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The Actual Boss of Gauntlet

Gauntlet Deck By


Cost Curve




(1) Foreward
(2) Introduction
(3) Deck Properties
(4) Boss Matchups
(5) Card Breakdown
(5.1) Power Base
(5.2) Power Fetching, With Utility
(5.3) Other Utility and Removal
(5.4) The Enforcers (Units)
(5.5) Market

(1) Foreward

In February 2021, gauntlet is in a great place. DWD has recently made some silent improvements to the experience. They've expanded the variety of bosses, and they've seemingly increased the frequency of single-player chests. If you have 5 minutes here or there (and a lot of us have more), it's a great time to hop on and play some gauntlet!

(2) Introduction

As a long-time gauntlet grinder, I think this deck is among the best I've ever built. The main ideas are: resist early aggression, don't miss power drops, trade with midrange units, and win quickly with big attacks. The backup plan is to grind with lifegain, 2-for-1s, and card draw.

(3) Deck Properties

Resilience to power screw.
A key to gauntlet is consistency. If you want to win 7 games in a row, you can't get power screwed even once. This deck has 39 ways to draw power, and it's only 1 faction.

Resistant to aggro.
In gauntlet, aggressive unit spam is a problem, and this deck is built to fight it, recover with lifegain, and then quickly win with large units. 4x Vara's Favor, 2x Blightmoth are key to beating swarm decks, tribal, and x/1s. 14 3-drop units can get on board quickly and start blocking. 6 4-drops gain life while presenting large blockers, and 4x Feartracker helps stabilize on 5. 3 ways to gain life in the market. Dizo's Office to get your life total completely out of the danger zone.

Stonewalls midrange and voltron strategies.
One of the common ways the AI highrolls is by putting a giant weapon on a unit. 18 deadly units in this deck means the AI is facing a 2-for-1 if they ever want to attack. 6 of those deadly units also fly. Annihilate, Icaria, First Reaper, and Dizo's Office take care of problems while opening up 2-for-1s. Aegis is handled with Vara's Favor, Blightmoth, Vara, Vengeance-Seeker, and Pale Rider's Timepiece.

Resistant to control strategies.
There isn't much control in gauntlet, but the armory decks can occasionally be annoying. Eremot, Mindsplinter is extremely good against relic weapons and against most removal in general. Many cards in the deck are great against Harsh Rule because they have a good summon, corrupt, or draw on death.

Obliterates flyers.
Gauntlet AI can get free wins by flying right over if you're unprepared. Blightmoth and Eremot, Mindsplinter can help slow them down, or Slimespitter Slug can just massacre them. Annihilate is great against the mono J decks - just wait for them to equip.

This deck grinds like no other, with dark return, many deadly units, many 2-for-1s, tons of lifegain, and large amounts of card draw with Auric Interrogator and Tasbu, the Forbidden.

Powerful market.
I believe Dizo's Office and Slimespitter Slug are two of the best gauntlet market cards in the game, and we also have space for removal spells to solve general problems.

(4) Boss Matchups

We know that bosses make or break any run. So it's important to match up well against them.

Double damage
Vara's favor takes out early units. Large butts help block. Annihilate kills a lot of their stuff. Lifesteal is crucial in this matchup, and units like Vara,Vengeance-Seeker and Feartracker gain double life. Dizo's Office or Pale Rider's Timepiece are your best market fetches.

5-influence in every faction
This deck can kill you in a lot of ways. Large units: our many deadly units nullify the AI's deckbuilding advantage. Voltron: our removal creates straightforward 2-for-1s. Champion of Cunning: this is one of the worst cards to see, but we have lots of ways to pop aegis and either block or kill it. In general, our lifesteal keeps us in the game and resists a death by Flash Fire, while our deadly units stall the board and we erase their units with 2-for-1s.

You basically can't attack until quite late in the game due to their infiltrate units, and this deck's many blockers plus Annihilate help slow them down. A good market card is Slimespitter Slug since it can deal with their flyers. You won't really feel safe until you land a lifesteal unit or a large flyer.

Units get random skill
This deck can high roll you with destiny or other BS, but often it just grinds you out with many souped-up echo units. But this deck can grind harder. Deadly units help stall the board, while Tasbu, the Forbidden and Auric Interrogator do their jobs well as they easily overtake the AI in the late game.

