Cheesemancer is a premium art card that reveals some of the content of The Elder Scrolls Legends Isle of Madness (IoM). IMPORTANT NOTE: the card is not part of the Isle of Madness collection itself. You can buy three premium copies of Cheesemancer as part of the Festival of Madness Sneak Peek Pack, together with 4 HoM and 4 Skyrim packs for 9.99€. [Editors Note, Jan 24, 2019: With patch 2.6, Cheesemancer has now become craftable with soul gems.]
The card provides a sneak peek mechanism to preview some of the card effects from Isle of Madness. Please note, that the list of effects will be extended once Isle of Madness is officially released. Until then it is limited to only the effects mentioned below. According to CVH, the card is 100% not intended as a competitively viable card, but as a fun card, to mess around with (Source).
Writing an in-depth review of the card and the various effects is a little bit difficult. The reason is simple: Sheogorath randomness is striking us with this one! The 5-cost 4/4 Imperial comes with a very unique ability:
At the start of the game, Cheesemancer gains the ability of a random creature from Isle of Madness.
Cheesemancer Card Text
Since we do not know all the random creature cards of Isle of Madness yet, it is a bit more challenging to evaluate the card. Obviously, Sparkypants and Bethesda encourage us to play the card. Christian van Hoose highlighted: Cheesemancer provides a sneak peek at about 5-6 different effects (Source). Cheesemancer therefore does have an RNG effect to it, but with a rather limited number of options to it.
So, let’s play some and see what the card has to offer, before we continue this review.
Cheesemancer – RNG Demystified
After a playing a few games, you can easily find the different effects the Imperial can pull from the Isle of Madness Expansion. From here onwards, there are spoilers. Stop reading now if you want to explore the card for yourself.
Let’s look at a list of Cheesemancer’s abilities before we discuss each one of them in detail:
- Only one creature in this lane can attack each turn.
- Summon: Draw an item of your choice from your deck.
- Immune to Lethal. Immune to Shackle. Your opponent can’t target Cheesemancer with actions.
- Summon: Battle an enemy creature. When Cheesemancer takes damage, he/she deals that much damage to you.
- Pilfer: Reduce the cost of the top card by 3.
It is important to understand a little bit how the card works: If you include three copies of Cheesemancer into your deck, each individual copy will acquire it’s effect at the start of the game. These can be different effects on all three. If you later “copy” one of the Cheesemancers (e.g. by using Doppelganger or Galyn), the special effect of that particular copy of the Cheesemancer will also be copied. In this case, there is no additional RNG roll. Instead, it creates an identical copy of the card.
Cheesemancer can change the Rules of Engagement
One of the abilities allows Cheesemancer to manipulate the rules of the game in an entire lane:
Only one creature in this lane can attack each turn.Cheesemancer can change the rules of the game
Countering Token Decks
The ability can be an interesting option when you are playing against certain deck archetypes, like Token decks or Aggro Hlaalu-decks that oftentimes go wide fairly early. In particular, this ability is a good option to regain some control over the Shadow Lane. If you play Cheesemancer your Token-opponent only gets to beat you down with one creature, instead of 3 or 4. While hidden in cover, your opponent cannot attack Cheesemancer itself, and if your opponent cannot remove her, you can play a high-health Guard like the 3/6 Hive Defender (or better) on your next turn to support the Cheesemancer. This can easily buy you three turns or more to deal with threats in the Field lane.
As you cannot be certain what type of deck your opponent is playing this ability is oftentimes useless. For tournament-play, however, this is a potential option in a meta dominated by Aggro Hlaalu or Aggro Token decks. In fact, the current tournament meta does see these decks, as highlighted by Endozoa in his recap of last week’s WarpMeta #44 tournament (see WarpMeta #44 Tournament Recap with Endozoa) .
