Personally, I feel that there are two huge mountains that you have to cross over eventually in rank if you are planning to move up. The very first hurdle, and one that many people get stuck at, is the diamond mountain. If you've ever been to diamond before, or you're a current master, you will have personally experienced the struggle, and you'll understand just why it's so difficult to climb over it.
In diamond league, you are so close to becoming masters. And so you're going to be using your best deck, and you're going to be playing in your best mindset in order to win to finally become masters. The only problem is that everybody else is going to be trying their hardest too. And there's quite a lot of people in diamond. It's no wonder why you can find yourself stuck in diamond, even when playing an extremely strong meta deck. And it's even worse at the start of the season since you're playing with top master players.
The second hurdle, and one that's even tougher, is the hurdle you need to jump over to make it to top 100 masters. Speaking from personal experience, this is even more difficult than making it from diamond to masters. When you're this far up, you're playing with the best card game players, playing the best decks currently, making (mostly) the best decisions. The skill level from Top 100 and Top 200 is huge! You really can feel the difference between Top 100 players and other master players outside of it.
I personally made it a goal of mine to release this deck to the world, but only after I have deemed it to be successful. What criteria did I set to call it successful? By using this deck and only this deck to make it to Top 100 Masters. I wanted to show myself that I can brew a successful deck, specifically, a successful mono-color deck. And after so many days, after so many games, and so many edits to this deck, I've finally done it.
Look no further if you require proof:
This final version is, in my mind, the strongest this deck could ever be, and I find it difficult to even think about what to remove from this deck. Every single card (well, most of them) are so useful, so needed, that you can't even remove one of them without hurting yourself.
Mono-color decks are my favorite types of decks to play, no matter what strategy they have. Not having to worry about being color screwed is so refreshing, and being able to play every card in your hand as long as you have the power is quite nice.
Without further ado, I will go over every single card in this deck. So be ready for quite a long read.
A staple in most Justice decks. It's a very strong battle trick that can do many things. It can push for lethal, it can help a unit survive torch (very relevant in the current meta with every single person and their mom playing fire), it helps you get over big units (*cough* SST *cough*), and you can stick it on Hojan to push for even more damage, or to just trade it in for power if you are starving for power.
We're playing mono-Justice tempo. There's no reason to not run 4. Our deck is pretty starved for power. 5 power is where we need to be at, and this card helps a lot. The Scout effect is also extremely useful.
A very strong early game Justice unit. It's a nice card because it threatens aggro decks because of the lifesteal. It can also push for quite a bit of damage if you stick Finest Hour on it, and it helps us ramp up, which is very important for our deck. Getting to 5 power as fast as possible is quite important.
Icaria, Valkyrie Captain
A staple in this deck, and any deck that is heavy in green. Flying and Endurance are very powerful battle skills, and she has an extremely important effect. Allowing you to ramp up is important. Gaining extra stats at 6J is also very relevant. The +1/+1 to valkyries in hand is also quite nice, allowing Enforcers and other Icarias to survive Torches and other nasty stuff.
My favorite combo to use is
Power > Power + Icaria > Power + Icaria effect > Power + Icaria summon + Icaria effect.
This gets you up to 6 power while your opponent is at 3-4 power and now they also have a 4/3 and 5/4 Flying+Endurance sexy ladies knocking on their front door. Very nice combo.
This card becomes increasingly relevant the more Primal is played in the meta. Well, Primal is quite popular in today's meta thanks to Howling Peak, so breaking that Permafrost and surprising your opponent is quite fun. Not to mention, even if there is no Permafrost to pop, readying your exhausted unit and giving it a stat boost is a very nice battle trick. Not many people see it coming, since Reinvigorate doesn't get played all that often. It's also another card to stack on Hojan, so that's quite nice.
Not much to say here. Strong removal spell to get over those nasty nasty units like SST. Loses to aggro though, so be wary.
A very powerful card effect with an equally powerful Spellcraft. Blocking your opponent from playing recursion decks is also strong, and double acting as a 5 cost Vanquish is also quite nice.
I do want to mention however: do not be greedy with this card. At its core, it's still a 2drop 2/2 (good statline) that stops recursion. I have lost plenty of games that I would have easily won by just sticking this on an Aegis unit and stopping my opponent from playing Dark Return, or even just stopping them from attacking thanks to a bigger blocker. Don't be foolish and try to hold on to this card when you're at 4 power and you're hoping for that 5th power. RNG will screw you over too many times to count. If you can get value out of it now, then do it. Don't wait.
A strong 3drop with a pretty tricky effect. At it's core, it's a 3drop 3/3 with Aegis. The Aegis makes him stick on the board, which is extremely important since pretty much all of our guys die to every single removal in the game (except Rindra's choice, but nobody plays that. At least I've never seen anyone play it *wink wink*). It's very nice for stopping aggro and tokens, and he sometimes trades 2 removal spells from your opponent, which is very important to let our bigger guys come down.
He also has a fairly tricky effect. Gaining a +1/+1 whenever a spell is played is stronger than you think, but it's important to think about the best case scenario to use this in. Being able to use this effect effectively separates the good and the great players, and this tiny effect can win you the game (I know I've pushed for lethal only because I've had this effect and got an extra 1-2 damage in).
