Let’s look closer:
So we looked closer into Hostage Taker ability. Thanks for reading!
Just kidding, let’s move on.
- Rare bronze
- 5 provision cost (1p in nullified system)
- Traps Archetype payoff card
- Floor of 4 points – not terrible compared with other seize cards like Amnesty in Nilfgaard
- Ceiling of roughly 4+2*9 = 22 points assuming 9 power target and 9 traps played before. Ceiling and low provision cost (~15p/1c in the nullified system) makes the card considerable.
- Assuming 9 points as a threshold competitive value for a 5 provision card, regular Seize:3 is enough (10 points + synergies) for the card to be played in Traps decks.
- Hostage Taker (HT) counts traps played in the round instead of traps on the board – HT could be used even after all traps get transformed with Eldain.
- Hostage Taker is slow and rigid as a control tool unless opponent’s deck relies on playing low power engines late in the round; in such case HT trades are exceptionally good.
Warning: the numbers may be subjected to changes before release
- Hostage Taker provides two Elfs on the board: self + one Elven Deadeye; +2 on melee Vernossiel and +2 on Isengrim.
- Deadye Ambush is the obvious leader ability to host Hostage Taker along with Elves swarm payoff cards, but Precision Strike is also interesting to enchance HT flexibility as a control tool.
- As an Elf, Hostage Taker would worsen average Bountiful Harvest / Backup Plan pulls outside Trap decks.
- Hostage Taker joins The Heist targets, but deck running both of these and traps is probably awkward; Heist targets are lonely then and prone to removal, while board setup is very low tempo. Nevertheless, ceiling is promising.
- Hostage Taker is a bronze which has to be played in the round after Traps. Most traditional Trap decks had different gameplan; Saskia:Commander with movement package was used to win Round 1 and then in a long R3 Traps opted for non-interactivity with Eldain last say. HT would be a brick in Round 1 in such scenario, and in R3 it would be good value payoff, but bringing interactive body on board at the same time. Trap decks probably would evolve to host new cards better.
- Hostage Taker would find best value in Elves + Traps hybrid decks, which do not run out of steam if commiting few traps in Round 1. Otherwise HT become a bit win-more card, good only when the main strategy works while not helping to make it through.
- Amongst newly released cards obviously Deception and Sticky Situation provide some support for Hostage Taker just by being traps. Including these, there would be 6 golden traps and 2×2=4 bronze ones + Iorveth could replay one for additional HT value. Unfortuately, Hattori no more provides extra one after planned rework.
- HTs could be a toolbox option for Riordain, providing gold-like value in some situations.
Would Hostage Taker dominate the meta, or become one of these conditional bronzes never reaching optimal value, like Temerian Infantry? At this point I don’t pretend to answer this question before all patch notes get released. Unless Traps get global buffs amongst their basic cards, flashy high ceiling cards like HT wouldn’t help Traps to become meta pick.
Whatever the power would be, good luck on homebrewing your trap deck when The Tide Rises expansion hits! Thanks to CDProjekt Red for reveal opportunity!