Going Deep – Top 10 Omens Cards + Bonus Decks

Hello Friends! I have been working very hard recently on a few decks, but unfortunately none are in a state to discuss in detail. I have dumped a few lists at the end of the article that I have been messing around with for anyone who wants to pick them up, but they are all still works in progress. Before getting into that, I have a top 10 list! Today I am going to be running down the top 10 most important cards in Omens of the Past. I tend to dislike “best” top 10 lists, since the meaning of “best” is fairly hard to pin down. “Important” has some of the same problems, but it allows me to cater the list in a slightly different manner. Some cards might be a slightly lower power level, but are still able to reshape the metagame because of their existence. This is particularly true of reactive cards. Without further ado, lets get into out honourable mentions!

Honorable mentions:

Torgov, Icecap Trader – He almost made the top 10 list, since I feel like the card has a lot of potential, but until he is able to show up as a staple in some high level deck he is relegated to the honourable mentions category. A 4/5 body for 4 is totally acceptable, and the ability is truly exceptional. Unfortunately he dies to everything, and hasn’t yet found a home.

Eilyn’s Choice – This card has impressed me more than I thought it would. Though I am still not as high on it as others, the card does enough of what you want in the places that you want it. I have been particularly impressed by the mode of countering Harsh Rule or Channel the Tempest. As people learn more about how to player around it, I expect to see it decline in popularity, but I expect to see it in some numbers in virtually every deck that can cast it.

Memory Dredger – I feel like there is something busted you can do with this, we just haven’t figured out what yet. I know there are a few lists that have been hanging around, but none that I am happy with yet. Still, any recursive engine card is really worth taking seriously.

Barthollo, the Seducer – Although this card is important, it is incredibly over-rated by some. Some day I am going to give a full rant to respond to those that dislike the design of Bart, but for now I will acknowledge that the card has a lot of potential. Argentport has some serious identity issues, which keeps Bart back from being a dominant force in the metagame, but this is certainly a card to keep you eye on for any time relic weapons fall out of favor. (Btw, has anyone actually used his ultimate? I have seen it exactly 0 times so far….)

Shatterglass Mage – I am still recalling the people who thought Shatterglass Mage was worse than Furnace Mage. Warp is such a powerful mechanic, and although this card clearly dies to almost everything, the fact that you can get a virtual card draw is such a big deal. This really helps improve the floor on this card. I really think the improvements in attachment hate are incredibly good for the format, and this is one piece among many (as you will see).

TOP 10

#10 – Ayan, the Abductor

Ayan,_the_Abductor

Ayan seems to be an important role player in any Xenan deck. Although he does not quite measure up to some of the other premium 3-drops in the format, he certainly carries his weight, and fills an important spot in the curve. Some people have complained that the Ultimate ability isn’t more relevant, but I don’t think that is nearly as important as having a functional curve. As of right now I worry that some are splashing a little aggressively for the card – it is good but not that good. Still, I expect 4-of Ayan is going to be the standard for the ladder.

#9 – Vadius, the Clan Father

Vadius,_Clan_Father

We have another member of the “ultimate legends” cycle. Vadius is just an annoying little dude that does a respectable job of pressuring early and providing a power sink late. Vadius, like all quickdraw units, really only plays one way, which limits the kinds of decks he can fit into. Still, he has been an important element of cementing Skycrag aggro as a top tier deck.

#8 – Inquisitor Makto

Inquisitor_Makto

Makto is in an interesting place. I have commented many times that the issue with Makto is his faction pair. As of yet, I don’t feel anyone has found a good, solid, consistent Argenport shell. With JJSS influence requirements, Makto is in an awkward spot where you either build an Argenport deck around him, or you find a way to force him into a 3-faction deck. One component that feels particularly awkward is Barthollo and Makto being on very different game plans. Bart is explicitly asking you to go deep on weapon-heavy aggro, while Makto seems interested in playing a longer game. Still, despite being moderately homeless, there is enough power here I am sure Makto will find something to do.

#7 – Katra, the Devoted

katra_the_devoted_p

Katra is an incredibly high-power card. If you get to power up with her in play the game usually ends on the spot. I even love the corresponding visual effect that she gets, which really encapsulates how much impact she is generating. It feels to me that there is some piece that is missing to get a Katra deck really break out as a dominant archetype, but that is only a matter of time.

#6 – Kaleb’s Choice

Kaleb's_Choice

This is a card that I have not seen people talk about as much, but boy is it good. I feel like Kaleb’s Choice has multiple premium targets in almost every game, and although you can easily overload on this sort of effect, the first 1 you draw tends to do some heavy lifting. Although it doesn’t quite hit everything you want, the fact that you can answer an Obelisk, an Azindel’s gift, or a Permafrost with the same card used to stop a Harsh Rule, Flame Blast, or Deathstrike is insane. If you can cast this card, you should be playing a minimum of 2 copies.

