Monday 12 January 2015

An In Depth Look at BQ (WCQ Follow Up)

This was an article I wrote for my team mates over at A1 for the WCQ. This is the results of many many games played preparing for WCQ, of which I never actually got to play in. My one team mate Ivantheawesom managed to top 16 with a carbon copy, and Ipwnfour managed to win, with some tech of -1 WWP, -1 Hermit, and +1 Soul Reap and +1 Aetherphage. They said this article helped them to varying degrees, but a lot of it is obvious if you have played a fair amount with the deck. This is mostly for people looking at playing BQ, and don't really know how the games go. I hope you enjoy, we all put in a lot of work and I am very happy for Ipwnfour for winning the WCQ!

I saw someone was looking for an N/U Broodqueen deck write up, and I have a lot of experience with the deck and am very confident in my match up analysis and card decisions, so I will take the time to share my deck and ideas. I may tweak one or two cards, but I feel this is very very close to 100% optimal as it stands now.

The List:

3x Thundersaur
3x Dysian BroodQueen
3x Bramblewood Tracker
3x Shardbound Invoker
3x Weirdwood Patriarch
3x Soothsayer Hermit
2x Oros Deepwood's Chosen
3x Dysian Siphon
3x Lysian Shard
2x Scythe of Chiron
1x Tangle
1x Howl of Xith

First, most of this stuff is obvious, but I want to explain the "tech" or nontraditional stuff.

The Tech:

First, 3x Tsaurs, this guy is a monster and main win condition in many of the match ups perceived as "bad". Redbots has a lot of trouble vs this guy, so I choose to run 3 as it is our free win vs a lot of the difficult match ups. Running only 2 is a mistake in my eyes, 3x Tsaur is where you want to be.

2x Oros is the second interesting choice, and I include him because he can be the mirror breaker. The mirror in my eyes is generally decided by 3 factors, who has more BQ, who has more Tracker, and who has more life going into plvl 3. This guy blocking + siphon makes you win that third category, and put your opponent on the back foot. Oros isn't amazing by any stretch, but he is powerful enough that he can and will give you that extra boost you need in the mirror, and vs some other lists. The 6/6 body is basically what is what makes him good in plvl 1 to pose a decent threat and keep you from sinking in the early stages. This is the main flex slot, and I have tried 3x Oros, 0 Oros, 1 Oros, and all of the other cards haven't been as impressive as him. Right now this block is 2x Oros 1x Tangle. After seeing WCQ and further testing, I think 1 Oros and 2 Tangle might be better, but its always very hard to tell.

1x Tangle. Just insurance, and a pretty low risk high reward card to play. Mainly vs nut draw of growbots or a big armor guy from redbots, but usually I won't even play this card vs a fresh Frostmane dragon if it means not going with my own game plan. Just some insurance vs an all-in mobility guy, definitely worth it in my opinion. DO NOT use this as a one for one removal spell, unless you have nothing better to do, only use it as a last resort vs a creature that snowballed out of reach. Removal in this game should only ever be used if it gives you a big advantage or 2+ for one. Going any deeper then one card I have found to be to risky for other match ups. I had tried 2 archers for a while, but the downside was not worth the upside for me. This is my compromise for dealing with hard match ups without taking to much away from my own strategy
Next is 3x soothsayer hermit, if you haven't read my article about him then you should know I absolutely love this guy. Play him, that's all.

2x Scythe, I have heard people playing 1, 2, and 3x Scythe. I feel 3 is to much, you barely ever actually get an opportunity to play this card since Shard is often just better, but when it is good it is usually really good, forcing 2-3 trades in your favor. I think this card is over hyped, but it is still very strong, so I play 2.

1x Howl of Xith. Just wins you games, same thing, low risk high reward. Plus, under leveled Hermits can get this thing back so you can do 24 damage to the face a surprising amount in power level 3 with this card.

Next, cards I am not including:

Grove Queen, who I originally was very hyped about, is pretty underwhelming. Her level 2 and level 3 are insane but the games end so quickly that she just isn't really that useful. Doesn't really provide any insane tech to any of the big match ups, and doesn't fit very well with our strategy other then being a good card. Well, we already have good cards that do more then this, so sorry but you are cut.

