Going Deep – Strange Lessons

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Hello Strangers!

I have just completed the Brewer’s Challenge this month, and I have gotta admit, this one was tough. As some of you might recall, Triumphant Stranger was the winner this month, so this meant the challenge needed to be completed with a 5F Strangers deck. Let’s start with the list and go from there.

I Will Unite Them

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4 Hearty Stranger (Set2 #104)
1 Horus Traver (Set1002 #23)
4 Ruthless Stranger (Set1 #11)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
1 Argenport Stranger (Set2 #246)
1 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
1 Elysian Stranger (Set1 #412)
1 Praxis Stranger (Set2 #248)
4 Reunite (Set2 #249)
4 Determined Stranger (Set1 #92)
4 Forsworn Stranger (Set1 #416)
4 Slay (Set2 #236)
3 Stand Together (Set1 #334)
1 Soaring Stranger (Set1 #229)
1 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
2 Battle-Tested Stranger (Set2 #58)
2 Bereaved Stranger (Set2 #241)
2 Triumphant Stranger (Set1002 #21)
1 Fortunate Stranger (Set1 #364)
1 Meditative Stranger (Set2 #228)
1 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
1 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
1 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
1 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
1 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
2 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
2 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
2 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
2 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
2 Hooru Banner (Set2 #216)
2 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)
2 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
1 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
1 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

There is a lot to talk about here, so it is hard to even know where to begin. This grind was gruelling, but incredibly fun and rewarding. I learned an incredible amount playing this deck. This deck is challenging to build, tricky to play, has few good match-ups, and is noticeably underpowered compared to everything else in the meta. Despite all that, I would strongly recommend playing it since there is so much that can be learned, and it is just extremely fun. Let’s start out by talking about the general game plan, then talk a bit about the specifics of the decklist, followed by a discussion of the different strategic and tactical approaches that are used in game, and finally break down some advice on the specific match ups.

The Plan – We Survive

Strangers is a deck unlike any other that I have played. A little later I will be writing about the specific strategic lines that you need to take with the deck, but that doesn’t really describe what “kind” of deck this is. The term “tribal” is used to describe benefits from units that share a specific type (such as “Stranger” in this case), but it doesn’t really describe what kind of deck we are talking about. Goblins from Magic the Gathering is a swarm-aggro deck, Fairies is a tempo/aggro-control deck, and Elves is a combo deck, while Dragons from Hearthstone is more of a midrange deck. I can’t come up with any one term to describe playing Strangers, and in some ways I feel like it would be a disservice to describe the deck as aggro or a midrange deck. The stereotypical aggro deck is supposed to kill their opponent qucikly because they have a disadvantage going long. Although Strangers has can routinely lay down a convincing beating, you also have games where you out-value your midrange or control opponent.

If I had to classify it, I would say Strangers is a “Critical Mass – Tempo” tribal deck. The goal of the deck generally involves leveraging an early board presence into an aggressive presence, punctuated by some key interactive spells. The main difference between Strangers and a typical Tempo deck is that your cards kinda suck. Your deck is a collection of 1/1s for 1, 3/3’s for 3, and 4/4s for 5. With few exceptions, almost every unit in your deck is over-costed by at least 1 power. It is only by combining them that your deck is even functional. This may seem kind of obvious, but it has some interesting implications for your play choices. For the early turns of the game you desperately fight to establish yourself on the board, often passing up favourable trades or taking extra damage in order to build up a board presence. From here you need to leverage your interactive spells and powerful tribal synergies to either tempo your opponent out, or out-value them going long. You will see though that the way this plays out each game can look very different.

The Decklist – We are Focused

This deck took a lot of work to put together in its current form, but the original innovation that really got the ball rolling came from SirRhino. The power-base for this deck is really bizarre. There are 5 Sigils, 4 Seek Power, 4 Diplomatic Seals, and 16 Banners. Typically decks with 3 (or more) factions tend to lean most heavily on the Seat/Sigil heavy power base, but I am pretty confident that you cannot use that approach when building Strangers. You need to reliably have access to at least 4 factions of influence by turn 3, and you need to have your power come into play undepleted. To play a Seat-heavy power base you usually need to have access to at least 8 Sigils plus 4 Seek Power, and even then you will expect a lot of your power to come into play depleted. The Strangers deck has much different needs. First, you really need your power to come in undepleted. If you are going to be playing a motley crew of underpowered dorks, you really need to curve out in order to even have a chance to keep up with whatever your opponent is doing. Diplomatic Seals are also spectacular in this deck! The deck is built to function at 100% on one of each influence, but can operate missing either Shadow or Primal. Any banner + a Diplomatic Seal gets you most of the way to those needs, and lets you play out a 2-drop Stranger.

