Creature Tutors

Creature Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look

In The Elder Scrolls Legends, Creature Tutors are a flexible tool to draw a specific or a random creature at exactly the time you need. Creature Tutors increase the probability of drawing a particular creature from your deck. This increases the consistency of that card being drawn. For almost every combo deck, Creature Tutors are a great way to increase the probability of drawing your (creature) combo piece, which ultimately increases your deck’s win rate.

In our “Tutor”-series, 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). This article looks at the classic draw deck creature tutors. Discard pile creature tutors and creature pseudo-tutors (i.e. those fetching a card out of nowhere) will be discussed in future articles. Also, we will be discussing cards that tutor a card of “any type” in a separate article (these can also be used to tutor creatures of course).

Creature Tutors – Draw Deck – An Overview

Before going into detail, let’s look at the creature tutors by attribute/ color from a higher level. In total, there are nine dedicated creature tutors that fetch a particular card from your draw deck (not counting the general tutors).

Strength Creature Tutors

5-cost Ulfric Stormcloak can tutor Nords from draw deck into your hand. The effect is triggered by playing Shouts with Ulfric in play.

Intelligence Creature Tutors

7-cost Genius Pathmage can tutor a random creature with a specific cost of your current magicka minus 7. This means, if you have 10 magicka when playing Pathmage, he would summon a random 3-cost creature from your deck. With 11 magicka you would fetch a 4-cost creature. Note, Pathmage is not merely a regular “draw-to-hand” tutor. He directly summons the creature into play. Genius Pathmage has been the key to the Nix-Ox combo deck which has been one of the strongest TESL-decks over the past months. This caused Sparkypants to nerf the Pathmage (it was a 6-cost before).

Willpower Creature Tutors

5-cost Chanter of Akatosh tutors a random creature with a specific cost when actions are played. The cost of the creature you summon is identical to the cost of the action. By designing your deck in a clever way, you can actually pull a specifically desired card with the Chanter. However, be sure to include a creature for each magicka-level where your deck has actions.

The 6-cost Apex Wolf tutors the top creature of your deck with his Last Gasp ability. Similar to Sails-trough-Storms, Apex Wolf is not a creature tutor in the closest sense, but he still draws you that top creature from the deck. Maybe, if draw deck-manipulating cards are being introduced (that allow you to put a card on top of the draw deck), this can be used to even tutor a more specific creature.

Agility Creature Tutors

Agility has two creature tutors. The 6-cost Sails-through-Storms tutors the top creature of your deck when she pilfers. She also directly summons the creature.

Similarly, the 5-cost action Fleeting Apparition fetches up to two creatures with a cost of 3 or less when you use the card’s Betray keyword. Usually, you would build a deck running creatures with a lot of summon or last gasp effects, or charge or plot keywords to synergise with this card. Here, you need to find low-cost cards that combo well with your overall game plan.

Endurance Creature Tutors

Endurance gets his first creature tutor with the release of the Isle of Madness story expansion. The 2-cost action Wake the Dead draws a Skeleton or Spirit of your choiced to hand.

Multi-Color Creature Tutors

Gortwog gro-Nagorm is 6-cost 4/6 in the blue/purple Warrior Class. At the start of your turn, he summons a random creature of your deck to a random lane. Since he is an Orc, he is oftentimes used in mid-range Orc decks to populate the board, but his use is definitely not limited to Orc decks.

Neutral Creature Tutors

TESL has four neutral creature tutors. In general, they can expand or extent the tutoring options for any deck:

Brass Arquebus, a 6-cost Dwemer, tutors three different 1-cost creatures to hand. With 9 magicka, all three of them can be played in the same turn.

Altar of Despair, a 6-cost support allowing you to tutor increasingly more powerful creatures every turn (for up to 12 turns).

Mecinar, an 8-cost 4/4 with a very unique mechanism – he combines the top card from both decks into an Abomination card. A strong dependency on luck makes this one a bit less reliable, but certainly fun.

Tullius’ Conscription, a 12-cost action, is what we save for last. THE most famous and most debated creature tutor card in the game that you either love or hate, depending on who played it. It summons one of each 2-cost creatures from your deck. You need to know how to counter or play around this one, which is not always easy…

Creature Tutors – Control tool only?

The magicka-cost of all these creature tutors is above 5. This makes them suitable tools for mid-range or control decks. Aggro decks seldomly see the inclusion of tutors, because their powerful tutoring effects usually make game-designers lower their combat stats. For Aggro decks, probably only Fleeting Apparition would ever qualify, because of the card advantage effect. Definitely, you can find good creature pseudo-tutors for aggro decks, but the “real” tutors are a bit expensive to play, as they usually provide value only after 1-2 turns.

But now, let’s dive into detail…

Creature Tutors – Ulfric Stormcloak

Is Tutoring Nords in Shout-Decks Underrated?

