The Wizard101 Minion Meta
The PvP meta has changed a lot since the last update. We got new spells, as well as changes to some of our older ones. These spell changes have definitely impacted the meta. I am of course referring to our old minion friends. We have headed in the direction of a minion meta as a result. Before this update, the difference in utility from the Mander Minion and the other 3 pip minions was unequal to say the least. This all changed, since the developers are looking to bring more minions into the arena by improving their spells and A.I., thereby creating some more variety in gameplay. This is what I would call RNG that is good for the game!
The following minion spells have changed:
This minion, as it was before, was very underwhelming. The most useful thing it could do is hit in order to break shields. Unfortunately, it didn’t do this very often and when it did, it usually used up traps from a Life fuel or the traps it placed itself. It also occasionally healed you with a Fairy or a Sprite, which was once again, very infrequent and sometimes ill timed. In fact, the thing it did the most was pass.
With some testing, the old minion passed about 44% of the time, and in one particular case, it passed 6 turns in a row! The new and improved version only passes 20% of the time. This is a significant improvement. It now has better spells and better A.I. It can Lifeblade, Brilliant Light and Guiding Light, Sanctuary, Satyr and Fairy, Legend Shield, on top of still being able to hit and break shields.
One of the big problems for life wizards in PvP right now is that many of them end up in situations where they are forced to heal in order to stay in the game, but at that point, the opponent just stalls out the timer until Diego declares them the winner. If anything, this minion might be able to get past that problem by putting up the heal buffs for you. At the very least, it might allow you to continue to play offensive and apply pressure on your own while your minion plays defense.
This spell has been unusable for years. Spending ALL of your pips on one minion that could die to an AoE from the opponent was and always has been bad. To get a good minion out of this, you would need to spend 6 pips minimum but even if you had exactly that many, they could spend that many to kill it and still be ahead.
The new Animate spell featured above on the right is a huge upgrade since it gives death something they have NEVER had in PvP before: Minions! As the only school without a minion even remotely close to playable, they were at a significant disadvantage just from their own card pool. The only benefit they had as the only school without a decent minion was that no one else wanted to cast theirs against a death due to AOE drains such as Scarecrow and Call of Khrulhu.
Now that death can even the playing field for minions, they actually have a significant advantage in this minion meta. The drain effects on these spells mean that death can use minions while others will avoid casting them all together.
Note: Animate is now not allowed in PvP.
The Irate Pirate
While the spell is technically 5 different minions in one spell, I’m only going to go over the 5 pip one as the others will rarely be used as you’d want the maximum value out of Animate.
For starters, this minion has 850HP. That is a huge difference when compared to the other schools. No other minion comes close. The most health you’ll see in other minions is 700 for the Minotaur and the Water Elemental.
The Irate Pirate has a very strong selection of spells that will help you significantly. It does anything from Deathblade, Plague spamming, Poison and it can even Feint! This pirate will be an immediate target for your opponent because if they don’t kill it, you could steal the game from them.
For the actual in game uses, I’ll point out that he helps you complete the normal endgame plan: Poison into an open hit. Most deaths will typically go for the overtime into shadow hit game plan. For example, getting two treasure card blades and one dark pact up so you can send Poison and then send Winged Sorrow. If the minion poisons for you, just buff yourself up even more with either a bubble or infallible. If he feints, you can shrike and immediately threaten a huge hit. Not to mention how good he is for defense as well. If you’re against life or myth, Dream Shield will be a huge deal. Additionally, both Plague and Virulent Plague get cast often enough to prevent big hits from any school. Finally, Infection and Doom and Gloom will win you games when your Life and Balance opponents want to heal.
So far, this is easily a 10/10 minion and probably the best minion change from the entire update. Death benefitted quite well in a minion meta at the start. Unfortunately, after players figured out the best minion counters, Death fell behind. Their damage and overall stats just aren’t good enough to keep up with the other schools.
Storm’s 3 pip minion was somewhat useful in its previous form, and would be one of the best minions if it wasn’t for it constantly casting Taunt. It used this very frequently and since Taunt didn’t have any function at the time, it was basically dumping 3 pips just to do nothing. However, it was arguably more useful than the Spritely Guardian as it could use Elemental Shield, Absorb, and heal (via sprite) all while having twice the health. One of storm’s worst matchups at the moment is balance, which minions are notoriously good against. But this minion, just isn’t nearly as good in this matchup as the only spell you really want him to do is hit in order to break shields. Most of it’s other spells are, for the most part, useless.
