Honestly... why is this even called a "barking" spider? It looks like it a spider with a bandana spewing a cloud of noxious gas from the arse end! Now that I look more at it, it seems like a really hippy sort of spider... if only it was wearing a tie-dye shirt as well! Or perhaps the cloud should be rainbow coloured!... and so, that is why I'm not a graphic designer or a marketer...
The Barking Spider is one of those newer cards that I haven't really leveled up much before this week. If I'm spending DEC on cards, I tend to try and get some Beta cards to bolster my existing Betas and hope that the Reward, Promo and Untamed cards will eventually come via drops. So, my Barking Spider at the start of the week was a bit underpowered and without the Blind skill which is the only thing that makes it worthwhile playing!
So, at roughly 1 cent per card it is a relatively easy card to level up via market purchases... however, I will have to say this for the sellers. It is NOT fun to tick the selection box about 60 times to get enough cards that are required for a level up! So, just as a little hint... if you combine at least some of the cards, you are more likely to get a buyer... or that is what I think... as it really takes out the pain point of ticking that little box a million times!
Plus, it also allows you to list at an $/BCX price slightly lower than the $0.01 limit for single cards which means that your listing will appear at the top of the pile!
Anyway, crank out aside... I had to buy enough cards to get the little guy up to level 6 which is where the Blind ability was acquired. To be perfectly honest, at 4 mana and relatively little ranged damage power... this guy is a terrible play without the Blind ability.
So, one of the principal balances in Splinterlands is between survivability and damage potential. You want to survive long enough to deal damage, but you want to cause enough damage to minimise the incoming damage! On the survivability front, there is armour repair and healing to regenerate your survival attributes... whilst there are also damage reduction skills that minimise the damage that you take from various damage types.
All of these are known quantities in a battle, whilst Blind (giving your team a chance to dodge physical damage completely) is a probabilistic ability. This means that you have a chance to dodge, but it is a random modifier to the battle outcome and not a dependable quantity. Sometimes, you will be lucky... other times, less so. So, it is a bit of a riskier play compared to the known healing and damage reduction abilities.
That said, this probabilistic aspect is the trade off against having such a huge bonus... after all, what is better than healing or taking less damage? It is NOT getting hit in the first place!
In this first featured battle, the Barking Spider earns it's place due to the low mana Little League battle condition, which means that more powerful monsters of higher mana costs can't be played anyway. So, a good chance to try out the stinky little guy! Now, the Earthquake battle condition could also work in my favour if I get hit less often as well....
The rest of my team line up is based around the fact that I'm pretty limited in the Earth Splinter when it comes to Little League matches. Still, two Reach monsters (Minotaur Warrior and Grumpy Dwarf) in the front for the melee, my all time favourite of the Screeching Vulture for the squish harassment, the Wood Nymph to provide healing and the Brownie to give those melee monsters a bit of extra oomph! So, the Barking Spider is there to soak up rear attacks... and hopefully utilise that Blind ability to give my melee monsters that little bit of extra time to survive and hit one more time!
Unfortunately, the enemy has played lots of Magic cards... which the Blind ability won't really help against... plus there is a good deal of amour as well! This is not looking that good. My Minotaur Warrior goes down before the end of the round, with the Blind ability not even working a single time! Then it works TWICE... giving the Grumpy Dwarf a healthy bit of breathing space to survive into the next round! The end of round Earthquake leaves me in much worse shape than my opponent, he has flying monsters and armour... so, I'm looking pretty shaky at this point!
Second round starts with me downing the Pixie and the Turtle, thankfully the turtle was downed with ranged and magic attacks which meant that I didn't take any Thorns damage.... but in return I lose my healing Wood Nymph and Grumpy Dwarf. Of course, the Grumpy Dwarf gets Enraged AFTER he attacks... sigh.... This brings the Screeching Vulture to the front, where it is MISSED by the enemy ranged attack. Every HP will count from here on in!
Third round starts with the enemy Medusa going down first... a important kill as that Daze ability could be devastating at this stage with so few monsters left! I'm starting to think that I'm in a good position now, my Vulture is looking pretty healthy and if the Blind can kick in a couple more times... then I'm INVINCIBLE!
Well... in the end, it only kicked in one more time... but at this stage, every hit or miss makes a huge difference and I did end up winning. There were about 4 missed attacks from the enemy... a decent amount of damage avoided!
In this second battle, there was a similar Little League battle condition, but no healing Wood Nymph due to the Lost Magic condition. That meant that I would be leaning quite heavily on the ability to dodge damage instead of trying to heal it! Now the opposition is looking quite strong on the healing and armour repair front... in that they have it and I don't! However, they have a heavy reliance on physical damage (ranged and melee) that Blind is going to be effective against... if it kicks in...
First round... much like the last battle, I take out their leading tank pretty fast, thankfully the Crystal Werewolf didn't have the Thorns ability though! But the real magic comes into play when both the Highland Archer AND the Silvershield Warrior both miss their attacks! Thanks Barking Spider!
Second round, down goes part of their survival kit... as the Armoursmith bites the dust, followed soon after by their second rank Silvershield Warrior... from here it is smooth sailing, enabled by the fact that the archers on the opposite team keep missing!
The Barking Spider is a bit of risky play... first, you are hoping that the enemy doesn't field a team that is magic heavy and then you are hoping that the Blind ability will kick in enough times to make a difference. In the two featured battles, the Blind ability made enough of a difference to warrant the loss of a battle slot and mana cost for the Barking Spider... however, I had many other games where the Blind didn't kick in at all!
As a card without the Blind ability, the Barking Spider is a pretty poor choice... low damage, and okay health, there are much better monsters that could be using the battle slot. However, in low mana battles it is a tolerable choice.
However, with the Blind ability... the sheer annoyance of having enemy attacks miss (annoyance for the other player!) is just too powerful... that said, it doesn't always work!
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