Hello everyone! My name is Tom Davis, and I’m thrilled to be writing content for BattleShopper! For my first BattleShopper Breakdown, I wanted to focus on a deck that hasn’t been discussed at length already (i.e., Redlings, Ruby Deck Wins, Diamond-Sapphire Control), but also provides fantastic lines of play that requires a bit of thought to master. For that, I turned to midrange decks. Midrange decks, many claim, have fallen a bit out of favor in the current Hex Standard metagame; Aggro decks make up a large portion of the metagame right now, and on the other side of the spectrum, Diamond-Sapphire “Durdle” has been a successful control archetype, as seen in recent tournament results. Midrange decks, however, have only been fringe players in the metagame, popping up occasionally on the constructed ladder, but not finding a true home. The common complaint I hear about midrange decks presently is that they are slower to develop – Aggro decks can go under and win before midrange decks can deploy their gameplan, and control decks have enough time to set up their disruption package before midrange decks can really do anything about it. Moreover, both aggro and control decks have multiple ways to destroy troops in midrange decks, a core facet of the archetype’s success.
So, what’s the solution?
Be okay with our creatures dying!
Blood-Wild Deathcry is a deck designed to abuse, as you could guess, Deathcry abilities. In order to get around a lot of the disruption and blazingly fast troop pressure that the established metagame decks tend to employ regularly, a midrange deck needs to be able to accept that some of their troops are going to be sacrificed to the cause. Blood-Wild Deathcry does so admirably, allowing the player to block often, gaining incremental advantages along the way, even if some of our troops bite the dust.
Without further ado, here is the decklist:
7x Blood Shard
2x Wild Shard
4x Emperor’s Lackey
4x Rune Ear Hierophant – Gems: 4x Major Blood Orb of Fleshcraft, 4x Minor Wild Orb of Blossoms
4x Monsagi Lily Pad
1x Paw of Yazukan
4x Well of Ancients
4x Naive Lackey
1x Vampire Princess
1x Necropolis Coins
1x Withering Gaze
2x Woken Drokkatar
1x Gruesome Deed
2x Commander P.R.O.M.P.T.
4x Wild Ice
3x Promiscuous Succubus
2x Culmination of Blood
2x Grounds Creeper
2x Shard of Ancients
3x Lord Blightbark
1x Scorn of Oberon
2x Noxious Glory (Alternate Art)
1x Gemborn Prowler
3x Withering Gaze
1x Waltz of the Damned
1x Cheap Shot
1x Rotting Chompknight
This iteration of the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck recently put up two Top 4 finishes in the hands of Icecon
Tributes to Takahiro
Starting with our Champion, Takahiro, we know immediately that this deck is okay with losing creatures. In the current meta, life gain is essential to staying in the game against some of the decks that are faster than us. Takahiro allows us to do just that, while gaining the incremental advantages that our Deathcry abilities grant us.
There are two key troops that allow us to take full advantage of the Deathcry abilities in our deck, providing us ways to use these powerful effects without even losing a troop in the first place!
Lord Blightbark is a must-include in any Deathcry strategy. He turns every Deathcry ability in our deck into, essentially, a Deploy ability, giving us the ability to absolutely dominate a battlefield before Aggro decks can get under us with fast attackers, and gives us ways to rebuild our battlefield quickly against some of the powerful control decks in the metagame. Costing only 2 resources, Lord Blightbark can be quickly deployed and begin working with our other troops to wreak havoc on our opponents in short order. There are only 3 copies in our 75, in an effort to curb having multiple copies in our deck; being Unique, we can only have one Lord Blightbark on your side of the battlefield at a time.
Where Lord Blightbark provides advantages when troops enter the battlefield, Grounds Creeper rewards us at the end of our turn, triggering all of the Deathcry abilities of one troop on our end step. Coupled with Lord Blightbark, even a Naïve Lackey during the late game isn’t a bad play, allowing us to draw two cards while having a reasonable ground-blocker, all for one resource. On its own, Grounds Creeper is a reasonable 5-cost troop; a 4/5 with Lethal can still block a pesky attacker in a pinch. Preferably, we’d like to have Grounds Creeper live, though, to truly turn the tides in our favor during the late game. Like Lord Blightbark, Grounds Creeper gives us the raw power to re-establish a board state, when multiple removal effects would otherwise give us some trouble.
