This last Cosmic Crown Showdown was the first after the release of Frostheart. Every major tournament after a big release promises to be interesting as big named players look to up end the field with exciting brews. Let’s take a look at what was popular and what performed.
The above chart was created using data from hexpvptools. Since a deck’s importance is both a measure of popularity and performance, I calculated a “meta %” by multiplying % popularity by match win %.
HODORHODOR was the undefeated player of the day, sporting the infamous Blood/Ruby Redlings deck. Redlings, and aggressive decks in general, proved to be potent players in the event due to the prominence of heavy control decks like Diamond/Sapphire Dreaming Fox. Aggressive decks are also typically strong in an unknown field, since many players are trying new strategies which aren’t yet fully tuned and which an aggressive strategy can punish.
Redlings and Dreaming Fox proved to be the event’s two most popular decks, as well as two of its more successful ones. While having two established decks dominate the tournament isn’t terribly exciting, it is noteworthy just how diverse the top 8 was, with six different decks represented. Mono-Sapphire Dreadlings, while unpopular, kept a place in the meta with Yasi piloting it to a 6-1 finish. Kagulichu also continued its representation in the hands of Arkaz. The two most interesting decks to top were Wild/Sapphire Winter Moon control and Blood/Ruby Haraza the Incinerator Locket of Reflection control.
Winter Moon has had new life breathed into it with the introduction of a second powerful interrupt and vastly improved Quick answers in the form of Into the Unknown and Pippit Hustler. Haraza can do powerful things with Locket of Reflection by dropping two speedy vampires. Primordial Sabretooth alongside the locket can also create some massive blowouts.
Notably underrepresented from the event was Knightsbane Ovo Reanimator, with only two players using that strategy. Leading up to the tournament, this brew had been seeing reasonable success on the ladder.
Myself and several other members of the DragonBorn guild played Diamond/Sapphire Bishop Elijah Sockets. Let’s take a look at the build I played.
1 Animus of Nulzann socketed with Major Diamond of Hope
3 Animus of Nulzann socketed with Major Sapphire of Clarity
Dark Heart of Nulzann socketed with Major Diamond of Hope and Minor Diamond of Protection
Deathless Infiltrator socketed with Minor Sapphire of Wit
Emsee, Etcher of Nulzann socketed with Major Diamond of the Seraph
Exalted Professor socketed with Minor Sapphire of Wit
Grim Skull Tactician socketed with Minor Sapphire of Wit
Naagaan Lapidary socketed with Major Diamond of the Seraph
Sorcerous Sculpting socketed with Major Sapphire of Clarity
Spiritbound Vicar socketed with Minor Diamond of Protection
Warpsteel Shardsworn socketed with Minor Diamond of Fate
In retrospect, I don’t believe this deck was a good choice for the tournament. It is a bit of a glass cannon and is especially weak to Clash of Steel, which was present in abundance. That said, this deck is pretty sweet, and it was hard for me to resist playing it. The original build was developed by JadiimJedi, who also piloted the deck. I contributed significant adjustments to his initial build based on my experience with Blood/Diamond Sockets. My changes pushed the deck in a significantly more aggressive direction and gave it some near impossible to beat openers.
The real incentive to play this deck is Major Sapphire of Clarity. Alongside Major Diamond of Hope and Sentry of Nulzann, this deck can operate on as little as two shards while still deploying massive threats. One of the best lines in my Blood/Diamond Sockets deck was to top deck an Animus of Nulzann socketed with Major Diamond of Hope on turn two and then play it that turn. Turn two Animus is much more probable with this deck since all you need is a turn one Sentry of Nulzann and an Animus, without the stipulation of needing to draw exactly the Animus that turn. All this cost reduction also makes Bishop Elijah’s charge power particularly effective. Since Sentry of Nulzann reduces cards’ costs in all zones, you will often be pulling a four or even five drop from your crypt with Elijah.
The deck is also fairly consistent with a good amount of Fateweave between Ice shards, Guidance, and Minor Diamond of Fate. Consult the Talon is also powerful in this deck since you can deploy a large number of troops quickly. While it can lead to some awkward hands, it actually fuels your hand more effectively than Altar of Nulzann since it is typically cheaper and immediate.
I believe there are three big takeaways from this event. The first is that Sapphire is the new Blood. Whether it’s Dreaming Fox or Winter Moon, Sapphire decks are proving they now have the tools to compete at the top. This leads me to my second takeaway – Runebind is the breakaway card of Frostheart. Opinions on Runebind were fairly split prior to the Cosmic Crown Showdown; however, I feel the card has proven its worth. It shines against control, acting as a better Halt in the majority of situations. It synergizes well with Dark Heart of Nulzann. It is also an exceptional tempo card. I brought four in my aggressive deck, and I wouldn’t change that at all. It stopped board clears, cleared blockers, and so much more. Lastly, the Ice shards are the real deal. Fixing your draws is immensely powerful. The new Ice shards are arguably the strongest shards printed yet and should be played in any deck which can afford the slow resources.
Be sure to tune in to my stream tonight at 3:30 PM PST. I will be piloting today’s Primordial Brew on the Constructed Ladder. As always, there will be Primal Pack and free Draft, Sealed, and Evolving Gauntlet code giveaways.
See you on the ladder,
Varranis is an analyst for professional gaming organization Fade 2 Karma. He has played countless TCGs over the last eighteen years and brings a unique lens to HEX theory crafting and deck building based on his historical experience. Varranis has numerous tournament wins and top finishes to his name across several popular TCGs and has coached and supported players in world championship level events.
Got any questions? Want to chat with other players? Then discuss this article in our Forums! You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, our YouTube channel, or enjoy regular streams on our official Twitch channel.