25. Separation of Fates [Last Year: N/P]
“Separation of Fates” is a blend of “Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic” and “Final Forfeit,” creating a monster of a sideboard card. While this card is usually not that easy to put in the main deck despite its cantripping nature (and if it is, it’s as a 1-of), sideboarding this card can auto-win multiple matchups for you. For example, against Ayu or Scarlet, this card plus “Black Moonbeam” is an instant blowout. While Ayu can recover, it’s unlikely, and a Scarlet player will immediately concede. The card is strong against Aimul as well, turning her into a 300/300 vanilla J-ruler, though she at least has a more midrange plan she can fall back upon if her J-ruler side dies.
Separation also has a secondary benefit of preventing “field to graveyard”/“leaves the field” triggers, providing nice counterplay to any usage of “Flourishing Hope” or “Play Dead” other than the Play Dead/Cthugha combo. Plus, remember that this card –replaces itself–. Any combination you use with this card and another card still requires only one card total and only one extra Light will, making it even on card advantage.
24. Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid [Last Year: N/P]
While Scheherazade TSW is banned, one of her stories, “Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid,” continues to be heavily played in Wanderer. First of all, it’s Wind, which helps, but it also essentially reads “cancel target ‘Split Heaven and Earth,’” which makes it infinitely playable in sideboards in the format. You will often see Wind decks side 3-4 copies of this card to side in against F/X Kirik just to prevent themselves from getting blown out by 1-2 Splits.
While not its primary purpose, it also has a nice secondary benefit of shutting down any rogue deck that is dependent on its J/ruler’s counters. Reiya and Kirik don’t care about losing their counters due to easy regeneration (though it’s brought in against Kirik anyway for Split), but certain J/rulers like Reflect // Refrain and Shaela can get blown out by a well-timed Last Days, limiting their potential in the meta. A card this universally strong had to be in the top 25.
23. Little Red, Fairy Tale of Air [Last Year: N/A]
I had Wendy on this list instead of Little Red last year, but I really think Little Red surpassed Wendy this year, mainly on the basis of the steep power level increase of the wind attribute. This allows decks to legitimately be mono-Wind or at least run enough non-special wind magic stones to make Little Red a powerhouse, even outside Grimm. However, as GP Providence’s Top 8 showed us, you can’t count out Green Grimm due to her either!
She is a [400/400] [Swiftness] on Turn 1 in decks that can truly abuse her, with outstanding upside in future turns. Consider that the most overpowered one drops in the game for aggro are [600/600] [Swiftness] cards (Magic Dark Elf and Raijuu, both with –significant– play requirements), then consider that she is equal to that on Turn 3 and begins to surpass them on Turn 4. While a match in Wanderer is typically pretty decided by Turn 5, this still allows for massive damage output in the mid-game for very little will per card. It doesn’t hurt that she’s a Fairy Tale for Grimm, either.
22. Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo [Last Year: 15]
Believe it or not, this card actually got better since last year’s article, despite Gwiber decks falling off to a large degree due to Kirik (and Scheherazade, since-banned). While I do think Scheherazade’s banning will help Gwiber decks rebound to a degree, I think the real catalyst for Apollo’s increase in usefulness was the printing of Laurite, as Apollo can secondarily function as a re-use of him, especially with “True Blade of Spirits” now banned.
In addition, Apollo gives the [Flying] keyword skill to your J-ruler, which is very relevant for J-ruler-based decks like Scarlet that lack battle evasion. The will ability isn’t as relevant as it used to be, but it still has an occasional usage in making “Seal of Wind and Light” unchaseable.
21. Piggy, Hoelle’s Great Hero Pig [Last Year: N/P]
I imagine a lot of people will think 21 is too low for Piggy, considering its insane combo potential and core integration with the Kirik decks, but I really do believe cards should be knocked down some degree if they are only usable in one ruler or deck, as any fluctuation in the meta can cause them to suddenly become unplayable.
