Event Primer – Midnight Ride

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Hello Friends!

We have another Event on our hands – and as you probably know by now – I am here to give you with some suggestions on what decks to play! The rules of this event are interesting – we start with 31 life, and on turns 7 and 13 a player gets one of the Pale Riders (these are 4/4s for 4 that have either lifesteal, killer, deadly or flying). What I actually find most interesting about this event is that the rules are actually quite mild. Compare this to something like the Eclipse event, where each player was drawing 2 cards a turn and your deck had to be at least half Shadow cards. That was a time where everything was turned on its head and crazy stuff could happen. Now, we have an event that gently bends the rules rather than break them entirely. As a result, I actually find it harder to come up with “edgy” decks. Aggro decks like Bandit Queen or Burn are obviously going to be worse than normal, but they are not going to be unplayable. Any midrange or control deck is actually going to be totally fine, especially after making changes to bias against the expected metagame.

Given the fact that the event is not a radically different format, I have decided to take a slightly different approach to this article compared to my other primers. First, I am going to give “event adjusted” versions of each of the three tier 1 decks (Argenport, Armory, and Praxis). Here I will basically be taking to stock decks, and just shifting around a few cards to calibrate for what I expect the metagame will look like in the event. Next, I will give you three lists that are spicier and off-meta, which might be good given the slower format. Finally, I will give three The Witching Hour decks since the event is built around celebrating one of the most loved cards in the game.

One general comment to everyone about the expected metagame: everyone knows the conditions favor control. You read the specifications and said to yourself “hey, control will be good! I should play control!” That is “level 1” thinking, and basically everyone was able to figure that out. The challenge will actually be to find a good anti-control deck (or a good anti-anti-control deck?). That is “level 2” thinking. It is also important to not go too deep down the rabbit hole. Argenport isn’t exactly an aggro deck, but it is still going to kill you if you are spending your time twiddling your thumbs. I am not saying that I have the answers to this, since it is very hard to fully account for the cascading impact of these format changes, but that “levelling” phenomenon is certainly fascinating.

With that out of the way, let’s get started!

Tuned Stock Lists

Argenport Midrange

Argenport

2 Protect (Set1 #132)
2 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Argenport Instigator (Set1 #268)
2 Paladin Oathbook (Set1 #140)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Auric Interrogator (Set1002 #13)
4 Bartholo, the Seducer (Set2 #234)
3 Bloodletter (Set2 #235)
4 Slay (Set2 #236)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Impending Doom (Set1 #286)
4 Tavrod, Auric Broker (Set1002 #18)
6 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Emerald Monument (Set1 #422)
6 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)
4 Seat of Vengeance (Set0 #55)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

Love it or hate it, Argenport is still likely to be the most popular deck in the format, even after adjusting to the event. I don’t see any reason why it would be significantly less popular since the health boost to the opponent will not suddenly ruin it’s ability to function. The Pale Riders also feel (to me) like a neutral addition to the game, meaning they neither help nor hurt either side on average. Since you are playing 4 Runehammers, there is basically infinite ways to kill these suckers if you wanted to. If your opponent does “high roll” a killer Pale Rider when you have an unbuffed Bart in play that clearly sucks, but that is also rare. I also feel Auric Interrogator is very much worth an inclusion in this event. There is some debate whether he is worth a slot over some 2-drops since the 3-slot is so crowded, but I feel like you are going to want the card advantage right now. Overall, the core of this deck is absolutely fully functional, and there is no particular need for radical changes.

Of the changes that I did make, I feel like Oathbook and Sabotage might be a good inclusion over Lethrai Falchion (which I cut entirely). Aggro is going to be taking a back seat in this event since their opponent get to start with 6 more health, as well as having the chance to get a sick blocker for free on turn 7 (and 13). Falchion is obviously important in fighting off aggressive decks, but is not at its best against the rest of the format. Oathbook is also good for a couple reasons. The first, is that in a control dominated metagame, you want buff effects that are not actually attached to your unit. Giving your Bart a pseudo-weapon rather than a real weapon is best when your opponents are generally heavy on removal. It also allows your Pale Riders to break serve with your opponent’s Pale Riders on occasion. Let’s say you have both just exchanged resources such that neither play has anything of importance by turn 7. You get a lifesteal Pale Rider, while your opponent gets one with flying. If you have a Oathbook in play you can now attack your Rider into their Rider and they can’t profitably block. Obviously you don’t want to go crazy with this kind of effect, but I think a couple are worth trying! Sabotage is also an obvious asset in a meta dominated by control decks.

