Scars of War has been out for a bit now, and I’ve had the chance to play through a lot of 6-6-5 draft, Evo Sealed and Sealed Gauntlets. I have to say that this is my favorite Limited format by far. To be fair though, I didn’t start playing until Armies of Myth, so I missed the first two sets, but still, Scars of War Limited is great.
What has made it so great? In my last piece I gave an intro to the 6-6-5 draft format, which hopefully helped some people as they started to learn the ins and outs of the new draft format. I talked about how exciting Conscript as a mechanic is and how deceptively powerful I’ve found all the Conscript cards to be. Having multiple viable archetypes makes each draft feel new and interesting. Not feeling like you are forced into one or two strategies is like a breath of fresh air, and I certainly welcome it.
This week I wanted to break down and rank the Limited strategies, but with Hex Clash, a Sealed $1K tournament, starting on April 2nd, I think it’s important to note that sealed and draft are quite different in terms of playability and what you can expect to face from an average deck.
“I think it’s important to note that sealed and draft are quite different in terms of playability and what you can expect to face from an average deck.”
A good example of this is the Sacred Stance deck. Wild/Diamond Conscript is, in my opinion, the most powerful strategy in sealed if you get the cards for it, but it involves a lot of uncommons and isn’t something that you see often in draft.
This will end up being a 2-part series, and since sealed is what’s going to be more important let’s break that down to help everyone build their decks for the swiss portion of the Clash and get into the elimination rounds.
The first thing that I want to tackle when building a Scars of War/Herofall sealed deck is the champions. There are 24 champions total to choose from in this limited format. Four of each shard and then the four shardless – although they do have synergies with either the Ardent or the Underworld.
In terms of champions, I have found that there is a hierarchy for which you choose based on your specific archetype and how far along on that spectrum you fall. The most interesting thing that I’ve found is that the Ruby champions are almost unplayable. I have had a few Ruby/Sapphire decks that didn’t have enough Ardent or Underworld troops to justify playing Therroz or High Cleric Marzul_, but I think those are the exceptions rather than the rule. All shard combinations including Ruby are going to end up using a non-Ruby champion, with Mono-Ruby even using High Cleric Marzul for Arena Regular and Rockslider synergy.
Decks with Dreadlings tend to be primarily Underworld and should be Therroz. Diamond decks should be Ada the Apparitionist most of the time. Wild decks that aren’t Diamond and aren’t Sapphire should probably be Grandfather Elk_. The exception is if they are heavy Conscript based and then you can make arguments for Therroz_ or Takahiro_F.
The underlying thread that I’ve found is that Ada the Apparitionist and Therroz are a bit overpowered and should likely cost 6 and 7/8 charges respectively.
Here are my tier rankings for the different sealed strategies and what cards you will likely find within them.
Diamond/Wild Sacred Stance
In general I like to use Ada for these decks, since we can have some pretty insane turn fives when we get to make Phantoms and then pump everything with Sacred Stance. However, there are some decks where you have multiple Eager Lackey and Blessed Scout then Bishop Elijah is perfectly fine to use. Here are the key cards for this deck:
I believe that this deck is the strongest deck in Scars of War/Herofall sealed, but the problem is that you are relying on core cards from Scars of War and technically don’t need anything from Herofall, so if you end up with medium Scars packs or even miss out on cards like Sacred Stance, then your deck ends up subpar. There are some rares that can make up for that though, like Grandfather’s Totem, which make being Diamond/Wild Conscript worthwhile.
One card that tends to be under the radar is Staunch Defense. When paired with Minor Diamond of Wind, it is a great way to not only push damage in a stalled board, which can happen when you are Diamond/Wild; but it also does a great job at enabling the Diligence on Blessed Scout.
It is important to note that while the ceiling for this deck is quite high, if I didn’t have at least a Sacred Stance or Grandfather’s Totem, I would be looking to just be a Diamond/X midrange Ada deck if my pool allows for it since those decks tend to overperform even when using filler cards.
Diamond has access to a lot of premium removal, which makes it desirable in sealed. Decree of Banishing, Chastise, and Vanquish from Scars of War and Bring to Justice from Herofall are all great cards.
Champion: Ada the Apparitionist_
This archetype is exceptional and is not very difficult to build. You utilize a lot of commons like Storm Rider and Skyspire Scholar and have the potential to play with the best uncommon in Scars – Consult the Talon. Both shards give you great troops up the curve and a lot of them play around common removal naturally by having higher defense than attack and being at four or more defense.
The Diamond/Sapphire deck also takes advantage of the Diligence and Mobilize mechanics very well, and these are the cards that you’re going to see in a successful Diamond/Sapphire Fliers deck.
It does seem that Sapphire is catching on more and more in this Limited format. At first it felt like people were all shying away since Sapphire was so poor in Herofall Limited, but much like Diamond was the deepest shard there, I think that Sapphire is actually the deepest shard in Scars of War. It helps that Consult the Talon is so absurd, but we also have a high number of quality commons, some removal, and some great uncommons like Webborn Apostate and Warpcaller Shardsworn.
One card that has been very good for me in these types of decks is Outflank. Beware suspicious attacks and plan for an Outflank anytime you can. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re blown out by it, which will take some practice since it’s pretty easy to mask the card with pre-combat troops or leaving up an unintuitive number of resources.
