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Deep Dive – Testing the Waters

Nov 30, 2017

I stare into the pitch-black pool that swirls before me, my eyes unable to comprehend the horrors it unleashed moments ago… but I am not afraid. I don’t have time to be afraid. Today, I set off on a mission of utmost importance; I must enter these mysterious portals, navigate their depths, gather intel, and get out alive… provided I even survive entry.

Alas, it must be done! Only through knowledge do we stand a chance. I close my eyes and dive deep into the pool.

G’day Hexers!

Havoc here with something for you limited players: HEX Clash pool analysis!

I’ll be eyeballing pools from HEX’s weekly sealed cash tournaments, the Clash. My objective is to unravel them and seek out alternate options or room for improvement. In this article I’ll be focusing on a single pool that I felt had several good options to explore, but if you decide you want more, I have videos on my youtube channel as well where I analyse a few Clash decks in their entirety. Let’s jump in!

Before we catapult into the deep end, I’d recommend any new players who want to get a better handle on limited to check out the B.R.E.A.D system. I won’t cover it in full detail in this article, but I’ve made a video that gives a general overview of the concept:

Now that you’re a little more comfortable in the water, our first pool awaits. This one is from the Clash on the 29th of October. You may think an older pool like this is irrelevant since we now have Dead of Winter to play with (hype!), however there is still plenty to learn about deckbuilding essentials which are set-agnostic. So, without further ado, let’s dive in and see what knowledge awaits us in the depths.

Champion: Renner


WADING IN

The first thing to look at here is the deck’s curve. The importance of a good curve is not to be understated. When building a deck, you want to give yourself the best chance of maximizing your resources each turn of the game, as this will help you control the board and ultimately your opponent.

Clash Curve

A good curve is generally achieved by having a majority of your cards in the 1/2/3 slot, especially in limited. Constructed is an entirely different beast, so we will focus on the 1/2/3 slots for now. Unfortunately, a quick glance at the above list shows it is lacking in this department. Only two troops are at 2 cost or lower. This not only hurts this deck’s early game, but it also hurts the cards that come after, like Dread Apprentice. This deck will never have troops in the crypt for the Apprentice’s Scrounge requirement when you want to put him onto the board.

If you’d like to dive further into curve structure, I’ve put together another video which you can check out here:

Looking at the cards themselves and taking into account the BREAD system, we sadly don’t have anything that I’d call a Bomb. There is, however, a decent amount of Removal. Triple Totem Trap stands out here as a very cost-efficient removal.In the case of Festering Decay, however, the card also has a Scrounge requirement in addition to its 1 cost. This means the lack of low cost troops hurts us once again.

Moving onto Evasion, here we have a Loregoyle Curator, which is a good 2/4 Flight troop that can give an alternate win condition if the game goes late or otherwise interrupt various crypt interactions. Sadly, it is our only form of Evasion in the deck. Also note, Mordrom’s Gift wasn’t socketed with the Major Diamond of the Seraph, so that option to gain some more Evasion wasn’t fully utilized either.

As for Aggression, since we are lacking early board presence, this deck will never be fast out of the gate and put our opponents on the defensive. This means we can’t punish any slow hands or risky keeps. On the contrary, we are likely to find ourselves in that unenviable position due to our weak early game, even with 3 Totem Trap’s.

Another thing we want to consider is the deck’s champion choice and how well it fits with the cards at our disposal. I noticed two Merciless Culler’s and a Xentoth’s Hunger, plus the Scrounge cards I mentioned earlier. All of these require either troops in the crypt or a fresh body to sacrifice, which makes me think the better champion for the deck above would be Bloodspinner Zorath.

In summary, the above deck has decent removal, but it’s lacking reliable ways to win. Its biggest detriments are the lack of evasive threats and early pressure. Let’s go take a look at the rest of the pool and see what other options were available.

INTO THE DEEP

Crickey! So many cards!

Clash Pool

I find my eyes immediately drawn to the Sapphire cards, namely all those sexy 2 drops. We wanted to improve the curve of the deck, and the 2 slot is one of the places that typically has a lot of strong options which can easily be overlooked by inexperienced deckbuilders. It is also the slot where you normally get most of your important, early-game playables. Always pay close attention to your 2 and 3 drops when building a deck, as most of your playables will come from here.

