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FTS Profane Nexus - Echoes of Eternity Expedition

Expedition Deck By
Twiddles

+7

Cost Curve

Type

Faction

Information

Edit: got rank 2, a personal best! This deck is fire right now.

Aristocrat-style decks are my jam. I did an Expedition version after the previous set dropped, which surprised some people with Kennelmaster. Even after the meta settled, it was still probably a tier 2-3 deck, but it was overshadowed by Xenan cultists, which ended up top tier. In any case, I stand by the belief that it was one of the most fun decks in the format, and I was delighted to see how many people also enjoyed it.

So I'm back at it with the Echoes of Eternity update, which gave FTS tokens a LOT of new toys. It feels much more powerful, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were better situated competitively in the long run, but who really knows this early on, right? So far, in the midst of the random, unoptimized brews after a new set drops, this deck tore through diamond landing me at rank 20 masters after a few hours, from which I continued to climb to top 10. I didn't keep stats - I'm sure the winrate was at least 75%. But again, none of these numbers mean much this early in a new meta, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Anyway, first, I thought I'd quickly review what we lost with the set rotation.


Out with the Old:
Torrent of Spiders is probably the biggest loss. The card is gas in this kind of archetype and can stone wall a variety of decks. If it were still in, I'd have considered a Condemn market with Sandstorm Scarf.

Kennelmaster is no longer available, though honestly, I'm not sure it would make the cut anymore - there are so many powerful cards for this archetype right now. Regardless, he was niche, interesting, and I loved it while it lasted.

Slumbering Stone is still here, but it's been nerfed into unplayability. This kind of archetype is generally interested in the #-of-bodies/cost ratio. Now it's 3 power for 2 bodies, which is a terrible rate. Don't bother.

While we're on nerfs, Worthy Cause is sadly no longer as absurd as it was at 1-cost, yet I still think it's a 4-of. This is ultimately a control deck, so we'll take as much removal as we can get our hands on, and 2-cost removal at fast speed that also silences is good enough (the card really was ridiculous at 1).

Smugglers are out and the market spells are in. Whether that's an improvement or not, everyone's in the same boat, so it's probably a wash overall. I do believe that when choosing which of these spells to use, the immediate effect generally is secondary to the cost bracket that you get in the market. It largely comes down to what cards you want market access to (and what cards you'd rather have in your main deck, since they're black markets). That said, Crack the Earth's immediate effect is exactly what we want. It gives you a body to sacrifice (and at fast speed, which let's you surprise opponents who maybe looked at your empty board and thought you wouldn't be able to Worthy Cause or use your next Profane Nexus spell at the beginning of your turn), and it's a cultist, which let's you play it turn 1 and set up for a turn 2 Ark of Sol when appropriate (not always the right line, but if it aids your curve or you need to fix for color, you certainly do it).


In with the New:
Kato, Arena Herald is ridiculous and easily outclasses any 2-drop token generator we've seen in Eternal so far (with the exception of maybe Ephemeral Wisp). It's 3 bodies for 2 power, one of which has 2 attack and can trade with a fair number of things, and in the super late game, it gives you a win condition or a way to wall your opponent in a board stall while you dig through your deck. Keep in mind that the back half of Kato himself has to be sacrificed the same turn (if it's your turn) or on your following turn (if it's your opponent's), or alternatively you can spend a power to hold onto the body longer, so plan accordingly.

Display of Destruction was also clearly designed to make someone like me happy. Assembly Line usually made these kinds of lists, but was always right on the edge getting cut. Make Assembly Line fast speed, change the tokens into cultists which enable Ark of Sol, and add 2 alternative modes: removal+life gain or acceleration when you have enough bodies but not enough time. Now you've got Assembly Line on crack, and it's exactly what the doctor ordered.

