Tavrod is a pretty good card, but with his partner-in-crime Bartholo out of the picture he’s fallen from the spotlight a bit. The aggressive, evasion-based Argenport deck is now lacking volume of resilient threats to play as many Lifesteal weapons, and as a result it’s aggro matchup has suffered. You can add more removal, but that dilutes your aggressive plan. So where is Argenport supposed to turn?
I’ve had a lot of success by slowing down, playing more removal and expensive cards, and winning in the late game with a pair of 8 drops:
1 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
2 Auric Sentry (Set1 #146)
4 Copperhall Bailiff (Set1001 #5)
3 Privilege of Rank (Set1 #157)
4 Slay (Set2 #236)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Auric Runehammer (Set1 #166)
4 Steward of the Past (Set1 #287)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
2 Inquisitor Makto (Set2 #242)
4 Tavrod, Auric Broker (Set1002 #18)
2 Throne Warden (Set1 #514)
2 Sleepless Night (Set2 #170)
2 Sword of the Sky King (Set1 #186)
8 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
5 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)
4 Seat of Vengeance (Set0 #55)
I’ve written about this deck before, but now is it’s time to shine! It’s matchups against the popular ladder decks all feel good, and it’s playing some of the best cards in the game.
The card that I’m least sure about in the deck is Makto, but he does a decent job of soaking removal and silence for Tavrod and is a good anti-control threat where the game goes on long enough for him to Revenge two or three times. You should basically always play Tavrod as your last threat, as he’s the one that snowballs into an easy win if he sticks for a turn or two. Both Makto and Sleepless Night also have some awkward anti-synergy with Tavrod, but if you’re attacking with Tavrod and discarding your Revenge cards you’re probably winning already.
This deck has a very good matchup against go-wide aggro like Rally Queen and Skycrag between Harsh Rule, Throne Warden, and the six 3-drop minotaurs. Auric Sentry is a very under-rated anti-aggro tool, and both it and Copperhall Bailiff are nice as anti-Rally cards with utility elsewhere. Lightning Storm is near-useless against decks without small units, but the minotaurs can Warcry in any matchup and Sentry can brickwall a lot of units, including Dawnwalker or a Sandstorm Titan that has been hit with Copperhall Bailiff’s strength debuff.
In matchups that are about grinding, you’re hard pressed to find a better threat than Tavrod. A single attack is often game over in close games, and the density of minotaurs and weapons in this deck makes him very likely to hit. If you find a minotaur, a weapon, and a Privilege of Rank you can even draw FOUR cards off a single Tavrod attack! Sword of the Sky King is a 3-for-1 or better against Feln and other decks that don’t have high-strength units, and gives you a fantastic way to finish the game with or without the Tavrod buff. Killing a unit with Sword of the Sky King, then Harsh Ruling your opponent’s follow-up blockers is a frequent line to push for lethal with the giant metal donger. The 8 armor gain is often crucial against burn-based aggro, and the fact that Tavrod can dig for it while stabilizing the board is a big contributor to the deck’s good Fire aggro matchup.
The card the deck is actually built around is the one that might raise the most questions: Sleepless Night. Sleepless Night has never been very popular, but there’s a reason for that: it costs 8 and does nothing the turn you play it. You need to be very comfortable going into the late game to play 8 drops that don’t affect the board, and need to have some other sources of card advantage for games where you don’t draw your 8 drop. Here, Tavrod and Sword of the Sky King serve the role of other card advantage engines that also affect the board. Privilege of Rank assists as a card that is basically Wisdom of the Elders that always draws two power, and you can also discard it with Tavrod to play it for free, so attacking with Tavrod helps bridge you from 5 to 8 power. This deck specifically wants to play a lot of power so that it can always hit 5 power on turn 5, and playing that much power risks flooding out if you don’t include a few expensive cards. Sleepless Night is the ultimate expensive card for a deck playing tons of power and mostly 5 drops like this one, as you won’t have a great hand by the time you hit 8 so you won’t have to discard anything good, and then you’ll be able to play the four cards you draw before the Revenge hits and draws you another hand.
Sleepless Argenport obviously largely succeeds on the strength of Tavrod and the large amount of decks that can’t deal with a 5/7 multifaction endurance backed up by tons of removal, but it also has a lot of other powerful cards. There are decks that have trouble with Steward of the Past, decks that have trouble with Harsh Rule, and decks that have trouble with Auric Runehammer into Throne Warden. There are several angles of attack, and Argenport is flexible enough to play offensively or defensibly as the matchup and game state dictates.
I’m sure this isn’t the final form of slower, midrange-control Argenport, but I have been having great success with it, and others have messaged me that they are as well. I think that this can evolve into a real contender in the Eternal metagame if some more players and tuners get their hands on it.
Until next time, may your Sword of the Sky King always appear when you need it.