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

TonyGeeeee's Guide to Armory

11 August 2017

Editor's Note: This guide is for Armory up to patch 1.22


Hi! My name is Antoine, but some people may know me as TonyGeeeee. Since I’ve started playing Eternal more seriously, I’ve been obsessed with one deck: Armory. When other high ranked players see my name, they know what they are up against. I won an ETS and got another top 8. I also finished top 5 in ranked for the past 3 months, only with Armory.

I will do my best to make this guide as complete as possible. This means it will be a very long read. This guide is mainly focused towards Ranked play, but will mention Tournament play from time to time. Also, keep in mind that what’s written is based on one single player’s perspective. I do not claim to have the universal truth. However, I feel like I’ve gathered enough knowledge over the time to help you become a better player, or at least better at Armory.

Here are the 7 sections included in this Guide:
1) What is Armory?
2) Cards that define the archetype
3) Decklists
4) Mulligans
5) Tips and Tricks
6) Matchups
7) Closing thoughts

Please enjoy.



1) What is Armory?

Armory is a very peculiar control deck. It uses cheap removals and weapons to go through the early game and aims to crush its opponents with late game finishers.
Armory has two main factions: Fire and Justice. It also splashes Shadow for cards like Slay, Quarry, and Smuggler's Stash.

What makes it different from most control decks is that it rarely builds card advantage, unlike Feln Control, for example. You rely on pure value to grind out your opponent. You have multiple ways to buff your weapons, giving you the tools to destroy a good number of your opponent’s units. If they opt for a go-wide strategy, Harsh Rule gains an insane amount of value. Most of your weapons go 2-for-1 and then, you get them back with Smuggler's Stash. All in all, you will often have fewer cards than your opponent, but their quality will be through the roof.

A comparison could be made with Hearthstone’s Control Warrior. Their overall strategy is similar. Control the board early, gain armor, play big units/weapons and win. Sadly, there aren’t any good comparatives in Magic the Gathering, because relic weapons don’t exist.

This archetype will, in my mind, stay alive for a very long time. Relic weapons are extremely good at removing units, no matter their attributes. They can have flying, Aegis, deadly, overwhelm, unblockable or quickdraw; we don’t care. Also, Armory is mainly supported by set 1 cards, meaning that if any rotation happens, this deck will mostly stay unchanged.

Pros:
  • Can unlock its win condition earlier than most control decks (turns 5 with Harsh Rule, to 7 with Icaria, the Liberator)
  • Insane topdeck potential
  • High snowball potential with your warcries
  • Easy to pick up, hard to master


Cons:
  • Heavily relies on topdecking
  • Has a hard time against tokens
  • Auto-loss if you get mana screwed
  • Has a hard time dealing with Dawnwalker




2) Cards that define the archetype

While the optimal deck is meta-dependent, a good number of cards stay the same. Here is a brief analysis on these cards and the numbers you should run.

Charchain Flail: Between 1 and 4. It’s the most versatile weapon you can have. It can kill an Oni Ronin or a Sandstorm Titan. This card has great synergy with Smuggler's Stash since it keeps the attack value while in the void. If you can attach armor to this with Throne Warden, it is a powerhouse. Its problem is that it is the weakest of all your weapons. In Midrange matchups, having to take the damage might make you lose, but it’s always nice to have a last resort.

Inspire: Always 4. A cycling card that buffs your weapons? That seems good!

Torch: Always 4. One of your best cards against aggro. It can also help you trade up when your weapon just falls short. Torch is good. You’ve heard it here first!

Quarry: Always 4. Your best cycle card. It’s pretty nice to be able to play your win condition one turn earlier!

Rakano Artisan: Always 4. Artisan is one of the best Armory cards. It’s a good early blocker and it makes your weapons much better. Playing 1-2 and then drawing a weapon is often game winning.

Vanquish: Between 0 and 4. I was going to put Vanquish and Slay together because they fit the same role. However, they have slight differences. Vanquish is better in a deck that has Statuary Maiden. Being able to play Maiden and a removal on turn 6 is often crucial. In a world of Midrange decks, this card is very useful. If Feln is popular, cut it.

Slay: Between 2 and 4. One of the best removal in the game. Usually as good or better than Vanquish. The 50% increase in cost is not very important since you will usually float mana. In the games I've played, it happened very few times that I wanted a Vanquish over a Slay. The opposite happened more often. The numbers of Vanquishes and Slays are variable, depending on the meta, but having a split between both is usually right.

Sword of Icaria: Between 3 and 4, but usually 3. Your bread and butter in the early game. Can be used to remove units or just for the warcry. I suggest going aggressive with this weapon. If you are not against Aggro, this weapon can and should be used for the warcry only, creating an unstoppable snowball. An unstoppaball, if you will.

