As we approach the end of the season, it’s time for another monthly reward card: Champion of the Arena. The 7-cost champion is a mighty orc and vampire with stats of 4/8, the breakthrough keyword, and a powerful summon effect: Battle an enemy creature. His summon ability provides you with immediate board impact, and his stats remove most early-game threats...
Monthly Reward Cards: Crafting Guide
In The Elder Scrolls Legends Monthly Reward Cards are difficult to acquire. TESL is a great free-to-play game and with enough time and energy you can almost get your entire collection for free. You can even play competitively on a budget, earning all your cards exclusively by spending in-game gold and no real money. When you play in ranked play, you can earn a Monthly Reward card every month by achieving a certain rank. The reward will change every month. However, if you missed a month in the past, the only way to obtain these is by spending Soul Gems. When you spend Soul Gems to acquire a card, we call this “crafting”.
Craft Monthly Rewards Selectively
But which Monthly Reward Cards to craft? Which ones are really valuable? In the past, Bethesda published some really powerful Monthly Reward Cards. During 2018 there was a a slight shift in this policy. During this time the monthly reward cards mainly provided synergy to somewhat “underplayed” deck archetypes. These cards provide less synergy with decks outside of that archetype and might therefore be less critical to own for players still completing there collection. Still, these cards are fun to explore and with new cards or mechanics their competitive strength might shift considerably. So please understand this article as a recommendation to what is successful today.
How to acquire Monthly Reward Cards?
Upcoming Monthly Reward Cards
To complete your collection of Monthly Reward cards, you basically need to do two things.
To obtain the current Monthly Rewards Card, you need to play against humans in Ranked Play every months. Don’t be afraid, it’s really not as difficult as you might think. Based on your achievements, the monthly rewards work as follows:
- Get one copy of the Monthly Reward Card by getting to rank 9.
- Earn two copies of the Monthly Reward Card by achieving 5.
- Earn a full playset of three copies by achieving rank 1.
- Get into the top 1,000 Legends to earn a premium playset of the Monthly Reward Card.
Previously Released Reward Cards
To acquire any of the previously released monthly rewards you have to spend Soul Gems. You can get soul gems by :
- soul trapping excess cards or cards you don’t need anymore,
- successfully playing in Solo or Versus Arena,
- playing against the computer AI in practice mode. For every win, you will earn 15 Soul Gems up to a maximum of 300 Soul Gems per day. You need to win 80 games to obtain a full playset of 3 copies. This might seem a lot, but because these AI games do not have a timer and you can start them on your commute or during lunch breaks and finish at a completely different time of the same day.
- advancing your hero in rank or completing missions in story expansions
But which Monthly Rewards to craft? Which ones are really valuable? Before we look at a list, let’s understand how to classify these cards by their competitive viability.
To classify the monthly rewards we are using the following tier definitions.
- Tier 1: Central to a lot of competitive decks.
- Tier 2: Central to exactly 1 or 2 competitive decks. I wouldn’t craft unless I wanted to specifically build towards a certain list.
- Tier 3: Sees competitive play or is played in tier 1 and 2 decks but is replaceable. I wouldn’t prioritize crafting those.
- Tier 4: The fun tier. Playable only if you are looking to build janky decks for the fun factor. Those cards haven’t seen any competitive play. I wouldn’t craft those unless I’m building towards a full collection.
- Tier 5: Will probably never see play because it’s neither good nor particularly original to be fun.
Karakondzhul’s Monthly Rewards Tier List
The following table shows a list of all monthly reward cards with their tier assessment. DISCLAIMER: The assessments are all my (Karakondzhul) opinion and it’s okay if you have a full or nearly full collection and disagree on some of the ratings. This guide is aimed at new players who have no point of reference about what constitutes a good card but want to start building towards a collection. The cards within the tiers are ordered by magicka cost, not power level. This is a crafting guide – I tried to classify all the monthly reward cards based on how central they are to a deck rather than how overall good they are. Please consider the tier definitions.
