Item Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look
Your item-centered decks in The Elder Scrolls Legends can win more consistently with Item Tutors. While many of your successful decks already rely on items, probably only some of them run item tutors to draw the item from deck. So can item tutors help to improve this?
Item Tutors at their Best
A good example of a deck that tutors for it’s key-item is Warriors7 Bog Champ. His deck relies on Bog Lurcher, Unstoppable Rage and Improvised Weapon to win the game on turn 12 (Warriors7 list, and another Bog Lurcher Rage deck list here). The deck uses Goblin Skulk’s pilfer ability to tutor for an Improvised Weapon during the early game. The 4-cost Bog Lurcher, the Improvised Weapon and the 8-cost Unstoppable Rage are then played for a one-turn kill into a lane full of your opponent’s creatures.
But there are so many other decks that leverage items:
- Item-Battlemage is an entire archetype fully devoted to item synergies,
- Midrange Battlemage uses Sentinel Battlemace as a finisher,
- Dawnbreaker is a great finisher in many Mage, Monk, House Hlaalu or Crusader builds,
- Sword of the Inferno is currently finding it’s way into many Warrior, Crusader, Archer or Battlemage decks,
- Stealer of Secrets OTK and many other OTK decks rely on Mentor’s Ring to hit face with a giant creature and one giant swing.
So let’s look at item tutors that fetch an item from your draw deck.
Draw Deck Item Tutors in TES Legends
Forsworn Looter is a neutral 2-cost 1/1 epic Reachman and THE item-tutor in the game. He is literally the only dedicated true item tutor who fetches an item from your draw deck. Unfortunately, though he is not fetching a particularly good item at first. Whenever he pilfers, he draws a random item from your deck equal to his power. If your opponent does not remove or block him, this can result in an upwards-spiral. Each turn the Looter pilfers, he can tutor a more powerful item from your draw deck.
Your opponent will know about his tremendous value and remove Forsworn Looter as quickly as possible. It is difficult: in order to get a high-value item, you need to protect him from silencing and removal. Is that realistic? You might think, that Lute is a great neutral item to avoid the silencing, but there is still no protection against removal. Therefore, the utility you can usually get from the Looter is rather limited. Should you want to try it nonetheless, the following tables shows the possible items by magicka. Pick an item in the first table, and when equipped, you can do a look-up in the corresponding table.
|Strength||+2/+1 Dagoth Dagger|
+2/+2 Steel Scimitar
|Dagger provides Breakthrough. Next pilfer is a 3-cost item.|
|Intelligence||+1/+1 Sixth House Amulet|
+1/+1 Gardener's Harvest
|SHA: If wielder has 5-power or more, it gains Ward. The amulet is not really useful when equipped to Looter, as you forfeit the Ward option
GH: At the end of each of your turns, GH changes into a random item. This can be a pretty high-rolling option for Forsworn Looter actually! Totally RNG, but why not be lucky?!
|Agility||+1/+1 Glass Greaves||Plot: Reduce the cost of a random card in hand by 1. Could be used to play another card. Next pilfer is a 2-cost item.|
+0/+2 +0/+2 Ring of Lordship
|Lute: The wielder is immune to Silence. Potentially a good item to pick. Next pilfer is a 2-cost item.
RoL: Gets your tribal deck snowballing on turn 3.
|Strength||+0/+2 Cloak & +2/+0 Dagger (Double card)|
+1/0 Bone Bow
+2/0 Sword of the Inferno
|The double card Cloak & Dagger adds versatility and can help you trade favorably.
Bone Bow silences a creature - could be a Guard, that's blocking.
The Sword does not make much sense to equip on the Looter as it will kill him. Otherwise, it's a very good card in the right deck.
|Intelligence||+3/+0 Steel Sword|
+3/+3 Throne Aligned
|Steel Sword is the power house. Next pilfer is 5-cost weapon, e.g. Mentor's Ring or Spear of Embers.|
|Willpower||+2/+0 Gavel of the Ordinator|
+1/+3 Legion Shield
|The Gavel is useful as it protects from damage. Next pilfer at 4-cost.
Legion shield provides Guard.
|Agility||+0/+1 Embassy Disguise|
+1/+1 Snake Tooth Necklace
|Embassy Disguise gives cover until next attack. Can be good.
