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Welcome to Argenport v.3

Gauntlet Deck By
ItsTenz
ItsTenz+7350

+9

Cost Curve

Type

Faction

Information

Building consistent budget-friendly decks for gauntlet can pose something of a challenge. Typically, budget decks will be comprised mostly of Commons and Uncommons because they are cheaper and easier to acquire. However, game design typically dictates that lower-rarity cards are also lower in terms of power level. As a result, there usually exists a divide between the power of lower and higher-rarity cards.

Part of this division can be seen with board wipes. Basically, all of the reasonably-costed and effective board wipes aren’t allowed to exist at lower rarities. Sure, From the Heavens exists, but at 8 cost, it is essentially priced out of mainstream playability. New set releases are typically limited to having a very small number of board wipes, and it is safe to assume that they will likely be Rare or Legendary. While trying to play budget decks, I’ve found that this often translates to having a lot of difficulty when it comes to playing from behind. If the game starts to go badly, they usually lack the ability to reset the board.

The power level gap is also very apparent in unit quality. Cards like Unseen Commando and Valkyrie Enforcer are gauntlet all-stars that aren’t functionally replaceable by cards of lower rarity because functional replacements simply don’t exist. One of the easiest and most commonly successful strategies for gauntlet deck-building is to fill your deck with a good curve of powerful stand-alone cards. As the game progresses, these cards generate incremental advantage whenever the AI plays less powerful cards. If you can accrue enough incremental advantage, eventually things will snowball in your favor. From there it is only a matter of leveraging advantage into victory.

This is something which is much more difficult to do on a budget for the simple reason that the AI is not faced with the same constraints. While newer players will at least be matched against weaker versions of opponents until they hit masters, they can still expect to run into fully-powered AI decks long before they have acquired enough shiftstone to build one of their own. This really puts a damper on the effectiveness of the, “good curve of good cards” strategy that exemplifies much of unconstrained gauntlet deck-building. Simply put, it is much harder to effectively eke out incremental advantage from your cards when the AI’s cards are… just better. As someone that has experienced the difficulty of trying to do so anyway, I can confidently say that it is not a viable strategy without cards of higher rarity.

Fortunately, there are some strategies which historically have been both effective and budget-friendly. I will mention a few.

1. Warcry aggro: Cheap Warcry units, of which there are MANY, have a power level which scales with every attack they make. The aggressive nature of this style of deck also means that you can often finish the game before the AI’s superior card quality has a chance to outperform your own. However, this strategy is often very feast or famine. If the AI effectively resists your early units, it can be difficult for the Warcry train to ever leave the station. You might quickly find yourself facing an opponent with stronger cards than you and most of their health. It also feels terrible to have the unit which you pumped multiple Warcries into get killed or discarded from the top of your deck. That second bit has become even more relevant now with the current prevalence of the Hunt-focused Stalking Beasts and The Hermit’s Beasts opponents. I’ve always considered this strategy to be a bit unreliable, but at least it’s quick, which means you can still grind gold at a reasonable pace.

2. Play Shadow: Shadow has Vine Grafter which puts it a step ahead of the other factions when it comes to accessing the market. More market access is an excellent way to maximize the power of your market while also helping to prevent flooding. Vine Grafter is also just an excellent 2-cost unit that can still play well defensively later in the game.

Shadow also has access to the best single-target removal spells in the game, and many of them are Uncommon. Cards like Victimless Crime, Annihilate, and Shrivel are fast speed and only cost 2. What’s better, a 3/3 or a 5/5? Trick question. The answer is whichever one you didn’t just kill with your removal - the unit in the void doesn’t get a vote. Good removal is the equalizer that helps close the gap in card rarity. This is a large part of the design philosophy behind Welcome to Argenport V.2.

However, a handful of removal isn’t going to win any games unaided, you will still need some way of making sure that your opponent joins their units in the afterlife. Draw too much removal and you might find yourself waiting to actually win the game. This is something of the opposite issue that Warcry aggro experiences; you can win reliably, but not always quickly.

