A Personal Choice
November 3, 2019
Hello and welcome back to the deck of the week column! Each week, 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, my awesome reader! Leave comments below if you have any deck suggestions.
First – just wanted to say I apologize for the brief hiatus of the last 4 weeks. Stuff in my personal life has been kind of a whirlwind and I had to take some time away – but I am super happy to be back! This article / video was written on September 28th, but we had some technical difficulties getting it posted – so if the TCO layout looks dated, it’s because it is.
This week, I’m pleased to bring you a personal favorite of mine: Ruckrun, the Trooper of the Course (link to DoK). This is the deck that I took all the way to the Top 16 at my first Vault Tour – Vault Tour Gencon (Archon Format).
This deck is very special to me – I remember where I was when I opened it. My friends and I had opened a few packs over the past month or so and we had observed that decks from the same display box seemed to share a lot of similarities. For example, higher frequency of a specific house, seemingly similar power levels (in our unfortunate case, many below-average decks), and even certain cards seeming to repeat far more frequently than we expected. I have basically accepted this to be fact and find it very annoying. So, in an attempt to work around this, I ordered three sealed decks from Amazon. The first two were certainly different, but nothing particularly special. Then I began reading the archon card for Ruckrun – I quickly realized this was the most powerful deck I had ever opened.
What stuck out to me right away was the Logos. Double Labwork, double Phase Shift, Sloppy Labwork, Mother, and Interdimensional Graft? Sign me right up. As long as my other houses had cards worth playing, this deck was going to go 100 miles per hour. Luckily, the Dis and Shadows proved quite good – although it would take me many games, even after the Vault Tour, to recognize some winning plays that this deck can pull off.
This is actually a rather nice contrast to the last featured deck, which had lots of card efficiency but not many cards that were actually valuable to play.
Run, Ruck, Run!
Let me explain two combinations that this deck frequently pulls off to win games.
This is the combo I pulled off in around half of my Vault Tour games. What I would do is basically archive these three cards via the incredible archiving suite in this deck and wait. Once my opponent forged their key (ideally their first, usually their second) – I’d spring. After forging, they usually start racing toward their next (often final) key, maybe even checking me for it when they pass back. I unforge their key and essentially undo their entire previous turn aember-wise. Graft and Hammer also have aember pips to reward me further for my trouble. This was usually followed by either Scrambler Storm or Control the Weak to lock my opponent out of the game for good.
What I didn’t realize is that there’s another situation where this combo can be played effectively. Say I’ve just forged my first key and my opponent is ahead, checking me for key #2 with 7 aember. I can play this combo to put them to 13 aember and just steal 7 of it back before they even know what happened. This has actually come in handy, although it is definitely tricky to know when it’s worth it to be aggressive or controlling with this combo.
This is just a degenerate lock combo that is easier to pull off than you might think. Anytime Bauble and Archaelogist are on the board together, I’m essentially one card away from potentially winning the game on the spot. It is true the Archaelogist has a big target on its back, but this deck also has other must-kill threats like Mother, Shaffles, and two Umbras, not to mention a Shadow Self to provide protection.
Even when this deck doesn’t pull off these combos, its ability to archive in each house provides a lot of big-play chemistry. I remember one game in the Vault Tour where I had just been archiving all of my Shadows cards and then finally had a wild seven or eight card Shadows turn that completely swung the game into my favor.
The biggest vulnerability this deck has is to creature-heavy decks. I think the deck I featured in my first article, which relied heavily on big Brobnar bodies and Grump Buggy, would be a very tough matchup. One Dance of Doom is basically my only answer to anything with more than 4 power, since most of the bodies in this deck are too small to fight with. This deck doesn’t have a ton of aember control – Lash of Broken Dreams is our main tool in this area – so that can also lead to difficult, grindy matchups. Still, I think this deck has a lot of potential, and is extremely fun to play as well.
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 the Crucible. Let’s see if things play out as expected. For those who are not interested / able to watch the videos, I’ll provide a brief written summary of each match on how the deck played out in our matchup.
Game Summary: Big props right off the bat to the TCO developers, who added a very helpful archon card feature. Thank you! I think I looked at it a little too much, so I need to make sure that doesn’t become a habit. I keep an odd 3-2-2 hand on the play but a timely Control the Weak helps me establish some tempo. Being patient to respond to my opponent’s threats pays off as I’m able to craft some big turns. My opponent really doesn’t have much aember control, so I’m able to get ahead quickly and press my advantage. A well-timed Phase Shift-Dance of Doom helps me solidify the board and my opponent has no way to recover. Tolas actually did a ton of work for me in this match and helped me race to one of the faster wins I’ve ever had with this deck, 3 keys to 0.
Game Summary: Turn one Mother is never a bad place to start. Crucible tracker actually showed me that this deck wins 70% of the time when I keep 7 when going first, versus 17% when I mulligan. So now I try to err on the side of keeping. Opponent gets off to a fast start with Help from Future Self + Time Traveler as part of a five card first turn. My opponent is forced into kind of an awkward Dis turn and helps me out by clearing the board and chaining himself with Gateway to Dis. I take way too long to realize that Shaffles will take my opponent off of check *sigh* but eventually I figure it out. I discard Tolas which I think some people would find odd, so I’ll expand on my thought process:
I have a Poison Wave in hand and feel pretty sure I’m using it to kill Faygin ASAP. If I do that, Tolas dies before I can benefit from it anyways. Since the creatures I have on board aren’t really fighters, playing Tolas just gives my opponent a turn of advantage. Holding Tolas is putting needless chains on my deck, which just wants to maximize efficiency.
My opponent goes all-in on his Charette, putting two Flame-Wreathed upgrades on it. I have a total brainfart and don’t realize that Dance of Doom would be for 8 in that scenario, thus not destroying any of my creatures. Either way, I get a strong board advantage thanks to some strong hand crafting – it is hard not to build an advantage when you’re playing 5 cards per turn and your opponent can only play 3. I get to 2 keys and 7 aember before my opponent suddenly has connection problems… I will say I probably played my last turn a little too slowly – when I’m recording these videos for you all I’m trying to think and explain my thought process, which takes a little longer. So, no hard feelings by any means – I think I was able to pretty much deduce that there was no way they could take me off check anyways.
Game Summary: Lucky me gets to go first for the third straight game…but I do get Mother which is nice. Opponent responds with a solid 4 card Dis first turn that puts me on the back foot – luckily I’m able to stabilize with a timely, if inefficient, Dance of Doom. Opponent gets a nice Blypyp + Squawker + Grabber Jammer Mars turn to take me off of check which is very annoying. I’m able to respond with a 6 card Shadows turn to really turn the tables – I’m able to take the lead in aember, card advantage, and on the board. I’m able to use Lash of Broken Dreams to force my opponent to 11 aember before dropping a devastating Interdimensional Graft that bursts me to one key, twelve aember. I’m pretty much able to coast to keys 2 and 3 from there.
Conclusion: 3-0 is always a great result! I was a little bummed that I didn’t get to play either of the combos that I wrote about, but I think it shows how powerful this deck can be even without getting those plays off. Having played this deck many times now, I think these were pretty representative of how things usually play out. I hope you had fun learning about a deck that is very special to me – post a link to deck that has meaning to you! As always, I appreciate any feedback and, most of all, your time for reading / watching.
Vault Tour Indy: I’ll be at Vault Tour Indy this coming weekend (November 8-10) and I hope to see / meet many Archons Corner and Keyforge friends. It’s going to be very exciting to play Worlds Collide for the “first” (*wink wink*) time on such a large stage. Hopefully there will be good news to report next week!
Thanks, and forge on!