You know the drill with our extreme budget lists--no rares, no promos, no legendaries, no campaign cards. The bar for success is winning 4 of 5 games since settling on the composition I post here. We'll be working on finding several of these in Expedition this week, so expect a few more.
CAMPAIGN PURCHASE ORDER
1. Shadow of the Spire -
* Jekk, Mercenary Hunter - Probably the most broken Fire aggro card to-date and used in every T1 MonoFire, Rakano, and Stonescar aggro list since release. Can draw cards, which is great for our deck specifically, and also acts as removal. We're also running a lot of sigils due to format restriction, so we'll often get the double damage.
* Turn to Seed - A generically powerful card that is often used in aggro markets which can include it for something like Titan or Vara. More commonly used as a market or maindeck card in midrange or control, but incredibly powerful regardless of use.
2. Whispers of the Throne -
* Milos, Rebel Bomber - Probably the second most-required Fire aggro card at present, also used in pretty much all T1 Fire-based aggro decks.
* The Throne Room - A great card for Primal-based aggro in general, and Skycrag aggro in particular. Not typically included in Skycrag Yeti (the T1 list which is the cheapest sustained T1 deck for new players to build) but can be included in go-wide Skycrag to devastating effect and is a generally fun card for aggro if you're more interested in trying new cards than reaching Top 50 ASAP.
3. Awakening -
* Clodagh Ascending - Good card for MonoFire aggro, but doesn't have particularly good payoffs for our deck and is not nearly as essential to Fire aggro as Jekk or Milos. Influence reqs. can be a problem for non-mono aggro.
* Jarrall Ascending- Good card for MonoPrimal, often aggro variants, but you'd prefer to be using it with more expensive spells. Influence reqs. can be a problem for non-mono aggro.
* Dazzle - One of the most generally-useful negates in game, especially for aggro, as it prevents almost all of the sweepers that wreck unit-based decks plus a lot of the single-target fast removal (but not all of it, as Backlash will.) Because it has other perks like the Stun and our deck likes the card draw from Plunder, I'd recommend swapping this with Backlash in your Salvo market as soon as you buy this campaign (but odds are good you'll have access to Backlash first as it's not campaign-based.)
* Broken Contract - A generally-useful power for aggro, although it does not have any specific payoffs for our deck and we do have some influence-based payoffs like Steam Blast and Cylixes, which you will probably acquire before this card. I wouldn't recommend it for our deck in particular.
CRAFTS + NON-CAMPAIGN SUBSTITUTIONS
Listed in order of my preference from most-preferred at top to least-preferred at bottom, but I've tried to provide explanations so you can make your own choices.
First Crafts - generally useful plus deck-specific synergy
- Skycrag Cylix (rare): Cylixes are probably the best power in the game for most 2+F decks, and will help you with some extra card draw here. This is a generically safe craft.
- Blazing Salvo (rare): This is the primary market access card for Fire aggro because it doubles as removal. You generally don't want to use Etchings in aggro because you'd rather not be exhausting units, especially later game (by the time you've got enough influence for market access to work.) I'd probably swap it in place of 3 Steam Blast + 1 Reflection. This is a generically safe craft, although Cylixes are safer by virtue of being usable in midrange and control, having no downside, finding a home in all but mono decks, and being more generally usable because not all decks want market access or early removal but pretty much all decks want to be able to play their cards.
- Tota Pioneer (rare): Used in many T1 Fire decks, not only aggro, because it provides a power sink which closes out games for aggro (via Overwhelm), helps combo decks ramp, and rewards control decks which are frequently drawing cards.
- Kazuo, Melee Virtuoso (rare): Used in many Fire aggro decks, and basically all the T1 MonoFire that has ever been produced since it dropped because aggro decks lack access to card advantage without a downside (Fire Conjuring, for example, has the downside of a Decimate, Cauldron puts Fire Bombs in your own deck, etc.). This is a reasonably safe craft especially in metas where MonoFire outstrips Skycrag Yeti due to Blightmoth or similar, although Champion is likely safer for general ranking. If you run Kazuo, he's usually paired with Furyblade for early targeted removal or punishing unitless.
