Hey guys and gals, Zoochz here. In this article, I’m going to go over my deck choices for the recent 9moons-sponsored Duelyst Invitational.
For those that are unsure as to what I’m referring to, the long and short is that 8 folks, myself included, gathered on the field of battle to slug it out for some cold, hard cash. We had to bring 4 decks to the fight, all from different factions. Each round was best-of-five (save the finals, which was bo7) and each round (except the finals) we were allowed to ban one of our opponent’s generals.
Into the lab
It’s been a minute since I’ve been able to do much Duelyst tournamenting. As such I no longer had my finger on the pulse of the serious deck meta and it was painfully obvious. I knew that I had little hope of playing anything designed to attack the meta specifically. Instead, I swallowed my deckbuilding pride and decided to play “good decks.”
So, what to play?
I had an initial idea of what factions I wanted to play based on their relative strength and my familiarity with them.
I knew that I would be hard pressed to not bring Magmar in some form or another. The power level of the reptilian card pool was (and still is) incredibly powerful. Entropic Gaze and Thumping Wave in particular struck me enabling incredible burst, which is a strategy I was looking to employ with the faction.
I tinkered around with a few different options. I tried a Starhorn fueled Decimus combo, but found it too unreliable to really carry the day. I have the bad habit of getting greedy, which in this particular circumstance equates to running out Decimus prior to having a huge burst at the ready. I didn’t feel like I could reasonably rely on myself to pilot the deck optimally without enough testing under my belt.
I also tried a Drogon/Cryptographer combo deck. While it felt powerful sometimes, other times it felt like I was fishing for a Drogon while simultaneously trying to stay near my opponent without taking too much damage. Also, like above,I didn’t feel like I had enough discipline to run it without proper testing under my belt. I also
Ultimately, I went with the following list.
This is, as you may know, more or less Dragall’s list from this month’s Race to S-Rank. Someone suggested I take a look at it as a viable Magmar option, and I was immediately smitten. Rush + Diretide Frenzy has always been a huge draw for me, and I’ve played very similar decks in the past. The deck has fabulous board control tools since you’re essentially playing 6 Makantor Warbeasts on top of your usual removal spells like Natural Selection. I wanted to play something aggressive but not all-in on some weird combo; this fit that bill to a tee.
I only made one minor alteration to Dragall’s list. In an effort to provide a little more stability at the beginning of the game, I substituted one of the Earth Spheres for an Azure Herald. I have a bad habit underestimating the power of healing, so I resisted the urge to cut too much, but I wanted to mitigate any potential awkward starts where I missed an early play.
Abyssian & Lyonar
I also was fairly sure that I was going to play both Abyssian and Lyonar–we’ll say 90% sure–although I wasn’t exactly positive of which general from those factions I wanted to battle with.
The Lilithe “all-in on Variax” deck had been working out well for me on the ladder, and for a minute was my frontrunner. As time went on, I had some nagging concerns bringing it to a tournament. In particular, the deck felt easy to dispatch if I didn’t come across the namesake Grandmaster. Wraithling Swarm isn’t that impressive of a card for 3 mana if you’re not making 5/5s. I also really didn’t like that it wasn’t running Spectral Revenants, probably the most powerful Abyssian card printed.
With Cassyva, I knew that I could easily fit Spectrals in and that it would be a solid choice almost irrespective of the field. While it also felt predictable, I felt more comfortable in piloting the deck not to mention in its raw power. At first I worried that Cass would have little wiggle room in terms of customization. I then realized that this was probably a boon in disguise, as I would be able to devote more time to my other deck development.
Here’s what I chose to play:
Overall, there are only a few notable choices in the list in my opinion, although they are admittedly fairly impactful ones.
I’m not running any Void Pulses or Rites of the Undervault, relying solely on Spelljammer to keep my hand full and Kelaino to keep my life full. In their stead, I played some heavy hitters: 2 copies of Klaxon and 2 copies of Nether Summoning. Both of these powerful legendaries went hand-in-hand as I wanted some more powerful end game options to make up for the decreased card draw. I don’t actually recall if I ever ended up even drawing the Summonings (note to self, check on this!), but I know for a fact that I did draw Klaxon and that he was awesome. Maybe I should’ve gone with a threat that wasn’t as susceptible to positional removal (e.g. Demonic Lure) like Reaper of the Nine Moons, but the 6/6 provoke worked out just fine.
With Lyonar, I was even more torn than with Abyssian.
Zir’an is probably one of my favorite generals from a nostalgic perspective. She’s even gotten a big boost powerwise with the introduction of the Rise of the Bloodborn expansion. My concern with her though was that I wasn’t really comfortable with my current list. Unlike my feelings on Cass, I felt there were a number of various permutations that were acceptable for Zir’an, and unfortunately I didn’t know that I’d be able to solidify a decklist that I was happy with in time for deck submission.
On the other hand, Argeon was a general who was objectively quite powerful, and while I had a deck that I was very happy about–it got me to S-Rank on my smurf account in a mere 50 wins–it was somewhat of a combo deck and I feared my astute opponents in the Invitational would easily see through my nonsense. A savvy Duelyr can smell a Magnetize coming a mile away.
In the end I went with my tried and true comboish Argeon. Divine Bond is one hell of a card. I only made one change to my ladder list, by cutting a Sun Wisp for a Scintilla. I figured I’d play against folks that were running plenty of Spelljammers and Entropic Gazes, meaning I’d both need less card draw and more life gain. I was okay with this change, although I’ll likely go back to my tried and true list for the ladder again this month.
I had precisely zero idea what general to play for my fourth decklist. (I obviously wasn’t playing Vetruvian though). I tried and tried and tried to get a Songhai list I liked, but they kept feeling way too hit-or-miss. I would either crush my opponent, or get crushed myself. Twilight Fox was either amazing or a 3/3 for 3. In the end, I didn’t feel comfortably enough bringing my favorite faction.
Instead, I opted for a “safe” choice: Solafid’s 3-of-a-kind Loremaster Faie list. I had been beaten up by it on the ladder and knew it was a solid choice, even if I wasn’t as practiced with it as I was with the other lists I was bringing.
I made a couple small changes after a couple of games. I added in two Frostbone Naga, which–wow!–were allstars throughout the entire tournament. 10/10, would play again. I also added in a White Asp and an Avalanche. Neither of these were that incredible, although the latter was a card I definitely wanted in my list to force folks who know of its existence to play in fear of it. To make room, I took out a Flameblood Warlock and the Primus Fists. I don’t hate this change, although gutting Primus Fist is a little suspect I know.
How the tournament went – SPOILER ALERT
I’m not going to discuss the nuances of the tournament matches here. I’m actually going to do one better–check over on my YouTube page for an in-depth analysis of my matches, commentated by yours truly. (It might not be up yet, give it a day or two). It’s always a humbling experience, watching your own replays. There were a lot of mistakes made. I downright missed lethal on more than one occasion, although thankfully never punished.
I ended up getting third. I had some good luck against Nowayitsj in the quarters, winning 3-0. I lost to eventual winner Zayne in the semis, laying awake that night thinking about how I could have played that match different. I won the 3rd/4th place match against SSDRWHO 3-1,
I banned Faie at every opportunity for one simple reason: I didn’t want to get blown out by Warbird. That’s it. Nothing is more tilting, and I didn’t want to play a tournament tilted.
That’s all! I’m happy to answer any questions folks might have about every and anything. Thanks for reading.