Monored Experimental Frenzy (Budget Magic Arena)

If you want a fairly budget deck for grinding your way into Mythic, then monored is the way to go.  As a highly competitive aggro deck, the games go pretty fast.  The deck focuses on two busted cards: Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy.


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Prismata is worth checking out

Prismata is a true strategy game where very little of the outcome is determined by randomness.  It’s similar to Chess as Prismata has almost zero RNG, unlike low-RNG card games like Gwent or high-RNG card games like Magic the Gathering and Eternal.  Unlike Chess, Prismata is more visceral as you build up an economy like Starcraft and have units attacking each other.  Prismata also leads to varied gameplay as each set of units is different from game to game.

The free-to-play experience is excellent and you have access to almost all of the game as a free-to-play player.  Not surprisingly, Prismata is my current addiction.  Definitely check it out.

Playing Gwent nowadays

If you’re looking for a game where your decisions matter, definitely check out Gwent.

My disappointment with Eternal is that it has become even more random and less strategic.  Cards like Throne Warden make Armory even less interesting to play against as relic weapons repeatedly remove your board.  Set 2 has introduced Champion of Fury, a needlessly swingy card that clearly finds its home in a mindless SMOrc/aggro archetype.

So let’s talk about Gwent.  Gwent’s developers have been willing to make huge changes to the game to try to make it more fun.  Less interesting mechanics (e.g. the uninteractive Kambi combo) have been nerfed so that they won’t see mainstream play.  When they make balance changes and rework cards, they’re clearly thinking about whether or not a card is fun to play against.

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Skycrag Burn – Le sigh

I tried hyper-aggressive Skycrag with lots of 1-drops and Rally- it is a bad deck.  Partly it’s because Alpine Tracker wrecks that deck.  A better direction would be to simply run Alpine Tracker.  And apparently you can do this in an aggressive deck despite the nonbo (opposite of a combo) between Alpine Tracker and 1-drops like Oni Ronin and Snowcrust Yeti.

In the current meta, there is no need to rush other decks down and you seem to get punished for being hyper-aggressive.  So that’s why we run greedier cards like 4 Wisdom of the Elders, 4 copies of Soulfire Drake, etc.

This deck has a lot of controlling elements that help it against Burn Queen and other aggressive decks.  So I feel like Burn Queen is something that you don’t want to play in the current meta.


Champion of Furry is a messed-up card- occasionally somebody will get randomly wrecked for huge amounts of damage from this card.  If I don’t play a lot of Eternal, it’s because of groan-inducing cards like Champion of Fury.

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Set 2 Tempolysian – I can’t believe I’m excited over a 2/1 Yeti

Well Snowcrust Yeti seems like a strong card.  A resilient 2/1 can do a lot of damage if played on turn 1 (maybe 6 damage for only 1 power).  This one-drop seems pushed.  The Yeti could become mediocre if the meta happens to be infested with go-wide decks… but otherwise this card looks similar in power level to Oni Ronin and Crownwatch Paladin.


So, I’ve taken the old Tempolysian deck and updated it with this card.

Tempolysian basically plays very strong cards that Elysian has access to, e.g. Sandstorm Titan and the Elysian fatties (False Prince and Cirso).  Praxis Displacer can provide game-winning tempo against midrange and control decks; Displacer otherwise gives you value by bouncing away Permafrost, weapons, or drawing a card with Temple Scribe.  Obelisk is there to beat up on control decks and to make your units too big to be killed by relic weapons and burn.  Backlash is very strong against Harsh Rule decks and good against Burn Queen.  Because everybody is running spells nowadays, Backlash is rarely a dead card.

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Elysian Midrange (Tempolysian)

It seems that Elysian Midrange is reasonably strong on ladder right now as I’m around #10.  While I don’t believe that my deck list is original, one key idea is that Xenan Obelisk is good with almost anything.  You don’t have to go the Shimmerpack or Marisen’s Disciple route with it.  You can simply play it with good units.

I took a more tempo-oriented route, playing all the False Princes and Praxis Displacers.  Some decks will lose if you play 2-3 Praxis Displacers one after another on their key blocking unit.

While I’m not sure if Slow is good, the card certainly raises the skill cap on this deck and makes you run down the timer a lot.  Cards like Backlash and Slow make this deck one of the more nuanced and skill-intensive decks in the metagame at the moment.


