Hello godlings. That’s right, I’m back with the next installment of the Boosting Better Starters article, and boy have these couple weeks been fun! For those just joining in, here are the basics: I started with a “Starter Deck” of my own creation, using only the most bare-bones cards that every new player would have. Then, last time, I gave myself a modest budget (1500 Essence — the amount I think players with average playtime will be able to earn in a week or so) to improve that deck.
Now, and it is hard for me to say this, I think I may have gone a little too deep on my theme last time around. The whole deck ended up being based around Stealth, which is truly one of the most unique mechanics Mythgard has to offer. But for that to really work, it required a bit too much creativity on my part, and the deck’s performance suffered over time as a result. Trust me, I know how hard it got to be, going up against all that aggro, to pull out the wins.
So I started testing. I started tweaking. Then I decided to try a bigger change. And I haven’t looked back since. The deck has gotten MARKEDLY better since my last tweaks.
I hope you’ll follow along this week as I try to stay within my budget and take this ragtag bunch of Stealthy cards and turn them into the champions they deserve to be!
The Big Change: A New Faction
That’s right, boys and girls, though I have been having a lot of fun working with my two favorite colors, the big change for this week’s deck was to switch away from Green. (I know, I’m sad, too.) But the thought process was pretty straightforward.
First, I examined what cards were working well in the list – and those turned out to mostly be the Purple ones, with the addition of Born-Again. I started asking myself why I was playing Green if only one of the cards was really performing that well. I couldn’t give a good answer.
Then I started wondering what I might gain from adding a different color instead. I knew the deck wanted to be a bit tricky, that it wanted to utilize Stealthy minions to create some havoc. What other color complements that well, making its dudes harder to handle?
Blue. Blue, with all its enchantments and damaging spells, stood out as an answer.
So I started testing, converting, and tweaking. And I may have gone over the budget a bit (in my testing), but I’ll have to follow my rules, mostly, and get you my through the process of making this deck truly awesome in two articles. I hope you can hold out 😉
When looking at the Blue faction, there were a couple things that truly stood out to me as incentives, so I want to go over those in greater detail.
As a lane enchantment, it allows a degree of flexibility that Green really couldn’t match. We’d tried before with the Volkov Pointman, but this is something that’s generally harder to remove, provides a bigger buff (albeit to only one minion at a time), and still allows us to close-out games. Paired with our favorite Shinobi of Wind, you can see how interesting things can become. Suddenly he’s a 4/3 Overrun that Breaches to ping!
Once I went in on the idea of enchantments, this minion came to the forefront of my mind. He’s Blue’s version of the “4-cost 4/4 with upside,” much like Back Alley Ronin in Purple and Avenging Alpha in Green. All those cards play well with Stealth. But he is the first one we truly have 100% control over. Where we choose to play him is our call. And unlike the Ronin, we don’t have to do anything to our opponent first. This is a major upside. So is the 1 copy we already have as a reward from Mission 4 of the Story.
While the other two cards are Uncomons, I cannot stand by and ignore one of the best reasons to go into Blue: Thunderclap. Two damage to every enemy is massive. It’s usually enough to swing any combat math in your favor, or to wipe a board — before or after a swing. It also hits face, which is amazing but not why we play it. It’s a Rare, and thus expensive, but it’s also one of the safest crafts of any Rare in the game. I’d argue it’s one of the best three in the game. If you ever plan on playing Blue, it is worth it.
Getting our Three Shells Together
So this was the list we ended up with last time. Sadly, we have to strip out all that beautiful Green. That leaves us with 19 open spots to fill. What are we already guaranteed to have that we will want in this new list?
+1 Tailroot Wurm (mentioned above)
+1 Jotun Shatterfist
+1 Godsblud Transfusion
These are all mission rewards from the Story, and they’re all solid inclusions. In fact, they’re so solid that we’re going to go ahead and add a few more of them.
+2 Tailroot Wurm (=200 Ess.)
+1 Jotun Shatterfist (=500 Ess.)
+1 Godsblud Transfution (=100 Ess.)
I’m also feeling like this deck wants to replace some of the early-game minions that it lost in Green, so I’m adding 2 copies of Freki Scout, which we had from our Base cards. (So they’re free!) We might need to go up to a third copy if we find these don’t slow down aggro enough. I’ve also considered Ravine Guardian for this spot, but it’s an Uncommon and I’m not sure how much budget room I’m going to have this week…
+2 Freki Scout
With 10 spots remaining, we are going to want to slot in more Blue, especially since many of the cards we’ve added have double-gem requirements. So what’s two more?
Thunderclap is an absolute must. Yes, it’s another double-gem card, so we really need to keep hitting the Blue additions. And though it would hit us for a cool 1k Essence normally, I opened one and used one of my Wild Cards from a promotional “Trick code” to craft the other.
Don’t have a Trick code? Ask in the Mythgard Discord, or visit the Mythgard Reddit. Everyone on the mailing list got 3 Trick codes (and each account can only use a maximum of 1!), so many people should still have an extra lying about somewhere. In fact, I have one left:
The first to claim it gets the prize! (10 packs, 2 random unowned paths, 2 random unowned powers, 10 Common Wilds, 6 Uncommon Wilds, 2 Rare Wilds, and 1 Mythic Wild)
It’s a great promotion from Rhino Games to get its current players to try and recruit others. But with that said, it also allows me a little extra leniency in my budget this week only. In fact… I’m going to admit that I used my 1 Mythic Wild for this deck too. But fear not, I did NOT waste it. I used it for one of the top-rated Mythics in the whole game (as is shown by this awesome article from EndoZoite).
I crafted Magnus Thorsson.
Let’s look at what he accomplishes, shall we? He’s essentially a third Thunderclap for 1 mana more, but he also comes with a very solid 4/4 body. On top of that, he’s got the exact same casting cost as Jotun Shatterfist, only 5[B]B, which means we know we can handle him easily in this list. Overall, he is an insane value, and he’s doing a lot of what we want in this list.
I still haven’t added the Demolition Speedways that I showed off earlier, so we’re doing that next.
+3 Demolition Spedway (=300 Ess.)
And while we’re considering enchantments, I think another copy of Red Cliffs would probably be good. I know it’s Purple, but when you look at its overall effect, it’s impressive. I still don’t know why this seems to be the only enchantment that effects the entire opponent’s board with its second effect when the first only hits three lanes, but I won’t complain. That Rush suppression is a HUGE part of why we’re playing this card.
+1 Red Cliffs (=100 Ess.)
Last (at least for now) in terms of enchantments, I think a few ways to make our minions really big would go a long way. A couple Giant’s Stairways should do nicely. Because what minion wouldn’t love to get +3/+3?
+2 Giant’s Stairway (=200 Ess.)
If I’ve done my math, that leaves us with 100 Essence remaining and one empty card slot. For that final spot, I’m thinking another Terragon. His 5/6 body is solid for a 5-drop, and getting the Iridescent Pearl is huge. +1/+1 and Overrun is what this deck craves.
+1 Terragon (=50 Ess.)
With all the card changes done, I’m still concerned that we’re leaning a little too heavily into Purple, but the budget is spent. I think we’ll just have to make it work for now. Besides, I won’t be that upset if I can cast Turn-2 Spirit Saint more often.
The last considerations will be the Path and Power. Previously we were running Disk of Circadia, but I really am not feeling that in this version. Our ability to game the system with Born-Again is gone, and we don’t have much reason to want to discard. We’re running 27 bodies in this list, so I see no reason not to switch back to Journey of Souls. Even our lower-costing minions will be fine to recur because they provide either mobility or extra cards.
What we want more is Impel for our Power. We want to be able to freely maneuver our dudes around the board, especially if that dude has Teleport (Shinobi of Wind, I mean you). There’s just nothing else that will touch its utility in this deck. Impel is hands-down our pick.
With our for-now-finished deck, it’s time to put it through its paces and see how it turns out. I also got some really positive feedback about the hand analysis last article, so I think looking at some of that again, in a bit more detail this time, will be good for everyone. On to the playtesting!
