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The Budget Gauntlet Grinder

Gauntlet Deck By


Cost Curve




[For those that have Copperhall Bailiff: -1 Finest Hour, -1 Protect, -1 Awakened Student and -1 Hammer of Might fits in four without missing a beat. Deck works 100% fine without them but they're still a great addition.]

Hello! I've been using this deck to grind Masters Gauntlet successfully, and I can confidently state that it is three things:

Consistent - A low curve and a simple influence base reduce your chances of being screwed out of a run just before getting your silver chests. You can (and will) easily win games with clunky draws, just 3 power is plenty for most of what this deck does.

Resilient - This deck wins with a simple, and very effective strategy - clog the board and swing with one huge flying lifelinker every turn until you win. Redundancy is built into every facet of this deck, ensuring that you can successfully achieve this strategy against every AI deck and most gauntlet bosses.

Cheap. No legendaries. No Copperhall Bailiff requiring you to spend money or skip four drafts.Only 17,500 dust to craft the entire thing from scratch, with several budget options to make it cheaper.

It's not the most exciting deck or strategy, but it boasts a great gauntlet winrate with minimal dust investment.

The "Core"
Paladin Oathbook - Keep in mind the +1/+1 is permanent. This card gives you inevitability, and allows you to play in a way that stalls the board and goes over the top, which helps reduce variance and increases your winrate significantly. Four copies is mandatory.
Silverwing Familiar - Small and unassuming, but easily the single best creature in this deck. Its unique combination of evasion, lifelink, and self-protection allow it to take over games once combined with any weapon or with an Oathbook in play.
Karmic Guardian - The endurance allows you to swing with a huge lifelinker while having little other board presence to protect against a backlash. If you have a protect in hand, you will often want to save playing this until turn 5 (assuming you're not dying very quickly).
Unseen Commando - Dusk Road's greatest contribution to this deck, its ability triggers off attacks from any of your core creatures - including itself. They also stack if you have multiple. On a budget, forge these last, as they cost the most shiftstone.

On a tighter budget, while you can replace most of cards in this deck with other options (explained below), lowering your count of lifelink flyers will seriously harm the deck's ability to function.

The "Equipment"
Vodakhan's Staff - Extremely cost efficient equipment that will come back if removed early on. This is the best equipment for the deck.
Hammer of Might - This is basically just a fifth (slightly more expensive) copy of Vodakhan's Staff. While the warcry is nice, it's often-times going to affect something that isn't going to factor into your gameplan (like having a very large silence creature or wasp).
Gemblade (from Emerald Monument) - Ideally you'll want to let your monuments transmute, but five other +3/+3 weapons means it's not the end of the world if you have to play them for power. Replace with Justice Sigil.

On a tighter budget, replace the 5 weapons with 4xGilded Glaive - that's a savings of 3,600 dust!

Additional Board Presence
Awakened Student - Attacks from these will often clear the air for your real threats as your opponent double and triple blocks them to be rid of their perceived threat. Sometimes they will win you the game on their own.
Rhinarc (from Amber Monument) - Transmuted amber monuments don't fly, but overwhelm means they plays very well with Paladin Oathbook and your weapons. On a budget neither monument is strictly necessary, but between the two I prefer amber over emerald. Replace with Time Sigils.

The Supporting Cast
Finest Hour - The Gauntlet AI is awful at tricks, so you can happily chump attack into huge blowouts with the use of this.
Protect - One of the main problems with the strategy of riding one large guy to victory is that your opponent is going to take every chance to defeat that guy. If your hand is light on threats but big on pump, you will want to wait for an extra influence before running your guys out there.

