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Tag Archives: Nekrium

Rise of the Forgeborn Preview Card: Ebonskull Knight

(Editor’s Note: This article was actually written by Raidrinn, but we didn’t quite have the time to make sure that he was the one who’s name ended up on the article, nor did we give this a thorough editing pass.  Such is life when the patch hits much sooner than you expect!)

Hello everyone! Spoiler season is back and I have been given a royal gift. The purple faction has served me well in the past for awesome abilities, powerful creatures, and devastating spells. Nekrium as a faction has a tendency to have very powerful cards with interesting drawbacks that keep its effects from being overpowering. This card is no different, meet the Heroic Ebonskull Knight. Read More »

Raidrinn Reviews: 24 Additional Cards

StoneBlade has given us a most excellent gift of 24 new cards to shake up a very stale constructed metagame. This timely update has come at a momentous time as well. It’s just three weeks till the Forge Watch Invitational and I (along with everyone else who qualified) are busy scrambling to find the most broken pile of cards possible. What better way to start the testing process than to mercilessly judge these new cards and attach an arbitrary rating on to them.

The Ratings

0 Unplayable: These are hilariously bad cards that you would never want to include in a constructed deck. Example: Nexus Core (Hunting Pack)

1 Niche: These aren’t necessarily bad cards, but you won’t see them used that often. Usually have an ability that few decks would want or need. Example: Oxidon Spitter

2 Playable: The bread and butter of most decks. Example: Magma Hound

3 Staple: These are the powerful build around cards of the format. Most often, you’ll see full playsets in decks whenever they can be fit. Example: Epidemic

4 All-Star: The best cards of the set, these are cards that will be played for a long time to come. Example: Zimus, The Undying Read More »

Forge Watch Exclusive Preview: Woebringer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Spoiler season is like Christmas come early. But your opponents shouldn’t count their creatures yet, because I come bringing tidings of woe; and by woe I mean WHOA! Woebringer is everything a legendary should be. It has large splashy stats, a sweet Faction-flavored ability, awesome art, and a final form that can completely wreck your opponent.

Woebringer Read More »

Raidrinn Reviews: Raidrinn’s Review, a Core Set Retrospective

It’s no secret that early set reviews do little more than give a cursory look at cards in what amounts to a vacuum. We can only draw vague conclusions about which cards are really going to be format defining, and what decks are going to dominate. The final metagame is always going to be a different picture than the one we initially thought would be painted. Now, in the final days before the new set of 24 cards drop and many other cards get errata’d, I’d like to look what I didn’t like about my set review, what cards really stood out as format changers, and the final health of the competitive metagame. Read More »

Raidrinn Reviews: Core Set Nekrium

Greetings and salutations! I am Raidrinn, Necromancer; and these are the dark forces of Nekrium. Many of my minions are quite tenacious and will keep coming back to make you one of my own. Others are but peons sent to confuse and redirect your attentions. Worry not, I will help you separate what you should consider ally, and what should be avoided like the plague. The rating system is as follows.

Read More »

The Bracket #16: The First Constructed Event

Last weekend I organized the first Set 1 Constructed deck SolForge tournament.  Seventy-six people played at least one game; an unprecedented number.  And while we had a few server issues that brought the event to a premature close, we did get in enough Swiss rounds to be able to declare a winner, Zrandles, who earned his victory by going undefeated through six rounds.

So clearly the metagame is in its infancy, but we did learn a little bit about how people are approaching deck designs so far.  Among  the submitted decks, the most common theme was that people love their Grimgaunts.  More than half the field played a deck that featured Grimgaunt Devourer, Grimgaunt Predator, and/or Rite of the Grimgaunt. Additionally, Nekrium was by far the most played faction.

