. Usually it is possible. If you can't get the princes out, consider Rotface, Festergut and Val'kyr Shadowguards.
*Be very careful playing expensive "bomb" allies. If these are interrupted, you are losing a lot of resource power to one card. A big board changer.
*Stall. If you want to draw out interrupts or crowd control, throw down some protectors, but I caution against using Saurfang for that task.
*Count on Sindragosa or Lana'thel being interrupted.

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