Bloodrite Kalis is a perfect card for those that like to do something off the beaten path. It just oozes potential – if you can gather enough sacrifice fodder, you can build the most powerful relic weapon in the game! The first time I ever saw a mildly competitive Bloodrite Kalis list on reddit (from BadGuyTy), I immediately put it together and gave it a spin. My very first game I played turn 1 Grenadin Drone, turn 2 Grenadin Drone, turn 3 8/8 Bloodrite Kalis, and I was hooked.
With the transition to open beta, Bloodrite Kalis was changed from a Legendary card to a Rare, making it even more accessible for brewers. Rekenner took 2nd with a Kalis deck in the no-legendary tournament the weekend after open beta started, and Kalis had its breakout tournament result on December 10th, with Jarboe’s top 8 in the Eternal Tournament Series.
4 Combust (Set1 #392)
4 Grenadin Drone (Set1 #5)
4 Slumbering Stone (Set1 #255)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Dark Wisp (Set1 #264)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
3 Bloodrite Kalis (Set1 #397)
4 Champion of Chaos (Set1 #402)
4 Torrent of Spiders (Set1 #272)
4 Recogulator (Set1 #37)
2 Oblivion Spike (Set1 #294)
3 Smuggler’s Stash (Set1 #396)
8 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
9 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)
4 Stonescar Banner (Set1 #419)
Usually I’m not one to play speculative brews, but Stonescar Kalis is a deck that is close to my heart. Jarboe’s version is also surprisingly competitive for a deck playing draft chaff like Recogulator and Oblivion Spike. It’s a prime showcase of synergy over brute card quality – all of these individually weak cards combine to create some insanely powerful swings.
So how exactly does all of this jank work?
The backbone of the deck is all of the cards that produce multiple units like Grenadin Drone and Assembly Line or cards that create value when sacrificed like Slumbering Stone and Dark Wisp (Recogulator is both!). When you have a bunch of units you don’t mind sacrificing, cards like Devour and Combust become insane. 2-cost draw two, gain two health? 1-cost kill a unit? Yes, please!
Games play out in a few different ways. Plan A is to trade off your dorky, small units with your opponent’s good units, then completely shut down the ground by playing a Torrent of Spiders for a whole bunch of deadly spiders. When the board is well and fully clogged, you try to set up a big Bloodrite Kalis with several Recogulators and Slumbering Stones on board so that you have some blockers in play to protect your large relic weapon.
If your initial Grenadin push and big Kalis aren’t good enough, you can switch into super grindy mode with Smuggler’s Stash. A Bloodrite Kalis returned by Smuggler’s Stash will retain its size from the first time you played it, so when you replay it and sacrifice your board again it is not uncommon to have a 12/12 or bigger relic weapon. Conveniently, the Stash also grabs more Grenadin Drones or Recogulators to sacrifice! The deck also contains another relic weapon capable of huge swings: Oblivion Spike. Spike actually continually updates its strength based on the number of units in your void, so if you trade units with one in play it will get bigger. In longer matchups against control decks, you have the ability to one-shot opponents from 15-20 health with a giant Oblivion Spike, and control opponents often don’t have units to prevent the damage.
There are a couple copies of Annihilate to supplement the Combusts and relic weapons for removal. Most decks that play Annihilate play it because they cannot beat a Sandstorm Titan, but this deck has a different 4-drop with big stats and multiple good abilities it can’t beat: Steward of the Past. Save a removal spell for if you are playing against a Feln control or shadow midrange deck that might have the Steward.
If given the option, run out Grenadin Drone on turn 1 before Slumbering Stone; Stone is best played the same turn as a Bloodrite Kalis or Combust. You can also just throw it out whenever you have spare power if your opponent is not playing any sweepers.
I’m not going to lie; this matchup is pretty bad for Stonescar Kalis. They can keep up with your board and go way over the top of it with Xenan Obelisk or Shimmerpack. Relic weapons are particularly ineffective because they will always have lots of units, so you will never be able to hit their face.
