Top 50 Wanderer Cards of 2018: Part 1 (#26-50)

Hey Rulers, welcome to my 2018 version of the Top 50 Wanderer cards! This is installment #1 out of 2, so it’ll include cards #50-26, with cards #25-1 coming next article. I was waiting on the banlist to publish this article in order to have the most accurate information possible, which is why I waited a few weeks after Providence to write it up and post it. I will also be noting the card’s list # from last year using the following key:

N/A: The card existed last year, but was not on the list.

N/P: Card was not printed or was banned as of last year’s list.

As always, I will not include banned cards, CMF/TAT dual stones, or J/rulers, but all other cards are fair game. Let’s get started, shall we?

#50. Keez’s Call [Last Year: N/P]

While Laurite is more commonly played due to it being wind-attribute and more versatile, Keez’s Call does have a place in the format. It’s a more-specialized Laurite that draws you a card rather than provide a blocker/‘negate’ a banish spell, but it actually also wins cancel wars against Laurite, since it can cancel Laurite’s ability and Laurite can’t cancel it. Most blue decks typically prefer Prison, but it does have good usage in decks that can run blue but can’t meet the Prison trigger condition (for example, decks that run “Magic Stone of Moon Shade”) or blue decks that are particularly weak to Laurite.

#49. Lightning Cave [Last Year: N/P]

While it’s unlikely that this card will ever see major Wanderer play for its weather-related abilities (though props to the stream Shaela player at GP Providence!), its first ability heavily inhibits Kirik, one of the biggest boogeymen in the format. It also greatly lowers the combo potential of the deck’s Cthugha/Play Dead lines, forcing Kirik to always show their hand and allow you to interact with them. The combination of this card and “The Final Battle” are particularly devastating.

Furthermore, its a strong reason to run Fire/Water as your attributes for Kirik, as it’s a crushing mirror-breaker against the Fire/Wind variants, where all of your resonators still have [Swiftness] and in some cases [Flying] and none of theirs do.

#48. Wind-Secluded Refuge [Last Year: N/A]

With Black Moonbeam finally seeing decent play again, Wind-Secluded Refuge becomes an important card to protect J-ruler-centric decks. While it’s unlikely to see as much play in, say, a deck with natural [Imperishable] like Scarlet, it’s great in Arla BFA/“Grusbalesta’s Secret Technique” combo decks to protect your pieces for the pivotal judgment/combo turn. It also protects J-rulers that wish to sit on the field, like if we ever got another good Abdul TAT-style J-ruler again. Although there are other answers for Black Moonbeam (for example, Zero’s Circle of Protection or The Queen’s Butler), Wind-Secluded Refuge is probably the most convenient, providing a cantrip and a wider net of protection than either of the first two cards.

47. Riza, First of the Dead [Last Year: N/A]

She rebounds! For most of the last year and a half, Stealth hadn’t seen much play in Wanderer, but the dreaded Riza/Melder combo has started rearing its head again recently in Wanderer, and its rise should be sparked even more by the Scheherazade banning. Riza is incredibly strong in that she can get you any [Stealth] or [Trigger] card in the game, though she usually just gets Melder as a control-combo finisher for any deck.

She is especially strong in the Seer of the Blue Moon (K1) Stealth deck, a deck that focuses heavily on early, overly cheap removal with Executioner and Prison in the Lunar Lake and finishes with Riza/Melder as her win condition. The deck was held in check by Scheherazade due to Scherherazade’s ability to loop resources, but with Scheherazade’s banning, K1 should be a decent portion of the meta.

46. Ame-no-Habakiri [Last Year: 44]

This card continues to be played sparingly but maintains a constant presence in that fringe of the Wanderer meta. It is a key component of the still-existent Susanowo combo (though it no longer uses Moojdart), and it continues to be played –occasionally– in aggro decks. With Sylvia’s overtaking of Lancelot’s former position in the meta, however, Ame’s aggro power has lessened. The last thing you want is to put Ame on a card, swing with it, and then get hit with a Miscalculation and get 2-for-1’d, so it mainly stays on the outskirts of the format. This weakness is a big reason why [Addition: Resonators] no longer exist. However, its power level is still at a level where it is playable in the meta, and perhaps it always will be as long as Susanowo is playable.

45. Hoelle Pig [Last Year: N/P]

While not a necessity when deckbuilding Kirik, Hoelle Pig still serves a significant advantage to the deck. Oftentimes, the deck needs to recharge on strength counters due to copious usage of them, especially in the mirror, and Hoelle Pig provides a way to recover these counters without skipping calling a stone. Some decks choose to bypass Hoelle Pig in favor of going an extremely low curve allowed for by Cthugha, but I do think Hoelle Pig versions are still the ideal deck variants.

44. Rapid Growth [Last Year: N/A]

This card has exactly one place that it fits in: Fire/Wind Aggro. However, Fire/Wind Kirik happens to be the best deck in the format, so I figured I would mention this card as it strongly aids their game plan. Not only is it essentially a two-will [Quickcast] spell that deals 800 damage to the opponent’s face, but it also, importantly, is immune to “Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid.” This gives aggro decks significant reach with their resonators and speeds up their average kill turn, an important goal of aggro when deckbuilding.

In addition, it can also turn on “Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon’s” burn ability, but this combo isn’t really being used at the moment outside of Reflect // Refrain decks, as Kirik would almost always prefer to max out on copies of Sylvia ENW and Piggy TSW first in their two-drop slot.

43. Abdul Alhazred, Poet of Madness [Last Year: 31]

I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t even have Abdul on my list initially, but then True Blade got hit on the banlist, and so here we are. While at least playable with True Blade banned, Abdul still finds itself in want of cards to hit in the current format. It does hurt Gwiber [Cheshire, Adombrali] and K1 Stealth [Riza/Melder, Executioner] decently, and it’s really strong against Lumia decks, but it does nothing against the big boogeyman in the format, which is Kirik, and that’s scary to consider when deckbuilding. I do think Abdul is a very strong sideboard card for control decks though, and I think it especially sees play in K1 Stealth.

42. Stoning to Death // Null Darkness // Forbidden Arts [Last Year: 22]

While these cards aren’t theoretically interchangeable due to the stone makeup of decks, Stoning and its two dual-attribute variants are essentially the same card. Null Darkness technically is strictly best due to the hard-to-turn-online secondary effect, but ultimately it really comes down to how easy it is to hit the specific attribute requirements of each card. For example, a Light-base Light/Wind/Darkness deck would likely prefer Forbidden Arts, but a non-Fire Darkness-base deck would always prefer Stoning to Death.

As for the strength of the cards themselves, they’ve mostly slipped in power since last year for two reasons. First, spot removal isn’t super-great at the moment, as “The Final Battle” and “Sign to the Future” both exist, but secondly, the curve of the game has plummeted in the last year. While Cthugha existed during my last article, many aggro cards since-printed, such as Sylvia ENW, Play Dead, and Piggy TSW, have strengthened the low-end curve of aggro decks and thus made spot removal relatively weak in response.

However, the cards still retain value in K1 and other control decks, and while they were originally not even on the list, the banning of Faerur’s Spell helps elevate the curve enough to make the cards playable again, in my opinion. However, I will be conservative with my ranking until I see results utilizing the new banlist, so 42 it is.

41. Celestial Wing Seraph [Last Year: N/A]

Probably the best finisher for a Light/Darkness midrange deck, I hesitate to include it higher with Scheherazade banned, since she was the deck Seraph was most-easily slotted into. Five will is a lot for any Force of Will card, let alone a Wanderer card, but Celestial Wing Seraph provides you with two [Flying] bodies for a single card, and, depending on need, she either becomes protected by Arla VIN003 or provides a free banish effect with Fallen Angelic Destroyer. She also was a major win condition in both Sascha Jedlicka’s winning list from German Masters and Ryan Miles’ winning list from GP Providence. Just be cautious that, with Scheherazade banned, she may not have a good deck/ruler to fit with.

