Shade Preview - Siluriformes Flaxenscale
by Phillip Burkholder
Hey everyone! Iím glad to be sharing more information and insight with you guys. Specifically, I get to spoil Siluriformes Flaxenscale, a new banker character from Shade of the Devoured Emperor.
Letís talk flavor and art. I mean, come on, itís The Spoils! We HAVE to talk about flavor and art first.
Art and Flavor
I absolutely love this hilarious twist on the catfish. Siluriformes is the genus for catfish, and I guess can now forever be known as ďcatdragonĒ in the land of Luridia. His last name, Flaxenscale, is not just a reference to the golden color of his scales. His scales are ACTUALLY gold and his crest is composed entirely of cash. Awesome. His cat-nose and barbels are also a great touch. Hats off to Corrado Sesselego for his artwork here.
Flaxenscale's flavor text reads, ďavarice incarnate.Ē If you havenít already started to wonder, I think that this may to be a reference to Smaug from The Hobbit, who is a dragon that loves gold. His name is also surprisingly similar to Smaug the Golden. One of his abilities even includes the use of gold to make him stronger. Case closed for me.
Is he also protecting that mau sitting in the background or preparing to eat him? Who knows? Itís The Spoils. Either way, I want to assume that the mau is Eustace.
Like I said earlier, heís a banker character and the first ever dragon for the trade. He has a cost of seven and a stat line of 4/5/3. Before really diving into what these stats mean, I want to draw your attention to his threshold. At four threshold he will probably shine more in a constructed format versus limited, but I say that only comparing him to cards that already exist in current sets. We donít yet know the entirety of Shade, so maybe going Banker with a splash of something else could be quite powerful when drafting.
For a cost of seven his stats are less than impressive if you compare him to other vanilla seven cost characters, but we have to consider his abilities and assume he is a support character that can pack a punch if needed. We donít know who Eustace is, but we can bet he will be quite the fighter when paired with Flaxenscale. Itís also important that he is unique, so we can only have one in play at a time.
We already know he supports Eustace by passively giving him +3/+3/+0, which is substantial even if Eustace starts as a 1/1/3. Flaxenscale's first ability, ďNumismatic Emission,Ē has a cost of ďPay 5Ē with the effect of ďDraw 2 cards. Gain 2 influence.Ē This is huge in any deck, but especially useful in a mono-banker deck, especially since we already know that a card draw is worth three resources.
His ability reduces this cost by roughly by one, assuming you were going to draw two cards for six, and your faction gains two influence. This sort of ability is old hat for Bankers as they are very good at generating cards and influence. This is the first time, however, that influence gain is part of the characterís ability rather than an enters/leaves play trigger.
Even More Gampelay!
The second ability is why I think he will make it into the constructed scene. First, it fits into his flavor of a money grubbing catdragon that has gold scales. Second, it allows you to discard for free and buff the dragon himself. There is also no limit to the number of times that this can be used and it can be done at any time because it does not require him to deplete.
Need to win a battle? Sure, discard your six-card hand for +6/+6/0. Thatís quite the swing. It could also be a winning swing if you managed to get him on the board in limited play.
As far as how he fits into the current meta, we can only speculate because we donít know what else Shade will bring. I already feel that weíll see a resurgence of the Gold Summit/Writ/Bile Banker deck. If you guys remember, it used cards like Gold Summit, Free Trade Agreement, and Selective Gluttony in order to deck yourself and build influence. Once decked, it would recycle Bask Bile using Writ of Reclamation.
Think about that with this character sitting in play. Instead of paying three to draw if you donít have the draw cards available, you instead activate his first ability to draw two and gain 2 + (2 x the number of Gold Summits in play) influence. This would easily accelerate that deck to its combo much faster and would provide a hefty blocker.
I am surprised this deck has not become much more popular already with cards like Fecal Urgency being released.
The second ability is also a built-in easing of playing discard decks. Itís not a counter because you still have to discard, but if I have to discard I would like to do it on my own terms. I foresee many cards with discard counters arriving with Shade. We already saw Arcane Escrow spoiled on Team Covenantís website. I also hope to see more of the siluriformes subtype.
What Do You Thinkt?
I already know this gentle catdragon is going straight into my constructed deck and I cannot wait to see what else Shade brings. I hope you enjoyed the preview! How do you guys think Siluriformes Flaxenscale will shake up The Spoils?