Welcome back to Fires of Creation with me, erobert! We’re back with another variation on Valkyries that you may see as a Featured Deck. We’re focusing again on making the most of card diversity by adding another color to the Valkyrie shell. This time, working in Yellow, we can also showcase multicolored cards and some underrated gems seen in Noah’s picks for underplayed cards. Let’s get started!
Long-term Value and Minions
As I discussed last week, in considering the possibility of minion-based strategies, there is a certain appeal in finding ways to improve your minions. One can imagine using spells to make minions more durable can provide favorable trades or make a minion evasive to attack for the win. Minions already provide a reusable source of damage and enhancing a minion’s attack with Honed Edge seems like a great way of getting even more damage every single turn! This becomes a liability, however, when we consider the economy of cards in game and the distinct possibility of minions being removed.
Magic’s original set included a number of enhancements, then called “enchant creature” and now called Auras, ranging from Holy Strength’s simple bonuses to strength and toughness to Instill Energy’s activated ability and keyword addition. What was clear in using these enchantments was that they became attached to the creature they targeted. On the board you could see your investment clearly and when that creature was removed, the loss of multiple cards was apparent.
The hazard that is now commonly understood as “card disadvantage” is interestingly different in Mythgard. “Enchantments” rather than either being global effects or Auras attached to a single permanent instead occupy the physical space of the board. The Enchanted Lane continues to provide advantage to an occupying minion even if its original occupant is removed. On the other hand, there are many spells in Mythgard which function more like Auras in Magic and grant continuous boons or burdens to minions. While Enchantments allow for a card in your hand to generate value independent of the lifespan of an individual minion, spells can be a source of so-called “card disadvantage.”
There are more complex calculations which can be outlined in terms of card advantage (a good place to start are archived articles written by Mike Flores in early 2003), but the above examples offer useful models of simple calculation. If a minion has been enhanced by a spell, taking two (2) cards out of your hand, and your opponent can dispatch the enhanced minion with just one (1) card from their hand, then you are down a card. If this happens repeatedly, eventually you will have no cards in hand while your opponent still has half of their hand. From there, it may be very hard to do anything to which they cannot immediately respond or, worse, attempt to stem the tide of their offense with just the card you draw each turn.
The calculation, then, becomes a matter of weighing the benefits of a card against the possibility that its dependence on another card will induce this disadvantage. Particularly powerful effect can obviously tip the balance and justify this risk. We are also looking at the simple effect of cards that draw a card in addition to other effects, thus replacing themselves in your hand. Colloquially known as “cantrips,” these spells, in the case of Mythgard sometimes functioning like Magic’s auras, can provide benefit and maintain the economy of cards in your hand and deck.
What Can Yellow Do for You?
We have already looked at how the Valkyrie shell can benefit from a diversity of cards in another color , and this deck started in a very similar place. Black and White Cadejo provide a powerful effect on a solid body, Orbital Jamming Satellite provides tremendous defensive utility, and Poxbringer offers removal that ignores Warded, and all these cards only have one Yellow gem in their costs. I had considered too the interesting multicolored cards in blue and yellow, including a Valkyrie, but was a little underwhelmed at their prospects in v0.14.1.
The various buffs in v0.14.2, however, provided a significant boost which made me give Bulwark and especially Eirsdottir a second look. Bulwark, in the logic outlined above, was always potentially useful as a combat trick which could get a 2 for 1 in combat trades which would replace itself in your hand. The buff from +0/+1 to +0/+2, however, not only permits favorable trades, but can make a variety of minions nearly indestructible in combat. The synergy with Headless One seems clear, as any armored units are excellent partners for its sweeping damage, but the extended life of your minions can be even further enhanced in the Valkyrie shell.
Road Queen buffing already buffed minions adds to their offensive and defensive capabilities but the significant buff to Eirsdottir can set up an even more formidable array of minions. Originally a 1/3, the three-cost Eirsdottir often lacked enough staying power to even trigger its ability usefully and was even more of a liability as an attacker. The v0.14.2 buff to a 1/5 body provides a much sturdier blocker, with the added benefit of healing itself and every other minion. Eirsdottir will likely survive long enough to receive one of many buffs the deck provides, while repairing your other minions as they force unfavorable trades from behind their own buffs.
