Hexploration – Dead of Winter Top 10

Nov 13, 2017

PUCK IS DEAD! I REPEAT, PUCK IS DEAD. Come on Blightbark, Why?! He didn’t even reanimate him, he appears to just have killed him. Man, I’m upset and I’m sure you’re all traumatized. So, to get our minds off things, I’m going to be talking about ten cards in Dead of Winter that I am most hyped for. As I write this, the full set hasn’t been revealed yet, but we still have some super sweet cards to talk about! Grab a cup of coffee, juice, alcoholic beverage, or whatever else it is you enjoy drinking while reading as we dive right in.

Dream's End

“WTF MAN, YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO GET OUR MINDS OFF THIS!” I know, I know. I’m sorry but this card is very powerful. Just ignore poor Puck there bleeding out. I’m hopeful Balthasar and Brosi and the entire Merry Caravan will get their revenge by turning Lord Blightbark into a butterfly or a squirrel. What worse outcome can you give to a Lord of the Undead? You can do that, or maybe kill him before he can turn into a lich and be with Lady Violet Blightbark for eternity.

Now back to the actual card. You can’t play too many Dream’s End in your Deathcry deck. I imagine you’ll only want one or two since four resources is a lot. To fully understand the power of this card, we need to know what Deathcry troops become before the casting of this card—essentially, what Deathcry troops curve into this card? Blightbush, Thought Collector, Underworld Crusader, Rune Ear Hierophant, Blightbark Paladin, and Promiscuous Succubus all curve perfectly well into a Dream’s End. The most powerful of these is of course Underworld Crusader, but there is a ton of potential in this list. Even if you just opt for the cream of the crop, Crusader alone is worth running a single copy of Dream’s End if people are playing midrange decks. Now, if we go past four resources we start getting into game ending territory like Drunken Hooligan, Blightwater Ferryman, Doomed Guardian, Exalted Cabalist, Lady Violet Blightbark, and other powerful Deathcry cards. This will be a solid choice in Blood/Wild Deathcry decks.

Eternal Architect

Now this card. When I first read it, I thought it was unplayable. Five resources for a 3/3 troop that reduces the cost of cards in your hand when you ready? Unplayable. Then I read it again. It’s not cards in your hand, it’s cards in your deck. Your entire deck. You know what cards want to be costless? Any card. You know what cards really want to cost less? All the Escalate cards and Empower cards. Bounty of the Magus especially can start doing some powerful things with this Eternal in play. If you are able to ready multiple times with him on the board, your opponent better hope you draw mono resources. Reducing the cost of actions can have some crazy payoffs and opens the door up to c-c-combos. This card is extremely fragile, but the payoff is eternal.

Stalking Quarry

Thank you, HEX Gods! I’m so tired of socket decks getting stronger and stronger each set. I hated playing Gemborn Prowler because it was so narrow, and the payoff wasn’t worth how narrow the card was. It was like playing Dispel against Papa Goot when you really wanted to be playing Scouring Light. Stalking Quarry is essentially a one-sided Extinction against socket decks. That’s worth a Reserves slot, especially since it’s also solid against Underworld Crusader and Rune Ear Hierophant. On top of all that, you can even socket it with the Major Blood Orb of Fleshcraft for more value. A welcome addition!

Palm of Granite

Mesa Wildspeaker wasn’t quite good enough for ramp strategies. However, Palm of Granite is. It thins your deck of resources and essentially only cost two resources, since the Wild Shard will come into play ready. It will also trigger Runic, so if you want to accelerate your resources super quickly, you can play it alongside Runic Growth. The only drawback is you’ll need a sizable number of Wild Shards if you want to run the full playset of Palm of Granite. With Momentum coming out and essentially making playing shards every turn matter, I expect this will be the seed that allows those decks to grow and flourish.

Dark Desire of Nulzann

The first PvP card with two socketable majors, I expect this card to be at least a one-of in any decks that wants to abuse that Major socket goodness. Even if we are just talking known quantities, the current Ruby / Diamond Socket deck lets you put Major Ruby of Twinstrike and Major Diamond of the Seraph for a veritable monster. With those two gems you get a troop that has evasion and is extremely difficult to block and attack through. Six resources is a lot, but socket decks have access to Sentry of Nulzann for convenient cost reduction. You won’t even have to play multiple of these to get your value. You can just play one or two since, when it Deploys, it will make two copies of itself (with random Major Gems of your shards) and put them into your deck.

