In part 1 of the Primal Dawn Limited Archetype series we looked at B/R Yotul Mogak_ and it’s aggro/removal combination, in part 2 we looked at the D/S Fiona Honeyfinch_ Flight archetype which paired up evasive troops with ground blockers. In this third part we will be looking at the Ruby Sapphire Morgan McBombus_ deck which takes a less straightforward path to victory using a mixture of aggro, evasion, actions, and card draw.
Archetype Name: R/S Morgan McBombus
Power Level: Tier 1.5
Archetype Strategy: Let’s be honest from the start, Ruby Sapphire isn’t usually an archetype you can force or can build a solid deck around if you blindly chase it. You kind of need to be passed specific cards in the first pack for you to consider taking that route. The archetype largely revolves around cards like Flickering Gobbler, Embertongue Skarn, Seeing Red and Combat Training which when played together have the power level of a constructed deck that has already made its mark on the meta. You can also find yourself in a situation of spending your first few picks picking up the quality Ruby removal but realizing that Blood is totally blocked off and the Sapphire cards coming your way start becoming more attractive.
With this strong aggressive base to work with, all those actions and “actions matter” cards start not only contributing to your core aggressive strategy but also serve to increase the consistency of what you’re aiming to do through many of the synergies/interactions that are sprinkled across the set. Naturally with a lot of actions, card draw, and troop buffs you’re limited on the number of troops you can put in your deck (and I still wouldn’t advise having below 10 troops) and that’s when Morgan McBombus’s champion ability of creating a Bumblebot really shines.
So in the end McBombus decks borrow some of the aggro and removal of Yotul Mogak decks and some of the evasion of Fiona Honeyfinch decks to create its own potent strategy that, when properly built, provides a more resilient build against the field thanks also in part to all the card draw it brings to the table. The flipside is that the McBombus deck is one of the most challenging ones to draft, build, and play and hence it’s much easier to find yourself with a subpar deck compared to some other archetypes.
Key Commons: If you’re playing this archetype, it’s easy to be led into thinking you need to be picking up those “actions matters” cards highly but it’s still a wise move to pick-up those quality Ruby removal (Skarnbreath, Crimson Bolt) as high as you can. Ruby is the base of a lot of legitimate archetypes and all of them are competing for those precious few removal while the other cards that make a lot of sense in your deck are much less desired by your opponents.
After picking removal, as far as commons are concerned you’ll be eager to see if there are Embertongue Skarn floating around and you have the greenlight to pick-up as many of these as you see your way. As we discussed before, Seeing Red is another valuable card but its nature as a troop buff (and not wanting to play too many of them) means we likely aren’t craving them as high the Skarn.
We mentioned in the R/B archetype how Crazed Raider and Ashwood Apprentice are quality cards and this extends to this deck as well. With a card like Cloudwalk, they become solid threats even if they’re not backed by the persistent removal that R/B offers.
Cyclone Rider is a card you’ll often have multiple copies of in this archetype as it contributes to three of the things we care about: aggro, evasion, and actions. Blade Flourish is a card that works well with these Flight troops, both in taking out large opposing Flight troops that might be blocking the way of your Bumblebot but also in pushing through those final few points of damage. You might be faced with the decision of picking between Blade Flourish and Cloudwalk and that will largely depend on the amount of evasive troops you have (if most are evasive, you go with Blade Flourish and vice versa).
I haven’t mentioned up to this point two key cards of this archetype and the reason is simply because they’re cards you can afford to pick-up much later as they serve little use to those not in the archetype. Wrenlocke’s Apprentice allows you to fetch an action which is great because of the card advantage but also because beyond that the action enables a lot of your gameplan so it’s really nice to be able to increase your odds of having playable actions every turn. On the other hand, Hired Horn Hunter is a powerful late game card that can oftentimes be your key to victory. Socketed with MinR Flames or MinS Sky it’s not only a 3/3 unblockable most of the time but can often grow to ridiculous sizes in a single turn, helping you edge out close races.