These basic trends were visible among our most successful decks as well.  Here’s a breakdown of the decks used by the top eight finishers (in order): (Please note that I’m moving away from the deck archetype system I used previously, as I try to understand the current metagame.) Read More »

SolForge Module #18: Hunger for the Devourer

Today, we look at how to effectively play decks built around the card Grimgaunt Devourer. Periodically, I spend a column discussing gameplay considerations for specific archetypes of decks. (Module #12 covers general considerations for playing slow decks, and Module #13 provides some insight on fast decks.) The purpose of this column isn’t to explore the merits of particular decklists. I recommend you check out Forging the Deck #5 for one particular approach to building a Grimgaunt deck.

As anyone who played the Nekrium Starter Deck knows, when Grimgaunt Devourer gets huge it can take over a game. Decks whose primary goal is to maximize the effectiveness of Grimgaunt Devourer must produce a lot of deaths (e.g., using one card to produce multiple bodies) and/or carefully control the timing of deaths (e.g., creature removal spells, or sacrifice cards to produce pre-combat deaths). Obviously, such decks require an alternate path to victory for those games where you aren’t able to level-up your Grimgaunt Devourers. However, that’s an issue for someone else to discuss. Today, we are going to look at how to play effectively in those games where you are able to level-up your Grimgaunt Devourers.

Before we get to the dilemmas, there are several points to keep in mind when you play a Grimgaunt deck.The first point is that Level 2 Grimgaunt Devourer is incredibly strong. With only three creature deaths, Grimgaunt 2 becomes 13/11 and trades favorably with the vast majority of Level 2 creatures. After four or five creature deaths, there are very few answers* to Grimgaunt 2 and even double-blocking** Grimgaunt will often fail to kill it. By contrast, Level 1 Grimgaunt Devourer grows quite slowly. After three creature deaths Grimgaunt 1 is still easily killed by a wide variety of Level 1 creatures. Even after five or six creature deaths Grimgaunt 1 is not deadly enough to get your opponent to low life before it dies to a Level 2 creature.

The take-away point is that Level 2 and 3 Grimgaunt Devourers win you the game. Growing a Level 1 Grimgaunt can get you an early lead, and you should take advantage of Grimgaunt 1 when you can. However, growing a Grimgaunt 1 is much less important than putting yourself in a position to win with Grimgaunt Devourer 2 (or 3). In particular, it is vital to level up the cards that will allow you to win during Player Levels 2 and 3. For instance, if you have a choice between using Windcaller Shaman 1 to save your low-health Grimgaunt 1 or leveling a Scourgeflame Sorcerer, you should generally level the Sorcerer. Even at Level 1 Windcaller Shaman is sufficient to pull a Grimgaunt 2 out of a tough fight, but Scourgeflame Sorcerer needs to be leveled in order to kill dangerous creatures and grow your higher-level Grimgaunts later in the game.

The second point is that you want to play Grimgaunt 2 (or 3) with lots of creatures on the board. Ideally, you want there be lots of creatures on the board who are about to die. You don’t know when you will draw your Level 2 (or 3) Grimgaunt, but it is very important that you maximize the chances that when you do draw it, it is devastating. Therefore, you should play each turn as though you are going to draw your Grimgaunt 2 (or 3) on your next turn. When considering your possible moves, think about what the board is likely to look like on your next turn. Are you likely to have a good (safe) lane in which to play your Devourer? How many deaths are you likely to create on your next turn? You should avoid blocking when you don’t need to, since Defensive creatures in empty lanes are likely to be alive when you draw Grimgaunt next turn. (This allows you to generate deaths if your opponent blocks or perhaps to sacrifice to Grave Pact or Corpse Crawler if needed.) When you need to block (to avoid getting too far behind in life), you should prefer blocking with high-health creatures that will take multiple turns to trade.

When you are waiting to draw your Level 2 (or 3) Grimgaunt, you should be happy to play cards that generate multiple bodies (e.g., Echowisp) into empty lanes to maximize the number of creatures you have on the board next turn. Creatures with the Move ability also make excellent plays, since they give you the option of forcing trades (and generating deaths) even if your opponent doesn’t block. Additionally, you should avoid playing creatures with Swiftness. A Defensive creature in an empty lane is likely to be around on your next turn when you draw Grimgaunt, whereas an Offensive creature (e.g., one with Swiftness) creature can easily be killed by your opponent before you draw Grimgaunt.