That being said, in Kirik, Piggy combos well with “Play Dead,” providing [Swiftness] to any non-[Swiftness] resonators that come back from the graveyard. It also provides your deck with a [500/700] [Swiftness] at its base for zero strength counters (since it gives you the initial two) that can also give itself or anything else [Flying] for two additional strength counters. At an extreme, it can be used in OTK combo decks with “Jack, Climbing the Beanstalk,” but usually cards like Laurite, Prison, Keez’s Call, and Miscalculation keep that combo from seeing heavy play.
20. Charlotte’s Water Transformation Magic [Last Year: N/A]
I left CWTM (colloquially/lovingly known as “Bear Magic” by most competitive players) off the list last year as the format was mostly Gwiber and Fox, two decks who literally did not care about this card at all, but the sharp change in meta in the last year has also spiked the playability of this card. While it can’t hit J-rulers, unlike “Separation of Fates,” Bear Magic still provides a very-needed ability-nullifying effect that also largely maintains card advantage.
While it cannot stop the Play Dead/Cthugha combo (as they’ll be able to hold priority after Play Dead resolves), it does “cancel” Play Dead used in other contexts, such as protection against a removal spell, as it removes the ability that Play Dead gives to the targeted resonator. Similar to “Separation of Fates,” it, in combination with removal effects, stops all graveyard/“leaves the field” triggers and negates the protection of “Flourishing Hope” as well. It also provides a nice way to deal with resonators that have problematic activate abilities while also putting them in easy range to be removed by damage-dealing spells or abilities.
Finally, its best usage comes in its combo with “Artemis, the God’s Bow,” where you can destroy any non-[Barrier] resonator for [Wa] twice per pair, and, if done correctly, there is no way for the opponent to boost the DEF of the resonators in response outside [+100/+100] counters. It’s a very versatile card, and it oftentimes pulls people into water by itself, something the attribute desperately needs right now.
19. Wall of Wind [Last Year: 29]
I spoke in part one of this article about how the curve has sharply lowered in Wanderer from last year (though that crash has been partly reversed by the recent banning of “Otherworld Dreams” and “Faerur’s Spell”). While this lowering of the average will curve hurts removal, it has the opposite effect on “Wall of Wind” – increasing its playability dramatically.
To give a game example, let’s say a Kirik player is on the play against you and has a very strong hand of Rukh Egg, Cthugha, and three other cards. You are playing a ruler with a wind [Energize] coin. If they play Rukh Egg to start a Cthugha train, you can simply Wall of Wind the Rukh Egg with Energize to buy yourself time to get a stone for a Miscalculation/Thunder/second Wall of Wind/etc. If they play a Turn 2 Sylvia, you can Wall of Wind that if you prefer. It forces them to choose between having their spells possibly canceled for one will or playing the whole game holding open one will (which is usually terrible, especially for aggro). Wall of Wind is really one of two facilitators (the other at #7 on this list) that allows non-K1 control/midrange decks to get through the early game and thus exist in the meta.
Also, while it is not as strong on the play, sometimes you can still catch greedy plays. For instance, if your opponent plays a Turn 1 two-drop or a Turn 2 three-drop, Wall of Wind will both cancel the spell –and– eat their Energize coin, having a particularly devastating effect for one will.
18. Sacred Elf // Elvish Priest [Last Year: 13]
Believe it or not, when I was initially writing up my “Top 50” list pre-banlist, these two cards were barely making it onto the list at all, and I was considering cutting them entirely. Despite their incredible power level, they were virtually unplayable with True Blade in format. Well, True Blade is banned, and as a result, they shoot right back up to the top 20 cards where they belong.
Will producers that only cost one will are incredibly powerful in any format, but Sacred Elf and Elvish Priest have the added benefit of producing will with an attribute (sorry, Moonbreeze Elf), not being destroyed by Tama (sorry, Wind Sprite + VIN003 Wizards), AND producing the strongest attribute in the game at the moment. Unanswered, they wreak havoc on games, leading to early Rachels RDE, Blazers SDR6, Mariabellas RDE, Spinning Myths, or even five or six drops in combination with other ramp.
In addition, they allow midrange decks to hold open cancel spell protection while playing their threats, and Turn 1 Elf => Turn 1 Wall of Wind on your opponent’s turn is one of the strongest plays in the entire game. In combination with Gretel, these Elves push people to want ten wind magic stones in Wanderer when deckbuilding.
