Thursday, May 11, 2017

Set One Constructed: Army of the Apocalypse Combo

Having been thoroughly distracted from testing full constructed for the Origins qualifier, I have a Set One only deck that I've been working on through the Alpha app. This deck has been a long process in the making for me starting all the way back when Set One first came out. I knew I wanted to make a sweet Army of the Apocalypse deck after reading through the cards for the first time. My favorite idea was to bring back multiple Drinkers of Blood (DoB) and Crystal Golems with Army of the Apocalypse. The idea was to break the Golems and make a bunch of DoB triggers while also drawing a bunch of cards and playing a hand full of 0s all in the same turn. The deck would always start out with three copies of each and then diverge from there with many variations. With the Alpha online and only Set One cards available, I set out to tune a deck and find a list with which I was happy. I'm currently very happy with the below list, only occasionally tweaking a few cards here and there.

The deck is clearly centered around Army of the Apocalypse as well as Drinker of Blood. The dream combo is as I described above, but there are plenty of other things you can do with Army of the Apocalypse. The first being a once sided reanimation effect thanks to Amnesia, Guilt Demon, and Keeper of Secrets. Discard banish effects can be very powerful in general preventing your opponent from utilizing their discard pile for recall, recycle, and other effects. This deck gets extra utilization out of these cards by allowing you to setup a massive Army advantage. They also work to setup a Zombie Apocalypse (ZA) advantage by having more champions in your discard pile than your opponent. ZA is a favorite card of mine and I've played it many times without any champions on the board to simply put a bunch of zombies into play for a follow up DoB combo with Wither or Flash Fire.

The rest of the champions try to give you some advantage immediately when you bring them back into play with Army. Juggernaut and all the 0 cost champions with Blitz can attack or use their expend abilities right away. Crystal Golem can be activated immediately to draw two cards. Winter Fairy gives you a card if broken when your opponent answers with a break all champions mass removal effect. Thought Plucker and Muse demand an answer, if not immediately, before your next turn. Memory Spirit is a good blocker, but not much else when brought back with Army. However, it effectively functions as an additional three copies of every event card in the deck. One of the most common ways I've used Army is just putting two or three one cost champions into play. This is not a massive blow out, but can be very strong to establish a board and chip away to gain incremental value.

I usually don't put Rain of Fire in my constructed decks. However, it functions as a quasi one sided mass removal card that can trigger multiple DoB effects. It also serves as direct damage to help close out games. I originally only played a single copy but have been impressed with it's actual utility in testing. Ancient Chant is a great way to draw cards and combat discard from your opponent. Drain Essence is essential to survive against the direct damage decks and can take out larger champions in conjunction with the other 0 cost direct damage cards. Wither and Flash Fire are necessary for the DoB combo. Erase is consistently good giving you two cards and another strong effect which is rare in Epic. Hurricane serves as an additional mass removal card and Surprise Attack can get DoB or Winter Fairy into play on your opponent's turn.

There are a lot of cool interactions happening in this deck and so many sweet plays that can be made. Though, one of the ways to make this deck fall apart is to keep it's discard pile as empty as possible throughout the whole game. This cuts off it's most powerful plays while minimizing the power of Memory Spirit. If you can keep up the pressure with large champions while doing this you should have more than a fair chance against this deck. Juggernaut can be a problem to handle, but there is not much consistent aggression to follow from this list. I had originally played cards like Psionic Assault, Stand Alone, and even Frost Giant instead of these Juggernauts. Ever since I started playing with the set I haven't wanted anything else. This deck likes to chip away turn after turn, building up a discard pile for a devastating combo that will either win the game immediately or create a massive advantage.

If you're interested in hearing me talk about the deck you can check out my twitch stream where I upload my videos here Right now these are mostly Dark Drafts, but I do talk about the deck at around the thirty minute mark in the Epic Card Game Broadcast 5 video. The video quality is quite horrible, but the audio is adequate if you want to hear me talk more about the deck. With this list under my belt I'm satisfied to move on to real testing for Origins. I'll be working on understanding the popular Constructed lists and fine tuning my Random 60 building method. I intend to write about both in future articles and look forward to talking to you all.

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