The final point to consider is that once you have a Level 2 (or 3) Grimgaunt on the board, everything changes. Your highest priorities are keeping your Grimgaunt alive and generating deaths to maximize the amount of havoc your Grimgaunt can wreck upon your opponent and her creatures. Cards like Grave Pact and Corpse Crawler become important because they can generate deaths before combat (and thus cause your Grimgaunt to trade more favorably with whatever blocks it). Additionally, removal spells (e.g., Cull the Weak) to take out blockers or Windcaller Shaman (to avoid blockers) are useful tools for keeping Grimgaunt alive. Finally, Offensive creatures in other lanes  can force your opponent to make difficult choices. If she ignores your Offensive creatures to deal with Grimgaunt then you get free damage on your opponent, whereas if she chooses to destroy your offensive creatures then your Grimgaunt gets bigger.

FIRST DILEMMA

In this dilemma, you are playing an Uterra/Nekrium Grimgaunt deck against an Uterra/Tempys Growth deck. (You can find the decklist for your deck on the supplemental information page.) You are player 1 and on Turn 4 you are faced with the following board position:

Module 18 Dilemma 1

FIRST ANALYSIS

In order to keep the Grimgaunt Devourer alive and to clear your opponent’s side of the board, it might be tempting to play Vengeful Spirit into Lane 4 and then Grave Pact to kill both the Vengeful Spirit and the Spring Dryad. This gives you three creature deaths (i.e., the Vengeful Spirit’s special ability will kill the Magma Hound, and allows you to hit your opponent with a 10/6 Grimgaunt.

The problem with this approach is that your opponent is quite likely to block and kill your Grimgaunt (e.g., with something like Echowisp, Deepbranch Prowler, or Wind Primordial). You would then begin your next turn with an empty board, which is a disaster if you were to draw Grimgaunt 2 on Turn 5. (Indeed, drawing a Grimgaunt 2 with an empty board is particularly bad since passing up the opportunity to level an additional Grimgaunt on Turn 4 gives you fewer chances to see Grimgaunt 2 during Player Level 2.) In my opinion, the risk of drawing Grimgaunt 2 on an empty board is not worth doing 10 damage to your opponent with Grimgaunt 1.

Therefore, I prefer to pass up the chance to do damage with my Grimgaunt 1 and instead work to maximize the chances that to crush my opponent with Grimgaunt 2. To do this, your first priority is to level-up the Grimgaunt Devourer in your hand.

By playing the Grimgaunt Devourer, you have at least a 31% chance of drawing a Grimgaunt 2 on Turn 5 (possibly more if you managed to level your third Grimgaunt on an earlier turn). I therefore recommend making the board as favorable as possible for a Turn 5 Grimgaunt 2 draw. This means not blocking the Magma Hound. If you block the Magma Hound, you save yourself 5 damage, but you also generate two deaths on your opponent’s turn – before you have a chance to draw Grimgaunt 2! Given that you still have plenty of life, I strongly recommend leaving the Hound unblocked.

Therefore, I recommend that you play Grimgaunt Devourer into Lane 1***, running combat and then playing Echowisp into Lanes 2 and 3. This leaves you with three creatures on the board: a 7/5 Grimgaunt 1 and two Echowisps. In the best case, your opponent sets up a trade with the Grimgaunt 1 and blocks an Echowisp with something like Hydra 1. If you draw Grimgaunt 2 on Turn 5 (and block Hound), this would give you five deaths, a 17/15 Grimgaunt 2 and an Offensive Echowisp! Even in the worst case where your opponent kills Grimgaunt 1 with Uranti Bolt, blocks one Echowisp with Magma Hound and uses Hound’s ability to kill the second wisp, you still get 4 deaths on your turn 5 and a 15/13 Grimgaunt 2. (Not bad for a worst case scenario.)