Auric Runehammer: Between 3 and 4, but usually 3. Your best defensive weapon. Unbuffed, it kills a good number of early units. Buffed, it becomes a Midrange killing machine. Having this card buffed to 6 damage against Combrei will win you the game (Thanks, Rise to the Challenge!). This card tends to fall off late-game, but in the mid-game, it is your best removal tool. This weapon is the very definition of 2-for-1. Another nice interaction is with Starsteel Daisho. If you have 10 mana and both weapons in hand, you can play Runehammer first, then kill something with Daisho without hurting yourself. It’s a fringe situation, but sometimes it will help you.

Rise to the Challenge: Between 2 and 3. The only tutor in the deck. Too slow for aggro matchups, but crucial against the rest. You can Rise for a 6 damage Runehammer to kill a Titan, or go for a 6-4 Daisho to kill your opponent. Every matchup has its own rule regarding which card is best to get. One thing is sure: this card is very much needed.

Harsh Rule: Always 4. A staple in any Justice-based control deck. A win condition against flood decks and the card you’ll most likely topdeck the turn after it was needed. Not much to say about it. This card is vital.

Smuggler's Stash: Between 2 and 3. Your best value card. Period. Has great synergy with Charchain Flail and any other weapon/unit for that matter. It is your best topdeck when you are running out of cards and will often straight up make your opponent concede. Having Stash might also change your Quarry decisions. You can now safely discard a weapon in favor of a spell, since you’re going to get the weapon later in the game. Do not do this if you absolutely need the weapon now.

Throne Warden: Between 3 and 4, but usually 3. In a deck with so few units, Throne Warden shines. It’s sticky, gives armor to your weapons and is a great blocker. It is game winning against Aggro but doesn't contest a Sandstorm Titan or another big threat. Sticking the 4 armor onto a weapon, and then using Stash, is often part of your win condition.

Starsteel Daisho: Always 2. This is where people might disagree. If I were right, which I am, I would say Daisho is the best card in your deck. This card has won me more games than Icaria, the Liberator and Smuggler's Stash combined. Having this buffed to a 6-6 or more is instantly game over in most matchups. You can kill two units for one card or deal copious amount of damage to your opponent. This card gives the most armor out of any card in the deck once buffed and trust me, you want to buff this card. Even going 1-for-1 is alright. There's nothing more satisfying than topdecking a big juicy Daisho. Even better, the foil version is absolutely gorgeous.

Icaria, the Liberator: Between 0 and 2. (4 if your name is Camat0). Bae herself. The classic late game finisher. When people think about Armory, they think about Icaria. The card has a good body, but what really makes this card go over the top is its effect: Warcry 5. Do you want a 9-6 Auric Runehammer? Yes. Do you want a 9-9 Starsteel Daisho? YES! Its only problem is that, for some reason, it has a 75% chance of hitting Rakano Artisan. This card has the potential to give you the win on the turn it’s played. However, Icaria is not perfect. It costs 7 mana with 3 Fire and 3 Justice, which is not always what you have by turn 7. It is a slow card against aggro and is weak to Sandstorm Titan. Icaria is still a very strong card, but I was inclined to put it in the meta-dependent section since a meta controlled by Praxis Midrange is not a good time for our favorite Valkyrie.

The next few cards are not staples but will see on-and-off play depending on the meta

Statuary Maiden: Between 0 and 4. In a meta controlled by Dawnwalker, this card shines. It is your best card in many matchups, especially Praxis. It is somewhat hard to kill it on turn 4 and you don’t mind it getting Permafrosted. Maiden also gives you more value out of an early Stash. This card struggles against silences, so in a Combrei dominated meta, forget about Maiden.

Furnace Mage: Between 0 and 2. The only Relic-Hate Armory can have. More often than not, it will stay a sideboard card, but when you are tired of seeing Crystalline Chalice and Xenan Obelisk, Furnace Mage is a lifesaver. Since it’s a unit, you can Stash it back to kill another relic!

Reforge: Between 0 and 2. My favorite set 2 card. While it pales in comparison with Smuggler’s Stash in terms of value, it’s still a good card. In many matchups, having access to a weapon is primordial. This card will sometimes be better than Rise to the Challenge. In a meta controlled my Midrange, having the opportunity to get back a 6-3 Auric Runehammer is immensely valuable.

Talon of Nostrix: Between 0 and 3. Very good against aggro, but your worst card against anything else. If you are facing too many aggro, this could be an inclusion, but you will cry when Combrei plays a Sandstorm Titan and you only have a 2-2 weapon in hand.

Valkyrie Enforcer: Between 0 and 3. This used to be an auto inclusion in set 1. This card has a great body for its cost and a very important effect. In this deck though, you mostly play it for the silence. I found that Statuary Maiden is often better than Enforcer, but it still has a place as a sideboard card or if you feel like you need to silence a unit immediately.

