Thadon, Duke of Mania has been revealed today during the TRS Classic Tournament as one of the cards in the upcoming story expansion Isle of Madness. It shows one of the new mechanics provided by Isle of Madness. Thadon, a unique, yellow 6-cost Wood Elf comes with solid stats of 6/7.
This in itself makes for a pretty good fighting body. Even more notably, Thadon has a very special summon-ability:
This lane becomes Mania.
Mania is one of the two new lane mechanics introduced with Isle of Madness.
In Mania, at the start of each player’s turn, if they have the creature with the highest health in this lane, they draw a card.
This does provide a very powerful card draw mechanic that can work in your favour, both on your and on your opponent’s turn. On the downside, it can also work in your opponent’s favour on both turns. Seems like things can turn crazy in Mania. Sheogorath will be happy.
The Mania-effect comes in addition to the current lane effect, i.e. it does not replace other lane effects. Thus, if Thadon is played into a Shadow Lane, both the Shadow Lane effect and the Mania-effect apply to this lane. In addition, the lane remains Mania, even if Thadon dies.
In Mania, creatures will have to fight each other and players being able to damage their opponent’s creatures, while keeping a high-health creature alive across a number of turns will be able to gain substantial card advantage.
The second lane effect has already been announced by Bethesda: Dementia.
In Dementia, at the start of each player’s turn, if they have the creature with the highest power in this lane, they deal 3 damage to their opponent.
We don’t know yet, how the Dementia lane effect will enter play, but I can certainly envision a similar summon-ability to that of Thadon, Duke of Mania. When comparing the two, Dementia might be more suited for aggressive decks, as it provides a lot of reach to decks running high-power creatures. On the other hand, Mania might be a little bit more suited for midrange or control decks that want to have a good number of options in hand to answer their opponent’s threats.
But let’s forget about Dementia for a bit. That should be easy enough, anyway. Shouldn’t it? So, let’s see how viable Thadon, Duke of Mania is during the different phases of a Legends game and evaluate the card using Quadrant Theory.
Thadon during Opening leaves a Lasting Impression
Like any Duke, Thadon lets his minions fight for him during early battle. With a cost of 6 magicka, Thadon will only enter the battlefield after a few turns. The Duke obviously assumes, that the fighting isn’t over by then, and rightfully expects his minions to hold out during early game.
However, his entry does leave a lasting impression on the game. Not only will Thadon wreak havoc among his enemies, but potentially even worse, the Duke’s minions will continue to spawn and provide Mania’s controller with tremendous card advantage. This might require the fighting for Mania to become more intense, as both player’s attempt to harvest its’ fruits. The player gaining two card draws or more will be left with a good chance to win the fight. A very exciting lane mechanic that Isle of Madness is introducing here and we will certainly see a few decks designed to purpose.
Thadon Swinging the Favours at Parity
If you get to play Thadon at Parity, he will likely swing the favours your way. If your opponent cannot oppose nor remove him nor put a higher health creature into that lane, Thadon will allow you to draw so many more cards than your opponent. Thadon, Duke of Mania is amazing at Parity, if you get a sticky high-health creature in that lane. Your opponent will probably have a hard time fighting his way back into the game.
Thadon-Mania during Winning?!
When you are winning the game, Thadon is certainly a big enough body to make a difference. He will allow you to keep the momentum, and your opponent will now have yet another big threat to deal with. Thadon does not die to any single damage-based removal card, except Spirit Knife. No Lightning Bolt, no Firebolt alone will remove the Duke of Mania. Only a hard removal will deal with him but also still leave your opponent with the issue of having to find a creature with more health than yours. So hope, that he doesn’t…
Thadon – Mixed Emotions when you need a Turnaround
When you are in need of a turnaround card, Thadon, Duke of Mania does not have an immediate effect to dodge or slow-down your opponent. He does not actively immediately enter the fighting and his card-draw effect is more of a mid-term solution. You might be losing precious time trying to find a solution, however, at least he will likely provide you with more options.
To summarise, Thadon is a card for slow mid-range or control decks that provide other means to control the board early-game. The Duke of Mania promotes the use of creatures with higher-than-usual health values and will definitely have an impact on the meta-game after the release of Isle of Madness. Since the purple Endurance attribute runs a lot of the high-health creatures, Spellsword and Tribunal Temple decks, will naturally benefit from the Duke of Mania. However, the issue with Thadon, Duke of Mania is his uniqueness. The probability to draw him from a 75-card deck is low. Even in a 50-card deck, you will have trouble finding him in the right moment in time.
Tutoring Thadon is also not easy: yes, Laaneth will help, but she is only a unique card herself. Genius Pathmage certainly can help, but only if your magicka is ramped to 13. Maybe Altar of Despair is a reasonable option, but do Mage, Spellsword or Tribunal Temple really encourage you to kill your own creatures?
- Currently, Endurance has only 5 Last Gasp cards: Deathless Draugr, Karthspire Scout, Haunting Spirit, Restless Templar and Skeletal Dragon.
- Willpower has Apex Wolf, however he also sits at 6 magicka, which overlaps with the slot of Thadon.
- Intelligence has probably the best options, as Brutal Ashlander, Balmore Spymaster, Telvanni Archanist and Elusive Schemer are covering the 1-4 cost magicka slots pretty nicely.
