In Sorcery: Contested Realm, as the realm grows, avatars can utilize powerful magics to influence the battlefield, harnessing mighty auras to root enemies in place or create physical boundaries to be overcome, significantly impacting the gameplay of Sorcery. But…what exactly are auras?
Sorcery TCG Game Designer, Mike Haught is here to explain.
Auras, Explained in Sorcery TCG
The rulebook defines aura cards as,
"...are mostly incorporeal, but lasting, manifestations of elemental power. They usually impact a large area within the realm, conferring boons or conditions within their reach."
In Sorcery, auras and magics are sort of two sides of the same coin. They both serve as the primary conduits for magical effects to impact the realm. However, while the impact of magics are fleeting, auras persist for longer periods of time and (importantly) impact the realm itself, introducing challenges that players need to consider (or ignore at their peril).
For me, auras are important because they shape the character of specific areas of the realm. When I play an aura, I'm saying this area has a special story, a condition that only makes itself known after the lands have been explored, impacting the landscape's tale.
They're the difference between spotting a new land from the crow's nest (i.e. playing a site to the realm) and actually setting foot there. An area that might previously seem safe might suddenly become your tomb. You know that area where you saw an idyllic summer river meandering peacefully through the meadows? That welcoming watering hole where your small army of foot soldiers just paused its march for a brief respite? Well, it turns out that the river was cursed by mariners of a forgotten age, so have fun with that. Oh, and mind the sharks... In a game where minions, artifacts, and magic tell the epic stories of heroes and battles, I see auras as one powerful way the realm can tell its own story.
In technical terms, auras really give us the ability to explore the grid system. Since they typically impact a 2x2 grid square, where they are located can play a significant role in what happens there or around it.
They can enhance or optimize a block of squares for your troops or they can do the opposite to your opponent's forces. You have to take them into account when you're moving your troops into position. Suddenly, that straight line to your target is fraught with a thick, impassable quagmire, a patch of unearthly silence, or even cursed lands. So you're faced with challenges that you need to overcome. Do you damn the torpedoes and push through relentlessly? Or do you spend precious time searching for a gap to exploit? As with all cards, when we're designing auras, we're thinking about what the story is trying to tell. The size, shape, and duration of the aura all depend on knowing what that story is. Let's have a look at a few auras.
Auras of Overwhelming Power
There are several varieties of auras, but the most typical are ones played at the border intersection of four locations. This coverage, combined with their persistent nature, can make them incredibly potent. Take, for instance, the tempestuous fury of Thunderstorm, which deals three damage randomly to units atop affected sites. This effect persists until it has dealt damage three times. Another example is Wildfire. This aura only affects only one site, burning everything there. But then it moves at the end of each player's turn, continuing its path of destruction until it runs out of nearby sites to burn.
Some of the most powerful auras can even change the realm itself. Atlantean Fate floods non-Ordinary sites, turning them into water sites, and changing them to only provide Water threshold while simultaneously stripping the sites of their other abilities. Mastery of these powerful auras will help you reshape the battlefield and secure your place as ruler of the Contested Realm.
Some auras are inherently defensive, either granting boons to your forces or presenting barriers for your opponents to overcome. For example, there are several auras that manifest as walls, which are conjured at the edge of two squares, spanning a 2x1 area. This unique placement alters how units interact with crossing them, making them more strategic obstacles to navigate. For instance, Wall of Air specifically restricts airborne or weaker units from passing through, enabling you to execute decisive raids into your opponents’ lands, as long as your troops are large enough to bypass this barrier!
Find out more
Auras can be important additions to your spellbook because they can grant your units boons, trap your enemies, and carve out opportunities for you to exploit. But perhaps most importantly, the effects of auras can reach out into your opponent's turns in ways that magics and minions typically cannot, making them particularly powerful and challenging. Finally, auras are also fantastic storytelling tools, enhancing the character of the landscape as well as the story that you are trying to tell through your deck. Browse all of Sorcery's aura cards on Curiosa.io to find those that best fit with the story of your deck, and once you've familiarized yourself with them, allow me to introduce you to the Enchantress...
Join the community discussions about Aurras on the Sorcery: Contested Realm Official Facebook Group and, until next time, good luck contesting the Realm!