Serpent of Eld – you can’t kill him if you can’t hit him
Dear @splinterlands fans in this article I want to show potential of often underrated card – Serpent of Eld.
On first glance Serpent of Eld look weird. No ability to attack from anywhere
else than 1st position kinda dictates his place in vast majority of situations.
Damage is solid for a tank, but nothing too crazy so for Super Sneak or
Melee Mayhem maybe, but there are better damage dealers.
No Shield and relatively low health + armor makes him quite
vulnerable unless you aid his innate defensive ability - Dodge.
Serpents big problem comes from always hitting magic attacks, which
is major issue because Water splinter is known for its magic compositions.
Last but not least I would like to note that if, in future, some water or dragon
summoner will grant flying to monsters Serpent of Eld might get really strong.
So is he limited to Lost magic water splinter matches? I don’t think so.
Let me share one medium mana battle without these limitations.
Let’s get into match analysis, its ranked match from low gold at start of season:
Silenced Summoners only rule? That looks like Standart rules vanilla match right? WRONG!
No buffs/debuffs from summoners create subtle, but important changes. Shield and Void
abilities go up in value because they mitigate more damage when attack is in lower numbers.
Playing many smaller mosters and buffing them is also not an option
because non-summoner buffs are very mana intensive.
What is probably most important for our Serpent is that
opponent have limited ability to deal magic damage.
Opponent can play completely without magic damage or he can have 3 total and reasonable composition,
maybe 4, but that would have high costs elsewhere. Expecting up to 3 magic damage per turn is
reasonable though. And our Serpent have just 6 health. This means we will have to do something
with this possibility so he can go on dodging spree before he is burned to ashes by magic.
Even with Silenced Summoners rule your
choice of summoner matters. Selenia is great
because she allows us to play dragon cards,
which is sometimes quite significant difference.
Optimal choice would be Prince Julian, but he is very
rare and even 3 mana dragon summoners are
lot better than those usual 3 mana ones
affiliated with non-dragon splinter.
Here is our heroic dodger. Since he costs us
third of available mana after choosing
summoner he needs to be our main tank.
He will be taking full brunt of opponents attacks,
so we need to make sure he will have adequate support
from rest of our composition and what makes it more
difficult is that it needs to be indirect support.
We can’t place chicken in front, because he is
too fast and he would probably lose first attack.
Healer would help a bit, but with Serpent’s health
pool of just 6 they are not that impactful.
Our main tank’s motto is “hit it before it can hit you” so
we can double down on best defense is good offense
strategy and choose secondary tank that will be able to
deal some damage while still able to tank for a while.
Having 2 damage is important because of possibility
that opponent might have shielded tank.
We need to make sure that opponent’s tank’s armor
will be shredded so our Serpent can deliver
nice hit at the start of round 2.
Gloridax Guardian fits all this decently.
Creeping Ooze is unsung hero of many battles.
Speed is VERY important and even
more when we have Serpent.
Ooze not only improves survivability of ALL our creatures,
but also helps us to land our non-magic attacks.
On top of that it will soak up one attack if our tanks fall.
Great value for 1 mana.
Both placing into 3rd position and 2 health helps a lot to protect Ooze from dying to random blast damage.
This card is counter-meta pick.
Maybe it happened randomly, but I suspect it might have
something to do with last week’s focus on the Cube.
Lately I started to see a lot more healing tanks or
tank heal monsters than before, so let’s welcome
Mr. NoHeals4U into 4th position.
Having magic attack means it always hits and
high level Cubes are no longer that scary.
Also works well against shielded tanks and
is durable enough to survive at least one hit
if opponent manages to kill our tanks.
Great card, especially in current meta.
its low mana cost and opportunity on top of it, although
opportunity can be double-edged sword sometimes.
In our composition it is on special mission – to protect
our serpent from dying to 3 magic damage composition
If we kill mage faster mage can’t kill our Serpent.
Base 3 magic damage is very common in magic comps
at this level and mana limit, since we have Silenced
Summoners rule actual damage will stay at base damage.
Lot of low mana mages have very low health so
if it is split 2-1 our creature can strike down
one mage, leaving our Serpent at 1 health + armor.
Armor can tank one hit and Serpent can dodge second.
So we greatly improved our chance that
our Serpent will survive 2 rounds and deliver
its hard hit at the start of round 3.
Protection from Sneak and Opportunity for 0 mana.
Super easy inclusion into composition.
Let me go beyond this match.
If you could pick just one card to improve your deck it
should probably be the chicken unless you have it already.
It helps so much and more importantly so often.
0 mana means you can play it anytime you have free
spot in composition and it is not forbidden by rules.
And btw chicken on lvl 3+ is also potential damage dealer.
If you play +1 melee summoner and some card with
Inspire it hits like truck still costs 0 mana to place.
Tip: if you have gold chicken it also gives +10% on
earned DECs and because chicken is played so often it
helps quite a lot. Also gold chicken is automatically lvl 3+.
here is link to battle.
It is said that no plan survives contact with the enemy, didn’t worked perfectly, but
we still managed to execute “it won’t kill you if you kill it faster” part of the plan
and allowed our serpent to go on dodging spree. I think our composition is
fine and plan is solid (but also risky) so there is no need to change anything.
I don’t use Serpent of Eld very often and I think it will not change anytime soon. Serpent is niche
card that need some stars to align to be used reasonably safely and even then clumsy
zombie can always go on luck spree and hit him 3 times in a row foiling entire plan.
Always risky, but I must say very rewarding if you manage to pull it off in correct situation.
Thank you for reading and good luck in the @splinterlands
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