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Nobody Tosses a Dwarf! (Toss a Robot Instead)

There are very few situations in any fantasy lore that you’ll toss a dwarf, and that holds true even here on Entrath; our dwarves tend to be more focused on destruction and chaos than being projected through the air. So today we’re going to focus on throwing their giant robotic creations at our opponents instead!

First off let’s discuss the centerpiece of the entire deck:

Boulder Toss:

Okay, so I realize the idea of this action is that you’re letting one of your troops throw a giant boulder at the opponent… But I’m going to choose to believe that you just hurl the troop instead because the mental image is much more hilarious to me. 

A simple look at this three-cost card should give you an idea of its power. For three resources you can deal a load of damage to an opponent’s troop or their health, so long as you have the necessary attack on a troop of your own. Look even deeper and you’ll see that this card is a Quick Action as well, which is just a bonus!

Cheap, effective, and massively destructive. This card fits right into any dwarf player’s mindset.

It does have a few cons, however. First, it requires a troop of your own to be on board and to STICK to the board. If your targeted troop is bounced or destroyed, you can’t toss their remains at anything but the graveyard. Secondly, it does have a double threshold in Ruby, which forces your resource base to lean heavier towards Ruby if you want to use this card quickly.

 

Okay, so now we know what our main goal is: we’re gonna toss the biggest, heaviest, most hex-gem–infused troop we possibly can at our opponent. Thankfully the dwarves have been spending a large portion of their time building JUST the right kind of robots for us to do that with!

 

Construction Plans: Tower Hulk:

The second piece in our puzzle, and our most trusty target for Boulder Toss. The plans for Tower Hulk work a little differently than other construction plans—they let you stack counters up indefinitely. When you eventually pay the two resources and exhaust the tower hulk plans, you get an X/X troop where X equals the number of counters you’ve invested. If that number is greater than ten, you also give your tower hulk skyguard! While mostly irrelevant for the purposes of robot-throwing, this is still a bonus.

Our main idea here is to get a Tower Hulk with more attack than our opponent has health… And to throw it at them. Don’t forget to lift with your knees!

Notably, the Tower Hulk has crush by default. While our main plan isn’t to attack directly with this beast of machinery, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t if it will win is the game.

All construction plans can gain counters and ‘transform’ at quick speed, which opens them up to end-of-turn versatility. This is important because it lets you keep your dwarves and robots ready to block if needed, and allows you to assemble Tower Hulks in a phase where they can’t be targeted by basic actions!

Finally, being an artifact protects this card from a few commonly-played pieces of removal. While it does gain susceptibility to cards like Imp Hoodlums, Nature Reigns, and Total Meltdown, it’s relatively safe from opponent interaction. Worth mentioning is the fact that a well-placed Reversion can reset all your progress on the Tower Hulk, sending you right back to the drawing board.

 

Back-up plans: Droo’s Colossal Walker and Tectonic Megahulk

Any good dwarf will always have a back-up plan; in this particular case we have two. Both of these robots are cheap to put onto the field as far as their power level is concerned. Droo’s gives us a whopping 8/8 all-terrain armored terror at the low cost of five resources. Tectonic Megahulk on the other hand is a 10/10 pinnacle of dwarven creation that we can sneak under the soil early in the game for two resources, and will break Entraths’ surface much more quickly if we have dwarves and robots on the board—which is already in the game plan.

While neither of these troops can be built large enough to deal twenty damage to an opponent right-out, they both come with the innate ability crush and are generally large enough threats to close out a game if unanswered.

Both troops also come with a nasty downside, unfortunately. Our Walker can’t ready during the ready step and is forced to attack every turn it’s able—and our Megahulk will be underground for a whopping fifteen turns if we leave our board empty!

 

Now that we’ve discussed a few of our key robotic troops, let’s take a second to remember that any machine is only as good as the dwarf that built it. Thankfully we’ve got an ingenious builder who has massive synergy with all of our above buddies:

Ingenious Engineer:

A 2/3 body for two resources isn’t a very good selling point for most constructed decks—but we don’t want this guy for his body, we’re here for his glorious mind (that is, his ability…) Quite simply, any time a dwarf or robot would exhaust on our turn for the first time, it readies itself. This is a very simple, yet elegant ability that unlocks the true focus of our deck.

For our Tower Hulk, we now gain the ability to put double counters down every turn. Every dwarf or robot including the Engineer itself gets to exhaust during your turn and your opponent’s. This doubles the speed at which we can get our Tower Hulk online and big enough to throw at our opponent’s face.

