Another 3-faction goodstuff midrange I have been working on and enjoying - this one was the only deck I played on my way to masters this season. The overall record on the climb was 64-32, but the current version (after switching to Temple maindeck and Dizo's in the market) went 25-10 to finish it off. Let's talk about it, starting with the units.
4-drops are a sweet spot to help get board presence for Xenan Temple, to start blocking more aggressive decks, and to start beating down control decks, so there are eight here. Sandstorm Titan
is the best overall option in my experience, taking all these roles into account. The majority of my games have been played with Vara, Vengeance-Seeker
, but I switched to Saber-Tooth Prideleader
about 40 games ago. Both are excellent; Prideleader is actually a much better aggro counter (with bonus relic hate), while Vara is a stronger threat and really, really helps this deck's plethora of removal handle aegis. It's a meta call between the two.
Heart of the Vault
is Heart of the Vault
. Threat, card advantage, light removal rolled into one.
Xo of the Endless Hoard
is an easy inclusion in any higher-curve fire deck with a lot of merchants. He's here for the same reason he's everywhere: drawing him is card advantage, putting him in the market is "free," drawing him back from the market is more card advantage, and playing him when your opponent has exhausted their removal wins the game.
Supporting the pack of threats is a veritable pile of spot removal. 4 Torch
is a given, 4 Desecrate
is nearly as obvious. Annihilate
is the other ubiquitous shadow kill spell, trimmed to 3 because it's just a little narrow and there are so many other options. Banish
is a complete workhorse, both for killing most units at fast speed, and for hosing most relics. 4-8 maindeck relic answers makes this deck devastating to relic based strategies. The final spell is Quarry
for crucial card filtering, especially great when it hits a 4-drop or fast removal.
is one of those powerful sites that enables you to consistently remove a unit and draw a card, and then do even more if it lives. Card advantage and board control, naturally, are pretty much the gameplan, and this site at just 5 cost is a powerhouse to that end.
The market has been tricky to sort out, largely because of complications with the merchant package. I'd really like Auralian Merchant
for the body and power boost, and originally played with it. However, the deck is simply far smoother with Temple maindeck and Dizo's Office
in the market (3 main was clunky). Auralian merchant can grab neither Dizo's nor Cauldron Cookbook
(nor Xo), which makes it a disappointing draw later in the game, defeating much of the purpose of a merchant. These cards are too important to the deck to replace either one with something from time, so Auralians had to go.
Since swapping the sites, I've chosen to play Cen Wastes Smuggler
and Ebon Dune Smuggler
to have 8 shadow smugglers, as the lifesteal from Dizo's is absolutely critical to get out of burn range after stabilizing in many games, and it is always a huge source of late-game value. I'm sure this is more important than extra access to Cookbook, which can be grabbed at your leisure in most cases, but running East Annex Smuggler
over Ebon Dune to better juggle Xo is compelling when your life total isn't being pressured too badly in the meta. An additional benefit of the shadow market is playing Dark Return
there, which is so good with this deck's threats (especially Heart) and sometimes gives you access to your opponent's cards due to Temple. Having a highly versatile unit-fetcher is the perfect final piece to the market puzzle.
is the default early grab to scout your opponent's hand, and is great at many stages of the game for targeting difficult units like Icaria, the Liberator
or Rost, the Walking Glacier
. Using it on a unit in play is for emergencies. The Praxis Banner
is the other typical first choice, when your power/influence need fixing, but is also frequently relevant into the mid-game.
Give it a try and let me know what you think! If you like playing HotV, Xo, and good sites as much as I do, this is your kind of deck.