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The 5-cost Nord Ulfric Stormcloak is a 6/5 unique legendary from the Heroes of Skyrim expansion. Ulfric draws a Nord from your deck, whenever you play a shout. Maybe a Greybeard Mentor?! Maybe a Voice of Balance?! There are currently 57 Nords in the entire game, so there is a huge list of possible options. From a numbers-perspective, Ulfric Stormcloak has the biggest set of options in Crusader or House Hlaalu. Below is a list of some notable Nords you might want to consider for tutoring from your deck:

Low-cost

  • Pseudo-Removal: Grisley Gourmet is a 3-cost 2/1 Nord that transforms an enemy creature with 2 power or less into a Sweet Roll.
  • Greybeard Mentor is a 4-cost 2/2 that draws a random Shout from your deck.
  • Voice of Balance is a 4- cost 4/4 that would get a boost of +4/+4 and Guard if you have an action, a support card and a creature in your discard pile or in play. You will definitely have a Shout action in your discard pile, when VoB is summoned using Ulfric Stormcloak.
  • Brynjolf gains 1 magicka in the same turn, whenever a friendly creature pilfers or drains.

Mid-range-ish

  • Haafingar Marauder equips a creature that destroyed a rune with a random item. He is a powerhouse when you have a full board and not yet broken any runes.
  • Lydia is a 5-cost 3/8 who guards both your lanes offers great protection against aggro decks.
  • Markath Bannerman is a 5-cost 4/4 pseudo creature-tutor who summons two Nord Firebrands whenever he attacks.
  • Triumphant Jarl is a 6-cost 4/4 who draws two cards if you have more health than your opponent.

Greedy

  • Jarl Balgruuf is a 7-cost 3/3 who summons a creature in each lane and wins you the game, if both your lanes are (still) full at the beginning of your turn.
  • Miraak Dragonborn is an 11-cost 5/5, who steals an enemy creature when summoned.

Creature Tutors – Genius Pathmage

Summoning for Maths-Geniuses

Creature Tutor Genius Pathmage

Genius Pathmage is a powerful card. For a cost of 7 magicka, you get a 4/4 body which is still pretty decent to fight some early game creatures. The Breton has a very powerful tutoring effect: you summon (not draw!) a random creature from your deck with cost equal to your current magicka.

Genius Pathmage and the Nix-Ox Combo Deck

The Nix-Ox Combo deck was one the strongest decks in the game and one of the most fun to play. It was so powerful that Sparkypants nerfed both Pathmage and Nix-Ox. The combo still works, but is a bit more difficult to be pulled off. Your game plan is to ramp your magicka and defend your life points until you are able to draw the combo pieces. The combo consists of an infinite magicka engine (made up of 2 Nix-Ox’ and Ulfric’s Uprising) and Laaneth to tutor cards.

14 Magicka

At 14 magicka you need a Genius Pathmage and Dark Rebirth in hand, and you also need in your deck an Ulfric’s Uprising, Laaneth and at least two Nix-Ox’ and one Divayth’s Experiments.

  1. You play Genius Pathmage. This leaves you with 7 magicka to summon a Nix-Ox (it is possible that you pull another Pathmage here). Nix-Ox gains 5 magicka for a total of 12 magicka.
  2. Next, you play Dark Rebirth for a cost of 3 on Genius Pathmage to summon Laaneth. You are now at 9 magicka. You need to use Laaneth to find an Ulfric’s Uprising.
  3. Then, play Ulfric’s Uprising which gets you to 2 magicka, with one Nix-Ox, one Pathmage and one Laaneth in play:
    1. Nix-Ox will get you to 7 magicka (it is possible that you pull another Pathmage here).
    2. Genius Pathmage will tutor a second Nix-Ox which will ramp you back to 12 magicka.
    3. You must use Laaneth to tutor Divayth’s Experiments from deck.
  4. Play Divath’s Experiments on Laaneth to find another Uprising.  You are now at 3 magicka. You then sacrifice the Pathmage to play the betrayed Divayth’s Experiment on Nix-Ox to get back to 8 magicka, allowing you to play the Uprising.
  5. Next, you play Ulfric’s Uprising with three Nix-Ox and two Laaneth on board:
    1. Use Laaneth to tutor a charge creature like Territorial Viper or a Giant Bat.
    2. Fetch a Mentor’s Ring with the second Laaneth trigger.
    3. Play the Viper and Mentor’s Ring onto the charge creature.
  6. Attack your opponent with all creatures on board that have now gained Charge.

16 Magicka

At 16 magicka, you need a Genius Pathmage and a Dark Rebirth or a Divayth’s Experiment in hand, as well as a Laaneth and A Night to Remember in your deck.

  1. Play Genius Pathmage. This leaves you with 9 magicka to summon Laaneth. You need to use Laaneth to pull A Night to Remember.
  2. You play A Night to Remember on Genius Pathmage, to get you to 7 magicka, which will summon a Nix-Ox from your deck. The Nix-Ox will put you back to 12 magicka.
    • With Dark Rebirth on hand, you play it on Laaneth to find the Uprising. Having Genius Pathmage, Laaneth, and Nix-Ox in play, you continue like above at 13 magicka in step 3.
    • With Divayth’s Experiments in hand you copy Laaneth and you copy your Nix-Ox
      • You copy Laaneth to pull Ulfric’s Uprising from the deck
      • Copy Nix-Ox to gain magicka, you then play Uprising to find another Nix-Ox and an Uprising which will allow you to get you the charge creature and Mentor’s Ring on the next Uprising.

Nix-Ox in action

Below is a great video by Charm3r. He goes through a lot of the details of the combo deck.