As for which I would prefer, I think I still say “Elvish Priest,” mainly because Morgiana being unbanned may lead to an increase in copies of “Familiar of Holy Wind.” There are extremely few instances where it matters which of the two you choose to put in your deck, however.
17. Sylvia, Blade of the Supreme King [Last Year: N/P]
In my last article, I called Gherta the best unconditional two-drop aggro resonator in Wanderer, which is true. However, Sylvia is the best unconditional two-drop aggro resonator that can go in any deck in Wanderer, which I think is a crucial distinction and greatly increases her ranking on this list.
While she does force a second attribute, just like Gherta, wind is at least a highly-playable attribute. In addition, her block-prevention ability forces the opponent to always make bad trades with blocks, if they can even block at all. While it does make her weak to Prison, Prison isn’t seeing much play at the moment so that’s largely irrelevant.
Remember that, while [600/600] [Swiftness] two-drop resonators are getting more standard, almost none of them have upside. Besides Sylvia and Gherta, only Lancelot TTW has [600/600] stats, easy-to-gain or natural [Swiftness], and an additional ability. She still is the crème de la crème of two-drop resonators.
16. Xeex, the Ancient Magic [Last Year: 20]
Xeex is another card that shot up the rankings when “Otherworld Dreams” and “Faerur’s Spell” were banned, though for drastically different reasons. With “Wall of Wind” and “Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid” being the only one-drop cancels in the entire game and “Wall of Wind” being the only one that hits resonators, Xeex’s two cost has started looking much more appealing to midrange and control lists.
While its [+200/+200] effect has gotten even worse in the last year, every other mode has gotten better. Having a two-cost resonator cancel allows a midrange deck to get underneath most of the problematic resonators in Wanderer, as they are almost entirely three cost or more outside Gwiber. Having a graveyard shuffle effect readily available helps keep Umr combo decks in check, forcing them to rely more heavily on “A Heroic Epic for the Thousandth Night” and making their game plan more linear. Meanwhile, the ability to make a resonator untargetable helps protect your own game plan, while also having some odd usages as well (for example, you can use Xeex on an opponent’s resonator in response to Play Dead to pseudo-cancel Play Dead).
It’s just a very versatile card that also fits a much-needed resonator cancel slot when only one other card in the entire game can cancel a resonator for two cost (“Seal of Wind and Light”), and none for mono-wind.
15. Cheshire Cat, the Grinning Remnant [Last Year: 2]
To be honest with you, I really had no idea where to put Wanderer’s mascot resonator. The card’s historically been a top five card in power level, but in recent years, she’s barely been seeing play, even in blue decks. This might be due to the speed of the format, but I actually like Cheshire against non-[Flying] aggro decks as she’s a one-will mini-fog that replaces herself and hand filters. I’ve placed her as low as 34, and I’ve placed her in the top ten, going through multiple iterations of this list, but I finally settled on fifteen for one reason: the weakness of the water attribute shrouds her actual power level.
This is something that really needs to be talked about, because Cheshire remains the best water rare or super rare that has ever been printed in this game, and she was printed in the second set of Grimm Cluster. Indeed, she is the highest-ranked water card in the format, with fourteen non-water cards ranked above her. The reality is that Cheshire’s best role is in a deck with ten water-producing stones, and the literal only decks that can safely do that at the moment are K1 [which may prefer other cards, as her whole deck costs (1) per card], F/Wa Kirik (which is aggro and –can– use her but doesn’t need to), and the World variant of Gwiber. Cheshire is obviously still a 4-of in World-style decks, but, to be fair, that’s because Gwiber needs 5-attribute magic stones and water [Incarnation] pieces for Adombrali for consistency, not because Gwiber decks splash water for Cheshire.
I honestly believe, looking at my current list, that Cheshire is probably the 7th-best card in Wanderer at the moment, power-level wise. But she really needs water cards in general to become more playable to be able to climb back up these boards.
14. Morgiana, the Wise Servant [Last Year: 10]
She’s back! After spending nearly the entire time between my articles on the banlist, Morgiana has finally come home to the Wanderer format, and with good timing, as the number of decks she can be played in has increased. Not only are the World decks still playable with Scheherazade banned, but Morgiana can now be played alongside Reflect // Refrain to allow for combo decks to exist again, albeit without Change the World.