Armorsmith: Between 0 and 3. I don’t think this card is good anymore. Even against Aggro, it just doesn’t do much. The dream scenario is to play a Sword of Icaria on turn 3 and then have 1-2 free Armorsmiths. The problem is that your hand is now empty. You’re lacking answers for their bigger units, the ones Armorsmith cannot block. I honestly don’t see this card coming back in Armory, but it could be a consideration in some unknown meta.

Copperhall Bailiff: Between 0 and 3. A very strong addition when you are facing an army of small units. Playing this after a Scouting Party is one of the best feelings in the world. When the meta rather aims at going tall, this card is unplayable. It’s still a good sideboard option.

Annihilate: Between 0 and 2. One of my go-to sideboard card. I don't think it fits quite well in a main board since we already have cheap and efficient removal. In matchups where you need as many removals as possible, it is a good inclusion.

Steward of the Past: Between 0 and 0. This card would be an auto-include in a meta revolving around Midrange. The problem is its requirement. Having 2 Shadow influence by turn 4 is simply too much for this card to be playable in Armory. If you want a 4-cost unit that destroys Void-centric strategies, play Statuary Maiden.

Inquisitor Makto: Between 0 and 0. Let’s make one thing clear: Makto is a good card. It’s just not good in Armory. Makto is better in decks that have other silenceable units. If you don’t have those other units, you then need to put 3-4 Maktos in your deck. So the question is: what do you cut? Icaria? Daisho? Stash? No. Besides, you would need to rework your Sigil count to make sure you can get 2 Shadow by turn 5. Maktos are cute and will win you games because they came back the turn after they got killed, but the other win conditions mentioned above are more consistent and will yield better results. We’ve seen some ETS decks do great with 4 Maktos, but they were not Armory decks, they were Midrange decks that shared the same influence.

Stonescar Maul: DO NOT PLAY STONESCAR MAUL IN ARMORY, I REPEAT, MAUL IN ARMORY IS BAD! Here’s why. Do you want to push damage? Starsteel Daisho is better. Do you want to kill a big threat? Auric Runehammer is better. Do you want to kill multiple units? Daisho is better. Do you want to have a more valuable card when buffed? Daisho is better. Do you want your 6-cost weapon to survive Torch? Guess what, Daisho is better. The only situation where Maul is better is when your opponent has multiple small units on board and he has 1-4 HP left. Def Leppard’s drummer could count the number of time this situation has happened with his left hand. (I’ll save you a Google search: he doesn’t have a left hand.)



3) Decklists

At the time of publication (August 2017), I don’t think there is a perfect Armory list. Here is one that got me to Rank 1 in July and August 2017.



It runs the standard package, with a few exceptions. It doesn't run Icaria because it wasn't strong enough in the current Midrange-dominated meta. Cards like Predatory Carnosaur and Sandstorm Titan mean you won’t have any chance of attacking with it more than once, if at all. Also, in the Praxis Midrange matchup, you’re constantly on the back foot. You won’t have the time to drop a 5-5 on turn 7. Also, the deck only runs 29 Power sources. If you want to play Icaria, you need at the very least 31 sources (25 Powers + 2 Rolant's Favor + 4 Seek Power). This means you’re going to have to cut some very valuable cards. To add 2 Icarias, you’ll need to remove 4 cards from your deck. I didn’t find this trade to be worth it.

It also has 4 Maidens, which are your win condition against Praxis. You kill Dawnwalkers and you put the cudgel on your Maiden. Repeat this process until Maiden has 7+ hp and you are good to go (more on that in the Matchups section).

While this deck is constantly evolving, I found this version to be very effective. The core remains intact while having ways to deal with the Praxis onslaught.



This other version worked surprisingly well in the last few days. I went from rank 20 to 1 with a 14-2 record. The deck is very similar to the previous one, except for the Reforge. This card was very valuable in Midrange matchups since you need as many Runehammers are possible. It’s often a Rise to the Challenge that also buffs the weapon’s armor. This deck probably needs a bit more tuning, but it’s a good starting point.

Many high-level Armory players agree that right now, Armory is not Tier 1. It is still a viable deck, but if your only goal is to climb as fast as possible, play something else. The deck is very strong and can pull off win out of nowhere, but with the slew of midrange decks right now, you are consistently playing from behind.

Replacements

If you are a new player, you may lack certain legendaries included in these decklists. While I strongly recommend trying the deck as-is, here are some possible replacements.

Starsteel Daisho: The hardest weapon to replace. There is no other weapon that allows you to hit multiple targets in one turn. As much as I dislike Stonescar Maul, it might be the best replacement. The other option would be to add some more Charchain Flails.

Statuary Maiden: The best option is Steward of the Past. While you may have trouble casting it on turn 4, their effects are very similar.

