As patches come and go, the fates of each composition rise and fall. Currently, Treants are on the rise, thanks to the addition of Burning Tree, and today I'll be going over how to tend your garden and end up with the biggest Treants around.
Treants is a lategame comp, so what you do early in the game can vary wildly. About the earliest you start to move towards being a gardener is when you pick up Heartwood Elder, since that's the first Treant-only synergy that appears. There are some lower-level Trees that lead you towards this comp, like Happy Little Tree and Darkwood Creeper, but those are fairly open-ended. The great thing about Treants is that you can switch into them regardless of what you were up to before, and knowing how to do so is a valuable tool in the current metagame. It's one of the "leanest" comps in that sense, because it doesn't require that many pieces to work, though the best versions will take up your entire team. Let's talk about the key pieces, then get into the ways you can pivot into Treants successfully.
While Burning Tree is definitely the strongest piece of the puzzle, there are a bunch of trees you want in the midgame and lategame. Things start with Happy Little Tree and Darkwood Creeper, which do work together quite nicely. I tend not to buy Happy Little Tree early unless I'm King Midas (for the easy upgrade) or there are multiples in the shop. I also am not the biggest believer in the Gwen strategy of using Knighthood on Happy Little Tree on turn one. Darkwood Creeper is a solid buy if you have any high-health characters, but again isn't something I buy immediately unless I'm poised to use it well.
Where things really begin to pop off are with Heartwood Elder. Now this is one I'm happy using Gwen's Knighthood on, and will often buy even if I don't have any other trees. The prospect of a permanent +2/+2 per turn is fantastic, and perfectly sets you up for Burning Tree and Rotten Appletree on level five.
Here is the priority list of what you want at level four and below once you've found a Heartwood Elder, in order:
The Nutcracker Darkwood Creeper Upgraded Happy Little Tree Soltak Ancient
Note that if you have the Darkwood Creeper + Ring of Meteors combo, you don't want Soltak Ancient, as it will stop your characters from taking damage, so they won't get the Creeper buff.
One thing to keep in mind is that if I don't find an early Heartwood Elder, I don't really dip my toe into Treants at all. There's no other reason to commit early, as you can move in later if you see the right pieces. Those pieces, in fact, are what we are looking at next.
To Level Five and Beyond
Much has been made about Burning Tree (mostly because it's the best right now), but there are plenty of good options at five and six, and it's important to know how they interact. Let's chat about each of the high-level Treants, and what makes them tick.
Burning Tree offers a ton of stats and an easy build-around, which is why it's so strong. All you need to make this good are ways to pump attack, whether they be Sporko, Sting, Heartwood Elder, or ideally, Ashwood Elm. This gets better in multiples and upgrades well, all of which points to buying as many of these as you can find.
Rotten Appletree is one of the strongest buys right when you hit level five, but it falls off as the game goes later. It's important to get a point of attack onto the Tree, just so it kills anything that attacks it, but extra attack doesn't matter a ton. The most common position for Appletree is 4th, which maximizes the odds that it gets attacked before it attacks. You don't need to do much work to make this good, and you usually hold onto it until you replace it with your final comp (which we will discuss later).
Ashwood is another huge piece of the puzzle, as befits the Ruler of the Trees. Ashwood gives you a ton of attack, which translates into a ton of attack and health on Burning Tree, which then makes for giant Echowoods. The three-card combo that you want in the endgame is Ashwood, Burning Tree, Echowood, and Ashwood is good even if you don't have the other pieces. This is also one of the best pieces to upgrade, and you should always buy it if you're heading in the tree direction. Ashwood works nicely with health buffs, so look for this if you can.
Echowood is a funny one - it isn't a good buy unless you have the right pieces, but lategame it's the best way to take your comp to the next level. If you can afford this sitting on your bench for a few turns, feel free to buy it at six, but until you get Ashwood + Burning Tree going, Echowood is unlikely to be all that good. Once you have that combo, this is the character you want to see more than any other.
The Green Knight is a fallback more than a critical piece. It's worth buying right when you hit six if you need some stats, and it does help make for a bigger Ashwood, but you ideally don't have this in your final lineup.
Robin Wood is like The Green Knight, in that it's a solid brawler but not critical. It's a bit better thanks to ranged, so I don't mind running this late, but it's more of a tempo piece than something you build around.
The Ideal Final Lineup
I've talked about what each piece does, so let's put it all together. Obviously each game goes the way it goes, so you won't usually end up with exactly this lineup, but one can dream!
Burning Tree Ashwood Elm Echowood
You want as many of these as you can get, as long as you have a combination of all three. These are all great to upgrade as well, since their abilities scale quite well. Unless you've really high-rolled, you are going to end up with more than just copies of these characters on your squad, so let's hop to the next tier.
Robin Wood Rotten Appletree The Green Knight Heartwood Elder
All these are fine inclusions, especially Robin Wood, and you usually have to fill out your board with cards from this list. You can also play Shoulder Faeries, Grumblegore, Medusa, or Doombreath as other decent options, since this build isn't as all-in on having all of the same type as something like Dwarves is.
With that, you've got everything you need to plant some trees and enjoy the shade. Good luck!