The Justin Larson revealed the fourth card of the Frostspark Collection: Karthspire Scout, a 1-cost 1/1 Orc in the purple Endurance attribute. The card has an interesting Last gasp effect: it draws a card but increases the cost of that card by one magicka. Hm, is this good? Should you play it? I think the answer is yes – let’s look at it’s uses and later at it’s synergies.
Evaluating Karthspire Scout using Quadrant theory
Disencourages Opponent to remove it as it has card draw so has some stickiness
Opening: Pretty Good, when supported by Items
With a cost of 1 magicka you would expect Karthspire Scout to be strong in the opening of the game to get you to an advantageous board position. It’s certainly not a strong body, so it can trade with only a few creatures that have one health. So that’s not great.
However, it’s Last Gasp effect discourages your opponent from Firebolting or Executing it on their turn one, as you would get card advantage through the card draw.
Instead, your opponent might be inclined to play a 1/3 or 2/2 or 2/3 creature in the same lane to trade into it.
This “stickiness” of Karthspire Scout can allow you to equip the Orc with an item to trade favourably into two cards to gain more card advantage. Even if Karthspire Scout were stalled by Shrieking Harpy it wouldn’t be terrible, as you would still have the card advantage if you could trade into the Harpy on a later turn.
Hence, the card is relatively strong in this quadrant if you can get it equipped with an item.
Parity: Generally Weak, but good in Orc Warrior or Betray Scout or Telvanni
At Parity, Karthspire Scout does not make a big impact. The 1/1 body will make very little difference in turns 4-6. To be good in this phase of the game, the card will need to be supported with stronger cards that synergise with the Orc. And in fact, there are several Orcs, that required other Orcs to be presented for their special effects to become effective. Hence, the cheap Karthspire Scout can actually be a good bridesmaid for a few male members of the tribe. But for itself, the card is pretty weak.
Certainly, the last gasp card draw effect will also be useful at Parity, however, you will need another effect to trigger the last gasp effect consistently. If we are now thinking about Betray-decks, or self-damage effects, we might be on the right track to make this card shine. House Telvanni fans should have a big smile on their face.
Winning: Meh… Unless Used in Abomination Scout, Orc Warrior or Telvanni Where it can Shine
How can a 1/1 body be good in the Winning quadrant, when you are already on a three turn clock to win? The answer again – Orc synergies and more deck cycle…
Losing: Digging for a Solution…
A 1/1 body without Lethal or Guard is obviously useless when you are already losing the game. However, the card cycle effect can help you to dig for a solution if you don’t have one on hand, but you have to be able to trigger it very much on the same turn that you play Karthspire Scout. This actually does give the card decent utility in this quadrant when you can trigger it consistently. Again, Betray or self-ping decks might find uses; other decks should stay away.
To summarise: the card can be good in all quadrants, which makes me predict that this female Orc will see lots of play in a few archetypes. First one being:
Orcs fight better together. A low-cost Orc like Karthspire Scout is a really great bridesmaid for some of the more powerful Orcs that rely on another Orc to be on the board, for example:
- Wood Orc Headhunter: Yesterday, at the Warpmeta EU#10 tournament, one player would have won his semifinal game, if he had had a Karthspire Orc to trigger the charge effect on a Woodorc Headhunter. Bad luck she wasn’t around.
- Wrothgar Kingpin gains +1/+1 from his beautiful bridesmaid and with the last gasp effect triggered on same turn you might be able to draw and play yet another Orc. Too bad for the marriage but maybe you find her twin sister?! Orcs
- Stoneshard Orc let’s you remove a slightly bigger creature if you have Karthspire Orc on board as his bridesmaid,
- Bangkorai Butcher – if he marries her at Parity you will see these Honeymooners be on a trip of joy, because the Butcher is now a lot bigger… (+2/+2)
Betray and Altar of Despair
For Betray decks, Karthspire Scout can be sacrificed easily, as it will immediately draw you another card (although that card is slightly made a bit more expensive). This allows you to cycle your deck faster while looking for combo pieces or stronger cards.
In addition, as a 1-cost, in an Altar of Despair deck you get a 2-cost body and another card to hand which will give you card advantage and help you in thinning your deck further.
It might not be the kindest way of dealing with the Orc-beauty, but if the Ravenous Crocodile damages her, you get another card draw, but a 3/4 body for 2 magicka. Could be a nice combo in Warrior or even Conscription
Redoran (Orc) Conscription
Let’s think about Karthspire Scout in Redoran Conscription: Karthspire Scout, Ravenous Crocodile, Stoneshard Orc, Ambitious Hireling, Orc Clan Captain. Praetorian Commander… no need to say more?! Could be nice, right?
Card draw in Ramp decks
Endurance is the weakest attribute when it comes to card draw options (see Card Draw #7: Card Draw Options in the Endurance Attribute). In a ramp Spellsword or Ramp Scout deck, the last gasp draw effect can get you to the cards that increase your magicka a little faster. The increase to the cost of the drawn card, might not even be as bad in a ramp deck. So, I would expect some will experiment with this
Petamax Abomination and other Cycle decks
Another opportunity for Shadowmarking sits with card cycling decks, relying on the deck being cycled almost completely in a short amount of time. Thieves Guild Fence, Disciple of Namira and Necromancer’s Amulet are some of the key cards in this case. Karthspire Scout could be a good addition to this type of deck as well.
So, another good card in the Frostspark Collection strengthening a few deck lists and giving us more room to experiment with. I am looking forward to this one.
And… Justin Larson – just amazing card reveal – thank you!