Getting to Know the Dark Elves!
Blog // 2018-02-20
The Dark Elves use a versatile mix of animals and elementals, supplemented by a range of heroes that use different types of weapons. Their strength lies in numbers, high mobility, and damage from secondary sources such as their numerous damaging spells and poison, a debuff that causes damage to the affected unit on their player's next turn.
To dominate as a Dark Elf player, the house powers and spell cards have to be combined with the different heroes in clever ways to unleash their maximum potential.
Strengths: Dark Elves have many ways of dishing out high amounts of damage without relying purely on their heroes’ attack power. By using poison smartly and buffing their heroes’ base damage in numerous ways, seemingly insignificant heroes can become devastating to their enemy.
Weaknesses: Many Dark Elf heroes require special circumstances, certain cards, or powers to unleash their full power. This means that Dark Elf decks, as a general rule, are somewhat reliant on luck of the draw. If the Dark Elf player cannot draw the right card combinations from their deck at the right moment, their heroes might die without ever having much of an effect on the match.
Always carefully plan ahead and make sure to diversify your deck to incorporate a few cards that can get you out of a sticky situation and buy you enough time to draw the right cards!
The Dark Elves: Building your Poison Posse
Since many of the Dark Elf house powers can be very useful in many situations it’s always difficult to decide which powers to bring to compliment your deck. Let’s take a look at the available choices and think of some basic strategies that allow us to utilize them.
- Bad Blood gives a poisoned hero +1 attack power.
Bad Blood is an excellent way to boost a hero’s attack power that cannot easily be buffed by things like weapon cards, which are usually limited to a specific type of hero. This makes the power a great addition to decks that don’t focus on one kind of hero but are rather versatile in their approach. It’s also the perfect way to counter a Dark Elf enemy. If he poisons your heroes you can turn the tables by using this to your advantage.
- Poison poisons a hero.
The poison status is heavily utilized by the Dark Elves and can be extremely useful. It’s a great way to weaken an enemy without suffering revenge attacks and is the basis for an arsenal of poison-based cards, such as Acid Influx or Fever. Poisoned heroes take 1 damage at the start of their owner's next turn.
- Nudge advances a hero 1 tile.
Nudge doesn’t just allow you to advance ally heroes, but also your enemy’s heroes. This power can be used to your advantage in many ways, for example to get your hero closer to your enemy’s crystal and launch a surprise attack, or to move your hero onto the KO’d hero he just attacked to make revival impossible. You can also use it to get a crucial target out of safe cover and make a decisive move against your opponent.
- Ritual player takes 3 crystal damage, but gains 1 mana.
This power can help you out in a sticky situation if you’re just short of being able to summon an important hero. Pay close attention to your crystal health and think carefully. Is the hero or card you want to play worth the cost?
- Dark Bargain ally hero gains +1 attack power and takes 1 damage.
Dark Bargain can be incredibly useful to boost your heroes. It doesn’t discriminate based on hero type, so you can use it to buff any hero you like and it’s especially useful for heroes with the enrage ability, like Queen Serath, of whom the Dark Elf House has many. These heroes gain additional attack power so long as their health points have taken damage.
- Lazy Phantom summons a phantom with 0 AP on a KO’d ally.
The Lazy Phantom power is a perfect addition to any phantom or elemental decks. It allows you to summon a phantom (albeit with 0 AP) on a KO’d ally. Combine this with spells like Wraith Swell and you’ll be able to launch a powerful surprise attack!
- Spider Hatchling deals 1 damage to your crystal and summons a Spider Hatchling near it.
If you are desperate for a last line of defense, this is the emergency button for you! While Spider Hatchlings aren’t the most powerful of heroes, they are certainly enough to pose as an obstacle for one or two rounds while you regain your strength, gather some mana and launch your counter offensive!
- Shadow Arsenal draws a random weapon card.
This power is perfect for any deck that relies on the buffs from weapon cards. With a bit of luck, it also allows the user to draw weapon cards from the Council or Warden houses!
Powerful Dark Elf Combinations
If you are looking for a foundation for your brand new Dark Elf deck, taking a look at available cards and some basic ways to combine them with each other is the perfect way to start. So let’s check out some of these combinations!
Lord Arranex is extremely powerful due to his passive ability that doubles his damage against all poisoned heroes. If you weren’t able to bring the poison power, cards that inflict the poison debuff such as Viper or Toxic Vapor are a perfect combination with this guy!
Necromancer Marax is one of the most versatile heroes the Dark Elves have to offer. He has powerful offensive potential due to his range and chain property and he is vicious, which means he doesn’t lose his remaining action points after attacking! We can use his first action point to kill the enemies and follow this up by turning the just KO’d heroes into our very own phantoms! Now follow up with a Wraith Swell on one of your newly summoned phantoms and let the chaos begin!
If your enemy is trying to overwhelm you with numbers, try to use this combination as a counter! By summoning Impaler, everything on the board will take 1 damage. Follow this up with Umbra Ritual, to gain impressive amounts of mana and use more cards right away! This combination is perfect to get back into a challenging game and surprise your enemy!
It’s almost like Shadow Arsenal was made for Weapon Eater, a hero that gains +2 attack power or +3 health whenever a weapon card is used on him. If we can manage to keep Weapon Eater alive long enough and keep buffing him with the help of Shadow Arsenal, he can turn into an absolute monster. Weapon Eater is also a good way to get rid of weapon cards you don’t need in a useful way. Try your luck with this combination!
Having seen some of the amazing cards available to the Dark Elves, it’s easy to understand how it could be overwhelming to decide on just 30 cards for our personal deck. To help us decide, let’s take a look at some possible foundations for Dark Elf decks.