40. Magic Stone of Moon Shade [Last Year: 16]

What a difference Fire decks becoming decent makes for the viability of this card! While Ruler’s Memoria was unbanned since my last article, it is virtually unplayable outside of Gwiber lists due to the fact that Laevateinn, Horn, and Change the World are all banned in Wanderer now, so its unbanning largely did not affect this card’s playability.

Split Heaven and Earth, however, quite did. It’s very difficult to give a Kirik deck even the 200 points of life one usage of this card costs you, let alone the large amounts that you can take from hitting two Moon Shades as your first two stones. Add in the facts that there aren’t large amounts of free will available on cards’ costs due to the low curve of the game and that this card cannot be put into play with Gretel, and you see the reason for the large dip in usage.

However, it is a very convenient card for allowing 5-color access to certain decks, and it likely is still played in Gwiber lists due to their combo potential being able to possibly outspeed Kirik and the 3-4 color necessity of the deck on a low curve. Kirik can also play it in certain circumstances, though it currently leaves him weak to the mirror and is likely forgone for now, at least until he sees a sharp decrease in meta representation.

39. Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword [Last Year: 17]

This card’s value will likely always ebb and flow with the viability of Gwiber decks (hence the drop-off from last year), but he did get more combo potential added to his deck since my last article. While “Spinning Myths” is less-than-desirable as a combo piece due to his [Enter] tags not working, Susanowo can now be comboed with “Viola, Treacherous Maiden,” removing the inconsistency of running the Moojdart true magic stone in order to make opponents’ resonators Dragons. Obviously, any time you can have a 3-will 1200/1200 [Swiftness] [Pierce] that destroys an opponent’s resonator and possibly also gets you an “Ame-no-Habakiri,” you definitely jump on the opportunity.

38. Tama, Familiar of Holy Wind // Familiar of Holy Wind [Last Year: 27]

Morgiana’s trip off the banlist keeps the debate of which card to play fairly open-ended. In most cases, you want Tama, as Elvish Priest is usually played over Sacred Elf in Wanderer, but right now…it’s hard to tell. A split is definitely preferable in my opinion against the World decks in order to be able to both destroy Morgiana (Familiar) and destroy tokens without spending will to prevent Gwiber from coming out (Tama). However, I still think maxing out copies of Tama first is the way to go, at least in the main deck.

37. Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flames [Last Year: 40]

Weirdly enough, Pricia remains around the same card ranking slot despite a vast change of meta. Turns out she’s pretty good in the Fire/Wind Kirik lists. While she gets destroyed by “Artemis, the God’s Bow” and “Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm,” and three will is a lot to spend in the aggro lists to begin with, she’s also a guaranteed 500 damage, carries natural evasion, and, if unchecked, can lead to really nasty combos with Play Dead and/or Cthugha. Overall, she’s a solid card that tops off the will curve of the Fire/Wind Kirik lists.

36. Deathscythe, the Life Reaper [Last Year: N/A]

Deathscythe was left off my article series last year because its only real combo at the time was Guinevere, considering Laevateinn was and will always be banned. Now, even Guinevere is banned, but, ironically, Deathscythe has become far more relevant with the new printings of highly-playable [Imperishable] rulers: namely Scarlet, Ayu, and Aimul. Sticking an early Deathscythe against Ayu or Aimul is pretty rough for either deck to deal with, as both decks are built fairly centrally around their J-rulers. Scarlet, at least, can fight back with “Marybell, the Steel Doll,” but dropping a Scythe does almost force them to draw into one to be able to progress their game plan at all.

35. Gherta, the Tear of Passion [Last Year: N/A]

Gherta is a card that’s hyper-reliant on the rulers that are playable in the current meta. However, in the current Wanderer meta, she singlehandedly makes Fire/Water Kirik possible, allowing for multiple aggro variants that can be played alongside the natural Cthugha/Play Dead combo. Utilizing only two strength counters, you have a [600/600] [Swiftness] [Flying] for two will, which is probably the best unconditional aggro two drop you can have in Wanderer.