Supporting a Domination Beat-down Strategy
The ability to allow only one creature in Cheesemancer’s lane to attack, also provides support for your own deck, if your game plan follows a domination-beat down strategy. Here, you are consistently playing bigger threats than your opponent to gain board-control.
Cheesemancer’s ability limits your opponent’s options to use creatures to trade into your bigger threats. The only remaining option for your opponent is to use hard removal actions. Ideally, you can play a Withered Hand Cultist to make this more difficult. Other cards providing good synergy with this ability are items to buff the guard creature that is being pounded by your opponent. Here, Steel Scimitar, Enchanted Plate or even Hackwing Feather are good options. Additionally, a powerful item combined with Frenzied Alit can improve his mid-game play. These are just a few examples of course, showing that the effect can be useful. However, depending on the Attribute/ Color of the IoM card, it might be a better option to directly include that card into your deck.
Cheesemancer – Great Item Tutoring
Summon: Draw an item of your choice from your deck.Cheesemancer can provide great item tutoring
While tesl.blog was recently looking at Item Tutors in the Elder Scrolls Legends, we found that there are not many great options to fetch a particular item from your deck. Forsworn Looter is a bit too cumbersome to keep alive and the discard pile tutors only allow you to fetch an item you already played. The only viable option to fetch a specific item you needed for a combo, are tutors that allow you to fetch any card (like Laaneth). With this in mind, it is easy to predict that the corresponding card from IoM will likely become the new item-tutoring rock star. Assuming the IoM card costs less than 9 magicka, it will be the primary option, when you are looking to fetch your Mentor’s Ring for your OTK combo deck. Cheesemancer can provide some additional consistency to that.
It’s maybe worth mentioning that this summon-ability can be retriggered. Assume you are running Ulfric’s Uprising or A Night to Remember, you can draw even multiple items of your choice.
Also note, both the first and this second ability synergise with a dominate beatdown strategy where your deck is running a set of powerful items.
Cheesemancer is Sticky
The next ability provides Cheesmancer stickiness. It forces your opponent to get creatures onto the board and engage her in a direct fight.
Immune to Lethal. Immune to Shackle. Your opponent can’t target Cheesemancer with actions.Cheesemancer sometimes is not easily removed
This allows Cheesemancer to remove Lethal Guards like Fighters Guild Recruit or Twin Lamps Consul and it also makes it difficult to slow him down with Sanctuary Pet. In addition, Cheesemancer cannot be targeted by hard removal actions. This rules out Cast Into Time, Lightning Bolt, Crushing Blow, Fell the Mighty, Mummify and many similar actions. It also rules out Territorial Viper which would only deal a bit of damage but not necessarily remove the card.
It leaves your opponent with only a few choices to remove her:
- Lane removal effects, like Fire Storm or Cradlecrush Giant (to at least deal damage), Red Year or Dawn’s Wrath.
- Wood Elves, like Leaflurker who kill a damaged creature.
- Indirect actions that are causing damage, like Firebloom.
- Silencing effects would allow your opponent to remove this ability from the card.
Equally, to the first and second ability, you can utilize Cheesemancer in a dominate beat down deck. This ability provides a creature that is more difficult to remove. Equipping her with a powerful item can put her out of range of Fireblooms. Setting her up next to a powerful Guard reduces the chances to be removed by Wood Elves a little.
Cheesemancer Fights in the Shadow Lane – For a Price…
The next ability sounds like a double-sided sword. On the one hand, you get to remove a creature (even from the Shadow Lane), on the other hand you take damage for that.
Summon: Battle an enemy creature. When Cheesemancer takes damage, she deals that much damage to you.Cheesemancer removes threats in the Shadow Lane for a price
Shadow Lane Removal
Obviously, you will need to be careful with this effect when you are losing the game, as the self-damaging effect can easily end the game for you. However, oftentimes you can still use the effect during mid-game to counter card-drawing creatures that your opponent usually plays to Shadow Lane. Good examples are Cornerclub Gambler or Ash Berserker. If your deck follows a mid-range or control strategy, you need to consider to include life gain into your deck to compensate for this effect. If you got Apex Wolf or Mundus Stone to equip this version of Cheesemancer with Drain, you could even net-gain some life from the Battle-effect.
