Hello, everyone! I’ve had a few inquiries about the deck I ran at the Spring Fling Slam Jam, the first TTS tournament using the cards and dice from the Odette and Namine sets. So what I’ll do here is explain how I put the deck together, what I expected to face, what I actually did face, and what I would change about the deck going forward.
The Deck: Beast Mode (named as a reference to Marshawn Lynch, lover of Skittles, and also because it puts out a lot of “beasts”–lions, bears, and owls)
2 Ceremonial, 2 Nature, 2 Sympathy, 2 Divine, 1 Charm, 1 Illusion
3 Frost Bite
1 Summon Frostback Bear
1 Summon Three-eyed Owl
1 Summon Gilder
1 Summon Emperor Lion
3 Law of Assurance
3 Hidden Power
3 Blood Chains
1 Fade Away
2 Power Through
3 Particle Shield
1 Iron Worker
2 Hammer Knight
2 String Mage
How it came together/what I expected to face: I didn’t have very long to practice before the Slam Jam (like most people), but in my few matches I played and observed, it was obvious that Winged Lioness was going to be prevalent. Of the new cards, I expected to see Heal, some Emperor Lions, Power Through, Crescendo, Magic Siphon, and maybe some River Skalds. I think that String Mage is really, really good, but it’s not as overtly good as Lions/Lionesses, so I didn’t expect to see too many of them.
As a response to lionesses and the more drawn out ground wars, I assumed there would be a lot of ice trap and particle shield (there were lots of both of those). The introduction of Law of Assurance, and Vicky’s battlefield of 5, make her less scary in this meta. So the obvious choice seemed to be Rin. Lots of dice for big units with Hidden Power and Rin’s Fury, 6 battlefield to go with 4 spellboard, and Ice Buff are all great for ground wars.
And I did look at Rin a lot, as did many people. The problem that was hampering my deckbuilding was that I really wanted String Mage. If one of my bigger units could survive a lioness attack due to Particle Shield, a String Mage could really make someone pay for that attack. But it’s currently a lot easier to splash 2 divine dice (Power Through, Heal, and Winged Lioness all cost only one divine die, and divine also opens up Law of Assurance) than it is to splash sympathy dice, and the double sympathy dice requirement of String Mage is steep.
So I tried to figure out how I could get the dice recursion using multiple dice types, and Orrick was the best fit.
I included the obligatory 3 Hidden Power (because it’s awesome) and Particle Shield, because I wanted my units to stay alive and power my String Mage.
I included different debuff and removal options because my 6 color deck allowed me to do so. Regress for stopping threats in first five. Fade away to remove threats cheaply (and prevent respark of alterations). Crescendo to open up big attacks. Bear and Emperor Lion to give me two huge units per round, supplemented with Hammer Knights and String Mage/Iron worker.
Owl was for early pressure, and Frost Bite was for late game to burn over the top once we’re both walled up. Gilders were to try to ping units and protect String Mage, but I never really had an opportunity to use a Gilder.
Law of Assurance to set up big round 1 when faced with heavy illusion as well as provide dice fixing options when I draw into it.
I put the deck together with the goal of building a threatening battlefield round 1, getting in as many hits as possible, and using either owls vs control or Frost Bite vs big ground threats to close out the game.
The matches: My first match was against Christian’s Vicky Deck (4 illusion, 4 sympathy, 2 nature). He surprised me round 1 with Shadow Counter, killing my charm-buffed Hammer Knight before it could attack. Christian’s deck put out lots of Squall Stallions (with Butterfly Monks and RIver Skald) and relied on drawing a lot of cards. He unluckily meditated off all three of his Shadow Spirit books, or the match would’ve been closer. In the end, when we had walled up (both with 5 battlefield), I was able to throw damage over the top with my focused Frostbite. With neither of us able to gain footing in the ground war, Frostbite closed out the game for me.
My second match was against Tony’s Nature/Charm/Divine Maeoni deck. I don’t have a video of that so I have to rely on memory, but there were some interesting moments. He opened up with a Holy Knight, and I responded with a Hammer Knight, which was promptly given a molten crown. So the Holy Knight swung in for 7 (with Strike) and took over a third of my life before I could Regress it. After that, I controlled the battlefield with my superior numbers, despite being hit by Meteor. I didn’t realize until after the match that I could have used my String Mage to steal the snakes’ status tokens.
