As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t made a post in awhile. This is due to a number of things, but the primary reason is because I started the blog to talk about Drafting which has not been implemented yet. Also, without the full list of cards for each Shard, I don’t want to do an analysis just yet. The few constructed decks I have made have had a few changes to them since I originally made them, but a few posts about 1 or 2 cards changing in a deck doesn’t seem helpful. So I’m stopping for awhile. I plan to come back to this space when Alpha is a bit farther along, but for now I won’t be updating.
I’ll still be streaming, Wednesdays at 8pm – 10pm Eastern and Sundays at 7pm – 10pm Eastern. Hopefully Tournaments have stabilized and I will be able to participate in those since I think they are much more intersting than just single exhibition games. You can find the link on the side bar, or here: http://www.twitch.tv/govirdrauka
In my early battles, I came across an odd Wild / Sapphire deck that seemed a good counter to the Mill deck I was using at the time. The premise of it was to use Pack Raptor and The Ancestors’ Chosen to populate the deck full of Troops. I decided to take a stab at the idea, with mixed results.
Here’s the decklist:
1x Running Deer
3x Archmage Wrenlocke
3x Eldritch Dreamer
3x Moon’ariu Sensei
4x Pack Raptor
2x Sensei of the Wounded Petal
4x The Ancestors’ Chosen
Basic Actions (10)
3x Crash of Beasts
3x Oracle Song
2x Spirit Dance
Quick Actions (5)
3x Time Ripple
2x Polymorph: Dingler
10x Wild Shard
10x Sapphire Shard
3x Shards of Fate
The first part of the deck is to get things that create troops and doesn’t contain too many cards. The Pack Raptors and The Ancestors’ Chosen are the initiators of this category and are pretty straight forward. I would also put the Crash of Beasts into this category, even though the Troops go right to the battle field.
The next important part after populating the deck with Troops is to be able to get to them. Once you put a few Raptors and Specters in the deck, one card per turn just isn’t going to cut it. Oracle Song is an obvious choice; straight up draw. Moon’ariu Sensei is also an easy choice, as he’s got a body to go with his card draw. He is only a 1/1 though, so probably chump block territory. Archmage Wrenlock is a nice Troop since he lets any Action have a Cantrip.
As with any deck, you need to have cards that can deal with threats from the opponent. There aren’t a lot of good options in Wild / Sapphire. Buccaneer and Time Ripple can delay, but don’t remove completely. Polymorph: Dingler is the only way to truly deal with something, but the more I use it the less I understand why it costs 5. Taking a look at other “removal” spells, you have Murder for 3 and straight up destroys; Inner Conflict for 3, which removes as long as there’s no ability to worry about.; and finally Burn for 1 and Ragefire for 2, which can get rid of weak threats. The Polymorph costs 5 to only turn a Troop into a 0/1. It’s still there as a chump blocker. I’d like to see it come down to 3 cost to be in line with Murder and Inner Conflict, but I’ll also take a cost of 4 to show that Sapphire doesn’t have as easy of a time removing Troops. It’s currently too expensive imo.
That brings us to the rest of the deck. Spirit Dance works really well in this deck because of the amount of Troops that are placed back into the deck. It starts making Pack Raptors and Specters play for free. I originally had 4, but found that it didn’t matter if I wasn’t getting any Troops. So I dropped it down to 2 and added 2 Onslaught, which can make the weaker Troops in the deck actually do some damage for a turn. The other issue with the deck is that I don’t have a good early defense, so I take some hits. And there aren’t many decent life gain options in Wild and Sapphire. I chose Running Deer as the Champion because of this life gain, and that none of the Champions really fit the theme of the deck anyway. I also threw in some Sensei of the Wounded Petal for the minimal life gain they provide.
This deck is still pretty rough. Most of the time it doesn’t work, but it’s fun when it does. I’ll continue to play it and see if there’s anything I can do to help it, but I think it’s weakness is the Pack Raptors. They can be good, but they’re reliant on each other. Once the opponent starts killing a few off, they are all in trouble.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments.
No new deck this week, but instead I have an update to the decks I’ve already shown. I’ve been playing them and making small changes as I find things I don’t like / things I don’t think are working. As anticipated, the Life Gain deck is the one that has changed the most, so I’ll begin with it.
