It’s been another week of playtesting. We’ve developed a new starter deck, The Templars! This hyper-aggressive deck was outlined by Exa, and fully realized, balanced, and tweaked with the Lead Designers Van and Kuri this week.
— BetterBuilt Studios (@SoWGameDev) October 5, 2016
Each of the starter decks now was now concepted by a specific member of the team – except for our Lead Artist, Addis! Addis’ deck may be added to the prototype for a total of five starter decks, if deemed necessary via continued playtesting. We want the prototype to feature enough starter decks to cover a variety of unique playstyles in order to satisfy different types of players – at the same time, we want to keep the barrier of entry to our prototype low. Well, at least, as low as a hardcore-angled, physical card game feasibly can be, without sacrificing any necessary design complexity!
The Templar deck focuses on aggressive play and rewards removing your opponents’ cards from play. The Smelter is the deck’s unique resource card, granting the Templar player 1 Resource every time an enemy card enters the graveyard. This effect is exacerbated by the Heresy mechanic. The Templars are all about routing out heretics, and destroying sinners by fire and plague. Enemy Buildings, Fortifications, and Unit cards can all be declared heretical by a Templar Inquisitor. When an Inquisitor comes into play, the Templar player declares any one enemy card, placing a Heresy Counter on it. Whenever a card with a Heresy Counter on it enters the graveyard, the Templar player receives 4 Resources.
If the Templar player has built a Church of Sinners, the Heresy Counter additional ability goes into effect: for every Heresy Counter in play, all of the Templar player’s units receive +1 Attack. The Church of Sinners has 4 FV and costs 2 to build – a modest amount of hitpoints, and since the Templar starter deck contains no fortifications, it can be focused down by opponents – especially if the Templar player’s army is engaged elsewhere.
The Templar deck can quickly snowball, and indeed often must do so in order to secure a win. Its Wonder is the Paladin of the Plagues, an 8 Resource cost 4/5 unit that cannot be targeted by abilities (for example, cannot be assassinated) with a progress counter of 7. Every time the Paladin of the Plagues destroys an enemy unit or building, it progresses by 1. The Paladin of the Plagues is affected by the Church of Sinners, buffing his attack by 1 for every Heresy Counter in play. With a gang of 1/1 Militia and 2/2 Torchers with Siege, weak, cheap cards quickly become more and more powerful as the Templar player plays Inquisitors, turning the crusade into a nigh-unstoppable train that gains more gold for every enemy unit removed from play, leaving only ash and bone in its wake.
Unless, of course, your opponents target down your Inquisitors and Church of Sinners at the right time, keeping the Templar player’s income down and preventing more Heresy tokens from going into play!
I’m super excited to start seeing the art for the Templar deck, hopefully there will be some to post this coming week! For now, here’s a lovely in-progress shot of the card frame artwork, made by Van: