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Banking on a Rune Ear

In both recent Season 4 Cup of Fate events, the Blood Cup and the Diamond Cup, a certain player (Metronomy) has managed to top 8 with a very powerful midrange deck that utilizes the advantages of Wild and Diamond to overwhelm the board with large threats and board advantage. With the recent release of the ladder and the popularity of various aggro decks ranging from multiple variants of S/R McBombus to Yotul‘s direct damage combo-aggro, this particular Diamond/Wild deck has proven to be a solid choice in taking down matches both quickly and efficiently while simultaneously protecting yourself from the overly aggressive decks.

The core cards of the deck can be summed up rather easily, if not rather expensively:

Champion: Rutherford Banks

4x Rune Ear Hierophant
4x High Infinitrix
4x Forever’s Child
4x Howling Brave
4x Chlorophyllia

A very simple core—with a fairly honest playstyle as well. Your main line of play is clogging the board up with troops that either HAVE to be removed with something like Extinction, or they win you the game. Other decks will have a very very hard time competing with the kind of board states that you can produce.

Rune Ear Hierophant is pretty self explanatory. A spellshield threat that continues to grow larger as you play troops and can win games on its own. You oftentimes will have the ability to play this guy out on turn two in combination with Howling Brave. But if he wasn’t powerful enough on his own, you have the addition of High Infinitrix; the ‘ole triple-shift necrotic queen is here primarily to shift her abilities over to the Rune Ear Hierophant and take him out of range of nasty lethal ground blockers, but she has the added bonus synergy of passing off lifedrain… Which of course combines well with the other main set piece, Forever’s Child.

Forever’s Child is a card that very simply allows the deck to work and is one—if not the most important—reason the deck wants Diamond. At the end of your turn you create an Orchin with +X/+X equal to the amount of health you’ve gained that turn. This can quickly grow out of hand, giving you anywhere from a 4/4 to a 30/30 to help pull apart board stalls. Additionally, Forever’s Child doesn’t have the nasty ‘unique’ tag slowing it down, so you can layer multiples on the board and start popping out your own horde of dream monsters.

On the off chance that you find any of these troops in the crypt either by way of Extinction or Countermagic—or perhaps a forced chump block—you have your handy dandy Rutherford Banks charge power to bring them back onto the board for round two. The charge power is made slightly easier to reach with the addition of Chlorophyllia, which has the added bonuses of helping you ramp to your more expensive threats and thinning the deck!

So now that you’ve got the meat of the deck, you need to start looking at the seasoning. Your salt and pepper cards are fairly easy to find, honestly:

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Arborean Rootfather is an accomplished part of most Wild decks for a reason, and he easily finds his home here even with our small amount of ramp. At seven resources, he easily dominates the board as an 8/8. Socketed up with the Major Diamond of Endurance and the Minor Diamond of Life, he’ll gain you a solid amount of health just for touching the board and will force your opponents to reconsider their swings on the ground. Additionally, he has the added bonus of making more early hands playable with his cycle ability. I’ve run anywhere between two and four of these guys in every version of the list I’ve played.

Here Comes The Sun

Sight of the Sun, the rascally old coyotle resource machine, finds a happy home in the list in a lot of metas. Originally he sat in the list to combo with Soul Marble and Forever’s Child… But even with Soul Marble often finding it’s way onto the reserves list nowadays it’s still a fantastic way of making your turn four through six plays into game breaking ones. Worst case scenario your opponent has to spend a resource or three removing your 1/2 troop… Best case, you manage to play Infinitrix and shift all of her powers in the same turn, or double Crocosaur… Speaking of which!

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth

The trio of Fight-a-saurs—Crocosaur, Carnasaur, and Succulent Cluckodon—are all happily snug in this decklist most times. You won’t often be running any of the three as a four-of, but their ability to impact the board state and give card advantage at various points throughout the match can easily swing a game into your favour and you don’t want to be without them. In low-removal matches, Crocosaur and Cluckadon also make for acceptable second-place contenders for the buffs shifted over from High Infinitrix. Finally, the Carnasaur happens to provide a tasty little health boost any time one of your troops battles, which helps with Forever’s Child and the general theme of the deck.

You Spoony Bard

This smug Satyr might as well be included in the ‘core’ decklist above, but I’ve shuffled him down here for the sole reason that it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll want to run a four-of Balthasar. Covering up one of our weaknesses in the deck, Balthasar gives us access to card draw (Usually a grand amount, as well). Oftentimes you’ll be able to utilize a tiny ‘combo’ with Rune Ear Hierophant as well, who gains his +1/+1 for another troop entering the board before Balthasar checks for your highest attack and health on a troop. This is probably the second-best target in the deck for Rutherford Banks power as well, with the first place spot going to an already buffed-to-the-teeth Rune Ear Hierophant. Even just drawing three and gaining three with this beast can turn the deck into overdrive, as you’re often fighting for cards later on.

Whew! That’s a handful of spices already. You could easily fill out a sixty card list with just those and have a playable list, but if you’re looking for a few more exotic spices to throw into the mix, you have access to plenty of options as well…

Grace of Tiaanost

While not having the same impact as shifted High Infinitrix powers, the Grace of Tiaanost can take your Rune Ear to the sky and give him the added bonus of evading Extinction. Worth some consideration for the reserves as well.

