JellyPaladin here again in 2016 and in the spirit of the “New Year”, today’s brewing journey features an unheroic deck that can be made even by a “New Player!”
My past write-ups have included splashy legendaries like Iztek, Dream Tree, and Rubyscale Dragon, but make no mistake: one of the best aspects of SolForge is that creative deckbuilding opportunities are available to players even in their first few days.
Today we’ll also celebrate the New Year with some bonus material !!!!
Extra decklist -Going PreHistoric for this one!
My spotlight on an Oldie, but Goodie!
But First, Let the Brewing Commence!
1. Deck Overview
Angelic Pyre features many of my favorite card designs, like Lifeshaper Savant (my very favorite!), Shardbound Invoker, Vigorwisp, Pyre Mystic, Deepbranch Prowler, Flame Lance, and Toorgmai Mender. Pretty impressive for an unheroic deck, huh?
Maybe more impressively, it only features six leveling priorities: the namesake Lifeshaper Savant and Pyre Mystic! Everything else—yes, every other thing—works as an underdrop. Two SolForge fundamentals are key to playing and explaining this deck:
A. Understanding the timing of your win condition
Lifeshaper Savant gets no value at level 1, strong value at level 2, and amazing value at level 3. Pyre Mystic gets almost no value, then acceptable, then very strong.
In other words, this is a late game deck! The big combo is Pyre Mystic into Spiritbloom Dryad or Toorgmai Mender, but don’t rush for it in PL1 when it won’t do anything and your cards won’t level well. You have to survive until PL3 with a relevant early game.
B. Knowing when you can get greedy and when you can’t
In theory, you play every Lifeshaper Savant and Pyre Mystic you see to set up for a huge PL3. In practice, you’ll need to stabilize against early aggro with your own aggro options like Deepbranch Prowler and Twinstrength or at very least buy time with Brighttusk Sower.
Still, don’t be too afraid to sacrifice the early game a bit. I set up an offline game to demonstrate:
The double Lifeshapers will stabilize, but it might look like Angelic Pyre is still too far behind on health considering how early it is. That wasn’t true at all, though! It won in the long run:
Cards like Spiritbloom Dryad and Toorgmai Mender buy time for the deck while the opponent is busy getting rid of Lifeshapers or big Prowlers at all costs.
2. Explaining the combos and card choices!
Brighttusk Sower(2) – This card has no obvious synergy with the deck, but it does reduce the reliability of incoming Death Currents. Ether Hounds are an alternative with more lane flexibility and better level 2 and 3 stat totals, but they do add another leveling priority.
Flame Lance(3) – An alternate win condition when I don’t see Pyre Mystic. Lifeshaper Savant, Flame Lance, and Deepbranch Prowler can get the job done.
Lifeshaper Savant(3) – The most important card in the deck: her ability to convert all 14 Uterra underdrops in the deck into level 2 creatures makes the entire plan even possible! Unheroic darkforged with perfect draws can have better synergy since they get started in PL1, but past that point she’ll keep up well.
Pyre Mystic(3) – Another lynchpin of the deck. At level 3 he converts Spiritbloom Dryad 1 or 2 into 8 or 12 damage and Toorgmai Mender 1 or 2 into 10 or 16 damage. Unfortunately, these are also the only cards he works with, so right now he’s mostly hoping for support in future sets. But hey, that’s one reason brewers brew: if we know what a pet deck is lacking, we’ll recognize a missing piece when it’s released.
Vigorwisp(2) – Right now I have it as a 2-of because it’s situational, but in the past I only had two Deepbranch Prowlers and three Vigorwisps. Either way, this is Angelic Pyre’s secret weapon; it combos with nearly everything and rewards smart blocking and leveling!
Lifeshaper Savant + Vigorwisp – Lifeshaper heals everything, most notably herself so she can hand out even more buffs.
Lysian Shard + Vigorwisp – Creates a huge blocker and effectively plays a free Soothing Radiance.
Shardbound Invoker + Vigorwisp – Same idea as Lifeshaper, but less efficient since Shardbound won’t enter play damaged to benefit from healing.
Toorgmai Mender + Vigorwisp – Huge healing impact. Restoring even an 8/8 Deepbranch Prowler or 6/7 Spiritbloom Dryad can be crucial, never mind if they’ve gotten +3/+3 from Twinstrength, Lifeshaper, or Shardbound!
Toorgmai Mender + another creature, then Vigorwisp comes into play later – Healing effects are most meaningful when creatures have high health stats—and handing out high health stats is Toorgmai Mender’s specialty!
Twinstrength + Vigorwisp – Here you grow another creature and heal it simultaneously! The recent buff to Twinstrength hugely strengthened this combo.
Lifeshaper Savant + Vigorwisp + Vigorwisp – This almost never comes together, but when it does it can be hilariously fun. Little known fact: healing a Vigorwisp counts for the “when Vigorwisp gains health” trigger! So on a board state like this…
…I start by playing the Vigorwisp into lane 5. When I aim a Lifeshaper trigger at it, it’ll heal my creatures by 3 including the Vigorwisp that’s already in play, so that Vigorwisp will also heal for 3. And then I could do it again with the second Lifeshaper trigger!
