Battle for Attoractia is the latest set in the ‘Alice Cluster‘ and brings our adventures in Attoractia to a close. While the whole set is fun and full of interesting cards, it felt strangely like a bit of a holding pattern before the deluge of new cards in the form of Vingolf 2, first set for the new ‘Lapis Cluster‘, and brand new starter decks. In the weeks since the release of Battle for Attoractia, I’ve been spending my time theory-crafting and play-testing various cards that jumped out at me. I wanted to share these cards with you.
Keep in mind that I am not attempting to make a list of most powerful cards in Battle for Attoractia. I feel that would be a fool’s errand, especially in a combo heavy game like Force of Will. A powerful green control card will mean very little to a red aggro player. A powerful new support for fairies is not going to excite a Pricia beast player. So instead this is a list of cards that I find fun or interesting, with the hope that it might ignite your imagination to build different and unique decks or upgrade your favourite deck in new directions. So without further ado, here are the cards in no particular order.
1) Arla, Guardian of the Skies
Let’s start with a showstopper. Now, all of the J-Rulers in Battle for Attoractia have the same Ruler side, Memoria of the Seven Lands, whose sole ability is Judgement at the cost of four Will. The flip side holds the memories of five of the Seven Kings that are dead in the story line. In my opinion, Arla is the most fun and competitive out of all of them. First of all, once flipped, Arla gains the name of its original Seven Kings version. While the other J-Rulers in this set do the same, in Arla’s case he gets a very powerful boost in the form of four counters on Artemis, the God’s Bow. Seeing as many competitive decks happily splash Artemis even with two counters this is nothing to scoff at.
When he flips he will have effects based on whether or not you have one or four of his special magic stones in play. If you have at least one, you get to accelerate your Will by putting the top card of your magic stone deck into play. Then you get to recover all magic stones you control. This essentially means you get a complete refund on all the opportunity costs involved in flipping Arla. It doesn’t slow down your magic stone ramp and essentially resets your turn. To top it all off, you also get to draw a card. If you are lucky enough to have all four copies of his special magic stones in play (it does count if you flipped the last one from his ability by the way), you get to draw three cards. This is by far the most powerful draw ability in the game but is of course unlikely to fire often.
While the other J-Rulers in Battle for Attoractia follow the same template of ability based on whether you have one or all of their special stones out, Arla’s is the most consistent and competitive by far. Not only that, he also happens to have the best special stone in my opinion. Once again its ability is nothing flashy but by far the most consistent with a 2 to 1 Will colour fixing ability. Of course, you shouldn’t build a whole deck around relying on this ability, but it gives you a little bit more freedom to splash in that third or fourth colour knowing that First Flight Memoria will save you in a bind.
Last but certainly not least, Arla has an ability that says ‘Whenever a resonator you control attacks, recover target magic stone you control.’ This may seem small but it is an ability that can be downright oppressive for your opponent. Wind is known for its control, counter and buff cards and a common strategy against it is to try and punish it while it has no magic stones open. Inversely Wind players sometimes end up leaving a few magic stones open to cast powerful counter or control spells only for the opportunity to never come up and all that open Will wasted. So sometimes it can feel like you are playing acceleration just to not fall behind instead of getting ahead. Arla fixes that by having an efficient built-in acceleration engine. The timing of magic stone recovery in Arla’s ability is particularly suited to Wind’s staple counter and buffs, since the stone becomes immediately available as soon as you declare an attacker.
It should be mentioned here that Arla’s stone recovery ability also gives rise to the first infinite loop I am aware of in Force of Will when you combine it with Rat Catcher’s Pipe equipped on a Hamelin’s Pied Piper. When said Piper attacks, you would be able to rest one of your opponent’s resonators and recover a stone. You can then rest that stone to recover Piper thanks to the Pipe and you can repeat this indefinitely. Now, infinite combos are usually bad for a game but before we start foaming at the mouth, let’s recognise that it’s not a very good combo. Piper still costs five and unless you have a way of giving it swiftness, it still has to survive a turn on the board. Even with the Pipe equipped the combo means nothing if your opponent has more than one resonator capable of blocking and killing the Piper. Simply resting the Piper down will even stop the combo. It’s a combo you’d have to build your whole deck around and is frankly not a very consistent one. In a meta full of removal and control, a good deck will probably have you long in the dirt before you can get your combo secure.
Silly jank aside, Arla is a solid ruler and perhaps the best one in this set. Instead of flashy abilities what he has is a built in consistency and temp boost. I am not sure it can pass the current meta’s test of ‘Can it beat Reflect/Refrain?’ but at the very least it can head a fun deck that can dream of doing decent in a competitive environment.
