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A Field Guide to Treefolk?

This is a rough guide for people curious about playing a Tree battlegroup. I'm writing this to promote, what I feel is, one of the most interesting themes in Poxnora. Over the course of the guide, I will go through the runes one needs, and the strategies one should be aware of, in order to play this theme with reasonable success. Surely there must be someone more qualified to write a guide then me, but seeing as they haven't, mine will have to suffice.

What's so great about Treefolk?

Trees are packed with racial synergy, champs that play well off of each other, and have access to the same Surge and Boost mechanics found in many other themes. Surge is relatively easy to fuel, as there are many sources of Saplings, and real champions tend to be inexpensive. On top of this, the Treefolk theme has access to the relic Greenhouse, which provides a significant stat boost to nearby trees that stacks with itself.  Other benefits include Defender, Battlemaster, Shroud, and the plethora of ways to counter lumbering (which is inherent in many Treefolk).  All of these and more, make many Treefolk very efficient.

Treefolk also grant access to the unique ability Transplant, found on the Wood Elemental. Any time the Wood Elemental dies, the nearest friendly Plant champion is destroyed and the Wood Elemental respawns in it's place. Through this mechanic, it can (potentially) live forever.

There are some hard counters to watch out for, but i'll go into those later. Finally, the theme has tons of innate physical resistance (or on demand with a spell), Anti-range (with Absorb, Camouflage,& Shroud), and Healing (through Transfer Life, Heal Champion, Nature's Connections, Regeneration, and Cleanse).

Interesting... and the bad news?

Actually, there's hardly any. Treefolk have received a lot of support through various expansions, and many of the downsides to playing them have been resolved or reduced. The only things of note are the lack of a Detection champ and the somewhat limited selection of damage types. But really; There're few reasons to not try your hand at playing trees. Go for it!

Ok, I'm interested... How should I go about building a tree deck?

You generally want Greenhouses, champs with Boost, Anti-lumbering, and (of course) a mix of ranged and melee trees to take advantage of them. The champ count tends to be between 15 and 19 with at least 3 slots taken by relics and the rest by the support spells/equips/relics of your choice. Lash Down, Treefolk's Blessing, and Horn of Order are highly recommended. Here's a pretty straightforward example deck:

TreeSampleDeck1

Here's another deck, and I'm pretty happy with the way the runes work together:

BrokenShardBG-001

Keep in mind that these are just examples. Individual approaches vary, and plenty of wiggle room can be made by cutting out the doubles. Some treefolk are more popular than others, but all of them are playable (even if it's just for being a nice ball of stats, or for it's low price).

And just what is all that stuff? What does it do? And why should I use it?

Good question. What follows is a detailed analysis of the theme's champs and a brief rundown of the out of theme champs and support runes that merit special consideration. Of course, you might find a rune not included in this list to be a better fit for your own battlegroup (feel free to add them). After that there's some general advice on actually playing with your treedeck. I hope you find this guide useful and enjoyable. =)

==Field Guide to Treefolk: Theme Champions ==

Ambling Frond

231

Nora: 41 / Speed: 4 Damage: 8 / Range: 1 Defense: 1 / Health: 39

 

The Ambling Frond is probably the cheapest champion based form of shatter available, in any faction. If you think of him compared to Shatter or Diamond Mace, he's not too terrible. He offers health and font contesting capabilites in addition to being able to shatter whatever ails you.  As a champ though, he's kind of... well... what you'd expect for 41 nora. He's not useless though. Deployed early, he can grab sidefonts while you focus on the center. Afterwards, he can lie stealthed and forgotten until a shatter opportunity arises, or you need a few points of damage for a kill. Should you be lucky enough to be fighting on a grassy map, he can contest fonts invisibly, then Turtle when discovered for another free round of contesting. Hiding him between a ranged champ and a melee champ that is likely to rush, can foil the charge and engage the melee champ, while your ranged champ takes advantage of him. And of course, he's Surge and Transplant fodder.

That said, Tanglefoot is more combat worthy & can also remove equipment, while the Elven Artisan costs only slightly more than the Frond, while having both Nora Miner and the speed to grab fonts more quickly. If nothing more, the Ambling Frond is a semi-useful mascot character that you can include if you have extra space, and be no worse off for doing so.


Deadwood Strider

519

Nora: 70 / Speed: 5 Damage: 12 / Range: 1 Defense: 2 / Health: 50

Formerly an obscure FW rune, the Strider became a split KF/FW rune with the Heritage release. That alone was enough to allow him to see play for first time in ages. The steady trickle of improvements that followed have made him a very fine mid-cost melee option both in and out of the tree theme.

Defensively; He's resistant to Physical and Poison damage, and immune to Disease damage. The Absorb upgrade protects him from successive ranged fire, and through Ichor he accumulates ranks of Tough in large skirmishes. Offensively; He has nice base damage, supplemented by Disease damage over time (through Rabid). Each basic attack simultaniously entangles the enemy and prevents them from being healed; so while he's not especially speedy, a single attack can leave the target in a troublesome position.  

Deadwood Strider has both offensive and defensive upgrades, but defense is probably the way to go. Resist: Physical 3 and Absorb give him the resilience needed to chase down enemies without being beaten down in the process. Alternately, one could settle for the single rank of Resist: Physical on base, and take Punish instead, which would increase his damage potential and make him a better target for Treefolk's Blessing.

However you build him, the Deadwood Strider will serve you well.


