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Gauntletics® 4.0: Unleashing 31.5 Gold Per Minute

Gauntlet Deck By
Alover
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Cost Curve

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In a Nutshell


This article is regularly updated to point to the latest, greatest gold-per-minute (GPM), gauntlet-grinding decks for Eternal. All decks are scientifically-verified by Gauntletics® research, requiring a dataset of 200+ timed and recorded games.

SECTION 1 - Reigning GAUNTLETICS® Champion Deck
SECTION 2 - GAUNTLETICS® Technology (free)
SECTION 3 - Legacy Gauntlet Deck Notes


Dedicated with gratitude to Direwolf Digital for their long-standing support of free-to-play, which is so enjoyable for cheap-ass grinders like me.

Reigning GAUNTLETICS® Champion


Top player ItsTenz has painstakingly crafted a bomb of a deck called "Green is Good". However, since the last couple releases, I have tweaked a few cards (explained immediately below, with full decklist attached) to go from 29 GPM to 31.5 GPM. ItsTenz explains the rest of his deck beautifully in his article. Tweaked or not, this deck is fast, reliable and the new Gauntletics® champion.

1) Replaced Lord Steyer's Tower with Equalize. Gauntlet losses are rare with this deck, but the majority are from getting overwhelmed by a flukey AI board. Equalize is the reset button, and with cost three is accessible using 11 cards in this deck. Equalize gets you back on even footing with the AI, although they may outdraw you afterward, so try to use it when you can still keep a good card or two. Lord Steyer's Tower is great, but the five cost makes it dicey to get from the market (7 cards to access), costlier to play, and then it has to be defended. But the real problem with the tower is that it doesn't prevent losses so much as it amplifies wins. This violates a Gauntletics fundamental which is that Gauntlet isn't about winning, but not losing. Market draws must prioritize desperate, game-saving plays that address what's going to kill you, hence Equalize.

2) Added two Fort Smasher, removed one Varret, Hero-in-Training and one Ghostblade Outcast. There haven't been many good additions to this justice deck in the last couple releases, and Helena, Skyguide was nerfed ... twice! Helena is still good, but the addition of Fort Smasher makes her better, while adding a smashing-good card that has many advantages over the one-drops (which are also good, but can be less so after the first couple turns).
- Fort Smasher has a fundamentally sound 3/3 body. While it can be removed like any other card, it holds up to most other units of similar cost in sheer attack/defense.
- Fort Smasher spams units of cost three or less when it hits, and this deck is full of exactly that, so a perfect fit. This ability is a potential runaway game-winning dynamic, similar to Varret, but more immediate.
- Fort Smasher works well with cards that make it fly, too big to block, or stun the opponents (Manacles), all of which the deck does very well.
- Fort Smasher regularly draws the warcry-buffed unit you are looking for, reducing one of the key drawbacks of warcry: waiting for the biggie to show up.
- Fort Smasher clears the top of your deck of chaff when it doesn't draw a unit, a subtle but powerful benefit.

That's five advantages, and playtesting has confirmed a higher GPM rate with Fort Smasher. I have experimented with 2, 3, and 4 Fort Smasher and have settled on two. Three could work, perhaps cutting a Helena. It depends on what gives you more fun. I have also found benefit in a 78 card deck, adding one power, and two Fort Smasher. I know 78 cards is sub-optimal, but the blend or balance of the deck also must be considered, and having 4 of all your great cards seems harmonious to me.

An overall warning with this deck is that mileage (GPM mileage that is) will vary. You will likely not ever get close to ItsTenz's posted rate of 40 GPM. I've been playing with his deck for months before the Cold Hunt release and after, and now for many months more with my tweaks, and have been getting 29-32 GPM ... which is insanely good for any Gauntlet deck. This is a combination of winning pretty much every run, and making rapid, accurate decisions. The latest Gauntlet opponents are a little deadlier, but the baseline GPM for this deck (played in an average way) is perhaps 20-25 GPM, and with skill and dedicated practice there are three evolutions which will produce a higher GPM:

1) DECK PILOTING SKILL - knowing how best to use the cards, synergies and decision-points in his deck (which he details wonderfully in his article), will add approximately 5 GPM.

2) AI RESEARCH - intimately knowing and anticipating each AI deck's potential cards and plays, and planning accordingly (which he also details) might add another 3-5 GPM.

3) SPEED - playing fast could get you *closer* to the theoretical maximum* GPM of 40 GPM (given 1 and 2 above) temporarily, although your run time for 7 games must be under 20 minutes on average to achieve this, which requires near-perfect runs with no stalls. This is rare. I have found that most runs inevitably have at least one game that can last 5 minutes or longer, decreasing GPM significantly. ***And there will be unavoidable losses.***

I have collected thousands of games of data (yes) with this deck. I still feel the GPM will improve slightly as I learn. ItsTenz, who plays almost flawlessly, has actually achieved 40 GPM for one set of 200 games. I applaud his devotion to tuning and the data-driven Gauntletics approach that makes his deck the new champion. Playing this deck well takes a lot of practice and an encyclopedic knowledge of what AI cards might come ... but the entire gold-grinding journey is a lot of fun. Check it all out ... Green Is Good (Updated).

*Note that 40 GPM is a Gauntlet theoretical maximum. This is a remarkable achievement. It's doubtful a deck could be much faster than 20 minutes for a 7 game Gauntlet run on a reliable basis ... and if it was, it would certainly not win as reliably as "Green is Good".

Still ... can anyone try to go higher?!

PAST GAUNTLETICS® CHAMPIONS


Acknowledging prior champion decks (all giants on whose shoulders we stand) and in support of new players: check out the budget deck below (even if you are dirt poor right now you won't be for long).

