In this second part of my 2-part article on the constructed decks at Origins 2016, I discuss the 3 remaining top 8/top 4 decks from Friday and Sunday.
Good is strong – Tom’S Epic Gaming
I took this deck to the finals on Sunday.
Get Ahead, Stay Ahead
I want to play establishing champions to start, create favorable trades with buffs, and keep a constant stream of threatening champions in play. If this deck can get ahead, it is incredibly difficult for an opponent to stabilize.
This deck is the constructed version of my Get Ahead, Stay Ahead play style.
This is an aggressive deck. While in limited formats it is generally better to take the draw (go second) as opposed to the play (go first), this deck wants the play. Ideally, this deck wants to open with White Knight, Triceratops, Markus Watch Captain, or Paros Rebel Leader. If your opponent isn’t able to 1 for 1 trade for that champion or better on your turn, you can consistently use your gold second each turn. If they can 1 for 1 trade with it, you still drew a card, so you are ahead.
The primary reason this deck is so threatening is because it can generally play a champion every turn (your’s and your opponent’s). Each champion in this deck isn’t particularly threatening on its own, but since a lot of them draw a card when they enter play, you rarely need to spend your gold on your turn just to draw. This allows you to continually put mid-sized champions into play while your opponent has to continually remove them.
The other important part of this deck is the buffs: Brave Squire and Rage. Since the deck is primarily mid-sized champions, Brave Squire and Rage give the bonus offense and defense/unbreakable to be able to beat any other champion in a fight. Brave Squire on a White Knight and you can win against a blocking Sea Titan. Rage an Angel of Light and it can block/break Draka, Dragon Tyrant.
Lord of the Arena is pretty bad if your opponent has their gold, but it is incredible if they were forced to spend it before you. Angel of Mercy is the same except on your opponent’s turn. Quell is incredibly strong especially when you have Paros and/or White Dragons in play.
The major difference with this list as opposed to previous incarnations of combative Humans is the Evil. I wanted 2 Guilt Demons to help deal with Inner Peaces (in case someone ran Derek Arnold’s deck from Friday on Sunday) and Psionic Assaults. To achieve this, I decided on 3 Plagues and 1 The Gudgeon because I wanted “draw 2 and” cards. Neither of those 1-cost cards were particularly great, but the Guilt Demons worked fairly well. 2 Inner Peaces were also included to help deal with discard effects and burn. On reflection, I overcompensated for discard effects.
For more information on the progression of this deck, check out my original article here.
Establish a champion and then maintain a constant stream of threats.
4 Color Control
Derek won the first Epic Constructed tournament with this deck. His record in rounds was 2-0-3. The 2 wins were 1-0 and the final draw was intentional. This was the most interesting deck at Origins.
Win through Attrition (Drinker)
This is a control deck. It consists of powerful reestablishing champions (Sea Titan, Kong, Reaper, and Medusa), powerful control events (Wave of Transformation, Inner Peace, Raxxa’s Curse, etc.), and a lot of draw (Ancient Chant and “or draw 2” effects).
This deck wants to prevent its opponent from developing either champions or discard threats. It also wants to heal and fill its own discard (Lesson Learned, Inner Peace, Unquenchable Thirst, Zombie Apocalypse). Eventually, it can win with a Zombie Apocalypse/Wave of Transformation set up into Drinker of Blood followed by Flash Fire/Wither.
When it doesn’t need to disrupt the opponent, it draws (even if that leaves an opening for the opponent).
Draw cards, play 2 for 1 reestablishing champions, heal, and use off-turn board clears for safety.
I find this deck so interesting because it does not follow the get ahead, stay ahead play style at all. Instead of establishing an advantage and then maintaining that advantage by refusing to spend your gold before your opponent, this deck constantly draws cards on its turn before the opponent spends their gold (at least in the two match ups I saw at Gen Con). This deck is able to get away with that because it has a wide variety of answers, and the answers are incredibly effective at what they do.
