Hellbears, A Green/Red Deck
In the Dota 2 universe, there exists a Neutral Creep Camp known as the Hellbear Camp. These two creatures have been given the nicknames "Tomato" and "Potato", obviously because of their skin tones (Which is actually quite rude, if you think about it). One of the most interesting things about the Dota 2 version, Tomato is the "Hellbear Smasher" and the more physical of the two, dealing much higher damage, whereas Potato is just "Hellbear" and the defensive one. It seems that this philosophy hasn't transferred over to Artifact, where it's the opposite.
In Artifact, Tomato, or , reduces the target's Attack value by 1, which doesn't seem like a whole lot, at first. Potato however, is an absolute monster, gaining a massive 4 Attack at the end of every Combat Phase! It doesn't take much time for him to become a serious threat on the board. I decided I want to challenge myself and attempt to create a deck built around these two Hellbears, focusing on reducing the enemy Hero's Attack values to low amounts, while I continue pumping up my with plus his naturally increasing Attack with his card effect!
Why these Heroes?
fits in naturally with this theme, because of his Passive Ability, Corrosive Skin, whenever he is attacked he will reduce the target's Attack Value by 1. 's signature card, is also a great card to use whenever a Hero has his attack reduced to a very low amount and can be blocked entirely by a simple . While the Melee Creep might not kill the Hero very quickly, will of course accelerate the Hero's death. Viper is a great Flop Hero just because of the high probability he could end up being attacked by an Enemy Hero, allowing his Corrosive Skin to knock 1 Attack from the Enemy.
works well in a deck fighting against Heroes with low Attack values. Her signature card, gives 1 Armor to all units in the lane. That, on top of a reduced Attack value might just be enough to take zero damage from enemy Heroes. Then there is also 's Continuous Effect, Nature's Attendants, which gives 2 Regeneration to Enchantress and her allied neighbors. Good luck ever killing her in this deck! Enchantress also works well in the Flop because of her Regeneration Effect, healing the neighboring that might have taken 2 Damage from the opposing Melee Creep.
is an amazing Red Hero. A massive 12 Health, 8 Attack, and because of his Passive Ability, Barroom Brawler, he will gain 2 Armor every time he kills a Hero. Especially in a deck where we are reducing the enemy Hero's attack value, Bristleback gaining Armor just adds another layer of protection for this angry porcupine. For this reason, we would prefer to be in the Flop, for the off chance he might get a Round One kill and get a free 2 Armor. 's signature card, isn't that incredible of a Spell. But in this deck, it can do wonders, allowing us to lower the Armor value on tankier units, whenever we won't be able to get a on the unit.
One of the biggest weaknesses for the Red House of the Bold is its lack of board clears. happens to be the answer to this weakness. Because of his Continuous Effect, Great Cleave, can do massive damage across a row of enemy units, clearing out every Melee Creep in front of him! Slap his signature card, on Sven and you'll be clearing entire lane's worth of enemies every Combat Phase! The reason we have in the Turn Phase is because he doesn't have quite enough Attack to get us a kill, in comparison to . He's a great Turn Hero because we can place him in the lane that needs the most backup, following the opening Round.
Easily one of the best Heroes in the game, is usually a must have for any deck running Green. Particularly in this deck, she can do wonders. Her Continuous Effect, Precision Aura, grants 1 Attack to all allies on the field, across all lanes. This means she is giving and a much needed boost in Attack power. But she also gives Attack to one of the core pieces to this deck, ! 's signature card, just so happens to be one of the best cards in the game, period. Gust costs an eye-popping low amount of 4 Mana, allowing you to silence an entire lane's worth of Enemy Heroes, blocking all Spells from being played!
Most of the time, you would prefer to have in the River, she has a very low Health total and in general, won't get many opening round kills on enemy Heroes. To even do that, she'd need a lucky Pathing from an ally to possibly get a kill. And nobody would run such a low Health Hero in the opening Flop anyway!