Life Gain (Article – Original Decklist)
-1 Blood Shard
-2 Diamond Shard
-1 Blood Bearer
-2 Hideous Conversion
-2 Wretched Brood
-2 Pact of Pain
+3 Corrupt Harvester
+3 Ivory Pawn
+1 Life Siphon
+2 Shards of Fate
+1 Spearcliff Cloud Knight
The first change is the removal of the Blood Shard and Diamond Shard for the Shards of Fate. I found that I often would not have the correct threshold to cast the cards I wanted to, so the Shards of Fate will alleviate that. Of course it comes with the down side of not giving a charge and also delaying a turn until producing resources. I’ll only ever need to actually use one, therefore I only included two in the deck. I also dropped the total resource count down to 23 which is a bit low, but I wanted to make room for other cards.
The second, and more major change, was to get rid of the Wretched Brood / Hideous Conversion combo entirely. It may have been the genesis of this deck, but in practice it is too slow and requires a bunch of cogs to be in place to be effective. With it went one of the Blood Bearers, as they were mostly for when Battle Hoppers would be sacrificed.
Lastly, the two Pact of Pain were removed. I found that the times I needed to use them were when I was already behind, and I didn’t have the life to lose in order to activate them. It gets rid of my only source of drawing cards, but that’s not the end of the world.
With the removal of those cards, I was able to add more Troops. I upped the count on Spearcliff Cloud Knight to 4 because he’s a Flight threat with Lifedrain and can both attack and be held as a chump blocker. Very nice for only 3 cost. Next, I added three of the Corrupt Harvester that I was talking about (more for their Lifedrain than their evasion, but I’m not complaining about the extra benefit). This brings my total Troop count up to 19, which is closer to the 20 I was aiming for.
The next star of the additions is the Ivory Pawn. The card reads: “Exhaust: Gain 1 health.”, but what it should read is “Exhaust: Give all Righteous Paladins you control +1/+1. Oh yeah, and gain 1 health.” I had originally not used these because I was forgetting that they can be used immediately. They don’t have summoning sickness because they aren’t a Troop (to clarify, there’s a recent similar card from Magic that is a creature: Soul Mender).
Lastly, the third Life Siphon was added in order for them to be more likely to appear, as well as to allow for a slightly smaller use of them without feeling like they were wasted.
There is an epic 55 minute game using this tweaked version of the deck, recorded by my opponent (I sadly was not streaming / recording it). There is little commentary on it, because his mic wasn’t working for most of the game but I link it here for posterity: Part 1 – 45min Part 2 – 10min
Wild Swarm (Article – Original Decklist)
-1 Fist of Briggadon
-1 Succulent Roostasaur
+2 Secret Laboratory
Not much has changed with this deck, although I also haven’t been playing with it much. After getting resource flooded (even with only 22 resources), it was suggested to me to add a few Secret Laboratory. I normally don’t like the idea of “looting” (as it is known), but the argument is that you can discard extra resources from your hand. This is doable in this deck, because there isn’t anything that needs a bunch of resources (i.e. nothing that costs X). Honeycap may benefit from more Threshold, but only when he first comes into play. The decision to remove the Fist of Briggadon was easy, he was just in there to give some punch if an Extinction went off. The Succulent Roostasaur isn’t as obvious, since I said last time that he’s an additional way to get damage though. However, multiple of him on the field don’t work well together (there are only so many Troops to exhaust), so I dropped the count to 3 in order to make way for the Labs.
HTL Deck (Article – Original Decklist)
-1 Blood Shard
-1 Brood Creeper
+2 Blood Aura
Again, not much to report here. After playing a few games where the High Tomb Lord was chump blocked multiple times, and then losing to a few direct damage actions I figured there needed to be a change. Since there’s no way to give Troops Crush in Blood currently, the next best thing is Lifegain via Blood Aura. They can chump block all they want, I’ll happily gain a bunch of life each time they do. To make room I got rid of a resource (keeping it at 24, which is still reasonable) and one Brood Creeper. Resource was an easy removal, and the Brood Creeper was only slightly more difficult. He fits into the theme because he can create more tokens, but he doesn’t do so immediately and does so conditionally. Keeping two copies will still let him see play occasionally, and the Blood Auras are better to keep me alive.
Mill (Article – Original Decklist)
Unfortunately Reginald Lancashire is still not in the game, and playing this deck more made me realize it’s super slow and can easily let the opponent get to the point they need to in order to win. I do not have any solid changes to this deck, but I am very much considering dumping Ruby almost entirely and going Blood. It seems to be the thing to do. With the changes to Booby Trap (it now reads “If this artifact would leave your deck…”, instead of “If this artifact would enter your hand or graveyard…”) I can safely use Relentless Corruption (although it’s currently bugged with this combo, dealing damage to the wrong champion). Additionally, a new card Curse of Oblivion can in theory set off all the Booby Traps at once. Again, I believe it’s not working like that currently. But I will come back to this deck in the near future and try to make it work. I’m tempted to try and splash Ruby just for Reginald, but sadly it will probably be better without him.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments.