DateCreatorDeckGPMNote
Dec 2021ItsTenzGreen Is Good (Updated)30+*See above for details, this deck will provide great GPM immediately, and improve to a potential of the theoretical maximum of 40 GPM when you master it vs. the AI. Amazing deck.
Summer 2021Shangalar(Gauntlet, Budget) 26 GPM, Skycrag Throne Room Aggro v2 Postnerf22Shangalar showed the power of aggro in Gauntlet to reduce the GPM denominator. This Skycrag deck was also wonderful because it was fairly low budget at 15,900 shiftstone cost. My 22 GPM is confirmed by research. I played this deck to mine a LOT of gold for a LONG time, until DWD nerfed many of the cards. His revised deck is still decent, and especially if you don't have much to spend. Great work Shangalar!
Spring 2021Alover (me!)Stonescar Gauntletics v121My deck was expensive and slow, but a reliable control-ish deck (hmm, kind of like my personality know that I think about it lol). I write ALL about it at great length below, but why bother with all that? If gold is your goal, try one of the decks above.
Feb 2021SwatchesThe Actual Boss of Gauntlet19The original inspiration for this writeup, and my own Stonescar deck. Swatches gave me the idea to try to tune his gauntlet deck with a scientific approach. Plus his writeup was the first brilliant and indepth deck I've ever seen posted here, and inspired a whole new quality of writeups that respect the science of Gauntletics tuning.


GAUNTLETICS® TECHNOLOGY


* Frustrated from disgustingly unfair Gauntlet bosses?
* Tired of importing decks that are all bark and no bit[coin]?
* Grinding teeth (and never gold) in pursuit of 3 silver chests?!

Well Gnash, Unrelenting your teeth no more, for Gauntletics® is here! Gauntletics® crushes the AI while reaping the highest gold-per-minute (GPM) grind rate of any Gauntlet deck posted. As the Devs think of new and ridonculously unfair boss setups we all know and love (yes, we are talking about you, Sudden Death), we have Gauntletics® to provide your clutch, top-decked, AI-face-blasting answer to flexibly handle all AI opponents, and (most importantly) enjoy the wonderful Gauntlet mode, with lots of fun and challenging decisions and match-ups.

Accessing patented Gauntletics® technology is simple and free: just click here where you will find:
1) an updated, copyable Gauntletics® tracking sheet (to accurately analyze and optimize your own Gauntlet deck);
2) refined reward analysis for chests, packs, crafting and more (to see how the sausage is made);
3) game data for various decks (to assuage the suspicious).


Throwing Down the Gauntlet


The theoretical maximum grind rate for Gauntlet is ~40 GPM, assuming an invincible deck with a 7 game run-time of ~20 minutes which is about as fast as you can finish seven games (on average). In reality, a 100% win rate deck is not only impossible but anti-fun. The AI will crush some Gauntlet runs. Though faster decks tend to be less reliable, the efficiency savings from spending half as much time playing means that these aggro/speed decks are likely the winners.

ItsTenz has made a deck (see above) that gets this rate, with the rare loss being offset by astonishingly long runs of Gauntlet AI-crushingness.

40 GPM is huge, and even 30 GPM is wayyyy faster grinding than any other (non-quest/non-daily) Eternal mode: ranked or otherwise. The Throne and Expedition payouts are not only much lower on average (factoring in a 50% loss rate vs. near 0% loss rate for ItsTenz's deck) but the time to play ranked games is way longer than that of Gauntlet (the AI may be unfair sometimes, but it plays snappy quick!). I feel DWD has created a wonderfully balanced system that rewards both the impatient (who can pay), and the cheap (f2p).

Many decks claim to be great, and now they can provide data to back up their claim, and invite others to replicate. Science--and Moneyball--comes to Eternal! With all this in mind, can anyone post a new Gauntlet champ with an even higher GPM? The gauntlet has been thrown!

https://i.ibb.co/jgX2cpw/Screenshot-2021-05-04-10-41-44-AM.png



Gauntlet Deck Design Considerations


For those who want to take up this challenge, here are some deck design considerations gleaned from optimizing this deck through thousands of games to address the unique characteristics of the Gauntlet game mode today. A successful gauntlet deck needs to:
* avoid power screw with only one redraw (not straightforward);
* take advantage of idiosyncratic AI decisions (i.e., not dealing with decay very well);
* flexibly battle a variety of AI unit/spell opponents (thankfully no non-standard AI decks like discard, relic-based, etc ... yet);
* have the three (diverse) characteristics that give it a fighting chance against the corresponding three toughest bosses.


Gauntletics Data Overview


Here is what Gauntletics data produces. Note that a minimum dataset of 200 games (n=200) is required for a certified Gauntletics® rating, along with a link to the data so anyone can confirm/replicate the result (six sigma blackbelt optional).

RatingResultNote
Gold-Per-Minute21.0The culmination of playing thousands of games over 12 deck revisions results in this rate. Can anyone beat it???
Game Win Rate199/206 = 97%Gauntletics® "Lose to Win" analyzes loss factors to help get to this overall Gauntlet game win rate.
Perfect Run Rate25/32 = 78%Most losses with this deck were pre-boss, which is a future R&D direction, since a good deck has to balance getting to the boss successfully, and then beating said boss, which can be two different things!
Average Run Time34 minThis is a fast-ish deck, considering that you can finish a Gauntlet run of seven games (3 silver chests) in about a half-hour, which (in my experience) is about the time it would take to play 3-5 PvP games for much less gold reward. You will need to practice with this deck before achieving this time.


Gauntlet Deck Key Considerations



I wrote these for a previous Stonescar deck, but I'm keeping it as an overview of Gauntlet deck design considerations, and in case I ever think of a deck better than the current champion, and want to write it up again!

Power Availability / Curve
With only one redraw, Gauntlet demands consistently available, dependable power AND a tuned power curve of cards to match. This deck has 35 ways to draw or create power, and a curve like a supermodel playing a Stradivarius on the hood of a Ferrari. You will find yourself using every point of power most turns, to build an AI-crushing board. New for 2.0 there is no power card in the market since it takes 3 power to get there anyway, and you can trust this deck (like Texas) to provide power … er, almost always.