While a risky card to play (only 300 DEF, doesn’t replace herself, doesn’t impact the board state at all, really slow to drop against aggro since you won’t want to block with her), her upside is tremendous in the decks she slots into, and she singlehandedly carries combo decks to meta relevance. For a few examples of these decks, she makes the Spinning Myths deck much better, and she also allows for Umr Combo to have a place in the meta to explore as well. I’m really happy to see her back, and I hope we will see combo decks break into the Tier 1 meta finally.
13. Thought Control [Last Year: N/P]
Another beneficiary of the lowered curve of Wanderer, Thought Control also benefited from the March banning of “Severing Winds,” which removed essentially the last meta-relevant heavily-played card with a total cost over three will. This means that when Thought Control is played, it can usually hit every or almost every card in a player’s hand. That is pretty strong for one will and no drawbacks.
Additionally, the outright banning of Scheherazade in Wanderer also takes away the worst matchup to play Thought Control in, meaning it also rarely has to be sided out. Whether you are hitting a Rachel RDE, a Laurite, a Gill Lapis ENW, a Heroic Epic, a Piggy, etc., you are always trading up in value. About the only cards you have to worry about this card not hitting are Gwiber, Titania or Blazer SDR6. It’s a very good meta for Thought Control.
12. Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian [Last Year: N/P]
Oddly enough, I think Laurite’s actually stronger in New Frontiers, but he has his usages in Wanderer as well. While I typically prefer “Keez’s Call” to him, water is much worse than wind as an attribute, and Laurite also hits some relevant targets that Keez doesn’t, like Kirik’s strength counter abilities or Lumia’s flicker ability.
He’s an interesting card in general, because his downsides are enormous. His recursion ability is nearly-impossible for most decks to actually use, and he has almost no relevance to the board once he’s landed. Plus, most of the early abilities he can cancel would provide lesser-than-desired value to cancel, meaning you have to save him for later in the game and hope your opponent plays into him.
However, when he hits, he really hits. Canceling a Seraph search or Umr’s ability completely hoses your opponent’s game plan, and he only costs one will to do so. He can prevent Kirik from restocking on counters when he needs to in order to win the game, he can do literally everything Keez’s Call does, he can hit an Adombrali’s ability to delay a Gwiber deck long enough for you to beat them, and he provides a chump blocker after-the-fact to save some life points.
With all this being said, I still honestly don’t think he’s necessary to play in Wanderer, and his sharp decline in play in Wanderer Top 8s compared to New Frontiers (12 copies out of a possible 32 in the main deck at German Masters, and 8 out of 32 at GP Providence) backs that up to a degree.
So, you might ask why I have him so highly listed if I don’t think of him as that strong of a card to begin with? Well, he heavily influences deckbuilding in Wanderer, which I always consider when ranking cards. Last year, “Split Heaven and Earth” saw zero Tier 1 play as fire decks were terrible, yet it was the #1 card on my list for the same reason. Everyone had to build their decks in such a way as to not lose to the person running Splits. In the same vein, everyone has to build their decks now in a way that they don’t auto-lose to the person playing three-to-four Laurites. And while he may not see high play in the mainboard, he does see decent play in the sideboard in Wanderer, and playing a deck overly weak to him usually means essentially conceding the tournament. It’s hard to rank a card with that level of power over the format much lower than #12, even when considering its lower usage compared to some other cards beneath it.
11. Little Red, the Pure Stone [Last Year: 14]
By far the best magic stone ever printed, Little Red, the Pure Stone gains power by the sheer versatility in which it impacts a game. Yes, it allows aggro decks to gain additional reach with an easy-to-use [+200/+200], but it also helps protect against damage-based and [-X00/-X00] removal. As a few examples, it forces people to constantly pay 400 more life for “The Final Battle,” and it constantly prevents your opponent from playing “Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm” on one of your 400 or 500 DEF resonators (like Pricia or Cthugha) unless you rest Little Red for will.
