Welcome back to Part 2 of our Call of the Mountain expansion series! If you have not read Part 1, you may do so here.
Previously, we were introduced to a new keyword, Spellshield, which could really change the power level of spells in the game as you could potentially negate some powerful spells by using Spellshield. It’s effectively a less versatile Deny, but it makes up for it by being cheaper in terms of mana cost.
This time, we will be seeing 2 new keywords being introduced alongside 2 new champions, Trundle and Nocturne. The first keyword is Behold, which activates special effects if you have certain types of cards in your hand or in play; while the second keyword, Nightfall, activates a card’s special effect if it is not the first card played during a turn.
Trundle is the 3rd champion introduced in the expansion. This Freljord champion introduces a new type of deck that may fascinate people who want to have big units or spells in their hand that can swing a fight heavily once they reach late game. Trundle will be a great champion to pair alongside cards with the keyword Behold, as his leveled-up state becomes stronger the more 8+ cards you Behold.
As of right now, all of the cards revealed with the “Behold” keyword activates its effects to a 8+ mana cost card. It’s a keyword that encourages having a deck with many high-cost cards like Tryndamere. However, as Behold can potentially be applied to other types of cards, we may see new Behold-archetype decks in the future, or a Behold concept for tough units and other types of keywords.
Personally, Trundle seems to be all about high risk and high reward. If you manage to get tons of big units on the board and Behold multiple high-cost cards, you can easily trample over your opponent. However, with this being a game filled with various removal and deny options, you may not always be able to pull off playing these high-cost cards. To make things worse, every time your attempt to play high-cost cards gets thwarted, you will now lose your tempo and affect the growth of your champion as well.
While Trundle feels slightly underwhelming for me, I think the other cards revealed alongside him have a lot of potential. For example, Broadbacked Protector could add 1 stack of level-up condition to Vladimir while providing healing to your nexus every time his skill is activated. If he is given Tough, he could potentially heal the nexus by 12 points before dying, as he only takes 2 points of damage every turn.
He could also be given the Regeneration keyword by Augur of the Old Ones to essentially be able to provide 3 free points of nexus healing at the start of every round, as long as he survives them. This card could potentially provide huge amounts of healing with the right support, or just be a really strong unit to defend with at round 4.
Nocturne is introduced alongside a new keyword, Nightfall, which highly encourages combo play. It lends itself to a very aggro playstyle, where you can play lots of low-cost cards in a single turn to get the most of Nightfall’s ability.
Nocturne is quite strong on his own, allowing you to grant an enemy vulnerable and -1/0 if you activate his Nightfall ability, which is quite similar to Sejuani’s skill when played. I would expect Nocturne to be quite powerful because of this similarity with Sejuani’s skill. On top of that, Nocturne’s leveled-up form makes him a force to be reckoned with, due to his ability to reduce an opponent’s unit’s attack every time you play a unit, allowing a favorable trade when attacking or defending.
Personally, I’m really hyped for Nocturne, as he feels like the kind of champion that will make a Shadow Isles aggro-style deck work. There’s also Encroaching Shadows, one of the highlights among the new cards. This card, which will grant ALL allies in the deck and hand +2/+2 and Ephemeral, really opens up many opportunities for interesting deck-building scenarios. You could build an Elusive deck with this card, turning all of your units into a force to be reckoned with.
For example, if Greenglade Duo had +2/+2, she would become a 4/3 unit, which requires way more resources to remove her. On top of that, you could play Blighted Caretaker to give Greenglade Duo +3/0 on that round, making her a 7/3 elusive unit. With that type of power, it wouldn’t really matter if she was Ephemeral. If you’re feeling extra spiteful, you could spend an additional 3 mana to remove Ephemeral from Greenglade Duo by using Death Mark.
I am loving all the champions being included in this expansion, especially champions that most wouldn’t consider popular or well-liked. Trundle and Nocturne haven’t really gotten much of the spotlight in the main game, and I’m really glad the LoR team is choosing champions that have interesting design spaces as opposed to just featuring popular champions.
At the time of writing, we’re approaching the reveal of all the cards and the expansion dropping. If you want to learn what I think about the rest of the cards, then stay tuned for part 3 of this series.