UPDATE: I'm leaving this deck here for posterity, but it will NOT FUNCTION anymore after they nerf Invoke the Waystones
. This deck gave me some fun times, and even got me an honorable mention from Trumpets, who took it to Worlds. But make no mistake, the deck is now completely DEAD
, with no way to make even a lesser version of it. It's completely destroyed. RIP Invoke Shenanigans. You were a blast while you lasted.
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While this deck was not my original idea, I have played this list quite a bit, and refined it slightly, so I thought I would share my experiences. NOTE:
Since this has gained some popularity, counterplay to it has become far more common than it was during May and June. You may need to trade out either Excavate
or Messenger Hawk
for a counterspell. The main reason for this is Royal Decree
which just destroys the deck if it hits Diogo. So you can either slot in a Swift Refusal
or a Unseal
. I'd not suggest Display of Instinct
, as it's too expensive to utilize effectively while still doing other things in your turns. By the way, if you choose to add a counterspell to the market, this may help you to win against disruption, BUT it will make the deck worse overall, less resilient to bad luck during the "shenanigans" phase, and less able to deal with face aegis or healing. I leave it up to you whether you are willing to trade off the consistency of the deck in favor of better odds against disruption.
This deck can end up in unwinnable situations, which can be frustrating. You should know this at the outset. Nevertheless, it is remarkably consistent. I used it to get to masters two months in a row. Sometimes the meta is just too fast for this deck - it only wins consistently when the meta is mostly midrange to slow. BUT against almost any
control or mid-range deck, unless
they have something to disrupt the combo, this WILL win.
The combo is as follows:
1. Use any merchant to fetch Diogo.
2. Use a primal merchant to fetch Omen.
3. At 6 power, play Diogo and amplify him once.
4. Next turn, cast Celestial Omen
, find the Destiny copy of Invoke the Waystones
, draw it, and watch the shenanigans unfold.
5. During (or after) the shenanigans use a fire merchant to fetch Stonescar Excavator
6. When all the dust settles, quickly evaluate the situation. What is your opponent's health? How much damage will Stonescar Excavator do when you use it (it says on the card, when you mouse over it)? Do you have 7 power available to use, with Excavator in hand?
7. If excavator will do more damage than opponent's health, and they have no face aegis, and you have 7 power, equip it, activate it, and kill them. If not, you need to use the backup plan (below).
BACKUP PLAN: If the opponent has more health than the excavator's damage, or has face aegis, or you do not have 7 power, you need to do the following:
1. Use a blue merchant to fetch the Messenger Hawk
from the market (note: if you get a blue merchant during the shenanigans phase, just grab a messenger hawk at that time).
2. Use the Hawk to copy the Excavator (BEFORE you play it) into your remaining deck.
3. If you have enough power, go ahead and play the Excavator and then activate it.
4. Next turn, Play/Activate another excavator and the original one also, if needed, and hopefully kill your opponent. Repeat if necessary.
Never play Celestial Omen on your opponent's turn. You will need two primal power to cast Celestial Omen, so plan your market trips accordingly, and keep a primal merchant to fetch it. Almost always fetch Diogo first, Omen second. Play Diogo at first opportunity, just in case Invoke is the next card. On your Celestial Omen
turn - do NOT cast a power to start the turn; you can always cast power after all the shenanigans. You really want to have a sigil
in hand for your Omen turn; if you do not have a sigil in hand, any seats that play during the shenanigans will play depleted (which is very bad - you will likely not reach the needed power for the OTK if you play multiple depleted seats during the shenanigans).
The absolutely perfect opening hand will have one Power Stone
, two merchants (one of which is primal) and 4 power (including 2 blue, one yellow, and 1 red). Play power stone on turn 2, play a merchant to fetch Diogo, play a merchant to fetch Omen, etc.
Ideally, you want either a Power Stone
OR Auralian Merchant
(who fetches Diogo) in the opening hand. However, any hand with 5 power of appropriate colors and two merchants (one being primal) is a good keep.
The main thing with this deck is paying close attention to your hand and how you are going to try to get the combo pieces and the required influence, while using your merchants' bodies to block aggressively and protect your health (even Diogo, once you play and amplify him). We don't need our units to deal any face damage, so they can die, no problem.
See the advice below for possible problems that can occur during the game, and the solutions to those problems (if there is any solution). It's possible you may not have time or merchants to execute the solutions - those are the unwinnable games mentioned above. But sometimes/often, you'll be able to solve these problems.
Problems that sometimes occur, and solutions to them:
Problem: Your opponent forces you to discard Diogo or Omen, or counterspells Omen.
Solution: Fetch Excavate and use it at the end of your opponent's turn to put the lost card back on top of your deck.
Problem: You go through the entire shenanigans and somehow never draw or play a red merchant, thus cannot fetch excavator.
Solution: Fetch Excavate (hopefully during your shenanigans phase) and use it to put a red merchant on top of your deck. Use it next turn to get the Excavator.
Problem: You draw both Invoke the Waystones.
Solution: Use a merchant to fetch Excavate. Make sure you have Diogo in hand (you will not need Omen). Hard cast one copy of Invoke. On the next turn (if you have 7 power), use Excavate to put the void copy of Invoke on top of the deck, and then cast Diogo after that to give it destiny. Shenanigans will start on your following turn.
Problem: Your deck is empty, but you cannot kill your opponent this turn. (This is sort of covered above.)
Solution: Use Messenger Hawk to put 4 copies of Stonescar Excavator into your empty deck. Now you should have all the ammunition needed to kill them, no matter their health or aegis.
Problem: Your opponent has a hyper aggressive deck.
Solution: There isn't any. Block aggressively with merchants and hope you can survive long enough.
Problem: Your opponent has Royal Decree, and they know that you're playing this deck.
Solution: Concede. They will Decree your Diogo, and this version of the deck has no way around that. It is possible they have Decree and don't realize what you're doing. If so, they might use it before you get Diogo and hit a merchant with it. That's fine, no need to concede. But if they Decree Diogo, you're toast. One possible solution, if you have an extra merchant, is to grab messenger hawk or excavate first, and bait them into using their Royal Decree before you have Diogo in hand. You can also try to work your way into a cobalt waystone to aegis against the Decree, but this is a very slow strategy and won't likely work out well.
Solution #2: If you're encountering a lot of Royal Decree decks, swap out either Hawk or Excavate for a counterspell (Swift Refusal, Unseal, or Display of Instinct).
Problem: Your opponent forces you to discard both Diogo AND Omen, OR Opponent steals a card from your market.
Solution: Concede immediately. (Unless the stolen card was Messenger Hawk or Excavate - in that case you still have a small chance of winning.)
Since Trumpets used exactly this same deck in worlds, people may be tempted to think I got the idea from him. I did not. This exact list was first posted here a couple weeks before Worlds decklists were published, and I had been using the list for even longer than that, in exactly this form.