The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of Elsweyr Exclusive Reveal

It definitely seems like Sparkypants Studios really kicked The Elder Scrolls: Legends into high gear. It wasn’t too long ago that the Alliance War expansion was released and Moons of Elsweyr is right around the corner. Once again, we’ve partnered with the studio to bring you an exclusive card release: Reanimate!

The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of ElsweyrWhile it might seem a bit expensive for its effect, Reanimate could definitely swing a game in favor of control heavy decks. Not only does it unconditionally bring a creature back to life but ‘Summon’ effects will also trigger. This could mean a second Miraak or Kaalgrontiid. Scarier yet, with the right strategy these could even be played a few turns early.

Here’s some additional commentary from Community Manager Christian Van Hoose:

Reanimate is a simple card with a big effect. While nine magicka is an incredibly high cost for an Action, this card’s effect can be worth a lot more – you can have your choice of any creature in your discard pile and summon it to the board immediately. Endurance cards have been able to summon creatures from the discard pile before, but rarely with no restrictions like Reanimate. Players will even be able to “cheat” huge creatures to the board by discarding them from their hand or deck earlier in the game. If you have an Alduin (whose cost starts at 20) in your discard pile by the time you can play Reanimate, it’s not going to matter that you don’t have 20 magicka – you’ll be able to play it right then and there!

The Elder Scrolls: Legends – Moons of Elsweyr

Moons of Elsweyr will bring more than 75 new cards to The Elder Scrolls: Legends on June 27!

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A Look at The Elder Scrolls: Legends Alliance War

With the official release of The Elder Scrolls: Legends Alliance War, Sparkypants Studios has released its first full-fledged expansions since taking over the digital CCG from Dire Wolf Digital. Earlier this year, Sparkypants also released the Isle of Madness story chapter, which featured an interactive story (similar to how Hearthstone used to do Adventures) and a specific amount of cards at a set price. This was a great addition to the game, as it added a bit of flavor while granting players access to a set of 55 cards for a fair price that managed to supplement the previous card sets while adding the new ‘double card’ mechanic.

However, Alliance War is an entire expansion that introduces more than 100 cards (104 to be exact), four new game mechanics, and five new triple-attribute factions representing the Aldmeri Dominion, Daggerfall Covenant, Ebonheart Pact, Empire of Cyrodiil, and Guildsword. Surely this will shake up the meta!

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War

 

The Perfect Combination

With the introduction of the 5 new factions, it’s now possible for players to make every 3-color attribute combination currently in the game. This leads to a lot of new creative combinations and lets players easily build decks around the strengths and weakness present in each attribute. However, the downside, similar to the Houses of Morrowind, is that 3-color decks require a minimum of 75 cards instead of the standard 50. When it comes to pulling out complex combos, or top decking the winning card, more is not better.

In order to compensate for an increased deck size, new triple attribute cards have been introduced and many of which are incredibly powerful or offer excellent value. For Example, Jorunn the Skald-King is a 5-cost Ebonheart Pact Legendary who is a 5/5, immune to silence, reduces friendly creature costs by 1, and makes enemy non-creatures cost 1 more. That’s an incredible value, especially if he can stick around for more than 1 turn. However, even the lowly 2-cost Guildsworn Apprentice is a great 1/2 that has Prophecy, Guard, and draws a card.

All in all, each of the new factions comes with a set of complementary triple attribute cards that either carry excellent value or have powerful mechanics. Some of the cards do require proper setup, such as Ayrenn’s Chosen, but many will likely become deck staples.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War

 

A Plethora of Abilities

Usually, new card keywords are introduced one or two at a time, but in Alliance War there are a total of four new mechanics to play with: Veteran, Empower, Expertise, and Mobilize. Veteran grants creatures a new ability after their first attack, Empower boosts a card in your hand when an opponent is damaged, Expertise buffs a card on the battlefield after playing an item, support or action, and Mobilize allows you to play an item to an empty lane attached to a 1/1 recruit.

While it’s nice to have new toys to play with, a few of these mechanics are quite clunky while others require high rolling to be effective. We’ll start by looking at Mobilize. In theory, it’s nice to have an option to play an item without requiring a creature. However, this keyword limits an item’s power in favor of flexibility because if it was too strong then mobilize items would be auto include in every deck. Most of the Mobilize items wouldn’t be great played on the curve, either on a creature or attached to a recruit.

However, there are a couple that stand out, such as the Ebonthread Cloak that can be useful at all stages in the game by providing action immunity to important creatures. Cruel Axe could also see uses against aggressive decks either to trade early or pump up a guard creature. Unfortunately, the rest of the items just seem too costly to use, especially the shiny Covenant Masterpiece that does just about everything but isn’t good enough in one area.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War

Veteran seems to be in a slightly better place than mobilize but is still a little awkward to play with. It gives creatures a bonus if they survive their initial attack, which means they’re typically weak if played on the curve. There are some interesting options, however, such as the Pact Shieldbearer that increases the opponent’s action costs by 4 the next turn. It doesn’t have charge so your opponent has one turn to play around it by either killing it, or dumping actions that round, so its effectiveness can be marginalized by a good player. Then there’s Invoker of the Hist, which completely restores your magicka after its first attack; definitely a high-roller’s dream.

Then there’s Expertise, which seems to be a little more conservative with its value swings. Most of the cards with Expertise are already decent on the curve and the bonuses are typically smaller such as +1/+1 or 2 damage to your opponent. There are some good value options including the 3-cost 4/3 Vanus’s Scribe that reduces the cost of an action in your hand. Of course, there’s also Vanus Galerion himself at 11-magicka that deals 3 damage, heals you for 3, and lets you draw 3 cards. It might be difficult to pull off, but if you do the game’s probably over at that point.