By the way, if you have two injured Vigorwisps in play, they do bounce healing off each other infinitely until they’re at full health. Don’t expect to ever see it in a game, though.
3. Other interesting cards that didn’t get past deck testing
Borean Stormweaver – I expected this draft powerhouse to add a lot of flexibility since it’s one of the best general purpose commons in Tempys. Still, I found there’s no time to play it when Lifeshaper and Pyre Mystic are around. If I were to try adding Tempys creatures again, next time I’d look at either Ashurian Brawler or Blizzard Shaman, but I’d probably sooner stick even to offbeat Uterra picks like Gemhide Basher for more Lifeshaper synergy.
Lysian Rain– Even when Pyre Mystic isn’t available, Lifeshaper Savant goes great with this, right?! Well… no. Not really. It’s simply too narrow in a world with Toorgmai Mender, Shardbound Invoker, and Twinstrength affecting more lanes.
Verdant Sphere– This is closer to being playable than Lysian Rain. Even though it can’t give health to the opponent, the life gain does buy time for you. I still don’t like it here, though, and I’d much sooner go with Glowstride Stag—a card I haven’t tried in Angelic Pyre, but have toyed with in unheroic A/U leveling—since Stag offers relevant stats.
4. Bonus deck: Dino-bility
Since I was gone in December, I wanted to return in a big way with a bonus unheroic deck for your perusal! (Thank You JELLY PALADIN)
Dino-bilityis much less brewy than Angelic Pyre, but much more threatening. While it won’t compete with tier 1 decks, I’m very satisfied with its performance in casual games and random queue games considering it’s an unheroic deck.
Don’t underestimate its strength! One of my teammates wanted to test an experimental deck meant to have Killion rush a level 4 Ignir out in PL3, so on a whim I took this unheroic deck for a spin against it, outraced him, and won. Then I did it again in a rematch.
Twinstrength is enormously important, but the absolute top card here is this underrated gem:
An opponent who leaves Windborn Hellion2 alone or simply can’t answer it will eat a ton of damage. Right now I consider this card even stronger than its legendary Rageborn counterpart since moving a creature is much easier than dealing battle damage to a player and happens pre-combat, allowing Windborn Hellion to eat blockers.
Brief comments on the other cards:
- Kadrasian Stonebacktends to die only on your terms, so you’ll be able to buff Windborn with it, no problem.
- Mosstodon is great for keeping all the dinosaurs going.
- Sparktail Manticoreis fantastic removal-as-a-creature with Twinstrength and immediately buffs any Windborns in play.
Finally, as a new player collects more heroics, some obvious additions to the deck include Thunderstomp, Umbruk Lasher, Gemhide Ravager, and Borean Windweaver, phasing out cards like (respectively) Flame Lance, Deepbranch Prowler, Razortooth Stalker, and Shardbound Invoker or Rimehorn Charger.
5. Bonus card spotlight: Brightsteel Gargoyle
I hear that once upon a time, in the original heyday of growbots, Brightsteel Gargoylewas a huge metagame force, but I haven’t seen people trying it in modern growbots! Or at least not people other than me, but I’ve found it fantastic. Here are my ABCs of what’s so cool about Gargoyle:
A is for Armor
The level 2 has 5 armor during your opponent’s turn, making it Firestorm-proof, Ignir 1-proof, and extremely resilient against Ignir 2 and any level of Zarox, Brimstone Tyrant, or Wildfire Maiden. Even Ignir 3 doesn’t one-shot Gargoyle 2!
B is for Buffs (enabling and using them well)
Because Gargoyle can’t be blocked off the board by creatures without aggressive, it does a nice job of continuing to clog lanes, setting up for Lifeblood Dryad buffs and War Machine value.
C is for Control
If you have a full board in growbots then you’re probably winning, but if you don’t, then Gargoyle’s mobility gives you the control to push damage or remove threats as you need in your specific situation!
So I say give Gargoyle another shot! Either I’m crazy or it’s still really strong, but since I took second place in the last standard tournament on Kaelari’s Ladder with this card, I’m going with “it’s still really strong.”
6. Final Comments and Wrapup
With today’s main Angelic Pyre deck and the bonus Dino-bility deck as well, I hope you’ve seen that even new players with limited collections have fun or unusual options available if you look for them. The bonus Brightsteel Gargoyle talk also continued the theme of cards slipping under the radar while being in plain sight!
Next time we’ll return to form with a brewing journey aimed more at the standard level or at Brew Night tournaments themselves, which have been on a holiday hiatus. (I’ll even commit to no Uterra/Tempys next article since I’ve already used my favorite pairing for five out of six deck write-ups now. :P)
As always, I welcome your feedback and look forward to next time!
Past brewing journeys: