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Azindel Cleaver

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I used this deck to climb through Diamond to Master this month, with a record of 34-14. I don't usually play this much ranked in just a couple days, but I was having a lot of fun with this deck.

I actually made this deck two months ago, but I didn't play it for very long before getting distracted by Azindel Mask. I came back to it just because I felt like playing with Plunderer/Tome again, but I've been pleasantly surprised by how good the deck feels right now.

The basic idea of the deck is simple - it's a ramp deck with Cleaver and Azindel as payoffs. Having 8 merchants helps both with getting your payoffs and with assembling the Plunderer/Tome combo. The deck is actually quite tricky to play though, so a few tips:

1) Your best hands have T1 Initiate, but T2 Teacher or Trail Maker is also good (especially on the play) and hands with T3 Auralian Merchant into Plunderer+Tome are generally worth keeping as well.

2) The powerbase in this deck is very unusual - you are effectively splashing S for Cleaver and Azindel on very few actual sources (but many ways to fetch them). You shouldn't worry about S influence at all in the early game - your priorities are having TTP influence (all that you need aside from Cleaver/Azindel) and curving out as well as possible. If it is completely free to get S influence from Seal, Find the Way, or Trail Maker then that's fine, but in most games you just get SS from Tome.

3) Usually the first priority with your merchants is making sure you have access to Plunderer/Tome, and then after that you want to make sure you have enough action with Cleaver and/or Azindel. It's worth noting that both merchants can get Cleaver but only Auralian Merchant can get Azindel, so in games where you have one spare merchant of each type and want to get both Cleaver and Azindel, you need to make sure that Auralian gets Azindel and Jennev gets Cleaver. Good merchant fodder includes Hurler/Snowball, extra Tomes (one is usually plenty), unneeded Find the Ways, or excess power.

4) Unless you have multiple Plunderers or are confident that your opponent doesn't have removal, you usually want to hold Plunderer until you can play more spellcraft on the same turn. Usually this means 5 power so that you can play Plunderer + Tome, but sometimes you just want to Plunderer + Staff of Speed on 4 power. Sometimes you can even wait until 6 power and play Plunderer + Tome + Staff all at once, which is usually crushing (since you get to play two Slows). It's also worth noting that you don't always need Plunderer to go off with spellcraft - sometimes you can just play Tome on 6 power and then start double spellcrafting Cleaver or Staff after that. (And of course Cleaver is a very strong "fair" card on 7 power without any help at all.)

5) Staff of Speed has a bunch of uses in this deck. The most obvious is alongside Plunderer/Tome, but don't be embarrassed to spellcraft it the hard way sometimes too. You can also just use it to break a Permafrost, allow an Auralian Merchant to attack to trigger Azindel, or enable a profitable attack with Teacher of Humility (e.g. through an opposing merchant).

6) Choosing which units to put your various weapons on is generally difficult, but the main consideration is usually that you want to avoid exposing too much stuff to a single removal/silence. Jennev Merchant is usually the best target because of aegis, but Teacher can also be good just because you don't lose any ramp if it dies. Of course there can be other incentives too - Plunderer is a good target if you are trying to do lethal because it can berserk, Auralian Merchant is a good target if you want more attackers for Azindel, or simply the specific combat math of the situation can make some options better than others.

Details

Shiftstone Cost (Does not include campaign cost) 63,100
Premium Cost 286,400
Influence Requirements 2 1 2
Power Sources 18 9 2 8 4
Deck Rarities 16 19 16 20
Card Types 34 15 6 25
Contains Cards From Campaigns
Dead Reckoning [Set1003]
Into Shadow [Set1004]
Archetype Midrange
Added December 5, 2018
Views 2,505
Eternal Version v1.40 - Bug fixes
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Comments

ElEshVee Edited Eternal Version: 1.40
I'm sort of confused as to what this deck is supposed to be good against. 0-4 against two aggro decks that punched me in the face too fast to do more than play some mana dorks and use a tome and an equivocate, and then against two control removal piles that annihilated most of what I played immediately, and rindra's choiced or banished everything else (with a couple ICBs for good measure). I'm certain I'm not playing optimally yet, cause small sample, but is this deck just supposed to prey on removal-light non-aggro lists? Because that seems a little narrow.
Vesalius86 Edited Eternal Version: 1.40
I'll be honest, I was skeptical about the use of Horde Plunderer[card] in an otherwise Azindel deck, but after taking it for a spin through ranked, I found it to be not only fun but really effective (I love that card, which is what drew me to the deck in the first place). Great job!

My tribute to that beloved shiny-snatcher: Allied Spellswords (TJP)
Wingflier Eternal Version: 1.40
Someone want to explain how you're fitting Horde Plunderer into a yellow market?
aniretalek Eternal Version: 1.40
You use both Jennev Merchant and Auralian Merchant :D
Btw, great deck!! It feels very powerful!
FoxxyEDarko Eternal Version: 1.40
I've been steadily climbing with this list, big fan! It doesn't just lose to big threats because of stuff like Cleaver. What I've been having trouble with is go wide strategies like Praxis Tokens. Is there room for something like Hailstorm or does the Influence Requirements make that a hard include? Could you switch S for J, to incorporate stuff like Sword of Unity for lifegain or an alternate win condition than Azindel? Without Cleaver you'd have to rely more on stuff like Linebreaker's Shield (which gives some much needed draw) or Vanguisher's Blade, which is admittedly weaker than Cleaver at answering threats when Dark Return is so popular.
shanklinr95 Eternal Version: 1.40
This deck is more than meets the eye for sure. Lots of interesting lines, like hitting 3x slow late game. Jennev is an absolute monster in this list. Great work!
Ravager Edited Eternal Version: 1.40
Really cool deck, feels pretty feast or famine so far. Either I get out a ton of stuff and completely dominate by turn 5-6, or I'm stuck on 3-4 power with no ramp and no way to play anything.

EDIT: Piloted the deck from D1-Masters with a pretty high winrate. Interestingly I never saw a single mirror match.


The only things this deck feels like it's missing is card draw and lifesteal, though the echo cards and waystones help.