My third match was against Elliot’s Rin deck (4 divine, 3 illusion, 3 nature). We both had big powerful units (he had Lion, Lioness, Bear, and Shifting Mist). He set up for the long game with Shifting Mist, possibly thinking the match would go to time. I jumped out to an early lead with a Hammer Knight in my first five, and also drew into Crescendo to open up a swing. He made an awesome move first-fiving Dispel to counter my Regress that I put on his Emperor Lion. I still got decent value, though, because it removed his Ice Buff. And I got lucky and drew the Regress again Round 2.
Particle shield played a big role on both sides. I think that my being able to add ceremonial and sympathy cards (in particular Hammer Knight, Blood Chains, Regress, and Crescendo) gave me an edge in battlefield control. By the end, I had a focused frostbite, which allowed me to bypass his wall of units.
My fourth match was the first of the Championship Round Matches against Phil. He was running Jessa (5 Nature, 3 Divine, 2 Ceremonial) with Chant of Revenge, Lioness, Bear, and Butterfly Monk).
I ran Bear, Lion, String Mage, Regress, and Particle Shield in my First Five. Phil had Bear, Chant of Revenge, Lioness, Fear, and Monk. At the end of Round 1, I had an unhurt Bear and String Mage, and he had a Regressed Bear, a Monk, and a Lioness (with my life at 18 and his at 15). After that, things went downhill fast for me. My Lions got Feared in the first three rounds of the game, which really hurt my board presence. I also made a big mistake that Phil capitalized on when I used a side action to Power Through and attacked with Crescendo, putting the damage on my String Mage. I had thought I was going to be able to shuffle that damage to one of his units, but forgot I already used a side action. This ultimately led to my String Mage’s death, which then opened the door for Phil’s Lionesses to hunt my bears with impunity. Phil played well, forcing a second Championship match, and I admit I wasn’t sure how I could pull off a win.
Of course, my fifth and final match was the second Championship match against Phil. The Emperor Lions getting Feared 3 consecutive turns taught me a valuable lesson, so I decided to switch up my first five.
This time I went with Bear, Hammer Knight, String Mage, Iron Worker, and Regress. I regressed the starting Lioness so I could manage my wounds better with the String Mage (as Orrick could always guard against his bear, if need be). My bear got Feared, but I had an unhurt Hammer Knight, String Mage, and Iron Worker (with 2 status) vs his hurt bear and monk round 2.
A String Mage with multiple side actions per turn is really good. It forces your opponent to make big swings or sometimes attack with more attack than they actually need (fearing particle shields). Because if they don’t kill a unit in one attack (or with one spell), you can use those wounds against them. The biggest impact of the String Mage in the final game was that Phil was choosing to not counter and not to use Aftershock when he attacked (so as not to give the String Mage wound ammunition). This lead to my two Hammer Knights staying alive a lot longer than they should have, which ultimately won the game for me when I swung in big on the final round.
Possible changes: I don’t think I summoned a single Gilder throughout the entire tournament. Ping is devalued because of the heavy presence of Particle Shield and beefier units, and Unit Guard is not as strong because Lionesses don’t care about it. Combine that with Orrick’s 5 battlefield, and gilders just don’t have a place. I will definitely be taking them out of the deck.
I want to experiment with Cut the Strings in place of Summon Gilder. A heavy drawback to Cut the Strings is the two damage you need to inflict on your own unit. That coupled with a 2 die cost and a precious spellboard slot make it hard to include. But one thing I observed was there were times that I wished I did have wounds so my String Mage could dole them out (and avoid Particle Shields in the process). I’m putting out big units, and Regress, Fade Away (especially on Power Through units) and even Reflections in the Water (on String Mage) can severely disrupt my strategy. Cut the Strings can get great value by removing these debilitating alterations as a main action, while also allowing me to throw those wounds on an opponent with the String Mage (both in one turn if my Iron Worker is out).
Blood Chains is an outstanding card, but I don’t think I need 3 of them, particularly after subbing in Cut the Strings as an answer to Regress. So I will drop down to 2 Blood Chains and add a second Fade Away. Again, Fade Away gets great value in a meta with big creatures.
So the net changes are -1 Blood Chains ,-1 Summon Gilder, +1 Fade Away, +1 Cut the Strings
I also think Choke gains a lot of value in this meta, and I’m considering adding in one or two Chokes to stop a Stalk, Unit Guard (as I don’t have Lionesses), etc.
That’s about it! I hope you enjoyed reading about Beast Mode Orrick, and please join us on TTS for the next Slam Jam Tournament!