Hello everyone! I'm stormguard798, a member of The Glorious Gathering (TGG). While I have released a number of other primers for Expedition, following the release of the new Unleashed set, this is the 1st time I'll be doing one for Throne! With 3 Day 2s and a TNE Challenge Win in Throne, trust me when I say I know a good Throne deck when I see one. I will be breaking down all of the 'popular' or 'meta' decks that you might encounter this weekend, as well as some of the key controversial cards that you might consider swapping out based on collection/personal preference. Let's hop to it!
Skycrag (FP) Yetis
Complete disclosure: in the face of all these Shadow Midrange decks with Endurance Units, I do think Yetis is probably at its worst right now. However, it is nonetheless the fastest deck that you might see, and consequently, if you are planning on playing a greedy pile of cards, you do need to be prepared to deal with some delightful fluffy bois. I am not a fan of the Blazing Salvo
market as I feel the market spell itself is incredibly clunky and narrow; consequently, I prefer the pair of Check-Raise
to protect my board position - the deck is generally fast enough that your opponent will be unable to pay for the negation spell.
Stonescar (FS) Aggro
(Based off of: Firescar feat. Undepleted Power
Just made a couple of changes to list. I was not a fan of Waystone, so I split the difference power-wise. Without any auxiliary power like Inscribe or Seek Power
esque effects, I think that playing 5 drops maindeck is a little tricky; consequently, I've relegated them to the market to play a pair of Milos, Rebel Bomber
I am also not a fan of Yeti Pioneer
, as I don't think the deck can make use of its ramp very well. Syl's Stronghold
is best played before combat as it has an attack trigger, and Jekk, Mercenary Hunter
is also better played pre-combat IMHO to clear blockers. I do like Midchief Salus
in this slot instead, as the Amplify is reasonable in a deck that does tend to go very wide, but you can be the judge of that.
One thing I really like about this deck in particular is the combination of Ankle Cutter
, which is very effective at dealing with the likes of Rolant, Iron Tyrant
or Furious Magniventris
that could otherwise be quite a problem for the deck.
This is probably how I would build Stonescar right now. You're eschewing some of the cheaper units, lower-impact units for a little more top-end and just generally (I believe anyway) stronger units, such as Champion of Chaos
or Buh-ton, Death's Reach
. While Syl, No Regrets
is great against any deck relying on sweepers, I don't think it does enough in the other matchups to be worth including on its own - at best, I could consider getting it off the agenda of Stronghold. Additionally, I also consider it quite the liability in the mirror, where it is otherwise very weak. Buh-ton has also impressed me a lot, given how the format has trended towards units with more health than strength.
Argenport (JS) Midrange
(Based off of: horns
This is Collecter's deck from the most recent TNE with the market modified a little to take advantage of the mixed market. Though the deck is pretty unit-heavy, I think the market Nothing Remains
is still justified since it keeps the board clear for your massive relic weapons off of Tavrod, Auric Broker
. 1 card I have been surprisingly impressed by is the Steyer's Eyes
- besides the obvious opportunity for maindeck Adjudicator's Gavel
to stop Nico, Urban Hunter
and other recursion shenanigans, the Crownwatch Tactic
in conjunction with Strength-heavy Minotaurs has been quite the potent combination.
I have seen some other versions running Nullblade
in their flexible weapon slot - I think it's an interesting choice for some void hate, but does not actually deal with Nico recursion. The Triple Shadow influence requirement can also be quite prohibitive. That being said, if 5 health ends up being a very important breakpoint against cards like Kenna, Uncontained
, then Nullblade might be necessary.
Ambition (FJS) Midrange
(Based off of: I promise I have brews with more new cards, I'm just not playing them
On the other hand, if you're particularly concerned about AP and all the grindy value it brings, you could bring FJS. You get all of the sweet defensive cards from Valkyrie Enforcer
, Furious Magniventris
and Black Book, Pit Boss
, on top of fantastic multi-faction unit removal with Varbuk, Hand of Anarchy
and some Bullseye
s to snipe those huge relic weapons. If you played Eternal way back when and enjoy your old-school, incidental value decks, then this is what I'd be looking to play. [Thatbeing said, your Control matchup is kind of suspect, but I'm not expecting to see too much of that.]