The Necklace provides Drain, but is better equipped elsewhere (for higher drain).
|Endurance||+1/+1 Daedric Dagger|
+0/+3 Enchanted Plate
Yew Shield: +1/+1 for every enemy in lane
|Dagger provides Lethal. The Plate gives card draw, which i.s nice. Yew Shield can boost a lot|
|Neutral||+1/+1 Stolen Pants||When Looter dies, the Sheepish Dunmer in the other lane becomes a 1/1. Not spectacular...|
|Strength||+3/+0 Assassin's Bow|
+1/+1 Quicksilver Crossbow
+1/+3 Redoran Battlespear
+2/+2 Shield Breaker
|The Bow is cool: Looter gets cover at end of turn and can pilfer for a 6-cost item, next.
Crossbow lets you ideally pilfer twice.
Battlespear gives Rally - but why?
Shield Breaker gets you through a guard.
|Intelligence||+2/+1 Mace of Enumbrance||Shackles a threat. Next pilfer is 5-cost weapon, e.g. Mentor's Ring or Spear of Embers.|
|Endurance||+2/+2 Daedric Cresent|
+1/+3 Hackwing Feather
+0/+6 Imperial Armor
|All these are not so super-useful on the Looter.|
|Neutral||-2/0 Fork of Horripilation|
+2/+3 Horned Helm
+1/+1 Treasure Map
|FoH: Now this is an interesting one as it can reduce your attack, allowing you to pick a one-cost item. Alternatively you can Slay to draw 3 cards.
The Helm gives a nice boost for trades.
Treasure Map could be useful synergy in a treasure hunt deck.
|Strength||+3/+2 Grappling Hook|
+4/+1 Heavy Battleaxe
+3/+3 Orcish Warhammer
|Hook: Get ready to trade with creatures in either lane
Battleaxe: Maximise damage to face
Warhammer: Trade and cause face damage with Breakthrough. Is Looter good for Unstoppable Rage now? 😉
|Intelligence||+2/+2 Tome of Alteration||Card draw and next pilfer at 6.|
|Willpower||+4/+4 Dawnbreaker||Destroy a Vampire and boost face-damage. This thing is a beast.|
|Endurance||+2/+2 Dragonplate Armor|
+0/+2 Ring of Imaginery Might
|Dragonplate is better equipped onto Dragons.
Ring of Imaginery Might can be an important combo piece in your OTK deck
+3/+3 Dreugh Shell Armor
+0/+4 Glass Helm of Remedy
|Dawnfang/ Duskfang: is a great versatile tool to give you either life gain or card draw. Probably best equipped to another creature?!
Armor: 7 damage sounds nice
Glass Helm: You gain 4 health.
|Battlemage||+4/+0 Sentinel Battlemace||Great Looter-target. With Ward you can push for damage. How to best get here? Use Steel Scimitar or Dagoth Dagger as 1-cost pilfer, and pull Quick Silver Crossbow from deck. If Looter survives, you get your Battlemace, even if the lane is blocked by a Guard.|
As you can see, Forsworn Looter needs three pilfers to get you a Sentinel Battlemace. Equally, if you are looking for a Mentor’s Ring, you will also need three pilfers. I have recently play-tested a few Looter-decks on the ladder. It was sometimes possible to get two pilfers through, but three was nearly impossible. I did, however, manage to pull the Battlemace a few times by using the Quicksilver Crossbow. There is just too much removal around to keep the Looter alive.
Legends has many powerful items. Grappling Hook, Sentinel Battlemace, Stendarr’s Hammer, Ancestor’s Battleaxe and many more. As an aggro player, how often did you have a 2-power creature hiding in the Shadow Lane, but needed 6 points of damage? Just a few points more, but it needed to be this turn to get your opponent to zero health. If only you could equip a powerful item to swing for these extra few points of damage. Crucible Blacksmith will do this trick for you, by allowing you to draw a Sentinel Battlemace exactly when you need it. No crazy conditions, like Forsworn Looter, where you need a long handbook to consider what items he might fetch for you.
For a cost of 2-magicka, Crucible Blacksmith gives you access to so many more items. Instead of including 3-copies of each item, you might only include 2-copies and 2-3 tutors. This versatility will give you access to a much broader range of tools.