Clearing the Way (with Silence)
Desert Marshal and Valkyrie Enforcer - While it's tempting to use your 8 copies of silence to get rid of annoying abilities, you can generally out-lifesteal most opposing strategies. Because your deck often relies on attacking with only one attacker and leaving back a board presence of blockers, you will most frequently use silence on a flier to ensure that one attacker can get through. Don't waste these early, just when your creature is large enough to finish in a few swings. (Obvious exception: silence things that are causing you damage very quickly, like "Strangers get +1/+1")

On a tighter budget you can replace Valkyrie Enforcer with Archive Curator. Desert Marshal is not really replaceable, but it's playable in ladder decks so it's a safe investment.

Vanquish - Sometimes this is the only thing you can do against some lucky draws against decks like Forgemaster.
Scorpion Wasp - Removal that can also turn into a win condition in a pinch.

You prefer more copies of Vanquish over Scorpion Wasp because sometimes you need to kill 4 power blockers, but I like having the split.

This is an updated version of Gauntlet grinder, credit to them for the original deck idea. Happy grinding!


Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost

Premium Cost

Influence Requirements
2 2

Power Sources
16 17 8 4

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
12 34 17

Card Types
26 9 11 0 29


March 17, 2018

December 30, 2017


Eternal Version
Dead Reckoning

BBCode For Comments

Deck URL

Revisions (Since last major patch) March 17, 2018



cdburk Edited Eternal Version: 23.11.09
After not playing eternal for ages, I for some reason got reminded about it and wanted to check out old decklists for nostalgia. Imagine my surprise when the top viewed gauntlet deck (and second overall!) was an updated and improved version of a deck I posted! Thanks for doing a much more thorough write up and analysis than I ever bothered with, and it was really fun going down a bit of a trip down memory lane :) I imagined the deck quickly got power crept with the new releases, as looking through more modern decks seem to have almost no cards at all I recognize (expect for enforcer, what a busted card haha). I would like to point out after reading some comments that I do remember stand together being absolutely amazing at blowing out the AI during combat, but I can definitely see that not working after a couple of patches, with new more efficient cards! Thanks for giving credit at the end, and happy to have been able to contribute to a starting point for this deck :D
RandalFlagg Eternal Version: 1.49.3
January 1st 2020 they revamped the Gauntlet. It is insane at master's now. The AI has optimized blue/legendary decks. Unless you have a deck full of legendaries ..well good luck. It's an obvious pay wall now.
moby_ Edited Eternal Version: 1.47.9
I don't know if it's because this deck is from 2018 or because they made gauntlet much, much harder and unfair, but this deck really isn't doing it any more. It works some times but the AI just gets artificiall nut draws, with hands full of legendaries and removal that this deck does nothing against. Not to mention the outdated mana. This deck is honestly just bad and needs serious reworking, and I would advise new players not to waste their shiftstone crafting it.
Grundle Eternal Version: 1.47.8
Are you adding anything new with 1.47 Fox?
D4ddyLiLd4rk Eternal Version: 1.46.3
I’ve just added 4 Combrei Insignia and removed 2 Seat of Progress and 2 Combrei Banner.
Deividas Eternal Version: 1.43
Hi Boukish, thanks for posting this deck. I've had some success with it, but felt that it could use with some upgrades since this hasn't been updated in a while. With all of the new cards, I feel like this could be made into a more resilient deck. What do you think about the following upgrade path The Budget Gauntlet Grinder [potential upgrade path]? Thanks again for sharing this deck, it helped me out a lot!
seldiora Eternal Version: 1.37
If I want to run Sandstorm titan, what should I replace? Or does he actually not fit in this deck, despite being a staple in every other time deck?
Boukish Eternal Version: 1.37
SST doesn't fit in this deck at all - it makes every creature they play into a chump blocker for your flyers. If you have the collection to play a real deck, definitely do. :P
BoxingBiochemist Eternal Version: 1.31.6
Hey all. I got this deck a little while back and I can't get it to win a single run. The premise of the deck is to clog up the ground with beef while it attacks with one flier. The problem is that there isn't any beef, at least not that I can get to stick. The Awakened Students die too early from removal (usually a torch or a piercing shot), and the only remaining toughness ranges are 3 or 4. Meanwhile, the enemy gets to midgame and starts laying down things with 4 or higher power and toughness pretty regularly. By that point, there's not enough to disincentivize attacking into my board. I can't imagine that this deck isn't performing at its most basic job, so I have to assume I'm playing it wrong. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, though. My version of the deck is exactly as above except I did the recommended Copperhall Bailiff change.
Giahadra Edited Eternal Version: 1.31.6
Hey all ( and Boukish),

