[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he first constructed deck I really dove into in Hex was the Sapphire-Wild Wintermoon control deck that Eaglov won one of the Invitational Qualifiers with. It was everything I wanted to be doing in a CCG – card selection, counter magic, and win conditions that provided additional card advantage.
Why Blood Moon
The one thing it was really lacking though was hard removal. If something slipped past your Countermagic your best recourse was to spend a card Time Ripple’ing it back to their hand and then hoping to Countermagic it when they played it out again. While this was fine most of the time, it made matchups like Mono-Blood fairly difficult due to their ability to pressure your hand through discard spells before sticking their must answer threats. Forcing you to immediately top deck not just one, but the two correct answers in a row.
This sent me searching for an answer to this problem in a third shard. I found what I was looking for in Blood:
Finding the Optimal Shardbase
This left me with one important job: Figuring out how I was going to be able to play all of these cards consistently. Remember – it does not matter how powerful the cards in your hand are if you cannot play them when you need to. This sent me searching for cheap Shard fixing to make my three shard deck functional. For those unfamiliar our options currently are:
The addition of Blood based removal allows us to cut the double Wild threshold Carnasaurus, essentially making the base of our new deck Sapphire and Blood with a Wild splash for activating Winter Moon’s ability and a few top end bombs. This means that when we configure our Shardbase we want to prioritize being able to cast Countermagic consistently on three and Extinction consistently on four.
Thankfully because Winter Moon plays a plethora of cheap card selection, we can skimp on our total threshold counts a bit. When I started building the resource base I wanted at a minimum:
The two Shard Wintermoon deck plays 22 Shards and four Chlorophyllia effectively giving it 26 resources. With this in mind I started with a fairly conservative 23 Shards and four Immortal Tears in my initial Shard base which looked like:
This gives us 15 Blood, 18 Sapphire, and 11 Wild.
After playing half a dozen matches I quickly realized a few things:
● I was flooding out too often
● Immortal Tears was often worse than just having a shard to play
● I had too many shards that did not provide a resource right away
“Remember – it does not matter how powerful the cards in your hand are if you cannot play them when you need to.”
The solution to most of my problems ended up being Adaptable Infusion Device. In the short term it fixed our threshold counts nicely, while in the late game it simply cycled itself. It also worked nicely with Oracle Song because it gave us a cheap card to play out when we were on the draw so we can cast Oracle Song on three and not have to discard anything.
This brings us to my current Blood Moon list:
1 Arborean Rootfather ( MinW Conservation / MajS Subterfuge )
1 Windsinger, Master of the Hunt
2 Phenteo the Brood Priest
Actions, Artifacts, Constants
4 Adaptable Infusion Device
4 Arcane Focus
1 Mass Polymorph: Dingler
4 Oracle Song
4 Time Ripple
1 Verdict of the Ancient Kings
Looking at the Shard base to start we now have 24 Shards and four AIDs. While this looks like more resources than the other build – it is important to remember that AIDs just provides a threshold – not a complete shard. So in practice this Shard base has slightly fewer resources than my previous iterations, while still providing similar threshold counts with 16 Blood, 17 Sapphire, and 8 Wild.
We are playing the fairly standard 4 Peek, 4 Arcane Focus, and 4 Oracle Song selection for card selection / advantage. Having cheap spells to put into your crypt earlier is important with Wintermoon so you can start activating your ability as soon as possible.
In our main deck we have 3 Kills, 3 Extinctions, and the standard 4 Time Ripple. Having clean answers to things like troops with spell shield allows us to be a bit more liberal when we want to tap out for effects such as gassing up with an Oracle Song. These also give us a much better match up against the various Rutherford Banks decks floating around that can put threats back into play without casting them.
In the reserves we have a full playset of Vampiric Kiss’es for when we need a bit of help keeping up with aggressive decks that get onto the board and pressure our life total quickly.
