Benny’s Beatdowns

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Today I am going to spend a little time talking about one of the new cards from Reign of Varna: Darkness Rising, and rightfully so. As a baseline, this card has some resemblance to older cards like Fell Strider and Zimus, but this card allows for some new and fun interactions, while having the potential to devastate a game on its own.

While I think this card on its own isn’t the most powerful the game has going on, I the combination with other cards you can allow you to generate a huge advantage and take over a game if the opponent isn’t doing much to stop your synergies. one of my favorite ways to play the Spiritstone Sentry, and actually how I intended people to play with it when we designed it, was to move it around! Cards like Windcaller Shaman and Borean Windweaver have been my favorite cards in the game, and this was a card I wanted to be in the game to pair with that type of deck.

Ever since the beginning of the game, I have had an affinity for “combos”. The way the game works, you get to draw a good portion of your deck each time through, and huge chunks of it each turn. That always made me feel like I could count on drawing cards like my Doomwing and Thundergale Invoker in the same couple turns and really take advantage of the game engine. As it turns out, there needs to be a higher concentration of these two card combos, add Nethershriek for example, to really start capitalizing on what I was looking to accomplish. Spiritstone Sentry is another addition to that type of deck.

There are other ways I see people making use of the card as well. Lanes full strategies that allow you to reliably expect Spiritstone Sentry to die and come right back in the side lane are pretty fascinating. The interaction with Broodqueen is also quite powerful, and lets you set up the lanes full strategy while also giving you a way to kill your own Spiritstone Sentry and grow it yourself. This deck, while quite powerful, isn’t exactly what I enjoy playing with though, so let me give you a quick look into a couple decks that I’ve been playing with.

nek sac

I’ll admit that I like to get a little cutesy with my decks, so there is definitely room for improvement if you are looking for raw power. However, there is something to say about drawing just about any hand and having something sweet to do with it other than line up a good block.

The first deck is set up to really take advantage of Spiritstone Sentry and the different ways to utilize him dying and coming back. Cards like Tarsus power him up, which gives a bit of an advantage over the other decks playing Spiritstone Sentry, and Scythe on a side lane Sentry is usually a pretty devastating play on its own. I’ve added my favorite sacrifice outlets and ways to get additional copies of the Sentry (Suruzal is both!). I found this deck to be very powerful, but playing against it is not much fun. That means that people are ready to adapt and figure out ways to beat this deck. After just a few games I ran into tons of hate cards like Justicar, Nanoswarm, and Herald of Destruction. While each of these aren’t game over for the deck by any means, they can cause this deck some real fits.

There are ways to combat those cards fairly easily. Cards like Cull the Weak and additional copies of Byzerak Spitemage are good ways to fight the creatures, and the sacrifice outlets are easy ways to take advantage of a semi useless creature in one of your lanes. Suruzal is especially good at resetting one of the creatures that your opponent deemed worthy of a card like Nanoswarm.


The second deck, is my baby. I enjoy playing this deck a little too much, and have tried to sneak in new pieces into every set ever since Doomwing was created. Nethershriek is my favorite card I’ve designed, and I had to fight pretty hard to get it to exist today. Some other people in R&D weren’t big fans of the design, so if you enjoy the card then you’re welcome. If you dislike the card, then add it to the list.

The way I like to both build and play the deck, is in the early game you want to play the cards that have the powerful effects and are worthy of being moved around. The list includes Cindersmoke Wyvern, Zarox, Doomwing, and Nethershriek. Sometimes you will find a good place to take advantage of the interactions between these cards and the ones that move them, but it isn’t important to take advantage of the combos yet, unless you feel pressured to do so. The cards that move these guys around aren’t level restricted, so that means that when you draw hands of a level 1 and a level 2 in the mid to late game, you can take advantage of the synergies. It is still usually right to play the cards that you have spent the majority of the game leveling up, but this deck can provide you with a ton of fuel even when you aren’t drawing as many level 2 cards as your opponent. You are quite reliant on drawing some of the cards you leveled up, though, just like the rest of the decks, but there is only so much you can do about that. Just watch out for the mini nonbo of moving your Spiritstone Sentry out of the side lane with Blizzard Shaman!

All in all, there is a lot of exploring left to do in the game of SolForge. Take some time, find some fun synergies and try them out. Hope you enjoyed!


  1. OhRats

    Love me some Spiritstone! She is the merriest card in the new set! I noticed that you went over the hate for Spiritstone a little fast: unlike the other hate cards you bring up, a well timed herald of destruction can indeed be game over for the Spiritstone player. If your non side lanes are full and spiritstone gets killed with herald on your opponent’s side of the board, you will take herald damage until spiritstone’s health is greater than herald’s attack. This may sound innocuous, but just consider: a sharded level 1 herald has 9 attack. This means that with a l1 spiritstone, that herald can deal up to 54 damage to you.

    So word of advice if you are going to play this super fun card: when facing decks with herald of destruction, either don’t play your spiritstones, or make sure at least one of your lanes 2 3 and 4 is open to avoid dying to a herald-spiritstone loop. (Okay, you should probably let yourself die to the loop at least once because it’s pretty cool to see happen.)

    Thanks for the fun article!

    1. OhRats

      I should add, thanks for the fun new cards! (Only the new cards – as I’ve discussed too much already, I’m not a big fan of the revamped herald.) But those new cards….

      I especially like the way each of the legends pushes the limits of how we normally read and craft board states – and they do so in completely different ways. We have been playing with them for weeks already but I feel we have barely scratched the surface of what they each potentially bring to deckbuliding and in game strategy.

  2. ghend

    on the first deck, why scythe to buff a single creature when you’re going for a grow wide strategy? i’d prefer a group buff along the lines of group meal.

  3. Nahoj

    I’m genuinely curious as to how much of your player base can whip together a 16 legend deck? I really wish you had offered a more “budget” option as well, even though obviously both versions will require 3 copies of a new legend in Spiritstone, but that’s fine since it’s the centerpiece.

    1. bennybeatdowns Post author

      This was written to be an alternative to some of the normal decks going around. However, I value your feedback and my next article will be on some budget decks! Thanks for the idea.

      1. Rhode

        this is kinda my issue with solforge as a long time player: only the new legendaries seem to ever matter, creating a constant arms race to get 3X of multiple difficult to crack cards, especially with the growing dilution of normal packs. commons and rares are pretty much never constructed playable. its a major reason I’ve switched to hearthstone primarily. while the free cards you get are slower in quantity there than daily packs here, you get cards you actually NEED much faster as an ongoing player, and you only need a single copy of the rarest cards. that, and the client doesnt crash and stall and drag out quick games like solforge always does to me…sorry to be a grump, but i feel like 16 legend decks are kinda the norm in solforge :/

        1. Zatar

          Someone has to pay the bills. Solforge seems to have chosen an interesting route – constructed players pay the bills, draft players play for free. It’s kind of like 2 different games supported by the same development team. I hope it works out for them.

          As a kickstarter backer I used to be annoyed waiting for the originally promised features to be implemented but I’ve gradually just given up on constructed entirely and now draft exclusively.

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