Dryad

524

Nora: 53 / Speed: 5 Damage: 8 / Range: 2-4 Defense: 0 / Health: 39

Dryad provides the plant theme with mid-ranged psychic damage. Her low cost makes her easy to deploy, alongside the other champs needed to keep her alive, and raise her damage to lethal levels. She can Heal occasionally, and Charm to buy time if a champion gets within her minimum range. Taking Root with her limits her mobility/range, but it's available when you need it, and she's cheap enough that wasting her won't put a serious strain on Nora reserves. The Dryad is well rounded, with her main downside being that she's squishy, without additional protection (HP from Boost, Evasive from Shroud, Treefolk's Blessing, Etc.). She's the darling of the plant theme,but she's rarely seen outside of it.


Elven Treecaller

631

Nora: 65 / Speed: 6 Damage: 6 / Range: 1 Defense: 1 / Health: 39

Treecaller is a Sapling summoner that can transform into a semi-decent combatant. She moves fast enough to grab fonts but needs to lay down a nice chunk of Ap before she can actually do anything. Treeform sets her at 10 Damage, 7 Speed, 3 Defense, and 49+ Hp. It also gives her Attack Physical and a rank of Boost Treefolk and Plant Regeneration. Unfortunately, it doesn't give her the race needed to benefit from the theme's synergy. It's a shame that the change is only cosmetic and I hope this will be fixed one day, but I'll move on...  Once transformed, you have the option to remain in that state and serve as a combatant, or revert to normal and immediately summon a second Sapling (since the transformation process resets the cooldown). However, once reverted, the Treecaller is stuck as a passive hunk of meat for the next 4 rounds, so choose wisely.  None of her upgrades have any major impact on her performance.  Forestwalker and Stat bonus HP 2 are probably the best upgrade choices, but Forage and Mobility are also potentially useful.

.


Gnarlwood Grappler

424

Nora: 56 / Speed: 5 Damage: 10 / Range: 1 Defense: 2 / Health: 45

The Grappler is a basic melee grunt. He starts at 12 damage (with upgrade) and 6 speed (with full faction bonus). Constriction offers a little bit of champ control potential, but apart from it his role is really to smack stuff. He seems apt at that role, but he doesn't usually make the final cut for most decks. Although they are very different champs, the Grappler is easily outshined by the Dryad at his cost. As a primarily melee unit (All Treefolk have up to 2 range with Take Root) he has to compete with spawned Saplings, that are generated for a fraction of the cost.  Compared to the Deadwood Strider, the Oakthumper, or the Spikewood; the Grappler doesn't seem to shine.  The Grapplers spawned by Gift of Ironwood are useful enough, but the champ himself struggles for a spot in decks. If he were to be buffed in the future, a focus on upgrades would be the way to do it, to distinguish them from the Grapplers spawned through Gift of Ironwood.


Gnarlwood Launcher

232

Nora: 65 / Speed: 5 Damage: 12 / Range: 6-8 Defense: 1 / Health: 52

The Launcher takes all of the boosting available to the tree theme, crushes it into a ball, and throws it at an enemy a mile away. Needless to say, that's a pretty valuable talent. Additionaly, Stone Bomb provides an AoE attack and also a source of knockback, useful for cliffdiving careless enemies and killing those smartasses that stand 1 space outside of a rooted tree's range. Taking root turns the Launcher into a 16+ damage turret with up to 10 range.  Unlike most ranged champions, the Launcher is pretty sturdy and won't fall apart the second it gets smacked by a melee champion. This is good because the sizable deadspot in the Launcher's range coupled with lumbering makes it especially prone to being rushed by melee. Once engaged, it's pretty difficult to retreat without outside assistance making it better to continue attacking enemies further out while other treefolk work to liberate the Launcher. Or you can use something to grant it freedom of movement once more. Which brings me to my next point...

Anti-lumbering works wonders for the Launcher. Willowind can keep him mobile all the time (Ap permiting). Relocation gives the Launcher a threat range that the opponent would be hard pressed to calculate. Spell based anti-lumbering is unpredictable and foils attempts to stay near the combat zone but just out of range by counting squares. This element of surprise is the reason an anti-lumbering spell is worth considering: It turns your handicap into a surprise advantage.


Gnarlwood Lifegiver

228

Speed: 5 Damage: 7 / Range: 4-6 Defense: 1 / Health: 61

Nora: 60 /

 The Lifegiver was modified with the Heritage release, trading Immobile for Lumbering and gaining Take Root. Two whacks with the nerfstick later, it remains a very nice magic damage treefolk champ that can both heal and cleanse. Taking root gives it a hefty damage boost and most people do so as soon as they get it to the ideal position. Unlike many rooted champs, if the battle moves out of it's attack range, you can still get a good return out of your Lifegiver by having your wounded retreat for a quick patch up.  You will probably want to include at least one in your treedeck for the ranged magic damage (unless you're running non-trees that provide that). Like the Launcher before it, the Lifegiver is best friends with anything that removes or negates lumbering. Cleanse seems auto-upgrade and after that you can go for Purified (my choice), Call to Arms, or Health +6.


Gnarlwood Oakthumper

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Nora: 82 / Speed: 6 Damage: 12 / Range: 1-3 Defense: 3 / Health: 56

 The Oakville Slugger has reach, speed, and a nice amount of health and defense. He starts with a convenient 1-3 range which can be extended by Willowind and/or Take Root for a maximum 1-5 range. He's a costly champ to immobilize, but rooting him in the right place turns him into a massive roadblock.  He almost seems designed to have Treefolk's Blessing cast on him, since with that spell he has 50% resistance to both Physical and Magical and 6 Defense (upgrading him from kinda tanky to super tanky). If you take Resilience he also can shrug off attacks that barely penetrate his defense/resistances and damage over time effects. If you take Shroud, you can have Evasive on most of your champs between him and a Patriarch.

