Reanimator: Refers to the process of bringing back game objects, usually units, from the void for less than their original cost to gain an advantage.
Ramp: Play multiple power in the same turn to gain a power advantage.
Mill: Put cards from a player's deck into their void.
Cantrip: A card that replaces itself with another card when played.
Sweeper: A card, typically a spell, that kills or otherwise applies a detrimental effect to multiple copies of specific types of cards, typically units.
Mulligan: The act of using the redraw function in a game of Eternal Card Game.
Mirror Match: A game in which both players are using the same deck.
This is a deck tech for the popular Katra Xenan deck in the Throne format.
is often thought of as a Reanimator Deck
primarily, but many top players, myself included, agree it is actually more accurately characterized as a Ramp Deck
with a Reanimator Plan B
. It aims to put cards from its own deck into the void including power and shadow units in order ramp with the deck's namesake card Katra, The First Seal
which plays power from your void on summon and play Vara, Fate-Touched
to bring back those shadow units to create an insurmountable advantage.
I'm going to break down the deck into its major packages as follows The Self-mill Package, The Utility Package, and The Pay-off Package and explain card choices along the way at the same time within those packages.
Some cards arguably belong to multiple packages at the same time and I will bring them up multiple times if this is the case. Of note it is actually ideal for cards to serve multiple purposes within a deck and is a strong sign of good deck building, connoting extra power and consistency for a given deck the more frequently this occurs.
I will also give a mulligan guide as well as unique interactions to look out for when playing the deck.
At the very end, I'll explain the market choices. Hope you enjoy the explanation and the deck itself if you are looking for a powerful and consistent strategy to take the throne ladder by siege.
Package 1: The Self Mill Package
: Darkwater Vines is a perfect card for this deck. Cheap shadow unit for Katra, The First Seal
that mills us when someone discards a card which is something we have dedicated a major portion of the deck to do already. It is also a very effective anti-aggro tool because of it's regen ability and efficient statline that heavily dissuades your opponent from attacking you while you set up your game plan.
: Sporefolk is the most efficient self-mill card of its cost in the game. It is also a cheap shadow unit that can mill us for 5 whole cards at no set-up cost. It curves very naturally with Darkwater Vines
which is your strongest turn 1/turn 2 sequence milling you for 9 cards total while developing 2 units for Katra, The First Seal
: Fear is another excellent card for this deck being a shadow inscribe card that mills us for 2 cards when you inscribe it. Simultaneously helping us hit our power drops and mill ourselves.
: This is probably the most lackluster card in our entire deck. It is a 2 cost cantrip that can't draw power, doesn't impact the board, and on top of all that, has an albeit somewhat low chance to whiff and not find any cards to draw . However, it serves a unique roll in helping us find Katra, The First Seal
more consistently while also setting her up by putting power and potentially other units in the void as well. Additionally, even in the nightmare scenario where you don't find any units to draw it will highly likely put multiple power in the void for Katra, The First Seal
Package 2: The Utility Package
Ebon Dune Smuggler
: Merchants are the ultimate utility card for any deck. Like I said at the beginning I will go over the market choices at the end but there is the interesting choice between Kerendon Merchant
and this one. Kerendon Merchant
is generally a preferred card as it is a deadly blocker which is very relevant vs midrange decks and is often a must-kill card for them at some point. As a consequence, they will have less removal for your other cards. However, I feel that Ebon Dune Smuggler
has a couple of minor benefits that add up to being a better choice for this deck overall.
I'll list the primary advantages here:
1. It is a mediocre removal spell against 2 health units that are attacking such as Plunk Wumpkin
in a way that plays around slow speed removal.
2. It lets you market with the information of what your opponent did on their turn before you have to take your next one.
3. It allows you to protect your market cards from slow speed discard spells.
4. In combination with Krull, Xumuc Occultist
you can bring back units at fast speed from the void to play around slow speed removal.
5. You can play it the turn before you play Katra, The First Seal
at the end of your opponent's turn to play around their slow speed removal to make it more likely that you will have another unit in play when you play her.
