Hello you wonderful lovers of the forgotten, the damaged, and all the bastard and broken things. We all know why we’re here; let’s lift another forgotten card out of the murk of disuse and, for just a moment, give it a spot in the limelight. If you’d like to see my previous article about Poor Fucking Infantry, you can check it out here.
Today’s reclamation project is Archespore. This plucky-yet-unplucked plant is another forgotten child of the base set as well as the only card with the “plant” tag. The Archespore is a particularly devilish variant of the echinopsae plant species. From soil tainted by dark sacrifices, wicked pogroms or gruesome murders grows the Archespore. This cursed creation drives the Archespore to lash out indiscriminately until its need for vengeance is finally sated. The Archespore bears a strong resemblance to the Byblis Liniflora family of carnivorous plants. Its use of caustic acids also mirrors the Byblis’ use of mucous that binds and dissolves any prey unfortunate enough to become trapped within the plants’ appendages.
Now with the fluff out of the way, let’s get into the crunch. 2 power, 4 provisions; Deploy: Damage a random enemy unit by 2, Deathwish: repeat the deploy ability. Having met all conditions, the Archespore plays for a modest 6 for 4. The random nature of the damage on both deploy and deathwish is what holds this card back; losing 4 points of the card’s 6 point total to a random ping into armor or a shield feels bad and the card’s overall impact on the flow of a game feels negligible even for a 4 provision card.
Odds are Archespore won’t be securing any kills on high value targets, but this can allow for some synergies with other cards that require weakened enemies to use effectively. Let’s start with Toad Prince, another card on my dossier of the downtrodden: “Deploy: consume a unit with 3 or less power”. A ping from Archespore can create a valuable opening for Toad Prince to lap up a target that would otherwise have been out of the range of the royal amphibian’s ability. Likewise, combining Archespore with Miruna can potentially remove a target that would normally provide a less than stellar return on Miruna’s deathwish ability or even bring a unit outside of her 4 point requirement within capture range. Sihil, should that unfortunate sword ever see a buff, would benefit from the lower damage pings as Sihil requires weakened targets to grow stronger in subsequent rounds. Hen Gaidth Sword and Gael are two other cards that similarly benefit from the “weaken, don’t kill” strategy that Archespore provides. If those options seemed lukewarm, it’s because they are. People don’t use Archespore for a reason. Our lot is not to ask why but to make the best of what is given to us.
The Good, the Bad or the Ugly
Which brings us to the final segment of our lovely article: the good, the bad or the ugly, where we decide whether a card is “good” and simply awaiting the right support or a shift in the meta, “bad” and requiring a buff to either its power, provisions or parameters, or “ugly” and requiring a complete rework. As much as I love the plucky little plant, Archespore sits squarely in the “ugly” camp. Archespore as it stands now is a unit that only achieves its meager potential once it has been consumed or destroyed and most deathwish decks suffer for having a limited amount of consumes handy already. Using a consume to squeeze two points out of a card such as Archespore seems like a waste.
One would think that adding thrive to the Archespore would elevate it to usability but then you powercreep if not outright invalidate the Wyvern, a 5 provision card with a very similar ability. A controversial approach would be to change the card’s text entirely. An aggressive change would be “Thrive, When this card’s thrive ability is triggered, damage a random enemy by 1. At the end of your turn, damage this unit by 1.” Another lore-compliant option would be “Deploy: damage an enemy unit by 2. The first time each turn a friendly unit is destroyed, damage a random enemy unit by 1.”
Are you a fan of Archespore like I am? Do you think my analysis of the card was fair? Drop your comments in the comment section below. For now this has been Carrost, your friendly neighbourhoud jank-peddler, signing off.