Note, these ratings can change over time, as new cards are getting released. Use the column header to sort the cards, e.g. by date, tier or attribute. Use the search option to filter the table, e.g. by entering 2018 to see all cards from 2018.
|Year/ Month||Tier||Card Name||Attribute/ Class||Magicka Cost||Deck Type|
|2017/09||1||Emperor's Blade||Spellsword||4||Midrange, Control|
|2017/03||1||Sower of Revenge||Warrior||5||Aggro & Midrange|
|2017/12||2||Black Hand Messenger||Assassin||3||Control|
|2019/08||2||Old Salty's Assault||Neutral||5||Aggro|
|2018/10||3||Altmer Dragonknight||Mage||3||Aggro & Midrange|
|2018/12||3||Ashlander Punisher||Archer||4||Aggro & Midrange|
|2018/05||3||Blackwood Distiller||Scout||4||Midrange & Control|
|2016/10||3||Mechanical Ally||Neutral||3||Aggro & Midrange|
|2019/09||3||Prankster Mage||Assassin||5||Aggro & Midrange|
|2018/02||3||Steam Constructor||Neutral||2||Aggro & Midrange|
|2017/06||4||Conjuration Tutor||Intelligence||6||Midrange & Control|
|2017/05||4||Protector of the Mane||Monk||5||Midrange|
|2017/11||4||Worm King's Agent||Sorcerer||7||Control|
|2016/11||5||Battlereeve of Dusk||Intelligence||6|
|2017/04||5||Chaurus Breeding Pit||Agility||10|
|2018/06||5||Prophet of Bones||Endurance||1|
We will be keeping this list up-to-date as new monthly rewards get released (last update: November 3, 2019). The earliest option to find information, is to watch the official Bethesda site, where new cards are announced in articles like this one for Sentinel Reclaimer.
Dushnikh Yal Archer
Dushnikh Yal Archer is one of the few support removal options in the red Strength attribute. She is very versatile, as she comes with guard and a ping effect. Dushnikh sees play in many decks in most eligible classes and houses and finds use in control.
Emperor’s Blade is frequently included in many Spellsword, Empire, Tribunal or Redoran decks to guard a lane, and to combine fighting for the board with the option to gain some life. While he has always been popular, he has seen an increased amount of play during the Moons of Elsweyr meta from July 2019 onwards.
Sower of Revenge
Sower of Revenge is one of the top cards in the game for aggro and mid-range warrior and House Redoran decks. His guard keyword protects you in aggro mirror matchups, his stats allow you to trade two for one, and he also deals 5 damage when his last gasp ability is triggered.
Apprentice Necromancer can bring back 1-cost creatures from your discard pile. Although he cannot always be played on curve, he can pull back Mudcrab Merchant, Marked Man, Deepwood Trapper, Brutal Ashlander, Fiery Imp or another powerful 1-drops. He sees play in aggressive Redoran or Empire lists to bring down the curve of those decks considerably.
Black Hand Messenger
Black Hand Messenger is crucial for some Assassin or Telvanni control decks. He is less often played in Dagoth or Dominion decks. His ability to remove an early game creature and to gain life is already making him strong. But he is also a great betray- or self-sacrifice-target and a great card to be fetched back from discard pile with Odirniran Necromancer. Be prepared to acquire three copies of this card as well, if you want to make best use of Black Hand Messenger.
Murkwater Scourge is an important factor when using the Curse package to control the board. The Goblin is oftentimes run together with Leaflurker or Finish Off to remove single, big threats effectively. Since the curses he spawns are also zero cost cards there is good synergy for Swindler‘s Market combo decks as well.
Crafting Guide – The Could-Haves
Once you have the top 6, you can look at other legendary cards that help to explore more deck archeypes or to craft more Monthly Reward Cards. Most Monthly Reward Cards have been created to strengthen a certain theme or deck archetype. While this limits their use in it allows your to strengthen your decks following that particular theme or archetype.
Dwemer Decks – Mechanical Ally and Steam Constructor
Mechanical Ally and Steam Constructor are important to build good Dwemer decks. If you do not already have three copies of Halls of Dwemer, you can safely stay away from these two. However, if you want to build Dwemer deck, you will probably want to include at least one playset of these two – probably both. Dwemer decks can be build in any colour and the decks are very explosive and can get you very good win rates on the ladder.
The high elf Altmer Dragonknight is a card that works well in Mage and House Tribunal decks that are running a good mix of actions or action tutors. The Dragonknight can give you a lot of value over multiple turns if your opponent fails to remove him and is certainly a target for your opponent’s removal spells.
Ashlander Punisher is an aggressive card that increases in power the longer it fights. His breakthrough ability ensures that he keeps dealing face damage, even if your opponent puts smaller guards in your way. Combine this with his slay and pilfer +1/+0 buff and you very easily get a 7/2 after he slays a 2/3 Barrow Stalker.
