Hello, my name is JadiimJedi and I have a confession to make: I love playing combos! I love it when I’m down 18-2 health with no cards in play, but if I draw the perfect card off the top I can still win the game. I love the combo even more if it plays underused cards or champions that have been previously discarded by other players and can still win. Today we have a new combo brew that you’ve seen if you follow the 2 Turns Ahead podcast or might have seen in the VIP tournaments from last weekend: Azurefate Outlaw Combo!
The tale for this deck actually starts about 3 moths ago. Back during the Diamond Cup my Dragonborn guild mates were testing out a lot of deck ideas. One of the exciting new cards from set 2 was Azurefate Sorceress. Her ability to inspire large troops with socketed powers they normally do not get was something we had not seen in Hex before. One of the ideas they tried was Azurefate Sorceress with Tetzot, son of Omac. The deck idea seemed great because the Rock Elemental from Tetzot was a 6 cost troop with a good sized body that we could play for 0 resources on the same turn as Azurefate Sorceress. Unfortunately at that time there was a bug that if you inspired the Rock Elemental with any ability it would immediately go to the graveyard. Sadly that deck had to be tabled for the time being. The guild tried a number of other ideas with Azurefate Sorceress and most of the team did end up playing her in a Blood/Sapphire deck that was pretty successful and put a couple of them in the top 8.
Fast forward to 2 weeks ago. The Cup of Fate had completed and it seemed like the constructed metagame was solved. Sapphire decks were the most popular decks around and the Dwarf aggro deck which won the tournament was good against the mono Sapphire deck. I wanted to try some brews and play a different deck for the VIP if I could find a fun deck that was at least capable of getting 2-2 for some alternate art cards. I was trying a lot of different ideas when my guild mate Veetor reminded me about the Tetzot deck. We put something together quickly just to try it out and soon discovered that the Tetzot bug was fixed. We tried a lot of different cards and ultimately I decided the deck was good enough for at least a 2-2 finish in the VIP. I was happy enough with the deck that I shared it with my guild mates and a few friends to play through the VIP tournaments. I went undefeated with the deck and a couple of my friends were also undefeated with it. Here is the deck that I played:
13 Sapphire Shard
10 Ruby Shard
4 Shard of Innovation
4 Time Ripple
4 Crackling Bolt
4 Crackling Wit
4 Reese the Crustcrawler
4 Azurefate Sorceress (Direct damage, speed)
2 Lord Alexander, the Courageous
4 Heroic Outlaw (Flight, Card draw gem)
There are a number of cool interactions going on here and the main combos of the deck involve Azurefate Sorceress. The goal of the deck is to have the board as clear as possible right before you put Azurefate in play and have another large troop enter play immediately after her. Most of the time this large troop will be Tetzot’s Rock Elemental or Heroic Outlaw, but it could be any other troop in our deck besides Fissuresmith. With the Azurefate in play you can quickly pile up a large amount of direct and speedy damage and it is often times correct to hold her until you are ready to play a large troop on the same turn you play her.
This is our board wipe of choice in the main deck and is surprisingly versatile thanks to it being a quick action. Most of the time when you play Yesterday, you would prefer to play it during your opponent’s end step to clear all troops from the board. Sometimes it will force them to discard, but the main reason you want to do it then is so you can have no blockers from the opponent on your turn. This works best if they spent their 5th/6th turn to play an expensive troop and you already have Azurefate or Lord Alex in hand. Another common scenario is playing Yesterday on your own turn to clear the board and then playing Tetzot power or Heroic Outlaw(s) to reestablish board position. Finally I sometimes will play Yesterday if I have a large board presence and my opponent goes for Extinction.
Originally I played Buccaneer in this slot. I quickly decided that I would rather have the quick action flexibility to either protect one of my cards or remove a blocker from the opponent during their end step. Against aggro decks you usually want to take all of the damage from them early and use Time Ripple to manage your life total to hit between 1 and 5 and enable Heroic Outlaw’s cost reduction. You might prefer to play a card like Verdict of the Ancient Kings in this spot to protect Azurefate more easily especially if you expect to play against more control decks.
Between the charge generation and flexibility to kill medium sized troops or target players I always knew I would be playing this card. Getting extra charges from this card helps you get Tetzot’s ability earlier which can lead to faster goldfish kills. On rare occasions you might target yourself with Crackling Bolt to put your health total under 5 and activate Heroic Outlaw’s cheaper casting cost.
This is a card I normally don’t like. It works here as a cheap way to generate charges while digging deeper into your deck for your combo pieces. I tried Peek for a while and it is easy enough to play more Sapphire shards to support it. I decided I did not like Peek as much as Crackling Wit for the VIP tournament because I wanted to have the fastest goldfish possible for Azurefate + Tetzot power. Now that the deck is a known entity I might change to Peek for consistency instead of speed.
