Thunderbots Ho!

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Thundersaur3Welcome back to Competitive Solforge with Tiny Grimes. This week I bring to you the deck I piloted to 4th place in the Forgewatch Invitational a few weeks ago – Uterra/Alloyin Robots. This deck contains a large number of legendaries, order but I will provide you with a number of options for replacing many of the legendaries. Also, order I will unveil version 2.0 of the deck. That’s right – I’m going to spoil my new top secret tech based on the ever evolving meta game. But you have to promise not to tell anyone, because I have been using it to crush constructed tournaments.

 

3 Weirwood Patriarch

2 Thundersaur

3 Arcflight Squadron

3 Brightsteel Sentinel

2 Brightsteel Gargoyle

2 Matrix Warden

1 Oreian Warwalker

2 Oreian Justicar

3 Ferocious Roar

2 Botanimate

3 Battle Techtician

2 Gemhide Basher

2 Alloyin General

 

Weirwoodpatriarch3As you can see from a cursory glance, this is a deck built around Weirwood Patriarch and Robots. There are many obvious synergies between the cards here. For example, Weirwood Patriarch (WWP) buffs a large amount of on-level cards and nearly every under leveled card. Additionally, there are many robots which synergize with each other by providing free robots and armor at critical moments to create positive trades. However, what may not be immediately obvious is the flexibility of the deck. Most WWP decks I have encountered fall apart when WWP eludes them. This list was built to avoid that pitfall.

In testing for the Forgewatch Invitational, I tried a variety of builds which attempted to maximize WWP including such cards as Synapsis Oracle, Mossbeard Patriarch, Heart Tree, Scout Drone, and Ether Hounds. These decks were unstoppable when I found multiple WWPs. But when I drew poorly, I often lost badly. Eventually, inconsistency drove me away from these decks and into the cold loveless embrace of the robots.

DM232-3-colorBy building around both robots and WWP, this deck is able to execute multiple plans simultaneously or prioritize one over the other based on your draws and deck. The flexibility begins with the creature pump effects. There are a ton of ways to pump up your creatures to allow them take out opposing creatures such as Weirwood Patriarch, Alloyin General, Battlefield Techtician, Matrix Warden, and Ferocious Roar. The presence of so much pump makes it very difficult for your opponents to line up their creatures for profitable trades. How can anyone accurately calculate the attack of your creatures when they are ever changing?

Brightsteel SentinelThe flexibility continues with Brightsteel Sentinel. There is a reason we call him Senor Blowout. Brightsteel Sentinel’s ability can completely destroy your opponent’s plans. It’s not just that he helps you trade favorably, but he makes calculating extremely difficult anytime your opponent puts a creature in front of one of your robots. It may look like your opponent is going to come out ahead, but what if a Brightsteel Sentinel hits the table? Worse still, what if it’s followed up by Ferocious Roar?

Along with pumps and blowouts, under leveled cards are amazing in this deck. There is almost no such thing as a bad hand. An underleveled Brightsteel Sentinel is still providing armor for favorable trades. A level 1 Thundersaur is always scary especially in combination with any level WWP. Matrix Warden provides game altering buffs at every level. Moreover, Battlefield Techtician and Roar provide board wide buffs even when they are under leveled. These all help this deck fight against the biggest problem many players have in SolForge, which is how to win when you get an all level 1 and 2 hand on in rank three. The answer is to play good cards, and you can pull games out anyway!

 

Robots

SM9011-1Let’s begin with the robot package, the core of which is Arcflight Squadron.  It’s really this simple: if you get an Arcflight Squadron to stick on the board for 2 turns, you will win. Arcflight allows you to fill the board with creatures. Additionally, it lets you level multiple cards a turn, which causes your deck to spit out level 2 cards by the bushel on player level 2.  In most matchups you want to prioritize Arcflight in a big way.

