G’day Hexers! Today I have another Clash pool analysis for you all.
On the 8th of April we had our 3rd Clash, and it should be no surprise to anyone that the current landscape is a far cry from what we’ve grown with in the past 7 sets. Everything changed the day Doombringer invaded Entrath.
Before the arrival of the Enders it was rare to see people running tri-shard decks in Clashes, but now it’s the norm. In the Clash on the 8th there were a total of 112 participants, and of those there were only 4 people who built a dual-shard deck. On the other hand, 82 players went tri-shard, 16 quad-shard, and there were 6 who braved the penta-shard dream.
The obvious reason for this is due to how the latest set was designed. You now need Kismet’s favor to get enough playables to do a dual-shard deck, or at least one that doesn’t need to add too much filler.
I’ve talked about tri-shard and consistency in the past, and what I said back then is relevant more than ever. Before we take a look at a Clash deck, I would like to go over a few principles I follow and provide some pointers when playing limited this format.
Firstly, I always start by trying to build the best dual-shard deck I can as I value consistently very highly. This also makes it much easier to analyze my options when it comes to potentially splashing a 3rd shard. I also apply this to drafting, focusing on 2 shards and looking for splash options if there is nothing good to take or I’m not getting enough cards. After the first pack, you should have a good idea of how open your shards are, and halfway through the 2nd pack you will likely be able to tell if the 2 shard plan is going to work or not.
One thing I avoid like Plague and Famine is using more than 3 shards if I can help it, and honestly you really shouldn’t need to 99% of the time. Consistency and curving out is super important. This is especially true in large tournaments like the Clash. The more consistent your deck, the better.
A mistake that I see now and then is players splashing another shard to gain some extra power, then instantly negating that power increase by running mediocre cards (eg. Hextricator, Shardcall, or even extra shards to get back some of the consistency they’ve lost). In doing this, you are actually negating some of the power you just gained while still being less consistent than before. Obviously, I am referring to when it is not necessary to splash an additional shard or when the fixing available isn’t a bunch of Root shards. In these situations I will generally run filler cards instead, especially if it’s only a few cards that is needed to finish off my deck.
Alright, enough jibber-jabber, let’s take a look at a tri-shard deck that went 4-3 in the Clash.
The first thing that stands out to me here is that there are too many Diamond shards for my liking. I think the main reason the player has chosen to do this is because of the low cost cards included from Diamond.
Since Sapphire and Wild are the clear primary shards here, including low cost cards in your splash color means you are mathematically less likely to be able to play them early unless you add more sources like the player has chosen to do so here. However, by doing this the odds of not getting one of the primary shards early is increased, which in turn is a very big risk when the majority of the deck utilizes those shards.
I also notice there are several playable cards within the primary shards chillin’ in reserves. As I mentioned above, I always build the best 2 shard deck to begin with and work from there, so let’s do that now and see how that looks.
So here we can see 24 cards all from Sapphire and Wild. You will notice that not just all the Diamond cards are removed, I also lowered the overall curve and removed the following from Sapphire and Wild:
Blast Off is good when used on a large Grapes of Wrath or a Grand Squirrel Titan, but I felt the deck didn’t really need it since there are 2 Party Crasher’s and a Sucker Punch that can help give evasion. It being Basic speed is also a big negative for me.
I’ve never been a big fan of Zeota’s Seance since it represents card disadvantage and, while it will potentially overcome that by ensuring you draw gas thanks to Fateweave, I personally prefer to just roll the dice on my draws than run a card like this.
As for Raucous Revelry, I simply didn’t think there was a good enough payoff to warrant running this. I then decided to leave both of the Terminus cards as the 4 cost Ripclaw Apocalyte as it is perfectly fine as is.
Overall this is a pretty decent list that has a good curve and isn’t sacrificing on too much power even when sticking to 2 shards. The next step is to now see how the deck looks with those powerful Diamond cards splashed in and compare.
I then splashed the 2 best Diamond cards, those being Leaf Clobber (which is a fantastic trick that permanently buffs 2 troops by +2+2) and Double Down (which is a late game Bomb that can easily end a game when played).
With this setup I’d only really need to add in 1 Diamond Shard along with the 2 Root Shards, leaving me with 7 Wild and 7 Sapphire shards. This would give me an 8/8/3 allocation, which I’m more than happy with since the Diamond isn’t needed till later in the game and the deck should operate without issues when it comes to the 2 primary shards.
Something I didn’t notice till just now is that Cuttleclaws is in the reserves. It is probably a better maindeck option than Shrink thanks to its Quick speed and potential for blowouts. It is worth considering a swap.
Now that we have the 2 new lists we want to compare them. In this case, I think it is clear that the Diamond splash offers a lot of power with very minimal risk so in this scenario I’d likely use that list over the 2 Shard option.
What do you guys think? Would you have gone for 2 or 3 shards here or would you do something else entirely? Let me know in the forums below!
And if you’ve liked this sort of analysis, keep your eyes peeled on my YouTube channel as I’ll hopefully have some Clash Analysis videos up shortly. As always, thanks for reading and happy Hexing!
Thanks for reading,
Havoc has been playing HEX since the beginning, and there aren’t many days in a year where he doesn’t jump into a game. We can’t seem to get rid of this crazy aussie. He even managed to get himself and his dog Bella onto a card. He also has numerous achievements over the years, including 1st & 3rd in FiveShards Cup of Fate tournaments, 1st in a Pro Player tournament, and Several Bash & Clash Top 8’s.
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