Recent Shadow Era up version 2.86 during the Shattered Fates Expansion did a complete overhaul of the Ravager Tribe. They transitions from standard +1/+1 boring growth pattern to a more aggressive +2/+0 growth pattern. This is actually a huge change which dramatically changes their playability as a tribe in general. The update also brings in a new 2cc ally creating even more flexibility the build. The Ravagers are still a very much a combo oriented tribe, however since the update they rely a bit less on the combos in order to maintain their strategies. In addition to being combo oriented the Tribe also represents a lot of the new game cost mechanic Sustain (read more here) to help offset some of the tremendous strength of the tribe. I personally enjoy the tribe much more and have come to appreciate them through studying them.
Spitfire Hound is a decent ally option for this tribe, though with the new changes he actually takes a hit in terms of being used in Ravager builds. He provides an alternative self destruct option to Ravager Zealot, being able to target items and abilities you control. Early game he has limited use as he has low base stats until you get any of the Tribal attack modifiers into play for assistance. Before the tribe change, Ravagers in general were just out of kill range needing the damage source assistance from Spitfire Hound to aid in not taking retaliation damage. Additionally Rapacious Vermin was transitioned over to the tribe creating more competition for deck space. Spitfire Hound still has use and flexibility (can bypass stealth) in the right builds.
Favorable Pairing: items, abilities – support and attachments, heroes with abilities, attachment recycling
Rapacious Vermin is the newcomer to the tribe after being switch from the Homunculus Tribe. Flavor and playability wise he makes much more sense as a Ravager and so far I typically always include 2 copies in my starting Ravager builds. Early game he can certainly be played as a 2cc ally where he becomes the sole 2cc ally with 5hp health from any of the expansion, but not typically recommended. Rapacious Vermin has some tremendous strength not only with his stats but also with his summon ability and tribal synergies. He can usually trigger his summon ability late game when opponent may have several ability and/or attachments in play. You can gain tremendous value from this for a very low affordable cost so this has been offset with a Sustain 1HP. Due to this sustain cost Vermin can be very tricky to play, as negative attachments/effects can shut him down and he just drains your HP without being able to do anything.
Favorable Pairing: Transmogrification Curse, self ally removal, haste
Bloodstained Marauder is still the oddball of the group and nothing has changed for him with the update. His ability currently has nothing to do with the tribe. He was the first and only Ravager introduced during the Dark Prophecies expansion, before the Ravager tribe really took on any flavor. His ability allows him to produce some really nice retaliation damage, however most decks have easy ways to remove 4hp allies safely. If the tribe adds some friendly self damage summons/ability costs he could get a nice boost. Currently I would say only Ellos’ Resolve has synergy with Bloodstained Marauder because it give both defense and attack modifier but I really would not build around this pairing.
Favorable Pairing: ally damage reducers, health gain, damage of time
Cleric of the Asyn is no doubt one of the corner stone allies of the tribe, having an aggressive growth pattern revolving around the tribal synergies of item/ability destruction. The update changes his base stats from 3/4 to 2/5 so that there is a greater opportunity to create the combos triggering his ability, as well as increase the potential board presence on turn 3 from having to play setup cards on turns 1-2. His aggressive and defensive characteristics give him some great utility.
Favorable Pairing: targetable item and ability destruction, Cleric’s Mantle
Ravager Zealot is an ally that crosses into other decks frequently. The 3 base hasted damage is pretty awesome, and the ability is compareable to Bobcat but can be set up in multiple turns. He also provides a nice outlet to those additional copies of items/abilities you may not need in your deck. When he gets combo-ed up with attack modifiers or alternative haste outlet his value increases.
Favorable Pairing: items, abilities – support and attachments, heroes with abilities, attachment recycling, haste, attack boosters
Murderous Hulk is the other Ravager ally that tends to splash into non-tribal decks. His high health allows him a good opportunity to stick to the board and his ability when combed with attack modifiers allows him to single handedly control the board. His ability is able to bypass stealth but at times the board will need to be manipulated in order for the ability to hit the desired targets. He really does not bring anything to the tribe, but he is greatly enhanced by the tribe.
Favorable Pairing: attack boosters, Bloodthirsty, Obelisk of Echoes
Thriss Demolitionist is currently the only fatty of the tribe. He has a very strong ability which is basically a conditional renewable Focused Prayer with the addition to target attachments. This is great for the tribe as generally once your allies are on the board its better to free them up from negative attachments versus gaining something from removing the ally all together. His great stats and ability make him a good option even if there was competition for the 5cc spot, though I often find I may leave him out of builds because there are so many other ability/item destruction options available to the tribe. Thriss Demolitionist is a favorable ally against warriors, solo(semi) and any item/attachment heavy builds.