The Deathcry Suite
The core of our deck revolves around 4 troops whose Deathcry abilities are consistently useful on their own against the prominent decks in the current metagame, while partnering fantastically with Lord Blightbark and Grounds Creeper. I’d like to point out a few key interactions that I have found great during my testing with the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck.
First off is the interaction between Lord Blightbark and Rune Ear Hierophant. In this deck, Rune Ear Hierophant is socketed with two gems that create a Blightblossom and an Abomination when Deathcry triggers. Also remember that Rune Ear, on its own, grows larger when other troops enter the battlefield. With Lord Blightbark in play when Rune Ear Hierophant enters the battlefield, you get a 4/4 Rune Ear, a 1/1 Blightblossom, and a 2/2 Abomination – all for 3 resources. You can then feel safe if you need to sacrifice or block with Rune Ear in a pinch, as it will create another Blightblossom and a 4/4 Abomination. This powerful interaction falls fantastically on curve, on turns 2 and 3 of the game.
Next is the interaction between Grounds Creeper and Promiscuous Succubus. Promiscuous Succubus, on its own, is a reliable 3/2 troop with flight, but moreover, when its Deathcry ability triggers, it grants another troop a Deathcry ability that creates a Carnal Demon – a powerful 6/6 flier that gets around Lazgar’s Vengeance and the other powerful damage-based removal in the Standard format. With a Grounds Creeper in play, however, you can grant a creature the powerful Carnal Demon Deathcry ability on the same turn Promiscuous Succubus enters play, and in subsequent turns, create a Carnal Demon on every End Step. Couple that with Lord Blightbark, and you can begin the Carnal carnage on the turn Promiscuous Succubus enters the battlefield! Promiscuous Succubus gives a ton of flexibility to a deck that is focused on Deathcry strategies, and lets us block safely while gaining value along the way.
Finally, I want to note the synergy between Emperor’s Lackey and…well, every other troop in our deck. Deathcry becomes inherently more powerful when you have a reliable sacrificing outlet, and Emperor’s Lackey lets us do that at any point in a turn cycle. Emperor’s Lackey is a fantastic 2-resource troop that works well with our Deathcry strategy, letting Lackey remain a 4/4 troop while letting us gain incremental advantages along the way with the rest of the troops in our deck. This also allows us to work around the powerful removal in opponents’ decks; we can sacrifice everything to Lackey to work around Clash of Steel and other actions that void our troops, we can work around Herofall by sacrificing the targeted troop (and should they Herofall Emperor’s Lackey, that lets us keep the troops with Deathcry around), and if a Lazgar’s Vengeance rears its head, we can work with Promiscuous Succbus to create Carnal Demons that won’t bite the dust to a 4-damage wrath.
The Disruption Package
A great midrange deck will combine a powerful troop suite with a powerful removal suite, to give us legs during the crucial mid-stages of a match. There are a few other iterations of the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck floating around, all of which include Underworld Crusader. Underworld Crusader is an undeniably powerful troop, but the deckbuilding constraints it requires can prohibit deckbuilders from maximizing the removal potential of the deck. After icecon showed off a Crusader-less version of this deck, I was hooked – he managed to maintain the consistency and raw potency of the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck, all while giving us solid removal in Herofall, Paw of Yazukan and Gruesome Deed, and gives deckbuilders the flexibility to fine-tune their deck without worrying about having 10 Underworld troops in the process.
Culmination of Blood is a hugely powerful threat that aims to disrupt the Redlings and Diamond-Sapphire Control decks of the format by getting rid of the end-game powerhouses of Lazgar’s Vengeance and Psychic Ascension before they can be played. Culmination of Blood puts Redlings players in a particularly precarious situation – their game plan centers on creating armies of Dreadlings to attack quickly and ruthlessly, but those Dreadlings also enter the crypt. This drastically reduces the cost of us playing Culmination of Blood, even allowing us to remove an opponent’s hand on turn 3 or 4, well within the time needed to get rid of Lazgar’s Vengeance. Against Diamond-Sapphire Control, we can use the power of Emperor’s Lackey to quickly fill our crypt to play a fast Culmination of Blood, which allows us to attack more confidently and remove the often game-ending Psychic Ascension before a Paragon of Thought can take control. Don’t leave home without a few copies of this card in your 75.
