As you’ve been reading in both Hacky’s and JadiimJedi’s articles earlier this week, there have been some major movements in the format for the Diamond Cup this season. (Sadly) It’s still going to be Set 3 Only Constructed, but (Not so sadly) there are some quality of life improvements to the format that have risen up due to both the Titania’s Majesty ban and the Core system changes to the game. Additionally players have had a much longer time to collect cards and understand the various interactions in the set this time around. Maybe, however, you still don’t know what kind of deck to bring to the Diamond Cup? Let’s take a look at my favorite archetype and see if we can pull any ideas to the front of your mind for the big tournament Saturday!
Its All About Being in Control
So what’s my favourite archetype in Hex currently? Coyotle control decks! With the release of Armies of Myth, Coyotle got a load of options that turned them from a background race into a more dominant player in the competitive scene. Within the Diamond Cup meta specifically, they fit into two different deck types. The dual shard Wild/Sapphire variant, and the prismatic Wild/Sapphire/Diamond variant. We’ll start by focusing on the important cards in the Wild/Sapphire version, and then talk about what changes you’d make to develop the tri-shard version of a deck.
Starting off, let’s take a look at the legend selection that we have available to us in both Sapphire and Wild. Since the Diamond cup only allows us to choose from Set 3 legends, if we narrow ourselves down to Sapphire and Wild only legends, we’re left with six mono shard legends and one prismatic legend. A few of these are easy to dismiss due to their lack of power or expensive charge powers. Webweaver Thox and Roshi Manabu in particular fall into the category of ‘under powered’. Both of these legends have minimal impact in a constructed setting, and Thox in particular starts with less than twenty-one health, doing him no favours. Mightsinger Alyndra and Boris Blastforge are both interesting legend selections that have some impact on the game board. Alyndra in particular creates a troop that is very difficult to remove in this format for a reasonable number of charges, and can be used to bait out your opponent’s removal. On the flip side of that, Boris can enable the use of Vine Lash as removal for your deck, and alternatively allow you to fly over your opponents troops with your beat sticks to deal the final points of damage. Sagebrush and Dreaming Fox both bring charge powers that aren’t necessarily major factors compared to the final legend that we’ll discuss, but both of them bring a well above average starting health total to the game, making them strong choices for a control deck nonetheless. Dreaming Fox in particular offers the ability to draw some extra cards at 7 charges, but without much charge generation in Armies of Myth, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get to activate his ability more than once. Finally we come to the prismatic legend Winter Moon, her charge power can have an insane effect on the game and she starts with twenty-one health, making her a solid choice. It’s worth noting that the Winter Moon variant decks have been doing well in the full constructed meta game lately, so she’s a strong choice through and through.
With all that ranting about legend choice out of the way, I’m going to assume from here on out that our choice of champion is Winter Moon. Both because she’s my favourite champion in the set, and secondly because I believe she’s the most powerful choice out of the legends mentioned above, with Alyndra being a close second. It’s entirely possible to make minor changes to any deck to fit the other legends above if you feel they’d better suit your play style.
Next let’s look at what key cards we’ll want to fit into our deck, and the reasons we’d want them.
First: Arcane Focus
This basic action is one of the most played cards that Armies of Myth has introduced. It’s incredibly rare that you’d build any deck with sapphire shards in it that didn’t include four Arcane Focus. As a one cost card that replaces itself it essentially allows you to both have a little leeway with your resource management on any given turn, and additionally allows you to filter your deck. Having Arcane Focus in your deck is almost like having a 56 card deck, and in some cases is actually better. Finally; this card has a powerful synergy with Winter Moon, and is a high priority target for her charge power.
Second: Throw Back, Cripple, Epiphany and Suffocate
Without the powerful control cards available in both sets one and two, we need to find cheap alternatives that will serve a similar purpose for our control deck. Throw Back replaces any Time Ripple’s we’d have, Epiphany allows us to draw a few bonus cards at the end of our opponents turn, Suffocate replaces any counter magics we might have run, and finally Cripple allows us to shut down larger troops that would otherwise create a problem for us. In particular Cripple can really throw an arrow into a Crocosaur’s knee, making it a much less threatening card to see.
