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Fully Equipped – Scrounging Around

May 30, 2017

Our adventures in Entrath continue as we hunt for gold and the next best card. One enjoyable aspect of the Campaign is to experiment with optimizing deck builds for our adventure, builds which have the ability to tackle even the toughest content and slice through dungeons. One Mercenary that recently has resurfaced for this purpose has been Kikaku. Particularly due to some explosive cards we have access to from Scars of War.

Let’s try something a bit different this time. The optimal deck will be exposed in the building process, with affordable swaps revealed at the end. Both builds are equally effective, but highlighting the optimal build will reveal some of Kikaku’s more interesting mechanics.

If you would like – stop reading here – and build a deck using the above theme. I’d like to hear what you came up with using the same restrictions!


The Building Process

With our Scars of War collections growing, 2 cards from the set stand out to an extreme when reviewing their potential for a Kikaku deck. Those two cards are Graven Geist and Deathseeker.

Graven Geist is an enabler for Kikaku and an extremely powerful 1 drop. We have the ability to quickly use our charge power by turn 1 at the latest to fill our crypt with 2 troops. Kikaku’s charge power costs 3, but we start with 2 charges. That means, if we play a Graven Geist on turn 1 and then have a 2 drop ready to go for turn 2, we will have a guaranteed Scrounge trigger from Graven Geists ability. Having this Scrounge trigger on turn 2 allows us to set up for an early win with Kikaku (usually by turn 3), because we can start digging into our deck for what we need. Kikaku’s passive ability states that every time we Scrounge, we draw 2 cards and discard 1 card. This can quickly get out of hand as this allows us to stack Graven Geists and discard more troops every time we draw. Or, it can let us play an Underworld Recruiter and flood the board with Underworld troops. Also, let’s not forget to mention the real power here—every troop removed from our crypt allows our Graven Geist to quickly grow in attack, which can set us up for early turn 3 killing blows.

Deathseeker is another powerful centerpiece for Kikaku, because it fills many slots in a Kikaku deck. First and foremost, Kikaku’s unique deck building restriction requirements require us to have 10 Deathcry troops in the deck. Deathseeker, with it’s second Scrounge ability, fills that niche. Deathseeker also comes with a very nice 1 resource cost and an offensive, Scrounge 1: Rage ability that gives us turn 1 access to card draw.

We have a sturdy engine now with these two powerful cards to make the Scrounge mechanic Kikaku promotes rocket us to victory. To fully capitalize on Kikaku we need to hit a few more requirements for deck building—specifically, we need more Deathcry troops and a way to get troops into play quickly. We will also look for ways to combine these needs with some troop removal, because an upgraded Kikaku has a passive that will put troops from opposing crypts into our crypt at the beginning of our turn.

First, let’s hit the 10 Deathcry troops deckbuilding requirement by adding in Naive Lackey and Shroomshaw. Given a lack of other options, we will utilize Shroomshaw’s head equipment for the off chance we get a reduced cost shin’hare in our hand to play. Shroomshaw also gives us troops when it dies, so it helps power up the Scrounge engine and is a decent chump blocker.

With Scrounge and Deathcry a focus for the deck, the majority of the troops in the deck are Underworld. This makes Underworld Recruiter an optimal inclusion, and it is especially powerful following a Graven Geist and charge power activation to make them a solid 4/3 when played. Utilizing the Underworld Recruiter trinket equipment that gives a permanent +1/+1 every time an Underworld troop enters play, we can quickly swing in for 6 or more damage the following turn, enabling turn 3 or turn 4 wins.

At this point, we are very light on cards utilizing equipment. Remembering Kikaku’s upgraded passive ability, we dig in and go for a cheap Conscript based removal suite utilizing another new Scars of War card—found in chests—called Rot Sniper. Rot Sniper has a lot going on. First, they have a Major socket that we quickly fill with the Major Blood Orb of the Underworld. They also have the text, “When you Conscript an Underworld troop, target opposing troop gets -2/-2.” Now we have an engine to use that can remove threats every time we Conscript. He also has a gloves equipment that will give us a Dreadling every time an opposing troop dies, and feet equipment that will give us +1/+1 every time an Underworld troop enters play.

Another new PvE card introduced with Scars of War is Bitter Dread, which can be found by rolling Scars of War chests. It has a nice weapon equipment that reduces the cost to 0. Being able to Conscript an Underworld troop for 0 cost the same turn we play our Rot Sniper is a huge threat that we can look forward to fairly consistently on turn 3. To round out our Conscript based threats, we also play Cheap Shot, which, by itself, is already great. When we add Rot Sniper, it becomes a -3/-3 1-cost action that also gives us an Underworld troop that we can often play for free while our Underworld Recruiter is in play.