Though the 5 Sigil, 4 Seal, 16 Banner style of power-base is ripped directly from SirRhino, I think the configuration of Banners that he was using was pretty flawed. His version of deck used 4-of a few different banners, while this list is mostly 2-ofs. Drawing 2 of the same Banner in the early turns of the game is devastating. Currently, there are no Stonescar Banners in the deck, 1 Xenan Banner and 1 Feln Banner, and 2 of everything else. It is really hard to know if this is correct, but it is working so I don’t quite know what else to say. I could see swapping the Feln Banner for a Stonescar one, or just finding room for an extra power. It might look like the deck is savagely cheating on power, but it is a lot better than it looks. There are really only 10 cards in the entire deck that cost more than 3, though Reunite helps make it feel like there is a lot more. You also can’t afford to flood since the deck is noticeably underpowered.

I should probably note here that I have far fewer faction-fixing Strangers than most lists. One possible approach to building the Stranger power base is relying on 6-8 of the 2-drop 2/2s and just jam a ton of Sigils. From my experience this is an inconsistent path to managing your power base, while also diluting the power of an already underpowered deck. Still, having a handful can really jump-start building up influence, as well as give you a unit in play to start playing Banners undepleted, and having something to fetch with Reunite to fix your influence. I will be talking about Reunite later on, but you should not be afraid to use it to fix your influence, and having 3 of the 2-drop Strangers is the minimum you can play to meet all the possible influence requirements. Why did I choose this specific combination of faction-fixing Strangers? To being with, Argenport Stranger is the best way to provide Shadow influence. There are only 8 Shadow cards in the deck: 4 copies of Slay, 2 copies of Triumphant Stranger and 2 copies of Bereaved Stranger. All of these cards actually require both Shadow and Justice influence, which means Shadow influence is basically useless for casting cards unless you already have a Justice influence. From here I needed to pick 2 Strangers that provide Fire, Time and Primal influence. Though there are a few ways to accomplish this, I felt doubling up on Time influence was best. If you look at the deck you will see that Time is slightly under-represented in the Banners relative to the density of Time cards. Faction-fixing Strangers are also a great place to make up that deficit because most Time cards actually cost 3 or more.

Determining whether opening hands are keepable from the perspective of influence requirements sometimes feels like solving a math problem. Most hands with 4 different types of influence and 3 or more power total is fairly safe. When deciding on keeping hands it is most important to focus on how many castable cards you have rather than hitting all 5 influence. Time is the most important type of influence for the deck, but I have won games where I never saw a Time source, or did not hit Time until turn 6 or so. Functioning without Fire, Primal or Shadow is fairly easily, so hands missing any of those can be kept without much concern, assuming you have other things to do. As I said above, the deck does cheat a little on power, so an opening hand of 3 Banners (hitting all 5 factions), Diplomatic Seal, Reunite, 5-drop, Stand Together is probably a keep. Take the time to think through your opening turns carefully since it is really easy to mess things up if you are not careful.

The deck is greatly slanted towards the low drops. 4 Hearty Stranger has got to look insane to a lot of people, and for a while I couldn’t justify the card, but he really is important. As I mentioned before, you need to fight viciously for board presence through the early turns of the game. By playing a 1 drop that avoids Vara’s Favor, or protects your Determined Stranger from Torch really ends up mattering. Ruthless Stranger is truly vicious. I have had multiple turn 4 kills playing this deck. I am not even talking about my opponent conceding, but they were going to take lethal damage by the end of my turn 4. Drawing 3 or more Ruthless Strangers just ends games, especially if you have any back up. The single Horus Traver is really questionable. Having an additional 1-drop to get your banners functional is useful, but at the same time he is not a great card. There have been games where I Reunite for Horus when I am tight on power and need to hit a specific influence threshold in order to function, but this is very rare after including the 3 2-drop Strangers. It might be correct for Horus to be a Stonescar Banner, or some other tech card (like a 4th Stand Together or 2nd Soaring Stranger).

