Article

Call of the Archons House Review: Sanctum

Written by Andrew Grandstaff

Sanctum creatures are the biggest bullies of the board.  Their above-average power and armor means that most low power creatures your opponents control won’t have a significant impact in combat.  That said the weakness of this house seems to be its lack of card draw and hard removal. It will be important for Sanctum to use its creatures to control the board and earn card advantage though favorable combat.  If your opponent is able to get an early lead you will have to rely primarily on capture to stall while you set up your board. While it is the weakest form of aember control Sanctum’s tanky creatures should let you hold onto it longer than the other houses.

Top 5 commons Top 5 Rares
Blinding Light: B Round Table: B+
Hallowed Blaster: B Sanctum Guardian: B+
Protectrix: B 4 horsemen: B- to B+
Champion Anaphiel: B Lord Golgotha: B+/A-
Bulwark: B/B+ Duma the Martyr: B+/A-

Grading Rubric
All of these cards are graded in a vacuum. I firmly believe every card can be good in the right situation, but the goal here is to try and figure out how good the card is on average.  Without knowing anything about the rest of my deck and my opponent’s deck what is the expected value of this card.

A: Almost always provides an overwhelming amount of some resource and is generally difficult to remove or counter.

B: Almost always generates 2 aember or 2 cards or some combination of the two.  Creatures and artifacts get a bonus based on how immediate of a threat they are.

C: Almost always generates 1 aember or 1 card.  Creatures and artifacts get a bonus based on how immediate of a threat they are.

D: Cards that you are more likely to discard than play and gain you no aember.

F: Cards that are a trap and if you play are more likely to hurt you than help you.

Pluses and minuses are generally awarded for consistency or to acknowledge a powerful effect that will be relevant about half the time the card is played.

X//Y Grades: X is the grade of the card in a random deck Y is the grade in a deck it heavily synergizes with.

Begone: C-
Begone

  • A Dis hate card that gives 1 aember if destroying all the Dis creatures sounds like a bad idea.

Blinding Light: B
Blinding Light

  • It shouldn’t be hard to find a good time to use this card. Gets worse as the number of houses you share increases. Good at just about every point in the game.

Charge!: B-/B
Charge!

  • Scales ok with the number of Sanctum creatures you have in hand, but you probably need at least 2 before you will get a serious payoff.  Better against Dis and Shadows due to their smaller creatures.

Cleansing Wave: C-
Cleansing Wave

  • I’m not convinced damaged creatures are around consistently enough to really take advantage of this. Healing 1 often isn’t that significant either.

Clear Mind: C-/C
Clear Mind

  • I really want to give this a better grade but I don’t see the play effect being that strong. In most cases, I think you might be able to un-stun one of your creatures. Definitely better in a mirror, but it’s still a narrow effect.

Doorstep to Heaven: C-
Doorstep to Heaven

  • Also a narrow card sometimes you’ll be lucky and get em with this. Nice to have if your deck doesn’t have Shadows and your opponent overextends because of it, but that is too many ifs for me to give a better grade.

Glorious Few: B-
Glorious Few

  • This is a huge guess. This card feels high variance.  Your tanky Sanctum creatures are likely to stick around making this a do nothing, but you could draw this early before you’ve had a chance to deploy your Sanctum cards. Maybe in an action-heavy deck, this gets a bump, but if you’re not clearing the board in that deck what are you doing?

Honorable Claim: C-
Honorable Claim

  • There are 15 knights/25 creatures so unless the algorithm favors giving decks with this card knights then you’ll be lucky to get more than 4 in your pool. So this card is like gain 1 capture 2 on an above average day.

Inspiration: C-/C
Inspiration

  • At worst, it let you reap for 1 at best you get 1 out of house reap effect. Who knows, maybe you’ll set up a big chain of “reap: use a friendly creature” actions, but that is magical Christmas land.

Mighty Lance: B
Mighty Lance

  • Should take out 2 creatures very frequently, great removal card.

Oath of Poverty: C-//B
Oath of Poverty

  • In an artifact-heavy aggro deck, this is a good card.  Hopefully, sacrifice 3 artifacts and threaten your last key I think is the ideal scenario with this card.  Aside from this, I would just hope I don’t have any artifacts on the board when I play this card.

One Stood Against Many: B
One Stood Against Many

  • This combos well with something like Protectrix, Mugwamp, or Shield of Justice, but without something really big or some way to protect your creature I don’t think you’re likely to get full value from this.

Radiant Truth: C+
Radiant Truth

  • This card has a lot a variance.  I think you’re often going to stun at least one creature, but there is a chance you get zero.  Assuming you get 1 creature it’s good in a 2/2/2 hand, when your behind, ahead, and while at parity.

