Force of Will Boot Camp ~ Echoes of the New World ~ Part 1
Greetings, rulers! Welcome to the Force of Will Beginner’s Boot Camp! In these articles we’ll be looking at the game from the perspective of a brand new player, learn how to design and build decks, get involved with our local Force of Will community, and ultimately compete in tournaments!
Before we begin today’s discussion, keep in mind that these articles assume that you are a beginner, but have a basic understanding of the game’s core concepts and rules. If you have yet to learn the rules, check out the How to Play section under the the first tab of the main website. You don’t need to be a rules expert just yet, but knowing the basics will help you understand and utilize the information in these articles more effectively, as they will make use of terminology in the Force of Will trading card game.
So, you’ve just started playing the game after the release of Echoes of the New World last weekend. Perhaps you participated in a pre-release event, or you simply bought some booster packs. But where do you go from here? How can you use the limited collection of cards you’ve amassed thus far to work towards creating the ultimate deck? Today, let’s start by taking a look at each of the new rulers in Echoes of the New World and their basic stratagems.
What's particularly handy about most of the rulers in Echoes of the New World, is that they have fairly defined archetypes, making them relatively easy to build around compared to rulers from previous booster packs. Book of LIght (and its counter part which we'll look at in a moment) is a prime example of this. If you pulled this ruler in one of your booster packs or you're interested in running it, the first thing you're going to want to do is start snatching up all the Will of Hope cards you can. Thankfully Will of Hope cards are only in Echoes of the New World, making this ruler perfect for new players! The J/ruler itself can't attack or defend since it doesn't have any ATK or DEF. Book of Light is all about supporting you, so that means your way to victory is going to depend on your resonators. Thankfully Book of Light makes that easy with its abilities, allowing you to play Will of Hope resonators with will of any attribute. That means you can focus your magic stone deck around what non-Will of Hope cards you want to run. Book of Light's other big feature is being able to call in a Will of Hope resonator from outside the game. Just be sure to remember that "outside the game" means side deck. It doesn't mean removed from game or graveyard. Only your side deck. With this ability at your disposal you can call in pinch hitters any time you need. Don't make the mistake of relegating side board resonators to situationally useful cards though. IT's wise to include one or two cards that are your key attackers too. After all, there's no guarantee you'll be able to draw them from the main deck, so why not have one copy in the side deck so you can call it in whenever you want!
So what cards do we actually want to include with our Book of Light ruler? Well first let's look at some offense options. Red Riding Hood is playable as early as turn one, but she really his her stride on turn three when you release her Seal ability. Once you've got three stones on the field, which is pretty easy to do, she becomes a 400/400 Flying Swiftness resonator for one will, which is phenomenal. Especially when you combine it with the Chant card, Ryula's Volition. This chant boosts up a J/resonator's ATK and DEF by 800 and, gives it Barrier and Flying until end of turn. It also only costs one will to play when targeting a Will of Hope resonator. So you can drop Red Riding Hood for one on any turn after the second, and then play Ryula's Volition to attack with a 1200/1200 for only two will, which is pretty massive. Alternatively you can also pull off this little one two combo with Charlotte, Last Hope of Attoractia. This resonator reduces the cost of chant cards by one void. She's a little more costly than Red Riding Hood, and she's slower without Swiftness, but if you play Ryula's Volition on her, it's free. Ryula's Volition's cost drops by one light and one void when targeting a Will of Hope resonator, and Charlotte reduces the cost of chant cards by one, bringing Ryula's Volition's total cost to Zero when targeting her (or any other Will of Hope resonator if you've got Charlotte on the field.) Red Riding Hood is an easier target if you've played her that turn, since she's got Swiftness. But if Charlotte is able to attack she makes for a great target for the chant card as well, dealing 1300 damage to your opponent!
So we've seen some possible early/midgame offense, now let's have a look at some support cards. Millium, Successor of the Future is pretty much exactly what you could want from a support card. While on the field he powers up other Will of Hope resonators by an extra +200/+200 and gives them Barrier. He even gains Barrier himself if you've got five magic stones on the field, making him hard for your opponent to remove. Millium's also not too bad of an attacker himself with 800 ATK and DEF> the only trouble is he costs three to play, so he wouldn't be able to attack until the fourth turn (remember, resonators without Swiftness can't attack on the turn they're put into the field!), making him a lot slower than Red Riding Hood and Charlotte.
Zero is a great supprot card in the opposite way. Instead of helping you, she hurts your opponent. She prevents your opponent from drawing more than one card each turn, which can cripple decks that require drawing lots of cards to maintain advantage. She also prevents your resonators from being returned to their owners' hands which is a bit less handy, but still useful against certain types of decks (particularly water focused ones.). Zero's real strength is stopping excessive draw, which can win you the game on its own in certain situations. She's also got Quickcast, meaning you can play her at any time as long as you can pay her cost, which is pretty helpful. She can work as a surprise blocker, or you can even drop her in response to a card or ability that would let your opponent draw more cards to prevent that from happening! She's not too bad on the field either, 600/600 for total cost two is a solid build. Just be careful not to get her destroyed as this card is very oppressive for the opponent so they'll likely try to knock her off the field quickly.
