Buffing Power-Based Payoff Creatures – Maximize Your Payoffs
With Jaws of Oblivion, we are getting more payoff creatures similar to Odirniran Necromancer, one of the most powerful and most widely played cards. “Odi-boy” summons a card from your discard pile with less power than Odi. This effect is already pretty strong, but if you manage to buff it’s power, the dunmer can often help you to win the game.
Jaws of Oblivion has seven new cards that work similarly to Odi-boy: the value of their payoff is increasing if you manage to buff their power.
For example, Worldly Wanderer summons a support with less power than the wanderer. He already provides you with high utility for your Forward Camp Mage deck, your Flay Crusader, your Hlaalu Slay deck, or your High Hrothgar Spellsword deck. But what if you were able to tutor your win condition, like World Eater’s Eyrie, Wrothgar Forge, or Ring of Namira for your combo deck?
Odi-Boy and Worldly Wanderer work very similarly to Dremora Archer, Dremora Channeler, Emperor’s Attendant, and Faded Wraith.
However, Jaws of Oblivion also contains two payoff creatures that work a little bit different. First, there is Unicorn, which gives Charge to friendly creatures in its lane with less power than Unicorn? How about providing charge to your Cyriel or your Heretic Conjurer? You “only” need to buff Unicorn’s power value by a few points.
The second slightly different power-based payoff creature is Determined Supplier. The Breton generates his payoff when his last gasp ability is triggered, but not when you summon him nor while you keep him in play.
What types of buffs are required to maximize your payoffs?
When you are building your deck, you need to consider what type of buffs work best with the payoff creatures you intend to include. We will use the following terms to classify the different types of increases. Maybe you want to run Odirniran Necromancer, Emperor’s Attendant, and Determined Supplier in your new ramp scout deck? Since you can increase their stats in different ways, let’s look at the different buffing options that Legends provides:
- In-Deck Buffing: A creature (or a number of creatures) in your deck gets a buff.
- In-Hand Buffing: A creature (or a number of creatures in your hand get a buff.
- On-Summon Buffing: A creature instantly gets improved stats while it is summoned to a lane.
- In-Play Buffing: A buff that affects one or multiple creatures in play.
- In-Discard-Pile Buffing: An improvement to the stats that affects a creature in your discard pile.
|Creature's Payoff affected by...||In-Deck Buff||In-Hand Buff||On-Summon Buff||In-Play Buff||In-Discard Pile Buff|
tesl.blog has created the following handy one-pager, that you can use as a reference sheet when you are building your deck. It shows all possible options to buff your payoff creatures by color .
The following sections look a little bit closer at the available options and highlight a few selected ones.
1. In-Deck Buffs
Consistent In-Deck Buffing
In-deck buffs are not as easy to achieve. The only truly reliable way to improve the stats of all creatures in your deck by +1/+1 is Praetorian Commander. Praetorian Commander has been used successfully in Redoran Conscription decks. Some decks try to trigger his summon effect multiple times for extra buffs, using cards like A Night to Remember, Dark Rebirth, or others.
The most widely adopted option to buff Odirniran Necromancer in control decks has been to use Galyn, the Shelterer. Galyn shuffles three buffed payoff creatures back into your deck. These were typically Odi’s, but you can also use it to get a 6/8 Wordly Wanderer or a 5/6 Unicorn.
Khamira can almost do the same thing as Praetorian Commander, although she only buffs Khajiit, and none of the new payoff creatures is of that race. You might consider Elsweyr Lookout, who likes her attributes buffed to double her stats faster as she pilfers, but it’s not a purely power-based payoff creature.
Random In-Deck Buffing
We are now moving to the less consistent options to buff your creatures in your deck. The first one is also from Jaws of Oblivion: after three activations of Great Sigil Stone, the support card draws a random Daedra from your deck and gives it +2/+2. If you are lucky, you can pull Dremora Archer or Dremora Channeler to damage a creature for three or heal for eight. Since the Oblivion Gate can also buff the Daedra when it is summoned, this might still be an exciting upside in an Invade deck.
There are a few other cards like Jorunn’s Vanguard, Ancestor’s Battleaxe, or Bishop of the Hour that buff the top creature of your deck. Emperor Titus Mede II will do this at the start of every one of your turns, but you still need a lot of luck to hit the appropriate payoff card. Caius’ Machinations buffs three or six of your top deck creatures. Overall, these cards are not suitable to buff your payoff creatures consistently. Therefore, you should only consider them if your deck runs them anyway.
2. In-Hand Buffs
Random Hand Buffing – The Rally Mechanic
The rally mechanic allows you to buff a random creature in your hand. The colors of House Redoran, red, yellow,and purple all have creatures or even items with rally. A selection of cards with the rally mechanic is displayed below.