5-influence for free scion
Once again Vara's Favor deals with early units, while Annihilate or Icaria kills their free scion.

The best market card for this deck is surprisingly Slimespitter Slug. It has kind of a resistance to decay, since it just grows bigger anyway, while also gaining life.

Spells for free units
We have enough spells and inherent grindability that we can overpower their inherent deckbuilding advantage.

(5) Card Breakdown

(5.1) Power Base

21x Shadow Sigil
4x Emblem of Makkar
A core idea of this deck as a gauntlet deck is consistency. Counting all power fetching, plunder, and market access, we have 39 sources of power in this 75 card deck. This means power screw almost never happens, and flooding gets mitigated by the utility of the power fetching cards. We do run the minimum power of 25. But we also have 14 other ways to get more power while having only 2 or 3 currently. Emblem of Makkar is a dual-mode card that can block any giant fatty if needed. Try to think of what you're going to do on turn 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and how you can hit the power you need for the key plays you want to make.

(5.2) Power Fetching, With Utility

We have 14 ways to get more power, minimizing power screw.

4x Exploit
The best discard spell, easily. Scopes out the AI's hand, removes their best thing. Try to think of what you can or can't answer. Plunder smooths our draws. Often you'll plunder away a 5 or 6-drop early game, or plunder away a card that's bad in the matchup. Sometimes you throw this at an empty hand to cash in an extra power you've been saving.

4x Vara's Favor
One of the best cards. Very strong vs aggro; breaks unit aegis for your removals; breaks face aegis for your direct damage. AND it draws a power.

2x Shadow Etchings
Extra ways to access the market, plus power draw. Why not 4? 6 ways to access the market plus dark return to recycle the merchant is enough.

4x Kerendon Merchant
Role: Special acquisitions. We'll discuss the market later. Often, he's grabbing another power on turn 3. Being deadly, he blocks any size of donkey, while also attacking through anything. Incredibly good in this deck.

(5.3) Other Utility and Removal

4x Dark Return
So cheap and does so much. Most of our units have a summon, so this gives immediate access to a variety of effects in the late game. It combos well with the many deadly units, letting them trade off repeatedly. The core combo with this card is Auric Interrogator.

2x Blightmoth
Role: Anti-aggro, anti-tribal. Great utility, on a weak body. The effect obviously obliterates many aggro and tribal decks, while breaking aegis. Its carcass can always chump block. Why not 4? While the card has great utility, you probably don't want to draw more than 1 due to its poor body.

4x Annihilate
Kills any size of monster while being cheap enough to acceptably fight aggro. Fast speed helps set up 2-for-1s. This is the most flexible removal spell shadow has without going up in cost. It's bad against some decks, so get rid of it with the market or plunder.

(5.4) The Enforcers (Units)

This is the A-team. This squad is full of deadliness, summons, large attacks, large buttocks, and 2-for-1s.

4x Auric Interrogator
Role: Early board presence; long-term income generation. He trades with so many things. He presents a fast clock. And he draws SO many cards. Dark Return is in the deck primarily to let you start drawing 2 cards a turn on turn 4. Sometimes you chump attack just because you're immediately going to dark return, draw a card, and draw a card every turn for the rest of the game. You should be eager to trade this card off so you can Dark Return it. Great target for Threaten.

4x Dizo, Cabal Racketeer
Role: Anti-aggro and 3-for-1 generation. On 4, Dizo steals so many cards like Ice Sprite and Initiate of the Sands. Beyond that, anything he steals is massive value. On 3, he can simply block many aggro units as a 1/4. He survives most common gauntlet removal like Torch and Extract. His unblockable doesn't do much, but it synergizes with Threaten and Pale Rider's Timepiece.

2x Eremot, Mindsplinter
Role: Blocking and anti-control. This card may be the most efficient 4-drop blocker in the game. Almost nothing attacks through him, including flyers. When attacking, he's great against slow removal and incredible against armory decks, as he breaks their weapon on their turn, and his large bottom prevents relic weapon attacks. Why not 4? Vara, Vengeance-Seeker is a more generically powerful beater, and I don't want to cut 5 drops.

4x Vara, Vengeance-Seeker
Role: Ass beating, it's that simple. Vara is just a giant chungus, often deadly, and has the crucial lifesteal ability. She also destroys aegis, for some reason. What an incredible card. Great with Dark Return, too.