Kindling Carver seriously outperformed my expectations. I tested it almost on a whim, and now I think it's one of the most powerful cards in the deck. It's a reliable card draw a heavy majority of the time, which is insane on a 1-drop 0-cost activation. Some things to keep in mind: A large chunk of the card advantage from Kindling Carver is lands, so make sure you carve BEFORE your land drop for turn, when possible. Also, as a reminder, milling 1 doesn't actually hurt you at all, so it's okay to carve even if you're likely to whiff (like after your land drop) - the real cost here is losing a body to the activation, so weigh the risk of whiffing against your current supply of sac fodder. A very common and successful early game plan is carving to dig for land drops, and I'll often keep hands with this in mind. Obviously, don't play Kindling Carver turn 1, and Ephemeral Wisp, Kato, Arena Herald, or Nahid's Choice turn 2 into an immediate carve - you're pretty much guaranteed to whiff. Wait until turn 3 and carve BEFORE your land drop. In fact, I likely wouldn't even develop the Kindling Carver until turn 3, just to protect him from removal in the meantime, even though it means you carve with access to 1 less power. Oh, and this is also obvious, but you can market away a whiff before you discard it at end of turn.

Strange Burglar and Dova, the Fearmonger are both engines in a deck like this, that will drown your opponent in value. Vault of the Praxis is still in Expedition, but it just doesn't make the cut anymore. Ideally, you play either Dova or the Burglar with the ability to get immediate value (6 power to play and activate Strange Burglar, or 6/7 power to Dova, the Fearmonger into Combust, Devour, etc. - you can also get Dova value on 5 if you have a Kindling Carver on board). That said, the deck has a LOT of refill and engines, and generally tempo is more of an issue than card advantage, so if you need to slam a body, sometimes you just do it. If I were to trim a card (maybe for a third Destruction Chant), it would probably be one of these two. I like Burglar more as a body - both cheaper to play on curve if you just need to develop, and more reliably gives you value when you can wait until 6, since it doesn't require a sac outlet and immediately goes 4-for-1 with removal rather than Dova's likely 2-for-1. That said, don't underestimate 3-faction pledge. Dova's pledge has saved me from many auto-losses, and that alone might mean Strange Burglar gets the cut first. I would NOT cut Kindling Carver - the card is seriously better than both of them.

Induce Madness I'm sure brings back many happy memories for MtG players out there. It almost feels like bullying the way this just denies your opponent any possibly productive lines of play. However, Induce Madness is generally the nail in the coffin when you were already doing well, and spending 5 to cast this is probably suicide when you don't have tokens to sac or ways to sac them, or you're simply facing down lethal. That said, even if you're a tad behind, if you can find a turn off to squeeze this in, you can easily flip the board on the following turn - I've swept some ridiculous boards from nothing when starting the turn with this in play already. ALSO, this works the way you'd like it to with Combust, Worthy Cause and Sol's Fury - the target unit is killed before they get to choose a unit to sac, taking out 2 units for the price of 1!

Ephemeral Wisp is not new to the game but new to Expedition, and it's a top tier aristocrats card. An early wisp can net you something like 5 or 6 sac activations and chump blocks over the course of the game. Between this and Kato, Arena Herald, our 2 slot is an all-star cast right now.


The Market:
The new markets are weird, since considering an alternative market-accessing spell means completely revamping what goes into the market, and likely adjusting the main deck as well to accommodate. I already talked about how the immediate effect of Crack the Earth is perfect for this deck, and so far the 5-cost market has done well for me, so I'll just discuss those slots. If anyone decides to give Blazing Salvo or Condemn a shot, let me know how it goes!

In terms of the cards I included in the market, I would never cut Ark of Sol, and I've gotten a lot of use out of Induce Madness (finisher against unit decks), Oblivion Spike (finisher against control decks) and Scraptank (gas and board presence when you need it). I haven't grabbed Eclipse Dragon even once, but the idea is that he can answer a site that isn't defended in the air. However, most times I've seen a site, I've honestly been able to ignore it, because they just don't matter against this deck. Sites are generally about a little bit of card advantage, and this deck generates so much more. Den of Ordeals might be the most worrisome, because Nakova & Molot is scary, though not impossible to deal with. Anyway, you could probably experiment with something else in Eclipse Dragon's slot.