Finally, we come to Empower. I found this keyword to be the best out of the bunch because it’s attached to some very powerful cards and has even created a new deck archetype. Empower boosts cards in different ways based on how many times an opponent has been damaged. Spoils of War, for example, is a 5-cost action that lets you draw 2 cards. Normally, this would be terrible but its cost is decreased by 1 each time the opponent is damaged; in certain decks it’s not difficult to cast this for free. Entire decks are being constructed around the new Soul Shred card, which mills the opponent’s deck based on how many attributes they’re playing and how much damage they’ve taken in a turn. With the right setup, it’s possible to make your opponent discard their entire deck, and then all that’s left is the cleanup.

The Elder Scrolls Legends Alliance War

 

Challenges

Overall, Alliance War has introduced some powerful new cards, play options, and interesting mechanics, but the game itself still has a lot of room to grow. Furthermore, this set has fallen into the same trap as previous Elder Scrolls: Legends sets and has ignored most of the previous archetypes that were setup in past expansions.

This typically wouldn’t be a problem, but each past set felt like it spread itself too thin and didn’t give a lot of deckbuilding options for unique card types. Alliance War didn’t include multi-attribute cards for any of the past combinations, nor was there a single dragon, factotum, double card, or card with exalt, plot, rally or betray keyword. It just feels like a waste to create all of these different card ideas and then only use them for a single set.

Thankfully, Sparkypants is picking up the pace this year and already have 3 more expansions planned out through 2019. Hopefully they’ll start to minimize the amount of new keywords and card types and shift to fleshing out the vast amount that are already available in the game.

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The Elder Scrolls: Legends Interview – Sparkypants

Recently, the development of Bethesda’s CCG, The Elder Scrolls: Legends, changed hands from Dire Wolf Digital to Sparkypants Studios, which is mostly known for its real-time strategy game Dropzone. According to Bethesda, this shift was to better support the players and provide more regular updates to the game. In order to help clear up some confusion regarding the change, we spoke with Sparkypants’ QA manager Gavin Niebel.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends Sparkypants

 

Hello and thank you for taking the time to speak with MMOGames. Could you please introduce yourself and role with the company?

Hey there, thanks for taking the time to reach out to us. My name is Gavin Niebel and I am the QA Manager here at Sparkypants, but you can also find my hands in production, community management, and some bug fixing.

 

How long ago did Sparkypants know that it was going to take over development of The Elder Scrolls: Legends and what kind of preparations did you make?

I believe final paperwork was signed in the last week of December 2017, so preparation was a large combination of getting an engine design spun up as well as playing massive amounts of matches using the version of the game that was already live. A lot of us are not only fans of Elder Scrolls lore, but very much into card games and board games, so you could say that everything leading up to this collaboration with Bethesda was unknowingly a form of preparation.

 

What are some of the key changes that you plan to make to the game?

What you have already seen with our UI and art direction is obviously one of the biggest changes we planned to make. Beyond that, we definitely want to improve upon the frequency of updates for our players; new cards, new stories, new puzzles, as well as more customization options like new playmats, more cardbacks, and customizable avatars.

 

I heard that you’re working on a new Tournament game mode. What are some of its features and what can players expect from it?

We definitely have some plans in this regard but, as you’ll see in the last question, our first goal is to get the game in great shape and with a platform we can reliably build upon. So, unfortunately, I can’t reveal anything on this just yet.

 

Previously, players were rewarded with a new card at the end of every season based on their ranking. Will this feature be coming back?

Yes, absolutely. October’s card may be delayed a few days but after that you can expect a normal cadence for the monthlies!

 

Will there be any new ways in which players can earn in-game currency or unlock cards?

We’ll explore all aspects of the game once we are on a stable footing but there’s not much I say on this right now.

 

Do you plan to continue to produce story chapters, similar to The Fall of The Dark Brotherhood?

Yes, without a doubt. We have one in the works right now, which Pete mentioned during QuakeCon called, Isle of Madness. And while I have no official announcement about 2019 plans, I can say for sure our intention is to continue to produce more story chapters. We look forward to the response from our players.

 

We’ve heard that the next expansion will be Isle of Madness. Is there anything that you can tell us about it, such as new cards, archetypes or abilities?

Unfortunately there isn’t anything I can really say at this point, other than what has already been announced. There will be about 40+ new cards and the story will be broken up into three parts. You’ll just have to wait for Bethesda’s own CVH to release more information in the coming weeks.

 

What does the future look like for The Elder Scrolls: Legends?

Very, very busy! Not only are we working on pushing out more updates to add layers of polish, we have the FrostSpark Collection coming very soon, adding 11 new cards to the game to hopefully shake up the existing meta. Beyond that, we’re working on the next story expansion, Isle of Madness, and more to come in 2019.

 

Is there anything else that you would our readers to know about the game?

By far our top priority is to continue polishing the game. Legends is a broad game. We completely re-created an excellent game that had been in development for years: client, game servers, backend services, operations, player migration, all of it. Realistically, it will take a few updates to shake out all the systems, to get into some real polish, and to start getting in some much-requested features. Hopefully players are starting to see that with the first couple of updates.

Simply put, all of us at Sparky are here for the players. That’s all we care about. We’re dedicated to making TESL shine brighter than ever before. We read all your comments on reddit and other social media, and really, it’s all about prioritizing. We’re working hard as hell to get as many fixes out the door, as fast as possible, so bear with us if some bugs take longer to fix than others. We’ll get there. Promise.

 

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