That is the full OTK. But more often than not that’s not how this deck wins. The deck wins most games by pulling most of the combo, and generally just filling your board with Laaneths, Nix-Ox’, and Ancanos is more than enough. Keep in mind, though, that if you make it to 14 and have a Pathmage and a Dark Rebirth you can effectively win the game, if you can pull the full combo off before the turn timer runs down. Therefore, when playing a control mirror, you can dig for those two cards and stall as long as possible. The biggest mistake players make is wasting their resources early. Save your removal for worthy targets, and remember that a pressuring aggro-deck still has to deal 30 damage to kill you. Saving a Sorcerer’s Negation for a Hand of Dagoth or a Sower of Revenge can save you

Note: discarding a Doppelganger with Indoril Mastermind or Merchant’s Camel can be beneficial if you are able to resurrect it with Odirniran Necromancer to copy something useful. Black Hand Messenger can add a bit of reach if he kills himself. This also gains you four life. The deck definitely takes practice and some quick math skills, but it’s absolutely devastating.

Creature Tutors – Chanter of Akatosh

Summon What your Actions Dictate

The Pros – Huge Value

Chanter of Akatosh is a 5-cost 1/2 Imperial. Let’s digest this slowly: he is a five cost 1/2. Wow, this tells us that his special ability must be really powerful! And in principal, it is. After you play an action, Chanter of Akatosh summons a random creature from your deck with the same cost as that action. Wait, at no additional magicka-cost? Indeed, this can provide an enormous amount of value. Just imagine playing a Dawn’s Wrath to clear the other lane and tutoring an Ancano to board for an additional 5 burst-damage. The Chanter’s ability even works multiple times per turn, depending on the number of actions you can play. A little bit of caution should be used, when building your deck: for each action, you should consider to include a (playset of a) creature with the same magicka cost. Otherwise, you might be put into the really awkward situation with a Chanter on board, where your action summons a 0/1 Sweet Roll from your deck – and this is certainly not something which is very desirable.

The Cons – High Magicka Cost and Instant Removal Target

On the downside, however, Chanter of Akatosh comes at a pretty high magicka cost. To benefit from his value proposition, you would probably want to play him followed by an action on the very same turn. This makes him a reasonable inclusion only in mid-range or control decks.

In addition, unfortunately, your opponent will immediately attempt to remove the Chanter to deny you getting value from him. As a minimum, you want to protect him with a big guard and protect him from getting silenced or removed. Potentially, some of the best protection for Chanter of Akatosh is a Lute and an Embassy Disguise, which would also put him out of range for one Ice Storm.

The Synergies

Chanter of Akatosh benefits from actions and action tutors, as you will need a few actions to derive value from him. Please see Action Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look for more details on cards that can help to tutor or pseudo-tutor/ generate actions.

In addition, any other cards with synergy to actions can also be considered for a Chanter deck, such as Ayrenn, Crystal Tower Crafter, Altmer Dragonknight or even Mushroom Tower.

Some notable Decklists

Let us look at some decks that run Chanter of Akatosh (by all means not an exhaustive list, just to give some flavor if you want to try the Chanter):

  • Chanter Time by r4d1cAl which is a Control Tribunal Temple deck that he used at Legends rank 60 mid-season.
  • Time to chant by emikaela is another successful Control Tribunal.
  • Emikaela’s OTK Monk (as published by Silverfuse) is a variant of Namira’s OTK Monk (Please see Combo, Wombo – BAM #5: Namira’s OTK Monk for more about this deck archetype). The Chanter’s tutoring ability can be used to increase your win rate by allowing you to draw your combo pieces more consistently.

Creature Tutors – Apex Wolf

Summon the Top Creature of Your Deck

Creature Tutors Apex Wolf

Apex Wolf is a 6-cost 4/4 from the FrostSpark Collection. He comes with both Breakthrough and Drain. His Last Gasp ability tutors the top creature of your deck and gives it Breakthrough and Drain as well. An in-depth discussion of Apex Wolf can be found in here Apex Wolf: Uses and Synergies.

Creature Tutors – Sails-Through-Storms

Go Face and Summon your Top Deck Creature

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Sails-Through-Storms is a 6-cost 5/5 who summons the top creature of your deck, when she pilfers. This Argonian, who can be unlocked in Return to Clockwork City – Episode 1, drives value by sticking on the board while reducing your opponent’s health points. The tutor effect works multiple times in a row, even multiple times per turn and does even summon the creature. However, Sails-Through-Storms, does not allow you to pick a particular card from your draw deck, but simply takes the top one which is more a random effect. Still, the Argonian is pretty sticky as she is not easily removed by actions that deal damage (e.g. Ice Storm, Lightning Bolt) nor by early-game removal like Exceute or Firebolt.

Synergies – Multiple triggers per turn

One obvious option that drives more value from her, is to trigger her multiple times per turn. How can you do this? In Archer or House Hlaalu, this can be achieved by equipping a Quicksilver Crossbow hitting your opponent’s face twice. In addition, if you equip Sails-through-Storms with an item with Breakthrough (e.g. Improvised Weapon, Dagoth Dagger or Orcish Warhammer) you can even slay a creature and still pilfer to summon the next creature. This even works very well on Guard creatures. In addition, some actions, such as Crusader’s Assault also provide Breakthrough.

