Token Spellsword is one of the first decks that players conceive in their minds, since cards like Fifth Legion Trainer, Scouting Patrol, and Imperial Reinforcements beg to all be put together and combined with effects like Divine Fervor and Resolute Ally. Spellsword also gets some nice Control tools such as Edict of Azura, late-game monsters like Mantikora and Blood Magic Lord. However, I wanted to try a bit of an in-the-middle approach to the Willpower/Endurance combination.
I’ve been mostly underwhelmed by the Token version of this deck, since cards like Scouting Patrol just aren’t great on their own most of the time and get outmatched quickly by cards such as… well, almost any 2-magicka card. The Spellsword class has access to some great, resilient threats that the Token decks just weren’t taking the full advantage of, such as Hive Defender and Black Worm Necromancer. With the Necromancer, you have such a high probability of getting back a 1/1 that it is next to impossible to play the card to success in a Token strategy.
So, I decided to cut all of the token-generating cards (except Bone Colossus, which is way too strong to not play in a deck like this), and focus more on the curve of the deck with hard-to-deal-with creatures.
The suite of 2-magicka creatures all have their roles – Wind Keep Spellsword, Dragontail Savior, and Kvatch Soldier all survive a Firebolt from the number of Intelligence decks being played, and are strong against aggressive and control strategies alike. They all also have some utility when being drawn later in the game, or being returned from a Black Worm Necromancer.
Our 3-magicka creatures are also great at sticking to the board and surviving board wipes such as Ice Storm. The four toughness on Mammoth and Executioner allows them to trade with creatures and still stick around, and also survive 3-drop removal spells like Crushing Blow. Haunting Spirit also does exactly what its name says – the three power and toughness pass along to another creature, and can make opposing Ice Storms be a nightmare to play for Control Mages.
The real strength of the deck comes from the 4-magicka slot, with the Guard combo of Preserver of the Root and Hive Defender. These two cards end up being enormous in combination with Divine Fervor(s) as the game progresses. They can really clog up the board against your opponent’s threats and allow you to curve into your own mid- to late-game threats. Edict of Azura is also the cheapest hard removal in the game at four magicka, with the utility of also dealing with opposing supports.
Black Worm Necromancer was one of the cards that really drove me to want to play this deck. 4/4s are tough for a number of decks to deal with right now, and bringing back another creature with it as early as turn five happens pretty regularly. Your ability to play larger creatures and some hefty Guards (along with some slight life gain early from Bruma Profiteer) can keep your life total ahead of your opponent’s, allowing your Rune Masters to trigger early and often.
Pillaging Tribune is also an excellent way to swing life totals in your favor, and is an awesome bridge card to get to Golden Saint, another huge draw to playing this deck. Your late game of these cards, along with Shadowfen Priest, Bone Colossus, and Nahagliiv, can become near-impossible to deal with for some decks, and allow you to close out games.
The deck’s most difficult matchup is the more all-in Ramp Scout deck that can deploy Guards to get in your way, and can ramp up into giant creatures that out-scale your ability to play what are usually large creatures.
Midrange Archer and Scout are excellent matchups for this deck, and Pillaging Tribune and Divine Fervor are huge pains for those decks to have to deal with. Monk is a pretty close matchup, as they also have Golden Saint and Divine Fervor.
Control decks, for the most part, are the deck’s best matchup, especially decks relying on Ice Storm to clear the board and bridge to the late game. Since most of your creatures are out of Ice Storm range by themselves, a Divine Fervor on top of that can end the game pretty quickly, as their hard removal doesn’t show up until Piercing Javelin at five magicka. Bone Colossus, Golden Saint, and Black Worm Necromancer all allow multiple creatures to come in for a single card from your hand, and allow you to create your own virtual card advantage against the Control decks.
The hyper-aggressive strategies can be difficult for this deck at times, since your Prophecy count is at a whopping three Javelins. Your early guards and Pillaging Tribune are your best friends here, as you just need to keep your life total up and hide behind Preserver and Golden Saints towards the mid- to late-game.
Dawnbreaker is a card that most likely should be somewhere in this deck, though I currently do not own one. Other considerations would be Lucien Lechance, another Bone Colossus, or maybe some other cards I haven’t considered yet! I highly recommend taking this deck to the ladder – I’ve been having a lot of fun, and winning while doing so!
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