Pledge at least $1 to on Patreon and the ads will be removed as a thank you!

Valley Beyond - Expedition Primer

Guide by stormguard798 - March 22, 2022

Table of Contents

Hello everybody! My name is stormguard798 of The Glorious Gathering, and I hope that you're as excited for the start of Eternal's 2022 Season as I am! While this Expedition format still uses Cold Hunt and Valley Beyond, the infusion of new cards into the Draft Packs have changed up the format quite a bit, and I'm here today to walk everyone through the archetypes that might pop up - and a few which might not.

I have attempted to recreate lists to closely reflect what you might see on Ladder, but I have made some subtle changes where I deem appropriate. If I have made any such changes, I will let you know in the description below. :)


*I think there could be a smattering of Skycrag Aggro, but I don't think the deck has substantially changed since the Expedition LCQ. :S Hence, look at those decks for your reference.

Stonescar Aggro -
Sample Decklist:

Probably the fastest aggro deck available in the present Expedition format, this deck hits hard, and hits fast. With the increased presence of spot removal like Defiance/Auren Condemnation, (not to mention theft effects like Huntmaster Vikrum), the deck has traded in high-risk, high-reward cards like Gemblazer Cannon for cheaper cards and units. The biggest reason to play the deck is Syl, No Regrets, whose passive effect wrecks havoc on the unit-light Control decks. That being said, the deck can struggle with decks with big units like Combrei. Although some iterations of the deck are running The Rat King, which is a very strong card, I feel that the double Shadow influence requirement paired up with the double Fire requirement of cards like League Explorer or Syl make the influence too difficult to manage. If the Expedition format has Paintings instead of Tomes, it could be a different story, but the available power just doesn't support it.

Rakano MidGro -
Sample Decklist:

Pretty much TRS' take on Rakano, now with Diplomatic Seal! The reason why I prefer their take over JNL's is because it really capitalises on the strong Justice cards on offer. A 'lower to the ground' deck is leans on the Fire 1 drops and League Explorer, at which point I think it's a better idea to play Stonescar instead of straining your powerbase with Rakano.


Xenan Tokens -
Sample Decklist:

The Worlds Winning deck still packs quite a big punch. The full playset of Eavesdrop are to negate the popular void-based strategies that we'll be covering shortly. In a deck with a fair amount of draw power already, I feel like the 2 of Suffocate is a better choice for some additional interaction, but I could also see those being Lured Away. The Kanya, Ironthorn Envoys might be a little jarring, but the deck has ways to use its power pretty well, and the 'Anthem' effect could be incredibly powerful, so it could be an interesting inclusion. Probably the biggest change from the Worlds list is the lack of Blistersting Wasp: with the popularity of The Rat King combined with the addition of Desert Marshal, I feel like its ability to actually neutralize an attacker is incredibly underwhelming right now.

Combrei Mid -
Sample Decklist:

EDIT: I've been informed that the inclusion of Crownwatch Press-Gang is too weird for the Combrei decks, and not good enough with Zido, Cabal Housecat. Which...fair. You've still got the powerful, meta-defining card of Desert Marshal. I'm also packing Harsh Rule as a reset for when the board gets too clogged up (as Combrei, you really don't have fantastic interaction), as well as Jada, Peacekeeper for some possible ramp alongside a solid blocker.

TJS Mid -
Sample Decklist:

Now if you're terribly greedy, you can attempt to slap together both decks, pairing the powerful units in both Xenan and Combrei (and Slay, which is a strong piece of interaction) in a truly delightful amalgamation. Due to the deck's particularly difficult influence requirements, I have included both Trail Maker and Seek Power for some much-needed influence fixing.

Hooru Tempo -
Sample Decklist:

I include this deck as the most logical progression from the Hooru deck that is available for purchase from the DWD Store. Probably the most glaring difference is that there is no Xultan Ambassador. While HooHe was quite a popular deck back in December, there has since been far more removal introduced into the format, which makes Ambassador an effect that is less likely to stick around. (Also, 1/1 Killers from Dinosaur Nest.) While the card draw from Ambasador is nice to have, I believe that the deck is ultimately looking to tempo others out, and not outgrind them in cards. This is also why I have omitted Quinn, Master Tracker for Cora, Thundering Steps.

Sample Decklist:

EDIT: Since people were looking for an FTS build...voila? Since Vikrum's Bomb is ultimately a straightforward 1-for-1, relatively flexible removal spell, I believe that the best shell for it would be with grindy Xenan cards looking to X for 1 their opponent into oblivion as opposed to a faster-paced Praxis shell. That being said, Málaga Amphitheatre is just a really powerful card, particularly against any deck packing sweepers, and leans well into the very power-hungry list.


Tradition Control -
Sample Decklist:

The most popular iteration of Control on ladder looks to ramp and filter, discard an Aid of the Hooru to the void in the process, and use Davia, Azurebreaker to buy it back. (If you're looking for something really spicy, West-Wind Herald is a more risky but faster way to achieve a similar effect.) The inclusion of 4 Desert Marshals might seems strange at first, but this gives this archetype at least a fighting chance against Syl from the Stonescar decks. The Obstructive Flickers also help shore up the match-up against Stonebreaker Bow, while also being able to counter opposing Aids. In the flex Inscribe slot some decks have run Thicket Trap, but since the passive armor-nullifying effect has not been particularly strong for me, I've opted for a pair of Discover Talents to find Davia or Aid instead. One notable omission from my version is Steyer's Eyes, which has been used to find power, or play Adjudicator's Gavel for opposing void hate. I'm personally not a fan of this card in this archetype since it still costs you a card to do so, and the 2/2 flying body doesn't support your deck's overall plan.

Menace Control -
Sample Decklist:

Not really a popular meta-game list, but this is my present interpretation of teammate AlexFiero's LCQ Menace Control deck, now updated with the buffed Torq, Ballistics Crafter. The biggest problem I've found with this deck - and really, any control deck that isn't Justice - is that Elemental Fury is rather underwhelming as a sweeper as it doesn't even get rid of Furious Magniventris, while Fall to Ruin is too expensive. Hence, this deck, and other non-Justice control decks like FTP Moment of Creation, can struggle to keep up with the slew of massive units out of decks like Combrei. If such tension could be resolved, then the incidental advantage that this deck can accrue can be incredibly potent.

EDIT: Subversion of Nature just got released. As a 9 cost card, I doubt you'll ever be playing this card fairly. Hence, I believe that the best - and possibly only - possible way of using this card is buying it back with Davia, most likely either in a TPS or JPS shell as a 1-of alongside Aid of the Hooru. That being said, I believe the nature of the format with Zido and Eavesdrop means that there is a very heavy emphasis on resource taxation in the format, at least among the slower decks. That means I don't think there will be much board to steal or many cards to take in many matchups, but I'm down to be proven wrong.

I hope that the above decks have given everyone a solid cross-section on the format, and perhaps some ideas as to what they might bring for the event. If you have any criticisms or want any clarifications, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @stormguard798, or find me lurking in the Friends of Eternal or The Misplay discords. Best of luck to everyone for the Open! ^-^


No comments currently.
Login to make a comment.