G’day hexers. I’m Havoc, your Cup of Fate season 2 champ! I’m super excited after having just won and wanted to share with you all the deck I was running, an example of how it may play out, and how I will generally sideboard for certain match-ups.
First, I’d like to start of by thanking FiveShards and all the sponsors for running such great tournaments for all of us. They sacrifice a lot to organise and run each event and I truly appreciate the effort they put in.
Before I dig into the deck, let’s take a look at the list itself.
|Champion: Tetzot, Son of Omoc|
Alrighty then! I’m now going to walk you through what the deck is able or ideally doing each turn and a bit of information on some of the cards.
At the start of a game, we are presented with possible turn 1 plays: Burn or an Arcane Focus. Burn is a great card in the current meta as there are several must-remove targets that you really want to have cheap removal for, but more often than not you will not being using this on turn 1.
Arcane Focus is likely regarded by many as the best 1-cost action in the game. It allows you to look at the next 2 cards in your deck and grab the best one, be it a much needed shard or maybe a troop to help flesh out your curve.
When it comes to turn 2, ideally we want to be tunnelling a Reese or Hypnoscientist. On the draw we may have to use this turn to Burn a threat, as troops like Puck are not something you can realistically ignore and not get punished. Let’s stick to the ideal scenario and say we were able to tunnel a Reese and move on.
Now it is more likely we do have to Burn something, which is great if we have another tunneler, so let’s say we get to tunnel a Mesmeric here after burning an enemy troop.
This is starting to sound very promising (as it should, since I’m making it up!) We now have two tunnelers underground that will both enter play on the same turn. This is very important and we will get to why shortly.
Depending on what our opponents are doing in any given game, we may decide to take a bunch of damage to further our board state, so let’s imagine we now play out a Cerulean Mentalist.
Ideally, we’ve gotten our 5th shard and we have Time Ripple, Countermagic, and an Azurefate Sorceress in hand. It should be obvious to all that we will now pass our turn after having played our shard.
Our opponent could potentially do a lot of different things here. If they play out something we feel we must Countermagic, we can do so while still being able to use Time Ripple as well. Basically, we have to analyse the risks currently on the board and what our opponent is playing out. If the opponent attacks in for non-fatal damage and just plays out another troop, we can likely ignore it as Mesmeric will make it unable to block.
Turn 6 – The Explosion
Pretend we played the Azurefate Sorceress at the end of our opponent’s turn, thus dealing 2 damage. Our Reese and Mesmeric will now surface and we still have Countermagic and Time ripple.
There are many situations where an opponent could potentially answer one or more of our threats here—with Countermagic it becomes almost impossible to answer enough. I mentioned earlier that having two tunnellers coming out at the same time is important; the simple reason for this is the fact that you invested several turns setting up for a sudden influx of troop presence. Your opponent does not have the same luxury when it comes to answering them.
In this scenario, thanks to the Destruction gem in the Azurefate, our Reese and Hypnoscientist will now do damage upon entering play—that’s already 11 damage combined with the three cards, before attacking!
Combine that with an attack and you likely have fatal, not to mention if your opponent was relying on one blocker then it’s completely negated by Hypnoscientist’s enters play effect (target troop can’t block this turn).
If that somehow wasn’t enough, we still have our charge power to create a free 6-cost Rock Elemental that enters play on use. The size of the Rock Elemental is determined by revealing 10 cards from the top of your deck and for each resource, the Rock Elemental gets +1/+1. Anyone who has watched the finals of the tournament will know how clutch it can be at times.
Even after all that, we still have Reese making random Robots at the end of our turn, which—if they’re 4-cost and higher—becomes more damage to the face!
I’m sure it’s clear that Azurefate is a key card in the deck, but even without her we have enough synergy that we can still potentially curve out nicely and get in some good damage and card advantage.
The Cerulean Mentalist is where we get said card advantage, with its ability to inspire all of our troops—most of which are able to hide underground and enter play with speed. While underground, they are unable to be interacted with and therefore dodge meta cards like Crocosaur and Extinction.
Let’s not forget about Reese… this Crustcrawling mofo can win games all by himself with his free robots every turn. Again, we have several cards that synergize here for an even more powerful effect if you get them together.
The control cards (cheap removal, bounce, counters) are what buy us time and enable our tunnellers to dig their way onto the battlefield, setting up for a potential explosive 1- or 2-turn finish.
We should also not underestimate the interplay between a Quick Azurefate and our Quick Actions, namely Countermagic. Being able to leave open our counter and use it on anything we deem worthy, or otherwise play out an Azurefate at the end of our opponent’s turn is extremely important. It once again allows us to avoid those nasty meta cards (Crocosaur, Extinction) and overall gives us great flexibility.
I’m quite happy with my current 15 reserves, but I tweak them quite often and it is something you will and should do as the meta shifts or evolves. I’ll now go over how I usually sideboard against some decks that we currently see in the meta, starting with the current most popular deck:
A tough match for any deck; cheap removal is key here. While Crackling Bolt fits the bill and can be used on our opponent’s champion, it is useless against the larger threats. We have a much better card in the reserves that will help us against the early threats and ramp troops: Heat Wave.
Heat Wave is a great replacement here as a lot of R/W players will use Howling Brave, Puck, and Periwinkle. This opens up the potential for a 2+ for 1 trade whereas the Cracking Bolt is always a 1 for 1.
Fissuresmith is also a great card to consider, especially against versions that are running Droo’s Colossal Walker. Other than those two, I generally will not change anything else.
One thing I have seen people do in this match up is bringing in Buccaneer. The problem with this is you can get into clunky positions where you have a Mentalist out and then there is a threat you have to remove. If your only option in this case Buccaneer, you open yourself up to Croco Meal Time™ which I would not recommend.
As for mono-Blood or Blood/X match-ups, this is where you very likely want all four Buccaneers—especially if your opponent is running all the vampires.
Since you’re bringing in four more troops and Blood/X has very good removal, I would also bring in the three Cerulean Mirror Knights here.
First thing to cut is the four Burns as they will do nothing in this match up. I’ll also cut Duplicitous Duke and two Time Ripples normally.
Honestly, this is one of the easier match-ups, unless your opponent is very lucky with an explosively fast hand. Even before going to reserves I will usually win these match-ups, as there are already great answers in the deck.
The reserves just make it a whole lot easier. Just yesterday I battled the more traditional mono-Ruby orc rush deck in an ESL tournament and decided to have some fun with it. After winning game 1, I took out all my tunnellers (save for one Reese), brought in my Heat Waves, Mirror Knights, Buccaneers, Fissuresmith, 4th Bolt and went on to win quite easily.
In a mirror match, things become a lot trickier as not a whole lot needs changing and the reserves will unlikely be the deciding factor. Heat Wave may seem decent as it can kill a lot of troops in the deck, but it is normally too late due to its basic speed. That said, I would still consider it along with Verdict.
Haha, just kidding! ^_^ V
I hope you all enjoyed the read and some of this babble made sense. Please feel free to ask questions or comment below. If you would like to check out the finals from my perspective, click here for the video. Thanks, and take care!