I've been pondering this one while working on Freaks Decks.
But what I've noticed is quite interesting.
In the 2* Department :
Esmerelda is simply not good enough anymore, that attack manip alone doesn't cut it .
Shazam seems to make the cut, even getting player banned often enough.
Bertha is subpar, I have to say it, 7 / 2 with +1 / +1 is meh in my book.
Magda might be an option, able to take on Power Manipulators and is still equivalent to 8 Power essentially.
The other 2*'s? Well . . not much going on for them.
In the 3* Department :
Olga is banned, which is a terrible shame, but a necessary evil. Good card, but banned.
Akendram is not only overpriced, but the only reason to consider him nowadays is because Olga , Bogdan and Grudj are banned in the 3 spot ; and to boot, Olga Noel performs better after 2 Pills!
Olga Noel is ok, but she's just that to be honest, ok, not special or great.
Quasichoco almost never sees use, but seems to be the only other useable 3 Star Freaks, though his -2 DR is off putting as I'd much rather have a card who can win the round if my R1 Poison / Heal doesn't go through.
In the 4* Department :
Bogdan is banned after a long deserved ban, but before him :
Grudj was banned! And Grudj is just as bad / annoying as Bogdan.
Liona is a solid card, but doesn't strike me as a staple. Also, I feel -12 would have been better than -10 , since Freaks have lost their SOA , Power Manip , and SOA .
Madelone is another option, but is not a round win.
Madelone (Continued) Is not a round winner ability, and is yet another fork, leaving me irritate at what I'm supposed to do. However, I do like the -2 Pillz Minimum 3 because I keep advantage slightly if I lose.
Maciej has frequently been said to be overlooked, and indeed he has great Power Manip, but it's a small minimum of 6, and he loses to lots of other power manip cards and SOA cards can usually match his power, leaving him wanting but still surprisingly useful.
Who to you are the useful 4's 3's and 2's for Freaks?
2* - Harleen
3* - Piotr, Boris Cr
4* - Igor, Wolfgang, Pyro
These all have been staples in my decks, Igor has saved me a plethora of times. True Boris Cr is very ability dependent but still very useful.
I wish he did too but he comes in very handy dealing with DR when you can't wait for the poison.
As long as I get in Turn 2 Poison, I don't have a problem with damage.
And running Mono Freaks is not a good idea; so my other half either has +Life or makes up the damage / life gap.
My issues with Wolfgang are numerous from him being 7 Power and 4 Damage, to him also having an ability that doesn't help me win the round. Realistically, I want my 2 Star or 3 star to lose a round ; IE Wonald (If I'd actually use that pathetic 6 / 2 ) , Quasichoco ( But I would rather his ability be stronger to make it worth it) Pyro is . . .well, interesting, but she basically only helps to try again next round.
Igor . . . hmmm, no Manip, no benefit to losing, and a low Maximum for his heal and only 1. . . :/
I would gladly use Igor if he was 7/4 or 8/3 Heal 2 - 10 or 12
Liona, Quasichoco, Shazam & Bertha would have to be my most frequently used Freaks half. I'd generally use them as a low star half to have 2* that threaten 6-9 gap in the early rounds, whilst maintaining good damage potential in the other half in case the poison is unsuccessful.
Shazam is brilliant. I often use Bertha as my second 2* option... 8/3 with poison on a 2* isn't really 'sub-par' in my opinion.
I'd also argue that Quasichoco is the MOST commonly used 3* for Freaks in ELO. I occasionally choose Olga Noel to go for more round winning power but Quasichoco is a bit more stable.
I'd say Liona is definitely no. 1 choice for Freaks 4*. Same base stats but stronger ability than the likes of Raeth and Tuck.
They're a bit low on options, I must say. Even still, this half is well and truly ELO legit. Check out the format election and these are the 4 Freaks cards that are most used, I'm pretty sure.
I don't understand why people prefer Bertha to Magda.
I mean, I'd rather have a 5/3 Low Power Manip. card with the natural 3 damage instead of an 7/2 card.
You can't respond well to threats with Bertha , and she doesn't take down her fellow 2's nearly as well as Magda.
Yes, Shazam is brilliant! But I do almost always fit him in.
Quasichoco . . . I wish there was a slightly better version of him for 3 Stars so I'm usually conflicted of him vs Boris Cr ><
Usually I run 5* Hindelga , 4* Liona / Crassus , 2* Shazam , 2* Magda (Sometimes Harleen )
Speaking of Crassus, why do people avoid this card?
I almost never see him played, yet a 7/3 or 7/7 card with Poison is by no means a bad card, especially if you hit in R1 Poison.
And in R2 or R3 he can still nuke if you played defensively R1 / R2
I understand that he doesn't win rounds, but he's a giant threat.