The Trials of Grodov have, fittingly, been very trying for me. I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, but I am extremely underwhelmed by this set. While more cards are good (even if they’re medium at best), it’s still heart breaking when the new cards just don’t excite you. I believe some cards have potential in becoming relevant as time goes on and more cards end up existing but that doesn’t help me, or us, today. I spent 3 hours trying to brew up an interesting deck with the new cards that I’d also think is good or competitive and not just fun. I built a deck focused on Yisha, the Equalizer and her inherent synergy with Weapons, specifically ones found by Tavrod, Auric Broker. I wanted to play cards that were good on their own that incidentally got better with Yisha such as Auric Runehammer or Minotaur Platemaker. I enjoyed the idea of having Debtor’s Shackles in the Market. At the end of it, it just felt like the old deck we’ve seen a thousand times since Set 2. Considered a Shift deck but there aren’t any new cards that actually have Shift, which I think is the problem with trying to build a deck based on that synergy. You have to play too many bad cards. I could throw together Skycraggro or Skycrag Yetis featuring the Insignia and Yeti Pioneer. Yawn. I eventually settled on playing with Sodi, Wingbreaker in an Elysian Shimmerpack deck. Let’s talk about some of those card choices.
We are playing with 3 new cards that you will receive when you purchase the Trials of Grodov. They are Sodi, Wingbreaker, Elysian Insignia and Gnash, Desert Prince. Shimmerpack isn’t even the real win condition of this deck, it’s more of the back-up plan if you ask me. Your main strategy is to go wide and kill them with Xenan Obelisk all while drawing extra cards with the new kid on the block — Sodi, Wingbreaker. We had and have options for the best place to put Sodi. I do not think that this deck is it. I do, however, think that this deck is fun and powerful and that Elysian might even be a great place for Sodi, but my gut tells me that Hooru is the true home for this card, but I did a Hooru deck last week and updating it with Sodi would be a very similar experience. Sodi is kind of the Anti-Sediti. Sure, Sodi literally kills Sediti, the Killing Steel but I’m talking about the card draw ability. “At the end of your turn, if the enemy player took damage, draw a card.” I love it. I know I just said that this might not be the best place for Sodi, but it still is a great place. With all the dorky Units and going wide and token creation, it should be very easy for us to attack in and deal some damage and draw some cards. We’ll even have the occasional Unblockable Bam, Sneakeepeekee to help assist. This makes me want to try a Skycrag Midrange list with Sodi where we occasionally throw away cards like Torch to draw cards. Hmm…. *insert thinking emoji here*
Enough about Sodi! The only stipulation I put on myself for this week’s deck other than playing with new cards, was that it had to be a deck that used one of the new Insignias. That’s how we ended up here. Another new card that we’re playing is Gnash, Desert Prince. I think this is almost an auto-include for most Time markets. I felt strongly that my deck would be a good place to have it main deck as the Killer tokens might actually have relevant stats depending on where we are in the game and how many Xenan Obelisks we have out. I don’t recall if this happened in the video or on stream but I definitely had a game where I played Gnash and killed upwards of 4 Units with Flying. A 6/6 Unit for 6 isn’t the worst rate. Having the added bonus that sometimes it will be a one-sided board wipe? Sold! Again, expect this card to see a lot of Market play going forward.
Let’s talk about the removal suite. We have 4 Permafrost in the main and 1 Equivocate in the Market with just 4 Auralian Merchant to grab it. I considered 8, but alas, I didn’t want a Black Market and didn’t want to play Jennev Merchant The reason we chose Permafrost as our Main Deck removal of choice is that it’s just the cheapest and most efficient answer in a vacuum. I felt that this deck is trying to get to the late game and would prefer that your threat was removed rather than replaced with some Draft chaff care-of Equivocate. Likewise, I didn’t want to accelerate the opponent into their end game with Ice Bolt while we fall behind. On the flipside, I did choose Equivocate over Ice Bolt for the Market because it more universally answers anything. We also have some Units that can partially be seen as removal. Amaran Stinger and Marisen’s Disciple both create Deadly Scorpions that love to trade in combat. There’s Gnash which we already discussed. Then there’s big daddy cool – Xumucan, the Surveyor. While it’s likely to be very obvious what you’re doing when you pass the turn with 5 or more power up and 5 Time Influence, people will still either forget the card exists or try to call you on it and attack anyway just setting you up for the blow out value train to come barreling through Myria! Lastly, in the event where it isn’t just going to end the game on the spot, Shimmerpack itself does a great removal spell impression. Buff up your Units that suck into big scary fake Dinosaurs (hopefully with Berserk) and turn their big scary Units into puny fake small Dinosaurs that they (hopefully) have to chump with now.
Some cards that I wanted to play but ended up having to cut or just leave on the cutting room floor include Temple Scribe and Tocas, Waystone Harvester. I couldn’t make room for all the top end and other effects that I wanted and still include these cards. Amber Acolyte kind of ended up taking this slot which I’m not convinced is right but I felt playing a card that grabs an actual Power rather than a Unit that it itself is increasing your Maximum Power was just better for this style of deck. Maybe I’m wrong. Tocas is an insanely powerful card. Trying out an Elysian Killers build earlier, I ended up in a mirror match. I was going to have an insane turn 3 where I was going to play Teacher of Humility into Savagery in the same turn and Infiltrate my opponent by killing their Temple Scribe only for my opponent’s turn 3 play to be Tocas and completely warping the landscape of the game. I think Tocas is even better in this current meta where folx are trying to brew around with new cards (such as various Killer decks specifically!) so it might just be right to swap him in, but I’m not sure.
Overall, this deck is good at stalling, creating advantage, and winning out of nowhere like the Viper Randy Orton. If you want a blast of nostalgia while trying out some of the best cards the underwhelming Trials of Grodov has to offer, this very well may be the perfect place to start!