So, not sure how particularly *amazing* this deck is, but an archetype I wanted to explore--shadowscar. Simply because it plays Stonescar in a completely different way than people usually associate with the faction pair--either trying to outright murder you ASAP, or essentially "shrine + X" sacrifice archetypes. Instead, this one's trying to abuse plunder and market access while fighting for board using reasonably high quality units, and abusing Krull to generate resource advantages. There isn't much that's set particularly in stone here, unlike say, Xenan reanimator, in which most of the deck is, but I'll go over some inclusions. Shadow Etchings
: this deck wants to warp 5-drops and slam 6-drops. It's power hungry. This is also market access, ideally exhausting a smuggler or an elf Acantha makes. Torch
: it's torch. Efficient removal, goes face, you know the drill. Acantha Ascending
: Jarrall's on another planet, Kira has obscene protection spells, Alhed is reasonable right out of the box, so Acantha is last on the ascending tier list (there should be a fire one, but I'm not sure the card exists =P), but I wanted to try her out. She's...okay. At 4S, she can trade for something in a swing and leave behind a body, at 6S, she's certainly playable (think baby Icaria tier), and at 8, she has the outside chance to chip in for some respectable damage in the air while slowly swinging the board in your favor. Make no mistake, I think she needs a hard buff to 2/3 or 3/2, and only came out in this obviously weak state as confirmed by Patrick Chapin because of A) expedition B) mono-shadow being a thing at lower rungs of the ladder. If you don't like her, you can feel free to try Vine Grafter
, Blackhall Warleader
, or even Darkblade Cutpurse
if you have no respect for snowballs.
Syl, Cabal Strongarm
: she plunders, and if she gets snowballed, you get a vampire bat out of it that can still chip in for some lifesteal. The decay on her is also no joke, so she can trade for some fatty even if she doesn't fully remove it. Again, this is another card that feels like it was made weaker on the expedition end, and 5/2 in throne wouldn't be horrible to see. Annihilate
, and Open Contract
: take your pick of premium shadow removal. Put some main, put one more in the market to snag if you need it. Exploit
: it shows you their whole hand, it plunders, and if you topdeck it, you can market it. Play 4, it wins games. Cen Wastes Smuggler
: I want access to some mono-fire cards in market--namely fire attachment kill of choice. That, and she hits harder than Kerendon Merchant
. Champion of Chaos
: usually comes down as a 4/4, but 5/5 is certainly doable by turn 4 or 5. Anyway, it's Chacha, she's wonderful. Vara, Vengeance-Seeker
: Kira decks and their obnoxious aegis are a thing. So is needing a little more life against more aggressive decks. Vara's not as amazing as she was at base 3/4 (and could certainly stand to go back to that statline, given that Kira decks are every bit as nonsensical as the Combrei Alessi decks she was pushed to address back in set 4.5). Tasbu, the Forbidden
: usually at least a 2 for 1, if not a 3-for-1 on warp. Only a 3-of because he's a 5-drop that doesn't really have an immediate board impact, and cards in hand don't matter if you're dead. However, extra cards, insurance vs. sweepers, yadda yadda. Icaria, First Reaper
: now that Turn to Seed is only an occasional transpose target, Zicaria/Sicaria is in a much better spot. A hard kill spell that can hit sites and can't be negated has merit on its own, as does her substantial board presence. Xo of the Endless Hoard
: this deck is *VERY* card-hungry. Xo provides card fodder. It's literally that simple. In an ideal world, you wouldn't spend any power, either on Xo *or* on his trove, and just market/plunder both away.
Power base: I don't think there needs to be a lot of explanation here. Every source has to be shadow because of Icaria, symbols because of Acantha and turn 2 Syl. 2 seats vs. 6 sigils and all the plunder seems reasonable, I think, while paintings provide insurance to hit that turn 2 play (there are a bunch here--hold up interaction, exploit, Acantha/Syl), and provide a little bit of incidental life.
: attachment hate of choice. Pop 1-2 enemy attachments, then market or plunder it away. Its downside compared to ruin is that it isn't fast (shrine, relic weapons), nor does it cost 0 like Melt Down
. Open Contract
: again, see the section on interaction. Defile/annihilate/open contract. I don't like this one main because you're not just trying to murder your opponent by turn 5, so compared to the usual Stonescar decks, your opponent might see a few more discounted units. Still, the card's amazing. Nullblade
: Void hate, relic weapon against unitless decks. IMO, it should be -7/-7 to tag Vara, Fate-Touched
and Azindel, Revealed
, and now, Krull.
: Again, you're not a deck that's all-in on murdering an opponent before the game can really begin, so your life total matters. This might be a bad slot use, though, as I can see Wyatt's Junkyard
or various choices of recursion going here (particularly Last Chance
). Krull, Xumuc Occultist
: for those not *yet* in the know, Krull's fantastic. Fetch her with shadow etchings, revive a smuggler, get another card from the market, then spend the remaining power playing the rest of your turn. That or fetch her at 5 power with a smuggler, and replay Syl or Acantha from the void.
Other cards to consider: Eremot, Mindsplinter
: generally a giant pain in the ass for quite a few decks as a standalone unit, and might be worth playing over Tasbu. I have no reservations against him, but Vara eats aegis, and that's important to me.
: lack of maindeck weapons makes me not like this one, since I'm not a fan of obliterating my own face just to recur a couple of units that I can do with Krull. Last Chance
or Dark Return
: the usual shadow one-time recursion suspects. If you want them, put them in the market. But again, Krull does things better now.
Any interaction that costs more than 2 (Desecrate
, etc.): why pay more than 2 for something you can pay 2 for? 2 is already expensive enough because it can be negated by a Dazzle
. The last thing you want is to lose out on a power exchange as well.
D'angolo Arson: I had this maindeck for a while, instead of more annihilates/defiles. As some people have said: paying 3 to make them discard their Jotun Hurler and Snowball is awful. You could market this for various midrange matchups. The Speaking Circle
: can roll some absolutely *nutty* cards in throne, and you are a unit-based deck. if you're looking into this, I'd think about cutting Tasbu before Icaria, but then you have multiple 6-drops competing for the same curve slot, and that's not a lot of fun. With Icaria, you know what you get. Vara, Fate-Touched
: another market consideration, but without Xenan's ramp, I don't think you're looking for cards that do straight nothing before a raw 8 power hard-cast. But if you want her, find a spot in the market. Blightmoth
: nerfed, but still playable, if it's what you need. If you're running into a bunch of aggro in your meta pocket, feel free to cut something in the market, or even find some room maindeck.
So yeah, that's about it for this deck. For what it's worth, one of the strengths of the deck, IMO, is that it holds your hand a bit more. A deck with a bunch of cheap cards can look amazing in the hands of a super-talented world-class player, but will have you losing a bunch of games trying to master it. This deck is more pick-up-and-play. You get good field presence and interaction at a reasonable price, along with the capability to play a grinding game outside of places in which multiple copies of Helio are involved. Give it a whirl, give me some feedback/upvotes/etc., and have fun.