I was stalled out at gold level gauntlet so I tried out this deck today.. I used a modified version of this deck ( I didn't have all of the cards). After 1 hiccup that was mostly my fault, I modified some of my replacement cards and added the Copperhall Bailiffs and soared from Gold to Master with no losses. I would say I am very happy with this deck. I agree that the Copperhall Bailiffs are needed in replacement of some of those spells They really slow down any early aggro, but more importantly bring down the attack of mid sized units so they can't kill your blockers. This stalls out the AI even if they have tons of units. Thanks a bunch!!
- All decks have their strengths and weaknesses, so if I had one weakness to report I would say that the heavy influence requirements on low cost cards (2 influence of a single color on 2 and 3 cost cards) can sometimes stall you out early on bad sigil RNG. Thanks again!
nelitojugon1 Eternal Version: 1.31
Hi, i use this deck or versions of this deck , and i thicks that have good and bad days , it´s usual lose in the first games , but I get about 1-3 times 7-0 wins every day . thicking in the game of the IA , i see that silence and a big guy its the best way to block it, i put 3 Shush[cardand i get a great control a better win rate.

This is my actual version of this deck.
3 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
2 Infinite Hourglass (Set1 #67)
3 Awakened Student (Set1 #331)
3 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
4 Paladin Oathbook (Set1 #140)
3 Protect (Set1 #132)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Copperhall Bailiff (Set1001 #5)
2 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
3 Shush (Set3 #259)
3 Silverwing Familiar (Set1 #152)
3 Unseen Commando (Set3 #122)
3 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
3 Vodakhan's Staff (Set1 #336)
3 Karmic Guardian (Set1 #341)
1 Passage of Eons (Set1001 #3) <------ for relics remove or long game flying units down
6 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
2 Amber Monument (Set1 #420)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
Fudgy Eternal Version: 1.31
This deck is not what it's made out to be.
I don't want to offend OP, just a fair warning for newer players.

I'm new to Eternal (2 weeks in) and have been grinding Gauntlet to Master rank with my cheap Rakano Warcry and Feln Infiltrate decks. However, both my decks falter around 5 wins so I often just miss out on silver crates, I found this promising list and spent all my Shiftstones into it to complete it. 12 runs in I have yet to reach 4 wins even. This deck has some serious consistency issues. It is highly dependent on the right top decks, it can't recover from a bad boardstate. It either steamrolls with auto-pilot victories or it lags hard. This isn't a consistent Gauntlet deck.
antoseb Eternal Version: 1.31
Yep. That was my problem with it as well. Extremely inconsistent and gets beaten out by most standard rakano or stonescar decks.
antoseb Eternal Version: 1.31
So got another 5 runs in with the deck, 12 games total. First run I lost to the first boss because I drew all 4 protects without a minion. Afterwards I decided to make some tweaks to the deck. Here were my mods:
-2 protect, - 2 finest hour, -1 awakened student, -2 desert marshal
+3 Icaria, Valkyrie Captain, +4 copperhall bailiff.

My basic impression of the deck is that it runs too many reactive cards that are dead in hand if you dont draw something useful. I also found that I would get up to 6 green in about 40% of my games so I added the Icaria. Bailiff is an excellent idea and probably won me a couple games.

