Note: This article includes only those cards and changes available on the Steam Client as of the 7/16/13 update.
Since the latest card update, I’ve been experimenting a lot with deck designs. In today’s Forging the Deck, I’ve decided to write up my favorite (and most successful) of these experiments. Before I describe the deck, let me start by saying that the deck has three paths to victory: Rageborn Hellion, Enrage and Scorchmane Dragon. If you don’t think that those can comfortably coexist in the same deck… well, read on. I hope to prove you wrong. Also, while you read this article please keep in mind that this deck relies on building Card Advantage quickly, and using that Card Advantage to either win quickly or to allow it to get away with playing a Level 1 Scorchmane Dragon (aka an Egg) early in the game. If you do not understand Card Advantage, I strongly recommend that you go read both Noetherian’s and Cerebral Paladin’s excellent discussions of the subject before you continue reading this article.
Creatures: (all cards x3)
- Scorchmane Dragon
- Rageborn Hellion
- Ashurian Mystic
- Cavern Hydra
- Deepbranch Prowler
- Magma Hound
Spells: (all cards x3)
Releasing the Inner Fire
Card #1: Scorchmane Dragon is normally thought of as a late-game bomb. You stall out, get to Level 3, and let the big fire-breathing monstrosity win the game for you. And sure, if you get that far, go ahead and play Scorchmane 3. But Scorchmane is really here because of his Level 2 stats. 12/12, Move 1 is incredible. Now, what if put an Enrage 2 on him, and have a 19/19, Move 1 creature? Or instead, put him on a board with a Hellion 2 so after he attacks he is just gave +2 attack to the whole board? In short, don’t think about Dragon as just a Level 3 bomb. Think of him as an extremely powerful Level 2 creature.
The problem with this deck is laying that egg without getting too far behind on the board. We’ll get to that.
Card #2: Rageborn Hellion will functionally win you most games. If nothing else, it’s the card that will draw the most attention in most games, thereby freeing up your other creatures. Hellion is wonderful for growing your creatures, especially if you can get multiple copies of it on the board at the same time. Hellion is also a good target for Enrage; a 5/11 creature can be annoying to deal with, and it keeps the Hellion buff on the field for that much longer.
Card #3: Ashurian Mystic has two roles in this deck, the same two that he serves in most decks. First, Mystic’s job is to proc Hellion, growing the attack power of all the other creatures on the board. And second, Mystic is a great finisher, especially if you’ve been leveling Enrage (and yes, you’ve been leveling Enrage, right?)
Card #4: Cavern Hydra is one of the great Card Advantage generators in all of SolForge, so of course it is in this deck. And you should never be afraid to play it. In fact, with this deck, Turn 1 Hydra is my favorite play. If my opponent ignores it, because its base Attack is a bit low, I’ll make him pay for it with Enrage or Hellion. If my opponent tries to kill it, in most cases doing so will only give me the Card Advantage that I’m looking for.
Card #5: Deepbranch Prowler is mostly here as a low-depreciation card to minimize the negative impact of late-game Level 1 draws, although Prowler’s natural Breakthrough does make it a fabulous target for Enrage. A 10/10 Prowler is difficult enough for your opponent to deal with that it’s not a horrible play on Turn 2; a 19/19 Prowler (which is a Prowler 1 + Enrage 3) is never a bad play anytime.
Card #6: Echowisp is a low-depreciation card that is excellent at recovering from bad board positions. It plays a much smaller role in this deck than in most decks you’ll find it in; leveling Echowisp is by no means a priority. But sometimes you’ll find that your opponent has you out-gunned and you just need to clear out the lanes, and Echowisp does that admirably.
Card #7: Magma Hound serves a very similar function–recovery from bad board positions–although it’s special ability is also often useful at helping to take down Grimgaunt Devourers (in tandem with another attack, of course) before they can feed. Of course, both Echowisp and Magma Hound are useful cards in their own right, both of them can be grown by Hellion, and both can be Enraged. That’s just not their primary function.
Card #8: Enrage is one of the primary leveling concerns of the deck, along with Hellion and Dragon. Early game, Enrage can help you generate Card Advantage; late game it can help you push through a punishing amount of damage.
Card #9: Lightning Spark is the primary creature removal in the deck. I have a slight preference for it right now over Uranti Bolt, although either spell works just fine here. It is mostly here to protect Hellion and to kill Grimgaunt Devourers, Spring Dryads, and other dangerous creatures before they can wreak havoc.
Card #10: Firestorm is here as an anti-Uterra spell. To be blunt, I would just as soon replace this spell with a creature like Flameblade Champion, Flamestoke Shaman, or Flameshaper Savant. But nothing takes out Echowisp (and Hunting Pack) like Firestorm, Echowisp is ubiquitous in competitive play right now, and this deck does have a little trouble against the fastest Growth decks without Firestorm. For all of those reasons, I cannot justify removing Firestorm from the deck at this time. As it is, if you are playing against anyone playing Echowisp, then you should plan on leveling Firestorm. Otherwise, it’s highly situational.
Early Game (Turns 1-4)
Try to get through this phase of the game, if possible, having played at least one each of Enrage and Scorchmane Dragon. Other than that, focus on generating Card Advantage using Cavern Hydra and Echowisp, and try to get the most out of your Rageborn Hellions, playing your Ashurian Mystics, Deepbranch Prowlers, and Magma Hounds only as needed to maintain Card Advantage and trigger your Hellion. If playing against a Growth deck, make sure to level at least one Firestorm.
Mid Game (Turns 5-10)
The Level 2 versions of Enrage, Hellion, and especially Scorchmane Dragon are your priorities at this point. Focus on playing and getting the most out of those cards, using them to push through as much damage as possible. Alternatively, if you are playing against a faster deck, you will probably need to just survive–stall the game out until Level 3, when you can win with your bigger Dragon and your Level 3 Enrage. In that case, use your Echowisp, Magma Hound, and Firestorm to drag the game out, although do your best to level your Enrages and try to make sure you have at least one Level 3 Scorchmane in your deck.
Late Game (Turn 11 and beyond)
At this point you are reliant on Enrage 3 and Scorchmane 3 to win the game for you, so do your best to get those cards into your deck if they are not there yet. In particular, look for opportunities to play an Enrage 3 on a Prowler or a Mystic, which can thereby push through damage even if you do not control the board.
I’ve found this deck is a bit complicated to play, but also a lot of fun. Enrage and Hellion both have great synergy in their own ways with Scorchmane 2, Hydra, Prowler, and Mystic. And of course, it is always nice to have that bomb in your deck if the game goes long. I’ve won with this deck on Turn 6 by stacking Hellions, I’ve won on Turn 9 by putting an Enrage 3 on a Mystic 2, and I’ve won on Turn 20 with a belated Scorchmane 3. Moreover, I like it because it doesn’t neatly fit into any of the current deck archetypes; I’m not sure what this deck is. And if nothing else, I hope it demonstrates that the latest patch opened up new metagame possibilities that we haven’t yet explored.
[Editor’s Note: At the time of publication, the card tooltips still reflect the old card text. We’ll get that updated as soon as possible for future readers. Sorry for the inconvenience!]