Mythgard boasts not only intricate high-skill-ceiling mechanics, but also top quality flavor text and art. I ́m not a very visual person and I’m usually more inspired by the strategic opportunities than by pretty pictures, but there are exceptions. This is one of them:
Bulwark is one of my favourite cards. There ́s something archetypically powerful about using a magically generated wall of earth to protect yourself against an onslaught of enemy sorcery. Every time I see it my fantasy buttons get pushed. From a mechanical standpoint, I’m particularly fond of cards that do many things, and this one does THREE including cycling itself. Any deck that runs Blue and Yellow can theoretically welcome Bulwark into its list, but there’s a particularly nasty synergy with Plague Maidens. The 1 Armor makes it invulnerable to its own spammable effect, which can sometimes lock down a board and even seal the game. It is upon that premise that we build this deck.
Now, Bulwark is a common but Plague Maiden is rare. If we want consistency, we ́ll need redundancy. A similar abuse of asymmetrical defense for symmetrical damage can be achieved by adding Circle of Protection and Cataclysm to the mix. Now we got a tricolor stew going…
Einherjar Thanes are the backbone of the army. The frontline warriors. You want them down on Turn 2, facing whatever the enemy throws at you. If Bulwarked, they are nearly unkillable and will force the enemy to spend some removal. Watch out for Infuse kills though, most players will gladly trade their mana and minion to get a naked Einherjar Thane out of the way.
Detained allows for favorable trades, slows down aggro and locks down minions in uncomfortable positions. Deported destroys Ephemeral minions (I ́m looking at you, Necromantic deck!), removes buffs, delays big units a whole turn, clears blockers, empties enchantments, picks up your laundry, defragments your hard drive, cleans your cat’s litter box and keeps you hydrated. Use it, love it. Especially in a deck that takes some time to get its mechanisms going and that has no hard direct kill.
Meso Libre is one of the most powerful 3-drops in the game. Now, its gem cost can be really punishing in a tricolor deck, but don’t run a traditional curve. Unless we get mana flooded we generally don’t need to burn green until mid game. The Hero wrestler provides so many benefits throughout the game that the risk of not being able to drop it on turn 3 is worth taking.
Wonder Drug: In the words of the late psychedelic bard Terence McKenna “The shaman is not merely a sick man, or a madman; he is a sick man who has healed himself.” Since both Plague Maiden and Cataclysm hurt ourselves as much as the enemy, we need a way to regain the lost life. Wonder Drug will do the trick. Astute observers will notice that, on use, this card makes the chemical formula for DMT flash over your portrait, the main component of the Amazonian healing brew known as Ayahuasca. Rhino’s have done their homework. You can often bring yourself down to exactly 7 HP with the Maidens to get the full psyche-transforming effect.
Godspore Mushroom will give us the element of surprise. Bulwark will force out all the non-kill removal effects (Deported, Valkyrie Enforcer, Led Astray), and for a measly 2 mana you can have a plethora of beneficial effects (and possibly some negative ones, bad trips happen). You won’t know what you’ll get and you’ll have to adapt on a turn by turn basis, but that’s part of the fun!
Orbital Jamming Satellite is universally useful, but we want it in particular to neutralize Armored and/or Warded targets, so our direct damage can get through. It can also be clutch against the increasingly popular Reanimator deck, since all of the variants use Hopeless Necromantic. Jam it, kill it, tag it, bag it.
Bragi Runesinger‘s main asset is being Warded. That makes him immune to our global damage, and very hard to remove with a Bulwark. Frenzy can multiply the effect of the Godspore Mushroom buffs and, if the game goes long, he can search for Junkyard Valhalla.
Headless One fits perfectly into this deck. It was clearly designed to be used with this archetype. To compensate for the lack of a head he comes with his own Armor, and has a mini-Plague Maiden effect when the turn begins.
The Recursionist is an odd choice. You usually see it in loopy, stally decks that don’t want to run out of cards. Here it has a psychological effect: it’s what keeps my greedy little brain from injecting two expensive and slow Bald Mountains into the list. I figure that if spells don’t go to the boneyard there’s not as big an incentive to have a way to bring them back. Also, many of our spells cycle themselves or provide such good value that we want to keep seeing them. The Bulwarks must flow.
Junkyard Valhalla, as I’ve mentioned before, is one of the cards that provides the most value in the game. In particular, it synergizes very well with the Maidens, since they can use their abilities on the same turn they are resurrected, bypassing the enchantment ́s main drawback: speed.
