Greetings, Duelyrs! I’m back with a set of six decks for you today — one for each faction, all based around the idea of summoning MECHAZ0R! If you don’t know, MECHAZ0R! (and yes, his name includes the capitals and exclamation mark) is summoned by successfully playing 5 of his various parts from your hand onto the field. It doesn’t matter which 5 parts you summon — you can build a MECHAZ0rR! out of 3 Heads of MECHAZ0R and 2 Wings of MECHAZ0R (note the lack of exclamation mark in the components’ names).
OK, I’m not going to keep capitalizing that whole name. That just looks atrocious. Let’s skip the annoying extra punctuation as well.
So basically, the idea behind budget Mechaz0r decks is that you summon minions that are really just barely sub-par for their cost, and then all those tiny, tiny tempo losses suddenly flip around when an 8/8 Airdrop Frenzy Ranged Spell-Immune boss monster hits the table. If your opponent can’t deal with it right away, he’s going to fuck shit right the hell up.
But that means that you have to do one of two basic things. You either have to be able to draw more cards than normal so that you can consistently get Mechaz0r out quickly enough to not die due to those tiny tempo losses (harder than it sounds), OR you have to have a deck that can consistently win without ever summoning Mechaz0r despite those tiny tempo hits for summoning just barely sub-par minions.
(ASIDE: What do I mean by ‘sub-par’? Well, consider: for 1 mana, you could summon Komodo Charger, which can kill a Planar Scout and live, or you could summon Maw, which can trade up with a Healing Mystic. Helm of Mechaz0r, while it has the same total number of stats as either one, can’t perform the functions of either one, so it’s just barely less valuable. All of the Mechaz0r minions, with the possible exception of Sword of Mechaz0r, are similar.)
For these decks, I consistently went with the ‘let’s be able to win without Mechaz0r’ plan, because it’s more reliable, which generally means its better for play on the ladder. I also tried to work in a theme of ‘using the Mechaz0r minions more effectively than a random deck would.’ You’ll hopefully see what I mean as we go through the decks.
Note that not all of these decks are equally effective — Mechaz0r just lends itself better to some factions than others. In particular, the Songhai Mechaz0r deck just wrecks face. None of them are particularly bad, but Songhai definitively outshines the others (at least, at this amount of Spirit.)
So, here we go!
Rares: Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2), Sword of Mechaz0r
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechaz0r, Suntide Maiden, Sun Bloom (x2)
This deck is designed to seize the board fairly early with Lyonar’s sweet supply of super-efficient minions and cheap removal. Focus on the enemy’s minions for the first few turns, so that any Martyrdoms you draw can just be played off-hand because the enemy will have taken minimal damage.
As you get into the midgame, don’t hesitate to use Wings of Mechaz0r either to drop a Cannon off in a far corner, or to just plop down right in the middle of an enemy cluster. If they have any experience at all playing against Holy Immolation, you’ll be surprised at how big of a priority that 2-drop will become. Really, though, the midgame for this deck is all about Suntide Maiden.
When properly supported with well-placed Provoke units (and maybe even a little cover fire from a Cannon), Suntide Maiden becomes a value machine — basically a Phoenix Fire on wheels, dealing 3 damage every turn and healing up what she takes from dealing it. Because Provokes absolutely require an answer immediately, they can be used to extract some insane value from the Maiden — and if they prove to have no answer to a Silverguard Knight, it’s a great time to drop Divine Bond and make her a 9/6 stupidly-tough-to-kill death monster.
Then, while your opponent is busy dealing with the problems your Cannons and Maidens and Provokes are jamming into their faces…ooops, out comes Mechaz0r! Ideally, this deck wants to drop Mechaz0r closeby, threatening a huge Frenzy in the middle of your knot of Provokes and whatnot. That’s because, if it gets Dispelled, you can drop Divine Bond on it and facepunch for 16. That feels good. Really good.
The backup plan, of course, is ye old Brightmoss Golem + Divine Bond for a 13/9 beast of a finisher.
The hardest card for this deck to properly use is Tempest — Tempest is basically there to help you deal with other high-tempo decks who are managing to keep your board clear despite your best efforts. Freely Replace them if you’re owning the board properly; if you’re struggling for board control, Replace everything BUT Tempests and Mechaz0r units, and trickle out the parts until you can Tempest-Tempest-Part and wipe his board and summon Mechaz0r all at once. That’s a really nice way to get tempo back and keep it.
