LAST UPDATED: 13th Nov 2016
Okay guys, so here’s the deal. I thought I try to maintain an up-to-date post about one of my all time fav decks Abyss Aggro.
My plan is to try to keep this specific post updated as the months/weeks go by. The problem with forum posts in general is that as the thread gets longer and as you keep on adding to it information can become increasingly hard to find. So I’m trying something new — a constantly updated first post.
The 2nd post in this thread I’ve reserved for history. In other words, as different bits of the guide get out-dated I’ll move it from this post to the ‘history’ section. Out-dated info can still sometimes be useful, so it makes more sense to move it than outright delete it.
- What is Abyss Aggro Anyway?
- The Decklist
- Why Lilithe and not Cass?
- Card Choices
- Budget Replacements
- Mulligan Tips
- General Strategy
- Deck History (see post below)
- FAQ (pending)
[details= WHAT IS ABYSS AGGRO ANYWAY?]
Okay so in my mind there are two basic sorts of Aggro decks; Burn and Zoo.
A ‘Burn’ deck tends to run a lot of direct damage spells (e.g. Spiral Technique, Dark Seed, etc) and rush minions. This sort of deck tends to ignore board and only care about YOUR life total.
A Zoo deck meanwhile, focuses on controlling the board and eventually winning with constant pressure.
While there is a lot of overlap between the concepts I would like to stress that the “Aggro” deck I present here is of the Zoo variety. In my mind Zoo is much more powerful and interesting to play.
The reason I find Zoo more powerful is basically that a board full of minions deals damage more efficiently than spells (e.g. If I can get a minion like Blaze Hound / Chaos Elemental to hit you in the face twice that is a Spiral Technique’s worth of Damage!). And moreover, all the while I control the board my opponent will struggle to fufill their own win condition. Thus, in my mind Zoo often ends up dealing more damage with less risk (when compared to burn).
I the sections to follow I’ll outline the strategy a bit more, but basically the point I want to make is that while this deck is most certainly best classified as ‘Aggro’ the aim of the deck is to dominate the board. [/details]
CASS version (currently untested):
- -1 Bloodtier,
- +1 Ghost Azalea
WHY LILITHE VERSUS CASS
Basically this choice is a simple one in my mind; while both BBS are decent at controlling the board it is only Lilthe that can translate that control directly into face damage. Moreover, this BBS has greater synergy with the deck (e.g. Primus Fist.
Oh, one more thing. And this is subtle. But in playing the deck I’ve noticed that the two wraithlings give you more space to play your dudes. This in many cases makes it easier to position a minion aggressively without being too vulnerable to counters (e.g. Holy Immolation). Its a small point, but it is nonetheless noteworthy.
With all this said, we probably could take the exact list as is and port it to Cass. The deck would be be decent I think (e.g Reva/Faie Matchup is probably better). We would also probably benefit from player uncertainty too (e.g. people see Ooz and sphere and misidentify the matchup! – this could give us a small edge).
When tinkering with Cass I suggest the following change: -1 BT (with new BSS, BT is less relevant) and +1 Ghost.
I went for Ghost over Oblit because I feel that it fits the theme of
the deck better; with less creep Generation (e.g. no crawler) and without Rite I don’t think we
would want to rely on a one-of 8 mana deal 5 card. Ghost gives us that
alternate win-con while also being usable with just 2-3 creep on board.
I haven’t test it, but this should be an interesting list. Without
Lil BBS primus might end up being weaker, in which case we can think
about subbing in a mystic or too.
But yeah, such a list should have a very similar playstyle to my Lil aggro above.
In a nutshell, Ooz is a 2-drop with great stats and a decent ability. If the ability lands on the general thats damage, if it hits a minion thats fine too (sometimes better).
