Mercenary system is one of the most highly anticipated feature of upcoming PvE set. Every mercenary revealed to this date have such interesting specialized power/ability, Mercenaries will make every deck play and feel different. I believe this will be a signature system of what defines HEX as unique game when it is released. Rakshani the Spiteblade is no exception.
Mercenaries are built so that each of them have a very specialized/powerful abilities when used appropriately. It basically imposes players to built a deck with a special challenge/ruling but if one can do so, these decks will give players a feel of “god moment”; otherwise, “broken combo” moment. Rakshani’s specialty is obvious, it’s the “tunneling system.”
Sensei of Subterfuge is the key ability of Rakshani. This ability allows any card to become tunneling card.
So why do we have Practiced Restraint?
These three cards quickly jumps onto anyone’s attention when making a tunneling based deck. But without the Practiced Restraint, Minion of Yazukan will return every turn. Monsuun’s and Reese tunneling cost become reduced, and these are one of the highly valued card in constructed format i.e. very powerful cards.
Practiced Restraint as a side effect make any card in hand cost +1. So when designing a deck, one has to really think about casting most card using tunnel ability rather than typical cost based cast. But you have to also remember that this ability applies to opponent as well. Since we have a way to cast anything in 2 cost + turns but opponent does not have that option, Practiced Restraint may not be just a simple negative ability.
So what are the some cards that can potentially benefit from this?
Simple quick benefit will be seen in card like this. Instead of tunneling 15, this becomes tunneling 11 from the start. But we should of course expand our tunneling ability to other card beyond ones that have tunneling already. Basically, tunneling system makes turns/time as a resource and Rakshani’s ability make this is true for any troop i.e. turn resource is now a real option. This is where your imagination comes in.
What are some intentional synergies that we can see by game design?
Excavation bot is only way to accelerate tunneled troop surfacing.
Underfoot commander is additional booster to the tunneled troops beyond Brawn for the Burrowed ability.
Extinction won’t affect troop in underground. It is a classic combo to use Extinction while Monsuun in underground so your own troops reanimate soon after. But with Rakshani, since most of your cards are going through underground, they are often protected from Extinction and you may be behind during initial few turns due to restriction of the Rakshani, it appears Extinction to be a good card to keep in the deck despite 5 casting cost.
The real power of Rakshani ability is that it makes essentially all card shardless for casting point of view. Usually, tunneling ability has threshold but Rakshani’s tunneling method does not. So with an exception of diamond due to its deck building rule, Rakshani allows us to ignore threshold requirement for casting/summoning troop.
*This is indeed how it works, and has been confirmed by Dinotropia.
For example, you can have your deck built only with blood shard and use Rakshani ability to put Fist of Briggadon underground. 7 turns later he’s on the board despite you have zero wild shard in your deck.
Extra 2 cards to start is a true power no matter what deck you have.
The design space of this system is tremendous and has huge potential. Having said that, I am not sure how relevant Rakshani’s party passive ability is.
Mercenary system is a true revolution to the HEX. When I first heard about use of Champion system in HEX, I imagined champions to be very powerful and has unique own style of play, and sometimes to the point they are game changer by themselves. However, due to game’s balance for PvP play (appropriately), PvP Champions power level have been set in a way such that they can be important and perhaps crucial part of certain strategy but not something I would call “winning condition” rather feels supplemental.
But HEX has a clever separation of PvP and PvE, and now that separation truly shows its power. With Mercenary system, I now see what I had originally dreamed of. Mercenary will make you want to play very specific style of game, and doing so will certainly give you totally different feel that is otherwise not possible.
Do you have any special synergy or crazy combo for Rakshani that you can share with other readers?