Event Primer – Whirling Duels!

WhirlingDuoWeb-min
When I first heard of the Event that was happening this weekend, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand it sounded super sweet! Custom decks made by the DWD team packed with memes and nonsense? That sounds awesome! On the other hand, I was honestly a little worried about writing my primer. This series has been a ton of fun to write, and I thought I might need to scramble together a last minute article the moment the event dropped. Obviously I was willing to do that, but it would be tough…

….but then Scarlatch sent me a message on Discord with some interesting information.

Yup, you guessed it! I have the lists for the Event and I get to share them all with you! Beyond sharing the lists I want to give my initial impressions of the decks, breaking down some of the important features of each of the lists. I try to also give a bit of a picture of the meta game, and suggest how the different decks will interact, which is difficult given how whacky these are. But without any further ado…

LET’S GET TO IT!

Chapin’s Healthy Impact

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 1.39.49 PM

3 Excavation Assistant (Set2 #37)
4 Accelerated Impact (Set3 #60)
4 Minotaur Grunt (Set1 #137)
4 Talir’s Favored (Set0 #11)
1 Talon of Nostrix (Set2 #74)
1 Teleport (Set1 #80)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Auric Sentry (Set1 #146)
2 Copperhall Shieldman (Set2 #79)
4 Dune Phantom (Set1 #89)
2 Ancient Lore (Set1 #105)
2 Archive Curator (Set2 #50)
2 Karmic Guardian (Set1 #341)
4 Shard of the Spire (Set2 #85)
4 Amilli, Cloudmarshal (Set3 #136)
1 Hammer of Authority (Set3 #138)
2 Worldbearer Behemoth (Set3 #87)
2 Rhinarc Huntpack (Set2 #67)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
6 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Emerald Waystone (Set3 #101)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)

It seems like Chapin has been take some lessons from Sir Mix A Lot, because this deck is all about big butts. Healthy Impact is a Combrei Midrange deck built around Accelerated Impact and Shard of the Spire, along with cards that are generally considered draft chaff like Copperhall Shieldman and Dune Phantom. In addition, you get access to some really heavy hitters in the form of Amilli, Worldbearer Behemoth, and Rhinarc Huntpack.

As much as this is a deck about Shard of the Spire, in some ways I think the most attractive feature of the deck is probably Amilli. Removal in the event is a little light, and there is basically no way to meaningfully engage with Amilli in combat. If you are playing this deck do your best to protect him by playing out other threats (like Worldbearer Behemoth) first. If you are playing against this deck make sure you keep an answer around for him, as he can take over a game.

Your own removal is very limited. You have 1 Teleport, 1 Talon of Nostrix, 2 Vanquish, and 1 Hammer of Authority and that is literally it. Unlike a lot of other Combrei decks you also don’t have a ton of silence. 2 copies of Archive Curator is all you have, meaning something like Nocturnal Creeper will be very annoying. You also don’t have any protection effects like Stand Together, leaving you vulnerable to sweepers like Harsh Rule out of the Knucklebones deck or Venomspine Hydra + sacrifice effects out of the Stonescar deck. Stray into Shadow out of the Xenan deck is unlikely to actually kill many of your units, but decreasing their health will totally mess up combat. Ultimately this deck is leaning pretty heavily on just powering through with your big meaty units, and that is probably going to be good enough in some cases, but there are going to be a number of cases where you will really hurt for the lack of interaction.

One final note: it is important to remember that Shard of the Spire only works with units as you play them. If you are planning fancy plays like ambushing in a Dune Phantom at the end of the opponent’s turn, playing Shard of the Spire, then slamming for 6, you might be disappointed. This is a really easy mistake to make, so be sure you do not fall into that trap.

