If you have been playing HEX for a while you are likely familiar with the champion that goes with the deck we are talking about today – Morgan McBombus. McBombus has been the face of Sapphire-Ruby decks in HEX since his introduction, and with good reason. Creating a troop that is able to pressure our opponent is something that a variety of decks are interested in having access to.
Today we are going to look at a more midrange Sapphire-Ruby deck that is capable of generating aggressive draws, while also generating more controlling draws when it needs to:
We start with the usual suspects that are staples in most Sapphire strategies right now:
Lanupaw’s Sight is easily the most powerful card advantage in Standard right now. Our deck has a healthy mix of different types of cards, so we often find all three of our new draws fairly quickly. Arcane Focus adds consistency to any deck that can support it. It helps us find resources we need in the early game, while digging to more action in the mid-late game. One thing to keep in mind is that we often do not want to Focus after playing a Sight. This is because doing so risks seeing two prophesied cards and putting one of them randomly back into your deck. Thunderfield Seer provides another body for Sight to Prophesize onto and gives us an early body that is good for triggering assault.
Next we have a selection of dwarves:
In addition to providing us with bodies for Lanupaw’s Sight and triggering assault, these dwarves allow us to be able to play the tribal resource Scrios Limestone. While only playing nine dwarves may seem light for four copies of Limestone, the fact that we have four copies of Arcane Focus means we can find our dwarves more often. Having a second dual shard in our resource base helps make our deck far more consistent than it would otherwise be.
Warpsteel Shardsworn provides multiple bodies that are great for pressuring control decks and blocking against aggressive decks. The fact that it is two troops in one makes it excellent for triggering assault and good at grinding down decks trying to use 1 for 1 removal.
Blamsmith is a great troop because it is one that scales as the game goes on. On turn two, Blamsmith is simply a 2/2 that generates a Valor for us, but when we draw Blamsmith on turn 10 we will often have enough troops to scrounge him into a 5/5 – making for a potent threat.
Buzztech Innovator is one of our “go over the top” cards. This means he provides a powerful effect that is often worth multiple cards out of our opponent. When we can Scrounge him, he makes ten attack for six resources while also giving our existing Bumblebots extra attack as well.
The Dreadlings his gem makes are robots as well, so we can create a burst for an additional six damage on command.
Speaking of go over the top cards, our last troop is one that is capable of generating card advantage and just burning out our opponent:
Heart of Embers is one of the more powerful cards in our deck, but we only play three copies in the main deck because it is four resources to play. This means against Herofall decks we are likely to get a second copy removed from our hand if we are playing four.
While this deck can have some aggressive draws, many of our games will be won through more controlling means. We play a smattering of different interactive cards to keep our opponent’s boards in check:
Cremate does not always kill everything we need to deal with. The fact that it can simply send the last two points of damage directly at our opponent makes playing a couple copies in the main deck more than reasonable. Transmogrifade is the best piece of Sapphire removal we currently have. It is hard to beat the efficiency and tempo generated from Transmogrifying something like an opposing Crusader.
Stifling Sting is a “fun of” because while it is a bit expensive to hold up three resources, the card is fairly flexible. It can do everything from killing an opposing Bride of the Damned to countering a Lazgar’s Vengeance that is going to clear our board.
Speaking of Lazgar’s Vengeance, the last non-resource rounding out our main deck is four copies of this powerful basic action:
Lazgar’s is the card that lets us pivot from a controlling role to closing out a game at the drop of a hat. Not only does it clean up our opponent’s board state, but it also domes them for four points of damage to give us a jumpstart on racing.
One of the reasons decks like Sapphire-Ruby Valor are a blast to play is because of how different every game can be. The most important thing when playing the deck is proper role assessment. Depending on the matchup we are playing and how our cards are lining up against theirs, we need to identify if we are taking a more controlling or aggressive role in a given game.
Against Sapphire-Diamond Control we are almost always taking an aggressive role. Their single most important card in the matchup is Eldurathan’s Glory. Not only does Glory void most of our troops, but it also presents a 5/5 body that we have a hard time taking off of the table. We want to reserves against SD Control as follows:
The SD Control deck does not have many things that Lazgar’s or Cremate kill, so trimming them is easy. Most of the troops in the Control deck are not appealing to Transmogrifade and their most important troop, Dark Heart of Nulzann, dies to Ruby’s Favor. Trimming a resource may seem odd on the surface, but on average the post reserves games are going to go long, so we want to flood a bit less as the game goes on.
Against the Blood-Ruby “Redlings” deck, the games tend to pivot around who can get to their Lazgar’s Vengeance first. We often assume a more controlling role in this match up, but if our draw allows sometimes we can just race them. We want to reserve against Redlings as follows:
We basically want to drag our curve down a bit and be more interactive so we can execute a controlling role more consistently.
Against the Empress deck, our goal is to apply pressure to our opponent while trying to keep their payoff cards in check. The games often come down to how many Empresses they can put into play versus how quickly we can Lazgar’s to clean up their board. Transmogrifade is one of our most important cards in this matchup since it can remove an Empress or a Commander PROMPT for a single resource. We want to board as follows against Empress:
We simply trim our less impactful removal for cards that are slightly more flexible. Ruby’s Favor cleans up Commander PROMPT nicely while also being able to deal those last three points of damage to our opponent. Crimson Bolt is an efficient way to clean up Empress of Ice and can be used at quick speed in response to a Copycat targeting Empress. Heart of Embers is one of our best ways to run away with a game. We will be hard pressed to lose most games we get multiple Hearts into play against Empress.
If you want to see some videos of the Sapphire-Ruby Valor deck in action, check out my stream archive below.
If you are looking for a deck that can occasionally generate free wins from aggressive draws while still having a plethora of decisions when games go long, then Sapphire-Ruby Valor is likely 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.