Introduction and Your Main Goal.
As a Summoner, you have one main goal. Reach the point in a battle where you’re able to reliably deal damage while your enemies can’t kill you. The longer a battle continues for in that stable board state, the stronger a Summoner can become. This guide will walk you through the basic tools and strategies a Summoner will need to reach that board state as quickly as possible.
Minions and the Battlefield.
Summoners have 4 positions on the battlefield that they can fill with a minion. They can never summon more than 4 minions at a time. These minions, upon being hit by an enemy, will deal 1 damage per that minion’s level to the Summoner. The minions available to you are:
- A Golem, which will redirect attacks against your team towards itself and heals when activated.
- An Abomination, which will attack every enemy at the same time when activated.
- A Wyrm, which will attack enemies multiple times at random when activated.
- A Fae, which will help charge your ultimate ability when activated.
The Golem is your main defensive tank. It’s armor starts at twice your character’s armor at the time he’s summoned, and decreases every time it’s hit. Since armor caps out at 75 (a 75% damage reduction) you only need to ensure that you have at least half of that (38+) so your Golem will always shrug off as many attacks as possible before it needs to be replaced. If you’re frequently struggling to survive a fight, increasing your character’s armor is the first step to slowing it down.
Abominations and Wyrms are your two main sources of damage. An Abomination can hit every enemy with each attack, allowing you to reliably kill weaker enemies slowly, while Wyrms are more random but excel at reducing enemy armor, making them an incredibly valuable tool during longer fights against tough or singular enemies (bosses, in particular). However, the random nature of their attacks makes them less suitable as your main damage dealer for most fights.
A Fae is a utility minion. With the right passive skills, Fae can be incredibly powerful tools for rapidly improving your board state, however, they’re only truly valuable if you manage to pick up some of those passive skills. There’s a reason you don’t have the option to start battles with a Fae in play.
Starting a Run. Which Minion is Right for You?
With an explanation of minions out of the way, what does that mean for the very start of your run? Before the map is even generated, you’re given the option to pick one of three starting minions when you pick your class. What benefit do you actually gain from this choice?
Starting with a Golem – means you have the best possible chance of surviving your first turn of combat. Having your tank out on the battlefield means enemies have to kill it before they can even hurt you. If you’re really struggling to survive that first turn, starting with a Golem is a great way to improve your odds of having the time necessary to reach a stable board state. Eventually however, enemies will be so threatening that your Golem won’t help you survive turn 1 anyways. At that difficulty level, there isn’t much point in starting with a Golem.
Starting with an Abomination – means you have guaranteed damage on turn 1. I almost always prefer starting with the Abomination as a way to get out damage early against certain dangerous enemies. There are so many ways to improve your damage for the first (and second) turn of each fight, and being able to start with an Abomination in play to take advantage of those damage boosts is a great way of taking control of the battle early. Since an Abomination’s base damage is relative to your own buffed damage, those major damage boosts you can give your character through runes, items, legendary cards or passives are what let you rapidly break through dangerous enemies and fights.
Starting with a Wyrm – means you’re aiming for a leaderboard run. Honestly, that’s pretty much it. Wyrms are fantastic at helping you take out bosses, so if you want to thin out your deck as much as possible, you might want to start with a Wyrm to guarantee you’ll have it for the necessary fights. Otherwise, it’s almost never worth picking. The fights where a Wyrm will show it’s value are so long that you will have ample opportunity to play one later.
Aiming for Victory, Step by Step.
So, you’ve picked your starting minion. How do you actually turn that into a victory?
Step 1 – Increase your character’s armor and damage. More armor means your Golem is going to be significantly stronger as a tank, and more damage means your damage dealer will ramp up it’s potential damage much faster. The quicker you can end a fight, the safer you will be. Never promote your Golems if you can avoid it, and try to use Sigils instead of promotions on your damage dealers when you can, since those ramp up much faster. Runes that give you extra armor should be a priority, while runes that give you extra damage boosts (even just for a turn or two) should be your focus part way through your run. As for early on in your run?
