When I say that Houses of Morrowind adds color to The Elder Scrolls: Legends, I mean that both figuratively and literally. One of the key defining traits for the Houses of Morrowind expansion to The Elder Scrolls: Legends is that it allows players to now use a third attribute in their decks, which means players will see a lot more color combination on the battlefield. However, Dire Wolf Digital also took the liberty of adding some very ‘colorful’ cards based on the unique Morrowind lore.
When the Houses of Morrowind cards first began to be leaked, I was a little skeptical about the legitimacy of the set. Some of the first reveals were cards like Jiub, Stolen Pants, and Mudcrab Merchant. It seemed like the focus was solely going to be on finding fun, create ways to insert Morrowind lore into the card game, but for the most part these lore-heavy card reveals were either incredibly niche or seemingly unplayable. If I ever see Jiub turn into Jiub, Eradicator of the Winged Menace in any competitive format, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
There were also a lot of other legendary cards that simply felt like filler or that they were trying to create a strategy that wasn’t quite viable. I’ve never been a fan of cards like Unite the Houses (win if you have a card of every attribute in play) that provide alternative victory conditions or Vivec, which prevents you from losing altogether. These create strategies that can be frustrating to play against and are usually more difficult to get to work correctly than the effort that it’s worth.
Then we have the Tribunal. Vivec (who was mentioned earlier), Sotha Sil, and Almalexia. Each of these is a powerhouse that can be exalted (enhanced for additional Magicka) to bring game changing effects to the board. Vivec simply prevents you from losing if you have an exalted creature, Sotha Sil summons an 8/8 Awakened Imperfect at the end of each turn and Almalexia gives friendly exalted creatures damage immunity. Furthermore, each one comes with stats ranging from 8/8 to 12/12. The Tribunal all looked incredibly strong on paper, but would high-cost cards with little immediate board impact manage to find a spot in practice?
Despite my initial skepticism of the cards themselves, the idea of getting to play with three attributes in a single deck, represented by the Houses of Morrowind, was very exciting to me. I’ve always liked the idea of multi-colored decks. Year ago, when I still played Magic: The Gathering, I was always experimenting with 3 or 4 colors in a single deck. Unfortunately, due to mana requirements and other constraints, those decks were usually less efficient and more difficult to use than mono or dual-colored decks. Even so, it was always exciting when I got the opportunity to summon some crazy, powerful creature like Nicol Bolas or Chromium.
Of course, in The Elder Scrolls: Legends, like most digital cards games, players don’t have to rely on drawing mana. This makes it difficult to balance high-powered, multi-color/class cards because there’s no inherent drawback. Dire Wolf managed to handle this by increasing tri-colored deck size from 50 to 75 cards but keeping specific cards limited to 3 per deck. This makes it more difficult to draw out specific cards or combos, however, these decks have access to more multi-colored cards and new tri-colored cards. Some of these cards are offer unique forms of utility, such as Divayth’s Experiments that can summon two copies of a friendly creature (at the cost of sacrificing another creature), or offer up monstrous value like Dagoth Ur who has Breakthrough, Charge, Drain, Guard, Lethal, Ward, and an 8/8 body for 12 Magicka.
After having the opportunity to play a few of the tri-colored decks, and watch some professional streamers, there’s definitely a few viable options already out there. Tribunal control allows players to dictate the pace of a match with Intelligence, Willpower, and Endurance. Having access to Ancano, Dawn’s Wrath, and Miraak in the same deck can definitely be scary, but the early game control is nothing to scoff at either with access to execute, firebolt, and Sorcerer’s Negation. There also seems to be decent success with Dagoth, Hlaalu, and Redoran decks that have managed to be viable in the Legend ranks.
In addition to feeling satisfied with the viability of the tri-colored decks themselves, I was also a bit relieved once the full set list was made available. Yes, there were a couple of ‘meme-tier’ cards in the set, but there are also tons of viable new options to many deck archetypes. Cards like Aundae Clan Sorcerer are straight up scary in the right scenario, but there are some more subtle, quality of life cards such as Bushwhack that simply give players a lot more options, which should be the point of a CCG expansion and not to simply powercreep on previous sets. That being said, I’m sure some over-powered cards or combinations will rise from Houses of Morrowind and it will be interesting to see how the meta changes to future balance updates.
In addition to changing deck functionality and implementing new cards, there are also a few new promotions that could assist new players in building their first decks or veterans in securing the house legendary cards. Currently, there are five themed decks that can be purchased for $7.99 or 1000 gold. Each represents Dagoth, Hlaalu, Redoran, Telvanni, or the Tribunal and includes a powerful tri-colored legendary card and 74 other cards ranging from common to epic. Overall, these are a fairly good value and at least a way to obtain a few specific cards that seem relatively important to the set.
Overall, Houses of Morrowind is such a fun set that brings so much to The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and I’m already pleased to see how popular the tri-colored decks have become. My favorite aspect of TESL, which certain other digital CCGs don’t have, is the option to mix and match attributes and this expansion has added another layer of depth to that part of the game. More choices means more deck variety and a lower chance that only a couple of decks will dominate the meta. I personally can’t wait to see what players come up with while having access to three attributes and 75 cards per deck.
Related: Bethesda, CCG, Dire Wolf Digital, The Elder Scrolls: Legends