This last week I had a very fun and successful run playing Mono-Justice control. I made it all the way to rank 31 Master at the end of the season with it, and even posted a mostly-satirical reddit post about the deck while streaming it.
While the deck obviously has a lot of holes and is not tier 1, there are several take-aways I got from playing it. Before we get into that, here is the deck:
4 Inspire (Set1 #129)
1 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Rolant’s Favor (Set0 #18)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Auric Sentry (Set1 #146)
4 Copperhall Bailiff (Set1001 #5)
2 Privilege of Rank (Set1 #157)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 Marshal Ironthorn (Set1 #174)
4 Throne Warden (Set1 #514)
1 Plated Demolisher (Set1 #177)
4 Rolant’s Honor Guard (Set1 #183)
3 Sword of the Sky King (Set1 #186)
25 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
At its heart, Mono-Justice control is a relic weapon deck based around Throne Warden. Marshall Ironthorn helps ramp up to Rolant’s Honor Guard and Sword of the Sky King, but is mostly there to absorb removal so that Honor Guard can stick. Having no 2-drops is rough, but all of the great anti-aggro 3 drops do their job well – this deck is phenomenal against Fire aggro. That brings us to lesson 1:
Copperhall Bailiff is Underrated
Skipping turn 2 against Burn Queen or Rally Queen is usually brutal, but Bailiff on turn 3 stops them in their tracks. All of those Grenadin can’t even attack unless the opponent has a Rally or Bandit Queen, and a 2nd Bailiff turns off even Queen! After shrinking everything Bailiff holds the ground pretty well with his 2/3 body, even able to block Argenport Instigator after shrinking it.
Even in matchups where the -1/-0 effect isn’t particularly great, it can still be relevant. A 5 strength unit hit with Bailiff can now be blocked by Auric Sentry. If the opponent has no units at all, Bailiff even has Warcry to be a relevant threat by pumping your next unit or weapon, and as we all know by now, buffed Auric Runehammers win games. Next time you’re building a defensive Justice deck, give Copperhall Bailiff a try – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised how useful it is.
Privilege of Rank is a Good Draw Spell
This one is a little more obvious, but Privilege of Rank is good card advantage spell. It is valuable in decks that want to get up to 8+ power like this one, Vodakombo, or Hooru Control as a Wisdom of the Elders that always draws two power. Decks that don’t want to draw a lot of power can’t use Privilege very well, but in those that don’t mind the extra power it is quite good. There’s also the dream scenario of being Sabotage’d with Privilege as the only spell or weapon in your hand – that’s value city.
Copperhall Bailiff + Throne Warden Destroys Fire Aggro
As stated before, Mono Justice control is great against Fire aggro. My first night playing the deck I went something like 12-0 against Mono-Fire Burn, Burn Queen, and Rally Queen. Why is that, though? It’s because Copperhall Bailiff shuts down go-wide Grenadin, Throne Warden blocks everything short of Impending Doom while gaining armor and being difficult to remove with burn, and relic weapons provide more armor to avoid getting burned out.
Those cards are so good at shutting down aggro that I think the package can be ported to other shells (or even sideboarded in tournaments in decks like Big Combrei or Icaria Blue). What would a base-Justice Armory deck look like? Is the better aggro matchup worth the loss of Quarry? What about a more unit-based Hooru Control deck? There are a lot of places to fit Bailiff and Throne Warden, and it’s going to be fun to discover them and expand on them as Omens of the Past is revealed to us over the next couple weeks.
Sword of the Sky King is Still Good
People moved away from Sword of the Sky King when the metagame sped up, as 8 power is a lot, but in decks designed to get there the Sword is still really good. It provides a huge health buffer against burn, threatens a very quick clock or forces the opponent to feed a unit to it each turn, and is often a 3-for-1 or more on a stalled board. It’s only bad when you die before getting to 8 power or the opponent t has a lot more units than you, and Harsh Rule helps immensely with both of those problems.
Armory is probably still too fast to want the Sword, but Icaria Blue definitely wants it, and Hooru Control might want to take another look and perhaps play one or two over a Channel the Tempest. Eight power is a lot, and the competition with the likes of Vodakhan and Icaria is tough, but the Sword pulls its weight more than you might think looking at its (blank) text box. I also just love the card, and it is my Discord avatar.
We’re all sort of stuck in place eagerly awaiting more information on set 2, but the wait time can be well spent exploring some under-utilized cards and synergies from set 1 so that our new decks can be as good as possible when we get our hands on new cards. I know I’m definitely going to put the Copperhall Bailiff/Throne Warden/Auric Runhammer package in some Justice-based control decks.
Until next time, may your Warcries always hit Auric Runehammer.