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Secret Xenan Aggro v1.21 (full deck breakdown w/ updates)

Throne Deck By
DarettiMomsSpaghetti

Work in Progress
+32

Cost Curve

Type

Faction

Information

Edit (5/21/19): I will no longer be updating this deck but plan to keep the breakdown up as a reference. This list hasn't been updated since the 1.45.7: Balance Patch (Champion of Chaos) and 1.46: Dark Frontier.

However, the Xenan pledge aggro archetype has been evolving. KazePlays has been piloting a successful list and can be found here:

Xenan Kazed

Overall, I believe the success of KazePlays's list is in large part because they have fewer tempo-negative card. Rapid Shot provides an immediate effect and gives the opponent huge problems dealing with the larger threats, Last Chance lets you sequence your turns more efficiently, and Star-Reader's Blade does a lot of heavy lifting overall and puts immediate pressure back in play if the unit dies. I am excited to see where the decklist goes moving forward.

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Summary

At its core you are a tempo-based aggressive deck centered around Secret Passage and void recursion. Your main objective is to try and connect with your infiltrate units (Teacher of Humility and Amaran Stinger) and push damage through stalled board states using Secret Passage and Heirloom Seeker or 'go wide' with Scorpion's and Xenan Obelisk.

Pledging: This deck has 16 pledge units (Heirloom Seeker, Cykalis, the Burning Sand, Dread, and Moonstone Vanguard) so you are able to turn one pledge fairly often. Unlike other pledge decks (i.e. Ixtun and TJP) you aren't a 'pledge or lose' deck. Your only pay off is Glasshopper and often the passive ability is good enough in an aggressive deck.

Unit choices

Glasshopper: This helps reduce the cost of your 16 pledge units and provide some card advantage. You can aggressively trade Glasshopper off and bring it back with Dark Return to retrigger its ability.

Heirloom Seeker: A great fit for the deck. Adds to the evasion aspect and combos well with Xenan Obelisk. The deck has access to a lot of relics: Disciplinary Weights from Teacher of Humility, Secret Passage, Xenan Obelisk, Kerendon Merchant to get Secret Passage, recurring your Kerendon Merchant or Teacher of Humility from the void with Dark Return or Dread, and using Be Gone to retrigger Teacher of Humility or Kerendon Merchant.

Teacher of Humility: One of the best units in the deck and is your preferred two drop. Use Secret Passage to force infiltrate and Be Gone or Vara's Choice to clear blockers out of the way. Don't be afraid to aggressively use Secret Passage's activated ability to permanently give Teacher of Humility unblockable as you can recur it later from the void with Dread and Dark Return and retrigger infiltrate. You can also use Be Gone to return Teacher of Humility to retrigger infiltrate.

Amaran Stinger: Another great unit and part of your go-wide plan with Xenan Obelisk. It is a great target for Secret Passage in combination with void recursion. This deck triggers Amaran Stinger A LOT. It's not uncommon you trigger it 4-5 times in one game. Retrigger it using the various interactions of the deck (see Teacher of Humility's description).

Kerendon Merchant: This is the preferred merchant since it gives you access to more copies of two of your most important cards: Secret Passage and Dark Return. Can aggressively trade it off in combat to get back from the void for more market access.

Cykalis, the Burning Sand: A staple card in any aggressively-slanted time deck. Provides a pledge unit for Glasshopper. This is a huge threat and if it isn't removed you can often do 15 damage with in in conjunction with Secret Passage (first charge attack, Secret Passage's summon ability, and then Secret Passage's activation). A great target for Dark Return and extends the number of high-power charge units in your deck.

Dread: A key unit for the deck. Ideally, the play pattern you want to achieve using Dread is to play another unit (Teacher of Humility, Amaran Stinger, ect.), use Secret Passage's ability to give the unit unblockable and put it in the void, and then use up to six power to play Dredge (six power usually but cost can be reduced with Glasshopper), use Secret Passage's ability on it, and then recur the unit from the void with a permanent unblockable buff.

Once Dread is in the void and permanently given unblockable and you have drawn another Dread you can start chaining Dread by recurring them each turn to provide no less than an eight point life swing. You don't want Dread to be killed in combat so try and find windows to connect with it. You can also play Dread and not attack with it to use it as an expensive Dark Return.

Moonstone Vanguard: One of the best remaining options for good pledge units. Powerful with Secret Passage to guarantee a card draw and also survive in combat. Great if given a permanent unblockable buff with Secret Passage as you keep drawing with no repercussions of it dying in combat. A good unit to ramp out with Glasshopper a turn early.

Attachments:

Secret Passage: This is the best card in the deck and most games you win involve using it many times. Helps push through stalled board states, allows you to easily gain value using Teacher of Humility and Amaran Stinger's infiltrate ability or Moonstone Vanguard's card draw, and its permanent unblockable activation is great while recurring units from the void. If your units get hit with Permafrost you can sacrifice them to Secret Passage.

