and welcome to the next edition of Zan’s Crazy Deck Shop! As always, I am your host, Zan (AKA bearsman6), and you may notice something a bit different this time around. The title of this article hits on many levels for me. Apparently 13 wasn’t unlucky for the Crazy Deck Shop, as now we are officially hosted! Hopefully that means more fun reading for all and more crazy ideas to go around.
If you’re like me, you’re still recovering from my last crazy idea: the crazy idea that wasn’t.
If you haven’t been playing in the constructed queues lately, you may not have noticed that there’s a new deck around. What’s been most fun to me is to see how LOTS of brewers out there took my humble beginning and ran with it, greatly improving it, so that Burn is a “Real Deck” now.
Maybe it’s time I tipped the balance a little in the other direction.
This deck came from the necessity of challenging the already strong meta decks out there (notably Dinos, Zombies, and Burn), while still being… well, crazy. I don’t like to take the beaten path, at least not too much. So I thought, where could I start to build a deck that was fun but was also just crazy enough to work? You’ll never guess. Heck, it took me a full week with the new toys (read: a few 6.1 cards) to get a feel for what it might be. I scrapped so many plans… Then I took it in a different direction entirely. It may be a bit reminiscent.
For the result, a special thanks to everyone playing the Forgemaster Weekend Warrior event that put up with the list. Because it worked. Here’s the list, graciously hosted by Kaelari’s ladder: (http://solforgeladder.com/cgi-bin/viewdeck.cgi?deck=14527)
3 Enduring Vitality
3 Everflow Eidolon
3 Glowstride Stag
2 Oros, Deepwood’s Chosen
3 Wegu, the Ancient
1 Anvillon Arbiter
2 Relic Hunter
2 Verdant Charge
3 Verdant Sphere
If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.
For the list above, I organized by group and importance, which means that yes, you read it correctly. The most important group proves, this is a Wegu list. It is unabashedly taking one of the most despised treefolk in the game—nay! In all the world!—and running with it. What you should also immediately notice, however, is that I went away from the all-too-common Nekrium faction, which typically added Crypt Conjurers and Duskmaw (for the free spells) and instead I went with more creatures and Relic Hunter/Relic Scout. More Solbinds means I’m not lowering the inconsistency of the deck much. At least this list only runs two.
Why is that so important? Let me be clear: this deck wants to do one thing, and that is gain enough to stay alive until it can pump a monster (typically a Wegu) to gigantic sizes and trample over the enemy. The lifegain is both a stalling and monster-building tactic. In fact, you’ll notice that half the spells in this deck are very good at turning stall tactics into threats. The other half eliminate your opponent’s threats.
By partnering with the Alloyin faction, this deck does something that the older ConjuWegu decks really didn’t. Specifically, it’s much more aggressive. It is creature-based, and it doesn’t really need the spells to get it going. Furthermore, it doesn’t rely heavily on its Solbinds and instead often just takes them as extra perks. This deck doesn’t mind taking a few lumps and letting its natural healing processes handle the damage. It may be an old adage for card games, but you must remember that life total is just another resource.
Specifically, Everflow Eidolon and Tremorsaur love the pain. The Eidolon is a great blocker, because if you give him any sort of regen (Verdant Charge), then his player gains that health too. Meanwhile, Tremorsaur loves when you take damage, because then he gets huge. Here’s your hint: burn decks hate Tremorsaur. If you’re really mean, put a Relic Scout under him. Relic Scout puts in double duty as a healing source under Eidolons the same way that Enduring Vitality does. Each point of health added by that Scout or Vitality is another point of life gained by the player… and Wegu.
I’ve just sucked one year of your life away.
Which brings us to our next big leap in deck tech. Clearly this deck takes some pretty unconventional turns and runs with them, but one of the best, and the newest, is the addition of Enduring Vitality. This card is what truly allows the deck to come from behind and/or stay ahead. Just think about how many lifegain cards in the past have been so weak due to poor bodies. Glowstride Stag was just begging for a Xrath’s Will, for example. But with a simple +1/+1, his body becomes serious contention at all levels. Consider also the effect a single pump has to the other Uterran creatures in the list, and how massive the one-point stat growth from a 6 to a 7 in the first rank is. How do you stop a 7/7 Oros from connecting? What if it’s an 8/8?
Playing your Enduring Vitalities when you see them is rarely a bad decision, but it is one that takes a lot of thought. Sometimes you can press a lead or be too far behind to use them. Remember, this deck isn’t a full-on aggro list, though it can feel that way with the right draws. One casting of Enduring Vitality goes a long way, since it gets most of your lower-ranked creatures above the magical “5 health threshold.” Each casting is better, clearly, and it also works to thin your deck, an advantage not to be overlooked.
This brings up another reason I love this version of the deck: it takes more skill to pilot.
I know, I know. You’re yelling that this is just another Wegu deck! It flips coins on whether it sees a Wegu, and if it doesn’t then it folds. WRONG! This deck has a Plan B. Specifically, it has dudes with really sizeable bodies all on their own, and when you put an Enduring Vitality or two into play, they’re even bigger. Then give them breakthrough! You see my point? Even chip damage matters if you’re gaining life and they aren’t.
While Wegu may be the easiest path, it is not the only way. Look at the disruption this deck also runs. Three (3) copies Aetherphage, for those decks that rely on spells or having bigger hand sizes. Two copies of Dendrify with one Nanoswarm are a toolbox to handle monsters and other threats. There’s even an Anvillon Arbiter as a silver bullet, the “break glass in event of an emergency” type of card. These cards work when your opponent’s deck seems to be clicking and ours isn’t yet. I say “yet” because it’s quite common for you to land a Wegu early but have it removed. The strength of this deck is that it can hold on long enough for you to see your next Wegu, or Oros, or Eidolon, etc.
