Creative Corner – Spellbook Building

Posted on: August 6, 2014

by Arron Brosman, Creative Director

Spellbook building is my favorite part of Mage Wars. It’s the core of why I love customizable games. You can look at someone’s book and see each spell they picked is part of a fingerprint.  Every spellbook is a unique expression of its builder. It excites me when I see all the awesome ways our players use the cards. So, today I’ve built a spellbook to share with you.

When building a spellbook, I find there are two ways you can start: build around a Mage or build around a card. Though I had played it in testing, I’d never really focused a spellbook around Sectarus, Dark Rune Sword. I really wanted to delve into what it could do, and so it became my first pick. Beginning with Sectarus gives us a lot more direction than many other cards would. We know that this spellbook must be a Dark Mage, and they should focus on curses. Because of Forged in Fire, I decided to revisit the Arraxian Crown Warlock.

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I’ve been meaning to go back and build an improved Arraxian Crown Warlock with an improved selection of Bloodreapers. Bloodreaper is one of the abilities on the Arraxian Crown Warlock, when he summons a non-legendary demon, he can lose life equal to that demon’s level to make it his Bloodreaper. That gives the demon Bloodthirsty +2 and whenever it damages a living creature the Warlock heals two damage. I could have built this around the Adramelech Warlock, but I felt that she loses too much not using a Lash of Hellfire in melee. Also, putting her in her opponent’s grill is not necessarily the best place for her to be. Bloodreaper should help give me better survivability, and Curseweaving will allow me to be more liberal with my curses.

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Now that I know my focus and my Mage, I generally start with the staples. So starting from the top, I added attacks. For a Warlock this is generally pretty easy. I went with the traditional two Fireball spells and two Flameblast spells. Both have a very solid damage to mana ratio. It was a very narrow cut, but I decided not to use Devil’s Trident. Personally, I prefer to have my attack spells be as spellpoint efficient as I can. At two spellpoints, Devil’s Trident has to compete with Fireball for attack space.  In the end I went with Fireball because it is not limited to targeting creatures.

If I desperately need extra firepower to cut through obstacles, I don’t want to be limited to Flameblast. Normally I include a Forcehammer in my spellbooks to take care of conjurations, but there are many conjurations that get Flame +2, making Fireball just as good. The only real weakness is Ethereal.

I was very sparing in my conjuration selection. Enchanter’s Wardstone is an obvious pick, as it makes removing our curses that much more difficult. However the most notable thing about my conjurations is what they lack. There is no Battle Forge. I’m already going to be feeding Sectarus with my mana and so I shouldn’t have to much left to spend on Battle Forge.

All of my creatures are capable of becoming my Bloodreaper. They’re all efficient and solid. Not a lot of frills here, but what we really want is something solid, not flashy.

Now we come to the meat of the spellbook. It’s expected for a curse-based Warlock to have almost half of his spellbook taken up by enchantments. I tried to include a good selection of fantastic curses for multiple situations. It’s no surprise that I love Agony, that’s why I included three. You can attack with Sectarus, then cast and reveal Agony before your defender would have a chance to counterstrike you.  In addition to the curses there are the normal staple enchantments like Bear Strength, Lion’s Savagery, Regrowth and Nullify.

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Most of the equipment speaks for itself, as do the incantations. However, I do want to explain some of the different choices I made in this spellbook.  Any solo or buddy build book must have Akiro’s Favor. It helps minimize poor dice rolling. it can become even more important if you have a plethora of effect rolls. Chains of Agony are important as it gets around Ethereal and Resilient. Also, they’re almost free when you play them off Sectarus. Don’t be afraid to put them on creatures to start wearing them down. You’ll be able to Curseweave them back. The applications for Enchantment Transfusion are incredible. I almost put a second into the book, just to showcase its power more. I ran Rust over the traditional Marked for Death. With so few creatures the extra mana didn’t seem worth it. Also, Armor -2 applies to all attacks and if I decide to attack with both a spell and my sword then I’ll get benefit on both. Adramelech’s Torment is defiantly my favorite card in this spellbook.

Being able to attack someone with Sectarus, place a curse on them, and then follow it up with a Burn condition is just stellar. This helps keep pressure on your opponent, while also giving you the ability to take down peripheral targets. You could run Moloch’s Torment, but I prefer the mana efficiency of Adramelech’s Torment. Now If you are unlucky, then it is much worse, so keep that in mind. Either card is quite effective, remember that Moloch’s Torment is preferred against Ethereal targets or multiple targets simultaneously. I included a single Charge because it can be just as useful as a Teleport or Force Push for enabling a critical attack, but it also grants an extra die on the attack as well. It’s amazing for the Blood Demon, as Flying keeps him unhindered most of the time. Defend is another one-shot that I included. The general idea is to summon a creature on top of your opponent and have them guard immediately, so that it functions like Rouse the Beast. It also costs less mana and spellpoints.

Generally my opening consists of Ring of Curses and Sectarus. Then it branches out and tends to depend on your opponent. The other possible opening is Blood Demon and Elemental Wand.  In turn two you put on the Cloak of Shadows and continue to bomb your opponent from distance. All enchantments have a range of 0-2 so keeping your distance with Cloak of Shadows can be quite an obnoxious play.

So now you’ve seen my spellbook, and hopefully you’ve seen something exciting and possibly something new. But what I’d love to see are your ideas. We want to publish more spellbooks to really show people just what you can accomplish. That is where you come in. Follow my lead. Send me your spellbook, and tell me about it. We want to know why you chose certain cards and not others. We want to know what made you pick your mage. We want to know how you play your book. I’ll be picking some of the submissions to get published on the site here, and you’ll get your name on it. We have a great community and I always love to hear from you!

Click HERE to see the final spellbook on our Forums and join in the discussion!

Aaron Brosman
Creative Director
Aaronbrosman@arcanewonders.com