Hex TCG’s seventh set, Frostheart, introduced us to The Blightbark Court – a team of Wild/Blood vampires, plants and humans spearheaded by Lord Blightbark and Lady Violet Blightbark. The diabolical couple feasted upon Deathcry effects in their pursuit for enthralling whatever it is they come across.

If there was any question how deep their roots extended, today’s Set 8 “Dead of Winter” spoiler clearly highlights that they’ll be a thorn in the side of anything and everything their clutch extends to, even Constructs:

Immediately, the syngery with cards like Lord Blightbark and Grounds Creeper are apparent – able to trigger this extremely powerful deathcry without ever needing for the card to die. If that’s not an option we can also rely on the services of Lady Violet Blightbark and target Doomed Guardian’s ability if he happens to be sent to the crypt. This is a decent start, but not quite top tier all by itself.

We’re going to need some impactful troops in the crypt to bring back to immediately swing the board state in our favor. Rotting Chompknight has immediate impact in the right matchups thanks to its Deploy effect, but many of the other Deathcry troops currently available however need a sacrifice outlet to be useful. For example Boom Shroom could board wipe, Blightbramble could fill the board with troops, Drunken Hooligan could serve as a mini Balthasar but they’re too slow on their own. The requirement of too many combo pieces likely makes this a far cry from the consistency that B/W players have become accustomed to.

Also there’s a big problem in that some of the key pieces that birthed the Kagulichu archetype (and the champion itself) is rotating out of Standard with the arrival of Set 8. No longer do we have access to Cottontail Explorer or Kagulichu_ for stuffing the crypt.

One of the few remaining ways to stuff your crypt in Standard…

Is the B/W reanimator archetype even still viable with rotations, or is Doomed Guardian doomed from the start? Not only are we missing crypt fillers, but the Deathcry troops we bring back seem somewhat lackluster.

The two cards featured above could be the key to unlocking some of the potential behind Doomed Guardian. First Rites gives all the troops in your hand Deathcry and Brosi-Buk, Mischief Master puts them in your crypt whilst also simultaneously emptying your opponent’s hand of any potential mass removal effects. Since this strategy doesn’t require you to be able to cast the troop, you can include ridiculous off-color cards like Aegilus but it’s still likely better to go with the usual reanimator targets like Eternal Seeker, Woken Drokkatar, and Gargalith. Having multiple one ofs in your deck to be able to hose your opponent’s deck could work out nicely..oh and we hear Underworld Crusader is still a pretty decent card and he will appreciate the diversity.

We also have other ways to give our troops deathcry effects such as with Promiscuous Succubus, Bug Out or Blight Bestowed and some of these will come in handy when we don’t have the combo pieces immediately available and are forced to play a more long value oriented game.

For Immortal and PvE purposes, the possibilities are more nutty, including perhaps even going the Blood/Sapphire route and utilizing self mill strategies to craft your custom doomsday scenarios.

We’re going to need to see more spoilers to see if this could be a legit well-rooted Standard deck or whether we’re just barking up the wrong tree. However with a set named “Dead of Winter” on the horizon, we have a feeling that there is plenty of opportunities for the Blightbark tentacles to bring some new servants into its fold.

Keep your eyes peeled for new ‘Dead of Winter’ cards in our Set 8 spoilers page.

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