This deck diversifies its threats. Don’t get me wrong: people will see Wegu and immediately gun for it. Oros is the same way. But they might not know to target that Eidolon quickly too. Also consider that Eidolon’s body is every bit as large as Oros’s, and therefore he might be legitimately hard to remove, especially if they’ve spent resources on your other monsters. Again, this is exacerbated by each Enduring Vitality you cast. Verdant Charge puts in serious work on this front too, especially once you realize its Rank2 is incredible (+3/+3 and regen3?!).
I do not think it means what you think it means.
Cost wise, this is a much more typical deck than the last (Burn). There are a whopping 13 legendary cards in this deck (3 Vitality, Eidolon and Wegu, 2 Oros and Relic). There are also 8 heroics (3 Phage, 2 Tremor and Charge, 1 Arbiter). This leaves only 3 Rares and the remaining 6 as Commons. It is top-heavy, but at least it uses cards of all rarities.
If you’re looking for cuts, I’m not sure we really need all of the toolbox cards. I like that Dendrify is soft-gated, since being able to handle a Rank2 monster with a Rank1 spell is very important. The one-of Nanoswarm, however, is more troublesome since it must hit on-level creatures.
For additions, a third Oros might be nice. If you’re on more of a budget, you could also try out Toorgmai Mender, which is either health gain or pump, as needed, and due to Vitality his body isn’t as glaringly weak. Similarly, you could exchange some removal for more pump with the budget-friendly Lysian Shard. It also doubles as deck thinning.
I came to this version after lots of iterations, but a shift in the meta should also change the deck. If burn goes away, consider replacing Tremorsaur, which is clearly best against a deck that does damage but cannot easily handle huge bodies. If cheat-decks become more pronounced, consider more Arbiters. If tokens or dinos are on the rise, consider Oreian Justicar in the silver bullet slot. There is a lot of flexibility with this faction pairing.
We are men of action: Lies do not become us.
When talking about matchups, this deck clearly demolishes burn decks. It is built for that purpose, and it succeeds with Tremorsaur becoming top priority. You really want to play at least one Vitality, as then it gets all your creatures out of range of Flame Lance. Aetherphage can not only pull their best spell, but it also lets you know what you’re playing around. Pulling a key Lance or Grasp can be the difference between an easy win and a tough game. Then focus on Stags, Eidolons, and Spheres until a Wegu comes online.
Given that Wegu, once active, also cannot gain defender, this deck is fairly good at crushing Stasis too. Just try not to play him until you can also get him actively above the Crush threshold. At one point I had considered Jet Pack for further strength, while also doubling as mobility for a beater, but it just wasn’t as strong as the other options. Keep in mind that this deck runs 11 spells, and each serves a purpose. Zombies tend to not be as strong against this deck since almost all of your creatures can trade with theirs if they don’t nut draw into running Dreadknights. In those matchups, Vitality is key, and Wegu will tend to be an underdrop, where you play the L1 version in a later player rank and boost him immediately with the other lifegain cards in your hand, thus avoiding Xrath’s Will. Dinos are still rough, but that is the matchup where you most want to use your health as a resource. Trading blows isn’t so awful if you’re also mitigating some of it with lifegain.
Another deck that’s a real challenge is the lifegain deck itself. When it’s paired with Conjurers it’s actually not quite as deadly, because they’re watering down their threats and they rely heavily on spells while we’re running three Aetherphages. Your strategy should be to land your Wegus quickly, hopefully in empty lanes, and then bolster your Eidolons with Spheres. Eidolons and Oros will win you these games. Dendrify is your backup plan, and Nanoswarm is mostly not going to cut it (since you’d rather be playing your own threats) unless they play a late Wegu and don’t immediately pump it.
This deck is deceptively strong in that it can withstand a lot of damage from your opponent. As such, you’re almost always going to be open-laning your own creatures and weathering the damage you take via lifegain. This also helps you against those pesky Ator/Rage decks because they won’t be able to get as many Rage blowouts if they always have to drop a creature to “block” first. Be wary of A/T Explosives though. You’d better hope you see your Phages at the right times.
As You Wish.
This deck is a response to the meta, but it’s also something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’ve hated Wegu for a long time, mostly because I just didn’t like that degree of explosiveness in one card. But after months of existing with no changes in sight, I guess it’s time to embrace the card and that it isn’t going to change.
This is a Wegu deck. It gains a lot of life, and then it deals a lot of pain.
I understand that there will be many who hate this deck. Lifegain isn’t for everyone. For the rest of you, I’m trying to prove that it can be fun, and that playing Alloyin instead of Nekrium can work. Also, Everflow Eidolon is criminally underplayed in lifegain strategies. Hopefully this deck will remedy that oversight.
As always, leave your thoughts, comments, criticisms and stories below. Tell me about your biggest Tremorsaur or Wegu, or how close your game was against a Dinos deck. Tell me about your highest life total. Let me know how it goes for you!
Until next time, keep brewing!
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The crazy archive of past deck shops
Episode 13 — BURN!
Episode 12 — DragonBeard
Episode 11 — Aggro SuperNova
Episode 10 — Apple Bottom Gs
Episode 9 — Disco Inferno
Episode 8 — Alloyin Ent-quisition
Episode 7 –Falcon Punch!
Episode 6 — Death by Paper Cuts
Episode 5 — It’s a Secret to Everybody
Episode 4 — Drix Are On Me
Episode 3 — Frozen Pizza
Episode 2 — Pump You Up
Episode 1 — Great Walls of Pyre
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