It is a pet, of course, which does make it a liability in some cases (e.g. turn play it turn 6+ versus Abyss unless you want to get crushed by a rev!) but frankly I think the positives outweigh the negatives. Lantern Fox can also punish the pet, but hey, if the ping hits Reva’s bbs I’ll that a tie
Note that the list currently does not run buff cards like Shadow reflection, if we did, Ooz wouldn’t perform as well (pets make buff cards more situational).
[details= Why Grasp of Agony?]
Grasp is a nifty little card that allows us to apply damage without falling behind on board. Ideally, you’ll want the 3 damage to hit the enemy Generals face. [/details]
[details= Why Sphere of Darkness?]
This card should probably be a 3-of in any abyss deck right now; one mana for a one damage AND draw a card? Fucking yes please. In most cases you will be dropping this on the opponents face, but occasionally it is useful for pinging a few minions and/or setting up Grasp plays.
In short, its a great little cantrip that fits the deck nicely.[/details]
[details= Why Alcuin ?]
Alcuin fits the bill as “low cost card draw”. It also turns out that
although the deck doesn’t run a lot of spells all the spells we do
choose to run are both cheap and powerful,
so yeah, alcuin allows us to do cool thing such as:
- Sphere + Alcuin + Sphere = 2 dmg (two targets), 2 draw, 3/1 minion
- Grasp + Alcuin + Grasp = 6 dmg (AoE), 3/1 minion
- Pulse + Alcuin + Pulse = 4 dmg, 6 heal, 3/1 minion
And lets not also forget the strategical utility of using a Lure and
getting one back, or how about copying a card like Holy Immolation?
In short, Alcuin allows us to push a lot of tempo and certain points
during a game WITHOUT sacrificing too many cards in the process. [/details]
[details= Replacements for SpellJamer:]
Currently there is not that many cards in the game that do what Jammer does, thus it is not an easy card to replace. Void Hunter, Soljourner and Alcuin all suffer from bad stats and Li’Kian gives us cards our deck cannot effectively use (plus its a 4-drop). Moreover, I feel that something like Rite of Undervault is simply too slow.
If you want to play this deck I’d strongly urge you to craft at least one Jammer. but in the meantime try something like 2x Li’Kian and 1x Wings of Paradise (Wings is just a curve pick here). Another Option is run 2x Grincher and 1x Wings. [/details]
[details= Replacements for Revanant (a.k.a “George”):]
This card is nuts, and is usually instrumental in closing out the game. There are simply NO cards that come close to matching this Monster. If you don’t own two copies of this card dont play this deck!!
Okay, so you have 2x Rev and don’t know what to replace a third one with? Well, in this case, I’d probably recommend some meta- tech card such as a Hallow GroveKeeper, Grincher, or maybe even Dark Seed (replacing a finisher with a finisher). [/details]
[details= Replacements for Spectral Blade:]
Unlike the above two cards this one is much more easily replaced. For curve reasons, I’d focus on 2-drops. For example, 2x Ephemeral Shroud + 1x Jaxi. [/details]
General Advice (going 1st):
In general you want to look for a 2-drop, 3-drop, and any ‘special’ card you may need for that match-up (more on this later). Note also that this deck has a lowish curve and not a huge amount of draw. Thus, be on the lookout for cards like Spelljammer. Against decks that run Bloodtier Alchemist try
to avoid starting the game with Flameblood Warlock.
General Advice (going 2nd):
You want Jammers and Blazehonds. Also seriously consider keeping Spectral Revanant.
Please also note that knowing when to keep/replace Revanant is probably one the the most complex and important decisions you will make during a game. An on curve Rev is crucial to victory in a great number of match-ups, but its also the case that if you hold onto Rev in the Muligian you might fail to curve out probably.
Since this is an Aggro deck it is obviously intended to be played aggressively. We need to constantly out-tempo our opponent and pressure the life total. If we fail to do that any big minion (such as a Vorpal Reaver or an Ironcliffe) could be the end of us. Indeed, the decks only response to such a threat is to bounce it away (with Lure). This works, provided you can win the game before said minion gets back into the fight.