In addition to that, a seldom-discussed benefit of Little Red is its attribute consistency. When you call an early stone and hit Little Red, you are able to look at your hand, see what you need to be able to produce during that early game to be able to play your cards, and call that attribute. But if you hit Little Red mid-game or later, you can look at your board or expected future board, know what attribute resonators you want to be able to give [+200/+200] to, and call that instead.
Not only is it an aggro staple, but Little Red is a card that can go in almost any deck’s stone deck, and indeed, people oftentimes force it into decks. It’s not uncommon, for instance, to see it run with Gretel despite it introducing a miss chance for her, just due to how key it can be in certain game scenarios.
10. Flourishing Hope // Burgeoning Despair [Last Year: N/P]
This is the card I expect to hear people say is too high on the list, but I really believe in the future of this card in Wanderer. It’s about the only card in the game that ‘cancels’ Miscalculation for the same amount of will now that “Faerur’s Spell” is banned, and honestly, outside “Sign to the Future,” “Ruined Story,” and itself, it protects against every piece of major removal in the game, including “The Final Battle,” which is huge.
This card can be played in control as a two-for-one, in midrange as a three-for-one, or even in L/F/X aggro as a protection spell that holds strong, mid-late game power behind it to push damage through (for example, do they want to banish the chump blocker and take a lot of damage, or do they want to banish their two stronger resonators?).
Because of its versatility, I think it can be played in virtually any deck that can play Light, even if you can’t play Darkness (though obviously having at least some way to play Burgeoning is preferable). Even playing 2 Moon Shades in a non-Darkness deck can allow for that late-game advantage in a deck that wants Flourishing Hope just to protect its own things.
Overall, I see a very bright future for this card.
9. Cthugha, the Living Flame [Last Year: 21]
Don’t let last year’s ranking fool you – Cthugha was low because of the fire attribute being almost unplayable 15 months ago, not because of its own power level. Now that Fire has leapfrogged Darkness and Water in strength with Kirik support, Cthugha has come back with a vengeance. Essentially a 0-will “Thunder” equivalent, Cthugha rarely has any ‘cost’ at all, as players typically banish “Rukh Egg” or a resonator under the effects of “Play Dead” as its [Incarnation] cost. In fact, its [Incarnation] ‘cost’ is often a benefit, as it provides you with a deck tutor or a rested [Swiftness] resonator coming back into the field recovered.
I imagine quite a few players would consider Cthugha higher on this list, as many players want it or “Play Dead” banned due to the ridiculous combo between the two, but ultimately Cthugha does have some weaknesses. It’s not strong as a mid-game topdeck unless you have a “Play Dead” in hand, it can lead to hand-clogging issues, and it usually can’t actually land damage past the first few turns. This isn’t to say that it’s not strong, as it can decimate an opponent’s life total in the first two turns and provides the only free self-banish effect still legal in the format with Laevateinn and Guinevere banned; it’s just not game-breakingly strong.
Thereby, I mostly consider it the weaker of the two cards, especially with “True Blade of Spirits” and “Faerur’s Spell” banned. The banning of True Blade means that we’ll see more low-to-the-ground removal that can hit Cthugha (since True Blade couldn’t), whereas the banning of “Faerur’s Spell” removes a big check on “Play Dead.”
8. Seal of Wind and Light [Last Year: 18]
Seal is a card that I do expect to fall two or three spots as the year goes on (though not far – after all, it was 18th last year on this list), but for right now, with the immediate banning of “Faerur’s Spell” and “Otherworld Dreams,” it becomes the best cancel spell in the format. In the long run, I expect these bans to actually hurt Seal more than help it, as not having early 1-will cancels makes later cancels not quite as good, but it will always retain a high power level relative to the field for one reason: its total cost is two.
Yes, it’s two different attributes, but it’s also the two best attributes in Wanderer, so that’s not that much of a downside. It’s the only two-cost cancel spell in the format other than “Xeex, the Ancient Magic” that can unconditionally cancel resonators, and unlike Xeex, it can cancel literally anything. While it may not have the extra modes that Xeex does, I’d honestly trade those modes for the extra ability to cancel non-resonator spells in a heartbeat.
