Hello fellow Hexers! Snake here, and I am proud and humbled to be apart of the next iteration of the Signature Deck series. For those who don’t remember, the first Signature Decks were created by Jeff Hoogland, Chris VanMeter and Varanis to provide unique ways to tackle the constructed ladder. I feel that Havoc, Nero and I do just that with the new Signature Decks.
To begin, I want to note what our guidelines were when we created these decks to put things into perspective.
So, with these guidelines in mind, I set out to use a version of a budget deck that I piloted to Cosmic last season on the ladder. Aggression is the name of the game, so let’s look at my Blood/Ruby Aggressive deck dubbed “Refuel Rampage.”
The goal of this deck is simple: Provide multiple aggressive threats that can overwhelm our opponent and bring their health total to zero as quickly as possible.
Let’s start by talking about the troops that will help propel our way to victory. Acolyte of Flame is a twofer that provides two troops for early aggression and helps to keep a troop on the board in case of early removal like Winter’s Grasp and Return to Cinder. Flare Fiend is an aggressive threat that has Speed and can deal a quick 3 damage as early as turn two. Zomboyz’s Rabid ability provides a great tool to play troops from your crypt directly into play while attacking. When we combo that with some of our other troops in the deck as well as other Zomboyz, you can have some very potent turns bringing multiple troops into play! An opening hand with any of these cards are great to have, as they can quickly start working on our opponent’s health total.
3 drops are a key part to our success in the deck, and of those 3 drops Blightbark Burster has distinct advantages. Its 4 attack helps defend itself against Winter’s Grasp. Its Deathcry allows for 3 more additional damage directly to our opponent even when it goes to the crypt. It combos well with our reanimation. These things combine mean you will often be looking for Bursters to get that last bit of lethal damage through.
But other 3 drops can give Bursters a run for its money. Boltwing Phoenix is another versatile piece of our aggression engine that has great offensive as well as defensive capabilities. When Boltwing Phoenix’s Deathcry is activated, you can either put it back into your hand with cost +1 and +1 and +1 , or deal its current power to all opposing troops, wreaking havoc to your opponent. Fatalfuel Alpha is another 3 drop with great utility that provides added benefit. Its Rabid ability makes your attacking troops Lethal for superior trades. It can do wonders on a stalled board to clear the way for damage to your opponent’s face.
Promiscuous Succubus has a special place in the deck for numerous reasons. It’s a Flight troop that helps provide evasion in the air, and its Deathcry ability can target a troop and eventually create a Carnal Demon. When we are bringing things back from the crypt regularly for aggression, it doesn’t hurt to get a 6/6 Flight troop out of the deal!
Finally, Replipopper 4000 is like adding a turbo to our engine to increase its power. When you Deploy Replipopper 4000, it receives two random boons (most hope for either Speed, Flight or Spellshield). If Replipopper manages to get through, you sacrifice it and get two more. With exponential gains like that, left unchecked Replipopper is an army all by itself. Plus, this swarm of these deadly robots make for great troops in your crypt for recursion, especially since they keep their previous Boons!
Now lets talk about our champion, Rhiannon of Flame.
With the recent change to champions in April, Rhiannon is a much more viable champion in our deck than she previously was. With 5 charges we can give all our troops in play +1 and Crush (or +2 and Crush with a Familiar on the board). With Refuel, we can potentially bring back one of our Flare Fiend for the bonus without too many familiars in the deck, but the crucial part of that bonus is the Crush anyway. Crush lets us push those last few crucial points of damage to close out the game.