For Droo’s, we get to swing with our tremendous 8/8 crush troop and not have to worry about paying our own precious health to ready it. For our Megahulk, we get another dwarven body on the board to tick down the tunneling counter!

There are several more interactions in the dwarven arsenal that Ingenious Engineer manages to enhance; generally speaking he does no evil by being on board. Sadly, however many of these guys you manage to stuff onto the board, you’ll only get to ready your dwarves/robots once during your own turn as their effects won’t stack.

 

So there you have it: the key players in our plans. Now let’s look at how we’re going to build this.

We’ll start with the core as outlined above:

4x Ingenious Engineer
4x Droo’s Colossal Walker
4x Tectonic Megahulk

4x Construction Plans: Tower Hulk
4x Boulder Toss

That’s twenty cards right there! Assuming we add a rounded twenty-four shards to the deck, that leaves us with sixteen spots to fill.

 

Looking at our curve, our turn two plays are either to tunnel a Megahulk or to put down Construction Plans. Neither of these do anything really exciting for the board and hardly protect us against any type of aggression. If we want to remedy that, we’re going to want either a one- or two-drop that provides us with a defensive body.

Gearsmith could work; it’s a one drop and also allows you to both find and cheapen the cost of your artifacts. It’s also a dwarf!

Research Librarian and Technical Genius are both viable two-drops, though they suffer the same plight as most dwarves from a poor body structure—but they provide some on-board benefits. If you have enough resources, having extra card draw with the Librarian lets you hunt down your win conditions, and the Genius might allow you to flood the board and start getting counters down earlier.

Charge Bot is a more mechanical-looking body as a 1/1 for one that grants a charge when it enters play. Not much else to say here, really.

All of that is fine, but we definitely have one stand-out when we’re looking at cheap dwarves: Fissuresmith is amazing for us here. First off he gives us a very viable answer to super early aggression; if your opponent has gone first and has played any troops by the time your second turn rolls around, you can choose to tunnel your Fissuresmith. He’s potential removal which we’re light on, he’s sneaky, and he’s a dwarf!

 

Once we have our curve looking a little tighter against our aggressive opponents, we’re going to want to look at potential late-game drops that force our opponents to either hold back their troops or accelerate us to victory. Eurig the Robomancer, Reese the Crustcrawler, and Master Theorycrafter all jump out as choices for us to consider.

Eurig works well together with our engineers, being able to use his ability twice a turn instead of just once. Furthermore, his ability is diverse enough that we can use it on the defense to create multiple small blockers or one large blocker for our opponent to deal with. Since the troop-chain he creates tops out with another crush troop (War Hulk) we can also use him on the offensive in longer, more drawn-out games. Options, options, options!

Reese is another troop that we can use in multiple ways, either played early on in the game as a tunneler to give us an edge later on, or being played from our hand as a five cost 4/4. Obviously we would generally prefer that he surfaces and gains his secondary ability, but sometimes you either draw him late or need to make different plays on earlier turns. Fortunately, he’s rarely ever bad once he’s on the board.

Master Theorycrafter is one of the original troops that offered us numerous options with his major socket. While newer, shinier troops have come around boasting multiple sockets, this is still the only socketable dwarf in Hex. While our Engineers have a presence on the board, we can use our Theorycrafter twice and create two War Bots that share the socketed power of our Theorycrafter. If we socket up with the Major Ruby of Destruction, that’s six damage straight to our opponent’s health each turn! In addition, we get two 3/3s to either swing with or exhaust for more counters. Sadly, because of the way Engineer works, we can never use Theorycrafter twice on our opponent’s turn for two blockers.

since both Eurig and Reese have the ‘unique’ tag and can’t have multiples on the board, we want to avoid loading up on them. Additionally, Master Theorycrafter is expensive, so having too many of him could leave us without plays early on. With all of this knowledge at our disposal, we end up with a list that looks more like…

4x Ingenious Engineer
4x Droo’s Colossal Walker
4x Tectonic Megahulk
4x Fissuresmith
2x Eurig the Robomancer
2x Reese, the Crustcrawler
2x Master Theorycrafter (Major Gem of Destruction)

4x Construction Plans: Tower Hulk
4x Boulder Toss

24x Shards

 

That’s fifty-four cards! We’re almost there. Now, you’ll notice that I mentioned Gearsmith, Technical Genius, Research Librarian, and Charge Bot, and I didn’t add them to this build. That’s purely because at this point we’re very troop-heavy and should explore as many options as possible while we’re constructing a deck like this. Also of note, Gearsmith doesn’t have many targets with this build—twelve at best.

Since we’re looking for non-troop options, our next best bet is surely actions. Since this deck is already locked pretty soundly into being Ruby and Sapphire, that narrows our choices down a bit.

Burn, Burn to the Ground, and Crackling Bolt: All three of these Ruby actions offer us various levels of carnage and vary in their ability to truly help us. Burn or Crackling Bolt both offer us either troop or champion damage on the cheap. Burn to the Ground offers us a more powerful burst of fire all at once that we can either use to remove bigger threats or to finish off our opponents if Boulder Toss wasn’t enough already! Personally, I think Burn to the Ground fits best here out of these options, as we already have a lot of things to do at ‘quick’ speed and we’re all about our reach.

Verdict of the Ancient Kings, Countermagic, and Time Ripple: Another trio of cards that all achieve the same thing for us: they defend our health and board presence. Verdict and Countermagic are easy to address, as they simply stop our opponent from playing anything that would endanger our artifacts or destroy our important troops. Countermagic has the upside of being able to stop any threat at the downside of having a second threshold and an extra point of resource investment. Time ripple gives us a weird defensive measure that can either bounce and slow down opposing plays, or pull our own cards out of danger. All said and done, Verdict is very strong for us as it allows us to play Boulder Toss and have a protective measure against opposing counter-play while we’re at five resources.

Aside from those options, we could also look at Oracle Song or Zodiac Divination if we felt we needed more card draw. Since our deck is already pretty all-in, those might not be the best bets for us; the resources could be better used.

An honourable mention goes to Robotic Rapture, which returns all artifacts from our grave to our hand. If we had put more artifacts into the deck, this would certainly be a solid option (and still might have a place in our reserves as board-wipe–recovery.)

All of this considered, our deck comes out looking a little like this:

4x Ingenious Engineer
4x Droo’s Colossal Walker
4x Tectonic Megahulk
4x Fissuresmith
2x Eurig the Robomancer
2x Reese, the Crustcrawler
2x Master Theorycrafter (Major Gem of Destruction)

4x Construction Plans: Tower Hulk

4x Boulder Toss
3x Burn to the Ground
3x Verdict of the Ancient Kings

24x Shards

 

Alright! That’s looking pretty cohesive. We’ve got a solid gameplan, the pieces to play it out and plenty of options on any given turn aside from the first. Now we just need a few finishing touches:

 

First, we need a champion. Bertram Cragraven, Fahrny, Wyatt the Sapper, and Tetzot, Son of Omoc all have some sort of place in this deck. Bertram and Tetzot both create a troop and put it onto the board, while Wyatt gives us some card draw that we otherwise lack entirely. Fahrny offers us another source of removal and that’s always welcome.

We’re going to take Bertram for this build. The troop he creates is a robot, which is more valuable than Tetzot’s elemental here, and Fahrny doesn’t have a lot of good high-cost artifact options to choose from and will therefore rarely be able to remove any significant threats. Wyatt’s card draw might fit your playstyle more, but it’s hard to argue with the synergy that those adorable little worker bots offer us!

 

Second, despite it being part of our original plan, maybe we don’t necessarily need four Tectonic Megahulks, despite it being a very powerful card. If we start with two or three of these in our opening hand it’s going to be very difficult to push them onto the board. To reduce the chance of that happening it’s probably best if we cut back to two or three. That still gives us an okay chance to see him during a game and opens up another slot or two for other options. Personally I chose to add Construction Plans: Ingenuity Engine to the deck in those slots. It gives us another construction plan to slap counters on if we aren’t looking to throw big robots around, and can potentially create a winning scenario for us!

Third, we’re going to change “24x Shards” into something more reasonable. Our deck has a few double-threshold cards: Burn to the Ground, Boulder Toss, Master Theorycrafter, and Eurig. We also want a Ruby early to make sure we can tunnel a Fissuresmith if necessary. Taking all this into account we’re going to want more Ruby than Sapphire in the deck, and we should remember to take the split-threshold Shard of Innovation with us as well. Shards of Fate is being left on the sideline here; we don’t have to stress too much with eleven two-threshold cards to worry about. I ended up with…

11x Ruby Shard
9x Sapphire Shard
4x Shard of Innovation

Also, we’re going to want a fifteen-card reserves should we ever choose to take this deck into a best-two-out-of-three situation. Reserves typically help you cover up issues that your deck has in matchups that you would otherwise struggle in. While I’ll include a set of reserves of my own, you’re free to test the deck and figure out what works best for you! (This is of course, one of the best ways to build an actual reserves for a deck you’re constructing.)