Wrathwood Master Moss / Wrathwood Colossus

Both of these gigantic fiends from the Wrathwood have potential, and are possibly replacements for other cards in the list if you are looking to either mix up the brew or just don’t have the others. Master Moss is capable of evading an Extinction a little better than anything in our main list, and is a perfectly reasonable High Infinitrix shift target. All things considered, I’m not sure when or why I’d run Colossus aside from the times where Arborean Rootfather is just… not existing. Rootfather is the proper choice between the two 99/100 times.

Removal Actions

Naturally you’re going to want a few pieces of removal. Martyr is in high consideration for the main list mostly due to the fact that it can deal with the powerful and invincible Lixil, which otherwise will pose problems for the deck. Solitary Exile can also work, but is a little more stringent on the threshholds and is less versatile. You’ll probably want to hang onto a few copies of a card like Totem Trap or Howling Ambush to help deal with the early aggressive cards that aren’t protected by spellshield; things like Whirling Brutalizer, Visage of the Masquerade, and a few of the other nasty AzureCannon targets. Purge is the final thought here: it’s a board sweep that’s incredibly hard to play around, and seven resources is just within our range of expected plays in a midrange-style game. While it likely won’t find a place in your maindeck, you should certainly invest in one or two for the reserves.

Chomposaur

While not listed up above with his other dinosaur brethren, it’d be a shame to ignore the versatility of this gentleman (gentlesaur?) in the reserves. Capable of taking out any nasty artifacts or constants you’re going to have to deal with, and AGAIN with the additional bonus of health gain, which as always continues to make the core of the deck work.

Soul Marble 

So there’s probably going to be a time where the meta swings and you’ll be more likely to run Soul Marble in the main, but as of right now it’s just too slow… Still, with Sight of the Sun you can chisel away the necessary counters to build your Soul Marble twice as fast as you would be able to usually, and the end result is leaving your board completely safe from the majority of removal in the game. Additionally your Fight-o-saurs will be packing an extra punch, and can clear out even nastier, bigger threats. In the worst case scenario, this card can turn around a board from a Mass Polymorph Dingler.

With all that said and done, this is roughly the list that I ran during my ladder climb (Once again, shamelessly stolen from Metronomy):

D/W Hiero Infinitrix

Champion: Rutherford Banks

Troops (30)

4x Howling Brave
2x Carnasaurus
3x Sight of the Sun
4x Rune Ear Hierophant (Conservation/Dominance)
2x Succulent Cluckodon
4x High Infinitrix
3x Crocosaur
4x Forever’s Child
2x Balthasar
2x Arborean Rootfather (Life/Endurance)

Actions (6)

4x Chlorophyllia
2x Martyr

Resources  (24)

10x Wild Shard
10x Diamond Shard
4x Shard of Life

Reserves (15)

3x Howling Ambush
2x Carnasaurus
3x Soul Marble
2x Grace of Tiaanost
2x Succulent Cluckodon
1x Crocosaur
2x Chomposaur

So there you go! A ruthlessly tasty brew that has been eating up the meta for awhile now, and my opinions and thoughts on a few cards. As a quick TL;DR though, here is a list of pros and cons with the deck:

Pros:
– Strong midgame.
– Strong health-gain, often ending games with 50+ health.
– Rune Ear Hierophant.
– Versatile reserves options.
– Can win a game quickly, or take it to the late game fairly safely.

Cons:
– Expensive.
– Weak to Mass Polymorph Dingler.
– Very weak to stall-style decks, like Wintermoon Sliver. (Consider running Drowned Shrines of Ulthar!)
– Deck Engine turns on at five resources, so missing an early Howling Brave, Chlorophyllia, or shard drop can leave you spinning your tires.
– Currently a hot-deck, so the field is going to be working to find an answer.

Thanks for reading! If you have any more thoughts on the deck, make sure to comment below! Good luck on the ladder, Lixil tournaments, FiveShards Weeklies, and Cup of Fate events out there. Have fun in all your games, and stay lucky!

P

Nikolas Podrasky (Pentachills) can often be found streaming limited and constructed play on Twitch. Not afraid to experiment with less popular cards, his stream offers both an educational and entertaining entry into Hex. Find him on twitter as @Pentachills, or on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/pentachills

4 Comments on Banking on a Rune Ear

  1. I would recommend playing Cosmic Shaman instead of the Arborean Rootfather. Not only does it cost 1 less resource to play, it also enables you to play Howling Plains Bluegrass, which make your treshold fixing even better.

  2. I thought about adding cosmic shaman for quite some time. Basically only because of bluegrass. I dont think its the right way to go though. Cosmic shaman is just not good enough in the deck. The inspires can find very very weak targets (child, infinitrix, brave, sight) and you cant cycle. I just wished there was a better coyotle for the deck

    As in general: Have to give the shoutout back to Penta. He didnt write it but the original idea I had while watching him playing a more or less (well…probably rather less^^) similar deck. So..props to penta.

    Grace of Tiaanost I did run for a good while as well as Purge. Both cards didnt convince me in the end. Tiaanost is weak to spot removal response and mp:d and transmogrifade. It needs to have a good target to being with. Same with Purge..you need a target..i dont like that. You can win the midrange mirrors wihout purges. Still..both cards are valid choices and they will win you games at times. I just think that other sideboard options are more important. Mostly I run 4 drowned shrine in the sb since it destroys certain decks (some of them being bad matchups..aka fog and control).

  3. I’m running the same deck but because i don’t have 4 of each rune ear, infinitrix and forevers child, I’m running 3 cheesemith in the main and they are working very well.

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