We've all seen the new cards and if you somehow haven't, there's a section for that now. The powerful champions, the Yasuo boat, the turn three 7/6, and the multitude of Tri-beam buffs. Some cards shout about their power from the rooftops and are rather obvious with their pushed nature after seeing the Xth reddit or twitter comment about them. But for every Winding light there is a Bard, there will always be cards people sleep on or underestimated.
I'm here to look past that and give you SIX cards from the Forces from Beyond expansion you're overlooking and why they are better than you think.
A three mana 2/1 is where we start, it has the 'make a husk' tagline which isn't too impressive here, but the last line is where it gets explosive. We've had a 1 cost archetype already that was split between Bilgewater and Piltover & Zaun, there is also a very relevant one that already involves Shurima; Azir Irelia.
Both of these bad boys are one-drops that you want to pop out in mass to charge headlong to their doom. You can also set up a sequence of Domination into one of your champions or a valuable unit depending on what the keyword you roll is. Domination also gives additional value when bounced making them a decent homecoming target when your opponent doesn't have the option to ping your target.
In addition to Azir Irelia, Domination also pumps [Powder Monkey]s, and the variety of other low to the ground units you can find in a Bilgewater aggro deck featuring Jagged Taskmaster or an PnZ based one featuring Professor von Yipp.
2: Starhound Pack
This unit is not well costed for it's initial stats, by a slim margin. Typically the formula for what you want of a total statline is Cost x 2 + 1, for a four cost we would want a 4/5 on average or better. The thing about this dog is they have a great trick of giving Fated decks the ability to bounce back after betting the farm on one unit. After investing on a Saga Seeker, Wounded Whiteflame or other unit you typically are in a bad spot if they get removed as you put a couple spells into them only to lose it all, leaving your only out to be finding a Pantheon... or if you used a Starhound, then another dog would put you right back where you were!
Fated decks have seen little to no play since the heavy nerfs they received, if we find outselves in a grindy midrange meta again, this dog could be their ticket back in. Paired with a value engine like Aphelios to generate procs and give overwhelm reliably, we could see this dog have it's day in a not too distant future!
3: Royal Decree
Demacia has a very specific style of interaction, that typically amounts to slapping units at the enemy's units with a notable window where that can be disrupted or called off with a quick silence, or counter magic. Royal Decree is really only a card for it's first mode, but that mode can be used very effectively in the right circumstances. The ability to give what is typically an unassuming unit a large buff and challenger to dictate combat can negate any opponent's plans of blocking your Poppy with a 4/1 instead of their unassuming little 1/1 they have on the side. The temporary buff helps avoid damage being marked on units for too long, giving a bit of counterplay against one of Demacia's biggest counters in Noxus decks as well.
The card does have the flexibility as well of being able to Focus out a 3/2 for an attack or double develop before passing priority whenever needed as well. While I don't think this will ever be a three of in a deck, keep your eyes peeled for this slipping into Demacia lists and Challenging your game plan out of nowhere!
4: Mikhael's Blessing
This one may take you from left field, but do you know all the negative keywords in LoR? The full list of these includes; Immobile (can't attack or can't block), Ephemeral, Frostbite, Stun, Vulnerable, and very notably, SILENCE. This silly little bell un-stuns and un-silences your units, stopping a big form of interaction decks use to try and shut down big targon antics and a great way to counter other Targon lists with Hush or Moonlight Affliction.
It will be meta dependent as to how much it sees play outside of Bo3, but I wouldn't be shocked if I were blown out by this once or twice in a Taric or Pantheon based list.
Most people when looking at this card think it's a silly Nab card or a plunder tech that won't do much since why do you want your opponent's narrow combat tricks or answers? The answer is simple; you don't. What you DO want is knowledge of at least three cards in their hand, possibly more if you only see two options. In Runeterra there is little for hand interaction or knowledge and when it does come up it is infuriating.
Pranks are a powerful tool to set the opponent back and know what to play against, Aloof Travelers shaped numerous decks in it's hay day while it had a good body on it, anything that can affect that sacred zone or let you peek behind the curtain is powerful. There are also numerous pieces of removal, combat tricks and outs you can snatch up and use unexpectedly, but I value this card highly for the information and I expect to see it in Bilgewater lists rather commonly, especially when they can proc plunder easily.
6: Thread the Needle
This is one of the two new 'Attrocity' style effects we've gotten this expansion, and while Hate Spike is more cost effective, getting a husk for your trouble for the low cost of two mana, Thread is a huge synergy enabler for Shadow Isles. Already SI is the region where you more often than not WANT your units to die, or expect them to die at least. We've seen this with slay strategies featuring Nasus, Viego strategies where you generate many Withering Mists, and now we have another similar strategy in the form of Hallowed.
They flat out do not want to block or trade for your units unless they have to due to the value you get value off them dying, that is where Thread comes into play. It for the most part can function as a fast speed Crumble, especially after procing a Hallowed buff or two on the attack. It is another great way in SI to respond to removal by repurposing your units, and allows for great block and kill plays where you thread a blocker into the actual target, nullifying two incoming enemies.
I expect to see this card in some number where you have units that you want to throw away for some value, which is the entire purpose of Shadow Isles.