Holy crap it’s spoiler season! I don’t know about all of you, but I am like TURBO jacked for some new cards to play around with, and this one is a spicy number. I present to you: a 1/1 for 5! GET HYPE!
I’ll spare you any more of the “1/1 for 5! Hurhurhur!” jokes. This is clearly trying to be a 7/7 with flying and overwhelm for 5FF. Steelbound Dragon is serious business. A 7/7 with flying and overwhelm will kill your opponent really fast unless they have an answer pronto, and I doubt I need to convince anyone of this. So with that in mind, let’s dissect Bait.
To begin with, I just want to say the flavor here is pretty sweet. In other games, we have seen the “Dragon Egg” trope, where a 0/1 or 0/2 turns into a dragon when it dies. This is an alternative take on that shtick, but with a slightly darker twist. I like it! Poor guy in the art though. He seems to be having a rough day.
At a base level, this does some interesting things. Against a deck filled with big dumb ground-pounders, like Rakano or Combrei, they will either have to attack into your dorky 1/1, or sit back and halt their aggression until they find a silence effect. This also has an interesting role against relic weapon decks like Armory. If Bait is the only unit on your side of the field they will be put in an awkward spot. Bait is also a fascinating “counter” to sweeper effects. Let’s say your opponent is playing a Harsh Rule deck. If you load up the board and then drop a Bait right before they hit 5 power they will be forced to deal with a 7/7 dragon as your leftovers. I could see him being played as just a normal card in Stonescar Midrange decks. Check out the following list! Aside from blocking to get the 7/7, you can use Vara’s Favor, or Tyrant to get the entomb trigger, as well as killing it during your opponent’s attack with Torch or Annihilate to get an ambush-like effect.
Now, before I go too deep into this, I will admit this card has some vulnerabilities. Either silence effects or Void-hate cards will hose this card. How do we play around this? Well, we don’t wait for our opponent to take the bait. We just take it ourselves! The real pay off to this card is in a sacrifice synergy deck. We have seen a number of Stonescar decks built around sacrificing units for value. One of the first cards that I thought about when I saw Bait was Brimstone Altar. By playing a free sacrifice outlet we can ensure there is no window for our opponent to silence our unit. Take a look at the following list
This is an aggressive take on the list. Lots of little dudes that attack in the early turns, and than Brimstone Altar as a path to burn your opponent out. Cards like Madness and Devour also fit well into this sort of shell, as it allows you to get around blockers, or continue to fuel your Altar. You should be able to turn on Bait fairly consistently in a deck such as this, as well as acting as sweeper protection. If suicidal aggro isn’t your speed, an alternative to this list might be the following:
This attempts to fit Bait into a “Stonescar Maulers” type shell, with additional sacrifice synergy. I have sometimes felt Venomspine Hydra was very close to playable for ranked, but most decks that want him do not have quite enough fuel for a sacrifice sub-theme. With Bait in the mix, we might be able to build a deck along these lines. Scheme allows you to dig for whatever pieces you need, while Altar gives you access to a sacrifice outlet for both Bait and Venomspine Hydra. Maybe there is something in this area for our little 1/1 for 5.
Another direction to go is – of course – Bloodrite Kalis. Everyone’s favorite sacrifice outlet. The card is both sweet and powerful, having moderate success on the ladder and in tournament play. Bait’s role in this deck is particularly interesting. One of the issues in this deck has always been playing a Kalis when you are under pressure. Sure you get an 8/8 weapon and can chop down an opposing Titan, but all you have left to protect your DIY Sword of the Sky King is a couple lousy gargoyles. When we are using Bait we can get a 7/7 Dragon to protect our 8/8 weapon! Seems legit.
Kalis Bait – Credit to Jarboe for Kalis shell
Now, for our final deck, we are going to get a little crazy. Can I interest you in a 4 faction Haunting scream deck? Take a look at this monstrosity:
4 Faction Dragon Scream
So the idea here is to combine two great entomb cards at 5 cost (Bait and Reaper) with Nesting Avisaur. This brings their cost down to 3, which allows you to then use them with Haunting Scream. These also combines nicely with Dawnwalker, as Reaper has 5 strength, and the Steelbound Dragon you get from Bait has way more than 5 strength. Throw in some of those regular Haunting Scream units and you got yourself a deck….or something! This is clearly more a “for funsies” brew than competitive build at the moment, but maybe there is something in here that is actually functional? Only one way to find out! If you want to be the brave soul to crack “Dragon Scream” some other cards to try might be Xenan Cultist as well as the Madness + devour combo to add extra inconsistency to your deck. Blind Storyteller will also help getting rid of all your uncastable cards, which I’m sure you will have no shortage of.
That’s everything for me! I’m sure you are all as pumped as I am about spoiler season. Thanks so much to Dire Wolf for giving me such a sweet card to preview. Lots of sweet stuff going on so far, with more awesome stuff to come I’m sure. Be sure to check out Shadowlands Feaster if you haven’t already! Let me know if there was any “Bait Deck” I missed. Anywhere you want to use it that I didn’t think of? I’d love to see it! Next week I expect I’ll be writing about my take on the new mini-set with a total review, so be sure to check that out!