Deck Drilldown – Easy Upgrades

Nov 22, 2017

Today we are going to do something a bit different from what you may be used to in my Drilldown series. Since Dead of Winter recently released, the Standard format is going to be a bit in flux until a couple weeks have passed with dedicated players testing new decks to figure out what is good and what is not. So, instead of taking a single decklist and focusing on it alone, today we are going to be looking at a whole bunch of different decklists and a few improvements we can make.

All of the lists we are going to look at today had success before the rotation happened. We will look at small changes players can make to them with Dead of Winter cards to hopefully keep them competitive in this new format. Please note that I am not including reserves for these decks, as those 15 cards should be tailored based on the format that shapes up.

Let’s start by looking at one of the most popular decks from before rotation:

Ardent Crusader has Minor Diamond of Fate
Moonrise Elder has Major Ruby of Galvanism

Champion: Haraza the Incinerator

While Diamond Ruby Ardent is not losing any key troops, it is taking a blow to its resource base with the loss of Carloth Cobblestone. In the above list, I have replaced Cobblestones and some of the Ice we previously played with a mix of more standard shards and Shard of Conquest. Because of this resource base change, I have also cut all of the double Diamond cards from the decklist.

With these changes in mind, we have two new Dead of Winter Ardent troops to help enable our Ardent Crusaders:

LumiknightSkylance Captain

Lumiknight has a reasonable rate for the body she provides, and should she go unchecked, she can help our board go wide or make the candles from our Scion of Lyvaanth more potent. Skylance Captain gives us an evasive threat for a reasonable cost.

Trial of Totems has Major Sapphire of Clarity

Champion: Cassia Goldenlight

Unlike the Ardent deck which can stay mostly the same as it was last season, Turbo Psychic Ascension is going to need a bit of a facelift in the new format. Not only did we lose the key to our combo draws with Cyclone Shaper rotating out, but we also lost Arcane Focus and Transmogrifade. Some of you may remember the non-combo focused Turbo PA deck that was played a small bit while Lazgar’s Vengeance was still legal. It was more of a control deck and less of a combo deck.

We have included a few Dead of Winter cards into this shell:

ArcanovexWinter’s GraspWax Sacrament

While Arcanovex is no Thunderfield Seer, it provides a body for our Mobilize cards while also creating an action to tick down our Psychic Ascensions. How good Winter’s Grasp ends up being will depend on which threats end up seeing play in the format, but on the surface I think this card is fairly powerful. The inclusion of Wax Sacrament allows us to increase our shard count while still keeping our action count high. The Illumination the Sacrament provides makes our backup plan of playing Light the Votives even more potent.

While this iteration of Turbo PA will not be ascending on turn four, it will likely still have the tools to have the unbeatable endgame that this archetype is known for.

Champion: Bloodspinner Zorath


This is probably the most straightforward upgrade with this rotation. Xentoth’s Malice is the powerful engine that this archetype leaned on for card advantage. While there is not anything at this exact same power level, Corpsemulch will do a good impression by allowing us to sacrifice Dreadlings every turn to draw an extra card. The rest of this deck was already cards from sets 5-6-7, so they are good to go!

Underworld Crusader has Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy
Blamsmith has Minor Ruby of Zeal

Champion: Ivan Slagpot

Redlings is kind of the deck that just will not die. Not only did it survive the Lazgar’s Vengeance ban, but it will survive rotation just fine as well. The most important card Redlings lost was Emperor’s Lackey, but thankfully Lazgar’s Bloodsworn is ready and willing to step in and pick up the slack. The resource base no longer contains Sepulchra Crypt Dust, but that might actually be a blessing in disguise when it come to making thresholds consistently.

Wrapping Up

While rotation always brings important changes with it, some things do remain the same. While I would be a bit surprised if any of the lists I have shared here today are optimal for this unexplored format, I do think they are great starting points. When you are staring down the unknown, starting with something familiar is always a good idea. I will want to be sure any new decks I come up with are competitive against these before taking it into something like the Bash.

What upgrades have you been making to old decks with Dead of Winter cards? What entirely new archetypes are you interested in trying out? Let me know in the forums!

Thanks for reading,
~Jeff Hoogland

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.


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