Protecting the Caster
This update has completely reworked its AI and it’s abilities. Just to start things off, it can now Spirit Shield, meaning it now has defensive utility in nearly all matchups. Not to mention that Taunt having a viable use now only makes it that much better. Preventing your opponent from being able to target you would allow you to send in a big hit such as King Artorius or a Rusalka and not have to worry about the follow-up attack from the opponent. Cleanse Charm is also something it can do, although I wouldn’t rely on it too much. Just know that If a fire decides to send an Efreet, you maybe able to ignore it if your minion cleanses you right away. One last thing it can do is Healing Current. This will help you stay in the game against schools that win off of chip damage.
Now that I’ve brought up the defensive points, time for the offensive ones. Just to start, during bubble wars, this minion can come in very clutch with the ability to cast Darkwind. Since the most common deck gives you 10 copies of your school global, this can be very important in winning the bubble war. It’s also able to break multiple shields with Insane Bolt as well, although this can backfire if it ends up hitting itself even once. Just like the previous minions mentioned, it too can blade. In this minion meta, Storm’s definitely ranked up as one of the best in the game.
The 3 pip minion for fire was actually quite useful as it frequently casts Link and Fire Elf. This allowed for players to skip over the overtime part of their combo thus saving time and resources in a match. The biggest drawback is its health, as it is fairly easy to kill at only 400HP. Unlike the other minions, this one didn’t change too much, but it did get one important upgrade: Wyldfire.
Like most of the other minions, it too can now bubble fight. For fire especially, this is a big deal. As an offensive school, getting control of the global buff is important for pulling off any combination of hits to apply pressure. Just imagine, the elemental goes for a fire elf while you have a blade and infallible up. They are forced to shield, then your minion decides to be really offensive and bubbles. It did all the work for you! you could have passed both of those turns and still be really far ahead.
The changes to the spell itself is only in it’s pip cost. Although a minimal change, that one pip could mean the difference between unusable and very good. For starters, as the school that benefits the most from the pip conserve stat, making this an odd pip spell is definitely a good change. The other good benefit of this spell is the possible minions you can get from the spell itself. Both the Water and Fire elemental have updated spells and better AI making this spell more versatile than ever before.
The real question is whether this is better than the Helpful Mander. Despite the buffs to Spectral Guardian, I unfortunately do not think it comes anywhere close to the strength of the Mander. The Mander has so many good spells, that it almost never makes a bad play.
None of the elemental minions have decks even close to as good as the mander’s. The only one that might come close is the Fire elemental since it frequently casts overtimes and smoke screen. So far, the Spectral Minion has seen little to no play in the arena. Some players did try it out to see if it was worth the trouble, but it was quickly cut. Maybe in a different minion meta, the Spectral minion will shine, but not in this one.
The Golem Minion itself hasn’t changed. What did is the addition of a new myth spell Golem Taunt. This spell is an enchant specifically for the Golem Minion, creating a new 150HP minion. Unlike the Golem, the Test Dummy instead will cast Taunt whenever it has 3 or more pips. Whenever it can’t, it will pass.
This spell is quite powerful due to having a reliable single minded deck. Since it starts with 3 pips, it is guaranteed to cast first round it’s out. One possible combo is to cast Test Dummy and immediately cast Shrike after, meaning for the first round (at least) you can’t get targeted with any debuff or dispel. You’re very much guaranteed to start the King Artorius into Witch’s House Call combo that myth is so well known for.
The difference in health, while minor, determines what can kill it. At tier 2, it already survives a shadow wand hit without a critical and at tier 3 it even a critical won’t do it. This is crucial, as each upgrade reduces how easily it is killed. The fewer spells in the opponent’s deck that can kill it, means a higher chance it sticks around. Finally, at max tier, any school with less than 115% damage can’t kill it with a wand hit from an on school executive wand.
This minion is powerful, but difficult to fit into your deck. Because the spell itself requires two different cards, you increase your chance of deck failing by including it. The good news is that the Living Puppet is good enough by itself. Unenchanted, it still spams hits to break shields. So far since the update, the main myth strategy I’ve seen it used in is the “Daybreaker Shatter” strategy. Myths will cast the Test Dummy and then Daybreaker Shatter while the minion taunts. This prevents the main counter, Myth Dispel.
Regardless what school you are, everyone has the ability to use minions now. Would I describe this as a minion meta? I would not. The schools that benefitted the most won’t always use their new minions. Anyone using wand hits from their own school will be able to kill them without using pips. The aggro schools of Fire and Storm have multiple ways to deal with them in their sidedeck. Fire Elf and Storm Beetle are great moves against minions for a low pip cost. While these minions did get a huge boost to their playability, they are still very killable.
Minions are still great spells to have in your deck.
Have you been using minions to win your PvP matches?
Are minions over powered, or more balanced?
I’d love to hear your thoughts down below.