Written by Matt Greenleaf | Layout by John Kimmel
An In-depth Look at Hero's Boon
Welcome to the next installment of The Art of War. I want to continue focusing on the Mercenary cards available in The Battle Begins, this time training our lens on Hero’s Boon. This is a card I am ashamed to admit I kind of overlooked initially. That all changed after watching it dominate the tournament at Great Plains Game Festival.
Sularia is a two resource game but that can be a little misleading. At least for now you know how much influence you will have on any given turn and there is nothing your opponent can do to prevent you from generating it. Sularium generation on the other hand is far less certain.
Turn 2 is the power turn in Sularia and the reason for that is simple; it’s the threshold cost of Spoils of War and Master Mining Program. The power of Hero’s Boon lies in its ability to impersonate these two cards. You can’t actually get any sularium out of Hero’s Boon turn 2, there are no type ones you can play turn 1. This is true across the board. You need the sularium to get your first type one out before Hero’s Boon will give you any extra sularium the next turn. While true the problem with this line of thinking is just because you made 4 sularium for an Oathki once, does not guarantee you will be able to make 4 sularium on any subsequent turn. Yes, Hero’s Boon is not the fastest out of the gate, but it helps you maintain your sularium production while your sites are under siege.
Another obvious downside to Hero’s Boon is that it exposes your sularium generation to combatant removal and even normal combat damage; you usually can’t afford to leave your type ones at home just because they are carrying some gems. Viewed another way this is actually one of the strengths of Hero’s Boon. Since most of your sularium generation comes from your sites Boon offers natural diversification in production outlets. This is important because the decks most well equipped to deal with combatants quickly are usually the one least equipped to deal with sites quickly and vice versa. This positions Hero’s Boon in the enviable spot where it is best where it is most needed and risky where your regular production is least threatened.
The Battle Begins does not give a whole lot of options for type 1 combatants, but Blood, Profit, and Glory has a whopping 8 type one combatants out of a total of 14 cards. If you choose to sleeve up Hero’s Boon it is good to consider your targets carefully. Does it warrant the inclusion of Novum Spero on the Synthien side? Can I make attacking decisions with Oathki with an eye towards survivability once he has picked up some sularium counters? Will you use some of the coming Mercenary type ones to up your target count?
Over even a modest sample size, you will not be leading in all games. Your ability to remain in the game and stage a comeback relies heavily on your ability to maintain sularium generation in the face of pressure. Hero’s Boon is one potential answer and I hope you give it shot. I have a feeling you will not be disappointed.