She also can be played in any aggro or tempo deck with a ruler that naturally gains counters, but herein also lies her issues. In the entire game, only ten rulers use counters on their ruler side (Reflect, Mercurius, Mikage, Mars, Sol, Gill Alhama’at RDE, Millium RDE, Kirik, Reiya, and Shaela). Of these, the only rulers really conducive to aggro decks are Reflect, Millium, Kirik, Reiya Bats, and Shaela, and Millium is essentially unplayable as long as “Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid” exists.  So she is extremely good with the rulers she’s playable alongside, but right now playing her limits you to one of four rulers, one of which forces a specific three attributes.  It just so happens that one of those rulers is the best ruler in Wanderer at the moment.

34. Prison in the Lunar Lake [Last Year: 35]

This card singlehandedly makes K1 Stealth possible, working in tandem with “The Executioner” to allow you to get through the early game against most decks. For example, consider the number of resonators in Fire/Wind Kirik that have automatic abilities, despite this not seeming like a Prison-favorable matchup. If Sylvia attacks, she always has an automatic ability that goes on the chase (since her automatic ability can target herself). Piggy has an automatic ability when he enters the field. Prison even cancels Play Dead’s given ability too, if the resonator had been put in the field that turn.

So if Prison is even strong against Kirik, imagine how it is against other decks. It can stall out a Gwiber deck when well-timed on an Adombrali, it decimates the Spinning Myths decks, and it also shuts off most high-end finishers in other decks (such as “Celestial Wing Seraph”) as well as Riza/Melder in the mirror. Plus, the card doesn’t target at all, can be played from your standby area for cheap even in non-K1 decks, and can even function as sideboard protection for decks vulnerable to specific combos (such as a blue-base Gwiber vs. Spinning Myths, as an example). Its only weakness is forcing you to run water magic stones, but it’s a worthy price to pay.

33. Nyarlathotep, the Usurper [Last Year: 11]

Nyarlathotep (and other [Incarnation] resonators) didn’t catch any breaks this last year. Not only did aggro see a revitalization through Kirik, but Demonic Dead (and Griphon) got banned prior to any competitive events actually happening, preventing Nyarlathotep from being able to be fit into her most natural competitive deck (Fox). The [Enter] tag also prevents it from working well with Lumia as a hand-lock deck, stripping away even more opportunities for it to shine.

However, despite her being somewhat of an orphan card alongside Hastur, Nyarlathotep still has an incredibly high power level relative to the rest of the Wanderer card pool. The [Incarnation] deck can still utilize cheap, replaceable resonators such as “Rasputin,” “The Monkey Trapped in Life,” “Rukh Egg,” etc. in order to facilitate her ability to get early hand discard without restriction, not to mention an 800/800 body on top of that. Plus, you can combo her with Apollo to “Schemes of the Empire” your opponent multiple times a turn for [D][D] or [F][D] each time. The deck is still on the outskirts of the meta looking in, but if it ever gets broken, she’ll be the one leading the way.

32. Spinning Myths [Last Year: N/P]

Okay, so technically this card was printed last year, but I didn’t include any RDE cards to try to avoid heavy speculation on their playability. Spinning Myths has made me a believer, finding strong combos with Izanagi and Susanowo in the last year. I have even seen it used alongside Odin to potential, though he is certainly weaker than the aforementioned two cards. In addition, the deck has a really strong consistency ruler in Wanderer in Reflect // Refrain, who now gains Morgiana back despite the loss of Change the World earlier this season. While the deck struggles against Prison, Prison’s relative non-usage at the moment allows Myths to carve a spot in the current meta. I’m not sure it’s quite at Tier 1 yet, but it’s getting there.

31. Black Moonbeam [Last Year: N/A]

It seems kinda crazy to not have had Black Moonbeam on last year’s article, but, at the time, J-rulers were almost unused outside of Fox (which can’t be destroyed). That has certainly changed today. While most of the relevant J-ruler decks (for example, Scarlet) also have natural [Imperishable], Black Moonbeam is still strong due to the fact that it is uncancellable outside of “Wind-Secluded Refuge,” unanswerable by “High Speed Dash,” and can singlehandedly shut down certain rogue decks, such as the Arla BFA/“Grusbalesta’s Secret Technique” combo deck, especially with “Law of Silence” banned.