Icaria, the Liberator: This card is not in those suggested decklists, but it’s still important to think about a replacement. Just like Daisho, there are no clear replacement, since this card has a unique effect. Once again, I recommend adding weapons.



4) Mulligans

This section is for ranked play only. In a tournament setting, you know what you are up against, so your mulligan decisions will change depending on the matchup. In ranked, the safest thing is to assume everyone is playing an aggressive deck. If you are right, you will have the tools to deal with your opponent’s deck. If you are wrong, you are playing against a deck that will give you the time to react and adapt.

The sweet spot is at 3-4 Power in your opening hand. The perfect influence is FFJJS, but having FJJ or FJS will unlock a majority of your cards. If you have a Quarry and no Shadow influence, you cannot keep the hand. Keeping a 2 Sigils hand will likely result in a Power Screw. Even if you have 2 Rakano Artisans and a Torch, you cannot realistically keep a 2 Power hand. On the other hand, keeping a 5 Power hand will reduce the chances of having a good answer for the board state.

The ideal cards to have in your opening hand are Torch, Inspire, Quarry, Rakano Artisan, and Sword of Icaria. Auric Runehammer is also a good choice, but you will need earlier answers to make sure it stays relevant. Only keep a hand with Charchain Flail if you have 2 Fire influence.



5) Tips and Tricks

Here are multiple scenarios some people might not play correctly. It is in no particular order but should help you in most matchups.

A) Inspire before Quarry. If you are on turn 3 and you’re asking yourself what’s the correct order: buff your next unit/weapon first, then increase your chances of drawing it with Quarry.

B) When using Quarry, it is better to discard a good weapon than to get Sigil screwed. In some cases, this is not the correct line of play, but in most situations, you need to get to 5-6 Power to unlock the deck’s potential. Missing a Power for a weapon might mean you won’t be able to Harsh Rule on 5.

C) Inspire after Rakano Artisan against anything but Aggro. In Aggro matchups, you need to draw cards as fast as possible. You don't care that much if you draw a 5-2 or a 6-3 Auric Runehammer. As long as you actually draw it, the difference is negligible. However, this +1 +1 difference is crucial against Combrei and other Midrange matchups.

D) Use your Health total as a resource. This might be the most important advice I can give you if you aim to be good at any control deck. In matchups where you don't have to worry about taking 10 from Flame Blast, it's okay to take significant damage in order to improve your board presence. You can usually wait for one or two more turns to pull off a more valuable Harsh Rule. You can lose your armor to make sure you’ll have enough blockers to kill an incoming Sandstorm Titan next turn. You should take some amount of damage against Rakano to play around Finest Hour or Torch. Taking 5-6 more damage on turn 4 might mean you’ll save 10-12 damage on turn 6. There is a fine line between taking enough damage to win and taking too much then lose. It’s all about practice and experience, but the first step is to learn this rule of thumb.

E) Saving your weapon sometimes means saving your life. This somewhat goes against my previous advice, but in the situation when you have a weapon and a unit, it is usually correct to chump block in order to preserve your weapon. A weapon that goes 2-for-1 in any matchup will increase your likeliness of winning the game by a significant margin. This advice doesn’t have to be followed every time. There are clear situations where losing your weapon is the right play, but knowing when to do it and when not to, is the key to victory.

F) It’s okay to Rise to the Challenge for a small Charchain Flail instead of another bigger weapon. When you are facing a deck that is all about board presence, like Rakano, your aim is to kill every single unit on the board. This means using Rise for a Flail that’s playable this turn is usually better than playing rise, skipping your turn and having to face a bigger unit on the next turn. Also, your opponent knows you picked up a 6-1 Auric Runehammer, so they will play around it.

G) The correct play might not be mana efficient. In general, Control decks don’t aim at pure mana efficiency. Unlike Aggro and Midrange decks, Armory doesn’t mind floating mana to achieve its win condition. Of course, in a perfect world, using 100% of your mana every turn will make you win, but sadly, this is not a perfect world. Taking a turn to fix your mana to make sure you Harsh Rule on 5, or using Quarry to dig further into your deck for the specific answer you’re going to need soon is usually the correct line of play. Once again, it means you’re going to take more damage, but as we learned earlier, your health is a resource.

H) Against Aggro, do not use your last weapon aggressively. This is a rule that doesn’t need to be followed all the time. You have to use your judgment, but keep in mind that aggro has many ways to topdeck something that will kill your weapon. Dealing 4-8 damage to your opponent means nothing if you can’t answer a unit 2 turns later.

I) Do not be scared to go 1-for-1 with your Harsh Rules. While Harsh rule is your best cards in certain matchups, using one to kill a single unit is often a fine trade against Aggro and Midrange. Think of this card as a more expensive Slay. Would you have slayed the 6-4 Champion of Chaos? Yes? Then use Harsh Rule.