The other play that you might consider is to level-up your Corpse Crawler. Level 2/3 Corpse Crawlers can be quite difficult for certain decks to deal with and as such Corpse Crawler serves as an excellent alternative win condition in a Grimgaunt deck (for those games when you have bad luck drawing your Grimgaunts). However, in this match, you have the opportunity to level (at least) two Grimgaunt Devourers, therefore you have (at least) a 90% chance of drawing Grimgaunt 2 during Player Level 2. This means that if you can set up good board positions to maximize the impact of your Grimgaunt draws, then you are unlikely to need Corpse Crawlers to win this game. Additionally, Corpse Crawler is a low-depreciation card in a Grimgaunt deck. In many situations, drawing Corpse Crawler 1 with a Grimgaunt 2/3 on the board will not only put a decent-sized body into play, but also allow you to grow your Grimgaunt before combat. All else being equal, I might prefer having Corpse Crawler leveled over Echowisp, but it is close and the board position from the Echowisp play is much better.

SECOND DILEMMA

In this dilemma, you are playing a Tempys/Nekrium Grimgaunt deck against an Alloyin/Tempys stall deck. (You can find the decklist for your deck on the supplemental information page.) You are player 1 and on Turn 7 you are faced with the following board position:

Module 18 Dilemma 2

SECOND ANALYSIS

Your opponent looks to have a strong deck going into the Turn 9 reshuffle (at the very least it includes Scorchmane Dragon 3 and Forgeplate Sentry 3). Fortunately, you have a Grimgaunt Devourer 2 in play. You will definitely need to get good use out of this Grimgaunt because if you don’t, things have the potential to go downhill quite quickly during Player Level 3.

One option is to play Death Seeker into Lane 5, then Grave Pact the Forgeplate Sentry in Lane 1 (and sacrifice the Death Seeker). This generates three creature deaths to give you a 17/12 Grimgaunt Devourer in Lane 1. However, if you take this route, you will also need to Move your Wind Primordial into Lane 2 to trade with his Scorchmane Dragon. If you don’t make the Lane 2 trade, she Moves Scorchmane Dragon to Lane 1 on his turn and easily dispatches your Grimgaunt with Firestorm, Magma Hound, Uranti Bolt or – if you don’t draw removal text turn – virtually any blocker. Making the Lane 2 trade generates two more deaths and gives you a 21/16 Grimgaunt, which is excellent. Your opponent will need to spend at least two Level 2 cards to dispatch your Grimgaunt, and the only way the Grimgaunt dies on your opponent’s turn is if she draws both Uranti Bolt 2 and a Level 2 creature.

Also, note that although Uranti Bolt gives creatures the Defender status—which prevents them from initiating attacks—it does not stop them from using abilities like Move. Therefore, plays that involve Uranti Bolt on the Scorchmane Dragon don’t help you protect your Grimgaunt 2. (For example, a play like Uranti Bolt on the Scorchmane then sacrificing the Magma Hound to Grave Pact the Forgeplate.)

I definitely like the Death Seeker play; however, in this situation I have a slight preference for playing Windcaller Shaman. I believe the best Windcaller Shaman play is to Grave Pact (sacrificing the Magma Hound) to make the Scorchmane Dragon 4/4. Then play Windcaller Shaman into Lane 5 to Move Grimgaunt into Lane 4. This play only generates two creature deaths, and leaves you with a 15/13 Grimgaunt 2. However, this play does do 23 damage to your opponent this turn, leaving her at 33 Life. Additionally, this puts your opponent in a very bad position on her next turn. Unless she kills your Wind Primordial, she takes at least 10 additional damage on your turn, and 23 Life is extremely dangerous when you have a Wind Primordial 3 in your deck. If she does your kill your Wind Primordial, then barring a lucky Brightsteel Sentinel 2 she takes at least 17 damage on your turn (from Grimgaunt). Even if she does draw Brightsteel 2 along with another card that can kill Wind Primordial, the Brightsteel only has 4 Health after blocking your Grimgaunt and so you have many Turn 8 draws (e.g., Magma Hound 2, or any Grave Pact or Uranti Bolt) that would allow you to dispatch the Brightsteel and get your opponent below 16 Life.

