The Vingolf – Engage Knights deckbuilding kit is one of the better ways to get into Force of Will. It has enough cards to make multiple decks, and comes with a preselected roster of Rulers to represent each attribute.
Today we’ll look into each of them and examine their strengths and weaknesses.
At first glance, Hannibal seemed to be the weakest of the bunch. Her ATK and DEF are nothing phenomenal, and she dies to Flame of Outerworld. What she lacks in combat prowess however, she more than makes up with the diversity of her abilities.
Her (2) ability may seem mediocre at first glance, but in practice, it represents a constant threat of screwing the opponent’s combat math. A measly boost of 200 DEF can spell the difference between the opponent using two cards instead of one to kill one of your resonators (hence gaining you a favorable trade), and because it’s a really low-impact ability, it can fly over their calculations and have the tendency to be forgotten about during the course of the match. It also grants a huge initiative in combat because it allows your resonators to survive fights that they otherwise wouldn’t. The downside of course, is its cost – you won’t be getting the full benefit of her ability without a decent number of stones.
Like the rest of the Vingolf Rulers, you gain access to the rest of her abilities after J-Activation. Her enter effect is one of the best in the group because its condition is very easy to accomplish since most Resonators become rested as a necessary step in combat. Outside of that, there are also a number of cards that forcefully rest opposing Resonators.
She also gains Target Attack, which gives her more combat flexibility and is often used to pick off smaller targets. Finally, the gain 200 life is an icing on the cake, and is a decent incentive to get her hands dirty.
+ (2) dictates combat and saves lives.
+ Built-in conditional removal.
+ More combat options because of Target Attack.
+ Heals a small amount, which can be relevant in tight, close games.
– Fails the Flame of Outerworld Test.
– Because of the diverse nature of her abilities, she’s not suited for decks with a linear, focused game plan.
Unlike Hannibal, Alexander’s abilities lean more towards the offensive end, and needs little assistance from Resonators. Her (2) Ability allows her to pick off small Resonators, finish off injured ones, kill larger ones with multiple activations, or function as a 3-cost removal when paired with Demonflame. It’s a handy ability, but nothing spectacular.
Her J-Ruler side however, can swing a game’s momentum to her favor. First, she’ll likely get to kill a resonator with her 800-damage enter ability. Then she can attack as well thanks to Swiftness, and to top it off, she gives Swiftness and First Strike to a Resonator when she does. Because of this huge swing in momentum, opponents have to pay close attention to how their field is arranged lest they want to run into a wipe with one tactical J-Activation.
Alexander isn’t without shortcomings however. Just like Hannibal, she’s susceptible to Flame of Outerworld, and she actually has the lowest health among the five. Her powers as a J-Ruler makes her a high-priority target, so don’t expect her to hang around for too long, especially since Fire has no tools to protect their J-Rulers. This means knowing the right timing on when to hang back and when to J-Activate her is crucial to her gameplay.
+ Decent (2) ability which combines well with Demonflame.
+ Built-in 800-damage removal.
+ Grants Swiftness and First Strike
– Lowest DEF among the five Rulers.
– High priority target.
– Requires precise J-Activation timing to get its full benefit.
Julius specializes in evading and dictating combat by granting Flying to her Resonators and making sure that they hit their targets unimpeded. That said, her (2) is less impressive as it sounds because it costs a lot for what it does.
Her J-Ruler side is also lackluster compared to the first two. She leans more towards the defensive end of the spectrum with 1000 DEF, and has Flying herself. This would have made her a good blocker if it wasn’t for the fact that the popular Resonators that fly these days are huge monstrosities that can easily power through her.
The best of her J-Ruler abilities would be her enter skill, which draws a couple of cards. This is useful if you need additional draws to fuel your offense without resorting to filling your decks with defensive cards like Cheshire Cat, or dedicated drawing spells like Voice of the False God and Witch’s Dagger.
Finally, her last ability gives a good incentive to play Water, and allows you to pitch the more useless cards in your hand for combat advantage. I’ve heard flying Pied Pipers are good.
+ Passes the Flame of Outerworld Test.
+ Built-in draw engine.
+ Has a way to turn useless cards into combat advantage as long as you’re playing Water.
+ Can block flying.
– Popular flying Resonators (e.g. Gilles de Rais, Mephistopheles, Gwiber) overpower her.
– Hard to find use for her (2) ability until the mid-late game, and even then you want her to be J-Activated instead.
Minamoto no Yoshitsune
Minamoto’s (2) ability is the direct opposite of Hannibal’s, being able to increase the ATK of a Resonator instead of its DEF. While this ability doesn’t guarantee survival like Hannibal’s, what it does is increase the likelihood of your Resonators to trade up with bigger ones. That, and the extra damage to the opponent eventually piles up.
Her J-Activate enter ability can be utilized in various ways. First, it is an offensive tool which allows Resonators to attack a second time. Second is that it’s a defensive tool that allows you to have a couple blockers after attacking. Finally, it’s good with Resonators with useful Activate abilities that require them to rest, allowing them a second use of it on the same turn.
While Minamoto doesn’t have a symbol skill like the others, she makes up for it by having great ATK and DEF, and her final ability only makes her a bigger threat as the game progresses.
+ (2) ability allows for trading up or sneaking in bits of damage that adds up over time.
+ High ATK and DEF.
+ J-Ruler enter ability has a lot of great uses.
+ Her last ability makes her hard to kill (as long as you have resources to spare).
– Doesn’t have any symbol skills.
– Needs two friendly Resonators in play to maximize her J-Activate.
Vlad is arguably the most popular of the five for one reason alone, and that is her (2) ability, which is a 400-damage swing per activation. The fact that she can do it in Ruler form makes her immune to any form of disruption (outside Glimpse of Kaguya), and is good enough to be built around on as a primary win condition.
Her J-Ruler side is surprisingly good as well. Her enter ability covers a cost range where some of the most useful Resonators can be found, with an icing on the cake in the form of life gain. Her activated ability is great as well, since it allows her to return to her Ruler side, and be able to J-Activate again for removal if needed. The only downside to it is that it costs a lot of resources to do, but is necessary if you want to maximize both of her forms.
+ (2) ability is good enough to be built around on.
+ Passes the Flame of Outerworld test.
+ J-Activate enter ability is useful, built-in removal for smaller Resonators, and the life gain helps too.
– No symbol skills.
– J-Ruler activate ability costs a lot.
And, that’s it! I hope this guide helped in understanding the Engage Knights Rulers better, and may you guys always make the most awesome card brews!
(card images from http://www.fowdb.altervista.org)