Hooru Kira has been around for awhile, but after the release of Battle Lines I am unaware if there is a currently accepted “stock” list, However, I believe that when the dust settles, this list is likely to end up pretty close to that. What I do know is that this list has performed very well for me, while also playing differently enough from other Justice midrange decks.
My only real updates for Battle Lines are two cards, Urge to Feed
and Lystia, Flighty Mistral
, but both have earned their spots in my opinion. I know that these cards are unlikely to be wildly controversial in this archetype, but I think that I can make a compelling argument to justify their inclusion. It is important to first understand how this deck typically operates, or in this case, wins. Korovyat Palace
plays an absolutely decisive role in finishing most games, and is incredibly effective at doing so. Roughly speaking, across 130 games or so, more than 90% of the time (this estimate might be low) the game was ended by Korovyat Palace
. It also did so quite rapidly, usually within 2 turns of coming down. In that same period of games I only recall playing Wisdom of the Elders
3 or 4 times, and not once did the opponent last long enough for me to finish Svetya’s Agenda. I know that colloquially this archetype is usually referred to as, “Hooru Kira”, but I feel like that name fails to acknowledge the importance of Korovyat Palace
. Almost every game with the deck should involve developing a board, playing Palace, and then winning in a turn or 2. Don’t get me wrong, the deck totally can
win without Palace, but you should
be winning with Palace. (Side Note: If you do not enjoy decks with repetitive play patterns, you may not enjoy this deck very much.)
Understanding the importance of the role that Korovyat Palace plays is critical when evaluating the inclusion of other cards in this deck. Palace is actually just such a powerful and effective finisher as to justify favoring deck-building decisions that better facilitate it.
As a 1-cost spell that both draws a card and targets one of your units, Urge to Feed
is a direct competitor with Levitate
. Half of the units in this deck already have flying, so the temporary flying clause on Levitate
is often wasted. This deck has enough flyers and lifesteal that losing in the air is not particularly worrisome, while the crushing nature of Korovyat Palace
means that using Levitate
offensively to sneak in damage is often irrelevant. Levitate
’s biggest selling point as a fast spell is that it is a fast speed activator for Hojan, Crownbreaker
’s renown, which is also fairly negligible. Giving one of your units +1/+1 on the other hand is often incredibly relevant in gauntlet where one larger unit can hold back multiple smaller units from attacking. At the same time, the extra power of an advantage can be really beneficial for setting up Palace sooner. I don’t believe that this deck has room to play both Urge to Feed and Levitate
, and I think that Urge comes out ahead in the competition. Lystia, Flighty Mistral
is a generally solid card, but she also helps facilitate the Palace plan. This deck wants to consistently reach 6 power for Palace and 8 influence for Kira Ascending
, and these requirements can create tension when it comes to accessing the market. Sometimes you will find yourself in the position of having to choose between holding on to business or guaranteeing your future power drops. The extra sigil from Lystia, Flighty Mistral
essentially lets you have your cake and eat it too, while her 3/1 flying body also represents more damage when Palace comes down.
Overall, I think that Urge to Feed
and Lystia are both welcome additions for the deck.
Two final notes:
1. The PVP version of this deck typically runs Vision of Austerity
in the market. However, I am of the opinion that dedicated relic hate is largely wasted in gauntlet, and that you are generally better served having something else. Bearing that in mind, I consider this something of a flex slot, but Lay Siege
has performed well for me so far. I considered replacing it with Manacles
, but between Bring to Justice
and Pristine Light
, I haven’t really noticed a need for more removal.
2. The power base might look a bit weird playing 3 copies of both Hooru Painting
and Hooru Cylix
. I thought so as well when I originally stole the power base from someone else awhile ago. I vaguely recall going up to 4 Paintings at one point, but they actually created awkwardness multiple times in the late game by being depleted. This deck doesn’t actually have any turn 1 plays besides power, which means that there isn’t really any benefit for having undepleted power turn 1. As a result, you will almost always want to play a depleted power on the first turn. If I recall correctly, this, plus the power-hungry late game where depleted power was often a huge liability, was the reason for the weird Painting/Cylix split. Also, I believe that part of the issue was that if you draw a starting hand with 2+ Paintings, in addition to other depleted power, it would create situations where you couldn’t always have 3 power on turn 3 regardless of how you sequenced them. I know that anecdotally speaking, in the 18 or so runs I have done with the deck, that the power base has not been an issue for me. I more so have vague recollections than strong feelings on the matter though, so feel free to tinker with the power and draw your own conclusions.