Deck 1: Free Range
Powers: Nudge, Lazy Phantom
Essential Monsters: Soul Well, Marrowgore Mage
Essential Spells: Wraith Swell, Haunting Strength
Strengths: Most of the cards used in this deck are pretty cheap which means there’s a good chance we’ll get to make ample use of our house powers Nudge and Lazy Phantom. The entire deck is centered around summoning as many phantoms as possible and buffing them with the help of cards such as Marrowgore Mage or Wraith Swell.
Phantoms do not count towards the hero limit of five and while a lone, plain old phantom might not look like much, this deck will allow us to drown our opponent in a sea of them. On top of that we have many cards that allow us to pick a few nicely positioned ones to buff and surprise our opponent with!
Weaknesses: Phantoms have two main weaknesses. The first is that they are quite weak, both in terms of attack power and health points. This means we have to make sure to either keep them out of reach of enemy heroes or buff them until they are strong enough to hold their own. The second is that they are frail, which means they don’t leave a KO’d body behind when they die. Keep this in mind, especially if you have cards such as Necromancer Marax in your deck that utilize KO’d heroes.
The strategy: There are two basic ways we can set up this deck. The first one is to use the phantoms themselves as our main source of damage. If that’s the way you want to go, make sure to bring enough buffs for them, such as Wraith Swell or Marrowgore Mage.
The second is to summon large amounts of phantoms on the board and use them to keep the enemy busy while attacking from a safe distance with ranged heroes. This is especially effective if you utilize Necromancer Marax, since he can attack and summon more phantoms in the same round.
Secret move: Did your Shadow Wraith just kill an opposing hero? Use Nudge to push it onto the KO’d hero to consume it and gain more power! This is an excellent way to heal your Shadow Wraith, stack up on power and get rid of annoying heroes with effects such as renew all at the same time!
Deck 2: Hell Critters
Powers: Nudge, Spider Hatchling
Essential Monsters: Brain Basher, Fang Glider
Essential Spells: Swarm, Ominous Growl
Strengths: Many of the Dark Elves’ animal heroes have special properties such as poison. On top of this, there is an amazing arsenal of cards available to us that buff animals and turn them into a real menace. Add this to the big number of different animal heroes and you get one of the most versatile hero types in the game. Try different combinations and find the ones that work best for you!
Weaknesses: Most animals are melee heroes and rely on buffs or special conditions to unleash their full potential. A lone animal with no buffs isn’t likely to scare your enemy into submission. If you just send wave after wave of Rat against your enemy you will have a hard time, so strategize and think ahead!
The strategy: The basic idea with this animal deck is to use Brain Basher to execute enemies and summon animals at no mana cost at all. We then use the extra mana to buff the animals with powerful cards such as Swarm or Ominous Growl, move to the enemy crystal and dish out damage.
The fact that we don’t have to rely on our mana pool to summon new monsters too much means that our enemy will have a hard time anticipating or preparing for our moves and the buffs will make for some surprisingly strong critters. Our enemy won’t know what hit them!
Secret move: Change things up by using animals to surround Brain Basher and keep him safe while he moves next to the crystal and deals massive amounts of damage thanks to his smash ability!
Deck 3: Gifted
Powers: Poison, Bad Blood
Essential Monsters: Viper, Lord Arranex
Essential Spells: Rat Bone Recurve
Strengths: Poison is a powerful Dark Elf power and many cards build on it or utilize it for special effects. This makes it a perfect basis for any Dark Elf deck.
Weaknesses: Poison can easily be countered by healing or cleansing the affected unit. Another way of avoiding poison damage is armor, which regenerates before the poison damage takes effect. So watch out for enemies that utilize either of those things!
The strategy: The basic strategy for this deck is to poison the enemy and unleash a torrent of large amounts of damage with the help of heroes such as Lord Arranex or wreak further havoc on our poisoned foes with the help of cards such as Fever or Acid Influx.
While the deck is pretty straightforward, we have to watch out for armor, healing and cleansing. To counter these, bring some pierce damage with cards like Arcane Bite or Chaos Arrows and make sure that the poison damage will finish your opponent’s hero off at the end of your round so they never get a chance to heal or cleanse the poison.
Secret move: Poison can’t just be used on your enemy, you can also use it on your own heroes to gain an advantage, either by using it to gain the enraged status of a hero or by following it up with a power such as Bad Blood, that will give a poisoned hero +1 attack power. If you know one of your heroes is going to die next round and you can’t avoid it, poison it, increase its attack power and deliver a surprise attack before your enemy knows what’s happened!
How to play against Dark Elves
There are several things to keep in mind when playing against the Dark Elves. The first is to bring a power or cards that will allow you to heal or cleanse your heroes. If you cannot remove poison, one of the Dark Elves’ most utilized weapons, you will have a tough time dealing with them. In addition to dealing tons of damage over time if left unchecked, poison is also the basis for several extremely strong Dark Elf spells such as Fever or Acid Influx. So cleanse or heal your heroes as quickly as possible!
Another thing to watch out for is the Nudge power that allows the Dark Elf player to advance not just his own heroes but also yours! Keep this in mind when planning your movements so you don’t find your ranged hero suddenly standing in the middle of your enemy base. Always consider this when you position your essential heroes!
Last but not least there are phantoms. These pesky little creatures might not look like much but Dark Elves have a number of spells to buff them or sacrifice them to buff their other heroes. Always take care of phantoms as quickly as possible so your enemy cannot utilize them to their full extent!