Admiral Belta ~ The King of Warlords ~

Summary: In this blog entry series, I will spotlight a specific card or combination of cards from either current or future expansions. In this first of the series, I have picked “Admiral Belta”, which is one of the best Warlord in the Set.2. (I think)

From the previous EOJ Connection article, we know that there will be two new races added in the Set.2. One of which is called “Warlord”, as most of you already know.

All four warlords, one for each element, cost 6 to summon and 2 to reactivate. Just basing on its summoning cost, I had been thinking these creatures are analogous to Nobles in the Set.1, and therefore only useful under very specific circumstances. However, my prejudice were proven to be wrong this morning with Asahara’s latest article.

The EOJ Connection’s famous writer Asahara posted a new article today (3/13) talking about his views of new Set.2 cards. In the article, he had pointed out a very interesting fact about warlords, in particular with Admiral Belta, and it ended up convincing me as it is one of the best Warlords in upcoming expansion. Let’s take a look at the card first.

First thing that I normally look at on the creature card is its attack pattern and attack power. All warlords have magic attacks and their targets are all enemies on and adjacent to the target field of their corresponding element. So virtually, you can think of warlord attack as a half of the dominion without sacrificing creatures.

But six mana seems too much for a half of the dominion. So “what else do we get for such high price?”

Let’s take a closer look at their special abilities.

All warlords have ability to subtract 1 from the summoning cost of other allied creatures with their corresponding elements, in this case it’s water. This is very cool ability, especially in this game mana efficienciency is one of the key to success. With 5 baseline health, it is safe to assume at minimum Warlords will likely to survive couple turns. So you save 2 mana in the subsequent summoning of two allied creatures. As in the all other creatures you get 1 exiting mana when Warlord is destroyed. (exiting mana = mana you retrieve after the creature is destroyed) So now 3 mana (6 – 2 – 1) to use half a dominion. But it still seems a bit too expensive.

So we need to take even a closer look at its unique ability. Each warlord has its own unique ability. With Belta, it is fieldquaking all the Fire fields during the player’s resolution phase. This is huge. Though there is a restriction of the field element; this is like having two fissures (4 mana) or Great Tolicore Quake (again 4 mana). So now it seems like we are start talking about some bargain here. The package include followings:

For 5 mana (6 – 1 exit mana), you get

Great Tolicore (4 mana value)
Subtract 1 mana for subsequent casting of new creatures (2 mana value at minimum)
So essentially for just 0 mana, you get half the dominon without sacrificing two creatures.

Sounds too good to be true? Wait, I think I can offer even more to this bargain.

All warlords have the ability called “invocation“, which is essentially the incarnation equivalent in the god. So what is it? It’s an ability to cast warlord by sacrificing a creature with a specific element type that is already on the board, and pay only the mana cost difference. The sacrificing creature must be the same element as that of the warlord, so in this case a water creature. I know most of people had never used incarnation ability with the gods and majority may not have even heard of such ability.

But believe or not, invocation is the main reason why I called Belta as the king of the warlords.

All warlords have invocation, but not all uses water creatures for the target. What do we have in the water creature family that makes this ability so outstanding? The answer is THE TURTLE, otherwise known as Isle of Kadena.

The main reason why most people use the Kadena is because of its ability to steal # of water fields mana from the opponent. Once the Kadena is casted and done its job stealing mana from opponent, Kadena just sits there and do nothing since it cannot attack on its own.

Let’s see what happens if you use invocation ability of Belta with Kadena.

1. Cast Kadena for 4 mana, get 2 mana back (assuming the original board setup with 2 water fields)
2. Use invocation. 6 – 4. So cast Delta for 2 mana.
3. When delta is destroyed, you get 1 mana back for exiting mana.

So in the end you have spent only 3 mana. This is the ultimate package!!

With kadena & delta combo, you spend overall 3 mana to get

1) Subsequent summoning cost reduction (2 mana value minimum)
2) Fire field specific Great Tolicore (4 mana value)
3) Stealing 2 mana from the opponent (2 mana value)
4) Option to use half dominion

Definitely, using Belta with Kadena would be the best deal; however, you can also use Belta with Cloud Runner and get great deal as well. Cloud Runner will give you free draw card ability for 3 mana.

So for 6 total mana you get

1) Subsequent summoning cost reduction (2 mana value minimum)
2) Fire field specific Great Tolicore (4 mana value)
3) Draw cards x 2 (2 mana value)
4) Option to use half dominion

In conclusion, I believe Admiral Belta is not only one of the best Warlord, but could be one of the best UR in the Set.2 when you use it with its invocation ability using appropiate creature as sacrifice. Especially when it is bundled up with Kadena or Cloud Runner, it becomes ultra deal package. We could even go furthure and have cubic to cast Kadena and then to Belta. Then we create the ultimate super golden…. anyways you get my point.

The best package will give you the followings:

Cubic (1 mana for summoning) -> Kadena (get 2 mana back) -> Belta (invocation with spending 2 mana)

So overall, you spend 1 mana and get

1) Subsequent summoning cost reduction (2 mana value minimum)
2) Fire field specific Great Tolicore (4 mana value)
3) Stealing 2 mana from the opponent (2 mana value)
4) Option to use half dominion

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paydak on March 13, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    I guess it remains to be seen what else is in set 2, but I have a feeling this card is going to end up being pretty bad. I won’t argue that it may be the best of all the warlords, but if they’re all like this, they’re going to be difficult to use reliably. First of all, this thing only does 1 damage. For something that costs 6 to play, that is pretty weak in the way of board presence. Sure you could potentially do damage to 4 different creatures, but for that to happen you have to be getting kicked around pretty good at that point (when you could have been winning had you played better cards). Additionally, you’d like to get some overlap between the fire fieldquake and your damage output, but the way the board is set up, that is unlikely to happen. Sure you could attack the upper left water square and flip the adjacent red, but the right most water field is the money field in terms of damage, and that one has no synergy with the quake ability. Yeah, you can look at things optimistically and think of the perfect situation where this wrecks someone, but it’s just as likely the field quake ability is going to hose you instead of your opponent. I suppose you could make the argument that you would need to build your deck primarily around water creatures, especially with the last ability, but I seriously don’t think that’s going to end up being a viable strategy. A deck like that would get mauled by a biolith deck.