: I have gotten some feedback from jez2718 on the FJS decklist that I have gotten permission to share with everyone here as I think it'd be helpful. I think it might also help for me to provide some side commentary to explain my choices a little more as well. :)
(For reference, TRS' deck for the Open: https://eternalwarcry.com/decks/d/GMOsavF-fhU/jez2718s-decklist-top-64)
* Lost Scroll
vs. Vine Grafter
: Vine Grafter was a card that I predicted that people would misunderstand the inclusion of at first—even Boxer was questioning it before we explained the logic. When you look at the Market, it isn’t nearly exciting enough to make 8 sources necessary, and grafters are clunky sources at that. The trick though (and here all credit goes to LOA) is that Vine Grafter isn’t being included primarily as a market source. Rather, it is being included as an anti-aggro 2-drop which still has value if drawn late. Given that we predicted that aggro would have a sizeable presence, this seemed an important card to include.
However, even if we don’t include Vine Grafter, I don’t believe that Lost Scroll is the pick, for a couple of reasons. First, 4 Lost Scroll and 4 Seek with only 6 sigils can lead to dead draws very easily. Second, because this deck relies so much on Tomes to cast its 4-drops, the ramp from Lost Scroll won’t necessarily let you cast your cards any earlier. Finally, there are some better alternative 2-drops: Riot Detail
is an option if you want a more aggressive slant, and Steyer’s Eyes we considered because Gavel shuts down certain things, and gives us a way to break face aegis.
(SG: I concur that Vine Grafter is a fantastic card, and this is something that I overlooked: simply playing Vine Grafter as a 2/2 Regen. Even in an Autotread meta, Vine Grafter is an incredibly strong 2 drop, and I got too caught up playing the mixed market, which was the reason I ended up not playing it. If one were to closely look at your available 2 drops as FJS, you really don't have tons of good options, so Vine Grafter seems like a fine choice.
I believe that the reasoning for not including Lost Scroll from jez is sound as well. I am not terribly enthused by the selection of alternative 2 drops however: we did not find Riot Detail to be particularly good in testing since you got very little mileage out of the Taunt mode, and the low Sigil count affects Eyes as well. However, seeing that many identified Reanimator as a good way to go over the top of the midrange heavy meta (which I did not previously think would be popular), the Adjudicator's Gavel
out of Eyes might be very useful in the present meta.)
vs. Open Contract
: So, I don’t have much to say on this. Torch is I think a very medium card, whilst Open Contract is extremely potent removal. Having an easy answer to Magni, Kenna, Dichro, ChaCha, SST, etc. all for one power seems way too important for this sort of deck, even given the downside of the cost reduction.
(SG: We did not like Open Contract in our testing outside of Stonescar Aggro as the cost reduction came up a lot, and this deck is not fast enough to close out the game before that usually becomes a problem. That being said, I admit that I might be completely wrong here, since Contract is an incredibly versatile card.)
vs. Stonebreaker Bow
, as in the list others in TRS brought): These last two removal slots are tricky, and Defile is definitely a solid pick. Popotito said after his runs that Defile might’ve been the best choice, because it gave a way to break face aegis vs. decks like Eclipse combo.
* Seek Power
vs. Winchest Cargo
: Traditionally, the Cargos were bad in FJS, but that was when the deck was trying to get up to Rizahn, Icaria, and Xo. In this build however there is a lot less to do with extra power, and so the Cargos are better to alleviate flood.
* Hidden Road Smuggler
vs. Kerendon Merchant
: Given that our main worry was facing midrange decks (between FJS, AP, Xenan, and Skycrag) the deadly Merchant body was something we felt was very important. As for the fewer Market options, I’ll touch on that below.
* The Markets: So kinda remarkably, the two markets don’t have a single card in common, though there are some obvious points of comparison. Edict of Kodosh has some key things it hits compared to Edict of Makkar, but there are also a lot of key things it misses, and the extra 1 cost is a big deal. Pristine Light
might at first look better than Nothing Remains
, but the problem is the number of key units it misses. It is far worse vs aggro, and vs midrange it misses Magni, Dichro, Valk Enforcer, Black Book, etc. When you are reaching for a sweeper with this deck, it is typically because you need to have the whole board wiped, as then your high-impact 4-drops can come down and take over the game.
(SG: While the doubling in cost is very relevant, I like Edict of Kodosh as a broader kill spell. Specifically, I expected both Stonescar Aggro and Skycrag Frenzy to be popular matchups, whereas I did not expect Xenan/Combrei to be played as heavily. Edict of Kodosh answers Kenna, Uncontained; Autotread; Champion of Chaos; and so forth. Hence, I believe it was worthwhile to run.
As for Pristine Light, I respectfully disagree that when you need a sweeper, it is because you need the whole board wiped, for instance, against a deck like Eclipse. What I liked about Pristine Light is that is exactly that it misses so many of your own units (save for Varbuk), so you can play this pre-combat, wipe out a lot of your opponent's board, and still get in for a ton of damage. I do agree that having Nothing Remains + another sweeper market is probably redundant, however.)
