LoR Shadows of the Sands (Part 5) - Poisonous Forays
Now it's time for the next champion to push support for - Cassiopeia. For those that don't remember, here's Cassiopeia:
Cassiopeia functions as both a Poison enabler and a Poison payoff. I wanted this because Poison inherently isn't powerful. Sure, it can do potentially 10 damage, but that's incredibly slow, ticking damage. When you want to remove something, you don't want to do it several turns from now, you want to do it NOW. And so, Poison shouldn't act as the payoff in itself, it should enable and power up other cards.
First, though, I want to talk about some of the other enablers.
Perilous Plague primary function is to, of course, help with Cassiopeia decks. This card will allow Poison to spread around, dealing ticking damage across the board. This also pushes Poison to be a bit more powerful, since it spreading guarantees that it will do damage throughout the match (unless the opponent has no more units).
It also functions, however, as a great enabler for Ezreal, which I feel Poison will pair along with nicely as it gives a payoff to all these targeted effects. Furthermore, Cassiopeia also makes Poisoned enemies take double damage, synergizing with a lot of the damage-based spells P&Z - and more specifically, Ezreal decks - have to offer.
Anyways, going back to why this synergizes with Ezreal: Every time the affected enemy unit dies, they spread their Plague to another unit, which should target it given how other cards like Riptide Rex work. This means that killing a unit with a spell provides you with 2 spells towards Ezreal's Level Up.
One mistake I believe I made when first designing for Azir was not having some more of the filler cards. I don't mean filler as in bad cards, but rather cards that are reasonable enablers for strategies that could fit inside decks. Having a high abundance of good enough cards is important for Constructed play, however having just a high abundance of enablers for any strategy is incredibly important to Expeditions, which is this game's version of Limited/Drafts.
Weaving Serpent functions as another enabler. Having a midrange style unit as an enabler is a good place to start, as it allows players to both fill out their mid-game curve (which I'd argue is the most important part of Expeditions) and, again, have enough enablers. Having aggressive stats and an aggressive keyword better fits with a snake and with the rest of Shurima as a region as well. Although these stats ensure it will most likely only poison 0-1 enemies (without being used alongside something like Frostbite), I believe it still functions as a needed enabler.
But this unit isn't meant to just be an enabler for Poison. Vulnerable is also a very present keyword within Shurima (as I talked about in my last blog). Having enough units that make things Vulnerable should also be important, even if it will only really make 1 unit Vulnerable most of the time.
Lastly, I want to also give the Poison archetype a mixture of spells and units to allow for more deck-building variety. Want to go for a spellslinger build? You can go Ezreal-Cassiopeia as a finisher. Want to go a more unit-heavy build? You can go Swain-Cassiopeia since poison does non-combat damage (and maybe even poison some of your own Crimson units).
Notice a pattern with the snakes? I want them all to poison, mostly because I believe it would be a good consistency throughout the follower-type (even though its subtype isn't actually snake, but you get what I mean).
So far, all my poisons have been directed at units. That's because an early poison on the enemy Nexus can actually be a bit too strong and would encourage decks that just look to get an early poison on the enemy Nexus before stalling most of the rest of the game. And, in my opinion, that would be a pretty unhealthy game.
So, my solution was to make it an expensive unit so Poisoning the enemy Nexus is more of a splashy, cool effect meant to end the game. And as shown, I have this relatively big creature that just has the benefit of being able to Poison the enemy Nexus. Now, the card by itself certainly weak, with it just being a 7-mana 6/5 with no abilities other than poisoning things. That's because I want the powerful effect to be possible, but harder to attain, but luckily it's in Shurima which specialized in controlling the board and even controlling how your opponent blocks.
It is also worth noting that this card goes crazy with Cassiopeia. If you notice, Cassiopeia just says "damaged enemies take double damage." That includes the enemy Nexus. That means each tick of poison will deal 2 instead and all spells at the enemy Nexus will deal double damage, which should really push the game to a close. And remember when I talked about Cassiopeia-Ezreal? Now Ezreal will deal 4 damage to the enemy Nexus per successful spell cast, sort of copying the Ezreal-Karma deck in that way.
It's a splashy card more meant for fun finishers as a possible 1-of in decks, along with a fair finisher in Expeditions if you can manage to get a hit through.
And lastly for the Cassiopeia support for the time being is Acid Winds. It's a fairly simple card, where it poisons everything then summons an Acid Cloud that poisons everything. I wanted to make a strong enabler to push Cassiopeia towards evolving, but I didn't want it to be a slam dunk in every Cassiopeia deck. So, I made it and the Acid Cloud it summons poison every unit, including your own, putting some detriment into playing this card in a more unit-heavy build. Or, again, you can use it to your advantage in some Crimson Swain/Vladimir decks...
This is by no means all the poison support that Shurima is going to get (or other regions for that matter...). I wanted to create some of the ones that enable the poison archetype and show what directions I'm going in. There will be a couple more enablers along with several payoffs that are yet to come.
Now, I want to show you some of the other cards outside of Cassiopeia-support I've created for Shurima:
This, alongside Aatrox, is the second card in Shurima that offers Obliterate. So why does Shurima get to have Obliterate? There are only 2 other cards that Obliterate units on the field, and Shurima gets basically 1.5 of those (Since Rhaast has to combine with the Noxian card Kayn to be able to Obliterate).
Well first of all, I want to preface this by saying Obliterate will likely not be on any other cards moving forward, so I'm not saying Shurima gets access to Obliterate. But it must be addressed that it now has the most.
Mainly, I think it's flavorful to the specific cards I put it on. Aatrox is an apocalypse-bringer, so having him Obliterate things makes sense to his character. The burning of the City of Gardens during the Rune Wars left it in complete ruins, and the art shows the people practically turning to ash, and so I think it's flavorful to the art and the even as well.
I don't think Obliterate fits into any one region in particular. However, I do think it fits cards for flavor. Obliterate should basically sound and feel like overkill. It's not being destroyed, it's ceasing to exist! It adds dramatic effect to cards more than anything, in my opinion, and I think the complete annihilation of a city during an important war and the bringer of the apocalypse deserve this dramatic effect.
For some context, the Dormun are animals with strong plates that function like armor that are very resilient to the harsh conditions of the Shuriman deserts. Because of their resilience, and ability to find hidden reservoirs of water, people sometimes build permanent homes on top of them.
That's all you need to know on what the heck this beautiful boy is for this card. The strong armor is simple enough - it gives the card tough and a lot of health. Nothing I read indicates that they're aggressive or hit hard (other than they're huge), so I figured a low attack stat fit as well.
So then what about the ability? Well, to be honestly, at the time I was thinking of Star Wars - more particularly, the whole "I have the high ground." Now, while that scene may not make particular sense, there is historical merit that high ground does bring advantages, and I'm pretty sure having this big beast as your high ground also has some advantages. So, I take the context of its ability like this - Units you play are fortified on the back of this huge beast, giving them a vantage point and a form of protection. And so, that's how the ability fits.
So then how does he as a whole fit into Shurima? Well, Aatrox and Rek'sai both directly benefit off being buffed in some way for sure, since they want to kill things and really go to combat. And of course, that applies to any card that wants to go to combat often, which Shurima as a whole wants to do. Sivir, along with the other cards that will developed throughout the set with Quick Attack and/or Piercing, will definitely appreciate the power boost this card provides. And Azir's Sand Warrior he summons will benefit greatly off of the boost as well, especially if he gets to summon 2 of them. It also fits with the theme of Shurima of buffing your board as opposed to just single units.
Of course, this sort of card fits well with a lot of other regions as well. Probably the most prominent one would be Demacia, who likes to go to combat multiple times in a single turn and use powerful cards with Challenger. This allows it to be a splashy epic for Shurima that can be played with other regions as well.
Thank you for all that continue to check out my blog and see my progress!