Redraw Decision
Before pressing “Keep”, you would ideally see most of the following in those seven cards, listed in order of importance:
* 3-5 power, or some damn way to get to three power (avoid power screw at all costs);
* shadow influence of course, and ideally fire with it, although the latter isn’t the end of the world;
* a buffer (e.g., Vine Grafter) that will boost attack and/or some way to get to the market for same;
* buffee(s) (e.g., Auric Interrogator) that benefit from the buffers;
* a straight flush of card costs (e.g., 2, 3, 4, 5, ...) since a mitt full of bombs (or removal) makes for a fast death in Gauntlet;
* removal and/or anything that suits the AI opponent (e.g., Moldermuck for void return or Blightmoth for wide decks.

Remember to “CHECK THE DECK” of the AI you are playing against before deciding, as one of the key advantages of Gauntlet is you get a clue about what you will face ahead of time.

Play Tips


Turn 1 Plan your power! People who get frustrated with slow turn 1 plays in PvP don’t understand that you have to plan your power cards choices for the first two or three turns in terms of when you will need depleted or undepleted power, along with order considerations. This deck is no different because of the diverse power palette so take the time to select the best power plays. Use Crest of Chaos to scout for cards that fill missing gaps from that keep/redraw list immediately above. Save Shadow Etchings if you have lots of power to get into your market for the key buffer relics. The vows are new for 2.0, and a wonderful way to remove unwanted sigils from your deck. You will likely want to use them when you need undepleted power or when you see a pathway to 4+ power. Influence requirements are rarely an issue, but my tip here is to base decisions on what’s in your hand, not your deck.

Early game don't attack riskily for this is a later-blooming deck. The AI doesn't understand this principle and will swing away while you (later) have 47-4 health advantage as it only thinks about surviving one more turn.

Midgame you will pick up some momentum if you play things in the right order. It’s funny how you have to learn pretty much everything by getting smacked, isn’t it? Rolant isn’t the only one who is a stickler for order …

DO THISBEFORE THIS
buff the Sentinel Moldattacking with Moldermuck
play Vicious Highwaymankilling something
attackplaying fast removal to take advantage of predictable AI blocking


Late game do the math to predict when the AI goes into chump block mode for faster wins, and keep a hard removal handy if you have the luxury.


Removal


Gauntlet isn’t about winning, it's about NOT losing. Yes, you need to kill Elias, the Broken Wing and Champion of Cunning (making sign of the cross), but you also need to eliminate key AI building blocks earlier to maintain a winning tempo. This deck has 23 removals (including three Exploit), but much more importantly, it has 11 different types of removal in varying degrees of potency from Vara's Favor to Cut Ties (from the market site Dizo’s Office).

You will not find four (4) copies of ANY removal in this deck, as Gauntletics® research determined that having a variety of options is preferable to having four copies of the “best” card. The best card is the one you need for the situation you are in. For example, Open Contract is a Stonescar great, and the fact that it makes AI units cheaper just ensures it is easier to remove the costlier ones later with (guess what?) Open Contract. But if you take four copies, you will one day have 2-3 useless copies of Open Contract and no way to kill Elias.

To summarize, there is no “best” card overall. Having a diverse spectrum of removal options gives the greatest chance of having just the right card to get rid of game-ending situations.

Removal Tips from Basic to More Advanced
* save removal for dire (e.g., Direwood Beastcaller) need;
* use just enough removal for the job, saving harder removal for future threats;
* remember Combust is one of the best/firmest removals in this deck, if you wait for the 1/1 mucks, rats and moths to sacrifice;
* watch for opportunities to finesse a losing attack into an AI loss using fast removal before pressing “Fight”;
* save fast removal for sweeter kills on the AI turn when it weaponizes and ultimates its soon-to-be corpse;
* check out the AI decks get to know the key units you will want to put out a hit on, and save your removal for.[/b]

Exploit should be called “Expose” because the best thing about it is seeing the entire AI hand, not just removing their best card. Play it early, then carefully check your hand against the AI to plot out your next few moves (taking advantage of another Gauntlet difference in that you have unlimited time). For example, if the AI doesn’t have any 1 health units, safely plunder your Vara's Favor. Lately, I have tended to want to slow down the AI by taking out their next play versus removing their bomb, especially if they don’t seem to have the influence or power to play it for a while. Trade Exploit in the market late game, when the AI isn’t likely to have vital cards in hand, unless a plunder somehow helps.

I would be remiss here if I didn’t take time to thank Vara's Favor for consistently providing the sweetest, most satisfying cap-popping hits, not to mention a little purple Kool-Aid in the bargain and the occasional aegis burst that is more satisfying than bubble wrap. I’m considering bumping her to a four-banger.


Key Cards and Synergies


Most games with this deck will feel like a cakewalk, but you will inevitably find yourself playing second, getting power screwed, and facing an AI nut-draw-perfect-storm brewing and STILL win, if you take advantage of the basic buffer/buffee strategy of this deck. Stir one ingredient from each of the two categories below for an Explosive Potential of AI face-smashing delight.

BUFFERSBUFFEES
Vine Grafter, Cen Wastes Smuggler, Shadow Etchings, Sentinel Mold, Makkar's Quiver, Vicious HighwaymanAuric Interrogator, Moldermuck, Arach, Razorshaper


Sure, you can also buff the other inert gases in this deck with low (Vara, Vengeance-Seeker) or no (Eremot, Mindsplinter) impact (Eremot is refreshed to his original state after each AI hit so buffing him is fairly useless).

Okay, generalities out of the way, here are tips for each card, listed in order of quality.
* Best (4 copies) cards you are happy to see almost any time, in any quantity.
* Great (3 copies) cards that may not be helpful at every game phase, or in bunches.
* Good (2 copies) cards which are great in some fairly common situations.
* Rest (1 copy) cards from the market as required (two relics) or for life-saving (rest).