#5 – Kothon, the Far-Watcher

Kothon,_the_Far-Watcher (1)

This is an oddly controversial card. As a 2/3 endurance for 2, with a strong ultimate ability, Kothon is the embodiment of being a versatile card for virtually any kind of deck. The controversy comes from 2 ends; there are those that dislike “auto-include” legendries, especially those that do not “feel” legendary. Then, there are those that think Kothon is over-hyped. I disagree with both fronts personally. Kothon is just a rock solid 2-drop with additional utility in the late game. It is not fair to expect anything else from a card like this. His biggest impact to this point has been in Chalice variants, though he has also shown up in all variety of Hooru deck. If you look below you can see my decklist for the Brewer’s Challenge, where Kothon has been a hero. If some kind of Hooru Mentor deck does show up, I expect he will be an important component.

#4 – Banish

banish_p

This card has impressed me quite a bit. Though it is clearly not a 4 of in every deck that can cast it, having the ability to interact with Relics has been outstanding. Most Time based midrange decks really struggle to beat cards like Eye of Winter, Chalice or Xenan Obelisk, and this gives you a solution without punting the aggressive match ups. In that sense Banish is extremely “important”, since it can turn around a number of important match ups.

#3 – Champion of Fury

champion_of_fury

When I first read this card I thought that it was “good”. Sure, 4/2 charge overwhelm is unbelievable on turn 2, but how often is that going to actually happen? Turns out it is much more common than I had imagined. There was a brief period a couple of months back that Skycrag Aggro was popular, but I never really “got” the deck. What are you really gaining over straight mono-Fire or Stonescar? Champion of Fury is now the answer to that question. Although he is clearly the best on turn 2, he is a much better top deck than most other 2 drops, and is especially good at carrying warcry bonuses. Although I had hoped Skycrag cards were slightly more split between aggressive and controlling postures, I appreciate that Champion of Fury gives a real incentive to play a different kind of beatdown deck.

#2 – Heart of the Vault

Heart-of-the-Vault

I don’t think there is much that needs to be said about the merits of a card like this. If you watch the ETS this week you got a front row seat to the power of this monster. Similar to pre-Omens Skycrag, I often felt that Praxis was just bad Elysian most of the time. Now, Heart is a real reason to go into Praxis. I am still lukewarm on many of the build of Praxis that are currently circulating, as well as having a strong aversion to Heart of the Vault decks that splash a 3rd faction, but that is me. Still, the power of many of the individual cards in Praxis will overpower many of the obstacles that strategy may face.

#1 – Slay

Slay (1)

Though everyone has identified that Slay is a powerful card, I don’t think everyone appreciates how important it is to the format. Sure it is slow, but we don’t get nice things like Murder in Eternal. Armory now has access to an unconditional removal spell, where they were before forced to lean exclusively on Vanquish. Dark Combrei gets access to Deathstrike without the double shadow. Unlike Makto, you don’t need to go heavy into Argenport to get access to this card. I expect that Slay will reach the unique status of being the most “splashed for” card in the format. What I find particularly important about a card like Slay is the pressure it puts on midrange decks. Oh, you are tapping out for a hefty blocker? Kill it. Trying to set up the value train of Mystic Ascendant? Nope. This is the first removal spell in the format that I am actually excited to play as a 4-of in any deck that can cast it. Just an outstanding card, and is secretly the reason to play Argenport (rather than Makto).


Bonus Decklists

(Or lukewarm takes for filthy netdeckers)

Workshop Forge

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 1.25.56 PM.png

4 Alluring Ember (Set2 #172)
4 Blinkwolf (Set2 #7)
2 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Avirax Familiar (Set2 #46)
4 Hipshot (Set2 #11)
3 Journeyman Armorer (Set2 #175)
4 Camp Physician (Set2 #52)
4 Outlands Brute (Set2 #18)
4 Pouncing Drake (Set2 #28)
1 Shatterglass Mage (Set2 #181)
4 Waystone Infuser (Set2 #63)
4 Workshop Forge (Set2 #182)
2 Bad News (Set2 #30)
4 Heart of the Vault (Set2 #183)
9 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
10 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)

This deck is powerful when it “goes off”, but it is really hard to get to that point. I discussed the list briefly in a recent podcast, and although this is a ton of fun and an improvement over previous Forge lists, there are a lot of games that you just do nothing. Bad News is actually a massive addition, as it allows you to actually find victories with your rag-tag team of warp duders in seemingly impossibly situations. For anyone who wants to pick this up, I will warn you right now that you are going to do a lot of losing to begin with. It is extremely difficult to play, and there are some pieces missing for the deck to really come together. Still, if you have the cards, I would encourage you to try it out (assuming you don’t care about your ladder ranking).

