State of competitive jank: November 2016 edition

I love playing oddball decks on Eternal ladder.  Here’s my breakdown of janky decks that are also highly competitive in the current metagame.  If you like playing constructed staples like Kaleb’s Favor, read on.

kalebs20favor

Rakano removal armory

To opponents this deck looks like your garden variety aggro Rakano deck.  Like traditional Rakano Warcry/Pants (the aegis-abusing version of Rakano) it runs efficient 1-drop and 2-drop creatures as well as the good Rakano relic weapons.  The early cards lay the trap, because opponents will see a deck that looks exactly like Rakano Pants.  The correct play against Pants is to barf out units because Pants doesn’t play Harsh Rule.  However, this armory-style Rakano deck plays all four Harsh Rules.  It’s almost impossible to tell the difference between the Pants and this Armory variant until it is too late- the time to play around Harsh Rule is before it, not after.  This is what makes this deck nefarious!  NeonBlonde’s interview with Finkel and Unearthly (at 20:50 and 26:43) touches upon how the new Rakano decks are difficult to figure out.  Neon specifically mentions how Harsh Rule in Rakano throws him for a loop.

An older post of mine describes the predecessor deck.  The current decklist I am experimenting with has been tuned to look like Rakano Warcry.  Rolant’s Favor used to give the deck away and has been removed.  (Yes, I enjoy being evil.)

On an unrelated note, some Oni Ronins have been swapped for Crownwatch Paladin.  Paladins are just as powerful but will soak up removal so that there is less removal for a future Icaria.  Also, I suspect that the bae units in this game like Siraf and Crownwatch Paladin are more powerful than their non-bae counterparts.  (Hey, it’s my duty to point out spurious correlations between bae-ness and power level.)

Deck list:

3 Flame Blast (Set1 #2)
4 Inspire (Set1 #129)
1 Oni Ronin (Set1 #13)
1 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Crownwatch Paladin (Set1 #139)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
3 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
4 Sword of Icaria (Set1 #315)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
2 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
3 Rise to the Challenge (Set1 #320)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
1 Starsteel Daisho (Set1 #328)
2 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
10 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
9 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)

The predecessor to this is the main deck I played last season, where I ended up #5.

This deck features a lot of Icaria goodness.  There are 2 maindeck Icarias and 3 Rise to the Challenge to tutor for Icaria.  Technically, you should use Rise to the Challenge to tutor for Auric Runehammer in most situations (or Daisho if you think you can get in a clean 12 damage to the face).  But Icaria is so much more fun.  This deck seems to be the most competitive shell for Icaria at the moment.

Rakano burn

Weiseguy’s burn version of Rakano is another fine deck.  I’m not sure what he played last season but he bumped me down to #5 and took the #4 spot from me.  Thanks Weiseguy.

The burn version is not as good against aegis-abusing decks as armory.  However, it is very strong against armory decks and most durdle-ey control decks.  Weiseguy’s deck is the first deck I’ve seen that plays Kaleb’s Favor and is highly competitive.

kalebs20favor

Kaleb’s Favor.  It’s constructed playable.  Really.

Burn Queen

Burn Queen is the love child between the monofire deck and the Bandit Queen deck.  It hits the ground running with cheap creatures and removal to get rid of blockers.  Then it finishes the job with burn spells.  Board stalls give the deck time to assemble ridiculousness like double Flame Blast to the face for 16 damage.

This deck dishes out the feelbads like no tomorrow.  First, there are the god draws.  Bandit Queen decks are notorious for getting lucky with god draws that are impossible to beat.  On top of that, there is the burn angle.  In almost all cases, the correct play against Bandit Queen is to protect your life total since Bandit Queen wins by bursting down opponents with damage.  You can play correctly against Bandit Queen only to find yourself getting killed with 16 points of burn.  The first burn spell is a horrible feeling since opponents generally only burn to the face when they have lethal burn in hand.  Knowing that you are about to lose in a few turns and not being able to do anything about it is an awful feeling.  Burn Queen dishes out the burns with the salt.

Having played a little more with the deck since my earlier post on it, my current record with the deck stands at 55-31 (64% winrate).  It’s good times against big Combrei decks, which is strange because Combrei and its wall of big butts is normally good against Bandit Queen decks.

Monojustice and its beastcalling frands

The classics (here and here) are still good.  If there’s a lot of 8-silence Combrei, play Jito Burn.  If not, try out monojustice and its variants.

Jank that is too janky

While haunting scream (here and here) is fun, it’s not quite as competitive as the jank listed above.  Playing Vara to bring back a 4/3 flying charge Gorgon Fanatic is amusing and happens quite often with the deck.  But the deck is not quite there in terms of power level.

Feln Flyers (and its super janky unstable form variant) would be very strong if the meta was filled with Party Hour Feln decks, but unfortunately the Party Hour days are over.

Classic jank like Clockroaches and its variants (e.g. Sunyveil’s dark clockroaches, Worldpyre Phoenix clockroaches) also remain too janky to be competitive.

Closing thoughts

The surprising thing about the best jank is how competitive these fringe decks are.  I definitely think that Rakano removal armory can get to #1 on ladder.  I just didn’t have the patience to put together that win streak and settled for peaking at #2 with that deck.

Regardless, check out these decks if you enjoy playing obscure fringe decks and surprising your opponents.  I know that I personally really enjoy matches when I’m on the opposite side of a fringe deck.  So have fun… and stay janky my friends.

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3 thoughts on “State of competitive jank: November 2016 edition

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