Overall, I think that both the Death Seeker play and the Windcaller play described above are quite strong. However, given that your opponent will be drawing from an extremely strong deck during Player Level 3, I would recommend playing Short and making the play that maximizes the chances that your opponent is below 20 life before she gets a chance to draw her powerful Level 3 cards.

FINAL THOUGHT

Decks built around Grimgaunt Devourer can be quite strong, but they take some practice to play well. With online play coming to PC next week, now is a great time to hone your Grimgaunt technique. I am the wrong person to ask which faction is the best complement to Nekrium when it comes to winning with Grimgaunt. Fortunately, online play should provide a great venue for experimenting with different decklists and getting the most out of your Devourer.

As a final thought, consider if it were Turn 3 instead of Turn 4 in the first Dilemma. A key reason that I recommend the Echowisp play in the first Dilemma is because you want to set up the board to take advantage of a possible Grimgaunt 2 draw next turn. However, if it is Turn 3, then any Echowisps you play are likely to be dead before a Grimgaunt 2 appears. Similarly, there is little reason to leave Magma Hound alive if you have no chance of drawing Grimgaunt 2 next turn. In that situation, is Echowisp still a strong play? Are you better off leveling up the Corpse Crawler? Or does it make sense to level Grave Pact and save your lane 2 Grimgaunt 1?

I encourage you to discuss the Final Thought in the comments, as well as to debate my analysis of the dilemmas. Until next time, I am the Noetherian and these are the SolForge Modules.

FOOTNOTES:

*: After four or five deaths, Grimgaunt 2 can be killed by Nekrium creature removal (Cull the Weak 2, Blight Walker 2, or Scourgeflame Sorcerer 2) and if it is Offensive it trades evenly with Brightsteel 2. No other Level 2 card in the current card pool can eliminate a Grimgaunt 2 once it reaches 13 Health.

**: By ‘Double-Blocking’ I mean playing a creature across from the Grimgaunt before combat, then running combat, and finally playing a second creature across from the Grimgaunt after combat.

***: I have a very slight preference for Grimgaunt into Lane 1 instead of Lane 5, but that’s a subject for a future Module.

Bracket #10: The Unloved Series: Bonescythe Reaver

I don’t really care if I ever win a SolForge tournament.  Oh, sure, winning is better than losing, all else being equal.  But I’d much rather lose with a fun and interesting strategy, than win with the universally recognized dominant deck.  So given that—and given that this is my column and I can do what I want to—I thought I might spend a little time, on occasion, discussing some of the cards that the metagame has forgotten.  After all, there are plenty of cards that, while they might not be the strongest cards in the game, surely deserve more attention than they are currently receiving in the constructed-deck tournament scene.

First up: Bonescythe Reaver. Read More »

Forging the Deck #8: Deck-Builder Celebration Stream

On Monday, six of the Forge Watch staff gathered together to celebrate the launch of SolForge’s new deck-builder live on stream.  We each built a deck and paired off for three really fun (for us, anyway) matches.  You can watch that stream below, but more importantly, you can see the decks we played as well!  The video will have explanations on the purpose behind each deck and how you might play them. The decks weren’t meant to be the very best, but rather a representation of a few of the different popular deck types from our experience.  We hope you enjoy them!

Noetherian’s Nekrium/Tempys Deck

Creatures:
3x Grimgaunt Devourer
3x Corpse Crawler
3x Death Seeker
3x Magma Hound
3x Windcaller Shaman
3x Wind Primordial
3x Flameshaper Acolyte

Spells:
3x Cull the Weak
3x Grave Pact
3x Uranti Bolt

Raidrinn’s Nekrium/Uterra Deck

Creatures:
3x Grimgaunt Devourer
3x Scourgeflame Sorcerer
3x Corpse Crawler
3x Death Seeker
3x Vengeful Spirit
3x Spring Dryad
3x Echowisp
3x Grove Huntress