Best (4 copies)

Moldermuck is the best of the four copy cards in this deck. It shuts down wide, heavy hitters and fliers (pretty much anything) and the AI can’t seem to figure out decay. Muck is un-to(u)rchable at 4/4, and happily Combusted when a wee 1/1. If first buffed (see buffers above) it just gets exponentially better, producing a sea of decay units that nothing gets through (e.g., 57 damage and 32 blocks, see comments below) but even a vanilla muck is delicious ...
* The AI will always block Moldermuck in any scenario where their unit survives, albeit in a crippled state. This allows for serious denting of flyers and other key units that any sane player would never block with.
* You can attack just enough to get a variety of mucks (e.g., 1/1, 2/2, 3/3) in order to choose the best whittling tool to decay an AI unit down to one health so Vicious Highwayman can have his target practice.
* Attacking with 3/3, 2/2 to 1/1 makes less and less sense, but there is a case for each (e.g., when Tasbu, the Forbidden shows up splitting mucks allows pretty much as many free cards as you can handle.
- You can attack with as many mucks as there are AI units that will block, saving the rest for defense.

Vine Grafter came up at the last $5k tournament as the most nerf-worthy card, and merits the four copy status in this deck for holding back legions of AI units with <3 defense, or are afraid to attack regen. The market access is key, and the +1/+1 regen buff makes it all too good to be true. Key line: Vine Grafter > Makkar’s Quiver from market > (buff a Buffee) > play Quiver to kill something > play Buffee (again buffed by Quiver) > proceed to AI face-smash, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Auric Interrogator is a beefy presence unbuffed, but when buffed (see table above for options) he starts pulling a free card every turn, at a cost of one health, hence we have four of him. When the buff isn’t available, I’ll throw him into the AI maw first thing in order to suck up removal or just Combust the bastard … after all, he is a psycho torturer.

Arach, Razorshaper is the last, but not least, of the four copy cards in this deck since he oh-so-wants to be buffed, spawning a mischief of Razorbots whose extermination just results in--you guessed it--even more buffing. As a last resort, you can just chump block the $%*&! 8/8 flyer with Arach, Razorshaper, he probably deserves it anyway. Or if the rats have left the sinking ship, throw him in the Combust-o-furnace--he burns nicely.

Great (3 copies)

Cen Wastes Smuggler replaces Kerendon Merchant from version 1.0 as a market ticket to the shiny, new Sentinel Mold that ensures a long-game win. Just like her purple brother with his wide-brimmed hat, CWS can hold back a whole gang of cowardly AI units merely by brandishing her field hockey stick, or leave a nasty mark if they do attack. Those girls are vicious.

Vara, Vengeance-Seeker & Vicious Highwayman
These cards are all about precious, vital lifesteal so your deck has enough blood in its veins to live through shaky starts and get stabilized. Plus, you will be spending your own precious life to smooth your power, pay for free units, etc. Remember, Gauntlet isn’t about winning, but NOT losing, and these cards fill that not-losing role. The four copies of Rune of Illusion are another 2.0 addition with lifesteal in mind.

Vicious Highwayman can be a 3-for-1, taking out a unit, then charging for a 10 point +5/-5 swing … one of the most satisfying plays with this deck. When you see him in your hand, try to hold onto some removal (and AI fodder) so he keeps getting the quickdraw/lifesteal bump.

Vara, Vengeance-Seeker’s buzz-killing anti-aegis field always seems to show up just when you need it, and her 3/3 lifesteal is always welcome. You may want to delay playing her if the AI has a sacrificable unit, or send her to the market to pick up some Sentinel Mold for supper. Otherwise, with an empty AI board, or a non-sacrificiable unit, there’s not much better than 5/5 lifesteal. Once she’s active, you’ll get a sense of when to attack or hold back based on your own health, opposing units, AI cards in hand, etc.

There is a nice repartee betwixt these two as Vicious Highwayman LOVES tiny units ... “Who needs shooting?!” while Vara, Vengeance-Seeker LOVES fatties … “Who wants to die, or I’m a deadly, bloodsucking, giant vampire?!”

Tasbu, the Forbidden is just another white/dead-eyed, fat stat psychopath who turns muck splatter (and other casualties) into free cards at a cost of 1 health. Watch your health as he gorges and watch for the dashboard warp light when he tops your deck. Delay losing units until he’s out there, if you have time.

Good (2 copies)

Blightmoth has been in and out of this deck, and returns here with two copies to fill the role of blocking flyers (a key way to die in Gauntlet), slowing the AI so the buffer/buffee aspect of this deck has time to work, and (rarely, but most satisfyingly) taking down a platoon of minions.

Eremot, Mindsplinter, with two copies is probably the weakest card in this deck, except when you will absolutely, positively will die without him to block that 8/8 flyer. Remember he loses his buffs after burrowing into the AI's brain, re-emerging as plain old 3/5 again, but that can work both ways if he gets nerfed. I hate including any card that can’t fully take advantage of a synergy, but what can replace Eremot? Disgraced Cadet is tempting, but what relic is going to the void?

Note these last two cards are perhaps the most replaceable ones in the deck, I would love to hear some ideas in the comments.


Market


As was mentioned earlier, Gauntlet decks need strength and flexibility to have a Longshot Marksman against perversely unfair bosses. The market in this deck provides both, and is absolutely vital for this deck (hence the eleven ways to get into it). The two relics are the “strength” (key synergy you will likely be playing in most games) and the other three cards (two spells and a site) are the “flexibility” for contingencies.

All five cards are described below in order from most frequently-pulled to least … though all of them will save your 3-silver-chest-ass.

Makkar's Quiver is plan “A” so if you’re not sure what to do, take it. Once in your hand, try to play it before anything else if you have time, or before the buffees (at least) if you don’t have time. Try to squeeze some removal in the bargain at cost 1 with Warlock’s Brew, and maybe use a chump attack first (hello, Vine Grafter) to whittle an AI unit down to the required 2 health. Quiver then buffs everything you play, but don’t forget you can always pay 6 for a game-winning Pummel.

Sentinel Mold is plan “B”, though with a little more long-term potency. It buffs cards in your deck, rather than the ones you play. This has implications for relic choice (if you have a choice), which can be a bit complex, but just remember that splitting mucks, swarming rats, and corrupting moths all count as “playing a unit” so work well with Sentinel Mold. Also remember to use excess power to amp up this relic and you may get a rare sighting of the mysterious 34/34 Moldermuck).

