Every new deck that gets built starts with a “why”. Why is this idea reasonable / worth testing? For the deck I am going to be talking about today, the “why” is this pretty little number:
Stargazer is the type of card that has a power level that is hard for many players to interpret. It is a “jack of all trades” style of card that, while not inheritably threatening on its own, allows your deck to operate much more efficiently for very minimal cost. The Sapphire effect allows you to smooth out your draws, turn a flood of Shards into additional action, or help you avoid stumbling and dying. The Diamond effect brings a much need life buffer to the Sapphire-Wild color pair. Even a couple of activations for additional life against the aggressive Ruby decks in the format is often enough to stabilize a game you would have otherwise lost.
With that being said, the real drawback to Stargazer is that three color Shard bases in Hex are difficult at best. Thankfully the Sapphire-Wild-Diamond combination has a tool other tri-shards do not get to enjoy:
In order to play Bluegrass though, we need to play more than just Stargazer in terms of Coyotles. Thankfully Wintermoon staple Windsinger Master of the Hunt is a Coyotle, so that just means we need to find a few more. The minimum number of Coyotles I would feel comfortable running alongside four copies of Bluegrass is 10. Playing 10 Coyotles gives you an 86% chance of seeing one in your first ten cards. If we push this number a bit further, playing 15 Coyotles gives you a 95% chance of seeing on in your first ten cards – so a majority of the time.
Let’s dive into a decklist, shall we?
3 Diamond Shard
7 Sapphire Shard
5 Wild Shard
1 Shard of Instinct
1 Shard of Life
1 Shard of Purpose
1 Shard of Fate
4 Howling Plains Bluegrass
One of the most important parts of every deck is the Shard base and this is especially true when we are trying to make three colors functional.
The first thing you should note is that we are playing 23 shards. This is one more than traditional Winter Moon control plays, but we also are not playing any ramp spells such as Chlorophyllia. This means that our overall shard count is actually a bit lower than other Winter Moon decks. Having less resources is passable not only because of the selection Stargazer often provides, but also because the overall curve of our deck is much lower than the most controlling decks. We top out with two copies of Windsinger costing six, whereas other Sapphire-Wild decks are often going as big as Arborean Rootfather and Mass Polymorph: Dingler.
As for the counts of our colors we come out to a fairly clean:
When playing out your dual and tri-shard cards you only need to keep in mind that the only double threshold our deck requires early is double Sapphire for Countermagic. In the later game Windsinger requires double Wild, but that is generally not a problem on turn six.
Our threat base allows this deck to play out more like a tempo (aggro-control) deck rather than a pure control deck. Brown Fox Scout (and Thunderfield Seer to a lesser extent) allow us to apply early pressure to our opponent while we counter their cards and Time Ripple / Martyr their troops out of the game.
While we play two copies of Windsinger at the very top of our curve – we also have two copies of Lanupaw Prophet of Fate that come down much sooner and are capable of closing a game out very quickly. In addition to the three prophecies Lanupaw creates when he comes into play, your copies of Thunderfiled Seer also provide cards to buff Lanupaw.
The single copy of Wakuna Crowfeather might seem a bit odd on surface, but this is our one “go big” threat. In matches where the board can come to a stall, Crowfeather allows you to quickly break through thanks to both the flight and stat increase he provides to the rest of your troops. Because every troop in our deck is a Coyotle, Crowfeather’s bonus gets passed along indefinitely as long as you make sure your threats are resolving.
We have the traditional Time Ripple, Countermagic, Verdict of the Ancient Kings package that is fairly standard for Wintermoon decks. Time Ripple is a bit more powerful in this deck than the more controlling configurations because in addition to stalling your opponent’s threat, you are often chipping away with a threat or two while they spend time redeploying their more expensive threat.
The Diamond splash for Stargazer does more than just gain us life. It also provides hard removal in the form of Martyr and Pride’s Fall. Martyr is an extremely powerful and flexible card. The fact that it transforms the target means it is extremely potent against cards like Sunsoul Phoenix and good at breaking up Charge Colossus loops against Rutherford Banks decks.
“The Diamond splash for Stargazer does more than just gain us life.”
The “downside” Martyr provides is not even always strictly a downside. For instance, with Blood based decks once all their troops have +1/+1 you can start killing things like Vampire Princess with your copies of Pride’s Fall. Also keep in mind that you are able to target your own troops with Martyr – often allowing for blowouts in combat or simply ending the game on the spot if they make poor blocks.
In my experience it is often as important to talk about the cards you are choosing not to play as the ones you are. The one card I get the most questions about is why we are not playing Mass Polymorph: Dingler. While it is true that this card is extremely powerful, the one thing you have to consider is how poorly it lines up against an opponent who has been given a Monument of the Martyr or two. 0/1s are not threatening, but a field full of 1/2s and especially 2/3s very quickly beat you down. This interaction alone I feel makes Dingler not worth it.