LSV’s Party Song

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 1.55.21 PM

1 Eilyn’s Intervention (Set3 #152)
3 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
2 Powderglider (Set3 #155)
3 Snow Pelting (Set3 #158)
4 Yeti Spy (Set1 #191)
3 Iceberg Mason (Set3 #163)
1 Unseal (Set3 #167)
2 Yeti Sage (Set3 #14)
4 Yeti Snowslinger (Set1 #203)
1 Cinder Yeti (Set1002 #1)
1 Ruincrawler Yeti (Set3 #22)
4 Wump, Party Starter (Set1 #511)
2 Yeti Furflinger (Set3 #178)
2 Slushdumper (Set3 #185)
2 Thudrock, Arctic Artisan (Set3 #186)
2 Yeti Troublemaker (Set1 #222)
1 Yetipult (Set1002 #11)
1 Iceberg Warchief (Set3 #257)
2 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
2 Slope Sergeant (Set3 #195)
4 Jotun Birth Song (Set3 #196)
11 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
2 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
4 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
3 Common Cause (Set3 #279)

Our next deck is brought to you by LSV, who is probably best known for being friends with Paul Cheon, and his love of Yetis. This deck is clearly his attempt at a love song to his favorite tribe. It should be noted that this deck is barely a Skycrag deck, and is close to mono Primal. There are 0 Fire Sigils in this deck, and it is missing a number of cards you would typically consider auto-includes like Torch and Champion of Fury. Take the time to actually look through this list, since it is a lot different than most of the Yeti decks you would have seen in the past.

One card that should stick out to everyone as a particularly unusual inclusion is Jotun Birth Song. I will admit that even after this card has been out for about a month and a half I still have not played with or against it once. How good is Birth Song in this deck? LITERALLY NO IDEA! I mean, it has gotta be about as good as it has ever been, but that doesn’t really mean much. There is a bit of a Yeti tool box here, like the single copy of Ruincrawler, Iceberg Warchief and the Cinder Yeti, but I imagine the most common cards to pull from Birth Song will be Wump + Thudrock, as they are a sick combo which you can always play on the following turn.

You actually have a decent amount of interaction in this deck. I will mention this a few times in the article, but Permafrost seems kinda of busted in this event. If I am correct there are like 4 total Endurance units (4x Auric Sentry), and very little in the way of silence. You also get 3 copies of Snow Pelting, which is the closest thing to Torch we have in the event. You are not able to get your entire team to just aim at your opponent’s face, but one of your Yetis can get you a nice bonus, while the rest of your team guns down your opponent’s smaller units. Like most of the decks your removal is extremely limited, so be sure to save it when possible.

[Editor’s Note: Originally the article mentions Pelting being able to trigger Infiltrate – Testing has revealed that this is not the case. Pelting does the damage, not the unit.]

Be sure to watch out for sweepers. Your squad of Yetis are pretty vulnerable to Lightning Storm, Harsh Rule, Stray Into Shadow and Venomspine Hydra + sacrifice effects. Unseal is a one-of in your deck, and is going to be extremely important. Outside of this, spot removal is more scarce than usual, so cards like Wump and Thudrock are going to be able to just sit in play. Given how important a card like Wump is for making this deck function you might be inclined to hold him back as much as possible, but I think it will be often correct to just jam him and force your opponent to have an answer.

Conley’s Unstable Mind

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 2.32.01 PM

2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Unstable Form (Set1 #189)
1 Disjunction (Set3 #63)
3 Strategize (Set3 #165)
4 Trail Maker (Set3 #65)
4 Mind Link (Set2 #119)
4 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
2 Archive Curator (Set2 #50)
2 Deranged Dinomancer (Set1 #223)
4 Regression (Set3 #184)
1 Xenan Obelisk (Set1 #103)
1 Yetipult (Set1002 #11)
3 Cirso, the Great Glutton (Set1 #362)
2 Lumen Defender (Set1 #115)
3 Magus of the Mist (Set1 #233)
3 North-Wind Herald (Set1 #240)
1 Shimmerpack (Set1 #365)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
2 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
3 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
4 Crest of Wisdom (Set3 #261)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)

Only a man as Unstable as Conley Woods could bring you a deck as dank as this. This is a deck built around the card Mind Link, which can be extremely powerful when the format is slow, and your deck is properly built around it. I expect both those things are true, so while this might look meme-tacular, this deck is probably surprisingly potent given the context of the format.

Let’s go through some of the attractive features of the deck. In a slower format a curve of Mind Link into Regression is going to be brutal. Each transformation from Regression will trigger Mind Link, and give you another unit to play. In addition, Regression is going to be really close to a normal removal spell in a lot of cases. Hitting your opponent’s Wump, Amilli or Talir with a Regression is going to be a major hit, even if they transform into a reasonable card. Getting a free 1/1 from Polymorph isn’t exactly crazy value, but it is also not nothing, and just using Polymorph as a removal spell will be pretty good I expect.