Follow the Pretty Lady
With this deck, we’re intentionally trying to play an aggressive strategy while also getting a bit tricky. Let’s see if the hands play out that way!
Game 1, Turn 1
I find this opening hand to be interesting because it truly shows the difference between what the deck was last week and what it has become. We’re now looking at something with a lot more midrange punch. We want to get to turn 4 and beyond to start hitting our groove. But we’d like to get Shinobi of Wind on track, probably with that Speedway under him. We could even potentially use Thunderclap to clear the way for him. But let’s not discount a Tailroot Wurm sitting on an enchantment. And if that doesn’t work, a nice Shatterfist goes a long way. See? Versatility. That’s what I like in a deck.
So how do we begin? Our opponent went first and burned Blue but played nothing. So on Turn 1, I’m tempted to burn either the Red Cliffs, the Ronin, or the Terragon to get a Purple gem early. Then if we don’t draw into more Blue (we will want BB by Turn 4), we can start to burn those cards – but I’d rather not. I’m burning Purple first because I like my Blue cards, and I’d like to keep them all at least one more turn, until I know better what I’m dealing with and drawing. In this case, I burned the Ronin because he’s the 4-drop I’m least excited about, and on the later turns I already have better minions to play.
So we drew the Freki Scout, which could either be our play or our burn here. Since my opponent burned another Blue and still hasn’t played to the board, I’m actually liking Scout as the play, which means I will want to burn a Blue to get it down. I know my Turn 3 will be the Shinobi (that’s the game plan, after all), and that I’d probably like to keep either Thunderclap or Speedway to clear the way for him… so that leaves Shatterfist or Wurm. It’s more likely for Shatterfist to be a game-winner simply because he can get so big. Wurm is actually pretty limited. So as the lesser threat, he’s the burn and we play Scout in the middle lane – allowing for the maximum flexibility in where she could go next turn.
The next turn I drew another Shinobi of Wind, slid my Scout in front of my opponent’s minion as a speedbump, and started finding value in Breaching. In other words, the rest of this game went smoothly because of how low the initial pressure had been.
Game 2, Turn 1
This game opened quite a bit differently, with fewer threats but more ways to make them scary. Godsblud Transfusion can make anything scary in this deck, but I’m specifically looking at our big Blue beaters. The opponent will either need the removal, and quickly, or the game will end fast. Even if it means I have to plant that Wurm on top of those Red Cliffs.
However, since I’m staring at TWO Sword Saints, my early turns want me to burn Purple, switching to Blue for 3 and 4. That can work out nicely, too, since it means I could drop the Godsblud on T3 if needed. So, with that limited information, and knowing that I’m playing first, I’m going to burn one Saint to set up the other and see what I draw going into Turn 2.
We drew a Ronin, which is actually a surprisingly good draw if our opponent decides to not jump in front of our Sword Saint (that I want to play this turn). But the problem with that is that, to play that Saint, I need to burn another Purple. So I’ve come to an inflection point!
Option 1: Burn the Red Cliffs to get the Saint down, thus putting more faith in the Ronin than the Wurm (without an enchantment in-hand, he’ll likely stay a 4/4), and thus allowing the Wurm to be my T3 or 4 burn, setting up the Shatterfist with a Godsblud.
Option 2: Burn the Ronin, still getting the Saint down, but obviously holding on to the Red Cliffs specifically to get it under the Wurm, going harder on that plan.
Which do I want, Ronin or Wurm? Ronin or Wurm? Hmm…
What would you choose?
I’m not sure I made the “right” choice, to be honest. It’s hard to say in the moment. Wurm has a slightly bigger upside usually, but in this case I didn’t love the idea of having to keep him on the Cliffs. I’d rather he sit on a stat-boosting enchantment. So I went with Option 1, burned the Cliffs and played the Saint in lane 1.
