Hello everyone, bobinchese here, back with the deck I used to win last week’s Bash. If you read my last article, you’ll remember that I stressed the power of being able to play a large concentration of one drops in order to get out in front of your opponent and generate pressure. This deck is similar, but most of the cards cost 0 because we don’t want to stop playing things and let our opponent take a turn. They might do something scary! Without further ado, I present my HEX Bash winning decklist, Turbo PA:
As far as combo decks go, Turbo PA is pretty straight forward. We want to play Psychic Ascension as quickly as possible, often by turn 3 or 4. In order to accomplish this, we need to play around a dozen actions.
A combination of Mobilize and the cost reduction ability of Cyclone Shaper allows us to play the majority of our cards for free, and since most of our cards either create bodies for Mobilize or draw us cards, we are able to cycle through large portions of our deck every turn in order to find the Psychic Ascension and get it cheap enough for us to play on only a few resources. Once Ascension resolves, we win unless our opponent also has a PA, and often even then because all of our free card draw is now also creating troops, leading to an insurmountable board advantage.
The most important thing to consider when mulliganing with Turbo PA is that the deck only has 18 resources total, and only 8 of them produce a Diamond threshold. Cyclone Shaper is our most important card, but we have so many cantrips that it won’t be hard to find a copy provided we have the resources to play what we need. In general, my rules for mulliganing are: if the hand has 3 guaranteed resources, keep. If the hand has 2 guaranteed resources and both thresholds, keep. If the hand has 2 Sapphire thresholds and only 1-2 Arcane Focus to find the Diamond threshold you need, do not keep. Do not think about keeping. Do not look longingly at our other great cards as an excuse to justify the keep. Our deck is powerful, consistent, and has a lot of card advantage. The easiest way to lose is by bricking on the thresholds we need, so don’t let that happen.
Look how great our hand is with its multiple thresholds; now what do we do with it? In the early game, our goals are these:
When there is a Cyclone Shaper on board, only 4 cards in our deck actually cost resources: more Cyclone Shapers, Thunderfield Seer, Heart’s Whisper and Psychic Ascension (sometimes). Once we’ve played our Cyclone Shaper, our opponent is probably going to try and kill it the next time they have open resources, so we want to make sure we’ve played as many of these cards prior to the Cyclone Shaper to guarantee we’ll have the greatest chance of cantripping into protection (usually Runebind) on the turn we play the Shaper.
When digging for Cyclone Shaper, we ideally want to find it with a copy of Cosmic Calling. Giving Cyclone Shaper Mobilize allows us to play it for 1 resource on the turn we are trying to combo, which in turn allows us to use the additional 2 resources to cast the Heart’s Whisper that we might draw into while attempting to combo.
Knowing when to try and combo is often more important that knowing how to combo. I go over this in more detail in the matchups section below, but in general we want to Heart’s Whisper on 3 into playing Shaper and trying to combo on 4. We want to have as many cards in our hand as possible when we try to combo, and waiting until turn 4 gives us both a champion activation and an extra resource to play a Thunderfield Seer, which is +2 bodies towards Mobilize and +2 cards (one from the Seer and one for our turn 4 draw).
An important exception to this rule is if our hand has either multiple Shapers or a Shaper and protection in the form of Runebind. In this case, we often want to run out the first Shaper, let our opponent try and kill it, and then play second Shaper/revert the Shaper we turned into a rune and proceed to combo off the following turn. Most importantly, realize that just because this deck can win quickly doesn’t mean that we should feel pressured to. Two Psychic Ascensions and a pile of card draw gives our deck a ton of power in the lategame. If our opponent is holding up resources every turn and not developing their board, we can easily sit there and draw cards until we have Shaper with a double Runebind backup and win from there.
Combo time! You know, the fun part where we get to draw our whole deck for no resources. With a Cyclone Shaper, the majority of our actions are free provided we have enough bodies to use Mobilize. Because of this, our goal while comboing is to:
Notice that finding the Psychic Ascension was the last step. That’s because it is the least important. In general, if the PA costs more than 5, we don’t want it yet. Instead, just focus on getting more card draw. The reason playing Light the Votives is so important is because we need the free bodies to both keep our Mobilize draws live and also to gum up the board against our opponent who is probably trying to attack us. If we are able to play Light the Votives 5 or so times, that can often give us a large enough board to win the game with Cyclone Shaper beats without ever finding a Psychic Ascension.
The first attempt at combo will lead to 3 possible results.
Outcome 1: We tried to combo but drew too many Mobilize cards/Heart’s Whispers and weren’t able to finish drawing our deck. This is the most common outcome, and why we try to dig for a Runebind. Disrupt the opponent’s next turn and proceed to combo with full resources and readied troops for Mobilize.
Outcome 2: We ran out of cards that drew more cards. Even though our deck only runs 18 shards, it draws so many cards that sometimes we run out of gas. Play defense as best we can, knowing that one cantrip has the ability to result in a win. We also want to save our resource drops in case this happens, so we can try and Fateweave an action to the top of our deck with an ice.
Outcome 3: We have 30 troops on board and are discarding to hand size. Great job, we won! Often our opponent will not realize we have won and continue to play the game. This is great because it means we get to draw even more cards! We can’t even deck because of Light the Votives! We can feel free to actually win the game at our leisure – or not. They usually figure it out eventually.
There are some earlier versions of the Turbo PA deck floating around (including the deck I played against in the quarterfinals), so I wanted to take a minute here and explain why I ended up changing the cards that I did.
