Funstable Brews – Ageless Alpine Brews

Alpine Tracker

It’s Time for some Skycrag fun!  The most recent Eternal patch released Alpine Tracker out into the wilds, and he’s quickly becoming one my favorites of the released opposing color faction cards.  He’s not a focal point of most decks, but rather an exceptional support card and loyal friend to Eternals most off-kilter faction pairing.  This excellent dog has a solid statline for a charge unit (in factions with almost NO good four drop units) and a powerful and occasionally board-warping summon effect that eats tokens, stray wasps, Runehammers and the ever-ambitious Staff of Stories on an empty board. Unfortuanetly, it’s weighed on a little by a steep influence cost that makes him prohibitively difficult to splash into other colors.  But other colors can certainly splash into Skycrag, because, as it turns out, one thing better than an adorable doggie is a giant adorable doggie.

If you’re playing Tracker, you have to have a few rules, and the main rule is that you really can’t be running many 1 health units.  Instead, Tracker fits into decks where you can develop early units with more than 1 health and punish go-wide strategies, relic weapons and aegis blockers.  One such unit is Ageless Mentor, a card that gets our little doggie along with a big +2/+2, and leads to a wide variety of entertaining synergies.  This pairing ended up proving such a solid match for me that I actually ended up with two decks using this theme, both of which are way out of left field and a delight to play.

I. Hearty Party

We’re packing on midrange pounds, because this is my cheat deck:

4 Charchain Flail (Set1 #3)
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Ageless Mentor (Set1 #90)
4 Amber Acolyte (Set1 #93)
4 Alpine Tracker (Set1 #522)
4 Nesting Avisaur (Set1 #225)
4 Calderan Gunsmith (Set1 #46)
4 Jotun Hurler (Set1 #227)
4 West-Wind Herald (Set1 #231)
4 Jarrall Iceheart (Set1 #239)
4 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
2 Channel the Tempest (Set1 #244)
3 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
3 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
2 Praxis Banner (Set0 #59)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set0 #65)

People who remember the Scion’s League may recall I have a strong fondness for Jarall Iceheart shenanigans.  Just before our own RNGEternal took the tournament reigns, I took a Jarrall deck to a top 2 placement and I’ve been looking for another opportunity to sneak this guy into somewhere fancy.  Jarrall has one of the two most powerful infiltrate effects in the game, right up there with Argenport Ringmasters resurrection engine, but it runs the risk of hitting a card like Seek Power and doing little more than drawing you a card.

The solution?  Don’t run Seek Power.  In fact, Hearty Party runs only six spells – all of which cost six or more. If you hit with Jarrall Iceheart, he’s guaranteed to spread some cold love to your opponents Sandstorm Titans and Mystic Ascendants. While Jarrall is often big enough to scrap with these units anyways, Calderan Channeler will get him across in a stall situation.

Which is good, because Channeler is also a key card with Scouting Party and West-Wind Heralds infiltrates.  Repeated gunnery is one of your key win-cons here, running out up to 12 damage before attacks and drawing an absurd amount of cards in the process.

We lock up the early game with Permafrost, Charchain Flail and Jotun Hurler’s snowballs, which don’t count as spells while in your deck.  Flail and Permafrost are both extremely flexible removal with diametrically opposed targets, so they work fine as 4-ofs in this situation.

Normally, I’d never use Nesting Avisaur as a cheap discount, but in the case of Scouting Party, Jarrall and Channel, getting your combos a turn early can be devastating.  It also makes a fine Mentor target!

The typical issues with decks like these is that Herald and Channeler don’t contribute a lot to the board state if they can’t actively win the game.  Ageless Mentor fixes this by making Channeler big enough to remove and Herald a legitimate aerial threat (one that blanks Suffocate and laughs at Torch, too).  Combined with one-sided wraths, huge token boards and the occasional recurring Channel, your late game should be pretty easy to seal.

Sideboard considerations:  Scorpion Wasp makes an excellent non-spell removal card against Titans.  Xenan Obelisk can push Parties and allow you to run more miniature units like Temple Scribe and Acolyte without fear of getting blown up by your own Tracker.  Strength of the Pack combos extremely well with Jarrall, West-Wind Herald and Calderan Channeler.  Cobalt Acolyte and Praxis Displacer make great extra ways to sneak Jarrall, but the true all-star if you’re not expecting a Desert Marshal is Morningstar, which tends to make his board-wipes instant lethal on Overwhelm damage.

II. Funstable Wasteland

This one’s a lot more straightforward in execution, if even more complicated in style.

