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Some thoughts on the unpopularity of Hallucination

Contined from Rules Questions, as it’s an off-topic discussion for that thread.

There are more cards that specifically combo with Time Spiral than with Hallucination, but there are several cards that specifically combo with Hallucination: Dreamscape; Hallucination; Macciatus, the Whisperer; Reteller of Truths; and Liberty Gryphon, and furthermore any card that’s capable of targeting can synergize with Dreamscape or Hallucination to destroy units. I would argue that Skeletal Archery is more narrow in focus and less flexible in usage.

What makes Hallucination tricky is that it has to be played in the same turn as the other card in question, except for the rare case of a Truth mirror match. But considering its extraordinary potential return on investment ($2 and a card is worth more than 2 units at $1 and a card each, and it can even affect expensive tech II units), IMO it’s worth it. Furthermore, where mono-Blue is concerned, at least Bigby brings stash to the table. Also, out of all the colors, Blue’s design seems to be the most combo-oriented.

IMO the reason Hallucination doesn’t see more play has less to do with its limitations than with the fact that in many cases it’s overshadowed by similar effects from other cards, especially Dreamscape, $1 spells that let you draw (Boot Camp/Appel Stomp), and cards that target at no cost (Blooming Ancient/Drill Sereant especially as they don’t need to exhaust). Hallucination’s main advantage over Dreamscape is that you can use without exposing your own units to target death, which is helpful when you don’t have access to Macciatus, but want to be able to target-kill enemy units. Best-case scenario for Hallucination is probably if you’re running Truth with Finesse, Peace, or Growth, don’t want to spec into Truth, are facing an opponent who can target multiple things per turn, and have access to no Flagbearer other than Spectral Flagbearer. That’s a fairly niche scenario. Well, also you’d want to use it if both of your Dreamscape copies were trashed by Nature Reclaims.

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I suppose another issue is the nature of the MonoBlue combo cards, at least outside of Truth II+. If you draw the cards separately, you’ve now teched in two cards that don’t help your early board position at all, when Blue already struggles with early board control. Then, later on, you have better options, so when are you supposed to take it?

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Right, and Quince is especially weak at early game board control, with his low attack and all his abilities centering around expensive Illusions that die when targeted. If you invest in Dreamscape and Hallucination in the early game, and your opponent doesn’t invest in expensive units, it’s hard to be competitive. If your opponent plays big, expensive units right off the bat, you can turn to Dreamscape and/or Hallucination as a counter, but Blue starter doesn’t have any efficient methods of targeting enemy units, so it’s a very risky strategy for MonoBlue. Red, Black, White, and Netural starters all offer better options for target-killing Illusions. With MonoBlue, you’d almost have to lead with Bigby and a Heroes’ Hall, both to facillitate the combo and to use Bigby’s midband to snipe a patroller.

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As Mono-Blue you’ll face a lot of hero-based strategies as you don’t have any specific answer against them. Hallucination does nothing against heroes so it’s not a tech priority at all.


Free Speech is a very specific answer to hero-based strategies, and the strongest proactive counter to them in the game.

I think that’s arguable Neko. It is a very strong one-turn counter to spells & abilities, but it can’t affect hero combat effectiveness, nor can it kill a hero outright.

  • Snapback completely removes one hero (usually you’re playing Free Speech for one particularly troublesome hero) AND can do patrol shenanigans that allow for a double-up kill often, so I think it’s a better proactive counter (it does a better job of eliminating Ultimate spell strategies as it backs those up 2 turns and a lot of gold)
  • Nether Drain can straight up kill heroes or give you a great opportunity to get a kill you couldn’t otherwise easily get, and lowers their combat effectiveness in most cases. Same as snapback, this can be a lot better at countering maxband abilities / ultimate spells, which are typically a fulcrum of “hero-based strategies”
  • Origin Story also backs off ultimate spells better AND removes combat effectiveness pressure, and similar to Snapback can manipulate patrol to allow damage to other high-priority things.

The only specific hero I think Free Speech is superior at dealing with (and still not superior to Snapback in some cases) is Zane. Taking away the haste and the potential for sharks is a big win for Free Speech. Maybe an honorable mention to an already-meta’d Vandy

If you can setup a draw engine for Free Speech to get chained w/o big sacrifices to board presence, it becomes an ideal option against poor-stat heroes, but that’s a pretty narrow case.


100% agree with you
Free Speech is a tech I love against Zane too :grin:

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Also Drakk, for similar reasons.

By “proactive counter”, I mean a counter to a hero that’s not yet in play. Free Speech won’t stop a hero from being summoned or remove one that’s in play, but if the opponent is threatening to summon a hero next turn and do something bothersome with it immediately, a Free Speech will shut that threat down, hard. That includes Zane, with his haste, but also many spells (Injunction, Rewind, Judgment Day, etc., etc.), and some maxband abilities (Garth, Prynn, Drakk, etc., etc.). I actually have developed a habit of not summoning a key hero so that I can guarantee the ability to play a spell, barring Free Speech or a well-aimed (or lucky) discard (in theory, Snapback could work as well, but it would have to be cast twice… once to bring in the desired hero, and again to dismiss that hero… which has probably never happened, and will probably never happen).


Yeah Drakk and Garth have non-ultimate spells & abilities that have such potent instant effect that you’d want to stop it even when they aren’t already on the board.

I see what you’re saying @Nekoatl, it is the only available option for sicking Tom Cruise and the Pre-Crime department on a hero :wink: I suppose Prynn and Bigby fall into that camp in corner cases as well.