Favorable Pairing: Cleric of the Asyn
Ellos’ Reserve is a mixed bag of goodies, giving just a little bit of everything, but not excelling at anything. There is not a current Ravager allies that I would particularly want to use this to give extra health and/or damage reduction. Both Murderous Hulk and Cleric of the Asyn already have good staying power and Thriss Almanac/Crown of Ages boost attack much more. I just think you can get better synergy from other cards. I have not tested this card ever.
Favorable Pairing: None
Obelisk of Echoes is the most cost effect item/ability destruction cards in the game. Essentially you can get 2 uses for 1cc. The use is conditional and can sometime be difficult to pull of when you want/need it most (delay a turn or so). Obelisk of Echoes can also be used as a cheap catalyst for summon destruction allies, and can also target itself for destruction which you may consider in some circumstances.
Favorable Pairing: Cleric of the Asyn, anything aiding a Ravager to kill opponents allies
Crown of Ages is a dual use item, but does not have the same exciting feel that Thriss Almanac has since it can only buff 1 ally per turn. However, Crown of Ages is still quite useful and a lot less complicated to use. The attack buff is the most useful feature, by boosting an ally to kill range for a low cost. Purposely destroying Crown of Ages is not as ideal as the damage dealt is specific, but can bypass protector and take out stealth allies such as nightshade.
Favorable Pairing: all Ravager allies
Thriss Almanac also has a dual feature that creates some flexible options. In my opinion the attack boost is the most important piece to the entire tribe. The boost effects all allies turning them into killing machines, which is great considering there are a lot of allies with high health. Thriss Almanac is quite possibly one of the most difficult cards to use in the game because it has Sustain 1. You consistently need to keep in mind where you are at resources wise so that you can keep it in play or to have it destroy itself at a desired time. I have (still) prematurely destroy this item on a regular basis. You also have to think about when you want it to trigger for destruction too. You need to self destroy it manually to have the damage count during your turn, which will deal 2 damage killing or weaken opposing allies; If you use all your resources before ending your turn, it will auto explode at the end of your turn which will deal 2 damage killing or weaken opposing allies. This is important to consider for how you want to approach and then leave a board at the end of your turn.
Favorable Pairing: self item removal, resource renewal, resource gainers
Cleric’s Mantle is actually a really good flexible armor which, fitting the Ravager theme, has multiple uses. What people are most commonly using Cleric’s Mantle for currently is for its potential to have an ally attack the hero multiple times. This can be a game finishing maneuver if all the pieces fall into place because the tribe has access to great attack modifiers as well as multiple item and ability destruction tools. Cleric of the Asyn (no doubt reason for the name) is a great ally to combo this with. As each ability or item is destroyed he will grow prior to attacking the hero. The not so much used feature of the armor is the negative effects removal. Currently you are typically not seeing a lot of negative effects used in game. Occasionally you will see poison/enflamed, but mostly it going to be effects from Layarian Seductress, Sword Thief and Anklebreaker. This secondary feature alone provides options to the tribe that counter negative effects that (most) every class uses on occasion. If opponents start increasing the use of negative effects this card gets a tremendous boost. Currently not enough negative effects being used for it to be included consistently, however as the game progresses more negative effects will increase the value of this card. Removable Negative Effects: Ablaze, Poisoned, Disabled, Frozen, Can’t Attack, Can’t Defend. NOTE: does not remove effects of Morbid Acolyte/Layarian Diplomat, or negative effects caused by attachments (Captured Prey) or support abilities (Rain Delay) while they are still in play.
Favorable Pairing: Cleric of the Asyn, ability and item destruction
WARRIORS: This is the class I am certain that Ravagers were meant to belong to as they have the most amount of Ravager Tools available to them. Each of the shadow Warriors will use the Ravager tribe in a different way creating a bit of variety between them. I actually discovered that Crown of Age’s worked fairly good if not better than Thriss Alamanac because there are lots of build that are including Yari Bladedancer as their 2 drop and non-ravager splash.
Ter Adun he himself is a Ravager and his ability can help to control opponents items access to good draw and attack modifiers. As Ter is a slow hero, he will seek to shut down opponents draw engines forcing opponents into top deck/burst draw scenarios. If Ter can get his draw engine and combo cards, he has a change to regain and then keep the board. He will pair best with all of the ravager allies, but seek to max use of Cleric of the Asyn and Thriss Demolitionist for control. Cleric’s Mantle is a great card for Ter Adun as he has potential to max destruction in a single turn to potentially OTK an opponents hero.
