In-depth Factions Strategy Guide | Skytear

In-depth Factions Strategy Guide

From Players...to Players

Review on boardgamegeek.com by

"Very deep, very strategic, and you can tell the love that went in to, and that maintains this game."

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Justin Fewox Game is simply amazing. Very deep, very strategic, and you can tell the love that went in to, and that maintains this game. Regular content cadence always keeps things fresh, a development team that cares so much about the game they are willing to fix "broken" things and actually replace them quickly. I could go on and on about why I love this game and if you're on the fence, pick it up or try it out on TTS. You'll soon realize why it's gaining so much traction.

Also, the MtG reference is based on card strategy, this is not solely a card game like MtG, LoR, or Hearthstone. It's not even close to that. Decks are used to enhance the heroes' plays and attack, with a very intelligent system. Deck building is an important aspect of the game, but it's not the only aspect.
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LIOTHAN

Introduction

The Liothan faction is defined by its solidity, control and extremely high bursts of lethal damage. Many of the blue power cards enable Liothan to push the lanes and control the map well without exposing its heroes to a quick defeat.

The most important gameplay mechanic to familiarize with is that Liothan heroes can shapeshift each other, and that you can use your last action to shapeshift your hero and exhaust yourself at the same time, thus gaining and keeping the Shapeshifted condition until your next activation.

Power Cards

The most important card if we want to play Liothan is Presence: a +1 on objective control during the minion phase is crucial in offense and defense both. The secondary effect is a Predict 2 that helps us find three mana cards to fuel lead actions, improving our objective control even further without committing precious cards from hand. Being a +1 damage modifier we can run three copies without hampering our damage output or some of the worship abilities. It is often a powerful move to play Presence on turn one by consuming the Skytear flux to guarantee control of the outsider.


The second card we always want to have is Shove, as it comes very handy in defense and control. Shove’s main purpose is to avoid melee attacks - sometimes ranged attacks too if we are standing in a cover hex - but it can also be used to push enemy heroes away from their objective for a minion phase advantage, often unexpectedly as it’s a reaction card.

Heroes

You will quickly notice that many of the Liothan heroes are not only very resistant and survivable - they also make allies around them more durable. Their passive abilities do not require line of sight, which means they can keep enabling each other to deal more damage and/or survive longer, as long as they don’t stray too far away from each other. The worship action doesn’t require line of sight either and can be used to shapeshift an ally instead, which is often how Liothan heroes keep their most important pieces up and running.

Astryda, the specialist of lane aggression, is going to be our core hero. The Liothan siren is easily going to win the lane she shows up into, starting from turn one: she can be shapeshifted by an ally so that she can move, attack a minion to spawn a friendly one, and play a three mana lead. This sequence lets us represent a total SEVEN points to the control of the lane, which is more than every other hero can contribute - which in turn means that your opponent will have to dedicate serious resources to the Astryda lane or be quickly overwhelmed.

This Astryda opener is one of the most solid openings in the game, but she can do more. Her secondary ability is also valuable, as all shapeshifted allies in the vicinity (herself included) are now applying disarm with their attack action - an effect that lets you trade blows efficiently or simply survive the enemy barrage while sieging the tower. Her ultimate is the cherry on top: Song of the Siren makes one enemy asleep for the whole round, making it unable to clear your army of minions or play a lead card, and is often how you seal the deal on the tower you want to take down.

Brylvar is the Liothan tank. Very important against non-piercing aggression, his passive ability gives a +1 armor buff to all shapeshifted heroes nearby, making us survive the dome fights for example, but it can often reach to the sidelanes too. Brylvar’s other ability is also defensive: while shapeshifted, he taunts the adjacent enemy heroes into attacking him. He is going to disturb the important attack actions of enemy Assassins and Marksman by forcing them onto him, which isn’t going to hurt one bit from the height of its three points of armor.

