An In-Depth Look at Attributes – Part 4: Agility
So far we have examined the raw power of Strength, the explosive unpredictability of Intelligence, and the overwhelming resiliency of Willpower. Now we shift focus to Agility, the attribute of subtlety, precision and speed. Agility moves swiftly and silently, letting loose lethal arrows, pilfering and pick-pocketing, lying in wait in the shadows for the opportune moment to strike. What it lacks in might and magic it makes up for in efficiency and meticulous detail. After all, the deadliest killer is one who is never seen and the best thief one who is never caught…
Khajit will find a way in…
While some rely on their might or magic to navigate obstacles, others prefer a more subtle approach. One very unique mechanic that Agility has nearly full claim to in Legends is movement. Cards like Dune Smuggler and the powerful action Shadow Shift can move creatures from lane to lane, to either avoid conflict, provide attacks of opportunity or to intercept creatures who may be trying to hide themselves. Some cards also provide bonuses from movement, such as the aforementioned Dune Smuggler or Caravan Enforcer.
Another way that Legends translates the attribute of Agility into mechanics is in the form of resource extension. Agility has access to some of the most potent draw cards in the game, such as Thieves Guild Recruit, Shadowmarking and Eclipse Baroness. Legends tends to counterbalance the intrinsic card draw that reactive decks get from broken Runes by giving aggressive colors lots of draw options. Of all the aggressive colors, Agility has perhaps the least restrictive draw cards with very little setup or additional costs required.
Another key aspect of Agility is the aggressive Charge keyword. Although Strength has the lion’s share of Charge creatures in the card pool, Agility’s selection is perhaps more prominent, featuring staple cards like Cliff Racer and the powerful late game bomb, Tazkad the Packmaster. Additionally, in lieu of any true green hard removal options, the Lethal/Charge creature Territorial Viper (also affectionately referred to as “danger noodle”) is a mainstay in Agility based control decks like Telvanni and Scout that have reliable ways of recurring it from the graveyard when needed.
Your coin, or your life…
Even the mightiest of foes can be felled by the swift lethality of an assassin’s blade, the dangerous accuracy of a marksman’s bow or the deadly touch of a predator’s poison. The Lethal keyword makes even the smallest of creatures a potentially deadly threat. Territorial Viper, Sanctuary Pet and the classic prophecy Fighters Guild Recruit are all small in stature, but can take down even the largest enemies. However, since this lethality is based on dealing damage, Agility creatures can often struggle to deal with Warded foes.
However, fighting against warded enemies is not a complete wash. Agility has other tricks up its sleeve for dealing with difficult threats. One mechanic that is almost entirely unique to Agility is debuffing health. Cards like Curse and Drain Blood can be used to reduce the stats of enemy creatures even through wards, sometimes to zero resulting in a kill. Once wounded, an enemy creature is no longer safe. Cards like Finish Off and Leaflurker can make a quick end of damaged enemies. Even powerful wards cannot protect from these finishing blows.
Do not stand in this one’s way!
We’ve already seen how cards like Leaflurker can generate a lot of tempo by removing a threat and building the board at the same time, but Agility can also generate a lot of tempo through the Shackle keyword. Sanctuary Pet can slow down your opponent by binding a large target and then use Lethal to remove it next turn. Giant Snake is another powerful tool for aggressive decks that can shackle an entire lane, making it very difficult for your opponent to race you.
Another way that Agility can generate a lot of tempo is through ramping magicka. While Endurance has access to permanent means of magicka ramp, it usually comes at a cost of being very low tempo and impacting the board very little. Agility on the other hand usually only gains magicka temporarily for a turn, but the payoff is that the cards that generate this magicka are usually very high tempo, powerful threats. Cards like Torval Extortionist and Nix-Ox both generate a lot of extra magicka while also developing big bodies. Eclipse Baroness gives both resource extension and reduced magicka cost with a decent body to boot. And finally cards that give completed contracts like Brotherhood Slayer or Astrid have keywords like Prophecy and Lethal in addition to decent statlines.
In addition to controlling the tempo of the game, Agility has great comeback tools in the form of various potent Drain creatures. Giant Bat gives an immediate bit of health gain and can act as cheap removal for smaller creatures, but can also be a powerhouse when recurred with Soul Tears. Brynjolf is a unique Legendary that comes with a difficult to remove body and gives both Drain and ramp in a single package. And Agility based Dual and Tricolor class cards have some of the most potent Drain creatures in the game, such as Hand of Dagoth or Queen Barenziah.
Just give me a name.
Although Slay is a keyword found in a wide range of attributes in Legends, it finds its home primarily in Endurance and Agility. However, the reason it deserves special mention here is because of the ultimate Slay payoff card found in Agility: Brotherhood Sanctuary. This cheap support amplifies the effects of your Slay creatures and gives their bonuses multiple times. Because of this, almost all Slay themed decks in the game include Agility.
Another niche keyword in Legends that finds a home in Agility is Pilfer. And just like the aforementioned Slay keyword, Pilfer’s biggest payoff card is found in Agility — well, in Monk to be precise. Master of Thieves is the primary Pilfer combo tool and the primary reason why most Pilfer abilities in the game are reined in and carefully balanced. While Pilfer effects can vary wildly from card to card, most of the Pilfer effects found in Agility tend to center around buffing the creatures that are attacking. Cards like Daring Cutpurse and Quin’rawl Burgler start off unassuming but represent very dangerous, snowballing threats if left unchecked.
Care for a friendly wager?
Agility is a very strong color with lots of great control, aggressive and tempo oriented tools in its disposal, but it is not without its weaknesses. As mentioned before, most of Agility’s removal options are centered around combos with Wounded creatures or the dealing creature combat with Lethal, making it inconsistent and conditional. And while Agility’s creatures can offer a lot of potential valuable effects, they are counterbalanced by having relatively weak statlines and low board impact. Agility has to rely heavily on the many tricks up its sleeve rather than on raw power.
Next in the series we tackle the final attribute in the game, Endurance. Thanks for reading! As always, feedback is welcome!