Brightsteel Gargoyle is just a great card. If you put a level 3 Gargoyle down, your opponent had better find removal quick or it will Gargoylealtdestroy the board. What makes it especially valuable in this matchup is that it can only be removed by Dreadbolt. Go ahead and look back through the list. Most of the creatures in this deck are prime targets for Cull the Weak. Once your opponent sees an Arcflight, he’ll start leveling those Culls. This means that playing Gargoyle will force your opponent to level two different removal spells, and then draw the correct removal spell when needed. Therefore, in addition to being generally amazing, Gargoyles forces your opponent to have a variety of answers for your deck.

As mentioned above, Brightsteel Sentinel’s armor bonus does terrible things to your opponent’s mind. How do you block robots if your opponent might draw into a Sentinel at any moment and kill all your creatures while not losing his own? Sentinel also lets your beloved Arcflight hang around another turn or force your opponent to use a second creature to handle it. Essentially, Brightsteel Sentinel is the king of creating 2 for 1 opportunities – that is, causing your opponent to have to use 2 cards to handle your 1. This creates serious long term advantages. I have had many games where a single early Brightsteel Sentinel blowout play gave me complete control over the board.

 

Other Creatures

Weirwood Patriarch is an important tool in this deck. He pumps many creatures in the deck which can provide a snowball effect. That is, WWP can cause you to quickly obtain a runaway board position. WWP is also great at minimizing the effect of Epidemic. You will often be happy to see an Epidemic as it will bring your creatures into range of a WWP.

The big drawback of WWP is the need to plan ahead to maximize its effect when you draw it. Often times you will have a difficult decision, playing the card which has the most effect on the board or playing cards in hopes of drawing WWP. What I like most about this list, is there are no creatures that are worthless without WWP. Essentially, while WWP can have a powerful effect, the deck can function quite well when you don’t draw it. Often times the mere presence of WWP in your deck will alter your opponent’s playing quite dramatically.

Thundersaur3Thundersaur can be a game winning card in this deck, but it’s important not to waste it. One lesson that I have learned is that against removal decks, you cannot just blindly play him out on an empty board. Sure, your Thundersaur may get pumped by a Weirwood or Matrix Warden at some point. But it may also pump up a Grimgaunt Predator before you find that pump. A random Blight Walker may drop in front of your poor Thundersaur and kill him for free.

Thundersaur works best when you can drop it in front of a creature and kill it. That means playing it in combination with a Patriarch, Techtician, Matrix Warden, or Roar. This is much more the case for the level 1 version but often holds true for level 2 as well. When the tournament began, I only owned 2 copies of Thundersaur and lamented the fact that I was only able to run 2. However, as the tournament progressed I realized that Thundersaur is much more situational than I had first realized and therefore post tournament I have continued to only use 2 copies.

Battle Techtician is a complicated card in this deck. It is valuable by helping you make favorable trades and pumping your Thundersaurs. But, it often pumps your guys out of Weirwood Patriarch range. Admittedly, this deck isn’t fully reliant on Patriarchs, but the buffs are still quite important so each play of a Battle Techtician becomes a judgment call. How much does it help this turn and next? How likely is it you will see a Patriarch next turn? Essentially, Battle Techtician plays a critical role in the deck but should not be mindlessly slammed onto the board in the middle lane. There have been plenty of games where I have not played it in the middle and had it buffed by a Patriarch so that I would have a level 2 or 3 later in the game.

 

Removal

 

BL052-1The most underrated card in the deck is Gemhide Basher. I’m sure you saw this card and said, “Oh great, I’ll just pull that for the 3rd Thundersaur.” Don’t do it. Consider all of the level 1 creatures it can handle on the turn it comes out. Leafkins are removed before they can grow, Arcflights cannot get a free creature, and Predators cannot grow. Now think about the most common decks in the game right now. That’s right – the aforementioned cards play a critical role in these decks.

Botanimate is a risky card in this field and in fact, I had removed it from the deck for a time. But, it is important for handling Thundersaurs in the mirror matchup. It is also critical against N/T removal decks powerleveling their Grimgaunt Devourers. This deck has a very hard time removing a 25/18 level 2 Grimgaunt Devourer from the board and a Botanimate alleviates this problem.

