Deck of the Week – Episode 1
Hello and welcome to the deck of the week segment! Each Friday, I’ll highlight a new deck: a recent winner of a premiere event, a deck that personally intrigues me, or maybe even a deck suggested by you, our awesome reader! Leave comments below if you have any deck suggestions.
Since this is my first article, I think an introduction is necessary before we dive in. *Western Accent* They call me the Key Cowboy *end accent* and I’ve been playing Keyforge for about 2 months. Actually, my friends in high school called me Cowboy because all I wanted to do in Call of Duty was use silenced pistols – I cannot explain how any of this is logical. My first archon event was the GenCon Vault Tour, which I played to a Top 16 finish. I did a tournament report for Reddit – I’ll post the link in the comments. Since then, I’ve collected a few chains at local events and have become more involved in the competitive Keyforge community. I’m super excited to share my thoughts and improve my abilities as we go on this journey together!
With that out of the way, let’s look at this week’s deck: Zetadrive, the Editor Designer (link to DoK). This deck was skillfully guided to a runner-up finish at VT Krakow (Archon). Why look at the runner-up? Well, for one thing, it’s an Age of Ascension deck.
That’s significant. Why? Since AoA has been released, there have been three Single Deck Archon Vault Tours: Italy, GenCon, and Krakow. Out of forty-eight total Top 16 decks, only 6 are from AoA! And of those six, this is the only AoA deck to make it all the way to the finals.
- AoA, 2. Brobnar, 3. Aember Control, 4. ???? = Profit
So, what makes it tick? 92 SAS and 59 AERC are quick indicators that this deck is competitive, but obviously we already know that. Looking through the deck list, it’s the Brobnar pool that really stands out to me. Drummernaut / 2x Ganger Chieftain combo gives you the ability to potentially rush aember or dominate the board, while a combination of Grump Buggy, Iron Obelisk, and Pile of Skulls can create impossibly high key costs for the opponent.
The Dis and Logos houses have the cards to do what those houses do best. In Dis, we see annoying creatures like Aember Imp, Tezmal, and Shooler, controlling artifacts like Key to Dis and Lifeward, and game-swinging action cards Poltergeist and double Exhume. Logos offers the full archiving suite in Labwork, Memory Chip, and double Sloppy Labowork as well as card drawing engines in Fila the Researcher, Library of Babble, and Eyegor. Helper Bot serves as a house-cheat on a stick (and a great target for Exhume).
The deck is pretty well balanced – it doesn’t have many glaring weaknesses other than not having a massive aember stealing / destroying card like Interdimensional Graft or Burn the Stockpile. It is particularly susceptible to artifact control, but in the current meta, people aren’t going out of their way for artifact control like they had to when LANS was dominating the competitive scene.
Ultimately, I think what separates this deck in the AoA pack is the synergy within Brobnar to create more key control than usually seen in an AoA deck. Being able to control keys and creatures simultaneously seems uber-powerful to me.
Let’s See it In Action!
But enough hypothesizing! Let’s see what this thing does in action. To do that, I took the deck through three competitive games on thecrucible.online. Let’s see if things play out as expected. For those who are not interested / able, I’ll provide a brief written summary of each match on how the deck played out in our matchup.
Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/CpEdgihnuzM.
Game Summary: We get matched up against a solid Dis, Shadows, Untamed and get off to kind of a slow start. Luckily, so does our opponent and we eventually get to establish board control with big Brobnar guys and Cowfine + Ganger Chieftain to clear some of his board. He has a big Shadows turn to check for his first key and even the board a bit before we Poltergeist his Lash of Broken Dreams. Ouch. Eventually we forge while he is stuck still trying to forge his first key for 12. As soon as we forge, we get Ganger Chieftain + Drummernaught, and our opponent scoops. GG!
Youtube link: https://youtu.be/iVzk-r-b73g
Game Summary: I actually remember to read the deck list for our opponent (good practice for tournaments) and he has a really great deck led by Shadows with Too Much to Protect and The Sting. I try to hold off playing my Poltergeist but eventually have to use it only to be immediately punished when my opponent lands The Sting the following turn. We establish firm board dominance before we get completely blown out by The Spirit’s Way. That card is ridiculous against this deck. I definitely make a HUGE misplay by not realizing Bulwark would mess up my line of play. The game changing play occurs when I reap up to 16 after Ganger Chieftain + Drummernaught and he immediately TMTP, sacrifices The Sting, keeps me off a key because of my own Grump Buggy, and puts me on a 3 turn clock. Just as we are about to cross the finish line, our opponent drops a backbreaking Ember Imp that we can’t deal with. He forges Key 3 while we are at 2 keys and 6 amber. I probably made few misplays, but the deck was super resilient and almost pulled off the comeback.
Youtube link: https://youtu.be/w-S9r17BllE
Game Summary: First of all, no words can do justice to how insane this game was. We are playing against Bombfoot, the Aeronaut of the Pike, which won all 3 games of the adaptive final at Vault Tour Denver. I looked up the deck on DoK after the game ended: 101 SAS, 69 AERC. SHEESH. This game had a ton of interesting decisions – I highly recommend watching it even though I made a few misplays that made me CRINGE while re-watching.
We spend our first couple turns trying to sculpt a decent hand using Sloppy Labwork to get ourselves out of a 2-2-2 hand. Our opponent races ahead to 6 aember and 5 creatures to our 3 aember, 0 creatures. Yikes. Ganger Chieftain + Drummernaught help us stabilize the board a bit. Our opponent jumps to a 2-0 key lead at about 10 minutes in and you can hear me basically throwing in the towel. But we never give up! Iron Throne and Grump Buggy come to rescue, helping keep our opponent off their key while we dominate the board. We eventually get our Chieftain + Drummer combo again to clear his board and get us halfway to our third key. Just as we are about to put the game away, our opponent uses Tendrils of Pain to destroy a ton of our big guys and put themselves in check. I did miss and obvious Exhume of Shooler that would have made my life a lot easier *sigh*, but we are able to pull off a huge Logos turn to cross the finish line by the slimmest of margins. This game was UNREAL and, most importantly, a ton of fun.
Conclusion: Wow. That deck was both insanely powerful and insanely fun. I think Brobnar definitely led the deck, but the support from Logos in hand-sculpting and the control aspects of Dis were characteristics that I probably underestimated. This deck certainly has complex lines and decisions to make – I think I would need several more games under my belt with the deck to feel confident in playing it clean. I’ve played with and against many great CoTA decks, and there is no doubt in my mind that this deck could hang with them.
So, what’s next? Please comment below on any types of decks or specific decklists you’d like me to highlight – I’m super interested in what you all want to see!
Thanks, and go forge your weekend!