Thunderspeaker moves with Dahan and fights with Dahan, losing presence when they lose. Thunderspeaker has Dahan focused powers that also really flesh out her connection, as well as make the Dahan it leads one of the most destructive forces in the game. With its incredible Dahan movement abilities Thunderspeaker can cut a swath through the map, its army crushing invaders wherever they are found.
Your are a Dahan controller, and your best use is cutting a deadly swath across the board, ideally using 1 or 2 armies to smash whatever pops up. You are not built for holding a small territory, you are built to march into battle and drive out the invaders.
First time adding this section, because I want to really drive home how devastating this Spirit is when it goes on the war path. Here's the turn that really drove home for me how strong Thundersleaker is. I finally get my 4th card play (and by finally I mean it was turn 7 and my presence tracks were empty), I reclaimed Words of Warning and played my 4 starting cards. The cards plus elements from my panel gave me 5 air, 4 sun, 3 fire and 2 beast, unlocking all my innates. To start I gathered 2 Dahan then pushed 3 into a built up land with 2 of my presence using Gather the Warriors. Next, using Lead the Furious Assault we destroyed 2 towns and a city. Third using Sudden Ambush gathered another Dahan and presence intovthe same land and destroyed the 2 explorers that were left. Using Words of Warning on a land somewhere else to wipe an explorer + town ravage. After the invader turn I pushed the 4 Dahan from earlier, and the 3 presence with them to the built up land next to the one we cleared, then let some allies push more stuff in, before triggering Manifestation of Power and Glory for 12 damage, clearing that land of a city, 3 towns and 2 explorers. That turn, based off 4 card play and cards you start with caused the removal of 23 invader health, added 10 fear, cleared a land about to ravage, caused Dahan to win another ravage, and then cleared a land that had just built. Thunderspeaker can be amazing, if you keep Dahan alive and move smartly.
First 4 turns strategies
Your primary dilemna with Thunderspeaker is your hand of cards that cost 6 energy, and your energy track that is completely unable to support it early. You can't get new cards without reclaiming, and you have a wonderful 2 presence growth option that really speeds up your power level, but you have to navigate the start to get there. +4 energy and 2 turns of gaining 1 energy is 6 energy, enough to pay for your opening hand, but that sends you into a reclaim turn that will give you 2 cards and 1 energy, meaning you will need to take another +4 to play your 6 cards, likely 2 to get and use your third card play. This is how I go 2 card play early. Start by grabbing that 4 energy your second card play. Next take option 2 and grab 2 energy presence. When you reclaim turn 3 you have 2 plays and 2 energy and 6 cards. Next turn you take 4 energy and presence from your play track, and then take 2 from play to get 3 plays and the coveted reclaim 1. My other path is designed to sacrifice a bit early to clear your presence as fast as possible. You are going to take 2 presence every time you don't reclaim. Here's how it goes: Start taking 2 presence from your energy track. Play Sudden Ambush to take out 1 explorer. Gather 2 Dahan into the other explore that just built with your innate. Next take 2 more from energy and play words of warning to win that ravage. If you can, use Gather to set up Lead to destroy a town. You've only played 2 cards but in a beginner game you are ahead of the curve. Now take 2 presence from your play track and play Voice and Manifestation. They should let you wipe out a built up area and leave you to Reclaim turn 4 in solid shape. Turn 5 get your 3 plays and Reclaim 1 and you are rolling at near full strength. The next two turns clear your board and then spend the rest of the game having fun moving Dahan and your presence, crushing invaders without mercy.
What powers to take
You want enough elements to ensure you get to move Dahan with Gather the Warriors, and keep getting Lead every turn, but you don't need to be overly concerned with making all the thresholds every turn, as many turns you won't have a city you need to take out lined up and making your innates fast isn't so great that you should sacrifice effects for it. Thunderspeaker wants push, gather, defense, damage based on Dahan, anything that doesn't destroy Dahan and provides 1 of your 4 innate elements will work. Of course, cards like Call to Bloodshed, Fire in the Sky, Call to Isolation are all great cards because they drive your innates, but you can do fine if not everything is giving you 2 or 3 of your elements. For Major Powers, there are a lot of good ones that fit your elements well. Instruments of their own Ruin, Vigor of the Breaking Dawn, Powerstorm and Wrap in Wings of Sunlight all fit your playstyle and elements well Powerstorm is my favorite, because if you look at the example awesome turn from above and consider what replacing Sudden Ambush with Powerstorm would look like, it gets pretty crazy.
- Don't even try to root out every explorer, and stop every build. Once you get 3 plays and reclaim 1 you take some Dahan and start crushing invader strongholds, let other spirits sweat the small stuff, you march for glory!
- Your army is everywhere. Feel free to abandon an army and start a campaign elsewhere, you only need 3-4 Dahan and 2-3 presence to crush most anything you find.
- Spread out Dahan are fine. A single Dahan in every land would be fine, you can gather and push with your innate, you form armies easily.
- Know when you don't need powers fast. Your innates rule, but you don't want to make them fast just to make them fast. Sometimes slow is much better.
- Enjoy the carnage. No other spirit has thrown down consistently massive damage as much as Thunderspeaker in my games, go find big targets and crush them.
- Don't waste Dahan. This is your one weakness, you need them, keep them alive as much as possible, but don't be afraid to let them die gloriously either.
This guide is not intended to tell you how to play Thunderspeaker (okay, it kind of is) or to proclaim a right way to play this spirit (even though there kind of is one), but is intended to give players a starting point to help them explore (and destroy all the invaders they find while playing) Thunderspeaker and enjoy (murdering all the bad guys while) learning more about this lovely game.