J) When in doubt, Rise for a Runehammer. There are very few situations where a 6-1 Auric Runehammer is a bad thing to have in hand. If you’re on the fence about whether to rise for a finisher like Starsteel Daisho or a more defensive option like Runehammer, the latter is probably the correct choice. You should Rise for a finisher when a clear window of opportunity presents itself.



6) Matchups

Here is a list of the most popular matchups right now on ladder (as of August 2017). I will assign a value, from 1 to 10 for every matchup. A "1" represents a very easy matchup. As long as you recognize your win condition, you will win. A "10" represents a very hard matchup. You better pray to your deity of choice when you see this deck on ladder because you're going to need some divine intervention.

I intentionally omitted to put percentage points in my analysis. This scale is about pure matchup difficulty. You can still lose a 1/10 matchup as well as win a 10/10 since variance is very much a thing in Eternal.

The value is based on 3 variables: Likeliness to recognize your win condition, how big the window of opportunity can be and your draw quality.

What I mean by win condition: The usual way you will win the game in a specific matchup. For example, having a clear board against Rakano is your win condition. As long as they don’t have units, they will lose. The win conditions explained in this section are not the only ways you can win a certain matchup, but they are the usual strategies one can use to increase your win-rate.

What I mean by window of opportunity: the number of turns you have to achieve your win condition. In some matchups, like Chalice Control, your window is very small. Therefore, you must be much more aggressive in order to get to your win condition. On the other hand, against Feln control, your window is much wider. You can skip multiple turns and still have a way to win the game.

What I mean by draw quality: This one is pretty simple. Can you draw what you need at the time you need it? This one is mostly out of your hands, but knowing what to pick from Quarry, or what to Rise, as well as knowing what hand to Mulligan away increases your likeliness to draw well.

Aggro

Argenport Aggro

Difficulty: 4/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board
Key Cards: Torch, Harsh Rule, any weapon
Watch out for: Finest Hour, Protect, Silverwing Familiar

This matchup is very similar to Rakano and revolves around board control. Be sure to remove every single threat the turn they are played. They usually have Protects, which means, your weapons are key. When you see a pause, always assume it’s Finest Hour, until proven otherwise. Kill the Aegis units first then finish off the other ones with spot removals. This is a matchup where you can get hit multiple times without fear. Rise for any weapon that fits the situation best. It can either be Flail, Runehammer or Daisho.

Burn Queen (Big burn)

Difficulty: 5/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board early and then making sure you are out of burn range.
Key Cards: Torch, Auric Runehammer, Throne Warden, Vanquish/Slay
Watch out for: Bandit Queen, Impending Doom, Cabal Countess

This one is similar to Skycrag aggro, except the units are naturally bigger, but easier to remove. Use Torch to remove early units, then go 2-for-1 with your Runehammer. Use your torch on your opponent’s turn, except when you want to kill a unit with Warcry. This is another matchup where every health point matters. Play around Bandit Queen as much as you can. Use your weak units to chump block if necessary. Rising for a Runehammer is almost always right. When you stabilized, use a Daisho or an Icaria (if you have one) to close out the game. A good Smuggler’s Stash should gain you enough value to win on the spot.

Burn Queen (Rally)

Difficulty: 6/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board
Key Cards: Torch, Harsh Rule, Sword of Icaria, Throne Warden
Watch out for: Rally, Bandit Queen, Shadowlands Guide

If you don’t draw Harsh Rule by turn 5, you will most likely lose this matchup. Luckily, it’s not too popular right now. The first two turns are the same as Big Burn. On turn 3, they will play Assembly line then Queen on turn 4. Use torch to kill an Oni Ronin or a Bandit Queen. You cannot be greedy with your removal. Use everything as soon as possible. Using a Slay to kill a 1-1 is a fine strategy. After having used Harsh Rule, turn the tides with big weapons and Throne Wardens. Usually, the only burn spell this deck has is Torch, so don’t play around burn too much.

Rakano Plate

Difficulty: 2/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board
Key Cards: Torch, Harsh Rule, any weapon
Watch out for: Finest Hour, Torch, Silverwing Familiar

As explained earlier, this matchup revolves around board control. Rakano has 3 types of cards: Units, Fast Spells and Weapons. When they don’t have any more units, the other 2 types are useless. This is a matchup where you can get hit multiple times without fear. They do not have burn and their fast spells only deal 3 damage each. Rise for any weapon that fits the situation best. It can either be Flail, Runehammer or Daisho. Focus on the units with Aegis first, then use your removal for the other ones. In Ranked, few people have Protect, so your harsh Rules should wreak havoc.