Now let’s talk about Forsworn Stranger. This is the best card in the deck, and it is not close. Most people will probably think that Forsworn Stranger is in a similar band of power to False Prince. Both are 5/5’s for 3, but have important weaknesses, where Prince dies to any spell and Forsworn Stranger dies to silence. This is correct superficially, but really undersells the power of Forsworn Stranger. Almost every deck runs tons of spells, while many run few silence effects. In addition, False Prince is not protected by cards like Stand Together, while Forsworn Stranger is. In addition, half you deck is a virtual Obelisk for your Forsworn Stranger, where he can easily attack into or block your opponent’s Titans. False Prince also doesn’t get nice things like Slay and Torch to help clear the way. Forsworn Stranger hits like a train accident, and is responsible for more of my wins with this deck than any other card. He might be my most common Reunite target as well, as a curve of 1-drop, Reunite, Forsworn Stranger is a lot of pressure against a deck without silence.

The only other Stranger that I play as a 4-of is Determined Stranger. By himself, he is not a good card. 3/3s for 3 are really bad, and although there are plenty of times that you need to play him as just that, he is just necessary for making the deck work. The best case scenario is being on the play, dropping 2 early units, plus the Determined Stranger, and just hope to tempo your opponent out. I have got to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with this card, since he is so reliant on having buddies in play, but that is the nature of the deck, which is why I feel almost forced to include him as a 4-of.

The challenge card that set this whole thing in motion was Triumphant Stranger, and he is honestly a marvellous 2-of in the deck. Although he clearly dies to a lot of stuff, he usually wins the game if you get to keep him in play. I think a lot of people underestimate the power level of the average hit from Triumphant Stranger. Meditative Stranger can effectively lock your opponent out of the game. Prophetic Stranger can lock your opponent out of the game. Fortunate Stranger can often draw 2 cards the first turn in play. Soaring Stranger can win the game on the spot. The fact that you also get to keep your power open for the rest of the game and just continually spin the wheel until you hit what you need to win is extremely powerful. Triumpant Stranger really is a messed up card when it gets going, and it also just a mountain of fun.

Bereaved Stranger has been one of the surprise all-stars of this deck. Obviously he is unexciting against controlling decks, but he is just a show-stopper against aggressive decks, especially Stonescar. I will expand on this later, but Bereaved Stranger is basically one of your “game plans”, and has wildly over-preformed.

From here the rest of the deck is a mix of Reunite targets. Soaring Stranger is often garbage to draw since it dies to everything and is a horrible blocker. As a Reunite target you can pull it out when you need him to end the game, but you should basically never plan to go a full turn cycle with him staying alive. Battle-Tested stranger is a pretty effective brawler, and is very difficult for your opponents to play around. I play 2 copies of Battle-Tested Stranger since the second is often required to “out-size” the big Time decks. You also always want him as a Reunite target, so having a back-up is pretty useful if the first dies somehow. Meditative and Fortunate Strangers play very similar roles, where you attempt to pair them with something like Fortunate Stranger to run away with the game. They serve slightly different roles, with Meditative Stranger being an ace against Harsh Rule decks, and Fortunate Stranger being an ace against big time decks, but I would say the roll of both is ultimately to team-up with Triumphant Stranger to lock your opponent out of the game.

There is a nice little suite of interactive cards that I have mixed into the deck. 4 Slay, 4 Torch, 3 Stand Together, 1 Desert Marshall and 1 Obelisk. Torch and Slay don’t need much explanation – they kill things that you want dead. Though part of me wants to fit in a couple copies of Banish, the fact that it does not hit Tavrod is a massive liability. Stand Together was a massive step-forward for the deck. Somewhere along the way Stand Together was forgotten by the community, but let me tell you, this card is messed up. Using it as a pump spell to let your Forsworn Stranger eat an opposing Titan while giving the rest of your squad a free bonus feels filthy. Chalice basically can’t beat the card, and Feln has a hard time as well. Stand Together gives a lot of the “tempo” feel of the deck, since you can establish a board and protect it, or give a surprise boost to your team to mess up combat. Desert Marshall is primarily a counter to Dawnwalker honestly. There was a while that Praxis decks with Dawnwalker + Xenan Initiation were beating the crap out of me. Since the Dawnwalker + Killer interaction does a great job at picking apart your board, you cannot build up the critical mass of Stranger synergies that are necessary to overpower a deck like Praxis. Marshall counters that, and also provides a little defence to Relic Weapons. Clearly including him as a 1-of does not fix these problems entirely, but he has been holding his own enough that he is fine as a 1-of (though it takes real mental energy to remember that he is not a Stranger). Obelisk is honestly a relic from a previous iteration. There was a time when was playing 4 Obelisk, but those slowly became Stand Together, but one has stuck around in the deck, and I can’t quite commit to the full 4 Stand for some reason. Don’t get me wrong, Obelisk is pretty decent in deck with 30 units, but having a single target for cards like Shatterglass Mage is probably a mistake.