First off, I cut Trial of Totems. This card is powerful and was necessary against the Lazgar’s Vengeance decks, but with that card banned, Trial is more clunky than it is useful. I replaced this card with Transmogrifade and Evaporate, which are both free with a Cyclone Shaper and just more efficient in general. Trial of Totems is a great budget option, however, to avoid spending money on Transmogrifade before it rotates.
Secondly, this deck is playing 4 Cyclone Shaper and 4 Runebind. Cyclone Shaper is the best card in the deck – by a lot. Runebind is interaction that also protects Cyclone Shaper. Don’t play fewer of these cards.
Do. Not. Overboard.
Hey, look I got to copy that over from my last article! Even post reserves, we want to draw our Cyclone Shapers as much as possible, and every cantrip we board out makes the deck less consistent. Because of that, the reserves are focused on powerful hosers like Scouring Light as opposed to more general answers like Pride’s Fall. When in doubt, remember submitting our preboard 60 is often a perfectly valid plan in most matchups.
The meta is a good bit more diverse than when I wrote my last article, but there are a couple of standout archetypes. RDent Sockets, Kagu Reanimator, DS Control are the main decks and will each get their own section.
RDent Sockets: This is the deck I played against in the finals and the premier aggro deck in the current format. As far as aggro decks go, they aren’t too aggressive if they don’t have banner on board, so we want to focus on Runebinding that ASAP. They also don’t have great interaction for our Shaper, so we are free to combo as quickly as possible.
Bouncing their troops isn’t great because they can replay them and have the Speed banner. Focus on Transmoging Animus of Nulzann and Emsee, Etcher of Nulzann and we shouldn’t have too much trouble here. The same board plan holds true for other Ardent Crusader decks. Transmog helps us keep down their good threats, but mostly our pile of chump blockers should allow us to slow them down enough to combo off without interruption.
Blood-Wild Midrange: The best deck of 2 weeks ago and the good matchup that made me look at Turbo PA in the first place. Our deck doesn’t place many troops in the crypt to enable Culmination of Blood, and Kagu doesn’t have a very quick clock to punish us. The match gets harder if they draw multiple Speed Underworld Crusaders, but Transmog is a solid answer to that threat.
Confounding Ire interrupts almost any card in their deck and is basically a better Runebind in this matchup. Notably, it does not deal with Eternal Seeker, but our opponent won’t often have the resources necessary to play that troop anyways. One of the ways we can lose this matchup is to an uncontested Phenteo the Brood Priest which is why we board in an additional Transmogrifade.
Sapphire-Diamond Control: This matchup is one where it really pays off to slow down. The DS control deck has a ton of threats it has to deplete its resources for, so wait for one of those moments before we try and slam a big threat. Candle beatdowns are also a reasonable part of this matchup, as putting down pressure is the best way to force our opponent to use everything up.
Tribunal Magistrate can win a game all on its own, and it also allows us to overload our opponent’s removal. Into the Unknown is a fantastic answer to Dark Heart of Nulzann and also prevents the opponent from playing more copies of Silver Talon Adjudicator, which is their best piece of card advantage and is almost always online vs us. This is also a matchup where backup Cyclone Shapers aren’t dead, because an Empowered 4/6 Flight troop is a good clock all on its own.
Turbo PA: Ah, the mirror. This is a deck I expect to see a large uptick in popularity moving forward, so it’s important to have a plan for the mirror. Game 1 is all about being the first player with a Cyclone Shaper on the field and comboing before our opponent to get the Psychic Ascension advantage. There are a small subset of games where we beat down with 2/2 candles, but for the most part ignore the board and focus on getting card advantage.
Runebind here is bad at contesting our opponent’s actions because they have so much card draw they often flip the rune in the same turn. Verdict allows us to interact with our opponent’s card draw and Psychic Ascension, so we bring that in instead. Tribunal Magistrate is the best threat in the mirror. Our opponent can dig 10 cards deep in a single turn to find an answer for Cyclone Shaper, but if they do that with Magistrate on board, they’re almost assuredly going to die to spiders. Magistrate is why there are 4 copies of Transmogrifade in our deck post board – we have to have an answer to that card as soon as it comes down. Similarly to how we want to search for a Runebind once we start comboing in our normal game plan, in the mirror we want to search for a Magistrate of our own or a Transmogrifade.
If any of you ever get the chance to play a busted combo deck the week before people know it exists, I highly recommend it. You gain so many percentage points by your opponent just not having the necessary answers in their deck. However, I don’t expect this cloud 9 to last. Turbo PA had the best performance of the weekend, boasting a 67% winrate and putting 3 lists into the top 8 of the HEX Bash. I expect people to be bringing hate next week, specifically Wise Magistrate, Tribunal Magistrate and Inquisitor of Lumos.
These cards basically say Turbo PA can’t win until they are removed, and are easily slotted into decks like RDent Sockets that were previously great matchups. If you see many copies of these troops in your opponents’ decks, I would recommend bringing in Into the Unknown as an additional answer for not just the copy on board, but all copies in the opponent’s deck and hand. Additionally, I would add more Tribunal Magistrates to my reserves over the Totem Trap and the Martyr. Totem Trap was for Aggro and Martyr was for Blood based control decks because it could counter a Misery as well as kill a Vampire Princess or Bride of the Damned. Neither of those decks seem particularly popular, though, and those reserve cards aren’t as lights out as a card like Scouring Light is against constants. Tribunal Magistrate completely overperformed in the mirror matches I played in the top 8, and I think it is a mistake to not play four going forward.
Overall the deck feels the most powerful of any deck I’ve played in HEX. It has explosive early starts and the ability to win a long game. It draws half its deck every game and creates board states of 30+ troops on turn 4. Who doesn’t love doing that?
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