Skycrag Aggro

Difficulty: 7/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board early and then making sure you are out of burn range
Key Cards: Torch, Auric Runehammer, Throne Warden
Watch out for: Torch, Champion of Fury, Censari Brigand

This is a matchup where every single health point is important. Don’t expect your units not named Throne Warden to survive. Prioritize weapon use over trying to block with units. Focus on units with Aegis, to make sure you can Harsh Rule to clear the board. If you have some room to breathe, Rise for a Throne Warden, to make sure you don't die to multiple burn spells. When you have stabilized, leave a unit for defense to play around charge units. The moment they have no more cards in hand, try to kill him as soon as possible.

Midrange

Big Combrei

Difficulty: 5/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay
Watch out for: The Great Parliament, Mystic Ascendant, Stand Together/Protect, Desert Marshal

This is probably my favorite matchup. You’re going to have to make sure your weapons gain some value. Lots of it. Every unit they play will have 6 or less health. This means Rising for a Runehammer is almost always right. While Titans are annoying to deal with, they are the least of your worries. Make sure you have some removal left for the Mystic Ascendants. Use your Harsh Rules as a last resort, because the owls from The Great Parliament will kill you very quickly. This is a matchup where your health total doesn’t matter. Getting hit multiple times by Titan is normal. Read the pauses well. If you know they have a Desert Marshal in hand, only attack with your weapon (if it has more than 2 armor). This way, your unit will block the Ambush unit and you will preserve your weapon. When they are out of threats, finish them with Daisho.

Dark Combrei

Difficulty: 6/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay, Statuary Maiden
Watch out for: Stand Together/Protect, Desert Marshal

This version doesn’t see much play because of its greedy influence requirements. The gameplan is very similar to Big Combrei, except their units have a lower curve. Make sure you have a Maiden ready for Makto. Like the Big Combrei matchup, you don’t need to preserve your health total. If they are floating 3 mana, it might mean they have Stand Together. Try to test the waters as much as you can before pulling the trigger on your Harsh Rule.

Elysian Midrange

Difficulty: 7/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay
Watch out for: Xenan Obelisk, Backlash, Scouting Party

Elysian Midrange’s gameplan is very straightforward. Play big units one by one. If you can contain their aggression, you will win. Rise for a 6 damage Runehammer. This will kill every threat they have. Save your Torches for False Prince. The difficult part occurs when they play Xenan Obelisk. Your 6 damage Runehammer is now useless. This is where you are going to have to make the most out of your removal. You can get hit by a couple of units before having to press the panic button. Try to be patient with your Harsh Rule. If you can kill a unit in a way that doesn’t require a spell, do it, even if it’s not efficient. Your spells are used as a last resort. Once they are out of threats, quickly go on the offensive to increase your likeliness to win the game.

Icaria Gold

Difficulty: 6/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay
Watch out for: Desert Marshal, Vault of the Praxis, Diogo Málaga, Icaria, the Liberator

This deck is also called FTJ Midrange/Control, but for the sake of continuity with set 1’s decks, let’s call it Icaria Gold. It has seen a rise in popularity after everybody discovered Vault of the Praxis was a pretty good card, combined with NotoriousGHP’s deep run in the ETS. Treat this matchup as Big Combrei with Icaria and Vault. You can get hit multiple times by Titan and still survive, but be mindful that some versions now run Flame Blast. Rise for a 6 damage Runehammer and try to use your Harsh Rule for at least 2 threats. Icaria Gold has a slew of dangerous units, but they can't really play them all in one game since their draw mechanics are few and far between. If you see a Diogo, kill it as soon as possible. If it is activated, you automatically lose the game. As always, once you’ve gained board control, use Daisho to finish off your opponent.

Praxis Midrange

Difficulty: 7/10
Win Condition: Having a Maiden with 7HP or more
Key Cards: Statuary Maiden, Vanquish/Slay, Auric Runehammer
Watch out for: Dawnwalker, Obliterate, Flame Blast

As of writing this, Praxis Midrange is the most popular archetype on ladder. The best way to win is to have a Maiden. A BIG one. Do everything in your power to get a Maiden. Get it off Quarry no matter what card you'd discard and use Rise to the Challenge to get another one. In a meta dominated by this deck, I even suggest mulliganing for it. Now that you have your Maiden, keep it alive. This is sometimes out of your control. When you play it, do not trade it right away. Take some damage and then kill a unit with your weapons/removals. Put your cudgels on your Maiden as soon as possible. 7HP is usually the breakpoint where it will live for a long time. Obliterate and Carnosaur are not a threat anymore and Flame Blast is still some way away. If your Maiden dies, Stash it back as soon as possible. If you see a Diogo Málaga, kill it as soon as possible. If it is activated, you automatically lose the game. You should worry about your life total at around 13-15 HP. Before that point, try to take some damage to increase your Maiden’s chances of survival. After that point, make sure you gain as much armor as possible and destroy your opponent’s dreams with your 17-19 unit.