4x Feartracker
Role: Direct damage, sustenance, grinding. This card is an absolute grindlord. It's basically Siege Rhino. It gains SO much life, with no need to survive. It attacks into many things, creates a 5-turn clock, and its carcass even blocks well. Playing this card is often the turning point when being beaten down by aggro. Always try to pay the corrupt cost, which also draws off Tasbu, the Forbidden. It actually gains 6 life if you have out Dizo's Office. Grinds brutally with Dark Return.

4x Tasbu, the Forbidden
Role: Attacking, card advantage, being one of the best midrange cards ever. Tasbu kills the enemy player in basically 4 turns. He is absolutely gigantic. Almost nothing attacks through him. Almost nothing can block him. He trades with anything. He has warp, for some reason. And he draws SO many cards. Often you want to play other 5 drops first, then play him before attacking to trade those cards into more cards. Great with the corrupted units.

4x Icaria, First Reaper
Role: Assassination. She assassinates units with her summon. She assassinates players in 5 turns with her large flying body. She sometimes even assassinates cards with her entomb ability. Recycle her with Dark Return, and do it all again. Vara's Favor clears aegis so she can take the shot. Always wait for something juicy to kill unless you really need to close the game.

(5.5) Market
At the end of each card I have rated the flexibility of the card's slot. 100% indicates you could change it. 0% indicates I believe this card to be irreplaceable.

1x In Cold Blood
This is the most flexible and powerful catch-all removal spell available. I try to save this for a 2-for-1 on an equipped unit if I can. It's obviously great against Makto specifically. Another option: Desecrate. Though, the 3 life is a real cost against gauntlet aggro. Flexibility: 30%.

1x Pale Rider's Timepiece
It's removal and lifegain in one. There are a lot of Gauntlet decks that just can't beat a giant lifesteal unit with evasion. Goes great with Dizo. I would consider this the biggest flex spot in this market. Another option would be Vara, Fate-Touched. Flexibility: 100%

1x Slimespitter Slug
Role: Anti-air, grinding. I love this card. It turns the tables SO quickly. Besides obviously obliterating the many flyer decks in gauntlet, it also just grows so large against smallish aggro decks. Dark Return is once again fantastic as you can just bring it back and summon it again, while maintaining the previously cultivated mass. Just try to avoid friendly fire, as we do run 8 flyers. Flexibility: 0%

1x Dizo's Office
The Death Star of this deck. When you play this card, you win. The large units in this deck start gaining you so much life. Auric Interrogator and Tasbu don't even cost you life anymore. Feartracker gains you double life now. Threaten even has its uses with lil' Dizo and Auric Interrogator. When big Dizo comes out, I almost never sac a unit because the AI always chooses to give you their crappy cards. Just protect this site, and you'll win. Flexibility: 0%

1x Shadow Sigil
Having a power card in the market is the responsible thing to do in a gauntlet deck. You will fetch this card so often, and you'll always be glad you did. Flexibility: 50% - other options are Amethyst Monument, Amethyst Waystone, Cabal Standard, or maybe even Rhysta.


Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost

Premium Cost

Influence Requirements

Power Sources

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
8 12 21 2 15

Card Types
33 1 19 1 26

Contains Cards From Campaigns
The Tale of Horus Traver [Set1002]
Dead Reckoning [Set1003]
Into Shadow [Set1004]
Whispers of the Throne [Set1085]
Shadow of the Spire [Set1087]


February 6, 2021


Eternal Version
Empire of Glass

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Deck URL



Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.02.11
Great explanation Swatches, best writeup ever.🏆 Just paid for the latest cards with this gauntlet grinder.

Edit 3: after 20+ runs with a modded version of this great deck getting ~60% boss win rate--which is amazing considering the propensity to get power/boss-screwed in Gauntlet. Love to know if anyone gets a better rate?

My tweaks were for speed, to synergize Auric Interrogator more and leverage the high shadow and market swapping to deal with various boss threats.

1. Swapped in 3 x Spiritweaver for Vara's Favor as it provides even better small unit defense, lifesteal potential for all those 5+ units in this deck, and the plunder adjusts power both ways.