Rounding out your Market: Know Thy Enemy
was a card that we originally had in the Market, before the TNE, but we cut it because it was a little redundant alongside Nothing Remains, and we were already strong in the aggro matchup. Hot take: Silverblade Menace
is not good in Throne right now! Most decks are not running very many spells, and the ones that are? They have Display of Survival
for fast aegis. Menace was once an auto-include in FJS Markets, but I think those days have passed. Brel, Solist Apostate
is a solid card, but we cut it at the last minute for Makkar’s Stranger.
(SG: Agreed on the point on Silverblade Menace. Despite my team's showing at the TNE, we did think Control might still be a viable option, but that Face Aegis would prove to be a huge roadblock for many of the usual anti-Control options. That is also why in our team's version of JS Midrange, we dropped both the Sediti, Killing Steel and Builder's Decree
as Face Aegis was just up so often.)
Rounding out our Market: Toxic Wisp
we included because if you cast it on Black Book, Pit Boss
, things get out of hand pretty fast. It is also a decent grab vs aggro. Regent’s Tomb (or Syl’s Stronghold in my list) is there as a solid proactive Market card, for those games where you go Merchant on 3 and haven’t got a 4-drop lined up. Finally, Makkar’s Stranger was a last-minute change that we were very happy with. Its primary purpose was to hard counter the Eclipse deck by stealing the cost-reduced Eclipse. However, it was also good as just a proactive threat that drew a card and demanded an answer.
(SG: I am a little skeptical of Toxic Wisp's inclusion here as I don't think it has a lot of mileage outside of Black Book, particularly since this archetype generally does not run Autotread. Regarding the site, despite my fervent complaining about how Syl's Stronghold is a terrible maindeck card, I quite like it marketed here as well for when the deck wants to take a more aggressive slant. As I've mentioned before, in a Jekk meta, I do think the Tomb suffers from being easily picked off, even without a Sigil in hand. Finally, while I was not expecting Eclipse to be tremendously popular, I do agree that Makkar's Stranger is just generally a good card - any 2 for 1 is fantastic in the midrange mirror.)
(Thanks again jez! :DDD)
*I would also like to clarify that I have seen smatterings of a Vision (TJS) deck floating around ladder that runs Magniventris; Diana, Faith's Shield
; (amongst other cards) and a Crack the Earth
market. The problem is that the deck is unbelievably greedy, and the powerbase makes no sense to me; consequently, even though it has managed to beat me a handful of times, I continue to have absolutely no clue how to recreate the deck. Best of luck to you if you do.
Skycrag (FP) Frenzy
(Based off of: know when to nerf malaga amphitheatre
Pretty much entirely from Mail's TNE winning deck, this deck plays a fair Skycrag Midrange game while having the Nico, Urban Hunter
combo to go over the top with. In the main deck, I've opted to play Unstable Form
, which not only works well as an answer to Autotread, but also for Discard/market fodder. The pair of Maveloft Huntress
to plunder and interacts supports these Forms (while also grabbing Sigils for Jekk.)
In the market, I took a page out of Hooru's book with Regression
as some market Tread interaction, and Garden of Omens
just as a general utility site. Though I'm rather ambivalent on sites in this present format, at least maindeck, this card is a very useful tool against the AP decks.
Hooru (JP) Control
The premier Control deck of the format that got a huge boon to it with Boundless Knowledge
, which allows you to eschew Helio, the Skywinder
maindeck and play more frequently at fast speed. Additionally, with the arrival of Display of Survival
, we once again have fast-speed Face Aegis that has plenty of flexibility.
Being Control, it naturally stomps on the unit-based Midrange decks, but struggles against relic weapons. In particular, Hidden Garrote
can be quite problematic for the deck since it also blocks any form of Face Aegis. The Thicket Trap
s that differ from the version that my team brought to the TNE should help with this matchup somewhat.
One point of contention is whether you are favoured against the Stonescar decks packing Syl, No Regrets. While your deck is almost entirely spells, it also has a lot of Face Aegis. Consequently, you can sometimes rely on Face Aegis to clear Syl - and others - through a board wipe like Harsh Rule
without taking too much damage. Additionally, while Sites are generally difficult for this deck to deal with, thanks to the presence of Jekk amongst other direct damage effects, I don't expect Sites to be frequently played. My favourite trick, of course, is to use The Fall of the Spire
to block my opponent from playing Syl despite the completion of their Stronghold's Agenda. Hence, while the match-up isn't exactly a cakewalk, with good play and patience, the match-up is quite manageable.
