Howdy folks, Justin here, writing for Team Rankstar. These guys were cool enough to give me the opportunity to encourage some off-meta decks on a regular basis, and I’m bringing you back to basics with this one. If you like this sort of thing, please let the Team Rankstar guys know, so I can double my nonexistent page rate. I really enjoy writing, but after CVH went to the dark side, I haven’t been able to find a site to host my nonsense. Here’s to a long and successful run of stupid articles about bullshit decks!
I’ve got to preface this by saying that I don’t particularly like good combo decks in Legends. Like, I don’t like it when a combo deck is reliable and consistent enough to win all the time. The lack of discard and counterspells in Legends makes stuff like the old Nix-Ox combo ladder deck insufferable because there’s not a lot of options for disrupting it beyond just killing your opponent before they can combo off, and as a guy who wants to play 40 turn games and play people to fatigue, I’m just not really down for that.
Enter the OG Legends combo deck: Raidmother. Raidmother is the perfect Legends combo deck for me because with some skill and some practice, you can succeed with it like you would a control deck, but you have the added fun of killing your opponent in a glorious flurry of knives to the face. This deck has always held a special place in my heart as a result. Don’t get me wrong, it has weaknesses, like any combo-control deck. It’s weak to a handful of relatively trivial cards – turn 2 Barrow Stalker might mean you just can’t win, for instance – but my dudes, when it goes off, it’s spectacular. You can actually OTK your opponent from 30 to 0 with this deck, although you won’t be doing it with anything near the same speed as you would with ol’ Nicky Ox. No, Raidmother is a combo deck from an older era of Legends, when we walked our Imperial Grunts 20 miles uphill to school and, goddamnit, we liked it. Raidmother is a great deck because it’s a bad mother-
Anyway. The deck. I was actually thinking about Raidmother earlier today because it occurred to me that one of the most popular decks on the ladder, Hlaalu, doesn’t really run any prophecies that can stop the combo. That combo, of course, is having 5 Relentless Raiders on the board at one time, and then breaking an opponent’s rune. Each one triggers, thereby breaking another rune, triggering each one again… until your opponent is either dead or hits a prophecy. Life gain and removal prophecies can stop your chain. And guess what? The most common Hlaalu decks run nothing like that.
You get your army of Relentless Raiders the old-fashioned way – you play a Wispmother (which copies each creature you play that costs 2 or less into the opposite lane it was played in), and then drop some raiders. From hand, this means you’ll need at least 10 magicka – 7 for mom, and 3 for your dagger juggling legion. It’s an elaborate assembly, to be sure – but to aid you, you’ve got a bunch of draw and a single copy of Close Call. Close Call can give you the perfect 5 Raiders with only 2 Raiders in hand.
The rest of the deck is stall and draw. The list I’m presenting runs as many 2 drops as I could responsibly fit in there so that if you find yourself with an extra copy of Wispmother but no Raiders you can generate some extra value that way – it’s certainly possible to just be a beat down deck in some situations. We’re not running Camel because unlike our other cards, we’re not going to be either value trading or beating down with a four-cost 1/4. The result is a slightly less consistent combo, but an increased likelihood of surviving long enough to combo off.
To get the rune break you need to make your combo go off, we’ve got Raiding Parties and a copy of Northwind Outpost. Getting your opponent to 26 or 27 before the gang gets to town shouldn’t be too tough.
It’s important to keep your board relatively empty, since you’re going to need to dedicate at least six of your eight spots for Raiders and Mother. In the game in the video where I sort of goldfish, I Ice Storm my own board to achieve that – it’s unlikely that this should be much of a problem, though. Your other creatures are there to stall, cycle, and die. Be mindful of your shadow lane, of course, since it may be harder to kill your own creatures off by trading there, but it’s less of an issue than you might suspect. If your board is full, just play adjust to the beatdown strategy, which Relentless Raiders, Raiding Parties, Lightning Bolts, Northwind Outpost and, bizarrely, Tel Vos Magister are pretty good at already.
Played well, I think Raidmother is the sort of deck you could take to legend if you sink some time into it. I hadn’t played the deck for a year until today, and I managed to win 4 in a row – one practice game off camera in casual (against tier one Hlaalu… Sheogorath bless casual), and the 3 in the video.
Raidmother’s ability to succeed in today’s meta is a testimony to the relatively excellent job of balancing that Direwolf has done for the past couple of years – while there are certainly a few decks doing more powerful and consistent things than you are, few people are going to be doing anything as cool.
Get out there and make mom proud. You’re her favorite, you know.