After my changes my next 4 runs where as follows: 3 wins, 3 wins, 3 wins, 2 wins. Still kind of underwhelming, but at least it was performing noticeably better. The main weakness to me is the potential influence screw around the 3 power range. The 3 and 4 drops in this deck require two green or two yellow, and 3 of my 4 losses came from this exact scenario. The fourth loss came from the ai getting a nut draw, so I don't think it was the deck's fault. Its a shame combrei doesn't have a crest or it would be an auto include for sure. I hope you guys get more luck than me.
antoseb Eternal Version: 1.31
This deck is reaaally bad. Just played 5 runs of masters gauntlet, lost on first boss in 3/5 runs and my best run was 4th boss. Constant flooding/screwing issues and the overall powerlevel of the cards is awful compared to the bombs you face in masters gauntlet. I get better results with a standard feln control that isn't even built for gauntlet. Worth a try if you have all the cards needed, but I wouldn't recommend wasting a single stone on it otherwise.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.31
So you're basically saying your sample size is ten games at most (1 + 1 + 1 + best run being 4, which means fifth run is something + 3 or less)? Appreciate the feedback, but I'm not sure how you're reporting constant screw issues when the curve ends at 3.
antoseb Eternal Version: 1.31
More flood than screw to be sure. But I did have two games where I was stuck at two for the first 4-5 turns which really hurts decks like this. I know my sample size isn't great, but considering I can take my feln control or homebrewed aggro scream deck and get 5-7 wins 99% of the time I don't think calling this a gauntlet grinder is accurate. Its not even that bad of a deck when it works well tbh. But I have to argue the "consistent" tag heavily, and consistency is by far the most important thing in a gauntlet deck.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.31
And I'm not simply being cheeky with the rarely ever happens thing. The odds of a 29 power deck being stuck on 2 over a 6 turn game is like 42 out of 1000 games, and the odds of it happening twice in 10 runs is ridiculously low.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.31
Getting stuck on two hurts the majority of decks, but this deck plays 29 power for a reason - getting stuck on 2 rarely ever happens. I simply do not believe your claim that you can take any deck to 5-7 wins 99% of the time (or, honestly even 75% of the time, anymore).

I have hundreds of games with this deck and iterations of it in testing. Dozens of people have reported success with this deck both at masters and to climb to masters. You have a sample size of either 9 or 10 games, during which you posted either a 4-5 or 5-5 record, and you really feel confident in your assessment of the deck? I find that interesting. I find it more interesting that you got stuck on two lands in 20% of your games in a deck that plays 29 power and somehow that's the deck's fault and not just simple variance.
antoseb Edited Eternal Version: 1.31
But I grind gauntlet for roughly 2-3 runs every day and haven't gone under 4 wins in at least 30 runs until I tried your deck today. A deck claiming to be "consistent" shouldn't need more than 10 games/5 runs to prove itself. Either my runs were astronomically unlucky or this deck just isn't as consistent as it claims. Tell you what, you convinced me to give it another chance. So tomorrow I will do another 5 runs with it and I will post those results. If I get above 75% I will take back what I said.
Neojak Eternal Version: 1.31
Iv played 40 games with this deck and have yet to loss a single gauntlet game thanks!
BadBug Eternal Version: 1.29
Thanks for sharing !
I really hope you'll updated it with the new camp and even better - to create a non budget version maybe :P
Boukish Eternal Version: 1.29
4 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
4 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
4 Paladin Oathbook (Set1 #140)
4 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Reinvigorate (Set3 #112)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Knight-Chancellor Siraf (Set1 #335)
4 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
4 Silverwing Familiar (Set1 #152)
4 Unseen Commando (Set3 #122)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Vodakhan's Staff (Set1 #336)
4 Karmic Guardian (Set1 #341)
6 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)