Despite being an aggro deck you would be mistaken if you think that this leads to fast games; lots of the meta decks (eg Lyonar, Magmar, Cass) pack a lot of defensive tools (e.g. Provokes,
Heals, etc) and thus games regularly reach 7 + mana.
Thankfully for us however, we are running triple Revanant and a decent amount of heal (Siren, Pulse, Blade) thus (rather surprisingly) we can play the ‘value game’ too. In some match-ups/ situations it is perfectly fine to hide away in a corner and wait for double Revanant to win the game.
Once you know that it is possible to beat control decks even in the late-game this usually means that you don’t have to take too many risks and/or make a lot of “all-in” plays.
In the early/mid-game, the priority should always be control the board (e.g. usually its better to trade your Flameblood for an Azurite Lion, rather than slam face) and try to safely drop a Spelljammer (quick tip: try to position this guy such that it is likely to live 2-3 turns — getting only one draw from Jammer is usually not good enough).
Most of the time in the early game you should be replacing cards like Tiger / Void Steal, unless you have a good match-up reason to keep them.
On that note, I’d strongly recommend that you learn your removal combos. This deck has a decent number of pings (eg. Sphere, Bloodtier) and some ‘reach’ (e.g. Grasp, Tiger, Lure). This means that in many match-ups there are combos we can draw into that deal with any threat.
For example, Against Songhai, we would like to have a way of dealing with Four Winds. Late Game we can just use Revenant but how can we deal with it early game? Sphere/BloodTear + Tiger is one way, Lure + Spectral Blade is another.
What about Obelysks? Against, Late Game the awnser maybe Revanant, but early game we probably need something like Tiger + Primus + Sphere to take it out. Once you know the combos, you can consider replacing in order to find them.
On a related note, learn what Demonic Lure does in that match-up (e.g. Against Vetruvian, Lure is usually needed for Aymara Healer, which means most of the time you should NOT Lure a Nimbus).
The last thing I shall say is that you should always be very careful with your replaces. Replacing a Spelljamer for example is often fatal (unless you have two in hand and/or one on the board). Likewise, replacing Revanant (or a lure vs Lyonar) can easily lead to a lost game.
- Midrange Aregeon: Difficult but winnable (45-55%)
- Heal Ziran (40-50%),
- Any list with Grandmaster Zir: Give up.
Lure is the only response to an Ironcliffe, keep it in hand. Blade can
also be decent. If your hand is otherwise exceptional consider keeping a
card like Spectral Revanant (you’ll most likely need it).
So Lyonar has a few key cards that make things tough:
- Azurite Lyon (High burst potentical in the midgame)
- Ironcliif Guardian (In most cases, the only response it Demonic Lure)
- Diaoltas (Divine bond on tombstone)
So basically the issue is that you need to kill a lot of minions, if
you leave something like a Windblade Adept up you could lose something
like 10 life and your board (e.g. Roar, Holy Imolation). Likewise Roar +
Divine bond make Lion a huge threat. Against most decks we can ignore
the 2-drops and go face, but against Lyonar such a play is a risk. This
is the first problem in the match-up; much of our early game damage has
to clear dudes.
And then on T4 you have Mr. Tombstone. If you lure it away you
basically die to Ironcliff (unless you have 2 lures, obvoiuisy) and if
you kill it then you need to clear it before it gets buffed by divine
bond. fyi, killing is sometimes okay because its 0 attack means we don’t lose board in the process, we merely lose tempo
So basically Mr.Tombstone is a huge issue because it soaks up a lot of damage and it is too powerful to be ignored.
And then there is Ironcliff. As mentioned, the only reasonable
response it Lure. If we can lure it we probably win the game on the
tempo generated. But. Lure is the only card that can deal with it
efficiently, and so if we don’t draw it we have to do ugly things like
Shadow Reflection a Blazehound + General Attack to push though.
