We are now a month into our first Standard rotation with Scars of War and, while the format has settled down a bit with a few obviously power strategies, there is still a lot of room left to be explored. Today we are going to take a look at a deck that is built to maximize the potential of this powerful card from Scars of War:
Daughter of the Poet does almost everything you could want in a HEX card. Against aggressive decks, she is a 2/2 with Lifedrain that can help you blunt early pressure. Against midrange decks, she can give our troops evasion to help us push through damage and trigger Diligence. Against control decks, she generates card advantage in the late game if they cannot remove her on the spot.
All of that being said, Daughter of the Poet is not an easy card to fit into just any shell. Because she is fairly demanding of Diamond thresholds, she is only at her best in a deck that does not have a second shard type in it.
Without further delay, I present Diamond Aggro:
Grim Skull Tactician socketed with Minor Diamond of Wind
The first thing I would like to talk about in this Diamond Aggro deck is our choice of champion—Bishop Elijah. While Bishop Elijah is not a new champion, his moderate starting health total made him mostly a non-starter last Standard season when the better decks were aggressively slanted Ruby and Wild decks. This season, the aggressive decks are slightly less punishing and the health buffer our Lifedrain troops can provide makes Elijah’s 21 starting health fairly reasonable. His ability to return one of our threats to our hand in the mid and late game give this archetype a bit of staying power it generally lacks against control decks.
In addition to Daughter of the Poet, we have two other fairly powerful two drops we can return to play with Bishop Elijah’s ability:
William Rowan is a troop that not only offers reasonable stats for his two resource cost, but he also offers looming inevitability every time he attacks. If left unchecked, William goes from a three attack troop to a six attack Swiftstriker that starts powering up your entire team. Llama Herder offers a similar “must answer” effect that snowballs fairly quickly. Two attack turns into four, which turns into six, until your opponent is overrun by Llamas.
Because both of these two drops want to be attacking every turn, they both benefit from Daughter of the Poet being able to give our troops Flight. In addition to Daughter, we have a few other ways to help make our two drop threats become evasive:
Grace of Tiaanost serves double duty by not only making our threats evasive, but also providing some insurance against opposing removal. High Infinitrix also serves double duty. She can both make our threats evasive and buffer our health total against aggressive decks. One important thing to remember is that Infinitrix’s Shifts are permanent buffs. This means that if you return one of your powered up troops to play, it will still have the bonuses it got before it died.
We supplement our core threats with a few others:
Valiant Escort is a fantastic card in any Diamond based aggressive strategy. Not only is it a one drop with two attack, but it also has a very relevant text box against removal heavy decks. Escort is especially powerful with Daughter of the Poet because you can sacrifice Escort to protect your Daughter and then your Daughter can bring your Escort back to play.
Chimera Bot is probably our weakest individual card, but it serves as another two drop that can generate value and apply pressure. Chimera Bot has the upside that, on occasion, it can give itself evasion or Lifedrain. Grim Skull Tactician is an additional evasive threat that is able to help clear the way for one of our two drops to attack on turn three. Grim Skull is also a necrotic, which helps revert our Infinitrixes in games that go long.
We round out our main deck with a few pieces of utility and removal:
Decree of Banishing is easily the best piece of Diamond removal in the current format. While it does have the drawback of being weak to constant removal, unconditional two cost removal is hard to pass up. Decree is especially good in aggressive shells because we give our opponent minimal time to find an answer to our constant.
Diamond’s Favor is a fantastically flexible card. It is constant removal that we can main deck which doubles as removal against scary threats like Yazukan and Crocosaur. It can also serve as a combat trick or mostly counter a Lazgar’s Vengeance.
Ozawa’s Wish gives us more of our quality threats and, in the late game, it can bring back a Daughter of the Poet which in turn brings back more threats. Also, remember that in a pinch we can bring back a Decree of Banishing that was discarded or destroyed.
The last cards in our main deck are our resources:
One of the biggest upsides to a deck like this is the consistent resource base it offers. Even the two shard decks with access to a racial shard will have a number of games where they are losing because they are fumbling around not having the correct thresholds to play their cards out. By playing Mono-Diamond, we know that any time we have resources we will be able to play our cards out without any threshold issues.
