The Savage Path: Embracing Bloodlust in Splinterlands


Since the introduction of the new Soulbound Summoner and the "Are you Entertained" rule, Gladius cards have gained significance, at least in the range up to the Gold League. You're already familiar with my overview of Gladius cards, but if not, you can find it here!

But today, we're not talking about the card set; instead, we're focusing on a specific ability: Bloodlust. This ability was exclusively reserved for cards in this set for a long time. However, with Grum Flameblade, the Chaos Legion Set introduced the first non-Gladius card with this ability. Following that, in the second row of CL-Reward cards, we have Jared Scar, and recently, the Soulbound Reward Set of CL added the card Usut.

So, there are a total of 32 Gladius cards and 3 from other sets that possess the Bloodlust ability. If we exclude the Gladius cards, that accounts for roughly 0.5% of all cards. For comparison, 4.5% of the cards have Sneak, approximately 8% have Stun, and another 5% have Heal, always considering the max-level card.

As you can see, the ability is rare, and if the Gladius cards weren't playable in the Ranked Mode, you would hardly come across them. It's not surprising that the ability is so scarce because when utilized correctly, it's extremely powerful.


Let them burn

But what makes Bloodlust so strong? To find out, let's take a look at the mechanics themselves:

Every time it defeats an opponent, it gets +1 to all stats
In the Reverse Speed ruleset, -1 to Speed

In gaming jargon, something like this is also called a snowball. The card gets stronger with every kill and the stronger it gets, the more kills it generates and so on.
In the end, this leads to a card with completely absurd values, as the following examples illustrate:



Once a card is pumped up like this, you can hardly get it off the field. But what does it take to achieve such values?
The simple answer is: luck. But you can influence luck a little. Skillful positioning of the cards and reinforcing characteristics in the team help to get the snowball rolling. But there is another factor: Martyr!


Sacrifices have to be...

The Martyr ability does the following:

When this Monster dies, adjacent Monsters get +1 to all stats

So if we place such a card next to a card with Bloodlust, we can slightly increase the probability of the snowball getting bigger. The only thing left to do is to make sure that the creature in question actually dies.

With rulesets like Earthquake and Noxius Fumes, this is relatively easy and just a matter of time. Equal Opportunity is also easy to control. With other rulesets it's a bit more difficult, but not hopeless.

Example 1


In this match, the starting position was Earth versus Earth. The lineups are similar, but I can put a Gladius card on the field thanks to Low Bobland. In this case, I chose one of the two Gobsons. Right next to it is Fungus Flinger, a card with Martyr. It is deliberately placed in the off-tank position. Here it would be the first target for Snipe.

Since the opponent has not played such a card, we will have to wait with Martyr until the tank is gone.
Here, Martyr does not serve me as the initiator of the snowballs.


A little later, Katrelba gets her first kill. In the following round, thanks to the chain of Resurect and Void Armor, she will send the same monster right back to the afterlife and get her 2nd kill.


Finally, when Martyr is triggered, the snowball definitely rolls....

Resurect is a great ability, but combined with Bloodlust on the opposing team, it can also lead to an unfortunate chain reaction.

Example 2


In the 2nd example, my opponent also has a Martyr card in the lineup. In addition, he has the powerful Djinn Oshannus. In this special constellation the rule Rebirth should be mentioned. It leads, in connection with Martyr, to funny results...


Quora und Oshannus sind bereits gut gebufft und Quora kommt mit dieser Initialstärkung auch direkt auf den 1. Kill.
Normalerweise wäre ein so stark gebuffter Oshannus bereits das Ende des Matches. Aber dank Bloodlust und der enormen Stärke von Quora ist das hier nicht der Fall.


Rebirth leads here, as in the game before Resurect, to the fact that the Quora-Paintrain slowly but surely picks up speed...


Is there no antidote?

Okay the combination of Bloodlust and Martyr is strong. And even though in both cases I was dealing with Dekcs that were at a lower level, it becomes clear how much potential there is in this combo.

But what can be done about it?

Dispel is the antidote of choice. All cards with Dispel become increasingly important. They make all the nice staks from Martyr and Bloodlust disappear into thin air when hit.
So far, not very many cards have the ability. But there are 2 neutral cards which are also playable in Modern:


Both are reasonably affordable and help against this strong ability.

Here are still the two fights in full length:

Example 1
Example 2

I hope you enjoyed it.

See you soon on the battlefield!


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