Yetis

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 1.24.28 PM4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Snowcrust Yeti (Set2 #105)
4 Yeti Spy (Set1 #191)
2 Backlash (Set1 #200)
2 Whispering Wind (Set1 #202)
4 Yeti Snowslinger (Set1 #203)
3 Cloudsnake Harrier (Set2 #114)
3 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
4 Wump, Party Starter (Set1 #511)
4 Torgov, Icecap Trader (Set2 #126)
2 Crystallize (Set1 #232)
3 Jotun Hurler (Set1 #227)
3 Swindle (Set2 #129)
4 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
25 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Cobalt Monument (Set1 #418)

I actually did some noticeable climbing with this recently. The deck has a strange tempo feel, since you are constantly juggling between playing threats, interacting with your opponent, and drawing cards. I expect that the correct build of this deck actually splashes Fire for Torch, Champion of Fury, and Kaleb’s Choice, but I have not gotten to building that deck yet. Wump is way better than you think he is, and will usually win the game unless he is immediately answered.

Felnscar Control

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 1.24.00 PM

1 Levitate (Set1 #190)
1 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
1 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
2 Kaleb’s Choice (Set2 #188)
3 Lightning Storm (Set1 #206)
2 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
3 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
2 Extract (Set2 #155)
3 Feln Bloodcaster (Set1 #386)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Feeding Time (Set1 #381)
2 Statuary Maiden (Set1 #387)
2 Steward of the Past (Set1 #287)
3 Withering Witch (Set1 #368)
3 Black-Sky Harbinger (Set1 #385)
1 Celestial Omen (Set1 #241)
1 Azindel’s Gift (Set1 #306)
2 Sleepless Night (Set2 #170)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
6 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)

I have just started working on this list (largely to get Ilyak off my back), but there is certainly something here. Kaleb’s Choice is a superb addition to this kind of deck, given that it helps answer some particularly frustrating threats. Go read the description of the card up above – Felnscar wants all of that. I need to figure out what I want for a finisher in the deck, since relics like Staff of Stories are much less safe than before. Currently I am using Sleepless Night in that slot, but I don’t know how I feel about it yet. My general style of building control decks is starting with an almost random mix of stuff that I like, and slowly paring down the numbers of lesser cards in favor the cards I actually want to be playing. As you can see, this deck has not yet become streamlined, and is an illogical mess of numbers. It works though! I do really like the mix of void hate you get access to given the increase in Dawnwalker decks.

Mentor Midrange

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 1.25.15 PM

1 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
2 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Dragonbreath (Set2 #108)
4 Kothon, the Far-Watcher (Set2 #218)
3 Sparring Partner (Set2 #77)
4 Tranquil Scholar (Set2 #76)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Spellshield Architect (Set2 #221)
4 Spirit Guide (Set2 #83)
3 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Shelterwing Rider (Set2 #223)
1 Crystallize (Set1 #232)
4 Watcher of the Big Ones (Set2 #130)
2 Nostrix, Lord of Visions (Set2 #229)
2 Leave a Witness (Set2 #100)
9 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
8 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Hooru Banner (Set2 #216)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)

For those who did not read my article last week, I do a “Brewer’s Challenge” every month where I must get to master playing a deck built around some card selected by the audience. This month Watcher of the Big Ones won, so I have started playing around with Hooru mentor decks. I am not satisfied with this deck yet, but it is playable. Dragonbreath has been an all-star, and Kothon is Kothon, but everything else in the deck has been medium. Still, if anyone wants to take it for a spin and start working on improvements, you are welcome to it!

Xenan Horn

Screen Shot 2017-07-30 at 3.22.38 PM.png

4 Copper Conduit (Set1 #66)
4 Cult Aspirant (Set2 #35)
3 Dark Return (Set1 #250)
3 Predator’s Instinct (Set1 #75)
1 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
3 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
3 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Ayan, the Abductor (Set2 #204)
4 Dawnwalker (Set1 #86)
3 Extract (Set2 #155)
3 Shepherd’s Horn (Set2 #49)
1 Banish (Set2 #207)
1 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
3 Katra, the Devoted (Set2 #208)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
2 Beckoning Lumen (Set2 #59)
8 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Amber Monument (Set1 #420)
6 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Mystery (Set0 #61)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)

Horn is much better than I thought in my set review. I really didn’t properly value the 3 life. It is very easy to gain 12-15 life over the course of a game with Horn, and those lifeforce triggers really matter. Some people have been talking about Horn like it is busted, which it is certainly not, but it is much better than I originally thought. One of the interactions that I have enjoyed the most is playing Becky with a horn out and a Dawnwalker in the void. This deck is still rough, but it is doing some powerful stuff if it is able to get off the ground. I am sure someone is going to take this and immediately add Fire, and although I don’t think that is best, it is probably functional also powerful.


Those are my brews so far! Try them out and let me know what you think. I am not saying they are super-busted-meta-defining decks yet, but maybe something in there is the next big thing? Until next time…

Love,

Neon

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