Action Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look
Action Tutors are a great vehicle to enhance action-based decks in The Elder Scrolls Legends. You can win more consistently and potentially save some precious slots in your deck. Due to the release of Altmer Dragonknight and Destruction Tutor, action-based decks are currently undergoing a bit of a renaissance. This article provides a in-depth look at all the action tutors available in The Elder Scrolls Legends. You should note, that we are using a rather broad understanding of what a tutor is (see Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – The Basics as opposed to the common understanding):
- Draw Deck Action Tutors: Draw you an action from the draw deck.
- Discard Pile Action Tutors: You draw an action from the discard pile.
- Action Pseudo Tutors: You draw an action from out-of-nowhere.
- Shout Tutors: Since Shouts are a special kind of action, you can find any Shout-related tutors at the very end of this article.
Please refer to the Tutor Reference Sheet for an overview of all Tutors in TESL.
Action Tutors at their Best
Probably the most prominent Action Tutor in The Elder Scrolls Legends is Sun-in-Shadow from House Telvanni. She is limited to be used in just one House and a unique legendary, which is a very interesting indirect message about the power-level of the card. And that is huge: after you play her, you can draw an action of your choice from your deck. A simple case: For 5-magicka you get to pull the Ice Storm that clears the board from your opponent’s aggro creatures next turn. Sounds like good value! As a downside, though, Sun-in-Shadow will also shackle one of your own creatures. But if you play it smart and shackle a Balmora Spymaster, that’s not really a problem, is it?
If you look at the top-voted Telvanni decks on legends-decks.com, you will find Sun-in-Shadow in more than 95% of them. Similarly, the Tier 1 Telvanni Conscription v3.0 deck, as listed on teslegends.pro, includes Sun-in-Shadow.
The reason is simple: Sun-in-Shadows tutors super-powerful actions like Tullius’ Conscription, Ulfric’s Uprising, Divath’s Experiment or Fleeting Apparition. In addition, with 4/6, Sun-in-Shadow is a decent fighter as well. Simply put, if you are playing Telvanni, Sun-in-Shadow is likely going to be an element in your deck’s game plan.
Addtional Action Tutors (Draw Deck)
Next to Sun-in-Shadow, you can choose among two additional action tutors who all let you draw from your deck. Not all of them are equally viable. You can use Abecean Navigator in very specifically designed action-decks. The actual Action Tutor effect is also not a huge one. On the other hand, Telvanni Oathman provides much better use in Telvanni, Assassin or Dagoth decks. Let’s look at these draw deck action tutors in detail.
The 2-cost Abecean Navigator is a common 3/1 High Elf from the Core Set, who can trade fairly well into more powerful creatures. Most notably, 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.
For purposes of action tutoring alone, his ability is pretty weak, as you would have drawn the action anyway. He might give you a bit of an edge if your deck runs so many actions, that you can be sure to proc him. In this case, his ability gives you an additional card draw.
- He does have some synergy with Altmer Dragonknight, who relies on actions being played to improve his stats.
- In addition, you can use Abecean Navigator when Therana is already in play. In this scenario, the Navigator will help you to get to your actions faster. Therana can then cycle them back into your deck as 0-cost cards.
- Similarly, you can use him with Chanter of Akatosh in play. If you have no action in hand, the Navigator could draw you an action for immediate play on the same turn. Of course, this is not a huge thing, though.
- Last but not least, you can also get good use of the Navigator when he is summoned from Fleeting Apparition or from Tullius’ Conscription. If you got him to proc from either of those it would be a pretty cool thing.
Due to the very limited tutor effect of the Abecean Navigator, he currently does not see much play outside Action Mage or Market Assassin decks.
Telvanni Oathman is a common 4/4 Dark Elf from the Houses of Morrowind expansion. His summon-ability draws you a random action from your draw deck, if you have a blue card in play. In addition, if you have a purple card in play, he will also summon a Risen Dead in each lane. You can use Telvanni Oathman as an Action Tutor in House Telvanni decks, in House Dagoth decks and in Assassin decks. Usually, House Telvanni decks run a lot of actions, while some Dagoth decks might go a little bit lighter on actions. Even if you do not like RNG effects, you could build a pretty strong Dagoth deck with playsets of Ice Storm, The Red Year and/ or Unstoppable Rage. All of a sudden the Telvanni Oathman becomes a tutor for a board or lane removal and can help you with a game turnaround.
Discard Pile Action Tutors
Ayrenn is a true power-woman in Mage or Tribunal Temple Decks and also pretty good-looking. For a cost of 5 magicka, she is not only a good and efficient fighter but also has a great action-tutoring ability. Ayrenn draws a random action from your discard pile. This in itself is already a cool effect, bringing back an action you already played before. On top of that, she also ramps down the cost of all your actions by 1 magicka. Most noteworthy, this effect applies for as long as she is in play. Ayrenn is for sure a staple card in any Mage or Tribunal Temple deck.
Ayrenn Synergies – Damage-dealing Removal Actions
Obvisouly, Ayrenn synergises with any and every removal action you have in your deck. During the opening phase of the game, you might just want to pull back a Firebolt, or an Reverberating Strike or later maybe an Ice Storm or a Mighty Conjuring. The RNG effect in the draw can give you some surprises, but usually you will get awesome value from Ayrenn.
With Destruction Tutor in play alongside Ayrenn, all your damage dealing actions nearly cost nothing any more. In this scenarion you should wish for a very consistent card cycle engine to keep playing more and more actions that deal damage.
