How do I build a strong deck with Brice in Children of Zodiarcs?
Brice plays very differently to Nahmi. She is a magical powerhouse but has extremely limited access to free actions which means that you have to make the most of the abilities you use every turn. Having access to a large number of area-of-effect abilities does lend you the ability to get some good action efficiency, however. Make sure that you position Brice to hit as many enemies as possible with the abilities in-hand. Also remember that magic attacks do not provoke a counter-attack, even from directly in front of an enemy.
There are two main builds for Brice; the first is as a straight damage dealer, standing in the rear of the formation and spamming AOE attacks at clusters of enemies. The second is more debuff centred, relying on dropping status ailments and negative shard or star dice. Whilst it is possible to make an effective deck with either build the first is generally stronger and easier to do. Piling negatives status effects on enemies does sound appealing but the fact is that you’re unlikely to hit more than a couple with the abilities and enemies tend to die quite quickly in Children of Zodiarcs. The individual card reviews will go into more detail on this but don’t be put off trying a negative status deck-build if that’s something that appeals.
Damned – Old reliable. Damned is a single target spell with a long range, bonus shard dice and the ability to hold whatever it hits if you can get a measly single star. Whilst Brice’s real strength is in tagging multiple enemies at once there are times when that won’t be possible, either through enemy positioning or range. Don’t discount the Hold effect on Damned either. The long range of the spell means you can keep a melee fighter at a safe distance for a turn whilst weakening them considerably. Damned is a very versatile spell that you are going to want to keep a few of in your back pocket.
Ruiner – The first AOE attack that you will have access to and, unfortunately, the weakest. It shoots out in a line from Brice for three squares (four at higher levels) and has a chance to make an enemy discard 1. This is fine early on but you will soon have better options available to you. Having said that, I completely removed Ruiner from my deck and did notice occasions where the higher level, four-square range version would have been nice to have so perhaps don’t excise it completely.
Leech – Essentially a combat spell, Leech has a very short range (only adjacent enemies can be hit) and affects only one target but it is the closest thing Brice has to a healing spell. Any damage it inflicts is added to Brice’s current HP which is extremely handy in a pinch, either when other character’s don’t have healing available or when you just want the double whammy of healing Brice and hurting an enemy. At level two Leech jumps up a level as, with three stars, it becomes a free action. Stars are plentiful for Brice so you should be able to get this to trigger consistently, turning Leech into a straight-up bonus Brice can do in addition to her main attack.
Burning Anger – Playing Children of Zodiarcs you will quickly come to realise that Brice is not the most stable of characters and this is represented nowhere in her abilities better than Burning Anger. This spell explodes in a large area around Brice, indiscriminately hitting everything in its path. It deals plenty of damage and, at level two, gains bonus damage is Brice is below 50% health. There is also the nice little extra of planting Cursed Shard Dice on anything that survives. Despite all this goodness, I found myself cutting Burning Anger from Brice’s deck. Too often it would either have hurt the other heroes as much as the enemies or, to prevent it doing so, I would have had to move Brice very far out of the way, on her own. This isn’t something you really want to do with her, she needs to be kept close to other units for protection.
Eruption – At first level, Eruption is essentially Leech with the trade-off that it does no healing but can hit multiple targets with a stubby T-shaped area of effect. You will find yourself using it because, in the first half of Children of Zodiarcs, having a mixture of different shaped AOEs is useful for making the most of situations Brice finds herself in. At level two, Eruption gets a significant upgrade, forcing opponents to discard cards for every star she rolls and also drawing Burn, Burn, Burn!! (see below) from the deck. Burn, Burn, Burn!! is one of Brice’s strongest offensive spells so you’ll want to keep a couple of Eruptions in the deck to ensure consistency of drawing them.
Burn, Burn, Burn!! – There’s nothing subtle or complicated about this ability. It has a good range, has a small but versatile AOE and hits like a truck. All of its extra abilities are focused on dealing extra damage; gaining a boost with two stars and another boost if Brice is below 50% health. There’s nothing more to say on Burn, Burn, Burn!!, you’re going to be happy to see it in your hand.
Crushed Flowers – The first of Brice’s debuff spells, Crushed Flowers is a strong entry as not only can it hold enemies in a versatile AOE but it can also inflict Bleed with a couple of stars. Actively disrupting and indirectly damaging enemies like this is what debuff abilities were made for and you will find Crushed Flowers to be a cornerstone of the debuff deck and good enough to make its way into the damage-dealing deck for a couple of copies.
Amnesia – This ability picks something it wants to do and commits to it hard. Amnesia is all about enemies discarding cards and it does its job well. At level two it is an AOE that will make enemies discard two plus an additional two with a couple of stars. This can decimate opponents’ hands and leave them to either make less than ideal attacks or, best case scenario, to skip their turn to draw more cards. Having said all that, the spell has the same AOE as Burn, Burn, Burn!! and Crushed Flowers and I struggle to think of an occasion you wouldn’t rather do loads of damage or hold and bleed the same targets as Amnesia.
Heartless Cruelty – This one has the same AOE as the two debuffs above (the plus-shaped one) but focuses on cursed dice. When you get it rolling it can inflict cursed shard and cursed star dice on affected enemies with the bonus star die it gets making this a reliable effect. For my money, this is a stronger effect than Amnesia but like all the debuff spells it relies on being able to hit multiple targets as, if you’re only getting one, it’s not a strong enough effect.
Devour – Devour is very simple. It is an AOE blast centred on Brice that inflicts Devour on any targets. The AOE is decent and Devour will deal 50 damage to targets on their turn for each negative status effect. Devour itself counts as one so as a minimum it’s hitting for 50 per turn. It combos extremely well with Heartless Cruelty which can potentially inflict two more negative status effects on targets. Amnesia inflicts none and Crushed Flowers will only have one as the Hold only lasts one turn. If there is something that makes the debuff deck work it is Devour. Unfortunately, you get it quite late in the game and, like Burning Anger, to make sure your own side isn’t hurt by it you have to wander Brice off on her own a bit. When it works though it’s a champion feeling that you will enjoy. I encourage you to play around with it but I don’t think it has a place outside a deck specifically built to enable it.
For maximum effectiveness, you will probably want to run Brice as a straight-up damage dealer. The deck below is what I use from about halfway through Children of Zodiarcs. Once Leech hits level two it can put out a scary amount of hurt if the positioning falls your way.
- 2x Ruiner
- 4x Leech
- 3x Eruption
- 3x Burn, Burn, Burn!!
- 4x Damned
- 2x Crushed Flowers
If you want to run the debuff deck I would suggest running full Devour and at least four of Crushed Flowers and Heartless Cruelty. That will leave you with at least seven spaces for damage-dealing spells. You’re going to want Damned due to its ability to inflict Bleed (another negative debuff for Devour) and probably Burning Anger. The latter explodes from Brice, meaning she has to be on her own, but so does Devour and Burning Anger inflicts Cursed Shard Dice which will combo well with Devour. If you can get a Burning Anger off, followed by a Devour then you will have put a significant hurt on the enemy.
Make sure to build Brice’s dice with plenty of stars as she, of all the characters, relies heavily on getting everything available out of her spells. As a second choice to stars you will want to make sure there are a good few card draw sides on her dice as she doesn’t get any card draw in her abilities.