I recently found myself with the inspiration and inclination to do some budget deckbuilding. If you are a player with a well-established collection then this deck probably isn’t for you. This deck is intended to be a powerful and cost-effective option for newer players with limited resources. Poacher's Menagerie
is a game-winningly strong card in gauntlet. It can take a few turns to get going, but the value and inevitability that it generates is absurd. As a rare which you don’t need multiple copies of to win, Menagerie is well suited to being played in the market. Nothing Remains
is the only other rare in the deck, and was included for similar reasons. Having eight market access cards will allow you to see these cards even more often than you would have if you had played four copies maindeck. A small side benefit of playing with Poacher’s Menagerie as a new player is getting exposed to cards you probably haven’t seen before, and getting to play with cards you possibly couldn’t afford to try out otherwise. This deck includes ZERO legendaries, ZERO campaign or chapter cards, and only TWO rares. That really keeps down costs and makes this deck a very budget friendly option.
This deck has a solid game plan of efficient removal, efficient units, and the ability to find and abuse Poacher’s Menagerie.
Warcry units like Tinker Unionist
and Crownwatch Paladin
have the potential to snowball out of control, especially when backed up with removal. Vine Grafter
is just an all around amazing card, and Ghostblade Outcast
don’t lag too far behind in that regard. Lifesteal units tend to be great stabilizers against more aggressive opponents.
These units are cheap and possess a variety of battle skills, which makes Hero of the People
a very strong inclusion. Hero can get out of hand if it survives even a single turn, and can close out games quickly. Hero also has synergy with Menagerie as it will pick up bonus battle skills from the units Menagerie plays.
The removal package is a hedge against getting outclassed by more powerful units, but is also cheap enough to be able to blunt early aggression if needed. Between Finest Hour
, Victimless Crime
, and Slay
there is A LOT of it. The large removal package may not be able to win you the game on its own, but it will probably be able to keep you alive long enough to leverage Menagerie or allow you to benefit from your Warcry units. Vine Grafter
and Skullmarket Delivery
are there for market access. Most of the time, as long as you aren’t too far behind, you will want to grab Menagerie. If you lose control of the board then you’ll probably want Nothing Remains
. It’s possible that further testing will dictate wanting power or an Inscribe card in the market, but so far I have been able to manage without it.
If the game goes long then Menagerie and Argenport Blueprints
should let you win more grindy games.
While this is a budget deck, a brand new player likely will not be able to craft it immediately in its entirety. Though I do not anticipate it taking too long to gather the required shiftstone to build it, I also suspect that a crafting priority might be useful. This is the rough order I would follow.
Hero of the People
Here are some general gameplay tips for the deck:
1. Try to avoid keeping two power hands. This is probably a generalization that applies to most gauntlet decks, but I make a point of mentioning it here because the inclusion of many 1 and 2-cost cards increases the temptation to do so. While you can play many of this deck’s cards with only two power, your most powerful card, Poacher’s Menagerie, isn’t one of them.
2. Try to abuse Poacher’s Menagerie as much as possible. This is the most powerful card in the deck and is one of the easiest ways to win. If you are playing against an opponent with relic removal then try to trade the units it generates instead of walling up behind them. That way, even if the opponent is able to eventually remove Menagerie, you will still have gotten some value out of it. Also try to be aware of your available board space as Menagerie will not generate a unit if your board is full. If you are the sort of person that enjoys playing drawn out games, be warned that potential 7 and 12-cost units exist which may accidentally destroy your own Menagerie.
3, Don’t be afraid to hold Hero of the People
until you can play it with a unit like Crownwatch Paladin
, Vine Grafter
, or Ghostblade Outcast
on the same turn. The first two will help Hero to survive until your next turn, and granting Hero exalted gets you some value if it doesn’t survive. You can also use Grafter’s ability to make Hero a 3/3 Regen before you play it. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to play Hero turn 3 against decks which lack removal or which haven’t had removal for any units you may have played on turn 1 or 2.
4. Don’t be afraid to hold Argenport Blueprints
until it grants an heirloom if you don’t need power. The reverse is also true. Don’t be afraid to play Blueprints if you DO need power. Ultimately, being able to play your cards and execute your game plan takes precedence. Blueprints is just power that has a very significant upside if games go long. The heirloom relic that Blueprints generates is also an unleash enabler for Tinker Unionist
5. This deck has a lot of removal, but you don’t necessarily need to kill every unit that the opponent plays. Some units will effectively be shut down by your units and will simply sit there having no meaningful impact on the game. Just because you CAN remove them, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. This is especially true because this deck’s removal is all fast speed, which means you can often use it to ruin double blocks from the computer if you are patient.
I think that this deck is a very solid option for new players and probably shouldn’t take too long to build. I think that it is also the sort of deck that can be meaningfully upgraded as you acquire new cards. Hopefully this will be a good starting point, and make gauntlet grinding more accessible to those without a wealth of extra resources. If you have questions or want help feel free to message me here or add me as a friend in game.