This guy is a beater/tank and he does those things very nicely. You won't find much in the way of extras, but Windstriker works as global damage and destealth versus Flying enemies while increasing the hurt he can lay on them with his basic attacks. If you choose Execute, it's very possible to kill a flying enemy in one swing.


Gnarlwood Patriarch

423

Nora: 50 / Speed: 5 Damage: 8 / Range: 1-2 Defense: 2 / Health: 56

 Pappy Gnarlwood delivers Boost Treefolk 2 and Shroud for the discount price of 50 nora. Getting these on the field with plenty of nora left for other treefolk to take advantage of them is a merit that is easily overlooked. When fighting in the vicinity of an uncontested deployment zone, he can be dropped before attacking for a local damage boost. Giving all nearby allies Evasive 2 makes him an excellent escort when your trees are approaching a ranged threat.  Apart from Health, his stats are mediocre but the theme's boosts can put him in fine form. Taking root makes him a good stationary tank with nice damage and reach who continues to provide Boost and Evasive to his allies. He does have Lethargic, but that's only an occasional annoyance. Patriarch is a good solid include that's well worth his cost.

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Gnarlwood Tanglefoot

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Nora: 70 / Speed: 5 Damage: 6 / Range: 1-3 Defense: 2 / Health: 40















































 Crazylegs is easily one of my favorites. Flurry and Entangling Attack allow him to attack for 1 Ap and hinder the movement of the champs he strikes. He can either harass melee by tapping them and running away or wail on a target until it dies. With his (understandably) low base damage, he's dependent on the theme's boosts, defense reduction, and/or Take Root to become the vicious little killer we all know he is...  Pilfer and Absorb seem like the obvious upgrades. Mind that if he's already equipped, Pilfer can be used just like shatter. It can also be used to get multiple uses of Forest's Embrace or recycling an equip from a dying champ if you don't mind putting it on cooldown.

Skirmisher prevents him from attacking relics and shrines. Pariah prevents direct healing, Treefolk's Blessing, Time Slip, Drive, Invigorate, and countless other things that would make him more deadly and keep him alive. Absorb and Shroud can help prevent one rounding, but Tanglefoot is fragile and you want to maintain a safe position until you can actually kill something. Ring of Rejuvenation and Nature's Connections can heal him up quickly if he has an opportunity to attack. Remember a quick Lashdown will give him two more attacks (which can translate into a lot of damage).


Gnarlwood Willowind

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Nora: 75 / Speed: 5 Damage: 9 / Range: 1-3 Defense: 3 / Health: 49







































































 Willowind provides several useful utilities in one neat little package. For starters, she provides champ based antilumbering without straying outside the theme. She also saves you the deck space and nora that Nature's Balance consumed by providing the same benefits in ability form. Having magic damage and flexible range is a welcome touch.  You have the option to run her as your primary or secondary Boost champ, or use whatever Boost champ you used previously and max out her utility. Soften can really help crack those tough nuts you run into, while Cast: Fairy Dust allows you to disable a champ without the expense of a spell. She has also gained the option of being run as a healer if you find that worthwhile. I've been running Boost/Soften (which may change) but I don't see any wrong way to build her.

She acquired Improve Range shortly after release, which is a valuable tool for both saving steps and extending the reach of rooted trees (who do not have the luxury of stepping forward to hit things).

The freedom of movement she grants to Lumbering champs along with her many other talents makes her a cornerstone of the theme. She also makes the theme easier to get into by providing a reasonable substitute for the Patriarch if you're not able to spring for him. He's still great for his own reasons, but you can just run Willowinds if needed or prefered.


K'thun
The Ancient

880

Nora: 74 / Speed: 4 Damage: 13 / Range: 1-3 Defense: 2 / Health: 59
































 K'thun was once an awesome frontline combatant for the tree theme. Once rooted, his high damage and defense kept all but the most lethal champions at bay long enough to plant a forest. In addition, he produced a remarkable number of Saplings. Unfortunately, that led to his his downfall. He had committed the ultimate sin of transcending into KF's metagame. There he was nerfed, which followed by a good nerfing. Afterwards he was nerfed some more before being savagely nerfed again. And just when he thought he was safe, they came back to finish the job with an orgy of nerfage.  Spam Master General has fallen out of favor because of this nerfing, but he's still playable. Deploy him somewhere safe when you can afford the tempo hit and he'll slowly churn out reinforcements for the rest of the fight. If you're using Wood Elemental, you'll probably still want a K'thun to produce Transplant fodder. Still, I kinda thing he could afford to have Lumbering now that he's been stripped down to a fraction of his former self...


Oaken Defender

13

Nora: 47 / Speed: 4 Damage: 9 / Range: 1-2 Defense: 3 / Health: 58
































 

 I've heard of people being beat with the ugly stick, and I've always wondered what an ugly stick was and how you go about getting one. Now I know: they're carved out of Oaken Defender. Setting aside his appearance, the Defender is a great cheap tank. Start with 3 Defense and 58 Health. Take Root for +2 Defense, +10 Health, and Camouflage (among other things). Activate Defensive Stance for another +4 Defense. Cover him with a Shroud champ for Evasive 2. And if you want to get silly with it, go ahead and give him Treefolk's Blessing and let the good times roll! Or maybe just stay where they are, him being rooted and all. Oh, yeah: he increases the Defense of nearby champs too. That's probably worth throwing in there.  Oaken Defender has received a steady trickle of under the radar buffs over the last few expansions. One of the recent ones is the addition of Reinforcement, a very nice upgrade for the notoriously slow Defender. Provided there are some other trees present, he can take a step or two then Take Root immediately upon deployment. This is great for fortifying a font or attacking a champ just outside an uncontested font zone. And with a Willowind or spell ready to delumber him, he can have a threat range on deployment comparable to any standard initiative champ.