Our reserves are mostly supplemental copies of cards in our main deck, with two additional cards that provide utility in different situations:
Against Mono-Shard decks, Shard Ward can buy you entire turns by blanking their combat steps and also by providing blowouts in combat. It also serves as a means to completely counter a Lazgar’s Vengeance. Angel of Atonement serves as an additional threat when we need something a bit more powerful than our 2/1s for one. It also can counter the effects of cards like Dingle and Transmogrifade. Fianlly, the Angel is also able to act as a utility card by reverting an Infinitrix after we have Shifted all the powers away.
The format is fairly open currently, but there are a few archetypes that are more popular than others. Remember that the following are simply guidelines and you should adjust your board plans if your opponent has cards that seem especially good / bad against something we have access to.
Redlings is probably one of the better decks in the constructed format right now. Their draws that involve a Lazgar’s Vengeance in their opening hand can be fairly difficult to deal with, but post reserves we have some good tools for interacting with them. Most games we will be assuming a slightly more defensive role in this matchup. Keeping track of their Assault triggers is key to knowing when you should be keeping your defense up with a Shard Ward or Diamond’s Favor and when you should be extending out onto the board.
Favor does not kill any of their troops, so most of the time it is going to be just worse than a Shard Ward which also stops the damage Lazgar’s does to our champion as well. Chimera Bot and Grim Skull Tactician are both fairly mediocre threats against another aggressive deck, so swapping them out for supplemental removal is ideal. Against a typical Redlings deck, I would board out the Chimera Bots, Grim Skull Tacticians, Diamond’s Favors, and one Grace of Tiaanost. In their place I would bring in two Totem Trap, three Shard Ward, and three Bring To Justice.
The Diamond Ardent decks are similar to what we are doing, but also slightly different. Their cards tend to be a bit more on the aggressive side since they are able to lean on the power of Ardent Crusader. Because most of the Ardent decks have a splash shard, they are far less consistent at enabling Daughter of the Poet than we are. Past this, the fact that our top end is Infinitrix means we are often able to win races not only by taking to the skies, but also because of Lifedrain. Boarding in the Ardent matchup is fairly minimal. I generally just swap the two Chimera Bots for additional Diamond’s Favors. These allow us to counter Lazgar’s Vengeance against Diamond-Ruby and also take opposing Decree of Banishings off of the table.
Like most matchups in this format, the matchup against the various Sapphire-Ruby Morgan McBombus decks is fairly close. The Bombus decks tend to be more explosive than we are, but we are far more consistent than they are. Our copies of Grace of Tiaanost are exceptionally bad in this matchup because their primary form of removal is generally Transmogrifade. Thankfully, Transmogrifade does not line up particularly well against our copies of Angel of Atonement in the reserves. In this matchup, I would trim the three copies of Grace, the two Grim Skulls, and the Diamond’s Favors for the Angels, two Shard Ward, and two Totem Traps in the reserves.
The Kagulichu variants are generally the hardest matchups for a deck like Diamond Aggro. They have quality removal and a variety of must answer threats that present a fast clock. How we reserve against Kagu is going to change a good bit from variation to variation. For example, if we see Bride of the Damned we will want to trim our copies of Valiant Escort. If they have Underworld Crusader, Grim Skull Tactician becomes a lot less appealing. Bring To Justice is reasonable against the troop based Kagu decks while additional copies of Grace and Favor are ideal if your opponent is a more controlling variation.
If you want to see some videos of the Diamond Aggro deck in action, check out my stream archive below.
If you are looking for a deck that has an aggressive slant while still being able to generate enough card advantage to keep up with some of the more controlling decks in the format, then Diamond Aggro might just be the deck for you!
Have a question about this archetype that I did not cover in the article above? Let me know by leaving a comment in the forum!
Thanks for reading,
Jeff is a professional gamer who enjoys the competitive aspects of HEX: Shards of Fate. Constructed is his preferred format and he is always looking for that new piece of technology to give him a leg up on the competition.