TJP Midrange

Difficulty: 7/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay
Watch out for: Xenan Obelisk, Desert Marshal, Stand Together

This matchup is very similar to Elysian Midrange. They share a good amount of cards. See the aforementioned matchup for more information. What differs is the amount of protection they bring. Be very careful before committing to a Harsh Rule, because Stand Together will blow you out of the water.

Xenan Lifeforce

Difficulty: 2/10
Win Condition: Clearing the Board
Key Cards: Harsh Rule, Vanquish/Slay, any weapon
Watch out for: Ayan, the Abductor, Katra, the Devoted

This matchup is very simple. Kill every unit you can, then cast Harsh Rule. Prioritize Katra, since it is the only valuable unit in this deck. Xenan Lifeforce is not played often anymore, but if you see one, you should be very happy. Not much to say here, except enjoy the free win.

Control

Armory

Difficulty: X/10
Win Condition: Daisho
Key Cards: Starsteel Daisho, Rakano Artisan, Throne Warden, Smuggler's Stash, Rise to the Challenge
Watch out for: Starsteel Daisho, Rakano Artisan, Throne Warden, Smuggler's Stash, Rise to the Challenge

Ahhh the good old mirror matchup. While this one is very much draw dependant, you can make a lot of decisions that can affect the game’s outcome. Do not trade an Artisan for another Artisan. You will need at least one unit on the board at any time. This matchup revolves around weapons. Save your Torches to kill weapons, not units. Use your Sword of Icaria as a Warcry engine. If you have bigger weapons than your opponent, you will have a significant edge. Smuggler's Stash is very much an MVP. If you have one in hand, you can use your weapons a bit more carelessly. There will be odd situations where one person plays a weapon, the other breaks it with his own and vice versa. If you don’t have 3+ weapons in your hand, do not commit into this trading war. Always Rise for a Daisho. Only use it if you are certain it will not be broken by another weapon. This is done by having units on the board. If you stick a Daisho for more than one turn, you will most likely win. This is a marathon, not a race. Do not try to be more aggressive than what’s needed. Taking big risks will most likely be punished.

Feln Control

Difficulty: 1/10
Win Condition: Having a 5 damage weapon
Key Cards: Rakano Artisan, Rise to the Challenge, Smuggler's Stash, any weapon
Watch out for: Champion of Cunning, Vara, Fate-Touched, Feln Bloodcaster approaching activation

This is your easiest matchup. All you need to do is to buff a weapon up to 5 damage. Use your Sword of Icaria for Warcries and pressure your opponent early. Since all of their units have 5 HP and a very low attack value, your weapons should go 2-for-1 almost all the time. The only units that differ from this rule are Champion of Cunning and Vara. Make sure you destroy them as soon as possible and you will be fine. Try to save a Harsh Rule for your opponent’s turn 8.

JPF Control/Icaria Blue

Difficulty: 3/10
Win Condition: Out-valuing your opponent with bigger weapons
Key Cards: Rakano Artisan, Smuggler's Stash, Rise to the Challenge
Watch out for: Icaria, the Liberator, Eilyn's Choice, Auric Runehammer

Icaria Blue is geared towards fighting aggressive decks. In this matchup, your opponent will have very similar cards than yours. Your weapons will be bigger and you have Smuggler’s Stash. This means you will win with pure value. Make sure you use your Harsh Rules or Stashes when your opponent isn’t floating 3 mana. You don’t want to get blown out by Eilyn’s Choice. Save a 5 damage weapon for Icaria and everything should be fine.

TJP Chalice

Difficulty: 8/10
Win Condition: Putting an overwhelming amount of pressure with Daisho
Key Cards: Sword of Icaria, Starsteel Daisho, Throne Warden, Rise to the Challenge
Watch out for: Channel the Tempest, Desert Marshal, Eilyn's Choice

This is probably the matchup where your window of opportunity is the smallest. You are the beatdown. Try to be as aggressive as possible. Use your Sword of Icaria to get Warcries and use your Slays for tempo. Gain lots of armor using your Throne Warden and fish for a Daisho. Having a Daisho continuously killing your opponent’s creatures is close to the only way to win. Your opponent has to use its ambush units to counter your weapon. Use your Harsh Rules for tempo and focus on the beat down. You are fighting against a timer. There will be a point where Chalice will overwhelm you. Try not to take any turns off. Use your mana as efficiently as possible and it will increase the likeliness to win this match.