Pandora's main strength is that she releases the Seal abilities of Light cards and spells you control, so with her on the field Millium's Seal ability would always be active regardless of how many stones you control. She can also grant +100/+100 counters to J/resonators when they block. The trouble is that usually when you're blocking, you're either packing a surprise spell to power up your J/resonator to defeat the attacker or you're expecting the blocker to be destroyed anyway. The ability can be useful of course, but its more of a fringe situation. And releasing light Seals may not be consistently needed all that often. As such Pandora is a good choice to include in the sideboard as a one off. That way you can summon her when you need to with Book of Light without having copies of her in your main deck.
Now let's look at some supporting chant cards. Sacred Record of Fairy Tales is pretty basic. It let's you look at the top foucr cards of your deck and nab a Will of Hope from among them into your hand. This is perfect if you're running lots of Will of Hope cards as with enough of them in your deck, there's basically a guarantee you'll get something. Plus a low cost of one light will means it's easy to play at any point in the game. Rainbow Arrow is a helpful card to have around if you're running Red Riding Hood. It's a quickcast chant that can deal 400 damage to a J/resonator but can be awakened to deal 400 damage to all your opponents resonators by resting a Red Riding Hood, Rainbow to the Heavens that you control. While in late game this card falls a little flat, as your opponent will likely have cards strong enough to survive this, Rainbow Arrow is pretty useful early on during the first few turns of the game. Especially for picking off resonators your opponent is using to ramp up their resources. Additionally having this card means you never have to worry about being overrun with sarming resonator tokens (most of which have 400 DEF or less. The most common are Elf tokens which are 100/100). Just play an awakened Rainbow Arrow and wipe them all off the field!
Nyarlathotep is an interesting resonator that works as a support card, but can also be a decent attacker. She's only got 400 ATK, but she has an ability that lets you increase a J/resonator you control's ATK by 200 while losing 200 DEF. It costs one will to play though so you can't use it as you please to power up resonators after your opponent has declared that they aren't blocking unless you've got a lot of will to spend. But even with only 400 ATK, Nyarlathotep's got Flying, making it pretty easy for her to deal consistent damage to your opponent. What really sets Nyarlathotep off as a great card is that she releases the Seal abilities of fire cards and spells you control. That means Red Riding Hood will always enter the fiedl with Flying and Swiftness as long as she's on the field. But perhaps more useful than that is that she increases the power of cards like Crimson Sanction and Flames of Nyarlathotep. Crimson Sanction normally deals only 400 damage to a J/resonator or 300 to a player. However, once unsealed it can deal that much plus 400 instead. So for one will this card can deal 800 damage to a J/resonator, which is great for early and mid-game removal or 700 damage to a player, which is phenomenal considering that the card costs one will. Flames of Nyarlathotep is another card that becomes phenomenal once its Seal is released. Alone its just a total cost one resonator that can be banished for one fire will. Not really all that useful, but once released it's Seal ability allows you to banish it to generate three fire will instead, which is a lot better. With this on your first turn, and then Nyarlathotep on turn two, you can generate another three will on your second turn helping you push ahead of your opponent with regards to the general pace of the game. Remember that even though the card generates fire will, Book of Light lets you use it to pay the attribute cost of Will of Hope cards regardless of that.
Now let's look at some later game cards. First is the powerhouse of Will of Hope, Pricia, Ready for the Final Battle. She's a total cost five, which is pretty hefty, though we can always try to cheat her in a little quicker with Flames of Nyarlathotep. When she enters the field, and every time Pricia attacks she destroys a resonator with less ATK than her and gains two +100/+100 counters. She's only got that one ability, but it's a fantastic one. Playing her is not only playing a powerful resonator to the field, she immediately helps you maintain field control by destroying a resonator, she becomes harder to destroy will growing stronger with her counters, and she's capable of repeating all of that every time she attacks. The trouble is that she doesn't have swiftness so you'll either want to focus on getting her out early, before your opponent has a way to deal with her, or play her with ways to keep her safe in your hand like Ryula's Volition which can grant her Barrier, making her untargetable for a turn.
Another strong mid to late game card is Shining Demon, Mephistopheles. Now, technically he can easily be played early game since he only costs two will. However in early game Charlotte or Red Riding Hood might be a better option. As on his own Mephistopheles is only a 500/500 with an ability where you can rest a J/resonator by resting two of your resonators. Charlotte is probably going to do more for you early one since you can save on chant costs with her and get off a few high powered jabs with her and Ryula's Volition. After you've got more cards on the field and four magic stones, Mephistopheles becomes a lot more valuable. He becomes a 700/700 with Flying, which is a lot more value for two will. Additionally, in an ideal set up, mid to late game is when you've got the most resonators on your field, so you'll be able to use Mephistopheles' ability to either defend by incapacitating attackers or go offensive by removing possible blockers as the situation requires.
