I figured I'd start this discussion, because I felt overly 'chatty' on an interesting subject.
Which minion do you think is the best? Then the second best? Third? Leading down to the worst minion in the game. Or perhaps most useless. My list, in my opinion, is as follows.
1. Animate. This spell is acquired relatively early, and is probably the most flexible summoning spell in the game. And potentially, the most powerful. This minion at maximum rank will be able to cast the most powerful spells learned by any minion, and being of the Death rank, can heal itself in the process.
2. Ice Colossus. This minion may not have the greatest health. But, in my opinion, ties with Animate as the top minion in the game. Reason for this is, Animate's most powerful minion takes a lot of rounds to charge up, while Ice Colossus can be summoned on turn 1 or 2. Ice Colossus is also obtained early in the game. The reason why I rank this minion so highly is because of the damage output. Ice Colossus will blade/trap, and easily, quickly, and frequently fire off Ice Bats and Ice Shark. (Ice version of Lightning Bats, and Storm Shark, of course being as powerful as their Storm counterparts). In my opinion, Ice Colossus, for being available so cheaply and early in the game, has the highest damage output in the game.
3. Talos. Talos is absolutely beautiful. However, reason why I do not rank him in the top is because he can not be acquired until level 55. By that time, Myth wizards are well beyond the half way mark of the game, in very dangerous territory. However, Talos comes with a whopping 1,000 HP for 5 pips, exceeded only by the Animate minions at 11 pips+. Frequently using Frog, and even the occasional Minotaur, he can also use low level attacks and traps that any school can take advantage of.
4. Forest Sprite. As helpful as a minion can get and heals without discretion. On top of it, it may also take the offensive and attack. It is cheap to summon, but only reason I don't rank this minion any higher is because of it's extremely low health. Even with shields, this minion is incredibly vulnerable to high level attacks from the stronger mobs. Best bet is to take the aggro (build up your threat) so you are the mobs' center of attention. Shielding can save that little sprite from random AoE, and the fact that it can heal itself is a plus.
5. Helpful Mander. Helpful mander is just that. Helpful. He will frequently blade and shield himself and you, and add a good chunk of damage with Locust Swarm and even a Sandstorm! For such a 'little' minion, he packs quite a useful punch, and I am more than happy to have him by my Balance wizard's side at all times. He, however, is vulnerable, but with shields, could quite easily last a round or 2.
6. Cyclops. Cyclops is flexible, and cheap to summon. Pre-Celestia, the Cyclops is durable, and can be very helpful, casting blades and traps. I soloed up to the end of Dragonspyre using Cyclops. I had a lot of fun with him, and it was just awesome to play with him. The reason I rank him so low, is because his attacks are mediocre, and simply does not make the cut compared to other minions. Especially since he had his Storm shark taken away years ago. He does not shield, and can not use Frog, while the Helpful Mander minion can cast Sandstorm.
7. Fire elemental. Fire elemental is cheap to summon. It has 2 DoT attacks it will almost continuously use, along with shields for some occasional defense. A fire wizard can also take advantage of those supplied shields with Immolate, the most powerful rank 4 spell in the game. Reason why this minion is ranked so low is it's vulnerability. While his damage is great for support, it can interfere with traps that players like to use, as well destroy converts, which can make or break a fight.
8. Trolls. Those flexible little things are cheap to summon, and add a little bit of a boost to your own attacks. They have very low health, and are very vulnerable. I think it is a perfect beginner pet.
9. Living Puppet. The living puppet is something special. It costs 0 pips and makes a perfect fodder for a rogue attack. Another thing that makes this puppet so special is that it attacks every single turn, or tries to, regardless of the situation. Even though they are all 1 pip attacks, they add up over time, and should not be underestimated. Reason why it is one of the lowest ranked minions is obviously it's short lifespan. Even with shield, this puppet crumbles at the slightest attack. And even if this puppet does not get attacked directly, there are way too many AoE's thrown around in the later worlds to make it very practical to summon. BUT since it is 0 pips, it never hurts. However, Living puppet cards can easily clutter your deck as well. Especially when you need to be efficient and quick.
10 and 11. Minotaur and Water elemental. I do not know which one has the lowest health. But they both seem to be able to do the same thing. Taunt and shield. I have seen Minotaur cast Spritely on itself, I believe. And he does do an occasional attack. I would think Minotaur is on a better level than Water elemental, but I am not sure on that. I never ever used Water elemental other than the first time try back in 2008.
