This Icaria Blue deck was used for my Gold III -> Masters run this month. While discussing the new set 2 meta, a friend of mine mentioned that he had been brewing a FJP burn deck to prey upon people playing Temporal Control, while also having a great matchup against anything that folds to Lightning Storm
. This was, of course, a stupid idea, but starting from a FJP control shell, removing all the bad cards, and inserting the Icaria package, gets us the newest iteration of Icaria Blue.
This deck is very well-positioned in the current meta. The current aggro decks are just a tad slower than the Jito/Rally of before, which means there's more than enough time Lightning Storm
for game, while aegis and counterspells prevent their burn from getting through. Argenport Midrange has a weak enough early game to allow us to spend our first few turns just drawing a ton of cards, which usually lets us find the answers we need to match their threats until our superior lategame takes over. Lastly, Feln Control still dies very easily to a big Daisho.
Meanwhile, a few of the biggest counters have basically disappeared from the meta: Chalice Control and Time+X midrange don't see much play at all any more. Temporal Control has become a very winnable matchup with the easily accessible Aegis, and while Praxis Midrange can still be tough, it doesn't see as much play as it (maybe) should.
Note that, even more so than before, this is a Hooru Control deck that splashes Fire for its win condition. This is not Blue Armory and cannot be played as such. Instead of weapon synergy, it focuses on card draw, high-quality removal and a lot of card draw. Did I mention card draw?
Draw / pseudo-draw:
, Wisdom of the Elders
, Rise to the Challenge
, Crest of Fury
Most of these are obvious 4-ofs, except for Rise. Rise should also be an obvious 4-of, but unfortunately many people do not realise this. It both tutors and buffs all of your win conditions and allows you to slot in singleton counters against whatever deck is dominant in the meta. Shoutout to Strategize and Crests for allowing us to see way more of our deck in each game. This is incredibly useful in any 3-faction control, as it improves the consistency issue these decks suffer from (both in influence and in removal).
, Lightning Storm
and Harsh Rule
are all longtime staples and mandatory 4-ofs.
can be run at less than 4 in some metas, but this is not one of them.
: Kills something and then hopefully 2-for-1s or at least gets in some chip damage. Rising it allows it to kill even more important creatures. However, set 2.5 and 3 introduced two must-remove creatures that dodge a Risen Runehammer: Tavrod, Auric Broker
and Worldbearer Behemoth
. The new Nightfall mechanic also hurt Runehammer a lot. Despite this, it's still a decent card in any deck that plays Rise, Icaria, and Throne Warden.
Staff of Stories
: Drawing two cards per turn is absolute bonkers and will let you quickly out-value almost any opposing deck. This card can be a bit tricky to use properly - remember that it is a wincondition, not a defensive tool or a value engine (although you can and will use it as such in some games). Throw it on an empty board, backed up by removal, extra armor, or a sticky creature of your own. Keeping it alive for a few turns grants you the tools to keep going, which often seals the game right there.
: Rise for it, slam it on an empty board with face aegis, and hit for 12. The turn after, clear the board with your plethora of removal spells and the game is already over. This card is amazing at stealing games away, but can also be used to generate decent value by 2-for-1ing any creature with <4 power and <4/6 toughness. Also a great target for Icaria's Warcry effect.
Icaria, the Liberator
: The namesake of the deck and one of the best win conditions in the game. Deals 5 damage, soaks 2 removal spells, and buffs the next creature/weapon by 5/5 - and that is, assuming she even gets removed. She does die a poor death to Scorpion Wasp
, but nobody plays that at the moment. The biggest issue she faces is the FFFJJJ influence requirements, but the new cards help a lot to mitigate that. This creature-light version of Icaria Blue greatly increases the chances of hitting a good target with the Warcry, which makes her even more potent.
Flex Cards Kaleb's Choice
: This is an extremely flexible but narrow card, and very meta-dependent. Most importantly, it hits Channel the Tempest
while missing Crystalline Chalice
, which makes it a great option as many Chalice players have moved to Temporal Control. If dangerous multi-faction relics or spells make a return, this card will need to be re-evaluated.
: Unlike Kaleb's choice, this card his pretty much everything you want it to hit. The only problem it has is that it does not prevent Tavrod or Icaria's effect from going off, which means it is inferior to Vanquish in that regard. However, on the other hand, it has the additional option of being used as a counterspell. It does tend to clog the hand at higher numbers, so two is the right amount.