Dark Alice too is a deceptively useful late game card, despite her low cost. When she enters the field she removes all resonators from your opponent's grave from the game and gains a +100/+100 counter for each one. That alone would make her alright for a late game play, simply drop her when your opponent has a lot in the grave and beef her up. Unfortunately it also paints a rather large target on her and your opponent will be gunning to destroy her. Thankfully she's got an ability that still maintains some of her value even if she's destroyed. When she's removed from the field she generates a number of 100/100 shadow resonator tokens for each counter that was on her when she left the field. This helps increase her value and makes sure that even if she's destroyed right after you play her, you still get some good value from her.
Adelbert is a very interesting J/ruler in that he unites a sub-type of resonators that were previously very non-united; Wanderers. The ruler side of this card lets you play the attribute cost of Wanderer resonators with will of any attribute, so you can pick and choose the best wanderer cards while leaving your magic stone base able to focus directly support whatever other cards you want to use without worry. He also grants all of your wanderer resonators First Strike which isn't world shattering, but it will prevent your opponent from blocking in certain situations which can help you attack with relative impunity. Swordsman of Fire has the most expensive Judgment in Echoes of the New World, with a total cost of four, but it's worth it. This is because when he enters the field you're allowed to put a wanderer from your hand into your field for free! Adelbert himself isn't too bad on the field either with 1200 ATK and DEF and five different automatic abilities that trigger when the right resonator enters your field. Running Adelbert means taking advantage of his wanderer resources early in the game, pushing to Judgment quickly and taking the field with him and the powerful resonator you play for free with his effect.
To that end,the best choice you can make for playing a free wanderer with Adelbert's entry ability is likely Valentina, the Crumbling Illusion. This is a resonator with total cost seven, a card that's pretty hard to play normally during a game. She's only got 800 ATK and 900 DEF, but don't underestimate her. Her true strength is her automatic ability which triggers at the start of each of your turns. It allows you to resurrect any resonator from your graveyard. Even another Valentina or other high costing resonators. She's an incredible engine that lets you play the strongest resonators in the game for free. The only trouble is of course playing her and keeping her alive until your next beginning of turn. Thanks to Adelbert, playing her is made a lot easier. Playing her also lets you draw a card and forces your opponent to discard one thanks to Adelbert's own abilities. Just in case you can't/don't want to Judgment, never fear, Valentina comes with her own way to reduce her cost as she drops by one void for each resonator in her graveyard.
This compounds even further when you make use of the addition card Interdimensional Space which reduces the cost to play wanderer cards by one void. It also reduces wanderer Judgment costs, helping you to play Adelbert's Judgment faster, and it beefs up Wanderer J/resonators by +400/+400. This card is absolutely phenomenal for wanderer decks, especially because all of these effects stack. Total cost two is admittedly a little expensive for an addition though and it may not be best to commit all your magic stones to play this on turn two, so read the situation accordingly. Additions are always tricky to work into decks. Too few copies and you won't draw it frequently enough for it to be useful. Too many copies and you risk draw multiple copies in a row, which can put you in a pretty bad situation. You'll want to experiment and find how many copies is right to include. Don't be afraid to use one or two in the main deck and include another copy or two in the side deck too!
While Valentina is your best choice for power plays, she's certainly not the only wanderer card we have access to in Echoes of the New World. Scheherazade, Speaker of Yet Unknown Truths is an interesting sort of resonator as she acts as something of a hybrid between a lock down spell and a resonator card. She's a total cost three resonator with 800 ATK and DEF, which isn't awful but isn't spectacular either, fairly middle of the road. However she's got Quickcast and an ability that triggers when she enters the field. That means crafty players will player her on the opponent's turn to mess up their strategies. Once her ability triggers and resolves, target resonator is prevented from attacking, blocking and playing its activate abilities until Scheherazade leaves the field. As such you probably don't want to rely on her as a primary attacker unless you've got Interdimensional Space to make her a bit beefier. But she's great for locking down the opponent who's foolishly invested a lot or all of their resources in to playing some big bad boss resonator. Just be careful with her when attacking or blocking if you don't want her to leave the field and lose her effect.
Sun Wukong is a bit more of a reliable attacker, costing only two will to play with 600 ATK 500 DEF and Flying. He also lets you bounce a non-magic stone, non-J/resonator card when he enters the field, great for getting pesky additions off the field for a turn. Beyond his entry ability he's pretty simple, abuse Flying to deal lots of damage to your opponent. Thankfully with Swordsman of Fire's First Strike granting and Interdimensional Space's +400/+400, that should be preaty easy, turning the card into a very evasive resonator that can deal 1000 damage.
While story wise not on the same side as Adelbert, both Alice and Dark Alice are wanderer resonators and therefore are perfectly accessible to him so we shouldn't count them out. Alice is another total cost two Flying resonator with stats swapped from what Sun Wukong has, making her relatively comparable. She's also got an interesting Seal ability. It grants her a God's Art, a type of ability that can only be played once per game, per player (even if you play a second copy of the card you can't play the ability again!). It actually works somewhat similarly to Scheherazade's ability. You declare the name of a non-magic stone card, and that card becomes unplayable for your opponent as long as Alice is in the field. Now granted, if you're a new player, this card might be a little difficult to use properly, as you're still learning and don't know what card to lock out, so pay careful attention to your opponent's cards and be sure to remember their key ones. Since the God's Art is only good once per game though, you probably don't want to run a lot of copies of this Alice, since after you use her ability she's not all that helpful compared to other resonators with the same cost.
