SUD Effects: Knowledge
Updated: Jul 10, 2021
Knowledge is power, right? So, it is only fitting we review the Knowledge family next, a family of Effects that rewards strategy and situational awareness. There is a high skill-ceiling on cards and factions that leverage Knowledge Effects, but they add a lot of dynamism to the game and can lead to some truly remarkable moments.
Abilities that control the arrangement of cards in decks.
Ordering abilities let players determine when specific cards initiate their Lifecycle. The key word here is “control,” so shuffling doesn’t count. Shuffling cards only superficially “arranges” a deck - a blind rearrangement. We conclude that shuffling is not an Effect, despite its potential benefits, and this as good a place as any to explain that choice.
For one, there are currently no cards in the game that exclusively shuffle a deck nor are there any cards in the game that directly benefit from shuffling. The closest we can get to a pure shuffle “effect” is New Acolytes, which shuffles minions from discard piles into decks. And the closest card that benefits from shuffling might be the Super Spies’ Titan, Moon Zero Three. But even then, Moon Zero Three’s power counter comes from searching, not from the shuffling required after searching. While shuffling can provide incidental benefits, the act of shuffling is always a mechanical by-product or rules requirement. In other words, shuffling is a mechanic and not an effect.
If AEG comes out with a “shuffle an opponent’s deck” ability, we would reluctantly code it as an Order Effect – like how Viking Funeral is coded as a Return. But we’re not going to go and code every ability that shuffles a deck as an Order. That would pollute the Order category - like how self-destruction would have polluted the Destroy category.
Abilities that search a deck for cards.
So strong. So so strong. Find abilities circumvent uncertainty and provide consistency unlike any other. G.E.L.F. is one of the best (if not THE best) 4-power minions in the game. Sprout is the centerpiece of the Killer Plants’ synergy profile.
Then there are factions who’s entire game plan (or theme) is expressed through Find abilities: Rock Stars need to find Groupies, Superheroes need Mild-Mannered Citizens to call in the right hero at the right time, Penguins play minions off the top of the deck, and Itty Critters...(nuff said).
Yeah, so Find is super important to get right for synergy analysis and for our deck builder tool. Certain cards are conspicuously missing from this category, so let’s keep moving so we can talk about why.
Abilities that allow a player to see cards in another player’s card pool or in a deck.
A player’s card pool is composed of all the cards a player owns or controls in stages 1-3 of the Lifecycle. All the “reveal” and “look” abilities qualify as View, but should a card like Portal qualify as a Find as well as a View? It might come as a surprise to learn that no, it should not and here’s why. Portal allows us to “search” only the top five cards of our deck. If no minions are revealed, then we don’t get to place any minions in our hand.
Find abilities guarantee access to the card so long as it is in the deck. Meanwhile, View abilities offer no such guarantee. Playing a minion off the top of our deck reveals cards until a minion is revealed – the minion is guaranteed. Cards like Portal and Locals do not guarantee we will draw a minion, only that if a minion is revealed we get to draw it.
Big takeaways are that shuffling is a mechanic and seeing cards is not extracting them. Knowledge effects find (*wink) their home in Control, Snowball, and Swarm playstyles in that order of prominence (*wink). Newer players should avoid Knowledge-heavy factions because of the high skill-ceiling. Trust us, new players will enjoy exploring the game more when they aren't having to read more cards, more often. With Lifecycle, Power, and Knowledge under our belt, it is time to enter even more uncharted Territory with the next family of Effects.