Dark Frontier: Innate Conviction - GhettoBiolan - May 4


Hey Partee People,

I'm Matt, GhettoBiolan in game and on Discord, and welcome to my preview article! I happened to be one of the lucky few to receive a preview card and one of the luckier fewer to receive a legendary. This made me feel obligated to not just spew it onto Discord or Reddit or even pass if off to a strimer man like Kep or Zena to reveal on stream (sorry guys, but I feel less bad as you each had a card this go around).  No this card deserved better, especially as it kept me up 3 additional hours after I went to bed and found it in my inbox right before I was going to try and fall asleep. So, what is this card that kept me up till 3am? I'll tell you what it isn't.

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It's not a 3/4 Flying, Berserk, Overwhelm that adds +1 to your spell damage for 4PP. That card would be nutty. And look a little something like Arc Dragon. Arc Dragon's stats have that nice combination that dodges both Torch and Vanquish. It even has 2 forms of evasion - flying to get by most units, and overwhelm to punch through pesky chump blockers for those turn when you double tap and pump. Unfortunately Arc Dragon cannot be found in packs of Dark Frontier and you cannot put this card in your 75.  No, if you want to ride the dragon, you need to work a little for it.

Since we have now seen our sweet dragon, I suppose you want to know what card make this majestic beast. Well I'll get there when I'm damn well ready. Now, Torch is the best common in the game - 3 damage f at fast speed for only a single power, making it an auto 4 of in every fire deck. Compare that to niche card like Extract. While both deal 3, Extract is slow, has double influence requirements, and costs 3, but for your trouble you get lifesteal plus a scout. So, what if I showed you a card that had all of the downsides of Extract (and then some) and none of the upsides?! It would look a little like 4PP Spell Deal 3 damage. That's something that might not even make your draft or sealed deck. But I ramble. Fam, check out Innate Conviction.

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Breathe it in. Bask in its mediocrity. Now getting to the rest of the card we see that it has Warp, I don't want to go into all the details of warp since we already know about them, it tends to be a bit of a value add, but inconsistent since you can't always count of casting it when it sits on deck. Additionally, the warp payoffs are in Praxis and I don't want this in a Workshop Forge deck. Instead, I'm going to focus on the Onslaught part of the card. Now we have already seen a number of Onslaught cards such as Pristine Light, Oni Patrol and the Coin cycle. In most of these instances you are not unhappy to play the card without activating the onslaught rider. Innate Conviction is not one of those instances. I am actively displeased if I do not activate Onslaught before casting this spell. This means that any deck we want to play this card in needs to be fairly aggressive. So, what would some of those decks look like? 

My immediate thought is looking for a shell that can take full advantage of the damage boost from our pet Dargon. This screams Skycrag. Here is a list I'm thinking of:

Yeti Conviction

2 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Snowcrust Yeti (Set2 #105)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Champion of Fury (Set2 #187)
4 Fearless Yeti (Set3 #161)
3 Rockslide (Set2 #189)
4 Crunch, the Hoarder (Set4 #258)
4 Howling Peak Smuggler (Set5 #215)
4 Pokpok, Rockpacker (Set1003 #18)
4 Wump, Party Starter (Set1 #511)
2 Chunk Chunk (Set5 #217)
4 Innate Conviction (Set6 #???)
3 Iceberg Warchief (Set3 #257)
2 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
2 Slope Sergeant (Set3 #195)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Shugo Standard (Set4 #1)
7 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
1 Bore (Set1003 #1)
1 Flame Blast (Set1 #2)
1 Snow Pelting (Set3 #158)
1 Backlash (Set1 #200)
1 Howling Peak (Set5 #219)

Now this is just a rough draft, and probably trying to get a bit too cute with some synergies, but Pokpok is a great Onslaught enabler and will draw chump checks from x/3s and x/4s allowing you to finish off the enemy with Conviction and still get your Dragon. Not only that, Arc dragon powers up that snowball you got from bonding Pokpok! Most of the rest of the deck is pretty self-explanatory. The market could use some work - I think Peak is great value, Backlash is for the Harsh Rule matchups, Flame Blast is your finisher and Bore is for pesky Relics. Snow Pelting is definitely too cute and should be something else, maybe a Permafrost or a power? On the subject of power, the powerbase is fairly basic, and a lot can be reworked for Common Cause or Diplomatic Seal. Waystones and Coins will also be an option.  My only indulgence was Shugo Standard, and that is only because Shugo Tactics works so well with Arc Dragon's Berserk.