Our engine now needs High-Octane fuel to get us where we need to go in a hurry… aka our resources. Choosing synergistic resources can really amp your game as well as let you play your other cards. Blightbark Reserve provides a resource in the shards we need with the added bonus of creating a Drop of Ichor. Drop of Ichor is fantastic for all the troops in the deck, but it works especially well with cards like Boltwing Phoenix and Promiscuous Succubus. Boltwing Phoenix’s Deathcry ability means that it can continue to come back into your hand and generate a Zombie on death. Placing a Drop of Ichor on a Promiscuous Succubus will trigger both effects when it dies. This is great because it creates a target for the Promiscuous Succubus’s own Deathcry without needing another troop. Finally, Root of Hatred provides important fixing to ensure we get the right mix of thresholds and helps against cards like Runebind.
If you are ever running on empty, Feral Formulation is a great way to draw some more “Gas” when we are looking to keep the pressure on our opponent. It not only lets us draw more cards, it also provides a discard outlet to help provide targets for Refuel. We can toss powerful troops into the crypt and then bring them back for a massive swing.
Speaking of Refuel, it is the shot of NOS in our engine that lets the deck burst past all others. By targeting two troops in our crypt and putting them into play with Speed, this card can single handily win games. When my opponent was at 15 or more health, I have taken my opponent down with the right mix of cards in my crypt. Obvious targets for Refuel are Blightbark Burster. It provides a great threat—4 damage from the troop along with an additional 3 damage from its Deathcry for a potential 7 point swing. Boltwing Phoenix is another great target. You can easily use it to either damage their board and punish their blocks or get your threat back into your hand. Finally, if you manage to have a Replipopper 4000 in the crypt and it deploys again, it will get an additional two Boons not already on the card to provide even more lethality to your attack.
To protect our engine, we need to include the right tools to help prevent the heat our opponent is going to bring. Return to Cinder provides a great way to permanently deal with troops and not let them go into the crypt, thereby preventing Deathcry triggers or the ability to bring troops back from the crypt for our opponent. Jouncing Carnage is a quick piece of removal that is especially helpful against cards like Brilliant Annihilix, since it otherwise can’t be targeted by non-prismatic cards.
When speaking of protection, I want to also talk about possible Reserves for this deck, as the Reserves are how you protect yourself from specific strategies in the meta. In this article I will only talk about cards that will be available once set 10 launches, so that may limit some of the cards you normally think of when you are planning your Reserves, but don’t hesitate to experiment and find what works best for you.
I found including Blight is a great way to deal with early aggression from your opponent. It also has the added benefit that the -2/-2 is not permanent, meaning that any of your troops that are affected by it are still great targets for Refuel and Zomboyz. Blight Knight has also served me well against token-based troops like candles or phantoms by removing their ability to generate additional 1/1 troops. Nightfall is an interesting choice against control decks. It provides consistent damage, slowing chipping away at their health total in a form most don’t have removal for. This can be quite powerful when the game goes long.
I have also experimented with Nameless Devourer. It is a great 2 drop if it ever sticks on the board, and you can do some interesting things with recursion. Your opponent’s deck suddenly becomes quite small once you’ve brought it back for the 3rd time with Refuel and Zomboyz. Finally, other good cards to consider are an additional Return to Cinder, a Death Toll to provide removal and a discard outlet to put troops into the crypt for Refuel or Zomboyz, and Burning Ire for any Blood/Wild matchups.
Now this may seem a little backwards, but sometimes to go forward we need to look back at where we came. Our deckbuilding requirements prevented us from using cards from Herofall and Scars of War but that doesn’t exclude you from adding some of these potent cards before they go away when set 10 is released.
Etruia recently topped 8 in the last Cosmic Crown Showdown with a version of B/R Refuel using cards like Boltspasm, Lazgar’s Bloodsworn, Nefarious Corruptor and Scorpinox. These are great modifications to this Signature Deck until Set 10 is released and they rotate out. You can find the decklist for his version here.
Other cards to consider swapping in are Flare Imp for a smoother curve, Gorge of the Gore God for additional prismatic removal and damage to your opponent directly, or fixing in the form of Well of Hatred and Remnant of Hatred.
For those of you who purchase the deck and run with it in the ladder, good luck, have fun and I hope I don’t run into you!
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