: A 4/4 Aegis for 5 functions as a solid beatstick or blocker in many scenarios. It's also a decent Icaria target. This card's biggest strength lie in the bonus armor: playing it on turn 5 and following it up with a Daisho, Runehammer, or Staff backed up by your removal creates a large board advantage that many decks have issues dealing with. However, Warden can start clogging your hand, and is extremely dead against decks that pump out bigger creatures (i.e. any Time+X midrange).
Sword of the Sky King
: It's... a really big sword. Better at hitting creatures and living, and at not dying to burn. As both of these are fairly prevalent, this card is a lifesaver. One thing to watch out for with this card is that it dies to itself; so try to not be the first to play it against decks that have their own. This card is very much a meta call, as it fairs rather poorly against midrange decks that can pump out two decent creatures per turn.
Cards you could play Valkyrie Enforcer
: A classic justice staple, this one was cut because of the decline of Dawnwalker
decks, and the fact that it really sucks when this one receives Icaria's buff.
: The new, cheaper version of Furnace Mage
. A tutorable answer to any relic is amazing, lacking in important targets in the current meta. Also, it suffers from the same problem as Enforcer, taking up important Icaria buffs.
Kothon, the Far-Watcher
: A solid blocker versus aggro and a decent Icaria target, this card was pushed out by Strategise and I haven't missed it. Its biggest problem is that both current premiere aggro decks have a 2-drop that kills this in Argenport Instigator
and Champion of Fury
, and Instigator doesn't even die.
: This card suffers a lot from the lack of discard/self-mill in FJP. It still works wonders in longer matches, and just recurring an Auric Runehammer
can be good enough, but until every second opponent is Temporal Control, this probably isn't worth a slot.
: Tutorable Aegis is really good, but a 4/4 (or 6/4) for 5 isn't. Same as Reforge - add this if you're having TJP issues.
Eilyn, Clan Mother
: Unlike most big legendaries, this card has very workable influence requirements. Not having Aegis is her biggest problem, although I would run one of her if anyone at all played Dawnwalkers.
Cards you shouldn't play Permafrost
: 1-mana removal is great, but it misses one of the biggest threats in the current meta (Tavrod). More importantly, it prevents you from getting any weapon damage through until you remove it for real.
: While this card does not have any synergy with the rest of the deck, its sheer power-level might make it playable if it didn't die to everything.
Channel the Tempest
: PPPP is too much for this powerbase. This card will never see play in the same deck as Icaria.
Molot & Nakova
: Powerbase issues again, and the Spark effect is too hard to trigger. If this was FFFPP and had a simple summon effect, I'd be more enthusiastic.
: A Staff of Stories that doesn't die to burn, but forces you to play Hearthstone for the rest of the game. No thanks.
Any other PPP legendary: Powerbase issues. And speaking about the powerbase...
Constructing a powerbase has gotten a lot more complicated with the introduction of Crests and Waystones, both of which are very good in this deck.
The influence requirements of this deck are:
- PP on turn 3
- JJ on turn 4
- FF on turn 6
- FFFJJJ on turn 7
Additionally, I wanted to play 4 Crest of Fury
and as many Cobalt Waystone
as possible. Crests are extremely strong, but the Skycrag influence combination is the worst one we could get. To compensate for this, I cut most Seat of Fury
- Seats have gotten a bit worse with all the new non-sigil powers, and 8 Skycrag influence was simply not needed.
Two Fire Sigil
s are more than enough because of all dual sources, and FF is only needed by turn 6 anyway.
s are not as strong here as they would be in Traditional Armory. Exchanging more Justice Sigil
s for Waystones would reduce the chance of Seats being live by too much to be worth it.
s are amazing, especially in this meta. Running only one Primal Sigil sometimes puts you in the unfortunate position of having no way to get PP even with Seek Power, so one Waystone was cut to make room for a second Primal Sigil. Alternatively one could run Eilyn's Favour and some additional Primal Sigils in the place of Cobalt Waystone
s, but I feel that this is the inferior option now that the 2-slot is so crowded.
One Rakano Banner
was added as a 26th Power card to provide some extra FJ influence. Of course, it is rarely if ever undepleted, and the moment Crest of Glory is released is the moment the Banner gets the boot.