The rest are contingency cards and pretty straightforward …

Grisly Contest was the last card added to this deck, following a long line of hard candy removal such as Edict of Makkar, Desecrate, Execute and Ambitious Mandevilla. In the end, you want something cheap and cheerful here, for when you just need to make something dead and can only afford the cheap hit man.

Fall to Ruin … ahhh, end-of-the-world cards are so relaxing, I can sleep at night knowing that total annihilation is just a market draw away. You want to pull this card BEFORE things get too dire, as it takes time to amass the power to pay the 6 cost. When you have no other options, and the AI has both power and cards galore, it’s time to swing up the little plastic cover, and expose the big red button. If you can swing the 12 unit thing, great, but the deck can usually swing a win even after board clear, although the nuclear option is always going to be somewhat dicey.

Dizo's Office is a late-game, lifesteal-inducing uber-site with amazing spells (including a hard kill) and 4 health. Use it against other stubborn control decks to finish them off. You may often want to draw it even without the necessary power in place, especially if you have some free card draw going on that will get you there in short order. By the time you draw it, you will either be winning majorly, or on the brink of losing: either way, Dizo provides a satisfying (and final) solution.

As for what to put in the market, you can tune your power, tune your removal/unit balance (CHECK the DECK!) and generally get rid of less useful cards (e.g., 5-drop when you are 3 power or Vara in the face of Grenadins).


Rooms for Improvement


You can trust that this deck is highly optimized from literally hundreds of games and iterative revisions. For example, whenever a loss occurred from power flood/screw, missing a 2-drop, having too much/little of something it was recorded in the Gauntletics® engine and the deck re-tuned. So you can Moldermuck with the deck, but I suggest you try 10-20 full runs with it first.

Still, there is always room for improvement, and I would appreciate suggestions for any of the following ...

* The “good” (2 copies) cards could be improved, what would you replace them with?
* What would you substitute for legendaries to make a cheaper deck?
* Is there a better option than Grisly Removal for the market?
* Finally, as stated previously, I would love to see a deck with more than 21 GPM ... is there one out there?

I love all getting comments and suggestions, especially as many of them have made their way into the deck revisions.


Beating the Boss


The whole point of Gauntlet is to tell the boss to take this job and shove it. This deck shines in boss matchups, with a Gauntletics® bossicide win rate: of 96% (albeit that’s over 26 boss matchups so not a huge sample, though previous deck iterations have been all ~90%+). Some sociopathic bosses (listed in order below from most Hannibal-like to least) are particularly unstable, requiring special tactics (i.e., luck), so read on for those.

CHAOTIC EVIL - Defender of the Spire (start with 5 influence in every faction) stacks the AI deck with influence-benefitting cards that pop out of the womb super-buffed. Still, you can win most games by removing the most heinous early threats, saving your hollow-point removal for Champion of Cunning ... er Champion of Cheating.

NEUTRAL EVIL - Sudden Death (units deal double damage) and Mindless Aggression (units have charge) are both gimmicks that will have you providing irate feedback to DWD after you die on turn 3 to charging inferni. Your redraw must be focussed on getting low cost cards you can use to mitigate aggro damage. You won’t want to attack much: block, block, block and Sapsucker AI blood until you can get them back in a naked choke.

LAWFUL EVIL - Power of Progress (play 2 power cards per turn) - Normally redraws are determined by power, but especially here, you ideally want 3-4+ power to be able to really overdose on it. Especially save hard removal for those nasty units that either spawn 5/5 sentinels, double in strength, draw a card, etc. with every empower. Look for the nuclear option here on turn 7 or 8.

NEUTRAL - Limitless Possibilities (units get a random battle skill) is not sooo bad, except when the AI destinies Mistveil Drake on turn 1 … THE worst end to a Gauntlet run, though you might luck out as well. Check out what random skills your units pick up: a little charge, lifesteal, regen or double damage, applied at the right time, will make all the difference.

CHAOTIC GOOD - Company of Exiles (play spell, get a unit) - Fortunately the 2.0 version of this deck has 18 spells plus two more in the market so redraw for them (not power) and prioritize spells: Exploiting the AI’s spells, and taking spells in market swaps. If you lose tempo, you will lose the game to a nauseating sea of random spells and units that will make your head spin.

CHAOTIC GOOD - Burn Scars (all units have decay) - Look for Moldermuck or Blightmoth to block a AI perfect storm, which will be the only way you can lose.

NEUTRAL GOOD - Highly Skilled and Labyrinth Treasury buff skilled units, or make all units cheaper respectively, which this deck excels at.

LAWFUL GOOD - Sibling Rivalry (free scion at 5 influence) - Easy, just save a removal for the Scion.

In the non-boss category, “Deep Freeze” gets honorable mention for evil. I would appreciate some suggestions around that one, although Grisly Contest is a key play.


Alternatives and Substitutes


I used to sort my Halloween candy, and collect hockey cards, so yes, I like the collecting aspect of Eternal, though it doesn’t get much attention. I'm a purist F2P player, and have never bought anything, so I know it takes a long time to craft legendaries, let alone four of them. This deck has a bunch of exotic and pricey units, so here are some alternatives to add if you don’t have all 16 legendaries, listed in order of how much I have tried them personally (most tested to least).

Tested
Wretched Rats (watch for order of play with this one, and save power surges)
Warbrush Oni (great early game card, excellent)
Eremot, Mindsplinter (just add more Eremot)
Feartracker (one of Swatches’ original faves)

Less tested-but-Interesting
Strange Burglar
Dakus, Ancient Flame - lots of sac units
Dark Purveyor - swap in some spell damage removal to make DP effective, which will make removal more dicier for sure, but all those grenadin make Arach, Razorshaper laugh evilly.
Warband Chieftain
Xumuc Shaman - loves muck!
Elder Astrologer

As far as which legendaries to swap: the market cards are pretty much irreplaceable, so buy one of each (it's all you need) with your first bunch of successful runs! Vara, Vengeance-Seeker is probably the most replaceable legendary, or one half of Tasbu/Highwayman dynamic duo.


