Red/Green Midrange, a Breakdown
, even after his Patch 1.2 nerf, continues to be a powerhouse of a Hero in the House of the Bold. Because of his high Health value and Armor, he can trade into enemy units with ease. The reason he is often slotted in the River position is because of his lower Attack value than the other Heroes in the deck. Both and can do an easy 8 damage on the flop, often times picking up a Hero kill or two, if you’re lucky.
is obviously one of the strongest signature cards in the game, allowing a single Hero to usually kill all 3 adjacent enemy units. Because of the sheer power built into this card, using it after a single will often wipe an entire enemy lane.
is clearly the second best Red Hero because of her signature card, . Duel is one of the best On-Initiative plays you can make, allowing you to kill an enemy Hero before they’ve even had a chance to play a card. One of the easiest mistakes to Make with any deck with Legion Commander in it, is using Duels too early. Very rarely is it the right play to use Duel during the first or even second Round. One exception is something like getting a free swing into the tower, there will always be exceptions. (Isn't it interesting how she is killing Sorla Khan in the artwork?) But in general, try to hold on to Duel until it’s absolutely necessary.
The Third Red Hero
is the most common choice as the third Red Hero, because of how insane his Attack and Health values are, as well as his increasing Armor stat if he can stay on the board long enough. To balance this out, Bristleback has one of the weaker signature cards, . While next to useless, it can help you “reach” for that little extra to kill an important enemy Hero. Most of the time, Bristleback will edge out other options for a third red Hero, just because of his raw stats. While the other options are more tailored for specific matchups.
is a great addition to the deck when facing against Mono Blue. His signature card, will allow you to fight for initiative, allowing you to get off a critical or , denying the opponent a pivotal . Unfortunately, Tidehunter has a pretty low Attack Stat and can’t do much until he’s been Time of Triumphed once or twice.
has been in and out of the deck many times and fits better in a Red/Green deck that solely focuses on going wide with , , and . In a meta that isn’t bogged down with Mono Blue, Beastmaster is a much better option, especially when dealing with the mirror match or against Red/Black Aggro lists. His signature card, can really slow down an Aggro deck by denying them a Hero’s attack and kicking potentially two units out of a pressured lane. After Patch 1.2 buffing , you’ve really seen Beastmaster falling in popularity. If you weren’t aware, Jasper Daggers can take off the Primal Roar stun. I thought it would be important to mention him, either way.
is a core piece of what makes this deck so powerful. First off, Treant Protector has a massive 10 health, which is pretty astounding for a Green Hero. Second, his Branches of Iron passive ability is nothing to scoff at. When you have a Red Hero neighboring Treant, casting off a or feels quite a bit better, and sometimes you might take zero damage from the effect, thanks to the extra armor!
Not to mention, is the third tool for ramping in this deck. The spell, , the Improvement, , and lastly the Creep unit, . If you can mix and match these different ramp options, it can become very difficult for your opponent to deal with so many various ramp methods.
The Second Green Hero
, in my opinion, is the clear choice for the second Green Hero. In the flop, he can empower neighboring to kill opposing Creeps. His signature card, is a powerful creep unit that can become a serious problem if your opponent leaves it unchecked. Lycan also gives this deck a very powerful option on how to approach the game as a whole, with extra Creeps from Savage Wolf, you can choose to either build wide with creeps and , or build high with Buffed up Heroes with . This is a key piece to this deck’s strategy.
is definitely the better option in the mirror match. With Omniknight, your Heroes can go toe-to-toe with the opponent’s, and because of the Regeneration from , you can outlast the opposition. Unfortunately, Omniknight is a bit slow to get going, requiring 4 Mana for his Signature, which doesn’t have an immediate impact, because it requires the Combat Phase to end before triggering. If Omniknight casts Allseeing One’s Favor, he can still be killed before the Combat Phase has even started! Either way, this is a powerful tool in the mirror match!
has been gaining popularity in the deck, likely thanks to high profile players using it in recent tournaments. Dark Seer’s Active Ability, Surge, allows you to throw a unit from one lane to another. This is great after you’ve put on a Hero and are going to finish off a lane, you can put more pressure somewhere else. Or even bounce around a , allowing you to buff multiple lanes. Unfortunately, Dark Seer’s signature card, is pretty terrible, even though it does combo well with and , which can be beneficial in some situations. It’s another one of those cards that doesn’t have an immediate impact on the board, requiring the Combat Phase to end, which in my opinion, this deck has enough cards of this type.
has also been popping up here and there, because of his ability to remove an opponent’s from their Heroes, with his signature card . Personally, I think this is a very rare opportunity that won’t come up that often, and at the end of the day, it only removes Time of Triumph from a single Hero. It’s a very minor “trick” that doesn’t accomplish a whole lot. I really think is actually a stronger Hero that Abaddon when it comes to the mirror match. And Omniknight has significant use across the board, where Abaddon is pretty situational in most matchups.
