View Full Version : Prepping For Raids #1 - Vennen

09-19-2015, 11:33 AM
While raids may be a goodly way off - we don't if they'll feature in the first block of PvE or not - it's never to early to start preparing. :)

The Big Egg Question

So any contemplation of Vennen in raids has to start with the big question: how will eggs work in a 3-on-1 match?
For those who've never scrutinized it, the wording of eggs (Spiderling or Terrorantula) is as follows:

"When this enters your hand or graveyard, put the top card of your deck into that zone. Void this. Then, an opposing champion creates a [spider type] and puts it into play."

It doesn't say "a random champion", but nor does it specify one - so the uncertainty at the moment is whether or not spiders spawn for the originator of the egg or according to some other criteria (inc. random).
If it's not the egg's originator, this has huge repercussions for the viability of effects that interact with spiders...

Until we learn anything to the contrary then, for now it's best to assume that the optimum raid team for Vennen is 3 Vennen decks!
As you'll see below, this is likely the case even if spiders are bound to their egg's originator - meaning preparation priority #1 is finding two other Vennen fans in your guild. ;)

The Other Big Question

Another point of uncertainty is how raid bosses handle banes & milling; we already 'know' (as much as we know anything about raids) that bosses can't be milled.
The most likely scenario would be that raid bosses simply gain a fresh deck when one runs out, cleansing them of banes, Curse of Oblivion etc. - that seems more likely than a boss shuffling a deck of cards back into potentially hundreds of banes.

This means there is probably a tempo for both egg creation and milling that Vennen raiders will need to learn, as it would be wasteful to use a card like Incubate once a raid boss deck is 'at capacity' & optimal to use cards that create eggs throughout the game (regardless of deck refreshes).
What that tempo is, we can't possibly predict yet!

Troops - The Raid MVP's

Brood Baron [Rare]
It is 100% certain that the Brood Baron's "destroy them" clause won't function against raid bosses, but his other effect is tremendously powerful in a 3-on-1 match; he doesn't double your egg output, but instead doubles the eggs "in target opposing champion's deck."
With three Vennen players in unison this equates to a 200% gain in effectiveness, making the Brood Baron a key contributor to rapid egg escalation & rapid egg recovery after milling.
However; on account of the "destroy them" effect, there's got to be a reasonable chance he will just be banned from raids altogether - so I can't recommend procuring 4 copies for raids unless you're braced for that scenario.

Brood Creeper
While just a rank & file Vennen in most situations, when equipped with The Spider's Lure Brood Creeper does offer a bit more in raids; by exhausting a target troop and prevent it from readying during it's controllers next ready step, he can help your allies in two ways - negating a key blocker to clear the way for their attacks, or negating a key attacker to protect them.

Hatchery Cultivator
Though he hasn't established a special presence to date, every player in a Vennen raid team will want 4 copies of this fellow - when raiding, the exact wording of abilities matters!
"If one or more Eggs would be put into an opposing champion's deck, put that many +1 instead."
In a 3-on-1 match, Hatcher Cultivator will trigger for every egg creation effect of every player - worth his weight in gold.

Hatchery Priest
Remember The Big Egg Question Above? Hatchery Priest with Nursery Handlers equipped is the response, no matter the answer!
"When a Spiderling Egg enter's an opposing champion's hand or graveyard, create a Spiderling and put it into play."
This wording makes the effect 200% more effective in a 3-on-1 match, compared to "When a Spider enters play under your control" - extraordinary value, and insurance against shard screw & other perils.
You can only earn Nursery Handlers by completing all of the Vennen starter trials, which you can access either by choosing the Vennen starter deck at account creation or by collecting all the cards in the start deck (you can check which they are in the store).

Nazhk Webguard
Much like the Brood Creeper above, Nazhk Webguard offers tactical advantages in 3-on-1 matches by suppressing opposing troops - more so with the excellent Webguard's Gauntlets equipped to prolong exhaustion.
However Webguard's Gauntlets and Nursery Handlers cannot be taken together, so possibly only one player should take them; they'll want to load up on rogues to trigger the gauntlets, such as Brood Creeper and Eggblight Afflictor - be careful to keep one in play or in your hand, for this purpose.

