The one-eyed albino warrior, Ajani Goldmane, is an intrinsic part of the MTG universe, so we couldn’t help but go full Qasali Pride when we started playing the first mobile release of the franchise, Magic: Manastrike. If you want to learn more about the awesomeness of ManaStrike, don’t hesitate to check out our review of the game. Thus far, the leonine Planeswalker carried us all the way to Rank 5 and beyond.
Although it’s become admittedly more difficult to rank up at this level, since our opponents have a much better idea of how to play the game, Ajani still holds his ground quite well. For those of you who find it a struggle to advance, you might want to try some advanced battle tactics. They certainly helped us overcome several progression walls. In this guide, however, we’d like to focus on what you can do to be successful with this basic, yet extremely powerful hero.
Let’s get to it!
Know Your Strengths
Even though Ajani is primarily white-aligned and secondarily green in the MTG universe, the devs over at Netmarble decided to have him wield white-magic only in ManaStrike. We don’t find their decision too bothersome, despite the fact that it does severely restrict the card pool available to us when playing with him. In fact, this was likely a much-needed nerf on the white lion, as he tends to be quite strong in the right set-up.
To be consistently successful in ManaStrike, you have to constantly play to your advantages. So, what are Ajani’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Like most heroes, Ajani has quite a small health pool (1300 HP), so he’ll be fairly easy to take out once he crosses into enemy territory.
- Even though his attack has a massive AoE cleave, it only works on ground units. You need to be careful about this aspect, since airborne enemies will pass right through you.
- When he enters the battlefield, the cat warrior casts a protective shield on himself and anybody within 3 meters. Since it’s only 136 HP, the bubble won’t weather consistent attacks, but it’s enough to keep you alive for one more hit.
- Ward of Protection, his active ability, reduces the damage taken by everyone within 4 meters. This negates a whopping 40% of incoming DPS for 6 seconds.
The magic alignment does mean that you’ll have to supplement your deck with several neutral creatures, depending on your needs. Given how fast he tears through enemy opponents and buildings, we didn’t mind it one bit.
Finding the Right Line-up
Since we’ve just mentioned the importance of having the right line-up to complement the white lion’s abilities, let’s take a look at what you need to make a great deck for Ajani:
- Melee units that can take aggro off your hero and allow him to keep destroying things.
- Summons that can target enemy airborne units.
- Durable monsters that will maximize the value you get out of his passive and active abilities.
Right now, our primary Ajani deck is as follows:
- Howling Golem, Knight of New Benalia, Angel of Renewal, Electrostatic Pummeler, Haunted Guardian, Soul of Theros, and Spectral Procession.
- Alternate line-ups can switch the Guardian for Airdrop Aeronauts, the Griffin, or the spell Honor of the Pure.
The way we see it, you need the Golem (or equivalent unit for other Planeswalkers) in any line-up. Typically, there’s one of these structure-annihilating juggernauts in each magic type, some of which may be stronger, like the green Baloth. The HG will tank enemy attacks for just enough time to make it possible for your hero to reach enemy towers.
The Angel, Knight, and Soul of Theros are too strong to pass up on, which makes us treat them as vital cores alongside the golem. The Pummeler is the only other AoE unit we have, which, given the current spawn-heavy meta, you’ll need every bit of. In terms of airborne monsters, our Angel and Spectral Procession can deal with them fairly easy, although they’re both costly.
The 2-cost Kor Entangler can be really strong, if used properly. Basically, he can pull any strong unit on the battlefield to his spawn location. This will ensure a quick end for the unit if you place them between your two towers and guardian.
We don’t yet have access to several core cards in the white magic line-up, such as the Blinding Mage, and the Talus Paladin. Both of these are quite strong, so if you get your hands on them, we advise you make room in your deck.
Know (How to Play Against) Your Enemies
There’s a reason why “know thy enemy” is one of the most famous war-related quotes from Sun Tzu. The higher your rank, the more likely it is that opponents will know how to exploit your weaknesses. To avoid this, you have to do the same. For example, Jace’s Wavecrash Triton and Kraken combination are a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. Attacking him head-on is never a good idea, as you’ll keep getting pushed back and sniped from a distance.
When we’re up against Jace, we usually wait for his hero and Triton to enter our territory. In the meantime, we ensure that we can flank the enemy troops with our hero, as well as with at least one buffer unit. Both of them have the advantage at range, which means they’ll decimate anything that’s slowly heading towards them without attacking. In melee, however, Ajani’s superior attack speed and bubble give him the upper hand.
Chandra alongside the red Swashbuckler is yet another example of a strong couple that can take you down easily. The latter’s powerful ranged attack goes through everything it encounters due to the Penetration effect. As such, you need to make sure that you don’t give this Planeswalker the ability to attack you head on, such as in those tight middle spaces. One Swashbuckler hit plus Chandra’s Fury will deal an excess of 700 burst damage to everything in their way. The firebrand is no weakling.
True ManaStrike Champions Play on BlueStacks
There are numerous reasons why you should play Magic: ManaStrike on BlueStacks. Aside from enabling us to multitask, the emulator enhanced our control and the speed of our reflexes during ManaStrike battles. These can be crucial game-changers whenever you enter the final ManaStrike phase. Being able to cast the right abilities in exactly the right place and at the right time will ultimately set apart two equally-matched players.
With this in mind, you are now better prepared to wreak havoc with Ajani Goldmane. If you don’t win straight away, don’t beat yourself up too much – it takes a bit of practice and practical know-how before you understand just how strong he is in the arena. We’ve certainly had our fair share of wins and losses. However, if you thoroughly evaluate your performance and adjust your strategy accordingly, wins will start flowing your way.