2) Black Moonbeam
This is probably the most controversial card in this set. A two Will black instant that destroys target ruler is already powerful enough but ‘players cannot chase to this card’ is what sealed the deal for this cards power. Calm down now. You can stop hyperventilating because it is not really quite that ‘broken’ nor does it kill ‘Reflect/Refrain’. It does, however, have a massive impact on the meta. Now any decks that want to rely on their J-Ruler powers need to pack a Wind-Secluded Refuge (which gets around Moonbeam’s ‘no chasing’ caveat by being an automatic trigger) or be extra careful when the opponent has access to two black will. Any regalia or other effects that can give your J-Ruler imperishable will buy you one turn, provided you remember to pop the effect before you judgement. You should also keep in mind that any effects that go on the chase still resolve even if its source disappears before it is resolved, so those J-Rulers that rely on their ‘when it enters play’ abilities will still get their effects off even when a Moonbeam chases your judgement.
A lot of people consider this a ‘Reflect/Refrain hate’ card but ironically it is perhaps most potent in R/R control decks. They can afford to have that two Will open every turn and use it for other effects in end steps when you can no longer judgment. It is perhaps most devastating to red aggro decks that rely on early judgement into hard hitting J-Rulers. Even forcing these decks to free up deck slots for protection against Black Moonbeam and give up tempo to set up these protections is a huge win for decks that are scared of the rush. Considering aggro rush decks were often being utilised as a gambit against R/R control, I don’t know if Black Moonbeam is helping or hurting this R/R meta.
As for the casual environment, Black Moonbeam is downright oppressive. There are plenty of fun casual decks that might as well scoop as soon as a Moonbeam lands. I think it’s best if Force of Will players in general enter into an unspoken pact to not play Moonbeam against any new players starting out. Let’s make new players first encounter of this card be when you pull it out of your folder as a prelude to a rant rather then in the middle of a game right before asking, ‘what do you mean I can’t chase?’ Ok? Ok!
Okay, this one is firmly on the fun end of the fun-competitive scale but ‘you may have any number of copies of this card in your main deck’ is always an invite to try some jank. Croco-Shark is definitely something from the jank tank with its ability to grab another Croco-shark when it enters from stealth. Also getting +200/+200 from every other Croco-Sharks you control means that three Croco-Sharks out of stealth should get you a one-turn kill on the table. Add in supports like Pumpkin Witch or Hare of Inaba, and you already have a janky combo deck. Until it rotates out, or if you are playing wanderer format, Seer of the Blue Moon would be a perfect ruler to lead this deck with her ability to reduce the cost of paying cards into chant-stand by 1.
Now, Croco-Sharks wouldn’t make the most consistent deck, with every Croco-Shark you lose severely impacting your overall power. However, the idea that some competitive decks might have to splash some mass removal to be prepared to deal with an idiot (like me) who bought 25 Croco-Sharks, well, that amuses me greatly.
4) Midsummer’s Night King, Oberon (And fairy support)
Okay, for the last two, I am going to cheat a little by talking about a group of cards rather then just one. This set brings a fair bit of fairy support with it and its main linchpin is definitely Oberon. Not only a flyer with quick cast himself, he also makes all of your fairies able to quick cast, which means you can play him during your opponent’s turn and start playing as many other fairies as you can afford and have them be ready to attack by the time your turn comes around. He combos particularly well with his Shakespearean consort, Titania, the Prideful Queen. For a mere five Will you can play Oberon, two one-drop fairies, and rest all three to play Titania for one during the opponent’s turn and have a massive surprise flying attack force ready to swing.
Of course, the big fairy family shouldn’t be just the big mummy and daddy, it also needs little pesky fairies running around being nuisances. Well, Battle for Attoractia also brings two of the best one drop fairy’s as well. Queen’s Envoy seems like really good bang for your buck for one Will, being a 200/300 flyer that can block while rested. That ability to block while rested may not seem like much for such a small creature but it gives way to a lot of janky combos like quickcasting her in with Oberon’s ability and resting her to make Titania cheaper and still being able to block with her. Keep in mind that Titania’s buff effects her twice, being a water fairy. Add in a Muse, Celestial of Music, and she is suddenly very versatile in a fairy deck.
Escort of the Fairy King is also another amazing one drop fairy in Battle of Attoractia. With it’s ability to quickcast and make a fairy resonator untargetable, it’s essentially a really good chant instant that comes with the added bonus of a flying body. Just like Queen’s Envoy, the Escort also makes great fodder for Titania by also becoming a flying nuisance once she is out. All in all, these four cards by themselves can form the core of a fairy deck. For fairy players, Oberon alone is heaven… ahhh… Avalon-sent.
5) Remote Control Golem (And machine support)
Just Remote Control Golem by itself is enough to get a machine player salivating. A massive first of its kind 2000/2000 indestructible resonator with affinity for machines? Yes, please! Especially in an original Machina deck, things can get quickly out of hand for your opponents with a couple of Golems stomping around. With support like Small Assistant Mariabella and Mariabella’s Work, you should be able to put 4000-5000 strong force on the table with Machina’s judgement consistently. Throw in other machine support and a competitive machine deck will come together faster than you can say, ‘Ready to form Voltron!’
Well, that’s it from me on what’s fun and interesting from Battle for Attoractia. Of course, they are plenty of other cards I’d love to talk about but that risks turning this article from long to ‘thesis-length’. Let us know about your own pet cards from this set that you are having success with or trying to make work. Let’s enjoy these cards before the Curse of the Frozen Casket and new starter decks completely innovate the meta once again.