It can however also be used to hinder the enemy specialist by wasting an attack action that would be otherwise directed at your minions, thus making Brylvar valuable even when the opponent isn’t interested in hero takedowns. Brylvar is most commonly going to move adjacent to an enemy, play a lead, and Shapeshift himself.

Corjof is the Liothan mage and can find hero kills very easily, especially if he starts his activation shapeshifted - and by now you know how easy that is, as you can use any other Liothan hero to shapeshift the one who benefits from it the most. By starting his activation shapeshifted, Corjof gains haste, +1 to his skirmish damage and becomes a melee mage with four points of attack. As all damage cards played by him also have piercing it’s very easy to plan for a quick Strength of the Pack takedown from up to seven hexes away. All his damage potential is balanced by his low health pool so it’s vital to keep him safe with Brylvar and Astryda’s abilities.

Freyel is the queen of healing: combine her with Brylvar and you have the toughest faction in the game. Her ability passively heals the affected hero whenever it gains the shapeshift condition and by planning our actions well we can heal the same hero twice in a single turn. With reasonable flips we can sustain our heroes well longer than any other faction can without expending any cards at all.

This alone would be a great reason to run Freyhel in your Liothan deck… but turns out she has another ability! Freyhel gains piercing while shapeshifted, just like a mage, and can use healing spells to deal damage to opponents. She can quickly spend all the unused healing cards and quickly rain them onto an enemy, often defeating it from full health.

Gulbjarn is our warrior and king of the Dome brawls. He is capable of cleaving skirmish attacks that become more dangerous the more shapeshifted allies he has around him, as each one improves his damage by one. As Corjof can provide an extra +1 from his own ability, and a few power cards can further improve it, Gulbjarn’s skirmish damage can not only skyrocket real quick, but also hit multiple adjacent enemies, even those on the other side of the while line.

Shillavy is the one in charge of leaping onto enemy mages, assassins and marksmans. Her damage output is very high without having to build our deck with high damage modifiers in mind, as she flips two cards with attack actions, and her revenge ability further improves her odds against low armored foes. Shyllavi is also versatile: when out of enemies to attack, she can dedicate herself to clear minion waves instead.

Decklist & Expansions

With all heroes presented, we can build our deck and start playing. As all Liothan heroes make each other better regardless of their power cards, it’s often easy to pick the perfect lineup for the victory objectives drawn.

The Nupten and Taulot expansion packs contain additional options for a Liothan deck, the most popular being Ekhrit: a self-sufficient Nupten hero that plays well in the blue strategy of lane and objective control. Akhuti and Khenui make a full blue-yellow deck viable with impressive minion clearing and resilience.

With Taulot we can instead delve deeper into green with powerful spells like Sinkhole and Slide. Tlakali’s specialty is protecting the minions we spawn and Nelaclen is a powerful wizard that can make good use of our multiple card drawing spells and is still able to cast yellow cards, or have leftover mana for reaction cards even.

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Review on boardgamegeek.com by Kalibra - Brazil

"I am totally hooked! Skytear is an amazing game, with an AMAZING community around it."

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I am totally hooked! Skytear is an amazing game, with an AMAZING community around it. The guys from PvP Geeks are working hard every day to make the game even better for us, the customer support is one of the best I have ever seen, the community building and support is incredible. A healthy, friendly and fresh competitive scenario makes me want to play this game everyday - and I do. A must have/must try/certainly you will love miniatures and card game. Magic meets MOBA - and it feels like both.

NUPTEN

Introduction

The Nupten faction is characterized by its versatility, which is encompassed by three main strengths: mobility, elusiveness and sustained damage. These feats are achieved not only through the Nupten heroes abilities, but also through their power cards, three of which I consider the core of a Nupten build.

Power Cards

The first one is Swiftness: it’s a simple effect but it does just so much for the Nupten faction. It’s how your melee heroes get to position themselves across the board from as soon as turn one, threatening even the most careful opponents who thought the cover hex they’re hiding into was just out of your reach, and expanding the range of your abilities and your overall playmaking. It also pays for itself by letting you draw a new card, which means that it is almost never a bad draw as it lets you draw your key spells more consistently. In fact, “consistency” in our draws, movements, attack damage even (being a +1 card) is a good way to sum up what Swiftness does for us.