Stygian Lotus: This is more of a grow big then grow wide deck, self explanatory

Lifeblood Dryad: above

Ferocious Roar: above

Archer: I tried this card and its actually very good in the match ups we want it, but since BQ mirror is probably the most important thing, I can't justify it.

Aetherphage: I dunno, this could definitely be based on bias, but this card is so bad IMO. Like, if you play well, you should very rarely get blown out by rages or explosives anyways. If this guy wasn't level gated I could see playing him, but having played on the other side of the match ups a lot, you really really barely ever care when you get Aetherphaged, you just play your creatures instead and its totally fine, since you never want to level your spells anyways. The times this guy costs you power and synergy vs the times he saves you from blow outs doesn't add up IMO. Was just never happy playing him, and with the fall of ROK I think it is totally fine. Also, I am 5-0 vs ROK in my last 100 games I have played without Aetherphage... so yeah.

*Side note Ipwnfour said his one of Aetherphage helped him immensely, so its worth it if you want to do -1 wwp +1 Aetherphage.

Botaminate/Metamorphos: Level gated removal is just sooooooooo bad. I have made posts about this before, but I will briefly say my main argument is that when you can use it, you don't want it, and when you want it, you cant use it. Don't typically care much about anything at plvl 1 so when plvl 2 and 3 comes your under leveled removal is no good. You would need to get a 3 for one every time you play this card for it to be worth it in my opinion for all its downside, and that just isn't happening.

Now for the deck tech and match ups:

The deck basically wins 2 ways, big Thundersaur, or overwhelm with Tracker value. The first way we win, is why I have decided to include 3 Thundersaurs into the deck instead of two, which some other lists run. The fact of the matter is, Thundersaur + shard straight wins you many match ups. There are two cores to this deck, and they do very different things for the different match ups. The first core, in bq/tracker, is the grindy grow incremental value strategy. The second core, Thundersaur + shard is the kill you dead strategy. Basically all other cards are support for these two strategies, and some cards provide good utility in certain match ups, where some are more flex. In general, if they are playing soft removal like gauntlets, or ROK, we go with Thundersaur, if they are going hard removal, like BQ we go with BQ/Tracker plan. Here is how I have played the deck:

In the dark turn 1 my level priority is BQ>Tracker>Thundersaur>Soothsayer Hermit>Oros> probably dead at this point. Throw down the WWP whenever it is profitable to do so, although getting at least 2 trackers leveled is a must for plvl 2.

BQ is the safest turn one play there is, and pretty clearly a #1 choice, it allows you for great set up plays, and given a shard can very easily snowball the game in your favor, getting two for fours, or two for threes and allowing you to execute your game plan and hinder your opponents. Tracker is the name of the deck, and for good reason. Leveling these guys guarantees consistency going into plvl 2 and 3, so he is my number 2 choice, although Tsaur is very close. Tsaur would be number 2 if not for BQ, if you blind out a Tsaur and your opponent responds with BQ you kind of get dumped on. Granted a turn 1 Tsaur in most match ups will be enough just to win given your opponent doesn't immediately kill it... and that is hard to do turn 1. I level soothsayer over Oros because again, it is just much safer in the mirror, and the mirror is probably going to be your hardest match up. A powered up Oros will be easy to set up turn 2 with two spells anyways, so its not a big deal or as high of a priority to level. My leveling strategy is safe and consistent, but if you were newer with the deck, jamming Tsaurs and Oros might provide a higher win % for you till you are better with it.

Match ups:

Mobility Based Decks (Tempys/Redbots)

In general, vs mobility decks or Tempys (not including Ator) my strategy is to go big on a Tsaur. BQs are typically much lower priority for me in these match ups, since mobility totally ruins your day. A Frostmane dragon + gauntlets is enough to kill a BQ at any level, and this is a formula to lose the game. Thankfully though, as long as you keep a conscious mind about Oratek Explosives and ROK blow outs, if you can keep your life ahead of those cards you can all in a Tsaur or Oros and just easily win the game. They have no hard removal, and making a giant dinosaur typically spells death for them. This match up used to give me a lot of trouble till I found this strategy, and it has proven to be quite effective.