Without further ado, the decklist:
Path and Power
Turn of Seasons is sort of the default path. We don’t run artifacts, enchantments, graveyard manipulation or that many minions. The problem here is that Winter is very anti-synergic, even self-sabotaging. We want to give our guys Armor to protect ourselves from global damage, and Fragile is literally the opposite of that. A case could then be made for Journey of Souls, but I don’t think we have the creature numbers to properly support it.
Impel is the most tactically versatile choice, but after the nerf not terribly so. Arguments could be made for Infuse, which could allow Einherjar Thanes and other defensively statted minions to trade even further up. It also allows us to occasionally compensate for the Fragile debuff.
Were I to try a different configuration, I ́d much rather swap to Infuse than to Journey of Souls.
Tricolor decks have a bigger card pool to choose from, and therefore more room for variations and improvements.
Demolition Speedway: The first version of this deck ran this instead of Maze of Iyatiku. That improved the offensive potential by a lot, by making the Thanes a terrible force against swarm, making Bragi Runesinger’s Frenzy a lot more lethal, and just generally enabling an earlier clock. The aggro matchup got frustrating and I had to swap them for the trusty maze to even things out. I’d still like to play them so the budget version contains both.
Bald Mountain: Despite what I said about it being slow, this deck uses a lot of spells for lots of purposes. Cheaper and more abundant Bulwarks and Detained are always nice, but being able to recycle a clutch Circle of Protection, Wonder Drug or Cataclysm can also be game defining. Consider including Poxbringer for quick recycling.
Rune of Denial: If you’re facing a lot of Warded, or problematic minions and enchantments that detained can’t get rid of, a couple of these bad boys could be worth including.
The Budget Version
I know what some of you are thinking. “But Tenchuu, this is all fine and dandy for Q-Mode, but how will I get all of these Mythics when I have to actually collect them?”. Don’t worry my friends, I got you covered.
The main deck synergies don’t require any Mythics so a budget version has access to the same crazy combos. With a few tweaks here and there we can build a totally Mythic-less version to either climb the ladder post-wipe or play with your friends without being called “A Pay-To-Win Scrub”.
Testing – The Plot Thickens
The famous chess player Jose Raul Capablanca said about his own chess writings “I have not given any drawn or lost games, because I thought them inadequate to the purpose of the book.”.
I have a different relationship with my hubris and like to display my victories as well as my defeats. I was writing this article while I was tuning the deck. Trying out different configurations, fixing the aggro matchup, making it more controlly, more midrange. Removing answers but inserting questions and vice versa.
In the end, I had to admit that the deck did not turn out as I hoped. It’s not a terrible deck by any means, and you’ll get some very satisfactory board clears and wins, but it’s not the lockdown machine I thought it would be.
Many people have expressed, coming into Mythgard, that something about deckbuilding seems particularly hard compared to other games. I agree. Some skills translate of course, but some aspects remain… enigmatic.
I decided to post this article instead of deleting it to share the struggle of my fellow deckbuilders, and try to shed some light on some of the mistakes that I made and you could perhaps be making in your own creations.
What went wrong?
-Identity: The deck is not sure whether it ́s midrange, combo or control. Some components suggest a certain style, some suggest other. It has spread itself too thin, relying on disparate moving parts, and lacking focus. It sometimes feel like playing the QWOP game.
-Cost: The board clear pieces are too expensive. Circle of Protection – Cataclysm is 8 mana and still does damage to you. With the Plague Maidens sometimes you ́ll pay 6 mana for a more expensive Thunderclap.
-Removal: Bulwark is strong but there are many many cards that bypass it. Despite being a creature-based game, there are tons of removal options that don’t involve hitting your minion with another minion, and the maidens or any of your bulwarked creatures will be targeted by it.
-Fragile: One of the most glaring weaknesses is the Turn of Seasons debuff. For a deck that pursues chip-damage immunity, this turned out to be very detrimental. You can play around it sometimes, but your enemy can and will exploit it at high levels of play.
-Game Mode: This is the revelation. The actual lesson learned. What slipped my mind during the building of this deck… is that by its nature it’s made for 2v2. Bulwark and Godspore Mushroom can affect your teammate’s minions, Einherjar Thane heals when ANY enemy dies, Detained can provide all-around support, and Plague Maidens, Circle of Protection, Magnus Thorsson, Headless One, Thunderclap and Cataclysm affect both sides of the board. Both the Budget and the Mythic version are IDEAL for 2v2 play. Just be sure to coordinate with your partner before nuking the whole board.
Happiness, and destruction, are meant to be shared.
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