Card of the Week
Today’s two cards have something in common – they’re both Adventures that require you to have 5 lessons in play to play them. So they fall into the same cost-space, but how similar are they? Is it clear cut which one is better? Let’s find out!
classic card of the week
Card: Hut on the Rock
Set: Adventures at Hogwards
Artist: Ron Spencer
Effect: Play this card only if you have at least 5 Lessons in play. Before each of your opponent's turns, if he or she has any cards in play (other than his or her starting Character), he or she chooses 1 of them and discards it.
To Solve: Your opponent discards his or her hand.
Opponent's Reward: You take 5 damage.
Jimmy: One of the great parts about Hut on the Rock is that it always hits AT LEAST one of your opponent’s cards that they’ve put down, meaning they lose 1 card and at least 1 action for your (likely) 2-action investment to play an Adventure. It’s great against decks that depend on a big board of Creatures, Lessons, or Items.
Unfortunately, if your opponent is utilizing Characters that have once-per-game abilities, this will help them clear their board to play another copy of that Character.
Also unfortunately, if your opponent has ways to remove your Adventure from play without solving it they will work on this Adventure. Your opponent might even be able to solve this adventure without discarding any cards (discarding a hand of 0 cards still counts as discarding your hand).
The reward from this adventure isn’t that great, but if you end up near losing your opponent can actually solve this to win.
John: Hut on the Rock is an interesting type of Adventure that has an immediate and powerful effect with the drawback of needing 5 Lessons in play before it can be deployed. Hut is best at slow-bleeding your opponent - a strategy that is typically best the earliest that you can start it. Hut works best if you have already developed a threat that they have to ignore while dealing with Hut on the Rock such as some low-cost creatures.. but unfortunately that means even more setup time before you deploy your Hut. Because of this, Hut is weakest to decks that are similarly developing early threats such as aggressive creatures builds. Normally a card like this would be effective against control strategies that invest heavily into the board, but Hut is susceptible to all Adventure answers as well as most of the generic answers for permanents in play, which the control decks will be packing in spades.
Long story short, I think Hut is a little too slow to shine in the environment it was designed to shine in. The idea is there, but the execution is a little lacking. I understand the fear of having this Adventure being able to be played Turn 1, but when Adventures like Caught by Snape, Hagrid Needs Help, and Escaping the Dursleys are able to be slammed on Turn 1, this Adventure ends up feeling way too "fair."
"The Dursleys are underrated characters. If you don't care about your kid, you happily send him off to the dangerous wizard school. If you love your kid, you board up every entrance to your house humming Tiptoe Through the Tulips to try to protect him from what is childhood trauma at best, and likely death at worst. They loved [Harry] enough to move to a Hut on a Rock." - Frank
Revival Card of the Week
Card: Wandering Knockturn
Set: Heir of Slytherin
Artist: Vladislav Pantic
Effect: Play this card only if you have at least 5 lessons in play. After your opponent uses an Action to play a Creature or Item, they discard that card from play.
To Solve: Your opponent discards 2 cards in this way.
Opponent's Reward: Your opponent may put up to 2 Lessons from their discard pile into play.
Jimmy: Similar to Hut, Wandering Knockturn usually hits at least 2 of your opponent's cards if they end up deciding to solve it. Exactly like Hut, its effect doesn’t protect it from your opponent using a card or effect to get rid of it. The reward is SUPER WEAKSAUCE.
This is probably best used as a Sideboard card. Your plan shouldn’t just be to play 1 of these – plan on exhausting your opponent’s resources by hitting them with multiple during a game. Even if they can avoid solving it once, but are forced to solve it once or thrice you’ll get some serious card advantage over them. Most decks won’t have anything meaningful to do with 4+ extra lessons beyond their curve. With cards like End-of-Year Feast or Healing spells it's conceivable that you could totally exhaust a deck of their good stuff by keeping your opponent Wandering.
Item or Creature decks without Argus Filch or Transfiguration Lessons might be totally unable to cope with this card!
John: Wandering Knockturn explores the same design space as Hut on the Rock, also requiring you to have invested a certain amount of actions into your board in order to be able to play it. While only good against Creatures and Items, Creatures and Items are the backbone of many winning strategies and thus this card can be very effective in the right matchup. Wandering Knockturn forces your opponent to actively invest actions into it in order to solve it as opposed to Hut on the Rock which can be solved at no action cost, and also only interacts with cards your opponent already has on the board. Sometimes this is a benefit, but in most Adventure decks the name of the game is to lock your opponent or slow them long enough for you to gain an insurmountable advantage. Wandering Knockturn doesn't do either of these things against Character decks, but we have yet to see if Character decks will make up a significant portion of the HoS meta. Against Creatures and Item-combo decks however, a chain of Wandering Knockturns can keep them from advancing their strategy long enough for you to subject them to your own!
Personally, I think any Adventure that allows your opponent to set up before it can be played that doesn't inherently protect itself from removal doesn't quite cut the mustard. As a sideboard card, Wandering Knockturn could be an effective counter to a lot of Item or Creature decks, but I'd rather subject them to more consistently powerful Adventures like Locked In, Hagrid Needs Help, Pep Talk and Escaping the Dursleys. There is a very real chance that by the time you are ready to play Wandering Knockturn or Hut on the Rock, it is far too late for them to be as effective as you'd like them to be. I think that Adventures that occupy this design space need to either have a more drastic effect, or have some built-in protection against popular Adventure removal.