Today let’s dive into the Alachian Sea with fresh eyes. What if we were brand new players with our first campaign character, ran through all the quests we could early, and then took the option to go to the Alachian Sea as early as possible? This would leave us with a Campaign character around level 5 or level 6, and no mercenaries yet accessible to us. With such an early shard grid, no party passives, and no insane mercenary synergy to support us, how are we going to tackle the very first dungeon we run into after 2 short encounters into the zone?
As a dungeon, Brutecrown Bluff is very unique. There are only 5 total encounters, but the 4th and 5th encounter provide a number of choices. Before the 4th encounter, we are asked to pick one of the 3 Gnoll princesses to take to defeat their father, the King. In that 4th encounter, before we meet King Kazraga, we must use the Gnoll princess we chose, and their deck, to defeat Nogg Nogg’s Handler. Each Princess has a unique deck, so this can throw a lot of new players off balance, asking them to learn an entire new deck to play with and win with before defeating the dungeon. In the 5th encounter, players are asked to adapt again through 4 unique phases where we must defeat progressively more challenging foes. This encounter is a test of endurance, as the AI replenishes its hand and troops in play until we get to the final phase of King Kazraga.
The 4th and 5th encounter in Brutecrown Bluff are the most difficult points for many new and old players alike. As players, we are asked to think differently and change the way we develop our gameplay strategy to succeed.
In an effort to walk everyone through Brutecrown bluff, we will look at one Underworld and one Ardent themed deck with only a level 6 Campaign character in mind for talents and shard grid expectations. We will try our best to only consider affordable cards to trade for or that we can acquire along the way.
Before the deck building for both factions, let’s look at what we are up against and go over a few tips we can use to beat every encounter in Brutecrown Bluff:
Tips: Attempt to kill the Attack Dog in play as early as possible. This is much easier to do on our turn while it is a 1/1. Have blockers available for Blazemaws, and expect to chump a bit when Burgg’s charge power is activated. Use actions that kill troops, focusing on the Brutecrown Carver as a primary threat to remove.
Tips: Zagg’s troops in play can quickly get out of hand. It’s nice if our deck performs quickly. If it doesn’t, we need to try to sneak in with evasive troops and use quality removal… preferably AOE removal. Zagg will copy our strongest troops and use them against us, so we need to play our troops wisely and only when we know we can deal with what will be copied. This may mean holding off on an early troop until we have removal for the starting doppelganger in play.
Tips: Vargar is not as scary as Zagg if it goes late, but removal is still key. Smart aggression with troops and trading early will pay off late if we have a decent late-game strategy. The trick is to keep all threats off the board after Vargar hits her passive, because the passive will snowball quickly on even a single troop in play.
Always choose Zagg in the center node after defeating Vargar. She is the easiest to play and beat Nogg Nogg’s Handler with. Her constant for the final battle gives 20 health and can make copies of the cards cards we draw, which makes the final encounter much easier to deal with.
Tips: The reason Zagg is the strongest here is that we can use our Frenetic Doppelganger to continually copy Nogg Nogg. Since Nogg Nogg keeps getting buffed by the handler’s passive, our Frenetic Doppleganger is growing and keeping the stat modifiers each turn it transforms again. If Nogg Nogg uses an early Crackling Clash or Survival of the Fittest to kill our copied Nogg Nogg, our doppleganger’s Deathcry trigger will put it back into play for us, keeping us safe early in the game. In order to make this work well, we will have to take 1 or 2 Nogg Nogg hits to the face before we have a solid copy growing. Afterwards, we can build up our board state to make more copies with our Wolsy Wabbits and charge power. Do not attack with Nogg Nogg copies at all until you are ready to deal the final blow.
Tips: Stay in this phase as long as possible and try to keep the board clear. Enemy troops will block if we would deal fatal damage, so this is not too difficult as we build up our board state.
Tips: If we grew our board in Phase 1 and controlled the board, Phase 2 is much easier. If not, you have a hard fight ahead of you.
Tips: Before going to Phase 3, hold back removal before the final swing (especially any form of AOE removal). This will really help us keep the board and hand clear. Ideally, we can take out the Gnolls at the very beginning of Phase 3 to make it hard for the Crazed Gnoll Cackle to grow into a superior board state.
Tips: Vargar and Burgg will start in play and can get out of control. Use early removal to take care of both, or save chump blockers. It’s great to have some evasion for this phase as Kazraga plays many troops. It can be difficult to get past his large board state otherwise.
Hopefully, with this intimate knowledge of Brutecrown Bluff, you now have the strategic toolbox needed to make quick work of this dungeon. Now, let’s take a look at two decks that can make quick work of King Kazraga on our level 6 campaign characters.
With knowledge of the 4 phases of the final encounter, we want to have a resilient army of troops. Zombies that can revive from our crypt seem like a nice way to keep a full board of troops swinging. Some great options that were added with the Alachian Sea update are Chupacabra and Grub Crawler. A newer player would have to trade for these before they they are farmable only after Brutecrown, but it should be easy enough to work out a deal with a friend or find them cheap on the Auction House. Grub Crawler can trade up well with the +2 defense Head equipment, and it creates additional random insect threats when it takes damage. Chupacabras are very strong with their Feet equipment that gives them Flight. This card will be one of our main sources of damage as we progress through the dungeon.
Our zombie package includes Raving Ghouls, Voracious Zombies, Relentless Zombies, Decaying Giants, Tale of Undeath, and Rotting Away. With this mix of zombies and actions, we have many bonuses. Combined with equipment, it is fairly easy to get our zombies back into play and make them larger threats. The same is true for our removal. Rotting Away will come back into our hand when we play a zombie if we use the Chest equipment for it. When a zombie or undead enters play, our Raving Ghouls will go back into our hand with their Weapon equipment. Between these two, we will always have the upper hand in a battle of attrition.
We round out the deck with hand denial, card draw, and removal.
As a Shin’Hare Ranger, our best perk is our Lethal Pet. We can get some great early trades with it and, because it is unique, it’s fine to focus on those defensive trades and then make a new one to trade again rather than buffing it as an aggressive threat. For early talents, we go up the pet tree on the left to Fertile Soil
Level 6 Shin’hare Ranger
22x Blood Shard
Head: Cap of the Disgusting Insect
Chest: Brittle Bone Guard
Feet: Claw-toed Shoes
Trinket: Infectious Toxin
Gloves: Decaying Hand
Weapon: Raver’s Cleaver
This deck makes an effort to generate card advantage. Similar to what we have done with zombies, we look towards Diligence triggers and Mobilize threats in our Human Mage deck to make quick armies through combat tricks. For this we combine cards like Blessed Scout, Mystic Naturalist, Cloud Bounder, Consult the Talon, Tale of Insight, Blindside, and Hilltop Monastery. Each play a unique role in making sure we maintain card advantage, both in hand and in play.
Level 6 Human Mage
Head: Peripheral Enhancers
Chest: Ink-Stained Vestments
Feet: Airweight Bounders
Trinket: Ring of the White Tower
Gloves: Writer’s Guard
Weapon: Scepter of Nightmares
These articles are for new players and the free-to-play community, so I’d love to hear from you! Was the article helpful? What card/equipment would you like to see featured and explored in a future Fully Equipped article? Is there a campaign class you can’t figure out, or an encounter you want to smack with budget cards?
Until next time, if you want to do the job right, you better show up Fully Equipped!