Cannonball! The Best One Threshold Splashes
by Terence Jason Dorman
While some mono-trade decks have been extremely popular and effective as of late (mono-Rogue Ass and mono-Warlord Rage Sligh come to mind), decks that run more than one trade tend to be extremely effective as they blend the strengths and weaknesses of both trades.
For instance, a mono-Banker deck may have a lot of kill cards and influence gain, but it has no way to handle items. Throw in a little Gearsmith or Warlord and you now have access to cards like Repurpose, Plunging Shriever, and Blow Up to handle your item problems.
Sometimes, however, we deck builders really want to go heavy into one trade (meaning four or higher threshold) and only want to “splash” in another trade to provide some utility or small pieces of a combo.
My personal favorite set up is to start with two threshold of one trade (via my Faction) and then run only one other type of threshold in the deck. This grants me access to all two threshold or lower cards from my starting trade, plus whatever I want in my second trade.
There are other times, though, when you really want to hit a certain threshold early and can't afford to start with two of one threshold in play. This brings me to the point of this article: one threshold splash cards. These are cards that only require one threshold to play and can be thrown into just about any deck as they are extremely helpful utility or power cards.
The following list is certainly not all of the one threshold cards found in The Spoils but instead a list of the one threshold cards that I feel make a cannonball size splash when you throw them into a deck.
By now most, if not all of you, have heard of the Arcane Research resource acceleration engine. The reason it works so well is that Arcane Research only requires one threshold and, therefore, doesn't require a lot of commitment. Add in the fact that you can use this card to throw four Recur abilities into your discard pile and you have something special.
Never underestimate the power of being able to blank a card's text for a turn. This card could pull you out of some really hairy situations when timed properly, plus it replaces itself when played. It doesn't solve any problems forever, but it is cheap enough that you shouldn't mind too much.
Possibly the best way to get out your, as Will Clark puts it, “big fat fatties” as fast as possible. This card turns a 3-drop into a 6-drop, a 4-drop into a 7-drop, you get the point. One minute your opponent is dealing with a not-scary-at-all Serville Centipede and, next thing he knows, that Centipede is now a Cantankerous Claywork that is attacking immediately. Plus, depending on which character you destroy/Alter into, this card could provide some interesting enters play/leaves play effects.
Who doesn't like paying three to gain a 1/1/3 chump blocker and an unattached resource? This card screams value and resource acceleration, and that is before considering the possibilities provided by taking back a tactic with Flip-Up. Popular tactics to be Wanton-ed include Redonkulous, Noble Sacrifice, Strangulate, Cock Block, and Crushing Usury.
Department of Rejections
If you are worried about combo decks, or decks that run a lot of search like Purple Haze, the Department of Rejections is for you. The card is super cheap with a cost of one and has ample structure with four, so at the very worst, it is soaking a few hits that would normally have gone to your Faction. Add in the fact that this card could (and should) give you a resource advantage and this card could be immensely popular in one-Greed decks.
This is easily my favorite way to search for resources and I don't think I really need to explain why, but I will. First, its primary text allows you to search for any type of resource, which includes the double threshold resources from Seed: Children of the Lingamorph.
Next, it has the added bonus of being able to search for ANOTHER resource via its Recur ability. The second resource has the stipulation that it has to be a Staple Resource, but that is still two resources you are searching for specifically for the low cost of four total.
This card also has the added bonus of getting resources out of your deck even if you don't need the threshold, reducing the odds of you drawing a resource when you are desperately looking for something else.
Similar to Wanton Wizard, this card screams value in that it only costs three and provides a face down resource as part of its effect. Also, again similar to Wanton Wizard, this card synergizes extremely well with characters that have Flip Up. It may not provide a chump blocker like Wanton Wizard does, but it does allow you to get back any character you want, whether it is a chump blocker, a power house, or a “big fat fatty.”
Cock Block/Exploding Sock Puppet
Both of these cards provide a similar effect in that they terminate abilities but differ on how they go about it. Sock Puppet provides a way to destroy the character as well (which was very popular when Schproingmajig decks were running rampant) but requires to be in your hand at the right time. Cock Block avoids this problem by having Flip Up, meaning you can stash it away for future use. The downside to Cock Block, though, is that it does not destroy the source of the ability nor prevent the opponent from using it again. Both cards are good, though, and it is really personal preference on which you choose to run.
