Splinterlands Share Your Battle Challenge: Spineback Turtle

Splinterlands Share Your Battle Challenge: SPINEBACK TURTLE

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This week we have another lovely throwback to the recent but now so far away days in which we had access to Beta edition cards. I figured I would miss them... but honestly, I thought maybe I'd only miss Cerberus (my favorite). Seems I actually miss a few more of them, and Spineback Turtle (at level 4) is one of them. Yup. This card does more than remind me of Mario Kart, it takes names. Thorns is a stellar ability and we all know that. Health is a stellar stat and this card meets all the criteria for a frontliner for a cost of only 4 mana.

Let's have a look at the card art!

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He left Mario Kart without even asking!


My opinion on the card design: Not that my opinion matters... OK hang on, I need a different way to start this. It's 2022, crypto is going down, and all the king's men can't put Humpty Dumpty together again. My opinion DOES matter! What I think of this card is that it COMPLETELY reminds me 100% of the ultra homing super fast turtle shell that you get to use in Mario Kart to chase the first place person all the way across the track until it gets them! Yeah! So Mr./Mrs. Spineback Turtle ran over there (or uh, crawled... slowly... as turtles do) and said they want their shell back. Took it. Now they're here in crypto land, NFTs, Blockchain gaming Spineback Turtle and this is where that shell is gonna stay. This is indeed one of the alpha cards, the coloring is suspicious similar to that of the other alpha cards of the Water Splinter. That blue/purple tone it has reminds me of other cards in the edition very much, not the least of which: Water Elemental, and Pirate Captain's pants! Check it out:

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Color scheme confirmed! I have to say I find it's quite an elegant color. The artists really went all out for the alpha art, which is impressively considering that, at the time, nobody knew what a huge hit Splinterlands would turn out to be. Well done!

My History with this card: This card was made available to me as a starter card when I began playing this game. Initially, I used it quite frequently, mainly due to its low mana cost and the fact that you get a decent chunk of HP. It was always my go-to choice for Little League game mode, even before I knew about its full potential upon reaching level 4!

Official Lore: "Spineback Turtles live around the edges of the Dark Water, in the inner seas of ΛZMΛRÉ. They can breathe air, but the incredibly harsh climate of the Water Splinter makes the recesses of the deep more comfortable. They are generally gentle creatures, but when roused to battle,they are shockingly difficult to destroy." -Splinterlands.com

Unofficial Lore: Seriously this is from Mario Kart Lore, pay attention: "Once fired, the Spiny Shell will travel straight forwards for a second or two. If it hits an obstacle during this time, it will be destroyed, so care must be taken to avoid wasting it. After a few seconds, the shell will begin traveling along the ground, following the track ahead of the shooter. Any karts that the Spiny Shell hits will be thrown into the air. This can be avoided by moving out of the way, as it will not target anyone except the leader of the race. Once it gets to the leader, it will crash into them and disappear, sending them flying a fairly long distance (enough to fling them over some barriers that normally cannot be jumped over). The shell makes a highly distinctive siren sound while traveling.". Source: https://www.mariowiki.com/Spiny_Shell_(blue)

Stats from Splinterlands:

Looking at these stats, ...

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Let's look at the level-ups and note any important milestones:

  1. Base level Stats as seen on the card

  2. An increase of 1 health.

  3. An increase of 1 armor.

  4. The addition of THORNS ability ~ Important milestone here. Thorns is a very useful skill, which can completely destroy the opponent's tank and also any other melee monster that comes into contact with it. This is the ability that makes the summoner Mylor Crowling so famous! Melee doing damage to this card will take 2 damage back (1 if it has shield ability).

  5. An increase of 1 attack. ~ Important ability to get one more damage to put pressure on the opposing frontline tank.

  6. An increase of 1 armor.

  7. An increase of 1 health.

  8. An increase of 1 speed.

  9. An increase of 1 attack.

  10. An increase of 1 health.

Recommended level:

First I should note that this card is quite viable even at base level. Taking these milestones into account, however, a level 4 of this card is STRONGLY recommended, since keeping pressure on the opposing frontline in a consistent matter is important, especially against healing units. You really want a card that returns damage to anybody that attacks it. This is HUGE.

The battle! Click here for the BATTLE!

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Setting: Ranked match in Silver 2, month of January, 2022
Opponent: MOSCOW-03, with no less than FOUR gold cards. That's how you start a new year!
Ruleset was the following....

  • Total Mana Cost Allowed: 17
  • Splinters Allowed: Fire, Life, Water, Death, and Earth
  • Special Conditions: Silenced Summoners

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Silenced Summoners is, to me, actually one of the most interesting ruleset conditions there are. It means that, for this battle, neither side's summoner will apply any of their special stats or effects! That means no +1 ranged for General Sloan, no Blast for Yodin, and definitely no Thorns for Mylor Crowling. I find it interesting specifically because it breaks the splinter archetypes and really lets you focus on the cards themselves, outside of the context of their summoners.

