I had a chance to play the classic Friedemann Friese game Power Grid a while back. An enjoyable and delightfully math-happy game in which you are turning energy sources into electrical power to light up Germany city by city. Mage Wars does include a decent amount of math and powers up victory with Mana and Actions, but the manipulation of Dissipate tokens feels much more like a Power Grid to me.
The Academy Forcemaster not only pumps the field full of mana-fueled death constructs, but also has a secondary resource in the use of Dissipate tokens. Each Force, Construct that hits the field is able to effectively trade with enemy creatures; each is also a recyclable power source for the many ways in which the Forcemaster can reroute Force creature power.
Each of these spells uses Dissipate tokens for an effect that is much greater than the initial one fourth or one fifth of a Force, Construct creature’s mana cost. Let us take each card individually:
Symbiotic Orb is a 100% guaranteed blocked melee attack at your own discretion. On top of that it can block a melee attack against any friendly object in your zone. Note you don’t actually need a Force, Construct creature in play to use this ability. Three mana can be pretty steep in Academy, but the Arena Forcemaster tends to have mana to spare when the clash begins. You may want to bring several copies of this to the fight. I can imagine an opponent wanting to Crumble this artifact quickly.
Redistributed Power is the single largest permanent melee buff in Academy. In Arena it is equivalent to Bear Strength. A few important differences are 1) the Force, Construct requirement means you will need at least 2 actions to activate Redistributed Power, which is a little deceptive as your second action is also granting you a creature to use for a few rounds. 2) The target line is simply “Creature”. No longer are we subject to the life-biased Bear Strength’s restrictions. You can power up your Invisible Stalker, your Iron Golem or even your own Force, Construct creatures. Not to be out done by her cronies, the Academy Forcemaster can supplement her own damage dealing potential with Redistributed Power, making her a considerable danger to any who would stand in her way.
If melee attack immunity and augmented damage weren’t enough reason to run a cadre of Force, Constructs, the Academy Forcemaster has built in prowess for rerouting power across her grid in order to get that extra punch right where she needs it.
Her Power Transfer ability allows her to chose the exact attack each round that she wishes to augment. That Force Caracal from last week can hit for four dice at her whim. If you stack her Redistributed Power spell and Power Transfer ability onto the same creature, you will have spliced togther a frankenstinian monster–charging it with power to unleash its terrible damage onto your foes!
The Academy Forcemaster, Khenet-Tay, is a Dark Elf from the desert kingdom of Dsjer-Tet. Due to her heritage she is also trained in any spell from her homeland. What spells are those? Oh, they are indeed juicy for more than one mage and particularly effective when combined with Khenet-Tay’s playstyle.
Non-Mind mages may want to pay careful attention next week.
–Scott “Puddnhead” Penney, Arcane Duels