Improving This Deck: Replace Brightmoss Golem with Ironcliffe Defender, Suntide Maiden with Emerald Rejuvinator, and Tempest with Holy Immolation. That’ll keep you in the game through Rank 5 easy.
Rares: Sword of Mechaz0r, Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2)
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechaz0r, Killing Edge, Scarlet Viper (x2)
This deck is so combo-riffic, it’s coming out the deck’s ears. You’ve got the classic Songhai stuff you’ve been playing with for a while now. You’ve also got Wings+Cannon/Vale Hunter to drop a ranged unit in the corner far from battle without distraction, Cannon/Vale Hunter + Killing Edge for a brutal ranged minion if they dare let a ranged unit live for a turn, Inner Focus + Sword of Mechazor for an instant pseudo-Holy Immolation, and of course Mist Dragon Seal to ensure that a Mechaz0r! that got dispelled on the other side of the board can become instantly relevant again.
This deck wants to spend it’s early turns doing three things, in order of priority: 1) Keeping the enemy’s board as clear as possible, 2) Vomiting Mecha-minions as quickly as possible, and 3) Looking for combo pieces (Inner Focus, Mist Dragon Seal, and Killing Edge). If you can do something to remove an enemy minion, do that. If not, Replace something looking for a Mecha minion. If you don’t get one, play whatever isn’t a combo piece in the most effective manner you can.
In the midgame, try to stick a Ranged creature far from the main battle (this means trying to deliberately lure the battle to one side or the other unless the opponent is Vanar. Then stick to the middle as much as possible to minimize both Avalanche and Infiltrate.) If you have a Ranged creature, you’re awesome — Saberspine Tiger and Killing Edge become godly removal. Both of your ranged creatures can trade with a Mini-Jax and survive, which is clutch in this Jaxi-heavy environment.
If you can’t stick a ranged creature, shift gears and try to stick a Backstab that you can then Killing Edge to cycle and create a big-ass threat. Note that because Scarlet Viper has flying, you want to drop her on the far side of the field as well.
Eventually, you’ll pop Mechaz0r — and ideally, you’ll do it on the same turn that you drop another serious threat like a Cannon or a Scarlet Viper. The larger the fork you can cause in your opponent’s attention, the more likely you are to win — if that means waiting a turn so that you can drop Scarlet Viper and that last Helm on the same turn, do it. Tempo is not as important as dropping an overwhelming number and variety of threats at once — and the threats in this deck are threatening enough that often that overwhelming number is “two.”
The backup plan here is Scarlet Viper + Killing Edge. If your opponent deals well with Mechaz0r and plays wisely with a high-health creature behind him at all times, Replace for a Repulsor Beast and use it to get inside his defenses. An effectively 10/7 attacker that doesn’t take counterattacks is stupidly hard to deal with, but it only works when she’s backstabbing, so do your best to keep her in that position.
This deck’s big weakness is drawing a bunch of low-tempo cards in the early game (Vale Hunter, Repulsor Beast, Cannon) and getting overwhelmed by a high-tempo start from the opponent. That does happen, but it doesn’t happen all that often. Just keep off tilt, reload, and dominate the next guy.
Improving This Deck: Replace Vale Hunters with Jaxis, the Saberspine Tigers with Gore Horns, and eventually the Repulsor Beasts with Juxtapositions and the Scarlet Vipers with Lantern Foxes. (Get the foxes first; juxtapositions are less important.) This is easily an S-Rank deck if you keep up with it all the way up.
Rares: Sword of Mechaz0r, Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2)
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechazor, Starfire Scarab, Bone Storm (x2)
This deck is a little bit less reliable than the first two because of the fundamental necessity of low-level Vetruvian play: the cardset essentially forces your General up to the front (for Entropic Decay and the cheap, strong Staff of Y’kir) and your best minions (Starfire Scarab, Pyromancer) are best suited for the rear — which means you take face damage. A lot. This deck mitigates that by playing Rock Pulverizer and Cosmic Flesh, both of which are cheap sources of Provoke — able to draw fire away from your General and keep enemies from closing in on your Blast/Ranged minions at the same time.
