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Cards You Should Be Playing 4: Soviet Union Standard and Limited

By FunPolice

The Soviet Union may have earned a reputation of quantity over quality in real life and this is represented in some of the following cards. However, many of these cards express the exact opposite and are some of the highest quality cards in the game that completely define various parts of the game.

Bloody Sickle - One of the few cards that should be run in anything that has the soviets as a main nation or as an ally. On it's own 1 kredit to deal 1 damage is not that amazing but drawing a card along with that makes this insane. Cheap cards that do something to the board while drawing a card are very powerful and sickle is the king of them all. The downside of losing 1 health doesn't matter most of the time due to how you often use this to kill a unit in the early game. If that early unit was to survive it would likely deal way more damage than the 1 health sickle makes you lose. This card just fits into everything from control which loves having cheap removal that does something else to aggro which often uses sickle to kill important targets such as a pesky artillery. Seriously, if you aren't running 4 of these then you aren't playing the Soviet Union right.

Reserves/1271st Rifles - These cards form the core pieces of the soviet token strategy. They are the best way to generate large amounts of light infantry due to how reserves continues to increase. 1K for 2 light infantry is alright but it's not hard to be getting 4+ from each reserves which is a big flood of units from a single card. Reserves is the most common card to be supplying tokens with their seemingly endless amount of light infantry. 1271st Rifles essentially is just the 5th, 6th, and 7th copy of reserves but the 4/6 body is a large threat that can catch the opponenet off guard. Against tokens it is often important to keep their numbers down and people tend to use their bigger removal just to kill a light infantry so slamming down a 4/6 offers a different threat that needs to be dealt with.

Ural Factory - This is a card that requires knowledge of all the units at a specific kredit cost for different nations. Knowing this makes using ural more likely to pull something worthwhile. For example in the soviet union using ural on 5 and 6 cost units will consistently give you a strong unit (at 6k you have stuff like a massive 8/8 infantry, the kv tanks and the only weak unit currently being the 4/3 artillery). 5 and 6 kredits also happen to have very worthwhile units such as the t-34-85 which often are able to attack something, survive, and then have ural used on them which can be very powerful in taking over the board. It is important to note that if there is no unit at a certain cost than ural can't upgrade into it which is another reason it's important to know what units are at what cost.

From the People/The Hammer - A very simple card that many decks can make use of as 3 damage to any unit for 3 kredits is just a good piece of removal. It deals just enough that it will kill most artillery and bombers up until the the late game ones. Even against bigger units due to bloody sickle and some other cheap soviet units it is very possible to kill 5/5s or greater for little cost. Not to mention how it kills essentially all units that have smokescreen making it very useful when the enemy has one of those sneaky units on the field. There isn't much else to say it's a good removal order. The hammer on the other hand is a more powerful effect that is also a bit more narrow. This card on its own will kill practically any ground unit that it hits barring some late game tanks and the higher cost infantry. Due to only costing 3 kredits when you can use this to kill a moderate to expensive unit you can actually generate strong tempo from this removal order. It can be quite back breaking for the opponent when you play a medium sized unit (like the T-34-85 talked about above) and then use hammer to kill the biggest enemy unit.

T-34-85 - For a standard card this has a suprising amount of stuff going on that makes it quite good. A 5/5 tank for 5 kredits would be an unremarkable unit but adding heavy armor 1 changes quite a lot. Suddenly it is able to survive fights becuase most units don't go above 5 attack and the . Add on to that an ability that punishes enemies for using order on it by drawing you a card and you have a surpsingly durable unit that can often survive through a turn to attack. Ural factories also pairs extremely well with this unit due to how often it survives and it being 5 kredits means that ural will consistenly upgrade it into a good unit. This fits well into most Soviet decks either as a strong top end in faster decks or as a solid threat in slower midrange decks.

845th Rifles - Healing is a thing that the soviet unit struggles to have with only a handful of cards doing so (and the best one is an elite which doesn't help). The 845th is quite cheap and one of the best healing cards to run in the soviet union. Since it comes with a 2/3 infantry for 2 kredits you don't sacrifice much to play it and even when the healing doesn't matter you still get a unit to use. On top of that any damage will end up healing you whether it is from attacks or from orders so there isn't many ways to stop this from healing some amount. It's noteworthy that this can heal above 3 health if the damage that would kill it exceeds the current health of the 845th. So for example if a unit with 5 attack hit the 845th your HQ would heal for 5 which is actually quite useful becuase it can make opponents hesitant to attack the 845th with their massive unit because it ends up as a big heal for your HQ.

Katyusha - If it wasn't for bloody sickle it's extremely likely katyusha would be the best card in the Soviet Union. Blitz is a powerful keyword on artillery due to how it ignores guards and won't take damage when it attacks. The ability to do a total of 2 damage with a little luck is quite powerful for such a cheap artillery. It's an incredible tempo tool in the early game since the enemy essentially has to kill it if they want to play units early on. It having free attacks due to its 0 operation cost is back breaking when it sticks around and even if it gets killed it gets at least 1 attack off. This unit and bloody sickle are the main 2 reasons as to why the Soviet Union is so good agasint aggro becuase it has such cheap flexible removal. Just as said with bloody sickle if you aren't running katyusha in your deck then you aren't playing the Soviet Union right.

Arctic Convoy - When comapred to other cards that draw 2 (HX convoy 175) this seems overcosted. However, the fact this is a more narrow type of draw is actually quite powerful. Other card draws sometimes will simply draw you removal orders or otherwise useless cards when all you want at that moment is more units to pressure the enemy or contest the board. Being able to always draw 2 units with arctic means that you consistently will have more units to play out either on the same turn or in the following turns. This is very useful in soviet midrange decks that want continue playing out their beefy units to eventually overwhelm or outlast the opponent. It also is useful in combo decks since it can dig for important pieces of the combo and/or defensive tools such as guards.

No Surrender - Next to Reserves (and technically 1271st Rifles) this is the other card to enable soviet tokens to exist. Putting up to 4 light infantry on the board at once is massive when combined with buffs that affect you're entire board or with something like unity is strength which gets super charged from so many infantry getting put on the board. It also adds into the critical mass that tokens wants to have so they can keep flooding the board through out the game. A good tip is that you don't need to get all 4 light infantry and sohuldn't hold back with pushing out more tokens (outside of the occasions you expect the enemy to have a board clear). Getting 3 light infantry is totally fine if you have something else like an artillery sitting in the support line.

321st Infantry/554th Infantry - These orignally weren't in this article but I felt like this do important enough jobs that it's worht mentioning them. The 321st infantry is a solid overall unit due to it having blitz and also being hard to fully deal with that desturction effect. In tokens this is nice to have as a good early play that will eventually get you a light infantry to work with. 554th being free blitz infantry is a powerful combination. It can do a lot of things for a seemingly fodder unit of which the most imporant 2 are being more free units to buff and being a free way to gain control of the frontline. There effects largely matter for ally nations or when the Soviet Union is an ally but when they do this can be a strong enabler to many of those cards. The free cost is by far the best part about it and it largely lends itself to aggressive decks because slower decks will more than likely suffer from running a 1/1 infantry.

Next week we'll dive into the Soviet Specials and Elites and a bit of a spoiler there are 8 elites on that list. The soviet elites are extremely powerful so make sure to check in next week to find out the best of the best.