Brought this to masters this season and had a lot of fun doing so. As you've likely noticed, this deck is built on mostly the same core of shadow cards as Tasbu Stonescar. These are aggressive midrange decks focused on getting the board with strong early units and holding it with efficient removal as you curve up through relative bombs in the 4 and 5 spots, pushing damage along the way. Considering the similarities, the best way to walk through this deck is probably to discuss what's different.
Compared to Stonescar, the biggest loss is Champion of Chaos
, a very difficult to replace presence on both offense and defense. In her place we have Marionette Cross
. This card gives you a 5/5 for 3 to help fill that ChaCha void, but isn't as powerful and is awful in multiples, so we use just 3. The extra 2 spots from cutting 1 Cross and 1 Rhysta hold Crooked Alleyguide
, which is strongest as a 1-drop to fix, turn on banners, and give a nice surge of tempo when it emerges, but can come down turn 3 in a pinch without being awful or shift late in anticipation of lethal or to secure a target for (or just for efficient power usage).
I *might* like Ripknife Assassin
because it is a better attacker and blocker than Blackhall Warleader
past the early turns and works really well with Tasbu. Don't think you can go wrong with either, though (Argenport Instigator
is a sure 4-of). Warleader, however, seems better in a potential Rakano-heavy meta (deadly isn't useful on the ground against Valkyries, but sometimes dodging Torch
and Rizahn, Greatbow Master
is). Dusk Raider
also appears as an extra 2-drop. It's not great in combat and you don't want two at once or to topdeck it, so I stuck with 2. Hitting berserk on your 4- and 5-cost units is great here, especially with their Lifesteal. Speaking of those units, Vara, Vengeance-Seeker
and Tasbu, the Forbidden
are obviously staples here and Tasbu is the best card in the deck, but Rindra, the Duskblade
is a key selling point of going Feln. Ok, it still winds up comparable to ChaCha at 1 higher cost, but it's a really strong card. He's arguably better than Vara now as an un-Torchable 5/5 but is very similar, a strong attacker and blocker that can swing a race in a huge way with Lifesteal and big stats for the cost. 1 turn of Lifesteal+Overwhelm is usually all you really need to push in some damage or stabilize your life, especially when he's berserk, and the nightfall is a nice bonus to restock your hand a bit or even help touch lethal. Circling back to Tasbu, you should absolutely try to warp him when possible, play him before you give your opponent a window to block or play a fast spell on another unit, and get him on the board when you expect a sweeper. Mostly, just play him whenever you can. It's rarely the wrong move and it's hard to be punished for it too badly. I've had incredible consistency playing him turn 5 or at least 6. Try to mulligan for 3 power to this end.
Another notable absence compared to Fire is Torch
. Early game tempo can suffer without the ability to hold it up for 1 power, but ultimately I believe the Feln removal suite is more potent because of access to Permafrost
and Ice Bolt
is our main Torch replacement. While it isn't fast, it hits almost everything Torch can and quite a few nuisances it can't (Auralian Merchant
, Statuary Maiden
, Hooru Pacifier
, and Memory Dredger
, to name a key few). Notably, Torch can now kill un-buff Vara more efficiently than Suffocate, previously a big advantage of Suffocate. I originally had Suffocate in the market and Permafrost maindeck, but I found Vara was totally neutered when the opponent could sacrifice a unit I'd already "removed" to keep her stats down - a problem which would only be worse now that base Vara is so much weaker. Most of the targets I wanted to Permafrost were small early units for tempo that I can Suffocate anyway, and I think this change was one of the best decisions I made with the deck.
is a terrifying card to play in a tempo-y midrange deck, but fast 7 damage is devastating in many situations. With access to both Desecrate
, though, there's so much 2 cost removal here that you can often Ice Bolt something and be confident in killing whatever you ramp them to, or save Ice Bolt for later in the game where the one power isn't like to swing tempo. I think it's definitely worth running, though I'd have a hard time believing 4 of it is right, because you'd be more likely to be stuck using it in a bad spot. Do we really need more than TEN 2-cost kill spells? Ramping yourself with it is sometimes good, too, by the way, though not too often in this deck.
Other Cards that aren't Units or Removal
?_? I do not understand.
...alright, I guess Stonescar runs Shakedown. I was too for a long time. I just wasn't sure how much it was accomplishing here and wanted to try something else. My win rate absolutely spiked without it so I don't think I'll go back soon, but I still think it's a perfectly fine choice.
Market Last Chance
- I just put this in after
reaching masters and haven't played with it yet, but the market has no units, and this lets you pull back whatever you need most. Which is probably Tasbu. And if this card is mostly a 5th copy of Tasbu in the market, then all the better. You may also want to pull a Vara or Rindra for the lifesteal, or even a Dusk Raider if you need immediate cheap nightfall for a Rindra on board or 1 damage lethal. Picked over Dark Return
because there's no other recursion here and being able to play the card > +1/+1.
- As mentioned, this simply wasn't working maindeck because of how much worse it was making Vara. Honestly I'm not sure why I didn't have it this way to begin with, as Suffocate is better at what I want the 1 power removal maindeck for (early tempo) and Permafrost is far more versatile out of the market, acting as near-unconditional "removal" for just one power, easily played on a Smuggler turn.
- I'm a big believer in this card overall, though it's not one of the market spots I'm most confident in. I haven't grabbed it in a while, but that has a lot to do with the matchups I'm playing. It's good to shut down sweepers, combo pieces, burn, and other critical spells. This deck is pretty good against sweepers despite its unit focus because of Tasbu, so I think it's fairly safe to try other things if this isn't working out.
- Pretty popular in Stonescar. I like it best in the market, generally, but especially here with 8 4-drops that are so good. One of the most versatile options in the market, can be grabbed for lethal, for aegis-proof removal, for recursion hosing, or (probably most often) for repeatedly bashing face against control decks. This is a pretty good default choice, especially when there's no 4/5 cost unit in your void or hand, or you don't expect to want/be able to play a big Clutch of Talons soon.
Clutch of Talons
- The spiciest card in the deck, I guess? I wanted to use this from the beginning but refrained in favor of more tried-and-true options, but I'm glad I circled back to it. The idea was that it was a versatile card in the deck which can help push for lethal or grow a board out of nowhere for just one card. And...well, that's what it does, and it's really good at it. Almost always to be played for 6 power, occasionally 8 if you actually have it. Only ever play without the amplify if it's for immediate lethal (especially possible if something is berserk). This card completely blows out board stalls on the ground, makes your opponent's spot removal pretty inefficient, and turns Blight Pass Smuggler
into an incredible board-building topdeck when out of steam. I really recommend trying it out. I believe I have fetched it 7 times in 20 games since I added it, and it has either delivered lethal or won on its own all but one of those games. I was worried about the 4PPP cost, but I've never found myself with less than 4 Primal influence when I wanted this card, for what it's worth.
I just switched off Royal Decree
for Last Chance. I think Chance is going to be better. Decree was sort of the "I don't know what else to get" card, which you would pull in the hopes the opponent had a critical card in hand to get rid of. I don't think this deck can ever really prioritize getting Decree at the perfect time and I'd rather be able to yoink a selection of units from the market to fit the situation than just hope it works out when I have nothing else to do. I also think it's really anti-fun and I can think of 1, maybe 2 games in 80 that it's won for me, so I won't miss having it around.
Please leave a comment, I'd love to discuss!