Talent spec cards are supposed to be the best of the best abilities. In exchange for picking a particular class and a particular talent spec, you get a little more oomph than you would otherwise. Water Elemental, Holy Shock, Surprise Attacks, Form of the Serpent . . . the bar is simply that much higher. In short, you get to play cards that are simply more powerful than anything you might get out of a more generic ability.
In practice, for every Holy Shock, there's a Divine Illumination. For every Water Elemental, there's a Presence of Mind. And for every Form of the Serpent, there is a Tree of Life. Oh, my, is there a Tree of Life.
In the next few weeks I'm going to look at the neglected talent specs. Most of the specs in the game have seen at least some tournament success, but there are a few that, well, haven't. Our first candidate:
Heroes: Cul Rendhoof, Tahanu Brinkrunner, Moonshadow, Mythen of the Wild
Talent spec cards: Gift of Nature, Furor, Tree of Life, Nature's Swiftness
Tournament success: I played against a Moonshadow at my very first Regional. I won. So, um . . . none.
So let's see what we can come up with. Up first: Mythen of the Wild.
Hero: Mythen of the Wild
4 Quigley Slipshade
3 Anchorite Kilandra
4 Cymbre Shadowdrifter
4 Treewarden Tolven
3 Woodsie Leafsong
3 Zempre, Grace of Elune
4 Lady Kath
4 Gift of Nature
4 Earth Mother's Blessing
4 Mark of the Wild
3 Blessing of the Heavens
4 Kibler's Exotic Pets
2 The Missing Diplomat
2 Chasing A-Me 01
3 Tabards of the Illidari
A buddy of mine, TCG player extraordinaire Alex Tennet, once busted out a deck featuring Quigley Slipshade, Earth Mother's Blessing and Mark of the Wild, using Quigley's ability to keep me from killing the buffed up Gnome. That deck was built long before Drums of War and the shadowmeld allies came out. Now that the Night Elves have come into their own, the deck looks quite a bit different.
Quigley Slipshade is definitely still in the deck for his unique abilities, but with the help of Darnassus, the shadowmeld guys can play the same game. Because of that, you can go all-out on the ongoing ally enhancers: Earth Mother's Blessing, Mark of the Wild, and Blessing of the Heavens. Get in there, play the enhancer as an instant, and do some real damage with Darnassus back to save your shadowmeld ally from any removal your opponent may have.
Going restoration here gives you access to the best casual combo of 2008: Gift of Nature and Lady Kath. This deck gets to keep allies on the board better than most decks, so that combo will actually keep your allies alive while letting you utterly wreck your opponent's board with your dudes. Not only that, but both cards are good on their own. You can use Mythen of the Wild's flip to keep a Gift of Natured walking corpse from collapsing at the end of the turn. And because of the enormous allies you'll have due to your buffs, putting a few damage on them and healing with Lady Kath at the end of the turn is a distinct possibility. Plus, Rebirthing a Lady Kath as an instant before the end of the turn can wreck some well-laid plans.
Onward, to the Tree of Life deck you all knew was waiting at the end of the column!
Hero: Cul Rendhoof
4 Bulvai of the Watch
4 Niyore of the Watch
4 Natural Selection
4 Nature's Swiftness
4 Tree of Life
3 Life of the Land
4 Circle of Life
3 Bloodsea Brigand's Vest
3 The Ruins of Lordaeron
4 Poison Water
4 Forces of Jaedenar
3 Deep Sea Salvage
This thing is all about staying alive. Lifebloom, Healing Touch, Revitalize, Natural Selection, and Life of the Land are all just keeping your health intact for as long as possible. You've got this healing so that you can get to the late game.
Tree of Life is tailor-made to help you get there. Not only are all your healing spells cheaper, they all heal you more when they land. Lifebloom healing 2 damage a turn for 1 resource is a much better deal than 1 damage for 2 resources. There's so much healing that it will be pretty tough to actually kill you before the lock is set.
The lock is pretty simple: get Circle of Life into play (really easy when it costs 7 due to Tree of Life and you have Nature's Swiftness) while you have either Draenei of the Watch. With four of each, you'll have plenty to play and plenty to find in your deck when they meet their unfortunate demise. At this point you've gone from “nearly unkillable” to “actually unkillable.”
But what happens when you run out of Niyores in your deck? Then you need to replace them, which is pretty simple. The Ruins of Lordaeron was custom made for this deck. Niyore is virtually guaranteed to put at least two counters on Ruins, and if you don't fill that, you've got Poison Water to reshuffle.
Plus, you've got all sorts of draw to find the cards you need. Innervate and Energize, coincidentally, are both restoration cards and therefore cheaper with Tree of Life in play, allowing you to find all the healing and Watchmen you need to get the combo going.
I think that the underused talent specs are a great place to find casual decks. Generally they're close to viable, so they'll be able to play casually but still should at least put up a fight against the top tier, and they've got stuff that all sorts of people have loved and then lost, such as Lady Kath/Gift of Nature. Something for everybody! Join me next week for my next foray into the Island of Misfit Talent Specs.