We also get access to Unstable Form, which is quite the spicy number. For those who have not messed around with it, you can cheat out a North-Wind Herald early in the game, and then upgrade him to a 7-drop the following turn (don’t do it the same turn or you will get a 1-drop). Unstable form can also be combined with Magus of the Mist to get a random 6-drop, while de-linking the Magus with the Dragon. Lots of cool applications!

In general the card quality is relatively high, and you are more resistant to sweepers and removal compared to many of the other decks. It should also be noted that you have 1 copy of disjunction in the deck, which will be very good in this metagame. Many of these decks revolve around some synergistic relic like Shard of the Spire or Knucklebones. Hitting any of those with Disjunction could be crippling. Even cards like Deranged Dinomancer are WAY better than they have any right to be, given the low levels of removal.

With all these transform effects it is important to remember that Mind Link only works on your opponent’s cards that you transform. Hitting your own North-Wind Herald with an Unstable Form does nothing for you. In fact, I would just say this entire deck is pretty complicated from the perspective of the rules. Be sure to think through all of your decisions carefully in order to avoid technical mistakes.

Andrew’s Night Mask

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 2.44.27 PM

4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
2 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
2 Devour (Set1 #261)
1 Disjunction (Set3 #63)
4 Nocturnal Creeper (Set3 #64)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
1 Banish (Set2 #207)
4 Lunar Magus (Set3 #69)
1 Scorpion Wasp (Set1 #96)
1 Cruciation (Set1002 #20)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
4 Devoted Theurge (Set1002 #6)
4 Duskwalker (Set3 #271)
4 Mask of Torment (Set2 #212)
2 Stray into Shadow (Set1001 #9)
1 Predatory Carnosaur (Set1 #118)
1 Hall of Lost Kings (Set1 #121)
3 Talir, Unbound (Set3 #93)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
5 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Amethyst Waystone (Set3 #201)
4 Seat of Mystery (Set0 #61)
4 Xenan Banner (Set2 #201)

Up next, we have the Xenan Ramp/Lifeforce/Nightfall deck, built around the Mask of the Tormentor. You spend the first half of the game building up power and keeping the board under control, and hope to spend the second half of the game throwing haymakers at your opponent until they die. Some of the ramp cards in the deck include Mask of Torment and Duskwalker, while the “pay-offs” include Talir, Hall of Lost Kings and the ultimate on Mask of Torment. This is obviously a classic strategy in card games, but in this case I think the approach is very well-suited to the format.

The fundamental strategy seems strong, given the relative lack of aggro, and given the fact that your removal is quite good. Most decks have very few fliers or silence effects, so I expect Nocturnal Creeper is going to be an all-star. Cruciation will actually be way stronger than normal, given how few Multifaction units we will see. Banish, Suffocate and Deathstrike are all strong obviously, and Predatory Carnasaur is almost always going to get significant value. Most of your removal is conditional in one sense or another, but generally, this deck has a pretty good density of high quality cards.

Outside of the core of removal spells, Talir is going to be so good in this meta. There are just a lot of decks that look like they have barely any options to remove her. Stray into Shadow is also going to be great, as it looks like there are a lot of decks that are extremely weak to sweepers. The combo of Theurge + Mask is also back-breaking going long, and it is going to be difficult to clear him off the board. Even Hall of Lost Kings is going to be active more often than you realize, and that will end a lot of games on the spot.

Overall this deck is a little low on the meme hierarchy for the event, but looks to be quite high power, and will be much more intuitive to play compared to many of the other decks that are a bit more off-the-wall.

