Harry Potter and the Charming Flora

Decks come from a variety of starting points, some have a strong theme. Some will be all about a specific card, others are trying to solve a very specific puzzle. This one falls into the third category. Let’s talk about fumos.dec, or at least a deck that started that way. The list up for discussion today was decidedly a reactionary one. Based on our discoveries from 2016 we went into 2017’s Gen Con looking to knock off the top dog. The top dog if you recall was an aggressive Care of Magical Creatures list that looked to close the game out with really big Steelclaws.

Transfiguration Spell
All your Creatures do damage to your opponent.

Most of the creatures in the deck would be low cost and high attack such as Baby Dragon or Black Bat. This is where the foliage comes in. Well sort of. As mentioned, the deck actually started with Fumos.

Charms Spell
Do 2 damage to each Creature (even our own).

Our initial plans were to try and play a bunch of Creatures with removal tacked on such as Doxy. Unfortunately, there aren’t many 2-for-1’s like that in the game. We went on to discover that removal is at a premium, full stop. That was until we came across the sweeper above. Magical plants are perfectly happy to use your opponent’s creatures as fertilizer. Since you will be delivering some pain to your own creatures, the self-repair aspect of many of the plants (combined with Professor Sprout’s innate health buff) made the drawback on Fumos negligible. All those quick creatures your opponent sacrificed their lessons to power out? Funny story, a good chunk of them have a measly 1 or 2 health. They are ripe for the harvest. Now that we have examined the tree rings and took a brief trip down memory lane let’s take a peek at the list itself:

Starting Character

Professor Pomona Sprout

Lessons: 22
13 Care of Magical Creatures
9 Charms

Items: 4

4 Guide to Household Pests

Locations: 3

3 Greenhouse Three

Creatures: 22

4 Cobra Lily
4 Devil’s Snare
3 Mandrake
2 Venomous Tentacula
1 Whomping Willow
4 Umbrella Flowers
4 Leaping Toadstools

Spells: 9

4 Fumos
2 Rope Bind
1 Rose Growth
2 Bewitched Snowballs

OK First off, the numbers are a little wonky. That is strictly due to card availability. For example: Rope Bind and Rose Growth are functionally the same card. However, those are the only copies of each we even own so we are stuck. Since we are on the topic, I find both to be fantastic. Two health seems to be a common breakpoint for many creatures in this game. As a result, you are essentially +1 action through removing you opponent’s play and then drawing a card. Seems pretty good. It is a reasonable turn 2 play as well since the cost is a mere 3. Bewitched Snowballs are a concession to Norbert. That specific dragon sports 3 health and as such dodges the other removal. There is a lack of space otherwise there would probably be more included since the threat is pretty large. In both cases the burn can be aimed at your opponent to try and close out a game. Assuming we find access to all the cards we wanted, I definitely do want to test out a full compliment of 8 “deal 2 for 3” cards. That is 4 Rope Bind and 4 Rose Growth. The redundancy would be a welcome boon, but I am not sure where the space would come from. I’d love to cut the snowballs as they are a little pricey, but again Norbert is a problem. Fumos has already been mentioned but the key here just like board clears in other games is to try and squeeze value out of them. Hitting 3+ cards can really set your opponent back.

Moving up to the creatures, let’s begin with the ones that probably caused the most head scratching. Of course, I am referring to the Leaping Toadstools and the Umbrella Flowers. If you review the list there actually isn’t any healing. That’s not an oversight. It may very well be a mistake, but there was a method to this madness. Since the toadstools come out with 6 health, and the flower with 8, they are going to stick around for a while. The idea is to soak with them, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure right? Well maybe not entirely in this case but that’s what we were going for. These 2 creatures will eat a surprising amount of damage if you get them into play early. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much for big meaty hits, or damage that has already been taken. They are certainly close to the chopping block but are staying for now.

Continuing our climb you have our other curious card in Whomping Willow. Let’s be honest, I really just want to include the card and due to missing some cards had a 60th card slot to fill. The card is too expensive in reality and has literally never hit play. If it ever does you may hear the cheer emanating from the table cross country though. The next sound you’ll hear is my head slamming into the table as it gets targeted with Dobby’s Disappearance. Thems the rules.

The rest of the branches are made up of the real heavy lifters. Basically, these are the creatures who actually win you the game. Since Pomona grants extra health, even Mandrake will survive Fumos or at the very least screw up opposing damage based removal. This is where a different card availability problem shows up. We do actually own these cards, problem is you’d really rather run more threatening plants. They don’t hit very hard so you need to make sure you get them out fast or you’ll fall behind.

After the creatures you have Greenhouse Three. This fits in with a recurring theme for me of trying to cheat actions. Getting to play extra cards is really important in general and here doubly so. You can’t afford to fall behind because even a massive Fumos may not do you any good if you need to get threats onto the board. The greenhouse let’s you sneak a few extra things onto the board to try and pre-empt that issue.

To close out the list I’ll lump the 26 resources together. I feel the guide is one of the best cards in the game. It is just so versatile. The lessons are pretty ho-hum, but I will mention on point about them. I really would love to cut the entirety of Care of Magical Creatures and add a 3rd color/faction. The issue is both the willow (not a big deal) and Devil’s Snare (bigger deal) require actual CoMC lessons. There have been versions, on paper (for shame!), that have done this and moved into Transfiguration or other orders to try and squeeze some extra value. The issue is actually winning the game. Value helps a lot, but you do need to actually win at some point.

Both Wife and I came really close to playing this deck in one version or another at Gencon in 2017 and it is definitely something we are revisiting for the event in 2018. How would the deck change? Well again speaking about an ideal world here is the to-do list:

  • Fumos is great, but 7 is a lot. You need an early game to ensure you survive. Extra copies of the early burn like Rope Bind/Rose Growth should help with that.
  • An actual win condition. I’ve toyed with cutting the Willow/Snare as mentioned, but maybe the opposite is true. Maybe the weaker plants wither off the vine and instead we lean heavier into ramping towards Willows to stomp and smash.
  • Rework the resource base. While there are 26 lesson generating cards, plus the 1 from Pomona, this setup doesn’t feel incredibly stable. There may not be much that can be done though. Greenhouse Three is great but it doesn’t actually do anything on its own.
  • Look into potions. Currently Venomous Tentacula is just a body. There are no potion lessons or cards to utilize. It feels like a waste to not have anything for the ability to be used with. Maybe there is a way to make CoMC/potions/charms work and utilize cauldrons to ramp into a quick Whomping Willow. The issue there is that going all in on that sort of threat is just begging for something bad to happen.

Anyway, if the fauna has got you down maybe you should check out whether you happen to have a green thumb. The HP universe flora happens to have some bite.


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