Versus Redbots/Tempys or mobility decks my priorities are Tsaur>Tracker> situation. If I can sneak in a relatively safe BQ I will, otherwise Oros then hermit. Leveling WWPs are also really good even without benefit if you can get a decent block because as it turns out they pump Tsaurs :) 

Ator Decks:

Do whatever it takes to survive player level 1, that is really all there is to it. Fill up as many lanes as possible, and hope they don't nut draw you. Otherwise this match up is actually really easy, they are playing a bunch of bad cards and an inconsistent deck, so its not to hard to win. I expect this to not be a big contender, but hey someone may break it. Theoretically though, I feel like this deck and this card will never be tier 1, its really not on my radar. If you can level Trackers they are the best for stabilizing player level 2, but really just deploy your hand into open lanes as efficiently as possible.

NovaSteel/Growbots (any replacement or grow big strategies is similar)

Versus NovaSteel/Growbots, this match up if you were to only hit your head against your keyboard it would still be difficult to lose. Little mobility, no way of dealing with Tsaur other then god draws, and their strategy doesn't work versus BQ. The one time I lost was to all in on scavenger, and perfectly timed gauntlets to kill all my BQs. This is mainly the reason for the one of Tangle, because of growbots. It can be your one saving grace versus their nut draws, but typically you can't lose here. One thing, is consciously try not to level to many spells. It can be very tempting to Dysian Siphon like crazy versus this deck, but try to avoid it if possible. An out of control Scavanger can kill you, but only siphon if you need to.

Leveling priorities vs NovaSteel/Growbots are BQ if safe > Tsaur > Tracker > then situational plays... which of course might take precedence.

Wegu and Mirror:

Versus Wegu it really depends on game flow. Their deck is really two strategies blended into one deck, if they get most of one strategy they can be really hard to deal with. Prioritise BQs over all, and then give up everything else if it means getting them below 100 life at the start of the game. Otherwise, if they are below 100, and you don't have a bq in hand, normal BQ mirror strategy is pretty good, which is next.

Now the mirror.. which I deliberately left for last because I really have little clue about how I win or lose this match. Typically I am very good at being objective and figuring out how stuff works, but honestly it seems completely random to me. From someone leveling more trackers, someone going crazy with BQs, someone going big on an unanswered Tsaur... all of the above seems to work for both sides. I will however say that Soulreap and Sorrow Maiden are not the mirror breakers. Playing with and against both of these has been very underwhelming, Its just fine, but typically you don't get very far ahead playing these cards and sometimes they just plain suck. I have tried numerous different strategies, but all of them fail in one way or another if you don't draw correctly or your opponent does. In general, if you can land a decent threat and back it up with BQs you will win. Trackers are very important, and so are BQs for this reason to stop your opponent from doing the same. One BQ and one healthy threat in play is usually very promising, but leveling trackers is also a big priority. So yeah... do that xD . One very good strategy is going big on a bq, if you can siphon + shard onto a bq and get tempo on it, you can snowball the game heavily in your favor. Your opponent will dump all their resources into dealing with the BQ, and you can just snipe some stuff and build additional threats. Either way, the match up is draw dependent, and Hermit + Oros makes this more favorable over those that don't run these cards, since every turn is extremely situational, and having an extra 6 attack guy or two helps block the BQs. One tip for dealing with BQs, is you always want to try your hardest to block with your worst creature that can survive. Blocking with your best creature makes it way to easy for them to decide what to kill, so spread your threats as much as possible, and draw better then your opponent :) Blocking non-active creatures always leaves you open to siphon blow outs, so try to avoid that as much as possible.

My level priority, although it is very very situation dependent is BQ>Tracker>Hermit>Oros>Tsaur.

Hope this helps you all out in your match ups, and I hope you enjoyed reading! Thanks everyone for taking the time to check it out as much as some of you hate BQ :P . 

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