In this deck, controlling the Combat Phase is extremely important. Any time we can direct attacks into our , maximizing his Effect, Corrosive Skin, we should be. That's why we run in this deck, allowing our to immediately taunt 3 opposing units into attacking him. Thankfully, this card specifies "Allied Hero" and not a "Red Hero", so of course the effect works on him. I also like that it allows us to redirect his attack, as well, possibly allowing us to finish off an Enemy Hero or even killing a quick , paving the way for the unit next to to get a free shot into a tower.
For the same reason as , we are running as well. can be used to shift units around, allowing us to move or even move a in front of an enemy Hero. could also be used to move into better position, allowing his Cleave damage to clean up more units. Rebel Decoy is a valuable creep in this deck, and should be used in ways that can maximize his survival, allowing him to use his Activate multiple times throughout a match.
Now we're getting into the meat of the deck. These next four cards, which do have massive effects on the Combat Phase, are kind of the core to the deck. Looking at it now, it gives a clearer picture to what this deck really wants to do. Make your opponent's Heroes a non-factor. Then, the game turns into Creeps versus Creeps. Well guess what, we have all the ingredients to boost our Creeps way more than the opponent. Now, our can go on an absolute tear!
The first step in making your opponent's Heroes a non-factor is of course , a 4 Mana Spell which reduces a Hero's Attack value by 2. It seems pretty simple, but choosing the right Hero for this can sometimes be a bit trickier than you would expect. This is also a high cost card, so it isn't something you would necessarily always want to play on curve. I think in most situations, you must recognize which Hero your opponent wants to keep in their High Priority Lane, and then target that one first with Attack reducing cards.
Next, is one of the most intriguing cards in the base set. A Lane wide effect that reduces all enemy Heroes by 2 Attack! This should always be played in the High Priority Lane, hitting as many enemy Heroes as possible! After one or even two of these, most of your opponent's Heroes won't have any Attack left!
is such a cool card. Of course, it's countered pretty hard by something like 's or Black's (If used on a Creep Unit), but as long as you aren't playing Black, feel free to slap this bad boy on anything! Personally, I love the idea of putting it on a , and letting it grow to stupid levels of Attack, or even playing it on a , protecting her from Combat, allowing her to use her Active more often. Speaking of --
is our only real end-game option in this deck. I mostly thought that is kind of lame in this deck. Sure, it would be nice on a and maybe , but I wasn't sure what I would value Time of Triumph over in the Red category of this deck. Furthermore, this deck isn't about buffing up Heroes, it's about buffing up our to stupid levels! This is a Hellbear deck after all! Thankfully, is the best Creep buffing card in the game. Not to mention, she can also buff up your Heroes too.
Is Gust the most overpowered card?
As I touched on briefly in the section about , and if you read the question I asked above, really is one of the best cards in the game. Because of that, we have to run a few , so we can get Initiative from our opponent, allowing us to drop a and shut down a lane. If you can play on Initiative, especially in your opponent's High Priority lane, you can do cause so much disruption to your opponent's setup. Not to mention, you are allowed to play as many cards as you want, practically uninterrupted!
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing adjusted a bit. A higher Mana cost is probably the only option, because I wouldn't want to see the entire card changed. But it can't be denied, because exists, is nearly an auto-include into any deck running Green. I'd love to be wrong, but I just don't see it any other way on a competitive level.
Okay, Cheating Death is stupid!
While it isn't half as broken as is, can be pretty stupid from time to time! In a deck like this, getting an extra turn on your , , , , or even , could be catastrophic for your opponent! I think most of the time you should only run two of these, one for both the High Priority lane and the Medium Priority lane. No sense in doubling up with , because that actually is a level of meming that I don't aspire to.