Neophyte of Xarlox
Though he's not really a top pick for anyone in general, Neophyte of Xarlox might yet have a niche in raids; with Stopgap Brainwasher equipped, he mills at a steady predictable pace without the threat of over-milling (should that be a threat) and regardless of where the eggs go & who has what troops in play at the time.
Not glamorous, but potentially strategically important - a bit of health gain never hurts also.

Troops - The Raid Pariahs

Brood Missionary
Unless it is an Orc raid or this troop somehow gets amazing all-purpose equipment in future, it's really not very polite to your allies to take useless cards - find another Vennen for your deck!

Nazhk Scrounger
Potentially awesome in an artifact-centred raid, and a sub-optimal but inoffensive blocker in other situations; I'm listing him here just to say don't inflict Scrounged Flail on your allies!
Throwing 10 Goblin Cooking Pots into their deck is unlikely to hinder a raid boss much, but it does provide them an opportunity to force discards on your allies - not cool.

Xartaxis, Bishop of the Azure Fang
It's a trap!
Xartaxis has been paid off by raid bosses on the promise of an even more magnificent hat, and will mill you to death with his forced card draws in a 3-on-1 Vennen team-up ("When a Spider deals damage").

Other Cards To Consider

Arachnophobia should hold up in raids; expect raid bosses to obtain a lot of cards, but that doesn't mean discarding 2 at the right moment can't disrupt their plans.

Fifth Book of D'harsis is a safe bet for pulling out a few Terrorantula Eggs when they are needed, or suppressing key raid boss cards - as an artifact, it's more likely to survive board wipes and give you a way back into the game too.

Incubation Webs should be acceptable removal in raids, and in conjunction with Spider Nest should keep eggs flowing no matter how often the boss deck refreshes.

Lunacy, Murmurs From The Void and Twisted Fate are all nice steady mill cards - equip Brooch of Lunacy for a few eggs into the bargain.

Parriphagy is A-OK.

Suffocate is a good choice for every Vennen player to have - a well-timed counter may safe an ally's life, and there are sure to be some prime targets too (though be aware that the devs may be liberal with "cannot be interrupted" on key raid cards).

Zin'xith Silk never goes out of fashion, for early turn reliability and bonus eggs on later turns.

Other Cards To Shun

Chronic Madness may or may not be a wise choice; if you over-escalate it to the point where playing it doesn't give your team enough opportunity to amass eggs between deck refreshes, then it becomes a dead draw as you're forced to hold on to it.
It is nonetheless a tremendously efficient mill card, but maybe best taken in moderation?

Incubate and Touch of Xentoth probably aren't savvy choice for raids; they're potent ways to create eggs into a fresh deck, but in the long-term the ongoing effects (and board presence) of troops should take priority over such actions.

Psychic Torment is another mega-mill effect with an air of uncertainty over it; if you're facing a boss with a massive health pool but a standard/moderate sized deck, you aren't going to be helping anyone in a Spiderling zerg scenario if your Psychic Torments are refreshing the boss' deck without giving your team time to add new eggs (one board wipe and you'll all be rebuilding your forces from scratch).

Team Composition

Well the beauty of Vennen on an all Vennen raid team is you can't go too far wrong taking standard Vennen cards.
However, their are a few potential pointers based on currently available cards:

* Everyone benefits from Hatchery Cultivator.

* Two players should take Hatchery Priest and Nursery Handlers (unless yet another must-have pair of gloves is introduced!).

* One player should take Nazhk Webguard, Webguard's Gauntlets and a sizeable contingent of rogues.
Without the benefit of Nursery Handlers, this player will have to rely more on egg momentum - mill cards are a good way to try and dictate when spiders emerge, if you're not seeing enough.
It might also be canny to take a few actual Spider cards (currently only Giant Spiderspawn and Infiltrator Bot qualify), so if a particular troop must be contained you're not reliant on any random element.