I’ve also seen experimentation with other Green Heroes such as or in this spot, but I wouldn’t recommend them. After Drow Ranger was nerfed in Patch 1.2, she is practically unplayable in her current form. removing her silence from is just too much of an issue for her to really shine. Chen is also not that impactful because doesn’t see much play in the current format.
Your main Ramp tools, , and are really why you run Green in this deck. These are cards you want to see in your opening hand or early on in a match, because sometimes they can mean an easy victory. I lumped into this list of cards because I want to talk about why it’s important for this deck. You’ll often times see players using 3 in this slot, but I think that is incorrect, and I’ll go over why later in this article.
are important because it’s a consistent form of draw for this deck. You run on Ramp cards and you have to draw into them, period. Realistically, you want to have at least one of these two Ramp cards by Round 3, the 6 Mana round. With either a or a into another lane, you can cast a two turns earlier than you would otherwise. Unearthed Secrets can help you get there because if you draw it early, you can draw two to three cards by that time, which will increase your chances of drawing into Stars Align or Selemene’s Favor considerably.
These are powerful Creep units that this deck needs when an opening presents itself to go wide and abuse . All three of these cards are some of the most powerful cards in their respective Mana cost, putting a ton of pressure on the board from a single card. If you can drop into an enemy , he will already have better stats than almost every Blue Hero in the game!
is an amazing card because of its cross lane potential. Many times you might find yourself with a buffed up Red Hero all alone in an already won lane. You might be digging for a to shift him over to another lane, but you can actually take advantage of this situation with . Spend your mana from that lane, in an already won lane, to put pressure elsewhere. And if you did draw the Blink Dagger from the Item shop, well that’s just even more pressure!
has recently gained popularity over the other option in this slot, . Because of how popular Red Heroes are, and the impact has on a match, Spot Weakness is a reliable Cantrip that can also have a late game impact against an enemy Time of Triumph. Personally I’ve found that I can accomplish more with a Smash their defenses, but I’ve been toying with Spot Weakness lately and I like it. I would say in a heavier Mono Blue Control meta, consider over Spot Weakness.
is a 1-of because it’s just too good not to run. In other versions of this deck, I’ve even run 2 Enough Magic, as it’s essentially a better version of ’s . It can single handedly win games, or it can be used as a powerful tool to deny the opponent an important , or even a cross-lane kill.
These are the key win condition cards for this deck. I can’t overstate the impact and power behind . If you can activate this on even just one hero, most of the time it’s the right thing to do. Anything more than a single hero, and you’re just getting so much value that it sickens me.
is your “Go Wide” piece. Slamming a bunch of creeps in a non- lane and slapping down will apply so much pressure, that your opponent will likely be tempted to cast in a one Hero lane! If they choose not to kill the Emissary, you can almost be certain you will end up winning that lane, possibly even pushing for an Ancient kill!
has been an absolutely broken card since it was buffed in Patch 1.2. Personally, it should cost much more, I think you could even argue 9 or 10 gold would be a better fit. Because of how strong of a card it is, especially attached to high Attack Red units, it is a must have at 2.
There isn’t actually a ton of things that Jasper Daggers is key to remove in the current meta. Because of Jasper Dagger existing most cards and Heroes that put negative effects on cards have fallen in popularity and coming across them in play is actually pretty rare. Either way, Jasper Dagger piercing Armor is a key part of the mirror match.
is a great tool for this deck, allowing you to move a unit into an opposing Hero or even to get extra tower damage in. After a , it really shines, allowing you to position a buffed up Hero in a way that allows you to take full advantage of the Cleave damage, knocking out most of the opponent’s lane of units. In some scenarios, you could argue that 2 , 2 is better. But I prefer 3 Stonehall Cloak for the mirror match as well as dealing with Mono Blue Control.
