Hex TCG’s latest set, Armies of Myth, is finally out and what a crazy few days it’s been. Millions of chests opened, a new set with lots of tension and unpredictability, and a new gauntlet mode that’s the digital TCG equivalent of a drug dealer handing out crack on a school playground. A ton of new players will likely get to experience the beauty of the limited format for the first time thanks to these additions to the game, and I thought I would continue the tradition started last set with a detailed look at what the top decks are in limited play and the finer points of how you can improve your odds of success.
If you haven’t done so already I invite you to first take a look at my set review of each card in the Set which includes limited ratings for each card, and I stand by most of what I wrote back then before the set was released:
Tier 1 Archetypes
If you read over my Set review you won’t be surprised to hear me say that Ruby & Diamond are the two strongest colors in Armies of Myth limited. The number of great stand alone cards is through the roof and together these aggro/mid-range cards combine to make the strongest limited archetype. Easy to cast and readily available to one lucky drafter thanks to being uncommons, Ashwood Blademaster and Pyresoul Summoner are two of the bombiest cards in the set, period. Cards like Chimera Guard Fallen, Deathmask Assailant, Deepgaze Disciple, and Flamehand Invoker can single handedly carry you to victory if your opponent doesn’t have the answer. The fact that there are so many cheap cards that need answers is one of the reasons this archetype is so hard to deal with.
Another reason is because all the cheap good cheap removal also lie in these shard whether it be Skewer, Fiery Indignation, Pride’s Fall, Scorch, Inflict Doubt, Etherealize or Boomsmith. There’s a ton of other REALLY solid troops which I haven’t even mentioned like Deadeye Slicer, Spirit Eagle Mesa Lookout, Spiritbound Spy, Neophyte Awakener, Ghost Feather and Crypt Shrieker – any of which I wouldn’t be too upset first picking. Besides great troops and removal you also have plenty of solid tricks like Lunge, Shard Ward, and Cry of Adamanth to take on even the toughest of foes. Put together, and with Bryson Maplewood added to the mix, Ruby Diamond is a fast yet really powerful archetype that’s primed to reign over the meta.
Coming just behind R/D in terms of overall power is the Blood Diamond deck, which just like R/D, can be played a number of different ways but I’ll focus here on the strongest version which is B/D Spirits. At the heart of this deck is Spiritbound Spy which you’ll want to buff with Madame Anana. That’s already 3 troops you’ll have potentially set up at the cost of 1 common 1 drop and 3 charges. Anything you shift onto this troop will live on with one of the Spirits generated and as you can imagine something like Lethal off of Shadowblade Assassin shifted onto the Madama Anana buffed troop will have your opponent’s fatties shaking in their boots.
The engine that really turns this approach into a high power strategy is the combination of Ethereal Caller and Neophyte Awakener. Ethreal Caller will fetch your Madame Anana buffed troops and turn them into a 1/1 Spirit with Flight BUT it also retains any buffs (Madame Anana or Shift abilities for example) you might have passed onto it before. Your Neophyte Awakener can either fetch your dead Ethereal Caller for a bunch of extra value or you could alternatively just fetch the buffed token directly instead which is fine as well.
This engine is pretty reliable and provides great defense against both aggro and the R/W ramp deck. But simply having an army of token troops isn’t likely to single-handedly win you the game so you’ll be happy to know there are a bunch of ways for us to abuse all these extra troops beyond playing defense and the occasional pinging in the air. A timely Merciless Culler is one of the best uses but in terms of actually winning the game you’ll want a Warlock of Aettir and Profane Ritualist to really give your opponent something to really think about. Emperor’s Lackey and Abominate become great additions in this deck as well. You can try to get cute with Sudden Awakening and especially Harvest of Sorrow but they’re not cards you should pick highly as they distract you from your main goal. Obviously we can’t go without mentioning perhaps the most powerful common/uncommon in the archetype which is Grim Harvester. He’s an Abominate target, a sacrifice outlet, an aggro hoser, and a win condition all by himself (his ability represents X damage to the face where X is the number of troops you control besides Grim Harvester). This is not the easiest archetype to play but you’ll be rewarded for doing so.
A well built W/R Ramp deck will give any deck a run for its money but I’d still classify it below the two decks above due to the overall ‘dumb’ nature of the cards in question and the necessary ramp fillers and utility cards that makes the deck possible. In terms of how to craft the deck, there’s not much detail to go into here as I did with B/D Spirits above because this archtype is pretty simple: pick some ramp cards, pick some 5 or above fatties, and then fill out the rest of your deck in a way your curve doesn’t look like a camel’s back.
Lithe Lyricist and Skydancer are really important cards you’ll want to pick highly in this archetype if you want to do well. Don’t worry about picking any of the expensive troops early because frankly there’s so many of them and most of them will do the job fine. Nibblin Skirmisher is really much better than he looks so make sure to have at least one in your deck as he’s both an early blocker and a late game win condition. Nightsky Stargazer is one of those solid cards you’ll likely have at least one of everytime you play this archetype which is probably also true for Redfur Ranger, Merry Minstrels and Snarling Ambusher. In terms of common 5 drops Rotroot Enchanter proved to be invaluable in most games played as he locks up both the ground and air and can go on the offensive, especially if he’s backed up by a trick like Stirring Oration.
I never minded having one or two Wrathwood Larch’s in my deck regardless of what my curve looked like due to his cycling ability, and that often earned it a place above potentially more powerful curve toppers. Tempestuous Bladedancer is the all-powerful multishard uncommon of this archetype and if you manage to Cressida him out on turn 4 your opponent will have a hard time coming back. Speaking of Cressida, knowing when to use his ability is of key importance. Sometimes you’ll have to ramp out an early Boomsmith to slow down your aggro opponent, other times you’ll want to use it on your Sylvan Duet to set up your future turns.
