Day 5 of Empires of the Ascended (Taliyah’s Reveal)
Welcome all, and I hope you’re having a beautiful sunny Shuriman morning.
I’m Jordan “WhatAmI,” Abronson and I’ve got the cure for those Monday blues.
Let’s get into the latest set of spoilers from our new Runeterra region.
Here are the new Shurima cards from Empires of the Ascended:
- Taliyah (Champion level 1 and 2)
- Stoneweaving (Taliyah’s champion spell and standalone spell)
- Shaped Stone (Spell)
- Sai Scout (Follower)
- Hibernating Rockbear/Grumpy Rockbear (Landmark/Follower)
- Desert Naturalist/Grumpy Rockbear (Follower/Follower)
- Salt Spire/Grumpy Rockbear (Landmark/Follower)
- Rock Hopper/Roiling Sands (Follower/Landmark)
- Unraveled earth/Roiling Sands (Spell/Landmark)
- Ancient Hourglass/Stasis Statue (Spell/Landmark)
The new Empires of the Ascended cards will be revealed every morning at Mobalytics so be sure to keep up with the latest cards!
For even more impressions, tune into Swim’s video breakdown below.
If you missed out on previous ones, check out the rest of the card reveals.
- 4 Mana 2|4 champion
- Text: Summon an exact copy of an allied landmark. Levels up: You’ve summoned 5+ landmarks
- Taliyah level 2
- 4 mana 3|5 champion
- Text: Summon an exact copy of an allied landmark. Attack: deal 2 to my blocker. If it’s dead or gone, deal 2 to the enemy nexus. If you have a landmark, do this 2 more times.
Alright, so my first thought on Taliyah is that given the other cards we are going to review today and the fact that she can level in deck, her level up condition is deceptively easy.
Most champions have to live or die on their level one value with their level two being a nice bonus, but I think Taliyah may get to realistically trade on both sides from the start.
Her side one is heavily under-stated for five mana but makes up for that by getting instant value as she hits the board.
While most of the other region’s landmarks aren’t really looking to be duplicated the new countdown effects are looking to make her ability sound a lot like “Summon a 5|4,” or potentially better.
When she flips she is an absolutely nutso attacker, looking to effectively apply six Overwhelm damage on a difficult to interact with body.
Definitely look for this rock surfer to make some waves, perhaps with Trifarian Assessor to back up her and her army of 5|4’s.
- Stoneweaving/Taliyah’s Stoneweaving
- 1 mana Burst speed spell
- Text: Look at three random landmarks you can afford. Pick one to create in hand.
Ok, so the power level of this card will depend heavily on whether it cares about what regions you are in or not.
If this hits only Shuriman, or Shuriman plus your backup region landmarks, it probably doesn’t see play, though you’ll be glad to use it to help level your Taliyah when you double-draw her.
On the other hand, if this can randomly pull things like Veiled Temple or Howling Abyss to double as an actual alternate win condition then landmark-shaded Spell Thief over here could be worthy of some serious consideration.
- Shaped Stone
- 1 mana Burst speed spell
- Text: Give an ally +1|+1 this round. If you’ve summoned a landmark this game, give it +3|+1 instead.
Wow, the poor Radiant Strike did nothing wrong and you’re going to do it like this?
This card is going to be the second hallmark trick of the mono-Shuriman Sun Disc deck right alongside Quicksand.
It will also definitely see usage in what is quickly looking like a powerful midrange shell focused around Taliyah.
Whether it can splash further than that is questionable, but if a Soraka/Shurima deck shows up to the party I could see Shaped Stone helping out there as well with some surprisingly powerful swing turns.
- Sai Scout
- 3 mana 2|4 follower
- Play: Predict, if you pick a landmark, grant me Elusive.
So the first thing we have to think about with a card like this is, “how powerful is the Predict effect?”.
The answer is that card selection is just below actual card draw in power, and still pretty close to the top of the heap.
I think this card might be worth serious consideration in midrange or control strategies just for the 2|4 body with the Predict attached.
Add in the additional random value of gaining Elusive and you are looking golden.
Don’t play this card expecting it to be Elusive all the time, just get that sweet card selection value and be glad for your random Elusive blocker or evasive attacker when the deck stacks in your favor.
- Hibernating Rockbear
- 2 mana landmark
- Text: Countdown 3: summon a Grumpy Rockbear.
- Grumpy Rockbear
- 5 mana vanilla 5|4 follower (And he doesn’t like it, and he’s ready to eat anyone who gives him guff about it…. *Grrrr*)
So this card is clearly meant to be Taliyah’s bread and butter.
