What is Your Desire? A BattleShopper.com Exclusive Dead of Winter Spoiler

Greetings Hex enthusiasts!  Today I am thrilled to share an exclusive Dead of Winter spoiler with you all that I’m sure will make you think of another Standard all-star.  Hex Standard players are no stranger to the artifacts from Nulzann, and this new addition will be right at home with its brethren:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcoming the first socketed spoiler of the new set, Dark Desire of Nulzann is strongly reminiscent of Dark Heart of Nulzann, which brings a huge level of power to whatever deck it becomes a part of.  For this set, however, the Nulzann legendary is letting our opponents keep their cards, while giving us more!

Sadly, though, I am worried that this card may be lost by the wayside when compared to its dark-hearted counterpart in Standard; lacking the ability to remove cards from our opponent’s battlefield, I fear, is a large setback, even when able to copy socketed abilities.  Compared to Dark Heart of Nulzann, this card lacks any striking evidence of immediate playability beyond the copy effect.  It just seems like any old double-socketed card that could potentially see play in the right environment.  Now, if we were to give it a bit of a push with, say, double Major sockets or something, perhaps you could gain my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much better.

Welcome the first-ever double-Major socketed card to Hex!  Color me excited, for sure!
Let’s break down this new artifact:

  • Two Major sockets, which can also be socketed with Minor gems, if wanted.
  • Colorless – like Dark Heart of Nulzann, this can be slotted into a large number of decks.
  • Copies itself – think Spiders, but actually good for you!
  • Created copies have Major sockets – particularly good for mono-shard decks.

When evaluating this card, we have to remember that is not like Mad Robomancer – copies of Dark Desire of Nulzann will grant two random Major gems that match thresholds you have available (think Warpsteel Shardsworn).  This makes mono-shard decks particularly interesting, since you can be guaranteed of the gems that will be socketed in later copies.

Now, let’s remember the current round of Gems in Standard:

Gem guide courtesy of HexSets

If I did the math correctly, there are 190 possible gem combinations for Dark Desire of Nulzann!  That said, there are a few places where I really think Dark Desire of Nulzann can shine and augment the new world of post-rotation Standard.
The first level of thought will be mono-shard strategies, as alluded to above.  I think that mono-Ruby is the de-facto choice for this, with double damage and charge increase being extremely powerful with champions like Haraza.  That said, I see strong potential in mono-Blood and mono-Diamond builds using Dark Desire of Nulzann, as well.

Speaking of Haraza, where I really see this card shining from the get-go is in a sockets-oriented deck.  Haraza has already proven to be a great home for socketed cards, and players have found the Ruby-Diamond variants of Haraza sockets to be most effective in the current Standard metagame.  With Sentry of Nulzann and Altar of Nulzann sticking around in Standard, this archetype will likely be the best day-one home for making our dark desires known.  Given that Dark Desire of Nulzann creates copies of itself when deployed – and the Major gems in Ruby and Diamond are all powerful in this deck, even if randomly granted – we never need a full four copies in any deck.  One or two will do just fine, which is perfect when a Sockets deck builder needs as many different socketed cards as possible to make Emsee an inclusion in the deck.  In Ruby-Diamond sockets alone, we have multiple combinations of Major and Minor gems to power Dark Desire of Nulzann; I’m sure that Sockets players can find a home for a strong attacker and blocker with two Major sockets in Ruby-Diamond.  There’s no reason to believe this deck is going anywhere, so look out for it alongside Dark Desire of Nulzann soon!

While Ruby-Diamond is one of the current mainstays in Standard, perhaps Dark Desire of Nulzann would thrive in a different type of already-existing core – one where we can draw a lot of cards to get multiple copies of Dark Desire of Nulzann on the battlefield.  Where do we naturally go to draw all the cards?  Sapphire!  And of course, when given the choice for sockets and champions that blend well with Sapphire, Diamond lends itself to some great synergies that I feel could fuel our malicious deeds:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a large toolbox of strong effects, and the potential of being able to cast this for only 3 resources, I’m confident that deck builders will be able to find a combination of Sapphire and Diamond cards that can help make the most out of Dark Desire of Nulzann in the upcoming standard meta.

Finally, I want to take a swing out into left field and try something That we haven’t seen in Standard yet.  We’ve been gifted some really powerful cards and effects in Blood-Ruby with the spoilers we know now; consider a core of cards that would start with the following:

 

While obviously untested and unproven (plus, who knows what lies ahead in this set’s spoilers), I see a lot of potential in a new Blood-Ruby deck; perhaps it’s a strong midrange deck with the cards above utilizing Haraza instead of the newly-spoiled Venoma of the Nox, and perhaps it’s a more sockets-oriented Blood-Ruby strategy where Dark Desire of Nulzann shines.  Either way, I’m definitely excited to try out some Blood-Ruby builds with Dark Desire of Nulzann and see where the deck-brewing winds take me!

Whatever the home(s) end up being for Dark Desire of Nulzann, one thing is for sure – I believe that it has a place in post-Dead of Winter Standard, and I am convinced it will be a powerful threat from day one.  What does malice truly want?  I think we’re all about to learn together.

What do you think?  Is Dark Desire of Nulzann here to stay, or do you think it will fade into the abyss?  Leave a comment with your thoughts!

I thank you, as always, for reading, and enjoy the rest of spoiler season!

Cheers,
Tom

 

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