Shield of Justice: C+
Shield of Justice

  • This reminds me a lot of the Mars cards that care about ready Mars creatures.  It only does something if you already have creatures you can attack with, but if you have at least one creature to go with this that would make this card ok.  I have yet to be able to use this card for than just the aember but I’m still hopeful this card is good.

Take Hostages: C-
Take Hostages

  • This card wants you to fight instead of reaping, and for your effort, you’re rewarded with capturing 1 aember instead.  I guess capture 1 is ok but this shouldn’t affect your play generally.

Terms of Redress: C-
terms-of-redress

  • Only good if your opponent is at 6 or 7 aember and has 2 keys.  Outside of that this card’s only value is from the aember it comes with.

The Harder They Come: C+
The Harder They Come

  • I might be overrating this card but every faction has at least 1 creature at +5 power so you should be able to find a target frequently and generally +5 power creatures need to be removed so it will save you an attack.

The Spirit’s Way: C
The SpiritGÇÖs Way

  • This card currently hits every Sanctum creature.  It will leave you with a powerful board state if you have a powerful creature to follow it up with as it will be the biggest thing on the board.

Virtuous Works: B/B+
Virtuous Works

  • Always a strong card.  Almost worth 1.5 turns of aember for 1 card.

Epic Quest: C//B+
Epic Quest

  • In the crazy right deck like some double Library Access deck or 10 knights deck, this might get you a free key.  To cash in on that you’ll need to play this and then wait a turn so there is some setup required. In a more standard deck, you are going to have to have access to 8 of your 12 Sanctum cards for this to go off.  I expect that I would be happy if I could archive 2 knights with this card.

Gorm of Omm: C
Gorm of Omm

  • There are plenty of strong artifacts out there and this seems like a solid answer.

Hallowed Blaster:
Hallowed Blaster

  • Considering that most Sanctum creatures have some armor this will almost always full heal one of your creatures.  Your opponent will be forced to ignore your creatures they can’t fully remove.

Potion of Invulnerability: B/B+
Potion of Invulnerability

  • It’s a better version of Shield of Justice.  It gives you the aember and then it threatens to be activated every turn you have creatures on the field.

Round Table: B+
Round Table

  • I’m guessing the average Sanctum deck is going to have around 3 knights so this will upgrade those cards.  Taunt is the bigger part here. You should be able to set up a solid board that can keep your utility creatures alive for a long time.

Sigil of Brotherhood: B
Sigil of Brotherhood

  • Strong power that you can use when you can make the most use of it.

Whispering Reliquary: C+/B-
Whispering Reliquary

  • There are plenty of strong artifacts that you can keep at bay with this card and if your opponent plays a better artifact later you can always switch to preventing that one from functioning. Has some good synergy with Epic Quest and amazing if the deck it’s in has a mavric Speed Sigil, but the later isn’t something that should be considered here.

Bulwark: B/B+
Bulwark

  • A 4 power body with the potential to add 6 points of armor to the board is really good.  2 armor is huge. It means your opponent can no longer play 2 power or less creatures and expect them to gain any value.

Champion Anaphiel: B
Champion Anaphiel

  • Taunt is also great and synergies well with the armor.

Champion Tabris: B
Champion Tabris

  • Fight is already the weakest of the normal triggers(play/fight/reap) for a creature and giving it the worst of the 3 ways to reduce an opponent’s aember makes this almost worthless.  That being said this is still a good creature pick off any troublesome creatures or just sit and reap with it forcing your opponent to try and race or commit serious resources to removing it.

Commander Remiel: C
commander-remiel

  • I like these cards.  Almost every faction has something similar, Mars has Uliq Megamouth and this is the same except house swapped. Here’s what I said about Uliq Megamouth. “Depending on what else is on the board this could be a must kill creature, but thankfully it’s not that costly to remove.  The fight/reap ability is great. While at its worst is 1 extra aember it could be letting you use some powerful abilities outside of Mars.”

Duma the Martyr: B+/A-
Duma the Martyr

  • The worst case scenario I can think of for this card is that it gets removed without being destroyed either through Mars abduction, purging, or Lost in the Woods.  If your opponent has to commit Lost in the Woods or abduct your 3 power creature when the rest of Sanctum is full of huge creatures that are generally resilient to damage based removal that’s a win. The best answer to this card is Oubliette an uncommon in Shadows. This card will almost always draw you 2 cards and will probably reap every turn until your ready to trade it in for at least 1 full heal and 2 cards.

Francus: B-
Francus

  • Pretty much a worse version of Champion Tabris and that one point of armor is big and not worth getting to capture extra aember.

