Willow is one of the main characters of the cult classic 1997 series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. What originally started as a comedy horror film in 1992, the television series reached enough popularity to spawn the spin-off series Angel and a series of books and comics that are still being published to this day.
Willow is Buffy’s best friend, a founding member of the “Scooby Gang”, and a powerful and accomplished witch. First introduced to magic during her attempt to return Angel’s human soul to him, she continued down the path of the occult and quickly grew in power. This power has had negative effects, leading to her almost causing the end of the world, but ultimately she learned to control her power and used it to help her friends and battle the forces of darkness. In Unmatched, Willow unleashes the magical powers of light and darkness against all foes in her path.
Health: 14 / Attack: Ranged / Movement: 2
When Willow or Tara is dealt damage, Willow becomes Dark Willow. At the end of your turn, if Dark Willow is adjacent to Tara, she becomes Willow.
Health: 6 / Attack: Ranged / x1
Strategies and Tips
Willow is a ranged hero with high attack and defense options. Her movement is low, but she a few extra options with some of her card effects. Willow is a capable fighter on her own, but her Dark Willow persona takes some strategizing to be used effectively. If used haphazardly, you will end up hurting yourself as much as your opponent.
Great defensive options
High attack power
Negative card effects as Dark Willow
The following are 3 tips for controlling Willow’s power:
Tip #1: Stay in Control
You want to become Dark Willow as infrequently as possible. By the very nature of Willow’s special ability, you will have limited control over the transformation, so it is best to be prepared for when it happens.
Flayed Alive is Willow’s strongest attack and it becomes even stronger when you are playing as Dark Willow. This attack has a value of 4 and lets you blind boost during combat but only when you are Dark Willow.
Black Magic is a versatile card with a value of 3 that lets you blind boost during combat when you are Dark Willow. The major downside to blind boosting is being unable to know what your boost value will be, or if you are going to be throwing away an important card.
While you do become more powerful as Dark Willow, there are major drawbacks:
When Good Magic Fails is an attack with a value of 4 that allows you to move Willow to any space after combat but forces you to discard the top card of your deck. While the movement is great, it isn’t worth wasting the card.
Love and Loss is a scheme that lets you draw 2 cards; however, when you are Dark Willow you also have to discard the top 2 cards of your deck and deal 3 damage to a sidekick in your zone, even if it is your own. There is absolutely no reason to ever use this card as Dark Willow. Dealing 3 damage to an annoying opposing sidekick might be beneficial, but it is not worth throwing away 2 potentially good cards.
Thankfully, you do have a card that will allow you to revert to Willow:
Meditation is a defense card with a value of 5 that lets you become Willow after combat. This card has excellent block value, and the added benefit of being able to revert to Willow in case Tara isn’t around is just icing on the cake.
Tip #2: Tara Brings Balance
Tara is essential to Willow’s success. Simply being in the same zone as Willow at the end of your turn will allow you to revert from Dark Willow back to Willow. Additionally, she has some great tools for combat:
Knowledge of the Craft is a Tara exclusive versatile card with a value of 4 that allows you to choose a card in your discard pile and add it to your hand after combat. Ideally you will be in a situation where you haven’t had to haphazardly discarded cards for no reason. You can use this to return a valuable card to your hand or return a card you used to boost. This is still good insurance in the situation where you were forced to discard due to being Dark Willow at the wrong time.
Revoke is Tara’s other exclusive versatile card. It has a value of 3 and immediately cancels all effects on your opponent’s card. This is a 3 value Feint, which gives you a total of 5 in your deck. These cards are always excellent for disrupting your opponent. Since Tara is the only one who can use it, these are great for attack and defense.
Tara should be played as the primary fighter, standing between Willow and your opponent. Both her and Willow are ranged, so use them both to poke at your enemy from afar. When Tara takes damage Willow will become Dark Willow, but at the end of your next turn Willow will revert so long as Tara is in the same zone, which should be the case the vast majority of the time. Unfortunately, Tara only has 6 health which means she will not be able to survive many attacks. Fortunately, there is a solution:
Resurrect is a scheme that allows Willow to choose a friendly fighter who has been defeated and place them in any space in Willow’s zone and set their health to 3. This essentially gives Tara 12 health for the game, which is amazing for sidekicks. Additionally, this can be used to revive allied heroes in team matches.
Tip #3: Attack From Afar
Normally, as a ranged fighter, you want to attack from as far away as you can, but only having a movement of 2 puts Willow and Tara at a disadvantage. Fortunately, there are some cards that help with this:
Rending Shot is an attack with a value of 3 that both Tara and Willow can use, and it allows you to move the opposing fighter 3 spaces after combat. Using this card as Tara is a good way to not only keep your opponent guessing as to what she will be attacking with, but it helps keep your opponent from double attacking on their turn.
Swift Strike is an attack with a value of 3 that allows you to move your fighter up to 4 spaces after combat. This is an excellent way to disengage at the end of your turn, making it so your opponent has to either double-maneuver or boost to reach you.
Your strategy here is simple. You want to keep your distance at all times while keeping Tara between Willow and your opponent. Minimize the time you are Dark Willow while capitalizing on it when you can, then use the aforementioned attacks to create more distance.
Willow is an easy character to use and has one of the most forgiving sidekicks in the game since you are able to revive her twice. She may have a harder time in solo matches against other heroes due to her low movement and negative card effects when Dark Willow, she is especially powerful in team matches where she is able to resurrect allied heroes. Her offensive and defensive options are pretty solid, so while newcomers may have a hard time striking a good balance between Willow and Dark Willow, she is sure to be an easy hero for most to understand.
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