Exalted Pathfinder

Easily my favorite Exalted card this time around. I don’t even care that it has Momentum: 1, that’s just bonus to me. The best part is the text: “When you play a resource, draw a card.” Playing him alongside Balthasar the Elegist or Lady Avalanche allows you to play multiple resources in one turn. Palm of Granite is yet another way to play more than one resource a turn. If you have a turn where you’re able to Balthasar a resource into play, then Palm of Granite to play another resource plus your resource for the turn, not only will you draw three cards, but you’ll also be attacking for 8 that turn. A card that draws you cards and can easily kill your opponent just for playing resources is phenomenal! I’m a Wild mage at heart, so this card is everything I want to be doing.

Shamrock, The Goldfather

A Diamond/Wild Crusader? YAAAAS! To fully understand how good he is, you need to know what a Lucky Coin does. It’s a 1/1 Resource with no thresholds that Fateweaves. That’s value, especially if your Diamond/Wild deck is going big. It powers Momentum troops, allows you to set up the top card of your deck for Balthasar or Orchi-Notion. It’s great for Runic cards too since they will trigger as soon as the Lucky Coin goes into your hand. On top of all that, if your opponent doesn’t respect this Goldfather and just plays a bunch of actions or troops, you can discard three coins to play the top card of your deck for free. The keyword here is coins. They don’t have to be Lucky Coins—you can discard two Lucky Coins and a Wakuna Coins if wish to play that Aegilus of the top of your deck for free. Throw away that shamwow and pick up that Shamrock!

Hap'ie, the High Hero

If you’re hap’ie and you know it, clap your hands. Hap’ie is my favorite HEX art so far. I want to be as chill and cool as Hap’ie, and so does that raven! Hap’ie turns all your trash into… most likely more trash, but that trash will draw you cards. When you play a card like Change Course or use the ability on Monsagi Coins, you’ll instantly transform a lot of cards and put them into your deck. If you make a ton of Dreadlings with something like Wild’s Favor, they will also transform and go back into your deck. Portal cards are terrific as well, since they are constantly transforming. It can punish Into the Unknown too, if you manage to play him afterwards. It will make the transformed actions/troops/resources you play also draw you cards. Yarna of Lost Voices got you down? Don’t worry, Hap’ie is here to help. He will essentially neuter her bury plan. A very interesting card to say the least, and it fills the some of the void I get from Winter Moon rotating out of Standard.

Blightwater Ferryman

Wow, a troop that not only reanimates another troop when it comes into play but also when it dies. Sure it’s random, but it’s still extremely powerful, especially if you can control the troops in your crypt with cards that have Scrounge. The best place I see this card is in a Blue Sparrow deck with Mordrom’s Gift. You just throw some Blightwater Ferryman into your crypt with Change Course, your charge power, Theorize, Alchemite, or Ruinforge Rummager. Then, when you do play your Mordrom’s Gift, you’ll bring back multiple troops when you reanimate your Ferryman. You can even throw Uruunaz the Merciless into the mix to bring back ALL the troops or just other powerful troops like Eternal Seeker and Aegilus. The Ferryman also dies easily, and when he does it is all upside, bringing back more troops. This will make your opponent think twice before attacking their own troops which might kill or trade with the Ferryman.

Demented Whispers

Another Escalate card! This one can hopefully make Demented Ascension have its time in the sun by being an incredibly powerful bit of support and control. Demented Whispers is great early and mid-game. It will empty your opponent’s hand quickly. Late game it will just essentially be a Chronic Madness, which is fine in the right matchups. This will power out things like Cult of the Nameless City and Demented Destiny a lot quicker. Having no value for cards in play is its biggest drawback, so you’ll want to play some sort of board clear like Massacre to prevent getting overwhelmed.

These ten cards are ones that I can’t wait to get my hands on so I can start brewing with them straight away. Playing resources, big actions, drawing cards, and burying my opponent’s deck are all things I enjoy doing. Dead of Winter isn’t going to disappoint, and I can’t wait for it to be live! What are some of your favorite Dead of Winter cards? Let me know in the forums!

As always, thanks for reading.

Ali Aintrazi

@Alieldrazi on Twitter
My Twitch Channel

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