Dark Alice we've already covered and essentially the same benefits hold true here. She's a great late game card that can climb up to high stats for relatively little will and you're guaranteed some good field presence out of her even if she's destroyed. Adelbert also helps keep her alive a little more consistently since his ruler side grants First Strike and Interdimensional Escape gives her an extra +400/+400!
Let's look at some supporting cards now. Word's of Scheherazade is the quintessential wanderer deck support chant. It's a total cost one that lets you search for any Wanderer and put it into your hand. Simple, effective, and cheap this card ensures never having to worry about not being able to draw the wanderer you need.
Gill Lapis and Heteroclite Excalibur are two cards that somewhat work in tandem. Gill Lapis is, of course, a wanderer resonator. With total cost three and only 600 ATK and 700 DEF his stats aren't that impressive unless you can play him for two with a cost reduction from Interdimensional Space. He's still quite handy though as when he enters the field, you'll be able to search your deck for a light or darkness chant with total cost one and put it into your hand. Heteroclite Excalibur perfectly fits the bill and is a strong card in its own right, removing a resonator from the gain at the cost of only one darkness will. The downside is that the chant card will also sap 500 of your life. However, if you've got Lapis on the field, which should be pretty easy since he searches out the chant card, he will prevent this loss of life, making the chant even more valuable! If you're still worried about Gill Lapis' low stats take heart knowing that he gains an extra +100/+100 for each other will of despair resonator you control, and since Scheherazade and Sun Wukong are both Will of Despair, you should be able to get Lapis' stats up pretty high if combined with Interdimensional Space.
Book of Dark is, as you might expect, quite similar to Book of Light. The only difference is that now your focus is going to be on Will of Despair cards rather than Will of Hope. Outside of that distinction the two cards are more or less the ame and the same strategic notes apply. Since you can play Will of Despair cards with will of any attribute, build your magic stone deck around what non-Will of Despair cards you're planning on using. Also be sure to take full advantage of the fact that Book of Dark can call in resonators from your side deck. Don't simply include situationally useful or high costing cards, and consider putting in a single copy of a consistently useful card to guaranteee that you always have a way to play it, even if you can't manage to draw the card from your main deck.
Where Will of Despair differentiates itself from Will of Hope is in the resonators. Most of the Will of Hope cards have relatively low costs, while the Will of Despair cards overall have some higher costs but also have more powerful cards as a result. That's not to say there aren't low costing cards we can use, because they're absolutely are. Arla, while admittedly a little more optimal with Yggdrasil is still a solid choice for your first Book of Dark deck. He's a total cost three resonator with 700 ATK and 800 DEF, which aren't superb stats, but he's heavily bolstered by the fact that he has Flying meaning we can attack our opponent much more easily with him. Additionally he has a useful activate ability where we can pay 200 life to deal 200 damage to an attacking or blocking resonator. This is great when your opponent attempts to attack you with low DEF resonators, where the life you'd lose from playing this ability would be less than or equal to the ATK of the resonator. However you can also use this ability to remove low DEF blockers your opponent tosses at you to try and wall off your powerful attacks. Just having Arla on your field will force your opponent to think twice about which resonators to attack and block with.
The Mikage Sisters are a great card that can really harass your opponent if you manage to play the trio early on. They've got 500 ATK and DEF, but more often than not you won't be attacking or blocking with them. Rather, you'll be using one of their three activate abilities. You can rest the card to destroy a resonator with 200 or less ATK, steal 200 life from your opponent, or more a +100/+100 counter onto the Mikage Sisters. Most likely the effect you'll be using the most is the second one. Sapping 200 life is incredibly useful. True, attacking with the resonator could deal more damage, but it opens the card up to be blocked which might waste the attack and even get the resonator destroyed. Resting to sap 200 is pretty much guaranteed life loss on your opponent's part, and it even helps build up your own life. If you can get this resonator or even two copies of it out early and continue sapping life throughout the game, your opponent will quickly find themselves in a tight spot.
Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King is another good early game choice, and a classic aggressor, plain and simple. She's a total cost two with 600 ATK and DEF and she has Swiftness so she can start attacking and beating down the opponent as soon as she hits the field. To make things even easier for you, she actually has an ability that can keep problematic blockers from interfering, as whenever Sylvia attacks you target a J/resonator and it becomes unable to block for the rest of the turn. Keep in mind that the block lock doesn't just apply to Sylvia's attacks, but all attacks that turn. So target the most threatening or most likely to block card on your opponent's field and attack with Sylvia first to make sure all your attackers get through safely.
Like Will of Hope, WIll of Despair sports a support card that will let you check the top four cards of your deck and add a Will of Despair card from among them into your hand. This chant is perfect for digging through your deck to maintain your resources. It isn't quite as good as words of Scheherazade as you can only check the top four cards and not outright search for any card you like, but if you're using Book of Dark's own abilities to their fullest in conjunction with your side deck, that shouldn't be too much of an issue.