Also easily overlooked (but worth mentioning) are Punish and Unstoppable base. These are somewhat situtional yet very nice abilites to have. If you happen to catch an enemy with Ap you can deal some additional damage (loss of life actually). And if you happen to get hit with certain forms of champ control you can just ignore it.










 










The biggest obstacle to the Defender finding a home in your deck is (strangely) the other lumbering treefolk. If you're already running Launchers and/or Lifegivers and/or K'thun, the number of champs that you can't rely on as a first turn draw is already starting to get a bit high. Since the massive range of the other champs is more desirable, the Defender often gets the pink slip right then and there. If that doesn't do it, the proliferation of bombs and other defense ignoring mechanics greatly reduces his survivability (though even with 0 Defense he's still well over the 1:1 Health/Nora ratio).










 










All things considered, if you do feel like you can handle having one more lumbering champ in your deck, this guy is worth including. You might consider an extra anti-lumbering champ/spell or a higher than average champ count if running a high number of lumbering champs.


Sapaleh
The Ancient

9024

Avatar / Speed: 6 Damage: 20 / Range: 1-2 Defense: 3 / Health: 107
































 The 'hidden champ' in a tree deck is the faction's avatar. Because Sapaleh is Treefolk, he is eligible for the same stat bonuses as his lesser brethren. Stack Boost Treefolk and a Greenhouse or two and you have a real monster on your hands. He's also serves as a source of healing, cleansing, and psuedo-detection for your army.  That said, I don't usually transfigure unless absolutely necessary. The 25 nora penalty per turn is a pretty compelling reason not to. Nevermind all the risks associated with using him as a combatant. Still, it's nice to know you have a powerful friend ready and willing to intervene when the situation sours.


Sapling

425

Nora: 25 / Speed: 5 Damage: 6 / Range: 1 Defense: 0 / Health: 18
































 

 Saplings play a major role within the theme. The come in droves (or perhaps: groves?) fueling Surge on the Dryads and Wood Elementals. While their initial stats are quite low, taking root provides them with a substantial increase which can be combined with other buffs to make them nothing short of lethal. After littering the field with rooted Saplings, the Wood Elemental can march out with more than enough 'extra lives' to get the job done.  While the champ sometimes has a major field presence in a tree deck, you are more likely to see the spawns from Greenhouses and the summons from K'thun and Treecaller than the actual Sapling rune. However, I've recently been experimenting with the rune itself as a way to mitigate bad draws and grab extra fonts at the beginning of matches (establishing an early Ap/Nora advantage). Also, if you are attempting any kind of Vinetouch shennanigans, opening with a Sapling allows you to grab your home font while conserving the nora and/or scrying for the relic and desired champion.










 I guess what I'm getting at here is: even though the Sapling is available from so many sources that it seems redundant to include the rune itself, there is some actual value in a having a reasonably quick 25 nora champ available in the rune dock. Whether that justifies the slot or two in your particular deck is debatable.


Skyshear
Pegasus

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Nora: 80 / Speed: 6 Damage: 10 / Range: 1 Defense: 1 / Health: 50

 Skyshear Pegasus is a font contestor, pure and simple. Initiative helps get him into the font and One With Nora makes him difficult to remove once he's there (especially if you drop a Treefolk Blessing on him). Nora Shield 2 keeps him covered three quarters of the time, so while your opponent is losing nora from the contested font and jumping through hoops to take him down, they're also refunding your investment in him. Magical attack gives him occasional ranged alternative damage. Since the champ is performing well in meta and beast battlegroups, there's no reason he shouldn't be equally awesome in a plant battlegroup. To be perfectly honest, I haven't played with him much as of yet. The reason has more to do aesthetics than any fault in the champ itself, but it doesn't take much experience to understand what he does and that he does a remarkable job of it.


Spikewood
Abomination

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Nora: 81 / Speed: 6 Damage: 8 / Range: 1-2 Defense: 2 / Health: 60
































  Spikewood Abomination is extremely versatile and full of synergy. He manages to perform just about any role without making any of the more specialized champs obsolete. Deadwood Strider can tank better without any kind of support. Lifegiver has long range, alternative damage, and costs much less. However, this champ can do what you need him to do when you need him to do it and that makes him great to have in your deck and on the field.  Healing: Transfer Life is auto-upgrade. It lets him heal a single target for a large amount, while the health loss he suffers is easily recovered by Regeneration 3 (from his free equipment) and Nature's Connections. This ability heals him any time a nearby friendly champ attacks. And when those champs are Plants they are healed as well.

Tanking: High health and self healing protects him from being chipped away, but doesn't keep him from being one rounded. The Defensive Turtle upgrade will save him once (if you choose it), but he'll need a Treefolk's Blessing if he's tanking for the long haul. If it comes down to it, Take Root also greatly improves his tanking ability, as does Shroud, Defender, and anything else you can cover him with.










 










 Beating: Unless you're using Pedestal, Spikewood lacks the race to be eligible for the theme's damage boosts. However he does have access to Improve Range and some damage increasing abilities to help make up for it. If you choose Domain Vegetation he'll have 10 Damage, 3 Defense, and Mobility as long as he has his Seed. Encouraged makes his damage climb every time an ally attacks. Just remember to attack with Spikewood last for maximum damage. And of course, you can Take Root for a damage spike if necessary.










