Hexploration – Monk Moon

Apr 25, 2017

Welcome back to another Hexploration article. Hope you’ve all enjoyed the HEX Clashes, the Easter event, and just HEX in general! I know I have! Today we are going to be talking about my favorite champion, Winter Moon! I’ve been brewing with her a bit, especially since the format has seemed to slow down some. We aren’t seeing nearly as many Dreadling decks as we did at the beginning of the format, and the meta seems to have shifted to grindy Blood decks that control the game through removal and hand disruption. Even though Withering Gaze is one heck of a card against Winter Moon, this is the time Winter Moon shines. It loves playing against the slow decks since they tend to give you a lot of time to build up and abuse your charge power.

I’ve been toying with the card Monk of the Sacred Stones for some time now, but it was never quite good enough. One reason being Winter Moon just has better things available to do, while another reason was it was hard to really abuse Monk of the Sacred Stones without putting in a bunch of work. However, once Illusory Form came out in Scars of War and Winter Moon lost a good chunk of its power from rotating cards like Oracle Song, Chlorophyllia, and Mastery of Time, I turned to this powerful Mantis that begs to be built around. Here is where I’m currently at with the list.

Champion: Winter Moon

The deck has the traditional ramp and the card draw/filtering that we usually see in Winter Moon lists, but this one is also playing cards that reduce the cost of other cards. Cards like Mindcall and Coralcove Witch are pretty unique in what they do. Reducing the cost of cards is always a very powerful effect in almost any trading card game. It’s even better here because we can replay these reduced cards with our champ power or even recur them with say something like… Monk of the Sacred Stones? Monk of the Sacred Stones here can just replay cards for value or to allow you to combo off. We’ll get into the combo in a bit.

Power of Reduction

So, what are all the benefits of reducing your card’s cost?

  • Well, for one, the card obviously becomes cheaper. This means you can plan your turns in advance and play out your hand out quickly. It allows you to play Mindcall on turn one and then on turn two cast both Change Course and something like Tilling the Soil. It can also be important to reduce Arcane Soil so that you can cast it on turn four and start refilling your hand. Reducing the cost of cards with Empower like Cyclone Shaper and Soothsaying is powerful because it means when you Empower it, you’ll be reducing the cost even more. For example, if you Coralcove Witch a Cyclone Shaper, you can then Empower it and it will only cost two. This means you’ll get a 4/6 troop with Flight that also reduces the cost of all your actions by two for only two resources. That’s insane! With Soothsaying and Coralcove Witch you’ll draw four cards and discard two for just two resources—just a few of the very powerful things that can be accomplished with Coralcove Witch or Mindcall.
  • Cheaper cards means Monk of the Sacred Stones gets back more things. Remember that when you reduce the cost of a card, it is reduced permanently in all zones, including the crypt! Replaying Mindcalls will just let you reduce other cards to power out things like Absolute Power or to ensure that your next Monk gets back more things!
  • Reducing the cost of your cards allows you to combo off. This is the big one. It gives you inevitably. The question is, how do you do it? Well, it requires you to have an Illusory Form that costs 0 and a Monk of the Sacred Stones in play. If you do this, you can void your Monk over and over and buy back the Illusory Form plus two other things. If you have an Arcane Focus you can start digging through your deck. If you have a Mindcall you can make everything in your hand free and buy it all back. That means if you have a Change Course, Absolute Power, Arcane Focus, Soothsaying, or even Arcane Soil you win the game by replaying your free card draw and eventually just using Arcane Soil repeatedly to make a bunch of Dreadlings and kill your opponent.
  • You also have another combo just from reducing the cost of your cards so you can play them alongside Absolute Power.
  1. Draw your whole deck with Absolute Power and have at least two extra resource points available.
  2. Mindcall onto Mindcall and Arcane Soil. Keep doing this until Arcane Soil costs one.
  3. Now cast Arcane Soil to draw two cards and make a bunch of Dreadlings—this is usually more than enough to kill your opponent.
  4. This setup is required only if you haven’t reduced any other cards into your deck. If you have, it gets much easier and you can do more. For example, if you’ve reduced a Monk of the sacred Stones to four already, then you can just Mindcall onto Monk until he costs zero and then cast Monk to replay Mindcalls. Then, after that you can Mindcall onto Illusory Form reducing it to 0 and then continuously void Monk with Illusory Form to make all your cards free.
  5. Keep track of eggs and how many Mindcalls have the Winter Moon added text of “draw a card when you play this.” If you don’t, you run the risk of decking yourself easily. Easiest ways for eggs to get into your deck are from Exarch of the Egg or Tribunal Magistrate. If you know how many eggs you have though it shouldn’t matter when you cast Absolute Power.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t be afraid to reduce the cost of Absolute Power early if you have nothing else to do. I’ve Coralcove Witched the Absolute Power before and then Illusory Formed my Coralcove Witch to reduce Absolute Power again and make it only cost four. Then, from there you can easily find a way to win the game.
  • Monk of the Sacred Stones can grab resources that have hit the crypt through a Change Course or Soothsaying. So, if you need more resources, then gettem back!
  • Against decks that don’t have reach, just Lullaby when the attack is lethal. No need to Lullaby otherwise unless you know for certain that you are going to use all your resources next turn and if you don’t Lullaby them that turn then you could die on the turn when all your resources are used up.

