The odds of me reaching S-Rank this season are slim since the servers are being down and I’m probably going to be away on last day of the season. I wanted to talk about a bit of my experiences with the deck I played the most with this season, which is Midrange Kaleos. Although I didn’t reach S-Rank with the deck (and unlikely to do so with the time remaining, even if servers work Monday and Tuesday) I did manage to get to Diamond 1 before server issues sent me down again.
I’ll start with what cards I would consider replacing in my deck before going into any particular match ups. Overall, I’m quite happy with my deck but cards I would consider changing the most are Katara, Lantern Fox and Onyx Jaguar. There are other cards I could change as well but these would be the 3 I would look at, to start with.
Katara was always an opinionated stubborn point of mine. I like the card. It can enable openings as player 1 to play 2 Kataras to challenge for the top and bottom mana tiles and with mana being an important resource for doing combos later in the game where being able to do things like use Juxtaposition with Flamewreath or send away opponent’s minions cheaply can be massively helpful. Along side with its backstab ability makes it an annoying card for opponents to deal with once it get behind them. However, since its nerf, its clearly not as good as it use to be when it comes to raw output of damage and removing minions. Which means it can get stuck doing very little because I don’t run Killing Edge to enable it further. The deck I choose to run couldn’t quite fit both in. So what would I swap Katara with? Probably Kaido Assassin, maybe even Bloodtear Alchemist. Kaido isn’t a great minion either but the stat line makes it better to early trading and could clear other 2 drop minions. While BTA can act as a ping, which is generally pretty useful. I know people will say why not add in Scroll Bandit, I’ll come onto that later on. After the other cards.
So Lantern Fox may seem like a strange choice to take out. But Fox sometimes, just overdraws and burns its own Phoenix Fires. Making it just a 3 mana 2/3 which is bad. There are times where Phoenix Fires don’t help the situation, and even though I’ve probably won games with Lantern Fox, I do have card draw/cycle options with Spelljammer and Gotatsu. While I feel like I could play other minions that could disrupt my opponent’s game plan better such as Mind-Cage Oni to dissuade my opponent from using spells, or steal them. Ki Beholder to hold certain minions in place and have a ranged minion to chip away at my opponent.
Finally, Onyx Jaguar. I love the minion. It can enable lethal with an existing board, and given enough time it can create a scary board over a couple of turns which not every deck can overturn. But those are also the problems with the card. An empty board makes Jaguar sad as he has no friends to buff, just makes him expensive and weak at a 3/3 for 5 mana. While you can’t always have time to build/buff a board up, which means he can be too slow at times to play. Cards I would think about replace Jaguar with are Hamon Bladeseeker, Inquistor Kron, or Grandmaster Zendo. Hamon Bladeseeker is that big stat minion that the deck sometimes feel like it needs to end games, an 8/8 is not only scary but comes down before 6 mana before other powerhouse cards. Inquistor Kron is just an overall solid card and chances are you’ll be looking for certain cards in your deck so you’ll be able to get value out from his effect. Grandmaster Zendo, although not as good as it use to be, its effect on the enemy general can be enough to effect their game plan and even make them throw themselves to their death.
I’ll quickly touch on certain cards and why I don’t think they fit into the deck or at least my version of the deck.
Scroll Bandit: I think its just a bit too slow, the stat line isn’t favourable for a 2 mana card and the card steal can be useful but with the right card management you don’t need to steal cards to keep your hand filled. Plus sometimes you can get too focused on trying to steal a card rather than doing better plays.
Killing Edge: Just found it hard to find room for it. I don’t think the deck needs more than 15 spells. While other spells are just a bit more versatile in how I can use them.
Bakezori: I think Spelljammer not only has a better stat line, but it doesn’t rely on having other cards/BBS available to get immediate value from it which makes Spelljammer better early/mid.
Now its time for match ups. This won’t be an depth-in thing as I don’t believe I have all the experienced needed with the deck to explain the best moves or cards to look for in the deck.
Healyonar: Basically, its going to be almost an auto lose situation. Not to say its impossible to win, as you can win but its unlikely. Your minions as a whole have low health (mostly 4 or lower) which makes things like Holy Immo, Sunriser, Draining Wave, Lucent Beam etc can clean up your minions. While things like Sundrop Elixir, the heal tile, Healing Mystic and Azure Herald. Makes it pretty hard to burst them down. So unless your opponent misplays badly or draws badly, I’d say overall its like a 75/25 (maybe more like 80/20) in Healyonar’s favour.
Swarm style decks: This one is in your favour. Battle Panddo, Flamewreath, both help with not only clearing the board but can also damage the opponent’s general. Its basically the opposite of the Healyonar match up. You are favoured unless you get god awful draws and your opponent gets good ones.
Wanderer decks: Personally, I see this as more of a skill of the players behind the decks. I don’t feel like either side is particularly favoured as a whole. Its about knowing your own game plan, stopping/slowing the opponent’s, so that the pace of the game is in your court. Usually, whoever is controlling the pace of the game is most likely to come out on top.
There are more match ups than this but those are the only 3 that I feel comfortable in saying who is favoured. After all I don’t have 100’s upon 100’s of games on this deck to say more than I have.
So here is the list that got me to S-Rank.
Changes I made between this list and the original were:
Chakri Avatar, Lantern Fox, Onyx Jaguar and Gotatsu removed.
Scroll Bandit, Mizuchi, Inquistor Kron and Killing Edge put in.
I’ll do a quick explanation of why I made the changes that I did. Chakri Avatar just ended up not being right for the meta I was in. Dispel became more common, so a 2 mana 1/2 when dispelled wasn’t gonna cut it. Lantern Fox often just burned Phoenix Fires instead of adding them into my hand and with dispel being more common, a 3 mana 2/3 wasn’t gonna cut it either. Onyx Jaguar, I love the card but does require you to have a board to be effective and I couldn’t rely on having a board anymore so sadly had to cut it as well. Gotatsu was a hard choice to cut since it acts as a ping and cycle all in one. But I wanted to add in Killing Edge and by removing Gotatsu it gave my deck a higher curve and not rely as much on having to cycle/draw.
I needed to replace Charki Avatar with a different 2 drop and Scroll Bandit happened to fit with how my deck was changing. Stealing cards isn’t important to the deck since its a bit easier to keep the hand full, but gives the flexible of stealing cards if I need to hinder my opponent’s game plan in certain matchups. Mizuchi was originally Mind-cage Oni, but after seeing people not playing around Mizuchi and usually playing around Mind-cage Oni. It was a better choice to add Mizuchi in, as it has flying and backstab which allows for better positioning, removing minions and doing burst to the general. Plus people didn’t play around it often. Inquistor Kron was added in as it has more of an immediate impact compared to Onyx Jaguar. Plus, I’m usually looking for certain cards in different situations which means replacing happens often and generates prisoners from Kron. Killing Edge provides things that the deck was on verge of needing but could kinda get away with before. It gives a buff, to help with minion trades, potentially gives burst to kill the enemy general and sometimes acts as card draw on backstab minions, which I have now have 3 with Katara, Scroll Bandit and Mizuchi (when transformed). Compared to just Katara in the original version of the deck.