Synergies – Unstoppable Rage

Sails-through-Storms can be absolutely nuts, if you have an Improvised Weapon equipped and play Unstoppable Rage onto her. Check out Blooddrunk007’s Combo, Wombo – Bam #4: Slay Pilfer Gutpuncher deck to experience the magic moment this can cause.

Synergies – Skooma Underboss and Brotherhood Sanctuary

Another option is to combine Sails-through-Storms with Skooma Underboss and Brotherhood Sanctuary. In this case, slaying a creature will also trigger the pilfer effect. And with the Sanctuary Sails-through-Storms would summon multiple creatures in the same turn. Absolutely nuts and so much fun (but pretty meme-ish) is to be playing Unstoppable Rage on Sails with Skooma Underboss and Brotherhood Sanctuary in play. In this case you get the top 8 creatures summoned to board, which is similar to Tullius’ Conscription, just with really powerful creatures.

Creature Tutors – Fleeting Apparition

Tutoring Random Creatures that Cost 3 or Less

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The epic 5-cost action Fleeting Apparition from the HoW expansion has a very unique tutoring effect. The card text reads: “Betray. Summon a random creature from your deck that costs 3 or less to a random lane. Unsummon it at the end of your turn.”

Basically, the action summons a creature to the board that is then returned back to your hand. The Betray keyword even allows you to do this for two creatures, if you are willing to sacrifice one (it can be the one you just summoned). You might think, couldn’t it just draw the card(s) to hand? Why have such a complicated text on the card? Of course, the TESL game designers have done this on purpose to allow you to build a deck that contains a lot of 1-, 2- or 3-cost cards with some “special effects”. These can be keywords like Charge or Plot, or cards with Summon and/ or Last Gasp effects. Here are some of the most frequently used options.

Apparition-Tutoring for Reach

In this strategy, you leverage Fleeting Apparition to summon charge creatures to go face. You can use as much as 8 different charge creatures in the red Strength and the green Agility attributes. The most powerful would be Silvenar Tracker who only gains charge with a wounded enemy creature in this lane. Giant Bat hits for two damage and helps you to regain 2 life as well. Finally, Battlerage Orc pushes for 2 damage, but he can also be used to remove some early-game creatures. Finally, Shadowmere, a neutral 1/1 Beast can also charge for a little bit of face-damage.

Since you can play the charge creature on the next turn again, you get at least 4 or 6 damage from this, which is pretty neat. It might be even some more, if second creature you get to draw has a Plot-boost for you…

Apparition-Tutoring for Plot

You can play Fleeting Apparition also to leverage Plot effects. This provides boost, silencing or card advantage:

Watch out for new creatures with the Plot keyword that cost up to 3 magicka!

Fleeting Apparition with Wispmother in Play

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In Assassin (blue/ green) or House Dagoth (red/ blue/ green) , you can play Fleeting Apparition, while your Wispmother is in play. This allows you to get a tremendous amount of value from both cards, as this combo will summon two copies of any creature with a cost of two magicka to the other lane. You can look in the next section for some synergies with blue or red cards. Black Hand Messenger seems to be an obvious choice, but also Relentless Raider might be an interesting option in Dagoth to get the Wispmother/ Raider – combo going more easily.

Leveraging Summon Effects

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Ulfric’s Uprising

When you build a deck with lots of creatures running Summon effects, Fleeting Apparition basically allows you to use the effect twice. With Ulfric’s Uprising, you can even attempt to trigger the summon effect another time. The somewhat bad news – the summon effects of creatures with a cost of 3 is not always super-powerful. Nonetheless, you can build your decks in a way that this provides card draw or deck cycling or reach or a plethora of other things. Fleeting Apparition is still an RNG effect, but combined with some of the earlier strategies (Wispmother, Reach or Plot) you can do some pretty powerful things. Particularly for Dwemer decks, Fleeting Apparition in combination with Brass Arquebus might be a somewhat underrated and yet widely unexplored combo with interesting deck thinning effects.

Strength

  • Fight a creature: Ashlander Zealot battles an enemy creature (and may not make it to your hand).
  • Reach or Ping: Sharpshooter Scout deals 1 damage.
  • Reach: Afflicted Alit deals 2 damage to each player. Silvenar Tracker gains charge with a wounded enemy creature in lane. He can deal 6 damage across two turns. Morkul Gatekeeper gives another creature +2/+0 – ideally one that has not yet attacked this turn. Note, that even a Relentless Raider can be helpful in this strategy, although he himself doesn’t have a summon effect. However hitting a rune might be likely if you summon creatures with Reach.
  • Silence a creature: Verminous Fabricant silences a creature.

Intelligence

Willpower

  • Summon a creature: Pack Wolf summons a token in the other lane.
  • Card draw: Priest of the Eight allows you to draw a card with two yellow cards in play. Eastmarch Crusader draws a card, when your opponent has a rune broken.
  • Card draw & ramp: Hlaalu Oathman draws a card with a red card in play and gains 3 magicka this turn with a green card in play.
  • Boost Health: Sunhold Medic adds +0/+2 to one creature. Same is true for Cleric of Kyne.
  • Boost Stats: Ambitious Hireling boosts a creature by his own stats. Resolute Ally boosts all creatures in a lane with +1/+1 if the top card of your deck is yellow.
  • Gain Health: Potentially, Bruma Profiteer can help you to gain health, if you get to play additional creatures this or next turn. A more consistent job can be done by Priest of the Moons who will gain 2 health. Similarly, Feasting Hunger will gain 1 health for each enemy creature on board.
  • Guard: Marked Man puts a 0/2 Guard into your hand.
  • Pseudo-removal: Grisley Gourmet turns a creature with 2 power or less into a 0/1 Sweet Roll.
  • Steal keywords: Penitus Oculatus Agent steals all keywords from a creature.

