(Cover image source: SatsukiManyula)
With The Moonlit Savior prerelease this weekend, I’ve prepared a primer for anyone who wants to participate.
Most TMS prereleases use the following format:
- 6 packs of The Moonlit Savior
- 20 card minimum main deck
- 8-14 card stone deck
- Proxy Ruler from TMS
You should open your packs as quickly as possible and organize them by color. For example, put all your white cards in one pile, your green cards in another pile, etc. This lets you evaluate which of your colors offer the most options. I recommend putting your multicolor cards in a separate ‘multicolor’ pile. Once this is done, you want to go through your piles and evaluate which cards are strong and which are just filler bodies for your curve.
To evaluate cards properly, you need to understand what the set offers.
Primary Mechanic: Awakening
The primary TMS mechanic is awakening, utilized across four of the five colors. Most awakenings are powerful effects that require Moon will, so you need to note how many ways you can produce moon in your pool. A synergistic deck that can take advantage of the powerful awakenings in this set is likely to trump a deck banking on bombs – Cherudim is uncommon and multiples in your deck will take out any number of Athenas or other red/darkness threats your opponent tries to use. The same applies to Wolf in the Moonlight – 8/8 Target Attack is insanely powerful in limited, especially at common (!!).
Besides awakening resonators, there are some resonators with moon-based activated abilities that are highly playable:
Alongside powerful awakening resonators, there is a regalia that can pay Awakening costs:
It’s a rare, so you may have to make do simply with:
There are no ways to produce moon will outside of these (excepting the two moon dual stones), so if your pool does not have them then your best bet is probably to construct a deck composed of individually powerful cards with bombs, combat tricks, removal, and relevant bodies. Note that awakening is powerful enough to be worth splashing, so if you have some moon support try to fit in your stronger awakening cards.
These individually powerful threats make any deck better as long as the deck can reasonably support them without being too greedy with stones.
Like MtG limited, Force of Will sealed often revolves around resonator combat. Evaluating how and when to block is a matter of knowing what combat tricks exist in the set.
The only white combat trick is insane – if the awakening is paid for then the target resonator likely becomes a bomb-level threat. Watch out for this common (!!).
Blue is one of the weaker colors in the set, so there’s not much to play around or even care about.
The only wind resonator with a cost of 3 is Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame. If your opponent is not playing red, the only wind resonator you need to worry about with this card is a 2-drop or less.
Nighttime Raiders isn’t as scary as it looks – the resonator put into play must be a darkness resonator and most darkness resonators are not very threatening stats-wise except Lucifer. Izanami’s Curse is listed as a combat trick instead of pure removal since it decreases attack, and that is what it will primarily be used for if at all.
If your opponent is playing blue/black, watch out for this remnant card at common.
There are no relevant Red combat tricks outside Demonflame (listed under Removal).
Keep in mind: The best removal in FoW limited is usually your resonator attacking the problem resonator. However, pure removal is good in almost every situation.
Demonflame and The Executioner are common. The rest are rare or higher, so hard removal is hard to come by in this set.
Among one-drops, there are at least three one-cost resonators with 600 defense. Many two-drops are 500/500. This means any resonator with at least 600 attack has a relevant body.
Note that Huanglong may not be worth playing since there are no other Four Sacred Beasts in the set and a vanilla 1000/1000 for 6 will is expensive.
- White is the most powerful color with above-average cards across all rarities and excellent synergy.
- Green packs a couple bombs, decent synergy (beast resonators and beast-based spells), and is quite powerful across all rarities.
- Black has a super rare bomb and strong removal, although most of black’s strengths are at higher rarities.
- Red has a rare bomb (also shares a multicolor rare bomb with green), one rare relevant-body resonator, and the most applicable general removal spell.
- Blue has a super rare bomb and fringe combat tricks.
Kaguya’s ruler side is strong because will-fixing is powerful in limited. There are only 3 Moons in the set so the draw effect won’t be relevant most of the time.
The Moonlit Savior’s J-Ruler side is able to cancel opposing resonator awakenings (since they are ETB triggers) and her God’s Art basically screams ‘alpha strike time’. She’s also hard to kill as a J-Ruler since the primary way of destroying a J-Ruler in limited is through damage and Kaguya has an ability to prevent damage.
If your pool supports a heavy awakenings-based deck, Kaguya is probably your best choice since she allows you to go heavy into moon without sacrificing green support.
Primogenitor’s ruler side is more destructive than constructive. His ruler side value will depend on how many regalia your opponents have and since both regalia are rare, he is not likely to be useful until j-activated.
Where the Primogenitor shines is on his J-Ruler side. His first ability can stop enemy J-Ruler activated abilities (including God’s Arts!) while his second is a removal spell given enough stones. The God’s Art ranges from bonkers to mediocre depending on what kind of deck your opponent is playing – if your opponent’s deck is heavily awakening-synergistic then stealing a single resonator is probably not very impressive. However, against a midrange value deck the God’s Art can rob them of their best bomb and steal the game.
If your pool primarily supports a midrange value deck, the Primogenitor is among the stronger choices.
If your pool has the heavy-red support for Alisaris, you might be able to get away with it. However, you’ll likely need to run more than 20 cards and even then you probably won’t judgment unless the game goes really long.
Avoid unless you don’t have any moon support but have a sizable blue pool.
Slightly better than Alisaris, but only because the Songstress provides information on her ruler side. Her J-Ruler side provides an extremely cheap pure blue removal in her God’s Art, but otherwise Shion doesn’t do all that much unless paired with her Regalia. Considering how much value both Kaguya and Gill Lapis provide on their J-Ruler sides, the only reason to play Shion is because you have no way to utilize Kaguya or Gill Lapis.
If you have Alice, you’re better off quickcasting her for 6. Also, against the Primogenitor he will just not deal lethal damage to you and then use his God’s Art to steal your Alice and regalia anyway if you were lucky enough to have them in your pool.
Unlike TTW, which focused on archetypes of heavy resonator-based support (Fairies, Tea Party, Beasts), TMS limited features a single strong mechanic (awakening) alongside many cards of varying power levels similar to SKL. The primary mechanic (awakening) is powerful enough to splash into a deck even if moon support is scarce, and most decks will likely comprise a mixture of raw value and awakening synergies.