Stay woke! Woken Drokkatar is our back-breaking end-game threat, that provides an end to a midrange stalemate, or allows us to finally swing through a Redlings troop-base. Moreover, Woken Drokkatar works well with our Deathcry abilities in the deck; more troops entering the battlefield reduces the cost of Woken Drokkatar and lets us deploy the huge threat earlier. I like playing 2 in the maindeck, with the ability to reduce that number to one or zero against the Ruby Deck Wins and Redlings archetypes that can sometimes get under us before we can be truly Woke. The ability to break stalemates and end a game immediately is worth having the powerful threat in our maindecks, and it is an easy inclusion in any version of the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck.
Admittingly, there are some strategies that can give us some problems while playing the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck (mainly the Diamond-Sapphire Control deck), and our Reserves package aims to help hus get around those concerns.
First, I want to highlight the Artifact and Constant threats that our Reserves can help mitigate. The Papa Goot BD decks deploy multiple constants that can either aid in casting a fast Twilight Archon, void our powerful troops in Decree of Banishing, and employ an otherwise hard-to-remove threat in Twilight Eclipse. Being able to remove these threats – often repeatedly with Lord Blightbark and Grounds Creeper in play, helps give us legs against this and the other non-interactive decks of the format that care a bit less about our troop-base.
Withering Gaze is extremely powerful against the Diamond-Sapphire Control decks and other control strategies that use Psychic Ascension to ascend to a nearly unbeatable champion in Paragon of Thought. Withering Gaze lets us steal these from our opponent and employ them ourselves! It is a must-include against control decks, and is strong enough that we even play one in our maindeck as a hedge against control strategies, and can even remove Lazgar’s Vengeance in a pinch.
Cheap Shot and Misery are aimed at the powerful Redlings deck in the current Standard Metagame, allowing us to remove a Rustbucket Distractor or other pesky one-drop, or even a whole suite of Dreadlings in a pinch.
Noxious Glory is aimed to provide a hedge against the Mono Sapphire Empress decks in the format, as it can remove almost every threat in their deck at once. Tribunal Magistrate, Skittering Cultivator, and Empress of Ice all bite the dust when met with a timely Noxious Glory, and I would never remove these from my Reserves as long as Empress is in Standard.
Waltz of the Damned was a card that I toyed with in the earlier iterations of the Blood-Wild Deathcry deck, and I’m thrilled that icecon included it in their 75. I find Waltz to be a huge threat that is excellent against the other midrange decks in the format. Against opposing Deathcry decks, we can even take advantage of the Deathcry abilities that our opponent would normally have at their disposal, and use those to our favor! As it does cost 7 resources, I would only play one in the 75, and I would only bring it in against other midrange decks that allows us to reliably reach 7 resources.
Spellshield is important when dealing with targeted removal, and Gargalith helps hedge against those threats. Transmogrifade, Herofall, Runebind, and other powerful removal will typically require a target to be effective, and Gargalith stunts the effectiveness of those spells. In midrange matchups especially, Gargalith can not only prevent a one-time targeted spell from hurting us, but can also be reliably played in the late game to help keep our troops on the battlefield. I would recommend this against Midrange and Control matchups.
While we already have a powerful removal package in Herofall, Strangle (out of the reserves), and Gruesome Deed, Gemborn Prowler gives a bit more removal against Blood-Wild, Redlings, and the various Sockets decks in Standard, and gives a 3/3 body on the backend to block reliably.
Lullaby is fantastic against the Ruby Deck Wins strategies in the format. It can give us an extra turn to help solidify a matchup that we are already typically favored in, all while being able to match up profitably against Escape Goat, Frothfang Cackler, and Righteous Outlaw. In a pinch, it can also be brought in against Redlings to stave off an attack from an army of Dreadlings.
I’ve provided a set of videos that will let you see the power of Blood-Wild Deathcry and observe the many different ways that this deck can be played against a variety of opponents. Please give them a watch and provide any comments!
I want to thank you for reading and watching the first of my BattleShopper Breakdowns, and I’m thrilled to be able to provide content for you all. Please reach out on Twitter (@profyana_twitch) with any questions and feedback! May you provide plenty of blight and carnage to your opponents!