The reestablishing champions are incredibly powerful cards because they remove a threat and leave a big threat in play. Kong and Sea Titan are massive bodies, Medusa has ambush, and Reaper will continue to turn champions into demons if not removed. There are only 9 of these champions in the deck, but the heavy emphasis on draw makes it more likely to reach these champions. The only establishing champion in the deck is Raxxa, Demon Tyrant, and even Raxxa can clear out Wave of Transformation or Zombie Apocalypse champions when played.
In addition, the heavy emphasis on draw gets this deck to its Inner Peaces and Drain Essences against burn decks, its Ancient Chants and Amnesias against discard decks, and its Lesson Learneds to replay any previously utilized answer. For these reasons, when playing this deck, prioritizing drawing is critical. If you don’t draw consistently, you won’t have the answers you need when you need them. So, if the board is empty (or you have a lead), playing a draw 2 on your opponent’s turn (if you know they don’t have much blitz) is generally the correct move. Also, be prepared for very long games, especially if you run into another control deck. I had a 100-minute game (due to 1 misplay that could have ended it at the 50-minute mark) that we called at 52 to 18 against this deck, and my deck wasn’t nearly as controlling.
The worst match up for this deck, I believe, is a deck that can consistently put threats into play while banishing cards from the discard pile.
For more information check out Derek Arnold’s post at his blog Epic Insights.
Draw constantly and win the war of attrition with high-impact cards.
This deck was played in top 8 on Friday.
I neither played against nor watched this deck played, so I’m effectively guessing how it was meant to be played.
Kill with 0’s, Disrupt with 1’s
Dark Knight, Guilt Demon, Forcemage Apprentice, and Shadow Imp are solid, aggressive 0-cost champions that aren’t easy to stop. The 1-cost champions break/bounce or disrupt champions. Open with a 0-cost card while holding gold, and then follow up with whichever 1-cost best fits the situation. Using 1-cost cards to return the 0-cost champions is highly valuable.
I call this deck the Time Walker deck because the 0-cost champions have great synergy with it. It is theoretically possible to kill on your first turn if you take the draw (Dark Knight, Dark Knight, Dark Knight, Time Walker, Dark Knight, Dark Knight, Dark Knight). While this is highly unlikely, even attacking with 1 Dark Knight followed by Time Walker can be strong. The other 0-cost champions work similarly.
The 1-cost champions are powerful for dealing with enemy threats with their tribute or loyalty 2 abilities. This is then compounded by the fact that they can also be returned to your hand with Time Walker. Medusa on your opponent’s turn to break a blitzing Draka, and then you could immediately play Time Walker at the start of your next turn to return it before it can be broken, or you could attack first and try to be aggressive.
One thing that I noticed about the deck is that it has very minimal card draw. Due to this, it seems more likely that it would play conservatively with its threats and defenses as opposed to an all-out assault on the enemy player. Specifically, I would not recommend playing out all of your 0-cost champions on your first turn. If you do and they get cleared, it could be incredibly difficult to recover. Discard could also be potentially devastating.
The deck does pack some more nice tricks though. Corpse Taker/Necromancer Lord into Time Walker creates a consistent loop of return all champions to hand (since Time Walker brings Corpse Taker/Necromancer Lord immediately back to hand before they can be removed). Mist Guide Herald into Time Walker is also pretty nice. Muse on opponent’s turn into Time Walker on your turn also seems strong.
Conservatively attack with 0-cost champions while defending with 1-cost champions.
These three decks are radically different from the Burn decks that made up the rest of the constructed decks. Not only are they primarily Evil or primarily Good, but the play styles, particularly for 4 Color Control, are different as well.
Once again, if you feel I misrepresented your deck, feel free to let me know in the comments below.
I look forward to seeing what shows up at Gen Con next week. I will be there once again providing updates on my blog. In the mean time, I can usually be found in the Epic Card Game Discord Channel here. Feel free to drop in and ask me questions directly or respond in the comments below.