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An Analysis of Rakano vs. Jito(less)

Analysis by detail251 - June 23, 2017

I'll keep this brief. I have been playing a lot of hyper aggressive Stonescar variants lately as I feel they are the best option for laddering at the moment. While they don't technically run Frontier Jito anymore I am going to call the deck Jito for the purposes of this article mainly because I think Jitoless is silly. Something that has really surprised me though is how "favorable" the Rakano matchup seems to be. I'm talking 75% across a not insignificant sample size. Inuitively I don't think it should be this way and I think the reason behind this discrepancy is that many Rakano players are making fundamental mistakes. For reference here is the list I have been laddering with:

And here is a fairly typical Rakano Plate list:

To put it simply, if you are playing an aggressive Rakano deck in the vein of Unearthly's creations against a Jito style list there is one very important fact you need to recognize: You are not the beatdown. Much has been said about the concept of Who's the Beatdown, so I won't go into detail here. LightsOutAce covered the topic from the Eternal perspective nicely already.

Suffice it to say that in the overwhelming majority of instances the Rakano player must take the control role in the Jito matchup if they want to have any chance of winning. If you are playing Rakano you have one goal: play a Silverwing Familiar and put a Deepforged Plate or Hammer of Might on it. Most Rakano lists aren't running Righteous Fury anymore so this is your only option. From there you are almost unbeatable. Until that happens though, you HAVE to assume you are dead every turn after turn 3 and play accordingly.

In my experience from the Jito side of the matchup Rakano players love to attack into your units. Presumably the player believes that, since they are an aggressive deck and their units are larger than yours, they should be pushing damage and trying to race your stupid Grenadin tokens. After all, 2 Grenadin and a Knifejack aren't going to race a Tinker Overseer with a hammer on it and an Oni Ronin are they? The tricky part of this equation is that most of a Jito deck's damage comes in burst form from the hand:

A Rally or Bandit Queen can often represent 15+ damage from a board where they are only showing 4 or 5 attack. Even a pair of Rapid Shots can add up to huge one-turn output if even a single body gets through.

As the Rakano player, it is of paramount importance that you limit the damage you take in whatever way possible until you have assembled your giant Silverwing Familiar. You need to be trading your units for their cards at every opportunity. There is a tendency not to block when you suspect the attacker is holding a Rapid Shot, but that is exactly what the Jito player wants. Jito decks run very light on power sources, so they are usually constricted on what they can actually play. Forcing them to spend 2 power on a Rapid Shot effectively means they lose their turn. They don't want to have to take a turn off to cast a Rapid Shot, they want to scare you off of blocking so they can spend their power further developing their board. It feels bad to trade a unit off for a Rapid Shot but: that is still a 1-for-1 trade, it buys you tempo, and you have prevented them from sending those 4 points of damage to the dome later in the game. To close, here are some specific recommendations that I think will greatly improve your matchup against hyper-aggro Stonescar:

1. Always block when you can trade. The worst case scenario is you trade your guy for a Rapid Shot which is a pretty good fail state. Best case, you get to trade with one of their units.

2. Never block with Silverwing Familiar. You simply cannot afford to lose this card. It is your path to victory.

3. Champion of Glory is your best non-Silverwing Familiar card in the matchup. Being a 3/3 means it can actually profitably block most of Jito's units rather than trade, all the while pressuring the opponent. I would redraw hands that have neither champion nor a silverwing frequently.

4. Finally, and most importantly, you must spend your power as efficiently as possible. Your mindset should be to try and play as many cards from your hand as you can each turn. If you can play a Tinker Overseer or a pair of Oni Ronin you should default to playing 2 ronin rather than a single overseer. Using a Torch on a Grenadin doesn't feel correct but if you can play a Pyroknight and torch even a lowly grenadin you usually should. Saving a torch to get a 2-for-1 on a Rapid Shot is good value but I would never do it at the expense of being able to spend all my power every turn. The ideal case is you spend all your resources running the Jito player out of cards because once your are both top-decking your deck is much more powerful on a card for card basis.

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Nefariousdolly Eternal Version: 1.21
Both archetypes are horrible in the current meta. Next article should be about the current meta. Not from a few months back.
detail251 Edited Eternal Version: 1.21
Mainly because I feel that it confuses the list with the also popular burn queen which is a very different archetype than the mainly one drop focused, formerly jito based, decks.
Hebbes Edited Eternal Version: 1.21
Why not just call the deck queen like most people I know? It's an aggro queen list.
Qwazarr Eternal Version: 1.21
Because Queen usually refers to decks with Impending Doom and Quarry, slightly midrangey stonescar lists, whilst Jitoless refers to the "lots of 1 drops, assembly line, rally" style Stonescar Decks.