Welcome back to Funstable Brews, folks!
The name is LocoPojo, and I’m pretty fond of that name. I took it from the old Gauntlet games, after the fire-breathing chicken that you can unlock in various ways. It’s been my gamer handle since I was very young, and I’m grateful it stuck. In fact, I often use Pojo as a nickname.
I like the name. I like the silliness of it, for a start. I like the idea of a surprising creature, something modest and unassuming with a lot of hidden potential. And I like the pheonix-y element of it: the goofier take on the majestic fire-bird, that magical creature that keeps coming back when it’s beat.
So there’s a card that has appealed to me for a while from a lore perspective – The Empty Throne’s first and only Pheonix. It’s even looks a little chicken-like, if you squint hard enough:
Now, Phoenix is not usually efficient enough to be a ranked staple at present – with its size, evasive abilities, and strong resistance to removal, it’s more of a draft bomb than anything. But the potential is there – since Phoenix always comes back from the void, it’s a solid card advantage engine that can dominate the late-game if it’s not dealt with. Its main issue is that it’s red, and red is not supremely positioned for a card that is slow, a little bit middling on attack, and focused on the long game.
But the aggression of this card is not actually not the thing we’re most focused on today. Today we’re focused on something a little more esoteric – a little quirk in the wording of the card. See, the Entomb effect reads that you draw Worldpyre Pheonix from the void when it dies. That’s a fun bit of wording true to most resurrection cards in Eternal, but in this case it has a particularly fancy application you can take advantage of.
Assuming you’re willing to get a little crazy to do it.
The Unkillable Dream
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
2 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
1 Devour (Set1 #261)
3 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
4 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
2 Scaly Gruan (Set1 #215)
4 Second Sight (Set1 #207)
4 Storm Lynx (Set1 #353)
4 Twinning Ritual (Set1 #79)
3 Clockroach (Set1 #94)
4 Crown of Possibilities (Set1 #355)
4 Scheme (Set1 #213)
3 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Nesting Avisaur (Set1 #225)
4 Worldpyre Phoenix (Set1 #54)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
2 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
3 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)
3 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
This is a Crown deck, and you’ve probably noticed the interaction between Pheonix and Crown already. If Worldpyre Pheonix dies, it draws itself. It draws itself, it gets a skill. Keep going like that, it’s going to get all 15 of the skills… but there’s one in particular that is quite exciting, which is Destiny.
Whenever a Worldpyre Pheonix with Destiny dies, it draws itself, Destiny causes it to play itself, and you draw a card. In other words, whenever Worldpyre Pheonix dies… well, it doesn’t.
It just gets bigger. And, because this resurrection process still involves it technically going into your hand, it also gets more skills from Crown of Possibilities. And sometimes those skills are things like Killer, which allows it to charge suicidally into enemy units and kill itself again. Or Aegis, which defends it from those pesky silences that ruin your day.
Or sometimes, Echo.
Echo/Destiny not only makes and plays a double copy of Worldpyre Pheonix, each copy also draws you a new card. You often don’t even have to kill it yourself – you’d be surprised by how many people don’t realize what the Pheonix combo does until it’s too late. If you can pull off these type of shenanigans, you’ll be swimming in more Pheonixes than mere silences can handle. And make no mistake – cards like Silence and Polymorph are the only ways to handle the Pheonix. If a deck doesn’t have either, it’s impossible to kill without it coming back immediately. So if you ever wanted to make an Armory deck cry… this might be the deck to do it with.
Worldpyre Pheonix combo is on a power level equivalent or better to that of the Clockroach value engine that most crown decks run (though we sometimes throw in a pair for good measure). If Worldpyre Pheonix ever gets Destiny, it can end the game for a good portion of the decks on the ladder. The main problem is getting there, so we’re going to focus on that very hard. Scheme and Quarry are the major engines that we’re going to use. If you can’t get them in the first hand, Wisdom and Second Sight also dig and provide advantage, though not quite so fast or fruitfully.
Even so, it’s smart to aggressively mull for Crowns. They’re the core tech of the deck, and it’ll play like janky midrange without it.
Seek Power and Find the Way set up for our ridiculous four-color festivities, in addition to coring the deck of power so we can get more generally delicious draws. Four Seek is as important as ever in a deck like this, and with the double fire and double time we’re looking for, Pages is a strong play that should hopefully prevent you from missing too many steps.
When it comes to holding down the fort, units typically make a better setup than other control elements due to their synergy with Crown. We use the newly buffed Scaly Gruan and Storm Lynx to halt aggro decks, and run 2 of Nesting Avisaur to both reduce the cost of the Pheonix and give it new skills. (As a side note – if Nesting Avisaur ever gets Echo, it can replace itself every draw)
Playing the deck
You can play the deck fairly close to a Clockroach archetype if you’ve got the roaches, but if you’re looking at late game, the Pheonixes will be the better option against all but flat Combrei with a handful of silences. When it comes to the Pheonix itself, there are two available lines. One is to hold it in hand and stack up as many skills as possible, using Second Sight, Twinform, and Avisaur to modify the card in your hand until it eventually scores destiny. The second is to play it quickly and force your opponent to kill it, putting it back into your hand for later. This decision is yours to make but will often be a factor of how much pressure you’re under and how many silences you are staring down.
We keep a Devour or two in the deck to eat Worldpyre Pheonix if it ever gets into trouble against a stray Valkyrie Enforcer. Keeping Pheonix safe from silence is often easier than it looks due to the skills it can get – Killer and Aegis are both especially grand – but you do have to keep a watchful eye out for those types of effects, as those are some of the few cards that can really put a damper on your day.
Once Pheonix has accumulated enough skills, it will end the game in a turn or two – Either Unblockable or the combination of Overwhelm and Deadly pushes damage against blockers, Killer clears the board and makes it bigger in addition to Echoing it. The outright damage these birds can deal is bananas – just remember to math out the additional +3 strength it gets from resurrecting in addition to the possibility of Charge or Killer/Deadly/Overwhelm for surprise kills.
That’s it for today! Enjoy this funstable brew, and we’ll rise again next week with another Scion’s School.
See you then!