A Final Tribute to Gauntlet


If you got this far, you are likely as committed as I am to Gauntlet and free-to-play, because it’s just damn fun to triumph from nothing. Not to mention all the gold you will have for draft or other events, and shiftstone. Since using Gauntletics®, I can craft pretty much all the legendaries I want, and play draft as well, just by taking five minute breaks for Gauntlet here and there in my day. I think DWD has done a good job tuning the challenge and reward of Gauntlet (but hey, how about that Forge?!)

Another thing, if you still aren’t convinced: the AI is an incredibly polite adversary! They play their turn incredibly quickly, never taunt you or (worst thing ever in PvP) rage quit and leave you to watch them time out. Plus you won’t encounter the same damn deck every time everyone starts playing meta-of-the-month.

My intention in sharing all this is to help others enjoy Gauntlet as much as I do, and I know I have succeeded with the legacy of incredible decks that have followed this one (ItsTenz!). Gauntlet is a fun and profitable mode with the right deck, and has kept me challenged and engaged for a long time, adapting for each boss and having to make many interesting decisions along the way.

Most importantly--with Gauntletics 3.0--there’s 40 gold-per-minute in them thar hills![/coin]

Details

Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost
49,600

Premium Cost
220,800

Influence Requirements
4

Power Sources
25

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
8 12 34 9

Card Types
39 1 15 0 25

Contains Cards From Campaigns
Buried Memories [Set1105]
Stormbreak [Set1107]
Hour of Glass [Set1115]

Archetype
Aggro Combo

Updated
July 23, 2022

Added
May 3, 2021

Views
23,241

Eternal Version
Unleashed

BBCode For Comments

Deck URL

Revisions (Since last major patch) June 30, 2022


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Comments

Sabrewulf81 Edited Eternal Version: 23.08.17
Week deck now....so sad...
Strike Edited Eternal Version: 22.08.17
This is fun I personally put Xulta Loyalist in market … at times it can be a tougher card to pull out but that 3 cost shift and the constant dropping of +1/+1 weapon helps when you run into board stall situations granted this might “slow” the gpm but it seems to help (me at least) with survivability in tough spots.

Not to mention that when it emerges it’s a 6/6 endurance unblockable that if attacking alone goes 7/7 … many many games for me is single attack for 3 turns with another unit then loyalist emerges and it’s game over.
Sspifffyman Eternal Version: 22.08.17
Are you still playing Fearless Crescendo since the nerf to 2 cost? Feels way more clunky now
Candy Eternal Version: 22.08.17
I feel like considering this is Mono, Star Charts would be very useful
Strike Eternal Version: 22.08.17
It wouldn’t hurt (maybe) but because the deck is mostly low cost low influence units the biggest benefit would be just in those situations where you don’t start (50%) to get an early leg up. I’m sliding in a couple (2-3) and see how it plays for me granted running less than a full pocket would reduce the times of me getting it to make a difference in the game.
TitusnBlossom Eternal Version: 22.07.01
How do you feel about Topple in the Market over Tarra, Ever Loyal? Also, what about some Emerald Waystone over Justice Sigil in the main?
austkingsbane Eternal Version: 22.07.01
Amazing work!
CordobezWarcry Eternal Version: 21.09.23
Moldermuck and Tasbu got nerfed :C even Cen Wastes even though i never saw it do much
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.09.23
Head over to the Shangalar deck linked the top above, the nerfs affected his deck as well but it's overall better. We are basically recalculating GPM with the nerfs on his deck but it's definitely higher than the stonescar deck anyway.
Fafhrd Edited Eternal Version: 21.07.21
In the old version I subbed Devouring Shadow for Execute and I'd do the same for Grisly Contest in the new version.

Helps take care of revenge units and doesn't require a board presence to work.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.07.21
Yes that's a good call if the shadow influence is high enough to take out what you need. Sometimes I only get two or three shadow.
bobby2055 Eternal Version: 21.07.21
replacement suggestions for arach and tsabu?
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.07.21
There's a whole section near the bottom of my deck description giving a series of alternatives. However, I would recommend the budget deck I linked to at the top as a better alternative overall for grinding gold (I'm testing it out at 25 GPM vs 21 for this deck). If you want to experience a controlled deck that wins very consistently, try this one for fun. But if you just want to grind gold quickly, the other one is a little faster.
bobby2055 Eternal Version: 21.07.21
I appreciate the response and apologize for not getting the whole picture with your write out.
FuriousGambler Edited Eternal Version: 21.07.21
Hey, glad to see a new version.
I haven't played it yet, gotta craft some Arachs but he's worth it I guess, but I'm eager to try it out.
Maybe stupid to question things before I tried the deck but the 4 copies of Rune look awkward to me, since you have very few sigils they are likely to be depleted power most of the time wouldn't it be better to run just 2 or 3 copies? (but you probably know better and I can't see the bigger picture hahaha )
I especially like the addition of Sentinel Mold.
Also I really like your funny explanations and writing style. Keep it up!
Alover Eternal Version: 21.07.21
You could definitely trade a rune for a sigil, it's hard to tell the difference between subtle changes like this over time even with so many runs/data but intuitively what you say makes sense. I sometimes revise things based on feel, if a certain card shows up, how do I feel. My feeling about the runes is that they sometimes provide a win where the AI is close to death and their board is overwhelming (so feels VERY good) and a lot of times when they are depleted/unused. I'd say swap one for a sigil yep, thanks!
FuriousGambler Eternal Version: 21.07.21
I still haven't tried it, I am always so reluctant when it comes to spending shiftstone :D
Shangalar Edited Eternal Version: 21.06.09
As a new player, I wish I could play that deck one day...