3. Flyer-heavy decks: These decks typically incorporate Justice or Primal, as those factions have the best low-rarity flyers. Feln variants also partake of the benefits which I outlined in the, “Play Shadow” section. Flying is the most common form of evasion, and winning in the air is a very appealing path to victory when it is likely that your units will become otherwise outclassed by higher-rarity units on the ground. Ground stalls greatly increase the time a run takes to complete and can cost you the run altogether. Neither outcome is desirable. As long as you are able to continue dealing damage in the air though, it is often still possible to win even when the ground has become hopelessly mired.

These things are important to bear in mind when it comes to evaluating new cards, as cards which play well with these strategies often receive an extra boost. Battle Lines released three strong candidates that I thought this boost might apply to, Glory Seeker, Mistral Messenger, and Reinforced Reaper. I think that these three cards work really well in this deck as they mesh well with existing synergies, while also promoting further synergy themselves.

Lifesteal is probably the second best keyword in gauntlet as it is very good for both stabilizing your health as well as racing. The life gain associated with it is also not information that the AI is capable of taking into account in a non-immediate sense. This can result in the AI trying to engage in races it clearly isn’t winning. As a 2 / 3 for 2, Glory Seeker makes for an excellent early-game blocker. The Renown ability is usually pretty easy to trigger as well with Justice Etchings, Finest Hour, Reinforced Reaper, or Mantle of Justice. As a 3 / 4 Lifesteal for 2, Glory Seeker can outperform the AI’s units in a way which other Commons and Uncommons typically can not.

Like Seeker, Mistral Messenger also has the benefit of being an excellent defensive unit, but the Nomad keyword means that it also plays offense quite well. At the same time, Endurance means that you won’t even have to choose between using Messenger offensively or defensively. The ability to play both roles simultaneously makes Mistral Messenger very good for carrying stat buffs from cards like Ghostblade Outcast, Master-at-Arms, Reinforced Reaper, and Mantle of Justice.

Reinforced Reaper is a card which is typically at its worst when utilized as a relic weapon, but sometimes the ability to remove a problematic unit from the board is critical. The fact that it is Versatile also means that it won’t often sit dead in your hand while you are waiting to draw a unit to carry it. All of the units in this deck, with the sole exception of Master-at-Arms, see some sort of meaningful extra benefit from being paired with Reaper.

Most of the cards in this deck fall into one of two categories; cards which buff units, and units which benefit greatly from being buffed. While this sort of deck predates the release of Battle Lines, historically its weakness wasn’t necessarily executing its strategy in the first place, but having it be good enough to win. Many AI decks are capable of handling a buffed unit with removal, which meant having to assemble your pieces multiple times. These new additions from Battle Lines really helped to foster a viable critical mass of cards for this strategy, which makes it more reliable in the face of disruption. By synergistically reinforcing each other, it becomes possible for Commons and Uncommons to fight more effectively above their weight class.

At the end of the day though, it is important to remember that this is still a minimally tested budget deck and expectations should be tempered accordingly. I will note, however, that at the time of writing this, I have managed to clear 7 runs in a row with this SPECIFIC list. While this may not be a particularly robust sample size, I do believe that paired with how the deck has felt to play, that this is a solid proof of concept. I consider this performance to be a feat which I would likely struggle to repeat with most other budget decks. I am making a point of specifying this list SPECIFICALLY because I have also tried swapping out cards in testing and almost always found myself wiping within a run or two. While this is likely a coincidence, I am not yet comfortable discounting the possibility that this deck’s synergy is so tenuous that my changes caused things to fall apart. That being said, I encourage you to draw inspiration from this list and see if anything performs better for you.

I’ll take a moment to talk about some of the other things I’ve tried and thoughts I have had about this deck. This decklist feels really tight, so while there are plenty of things which I can imagine trying, the issue is likely to be a matter of what to remove to make space for any changes. This deck initially started with 25 power, but after having some games where I never drew Shadow influence or failed to hit 4 power, I increased it to 27. I have thus far been pleased with 27, but going back down to 25 might be the most reasonable way to easily make space for more cards.

1. This deck may want more market access, either in the form of Vine Grafter or Plate Grafter. Vine Grafter is the stronger of the two options, but doesn’t necessarily play well with a Justice market. If you happen to already have some strong Argenport Rares or Legendaries, like Inquisitor Makto or Rolant, Iron Tyrant, then I think that Vine Grafter becomes a much more attractive option. Poacher’s Menagerie is such a strong card that having double the number of ways of grabbing it may prove to be worth the loss of other synergies.

