Welcome to our fourth Syndicate card review. Today, Bossman Shadow will be joined by Green-Knight, who is one of our finest competitive players. Together, they shall give you a rundown of the Firesworn and their leader Cyrus Hemmelfart, the Heirarch of Novigrad. This gang will most likely end up seeing a lot more play after the upcoming nerfs to Syndicate.
Make sure to check out our reviews of the other Syndicate gangs. Tidecloaks - Crownsplitters - Blindeyes - Cutups.
Cyrus Hemmelfart also known as the old Fart, is a strong, fun and a properly balanced leader. However, cards such as Whoreson's Freak Show and the Borsodi brothers are just too powerful and the other SY leaders can utilize them better. For now, the old Fart is overshadowed by King of Beggars and Gudrun. With nerfs to some of the overtuned gold cards, we could see his status rise. His spawn ability synergizes with several cards. The main issue is that there are plenty of counters to the swarm archetype. Most notably row punishment cards like Lacerate or Tinboy. Schirrú is also terrifying.
Sacred Flame is your crucial artifact for the Firesworn Zealot swarm archetype. The design of the card is interesting, potent and fairly balanced. In a dedicated swarm deck, Sacred Flame will easily meet its expected provision value, often even able to exceed it. Keep in mind that it boosts all the tokens you spawn, which offers great synergy with any card like Germain Piquant.
Grand Inquisitor Helveed might be a bit overtuned, but we won't really know until the impending nerfs hit Syndicate later this week, which can result in the Firesworn seeing more play. What we can say is that he is absolutely perfect in any Zealot swarm deck and offers powerful synergies with plenty of cards within the archetype. Helveed offers 8 value for 10 provisions when you play him, but when you combine his Fee ability with Sacred Flame, Eternal Fire Priest and other cards that benefit from swarming, his ceiling suddenly becomes incredibly high.
Prophet Lebioda is a dual-faction card for NR and Syndicate. The idea behind the card is cool, although a bit underpowered. He certainly won't see any play in SY decks, but he could make an apperance in some NR decks. Sadly, a lot of NR engines are row-locked, which limits you in what he can protect. In theory, Lebioda could become a key part of some kind of a shield deck (combined with King Roegner) if he ever receives a small buff.
Damnation is an intriguing card design-wise, albeit conditional and it also requires you to build the deck around it. Since it has the Crime tag, Damnation is a great pull for Ferko the Sculptor, while supporting the Intimidate archetype. This card might see some play if Zealot swarm and/or Intimidate decks get popular.
Nathaniel Pastodi is another dual-faction card for NR and SY. He fits into any deck that offers a sufficient amount of boosts. NR has easy access to boosting, especially a leader like Meve. Horst Borsodi and Coerced Blacksmith can boost Nathaniel in Syndicate decks, but it obviously isn't as efficient as with NR. Despite the random bleed distribution not finding the optimal targets or even over-stacking on the same unit, his provision cost will always be met and often exceeded in any boost deck.
Excommunication is absolute trash and will never be played unless it's reworked... but, let's play the Devil's Advocate just for the sake of being fair. Excommunication can find its use in Crime decks, combined with cards like Fisher King or Courier.
Congregation is a compelling card that supports the Zealot swarm archetype. Its upside is helpful when combined with cards like Sacred Flame, providing an extra body for swarm.
Procession of Penance is good enough to be an auto-include for Zealot swarm decks. The downside is that it's the only card in the deck that can play into tall removal. That being said, it's a reliable tempo play that rewards you for swarming the board.
Eternal Fire Inquisitor is a disappointing card. Even though he isn't that bad on paper, he's just a conditional 6 for 5 and doesn't scream "add me to your deck." When compared with any basic Crime card such as Payday, Inquisitor is just worse.
Keeper of the Flame is slightly underpowered in our opinion. He plays as a 5 for 5, which is below the average. On the rare occasion that you want to pay his Tribute, he is only a 7 for 5. If his Tribute cost was lowered, he could be a proper addition.
Firesworn Scribe is a 3 for 5 engine and that doesn't sound very appealing. However, when you add him to a swarm deck, he can offer immediate value with the old Fart's leader ability and play as an up to a 6 for 5. If he isn't removed afterwards, he will continue generating coins and can get ridiculous value.
Temple Guard is the last dual-faction card for NR and SY from the Firesworn set. It's a conditional 5 for 4, but if you want to get real value from this card, you have to use it in a dedicated NR boost deck. On top of decent synergy with Tridam Infantry, Temple Guard also empowers Lyrian Scytheman and Vissegerd. In SY decks, Temple Guard could grant you full value from Sigi.
Eternal Fire Priest might be easy to remove, but is a decent engine nonetheless. It can be compared to NR's Lyrian Cavalry, with the difference being that similarly to the Firesworn Scribe, you can get value immediately if combined with the old Fart's leader charges. This also makes the Priests harder to remove. Especially when summoned with Portal, this card can become crucial for the swarm decks, rewarding you for spawning units.
Eternal Fire Disciple is vital for the Zealot swarm archetype and overall a fair bronze card. He is only a 4 for 4 if you aren't benefiting from the swarm. However, in the Zealot swarm deck, you can call him "mini-Helveed" as his value can be impressive.