Very important card throughout all stages of the game, particularly the early game thanks to the Lifesteal. Also stacks well with Icaria and Reinvigorate. Only problem is that he kind of dies to Torches and Permafrosts, so if you have a Finest Hour/Reinvigorate in hand, try to stack power before playing him.
A very powerful unit who also acts as semi-removal. 3 for 3/3 Flying is already a strong statline. Being able to silence a unit is very powerful too. You can silence those silly time mana dorks so they can't play their big units, or those Dusk Raiders so you don't get hit by too many Berserk units, or silence those enemy fliers so you can push for damage in the air, or even silence one of your permafrosted units. Very flexible, very useful.
Just be wary about which deck you're up against. If you're up against aggro, you're going to want to play him as soon as possible to block. If you're playing against control, you're going to want to play him, even if there are no silence targets, since you need to start putting in pressure against control decks.
3 for 2/2 is a terrible statline, but he is our only merchant, so sadly he is required. Good thing though is that he's a flying unit, which matches our theme of Aegis and Flying.
Very useful Relic Weapon that mostly trades 2-for-1, or at the very least gets rid of problematic cards like Jotun Feast-Caller (stupid Aegis). It's also useful to push in damage versus control decks, since they have no easy way of dealing with Relic weapons. Loses to sites and aggro though.
A bigger version of Kosul Battlemage. Strong statline, aegis to stick on the board, and a decent effect. Another good target for Vanquisher's blade because of the Aegis. Also becomes a 6/6, which can block against most threats. Being able to create essentially endless chump blockers is very relevant late game and for trading in for merchants. Also has a decent tribute effect, although it's more of a bonus. You don't normally get a chance to get Marley's tribute off.
Our big boss unit. Kind of dies to every single removal spell in the game since he has no personal protection and he's just a big flying target for removal, but when he sticks? Oh boy, it's a treat. One of the strongest blockers in the game, with Flying and 4/8. Blocks about pretty much everything. Also creating free chump blockers is very important, which allows you to be a tiny bit more aggressive.
If Amilli is able to stick on the board, the match becomes a whole lot easier.
Also my very first premium craft. I love this card.
Onward! For GLORY!
Crownwatch Standard/Crownwatch Tactic
One of the best Tactics because of the Lifesteal. Acts like another Finest Hour. Also fits well since our power cutoff is usually 5 (6 for Icaria).
Very powerful card for stopping recursion decks/Display of Ambition. If your opponent is in Feln or has Ambition, Gavel is a nice card to get from the market.
The most recent addition to this deck. Rolant's Intervention was in this deck a long time ago, and then got taken out because it's wasn't all that useful. Now, I decided to add this card to the market and replace Citywide Ban. Rolant's Intervention is used only because it's cheap (so we can play it the same turn we get it from the market, unlike Citywide Ban), and it has a fairly useful effect (Aegis on our Valkyrie's is quite nice, and a -3 on an enemy does see some use. Also pops Aegis if you need that). It's been a fairly recent addition to this deck, so I'm not sure how well it's going to play out. But certainly it'll see more use than Citywide Ban.
Removes Permafrosts/other stuns, and lets you push for lethal when you need to.
Better than Vanquisher's Blade in market since it fits our 5 power goal. Merchant + Vanquish = exactly 5 power. Very nice.
Always good to have more ways to get our boss unit. Also is a good choice when you don’t need any other card from the market.
First things first, two power hands are extremely risky to keep. You want at the very least 3 power, since most of our units are 3 drops. Having Icaria in hand or Hojan + Finest Hour is also great so we can ramp up quickly.
Our main goal versus any kind of deck is to build up the board of units that stick. This is why Kosul Battlemage and Sheriff Marley are so crucial, since they are able to stick much better due to the Aegis. Our 2 drops (Hojan and Icaria) are most likely going to die from Torch (or even worse, pings like Vara's Favor). Trading Torch is not terrible (unless you desperately needed the power) as it lets our 3drops come out and stick better.
The majority of this deck is full of 3drops, so we're only able to play about 1 unit a turn, so it's very important to think about which unit to drop in which situation. In most situations, you're going to want to play your Battlemage first to hopefully soak up some removal or even just to stick on the board and apply pressure.
Honestly, in the hundreds of games that I played with this deck, I haven't really found any clear counters to this deck, or any deck that this deck counters actually. I feel like this deck just has a decent curve against pretty much every deck in the game. We have plenty of lifesteal against aggro, we have strong removal and beaters for midrange, and we have Runehammer/Aegis units against control decks. Playing versus Kennadins or Pit/Martyr's Chains decks felt pretty bad, but I've also beat them just as much too (thanks Citywide Ban! You're a life saver).
Playing versus Howling Peak decks is also rough, since our deck has no easy way to get rid of Sites. Relic weapons don't work, our removal doesn't work, and so we have to rely on having units on board to deal with it. It's not the end of the world if Sites come down. I know I've won plenty of games versus Sites, but it just feels rough.
Also, playing against Stand Together decks felt really bad, but then again, every deck feels really bad to play versus Stand Together decks.
