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The Neopets TCG: Hannah and the Ice Caves


by slickninja

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This article is written with the assumption that you know the basics of playing the Neopets Trading Card Game. If you've never heard of the TCG or even played it, this article may seem a bit confusing. There are plenty of great TCG articles in the Neopian Times you can catch up on to better understand the game.

Today, we will look at the Hannah and the Ice Caves expansion. This is the fourth expansion and my favourite expansion thus far. This expansion introduces new cards called Fate cards. There are two types of Fate cards, Quests and Curses. These cards are pretty much straightforward, and you just follow what they say. Quests usually tell you that when you play that Quest, and you can't start another contest that turn. On your next turn, if you can complete the Quest, you get a special rewarding effect, and then the Quest gets discarded. With Curses, you will choose a Neopet to attach it to. This Curse will somehow hinder this Neopet and usually make it difficult for it to win contests. Let's take a look at some of these Fate cards.

- Jhudora's Quest: When this Neopet banks a Potion, this Neopet's controller looks at his opponent's hand and chooses two cards to discard. This is a great fit for a deck that uses lots of Potions or if your strategy is to make your opponent discard cards. There are plenty of good Potions to choose from. Shadow Breeze and Bottle of Grarrl are two bank 4 Potions. Using the Potions that bounce back to your hand instead of being discarded may also be useful (Potion of Strength, Potion of Speed, Faerie Dishwater, Essence of Brain). You could even bank Potions which give special effects when you bank them. If you bank Tagabo Potion, each of your Neopets get +2 to all stats until the end of your turn.

- Lisha's Quest: When this Neopet banks a Book, this Neopet's controller draws two cards. This card is perfect for book decks. Some books allow you to draw a card when banked. This Quest essentially boosts that effect. If you manage to bank Grimoire of Thade with a Korbat Researcher on this Quest, you will get to draw 2 cards from Grimoire of Thade's effect, 2 more cards from the Quest, and another card from the Researcher's effect. You will also have to discard one card from the Researcher's effect, but you are bound to get a lot of the cards you need with this amazing drawing power.

- Skarl's Order: When this Neopet banks a Weapon, this Neopet's controller searches his deck for a Weapon and banks it. This card has its advantages for any Weapon deck. One way to speed up the process of finishing this Quest is a card from the Base Set called Put on Display. It's a Earth-type Something Has Happened card. Choose an Equipment attached to a Neopet or Hero. Its owner banks it. If you're about 2 to 6 points away from 21, this card can help you win on your current turn instead of waiting another turn.

So it seems as Quests has its major advantages when banking a certain type of card. The one drawback to Quests is that you can't start another contest in the turn you play the Quest. That means you have to wait your next turn before attempting to complete the quest right? Well, usually.... yes. Just as I pointed out how Put on Display helps you finish Skarl's Order quickly, there is another Experienced Neopet in this expansion that could also help out.

- Bori Miner: You may tap this Neopet and discard a card in your hand to bank an Item or Equipment in your hand. You are banking a card by his special effect, not by winning a contest so the Bori Miner can complete Quests faster than basically any other Neopet. The Bori Miner never even has to start a contest to bank a card. To utilize his effect, why not use a card like Battle Stations (from the Dr. Sloth expansion) which allows you to untap all of your Neopets. You can then use the Miner's effect more than once in a turn! There are many other cards that allow you to untap a Neopet so just search through the checklist and see which cards best fit your deck.

Now, that we've gone through the Quests, let's take a closer look at the Curses.

- Misfortune: When this Neopet's controller rolls a die for a contest it's in, all rolls other than a 6 count as a 0.

- Frostbite: This Neopet can't tap to move.

- Selfishness: This Neopet can't bank cards for winning contests.

- Achy Head: If an Equipment is attached to this Neopet, discard that Equipment.

- Sniffles: This Neopet can't be traded in or replaced.

As you can see, these Curses can be quite difficult to deal with. You can always tap your Neopet to trade it in for a new Neopet to get rid of a Curse. Sniffles specifically doesn't allow you to do this however. It could be quite annoying not being able to put in your Experienced Neopet if you have Sniffles attached to your Basic Neopet. There are other cards which will help you get rid of Curses though. Healing Springs is a Location card that discards all Curses in that arena. Fyora's Blessing is a Something Has Happened card that let's you choose a Curse and discard it. There are also Medicines that get rid of Curses in specific arenas when you bank them (Slorg Slime, Pickled Greeble Tongue, Gracklebug Paste, Faeriecinths).

There is another reason why this expansion is my favourite so far. There is much more Hero support in this expansion. Heroes have better abilities and there are more cards that make Heroes actually worth playing.

