Dandolo's Guide to Lifeline

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Dandolo
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Dandolo's Guide to Lifeline

Blood magic always carries a heavy price and Lifeline is willing to pay it. This is not a hero for the faint of heart; Lifeline will often need to almost incapacitate himself in order to bring the pain to the villains. However, Lifeline can be an absolute powerhouse. Lifeline's central mechanic is dealing himself damage in exchange for powerful effects or damage to other targets. Lifeline requires a lot of set-up to reach his full potential but can be useful turn one. Lifeline's cards combo incredibly well together. Lifeline's self damaging playstyle is somewhat similar to those of Fanatic, NightMist, and Absolute Zero - so if you enjoy those heroes, you'll likely enjoy Lifeline.

 

Objective of this Guide:

This guide is meant to provided both a high level view of the character's capabilities and a moderately comprehensive look at the specific tactics you can use as a player to get the most out of this deck. The more general information is toward the beginning of the guide and the more specific interactions are toward the back.

 

Overview:

Best Damage: Nordidian Sluph-Axe

Best Defense: Terminarch's Casing

Best Personal Support: Orphic Repository

Best Team Support: Repair Ley Line

Best Utility: Discharge Lifeforce

Primary Damage Types: Energy, Infernal

Secondary Damage Types: Melee, Fire, Lightning

 

General Strategy:

Lifeline has good defensive, support, and utility options. However, first and foremost Lifeline is about damage. Much of the challenge in playing Lifeline comes from deciding how to utilize the interactions between his cards, and which combos to set up. When playing Lifeline you will generally want to get as set-up as possible, as quickly as possible. You will need to balance setting up against the immediate need to deal with the cards the villain and environment are playing. Additionally, most of Lifeline's ongoing cards are stronger when Lifeline focuses on playing his other ongoing cards; so you will need to decide if you want to prioritize playing his ongoings, at the expense of the great effects his one-shots and equipment can offer. Your base power can be used to either help your own game, or to help an ally who can't draw cards as well as Lifeline. Lifeline's Cosmic Immolation card is incredibly powerful, but carries significant risk; knowing when this card is and isn't worth it is key to getting the most out of Lifeline.

 

Deck Composition:

Lifeline has 5 unique equipment cards, 1 limited ongoing card with 3 copies, and 4 other ongoing cards with 2 copies each. The remaining 24 cards are 8 one-shots with 3 copies each.

 

The Character Card:

Lifeline has 31 HP. His base power, Extract Power, allows you to either draw 2 cards or draw 1 card and have another player draw a card. As a result Lifeline draws cards very quickly. Lifeline will rarely struggle with hand size and he can usually find the card he needs despite a lack of search cards.

  

Combos and Interactions within the Deck:

Increasing Lifeline's set-up speed:

Lifeline gets a lot stronger once he has a large number of ongoing and equipment cards in play. Normally he can only play one of these cards each round. These combos can increase his set-up speed by 50% to 100%.

 

Key Cards:

Calculated Action (one-shot): This card allows Lifeline to deal himself 1 damage to either draw 3 cards or play 2 cards. In general, Lifeline needs extra plays more than he needs draws.

 

Orphic Repository (equipment): At the end of your turn, this card lets you either move all cards under this card to your hand or move the top card of your trash under it. You also have the option to destroy all cards under this card to deal multiple targets damage as a power.

 

Terminarch's Casing (equipment): This card gives Lifeline a point of damage reduction and allows him to either deal 1 damage or regain 1 HP at the end of your turn.

 

Haunting Memories (one-shot): In exchange for 2 HP, this card let's you reclaim 3 cards from your trash to your hand.

 

Option 1:

Start by getting Orphic Repository into play. Then each round, use exactly 1 copy of Calculated Action to play 2 cards. Calculated Action will be the top card of your trash at the end of your turn, so you can load it under Orphic Repository. The first turn you did not have any Calculated Action cards to play, return all Calculated Actions under Orphic Repository to your hand. Depending on how many copies of Calculated Action you are able to circulate this way, Lifeline can set up 50% to 75% faster.

 

Option 2:

If possible get Terminarch's Casing out early; this will reduce the average damage Lifeline takes from this combo from 2.5 per round to 0.5 per round. Every other round play all 3 copies of Calculated Action, the following round play Haunting Memories to return all 3 Calculated Actions to your hand. Put Haunting memories under Orphic Repository the turn you play it, and return it to your hand at the end of the next turn. This combo, increases speed by 100% but has a large card requirement so it's hard to pull off.

 

Option 3:

This option works without Orphic Repository, but is not as efficient as options 1 or 2. Play 2 copies of Calculated Action in 1 turn. The next turn, play Haunting Memories to return to your hand: both Calculated Actions and (if you do not have a copy in your hand) 1 copy of Haunting Memories. This will deal Lifeline 2 damage per turn and will only increase his speed by 50%. Terminarch's Casing can reduce this damage to an average of 0.5 per turn making this more worthwhile.