The secondary theme here is buffs — almost every Mecha Part is massively better after you slap a First Wish on it. A 3/3 Cannon and 4/4 Sword can take out a much greater number of enemies than their unbuffed counterparts; a 2/5 Wings and a 3/3 Helm each threaten 6 points of face damage instead of only 2. With Cosmic Flesh and Wings, you can drop a 2/7 Provoke anywhere on the board with no warning — that’s huge, especially if you’ve managed to get your opponent to blow some early removal on a Pyromancer/Cannon or two. Generally speaking, you’re better off using the buffs on your non-Blast minions unless you absolutely need to in order to remove an annoying enemy minion. What you very much don’t want is to use First Wish on a Pyromancer and then have it and an unbuffed Cannon both die to the same Tempest/Breath of the Unborn/Kinetic Equilibrium.
In the early game, you want to advance and fight hard for the Mana Springs — mulligan for Pyro/Wings/Rocky — and try to set yourself up to drop either a 2nd turn Hailstone or a 3rd turn Scarab. Keep your General toward the middle of the board, and use Wings to drop Blast minions and Cannons toward the back, with Provokes in between. Use your First Wishes liberally, but preferably on Parts.
In the midgame, you want to keep your opponent’s attention divided between your threatening General and a constant rain of Blast and Ranged minions on your back row — with Provokes forcing his attention away from both occasionally. The more removal he is forced to use either freeing his units from Provoke or killing off your ranged stuff, the better off you are when Mechaz0r lands. Just watch your life total and constantly count how much damage he has within range of your face — you have no healing and your strategy requires you to use your General as one of the distractions, so you will die to face burst occasionally. This will become a lot less of a deal once you can invest a few hundred more Spirit in the deck; until then, get used to being paranoid. It’s a skill that will help you a lot in the long run anyway.
The backup plan for this deck is more complex than the others — setting up a Starfire Scarab behind a Cosmic Fleshed Hailstone Golem. Especially if you’ve managed to summon Mechaz0r and your opponent has had to expend some decent resources to cope with it, a setup like that can easily become Game Over for most Bronze and some Silver-league decks.
This deck’s huge gaping weakness is AoE dispels. A Sun Bloom or Lightbender will just screw your entire day right over. (Shadow Nova mostly will, too.) Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to mitigate this except by summoning Mechazor on the opposite side of the field from your artillery units.
Improving This Deck: Replace Hailstone Golems with Emerald Rejuvinators, Ephemeral Shroud with Dispel Energy, then one Entropic Decay and one Rock Pulverizers with two Wildfire Ankhs, and eventually, the other two Rock Pulverizers with Scion’s Third Wish. This deck should get you up to Rank 5, but it will take more practice and patience than the others.
Rares: Sword of Mechaz0r, Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2)
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechaz0r, Nightsorrow Assassin, Shadow Reflection (x2)
Yes, Virgina, Mechaz0r does go face. This deck is designed to do one of the things that Abyssian does best — burst damage. Mulligan out all of the Saberspines, Shadow Reflections, and Nightsorrow Assassins; those are for later. Start with your basic cheap minions — if you can land a Helm and an Abyss Crawler on turn 1, do it! Play through the early game as though you’re a pretty typical deck, using your Demonic Lures to earn a couple of turns by throwing minions into the far corners and planting your various minions around so they can hit as much face as possible.
Ideally, during the midgame, you’ll be able to use Shadow Reflection on either a Cannon to wipe out a big creature safely or on a Sword to clear the enemy’s board. Either way, it’s OK to use the first Reflection as a control stick if you need to in order to keep going face. There’s no shame in that. (Do remember that you have 3 Ephemeral Shrouds, though, and don’t waste a big nuke on a Kolossus or something that you might be able to Shroud on the next turn.) Keep going face, but if you draw a Rush minion, pretend you didn’t draw it, and wait.
