The last Cosmic Crown Showdown heralded a significant shift in the meta. With aggro decks on the decline and control on the rise, I thought it was time to change up my strategy and look to an old favorite.
Blood/Wild Kagulichu is one of those decks which is never bad, but rarely the best. It exists in an odd state of not having any terrible match ups, but also not having any in which it particularly excels. As someone who typically wants to get an edge on the meta by playing the deck which beats the “best” deck, I’ve often avoided playing Kagulichu. That said, the current extreme diversity of the meta makes an all-rounder like Kagulichu a lot more appealing.
I particularly like Novicane’s build of Kagulichu which AstroSquirrel and icecon both piloted variants of to top 8 finishes in the last Cosmic Crown Showdown. The build I’ve been playing lately is largely based on icecon’s specific iteration.
Rune Ear Hierophant socketed with Major Wild Orb of Cultivation and Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy
Two Underworld Crusader socketed with Minor Blood Orb of Frenzy
Two Underworld Crusader socketed with Minor Wild Orb of Vigil
This deck is unique due to its robust removal suite, the inclusion of the reanimator package, and inclusion of Gargalith.
The removal we run is a concession to Mono Sapphire Dreadlings. Rot Cast and Herofall are the two best things you can be doing against the Mono Sapphire menace. Both hit most or all the deck’s threats and interrupt Copycat chains. They do this all while being powerful in other match ups as well. It’s important to mention how much removal this deck plays as it is one of the differentiating features of this build versus prior iterations. Older Kagu decks, particularly those with a reanimation package, often only played two Herofall as the only removal. While the additional removal doesn’t necessarily ensure we beat Mono Sapphire, it vastly increases our odds of success.
The reanimation package is essentially Rotten Rancor and Mistress of Bones. Due to Cottontail Explorer and our charge power, we can often fuel a powerful turn five Rancor. While these cards increase the curve of our deck substantially, they similarly boost the power level of the deck. A turn five Mistress of Bones is game over against most decks. Rancor alone vastly improves your match up against other midrange and some aggro decks that go a little bigger like Ardent.
Gargalith serves as another huge threat to bring out early with Rancor, but ultimately plays a much more vital role in the deck. Gargalith almost single-handedly makes control an immensely favorable match up. Control is a much more relevant slice of the meta game these days, and Gargalith’s ability to shut down removal from those decks is huge. Depending on the meta, it is often correct to play two or even three main deck. I would especially consider this in a tournament setting where more players are likely to favor control.
There are several other interesting aspects to this deck. The one of Withering Gaze affords you a way to interact with opposing actions, but ensures you won’t ever be saddled with too many copies. Since most decks right now play at least one powerful action like Lazgar’s Vengeance or Consult the Talon, the first Gaze is usually very powerful. It gives you information and lets you snag a powerful card. After the first, however, Gaze gets substantially weaker. Be sure to play Gaze smart. It is almost never correct to play it on turn one in this deck. This deck is also built to dodge Herofall with only Underworld Crusader as a four of troop.
Blood and Wild also offer some exciting Reserve options. Let’s take a look how to reserve against different archetypes.
Against control, we take out most of our removal and vastly increase our threat density. The exact cards we change will often depend on the opponent, but generally we want to bring in Zorath’s Rectory socketed with Major Wild Orb of Cultivation as an alternate win condition and more Gargalith to shut down our opponent’s removal. While powerful as a resurrection spell, Rotten Rancor often weakens substantially against control due to a lack of targets.
Generally, Misery and the extra Rot Cast are our best tools against aggro. Against Mono Sapphire, we also bring in Noxious Glory. Gemborn Prowler comes in against Socket aggro and other Kagu decks. Prowler and Glory usually come in at the expense of Commander PROMPT and another Rancor.
One of the coolest aspects of Blood/Wild Kagulichu is that is it very easy to adjust to your own preferences. I already have many ideas for how to continue to improve the deck. One of my first changes will likely be to drop both Strangle and a Paw of Yazukan to add the fourth Rot Cast main, play a fourth Cottontail Explorer, and a third Rune Ear Hierophant. With the inclusion of the third Hierophant, I would likely change all the Crusaders to Vigil sockets. These changes maximize my removal relevant against Sapphire while also giving me more proactive turns two and three and a slightly higher troop count to make mills more meaningful. I’m also curious to try a build with two or three copies of Commander PROMPT. The Commander has proved to be one of the best four drops in standard and lets a midrange deck easily turn aggro alongside early plays like Eager Lackey and Cottontail Explorer. How do you play Kagu? What would you play differently in this deck?
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 some combination of 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.