Agility

  • Creature Pseudo-Tutor: Eldergleam Matron puts a random animal into your hand.
  • Discard a card: Dres Spy allows you to look at the top card of your deck and to discard it.
  • Cycling/ Removal: Ungolim shuffles three 1-cost 3/3 creatures into your deck. Each has Lethal and draws you a card when summoned. Oh, could they be summoned on the same turn as Fleeting Apparition? Yes, they could…
  • Card draw: Thieves Guild Recruit draws a card.
  • Move a creature: Dune Stalker allows you to move a friendly creature in the same lane to the other lane. Dune Smuggler allows you to move a creature and moving creatures get +1/+1. Stilt Strider moves a creature to it’s lane.
  • Give cover: Gloomlurker gives another creature Cover.
  • Summon 0/1 for your opponent: Morag Tong Assassin summons a 0/1 Guard for your opponent.
  • Wound a creature: Murkwater Witch gives a creature -1/-1.
  • Steal items: Arenthia Swindler steals all items from an enemy creature.
  • Shackle: Ash Oppressor shackles an enemy creature, if you have a creature with 5 power or more in play. Sanctuary Pet shackles a creature.

Endurance

  • Boost creatures: Bruma Armorer gives each creature you summon +0/+2. East Empire Crafter gives +1/+1 and adds guard to all creatures with 5 health or more.
  • Clone and boost a creature: Galyn the Shelterer puts three copies of a creature in your hand into your deck and gives each of them +3/+3.
  • Card draw & discard pile set-up: From two cards you draw, Indoril Mastermind allows you to take one to hand and to discard the other.
  • Creature Pseudo-Tutor: Knight of Gnisis puts a 2/2 guard into your hand.
  • Guard: Mentor of the Watch gives Guard to a creature in your hand.

Neutral

  • Gain Health: Blackreach Rebuilder gains 2 health
  • Guard: Gearwork Spider is a 1/1 Guard who summons all Gearwork Spiders from your discard pile. Barded Guar gives another creature Guard.
  • Card draw: Spider Worker draws a card.
  • Draw a creature: Mudcrab Merchant shows you two cards. You get to keep one, the other one is put into your opponent’s hand.
  • Summon a creature: Steam Constructor summons a 1/1 Reconstructed Spider with a Neutral card in play. If this was Halls of Dwemer you get three powerful cards for one. A similar effect can be achieved with Mechanical Ally summons a 0/2 Spider Worker, who might also draw you an additional card, if the top card of your deck is neutral.
  • Boost a creature: Frenzied Witchman boosts a creature with +2/+1.
  • Upgrade Shouts: Word Wall upgrades a shout in your hand.
  • Self-ping: Ravenous Crocodile deals 2 damage to one of your own creatures.
  • Shackle: Dwarven Sphere shackles a creatures.
  • Discard pile tutor: Yagrum Bagran summons a Dwemer from Discard pile and boosts it with +2/+2.

Assassin

  • Life gain/ removal: When summoned, Black Hand Messenger deals 2 damage to a creature and drains for two. His Last Gasp ability deals 2 damage to your opponent and also heals you for 2.

Leveraging Last Gasp Effects

You can use Fleeting Apparition to tutor for creatures with a Last Gasp effect. If the first creature you summon has a Last Gasp effect, you can immediately use the Apparition’s Betray key word to trigger that effect. Note, that Necromancer-magic can help you to even gain more value from this:

Finally, if you decide to keep the first Last Gasp creature and use the Betray effect on yet another creature already on board, you can play Necrom Mastermind to trigger the Last Gasp effect twice. You can leverage reasonable synergies in the Scout class or in House Telvanni to get good value from Fleeting Apparition and Last Gasp effects. Here is a detailed list of the 1, 2 and 3-cost creatures with a Last Gasp effect, even outside Telvanni:

Strength

  • Ping / Lane Removal: Fireport Spider deals one damage to each creature. This can work as a Token removal, but will more likely require a combination with Leaflurker, Finish Off or Falinesti Reaver to remove bigger threats.
  • Reach/ Ping: The 1/1 Stormcloak Vanguard comes with “ping”-Charge and puts  a bigger 5/5 threat into your hand when killed.

Intelligence

  • Random RemovalBrutal Ashlander, a 1/1 with a Last Gasp effect to deal 3 damage to a random creature of your opponent.
  • Summon a random creature: Balmora Spymaster allows you to summon a creature random creature with cost up to your current max magicka.
  • Item Pseudo-Tutor: Dunmer Nightblade puts a +2/+0 Iron Sword into your hand.
  • Get an Experimental Scroll: Falling Wizard likely puts an Experimental Scroll into your hand.
  • Action Pseudo-Tutor: Telvanni Arcanist puts a random action into your hand.