Minions offer several advantages. They are the perfect fodder. They get hit instead of you, making life easier. Another big advantage is that they also have an endless library of spells, much like mobs. They don't run out of mana, nor spell cards. They can attack/defend/support/heal INDEFINITELY, as long as they are alive. And obviously, every minion other than Minotaur and Water will add their respective share of damage to the battlefield.
I loved writing this, and kept myself occupied for a good while. What do you wizards think? Is your opinion on minions different? I know some people don't even bother with minions. As a matter of fact, if I were to replay my Myth wizard, I would probably only use Cyclops or Troll during long boss fights, and nothing else. This was fun.
Feel free to add your own opinions, thoughts, ideas, and experiences with minions. I think this would make a most entertaining thread.
I have to agree with you on the Water Elemental minion. As a storm wizard, I was happy at first that it could use shields and sprite. However, as I studied its strategies more and more, I noticed it often only shields and/or casts sprite on itself. The taunts don't seem to work either because they take so long to activate and by the time they do, the enemy is as good as gone. I wish Kingisle would make a better minion for storm wizards, so I wouldn't have to worry about defending myself while the Elemental stands around hogging all the shields. :x
I'm mainly myth - my second highest wizard is balance and, so far, he only has the helpful mander minion. So this post will focus on myth minions. :D
Talos is by far my favorite. His story, right out of Greek mythology (namely Argonautica) is super cool. There's two theories, first: he was created by Daedalus and no one is certain why. Second: Hephaestus petitioned Zeus for a protector for Europa (the daughter of Oceanus) and was thus forged by the god of thunder himself. And a noteworthy alternate telling of theory number two is that Hephaestus created Talos to guard Europa himself with the aid of Cyclopses that were turned into bulls - perhaps minotaurs?
Speaking of the god of thunder, Zeus has another name: Zeus Tallaios. Because, in another version of the events, Talos was defeated and absorbed by Zeus. And that Talos was winged! He was associated with the sun, possibly a solar deity, and Zeus thus absorbed the mythology of Talos.
How can that not be awesome? But, lol, game mechanics. I like Talos because he will sometimes cast Earthquake (more frequently than minotaur in my experience) and almost always cast humongofrog when he has 4-5 pips. A minion with an AoE like that is nice. Shielding Talos and healing him can keep him alive from beginning to end of a boss battle. The problem, then, is keeping yourself alive while Talos, with his low damage (no sun cards, afterall, nor damage boosting gear) slowly whittles down bosses. I'm still learning to work with him, but trying to solo Mirror Lake is a disheartening experience when my strategies are continuously proven ineffective by the four spirit guardians.
Utility-wise, arguments can be made for the Minotaur minion to serve as a distraction while the conjurer attacks. But the minotaur is probably my least favorite - his taunts don't keep up with the threat that my attacks generate. That's why I place Cyclops as second. And again, awesome mythology behind the cyclops.
When I was younger, I saw a movie called The 7th Voyage of Sinbad The Sailor. This was the first time that I had ever seen a depiction of a cyclops. It creeped me out! I was way more scared of that thing than I was Jason or Freddy. I've always enjoyed cyclopses ever since then - and the minion there isn't a let down. He's pretty quick on his feet, heals, and does some decent damage. Easily my second favorite.
The troll is cool, but kind of weak in terms of health. I'm also not too fond of the pip system for him when conjuring the guy... I mean, it almost always ends up costing me 4 pips due to power pips. lol I'd rather spend that on something else, a cyclops, or wait for Talos. His spells are decent though and I've seen him use a lot of traps. In fact, and I don't think many do this, you can replace most, if not all, of your myth trap cards with a single troll. He will usually trap a ton. I'd say at least once before he attacks - sometimes twice. This means that you, being ahead of him in the formation, can use the traps on your next turn. Neat trick!
Then the living puppet. You can't say much about him that hasn't already been said - he's not, and I'm sad to say this, worth the space that he takes up in the deck later on in the game. Like bloodbat, it just doesn't make a large enough impact.
I'm kind of upset, though. Like you said, the death school has an X pip minion spell. And people say that myth is very "middle of the road" but no, we're really not. We focus on minions... or are supposed to. Yet death has a better minion spell than we do. I'm sure necromancers would be offended if their area of expertise (drain spells) was infringed upon by the myth school. What if we had an X-pip drain spell? They'd protest vehemently, methinks. lol
I use the Helpful Mander minion with my Balance Wizard and you hit the nail on the head. It throws up all kinds of blades, shields etc. and seems like it only attacks 1 out of every 5 turns. It can be helpful for sure but you better plan on doing most of the attacking