 

Ongoing Card Interactions:

Lifeline can use Matter Manipulator to gain additional power uses. However, without combining this effect with other cards this will come at the expense of your draw phase. Lifeline's other ongoing cards can work together with each other to increase Lifeline's damage potential and keep Lifeline drawing cards. The options listed below are not at all exclusive - using all these combinations together and with multiple copies of the non-limited cards makes them significantly stronger.

 

Key Cards:

Matter Manipulator (ongoing, limited): Allows Lifeline to use a power instead the first time he would draw a card each turn.

 

Alien Arcana (ongoing): Allows Lifeline to draw a card the first time an ongoing card enters his play area each turn. This card also allows Lifeline to deal 1 damage at the end of you turn.

 

Cosmic Immolation (ongoing): Increase damage dealt by Lifeline by 2 and damage dealt to Lifeline by non-hero targets by 2. Also, let's you draw a card at the start of your turn.

 

Cryptic Alignment (ongoing): This card's power allows Lifeline to discard 1 card to deal 1 target damage equal to the number of ongoing cards in your play area.

 

Interaction 1:

Use Lifeline's base power with Matter Manipulator in play. This will allow any hero to draw a card while still getting to use another power and drawing a card during your draw phase.

 

Interaction 2:

With Alien Arcana and Matter Manipulator in play, play an ongoing card. Instead of drawing a card use a power. Then you'll be free to use a second power during your power phase and draw a card during your draw phase.

 

Interaction 3:

Play both Alien Arcana and Cryptic Alignment. Then play an Ongoing card each turn, as you play more ongoing cards, Cryptic Alignment will become progressively stronger and Alien Arcana will supply you with cards to discard for Cryptic Alignment's effect.

 

Interaction 4:

When used together, Matter Manipulator and Cosmic Immolation, allows Lifeline to use a power at the start of his turn.

 

Interaction 5:

Adding Cosmic Immolation to Alien Arcana will increase Lifeline's end of turn damage.

 

Interaction 6:

Adding Cosmic Immolation to Cryptic Alignment boosts one of Lifeline's best damaging powers.

 

Maximum Potential:

With 9 ongoing cards in play, Lifeline can use Cryptic Alignment twice during his turn while drawing enough cards to sustain using it twice. Between these 2 power uses and the end of turn effect of Alien Arcana, Lifeline can deal 36 damage a round. This number can easily get even higher by adding Terminarch's Casing and a one-shot during your play phase. Of course most games you will not reach this state, but it's useful to consider if only to illustrate just how strong Lifeline can become using this strategy.

 

Destruction Based Combos and Interactions:

Two of Lifeline's cards (Unnatural Upheaval and Vitality Battery) become more powerful the more cards are destroyed on Lifeline's turn. Two of Lifeline's powers (Discharge Lifeforce and Nordidian Sulph-Axe) grant Lifeline an additional benefit when they are used to destroy a target. Note that the combos listed below are all improved by adding Cosmic Immolation even if they do not require it.

 

Key Cards: 

Unnatural Upheaval (one-shot): This card allows Lifeline to destroy up to 3 ongoing cards. In then deals 1 target damage equal to the number of total cards destroyed this turn plus 1.

 

Vitality Battery (equipment): This card lets Lifeline draw a card or Regain 2 HP whenever a non-hero target is destroyed on your turn.

 

Discharge Lifeforce (ongoing): This card's power allows Lifeline to destroy an environment card and deal up to 3 targets 1 damage if that card was a target.

 

Nordidian Sulph-Axe (equipment): This card's power lets Lifeline deal 2 melee and 1 fire damage to a target. If that target is destroyed by this damage, Lifeline deals 1 damage to each villain target.

 

Infernal Detonator (equipment): Lifeline can load up to 5 cards under this card at the start of his turn. When this card is destroyed Lifeline destroys all cards under this card and deals damage equal to the number of destroyed cards. As a power Lifeline can destroy this card.

 

Unleash Energy (one-shot): Lifeline deals himself and each non-hero target 2 damage. He then gets to draw or play a card.

 

Repair Ley Line (one-shot): For the cost of letting the environment play a card. Each player gets a card draw and each hero target regains 1 HP. This card allows any hero other than Lifeline to use a power.

 

Harrow (one-shot): Lifeline deals himself and up to 3 targets 3 damage.

 

Interaction 1:

With Vitality Battery in play, use the power or Nordidian Sulph-Axe or Discharge Lifeforce to destroy a target. This will not only allow you to trigger the effect if Vitality Battery, but also allow you to damage and possibly destroy multiple other targets.