Really, the only time you'll lose is if you just don't draw the right cards for the situation. If you happen to draw multiple Marley's and Amillis versus Aggro, or if you never draw your Runehammer versus Jotun Feast-Caller, or you just happen to draw 8 power in a match (I know it's happened to us before).
Telut, Queen's Hand
This card used to be a staple in this deck a long time ago when I first brewed it. Then I noticed that 9/10 times it's a useless card in hand since getting to 7 power is harder than it looks. So then I removed it from the main. Then I noticed that, it's still really tough to get to 7 power, so I just got rid of him all together and replaced him with Amilli in the market, which actually helps out a lot removing Amilli from the main.
It also helps that it makes the deck less expensive, as you don't need another campaign just for one card.
Reyna, the Unwavering
I absolutely love this card. I crafted 4 of these the moment I saw her and stuck her in this deck. The only problem with her is kind of the same deal with Telut. She comes down way too late. What's fun about her though is I've had a few auto-concedes versus shadow decks since they have no way of getting rid of her, so that's nice. Doesn't happen too often though, so out Reyna goes.
Actually plays extremely well with this deck since all of our 3 drops die to Torch, so she helps them survive. Also pairs incredibly well with Unseen Commando. A 3/4 Flying Lifesteal unit that swings for 4 is notoriously difficult to get rid of. It's pretty nice. Tinker also helps stop Aggro. Too bad there's no room for her.
A nice card that helps your units dodge Torch, and is permanent! Too bad it doesn't help Icaria dodge Torch. Finest hour is just way better since it has a lot more uses, plus it also dodges Torch.
A 5 drop 8/4 is actually a really good statline, and he can give another unit double damage? That's not bad at all. Too bad he's too expensive for us. We already have Amilli, who's practically the opposite with 4/8, but he does more stuff.
Extremely powerful relic. When this thing comes down, it's practically GG. Too bad it has the same problem with Telut and Reyna. Too expensive. Remember, we're not trying to be a control deck. We're trying to win before Chain comes down.
Sword of the Sky King
Again, too expensive. Really sad too, since SotSS gets over pretty much any unit in the game.
Truthfully, I never used Avigraft when it was at 3, and I sure am not using it now that it's at 4. It was just way too expensive for me, too conditional, and everybody is playing Fire and Primal. Which means Bore is everywhere, and face Aegis was not uncommon. If you really want to put it in the market, you can. Although I'm not sure it'll work out too well.
This used to be in the market for a loooooooooooong time! Then after playing hundreds of games, I noticed that I never used this card. Ever. It takes two turn to play it (Merchant + Harsh Rule), it wipes your own units (really bad!) and my opponent just refills up the board since they have card draw and I don't. Not worth it.
Mantle of Justice
Now why would a mono-Justice deck not use Mantle of Justice. Isn't that the entire point of playing Mono-Justice? (you ask yourself) Well, I did test this card out for quite a bit in the market, and I absolutely loved the card! Being able to get a 6/6 weapon on a unit is nice, and can win you games. But it also has a very similar problem to Deepforged Plate. It's very susceptible to removal. Not to mention, there's no room for this card. All of the cards in the market are useful in certain situations, and it's tough to figure out what to remove. I guess if you really want to play Mantle of Justice, you can take out Amilli for Mantle.
All in all, it's just personal preference. You can play Mantle if you want. It's still a really good card, especially in a mono-Justice deck.
Sealed Writ/Word of Sol
I actually play-tested this card for quite a while. It's the only way you're able to do direct card damage. It even got an indirect buff too since now it kills Howling Peak! I thought it was really good!... when I was able to play it. The problem is that it doesn't give you any influence. It doesn't seem too bad in a mono-color deck, until you open with 2 of these in your starting hand. or you have 2 Icarias at 1/1 because you can't get that 6th Justice influence. The draw backs are not worth the advantage you get at 7 power. Most of the time we aren't even at 7 power. The game usually ends at 6 power, and if you're going over that, the game is taking way too long and most likely your opponent, who's playing control, is going to win anyways.
Not to mention that it costs 7 power to do 4 damage! That's soooo expensive. There have been games where I have two of these cards in hand at 7 power, and I can't even find time to play them since they take up an entire turn.
MonoJustice is absolutely terrible at getting rid of relics. In fact, there are no cards that monoJustice has that can remove relics. Citywide ban is the next best thing. If you see your opponent playing a control deck, you're going to want to grab that Ban. Even playing it versus something like Haunted Highway lets you shutdown that Queen/Highwayman. Only problem is that it's going to take you two turns to play it. One for the merchant, one for the ban. So plan it wisely.
I just recently took Citywide Ban out, solely for the fact that it's too expensive. The effect is still just as good as before, being able to shut down control decks from their winconditions is amazing. It's just too expensive, which is unfortunate. By the time I even have a merchant and I need to get this card, it's already too late.
If you have any additional questions about the deck, or if you find yourself losing too many games with this deck, definitely let me know, and we can see what we can do. I'm certain there are still ways to improve this deck. I'm sure I'll figure it out on my way to #1 Masters.