Glory to the Pulverazor! – Making Ardent rush work
Hi everyone, I would like to introduce a deck I was recently toying around with. It is a non-standard version of aggressive ruby/wild deck, which utilizes power of new cards from Scars of War (mainly Pulverazor and Surging Wildfire). The deck is built around ramping up fast while assembling a bunch of ardent troops and just Pulverazoring your opponent (or just beat him down). It uses a lot of cards that have not been successfully played in constructed and that’s what is most interesting about it. To give the deck some credibility before you start reading, it placed 6th in last Fiveshards weekly, has a 60+% winrate in platinum/cosmic and even higher as budget version in lesser brackets. There is also budget version that easily climbed to Cosmic. Right, so let’s get straight into deckbuilding.
Dreadlings from the Underworld
Champion: Grandfather Elk
3x Snarling Brave
Since Howling brave rotated out we have to muster different sources of resource advantage. Our main plan is Pulverazoring your opponent face, so will be focused mainly on ardent troops that provide resources.
Snarling Brave is a cheap source of ramp. You will get your first resource on turn 3 and you have to attack for it which clearly a downside. Snarling Brave is at least a 1/2, allowing it to survive Cheap Shot and can trade with or attack to most troops of similar cost. He is also coyotle which will be important for Pulverazor..
Lythe Lyricist is also a classic ramp card, which was not played a lot in constructed – not anymore because we have Pulverazor which turns lyricist into threatening elf bards.
Ashwood Minstrel is a new addition to the elf bunch and while his ability is one-shot he can provide the resource immediately, which is often a significant advantage when you want to play another troop or surprise your attacking opponent with Enlarge.
Hitting the face
We have assembled a significant amount of resources and now we need something to actually kill our opponent with.
Pulverazor is the main STAR of the deck. Alone he is 5/3 with speed for 5, which by itself is not bad. His second ability makes things go crazy – Pulverazor is an orc and he is the only orc in the deck, which means if you have any other ardent troop in play you will be getting at least rage 2. Our plan is more ambitious though, we plan to hit at least rage 3 and if we are lucky rage 4. This turns all our ramp troops that would be otherwise useless into serious threats. You stop laughing when Lythe Lyricist sharpens his lyre and hits you as 5/2 first turn and 9/2 turn next, because you will be likely blocking the 8/3 Pulverazor. Note that your Pulverazor can die to removal, but his ability is actually resolved when he is played, so he does his job even when he dies, so only way to stop him is actually Deny or Dingle.
Surging Wildfire is limited star with Grandfather Elk, we will be playing it in similar way to deal face damage. If you manage to boost him with multiple Soul of Battles and he manages to attack you are almost always dealing lethal. There is amazing synergy with Pulverazor easily getting it to Rage 3-5. On the flip side he is also main target for your opponents removal and won’t likely hit for massive damage that often.
Rune Ear Hierophant is standard beater in double damage decks and we will be playing him as well. I mainly play him with swiftstrike to stop opposing threats. We power him up with charge power when necessary and in addition we can quickly boost him with a lot of cheap troops. During sideboarding consider giving him crush against decks with smaller troops. I also reduce their numbers against blood as opponent is likely to play Gemborn Prowler.
Dreamweaver Ancient was once a standard in a similar ramp deck, but in current meta he is just too slow and fragile. I play two just for the sake of old times. I usually side them out against aggressive decks.
Soul of Battle is awesome finisher enabling our high attack troops deal fatal finishing blow. If you know opponent cannot answer it, you can shoot it at the end of his turn and use resources on your turn more efficiently (e.g. soul of battle your lyricist or wildfire at the end of the turn and play Pulverazor on your turn!).
Adding some utility
Enlarge gives you an edge when you are missing damage and synergizes well with our game plan. It can also catch your opponent unprepared with boosting your attacking Snarling Brave or sudden blocks especially against vampires.
Trueheart Skirmisher is the hidden gem in the deck and probably one of the trickiest to play outside of deciding when to use charge power. You can use him to exhaust Snarling Brave, boost your hierophant or get additional bodies on the table for cheap if you plan to Pulverazorize next turn. Card draw can bring you missing lands or cheap troops, but use it with caution, because you can draw your Pulverazor if you do not have enough resources.
