Made it to top 16 after going 2-1 against Reanimator and FTP (VoD here
, the last game is great) and 0-2 against Stealth's FJS. I'm going to keep this list the same and update this listing
with any changes I try.
This deck has a variety of routes to win the game depending on the opponent's deck and what you draw:
- Out valuing your opponent with card draw and aegis (Jotun Feast-Caller is a great card).
- Repeatedly countering your opponent with cheap combat tricks.
- Quickly flying over puny ground blockers.
- Huge tempo swings with Mirror Image, such as a 7/7 killer lifesteal Feast-Caller that draws 3 cards. Copying a Geomar, Aniyah, or Feast-Caller with killer and overwhelm is common and incredibly effective.
- Early aggression that ramps - the ideal start is Hojan + Mirror Image.
- Gigantic amounts of lifesteal.
Reasons that I'm willing to run less than 4 copies of a card:
- When you're holding up power to counter what your enemy plays I would rather have multiple options than multiple copies of the same spell. In environments where the enemy has your deck list it also makes it harder to play around your counters.
- Some cards are incredibly strong in certain scenarios/ match ups but otherwise sit in your hand until they are merchanted away. Running 1 copy makes it impossible to be stuck with multiple.
- My deck building is experimental - I have certain combos in mind and try out various cards that fit the theme to see what works and what doesn't. If the deck consistently wins and I don't get the feeling that one card is outperforming another I will keep them both. Put another way I am unable to play enough games to say Finest Hour is better than Sharpened Reflexes with any statistical significance.
- I play a lot of games and have no desire to try and make sure they play out in a similar manner. I also emphasize using cards that don't commonly see play.
Regarding this specific tournament entry I experimented a lot with this deck back in January and was unable to decide what was optimal at all. I came back to this deck a couple days before the ECQ and was able to climb back into the top 10 so at a certain point I said "good enough" and queued with what I had. With that in mind I will lay out the impressions that I have gathered after playing with various cards to help you customize your own list.
You do not need a full play set of the legendaries in order to be effective. I would not attempt to fill in missing slots with direct replacements and instead choose other strong cards that fit the deck. You do need a full set of Hojans.
Notes on each card are a work in progress Core Cards
If you don't include these then you're running a different deck.
Using Levitate and Mirror Image to trigger Hojan is the entire reason for this deck's existence - everything else is a result of experimentation. You really want to activate Hojan on turn 3, to the extent that it's frequently correct to pass on turn 2 to ensure that it lives in order to absorb a Levitate. An important resource management aspect of this deck is avoiding losing your units to damage based removal and then being stuck with combat tricks in hand and no units to play.
Activates Renown and Geomar at fast speed for a single power. Giving a unit flying is a nice little bonus that is especially helpful in allowing Feast-Caller to attack.
The reason this deck is actually good.
Triggers renown and copies buffs such as Savagery, Aniyah's Renown, and Feast-Callers card draw count. Temporary buffs (Finest Hour, Crownwatch Tactic) can be doubled by using them on a unit with killer before copying it.
Geomar, the Steel Tempest
Surprisingly effective, in large part due to the lack of silences and Hailstorm in the current meta.
Aniyah, Arctic Sheriff
Reliably being able to trigger Aegis at fast speed means that the stun frequently forces your opponent to use a removal spell that is countered by Levitate. The Pledge is a key part of having a functional power base that avoids flooding.
The primary win condition against control decks.
Void hate, unit buff, Renown trigger, AND removal?!
Great Cards Valkyrie Enforcer
Still an extremely efficient card, although dropping it onto an empty board is weak in the era of smugglers. Amazing against fast decks (Hojan, Combrei's ramp, Dusk Raider) and removes the problematic aspects of Vara and SST.
Wisdom of the Elders
Unconditional card draw is great, especially after ramping with Hojan. Fast speed allows you to hold up power for combat tricks without wasting power and buff Geomar mid combat.
Decks with large numbers of unit buffs can fall victim to unplayable hands with insufficient power to play units to target with buffs. Crownwatch Standard is a key part of consistently winning combat with Feast-Caller and adds another avenue of lifesteal to stabilize against aggression.
Good Cards Strategize
A strong card selection tool to dig through your situational spells that can be played on turn two if you can't drop a Hojan. I prefer the fast speed and straight card advantage of Wisdom of the Elders.
The standard Justice combat trick.