Speaking of Berserk, the next shell I'd test this in is Feln Berserk…

Feln Conviction

2 Dark Return (Set1 #250)
4 Direwood Slasher (Set5 #151)
3 Gift of Battle (Set4 #146)
3 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
3 Shakedown (Set1004 #18)
4 Desecrate (Set1005 #17)
4 Dusk Raider (Set4 #153)
3 Haunting Scream (Set1 #374)
4 Rapid Shot (Set1 #259)
4 Territorial Elf (Set4 #210)
4 Jennev Merchant (Set4 #169)
3 Lethrai Darkstalker (Set4 #170)
4 Innate Conviction (Set6 #???)
3 Rindra, the Duskblade (Set3 #277)
2 Vara, Vengeance-Seeker (Set1004 #19)
2 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
3 Amethyst Waystone (Set3 #201)
4 Cabal Standard (Set4 #193)
4 Crest of Cunning (Set3 #267)
4 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
1 Gift of Battle (Set4 #146)
1 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
1 Backlash (Set1 #200)
1 Haunting Scream (Set1 #374)
1 Rindra, the Duskblade (Set3 #277)

This deck wants to take advantage of the Dragon's Berserk as well as the fact that it costs 4 which means it's an eligible target for Haunting Scream.  Similar to Pokpok, Direwood Slasher and Territorial Elf make great Onslaught triggers - opponents will be aware of the potential for Rapid Shot and Cabal Tactics and might not block with that in mind. The market here is interesting, Feln is about to get it's smuggler but 4 of the 5 market cards in this build are in the main deck already. If you decide to go with Blight Pass Smuggler the market will need to be reworked. Feln also gets one of the new Insignias, which will help your influence a lot, maybe making Twilight Raptor a solid choice. 

Hooru Conviction

Lastly is trying to build with Hooru. Fliers is currently a great aggro deck and you could just try to slot Innate Conviction in, but there are some new cards that can give some of your units more resiliency to removal, which leads me to try out something like this:

4 District Infantry (Set1 #134)
4 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
2 Headhunter (Set6 #???)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
4 Snowcrust Yeti (Set2 #105)
4 Crownwatch Paladin (Set1 #139)
4 Hojan, Crownbreaker (Set5 #86)
2 Kothon, the Far-Watcher (Set2 #218)
1 Hooru Pacifier (Set1003 #23)
4 Pristine Light (Set6 #???)
3 Siraf's Beacon (Set5 #93)
1 Unseen Commando (Set3 #122)
1 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Rime Conclave Smuggler (Set6 #???)
4 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Innate Conviction (Set6 #???) 
6 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Crownwatch Standard (Set4 #97)
3 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Hooru Insignia (Set6 #???)
4 Hooru Banner (Set2 #216)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
1 Bar the Gates (Set4 #105)
1 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
1 Vision of Austerity (Set1002 #17)
1 Inquisitor's Blade (Set1003 #9)
1 Korovyat Palace (Set1005 #21)

This deck is using a lot more of the new cards from the Dark Frontier. Insignias helps you curve out, which is why the deck doesn't run crests as it doesn't want depleted power. The 1 of Pacifer, Commando and Enforcer are there to demonstrate a flex slot, that you can use to attack the metagame. Kothon in the 2 drop slot can easily be another 2 drop, such as Stormtamer Operative or Lida's Apprentice. Pristine Light will be big game in this deck, and with 5 power up, you can use a Headhunter on a big unit before killing it and then get the Headhunter back! Being aggressive keeps opponents guessing as to what Onslaught card you might play post-combat. Another trick you is killing a medium sized unit on turn 4 with Runehammer, then kill a big follow-up play with hammer plus Conviction before combat and still get your dragon!  Like the tactics in the previous decks, any way to pump our Dragon the turn it activates Berserk is a huge plus. The curve of T3 Smuggler, T4 Conviction, T5 Dragon, T6 Palace -> Withstand -> T7 Sack the City -> Berserk again is not crazy. The market is certainly wrong, but Palace is correct. Ultimately, season to taste and how the meta is looking.

All in all, this is a neat little package and will make for some interesting deckbuilding puzzles.  What will you do with you Innate Conviction? Be sure to visit the Reddit thread to share your thoughts! 

Thank you all for reading! I would also like to give special thanks to Neon and A+Space Games for putting out this article, my wife for putting up with me and more importantly our kids while I wrote it, and especially the team at Dire Wolf Digital for making such a great game and for giving the masses an opportunity to get a spoiler, it was definitely something I didn't think would happen!