Logan Stonebreaker – I have to imagine there is a place for Logan to pair with the Ravagers. Like Ter Adun, Logan is also a slow hero having to fight back for a lost board due to the slow set up. Ravagers can help him retake the board, and his ability should be able for him to help keep it for another turn or so. I been thinking that Boomerang/Helm of Saymeth would be a good pairing. The Boomerang used as the summon catalyst, being recycled by helm when hero ability is charged/or recycled to use with other summon Ravagers. You would have to be careful with Boomerang though as it can cycle itself back to your deck vs graveyard. Some other good weapons could be Pithing Spear, Rusty Longsword, and Frying Pan as they are all 3cc or less, and can be recycled with Helm of Saymeth. Pairing the weapons as the catalyst seems to be a good option for Logan. I have tried a build using some variation of the above and came out roughly 50/50 in my games, could also be due to my lack of experience with Logan.
Vess Swifthands – Vess is a great choice for an attachment based Ravager deck. The combination of both Blood Frenzy and Confluence of Fate help to fuel the draw needed to pull out the combo cards. They themselves also are the catalyst for the summon effects and the additional copies now have a really good use. Vess ability allows both of them to be play at no cost reducing any tempo that would otherwise be lost. Crippling Blows and Enslave the Beast are also good attachments to help fuel the draw and set up the on summon effects, also free/affordable with Vess’ ability. Braxnorian Veteran would be a good inclusion to help with pseudo draw by recycling attachments.
Rothem, King of Layar – I have still yet to try a Rothem build, however someone did present to me a One Turn Kill Scenario revolving around Smith Shop, Jeweller’s Dream, Desperate Tactics, Ceric of the Asyn and Cleric’s Mantle. While being an extremely combo oriented style, it does present some interesting synergies I had not previously thought of with the Ravager Tribe. Smith Shop reducing the cost of weapons and armors and also being a targetable item on its own. Desperate Tactics targets your own weapons for destruction which has great synergy with Cleric’s Mantle and Cleric of the Asyn.
HUNTERS: Hunters have a bunch of unique tools that can benefit playing with Ravagers. The while the arrows are good at control they do not do anything to assist the tribal flavor. However, the traps are actually excellent choices. They are played face down, your opponent does not really know much except for the casting cost. All of the traps have a benefit on their own, but they have the flexibility of turning them into bonuses for your ravager allies can be beneficial too. Traps could be paired with Survivalist to be a draw engine, also Hunters Gambit is a attachment that can be targeted by your ravagers and can be a good way to sneak in some extra draw as well.
Banebow – Banebow could be a good hero choice for the Ravagers because of his direct damage hero ability, it has a quick charge, and can target the hero to help speed up the game if desired. The ability damage can be considered a pseudo attack buff to the low base attack ravager allies, but also pairs favorably with Thriss Almanac explosion.
- [SF] Banebow Ravager Deck (by Greymouser)
Baduruu – I have briefly tried a Baduruu Ravager build and while I was originally skeptical they would pair together I found they can be a good pairing. Baduruu is able to apply some momentum during board setup with his ability pulling out bows to help control the board. This is also particularly useful as you begin dropping your high health allies as your opponent now has some tough decisions ahead of him. Grundler’s Double and Hunters Gambit both becomes a fairly decent draw options for this pairing.
Skervox – Skervox has the same card access of Banebow. The main difference being that Banebow can help speed up the game because his ability can target the hero, while Skervox will actually slow the game down. This can be good for Ravagers as they require alot of setup and a stall can certainly help in this arena. I originally did not think they would have much success together, but after trying them out I found they do pair favorably together.
MAGES: Typically the Mage ability cards are going to be used mainly for control until late game when you may transition to burn mode. While the Mages have access to several types of draw engines all of which are items (Tome of Knowledge, Amulet of Conjuring, Loest’s Burden, Twice-Enhanced Robes) and Support Abilities (Undying Bond) none of them are really ideal options and will be a handicap the Mages will have to consider when constructing a deck. There are several useful attachments that Mages can pair with the Ravagers like Incendiary Curse and Consuming Fear, both being cost effect and can benefit a timely removal. There are also some cool interactions with Cleric’s Mantle when combined with either Voice of Winter (removes negative effects of frozen which is good in heavy ally meta, however an expensive combo with Thriss Alamanac) or with Staff of Disintegration (good in weapon/armor heavy meta). Transmogrification Curse is also a good control ability which can help Rapacious Vermin achieve his summon ability faster.
Majiya – Majiya is a really good Mage choice to pair with the Ravagers. Her ability has dual purpose (like most Ravager tools) providing both draw and board control assistance options. This gives her a bit of an upper hand when compared to the other Shadow Mages.
