Randomness. Variance. If you have played Hex for any amount of time at all then you have encountered it already. Every time you draw a card from the top of your deck it could be anything! Some games conclude with an epic top-deck to steal the win from your opponent while other games end with shard screw or shard flood. Jovial Pippit is a card that asks you to embrace variance and take that up a notch. You won’t always get a card you want, but let’s explore some of the ways we could nonetheless use that randomness to our benefit. So go ahead and start by opening up your Hex client to try Pippit with me right now.
Wait – what do you mean you cannot play with Pippit? Oh you’re speaking of the Gencon code redemption promo. No I don’t mean those Pippits. Let me explain… last week I was chatting with some guild mates like I normally do on any other week night. Out of the blue one of them (ArmiesofMordor) reported that he randomly got a Jovial Pippit into play from Cosmic Transmogrifier. It was an exciting discovery as I had not heard of anyone else playing with Pippit yet. We wanted to try this again to see if this was a one-time fluke or a repeatable bug. The trick here is you need a bunch of 2-cost troops, Transmogrifier and a bit of of patience. So a few of us in the guild built decks to make a lot of 2-cost troops and played them against each other in the proving grounds. I am happy to report that we were able to repeat the transformation on the second try. You can try this yourself; if you have a friend that will work with you it is possible to play with Jovial Pippit in the client right now with a little bit of luck. Here is the list I used to get Pippit into play:
Transmogrification for Fun and Pippit:
Champion: Wyatt the Sapper
I am sure there are many other decklists that can work as long as you have Cosmic Transmogrifier. It seems fitting that a random-loving card like Transmogrifier is the sole way to unlock this card early. If you are reading this when the article goes up I recommend trying the deck right away—since it seems like something the Hex team may want to fix. In the future you might want to keep Transmogrifier on your radar as a way to “test” cards in the client before they are supposed to be playable.
Now once you have Pippit in play it is time to start embracing some chaos. When we tried this for the first time we used Pippit a bunch of times to see if we could get any more set 2 cards this way. Sadly that did not work in any of our tests and as far as I am aware you can only get Pippit in client right now. However, we did make a cool discovery: you can use Pippit’s ability on a shard that is in your hand to turn it into a random artifact. It does make sense that you can use Pippit on a shard (given that his ability doesn’t specify a “non-resource” card) but I expected to get other shards rather than artifacts. This seems like a useful way to smooth out your draws by turning a useless excess shard into a random artifact.
Now if you look at the above list again, this is not the best home for Pippit. Outside of the Replicator’s Gambit combo with Priestess it would be hard to win games with the deck above; we are only using this to play with Pippit right now before the official release. However, what it did do was get me thinking about how I might use Pippit going forward.
One direction you might take is a Wild Stompy deck such as this:
18 Wild Shards
This deck has a low curve and aims to run over the opponent with a lot of cheap creatures and a few combat tricks. Drawing too many shards is usually bad for an aggro strategy so we have Wild Root Dancer and Jovial Pippit that can turn those excess shards into something useful. For this list I stuck with mono-Wild to make Pippit easy to cast alongside Feral Ogre, but I could see dual-shard variants of this strategy that could also work. I’m looking at you Gas Troll!
If mitigating shard flood was all we could do with Pippit you might still run it in a few decks. It is just a 2/1 with double threshold requirements after all. If we get creative we can do more with its ability. Note the wording on the card says you transform the card; this means we can revert the card to its original form after we play it. In set 2 we already know of at least one troop that will help us transform cards back to its original state: Filk Ape. What might a deck like that look like?
Champion: One Eye Open
4 Filk Ape
4 Battle Beetle (Wild Orb of Conservation)
17 Wild Shard
This is a ramp deck similar to what you might have seen back in the early days of the alpha test. If we are going to go through all that trouble to revert a card the payoff has to be pretty large. High-cost troops with powerful abilities are exactly what we want to be using here and we have Puck from set 1 to support the strategy. Plan A with this deck is to use Puck + One Eye Open to power out a large monster. If that does not work then plan B is to put Jovial Pippit into play and change one of our large troops into something random. Most of the time the random troop will be easier to cast than the original monster. We play the random cheaper troop and then we use Filk Ape to revert it to the original form. The Filk Ape also plays a secondary role to protect our troops like Wrathwood Colossus from Inner Conflict type effects and debuffs.
Most of the threats in the list above are from set 1. As of the time I am writing this we also know about Arborean Rootfather, but with the Wild/Diamond shard pairing in this deck I think the other troops are better options. The drawback to using Pippit to transform your troops is you do not trigger any enter-into-play effects of the original troop—so you want troops with powerful effects after they enter play. If this is a deck that looks fun to you then be sure to watch new set 2 spoilers for large troops.
If you can’t wait to play with set 2 cards then I highly recommend trying Jovial Pippit using the first decklist I posted above. It’s quite fun! And to those of you that are the enemies of fun (you know who you are) I suggest you try the deck anyway. Some competitive players are allergic to the word “random”, but Jovial Pippit is another unique tool in your toolbox if you can find the right ways to utilize its effect. If you can think of another way to Embrace the Chaos with Pippit then be sure to mention it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.