Self-Damaging in Prophecy Battlemage
An interesting synergy does exist with Prophecy-heavy decks, like Prophecy Battlemage. Here, the self-damaging effect is suitable to trigger a massive tempo swing – just imagine to remove a pesky Guard with the Battle-effect, breaking a rune and then pulling a Fate Weaver from your deck. A little bit meme, but still not impossible. The question really is – are the other effects of this 5-drop good for Prophecy Battlemage?
Tutoring a Sentinel Battlemace gets a clear “Yes”. The ability to have a difficult-to-remove creature definitely gets a “Yes”. A bit more tricky is the ability of “only one creature in this lane can attack”. It can slow down your opponent in an aggro-vs-aggro mirror nicely, if you both play in different lanes. So even here, it’s probably an effect you can leverage to your advantage.
Defintely , we will keep the original IoM card in mind (where this effect is being pulled from) when thinking about post-IoM Prophecy decks.
Cheesemancer – Pilfer for Card Advantage
They say, save the best for last. The last ability Cheesemancer will be able to get is to reduce the cost of your top deck card:
Pilfer: Reduce the cost of the top card by 3.Cheesemancer allows you to play powerful cards considerably before curve
When playing Cheesemancer on turn 5, she can pull forward a 9-cost card to turn 6 or 7. To pull this off in turn 6, you will need temporary ramp already on board (e.g. Palace Prowler, Torval Crook or Moon Sugar Smuggler) and cheap (1-cost) card draw in hand (e.g. Rapid Shot or Shadow Shift) to pull this off. You get a powerful blow: imagine finishing the game with Aspect of Hircine or Tazkad the Packmaster. Similary, on turn 4, with the Ring of Magicka, you can pull forward an 8-cost card to turn 5 or 6: Maybe Unstoppable Rage, Waves of the Fallen or Ancano as finisher? Or maybe Auroran Sentry for some life gain and guard, or mayber a 10/10 Frost Giant? There are lots of possibilities opening up for a lucky draw. But in either case, you will get card advantage.
Deck Cycling Synergy
Another synergy is to use Thieves Guild Fence with Disciple of Namira or or Leafwater Blessing or Shrine of Namira or for a cycle-deck. While Thieves Guild Fence reduces the cost of every draw by one you could even reduce the cost of a draw by four.
Assuming your deck runs almost exclusively creatures some other synergy-options exist with creature tutors (see Creature Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look). While Apex Wolf gives your top creature Breakthrough and Drain, Cheesemancer would dramatically reduce the cost of that card as well. For other creature tutors, such a heavily reduced card could also be pulled forward considerably:
- Genius Pathmage can fetch a bigger threat earlier.
- Fleeting Apparition might summon a 6-cost creature.
- Brass Arquebus might draw a 4-cost creature.
- Altar of Despair can summon lots of value each turn.
- Tullius’ Conscription can summon a 5-cost creature.
Cheesemancer is a fun card, but by all means not something you have to buy. All effects that Cheesemancer can proc, will be part of a regular card in Isle of Madness. The card is pretty highly priced: for 2,000 gold or $9.99 you get five effects from IoM a little bit ahead of time in an RNG kind-of-way.
Assuming IoM is priced similarly to other story expansions, it will cost 3,000 gold or $19.99. Cheesemancer comes at a substantial premium for much less value than the complete expansion. She is a fun card and does have some powerful effects in the right decks. Some will buy the card, just to have a complete collection. And, definitely, we can be excited about Isle of Madness because this sneak preview shows some really cool stuff is ahead of us. A IoM-promo video will be released soon, as well as card reveals by community content creators. Get hyped, it is great time for The Elder Scrolls Legends again!