Firstly, apologies for delaying this a little, I wanted to publish it at the end of Last month, but life got in the way a little, so this is about a week later than intended.
After making a from ‘zero to hero’ last month I’m left with an extra account, so rather than just let it die I thought it would be good to continue on, at least for the time being, making budget decks and writing up my experiences climbing from silver to S on a budget each month.
There’s some pretty good budget decks out there, but mostly they’re just the list and maybe a small paragraph explaining it briefly, so I thought it could be a good idea to play a full season of just one deck and then write up some more detailed content about a deck and how it plays out, why I included certain cards and such. But let me know if this is useful to anybody or not, since if it’s not useful then there’s not much point in me keeping going, and if you have ideas for improvements to the format or even decks you’d like me to do in future i’d be happy to hear it all.
Anyway, with that out the way I’ll just start with the deck:
As a small disclaimer, the list I played through diamond, had one Rasha’s Curse which I happened to open, but I suppose if I plan to do this regularly or more seriously I should set some rules for myself. I’m not sure if it’s better to say only rares or below (to follow normal pauper rules), or set a spirit maximum so that if a deck needs a specific set of epics or wants to run a Mythron it could, I’m leaning towards a 2k spirit cap, but let me know if you have preferences.
But back to the deck itself: basically, after getting steamrollered by Minmaxer’s aggro vet in the monolith climb at the end of march I got to thinking that maybe vet was still the best and all the hype about the new strategos and wisp wasn’t enough to displace vet from the top spot (which later got revealed as quite a common opinion in the april power rankings). As vet is my least played faction, and I was thinking it might be a good idea to amend that somewhat for upcoming tournaments if it was indeed the strongest, it made sense to me that I could get some vet practice in .
A lot of their best cards; 1st Wish, Blood of Air, Sandswirl Reader, A-nimbus (and honorary mention to Fireblaze Obelysk’s synergy here) are below the epic rarity, and running an aggro deck is typically a pretty good way to go on a budget, and I enjoy aggro decks at any rate, so it was decided.
I could just talk about the deck and tell you to trust me that it’s decent, but I figure it’s good to give some stats, also there was something interesting that I want to point out too, so here they are:
So, again to clarify I played the aggro zirix from the beginning of the season until I hit S-rank, but you may have noticed something interesting about the difference in my winrate in gold and diamond, my win rate was worse in gold than it was in diamond! Firstly, i wanted to say that some degree of variance is inevitable, sometimes you will run good and be drawing everything in the right order, and other times you will get matched against all your worst matchups, lose focus, misplay etc. Another factor is tuning the deck as I go, at the start I didn’t have enough spirit for Sandswirls for example, and then improving at playing it with experience in how it wins and loses and how that changes in different matchups.
Though I’ve saved the biggest factor until last, when you choose to climb, I think mostly it’s pretty common knowledge that it’s harder to climb earlier and easier later in the month. But I just thought it was funny to show that difference in data, with most of my games in silver/gold in the first week and most of those diamond games in the last week of the month. Basically, I’m saying that trying to climb through gold in the first week of a month may well be harder than climbing through diamond in the last week. At the very least they’re comparable.
Right now what pushes the deck as something strong is that Accumulonimbus is a very silly card that will sometimes gift you free wins. Whilst you can certainly win without it, games in which you draw all three may seem like a joke. The first one can sometimes be a little difficult to find the perfect time to play, but the second and third are pretty much always great as long as you’re in range. Ideally you cast it while a Fireblaze is on the field in order to boost up the damage an extra 50% (which is huge when we’re talking about 8 or 12 damage, and decent when it’s a mere 4 damage), but cards like Dunecaster and Primus Fist also can increase the damage it can do, so be on the lookout for lethals you can pull off.
If you can find a good time to cast the first one early in the game, often as a removal, that means that from then on your opponent has to be scared knowing you have a potential 4 mana spiral technique in your back pocket. If not then it’s probably still worthwhile to hang on to, since it does still work well with the deck and even in lategame can get efficient 1 mana = 1 damage off quite easily, which for a aggro/burn deck isn’t ideal, but can get the job done. Especially since the curve of the deck is quite low it makes sense to hold on to your slightly higher cost cards if the game doesn’t look like it’s closing out quickly, and holding on ‘til you draw your second copy can be a legit strat. I think I’d only use a replace on it if I knew i was never going to get close to my opponent ever again.
Also, one small thing is to make sure you think about your spawns, remember you can move before or after casting it, and can have your own minions deliberately blocking bad spawn locations if you need to (playing a Fireblaze Obelysk at the diagonal spawn was fairly common for me). Just be mindful of this when casting the card, but it’s something you will probably quickly learn when you make mistakes doing it.