The last deck I want to briefly mention is a Winter Moon deck I played last season that has also transitioned pretty well into Immortal. In fact, Jeff Hoogland made it into the top eight of the Immortal Championship Series with my list before punting away his match in the top eight. Love you Jeff!

I’ve written about this deck before when it was legal in Constructed. It was a very powerful deck towards the end of the season, but I wasn’t sure how well it would translate into Immortal. I felt like the Immortal format was going to be extremely unfair and combo based with Terror Mill, Titiana’s Majesty, and Hideous Conversion. While those decks are played, they don’t seem to be oppressive. In fact, many fair decks are doing very well in Immortal. More importantly, troop decks are doing well, which makes this deck shine even more since it preys on midrange and troop decks alike.

The idea of this deck is pretty simple. You just cast cards to accelerate your resources and draw a bunch of other cards. You buy time with Lullaby and Mastery of Time. You then Scheme onto Mastery of Time or a drawing action like Zodiac Divination and then just keep going. The plan is to play Psychic Ascension eventually following it up with a Mastery of Time. Psychic Ascension is a very powerful card, but it’s back breaking if you take one or multiple turns after playing it. It basically gives all the troops you randomly generate as the Paragon of Thought Speed.

There are some cards that are hard to win through or beat like Subtle Striker, Frost Wizard, and Drowned Shrine of Ulthar. That is why Jeff played a single copy of Time Ripple main deck and has more in the reserves. The biggest mistake with this deck is bringing in too many cards. You should only be bringing in two-three cards per match. The only exception to this rule is against Angus, where you’re bringing in three Harvest Moon, all the Carnasauruses, and the Wrathwood Master Moss. This is basically a “transformation reserves” plan that lets you attack your worst matchup from a different angle. Harvest Mooning onto Carnasaurus is great, but if you get it onto Master Moss you’re really cooking. If you hit Master Moss with a Harvest Moon, you’ll not only gain health when it enters play, but also when it dies and transforms into a Wrathwood Mossling!

Both these decks are really fun to play. I think Winter Moon in general is a blast to play. I hope you enjoy at least one of these decks in one of the formats. I’m glad Jeff played Winter Moon to a high finish to show that it has potential and can work in Immortal. I mean, all I want to do is draw cards, accelerate my resources, and take all the turns. Is that too much to ask?

As always, thanks for reading!

Ali Aintrazi
@Alieldrazi on Twitter
My Twitch Channel

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