Life gain is not always seen as a winning tactic because it doesn’t make you closer to winning the game, just farther from losing it. However, when life gain has interactions with other cards it can take on an offensive role as well. When I first saw the GenCon deck that used the Righteous Paladin, I knew I wanted to make a deck around him.
The recent changes to cards and additions of new cards affected this deck the most. Additionally, it has not been play tested much because the Alpha servers have been unstable. Here’s the decklist:
3x Adamanthian Scrivener
3x Blood Bearer
3x Living Totem
4x Righteous Paladin
3x Spearcliff Cloud Knight
Basic Actions (7)
2x Call The Grave
3x Inner Conflict
2x Life Siphon
Quick Actions (7)
2x Blood Aura
2x Hideous Conversion
2x Pact of Pain
2x Wretched Brood
11x Blood Shard
13x Diamond Shard
Along with the Righteous Paladin, the core of this deck idea came when I was playing with the High Tomb Lord deck. I thought it would be awesome to get a few Adamanthian Scrivener, Righteous Paladin, and Wretched Brood into play. The Scrivener off-sets the life lose from Wretched Brood, but still triggers the Paladin’s ability. Then since I was in Blood anyway, I added in some Blood Bearers to gain life when troops died as well. Living Totem was added as a good versatile Troop, which also has the potential of gaining Lifedrain to fit the theme of the deck. Spearcliff Cloud Knight was also a late addition. He covers the air as well as having Lifedrain.
Moving away from Troops, Life Siphon is a good card in almost any Blood deck. It’s direct damage that the opponent will have a hard time stopping, and it happens to gain life to trigger the Paladin. Blood Aura will allow any Troop to have Lifedrain, further pumping the Paladin (I typically use it on a Paladin, to make it self pumping).
Of course the deck also needs a way of protecting itself. Inner Conflict and Murder can eliminate threats from the opponent, while Stoneskin can protect a Troop from their removal. Stoneskin is a recent addition to the deck as well. I had overlooked it in the past, but it provides some much needed defense for the Paladins. If they do manage to kill the Paladin, Call The Grave will bring it back at full strength thanks to Permanent effects in Hex.
Rounding out the deck are the Utility cards, Pact of Pain and Hideous Conversion. The Pact allows me to use some of the life I’ll be gaining to draw through the deck looking for needed cards. The Conversion is there to allow for a sacrifice outlet for the Battle Hoppers made via Wretched Brood (preferably when a Blood Bearer or two are out).
Currently the deck is a bit Troop lite for my tastes. In the future I may get rid of the Hideous Conversion for Blood Cauldron Ritualist which fills the role of Troop and sacrifice outlet. However, the Ritualist is much easier to get rid of than the Conversion. I have also thought about adding Corrupt Harvester to be a Troop with Lifedrain. All in all, the deck still needs some tweaking.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments.
Way back in Tempest, Magic originally printed a card called Overrun. For a mere 5 mana, you give all your creatures +3/+3 and Trample. I’ve always loved the idea of Overrun, but never created a deck around it. Fortunately Hex has provided a functionally identical card, Onslaught. It does the exact same thing, but for 6 Resources. This time around I decided to actually try and make a deck, although I don’t think it’s competitive.
Here’s the decklist:
4x Bucktooth Commander
1x Fist of Briggadon
3x Howling Brave
3x Moon’ariu Sensei
2x Rune Ear Commander
4x Succulent Roostasaur
Basic Actions (16)
4x Crash of Beasts
4x Runts of the Litter
3x Command Tower
22x Wild Shard
This deck is straight forward: Play a bunch of Troops and pump them up with global effects. Of course a deck with only one trick typically doesn’t work well, so I’ve added some cards that don’t appear to fit the main theme.
In a Wild deck that wants a bunch of creatures, Runts of the Litter is a no-brainer. It gives two bodies for one resource, and it’s OK that those bodies are only 0/1. Similarly, Monika’shin is an obvious choice for some “free” 0/1 troops. Similar to Runts, Crash of Beasts is an easy pick in a troop centric Wild deck. It will always give at least a 3/3 with Crush for 3 resources, and on subsequent plays is just ridiculously resource efficient. Howling Brave is used as a resource ramp, as well as a cheap body. In the two drop land we have Moon’ariu Sensei, which is only a 1/1 but allows us to draw a card, and Succulent Roostasaur, also a 1/1 but he can utilize the 0/1 Battle Hoppers even if we haven’t gotten any of the pumps into play yet. The Bucktooth Commander is the first of the pump cards (albeit only on Shin’hare), and is a body to boot. After that, the Troops get a bit too expensive for me to consider them as part of the swarm.