This is the non-budget version of the deck I've been playtesting.
BadBug Eternal Version: 1.29
Thanks, tell us how is it after you'll test it :)
mindthief666 Eternal Version: 1.29
Thanks for the deck.
I'm also having fun with Jaril, from dead reckoning, in this deck.
Boukish Eternal Version: 1.29
Jaril is an easy inclusion over awakened student, if you have Dead Reckoning. Unfortunately I haven't got the campaign yet to test.
neonangel Eternal Version: 1.29
Boukish, thank you SO much for this awesome deck! I recently picked up the game and was searching for a more effective way to grind the Gauntlet. I certainly found the answer with this deck. I was playing a Red/Green Rakano extreme budget deck, which was about the only thing I could afford to build. Even though it was decent it did not have the level of consistency this deck offers. I can't tell you how many times this deck has been able to turn around certain defeat at the last possible moment through sheer life gain. It's a great build and I appreciate you sharing it with us beginners!
KoopaKill Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
Love this deck, and love the customisation options - started with the basic version, and slowly upgrading the cards!

Much appreciation for putting the time and effort into the description.
io1 Eternal Version: 1.27
> budget
> 17k dust
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
Several budget options listed to save even more shiftstone, and most of the shiftstone expenditure is constructed playable (enforcer, protect, desert marshal, commando, etc). You see plenty of comments from people hodge-podging the deck together with whatever they had handy for good results.

When you compare the winrate of this against gauntlet staple grinders like burn queen, the budget nature of the deck is inarguable.
WinterWolf1297 Eternal Version: 1.27
In my hundreds of Gauntlet games with decks like this and many others, I have yet to find a consistent list that wins against master gauntlet. Most I get is 1-2 gauntlet wins and that's very rare and usually only with top tier decks. This deck is no different. For example: last game was brutal with this list vs the Great Armory where the AI happened to get high shield and a new relic weapon every time I killed the old one and nothing I played survived more than a turn. His little weenies took the game.
CONDOR Eternal Version: 1.27
Beat masters on my first try, thanks!
Aaxor Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
I was struggling in the Gauntlet for a bit there. I appreciate you putting this decklist together! It worked well. Even using it to farm Master Gauntlet runs. I was missing some of the cards, so I ended up with this list:
4 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
2 Minotaur Oathkeeper (Set2 #70)
4 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Awakened Student (Set1 #331)
4 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
1 Paladin Oathbook (Set1 #140)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
3 Auric Record Keeper (Set3 #258)
4 Gilded Glaive (Set1 #125)
3 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
4 Silverwing Familiar (Set1 #152)
2 Unseen Commando (Set3 #122)
3 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Karmic Guardian (Set1 #341)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Amber Monument (Set1 #420)
1 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)
1 Emerald Waystone (Set3 #101)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
2 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
Silverfox Eternal Version: 1.27
I just wanted to say I loved the deck..... even when you think you are going to lose somehow you pull out the win..... THANKS!
AsllaPiscu Eternal Version: 1.27
Hello, i copied your deck exactly like it is stated.
I tried 6 or 7 Gauntlets with it and never came farther than the third enemy.
I am either mana starved or start with like 3 Desert Marshal and nothing else that could help me.
Since the people here are generally having good results i wonder whether there is something to this deck i am not seeing, like a deeper strategy that i just don't get.
Help would be appreciated.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
No real deep strategy, you keep a hand with lifelink fliers and you hope for the best mostly, a loooot of AIs are really soft to a single Silverwing Familiar.

Be a bit more choosy in your keeps and redraws - knowing the enemy AI helps a lot here, knowing when you can bank on a slower hand vs when you need to dump a ton of dudes out early vs when you need to dig for vanquishes or protects. Any hand with a lifelink flier is usually keepable, even if it's only a 2 lander - you'll usually get there.

Mana starve happens, but it's usually not too big a problem since the curve largely ends at 3 (though getting flooded is fine with things like vodakhan).