 










Contesting: Seven speed and the ability to drop a relic with Font Defender makes him great first draw. Damage Shield Physical and Entangling Attack can give him a little edge in a 1 vs 1 situation, but if he's facing high damage or multiple champs you'll want to get him some support fast.










 










Tanglefoot and Spikewood are the best of friends. Flurry lets the former attack many times per turn greatly increasing the damage of the later. Each flurry attack heals both champs as long as they're reasonably close. This is especially important for an injured Tanglefoot because Pariah prevents single target healing. Dont forget that Tanglefoot can either Pick Up or Pilfer the Seed of Potential to get Regeneration if Spikewood doesn't need it anymore (because of Treefolk Blessing).


Sporegill

362

Nora: 35 / Speed: 5 Damage: 8 / Range: 1 Defense: 0 / Health: 26














 

Sporegill is a cheap little poison damage plant with a bomb attack. Anytime it dies, it leaves a mushroom relic behind. If the opponent doesn’t kill the relic in two rounds, you get a new Sporegill. Pretty sweet, huh? Well, the catch is that the champ starts out as a relic on deployment and it takes a total of 3 rounds before you can do anything with it. Not very ideal for a fast paced game. On the plus side, it combos well with Overgrowth. Just deploy your Sporegill and cast Overgrowth. It will cease to be a relic before the timer can destroy it, netting you a Sporegill and 3 Saplings for 65 Nora. With Boost and Foment that adds up to a heap of health on the field. Plant champion with Foment for 2013? Make it happen!


Thirion

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Nora: 112 / Speed: 7 Damage: 16 / Range: 2-4 Defense: 1 / Health: 60














 Thirion is an airborne powerhouse that gained Race: Plant long after release (a welcome addition and easily justified by his artwork). He's not Treefolk (and therefore cannot benefit from Boost or Greehouse and doesn't gain Ap from Lashdown), but he can have his range improved by Willowind, counts towards Surge, and gets the Defense bonus from Treefolk's Blessing. Having Resist Magical means that (like Oakthumper) he can have 50% resistance to the two most common damage types in the game.  So why do we see so little of Thirion? Because he's expensive. Really, really expensive. 100+ nora champs are very risky because they can easily be wiped out or made impotent by some ability or support rune that cost far less than what you've invested in them. Is he worth that risk? Well, I haven't used him enough to determine that. I did have a Tree + Dragon Module battlegroup way back when (meaning: before he was a Plant) but I could rarely get him out on the field to even see if he was worth it. Because of this, my opinion of him is tentative.


Tireless Harvester

461

Nora: 79 / Speed: 7 Damage: 8 / Range: 1 Defense: 1 / Health: 37














 The Harvester would have been a fast font grabbing champ that lends magical damage and nora generation to treefolk. I use that tense, because the thing costs just short of 80 nora, has 8 damage, 1 range, and dies if you touch it's wings. You could use it to grab a font but good luck defending it with the lion's share of your early game nora invested in that. The only thing that even remotely justifies it's cost is Soulharvest which is potentially large amounts of nora, but only if you can kill something with the Harvester. It's stealth ability would assist with that, but it only works after you've killed something which makes it almost a cruel joke. While the champ itself hasn't gotten any better with time, the tools you can use to achieve a killing blow have. Wiz O Ways, Horn of Order, and Vinetouch Pedestal can all be used to push it's damage and Ap to the necessary levels. However, the champ remains a huge gamble that most people pass on.


Wood Elemental

570

Nora: 86 / Speed: 7 Damage: 11 / Range: 1 Defense: 2 / Health: 44














 The original Plant super champ, Wood Elemental packs Resistance Physical (35%), Resistance Poison, Psychic, and Disease (50%), Fearless, Iron Will, and Plant Regeneration 3. These can make him a tough nut to crack in certain matchups (FS comes to mind). Surge Plant gives him very nice damage in theme and at some point he picked up the correct race to benefit from all of the theme’s boosts.  Transplant is his trademark ability. Anytime the Wood Elemental dies, the nearest friendly plant is destroyed and he respawns in its place (with whatever Hp the destroyed champ had). With enough Saplings behind him, the Wood Elemental can become nothing short of immortal! Muwahaha! However, as popular fiction never tires of pointing out: Immortality never lives up to the hype. If overpowered by the opponent, the Wood Elemental will indiscriminately jump from body to body, killing Dryad, Launcher, Willowind, Oakthumper, and anything else you were counting on to win the battle. Smart opponents will attempt to kill your champs in an order that forces the Wood Elemental to Transplant into something you want alive instead of the Saplings you've positioned for that purpose.

Compared to the other 80+ nora plant beaters, he’s the fastest, has the most innate defenses, and is the most readily available (being an older Rare and available in the gold store). However, the fact that he has no qualms about committing complete plant genocide to stay alive also makes him somewhat risky to use. Good for building on a budget or a more Sapling focused playstyle. Know when to deploy him and when not to and he will serve you well.

Field Guide to Treefolk: Out of Theme Champs


Bliss

Bliss the Muse   Bliss packs Psychic damage, can relocate your trees, reduces the cooldowns on your support runes, and constantly cleanses nearby champs. Enlightened makes it easy for the healing trees to top off her health. If you change her race with the Pedestal, she can also raise the speed of your trees.