* If you've agreed to use Chronic Madness, consider each player only taking 1 to 2 copies rather than a single player taking a full set - this should cap the escalation, and sharing mill duties in general will help all players maintain a board presence.

09-19-2015, 12:24 PM
Consider that from the last information we got that raid bosses were immune to mill; if they empty their deck they just reshuffle the discard pile into their deck. Combined with the fact that Vennen play slow (leaving them both vulnerable to board wipe and making them inefficient from a farming perspective) and that it seems like the big powerful PVE cards default to being counter-immune, the advantages of a Vennen deck seem to counterbalance their disadvantages moreso than provide an overwhelming advantage - even with the high card draw of bosses.

Of course, the PVE's not out yet, so any such speculation is premature. I would expect that some boss(es) would be designed to be countered by Vennen, but I think that they'll probably be too slow to be preferred as the standard. My own guess is that 3 combo decks and aggressive mulliganning + resetting the encounter if the hands are bad would be the norm, but we really need more information before we can state that.

09-19-2015, 12:44 PM
I like some of the ideas but it's possible raid bosses have a cleansing card that destroys all banes in the deck. Also you seem to be ignoring a few factors. It's impossible to deck out without ever drawing a bane against a vennen deck second it enters graveyard or hand boom baby! Spider. And the set 3 eggs mill the card after it as well. If Raids are immune to milling this will make Vennen 100% useless so I believe that 'immune to mill' just means you can't deck them out. I suspect that cards voided that aren't banes are probably still voided the ai just in a sense makes a new deck replacing any cards voided automatically thus creating a new 60 card deck or they might have more cards and can't be shard screwed.

09-21-2015, 03:05 PM
Its also very possible their decks are huge making it a worse tactic or that they have a max size of say double meaning you could never have more than 1 egg to 1 card. Either way im with you on spiders being stupidly strong vs bosses unless they have prevention mechanics. But imagine if a raid boss deck is 1000 cards how many spiders do you need to get in there to be relevant even with 3 people working at it chances are you might lose before it goes critical.

09-21-2015, 03:14 PM
Its also very possible their decks are huge making it a worse tactic or that they have a max size of say double meaning you could never have more than 1 egg to 1 card. Either way im with you on spiders being stupidly strong vs bosses unless they have prevention mechanics. But imagine if a raid boss deck is 1000 cards how many spiders do you need to get in there to be relevant even with 3 people working at it chances are you might lose before it goes critical.

I was going to go with a raid boss gets 120 cards that seems 'fair' for a raid imo

09-23-2015, 01:09 PM
So I think everyone is a bit too focused on "the raid boss has only has one deck" scenario. The design in this mode of play (in my opinion) is vastly unexplored, even though WoWTCG did a few. I could see something like between phases of a raid a new boss deck cycles in, on ending of a phase plays Tectonic Break for free, fulfilling some condition like "greater than X number of troops on the table, the boss automatically gets a counter card", etc.

and... inb4 "LFG for raid, LF 2x Vennen Mill" spamming in chat.

09-23-2015, 04:48 PM
There's plenty of tried and true answers to zerg swarming bosses in various mmos -

Consider a card that does 1 damage to each opposing troop, boss gains 1 life for each damage done.

Or constant, anything hitting boss takes 2 damage.

Or chain lightning effect where it does 3 damage then increases damage by 1 and jumps to another target etc.

Hell, even existing cards like skewer.

09-24-2015, 12:29 PM
I'm working under the assumption there will be 2 standard approaches to raid bosses -

1. Everyone plays an aggro deck and zerg the boss down.
2. Two people play Sapphire/x control, one person plays a combo deck that can do an arbitrarily large amount of damage in one turn. Counter everything the boss does, kill off the few troops that hit the board, cast epiphany and other draw cards on the combo deck, and then set up a lethal turn.