That being said – we do still want access to a sweeper against the ramp decks of the format – so you will find two copies of Purge in the reserves. The one drawback of Purge is that if they kill the troop you target in response things go poorly, but against things like Diamond-Wild Banks this is rarely something you need to play around.
Card Selection / Advantage
Because we are playing a high density of troops we have to trim out some of the card draw Winter Moon traditionally plays. The cards that remain are four copies of Arcane Focus and three copies of Oracle Song. Arcane Focus cannot be beaten in terms of cost efficiency and Oracle Song is just the cheapest raw card advantage we have available to us.
Because we play so many Quick cards like Brown Fox Scout something like Peek may seem like a natural inclusion, but there are two reasons I dislike Peek in this deck. First is that because we are playing tri-shard it can often be difficult to have more than 2-3 Sapphire threshold until the very late game. The other reason is that Peek is one of the few cards in HEX that still shuffles your deck with the remaining cards you do not take. While this may not seem like a big deal at first – it makes playing cards that generate prophecies like Thunderfield Seer and Lanupaw much worse.
Matchups and Reserving Notes
Good Matchups: SW Wintermoon Control, Benvolio Burn, Ruby Aggro
Our combination of early pressure deployed at quick speed alongside Countermagic and card selection allow us to pressure the more dedicated control decks in the format nicely. Post reserves we gain a couple copies of Frost Wizard as well as a full set of Verdict of the Ancient Kings giving us a full eight counter spells.
As far as cuts go I like to favor boarding out the Time Ripples against the threat light decks. Sure they can save our own troops, but this is a fairly narrow use and they often end up stuck in our hand. I always trim the Wakuna Crowfeather in matchups where the opponent has access to Countermagic. Thunderfield Seer is also much worse when you cannot guarantee your prophesied card is going to resolve.
The aggressive Ruby decks are good not only because of the life gain Stargazer provides, but also because the overall curve of our deck is fairly low. This allows us to generally keep up with the volume of spells they are casting. Post reserves I like dragging our curve down even further by trading out our more expensive cards like Oracle Song and Countermagic for cheaper things like Verdict of the Ancient Kings. I also like bringing in the two copies of Succulent Cluckodon, even when you do not expect your opponent to have one drops the four life Cluckodon provides is very valuable.
Even Matchups: Mono Blood Control, BS Spiders, SR Azure Cannon
Game one against the Blood based decks can be a little bit rough if they stick an early threat you are unable to deal with. Our own threats like Brown Fox Scout also line up poorly against their X / 4 troops. Post reserves though we are able to trim this chaff for more interaction such as additional copies of Pride’s Fall. Remember – no matter how good of an idea it seems like at the time, do NOT bring in Purge against Blood decks. Getting blown out by a Kill feels truly awful.
The Azure Cannon combo is a bit more difficult to beat than the mono-ruby configurations, but it is still plenty beatable. The most important thing to remember is to leave back adequate blockers when they have a possible Mesmeric Hypnoscientist coming off of tunneling. It is not worth getting in one extra point of damage with your Thunderfield Seer if it means taking a hit for 5+ on the crackback the following turn.
My current reserves configuration is not well tuned for playing against Azure Cannon. If I was expecting a lot of this deck I would include at least one more copy of both Repel and Lullaby. Repel is the most efficient removal spell we have access to and Lullaby is good for both not dying as well as reverting Reese and bonuses from Inspired troops. Again I would recommend trimming the copies of Time Ripple and prophecy troops in this matchup.
Bad Matchups: DW Banks Ramp, SW “Havoc” Wintermoon Midrange
Because our primary removal is Martyr this means decks like Ramp that have a plethora of smaller creatures laying around can be difficult matchups. This is the matchup that the two copies of Purge are in the reserves for. I would bring both of those in trimming the main deck Verdict of the Ancient Kings and the Wakuna Crowfeather.
As for this last one – there is no sugar coating it – Havco / Koma’s midrange configuration of Wintermoon is just difficult to beat. We do not have a clean answer to a resolved Spellshield Azurefate Sorceress in our shards and Purge is a non-starter for reasons starting with Countermagic and ending with Time Ripple. We are generally forced into taking an aggressive role in this matchup and we often come up a few points short of lethal before their fatties come down and stabilize the board for them.
This is another matchup where the revert on Lullaby is reasonable and Frost Wizard is good. If you can stick and early Frost Wizard and prevent them from drawing a mass of cards sometimes you can sneak out the game.
In addition to being fun and moderately competitive the SWd Coyotles deck is also reasonably affordable. Over 1/3rd of the cost of the deck is the two copies of Windsinger, Master of the Hunt and he easily translates to other decks down the line. So if you are looking for something to break into constructed HEX with this might be just the deck for you!
Have a question about the deck that I did not cover in the article above? Let me know in a comment below!