In my prior articles, I started reviewing cards that could be the base of an archetype or enable a combo. Continuing that trend, I couldn’t avoid touching on a card that was essentially invented to be a part of combo: Azurefate Sorceress. The number of possible interactions with this card is inconceivable—and it will only grow. The existence of Sorceress surely needs to be taken into account for all future sets; this card can easily become broken if the developers are not careful enough.
For now, the easiest way to use the Sorceress is fit her into a deck that already has a number of 4-drops for her to work with. One of those is a Blood/Sapphire troops deck. The most commonly played 4+ cost troops in those shards are Eldritch Dreamer, Vampire King, Xentoth’s Inquisitor, Wakizashi Ambusher, and Reese the Crustcrawler. The best major gems available for Azurefate here are Cruelty (resurrection) and Mind (draw), while for minor we’re pretty much limited to Sky (flight). That isn’t bad at all! If we go for the resurrection gem, we might want to build heavy-recursion with Bunoshi, Monsuun, and cards with play-on-enter effects like Buccaneer and Corpse Fly. With the draw gem, we can play more of a tempo style, trying to win with the card advantage we get. Another option is the Brutality gem (target gets reduced attack), but I would consider that more of a reserve option against very aggressive decks, where an Inquisitor won’t be enough. Also, don’t forget that whichever gem we choose for Sorceress, we always have access to Eldritch Dreamer to make use of the other. And as much as I dislike Bunoshi, I believe that combining her with the resurrection gem is our path to victory here—mainly because we already have an amazing card advantage engine in Storm Cloud and Cerulean Mirror Knight.
Champion: Bunoshi the Ruthless
4 Storm Cloud
Another great option to fit an Azurefate into a midrange deck is Sapphire/Wild, the deck that’s always been more-or-less present. To work with Azurefate, we have both of the Sapphire staples from the previous deck joined by the fantastic Wrathwood Master Moss from Wild. Other viable options in that shard are Arborean Rootfather and Jadiim, but I’m not sure we’ll even need those. For gems, we have more variety than in Blood/Sapphire: there are Sky (flight) and Conservation (spellshield) in our minor slot, while the major slot offers us Mind (draw) and Dominance (create a Rhinoceros). While both majors look very tempting, the best maindeck combination is two minor gems: flight and spellshield. This turns both the Dreamer and Master Moss into brutally inevitable threats.
Champion: Running Deer
Both of the previous decks look quite solid, but they don’t use the best major gem available to the Sorceress in a midrange deck: the Major Ruby of Destruction (damage). At the same time, the choice of ruby cards to work with her is quite limited, which means we’d prefer to try a tri-shard combination if it can be reasonably done. If we try to build a Ruby/Sapphire deck around Azurefate, we will have to rely mostly on her—but a 4-drop with 2 health and no defense really isn’t a reliable win condition. This leads us to Wild as our third shard choice because it brings us spellshield. Also, after a single Azurefate spellshield+damage inspire, the only cards that can stop Master Moss are Filk Ape, Mass Polymorph:Dingler and Comet Strike. Oh, and any board wipe combined with Frost Wizard. Still not that likely. This was the deck we tested heavily (but failed to pilot well enough to top 8) for the FiveShards Sapphire Cup. Our latest innovation was what finally convinced us to play this deck: Zeedu played with Azurefate instantly lets you draw 4 cards. Thus, the deck was named the Dragon Launcher.
RSW Dragon Launcher
Champion: Running Deer
Actions and Artifacts (10)
The deck feels really good to play, but it only wins about half the time against mono-sapphire at best—so that wasn’t the right meta call in the end. It will probably be kept in the stash for a while now, but if the moment is right, it could easily emerge as top-tier. I will be extremely happy if that day comes.
Speaking of what the deck can do, being able to change gems in Sorceress (and having 12 to choose from) makes the combo quite versatile; we can adjust for decks that have no removal or those that can’t defend against flight. Sight of the Sun and Storm Clouds help us grind the matches long enough to draw into threats, and when Dreamer gets going it becomes really hard to race us. Countermagic is in the maindeck over Verdict because we are quite afraid of strong troops like Reese, Dreamer, or Vampire King—so the extra cost/threshold are justified. Royal Falconer is mainly for some air defense, both blocking the opposing falcons and stopping a Vampire King or an Angel. Also, despite looking clunky, the resource base is quite stable and tuned for the following requirements: 1x ruby on turn 2, 2x wild on turn 4, 3x sapphire turn 6. The numbers are:
9 ruby sources: 79% chances of ruby on turn 2
14 wild sources: 79% of 2 wild on turn 4
16 sapphire sources: 74% of 3 sapphire on turn 6
As you see, the numbers look alright (and in the game, they feel exactly how they look). Plus, with 26 sources (24 shards + 2 tears), getting screwed is quite unlikely. Overall, the deck feels quite powerful; however, it is either missing something or doesn’t really fit the environment, which prevents it from reaching full potential.
All the previous decks were built with a competitive environment in mind and designed to be as stable as possible, so I think we should bring in some fun before we conclude. I will just leave you alone with this list and let you figure the answers for the questions “What the hell is this?” and “How does it even work?” yourself. See you next time.
Champion: Wyatt the Sapper