Siege Crawler – Uses and Synergies
Siege Crawler is an epic 11-cost Daedra in the upcoming Jaws of Oblivion expansion. This big boy brings unprecedented 15/15 of stats plus the breakthrough keyword. It is the first creature released that can win you a game with just two swings all on it’s own. Indeed, this makes it a candidate for combos involving Squish the Wimpy, Dremora Markynaz or Swift Strike. With Unstoppable Rage, you might not even need a single swing, just a lane of tokens or mudcrabs in front of you. Your opponent had better have hard removal in hand for this new powerhouse. Or at least a lethal guard…
Siege Crawler during Opening
The high magicka cost prevents you from playing Siege Crawler during opening, though a ramp deck or Oblivion Gates can potentially allow you to play it a few turns earlier. It’s a threat your opponent has to address immediately, thereby baiting out their removal. Against Siege Crawler, trading seems almost impossible, as Vigilant Giant, Aspect of Hircine, Lava Atronach and Dwarven Colossus seem tiny in comparison.
Siege Crawler at Parity
At parity, when both players are relying on their top deck, if your opponent is running a board-based deck, you are in business. On the other hand, if your opponent is running a removal-based deck, you will need to be a bit more careful and test the waters with smaller threats.
Siege Crawler when Winning
Let’s assume you put your opponent on a two-turn clock. In this case, a Siege Crawler-draw will be fantastic. Your opponent will need to deal with your existing board and the Siege Crawler as well. The Daedra will be an excellent tool in skipping two rune breaks or more.
By equipping a +1/+0 item, you can even skip three rune breaks with appropriate timing. Obviously, this massively reduces your opponent’s odds for a turnaround through a last rune Piercing Javelin or guard.
Siege Crawler as a Turnaround
When you need a turnaround, the Daedra does not have an immediate impact on the board and does not protect you with guard. Unfortunately, it also lacks the drain keyword to regain life.
Moreover, it is a significant threat, but can only deal with one threat at a time, unless you have Unstoppable Rage in hand to play on your next turn. Therefore, it will need quite a bit of support from other cards to be of value during this phase. In of itself, Siege Crawler is too slow to be of much value.
Quadrant Theory Evaluation- Summary
In summary, this leaves us with a powerful card when you are at parity or already winning the game. As a downside, Siege Crawler is weak or very weak during game-opening or when you are close to losing the game.
Rating Scale: 1 – Very Weak. 2- Weak. 3- OK. 4- Strong. 5- Very Strong.
Siege Crawler as a Finisher
If you get Siege Crawler to stick for a turn, you can use Squish the Wimpy to attack a smaller creature to cause a lot of breakthrough damage. Even against a Hive Defender, this will still deal 9 points of damage. It is not difficult to see how this combo can be pulled off on the same turn with 13 magicka. For Ramp Warrior or Ramp Ebonheart, it’s not particularly difficult to get to 15 magicka for a double-Squish play. To increase the consistency of the combo, you can also include Fighters Guild Steward to that deck.
You can also achieve a finishing-combo with Swift Strike or Dremora Markynaz. As usual, you will need Siege Crawler to stick for one turn and hope that your opponent doesn’t have any removal.
After losing to a last rune Piercing Javelin, I see myself going back to ladder for some memes with a greedy Ramp Warrior Eyrie deck. Oh, this will be fun!
You can finish with a big bang if you play Siege Crawler and Unstoppable Rage into a lane full of your opponents tokens. Of course, there are less costly creatures (Bog Lurcher & Improvised Weapon) that can do a similar trick, but this is certainly something that I will also add to my list of memes for JoO.
Siege Crawler and Discard Pile Interactions
Many of you may think that for 11 magicka, big boy Siege Crawler is too easily removed. While he does have a cost-to-stat ratio that’s similar to Young Mammoth, you can get Siege Crawler into and out of your discard pile a little earlier than turn 10 or 11. While Black Worm Necromancer requires you to get rather lucky, both Reanimate and Gravesinger are interesting options: Gravesinger gives our deadric friend charge, and who in the world wouldn’t welcome a 15/15 charge creature with breakthrough. Here’s to the memes!
While we are talking about discard pile interactions, we need to look at the consume mechanic as well. The item Bone Armor in combination with Ring of Imaginary Might or Steel-Eyed Visionary can put 17/17 in stats onto an otherwise inconspicuous creature. Since Bone Armor and Ring of Imaginary Might can be tutored by Crucible Blacksmith, any deck that runs the sorcerer colors can use this trick to surprise your opponent.
An alternative meme-combo is to use Tenarr Zalviit Lurker to consume Siege Crawler while you have Ring of Namira in play. This will deal 15 damage out of nowhere and is a nice surprise for your opponent.
Siege Crawler can also be a great finisher for decks that are running Arcane Enchanter. If you get a Steel Scimitar enchanted with the charge keyword, you can charge for 17 points of damage, skipping three rune breaks. The ultimate Siege Crawler victory though, is to high roll charge on Stendarr’s Hammer, an item that doubles Siege Crawler’s power and health, and forces you to only attack creatures. I know someone who would love to play this against a returning Adoring Fan…
Siege Crawler is big threat incarnate. But is he really a good card?!
We will doubtless see him on the ladder a couple of times after the expansion launches. Whether we will see him over an extended period of time or in any top tier tournament decks remains to be seen. He is definitely awesome meme-material. Maybe the new invade mechanic will give us additional incentive to play Siege Crawler. If he was given the guard keyword as well, his evaluation would be better positioned in the turnaround quadrant, which could have helped the Daedra.