Spells:
3x Cull the Weak
2x Grave Pact
1x Soothing Radiance

Racecar0’s Tempys/Nekrium Deck

Creatures:
3x Flamestoke Shaman
3x Cinderfist Brawler
3x Ashurian Mystic
3x Riftlasher
3x Windcaller Shaman
3x Flameblade Champion
3x Air Spirit
2x Magma Hound

Spells:
3x Uranti Bolt
2x Cull the Weak
2x Firestorm

Hoywolf’s Alloyin/Nekrium Deck

Creatures:
3x Brightsteel Sentinel
3x Forgeplate Sentry
3x Ionic Warcharger
3x Matrix Warden
3x Spark Bot
3x Scrapforge Titan
2x Synapsis Oracle

Spells:
3x Sonic Pulse
2x Tech Upgrade
3x Cull the Weak
2x Hungering Strike

SeomanReborn’s Alloyin/Tempys Deck

Creatures:
3x Synapsis Oracle
3x Scorchmane Dragon
3x Magma Hound
3x Brightsteel Sentinel
3x Ionic Warcharger
3x Windcaller Shaman
2x Alloyin General
2x Scrapforge Titan
2x Forgeplate Sentry

Spells:
3x Uranti Bolt
2x Sonic Pulse
1x Firestorm

grim2103’s Tempys/Uterra Deck

Creatures:
3x Rageborn Hellion
3x Wind Primordial
3x Rumbling Earthshaker
3x Deepbranch Prowler
3x Echowisp
3x Spring Dryad
3x Ashurian Mystic
3x Windcaller Shaman
3x Cinderfist Brawler

Spells:
3x Enrage

Stream


Watch live video from forgewatch on TwitchTV

Forging the Deck #7: Brimstone Control

Welcome back to another installment of Forging the Deck, our SolForge deck-building column! This installment is brought to you today by grim2103.

The Deck

Creatures:

2x Scorchmane Dragon
2x Flameblade Champion
3x Magma Hound
3x Vengeful Spirit
3x Graveborn Glutton 

Spells:

3x Uranti Bolt
2x Lightning Spark
3x Epidemic
3x Firestorm
3x Cull the Weak

Structures:

3x Brimstone Field

Creating an Impassable Field

This deck’s objective is to develop a board state in which your opponent is incapable of having creatures surviving a full turn cycle. This way, they never enter the offensive and therefor never get to attack. In light of that, games with this deck take a very long time, frequently going over 20 turns. Your weakest matchup is any deck that utilizes the keyword Swiftness, and you are strongest against decks that try to produce a strong late game.

Card #1: Scorchmane Dragon (2 copies). This is almost your only win condition. You do have Glutton, but he is a very low priority to play. The Dragon is something you want to focus on playing when you get the chance in Player Level 1. However, given the deck, even playing a Dragon 1 in Player Level 3 is fine. This deck starts its process in securing a win once it has set up a field it is comfortable with leaving put to take care of itself. If you are playing an aggressive (e.g., Swiftness) deck, you want to play these in Player Level 1, but otherwise, its OK to take time to set up the field and your deck (with respect to what cards you have leveled) for the first eight turns or so.

Card #2: Flameblade Champion (2 copies). It will be exceptionally rare for the Champion not to connect with an opponent (based on being blocked). If you are playing against a resilient deck with cards that keep coming back (such as a Nekrium deck filled with Yuru, Fleshfiend, and Death Seeker), then Champion is one of your best ways to repeatedly clear the board. It is a possibility to add a third Champion to the deck in exchange for only 2x Graveborn Gluttons.

Card #3: Magma Hound (3 copies). Magma Hound is an effective way to create a two for one. His burn combined with Brimstone will bring down most things, so he often will allow you to spend a play on a card that you simply need to level (like a Dragon or Brimstone). While he has decent attack, don’t look to be trying to deal damage to your opponent with him. When you are playing him, you should either be doing it simply to level him up for later, or for clearing the board now. You have much better plays if you are considering playing him for the sake of getting damage on your opponent.