Hopefully, you can summon Mechaz0r with at least a couple of rush minions in your hand. If you’re playing against Lyonar, or there’s no corner of the board the opponent couldn’t get to by chaining a Saberspine into an Ephemeral Shroud, summon the big guy right in the middle of things (just not where he’ll get eaten before he attacks.) Otherwise, summon him in ranged mode. Either way, the turn after you summon him, carefully count your lethal — chances are good that your opponent isn’t quite panicking, so he won’t go full healing/run away mode, and that will be his undoing. 8 from Mechaz0r and 8/11 more from Saberspine+Nightsorrow or Nightsorrow+Reflection will finish off most opponents with relative ease.
As with all face decks, your weakness is healing: if your opponent gets off 2 Emerald Rejuvenators and an Earth Sphere, you’re kinda of up a creek unless Mechazor really sticks. That’s when you start cycling like crazy looking for your backup plan: Abyssal Creepers to suicide, chained into a pair of Shadow Novas. If the game is going long enough that it looks like your opponent will recover, Shadow Novas can eek out 12-18 damage all by themselves, in an unpreventable and AoE fashion — if you can live that long.
Rares: Sword of Mechaz0r, Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2)
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechaz0r, Veteran Silithar, Diretide Frenzy (x2)
A “control” deck with only 5 spells? Welcome to Duelyst, my friend. There is no such thing as a traditional control deck in Duelyst, because there’s no real way to stem the tide of oncoming creatures when the enemy can draw 2/replace 1. The effective equivalent of a ‘control’ deck is a midrange deck that is built around wiping the board occasionally, which thus allows it the opportunity for some facetime in the midgame in addition to when it finishes off the opponent. (Maybe that’ll be a post soon. Why control in Duelyst isn’t.)
Anyway, this deck relies almost entirely on the the Mech Parts to skate past the early game. In fact, there are only 9 2cc-or-below minions in the deck, which is fairly risky. If you have 9 2cc minions, even if you mulligan for everything you have, you’re still going to start about 10% of your games with no 2-cost minions in hand, which can really screw you if you’re player 1 and the enemy has a strong tempo start. (Bump that number of 2-cc-or-less minions up to 12, and your chances of getting a poor start like that drop to less than 5%, which is about what you would normally want to shoot for.)
But! This deck aims to make up for its occasional crappy start by stepping powerfully into the game with a combination of big, tough-to-kill minions (Bloodshard Golem, Veteran Silithar, Brightmoss Golem, Stormmetal Golem) and the best board wipe in the game: Plasma Storm. Just in case Plasma Storm doesn’t come up, though, you have Sword of Mechaz0r and Diretide Frenzy to clear some space until you can draw your big wipe. Just do remember to suicide all of your Mech Parts into something before you wipe, though, ok?
Seemingly-innocent cards that have to be used carefully:
- Cannon of Mechaz0r: don’t drop this unless you have just wiped his board, or you’re going to summon Mechaz0r when you do, or not dropping it will kill you. There’s nothing demoralizing like dropping Wings+Cannon way out of reach and then getting swarmed and having to wipe your own Cannon.
- Saberspine Tiger: If you’re playing against a swarm deck, keep one of these in your hand so you can pair it with Diretide Frenzy for an unpleasant surprise.
- Adamantite Claws: If you’re playing against a deck that plays big creatures, you’re going to need this to remove them. Watch your HP carefully, and be surgical. If you’re playing against any form of face deck, equip these and go face with your face — racing them down is easier than trying to play the control game.
- Stormmetal Golem: Ideally, you’ll be able to set up a situation where you can summon Mechaz0r on one turn and then this on the next, or vice versa, or (bonus!) both of them on the same turn. This is the kind of serial threat that ends games hard.
This deck’s big weakness, as is probably obvious after the Adamantite Claws comment, is other decks playing big huge creatures. Fortunately, that becomes a lot less common after about rank 15…unfortunately, after rank 15, the ones that do get played are often far more lethal (Spectral Revenant, Archon Spellbinder, Keeper of the Vale, Elder Silithar…yeah.) Unfortunately, you just don’t have the Spirit necessary at this point to equip the solutions — but see the next section.
Improving This Deck: Swap out the Bloodshard Golems for Emerald Rejuvinators, and 1x Adamantine Claws/2x Diretide Frenzy for 3x Egg Morph. Then trade the Brightmoss Golems for Dancing Swords, and the Saberspine Tigers for Alcuin Loremasters. Finally, upgrade your Stormmetal Golems to Elder Silithar (and optionally your other 2 Adamantine Claws to Metamorphosis) and you have a deck that will take you to S-rank with some effort. (Without all the upgrades, don’t expect to get past rank 5, and that will take some serious dedication.)
