With Bedeviling Scamp, Isle of Madness is introducing another Hatebear to The Elder Scrolls Legends. Hatebears are taxing players when playing their cards: the Deadra causes all cards to cost a minimum of three. What a nice guy – he makes us pay three magicka for 0-drops, 1-drops and 2-drops. Your opponent might hate you for it. But lucky for them, this also applies to your own cards.
The 3/3 Bedeviling Scamp is among several in Strength (Red) who influence the “rules” of the game. For example, Withered Hand Cultist causes all actions to cost 2 more. Garnag, Dark Adherent limits both players to 7 magicka each turn.
So how can you leverage our new Daedra Hatebear? Obvisouly, by designing a deck that has more 3-, 4-, and 5-drops, fewer 2-drops and almost no 1-drops or 0-drops. This way, you are more likely playing on curve while the magicka curve of your opponent’s deck is more likely to be disturbed.
Deckbuilding Considerations for Bedeviling Scamp
As said, you might want to include Bedeviling Scamp in decks that run only a few zero to two cost cards. Red ramp decks (i.e. Ramp Warrior, Redoran or Archer) that boost your own magicka are a potential example to give Bedeviling Scamp a home. Many of the currently successful decks come with a low curve and lots of 2-cost creatures. For these decks, Bedeviling Scamp is not a reasonable inclusion, but a disruption if used by their opponent.
The Daedra is bonkers against Aggro Token decks that use loads of cheap, small creatures to fill both lanes quickly and buff them up in the process. Token decks use the likes of Fifth Legion Trainer, Training Grounds or Divine Fervor. Equally, the very competitive Scout Abomination and Doomcrag Warrior, that cycle a lot of low-cost cards, can be severely influenced by Bedeviling Scamp. This can make him an interesting tech choice for tournaments. The card design has been criticized by some, as Bedeviling Scamp also impacts other (more memey) 0-cost decks that rely on Swindler’s Market as their win condition. But let’s put this aside and take a look at the card in more detail, using Quadrant Theory.
Bedeviling Scamp during Opening
As a 3/3 body for 3 magicka, Bedeviling Scamp does not come with the greatest stats. Not only does it die to most other 3-cost creatures in direct combat, but the Daedra is also easily killed by most removal actions. In addition, his special ability (which is the only reason to consider including him in your deck) is easily removed by any Silence-effect. Thus, the cute little Daedra needs protection from other cards, e.g. Guards or Withered Hand Cultist.
As a mulligan, however, the cute little Daedra has the potential to stop an Aggro-opponent from snowballing during turns two, three and maybe four.
Here is an example: let’s assume your opponent plays a Token Crusader deck and opens with a Fifth Legion Trainer on turn two. They have two Marked Man and a Scouting Patrol in hand. This would allow them to summon four 2/1 tokens and two 1/3 Guards for their three magicka. That’s 10 additional damage on board on turn 3. With this, your opponent has a good chance of winning by turn 5 or 6. However, if you put down Bedeviling Scamp on turn 2, with the ring, your opponent’s hand would now cost 12 magicka to summon. If at all, they will most likely only play the Scouting Patrol from hand. Further down below we will look at some of the high-tier meta decks and evaluate how they would be impacted by Bedeviling Scamp.
In match-ups against slower Aggro, Midrange or Control decks with a less-aggressive curve, Bedeviling Scamp’s effect obviously has only a reduced impact. Still, the card can mess-up your opponent’s plays and force them into some non magicka-optimal plays.
Bedeviling Scamp at Parity
Simply put, Bedeviling Scamp’s effect is useless at parity. In a situation where both players are relying on their top-deck, the Scamp does not prohibit the play of a low-cost creature. At parity, the Scamp is just a mediocre 3/3 body.
Bedeviling Scamp when Winning
When you have been able to put your opponent on a 2-3 turn clock, the 3/3 body itself can mildly strengthen your board presence to keep pressure on your opponent. It’s not a big body, but it’s at least something. The greater threat might be his special effect: Bedeviling Scamp can potentially disrupt some mini-combos (e.g. items being equipped, other low-cost removal actions or creatures) your opponent might have wanted to use to trade into your creatures. When playing Scamp on turn 6 or 7, your opponent is likely unable to answer all your threats at once. He might be able to play 1-2 cards, but certainly not 3.
