Altmer Dragonknight – Uses, Synergies and Counterplays
Altmer Dragonknight is the Monthly Reward card for October 2018 in The Elder Scrolls Legends. Altmer Dragonknight is an epic 3-cost 3/2 High Elf from the Mage (blue/yellow) class that has a special effect when combined with actions: At the end of your turn, if you played an action, Altmer Dragonknight gains +2/+2. He relies on a very consistent amount of actions to be present in your deck and hand to grow and provide value.
The card is designed to work in Action or Support Mage decks, that want to control the board and can deliver consistent actions and card draw. In such decks, the Dragonknight can become a real threat. He requires an immediate answer from your opponent. But let’s use Quadrant Theory to evaluate the card:
During opening, a 3/2 body for three magicka will not be super-exciting in itself. Compare it to a blue 5/4 Vigilant Ancestor who basically guards your other creatures. At 3 magicka, we also have a 5/5 Pit Lion which hits and survives so much better.
Yes, with 3 health the Dragonknight can trade favourably up into a slightly bigger card, but you really want to make sure that you get to choose the target yourself. To get value from him, you need Altmer Dragonknight to survive for at least one or two turns.
Be careful playing him alone on a turn – you will only want to play him together with an action. This turn him into a 5/4 at the end of your turn which is more difficult to answer.
As a 3/2, and definitely as a 5/4, your opponent will want to remove him on their very next turn. Thus, the Dragonknight will be a good lure to make your opponent use a removal card. Firebolt can only remove him as a 3/2. As a 5/4 your opponent at least needs to play a Lightning Bolt, a Sorcerer’s Negation or a Piercing Javelin. Use this knowledge to protect the next card you really don’t want removed: your Therana maybe, or your Destruction Tutor. So, during opening the Altmer Dragonknight is pretty cool, only if supported by an action on the same turn and on the next turn. Get your mulligans right for this. Otherwise: as a 3/2 you are playing a meh-only card…
If drawn as a top deck at Parity, he really does not help you much in isolation. You get a 3/2 only. The ability to consistently draw or generate an action on your next turn to get him the +2/+2 is key for your deck to get value out of Altmer Dragonknight at Parity. Your opponent could even decide to ignore him as a 5/4 and just keep pushing for damage. The Dragonknight does not have Guard to block your opponent. At Parity he is a great-follow up to a (cheap) lane removal action. You clear the lane with an action, and play him unopposed to turn him into a 5/4. Altmer Dragonknight is valuable in Parity only in action-heavy decks.
When you are winning, the 3/2 body is also not adding much to your attack. Only when complimented by actions in one or two turns will he be goof for trading or pushing damage. If you have removal actions to remove bigger threats in conjunction with him, he can be growing and support the beatdown in a better way. Here is a fun meme experiment for you to try: reduce your opponent’s health to 26. Then play him and a Doppelganger to grow him with actions across 5 turns. These two 13/12 creatures get you a one-turn kill. Support Mage might pull this off when the opponent has run out of cards and has only the top-deck card to rely on.
Losing / Turnaround
Definitely, a 3/2 is not a good turnaround swing when you are losing the game. Only as a 5/4 can you trade in for something bigger next turn. A Guard or Removal actions would be by far superior in the Losing phase of a game.
Altmer Dragonknight heavily relies on an action-heavy deck that has to be built around him. Definitely, we need to look at Synergies heavily, to gain the value this High Elf has to offer. In good company, he can really be used to develop very serious threats.
Ideally, we would like a Dragonknight Clone-Factory, based on some actions, right? Okay, here you go:
- 4-magicka: Play Altmer Dragonknight together with a 1-cost action. If not removed, you can Doppelganger him on turn 5 and play a Lesser Ward.
- 7-magicka or up: With Dragonknight on board: play Ayrenn, to pull a Brilliant Experiment from discard pile and use it to clone the Dragonknight.
- 8-magicka or up: With a Dragonknight on board, play a Chanter of Akatosh. Then, use a Brilliant Experiment on the Dragonknight. Chanter’s special ability can summon another Dragonknight.
- 9-magicka: Play Genius Pathmage to pull Altmer Dragonknight and equip the Dragonknight with Lesser Ward.
- Play a 1-cost action into Laaneth, into another Dragonknight or into Doppelganger when you already have Dragonknight on board.
- Play Dragonknight, then Ayrenn, to pull a Brilliant Experiment from discard pile and use it to clone the Dragonknight.
- 12-magicka: Play Dragonknight from hand, followed by Genius Pathmage to summon another Dragonknight and use a Lesser Ward for protection.
Some experimentation might need to be done to fit this card into Action Mage. Please see the Teamrankstar blog for a great, more detailed overview of this archetype. While Action Mage relies on several actions be played every turn, the Dragonknight could live well with only one action. Nonetheless, this might inspire some new decks of this type to appear in the meta.
FrostSpark Collection – Harmony and Desctruction Tutor
With the FrostSpark Collection being released on November 1, we will likely see Harmony and Destruction Tutor to be added to the mix. Maybe Sparkypants wanted to shift the meta a little towards Mage? Let’s see if a higher-tier Mage deck emerges with these new tools…
The most obvious counter-play for Sorcerer- or Telvanni-decks is Sorcerer’s Negation. It’ only a 2-cost, so the Dragonknight is pretty cheap to remove. The value-gain effect is also very easily countered by any silencing effects. While Shackle slows Altmer Dragonknight down, it does not remove the problem, it might just get bigger. Lethal would be the safer bet. You should answer Dragonknight with removal quickly, before he gets out of control.