Rares: Sword of Mechaz0r, Cannon of Mechaz0r (x2)
Commons: Helm of Mechaz0r, Wings of Mechaz0r, Hailstone Prison, Cryogenesis (x2)
This deck is the very definition of ‘midrange’. Some games, you will get a slower start more filled with removal than with creatures; others, you’ll get a handful of creatures and be cycling frantically for that much-needed Aspect/Chromatic/Hailstone to deal with the enemy’s turn-1 Silverguard Knight or their buffed Mini-Jax in the far corner. You have to be adaptable — but that also means that, with this deck, nothing is ever really lost until that last point of damage is dealt. I’ve come back from a 2-24 HP deficit to win not once, but twice with this deck — because all it takes is one instance of you being able to clear their board while having something left on yours, and you can use your huge amount of removal and fat Golems to keep them from developing a threat ever again. (Note: This doesn’t apply to Songhai or Abyssian. Or some Vetruvian decks. Rush is a bitch.)
You have almost a dozen single-target removal spells that have powerful secondary effects attached to them, but removing creatures at a rate of one-for-one isn’t really a winning strategy — you need to be able to get ahead at some point. This happens in one of two ways.
- They make a huge play that costs a lot of mana but can be removed with one card (i.e Songhai Tusk Boar–>Inner Focus–>Killing Edge–>Mist Dragon Seal, and you take it out with one Chromatic Cold and a general attack; or Abyssian sacrifices a token to Ritual Banishing and plays a turn 2 Brightmoss Golem, which you hit with Hailstone Prision and also nab a Mana Spring and put down a Fenrir Warmaster.) OR
- You stick a creature that takes out more than one of his creatures before it dies, thus creating the x-for-1 advantage that your spells can’t. Brightmoss Golem and Hailstone Golem are the obvious ones, but Fenrir Warmaster is also insanely good at this, and Cannon of Mechaz0r can contribute as well.
Because of the potential extremes in hand content, it’s really tough to write a play guide for this deck, because it really amounts to “Constantly pitch anything you can’t play this turn unless you’re sure you can make use of it next turn, and be ever-vigilant for the two scenarios mentioned above.” Your goal is to gain advantage incrementally, not to try to overwhelm them — put down your Mech Parts first if you just need to cast a couple of things in order to make use of your draw2, but keep your opponent’s geography-based spells in mind and don’t hesitate to cast them outside of their range even if it looks like they won’t be immediately relevant (IF you’re already ahead enough on the board that you’re feeling confident. If not, of course, go for whatever it takes to catch up!)
Ideally, you’ll slap down Mechaz0r within one turn in either direction of a Stormmetal or Brightmoss, with the Golem ending up in their face and the Mechaz0r ending up at range so that they have the worst possible kind of ‘fork’ to deal with.
This deck’s backup plan is exactly what it looks like: keep piling on Golems until they run out of ways to deal with them, and bury them in living rubble.
The deck has a ridiculously hard time against Face Abyssian and against Backstab Songhai — both of those use their resources in one turn, and with fairly extreme mobility, so it’s really tough to make use of your removal in a decent fashion. The best tips are to (against Songhai) keep a Fenrir at your back, and (against Abyssian) do your damnedest to cast the biggest on-curve threat in their face every turn and hope to race them down.
Improving This Deck: Replace Hailstone Golem with Emerald Rejuvinator. Then replace Cryogenesis with Spirit of the Wild. Then replace Crystal Cloaker with Jaxi, then Brightmoss Golem with Twilight Sorcerer. Finally, replace Aspect of the Fox with Razorback (yep!) and, ultimately, replace Stormmetal Golem with either Ancient Grove or Voice of the Wild. Fully improved, this is easily a Rank 5 deck and might, depending on the meta that season, take you to S-rank. In it’s original state, it would be a real stretch to take Rank 5, but it will easily get you into Gold League.
Man, my posts are getting longer and longer. I need to calm down. XD Next time, at request, I’ll show y’all the decks that I’m currently playing with. Until then, have fun, summon Mechz0r, and keep on Duelying!