Wrap-up:
In terms of gameplay, pilot this much like the last one. You're a control/attrition deck with probably more inevitability than most. There are lots of moving cogs, so plan out your turns and count the bodies you need for sacrifice effects. If you expect sweepers, don't unnecessarily over-commit. We're weak to flyers and overwhelm units so prioritize them with removal. Similarly, don't throw away your removal on early game units if they don't matter - you can let your life total drop pretty low if it helps you set up to go off sooner. Don't forget the passive on Profane Nexus which can help you dance pretty close to zero life while you turn the corner, or maybe even get lethal. Similarly, the buff to your board when you summon Strange Burglar can get an easily-missed lethal, possibly mixed with some aggressive removal (using removal in ways I wouldn't if I didn't have lethal).

I'm not going to visit every card in the list, or what didn't make the cut, but I'm more than happy to respond to any comments if people want to talk about other card options below!

Expedition Information

Details

Shiftstone Cost
Does not include campaign cost
68,800

Premium Cost
259,200

Influence Requirements
2 2 3

Power Sources
12 12 13 12

Power Calculator
Shiftstoned Icon View Deck on Shiftstoned

Deck Rarities
16 16 27 14

Card Types
22 2 27 4 25

Archetype
Control

Added
February 13, 2020

Views
2,787

Eternal Version
v1.50 - Echoes of Eternity

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Deck URL

Comments

RoninX Eternal Version: 1.50.5
Weapons decks rule the top end of the ladder now and this deck as constructed can't consistently beat weapons with their wraths and ability to attack sites directly.

I dropped 3 combust 1 Worthy cause for 4 of that spell that kills 5 cost and under units/attachments. The matchup felt better, but not great. I definitely didn't lack for sac outlets.
AGhostlyToaster Eternal Version: 1.50.5
I'm not sure what issue you are running into, but I win at least 90% of my games against FTJ armory decks, and I've seen Twiddles say about the same. Are you prepping for Shen-Ra Speaks and holding back units? One thing you could try is Mysterious Waystone out of the market. I don't usually find it necessary to beat weapon decks, but it definitely gives them a hard time and provides a path to victory just by stalling out their weapons with tokens and building up the pings while you draw. Oblivion Spike is also good against armory.
RoninX Eternal Version: 1.50.5
This deck is a fragile control decks with a combo element. Except you are extremely reliant on an easy to interact with card type (units) staying in play in numbers. Most of your cards are card disadvantage. Even the site ultimately does nothing unless your engine is rolling. I'm sure this was good last week, but there meta is solidifying and this deck is not well placed right now.
AGhostlyToaster Edited Eternal Version: 1.50.5
Sorry it isn't working out for you, but your experience still differs from everyone else I've talked to. It could just be your meta pocket. Perhaps you'd like the variation someone just posted that plays Shrine to Karvet, which they just took to rank 1.

Units are easy to interact with, but sweepers are rare in expedition and only really played in armory - which, again, is a great matchup regardless. If your opponent is otherwise spending cards to interact with your tokens one at a time, you should probably be thanking them. Having units in play is not an issue with so many multi-body cards and fast speed unit spells unless you just get totally draw screwed. If you suddenly find every deck playing Eremot's Designs, then this becomes very fragile. What decks are removing your units and blowing up your engine?
RoninX Eternal Version: 1.50.6
Maybe I've been terribly unlucky. People aren't attacking my dorks, they attack the units that matter, or ignore them and fly over. I'm glad everyone else is having success with this - but I just wanted to post my experience. I've played Aristocrats decks to success in MTG, an am usually top 50 in exp/throne when I am playing - but I could certainly be keeping bad hands or getting unlucky. I draw dorks and nothing to do with them or enables and no bodies quite frequently.
GGCrono Eternal Version: 1.50.5
I just rode this deck from low D2 to Master today. It was a hoot and a half to play and 100% worth the ridiculous quantity of shiftstone I dropped on it.
nees0 Eternal Version: 1.50.4
Woooww that was one of the best explanations i've ever read. I really like the deck, it's probably the one im gonna save ss to craft, if it proves to be that good when the meta settles.