Ayrenn and Altmer Dragonknight
They are just a great couple. Play an action like Lesser Ward on Altmer Dragonknight to make him a 5/4 with Ward. Use the Ward to trade favourbably and play Ayrenn to pull back Lesser Ward. Wait, did he propose to her, yet?! 😉
Ayrenn and Brilliant Experiment in an infinite value loop
stebobibo has designed an inventive Control-Combo deck around Ayrenn in combination with Brilliant Experiment being the only action in his mage deck Infinity Ayrenn. The idea is to play Laaneth to get your Brilliant Experiment, then play it on Laaneth to draw a copy of Ayrenn. When you play her, she will get your Brilliant Experiment back from the discard pile and you can create another Ayrenn-Brilliant Experiment cycle. His deck includes Thalmor Embassy and Star-Sung Bard to reduce the cost of Ayrenn to three to even play a few clones of her in one turn.
Leafwater Blessing is a complicated to understand. For a while, I was even struggling to include it into this list. While strictly technically speaking, it does tutor an action, it would only tutor itself from your discard pile. It buffs a creature with +1/+1 and when you gain health you can basically get Leafwater Blessing (back) from your discard pile to hand. The tutor condition is gaining health, so the Action is really working well in any deck that leverages creatures with the Drain attribute as well as other health-gaining effect. In all other cases, the card is not as useful and partiularly not really useful as an action tutor.
This does not necessarily make Leafwater Blessing a bad card. It can be considered in almost any life-gaining deck. In addition, the card has been part of several cycle or Abomination decks that try to make use of the cards “self-redraw-loop”. While these are not necessarily designed for competitive play, they are certainly fun to explore and to play.
Some meme-decks, are using synergy between Leafwater Blessing and Therean. With Therana on the board, any Leafwater Blessing you play will be shuffle back into your draw deck, as a 0-cost copy of Leafwater Blessing. If you then use this Leafwater Blessing to buff a creature, it will remain a 0-cost card in your discard pile. When gaining health, you will draw the 0-cost Leafwater Blessing back out of your discard pile. Using Swindler’s market and two 0-cost Leafwaters allows for an infinite damage loop. Dreyfus has created a nice deck leveraging this combo, which can be found on legends-decks.com. A similar approach is followed by Raginin in his Warp Meta Tournament Leafwater Blessing deck.
Pseudo-Tutors for actions provide you with a specific or random action out-of-nowhere. The only attribute specifically offering any action pseudo-tutors is the blue Intelligence attribute. Let’s go through them one-by-one.
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 proc Cunning Ally consistently. Firebolt, a removal action, kills creatures with 2 health or less in the early game. In quadrant theory, the Cunning Ally, definitely has his strengths in the Opening quadrant.
The 4-cost Ice Wraith is an epic 2/2 Wraith creature, that draws you an Ice Spike at the start of your turn(deals 2 damage to opponent and draws a card) . 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.
Similarly, the Last Gasp ability of the 2-cost 5/5 Falling Wizard also puts an Experimental Scroll into your hand. When summoned, Falling Wizard deals 5 damage to himself, which usually would immediately kill himself and trigger that Last Gasp ability. On the other hand, though, you kind of want to stop him from dying because a 5/5 creature for the cost of 2-magicka is pretty solid stuff. The things preventing him from dying are:
- a Rally targeting him, while he is in your hand,
- Battlemage: Berserker of the Pale, who would give him a +1/+1 buff
- Mage/ Tribunal Temple:
- Sorcerer/ Tribunal Temple:
- Bruma Armorer in play would buff the Wizard by +0/+2.
- East Empire Crafter in play would buff him +1/+1.
- Galyn the Shelterer would allow you to shuffle 8/8 copies of the Wizard back into your deck.
- Caius Cosades would allow you to buff him by +1/+1, if you had him in your hand and guessed a card your opponent had in his hand.
- Emperor Titus Mede II gives the top creature of your deck +1/+1 and Guard.
- Lion Guard Strategist on board, when Falling Wizard is played into the same lane, protects him with a Ward.
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.
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. Still, the Fabricant can be an interesting option to win-back some tempo, as he is also a Guard creature. Overall, the card is seeing little play, as many players seem to dislike random effects.
Revealing the Unseen is a 3-cost action that puts two random actions into your hand. This is also an RNG-effect, but has good synergy with Lillandril Hexmage or Shimmerene Peddler in action-based decks.
You can leverage Speaker Terenus, a 10-cost 6/6 Imperial, in action-heavy control decks, where he will put an action into your hand after you played an action from hand. He mostly sees play in Action Mage decks, where he provides good synergy with Altmer Dragonknight or Crystal Tower Crafter. He also has good synergies with the Mages Guild Retreat support.
The Battlemage class offers one additional action pseudo-tutor. Battlemage’s Onslaught is a 4-cost action, that is an item-, action- and creature-pseudo-tutor at the same time. 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 from the item. 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.
As a special category of actions, Shouts should be mentioned as well. The game offers a few cards that can tutor shouts for you:
- Young Dragonborn tutors a random shout to hand when he slays a Dragon. You might want to consider the recently released Sword of the Inferno to trigger this ability.
- Greybeard Mentor draws a random shout from your draw deck to hand.
- Dovah of the Voice tutors a random shout from out-of-nowhere by triggering his Last Gasp ability.
- Paarthunax tutors three random shouts out-of-nowhere into your hand with a cost of 0 magicka.
Since Shouts (like Drain Vitality, Soul Tear or Call of Valor) are very powerful, having some Shout tutors in your deck, greatly enhances the probabilities of getting these to level three. Usually, you would also combine the Shout with the neutral Guard Word Wall, which upgrades a Shout in your hand by one level. Oftentimes, A Night to Remember played on Word Wall is what gets your Shouts improved very quickly.