In this week's challenge, we have been tasked to complete a match using the Exploding Dwarf monster. Exploding Dwarf belongs to the Fire Splinter and has a strong attack with "Blast" ability but slow speed and low health, so it's certainly going to be a challenge to use him successfully, but I'll do my best!
As soon as I purchased Exploding Dwarf for this challenge, I noticed that the combination of slow speed and low health would present a challenge. As I started to make my lineup, I initially put Exploding Dwarf at the front thinking that the combination of Using Pyre as a summoner (+1 friendly speed) and Creeping Ooze (-1 enemy speed) would allow him to get in a quick first volley attack before the enemy could knock him out.
After considering that strategy, I flipped my plans mid way through the video and decided to put Exploding Dwarf at the end of my formation with the hopes that Fineas Rage would be able to eliminate most of the enemy before Exploding Dwarf made it to the front lines......in retrospect, I think that was a mistake, but I'll discuss that possibility later.
We Had No Chance
As soon as the opponent's hand was revealed, I could tell that this would be a tough fight. They placed Furious Chicken in the first spot which meant that Fineas Rage would essentially waste his first attack against a monster with 0 Mana. Biceratops entered the match with 1 Armor which meant that Fineas would take at least one volley just to destroy the armor and then another two for the knockout. As I looked deeper into the enemy formation, things got worse and I could see Horny Toad (with his Reach ability), Khmer Princess, and Child of the Forest all waiting to attack my small lineup.
Even before the match began, I could tell that my opponent had chosen the stronger team and would certainly carry the victory.
Thoughts on Exploding Dwarf
Part of the fun of the Share Your Battle Challenges is that it pushes you to try new monsters and different strategies. Sometimes, I find a monster that I like, such as the previous challenge of Sea Monster, but other times, I find that I don't really like the monster so much (Feral Spirit). Personally, I wasn't a fan of Exploding Dwarf....here's why.
Exploding Dwarf has such a low health that absolutely ANY damage that he takes will knock him out of the fight. This wouldn't be a problem if he had the Reach, Opportunity, or Snipe ability that allowed him to attack from a sheltered position in the middle or rear of the formation, but he doesn't have any of those abilities and can only attack from first position. Not only does Exploding Dwarf have low health, he also has exceptionally slow speed which means that if you put him at the start of your formation, the opponent will easily attack first and knock him out before he can deal damage. If that wasn't reason enough not to use Exploding Dwarf, he costs 5 Mana. As demonstrated by the image below, I would argue that there are FAR better ways to spend 5 mana than on Exploding Dwarf.
For 5 Mana, you could easily get Ant Miners, Flame Monkey, add Goblin Fireballer. This choice would give you two melee monsters and one ranged monster. Choosing Serpentine Sy and Goblin Fireballer would give you a melee monster that could attack from any position with the snipe ability and a ranged monster. If you wanted to spend all 5 Mana in one place, you could choose Fire Elemental which can attack from the safety of the rear of the formation while dealing damage with its ranged Blast ability.
Lets suppose that I could play a monster with the Protect (+2 friendly armor) or Strengthen (Increase friendly health) ability. That would surely increase Exploding Dwarf's ability to take damage and make him a valuable monster, right? Well, not necessarily because:
I don't have a Strengthen or Protect capable monster in the Fire Splinter and
Playing an additional monster to cover the weaknesses of Exploding Dwarf means that I will have to be spending even more Mana just to play a card that I already considered to be overpriced (in Mana terms) and underpowered. This is what economists refer to as the Sunk Cost Fallacy.
The only possible situation that I think I would use Exploding Dwarf would be in a reverse speed ruleset where his slow attack would actually be an advantage and allow him to attack first.
One of the things that I like about Splinterlands is that the Mana cap and rulesets change on a by game basis which means that monsters which may not be good in one match might be great for another. Unfortunately, I feel that Exploding Dwarf is a card that has a very niche role to play in matches with a revere speed ruleset. That being said, the card only cost about .05 USD at the time of purchase and might be the exact card that I need for a match someday, so I can't judge it too harshly. Even though I don't see Exploding Dwarf getting a lot of time in my lineup, its always fun to take part in the challenges and try something new.
Thanks for reading!