Card #4: Vengeful Spirit (3 copies). Essentially, consider him removal for situations in which you don’t draw the right kill spells at the right time. If you are playing against Armor decks (Alloyin) then you should level these up regularly (as well as Cull the Weak). There are very few creatures that the Vengeful Spirit will not kill. However, it typically only provides a one-for-one at best. It will be more likely to not kill a card, than to kill a card and survive. This means that sometimes, against the strongest creatures, the Vengeful Spirit won’t be good enough to kill something like a Scrapforge Titan 3 on its own. Even though it buys you time to deal with the Titan in other ways, try to focus on other forms of removal like Epidemic and Cull the Weak for dealing with global board control or single target removal more effectively.

Card #5: Graveborn Glutton (3 copies). He is in the deck for two primary reasons: he has high Attack and deals damage on death. If you happen to have an awful hand full of cards that can’t deal with a creature, then use the Glutton to block in this circumstance. Over time, the damage his death trigger adds up to be quite significant, since you are planning a very long game. However, he is rather poor in terms of controlling the board long term, so it is much more efficient to level up almost any other card in your deck. He is simply useful for providing a high Attack stat for harder-to-kill monsters in the case of a bad draw.

Card #6: Uranti Bolt (3 copies). This is enormously helpful in dealing with large creatures like Grimgaunt, Chrogias, and Titan. Since you deal damage over time through a series of cumulative effects, giving a creature Defender allows you enough time to bring these big creatures down in the late game (whether by holding off for Epidemic or Cull the Weaks).

Card #7: Lightning Spark (2 copies). This is one of the less useful cards in the deck. Again, its purpose is similar to the Glutton’s role. It is seldom used, but is great in the situations where it is needed. If you are unable to get your Dragon’s leveled, Glutton, Spark, and Firestorm provide your next best combination for a win condition. Early game you use it to clear out smaller creatures such as Fleshfiend or Graveborn Glutton. In the late game, when you have Brimstones to take care of the resilient monsters, you will use Lightning Spark as a primary method of burning an opponent.

Card #8: Epidemic (3 copies). This is your most effective removal. Level this any time you get the chance without causing a serious drawback to yourself. When you have Brimstones filling up the lanes, an Epidemic 3 is all you need to completely clear a board. Other than Brimstone itself, this has your highest priority to level.

Card #9: Firestorm (3 copies). This removal is almost as good as Epidemic since you should have Brimstones everywhere. Plus, over a long game you will notice the opponent’s hit points drop significantly from all the uses of this card. Again, you are playing for a long game that consists of dealing small amounts of damage to all of his creatures consistently. You win by either A) Scorchmane Dragon or B) random consistent damage that eventually kills your opponent (from Glutton/Firestorm/Spark).

Card #10: Cull the Weak (3 copies). Level up Cull whenever you have to deal with a midrange or late game deck that utilizes a strategy around a particular card (such as Grimgaunt, Packmaster, or Titan). It’s good removal, but it isn’t consistent with your strategy (burning with Brimstone and finishing a creature with things like Firestorm or Magma Hound triggers). To that end, you should only branch into Cull to deal with threats that either have to be dealt with immediately, or threats that you otherwise poorly handle (mainly Titan).

Cards #11: Brimstone Field (3 copies). You want to level up two of these in Player Level 1 if it is remotely possible. If you don’t have much choice in the matter, you can often get away with leveling only one as long as your level a lot of global removal (Firestorms and Epidemics). This deck is designed to create value over time. Brimstone Field and global removal effects synergize to create a board state that has one card killing many, many cards of opponents.

Dealing with Swiftness Decks

Your matchup against a Tempys’ Swiftness deck is bad enough to call for special attention. Against these decks, you want to forgo Brimstone Field altogether (Note: This is the only matchup where you do not want to fill the lanes with Brimstone). In this matchup, focus as much as you can on your creatures, particularly Flameblade and Dragon. Additionally, if you have enough trouble with the matchup, consider putting in two Rumbling Earthshakers in place of the Lightning Sparks in order to create a high Health mobile creature to simply stay on the field to deal with Swift creatures. You can furthermore attempt to stabilize this matchup by removing 1-3 Uranti Bolts in favor of a third of Dragon, Champion, or Earthshaker.

