Card Draw #4: Card Draw Options in the Intelligence Attribute
It is time for the fourth part of our Card Draw series – this time we will be looking at the blue cards. The blue Intelligence attribute is the power-house of card draw in The Elder Scrolls Legends. We are currently looking at a total of 31 cards that can help with card draw. Some of them you will definitely use and be familiar with, some others might have their use in some niche or theme decks. But without further ado – here are the options…
The 2-cost Abecean Navigator is a common 3/1 High Elf from the Core Set who is particularly helpful if you are looking to draw actions from your deck: when summoned, he will let you draw the top card of the deck, if it is an action. Otherwise, the card moves to the bottom of the draw deck and it will be pretty difficult to get the creature, item or support back from there. The Abecean Navigator is great with Therana already in play as it helps you to dig for actions, that Therana cycles back into your deck as 0-cost cards. It has a bit of a caveat, if you have a specific creature or item that you want to get to hand. But action, means Action!, so why not?!
High Rock Summoner
The rare 2-cost High Rock Summoner is a 1/1 Breton from the Core Set who puts a random Atronach (i.e. an additional card) into your hand, when being summoned. This is a huge advantage, as Atronach’s are really powerful creatures (5/3 stats and better). However, this can be even more devastating to your opponent when High Rock Summoner is combined with Wispmother. The Summoner is certainly an important part in any Atronach-based deck.
The common 2-cost action Ice Spike (from the Core Set) deals 2 damage to your opponent and let’s you draw a card. A bit of reach, a bit of card draw. Not the most destructive card for 2 magicka, but a good option for many aggro decks, in particular with Lillandril Hexmage where each action causes additional damage or if you have Crystal Tower Crafter in play to level her up.
Moment of Clarity
The epic 2-cost action Moment of Clarity from the Core Set reveals three random cards, and let’s you choose one to draw. This is definitely a bit of a gamble, as it could be any card (and not one from your deck), but it can be helpful when you are looking for a solution to counter your opponent’s board, but really have no answer in your deck. Granted, you would still need to be extremely lucky, but it can be fun to see such a turnaround swing being pulled off. The card has viability in any Unite the Houses type of deck, that aims to get one card of each color into play.
The 2-cost Palace Conspirator is a 2/2 Dark Elf who draws draws you a card, when summoned, and then makes you discard a card (the same or a different one). This can be pretty good if you need certain cards in your discard pile (e.g. Dragons for Alduin, or Giant Bats for Soul Tear/Shout combos or Journey to Sovngarde or Falkreath Defiler or Yagrum Bagarn).
The epic 2-cost High Elf Shimmerene Peddler from the Core Set, draws a card at the end of your turn, if you played two actions this turn. Shimmerene Peddler is played in specialised decks only, as he can be interesting if you have lots of actions in your deck. Since you need to play two action-cards per turn, you will need a card draw engine and cards that help you draw another card, e.g. Ice Spike or Rapid Shot.
Considerable synergy can also be gained from Revealing the Unseen (see below), an action drawing two random actions for some extra synergy with the Peddler.
There is some additional synergy with Goblin Skulk, if you construct your deck for him to draw a 0-cost action.
Therana can help you to put more 0-cost actions into your deck to increase the probability of drawing an action.
Another action that provides some card draw (a bit indirectly), is the 3-cost Brilliant Experiment – it puts a copy of a friendly creature that you have on board, into your hand. This can either be a critical or unique creature which you would like multiple copies of. Although, Brilliant Experiment is not strictly giving you a draw from your draw deck, you can also play it on a creature that draws cards. Either way, you have an additional card of your choice in your hand that you didn’t have before, otherwise. So it’s a pretty neat choice. Interestingly, this action gets a very good rating on legends-decks.com but sees little use in decks. Maybe it’s a hidden gem, that should be played a little bit more often in mid-range or control type decks?!
When summoned, the 3-cost Dark Elf Cunning Ally puts a Firebolt into your hand, if the top card of your deck is a blue (Intelligence) card. You will need a vast majority of blue cards in your deck, to consistently let the Ally draw you the Firebolt, a removal action, that removes creatures with 2 health or less in the early game. In qudrant theory, the Cunning Ally, definitely has his strengths in the Opening quadrant.
The 3-cost Daggerfall Mage comes as a 2/2 onto the board, yet it is (one of) the best legendary cards in the Intelligence attribute. Reason: The creature has Ward; and if the Ward is broken, you can put a Tome of Alteration (see a few rows below) into your hand. When played, this item will draw you a card. Therefore, Daggerfall Mage has a somewhat indirect draw effect, but gives you a lot of tempo and board control in the early game, particularly, when you use a Wardcrafter to renew his Ward…
The 3-cost action Excavate draws an item or support from your discard pile. This can be a nice option, if your deck relies on a particular item or support card, that you might require in a combo or to close out and win the game (Battlemace 🙂 ).
