Hulking Scalon – Uses, Synergies, Counterplays
Hulking Scalon – What a Big Effort Card Reveal
Hulking Scalon is the powerhouse finisher from the Isle of Madness story expansion. The card was revealed yesterday by Justin Larson on his YouTube channel. You have to watch this hilarious reveal video, if you haven’t seen it already.
Scalons are big aquatic swamp monsters, that are lumbering slowly after prey. Scalons have the ability to cast invisibility upon themselves when they detect prey. This allows them to easily ambush careless passersby. You better deal with them at extreme range with spells or arrows as they can be quite ferocious in close proximity.Source: elderscrolls.wikia.com
Stickyfrog Shall be Thy Name
Hulking Scalon is an epic 10-cost 10/10 Grummite from the green Agility attribute. You can run up to 3 copies in your deck. Hulking Scalon is immune to Shackle, immune to Lethal and your opponent cannot target it with actions. This makes the Grummite the stickiest creature The Elder Scrolls Legends has ever seen. Have we seen something comparable to this powerhouse?
No. The 8-cost 10/10 Frost Giant has similar stats. But, you can pretty easily remove him with hard removal actions, like Piercing Javelin, Fell The Mighty or Cast Into Time. Sometimes, Frost Giant might only get mummified. But he usually doesn’t stick.
There are a few other creatures that also cannot be targeted by actions: Nahagliiv and Iron Atronach are the ones with the highest power. However, a tiny Lethal creature can easily kill them off. Both also don’t stick.
But Hulking Scalon will. You cannot even Shackle the Grummite. Once it hits the board, you need a Guard. Will you survive one swing from this monstrosity? Maybe a Guard with Prophecy from the two rune breaks?! Or a Guard as your top deck. Can you survive two swings? Can there be hope? You are definitely in trouble. Three swings?? Ugh…
Hulking Scalon – No use during Opening
Hulking Scalon is a dead card in your hand during opening. You just hope, that you can survive until turn 10 with one card less, I guess.
A Grummite Friend at Parity
When the game has stabilized and both players are relying on their top deck card, Hulking Scalon is THE card you want to draw. A big, sticky body that puts your opponent on a two- to three-turn clock. If they don’t have a Guard, a Miraak, a Dawn’s Wrath or a Silence plus a removal action, they are doomed.
Stickyfrog when Winning
When you are winning the game, Stickyfrog does not have immediate reach but will definitely reduce the number of turns you need to win by 1. Just make sure, that you have Stickyfrog in the other lane as all your other threats. Just in case of your opponent holding a Dawn’s Wrath. Oh man, Stickyfrog is a great finisher!
Hulking Scalon as a Turnaround
When you need a turnaround, Hulking Scalon does not provide an immediate impact against your opponent’s board. Stickyfrog also does not have Guard to eat your opponent’s threats. The Grummite costs 10 magicka. This will not allow you to play much else. If your opponent’s health is at 10, that’s fine. Otherwise, you might get one swing with him. If your opponent has multiple creatures out, the Scalon will not be able to deal with all of them. Stickyfrog is not really that awesome as a Turnaround. Not useless, but definitely not great.
Let’s summarize. As a finisher, Hulking Scalon scores very well in two of the four quadrants. The Grummite shines at parity and when you are winning, but lacks utility when you need a turnaround. An Odahviing is only slightly more expensive and clears the majority of the board. A Dwarven Colossus summons a Guard in each lane. These guys have some additional value. Yes, they are more easily removed and die to a Piercing Javelin. But they also have more utility in a control deck. Running Hulking Scalon in your deck will almost certainly require some decent mid-game life gain to mitigate for his lack of utility in the Turnaround Quadrant.
Usually, cards that are not good in all quadrants will see not as much play. Potentially, this will not be the case with Hulking Scalon. His unparalleled stickiness and raw fighting-power make him a fine win-condition for mid-range, combo and control decks. Faster midrange and Aggro decks might find slightly cheaper finishers with Ancano, Tazkad or Aspect of Hircine who all also provide very good reach.
A 10-cost card is just so expensive and many games on the ladder are finished way before. Magicka ramp can certainly help to play Hulking Scalon a few turns earlier than expected. This will make it even more difficult for your opponent to remove him.