The last card that I have not talked about is Reunite. This card is messed up. I have Reunited for literally every possible Stranger in the deck. It isn’t even like “Yeah, I Reunited for Hearty Stranger one time hurrr hurrr”! Every Stranger in the deck needs to be part of the toolbox. The most common ones to hit are Forsworn and Triumphant. As I said above, Forsworn Stranger is really good at killing people, and Triumphant Stranger is really good at overpowering people. As I go through some of the specific match-ups I will mention the various Strangers I tend to search up in different situations, but you really need to think creatively when casting Reunite. The spell is incredibly skill testing, as you have access to this galaxy of possibilities, and you often need to play it out multiple turns before you would have a chance to actually play whatever you tutored for. There are even times where you need to deliberately not cast it so you have a chance to figure out which card is best to search for. I am not going to be able to do justice to the tactical implications of this card, but I will say that you really need to play it to understand it. Something I talk about below is switching game plans. Reunite is an important component to this, as it allows you to pick out the exact card from your deck to abruptly switch from aggro to value or from value to aggro. Anyone who wants to send me screenshots with “what would you Reunite for here” is welcome to do so, as casting this card is my favorite part of this deck.

If you wanted to toy with the deck the cards that I would suggest as possible cuts would be the 1 Horus Traver, the 1 Xenan Obelisk, the 1 Desert Marshall, the 4th Torch, or the 4th Determined Stranger. Cards to consider to including be some number of Vanquish or Banish, as well as more power, or extra copies of Triumphant or Soaring Stranger.

Cards I Did Not Include – We Pass Judgement

Tireless Stranger – This is honestly closer than it may seem at first. In a world where Crystallize and Permafrost were major players in the metagame, I could see him being a cool inclusion, but the ability is just a little too niche for me to be interested.

Clever Stranger – a lot of the other lists I have seen play some number of Clever stranger, with many fitting in as many as 4 copies. Though I have tried really hard to like him, Clever Stranger is honestly just a bad card. A 2/2 for 4 does nothing to contribute to your beat-down draws, is a horrible blocker, and is far behind Triumphant Stranger and Fortunate Stranger for fighting a value battle. Yes, I have played games where he draws a number of cards, but the ceiling is too infrequent to compare to the floor of drawing him against aggro. “But Neon! You are playing stuff like Fortunate Stranger and Meditative Stranger! Don’t those cards suck versus aggro?” You have a point, but they are just 1-ofs in the deck for the purpose of powering Reunite. Clever Stranger is almost a strictly worse Fortunate Stranger when getting him off Reunite. I guess there are some very narrow circumstances that I would get him over Fortunate or Triumphant Stranger, but it is incredibly rare. Clever Stranger is also horrible in the mirror, which I will discuss a little more later.

Savage Stranger – My initial take on the deck included some number of Savage Strangers, since have a permanent bonus on your entire team seems sweet, but Savage Stranger has some serious problems. Dying to Torch clearly sucks, but the bigger issue is needing to wait for the bonus to take effect. Ruthless Stranger gives the same bonus immediately, allowing you to stay aggressive is that is what the game is about. One interesting note about Savage Stranger – in the mirror, the +1 attack bonus interacts with your opponent’s aegis. For example, if there is a Meditative Stranger in play and Savage Stranger triggers for you, all your Strangers get +1 attack, while all the aegis on your opponent’s Strangers is popped. Weird interaction, but makes sense if you think about it.

Swift Stranger – I just can’t handle 4-power 3/3s. Although I am sure it might be cool to set up a big blitz turn by playing out a bunch of Strangers all at once, he is just too expensive to be good for anything.

Grim and Hair-Trigger Stranger – I think these cards just belong in a different deck. Shadow is by far the worst faction for 5F Strangers, and hitting specific XY influence combinations by turn 2 is so hard. I could imagine a world where you want one of these as a Reunite target to beat board stalls, but I feel like Soaring or Battle Tested Strangers do most of the same work.

Towering Stranger – This is surprisingly close to making the deck. Just having a big hunk of meat to Reunite for seems appealing (especially against certain 5/7s) but that feels a little too narrow for a 6-drop. Clearly the overwhelm ability is useful for breaking a board stall, but Soaring Stranger is usually better equipped for that kind of battle.