Xenan Obelisk: This is part of your go-wide plan with Amaran Stinger. Works well with unblockable units to push through additional damage. Works great with Heirloom Seeker to push through no less than three damage.

Spells

Be Gone: This is an effective card in the deck. Helps with your fixing by providing shadow influence. Clears blockers out of the way for your infiltrate units and adds to the aggressive tempo plan with charge units. Against control decks with non-fast speed removal you can attack with your charge units and then protect them by returning them back to your hand (Cykalis, the Burning Sand being the best at this). Works well with Teacher of Humility and Amaran Stinger to retriggering infiltrate. Also works well with Secret Passage since you can active it to permanently give a unit unblockable, attack with the unit, and then return the unit to your hand before you have to sacrifice it at end of turn. With this in mind, Be Gone can function like additional copies of Dark Return.

Dark Return: Use on charge units by providing additional virtual copies of units with charge. Good in conjunction with Secret Passage after units have been given permanent unblockable buffs. Also great with the infiltrate units since you can retrigger infiltrate. The +1/+1 ability works well with an unblockable unit to push through additional damage. Use with Glasshopper to provide more copies of your pledged unit. Use with Kerendon Merchant to provide more access to your market.

Vara's Choice: Like Be Gone, Vara's Choice clears blockers out of the way for your infiltrate units and adds to the aggressive tempo plan with charge units. I also believe Vara's Choice is a well-positioned spell in the format since there are many Aegis units or other units you don't want to ever enter play along with their full card text.

Note: In version 1.21 the remaining copy of Vara's Choice has been removed from the maindeck and a Banish has been put back in.

Desecrate: The best removal spell from the new campaign. You can mitigate the three damage by gaining life by attacking with Dread, blocking with Moonstone Vanguard, and drawing Vara, Vengeance-Seeker from the market.

Banish: A removal spell to round out the deck. I like Banish because it can interact with a lot of commonly played hate cards like Statuary Maiden, Adjudicator's Gavel, or Urn of Choking Embers. Also nice to have a main deck out to Avigraft in case your Kerendon Merchant gets hit and your market gets disabled.

Powerbase

The powerbase is solid and you rarely have issues with influence requirements since you have so much fixing with your pledge units. Your main bottlenecks on influence are TT on turn two (for Teacher of Humility), SS on turn 2+ (for Desecrate), and to a lesser extent SS on turn 4 (for Dread). Often you don't want to cast Dread until after turn four anyways so this is not a strict requirement on shadow influence.

Be Gone provides additional shadow influence. Although unscientific, the deck has access to 31 time influence and 31 shadow influence counting all the additional influence provided in addition to the 26 main deck power.

Market

You have additional copies of Secret Passage and Dark Return, a way to clear out a blocker out or stabilize with Desecrate, and Banish to interact with hate cards.

Vara, Vengeance-Seeker: Vara, Vengeance-Seeker helps shore up the aggressive matchups and interact a bit more with Aegis units. The lifesteal also helps if you are racing flying units in combat that you are unable to block. A great target for Secret Passage as you are gaining a steady stream of unblockable life. Great with Dark Return or Be Gone to retrigger the summon ability.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Like Haunted Highway, this deck is fairly hard for the opponent to calculate how much damage they will be taking each turn due to the high number of charge or unblockable units, and cheap bounce effects. The powerbase is good and you have a proactive aggressive strategy that can punish slow removal and expensive tap out threats. You are great in board stalls due to the number of unblockable units. You are also strong against removal-based midrange decks that have slow removal like Desecrate or Harsh Rule. Rather than trying to use multiple spells to interact with Aegis units you can instead use unblockability to go around them.

Weaknesses: This deck is weak to fast spell removal, silence effects, and transformation effects (i.e. Equivocate) since your goal is to stack additional skills onto units and bring them back from the void. I would imagine that Jennev Peaks would be a bad matchup but you may be able to maneuver around them once they tap out to play a large threat or have exhausted their fast speed removal. As with other aggressive strategies, your are weak to large lifesteal units like Vara, Vengeance-Seeker. You are also weak to fliers. Make sure prioritize you removal for lifesteal and flying units.

Void hate cards are very good against you so be aware and try and proactively answer them if you can.

Version 1.1 changes

Mainboard:
-1 Xenan Obelisk
-3 Vara's Choice
-1 Crest of Mystery
+1 Xenan Banner
+3 Desecrate
+1 Banish

Four Xenan Obelisk were clunky so I have cut one copy. I am experimenting with Desecrate in place of Vara's Choice due to power level reasons but may return back to Vara's Choice. I have made a few changes to the power base to help smooth it out. Added another Banish in place of the Xenan Obelisk but not sold on this change (Might want Vara's Choice instead).

Note on Be Gone: I believe that Be Gone is worth it and the shadow influence gains are even more relevant due to the new additions of Desecrate and Vara, Vengeance-Seeker from the market. Eliminating the ability to return your own units is a large aspect of this deck that I do not want to remove yet.