CWarden

Conclave Warden  Alone, the Warden brings Psychic damage, spell prevention, and Foment (which can really stretch the Hp of the smaller and squishier plants). Vinetouched, she refunds up to 20% of her cost and can achieve some mighty high stats (somewhat marred by Dissipate, but impressive nonetheless). Easily replaces Vashal Druid as a choice for Foment.


DuskDruid

Dusk Druid  Dusk Druid is a good choice for troubleshooting, detection, and Psychic damage. Shadowspawn and Escape allow him to sneak around while Ping eats away enemy health (bypassing many defensive abilities). Detection fills a role that treefolk have no version of. While he doesn't interact with treefolk in a direct way, he still fits in rather well.


Illusionist

Elven Illusionist  When combined with the Vinetouch Pedestal, the Illusionist can produce tons of 'Plant/Treefolk' illusions that count towards Surge and are valid targets for Transplant. The Deception illusions will have the race as long as the Illusionist is converted, but the summoned ones need to be deployed within the relic's AoE. Remember that you can do this from a distance as long as you line up properly.


Strategist

Elven Strategist  Strategist has Battlemaster 3, which is a nice stat boost that stacks with ones already available to the theme. He can both relocate trees to the ideal location and drag enemies into the range of your rooted trees. Surge Enemy can make his damage half decent if you need one more hit to kill something.


FaeOracle

Fae Oracle  Oracle reveals a large number of your support runes and allows you to draw your champs faster as a side effect. Great for finding that elusive Vinetouch Pedestal. She packs Magical damage and gets stronger with every spell you cast. It's not hard to power her up as you Treefolk Blessing, Overgrowth, Lashdown, and AoE things. She can also protect your clustered trees with Weaken Spells.

KDoom

K'thir Doombringer  Our beach ball can accumulate a great number of charges when combined with the theme's numerous healing abilities. Nature's Connections in particular makes it very easy to get him Amped with plenty of charges to spare for Charged Heals. He can do Magic, Sonic, and Psychic damage, take out problem champs with Doom, and assist kills with Illuminate. I hate to bandwagon on Doombringers, but the synergy and all around usefulness is undeniable.



OcculiSlag

Occuli Slag  Slags can fill the Detection, Anti-lumbering, and alternative damage roles. After replicating you should have more than enough Grant Flight to go around. The theme has 3 viable champs that can heal so topping off their health shouldn't be a problem.


Outcast

Outcast of the Flame  Outcast is connected to the tree theme by the spell Fuel (which sacrifices treefolk to increase his damage). While the concept is very cool, the implementation is rather inefficient. It's also shame that the champ has no theme related abilities because his damage type would be a welcome addition. Read the entry on Fuel for more details.


SoEndurance

Spirit of Endurance  This champ can make your tanky trees even more tanky by reducing the damage they take by 3. Soften stacks and she can pair up with Willowind to really shred the enemy's defense. Fire damage and multiple forms of champ control are also welcome additions.


WizoWay

Wizard of the Ways  Wiz O Wayz teleports himself around to grab fonts and allows your trees to teleport into more ideal positions. Sunder at such a long range helps with one rounding enemies, especially when combined with Soften or when Tanglefoot is making numerous attacks.


Field Guide to Treefolk: Spells, Relics, and Equipment


Brambles

Brambles (Spell / 35 Nora)  Brambles is half AoE damage spell and half champ control spell. It does both fairly well and is an all around solid spell. It's also the cheapest AoE damage spell available to the faction. While it doesn't have any special combos or synergy with the theme, it certainly fits the theme's image well.


Oakseed-1

Burning Oak Seed (Equipment / 25 Nora)  The new and improved Burning Oak Seed gives a champ Fire damage on demand. It costs a little more than Frostcall Quiver but it works for both melee and ranged attacks and still allows the champion to use it's original basic attack if desired. It also works on Passive champs (if they have base damage) and gives Immunity Fire. I highly recommend either this or Frostcall Quiver if you're not running out of theme champs with alternative damage.


ButterflyWings

Butterfly Wings (Spell / 25 Nora)  One of two anti-lumbering spells. Both of these spells effectively negate Lumbering and give Mobility. Butterfly wings is slightly more cost effective on a single target and provides the ability to cross chasms and such. It can also be used to give Flying to an enemy, which you can then strike with Oakthumper for 50% more damage. Compare to Light as a Feather.


CombinedEffort

Combined Effort (Spell / 25 Nora)  Combined Effort is a spell that trades all of your available Ap for an equal amount of nora. The cost of the spell itself is instantly refunded and the rest is all profit. If you have rooted champions sitting idle with full Ap, this can produce a significant amount of nora. Timing is the main thing. You want to drop it when the Ap loss isn't going to get you killed. Ideally this is during a lull in the action. Spending most of your combatant's Ap then reaping the excess from your rooted trees also works. Just remember that summons and illusions lose Ap but generate no nora so you don't overestimate the return.


CultivatetheEarth

Cultivate the Earth (Spell / 25 Nora)  Cultivate the Earth produces a wide patch of vegetation for a long time. It then gradually refunds it's cost making the spell free (or even generating a small amount of nora via Favor or other such abilites). Theoretically it's a good spell, but the impact and concentration of vegetation related effects aren't high enough for it to be worth the deck space to most people.


FrostcallQuiver

Frostcall Quiver (Equipment / 20 Nora)  When first released, there weren't many good candidates in the theme to equip this item (because it only works with ranged attacks). However, the Wild Alliance expansion added lots of good quiver bearers. Oakthump and Tanglefoot both have the reach and damage output to make this a wonderful source of drag and drop alternative damage. The damage over time also adds a fair bit to each attack. I highly recommend either this or Burning Oak Seed if you're not running out of theme champs with alternative damage.