Finally we have some filler troops to round out the deck. All of these troops have a purpose and have worked well for me so far. We add Voice of Tombs as a great discard option to power our Underworld Recruiters and Deathseeker. We also have a spare chest equipment slot to utilize so they also have Lethal, which can be clutch early threat removal. We also splash in Wicked Webspawn as a complimentary Dreadling engine to enable regular use of Scrounge. Finally, we add Dread Apprentice for the 1 cost Scrounge ability to fuel future Scrounging.

Before we dive into the full decklist, let’s talk about the ‘blessings’ and ‘curses’ of Kikaku’s charge power. Let’s talk about ‘curses’ first to get that out of the way. The worst 2 hits with Kikaku’s charge power are Boom Shroom, which may wipe our board if we’ve already played troops, and Fungal Monstrosity, which will give our opponent 5 1/1 Shin’hare Jailors. Both are challenging to play against, and may push us to use our charge power on turn 1 before we play any troops. A possible bad hit is not worth risking a Graven Geist over. The ‘blessings’ would be cards like Titanospore, Shroomkin Stowaway, Bloatcap, Noxious Banecap, Sporomancer, Shroomtank, and Shroomshaw. Luckily, there are far more cards beneficial to us than bad, and if we have 5 troops in our crypt when we use our charge power, both shroomkin will go directly into play. If games go late, it’s a nice charge power to fall back on if we haven’t already run out of cards.

Deck List / Shopping List:


Rot Sniper socketed with Major Blood Orb of the Underworld

Champion: Mercenary Kikaku


Equipment:

Shroom Mask – Head Equipment for Shroomshaw
Recruiter’s Ring – Trinket Equipment for Underworld Recruiter
Chestguard of Murmurs – Chest Equipment for Voice of Tombs
Armguards of Dread – Gloves Equipment for Rot Sniper
Sniper’s Slippers – Feet Equipment for Rot Sniper
Unliving End – Weapon Equipment for Bitter Dread

Unfortunately for newer HEX players, several cards listed above are rare and may not be easy to obtain. Below is a more affordable variation of the deck that is also quite solid. My recommendation would be to focus on obtaining Graven Geist first (for the optimal build), then working on grabbing some Deathseekers. Rot Sniper can be removed for a slightly different strategy.

Champion: Mercenary Kikaku


Equipment:

Shroom Mask – Head Equipment for Shroomshaw
Recruiter’s Ring – Trinket Equipment for Underworld Recruiter
Chestguard of Murmurs – Chest Equipment for Voice of Tombs
Kit Catchers – Gloves Equipment for Fertile Engorger
Scrapyard Waders – Feet Equipment for Scrapyard Bruiser
Certificate of Receipt – Weapon Equipment for Contract Killing

This new list utilizes several of the same cards, but also has a bit less of a Scrounge focus, instead utilizing Tomb Swap to bring back troops to replay them. This is especially powerful with both Scrounge cards utilized to stack Scrounge effects. For example, if you play a Death’s Head Rider twice, Scrounging both times, you will force your opponent to sacrifice two troops when it enters play. A Dread Apprentice that does the same will make 6 Dreadlings when it enters play, instead than 3. Contract Killing with its weapon equipment is also used here to quickly ramp us into success, sometimes even ramping us into earlier wins than our optimized list can with a lucky turn 1 Underworld Recruiter. Fertile Engorger is included for early Lethal troops and more fodder for the crypt. Scrapyard Bruiser is added to meet our deck building requirements affordable.

One thing noticeable about both lists is that they prioritize running 61 cards. This is specifically for Mercenary synergy. Clatterclank, Katsuhiro, and a Ranger Campaign Character are bread and butter choices to pair with almost any Mercenary because they can grant up to 3 additional charges. Combined with Kikaku’s 2 starting charges, we can have up to 6 charges ready to go after playing our turn 1 shard. In a 4 turn game, with various card draw through Scrounge mechanics, we can easily use our charge power 3 times.

Gameplay Video

This list can tackle the toughest content in Entrath. In fact, I’ve cleared every single encounter with it.
Showing how the deck performs is more powerful than writing about it, so here is some gameplay:

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!

-Nico

Nicosharp has been playing TCG’s for over 20 years and has been a gamer for over 30. His passion in gaming has been heavily shaped through min/max’ing and optimizing builds throughout popular RPG’s, RTS’s, and MOBA’s. HEX – PVE now offers that desired sandbox in a TCG. But don’t let his passion for HEX PvE fool you; he also dives heavily into Limited play where he can put his deck building strategies to the test.


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