Combrei (TJ) Relics
(Just look at newershadow's list here: Combrei Relics again
I'm not even going to pretend like I know what's going on with this deck cause I have never played it, and I never want to. However, I think newershadow's list looks pretty good; they've managed to make 3 TNE Top 8s with the archetype, so they definitely know what they're doing.
The only major difference between Combrei Relics lists that I've seen is running Ageworn Vestige
main or market, with Martyr's Chains
taking its place. I do like the full 4 of Saber-Tooth Prideleader
main right now to answer the Tavrod Relic Weapon decks; I do also think market Chains are a liability in the face of the popularity of Bullseye. Consequently, I think that newershadow's present set-up makes sense.
Xenan (TS) Unleash 'Combo'
Now this? This is my kind of combo deck. [Sidenote: why does Xenan get all the fair gameplan combo decks?] Anyway, Plan A of the deck is to get an Unexpected Arrival
to reduce the cost of either Dunehill Clan
or your market Insect Swarm
, with 12 ways to fetch it later on. Then you can plop too many fliers at the end of your opponent's turn before smacking them for a lot in the air. However, we have a Plan B of just beating your opponent down with solid Midrange cards such as Alhed Ascending
or Sandstorm Titan
. Top-end wise, I have opted for units that work well with Display of Realities
in case Plan A does not come to fruition, such as Moonstone Vanguard
or Worldbearer Behemoth
- with Unleash cards, the deck can now make use of its excess power much more effectively. If you want a deck that's just very consistent at being reasonably good, I believe Xenan is a great archetype to bring.
*Side note: Due to the popularity of Shadow Midrange, and thus, Exploit and fast speed single-target unit removal, I do believe 'all-in' combo decks are also pretty bad right now. However, it is still good to be aware of them in case you encounter them on ladder. Here are what I believe to be the most popular 'combo' decks that you might encounter: Praxis OTK
The deck amasses Fire influence that gears it up towards massive Rebuild
s, generating a lot of power before using draw spells to find the Destiny Rebuild and do it again. The deck eventually wins by cashing all this power into a massive Pyrotech Explosion
. Since the deck heavily lies on Rebuild, hand attack alongside negation spells such as Obstructive Flicker
works wonders here. Eccentric Officer
Usually based in FTJ, this combo involves grabbing Eccentric Officer
from the market, swapping around all of the costs of cards in your deck. This in turn allows you to Reweave
out a cheap Kairos, Grand Champion
, before eventually killing with a First Flame
. Of course, if you can snipe the Officer, that would be best, but taking market access or Reweave also sets the deck back a lot. Executioner Combo
Either in Combrei or Hooru, the deck uses Reweave to get an Executioner
out on the board. Next, they can use either Fair Exchange
for Kanya, Ironthorn Envoy
or Conclave Siege
to keep playing cards on your turn and ping you to death. In case they happen to draw it, Royal Decree
could take care of the remaining Executioner in the deck since these combo decks often have no way to actually play the Executioner fairly; another option would be play Can't Remember
to knock out all the Executioners in your opponent's deck. Eclipse Combo
This is a deck that operates by playing tons of Merchants and market access in order to access the Eclipse
and Nesting Avisaur
in the market. Then, one can use the Avisaur to put the Eclipse on top of their deck, and use their 1-cost Eclipse to generate a huge board of Lux Penumbras to soup up every single unit in the deck. Besides the obvious hand attack/negation spells, which the deck does run Shakedown
to tech against, a sweeper into void hate can make it difficult for the deck to bounce back since they'll have to rely on assorted Smuggler beats to close out the game instead. Spire Shadows Combo
Similarly to Eclipse, you have tons of market access to grab the Spire Shadows in your market. You can then use Reweave to fetch out undercosted threats from your deck. There is also an infinite combo with a modified Riva, Crimson Blur
and a Valley Whisperer
where you just infinitely ping your opponent's face. You could try take their market access, but as long as you're playing units, Blazing Salvo
remains a fast-speed option for grabbing Shadows. Your other option is to wipe their board after they've deployed their cheap units, or beat them down fast enough. Unlike other decks, this combo deck really doesn't have a ton of card draw other than Crownwatch Press-Gang
, so it's still very possible to go over or under them.
(Example list: 4.5 Faction Spire Shadows
I hope that the guide helped you get a better idea of Throne, but equally importantly, given you an idea for what deck you might want to bring this weekend. If you want to chat more about any of the archetypes, you can hit me up on Twitter @stormguard798, or find me lurking in the TNE or Misplay Discords. Ta-ta for now, and best of luck in the upcoming Open! ^-^