The second card that I would always run is Time Warp. Moving the caster one hex might seem a small feat but there are many situations where moving just so slightly makes a world of difference. It lets you completely evade melee actions, move out of range of ranged actions, give chase to enemies and move across the dome line, all as a cheaply costed reaction. Comparable power cards from the other factions are all capable of one or more of these effects and are sometimes even better at the job, but the key is how versatile Time Warp is in offence, defence and control. It comes at a cost though: as a -1 damage card, we are going to be careful of many we can include in our decklist and might have to give up on playing a full playset.

As Swiftness and Time Warp cover our mobility and elusiveness, it is time to introduce our main damage source: Soul Scream. It’s among the highest damaging cards in the game but it’s strength doesn’t come just from that: once again, Nupten can be as versatile and unpredictable as your imagination allows, and Soul Scream is no exception. By dealing 4+ damage in a small area we have the option of hitting multiple enemies at once, which makes Soul Scream a good draw not only when you want to heavily burst a single target, but also when you want to set up a double kill by damaging two of them, or when enemy heroes aren’t your imminent problem and you need to remove a bunch of opposing minions from assaulting your tower instead. Combined with Psychic Vampirism, it’s also capable of fully healing a mage that would otherwise be close to defeat. As a card that can get us closer to a victory no matter what the current objective is, we will happily play as many copies of Soul Scream as we are allowed to.

The other power cards are going to help us establish our game plan. Shattermind is our bread and butter damage card, while Charm lets us clear pesky conditions and is particularly useful against Brylvar; Windblast makes sure we never get overrun by minions and Redirect is another key spell that can both protect our heroes and prevent enemies from healing or protecting themselves.

Heroes

Once we understand what Nupten is good at, it’s time to take a look at its weaknesses. You will notice that our heroes do not have a lot of armor and are, in fact, quite frail. This means that our playstyle has to cover for that with quick, focused bursts of damage that do not allow for retaliation, as our heroes aren’t suited for prolonged brawls. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the Nupten lineup.

Ekhrit is going to be our core hero, our specialist and playmaker. On turn one she is capable of clearing two minions from one lane while placing herself in the dome, essentially creating pressure for outsider control while simultaneously relieving pressure from a lane. This is an invaluable feat and is how we are going to play Ekhrit most of the time; be wary of enemy retaliation, as many heroes are capable of threatening or hindering her, while also looking for opportunities to attack a hero instead, as pushing someone away from the control token and nullifying a lead action can be extremely valuable.

Akhuti, the Nupten support, is often going to be in our starting lineup as well. Her ability to clear two minions per turn, while providing armor to our otherwise unarmored heroes, is invaluable. We are often going to place Akhuti in the lane where we expect most of the action to happen, as we want to benefit from the armor bonus while Akhuti is clearing the minion wave by herself and indirectly allowing our other heroes to not waste valuable attack actions. On turn one she is going to defeat two minions, which means that together with Ekhrit we can easily defeat all the starting four enemies, thus relieving the remaining two heroes from that duty.

Shafathi and Setheru are going to fill our lineup. While both mages, they play quite differently: Shafathi is a melee mage with a high health pool and extreme in-built mobility. He is going to use his skirmish-related abilities to position himself, manipulate his damage output, give chase to targets and ultimately finish them off with a damage spell. On turn one you will be looking for an isolated target, usually the enemy specialist, and start dealing damage. With a Swiftness in hand, no one is really out of Shafathi’s reach.

Setheru on the other hand is not as mobile, and his low health pool is going to make you play very carefully instead. He’s going to cooperate with Shafathi in taking down the most vulnerable targets - using a direct damage card whenever you draw one - but you don’t want to overextend into enemy attacks, as you don’t have easy access to Time Warp until turn two. Setheru will often start the game on the backline and provide support with a lead action where needed.