Variance is gonna hurt you some games, sometimes it seems like nothing can go right. This is at the end of the day a GRINDER, not a silver bullet. You get back on the horse and try another.
AsllaPiscu Eternal Version: 1.27
Thanks for the fast reply and for the tips. I just won two gauntlets with this deck. I guess it was just bad luck.
JTJag Eternal Version: 1.27
What are your thoughts on Stand Together as a protect replacement and Copperhall Elite as an alternate win condition?
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
I originally ran Stand Together but cut it in favor of Protect - it's just too clunky for this kind of deck. Every once in a while it's a neat little battle trick but I had soooo many games where Stand Together just sat around and did nothing all game - even ones where I would have liked the aegis, I just didn't have the power to spare. Protect saves some opening hands that, if it were Stand Together, would be unplayable.

You could definitely try Copperhall Elite in place of Awakened Student, I certainly don't hate the idea. Could work just fine.
LoveTheValkyries Eternal Version: 1.27
This is a really good deck. I modified it myself with replacements as I had literally 10 dust/scraps at my disposal, and ranked to Master on my first run :) The AI is insane and I feel quite unfair personally, but I was really pleased with the deck.
Tenken Eternal Version: 1.27
Thank you for this. I will try it out, but I appreciate the fact that you give us alternatives because I did not want to spend stone crafting some of those rares.
katie Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
This is a really cool deck. It can lose though. There's so many ways it can get hosed, like facing down a 12/12 flyer that gets +1/+1 every turn, and you're flooding out and your empowered students can't do anything to it, and despite seeing 20+ cards in your deck, don't draw a single removal or silence during the entire game :/

This isn't the deck's fault really. I think the dev's increased odds of power flood/screw and poor draws for Diamond/Master runs - they have never been so bad before. You'll notice the AI nevers get power screwed. They sometimes flood, but they never actually get stuck on 2 power. I think it's designed to be quite unfair. Some of these master gauntlet decks are tough to beat. They get perfect 10-11 card draws before flooding out, and sometimes it's just crazy thinking about how to survive until they are out of gas :/

^ This game was actually winnable, but like, this is just too insane of a draw for this deck.

^ The very next game. A loss. Got 20 gold for my efforts.

^ Started a new run, and another BS game. I actually had Protect too, but he had both Rebuke and Chill and the Fencing Master. I don't think the AI's draws are random. They get the nuts every game.

^ This is the second opponent in the next gauntlet. This is the hand I got after a mulligan. Opponent has 7 power and we're stuck on 2. I swear, being stuck on 2 power despite an insane number of turns literally happens 50% of the time.

But hey, let's keep playing... our opponent is durtling and just casting spells...

^ Whoops. Our cheating AI played a 4/6 the next turn and then two 10/10's once we finally started developing. So much for lifesteal :/ Also what is not apparant is that despite having 2 Protects, the opponent had 3 silences.

^ We managed to find a win anyway, but that's just the first game... now we're onto the 50% chance to lose game, so not feeling hopeful.

Yep, I was right - not looking good... screwed at 2 power again. The opponent is at least nice enough to make it night so we can draw some cards, but our two draws are both depleted power, so we basically skip our turn. Coincidence? I think not.

^ Turns out, if you miss a 3-drop, you probably just lose the game, especially with this PoS hand. Just how many times does the game give you 3 of the same useless card?

^ Prediction correct. We lose, despite several crafty plays to get even this far.

I don't think any deck is immune to this crap. It happens 50% of the time for me regardless of have many power I use in my deck or what deck I use. It's demoralizing that they do this so you are forced to buy packs instead of grinding this.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
I mean, I can't say I didn't expect the "I tried this and still just got pooped on" comments, but, well, I agree. I still get randomly dumped on by a lifelinking endurance flying 10/10 that got assembled by turn 5. Sometimes there's not much to do but hope you draw the vanquish next time. That said, there are a tooooon of AI matchups that are soft to this deck, no matter the draw, and there's a lot to be said for a deck that can feasibly (and does regularly) win games on 3 power, in a game where screw is a thing.

This deck does as much as it possibly can to get out of its own way and to reduce variance, but at the end of the day you're still gonna have some. I keep coming back to this deck because it's the one truly budget deck I've found that really can hang in masters gauntlet.