 

Changes and Substitutions

jet_packVersion 2.0 of the deck has made 2 important changes. I removed both copies of Alloyin General and inserted a 3rd Gargoyle and a Jet Pack. Jet Pack has proven to be very good. Quick, what’s the best way to handle a Thundersaur? Ignore it you say? What do you do about flying Thundersaurs?  I have also debated removing a Techtician and Oreian Warwalker, because I’d like to add a third Matrix Warden.

Can you build this deck without some of the Legendary cards in the list? Yes, but some of the cards have certain minimum thresholds before they lose a lot of their power. Although Arcflight Squadron is really powerful, I would probably still be willing to run the deck without any of them, though I would not play Squadrons without at least some of the other powerful Robots. Gargoyle and Sentinel still synergize well together and in some matchups Arcflight is a liability.

Gargoyle is another card that is not a necessity. I would include whatever number I owned, but I think the deck would still work well even with no copies. Sentinel is a card I would like to have at least 2 of because of the seemingly impossible situations he creates for your opponent. I think the deck could function with less, though it just would not be as strong. Finally, although Thundersaur is a good card he isn’t all that critical either. Remember, this is a deck built on flexibility rather than being built around any 1 card.

Some potential replacements for these cards are Matrix Warden, Scout Drone, and Ionic Warcharger. You could also mix in more of a WWP strategy with the robots with cards such as Heart Tree, Synapsis Oracle, and Ether Hounds. I would also be willing to try Munitions Drone which can be pumped by the WWP and provide valuable attack boosts to creatures such as Thundersaur.

 

Strategy

The basic strategy of this deck is to put more creatures on the board than your opponent can handle. This can be accomplished by playing extra creatures with Arcflight Squadron or by keeping your creatures alive with Roar, WWP, and Sentinel.

Playing robots carefully is critical. Often times you don’t want to block an active creature with a robot that will trade for it. Even the mere presence of Brightsteel Sentinel in your deck will alter how your opponent has to handle your robots. For example, if you put your Oreian Warwalker in an empty lane, your opponent has a difficult decision. Do they block it knowing you might buff it a bunch and then give it armor with a Sentinel or do they risk taking a ton of damage from a suddenly buffed up creature? Basically, you should play for your Sentinels. In fact, bluffing that you are expecting Sentinels can be a powerful play. Because of this I will often not level a Sentinel early in the player level to keep my opponent guessing. This is especially useful because even under leveled Sentinel’s armor boost is quite powerful.

Playing to your outs is especially important for this deck. You need to know what is coming. Do you have a leveled Botanimate coming which allows you to let that Devourer/Thundersaur grow while you do damage? Do you have two more WWPs coming this level allowing you to focus on underpowered creatures that will get buffed? How many Sentinels do you have left this level? If you haven’t played any yet then you may want to play more robots knowing that your Sentinel will provide them armor and allow you to create an overwhelming board advantage.

sd022e-3.2And since everyone always seems to ask how to beat Zimus the Undying – with this deck it’s easy. Your answer to Zimus is to either take advantage of his weak early body and overrun your opponent, or to play Oreian Justicar or Botanimate to handle him late game.

 

Matchups

Nekrium/Tempys Removal

This can be either a tough matchup or an easy one depending on your opponent’s draws. Essentially, she has to draw the correct removal spells at the correct time. You can make her job more difficult by playing creatures that require different types of removal. This means you should level both Gargoyles and creatures vulnerable to Cull the Weak.

An especially difficult aspect of this matchup is how you handle Arcflight Squadron. Do you play it hoping you will get a runaway board position?  Or do you ignore it, assuming your opponent will play a Predator in front of it followed by a Cull the Weak or Lightning Spark? I often opt for not playing Arcflights in this matchup, and I never play Thundersaur unless it will take damage the turn it hits the board.

The most vexing aspect of this matchup is Brightsteel Sentinel blowouts. As I’ve already mentioned, one of the quickest paths to victory is to have a number of robots live because of the armor provided by Sentinel. However, Grimgaunt Devourer can turn these low health extra creatures into a liability, leaving them as easy pickings for your opponent and allowing the Devourer to grows too quickly to manage. In this matchup it can be important to level your Botanimates, especially since your opponent won’t be able to grow them with WWP.

