Saturday, October 29, 2011

10 Best Sticker Set Cards

The sticker sets were created by Spellfire fans after the game had been discontinued by Wizards of the Coast in 1997. Four sets were produced in all, named Millennium, Inquisition, Chaos, and Conquest. Because they were fan-designed, some of the cards were amazingly primo and some were amazingly crappy. They were all meant to be printed on sticker paper (which you can get at any office supply company) and stuck onto unwanted Spellfire cards such as 1st edition "blanks", Ravenloft commons, and Dragonlance commons.

This time I'm picking the 10 best cards from these sticker sets. Later on I'll take a trip through the worst of the bunch, as well. As always, my choices are based on the needs of the Antigonish variant, not Standard Spellfire.

Without further ado, lets go!

#10 - Kiri Allavesse (Inquisition, 29/99)
Kiri Allavesse is sort of like a poor man's Remnis. She can retrieve a used non-land card for you once a turn, but unlike the "dirty bird", she can do it only after she's razed a realm. Plus, you lose your spoils. She gets bonus points for the fact that she is a cleric able to cast wizard spells, reducing your need to add freaks like Bengoukee to your deck. Still, Kiri barely squeezes into this list at #10.

#9 - Realm (Conquest, 66/81)
This land is immune to the Rule of the Cosmos, so you can fill your deck with them. It can't be destroyed outside of phase 4, so no Disintegrates or Estate Transferences need apply. Realm does what it does quite nicely...it stays on the board like glue and contributes to your 6-land win. I've got a deck filled with these. Realm is good enough for place #9 on this list.

#8 -Sacred Flame (Millennium, 37/99)
There is a lack of good cleric spells in the game, and this is the second-best cleric spell provided by the sticker sets. If only it could be used in combat, it might jump a few spots on this list. Unfortunately, Sacred Flame can only be used before (phase 3) or after (phase 5) combat. This limits its usefulness, but the ability to send any one card attached to a champion to the discard pile, regardless of its immunities, is still pretty awesome.

#7 - Bastion (Inquisition, 7/99)
This land can send any non-realm card to the void during phase zero. Sounds great, and it would be #1 or #2 on this list if it didn't have such large disadvantages. First of all, you have to also discard Bastion to the void. Secondly, you have to raze another realm in your formation at the same time. So you lose two unrazed realms, to get rid of one of your opponent's cards. Is this ever a good trade-off? Only in the most dire of situations. Because it is great as a last-ditch-effort card, I'll give Bastion the #7 position on this list.

#6 - Burned At The Stake (Chaos, 55/72)
Although there won't be tons of opportunities to use this nifty little event, when it does go off it's so sweet that it deserves spot #6 on the list. Just after Helm, Gib Reltub, Phridge, or some other loser champion casts a spell, you can slap this baby down. So long as the spellcasting champion isn't a wizard or cleric, Burned at the Stake will send them to the abyss, unless they want to discard three cards - at random, which probably isn't happening. Nice card!

#5 - Zakhata, the False God (Conquest, 63/81)
One of the best avatar-nuking cards in Spellfire. Zakhata comes into play with a level equal to the combined level of all avatars on the table, which, in a multi-player game, could give you a level 25+ false god. She also makes all avatars in play vanilla. If I were you, I'd find a place in my deck for this card, especially if you're plagued by avatars the way I am.

#4 - Domination (Conquest, 19/81)
This card is almost as good as Tyranthraxus, which is really saying something. Your opponent has a troublesome champion? Pow! He's yours. Only problem is, he becomes a useless, drooling idiot who can take no action. But...so what? At least your enemy is deprived of his services. Plus you can still sacrifice him to bring out an avatar. Domination gains extra points from me for being a psionic power, which are notoriously difficult to counter.

#3 - Dispel Evil (Millennium, 43/95)
Okay, here we go with the top 3 sticker set cards! At #3 we find Dispel Evil. Why's it so great? Well there are some really powerful, pain-in-the-butt monsters floating around out there. Gib Lhadsemlo, for example. The Gorgon. Maybe even The Living Wall. This handy spell gets rid of them all, regardless of their immunities. Quick, reliable removal like this rates highly in my book.

#2 - Kronos the Titan (Millennium, 62/99)
I've already written about this guy here, naming him the best monster champion ever printed. He can swim. He can earthwalk. He casts just about every sort of spell. Plus he shuts down all other monsters' special powers. Oh, and in case you forgot, he's level 11. Yeah, Kronos is pretty decent! In fact, only one card from the sticker sets can exceed his primo-ness...

#1 - Dispel Illusion (Inquisition, 83/99)
I've already written about this card here, naming it the best wizard spell of all time. Not only that, but it's the best sticker-set card, as well as my personal choice of the most powerful Spellfire card ever printed. It can be cast at any time, allowing you to stop one card - ANY card - from being played. It also keeps your opponent from playing that card again until his or her next turn. So that Menzo or Caer Alison they were about to use to win? No dice. The champion they were about to slap down? See you next turn. The counterspell you baited from their hand? Gone. The sixth realm? Not so fast! This card is incredible, and every deck that has wizard spellcasting needs one.

Well, I managed to do a top 10 sticker cards list without mentioning any of the three cards I designed or co-designed. Although The Forgotten Idol (Millennium, 34/99), Insanely Good Fortune (Millenium, 47/99), and Gib Cram (Chaos, 5/72) are decent cards and fun to play with (I hope), they just can't measure up to the awesomeness that is present in the top 10 cards above.

Next Time: ...er....Psionic Power cards! :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5 Best Avatars

They're huge, they have incredible powers, and they are sometimes a pain in the butt to get onto the table. Yes folks, its time to run down the 5 best Avatars in Spellfire! Let's do it.

#5 (Tie) - Bonemaster (Powers, 41/100)
He can't be rated higher, because of his very narrow usage conditions. But in the right deck - an undead deck, obviously - he can make your champions almost unstoppable. The Bonemaster is easy to get out (discard any old cleric), and grants your undead a laundry list of immunities, including offensive spells and events. Bam.                          

#5 (Tie) - Kiri (Powers, 79/100)
I've already written about this guy here. He's overrated, but in the right situation he can be a game-breaker. The ability to take away all special powers of all champions is primo. Unfortunately, it also affects your own champions. I've seen him used well, but not often. The fact that Kiri can be summoned by simply discarding a cleric gains him a few points. He's good enough to be rated #5 on this list.

#4 - Iuz (4th Edition, 488/500)
Point 1 - any undead deck can summon this dude, he's easy to get out (simply discard 10 levels of undead). Point 2 - he casts wizard spells. Point 3 - Once per turn, you can raze one of your own lands to force an opponent to raze or discard one of their lands. A useful ability if someone is getting a tad too close to having six unrazed. For sheer versatility, Iuz is hard to beat.

#3 - Istus (Powers, 42/100)
I've written about this primo card here, and I can hardly believe she is only #3 on this list. This Avatar has plagued me more than any other over the years, as several of my arch-enemies use her routinely in their decks. Her discard effect is truly devastating, and that's based on rueful experience. Istus is also a breeze to summon: just discard a cleric and she pops into existence. You can't really go wrong by adding her to a deck. But the next two Avatars are even better.

#2 - Gib Drawsemaj (Nightstalkers chase, 22/25)
I've written about this guy here, in my "favorite cards" post. He's huge (level 20) and has one of the best powers in the game. When he appears, he gains the powers of any two non-avatar champions in play. Words can't describe how crazy that ability is...would you like to take on a champion with the special powers of The Living Wall and Shayira, for example? I thought not. The only downside to Gib Drawsemaj is his rather onerous summoning condition. He can only appear just after you cause an opponent's realm to be discarded. Keep those Dissolutions, Disintegrates, and Estate Transferences handy.

#1 - Remnis (4th Edition, 481/500)
I've written about this guy already as well! Here is the link. Remnis is number one on this list, and it's not close. While the other avatars are great, the "dirty bird" is flat-out phenomenal. Retrieve your used Wish, Estate Transference, Mindshatter, or Dispel Illusion over and over. This avatar is the very definition of the words "primo" and "game breaker". And while he's not the easiest champion to summon - you have to discard 16 levels of flyers - once he hits the table you are automatically on the fast track to a win.

Honorable Mention - Sirrion (Powers, 45/100)
Best looking art on a Spellfire card, bar none. Once I was playing a game and the Magic: The Gathering players at the next table came over to check out the "cool-looking demon". Some of those people eventually became Spellfire fans, all because of Sirrion's majesty. True story!

Next time: The 5 best - and 5 worst - cards from the Spellfire sticker sets.