As with Adelebert, Lapis is, rather obviously, a perfect choice for a support card for Will of Despair. Since you're likely running lots of Will of Despair resonators he might actually even be able to function as a competent attacker too if you have enough of them on the field to boost his ATK and DEF up a few notches. His real power though, is the fact that he can search out a total cost one chant like Heteroclite Excalibur, which gives your deck a little more consistency. Plus with Lapis on your field, Heteroclite Excalibur won't sap your life so it's just a basic total cost one removal, which is useful at any point in the game.
As said before, Will of Despair heavily involves powerhouse high costing cards, so let's have a look at those. Valentina we've already talked about in regards to Adelbert and it's much the same with Book of Dark. The only trouble is that without Adelbert we can't cheat her into the field for free, so we'll have to rely on her own cost reduction ability to play her for a reasonable cost. Remember that Book of Dark's ability cannot play it for a reduced cost, as the J/ruler's ability refers specifically to Valentina's printed cost only. As such, you likely don't want to put Valentina in your sideboard to call her with Book of Dark and instead keep her in the main deck for taking advantage of her cost reduction effect.
The other two are new resonators. First is Umr at-Tawil who works similarly to Valentina, at least in a vague sense. He's not much of an attacker with only 800 ATK and DEF, rather its his ability that truly makes him so powerful. When he enters the field, you can search out an play three non-chant cards with total cost one, two, and three respectively and then play them all for free. Playing Umr is essentially like building up your field with only one card. Since you can search for any non-chant cards with the appropriate cost, be sure to pull out the cards best suited for the situation. Choices like Lapis, who nabs you another card with his own ability, and Sylvia, who can attack immediately, are solid choices. The only trouble with Umr is that he costs seven and doesn't have a way to reduce his own cost. You could, however, get him into your graveyard somehow and then revive him with Valentina if you're so inclined.
Last of the big three is Yamata-no-Orochi. This card is just a straight powerhouse that's all about destroying the field. Don't let the resonator's 0 ATK fool you. When the card enters the field it immediately deals 800 damage to all other resonators. It will deal 800 damage to all resonators and your opponent when it attacks too. Thankfully the card has Swiftness, so it can attack the turn it enters the field. That means that on its entry turn, you're likely doing 1600 damage to every other resonator, pretty much guaranteeing a wipe of everything on the field except for Yamata-no-Orochi and 800 damage to your opponent, a pretty solid play. Again, the hangup is the card's cost. Total cost eight is very hard to hit with magic stones alone. With that in mind it might be best to include one of these in your side deck That way, if you ever are able to pay for the card you can easily call it with Book of Dark's ability, and you won't be clogging up your hand with a card you can't play until you have eight will.
While Valentina has a way to getting her into the field easily, Umr and Yamata don't really seem to. Thankfully there are two resonators that can help out a bit with that.
Spawn of Umr is pretty much designed to help your get Umr at-Tawil into the field quickly. Its a total cost two resonator with 300 ATK and 600 DEF. not exactly super combative stats, but that's not really the point. The point is that when this resonator deals damage to your opponent you can banish it to put a Cthulhu from your hand into your field for free! Seeing that Umr is such a powerful card with such a high cost, it's the perfect choice to use in tandem with this card. The only trouble is getting Spawn of Umr to actually hit your opponent, so take advantage of cards like Arla, Demonic Flying Ace and Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King to remove possible blockers from the equation.
Flames of Nyarlathotep is a card we've already looked at. Unfortunately you can't run Nyarlathotep to release the card early since its a Will of Hope card, however that doesn't mean the card can't help us out in summoning Yamata-no-Orochi! Getting to five stones to unseal Flames of Nyarlathotep and then banishing it for three fire will for a total of eight (Yamata's cost) is a lot easier than getting to eight magic stones naturally, so if you're interested in playing Yamata in your Will of Despair deck, try running this little resonator and seeing how it works for you Admittedly there are better ways of getting high costing resonators into your field quickly, but since you're just learning and getting comfortable with the game lets stick to the cards you own from your recently purchased Echoes of the New World booster packs.
While these two chants are not technically Will of Despair cards, they are good choices for your deck as likely you're already running darkness magic stones for cards like Heteroclite Excalibur, so why not consider them?
Ambition of Lapis is a total cost three chant that allows you to destroy a resonator and sap its controller of 400 life. Though more expensive than Heteroclite Excalibur it saps the opponent's life instead of your own which is very useful in furthering your strategy and bringing you closer to winning. That said, cost is still a pretty big factor so as long as you're running Gill Lapis, you'll probably want to run more copies of Heteroclite Excalibur and only a few of this one, so you can save it for the late game when you'll have more magic stones to spare.
The Final Battle is just an all around useful card for pretty much any deck that can afford darkness will to run it. It lets you pay X and give all enemy J/resonators -X00/-X00 for the turn. The trick is you and X to always be a number high enough to reduce enemy J/resonators' DEF to zero, destroying them. Interestingly, The Final Battle allows you to pay X with increments of 200 life in addition to the regular will method. This make the card easily playable at any point in the game, as long as you're willing to gamble some life on it. This chant can turn entire games around as it can enable you to wipe your opponent's field if X is high enough. Again though you likely don't want to run too many copies of this card as you're likely to only need this card's effects once or twice per game. Any other time a single resonator removal chant like Heteroclite Excalibur can do the job.
Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree is a very, very unusual ruler. Not only does it not have a J-ruler side, which is rather uncommon, but it also has an ability that keeps you from ever taking damage and prevents all players from gaining life during the game. Don't think this means you're invincible, because you most assuredly aren't. For every 100 damage you would be dealt, you instead remove the top card of your deck from the game. Remember, if you need to draw a card during your draw phase and you can't, you lose. That means Yggdrasil can cause you to lose via deck out (no cards remaining in your deck during the draw phase). Since you can only have a maximum of 60 cards in your deck that means you essentially start with 6000 life. That does mean that Yggdrasil is a bit more durable than other rulers since players start with 4000 life in every other circumstance. Now at first, it seems that removing cards from your deck is a bad thing since it denies you those cards in your hand. However, we'll soon see that isn't exactly the case with Yggdrasil's supporting cards. First is Yggdrasil's own ability which can be activated by resting the ruler and paying one wind and one darkness. By doing so you can play an Arla, Machina, Rezzard, or Melgis from your removed area without paying their costs. That means any copies of those four cards in your removed area is nearly the same as just having them in your hand
So then, let's have a look at the four resonators Yggdrasil can play from the removed area. Arla, we've already covered and the same benefits that applied to Book of Dark apply to this card in a Yggdrasil deck too, only now the card can be played for two will instead of three thanks to Yggdrasil's ability. Paying the 200 life for Arla's ability is also far less painful now because you don't have to worry about taking damage from your opponent. In fact you'll see that many Yggdrasil supporting cards make use of paying life. Just be careful that you don't reduce your life too low with all of the pay life effects. Yggdrasil only prevents "damage" it doesn't prevent "life loss" which cards like Ambition of Lapis can cause, so try to keep your life at least at 1000 or above or you might be in for a nasty surprise!
A card we haven't seen yet is Melgis, King of Black Flame. Like Arla he's a total cost three but we can play him for two will if we manage to remove him from the game with Yggdrasil. He's a straightforward attacker with Swiftness to ensure he can start going on the offensive as soon as he's played. By paying 300 life you can also beef up his ATK by 100 and give him First Strike for the turn. Since this ability can be played more than once per turn, you can actually use it to deal lethal damage to your opponent, if the life gap is wide enough and you can pay enough life to boost up Melgis without bringing your own life to zero. While doable this isn't a particularly reliable strategy so don't go attempting it unless you've got a clear idea of the game state and truly believe it to be the best option.
Now one of the worries with Yggdrasil is that because you have to rest Yggdrasil to call in a resonator from your removed area, you cheat yourself out of a stone that turn. Which is true, although there are some ways we can help to assauge that. One way is with a resonator that Yggdrasil can call in, Machina, King of Accursed Machines. He's a total cost three resonator with 700 ATK and 800 DEF, but let's face it the real benefit if this card is his ability. By paying 300 life you can have him produce one will of any attribute, but you can only do this once per turn. This can help you make up for the lack of a stone on the turn you use Yggdrasil's ability. He also has a continuous ability that prevents any Mariabella, the True Shot you control from being destroyed, but that card doesn't help Yggdrasil (its more for classic machine/void decks) so in a Yggddrasil deck, the real benefit of this card is the will generation.
The last of the four is Rezzard, King of the Damned. He's a good jammer, in the sense that he can mess with the opponent's strategies. He's got 500 ATK and DEF for a total cost of two, which isn't too bad. By paying 200 life however, you can remove a card in a graveyard from the game. You can remove your own cards to play them again with Yggdrasil if they're Arla, Melgis, Rezzard or Machina, but remember you can also remove your opponent's cards as well. This is great for when your opponent targets a card in their graveyard for some reason. Whether its taking a card back into the hand or resurrecting it to the field with something like Valentina. Rezzard is also a late game play for Yggdrasil as he gains an extra +100/+100 for each card in your removed area. Considering how many cards you'll likely end up removing with Yggdrasil Rezzard can easily hit very high numbers and can function as a pretty solid late game linchpin for you.
Though it can't be played with Yggdrasil's effect, Yggdor is another perfect inclusion in your deck. The card's own abilities allows you to play it from your removed area. In fact, its actually better that you do since the card costs five will to play normally which for a 900/900 isn't too great. But two will for a 900/900 is phenomenal, and considering how easily you can get this card into your removed area with Yggdrasil it's a prime choice. Other than that, there isn't too much to say, it's a simple plain resonator when on the field, its just thanks to Yggdrasil that we're able to get some very good value out of it by playing it at a significantly reduced cost.
While there aren't too many cards that directly work with Yggdrasil's focus on the removed area, there are a number of cards that offer good effects at the cost of life and thanks to Yggdrasil's damage prevention we can pay life with a fairy amount of impunity.
