Note to the reader: this article was written before my teammates LightsOutAce and MurderOfCrowss created Endgame, the only 3 faction deck in Expedition to earn my power base stamp of approval.
Hello and welcome back to TheBoxer’s Corner! Today I’m going to talk about power bases in Expedition. But before talking specifics I need to go over some general power base theory. There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable cards that when we needed them could solve the problems we never could. Most people think of a non-power cards and then try to figure out a power base for it. In Throne this has had great success, but in Expedition I’ve seen it fall short time and time again. This is because in Throne we are spoiled. We have Seats, Banners, Insignias, and Crests before even taking about Seek, Cargo, Favors. Most decks in Throne are limited more by the strength of non-power cards than by an inability to make a good power base. Power bases take much more time to make in Throne and require hours of tuning. Yes some simplifying axioms exist such as no Crests in aggro but it is a hard task to make a power base. But one often does exist than can work. This means it is rare for a skeleton of non-power cards to be a dead end on the basis of power alone and what is a dead end is going to be obvious before building the power base such as Teacher plus Icaria (I don’t need to specify which Icaria, any reading of this will be correct).
In Expedition there are a lot more dead ends by nature of there being worse power bases possible. You are better off asking what power base the deck wants before going too far into choosing non-power cards because if you don’t you risk losing lots of time. In Expedition we have Seats, Insignias, Tokens, Favors, Seek. This means that 2 faction decks will be forced to play at minimum 29 power (25 + 4 Seek) so how low your curve can be is limited. Unless you are single faction, which would be hard in the limited card pool, you should play a curve that fits 29 power. Going more aggressive than fits that power base is a mistake. Similarly Insignias being depleted is a huge cost for 3 faction decks. So 3 factions decks are forced to go very light on the Influence which defeats the purpose of 3 faction decks. Ironically a Tasbu FJS deck by Slepher has had one of the better 3 faction power bases I’ve seen in the format compared to other 3 faction decks. However I have not seen a single 3 faction deck I would ever consider for an Expedition tournament. The power base just doesn’t exist. Many decks that want to be aggressive are forced to be more midrangey beyond having to play at minimum 29 power. Elysian is such an example. If you are playing Sodi, the Metamorph, then you must play 4 Trail maker. This means you have at minimum 33 cards in your deck that provide power. So you are incentivized to shift the curve away from being as aggressive. Praxis is another deck that is hurt by this. In order to play Ramba you need Trail maker. But Praxis has trouble dealing with a 5/5 so it is squeezed out of the format by its power base and Argenport. Hooru Curses/Fliers, is a deck that showed promise at one point in testing but Sediti and Archgryffyn can’t exist in the same deck if the deck is trying to be aggressive.
We even considered Tokens before realizing they make Insignias depleted. Icaria on 2 and Gryff on 5 is too hard for Hooru. And trying to be slower with more Primal Sigils also doesn’t work because that would increase the odds of drawing multiple Primal Sigils making Icaria and Sediti worse. I’ve told you a lot about what doesn’t work and why contradictions in game plan and power base push decks out of the format so you may be asking what does work? Well this may come as a shock but Argenport Midrange (“Golgarbage,” “Garbageport,” “GHPport,” “TChamber5 Argenport,” “Lake Superior Control,” “the deck Boxer hasn’t shut up about for months and now Ace won’t stop talking about it either”) has the best power base in Expedition. This deck operates as almost a 1 faction deck and has no card main deck that require more than one source of its secondary faction. LightsOutAce understood his limitations and built a deck that plays incredibly powerful card while also having a streamlined and consistent power base. The power base with Tasbu is actually better than months before when we were playing Eloz and Howling Kurtarr. Next comes Skycrag Dragons. It has relatively modest influence requirements with FFP being the early game needs and in the late game only 5 total card 3 Spitflame Draconus and 1 Clutch of Talons stray from that alongside Soulfire Drake in the market, which is easy to play because of Persuader. You can see a significant shift downward in power base quality from Argenport.
Third is Stonescar Dragons. It is similar to Skycrag Dragons and there is more variation in lists. Lists without Cremate this deck has a better power base than Slycrag Dragons. If it runs Cremate then it does not get my power base stamp of approval. Cremate is simply too hard to play on time.
The penultimate deck on my list is Skycrag Yetis (or Jetis for people who know how to pronounce Jotuun correctly). It has the modest requirements of FPP. Simple and to the point. The best aggro power base in the format because of 8 Pledge cards. This is one of the only 2 decks I’ve seen with simple enough requirements to justify cutting Seek.
Last on my list is Xenan. This is the only other deck that can justify running 0 Seek. It has access to Ark of Sol by Bargain and Hourglass helps fix influence. It also does not need more than TS before turn 4 with TSSS on around 5 or 6 on average with TT needed only for market Temple. On the fence is Combrei. TTJJ is just too hard without Seek. If a list could cut down to TTJ it would get my stamp of approval but I don’t believe I’ve seen one. Please correct me if I am wrong. I hope you enjoyed my discussion of Expedition power base. My next article is going to be about my observation that many players don’t attack often enough. Tusen takk for at du leser (thousand thanks for reading)!