Revealing The Unseen
This 3-cost action puts two random actions into your hand. This is a strong random effect, but provides synergy in action-based decks around Lillandril Hexmage or Shimmerene Peddler.
When summoned, the 3-cost Shalk Fabricant puts a random action into your hand, if you have a neutral card in play. Definitely some risk here, as you are required to have a neutral card in play (maybe a support that’s at least not as easily removed as a creature?), but still an interesting option to win-back some tempo, as Shalk Fabricant is also a Guard creature. Overall, the card is seeing little play, as many players seem to dislike random effects.
The 3-cost Telvanni Arcanist is a 3/2 Dark Elf with a Last Gasp ability, to put a random action into your hand. This works particularly well, with Betray actions, as you can “recyle” him and still get an additional benefit from this.
Elusive Schemer is another wonder-card similar to the Daggerfall Mage. For a cost of 4 magicka, this rare Dark Elf has relatively poor stats (3/1), however, he draws a card when being summoned. He trades in pretty favorably to other creatues, but the real twist comes with his Last Gasp ability, which shuffles a 0-cost copy of the Elusive Schemer back into your deck. A very powerful card, that sees play consistently, and definitely something to consider in your Intelligence based deck.
The 4-cost Ice Wraith is an epic 2/2 Wraith creature, that draws you an Ice Spike (see a little bit above) at the start of the turn. Thus, it needs to survive one turn (e.g. in the Shadow Lane) and will then get you an Ice Spike action that draws a card. Sweet. If you have multiple Ice Wraith and Lillandril Hexmage, Therana and/or Shimmerene Peddler in play, your opponent might as well start to prepare for the next battle…
When summoned, the 4-cost unique legendary J’Zargo puts an Experimental Scroll into your hand. An Experimental Scroll is either Enlightenment, Flame Blast, or Flame Cloak. Don’t worry which one it is. Just give it a try. Enlightenment gives each friendly creature two random Keywords. Flame Blast deals 2 damage to each enemy creature. Flame Cloak deals 5 damage to each player. A fun card with a decent, though random effect.
When summoned, the 4-cost Dark Elf Riften Pickpocket reveals three random cards in your opponent’s deck. You can choose one of the and draw a copy of it. Another random card draw effect, that is useful in Unite the Houses decks or if you are feeling lucky…
Tome of Alteration
The 4-cost Tome of Alteration adds +2/+2 to one of your creatures in play, and draws a card. Use it to help one of your creatures to fight for the board and get another card-play option to keep on pushing your advantage.
College of Winterhold
The College of Winterhold is a 5-cost support card from the HoS expansion. When activated, this support let’s you draw one of three random actions. Each and every time the support is activated, the actions you draw get more powerful. Ideally you want to have a Cauldron Keeper and a Tower Alchemist in play. With these three in play, you’d have a typical Support Mage archetype deck which is frequently seen in ranked play in TESL.
The 5-cost Court Wizard is a decent 3/5 Breton creature, who draws a card if you have two blue Intelligence creatures in play, when Court Wizard is summoned. Compared to Triumphant Jarl, from the Strength attribute, the Wizard has better health and comes at a slightly lower cost. To trigger his effect, he will need to be included in a deck that is based on a (vast) majority of Intelligence cards.
The 5-cost Dragonstar Rider draws you a card, when he equips an item. This Redguard can be very nice, if you have a support card in place, which automatically equips a newly summoned creature with an item, but it can be a good card draw engine in item decks, or in combination with the red Plunder action.
The 5-cost Insightful Scholar is a rare 2/3 High Elf with Prophecy who draws you a card for each card your opponent drew this turn. This could have happened, if you have broken one (or better two) of your opponent’s runes this turn. Also, he is almost a nice counter-card if the meta shows a big presence of draw engine based decks, like Nix-Ox Combo, Namira’s Shrine, or the Disciple of Namira? If your opponent then hits a rune and the Scholar is pulled as a prophecy, this might give you a surprise-swing back into the game. The odds wouldn’t be too high, and he is probably rightfully given a low rating on legends-decks.com. But maybe his time is now in the current meta for a few people to try him again? If we look at him from a Quadrant Theory perspective, his strength are certainly in the Losing/Comeback quadrant, so he might be something to consider to swing the odds into your favor.
Thief of Dreams
Well, well, well. A 5-cost 4/4 Khajiit, called Thief of Dreams must be something, right?! He presents you with two cards – if the one you pick is in your opponent’s hand you can draw a copy of that card. Ugh, wait, did you just get a Miraak or a Paarthunax? Your opponent’s control deck could have just given you a little bit of something that turned the odds in your favour. Certainly, a random effect, but can still be a strong play, if you know your opponent is holding onto something very special.