Leaf of the Malefic Tree is an addition that essentially works like a cheaper version fo Melgis' own ability. It allows you to pay 200 life for a +100/+100 boost instead of 300 for +100/0 and First Strike. This allows you to attack for lethal damage with this card at a closer life gap than with Melgis, making it a bit less of a ristk. The trouble is that it essentially costs two will to play, one to field it and one to actually bestow it, and during the time when its not bestowed, it's pretty useless, whereas Melgis can at least still function as a body on the field. Weight the benefits of both cards to see if you'd like to try for KO-ing with Leaf of the Malefic Tree. Be sure the clear the way of blockers beforehand too!
Hereoclite Excalibur and The Final Battle we've already talked about. Everything that was good about them before is good with Yggdrasil, since you're likely running darkness magic stones for the ruler's own activate abilities. Except now its made even better because your opponent can't deal damage to you, so losing life for their costs is a little less of a serious cost. Take full advantage of these chants to control the field and keep things in your favor while you attack with your resonators.
Okay, so here's the thing with Flute. She and nearly all of her supporting cards are draw abilities and support effects. On her own she really lacks actual combat capabilities with the limited resources of your Echoes of the New World packs, making her somewhat difficult to build a winning image for right now. Once you gain more experience and start exploring all the cards that the competitive format, New Frontiers, has to offer (see next article) she becomes a lot better. We're still going to go over the basics of the card and her support, but if you're hoping to build a deck with her from your collection of Echoes of the New World cards you might find she has a lot of trouble keeping up with other rulers.
As said previously, Flute is basically all drawing cards in one way or another. Her ruler side is the perfect example as she only sports one unique ability, one where you rest her to draw a card. Normally that would be a pretty useless ability until well in the late game, because you'd want to be calling magic stones every turn, however there's a way around this as we'll see in a moment. She's also got a very cheap Judgment cost of one water will, which is also important. Her J-ruler side sports some pretty good stats considering how cheap her Judgment is and when she enters the field she lets you snag back all the non-magic stone cards that left your field and were put into your graveyard that turn, which is a handy little salvage effect if your opponent destroys some key cards during your turn. By paying three will, Flute can also flip back to her ruler side. This effect probably won't see too much action, but its a nice little panic button in case Flute ever comes under threat of destruction, or if you really need her back on her ruler side to draw more cards. The real strength of Flute's J-ruler side is her ability that releases the Seal of all water cards and spells you control. J-rulers are a bit harder to get off the field than resonators are making this ability harder to stop than the other Seal release abilities. Water also has some insane Seal abilities too, as we'll see in a moment.
Alright so how do we actually call magic stones and use Flute's ability to draw a card? The answer is this adorable little resonator, Flute's Water Dragon. This total cost one card lets you rest it instead of Flute to call a magic stone. This does not mean that you can call two magic stones per turn by resting both this and Flute. Calling a magic stone is something you can do only once per turn, regardless of what you rest to do so. However this card's value doesn't stop there, once it's Seal (5) ability is released it becomes a 500/900 with Flying which is insane considering it costs one will to play. While 500 power isn't something you want to be relying on as your primary win condition, the card is fantastic for small jabs to whittle down your opponent's life during the game. Flying only helps to sweeten the deal. In fact, if you go second you can play this card and have its Seal released on the first turn. Use your Energize coin to play Flute's Water Dragon. Then rest the resonator to call a stone, then initiate Flute's Judgment using the called stone. Now here's the tricky part. Flute is still recovered and the Judgment is on the chase, but hasn't resolved yet. This means you can chase with Flute's activate ability, resting her to draw a card. Now Flute's J-ruler side enters the field rested and releases all water Seals, bringing our Flute's Water Dragon up to 500/900 Flying all on the first turn. Granted, both cards will be rested during your opponent's turn, but that early in the game there likely isn't too much risk to that. For the first turn in the game, this is a pretty powerful play, mostly because you're releasing all water Seals early on which is very valuable.
Don't believe me? Check out The Truth of Time. The card is a total cost one that let's you draw one card, which is...alright. Not really that great. However, if the Seal ability is released, you get to draw two cards for a total cost of one, which is immensely useful. With our power play from Flutes Water Dragon and even just considering Flute's low Judgment cost in general, we can start using this spell to draw two very early in the game, making it exceedingly useful. If only there was a resonator that gont stronger the more cards we had in our hand (see next article!).
So what other cards can we abuse with Flute's low cost ability to release water Seals? The Blue Planet is a strong contender for sure. This card let's you draw a card when it enters the field which is pretty nice, but until its Seal is released it's pretty useless otherwise. Once Released it gives all the cards in your hand Quickcast which is pretty powerful. Not only can you now drop resonators on your opponents turn for a surprise block, but it means cards like Heteroclite Excalibur and The Final Battle can be used during the opponent's turn or during a battle (assuming you're running darkness magic stones in addition to water), which is very helpful as it turns Heteroclite Excalibur from a reactive chant (removing potential threats you think might block or attack you) into a proactive one (removing a card as it actually attempts to block or attack you.). Despite this card's power, it's ill advised to include many copies of it in your deck, primarily because the real usefulness of this card (granting Quickcast) isn't something that stacks. Giving cards in your hand double Quickcast doesn't benefit you so playing two copies of this to the field doesn't help much. Plus you'll likely be drawing a lot of cards with Flute so it shouldn't be too hard to pull this consistently even at one copy in your deck.