I appreciate the feedback, I hope to keep tweaking and tuning this deck to perform better!
katie Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
Don't take my feedback the wrong way - I don't even think the deck is at fault when you see these screenshots. I don't know any deck that would have performed better :/

My only suggestion is to drop the monuments. Those are just asking to get mana-screwed. They might work in normal statistical variance in ranked, but don't count on it in the Gauntlet. Besides, the deck has too many 2-color requirement cards, so I don't think we can seriously risk a failed run over such a minor upside that occurs far less than the power screw that they cause. Ideally, we don't want any power to come in depleted except for maybe the first turn, but after that, it's just too much of a risk. I often found myself skipping a 2-drop on purpose just to guarantee a 3-drop or 4-drop to work around the monument. This is pretty silly - we just gotta use more sigils.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
While sometimes the monuments cause awkward draws, they do actually put a lot of work in for the deck. It isn't a minor upside, having 2 more +3/+3 weapons and three huge bodies without necessarily sacrificing any power is actually really significant. You can absolutely go without them, but your winrate will suffer for it. Some enemy AIs have a habit of spamming out 4/x creatures - Rhinarcs shut down profitable attacks from these decks, and because the AI is very conservative, that means a lot of extra time for your lifelinkers to get online. Against decks that swarm flying blockers out there, suiting up a Rhinarc is just what you need to force the issue. The limited utility of a slightly more aggressive start in some games is absolutely not worth losing monuments - though some draws can win very quickly, this is NOT an aggro deck.

You just have to reframe your expectations of them, be more willing to run them out there turn 1 and 2 when you don't need the power, don't force the transmutes. As you play the deck more, you get a better experience of when you should run them out there and when you should angle for the transmute.

I don't actually agree that depleted power is all that bad for this deck. It's perfectly fine for you to run an Awakened Student out on turn 3 and then play a depleted power after it, and then next turn a three drop while holding up protect or finest hour. Skipping a two drop just to guarantee a 3 or 4 drop is actually fine in most matchups. Sometimes an awakened student is "just" going to be a chump blocker, and that's okay - because you fly over the top with huge lifelinkers anyway, you win almost all extended trades.
katie Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
I don't think we're having the same experiences in terms of games. I played the gauntlet more today, and it got a lot easier. I almost wonder if the difficulty ramps the more you farm it, as a protection from free gold or something. Because the decks I played in the last few runs today were a joke, and I wonder where all of the broken decks with perfect draws disappeared to.

I want to explain what I meant about the monuments. If you lose a game because your power was bad, then that's a case where a card just lost you a game. Just how many games do they win you that you wouldn't have won due to the transformation of the monument? I'm not talking about ranked here - I'm talking about the gauntlet where your opponent never gets power screwed, a mode where they can dump their hand as fast as possible with perfect draws, and you probably get more screwed than you should. In this type of environment, there will be more % of games where the monuments are bad compared to when they are good, and even if 50% of the time the monuments win you games that you wouldn't have otherwise won, that's still such a high risk for a mode where losing is the worst thing that can happen. In Gauntlet, you want consistency - like brutal consistency with no compromises.

And yes, I always played the monuments first to get rid of them as fast as possible. However, you cannot curve out if you are forced to play them on turn 2, 3, 4, etc. This is why they are bad. Playing a mentor on 2 is almost universally better than playing it on 3. It's only better to hold it if you think they have Lightning Storm or something like that, but if it's destined to get torched, you might as well get that over with so you can do something on turn 3. Because if it dies on turn 3, then you've done nothing for 3 turns and your opponent probably went first (like they almost always do) and is now on turn 4, filling up their board with minions you cannot possibly deal with. In Gauntlet, this is the #1 reason you lose (that, and power screw, which usually both occur at the same time).

As an aside, if you cast Sabotage against the opponent and take their favours and seek powers, you will actually see the AI power screwed for the first time. The deck is fixed, so if you mess with their power, the deck doesn't function for awhile because it made assumptions on power and the cards were weaved perfectly. Once I realized this, you really have to have the most consistent fast power you can. Any depletions before an essential play on an essential turn will cost you the game. I think the best theoretical gauntlet deck would have to include Sabotage. I've been running a Justice/Fire/Shadow deck now that is just doing stupidly well now. You can preemptively take their removal and silences before dropping your bombs, and this kind of consistency when you add it all up is just insane.
MandrulDuce Eternal Version: 1.27
Great decklist. Very consistent and fast paced. Went through 3 gauntlet runs before being defetead at the boss of the third. All in an hour tops (which is great because there is no meaningfullnes in playing the is just farming).
I also tried it on 3 ranked games (bronze to silver it is true) and I won all three. With the Protects and finest hour you draw out so much of the enemy removal).
Big thumbs up man. I just started playing eternal a week ago and I was looking for a cheap list to farm the masters gauntlet and yours hit the spot. I did not craft the staff and hammer cause they were too expensive (I have the currency for it but I see no point in doing it). Deck works perfectly fine with Gilded Blade. I also only have one each of the monuments.
All in all it cost me 6k to craft what was missing and I think the return value will be there very shortly. So thanks again.
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
Gilded Glaive is absolutely A+, for a while I ran it over Hammer of Might entirely.

Thanks for the feedback friend, happy it's working out for you! :)
Arkimedes Eternal Version: 1.27
Which improvements can I do here If I want a non-budget deck which works even better?
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
Keep in mind this answer will be somewhat conjecture as, well, this is the list I run and so I haven't tested anything I'm about to say, buuuuut...

I'm not actually super sure, as the list is pretty tight. It's generally good in terms of threats, mostly you'd want to add things to shore up your defensive game to ensure your strategy can get online. You have a few spots that could easily get cut without affecting the overall strategy (1 of the Protects and 1 of the Finest Hours, 1-2 sigils.) Copperhall Bailiff and Leave a Witness could both be such additions that also play well with the existing strategy and consistency of the deck.

You could easily replace the Awakened Student with something like Knight-Chancellor Siraf or Auric Record Keeper.

Cards that I regularly see in Combrei lists that I definitely DON'T recommend to "un-budget" the deck are things like Tinker Overseer (way worse than Unseen Commando), Stand Together (which just ends up being a more expensive Protect 99% of the time), and generic "good things" like Mystic Ascendant or Sandstorm Titan (high cost bombs or ones that heavily alter the deck's strategy when it comes down - at that point just play a "Big Combrei" list that's tuned for Gauntlet - this deck is built for consistent draws and a predictable winrate.)

Too much tweaking and high costed "bombs" make some opening hands/mulligans SIGNIFICANTLY weaker, leading to random losses in game 4-5 of a Gauntlet run - which is among the worst feelings in the game. The fact that you can easily win most games with 3 influence is actually pretty crucial to the deck.
Regicide Eternal Version: 1.27
If possible, I'd like to know: is Copperhall Bailiff a better choice than any other units in the deck? As in, if 100% of players already had him, would he replace anything?
Boukish Edited Eternal Version: 1.27
I don't think Bailiff can replace any other creature in the deck, no, but I think you could probably cut 1 of Protect and Finest Hour, and then either one Sigil or the Hammer of Might, to make room for 3 Bailiffs. Bailiffs would be a good addition, tentatively, but this deck won't make as good a use of them as other decks do.

Keep in mind, the deck struggles more against decks like Forgemaster that assemble one huge monster (when you can't draw removal or race) than it does decks that swarm a bunch of Grenadins or fliers out there. Usually you can just out-combat a big board. Keep in mind, while your primary game plan is "threat light", this deck isn't actually THAT creature light. You'll usually have enough guys to stall them off from attacking, even when they have overwhelming board presence - due to the nature of the AI.