Hey everyone, Mat Bimonte here. You probably know me from streaming HEX late nights or from other trading card games. I am very excited to be bringing you bi-weekly Immortal content here on HEXTCG.com! New formats are always sweet to dive into, and as HEX adds more cards, the format expands, so it will get even better as we go along.
Immortal is going to start really heating up in the next few weeks as players will need to be grinding up at least 20 match wins to participate in the HexPrimal Immortal Championship Series, as the first event is on April 15th. In an effort to propel myself into the event I’ve fallen back in love with an old favorite, “Rocket Rabbit” championed by Boris Blastforge.
Let’s begin our conversation with a decklist I’ve been tinkering with on and off since Scars of War was released, and we can get to card specifics and style of play shortly afterwards:
The archetype commonly referred to as “Rocket Rabbit” was a deck I cut my teeth on in the HEX scene. Coming from other trading card games, I stuck to a strategy I really enjoyed in a “tempo” / “protect the queen” strategy.
“Tempo“: Tempo refers to your resource investment in comparison to your opponent’s, or otherwise furthering your board presence at a faster rate. How does this work with Rocket Rabbit? Well, for starters we are playing a Howling Brave deck which allows us to power out cards ahead of schedule including a powerful 3 resource troop, Rune Ear Hierophant. We’ll come back to the rabbit in a moment. Going further into our tempo plan we have cards such as Brown Fox Scout, Countermagic, Verdict of the Ancient Kings, and Vine Lash to play on our opponent’s turn instead of ours leaving them in a constant state of questioning whether to be committing more cards to the board, attacking, or removing our cards. We therefore control the terms of engagement, one of the strongest ways to manipulate a game.
“Protect the queen“: Protect the queen is a pretty easy to grasp concept, and it is fairly straight forward in execution as well. The “Queen” is referencing your threats, which in a perfect world is a second turn Spellshield wielding Rune Ear Hierophant. Your deck must be configured in a certain type of way in order to play this way, however. Our configuration has six main deck interrupts to protect our threats, as well as built in evasion with Boris Blastforge’s charge power.
I don’t think this card needs an extravagant introduction as its reign of terror is still going on in Standard, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a card as powerful as Rune Ear Hierophant for 3 resources. However, if you never played with the old gems, you will be surprised to see that in Immortal we are able to socket this card with abilities that give it Spellshield, and the line of text: “When this deals damage to an opposing champion, summon a Rhinoceros.” The Rhino is a blocker left behind, and it grows our Rune Ear. What synergy! This is the “queen” we are trying to protect at all costs.
I alluded to Boris’s charge power being able to force through a Rune Ear attack on a clogged board earlier, but what if other situations arise? If you read closely you can see that his ability targets ANY troop on the battlefield. You see those dead Vine Lashes in your hand and Turbulence in the Reserves? Well, “luckily” for us, a main part of our strategy is to gift our opponents troops with the power of Flight, and then police the skies with our low cost removal spells. Using Boris the correct way on different board states is a key component in our tempo game plan.
While this archetype has some very obvious card choices that have been in use since its inception, I want to get to a few innovations/upgrades I see in the deck for what I presume the Immortal meta will look like.
Well of Instinct – This one is a pretty obvious upgrade to the slow shards we had access to when this deck was Standard legal. Having all of your resources come into play immediately is a massive boon to an aggressive strategy that wants to be playing everything on time.
Transmogrifade – I’m on a full 4 Transmogrifade in this list over more Vine Lashes. I expect to see a lot of Angus the Arsonist variants with a low to the ground curve, and sometimes you just don’t have the necessary time to give their troops Flight and swat them out of the air. Transmogrifade allows us to keep up on resources, as well as turn one cost troops into some… interesting things. If we start to see an uptick in Vampire King, Vampire Queen, and other Flight troops, this is an easy swap to make within our Reserves with the Vine Lash/Turbulence.
Crocosaur – In early versions of the “Rocket Rabbit” archetype this slot was reserved for Cyclone Shaper, but I think being able to have a “reset” button is too good to pass on. This jurassic giant is able to fight some of the baddest troops in the game and is an incredible catch up tool. Pairing this with early Transmogrifades usually results in a blowout on one side of the table. Croc helps keep out the riffraff, doesn’t care about your opponent having multiple troops, and sometimes even sacrifices himself to clear the way for a powered up Rune Ear Hierophant.
Countermagic vs. Deny – I toyed with Deny for a while and, while you are able to do some nifty things when Brown Fox Scout is on top of your library, Countermagic’s ability to give +2 cost to all other cards with the same name is just crushing in a deck with as much pressure as we possess.
Verdict of the Ancient Kings – This is a card I field the most questions about. Is this really something we should be main decking right now? The short answer is a resounding YES! To be completely honest, this could even become a four of if cards like Titania’s Majesty, Extinction, and Hideous Conversion see an uptick in play (and survive in the meta).
What a mess right? Early metagames are hard to predict, so I’ve went with four Turbulence as a catch all for troops we may encounter, and you can see the many two of’s included. I talked about seeing a lot of Vampires, so the Turbulences make sense from that standpoint as well.
The two Carnasaurus and two Succulent Cluckodon are direct concessions to McBombus variants and Angus the Arsonist decks. I feel like we are already decently positioned against them, but having a way to close the door is a nice insurance policy to have.
I included two additional Verdict of the Ancient Kings for Extinction decks, combo decks, and any Winter Moon control decks that might pop up seems great.
Speaking of Winter Moon, there are two Drowned Shrine of Ulthar which is something I’m testing out for the time being to stop that strategy. Drowned Shrine might even be reasonable against cards like Absolute Power or the Hideous Conversion combo.
Chomposaur… look, I like dinosaurs, ok? Honestly, Chomp found its way into the reserves to hedge against problematic constants, artifacts, or champions which make them such as Bloodspinner Zorath, Shoku The Botanist, and Locket of Reflection. We will see how things shake out—this is unexplored territory for now—but it never hurts to be prepared.
Finally, Lullaby is a necessary evil in the mirror match, which you will no doubt see on your way to immortality. Resetting Rune Ear is the name of the game if one unfortunately sticks against you. Don’t leave home without Lullaby.
Well, the short answer is we don’t know. In my experience so far, there has been a lot of combo decks in the format, whether it’s Conversion decks or Majesty decks, and having a fast clock with interrupts to ruin their gameplan is a powerful strategy.
The deck also doesn’t hinge on finding and resolving one card. Rune Ear Hierophant is obviously one of our best cards, but I’ve won plenty of matches without it, so the overall strategy is cohesive.
While we are a little worse against the linear aggressive decks, we still have game with health gain out of the Reserves and a wall of blockers. Having game against every deck is a big deal, especially early on in the format.
This deck is one of the best proactive decks you can be playing to start your grind. It has a very real clock and all of the necessary tools to combat combo decks that I think will be popping up early in the format. If you enjoy tempo strategies as much as I do, I highly recommend taking this deck through the works and tuning it into the machine I think it will be!
Thanks for stopping by,
Mat Bimonte first picked up HEX towards the end of Primal Dawn’s release. He is a seasoned TCG player with many published works regarding general strategy, deck building, and tournament reporting. Mat’s plays mostly Constructed formats, and looks forward to the Cosmic Crown Showdown, and other large events.