Another good card with Flute is Alice, Girl of the Blue Planet, who we've already covered. All the same useful traits apply here too, being able to shut off your opponent's access to a single card can be invaluable if you know the kind of deck your opponent is using and what cards to expect. Only now, she's easier to use since you can release Flute's ability on turn one or two and play Alice and her ability the turn after. Even so, much like with The Blue Planet, playing multiple copies of Alice is wasted space in your deck since you can only play her God's Art once per game even if its a different copy of Alice, Girl of the Blue Planet. Getting this resonator out early with flute can really help lock down your opponent and with no ruler is an easier than with Flute, thanks not only to her releasing of water Seals, but also because of her draw power.
While not specifically support for Flute, since your main attribute is likely going to be water, let's look at a few other helpful water cards you may want to include.
Detachment is a fantastic removal card for two will. The card let's you put an attacking or blocking resonator on the top or bottom of its owner's deck. Really think about that for a second. This card can, at Quickcast speed no less, essentially ensure that a player is never going to see that card again for the rest of the game (bottom of the deck) or make their next draw a useless one as they draw into a card they already had (top of the deck). As to whether top or bottom of the deck is better, you'll have to make that call for yourself as it often depends on the state of the game. If you think your opponent drawing that resonator again won't hurt them, then send it to the bottom. However, if they're starved for resources and you're sending a high costing resonator to the top of their deck, denying them a new card on their draw, it can go so far as to essentially waste their turn, since they haven't been able to draw into the card they need to save themselves.
Charlotte's Water Beast Construct is an interesting sort of resonator that enters as a 600/600 for three will, which is pretty bad. Thankfully it comes with a free activate ability we can play once per turn to help fix that. You can grant the resonator either +200/+200, Flying, or First Strike for the turn. What's best to choose very much depends on the field situation. Flying seems the optimal choice if you're looking go guarantee damage to your opponent and there's potential blockers on the field. First Strike is good if you want to attack something that would be mutually assured destruction otherwise. The +200/+200 is useful in situations where First Strike won't cut it, or when there aren't any blockers in your opponent's field and you can attack for maximum damage.
Finally for today, let's look at some cards that are just straight up useful in a myriad of decks. These cards are good choices in most decks that are already running the proper magic stones to play them. We won't dissect them quite as much though, so experiment and see which ones you think are best for your deck!
Severing Winds becomes a free counter to any card if its the second (or more) card your opponent has played that turn. Remember, "played" just means "put on the chase". That means if you're opponent plays one card and it goes the field or graveyard or wherever after it resolves and then they try to play a second one, this card can counter that second one for free, which is fantastic. The trouble is that everyone is going to be expecting this card, so they might use all their will playing one card per turn or playing a card they don't mind being countered as their second card. As such, don't commit too hard to this spell. If you end up with three useless copies in your hand, you'll find yourself in a tough spot!
Dawn of the Earth is just all kinds of good for decks with light and water magic stones. It's got an optional effect for pretty much any situation. Opponent cheats a resonator into play? Dawn of the Earth stops it, want to double attack with a resonator or need and emergency blocker? Dawn of the Earth has you covered. Opponent swarming with token resonators or regalia? Remove all of them with this card. Oh and did we mention that no matter what effect you choose, you get to draw a card? Yeah, this chant is pretty incredible.
Remember how Machina can generate extra will for you? This is how you make that card useless when your opponent is running it. Neo Barrier of Shadows makes all activate abilities on resonators cost one more to play. That means that any activate ability on a resonator that generates one will is now useless as you now have to pay an amount of will equal to the amount of will you'd generate. That may not seem like a whole lot, but considering how many decks rely on low cost resonators that generate will to speed up their strategy, this card is invaluable in slowing those down. When you release the Seal ability with this card (presumably with Dark Alice, because Seal (8) is pretty tough to reach naturally) your opponent is locked out of all non-will generating activate abilities, and even though the will abilities are still usable, they still cost  void more if they're on a resonator as the second ability does not erase the first.
Soul Debt is sort of the Wind version of Detachment. It lets you put any resonator that was put into a field this turn on the bottom of its owner's deck. Detachment let's you choose between top or bottom, but requires the target to be attacking or blocking, whereas Soul Debt lets you do it regardless of the resonator's status, but only puts it on the bottom. The two are pretty comparable, and it really boils down to which attribute is more strongly focused on in your deck. Either is a solid choice.
Well that's all for today. Remember that just because we (or anyone else) suggests certain cards doesn't obligate you to use them. You're a new player, so take your time and experiment to see what cards you find consistent and enjoyable. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, it's honestly the best way to improve. We'll check back in a few weeks with another boot camp article, in which we'll move beyond Echoes of the New World into the competitive format, New Frontiers, and talk about how this larger card pool strengthens each of these rulers.
Force of Will Boot Camp ~ Echoes of the New World ~ Part 3
Starting the game from Echoes of the New World? Then this is for you! Part three of three.