Prophetic Stranger – when do you really need +3/+3 over +2/+2? Clearly there are times that it would be nice to have, but it is so rare. 7 is also just a ton of power of this deck.

Ferocious Stranger – this is another card that just barely misses making the deck like Towering Stranger. If you can set up a big alpha strike with Ferocious Stranger in play, you are very likely to win that game, but that seems fairly “win-more”. There are certainly times that I would love to have access to Ferocious Stranger, but it is just too greedy to include.

Tactics and Strategy – Our Purpose is Clear

One of the defining aspects of playing this deck has been navigating the different tactics and strategies that are available. I have never encountered a deck where I must shift gears so dramatically with such frequency. Obviously there are times that ever deck needs to re-assess the role it is taking, but Strangers can be good at almost everything given the proper combination of cards. Reunite is the most important card for either doubling down on a given game-plan, or switching your strategy. I am going to break down the principal styles of gameplay that Strangers tends to utilize.

Beatdown – Our Memories Give Us Strength

A deck with 9 1-drops, as well as some 5/5s for 3, and of pump effects is going to be effective and killing people. You may be surprised by the percent of games where you just need to try and race down your opponent. Ruthless Stranger is obviously useful here, but the cards you rely on most are Forsworn Stranger, Determined Stranger and Stand Together. Consider firing off Stand Together proactively to just buff your team, especially if you are tight on power. If you think you will be on the beatdown plan, consider using Reunite to get Forsworn Stranger, Battle-Tested Stranger, or even just Ruthless Stranger if your power is really tight. An important variant of the beatdown plan uses Soaring Stranger as a finisher, which is particularly effective against Chalice. It is not hard to get your opponent to 10 in the early turns, set up a board stall, wait for your opponent to power down, then Reunite > Soaring Stranger for lethal.

Bereaved Stranger – We Have Cause

An important variant of the beatdown plan involves the use of Bereaved Stranger. Although he is far from an all-star against either control or big Time decks, he is devastating against dedicated aggro decks. A lot of Stonescar decks have very few ways to remove him, and even then you typically get one solid hit in before he is killed by an Obliterate. The early turns of the game are going to be a delicate balance of developing a board, trading resources, and using removal, but eventually you want to try and line up one direct hit for 7+ damage with a Bereaved Stranger in play. This totally flips the race in many cases, and if your opponent can’t remove the Bereaved Stranger, the game will quickly spiral out of control. Obviously you need to aggressively Reunite for Bereaved Stranger, but you typically need a Forsworn Stranger too since it is the best attacker you have. Though at his best in the Stonescar match up, I have successfully raced Argenport Pants or Rakano Aggro decks with the help of Bereaved Stranger.

Out-Value – We Have More

Though the aggressive plan of the Strangers deck is deceptively effective, you have access to a long-game value plan that is incredibly powerful. Triumphant Stranger is just a value machine that takes over the game all by itself, and if paired with either Fortunate or Meditative Stranger, the game typically spirals out of control. This is particularly effective against big time deck with limited removal, but can also work against a control deck that has spent many of their early resources. Though Triumphant Stranger is best at this role, Fortunate Stranger can do a pretty good impersonation all by himself. It is sometimes worth sandbagging low impact Strangers (like the 1 and 2 drops) to pair with Fortunate Stranger in some extreme situations. The deck this is most effective against is actually Xenan. They typically rely on Banish and Annihilate as removal, meaning that nothing hits Triumphant Stranger if he can get out of range of killer attacks.

Out-Size – We Hone Our Skills

One of the most impressive elements of Strangers is the ability to battle other decks at their own game. If your opponent is on a big Time deck like Praxis, Elysian, or Mono-Time, you can often find yourself in an arms race of pure unit size. Although Battle-Tested Stranger is a little bit fragile, there is no question that having fully powered Obelisk on a body can be really powerful. If your opponent gets out to a quick start with multiple Titans your best bet is often to just try and go toe-to-toe with them by overloading on global buffs. Beyond just the big time match ups, it is possible for almost any match up to turn into a ground stall. If that is the case, a card like Battle-Tested Stranger can suddenly flip the combat math in your favor, and you take down your opponent in one massive hit.

