This week we spoil two cards from the upcoming fan-made set: Prisoner of Azkaban! Thanks so much to the entire HPTCG revival team for the opportunity to share this preview with all of you!
The Marauder's Map
Type: Item - Marauder - Unique
Cost: 9 Transfiguration
Set: Prisoner of Azkaban
Artist: Betina C. Koche
Effect: Once during each of your turns, you may search your deck. You may take an Adventure or Event from your deck, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your deck.
John: We will start with the Marauder’s Map! I will begin by saying I’m shocked this wasn’t one in the cycle of cards that have you say/proclaim something during gameplay as part of the card. (I.e. Deathday Party, Lockheart’s Lecture, etc.) Missed opportunity to have “I solemnly swear I am up to no good” or “mischief managed!” being muttered at kitchen tables and in discord channels around the world! Jokes aside though, let’s dig into the meat and potatoes of this card. Marauder’s Map is a 9-cost Transfiguration item, which is typically an extremely high cost for a playable Item. Spend the time investing in this map however, and it will quickly reveal to you exactly where in your deck that Adventure or Event you’re looking for is.
Speaking of – Event?! They went and snuck a new card type onto this card! What Events are and what they do will mean a lot to the strength and usefulness of this card. All we know thanks to a bit of scrawling on the back of the map is that Events cost only one action to play and function similar to one-sided adventures, giving their player a benefit over time for playing the game a specific way. Both Adventures and Events are cards that create a lot of value over time, which does make the cost of Marauder’s Map a bit high to really shine. A lot of times by the time you have built up to 9 power you can use combinations of cards that will outright win you the game. That being said, Marauder’s Map does function a bit better in this space than other high-cost Item cards because it allows you to use its effect without spending an Action. I think that’s a smart decision on the part of the design team to keep Marauder’s Map in the conversation when you are deciding what the top-end of your deck is going to look like. It also means that you can tutor and play an Adventure in the same turn! Getting 4 Privet Drive or Hagrid Needs Help off of this Map can be a strong late-game play. In general, the map allows you to build your deck in a way where Adventures are more late-game control pieces and less a lock that you are trying to establish as soon as possible.
Before all the Arthur fans get upset with me – yes this card does pair nicely with our favorite wizarding family father of seven. A nice high-cost item that allows Arthur to really dish out the damage, although I’m not sure exactly what that means flavor-wise. Another thing we can’t ignore on this card is the Marauder modifier. If there are other cards that interact with Marauder as a keyword there may also be yet more undiscovered synergies with this card! If I had to guess though, I would just expect synergies with the keyword for this card in particular to involve some way to search it or get it to your hand. If you are at 9 power and haven’t found this item yet to start your late-game setup chain, you’ve probably lost the window to make the most out of the Map. Being able to find this map early so you can play it as soon as you hit 9 power is going to be critical to how effective the Map is at navigating you to a win.
Jimmy: I’m not confident that The Marauder’s Map is a good card, but if you managed to keep it on the table it can gain you some great efficiency once you’ve gotten to the higher end of the curve since it lets you net multiple cards without spending actions, even if it’s slow. Even if you grab a card you can’t play immediately, it’s usually safer in your hand than within your deck.
They knew EXACTLY who they were giving the next spoiler to....
Cost: 3 Transfiguration
Set: Prisoner of Azkaban
Artist: Piotr Siwerski
Effect: When you play this card, name a non-Lesson card. Cards with the chosen name require 1 more Action to play.
Michael: Wanted Poster opens the door to early-game action denial and board control. In the first two or three turns, players can use it to target high-pressure 1-Action cards like Sandstone Gargoyle and The Burrow. It gives late-game and control decks more time to work. More importantly, it outright prevents high-impact situational 2-Action cards like Argus Filch, Peeves, and Escaping the Dursleys. Players can gain a huge advantage as early as the second turn by sticking a hard-to-deal-with Adventure or preventing Characters that draw cards.
It works late game just as well. Multiple copies can stop Venomous Tentacula Juice and Snuffling Potion decks dead in their tracks. In fact, decks like these will need to include some way answer to Wanted Poster. Seamus, Quirrell, and Scribblifors seem like the best options.
Starters Draco Malfoy, Slytherin, Draco (BS), and McGonagall complement Wanted Poster well: each takes advantage of a different benefit of the card. Malfoy Slytherin brings this card into play for free, which helps it keep a lock while it builds to an item combo. Draco (BS) makes choosing a target easy: you'll already know which cards your opponent's going to play on their turn. McGonagall, though, is probably the best choice. Not only does it give access to every other T card, but it opens up huge tempo plays like T2 Poster + Gargoyle, Poster + Lesson, Poster + Poster, Poster + Haircare, etc.
Wanted Poster is a card that can consistently steal actions and rewards players who play multiple copies. Not only that, but it's also a hard counter to characters and adventures, and it's very cheap. In any quantity, this card is sure to make its presence felt all game long.
Jimmy: Wanted Poster is a RED FLAG card – it’s powerful, and it’s also a defense against itself! First, if your opponent is running a strategy unlike your own, you can freely name something you know (or suspect) to be in their deck. As a result, it’s a very skill-intensive card that rewards experienced players with a deep knowledge of the game. Next, Wanted Poster, as the name implies, is very strong against Characters. Unless your opponent has a way to earn an additional action, simply naming a Character with Wanted Poster will prevent an opponent from playing them.
Wanted Poster is also fantastic prevention against Adventures, since they’ll be out of reach for opponents. In multiples, Wanted Poster will be able to lock your opponent out of playing regular cards. If your opponent is playing a combo deck, this is potentially back-breaking. Conversely, Wanted Poster will be weaker against decks that pursue a more ‘fair’ approach. After your opponent names a card, you’ll simply pivot to focusing on other cards in your deck.
John: Where do I even begin? There is so much for me to like about this card! It's another Transfiguration Item but this time coming in at the super-affordable cost of 3 Power. Wanted Poster has the potential to severely disrupt the game plan of early Character or Adventure strategies as well as provide meaningful counter-play to combos of powerful cards. A lot of the win conditions in the top HPTCG decks are crafted from a small pool of very powerful top-end cards, and Wanted Poster is the kind of card that thrives in that kind of environment. Wanted Poster is much more effective as a sideboard strategy as well, as you will have knowledge of what your opponent is doing and will know which weak points to attack. I think being able to have this card in your sideboard is another incredible advantage to running Transfiguration in your deck (or McGonagall as a starter!)
Well that's all from us at The Dark Mark this time - we hope you enjoyed reading a few different takes from our writers on these awesome new cards! What do you guys think? Events are sure to be an exciting card type - and I'm loving the depth behind some of the counter-play that some of the new cards are providing. What is your favorite reveal so far? What are you looking most forward to in HPTCG? Let us know!
Also, if you want us to write about a specific topic or deck - feel free to drop us a line! We have been a bit dormant lately, but we're always happy to talk shop at The Dark Mark.
Until next time, take care!