February 20, 2015 by KonanTheBarbarian
Can you hear the bones rattling?
When I initially looked at Cacklebones I thought… “WTF? Why should I play this card?”
The more I thought about it the more useful scenarios or combos I could imagine, so let’s have a look at the pros and cons of the card before judging.
First of all it’s a hard level gated removal that has an impact on your side of the board.
It’s similar to “return X to its owners hand” cards known from other games. Now the card isn’t returned to the hand, but your opponents get to play an additional card the next turn, which has the downside that they’ll be able to level another card.
So when does this hurt most?
Of course in Player Level 1 (PL1), since leveling an additional card shapes your future in the world of Solis. In PL1 it also has the least impact to the board, since your opponents will always be able to play three L1 cards. Now in PL2 and PL3 it’s a whole different story. If you remove an L2 or L3 creature from the board, your opponents aren’t likely to draw three on-level creatures.
Let’s say you play a Cacklebones 3 to remove an L3 creature. Now if your opponent draws an L2, an L3 and three L1 creatures, you have basically turned an L3 threat into a L1 body that he can only play a turn later (since he would have probably played the L2 and the L3 anyway). The impact to your opponent’s deck is also much lower in the later Player Levels, since most games are over by the end of PL3.
Dodging the Drawback
Similar to Talisin, Bard of Abundance we could combine Cacklebones with Anvillon Arbiter to minimize the negative effect.
This still allows your opponents to level an additional card (by discarding a card before making a second play), but overall it could be worth it.
On top of that Cacklebones might be really good against threats that snowball or have multiple plays invested into them (e.g. a Xithian Shambler that has eaten a Shardplate Behemoth).
Now my first impression is that Cacklebones can only really shine combined with Alloyin. You somehow have to get rid of the downside of playing him in L1 and Alloyin simply gives you the best tools for it. From L2 on Cacklebones seems very playable and situationally powerful. Now it’s your job to find the best synergies and make Cacklebones shine. 😉
If you are mostly interested in draft he definitely seems like one of the weaker Heroics that is probably best used to remove an underdrop and push the last bit of damage for the win.
What about the rest of Set 5?
Have you also noticed that Cacklebones also seems really good against (and with) the freshly spoiled Steeleye Seer, since Seer lets your opponent level another card anyway – so who knows maybe Cacklebones might be a good meta call?
Stop by our Set 5 Spoiler Roundup to see what else the jovial Skeleton can party with or destroy!