Craft One (1) When You Start Running Salvo
- Ice Bolt (rare): A generically useful card that almost always has a home in a Salvo market, but which has also been used maindeck in a wide variety of T1 decks (which is not true of Backlash, thus Ice Bolt is higher priority.) Our deck doesn't really want this card except in the Market purely because we typiclly Ice Bolt during the opponent swing on their own turn to prevent them from using the ramp it grants, and our deck rewards us most for using spells on our own turn.
- Backlash (common): Almost always has a home in a Salvo market, but we don't really want it maindeck because we're only rewarded for spells on our own turn and we'll most often hold this up for a slow-speed opponent sweeper.
- Beseech the Throne (common): Effectively two spell casts plus two draws, and our deck rewards both. This is also a generically useful card, often even maindecked, for many successful decks. Petition is almost strictly inferior for us because it's only one spell cast plus one draw.
- Use your judgement for filling the remaining slots with, in no particular order:
* Piercing Shot or Rockslide (targeted removal that grants a spellcast)
* Dazzle or Slag or Kaleb's Choice (situational removal that grants a spellcast)
* Maveloft Huntress (targeted removal that can double as a unit if it's not dead after you use it as removal)
* Valiant Leap or Changeestik (things that let you push damage above ground-based units and also grant a spell cast; I'd prefer Valiant Leap as it grants two casts and we're unlikely to have the power to use Changeestik's Polymorph, but if you'll get more value from a persistent flying unit, Changeestik is an option)
* Ankle Cutter (if you find you need to make trades with bigger Lifesteal / Endurance units and your opponent is not likely to ping it dead before you manage; note that this makes any damage-dealing spells extra useful as Ankle Cutter does not need to deal the damage, only to survive long enough for you to deal it in any way)
* Relentless Pursuit (if you find your board is somehow surviving to go wide, more likely if you run Tattoo Dragon as suggested in the deck-specific card section)
- Champion of Fury (rare): If you like Skycrag aggro enough you'll want to play it in Throne, Skycrag Yeti is the cheapest entry point to T1 decks in the game, which has been the case for years at this point. This is a very safe craft if you like aggro.
- Maveloft Huntress (rare): Used in the vast majority of unit-based Primal decks, but not Skycrag Yeti (the T1 aggro deck I'd recommend for Throne) so I wouldn't recommend crafting it until further down the line if you like aggro and want to rank in Throne. It also has no specific value for our deck, except that Imbuing an 11/1 Cookmaster is going to grant the deck access to much larger targeted removal, and you also get the Cookmaster swing if you plan it right. However, I would not personally run this card in our deck because you'd have to remove some actual synergy to main it, and you'd much rather be killing your opponent than their units.
- Pyroknight (rare): Used in many Fire aggro decks, although has not seen as much play in T1 as Kazuo--however, it may begin to appear more as it was only recently un-nerfed and is now a more realistic way for 25-power aggro decks to push a final turn or two of damage. Note this trades with Titan and Vara where Kazuo does not and his ult doesn't guarantee you playable removal, but it's a very expensive trade and you'd rather avoid situations where you have to make it.
- Tattoo Dragon (rare): Swapping in Tattoo Dragon for Steamrider will probably give you a bit easier time ranking through Expedition with this deck specifically. However, this card has not really seen play in T1 decks in Expedition or Throne and you'd almost always rather play different dragons or fliers in decks not built around draw (which is basically all of them), so I probably wouldn't craft it--only substitute if I opened some.
- Highsky Lookout (rare): We'll often have or produce a flier, so we can get the additional card draw of Invoke. This is Reckless and not ordinarily included in Skycrag Yeti, so I wouldn't recommend crafting it, but it may be worth running in our deck if many of your opponents would be forced to trade to block a 3-strength unit and you anticipate using the Corrupt to draw cards soon after that trade.
- Steam Sprite (rare): Swapping Steam Sprite in for Steamrider is another option, but less preferred because it only really enables Steam Blast within this deck and you're probably removing Steam Blast for Salvo. I wouldn't craft this unless you have other plans for it, and I would only consider using it if you open them before Tattoo Dragons.
