We’re in the middle of spoiler season for Force of Will! It feels like Christmas every week day, with new cards being revealed on the Force of Will Facebook page. We have had two new cancel spells spoiled so far in Reiya Cluster 2 – “Advent of the Demon King” – and a couple more cards that appear to be ‘meta-defining’. In a meta that already favours wind, this can become cramping to players unprepared.
We can change that by talking about some strategies and working around so many cancel spells in the format and how the meta may evolve in the next 3 months. Here are some approaches players will take.
“You can’t cancel everything!”
At the very core of card games, we have a theory that states “whoever plays the most cards will most likely win.” This births the idea of a strategy to beat cancel spells. Cancel spells are generally a trade of cards – my one card for your one card. A “You can’t cancel everything” approach is a legitimate response in this deck building environment. We may see decks that go very wide early on, and then reload their hand mid to late game. The likes of Zoo Warlock from Hearthstone springs to mind. A swarm strategy plays into Lunya, who is currently earmarked as the aggro deck to beat as it’s the next fastest ruler in the format after a ban on Pricia. So, if you’re looking at beating cancel spells by going wide, you’ll need to find methods of beating Lunya’s automatic and mandatory pings!
Some swarm enabling Rulers to consider: Faerur, Lunya, and Fox.
“I just won’t play any cards, so they can’t cancel anything!”
This response is pretty good provided wind attribute doesn’t interact well with judgment and j-ruler strategies. Turning a big j-ruler sideways, particularly if they have flying, is an easy way for people to disregard their opponents plans. This strategy will isolate potentially 16 cards in the opponents cancel spell deck early on, but will leave you open to their manipulation late game by landing their own threats. Provided so many accessible cancel spells, I predict j-rulers will be a heavy focus in the coming months.
Some J-ruler centred Rulers to consider: Kirik, Glorius, Lumia, Frayla and Zero.
“If they play spells from their hand, I will destroy their hand!”
With Dark Night Butterfly and The Nameless Mist leading the cause against wind cancels, this can be hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll lure a cancel on the Butterfly, sometimes you’ll pluck their best. These cards will see staple play in any Darkness core deck looking to “go over the top” with mid to late game burn. If you enjoy playing the odds, this is a strategy for you!
Darkness core, hand control rulers to consider: Reiya, possibly Gill Alhama’at.
“Activate abilities can’t be cancelled in this format 😎”
You’re damn right. This idea can lead us down a deep rabbit hole. If we can predict a cancel spell meta, we can predict a j-ruler counter meta. But where do you go from there? Activate abilities on a j/ruler.
One j-ruler I can picture immediately is Kirik Rerik. This dude has an activate ability to ping on his j-ruler side. Targeting J/resonator, Kirik can kill an opposing j-ruler with very little opportunity for the opponent to interact. If you play cards like Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic (aka Bear Magic), you can kill any resonator your opponent will play to threaten, or even kill blockers. Any card with Remnant printed on it is a bad card to cancel. Bear Magic paired with an activate ability will be incredibly bad for the opponent looking to establish a board while cancelling spells.
Another ruler that involves activate abilities is Mikage. Equipped with Flying and Imperishable, Mikage can easily control resonators early and lead into a resource game against the opponent, typically “going over the top” of control mirrors. You may play spells like Demonflame and Lethal Arrow, but given enough time, Mikage will collect value through his activates. While this may be true, Lunya tends to do this activate to ping better for cheaper.
Griphonless Fox is another thought as it ticks many of the boxes to beat cancel spells:
- a j-ruler that cannot be interacted with
- an activate ability
- resonators that aren’t summoned
The Manticore can pluck the best of the opponent’s cards and activate discard at instant speed. Additionally, Fox plays enough swarm to eat with their activate ability, and to dodge cancel spells following the “You can’t cancel everything” argument.
The last to mention is Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree. Or just “Tree” for short. If built properly, this deck can take damage, and activate to place a named resonator from the Removed From Game pile. It’s an effective strategy but is prone to Soul Debt and some other counter summon strategies. If you look to beat cancel spells with Tree, you will play many of them yourself. You’ll be in a cancel spell war.
If you’re looking to play cancel spells, think about playing one of the following Rulers: Lumia, Gill, and Faerur.
I think Lumia will be the hardest to beat, as the deck will have such a tight fist on the game. Being able to flicker your mana dorks to recover them can lead to unfair turns. The deck should go wide with dorks or judgment, removing Nyarlathelop from the game to gain Imperishable and life-link. This is important as it requires specific answers to deal with the j-ruler, and then the cancels from hand will disrupt that counter control. Beware!
My rough Ruler tier list is as follows:
Tier 1- Lumia, Lunya
Tier 2- Gill Alhama’at, Reiya, Fox, Tree
Tier 3- Faerur, Kirik, Frayla, Glorius
Tier 4- Mikage, Gill, Zero (depending upon popularity of Lumia and then Kirik)
Tier 5- Taegrus
The Rulers from Advent of the Demon King will be slotted into this tier list once I have the full set revealed, and things readjusted. Thanks for reading 🙂