The other overpowered champion for Limited is Therroz. Gaining a charge every time you play an Underworld Troop in addition to your resources is very powerful, but having an ability that only uses six charges means that you’re going to get multiple uses each game. Therroz’s ability to give all your troops +1/+1 is quite good and plays perfectly along with Dreadlings.
Thankfully there are a LOT of cards that generate Dreadlings now. Here is a pretty common package that you will find in these Therroz Dreadling decks.
The biggest threat that this deck provides is that most of its kills come out of nowhere, which puts players in awkward positions. You can very easily go from over 20 health to dead in one combat that involves something generating four or more Dreadlings along with a Tech-tician and a hero power activation.
Warpsteel Shardsworn with the Minor Sapphire of Dread is also very good in this deck and can help facilitate both a combo kill from nowhere and provides bodies that can be used for Mobilizing a Consult the Talon.
I find that I play against Therroz the most while playing Evo Sealed or Regular Sealed Gauntlets, and rightfully so. There aren’t any rares or uncommons that are necessary for the deck to work, and it can be extremely punishing. It’s not uncommon to get in for 10 or so damage with a Therroz champion ability and then do it again a few turns later.
The only downside to this deck is that it doesn’t have a lot of great removal. Shackling Strands is great and Brood Net is playable, but we are usually going to end up using more tempo-style cards in Sweep Away or battling troops with Crackling Clash and Crossing Swords.
Champion: Grandfather Elk_
These two uncommons are very powerful, and play well into the strategy that this deck is going to try to employ. Getting in early damage, and then using Elk’s champion ability to either combo kill with Surging Wildfire, or push through enough damage while going wide.
This deck thrives on aggression, so playing plenty of two-drops is important. I really like Determined Bushi as it continues to grow and already has Crush, which plays very well with cards like Blitz and Enlarge, but my favorite two-drop is Ashwood Minstrel. There aren’t a lot of ways to buff them permanently, but the temporary resource generation is at quick speed and this does a great job at masking Blitz and Enlarge.
Ruby has a lot of removal at its disposal between the two sets, so don’t fret if your Wild is all about troops and tricks. Feed the Flames, Explosive Interlude, Pyre Strike, Cremate, Fire in the Hole, and Blazing Hammer are all great pieces of removal, and only one of them is uncommon. You may even end up with a Lava Shaper and enough Ardent troops to play it!
The Blood/Wild decks can be great but generally go down one of two paths. If you have a lot of conscript with cards like Eager Lackey, Power and Pain, Battle Preparations, Call the Deepwood, and Cottontail Warcaller, then being a grindy Takahiro deck might be best.
If you happen to pick up the Dreadling synergy cards, then Therroz may be the way to go. Dread Harvest and Shoku’s Garden are both great, but there are some very good Blood cards that fill out the rest. Dread Apprentice, Exporesion, and Wicked Webspawn facilitate a lot of Dreadling generation and can end games quickly with a Therroz champion power activation.
The main card that helps both of these decks thrive is actually Blood Bearer. Interestingly enough, with the amount of Dreadling generation in the Therroz deck, and the disposable bodies in the Takahiro deck, Blood Bearer ends up being a health gaining powerhouse. Normally just generic health gaining isn’t going to further our game plan, but the incidental health gain in a deck like this will usually end up translating into multiple draw steps and turns that we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Champion: High Cleric Marzul_
Diamond has a lot of Ardent troops that we can use, and there are plenty of Diamond/Ruby bombs with Wartorn General and Pulverazor that go into these kind of decks. Diamond also offers a lot of removal to compliment our Ruby burn.
Sapphire has a handful of Ardent troops with Cerulean Sage, Cloud Bounder, and the bomb Mystic Naturalist. You also have the possibility of playing Consult the Talon which can never be underestimated. We also get Rift Spasm which plays exceptionally well with the charge generating champions. Lately I’ve also had a lot of success with a little known uncommon from Herofall – Wrong Turn. Being mostly unplayable in the last set due to the weakness of Sapphire, things have changed. These decks are often thriving on tempo, and against a non-Ada opponent, the tempo gained from a turn four or turn five Wrong Turn can be almost unbeatable.
Wild is likely going to be better served as Grandfather Elk_.
Blood has the potential to be playable in a shell like this, depending on how many Arena Regular and Rock Slider you have. Generally, Ruby/Blood decks are full of removal and just need any threat to stick to close out the game. Because of this I prefer Sharpshooter Sahas_ as a card advantage generator over most other champions. The exception is if you have multiple Lazgar’s Bloodletter and can play Bloodspinner Zorath_.
Now, there are a lot of different decks that can be playable in this format. Diamond/Blood Sockets is another deck that can be great. I’ve seen most people use Marshal Josephina_, but I think I prefer Ada the Apparitionist, but it’s probably splitting hairs.
Blood/Sapphire can also be good if headlined by Underworld Officer. If you have a lot of Dreadling generation, then Therroz is good, if not then you can always go with Renner_ for a decent starting health and basically five charges: draw a card.
The last point that I want to make is that the Rares play a much bigger part in this format than in Herofall limited. There are some bombs, but they are relative to the decks that they go in. An over powered Tier 1 deck with no bomb rares is likely going to do better than a mediocre Tier 2 with a a bomb rare, so don’t be caught in a trap.
I love that we’re going to have weekly 1K events with the Hex Clash, so keep checking out the Limited Lab here for more tips, tricks, and example decklists as we continue to dive into the deep end of Scars of War Limited.