2. This deck might want more removal, probably 2-6 copies of Annihilate and/or Victimless Crime. As things stand, I think that this deck can struggle against some of the more flyer-heavy opponents, especially ones with Valkyrie Enforcer. Having access to more removal would likely help there, and also in games where you are relying on Poacher’s Menagerie to win. I could also see West, On the Trail providing extra answers to large units, while also offering a useful Flying, Endurance body to carry buffs well.

3. Wind Conjuring might be a consideration for the maindeck. I am less certain of this, but the card is pretty strong as a trick while the Invoke can potentially exceed the rarity of budget cards. My gut tells me that it’s not quite good enough and that more market access would have a similar result of granting more access to Wind Conjuring, while also offering more reliable access to Poacher’s Menagerie.

4. Crownwatch Paladin might be better than Tinker Unionist. The Taunt on Unionist has some strong synergy with the bevy of buffs available in this deck, but it might be a too cute. The Unleash clause is usually inactive unless you have Menagerie in play as Reinforced Reaper rarely survives more than a turn or two as a relic weapon. On the other hand, Paladin’s Aegis means that it is much more likely to stick around against removal-heavy decks and sometimes you just really need a unit that you can safely pile your buffs onto.

5. Steyer’s Eyes, Valkyrie Enforcer, Unseen Commando, and Argenport Cylix would likely perform very well in this deck once you begin relaxing budget constraints. I’m not entirely sure what the optimized version of the deck should ultimately look like as there is probably an inflection point where removing too many of the original cards causes the buff synergies to collapse. Commando is probably an easy upgrade over Silverwing Familiar though.

As a budget deck, I know that this list is not going to be relevant to everyone, but I do hope that it can both provide some direction for newer players as well as some inspiration to anyone that might be interested in helping them begin their journey.

Details

Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost
8,200

Premium Cost
102,400

Influence Requirements
2 2

Power Sources
27 14 14

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
20 48 3

Card Types
28 11 14 0 27

Archetype
Unknown

Added
November 23, 2023

Views
2,143

Eternal Version
Battle Lines

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Deck URL

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Comments

SwordOfArey Eternal Version: 23.11.09
What about a deck with an unlimited budget? 👀
ItsTenz Eternal Version: 23.11.09
Hippuric Eternal Version: 23.11.09
hey man. thanks for the great deck. started a week ago and this is the only thing holding me XD can u maybe give an advice how u could take it to the next lvl with lets say the next 5-10k shiftstone?
ItsTenz Edited Eternal Version: 23.11.09
I'd be glad to. While I can not say what the non-budget version of the deck should look like with 100% certainty without actually testing it, I think there are some pretty reasonable steps to take depending on the play patterns you prefer.

The first route involves replacing Silverwing Familiar with Unseen Commando, Reinforced Reaper with Valkyrie Enforcer, and 2x Seats/Tomes for 4x Argenport Cylix. Having a copy of Pristine Light for the market would also likely be good. That is probably the route that I would personally take as Commando and Enforcer are gauntlet staples, and it will likely also speed the deck up.

The second route would involve leaning into Poacher's Menagerie gameplay more, in which case you would want Winchest Merchant and Hidden Road Smuggler to replace Familiar and Reaper. This will probably slow down the deck a bit, but will greatly improve your odds of landing Menagerie on turn 4 or 5. This would also allow you to put something like Rolant, Iron Tyrant or Inquisitor Makto into your market instead of something like Elder's Feather.

On the non-craftable side of things, If you happen to have West, On the Trail or Steyer's Eyes, I would probably look to replace Tinker Unionist and Master-at-Arms. Tarra, Ever Loyal would probably also play pretty well.

Hope that helps!
Hippuric Edited Eternal Version: 23.11.09
Wow! thats a lot things to try! ill definitly give the first route a try since i feel Poacher's Menagerie works already pretty reliable.

for the non-craftable cards i got one more question. so i read u can buy catch up bundles for the cards only availabe via eternal chapters, but i cant find those. are they gone?
ItsTenz Eternal Version: 23.11.09
The Chapters have their own section in the Solo Battle part of the client right above the tab for gauntlet.
Hippuric Edited Eternal Version: 23.11.09
haha. thanks a lot...i was lookin within the shop.
since Monarch Cloak is found in so many decks