When winning the Scamp-effect can be interesting in some but not all situations. If the Daedra helps to secure a few wins with its special ability, running at least two copies in your deck would definitely be something to consider.
Bedeviling Scamp when Loosing
When your opponent has you on a 2-3 turn clock, drawing Bedeviling Scamp will probably not be able to do enough for you. The 3/3 body does not stop an enemy hitting face, but allows a trade on your following turn. A 3/3 body is really not what you would like to draw when you are loosing. Of course, there could be some cases where the Scamp disrupts some of your opponent’s mini-combos but probably these will not be enough to stop your opponent from closing out the game.
Quadrant Theory Summary
Bedeviling Scamp is a new tech choice to disrupt low-curve Aggro decks. In tournaments, where players can influence their match-ups, the Scamp can be an interesting option to disrupt a few high tier decks. While the impact against Doomcrag Warrior and Abomination Scout is apparent, let’s look at some other decks in the current meta, before we look at synergies at the end of this article.
Bedeviling Scamp and the current Meta
Current tier 1-3 decks have between 25 – 40% of their cards costing two magicka or less. Bedeviling Scamp in a 50 card ramp-deck with a slightly higher curve and the ability to recover life points during turns 3-5 or later can possibly invade the meta. This deck has not yet been found, maybe because some synergy cards are missing, maybe because no one has tried. But let’s look at how the Scamp can perform in the current meta.
Aggro Hlaalu Match-Up
Bedeviling Scamp can considerably hamper Aggro Hlaalu, currently considered a Tier 2 deck (decklist by Aquaman88 on teslegends.pro). It applies a token-ish strategy and 48% of its cards cost 2 or less – not including the zero-cost cards spawned by Suran Pawnbroker. A similar distribution can be found in reireibarker’s Aggro Hlaalu that he brought to his Warpmeta #50 – win.
Conscription Flesh Telvanni Match-up
Conscription Flesh Telvanni (here Aquaman88’s decklist) runs a lower number of zero to two drops. However, the ability to draw fast and remove efficiently is key for Conscription Telvanni. The tools it employs to do this, namely Scout’s Report and Thieves Guild Recruit for the draw, are affected, whereas Sly Marshblade is still best played on turn 6. However, Sly Marshblade can no longer be played with two other low-cost cards during turns 6-8, but only with one extra. Bedeviling Scamp has the potential to slow down the deck’s draw capabilities by a little. Equally, the deck’s early game removal is also taxed, as Cruel Firebloom and Sorcerer’s Negation cost 3 with Scamp in play. The usual Black Hand Messenger into Cruel Firebloom swing is no longer possible until turn 6, unless Flesh Telvanni can remove your early-game Scamp by some other means.
Ramp Warrior Match-up
The impact of Bedeviling Scamp on Ramp Warrior is not as big, as the deck employs tools to ramp magicka and has a higher curve as well (see Aquaman88’s decklist, here). The deck’s ability to draw is minimally impacted, but the 12 2-cost cards can also be played at a cost of 3 with little impact, and be used to remove the Scamp elegantly. The feared combo Sword of the Inferno (or Squish the Wimpy) onto Falkreath Defiler is pushed out by one turn. Sometimes this can matter…
Control Tribunal Match-up
Control Tribunal uses cheap action-based removal to clear the board of an aggro-opponent during the first two turns. Execute, Firebolt and Sorcerer’s Negation will still do their tricks during this early-game phase. Control Tribunal also doesn’t rely on Cruel Firebloom-based removal, which keeps the impact to the deck pretty low. Control Tribunal also has so many other efficient removal tools that Bedeviling Scamp himself won’t stand a chance against Reverberating Strike, Mummify, or Edict of Azura. If you get to play Whitered Hand-Cultist before Bedeviling Scamp, however, you might be able to cause Tribunal to make some sub-optimal plays. Overall, the Scamp can be removed or silenced too easily by Tribunal.
Tempo Sorcerer Match-up
Tempo Sorcerer (decklist by Aquaman88) comes with a slightly more aggressive curve than Ramp Warrior and also does not run any magicka ramp. With some 40% of its card being 2-cost or lower, Bedeviling Scamp might hamper Tempo Sorcerer’s ability to put out two creatures per turn during turns 2-5. However, to remove Bedeviling Scamp, Tempo Sorcerer can continue to rely on its big or warded early-game bodies. Scamp in the shadowlane would require support from high-health guard creatures during this phase. In addition, Tempo Sorcerer might feel a small negative impact from Scamp for the Dagger drawn by Crown Quartermaster, or the Manic Mutation that cannot be directly played onto Manic Jack on turn 3 or 4, like it usually would.