Greenhouse

Greenhouse (Relic / 35 Nora)  In order to keep this from devolving into an unreadable wall of text, I broke it into easily digestible chunks. Basicly 'what Greenhouse does' followed by 'how Greenhouse does it'. Here it goes:


 Greenhouse increases the stats of Treefolk. It raises them by quite a significant amount actually. This bonus stacks both with itself and other mechanics (such as Boost Treefolk and Battlemaster). These stacking bonuses help you get the most out of a treedeck. The fact that it can be dropped on demand for a spike in your damage output makes it one of the many ways to pull of a 'treestyle powerturn'.










Greenhouse produces Saplings. If desired, you can get a Sapling out of your Greenhouse every other round for 20 Nora. The discount is nice and perhaps more importantly it allows you multiple instances of the champ without wasting deck slots. These Saplings are real (not summons) and the fact that they are enables some neat tricks that we'll go over now.










Greenhouse doubles as a good first turn draw. For 55 Nora you can drop a Greenhouse at the edge of your shrine's deployment zone and spawn a Sapling outside that zone. Between the +1 Speed bonus from the Greenhouse and the 1 space headstart, this Sapling has the same first turn reach as an 8 Speed champion. Only for one turn of course, but it's the one that counts.










 










Greenhouse allows you to capture fonts that you can't reach. Simply move a champ within 1-2 spaces of a font zone, deploy the Greenhouse, and spawn a Sapling into the font zone. Because it's a real champ that you paid nora for, it can capture the font fair and square. I'm sometimes amazed at how frequently I use this maneuver.










Greenhouse allows summons to capture fonts. Now of course, summons can't capture fonts. But they can deploy relics! Using the same trick described above your seemingly harmless summon can capture a font.







Greenhouse is double autoinclude for treedecks. This should be self explanatory.


LashDown

Lash Down (Spell / 40 Nora)  Lash Down is an incredibly solid combination of champ control and Ap generation. You can use it as either or both (i.e. tying down one champ while using the Ap to kill a different one). The damage it causes to the target is really just icing. Every treedeck should have at least one copy of this in it.


LightasaFeather

Light as a Feather (Spell / 30 Nora)  One of two anti-lumbering spells. Both of these spells effectively negate Lumbering and give Mobility. Light as a Feather offers a small AoE making it much more cost effective on multiple targets. It also gives 1 Ap (which doesn't seem like much but can make all the difference in the world if it scores you a kill or a font. Compare to Butterfly Wings.

NaturesBalance

Nature's Balance (Relic / 30 Nora)  Nature's Balance is (if you'll forgive the pun) a relic of the past. It negates the fire vulnerability found on older treefolk and chokes off damage amplification. Fortunately Willowind has Nature's Balance in ability form so there's no longer a need to waste precious deck space and nora on this relic. Good riddance as far as I'm concerned...


NaturesWrath

Nature's Wrath (Spell / 45 Nora)  Nature's Wrath is a magical damage AoE spell that halves the affected unit's defense. If that's not attractive enough to warrant consideration, you can also combine it with Soften on Willowind for some nice extended powerturns. Just remember to cast Nature's Wrath before you use Soften for the maximum Defense penalty.


Overgrowth

Overgrowth (Spell / 30 Nora)  Overgrowth is a surprise and surprisingly good addition from the Endless Wonder expansion. You cast this spell on any relic and in two turns the relic is destroyed (assuming it's still there) and 3 Saplings are spawned (whether or not it's still there). Note that they are spawned not summoned, making them as real as any champ deployed from your rune dock. Also note that they spawn on your turn in time to gain Ap, allowing them to be used immediately. Further note that the spell can be cast twice on the same target. Is your notebook full yet? No? Good, because I can talk about trees all day long...

There are several ways to use this spell. The most obvious and cost effective is to cast it on an opponent's relic. If you're opponent isn't considerate enough to deploy a relic for you, you can use it on your own relic instead (preferably one that will surely be destroyed or is no longer of any use to you). But the third and most awesome option is to deploy a Sporegill (who spends 2 rounds as a relic), wait 1 turn (this is important), and then cast Overgrowth on it. You will get both the Sporegill and the Saplings all with Ap to burn at the same time. What's more, you can cast Overgrowth on the Sporegill twice and get a full 6 Saplings. How awesome is that?










Overall the spell is a solid way to get Saplings on the field in addition to being a good relic counter. That last point is also one for the notebook because people have the annoying habit of deploying relics next to your rooted trees and then laughing because they can't attack them. Casting this spell allows you to have the last laugh.



PrideOfKthir

Pride of K'thir (Relic / 20 Nora)  Don't forget your Warbanner! It's typically thrown into every battlegroup for stat boosting and font contesting anyway, but you definitely want that health bonus to get the most out of your Saplings. And speaking of Saplings, you can also use it produce those by using it as a target for Overgrowth. You'll miss out on the +5 Hp for doing so, but at 20 nora you can redeploy it relatively soon.


Reclaim

Reclaim (Spell / 50 Nora)  Reclaim is a good (albeit expensive) champ control option that is uncleansable and also happens to produce vegetation. The reason it's worth special mention for treedecks though is the fact that it combos well with Constriction (found on Grappler and Wood Elemental). You can Reclaim then Constrict a champion to neutralize it for 2 full rounds (in addition to the guaranteed 1 round for anything you caught in the AoE. Reclaim also happens to work on Avatars if it comes down to it.


