Sometimes, at Gaming with Sidekicks, we tend to gloss over Dice Masters cards that aren’t going to have a place in the Modern constructed meta. That’s not to say we should talk about every card, but some cards are designed very well, and are so much fun to use, but just don’t get much attention. There’s one card in particular I’d like to talk about today. From Tomb of Annihilation, the common Elf Druid – Lesser Emerald Enclave.
Her stats aren’t anything special, but don’t really have a glaring weakness either. She floats right around average attack, defense, and fielding costs among other Adventurers. She is well-rounded.
Sometimes when we see keywords and abilities and gloss over them because we’ve seen them before. I think Experience is a perfect case of this. We tend to automatically dismiss it because it is too dependent on needing your opponent to bring a specific type of character. But don’t write off this Elf Druid, because she has a way to gain experience tokens based on something YOU can control: get your own dragons in to play.
Also keep in mind, that since players will tend to undervalue Experience, there is no priority put on getting characters that can remove experience tokens. Her greatest strength is being able to get experience tokens multiple ways, and the characters that could hinder that the most are vastly overlooked.
So, let’s look at all the ways this character can be used in different formats, to different effects.
Being a common, most players who have drafted ToA are no stranger to seeing this card come around. Typically you’re not going to draft her before you draft a dragon. But, once you draft a dragon, she should immediately be on your radar. If you can manage to get her and a dragon out AND knock out an opposing Monster, being able to double up on Experience tokens on a single turn is huge. That’s a permanent +2A/+2D for all of your Elf Druids, which is at least two. A few turns of that, with multiple Elf Druids in play, you have some characters that can be a win condition based purely on stats alone, in addition to your dragons.
I think this is where she is her weakest compared to other characters. While all of her upside still holds true in Modern, there are so many other threats that she cannot hold a candle to. There are blanking effects, turn 3 win conditions, and ways to simply nullify a character’s massive stats. For her to be effective, you sort of need a longer game that goes in to turns 7, 8, and beyond. Now, I think there are some serious Dragon teams that could have an impact on Modern. The rare Silver Dragon is no joke. Combined with the Ring of Winter and you could be on to something. So, maybe this Elf Druid is on a team like that to rush in to play AFTER your dragons are in play. In Modern she’s more of a second or third option after your dragons are active, compared to her draft status as a first turn purchase. I like Dragons in Modern, but I’m not convinced that she can bring anything to the table that Dragon teams will need to be effective.
Let’s be honest. If she’s overshadowed in Modern, she is WAY outclassed with some of the power in Golden. But I bring up Golden, not for its competitive nature, but it’s potential in casual play. A lot of kitchen table players don’t concern themselves with being Modern legal or not. So, they just play with whatever Dice Masters cards and dice they have. While we are so far removed from some of those early sets, I wanted to bring up her compatibility with the Baby Dragon from Yu-Gi-Oh. Even though it’s not from the Dungeons & Dragons sets, the Baby Dragon DOES meet the requirements for a being a Dragon. Baby Dragon – Juvenile Reptile is the cheapest Dragon in all of Dice Masters at 3 cost. If you’re using the Ring/Resurrection engine, you can guarantee rolling both of these characters on your third turn.
-Turn 1 (even if you’re rolling 3 dice going first): Roll 3 energy and buy Baby Dragon OR Elf Druid.
-Turn 2: Roll 4 energy. Buy whichever character you didn’t buy turn 1. Use your last energy on the Ring global to pull a shield energy out of Used. Use that shield on the Resurrection global. This refills your empty bag with 5 dice: 3 sidekicks and the 2 characters you’ve purchased so far. (Because everything you’ve spent this turn is still out of play.) Draw one and prep it.
-Turn 3: You’ll draw 4 dice from your bag and also roll the 1 die from your Prep Area. It doesn’t matter what die you prepped with Resurrection, you only have 5 potential dice to roll, and you’re rolling all 5 of them.
With this set up, you could start piling up experience tokens as early as your third turn. In a casual game, this is a fun combo. You could even combine them with one of the Half-Dragon characters from Battle for Faerun and other dragons from any D&D or Yu-Gi-Oh set. A casual team with a dragon theme is flat out fun. Monstrous Elf Druids, an army of discounted dragons, Breath Weapons everywhere you look… these are the kind of teams that thrive in a casual environment. Maybe she would do well on a team that looked like this?
So, I don’t think that the common Elf Druid is going to be the cornerstone of any National Championship teams. She probably won’t even be on the team sheet for any Top 8 finishers in the upcoming Call of the Wild events. But she is a character that has a specific niche, and can be a lot of fun when the right pieces are around her.
What do you think? Do you have any experiences using this character? Has she been the deciding factor in any games you’ve played? Do you think she will be able to make a surprising appearance in Modern? Sound off below and let us know what you think. Also, let us know if you enjoyed this in-depth look at a single character’s use in different formats. Until next time, roll on.