, however, is a card you have to run a full playset of. Just because getting this in your opening hand can increase your chances of winning by a large margin. A Round One is one of the worst things you can see when you play against Green. That, my friends, is called Mental Damage, and this is the perfect deck to take advantage of it! just fits into our theme so well. Buff our Creeps, always be buffing our Creep units.
absolutely fits with the theme of this deck. Drop this down to drop a Lane-wide effect, lowering every unit's Attack value by 2! Of course this would effect your own Heroes and Creeps, but thanks to things like , , and , this isn't the end of the world. The idea here is just to shut your opponent's lanes down, by wrecking all of their unit's Attack values.
is obviously a great tool in this deck, acting like a , it allows you to swap your Heroes around, hopefully lining up attacks into your or dishing them out from your . I thought about running in this deck, but I just don't think it's as important here. For the most part, we are hard committing to whatever lanes we play our , , and in. Because of that, I think mobility between lanes isn't quite as important as other decks.
is pretty universally regarded as the best item, and can go on any of our Heroes in this deck. I think more often than not, you'd rather it be on and maybe from time to time, since he'll be taunting a bunch of units with .
Lastly, is always a great tool for dealing with enemy Improvements. Some of the biggest targets for this deck would probably be , , and , because they deal lane wide damage to our Tomato and Potato!
Other cards to consider
is one card I was heavily considering. I mean, come on, it buffs the Health value of both a Tomato and a Potato at the same time! Okay, that isn't that big of a deal, but increasing the Health of the Heroes in the same lane, can be. Unfortunately, there wasn't a whole lot I wanted to cut from the main decklist, so didn't make the final list. However, I do recognize it could be really good in this!
is just an awesome card. Especially in a situation where you might be facing a Blue deck that has , attemping to blow up your precious , after it has grown to an unbelievable size!
Because of this decks quirky way of creating a win condition, it might be difficult to reach that point, in which case, something like might be a great card. With this, it could allow the deck a single extra turn before it can seal the deal. With the 7 extra health to the tower, it might just be enough time for a final to boost your lane one last time!
is one of the more interesting options as a 1-of, in almost any deck. At a staggering 5 mana, it does allow you to deal with an opponent's item cards, where there are very few options. Green has a great tool for that, in . However, I'm not sure where its place is in this deck. Because one of the main features of this deck is just shutting opposing Hero's attack values down, almost completely, even with a sick Weapon card attached, they might only be gaining back the removed Attack value to begin with! So, I'm not sure how successful would be in this deck.
is always a great card. However, I do feel that relying on too many improvements could be a detriment for this deck. and are already problems enough, why would we include another Improvement? Furthermore, what are really trying to draw into? We have plenty of early and mid-game plays, there aren't any specific "pieces" we need to get in hand for the deck to work.
Lastly, our deck has a mostly one dimensional end game strategy. I thought about running 1 or 2 , just to give us another way to close a game out. However, because this deck has such an unorthodox way of winning the game, by the time we get to 8 Mana, the game will probably already be decided with or without in the deck. Either way, is always a great closer for a deck, so it is something to consider.
Could this deck actually work?
Well, this is a fun deck, as all these decks are, leading up the Beta release of Artifact. Then, we will of course be covering the best decks in the metagame. But I'd like to mention something. A lot of people have been asking why don't I post the best decks from the constructed tournaments during the closed beta? Why don't I show the very best decklists? Frankly, there will never be another time for deckbuilding like right now, my friends. Right now, most people reading the blog here on Artibuff don't have a clear indication of what's good and what's actually bad. And for this brief period of time, things like a and can actually be in a deck together, and taken somewhat seriously. That, my friends, is a thing of beauty.
What isn't beautiful is the harsh reality, that whenever the Beta releases, something like 90% of all cards in the base set won't see play in a competitive, tournament environment. That breaks my heart, readers. Because that day hasn't come, and for that reason, I've got one more fun deck article coming tomorrow. I hope you've enjoyed reading these articles, whether or not these decks might be viable in the future... I'm just having fun here! I'm on a to find the most creative deck out there!
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Come back tomorrow to check out Artibuff's next deck article featuring and !