Synergies for Thadon, Duke of Mania
High-health Creatures, Items and Regenerate
Both Willpower (yellow) and Endurance (purple) both provide a wide range of high-health creatures and items. Willpower has relatively cheap 6-health Guards like the 4-cost Hive Defender or the 3-cost Khuul Lawkeeper. The neutral 5-cost Guard Portcullis comes with 0/9 and is probably the winner in a battle over Mania.
Unfortunately, however, Guards can be easily attacked and their health reduced. So they might not actually not be the best idea…
At the same time, Endurance offers plenty of 5-health creatures already for 2 magicka, some of which already do see play: Siege Catapult and Dark Guardian fall into this category. East Empire Crafter adds +1/+1 and Guard to creatures with 5 or more health. And then there was Oldgate Warden: that little 0/5 guy with Regenerate. And all the other creatures with Regenerate. Maybe that unloved keyword might be something we can revisit in Mania again?! Thanks to Thadon, Duke of Mania, it might all be coming back: Frost Troll and that other 4/8 Troll (Lowland Troll?!) with Regenerate. All those cards that never saw play. Yes, they still exist, but will this be enough for them to see more play? Probably not. But please prove me wrong!
Let’s look at items. Endurance has Imperial Armor to add 6 health or Hackwing Feather to get a buff of +1/+3 as well as Regenerate. While Dawnbreaker is a no-brainer as usual, let’s consider Umbra on a creature with Regenerate. A Frost Troll with Umbra is a 4/11 creature with Regenerate. Nice. It attacks one of your opponent’s creatures at the start of your turn, and allows you a second big power swing. We would just hope, that it doesn’t hit a lethal creature. And we need ways to more consistently pull the unique Umbra from our deck. Ugh…
Oh wait – here is another idea. You can keep a creature with Regenerate in Mania and equip Sword of the Inferno to clear-off threats in either lane. Oh, it will be so cool to play with this new lane and to experiment with stuff…
Fighting for Control over Mania – Actions Dealing Damage
If there are ways to consistently turn a lane into Mania (and/ or Dementia), then cheaper actions that deal damage, might be key towards gaining control over Mania. If your opponent does not have silence, then Destruction Tutor and Altmer Dragonknight might become a thing and Action Mage might finally see it’s revival. It is probably a bit too difficult to get pulled off, but just so exciting to explore the new possibilities that Isle of Madness is going to offer.
Fighting for Control over Mania – Health Buffs
Creatures that provide a health- or power-buff already do see play, but might even get a further push. While Sunhold Medic and Stalwart Ally allow you to add two health on your own turn, Cleric of Kyne even has the Prohecy keyword and might be able to “steal” control of Mania from your opponent for your next turn. Can be pretty unexpected..
Bruma Armorer certainly can be a thing for decks relying on control over Mania. And House Redoran can naturally make use of the Rally keyword to buff its’ creatures health slightly.
Fighting for Control over Mania (and Dementia) – Health Manipulation
Heroes of Skyrim, Clockwork City and Houses of Morrowind did introduce a few cards that manipulate health and power values directly. Weakness, a 2-cost action, sets a creature’s health to 1. Weakness has seen almost no play in ranked nor competitively, but does help to manipulate creatures in Mania. Similarly, Trespasser’s Bane sets a creature’s power to 1 which might be a thing in Dementia.
Wait, I didn’t forget about it? Hmmm…
Additionally, there are Lay Down Arms that sets a single creature’s power and health to 1/1, as well as Power of the Almvisi that sets all creatures’ power and health to 1/1. Oh, and let’s not forget Hatchery Meddler, who swaps a creature’s power and health values with each other. A lot of trickery might be coming our way. Sheogorath will like this!
So how about Crusader-Mania, Monk-Mania or Hlaalu-Mania?
Thus far, we have looked mostly at how Spellsword, Mage or Tribunal Temple can benefit from Thadon, Duke of Mania. But could Mania become a thing for Monk or Hlaalu or would these classes prefer to play in that other lane?
That other lane with that other name.
So let’s check for some high-health creatures in green. Greenheart Knight is a 1/5 with Charge. Has anyone ever played that card against you? I guess not. Green Pact Stalker can be buffed into a 5/6, but requires a Wounded creature in his lane and becomes a Guard, so is likely to get traded away quickly. More likely, 5-cost Snowy Sabre Cat in combination with Thieves’ Den might be an option. Also Clockwork Scorpion, a 6-cost 3/7 with Drain and Lethal is certainly not unreasonable. And if you get Quin’rawl Burglar to Pilfer, you will likely have control over Mania and be able to beatdown your opponent rather quickly.
In red, you have Blood Dragon, the Hircine Werewolf Brothers and a lot of items to win control over Mania. Those are already very playable cards and they will also help out a lot in Mentia. Whether these will be enough to make Mania a thing for Crusader or Hlaalu? Why not?
Thadon, Duke of Mania – I like!
Thadon, Duke of Mania is a pretty decent body in itself. For slower mid-range and control decks, Thadon provides a great option to gain substantial card advantage. The new lane mechanic of Mania provides some interesting control options, particularly for Spellsword and Tribunal Temple decks. Monk, can possibly pull of some awesome movement tricks when both Mania and Dementia have been added to The Elder Scrolls Legends. Cross-lane interactions from cards like Blood Dragon, Icy Shambles, Shadow Shift or Sword of the Inferno are potentially going to gain a bit more importance in those days not far away.
The release date for Isle of Madness is January 24. 9 days to go. Finally new content. So let’s get our creative juices flowing, and start thinking of some cool new deck ideas leveraging these mechanics. If I missed anything or you would like to share feedback, please leave a comment below.