While there are still many mysteries surrounding the great contest in the upcoming Trial of the Gods expansion, each and every champion has now been chosen.
In case you missed their origin stories in full – which are well-worth reading – we’ve summarized the origins of champions 4-6: Orfeo, Selena and Valka in this post, along with a breakdown of their character-specific cards releasing with Season One.
For a retrospective on champions 1-3, you can find the first part of the lore recap here.
Chapter 5: Orfeo’s Origin
The fifth chapter introduces us to Orfeo – one of the many names he used over the course of his deception-filled life – is a cunning operative of the Guild who we first meet as a fifteen-year old acolyte in the middle of one of his many missions. First, he acts as Eleon, the limping shop-boy, then Gaius Flavius Dio, the eldest son of a patrician. Next, Iseult, a young woman dealing with shipments across the city, then Rattle, a mute with a mind narrowed by tragedy yet with a keen enough ear to be useful to the Guild.
Each and every one of these characters are just a mask for Orfeo, sent on various missions by Vettorio on behalf of the Guild. As Eleon, he has to return to Lady Marcella to assassinate her. It’s a task he completes with the help of his victim, who reveals she was once the mentor of Vettorio.
Ten years later, having inherited the office of Vettorio, the Goddess of Deception visits Orfeo, offering a chance to become her champion.
“Interesting,” says Orfeo. “Has anyone else refused, or am I your first choice? For that matter, has anyone else accepted?”
“Very clever questions, which I would be happy to answer after you’ve accepted the job. I think you’ll find my bargaining position is rather stronger than yours. Yes or no?”
She reaches out a hand.
“Of course,” says Orfeo. “I accept.”
Orfeo's reveal, key art and story cards
Orfeo, Champion of Deception
As expected from Ludia’s champion, Orfeo’s in-game form has a ton of trickery to offer. Hidden and Deadly go hand in hand, but Backline makes him a true killer, both literally and figuratively.
There’s also the small matter of being summoned for free after you play a card as long as he is in your hand. Even a free 1/1 can wreak havoc on an early board state, and all these bells and whistles make Orfeo an exciting addition to aggressive Deception strategies.
Chapter 6: Selena’s Origin
Selena’s story is one of overcoming the odds. Nature’s Champion was struck down by an illness at the age of ten, taking over half a year to regain the ability to walk. And yet, she never let go of her dream to join the Arkmonian Guard, even if fate had a different pathway for her than the one she envisioned.
Struggling to complete the challenges required to join the Guard, a chance encounter with General Orythia shows her there’s another path. Though Selena may lack the endurance, her aim is true and her leadership skills are strong – her real path to achieve the childhood dream. She proves her mettle in combat against a cyclops, and soon thereafter, Lady Aeona calls for her.
“I will bless you and strengthen you,” says Aeona, “as I would any mortal who served as my champion. But fix you?”
Aeona’s hand brushes her cheek with the softness of a night breeze.
“There is nothing to fix.”
Selena’s eyes fill with tears, and she nods.
Selena's reveal, animation and story cards
Selena, Champion of Nature
A great leader inspires her troops, and Selena is no exception to that, with a Roar that reads “Each friendly creature is no longer confused”. This instant impact on the board state coupled with an Ability to deal 2 damage to an enemy, then a random enemy creature becomes confused, the already reasonable 4 mana 3/3 body looks like a pretty decent source of additional staying power.
Chapter 7: Valka’s Origin
In chapter seven, Valka's father, Chief Skardi, sends her on an important raiding mission, hoping that a spectacular triumph spearheaded by his only child would quell any dissent caused by the devious Grimolf. Instead, they walk right into a trap, and the everything goes to hell.
“Back to the boats,” Valka says quietly. “Back to the boats, now. They knew we were coming. This is a trap.”
Then a horn blows, and another, and it is too late. Warriors, Rakni and Isgerd together, swarm from the great hall and rush from their tents.
Her brothers in arms hold off the enemy as she manages to escape, struggling back home for the good of the clan. It takes a month to return to the Nokkvi home village, but her father is gone, supposedly struck down by grief, replaced by Didrik, with Grimolf the puppet masters behind him.
“I fled,” she says loudly, “at the insistence of my warriors, to make sure that the treachery that put the Isgerd in our path would be punished. I didn’t run from that battle. I ran toward this one.”
“A kinsman might have told them,” says Valka. “Maybe a treacherous kinsman who sought to unseat my father and replace him with someone more easily manipulated.”
The chief-in-name-only yields, and though Valka is willing to spare him, she isn’t so generous with Grimolf. It’s his blood on her axe which grows brightly as Lord Auros calls, after the triumphant unification of the clans.
“Rise,” says Auros—and it is Auros, the God of War himself, twice her height and wreathed in majesty and flame.
Valka stands, and looks her god in his fiery eyes.
“You have won many victories in my name,” booms Auros. “Exposed lies. Routed weakness. Made your people strong and your enemies fearful. You bear my blessing in your hand, and worship me with every swing.”
Valka nods. What does one say to that?
“I call upon you now to join a greater contest,” says Auros. “You will be the Champion of War, strong and proud and deadly.”
Valka accepts, and as she leaves her people behind – Valknir, as proclaimed by Auros –, they vanish in a whirl of flame.
Valka's reveal, animation and story cards
Valka, Champion of War
The most impressive champion as far as stats are concerned, Valka in a 9 mana 8/8 with Frontline, Twin Strike and Overkill, not to mention a Roar which reads “Deal X damage to all enemy creatures where X is equal to this creature’s strength”.
Though that’s already a massive impact, Valka also has something to offer in death, giving all friendly Valkir in your hand, deck and the board +3/+3, no doubt setting up some difficult decisions for your opponent if the tribal synergies are active. If your War deck is looking to play the long game, Valka will be an able champion to include in your strategies, possibly even without other Valknirs in the immediate vicinity.
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~ Credit: Luci Kelemen