Devon’s Knucklebones

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 3.32.09 PM

4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Copperhall Porter (Set3 #108)
4 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
2 Lightning Storm (Set1 #206)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Whispering Wind (Set1 #202)
2 Eilyn’s Choice (Set2 #220)
3 Privilege of Rank (Set1 #157)
3 Spire Chaplain (Set1 #154)
2 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Torgov, Icecap Trader (Set2 #126)
2 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 Jotun Hurler (Set1 #227)
1 Hatchery Hunter (Set1 #237)
4 Knucklebones (Set2 #197)
1 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
11 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
3 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
1 Seat of Glory (Set0 #56)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
4 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)

Our next deck is built around what is probably the community’s favorite meme relic: Knucklebones. To begin with, it should be noted that this deck is base Hooru, and is just splashing Knucklebones, so don’t expect cards like Rise to the Challenge or Torch to be mixed in here. Also, this isn’t really a control deck like most Knucklebones decks. You are only playing 2 Harsh Rule, and not a ton of removal outside of that (although you do get 4 Permfrost, which is obviously great, as I mentioned in the Yeti deck). Relative to the confines of the event I expect this will still feel like a control deck, but you will not be able to lean as heavily on just card draw, point removal, and sweepers carrying you.

Even though this is not built like a typical control deck, it does have a clear late game win condition: Knucklebones. In case you haven’t had a chance to try it out before this card really is a treat to play with, and can easily carry games by itself, but needs a good deal of set up. What do I mean by this? Well, to begin with, try not to Knuckbones on 7 power with no power in hand. Knucklebones is an intensely power hungry card, and you will not be able to leverage all of your card advantage if you are not casting multiple cards per turn (you can get some power cards from Knuckbones, but it is rare). Next, you really don’t have as much card draw as you might usually like. Privilege of Rank is obviously great at hitting your power drops, but it is not great at finding your Knucklebones, which you really need in order to win.

There are a couple other sub-themes going on here that are worth noting. First, Whispering Wind is going to be a bomb if you utilize her right. As I keep saying, there are a ton of decks without much removal or silence, so we are not in a world where she will be violently pulled from the sky the minute she hits the table. Take the time to study potential Whispering Wind chains, and don’t throw away too much power too early, given that you will want 8-10 power in play to drop Knucklebones. There is also a little theme involving Jotun Hurlers, Echo cards and Hatchery Hunter. Given the 4 Whispering Winds I expect Hunter is going to show up a lot more often than you might expect for a 1-of, and he is going to punk people out of games pretty regularly. Still, you will usually need to play Knucklebones to win, so even though these alternative themes are quite interesting, they will typically matter only in so far as they contribute to your main game plan.

Quick word of advice: there are a number of decks that actually have some amount of attachment removal. If you drop a Knucklebones on turn 7 with no second copy in hand, you might be totally dead to a Ruincrawler Yeti or Disjunction. Check to see if your opponent is playing a deck with access to attachment removal, and if they are, you might want to wait until you find a second copy of Knucklebones before dropping the first.

Benny’s Fugitive Doorbot

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 5.03.57 PM

4 Helpful Doorbot (Set3 #2)
2 Alluring Ember (Set2 #172)
2 Grenadin Drone (Set1 #5)
3 Hidden Shiv (Set2 #4)
3 Ornamental Daggers (Set1 #69)
4 Warhelm (Set1 #14)
2 Blinkwolf (Set2 #7)
4 Ornate Katana (Set1 #23)
2 Purify (Set2 #176)
2 Talir’s Favored (Set0 #11)
3 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
1 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
1 Dilphex Stalker (Set1002 #5)
2 Journeyman Armorer (Set2 #175)
4 Oni Quartermaster (Set1 #32)
2 Shogun’s Scepter (Set1 #26)
2 Crimson Firemaw (Set1002 #3)
1 Hellfire Oni (Set3 #30)
4 Jekk, Hunted Fugitive (Set3 #36)
1 Kaleb, Uncrowned Prince (Set1 #61)
5 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
5 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Crest of Impulse (Set3 #251)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)

In a format about midrangey meme decks, we now come to an aggro meme deck! I don’t know about you, but I have long been waiting for the opportunity to jam Helpful Doorbot in my aggro decks. This Praxis deck looks to be about loading up some and cheap units like Doorbot, Blinkwolf and Alurring Ember with a bunch of small weapons with an Oni Quartermaster in play. This deck functions on the axis of “quantity over quality” and will work to try and dump as many card onto the field as possible to pressure the opponent. In addition to all that nonsense you, also just get access to cards like Jekk, Hunted Fugative and Kaleb, Uncrowned Prince. These cards can rapidly turn your team of unexciting dorks into a pack of killers.