Nekrium/Uterra (Succubus, Blight Walker, WWP variant)

DD082-1I consider this deck to be the foil to our deck. Blight Walker is especially troublesome for your Thundersaurs, and Winterfrost Succubus can be a major problem. She is difficult to remove, can destroy your board, and can help grow your opponent’s Predator rather quickly. Like many matchups if you can get an early Arcflight to stick on the board you may be able to get an overwhelming board position. My main advice is this matchup is to wish you luck and hope that your opponent does not draw their WWP.

Nekrium/Uterra Deathweaver

Oreian Justicar is the key in this matchup. Play him early and often. Gemhide Basher and Botanimate are also critical. Leafkin Progenitor and Tarsus Deathweaver must be dealt with immediately, especially Leafkin. You get one shot at that level one Leafkin, so make sure you remove it. Otherwise, play your game. Flood the board with creatures and keep them alive via Sentinel blowouts.

Uterra/Tempys Pump (Firefist Uranti, WWP, Everflame Phoenix)

This can be a frustrating and draw dependent matchup. Essentially, if your opponent is able to draw their WWPs, it will be a very difficult game. Usually this archetype is built around the synergy between Firefist Uranti, Rageborn Hellion, and WWP. Mix in a few Everflame Phoenix ashes living long enough to become level 3 Phoenixes and it can be a long day. Like most matchups, getting an Arcflight online will help a great deal. Additionally, make sure you take care of the Firefist whenever you are able.

Nekrium/Alloyin (Ghox, Zimus,Removal)

This matchup is quite similar to the N/T removal matchup. You have to put out a variety of threats so that your opponent has to draw the correct one at the right time. In this matchup you should be expecting Zimus to get leveled and that Ghox will help him find his way to the board in player level 3. So be ready to play Justicar, perhaps even finding a moment to level one earlier in the game.

 

U/A Mirror

BL046The mirror matchup will often come down to a battle of the Thundersaurs. Since neither of you is running good cards for removing them it often becomes a race over who can draw a Botanimate at the right time. Therefore, I recommend leveling at least one Botanimate when you have the chance. You need an out in the deck in case there is a runaway Thundersaur. The matchup is also littered with Brightsteel Sentinel blowouts. So be careful regarding your opponent’s robots and your own. Finally, put all of your Arcflights on the table. Your opponent probably has no good way to remove them. You welcome a Botanimate on your Arcflight. Oh darn, your opponent used a card to give you a 3/3 creatures which you will buff with WWP.

This is a strong, flexible, archetype that has had great success lately by a wide range of players. I hope you experience just as much success and enjoyment with the deck as I have. Feel free to message me any suggestions for future iterations of the deck which are sure to happen in this vibrant environment. Also, stop by my stream and give me a beating with your innovations. Finally, if you see me in the constructed queue, remember who helped you build your unbeatable deck! Until next time, have fun and keep improving.

6 Comments

  1. soulwarrior

    I just read this article again (the last time I stopped like 50 % in). The first time I quickly turned away after the “These all help this deck fight against the biggest problem many players have in SolForge, which is how to win when you get an all level 1 and 2 hand on in rank three. The answer is to play good cards, and you can pull games out anyway!” section. It just seemed like you were being ridiculous.

    Now, having spoken to some friends and reading it again, I understand you didn’t mean it in an “insulting people’s intelligence” way but rather as an honest recommendation. This then put the rest of the article in a totally different light. It was then much easier to appreciate all the detail you went into when you described the match-ups, key cards, and so on. So thank you for that. :)

  2. Bonoknack

    Nice work Tiny. I enjoy playing that kind of deck, and against it ;) I really think this article can help people understand deckbuild and mechanics and thoughts befind it. Keep up The good work.

  3. Technonaut

    Very nice article, Tiny!
    This will help alot of players to use this very consistent archtype successfully as well as to help those to defeat it properly. Having 3 gargoyles is somthing that I have found to be very useful with the robot package, along with at least a jetpack, for the reasons you have mentioned. Forcing an opponent to lvl two different removal cards, can often be the best plan vs. heavy removal decks. My hat off to you, sir. Nice work

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