With the Frost Ring arena now having multiple weekends of testing, we’ve been privy to what the Champions you face bring to the table—as well as what many of the MC Challenges are going to be.
The question on many minds is “is there one single deck that can destroy every opponent in the Arena, so I can farm it to my heart’s content for gold and gear?”
Unfortunately the answer to that question is “no”; there is always the Hex variance at play. You could get shard screwed and lose to lucky draws… three times in a row. You could face a boss whose deck and powers completely neuter yours. When we get mercenaries, the latter will be less of an issue as you can tailor a merc deck to shore up the weaknesses of your own deck and play that instead in that round—but that’s a ways off, so for now we have to think a little outside the box.
Each champion that you fight in the arena has a unique Champion Power and—more often than not—each fight will also carry with it an Arena Rule which affects both champions. Now, of course it’s random which champions you face against, but being prepared to take advantage of the most amount of Arena rules as possible is a recipe for success (Note: at the time of this writing, several Arena rules were bugged and some had changed between the first and second test weekend so this article may not remain 100% accurate).
Since Tier 1 is eventually skippable once you perfect the tier (which can reasonably be done with a starter deck), I won’t be looking at the powers available that early.
Some of these powers are going to affect every player, like Nelebrin Scout who has “When a Champion gains a resource there’s a 25% chance they will gain [1/1]”. There’s no need to tune a deck for facing him. Just hope you get the procs and the Scout does not. (Abilities that have no easy way to be taken into account aren’t going to be discussed).
|Eldritch Dreamer||Troops without flight have -1 Atk|
|War Bot||When an artifact enters play its controller gains a charge|
|Darkspire Enforcer||When a Troop with Darkspire in its name dies, create a card with that card’s name and put it in your deck.|
|Ballistics Expert||Non-combat damage dealt by Dwarves and Robots is +1|
|Emberspire Witch||Champions can’t gain health|
|Mentor of the Grave||When a troop enters your hand from a graveyard, it gets +1 ATT +1 DEF|
|Blood Sphinx||At the start of the game choose an Action in your hand, it gets “when you play this copy it”|
|Wild Root Dancer||At the start of the game choose a Troop in your deck and create 4 copies of it and put them in your deck|
|Avenging Angel||At the start of the game four random troops in your deck get “if you draw this card, play it for free”|
|Eurig the Robomacer||When an artifact you control transforms, ready all troops|
|Xarlox the Broodlord||At the beginning of the game, put three Broodlord Eggs into each opponent’s deck.|
|Moon’airu Sensei||When a troop goes underground, it gets a random power: +1/+1, Lethal, Rage 2, “When this enters play draw a card”|
Glancing over this list (which is by no means complete), I am looking for some synergy. I want flyers, due to Eldritch Dreamer, I want some Robots for War Bot and possibly Ballistics Trainer, I want some tunnelers for Moon’airu Sensei. I want a key Troop that I want 8 copies of in my deck for Wild Root Dancer.
I also want a deck that is a) consistent and wins, and b) is fun to play (because I am in this for the long haul of grinding for gold and gear, remember). We’ll address the first point by building a core “Tunnel Feast” deck as our core. Here we can take advantage of Eldritch Dreamer with Royal Falcons and Stormcloud and the Stormlings. We can use Blood Sphix’s rule to get an action in our hand (like Gore Feast of Kog’tepetl or Burn) to copy itself when played. And we have Fissuresmith and Subterranean Spy for tunnelling threats taking advantage of Moon’airu Sensei’s borderline broken Arena rule.
We’re going to avoid having any Lifedrain to rely on in the deck, in case we get paired against Emberspire Witch. Going Ruby/Sapphire eliminates the ability to take advantage of the Darkspire Enforcer’s rule, sorry.
But what about Robots? What about that troop I want 8 of in my deck? What about Xarlox’s insane ability to pop an Egg and get a 5/5 while destroying a troop of yours? I think we can handle these all of these with the same card.
Jank Bot is our answer to having a Robot, an Artifact, and having a 150 card deck that dilutes the chance of drawing a Broodlord Egg. Heck, even though we didn’t talk about it, Jank Bot takes advantage of S.P.A.M. Bot’s rule of “At the start of the game 4 random robots in your deck get +1/+1”.
Plus, Jank Bot is pretty fun to play. As for consistency, we just need to look back at the January VIP list and see Hapson and Gprime’s Jankfeast lists that went 4-0. I’ve played the deck a ton, and it’s a near perfect blend of fun and consistency, even at 150 cards. A couple slight modifications to the gems in Azurefate Sorceress, and the addition of Dwarven Ballistic Training (to take advantage of Ballistics Expert should we encounter him) and we have a deck that we can reliably grind the Arena with.
22 Ruby Shard
26 Sapphire Shard
4 Azurefate Sorceress (Speed and Direct Damage Gems)
4 Cerulean Mentalist
4 Cerulean Mirror Knight
4 Crackling Bolt
4 Crackling Vortex
4 Dwarven Ballistics Training
4 Gore Feast of Kog’Tepetl
4 Highlands Magus
4 Jags the Blademaster
4 Jank Bot
4 Legionnaire of Gawaine
4 Lord Alexander, the Courageous
4 Mastery of Time
4 Reese the Crustcrawler
4 Royal Falconer
4 Ruby Pyromancer
4 Scraptech Brawler
4 Shard of Innovation
4 Shards of Fate
4 Storm Cloud
4 Subterranean Spy
4 Time Ripple
2 Zodiac Divination
Let’s look at how the deck should be equipped. Having 150 cards in it means that there are several slots with more than 1 excellent piece of equipment, so I am giving you options here based on what you have and/or can find on the Auction House:
Devouring Helm [Head] (Gore Feast of Kog’Tepetl) As this action resolves, create a random Orc troop and put it into play. It gains Speed.
Plague of Feathers [Trinket] (Royal Falconer) Your Royal Falcons have “Sacrifice this troop: Deal damage to target troop equal to this troop’s Atk.
Horn of the Highlands [Trinket] (Highlands Magus) The first troop Highlands Magus inspires gains a random Inspire power.
Conflaguation Gauntlets [Gloves] (Ruby Pyromancer) When Ruby Pyromancer inspires a troop, it gets +1/+0.
Conflagration Handguards [Gloves] (Burn) This action deals 1 additional damage.
Mirrorplate Chestguard [Chest] (Cerulean Mirror Knight) When Cerulean Mirror Knight dies, draw a card.
Duelist’s Tabard [Chest] (Jags the Blademaster) This troop inspires triple damage instead.
Timewalker’s Boots [Feet] (Master of Time) This action loses “Void this action” and gets Escalation.
Needle in a Haystack [Weapon] (Jankbot) When Jank Bot attacks, play 4 cards instead.
I will argue that no deck can be a 100% sure thing. Yes, it’s possible that bad draws and terrible luck can have you striking out on your first boss, but the deck can win very, very fast as well. It’s built on a fun yet reliable core, and takes advantage of many of the Arena rules thrown at us by the challengers; it’s the deck I plan on using when Arena is released. I’d love to hear in the comments what decks you’ve been thinking that take advantage of the most Arena rules possible. I’ll mail out 3 Shattered Destiny packs to the deck in the comments that I like the most, so include your IGN as well if you want a chance at the packs.