Armory

Armory

4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
4 Rakano Artisan (Set1 #312)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Slay (Set2 #236)
2 Sword of Icaria (Set1 #315)
2 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
2 Reforge (Set2 #23)
4 Rise to the Challenge (Set1 #320)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
2 Throne Warden (Set1 #514)
2 Smuggler’s Stash (Set1 #396)
2 Starsteel Daisho (Set1 #328)
2 Icaria, the Liberator (Set1 #329)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
5 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
1 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
2 Rakano Banner (Set1 #427)
4 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
2 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)
4 Seat of Vengeance (Set0 #55)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)

For the purposes of this event, I really do think Armory is better than Tavrod Armory. If the metagame does become dominated by control then everyone will have Harsh Rules, Slays and Deathstrikes for days. How about we avoid all that and just beat people’s faces in with relic weapons? This is very similar to the list that I shared in my last article, but I have upped the greed in a few areas, the most important being Reforge. Reforging a large Starsteel Daisho or Auric Runehammer can often end the game on the spot against a control deck. Icaria is also a great finisher in a slower format. Sword of Icaria has been trimmed as a result, since it is notably worse in a format where people get free 4/4s and there is less aggro.

Praxis

Praxis

 

4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Friendly Wisp (Set1 #82)
4 Power Stone (Set1002 #4)
3 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
2 Xenan Initiation (Set2 #44)
1 Champion of Impulse (Set2 #173)
4 Dawnwalker (Set1 #86)
4 Crimson Firemaw (Set1002 #3)
2 Diogo Málaga (Set2 #179)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
2 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
3 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
3 Shatterglass Mage (Set2 #181)
4 Heart of the Vault (Set2 #183)
2 Predatory Carnosaur (Set1 #118)
7 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
7 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Amber Monument (Set1 #420)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)

I really don’t know what to do with this deck. Praxis has certainly fallen in popularity recently. It isn’t like it has fallen off a cliff, but it is certainly looking like it has been pushed off the top wrung of the tier list. I can’t say I am enthusiastic to play this in a control dominated field, but Shatterglass Mage is probably pretty good, along with Friendly Wisp and Dawnwalker. If you wanted to go “big time” route I actually expect Praxis will be the worst of the available options (compared to Combrei, Elysian or Xenan). On the other hand, if you wanted to go full go-wide Praxis with 4 Obelisk and 4 Arcanum Monitor, I can imagine people cheating on Storm in the event. This kind of go-wide deck is very resistant to the higher starting life total, and control decks in general hate playing against Xenan Obelisk. Obelisk also helps to break the “Pale Rider versus Pale Rider” parity. Still, regular Praxis is probably fine, if unexciting. They don’t really have a ton of tools to do anything different than their traditional plan of meaty beaters and burn, so this deck might end up feeling underpowered compared to the rest of the format.

Off-Meta

With the traditional fare out of the way, let’s move onto something a bit more spicy. The event is expected to be defined by control mirrors and slow gameplay. If that is the case, why not get ahead of the field and play an anti-control deck? Ramp decks, Scream decks and Roaches all have the potential to go over the top of traditional control decks, especially if they don’t have the right tools. There are a lot of possibilities in this space, and I would love to see some additional examples in the Reddit thread.

