Sunday, 28 December 2014

The Story of a Wannabe Brew



So I decided I wanted to start doing some brews, and show step by step how I come to a finalized deck. I managed to change around a BQ deck to my liking, and even Varna seemed to approve of it (Varna is a stupidly good solforge player). Stealing a deck and changing a few cards to make it slightly better of course made me feel like a natural brew master genius of untouched parallel, and as such I shall start a new series attempting to create from the ground the best decks Solforge or any game has ever seen!

As how most brews start, a simple search of a card you want to build around, or a sweet combo of two to three cards. I went with a search of a single card... funny what came up.

 

So, with Nuada, Faith's Flourish as our starting point, we know that we are likely going to end up being Uterra (somewhat likely at least). So first lets find cards that synergies in our own faction before we look elsewhere to good cards (good supporting cards I mean of course).

Grove Queen is new, and it makes a plant, PERFECT. The brew master skills are already cooking, and WWP is really good with Grove Queen and Nuada, seems simple enough. Now the next step is for a quick search of some more plants.That should be easy enough!

Except.. they are all shit. Every. Last. One. Okay so what do we do now? I guess we try a bunch of random crap until we 4-0 a queue!

So we have a few options, but first I think it takes looking at what our second faction will be. I think Alloyin is all about being dumb and green, so why not start there. Chrogias is decent with a leveling strategy, Relic Hunter could be decent with a heart tree/wall strategy (not to mention Grove Queen value #kreygasm value overload) . Our decks always want to hit on four main fronts, synergy, crisis control, raw card strength, and consistency. We are lacking a lot in crisis control, and Uterra/Alloyin is not known for its removal. Lets look at our amazing removal suite: Gauntlets, Lash, Botaminate,  and Metamorphos... The rest are all shit, and I don't own Lashes. Gauntlets route require at least a few things with armour, and the other routes are level gated and require some form of levelling. I first attempted levelling as that also fits with the Chrogias idea :) Botaminate seemed like the better choice since the first thing we need to deal with will probably be only slightly worse then a 9/9 mobility creature. Now this makes us require some sort of leveling package/retrieval, so my vote is for 3 Soothsayer Hermit, 2 Killion, and 1 Esperian Sage (the split I have found to work well through other testing with levelling).

Now this leaves us with one slot left, and frankly our raw card strength is lacking a bit, and we need some defense. I am thinking 2x Citadel Guard and 1x Vault welder to try out so we can unleash our Nuadas and Heart Trees to start attacking! Bwahahaha. Also, Citadel Guard OP with Relic Hunter etc. Our first list is complete...To the queues!


3 Weirwood Patriarch
3 Soothsayer Hermit
3 Nuada, Faith's Flourish
Nova, Grove Queen
3 Heart Tree
3 Chrogias
3 Botanimate
3 Relic Hunter
2 Killion, Infinity Warden
1 Esperian Sage
2 Citadel Guard
1 Vault Welder

Game one was versus a budget jank deck playing Trackers with no BQs or anything really that good. Suffice to say I went off all over his face. Look at the Grove Queen.. Opponent was clearly lacking in crisis control ;)



Alas, as a brew master we must be objective. I drew my Nuadas with near perfect timing, and the opponent played rather awfully with a bad deck. However, good things came from this. Esperian Sage over writing itself with a Grove Queen in play is OP, Grove Queen is OP, and Nuada when she goes off does a looooot of work. Chrogias might be a bust, but plants were lacking a bit (granted I couldn't get plants from Queen because my board never had an open slot past player level one).

Round 2 I lost to Wegu, Heart Tree continued to be a complete bag of sand and I am looking at it to be my first cut. Didn't draw Botanimate for the Wegu, but actually got rolling pretty decently with my own strategy before it killed me. If I had a timely Botanimate I easily could have won.

Round 3 lost handily to a Thundersaur and Lysian Shard x2. Feeling like our crisis control is lacking. Heart Trees might need to be another form of removal instead. The flow of plants will be acceptable without them I think. Did I mention it was Piquadore? He is a good player.

And round 4 winning vs an actual BQ/Tracker deck, but a considerably less skilled opponent. At the very least he seemed to make some misplays, maybe due to it being nearly 3am.