Aggressive disruption like Withering Touch gives us a real leg up in the mirror. Instead of guessing when it is safe to make a move against our opponent, Withering Touch can let us know for sure that the coast is clear. At worst Withering Touch trades up in terms of resources on each side if it eats an opposing Verdict or Countermagic.
In addition to Windsinger and Rootfather, we also have access to some of the flashier threats Blood has such as Phenteo the Brood Priest. Phenteo shines not only in the mirror, but also against more aggressive decks where his 1 / 4 stats make him an excellent blocker in combat. In the mirror not only is Phenteo’s activated ability quickly lethal, but the fact that he only costs three resources means you are able to play him with Countermagic backup much sooner than you are able to play your more expensive threats.
The last couple of cards I have not mentioned in the reserves are Lullaby and Call the Grave. Lullaby is good against all troop based aggressive / mid-range decks where Extinction also shines. Lullaby can buy you the time you need to find your sweeper to put a game away.
Call the Grave is a piece of technology that is good in the mirror and at breaking up Charge Colossus loops against Rutherford Banks. If you kill a threat against an opposing Wintermoon Champion, Call the Grave not only makes it a threat for you, but now they are down a card they can cycle back into their deck.
Based on my experience with the three color “Blood Moon” deck so far my estimations for how it lines up against some of the more popular constructed decks in the format are the following.
Good Matchups: Mono Blood Control, SW Wintermoon Control, RW Cressida Ramp
Our mix of Countermagic and hard answers to resolved threats gives us a leg up over the other less flexible control decks in the game. Against Mono Blood I do fairly minimal reserve changes. Generally I just board down on threats in favor of additional Verdicts. They are so removal dense, that often playing a threat early means you are just turning on otherwise dead Kills in their hand. By having just 1-2 threats post board you have a higher density of answers and can just worry about winning “eventually” once you lock up a game.
In my experience the worst card in the Wintermoon mirrors is Time Ripple when you have access to hard removal like Kill. The additional copies of Verdict, Withering Touch, and the additional threat are all useful.
The Cressida Ramp deck simply does not have enough threats to put through all of our answers most of the time and our Extinctions clean up their resource producing troops effectively. This is one of the places where Lullaby shines.
Even Matchups: DW Banks Ramp, Ruby Urgnock Aggro
Our match-up against DW Banks is reasonable for the same reasons our Cressida match-up is good, but occasionally they can break up our controlling lock by sticking a Charge Colossus and looping it until we can find Time Ripple + Countermagic or a Mass Polymorph. Another match up we want Lullaby in. Call the Grave is also reasonable in this match up.
Aggressive decks that lean on troops can be difficult game one if you draw the wrong half of your deck, but post reserves they are pretty favorable with our four copies of Vampiric Kiss. I like cutting down on our more expensive cards in this match up. Cutting Countermagic, Rootfather, and even Oracle Song are all fine trims to bring in our faster interaction out of the reserves.
Bad Matchups: SR Tetzot Azurecannon, Benvolio Burn
These decks are the perfect mix of punishing threats and reach to close out a game. Our answers are often stretched thin and we do not have a “trump” card like we do against purely troop based aggressive decks like we do with Extinction. Post reserves these decks tend to bring in up to four copies of Mindpyre which makes things go from bad to worse.
This is one of the places where Extinction is generally pretty poor since they often just ride a single threat or threats with Speed. I also like cutting the Oracle Songs because drawing cards while a Mindpyre is in play feels really awful. Vampiric Kiss, Verdict of the Ancient Kings, and Nature Reigns are all reasonable inclusions from the Reserves.
All of that being said – both of these decks are fairly difficult match ups for normal SW Wintermoon as well – so the addition of Blood does not really change anything.
If you are looking for something to give you an edge in the Wintermoon mirror or even just something to let you slowly transitions your SW Wintermoon deck into something else like Mono Blood then I would highly recommend giving my Blood Moon configuration a try! If you would like to check out some of the various configurations I went through to arrive at the final list I have posted in this article you can check out some of my more successful lists on HexMeta.com here.
Have a question about something in the deck I did not cover above? Let me know in a comment below!