There are only three (four if you count the Bucktooth Commander) pump cards. Command Tower and Evolve are steady increases, but can still be painful when there are many troops in play. The Tower is nice because it’s persistent and affects troops you play after it, where as Evolve is nice because it pumps defense as well. The main pump card is Onslaught though. Getting a chance to play this basically means the game is over, as you’re adding a ton of power to the board.
These cards are directly related to the main theme of the deck, but play off of it to still be useful. Since Onslaught costs 6 resources, some resource ramp via Chlorophyllia is needed. I have found that two works well, as I really only need to cast it once. Both resource ramps also add Wild Threshold, so Honeycap is used as an innately large troop. This is also the thinking behind the single Fist of Briggadon. The Rune Ear Commander can potentially be large because of the number of troops in play, but he has the same weakness as the main swarm (there needs to be a number of troops in play for him to be good).
The main weakness of this deck is any type of Board wipe. Extinction is the greatest threat, as it straight up kills everything. Heat Wave is also a threat because the troops typically sit at 2 or less defense for most of the game. Yesterday can set the deck back a few turns, but isn’t as threatening. It is a quick action though, so it has the possibility of countering an Onslaught. The only real answer to board wipes are the Crash of Beasts, which can quickly repopulate a board: as demonstrated in this video.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments. Come back next week when I take a look at my Blood / Diamond Life Gain deck.
I’ll continue to compare my experiences in Magic with my experiences in Hex. In Magic, there are creatures that have power and toughness equal to the number of cards in all graveyards (e.g. Lord of Extinction). However, the number of possible cards in the graveyards are limited by the number of cards in each player’s deck. There are cards that create creatures (i.e. tokens), but if those enter the graveyard they are removed from the game instead. In Hex, on the other hand, tokens that are created are treated as real cards and can be in any play zone. Therefore it can be much easier to pump up a guy like High Tomb Lord by using cards that create tokens. This deck was originally made by a friend of mine, Barborin, and centers around the High Tomb Lord. It has gone through a few tweaks from me, but is mostly his creation.
First, here’s a link to the complete decklist, and a text only overview of the deck.
3x Blood Bearer
3x Blood Cauldron Ritualist
3x Brood Creeper
4x High Tomb Lord
4x Shin’hare Eulogist
3x Shin’hare High Born
Basic Actions (6)
3x Life Siphon
Quick Actions (3)
3x Hideous Conversion
3x Wretched Brood
25x Blood Shard
As stated, the original intent of the deck was to just get a bunch of troops on the board with an easy outlet to also get them into the graveyard. After having played it a few times, a new strategy became apparent. I now consider there to be two phases of this deck: Phase 1 is before an Extinction / High Tomb Lord and Phase 2 is after an Extinction / High Tomb Lord. The deck is always trying to pad both graveyards.
In this phase, the deck plays more like a Shin’hare sacrifice deck. The Shin’hare Eulogist, Blood Cauldron Ritualist, and Wretched Brood combo will provide multiple benefits: a 4/4 every turn, a growing Eulogist, and cards entering the graveyard for later. A Blood Bearer or two will nicely offset the life lost from Wretched Brood, but is not necessary. The Shin’hare High Born fits the Shin’hare sub-theme as well as producing more cards to fuel the graveyard. Typically the High Born is used as a chump blocker. Deviating from the bunnies a bit, the Brood Creeper is a threat that the opponent has to answer unless they want it creating cards to fuel the graveyard. The last specifically Phase 1 card is Hideous Conversion. It provides another sacrifice outlet along with the Ritualist, but it also powers the combo that transitions into Phase 2. Specifically, sacrifice troops to it in order to get 10 resources to cast an Extinction (which wipes the board) and then play a High Tomb Lord (who should be pretty big by this point).
This phase is pure beat down. We’ve already cleared the board and just dropped a huge troop (probably at least a 10/10). The opponent has to have an answer to him, which admittedly there are a few out there (Murder, Polymorph: Dingler, and Inner Conflict to name a few). Even so, by the time this combo goes off you should almost always have the upper hand. The High Tomb Lord is not Unique, so you can have multiple copies on the board which just makes your opponent cry.
