Hex TCG’s latest set “Herofall” focuses in on the clash between the Ardent and Underworld alliances. Part of the reason why the Underworld seem confident in undertaking another war against the Ardent (despite having lost the last one) seem to stem from the fact that they’ve managed to create these diabolical creatures known as Dreadlings.
While not overly imposing by themselves, their ease of creation – thanks to a collaborative invention between the Vennen, Dwarves, and Shin’hare – means they can be a menacing weapon when used correctly . More reliable to conjure than Vennen’s Spiderlings, more menacing than the often harmless Shroomkin, and less overhead required than Dwarf constructions – the Dreadlings allow each race to benefit from this abomination in different ways besides the new Scrounge keyword (on the powerful Paw of Yazukan for instance). For example, Dwarves can use the Dreadlings to activate their constructions or benefit from pieces like War Machinist which turn each Dreadling into an extra point of damage. The Vennen have a bunch of cards that interact with Spiders like Xartaxis, Bishop of the Azure Fang, Vilefang Eremite, Arachnomancer, and Brood Bounty for example which now becomes an excellent combo piece. What the Shin’hare do is sometimes more blunt like sacrificing troops for immediate gratification but it can also be more subtle, like we are about to see with today’s spoiler, Acolyte of Shoku:
So Shoku is the Shin’hare third of the “trio of genius in the Underworld” (see flavor text on the Dreadling card), and we get a peak at him here. He looks like one of the scariest beings we have seen yet in the world of Entrath, part rabbit part “The Predator”.
At its base, Acolyte of Shoku is a ramp card akin to Lithe Lyricist accessible to Shin’hare themed decks, which is no laughing matter considering how quickly these critters tend to multiply. But staying on point with Dreadling theme, this is the first time we can conjure up Dreadlings out of thin air in unlimited quantity, resources barring of course. Unfortunately creating unlimited resources in Hex is no easy task, with Hideous Conversion falling short in the exchange rate department to generate any form of engine.
Acolyte of Shoku doesn’t look like much but it’s in fact the cheapest way a single card can create unlimited troops in the game right now. But since the troops die at end of turn, perhaps we should find a way to make permanent use of them. The occasional Necessary Sacrifice or Hop’Hiro, Samurai use might sound dandy but we can already do that with the odd Shin’hare we get here and there through various cards like Monsagi Lily Pad. An alternative option is using a card like Slaughtergear, Renegade War Factory to permanently transform our troops into War Hulks. That’s a permanent army of troops we can create, but it’s a fragile combo requiring two troops to stay on the board.
What if we didn’t care that the Dreadling ended up in the crypt and we even welcomed it as we can bring them all back with a simple casting of Robotic Rapture? With new cards in Herofall like Living Factory and Dread Technomancer to create a ton of Dreadling and artifacts and Acolyte of Shoku filling the gap whenever we have some resources to spare, we can have quite the scrapyard at our disposal in the long game. It’s not really anything particularly exciting however.
Another route would be buffing each individual Dreadling, even if they didn’t all swing on the same turn. As 1/1s with Speed, buffs from Oath of Valor and even Greenpaw Emancipator allow us to pack quite a punch with each swing. But the fact that the troops die at end of turn prevent this from being a strategy with enough return on investment and even have a hard time getting past a lone Vampire King. The answer might then be Oberon’s Eulogy, for which Acolyte of Shoku not only helps fill up the crypt for bigger activations, but each new Dreadling created gets to take advantage of the other ones that have hit the crypt.
With that said, the most interesting combo application of today’s spoiler I believe is with Brood Bounty. Since we can create Spiders on the fly with the Acolyte of Shoku, we can keep getting back Brood Bounty into our hand. If we’re lucky enough to get a Thunderfield Seer prophecy on it, that’s constant card draw. Such a deck may also go wild with a card like Battle Agenda.
Are any of these top tier competitive brews? Likely not, but during spoiler season it’s always fun to at least consider the options at our disposal.
What do YOU think of the card? Let us know in the comments below.