Xenan Ramp

Ramp

4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Power Stone (Set1002 #4)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Ayan, the Abductor (Set2 #204)
4 Banish (Set2 #207)
2 Extract (Set2 #155)
4 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Devoted Theurge (Set1002 #6)
2 Steward of the Past (Set1 #287)
4 Beckoning Lumen (Set2 #59)
2 Lumen Defender (Set1 #115)
3 Mask of Torment (Set2 #212)
4 Mystic Ascendant (Set1 #116)
1 Azindel’s Gift (Set1 #306)
2 Hall of Lost Kings (Set1 #121)
9 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
8 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Mystery (Set0 #61)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)

The viability of a deck like Xenan Ramp really depends on how the metagame breaks. If people are still playing a healthy level of aggressively-slanted-midrange this deck is likely too clunky. If we instead find ourselves in mono-control-mirror grindfest, really big Time decks could end up being a big deal. Hall of Lost Kings goes way over the top of what a lot of people are doing, and you get to also run Mask as a split ramp card and late game threat. There is a lot of tuning left to be done on a deck like this, and I certainly don’t advocate dropping a giant wad of Shiftstones on this if you are still building your collections, but I actually think this deck will be good if all you are facing is control decks. Having access to Banish is also great, since relics are likely to be extremely popular. I might even go so far as to say that cards like Decay and Passage of Eons might be playable, but I am not quite brave enough to put them into a list.`

Scream Reanimator

Reanimator

1 Blind Storyteller (Set1 #192)
2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
3 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Haunting Scream (Set1 #374)
4 Sporefolk (Set1 #262)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Direwood Beastcaller (Set1 #271)
4 Gorgon Fanatic (Set1 #375)
2 Feeding Time (Set1 #381)
3 Steward of the Past (Set1 #287)
4 Grasping at Shadows (Set1 #292)
4 Black-Sky Harbinger (Set1 #385)
1 Nightmaw, Sight Unseen (Set1 #383)
4 Vara, Fate-Touched (Set1 #307)
8 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
9 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)

OH BOY! This deck saw some fringe play a bit before the launch of Omens of the Past, and was one of the decks I used to climb to Master in Brewer’s Challenge II. It has a pretty bad aggro match up, particularly against Rakano, but if those decks take a back seat for the Event, it might be get freaky. This deck is degenerate. Scream is clearly a messed up deck when it gets rolling, but here we get to mix that in with the power of Vara and Grasping at Shadows. I promise you that if you haven’t played this deck, you are in for a treat. Highlights include shenanigans like Grasping at Shadows for Vara, bringing back a Direwood Beastcaller that already has flying and charge, hitting your opponent with the Beastcaller to get two 5/5s, which gives you 2 more units from your void! Harsh Rule is really a joke, since you can often just reload your entire board with a single Vara or Grasping at Shadows. If Steward of the Past ends up being popular (which is a real possibility) this deck becomes pretty sketchy, but the experience of overwhelming power is totally worth it.

Roaches

Roaches

4 Initiate of the Sands (Set1 #74)
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Second Sight (Set1 #207)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Twinning Ritual (Set1 #79)
4 Amber Acolyte (Set1 #93)
4 Clockroach (Set1 #94)
4 Crown of Possibilities (Set1 #355)
3 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
4 Nesting Avisaur (Set1 #225)
4 Twinbrood Sauropod (Set1 #113)
2 Thunderstrike Dragon (Set1 #243)
6 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
9 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)

People generally think of Roaches as being just a meme deck that happens to high roll good draws sometimes. This is the wrong way to think about this deck. Roaches is actually a powerful combo deck that is held back by lack of redundancy and the prevalence of aggressive decks. Usually when people thinking about “combo” they think about one-turn-kills, or two card combos that win the game on the spot. That is clearly a big part of the best combo decks, but I feel like Second Sight + Crown of Possibilities + Clockroach is a certain kind of combo. If you look at what the deck does when it has full freedom to operate it looks a lot like a combo deck. Whether this is or is not a combo deck is really beside the point, what does matter is that it is powerful. Although it the deck is capable of losing to itself, it has a very good match up against almost every control deck that I know of. The version given here is pretty standard, and hasn’t even gone as far as including Shadow. I don’t have quite enough experience with the archetype to really know the ins-and-outs of the various builds, but this one is clearly functional.