The interaction is pretty clear. Either play it on turn two and get a 5|4 popping out on turn five, or play it on turn three, duplicate it with Taliyah on turn five, and get two of the grumps swinging in on turn six, possibly with a leveled Taliyah alongside them.
This clearly packs some serious power, the only issue is when you draw them past turn three or so.
After that, they just won’t have the giant effect when they hit the board and will likely just clog your board space and your hand.
I’m definitely intrigued to test out this archetype, and I think a lot of Taliyah’s fate may be in the hands and consistency of this sleepy duo.
- Desert Naturalist
- 4 mana 2|4 follower
- Text: Play, destroy a landmark, if it’s allied, summon a Grumpy Rockbear.
I’m not going to lie to you, this card reads as absitively posolutely busted to me.
The body is a tad understated but the effect is huge.
Part of the reason landmarks have historically been so powerful is that removing them is usually if not always negative tempo. This is just the opposite.
Imagine playing Grand Plaza on three and your opponent just drops this bomb on turn four.
Their board continues to develop and your only hope of controlling it just went out the window in a flash of card disadvantage.
Even when your opponent isn’t on landmarks of their own all she needs is a little help from any of the next couple cards in line and she is a huge tempo swing, dropping down 7|8 worth of stats on turn four.
This is a powerhouse of a tool for all types of decks and I expect to see her blowing up the competitive scene.
- Salt Spring
- 4 mana Landmark
- Text: Countdown 2 summon a Grumpy Rockbear then, if you’ve summoned 4+ landmarks this game, grant the strongest ally +2|+2.
Ok, no lie, this card does not excite me nearly as much as the other Rockbear generators.
It has a chance to see play in the Rockbear archetype alongside Taliyah, who will love duping it on turn five, but is probably too slow too much good in other places.
The dream of this card is to make a 7|6 happen on turn six for a four-mana investment two turns earlier, and I just don’t think that dream is really big enough in today’s high power games.
Maybe I’ll be proven wrong and we’ll get some sick combinations of this card and the also recently spoiled promising future.
Unfortunately, I think the downside of drawing this past turn four as well as the questionable upside of drawing it at all without a Taliyah on backup will mean that once we refine the Shuriman landmark decks we go back to sleeping on Salt Spire.
- Rock Hopper
- 2 mana 3|1
- Text: When I’m summoned, summon a Roiling Sands.
- Roiling Sands
- 2 mana landmark
- Text: When an enemy is summoned, destroy me to grant it Vulnerable.
This card is extremely interesting, mostly in how it combos with Taliyah and Desert Naturalist.
First of all, this little guy advances Taliyah’s Level Up condition while serving as a great blocker or attacker in the early game, love it already.
Second of all if you can get it down after your opponent has played their creatures out for the turn, you can use the landmark it makes as a 5|4 fodder for your four drop, which sounds pretty busted.
And even all on its own the sand will likely let this card trade up in value and make it difficult for an opponent to play value creatures of their own on curve.
I expect many interesting play patterns reminiscent of Kegs out of this card and I’m looking forward to playing both with and against it.
All in all, a solid two-drop.
- Unraveled Earth
- 3 mana Burst spell
- Text: Summon two Roiling Sands, draw 1.
Ok, so this card is basically the cornerstone of the Taliyah deck, and its existence is why I think it’s so easy to level her, and also why I am so hyped about Desert Naturalist.
It cycles, gives you landmark fodder for your four drop, fits in your banked spell mana, and will also make your opponents play significantly harder if they care about their creatures at all.
This may not look like much at first blush, just another small piece of card draw, but it will be one of the main cogs that make the Taliyah deck or any other landmark-based value deck tick.
Ancient Hourglass/Stasis Statue
- Ancient Hourglass
- 2 mana Fast spell
- Text: Obliterate an ally and summon a Stasis Statue in its place.
- Stasis Statue
- 2 mana Landmark
- Text: Countdown 1: Summon an exact copy of the Obliterated unit I replaced.
Why hello there Zhonya, long time no see. How’re the kids doing?
All jokes aside this is an interesting protective tool.
It’s probably more of a tech-choice against Shadow Isles style control lists than a base-inclusion, due to its extremely reactive nature, but this will definitely be a powerful protective spell.
I think the dream of getting three Taliyah’s in play via this spell and a second copy of Taliyah is likely to be more a meme than a reality, but who knows.
You’ll be playing three Taliyah in that deck anyway, so you’re only really sacrificing a slot or two for the possibility of a triple champion.
This is another potentially scary combo with a promising future as well, and anyone who knows me knows I love “Oops I win,” moments applied to strong value tools, so maybe Ancient Hourglass will surprise me.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to ask WhatAmI during his streams (around 10AM PST basically every day).