Ulfric’s Housecarl has always been a staple choice for card draw in Aggro Crusader. His popularity dipped with the rise of Ash Berserker since the release of Houses of Morrowind. However, since Ash Berserker got nerfed in Balance Patch 2.5, many consider him to be the better option again.
Blackwood Distiller, Hist Grove and Pure-Blood Elder are options for Magicka Ramp control decks. Magicka ramp decks attempt to control the board and to increase your available magicka pool during this process, so that bigger threats can be played earlier.
Blackwood Distiller can be used actively to control the board. He will ramp your max magicka when he slays, and give you three additional magicka in the turn that he pilfers.
Hist Grove is a support that increases your max. magicka by one. It relies on other magicka ramp cards like Tree Minder, Spine of Eldersblood or Thorn Histmage to be successful. When you reach 15 magicka, Hist Grove will summon two 8/8 dragons which will usually allow to win the game.
Pure-Blood Elder is a strong finisher who will double any max magicka you gain. At 16 magicka, he doubles in power and health and you can usually use this for a big finishing swing. Magicka Ramp decks have been dominating the meta for a long time but see less play in more recent days.
An-In Depth Look at Monthly Reward Cards
Over time, tesl.blog has looked at uses and synergies of a lot of monthly rewards cards. These articles are not so much written for competitive play, but are a general evaluation of the card using a method called quadrant theory. In addition, they provide a few suggestions regarding potential synergies you can leverage when building a deck to explore the card.
Old Salty’s Assault is the monthly reward card for August 2019. Bethesda continues to release cards that improve existing and underplayed archetypes to reward players for their monthly grind on the ladder. This month is no different. But rather than asking the question, “is this card good,” or “what archetype does this buff,” the most important question to ask right...
Sentinel Reclaimer is the monthly reward card for July 2019. For your success in ranked play last month, you were rewarded with a 3-cost 2/3 Redguard that puts two items into your hand with its summon ability: one the neutral 1-cost +1/+0 Steel Dagger, and the second the blue 2-cost +3/+0 Steel Sword. In total this gives you 6/3 in...
Murkwater Scourge is the Monthly Reward card for March 2019. It has been about a year since the Gobbos got some love from the Legends card designers. In fact, Goblins received a substantial downgrade after the Goblin Skulk nerf in patch 2.5 in December 2018. Now, we are getting a 4-cost 3/1 Goblin who puts up to two Curses into...
Training Grounds is the Monthly Reward card for February 2019. The 4-cost, neutral support card comes as an epic. The card comes with a buff-effect for tribal decks: When you summon a creature, give it +1/+1 if it shares a type with the top creature in your deck Training Grounds’ special ability If you made it into the top 1,000...
Ashlander Punisher is the Monthly Reward Card for December 2018. Bethesda kicks-off 2019 for their Elder Scrolls Legends franchise with an absolute blast of an Archer card. Before we look at the uses and synergies, let’s take a moment to admire the card art. Isn’t it absolutely stunning? That grey-skinned, pointy-eared Dark Elf is covering his mouth and nose because...
Frenzied Allit is the Monthly Reward card for November 2018 in The Elder Scrolls Legends. Frenzied Alit is another "flagellation" creature. It increases in power by +1/+0 when it takes damage.
Altmer Dragonknight is the Monthly Reward card for October 2018 in The Elder Scrolls Legends. Altmer Dragonknight is an epic 3-cost 3/2 High Elf from the Mage (blue/yellow) class that has a special effect when combined with actions: At the end of your turn, if you played an action, Altmer Dragonknight gains +2/+2. He relies on a very consistent amount of...
Crafting Guide – What about the rest?
As a new player of The Elder Scrolls Legends, the other Monthly Reward Cards are rather optional. As you play the game longer and longer and your collection grows, you can certainly expand your collection of Monthly Rewards.
However, unless new cards with better synergies are released, you can easily focus your energy first on completing the story expansions or potentially acquiring some more legendaries from the regular expansion sets. Note, that acquiring legendaries through Soul Crafting is not optimal when you are planning to optimise use of your soul gems. However, it might get you to more viable, powerful decks a little bit earlier. Karakondzhul’s Legendary Crafting Guide and our New Starter Guide providesmore information on crafting the right Legendaries and Epics.