It also has some added synergy with any form of moon will making it unchaseable. This is most commonly done with “Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo’s” will ability, but you can also do so with a Moon Shade in the mid-to-late game, when you can spare paying three will for a cancel spell, so it is quite versatile of an [Awakening].
I’m honestly not sure this card can be healthy forever in the format, but for right now, it’s one of the most powerful chants legal in Wanderer.
7. Miscalculation [Last Year: N/P]
While this might be a surprising selection for the top ten, “Miscalculation” is so good that it has actually replaced “Flame of Outer World” as the best spot removal in the game, in my opinion. While it doesn’t avoid “Flourishing Hope” or “Play Dead” like Flames does, it importantly is only –one will–. In Wanderer, will conservation is extremely crucial, much more so than in New Frontiers, as you have a very limited amount of resources before most decks’ kill turns.
Having your removal be one will allows you to play spells on your turn easier and only hold open one will on your opponent’s turn. Furthermore, a midrange or control deck can have a feasible Turn 2 Thought Control, discarding a protection spell, then hold open their second will to destroy the incoming attacker with Miscalculation.
Kirik’s dominance further pushes Miscalculation to the forefront of the meta, as Miscalculation provides crucial resource depletion when playing against a heavy aggro deck. Even if they can protect their resonator with “Play Dead,” you still saved the initial 500-900 damage, ate 2-3 strength counters, and prevented them from using “Play Dead” as a combo piece with Cthugha later in the game.
The real reason for Miscalculation being a top ten card at the moment though? Everything attacks. You don’t see Sol-style chant-based combo decks, especially with Last Days in the format, and in fact, almost all the combo decks that do exist are resonator-based, like the World decks or Spinning Myths. Decks in Wanderer really don’t win through methods other than attacking, and while Miscalculation does allow decks to play around it to some degree, at worst it’s a one-for-one. This makes it eminently maindeckable in the format.
6. Play Dead [Last Year: N/P]
So, I know I said with Piggy earlier in the article that I really don’t like placing cards that can only be played in a single deck up high. Cards that are inflexible with ruler choice do ebb and flow severely with the playability of the ruler they go with. That being said, “Play Dead” is my one exception to this rule.
“Play Dead” is the best protection spell that has ever been printed in Force of Will, period, bar none. Not only does it have all of the protection benefits of a one-will card like “Magic Sweets” or “Flourishing Hope,” but it can also be used as a combo piece with Cthugha or any other banish effect. Any time you lose a [Swiftness] resonator to a “destroy” or “banish” spell, “Play Dead” lets it come back for one will and attack again (since it comes back recovered).
For another combo example, it can be used alongside “Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame” and “Artemis, the God’s Bow” to hit your opponent for 700 damage in the air, play “Play Dead” on Pricia at the end of battle while it’s still technically an attacking resonator, then Bow it in order to deal 500 damage to your opponent and bring Pricia back in recovered to attack for 700 in the air again. All this costs only [F][Wi][Wi] to do, almost all of which is in giving Pricia [Flying], which is unnecessary if Piggy is also on the field.
Furthermore, “remove from game” effects largely don’t exist in the meta outside “Sign to the Future,” which Kirik doesn’t ever really trigger, and “Faerur’s Spell” was just recently banned. “Play Dead” only really gets canceled by “Keez’s Call,” Laurite, and “Separation of Fates”/”Charlotte’s Water Transormation Magic” in the current format for one will, and this still forces your opponent to have more will available than you when taking into consideration their removal spell. These weaknesses are not nearly enough to topple it from its spot as the best protection spell in the format.
5. Gwiber, the White Dragon [Last Year: 5]
Let’s be real – Gwiber will likely be the best attacker that this game will ever print. He’s a [1200/1200] [Flying] resonator for one will, which only two other cards in the game (Draig/Titania) can boast, and only one other card in the game can do for even two will (Grimmia WOM). Oh, did I mention he also can come down fairly easily Turn 1?
In the Faerur lists, “Spirit Caller Elf” can singlehandedly put him into play Turn 1 on the play, and in Fiethsing lists, which have a better mid-game, he can come down as early as Turn 1 on the draw and Turn 2 on the play. In fact, the entire strength of the World lists is how you can get 2-3 copies of Gwibers and/or Titanias on the field in the first couple turns and force your opponent to have an answer or immediately lose.