I've also noticed that has worked its way into some Red/Green Midrange decks out there. While doing essentially the same thing as , it can accomplish something when you don't have any Creeps in the same lane. I think if you choose to replace with a different Green Hero, and focus more on the Red side of the deck, is better than because you won't have enough Creeps to swap with.
shines when the unit equipped with it doesn’t die, allowing you to trigger the cloak’s effect after the Combat Phase. First, Because of the high Health values of the units in this deck, it’s pretty easy to survive a few turns. Second, Stonehall Cloak is better when it’s purchased as early as possible. Well, this deck has really beefy Red Heroes that can get Flop kills on the first round, so you won't have problems getting it early either.
is, as always, the best item in the game. Other than Mono Blue Control, it should be a 3-of in pretty much everything. But here, in this deck, Blink Dagger has a few extra uses. The first is the most obvious, moving units into the same lane to apply to more units, or even moving a buffed Hero around for more damage. Another less obvious tool for Blink Dagger, moving a Red Hero into a lane with no Heroes, allowing you to cast a . One example where that comes into play is if your opponent were to cast from Lane One into Lane Three. If that were to happen, you could Blink a Red Hero from Lane Two into Lane Three, allowing you use that lane's Mana for !
Why ramp works so well in Artifact
Ramp has always been a powerful strategy, in pretty much every card game. In most games, there is only one board, and it’s very easy to put a stop to the opponent’s ramping mana pool, allowing them to summon bigger and scarier units -- Board clear.
Imagine this scenario, you have 3 Board Clear cards in your hand and your opponent has ramped his board to a high Mana count. He spends all his mana to summon a big beefy unit. Okay, you clear it. Next turn, another big unit, another clear. Third turn, another big unit, another clear. For three entire turns, your opponent wasn’t able to stick a unit to the board.
Now imagine Artifact. Three lanes. Your opponent has Ramped up each lane and is summoning a big unit in each. Well, you have to cast in all three lanes, right? Great, you survived a single round. Now what? Next turn, your opponent can keep up the pressure, but you’ve already run out of board clears. This is why Ramp is so much stronger in Artifact, compared to other card games.
Furthermore, your opponent could do something even more devastating, spend all of those Ramp resources into a single lane, overpowering you easily, and then once you've given up in that lane, the opponent can continue to pile on with and just take the Ancient. Having options like that is just insanely powerful, and not every deck has that luxury.
As I mentioned before, I think it’s important to have this discussion. To be perfectly honest, I’ve gone back and forth on this issue many times. Currently, I’m in the Secrets camp, but I can understand where the Mist camp is coming from. This is how I think about the issue --
- Ideally, you want Ramp cards in your opening hand
- For to have maximum value, it needs to be played as early as possible
That means you are hoping to get both Ramp cards and Mist in your opening Hand? Seems kind of rare that will ever happen. Second, doesn’t have anything to do with helping you get your Ramp cards, which is the whole point of this deck. I can understand why Mist is desirable, hypothetically, if you never drew into your Ramp cards, at least with a Mist of Avernus, you are growing your units without ever getting to early, yeah I get it. But think about where that strategy might work best, in a situation where everything has gone wrong, and you haven’t drawn into your most important cards. Wow, if only there was something that helped with that? Hmmm… Oh yeah! !
Last point I want to make in this comparison, your Ramp cards are kind of “do nothing” cards. You play and it doesn’t really do anything to the field, making any impact. Sure, it lets you play a card earlier than you would have otherwise, but Stars Align is essentially losing you the card advantage, just to get a card out sooner. Spending two cards for one cards effect.
Having reliable draw from something like can keep up pace with your opponent’s card advantage, because they aren’t having to burn cards like you are with . And in most cases, they will likely have to use multiple resources of their own to respond to the thing you played sooner, which means Unearthed Secrets will actually give you the card advantage!
- Get online
As I just explained, you want to get up in the most advantageous lane, if you draw into it early enough. Even if you don't draw it early, it still holds value through the entire game. Drawing is always good. If you’re facing against Red, try to place it after they’ve spent Mana, to avoid it being destroyed by . It’s obvious that gain more value if you can draw a card from it every turn, starting in Round one. For this reason, it’s best to have a Green Hero in the flop, just for this chance. I have seen some Red/Green Midrange decks that don’t even have a Green Hero in the flop, which I disagree with.
