Argent Depths Spoiler Review: Surge
With the reveal of a new mechanic from Argent Depths we've gotten a surge of new spoilers to talk about. Alongside this mechanic comes a cycle of power cards that will shake up how you build power bases.
Surge is an ability that triggers an effect when you gain influence. Playing a Sigil gives you one trigger, playing a Banner gives you two, Karvet gives you three, and Memento Mori gives you Five! Generally we think of influence as a threshold and not something of value after a certain point. The only thing that mattered was when a power was depleted, but not anymore. You'll want to save your Seats and Banners to trigger Surge in the late game, and Influence is now a resource you will have to evaluate in an entirely different way.
First up is Flameheart Patroller a 2F 1/3 Sentinel with "surge: +2 attack."
This rate is incredible: It's easily the best Fire 2-drop in the game. A 3/3 for 2 that sometimes becomes a 5/3 is great. I know you won't play a power every turn but he turns that Banner you draw in the late game into 3 damage. He's hard for units that cost less than 3 to kill in combat as well. Fire aggro was lacking good 2 drops in the past so this is a welcome addition.
Next is Emerald Crafter, a 4JJ 3/3 Soldier for 4 with "Surge: increase emerald Crafter's entomb by +1/+1" and "Entomb: play a 1/1 Emerald Invocation."
Although most constructed decks will be able to grow the Entomb pretty quickly, a pile of stats isn't going to cut it. The rate is just too bad. If the Invocation has a battle skill like Aegis this might be interesting but as is, it's not worth the effort.
Third on the list is Badge of Honor a 2J 1/3 weapon with "when the wielder attacks, gain J."
Not the most exciting card although 3 health is a lot for 2 power. However, in general weapons need to be very powerful to make the cut in constructed i.e. Kaleb's Persuader power level. This is not on that level. However it does make good grounds for speculating on what kind of cards we might see in this set. There could be more ways to rapidly gain influence.
Moving on we have Severin of the Dark a 6SS 5/7 Mage with "Surge: play a Piercing Grief."
Severin has a reasonable rate and potentially powerful effect. I've heard rumblings of combining this with Reap for 5 Griefs at once! Even just playing Severin into a dual power is a big life swing. Letting Severin survive is a losing proposition. He'll be the go-to top end unit of choice for Shadow decks in Expedition, a big step up over Icaria. If you have Vox in play and trigger Severin with a dual power you can make huge Griefs and then sacrifice them to make your opponent sacrifice a unit. I'm not convinced he'll make the cut in Vox decks but he'll be fun to try nonetheless!
Last but certainly not least we have Vows. Vows are power that say "you may discard an X or Y sigil from your deck to gain that influence and take 1 damage. It's important to note that the only faction combinations that got these are Praxis, Stonescar, Combrei, Hooru, and Feln. No word on the other 5, but it's safe to assume they aren't in this set. Undepleted power with influence of your choice is a big deal. These obviously aren't for every deck but they're similar to Diplomatic Seal. One example of a deck that would want these is Rats and I've already seen Batteriez talking about playing these in that deck. Most decks that want Seal would love more copies and this is the closest we get. These are also a great option for aggro decks that want a third set of duals after Insignias and Banners. Discarding a power for free is a great enabler for Forgotten Find and Arcanum Hourglass. I want to end my discussion of Vows with a word of caution. Deck thinning is not a valid reason to play these, 1 life is much more important that the insignificantly small edge you gain.