RejuvenationRing

Rejuvenation Ring (Equipment / 25 Nora)  The ring has been a staple of K'thir Forest's arsenal for a long time, healing both passively each turn and actively when the champ attacks. It is an especially good equip for Tanglefoot (with his 1 Ap attacks) and one of the few ways to heal him through Pariah. On the one hand, Treefolk's Blessing does much more so it might be better to just run two of those. On the other, you can stack both the Ring and Blessing if you really need to keep a champ alive (in addition to the whole Tanglefoot thing). Decisions, decisions...


SpontaneousGrowth

Spontaneous Growth (Spell / 30 Nora)  Spontaneous Growth raises a champion's Max Hp by 10 and produces vegetation for a few turns. It's a pretty terrible spell and I've only devoted space to it in the naive hope that someone might realize just how pitiful it is and revise it into something useful.


ThornCollection

Thorn Collection (Spell / 50 Nora)  The great thing about Thorn Collection is the more champs you hit with it, the less the spell costs you in the end. On particularly large groups, you can often recover enough nora to drop a second AoE (wreaking even more havoc on the unfortunate masses). There is some mild synergy in that the affected spaces become vegetation, but mostly it's just a really good AoE spell.


TreefolksBlessing

Treefolk's Blessing (Spell / 30 Nora)  'Instant Tank! Just add Nora!' That pretty much sums up what this spell does by granting resistance to the most common damage type along with a defense increase and Regeneration. It works especially well with Oakthump (building on his good defense and resistance to the second most common damage type) but any other champ pitted up against a physical damage enemy can use it just as effectively.


VinetouchPedestal

Vinetouch Pedestal (Relic / 30 Nora)  The Pedestal allows you to incorporate any champ into the tree theme (provided that you can draw and deploy it before said champ). This not only grants the converted champ access to the numerous buffs available to the tree theme, but also makes any race based abilites the champ has work with treefolk as well (Vengence, Improve X, Reinforcement, etc...). Two copies are necessary if you wish to use the relic reliably and that will eat into your support runes. Nevertheless, converting certain champs can be very worthwhile.


WitheringFern

Withering Fern (Equipment / 25 Nora)  Equipping the fern on an opponent causes its health and defense to trickle away over time. Great for softening up those powerful champs while at the same time preventing them from equipping things that will make them more powerful. No special synergy but useful and thematic in appearance.


Field Guide to Treefolk: Gameplay Advice


So with your runes selected, it's time to go over the key strategies of the theme:

Stack several different 'boosts' to make your champs more competetive.

Boost Treefolk doesn't stack with itself, however it stacks nicely with other stat enhancing abilities. Greehouses provide the most significant boost (and even stack with themselves if you can warrant putting two in the same location).  Battlemaster (found on the Elven Strategist) is another nice stat increase and not limited to race (making it even better in some cases).

Remember to boost by deployment before attacking.

Summon and Germinate your Saplings before attacking to get the most out of your Surge champs. When fighting near an uncontested deployment zone, you can deploy a Patriarch or Strategist for a local damage boost to the nearby champs. Greenhouses can be used the same way no matter where the battle is taking place. Use these sudden damage bursts to cause more damage than anticipated and take out the enemy.

Use Anti-Lumbering and Relocation to kill champs unexpectedly.

Decent players count squares and position their champs just out of killing range, yet close enough to launch an offensive. Naturally, they take into account that several of your champions are Lumbering when doing this. Suddenly removing Lumbering allows you to kill by moving and attacking more than your opponent has anticipated. Spell based forms have the greatest element of surprise, but champ based forms are more cost effective and their threat range is difficult to calcuate even though they're plainly visible.

Beware of Swarm, Deconstruct, Fire, and AoE attacks.

Swarm and Deconstruct can quickly turn your cheap, effective Saplings against you. When facing either, try to hold your Saplings back while you take out the offending champs. Focus on boosting big sturdy champs rather than overwhelming the opponent with spam.

Most treefolk are vulnerable to fire (which is a fairly common damage type and frequently in available in AoE form). Against UD, SL, and Tortuns you want to deploy Nature's Balance as soon as possible. One well placed Fireblast or Firestorm followed by attacks can wipe out your entire army. Nature's Balance at least levels the playing field and gives you a fair chance in these matchups.

AoE's in general can be pretty damaging. Most factions have at least one (if not multiple) runnable versions of them. Given treefolk's dependance on proximity buffs, there's really no avoiding getting hit by them, but do your best not to bunch up unecessarily and minimize the chance of being wiped out by spell spam. A Trickster deployed early enough can catch a spell or two and save you a world of hurt. Occlusion is also a possibility but with the downsides of regular nora payments and hampering your own spell support.

Transplant can be used against you if you're not careful.

The Wood Elemental is great but he can be the death of you if allowed (or forced) to Transplant into your actual champions instead of your dispossable Saplings. He will always Transplant into the closest plant champion. Sometimes keeping one Sapling between him and your real champs isn't enough. Assuming your opponents are at least vaguely familiar with the Wood Elemental they will kill that Sapling first then force the transplant into your real champ. You can avoid this by keeping a few expendables between the Wood Elemental and your real champs or by only using non-plants to fight in close proximity to him. Using more than one Wood Elemental at a time will usually result in accidents (the worst being when one Wood Elemental transplants into the other one).

Champs that have taken root can NOT engage or be engaged.

Remember this. Enemies can walk around your rooted trees and they won't lift a branch to stop them. Don't run up to a ranged champ and take root thinking it will hinder the champ in any way. While this is usually a drawback, there are a few occasions where it's beneficial (Whirl of Blades is triggered by engagement so rooted trees are completely safe from that ability).

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