 

Interaction 2:

Play Unleashed Energy with Vitality Battery in play to destroy multiple non-hero targets. Then play Unnatural Upheaval and deal an extra point of damage for each target Unleashed Energy destroyed. By playing Calculated Action first, you can substitute Harrow for Unleashed Energy. 

 

Interaction 3:

Play Repair Ley Line with Discharge Lifeforce in play. Then if a problematic environment card was played, immediately use Discard Lifeforce to destroy the environment card.

 

Interaction 4:

By destroying Infernal Detonator and all cards under it and then playing Unnatural Upheaval during the same turn, Lifeline can deal damage for each card under Infernal Detonator a second time. There are two ways Lifeline can achieve this without outside help:

-Option 1:  Play Matter Manipulator, Infernal Detonator and Cosmic Immolation. Then at the start of your turn, have Matter Manipulator turn the draw from Cosmic Immolation into a power use. Use the power of Infernal Detonator, then play Unnatural Upheaval during your play phase.

-Option 2: Get Matter Manipulator into play. Then play Calculated Action to play 2 cards. First play any card that will result in a card draw and turn that card draw into a power. Lifeline has 3 one-shots that can achieve this, any ongoing will work if Alien Arcana is in play, and any card that destroys a target will work with Vitality Battery in play. Use the power of Infernal Detonator, then play Unnatural Upheaval with your second play. Note that by using Repair Ley Line as the first card play, another hero can use a power before you play Unnatural Upheaval. Powers such as Omni-cannon, a concept, or Savage Mana can increase the power of this combo even further.

 

Other Cards:

There are 2 other cards in Lifeline's deck. They don't directly play into any of the combos above but are still good cards.

 

Ley Line Shift (one-shot): Lifeline deals himself 1 damage and discards the top card of each deck. Then he can put any one of those discarded cards into play. This is a good play, when you have nothing else great in your hand as it will give you options. It's also good if you're prioritizing setting up another hero over setting up Lifeline.

 

Enclave Tech (one-shot): Since Lifeline's equipment cards are unique, this card can be the best way to fish them out of your deck. The downsides are you do not get to choose which equipment card it plays and it shuffles your trash into your deck. The latter, makes Haunted Memories harder to use. Still, Orphic Repository, Nordidian Sulph-Axe, Terminarchs Casing, and Vitality Battery are really powerful.

 

 

When and when not to use Cosmic Immolation:

Cosmic Immolation works really well alongside Lifeline's cards that damage non-hero targets without damaging Lifeline. Some cards that meet this criteria are: Nordidian Sulph-Axe, Terminarch's Casing, Alien Arcana, Cryptic Alignment, and Discharge Lifeforce. As such once, some of these cards are in play, it's easier for Lifeline to start dealing more extra damage with Cosmic Immolation than Cosmic Immolation causes him to take. Vitality Battery and Terminarch's Casing can really help as well as they can mitigate the extra damage Cosmic Immolation causes Lifeline to take. Cards like Calculated Action and Haunting Memories become a lot most costly with Cosmic Immolation; so you may want to avoid Cosmic Immolation while using one of Lifeline's options to accelerate set-up speed. In short, Cosmic Immolation will not be worthwhile every game and generally, it is a lot better when played mid to late game when Lifeline is mostly set-up.

 

Variant:

Bloodmage Lifeline has 33 HP. He trades this card draw in for a powerful damaging power: Vitae Strike. This power allows Lifeline to deal 2 damage to himself and all villain targets. The result of this is that this version of Lifeline can struggle to find the cards he wants more often. But it is really good at destroying targets. This version is really dominant in Vengeance style matches. Vitality Battery is a really valuable card for this version of Lifeline.

 

Weaknesses:

Lifeline deals himself heavy self damage; so he loses potency at low HP and can struggle against villains who don't give him a lot of time to set up. Lifeline is vulnerable to both ongoing and equipment destruction.

 

Team-ups:

Bunker, Haka, and The Idealist each have cards that can combo really well with Unnatural Upheaval.

 

Argent Adept's Lyra can give Lifeline a power and play in that order. This makes the Infernal Detonator - Unnatural Upheaval combo easy to pull off.

 

Lifeline loves heroes who can give him out of turn draws, plays, and powers. This makes La Comodora, Doctor Medico, and Argent Adept useful allies.

 

Lifeline also appreciates HP recovery more than most heroes. Dr. Medico and Tempest work well with him in that regard.

 

Damage reduction from Captain Cosmic, Argent Adept, or The Harpy can be used to mitigate his self damage.

 

Lifeline works well with heroes who thrive on extra card draws due to his base power. Expatriette, KNYFE, Parse, Scholar, and NightMist all fit this description.

 

Visionary's Twist the Ether can reduce Lifeline's self damage, increase his damage to other targets, and it can interact with Alien Arcana and Cryptic Alignment.