Grey Monk: B/B+
Grey Monk

  • This is a must kill creature.  It’s basically a Banner of Battle that can reap and heal your creatures.

Hayyel the Merchant: C-//B
Hayyel the Merchant

  • I can’t think you will ever trigger this more than once in your average deck.  In the right deck, one with multiple copies, this will lead to some big aember gains.  Unfortunately, this has lowish power and it will be hard to keep on the board if your opponent knows it is key to your game plan.  It will need some support to really keep this around for more than a turn or two.

Horseman of Death: B+
Horseman of Death

  • This is the best in the series.  If you get at least 1 other horseman with this then that’s 10 points of power on the board for 1 card.

Horseman of Famine: B/B+
Horseman of Famine

  • The worst case for this is your opponent has no creatures and you can no longer play or use this card, but until then this will be a lot of value. This is a must kill creature. It is almost guaranteed to take out at least one other creature before it is dealt with.

Horseman of Pestilence: B-
Horseman of Pestilence

  • This one needs to stick around for a couple of turns before it really pays off, but it’s still a 5 power creature so it should be able to go the distance.

Horseman of War:  B/B+
Horseman of War

  • This is Follow the Leader with a 5 power body. Even if you don’t have another creature to fight with this card big enough it should trade for something.

Jehu the Bureaucrat: B//A
Jehu the Bureaucrat

  • This is a must kill creature, but it is reasonably easy to kill.  If you can set it up so this card stays protected this card can win you the game.

Lady Maxena: B/B+
Lady Maxena

  • Solid body with two great abilities that work well with each other.  Every Sanctum turn you get to choose to reap, attack, or stun a creature.

Lord Golgotha: B+/A-
Lord Golgotha

  • Great fight ability and a tough enough body to live long enough to get to use it.

Numquid the Fair: B
Numquid the Fair

  • Maybe not the best because Sanctum creatures tend to stick around more than others, but I think you’re likely to average about 1 creature every time you play this.

Protectrix: B
Protectrix

  • This is a must kill creature.  The reap ability lets almost any of your creatures fight and kill an opponent’s without taking any damage.  You also can no longer leave damaged Sanctum creatures on the board unless they want an invincible creature attacking them the next turn.

Raiding Knight: C+/B-
Raiding Knight

  • Great body, poor ability, happy to have a couple of these in most Sanctum decks.

Sanctum Guardian: B+
Sanctum Guardian

  • Big body with taunt and an ability that works well with it.  You can always move it so that it’s protecting your most valuable creature.

Sequis:  C+/B-
sequis

  • Better than Raiding Knight but not so much as to fully move it up to B-.  It is still only capturing aember. Stronger near the end of the game where your opponent will be more desperate for any aember they can find.

Sergeant Zakiel: B-
Sergeant Zakiel

  • Good sized body with the ability to get a second use out of any of your other Sanctum creatures or fight with an out of house creature.  This is a solid card.

Staunch Knight:  B
Staunch Knight

  • Be careful not to let a 6 power 2 armor creature lose 2 power for no reason.  I’m not sure what I would have to have in order to cause me to want to move this creature from the flank.

Gatekeeper:  B-/B
Gatekeeper

  • If you were really a Sanctum fan you would know this card was just ok.  Like most Sanctum creatures this has a good-sized body and an ok play ability.  Capture is such a weak mechanic even if you capture 6 your opponent can spend 1 card to get it all back.

The Vaultkeeper: B-/B
The Vaultkeeper

  • This feels mostly targeted at Shadows but some of the other factions have steal as well.  Aside from that it has an ok body.

Veemos Lightbringer: B-
Veemos Lightbringer

  • Good body and there is enough elusive in the game you should be able to manage the board in such a way you get more of your opponent’s cards than yours.

Armageddon Cloak: B
Armageddon Cloak

  • A good defensive ability, 1 aember, and will almost always get around the risk involved with upgrades.

Mantle of the Zealot: B-/B
Mantle of the Zealot

  • This is a very strong ability and it gets stronger depending on the creature you put it on.  It is an Experimental Therapy with no downside.  I think in the worst case if you get 2 extra activation’s off of this card, then it has offset the cost of being an upgrade.

Protect the Weak: C-
Protect the Weak

  • You generally don’t want your opponent to attack the creatures you put upgrades on as it could lead to 2 for 1’s in their favor, so taunt is almost a negative on this card and the 1 armor is not really enough to offset that.  There are some board states where you will need to protect something and this will do the trick.

Shoulder Armor: C+
Shoulder Armor

  • Make sure you play this on a flank creature and it stays there.  Assuming no shenanigans happen then this is enough power and armor this creature will probably need 2 cards to remove it.

 

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