But there are other great uses, too! You can combine Crucible Blacksmith in a deck with Charge creatures for more reach. You can use it as Lane Removal with a Lethal Staff of Sparks, or increase the consistency of your Ring of Imaginery Might deck. If you like to learn more about Crucible Blacksmith, we recommend the article Crucible Blacksmith – Uses and Synergies for a full in-depth guide.
Discard Pile Item Tutors in TES Legends
There are two item tutors allowing you to draw items from the discard pile: Excavate and Master of Arms.
The blue 3-cost action Excavate (from Return to Clockwork City, a story expansion) allows you to draw an item or a support from your discard pile. Consider this action, if you want to use a powerful item multiple times, e.g. Dawnbreaker, Sword of the Inferno, Mentor’s Ring or Dragon Priest Mask.
If your deck runs such critical items and one or two supports as well, Excavation can give you a bit of flexibility allowing you to include fewer copies of those items or supports in your deck. This allows you access to a greater variety of “tools” in your deck.
Master of Arms
When summoned, Master of Arms equips the two highest cost items from your discard pile. This effect allows the 6-cost 4/4 Redguard to become a real “giant” with a power of 10 or more. Conceptually, the creature is almost the opposite from Forsworn Looter. While the Looter tutors low-value items, Master of Arms equips the most powerful items from your discard pile. This ability provides so much more value! Not only, can this get you more powerful items, but it also immediately equips them. This consitutes another big difference between the Master and the Looter, who only draws to hand.
Synergy with Gardener of Swords
When you have Gardener of Swords on board when the Master is player, he equips the same powerful items. This combo provides so much value, causing these two cards alone to shape their own “Item deck” archetype. Most notably here are Item Battlemage, Item Assassin or Item Warrior.
Synergy with Dragon’s Priest Mask
If you have a Dragon’s Priest Mask in your discard pile, the Master of Arms is strengthened even further. The Mask will re-trigger the Master’s summon ability again, hence equipping a maximum of 4 items from your discard pile.
Since Master of Arms tutors the items from the discard pile, you can easily combine him in a deck with deck thinning cards, such as Merchant’s Camel or Indoril Mastermind, or other cards that force you to actively put cards into your discard pile.
Synergy with Genius Pathmage
You can also tutor both Master of Arms and/or the Gardener of Swords by creature tutors, such as Genius Pathmage. The Pathmage pulls Master of Arms at 12 magicka, and Gardener of Swords at 7 magicka.
Summary – Discard Pile Item Tutors
It is relatively easy to generate value from discard pile item tutors in the Elder Scrolls Legends. While Excavate currently sees only limited play in constructed play on the ladder, Master of Arms has been archetype-defining. You will definitely compete against item decks every now and then on the ladder. Please be careful with cards that banish your items from your discard pile (e.g. Piercing Twilight or Memory Wraith). If your opponents runs either one, you need to play around them very, very carefully. Experienced players can smartly bait these banishers out, before they can hit the cards you want to recover from the discard pile.
Item Pseudo-Tutors in TES Legends
You might not like to devote a full deck to the item-theme. In this case, of course, you wouldn’t want to include any item tutors that draw from your deck or discard pile. Maybe your deck is not even running any items at all. But, The Elder Scrolls Legends still has a mechanism to equip your creatures with lower value items and give them incremental buffs. These add-up nicely and allow you to trade favorably, or might give you a bit more reach. With 13 different cards, the list of pseudo item-tutors is pretty long in TESL. Let’s go through them by attribute.
The red Strength attribute offers three draw-to-hand pseudo tutors.
Plunder is a 2-cost action that simply puts two random items into your hand. You can use it in mid-range decks to provide options for value-trades or to boost creatures going face.
Alik’r Survivalist puts a +1/+0 Steel Dagger into your hand, making him effectively a 5-cost 5/5. He can even be buffed-up further by additional item. The pseudo-tutor effect gives you some tactical options, such as keeping the dagger in hand and only equip it on the first turn the Survivalist attacks.
Battlefield Scrounger is a 5-cost 3/3 Charge-creature. He puts a random item into your hand when you use his Slay ability. You can nicely combine this with Sword of the Inferno, to effectively put two random items into your hand while removing two creatures during the process.