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Interesting to play against

Eternal has a lot of mechanics.  Some of them are more interesting to play against than others.  I’d like to see Eternal head in a direction where interesting game mechanics get pushed in terms of power level.  Less fun/interesting mechanics should be nerfed and controlled so that they do not see mainstream play- they can add variety to the game without taking a big slice of the metagame.

(Obviously, I do not expect Direwolf Digital to do this, e.g. they introduced Throne Warden.)

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Big-ish burn (tryhard deck tech)

With lots of token decks running around, the current meta rewards you for flying over everything and getting damage in with flying units.  While I don’t think that my burn list is optimized (despite hitting #1 on ladder), here are some key points for the current meta:

  1. Units are far more efficient than burn spells at dealing damage.  Historically, the problem with units is that most decks run a lot of answers for them.  However, some decks have weaknesses towards flying units.
  2. Flyers are good against tokens, Feln, and most Elysian decks.  Those decks have few answers for flying units and will get wrecked by the repeatable damage.
  3. More burn games are being won by repeatable unit damage rather than burn.  Champion of Chaos and the flying units have some form of evasion to help that get damage in.  Rapid Shot, Annihilate (for Sandstorm Titan), and burn spells help to deal with things that get in their way.
  4. Quarry is much better than Kaleb’s Favor.  Quarry helps you dig for whatever card it is that you need.  That card will generally help you get in for repeatable damage- whether it’s a sigil to actually play your units, an evasive unit, or a card that deals with opponents’ answers to your gameplan.


I’ll also discuss some piloting tips for slightly increasing your odds of beating burn.

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Trying to break the new redraw rule

A guest post by finkel (Eternal finkel, not Jon Finkel).

The latest patch brought some sweet new cards for people to brew, but what I really wanted to explore was the new redraw rule. A lot of people looked on how it changes the amount of power you can play in existing decks, but from another perspective it can create new archetypes.  Running the maximum number of sigils can improve the consistency of very linear combo decks.

The new rule is great in the sense that should reduce the number of non-games.  However, it is hard to imagine that it can’t be abused somehow. The main issue is that it disassociates the power that you have on your redraw opening hand with the amount of power that you put in your deck. So, regardless of whether you are running 50 or 25 sigils, you will have a 33% likelihood of getting 2, 3 or 4 power cards.


The trick to breaking the new redraw rule is to play 50 power in your deck. In this configuration you will have 25 non-power cards which will fill the 3-5 non-power slots in your redraw. Since the population of cards is greatly reduced in this setting, you can greatly increase the likelihood of having the card you want in your opening redraw hand.

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Conduit Combo (jank deck tech)

“4-faction (copper) killers” is a super janky deck with some insane plays.  As this deck runs a lot of recursion, replaying Copper Conduit repeatedly will generate a very large Conduit.  Here’s a random screenshot showing a game with a 32/32 Overwhelm Killer unit.


Other crazy plays include attacking with a conduit, returning it hand with Safe Return, playing conduit again, and using Killer on the weakest enemy unit…. with the Overwhelm damage hitting the opponent’s face.  Sometimes this can result in one-turn kills, with anywhere from 10-30+ damage in a single turn.

These styles of decks revolve around a few main sets of combos:

  1. Copper Conduit combos.  Whenever you reply Conduit via Dark Return or Safe Return, it gets even bigger.  If it has Killer via Predator’s Instinct, you will be able to use the Killer again.  Because Conduit has Overwhelm, there will be a lot of Overwhelm damage to the opponent’s face.  Pyroknight can be used as a bad Copper Conduit.
  2. Madness combos.  Madness lets you steal an enemy unit.  This combos with:
    • Predator’s Instinct – make an opponent’s units kill each other
    • Safe Return – this lets you steal enemy units into your hand and strips the influence requirements
    • Devour – sacrifice the Madnessed unit so that the opponent doesn’t get it back and you draw 2 cards.
    • There is also a 3-card combo with Madness, Predator’s Instinct, and Safe Return- you get to use Killer Twice.
  3. Optional: Killer / Predator’s Instinct combos.  Killer combos with Quickdraw units like Jekk.  It also combos with recurring units like Dawnwalker, reminiscent of Xenan Killers.

The power level of this deck is not high.  I tried to make a competitive version and could not get into Masters… possibly because there was too much aggro running around.  This is a deck you play for fun and the splashy plays that it creates.

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