This deck is honestly quite difficult to dissect given the number of moving parts. I don’t really know if Blinkwolfs and Grenadin Drones wearing Katanas and Warhelms are going to be good enough to get any work done. If I had to guess I think a lot of the “air” in this deck is going to feel quite underpowered without one of the pay-off cards. I guess Alluring Ember + Shogun’s Scepter is a thing, but even in this field of clunky meme decks, I expect this kind of nonsense isn’t going to get very far.

With that said, I expect things will change radically once you find one of your pay off cards. Quartermaster, if unanswered, can easily draw multiple cards a turn, and Jekk hits like a freight train. Given this, I would actually be very conservative playing out some of your high value cards before you can get value off of them. If you have only 1 Oni Quartermaster in hand I would suggest waiting until you can draw at least 2 cards off of her before playing her out. Wump in the Yetis deck is an important card in a deck filled with slightly below average cards, but Quartermaster is backbone of this deck. For Jekk it is a little harder to get value, but if you are in a position to line up Jekk + Warhelm in the same turn you can quickly run away with the game.

Also, in case anyone doesn’t know, Quartermaster + Jekk works exactly the way you want it to.

To close things out here, it should be noted that your interaction here really stinks. You have 2 Purify and 1 Dilphex Stalker and that is literally it. That means if you are playing against this deck you should aggressively play threats on the board since there are very few means to punish you. There are 2 copies of Firemaw here, and I actually expect these to randomly win a lot of games. This deck certainly has some weaknesses, but when it goes off it will look very impressive. When playing against this deck do everything in your power to keep Quartermaster and Jekk off the table, but if you can’t…. well…. let’s just say I warned you.

Psulli’s Mad Scraps

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 4.02.28 PM

3 Combust (Set1 #392)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
1 Combustion Cell (Set3 #7)
4 Dark Wisp (Set1 #264)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
4 Spark Hatcher (Set3 #12)
2 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
3 Brimstone Altar (Set1 #399)
4 Madness (Set1 #267)
2 Tumblebang (Set3 #27)
1 Furnace Mage (Set1 #40)
4 Bait (Set1001 #2)
3 Scraptank (Set1 #391)
2 Failed Reflection (Set3 #270)
4 Venomspine Hydra (Set1 #305)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
4 Granite Waystone (Set3 #1)
4 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
2 Amethyst Waystone (Set3 #201)
4 Crest of Chaos (Set3 #268)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)
4 Stonescar Banner (Set1 #419)

Our final deck is from Mr. Patrick Sullivan, who seems to have reached directly into ExKirby’s dream diary and made up a big sacrifice deck that looks pretty frightening. There have obviously been plenty of Stonescar sacrifice decks in Eternal, but this one has some important differences that are worth talking about. First, some of the pay offs are pretty unusual compared to what we typically see. I know I haven’t seen 4 copies of Bait in a deck list since I posted my spoiler article for the card. Second, we see an unusual mix of sacrifice outlets as well. 3 Combust and 4 Devour are pretty standard, but Brimstone Altar as a 3-of and Combustion Cell as a 1-of is an odd mix, and we also get access to 2 copies of Failed Reflection, which seems incredible in this deck.

I don’t think there is much that needs to be explained about the core of this deck, since most of your should be pretty familiar with everything that is going on here. What I would particularly point out is how well positioned some of the individual cards are. The card I am the most excited for in this list is honestly Venomspine Hydra. No other deck gets access to 4 copies of a sweeper. How would you feel if your opponent curves Failed Reflection + activate (making him an 8/8) into Hydra + activate Failed Reflection? That is devastating. What about Madness on your Jekk, Amilli or Worldbearer Behemoth? Even something as simple as sacrificing Bait on turn 5 might be enough to win the game. There is just a lot of powerful stuff going on in this particular build, and as long as you get a functional enough draw to play it all out, I expect this deck will perform very well.


So those are our decks! For those of you who are really keen, you can practice with them before the event starts! There is clearly a lot of whacky stuff going on here, and it is really hard to piece together how it all works, but I am certainly excited to try them all out! Do you have any thoughts on the lists? Questions on rules interactions? Strategy tips I might have missed? Be sure to check out the Reddit thread! Until next time, I look forward to seeing you all in the event queues!!

Love,

Neon