Besides that you obviously want to have some quality 5 drops like Sandstone Rumbler (with come into play damage gem) or Grove Whisperer, a few Fiery Indignation, and perhaps some other removal sources like Storm Drummer and Predatory Prey. Don’t underestimate a card like Gilded Lyre either – you’ll like have a ton of resources in the mid to late game as well as some early ramp troops you can afford exhausting so this should deal with that annoying Spirit Eagle or buffed Deathmask Assailant you have trouble dealing with. If there’s one advice I can give to R/W players though, it’s to have at least one Staggering Blast in your deck as it’s ability to deal with those pesky Spiderlings and more importantly allow you to swing in with your fatties for an uncontested alpha strike is one of the best tools you have at your disposal.
Tier 2 Archetypes
B/S Spiderling decks as I’ve said in the set review repeatedly employs a bunch of mediocre cards in order to stuff the opponent’s deck with Spiderling Eggs and pray to Kismet (or is it Xarlox?) they hatch. Incubation Webs, Arachnophobia, Eggblight Afflictor, Hatchery Broodguard, Runeweb Infiltrator and Parriphagy are half decent but most of the cards range from bad (Hatchery Priest, Touch of Xentoth, Suffocate) to downright abysmal (Incubate, Spider Nest).
As if you didn’t have enough subpar cards in your deck, you need even more crap-on-their-own-but-decent-in-the-archetype cards to hasten the milling process like Psionic Acolyte, Psychic Torrent, Lunacy and Vicious Vivisector. Thankfully there’s quite a few excellent cards that reward you for eventually getting those Spiderling Eggs to hatch like Arachnomancer, Painbreeder, Nazhk Webguard, and Vilefang Eremite.
Rantings aside here’s the type of complimentary cards you want your Spiderling deck to have to give yourself the best chance at success: Bloatcap, Cripple, Arcane Focus, Entangling Webs, Throwback. These are all control type cards that slow down your opponent’s tempo and gives you a chance to get a critical mass of Spiderlings in your opponent’s deck and enough draws or mills on their part for your plan to come to fruition. Obviously you pick removal highly and even something like Taint can go a long way in dealing with early aggro or evasion troops that could otherwise foil your plans. Due to the sheer number of cards devoted to this archetype, there should be room for one competitive Spiderling deck.
Blood Diamond Shift is different enough from B/D Spirits that it deserves a mention. The champion of choice here is usually Knightsbane Ovo who will allow you to use your Shift abilities multiple times on different troops or also remove debuffs your opponent might have. One of the strongest combos in the archetype is combining Shadowblade Assassin and Deadeye Slicer. There’s other solid shift troops as well at your disposal like Gemsoul Feeder, Sepulchra Stalwart, and previously mentioned Warlock of Aettir and the super bomby in this archetype Chimera Guard Fallen. Unlike the RNG heavy Prophecy keyword, with Shift you can plan and strategize in the midst of the game depending on what you need.
Deepgaze Disciple and Deepgaze Acolyte naturally improve significantly in this archetype and you should get some passed your way given the colors’ depth and these cards not being as valuable in the other archetypes. Rounding out your deck will hopefully be Crypt Shrieker (socketed with Rage 1) and Rotting Knight (socketed with Swiftstrike) which continue the tradition of great socketed cards for those going B/D.
Mono Ruby Aggro
We’ve already highlighted a plethora of powerful Ruby troops and if you tried to push R/D but realized someone was cutting off most of your cards you’ll be happy to know that you could very well go mono Ruby and still do well. Deadeye Ripper, Emberleaf Duelist, First Blood, Veteran Raider, and Woolvir Baa’sher combined with a timely Pyroknight and Skewer/Lunge backup will devastate even the strongest of decks.
An archetype that’s currently a sleeper but could get wider acceptance in the weeks and months ahead is a Sapphire Wild deck that focuses on using troops with Flight (whether inherent or passed on through with Shift/Champion power/card like Arcane Zephyr). They key component of this deck is no doubt Windbourne Disciple that turns otherwise average cards like Nelebrin Treeguard into an Angel. Lightning Brave is another really solid limited card here especially if you happen to have some Nightsky Stargazer or Earthcaller in your deck. We’ll naturally be using Boris Blastforge as our champion since it pairs up so well with Wild troops and turns Vine Lash into a solid main deck removal. Your Nibblin Skirmisher will likely kill your opponent in two swings in the late game and that’s not too shabby for a 1 cost common minion + charge power.
There’s sadly no Buccaneer in this format but with access to cards like Entangling Webs + Throwback and Thunderfield Seer turning those cards into more cards you can turn this into a neat tempo deck with plenty of quick speed flexibility provided by quick troops like Smirking Trickster and Snarling Ambusher that can be played on turns your not ready to waste your tricks on.
Probably no need to mention how good cards like Dreamsmoke Mystic, Kin of Olkoth and Cyclone Shaman are in this deck. Windspeaker is much better when combined with Diamond but he does provide a neat ‘combo’ with Oculus of Azathoth that can be tough for your opponent to answer.
Overall there’s quite a few valid strategies to approach this set and with the Champions mostly taking a backseat to your cards and strategy, you’re on your own to create a game winning plan. Unexpected actions like Spiderling hatchings, Prophecised cards, and the plethora of quick based actions and even troops should make this one enjoyable format full of suspense and skill-based play for some time to come.