by Terence Jason Dorman
My favorite day of the year, Christmas, is just four days away and I couldn't be more excited. My car is decorated, I have my Santa-suit hoodie, and my tree looks absolutely gorgeous.
Every time I look at my tree, though, I wish I could have something Spoils related hanging from it. Sure, I could probably steal one of my brother's micromajig figures and hang that, but the little guy is so small I'd probably never notice him.
This got me thinking about what Spoils cards and items would look great as ornaments, and then it hit me: the Crests!
I can only dream of a time when the Crests would be made into actual Christmas ornaments that I could hang on my tree, so for now I'll have to settle with just putting them into my decks. But where do these Universal Items belong?
Crest of Obsession
Arguably the most powerful of the five crests, the Crest of Obsession was seen in two of the Top 4 decks at the U.S. National Constructed Championships. The card was a prominent member of both John Westcott's Research Investment OTK build and Dan Sotelo's much-discussed Barney deck.
These aren't the only decks that can feature the Crest of Obsession, though. This Crest fits into nearly any Arcanist build, allowing it's controller to tutor their deck whenever an Obession threshold enters play.
Add in the fact that Arcanist has a variety of ways to trigger this Crest and you have an absolute winner. My personal favorite is manipulating Witty Worm in such a way that you don't even need a "new" Obsession threshold to hit the table, you just need one already in play!
Crest of Greed
The Crest of Greed is probably the least awe-inspiring upon first glance. It really just looks like a card that does more of what Banker already does: gain influence. It doesn't search for anything, doesn't provide you with characters, and it certainly doesn't directly affect the opponent in any way.
Instead, the Crest of Greed provides breathing room. If you are steadily builidng resources it can provide two influence a turn, which adds up quickly. It also counteracts the pain of playing an Exploitation while letting you hit some of your higher threshold requirements faster.
The primary reason why Crest of Greed can see play is that it is deceptive. When it hits the table it never seems like an issue, but if it is left unchecked it can cause problems. Many players often overlook the Crest of Greed and choose not to use their item removal on it, which later could result in that same player being behind by a considerable amount of influence.
Crest of Elitism
Probably the most fun Crest of the bunch, the Crest of Elitism provides its controller with a free 1/1/3 Micromajig every time an Elitism threshold hits the table. While having a free 1/1/3 might not seem like much, it can definitely be critical to gameplay.
Free characters are nothing to scoff at, no matter how big or small they may be. In the case of Micrmajigs, they, at the very least, serve as wonderful chump blockers that can prevent a few points of influence loss when needed.
On the aggressive side, a healthy swarm of Micromajigs can make it very difficult for your opponent to block effectively for two reasons. First, adding that extra point or two of damage could make it impossible for the opponent to block without losing a critical character. Second, having a swarm of Majigs allows you to pressure your opponent through sheer numbers, attacking one at a time until the opponent runs out of blockers.
Crest of Deception
I hate to say this, but I think the Rogue crest is the weakest of the five. Simply put, it just doesn't have as many functions as the other four crests. This statement is, of course, taking into consideration that all of these cards provide two threshold and therefore have two functions, so I'm speaking strictly in terms of rules text.
Unlike the other crests (except for arguably the Crest of Greed), the Crest of Deception really only serves one purpose: to reduce the life of the opposing characters. It doesn't provide any utility, it doesn't search your deck, and it definitely doesn't provide you with any characters.
While this crest is certainly useful for picking off one life characters, it begins to lose its luster against a board full of two life characters. Other than providing two threshold quickly, this Crest doesn't flow into decks as easily as the other four. I would love to be proven wrong, though, so if you have found some awesome uses for the Crest of Deception, please let me know.
Crest of Rage
Similar to the Crest of Obession, the Crest of Rage was featured prominently in the top decks of the U.S. National Constructed Championships, only the Crest of Rage had its day in the sun during 2011. This crest was a big part of Vince Chuan's famous Rage Sligh deck and the many versions of it, and I definitely expect it to make a resurgence in the future.
This Crest is powerful because, just like the Crest of Obession, it allows you to search your deck for something you need. In this case, the cards you are searching for are characters, so you should always have a way to attack or block.
The only reason I personally rate the Crest of Obsession higher than the Crest of Rage is because tactics, in general, have a more immediate effect on the game than characters. Sure, you could search your deck for a much needed blocker via the Warlord Crest, but the Arcanist Crest can search for a kill card and deal with a problem permenantly.
I obviously understand that you can search for a character like Athalamund Mangod or Octo-Ba-Ba to deal with problems similarly to tactics. I just favor the Arcanist Crest as I found it more useful in "bad" situations than the Rage Crest. This is really just personal preference and I would love ot hear arguments from the opposing perspective.
This is my last post before Christmas next Tuesday so I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to you all! Feel free to stop by the forums and discuss which of these Christmas Ornaments is your favorite (for whatever reason) and share your thoughts on how I rated each of these Crests.