6. You can grab fast speed cards like Send an Agent
on your opponent's turn and play them to surprise your opponent.
The Rat King
: This card serves multiple purposes for the deck. It provides 3 warm bodies for 1 card which is relevant for Katra, The First Seal
(noticing a recurring theme yet? XD) but it is also very important for Vara, Fate-Touched
as it will trigger her ability two times when you bring back The Rat King
with her ability because the rats he summons are also shadow units. In addition to all that he provides a cheap form of interaction with his ability to sacrifice units in order to give an enemy unit -1/-1.
: He is a both a menace and all-star in expedition but he has a welcome home in this list in even the Throne format. He is a powerful form of interaction that can take any unit your opponent controls for yourself as long as you have him in play. Most importantly though he is a shadow unit that you can recur with Vara, Fate-Touched
making it that much easier to stabilize when going off with her. He can also be played from your hand to buy yourself time against problematic units and sometimes you'll get lucky and your opponent will not be able to remove him and the unit is basically yours. He also has a much less used secondary ability that is relevant vs unit-less strategies that gives him +3 attack and charge permanently. As a consequence, he is very rarely a completely useless card in most contexts.
: This card's inherent value is in its flexibility. It can draw any unit in your void for zero power. It is primarily used to draw Katra, The First Seal
early on after milling her as she is the most important card in your deck. But there are situations where getting any of your units back will be useful as well so its a great tool here.
: If you have played in the Throne format before, you probably know how broken the Etchings Cycle of cards is. In case you don't though, its immense value comes from its flexibility to be a power and/or a market card of your choice in its faction. Shadow Etchings
also has an additional reason in this deck that makes it even stronger than normal but I'll talk about that more when we get to the market section.
Package 3: The Pay-off Package
Tasbu, the Forbidden
: This card is has a unique ability to draw you cards and deal you damage whenever your units die(including himself). This is useful at insulating your board state from removal and sweepers by providing you with the consolation of cards if they do so. You also draw cards when you sacrifice units or block with units as well so it can be a real nightmare for your opponent if they are not able to pressure your life total enough to punish the value he provides.
Karvet, Solar Dragon
: Another somewhat mediocre card here on rate. So why are we playing it? Karvet does 3 major things for you in descending importance.
1. It gives you a reasonably beefy lifesteal flyer that shores up your weakness to dying in the air and helps you overall stabilize.
2. It summons a 1/1 cultist token that is a shadow unit and just like with The Rat King
that token will trigger Vara, Fate-Touched
's ability 1 more time.
3. It gives Katra, The First Seal
exalted which is relevant because she tends to be quite large and people will generally have some interest in removing or trading with her. The exalted punishes them for doing so quite immensely. Fear
: He's usually a power that mills you but he is also just a very large unblockable, deadly shadow unit as well. Bringing it back for free and playing it will incidentally come up.
: Big Momma Vara is the main pay-off of the deck and a powerful boss monster at that.
Between The Rat King
and Karvet, Solar Dragon
Vara can summon massive hoards of units that will completely overwhelm most opponents and is the ultimate card that Katra, The First Seal
is ramping towards in your grindy matchups in particular.
Generally you are looking for hands that have 3-4 power, some self-mill cards, and Katra or at least a way to get back Katra by hopefully at the latest, turn 5 but ideally turn 4.
When to go to 6:
This is a synergy deck that does require assembling some moving parts to function optimally. As a result you should consider a second mulligan to 6 probably more frequently than you are used to if you primarily play normal/fair decks. This is not to say going to 6 with the deck is super common. Here are some general qualities to look out for when deciding to go to 6.
1. 2 power: 2 power hands are scary for most decks and is a potentially major obstacle to our plan to play turn 4-5 Katra. Keep in mind that Fear
and Shadow Etchings
count as power for the purposes of mulliganing.
2. No Self-mill especially in hands without Katra, The First Seal
3. All depleted power for turn 1, 2, and 3.
Again these are just general guidelines and a hand having 1 of these qualities doesn't necessarily mean you should take an auto 6 over it. When 2 or more manifest in a hand it becomes much more likely that a 6 card hand is preferable to the one you currently have.