The removal package is actually pretty damn top notch, with some of the best single target removal available in the game available to Vetruvian. Add on Boneswarm to take care of poorly positioned swarms and you’ve got a powerful removal suite that’s all but guaranteed to also progress your gameplan of getting the enemies HP to 0 as fast as possible.
I don’t need to sell anybody on Blood of Air, this card will save your bacon. Sometimes Sandswirl Reader can feel to slow, since it’s damage is not guaranteed, but in other situations that sand tile’s gonna be exactly what you need to grind your opponent down in to kill range. I honestly think that Sandswirler is one of the best cards in the game, since is just SO temp positive. Of course it’s important to note that these 2 come online at 5 mana, so you can be a little weak removal-wise prior to that point.
Boneswarm fills a bit of a hole in Vetruvian’s weakness to swarm, it’s not going to save you alone, but it can often be enough to slow them down for you to finish the job, it’s also a burn spell that can be used to finish a game, but mostly you do want to be using it when it’s clearing minions Well I don’t need to keep on gushing about good Vet removal is, but I will say it’s important to evaluate when you can get away to not use removal on; can your minions clear it? can it be ignored? Can I generate my own equally dangerous threats? etc. It feels terrible to use a removal, and then have them play a bigger threat that you now cannot answer, a lot of this comes down to meta and matchup knowledge, so practice makes perfect.
As a corollary, this means that a lot of your midgame minions trading may be important to save you having to blow your removal, and to get in damage efficiently where possible.
The rest of the deck is filled out with an Aggro/Opening gambit package, that should be able to deal out a good amount of out of hand damage. Since the curve of the deck is quite low Blaze Hound, Orbrider and Scion’s First Wish offer a little bit in the way of hand management. Orbrider in particular can be tricky to use, so I will note the 3 common targets I found: Dustdrinkers, Wind Dervishes that spawned out of position and Flameblood Warlocks. If it doesn’t look like any of these targets are on the cards then consider replacing it, but you can also use it to fetch back dispelled Obelysks, reuse Sandswirlers or on Primus Fist, Dunecaster, Bloodtear Alchemist & Blaze Hound, though I found these targets to be less rare for me if you see good opportunities then go right ahead. Mostly I was using it near the end of the game to combo finish.
Also take care of how you are using Flameblood and Blaze Hound in aggro matchups, since they can be double-edged swords if your opponent is looking for fuel to kill you also.
If you are looking to craft higher higher rarity upgrades to the deck then I do have a couple of suggestions for what you might like to consider, this is NOT me telling you to go craft all of these at once to boost your winrate:
Rasha’s Curse is a great tool to combine with Dunecaster and with A Fireblaze Obelysk on the field can go face for 3 damage, and is one of Vetruvian’s early game tools for dealing with backline threats (Rasha’s + 1st Wish for example is one of the only ways to deal with a malicious wisp locking you at 3-4 mana). This used to be a pretty staple Vetruvian card, but maybe has fallen off a little from that perch.
Scion’s Third Wish is often an effective 5 damage, moving an out of position dervish into range for it’s now buffed 5 damage. Certain factions also reel a bit from big units put in their face, so if they don’t have the correct removal a Wind Dervish with a Duncecaster and 3rd Wish buff can wreak havoc. Could put in work as a 2-of This is definitely one of the riskier crafts though, since it has no use outside of dervish decks.
Spelljammer is a possible upgrade over Blaze Hound, though my feeling is that is maybe a little bit of preference, or perhaps adjustable with how ‘aggro’ you want your deck to be, with blaze hound being for faster more ballsy variants, and jammer being played if you want to have an option for a midgame. This is a useful craft for anybody who likes playing aggro in any faction.
Speaking of which, Thunderhorn is also an option on that front. The Ubiquitous 4 drop will certainly command respect whether or not you actually run the support tools like Lost in the Desert or Kinematic Projection. But if you put some or all of these together it can make for some very powerful blowouts when they go off. Can’t go too wrong with crafting one of the game’s best 4 drops.
Lost in the Desert is also a valid inclusion by itself, I didn’t get around to testing it to know how often it would go off, but my feeling is that it could make an acceptable 2-of if you are noticing situations where it would be usable. Be warned though as you can expect it to be played around better as you rank up. A reasonable craft for any Vetruvian main.
I don’t have too much beyond all that to add, not that I can think of anyway. But if any questions come up then feel free to add me in game or ping me on discord and I’d be happy to chat.