Step 2 – Increase your card draw and find a way to reduce the cost of cards. Minions typically cost 2 energy, which is most of what you can do in a turn. Anything you can do to lower the cost of cards in your hand is incredibly powerful for a Summoner because it means the difference between just playing a minion and basically nothing else, or being able to play a minion and improve your chances of winning the fight all on one turn. Extra card draw is also incredibly powerful, since it will give you the options you need to make the most use out of your limited energy. More options is always a good thing as a Summoner, with one exception.
Step 3 – Thin out your deck to limit the dead cards you might draw. What’s a dead card? A dead card is anything you draw but don’t/can’t play. If you already have 4 minions in play, any additional summon cards you draw are dead, because you can’t play them. Barrier cards are often the same. They make little to no difference in a fight after you’ve placed a little bit of barrier on yourself to limit chip damage from your minions. Always focus on building your deck with the intention that, once you’ve reached a stable board state, you’re going to be able to play every card you draw every turn. Don’t pick too many expensive cards, and don’t be afraid to just remove things you don’t use very often. Aim to do as much as possible every turn while keeping a few utility cards (stuns, armor reduction, maybe a barrier or promotion card, etc.) handy for turns where you can afford to play them.
Step 4 – Learn what a stable board state looks like. A stable board state is when you have at least one Golem and at least one damage dealer in play, where you’re able to reliably keep them in play and you’re improving their power each turn. You want to be able to deal damage without taking damage. Having an extra Golem in play might help if you know you’re going to be losing and replaying them regularly, and having a Fae in play might really help with the right passives. Choice of minions aside, you should aim to have all 4 positions filled whenever it’s safe to do so. Against enemies that have powerful AoE attacks, that might not be ideal, but otherwise having 4 minions in play is your end goal.
Step 5 – Learn how long it takes to reach a stable board state. If it takes you several turns to reach a stable board, don’t feel bad using most of your energy for one turn maintaining that board. Using most/all of a turn to stall out the fight might feel bad when you could be dealing damage. However, if the alternative is spending several turns rebuilding your board, it’s always worth it to just spend the turn stalling. Single target stuns against one dangerous enemy, stunning ALL enemies, summoning extra Golems, some sigils that give your tank barriers each turn or restore their health, all are viable options to help stall out a fight. As long as you can keep a stable board while minimizing the energy you’re spending to achieve that goal each turn, you can eventually win most fights as a Summoner through slow and steady growth. Where other classes might feel the pressure to win a fight by turn 3, Summoners that are struggling might be lucky to reach a stable board state by turn 3, while aiming to win the fight by turn 10. Eventually, you will have the tools you need to win fights just as quickly as the other classes, but you will need to learn how to reach your win condition reliably first.
Step 6 – Maintaining your health is always going to be a challenge early on. Don’t be afraid to use up your healing items as a Summoner. The early stages of a run are always going to be the most difficult part. Healing options are extremely limited, but you will get the tools you need to limit the damage you’re taking as you level up. It’s very helpful to put a little bit of barrier on yourself to help mitigate the damage your minions will cause you when they get hit, since that does add up, but you only need a little bit of barrier on yourself to safely end most fights. The rest of the time, they’re a dead card. Passives that give you a barrier at the start of a fight or passives/sigils that protect/heal your Golem are significantly stronger than the starting barrier cards in your deck. Try to remove those when you can, and build up other options to help protect you.
Feel Free to Ask For Help!
And that’s it!
I hope that helps explain some of the basic steps you can take to improve your odds of winning a run as a Summoner. If you have any questions, head on over to the discord.gg – https://discord.gg/zzazmPs or the taintedgrail-conquest.fandom.com – https://taintedgrail-conquest.fandom.com/wiki/Tainted_Grail_Wiki where some dedicated peeps are keeping this (and more) up to date! I’ll also try to keep an eye on the comments here so I can answer any questions you might have.
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