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Limitless – Elk Aggro

May 24, 2017

After a brief hiatus, today we are back with Limitless to continue exploring draft archetypes in the Scars-Scars-Herofall format. So far we have explored Sapphire, Diamond, and Ruby. Today we are going to add Wild to the list of shards discussed by taking a look at the cards that make up the the core of a Grandfather Elk powered aggressive shell.

Aggressive Threats

These are the most important troops in every Grandfather Elk deck. They allow us to get onto the board quickly and apply pressure to our opponent’s health total. We want a good number of these threats in a successful Elk deck. As often as possible, we want to be playing a threat on turns two and three.

Determined BushiSpring Dancer

Bushi is likely the best two drop in Wild in this constructed format. Any time our opponent does not have a two drop to block right away, Bushi will quickly grow out of control, getting larger every turn it attacks. Grandfather Elk’s ability allows us to push Bushi through on clogged boards so it can continue growing larger and possibly sweep the game.

Dancer was easily the best Wild common in the triple Herofall draft format and it continues to be powerful in our current 6-6-5 format. Effectively a 3/3 for three resource that we can spend over two turns, Spring Dancer starts hitting on the third turn of the game for three points of damage allowing us to apply the pressure we are looking for in this archetype.

Rose KittenSparklecap

Unlike a lot of the related cards in this limited format, Rose Kitten is the more powerful of its pair. This is important because Rose Kitten is in Scars of War, which means we get two entire packs to collect them for our Wild deck. Any game we play a Rose Kitten on turns two and three our opponent will quickly be hard pressed to find answers to our eight attack worth of troops.

Sparklecap is definitely weaker than the other two drops listed here, but playing a copy or two is reasonable if we end up short on two drops. Sparklecap shines in Wild decks that have a secondary shard to unlock access to more powerful minor gems. In the Elk aggressive shell, the Minor Ruby of Zeal or Minor Diamond of Wind are ideal gems for getting the most out of our Sparklecaps.

Drokka OutcastBattle Preparations

Outcast has the ability to be both the best card in our deck or be absolutely terrible. We never want to draft Outcast with a high priority because, if we do not have 6 or more Conscript cards, it can be fairly hard to enable. That being said, if we just happen to end up with plenty of cards that Conscript, Outcast is one of the best things we can be doing on the first turn of the game.

Battle Preparations is one of my favorite Conscript cards in this limited format because of how consistent it is. The floor on Preparations is a 2/4 while the ceiling consists of extremely powerful cards like Quash Ridge Tusker or a 4/4 troop with Flight. The median troop we can hit is a 3/3, which for three resources is more than reasonable. Because Preparations also lets us spread its cost out over two installments, it also allows us to be resource efficient in the early turns of the game.

Thorn Pup

While Pup is fairly weak on its own, it is fantastic alongside even a single Rose Kitten. Kitten on two into Pup on three allows us to attack for ten points of damage on the fourth turn of the game before we even factor in our champion power.

Feral SqueakerClobberdon

These are two of the better payoffs for when we end up in mono Wild for our Elk deck. Squeaker is fairly reasonable even when we have a secondary shard, but Clobberdon we generally will not want to play if there are non-Wild resources in our deck.

Aryndel Monk

This time around, we saved the best aggressive threat for last. Monk is easily the best Wild uncommon in this format for aggressive decks. Once Monk readies for the first time, it becomes a threat that is difficult to interact with. Thanks to Grandfather Elk’s ability, we can generally push Monk through any board on turn four and then its Diligence effect lets it continue attacking.

Top End Payoffs

While we do not want too much top end in our aggressive deck, having a few four and five cost cards to round out our curve is never a bad idea.

Call of the Deepwood

Call is one of the stronger four drops in Wild. The ceiling is quite high with potential hits like Pulverazor and Dreamweaver Ancient. The power level of the Ardent troops is definitely a bit higher than the Underworld troops, but choosing Ardent also comes with some risk in Moonsong Oracle. If we are not in Sapphire as our second shard, there is a chance that choosing Ardent could render the rest of our hand unplayable.

Root WranglerHowling Plains Runner

Much like Sparklecap which we discussed above, Root Wrangler really shines when we have Ruby or Diamond as a secondary shard to provide Swiftstrike or Flight on attack.

Howling Plains Runner is one of my favorite five drops for Wild. Reasonable body? Check. Impossible to chump block? Check. Generates value when it connects with the opponent? Check. It also has the nice bonus of growing itself every single time it breaks through.

Combat Tricks

Our combat tricks allow us to make seemingly suspect attacks into more powerful troops and then punish our opponent for blocking. Not only are the tricks themselves powerful, but the threat of a trick can often be enough to allow us to push through damage later in matches after our opponent has gotten punished a few times. In general, we like to have 2-4 combat tricks in our ideal Wild aggressive shells.