The Hour Has Come

This event is supposedly for celebrating Halloween, but we all know that this is really just a celebration of The Witching Hour! It continues to be one of the most flavorful and unique cards in the game. If you are one of the few people who have not checked out the premium art, do yourself a favor right now and take a look. In addition to The Witching Hour being a baller card in every way, it actually might be good in this event! It is strong against control deck, you have more life total to play around with yourself, and you even get to play 2 cards for free to bring down the cost! Seems like there is no better time to run out the four horsemen if you ask me!

Party Hour

Party Hour

2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
1 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Feln Stranger (Set1 #409)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Feln Bloodcaster (Set1 #386)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Feeding Time (Set1 #381)
4 Steward of the Past (Set1 #287)
4 Champion of Cunning (Set1 #371)
4 Black-Sky Harbinger (Set1 #385)
4 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
2 Whispers in the Void (Set1 #303)
2 Vara, Fate-Touched (Set1 #307)
3 The Witching Hour (Set1 #310)
6 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
11 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)

Party!!! I am going to drop a quick history lesson for those who neither played last summer, nor have heard stories about Party Hour. Scouting Party was originally a Promo card, and actually cost 5PP. The Witching Hour also cost 1 less for each card you played, not just non-power cards. Champion of Cunning was also busted in half, and gave your whole team +2/+2 flying and charge when he was fully powered. This combination of factors lead to the “Party Hour” deck, which was totally nutty for the first month after Scouting Party as released. Feln Stranger was a ladder staple, as he helped hit the tight influence requirements of quintuple Primal and sextuple Shadow. This deck list pays homage to those days! In addition to being an awesome call-back, Scouting Party could be really dope in this event. Lightning Storm is going to be less popular than normal, and Harsh Rules are a limited resource. This could still be too slow for the event, but it looks powerful to me!

Xenan Hour

Really big

4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Dark Wisp (Set1 #264)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Ephemeral Wisp (Set1 #84)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
3 Ayan, the Abductor (Set2 #204)
4 Banish (Set2 #207)
3 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Vault of the Praxis (Set1 #480)
4 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
2 Colony Matron (Set2 #255)
4 Whispers in the Void (Set1 #303)
4 The Witching Hour (Set1 #310)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
12 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Mystery (Set0 #61)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)

While Party Hour attempts to lean on the power level of individual cards like Scouting Party or Champion of Cunning, this Xenan Hour deck is looking to lean on synergy and shear grinding power. Have you ever faced someone with 2 Whispers of the Void active? What about with two Xenan Obelisk active? What about both? You are going to have a rough time going long against a deck like this, and we even get to jam a bunch of copies of The Witching Hour for kicks. Shout out to InvertedEye from whom I stole the core of this deck (Eternal Warcry page for the original).

Scrappy Hour

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2 Combust (Set1 #392)
4 Grenadin Drone (Set1 #5)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Slumbering Stone (Set1 #255)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
2 Shadowlands Guide (Set1 #280)
2 Torrent of Spiders (Set1 #272)
4 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
4 Scraptank (Set1 #391)
4 The Witching Hour (Set1 #310)
5 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
12 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)
4 Stonescar Banner (Set1 #419)

I have done some extensive studies, and 1-out-of-one ExKirby thinkgs Scrap Tank is the most powerful card in the entire game of Eternal! In fact, 100% of ExKirbys agree that the power of Scrap Tank is underappreciated!! This list is here for the Scrapiest of the Tanks to take the Eternal Throne! In seriousness, this deck is more powerful than it may look on the surface, especially in a field where people are shaving copies of Lightning Storm. The best draws get to play The Witching Hour really fast, and once the first comes down the second is sure to follow shortly. I am sure it is also possible to build this as a Kalis deck, which sounds sweet. I’m not sure exactly how good this deck is going to be, but it certainly is playing more Scrap Tanks than any of my other lists, so it can’t be that bad!


That’s a wrap everyone! Like any of these decks? Hate’m? Have some other deck that you think is great for the event that everyone is sleeping on? Share that in the Reddit thread! There is no better place to exchange your thoughts on playing the event! Until next time…

Love,

Neon