Aggro Warrior Match-up
The impact of the Scamp for Aggro Warrior matchups is similar to those of Tempo Sorcerer. Maybe it’s a little worse, as the deck (decklist here) has a slightly lower curve, with some 48% of cards being 2-drops or lower. It definitely makes the Iliac Sorcerer into Steel Scimitar combo a two-turn exercise but Aggro Warrior will have plenty of creatures to trade into the Scamp.
Bedeviling Scamp & Synergies to Other Cards
The ability to ramp your magicka faster than your opponent can allow you to dominate the board. Cards like Hist Speaker, Tree Minder, Archein Venomtongue or Hist Grove would allow you to sneak out an additional card a turn ahead of your opponent. While the Endurance attribute offers max magicka ramp, we should not forget to also look at the green Agility attribute.
Brynolf and Torval Extortionist are already played in quite a few Midrange Dagoth or Archer lists. Lady Syl’s Cruelty is another new Isle of Madness card that works particularly well with Last Gasp effects, as maybe House Kinsman, Inspiring Stormcloak, Deshaan Avenger or Eclipse Baroness would have. In a Bedeviling Scamp deck, magicka manipulation could be an option to explore a little further to pull off some crazy high-rolling plays.
Stax/ Hatebear Decks
Stax/ Hatebear decks are the nemesis for players facing them. In contrast to Hatebears, Stax symmetrically denies resources. Seducer Darkfire, a Stax, denies your opponent the ability to play cards of the cost of your choosing. In combination with Bedeviling Scamp, Seducer Darkfire can deny your opponent the ability to play any zero to three cost cards. This is about 45% of all cards in Control Tribunal and 50% of a Ramp Warrior deck.
A sample Crusader Hatebear deck is the Royal Hatedrakes from Dorkpork (Deck code: SPALcPoAekgRhtqnjWrtfcfeaoADoapwccALaRbJmqrirWexndcOjjlYnE).
It’s probably not a particularly successful deck on ladder, but it shows the general idea of how such a deck could function.
While this combo can work in Crusader, Wrath of Sithis and Bedeviling Scamp in Warrior can also be a pretty annoying Stax/ Hatebear. MerryWallOfStorms has created a Total Sensory Deprivationn Warriorthat also runs Hallowed Deathpriest and Grummite Magus (Deck code: SPAFgRmUqofcbdADfvnNhIANmGbDhykapDbJedeFrWgchNoRsd). I hope no one tries to combine these ideas in Redoran… *sighing*
Additional Combos & Improving Survivability
Here are some additional combos for Bedeviling Scamp, to potentially increase your fun (and your opponent’s hate factor). When you break an opponent’s rune, it is always great to play Thieves Guild Shadowfoot right before. Your opponent will then draw the 0-cost Counterfeit Trinket. With our Hatebear Deadra friend they now need to pay 3 magicka for the Trinket only to deal one damage to themselves. Oftentimes, this will require your opponent to remove the Scamp before they can play the Trinket to recover the card disadvantage.
Another important factor might be to increase the survivability of the Scamp. Cards like Cleric of Kyne or other health buffs will allow him to get above the 4 health threshold. This puts him out of range of most damage-based removal actions. A Lute can also make him immune to Silence effects.
These are just a few examples of additional combos. I am sure there are more and I have will have forgotten some. If you find something else, I would like to hear about it, because I believe Bedeviling Scamp is a really interesting card, that we will see a lot more of in the future.
Bedeviling Scamp is a Hatebear that can function as a tech choice in a meta that is heavy on token decks. The card has potential to disrupt the opening of some of the current top tier decks and can definitely hurt Abomination Scout and Doomcrag Warrior during later turns. Hatebear decks in general are really the least fun to play against, so it’s probably a good thing that we have not seen much more of the Scamp yet. If you find a viable Hatebear deck please hide it, don’t publish it on legends-decks.com or teslegends.pro and don’t share it with your friends. I don’t want to see it on ladder… haahaaa 😉
PS: A big thanks to MerryWallOfStorms for editing this article!