Another general rule for mulliganing is to picture what I call the ideal hand and analyzing how many perfect draws it would take you to get there when comparing it to the hand you actually have. If you are 1-2 perfect draws away from that ideal hand you should prob strongly consider keeping it. If you require more than 3 perfect draws it is a sign that the hand is perhaps not good enough to keep.
For reference an ideal hand would be 3-4 power, Katra, The First Seal
, 1-2 self mill cards, and a cheap(3 cost or less) non-Katra unit.
Note that some of your self-mill cards are also cheap units.
Mulliganing is one of the most difficult skills to learn in the game and one that can only truly improve through practice and experience but I hope this information is helpful.
Key Unique Interactions(In no particular order):
and The Rat King
combine well together as you are able to sacrifice the stolen unit to Rat King's ability in order to neutralize the threat of your opponent removing Vikrum and reclaiming their unit.
2. Last Chance
in the void. This combination allows you to turn Last Chance
into a power drop and further Self-mill.
3. Tasbu, the Forbidden
+ Vara, Fate-Touched
oversummoning. When you play Vara sometimes you will have multiple copies of The Rat King
and Karvet, Solar Dragon
and a Tasbu, the Forbidden
in your void. This can result in you overfilling your board with units which will force you to begin sacrificing units when you reach the 12 unit board limit. This generally is more trivially achieved with two Varas notably. The main point though is that when you do this with Tasbu, the Forbidden
in play those sacrificed units count as dying and you will draw cards equal to the number of units you oversummon as well as take that much damage. It can be a good way to fill your hand which could matter if your opponent was able to answer your board. Do keep in mind that Vara, Fate-Touched
gives voidbound to units she brings back.
4.Ebon Dune Smuggler
+ 11 power. Another niche interaction when you end up with lots of power. Your smuggler can bring back and summon Vara, Fate-Touched
at fast speed with Krull, Xumuc Occultist
to fill your board at the end of your opponent's turn. This will generally only come up against a control deck with sweepers but a good one to know nonetheless.
Market Breakdown: Send an Agent
: One of the most versatile cheap removal spells in the game as a basically strictly better version of annihilate as it is able to kill faction-less cards and single-faction relics in addition to single-faction units. This notably gives us outs to cards like Adjudicator's Gavel
from something like a Steyer's Eyes
or just your everyday ladder madman. Even if most of the time its just going to answer some large midrange single-faction threat.
End Of An Era
: Another powerful removal option as this card is a sweeper that kills all cheap units and relics simultaneously and some amount of the time just gives you a random, albeit expensive win condition in Dizo's Office
if you kill 6 more or game objects with the spell. This card's effect is symmetrical but it will hurt your opponent's board much more than yours when you grab it from your market ignoring the free site it can provide.
Grasping at Shadows
: This card allows you to bring back any unit from your void and put it directly into play. Most commonly this a conduit to playing Vara, Fate-Touched
ahead of schedule, it could also commonly be used to play a Katra, The First Seal
via a smuggler if you can't access her otherwise and Vara isn't ready to come back yet or is absent from the void.
Krull, Xumuc Occultist
: This card has a storied history of competitive success but has been recently absent from the Throne Meta game. Her effect is to deal you damage equal to your remaining power when you draw her from anywhere and bring back a unit with cost equal to or less than the amount of damage you took. In other words if she deals 4 damage to you, you can summon a 4-drop or less from your void. The main reason it is here is to turn our Shadow Etchings
into a 1-cost Grasping at Shadows
. The most common and important use is bring back Katra, The First Seal
into play on Turn 5 when we have 5 power from the void creating an incredible tempo swing.
Subversion of Nature
: Not much to say about this card. Its a powerful effect on an expensive card. It is primarily played as a Tech card for the mirror match to steal all their cards before they go off or their entire board after they have to hopefully kill them.
And that's everything! If you stuck through the whole Deck Tech congratulations and I hope it was enjoyable and informative for you.
I would also like to credit TheBoxer and TRS for a large bulk of this deck's shell. I made some small, but impactful changes to it, but it was a quite solid list when I found it.