Granted, those answers do exist in “Sign to the Future” and/or “The Final Battle,” but hand discard has also increased in strength in “Thought Control” as well, meaning your opponent may not still have those answers in hand when Gwiber finally hits the field. Gwiber decks run four-five attributes with Moon Shades and sometimes even Ruler’s Memorias, as they are much faster than Kirik and don’t worry about life as much as other decks. This allows them to run pretty much any blend of protection spells they want, whether Flourishing Hope (though this doesn’t work against Sign), Thought Control/The Nameless Mist, or Laurite/Keez’s Call to answer their opponent’s Laurites.
While he has taken a hit somewhat by the fact that Kirik can answer him for zero cards in “Heaven Sundering Dragon Palm,” Gwiber will likely always be in the top fifteen cards of the format as long as he remains legal due to his high stats and evasion.
4. Sign to the Future [Last Year: 9]
Sign is such a powerful card in Wanderer, as it is always a two-for-one and only costs two will. It doesn’t even require a deck hit a light magic stone or even be able to produce light will at all, as any deck can play it from their standby zone for (2) if need be. While the decks it answers the best [any Gwiber and/or Titania-based list] are seeing somewhat less play, I do expect them to rebound with the banlist, keeping Sign heavily-played. Even if Gwiber decks themselves don’t rebound, Sign is still good at preventing any wide board from developing on your opponent’s side, which keeps it relevant against Elves or any other swarm decks.
Another benefit that Sign has is that it removes the resonators from the game. This prevents any type of reanimator or recycle effect, prevents “Flourishing Hope” from pseudo-canceling it, unlike “The Final Battle,” and prevents cards like “Play Dead” or “Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame” from utilizing their field-to-graveyard automatic abilities as well.
While players can play around Sign’s [Trigger] condition to a degree, the banning of Guinevere actually makes this harder, as you can no longer easily banish a resonator before an opponent can gain priority. The only really good way now to avoid walking into a mid-turn or end-of-turn Sign is to play “Realm of Pure Spirits,” as it’ll prevent your opponent from playing Sign until you’re actually attacking with resonators, allowing you to more easily protect them. More often, you have to hope that an opponent leaves something like a Laurite on the field, allowing you to have that extra third resonator without triggering Sign.
3. Split Heaven and Earth [Last Year: 1]
While “Split Heaven and Earth” has taken somewhat of a hit since last year due to the printing of “Last Days of a Powerless Dragonoid,” the card is still an absolute powerhouse. Even last year, decks could largely play around the card, as Fox made so much will it always had cancels available and World decks could play on three stones if need be, but the card still forced decks to run heavy sideboard answers just in case.
Split really helps fire decks stay relevant; even with the Play Dead combos, I’m not sure Kirik could be as strong if it didn’t threaten the late-game two-will “deal 1200+” spell. Plus, unlike past aggro metas, the card isn’t even dead in the mirror, as nearly all Kirik lists now run ten special magic stones. A Kirik player knowing you have Split in your deck may feel forced to stop at two or three stones, instead recharging their Kirik’s strength counters, to try to win the late game easier, but this also helps you by capping their resources.
Split has had some introduced weaknesses, chief among them the aforementioned Last Days. “Spirit Magic Stone” is also being played more, and it can be banished in response to Split in order to take less damage if need be. However, its biggest weakness got banned (“Otherworld Dreams”) and Last Days isn’t really a maindeckable card, so Split can still steal Game 1’s if need be, and you can even side it out if you expect heavy side-ins of Last Days on your opponent’s side. I still believe that, despite the Play Dead/Cthugha combo, Split is still the best card in a Wanderer fire-based deck’s arsenal.
2. Gretel [Last Year: 3]
With the sharp increase in power level of the Wind attribute comes a corresponding increase in the power level of Gretel. Gretel has shot up in play, taking 20/20 possible slots in the main decks of non-Kirik top 8 lists at GP Providence.
