I am back with more memes. But this time the memes came to me themselves. I have been playing Gauntlet a hella lot lately, mostly because there’s nothing else to do in Dooly frankly speaking, but also to improve both my improvisation and deck piloting skills. Now I present to you a deck definitely unworthy of going this far, racking up 4-0 against early-game beasts like Ragnora and Argeon at the time of this post. The big question is, why, or rather what makes it, successful? I am very intrigued to discuss about the current Gauntlet scene too in this same thread, so hit questions up for everyone to discuss! Who knows, this might be THE Gauntlet thread a few people have been waiting for!
A Gauntlet thread is a good idea; I also find myself spending more and more time playing this mode after completing the monthly ladder climb (although if that is your intention, you should probably mention Gauntlet somehow in the thread title).
As for your deck, it’s interesting. Here are my opinions (and I’m no Gauntlet allstar, so take this all with a grain of salt):
Your curve is extremely low and way overloaded in the 3 mana slot
Too many non-minions
No cheap ranged units, which are the easiest way to take over a game
High card quality (lots of higher rarity card, including 3 great legendaries and some decent epics and rares)
Some surprise cards that are hard to play around and can make massive swings in your favor (Cryonic, Fissure, Aspect of the Mountains, Spirit of the Wild)
A decent amount of card advantage (Loremaster, Rippler, Corona) to offset the low curve
Faie is one of the best generals in Gauntlet, and one of the few who can support a really aggressive deck
Overall, it’s not how I would draft in Gauntlet, but I think that mostly comes down to a playstyle preference (I like midrange decks with lots of value). I could see you winning a lot of games by overrunning your opponent and accumulating an insurmountable amount of tempo. On the other hand, I could also see you having trouble dealing with big minions on curve, or with annoying backline units.
I recognized that already at my 15th pick, I tried to go for a good minion on a higher curve, and Embla was the only minion that was both on curve and fitting the decklist. Others fell short either because I had better choices like BTA or I just never got good draws after Embla.
I got Glacial Elemental early and Bonechill too, so I thought to commit to Vespyrs/Walls, leading to things like picking Ravager over a second (was first) copy of Dancing Blades and a first chance of Snowchaser, which I should’ve taken had I known I’d go full in on aggro 5 picks later. There were no Myriads by pick #12, so I gave up on that notion and went aggro.
Okay, now this is just pure bad luck. I had only 1 take at Fire Spitter, and that was when the other choices were Amu and Rogue Warden. And I made the Warden call. No Vale Hunters, not a single one, and sadly no chance at Sworn Avenger, which would’ve been perfect here. No Jaxi either.
As for advantages,
These three were the MVPS in most scenarios, racking up very good early damage. Once I did manage to pull off Freeblade Cryonic SotW for 18 damage straight. Other games were pretty tight, my decisions to pull back and end the game with BBS and minions bodyblocking hits saved me more times than the minions ending the game themselves. Rippler was a beast on 6 mana, since an enemy allowed him to proc Pets into my hand to prevent a Cryonic + Blitzed Komodo Charger from hitting them, resulting in my two turns tipping the tempo into my favour.
Funnily enough, no one plays around either Freeblade or Hearth-sister or Dancing Blades, and 1 of these 3 always appeared in my hand by mana 5, so it was not a big problem for backlines. Big bodies were a huge problem only solvable by Soboro/Ravager and I did struggle. My solution when facing that was to switch to a very distanced, more chipping Faie relying on Freeblade and Hearth-sister to infiltrate backlines and drop bodies for pressure. Shivers was a very surprising positioning tool that I never thought would be so effective; it had only been pinged once in the 3 games it saw use.
Thanks for your feedback! I find Gauntlet a very fun “arcade mode”, probably even one of the best in CCGs I’ve played, and so really commited a lot of time into it for the past few weeks. Seeing a throughout analysis of it really shows me that its very risky to fish for Vespyr synergy in Gauntlet, and also the importance of hard removal. Curve is something I have yet to fully master, but you can never learn enough of a CCG, as the saying goes.
This paragraph hurt me on the inside a little bit . As you mention later, forcing synergy cards is tough in Gauntlet and usually doesn’t pan out. For example, in Vanar, while you can usually find one or two Vespyrs to power up a Cryogenesis, finding enough to support a Glacial Elemental is tough (actually, I’m surprised at how many you actually managed to pick up). More importantly, Dancing Blades is arguably the best common! There are very few circumstances in which one should pass it, and certainly never early in the draft.
On the other hand, this exemplifies the aspects of Gauntlet I need to improve on. Usually I’m reluctant to go all-in on buffs or other high-tempo plays (or even draft those cards in the first place) for fear of getting blown out by the right removal, but these plays are much more difficult to punish than on ladder. Often your opponent will be unable to answer something like Cryonic Potential or Gargantuan Growth and you’ll just win the game.
Reva drafts can often feel like easy mode in Gauntlet. This list has overall weak 1 and 2-drops and more spells than I usually prefer, but the sheer amount of burst damage allowed me to comfortably close out most games. The minor Arcanyst synergy actually came through to win me a couple games as well.
This felt like close to a perfect aggro Gauntlet draft. MVPs were Bloodtide Priestess, Shadow Watcher, and Void Steal, all of which helped to make my board more resilient to sweepers. My one loss was to a Ragnora with multiple Plasma Storms.
My current Gauntlet deck that I’ll play after finishing the ladder climb this season tomorrow. I’m looking forward to this one, as the combination of fliers and ranged units seems pretty strong (although again a little soft to a well-timed Plasma Storm).