I don't see spiders mattering, but could be wrong.

09-24-2015, 12:55 PM
I think people are dramatically underestimating the complexity of raid encounters. It can't just be give Warbot 1000 health and then let 3 people fight him. I don't think you're going to be able to just create a generic strategy that will work for all raids.

For example, I'd imagine a raid where the boss starts out with 5 troops in play. Each of those troops has "Prevent all damage to you" and "Prevent all damage to this except damage from sources with X shard", where each of the 5 has one of the shards. So now your first objective is that you need to plan out your decks so you have ways to kill each of the 5 troops before you can damage the raid boss. And the boss probably has cards to bring back his troops or otherwise protect them, so that the primary focus will be staying alive and building up your position until you have sufficient power to eliminate all the troops at once and then deal fatal damage to the boss. Or maybe killing all 5 triggers some passive that starts a second stage of the raid with a different challenge to overcome...

I imagine that all raid bosses will have significant advantages like this at the beginning of the match such that the raid becomes a puzzle of how to combat their specific advantages, rather than just a "do a bunch of damage on turn 3" or "prevent them from playing any cards until you have an overwhelming board position".

09-24-2015, 12:55 PM

The Chaos Raid listed here is viable with aggro decks, impossible for a control + Combo deck, yet ideal for Vennen decks. 3 Vennen that get to choose who gets spiders can work around "Phobia" cards. Vennen are ideally suited to deal lots of small amount of damage while stopping incoming damage (Vennen troops make excellent blockers). Also a trio of vennen players wouldn't be as severely devastated dropping an extinction late game to slow the raid boss down to get the last 20 or so ticks through.

Also the language in describing a milled out boss doesn't make much sense. You'll never shuffle the banes back in as they are voided when they enter the appropriate zones (hand and graveyard).

09-24-2015, 01:42 PM
The Chaos Key Raid depends a great deal upon what the rest of his deck is like. If he's got flying troops, all the spiderlings can't do much to block those. If he's got an "Opposing troops have -1/-1" constant, Spiderlings (without a Painbreeder or other buff source) would die on entry. If he's got Frost Wizard equivalents or cards that remove enemy cards in his deck, Vennen would be terrible.

Even assuming that the details have remained the same in the over 2 years it's been since the article was published (a very big assumption since many things about PVE has undergone major changes), it's premature. There's other weenie decks that *don't* rely on the enemy's draws for them to work (like Storm Cloud decks); that's a major issue reliability-wise with Vennen and I personally don't think that they're able to compensate for it yet.

It's also a pretty big statement to claim that it's impossible for a control + combo deck. Given the removal they fit in, control will be better equipped to remove phobias without fulfilling their normal conditions. There's also a lot of different combos out there that can get past that effective "all damage against him is reduced to 1"; a milling combo would be useless, Titania's Majesty (for the Ruby damage gem anyway) would be little better, but infinitely playing Crash of Beasts would be ideal. Angel of Foresight decks would also be great, as would spamming out Replicator's Gambited Darkspire Priestesses or CMKed Storm Queens. All dependent, of course, on what his actual deck is like.

09-25-2015, 01:34 PM
Um how can we be sure that Raid post is vaible anymore that's like 3 years ago god knows how much they changed.

09-25-2015, 01:42 PM
Um how can we be sure that Raid post is vaible anymore that's like 3 years ago god knows how much they changed.

Does it matter? It gives an idea of what's possible which is the basis of the OP. This thread is about possibilities of Vennen raid players.

The reliability issues of the Vennen are based on the balance of mill and spider generation. It's a balance that's hard to achieve in 40/60 cards. However this becomes easier to manage over 180 cards where you can have players specialize more.

09-25-2015, 01:44 PM
I think if there are PVE only banes that make spiders stronger they might be pretty damn op against a raid. Heck has anyone ever asked bout Raid only cards? I could see some cards only being viable in a raid.