After first queue going 2-2, we made some realizations:


  • Heart Tree is total garbage and I will never again play it in any deck ever.
  • Grove Queen level 2 GOES OFF. Like, holy crap, both games we won it easily got it to over 20/20.
  • Need more removal.
  • Level up stuff never happened, maybe move away from this as well.
  • Still need some plants, so we shall try some different ones!
  • Our board is nearly almost always full. Lifeblood Dryad should be considered.
  • Wall package was very mediocre, actually cost me one game not being able to play welder because it makes my Nuadas fight. They are dirty plant lovers, no fighting allowed.
Cuts: 

  • 3 Heart Tree
  • 3 Chrogias
  • 2 Killion
  • 2 Citadel Guard
  • 1 Vault Welder

Adds: 

  • 3 Lifeblood Dryad
  • 3 Brighttusk Sower
  • 2 Metamorphosis
  • 3 Grove Matriarch

Nuada, Faith's Flourish
3 Weirwood Patriarch
3 Nova, Grove Queen
Relic Hunter
1 Esperian Sage
Soothsayer Hermit
3 Botanimate
3 Brighttusk Sower
3 Lifeblood Dryad
2 Metamorphosis
3 Grove Matriarch

.......

.......

.......

.......

.......

.......


HOLY SHIT. We made a breakthrough folks. 



Version 2. Won on 2.2. Got 2k silver for third win reward... Half Life 3 confirmed.

Anyways, wow. This was round 1 versus an Iztek/Rage deck, and he killed all my stuff twice, but damn, plants OP boys. Loved all the changes A LOT. Lifeblood Dryad MVP this game (other then another 20/20 Grove Queen, but that's old news) .

Plants are plentiful, might be able to cut one for something like Echowisp, could certainly be worth considering at this point.

Annnnnddd 2-0, winning in 3.1 with another 20/20+  grove queen and a board of all 15/15s+ :) Opponents deck was experimental for sure, so we'll put that one in the half a win pile.

Round 3 lost to BQ with Sorrow Maidens, realizing hard that level gated removal really really sucks. The problem is, nothing is really that big of a threat at level 1, so you don't have any levelled removal at level 2! Oh well, we shall keep testing that out.

Round 4 a loss to robots. It was a really close match but he got a double Aegis Knight turn that really hurt. Also, didn't draw a level 3 card in player level 3 until it was too late. The Relic Hunters were pretty garbage, and I made some new discoveries.

New insights from this tournament:

  • BQ is a very big problem for us when trying to use Nuada. It is possible a grow-wide back up strategy versus BQ decks is needed (Echowisp, Ferocious Roar are considerations)
  • When the deck goes off it does it very well, Relic Hunters are nice but certainly not necessary
  • On that note, we are only playing 4 Alloyin cards. This can easily be a different faction.
  • Brighttusk Sowers were actually okay, even just as a 1/5th as good Nova Queen.
  • Grove Matriarchs I think are the plant to cut if we need to cut one. I am happy with only Queens and Brighttusks for now.
  • WWP wasn't really doing a heck of a lot, pumping the Nuadas isn't super necessary, and they are only really good with Queen... where we eat the token and pump her a ton anyway. 

So being at a constant 2-2 record with Alloyin as our friends, I feel it is time to move on and try other stuff. The deck feels a bit clunky and inconsistent. Sorry my steel brothers, but the time has come to move to bigger and better places. The most obvious of those places is the world of Nekrium. The main problems our deck was having was removal. No matter how many times I play Botaminate, it is just NEVER good. As stated earlier, it is usually not till level two or three that you NEED to kill something. Well, then what do we do with our level 1 Botaminates? Inefficiently cast them and fall behind, or don't cast them and fall prey to a creature we can't kill. Neither choice is good, and neither is a winning strategy. In order to make a winning plant deck, we have to use cards that win. Enter Broodqueen. The only reason this card is so good is because it does what you need it to. It isn't overpowered at all, it is just the only freaking reliable form of removal in the game without falling insanely far behind doing so. Turns out we also have a bunch of crappy plants to throw around as well. I tried a queue with a list something like this:

3 Echowisp
3 Lifeblood Dryad
3 Weirwood Patriarch
3 Dysian Siphon
3 Dysian Broodqueen
3 Nova, Grove Queen
3 Brighttusk Sower
3 Nuada, Faith's Flourish
3 Soothsayer Hermit
2 Nefrax, the Soulweaver
1 Botanimate

I figured Nefrax would be a sweet addition. It was decent, but pretty underwhelming honestly. That card would be 10 times better if it had Defender. Regardless, went 2-2 and lost to Redbots pretty horribly. Even with decent draws I couldn't keep up. I was about to put it on the shelf for a while and try some other decks for a bit. I was nearly passed out taking a nap, thinking slightly about Solforge and the problems the deck had and why I wasn't beating everything, and BAM it hit me. The consistency was a bit low, and robots were giving me a lot of trouble. Insert Xithian Direhound. It does everything we want it to do. Makes guys weaker, blocks, it gets out of our deck when we cast it... the card is great! I decided to shift the numbers around, and also add a Scythe in because going big on a creature also really helps with an all-in armour dude. Here is what I came up with, and where I feel the deck has some actual potential;