Kharnel
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Thanks for the great write up! I haven't played Lifeline yet but now I'm very interested in giving him a try.

One question: His baseline power is worded "Draw a card. One player may draw a card." Doesn't that mean that he could use it to draw two cards himself?


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Dandolo
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Kharnel wrote:

Thanks for the great write up! I haven't played Lifeline yet but now I'm very interested in giving him a try.

One question: His baseline power is worded "Draw a card. One player may draw a card." Doesn't that mean that he could use it to draw two cards himself?

Yes 2 for himself or 1 each for him and another player.

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Ok, after 4 years of lurking I finally made an account to comment on a great team up between Lifeline and Cosmic Inventor Writhe. Two of my favorite heroes, but also work really well together.

Use CI Writhe's base power and choose Lifeline as the target - this makes it so you can be much more aggressive with your play style - either playing base Lifeline or his variant.

Cosmic Immolation is much less dangerous, and on his variant the lack of card draw is offset by the damage output you can more aggressively put out.

I just played them together a few days ago and had a blast.

Edits: typos

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Welcome!


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Dandolo
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Alett22 wrote:

Ok, after 4 years of lurking I finally made an account to comment on a great team up between Lifeline and Cosmic Inventor Writhe. Two of my favorite heroes, but also work really well together.

Use CI Writhe's base power and choose Lifeline as the target - this makes it so you can be much more aggressive with your play style - either playing base Lifeline or his variant.

Cosmic Immolation is much less dangerous, and on his variant the lack of card draw is offset by the damage output you can more aggressively put out.

I just played them together a few days ago and had a blast.

Edits: typos

Welcome to the forums Alett22! I agree, Cosmic Inventor Writhe is increadibly strong in general; but when paired with heroes like Lifeline, Akash'Thriya, NightMist, or Golem Unity, he's insanely good.

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Glad to have you join us, Alett22! laugh


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Powerhound_2000
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If I have it in hand I find I’ll play Enclave’s Tech first turn.   This way it doesn’t impact a Haunting Memories and what you get out of it can determine the route you go on following turns.  If you play it off of a Calculated Action since Enclave’s Tech trash shuffle would resolve first you also have that in your trash to retrieve through a Haunting Memories or potentially an Orphic Repository.   


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Trajector
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Cards like Calculated Action and Haunting Memories become a lot most costly with Cosmic Immolation; so you may want to avoid Cosmic Immolation while using one of Lifeline's options to accelerate set-up speed.

I'd like to make two important notes about Cosmic Immolation compared to similar cards like Bloody Knuckles and Hunter and Hunted:

  1. Cosmic Immolation increases the damage that non-hero targets do to Lifeline. This is unique among this type of card for a couple reasons - one is that it does not actually make Lifeline's self-damage any worse! He can continue to do things like play Calculated Action with Terminarch's Casing in play and take no self-damage. The other thing is that, similar to the way High Risk Behavior only applies to villian targets, Cosmic Immolation only increases the damage that targets do to Lifeline, which means he takes no additional damage from Spinning Vortex, River of Lava, Toxic Seaweed, or other environment cards that are not targets.
  2. Cosmic Immolation is not Limited. Last night, I had Progeny's flipside burn Lifeline down to 2 HP, so I knew he'd be going down on the next villain turn anyway...I played Calculated Action to get two copies of Cosmic Immolation in play and then hit Progeny with the Sulph-Axe. >:)

 

Powerhound_2000
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Lifeline will still deal himself more damage as the first line increases how much damage he does.   Unlike Bloody Knuckles or Coute Que Coute it doesn’t double down  on that damage.   So if one Cosmic Immolation is in play and Calculated Action is used Lifeline would deal himself 3 damage (assuming no other damage buffs or DR).


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Trajector
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You're right. Thanks.

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Whoops. I was playing in the Tomb of Anubis the other night and had Lifeline taking extra damage from stuff like the Swinging Blades and Trial by Fire...

Note to self - RTFC better!


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Infernal Detonator is insanely powerful. Two turns of fully charging it is equivalent to about seven turns charging the Omni-Cannon. And, unlike any similar card in the game, that Detonator isn't vulnerable to equipment wipes. It goes off no matter what. This isn't always the *optimal* thing for the heroes, but it's way better than losing all that work charging it up.

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If 10 cards were put under it from two turns then it deals 11 damage on your third turn if you trigger it.   OmniCannon on that same third turn with 6 cards under it would be 12 damage using the power.   I still like that Infernal Detonator can deal damage even if equipment destruction occurs as the times where that backfires it not too often.  


Crush your enemies, drive them before you, and laminate their women! - Guise, Prime Wardens #31

 
Trajector
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Ah, forgot the x2 on OmniCannon.