Both Alik’r Survivalist and Battlefield Scrounger provide you with good synergy, most notably in Item-Battlemage decks.
With Daggerfall Mage, the blue Intelligence attribute offers the best item-drawing pseudo-tutors for the Opening phase of the game. Tome of Alteration not only gives you an item with a +2/+2 buff to facilitate favorable trades, but also draws you an extra card. Almost unbeatable value!
Crown Quartermaster has for a long time been a somewhat underrated card. It has certainly seen play in item decks, but is seeing more play in House Telvanni decks, where it combos nicely with Palace Conspirator or Cornerclub Gambler. Here, the dagger functions as a low-value card to be used as the discard target. You can get another great synergy in Sorcerer or in House Hlaalu, by equipping the neutral Steel Dagger to a creature directly before Hulk Fabricant is played. This buffs the power of the creature by 1 and puts a 5-cost 8/8 on the board.
In addition, blue also offers four pseudo-tutors. These immediately equip the item they “tutor” from “nowhere”.
Daggers in the Dark equips a +1/+0 buff directly to a random friendly creature in each lane. Seyda Neen Courier allows you to equip a +3/+0 Steel Sword to a creature in play. This is an interesting option to provide additional reach in beatdown decks.
Enamor’s Keeper is pseudo-tutoring one of the most aggressive items. Heirloom Greatsword is a 5/+0 weapon and deals serious damage. As an additional benefit, the Greatsword is also (likely) returning to your hand, when the Keeper is killed. Unfortunately, however, when your opponent silences the Keeper he is not going back to your hand.
Last, but not least, blue also offers the 4-cost support Corsair Ship, which equips a +1/+0 Steel Dagger to every creature being summoned. It is a little bit slow in Aggro decks, but if your deck runs a few cards to fill a lane, the card provides good value.
Willpower is much, much weaker, when it comes to items! However, the yellow Attribute runs one of the absolutely best powerhouses in item pseudo-tutoring: Haafingar Marauder. Whenever a creature breaks a rune, he equips that creature with a random item. This allows rune-breakers to trade favorably and provides them with great value when breaking runes. With the rise of Wilds Incarnate (aka “The Moose”) into the meta, the Marauder might see even more play. In combination with Swiftstrike, he constitutes a very strong finisher in Mid-Monk decks.
Agility (Green) and Neutral (Grey)
The green Agility attribute does currently not offer any tutors that summon an item from “nowhere”. The Neutral color at least provides one option: Stolen Pants. Unfortunately, this +1/+1 item is not particularly powerful and the card does not see much play at all.
Battlemage (Multi-color: Red-Blue)
Battlemage is the class with another powerhouse in item pseudo-tutoring: Merric-at-Aswala. He has been a staple in mid-range Battlemage decks for a long time. The 7-cost 2/2 equips a random item to each friendly creature in his lane, including himself. This special ability can oftentimes be used to dupe your opponent and win games “out-of-nowhere”. Merric is certainly a strong card, when you are winning the game or need to attempt a turnaround.
Battlemage’s Onslaught is the other item pseudo-tutor in this class. The action puts a random item, action and creature into your hand. While the 4-cost action is seeing little play, it can provide value in Treasure Hunt decks, where several Treasure Hunt-effects can be triggered. As a top-deck draw at Parity, the action can also shine with three cards being added to your hand. Still, many players dislike the RNG effect.
Phew, that was a lot of ground to cover. Hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at Item-Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends. In a nutshell:
- Forsworn Looter: not easy to get the value you want from him
- Crucible Blacksmith: a really good one to increase the versatility of your deck
- Master of Arms: Item-decks are fun, and the Master is THE staple for this archetype!
- Excavate: Hmmmmm
- The following Item Pseudo-Tutors are evergreens and can help you in many decks: Crown Quartermaster, Daggerfall Mage, Haafingar Marauder and Merric-At-Aswala.
If you would like to give item decks a “go”, you might want to try TurqoiseLink’s mid-range Item-Sorcerer, that he brought to the 2018 Master Series tournament. It is still a fun and viable deck, to get Master of Arms to shine for you…
Please let us know in the comments, if you would like to see more content on Item-decks, like maybe an In-depth review of Item Battlemage or other archetypes.