    I do agree that the turtle seems like one of the best targets for the invocation, but the question is, is it worth the sacrifice in tempo and board presence to get this guy’s static abilities in play? You’re giving up both two mana, one card, AND the ability to play something else. For what? To flip a couple fields, gain an extra health on the invoked square, and get an extra boost in long term mana generation? The extra health is a pretty minimal gain, and the fieldquake is going to be hit and miss, sometimes bad for you. The mana gain isn’t any better than the earth mana generation tower. Once the warlord is on the board, it’s essentially just a five health version of that, only worse in terms of mana gain, because you’re not going to have all water creatues. Not good.

    And I disagree with your math a little, at least in principle. I don’t think it’s fair to count exit mana as net +1, especially for creatures with high health. That’s still mana you have to invest up front, and in many, many games, you will never get that back. You also can’t count on being able to drain 2 mana with the turtle each time. I guess with the most optimistic approach, the long term investment wise the whole chain looks like a good deal on the surface, but if the game doesn’t last long enough to reap the rewards, you’re just helping yourself lose faster. That’s why the earth mana generating tower isn’t a power card, because the sacrifice you make in tempo and attack power negates the long term mana potential. This is just more of the same wrapped in a different package.

    And I don’t think I’d want to invoke this from a Cloud Runner very often, as half the reason to play that card is to get something out there that’s a bitch to remove.

    Reply

  2. Posted by houshasen on March 14, 2008 at 3:14 am

    @Paydak,

    Cool. Thanks for such a detailed comment. This is exactly what I want in my blog.

    Ok. So now let me start defending myself a bit.

    1) Mono-color deck is not viable strategy
    It sounds like you think the mono-color deck in this game is not viable strategy. Though I agree with you in the way the game is at present, from what I have read so far developers has mentioned couple times that with Set.2 cards, mono-colored deck would be as competitive as other decks if not better. So your concern about not having enough water creatures to appreciate the ability won’t be much of an issue here assuming what the developers said is true. But I get your point that if you don’t have primarily water based deck, this card won’t be much of a use.

    2) Invocation as giving up ability to play something else
    Now forgive me if I am misunderstanding you or have not made this clear, but invocation or incarnation for that matter is just like cubic so your turn will not end after casting a creature via invocation. But sure you are correct that we will lose one card as if you used a spell, cubic etc.

    3) Exit mana should be excluded from the math
    You are correct that we need to investment the mana up front. And perhaps you may be right that people will have harder time to destroy the creature with its high health. So we may not get our exit mana back. Now is this a issue? Actually No. This makes the card even more valuable. My math is based on the fact if the Belta gets destroyed in turn 2. But if he survives longer, you gain more benefit from him by subtract 1 mana for summoning each subsequent water creatures. Again, here you may have assumed primarily water color based deck is not possible. If that the assumption I would agree with you; however, I based my reasoning on the fact that not only we can go with primarily water creatures deck, but I assume that we can go as far as the all water deck with Set.2 cards. (will tell you the reason later)

    4) Attack power of this creature
    This one I agree that it is not strong enough to use frequently by spending 2 mana. But that’s why I wrote it as a optional item. The primary power of this creature is not coming from its attack power like Kadena, Dungeon’s Ten Tyrant, Nobles, and many other EOJ creatures with special ability. Belta won’t be acting as a super high power firearm, but rather it will acts like Governor who gives tax cut to the all power firearm you decide to purchase… (sorry for the bad analogy)

    Ok. Hopefully, I was able to defend myself at least by a little.

    Since I believe our conclusions are different due to the difference in the assumption or premises, let me explain why “mono colored deck WILL BE possible with Set.2.”

    Not only developers had mentioned this couple times but we already know that there will be a creature like “Archiver”, which will make the field in front of it as Biolith IN ADDITION TO its actual field element. Plus from SCEA blog, we are going to have something called fieldmorph, which was defined as changes a target field to the same element as the creature occupying it.

    From these I feel like with Set.2, we can have more than 3 maximum field with one type of element.

    In SCEA blog, it was mentioned that the adding field element ability won’t work if the field is the opposite of its kind for example water to fire. So the only field we won’t be able to use as water field would be fire fields. And with Belta these field won’t exist!!

    So again, I omitted all these information and made assumption of mono color deck with Set.2. With this assumption in mind, I hope you would see a bit more use in this card.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Paydak on March 15, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Yeah, you’re totally right about invocation. My bad. Still, I don’t think that alone is enough to make this card useful, but as you said, it’ll be dependent on else is printed I suppose. They better have some field changing cards that are far, far more efficient than the current batch.

    Reply

  4. Posted by vfighter07 on April 24, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    Hello. I agree that Admiral Belta is a great and very interesting card, but it seems to me that there is a mistake in this article.
    Invocation lets you incarnate a creature onto another creature of the same element or race. That means that
    you can’t play turtle and then Belta for 2 mana. But Admiral Belta gives incarnation to all other water creatures.

    Reply

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