Lining 'Em Up - Using Venari Knifer in Battle!

This week's Share Your Battle challenge features Venari Knifer! This is a great starter card out of the Earth splinter, and I used it a whole lot when Chaos Legion first came out. I have to admit that I have been using it a little less recently since I discovered Mylor, which makes Venari Knifer's Thorns ability redundant. So this challenge was a great reason to pull out Venari Knifer out for another go-round.

Venari Knifer makes for a great medium-cost tank. For the very reasonable price of 6 mana, you get 2 melee damage and a respectable 4 speed, to go along with with a somewhat beefy 7 health. And to top it off, Venari Knifer also has Thorns. Thorns is a great ability, especially on a tank, because it allows Venari Knifer to basically counterattack every time it gets hit. This means it pairs well with cards or rulesets which can help it to live longer in some way - think heals, debuffs on the enemy team, additional shields or health, etc.

Finding a battle for this week's challenge was a little tricky because of the new rewards system - you really want to maximize your win percentage and to use your focus splinter, so running a slightly less than optimal composition or using a splinter other than your focus cuts into your rewards. Not to worry though, in the end I was able to find one. And it's a good one - today, we use Venari Knifer to take on everyone's most hated duo! Okay, kidding about the "hated" part...mostly. Anyway, on to the battle!

If you wanted to jump right to the action, the Battle Link is right here. Want to hear some more about the lineup? Read on further!


This was the ruleset for our battle. This is a good ruleset to bring a lineup with Venari Knifer because the Earth splinter generally tends to shine in high mana cap battles. 48 mana certainly fits the bill, and to top it off, the Broken Arrows ruleset means that we won't have to worry about our heavy magic lineup getting picked apart by a Life ranged damage lineup.

My opponent's match history going into this battle was suspiciously heavy on lineups with Scarred Llama Mage (also known as simply "Llama"). I decided to assume that they would also be using Llama for this battle, and would try to pick out a Earth magic lineup that would try to counter a Last Stand Llama lineup (how's that for alliteration?). Obsidian boosts magic damage and is the natural choice for that strategy. My Obsidian is only level 1, but we'll try and make it work.

Leading off my lineup were my two tanks. Venrai Knifer (our guest star of the week!) is right at the front, with Unicorn Mustang behind it. My plan was for Venari Knifer to try and knock out my opponent's tank, and for Unicorn Mustang to step up afterwards to hold the front while my magic backline finished off the enemy lineup. Venari Knifer's Thorns ability would be helpful to deal additional damage to any melee monsters at the front, and Unicorn Mustang's Void would help it to shrug off magic damage.

The middle of my lineup was filled with monsters for support and additional damage. Mycelic Slipspawn was actually in there as a tank - its Taunt ability would force any magic and ranged damage on the other side to target it. This would help out Venari Knifer since it ensured that it would only get hit by my opponent's front monster, which would hopefully be melee and therefore take damage from Thorns. As I mentioned at the start, I expected my opponent to bring an Earth splinter lineup, so I also choose to add Mushroom Seer. In addition to also dishing out 2 magic damage, Mushroom Seer's Silence would reduce my opponent's magic attacks. This was a key part of my endgame plan, because Silence plus Unicorn Mustang's Void would effectively reduce magic damage by 2.

I rounded off my team with a two monster combination that I think of as the "Llama special". Well actually, the "Llama special" is 4 cards once you count Unicorn Mustang and Mushroom Seer. But in any case, I finished my lineup with dual healers in Goblin Psychic and Wood Nymph. Both of them add to my lineups magic damage output, and provide a whole lot of healing to my front monster. My plan was for first Venari Knifer and then Unicorn Mustang to receive tons of healing and be able to stick around for a long, long time.


With the lineup set, it's off into battle! When I see the selected teams I feel pretty good about my chances. I have predicted my opponent's strategy perfectly, as they did indeed bring an Earth splinter lineup with lots of magic damage. On the other hand, the combination of Llama and Kron should never be underestimated.

round 1.png

The battle begins slowly - both of us brought Mycelic Slipspawn, so the first two rounds see both of our lineups get Taunted. My Mushroom Seer's Silence does give me the slight edge, but just barely. Meanwhile, Venari Knifer is doing some good work on the enemy Unicorn Mustang with Thorns.

round 3.png

The combination of my lineup's magic damage plus Venari Knifer with Thorns turns out to be too much for my opponent's Unicorn Mustang. Sadly, Venari Knifer goes down as well, but the damage is already done. With my opponent's Mustang gone then my anti-Llama endgame is set up - my own Unicorn Mustang at the front, double healers at the back, and Mushroom Seer to help reduce Kron's damage even further.

round 6.png

Kron puts up quite the fight, but it only takes two more rounds to close out this battle. Last Stand is very powerful but luckily the math is on my side - Kron can heal 6 damage per turn, but my lineup is dishing out 11! By the start of round 8, Kron was about to be finished off. And again, if you wanted to see the whole battle for yourself, you can see it right here.

round 8.png

My strategy for this battle worked perfectly - all of the pieces for my endgame made it through to the start of the battle, and I was able to pull off the victory. Venari Knifer did a great job to stand at the front and help to set up the final position. I personally feel that Llama-Kron may be slightly overpowered since it shouldn't take 4 cards to counter two, but I can't complain about the outcome of this battle.

Venari Knifer really shines as a mid-cost tank. While this is a small niche, when it's good then it can be REALLY good. Thorns is a strong ability, especially if you can force your opponent's monsters to hit it or can help your monster to survive a little longer in some way. Venari Knifer is not going to be a mainstay of my lineups going forward, but I will certainly use it from time to time when the situation allows for it.


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All images used in this article are open source and obtained from Pixabay or Unsplash. Thumbnails borrowed with permission from the Splinterlands team or made in Canva.


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