Khenui and Haburat are our two backups. The first is a defensive warrior and will join the fray whenever the enemy lineup features multiple damage dealers. She is capable of dealing decent damage to unarmored opponents but both her abilities are of defensive nature, so be careful to not lock you out of an otherwise feasible victory objective by bringing her in. She is also deceptively vulnerable to big skirmish damage so be wary of Gulbjarn and Cotlic from the enemy side.

Haburat is an additional damage dealer and we will sub him in whenever we consider Setheru’s low health points to be too much of a liability, or when we believe hitting minions to be not as important based on the victory cards. He’s not as good as our mages at casting Soul Scream and other damage cards but he still packs quite a punch. He doesn’t benefit a lot from being in sight of his own illusion, as we’d rather use his high attack against heroes, but those who hit minions are going to appreciate the opportunity to reposition themselves.

Decklist & Expansions

Having established our strategy, we can build our deck and start playing. Many card choices come down to personal preference so don’t be afraid to swap them around or try different things.

If you are looking to expand into other factions, Liothan and Kurumo both offer interesting options: Astryda and Shyllavi are a popular combination for a lineup that is more focused on lane control, while Corjof can be an additional mage and we gain access to Strength of the Pack and Migraine. On the Kurumo side, Yami can replace Akhuti while being more self-sufficient and featuring a more powerful ultimate; Miyuki is a great defensive option and Kichie can complement or replace one of the other mages by providing even more consistent damage and self-sustain.

As for the Outsiders expansion, Nightmares Incarnate expands our arsenal of damage cards while Not so Fast! makes it even easier for us to stick to our targets. Mind Palace can enable all sorts of crazy burst combinations and Chasm is a great tool both on offence and defence. The outsiders themselves can provide extra versatility: Terror of the Endless Night is one of my personal favorites as it is great at hindering your opponents while giving you access to frenzy, which Akhuti enjoys very much.

Once you get your hands on multiple expansions and get familiar with Nupten, it’s time to get creative and try different cards. This is the decklist I’m currently running in the Outsider league.

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Review on boardgamegeek.com by Rob Mordak from Ontario, Canada

"Honestly, this is a steal of a price and probably the most cost effective game on the market today (I would know, I own hundreds of them)."

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OK, to start off, this is a M"O"BA (Multiplayer "Online" Battle Arena) Type game so your protecting your "bases" with your heroes and you generate little autonomous soldiers to assist.

While never really liking the video game version of this type of game, I actually quite enjoyed the table top version.

Wanting to test the waters before diving too deep, my fiancee and I sat down, watched the 5 minute tutorial video followed by her sleeveing the cards while I read the rules out-loud.
The 5 minute video does an excellent job showing you a super quick over view of parts, areas and heroes but it does miss out on important facts (especially for first game players) for:
1. How to build a deck (Yes, an example is provided in the tutorial in the rules but a quick flash on screen of the deck would have been nice)
2. How to use the outsider (the wording on the card is a little strange and the fact that, if you don't know there will be other outsiders, and you read the provided outsider card "set up, they can't move" followed by his possible actions: MOVE, Skirmish (a action that you can move up to two times), etc you can get very confused.
3. Missing this as an opportunity to display the game as shown in the tutorial to help the two parts flow together

That being said, we followed beginners draft, I was elected first play (which is only a bonus because you get a card that...lives on the table...or in your hand (unclear) and you never switch roles (maybe this is to allow 2nd player to always have the final hero activation?
I chose....red, she chose yellow and blue and I got the remaining green (Everything here has a specific name for the faction, their god and etc but they are complicated and super hard to remember), we build our decks as was exampled in the book, set up the board, got the objective cards and ....started

Truth be told, the game actually is super simple to play on the basic rules, without a worship action you do lose depth but you greatly gain quick action. We were killing either others minions and heroes right away and enjoying the strategy of hero placement and the like.
The outsider (while being complicated to use the first time around) wasn't as powerful as the lore led us to expect (which is actually a great thing as to not allow a huge power shift) and the mechanics and everything flowed very well.
We played a very forgiving game of take back actions, draw cards we forgot to grab etc, and it was actuality enjoyable. The tower attack never happened as we always managed to just be close enough in "mana" strength to avoid tower damage but we understood the concept relatively easily.

