Card of the Year: Emerald Legionnaire
Posted January 9th 2019 by Rahvin
The following article has been cross-posted from Information Highway.

2018 has been an incredible year for VTES!

The game came once again back from torpor, and to celebrate that we got reprints and one original set. And what a set it was !

[caption id="attachment_4399" align="alignright" width="215"] Lots of brown for those Emeralds...[/caption]

The goal of Lost Kindred was to boost 5 Bloodlines. As we already saw, the biggest beneficiaries of this endeavor were the Harbingers. As a matter of facts, you can now see them very often on tables all over the world, friendly or competitive. In comparison, you can see some Salubri Antitribu, and virtually none of the others.

In Prague, the Friday tournament (the day before the EC) had a turbo Harbingers in the final, and some other more or less weird concepts have emerged, but let’s be frank: if we see so many skullrippers, err, reapers, it’s only because of you, mon Legionnaire!

So I’ll propose here an in-depth analysis of this great card, what it does, how it can be played, what decks can be made with it, and how it can be countered.

1. The Specs

Why is that card so great? Well, first, a non-unique Ally with 2 Life, 2 Strength and 1 bleed is nothing to laugh about. 1 pool is a very reasonable cost. Just compare with the Reanimated Corpse, or even better with the excellent Nephandus. By the way, all those guys trade even in combat.

Ok, sure, it’s good. But now it gets better: once you’ve put one in play, and provided you have enough cards in your ash heap, the others can be put into play at your unlock, at no cost, and act right away! So yeah, they can come fast and bleed hard! It also means that if one or two die they will come back fast enough (be careful though, you might run out of cards to burn).

So in order to make your deck work you might need:

  • Some stealth to recruit the first Legionnaire; Breath of Thanatos is perfect for that

    [caption id="attachment_4401" align="alignright" width="215"] All that and the boobs too...[/caption]

    and doubles up as aggravated damage; a few Call of the Hungry Dead won’t hurt if they fit in your deck. Maybe some Spectral Divination, but don’t even think of including Acheron Vortex. Really, I mean it.

  • Ways to augment your ash heap fast. Liquidation will of course be a favorite, and Barrens would be nice. If you play some combat you might go with Aura Reading. If your deck walls you’ll probably include The Rack and the Shaal Fragments, both helping you draw and making you discard if they’re stolen. Of course Dreams of the Sphynx can never hurt, if you have the slots.

  • And obviously: Emerald Legionnaires! Lots of them. No less than 8, and it can go up to 13. More than that would be useless, you won’t have enough cards to put them in play anyway (do your math…). In decks that don’t rely heavily on Legiotech you could go down to 6 or even 4, just for the finish line.

2. The Techs

How should you play them? Well it totally depends how you build your deck of course.

Still, here are a few tips on the Legionnaire themselves :

  • Plan your recruit carefully! Ideally you must be sure that the first one will hit the table (DIaside…). So if you play stealth and need it, wait before you draw it; if you think you’ll be blocked, maybe keep one more in hand instead of discarding right away; and of course don’t hesitate to negociate your first recruit against something or other if needed.

  • Protect the Legion. You don’t just need to recruit a Legionnaire successfully, you also need to have it on the board at your next unlock (or until you have the requirements for putting Emeralds in place). This means planning to block to protect it if necessary.

  • Guard it with your Life. Rather, lives. Remember, the Legionnaires have 2 Life. So check carefully if no minion that you want to block or who might block you has a natural +1 damage, and try to estimate if they can boost that damage (obviously this will be harder in the beginning of the game). With this in mind, if you have wounded Legionnaires and unscathed ones, remember to act / block first with those and use the wounded only as last resort. And then, if they get hit and you have enough cards in your ash heap, it’s no big deal : they’ll be back soon!

[caption id="attachment_4404" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Like Schwartzy, the Legionnaires will always come back to haunt you…[/caption]

3. The Decks

The first major choice that you will have to make is the grouping of the crypt.

  • If you’re planning for combat or bruise’n’block, go for Kurshid and his 5-6 group. Mordechaiwill give a welcome permacept, and the 6-Caps are great. I would play a maximum of 1 Alcoan, and none of the vamps above 8-Caps (yeah I really don’t like Angelique in most decks…).

  • In any other case, go for G3 and its two new stars : Erlik and Erebus. Their specials are great in any deck, and Erebus shines with Vengeful Spirit. I see no good reason to play them with G2 instead of the smaller and more efficient G4 crypt, but maybe you’ll have some compelling arguments (“I can combo Agaitas and Ian Forestal” isn’t one…). Oh, and just one word : Babalawo Alafin ! Ok, that’s two but you get my meaning…

Then of course you have the concept itself. And, you know… They are Legion !

[caption id="attachment_4405" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Yes, I know...[/caption]

  • Emerald Wall : block everything, then get Legionnaires out ftw. Martin Weinmayer’s deck fits perfectly the description, and he wants the little guys so much he put 14 of them in ! And me who thought he was good at maths…

  • Fighting Legionnaires : wanna block me while I recruit ? Here, take 3 ! Or maybe some aggravated damage… Ben Peal’s deck is… Well, weird, but then that can be said of Ben too. A winning deck and a winning personnality!

  • With a little help from my Anu : like Mark Jasper I immediately thought that Anu Diptinaptanta… Dipatnanap… whatever, would be perfect to boost the bleeds of both the vamps and the allies. He put that theory to practice with his multiple tournaments-winning deck.

And of course feel free to tweak those in any direction you want, or to create your own versions !

4. The Wrecks

So, how do you fight against those pesky Legionnaires ?

Well, you don’t, you just die. Especially if you’re my prey, please, I need the VPs.

More seriously they’re actually quite vulnerable, especially in two situations : the initial setup, and the endgame if they already spent lots of ressources.

My advice to their opponents :

  • Of course, never underestimate them. One Legionnaire doesn’t do much, a horde does indeed…

  • Always try to block / destroy / steal the first Legionnaire if possible.

  • Stealing Emeralds once there are several won’t stop the machine but it will slow it down. Of course Entrancement and Far Mastery are still fan favourites, along with XeperXipe Totecor merged Sebastian Goulet. Antti Penttilä got 19 Legionnaires stolen in the 2 days of his EC, so… That can’t have helped !

  • If you can purge… sorry, too much Keyforgeremove from the game the Legionnaires in your prey’s ash heap, you’ll pretty much ruin his game. Of course the card that comes to mind is Trochomancy, if you yourself play Harbingers or any other great and beautiful necromancing clan. And if you don’t, too bad for you, you should. Helps with Ashur Tabletstoo…

  • And obviously, Legionnaire decks are vulnerable to the same as everyone : bleeds of course but they’ll redirect, so their main weakness will be votes. One or 2 Anarchist will probably destroy them. Of course they should plan for that and play intercept, Delaying Tactics, or both!

So here we are, with a now properly competitive clan and a card so good it’s borderline broken. I said borderline, don’t even think of changing it! Yes you, Black Chantry! Thank you from all Necromancers for that wonderful new toy, and be assured we’ll be waiting for the next one…