Market:
-1 Vara's Choice
-1 Xenan Banner
+1 Desecrate
+1 Vara, Vengeance-Seeker

I like having access to one copy of Vara, Vengeance-Seeker to shore up some issues with aggressive decks and Aegis units. Xenan Banner has been cut because I wasn't accessing it that often.

Version 1.2 changes

Mainboard:
-2 Banish
-3 Crest of Mystery
+1 Vara's Choice
+2 Diplomatic Seal
+2 Shadow Sigil

I want undepleted power as much as possible so I've cut the Crest of Mystery entirely. Was feeling the loss of Xenan Banner in the market so I cut one piece of interaction for a 26th power. Banish was clunky so I've changed them to Vara's Choice.

Market:
No changes

Version 1.21 changes

Mainboard:
-1 Vara's Choice
-1 Diplomatic Seal
+1 Banish
+1 Crest of Mystery

Did some find tuning of the powerbase by exchanging one copy of Diplomatic Seal for Crest of Mystery and added a copy of Banish in place of Vara's Choice to have another answer to hate cards.

Future directions and thoughts

You am still trying to fine tune the interactive spells and market choices. A card I am interested in trying is Madness since it combines well with Secret Passage and is a huge tempo swing.

Note on 4/9/2019: I tried out a few common recommendations including three Vara, Vengeance-Seeker over Xenan Obelisk and two copies of Blackhall Warleader over Heirloom Seeker in the main deck. I was unimpressed and was losing more matches. I've gone back to v1.2 with no additional changes as of now. Desecrate has been great so I am happy with that inclusion.

Match History

Since version 1.2 I have added my match history if you want to see the deck results.

Details

Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost
45,300

Premium Cost
203,200

Match History

Influence Requirements
2 2

Power Sources
16 16 9 3

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
12 23 22 9

Card Types
33 7 14 0 26

Contains Cards From Campaigns
Into Shadow [Set1004]
Homecoming [Set1005]

Archetype
Tempo

Updated
May 21, 2019

Added
April 7, 2019

Views
11,473

Eternal Version
v1.46 - Dark Frontier

BBCode For Comments

Deck URL

Comments

roetinklol Eternal Version: 1.46.3
Still seems to work fine, 14 wins and 2 losses this season, currently in diamond 3 and won 5 in a row now
Lupin76 Eternal Version: 1.45.7
This deck doesn't work, it is weak already at gold II level...
Micro Eternal Version: 1.45.7
Horrible deck. Sorry i wasted the resources to make it.
DarettiMomsSpaghetti Eternal Version: 1.45.7
Sorry it didn't work out. This deck hasn't been updated in a month and also went through a format changing balance patch so it's very outdated.
amiableMortician Eternal Version: 1.45.4
Filed under "decks I'm gonna play as soon as I have Homecoming". This is just such an excellent archetype and I can't wait to play it!
ReflectingMyDescent Edited Eternal Version: 1.45.3
very disappointed with the current meta. I'm gonna give this deck a go, thanks for the detailed write-up.
EDIT: very good list, it's fun to play.
Update: 11 ranked games in Gold 2 played. 9 wins 2 losses.
Update 2: 20 ranked games played. 16 wins 4 losses = 80% winrate in Gold 2
DarettiMomsSpaghetti Eternal Version: 1.45.3
Nice to hear!
poGDI Eternal Version: 1.45.3
I really like to play this deck, thanks for posting it!
OneAntic Eternal Version: 1.45.2
Sweet deck. Blackhall Warleader should be somewhere in here, no?
DarettiMomsSpaghetti Eternal Version: 1.45.2
That's an interesting idea for sure with all the void recursion. The unit space is a little rough because of the pledge requirements but I may look into a non-pledge version of this deck that uses Blackhall Warleader.
Ninjacan Eternal Version: 1.45.2
This deck seems really interesting, but I don't really see the point of all the bounce spells, you don't have anything that capitalises off cards in hand like Maul. I'm pretty sure that Desecrate is going to be a lot better than either be gone or Vara's choice, it's very efficient, I think just swapping 4 bounce spells for 4 Desecrate is just a strict upgrade
DarettiMomsSpaghetti Eternal Version: 1.45.2
Thanks for the comment.

I agree that Desecrate is very powerful and am including in the updated list with some additional changes to the deck.

I disagree about your comment regarding capitalizing off Be Gone. Yes Maul decks can put an extra card in their hand with Be Gone but it is overwhelming used in that deck as a tempo play to clear out blockers for your units to attack. In fact, I believe this deck is even more effective at using Be Gone than Maul since it utilizes it similar to how Maul does (clearing blockers out) but Be Gone also interacts with Secret Passage and Glasshopper (described in the breakdown above), AND the shadow influence is actually relevant unlike Elysian maul.