I ended up winning by completing the secondary objective of double kill on turn 5 and we both had an enjoyable time through the whole process. I wish we weren't as intimidated by the worship action and the the more advanced character sides but we were actually both very glad to have played the basic game first to understand the core concepts.

Pros:
+ Cost: for $99 you get a FANTASTIC supply of unique and well detailed miniatures, quality tokens, GAME TRAY and board. Honestly, this is a steal of a price and probably the most cost effective game on the market today (I would know, I own hundreds of them). The content here is close to a CMON KS level of product.
+ Community: I was able to find answers to all my questions within seconds of googling the answer, on top of that their are tons of support vidoes online and a very active discord and facebook community.
+ Insert: This cannot be stressed enough, super well done, the plastic isn't the best, nor is it always easy to remember where very hero fits, but this is just a fantastic bonus, plus it fits sleeved cards (sort of).
+ Miniatures: you get so many cool unique sculpts (YAMI oh my), and the detail and quality is excellent
+ Future support: not only has it been said from day 1 that leagues and new releases will occur ASAP and frequently, they have lived up to it. Today we received an email with a new campaign that has started that allowed us to input our game scores to see which faction has more control over the continent.
+ Variety: Different secondary objectives, card drafts, many hero choices, many outsider choices, etc, etc. The game gives you so much flexibility be it tactical, objective, etc that it makes every game unique and exciting.

Cons:
- Rulebook Flow: I have to put this first as I think that the rule book is the most important thing in a game, and this one just doesn't have all the information I need. While i know its impossible to list every possible question and situation, I think some major examples (such as setting up the outsider on the game board) are missing and that really hurts. (Yes, there is a FAQ and errata page set up, but it kinda sucks that those things couldn't have been in the rule book that's only a few months old). I also feel that many more example situation explications and diagrams should have been included for game play. The card drafting is a tiny 1 paragraph at the end of the book yet its ...1/3 of the game play? Shouldn't it be front and center? Do I always play with all 4 factions or was that just my tutorial game, can I just play 1 faction...These are my current questions. Again, yes, I know that their are probably answers online and a giant FAQ etc, but this is not a board AND ONLINE game, I should have these answers out of the box.
- Skirmish action: I strongly dislike that I cannot hit minions with this action, while I'm sure its fundamental to some game play mechanic, it's such a bad feeling that my damage 4 +2 card character has to use that attack to blow up a 1 wound 0 Armour nobody dealing 7 damage but then draws a 0 when attacking the hero 1 second later.
- Main Game objectives: So the main, always on objective is break the enemy nexus and you win, woo, but in a 5 turn game, as far as I can tell, unless your opponent leaves one flank completely unprotected and ignores you bulldozing in on that side, it's not going to happen. I guess it's not a huge deal when you have the 3 other mission objectives, I just think that Nexus only win is not possible in a 5 turn game. (Obviously the game designers have play tested this WAY more then my 1 attempt and it must be possible, it just think it's an un-achievable goal, and its the main win condition).

Final Thoughts
If you enjoy board games with minis and don't hate the MOBA style of game play, you'd be foolish not to pick this up. The game has a small footprint, tons of content, infinity replay-ability, awesome miniatures, asymmetrical factions, uniqueness, community, etc, etc, it really is a great game. While my cons list has more quantity in it than the pros, that's only my first thoughts and changeable aspect. This game has a LOT of potential and I recommend you pick it up and suggest your FLGS start supporting it. Plus I think they offer world wide free shipping on orders of $99 and up (aka the base game) and if that's not customer service, I don't know what is. Very excited to watch this community grow.

-Rob

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