The 6-cost Fate Weaver is a rare 3/3 Nereid and probably one of the most interesting prophecy cards that is an auto-include in any Prophecy-heavy deck: when summoned, Fate Weaver, draws you a card. But, if that card also has Prophecy, it may even be played for free, otherwise you can put it into your hand. An entire deck archetype, Prophecy Battlemage, or Prophecy Mage have been built around this card. Quadrant Theory: definitely, Fate Weaver has his strength in the Parity, Winning and even some in the Losing quadrant. The card even has some utility in the Opening quadrant, if you are playing against an Aggro deck and one of your rune gets broken – you get to play a 3/3 for free and perhaps even another creature. However, you will need lots of Prophecy cards in the deck…
The 6-cost legendary Breton Genius Pathmage from the HoM expansion draws a random creature from your deck with cost equal to your current magicka. He is a great guy, if you want to pull a particular card from your deck – let’s say you have 13 magicka and wanted to pull out Nix-Ox, then this would be an amazing draw, as Nix-Ox would provide another 5 magicka you could be investing into something else. You can also use Genius Pathmage on turn 7, if your only 1-cost creature in the deck is a Blood Sorceress which would then deal 5 damage to your opponent at the start of your next turn. This is an extremely powerful card draw effect, almost as powerful as Laaneth and definitely worth a careful look at the cards at the different magicka levels in your deck.
The 6-cost Studium Headmaster is an epic 6/3 High Elf that draws two cards for both players when summoned. This can be awesome, if you opponent already has the maximum number of cards (10) in their hand and his two go directly into his discard pile. He might be something to consider against control type decks, but is usually not seeing play, as he has a beneficial effect for your opponent as well. Of course, he has some synergy with Insightful Scholar (the combo will draw you 4 cards), but the two Studiosi come at a cost of 11 magicka. Still, I feel this is a combo that’s yet seen little exploration in the game. Maybe there is something hidden, that no one has found yet?
The 6-cost Summerset Orrery is a support card that has a maximum of 3 uses (like many other supports): when activated, it shuffles all Prophecy cards in your hand back into your deck and let’s you draw an equal amount of cards. It can be a bit of a card draw engine, if you are fishing for something in a Prophecy-heavy deck, yet the card is widely ignored and discarded in competitive play for it’s high cost and random effects. There is a one-turn kill combo deck with Arcaneum Librarian, but the decks are not really consistent. Maybe in the future we might see some additional use for this card.
Mages Guild Retreat
The epic 7-cost support Mages Guild Retreat summons a random Atronach at the end of each turn, where you played two actions. Definitely a good addition to a Atronach-themed deck, with good synergy to action heavy decks or Revealing the Unseen (see above).
The 7-cost action Spirit Knife deals 7 damage to a creature and draws you a card. It is very powerful, and can become devastating when Therana is in play, as this will cause 0-cost copies of Spirit Knife to be shuffled into your deck.
The 9-cost Laaneth is the mother of all card-draw cards, the Goddess of that one pick you need to draw a particular card of your choice from your deck. The unique legendary 6/6 Dark Elf is available in the Return to Clockwork City story expansion, and is a must-include in any combo deck and oftentimes also included in Control decks to get the approporiate card to deal with a certain threat or to start to turaround the game.
Nahkriin, Dragon Priest
The unqiue 5/5 Skeleton Nahkriin, Dragon Priest is expensive, as he will cost 9 magicka to play. However, draws a card and reduces it’s cost to 0, i.e. it can also be played on the same turn. Maybe if you knew what card was up next, it might be reasonable to play him to get an expensive card for free?! Oh wait, wasn’t there Studiosus Greybeard? *smiles evilish* For 10 magicka, you could play a 5/5 body and another high-cost card. Wouldn’t this be too good to be true?!
To summarize – 31 (!!) card draw options in Intelligence alone, plus a few more, when we also consider multi-color cards from the Mage Class or combine it with the Neutral card draw options. We can definitely consider the Intelligence attribute, to be one of the best options, when it comes to drawing additional options to your hand. It gives a lot of control decks good options for card draw, but also has amazing creatures with Daggerfall Mage and Elusive Schemer to provide card draw options in almost any deck. There are also potentially some unexplored or under-explored draw cards in here, that have seen little play. Maybe there is a combo already now or in the near future (with new expansions) that make these cards more viable in competitive play. OK, that’s it for tonight.
In the next part of the Card Draw series, we will be looking at the yellow Willpower attribute. Here, your options are considerably less…