Combo

Shimmerpack

Difficulty: 10/10
Win Condition: Daisho, clearing their board
Key Cards: Harsh Rule, Starsteel Daisho, Sword of Icaria
Watch out for: Xenan Obelisk, Backlash, Scouting Party

This is your most difficult matchup. You will need as many Harsh Rules as possible. When using Quarry, prioritize this board clear over almost everything else. This matchup is divided in two parts: before and after turn 6. In the early stage, kill as many units as possible. Use your Torches for Marisen’s Disciple and other small creatures. Your Sword of Icaria should gain a good amount of value. You should try holding on to your Harsh Rules for the second part. After turn 6, your opponent will play Scouting Party. This card is your worst nightmare. Use Harsh Rule as soon as it is played. If that is not an option, try to remove as many Yetis as possible. Daisho should help you kill units, as well as dealing some significant damage. Besides Harsh Rule, this is your most important card. If your opponent is floating 2 mana, watch out for Backlash. If your opponent played 2 or more Obelisks, pushing the Concede button is the optimal line of play.

Stonescar Kalis

Difficulty: 9/10
Win Condition: Clearing the board, Daisho
Key Cards: Harsh Rule, Statuary Maiden, Starsteel Daisho, Throne Warden
Watch out for: Madness, Assembly Line, Torrent of Spiders

This is one of your hardest matchups. To win against Kalis, you have to focus on weapons. Ignore the Slumbering Stones until you have a way to kill the flyer in the same turn. Maiden should help you with that. Do not put your cudgels on your units. Kalis will use Madness-Combust/Devour to destroy your weapon and then keep all of your Cudgels in his Void. Throne Warden should be stickier. Get a Daisho as soon as possible and kill all of his units. If your opponent gets a 10/10+ Kalis, the game is probably over. Only use Harsh Rule as a last resort. This card is a life saver, but be mindful of a possible Torrent of Spiders right after. You should eventually grind your opponent out of resources, but since you’re on a tight clock, it might never happen.

Vodacombo

Difficulty: 7/10
Win Condition: Grinding them out of threats
Key Cards: 6 damage Auric Runehammer, Harsh Rule, Slay/Vanquish
Watch out for: Desert Marshal, Protect/Stand Together, Vodakhan, Temple Speaker, Mystic Ascendant

This matchup is very similar to Big Combrei, but with another huge threat. Once again, going for a 6 damage Runehammer will get you out of most situations. This deck usually runs lots of Protects, so use your weapons first then kill units with your spells when your opponent is tapped out. If Vodacombo has an Ascendant as well as a Vodakhan on the board at the same time, you have lost this game. You must remove these two cards as soon as they are played. Titan is not a threat in this matchup. You shouldn't spend your cheap removals for it. Save your harsh Rules for dire situations and for The Great Parliament. Once again, your life total doesn't matter. Focus on removing big threats while carefully playing around Protect/Stand Together to secure the win.



7) Closing thoughts

Armory is a very interesting deck to pilot. While very reactive in the early stages of the game, it can turn the tides very quickly with strong removals and huge weapons. This deck needs to adapt to survive, especially in a new meta. Be on the lookout for updates to make sure your list is up to snuff.

Thank you very much to:

Camat0 and Buckwheat for their continuous effort in pushing Armory into a competitive deck.
ManuS for giving me my first look at what Armory could do.
Swann, Reec0 and my awesome girlfriend Baconstrips for proof reading and support.
Stevercakes and EternalWarcry for letting me publish this piece.

And most importantly, thanks to you, dear reader. I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as I liked writing it. Now go on ladder and kick some ass!

Remember: it’s not a misplay if you didn’t get punished.

Comments (8)

timtimtimtim Eternal Version: 1.23
Press F to pay respects
DiabeticFire Eternal Version: 1.23
After playing Rakano Plate, I read this article and was super pumped to try armory. Everything changed when the nerf nation attacked.
jankjunction Eternal Version: 1.23
RIP Armory!
Solhawk Eternal Version: 1.22.4
Excellent post! So much good info.
Velsevul Edited Eternal Version: 1.22.4
Thank you, Antoine, for your great writeup! I always watch your games and enjoy how you perfectly and effectively plays each of your turns! Keep play Armory and keep write helpful guides like this one.
Also thank to Stevercakes for great site which becomes EternalWarcry now as one and only souce for all Eternal players. Keep inviting best players as authors of guides and columns.
ArconteSoze Eternal Version: 1.22.4
Very good article, congratulations, but it is a pity that after a new expansion just out of the oven we still have a deck more than 10 months ago still reigning in the field,
it really is a failure in terms of changes in the game.
I say again, the article is great, who would see more of them in the future, with other decks of course, congratulations again.

Sorry for bad english, blame google translate!
finalprodigy Eternal Version: 1.22.4
Very impressive guide, I like Armory.
radmanfire Eternal Version: 1.22.4
très bon article et j'espère qu'il y en aura d'autre ;)
Merci TonyGeeeee pour tes streams avec ta bonne humeur!
courage bro