Santosvella revealed Sword of the Inferno, the tenth card in the FrostSpark Collection. Before we have a closer look, let’s check-out the card-art: It is amazing and the premium version of the card has a cool red-orange glow-effect around the sword.
The 2-cost item in the red Strength attribute gives +2/+0 and has a special Summon ability. The wielder deals 2 damage to itself and another creature. Sounds a bit strange, but is really powerful. If you play the Sword on a creature with 2 health or less, the special ability will kill your creature. This would not be particularly helpful to gain the +2/+0 and is obviously not the ideal use of the card ;). However, a creature with Last Gasp might give you some additional effect that you might prefer to get. Usually, you want your creature to survive to deal the damage, so you might want to run Sword of Inferno in a deck with creatures with 3 health or more. Ideally, these would come with Slay or Drain effects to benefit from the 2 damage being dealt to another creature.
Another awesome use for Sword of Inferno is to put it on creatures with Ward that benefit from the Ward being broken, e.g. Daggerfall Mage, Breton Conjurer or Iliac Sorcerer.
If you equip a Breakthrough creature with the Sword, you might even land a single point of Breakthrough damage when hitting a creature with 1 health. Why am I mentioning this? Because Crusader fans just got a cool new synergy.
But before we look at synergy, let’s run this new card through the various phases of the game, using Quadrant Theory.
Quadrant Theory for Sword of the Inferno
As with every item, you need to have a creature on the board to be able to play it. With a cost of 2, Sword of Inferno is perfectly playable during Opening, but you should be careful to not kill your own creatures and have enough 1/3’s or 2/3’s in your deck to benefit from the +2/+0 burst and the 2 damage removal option. The ward synergy with Daggerfall Mage or Breton Conjurer can give you the benefit of their Ward being broken, a 2-damage removal option and with a Wardcrafter or Lesser Ward in hand you can do some really powerful plays during the game opening.
Note, also, that the item would allow you to remove an opponent’s creature that is hidden in the Shadowlane. Good bye, Graystone Ravager and Bog Lurcher…
At Parity, Sword of the Inferno can help remove one smaller creature, while the +2/+0-boosted creature can trade favourably into another. If the Sword leaves you with a 2-for-1 trade and retains another higher value creature undamaged, then you have just made a good play and helped to stay at Parity or potentially got on the road to be winning the game.
When winning, the +2/+0 gives additional burst and the removal is also an interesting option to avoid more trades and keep board control. In this phase the card is not a monster, but can help for a good cost to deal more damage over the final 2-3 turns.
When you need a turnaround, your opponent will have some bigger threats or multiple smaller threats on the board. In the second case, the Sword can help in removing and trading against two creatures. In the first case, you might not be able to get a 2:1 trade as the 2 damage will likely not be enough to kill that bigger threat. However, with some synergy to Ice Storm (or other lane removal) or Breton Conjurer, you might find some good value even in this phase of the game. Not to forget the option to use this card on a Drain creature to regain some life while damaging another creature and giving you better trade option.
You will definitely want to experiment with this very versatile card in the upcoming season and it will likely see consistent play over the longer term. It has value in all quadrants and can swing the game in your favour during Opening. It might become a staple in Battlemage decks that are running Daggerfall Mage and Breton Conjurer. Let’s look for more synergies for the Sword of the Inferno to find some other decks it might be considered for.
Any creature with Ward will be protected from the 2 damage. In Warrior, you can play Iliac Sorcerer on turn one, play the Sword of the Inferno on him, and swing with 6/1 on turn two.
In Dagoth or Battlemage, you can use it on Daggerfall Mage or Breton Conjurer and leverage other creatures or supports to regain the Ward.
In Dagoth, there is a huge opportunity to equip a (Slay!) creature with Assassin’s Ritual and kill a large threat hiding in the Shadowlane. Great value!
Crusader’s Assault is a great card to draw two cards. If you have 5 magicka, you can play Crusader’s Assault and then Sword of the Inferno on the same creature to remove a 1-health creature this will draw two cards. You can then swing into another creature to draw another two cards. You can use Forsworn Looter as tutor for the item and Silent Pilgrim to tutor a Crusader’s Assault.
Drain synergy gives the Sword of the Inferno a great ability to regain life in the same turn it is played. You would need a higher health drain creature like Apex Wolf, Undying Dragon, Ebonheart Oracle or Nightshadow to allow the drain creature to survive. Particularly Ebonheart Oracle will be a cool target for Sword of Inferno before it swings – it becomes a 5/5, deals 2 damage to a creature, 2 damage to itself and can swing for 5: this makes for a life gain of 18 (thanks to Of_Moon_And_Stars for pointing this out).
If you play Sword of the Inferno on a Slay creature that dies from the effect, it still counts as a Slay. As an example, if you play the Sword onto a Falkreath Defiler with only 2 health left you get to return a creature from your graveyard – if you manage to kill one of your opponent’s creatures as well, you can get another creature from your Graveyard. On turn 5, the combo Sword/ Falkreath Defiler can do pretty amazing things: assuming your Indoril Masterminds or Merchants Camels were able to get a Frost Giant, an Iron Atronach, a Gortwog gro-Nagorm, an Aspect of Hircine or something equally fun into your discard pile, by then.
As the Sword can be used to kill enemy creatures while also kills yours it might work well with Aundae Clan Sorcerer too.
Lucien Lachance is a Friend of Sword of the Inferno, and putting them into the hands of Night Talon Lord or Blood Magic Lord will give them some good times as well.
In Archer, Dagoth or Hlaalu, there are also great cards with synergy: Astrid, Brotherhood Slayer, Pahmar-raht Renegade, Naryu Virian, Torval Extortionist, Black Dragon, Child of Hircine, Wild Fire Dragon to name a few.
Another interesting option is to equip Sword of the Inferno to Flaggelation creatures. When taking damage, Flaggelation creatures grow in power or trigger a special effect. Good examples are Fletcherfly Golem or Fearless Northlander in Strength or Frost Troll and a health-boosted Brassilisk in Endurance. The card draw effect of Gristlehide Dreugh might make him an option for inclusion in such “self-ping” or flaggelation decks.
The Last Gasp effect of several creatures can be triggered by the item as well. However, unless the Cruel Firebloom / Balmora Spymaster combo, the positive +2/+0 effect of Sword of the Inferno is lost, when the creature dies. Some Warrior decks might like the 5 health gained by Restless Templar, and the Sword of Inferno could be a nice trigger for this on the same turn to survive one turn longer. Otherwise, I am not convinced that the Sword of the Inferno is the most cost effective way to trigger a Last Gasp effect, as you can usually trade into something.
Definitely a great card for mid-range Battlemage, due to the Ward-synergy. It can have cool uses in Warrior, Crusader and might become a stable in Slay decks. It will be very interesting to see the Sword of the Inferno in the meta tonight…