In hindsight, that might not have been the best play, but given what limited information I had at the time, it felt right. I barely eeked out the win, relying upon BOTH Transfusions (one on the Ronin, the other on the Shatterfist) to find victory. The first made my Ronin a 8/7 regen 2 monster requiring hard removal, which my opponent had. But he could not answer my Godsbluded Shatterfist immediately. It run amok a little too long before the opponent found their next answer. And, for the record, I did burn the Wurm T3, and a Freki Scout showed up to burn T4, making for the perfect curve. Go figure.
Game 3, Turn 1
This game, though I didn’t know it yet (going first), I was up against a very aggressive Red deck. I looked at this hand similarly to the game above – drop a Sword Saint on T2, land a Shinobi on T3, try to activate a Ronin T4. You know, the dream. That is not what happened. But to set up my dream, I burned the Terragon first, setting up a PP Sword Saint opener.
Then my opponent burned a Daring Trapezist to play their Strigoi Pup. I should have known, if they could afford to burn a Trapezist, that I was in trouble.
Now I really needed to get a Saint down. In front of the Pup, I thought. I had an inkling that my opponent was on aggro, so I didn’t want to burn my other Saint. Two Biting Blades (Life Tap) very well could save me this game. I also know that against aggro, Shinobi of Wind isn’t my best card. What are the odds of it surviving to Breach? Pretttyy low. So he was my T2 burn, Sword Saint went in front of the Pup. Game on!
The opponent Ignited my Saint and dropped a second Pup. Hmm. What to do? Well…
Then I drew that beauty right there. Red Cliffs, you wonderful monster you. Now at this point, I know I cannot play it AND a minion on top of it in one turn, BUT having it and a 2-drop (Saint) in-hand meant that I could plan better. I knew I could kill at least one Pup… and possibly something played near it if my opponent didn’t position smartly. It also meant that I needed to burn a third Purple at some point if I wanted to play both cards on T4 – and I did. I’m addicted to value. So I burned one Ronin.
My T3 play quickly became Shinobi, despite what I knew about his chances at survival… because aggro players almost always recognize him (“Gasp! Stealth 3-drop!”) as a must-answer. It was risky to let both Pups run free another turn, but I could kill one basically for free next turn. I wanted to lure out more value.
Fully engaging in the race with my opponent, I kept those Sword Saints, and their blades, ready. My second Ronin ended up activated with a Biting Blade on him. It’s hard to race a 7/5 Life Tap as an aggro deck. It’s even harder to race a 9/7 Regen 2 Life Tap that you can Impel around the board. Thank you again Godsblud. 🙂
Hopefully these few examples have shown some of how the deck is trying to play. Also notice: this deck does not require Master of Shadows to win. Yes, it’s still in the list, but he’s not The Driving Force any longer. Now he’s just extra value alongside the good rest of the [B]lue[P]urple Shell Game train. The deck still does have a decent Stealth component, but as much as I love the mechanic, it isn’t quite there yet as a full focus. Maybe if I had Grandma Meng’s Tea House…
No, stop it there, bearsy, you’ll hurt yourself! Mythics are outside the budget and I already added one anyway!
–But if I were to go down that route, and maybe add a few more utility enchantments, then maybe we could shift over to Rainbow’s End as a Path–!
And that will have to wait ‘til next week! Yikes. I get scary sometimes.
The List: Week 3
Here’s where we’ve ended up today, with 50 Essence still to spare on our budget!*
(*We’re not counting the Wild Mythic from the Treat code.)
I’m still certain that this list can be tuned further. In fact, I’ve already got some ideas for next time (as you might have read above). And if you aren’t constrained by a budget, I’ve got even bigger ideas. We’ll probably end up talking about that next episode too.
For now, I hope you’ve enjoyed this list. It’s not going to get you to the top immediately, but I’m starting to think that it could get you at least part of the way there. And it has room for further improvement! Best of all, I’m still having a lot of fun playing it.
Until next time, I’m bearsman6, and I want you to keep playing, keep learning, and most importantly… keep brewing!
**Oh, and if you use my Treat code above, leave me a comment to tell me what you pull/craft! I’m always super curious to see how I can help others out!
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