Valda Brightaxe, New Everfest Hero, and Possibly Forty More

Finally, the moment so many of us have been waiting for: a new hero based off of the art from a previous set! Personally, this was one of the questions that I had about the game when first going through the card galleries. When I saw certain characters repeated in card art, I immediately began wondering if we would see them in a future set. With the detail that FAB artists bring to the game, it only makes sense for LSS to utilize some of the amazing characters we’ve seen.

Above are some of my favorite figures who do not have their own hero cards as of yet. Perhaps, though, one day they could—particularly the ones who already have names. More on that soon.

For now, we have an official new hero from Everfest coming to us early in the January Armory kit.

Valda Brightaxe

We’ve seen this brawling Guardian before. This is Valda Brightaxe. Her visage was first gleamed in Welcome to Wrathe on Cartilidge Crush and Cranial Crush. Those two cards and her hero card above were all created by separate artists, which is at least worth pointing out.

The flurry of excitement about a new hero has been exhilarating. Let’s first get into her hero card itself. Two things immediately jump out to me. Like Briar and others, Valda does not have an activated ability; instead, she has a constant effect and a conditional effect.

Her constant effect allows her to create a Seismic Surge token each time an opponent of hers draws a card outside of the explicit draw steps at the beginning of the game and during the draw step at the end of a hero’s turn. In Blitz, this ability allows Valda to gain her own benefits when her opponent gains a card from Plunder Run, cycles cards with Sink Below, draws from several different Brute effects, Tome of Fyendal, Enlightened Strike, Coax a Commotion, Crown of Seeds, Blessing of Deliverance, etc. In a hypothetical future multi-player format or in Ultimate Pit Fight, Valda can really stack some tokens to make some powerful Guardian attacks at a reduced rate.

Her conditional effect can really begin to pop off against the decks that are trying to draw extra cards during combat like Prism, Katsu, Ira, Briar, etc. To compete with Bravo, Valda brings an additional way to gain Dominate are Guardian attacks. In Everfest, we may even see more ways to create the ever-powerful Seismic Surge token.

So how could we have guessed that Valda here would have gotten her own hero card someday? Well, we did know her name way back in Welcome to Rathe, and if video games have taught me anything, it’s that characters with full-fledged names have a chance to be on your team or give you a sweet quest.

We see Valda here kicking some ass in a tavern. The same tavern is seen on Stonewall Confidence, Coax a Commotion, Cranial Crush, Runaways, and the new Life of the Party. From the Aria lore, we know that Aria has some potent drinks and professional braumeisters, so the tavern seems to be a perfect fit for the Aria. Perhaps Valda will have a similar entrance to the story-at-large of Rathe as Bravo had; with the world on the brink of war and Aria’s defenses thinning like the ozone layer, warriors and defenders of all types will be gathering to defend their homelands.

Perhaps Valda is a bouncer of sorts for this tavern. I’m sure there would be a lot of work for a bouncer in a nice tavern like this one—particularly one that could be in or close to a carnival on the level of the Everfest carnival. She would be called upon to catch runaways, thieves, rabble-rousers, and drunken instigators. And as we can see from her WTR crush cards, she’s more than capable of handling herself.

Probably not Valda, but it could be!

Valda could be our first Guardian hero who really focuses on the various Crush-effect Guardian cards that are so often relegated to fueling hammer strikes in the pitch zone. Deckbuilding with her is going to be so much fun.

The question now is: will we receive an adult version of her anytime soon? I think the answer here is definitely yes.

All of the Young heroes we received in Crucible of War had names and subtitles, similarly to all of the adult heroes that we have, while all of our current adult heroes have young versions with no subtitles. Notably, Valda does not have a subtitle. That should tell us that an adult version is coming sooner than later—maybe even in Everfest itself!


Other Future Heroes

Let’s dive through the card galleries to pull up other heroes whose names we learn from the flavor-text of already released cards.

Ragnar Frosthelm, who could easily be another citizen of Aria, specifically Isenloft, appears on Staunch Response—one of my favorite Defense Reactions. We know Guardians can block with the best of them, and Ragnar looks like another shield-wielding soldier ready to enter the arena.

Let’s take a look at another soldier who prefers a shield.