We can’t round out this section without talking about Hatchery Malvoker and Azure Fang Decree. Both of these cards are very much playable in this archetype and become somewhat of a sub-archetype if you draft multiples of them, significantly upping their draft pick priority once you get the ball rolling on the McSpiders plan (yum!).
As has been the case for the other archetypes, the dualshard uncommon (in this case Flickering Gobbler) is the all-star that significantly ups the power level of your deck. As I said for the other archetypes, it’s probably worth a gamble to hope the multishard card wheels if there’s a rare or other power uncommon like Cry of Gawaine or Burning Tendrils lying around – especially in Pack 1 where you want to delay having to commit to two shards for as long as possible.
Prestidigitator is a rock solid card in the archetype and one you’ll be happy to include as many that come your way. Pyretic Performer, while not as good as it is in R/B, is still really fantastic as well for similar reasons to Prestidigitator in that it gives you a free cheap action.
Another solid addition for your deck is Ashwood Cinderstump. He might not always have the punch you want out of him if you lack actions, but even in those cases your opponent might be hesitant to attack into it if you have unused resources/cards.
Combat Training is an important card in this archetype as it’s something that you can use over and over again, not only enabling many of your cards but with the comfort of having an evasive troop every game like Bumblebot, it’s hard to fanthom you not getting SOME use out of it. Brood Bounty seems like its cut from the same cloth, but it’s actually not something I would run..unless I’m knee-deep in the R/S McSpider sub-archetype.
Mackerel Mitts and Lanupaw’s Sight can be fine additions to your deck, but they ideally won’t play a key role and will only be added if you are forced to stray from the initial aggressive strategy we laid out at the beginning of this article.
There’s alot of other decent uncommons that could make your deck like Kindle Archer, Chilltail Guide, and Deathmask Ravager but one that I think is especially good in this archetype is Shadestalker. He can pass on his ability to something like a large Embertongue Skarn, Flickering Gobbler, or you could just dump a Seeing Red/Combat Training on him and go to town.
Tricky Cards: You might have noticed if you’ve read up to this point that I’ve completely ignored talking about Impulse (and Soothsaying) which in theory should be key cogs in this archetype. But let’s not forget that we’re trying to put together a pretty aggressive strategy that doesn’t really have time to spend turns JUST playing a card draw spell. Impulse especially can only be played in the mid to late game where you can realistically hope to cast both cards that come your way. If you’re simply playing an action that replaces itself to enable the archetype, wouldn’t you be better off be suited playing Cloudwalk or Blade Flourish which actually do something? I think yes, but I could totally envision another version of this archetype that is less powerful, but that can go for a more control oriented playstyle leaning on card advantage where these card draw actions will play a much bigger role. Should also mention that Impulse becomes better with cards like Combat Training and Brood Bounty in a Hatchery Malvoker based deck.
Pack 3 Highlights: Having access to cheap, quality troop buffs is one of the main strenghts of this archetype so it would make sense for us to prioritize picking hard-to-block troops highly. At the top of this list is Deathmask Assailant and Relic of Nulzann.
Other cards which fit into our deck well are Arcane Focus and Thunderfield Seer. These are both cheap and highly effective additions that will give consistency to what can at times be a pretty disjointed deck.
Cyclone Shaman has always been an obviously good card so I’m hesitant to add it here, but it does become even better in our deck as we have a ton of actions and cheap ones at that which will guarantee we get value out of the card’s Prophecy ability.
Sample Deck Composition (From Actual Winning Draft):
Conclusion: As I mentioned earlier, Ruby Sapphire McBombus deck can be a tricky archetype to draft and play. Probably more than any other archetype, you can end up with bad hands full of buffs with no troops or with a bunch of troops that are underwhelming without actions. If you do manage to put together a cohesive deck that has the right number of each of its parts, you can have in your hands a very powerful and explosive archetype that can go toe to toe with the best ones out there.