- Hannah the Cursed: When you play this card, search your deck for an Equipment, reveal it, and put it in your hand and shuffle your deck. When this Hero leaves play, you may choose an Equipment attached to this Hero and bank it. Wow, not only does this Hero have a stat of 20 in Agility and 17 in Intelligence, but using Hannah will lead to not one, but TWO effects. When you play her, you get to search for an Equipment you need and put it directly in your hand. This helps you thin out your deck, pull the Equipment you need, and it maximizes the chances of you drawing another card you need on your next draw. Not only that, if Hannah wins her contest, you will get to bank or draw a card with the addition of banking an Equipment attached to her. Sure, attaching an Equipment may cost you the tapping of a Neopet, but this is a guaranteed bank card. You could always use a card like Battle Stations (as described previously) or why not attach Hannah's Magic Rope? It's a bank 3 (highest for any Equipment) and it does not require you to tap a Neopet to attach it. It's effect lets you discard a card from your hand to attach it. Don't forget about codestones from the Mystery Island expansion either!

- Keeper of Time: At the end of your turn, if this Hero has an Equipment, this Hero stays in play instead of being discarded. This was my main gripe about Heroes before. Usually Heroes get discarded at the end of the turn, so to me, it usually wasn't worth playing them. But just as Hannah the Cursed has a special effect if she has an Equipment attached to her, so does this Bori. He's not extremely powerful by himself, but with stats of 10,6,9,11 across the board, he can hold his own, or even help out any of your other Neopets in an arena. You can use the same strategy for attaching Equipment that I described with Hannah the Cursed for the Keeper of Time.

- Taelia the Snow Faerie: When you play this card, choose one of your opponent's Neopets. It doesn't untap on your opponent's next turn. You can see why this card is helpful. Taelia has a stat of 23 in Magic and 17 in Intelligence which is very tough to beat. She will win most of the time, but not only that, she makes your opponent lose part of his turn by keeping a Neopet of your choice tapped.

So the Heroes have become bigger, badder, and stronger with better effects. There's also new Items that make them even tougher to beat. Look at Hannah the Usuki Doll and Snow Faerie Token, just to name a few. If the Usuki Doll is in your bank, when you play a Hero, you may choose to play it in any arena you want instead of the arena in which you tapped your Neopet. This helps greatly because Heroes cannot tap to move without help from special effects. This card can help you place Keeper of Time in any arena you want. Also if you play Snow Faerie Token in a contest with your Hero in it, that Hero can stay an extra turn! Not only will your Hero help you defend on your opponent's turn, but you will have extra attack power on your next turn because the Neopet you tapped to play the Hero previously will now be untapped.

Don't look now, but something had to happen to balance out these Heroes. Yep, you probably guessed it. There is also more Villain support in this expansion. Villains have become just as big, just as bad, and just as strong with just as cool effects as the Heroes.

- Bringer of Night: When you play this card, discard all Heroes in its arena. This card has an astonishing stat of 25 in Strength and a stat of 21 in Magic not to be overlooked. This is the perfect counter to those Heroes that try to stay in play. When I first saw this card, the first thing that came to my mind was that this card spelt trouble for decks built around King Skarl (from the Battle for Meridell expansion). Whether you use its effect or not, the Bringer of Night is a great card to use if you need to block off the Strength or Magic arena. He's definitely a force to be reckoned with.

- Kanrik: When you play this card, search your deck for an Item, reveal it, and put it in your hand. Kanrik has decent stats of 17 in Agility and 15 in Intelligence. He could probably temporarily block off those arenas, but he's not as powerful as some other Villains. His effect is what makes him unique though. Just as Hannah the Cursed lets you thin out your deck by searching for an Equipment, Kanrik let's you do the same, except with an Item.

- Tax Beast: When you play this card, each player who has at least 15 points in his bank chooses and discards 2 cards from his hand. So the Tax Beast strikes again! He has a stat of 20 in Agility and 25 in Magic which is definitely usable in any Air deck that needs to block off those arenas. His effect is an added bonus.

The Villains also have some new cards that support them as well. Take for example, the Location card called Ancient Tomb. You need a Dark Neopet to play this, but Villains get +3 to all stats here and Items can't be played in contests against Villains here. This will usually lead to any rivals hoping to roll a 6 for the lucky win. These are nice odds if you're the one that played it. Also Double-Bladed Staff is an Equipment that you can attach to a villain! When this Equipment is attached to a Villain, the Villain may also roll a die to even the odds, or should I say make them more lopsided?

That just about wraps it up for my review of the Hannah and the Ice Caves expansion. Don't take my word for it though. There are plenty of other great cards out there that I couldn't fit in this review so start collecting and get to building those ultimate decks. There are even special cards from this set that I wanted to review, but I couldn't review because they don't exist...

...or do they?

 
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