(Editor’s Note: This article was actually written by Raidrinn, but we didn’t quite have the time to make sure that he was the one who’s name ended up on the article, nor did we give this a thorough editing pass. Such is life when the patch hits much sooner than you expect!)
Hello everyone! Spoiler season is back and I have been given a royal gift. The purple faction has served me well in the past for awesome abilities, powerful creatures, and devastating spells. Nekrium as a faction has a tendency to have very powerful cards with interesting drawbacks that keep its effects from being overpowering. This card is no different, meet the Heroic Ebonskull Knight.
Sir Ebonskull is a Vampire of herculean proportions. At levels 1 and 2, it has the most powerful combined attack and health of any creature in the game except for Shardplate Mutant. But in exchange for his great power, the Knight is living on borrowed time; for whenever his Forgeborn master Ranks up, he perishes. This drawback leaves us with a rather large question-mark, do Ebonskull’s stats outweigh the arbitrary time limit of his stay on the battlefield?
First, lets looks at Ebonskull Knight’s uses in Nekrium. The creature’s immense stats might lend itself to a very aggressive strategy. If played on turn 1, your opponent will likely have to expend 2 cards to get rid of the bloodthirsty vampire; however, this could backfire horribly if your opponent decides he can take the damage while waiting for the vampire to expend itself. Potentially, an opponent could instead clog up the rest of the board and control your other creatures and end up with board advantage when the Knight dies. While that damage is a steep price, your life total is a resource and the game isn’t over till your life hits zero.
Personally, I don’t see this card being used in an aggressive fashion. Ebonskull Knight is the one of the best unleveled PL2 and beyond plays that the game has seen. I have long been an advocate of playing cards in decks that don’t necessarily level very well but have a very high attack stat. The purpose of playing these cards is to give you more options when you draw the dreaded all Level 1 hand in PL3. By including cards like Storm Caller, Everflame Phoenix, Swampmoss Lurker, and even Marrow Fiend, you can often make a key trade that you would have otherwise been able to make and survive long enough to find your own powerful cards to counter your opponent. The problem that most players have with these cards is that they often don’t level very well. Fortunately, Ebonskull Knight has very good stats at all levels, so hopefully more new players will be tempted to give the Vampire a chance and discover this very important aspect of deck building.
This could very well be my favorite aspect of this card’s design, allowing new players to accidently stumble upon his utility in the late game. Ebonskull Knight can gain advantage early, block for profit, and still be a threat late in the game when underleveled and on the back foot. While you do need to keep in mind that losing him at the end of a Player Level could set you back quite far on board, the pros of this creature definitely outweigh the con. I look forward to seeing my Ebonskull Knight charging into battle on his white stallion and making sure I never lack for a powerful creature in my hand.