Whisperpack: a funstable twist on Shimmerpack

Here’s a competitive deck that’s also interesting to play and pilot, unlike the current bogeyman of the metagame- Stonescar Burn.  My winrate with the deck has been 64% (18-10).  I currently sit at ~#8 on ladder.

This deck is very similar to Finkel’s Shimmerpack deck (discussed here), except that it runs Twinbrood Sauropod (“Echosaur”) as another win condition.  Whispering Wind is a way to assemble the Shimmerpack combos.  Levitate + big units shore up the deck’s weaknesses against flyers.

Deck list

4 Initiate of the Sands (Set1 #74)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
1 Unstable Form (Set1 #189)
1 Eilyn’s Favor (Set0 #24)
1 Storm Lynx (Set1 #353)
2 Talir’s Favored (Set0 #11)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
3 Whispering Wind (Set1 #202)
4 Amber Acolyte (Set1 #93)
2 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
2 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
1 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Marisen’s Disciple (Set1 #104)
1 Praxis Displacer (Set1 #100)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
4 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
4 Twinbrood Sauropod (Set1 #113)
1 Lumen Shepherd (Set1 #117)
1 Shimmerpack (Set1 #365)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
8 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)

30,800 shiftstone according to JelloMoose’s excellent EternalDecks.cards

How this deck works

The win conditions are:

  1. Unit spam + either Obelisk or Shimmerpack.
  2. Twinbrood Sauropod.
  3. Boardstall (Sandstorm) Titan.
  4. Whispering Wind assembling one of the win conditions mentioned above.

This is basically like Shimmerpack with the addition of Twinbrood Sauropod as a wincon.

The Shimmerpack gameplan is to fill your board with unit spam.  Then you play Shimmerpack, which is essentially a massive buff to your army and a debuff/silence to the opponent’s army.  Obelisk is another way of buffing your army.  Usually the buffs are enough to break through board stalls.  Having a massive amount of beefy units on board will usually win you the game.  If you attack for potentially lethal damage, you force your opponent into blocking.

Against control decks like Icaria Blue and Feln control, you want cards like Obelisk and Echosaur.  Both are essentially card advantage / value engines.  Obelisk turns any of your random units into threats that require an answer.  Echosaur requires two answer cards to deal with.  You win by playing more threats than the control deck has answers.

For the mulligan, you generally want to look for one of the wincons + some action against early aggression.  It is difficult to win without one of the wincons so you generally want to mulligan for them- the deck does a lot of nothing without them.  This deck is vaguely like a combo deck.  The deck is midrange in the sense that it is the beatdown against control decks, Armory, and Icaria Blue.  Against aggro decks it tries to survive.

How to play Levitate

levitate

If you are in a position to beat down the opponent, you can use levitate to push through damage for the lethal blow.

If you are facing Rakano, you generally want to save levitate to strip aegis and to deal with their flyers.

If you are facing Big Burn (the most popular version of Stonescar Burn that runs lots of 5-drop flyers), then sometimes you want to save levitate to deal with their flyers.  However, sometimes you want to cycle levitate to draw into threats.  One way to figure out what to do is to see if they play a flying unit if they have 5 power open.

Otherwise, you generally want to cycle levitate.

How to play Whispering Wind

whisperingwind

If you discard a 6-cost card, you will always get Shimmerpack because this deck only runs 1 card with more than 6 cost.  So, discarding Lumen Shepherd to Whispering Wind will guarantee you a Shimmerpack.  Putting your wincon into your hand is generally a good thing.

If you need more power, you might want to discard your 1s to grab 2s (Favors) and 3s (Amber Acolyte), which will get your more power.

Otherwise, you want to discard cards that you don’t need.  This will vary from matchup to matchup.  Storm Lynx is generally not so great if you don’t need to fend off early aggression.  This deck runs a lot of power cards, so ditching them isn’t a terrible idea.  You can discard Unstable Form for value.

In many cases, you should not discard anything to Whispering Wind.  If your hand is great, you don’t want to risk making your hand worse.

How to play Unstable Form

unstable20form

Don’t play it on your own units.  Yes, you can turn your Temple Scribes and Amber Acolytes into better units.  But that would be like playing Ornamental Daggers onto a bad unit.  It does not help you win the game.  And, it deprives you of the ability to answer problematic units later.  There is an exception however.  Unstable Form can grant evasion and/or stat buffs to your units that can help you swing for lethal on that turn.  Otherwise… you should not play it on your own units.  Be patient!!!

Win more with Shimmerpack.  After you play Shimmerpack, you can unstable one of your own units to buff it.  Now if you’ve played Shimmerpack, you were probably going to win that game anyways.  So Unstable Form isn’t exactly a great card here.

Silence problematic abilities.  Unstable Form is a good way of dealing with Siraf and Champion of Chaos.

Strip aegis.

Deal with warcried units.  A rakano player might get a huge warcry stack onto a unit.  The new unit created from unstable form will lose the warcry buffs.  (However, many Rakano decks play relic weapons that you cannot unstable form.)