Agility

Endurance

  • Summon a token creature: Deathless Draugr summons a 1/1 Skeleton.
  • Card draw: Karthspire Scout draws a card and increases it’s cost by one.
  • Reach/ Boost a creature: Haunting Spirit gives a random creature +3/+3. If that creature has yet to attack, this can be seen as providing additional reach.

Neutral

  • Reach: Shadowmere can charge for 1 face-damage and will be shuffled back into your deck to become a 4-cost 4/4 with Charge.
  • Guard/ Dragon synergy: Midnight Snack reduces the cost of a Dragon in your hand.
  • Guard: Adoring fan is a Guard who returns at a random point in time, when killed.

Assassin

  • Life gain/ removal: When summoned, Black Hand Messenger deals 2 damage to a creature and drains for two. His Last Gasp ability deals 2 damage to your opponent and also heals you for 2.

House Telvanni

  • Card draw: Telvanni Catspaw draws a card – if sacrificed (e.g. betrayed), you even draw two cards. Both Black Hand Messenger and Telvanni Catspaw have great Necromancer-synergy as explained above.

Creature Tutors – Wake the Dead

The 2-cost action Wake the Dead adds disruptive versatility to your decks running Endurance, and helps you to find Skeletons and Spirits with many different benefits. The card is released with Isle of Madness. Please check more details on the in-depth review Wake the Dead – Uses and Synergies.

Creature Tutors – Gortwog-gro Nagorm

Creature Tutors Gortwog-gro Nagorm Gortwog gro-Nagorm is a 6-cost Orc with decent stats of 4/6. The 6 health gives him survivability against attacks from early-game creatures as well as against most damage-based removal actions. At the start of your turn, Gortwog summons a random creature from your deck to a random lane. He is a powerful creature tutor as he directly summons the creature, however, his tutor effect comes with a random effect. In Combo decks you need to be careful, because he might pull you a combo piece earlier than desired. It’s better to avoid him in combo decks. In all other Mid-range or Aggro decks in Warrior or in House Redoran Gortwog is perfectly playable.

Orc Synergies

Since Gortwog gro-Nagorm himself is an Orc he is oftentimes included in mid-range Orc decks. This is more to buff him, but also to leverage other Orcs that benefit from more Orcs on the board. For example, Gortwog helps to boost Wrothgar Kingpin by +1/+1 for each Orc being summoned.

Use Gortwog to bring creatures to the board faster, to prevent the control player from removing all threats from the board. If you are lucky, Gortwog provides additional reach when summoning the following Orcs:

  • Orc Clan Captain can buff all other creatures in a lane,
  • Militant Chieftain summons an Orc from your discard pile and gives all Orcs in both lanes +1/+1,
  • Wood Orc Headhunter and Battlerage Orc have charge

Last but not least, when Gortwog summons Stoneshard Orc you have a good damage-based removal option.

Creature Tutors – Brass Arquebus

Tutors exist in The Halls of the Dwemer

brassarquebus.png

Brass Arquebus is a neutral 6-cost Dwemer with stats of 3/3. He obviously benefits from synergy with Halls of the Dwemer, which boosts each Dwemer by +3. His Last Gasp ability is the tutoring effect: you draw three different one-cost cards creatures from your deck into your hand. With 9 magicka, all three of them can be played on the same turn. An amazing effect in Dwemer Token decks, where this can summon Blackreach Rebuilder a 0/1 Guard who gains you 2 health as well as Gearwork Spider, a 1/1 Guard. With Gearwork Spider summoning all Gearwork Spiders from your discard pile.

Other noteworthy 1-cost cards that can be considered for synergy are:

Intelligence

  • Brutal Ashlander, a 1/1 that deals 3 damage to a random creature of your opponent.

Agility

  • Deepwood Trapper, a 1/3 Guard that shackles any creature he deals damage to.
  • Morag Tong Aspirant, a 2/1 who summons a copy of herself, if she slays a creature.
  • Ungolim, who puts three 1-cost 3/3 back into your deck.

Endurance

  • Blood Sorceress, a 2/1 that deals 5 damage to your opponent at the beginning of your (next) turn. If your opponent fails to remove anything, you have 10 damage on board next turn (plus the other two creatures from Brass).
  • Dragon Cult Ghost, a creature that you should keep in hand until the next turn – when played, you spend all available magicka to play the Ghost. His power and health will then be equal to the magicka spent.

Neutral

  • Word Wall, a 0/4 Guard, that upgrades a Shout in your hand.

Brass Arquebus – Synergies

Brass Arquebus & Journey to Sovngarde

Journey to Sovngarde is a win-condition that has been frequently used in many decks. The action shuffles all creatures from your discard pile back into your deck with a boost of +5/+5. By fetching three of those boosted 1-cost creatures, Brass Arquebus can put your opponent on a two turn clock in no-time.

Brass Arquebus, Wispmother & Relentless Raider

Warriors7 has devised a Brass Arquebus Experiments OTK deck. His idea is to use Brass Arquebus with a Wispmother in play to draw another copy of Relentless Raider. With one additional raider in hand, you can clock-down your opponent in just one turn, by swinging in Wispmother. Notably, an early Brass Arquebus also thins your deck by three cards, which gets you closer to drawing Wispmother more quickly.