My final decklist ended up like this:

Don’t Be a Tosser

Champion: Bertram Cragraven

Troops (20)

4x Ingenious Engineer
4x Droo’s Colossal Walker
2x Tectonic Megahulk
4x Fissuresmith
2x Eurig the Robomancer
2x Reese, the Crustcrawler
2x Master Theorycrafter (Major Gem of Destruction)

Artifacts  (6)

4x Construction Plans: Tower Hulk
2x Construction Plans: Ingenuity Engine

Actions (10)

4x Boulder Toss
3x Burn to the Ground
3x Verdict of the Ancient Kings

Resources (24)

11x Ruby Shard
9x Sapphire Shard
4x Shard of Innovation

Reserves (15)

3x Countermagic
3x Droo’s Unrelenting Fist
2x Drowned Shrine of Ulthar
3x Robotic Rapture
4x Gearsmith

 

Playing this deck!

Okay okay, so now that we’ve BUILT a deck… We should understand how to play it. The best way to learn a deck is to try it out, but I’ll throw a few tips out that might help:

We have limited options for removing our opponent’s threats, and that is definitely one of our biggest weaknesses. If you feel like a card your opponent has in play is going to beat you on its own, don’t be afraid to burn it to the ground (or use crackling bolt, if you chose that option instead!) or even to toss a boulder its way.

Boulder Toss does NOT work like Survival of the Fittest. Your troop’s defense never comes into question! This makes it particularly effective as a form of removal if you’re lacking other options.

Boulder Toss can be used on an exhausted troop. This means a 12/12 Tower Hulk can both swing during your attack phase and be thrown at the enemy with Boulder Toss in the same turn! Furthermore, you can transform your Construction Plans: Tower Hulk for two resources and use the boulder toss immediately.

It’s often worth the wait to use Boulder Toss with Verdict for backup, if you can. Being able to stop your opponent’s Countermagic, Nature Reigns, or other impeding actions often leads to a big blowout!

Droo’s Colossal Walker must attack if able. You don’t get a choice in this, and it won’t ready unless you pay a whopping eight health. You can be a bit sneaky, though, and play an Ingenious Engineer the turn after you play the Droo’s to surprise your opponent with a free swing. Additionally, don’t forget that an 8/8 body is a VERY good blocker on the ground. And if you really don’t want to swing in with your Walker, you can exhaust it yourself with Construction Plans.

Try to have both a Sapphire and a Ruby threshhold out when you first tunnel a troop. This keeps your opponent guessing as to what’s underground. Often times you can change how your opponent was going to swing just by tunneling any troop. No one wants to lose a troop to Fissuresmith, and they can only be sure it’s not Fissuresmith once the first tunneling counter is put on.

It’s entirely reasonable to consider changing the gem in Master Theorycrafter, if the damage gem doesn’t really suit your style. A good secondary option is the Major Sapphire of Mind. Since you’re capable of creating two War Bots on your turn, often times you can either find a way to push one through, or bait out a bad block or removal from your opponent.

This deck is all about reach! Reach is a simple term for the idea of pushing damage through. Burn to the Ground, in addition to all of our crush damage, makes it hard for our opponents to slow down the pain. Make sure you keep the pressure up!

With only minor tweaks, this is also a very good PvE deck, I’ve used it to clear the Arena on the test server a few times! I can’t wait to get the equipment that takes its power to the next level. Especially of note is the Good Ole Boulder, a weapon that makes your Boulder Tosses deal double damage. MOOOOOOOOOM GET THE CAMERAAAAAAAA.

 


 

 

Whew! That was a long road. I’ll admit to transitioning from wanting to just talk about a crazy deck into how/why it was built the way it was. I’ll also be the first to say that it’s not perfect! This might not be the GoreKnight killer, and it might not win any major tournaments—but having played it several times in the Proving Grounds and in eight-man competitive constructed queues, and I can say that it’s loads of fun! If you enjoy dealing a ton of damage all at once, this might be what you’re looking for. Thanks for sticking around this long!

Stay Lucky!

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

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