Geomar, Hojan, and Aniyah frequently put you in the position where casting anything
will counter your opponent and the temporary buff from Finest Hour does nothing. Consider this the next best option after putting in as many Levitates as possible. The permanent nature of the buff works well with Mirror Image and +1 health is all you need to save Hojan from a Torch.
Counters stuns and synergizes well with Savagery for massive overwhelms, eg giving +7/+7 to Geomar. Not being able to protect a Hojan played on 3 or an Aniyah played on 6 is a heavy downside, but if you can use it to block with a Hojan played on 2 it's a massive blowout for aggro decks. Readying your unit can also be used on your own turn to killer and attack with the same unit (or even killer multiple times).
The premiere anti aggro tech card that does serious work when Geomar is on the board. I added it specifically to deal with early Teachers screwing up my Hooru Envoy powered card draw. Valkyrie Enforcers are strong enough against current aggro decks that Defiance can be somewhat excessive while weakening your FJS match up, so its strength varies significantly with your specific deck construction and what types of decks you're having trouble facing.
Primarily useful for Vara, allowing you to deploy an aegis unit the same turn you remove her. There's a limit to the number of Vanquish effects you can effectively run and Vanquisher's Blade is a lot more versatile.
A popular 1 cost spell that slots nicely into a deck obsessed with cheap renown triggers - using it on your own units is not strange at all. Killing Initiates, Hojans, Oni Ronins, and Kerendon merchants is what justifies its slot to me.
Clutch of Talons
An extremely strong card and Renown activator that I ended up cutting because the deck really wants to win before hitting 8 power and it combos poorly with Geomar. Allowing Feast-Caller to repeatedly attack in the air is awesome but there are already plenty of ways to win a game where a Feast-Caller survives a turn.
End of Hostilities
Highly situational but can completely swing an otherwise hopeless game around. Feastcaller's draw, threatening lethal, and attacking sites frequently force blocks that activate Tribute and allow you to play two Varas or HotVs. A warped mirror image for 6 is actually a rather strong late game play for this deck as its the equivalent of casting Wisdom and drawing Mirror Image. I also once won a game off of copying Brel to get an 8/8 Warcry 4 relic weapon and that's the type of play that makes me keep coming back to Eternal.
Cards! Viable due to its ability to turn Levitates into Wisdom of the Elders while resisting enemy removal, Envoy promotes a slower more value oriented game plan. It pairs well with Sharpened Reflex as you can just trade it in for a different card at the end of your opponent's turn. Please note that my perspective is skewed by all the times it has worked out well and the terrible body is quite problematic. Each additional copy you add to the deck is worse than the last because having multiple on the board does not help you draw cards and is very exposed to sweepers.
Commando can do serious work in environments without Hailstorm and gives the deck a ridiculous amount of flying lifesteal if combined with Geomar. An interesting option if you don't want to craft some of the core cards.
Meh Rilgon's Disciple
Synergizes well with all of the combat tricks, cantrips, and Vanquisher's Blade and can be used for huge overwhelms in the same manner as Geomar. In my experience it's too low of value and occasionally just sits on the board as a 2/3 while you run out of cards.
Can enable huge blocks (especially with Finest) but can be risky against fast removal. There is a limited number of copy effects you can effectively run (because they depend on having something you want to copy) and the extra cost is problematic with Savagery combos and prevents using it as a follow up to a turn 2 Hojan.
An option for merchant fodder without loading up on Hurlers. It fits the theme well but neither half is actually a good tempo play and the Renown can be hard to get value from. May be more useful when combined with Strategizes.
Primarily useful because it can counter Permafrost in a Primal market, otherwise it has stiff competition with Vanquisher's Blade.
Big units that are weak to stuns (like Worldbearer Behemoth) are much more efficiently dealt with using Aniyah. It doesn't trigger Geomar or answer Vara/SST so I would rather run Vanquishes and Defiances.
Should be kept in mind if the meta ever evolves into frequently running dangerous 4 health units like Feast-Caller.
Bleh Kosul Battlemage
In a world without Vara, maybe.
The nightfall is commonly a huge downside (Rakano aggro) and the upside only works when your units actually survive to attack. It's an extremely strong card that synergizes with Geomar and Feast-Caller but I prefer relying on killer and card draw.
Gift of Battle
After running with it in the market I found that the situation where Gift is useful but you can't win the game with Savagery/Mirror Image is exceedingly rare, while the situation that Gift is useless is quite common. Feel free to try it out, it may be more effective with a different play style.
Fun Cards Augmented Form
- A gigantic permanent buff is always unexpected.
- Yes this gets to be listed in two different categories.