Monojustice hit #1 on ladder

Today and yesterday, I decided to revisit a classic and look at whether monojustice can be built without mediocre cards like Valkyrie Aspirant and Crownwatch Longsword.  While my take on monojustice isn’t perfect, I did hit #1 on the ladder with it.

This deck also happens to be a budget-ish deck with zero legendaries.

hit-number-1-on-ladder

 

Core Ideas

This is a flying-oriented aggressive beatdown deck.

  • Plan A:  Put equipment on Silverwing Familiar, which is the best unit for holding equipment (even though it’s questionable as to whether or not this bird has hands).
  • Plan B:  Flying damage.
  • Alternate plan: Crownwatch Paladin (or district infantry) + Paladin Oathbook

Most games will be won with flying damage.  Many decks have a problem with flyers so I exploit that weakness.

Mulligan

Mulligan for an aggressive hand.  As stated earlier, your wincon is either flying damage or a cheap unit getting buffed with Oathbook.  A hand that is too slow will not win you the game.

Silverwing Familiar is good to have in an opening hand.  There is a good chance that you will draw equipment, though this isn’t like monojustice splashing shadow where you should keep almost all Silverwing Familiar hands with at least 2 power.  This deck runs 8 equipment versus 11-12 in the shadow splash version.

District infantry might get 6-9 damage in, but isn’t a great card because it will not get you across the finish line (25 damage).  Don’t overvalue it.

Some 2-power hands are keepable.  On the play, your chances of drawing the third power in time is around 59%.  I would only keep the hands that are amazing if you draw the third power (e.g. Silverwing + Glaive will usually win games) or can operate fine on 2 power (Paladin + Oathbook).

On the draw, your chances of drawing the third power in time is around 74% (?).  More 2-power hands are keepable on the draw.

Win Rate

I went 41-24, for a winrate of 63%.

The winrate dropped once I hit the highest levels of the ladder and no longer got many matchups against clockroaches, Feln, Stonescar midrange, Xenan killers, armory, budget decks, and other favorable matchups.  I often play at odd hours, so that may have helped me get matchups against weaker players.  At the bottom of the ladder my winrate would likely be in the ballpark of 70%.

I played 65 straight games of monojustice, so some of my opponents may have mulliganed accordingly.  Usually I play aggro decks, so some of my opponents likely mulligan accordingly.  If I wanted a higher winrate, I should alternate between decks and play some form of Combrei.

I try to abuse the matchmaking by immediately queuing up after I had a favorable matchup.  Usually the matchmaking will repeatedly pit me against the same person.

I am not a great pilot and will occasionally punt a game, so that may have a slight impact on my winrate.  I also do other things while playing Eternal and often don’t pay attention to the priority windows.

Decklist

4 Gilded Glaive (Set1 #125)
2 District Infantry (Set1 #134)
2 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
4 Inspire (Set1 #129)
2 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Crownwatch Paladin (Set1 #139)
4 Eager Owlet (Set1 #144)
4 Paladin Oathbook (Set1 #140)
4 Tinker Overseer (Set1 #138)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
2 Brightmace Paladin (Set1 #147)
4 Silverwing Familiar (Set1 #152)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
2 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Mantle of Justice (Set0 #21)
23 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)

Card discussion

Brightmace Paladin: This card is bad.  The only matchups where it does anything is against Rakano and Bandit Queen, where the lifegain is relevant.  0-1 of these should be the correct number, even though I laddered with 2.  In relevant matchups, opponents have Torch (and Rapid Shot).  So if Paladin is good (e.g. the opponent can see that you have an oathbook in play), Paladin is liable to die to removal.

In the Bandit Queen matchup, the ability may be difficult to trigger without attacking… which is not necessarily what you want to do against Bandit Queen when you are trying to stop the initial assault.

Auric Sentry:  This card should be great in the Bandit Queen matchup, and ok in Rakano.  0-2 is likely the right number.  This may be better than Brightmace Paladin.