There are two remaining cards in the deck list: Murder, and Life Siphon. Obviously Murder is used as single target elimination (with the bonus of padding the graveyards by two). Life Siphon wasn’t in the original draft of the deck, but having a way to do direct damage while also gaining health (which can compensate for the damage from Wretched Brood) is an all around win. Additionally, the champion Gozzog is a mini Life Siphon ever few turns.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Next week I’ll be taking a look at a Wild Swarm deck that I’m still in the process of tuning. I like the idea of it, but it’s not very interactive with an opponent’s deck (i.e. the answer to big creatures are bigger creatures).
Whenever I played Magic, I tended to stay away from a Milling strategy. This is partially because I didn’t play during sets which allowed for a decent mill deck, and partly because going through 60 of my opponents cards in order to kill them seemed arduous. In Hex however, there are two cards which add an additional Win condition for a Mill deck: Sabotage and Reginald Lancashire. Sabotage is the only one of the two currently in the Alpha, but the idea of the deck originally came when I read Reginald. Checkout the complete decklist.
For your convenience, here is the decklist in text form:
1x Nin the Shadow
2x Flock of Seagulls
4x Reginald Lancashire
Basic Actions (13)
4x Chronic Madness
2x Oracle Song
Quick Actions (8)
3x Time Ripple
2x Cerebral Fulmination
4x The Fate Rack
12x Sapphire Shard
11x Ruby Shard
The first thought you may have is that this deck is pretty Troop light. It is. But that’s OK, it doesn’t need a lot of Troops. I break this deck down into three categories (in order of importance): Mill, Control, and Auxiliary.
This group has the main win conditions in it. Sabotage and Reginald have already been spoken of, both of which place surprises in the opponent’s deck. Chronic Madness is the next star, allowing for some pretty powerful Milling after playing a few (3, 6, 12, 24). This card could win the game outright when played 4 times. Of course it’s better with a few Booby Traps or Reginald in the opponent’s deck. The Fate Rack isn’t as powerful as Chronic Madness, but it allows for constant milling every turn and has led me to some victories with some Booby Traps. The Champion, Nin the Shadow, also provides some consistent milling and will be much more useful when we can use the abilities more than once per game (currently bugged). Cerebral Fulmination is a recent addition to the deck. It plays double duty by “milling” through the opponent’s deck and also allowing me to draw into more Chronic Madness cards. However, it’s not a true Mill. I’m still uneasy about giving my opponent cards, but it’s a nice trade-off once I get a few cards into their deck.
This group has the cards that will hopefully keep me alive long enough to win. It focuses mainly on Troop control. I think the stars of this group are the Buccaneers. They have the power to remove a Troop for a turn, which stalls an attack and can possible create a hole in the defense to allow some damage or even Reginald himself to hit the opponent. Although Time Ripple does the same thing, the Buccaneer comes with a 2/2 body which can be a sacrificial lamb (i.e. chump blocker) or maybe even get in for a few points of damage himself. Flock of Seagulls are just infinite blockers, and can deal with flight. Nothing fancy, but definitely annoying. I consider the Burn and Ragefire cards to also be a bit of control. They can deal with small threats and again possibly clear the way early on. Alternatively they can provide just a bit of extra damage to the opponent if they are hanging on by a thread.
This group has the last two cards in the deck. Oracle Song is used primarily to give card advantage and hopefully draw into some good mill cards. In a pinch it can be used against the opponent for a chance at Booby Traps, but this goes back to the fact that it’s actually giving my opponent cards if the Traps don’t hit. I’ve never actually done it in a game, but there it is. Stormcall is in the Auxiliary category because its main purpose in this deck is to remove blockers for a turn and allow Reginald to get in for damage. It can be used as Control to tap down Troops to prevent an attack, but in this deck that would be act of desperation (unless they’ve already used their resources and I have Reginald in play. I’d risk using it during their turn and bet they don’t have a zero drop blocker).
Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Next week I’ll take a look at a High Tomb Lord focused deck that a friend of mine originally came up with and I helped tweak. It’s another one of my favorites.
As an additional note: I’m in the Alpha! Come watch me play on the stream (linked in the sidebar). Unfortunately, not all of the cards for this deck are available yet, namely Reginald. The current deck I’m using takes out the Stormcalls because they’re not useful without Reginald. I’ve replaced them with more Flock of Seagulls. I also have Dwarven Turbines, which can allow The Fate Racks to do more damage in a turn. They were in my first draft of this deck, but I have found them to be less useful than I thought they would be so I cut them for the Fulminations. Speaking of, the Fulminations are currently bugged and can cause a priority freeze (I believe it’s whenever both players have an ability that triggers during the Prep phase). So those currently aren’t in the deck either. It’s been working pretty well even without Reginald. I haven’t been keeping track, but I feel like it’s been winning more than 60% of the games I’ve been able to finish.