Feralroot TacticsEnlarge

Tactics is expensive in terms of resources to hold up, but it also packs a huge punch. This card is especially powerful in decks where we have Determined Bushis and Rose Kittens to play on the second turn of the game since they already have Crush.

Enlarge is a flexible card that allows us to win combat for minimal cost. It also lets our troops jump up and block opposing Flight troops that might be trying to race our ground troops.

Gift of the Manti

Gift of the Manti is the weakest of the Wild combat tricks, but if we came up short on Enlarges and Tactics in our first two packs, snagging a copy or two of Gift in the third pack is not unreasonable.

Removal

While there is not a ton of removal in Wild, we do get a few tools that are reasonable for helping keep our opponent’s board in check while we attack them to death. In general, we want three or more piece of removal in our decks.

Crackling ClashStinkhorn

Clash is easily the best piece of Wild removal, and it plays exceptionally well with our champion power. After our Elk activation lets one of our smaller troops attack through a clogged board state, we can generally use Crackling Clash in our second main phase to battle one of our opponent’s better troops profitably.

While Stinkhorn is not literally a piece of removal, it generally trades with one of our opponent’s troops that cost more than one resource – effectively acting as a piece of removal inside of combat. Occasionally, we can also use Stinkhorn with Elk and combat tricks to push through the last few points of damage we need to kill our opponent because of how Crush and Lethal interact.

Crossing SwordsSapper's Wallbuster

In most situations, Crossing Swords is worse than Crackling Clash, but occasionally the +1/+1 it provides is relevant. Past this, Swords can also be used to enable Diligence on our Bushi or Monk if the board is clogged up.

While not strictly a Wild card, Wallbuster is a fine piece of supplemental removal to play if we are not in a secondary shard. Wallbuster also provides us with some reach since it can be used to deal three damage to a champion or troop.

Utility

These are cards that are not part of the core strategy of the Wild aggressive deck. They help us out in different spots and are generally worth including in our deck if we come across them.

Verdant MillEager Lackey

Mill does two things for us. First and foremost, it turns all of the resources we draw in the mid-late game into additional threats. This effectively makes every single card we draw live. The secondary effect of Mill is as a Diligence enabler. We will be hard pressed to lose any game where we play a Mill on turn one and play an Aryndel Monk on turn three to start attacking with a 5/5 on turn four.

There are not a lot of superb one cost cards in this format, which makes Eager Lackey very reasonable. When we have it to play early it can often get in two or more attacks, and even when we draw it late Lackey still generates a reasonable threat via its Conscript. The average four cost created is more than reasonable with the ceiling being cards like High Infinitrix and Profane Ritualist.

Gallant Sentinel

While we often will not want to main deck Gallant Sentinel in our aggressive decks, reserving in a copy or two against the Flight decks in the format is more than reasonable.

Splash Cards

A lot of the time our draft decks will end up being two thresholds. In general, Diamond and Ruby complement the Wild in our Elk deck the best.

Surging WildfirePuke Troll

Wildfire is hands down the best payoff card we can have that involves a secondary shard in our Elk deck. A turn four Wildfire with a Grandfather Elk activation pushes ten points of damage and often leaves behind a Surging Wildfire that still demands an answer from our opponent.

Puke Troll is a fantastically flexible card. Because Troll is quick it can be a surprise troop inside of combat to make a profitable block in addition to providing a boost to one of our other troops. If we are in Wild-Ruby by the time pack three comes around, we are generally happy to get all the Puke Trolls we can.

BlitzHowling Plains Alpha

Blitz is easily one of, maybe the, best combat trick in the Scars-Scars-Herofall draft format. Not only can it help enable Diligence for us, but it can also push through very Lethal amounts of damage in combination with our Crush troops and champion ability.

If we are in Wild-Diamond by the time pack three rolls around, this is probably one of the best two drops we can get. Effectively a three cost troop that attacks for four, it is hard to beat that rate. Should we happen to have other Valor producers in our deck, such as Spring Dancer, Howling can often add five or more attack to combat all on its own.

Putting it all Together

Let’s take a look at what drafting a Wild aggressive deck looks like:

Wrapping Up

The most important thing to keep in mind when drafting this archetype is making sure we have a reasonable curve. Sorting our cards by cost when drafting is ideal so we can see at a glance where our curve needs the most help. Games where we curve troops on two-three-four with some removal and combat tricks to pack them up we will be hard pressed to lose.

Hopefully today’s Limitless piece was helpful to you in stepping up your limited game. If you have any questions about this specific archetype or drafting in general feel free to leave me a comment in the forum link below.

Thanks for reading,
~Jeff Hoogland

Jeff is a professional gamer who enjoys the competitive aspects of HEX: Shards of Fate. Constructed is his preferred format and he is always looking for that new piece of technology to give him a leg up on the competition.

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