Like many decks against Shimmerpack, your only chance to win is to beat them down. Champion of Chaos is your best bet, so slam her early and look to Smuggler’s Stash her back. If you have a particularly powerful draw you can sometimes cheese out a win with a 6/6 or 8/8 Bloodrite Kalis early, but usually it won’t do much.
You can chump block on the ground forever if they don’t have an overwhelm unit, so don’t worry about taking some damage early and set up good trades with your units. Save your removal for flyers or Deepforged Plate that can actually get around your endless grenadin chump blocks and threaten you.
The plan here is to set up a massive Bloodrite Kalis, as relic weapons are great against aegis and all of Rakano’s units are small without weapon buffs, so an 8/8 Kalis will be 3 or 4 for one most times. In general, playing an attrition game favors you since you have Smuggler’s Stash to reload with more units and weapons. Torrent of Spiders is also a brutal finisher; there’s no way Rakano will be able to deploy enough units to punch through 3 or 4 deadly spiders.
Stonescar Burn is basically the opposite of Rakano; you can’t afford to be low on health, so lean towards chump blocking once you’re below 20 if you can’t trade with that unit the next turn. Weapons aren’t great since they can just Obliterate them away after one attack. Since you can’t win the long game with Smuggler’s Stash (you’ll die to burn spells) you need to get aggressive. Fortunately, many of Stonescar’s units are bad at blocking grenadin. It’s pretty embarrassing to trade a Cabal Countess or an Umbren Reaper for 1/3 of an Assembly Line!
Additionally, don’t bother holding your removal for better targets; just fire off Combusts and Torches on the first good target you find, whether that is Argenport Instigator or Impending Doom. Your removal is best used as a tempo tool to allow you to get in more attacks with 1/1s.
Combrei actually has a pretty difficult time getting through enough damage to kill you if they don’t get a pumped-up overwhelm unit, so save removal for Siraf and Copperhall Elite. Aim to trade with or chump stuff like Crownwatch Paladin and Sandstorm Titan. They have no reach, so a big Kalis is usually good enough to end the game if you set it up properly. A ‘proper’ setup is basically any time your opponent won’t be able to kill it immediately afterward, such as when you have a bunch of Recogulators in play or your Slumbering Stone gargoyle will threaten to trade with the opponent’s small units after you Kalis down their big one.
The 8 silences are annoying for your entomb units, but you have enough of them that they can’t silence them all and enough grenadin that you shouldn’t have trouble setting up a decent Kalis with protection. You have Torches, Combusts, AND Annihilates for killing the flying Valkyrie Enforcer.
Combrei is another deck without much reach or many flyers, so Torrent of Spiders late-game for 3+ spiders is pretty close to game over. Even 2 spiders in the midgame can be good to stave off their remaining pressure.
Decks with sweepers are an interesting dance: on the one hand, almost all of your units die to a stiff breeze. On the other hand, only Champion of Chaos is a good target for spot removal. You can also squeeze some extra value out of Devour by sacrificing a unit he opponent is about to destroy anyways. Even if you have a lot of tokens out and feel like a sweeper would blow you out, you can play a Recogulator or Slumbering Stone so that you will still have some units on board afterwards.
Ultimately, you are favored here because of Stonescar Kalis and Oblivion Spike. Both relic weapons can easily get up to double-digit attack and end the game in a couple hits, and it’s unlikely your opponent will be able to block the damage with units since your removal will not have many targets.
Stonescar Kalis is a very fun and surprisingly powerful deck – it has game against most of the top contenders and has some unbeatable draws, which is always a plus. There’s also something to be said about originality – if you are bored with the typical top-tier decks Kalis is a great change of pace. It also lets you say the phrase “constructed all-star Recogulator” with regularity, which is a plus in my book.
Until next time, may your Bloodrite Kalis always be at least an 8/8.