This is the Cultists deck that I piloted to a 23-5 finish in the 11/16/19 ECQ. Thoughts on specific inclusions are below; first, I want to say that I am happy that Cultists is the number 1 deck in Expedition. It is powerful, fun to pilot, the mirror match has a lot of interesting decision points, and there is room to tweak the deck to your own playstyle. This build is a little light on removal and card draw in favor of playing lots of threats and forcing your opponent to have answers.
, Slumbering Stone
, Shadowlands Guide
: The core of the deck that really makes it tick. A 4/3 lifesteal that costs 1 is incredible value, and being able to bring it back and sacrifice free fodder to grow it is incredibly tough to deal with.
: The fast speed interaction. Ideally you can save a devour in response to removal from your opponent, but in a pinch just draw some cards. Worthy Cause is the best removal in the game with a little setup.
Incarnus, Makkar's Listener
: Just a really solid value engine. A little slow against aggro, but the deck tends to make up for that with lifesteal, and the value generated by Incarnus can be truly amazing.
Karvet, Solar Dragon
: Giving exalted to all your Cultists is amazingly powerful. This is the card that allows you to claw back into games you had no business winning. I think people underestimate Karvet's power, keep in mind that sacrificing any cultist has the potential to provide value - you can block 2 big attackers with a Karvet and a Nahid's Faithful, then cast worthy cause to kill one of them and put Nahid's weapon onto Karvet making it a huge blocker. You can sacrifice your biggest and best cultist to make something else even bigger and better. If you have a cultist with killer, even if it has exhausted its killer effect you can still sacrifice it and chain killer together once Karvet is in play.
: Alongside Karvet, exalted killer chains are bonkers. Temple provides additional value though and it's important to keep the different modes in mind - if the opponent is beating down sometimes you just want to drop it to gain life and draw a card. Always look for a way to get value from Scare, there are a lot of 0/x units in the format. My favorite play is using Scare
+ Vara's Favor
to take down a Lightning Sprite
There are some other cards that make the deck work, but I won't go into each one. But let me take a moment to touch on the powerbase: I'm running 31 power, and with 4 Karvets and a Vara in the market the deck wants all the power it can get. I don't think a market power is necessary though, due to Ark of Sol
. Talir's Favored
and Amber Coin
provide free sac outlets along with power, and Emblem of Makkar
works well alongside Xenan Temple to take down big threats with killer.
--- MARKET ---
Ark of Sol
: Having access to this card in 100% of games where you hit the enemy with a cultist is really crazy. One reason cultists is the best deck is because it can ramp so well alongside deploying other threats.
: This provides great value in the late game, but is also one of my most commonly grabbed cards in the early game. If Ebon Dune Smuggler
can block and kill something, I'll just grab Immortalize, block, and go to the market again next turn. This also helps if you don't have any good cards to send to the market, you can put away something good and use Immortalize to smuggle again when you need it.
: A piece of removal in the market is necessary to deal with threats, especially since I'm not running much removal in the main deck. This does the job.
Vishni, Lethrai Highblood
: Shifting for 6 is excellent in a lot of board states, the opponent will often need to use 1 or 2 extra cards to push through, and you still get sac fodder and the shifted unit. Vishni also helps in the mirror, the threat of stealing their void makes it a must answer, which means they need to burn removal on Vishni rather than Karvet or Incarnus.
: The finisher of choice. With Shadowlands Guide
or Karvet, Solar Dragon
in your void, Vara can refill your board in a hurry - and sacrificing Slumbering Stone
allows for even more shenanigans!
That's all, I hope you enjoyed the writeup, have fun playing Cultist mirrors!