Brass Arquebus, Thieves Guild Fence & Swindler’s Market

In a Swindler’s Market deck, with Thieves Guild Fence in play, the three 1-cost creatures drawn by Brass Arquebus are becoming 0-cost cards. This accelerates the Swindler’s “0-cost spiral of death” and accelerates that deck considerably as well.

Creature Tutors – Altar of Despair

The Altar puts you in for the long game

altarofdespair
Altar of Despair

Altar of Despair is an immensely powerful support card that is mostly used in control decks, as it provides value over a maximum of 12 turns. It can also be used in mid-range decks as an insurance against some longer control match-ups. You need to use it with great care, because it does very little to improve your immediate board state and can be easily removed by support removal. Therefore, try to lure out your opponent’s support removal early, in particular Edict of Azura, Dushkin Yal Archer or Shadowfen Priest.

The Altar let’s you sacrifice a creature to summon another that costs 1. Then, in a future turn, you can sacrifice another and increase the cost this summons by 1. This can go on, until you summon a creature for 12 magicka. At best this would happen in turn 18.

The Altar allows you to build your deck in a way that you can predict which creature you will draw at a given point of progression. For example, if you need to pull a Relentless Raider for a combo, you would put the Raiders as your only 2-cost card into the deck.

Altar of Despair – Synergies

Ideally you would like to sacrifice a low-value creature to summon bigger threats over time. While in the first 5-6 turns these might be defensive Guard creatures, at a later stage, you can pull creatures providing a lot of reach. Ancano and Tazkad – the Packmaster are pretty good candidates for this.

The Altar has great synergy with creatures providing Summon- and Last Gasp-effects. Hence, the card is included in Assassin, Scout, Sorcerer or House Telvanni decks,

Creature Tutors Synergy

Additionally, the Altar requires a lot of tokens to be sacrificed. This makes creature tutors ideal candidates to include in your Altar Control deck:

  • Fleeting Apparition, as it provides summon and last gasp effects. In particular creature pseudo-tutors are good options.
  • Brass Arquebus can be sacrificed to draw three 1-cost tokens to hand.
  • Genius Pathmage is a 6-drop. Ideally, when the Altar gets to summon a 6-drop, you will be at 12 magicka. By fetching the Pathmage with the Altar, you can summon a 12-cost creature to board: Dagoth Ur, Odahviing, Iron Atronach…
  • Discard Pile Creature Tutors being pulled from your deck, allow you to revive earlier discards and to re-use those summon or last gasp effects.
  • Creature Pseudo-Tutors, that summon another creature to the board will help you to pull two creatures to board, which allows you to sacrifice the lower-value one.  Particularly Atronach-decks benefit from Altar-synergy. When the Altar fetches Conjuration Tutor as a 6-drop it will put three 7-cost Lava Atronachs into your deck. With no other 7-cost creatures in your deck, the Lava Atronachs will be summoned next turn and copied by your Conjuration Tutor. It’s not an OTK combo, but very difficult to handle.
  • Journey to Sovngarde allows you to recyle your discard pile full of low-value creatures and shuffle big threats back into your deck.

Additional Examples for Synergy

  • Reach: Shadowmere can charge for 1 face-damage and will be shuffled back into your deck to become a 4-cost 4/4 with Charge.
  • Life gain: Any drain creature to regain some life against aggro decks. Giant Bat and Soul Tear still work. Necromancer’s Amulet works equally well, but is a bit too slow, potentially…
  • OTK Combos:
    • Wispmother: With two Altars in play, prepared to summon a 2-cost creature, you get to summon two Relentless Raiders from your deck, putting 4 of them on board. Can also work with one Altar on board if you have one Raider in hand. All you need then is 5 damage for an OTK combo.
    • Flesh Atronach as a 6-drop with lots of token generators during slots 1-5.
  • Hist Grove Ramp Scout: To trigger Hist Groves earlier, you can put Treeminder, Blackwood Distiller, Thorn Histmage and Spine of Eldersblood into your deck to get to 15 magicka a few turns earlier.

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, as there are definitely many more combos the Altar can help with.

Creature Tutors – Mecinar

Resistance is Futile – Combine the Best of Both Worlds

mecinar.png

Mecinar stitches together the top creatures from both player’s draw decks to create an Abomination that is put into your hand. For the Abomination creature, you get to choose the card text (and name) to keep, while Mecinar combines the stats of both creatures at a costs of the most expensive of the two. For a cost of 8, the Dark Elf himself comes with a mere 4/4 body, which seems tiny compared to other 8-drops like Frost Giant with 10/10 or Ancano being a 5/5 dealing 5 damage when summoned. Most noteworthy, Mecinar provides a means to steal a creature from your opponent, which only very few other cards would allow.

Mecinar – Synergies

This qualifies Mecinar for any Disruption-based deck, in particular if you are able to re-trigger the summon effect by using A Night to Remember, Doppelganger, Dark Rebirth, Brilliant Experiment or Ulfric’s Uprising on him. Still, the randomness of the effect oftentimes generates only some lower value Abomination. Sure, there are some Abominations that can be totally nuts – like Giant Bat and Odahviing – but what are the chances? Once the game designers provide us means to tweak the top of the draw decks, some more reliable combos could be envisioned. Until then, it’s a huge roll of luck.