Here are a few non-permanent ramp cards to consider…
- Brotherhood Slayer, as well as Astrid and other Lethal Creatures can give you Contracts. Each one represents one additional magicka.
- When Torval Crook, Brynjolf or Blackwood Distiller pilfer, they already beat down your opponent for a little and increase your magicka for the same turn. The Distiller can even offer permanent ramp when he slays.
- Torval Extortionist can even pull the Scalon forward to turn 6.
- Betty Netch increases your max magicka by 2 while in play. With Pure-Blood Elder, you can get to 10 magicka pretty early… (see Combo, Wombo – Bam! #3 – Big Bad Betty).
…as well as a a few permanent ramp cards:
- When summoned Tree Minder, Thorn Histmage and Spine of Eldersblood increase your max magicka by 1,
- The 4-cost support Hist Grove increases your max magicka by one
In addition to magicka ramp, there are also cards like Eclipse Baroness or Thieves Guild Fence who manipulate the magicka cost of the cards you draw. The chances to hit Hulking Scalon are certainly low, but if your deck would anyway run a copy of them 1-2 copies of Scalon might be considered for inclusion in your deck.
Why use one, if you can have two Stickyfrogs?
Imagine a world in which you can summon two Hulking Scalons in a single turn. With 15 magicka, Doppelganger can do that trick for you. Across two turns, Divayth’s Experiments can also summon a second copy of the Scalon, maybe even a third. Oh this is so meme-ish and fun, we should all try this…
Double Thy Power
A good old combo is to play a really big body and use Markynaz and A Night to Remember to double their power twice (see Combo, Wombo – Bam! #2 – Sanguine’s Delight). I think the first YT video of a 40/40 Stickyfrog going face will just make my day. An alternative power-doubler for big guys is World Eater’s Eyrie. Maybe in Dagoth…?!
Unstoppable Rage + Breakthrough
If you play Hulking Scalon to the Shadow Lane with a lot of opposing creatures, your opponent is in big trouble. There is little chance for him to remove your Scalon. A Dawn’s Wrath will obvisouly fire back. So, if he does not have suicidial tendencies and prays for a guard as his top deck you can equip the Grummite with a Breakthrough item and play the 8-cost action Unstoppable Rage for some fun.
What to do with the Rune Breaks?
When Hulking Scalon swings, he breaks two runes. This means your opponent gets two chances to pull a Prophecy (Guard), but at least gets two additional cards. If you have put your opponent onto a two- or three turn clock it is be important to play around these rune breaks. Before you swing with the Grummite, you might consider to play Dark Guardian to at least draw an extra card for a Prophecy your opponent gets to pull.
Equally, if you get to play a Thieves Guild Shadowfoot right before you swing, your opponent will draw a Counterfeit Trinklet, which will just deal him some additional damage.
While these are more disruptive strategies, the “rune-breaker classics”, like Relentless Raider, Haafingar Marauder, Dawnstar Healer can also be helpful.
Your deck should contain at least one or two options to counterplay Hulking Scalon – at least the two weeks after IoM is released:
- A card like Hallowed Deathpriest can ensure that your opponent cannot play the Scalon on curve.
- Garnag, Dark Adherent to limit both players max. magicka to 7.
- Miraak will allow you to steal your opponent’s Scalon. Now they are the one in trouble!
- Mantikora destroys a creature in the lane it is played in.
- Dawn’s Wrath clears an entire lane, and Alduin clears an entire board.
- Immolating Blast and Morag Tong Nightblade or alternatively Nightmother can give you a 50:50 chance of removal.
- There are plenty of Guards with Prophecy available in any attribute. These can help if you have board control, otherwise.
- Red Bramman silences a creature and then shackles it. He buys you time. Ulfric’s Uprising, Doppelganger or Dark Rebirth might help you on consecutive turns.
- A good mix of cards that Silence a creature plus plenty of removal actions.
My first initial excitement about the card – I was truly hyped by Justin’s reveal video – has ebbed away a little bit after looking at Hulking Scalon in more detail. Yes it’s a crazy finisher. It’s sticky. It will see a lot of play in the first week or two after the Isle of Madness release. But whether it is viable in the long run remains to be seen. It lacks that little extra bit of utility when you need a turnaround to compete with Odahviing or others. The new card will certainly make me think more about what removal options to run in my decks, because it is so easy to just grab Cast Into Time and Piercing Javelin and jam them into your build.