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These big items are for all you players who want to get in there for big damage in one turn. The beauty of them being one threshold is that you do not need to commit to Gearsmith to provide this big damage and can instead go Arcanist if you want covert damage, Rogue if you want some speedy damage, or Warlord if you want straight beats. No matter how you slice it these cards will provide a damage bonus and could even win you the game in a single turn.
As a 5/4/3, this guy is a huge body when he hits the table and can be either a powerful attacker or an immense blocker. If your opponent does manage to kill him, he is one of two cards in the game that becomes a resource and then gains an ability because of it. As a resource, Fired Hand provides you with a way to pick off low life characters or get that final bit of damage through on the big guy you have had trouble killing. It could be argued that Fired Hand is better dead than he is alive, but I could see the discussion going both ways.
When you know that there is just one card out there that can completely ruin your day (for instance, my Horsemajig deck flat loses to an opponent's well timed Desolate), there is no better way to handle that kind of problem than Incriminating Photograph. All you have to do is pay three and the problem is gone! Sure, the opponent can destroy the Photograph, but that is an extra step you've added for him to deal with before handling whatever other problems you are posing.
This is quite possibly my favorite card on this list and one of my Top 5 from Seed Two: Gloamspike's Revenge. For the low cost of one, this card provides a +1/+1/+0 boost to any character of your choosing and, barring some weirdness, never goes away. If the character attached or the Pickaxe is destroyed it simply becomes a resource instead, which is a gain in itself. The Pickaxes has the added bonus of having Flip Up for the low cost of one as well, meaning you always have a way to give a little buff to any character you have on the board.
A Blazing Zero/Tactician Vacation
Both of these are arguably the best ways to terminate a tactic and they are both one threshold Warlord cards. These cards satisfy almost any situation depending on your needs, and both could provide a little bonus as well. For A Blazing Zero, your opponent may be getting a resource out of the deal, but it could prevent the tactic from ever coming back or using its Recur ability (if it has one). Tactician Vacation cannot be responded to, which is very powerful, and prevents all tactics for the rest of the turn. This could be a bummer to you as well, but odds are it will bum out your opponent even more if you time it properly.
While Plunging Shriever seems to be to go-to card for item destruction these days, Blow Up is an ample substitute if you are hoping to run only one threshold of Rage. It doesn't change your curve at all as it has the same cost as Plunging Shriever, and it has the added bonus of being able to be played at tactic speed rather than only when you could play a character. The three damage to the opponent's faction is simply icing on the cake and fits perfectly into burn and control decks.
I consider this card to be the best on this list and, combined with the other Warlord cards listed here, is probably the main reason why any deck can splash one Rage threshold. This card makes any card you've lost over the course of the game come back at tactic speed for the low cost of two. That low cost, however, is effectively erased by the fact that Dark Awakening also draws you a card. In essence, you are actually gaining a resource if you consider that drawing a card via the Faction costs three.
The first time I saw this card my immediate response was, “this is the best card in the set,” and at that point I had only seen about three packs worth of cards. Even after seeing the other 109 cards in the set I still stand by the fact that this is the best card in Seed Two. In fact, I would argue that this card is a serious contender for The Best Card in The Spoils, so there was no doubt that it would make the list of Best One Threshold Cards.
Oh, and did I mention it has Flip Up?
It seems unfair to the Watchtower that it is the only card to follow Dark Awakening in this article, but it isn't my fault that that is how the alphabet works. Regardless, Watchtower is an extremely powerful one threshold card if you need something to handle weenies and/or Micromajigs. This location creates a powerful deterrent for your opponent as they may not be able to play a handful of their characters until this location is dealt with, and that extra time provided to you could be the difference between a win and a loss.
Something not on the list?
If you think I've left out any other powerful one threshold cards, or think that some of the cards that I've listed here aren't as good as I claim they are, be sure to respond in the forums. I'd love to hear what you guys think would certainly love to know about some other powerful one threshold cards that I may have overlooked.