Experimental Cards - some of which are generally good but I wouldn't personally include in this deck, unlike those listed above
- Permafrost (uncommon): This is a generically useful card that finds a home in a wide range of T1 decks including Skycrag Yeti, but I wouldn't recommend it for this deck because it's a curse we want as many spells as we can get.
- Siege Train (rare): Used in many MonoFire aggro decks. I wouldn't craft this as it appears at a much higher frequency than most other rares, so odds are excellent you'll open a full set before too long.
- Vadius, Proud Duelist (legendary): I don't like this card in aggro unless you're running a lot of fliers or Overwhelm, or the meta does not contain many units (i.e. you're playing against removal piles), but it seems to be used in plenty of them. If you like aggro, I would save the shiftstone because your first legendary craft should be Thudrock's Masterwork (the yeti site.)
- Cloudsnake Mount (uncommon): Might have a home in this deck when the meta rewards aerial units, because it can deal the damage of cards like Yeti Cookmaster in the air without Levitate or Jump Kick. I wouldn't include it, however, because some of our cards like Terrazon only gain their buffs when attacking and the Imbue prevents this.
- Fire Conjuring (uncommon): Might have a home in this deck because of the Invoke but I wouldn't personally include it--unless you find you're often flooding the board with bodies via Tattoo Dragon--due to the quantity and prevalence of removal now in game. This deck does not go particularly wide, particularly quickly.
- Valiant Leap (common): Our deck might like this because it effectively grants two spell casts for Terrazon and helps us get above the enemy board like Jump Kick and Levitate, but it doesn't grant us draw rewards like Levitate so if you try it I'd swap out Jump Kick instead.
- Kaleb's Choice (rare): Can be a reasonable dual-purpose card for negates and relic removal, but the sweeper you'd usually want to negate is Shen-Ra Speaks which this doesn't hit, we don't really like negates because we'd rather be using spells prior to the swing on our own turn (opponents usually use removal like Annihilate post-swing), and the most problematic relic for us in the format (Massive Greatsword) can't be removed by Kaleb's.
- Swindle (uncommon): Gives the "card draw plus spell cast" our deck wants but is very expensive, so it'll be dead-in-hand a lot of games; additionally, you usually want the Spark--not ideal for casting prior to the swing which is when our deck really rewards using draw spells. A 25 power deck like ours almost always makes 5-cost cards a gamble, so we'd want a much bigger payoff to make their inclusion worthwhile.
- Cloudsnake Harrier (rare): This is a solid 3/3 for 3 flier, which is often good on its own, but the + Spell Damage does actually provide added utility when you're running a lot of damage spells. It is a strict upgrade from Steamrider if you get it before Tattoo Dragon (which otherwise uses Steamrider's slot) and have already put more damage-based spells like Salvo into the deck.
- Obliterate (rare): Great for removing large units + removing small units plus dealing face damage or breaking aegis. However, I think this card will be dead-in-hand too frequently in 25-power decks without ramp. Maaaaybe worth considering if you go with Tota Pioneer and are frequently encountering Titan, which will prevent you from flying your units over the opponent board. But, Ice Bolt in the market is usually sufficient for dealing with Titan unless your opponent has drawn several, and then you're probably dead anyway. I would guess you'll usually be reducing your odds of winning lots of other games in order to win this one match-up, so I probably wouldn't include Oblit unless everyone and their mother is playing giant units that come down early game.
- Flash Fire (common): I would recommend this more for MonoFire aggro, where you're likely to be getting more than 6 damage (which Obliterate does, with the upside of Overwhelm) for 5 cost. Like Obliterate, I don't think this 5-cost card has a good home in the typical 25 power deck that runs 2+F.
- Swift Refusal (uncommon): This is often a three-of in skycrag aggro decks to prevent slow sweepers like Harsh Rule, Hailstorm, and Shen-Ra Speaks from destroying your board, but is not really used reliably in any other decks and I would argue Dazzle is strictly better in almost all cases because of Plunder.