Earlier in the week I wrote my first Mechanics Explained article, detailing some of the nuances of Ambush. Not everyone has been playing long enough to understand all of the nuances of various game mechanics. As such, I’m writing this article series to help explain various game mechanics to players. Today, I’m going to continue with the Battle Skill Aegis.
Aegis: Protected from one enemy spell or effect (but not from battle damage).
Above is the official in-game tooltip for Aegis. Once again, players with a Magic the Gathering background may be familiar with a mechanic in that game called Hexproof or Shroud, which Aegis resembles. However, both Hexproof and Shroud prevent the opponent from targeting a unit, whereas Aegis protects from a single effect, even those that do not target. To make things additionally complex, Aegis is not only a Unit Battle Skill, but also something your Avatar can gain! While they share a keyword and function in much the same way, there are some corner cases that make differentiation between the two relevant. For the moment, let’s discuss Aegis on units.
Aegis on Units
The Basic Case
At its most basic level, the Aegis on Crownwatch Paladin will block a single spell from an opponent or an effect from an opponent controlled object. This applies even if the effect does not kill the Paladin (Vara’s Favor, for example) or even if it is potentially beneficial (Levitate, Accelerated Evolution). Effects, like Stormcaller’s damage or Eye of Winter’s stun, will also be negated by Aegis, consuming it.
Spells with Multiple Targets or Effects
If an spell affects multiple units beyond the first, a single unit gaining or possessing Aegis will not prevent the spell from affecting the remaining targets normally. This scenario occurs most frequently with Harsh Rule, where the Rule knocks the Aegis off units that have it while cleaning up the rest. Additionally, if a spell has an effect that is not tied to the target, it will still function. Levitate will still draw a card even though the unit didn’t gain flying. Vara’s Favor will still draw a sigil, although it will not gain you life because the damage was prevented by the Aegis.
Silence vs Aegis
This isn’t actually a special case, but it looks like it could be. When a silence effect targets a unit with an active Aegis, the silence is prevented. It will not go through and silence the unit entirely. If, however, the silence targets a unit with a consumed Aegis (one that has already triggered) it will silence the unit normally.
When Aegis is consumed, the unit with the Battle Skill does not lose it, it merely becomes grayed out to indicate it has been consumed. Leaving the battlefield (to hand or void) and later returning will refresh the unit’s Aegis. The unit can also regain its Aegis through the spell Protect, which gives a unit or player Aegis. Unlike Warcry, this effect doesn’t stack (units cannot have multiple instances of Aegis) but it will refresh a previously used Aegis. If a unit that previously had Aegis is silenced, they will not regain the Aegis if they are replayed.
Aside about Spell Timings: Once again I am forced to delve into a section of Eternal mechanics that has not been set down in writing. Many players have been faced with the situation where they use a premium removal spell, only to have an opponent cast Protect. They would like to use a second, less valuable spell in their hand to pop the Aegis generated by Protect and let the removal spell go through, but they cannot. Why is this?
In Eternal, when there are a series of spells and responses to spells, they build up into a pile. Once neither player wants to add to the top of the pile, the entire thing resolves in top to bottom order (top being the last spell cast). It is impossible to interrupt it part way through resolution. This means you can’t let Protect finish resolving and then add another spell to the pile – it has already started to resolve.
Aegis and Allied Effects
Another key point to remember is that Aegis specifies enemy spells and effects. Your Aegis units will have no protection against your own spells and effects, be they beneficial or harmful. This does mean that casting Harsh Rule will kill all of your own units, but conversely casting Lighting Storm will not pop all of your Aegis at once.
Aegis and Weapons
Weapons can only be played on allied units, so weapons will never disrupt Aegis. Weapons can even grant Aegis, as exemplified by Valkyrie Wings. However, the part that trips people up is when they try to use attachment removal on a unit with Aegis. Weapons can be destroyed by cards such as Ruin, Decay, and Furnace Mage. All of these state that they’re targeting an enemy attachment, but when you cast them to destroy a weapon you must target the unit using the weapon. When you cast ruin to remove a Morningstar from a Crownwatch Paladin, the Aegis will block the Ruin!
Weapons are attached to units in this game, and you cannot target them without first targeting the unit itself. The Aegis on the unit will then block the effect – its Aegis protects the unit and the weapons it is using. In the case of Passage of Ages, which destroys all enemy attachments, the single Aegis will protect all of the unit’s weapons. Why? From the in game tooltips:
Since the Passage of Ages is simultaneously trying to destroy all of the weapons, the single Aegis will block all of that destruction and negate those effects.
Aegis and Curses
Like weapons, curses are attachments, but unlike weapons they are exclusively placed on your opponent and their units. By far the most common unit affecting curse is Permafrost, although Touch of the Umbren follows the same rules. Attempting to play a curse on an Aegis unit will expend the Aegis to negate the curse. Conversely, once a curse is in play Aegis will never protect it, as you can only remove enemy attachments and the unit would have an allied Aegis.
Aegis on Player/Avatar
An aegis on your Avatar works very similarity to how Aegis on units works. The Aegis will be consumed to protect your Relic Weapon from spell effects, as well as spell or effect based damage (Torch, Stormcaller). However, it also blocks a couple of less intuitive effects. Discard effects, from cards like Sabotage, Treachery and Rain of Frogs will be stopped by Aegis. Even Steward of the Past’s summon effect will consume the Aegis. An Aegis on your Avatar also blocks curses that target players (Azindel’s Gift).
Weird Aegis Interactions
Cirso’s tranform effect is blocked by Aegis. A False Prince granted Aegis by Valkyrie Wings will still be transformed when targeted. Despite seeming to have two separate effects, Feeding Time has only a single effect which is completely blocked by Aegis. While Aegis is a Battle Skill, and spells can gain some battle skills, spells do not gain Aegis the player casting them has an Aegis.
Steward of the Past’s silence on death and Statuary Maiden’s transformation on death effects are both blocked by an active Aegis on the unit when it dies.
Things Aegis Does Not Block
Primarily, Aegis does not block combat damage or effects that interact with combat damage. Aegis will not prevent your unit from being targeted by a Killer attack or a Relic Weapon. Aegis will not prevent your unit from dying to Deadly, and Aegis on player will not prevent you from taking overwhelm damage (from unit sources).
Aegis can be a difficult mechanic to exploit, many of the base cases are well known but fringe cases are infrequent and often confusing. Hopefully this article does a little bit to explain basic Aegis interactions. Have a game mechanic you’d like explained next? Let me know in the comments!