About budget grinder - I have been testing and tweaking a skycrag aggro/combo for a while and starting to record statistics (well, not like Gauntletics® certified for sure :P):
Skycrag Throne Room Aggro

Feedbacks are welcome.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.07.21
Had a bunch of runs and love this deck, and it's safe to say this is the new budget Gauntletics® champion and probably the overall best deck as well. Will do 200+ games and post again. Speed means mid-run losses aren't so much of a drag on the GPM. So happy to see another certified GPM posted!
Jannesdemannes Edited Eternal Version: 21.06.09
Thanks for the great deck and excellent (and very funny) writeup. I was missing 2 Tasbu and replaced them with 1Ambitious Mandevilla and 1 Shadowlands Tyrant . They are performing really well in this deck, especially the Mandevilla got me out of some tough spots.
Looking forward to v9 👍💪
Alover Eternal Version: 21.06.09
Glad you are enjoying! Less Tasbu is ok, and I like your substitutions. I recommend Glen Pathcutter as a substitute also because the deck needs some good one cost cards and the +2 boost helps soooo many other units. Version 9 includes that card and will be released shortly.
Jannesdemannes Edited Eternal Version: 21.06.09
Thanks for your reply. Pathcutter should be nice indeed. Keep up the good work ☺
Comment Deleted
Candy Edited Eternal Version: 21.05.18
Stonescar Blueprints seems to have good potential
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.05.18
I've got a couple in my v9 currently being tested, by adding vows and symbols as well. The power flexibility is helpful yes, thought not often. The bonus is the removal of sigils (vow) and the potential relic weapon (blue prints).
Kalikulator Eternal Version: 21.03.23
A Moldermuck deck that doesn't have Contaminating Ritual and no one mentioned it yet? Get that waystone outta the market and throw Contaminating Ritual in there.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
The waystone is key to avoiding power screw losses, but this could definitely work instead of Blightmoth, which isn't really so much of a lifesaver. I can see how the Contaminating Ritual gets some lifesteal back, blocks a flyer and (I'm guessing because I've never seen it) makes flying, bloodsucking muck-babies!!! Thanks Kalikulator, I will check the new GPM on this v7 deck.
Kalikulator Eternal Version: 21.03.23
That's exactly what you get. The first attacker will be a 4/3 Flying, Lifesteal, Decay, and leave behind an exact copy. Only the attacking one dies at end of turn though, and all subsequent copies keep the stats.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.05.18
I ended up ditching Contaminating Ritual but your idea led to an even better scenario ... Vine Grafter, which results in a 5/5 regen Moldermuck that doesn't get sacrificed and can attack in 6 successive turns for a total 57 decaying damage and 32 units produced ... before ... after!

BEFORE - Regular Moldermuck
T Result Dmg Units Played
1 4/4 0 1
2 3/3x2 3 1
3 2/2x4 4 2
4 1/1x8 4 4
5 - 0 0
TOTAL 11 8*
*At turn 5 there are max. 8 chump blocks, sacrifices, etc.

AFTER - Vine Grafter buffed Moldermuck
T Result Dmg Units Played
1 5/5 0 1
2 5/5x2 5 1
3 4/4x4 8 2
4 3/3x8 12 4
5 2/2x16 16 8
6 1/1x32 16 16
7 - 0 0
TOTAL 57 32*
*By turn 5 there are more mucks that you (or the board size) will know what to do with, turn 5 and beyond are theoretical particle physics predictions.
Kalikulator Eternal Version: 21.05.18
Regen is a nice touch on Moldermuck, but I think you just took it in a totally different direction there. Definitely lets the muck go crazy, but it's a 5 power investment that doesn't add any evasion or lifesteal to the mucks, and can be destroyed after you've invested in it without any value fairly easily.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.05.18
Four tips to avoid having your buffed Moldermuck wiped out by the AI in Gauntlet ...
1) Basic 4/4 prevents torch (most common AI removal), 5/5 prevents some combos of spell damage
2) Regen from Vine Grafter prevents the first spell damage
3) The AI isn't picky about using removal, and is usually out of it by the time you have played grafter/merchant, played/buffed or buffed/played the muck.
4) You can try to anticipate the most painful removal (justice Vanquish or primal Permafrost) and play a more expendable unit first.
SadRabbit Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
If you're not that excited about Eremot, Mindsplinter, consider trying a Statuary Maiden in the 4-drop slot.

She shuts down bigger attackers, screws up the AI's void-based cards, makes extra junk to swap with valuable market cards, and just buffs your own units a ton. This card has been a gauntlet MvP for me since day one.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Ooooooh, that is a great idea, thanks! The buffing weapons would be so lovely on the key card for this deck Moldermuck not to mention Auric Interrogator which we were just talking about below. Will swap it in for Annihilate (though removal is super-key, and I am currently including one Ruinous Burst as R&D so feel ok taking a removal out, and test results in v7. It does make the deck even more expensive for beginners but I have 1 or 2 Maidens and my goal is to get as high a GPM as possible.

Fear of flying was the original motivation for Eremot, Mindsplinter as some losses come at the hands of a buffed (usually justice) flyer with some grotesque weapon.
Kalikulator Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Weapons on Moldermuck is ok, but only to sustain the equipped one a little longer. The copies don't get any benefit.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.05.18
Yes, thank you ... I did give up on Statuary Maiden because of what you said. See post above about mucks and Vine Grafter.
ColumW Eternal Version: 21.03.23
I want to critique this deck, but I can't seem to lose any games yet. Auric Interrogator hasn't been very impactful for me yet, but I like that they combo with transmuted cabal standards. Sure if they get buffed by a Blackhall Warleader's inspire, that's cool and all... but if that's happening I'm already winning the game anyway.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Gauntletics is like Sabermetrics®: some of the players may seem average but somehow they end up winning a lot because of the rigorous statistical analysis

Still, I pretty much agree with you, Auric Interrogator isn't drawing extra cards perhaps as often as I would like. But he has 4/3 and can be swapped if you don't have one of the many buff options available: 1) your inspire method above 2) swapping pistol from the market (most frequent), 3) Vicious Highwayman 4) Dizo's Office is a fourth way to buff but like you said by that time you are likely winning.

I also feel like Blackhall Warleader is another potential change in this deck, because he can get all worked up, then removed before a single unit is inspired. I might look at warcry or other +x to attack options and keep Auric Interrogator.