While Gretel has very strong inherent power, only costing essentially one colorless will to ramp a magic stone of the best attribute in the game, she also gains heavy strength from being able to put “Spirit Stone” into play. This may be more a testament to Spirit Stone’s viability (and indeed, I expect it to make it onto the next iteration of this article series), but it also increases her power level as a card. Being able to provide the extra breathing room of resources necessary to be able to banish magic stones in Wanderer causes a very strong reciprocal benefit.
Even in decks that just run dual stones or basic wind stones (for example, the Top 8 Green Grimm list from GP Providence), Gretel negates one of the biggest weaknesses of Wanderer decks – having to be very tight on resource management. Having your opponent gain extra magic stones with virtually no real way to “de-ramp” them after Gretel’s ability resolves is really hard to deal with. Plus, with the plenitude of good 1-drop chants such as “The Final Battle,” “Wall of Wind,” or “Miscalculation,” a Turn 2 Gretel doesn’t really leave you weak to your opponent’s Turn 2 play.
Gretel would’ve easily been my #1 card on this list pre-banlist, but the bannings of “True Blade of Spirits,” “Otherworld Dreams,” and “Faerur’s Spell” did eat up a lot of her best 1-drop chants to use with the stone she puts into play. I do think she’s a card that will likely not be able to exist in the format at some point due to how overly strong she is, so enjoy her while you are able to.
1. The Final Battle [Last Year: N/P]
If you want to know why spot removal has almost all been devalued in the format in this iteration of my article series, look no further than my #1 card, “The Final Battle.” It’s a card that probably shouldn’t exist, but it also is somewhat needed in the current format due to how overpowered the resonator-based decks are, so it definitely elicits very polarizing responses from players.
Basically, the card is your catch-all removal card. It’s a “push-through-damage” card in Darkness aggro/tempo/midrange lists, since [Quickcast] resonators enter with the [-X00/-X00] effect applying even after “The Final Battle” resolves. It’s a board wipe for flood decks that give their resonators [Barrier] (e.g. Elves) or a board wipe for decks that voltron a single J/resonator with [Barrier] (e.g. Gill). It can decimate Gwiber decks, as “Realm of Pure Spirits” doesn’t do anything against it as a sideboard card. It even can be used as a board wipe against aggro if they get too greedy, as none of their resonators have super-high DEF, preventing massive life payments.
Not only does it get around [Barrier] and other effects such as Xeex that make J/resonators untargetable, but it also usually only costs one will, only costing more if a player has the luxury to pay extra will. Oftentimes, the life loss isn’t even that relevant, since your opponent has no resonators to actually attack you with to punish you for playing it, and [Quickcast] resonators can’t be played end-of-turn to punish you either. It’s also only one-sided, so there’s no real downside to using it almost ever, outside against very fast aggro decks. While you can’t really play more than two copies a game, many players get around this by only playing 2-3 copies to begin with.
For other benefits, it’s also searchable by Gill Lapis ENW since it technically has a total cost of one, there’s very little in the game that can hard-cancel it for less than three will (“Seal of Wind and Light,” “Keen Sense,” and “Absolute Cake Zone”), and it often constitutes a three-for-one or better.
Personally, I reluctantly feel that the format needs it until we get a better #2 board wipe than “Dark Pulse” or “Eruption,” due to the dominance of resonators in the format, but regardless of your beliefs on whether it should be legal, I don’t think anyone can argue that this card is not a top-two card in the format.
Thank you guys for reading the June 2018 iteration of my “Top 50 Wanderer Cards” series! I have a surprise waiting for you in about six months or so around the release of the second set of New Valhalla Cluster, so keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, please let me know if there’s any articles you want written up about Wanderer or even New Frontiers, and I’ll see what I can do.
P.S. if you’re wondering what cards barely missed the list, here’s a few Honorable Mentions:
Speculative RDE/WOM Cards for future lists: Rachel, the Ancient Library Researcher; Rei, the Black Owl; Attoractia, City of Verdant Green; Resuscitating Will; A Heroic Epic of the Thousandth Night.
Older cards that just missed the list: Spirit Magic Stone; Space-Time Anomaly; Gale Force; Interdimensional Escape.