2. Swapped in 2 x Suffocate for Tasbu, the Forbidden as it is perhaps the most efficient/powerful removal in Eternal and provides diversity with Annihilate vs slow-but-good Tasbu.

3. Swapped in 2 Vine Grafter and an extra Blightmoth for 3 Dizo, Cabal Racketeer, the former to potentially pump the Auric Interrogator (key boost) and also get more market draws (plus regen something), the latter to deal with wide attack overwhelm that can happen in Gauntlet fairly often.

4. Changed to 3 each of Eremot, Mindsplinter and Feartracker to speed things up slightly.

5. Market: Added Makkar's Quiver as another mass removal plus Interrogator buff ... instead of Timepiece.

6. Market: Added Acantha Ascending, a key pull depending on influence. One copy can be recycled from void. 4 symbols swapped for sigils drives Acantha's value and I have *never* wanted the undepleted power instead as it can go turn 1 or when it isn't needed. Acantha swapped for In Cold Blood.

Extra market potential makes the deck more adaptable to threats, plus slightly less top-heavy curve.

Wonderful deck, thanks Swatches!
SstrykerR Eternal Version: 21.02.11
What an amazing write up, I usually just skim the description to get the basic idea and then immediately switch to the deck in game but I felt the urge to read through this one after the great foreword (I am pretty much a gauntlet only kinda guy so I was hooked). Had a great few runs already with this deck and looking forward to tweaking around a bit and trying out a few things myself. Great work, thanks!
Alover Eternal Version: 21.02.11
Why only Gauntlet? I find Expedition and Throne a little un-fun sometimes as I don't have all the cards but Draft is a 100% fair format so enjoy that with my Gauntlet gold.
ErisELITE Eternal Version: 21.01.13
I'm pretty sure someone destroyed me in Ranked Bronze w/ this deck yesterday. Very cool build - currently running it through Gauntlet w/ ease.
kaori11 Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Moldermuck destroy the board in gauntlet and have a good synergie with Makkar's Quiver
Don't shoot your moldermuck 1/1, oppenent will use a Torch or another control
Hakkon Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Nice and efficient deck, good job, thanks for share
PrimalFuntionary Eternal Version: 21.01.13
love this deck! i needed to sib Tasbu, the Tempter for the Forbidden, cause i don't own the other, still works like a dream. i've been experimenting for a long time to find a great gauntlet grinder, this is amazing, thank you!
Talares Edited Eternal Version: 21.01.13
I've had great fun and success with this deck in Gauntlet. Thanks for that.
I would like to suggest you try out some amount of Makkar's Quiver instead of Feartracker. I'm currently running 3 copies. Every ability of the card is relevant in this deck. It buffs Auric Interrogator on curve, can be a kill spell or remove tokens and buffs a flyer to give the killing blow.
I also upped Eremot, Mindsplinter to 4 and decreased Dizo, Cabal Racketeer for him.
Swatches Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Quiver is a very cool idea! It's great against swarm decks and the synergy with Interrogator is something I never thought of. And the ability to buff evasive units is fantastic, as you mentioned.
WolfCynic Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Thank you for this exhaustive deck explanation!
ColumW Edited Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Seems quite powerful! Though I don't think having a sigil in the market works. If you want power in the market (which I agree is a good idea), you'll need to run something like Amethyst Waystone.

And you're not the first person to suggest running 3 power Dizo Racketeer, though I'm still not exactly sold on it. The floor for this card is a 3 mana 1/4, which is much much worse than simply running a prism golem.

EDIT: Nevermind, you can put a sigil in the market. There's an exception coded into the game for it (and bargain cards apparently).
Swatches Eternal Version: 21.01.13
Yeah I've gone back and forth on what power to use in the market for shadow decks. My problem with Amethyst Waystone is several gauntlet decks have nightfall synergy and they shut down after they can't trigger it again. I'm also rarely in a situation where I both need extra cards and am ok with them drawing an extra one first. It's certainly a great way to see more cards though.

Prism Golem is indeed great. I think it comes down to whether you prefer the utility or the brute power. Golem absolutely stonewalls aggro and trades very well.
Comment Deleted
Tehl Eternal Version: 21.01.13
This is quite the deck rundown...Will you write my deck descriptions for me when I post haha. This looks solid, I look forward to trying it out. Hmu Tehlb+7458 and I'll let you know if I try anything new.