This week's Splinterlands Challenge of the Week was to showcase Serpent of the Flame from the Fire Splinter.
This is certainly a handy melee attack monster, with high health boosted by 2 shields, a decent 3 attack, which is probably going to be 4 with the standard Fire Summoner. More significantly he has some decent buffs - I've never liked retaliate, that's like a 50% bonus to the attack on average, then poison, one of my favourite abilities potentially adding in another plus 2 damage every round and piercing eradicating shields.
However, given his lack of shield/ void/ or self-heal, I'd avoid using him as a tank, because there are better options out there (Lord A being the most obvious example) and so I'd expect to see Serpent of the Flame mainly used in pro-melee rule sets - such as only melee monsters, as it's a very handy addition to that line up - a useful second or third tank once (presumably) some of the damage has been removed, or that retaliate coming in handy as a defence against sneak attacks.
I don't play Fire myself, but this battle features my opponent using Serpent of the Flame very effectively in an only melee monsters rule set.
He did a lot right as far as I'm concerned, but he still lost because I played Chanseus, a great choice for this rule set, so this battle showcases an effective way of how to beat Serpent of the Flame!
The Rule Set and Line Up
From my opponent's perspective:
Summoner - Malric
- Cerberus - classic tank, self heal and retaliate
- Serpentine Soldier - a decent second tank with shieilds and thorns
- Serpent of the Flame - another solid melee monster
- Molton Ogre - good for demoralise
- Pit Ogre - good damage, stun and enrage
- Phineus rage - probably there to soak up sneak!
Did my opponent's strategy work?
He did a lot right IMO, but no, he still lost! To see the fail click here!
- Round 1 - we trade blows, no losses
- Round 2 - I lose my Unicorn thanks to a retaliate in the previous round, he gets resurrected!
- Round 3 - I lose my Unicorn (again) and my opponent loses his Pit Ogre - that was kind of wasted!
- Round 4 - He loses his Molten Ogre
- Round 5 - No losses, but we'er now clearly in a phase where shields are effectively preventing the Cerberus from doing any damage on the Thunderbird, just one shield!
- Round 6 - This were the Serpent of the Flame really does his damage - he retaliates and takes out my Feral and then Retaliates and poisons my Assassin
- Round 7 - starts by the Assassin dying from poison!
- Round 8 - I take out his Cerberus
- Rounds 9-12 - it takes a few misses, but eventually I take out his Serpentine Soldier!
How important was Serpent of the Flame?
I've used this 'one at at time' melee only strategy myself before, it is the perfect counter to anticipated sneak attacks - you just load up the back row with thorns and retaliate and let your opponent's monsters rip themselves apart!
It also nullified my planned triaging of Shieldbearer, he wasn't attacked once! He was supposed to soak up damage and be resurrected with full shields, but it didn't work out that way!
Along with Cerberus I'd say Serpent of the Flame was the most important card - between his retaliate and poison he took out both of my sneak attacks.
However, my opponent's deck just couldn't stand up to the double repair my Life line up had at hand, that was the weakness in his 'one at a time strategy'.
So my opponent successfully countered my strategy, he just wasn't strong enough.
Maybe if he'd have played the Serpent of the Flame at the back, that poison would have sunk in earlier, and then he could have lucked out with a win?
Maybe, but I doubt it, I still think repair would have won the day!
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