Third: Brown Fox Scout, Indigo Dreamwalker, Wakuna Crowfeather, and Windsinger, Master of the Hunt
Finally the core of our deck needs a way to win. Without many alternative win conditions to consider within Armies of Myth, we’re going to have to focus on dealing enough damage to our opponent to reduce their health to zero, and we’ll need troops to do that. Since we’re still playing a control strategy, we want those troops to provide us with as much benefit as possible.
Generally speaking we’re going to try to win through card advantage and board control, which we get in spades with the four troops mentioned above. Brown Fox Scout gives us access to early aggression and blocks, and if we can find it on the top of our deck early enough in a game it’s essentially an extra card in our hand. Dreamwalker gives us a flying threat and has the potential of making any card in our deck free to play. Free Suffocates and Epiphanies in particular can be a massive swing for us. Wakuna Crowfeather and Windsinger, Master of the Hunt do their best to win the game for us just by being played out, Wakuna making every coyotle in our deck a giant flying threat, and Windsinger giving us a massive boost in board control, and card advantage.
Pulling all these key pieces together and filling in the gaps, we get something that looks like this.
Project Kyoto 1.0
Champion: Winter Moon (21 health)
There is a lot of room for optimization here, and I’d recommend playing with the deck a couple of times to get a feel for exactly what cards you’d like to shift around and how you personally feel certain cards fit into the mix. Additionally I didn’t add reserves because I feel like that’s a very personal touch in this kind of format, but I’d recommend keeping an eye on anti-aggro cards like Lulluby and Rythmic Spiritualist. Incubation Webs can also be a good card in certain match-ups.
…In the Sky, with Diamonds
Now that we’ve discussed the core of Sapphire/Wild, let’s look at what Diamond can potentially bring to the Coyotle field.
First and foremost, let’s keep in mind that reaching three thresholds can be difficult for most decks, but the Coyotle actually have access to a few options hiding in Set 3. Namely the Howling Plains Bluegrass, and Resource Optimizing Infusion Device.
Secondly let’s look at what MAJOR additions we get by going into Diamond…
Purge is the big one. This is our bomb in Diamond that makes us even want to consider it as a tertiary shard. Adding two copies of Purge to our list allows us to blow up most board state stalls and gain complete control of the game. We have to have a foothold on the game to begin with, because we can’t play purge without a troop on the board to target… But if we do resolve this card it’s almost always a game winner.
Second: Lanupaw, Prophet of Fate
This is the only real troop addition we get, as most of the other Diamond Coyotle don’t really offer much at the same level of power as we get here. Lanupaw generally forces your opponent to deal with him in some way, because when he gets to stick to the board he can grow wildly out of control when prophesied cards are played. Additionally just playing him makes three cards in your deck a bit better, and can throw off the resource math your opponent has to keep track of by reducing an action in your decks cost by two. (Five cost Purge? yes please!)
Third: Martyr/Pride’s Fall
Generally speaking, Diamond has more powerful and versatile removal options within Armies of Myth than you’ll see out of Sapphire. Instead of just controlling the tempo of the game with bounces and Cripples, you’ll remove troops entirely from the board. Pride’s Fall is one of the few actions in the game that can devastate bigger threats in the format as well. Both Pride’s Fall and Martyr fit well in either the main deck or as options in the reserves.
So that’s that! A quick introduction to the kind of Coyotle cards you’ll wanna look at when building a deck for the Diamond Cup. Hopefully just taking a look at this list gives you some ideas of your own and you can expand on them and build your own tournament winning deck. I will point out that this article is mostly meant to guide you down a starting path, and you should feel free to experiment and break free from the constraints above. (Non-Coyotle troops like Crocosaur are a good starting point!)
Good luck with the Diamond Cup, I’m looking forward to shoutcasting all the crazy decks people bring with them!