- Recognize the best lane to try and Ramp in
Especially if your opening hand includes a and/or a , I would highly recommend you evaluate the board and try to decide which lane is the best for you to focus your Ramp into. More often than not, the best lanes to Ramp are Lane one or Lane Two, but if you have multiple in your hand, the best lane might be Lane Three.
- Spam Creep units in the non-ramp lane
Because you are going to ramp a lane into , I would recommend focusing your Creep units into the lane that isn’t being Ramped up. When this happens, you can force your opponent to choose a lane to deal with and give up on the other. If they give up on the Time of Triumphed lane, Blink the heroes out. If they give up on your Creep lane, you might have an opening to double down, slamming an and maybe another Hero, pushing for the Ancient kill.
Transitioning into win condition
- Use for a big
If you can, try to save to get a bomb . It’s easy to drop a Blink Dagger early, sometimes just for the extra 2 damage, and it can be tempting to try and Blink somewhere else to throw your opponent off or get a slight edge in damage or go for a Hero kill. But if you can save the Active on Blink Dagger for a big Time of Triumph, knowing there won’t be a counter or something like that, definitely go for it. If you can get a three or four Hero Time of Triumph, it is often game winning on its own.
- Use and to deny counter plays
It’s hard to get Initiative with this deck, because we don’t have any “Get Initiative” cards. I’ve often had to pass for a lane or two during an important round, just to secure Initiative in an important lane, for a big swing turn. It’s not always the best thing to do it, because it can negatively impact you, if your opponent is holding a Get Initiative card of their own, but if you can throw down a to protect a lane filled with buffed up Heroes, it’s definitely worth taking the risk.
- can finish a lane for you
Ideally, you should be casting into non-Time of Triumph lane, where you don’t have a horde of Heroes bursting a Tower down with Siege damage. This is an important lesson to learn when piloting this deck, spreading your resources around just enough to finish off a lane. Having a “Wide” lane and a “Tall” lane can cause serious problems for your opponent.
Versus Mono Blue Control
- Do not use before they have spent mana
Obviously, they have and will likely drop it the second they think they can get an advantage over you. Believe it or not, this might hurt them more than it hurts you, but I’ve definitely run into this issue on occasion. If you into , they might have a , , or something else to kill the Red Hero that would cast Time. It’s important to wait and see what they do before you decide to go through with casting a Stars Align.
- Don’t focus on killing their Heroes in the beginning of the game
Believe it or not, killing Blue Heroes in Mono Blue Control isn’t always the correct thing to do. The best time to kill their Heroes is of course on the 5 Mana round, which forces them to sit out on 6 Mana, which you can then freely cast and , without being fearful of a counter . If you kill their Heroes on 4 Mana, they will come back on the 6 Mana round, so be mindful of this.
- Spam Creep cards in lanes with only one Hero
If you can build a Wide lane, with only one Hero in the lane, you might be able to force an from the opponent, or at the very least an . By forcing a lane wide with only one Hero, you put immense pressure on your opponent because they need to save Annihilation until you are pushing with a lane filled with buffed Heroes. Any time you can push your opponent into casting Annihilation, you are getting a massive advantage.
- Get online as early as possible
This shouldn’t be too hard for you against Mono Blue Control, but the earlier you can get some , the better. Once you get these down on both Red and Green Heroes, you should be securing yourself the ability to survive a late game , which could easily wipe your field without the Cloaks.
Versus Red/Black Aggro
- Do not feed them Gold
Because this deck runs multiple , it can become a serious problem for you if you don’t have one or two online. The second they get to 10 Gold, they’ll be fishing for Claszureme, because of how big of an impact it is in this matchup. Hourglass can push back your Ramp into big stuff by a turn or two, which can cause problems for the matchup.
- Again, don’t Ramp before they’ve spent Mana
Not only do they have Locking up your Ramp cards, they also run two very nasty cards, and . Both of these can really mess up a Ramp play, if you open a lane with . They can put the brakes on that strategy fairly easily. As a general rule of thumb, try to bait out an opponent’s Mana before you commit to Stars Align.
- Go wide as soon as possible
Just like this deck struggles against a wide board versus Mono Blue Control, you can do the exact same thing to them. This is part of the reason why I prefer in the deck. Slam creeps down in multiple lanes, going wide, because they will struggle against a wide board. They don’t have any board clear, unless they run of course, but that is pretty low damage and you can usually go Wide without much fear.
That about wraps up the second breakdown! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this guide! Check back later for a breakdown on the Red/Black Aggro deck!