Keeping this rule in mind, I think this pool could support either a strong Diamond/Sapphire or a strong Blood/Sapphire deck, but to me the Blood/Sapphire option has the edge. Let’s take a look at my new list and I’ll explain why.

Champion: Bloodspinner Zorath


A major improvement in my opinion! We now have a lot more 2 drops, which gives us a lot of board presence in the early game, and the curve is now in a state where we are likely able to play something every turn from turn 2 onwards. We lose some removal, but we make up for it with early pressure, several evasive troops, and even some alternate removal options that weren’t included before. Better yet, we even found some hidden bombs!

Before we inspect our gains, let’s look at our sacrifices. We removed a total of 12 Diamond cards and 2 Blood cards. We can see those here:

 
Totem TrapTotem TrapTotem TrapDaybreak DivinerLoregoyle CuratorCrackling BlastCrackling BlastWarparty Guide
Crypt ShriekerGrim Skull TacticianCanyon RunnerBloodeye DefilerWeeping BansheePower and Pain

As for our sexy gains, they are:

 
Cheap ShotParriphagyUnderworld CrusaderSkittering CultivatorSkittering CultivatorSkittering CultivatorRuneweb InfiltratorXentoth’s Zealot
Hatchery MalvokerWebborn ApostateEmpress of IceVilefang EremiteVigilant DuskwingVigilant DuskwingMechanized Aerialist

While we lost 5 removal cards from Diamond, we have actually gained 2 good ones, so it is only a net loss of 3. As I pointed out before, we have increased our evasive threat count, early presence, and the overall deck synergy is vastly improved.

The Skittering Cultivators alone give us some good early pressure and are also really good defenders if needed. They also provide synergy with our cards that require sacrifice targets, not to mention our Vilefang Eremite (Dreadlings are robot spiders!) and our one assault card: Mechanized Aerialist.

Not only that, the Skittering Cultivators will help us Scrounge easily with our double Dread Apprentice. When we can easily activate their Scrounge power, these 3/2s become a burst of damage or even sweet health gain is we have a Vilefang Eremite on board. We also have more synergy related to Spiders and that is thanks to some new generators: Runeweb Infiltrator, Hatchery Malvoker, and even the horrifying to look at Parriphagy (I like to imagine the dude is screaming “THIS ISN’T MY MOISTURIZER”).

If we look back to the original deck, we only had 1 evasive threat. Now, thanks to the switches above, we have 5 troops with Flight as well as Spiderlings with Unblockable if we get lucky. Finally, we also have Vilefang Eremite triggers, which are a form of evasion as you don’t need to attack through your opponent’s board to deal damage.

Outside of the evasive threats, we have also gained some high value cards that I’ve yet to mention. Say hello to our first bomb! Underworld Crusader is a card that has seen plenty of constructed play, and it definitely can have a high impact in limited as well. It’s a 4/4 with a minor socket that draws 2 cards upon its death. Yum! As for the socket, I would go for the Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy here which will give it Speed. This capitalizes on the Crusader’s large stats for its spot in the curve by letting it bash in straight away.

Our second bomb, Empress of Ice, is another card that has seen constructed play. This Icy Queen allows you to exhaust an opposing troop whenever a Sapphire Shard is played. This helps keep the pressure on, and if the game goes late and you have 5 Sapphire thresholds, this power can lock your opponent out of the game all by itself.

We also gained Xentoth’s Zealot, a great 2 drop that puts on pressure and steals an opponent’s card from their deck when it is blocked by a troop, and utilized Mordrom’s Gift more effectively. It is true that this card was already in the deck before, but by using Sapphire we gained the option of using the Major Sapphire of Sorcery. Whenever we can play something from our hand, develop the board, and then also fill our hand up with new actions, I’m a happy camper. Another good option is the Major Blood Orb of Fleshcraft.

FINAL RIPPLES

Wrapping up, I’d still go with Zorath as the champion for this new build as we don’t want to be too reliant on the Skittering Cultivator’s for our sacrifice targets. Overall. I’m very happy with the B/S list.

After all that, I really feel like playing the deck now, haha. Curse you, HEX, for being so addictive!

I hope the knowledge that I’ve shared here today helps you in your battles. I feel I am close to a revelation in regards to the mysterious Portals that arrived with Dead of Winter, so please keep your spirits high and await my next communique.

Thanks for reading!

Havoc | Twitch | Twitter | YouTube

Clash Pool

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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