To give a specific example of its power level, I think Black Moonbeam will singlehandedly prevent Ciel WOM from ever staking a claim to the Wanderer meta, despite having access to an incredibly strong combo with “High Speed Dash.” In fact, any J-ruler-focused deck that relies on Judgment and doesn’t have natural [Imperishable] will always be strongly held in check as long as this card is legal.

30. Artemis, the God’s Bow [Last Year: N/A]

Any time you see a rise of aggro, you’ll usually see a rise in Artemis, and German Masters was no different, with it being tied for 13th overall in play (outright 11th in non-Doll, non-Story cards).

In the interest of full disclosure, though, I’m not personally a big fan of the card. As Arla SKL/Valentina TTW are basically unplayable at the moment, you’re only getting two arrow counters, and a single Artemis doesn’t really interact with many cards (in fact, a single copy almost exclusively only hits “Hoelle Pig” and “Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flames” against aggro).

However I’m not trying to knock it too much, as this card does become rather insane in multiples. Two Bows can destroy two two-drop resonators for free, slowing aggro down considerably. There is some added ‘bonus’ in counterplay against K1 using its second activate ability, and you can also build around it with combos like “Demonflame” or “Lethal Arrow.” Plus, as a side bonus, it is a rare, playable regalia if you wish to play “Ruler’s Memoria.”

29. Flame of Outer World [Last Year: 8]

Still the single-best unconditional spot removal in the game, Flames was completely unplayed during the Sherry meta because it, well, didn’t kill anything in Sherry except Djinn. However, with Sherry banned, I think it will see a resurgence, as it is one of the best spells to use to get around “Play Dead,” and in general, always trades even or above in cost. As the only card that can cancel Flames is “Wind-Secluded Refuge” (similar to “Black Moonbeam”), it almost always guarantees removal of the resonators you need off the field.

Its fall is mostly due to the poor attribute combination, as Fire/Darkness isn’t really a highly-played combination at the moment, and due to the fact that its only real J-ruler usage is in combination with Deathscythe, as any playable non-[Imperishable] J-ruler has more than 800 DEF now. In addition, Valentina LEL is the best usage of the card as it essentially becomes 1000 “damage” or, in some cases, a two-for-one that’s unchaseable, but I don’t think Valentina LEL can really compete with K1/Seer as the best control ruler at the moment.

28. Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm [Last Year: N/P]

Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm is the newest “Thunder” variant, but it is by far the best one yet. While it only deals 400 damage to the opponent, it can two-for-one Cthugha or other small resonators with strength counters, and can even three-for-one against Gwiber decks. Oftentimes, this is really a two-for-zero or three-for-zero due to Kirik’s Battle Arts search ability, and overall, the card greatly helps accelerate the tempo of the Kirik deck.

27. Adombrali, the Unfathomable [Last Year: 6]

By far the best [Incarnation] resonator, Adombrali’s strength comes mostly from his versatility. While he is best-known as the facilitator behind Gwiber/World combos, he honestly can be played in quite a few different style of decks. For example, in combination with Rukh Egg, any water resonator, and Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic, he can destroy any non-[Barrier] resonator in the game for one will and half a card, while also gaining a 600/800 on the field and searching your deck for any Fire resonator. His will production allows him to be played in other will-acceleration combo decks, and ultimately his usage is only limited by one’s creativity.

He may have taken a hit alongside the Gwiber deck itself, but I do think the deck (and he) will recover shortly, and I look forward to being able to move him drastically upward again in my next version of this article series.

26. Rukh Egg [Last Year: 12]

Rukh Egg is a particularly interesting card because it does so much for a 0/200 that can’t attack. Not only does it replace itself with another resonator, it directly contributes to multiple combos, such as fodder for the Nyarlathotep/Hastur [Incarnation] decks, the ‘Cthugha train’ combo, Play Dead combos, some Gwiber/World variants, etc. While it won’t ever directly impact the board state and heavily relies on being able to banish it easily (RIP Guinevere), it will deserve a space on this list as long as there are cards that interact well with it.