If you don’t have lure in hand, the best thing to do is draw it via constant replaces and playing cards like Spelljammer.
Perhaps on of the more interesting things about this match-up is that
we can easily win the lategame, provided that we have enough cards in
hand and a few Revenants (e.g a T9 Ironcliff is easily killed by Rev +
In short, this match-up is all about Lyonar’s burst and the limited responses we have for their threats. Heal Ziran can also be an issue owing to the fact that Sundrop Elixer is extremely mana efficient healing (unlike Magmar’s Earth Sphere).[/details]
- Pure Meld Combo (55-60%)
- Spellhai (50-55%)
- Other midrange/Aggro lists (45-55%)
Blade is great for Fox and Fourwinds. Void Pulse is also a reasonable keep if the rest of the hand is good (since its a race, heal is important in this match-up).
Against Reva we have lots of pings to counter the BBS and artifacts, but at the end of the day Songhai does Songhai things. The match-up can be tough because our removal is limited and ANY minion on the board is a threat. Moreover, it can be really really hard to out damage Songhai with a Four Winds on the board.
Oh one final thing, if they are at 5 cards in hand you can use Blazehound to limit the value Songhai gets from that dastardly fox.
- Control Zirix/ Sajj: Favourable (55-65%)
- Midrange/ Dervish (55-60%)
Nothing special needed, just look for a good curve.
Vetruvian is usually a good match-up for us, their main “anti-aggro” card is Aymara Healer, but fortunately for us Lure is an good answer to that. Value cards like Nimbus are often too slow against us.
Things like Pax and Obelysks can be annoying, but overall this match-up if fairly straightforward. [/details]
- Control/Nova: Not enough Data (50?%)
- Swarm: Unfavourable (40-45%)
Against Swarm, Grasp is a good keep. Consider keeping Lure / Tiger to deal with stuff like Bloodmoon Priestess. Against Cass you don’t need anything special,. just look for a good curve.
Keliano and Void Pulse can be is decent vs, but most creep decks simply end up being too slow.
Swarm however, is generally unfavourable. Bloodmoon Priestess can be difficult to deal with, as can a death-fire Cresendo. Moreover, our BBS probably helps them more than it does us. Another thing that makes this match-up tricky is Swarms speed in the opening(they can get a good board ready for Bloodmoon before we get a chance to blink). In this match-up, a timely Grasp of Agony is often key. [/details]
- Control / Vespyr: Favourable (55-60%)
- Faie Walls: Favoruable (50-55%)
- Aggro Faie: slightly favourable (51-52%)
- Zoo Kara (50%)
If you suspect its the Walls version Grasp and BloodTear are good. Against Faie I’d advise against keeping Blade due to BBS, Against Kara Blades and Lure can be helpful.
Against Kara, usually our their suite of removal works poorly against our suite of threats (e.g Fox / Hailstone on Flamebloods? Plz). Moreover the BBS is kinda slow.
On the flip-side however: FUCKING TIGERS! sometimes you can be in a situation vs Kara where you feel you are completely winning, only to see two six-attack Tigers hit the board. Its sad when it happens, but you can’t do much about it.
Against Faie, things are usually easier, Walls/Snowchaser/Artifacts don’t do well against our array of pings and Grasp. Against Aggro Faie usually its our healing (Void Pulse, Spectral Blade) the help eek out the victory.
Oh one final thing, if they are at 5 cards in hand you can use Blazehound to kill a Snowchaser for free.
- Control: Favourable (55-60%)
- Midrange: decent (50-55%)
- Aggro: (45-55%)
Nothing Special needed.
The problem that Control/Aggro Magmar has is that Earth Sphere is thier key “anti-aggro” card and honestly its not that good vs us; its simply to slow and expensive to save the day.
Aggro decks fair better and the winner of this match-up will usually be very draw dependant; something like Tiger/Elucidator + Greater Fortitude early in the game can put us on the back-foot. [/details]