Weekly Battle Challenge: Stone Golem vs Thorns

in Splinterlands6 months ago

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For this week's battle challenge, we're going back to basics again with Stone Golem. I have many fond memories of using an Earth deck led by Stone Golem to climb through Silver league during my first few seasons in Splinterlands. Now it's time to revisit him and see if he still holds up!

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The Card

Stone Golem is a 5 mana rare Earth monster from the Alpha and Beta sets. A great starter tank, at level 1 the Stone Golem has 6 health and 2 armor, but only 1 speed and 1 melee damage. Good defensive stats, but low on offense. The real highlight is his Shield ability, which allow him to take reduced damage from melee and ranged attacks. This is the same ability that makes Living Lava such a great tank for the Fire splinter. Stone Golem is essentially a green copy of Living Lava that sacrifices 2 attack damage for a lower mana cost.

Besides taking direct hits from the enemy, I always loved Stone Golem and other Shield monsters for taking reduced damage from Earthquake when I was short on flying monsters, and for taking reduced damage from Thorns. During the early seasons when I depended on Stone Golem, it was great to have a tank that would only take 1 Thorns damage whenever Mylor Crowling showed up on the enemy team. Nowadays Mylor is still a threat, but you also run into Djinn Chwala's built-in Thorns quite often, so Stone Golem's Shield should be even more useful.

Let's try him out against a couple Thorns teams and see how he performs!

Battle 1 - Mylor vs Mylor

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For my first battle, I had 22 mana and the Odd Ones Out ruleset, which was the perfect opportunity to use a low-cost tank like Stone Golem. I used my own Mylor Crowling and brought War Chaang for a backup tank with ranged damage. Then I had a Brownie to boost our speed, a Goblin Sorcerer, and an Earth Elemental. Just some solid low-mana monsters to fill out our squad.

My opponent also used Mylor as his summoner, and led the team with a Pelacor Mercenary. Behind the merc was a level 3 Screeching Vulture, a level 2 Mushroom Seer, and another Earth Elemental. My initial thoughts were that the Vulture was going to make short work of my Brownie, and that the real threat to my team was the Mushroom Seer. I had no way of getting to the Seer without taking out the enemies up front, and that 2 damage per turn was going to be painful. But how did it actually play out?

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As expected, the Vulture removed our Brownie immediately. But that was okay, since who wants to dodge when you're running a Mylor team? Our Stone Golem performed admirably, soaking up every bit of damage possible before finally being killed by the Seer. He completely nullified the enemy Earth Elemental and ensured that the Pelacor Mercenary took 2 damage for every one he dealt. Vulture died to Thorns in a failed attempt to kill our Sorcerer, and we had an easy cleanup as War Chaang stepped up to the front line. Great battle!

Battle 2 - Back to Bronze

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My second battle was on my alt account back in Bronze league with nothing but starter cards. With a 13 mana cap and Broken Arrows, I chose to play an Earth deck. I used Lyanna as my summoner to give Stone Golem the ability to tank one more hit. Behind the Golem, I brought Goblin Sorcerer again with Khmer Princess in the back for a little more magic damage. Overall, it was a low damage team, but I hoped Stone Golem would live long enough to wear down the enemy.

My opponent brought Djinn Chwala under Drake of Arnak with a Slimeball in the back. The Djinn was quite scary because of it's high health and armor and constant Thorns damage. At first glance, I wasn't sure who would win.

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But it turned out that we had just enough in the tank to make it through. Slimeball ate the first Sorcerer attack, and then we were focus-firing on the Djinn. With no dodges to alter the math, Stone Golem took 2 combined damage per round while ineffectively denting the Djinn's armor. However, before he fell, the Stone Golem held out long enough for our magic monsters to bring the Djinn down to 1 health. Scary as it was to have our back line exposed to the Djinn, it came too late and our Khmer Princess dealt the killing blow before the Djinn could act. Another successful test.

Final Thoughts

I was very pleased to find that Stone Golem still held up on both my main account and my alt. I played several more battles with him that I haven't shown here, and he was always a reliable defender on the front line. I highly recommend using him in your Earth decks whenever mana is at a premium.

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