Debuff units.  The new unit will almost always be a downgrade.  This is because they lack synergy with the opponent’s deck, Summon effects do not trigger, and because most random units aren’t constructed playable.

Be careful about opponents’ 5+ 6+ cost units.  Many of the random 6+ cost units are decent threats that must be answered, so Unstable Form is not a great way of dealing with expensive units.  But if you can’t deal with an Icaria, then you could Unstable Form her just to remove her abilities.

“Remove” flying.  See the warning above regarding 5+ 6+ cost units.

Remove endurance so that you can play Permafrost.

How to play Praxis Displacer

Against equipment decks, equipment will fall off if the unit is returned to hand with Praxis Displacer.  So you often want to save displacer for equipment.  Otherwise, you use this mage to gain tempo on your opponent.

I’m not sure if this card is actually good.

Piloting common matchups

Combrei:  The game will likely turn into a board stall because both sides play Boardstall Titan and units without evasion.  You are usually ok if your Titan dies because it allows your Whispering Wind to attack and help you find your own conditions- Obelisk and Shimmerpack to break the board stall.  Save removal for Siraf.

Big Combrei plays Harsh Rule although it’s somewhat hard to tell if the opponent is playing that version of Combrei.

Burnscar:  Stop the early aggression, and then start pressuring their life total before they kill you with multiple burn spells.  Sometimes you go for value and sometimes you give up value to pressure the opponent.

Icaria Blue:  Don’t commit too much to the board… commit enough to force the opponent to play sweepers.  Hopefully you draw Obelisk and/or Echosaur so that you can grind them out with value.

Armory (FJS / Fire Justice Shadow):  Note that if you have a lot of units on the board, their relic weapons will not work very well so they may hold them in hand.  You do want to keep units on your board and may not necessarily want to trade, simply because it stops your opponent from doing anything good with relic weapons.  You often don’t want to block because these decks cannot kill you quickly- your life total usually doesn’t matter.

Shimmerpack mirror:  I have no idea.  The game will likely have a big board stall so you want to try to get your combos online before your opponent does.  Be careful about ambush units and the crackback- these factors can make alpha strikes (attacking with everything / A+space) very risky.

Metagame matchups

I’ve aggregated this build with other Shimmerpack builds that I have played:

  • 28 with this list
  • 12+16 with bad brews of mine
  • 28 with Finkel’s Nov 28 decklist
  • 9 with Finkel’s Dec 5 decklist

My overall record was 54-39 (58% winrate).

Rakano (7-11) – Unfavored.

Big burn (12-6) – Favored.

Combrei (6-5) – ?

Feln (8-1) – Favored.  Feln has trouble with go-wide strategies it seems?

Icaria blue (1-4) – ?  Shimmerpack may have issues with the 8 sweepers than this deck typically runs.

Armory (5-0) – Favored.

Jito Queen (4-0) – ?  This matchup should be close, despite what the small sample size says.

Monofire (2-1) – Favored?

Card discussion

Polymorph, Scorpion Wasp:  I am not sure about the right numbers.  A mix seems fine since each can handle threats that the other does not.

Unstable Form:  While fun, I don’t know if this is a good card.  Polymorph might be better.

Wisdom of the Elders:  I am not sure about this card.  0-3 should be the correct number.  This card is a little bit of a durdle against fast proactive decks like Rakano and Jito Queen.

Talir’s Favored:  This card is a little slow.  Even if you have an Obelisk, it does not put a reasonable clock on your opponent.  I am not that keen about this card.

Whispering Wind:  You don’t want to draw 2 of these, so I run 3 instead of 4.  If there is a Boardstall Titan on the board, the second Whispering Wind is really bad.

Marisen’s Disciple:  You generally use this card to setup a board stall by choosing the 1/1 deadly insect.  If there is already a board stall, you might want the flyer.

Twinbrood Sauropod:  Echosaur is card advantage but with an immediate board impact.  Like card draw however, it is a bit slow and durdle-ey sometimes.  It takes a while to dump your hand onto the board with this card around.

Beating Shimmerpack

You want to pressure the Shimmerpack player early and try to trade units.  The Shimmerpack units will get a lot better later due to Obelisk and Shimmerpack, so you want to essentially trade “up” in value.

Due to the current Stonescar burn-heavy meta, every Primal deck is running 4X Permafrost.  Remember that silence effects and Endurance (e.g. Deepforged Plate) can counter Permafrost.

Closing thoughts

Shimmerpack is a viable alternative to the other Tier 1 decks at the moment (aggressive decks like Big Burn, Rakano with Righteous Fury, and aggro Combrei).  Please play more of it, because I’m pretty burned out with the current aggro-oriented meta.

And uh… let’s get some nerf hype going.  I can’t wait until Burnscar gets nerfed so that people can play jank and control again.  This season, I have not faced a single Clockroaches or Reanimator deck… something happened to people having fun with Eternal.

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