Recently, I've been approaching Skycrag non-aggro decks from a lot of angles. What I've found is that the faction has predictably strong grinding and control capabilities via some of its best cards, but suffers from early game units that suck outside of aggro. That's why I decided to make a sort of unit-heavy control that relies on those strengths and dodges those weaknesses.
The best Skycrag card is Howling Peak
, and it was in every deck I tested. Peak is the best card in this deck, too, as it copies a threat/win con while pushing a lot more value beyond that. All this deck's threats become very powerful in multiples, and the main units cost 5, curving neatly into Peak. The main win condition is Rost, the Walking Glacier
. Most decks cannot cleanly remove him, only stall, and his massive overwhelm body provides inevitability. Getting multiple Rosts into play becomes extremely hard to handle, and this deck easily gets 2 and routinely 3 or more at once because of copy effects (just be mindful of possible fast removal blowing out your copy spells).
is less threatening on board but is another value engine which provides overwhelming advantage in multiples. The deck has tools to trigger her draw like Rost's overwhelm, Kaleb's Favor
, and Snowballs. Sodi replacing herself the turn you play her is enough to generate some card advantage even if she is removed, but if one sticks to be copied the card draw potential is staggering. She is also deceptively sticky, as her 3/6 stat-line makes her pretty resilient to most factions' removal (Shadow is the exception). The onslaught is a huge swing in some matchups - don't forget you can trigger it by copying her.
Finally, Xo of the Endless Hoard
is a backup win condition/big threat. He is pretty easy to remove and mainly here as a card advantage engine via Fate, but game-winning if he sticks and attacks and strong to copy. Jotun Hurler
is the other great market fodder card of the game and super good in this deck as well.
Running 8 merchants was an easy decision, as the 8 primal merchants in the faction are the best available sub-4 cost units for this deck anyway (again, outside of aggro decks), on top of Skycrag having all the best market fodder and great market options. Jennev Merchant
's aegis helps enable Sodi's onslaught and keep a target up for copying, and there are numerous damage spells that get a lot of value from Howling Peak Smuggler
Most of the removal is comprised of damage spells: Torch
, Ice Bolt
, Gun Down
, and Hailstorm
is critical in some matchups as non-damage removal, but has its own weaknesses. Because all removal is conditional in this deck, there are frustrating blind spots, but the overall package is flexible and comprehensive. Use your head with Ice Bolt, it is strong but the drawback is real. If the power is of value to your opponent at all then Ice Bolt is card disadvantage.
As for non-removal spells, Eilyn's Favor
is included despite Cobalt Waystone
being better because having power-fetchers which don't count as power leads to more consistent 3+ power hands during mulligan. Strategize
is a virtual card advantage machine which works alongside merchants as payoff for Fate cards. The rest of your hand allowing, it is great to send a Fire Sigil
or a 1-of spell to the bottom with Strategize to keep the deck running smoothly (these cards are meant to be grabbed by sites, not drawn at random).
Those 1-ofs are intended to be tutored for with Resurface
from Garden of Omens
. Garden is one of the key market cards and often the first grab. It doesn't pack as much value as the best sites, but it still generates a good amount of advantage by being left up. I especially make a point to grab it when I haven't drawn a Peak, both so that I can still develop a site in general, and because tutoring for End of Hostilities
can take the place of Peak's Mirror Image
in developing a game-winning board. EoH is not consistent enough to want several copies of, but works super well with our high-value copy targets and its ability to warp in after Resurface. With its cost at 5 due to the site, warping it just to copy a single Rost or Sodi is warping that unit at fair cost, which is a strong enough play. Creating two copies of either with the tribute active is backbreaking. Jennev Merchant is great at sticking to use as tribute. Besides sacrificing a small unit by attacking, you can hit your own stuff with cost-reduced spells or Ice Bolt off the site to set up the game-winning double copy. The other 1-of is flexible; I currently have Kaleb's Choice
, but it could be...anything. Card draw, a different counterspell, removal, Royal Decree
, whatever. I like Choice because it can be really good in a variety of matchups. I had Choice in the market, but since relic decks often have multiple good relic removal targets, it is nice to be able to destroy an attachment with the site and then get another hate spell out of the same market trip via Resurface, especially when your opponent thinks their Permafrosts have handled your two Rosts tidily.
The other most important card in the market is Molot & Nakova
, a huge, difficult to answer win condition and nutty target for copy spells (which are hard to disrupt because of the aegis). Spark is triggered by the same easy face damage options that enable Sodi so well (with Kaleb's Favor also helping reach the power and influence for Molot). Hailstorm
is in the market because running it maindeck I didn't get it consistently enough against aggro but hated drawing it, sometimes in multiples, against slow decks. This way it can nearly always be played, and is easy to connect with the spell damage smuggler. Cobalt Waystone
helps keep your deck on curve and keeps an answer to burn spells in the market after moving Choice maindeck. The last card is a flex slot; I'm trying Honor of Claws
right now since it is useful throughout a game and can fill the empty 4-spot on the curve. My friend Vaylin has suggested Re-Read, which I also really like. Other good options might include a counterspell like Swift Refusal
, or a threat/pseudo-threat like Jotun Feast-Caller
or Mirror Image, but this can be whatever you find yourself needing.
Please enjoy and share your thoughts!