Battle Plan

I considered several factors, but the most important here was that Summoners abilities are left out completely! Every time this happens, I feel like I do at the beginning of a chess match. I see all the pieces in front of me and think about all the things that they can do. When summoners are only there for levels, then your cards need to do the heavy lifting on their own. Now, that being considered, I did keep in mind that I had rented a level 4 Spineback Turtle. This already has an ability of its own, thorns, so it seemed like the ideal opportunity. In addition to that, it's a relatively low mana cost Match, so a card that can tank, have thorns, and also only cost 4 mana is ideal for this situation. It was great because I had literally just rented the card too! As for the plan, well, it's incredibly difficult to predict what the opponent will do when no summoners are available, but one thing is for sure: The heavily mana or range oriented Splinters are much less likely to be used. These depend on the summoner's ability to give +1 to their damage type to really be most effective. For this reason, I considered it would be very unlikely that my opponent would use anything mana-related (Earth, Water, Delwyn) and also unlikely to use General Sloan or Selenia. Even more unlikely would be to face ay of the legendary summoners.

All factions, other than Dragon, were available here. This means that it's also less likely to face some of the popular dragon cards such as Djinn Chwala and Manticore. They're terrifying!

View of the Battlefield

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Battle Lineup

Summoner: Kelya Frendul. OK, disclaimer here. You're probably thinking "Why waste one additional mana on a summoner for abilities they can't even use?".I have a reason! It's because I had rented the level 3 of this summoner is the one I rented, and you need to have a leveled up summoner to use a level 4 Spineback Turtle.

Position 1: Spineback Turtle! The star himself, here to really drive the point home. I feel bad for the opposing tank, that's for sure. Thorns is one of the best abilities as I've reiterated many times. Use it.

Position 2: Furious Chicken: Go-to filler for 0 mana cost. Not much to be said here.

Position 3: Crustacean King: One of the two base-level healers of the water Splinter. I prefer Crustacean King over the other one because he also does 1 ranged damage and he has a shield to begin with. Spineback Turtle's 7 health is enough to warrant a healer.

Position 4: Venari Wavesmith: This card may be out of fashion now, and plummeted in value do to the change of meta with Chaos Legion, but it is still an excellent card. Getting those two pieces of armor on every card is definitely worth the mana cost, especially if it also does damage to boot. I still recommend this card.

Position 5: Torrent Fiend: No cost Mana, a great filler that also does damage. The FIEND cards are some of the best of all of Chaos Legion.

Position 6: Hardy Stonefish: I put this here to defend against Sneak. Honestly, this card is actually quite spectacular. For one mana cost you even get an armor, which means that in most cases, unless facing magic, it can tank two hits. Since most Stealth cards are physical damage dealers, this card is fantastic.

Did it Work?

Absolutely. The opponent had a tough team, but the healing power of Xenith Monk wasn't enough to survive the Thorns and ranged attacks from Crustacean King as well as Wavesmith. I think this was clearly a one-sided battle, which is great for me but unfortunate for my opponent. There isn't much to say other than that the backline tanks were unnecessary since the opponent went for a full forward-assault and didn't use any sneak cards.

What did our Weekly Unit do?

Our weekly unit held the frontline like an absolute champ. It showed that the health pool was so significant that it was able to stay alive with the healing assists of Crustacean King. The thorns did a lot of damage over time, bringing down their tank, Xenith Monk, which is also quite a good choice.

Based on this information, let's have a quick look at the current market value of this card in our COST ANALYSIS for a Level 1 Spineback Turtle:

Beta Version:

Current Low price (1card): $3.730
Current Best price (per BCX): $2.333
Current High Bid: $3.220
Current Market Value: $2.333

Alpha Version:

Current Low price (1card): $8.970
Current Best price (per BCX): $3.818
Current High Bid: $7.500
Current Market Value: $3.818

Recommended Usage

Summoner(s): Any of the water Splinter summoners. It's just a great, flexible tank. It has enough of a health pool to tank magic, and it does great against melee. Keya, Alric, Lir, or anybody.
League: I would recommend this card for Bronze league and for Silver league as well.

Not Recommended when...

Overall, there are a few scenarios that come to mind in which I would not recommend this card. In high mana matches, there are better choices you can have for more mana cost, of course. So perhaps I do not recommend it if you have a lot of Mana available.

Conclusions

I love this card more than any 4 mana card has a right to be loved. I just find it so incredibly tanky for its cost, that I am constantly impressed every time that I rent it.

Personal Opinion

This is a beautiful card, with beautiful art, and more than anything it is incredibly thematic for its design and name. It is a turtle, which is tanky, and it has spines on its back, which signify thorns. This is one of my favorite cards in the game (after Cerberus of course). I love my four-mana tanks!

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Be sure to join Splinterlands if you enjoy a TCG that allows for a myriad of battle tactics. If you're interested, I invite you to utilize my referral link:
https://splinterlands.com?ref=letsjam



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