Welcome to Card Type Week! Each day this week, we'll take a look at one of the card types in Legends of Norrath. By the end of the week, you'll know everything about how the game is played.
Today's card is an avatar card. You're not going to see many of these because your play deck needs only one avatar. Unlike the other card types, your avatar card automatically begins the game in play. Let's take a look at an avatar:
Exert this avatar and pay 3 power Choose an opponent. He discards a card at random.
There's a lot going on here, so let's take things one by one. First of all, the yellow template and the archetype symbol in the top right indicate that this avatar is a priest. This piece of information will be used when you are deck-building. Your other cards must either have that same priest symbol (and yellow border), or they must have no archetype symbol at all.
The avatar's name is at the top of the card. This avatar's name is Eluviel. To the left of the name, in the top-left corner, is the card type symbol. This particular symbol is found on all avatar cards.
Right underneath the name is a traits section. The only trait that Eluviel has is "Dark Elf." You probably knew that from looking at his picture.
On the left side of the card are Eluviel's combat attributes. Starting from the top, these are:
This is the attack attribute. It can be used when it is your turn and Eluviel is attacking his enemies.
This is the defense attribute. It can be used when it is your opponent's turn and Eluviel is under attack.
This is the damage bonus attribute. It can be used at the end of a combat to deal additional damage to Eluviel's foes, but only if Eluviel wins.
This is the health attribute. Unlike the other attributes, this is a passive attribute, you never explicitly choose to use health. Instead it defines the amount of damage Eluviel can take before he is eliminated.
Finally, like all avatars, Eluviel has a special action, written in the game text area at the bottom of the card. Let's come back to that and first talk about exertion.
One of the important game concepts to understand about Legends of Norrath is that you generally have multiple ways to use a card, and that it's up to you to decide when to go ahead and use one. The decision aspect is important, because typically you can only use a card once per round - where a round is defined as each player taking one turn. For example, if you decide to use Eluviel's attack attribute to win a fight, you won't be able to use his damage bonus in that same fight.
When you do decide to use one of Eluviel's active combat attributes, he becomes exerted which means he cannot be exerted for another attribute until you reach the ready phase during your turn. (We'll cover the entire turn sequence in an article next week.)
With exertion explained, I think we can go back and tackle Eluviel's special action. It says:
"Exert this avatar and pay 3 power Choose an opponent. He discards a card at random."
There's a couple things to learn here. First of all, this is an activated action, meaning it is something you must choose to do, rather than a passive action which is happening all the time. You will find out that some avatars have passive actions, but most have activated actions.
The arrow symbol in the middle of the sentence is a cost-to-effect icon, meaning that the text to the left is the cost and the text to the right is the effect. In other words, in order to trigger Eluviel's special effect, you must pay its cost. The cost in this case is twofold: you must exert Eluvial and pay 3 power. Power is a resource that you will use during the game to both play cards and trigger actions on your cards in play. We'll talk more about power in tomorrow's article.
The final thing to point out about Eluviel's special action is just what that symbol means at the beginning. All activated actions are preceded by a timing symbol. In this case, that symbol represents the main phase, meaning that you can only use Eluviel's special power during the main phase on your own turn.
Eluviel's special action is not something you would use at the beginning of the game, for two reasons. First of all, 3 power is a lot to pay at the beginning of the game, as we'll explain tomorrow. Secondly, from what you've learned about the exertion rules, once you exert Eluviel for any purpose, you can't exert him for another reason until your next ready phase. Early in the game, before he's fully equipped and has mustered a sufficient army to his side, you'll be very tempted to use Eluviel for one of his combat attributes.
How Do You Get Avatars?
The last piece of the card to talk about is that information in the lower-left corner. This is called collector information, and is shown in set-rarity-card number form. Eluviel's collector information is "1-F-5" which indicates the following:
1: This simply means that Eluviel is part of set 1 (called Oathbound) of Legends of Norrath. This number will increment as game expansions are released.
F: Indicates that Eluviel is a fixed-rarity card which means it is not found randomly in booster packs. Eluviel is found in the Oathbound Priest Starter Deck.
5: This indicates that Eluviel is the fifth fixed card in the Oathbound set.
There is one last final thing to talk about concerning avatars, and I've saved the best for last. Legends of Norrath avatars are not considered part of the Oathbound card set, and they're never found in booster packs. Instead, as a player, you will have access to an avatar creation tool, which lets you create your own custom avatar cards! Revealing all the details of this process is beyond the scope of this article, but I thought you should know. Eluviel is one of the four story avatar cards that come packaged in starter decks, so you don't have to use the avatar creation tool if you don't want to. But I have a feeling that avatar creation will be something that many players will gravitate toward, so that you can create your own Legend of Norrath -- perhaps named after your favorite EQ or EQII character!