With multiple copies of Eirsdottir, each receiving tribal buffs from Road Queen, your robust Valkyries can also do considerable damage with buffs from Demolition Speedway and an enhancement which can be sufficiently powerful to risk card disadvantage: Godspore Mushroom. Envesy had suggested to me that a randomly powered Freki Scout as early as turn 2 could do a lot of damage to the board, and indeed it can. What came about from the experiment with the 5 health Eirsdottir was a minion that could mutate into a brutal offensive weapon, surviving long enough to get useful offensive keywords like Frenzy to accompany enhanced strength.
Valkyries traditionally rely on oversized bodies, like Valkyrie Tough, enhanced by the global buff of Road Queen, and these resilient minions provide an excellent opportunity to benefit from enhancements with a diminished fear of removal. For this reason, I decided on Turn of Seasons as the path, to ensure consistent drawing and incidental healing of minions, as well as infuse to allow minions even more firepower for punching up to force unfavorable trades. The list ended up looking like this:
Valkyries Take the Middle Road
While the previous Valkyries deck I had posted was decidedly aggro, this one takes a somewhat slower approach. Turn 1 Freki Scouts are still common and great ways to start the curve, but only having the four 1-drops is fine in a deck that can generate lots of value out of durable minions looking to force trades. Because there are no cards which require more than one Yellow gem, burning Yellow is often not a priority, particularly if you have a Valkyrie Tough to play on turn 2. Early game can unfold based on what minions and buffs are available to you, and you can make up for lost tempo with higher valued minions in midgame.
Either Godspore Mushroom or Bulwark make a Freki Scout into severe nuisance on turn two, but they can also be saved to give some added heft to a Road Queen or Eirsdottir by turn 4. Tucking Eirsdottir behind a Valkyrie Tough can also benefit from the Eirsdottir’s Lurker and let you select carefully which trades you want to make heading into midgame. Placing buffs strategically and attacking from behind Lurker can also ensure that Eirsdottir has time to heal itself after taking some whacks to the opponent or their minions.
Turn 4 could also be used dropping a Black or White Cadejo, a minion which can easily get out of hand if not removed quickly. As your opponent chooses which minion demands the most immediate attention, Road Queen or Cadejos or Headless One or Kara, you can steadily deal damage and buff minions to extend their lives or mitigate damage dealt by an opponent’s Thunderclaps and Ignitions.
As the board gets steadily more cluttered with your durable minions, you should be careful not to overextend yourself and become susceptible to a Misanthropia or Armageddon Angel. The high quality of your minions should prevent you from needing to flood the board, so you can focus on getting as much value out of your minions as they get bulkier or accumulate useful mutations. Demolition Speedway provides a vital boost which will outlive any minion and the full complement of Freki Sidecars ensure that your replacement minions in later game can start contributing right away. Sidecar itself can make for a nasty surprise if it deploys with a Bulwark or Godspore Mushroom, potentially clearing the way with Blast or just ensuring that it isn’t immediately removed.
Late game, as with other Valkyrie decks, can often rely on Ingrid to refill your hand and provide a dangerous defensive and offensive body, again even more dangerous when enhanced by Godspore Mushroom or Demolition Speedway. Where Yellow can really excel is in providing new tricks outside of combat to supplement the damage dealt in combat. Your Black and White Cadejo, when paired with each other, provide valuable life gain to outlast aggressive opponents and pings which can go over the top of defensive control decks. Headless One, if it can stick around on the board, will slowly chip away at the opponent and their blockers while Eirsdottir erases the damage dealt to your own minions.
The Open Road
Bulwark, especially after the buff, can find a home in a variety of decks, owing perhaps especially to its ability to replace itself in your hand. Decks as varied as Endozoa’s Bikewark, also a featured deck, and Tenchuu’s fascinating experiment with Plague Maidens, can make the most out of this effect specifically because it helps maintain the economy of cards in your hand. The addition of even more multicolored cards in Yellow Valkyries, relying both on Bulwark and Eirsdottir, offer an exciting glimpse into the evolving landscape of buffs and nerfs in the game so far!
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