Highland Blackbelt is one of the few human troops in ruby and wild we could find some synergies for. We have no removal, so Blackbelt will be filling this role (killing up to 5 toughness troops with direct damage and charge power or wiping entire boards of 1/1 Tech-Ticians). His double damage skill is also excellent and will often let your opponent scratching his head when you hit him for 20+ damage with this ability and charge power.
Please note that shard base is quite tricky, you will need 2 wild for charge power and 2 ruby for Skirmisher. We also play just 10-12 elves which makes us live on the edge with Feralroot acorn.
Reginald’s Riposte – sideboard against Angus and Lazgar’s Vengeance which completely wrecks us.
Lullaby – sideboard against other aggressive decks. Lullaby
Scars of War – sideboard against decks with a lot of small troops – most notably ruby/blood dreadlings which it can completely wreck.
Gift of the Manti and Gargalith – sideboard against blood, this obviously protects your troops from removal. You can mix and match, even with all the ramp you are unlikely to play Gargalith, but he also cannot be taken by Gaze, so that’s why he is here.
Carnasaurus – standard sideboard against small troops like Blood Bearers, Wartorn General, Interpid Conjurors, etc.
Righteous Outlaw – play them if you have them, I actually didn’t open any in 200+ packs. I have no idea what is ideal ration between Black Belt and Outlaw.
Young Seer – I have tested Young seer and he works quite well. He serves as additional Coyotle and enables crazy plays on turn 3. I would however not add more than 2 because he can be quite a hit or miss.
Rollicking Reveller – very good reserves card. In addition to stopping artifacts he is on curve and has crush.
Viridian – I tried Viridian in several iterations and he was 90% of time 3/3 for 3 with crush or target for removal.
Lazgar’s Vengeance – we can definitely justify playing vengeance in the deck because we will be attacking quite a lot, but everyone plays it so I just won’t.
Lorenzo the Wyrmsinger – I have not seen significant benefit of getting double charge power, it is usually just 3 damage more unless you are lucky to have Wildfire on the table.
Commander P.R.O.M.P.T – Commander seems like great addition, I need to test more.
Coins – not worth playing more than one, your plan is to kill your opponent as fast as possible, coins will just delay your game plan.
There are probably many more options, so just go wild and experiment!
Match-ups and tips
Our strategy is mainly troop based and we are utilizing the lack of quick mass removal in Standard (if there was Extinction, this deck would be much less playable). We have no problem with removal, because either opponent has to remove our ramp cards and then he can end up in a situation where he doesn’t have enough removal for real threats or he doesn’t and risks up being Pulverazorized.
-Redlings and other types of dreadlings – we are equally quick as our opponents and coin flip will often decide the match. We can steer games in our favor with sideboarded Scars of War or Lullaby.
-Blood control and Kagulichu – we just need to deploy more threats than our opponent can handle/remove and race him. Gargalith and Gift of the Manti are key after sideboard as written above. Horrors of War decks are quite bad if they hit at 5, but we have a lot of ramp options to reasonably get back in the game.
-Monoruby – there is no strategy, whoever has the better hand wins 😉
-Morgan McBombus – this should not be a hard matchup, you can block most of the early threats and there is a lot of sideboard cards that completely destroy their plans.
-Diamond and Ruby/Wild – we are not favored here, because we can easily run into 4/6 Crusader wall and we have no removal that deals with it, Wise Magistrate is not pleasant and ruby variant also has Lazgar’s to make your life even worse.
-Sapphire Diamond control – this is the worst match up, Dingle is basically the only card that can counter Pulverazor and Eldurathan’s Glory completely ruins us removing everything but Wildfire.
Sequencing of troops is key while playing the deck, you have to expect opponents’ removal and save your biggest threats for when the ground is clear, also make sure you do not waste your champion power (especially against Transmogrifade), it is essential for success. This deck looks very aggressive, but I often found myself playing very conservatively saving a lot of tricks for finishing blow.
You can replace Rune Ear Hierophant’s with Smitebringers, Young Seers or Rollicking Revellers. Soul of Battle is sadly probably irreplaceable, Dreamweaver is not essential to play the deck and everything else except double resources should be easily obtainable from the auction house (all of the components in main deck except above mentioned were under 31p while writing this).
Thanks a lot for reading this and hopefully you enjoy playing the deck on Ladder or in tournaments (and don’t swear too much when you play against it and it has good draws)! 🙂
((This article was written and sent to us by the player Sethanon, thank you very much!))