Designing Sky - Heart Prism Identity
Coulter L. Baker
Sep 13, 2021
Skyweaver is still in Private Beta, and information provided in this post is subject to change based on playtests and player feedback.
Welcome to another week of Designing Sky! We’re continuing our ongoing series on the unique traits, playstyles and long-term mechanical identities of our five Prisms with a look into our fourth Prism, Heart, one of my personal favorites.
As a fun tidbit before we start, did you know that an alternate name for Heart Prism (back before I even joined Horizon) was Soul? Pretty wild! But those initial roots are still clearly visible in Heart’s design today, with its central focus on manipulating life and death.
Previous Designing Sky Posts:
Heart is the least idealistic of the Prisms, embracing the simple reality of ‘The Cycle’ of life and death. Heart aligned Skyweavers are connected to The Cycle, and able to wield some of its powers of life and death.
At their best, Heart-aligned Skyweavers revere and protect ‘The Cycle’ of life and death, respecting its importance, and making use of both life and death to aid themselves and others. They strive to help heal the sick and injured, and aid the grieving in finding closure. Occasionally they can even call upon the dead for aid, or to stop those who threaten The Cycle.
At their worst, Heart Skyweavers can begin to mistake their understanding and partnership with The Cycle for mastery over it, and try to break themselves or others free of it, rather than accepting and working alongside it. In the most extreme cases, they may strive to shackle The Cycle and gain control of it, bending both life and death to their will, in a gross perversion of all the Heart Prism is meant to represent.
Heart loves to reuse, recycle, and revive. The Heart Prism is fairly Unit-driven, but in a different way than Strength or Agility. Heart has a massive amount of Units with Death Effects, which provide their player with bonuses when they die, making them valuable whether dead or alive. As a result, Heart has a focus on Spells and effects that allow it to sacrifice its living Units or consume dead Units for bonuses, or even revive its dead to fight a second time, a feature almost entirely unique to it.
Heart can be a tricky Prism to employ, due to its focus on recycling cards and its graveyard, which is why it’s placed second to last in terms of unlock order. Statistically, Heart Units are the second weakest in terms of overall stats, although Heart does have a large number of effects it can use to empower them.
Heart is also fairly adept at generating new resources and healing itself, which makes it good at playing the long game, but it can also play an aggressive game more effectively than Wisdom thanks to possessing aggressive units and more buff and direct damage Spells. Overall, Heart is a very flexible Prism with a lot of play and design space, and is excellent at supporting other Prisms thanks to its ability to recycle important Units.
Heart has some areas where it is designed to excel. These are some of Heart’s most prominent strengths and unique features. Future cards and updates will reinforce these key pillars of Heart’s identity.
Recycling the Dead
Heart’s main strength lies in its unique ability to recycle and revive key Units with cards like Evermore, Glacial Tomb, and Undergrowth, which synergize with its valuable Death Effect Units like Old Fogy, Flame Phoenix or Hydrex. This ability to reuse Units also makes Heart fairly desirable as a partner for any other Prism that has Units it wants to recycle or reuse.
Buffing and Healing
Beyond just reviving Units, Heart is also excellent at stalling for time and healing itself with cards like Earth Golem and Vishiva. It also has a large volume of effects which allow it to buff up and improve its Units, like Full Bloom, Dirge, and Stone Fist.
Heart is a fairly open-ended Prism which can do most things decently well, allowing it to serve as a jack of all trades. Thanks to having good buffs, healing, card draw and removal, Heart has the ability to play the role of either aggressor or defender, as opposed to Prisms like Agility, which excels primarily at aggression, or Wisdom, which excels primarily at defense. Befitting its ability to deal in both life and death, Heart has a number of Spells that fit in with this duality, and can be used either to benefit its allies or hinder its enemies, like Wed Dead, Twisted Metal, and Take Flight.
Heart also has some fundamental gameplay limitations and areas where it is designed to be less effective than other Prisms. These core limitations will remain consistent, so as to keep the Prism unique. This isn't to say any of these areas are totally off limits, just that, as a general rule, these are areas where Heart will be weaker than the other Prisms, and future cards and designs will respect these limitations.
Difficulty Removing Larger Units
Heart does not possess a huge amount of reliable hard removal, and many of its answers to Units are in the form of effects that deal wither damage, letting it cull small enemies or weaken stronger ones, like Allbane, Chill, Spore Blast and Three Lashes, but versus massive Units, or those with Armor, Heart can sometimes find itself struggling for reliable removal options, especially if its facing several large foes at once. In such cases, Heart may just have to resort to summoning a bunch of defensive Units like Royal Mummies or Doom Shrooms, and bunkering up in the face of threats, though it has a few options like Smite that can help patch up this weakness, although they are rather inefficient in terms of mana.
Reliance on Dead Units and Death in General
Heart’s central theme of utilizing the Graveyard and Death Effects means that most Heart decks tend to rely on their Units dying “successfully,” which leaves them more vulnerable to Dusting, Silence, or other death denial effects. This weakness is further amplified by the fact that Heart often likes to recycle and reuse Units via its recursion effects, and if its opponent Dusts or otherwise disrupts those key Units, Heart's gameplan can begin to fall apart. Additionally, Heart’s focus on Death Effect Units will often leave it with less reactive tempo options than other Prisms, since many of its Spells require Heart to already have some dead Units before they become useful.
Looks like we’ve reached the end of our look at the Heart Prism, and with that, have already made it through four of our five Prisms! Next time, we’ll be looking into our last, but certainly not least, Prism, in Intellect!
What’s your favorite thing about the Heart Prism? Do you play with a Heart Hero? We want to hear from you! Tell us in our Skyweaver Discord community! Our community managers stream every week on Tuesdays and Fridays, so be sure to tune in at twitch.tv/skyweaverlive to catch their streams. See you in Sky!