Lieutenant Timaeus has one of my favorite weapon loadouts—the shield and spear. This combination was deadly back in the day and an extremely effective way to maintain the advantage in battle.

We are all assuming that alchemists, braumeisters, and or potion makers will make their way into the game. Perhaps Lena-Belle is one of them.

Bartrand the Bloody might just be one of the members of the Hand of Sol who seems to be doing some unnecessary killing, particularly in the Savage Lands, alluded to in Dorinthea’s backstory.

I know I’m not the only one anxiously awaiting Mechanologist support. Elias Edgecombe here looks like he’s ready to bring some more unique items to the game before they get Argh Smashed.

Another tech-enthusiast, Maxwell, looks like he’s ready to unleash some of his inventions into the meta.

It’s possible that Eldon, Lost Knight is pictured on a different Runeblade or Shadow card.

Come on, Xaine, Runescribe, we’re ready for more Wizards! Particularly, a 5 Intellect Wizard. I wonder if he’s referring to Solona as “their radiant kingdom”.

Ateia, Ateia, Ateia. Are you a Necromancer?

Surely, it’s a good sign if these would-be-heroes already have subtitles, too.

A butler being swept out into the void of space? Count me in. I stan Jeeves.

A lovely little witch, Vera, could be posing a seer of a kind, or she could just be a dangerous hedgewitch.

Another Lietentant. Yamada seems clearly tied to the ongoing wars in Volcor.

Togark appears to be on the smaller side of the residents of the Savage Lands. He seems to make up for that by utilizing the help of a big friend.

No Thuks to give. Keep swinging those haymakers, buddy.

This imposing punisher has a name of his own. Jarl Vetreioi plays into some other Norse naming conventions that we saw on Staunch Response. Ever since this card debuted, players have been wanting to see his character as a hero and his weapon in their collection.

Hala at your warrior, Goldenhelm is certainly united.

A traps-based Ranger? Spokes could have a heft cult-like following when they appear.

Good luck, Jackdaw, good luck.

Linnea, Mistress of Malady has a name and a subtitle. We’re definitely getting more wizards, people.

Septus could be dead.

Into Monarch now, we get another hero with a name and a subtitle: Aurea, Champion of the Dawn.

When the shadows begin to move of their own volition, warriors like Astra Morena must steel themselves and fight.

Another powerful Light Warrior is pictured here: Chiara Suncrest. We Chiara wants a chance at Chane!

More glowing swords, more glowing wings, Chancellor Hypatia doesn’t mess around. Wait, I know that name. Hypatia was a legendary philosopher!

Another Chancellor here with some lovely Greek references in her name: Chancellor Helena Primavera. Perhaps she could be our first cleric!

Instructor Merlen Rivera. Merlen—Merlin. I see you LSS.

This white-haired illusionist could be the figure on all of the generic Illusionist cards. I’d love to see Amira Surana sleeved up on the table to show down with an opponent, personally.

“And my axe,” Danu Ashenguard, probably.

This Shadow Brute, Harland, looks terrifying.

Nothing like picking the brain of your mentor, aye, Nestus?

This terrifying Lovecraftian ritual was brought to you by, Ersebet.

The off-screen Harold Honeysett may also be dead. RIP Septus.

She seems fun!

Get ’em, Jackdaw!

A true seer of the upcoming doom, Vidya Willowmere can’t block on curve, but she can tell you what’s coming from the shadows.

Sanni, the wise huntress, perhaps.

I’m going to go out on a limb and call the rider Grandad Warthog who rides a wootonhog. Woot.

Finally, in Tales of Aria we have another Norse-inspired Guardian name, Valgard Hoarfrost. Just by name alone, I want this guy’s backstory.

Another member of the Crimson Haze (like Ira), Lishu, it seems, is becoming frustrated by their elemental opponent.

Summary

Outside of Valda herself, we have 40 other named characters who could follow Brightaxe’s precedent of joining the ranks of Flesh and Blood playable heroes one day. Most of them look like classes that we already have, but I am inferring that we also see Cleric, Necromancer, Seer, and Assassin in the mix as well on Soul Shield, Life for Life, Fate Foreseen, and Exude Confidence respectively.

Which of the above characters are you most looking forward to seeing?

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