I am also wondering which is better to play first on turn 2 ... Blackhall Warleader or Exploit? If I have removal to clear a path for him, it's the former perhaps, but also maybe it's always better to check the hand for removal first with the latter?
Contact13 Eternal Version: 21.03.23
I don't see why this deck has so many up votes. Loses about 75% of games once you get into gold.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
This deck is a fairly straightforward unit/removal deck, but here are the most common play pitfalls, maybe this will help you ...
- you have to be very careful about redraw to get a pathway to 3 power, that's critical
- time removal for the key cards depending on the deck you are playing (takes lots of Gauntlet experience, there are 86 different decks I have seen
- read the synergy section
- do you have all the cards or are there substitutions?
- Moldermuck attack decisions are subtle, usually you always play it, but attacking depends on many factors: AI health, # of units AI vs me, and big one is presence (or not) of Tasbu, the Forbidden ... generally, don't attack with it unless it is at 4/4. If I have multiple 3/3 mucks, I usually attack with one to have a variety of defense options. I predict Direwolf will nerf this card, it is so effective at Gauntlet because AI makes so many mistakes with relic weapons, removal, blocking decisions, etc. because of the muckiness!

I would love somebody to post a budget deck (heck, any deck) with Gauntletics® certified results. To be certified requires 200+ games recorded and a link to the spreadsheet you can copy here, plus, you might have to be certifiable yourself lol.

My whole point for doing all this was to bring some legitimacy into deck claims, as well as providing some way to measure deck efficacy. The key stat with Gauntlet for me, ultimately is gold-per-minute (GPM). I am playing at masters, over 200+ games with this deck above, and am currently at 25.4 GPM for for v7 of this deck, which will likely drop a bit once I get to the 200 games required to certify Gauntletics® results.
ColumW Eternal Version: 21.03.23
I just won 2 gauntlet runs IN A ROW at master level, so this sounds wrong to me. Feel free to message me and you can stream some games to me via discord. Maybe I can offer some advice.
Doomfarer Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Great deck and awesome writeup. Personally I'd run Feartracker over Vicious Highwayman. And why not just a Shadow Sigil in the Market instead of Waystone? Sometimes triggering Nightfall can be fatal. Goes both ways though.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Thank you. :-) Feartracker is a great common substitute for a legendary, stealing 3 health immediately 100% of the time, however rarely did I find the power/time to pay for the second time. Vicious Highwayman steals 5 health immediately more than 50% of the time (about 3 so comparable to Feartracker) plus 5 more for each subsequent turn with removal. Damaging the AI is not nearly as important as the lifesteal that gives time to build an insurmountable board. Then there's the Warcry which is a huge factor, buffing Moldermuck and Auric Interrogator ... and then there's the charge, which makes the health gain immediate and also the attack. Many times that card is the TSN turning point. Thinking about this now, I question the Blackhall Warleader more and more because inspire doesn't do squat if the AI removes the card, whereas with warcry at least you know some benefit will eventually arrive.

Waystone is ideal for me because if I have to go to the market for power it's usually dire, and so the extra card is likely to help me more than the AI. The AI nightfall deck "Hiding in Darkness" comes up 1% of the time according to Gauntletics. I played with a depleted combo. power but the undepleted power is key, and I currently have a stat of "fire influence (want)" of 1 loss event vs. "undepleted power (want)" with an event frequency of 4 ... so v7 I'm currently playing as a sigil swapped for the emblem to try to enable the seats.
RumblerX Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Hey man, good read. I too thought the list would be amazing with Dark Return. Your above mentioned critique of the card was spot on, save 1 missed point. Blackhall Warleader is a very good synergy with Return. Used on a card like Moldermuck!?!? Pretty devastating even at +1/+1. I do understand when it's ill timed you can utterly hate the card, but more often than not(on paper) it looks to be solid. We are however talking about gauntlet and it's "randomness" is total garbage.
ColumW Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Actually Dark Return does somewhat poorly with Moldermuck, because most of the time Moldermucks in your void will be 3/3s 2/2s.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.03.23
What would you take out to put in the Dark Return ... or maybe one in the market? Again, it's all about the stats ultimately, as to what leads to a reliable win-rate across all Gauntlet matches. Winning isn't a problem in Gauntlet--at all--it's not losing. Tempo loss, power screw (either way), lack of cards showing up on curve are all quick ways to lose gauntlet although Dark Return is very efficient.
RumblerX Eternal Version: 21.03.23
I replaced Torch with it. Suffocate did exactly what torch does for this list save that it can kill the pesky 1/x's that torch would inevitably miss. The 1/5 deadly radiant comes to mind since I just played against it.
Alover Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Love Suffocate too but what about 4+/3- units? That's why Gauntletics pointed to a variety of removal. Loss factors also indicated the need for more removal overall so Dark Return was eventually squeezed out


Still, maybe I will try one again, but not in the market (next comment about replacing the pistol) because Gauntletics clearly shows more occasions when you want to buff a card on the board, not in the void.

Most of the time, the feeling in your gut when a card turns up tells you all you need to know, even before a spreadsheet can.
Rykerboy Eternal Version: 21.03.23
I would swap Trusty Revolver for Dark Return
Alover Eternal Version: 21.05.18
Void return seems great, but Gauntletics showed it to be too costly/slow and sometimes the AI will even silence your void.
biologynut99 Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Great write-up will give it a test later!
Shoriu Edited Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Awesome writeup, thanks for sharing it (and all the tools).
It clearly is to expensive for me as I'm saving shiftstone for the new set but I'll be sure to give it a try when I can craft those L.
For now I'll swap warleader with spiritweaver/grafter for the synergy and tanking and tasbu/highwayman with feartracker/xumuc shaman.
Alover Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Thanks for the great feedback, I just added some substitutions for the legendaries, I think Xumuc Shaman has great potential.

Where's the lamb sauce?! ... epic. :-)
mauro29 Eternal Version: 21.03.23
hahahahahah Best description ever
Wh3resDLambSauce Eternal Version: 21.03.23
This is the best AD i've ever seen!
irv_blitz Eternal Version: 21.03.23
As an avid Gauntlet player this was one of the best articles I have ever read in gaming
ElmoLesto Eternal Version: 21.03.23
Great writeup, and impressive commitment to grinding! I love the spreadsheet (and had thought of making one myslef, but in the end, it seems I'm just not that commited). It will take forever to get to 200 games, but I'll try. Thank you!