Welcome to Day 3 of new card releases, the Journey certainly is becoming more Curious!
New Keyword: Formidable
I strike with my health instead of my power
Simple but effective, enables the large-health low-power units that we’ve seen to become monstrous, and has a built in safety to it in that the units in question weaken with time or with pings. Immediately this makes me consider how Freljord and Targon’s buffs synergize very well with the new cards, and how fun it will be to Stress Defense a Formidable unit to make it effectively a 6/6 at burst! Soraka and Braum already are very interested in this synergy.
1 mana Follower
A slightly above average statline for a one-drop with a fair bit of room to grow. Granting buffs to health is typically a touch easier to get large numbers going such as Bloodsworn Pledge, and Formidable turning any health buff into a power buff as well can be massive. Although I’m uncertain we’ll see much Formidable + Ionia, +3|+3 for 2 mana is a rather spooky buff to Twin Disciplines!
2 mana Follower
A 3/3* challenger for 2 is a powerful threat. In clean combats, it means you likely get one free kill on an early unit, and then still have a 1/1 left to block or pull to the side. Add on something like tough, or a Brightsteel Protector and you have one hell of a bird of prey here! As if we didn’t already have enough to fear from Quick-Quill, this bird will write a whole book on how to kick ass rather quickly!
3 mana Follower
Play: Grant an ally +0|+1 and Tough
Now this is something that I’m glad to see. The automatic curve of Broadwing into Protege makes a 4/4 Tough Challenger that is likely to get at least 3 uses out of it if not more. In addition to the Galio Group, giving more health and tough to something like a Fiora, Shyvana, or Poppy can keep them swinging a lot longer, and in a Pantheon deck, she proc’s fated for the turn, and gives pantheon one less keyword he can roll (Although he isn’t a big fan on formidable himself…) Even being a touch over cost for a unit, her effect is subtle but very potent, I expect to see her a fair bit.
2 mana Follower
When you summon another ally, grant it +0|+1
Reasonable cost for a reasonable effect. I’m not sold on her being enough for the Formidable deck as she is, if she had 1 extra health herself, easy add, but having her in there as a Shootable target that doesn’t immediately impact the board at all is a big ask. You need to get two units out to get any real profit off her (assuming that one trigger gets you to 5 stats out of your two mana), If we get enough units that really need that one health, she could get slotted in, but I’d think any combat trick outshines this sculptor.
3 mana Follower
Support: Give my supported ally +0|+2 and Formidable this round
This man SLAYS. Giving Formidable is a very powerful effect in the right situation, and the additional health buff means that taking a few points won’t add up at all. Fighting alongside any of our large-reared units like Braum, Soraka, Tahm Kench, Taric, even Trundle and his MASSIVE Pillar! He’s well costed, very effective, and I expect to see him a fair bit, this could be the start of some support shenanigans between Demacia and Ionia/Targon
4 mana Follower
Support: I take all damage for my supported ally this round.
Being able to take all damage like this means that even mid-combat burns and tricks on the supported ally to chip down their Formidable power are moot. Going to Single Combat? Ha, good one, Stag. This does help protect any unit you want to attack multiple times, such as anything wearing a Yuumi, a Fiora, a Poppy, or even a Miss Fortune. I can see the line of Stag protecting Architect buffing Braum being quite potent, and then shuffling around the supports to keep everyone alive quite easily!
Formidable as a mechanic is one not foreign to veteran tcg players, “attack with your butt” has been done in Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone, and most others at some time or another. The persistent health in Runeterra, alongside with regions that specialize in buffing up that rear end make it a fair bit more interesting here to me. The added spice of what one could consider a negative keyword being added to the pool for Random Keyword effects such as Pantheon, and The Arsenal is very interesting as well, and only time will tell if we see that make much of an impact. These cards have a LOT of potential and I’m very excited to see people play with them… and to make Poppy ride a stag more than once.