1 Scythe of Chiron
2 Echowisp
3 Lifeblood Dryad
3 Weirwood Patriarch
3 Dysian Siphon
3 Dysian Broodqueen
3 Nova, Grove Queen
3 Xithian Direhound
3 Brighttusk Sower
3 Soothsayer Hermit
3 Nuada, Faith's Flourish

I managed to go 3-1, losing to a Rage deck. Not to worry though because I think the Rage match up is actually good, unless of course they get the amazing hands that are unbeatable. I crushed a Rage deck in round 1, beat jjjayb in round 2 (he is a very good player), lost in round 3 to Rage (it was a somewhat close game, he drew a lot of timely Sculptors to kill all my shit), and beat a non-tier 1 deck in round 4. I was much more happy with these results, and the deck is coming together nicely! The Faith's Flourishes actually feel great, and very powerful. Soothsayer Hermit has not been getting played as much, but I feel he is necessary as plants 7-9 when you need him to be, as well as adding a lot of really nice utility when you don't need to go grave digging for plants. However, the deck is getting to a point where I feel like I am a part of every game, even ones I lose, and that is very good! With this list I will run a few ques, and come back with my results and thoughts.

So, I streamed the fourth game where I was 3-0 and managed to go 4-0!! I am convinced the deck is solid, and I don't know if I can make it much tighter. If I had to name flex slots, it would be the Echowisps, and that is about it...I very rarely played them. The deck has enough grow wide they aren't super necessary. and two shards might be better served in that slot (I will actually probably make that change). Soothsayer actually won us the last game, so I can't say I am ready to cut my favorite card just yet. I don't remember what decks I went against other then BQ tracker in round 3, and in round 4 it was a non tier-1 deck, but I crushed the shit out of it so I am counting that as a full win :P . So there you have it, through  5 ques we finally managed to get a deck I consider to be competitive. The deck has got some power, and Nuada is actually really strong especially with grove queen.

As an aside, a quick note about our second plant choice in Brighttusk Sower. Grove Queens are insane, and very clearly a huge element in our deck, as well as our main win condition. One person asked me why I would play Brighttusk sowers over Scatterspore Eidilons, and the answer has a few parts (two of which involve Grove Queen). First, Brighttusk gives you a plant immediately, this is very important for Nuada, and the ability to block and make a big plant where you want to. Second, it actually levels up! Scatterspore staying as an 8/8 for all three levels is the biggest downside ever. Third, it fills two lanes, which is very good for our grow wide strategy. Fourth, it gives you a stupid plant right away for our Broodqueens, or to override for Grove Queens. Lastly, and this one is a bit more subtle, is that the way this card works is that it says "adjacent lane". This is important because it is missing a very annoying word in "available adjacent lane" . That is right, you can override two things with this guy, then over ride the plant it makes, giving a grove queen +15 +15 in one turn at level 3, or just as impressively +9/+9 at level 2, and yes, this subtle difference has made me win games before.

As a final note before this article goes up, I did actually make the switch to Shards. I realized that Shard basically does the exact same thing as Scythe but also give your guy +6 health, and I decided to cut 2 Echowisp and 1 Scythe for 3 Shards, and the change was another big improvement to the deck. The Shards allow you to get very nice 3 for 2s with BQs, sometimes even 4 for 2s, and overall is a very good card, saving our important creatures for an extra turn or two (usually two turns with Nuada, which is extremely nice) . They also have the sweet sweet word overload, making our deck more consistent going into power level 3 and beyond, and that is great. Here is the final list, I think it is near optimized and ready to crush the queues! (I actually played a few queues with this, 3-1 and 4-0)!!


3 Lifeblood Dryad
3 Weirwood Patriarch
3 Dysian Siphon
3 Dysian Broodqueen
3 Nova, Grove Queen
3 Xithian Direhound
3 Brighttusk Sower
3 Soothsayer Hermit
3 Nuada, Faith's Flourish
3 Lysian Shard

Enjoy, and if you want to see the deck in action before you craft the cards yourself come check me out at www.twitch.tv/jimbozgrpz . I play a ton of different decks and adjust them on the fly explaining my thought processes and destroying silver for your entertainment :) .

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