2 Flame Blast (Set1 #2)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Unstable Form (Set1 #189)
4 Whispering Wind (Set1 #202)
4 Ageless Mentor (Set1 #90)
4 Alpine Tracker (Set1 #522)
1 Furnace Mage (Set1 #40)
4 Jotun Hurler (Set1 #227)
4 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
3 Shogun of the Wastes (Set1 #51)
4 Soulfire Drake (Set1 #47)
4 North-Wind Herald (Set1 #240)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
2 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set0 #65)

Here we go – a Funstable brew with its namesake card, the Funstable Form!  This is a deck about multiple layered synergies – my favorite type of deck.  Most everything in the deck has a light combo with at least two other cards, allowing you a breadth of surprising decisions in what would otherwise be a really straightforward beatdown fire deck.

First things first, the Herald combo.  We’ve talked about this one before – North-Wind Herald combines with Snowballs, Levitates, Seek Power and Torches to create a fancy turn-two drop for free, occasionally loading the board with flyers too quickly for your opponent to easily adjust.  Once they’re down, you wait a turn for them to STOP being free, then cast Unstable Form to turn Herald into the worlds fastest 7 drop unit.  Hibernating Behemoth’s addition to the set has added a little more uncertainty to this principle since the last time we built a deck like this. Still, by and large whatever you get should be large and biting.  Ageless Mentors make Herald’s strategy all the better, as North-Wind Herald is one of the only “early” drops that can receive the buff, and a 5/4 flying is threatening enough on its own.

Speaking of scary flyers, Soulfire Drake is an instant 4-of here.  The 5/2 flying charge unit can be hit by Mentor to become an outrageous 7/4, virtually impossible to deal with the turn it comes out and threatening more damage than Obliterate.  One Drake entomb will dramatically increase the quality of your deck as well, so it’s well worth the investment.

With big, hulking flyers in the air and a burn focused strategy (finishing with Obliterate and Flame Blast), we get to leverage the least-common Rally effect in the game: Shogun of the Wastes.  His double damage bonus outscales Rally, Queen and Kaleb, pushing 10-14 damage Soulfire Drakes in some races (or just 6-10 damage Heralds).  With flying or charge, he’s a monster in his own right, and if he does get silenced or locked down after delivering his Summon effect payload, he’s still left a 5-cost body behind that can be turned into something else with Unstable Form.

Unstable Form itself can hit a lot of targets here.  Ageless Mentor has a poor body for such a powerful summon effect and serves much better as a Navani, Warsinger (or really just any four-drop).  Whispering Wind earns the prize for most silenced target.  Alpine Tracker has charge, which means it continues to be ready to attack if you Unstable Form it into a random 5 or 6 drop, giving you an at-cost random unit with Alpine Tracker’s summon and charge effect (you can do this to Drake, too, but Drake is usually doing fine on its own).   Even Jotun Hurler’s middling 4/4 statline is just meaty enough to live to be a 6 drop.

Whispering Wind tosses excess power (you only need 5, though the 3F-2P-1T influence requirements are important) and fills your hand with Mentor targets.  She gets card advantage out of Unstable Form in situations where your Heralds don’t show.  The overall card distribution is such that Ageless Mentor hits everything and frequently gets 3-4 bonuses off at once.

Sideboard considerations:  I’m really enjoying Rain of Frogs with Jotun Hurler and Alpine Tracker as a way to shut down Desert Marshals and Sandstorm Titan, the big enemies of this deck. The optimal version of this deck might run Rain – and it also might run Hunting Pteriax, another “Surprise!  It’s 5 damage!” 5-drop that pairs well with Mentor and eats smaller aggro units while racing.  If you’re running Rain, you can also up Lightning Storm, which pairs well with Tracker and Snowballs.

Praxian Fury

And that’s the lists!  Of the two of these decks, I feel like Funstable Wasteland has a lot of actual potential in competitive play – I’ve been really enjoying test games with it thus far.  As always, I encourage players to tweak and play with these lists as much as they like, whether it’s to Spike the punch and get a little bit more serious with Praxis Aggro or durdle hard with your favorite combo into Jarrall (four-colors with Witching Hour and Ghostform? A casual 100+ life swing against aggro!)

Have a great time brewing!  There’s as-yet undiscovered possibilities in Set One, and I hope these lists have unearthed a few for you.  Tune in for more Funstable Brews soon!

One thought on “Funstable Brews – Ageless Alpine Brews

  1. These look fun, thanks, will try the first one if I have the set of Jarralls.

    Not sure if you check your old article comments so sorry if I should put this there, but I had some ideas on your Unkillable Dream deck, namely cutting purple and adding cards like Predator’s Instinct and even the much-maligned Accelerate to the deck to add words to your Phoenix before recycling and redrawing it. Haven’t tested it out too much but I’m doing all jank with month so maybe I’ll get back to it.

    Like

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