Originally this was in the reserves. I had played Mesmeric Hypnoscientist because it was a tunneler with 5 attack and 5 cost that can be inspired by Azurefate to do a lot of surprise damage. However, after testing against some aggro decks it was very hard to win game 1. I did not want to play Heat Wave in the main deck so I just moved Fissuresmith to the main deck instead. It also gives some extra value to Reese because you can tunnel Reese sometimes and they won’t attack into it.
Reese the Crustcrawler
OK, yes, Reese the Crustcrawler is everywhere. It is undeniably great here though thanks to its synergy with Azurefate and many of the robots he generates costing 4 or more. A Reese tunneled on turn 2 comes up on turn 6 so a Yesterday on the end of your opponent’s 5th turn can clear the way for Reese to attack on turn 6.
This deck plays a lot of shards and I wanted some ways to smooth out my draws and play through flood. The deck has 6 troops that inspire speed so the damage trigger on your large evasive troops are a little easier to pull off. A speedy Zeedu will draw at least 3 cards and possibly 6 cards if you have a Rock Elemental or Heroic Outlaw in play.
The key card in the deck and you should never have less than 4. It is important to note that her buffs can apply in multiples so having 2x Azurefate in play will provide twice the direct damage from your troops and these inspires stay on the troop even if the troops are bounced to your hand. All of the troops in the deck get inspired by her except for Fissuresmith. When I was building the deck I tried every socket combination possible and eventually decided that speed and direct damage gave the best chance to win. The ability to have a surprise win will catch some opponents off guard and they might not be prepared the first time it happens. It is also great that we can threaten to kill the opponent at any time which can give us some extra time to set up our defense against certain opponents.
Lord Alexander, the Courageous
This is Azurefate #5 and 6. Originally this was Jags the Blademaster as another powerful inspire for our large troops. Jags was a solid troop, but I really wanted to have another source of speed for my large troops because it usually felt more important to have speed to threaten my opponents health total out of nowhere. It is also nice that Lord Alex has 3 defense so it can block early and still survive a Heat Wave hitting the board. If your opponent tries to kill Lord Alex you usually don’t want to bother with protecting him unless the speed he inspires will win you the game immediately.
The most important thing to know about this card is that it will always be inspired by Azurefate (outside of rare cases like double countermagic on Azurefate). This is just like the Tetzot Rock Elemental in that you always have its base troop cost for inspire purposes even if you played it for 6 less resources. If you ever go to 5 health or less Heroic Outlaw can be played for free and will let you pull off some really cool tricks. One example: you can play all of your Heroic Outlaws in hand for free to gain any inspires from troops in play. You then play Yesterday to clear the board and immediately replay your Outlaws. Another example: play Yesterday during the opponent’s end step. When it gets to your turn you play Azurefate or Lord Alex and immediately attack with any Outlaws you have in hand. Another example: with an Azurefate in play you can play Outlaw for 4 direct damage and a draw, Ripple it back to hand, and then replay the Outlaw again. The Outlaw will get a second inspire from Azurefate to deal 8 more damage and draw 2 more cards. I feel very strongly that card draw should be the major socket on this troop (especially if you have speed and direct damage on Azurefate), but the minor socket of flight could change to ruby flames evasion depending on the matchup.
Reserves and Options
Heat Wave: strong card against the aggro decks. If I am bringing this in I am usually cutting 3 Yesterday and 1 Zeedu.
Countermagic: against Blood/X decks or Wild ramp decks these replace the Crackling Bolt. Against mono Sapphire decks I usually cut Time Ripple for these.
Verdict of the Ancient Kings: if you want this card you are usually cutting Yesterday, but if Yesterday is good you can cut Crackling Wit instead.
Mesmeric Hypnoscientist: I usually consider bringing these in if the Fissuresmith is weak in the matchup. I like having tunnelers besides Reese to keep the opponent on their toes and the 5 attack is good synergy with Azurefate. In particular you can tunnel Reese on turn 2, Hypnoscientist on turn 3, Azurefate turn 4/5 to set up a huge swing for the win on turn 6.
All in all I was very happy with how the deck performed and it was a blast to play in a stale metagame. The matchup against Dwarves and mono sapphire were good and my friends and I beat these decks multiple times throughout the weekend. The worst matchup for this deck is Blood/X control with lots of removal and card draw. Against those decks it is very important to stop their Pact of Pain at all costs and your secondary objective is to protect you card drawing troops. If the metagame continues to have a lot of Dwarves and mono sapphire this should remain a fun and competitive deck to play.
What are your favorite combos in Set 1 and 2? Let me know in the comments and we’ll pick a random person at noon PDT, Friday the 5th to win a code for the exclusive alternate art Buccaneer sleeves. Good luck!