Essentially, your goal while playing against a Swiftness deck is to set up for a short-term defense rather than a long-term one with Brimstone. Your best method of winning is getting a Dragon 3 on the field in Player Level 3.

Other Card Considerations

Grave Pact: Don’t play it. You don’t have enough creatures to be able to play it consistently. You do have Vengeful Spirit, but you don’t have a way to create a consistent method of getting Grave Pact at the perfect times.

Volcanic Giant: He is another good method to try and put a stop to Swiftness decks and worth considering. He also likes to accidentally kill the opponent over time, though if you are playing him, you are playing him because you need him as a blocker, not as a damage dealer.

Flameshaper Acolyte: You do often get the chance to level up lower level cards than most decks do, since you will have many turns that kill off your opponent’s creatures easily. However, the deck relies too much on specific cards being leveled early, and the Acolyte needs to be leveled consistently to be effective. Furthermore, since you have such a reliance on cards like Epidemic, your Flameshaper doesn’t stay around long enough to be truly effective.

Darkshaper Savant: Similar to Flameshaper, but even less useful. More times than not, the Acolyte will be dealing damage to the opponent since your removal typically takes care of the creatures anyway. Darkshaper does not synergize with the goal of the deck, so he is a bad idea to get mixed up in it.

Fleshfiend: He is probably a better option than Volcanic Giant in creating a resilient body to stave off Swiftness creatures, since he keeps coming back and survives several Epidemics. Still, the deck doesn’t focus on creatures, and while he can be good at blocking for the Swiftness creatures, so you should only be playing him if you find you can’t deal with the Swiftness deck matchup at all.

Blight Walker: He is a much weaker version of Cull the Weak. Again, he can be a good option against Swiftness creatures since he has high Health, he is almost useless in any other matchup.

The Gameplan

Early Game (Turns 1-4)

You need to level the right cards to deal with your opponent. Focus on getting two Brimstones down. Your next big priorities should be Epidemics and Firestorms, and if you get a spare play, dropping a Dragon. More times than not, you will not be able to level more than one Dragon. Wasting plays is the biggest way to lose with this deck, and your goal is to set up for a long game, where you will only need one good bomb to play repeatedly. Otherwise, focus on leveling up cards to counter your opponent: Cull if they play late-game bombs or Champion and Spark if they play resilient creatures. 

Mid Game (Turns 5-10)

Keep the pressure on with more Brimstone Fields, hopefully being able to play both Brimstones that you leveled up in Player Level 1. Keep in mind that your Brimstones are only as effective as the weakest lanes. If you have an empty lane, then your opponent can play into that and ignore the rest. You need to fill your lanes as quickly as possible. Further, simply try to develop more of your global removal to be as potent late game as you can make it. If you can’t play your Dragon 2, don’t worry about it too much. You should only be concerned with staying alive. Don’t thinking about hurting your opponent or even winning until you have locked down your opponent in position where they can’t win themselves. 

Late Game (Turn 11 and beyond)

Now, fill up your last empty lanes with Brimstones and start working on replacing your Brimstone 1s. Again, your Brimstones are only as effective as your weakest ones, so keep them all as powerful as possible. Once you have secured the board without a doubt, start thinking about playing Glutton 1s (yes, assuming you haven’t been leveling them yet because you are busy leveling the global removal), Lightning Spark, or Dragon to finish off your opponent.

Summary

This deck is pretty easy to win with against any deck that does not try to win before the end of Player Level 2. Against those decks, you will have to mold your strategy and be much more careful not to waste a single play in order to beat them. Think up some strategies on how deal with creatures (particular Swiftness ones) that avoid your primary long-term and slow removal strategies. Also, keep in mind that, with this deck especially, your life is a resource. Use your life as an indicator on how much time you have to spend setting up your method to win. Don’t spend it too quickly, but also don’t hesitate to take some hits early. There will be very few games that you don’t end low on hit points.

Let us know what you think of this deck in the comments below!

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