Match Up Guide – We Thrive Where Others Falter

Argenport Midrange

This match up is difficult but not horrible. Valkyrie Enforcer is just the nuts against you, since it can often kill a Forsworn Stranger, and act a s a flying 3/3 body that is just difficult to interact with. This is a match up where Soaring Stranger is really at a premium, partly because many of the threats are flying, and because you often want to jump over Cowthulu. The 3/3 body on Soaring Stranger is also less relevant for the purposes of your opponent’s removal. Bereaved Stranger can play a big role in winning a race. There are a lot of routes your opponent has to winning the game, such as riding Bart + Falchion, or sticking a Tavrod, or just picking you apart with removal. Try your best to find a strategy to counter what your opponent is doing, but I feel like some version of the aggressive plan is needed in most cases.

Tavrod Armory

Basically the same as Argenport Midrange, though I think the match up is a little better. If they get off to a slow start with the plan of leaning on Harsh Rule they can be beaten pretty easily with Stand Together. If they are able to pick apart you team with removal spells and relic weapons you are in a lot more trouble. Think carefully about how to plan your turns to make your opponent’s life awkward, and minimize the chance of your opponent getting a 2-for-1 off cards like Runehammer or Harsh Rule. Soaring Stranger is not as important here as something like Battle-Tested Stranger.

Praxis

This matchup is actively trash. As I mentioned above, the Xenan Initiation + Dawnwalker combination can really mess you up, and you don’t have any sweepers to punish them for overextending into the board. If you can get established well enough that many of your units are outside Torch/Obliterate range, you can often overpower them going long, but you really need to fight for board control in the early turns.

Combrei

This match up is much worse than Praxis. Valkyrie Enforcer and Desert Marshall are some of the best cards in the game against you. Combrei decks with Harsh Rule can also obviously roll you if you don’t have a Stand Together. Focus all your resources on being aggressive as possible, because you will really struggle going long. One of the best match ups to proactively Stand Together your team.

Stonescar

Check the “Bereaved Stranger” strategy. That approach is by far its best here. I think this match up is positive, though it is clearly still difficult to play it optimally.

Xenan

This match up is actively good since most Xenan decks have few answers to Triumphant Stranger. Just try to get him on board, and he will just carry you. Outside of that, it depends on what your opponent is playing, since many versions of the deck can be so different.

Chalice

Chalice feels like a pretty decent match up. As I mentioned above, it is pretty easy to put together a win by either assembling an aggressive start followed by a Soaring Stranger to jump over a board stall, or Stand Together to counter a key Harsh Rule. There have been a number of times where I beat Chalice even when they have drawn like 10 more cards than me. If you are able to stick a Triumphant Stranger, you should be very careful about attacking with it since you do not want him to be hit with Eilyn’s Choice.

The Mirror – Our Oath is Broken

The Strangers mirror is a gong show. Since all the Stranger bonuses are global, it means that both players are getting all the same buffs from every unit on the field. Though it may just sound like everything should just trade off, that isn’t quite how things work. The base stats of units becomes very important, since a 5/5 getting +2/+2 is still going to be bigger than a 2/2 getting +2/+2. As a result, Forsworn Stranger is an important early play. Triumphant Stranger is the real powerhouse in this match up. Neither play has access to much in the way of interaction, so Triumphant Strangers tend to stick around for a while, and obviously become massive. The tech cards like Stand Together I have included in my version of the deck are also really useful in the mirror, since you get to mess up your opponent’s combat math. I actually have a lot of thoughts on the specifics of playing the mirror, but I will spare you most of them, with the exception of my thoughts about Clever Stranger. If you insist on playing Clever Stranger of some unknown reason, I would strongly suggest never playing it in the mirror. If you power down on turn 4 to play Clever Stranger your opponent may “draw” 2 cards off his ability before you even have a chance. They can also do things like play 1 unit with warp, then Torch your Clever Stranger, and you get to draw nothing, and be behind on the power exchange. Things are different if he is generated off a Triumphant Stranger, since you get the first chance to profit off him, but you need to be careful about keeping cards like this around in case they are more of a benefit to your opponent over you.

Conclusion – We Will Not be Broken

That is it for me today! As I said at the beginning, there is a lot you can learn from playing this deck. It is hard, but rewarding! Maybe someone can figure out a few missing pieces to get this to competitive standards, but I find that hard to believe. Still, I have had a ton of fun with the deck, and cannot recommend it highly enough if you want to learn or have fun. Until next time,

Love,

Horus Traver Neon

6 thoughts on “Going Deep – Strange Lessons

    1. There is clearly some heavy inspiration from Slivers, but I think there are a number of things that makes Strangers feel very different. Not the least of which being the influence system.