Gravebone – Originally I was skeptical that Ravagers would pair with Gravebone. They are by no means a perfect fit but there is tremendous potential. The draw for Ravagers really suffers as a tribe in general but there is a bit of added flexibility of using Crystal Shard with Gravebone. With his revival ability, Gravebone can gain some value from combo oriented cards like Cleric of the Asyn growth and Cleric’s Mantle. There are also a lot of allies with high health so plenty of options for some staying power as well.
Raikka – I have not tried Raikka to any great extent. Theoretically Raikka’s ability can be use offensively as an attack modifier for the low base attack ravagers, while also used defensively to make the hard to kill allies harder to kill via combat. Raikka, theoretically could use a hasted portal build similar to Majiya, however you trade off draw and board control for more damage and defense.
WULVEN: Wulven has access to a great cheap draw engine (Blood Moon) which can also doubles as catalyst for the Ravager tribe. Wulven have access to an attack modifier in Full Moon, though Bloodlust can get same results for cheaper. The tribe in general has quite a few attachments which leads me to believe that an attachment based deck might work, though Blood Moon is much better draw engine when compared to Confluence of Fate. Lost in the Woods is a fantastic control card, however can not be used effectively with Ravagers due to Hidden effect. Wulven also has a variety of support abilities and items so there could be a variety of ways to build them in the future. The class cards of Shattered Fates brought nothing to support the Ravagers as everything is Wulven tribe specific.
Moonstalker – Moonstalker would seem to pair favorably with just about anything because of his hero ability. There are several allies with high health and when combined with stealth really helps out with the staying power especially chained for a few turns in a row. On my list of pairings to try.
Darkclaw – Darkclaw’s ability forces you to put weapons into your deck. This is both good and bad. Bad because you have to use deck space but good because both weapons and Speedstrike are targetable by the Ravagers. I could see this playing out similar to Baduruu in that you would want to play a weapon (What Big Teeth) and Cleric of the Asyn at the same time. If opponent chooses to take out weapon or Speedstrike, Cleric would grow becoming larger threat. Murderous Hulk’s ability would also par very favorably with Darkclaw’s ability as due to Ambush Darkclaw can chip away at a particular ally and hulk can come in for the finish with his ability now being more specific about who it will target. Also combined with the haste of Ravager Zealot you can have a strong end game beat face approach if set up properly. On list of pairings to try.
Bloodfang – Due to Bloodfang’s ability only working with Wulven allies, it is highly unlikely that he would currently pair favorably with the Ravagers. However, Ravager Zealot could make small appearance though, being used in combination with Wulven Resilience (on a Wulven ally) for 2 nice combo hasted damage sources. If there was a support/item card, that changed ally tribe type Graff might become very interesting pairing.
ELEMENTAL: Elementals have access to a variety of great attack boosters (Shard of Power, Superfocus and Stardust Amplifier). They also have access to a nice attachment, Shocking Gasp (instant ally damage, not refunded by attachment removal – perfect combination for Ravager), and an ally, Xar Modulator who can recycle attachments to use as catalyst for the Ravagers to get their bonuses. While there are some strengths, Elements have a real weakness in there is also no particular draw engine that can excel with the pairing, though Confluence of Fate has some real potential (to be tested).
Elementalis – Elementalis has an ability that directly increases the value of the Ravagers both offensively and defensively. The Ravagers bring to Elementalis a strength to regain a lost board which was something he was lacking in prior sets. I have not tested, but theoretically Elementalis could play an attachment based deck possibly using Confluence of Fate and Bloodthirsty as a draw engine, with some additional cards like Mark of the Feared and Shocking Grasp. Crystal Shard as secondary draw with possibly Eternal Renewal, Infinity Core and/or Soul Reaper. This is on my list of things to eventually try out.
Zaladar – Zaladar has such a fantastic ability that he should able to pair favorably with the Ravagers. He should be able to play a control game and then possibly transition to burn using Shadow Fonts, Mind Control and Ravager Zealot. Additionally he might also be able to play an attachment build as described with Elementalis, as cards like Mark of the Feared and Shocking Grasp pair favorably with Zaladar’s blast. Both are on my list of things to eventually try out.
Piraxix – Discard really hurts the combo oriented tribe so thing that Piraxix is a good pairing is hard to imagine. Elementals do have access to deck fat-ners (Eternal Renewal, Infinity Core) but I think early/mid game consistency is needed for setup. The class currently also has unfavorable draw, and there’s just a bit too much randomness to the hero ability. I have no tested this to be sure but eventually I will get around to it, perhaps attachment based draw could work here as well.