Runehammer:  This card is somewhat above average in Rakano and control matchups, average in Combrei, and bad in other matchups.  In the bad matchups, this is 4 power for a removal spell that gains you 1 life.  In good matchups, you remove 2 units or deal tons of damage to opponents that play Harsh Rule.

District Infantry:  This card is ok.  Maybe a 3-of, although it isn’t good in multiples because the second will get less empower triggers.  In Bandit Queen you can just trade with some of their units.

Protect:  Maybe a 3-of, but bad in multiples.  In Bandit Queen you will sometimes cast this on yourself to prevent a lethal torch.  You can also strip aegis with this card.

Finest Hour:  In Combrei matchups, you save this card to deal with Sandstorm Titan (“Boardstall Titan”).  In Bandit Queen and Rakano, you use this card to remove one of their creatures (or save your own) while you are defending.  Otherwise, you can use this to push in the last 3 points of damage for the win.

Inspire:  We play this to run fewer bad cards.

Eager Owlet:  Silence wrecks this card.  Silence also strips the ability from Mantle of Justice, so you may not want to put all your eggs in one basket when you can play Mantle on another creature.  Be careful when attacking into Combrei; it can be worth using protects to save your flyers from silence effects.  If they’re dumping Valkyrie Enforcer onto the board, they probably do not have a Harsh Rule so you don’t need to save Protect for Harsh Rule.

Justice Sigils:  Running more power should be fine.

Emerald Monument:  This card is rarely relevant.  0-2 is fine.

Elder’s Feather:  Running this as a 1-of may be ok.  I haven’t tried this card.

Hammer of might:  This card may be pretty good.  It’s not as strong as mantle because you almost always wants the buff right away (on your aegis unit) rather than in the future on a unit that likely does not have aegis.  0-4 of.

Budget versions

This happens to be a budget deck with zero legendaries.  Substitutions are listed above.  Gilded Glaive, Crownwatch Paladin, and Silverwing Familiar are the most powerful cards in this deck that you want 4 of.

Matchups

Bandit Queen:  This is the only matchup where you are not the beatdown player.  Defend and keep your life total high.  If you have an Oathbook in play, you may not necessarily want to attack.  Attacking with district infantry also isn’t the greatest play unless the board is definitely stabilized.  Once you stabilize, you do need to pressure the opponent before they get Pyroknight / Bandit Queen / Champion online.

Combrei:  The silences and the ambush wasp are an issue.  Pay attention to the priority steps.  Combrei usually runs 4X desert marshall (2 power), 0-2 Scorpion Wasp (3 power), and 1-2 Stand Togethers.

You may want to save one of two of Finest Hour, Vanquish, and/or Valkyrie Enforcer for Sandstorm Titan.  His ability and stats are very problematic for your deck.

Unless you are facing off against the aegis Combrei version with Crownwatch Paladins and Copperhall Enforcers, it is unlikely that they will beat you down with creature damage (with the exception of Sandstorm Titan).  You should usually ignore their creatures and not block.

If you have Auric Runehammer and Vanquish in hand, you may want to go with the Auric Runehammer plan.  Runehammer can’t kill Combrei Healer, but they likely would have played it out already.  Runehammer can’t kill Sandstorm Titan, but you have Vanquish for that (remember that Sandstorm Titan will tie up their entire turn).

Combrei + Primal or the version of this that splashes for Azindel’s Gift:  They run a lot of card draw and 4X Harsh Rules, so you will see Harsh Rule in slightly more than half your matchups (as well as Lightning Storm to strip aegis).  Oathbook is often a better idea than playing out another creature.  However, you do have to pressure them sufficiently before they can stabilize with Black Sky Harbinger (3/5 flying lifesteal with an enter the battlefield ability).

Feln and TJP Control (e.g. Stronghold’s Visage + Eye of Winter):  Sometimes they run backlash, so attack with Auric Runehammer first before casting a spell if they have 2 power open.

Links

Monojustice splashing shadow deck tech

Going deep: Fringe decks in Eternal – Neon Blonde’s article goes over my monojustice splashing shadow deck, with some information on the history of monojustice (e.g. repesch35 posted the original list).

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