A charge-heavy deck is probably the only (meme-) option to proc him more reliably. The idea would be to do some odds-tampering by playing a Charge-themed deck that would almost guarantee you a Charge creature to draw. In this case, Mecinar could pull out almost any bigger body from your opponent to create a pretty sizable threat. Maybe this could be developed into OTK deck with a Swift Strike or support from World Eater’s Eyrie? You see, Mecinar invites these wild ideas, yet he still sees rather little play outside of Casual. He is surely a fun card…

Creature Tutors – Tullius’ Conscription

Tullius' Conscription Creature Tutor

Tullius’ Conscription is currently one of the most-hated and most-beloved cards in The Elder Scrolls Legends at the same time. This is probably for the same reason, but from different sides of the board. The card is frequently suggested for a nerf on Twitter and Reddit. It frequently sees play in ranked play as well as in tournaments. TESL.BLOG has even written a How to counter Tullius’ Conscription article to assist new players in playing against it. And still – it’s a very powerful, if not the most powerful creature tutor card in TESLegends to-date. For a cost of 11 magicka, Tullius’ Conscription summons creatures for a maximum value of 18 magicka to both your lanes. The action does:

“Summon one of each creature from your deck that costs 2 or less.”

Conscription decks basically contain a minimum of 8 (ideally 9) playsets of cards that cost two or less. This allows you to enjoy a pretty decent early-game with creatures fighting for board control. Conscription Control decks usually leverage the three-color format with 75-cards, where 24-27 cards equate to about to a third of your deck.

Telvanni Conscription

The most popular variation is Telvanni Conscription which many categorize as a Tier 1 deck (here is a decklist from KoverasBG):

What low-cost creatures to include?

  • Goblin Skulk is combined with Cruel Firebloom and Telvanni Catspaw to remove creatures and gain card advantage.
  • Further removal is facilitated by Fighters Guild Recruit
  • Barrow Stalker facilitates guard-protection and life gain against Aggro
  • Murkwater Witch and Shrieking Harpy slow down Aggro opponents as well, and provide good protection and set-up for the Goblin Skulk combo
  • 1- or 2-cost creature pseudo-tutors are used to generate more powerful creatures, most notably Ungolim and Balmora Spymaster.

Additional strategies (a selection, by all means not a complete list)

  • Players frequently attempt to play the first Conscription even earlier than turn 11 or 12 by using some form of magicka ramp (e.g. Thorn Histmage or Blackwood Distiller).
  • Altar of Despair can be included to thin the deck earlier and help summoning  a second Histmage as well as more life gain (e.g. Black Hand Messenger)
  • Ordirniran Necromancer brings back shackle, guards or life gain from discard pile
  • Card draw and cycling techniques such as Merchant’s Camel, Indoril Mastermind, Namira’s Shrine, Sly Marshblade allow you to get the desired cards earlier
  • Journey to Sovngarde shuffles low-cost creatures back into the deck to pull higher value 1-drops or 2-drops with the next conscription

Hlaalu Conscription

Prior to previous nerfs, Hlaalu Conscription dominated the meta earlier during 2018 (here is a decklist from Whitestar). These fast and ultra-wide aggro builds hit face from turn one, went wide extremely early and were able to rebuild a threatening board in one or two turns after the opposing control-player had removed their board. With pre-Nerf Hunted Manor, Mundus Stone or Divine Fervor, Hlaalu Conscription matches were easily already over by turn 5 or 6. Conscription was really only there, if the Control player was capable of keeping Hlaalu under control and re-gained some life. In such longer games, Conscription provided just another wave of attacks to the face of the opponent.

Redoran Conscription

The game plan behind Redoran Conscription was to control the board early game with 2-for-1 creatures. This is paired with the most powerful single-target removal options during mid-game (Piercing Javelin, Edict of Azura, Cast into Time), as well as crazy card draw engines, such as Ash Berserker of the Disciple of Namira. This allows Redoran Conscription to gradually gain breathing space to bring two copies of Praetorian Commander and/ or Divine Fervor into play. Why? Because Conscription now summoned 2-cost creatures -that were outside of Icestorm range, and would put the opponent on a two-turn clock.

Summary

Some creature tutors are really powerful! Most Tier 1 and Tier 2 decks run at least one creature tutor; if not a “proper” one, than at least a discard-pile or pseudo-tutor. Cards like Tullius’ Conscription, Genius Pathmage, Altar of Despair and Fleeting Apparition appear to be the strongest tutors available in our TESL toolbox. They all allow for powerful plays to fight for the board, as well as strong deck-thinning effects to get to even more powerful creatures or combo pieces more easily. Personally, I was surprised by Brass Arquebus. I never really noticed him as very play-worthy. However, this assessment might have been wrong and I would like to experiment with him a little more. Hopefully, you have found some “deck-building” inspiration by reading this. As a new player, you should be aware of these powerful cards and construct your decks with some tech-choices to play around or remove these huge threats (see How to Counter Tullius’ Conscription).

What’s Next

In the next article of our mini-series about tutors, we will be looking at discard pile creature tutors that allow you to fetch a card from your discard pile. There are some totally crazy things with discard pile rotation. So that should be fun.

In the meantime, please check out the other articles looking about tutors in TESL:

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