Unfortunately, the rally mechanic does not allow you to buff your payoff creatures consistently, in a targeted way, as long as you have other creatures in hand. However, in a deck with the right mix of creatures, actions, and items, or if you draw a payoff creature early-on in the game, you can undoubtedly get them buffed now and then. And just adding a little extra buff with decent cards like Ald Velothi Assassin or Skar Drillmaster does not seem like a bad idea.
Hand Buffing – Other Random Options
Three additional cards buff a random creature in your hand: Doomed Adventurer, Outland Patrol, and Warrior’s Fury. Doomed Adventurer is tiny enough to keep him in hand while you are waiting to draw your payoff card, and to play him with some remaining Magicka, you cannot spend otherwise.
Many consider Warrior’s Fury to be too slow. Additionally, it’s second condition requires you to have an item in hand, which is a challenging condition to meet consistently. Either way, the card does not see much play.
Caius Cosades also doesn’t see much play yet. The Imperial provides you with a 50:50 chance to buff your entire hand. Caius Cosades might be an appealing option if you are running a rather high density of power-based payoff creatures, but you still need to decide for the right card in your opponent’s hand. You might also want to combine it with The Gray Fox, who reveals a card in your opponent’s hand when you pilfer.
Let us look at the fewer options we have to consistently apply an “in-hand buff” to a creature of your choice. The new Emperor’s Attendant is an option. When combined with other in-deck or on-summon buffs, the 2-cost Redguard can be quite a neat way to buff your Odirniran Necromancers or one of the new payoff cards.
Moontouched Guardian‘s wax ability is possibly the best option if you require a more significant buff to a card in your hand as soon as possible.
Another option for a higher buff is Shrewd Strategist. He has seen competitive play in aggressive Crusader decks to buff Nord Firebrands generated from Raiding Party or Markath Bannerman. Once you have the first copy of your payoff creature in your discard pile, you can consume it to buff the others by +2/+2. This whole procedure seems a little bit too slow and complicated, but if you want to pull Namira’s Ring or boost your Magicka to 30, it might be an option worth considering.
3. On-Summon Buffs
Another option to buff your payoff creatures is upon summoning it. Cards like Fifth Legion Trainer, Orc Clan Captain, Northwind Outpost, Training Grounds, Corsair Ship, Haunted Manor, or Divine Fervor will allow you to buff your payoff creature as it enters play. Besides, East Empire Crafter can buff any creature with health at five or above, such as Worldly Wanderer. And Bruma Armorer allows you to at least buff Dremora Channeler to gain two additional points of health. Many decks already include these cards, and incorporating them with one of the payoff creatures provides an exciting synergy.
For potential future use, let’s keep in mind that World Eater’s Eyrie and Berserker of the Pale can also provide an on-summon buff. Unfortunately, or luckily, there are currently no creatures who meet the criteria to receive a buff by these cards.
4. In-Play Buffs
In-play buffs only apply to a few power-based payoff cards like Unicorn or Determined Supplier. Items are one of the most obvious ways to improve the creature’s stats. But there are a lot of other options as well, as you can see from the Reference Sheet above.
5. Discard-Pile Buffs
As soon as a creature enters the discard pile, cards like Journey to Sovngarde or Skeletal Dragon, ideally in combination with a discard pile tutor, can return your payoff creatures from the dead and with better stats. This method of improving their stats is possibly the most difficult and most time-consuming option to buff your creatures. For my part, I prefer to explore one of the first three options.
I hope you find this article and the reference chart helpful to maximize the effects of your payoff creatures. While the expansion was not yet released when this article was written, you will probably have already started to play with Jaws of Oblivion. Unicorn and Worldly Wanderer have created some hype on Reddit and deserve some dedicated deckbuilding around them.
Determined Supplier, Martin Septim, and several of the other new Ramp cards will also be a lot of fun to experiment with. It will be interesting to see if and how Dremora Archer finds it’s uses in Invade Crusader or Guildsworn decks. And with Dremora Channeler, there is now an exciting alternative to Golden Initiate. How far will you go to buff each one of these cards? For the memes, I have a few things on my personal Legends “bucket list”:
- Ramp Telekinesis Telvanni with Martin Septim turning into the Avatar of Akatosh,
- Unicorn Goblin Archer and Assassin, where ugly Gobbos meet the beautiful Unicorn on a Hidden Trail, and
- Wanderer Camp Mage / Crusader, and Wanderer High Hrothgar Spellsword, and
- all kinds of Invade decks in every possible color combination, where I’ll try to fit in the Dremora above.
See you at an Oblivion Gate around the corner!